My apologies for the missing newsletters. It has been a very hard time here. I was accepted into graduate school, and started in January. I am taking a Master’s and Doctoral program for Counseling Psychology. It will take a while, but I have set my new career direction.
I have an article about setting up a Denver Community Network in this newsletter, and Greyhart has comments on that network and some of the reaction we have received to the idea. We also have several other articles to enjoy this month.
February's Open Full Moon Ritual, on Friday, February 14, will be presented by Cathi, Christine, & Cecelia. We will be talking about the creation myth and doing some related energy and reclaiming work. We encourage everyone to bring pillows if at all possible to sit on.
Thanks and a Tip of the Hat to Jade Dance and the drummers who led us gracefully in December in celebration of the Yule season and a nearly full Moon. Approaching the coming beginnings of both a moon cycle and the sun cycle, we contemplated the potentiality of an acorn, and the potential within ourselves. We raised joyful energy through rhythm and dance to use for magic in our lives. Let the magic begin!
At the dawn of this new year, I would like to "tip my hat" to all of you who participate in Hearthstone's Open Full Moons. You bring your spirits and your hearts, your focus and your families and friends. Hearthstone is warm, creative, and spiritually meaningful because of you!
A "church" is not a building, or a board of directors. A church lives only because people choose to share their energies and spirits. Because of you, Hearthstone is alive and well and beautiful! Thank you. Bright blessings in the new year!
Thanks and a Tip of the Hat to Damien Fletcher who led about 80 people in celebration of the Wolf Moon in January. We experienced a solemn and beautiful casting, and were reminded that we all share the Circle together as one body, no one lesser than another. Damien challenged us to think of what experiences in life we have learned from. Thank you, Damien, for this quiet and thoughtful ritual, appropriate for a dark winter night. Blessed Be to all.
We have determined that our break-even point is about $4 per person.
We aren’t going to start collecting at the door, and no one will be turned away for not having a donation. However, we would like to suggest a donation of 4 to 7 dollars per person. (The extra is to cover the pagans that are unable to donate.) If you can’t afford it, you are still welcome – if you can afford more, we’d be delighted to accept it.
NOTE: Hearthstone is a church and your donations to Hearthstone are tax deductible. If you would like to write a check so you can keep track of your donations, we can certainly handle that as well.
Thank you to everyone who has helped the Food Bank stay in business. We do have a few areas that need some replenishing. Thank you in advance for any help you may be able to give. Remember, if you do not want to do the shopping, you may donate cash at the front counter at Wings (44th and Lowell in West Denver). The donated money will be used to buy items that are needed.
These are the items/areas we need:
Items not really needed:
Again, thank you for any help that you supply to keep the Food Bank up and running.
Caretaker of the Food Bank
Over the past year I’ve been trying to change my diet and eat a healthier way. I’ve eliminated most meat, added soy products, cut far down on caffeine, and in general tried to lighten up what I put on my plate.
This morning I believe I achieved the ultimate in strange things. My breakfast smelled like a health food restaurant. From the grapefruit segments to the sautéed spiced tofu crumble to the marinated smoky tempeh strip to the 100 percent whole wheat toast spread with safflower margarine and the cup of decaf, it was nearly a complete reversal of my standard weekend breakfast a year ago. The fact that I skipped my daily bowl of oatmeal gave me a moment’s pause as I considered what price I’d pay for my outlaw naughtiness, but otherwise I think it was a pretty healthy menu.
It wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t eggs with bacon and butter smeared toast. I no longer miss the jolt of my morning caffeine but I do have some fond memories of it. The grapefruit is something I’ve always enjoyed but I used to eat a whole one as a snack.
There’s a coffee bar I go into every once in a while that serves a non-fat soy decaf latte with sugar free flavoring. The name of this drink is the “Why Bother?” I understand it’s quite popular. And I confess I do go with a decaf low fat unflavored latte most times I visit the place. The trouble is, it still lacks the luxurious flavor and texture (if any coffee drink can be said to have texture) of a full fat flavored latte made with fully caffeinated espresso.
I’ve decided that next week, in honor of Valentines Day, I’m going to indulge myself in a real breakfast. I’m talking scrambled eggs, biscuits and sausage gravy, a sour cream coffee cake and a cup of the real thing: full caffeine French roast coffee with cream and sugar. The following weekend I’ll eat the healthy stuff again. For next week, here’s the coffee cake recipe I’m planning to use.
Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream or stiff yogurt and vanilla. Slowly mix in dry ingredients that have been mixed together. Spoon half the batter into tube or Bundt pan, cover with half of the topping and repeat.
Bake at 350° for 55 minutes.
Call for volunteers for Community Council Network
Several years ago, Dragonfest used a "Priestess Council" when there was a problem outside the normal scope of Dragonfest. At some point, that method fell out of favor, although it still is used from time to time.
We (Greyhart and Alia), have been discussing this, and thought there was some good to the system. After much discussion, we have decided to attempt to create and formalize a "Denver Community Council Network." This network will be used for future issues should such things arise.
Our first step is to find people willing to serve on the network. This is a volunteer position. Ideally, we would have a fairly large list of people, and anyone on that list would be able to call together a group from the list should the need arise. We hope that such a need would be infrequent.
If you are interested in being on this network, please contact either of us with your contact information and any skills you have that might be useful. We also have further information if you wish to know more about the network.
—Alia and Greyhart
Why Do We Need Them?
I am constantly amazed at the ideas I find espoused by our Community. At least, I’m amazed at the ideas that couldn’t have been well thought out. One of these ideas is that as Witches, Wiccans, and Pagans, we should not place structure or restriction of any type upon ourselves.
