Savannah Pagan Pride Day 2011

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We started our day by getting up around 2:30AM to get showers and coffee and head across town to pick up another North Georgia Solitaries member and Celia so we could hit the highway south.  We were on the road around 4:00AM.  I checked the time as we pulled in at Michelle Bryant’s apartment and saw that so far we were right on schedule.  She was ready to go so we stayed on schedule as we headed over to pick up Celia.  We traveled quietly for a couple of hours.  I worked on my laptop while David drove the others dozed a little on and off.  We stopped in Macon and got some breakfast and stretch breaks.  I expected the trip to be a really long one but we ended up arriving at the park in Savannah before the organizers or vendors even the delivery of artificial turf to protect the grass arrived.   While we sat in the van discussing whether or not we were at the right place my phone buzzed with a text from Lord Cheiron who just always seems to be psychically tuned in when I need him.  He told us where the vendors would be so we could park accordingly for unloading.

It wasn’t long before the organizers showed up getting busy directing the unloading of the artificial turf and directing vendors where to unload and set up.  Before we knew it there were people everywhere.  They had the vendors set up in kind of a long circle facing each other.  I really liked that set up.  It gave those of us that were at the tables a chance to see everything else that was going on all day.

Dogwood Local Council of the CoG

As people were getting set up we searched the crowd looking for our friends with the Dogwood Local Council booth.  We found them on the other side of the vendor area setting up a table in the sun.  The heat was already building so we insisted they move over to share our space in the shade.  Besides, the event would be more fun with more of us that knew each other together.   We ended up giving up our canopy for the stage as it was also in the direct sunlight.  I didn’t get the names of the nice men that helped move the canopy but if they see this, thank you.  They pitched it without complaint and helped us move it easily without having to take it down. 

Opening ritual was lead by Lady Belladonna of the WiccanSeminary.Edu in the center of the area.   That was really nice because it gave those that needed to stay with their booths a chance to feel involved and a part of it.  As Lady Belladonna led everyone into creating sacred space for the event the energy around the event changed to a more spiritual feel.

Celia working her musical Magick

Celia went on for her first performance in the early afternoon.   As she sang her original song Please Bless This Space adding layer after layer of harmonies and sounds to it, people stopped what they were doing to listen to this beautiful voice.  For those that haven’t heard her perform live, her voice is awe-inspiring.  This was the first stop on her Georgia tour.  You can find the rest of her tour listed on her Reverbnation page.  For all you music lovers out there, become a fan of Celia and your favorite artists on Reverbnation and get updates on new releases and sometimes even some free downloads. 



Lord Cheiron's Psychometry Workshop

As usual, I wasn’t able to get time to do all the workshops I wanted to see.  I did get to sit in on Lord Cheiron’s Psychometry workshop.  He explains everything so easily that everyone was fascinated.  He had a really good crowd gathered around him to learn how to hone their skills.  I always love workshops that actually give you something to try rather than just lecture you on the history of something and how to do it.  He did just that. He told us enough about it to know what it is and then focused on how to learn to do it.  He allowed everyone the chance to try it and we saw some really good results. 

The rest of the day had other workshops, shopping and shows.  They had a magician doing some wonderful sleight of hand, a reptile show, belly dancers and more music.   The storms, promised by the weatherman didn’t show until the very end of the day after the closing ritual led by Grandmother Elspeth took down the sacred space, so not much had to be missed due to the weather.   I would bet that if they had planned all the entertainment for before the closing ritual we might have held the storms off altogether.   There was some powerful magick going on during the day. 

Vendors in action
I love going to Pagan festivals and am particularly fond of Pagan Pride Days or any festivals that promote community.  This one was no exception.   We drove almost 5 hours to get to Savannah for their PPD and it was definitely worth it.  We are already making plans to attend next year.  Next year marks their 10th anniversary and they are already making plans.  Save the date – September 29, 2012.  Fiona Horne will be making an appearance in Savannah.

Celia Comes to Atlanta

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Some of you may be familiar with Celia.  She is a singer/musician/songwriter/comedienne (there is just no one word to describe her) that travels the country performing and wowing crowds at churches, festivals, clubs, coffee houses, etc.

She is coming to Georgia this weekend and will be here through next weekend.  In the Pagan community she is most well-known for her song “Symbol”, which was adopted as the anthem for the Veteran Pentacle Quest spearheaded by Selena Fox.  She does so much more than that.





I first booked Celia for the Pagan Pathways Festival after seeing her video of her performing the song “Symbol”.  It was such a touching video that spoke to me about the many battles we Pagans have with discrimination.  Once I saw her do a complete show I was completely bowled over.

