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[Witch Way] Volume #1 Issue #12 -- Looking Forward To Summer!
May 13, 2009
I just got back from a fantastic Pagan festival called Beltania. It was three days in the foothills of Colorado.
The last time I camped out for Beltane, it snowed. While there were issues with the weather, it was a great weekend, and you can read about it later in this Witch Way.
This also gave me a chance to shoot video to add to CyberWitchcraft. Itís going to take a little time to edit, and itíll be an as it gets done itíll be added process, but look for things to start appearing by the end of the month.
First up will most likely be my interview with Wendy Rule.
I hope that wherever you are, and whatever you did, you had a wonderful Beltane. Mine was spent with friends, dancing the Maypole. I also have video of that.
It was a much smaller and more intimate group of about 17 people. Adults and kids both, enjoying the afternoon, and our Spirituality.
The month has brought me a number of opportunities, and a few setbacks, but thatís life. I look to the good things and deal with the not so good.
When life throws me lemons, I look for a recipe for lemonade. My housemate Bill should be coming home from the hospital in a few days, and that has precipitated a need for me to move...again.
This is an amicable arrangement, and completely understandable. Pat wants to take care of her husband, without worrying about others being in the house.
It presents a bit of a problem for me, but I have a job for the next few months at least, and I continue to work on other means of income, including CyberWitchcraft.
Unfortunately, all my ideas seem to have a longish gestation period before they will pay off. Thatís normal, so I usually have several projects going at the same time. Iíve found that most people decide to forget doing the things they think of doing, because itíll take too long for a result.
Only the most desired ideas get acted on. The more you want something, the more youíre willing to do whatever it takes to get it.
Itís all a matter of priorities. What is more important to you? You may have a great idea, but never act on it because itíll take too long, or you donít have the resources you think youíll need, or you donít know how.
Thereís not a lot you can do about the time something will take, but the longer it takes, the better it usually ends up being. As for resources, or knowledge, you have resources all around you. Tap those people you know, who have information you desire. You may not know how to do something, but you probably know someone who does.
A perfect example. I have video I want to put up on CyberWitchcraft. I can do it through YouTube, but theyíll only allow up to 10 minutes. I have an hour long ritual.
I could probably pay YouTube money to get larger space, but I know a few people who have better web skills than I do. I can talk to them about what my options are, and then decide the best way to set it up.
Now this has nothing to do with Witchcraft, but itís necessary for me to bring you the content I think you want. I donít have the skills or the resources, but I know people and companies who do. Iím not going to just forget about it, Iím going to work with what I have, to manifest it.
Witchcraft isnít just about ritual, Sabbats, and magick, itís about manifesting the things you want, in your life. As Nike (a Greek Goddess, by the way) would say, ďJust Do ItĒ. Stop making excuses and reasons why it wonít work, and start finding reasons why it will.
It takes just as much energy and intent to be negative, as it does to be positive. Which will you choose?
A Monthly Column For Astrological Insight
Some of my more astrologically savvy readers may be wondering what I could possibly be talking about; of all the planetís influences, Saturnís is always the most grim.
Saturn talks about where limitations, obstacles, and responsibilities crop up and how they affect a personís life. It seems like a contradiction to talk about getting good news from Saturn.
Yet this month, that is exactly whatís happening. Saturn has been retrograde, in the sign of Virgo, all year. On May 17th at 8:07 PM Mountain Standard Time, Saturn goes direct. While Saturn has been retrograde (appearing to move backwards in its orbit) in the sign of Virgo, it may have seemed for many of us that health and respectability have been priorities, but health and respectability are precisely what we canít seem to get.
As I write this (May 4th 2009) N1H1 (swine) flu is still considered a risk by much of the mainstream media; progress on combating this will more than likely only really begin on the 18th.
If there is a health problem youíve had since the beginning of the year that has stubbornly held on despite all youíve done to combat it, it will begin to subside on the 17th or early on the 18th.
If youíve been feeling like youíve been an outsider to a particular group youíve been trying to join, the 17th is when doors will start opening to let you in.
If your day-to-day job isnít as constant as it was last yearóor if youíve been looking for a new jobóstarting on the 18th (the 17th is a Sunday) the prospects improve to get your hours increased or to find that new job thatís right for you.
Sometime around the 17th (between probably the 15th and the 18th) the solution to whatís been vexing you will become apparent, although it may be something youíre not initially comfortable with.