Usually the argument follows that our Spiritual Path is personal, and as such, no one can tell another that what they are doing in their Path is wrong, as long as it harms none. The problem is that by qualifying it with “as long as it harms none” you have just placed a restriction.
Most Witches and Wiccans I know are vehemently opposed to any type of authority over their personal Path, or that of the Community. Yet if they practice within a Coven, they have placed themselves under authority. The High Priest and/or Priestess is that authority. The High Priest and High Priestess determine the structure of the Coven. It is hypocrisy to believe otherwise.
Even if a particular Coven has no recognized leaders who head the Coven, there is a Priest and Priestess usually in charge of any ritual. We as a Community have deluded ourselves that we need no structured authority, yet we use it in every ritual. What is Ritual, if not structure?
Even Solitary Witches follow the structure of Ritual. When we gather for an Open Ritual, there are rules of Circle Etiquette that we are all expected to follow. The Wiccan Rede, ‘an it harm none, do what thou wilt,’ is structure. You may do anything you like, as long as it harms none.
If you cast a spell, you cast in structure. Repeating a phrase, or the entire spell three times, is structure. Not casting a spell when the Moon is Void of Course is structure. Doing attraction Magick during the Waxing Moon, and banishing Magick during the Waning Moon, is structure. Celebrating the Sabbats is structure. Unless you celebrate Beltane in December, or some other Sabbat at a time that is not conventional, you are using the structure of tradition.
Structure of Ritual are the rules of our religion. We as a Community have tried to tell ourselves that we do not need structure. It is time that we grow up and realize that not only do we as a Community need structure and rules, we already have them! It is also time that we realized that our Community has grown beyond the ability of a few individuals to guide. Anyone who has been to Dragonfest in the past five years can see the truth of this.
When Dragonfest grew from 300 people to 700, the Staff had to find new ways to structure the festival so that things didn’t get out of hand. When it was 300 people, everyone knew what was expected, at 700, that was no longer the case. It took a few years to develop a system that worked. Now that the system has evolved, Dragonfest has grown to 1000 without trouble.
When I first found the Denver Pagan Community, there were roughly three sets of Priests and Priestesses who everyone looked to, as leaders of the Community. Those times are long behind us, and those Priests and Priestesses have gone on to become Elders of the Community. It is now up to our generation to lead this Community into the future, before we too grow into Elders.
It is time that those of us who others now look to as leaders, step forward and lead our Community with a single united voice. I am not advocating that everyone agree on everything. That would be impossible. What I am advocating is a council for making decisions that affect the Community as a whole. The Council has no permanent members, but is made up of volunteers from around our Community.
This Council would be called together if any Priest or Priestess among those volunteering were presented with an issue that they felt required a more Community wide solution. What sorts of issues would these be? Such a Council could be used to determine if the behavior of a person or group is inappropriate in our Community, and if so, suggest that such people not be welcomed to future Open Events. If not, such a Council could dispel rumors of inappropriate behavior. Such a Council could be used as a resource by our Community at large, to find Priests or Priestesses who perform specific services such as handfastings, counseling, prison outreach, or a myriad of other clergy services.
What I suggest is not an elite group that hands down edicts from some ivory tower, but a group of known and respected Priests and Priestesses from within our Community, who come together to help guide our Community. The only power such a Council has, is that of suggestion. Because the Council would be picked from a relatively large pool of volunteers, it would not be a few “power hungry” people trying to “run the show”, it would be members of the Community suggesting what they feel is in the best interests of the Community.
The Council would be a way for Priests and Priestesses to serve their Community. A large pool of names would make the possibility of the same people comprising each Council remote. It would also help ensure that each Council when called, would be made of Priests and Priestesses who have no personal stake in the issue discussed.
Such a Council would be a way to add structure to our Community without the loss of individual freedom. This is a unique form of self-governance, since it uses an ever-changing group of people to determine how our Community evolves. Our Community is at a point where it requires some sort of structure. Without it, the Community will surely collapse in upon itself. There are just too many of us to continue the way we have. Our Community must grow and evolve.
This is a request to give energy to the positive collective consciousness of humanity in this country.
I propose that every week at 7pm(mst) on Wednesday evenings for where ever we are in the world, to spend 1 to 30mins, whatever time you have to give, to pray, meditate, send Reiki, send healing, send magick, or whatever name you call it by toward the empowerment of individuals to rise up together to stand against the onslaught of rights being taken away from all of us by this current government leadership. We must awaken people from their apathy and blind eyes.
We must be the Light in the Darkness…
P.S. Suggestion for visualization, Seeing the United States from Space, seeing Millions of little tiny black dots representing the sleepers (people who are apathetic, don’t care, don’t want to know, who are ignorant, who have been fooled, who are brainwashed into being right winged, etc.) visualizing sparkling white dust of enlightenment and compassion all over those dots. Seeing the dust melt like snow into the dots and watching it transform the dots into white light. Then watching the dots merge together into a giant heart of white light. Seeing the giant heart scrub the blackness out of DC…until it is clean again.
This is only a suggestion, just send energy with the intent of helping the situation and the universe can use it to help those who need it most. Thank you in advance for this endeavor.
If you have something to say, and are willing to let Alia edit it slightly, (generally for grammar – I have the soul of an English teacher) please feel free to submit your writing. Content will not be edited. We can usually make room for more voices.
Please note that information and opinions contained in the articles in this newsletter are the responsibility of the authors only. No endorsement by Hearthstone Community Church, Inc. is implied.
All writings are copyright to their respective authors. Please obtain permission before reprinting anything here with the exception of the Open Full Moon Dates. Those may be copied and transmitted as needed.
August 15 (changed from the 8th)
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