Summer Celebrations – Find Yours Today!

Hello My Dear Friends!

Now that the Summer Solstice has come (Blessed, though late Midsummer or Litha to you and yours!) it is time for festivals, frivolity, and fun! What better way to get out of the house, enjoy the outdoors, be among like-minded people, and find new treasures or tools – than to go to a new festival? Or an old favorite? I know the Renaissance Festival back in my home state is one of the few places I could readily find the herbs and incense I needed as I started down my own path… So don’t knock it ’til you try it!

This week, I would like to post a list of festivals going on around the Midwest. Please note – this is not a comprehensive list. If there is one you feel strongly about, and would like to add it, please use the comments section to do so 🙂 I would love some input! But I encourage each of you to get out to at least one festival this summer/fall to feed your soul and have some fun!

For a more comprehensive list of festivals happening all over the US and globally, please visit the Witches Voice Event Page or your local metaphysical shop.

So here we go, here are some festivals going on around this Midwest this summer and into the fall:

ILLINOIS

World of Faeries Festival – August 5 & 6 @ Vasa Park in South Elgin

Admission is $11 for Adults ($1 off if you order online); $8 for Seniors 65+; Children 12 and under FREE

Illinois Renaissance Festival – Labor Day Weekend @ Ellsworth Park in Danville

Admission is $10 for Adults; $5 for Seniors 65 +; $5 for Children ages 6-12; Children under 5 are FREE

Triskele Trade & Craft Show – October 14 @ the Universalist Unitarian Church in Joliet

A fundraiser for the Church and its Pagan Group Treibh na Tintean

I do not see any information on their site regarding an admission fee. However, some fundraiser craft shows I have attended are $3-$5 at the door to get in… So please plan accordingly.

INDIANA

34th Annual Wild Magick Gathering – Sept 14-17 @ Lothlorien Nature Sanctuary in Bedford

Day Pass Admission is $20 per person; since this is at a Nature Sanctuary overnight camping is allowed for $25 a person – please take your trash home with you!

Haunted Harvest – Oct 13-15 @ Our Haven Nature Sanctuary in French Lick

This is a fundraiser camp out event – registration must be done online

Admission is $50 for Adults; $25 for Youth ages 13-17; Children under the age of 13 are FREE

Witches Ball – Oct 20-22 @ Lothlorien Nature Sanctuary in Bedford

Admission is $20 per person for full event (overnight camping) or $10 per person for Saturday only – no camping

IOWA:

Lammas Fest 2017 – July 28-30 in Washington, Iowa

Registration online only before the event – pricing depends on if you plan to camp, eat the food available, want a festival t-shirt, etc.

Southeast Iowa Pagan Fest – August 19 @ Dankwardt Park in Burlington

Instead of an admission fee the festival is asking for donations of items for Des Moines County Animal Shelter: food (dry or wet), blankets, towels, cleaning supplies, etc.

Unfortunately the Iowa Renaissance Festival has come and gone – May 27-29 & June 3-4

KANSAS

Kansas Renaissance Festival – Saturdays & Sundays Sept 2 – Oct 15 including Labor Day & Columbus Day in Bonner Springs

Admission is $21.95 for Adults at the gate – $18.95 online; $19.50 for Seniors 65+; $19.50 for Students; $12.95 for Children ages 5-12 at the gate – $10.50 online

Kansas does not offer a lot of festivals it seems. However, if you are in the Lawrence area or want to make the journey – every Wednesday @ Java Break in Lawrence is the Nine Roses Witches Moot. For more information please contact Kerry via the Witches Voice email page: HERE

KENTUCKY (though not technically considered part of the Midwest it’s close enough)

Second Annual Ohio Valley Witches Ball – Oct 21 in Newport

Admission is $20 a person – event is for ages 18 years or older.

MICHIGAN

Detroit Conjure and Folk Magick Festival – August 12 @ Hazel Park

General Admission is FREE but if you want to take part in certain workshops/classes you must pay to play

Michigan Renaissance Festival – weekends & Labor Day August 19 – Oct 1 in Holly

General Admission $19.95 for Adults; $11.50 for Children

I have attended this festival, and I recommend ordering your tickets online so you don’t have to wait so long with the masses!

