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Sable Aradia

Sable Aradia

Sable Aradia (Diane Morrison) is a licensed Wiccan minister and a Third Degree initiate in the Star Sapphire and Pagans for Peace traditions. A writer, musician, vlogger and podcaster, she makes her living through psychic readings, music, writing, and by teaching workshops. She also writes a column called "Seekers and Guides" and a subscription-only teaching blog based on her upcoming book "The Witch's Eight Paths of Power" (Weiser / Red Wheel, Fall of 2014) at Patheos.com. Her channel on YouTube features her music, instructional witchcraft videos, and her many projects in the world of geekdom. Born and raised in Vernon, BC, Canada, she has been actively involved in the Canadian Pagan community for a little more than 20 years.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Wiccan on Wiccanate Privilege

There's been a lot of talk since PantheaCon in the blogsphere recently about Wiccanate privilege.  I was not at PantheaCon, but to the best of my ability to determine, it is a general sense of being marginalized in the Pagan community that exists among a variety of Pagans who do not follow a path that resembles (at least superficially) Wicca.  They feel that most "Pagan" rituals and gatherings are Wiccan-normative, and they would prefer that this assumption is not made in pan-Pagan ritual, conversations and gatherings.  There have been some excellent articles on the topic; here's one at the Wild Hunt; here's one at Finnchuill's Mast; here's one by T. Thorn Coyle in regards to a controversial "Wiccanate" prayer she gave at the gathering; here's one at Of Thespiae (a Hellenic Reconstructionist blog); here's a couple by fellow PaganSquare writers Stifyn Emrys and Taylor Ellwood; here's a couple by fellow Patheos writers Yvonne Aburrow, Niki Whiting, Julian Betkowski, John Halstead and Jason Mankey at Raise the Horns; and P. Sufenas Virius Lupus, writer of "Queer I Stand" at Patheos, has commented about it extensively around the internet though I couldn't find a specific blog post on the topic in my search (though e was at the conference).  If you read all of these, you'll probably get a good handle on the many different sides of the issue and what various people's take on it is: and if you read the comments, it will be more informative still.  If you haven't done so yet, do it; then come back here in an hour or three if you still want to hear my opinion.  Don't worry, I'll wait . . .

Here's my thoughts as someone who identifies as a Wiccan: I think that those who are advocating for this are right!  I think that most people, within and without the Pagan community, do assume that "Wiccanate" paths are the norm.  And I do think we need to be more inclusive and accommodating in our language and form.  No question about it!  Our community is still small enough that I don't think we can afford to alienate each other.  Let's try to get along in a climate of mutual respect.

I think it might help to have an idea of where the problem came from.  Back in the early 90s, when we were all using bulletin boards and Yahoogroups to open these conversations in a collective way that wasn't in-person at festivals, most of the books out there were indeed about essential solitary "Outer Court" Wicca.  Most people came to Paganism through these books.  Most of us still do.  So I (being one of those sorts) got on a bunch of different Pagan groups to chat and learn about stuff, and identified myself as a "solitary Wiccan".  I suppose the reactions I got were fairly indicative of what was typical: some initiated British Traditional Wiccans (who, don't get me wrong, are justifiably proud of their accomplishments because it takes a lot of work to earn those degrees) told me that because Wicca was a special initiatory mystery tradition descending from either the unbroken line of the Craft back to Neolithic days, or Gerald Gardner, I could not be Wiccan because I was not an initiate.  I imagine that my reaction was very similar to that of others like me; I found the term "Pagan" or "Neo-pagan" (which both Oberon Zell and Isaac Bonewits have claimed to have coined; I wasn't there so I don't know) and began calling myself an "eclectic Pagan" instead.

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  • Samuel Wagar
    Samuel Wagar says #
    I guess "Pagans for Peace" is a derivative of Reclaiming in some way, although we haven't done Reclaiming style stuff forever. Wel
  • Christine Kraemer
    Christine Kraemer says #
    Sorry to ignore most of your article in favor of a minor point. Speaking as someone initiated into both Feri and Alexandrian Wic
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Thanks Christine for clarifying! I must admit that to me as an outsider who comes from Wiccan and "Wiccanate" roots, Feri does lo

Posted by on in Culture Blogs


Canadians Take the Gold (Photo courtesy of The Guardian) 

Okay, so this is completely off the topic from what I usually post in this blog, but I am a proud Canadian, and like all Canadians, I watch when our team is at the gold medal hockey final.  It's kind of like Americans and the Superbowl.  I think it's a Canadian law or something.

