Exploring the crossroads of religion, culture, and science through a Pagan lens


Top 10 Pagan Quotes of 2014

The words we write leave a record. They help define us to others and to ourselves. They tell us where we have been, the struggles and joys we have experienced, and give hints at the future. When I was writing for the Juggler, I began compiling an annual list of the top 10 Pagan quotes of the year.  I find it to be one of my favorite projects of the year.

This year we seem to have struggled with identity. Some of that was defining ourselves to the rest of the world, but a good portion of it was negotiation within our intertwining traditions. Honest disagreements flared up now and then, as always, but there were also deeper questions of self-identification and marginalization. In the WTF department, Time magazine compared witches to terrorists, proving that we still have a long way to go in defining ourselves within mainstream culture.

We also dealt with tragedies – the loss of two deeply loved elders among many others who crossed over this year, and the ongoing mainstream racial and gender tension. This was the year of Ferguson and the misogyny-fueled UC Santa Barbara killings.

On a lighter note, who can forget this little girl:

I’d love to include “Piehole: Shut it!” on this list, but sadly I don’t know if the girl is a Pagan. So she gets an honorable mention.

As always, these quotes came from articles that I read.  They are just my opinion. I can’t read everything, so if you feel I missed something, please feel free to share it in the comments. We can all benefit from seeing more of the great work done by Pagan writers. The quotes must have been said or written by a Pagan. I choose these based on significance of topic and use of language.  Alright, with that out of the way, here are the quotes:

10.  “In 1964 the future was supposed to be flying cars, cities on the moon, and 20 hour work weeks.  Instead, we got the internet, smart phones, and Wal-Mart.”  – John Beckett, March 9

9.  “I think that the “herding cats” myth we tell ourselves does us a disservice, just like shrugging and saying, ‘Oh, that’s Pagan Standard Time.’ It excuses rudeness and poor leadership.”  – Shauna Aura Knight, January 20

8. “In the chaos of busy lives, I find that we often forget that immanent love surrounds us and is as close as the dirt at our feet.”  – Erick DuPree, September 24

7. “I know that no harm was meant by equating witches to terrorists, but given the general level of stupidity in this country maybe it’s not a good idea?” – Jason Mankey, October 31

6. “Perhaps our interfaith work as Pagans needs to begin with ourselves.  If we cannot find tolerance and an ability to work together between the various forms of Paganism, what chance do we have of finding it in the outside world?”   – Carol Kirk, March 20

5. “I have to keep questioning, struggling, fighting and dancing with the complexities of power. If I do, maybe I will grow personally. Most importantly, these lessons might help me do more good than harm in this world.”  – Cecily Joy Wilowe, August 26

4. “Cooperation is possible, it is not easy. It is messy, but it can be done.”  – Ivo Dominguez, Jr., March 12

3. “Yesterday we laid Morning Glory’s body into the Earth, to rest in the bosom of Mother Gaea until she may return again in new flesh. I planted an apple tree over her loving heart, that someday her substance may return to us all as sweet nourishing fruit.” – Oberon Zell Ravenheart, May 17

Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart

Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart, 1948 – 2014

2. “The world is a better place because of Margot. Let us remember and give thanks for Margot, her brilliant mind, her loving heart, her beautiful voice, her activism, her writings, her news reporting, her other works, her magic, her bright spirit.” – Selena Fox, July 28

Margot Adler

Margot Adler, 1946 – 2014

1. “You’re certainly not alone in your megalomania. Everyone feels that way—and for good reason.

Because it’s true!” – Lon Milo DuQuette, March 17

Update: quote number 5 was originally attributed to Crystal Blanton. This attribution was incorrect and the accurate attribution has now been made. Special thanks to Crystal Blanton for bringing this to my attention .


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Painful Truths: The Fear of Discussion

I just wrote a whole post on Ferguson, white privilege, and racism. It was all about overt and institutionalized racism and the difficulty of seeing your own privilege. It recognized my own privilege as a white man and asked people of color to have patience with those of us who have a melanin deficiency as we try to figure out how to handle these successive rounds of evidence of systemic racism in society. Then I threw it out.

