#Charleston

charleston

 

 

Last night, a white gunman opened fire on parishioners of a historically-black church in Charleston, SC. Nine beautiful human souls crossed the veil last night as their lives were snatched from them by unimaginable human evil.

Members and initiates of Firefly stand in support of the Charleston community, and the community of the church that was attacked. It is important that members of other faiths show support and solidarity when anyone is attacked. All places of worship and devotion, regardless of faith identity, should be safe spaces from the dangers and cruelty of the outside world. Whether Baptist church or Wiccan coven, we need spaces free from violence.

The other layer to this is the continued realization that black and brown lives are not safe in this country, whether by a single civilian gunman, or by an urban community’s oppressive law enforcement regime that continues to target black and brown boys, girls, women, and men. This is not ok. We must all do what we can to stand up against violence, racism, and oppression however we can. Sometimes that means learning, sometimes acting, but always listening.

As witches, as recognize that we are part of the ebb and flow of an interconnected life-force energy that demands our attention and continued effort in making the web stronger for all. We’re all in this together and violence and hatred does not exist in a vacuum. It’s up to each and every one of us to learn how we can each do better at making our communities safer and more just.

We pray for the families. We prayed for the communities. We pray for each other. May there be justice and peace.

Blessed Be.

Initiates Retreat Registration

rowBW

Registration for the 2015 Firefly Initiates Retreat is Live!

Register your spot for $15 now, which is split cost to reserve the Reston UU Church for our gathering.


Join us for our FIRST annual summer retreat for initiates of the Firefly Tradition!

SATURDAY, JULY 11 | 10:00am – 6:00pm | RESTON UU CHURCH

Who can attend:

  • All initiates, including new initiates who will receive initiation by our annual initiation date (Litha 2015). New initiates: you must have completed the entire Wicca 1-3 course plus your special project and received initiation on Litha before the retreat date. If you’re not an initiate yet but plan to be one, go ahead and RSVP so you can save the date. We will simply remove the RSVP’s of all non-initiates after Litha.
  • Each initiate can bring 1 member of their kin (family or similar). If you need to bring another, contact David and we can figure it out. We must know in advance if you plan to bring more than yourself. Please also keep in mind that there will be a couple of closed sessions for initiates only.

Primary Purpose:
The Firefly House has existed in some form or another for close to 10 years now. As we’ve grown into a solid tradition over the years, we have developed a core of strong, capable, and talented initiates. This is an attempt to get all initiates together in one place for relaxation, camaraderie, team-building, bonding, and learning.

Specifically, we will be doing creative visioning work on what we want our organization and tradition to look like in the coming years. We will help look at the specific talents of everyone so that everyone has a chance to step up and participate more deeply if you desire that. This is YOUR tradition and it will become what you help make of it.

Secondary Purpose:
Outside of our larger work, there will be plenty of games, bonding exercises, food, and drink! We are working on possibly providing a meal plan that you can pay for ahead of time if you don’t want to worry about bringing all of your own food. More on that later.

We also hope to have some specialized, advanced learning sessions taught by each other in areas that we’re more deeply familiar with. This cross-training and higher learning in occult topics is deeply valued in the initiates ring.

It will cost about $200 to rent this space. We estimate that if 16-20 people come, we can each pay just $15 for the day. No one will be turned away for lack of funds, but please pay the registration as soon as you can so that the space is financially secured.

More information is forthcoming as we hammer out further location details. Please refer to this page for updates.

Firefly Statement on Police Brutality and Racism

washingtonDC09_04We are experiencing more tragedy and injustice in the nation as we learn about the horrific outcome of the Staten Island Grand Jury decision that will not indict Eric Garner’s killer. Let it be known that The Firefly House stands in solidarity as a pagan organization and Wiccan tradition in the belief that#blacklivesmatter, always. And as witches, may we have the wisdom to listen, learn, and absorb the cries of those who suffer under oppression. Further, we highlight our policy of not only nondiscrimination, but of radical inclusivity. We will continue to strive to be a safe, welcoming, and empowering space for Pagans of color, embracing all listening and learning tools necessary to become such a space. Being based in our nation’s capital, we will always take the position of freedom and opportunity for all. These are the ideals that America was founded upon and we will always seek that as part of our Great Work.

