Spring Fling Spirit Fair

Events, Tarot

WHEN:  Sunday, April 7th from 11:00am – 5:00pm
WHERE: Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

Stems of the season are beginning to sprout, but what blossoms are yet to come? As the energy of spring begins to generate fresh life, it can be a great time to check in with Goals. Desires. Intentions. Direction. Join Journeys of Life (and me, Aurora) for their final Spring Fling Spirit Fair!

From the event page on Facebook:

“It’s that time of year – time for Journeys Spring Fling Spirit Fair! A day of tarot, palmistry, I Ching, intuitives, mediumship and more! RSVP to this page to stay up to date on all the details – we’ll be updating it with confirmed readers, vendors, services and more!

Amoret is not able to participate in the fair. However, we are excited to welcome Aurora. She is a talented tarot reader with a strong astrology background! You can learn more about Aurora on her website: aurorathewitch.com

For an up to date list of services and vendors, please visit the Spirit Fair event page on Facebook

Elements of Magic: The Art of Alchemy

Events, ReclaimingPGH

Mainstream society has become intrigued by witchcraft in recent years. The increase of popularity in crystals, spells, and books on the Craft are signs that we as a collective are ready for a more personalized spirituality. The choice to create change made empowered practitioners is important now more than ever in this time of social upheaval and climate change, but how does one start? Where can the curious discover what they believe and what works for them in the realm of witchcraft? Who are the witches doing this Work with integrity and without ego-driven agendas?

While there are many varied answers to these questions, my answer is: right here in Pittsburgh, this January for Elements of Magic: The Art of Alchemy workshop!

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These three fun, knowledgeable, experienced witches of Reclaiming Pittsburgh will host a beginner- friendly weekend intensive that reveals how Reclaiming priestesses do magic. All levels of experience are welcome, as the framework allows space for newer witches to learn the basics and experienced witches of Reclaiming and other traditions to bring fresh life to their own personal practices.

From the event description:

Elements of Magic is a Reclaiming core class that explores the elemental Pentacle through a Reclaiming ritual structure. We will use art and ritual to discover and begin a personal transformative experience with tools often used in the Reclaiming tradition such as visualization, sensing energy movement, divination, music, trance, creating magical space, and ritual design. This class is experiential in nature.

The cost of this event is a sliding scale of $100 to $200, to be chosen by each participant without question or judgement from facilitators. There are also two “work -study” positions available where those who are not able to pay the minimum amount on the scale may attend the workshop as long as they are willing to help facilitators maintain the space during the weekend. A reduced fee is also available for people of color and/or indigenous people our of respect for minorities.

Space is limited and the deadline to register is quickly approaching on December 30th. To find out more information about this event, visit the Facebook event page. Will you join them in nourishing the foundations of a magical practice?

 

Naming Transformation

Mundane Magic, Updates

I have changed. Four and a half years of deeply personal, magical work has crested to become a wave of change that I cannot reverse. It signifies both an end and a beginning. In my tradition, we call it: Initiation.

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What is it?

Initiation is a sacred contract with the Universe: a declaration that one is willing to sacrifice their comfort and perception of the worlds as they know them. These things are handed over to carefully chosen initiators and The Powers That Be in exchange for deep Wisdom and a customized journey to one’s own source of Personal Power. This is done so that these witches can be reborn and give back what is needed in the world in their own unique, authentic way. It is done knowing that this evolutionary Work is never finished and serves as a commitment to being challenged to change over and over again in this lifetime and the next.

In the Reclaiming tradition, initiation is not a requirement. Many witches who attend our rituals and have their own daily practices are not initiated; contentment can be found in maintaining one’s own spiritual hygiene through Reclaiming’s Principles of Unity and connecting with others in our communities. It is not a badge of honor that shows superiority or a “deeper dedication” to Reclaiming, but a personal choice that one makes on their own if they feel Called to it.

Why I chose Initiation:

My desire for initiation came in the form of a wish: to love myself and be proud of my life. It arose during a time where I felt lost… where the choices I was making were unhealthy and everything felt disastrously unmanageable. I could not have fully understood what I was in for at the time when I asked to be initiated. All that I Knew was that deep transformation was necessary and that Reclaiming witchcraft was the way that I felt it needed to happen so that my Soul could be truly revived.