It was way too “Great White Father.” I was speaking to the white community, not the African-American community, but it still smacked of power and privilege. I can afford to sit down and think about these things because they don’t affect me. That’s privilege.

Yet I still want to get beyond the immediate injustices because they are symptoms of a much larger problem. We are afraid to talk to each other. People of color fear having their very real problems marginalized (again). Their white allies fear to say the wrong thing, knowing they can never fully understand the Black American experience, so they censor themselves. Plus, people of color need white allies to be vocally on their side. And that is a huge problem in all of this: we need to communicate, both to each other and within our communities.

In my presentation at the Pagan Activism Conference, I proposed this elemental model of activism:

elemental model

Fire represents that immediate, get out on the streets and march element of seeking social justice. That is a vital element, but there is so much more to it. At some point, the different combatants in a dispute need to talk to each other. They need to understand each other’s problems. Otherwise one side sees only the angry picketers and burning buildings that the media shows them on TV and the other side sees only privileged, smug silent observers sipping their Cabernet as others fight for their basic legal rights. If no discussion happens, the sides don’t understand each other. The problem escalates.

We need that lesson of Air. Communication includes both speaking and listening. Argument is good, but screaming over each other as if we are guests on Fox News is not. Going forward in this fight for justice, I hope people of all opinions can quench their fire enough understand that there are real people suffering. Listen to their concerns without becoming defensive and without belittling their true experience. Speak your beliefs in a way that helps the other side truly understand your point of view.

There is so much pain in all of this. Listening to the voice that has hurt you will not be easy. But successful movements must convey their message to the other side in a way that helps them understand it. Protests bring attention to an issue, but it is negotiation and clearly framed messaging that changes hearts and minds, especially the way our media covers these events.


Crystal Blanton

Crystal Blanton

We who live with privilege can no longer ignore it. This constant denial of the basic rights of safety from harm that our brothers and sisters of color suffer cannot continue. It’s not one instance; it’s the pattern.  The Wild Hunt’s Crystal Blanton, a stalwart advocate for real equality puts it so poignantly:

The fear that I carry as a mother of Black children is not different than the fear of mothers from any historically oppressed population. On Monday night, as my son walked out of the door, I stopped him to tell him not to wear his hoodie on his head and to put his dreads back in a ponytail. The fear that he may be mistaken for a thug because people will see him as a Black man first is a sad reality for many parents.


That’s not OK. Experiences like Crystal’s need to be communicated to those of us who are free to wear hoodies with impunity.  We need to see and hear and understand these little bricks of privilege. The problem is clear, but let’s begin to focus on communication and healing for the long term.

Sometimes that may include that may include uncomfortable choices like writing a blog post you’re afraid to post or keeping a racist friend on Facebook so that you can scrape away at them with messages like Crystal’s. But then, if that’s the most uncomfortable decision you make in all of this, you’re ahead of a lot of other folks who are afraid to go to the corner store in a hoodie.


Twelve Healing Stars, Part 1: Pagans Speak Out on Magick and Social Justice

There is so much pain in the world.  U.S. citizens have their access to water denied by their own cut off.  Ebola, a disease rooted in poverty, inequality, and lack of access to the basic resources of life, is ravaging parts of Africa and is beginning to make its way around the globe.  People of color are standing up for their rights to walk the streets without being shot by officers sworn to protect them, and journalists are being beheaded by masked madmen in the name of some homogenous “Islamic State.”

Those of us who walk a Pagan path are often concerned not just about the planet we live on, but also our fellow humans who share that planet with us.  We want to help.  We crave to do SOMETHING every time we hear of another incident of suffering in the world.  We don’t care if the victims share our theological views.  We don’t care if they are from the same nation as us.  We want all people to experience love, happiness, and justice.

Members of other religious expressions might pray for justice.  We may pray, but we also have an extra tool: magic.  When you walk between the worlds and use that walk to create change in accordance with will, you are blessed with the ability to offer aid to all people around the world who suffer.  There is always something you can do, whether in this world or the otherworld.  The question becomes: what do you do and how do you do it?  I asked this question to a number of prominent people in the magickal community.  Their answers are inspiring, challenging, and enlightening.

