Dreams Made Manifest

astrology, Events, Services
When you think of a “Mystery School” what comes to mind?

A common interpretation is “exclusivity”: a Hogwarts-style of admission that selects students based on how elite (or better) they are in one form of another. We, the facilitators of Starsdance Astrology online mystery school, do not consent to those minimizing and oppressive practices.

Mystery is NOT for the select, chosen few who are more destined for Wisdom, Right-Sized Pride and Power-From-Within than everyone else. Every single person living on this planet has the right to tapping into these energies, and if you want to be a part of our community: we want you with us.

This online mystery school is a collaborative effort. Tere and I have shared this dream for years, but this is the year that we have chosen to launch this grand experiment. We are not without help, though! Our team is growing before classes have even begun: Juniper Caldera as our spread-sheet wizard of a registrar and Cabra as our lightning-fast tech gremlin to guide all Discord n00bs. I am grateful to call these witches my cyber-circle that will help invoke this online academy of Queer Astrology.

We will be teaching five classes online during our first year, which will include: pages of our printer-friendly PDF workbook, at least one webinar per course, facilitated online discussion via Discord and limitless opportunities for introspection using this sacred science. You do not have to be an expert or even experienced in the realms of astrology or magic: just willing to explore, assess, learn and listen. We hope to reveal the complexity of astrology through simple, yet meaningful astrological concepts.

It is our intention to make this school as radically inclusive as possible. Our tuition options offers sliding scale prices as well as multiple tiers of involvement. If the prices that we have listed do not work for your budget, but you are still feeling called to join us in this deep, meaningful work: please contact our registrar at: starsdance.mysteryschool@gmail.com to discuss further options.

As astrologers, we know the risk of initiating registration during a retrograde. However, we feel that the refinement of our dream and spreading word of the Work that we have been doing for years. We do acknowledge and Respect the Will of Hermes (ie: Mercury) during this time of necessary pause, offering this prayer as we begin to collect our classroom:

“Hermes, be gentle with us as we are craft the beginning of a grand dream and experiment! May our efforts honor You and the other planetary godds who take such a curious interest in these human lives.”

Tere Parsley Starnes

The Art of Reclaiming

Events, Mundane Magic

It has been my experience that most (if not all) people have opinions about Valentines Day. To some, it’s a frantic search for a date and a gift: the pressure to perform when expectations are high. To others, it’s a spotlight on their loneliness or a ploy of Capitalist society to suckle the bank accounts of romantic souls. Whether reservations are made or heads are low, this day carries a charge.

Witches Know that energy is a real thing and use it for channeling purposes to produce desired results: the more potent the charge, the more dynamic the results. There are countless sources of energy, but a common one is holidays and it’s safe to say that there will be many people participating in various types of “ritual” today.

Reclaiming witches recognize and honor the power of names/sacred days/life on this planet that is often taken for granted. This is the reason we call ourselves “witches”: there is a charge to this word that ranges from “scary, old, green hag” to “wise woman with plant-knowledge” to “the devil who will rid your body of an unwanted child” to “a person that will do the forbidden.” We reclaim the word “witch” for it contains a rich legacy of Wisdom and doing what Must Be Done. In calling that word ours, we give back to it with our thoughts and actions: knowing that both are enriched by the energetic current also known as “meaning.”

I believe that we have the right to reclaim words from toxic roots, so long as we have true knowledge of the source, integrity supporting our intention of its use and full awareness of the communities that have been impacted by said word (and whether or not it’s ours to claim.) I also believe that Valentines Day is an opportunity to practice the Art of Reclaiming: from consumerism, from gas-lighting and guilt-trips, from sexual violence as well as from hopelessness.

This tradition began during the Roman Empire when marriage was banned by Emperor Claudius II because he believed it made soldiers reluctant to leave for battle. A priest known as Saint Valentine married couples in secret and was later put to death for violating this law, though the lore reveals that he valued empathy and connection more than domination and obedience… An act, some might say, of True Love.

A wise witch once said “Don’t deny the gift just because you don’t like the package it came in.” There is an allegory present in Valentines Day, and humans have been feeding energy into it for centuries. While there is use in creating new words and philosophies to represent something important, why not use something that is already available? Does Valentines Day (or a pre-planned, widely known occasion to dedicated to expressing Love) deserve to remain hijacked by consumer culture or a bitter attitude?

So today, I challenge the willing: tap into the currents of love in whatever way feels right to you. Maybe it’s choosing to cook a nice meal for a beloved. Maybe it’s being clear with an employer about what you need as an act of self-care. Maybe it’s scheduling time to have coffee with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Maybe it’s something that isn’t listed here, but feels right for this day. Regardless of what it is (as long as there is consent if another person is involved!) I hope everyone chooses to have a wonderful Valentines Day. I know that’s my intention.

