This year we're attending a lot of fun events around the New Year, aka Samhain. My talk about the holy day is on my "Works" page on this site. There's the Ancestor Feast in Warren, sponsored by Michigan Pagans / Detroit Conjure / Magical Education Council on the 22nd. That will involve food, a meeting in a hotel, raffles, a ceremony, and an ancestor shrine. There's Divination and Drag on the 23rd at the Little Space Studio in Grand Rapids. That's exactly what it sounds like, auguring the future and a Drag Show! There's also vendors and workshops. I'm doing mine on Magick 101 aka the "Baby Witch" class. The outline for that is also on the Works page here on my website. Then there's various town gatherings, Scouts, the public school's party sponsored by the Hispanic club, and the American Legion's party. For the holiday itself, there is the wonderful Beyond the Gate held at Goddess Grotto in Allegan, co-sponsored by Mother Moon and Sanctuary of the Winds. That includes workshops, rituals, a bonfire, a dumb supper, pumpkin carving, and honoring those who've gone before. Happy and blessed holy nights!
Since we don’t hunt our land, it has become the deer superhighway. There are three does who habitually visit, browse a little, munch on the wild apples (fine) and my domestic apple trees (not cool, Bambi). While not tame, they’re pretty accustomed to the scent of people. I take them as a good omen, even when they’re pooping ten feet from the house.
Do you MIND? A little privacy would be nice!!!
Sorry photos are blurry, they were taken at dawn out of my bedroom's dirty window.
Queen Elizabeth has passed on. I can't say I'm unhappy about it. She was a tyrant to the people of Ireland, Wales, and numerous other British colonies, especially Austrailia. She was in favor of the unjust prosecution of freedom fighters and separatists. She actively suppressed indigenous cultures, along with the rest of her family. Since the Windsors own 1/4 of all the property in the UK, you'd think QE2 wouldn't require taxpayer funds to celebrate her jubilee, but there you have it. Mixed reactions from Wales, some of whom are in mourning -- but I'm also told that others were lighting fireworks, lifting a glass, and /or downright ignoring the funerals, parades, and pomp and circumstance. No council in Wales broadcast the funeral services. Others are saying "give Wales back to the Welsh" and are unhappy about someone from the Windsor line, who are historically and genetically NOT Cymric, becoming "Prince of Wales". Sorry for the political post, but I had to say something.
Wolf Run Wildlife and Spiritual Sanctuary is a hidden gem in Remus MI. The caretakers, Stan and Altona “Toni” Newcombe, are just the most friendly people in Michigan. On the site, there are a few acres to ramble, shrines, dancing, singing and drumming, feasts including an awesome “stone soup” breakfast, workshops and events. They host an Earth Day gathering, a fairy Midsummer, a Wild Women’s Retreat, and the Harvest Festival w/ divination and vendors on the second weekend of August. Bell Book & Canto, the resident band, even has their own fortress! The admission is very reasonable, so be sure to contribute some to the raffles and other fundraisers.
A shrine at WRWSS
You can view their website Here: https://wrwss.miwebs.net/
They also have a quarterly newsletter.
Even though it rained off and on the entire weekend, and was COLD with a capital C – 47 degrees in AUGUST – we still had a fabulous time. We met new friends and connected with old ones. There was a big circus tent where performances, workshops, and dinner still occurred, despite the downpour. There were over 10 vendors, amazing for a festival of this size – 50 to 75 people. There were belly dancers and fire-flingers. And the FOOD. Ohmigods. So. Much. FOOD!
Wolf Run is also a nice place to get married, to honor Spirit, to hang out with pals – people had been bugging me for years to go, and we were so glad we did. The rates are very reasonable. Be sure to check out the Wolf Run Wildlife & Spiritual Sanctuary FB page for updates on events. https://www.facebook.com/groups/225985570838111
The butterfly garden has shelter for beneficial insects year-round. In springtime, there are various kinds of daisies: oxeye, fleabane, and shasta; in high summer, zinnias, marigolds, queen Anne’s lace, chicory, Indian paintbrush, and echinacea, and in autumn, goldenrod and purple asters. We’ve tried planting butterfly weed but it hasn’t taken in that stony sandy soil. Of course, there is milkweed for the monarchs, of which we saw two or three in late autumn. Mostly it was yellow or black swallowtails and the little endangered orange marsh butterflies. The garden is also beneficial to bees, both native and our own honeybee hive.
(by Dave Aldag)
WE call upon the Earth, that which forms our material bonds, to witness what we do here today.
We call upon the Sky, which supplies our breath, our words, to witness our honor this day.
We call upon the Waters, which grants us movement and life, to witness our actions this day.
We gather here today not to witness for a death, but to honor a life.
Our lives are not enclosed within our bodies, nor confined to houses or fields,
That which is you dwells above the mountain and roves with the wind.
It is not a thing that crawls into the sun for warmth or digs holes into darkness for safety,
But a thing free, a spirit that envelops the earth and moves in the ether.
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek the gods unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then shall you begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.
These lands are a cradle and a stepping-stone.
Whenever you pass by the field where you have laid your ancestors look well thereupon, and you shall see yourselves and your children dancing hand in hand.
We go with the wind, but not down into emptiness;
We are the seeds of the tenacious plant, and it is in our ripeness and our fullness of heart that we are given to the wind and are scattered.
The mist that drifts away at dawn, leaving but dew in the fields, shall rise and gather into a cloud and then fall down in rain.