Christopher Penczak

Christopher Penczak


“I’m a big believer in setting the energy of change with magick first, with spell work, and then going about the real world

action. In the late 1990’s I was part of a marriage quality ritual through a group some folks from the Boston community called, though it didn’t go anywhere further and I was able to work with some of those people in founding the Temple of Witchcraft. But while the change was not immediate, and we were not the only ones taking action, magickal or otherwise, involving marriage rights, it’s interesting to see how that issue has blossomed. I encourage the different ministries to use their esoteric education in spellcraft to spell for the changes in the world they wish to see, then follow it up with real world action, personal actions, activism and even political action, as appropriate for the issue.”

Christopher Penczak, Author and teacher, co-founder and Sagittarius Lead Minister of the Temple of Witchcraft


“In 1970, the rallying cry of feminism (attributed to several different people but truly claimable by none) was “the personal is political.” What we do, personally, and how we live, personally, are the most political acts of our lives. Everyday acts can either contribute to, or seek to dismantle, systems of oppression. Everyday acts have significant environmental consequences. Everyday acts can mean the difference between 10 people dying of an outbreak or 1000 people dying of an outbreak.

So, in light of that, I want to push back against your original question a little bit, because you ask, “Knowing we can’t always physically lend aid, what magickal acts can you suggest to help heal some of the world’s most difficult problems?” and my personal, political opinion is that we can always lend physical aid, even in small ways, in our daily lives. I have long held that it is best to “pray globally, priest/ess locally,” which means doing the work that is right in your immediate sphere as you hold for a better overall world. Personal acts can truly make magick, or “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.”

What might that look like? For me, I measure my political efficacy by “thought, word, action.” On the thought level, one might read books or websites that give accurate statistics from reputable sources about the nature of various forms of oppression, global issues, history between warring nations, and the realities of a political system or situation. That might also be a good stage at which to light a candle and perform visionary work for a better future. But if you stop at the thought, it really just disappears in a puff of smoke when that candle goes out.

From there, move on the word: speak up in person and online against injustice; acknowledge your own privilege (humbly, not in self-congratulatory or self-centralizing way, or for show); tell people when what they have said or done is politically unaware, uninformed, inappropriate, and/or weighted in favor of their privilege; be quiet and listen to the members of an oppressed group and let them have their say, as well as their own authority and sovereignty in their affairs; pray for healing in epidemics, relief in drought and disasters; give voice to prayers for ending systems of oppression. In CAYA Coven, our Mothers of the New Time and Fathers of Change workings to dismantle the patriarchy and build a radically new system of power serve this function in alignment with our Coven’s matriarchal, or mother-source, ideals. But if you stop at the word, you are really just blowing hot air.

The action piece is crucial. Some examples might include: men choosing to volunteer money, time, goods or services to women’s activism groups without trying to dominate the narrative or mission of the groups and their discussions; white people giving money, time, goods or services to local agencies for the rights of people of color, without trying to centralize their own views and ideas about how POC handle their own affairs; people who have financial privilege supporting vulnerable gay, queer and trans* people who do not have financial privilege by creating scholarships, supporting healthcare and drop-in centers, or providing safe, non-predatory career and educational mentorship; heterosexual people demanding that the same privileges they enjoy be given to gay and queer couples; people of all backgrounds pitching in to help relieve poverty or disasters (for instance, paying someone’s water bill in Detroit, or

Yeshe Rabbit CAYA

Yeshe Rabbit

donating to Doctors Without Borders to aid in treatment of Ebola). One might also organize events that help bring greater awareness to personal, political issues. The Pantheon Foundation, for instance, is offering the upcoming Pagan Activism Conference Online that Xochiquetzal Duti Odinsdottir and I are coordinating. And if you like, for good measure you can bless that money you are sending, seal with wax and a sigil your letters to your local governmental officials,

make a prayer or intention before casting your vote, or wear a personal symbol that represents your commitment to justice. But if you don’t back your symbolic actions up with practical action, they are really just an exercise in making yourself feel good.

In short, when you are committed to using your daily thoughts, words, and actions to level the playing field, offer relief, confront oppression, or serve justice, then you are making real magick.”