ReclaimingPGH’s Summer Ritual and Community Meeting

Events, ReclaimingPGH

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WHAT: Reclaiming Pittsburgh’s Summer Ritual
WHEN:  Saturday, August 25th from 3:00 – 9:00pm
WHERE:  Schenley Park, Pittsburgh
COST:  Donation

Intention: ​“Celebrating abundance, we share the fruits of our labors.

Things to bring:
Yourself!
Locally available food (either prepared yourself, or store-bought)

PLEASE NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT BRING PEANUTS OR PEANUT PRODUCTS – WE HAVE A PARTICIPANT WITH AN AIRBORNE PEANUT ALLERGY. PLEASE DO NOT BRING SHELLFISH – WE HAVE A FACILITATOR WITH A SHELLFISH ALLERGY.

Blankets (if desired, to lay on the ground)
Charcoal/Lighter fluid (assuming a charcoal grill adjacent to shelter)
Things to grill
Condiments
Paper plates/napkins/cutlery
Drums/Maracas/Other Percussive Instruments

 

For more about this event, up-to-date information, and the address to the specific spot where the ritual will be held: https://tinyurl.com/rpgh-summer-ritual-2018

 

Saturdays in Point Bay

WHAT: Reclaiming Pittsburgh’s Summer Community Meeting
WHEN:  Sunday, August 26th from 1:00 – 4:00pm
WHERE:  Swissvale, Pittsburgh
COST:  Donation

Join us for our Summer 2018 Community Meeting where we check in with what has been buzzing around in the cells of ReclaimingPGH and talk about what’s on the mind’s of our local hive of witches!

Want to make sure something is on the agenda? Fill out the form: FORM CLOSED

Our agenda (view only)

We use community consensus practices for group decision, which prioritizes all voices, feelings and concerns of the group. For more about how consensus Process works,  click here. A helpful flow chart can be found below:

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We welcome all newcomers to our events! We would love to meet you and our Reclaiming Pittsburgh team is available to answer questions you have prior to either these events. Just send us a message   Hope to see everyone this weekend!

 

Justice for All

Mundane Magic

Resist. Speak up. No justice, no peace. Come together. Show up. Act now.

We witness our representatives continue to violate our fundamental right to live a decent life and exist as we are in the places we call home. We remember that historically, we have never been TRULY equal and things are only getting worse. We know that everything must change and we cannot wait any longer for it to happen. We take to the streets to demonstrate that we will not stand for intolerance or unjust treatment. We do it the best ways that we can at this point in history. We chant these mantras and more.

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This weekend marked the beginning of a mass revolt in the name of justice. Of all of the marches that were scheduled, I chose the one that supported our local efforts to end gentrification and embrace intersectional feminism. It was being lead by a diverse group of organizers that welcomed us all.

I prepared myself for an afternoon of fighting back. I crafted my sign, arranged to meet up with a friend and scheduled safety check-ins with loved ones. I was ready to add my energy toward a cause of resistance, but felt unsure and fearful of what was to come. We gathered. We waited. Our numbers grew and grew. And then our leaders began to reveal their way (and quite possibly the best way) of shifting our world toward universal acceptance and equality:

They initiated a ritual as a rebellion.

We watched the organizers call down their ancestors to join us. They built an altar to black femmes and remembered the lives that brought so much joy to the world. We watched as Yemaya was invoked: the great Mother of the sea in their tradition joined us in our work. Offerings of rum, tobacco and honey were made as we all chanted in Her honor. We listened to the personal stories of trans-people, immigrants, disabled people and queer people. We roared as we heard the echo of Truth flow like water from the mouth of an incredible spoken-word poet. They invited us to dance to their drums as we celebrated lifting each other up, instead of tearing others down.

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And when an elderly black woman from the neighborhood walked straight up to the speaker and demanded to know what we were doing, she was not silenced. She was acknowledged. We told her that we were all there to work toward making the world equal and better. She said that she had fought to save the apartments that still stood on the partially demolished ground under our feet. We told her that this rally was a part of continuing that work. We cheered and thanked her for coming forward as she smiled and told us that her arthritis was calling her back home.

Sure, we marched and make no mistake: it was a powerful statement. Local business owners came out of their shops to cheer us on while police politely directed traffic as we flooded the streets. Onlookers took photos. Drivers honked in solidarity. We walked side-by-side to show that we will not back down from creating necessary change. We protested, but we also celebrated culture, uniqueness and spirituality. I am incredibly grateful to have been a part of such an enormous, incredible movement.