We ask all students, initiates, and followers of our line to stand in support by listening, learning, and when called to do so: acting. Magick has always been the spiritual language of the oppressed and so we as witches must carry that through in all areas.

We also call upon other pagan organizations in taking a stand in these matters. Paganism is “of the world” and we cannot shirk in fear when the world is shown to be difficult. Be brave, witches! Stand for love and justice, always.

#HailColumbia #EricGarner #HandsUp #ICantBreathe

Firefly Announces Formation of New Hive Coven






woodcut-fire-dance1
Following in the flow of the spirit of the Craft, which is ever-evolving change, we have some big news to share with you all today. The Firefly tradition, which has been run via the seat of one core coven for many years, will soon be hiving off to form a second coven. The hiving of a new coven is a big step forward for any emerging tradition and we are so excited to have reached this point in our journey.

How did this come about? The outer court tradition of Firefly has been growing rapidly over the last couple of years in particular. Locally, we have over 140 general “members” in addition to the 16 active initiates that comprise both Coven of the Spiral Moon and the outer court initiates. As we reach the end of this summer’s Firefly Wicca training course, there is a new batch of students who are absolutely brilliant and highly qualified for coven work. The problem was, CSM is capped at 8 members, a number we did not wish to exceed. So the only option for continued growth was to birth a new coven, to be a “younger sibling” of Coven of the Spiral Moon, which will now be considered the “Mother Coven.”

In most traditions, a hive is formed by many members leaving the Mother Coven to form the hive. Instead, we will be forming the hive coven entirely out of new dedicants, with a rotating interim High Priest or High Priestess coming from CSM. CSM will “loan” the hive coven a 2nd or 3rd degree initiate for a two month (two meeting) period at a time. This will happen until the dedicants of the hive go through the initiation process and are able to lead rituals in the style of our tradition on their own. This will likely be a year after the first dedication rites are performed.

Potential dedicants will be pre-selected based on those who have completed this year’s Firefly Wicca course and have expressed interest in coven work. After that, others may petition for membership, which will be subject to a unanimous vote from the hive dedicants and the pool of interim HPs. The hive will be considered sovereign, although CSM will remain as a mentor throughout.

Requirements to join and maintain membership in the hive with mirror those of the Mother Coven. Members must attend at least 4 out of 8 sabbat rituals and 8 out of 12 full moons rituals, in addition to keeping up the with flow of training that happens within our dedication + 3 degree structure.

More information will be posted about the hive coven following this year’s outer court initiations on August 2nd, 2014 as potential dedicants will be primarily pulled from that graduating class for consideration.

Onwards to a bright and expansive future!

To Festival I Shall Go!

 

 

To Festival I Shall Go! (every chance I get)
By Elizabeth McNally

1148853_10200848080417782_1415925159_nI have been in the Pagan community for three decades now, yet my first Festival camping experience happened only a week ago. This was my first camping experience, excluding pitching a tent at a friend’s for a night several years ago, as well as my first outdoor, in the woods Festival. I have attended Pagan events throughout the years. Pantheacon in San Jose was an annual event I never missed, when I was living in the San Francisco Bay area. I attended that event at least three times since moving back to the East Coast for the chance to meet up with dear friends once again. Pantheacon takes place in a comfortable hotel, attended by a few thousand people, and though always exhilarating, a far different experience from settling oneself in a tent in the woods by a small body of water with a small group of joyful people of all ages who have come together to enjoy nature, and share food, knowledge, ritual, song, dance and story.

My decision to attend this Festival was spontaneous. I read a post by a friend regarding the upcoming Firelight Festival and something just spoke to me and I wanted to attend. I had to excavate the barn and closets to find my tent, sleeping bag and other gear I thought I might need (ie, acrylic wine glasses and other important such things!). The generous camaraderie began as soon as I announced I thought I would try to attend. The organizer, JD Hobbs, sent me a list of items to pack. Friends as well as those in the community who did not know me personally, offered to bring gear for me if I didn’t have what might be needed (extra tents, sleeping bags, cook stoves etc.), invitations were extended to join in meals. I felt the warmth of this community long before I embarked upon my journey to Whispering Pines.

