Pagan / New Age Articles

Autumn Moon Celebrates Pagan Pride

Harvest Altar
The Harvest Altar

Over 450 folks attended the 17th Annual Autumn Moon Festival / Pagan Pride Day that was held September 22, 2018 at Bayville Farms Park in Virginia Beach.  The festival celebrates the Autumnal Equinox, collects canned food for the Southeastern Virginia Food Bank, and raises awareness of Paganism as a religious path.  This year 1,066 pounds of food was collected for the Food Bank. Autumn Moon is sponsored by Mystic Moon of Norfolk. This event is part of a worldwide charity drive for the International Pagan Pride Project dedicated to promoting religious acceptance, tolerance and unity within our local communities. 

Every year the Autumn Moon Festival hosts speakers, vendors, and workshops from the local Pagan community.  The event typically features raffle drawings, drumming, dancers, and other entertainment.  There is also a main ritual celebrating Mabon, a Pagan harvest festival that takes place at the Autumnal Equinox.

Read more: Autumn Moon Celebrates Pagan Pride

Kindred Spirit Hosts Psychic Fair

Palm Readings by SamanthaKindred Spirit hosted a psychic fair this past Saturday, August 25, 2018.  Four readers were available for tarot and palm readings.  Readers included Alexandra Lyons (Lexy), Tonie Cooke, Angelina Emme, and Samantha Weaver.

Lyons is a High Priestess, spiritualist, teacher, and ritual bearer.  Cooke is creator of Wicked Ways, “a place for learning, healing, and following the old ways.” Emme is a Green witch who does Jungian based intuitive readings.  She is also co-creator of the Tabernacle Earth collective.  Weaver is a world renowned Bogwitch, Conjure-woman, speaker, author, and Vedic palm reader.

Read more: Kindred Spirit Hosts Psychic Fair

Aries Apothecary Returns to Norfolk

Stephanie Newsom
Stephanie Minjarez Newsom, owner of Aries Apothecary

Aries Apothecary recently moved from its old location in the Hunter’s Mill Shoppes on Virginia Beach Boulevard in Virginia Beach to the Riverview section of Norfolk.  Its new location is 3822 Granby Street in Norfolk.

Aries Apothecary is a local metaphysical store that sells herbs, stones and crystals, candles, essential oils, and all-natural soaps, among other offerings.  The shop also features books from local authors.  They offer consignments for local authors, artists, and craft persons.  Additionally, the store hosts various events including book launch parties, psychic fairs, and Pagan classes and rituals.

Read more: Aries Apothecary Returns to Norfolk

What is Druidry?

Ancient Druids
A depiction of ancient Druids from the Wikimedia Commons.

Druidism was the religious and scholarly path of the ancient Celts.  Druids were the priests, scholars, and advisors of the ancient Celtic world.  They studied for 20 years to become a full druid.  Other ranks included Bards who were storytellers and musicians and Ovates who devoted themselves to divination and healing. Unfortunately the ancient druids didn’t write anything down and committed all their beliefs and practices to memory and oral tradition, so most of what we know comes from secondary sources and conjecture.

Read more: What is Druidry?

What is Norse Paganism?

Freyr Statue
The Norse fertility god, Freyr, was said to have homosexual male priests who rang bells. Photo from the Wikimedia Commons.

Norse paganism includes Asatru, Heathenry, and Odinism among other related paths.   Norse pagans honor and worship the Norse gods and goddesses including Odin, Thor, and Freya.  The Norse gods and goddesses fall into two categories, the Aesir and the Vanir.  The Aesir are the principal pantheon and are typically war gods who live in Asgard. The Vanir are a group of gods associated with fertility, wisdom and the ability to see the future. Norse pagans also honor nature spirits (such as elves) and their ancestors. Most of what we know about these gods and goddesses and their mythologies comes from the Icelandic Prose and Poetic Edda’s and the Norse Sagas.

Read more: What is Norse Paganism?

TSC Men’s Group Builds Community

TSC Men's Group
TSC men's group. Left to Right: Zack Shackelford, Wayne Cadell, Sage Haver, and Brad Runyon

By Sage Haver.

The Tidewater Spirit Coalition men’s group "Shine On" campaign is nearing its end.  The goal of this project was to better illuminate Mystic Moon of Norfolk and to lower energy costs, as well as give them an update the community very much deserves.  We also wanted the project to serve as a beacon to help all respectful seekers find home.  The last work night for the project was held on Sunday, July 1, 2018.

We started with the initial budget of $1000 and have managed to stay on that budget - even with a few hiccups on the way.  The majority of the funding came from donations from the community through our GoFundMe campaign and also a few other fundraisers we hosted.

