campfire, cooking

Pagan Spirit Gathering Recap

Good morning everyone!

As I settle back into Mundania (and what a crazy Monday morning it is!), I wanted to share a bit of my experience at PSG this year. You can also get a taste of my arrival from my weekly Warriors & Kin submissions. So here goes...

Thursday after work, I invested the entire evening doing last minute prep: I did grocery shopping for both my workshop and for my contribution (dinner for Media Camp), washed the bedding that's been in the closet for several months, dug through everything and lined everything up for packing in the morning. I only got in a few hours sleep, but that was fine my me; it was enough. I would rather sacrifice a couple hours of sleep than to miss out on anything haha!

Friday morning, I was up fifteen minutes earlier than expected, so I got a jump start on things. However, I ended up getting on the road an hour later than expected, as I just wasn't as coordinated as I had thought. I also forgot my hat and apron, so I lost the fifteen minutes there. Ron was thinking I wouldn't be able to pack everything in the car, but not only was I able to, but I definitely could have had a second person if I crammed things. Therefore, he needs to go next year!

I will admit I suck at reading maps, even ones with very simple details. For me, a co-pilot is important, because I always miss at least one turn. This journey was no exception, which caused me to be a half hour later than planned, but that's okay - I love road trips just to see small town America and all that is kitschy and camp. Besides, it wasn't nothing a couple of coffee drinks, a pack of smokes and some good 70's southern rock on the radio couldn't fix.

When I arrived, I was greeted by quite a few folks with a "Welcome Home!". I had never been to this location, but people were able to help me along with the registration process. After I parked my car, I walked back to set up and found the rest of my camp there to help me set up, fill me in on the goings on, make sure I was well fed and introduce me to a bunch of people. By the time afternoon rolled around, I was invited for afternoon cocktails and some of the most delicious hummus I've ever had.

Pan's Ball that night threw me right back to the Friday nights I had when I was in high school, but in costume! The only differences between this rave and those are we were not chased out by cops, no one was tweaking that I noticed, and we girls didn't have to drip dry after peeing in the bushes. Let's put it this way: I had so much hedonistic fun I drunk-dialed hubby back at home, but in email form. LOL! (I could have called him, since I was getting full bars for the duration, but I'm not that mean!) So yes, there was Internet access there, but with 1100 people trying to log on at the same time, it was only at night where I could really gain much access.

I remember mentioning about the stars - soooo many stars that night. One of the things I truly love about camping, be it for spiritual or for fun reasons, is to see the stars. I live in Chicago, and the only celestial bodies I ever see are the moon and bright planets - no constellations or even the Milky Way. When I was a girl growing up here in the 80's, I remember being able to see Orion and the Big and Little Dippers for sure, so the light pollution has definitely gotten out of hand. So yes, just being able to literally dance beneath the stars was that much of a drive for me to drunk-email Ron!

Saturday morning, I was actually surprised I wasn't hung over, though I was a little on the confused level. I attended the morning meeting, so it was good to get to meet more folks. I got in some shopping with the vendors, and I also took a stroll through the park to wave hello to everyone and see how they decked out their campsites. Needless to say, I have many new ideas for my next fest excursion! One of the tents I saw in the family area is a model my husband and I had just seen in a sales flyer the Sunday before; it looks like a ranch style home which sleeps ten (meaning five adults comfortably). Seriously - how much more comfy in a tent can you get? WANT!

At the meeting, I made mention of my workshop later that day, which was on camp kitchen witchery. I had a nice little gathering for that, and many more folks stopped by afterward to have a taste as well. So yeah, it was all good! I also donated a copy of my book for the raffle, which I understand helped Circle Sanctuary get some extra money. (Maybe someone from my workshop wanted the recipe to the bread I baked ahead of time!) As I mentioned during the workshop, there is nothing more iconic than a bunch of Witches stirring over a large cooking vessel together. That was a lot of fun for sure!