Now, I admit that for a good deal of the game I was shaking my head in dismay.  The Americans played a much better game than we did for most of it.  They were much more aggressive and energetic and were just overall handling the puck better.  The Americans almost won the game when, with a minute and fifteen seconds left, Canada pulled the goalie for an extra attacker, and an inexperienced linesman interfered with one of her teammates, freeing up an American shot on goal into an empty net.  Perhaps it was an example of the manifestation of collective Will as thirty percent of Canada's population screamed, "No no NO!" and miraculously, the puck bounced off the post and the goal was averted.  But our ladies tied it up in the last five minutes, and then stole the gold in sudden death overtime!  I would hardly be considered a hockey expert, but I am Canadian, and so you learn about it whether you want to or not, and overall, this was one of the most exciting and tense games I've ever watched.  Here's the link if you want to see it.

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  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    And the boys did us proud too!
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Yes, congratulations indeed. I was a Landed Immigrant in Canada from 1971-1973. I was a company member with the Shakespeare Fest
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    That strikes me as a uniquely, and perhaps iconic, Canadian story. Thanks so much for sharing it!

ProstitutionI read a blog called "The Honest Courtesan" written by a retired call girl named Maggie McNeil, that discusses sex, sex workers and our attitudes about it.  I don't always agree with everything she says, but she wrote an article recently that I've been ruminating on.  The long and the short of it is this:

For many years, prostitution has been decriminalized in Canada; but everything around it has been illegal, from the keeping of a place of business to "living off the avails" of prostitution (so if, for example, a hooker hired a driver/bodyguard to protect her, he could go to jail.)  On September 28, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that, at least in the province of Ontario, these laws were against our Charter of Rights and Freedoms (our equivalent of the Constitution) and the government was given a few months in which to try to appeal or to draft a new law.

Sounds like a positive choice, right?  But Maggie predicted, accurately, that this would be used as an opportunity for anti-prostitution lobbyists to suggest another option, which was to adopt a policy that is becoming known as the "Swedish model."  That is to say, prostitution itself isn't illegal - buying sex is.  So the criminals become the clients, not the prostitutes.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

CyberwitchI recently wrote a couple of articles for my column at Patheos’ Pagan channel about cyberspace and witchcraft.  This sparked a very interesting discussion among my clan about the nature of cyberspace in general.  I don’t know if any of you are science fiction fans, but a theme in the genre that you often see or read about involves someone projecting their consciousness into a computer system and navigating it as though it were its own internal reality.

Did you ever try to have a conversation with someone while he or she is on Facebook or Twitter?  Kind of like talking to a wall, isn’t it?  As my life partner pointed out, “when you’re surfing the net, you’re not really here.”

So where are you then?  The answer is cyberspace, its own realm, in which your spirit engages with the spirits of others similarly travelling.  This is especially true when you are actively connecting through social media; visualizing, texting, messaging, blogging, sexting, tweeting, googling, broadcasting, podcasting, vodcasting, gaming, skyping and chatting.  It’s another dimension that doesn’t really exist in time or space; and doesn’t that make it, to the perspective of a magick-worker, an astral realm?

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  • Laine
    Laine says #
    That was a marvelous article, and as someone who has often had trouble keeping herself safe emotionally while scanning the Interne
  • Alay'nya
    Alay'nya says #
    Dear Sable - What an interesting and thought-provoking blog! I like the detail with which you've developed your thoughts. Your
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    I am an admirer of Sun Tzu, and I like your analogy as well; thoughts as armies, directed thoughts as troop deployment. I think I

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Importance of Remembrance

In Canada we call November 11th “Remembrance Day” and it’s a pretty big deal for us culturally.  It’s not just a bank holiday, like Veteran’s Day in the US.  Though it is that, we also take time as a culture, in our schools prior to it and at our daily grind otherwise, to observe a moment of silence for the dead of our many World Wars, to which we now must add the Gulf War and the War in Afghanistan.  As children in school, we make construction paper poppies and listen to the stories of soldiers.  As adults, often we stand in the rain as our veterans stand solemnly in their uniforms and their medals, and we try to give their experience meaning and find hope in a time of darkness.

