The cold has finally come to Minnesota, after a warm Autumn, Winter is here. The world is changing, and how we view it. Hollow Hills Coven is going through a rebirth as well, refining our focus and and our membership. Together we create and worship, honoring the Goddess and the God in all that we do. Updates to the website will be happening this Spring. For now we are gathering together and joining with our Tribe to share the blessings of the season and hope for the future. This is witches work, and we take it very seriously.
This time of year everyone gets so busy with family, friends, special events, it’s good to take time for quiet and connecting to the spirit of the season. It has been ages since the last post, we have been busy as a coven, doing Seeker Classes and Dedicant classes, Esbats and Sabbats, and getting out to at least one festival each year. With the longest night at hand, it’s time to remember that we bring light to the darkness with song, food, fire, and love. The Wyrd Sisters have a beautiful song that always puts my heart right.
We as a coven celebrated Yule last night, and we included this wonderful song in the ritual. Music is magic, in and of itself. It touches the heart, crosses the boundaries of culture, and allows us to express our emotions in beauty. Blessings and love to all on this Longest night!
This time of year makes me long for the warm comforts of scarves and gloves, sweaters and hats, as I enjoy walking on a crisp autumn morning. So I decided that this year, I get to find out what happens when a witch decides to learn to knit. Once upon a time, when I was a small child, my mother tried to teach me to knit at an age where I rather lacked the necessary discipline in this endeavor. I remember it being a difficult and complicated business and rather boring at the time, and the slippers we were knitting never were finished. I think my mother was trying to teach us discipline, or just get her twin daughters to sit still for a few moments for some peace and quiet. It was probably a combination of both.
Yesterday I took a beginning knitting class with a member of our training grove. We both have been wanting to learn the mysteries of the fiber arts for quite a while and thought we’d do better to have a buddy to start out with. The class was held at a local knitting studio in the very heart of Paganistan, and it was an amazing experience. The place itself specialized in imported yarns of high quality, though I myself came with my cheap craft store yarn. The teacher was a quirky woman of crone age who has been knitting for sixty years. There’s definitely something magical about making things by hand, about creating fabric from a single thread of yard with a couple of pointed sticks. Making things by hand can add that extra dose of love that we all need this time of year. It also allows me to connect to my ancestors as we approach Samhain. Finnish on my mother’s side, and Norwegian on my father’s side, knitting is in my blood.
Sometimes when you are running a coven, always being the teacher, it’s nice to be a student again. In this case I was blessed to share that with a member of Hollow Hills Grove. During our last full moon Esbat, we were reminded of the coming winter, and the Goddess specifically spoke to knitting ourselves closely together by telling our stories. These simple things connect us to nature as she changes her clothing from green to orange, red and brown, and will bring us closer as friends and co-creators of our coven. Sure, there are always challenges, and last night while practicing my knitting I messed up and now I’m stuck on my project until wiser hands can undo my mistakes and I can move forward again.
Learning any craft takes time and patience, and I’m enjoying the journey as a student. I’m really excited about finishing my first project, and building the necessary skills to do more types of stitches and patterns throughout the long Minnesota winter. The Web of Wyrd is like a sweater covering the whole earth, and we as witches add to it by weaving magic to create a better world, closely bound to the wheel of the year. And so we will knit a web with the ancestors at Samhain and prepare to share our stories over the long cold nights ahead.
When Jane at Eye of Horus said there was a need for Wiccan basic training, Hollow Hills Coven took on the task last fall. The Eye provided a safe place for the Wicca-curious to come and learn more about our tradition with our Seeker Classes. For 10 years they have hosted numerous classes, musical events, art shows, and provided services such as Reiki Healing and Tarot and Psychic readings. Now they need some help because they have to close up shop in their current location and move to a new one. Please donate if you can, and keep the Eye going! Our next series of Seeker Classes will be a reality IF we can have it at Eye of Horus this September as planned.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support. 🙂
After an extra long and extra cold winter, Spring finally has arrived in Paganistan, heralded by the 40th Annual May Day Parade and Festival in Powderhorn Park. It was actually the area surrounding the park, and the people who lived there, that inspired the name “Paganistan” in the first place. The term even has it’s own website and Wikipedia mentions it under the Neopagans in Minnesota entry, but the short version of where the name came from is this:
Paganistan is the generally accepted Pagan name for the Minnesota Twin Cities, which means “The place where the Pagans live.” The term was coined by linguist Steven Posch in 1989. Paganistan has one of the largest and most diverse Pagan populations in the United States
But back to the festival. It begins as a parade, continues into a Tree of Life Ceremony followed by a festival in Powderhorn Park. It’s where all the hippies, bohemians, lefties, free thinkers, artists, musicians, and of course Pagans spend the first Sunday in May in Minneapolis. Ten days have passed since the celebration, but memories will live on, and traditions continue year after year. This year was a little different for Jack and I, as we volunteered to help with the Twin Cities Pagan Pride info booth at the festival. Preparations were begun by Jack the day before, when he was mixing up a batch of May Wine to take to a friend’s house for the traditional May Pole dance and pot luck celebration after the festival was over.