She does some music that is so spiritual in nature that it would be appropriate at any church or spiritual festival regardless of what faith is practiced by the crowd.  She has some other beautiful Celtic music that just gets the toes tapping.  Then there is the Trestle Foote Fairie.  What can be said about Trestle?  Somehow, right on stage with everyone watching, this elegantly beautiful redhead transformed herself into this cute fairy in pink.  Trestle is this na├»ve funny little soul that says things full of double-entendre that keep the audience in stitches.  A couple of favorite songs sung by Trestle are “Dr. Bronner’s Makes Your Hoo-Hoo Tingle” and “My Pussy”.    

I was so taken by Celia, the person, that once she got back to her side of the country I joined her “Tribe”, several friends and family members that work towards helping Celia, an Indie artist, get her music out in front of people.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with Celia this last year and was thrilled when she wanted to come back to Atlanta and play at two of our local Pagan Pride Days.  She is a joy to spend time with as well as an entertainer not-to-be-missed.   If you get the chance you should not miss her while she is here.  She hails from New Mexico and currently Arizona so she doesn’t get to the south often.

Celia’s schedule while she is here in Georgia is as follows:

Saturday, September 24 – Savannah Pagan Pride Day – performing several times throughout the day
Tuesday, September 27 – Cosmic ConneXion – appearance and signing
Wednesday, September 28 – Trilogy Bookstore – appearance and signing
Thursday, September 29 – Phoenix & Dragon Bookstore – concert – contact Phoenix & Dragon for tickets
$12 advance - $15 at the door
Friday, September 30 – Harmony Learning Center, Tucker, GA –  concert - tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite.
$12 advance - $15 at the door
Saturday, October 1 – Atlanta Pagan Pride Day
Sunday, October 2 – Harmony Learning Center – teaching Laughter Yoga & The Voice – tickets can be purchased at Eventbrite.

$50 for a full afternoon of instruction and practice

She will also be doing some private concerts and offering some private voice lessons while she is here.  If you are interested in a private concert or voice lesson you can contact me at ladycharissa@ngsolitaries.com.

Church of the Spiral Tree's Earthdance

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Earthdance by the Church of the Spiral Tree was held at TheLodge at Turtle Lake in Camilla, GA last weekend.   When you turn off the highway onto the winding dirt road you can feel the hustle and bustle of civilization being left behind.  By the time you wind your way through the trees and get to the clearing where the lodge is you are in a different world surrounded by woods and nature.  The lodge is situated in a large clearing and had tents scattered around it this weekend in a relaxed, casual manner.  There is a small building next to the lodge that can be used for sleeping for those that don’t want to set up tents.  At the back of the property sits this cool bus that is set up to act as an odd cabin of sorts.  A large carport  is nicely sheltered and could be used for workshops, an eating area, a shaded gathering for relaxing, or anything you like.  The Lodge itself has a fully equipped kitchen, a wonderful bathroom with a garden tub and a smaller room for additional sleeping.  There is a large deck that goes around the building to provide a great place for relaxation or as it was used this weekend, for a stage.


The atmosphere is relaxed and feels more like joining a family get together than entering a festival full of strangers.  People greet you as if they’ve known you for years.   On one side of the clearing, people are busily building a sweat lodge for later use.  There is a concert provided by Lucidian, a wonderful duo singing everything from pagan classics, to some old favorites from the charts and movies to originals from their own albums. 

The schedule for the weekend has all kinds of fun things to do, a Walkabout & Craft Class, workshop on Bach Flower Remedies, Drumming Class, Joyful Noise Chant workshop, History of Purification Sweat Lodge Ceremony, Tarot workshop, and an Irish Dance Demonstration.

The vendor, Bio-Buzz, had several tables fully loaded with all kinds of metaphysical goodies.  Their store located in Albany (newest drop-off for Toys for Yule by the PaganAssistance Fund) has a surprisingly wide range of stock displayed in a deceptively small building.   From the outside, the building is brightly colored with hand painted art on the front and the side.  It doesn’t appear to be a large store until you get inside.  As you walk through the narrow rooms they seem to go on and on and every nook is filled with different things to look at.  The scent of the incense from the back draws you through the store as you are constantly turning your head to try and see it all.  If you are ever in Albany, you owe it to yourself to stop in at see the store for yourself.  Bio-Buzz, 612 N. Slappey Blvd, Albany, GA  (229)438-5878.  Bio-Buzz.com

Wonderful Mabon Celebration with NGS

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What another fantastic day! North Georgia Solitaries celebrated Mabon on September 11, 2011 at Red Top Mountain State Park Pioneer Campground. The private campground, with its long history of use by local witches, is situated on Lake Allatoona and has a quiet energy that can be felt easily. It is not hard to sense where different groups have held circle. NGS has been celebrating there for over 6 years.