Choosing initiators:

My experience of choosing initiators was a two-fold task of vulnerability. First, I needed to find the witches that possess the qualities that I aspired to have within myself. Then, I had to ask them for their consent and help in shifting my energy so that I could become empowered and, in turn, a spiritual leader.

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I chose two bold, powerful people who still intrigue, bewilder and deeply move me.

Independently, they are two enchanting women who call themselves witches: an oracular rose within a patch of briar and a weaver of bones that reveals deep Truth. Together, they are a facilitation team that compassionately revealed to me What Must Be Done. I admired their integrity, active resistance to codependency, ability to be fully present with others and balance of self-care with community service.

They began as my guides. Now, they are my family and I am eternally grateful.

Doing the Work:

Transformation requires a willingness to grow: and growth is often painful.

In order to shift my energy toward that of a priestess, my initiators gave me challenges to address problematic behavior, ignite awareness through first-hand experiences and directly confront my fears . Some challenges required repetition to incorporate magical Will power into my daily habits. Others challenged me to break out of my comfort zone. For me, this Work meant investigating the root of my wounds, choosing which relationships to nourish and serving my communities with humility.

What made this process so unique for me was that I was not always directly told to do these things. I was just told to cast a circle every day for a month, shovel snow for my neighbors without being asked, and make very conscious choices about physical intimacy. It was performing these tasks of growth that allowed for experimentation with support and coming to my own realizations about why they were so necessary in my Becoming.

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The contract for initiation is at least one year and a day. For some (myself included) it takes much longer. A revolution-from-within does not come with it’s own egg timer: time, trust and commitment eventually reveal when a priestess is ready to become initiated.

Initiation Day:

Initiation rituals are secret Workings and vary per line of witches. What I will say about this very special day that happened on the 4th of August, 2018 is that: I felt completely supported. I was fully present. The transformative energy was incredibly potent, yet tender the entire day. And I will never, ever forget it.

This experience was a Rite of Passage that signified the end of my life as I knew it. It was also the birth of a priestess with a new legacy riddled with it’s own challenges to be experienced and fulfilled. This transition becomes official when this priestess accepts her new name and says goodbye to the old one that no longer suits her or her Work.

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It is with great pride and honor that I reveal:

Vasalisa is dead,
and
Aurora has been born.

✸ ✸ ✸

The other side:

In the weeks after my initiation into the Bone and Briar line, I can say that things feel very different. I am in the process of reassessing what still feels important in my life. I am also realigning my priorities and discovering how I may best be of service in all of my communities. I don’t have clear answers about a lot of these things so far, but one thing that I can say for sure is that nothing feels certain…. which is intimidating, confusing, thrilling, and empowering.

My Work now:

Vasalisa ventured into the darkness to find her light. It was that brave adventure which caused her to become the light: bringing the dawn, with it’s brightness and magnificent color, back to the place where she once lived. I can’t say that I fully understand the magnitude of what it means to Be the light, but I know that Aurora is here to stay for now and very excited to meet you.

ReclaimingPGH’s Spring Ritual

Events

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Join us, the witches of ReclaimingPGH, on Saturday, May 12th from 6:30 – 9:00pm in Swissvale area of Pittsburgh, PA for our Spring Ritual!

Our intention: “Like flowers, we unfold and nourish community.”

ReclaimingPGH is the Pittsburgh chapter of Reclaiming witchcraft. For the 2018 cycle, our local community voted to explore the theme of bees during our four seasonal rituals scheduled for this year. The Ritual Planning Cell of ReclaimingPGH has come together to brainstorm, organize and facilitate this evening of nourishing magic.

We are calling to all those who would like to experience a pagan ritual done Reclaiming-style to join us!

What can you expect from a Reclaiming ritual?

Our sacred gatherings are opportunities for introspection, self-discovery, shifting energy and cultivating a deep connection with others. Reclaiming Rituals are: Ecstatic (high energy that is pleasurable), Improvisational (without a script and spontaneous), an Ensemble (non-hierarchical where many witches share roles to make magic like music), Inspired (discovering and celebrating new ways to experience the sacred in our world today) and Organic (embracing the wild nature of energy that is alive and ever-changing.) For more information about Reclaiming style rituals, see A Working Definition of Reclaiming by Starhawk.