Read more: TSC Men’s Group Builds Community

Local Pagans and Druids Celebrate Summer Solstice

Wes Jolly
Wes Jolly, one of the Druids who presided over the ceremony

Three Branch River Grove ADF performed its annual Summer Solstice Ritual at Mystic Moon of Norfolk on June 23, 2018.  Druids Linda Sager Kazalski and Wes Jolly presided over the ceremony which celebrates the Summer Solstice, also known as Midsummer.  The Summer Solstice is the longest day and the shortest night of the year. 

As a solar observance, solar deities are often honored.  For this particular ritual, the goddess Brighid and the god Lugh were invoked and honored. Cornmeal, tobacco, birdseed, oil, silver, and other offerings were made to the deities, ancestors, nature spirits, and outdwellers. 

Read more: Local Pagans and Druids Celebrate Summer Solstice

Who are the Radical Faeries?

Harry Hay
Harry Hay in 1996. Photo by Faerichiee. From the Wikimedia Commons.

The Radical Faeries (also known as the Rad Fae) is an LGBTQ Pagan movement that came out of the 1970s.  In 1979, Harry Hay, his lover John Burnside, and a few others organized a spiritual conference that kicked off the Radical Faerie movement.  Harry Hay was also a co-founder of the 1950s Mattachine Society. This movement originally incorporated hippie, Neopagan, eco-friendly, and feminist ideals, but has since become so large and diverse as to be undefinable. 

Read more: Who are the Radical Faeries?

What is Wicca?

Pentagram
Photo by Mel Mystery.

Wicca is the most commonly known Pagan religion.  Usually the religion is called “Wicca” and most Wiccans practice spells and that practice is called “witchcraft.”  It’s basically good witchcraft.  Wiccans have a law called the “Wiccan Rede.”  The short version pretty much says “Do as you will, but harm none.”  They also believe that anything bad you do to anyone else will come back to you three times. They call this the “Law of Three.”  Wiccans worship a Goddess and a God.  They generally believe that all gods and goddesses from various cultures and mythologies are just different aspects of one ultimate Goddess and one ultimate God.  Wicca is generally considered a feminine religion. Modern Wiccans are more likely to focus on the Goddess than the God.  Some paths focus on the belief in male-female polarity, especially related to something called “the Great Rite.”  This Rite is basically the sexual union of male and female - whether practiced as a genuine sex act or symbolically.  In some circles there’s debate about how LGBT people fit into the whole polarity thing. LGBT folks tend to have both masculine and feminine polarities within, rather than being exclusively one or the other.

Read more: What is Wicca?

What is Paganism?

Rainbow PentagramIn its broadest sense, Paganism refers to any religious or spiritual belief system outside of the three Abrahamic religions – Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.  When referring to Paganism though, we generally exclude Hinduism, Buddhism, and other such large non-Christian religions because they are major religions in their own right.  New Age beliefs, while similar and sometimes overlapping with Pagan beliefs, are also usually considered separate. Some Pagans, particularly those who follow Norse practices, prefer to be called “Heathen.” The term “pagan” itself is comes from the Latin “paganus” which means “rustic” or “country dweller.” “Pagan” and “Heathen” have been used as derogatory terms by Christians from the early times of the Christian Roman Empire. This is probably because rural, country folk were more likely to hold onto their older religions and folk practices and less likely to be Christian than the urban, city dwellers of the time. Pagan religions tend to be polytheistic and nature based.  They also typically celebrate the cycles of the year including the solar solstices and equinoxes, four holidays between these solar observances, and the lunar cycles (usually full and new moons). 

Read more: What is Paganism?

13th Hour Sets on May Moon

Maypole Dance
The Maypole Dance

The 13th Annual May Moon Beltane Festival was held this past weekend, May 4-6, 2018 at the Williams Field at Mariner’s Museum Park.  What makes this year’s festival bittersweet is that this was the last May Moon to be held at this location.  The host of the festival, Mystic Moon of Norfolk, is seeking a new location for the festival for next year.  The very first May Moon was held at the park in 2006 and it has returned annually ever since.

Read more: 13th Hour Sets on May Moon

May Moon Beltane Festival is this Weekend

May Pole Dance
Sir Hex Nottingham leads the May Pole Dance in 2017

Mystic Moon of Norfolk is all set to hold their annual May Moon Festival this upcoming weekend, May 4-6, 2018.  The event will be held at Williams Field at the Mariner’s Museum Park in Newport News. The festival celebrates Beltane - one of eight Pagan sabbats (seasonal observances and festivals) that make up the Pagan Wheel of the Year.  Beltane is a celebration of spring, fertility, and sexuality. The festival coincides with May Day which is a secularized version of the holiday.

Read more: May Moon Beltane Festival is this Weekend

Lost Boys Find a Home

Lost Boys
Left to Right: Roger Scott, David Coffman, Charles Gnilka, Michael Vitale, and Eric Eldritch.