MINNESOTA

Pagan Pride Mankato – Sept 16 in Mankato

This festival is still in the works, they have not posted their admission fees/donations fees as of writing this entry.

Minnesota Renaissance Festival – weekends Aug 19-Oct 1 including Labor Day in Shakopee

General Admission is $20.95 for Adults; $12.50 for Children 5-12 years of age

MISSOURI

Mid-Missouri Pagan Pride Day – Sept 17 @ Peace Park in Columbia

Can’t seem to find much info on their admissions fee / donation fees – I will keep looking and post back if I find something.

Central Missouri Renaissance Festival – Oct 21 & 22 in Kingdom City

General Admission is $12.00 for Adults at the gate – $10.00 online; C$6.00 for hildren ages 6-12; Children ages 5 and under are FREE

Discounts are given for patrons with valid Military, EMS, or State Employee ID – $8.00 tickets

Any donations of a non-perishable food item to help the Fulton Soup Kitchen will result in a discount of $1 per item up to two items.

NORTH DAKOTA

Sorry friends… No festivals are scheduled in this particular state. If you know of anything going on in North Dakota, please leave a comment or email me so that we can get the word out!

OHIO

Ohio Renaissance Festival – weekends Sept 2-Oct 29 including Labor Day @ Renaissance Park in Waynesville

General Admission is $22.50 (single day) for Adults at the gate – $19.50 online + fee; $20.50 for Seniors 65+; $20.50 for Military/Police/Fire/EMS with ID; $9.50 for Children ages 5-12 – $8.50 online 

2017 Dayton Pagan Pride Day – Sept 16 in Dayton

Admission is FREE with a donation of one or more non-perishable food items

SOUTH DAKOTA

Sorry friends… No festivals are scheduled in this particular state. We missed the Siouxland Renaissance Festival which was June 10 & 11. If you know of anything going on in South Dakota, please leave a comment or email me so that we can get the word out!

WISCONSIN

2017 Earth Conclave – July 21-24 @ Wyalusing State Park in Wisconsin

Pricing is $120-$235 depending on your level of involvement

Fellowship of Alternative Belief’s 2017 Mabon / Pagan Pride Festival – Sept 17 in Milwaukee

Admission is FREE

And lastly, even though this is NOT in the Midwest… I want to make sure to mention Mystic South in Atlanta, Georiga.  This is the first year for this particular event.

Admission is $125 for the full weekend ($100 if you register before July 19) or $50 for a one day pass.

Beyond the above listed, there are many states and towns which offer weekly meet ups, classes, etc. to help you get in touch with others who have the same interests and tastes in life.

Again, if you know of any happenings that I have not mentioned or is not listed on the Witches Voice page, please please please let me know about it!

Now get out there have some good festival fun, and let me know how it goes! Someday SidheSidhe and I will get to them all 🙂

With Love and Light,

Iona

Tarot, Tarot, Tarot your boat

Good day friends!

I’d like to take this opportunity today to talk a bit about tarot. Tarot isn’t specifically for those of Pagan faiths, so if you don’t identify you can definitely still read tarot! My experience so far is that many Pagans utilize methods of divination, so felt it would benefit everyone if I wrote a bit about it. I don’t want to bore you with the history of tarot, you can find loads of information about that elsewhere. I just want to give you some beginners information and share my own decks with you.

You many already be familiar with the Rider-Waite deck, which was created in 1910 and has since influenced a number of other tarot decks. If not, check out this site that provides pictures and meanings of each card. It’s definitely a helpful reference if you’re just beginning and want to become more familiar with those cards, but for me tarot isn’t so cut and dry. The images play a large part in my own interpretations and how I read for myself and others. For example, if I draw a card and an artist has illustrated a red bird I am going to immediately think of my grandmother and ancestors. That is a personal connection for me. Others might just view a red bird as a red bird and some may even connect it to a sports team. All of those are correct and will help you interpret what the cards are attempting to communicate with you.

Some avid tarot readers may disagree with me, some may conclude that tarot has strict rules and must be read a specific way. I try to follow my intuition, while also respecting the meanings behind the four suits and Major Arcana. I believe that tarot is a gateway to communicate with those no longer on this plane as well as a magical way to gain insight into our everyday lives. 