We believe that everyone that shows up is a vital part of the magic created by the group and strive to be radically inclusive. This is not ritual theater: you will be invited to participate as you feel called! Please bring a fresh flower/s for the altar, a water bottle, and a snack for sharing (no shellfish or peanut products: severe allergies).

For up to date information about this event and request the address of the venue, please visit the ReclaimingPGH Spring Ritual event page on Facebook.

 

Archetypes and Mysteries: An Introductory Tarot Course

Events, Tarot

TO POST Tarot Class FB header

I am thrilled to announce that I will be co-teaching an introductory tarot course with Amoret BriarRose in Pittsburgh this May through June! I have received numerous inquiries about whether or a workshop would be offered for those who are completely new to tarot or looking to deepen their understanding the archetypes present in the striking images of the Rider Waite Smith deck. If this sounds like you, scroll on to read more and register! Space is very limited.

“72 cards open the realm of the Archetypes. 72 cards hold a myriad of Mysteries.
Step onto the Fool’s path and unlock the wisdom of the tarot.

Over 6 Sundays you will:

– learn traditional meanings of the tarot cards while working with
Major and Minor Arcana energies

– participate in energy work, trance, and other activities to activate
intuitive wisdom in relationship with tarot archetypes

– participate in practice readings

Prerequisites:

– an open mind

– a Rider Waite tarot deck (decks will be available for purchase at
Arts & Crafts Botanica)

– ability to attend all classes as scheduled

*Tuition: We offer a fixed sliding scale of $150 – $270. You decide where you fall on the scale.* A $50 deposit is required to reserve your space at the time of registration; full payment is required by April 23, 2018.

To register: https://tinyurl.com/TarotCourseRegistration
Facebook event: https://tinyurl.com/TarotCourseFacebookEvent

Registration closes on April 23, 2018.

*A sliding scale is meant to accommodate varying income levels while assuring that teachers and facilitators receive fair compensation for their work. If the bottom of the scale is financially out of reach and you would like to attend the class, please contact Vasalisa to discuss work study options.”

Witches Crafting Justice for J20 Protestors

Events

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“On January 20th, 200+ protesters were mass-arrested, detained, and now face 6 decades in prison. Their cell phones were confiscated and searched, their homes were raided, and their social media data was seized.”Defend J20 Resistance

ReclaimingPGH‘s Activism Cell will be hosting an evening of witchCrafting lavender relaxation pillows for the next round of detained protestors who will be headed to trial on March 26th. These pillows will be sent as magical support for those in need of some stress-relief and solidarity during this time.

We will be accepting the following donations:
★ Microwave safe thread
★ Rice/lentils/flax
★ Sewing needles
★ Flannel
★ Money for postage
★ Bodies and hands of the willing to help make them!

This event will be held at a private residence on March 17th from 5:00pm – 8:00pm. If you are unable to sew, feel free to attend and add some supportive energy to this act of magical social justice! If you are unable to commit to staying for this event, feel free to drop off and contributions during this time.

A private message will be sent out closer to the event date with the location of this event, which will be held in the Garfield area of Pittsburgh. Please visit ReclaimingPGH’s event page for updates!

Casting Signs: Online Moon Magic Class

Events

NEWIG advertisement for Casting Signs

Casting Signs: A Magical Online Course following the Moon through the Zodiac

Our intention for this course: Understanding the frame of the zodiac and the phases of the Moon, we anchor our journeys and our magic in the natural cycles of the year and the month.

A Witch pays attention. A Witch works with natural cycles and crafts Magic in relationship to the Earth. Witches have always had a natural affinity with the Moon. The Moon is core to our Magic. The Moon guides the way into magical and spiritual relationship with life.

This online course provides the opportunity to pay attention and form deeper relationship to Earth and Sky through following the Moon through two lunar cycles. The first cycle, we pay attention to each sign of the zodiac as the Moon moves through that sign for 2 ½ days. The following lunar cycle we will set intention and be guided by the Moon as our intention evolves through the wisdom provided by the 8 phases of the Moon.