While retrograde, Saturn makes us tired of our shortcomings; when it goes direct (appears to move forward in its orbit), Saturn gives us the opportunity to do something about them. Since Saturn is in Virgo, the shortcomings our attention is directed towards involve health, respectability and employment.
As most of you are reading this, Mercury retrograde will be in full swing. It will be ongoing until May 30th or so; make sure during this period to leave more time than you think you will need to get to appointmentsóand for the appointments themselves.
And remember to be patient with other people who arenít as prepared as you are.
Pluto, while being retrograde, will still provide at least some of us with some pleasant financial opportunities this month. On June 3rd through the 5th, Pluto will trine (appear to be 120 degrees in the sky from) Mars, and will also trine Venus the 8th and 9th.
This week will probably allow long-term projects to bear fruit, especially if these projects involve money or acquiring a specific material item or items.
The Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune conjunction (all three planets appear to be in about the same place in the sky) began on May 13th. It will be fascinating to watch it progress. To recap from last month, this is a very unusual conjunction for four reasons:
Jupiter talks about our good fortune and expansion, Chiron talks about the wound we need to heal to be of service, and Neptune talks about our intuition and ideals (and sometimes our delusions).
For the time period this article covers (mid-May to mid-June), we will experience the uncanny lasting coordination between different elements of ourselves and society that the conjunction predicts.
We will probably notóyetóexperience the full power of nostalgia that the retrograde part of the conjunction calls for. Neptune goes retrograde on May 29th, Chiron goes retrograde May 31st; these planets going retrograde will probably bring in the sense of nostalgia at this time (and perhaps events to precipitate it, especially Chiron).
Iíd like to see how our society manifests that before I speculate on how Jupiterís magnifying influence will come into play.
As I said in last monthís column, it should be quite the show. Strap in and get ready for a fantastic voyage.
NOTE: This is not a typical ďhoroscopeĒ reading, breaking astrological influences down by Sign for a given period of time. The information in this column should apply to most people, most of the time. If you have any questions, or want specific personalized information on how whatís going on in the heavens affects you, contact Jim Trader.
Beltania, A New Annual FestivalBeltania is a Pagan festival that was put on by a group called Living Earth, the weekend after Beltane, in northern Colorado. To be completely honest, I wasnít sure if I wanted to go for a long time, but Iím very glad I did.
Now Iíve been going to Pagan festivals for over 20 years. Usually I camp with a large group of friends, and we pool resources so that I really only have to take the things I will need. Tents, sleeping bags, something to drink and snack on, are usually all I take.
We all pitch in for food, and itís brought up along with all the cooking equipment, and everything else weíll need.
For Beltania, I was going up by myself, and what really clenched the trip for me, was that for a small extra fee, they were providing me with breakfast and dinner each day. All I had to take with me were the usual things I take for camping with a large group.
Iíve been working nights lately, and the Thursday before Beltania, I was working in Colorado Springs, about an hour south of Denver, where I live. Beltania was being held outside Longmont, about an hour north of Denver. So I headed to work Thursday night, with my truck loaded with all my camping gear.
I got off work at 9:45am, and got on the highway headed north. I had been up since 6pm the prior night, and the two hour drive was long, but uneventful.
Following the map (which was not to scale) I found my way to the spot where the festival was being held.
All the way up, I had felt the force of the wind pushing at my truck. It didnít stop when I arrived. I stopped at the gate, a small tarp set up for people to present tickets, and signed waivers if like me, they had registered online.
I gave the woman standing at the tarp me ticket and signed waiver, she gave me a wrist band, and pointed me to the information booth where I was to sign up for my work shift.
I drove on down to the area I had been directed to, and parked. This was a bit unusual since when I go to Dragonfest, I am completely familiar with all the procedures and expectations, having worked as Staff. This was a new festival, and an experience of unfamiliarity that I was unaccustomed to.
At the Information booth, I signed up for my work shift. Every attendee had a choice, they could bring firewood, present a workshop, or do a work shift. I have found that doing a work shift is a great way to meet other people, so I signed up for Watch, which is basically walking around with a bright vest on, making sure people arenít doing anything they shouldnít.
From the Information desk, I was directed where to park, and I had told them that I was looking for some friends I was planning to camp by, and what area we had planned to camp in. There was a bit of confusion about where the different camp areas were located at.
It seems that the people who own the land, had had an unexpected dead in the family, and had hosted a family gathering, so the festival had had to move some things around in order to work around the owners.