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As I move forward with my community of passionate activists, I am recognizing that if we are going to demand that things be radically different, we must also choose to resist in a radically different way. The anger, sadness and full-spectrum of emotion we feel must be channeled in a way that unites us with our own personal depths. We need to allow ourselves to connect with the strife of our ancestors and ask for their advice as we shape the future. We must listen to the Gods and culture of all traditions to discover how we can live in peace, together. We need listen to each other’s stories and respect all of the diverse ways of living life.

It is only when we do these things, while also accepting that our neighbor’s methods may vary greatly from our own, that we can truly have Peace and Justice for All.

Sharing Experience

Mundane Magic

Recently, I have found myself being asked questions about witchcraft by curious, non-pagans more than usual. Sometimes it’s a late night conversation with a co-worker, other times it is a pre-planned lunch date with a priest who is genuinely interested and supportive of my spirituality. The most common topics have been about dreams, tarot cards, astrology, numerology and intuition, but it feels like what I am really being asked is “what is the right way to experience these things?”

This is where I believe some people think my religion falls flat. There is no copyrighted text that reveals all secrets to those willing to seek them out or guru that will tell them for sure the way our Universe works. Witchcraft is an experiential spiritual practice and every single person’s experience varies. So while I will admit that I love rambling on about anything that has to do with the occult (and I keep my soapbox shined and ready JUST in case it’s needed) it doesn’t feel particularly helpful to fill in the hazy spaces of someone else’s mystery.

It can be nice to have something to relate to though, and that’s where I feel my perspective is useful. If I am asked “what is magic?” I can think back to the times where I felt magic and begin to share personal experiences that someone who doesn’t chant at an altar or cast a circle before driving can identify with. So how might I explain magic through my experiences in 2016?

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In the spring and summer, I felt so many things poking and growing inside of me… and this gestation was incredibly uncomfortable. While I have never carried a human child in my womb, my center has definitely served as fertile ground for potential. I know the magical feeling of being filled with something big that has yet to exist in this world. I have been a storehouse for things that I had a role in creating and taken responsibility for bringing them to life with zero guarantees of what they will become. This pregnancy of sorts required patience, inner-listening and a willingness to allow the wee cherub to take shape without trying so hard to control it’s growth.

So like any mother that Knows something big is coming, but has NO idea what it is… I asked myself questions that were more stressing than reassuring: What is it? How can I plan for this? Do I need to be doing more than I’m doing? Can I trust that what will come out of me has a purpose? What if it destroys everything I have created up until this point? Am I ready for a responsibility of this magnitude? Just waiting and wondering until the delivery…

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The catalyst that burst me wide open was initiated by deep personal Work I did at workshopswitchcamp, and rituals over the past few months. These special events served as opportunities for me to take a break from daily life to ask my soul some difficult questions in safe, supportive communities. The ironic part about this process is that my questions were met with even MORE questions, but somehow lead the way to the answer I was looking for…. Questions that sounded something like this: What is the consequence of desire? ✴ In this world, what work is mine? ✴ Will you allow your passion to inform your wisdom? ✴ What is your gift to the world? ✴ What will you do with the responsibility of knowing that there will never be another human being just like you ever again? ✴

The whole process magically inspired me to take ownership of the things I already know, but have yet to claim as Truth. It was the act of lighting my spirit on fire with fresh energy and solid conviction.

When I allowed myself to own my Truth, it set off a switch somewhere in The Universe. It was as if this shift of consciousness translated into the things around me clicking right into place. It felt ridiculous, laughable and almost too-perfect… like an over-the-top romantic comedy where everyone but the main characters foresee the ending.

This magic makes itself known to me as a sudden realization that all the pieces that feel separate are actually connected. Those things that happened earlier? That feeling? The idea that popped into my head a few times then faded to the background? It all lead to a gift that is more stunning than I could have imagined or made all by myself…. Yet I know that I had a role in making it a reality. It’s what lead to late hours, a jam-packed schedule of joy and exhausted hands that clack on this very keyboard.

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This year’s energy is now asking me to take action and I am finding myself in peak creation mode. Every hour that I have available is being used to manifest my ideas and work towards making my deep desire a sustainable reality. It’s the effort that doesn’t feel like work; I am giving birth to the favorite parts of myself and the source is endless. I will continue to do this until I am gifted another clue that will alert me that it’s time for the next step. This magic is faith that whatever comes next is an opportunity to level up.

My experiences have helped me to understand that practicing magic is a choice to train one’s eyes, ears and heart to recognize one’s Work as it presents itself. As much as I wish that The Universe would just scrawl my destiny in a book on sale for $19.99, I have found It’s messages to be etched on the walls of my soul. Somehow though, I have found this to be the most worthy text of life guidance I have ever ✴read✴ and each new paragraph is even better than the last.