Archive for the ‘drumming’ Tag

Aaron at Florida Pagan Gathering Samhain – 2012   3 comments

Greetings Faithful Followers!

The time is drawing near for the Florida Pagan Gathering Samhain Festival!  And I have once again been offered the honor of attending as a “headliner.”  That means I’ll be hosting three lectures/workshops over the course of the festival – in between sessions of drumming and generally cavorting like a heathen.  :)

My last experience at the FPG turned out to be a deeply moving spiritual experience that took me back to my Neopagan roots – besides being one helluva lot of fun.  My fellow headliners were some of the top names in their various fields and practices, and I made more than one new lifelong friend while I was there.  I expect this trip to be no different.

So I am inviting each and every one of you to come and join me for this awesome event!  You can attend my workshops, ask me questions and then we can hang out in the various campsites and around the bonfire late into the night.  I dare say we will not be disappointed by the experience!

Here is the info on the Festival:

Samhain 2012 – Out of the Darkness

Oct 31- Nov 4, Camp Ocala, Altoona, Florida

Welcome to the Forest! Set up camp, commune with nature, relax, visit the vendors, attend workshops, and evening events.

Headliners

Andras Corban Arthen, Ann Moura, Dorothy Morrison, Aaron Leitch, and (locals) Mama Gina, Ashley Rae

Musical Headliners

Spiral Dance and (local) Gwyn Fae

This is a full-fledged festival – with an entry fee – so make sure you contact them to register today!  Then get your camping gear together and enjoy a few days out in nature away from the modern world.  Or, just come by for a day of lectures, food, shopping and fun!

Here is the info on the workshops I will be hosting.  Right now I don’t know exactly when these workshops will take place, but I’ll update this post as soon as I find out:

Working with Spirits and Ancestors

Working with lesser spirits (jinn, demons, familiars, etc) and the spirits of our ancestors are two of the most ancient forms of witchcraft.  (Properly called “goetia” – but not to be confused with the medieval grimoire of the same name!)  However, the practice fell into disrepute after the rise of the urban “city-state” in the Classical era – and was outlawed entirely after the rise of mainstream Christianity.  This resulted in a cultural break in our mystical Western heritage that has remained with us to this very day.  Even in Wicca and other Neopagan traditions, spirit-work is often frowned upon, and ancestors are merely recognized at specific times of the year.
 
However, that doesn’t mean the practice was lost to history!  Folk magickal traditions around the world have preserved these mysteries, and an ever-growing number of today’s Pagans and occultists are reviving these ancient and often misunderstood practices in our modern systems.
 
This workshop will focus upon *what* spirit- and ancestor-work really is, and *how* to go about doing it yourself to empower your spells and your spiritual path.  We will cover the benefits and the dangers, how to erect altars, build spirit pots, invoke the spirits, make offerings and more.
 
This will be an open discussion workshop, so bring your own ideas and opinions and be ready to share them with us!
 

Magickal Offerings

One of the foundational practices of the most ancient forms of magick was the Ritual Offering.  While this included the sacrifice of animals (and in some cases humans!) that certainly isn’t the whole story.  Offerings were made in many fashions – from food to toys to tools and weapons, to incense and fire and much more.  Such offerings were made to feed and empower the spirits and, in many cases, to provide the spirits with necessary tools to accomplish the magickal goals of the shamans who provided them.
 
Sadly, the art of the Ritual Offering was all but lost in the West after the rise of Judeo-Christiainity.  Sacrifice and offerings were declared a form of devil-worship, and misrepresented as a method of “appeasing” angry and vengeful spirits who would otherwise harm the humans who invoked them.  Even today’s modern occultists often hold to this erroneous idea.
 
This workshop will bust the myths about Ritual Offering, and explain its true meaning of magickal empowerment.  We will cover how to properly make offerings to various classes of spirits and gods, along with the “do-nots” and “why?” behind the practice.
 
This will be an open discussion workshop, so bring your own ideas and opinions and be ready to share them with us!
 

Making and Enlivening Talismans

Quite often, when a modern occultist says the word “talisman”, he or she is talking about a piece of paper with symbols drawn upon it.  But the art of Talismanic Magick is much broader than that!  And the power of a talisman goes far beyond the inscription of the right names, properly colored inks and the recitation of the right prayers.
 
In the Old Magick, talismans were living beings in their own right.  They were physical houses for spiritual entities who actively participated in the rituals with the magician.  And they weren’t just jewelery or inscribed disks or scrolls – they were also the magickal tools, the robes and regalia, the furnishings of the temple and more.  A true magician’s sacred working space is a thriving environment of spirits, angels and even gods who each play a vital role in the magick worked therein.
 