I strategically chose to arrive earlier than I knew my friends were going to arrive. My thought process was that should I coordinate to arrive with friends who I knew would look out for me, I would feel I was hanging on to “apron strings”, and if I wanted (and I did) to feel I could attend such Festivals on my own, I needed to arrive and figure it out on my own. So I drove out to Whispering Pines early on Friday afternoon, arriving on the property with no idea of procedure, or where to go. I choose a small road where I saw there were already Festival campers mulling around, rolled my window down and all came over with warm smiles and greetings. I introduced myself and explained this was my first Festival and first time to camp and didn’t know what I was doing. They described the different camping areas, suggesting I leave my car right where it was and explore until I found where I might want to be. That I did, and found a spot in the woods by the water, on the other side of the small lake from where the drum circle would be. I pulled out my gear, put down my tarp, began taking my tent out and … sadly (even though I have been told these are idiot proof) realized I was never going to figure it out. I looked about and spotted a woman on her own putting her tent together. Strolling over her way, she looked up, and I said, smiling sheepishly, “You look like you know what you’re doing. I’m lost trying to put mine together. Can you help me?”. Cara (of Blue Gypsy Wines) I later learned, laughed and told me she had just got off the phone with her husband for directions on putting hers up. She finished putting her tent up and came over and figured it out for me. I invited her to a beer, then realized I had no bottle opener, which sent me on a quest where I met another lovely woman camping with her children. She took me to her tent and we chatted amiably, while I managed to open the drinks. I headed back to my site, offered my Hero a drink, and settled in to decorate my little camping site.

575181_10200848078057723_777630038_n

Whispering Pines is an enchanting private camp ground, with a river stream, and small lake, a Faerie Garden, an amazing Children’s area with wooden fort, area 51 (where food is available if you don’t want to cook), all set among pine forests and open fields. That first evening I witnessed the last rays of the sun magically streaming through the forest, and as dusk fell I was greeted by a little bat who played around my head before heading into the forest. Arriving at the road leading to where my friends were, I came across a stately toad (obviously a prince) sitting boldly in the middle of the path, so I stooped and spoke with him briefly (no kissing involved!), and wished him well, before moving along to dine. Dine we did! I love the idea of Glamping, and I plan to become very good at it. My friends are all well ahead of me, but I am a fast learner.

There were a dozen of us gathered for the meal. Friends I already knew and wonderfully interesting people I was introduced to. The Pagan community is so very diverse, which makes for unending conversation. I don’t ever remember being among Pagans where there has been a lull in conversation. There are just so many topics and never enough time to delve fully into them. I walked back to my campsite, cloak wrapped around me in the coolness of the night, listening to the sound of the drum circle and taking in the shadows thrown through the forest by the camp fires dotted throughout. I chose not to attend the drum circle that first night. I admit to having felt a little vulnerable and uncertain of walking into the area on my own. Instead I entered my tent and got cozy in my bed, looking up at the stars through my tent windows, and listening to the drums and voices across the lake. To these blissful sounds I fell into a very pleasant sleep.

Next morning, after camp coffee, chocolate almond croissant (a treat reserved only for such an occasion as this) warmed in a real oven run by propane, more conversation and laughter, it was time to take in some workshops.I would have loved to have attended all workshops offered, but that would leave no time for socializing, so choices were made. The workshops I took in over the weekend were fascinating; Mead making by a darling woman who rescues Ferrets and keeps her own beloved bees; Flirtology (or how never to get to “No means No”) taught by my vivacious friend, Marie … common sense, with the understanding that common sense is sometimes in great lack; Magick and the mind (an interesting look at what happens within the mind when magick is perceived); Runes. A perspective new to me (and I am very much a novice); and Stoicism (close to my heart). This class was held on the stage platform where we sat upon the floor, and I felt I could have been in ancient Rome on a porch listening to a Stoic Sage. Wonderful.