That night, I cooked for Media Camp, which I had made quesadillas and burritos with cucumber salad, and that went over very well. I know I personally was stuffed! Afterward, I went and did some exploring on my own before heading off for some drumming with my jingle stick. (It also served as a nice back scratcher for the cluster of mosquito bites I had gotten as well. Multi-purpose, baby!) I wandered around the swimming pond, and I'm glad I did, because the chirps, ribbets and peeps from there really set the tone for drumming afterward. There is nothing more enchanting than summer critter singing.

I made more friends at the drum circle, so that was very cool indeed. I stayed there until about 3am, since I knew my drive ahead of me was only a couple hours. Therefore, I was already planning on being lazy with the tear-down. (My brother is coming into town this or next week and will be borrowing my gear then, so I wanted to make sure everything was packed correctly for him.) The closing ritual yesterday morning was bittersweet, especially since I had not at least run into half the people I was hoping to meet. So for that, I do apologize. Ah well, at least my now IRL friends at Media Camp got some stellar pics and recordings so I may relive and experience aspects I had missed out on. ((((( Cara, Star, Iris, David ))))) (And for those wondering, the Jason stuff on #psg2011... he's a naughty boy!)

When I got home, which was turn-missing free this time, I arrived to a wonderful treat: Ron had done a bunch of cleaning and redecorating in my absence! Before I left, we had spent the week paining our bedroom with deep red walls, charcoal trim and a white ceiling. He completed the package by rearranging the furniture to where there is a giant open space in the center (perfect for yoga and drumming if I wish!), all the death metal stuff has been (re)moved, and he installed a dimmer switch to make things that much more romantic. (Swoon! Be still my heart!) Considering today is our 13th anniversary, the room was the perfect gift to ourselves. He also cleaned the rest of the place as well, even doing the grout in the bathroom, so yeah... it's simply awesome! (Well, except for the camping gear in the living room that needs to be put away...)

For his hard work and love, even though I was very tired, I made us one of his favorites for dinner: fettuccine alfredo and a large garden salad. In fact, I had made so much salad that's what we're having for lunch today here at the office. (It's definitely a perk to work together.) We watched the season premiere of True Blood while we ate, which the tone was comically set on the Cleveland Show a half hour earlier. (Wrong! LOL!) It was indeed a bizarre episode, though because this season is all about Da Witchez, I will be hoping it doesn't become another Marianne maenad clusterfuck. (I am also hoping Alan Ball got my memo about introducing Bubba and played by Bruce Campbell!)

So yep, I indeed had a wonderful time, and I am looking forward to it next year. I loved the location, absolutely loved it, and not just because it's in my back yard. The only thing I wished was available was PSG pre-stamped post cards for sale, just so I could mail them to people with a "Wish you were here!" greeting!
campfire, cooking

Going to PSG on Friday!

Just a little over a day left to go before I hit the road for PSG. I still wish I could have been able to go for the whole week, but a weekend is better than nothing :) I have three large loaves of bread finishing the first rise now for my workshop there (A Glance into Camp Kitchen Witchery), seasoned three different ways - garlic and basil, sage and parsley, and oregano and rosemary. Ron said while I was switching off hand-kneading each one the kitchen smelled like a Subway. LOL hehehe. Since he likes the scent of Subway when they're baking bread, that's a compliment. ;)

The soup I'll be preparing, as is the bread, will be vegan. There is wheat involved, as well as a lot of different veggies, herbs and spices, so there may be a few folks who won't be able to partake. But there are no tree nuts or peanuts involved, so that might spare a few folks. :) I guess ya can't please 'em all! So, anyone who's interested in attending my workshop and would like to have some of what I make should bring a bowl and spoon.

Anyway, I have to just get through work tomorrow, finish the grocery shopping for the workshop (and myself!) then struggle to get some sleep. Ron and I have been making the week pass by quicker by taking on a big task of painting our bedroom. The walls are red, the trim is a dark charcoal, and the ceiling is being left white, with the hardwood floors. I've always wanted to do this, and fortunately, Ron loves those colors as well, so we're both extremely happy! We've been camping out in the living room since Monday night, and tomorrow is the final tape peeling, so we'll finally get to break in our new romantic bedroom! :)

So anyway, see everyone Friday morning!! I'm so very excited to see everyone there!
campfire, cooking

Last call for PSG!