I think as Pagans, it is especially important that we engage in this practice of remembrance.  Whatever your view on war (some traditions strongly respecting the warrior path, such as the Asatru; some being adamantly opposed to war, such as Reclaiming Witches,) our empathy for the experience of it is a valuable service we can contribute to our culture and the world.  The many reasons connect to the uniquely Pagan experience of our spirituality.  Now granted, these are all generalizations; and as such, not everyone will fit these moulds.  But we seem to have these commonalities that make remembrance, especially of powerful and terrible events such as war, much more immediate and intense.

Respect for Our Roots

Many of us are called to Pagan paths because we feel a strong ancestral connection.  Even the modern religion of Wicca draws its roots from the ancient Pagan practices of Europe.  All but the most dedicated Reconstructionists agree we can’t exactly practice the same religion that our ancestors did; cultural and historical context, technology and needs are completely different.  But something about those “Ancient Ways” draws us anyway.

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  • Carlee Barnes
    Carlee Barnes says #
    As a retired US military member, I take offense at the first paragraph. We have more than a bank holiday. There are parades, fla

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Building BridgesTwenty years ago, there was no Pagan community to speak of in the Okanagan Valley.  My sister in spirit Rowean met a girl named Unruhe, and they started talking about forming a Yahoogroup for Pagans in the Okanagan.  Rowean had come from Prince George, where a couple who had been trained by the Wiccan Church of Canada in Ontario had opened a shop and formed a community years ago; and Unruhe had moved up from the Coast, where there was a very large and established Pagan community; and they missed it.  I was a solitary from the time I was 14 years old and the idea of connecting with other Pagans appealed to me.  I knew a few others from the Society for Creative Anachronism and so I encouraged Rowean to call Unruhe up.  We met in a coffee shop - I think a Tim Horton's, but don't quote me on that - and discussed the idea.  Unruhe and her friend Perchta formed the Yahoogroup, I was the third person on it and Rowean was the fourth.  We decided to meet for Sabbats and the first ritual was at my place, led by a Celtic Witch named Havoc.

Over time, the group split over the typical ideological differences that split Pagan communities, compounded by the fact that most of us went through the stuff that I would now, as a Witch, refer to as "Second Degree ego issues," all at the same time.  There were hard feelings and bad blood.  Some people bowed out of the community for a long time.  Some spread rumours about other groups.  Some bowed out entirely and disappeared.

Most of us who were the "core" organizers of the original "Okanagan Pagans," however, continued to trudge along doing our own thing.  My husband and I organized a couple of covens.  From a Women's Mysteries' group that Rowean and I had begun, a Women's Ritual Group sprang.  A group of Druids coalesced and began doing their own thing.  Ritual magicians started doing their own thing.  And eventually, what we ended up with was a lot of small groups doing very compartmentalized sorts of activities.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Sable Aradia, Thanks for sharing! Praise the Goddesses and Gods, that your community came together in such an awesome way.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

In 2011, I launched the Pagan Pathfinders' Podcast, which got some attention at places like the Wild Hunt Blog and the Canadian National Pagan Conference.  My vision was one of a panel of knowledgeable Pagans of various traditions and locations, discussing a topic online as panelists do at conferences.  As I say in the preview video, people were really quite accommodating and friendly and open to the possibilities.

I stopped doing the podcast in early 2012 for a variety of reasons; though I did try to limp it along for a while.  One was that getting a bunch of very busy people together in one place is problematic at best. Two was that the limitations of Skype made the conversations awkward.  Three was that the constant bad sound and limited connectivity created a variety of issues that took days of editing to try to fix.  Four was those days of editing.  I tried bringing on a partner to help me, but Nisaba Merrieweather, although filled with enthusiasm and a desire to help, who managed to organize a great show on Australian Paganism, had no better luck with the technology than I did.  Eventually I resigned myself to just letting it go.