Likewise, magickal tools and furnishings are not merely “props” or objects we find convenient to use.  Each and every physical object utilized by the magician is a living symbol of something greater – either a reflection of something in the outer universe that the magician wishes to “draw down” into his or her temple, or an embodiment of something deeply personal and powerful to the magician – or both.
 
In this workshop, we will discuss these aspects of talismanic magick.  Plus, we will cover how to find and/or create your own talismans and “bring them to life” to work for you. 
 
This will be an open discussion workshop, so bring your own ideas and opinions and be ready to share them with us!

 

I hope to see you there!

Zorge,

Aaron

Posted September 21, 2012 by kheph777 in events

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Back From FPG Beltaine 2011   2 comments

Greetings Fellow Heathens!

(Pictures are forthcoming.  I’ll update this post when I get them ready.)

I’ve been back from the Florida Pagan Gathering for a couple of days, and I’m only now finding the strength to write this post.  ;)  My hands are devastated (and my legs bruised) from hours of pounding my drum back to tribal days, and the sun sapped every ounce of water and nutrients from my body.  But, my friends, this was a deeply magickal experience from start to finish – and I am honored to have been a part of it.

The magick really started before we left for the festival.  After my recent invocations of Samael and his martial angels, I wanted to balance things out with some (long overdue) invocations to our household patron Iophiel, Intelligence of Jupiter.  Since we were about to leave for a Pagan festival at which we hoped to sell some things and turn a profit, it seemed like a good idea to perform the invocations before we left.  We were even leaving on a Thursday – the day sacred to Jupiter – so dawn of that very day was prime for the work.

So with the altar to Iophiel up and running nicely, we set off for Ocala National Forest.  We needed to pick up a few things on the way, and stopped at the bank to deposit my most recent royalty check.  There, we had our first surprise:  The Angelical Language, Vol II (the Lexicon) is being translated into French!  That made my check significantly larger than I had expected, and was a great omen that Iophiel had answered our call.

Even the trip to Ocala was a mystical journey.  It was a two-and-a-half hour road trip that took us through several locations associated with both my and my wife’s childhoods, as well as old places significant to our mystical paths.  It was literally like taking a trip back in time as we made our way to the campsite.

Once we arrived, we found ourselves thrust even further between the worlds.  The festival headliners were assigned cabins, and we arrived to find gifts and amenities waiting with my name on them.  We were given a radio that would call assistance or even a taxi to take us anywhere in the park we requested.  (For the record, we only used it once.)  And we only had to walk to the cabin next door for three meals a day or snacking anytime – along with good company and conversation for what I’m sure was 24 hours a day.  It was quite the rock-star treatment – and what we required didn’t even scratch the surface of the resources these folks had available…

Even outside of the realm of the headliners, FPG is the most sophisticated operation I’ve witnessed among Pagan festivals.  (I’m sure there are others, I just haven’t been to them.)  They had a trolley service – separate from the taxi – running at all times, so you never had to walk if you didn’t want to (or couldn’t).  There were misting tents and well-distributed facilities, not to mention shade tents over every vendor booth.  The security force was something to behold:  strong, friendly people strolling the grounds with bright red arm-bands (glowing versions for nighttime) and large staves in hand.  They were well trained, well organized and served as both security and medics.  Plus, they and the entire staff were connected by radio at all times, and no one on staff was ever out of the loop.

So both headliners and guests were free to forget about the world and lose themselves in the magick of the place.  I had to give my first lecture soon after arriving, and was pleasantly surprised to discover Mrs. Phaedra Bonewits attending!  (Her workshop immediately followed mine, so I got to attend hers as well.  It was both fun and informative.)  As it turned out, she was also sharing a cabin with us – and that wasn’t the only surprise.  Also sharing our cabin were Kirk Thomas (the current Archdruid of Ár nDríaocht Féin), and Patrick McCollum (Neopagan Elder, world-class jeweler, presidential adviser and fighter for your religious freedom).  It is perhaps needless to say we spent some time this weekend learning some incredible things and making wonderful new friends.  :)

Outside of the cabins, we were invited to all of the “in” spots and even several private rituals.  (Special thanks to Lia Fail Coven and the Dirty Foot Tribe, you folks are exceptional!)  We never wanted for food or drink, let me tell you!  But, then, no one did – guest or headliner – it was just that kind of atmosphere.

