Pagan Authors and America’s Class System

Pagan Authors and America’s Class System
Money and Hierarchy in Today’s Paganism

Warning: I am standing on a soapbox.

Recently, someone with whom I’d been conversing on Google+ for a few weeks was surprised to realize I was an author and she owned one of my books.

It might seem odd that her surprise surprised me. I asked why she was surprised. I don’t know if my question seemed ingenuous and pretentious. She kindly responded that she does not run into authors. Ah, of course! I understand.

The thing is: I get out of touch with stupid consensus realities, so forgot it is unusual for a best selling author to be available, acting just like a community member. That’s why I didn’t initially understand her surprise.

But as long as big name Pagan authors are hard to be in contact with, they help create a class system in our community.

Before going into that, here are examples of how our American class system plays out in Paganism, for context.

There are a lot of people with money in Paganism. Nothing wrong with money, but I’ve encountered many wealthy Pagans who refused to say hi to me, let alone speak with me. They blatantly snubbed me.

Check this out: some of them, including big name authors, snubbed me until they found out I had major media access—e.g., scripted a segment for a Barbara Walters show—then acted like I was their best friend. One of them even gave me family tradition material! Ugh! What a fake!

Another example: I met someone at a Pagan conference who later became my student. She eventually told me I’d been the only one at the conference who’d said hello to her. This happened at a “spiritual” conference? What a joke!

There are many reasons people get ignored at spiritual conferences. But class is often one of them. Some people’s excuse is they are too busy. At the conference where no one said hello to the woman who became my student, I was scheduled to give two presentations, one concert, etc etc. “Too busy,” in the case of some moneyed people, translates into “too busy focusing on my own selfish needs and those of my elite group.”

One last example: I don’t expect conference staff to always stop to talk. They may have so many responsibilities that they need to move at a lightening pace, zooming past people in order to get to the next responsibility. But I was stunned that the staff at a major Pagan conference couldn’t even smile at participants as they ran past them. That seemed less busy and more self-important.

So I tried an experiment to see if I was right or if perhaps they were just a very shy group or something: I let it “slip” that I had just done a televised ritual for a quarter of a million people. Suddenly all the self-important people had smiles for me. They became utterly gracious. Not good!

Okay, back to author accessibility. Discussing it necessitates highlighting some of media’s dark aspects, so I want it clear that I’m very grateful to be in the media. Not many people get that chance, especially women raised without money like me. But I need to talk about the darker sides to give a whole picture.

The world of corporate media promises hopefuls that success in publishing, acting, etc makes one part of an elite that enjoys money, prestige, and a pedestal all of your own to climb on. As a women who grew up without much money, I hoped for more than I had as a kid, but I refuse to get it by joining in a class system. I’ve paid dearly for that decision—slandered by colleagues, constantly plagiarized, and worse. It seems if you won’t join in being an oppressor, they’re going to do everything they can to oppress you, lest you blow the lid off things and reveal their true nature.

One of my editors was shocked I put my phone number in my books. A marketing consultant told me that international authors do not teach small groups like I do. But I believe spiritual teachers should be accessible.

There’s a game you’re supposed to play. The game’s a trap. It eventually stifles your creativity and innovation, until your work becomes a pale imitation of your earlier creations. Stifled innovation allows a class system to thrive; otherwise, authentic dialogue and inspiring art might nurture social change.

I’m grateful for media access, and I hope I use it wisely. I have tremendous admiration for people in the media who stick to their guns in terms of the content they produce. I know how hard it is for them to do it. Being in the media is not the bed of roses portrayed by the powers-that-be.

The upper echelons want you to think media life is inevitably easy. They hope this lie will make you jealous of your blue-collar friend who worked their butt off to get a foot in the door of an upper class scene. Why? So you will not have your friend’s back when push comes to shove.

The powers-that-be have another reason to convince you life in the media is innately easy. They’re trying to cover up the actual facts: if you’re in the media and refuse to play the elite class game, it’s beyond rough going. As I said, you get slandered and otherwise trashed—sometimes to point of financial destitution and psychological devastation.

Is it worth it? I can only answer for myself. I get tremendous satisfaction from expressing myself. Also, I chose to become a public figure because the Goddess asked me to. It’s always worth doing what my Gods ask, whether I see how it pans out for me at the time or not.