Yeshe Rabbit, Founder and presiding High Priestess of CAYA Coven


“Magical intervention is always a powerful tool and there is no simple way to identify which issues in society to intervene on. I chose my action based in the issues that I feel the strongest about. When I am able to use that energy and direct it towards justice, then I am able to use those feelings for good cause. And like with most magical interventions, timing is very important. Utilizing the ebb and flow of energy within society when it peaks around a particular issue can give us focus and extra energetic support in our workings. I don’t want to discredit the assistance one can give through magical means yet I do not think is stops there.

We can get involved in a myriad of ways with topics and issues that need support. Becoming educated activists, donating time or money, spreading information to others, and being present to participate in community events are all

Crystal Blanton

Crystal Blanton

ways that our magic can be magnified by action. I consider these actions also to be magical in themselves as well. As a social worker and activist, much of my magical work is in the work that I do, not just the candles that I light or the

mantras that I recite. We have a choice to lend our energy to the manifestation of change and justice, and that process is a magical one.

While the needs of those around us can be overwhelming, picking one place to start and support change is the best

thing we can do. Ignoring the social and justice needs around us correlates with ignoring our own magic and the impact that we have individually and collectively.”

– Crystal Blanton, Activist, writer, and priestess


“Something I’ve noticed is that when we are doing magic for the betterment of the world, we can often miss an opportunity to use our own connection to the world as a magical tool. For instance, I was working with a group of people who were doing magic to heal the environment. When I asked them what each of their own carbon footprints were, they were unable to tell me, and surprisingly none of them wanted to go through the trouble to find out. Another time I was working with a lady who was wanting help to do magic to address a conflict in the Middle East. I told her that her magical spell involved her stopping all gossiping for an entire week. I never heard back from her again. My point is that our most potent magical acts come about when, in addition to the candles and rituals, we include our own microcosmic examples of that which we want to see in the world. It’s always easy to see that there are problems in the world “out there,” but as soon as we are confronted with the idea that we have a personal connection to the problem, we often look the other way, rather than realizing that this connection is our power source.

The entire concept of sympathetic magic is that of the microcosm influencing the macrocosm. That which happens to the poppet, happens to the individual. Therefore, when we choose an issue to take action on, if we aren’t willing to take action in our own lives, in a radically meaningful way, then we missing a huge opportunity to have a powerful impact on the matter, magically. Are we looking for an end to racism? Then it’s time to use our own lives as a catalyst for that change. Where is the prejudice living in us? If we are so naive to think that we have none, than perhaps we aren’t mature enough to tackle such a sophisticated magical operation. Are we trying to effect a healing in the environment? If so, then a major part of our magic needs to be centered on our own interaction with the environment. Where are we polluting? I am acquainted with some people who are very proud of the fact that they are very “green” in their lifestyles, but they are also very toxic and abrasive to people they encounter. If they were interested, they could find a way to reduce their psychic pollution as part of a magical operation, and thus influence the whole very deeply.

There are horrible social injustices happening all the time. So horrible, in fact, that it’s easy to see the perpetrators of such heinous crimes as being part of “the other.” The risk of looking at “the other” as being the sole problem, is that we are often tempted to see them as having all the power and viewing ourselves as being left with nothing to do except complain and pray for a miracle. That kind of self image is the opposite of magical. A magical person finds a way to take responsibility for the situation in order to step into a position of power — the power to change — and then makes choices about their responsibility that then causes a ripple effect that can’t be stopped.

Most of us are fairly well versed in the the “trappings,” or symbols, of magic. Therefore, when building a spell, ritual or Ariel, Druidic Craft of the Wiseoperation, we can use those symbols to speak to our deep minds. Our deep minds are connected to the minds of anyone and everyone in the entire universe throughout all time and space. When we “put feet to our spells,” by taking action in our own lives within the realm of that which we want to change, we become the poppet of sympathetic magic. We can find an infinite amount of opportunity to effect change within our own worlds through ourselves; as a part of a larger magical operation, this change can have a dramatic effect on the larger macrocosm.”