With some pointing, gesturing, and a little explanation, I located a place to park for the weekend, and set off to find where I was camping. Almost immediately, I ran into friends and spent a few minutes talking to them. They offered to let me camp with them, and I told them that if I didnít find the people I was looking for, I would.
Since the maps I had printed off from the website were no longer valid, I spent some time wandering around the campground. The festival Staff was friendly and helpful, and most were already friends of mine.
Eventually, I found the people I had been looking for. It took less than an hour of exploring to find them. They were camped next to a newly sewn field of alfalfa.
The wind was ferocious. With a little help, it didnít take long to get my tent set up. I had to carry everything by hand along the length of the alfalfa field, to the spot where we were camping, so it took maybe an hour to get everything set up.
The tent I took is a couple of years old. I donít really like the fact that it is less than waterproof, but itís roomy and tall enough for me to stand in. I was thinking about taking a nap, because I had been up since 6pm the night before, when I heard it.
I had seen my tent doing contortions in the wind as I walked back and forth to my truck to get all my gear. I had set the tent up with its back to the wind. I didnít want the doorway toward the wind since that would just make it a parachute.
I was thinking about a nap, drinking a Pepsi at my friendís tent next door, when the rippling sound of the wind across my tent suddenly became a fluttering sound. I walked over and found that one of the poles that supports the tent had broke Ė in three different places.
I worked at repairing the damage, and then checked the rest of the tent. Another pole had also broken in two places. I was tired; I was frustrated, so I sat back and drank my Pepsi.
After getting over the frustration, my friends helped me better tie the tent down, and repair the damage. The tent wasnít 100%, but it was livable. The wind continued to blow all day, but the tent survived.
I never did get my nap. With the tent situation fixed as best it could be, I decided to change into something a little more festive, and take a look around. While the wind gusted to around 60mph, it was a warm day, and I changed into my sarong.
I figured that it was a good day to get some sun.
I wandered around that afternoon, getting my bearings, and exploring the campsite. I donít know how large the ranch is, but we were using about 30 acres to camp. I met friends, and talked to new people.
I checked out the merchant booths and the stage. As the sun set, and the wind became a little too cold, I walked back to camp with my face and back slightly sunburned.
Dinner was served between 5pm and 8pm. We had our choice of pulled pork, pulled chicken, or vegetarian. I went with the pulled port sandwich, and iced tea to drink. The meal was filling, and it gave me another chance to catch up with friends.
The wind finally started to die down after dark, when it became fairly cold. I had gone from wearing just a sarong, to wearing my festival wrap pants, festival shirt, and my leather duster.
The stage came alive with music after dark, and there was a main ritual. I didnít feel like doing much of anything, and our camp had firewood and a fire. I was camping with David and Terry, and their daughter and son-in-law. They had brought firewood, and a portable fire ring, and an abundance of food and alcohol.
I was set for a quiet evening at camp.
We had purposely camped near the drum circle, in fact, we were the only ones camped on the far side of it from the rest of the campground. We kept wondering when they were going to start drumming. None of us had the energy to grab a program and look. I finally went to bed at 11pm, some 29 hours after I last woke up.
I woke up a couple of times during the night. I was warm enough in my sleeping bags zipped together, but the chill air would catch my shoulders and wake me. I awoke each time to gentle drumming, and the screams of the peacocks.
Yes, there were peacocks, as well as wild turkeys, and May seems to be mating season. You couldnít miss the mating calls all night long.
Saturday morning I woke up to sounds of camp life, a warm fire, and hot coffee. The wind had stopped, and hopefully wouldnít come back. The day was bright but chilly, so I opted for my wrap pants, shirt, and jean jacket. I unpacked my video camera, and set off to do some filming of the festival.
The day is a bit of a blur. I walked around filming, I worked my two hours on Watch, meeting new people and filming what are known as beauty shots, of the area.
I heard an unusual sounding plane in the sky, and looked up to see a plane performing stunts. Loops, hammerheads, spins, I took up my camera and started shooting.
After finishing my work shift, I heard drumming, so I grabbed my tripod and set off to find it. I heard them coming down the road, so I set up, and started filming the parade.
One of the first things I saw was a group of men carrying the Maypole, with the May Queen riding atop it. People from all over the camp had joined, and continued to join the parade as I shot.
I had talked to Joy, the festival director about filming, and she has said that as long as I was far enough away not to get faces, or got permission, she didnít have a problem with it.