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  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    I'd be interested in participating. I'm the managing non fiction editor for Immanion press and author as well.
  • David Dashifen Kees
    David Dashifen Kees says #
    If the live stream causes any problems, Google Hangouts can be done and then uploaded seamlessly to YouTube to create a show-like
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Thank you very much for the offer! Expect that I will take you up on it. Certainly the Google Hangouts thing would also be excel
All Acts of Love & Pleasure Are Her Rituals: In Defense of Polyamory

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an article from the BBC to my Facebook page about polyamory, which I thought was a very intelligent and sensitive article that portrayed how it works with honesty and authenticity.  A few of my more supportive friends re-posted it, which I appreciate, either because they are poly or poly-friendly.  One friend of mine made a reference to it and promptly took it to task on her page.  I stumbled across it and was a little hurt.  So this was my reply . . .

Hi, I'll take up your challenge! I am the original source of this article in the current community. I posted it because I am polyamorous and happy in this choice, and at a place in my life where I feel, to be authentic and genuinely loving and respectful of my partners, I need to be "out" about it. I think I'm going to take the points on individually here, and I'm going to take the time to challenge them because you can't just say, "Oh, I think that anyone who is not monogamous is cheating, lying, jealous, irresponsible, incapable of intimacy and unfulfilled in their relationships . . . but that's just my view on it" like it makes these statements anything less than they are, which are judgmental character slurs. Granted, I recognize that this appears to be what the rest of the world thinks (and notice the contradictory nature of a couple of those statements when phrased as bluntly as that, which of course means that both simply cannot be true,) so I relish this opportunity to help the enlightened people who are our mutual friends and associates understand something that may otherwise confuse them. And I hope to build understanding with you as well, since you are a loving and giving person and I am sure that this view of condemnation stems from either misconception (which is only to be expected in our compulsorily monogamous, heterosexist culture, because how would anyone have ever been shown another example other than what they've been taught?) or a bad experience (which, again, is fair, but just as one should not assume that all people of a particular group are jerks because one beat you up in high school, one should not assume that all polyamorous relationships are bad ones - though of course, some are, just like in any other relationship.) Please understand that I do not mean to say that you, or anyone else here is a judgmental person; indeed, metaphysical people tend to be refreshingly open-minded. I phrased things the way I did to point out how you may feel you have been coming from a place of love and acceptance in this, but these are not really loving and accepting statements you are making.

To start with, my husband Erin and I have never, in the twenty years of our relationship, been monogamous. We met over a Dungeons & Dragons game, and we developed a relationship in our first experience with "swinging." We made our existing relationships work for over a year, but both of them were emotionally abusive situations and we found that since we were not emotionally abusive in our relationship, it was not necessary to tolerate such things from a lover. After our existing partners forbade the experiment from continuing but continued to see each other behind our backs, and after their particularly poor treatment of us while they continued an affair, we decided to leave them both and make a go of it together.

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  • Sarah Eccles
    Sarah Eccles says #
    Hi, I'm the Sarah mentioned in the BBC article you linked and I'm glad you liked it. One of the big things I didn't mention in the
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Sarah, I am delighted to see you here! Thanks for telling your story to BBC so that we can all be more out, and thanks also for y
  • Sarah Eccles
    Sarah Eccles says #
    Just added you on Twitter. I'm Limnaia.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Sacred Ink

On the weekend of Vancouver Pagan Pride, one of my tradition sisters offered to touch up my new sacred tattoo that I had received about six weeks prior.  "It's really great for someone who was new, and her lines are excellent," she said, "but it's fading a little already and I want to dress it up a little, if that's okay with you."

My spirit-sister Jennica had done the tattoo - a triple moon with a blue pentagram in the center of the full one - in a cast circle as part of sacred ceremony.  It was my first tattoo ever and that meant a lot to me.  I had insisted upon this because I had been told the story of how my initiator Lord Redleaf had received the Green Man tattoo on his chest as part of ritual in a cast circle and it moved me.  I told my trad sister Amity Loyce this and let her know that it was very important to me that it remain sacred, and still done in a cast circle and empowered.  "Sure, that's fine," she said with a nod.  "I don't have any problems doing that!  I always wanted to tattoo in a cast circle . . ."