My advice is to get to know your deck by pulling a single card daily, if possible, and write down what you see and how that card makes you feel. It will take time and practice, so don’t give up if you try a reading and are confused. Look back on your notes; I’m sure that the card will reveal relevance. When finished, some people choose to ‘cleanse’ their deck. This usually is some kind of ritual/habit and can vary greatly from simply shuffling the deck a few times, to completely putting the deck back in order or sitting the deck in the sunlight. Do whatever you like that makes your deck feel rejuvenated and ready for another reading. 

While I’ve linked a few different sites that specifically educate about the tarot, please let me know if you have any questions. You can reach us either in the comments or send us a private email at Midwestwitches@gmail.com. We are happy to help you on your own magical tarot-reading journey!

And now for a glimpse into my tarot decks:

51-ggxqalhl-_sx405_bo1204203200_ 

This is my newest addition to my tarot deck collection. I’m a huge fan of Ciro Marchetti‘s artwork and own not only the Tarot of Dreams deck, but many others. The Gilded Tarot deck was my very first deck and is usually my go-to deck for quick readings due to my familiarity. I also own his Lenormand deck and his Oracle of Visions deck. While I don’t read as often with the two latter decks, I love their artwork and occasionally they call to me just like my other decks do.

 

519qvxmqezl-_sx377_bo1204203200_

 

I own a couple other Oracle decks in addition to the one by Marchetti. The one pictured is called Messenger Oracle by Ravynne Phelan. As I have a deep connection with owls this deck grabbed my attention immediately and has proven itself more than worthy time and again.

I also own the World Animal Dreaming Oracle Cards by Scott Alexander King. This is a brilliantly colorful deck illustrated by Karen Branchflower. If you haven’t noticed yet, the artwork is typically what draws me to purchase a deck.

 

51nxfipc5cl-_sx340_bo1204203200_  51wnanxcb3l-_sy443_bo1204203200_  51j7l2bipwpl-_sx305_bo1204203200_

The remaining decks I own are magical in their own ways. When I was considering learning to read runes I purchased The Power of the Runes by Voenix to help bridge the gaps in my understanding. The Raven’s Prophecy Tarot is a deck based off of one of my favorite fictional series and was a gift from someone dear to me. I purchased The Rider Tarot Deck Miniature Edition as a travel companion for when I am not at home but feel compelled to do a reading.

Happy reading!

SidheSidhe

 

 

Not By One Path Alone

My Dear Friends,

                If there is one thing you need to know about me it is this… I fully believe that when it comes to religion, we are all correct. No matter what you believe. Whether you are Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Pagan, Jewish, Muslim, etc. whatever you believe – you are right. Why do you ask? Because we are all talking about the same thing. God, Allah, Odin, Zeus, Hera, Rhiannon, Hekate, Kali – we are all referencing the same Source Energy. We are just calling it by whatever name or names resonate with us most, bringing us the closest to that Energy, which gives us comfort. There is nothing wrong with that! And even though I fully believe this; I too reference the Source Energy by the names of the Gods of my ancestors because it helps me feel connected.

                Now, I told you that, to tell you this… One of my very best friends is a Christian. She practices a sect of Christianity that takes its traditions straight from the time of Jesus’ life. What does that mean? Well, she and her fellow worshipers do not celebrate any holidays stolen from Pagan religions as a means to force conversion of those people into the Church. Which, speaking as a Pagan, I appreciate! She does not celebrate Christmas, but she does honor Yule; she does not celebrate Easter, she honors Passover. Which is where this story begins.

                During Passover, my bestie posted a picture on her social media of some homemade Matzo that she whipped up (do you whip up Matzo? I don’t know…) for her Passover ritual. She recently moved across the country to start a new career, and was feeling rather alone. Finding joy, and comfort in her beliefs; she posted the picture to share with her friends what she was up to, and wish others well at this Passover time. What a nice thing to do, right? Sadly, not everyone is as accepting as we, and she got roasted alive by someone from our forgotten past… A person claiming to be a God-fearing Catholic went after her, telling her she was damned for bastardizing the One True Faith, and assuring her that she was going to Hell. Understandably, she was rather shaken, and upset. To her mind, she didn’t do anything wrong. Why was she going to Hell? Well, we discussed this at length after the incident, and I am here to tell you what I told her – you are not going to Hell, because no one is going to Hell.