She also said that she wanted a copy of the ritual. As the parade passed, I had people literally jumping in front of the camera, so I donít think permission was a problem.
After the parade passed, I ran across the campground, and set up near the ritual area. I started shooting just before the parade came into sight. After everyone circled around, I moved farther back, and noticed a power outlet, so I plugged the camera in, and shot the entire ritual from a distance.
Joy had told me that they were going for the biggest Maypole dance on record. They had over 3200 feet of ribbon, and several hundred people taking part. I must say, this was one of the most impressive rituals I have ever seen.
The Green Man chased the May Queen around the circle, the men carrying the Maypole thrust it back and forth in a highly erotic manner as they carried it, and planted it into the ground. The colored ribbons were spectacular. And I got it all on film.
As the Maypole dance progressed, a band who I think was Tuatha, started to play. Watching the dance to live music was an incredible experience. I was 200 yards away, and I still felt the effect.
The camera is brand new. I got it with the intent of just this sort of thing, filming events to put onto the website. I had plugged a set of ear buds into the camera so I could hear what the mic picked up. Even from that distance, I was able to hear what the Priest and Priestess said.
Iím very happy with the footage I got, and as soon as I can find a way, Iíll put the ritual up on CyberWitchcraft.
I had talked to members of Tuatha earlier in the day, while I was working my work shift. They said that I could shoot as much of them as I wanted. I had decided to take a nap so that I would be wide awake for the eveningís festivities, so I was late getting to their concert. Even so, I got nearly two hours of them playing.
After Tuatha, it was time for the headliner, Wendy Rule. Wendy is from Australia. WPBN brought her to town a few years ago for a concert.
I had run into her that morning at breakfast. It wasnít until I heard the accent that I realized who it was. So I reintroduced myself, and asked if I could film her concert, and if sheíd be willing to give me an interview. She agreed to both.
Unfortunately, during her set, it started to rain. It was really only a drizzle, but it was steady. I ended up packing up the camera when she took a break to warm up, and headed over to check out what was happening around the campsite.
Unfortunately, due to the rain, there wasnít a whole lot happening.
I made my way up toward my camp, from awning to awning. I made it to within sight of my camp, just the other side of the drum circle area, when I stopped in to say hi to a group of people huddled under an awning at their camp. I spent the next few hours there laughing and talking, and getting warm.
I could see the fire at my camp, but I knew it was out in the open, so I stayed where I was. I hadnít eaten dinner because I wasnít hungry at the time. My friend Lydia grabbed food out of the cooler, and made sure I ate.
This is one of the things I love about Pagan festivals. No one goes hungry. Everyone is more than willing to share, and there is always extra food. As for drinkables, well, thatís a given.
I finally made my way back to camp around 1am, after the rain had stopped. It seems the rain caused whomever was supposed to, not to light the fire at the drum circle, so I never got the chance to film it. I sat at the fire in our camp talking with David for a while, and then finally went to bed around 2am.
Sunday morning dawned cloudy and cold. I put on my leather duster and headed down for breakfast with my camera. The staff of the ranch was running late. They had been serving breakfast for a childrenís charity since 5am.
Breakfast was about an hour late in starting, but I had my meal ticket from the prior night, so I got two breakfast burritos. I also got the interview with Wendy before she went to the airport.
I decided to pack up camp first then do more shooting. That way when I was done, I just had to jump in my truck and go. There wasnít much I could really shoot, but I ran into people as they said their goodbyes.
Joy had told me that they had presold 500 tickets, and with day passes, she expected 750 people total to attend Saturday. This is only the second year for this festival, and it was a total success by any measure.
Iíve already volunteered to help out next year. I donít know if itíll be in the same place, but with people talking about it for the next few months, I know for a fact that it will fill to capacity next year.
It was that good.
As soon as I get some video edited down, youíll be able to see some of the things I experienced, on CyberWitchcraft.
Iíll be putting it up in the Community section.
If you have an article you'd like to submit as a guest author for Witch Way, or for the main website, go to the Contact Page and click Submissions in the drop down box. Let me know what the article is about, and I will reply back to you so that you can attach it in an email.
Articles for Witch Way should be at least 500 words, and those for CyberWitchcraft should be around 2000 words.
If you have any comments or suggestions, you can go to the Contact Page on CyberWitchcraft, or simply reply to this email. This newsletter and the website are created for you, your thoughts and ideas are important to us.
Until next month, may you be blessed in all that you do, or as we usually say,
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