There is money to be made. There’s nothing wrong with that. Legitimate, caring shamans, whether Native American or Celtic, charged for their services in ancient times. But if money is made through supporting our class system, Paganism oppresses us like the huge religious and spiritual groups that many Pagans left to be free of oppression.

Oddly enough, being accessible makes people suspicious of me sometimes. For example, when slander about me was making the rounds about 13 years ago, someone I was mildly acquainted with asked me what the true story was. I didn’t want to get into “He said,” … “She said,” because that seemed like going around in circles.

So I responded, “Come on over the house, hang out with me. Do ritual with me. Then decide for yourself what you think about me.”

LOL, the woman thought I invited her in hopes of stealing magical secrets from her—secrets that I was actually the author of myself, although she did not know it!

Good grief!

I’m not suggesting public figures be without boundaries. You cannot survive the public arena without them.

For example, a lot of people try to use me as a scapegoat. They think I have media access because I’m “one of them,”—e.g., someone not as deep as them or who has not faced as many challenges as they have. After all, how could I have accomplished all I have, if I’d faced tremendous challenges? Poppycock! Yes, challenges can defeat us, but too many assumptions are made about people in media. Whatever shadow projection someone wants to use as a punching bag, it can do terrible things when projected onto someone. That someone, after all, is a real live human being, with all the vulnerabilities of a human.

Another example: Between death threats, nut cases, and the sheer quantity of well-intended but intrusive readers, I’m protective of my home address.

Sometimes people who love my work almost force themselves on me as a best friend, not realizing they’re being discourteous, pushy, and perhaps outright scary. So home address aside, I have to make boundaries.

I also have to take care because my work is controversial; I’ve been picketed by so-called Christians, and I can tell you, it is terrifying to sit in a wheelchair, physically defenseless, while a bunch of people led by a man dragging a 10 foot cross think you’re evil.

When my dad died, I learned the importance of a private phone number, instead of using my private phone for business.

At his passing, I felt like I’d been hit in the head by a two-by-four. I could barely speak and needed support from friends. But I couldn’t pick up the phone when it rang, because if the person on the other end was a stranger asking about my shamanic services, I was so emotionally overwhelmed by dad’s death that I couldn’t even explain I wasn’t in good enough shape to discuss work.

Yet I needed to answer the phone, in case friends called, because they might not have left any messages—it’s daunting to leave messages when somebody’s died. This was before Caller ID, so I had no way of knowing who called unless I answered the phone. So I was isolated when I was in great need.

But none of these are reasons to be completely unavailable.

Ok, I will get down off my soapbox now.

I first posted this essay in 2016 on http://witchesandpagans.com/

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Holy Sweaty Joy

RosesTwineHoly Sweaty Joy—
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Fun, ethical classes. I limit enrollment. No impersonal, glib teachings. Receive personal attention.

Holy Sweaty Joy contains core Third Road teachings and is a prerequisite for advanced Third Road Shamanic Training.

Nuts and bolts:
* We meet in teleseminars (group phone meetings). To participate, just dial the phone.
* Class meets seven consecutive Thursdays, from 6 to 7 p.m. EST, starting Thurs June 14.
* Reserve Thurs Aug 2, same time, for a makeup class in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned sessions.
* Total enrollment is $250. Your carrier might charge you for the call; charges appear on your phone bill. The event’s area code is a U.S. #.
* If you’ve taken this class before, repeat it at half-price.
* Click here to enroll.
* Upon receipt of payment, your place is reserved, and event phone #, etc., emailed to you. If you need more info, or want to discuss scholarship, trade, or payment plan, call 814-337-2490. No refunds.