The next thing we knew, we had a tattoo party planned for the following evening.  Amity and her partner Mick would come over to the place I was staying at and we would cast circle and do the tattoo as part of ritual.  Furthermore, my husband and Priest Erin Righ, and my lover and Priest Redleaf, decided that they would get matching tattoos representing their 3rd Degree in our tradition, Star Sapphire Wicca, representing the degree and the Horned God.  Redleaf's wife and Priestess Dolphanie would conduct the ceremony on our behalf.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    They're very nicely done! Thanks for sharing.
  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    *This* is awesome. Sacred tattoos done during ritual are a wonderful idea. I'll have to keep this in mind for my next tattoo in h

Just a quick note to tell my loyal readers that the Canadian music anthology alluded to in my article on the Sun Wheel Pagan Festival is a go! It will be a fundraising effort for the Canadian National Pagan Conference and all artists have agreed to contribute their works entirely free of royalties; all profits support the Conference! Musicians who have agreed to participate so far include: The Dragon Ritual Drummers, The Ancient Gods, Raven's Call, Dano Hammer, Vanessa Cardui, Brendan Myers, Jamie Field (formerly of Parnassus before it was Chalice and Blade,) Tamarra James and me. We're still waiting to hear back from a few other artists and more information will be made available as it unfolds.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks for keeping up posted! It will most likely end up on my Christmas list. I enjoy Canadiana, so what could be better than Pag

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Sun Wheel Pagan Arts Festival 2013

On the July 1st long weekend, I celebrated Canada Day by driving 10 hours to Drayton Valley, Alberta, to pitch a tent in a mosquito-infested field.  I left late, of course; I never seem to get out on time.  I didn't want to be late because even though the Sun Wheel Pagan Arts Festival didn't officially begin until the following day, on the Friday evening there was a firewalk scheduled and I had never done such a thing.  I came with my husband Erin and my young boyfriend Chad McLeary, also scheduled to perform on the stage.  I was quite honoured to be part of such a prestigious line-up; the roster included Vanessa Cardui, current bardic champion of the Kingdom of AnTir, an up-and-coming artist who also does medieval music like me; my friends from the Edmonton Pagan Choir and Chalice and Blade; the legendary Sharon Knight; and the indomitable Heather Dale.

But I shouldn't have worried.  Pagan Standard Time being what it is, things were running about the two hours late that I had left the house by, so I had just enough time to set up camp before hurrying off to the ritual.

"Shouldn't we have brought some burn cream, just in case?" Chad fretted.  This was his first Pagan festival.  He was not intending to participate in the firewalk; the concern was for me.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks for sharing your experiences! It's nice to see some of our neighbo(u)rs to the north here. I'll definitely check out the Ca
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Pleased that you enjoyed it, Jamie! And it looks like things are coming together, I am happy to say. I will write about it as t

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Raven's Call at Sunwheel 2012

In the wake of my article on Canadian Pagan music, I had an opportunity to interview Thom of emerging Canadian Celtic folk rock band Raven’s Call, who was happy to share with me the details of what was going on with his band!  For the full interview, check out my podcast as of June 10, 2013, at http://paganpathfinders.webs.com.

Raven’s Call

Location:  Edmonton, AB, Canada

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Gaia Gathering: The Canadian National Pagan Conference


Dominique SmithThis weekend, which is a holiday long weekend north of the 49th Parallel, Pagans from all over the vast expanse of the Canadian landscape will be meeting in Gatineau, Quebec (which is just across the river from our capital city Ottawa) to discourse on what it is to be Canadian and Pagan, exchange ideas, study workshops, exchange chants, review scholarly works in our field, and of course, socialize.  It's called the Gaia Gathering (the Canadian National Pagan Conference,) and I believe this to be the most exciting thing currently going on in the Canadian Pagan community.  I made an epic journey to the 2010 conference in Montreal to present at a couple of panels, as well as one of their first workshops, and it was a life-changing experience.  This year, I am unable to attend but I was able to interview "Winnipagan" Dominique Smith, the current Chairperson, via Facebook about this outstanding event:

Question: So from your perspective, what is Gaia Gathering all about?