– Ariel Gatoga of the Druidic Craft of the Wise,  Host of the Druidic Craft of the Wise Lectures and Meditations podcasts


“There’s a pervasive notion today that we should be able to download an app on our smart device and end climate change. There’s a feeling that if we log into Facebook enough times this week that corporations might just change their policies of earning as much profit as possible while pillaging the environment and screwing the workers. It’s a nice thought. But behind every one of those Twitter revolutions there are real people that have been working tirelessly on these seemingly intractable problems for years, even decades.

Think about it, the Civil Rights movement began about 150 years ago. Folks started calling it a Civil Rights movement about 60 years ago. The suffragette movement, which one can easily say is the birthplace of the modern feminist movement, is about 100 years old. Stonewall happened in 1969, the year after I was born.

The point is that this “long view” is often pushed aside. We want results now. We want to say “I was there when the wall came down” without perhaps recognising that there might be thousands of people that worked to bring that moment to fruition that will never see it happen.

So what magical practices can I do to support change over time?

Gwion Raven

Gwion Raven

1)       Recognise that time takes time. Can I devote my life-force to a cause that I might only see minor changes in my lifetime?

2)       Work for the Descendants. In many magical traditions we call on the Ancestors to aid our plight. I also work with the Descendants to come. Those that will inherit the world tomorrow. Part of my magic is to imagine them looking back at this moment in time and saying, “those people began this thing then and we have much to be grateful for.”

3)       Staying focused. Many magical traditions talk about focusing our will and our magic to bring about change. I lose focus easily. I turn on the news or look through my browser and see 50 things I could equally be enraged about. I have to choose where my magic can be best used in this moment and stick to that as much as I possibly can.

It’s not glamorous. It won’t be everyone’s answer, but it’s what I do to make change.”

– Gwion Raven, Blogger at


“I’ve suffered various types of burnout as an activist, an event planner, as an artist, and a writer. Specifically as an activist, I’ve learned to limit my focus. When I worry about all the ills of the world I get overwhelmed, stressed out, and I freeze up.

My activism in the past has primarily focused on environmental issues, but I’ve also done work privilege, bullying, racism, homophobia and transgender discrimination. Of late, my activism has focused a lot on supporting a sex positive culture and fighting rape culture, particularly within the Pagan umbrella. However, this particular activism has also proven to be really emotionally exhausting. Whenever I put up a blog post taking someone to task or asking for accountability, and especially speaking up about sex and ethics issues, what folks might not realize is that I’m then dealing with days of intense comments, hate mail, long discussions/disagreements, and I also field messages from people who have been abused and who need someone to share their story with who will understand.

It costs me in terms of time, stress, and anxiety. What’s the impact on my life? Well, I’m mostly a hermit. And the various shaming, victim blaming, and other crap that I deal with has begun to edge

Shauna Aura Knight

Shauna Aura Knight

toward “more than I’m willing to give.”

To the question of what magical acts I can suggest…that’s probably the toughest part of this question. In the Pagan community, I experience that many people use the word “magic” to mean, “Imagining that I’m sending energy to something when I’m not willing to do the actual work to make it happen.” So I tend to be leery of using the word “magic” in terms of activism.

That being said, there are ways I think magic helps with activism. Magic is good for setting intention; you are outlining your goals and putting focus toward them. Which also means that you are limiting what you’re not putting your effort into. So part of magic is boundaries. Magic and ritual are also good for centering; singing, chanting, candles, incense, movement, meditation…all of these are effective triggers to help us center when we’re overwhelmed.

But ultimately, the magic of dedication is where the real work is. It’s the daily work and personal transformation that builds our magical power. And I think I’m going to need a whole blog post to explain more of what I mean by that.”

Shauna Aura Knight,  Author and speaker


“First and foremost, magickal work must be backed up by real-world action! A spell for social justice is good, but a spell backing a donation, volunteering, or

Steve Kenson

Steve Kenson

speaking out (in whatever medium) is even better. If you want to work for change, do it on all levels.

Create safe and sacred spaces of all kinds. Spaces for women, for men, for children, for queer people, for elders, for people of different races and backgrounds, for any and all people, and use those spaces to heal, to journey, to lift up, to empower, to ground, and then to return to the world where we all live together to share those lessons.