                As we’ve discussed, one of the things I am very passionate about is furthering my skills as a medium. As part of that work, I have done a lot of reading on the afterlife. Please hear me when I say, Heaven and Hell are one in the same. There is no fire and brimstone, and there are no pearly gates. Souls leave the physical body, and transcend to another dimension. A dimension of light (ok, some would argue that is Heaven, but let me finish!). A dimension of healing, peace, and continued learning.  Yes, my friends, learning. Once you are done with this life, it does not mean you are done learning life lessons. Your soul continues its education, continues to grow, and develop to ascend into a higher level of existence. Sorry Graduates! Class is still in session!

                Now, wait a minute. Am I telling you that baddies like Hitler and Rasputin died, and still got to go into the light? Well, unless they are a ghost hanging around somewhere, I say yes. Granted, their souls may have been put in time out in Tartarus for a decade or so… Just for dramatic effect… (I’m kidding!)  But, yes, they too went into the light. The only difference in experience for them is that instead of sitting in class with the others, their souls are receiving personal tutoring from the Guardians or Light Beings. These special sessions will help them learn from their transgressions here on Earth and help them heal that pain, fear, or anger before their next go round.  Also, their class will be in session a lot longer than say my great grandmother’s whose worst offense was having a drink too many on New Year’s Eve. The souls of criminals, tyrants, suicides, and other offenders are not just going to be sent back like everyone else for their next set of lessons, as they have a lot more developing to do first.

                Am I so sure? Well, before I even read about Guardians or Light Beings… I was visited by my fiancés grandfather, who took his own life when my father-in-law was just a boy. While he spoke to me, I became aware that he was not alone. Standing on either side of him, like body guards, were beings made entirely of bright white light. The only features I could make out where a humanoid shape but much taller, much larger. When I asked him who they were, he just shrugged and said, “my teachers.” He was not afraid of them, but seemed to be receiving comfort from their presence, and they dictated when it was time to end the conversation. A week or so later, when I started reading the chapter about these Light Beings in You are a Medium by Sherrie Dillard (yes I’ve mentioned this book before) – I almost dropped my reading in surprise. The description of the beings is exactly what I saw. Cue the Twilight Zone music!

                So if there is one thing you take away from today’s little chat, let it be that you are right. I am right. The person who bags your groceries is right. And because we are all correct, nobody should be telling anyone else that they are wrong. I understand that some religions thrive on proselytizing. However, the next time you find yourself about to argue with someone of another faith just remember this:

“There are hundreds of paths up the mountain, all leading to the same place. So it doesn’t matter which path you take. The only person wasting time is the one who runs around the mountain, telling everyone that her or his path is wrong.” – Based on a Hindu Proverb

   We are all destined for enlightenment. How long it takes us to get there, and which path our souls take is neither here nor there.  In the end – we all go into the Light.

 

With Love and some of that beautiful Light,

Iona

Are You a Good Witch or a Bad Witch?

Hello Dear Friends,

                When Dorothy first lands in Oz, Galinda asks  “are you a good witch or a bad witch?” Dorothy is shocked, and replies “I’m not a witch at all!” Whether you are new to Paganism, or a long time practitioner – this question will be asked (perhaps even by you) at some point. And, it is a question that you must answer for yourself.

                Being Pagan does not necessarily make you a witch. While there are some, for whom, this term still holds negative connotations. There are others, such as we, who have decided to embrace the label in an attempt to eradicate the stigma that History has placed.

                So what does it mean to be a Pagan? What does it mean to be a Witch? Well the term Paganism is defined as “an umbrella term that describes a variety of denominations – known to Pagans as traditions – which for the most part organize themselves and operate without a centralized religious body or standardized dogma.” (pg. 1 of Paganism An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions by Joyce and River Higginbotham.) To be a Pagan, is to be a follower of one of these non-indoctrinated traditions.