The public rituals were yet another shock and surprise.  They were hosted by a local ADF proto-grove (Osprey Suncoast), and both Kirk and Phaedra had flown in to participate.  This was my first opportunity to witness how the ADF does their magick.  I had heard from Ian Corrigan that they use methods strikingly similar to what you read in my Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires.  What I witnessed that weekend confirmed it – these guys may be Neopagans, but they’re using the Old Magick.  They don’t call quarters and cast circles, they make invocations and pour offerings into the fire.  Even the ancestral spirits were invoked:  during the main Beltaine Rite, this was done with a proper white-table covered with offerings, and the invocations were read by Phaedra herself.  Let me tell you, Isaac was there, without a doubt!  Not every eye in the circle was dry after that…

And what a Beltaine rite!  To get to it, we had to leave the ritual site entirely, and enter through a portal flanked by Faery casting incense, blessings and purifications upon us.  (Carrie tells me she first noticed Isaac’s spirit here, greeting those who entered.)

Once we were in, we were treated to several performances centered on Beltaine and the themes of spring and renewal.  A short morality play about different tribes working together despite their differences.  A beautiful vocal solo during which every child in attendance was free to dash into the middle of the circle to play and chase a pretty fairy who danced clockwise with a large beach ball.  The mixture of the song with the laughter of the children and those watching them play was very moving.

Then came the invocations and offerings to the spirits, the ancestors, Mother Earth (invoked via a litany song involving everyone present), the gatekeeper between the realms and the Gods associated with the Rite.  Of course there was a sacred fire in the center of the circle – and everyone present had the opportunity to pass directly by it thanks to a complex Spiral Dance involving perhaps 200 people or more!

Witnessing the ADF’s rituals over the weekend was deeply moving for my wife.  When she and I met, she was interested in Celtic Neopaganism and was actively searching for an ADF grove.  By the time she found one (hours away from where we lived), it had disbanded.  So, she ended up going other directions in her path.  Finally getting to see the ADF in action, and getting to meet both Phaedra and Kirk, was truly coming full circle for her.

Over our four day stay, I gave three lectures and sold signed copies of my books.  Carrie also sold henna tattoos at the same booth.  Iophiel be praised, I sold out of Secrets… entirely and even dipped into a few copies of The Angelical Language.  We were able to take home a worthwhile profit even after hemorrhaging some of it back into the festival for gifts and trinkets for ourselves.  :)

My three lectures, by the way, went wonderfully!  Well, at least two of them did.  The first one was located outside in a nice little pavilion.  But, a local forest fire had a helicopter in the air, taking water from a nearby lake.  Much of my lecture was drowned out by the noise, so I didn’t have the kind of audience participation I would enjoy during the second two lectures.

The following two lectures took place inside (air conditioning, but no air traffic!) and were just a thrill to host.  They were well attended, and I was told later they were among the most well-received presentations of the event!  (That’s saying something, since I was at a major Pagan festival, talking about Biblical magick!)  Kirk attended my lecture on invocations, and was so impressed he immediately purchased a copy of Secrets…  (I just can’t describe what an honor that was!)

Carrie nearly got the honor of putting a henna tattoo on Phaedra, but the days were busy and we never got the spare time to get it done.  So, we are using that as an official excuse to drag her back here at some point.  ;)

From the moment we left our home to the moment we reluctantly (yet, at the same time, eagerly) returned to it, we were truly transported to another world.  It was a mixture of our own past and return to where we started with new experiences and wonderful new friends.  We will return in Samhain as guests – plus we will rent a vendor booth and Carrie is already set to give a henna workshop.  And if we are invited as headliners again, we won’t hesitate to be there!

LVX

Aaron

Posted May 10, 2011 by kheph777 in events, grimoires

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Aaron at Florida Pagan Gathering   1 comment

Greetings, Festive Heathens!  And happy Beltaine to everyone!

In just a few days, we will be heading out for Florida Pagan Gathering in Ocala, where I will be giving three lectures on Solomonic Magick:

http://www.flapagan.org/

I will be selling my books when not lectureing.  Also, my wife, Carrie Mikell, will be doing Henna Tattoos – and she is an expert in this field.  (She is taken quite seriously by her Indian and Middle Eastern clients.)  She will also be selling a few trinkets with Henna designs on them.

With any luck, we will be selling a few cast-wax items as well – such as the Seal of Truth.  Keep your fingers crossed on that one!

I will also be drumming my fingers off at the fireside whenever I get a chance – so if you don’t get to attend my lectures, stop by the fire or our table and say hello!  :)

Here is the write-up of my workshops:

Aaron’s Workshops (May 5th-8th):

Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires
Thursday 1:30P-3:30P Oak Hall

The medieval and renaissance grimoires – or magickal textbooks – were among the first occult texts written in book form. Included in this genre are such titles as The Key of Solomon the King, The Lemegeton or Lesser Key of Solomon, Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Barrett’s The Magus, The Grand Grimoire and many others.