RoseLineA bit about me as a teacher:
* When I teach orally, I’m embedded within a family oral tradition I entered in infancy, learning magic con leche.
* Holy Sweaty Joy is not training you could get from a book.
* I thoughtfully channel curriculums, constructing lessons over time. This tunes us into enormous, subtle powers. Holy Sweaty Joy is not a jumble of undigested white-bread ideas declared, “Voila, genuine Pagan stuff!” 🙂 Instead, I committed my lifestyle to developing counterculture material for you.
* I received full-time longterm shamanic training. It was not academic but an experiential training of skill sets. That focused study allowed me into the heart of reality, in trance 24-7, channeling worthwhile lessons, for seven years.
* For decades since, my Gods asked me to trance only part of the day, to ground me. Feet more on the ground than ever, I continue to explore our magical yet earthy cosmos, and channel new material for earth-based mysticism classes, because resting on my laurels would be no fun. I like fun.

Magic is transformative fun that does the job when all else fails. Click here to enroll.

Be a Goddess Master Class

A Six-Week Shamanic Training:
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Open to all
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Feeling powerless? This class will change that.

Already have plenty of power? Rock on! And if you’re not achieving everything you want, take the next step.

You only need one of the following prerequisites:
* completion of the first 12 lessons in my book Be a Goddess!
* completion of first 8 lessons in my book Goddess Initiation
* one of the entry-level classes in the Mystic Rose branch of Third Road

Students need both books on hand during class, for reference purposes. You only need to have read what was required to fulfill one of the above prerequisites.

Been a long time since you’ve read the book you used? That doesn’t matter.

Click here to enroll in the Be a Goddess Master Class.

FaerieRlmWetWPnk99Many readers say Be a Goddess! and/or Goddess Initiation empower them still, even after decades. I’m humbled by their words.

You may be working on different things now, internally and externally, than when you first used one or both of those books. And you’re a different person now.

And my work is tried and true. Build on your past achievements with it to meet your current needs. Here’s how we’ll do that in the Be a Goddess Master Class:

PastelSqThe books’ magic has unpublished facets that are more advanced. They can meet who you are now, in whatever circumstances you’re in now. I’ll teach you that material. The tools you know will acquire a deeper layer of power, which you can apply to your current situations.

You also learn new techniques. Having one of the prerequisites gives you a shamanic foundation, so we can immediately dive into ultra-focused lessons between the worlds. The benefits? Sky’s the limit! I’ll show you how to apply tools from the books—as well as the new tools I teach you!—for whatever you need: prosperity, creativity, or anything else.

Traditional shamanic lessons include individualized attention, which tailors the training to you. Both beginners and adepts love this class. Make real headway in your goals.

Every meeting includes direct spiritual transmissions that increase your magical and mundane abilities to take control of your life.

Also, you receive the following benefits. And, if you’ve accomplished them already, this Master Class helps you do it more so:
* Strengthen your inner guide.
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* Ignite the fey-touched joy that makes life worth living.

BaGMCGreenManDon’t spin your wheels with run-of-the-mill material. Be a Goddess Master Class is a circle of power. Expect twice the progress in a fraction of the time you’d spend elsewhere.

Offered once a year at most, this Faerie shamanism training is core Third Road (Third Road is the tradition I teach), and is a prerequisite for Third Road advanced training.

Nuts and bolts:
* Lessons are group meetings by phone. To participate, just dial the phone. Long-distance charges may apply. If so, charges appear on your phone bill. The event’s area code is a U.S. #.
* Class meets six consecutive Wednesdays from 6:00 to 7:00 pm EST, starting Wednesday May 17.
* Reserve Weds June 28, same time, for a makeup class in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned sessions.
* Click here to enroll.
* If you’ve taken this class before, repeat it at half-price.
* Upon receipt of payment, your place is reserved. You’ll receive event phone #, etc., by email. If you need more info, or want to discuss scholarship, trade, or payment plan, call 814-337-2490. No refunds.

Life is extraordinarily beautiful and extraordinarily awful. We don’t have to bury our heads in the sand. We can use shamanism to face difficulties, conquer them, and create beautiful lives. Click here to enroll.

Spinning Happy Magic

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I’m experiencing excitement and serenity simultaneously, from being so close to publication of my two volume Book of Shadows.

Self-publishing is difficult but gratifying. My sense of accomplishment has me almost dizzy, I’m happily spinning.

Spinning! Heh, once I sent galleys to the kind folks who are proofing them, I worked part-time over the course of a few days to restore my energy. I learned to spin yarn, to celebrate being so close to releasing the project.