Don’t neglect self-work! One of the greatest magickal things we can do for the world is to work out our own stuff and become the best people we can be. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking yourself a

superior enlightened being helping poor unfortunates, because you’re down here in the dirt with the rest of us. Recognize that you are a work in progress just like everyone else, and that shadow-work, self-possession, and enlightenment are the work of a lifetime (if not multiple lifetimes).”

-Steve Kenson,  Co-founder and Gemini Lead Minister of the Temple of Witchcraft


If there is a theme to the words of this diverse and incredibly wise group of magical people, it’s that we must work both on ourselves and out in the world.  We are the microcosm of the change we wish to see, and by working on ourselves we can also affect the macrocosm.  We must work within just as much as we work with the world.  Our work in the inner worlds to affect change intertwines like a caduceus with our real-world action.

In the heart of the darkness, we find the seed that begins to grow toward the light.   Yes, there is darkness in the world.  Sometimes it’s overwhelming.  But, like Prometheus, those of us who work with magick have the responsibility to steal the light.  Over the next year, I will be exploring ways to use our magickal practices to help heal the injustices of the world and bring back that light.  Working through the Zodiac and its twelve filters that color the sun’s light, we’ll look at twelve different ways to work magick to help heal the world.  I hope you’ll join me later this month and throughout the year as we begin the quest through the Twelve Healing Stars in the darkness of Scorpio….


PantheaCon: Stars Among Stars

PantheaCon is a meeting of the pagan tribes.  The umbrella of modern paganism covers a huge variety of religions, and multiple permutations of each one.  Paganism is a flowing, growing, evolving new religious movement that incorporates ancient traditions.

PantheaCon is one of the few places that seems able to successfully combine practitioners who seek to renew and reconstruct ancient traditions with innovators who may have founded their own tradition last month.  Some seek spiritual growth; some seek only a great party.  In one place, we all thrive.

It really is more than one convention. With up to 13 sessions running roughly six times a day for three days, the variety is endless.  While we all intersect at times, everyone experiences their own convention.  There are people I see walking the halls that I never see anywhere else.  PantheaCon has multiple incarnations.

This really hit home for me when I attended a session outside my normal rounds.  Suddenly I was in a room with nobody I recognized, people who probably attend every year but just never cross paths with me.  I had stumbled upon the Thelemite incarnation of PantheaCon.

OK, so it wasn’t really a stumble.  The session was called “Stars in the Company of Stars: Thelema-Individuality-Connection,” and its presenter was prominent Bay Area Thelemite, James A. Eshelman.  I knew what I was getting myself into.

Using Thelemic terms, Eshelman probably delivered the most important take home message of the convention for me: Yes, as Aleister Crowley wrote, we are all stars.  But we are not isolated.  Stars exist in galaxies of other stars.  They are independent bodies, yet constantly interacting with each other.

That’s exactly my experience of PantheaCon: we are all stars in the company of stars.

We are individual; we are one with each other.  We follow our own paths in life and at the convention, but we interact with each other and are interdependent within the entire body of PantheaCon.  Individual, yet connected, we never know how much something we do can influence someone else we have never met. I’d like to acknowledge a few shining stars among the company of stars under the roof of the Doubletree.  Each of these people had a profound effect on me as well as others they may never meet again:

