So I had this article all ready to go: then I found out that I was going to be one of the keynote speakers! (Awkward . . .) But none of these points are invalidated by the fact that I'm going to be there . . . except . . .. holy cow I'm going to be there! I'm so excited! (Happy dance!) Gaia Gathering: the Canadian National Pagan Conference is happening in Edmonton on the weekend of May 15th to 18th so it's relatively close to me and so long before the invitation, there was no way I was going to miss it. I think everyone should do it at least once; and I know that once you have, you'll want to do it again. Here's why:
49 Degrees: Canadian Pagan Perspectives
Canadian Paganism has a style all its own. Have a look at events, issues, celebrations, people, trends and events north of the border from the eyes of a Canadian Wiccan and Witch.
Here's a post on my relationship with Brighid and my work as a Flamekeeper, which was founded by Canadian Mael Brigide many years ago. I thought you all might enjoy it:
B is for Brighid: Goddess, Saint and Lwa
Here in the Okanagan Valley, the signs of spring are everywhere.
Keeping altars is probably one of the most consistent things we do as Pagans in our personal practice; though "altars" (and if you insist on using this word, please spell it with an "A"; "alters" is a process of forcing change) would not technically be the correct word. What we keep are actually "shrines," places where we make images of the Divine and our spiritual practice, worship and make offering.
I keep an awful lot of altars myself. My household altar is now located in the centerpiece of my living room, which is a beautiful mirrored china cabinet gifted to me by my mother-in-law. It contains my ritual tools, statues of the Deities appropriate to the time of year, antlers to honour the Horned God, pine cones to honour the Earth Goddess. The image you see at the top of the page is the central top shelf of my household altar, which currently is adorned with the pentacle of my tradition (which I'm pretty proud of; it's solid copper and was handmade by one of our founders, Mistress Leia,) an image of Osiris (to symbolize the God who was dead and is now reborn,) and the Star Goddess (which was a white clay figurine I purchased and then painted.) In the center you'll find my personal pentacle (handmade by me,) a terra cotta incense burner with a turtle (placed there for feng shui value and also for a Terry Pratchett reference,) my Moon Crown (purchased several years ago from Lobelia's Lair in Nanaimo) and behind these, underneath the tradition's pentacle, my wand (also handmade with a lot of personal symbolism I don't care to publicly share at this time.)...
Recently I had an opportunity to visit all kinds of fascinating Pagan shops throughout Western Canada when I was on a book tour, so I'm writing about them to share them with others.
Penticton, BC is a small city in the southern Okanagan Valley; but still a weird combination of retirement community and bohemian hipster haven (don't get me wrong, I love it.) White Lioness Metaphysics, which is located in the heart of Penticton's downtown, is a collective that’s only been around for a few months, organized by the indomitable Jennifer Innes and a team of dedicated and clever women (and a handful of men) offering a variety of metaphysical services and products. If you go on a Saturday you will also be able to enjoy Penticton’s fantastic Farmer’s Market, where you can spend the whole day tasting local wine and eating exotic vegan food while you tour art galleries and shop for handmade treasures. Yes, White Lioness keeps a booth there as well and they offer deals on psychic and Tarot readings every Saturday.
It's a lovely little storefront with a clean, clear layout, usually dominated by a couple of different crystal grids in the middle of the brightly-lit shelves. What's available for sale doesn't differ significantly from other metaphysical stores and there's a strong focus on crystals, so if that's not part of your practice, your primary attraction will be the original artwork with Pagan themes. Many Pagans will find the New Agey atmosphere a little cloying, but others will love it. Their prices are reasonable and tend to be on par, or even a little less, than what is typical for the Okanagan Valley; which is neat because they do not buy any stock and all of their stock is on consignment by members of the collective. (Full disclosure: I've got a small amount of leftover stock from when I owned a metaphysical store on consignment there as well.)...
It's kind of neat when you read things that matter to you and you know all the people involved. This wonderful article about a commitment to environmentalism and one of the most important such issues that affects my country at the moment was written by my friend Dodie, about my friends Sparrow and MoJo, who are the hosts of the Wigglian Way podcast. THIS is what Pagan leadership should look like. Bless you, Sparrow and MoJo, for your wonderful work; and bless you, Dodie, for telling the world about it.
Earth Warriors Vs. Kinder Morgan
I have always loved the colour of the night sky in winter. It almost never seems entirely black; instead, it blue with refracted gloaming, even at the dark of the moon, even at midnight. And yet, the stars are never so clear as they are in the midst of winter, as Orion charges out from the horizon to chase Taurus with Canis Major barking at his heels. The jewel in the Great Dog’s collar, Sirius, sparkles like a radiant prism diamond as it cycles through white, red, green and blue (though of course this is only atmospheric refraction) just over the Southern Horizon; Castor and Pollux wink out of the sky’s zenity; and the Pleiades sparkle like a celestial diamond ring. Meanwhile, in the Northern Horizon the Dragon rears his head, and the Big and Little Bears point the way.
It’s dark for a long time here above the 49th Parallel at this time of year. The sun sets at around 3:30 pm and it doesn’t rise again until almost 8:30 in the morning. That’s seventeen hours worth of night. I find it challenging to deal with. But it gives you a long time to contemplate the stars and the celestial mysteries. Maybe that long night is part of the reason why the stars are so clear; there’s so much less sunlight leaking into the sky by the time one considers the stars in winter. Or maybe it’s because high-pressure fronts coming down from the Arctic Circle chase the clouds away and the sky opens up to reveal the vastness of the celestial firmament....