                Being Pagan is very individualized. The deities that one chooses to honor, the mystical beings one is called to work with, the tools one adopts into their practice – all of these things, and more, are specific to the practitioner. For instance, Iona is an eclectic pagan, who honors both Celtic and Greek deities, and works with Dragons. SidheSidhe is an eclectic pagan, who honors Welsh and Norse deities, and works with faery folk. We are both Pagan, but we work very differently in the Pagan tradition. And we’re both Witches.

                To be a witch, one probably (hopefully) practices Witchcraft… Seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? Witchcraft is not necessarily how it is described by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary online: the practice of magic, especially black magic; the use of spells and invocation of spirits; communication with the devil or with a familiar. (SidheSidhe intends to write a vulgar letter to M-WD letting them know how grossly incorrect their definition is, just FYI).  As two working witches, we define witchcraft as the practice of magick (yes with a k) through various means such as spell casting, fashioning potions, divination, etc. Let it be known there are differing opinions on the notions of black, white and/or grey magick, even amongst the contributors of this blog.

                As previously mentioned, we the Midwest Witches, use our powers for good and not for evil! Just kidding that’s not the point… But really we do! We have adopted the label “witch” because it is a word that encompasses our practices as Pagans, and gives us a sense of empowerment. That is not to say that you have to be a witch to be a Pagan, or be a Pagan to be a witch. That is a label that can only be ascribed to a person, by that person. Don’t ever let somebody call you something you are not comfortable with. Period. Some people will tell you that only those that practice Wicca can be called a Witch. However, we don’t believe that. Paganism is such a unique, and beautiful, universally accessible religion, that if you want to identify as a Witch, then by all means – go for it!

                So, there we have it. Are you a good witch or a bad witch? Are you a witch at all? Only you can choose. But deciding between being a good witch or a bad witch, is all about intention. A topic we will certainly cover, at length, quite soon.

With love and light,

The Midwest Witches

UPDATE: A Meditation on Meditation

Hello Dear Friends!

Normally, I would not post this early in the week… But I just finished the most wonderful podcast episode on the topic of Meditation, and I just had to share!

The podcast is called psychicteachers hosted by Deb Bowen and Samantha Fey

If you are not familiar with this show – it is fantastic! Deb is a practicing Pagan, and Samantha is a practicing Catholic. They cover all matter of topics from their two differing perspectives, and it is as entertaining as it is informative! SidheSidhe is hooked on this show too 🙂

In their episode from May 28, 2017 titled “Meditation Magic” – they discuss various forms of meditation; offer suggestions for reading materials, youtube channels, CDs, etc. for anyone interested in getting started in mediation, or going further in their practice. What I love is how these two lovelies discuss what works for them, and what doesn’t. Which is great considering the ups and downs we all can have in trying to meditate (my challenge isn’t going well BTW… life just keeps interrupting as does my snooze button… but I’m not giving up!).

So the next time you are on iTunes, give them a listen: psychicteachers. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

With Love and Light,

Iona

Pagan Portals the Morrigan by Morgan Daimler

23206317

What a fantastically appropriate title for this informational book, The Morrigan: Meeting the Great Queens! If you know anything about The Morrigan, then you already know that the title of ‘Morrigan’ can cover a number of goddesses, all of which are great queens of their domains. And if you don’t know that, and you have interest in this ‘dark’ goddess, then this book was written just for you.

Morgan Daimler stuffed this short piece to the brim with academic information and personal experiences, making it a definite go-to reference book if you wish to know anything about The Morrigan. However, if you crave more details about The Morrigan the author does lay out recommendations and cites her sources for further reading. Daimler has written a number of books relating to other Pagan topics that seem interesting and already have many positive reviews on other sites. She is definitely an author worth further exploration.

Pagan Portals is more of a series title than a working title, and consists not only of books written on other gods and goddesses (Celtic and Greek), but also about topics such as path-working, fairy witchcraft, astrological herbs, hoodoo, and many, many more. This series is published through Moon Books, which is a company that specifically caters to Paganism and Shamanism according to their website. From just browsing titles on their site you can find almost anything you may be interested to learn more about.

Reviewed by SidheSidhe