Through these practices, participants will acquire a deeper understanding of the framework of the zodiac and the power of the lunar cycle for setting and manifesting intention. Magic requires intention. Intention requires action. Astrology’s framework helps us to align our actions with the energy present in the moment. Guided by the Moon we become aware of deeper patterns in our souls and deeper desires for our journeys. This framework helps us become part of the web of interconnection.
We join with rather than fight against the things life offers us.

As a participant you will receive:

Twelve documents timed to arrive via email to you when the Moon enters a new sign. Each document will give you an overview of the sign—both the gifts and challenges—and questions to help guide you in noticing how the Moon moves through that sign.

In the second month, you will receive 8 documents with information about each lunar phase and ways to explore your intention through the frame of the Moon cycle.

A place to share insights and ask questions through a private Facebook group.

Three opportunities to connect via online conferencing to ritualize our intentions and practices and to set the magic for the two months of learning and magic.

DEADLINE FOR REGISTRATION: March 20. Register here: https://tinyurl.com/castingsignsregistration


Teacher Bios:
TERI PARSLEY STARNES. Witchcraft and astrology found their way to me at the same time. It was the mid-80s and my recent involvement with feminist, Earth-based spirituality led me to my first astrology class. I wanted to know what astrology could teach me about the elements: air, fire, water, and earth. As it turns out, there was a lot that astrology could teach about the elements and a lot more too, like observing and engaging with natural cycles and intentionally working with energy for personal growth and magic. I practice an astrology that stays connected to the Earth and to our power to choose and influence reality. Magic has been defined in many ways. For me, magic is accepting that it matters what I choose and that my choices influence the web of connection that shapes worlds. Magic is consciously engaging with this connection. It is about relationship.

My study and fascination with astrology led me to becoming a professional astrologer in 1996. I love talking to people about their lives through the language of astrology. Every single consultation reminds me of the wonder that the sky holds. I don’t even know why astrology works but I continue to be delighted when it does. Astrology connects us to deeper meaning. It is an amazing tool of self-reflection. I consult with clients, teach astrology and magic, and write about the Moon’s cycles. You can find my lunar-based forecast, Follow the Moon, on my website at www.starsdanceastrology.com and on my Starsdance Astrology Facebook page.

I am excited to be working with Vasalisa on this class. We hope to create a container that will help participants deepen knowledge, be an opportunity to practice mindful attention, and increase our skills at following magical intention.

VASALISA THE WITCH. I am a methodical witch that is driven by a fierce love of knowledge. I believe that communication is the key to connection, which I embody as a writer and professional tarot reader. As resident at the Arts and Crafts Botanica, I empower my clients to talk about the challenges that are presenting themselves without judgement. Our conversation serves as a bridge between deep wisdom and conscious awareness: every idea an adventure. I also value unique self-expression, embracing the bizarre and the beautiful through my work as a custom jewelry maker, photographer and Reclaiming witchcamp ritualist. Six years of tarot study and a daily magical practice have taught me a great deal about myself, but it is astrology that has given me the language to put it into words.

My field of experience is in Evolutionary Astrology, a discipline that pairs well with witchcraft. Natal Charts contextualize one’s personal journey and development: coupled with the witch’s personal will, intent and responsibility, Natal Charts can be potent maps for transformation. I owe my gratitude to Steven Forrest and Teri Parsley Starnes for their guidance in helping create my astrological foundations.

It is my honor as a teacher to help students personalize their magic so that every day becomes a ritual. For up to date information about my workshops, classes and ReclaimingPGH’s magical happenings, visit my website: www.vasalisathewitch.com/events

Taking Action

Events, Mundane Magic, Tarot

It has been over one year since my last post and I find myself in a state of reflection. 2017 was a time of great transition: uprooting myself and moving twice; serving as a ritualist for a Reclaiming witchcamp; beginning an apprenticeship with a seasoned astrologer; adopting a kitten and shifting my daily life to embrace deep levels of intimacy with another person. Sure blog posts could have been written that narrated this journey of new magic in the mundane (and trust me, it was there) but these were things that I felt oddly compelled to keep to myself. I chose not to over analyze my experiences, remaining as present as possible as everything unfolded.