We used two bottles of Riesling, a lovely white wine, and infused it with strawberries and dried sweet woodruff and let that soak overnight. In the morning Jack strained out the herbs and put the strawberries back in to make a wonderfully fresh and distinctively spring wine. It’s a tradition that goes back to Germany, and my husband has Bavarian ancestry and visited in Germany for a short while when he was in high school. I found a lovely article about it over at the Seasonal Wisdom blog, well worth a read or even bookmarking.
I think that Sweet Woodruff is going to have to go into our herb garden very soon. It would be nice to grow our own. But I need to get back to the story of the day, the celebration. The cooler was packed up and we made it to the park and found our booth location. After helping set up the booth, Jack took off to join in a friend’s annual pancake breakfast along the parade route. It was an absolutely beautiful day, and we met lots of people and hung out at the Twin Cities Pagan Pride booth most of the day. I wandered around a little bit, and mostly enjoyed the lovely spring weather.
That’s me in the blue hat enjoying a late afternoon gyro, and Doc is the dude wearing the other fun hat. It was a day to let you inner bohemian hang out and have a groovy time. After packing up the booth, we headed over to a friends back yard for BBQ and sitting around a fire, and we sang some very traditional May songs, which was wonderfull!
“I got up in the morning, much to my surprise,
I walked out to the garden, and fell down on the ice!
It is the first of May-o, it is the First of May!
Remember, Minnesota, it is the First of May!
We sing to you of flowers, of butterflies and bees,
But when we woke this morning, it was only ten degrees!
It is the first of May-o, it is the First of May!
Remember, Minnesota, it is the First of May!”
We were joined there by students from our first Seekers Class as well as some of the other visitors we’ve had to Hollow Hills Coven and Grove. It was a lovely time with friends old and new, and all my expectations were exceeded. Now that I’ve had a week to wind down, and a weekend to work in the gardens here at Applewood Cottage, I’m just feeling very grateful for having the opportunity to mark the coming of spring with our entire community. Spring, it seems, is a time for growth for us here at Hollow Hills Coven & Grove; and with that is the wonder and joy of watching flowers bloom. The moon will be full tomorrow, and I intend to lay out some jewelry to soak up that glorious and subtle energy. I’m looking forward to a season of love and magic. What about you?
The struggle of running a fledgling coven with students and no initiated coven mates can wear on a person. I doubt my vision, I doubt my abilities, and I doubt what Jack and I are able to do alone. My reminder is that I am never alone. I’ve been building relationships, a network of friends who love and support me. It is ever growing and ever changing. The thing I need to remember is that I am not in charge. There is a Unity above and surrounding all filled with love that will guide us if we take the time to listen. It is so easy to be distracted by the every day struggles of life, of dealing with difficult relationships, and just trying to find purpose.
The purpose of life is to live, and to nourish life in myself and others. Recently I began re-reading the book The Findhorn Garden, and I am filled with equal measures of scepticism and inspiration. The dull task of living a mundane life bring out the sceptic in me. But it is only by embracing inspiration that can I break the spell that tells me there is no magic in the world. Because it is a spell, one that our culture casts on all of us. I am sensitive, I am musical, I am artistic, I have passion, and I believe in magic and miracles. Not because I am delusional, but because Nature itself demands it of me. It’s time to wake up and do the hard work of listening to my inner voice, and believing with my heart and my mind that learning to live and sharing that experience is why I am here. It’s why we founded Hollow Hills Coven, and why we will continue to pursue the path that lets us walk between the worlds of Spirit and Nature, because they are not separate worlds, but one that can be brought together in unity. That the Findhorn community is still going strong reminds me of this, and I am in awe of what they have accomplished.
When I first encountered the Goddess, it was a light goddess, goddess of the moon, Aine of Ireland. Currently I work with Freya, who is both a goddess of love and war. Complex and passionate, I’ve been learning more about her little by little. It takes time to learn about any specific Goddess, and there are some that are quite Dark, and should only be approached with the greatest care, if at all. One of which is The Morrigan. But sometimes there is a need, that I will not deny. Life is not always sweetness and light, and in order to do no harm, sometimes that calls for a strong defense. I just discovered Omnia, and I am overwhelmingly impressed with their song to Morrigan. Watch at your own risk.
On a wild day in May, magick is being made in Minneapolis. In the hip part of town where all the interesting people go is a metaphysical shop called Eye of Horus, and this is where the magick is being made. Near the corner of Lake and Lyndale, you can visit this powerful place, and be inspired by the atmosphere and knowledge that you will find there.
