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Posted by on in Culture Blogs


Does a Twin Cities Coven Determine the Fate of Nations?


You know what they say: If they gave medals for rumor-mongering, the pagan community could field an Olympic-class team.


Did you know that, from atop seven towers across western and west-central Asia, Satanic adepts constantly broadcast psychic vibrations that guide world events?

Did you know that at Samhain every year, from an island at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers, an old and powerful coven raises a massive cone of power in order to affect world events during the coming year?

I hear that this year they'll be doing it to bring down Putin.


As for those Satanic Towers of Power, they've told this story about the mysterious Yazidi people of Iraq and Syria for years. So far as I can tell, the story was fabricated out of whole cloth by a sensationalist journalist named William Seabrook in the 1920s, which hasn't kept it from gaining a life of its own since then.

In fact, the towers are a fiction, and the Yazidis aren't really Satanists at all: at least, not in the sense that people generally mean by the word.

As for that second story, though....


Witches tend to throw their Halloween parties two Saturdays before Samhain. (On Samhain Saturday, folks in our community tend to be otherwise engaged.)

So, I'm at my first Halloween party since the pandemic began when I first hear the rumors about the powerful coven on the island down at the Confluence determining the course of world events. Through the course of the evening, I hear it several times, from several different people. In fact, the story sounds familiar.

It should. That's my coven they're talking about.


In Lakota lore, rivers are gendered beings. The Mississippi, father of waters, is a male river; the “sky water” Minnesota, female.

Where the two flow together, the Great Rite occurs. Their confluence marks the center of the world, from which everything arises, and around which all creation turns.


As for that powerful coven, well: this coming Samhain will be our 43rd together. Sounds pretty powerful to me.

As for Samhain on the island at the center of the world: well, yes, that much is true, too. Kind of. (It's actually every other year.)

(The rumor had got the name of the island wrong, though. When I corrected one woman, she insisted: “No, no, it was Pike Island, I'm sure.”)

Massive cone of power: check. At least, it's predictably one of our most powerful rites of the year, in a river-mist-shrouded, newly-naked, golden-carpeted grove of cottonwood trees on the island at the center of the world.

And, in fact, we have already hexed Putin. (You can read about it here.) These days, his war in Ukraine's going pretty badly, I hear.

As for determining the fate of nations through the course of the year to come...

Well, if somebody has to do it, I'm sure glad it's us.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Back in the 80's there was a set of divination cards called Star+Gate. Inside was a mat with twelve spots marked off and lines sh

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Flowers to Honor the Dead

Samhain, Day of the Dead, All Soul’s Day: From October 31st to November 2nd is a time to remember and honor our ancestors and loved ones who have passed. This is a time to invite their spirits to come close, as the barrier between the worlds of the seen and unseen is thin. For millennia, flowers have been used to honor the dead, perhaps because they represent the fragility of life. But also because of their beauty, often for their symbolism, and for practical reasons at funerals to mask odors.
          Lilies are an iconic funeral flower. The Greeks and Romans used them at funerals to memorialize the deceased. Lilies were depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphics and dedicated to Isis. In England, white lilies were believed to ward off evil influences and were grown in gardens to keep ghosts away. As a symbol of hope and peace, they represent the wish that the deceased continue into a good new life.
          In the Roman ceremony of Rosalia, rose petals were scattered on the graves of loved ones, symbolizing the start of a new state of being. Rosalia evolved into a springtime feast to honor departed loved ones and to offer their spirits food garnished with rose petals. The Greeks also strew petals over the graves of loved ones and made wreaths of rose canes (branches) to place on graves.
          While the ancient Romans regarded the anemone as a lucky flower, in later centuries in other parts of Europe it was regarded as the flower of the dead. A wood anemone was sometimes worn as an amulet for protection against sorcery. The wood anemone is also known as devil’s bite and evening twilight.
          Carnations were used in funeral wreaths by the Greeks and Romans. In Italy, it was associated with death well into the Middle Ages. When placed on a grave, carnations were a symbol of love for the deceased. Carnations are also known as pinks and gillyflowers.
          In France, Italy, Spain, and Germany the common chrysanthemum was a symbol of grief and used to honor loved ones. It became known as Fiori dei Morte, “flower of the dead.” Because of this association, it was sometimes considered unlucky to take chrysanthemums inside the home.  
          In addition to purple being a color for mourning, lilac flowers were often used to line coffins and placed on graves to add beauty and offer solace. Elderflowers were associated with death and funerals. They were buried with the deceased or sprinkled over the grave to aid a loved one’s passage into the otherworld.
          For a time in Italy, periwinkle was regarded as a plant of the dead and used for children’s funeral wreaths. Periwinkle’s power was used to detect witches, break spells, and heal demonic possession. It also served as an amulet against the evil eye and ghosts. Periwinkles are also known as blue stars and sorcerer’s violet.
          Considered the flower of the dead by the Aztec, marigolds are used on altars for Day of the Dead observances in present-day Mexico and represent the tenuousness of life. According to legend, the reddish-brown splotches on the flowers were from the blood of people killed by Spanish conquistadors. Aztec marigold is also known as African marigold.
          Samhain, Day of the Dead, All Soul’s Day also marks a time for introspection in preparation for the new cycle that begins at Yule, a symbolic death before renewal.