Saturday evening was a communal feast for all who wished to participate. There was a Vegan (Stone soup). Those who participated in this option brought something for the pot. There was a meat option (roasted local pig, salad, potatoes, applesauce, gravy etc) provided for a price. After the meal, we gathered around that amazing campfire tended by two artists, brilliant in how they stacked the logs, and somehow added color every now and then to the flames. We smiled, we laughed and shed tears, as we listened to those who entertained us in the open bardic circle sharing a story or a song. As a grand finale, we were mesmerized by the choreography and grace of Loran Magie Mystic, the Fire eater. A magician of International note. His performance was breath taking and unforgettable. By that point my inhibitions and vulnerability had dissipated. I danced, participated in the drum rhythms with my Goddess rattle, and was enchanted with sweet conversation. It was 3:00 am when I arrived back at my tent. A wonderful day and evening/night/morning … I slept sound and deep.

562297_10200848066817442_288107551_n

I awoke relatively early to the sounds of birds and frogs and the rustling of leaves, and after journalling, wandered barefoot in the warm morning sun, through dew moistened fields just taking it all in. There were very few up and about, so I felt I had the whole place to myself. I don’t believe my smile left my face all weekend, even in sleep! Eventually, I meandered back and broke camp packing my car to be ready to leave later in the day. I spent the rest of the morning, in between workshops, conversing with people, laughing, sharing, and hugging. Then all too soon, it was time to leave.

On arriving back home, I was ready to go again! It has taken me a very long time to discover how wonderful the outdoor Festival experience is. I feel I chose wisely for a first experience. This was a small Festival, and its first year, as well. As it was so very well received, no doubt it will be an annual event that I look forward to attending again. I believe we arrive at experience exactly when we are meant to. The timing was perfect. The Festival was perfect. I look forward to my next experience, and eventually a large Festival of a week long or more. I hope to actively participate in various ways in future Festivals. I fear a Festival junkie has been created here! Scary!

Celebrating Initiations: Michael and Pádraig





Last week, the Firefly tradition of Witchcraft celebrated the initiations of two members to what we call our “Outer Court.” Outer Court initiates are valued members who have gone through training in Firefly’s style of Wicca and Witchcraft, regularly attend events, and agree to strive towards certain aspirations within their spiritual lives.

The most recent initiations were held at the start of our midsummer celebration on Saturday, June 22, in the center of a cast and consecrated circle as tradition dictates.

972049_10151473395521365_563324415_n

Left: Pádraig de na Sióga
Right: Michael Cabrera

Pádraig de na Sióga is a gay male artist, cunning man, hedge-wizard, kitchen witch, gardener (rosarian), and seer. He became interested in magic after a series of ecstatic dreams in his early childhood and brings over thirty years of Craft experience to the Firefly Tradition. He follows an individual solitary practice of Traditional American Witchcraft or The New Crooked Path to be specific: a panentheistic spirituality based on North American folklore and magic. Pádraig is also a student of the Anderson Feri Tradition (BlueRose lineage).

Pádraig says he enjoys working with the “Fireflies” because of their diversity of neo-pagan beliefs/practices (Druidism, Eclectic Wicca, Trad Craft, to name just a few) and wonderful family spirit.

Michael Cabrera says of his experiences: I would say I’ve been interested in more intuitive forms of the Craft my whole life, but I never actively pursued it until last year, when a derecho hit and I was camping on a mountain. The screaming force of winds and blue-white flares of lightning among black clouds both frightened and inspired me. I spent the last portion of that storm outside among bowing trees, looking up at the sky and thinking, “You are beautifully terrifying.” I made a vow to myself to follow a more nature-based path with particular emphasis on the Craft.
Firefly’s open door to new comers is what attracted me most. The approachable nature of David as well as other members has been essential in my growth in the Craft.

Congratulations to our most recent Firefly initiates and to those who are close to entering the fold as well!

Pagans for Tornado Relief





We are copying the following call for action written by T. Thorn Coyle of Solar Cross Temple. We ask that all Firefly members and supports please support this work in whatever way you can. If you can donate, please do.  please send donations via Paypal to solarcrosstemple@gmail.com with the subject line marked “Tornado Relief”. At least please share this call with others so our donations may be pooled for this effort. 