These classic sourcebooks of Western magick became foundational to such traditions as the Golden Dawn, Thelema, Hoodoo, Hexcraft and even Wicca. Then, for a time, they fell out of use as modern practitioners considered them quaint and outdated, or even outright black in nature.

Thankfully, this view has changed drastically over the last couple of decades, and modern students are finally taking a fresh look at these dusty old tomes and the magickal philosophy they describe. This “Old Magick” is considered one of the most powerful and dangerous magickal systems. In this workshop we will discuss the history of the grimoires as well as the modern Solomonic revival. Any questions you have will be answered, and myths will be busted.

This will be an open discussion workshop, so bring your own ideas and opinions and be ready to share them with us!

Magickal Invocations and Conjurations
Friday 4p-6p Valhalla

Creating your own magickal invocations and conjurations can be as simple as composing a prayer or mantra that addresses the beings you wish to contact and states your intent. Many modern Pagan textbooks teach just that- often suggesting the use of rhyme and metre. Ceremonial textbooks tend to skip the rhyme and metre, and focus upon formulaic lists of hierarchies instead.

However, the grimoires and occult textbooks of the Medieval and Renaissance eras- which preserve what we call the Old Magick- show us something more. The creation of unique invocations or conjurations was both an art and a science, with its own established rules. Agrippa discussed it in his “Three Books of Occult Philosophy”, it was reiterated in the “Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy” and it is hinted at in several popular grimoiric texts.

In this workshop, we will explore this ancient art-form and learn how to create powerful invocations and conjurations for our own magick. We will focus upon the grimoires and, therefore, upon Biblical literature and mythology. However, the principals you learn here can be applied to magick of any tradition.

This will be an open discussion workshop, so bring your own ideas and opinions and be ready to share them with us!

Evocation and Working with Spirits
Saturday 4p-6p Summerland Pavilion

Modern methods of spiritual evocation tend to follow a “summon-question-banish” formula. That is, a magician decides what he needs and which spirit can grant it to him. He then summons the entity, questions it or makes a request and finally banishes it – quite possibly to never see or hear from the entity again.

Yet, this is not a complete reflection of the ancient art of summoning spirits. The “Old Magick” focused more upon gaining familiars and building working relationships with specific entities – and that practice brings its own special rules and protocols. From constructing altars and spirit pots, to making proper offerings, to the art of evocation and even dealing with ghosts and other unwanted spirits – we will discuss all of this in more in this workshop.

This will be an open discussion workshop, so bring your own ideas and opinions and be ready to share them with us!

Zorge,
Aaron

Posted May 1, 2011 by kheph777 in events

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FPG Beltaine 2011 – Aaron’s Workshops   Leave a comment

Greetings dedicated practitioners!

I will be at Florida Pagan Gathering (Beltaine 2011) this spring, hosting three discussion workshops – all focused on the “Old Magick” of the grimoires. (See below for descriptions of each workshop.)

FPG will take place from May 5 through May 8. I will be there all four days. Once my lectures are scheduled, I will update this notice here and on Facebook. So stay tuned!

You can find more information about FPG, including location and admission prices, at:  http://www.flapagan.org/

AARON’S WORKSHOPS:

————————
Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires
Thursday 1:30P-3:30P Oak Hall

The medieval and renaissance grimoires – or magickal textbooks – were among the first occult texts written in book form. Included in this genre are such titles as The Key of Solomon the King, The Lemegeton or Lesser Key of Solomon, Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Barrett’s The Magus, The Grand Grimoire and many others.

These classic sourcebooks of Western magick became foundational to such traditions as the Golden Dawn, Thelema, Hoodoo, Hexcraft and even Wicca. Then, for a time, they fell out of use as modern practitioners considered them quaint and outdated, or even outright black in nature.

Thankfully, this view has changed drastically over the last couple of decades, and modern students are finally taking a fresh look at these dusty old tomes and the magickal philosophy they describe. This “Old Magick” is considered one of the most powerful and dangerous magickal systems. In this workshop we will discuss the history of the grimoires as well as the modern Solomonic revival. Any questions you have will be answered, and myths will be busted.

This will be an open discussion workshop, so bring your own ideas and opinions and be ready to share them with us!