The weekend of March 23-25, 2018, Hampton Roads Pagan Men held its annual Brotherhood by the Bog men’s cabin retreat at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach.  This year’s theme was “Lost Boys and Neverlands: Creating Magickal Connections in a Mundane World.”  This year’s guest presenter was Eric Eldritch – a Radical Faerie, Urban Shaman, and Stone Circle Wicca Priest, who lives at the intersection of Sexuality and Spirituality.

Read more: Lost Boys Find a Home

Festival Season Advice

Camping

by Linda Sager Kazalski

It is officially festival and camp season again. I want to share some practical advice to make your festivals and campouts safe, comfortable, and fun.

My qualifications are these:

I have been to many festivals over the last 30 years or so.
I am a Girl Scout outdoor educator.
I was a Girl Scout and attained First Class, the highest rank possible at that time.
I am the daughter of an Eagle Scout.
I have been camping since I was a toddler.

Pace yourself. If you go full speed all the time, you will crash hard.

Get enough sleep. Expect to wake with the sun or shortly thereafter. Tents do not have blackout blinds.

Stay hydrated. Seriously. Drink LOTS of water, even if you are not thirsty. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

Bring sunscreen (50 SPF baby sunscreen works for face and body, so you do not need two products) and USE IT. REAPPLY OFTEN.

Read more: Festival Season Advice

May Moon Beltane Festival Held

Maypole Dance
Hex Nottingham and others participate in the May Pole Dance

Mystic Moon of Norfolk held their annual May Moon Festival this past weekend, May 5-7, 2017 at the Mariner’s Museum Park in Newport News.  The event celebrates Beltane - one of eight Pagan sabbats (seasonal observances and festivals) that make up the Pagan Wheel of the Year.  Beltane is a celebration of spring, fertility, and sexuality. The festival coincides with May Day which is a secularized version of the holiday.

Read more: May Moon Beltane Festival Held

Aries Apothecary Holds Grand Opening

Stephanie Newsom
Stephanie Newsom, owner of the shop, rings up a customer

Aries Apothecary held its grand opening at its new location this past Saturday, April 15, 2017.  The shop moved from the Norfolk Flea Market on Military Highway to Hunter’s Mill Shoppes on Virginia Beach Boulevard just across the Norfolk border into Virginia Beach. The apothecary has been in business for three years and opened its doors at the new location on January 16. 

Aries Apothecary sells herbs, stones and crystals, candles, essential oils, and all-natural soaps, among other offerings.  The shop also features books from local authors including Grace Gemini, Aurora Thornton, and Annaliese Harris.  They offer consignments for local authors, artists, and craft persons.

Read more: Aries Apothecary Holds Grand Opening

Scenes from the Mother Earth Spring Festival

Raven Moon

The Mother Earth Spring Festival was held this past Saturday, April 15, 2017, at Oyster Point in Newport News.  This is the first of what organizers plan to be an annual event. The event was hosted by Mother Earth Herbal Apothecary and featured a number of vendors, food trucks, and entertainers.  The festival celebrates the Earth and the coming of Spring.  Vendors included folks selling fresh produce, candles, essential oils, herbs, clothing, jewelry, and other items.  There was also henna and body painting, tarot readings, and inflatable slides and bounce houses for the kids.  Proceeds went to charity.

For additional information, please visit https://motherearthapothec.wixsite.com/2017springfestival or https://www.facebook.com/events/1819334058336537/

Read more: Scenes from the Mother Earth Spring Festival

Eastern Beach Kindred Hosts Ostara Ritual

Eastern Beach Kindred
Members of Eastern Beach Kindred

Eastern Beach Kindred hosted Mystic Moon’s Ostara Ritual this past Saturday, March 18, 2017.  Eastern Beach Kindred is a community of families in Hampton Roads who follow a path of Norse Paganism dedicated to the Northern Gods.  Besides rituals, the group teaches Norse lore and holds regular classes on Norse magic at Mystic Moon.  Ostara is one of eight Pagan sabbats (holy days) making up the Wheel of the Year.  Ostara is a celebration of the coming of spring. It is the pre-Christian “Easter” celebration and where all the rabbits and eggs come from. Ostara celebrations take place at or near the spring equinox.

Read more: Eastern Beach Kindred Hosts Ostara Ritual

The Green Man

The Green Man
Photo courtesy of Matrixwerx Photography.

Who’s that face watching from within the forest leaves and foliage? Perhaps it’s the Green Man.  The Green Man is in many ways the counterpart to Cernunnos.  Whereas Cernunnos symbolizes the wild and untamed animal nature of the forest, the Green Man is the embodiment of the wild and fertile vegetation of nature. The Green Man is often depicted as simply a face in the leaves.  Branches or vines might sprout from his nose, mouth, or other parts of his face.  They may even bear fruit or flowers. He may have leaves for hair or a leafy beard. The face is almost always male.  Green women are rare and green cats, lions, and demons are also found. Green Man carvings and sculptures are often found as part of the architecture of churches from the 11th century to the present day.  The Pagan-esque symbol of the Green Man in Christian Churches would seem to indicate the vitality of the Green Man and his ability to survive as a symbol of pre-Christian traditions despite the influence of Christianity, while at the same time co-existing with Christianity.

