Witches&Pagans #26 mailed April 24
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Summer is Come:
Power to the People!
by Byron Ballard
edited and reprinted from her blog
“The Village Witch” at PaganSquare.com
(April 30, 2013) I am sitting here with my back to my home altar
and the sun is beginning to shine in through the curtains. The
birds are braying for attention and licit love, and the greening of
the world from three days of good rain is a good sign that winter is
mostly behind us for this turning of the Wheel.
We have come at last to the final hours of April, which is rightly
called the cruelest month. This particular April has seemed about
ninety days long — even with opera glasses and a proper squint, I
can no longer see Fool’s Day.
In the refrigerator, there is a big mason jar filled with sweet wood-ruff, strawberries and good white wine. “Summertime” is coming
from our local NPR affiliate — a careful rendition that speaks less
of hope than of persistence.
Greening, planting, worrying about the ragged fencing and the
already-fat groundhogs that live in the hill — these are the morning musings for this day, the last day of old Winter. What shall
we leave behind to compost? What shall we carry like nasturtium
seeds in our pocketses, ready to plant in any likely — and some
unlikely — place?
Most of us are not preparing for a fete on the village green but
have smaller goals for our own to-do list. I will spend tonight
(because I fit into the tribe that reckons a holy festival begins at
sundown the day before) with friends as we say farewell to that old
season of the inward spiral and welcome the Summer. Tomorrow
I will spend time with a community of good folk at the old cathedral
in the old village and we will raise the tree and dance the ring.
And on Saturday, my spiritual community will come together for a
public ritual to mark this turning. Yes, a tree. Yes, a crown for the
Queen and her Crone and her Maiden. Yes, feasting and talk and
But the real Beltane of my heart — and maybe of yours — is the
heady frightful grip of renewed life. It is the painful green and the
flooded creek. It is a short row of radish seeds that germinate impossibly in a day and a half. Beltane is remembering young days
and wearing a flower crown, and it is likewise dreaming of the day
when your rumpty-tumpty deep night fumblings are shared with
In the face of so much destruction of the natural world and so
much disregard for life, Beltane is also an act of rebellion against
the status quo. It says about us — as simple people, as a growing
community — that we don’t give in to the death cycles imposed
on us from Away, not in this season. We plant and know that the
harvest comes — not in the stately march from Lughnasadh to
Samhain — but bit-by-bit and day-by-day. We eat the impossible
radishes in two weeks, we rip the dewy and crispy lettuce from the
fat stem that sustains it. The hens fluff out and begin to lay again
and life is there before us — irresistable, delicious.
Let your Beltane be an act of vibrant, heretical rebellion against
the forces arrayed against life. As the final inches of ribbon wrap
snugly against the mythic and flowered tree, raise your defiant fist
high in the air and shout aloud —
Summer is come! Power to the People!
Byron Ballard is a writer, urban farmer and
Appalachian witch. She lives in Asheville, NC
with her husband, daughter, four cats and a
demanding garden. Read her blog The Village
Witch at PaganSquare.
Special Deals for May, 2013
“Prayer & Invocation”
Digital Edition $4.95, Save $1.00
This controversial issue sparked
a long-running reader’s debate: is
prayer a practice only of “traditional”
religions like Christianity and Judaism? Our answer was a heartfelt
“no” as this SageWoman issue
celebrates the connection between
deity and devotee among women of
all spiritual paths.
We begin with Lee Pelham Cotton’s gentle invocation “Kneel and
Kiss the Ground,” Mary K. Wilson’s paen to movement prayer
“Sacred Dance: Prayer in Movement” and then touch Patricia Lynn
Reilly’s poetic “A Prayer for Our Daughers.”
Galina Krasskova’s “The Alchemy of Prayer” stirred debate
because she addresses her devotion to a male deity, while the
quiet confidence of Leni Austine’s “Conversations with the Divine,”
and Spirit’s “Leaping in the Arms of the Goddess” provide gentle
counterpoints. Finally, Carrie Cooper reclaims the rosary for non-Catholics in her essay, “Garlands for the Goddess.”
Finally, Diana Paxson celebrates one of the oldest Hindu goddesses, Sarasvati, source of the scriptures. This extraordinarily rich
issue is full of ideas, rituals, stories, and resources for any woman
who wishes to explore how we communicate with the Divine.