The afternoon started with the craft activity of making masks. There were masks for children as well as adults so everyone worked on decorating masks while a discussion was held on the use of masks in ritual. There were many creative masks made by children and adults. One industrious child went out and found a huge leaf and made a Greenman mask out of the leaf.




While the glue on the masks dried everyone proceeded down to the sacred space where Michelle Bryant and I led a workshop on cleansing sacred space. There was a table full of tools for everyone to try out including the children. It was so much fun watching everyone using the different tools.


During the day in a quiet area you could find an altar set up in memory of September 11 to mark the 10 year anniversary of that tragic day.  There were photos of the World Trade Center before and during the attack, photos of the Pentagon and field where Flight 33 went down in Pennsylvania.  There was a fireman's shirt, a police officer's badge, a marine pin and a small military figure to represent the emergency workers that worked so hard to save people.  The memorial was not only there to remind us of the lives lost but to remind us that intolerance can easily be turned into something deadly and horrific.  Many people spent some quiet moments at the altar reflecting and lit candles as a memorial.



Ritual was held in the circle with participation from everyone including the children. Parts were handed out to people in attendance. The children got to walk with the gatekeeper and help cast circle and hand out stones for everyone during the ritual for the magick that was worked.

 

North Georgia Solitaries is holding their Samhain Celebration on October 29 at Red Top. They will be holding a Trick-or-Treat Walk for the children, carving pumpkins, a blanket trade, ritual and drum circle. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for teens and $2 for children. Adult tickets can be purchased at a 20% discount if you purchase before Oct 1 and use the coupon code EARLYBIRD .

A Witch's Experience with the World Day of Prayer

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What a wonderful experience I had last week. And all due to a connection I made with someone on Facebook back in May. I started conversing with MojoMan on Facebook about vending at some of our festivals. He told me about this church he attends that is open to Pagans and this day they celebrate in September. Unity of Gainesville Church celebrates the World Day of Prayer by setting up different prayer alcoves in their sanctuary. Each one of the alcoves is done by different people with some different type of prayer in mind. He told me that representatives of all religions and faiths are welcome to set up a prayer alcove to show how they do prayer and connect with Spirit. That got those wheels going in my head.


While I’m always looking for new things for North Georgia Solitaries to get into I thought that something like this would be better served if we could do something that showed a diverse representation of Pagan beliefs. So I turned to an organization that I’ve become a member of and asked if they would be interested. The Dogwood Local Council of the Covenant of the Goddess took on that project enthusiastically and had it organized in no time as a part of their Interfaith Outreach. They not only arranged an alcove to be set up, but organized the day in shifts so that there was someone there from our organization for most of the day for questions and to participate in whatever the church had planned for the day.

My shift was the evening shift. I had requested that shift because my Facebook friend had indicated that he would be there around 7PM so I wanted to get a chance to meet him in person. We got there and were greeted immediately by Rev. Sydney Magill-Lindquist, the minister at the church. She was so friendly and seemed to be genuinely excited to have us there. She told us that I was scheduled to lead a prayer at 7PM just before they were to start a drumming circle. She showed me the schedule they had worked out for who was leading prayers throughout the day. I saw that three more of our DLC members were on the list for earlier in the day.




I led a short prayer after calling the elements and the Goddess and God. When I ended the prayer I was gratified to hear a chorus of voices calling out “So Mote It Be.” That was such a surprise. I knew one of our DLC members was in the room and one more Pagan, but there were definitely more voices than that calling out those familiar words.



The sanctuary was set up with prayer alcoves of all kinds. There was one for cleansing water, a Zen Garden, a Native American display, one for motorcyclists, angels, a memorial for those that have crossed, one celebrating the birth of Jesus, and one that really touched me. A little girl was sitting at one of the alcoves when I made my way around and asked if I could tell her what to do at that one. So I went over and sat down and looked around. They had a mirror set up for you to look in and an affirmation set up for you to say to yourself that all begins with “I am…” The words that follow are all wonderful empowering words. I read each statement to her and she looked in the mirror at herself and repeated the words. She asked a couple of times what something meant and then looked back at the mirror and repeated them very seriously. It felt as if she were examining the words and her reflection to see if they fit. That was a truly powerful experience.

Of course, the alcove set up by the DLC was my favorite. They did such a good job of representing many traditions. They had all the elements represented, some music, an altar complete with besom, and a basket with some brochures to explain who we are. Rev. Lindquist said that there were several people that spent quite a bit of time sitting in our alcove.

I want to thank the Unity of Gainesville Church for allowing us to be a part of such a powerful day, my fellow DLC members for moving so quickly in Interfaith Outreach, MojoMan for telling me about this day in the first place and everyone at the church that made me feel welcome.