Dominique: The Canadian National Pagan Conference: Gaia Gathering at its most basic is about the identity and culture of Canadian Pagans. As Canadian Pagans we have unparalleled perspectives on the world and on the Craft. Our politics, our environment, and our Canadian culture influence us Pagans in a profound way. We see the world and react to it quite differently than most other people. Gaia Gathering is a way to explore and honor our uniqueness. Gaia Gathering is also an opportunity where Pagans from across Canada can interact, learn and create with a diverse group of individuals that have peerless perspectives and experiences on issues facing Canadian Pagans. Figuring out what makes Canadian Pagans different also opens us to identify our similarities and in a country this large its important for Canadian Pagans to feel connected and not alone, especially in rural areas where access to information and other Pagans can be quite limited.

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I don’t think that there’s anyone in the Northern Hemisphere who doesn’t feel spring fever, and this year I’m feeling it more than most.  Maybe it’s because it’s so cold this year.  The buds are just starting to unfurl on the trees in my yard and the violets have just now bloomed, with the daffodils just passing.  This might be Canada, but that’s still pretty cold for us.  But possibly because of the cold, Beltane celebrations are on the horizon and it seems that everyone is planning to do something.  For me, the festival season begins at Beltane and it keeps me pretty busy until almost Samhain.  I go to a lot of them because I own a metaphysical store and it’s a good excuse to travel and vend.  With my writing and music beginning to take off, I suppose that will give me yet another (practical) reason to attend.  But mostly, I just go because I like gathering with other Pagans and celebrating our faiths.

I’m always torn what to do with myself because I’m often double-booked.  I was relieved when this year, the organizers of the Spring Festival of Awareness in Naramata, determined that presenters would have to decide whether they would attend that festival or the Wise Woman Festival in September – not both.  This freed me up to attend one of my favourite events, the Beltaine Faire in Edmonton (April 27th.)  This event was modeled after a similar, rather famous Beltane in the Park event in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which has been going on for some twenty years.  The beauty of these celebrations is that many different groups in the local community get together to put on the event.  In Edmonton, the Knights of the Northern Realm, a local medieval re-enactment group who combat with real swords, join forces with a couple of large local Wiccan organizations, a shamanic group and some local Druids, to make a fun-filled day of vendors, dancing, drumming, a traditional processional, Morris dancing, a maypole, the crowning of a May Queen and a Beltane ritual.  I love it because it’s relaxed and friendly, and I’ll be going there with my store and my guitar to perform and to vend.  This year, it will conclude with an evening Faerie Masquerade Ball!

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Because I released a new CD in these past two weeks since my last blog entry here, I have had music on the brain, and it occurs to me that Canada has a few talented Pagan musicians who deserve recognition.  Because we have a smaller population than the US, it’s harder for our musicians to make a living.  Let’s face it; it’s a niche market, and our market is smaller, so most Canadian Pagan musicians make US appearances too.  If you’re a Pagan music fan you might want to check these folks out.  Disclaimer – I have learned that music is very subjective and these are strictly my opinions.  But because I like these artists and I want you to check them out, I will provide as many links as I can to their music so you can listen for yourself, and maybe support also if you share my love.

The Ancient Gods

The Ancient Gods http://www.reverbnation.com/ancientgods – I met these three when I went out to a little town called Fruitvale to officiate my first legal Wiccan wedding.  They’re from Castlegar, BC, and they’ve just quietly been performing their own unique rhythmically-driven filk and folk music with growling male vocals, acoustic guitars and violin for many years.  I once likened it to heavy metal with acoustic instruments and a djembe.  They don’t have a website but they’re starting to get their word out on the web.  If you don’t hear them on their ReverbNation site you can find them at CBC Music.