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Tips ’n’ Tricks: Dream Crystals

Thomas Edison carried quartz crystals with him at all times and called the stones his dream crystals. He believed they inspired his ideas and inventions. Literary legends George Sand and William Butler Yeats also relied on crystals to help spark their considerable creativity.

Data has also been gathered to show the effectiveness of quartz in certain healing techniques, such as chakra therapy, acupressure, and light-ray therapy, as we will discuss in depth later. But the simplest way to promote healing with crystal is to wear a stone.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Season of Samhain Reflections

So I saw a meme recently with a close-up of the infamous Wicked Witch of the West from the original “Wizard of Oz” classic film. It read, “You call it September, I call it October Eve.” Of course I shared it immediately—what Halloween fiend wouldn’t? I have found that I spend the better part of September in anticipation and excitement of what’s to come right on the next page of the calendar corner. I mentally prepare, I scout out fun local events happening and mark the ones that I’d like to attend as “interested.” In many cases, I pencil in all the things I want to do, books I want to read, movies I want to watch (and in many cases rewatch as an annual ritual) all over my Llewellyn Witches’ Datebook. I’m truly a kid at heart when it comes to this time of year—as I’m sure many of you are—and I hope to be until my dying day. In fact, when I was earning my journalism degree and one of our early semester assignments was to write our own obituary, I imagined that I would be found watching scary movies on the 31st.

October Eve Ritual

Next September 2023, why not start your own, “October Eve” ritual? Haul out all of your favorite decorations (I always like to add a few new ones each year, too) and take your time putting them up and hanging them just so. Play some spooky music as your soundtrack as you do so. Sip some nice fall wine and enjoy the experience as a sensual/sensuous one. You may want to do this the night before October 1st, two nights before October 1st, or heck, as early as you want in September, whatever floats your ghost ship! You might want to mix it up and put different decorations in different rooms or create different arrangements each year. I tend to be a traditionalist like my dear grandmother was and put the same pieces in the same spots annually. I even have themed rooms for the types of decorations: Kitchen witches, black cat back bedroom, vampire bat bathroom, you get the idea. If you’re lucky enough to have a home with a nice front yard and love to go all out with your transformation theme, by all means, go for it. Nothing makes the majority of your Halloween fan neighbors more delighted than driving or walking by a wickedly clever front yard and house display all season long.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs


What do you want, he asked me,

sixteen and in love, that night

in the woods, and I answered:

You, for heart and center, all my days.

(Not wealth, nor fame, nor happiness.)

He sighed and shook his head,

tines tipped with firelight.

Not the world's best career move,

he told me tenderly, cupping

the back of my head in his hand:

a loving father ruing his willful son's

bad decision. But if you will

have it so, I promise you

this: enough. You will always

have enough. And so I have.

In this faith, I have lived my life

(never has he lied to me, never).

So it has been, these fifty years

and more, and so it shall be,

I trust, to the end of my days.

It is enough.


To Isobel Gowdie, he gave

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Power of Crystals and Gems

Where do gemstones get their power? They all have a crystalline structure that can collect, store, and release electromagnetic energy, similar to the way today’s commonplace battery does.

Scientists and engineers have discovered through experimentation that a crystal will accumulate and concentrate the energy of any given energy field in close proximity. Further, they’ve discovered that if a crystal is squeezed, energy from within the crystal is released. Light can also be released during the compression of a crystal. While the expansion is infinitesimal, electrons are emitted and are then reabsorbed by the crystal, thus producing energy. Schoolchildren discover this by rubbing or heating crystals and feeling a marked static change. This is known as the piezoelectric effect. Anyone who doubts the power of this effect need only be told that it is one of the causes of earthquakes.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Today, I sought the pines
and stones
once more.
Descending into the steep gully
to look for sweet water
easing its way
from the depths to trickle
across ancient stones.
I found both comfort and delight
in sitting by a tiny pool,
looking into the water,
allowing myself to be held
and restored.
I anointed my forehead,
and shoulders with cool drops
from this smallest
of possible waterways,
both unnamed and essential,
and then opened my palms
to the sky
to invite the rain.
I sat with swaying
sycamore, elm, and ash trees
listening to the music they made
with leaf and wind.
I found a turkey feather
in the leaves
beside the water,
soft and fluffy and tipped
with an iridescent greenish shine
I listened to my heart.
I offered up both hope
and dreams
upon this altar of stone and sky.


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