————————
Magickal Invocations and Conjurations
Friday 4p-6p Valhalla

Creating your own magickal invocations and conjurations can be as simple as composing a prayer or mantra that addresses the beings you wish to contact and states your intent. Many modern Pagan textbooks teach just that- often suggesting the use of rhyme and metre. Ceremonial textbooks tend to skip the rhyme and metre, and focus upon formulaic lists of hierarchies instead.

However, the grimoires and occult textbooks of the Medieval and Renaissance eras- which preserve what we call the Old Magick- show us something more. The creation of unique invocations or conjurations was both an art and a science, with its own established rules. Agrippa discussed it in his “Three Books of Occult Philosophy”, it was reiterated in the “Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy” and it is hinted at in several popular grimoiric texts.

In this workshop, we will explore this ancient art-form and learn how to create powerful invocations and conjurations for our own magick. We will focus upon the grimoires and, therefore, upon Biblical literature and mythology. However, the principals you learn here can be applied to magick of any tradition.

This will be an open discussion workshop, so bring your own ideas and opinions and be ready to share them with us!

————————
Evocation and Working with Spirits
Saturday 4p-6p Summerland Pavilion

Modern methods of spiritual evocation tend to follow a “summon-question-banish” formula. That is, a magician decides what he needs and which spirit can grant it to him. He then summons the entity, questions it or makes a request and finally banishes it – quite possibly to never see or hear from the entity again.

Yet, this is not a complete reflection of the ancient art of summoning spirits. The “Old Magick” focused more upon gaining familiars and building working relationships with specific entities – and that practice brings its own special rules and protocols. From constructing altars and spirit pots, to making proper offerings, to the art of evocation and even dealing with ghosts and other unwanted spirits – we will discuss all of this in more in this workshop.

This will be an open discussion workshop, so bring your own ideas and opinions and be ready to share them with us!
————————

And, YES, I will be selling books when I’m not giving lectures. You can also get some henna done by my wife Carrie Mikell, one of today’s top henna artists. So come on by and say hi! :)

“Aaron Leitch has been a scholar and spiritual seeker for over two decades. He is a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Ordo Stella Matutina and the Societas Magica. His writings (both in print and on the web) cover such varied fields as ancient Middle Eastern religion and mythology, Solomonic mysticism, shamanism, Neoplatonism, Hermeticism and Alchemy, Traditional Wicca and Neopaganism, The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Thelema, Angelology, Qabalah, Enochiana, African Diaspora Religions, Hexcraft and Hoodoo folk traditions, Psychology and Consciousness Expansion, Cyberspace and Virtual Reality and modern social commentary. He is the author of Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, and The Angelical Language: Vols. I and II.

Visit Aaron at kheph777.tripod.com”

Posted January 6, 2011 by kheph777 in events

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GSG Samhain, Don Kraig and Drums   Leave a comment

Oct 17, 2010

GSG went down without a hitch this time!  I set up the Facebook Event properly, and there were no scheduling conflicts.  I even had the night off work so I could stay and play well into the night.  :):):)

The workshop crowd was a bit slim this year, but everyone had a good time and learned a lot.  I got to attend my first-ever Don Kraig workshop (Modern Magick) – which was truly a trip down memory lane.  He outlined many of the processes I had learned from his book when I was but a babe in the Arts of Magick.  lol  As a pleasant surprise, Don also attended my workshop on Magickal Invocations. 

I was happy to find my semi-open discussion format was a complete success.  When I’m at conferences, folks don’t mind if you just read a lecture at them.  But Pagans at festivals are looking for something more interactive.  We not only covered the art and science of composing Solomonic invocations, but the discussion led us down a few worthwhile side-paths as well.

Afterward we left to find dinner, and then returned for the Samhain Sabbat.  Quite a few more people were able to make it for that, so there was a nice big crowd.  The ritual was themed around Pandora and her box of ills, and then her eventual redemption.  We all charged small sachets with some negative aspect of our lives or personalities, and sealed them in Pandora’s box before it was cast into a Cauldron to burn away.  When the ritual was closed, many of us went to an altar in the west to light candles for recently passed loved ones.  Between the three of us who were there together, we lit a total of five candles.  Samael has been MUCH too active this year!

Finally, the bonfire was lit, the drummers came out and the girls began to dance.  Even though I’m *very* out of practice, I was able to drum through the entire first set (an hour long), and most of the second set (nearly another hour) before we finally had to leave.  It was wonderful to play again!  Today my hands are bruised and sore, and it couldn’t feel better!  lol

Stay tuned, as I’ve been invited to attend another festival that is only a few months away…  I’ll post details (and a Facebook Event) as I learn more.

LVX
Aaron

Posted November 24, 2010 by kheph777 in events

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