SmBanr Spinning! Headlong. I spun and spun. Think of Alice falling down the rabbit hole, headfirst and shouting, “Whheeeeeeee, I love this!” She lands where the Red Queen is actually nice, the rabbit doesn’t run away but frolics alongside her on the weighted end of a drop spindle, and the caterpillar—who spins silk and blessings—teaches her the exact magic she needs.

My gratitude, happiness, and sense of accomplishment about the books flow through my day, twisting along the silk and wool fibers I spin. As is often the case with gratitude, mine turns a celebration about one part of my life—the upcoming books—into a celebration of life itself. I’m a witch who experiences a flow through all things, a flow connecting everything, as the cosmos spins. I twirl within the cosmos’ twirl. The cosmos is happy about my books.

They’re a two volume Third Road Book of Shadows, every page ornamented by my shamanic art. So mote it be!

Once I correct any mistakes the proofers catch, the books are done. Like most authors, I’ll be one of the proofers but needed a few days away from the pages, so I could see them with fresh eyes.

These books are like visits in magical, inspiring landscapes. I’m gratefully spinning my day because soon I get to share something I love dearly—some of my deeply personal otherworldly realms—with readers. I’m grateful for these Fey places that add beauty and enchantment to our lives.

Everything is connected, spinning together like fibers joining on a drop spindle, the value added to my dear reader’s life adds value to mine. We are all one.

Spinning in celebration of the books becomes spinning in celebration of life. Spinning gratitude becomes spinning magic to bless my day.

Doing the writing, art, layout, cover designs, and the enormous self-publishing process is a lot, but I’m always trying to pull off huge things. It works. My ownership of the process, spinning it all together, allowed me to create exactly what I wanted to share with my readers—my fellow seekers, fellow spinners of magic and happiness.

Been too busy with the books to make a webpage about them yet, but today had time to make small versions of the book-covers for you to see. Volume I’s cover is above and here is Volume II’s cover, but neither is as clear and sharp as the actual covers are, or this page would’ve taken forever for you to load:

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Once the set’s released, I want to figure out options for low income folks who can’t afford the set. This makes me happy, adds momentum to my spinning, to the cosmos’ spinning.

This Book of Shadows consists of two full-color PDFs. Current combined page count is 191 pages, but it might end up a bit more or less.

The book set costs $50 but right now presales are $43. (Update: the book set has been released, and is still $43. If you want more info on the books, their official page is up. Go here: https://stardrenched.com/2016/10/01/book-of-shadows/ )

These Faerie books will be available only from their Faerie author … spinning it all together … spinning happiness from my heart to yours. Keep spinning, my fellow seeker.

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Magic Is Sacred

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My beloved witch,

The Goddess blesses your rituals. I wrote/painted the above picture-poem as the third and last meme in my mini-series about the sacredness and beauty of witchcraft.

The previous two memes are here and here.

(All three memes blurred a bit, because I shrunk the files so their webpages would appear quickly for you.)

I call them poems, though they could be viewed as prose. To me, they’re poems or prose-poems, both in that they are lyric and evoke magic.

I believe one of my jobs as a bard is to evoke magic. I’ve not seen that description of a bard in a historical text, but I know in my bones and past life memories that the Gods choose some bards to create ritual aka bardic poems.

My class lectures are sometimes lyric and other times straightahead prose, but on some level they are still my concept of bardic poetry.

Are you a bard who creates ritual? Or were you chosen to do bardic work other than ritual creation? We all are given such different jobs by the Faerie Queen.

I combine words with art to further the experience. Even when I first started teaching shamanism, class handouts sometimes had my calligraphy and artwork, though they were far more primitive than they are now. But I feel that extra effort added blessings.

I make memes like this not just for my site but also as Book of Shadow pages for myself and students (aka handouts). I’m fascinated with painting borders around my words to add magic for Book of Shadow pages. I even had to paint a border for the newsletter button below this post.

… Oh, if you wonder what the newsletter button has to do with Books of Shadows, bear with my following explanation, since at first it may seem to have no relation to the topic:

Ok, to me a Book of Shadows page points to your day and how you can live it magically. In the same vein, I teach oral tradition—which the written word cannot convey—and you only grasp oral tradition when you use its lessons by living magically in your day. So, in the final analysis, your day is your ultimate Book of Shadows, because it is your life that holds the most magic, not any text. Your life is the real ritual, not the words on any page.

