Classes & Lectures
Posts about classes, conventions and lectures that I’ve attended
For many years I have been attending the College of the Sacred Mists, an online Wiccan program that is run by High Priestess Lady Raven Moonshadow. The online college offers a Wiccan training program as well as courses in Herbalism, Tarot, Progressive Magic and Historical Paganism.
I have been working through the 2nd degree course in the Wiccan program and taken a lot of time to review what it is that I want out of my spirituality. I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be good to explore other paths, without turning my back on wicca. Because the College offers a great range of courses, I’m happy to be able to continue attending with a simple course change to the Progressive Magic course, taught by Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone.
I’m only on the first lesson so far, but I’m really enjoying it. There’s a lot of meditation work as well as some research into the history of Wicca. It’s pretty awesome.
In addition, I’ve joined Ár nDraíocht Féin, or ADF. ADF is the largest American-based druidry group. They aren’t exactly a re-constructionist group as they based their practices on studies of a number of Indo-European Druid-like groups. So far they seem to lean more to the mystic/shamanistic angle but with a fair amount of high ceremony mixed in.
All ADF members have the option to take the ADF Dedicant Program. You’re welcome to participate in the practices and rituals without formally completing this program, but if you’d like to further your studies in the group, of if you just want a more in-depth understanding of druidry as ADF practices it, then it’s generally a good idea (and required for further training) .. so I’m doing it.
As part of both of these programs, the Progressive Magic and the ADF Dedicant’s program, there is fairly extensive journaling and essays required. I’ll be sharing the journals and essays that I’m comfortable with being public on this blog, so expect a bit of variety and hopefully more frequent updates!
Yesterday I got the opportunity to spend the day with Chief Golden Light Eagle at an event hosted by Firefly Willows.
The day started with a film outlining some of the more sane points of view on the Roswell crashes. While I still remain unconvinced that the crashes were alien ships, I certainly have to consider that something very weird did happen. The information that the Chief presented was informational without wandering into the conspiracy theories, and was much easier for me to accept that way.
The Chief’s friend Bill Tenuto then told us about the vision quests that he has been on. They call them ‘fasts’, and for 4 days and nights they stay on the mountain and pray without water or food. It was amazing to watch Bill describe his experiences …. He was very obviously connected with the spirits, with the greater consciousness. We got a fantastic view of what one of the ceremonies of the Dakota people was like.
After Lunch, The Chief talked to us about the things he has experienced, the discrimination that his people faced as well as some of his experiences learning about the symbols for the Universal and Spiritual laws. He sang us some songs in his native language. I don’t understand a word of the language but the emotion and energy in the songs are obvious and amazing. I could listen to him sing all day!
We then learned about the 11 Spiritual Laws and the 11 Universal Laws that the Chief has learned are represented by the symbols believed to be from the aliens.
I learned many things about the Native Americans that the Chief is experienced with and about the Star People and how the Chief interfaces with them. Most importantly I learned that, no matter the trappings, we are all on the same road. The message of the Star People as interpreted by the Chief is the same message as interpreted by many other religions.
We are here to help this planet to evolve to the next step … Increase our energy vibrations to the next levels, and we are here to help everyone and everything on this planet to survive and to evolve together.
We are all related, every being on this planet. Together we shall evolve.
I have recently been taking a course on Courting Desire: the Soul’s Longing for Purpose by T. Thorn Coyle. The course focuses on knowing what you truly want to follow, and following that desire in order to be more in-tune with your live and generally be happier about things!
So far the course has not been difficult, except in one aspect. Resistance.
It is not uncommon for me to find myself starting the reading, then putting it down. Starting to think about or do the exercises, then finding something else more important, or urgent, or just more interesting.
It has very little, if anything, to do with the work that is being presented. The lessons are well written and clear. Thorn is often on the forums and responds to questions openly and readily. It has everything to do with me.
I still haven’t identified why I’m so resistant. Am I worried that people will find it odd? Am I worried that I won’t spend enough time with my husband? Am I worried that I won’t like what I find when I take the time to listen? Am I concerned that it’s too much work? or that it will take away from other things that I enjoy.
I don’t really know.
I do know that it’s more like thick jello than a hard wall and with enough persistence, enough will, I can get through it.
A few weekends ago, I’m not really sure how many at this point as work has been a bit insane, I went to Pantheacon. I was lucky enough to have some friends who were also going and who had been there before!
It was … eye opening, amazing, exhausting and overwhelming .. all in one fun filled weekend! I’m not sure that I can effectively share the feelings I had at the con. There was the session with Ivo Dominguez Jr about using your voice in magick and how sounds as simple as toning or chanting can really add to magick … and then in the later grounding session with Shon Clark I got to experience the 360 toning, and it was just … wow …
I really enjoyed the sessions with both of those gentlemen, and have taken some of the ideas for my personal practice. If you get a chance with either of those gentlemen I would suggest it. They’re very different in attitude and feel, but both are great teachers and engaging lecturers.
A friend and I attended the Battle Goddess session by T. Thorn Coyle to learn about how to blend martial arts, defense and magick. The class was fantastic and fun! I learned a lot about the importance of staying centered to stay objective and make the best decisions. And that sometimes, running away is the smart thing to do!
Thorn is another person on my “take classes from” list! I love her attitude and I always admire strong women.
I also attended a number of rituals with a wide range of focuses, and a wide range of responses. There was the beautiful ceremony of Frigga’s Frithweaving put on by Diana Paxton and a lovely set of Heathen priestesses; a fun and energetic ritual about Walking the Pentacle of Power put on by the North Bay Reclaiming group; a beautiful and joy filled Wake up the Spirit ritual by CAYA; and finaly, and most powerfully, the Little Self – Greater Selves ritual by Ivo and Michael (BTW, I LOVE their robes!)
There were also a couple of educational and fun sessions that I attended. One on the Pendulum (given by Donald Michael Kraig) and another about Tarot As an Action Item (talk by Thalassa). Both were very interesting and I’m very glad I went .. there was a lot to be learned!
At the beginning of Pantheacon, I had a goal in mind for what I wanted to learn and do. By the end of the con, I had learned something entirely different and re-focused my plans for worship. It was pretty cool how it all played out. There was one theme that was echoed in most sessions … a common message for me to grok.
The image is a pin that I got at the beginning of Pantheacon from one of the vendors (I can’t remember the name of the glass vendor but she had amazing stuff!) and wore it throughout the con. It’s a beautiful piece of artwork, and I still wear it when I can.
I’m very much looking forward to putting what I’ve learned into practice, and for Pantheacon 2012!