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25 Most Influential People in the Birth of Modern Paganism (Canadian Wing)

A lot of people have been reading and circulating the recent articles that were written by my fellow Patheos.com blogger, Jason Mankey, about the “25 Most Influential People in the Birth of Modern Paganism”.  He wrote an “American Wing” article and a “European Wing” article, and I thought they were excellent, but the sum total of his mention of those of us north of the 49th Parallel was “sorry, Canada!”  Well, naturally that got my dander up a little.  It gives the impression that what goes on up here is an appendix to the greater American scene.  But in the founding of modern Paganism, in many cases it was the other way around.  Here’s my list of 25 Canadians who helped mold the modern Pagan world; without whom, nothing would be as it is.  If you ranked them along with the members of the other two lists to create a list of “The 25 Most Influential People in the Birth of Modern Paganism (All-Time Champions,)” some wouldn’t make the cut . . . but many of them would.  Just as Mankey did, I’ll list them in alphabetical order, since prioritizing is very difficult.  Mankey said that the American list was harder than the European one because everyone was “second generation”; I find that my list consists of either proto-Pagan contributors, or people who are doing very interesting things right now; perhaps a third generation, still active.

Runners-up:

 

Brother XIIBrother XII (Edward Arthur Wilson) (1878-1934,) Proto-Pagan Cult Leader – Colourful cult-leader Brother XII founded one of the first spiritual communities in North America, in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.  His organization, the Aquarian Foundation, was a proto-Pagan one, founded in Theosophy but speaking of the Osiris/Isis male/female polarity as gods within.  Eventually personality conflicts with his followers led to investigation, criminal charges, and fleeing to Switzerland after destroying the colony, where he may have feigned his own death.

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  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Update: Fritz Muntean removed from mention in this article at his request.
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Update: I have received a fair bit of personal email about this article. Much of it involves a bees-nest of Canadian Pagan polit
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Update: Amanda Strong has written me to correct a mistake I made in my post. She tells me that she is not an initiated Feri Witch

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

On Imbolc, it was snow-raining and the middle of flu season. I intended to have a gathering at my metaphysical store, but there were so many last minute cancellations that I decided to skip it. I went home and lit a candle from a wick that was lit from Brighid’s shrine at Kildare, and I quietly contemplated and looked to Light`s return.

I believe that Imbolc is kind of a strange holiday for most Canadian Pagans. More often than not, the groundhog tells us we’re going to get six more weeks of winter. According to the lore, it’s the time when the snow starts to melt, the bees start to appear, crocuses and daffodils start emerging from the snow, the animals start bringing forth young and the ewes and the cows start giving milk. Even in the southern portions of our big piece of land, such as the Okanagan Valley where I live, the climate is similar to Oregon State, and so things are still covered in snow and if we’re lucky, we might be seeing a hint of mud. Weather starts to turn from snow to rain and is quite frankly, a nasty cold, often foggy drizzle, similar to a time I once saw described in a Stephen King story as “Strawberry Spring.” Every once in a while we get a Chinook (a warming wind coming down from the mountains) but you can’t rely on it, and even the first pussy willows are usually a week or two away. None of these signs of the thawing really start happening until around the beginning of March, halfway between Imbolc and the Vernal Equinox, and farther north it’s even worse; from Prince George north (the geographical centre of BC, but not of its population,) or especially in Northern Ontario (which is at a similar latitude) you don’t get flowers until April or maybe even May. So how do you celebrate Imbolc when so many signs associated with it simply are not present?

Some of us simply choose not to celebrate it at all. In the middle of flu season, it’s hard to organize a gathering, and even in Canada, some of us just don’t like driving in the snow if we can avoid it. But for me, and many others, we shift our focus a little. At the 49th Parallel, which is just a little north of about 72% of our population, daylight at the Winter Solstice is only eight hours and 14 minutes long. That’s a lot of night! In Vernon (50 degrees north,) my hometown, the day at the Winter Solstice was only seven hours long; at Imbolc, it was almost two hours longer. I, for one, was ready for more sunshine!

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  • Donald Cutler
    Donald Cutler says #
    Hi Diane. I was born in Anchorage, Alaska so I know what you are talking about when it comes to weather. Most of my rituals were i
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Merry meet, Ronald! You know, I find that often the most beautiful things in life are as lovely as they are *because* they're so

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