However there is something calling to be shared about where I have been, where I am now and what is coming to be. The story that connects the ends of that bridge happened last summer during a festival where I was offering tarot services to the public.

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Doing this outside of pagan circles is always interesting as society tends to associate this work with fantasy movies and phonies declaring when your doorbell will ring next. Most people came and went, likely more excited about the fire juggler nearby, except for two visitors passing through whose eyes I caught.

It was an aunt and her niece who was about seven years old. When they slowly made their way over to my table, I assumed that it was the older woman who was interested in some advice to pair with the drink in her hand. I was stunned to watch her bend down to the girl and ask, “do you want to talk to her about your dad?” As the three of us chatted I was told that recently her father had passed on and a tarot-witch might be someone who she could talk to about death. The young one, seemingly unfazed by her question, plopped herself in the seat across from me. The aunt promised she would be nearby (allowing for some privacy) and told us that we should let her know when the reading was finished.

Normally, I do not perform readings for anyone under the age of 18. However, my agreement with the event organizer was to spend just ten minutes with each individual that was interested and willing to donate some funds, plus I had the consent of her caretaker. So I handed the deck over to be mixed and prepared to do some deep listening. When it finally came time to ask the tarot-witch a question, I found myself delightfully surprised:

“Are fairies real?”

This charmed me for two very specific reasons. First, I had just returned from co-facilitating SpiralHeart‘s annual witchcamp where we Worked the Ballad of Tam Lin: a myth of love between human and fae (so I certainly had some opinions.) Second, this kid chose not to do what her aunt had suggested. She did what made most sense to her: she asked the witch about magic.

We both decided that we knew fairies were real, but that finding them could be tricky. So we consulted the deck about where and how they could be found. The Empress arose and we learned that being creative was a signal for them to join her. The Nine of Cups revealed to us that making wishes was a good idea. We pulled another and she just kept smiling: likely satisfied that a grown up confirmed something she Knew to be true. She politely said thank you before she walked off with her aunt and I was left alone with a feeling of pure love swelling in my heart.

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As months have passed and I witness the world today, I have been wondering how our interaction will serve that girl in the future (or if she will remember it at all.) We are living in a time of national trauma. The news cycle reminds us daily of how our leaders are betraying us. Kids are murdering each other in the hallways with military-grade guns. Storms due to climate change are devastating entire communities. Healthcare is denied to those in poverty and we are regularly taunted by the threat of nuclear war. Hopelessness has become a disease that seems to be swallowing the vitality of so many people.

What about the next generation? What do they have to work towards and dream into being? How will they relate to or use magic? Will they be able to find it amidst everything else demanding their attention?

I recently read that witchcraft was originally gifted to the poor from the Gods as a way for them to fight back against the oppression of unjust rulers. This idea has me thinking back to spells I have done, difficult conversations I have had and choices I have made among friends that have empowered me and created change in my surrounding community. I would not have these memories if it was not for what I have read about witchcraft, the lessons of priestesses, refining my magical skills and connecting with those who are willing to stand up for what they believe in. I am grateful every day that I found the witches’ road. I know that it is my responsibility to give back to those who are doing their best to find the same path towards right-sized pride and power-from-within.

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This is the year I break out of my comfort zone. This is the year that I initiate alliances and create opportunities for others to learn. This is the year that I say yes and take action. This is the year that the gifts that have been given to me must move; because there is a generation on the rise that desperately needs guidance and support. Faeries, magic and immanence need to be acknowledged by humans so that our Work together may be strengthened.

Brave leadership is required or else those being told they “have no power” and “resisting does not matter” will actually begin to believe those lies.

I am scheduling events online and in-person this year with other witches from around the world: offering them to everyone who is willing to do the Work. I am also nurturing a local community of Reclaiming witches in Pittsburgh, PA with other priestesses so that our city will be resilient amidst conflict, empowered to speak up, willing to demand better and welcoming to all.

Stay tuned and take action, because now may be your time too.