96 illustrated pages, released Spring 2004. Table of contents in PDF format. Available in either classic-paper or digital editions. Instant download edition $4.95 thru-May 31. Save a buck.
Digital Edition $4.95
We need rituals. We need ways to
mark the milestones of life, all the
important changes that make up
our journey. In this classic issue of
PanGaia, we feature articles which
delve into the rituals of Paganism,
both ancient and contemporary.
Our cover story “Gifts to the Gods”
investigates the topic of Pagan sacrifice in the ancient world while “Sun Dance” is a detailed look at this traditional Native American ceremony. There’s also ideas for lovespells, instructions on
building a outdoor altar, a ritual for a “dumb supper” (to commune
with our beloved dead,) a detailed look at Canaanite traditions, an
encounter with Pan, a discussion of teaching underage Pagans
plus MUCH more.
Let our authors sweep you away to far-flung worlds and inspire
you to re-invigorate your ritual practice. 80 pages, originally published in summer of 2008. Table of
contents in PDF format. Available in either classic-paper or digital
editions. Instant download edition $4.95 thruMay 31. Save 17%.
Crone Chronicles 30
Paper Edition $4.87 SAVE 30%
Is aging a process of inevitable decline or the opportunity for a creative
burst of transformative energy?
Or both? In this issue we examine
the question of how the process of
becoming crone can be a catalyst for
suffering, redemption, renewal and
Reaching across the gap — or even
the gulf — between generations,
authors Barbara Lewis, Ann Rarich and Carlotta Tyler describe
how they found awareness and strength in “An Open Letter to Our
Daughters.” After many years at the forefront of feminism, they
reflect on how the experience of their daughters differs (and sometimes, echoes) their own. Bridging a different kind of gap, Gwen
Morgan-Jones writes of her experience as a member of both the
Christian and Pagan religious communities in her article “Consider
Yourself a Priestess.”
The descent into the unknown and the return to Light are the
subjects of three more personal articles: “Spiritual Emergence” by
Lynne Namka, “Moving through Midlife” by Kiki Suarez, and Carol
Rosin’s continuing story (which began in issue 38) of her journey
into the belly of the military-industrial complex “Burning in the Belly.” Plus more short stories of defeat turning into victory, despair
into triumph, this gutsy, robust issue of Crone Chronicles will bring
out the fighter in us all. 72 pages, edited and published in Spring
of 1997. Classic paper edition $4.87 thru May 31. Save 30%.
Paper Edition $4.87, SAVE 43%
Summertime, and the livin’ is ....
magickal. This issue of PanGaia
comes very early in the history of
the magazine, and the boundless
optimism of this issue demonstrates that youthful enthusiasm.
(It’s certainly the only issue we ever
published with a naked man on the
Our cover story this issue “The Beast Within: Shapeshifting and Animal Spirits” casts light on the
legends and realities of magickal shapeshifting as a shamanic
practice. Continuing in the vein of working magick in the natural
world, editor Diane Conn Darling interviews the Rainforest Information Centre leader and leading deep ecologist Australian John
Seed, with special note of his work in creating the transformative
eco-ritual “the Council of All Beings.”
The natural magick of Litha is the focus of Jae Sheddy’s personal
essay “Summer Solstice: Gift of the Goddess” while loremistress
Diana Paxson’s article “Living with the Lesser Gods” focuses on
wights, brownies, and other house spirits that are the most common mystical beings that our ancient ancestors experienced in
everyday life. Ms. Paxson asserts that we moderns can restore
that ancient bond and offers a full ritual for honoring the household
spirits of your very own home.
Magickal psychology and Goddess spirituality hidden in the tales
of King Arthur? Just so, says, Anodea Judith in “What is in the
Cup? Questioning the Myth of the Holy Grail,” while “The Mythic
Language of Crop Circles,” examines a variety of the most popular
forms of these mysterious summertime sculptures. Plus reviews,
Pagan short fiction, the Sacred Marriage of Beltaine, summer
stars, the magick of native Hawai’i, Pagan comics, science vs.
mysticism, letters from readers, and so much more. Edited by Diane Conn Darling and published in the summer of 1998. 80 pages.
Original paperback $4.87 through May 31, Save 43%
SageWoman 38 “Women & Animals” $8.76. Save 20%
SageWoman 50 “Our Wise Blood” $8.76 Save 20%
newWitch 14 "Wendy Rule" $3.99 Save 43%
SageWoman 62 “Courage” $4.77 Save 40%