Just so you know, in my experience magick is very real. It is something we all do to some degree or another, because it stems from our own imagination and force of will. Every day the things we do and think can either create or negate our own personal power, and force in the universe. Thoughts become things, and we really can realize our dreams if we have the tools to do so. From the very beginning Thraicie Hawkner, owner and founder of Eye of Horus, worked magick to create her business, which is a haven for seekers and practitioners of many diverse magickal and spiritual paths. My twin sister Jane is Thraicie’s life and work partner, so I have had the opportunity to see how much work it takes to make a change in the world.
Now the entire staff at Eye of Horus wants to help all of us make better, stronger, and more powerful magick in our own lives. It takes more than a thought, but an act in the physical world to create anything real and lasting. There are many tools for making magick, and one of the most versatile are conjure or spiritual oils. Used to dress candles, anoint oneself in a sacred manner, add to incense…there are many ways to use oils to provide additional focus for the intentional work of a witch. In our rituals for Hollow Hills Coven, everyone has their third eye blessed with oil by the priestess or priest who is leading the ritual, as they come to the edge of the circle.
In the circle we come together in perfect love and perfect trust, and we work for the common good. Now Eye of Horus is about to open a powerful and magickal gateway by launching their own line of Spiritual Oils for our use, and we all can become a part of that magick. While this post may seem like a shameless plug for a crowd funding campaign, which (or witch!) it is, it is also a key that unlocks the magick in your life. Because what we put out into the world returns to us threefold, and our own will and choices and actions create the life we want, acting on this by supporting the campaign will open new paths to magick in your own life.
What a wonderful Winter Solstice it was this year! As a family, we had three different dinners, two were attending and one was hosting. There was music and drumming, Yule ritual and many presents. It was a challenging time, having said goodbye to one of our house cats who has gone on to the Summerlands about a month before, but friends were seen and celebrated, and songs were sung.
Now that the new year is upon us, the time is come for getting organized for 2013, to reflect upon the past year and set some goals. Above you can see how our little faux fireplace turned out, six pillar candles in front of a mirror really do make a cozy arrangement! It is better than nothing as the coldest months of a Minnesota winter begin.
With the Full Moon in Cancer, and busy schedules, it was just Jack and I for our Esbat circle last friday. We did a working of a protection spell for the home, and that combined with the candles are making our little home feel like a wonderful place to be on a cold winter night. Imbolc is just around the corner, so there is another Sabbat to prepare for, and we are planning on attending Paganicon again this year which is in March. With high temperatures in the 20’s it seems a little early to be thinking of Spring, and all the fun pagan things that happen then. But it really doesn’t take very long to get from here to there, so a little planning now will go a long way.
Today I made a trip to Eye of Horus Metaphysical and picked up my new day planner for the year, so I can keep track of all the fun things we have coming up. I also have some creative projects to complete, and I’m eager to learn a new song on my mountain dulcimer, a hymn to Bridget should be just the thing for this time of year. I also picked up a copy of Ruth Barrett’s “The Year is a Dancing Woman – Volume 1”, for some seasonal songs to take me from now through May Day.
All in all, 2013 looks to be a fun and interesting year to be a pagan. Nature is teaching me more and more to be patient and enjoy the quiet times when I can be safe and warm, in my house with cats and husband nearby. The candle fireplace is just part of our new and improved living room, which is now more of a Salon. As there is a long wall filled with bookcases, a wine rack, stereo, and room for a sitting area near the candles, and a dining table near the windows. The TV has been removed to a little room in the basement, and books and MacGregor games make up our entertainment more often these days. Which is making this winter extra magical for me.
It seems like just yesterday I was wishing everyone a happy summer solstice, on this blog anyway. We have been neglecting our posting, but we haven’t been idle. We have two students and a few celebrants who have been visiting on the Sabbats lately. It’s been a blessing and a challenge with the time management, to be sure. Jack and I are learning a lot about creating sacred space in our home and sharing that with others.
Our fall project was to remove the TV and the computer from our main floor, very distracting technical artifacts! Instead we’ve finally found room for our dining room table, and lacking an actual fireplace in our home, we have created a candleplace instead. The candles themselves are on order from Eye of Horus, when it is complete and the candles are lit we will definitely post a picture. I am assured it will be in time for Yule! In preparation, I am learning a new song for the season, and I nearly have it completely memorized. I encourage you to do the same, for it is a lovely offering from the Wyrd Sisters:
A fire is burning
the long night draws near
all who need comfort
are welcome by here
we’ll dance ‘neath the stars
and toast the past year
for the Spirit of Solstice
is still living here
Merry Winter Solstice, Yule, Christmas, Festivus, Hanukkah, or whatever you celebrate this time of year. I will be spending time with family, friends, coven, clan and tradition!