And my newsletter is a doorway into that oral tradition, because it announces upcoming classes. So I can think of one of my newsletter buttons as the front cover to a Book of Shadows. So mote it be.

Since I view life as the ritual, it might seem contradictory that I work hard crafting my words and visually ornamenting them. But I want my pages to be really good pointers to the magic available in the world around us, so they can help me—and hopefully other people—see how to live a day magically. I believe that is why Goddess gave me gifts with words and art. Blessed be.

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Oral Tradition’s Importance

The society that murdered thousands of witches also hid the nature of oral tradition, burying even a hint of its immense power to remove our shackles.

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I’m a dinosaur, but will not give up teaching oral tradition. Its power is needed.

The trend is online classes. There is also some good money to be made there for teachers. But I’m committed to oral tradition, so teaching online isn’t an option. It’s not oral tradition, at least not as I know it.

Mind you, I leave each person to their own definition, and I support each Pagan’s choice of teaching methods. I’m not here to debate what is or isn’t oral tradition, or what teaching method is best.

Instead, here I’m discussing my commitment to the indescribable experience of glory and power conveyed only through a certain style of teaching, whether you call it oral tradition or Francesca’s style or George. 🙂

It’s interesting I used the words “indescribable experience.” The term oral tradition was originally used (in part) because there was no point in writing it down. No record could possibly convey it—it was indescribable.

The indescribable beauty and freedom of a lifestyle informed by oral tradition keeps me committed to it.

Beyond my students’ note-taking during classes, any record distorts—and might even corrupt—the original transmission. I don’t allow recordings of my oral transmissions. Nor do I provide transcriptions of them. Sometimes I ask people to refrain from taking notes.

Oral tradition can happen by phone (known as teleseminars). That is the medium I mostly use to teach. We transcend time and space to walk between the worlds together.

Past life memories tell me a communal knowledge of oral tradition was exterminated centuries ago: A society driven to murder thousands of witches also hid the nature of oral tradition, to bury even a hint of its immense power to free us from external and internal shackles. Thus, oral tradition is tangential to how our society as a whole represents it. It is not a discussion group, therapy group, or support group.

You know what? I don’t think I’ll call myself a dinosaur. I’m actually a gorgeous, powerful dragon. The gems in my dragon hoard are the treasures of oral tradition. I’ll keep sharing them, while my dragon tail encircles them and my students from those who would rob us of this heritage.

I don’t expect anyone to believe oral tradition provides benefits and beauty that cannot be received elsewhere, until they experience it firsthand. Something happens I can’t describe here—there’s that word “description” again—because it cannot be explained in writing, it must be experienced.

Technology’s seamless integration into our lives makes tech an extension of a person to some degree, but that does not turn online exchanges into legitimate oral tradition. I do not know a way to transmit oral teachings via vid chat, even if no record of it is kept. Once again, explaining that is beyond the limits of the written word.

No one can understand my underlying reasoning for my position unless they talk with me … talk, as in oral tradition.

Many people have been shocked or puzzled because I’m a best-selling author whose phone number is on her webpage. As hard as I am work writing books that transform lives—I’ll spend a decade writing a single book, because my standard is sky high—I work even harder on oral tradition, because my Gods told me to center there. As powerful as my books are—there are few better—my oral teachings are even more powerful. I love living in oral tradition.

So I put my phone number out there. 814.337.2490. For one thing, some people need a taste of oral tradition to know whether they want to work with me.

To enter oral tradition with you represents a willingness on both our parts to show up—take responsibly for the moment and be present in it. Then unparalleled magic fills us.

I’m blessed by students who take responsibility for their lives. Some live in the now so fully that they make a long-term commitment to learning my oral teachings, so we can moment after moment after moment create mind-boggling changes in our lives.

It’s hard to make that commitment. But even if they have insane schedules, relentless financial pressure, or other enormous, daily demands, they make time. Lo, their schedules become less crazy, the demands get fewer, the pressure relents, and they move into their dream lives. Oral tradition is about living life to the max.
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