May all beings be free from suffering
-The Firefly priesthood

 

210513tornado

 

Love in Action: for Oklahoma

What world are we creating with our actions?
What world do we want to create?

I want to create a world of mutual aid, where we help one another in times of need, and celebrate together in times of joy.

Solar Cross Temple is organizing to help Oklahoma. We are working with Marcia Carter Tillison, a Pagan in Norman Oklahoma, and with OpOK, a consortium of Occupy, Food Not Bombs and other activist groups working together to get supplies and help with on the ground clean up efforts in Moore. Marcia has on the ground experience in disaster relief from her work in Haiti and is someone I trust.

OpOK needs supplies to help people keep the rains that have followed the tornado off of what goods they have. They need supplies to help with clean up and salvage. To this end, Solar Cross is now taking donations for this project.

OpOK says: “With hail coming down this morning and storms forecast for the next three days in areas already reeling from tornadoes, our relief efforts must focus on getting people out of the weather and securing what possessions they have. We have over 13,000 homes, a school, and a hospital affected; we must reach people that are falling through the gaps.

Supplywise, what’s needed most are power tools, garbage bags, rakes, shovels (round and square), gloves (all kinds), duct tape, and other items necessary for debris removal. Large tarps and rope to secure them over damaged homes are currently in high demand, as are plastic totes to separate out donations.”

If you wish to pool your money with ours, please send donations via Paypal to solarcrosstemple@gmail.com with the subject line marked “Tornado Relief”. Solar Cross will absorb the Paypal fees as part of our contribution.

$10 buys a shovel or a pair of sturdy gloves or safety goggles. $15 buys a heavy duty storage bin. We would like to get these supplies to Moore starting next week. Can you contribute anything? If you can’t afford to donate right now, will you please spread the word online and in your local communities? The more money we raise, the more supplies we can send. This is very important. As OpOK says: “when FEMA & The Red Cross pack up and go home – we will still be here.” We can be there, too.

Let’s build the world we want by helping Oklahoma.

Let’s spread the word that love in action is real, on the ground, effective magic.

Thank you, one thousand times, for caring.

Blessed be those in need.
Blessed be those who offer love in action.
We all weather these storms.

Again: please send donations via Paypal to solarcrosstemple@gmail.com with the subject line marked “Tornado Relief”.

Pagan Intrafaith

 

 

By David Salisbury

A very important value in the Firefly Tradition is intrafaith. Intrafaith (different from interfaith) in our case is the process of networking and building bonds with Pagans in other traditions and organizations. For us, this usually manifests in the form of attending the rituals of other traditions as a group and co-planning rituals with others. In March we had the opportunity to do this with the local DC chapter of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (Seedgroup of the Oak and Eagle).  Around Beltane, in addition to our own ritual, we attended the Beltane gathering of a family tradition from Kensington Park in Maryland.

It is important for members of a Witchcraft tradition to build their own bonds, obviously. Establishing that “clan mentality” is extremely valuable for the egregore (group mind) of all in the tradition. But when we look outside our own clans to gather with other folks of the ‘Witch Blood’, we build bridges of power and support that can last a lifetime if properly nurtured.

Pagan intrafaith can also provide teaching opportunities. In the case of our joint Ostara rite, we got to experience the ritual planning process in Druidry, which is both similar and different in many ways to the planning of a Wiccan ritual. In the case of our visit to the Kensington Beltane, we got to learn about the ways that family traditions come from different areas to celebrate a sabbat, which was less formal than the way we do things but also wonderfully joyous.

Many Pagans are interested in interfaith activities  which indeed are important for all our religious communities. But we can’t hope to be effective in interfaith work if we’ve not yet mastered intrafaith work. This harkens back to the line from the Charge of the Goddess that says “If you find not what you seek within yourself, you will never find it without.” So true.

Photo credits of Beltane with Kensington Park’s Beltane 2013: Michael Cabrera

063 - Copy 041 - Copy
032 - Copy 026 - Copy 014 - Copy