  • Yeshe Rabbit: Whether she is drawing down Aphrodite in ritual or making a sale at The Sacred Well, Rabbit always bares her self and her soul to bring love to everyone she contacts.  This year was another triumph for her, and every person who attended her many events went away feeling loved and just a little more magickal.
  • Devin Hunter: His willingness to help someone with a spiritual question, even while he was “off duty,” may have begun the healing process for someone who really needed it.
  • Raven Grimassi: He took the seemingly basic Wiccan concept of the Wheel of the Year and recharged it with beauty and inspiration, reminding many of us why we chose to walk this path in the first place.
  • Christopher Penczak: Who has an uncanny ability to bring 200 people at once to a profound spiritual experience, both intellectually and in trance, all without fire or incense.  Like Grimassi, Penczak is on the forefront of responsible innovation within Wicca and Witchcraft, and he shares that with anyone he can.
  • Shauna Aura Knight: A wonderful speaker who has broken ritual down to its bones, her workshops on ritual facilitation will improve the quality of ritual experience for every person who attended them, helping more and more groups have more effective and magical rituals.  Shauna has an active Indiegogo campaign to help her fund more Pagan leadership education.  You can check it out and donate here.
  • Jason Mankey: His research into forms and archetypes of The God has revitalized the Wiccan understanding of male deity.  Despite claiming to be about masculine and feminine, Wicca is often Goddess-centered.  Jason’s work is already having visible effects in improving our relationships with the divine masculine while still loving the Goddess.
  • Crystal Blanton: Who is always seeking ways to give to her community.  Crystal lives the life of witch as guide and helps everyone she meets learn from her experiences.
  • Lydia M. Crabtree: Who gave a wonderful experience to children in her “Candy Ritual.”
  • T. Thorn Coyle: Always looking for an opportunity to serve, she and her organization, Solar Cross Temple, organized a blood drive for the second year in a row.  She didn’t just give; she gave all of us an opportunity to give.

PantheaCon is a large universe and there are many stars.  These are a few that made the experience better for my convention, but everyone who attended can point to his or her own galaxy of stars that stood out brightly for them.

On the last night, I was at the front desk, checking my bill with the hotel.  I was dressed in sweats and a T-shirt, “normal” compared to the swirling combination of ritual robes, leather kilts, and giant witch hats around me.  My convention badge was too low for the lady helping me at the desk to see.

I asked her how she was doing with this crazy group.  I loved her answer: “It’s OK, they’re nice.”  When I showed her my badge, letting her know that I was one of them, she continued, “You guys are all really nice, so even though you’re a big group you’re easy.”  She said that many of the smaller groups who use the hotel are picky and mean to the staff, even if they look more mainstream.

I’m proud of our universe as we shine both individually and collectively, lighting the way for each other even as we seek our own paths.

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Quotes of the Year: Runners up

Every year as I work on the top quotes of the year for The Juggler, I sift through a wide variety of quotes from Pagan authors.  Sometimes they are beautiful; sometimes they are vicious.  I love looking at the words our community has expressed over the years, but every year I have to cut very good quotes from very good people. As I begin this blog, I’d like to add a few brief posts featuring some of the quotable Pagans who almost made the top 10 list this year.

There was this one from Crystal Blanton:


“What a beautiful thing to look back upon the faces of the brave, and know that I have been gifted this chance at life because of those who’ve been willing to lay their lives in front of the bullet for justice.”

– Crystal Blanton, December 5

Crystal is always at the forefront of challenging the Pagan community on race, social justice, and inclusion.  Here she opens up about the funeral of the great Nelson Mandela.  She also took December to problematize Megyn Kelly’s “Santa is White” comments.

Or this one from Sam Webster:


“Love, mercy, compassion, care, kindness give value and joy to all we do. But is not a solution to our problems. Our problems are from bad choices, from promoting the stupidity of selfishness over general wellbeing.”

– Sam WebsterNovember 27

Sam has gift for words.  He has the  uncanny ability to tear anything apart with his weapon of choice.  I have sat in many of his lectures and marveled at his ability to cut directly to the linguistic heart of the matter.  In this instance, he calls the Pagan community out for trusting in “love” as the magic that can solve any problem.

Finally, there was this from “Raise the Horns” author Jason Mankey:


“It often feels as if we Pagans are far more likely to share an article that undermines Christianity than we are to share something written by Pagans for Pagans. That bothers me as a Pagan writer of course, but it also bothers me as a Pagan because I feel as if it hurts Pagandom long term”

– Jason MankeyOctober 13

Goddess, that is true.  Jason is a young, dynamic force of the modern Pagan movement, and his words remind us that we need to stop convincing ourselves of the problem of other faiths and start discussing our worldviews with each other.  Only then can we unite as a strong and loving religious movement.

I may post some other quotes I had to cut from my Top 10 article over the next few days.  If you’d like to see this year’s list, go over to my newest annual post on The Juggler.