I do not mourn Geoff's passing. Geoff has simply taken ship to a to a deeper ocean I can not reach via cellphone or text. I will have to travel on that same ship to reach those shores, to talk to him again. And he will have marvelous things to tell me of when I get there.
The wind blows, and restless are the sails;
Even the rudder begs direction;
Now they wait no longer.
The stream has reached the sea, and once more the great mother holds her son against her breast.
It was but yesterday we met in a dream.
We shall meet once more, we shall speak again together and sing a deeper song.
Our hands shall meet in another dream and we shall build a tower in the sky together again.
A little while, and his longing shall gather dust and foam for another body.
A little while, a moment of rest upon the wind, and another woman shall bear him.
I am not here to perform an eulogy. We are ALL here to do that. This is a Memorial, all who have a memory of Geoff that marks how he affected their life are invited to stand, or sit if you wish, and tell us your remembrance of him. We are not here to mourn Geoff Gluck's passing, but to honor the memory of his life. You are here because of his life. He had an impact on your life that you still feel. And as long as his memory still remains, his life is not gone. Thus this memorial is not a spectator sport. I ask all here to participate with me in remembering all the good that has come from Geoff's life. Yes, there are parts all of us dislike, that is inevitable in the tides and hurlings of our lives in uncertain footings. Each of us harbor certain memories that define Geoff in our live that we continue to call upon. That we feel good about and towards. Let us share those memories so that each of us leave here richer for them. I will begin. I ask each of you to follow.
I Remember Geoff Gluck. I first encountered him in high school. We had similar interests in military history and the occult. Geoff was always an optimist. A firm believer that everything would work out.
He had a love of the sea and sailing, of guns and the history of it all. He went into the Navy right out of high school with the intent to make his way on his own. Fate has a way of altering plans, and he came back to Kalamazoo. Geoff was always an optimist and always wanted to make his own way, in his own way. He found his own path for religion, closer to Druidry than most. He helped us start an earth-based religious community that still thrives in Kalamazoo. Our paths constantly crossed over the years. We never seemed to get too far apart from each other, through the ups and downs of navigating modern life and the constant distractions it brings. For all the difficulties his life brought him he never seemed to quite lose the optimisism of his youth, and in the last few years it seemed he had finally found a balance in his life.
I Remember Geoff Gluck.
A custom from old Britain that I'd like to see become popular here in the USA is Well Dressing. It is an ancient tradition with roots in Paganism that has become Christianized. Dressing the Well involves placing flowers and trinkets around a sacred well. It is done at the famous Chalice Well in Glastonbury, but also at numerous smaller springs in towns and in the countryside. There is a whole festival dedicated to the tradition in the Peak District, which is where the above photo is from. Sometimes clay tablets are used to press flowers into to form a picture. You can see more of these on my Facebook Page, British Isles Folkloric Tradition. https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=british%20isles%20folkloric%20tradition
Dave was honored and privileged to read the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae at the Breedsville Memorial Day parade. This custom had fallen by the wayside, and was always touching. The poem moves anyone who hears it. McCrae, a surgeon, did not survive WWII. Poppies grow where blood has soaked the ground in battlefields. It’s the meaning behind the “Buddy Poppy” sold by veterans at Memorial Day.
The poem: In Flanders Fields
BY JOHN MCCRAE
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
We spent a lovely, spiritual Bealtaine / Beltane / Calan Mai / Mayday at Our Haven Nature Sanctuary in southern Indiana. It was a lovely drive down there, seeing the blossoming trees atop the rock formations around Bloomington / Seymour. We got lost numerous times on tiny rustic backroads, some of them gravel, but that gave us an opportunity to view more of nature, and be helped by a kindly gentleman in a lifted pickup. Our Haven has a deservedly wonderful reputation with their neighbors. Little trickling streams, old-growth forest, tiny picturesque farms – and panic because it was getting dark, and the GPS route had a bridge out over a gorge!
When we finally arrived, we were put up in a cozy cabin created from a shed, that was quite luxurious. Furniture, a comfy bed, privacy, and quiet, all by a shrine to fire. It was nestled against a bluff and quite woodsy. The people at our Haven including Mary Thomas are all very welcoming and friendly.
I gave workshops on British folk deities and on the May Branch.
Posey the Pixie aka Virginia Ackley (Ginger) was our May Queen, bearer of the branch, and resident songstress. Her musical knowledge and performance talents are incredible. There were concerts, feasts, other workshops, and an opportunity to walk the property and commune with the gurgling streams and the many trees, which blossom much earlier in southern IN than they do here in MI. We drummed and danced the bonfire each night. Our Haven is clothing-optional in places, and around the main fire after 10PM when the kids have a curfew. It was freeing to dance naked around the fire for the festival!
We became members of Our Haven, for just $10, and you can too, by going here: https://www.ourhaven.info/
Pan Pagan festival is now being hosted at this gorgeous site in late July to early August. I would 100% recommend spending time at this beautiful, cordial, mystical place just a short drive from French Lick, IN, especially at Beltane.
The drive back was spectacular as well. Not far from the festival grounds is a lovely, secluded waterfall called “Serenity Falls”. We also found an antique metal bridge across a steamlet, and saw more flowering bushes growing atop stone cliffs. It really spoke of springtime to me.
Common Magick from Llewellyn Worldwide
Witches & Pagans # 38 & # 39 from BBI
Llewellyn's Witches' Companion 2022 & 2023 from Llewellyn Worldwide