Read more: The Green Man

A Gathering of Men

Retreat attendees
Left to Right: David Coffman, Charles Gnilka, Tom Crockett, Roger Scott

This past weekend, March 10-12, 2017, a group of men gathered in a cabin at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach for a weekend of discovery.  The gathering included men straight and gay, mostly around middle age, and mostly Pagan.  The theme of the weekend was “The Hero’s Adventure” and the weekend was facilitated by Shaman, writer, and teacher Tom Crockett.

Crockett used pop culture icons to explain the archetypal masculine model of the hero’s journey.  The hero’s journey is a process where the hero receives some kind of call in his life to something greater.  If he answers the call, he goes through a journey where he is challenged by obstacles and given assistance along the way by allies and mentors.  Eventually he passes an ultimate test to prove what he’s learned along the way.  He then returns to his life with more knowledge, skills, and confidence than before.  He often brings back something that benefits his community – whether knowledge, defeating a common foe, or some magical tool.

Read more: A Gathering of Men

Grieving and Grievances over Green Tea

St. Patrick Effigy
Folks could pin their grievances on St. Patrick

On Sunday, March 12, 2017, Alison Jones hosted the “Grieving Man Green Tea” at Mystic Moon of Norfolk.  Despite the name, the event was actually lighthearted and jovial.  Everyone wore green.  A variety of teas, cookies, and sweet snacks were offered.

The event was mostly about the tea and socializing.  Folks were given the option to write grievances to St. Patrick and pin those on an effigy of the Saint.  The effigy and grievances will be burned at a later time.  For Pagans, burning grievances they’d like to banish or wishes they’d like to come true is a way of sending those messages to the spirit world. 

Read more: Grieving and Grievances over Green Tea

Spiritual Relics holds Psychic Fair

Goddess Oracle Reading
Sonya Phillips receives a Goddess Oracle Reading from Tonie Cooke

Spiritual Relics held a psychic fair this past Saturday, March 4, 2017.  Spiritual Relics is a relatively new metaphysical and spiritual supply shop located in the Larkspur Square Shopping Center on Princess Anne Road in Virginia Beach. The store offers a wide variety of gifts and supplies including herbs, oils, candles, incense, stones and crystals, jewellery handmade by local artists, pens and woodcrafts from local artisans, statues, tapestries, Viking supplies, locally made soaps, bath salts, and other items.  The shop is in the process of expanding its space to include a larger classroom, library, reading rooms, Reiki and energy healing rooms.

The fair drew a huge crowd with standing room only in the shop.  Three psychic readers offered tarot, angel, and tea leaf readings.  There was also a raffle.

Read more: Spiritual Relics holds Psychic Fair

What is Paganism?

Pentacle

In its broadest sense, Paganism refers to any religious or spiritual belief system outside of the three Abrahamic religions – Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.  When referring to Paganism though, we generally also exclude Hinduism, Buddhism, and other such large non-Christian religions. While these religions share some elements of Paganism (such as polytheism), they are major religions in their own right.  New Age beliefs, while similar and sometimes overlapping with Pagan beliefs, are also usually considered separate.  Some Pagans, particularly those who follow Norse practices, prefer to be called “Heathens.” The term “pagan” itself is comes from the Latin “paganus” which means “rustic” or “country dweller.” “Pagan” and “heathen” have been used as derogatory terms by Christians from the early times of the Christian Roman Empire. This is probably because the rural, country folk of the time were more likely to hold onto their older religious beliefs and folk practices and less likely to be Christian than the urban, city dwellers.

Pagan religions tend to be polytheistic and nature based.  They also typically celebrate the cycles of the year including the solar solstices and equinoxes, as well as the lunar cycles.  Pagans often honor nature spirits and their ancestors, too.  Paganism is generally very individualistic and many Pagans are “eclectic” drawing their practices and beliefs from a number of traditions.

Read more: What is Paganism?

Pagan Men’s Group Plans 2017 Activities

Leaders of the Hampton Roads Pagan Men’s group met on Saturday, January 28, 2017, to plan activities for the coming year.  While the group is aimed at Pagan men, no respectful seeker will be turned away from events regardless of gender, orientation, path or background.  Because everyone has such a busy schedule, the group decided to focus on a handful of “official” events for the year that the group hosts, and about a half dozen or so “unofficial” events that are hosted by someone else that members of the group attend.  The theme for this year is “Heroes.”

Read more: Pagan Men’s Group Plans 2017 Activities

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