Well everyone, it's Pagan festival season, so it's time to start digging through your gear and figuring out what you need! If you haven't already, be sure to look over my list and compare it to what the fest's site recommends and what you personally know you're going to want to bring. And if you're just visiting, consider friending me, because it unlocks a great deal of my original, unedited tips and tricks for my book, A Guide to Pagan Camping: Festival Tips, Tricks and Trappings. (If you're a big Amazon user, you can get it here, including for Kindle.)

In just a few days (June 4th), they're wrapping up the registrations for Pagan Spirit Gathering. So if you want to go but have been putting it off, now is the time to get that taken care of! I unfortunately will only be able to make it the final weekend, as both my jobs won't allow me more than a day off at this time of year. Boo! But I WILL be there, in the Media Camp, and I'll also be doing a workshop - A Glance into Camp Kitchen Witchery. This is going to be a live cooking show told through story, so be sure to bring a bowl and spoon so you can have at some of the goodness prepared! I'm guessing there will be quite a few people attending, since hey, it's free food, so get a spot early. ;)

Now if there's still a few things on your list you need, figure out what that is and jump online for some deals. Even if you're not into the whole shipping thing due to worrying your stuff will arrive, you can still get deals online by visiting printable coupon sites like and Target. Right now, there is a 15% of a Coleman product on Target's coupon area in the Sporting Goods section. (Oh and ladies, they have Merona item coupons as well!) And, because online coupon sites reload at the beginning of each month, I'm in the middle of printing out all my goodies for stuff like batteries, insect repellent, pancake mix, oatmeal and whatnot. What I don't have and can't get a deal for, I hit the flea markets, thrift stores and my friends (lol).

I've been actually doing incredibly well with super couponing (including having a binder like the people on Extreme Couponing), but I have no intention of becoming extreme. Since I've started over a month ago, we've seen our grocery receipts repeatedly reflect at least 55% savings, all without sacrificing on healthy foods or hoarding toilet paper under the bed. (I'm talking steel cut oatmeal, fresh fruits and veggies, yogurt, cereal, good coffee and herbal tea - and even stuff like brown mustard. Good stuff!)

In fact, I've been doing so well I've started a charity for our troops overseas. If you'd like the skinny on that, check out the posting here. It's a very easy and low-cost way to give back to the folks who sacrifice so much - including their families. Not to mention, you're sure to come across some deals you'll want to keep for your family, so it's a total win-win! If you find couponing intimidating, confusing, takes too much time or is in general a total PITA, visit this site to knock those fears out of you. (The lady writes for places like the Wall Street Journal, so yeah - she's hip to financial savviness, and she does it ethcally.)

So, I just wanted to put out that last call notice, get you ready for that fest and many more, and in these hard financial times, help you help yourselves. And if you're going to PSG - find me in the Media Camp and attend my workshop. I'd love to start putting faces to names! :D
campfire, cooking

Workshop approved for PSG!

My workshop, A Glance into Camp Kitchen Witchery, has been approved for PSG! This will be a live cooking demonstration, and there'll be servings for all attending - so bring your bowls and spoons! YUM!!

I've always wanted to star in a cooking show (hehe), and now I get to do it while combining it with my spirituality. This is going to be FUN!

And hey, don't forget to grab a copy of my book before you start planning your meals out there. I have lots of recipes included, as well as getting your camp kitchen going!
campfire, cooking

Busy weekend!

Within the next 48 hours I'll be promoting my book three times:


I'll be speaking to the Ringing Anvil event here in Chicago which is part of Pagan Coming Out Day. Hope to see you all there! (I may even figure out how to tape the presentation for you YouTuberz outside the area!)


I'll be live on the Internet airwaves! Be sure to tune in!


Another station I'll be chatting, along with some BNPs promoting their awesome fests!
campfire, cooking

Rising Up: Beltane Festival & Pagan Coming Out Day

I will be presenting at this:

Ringing Anvil and Center of the Elemental Spirit presents:
Rising Up: A Beltane Festival
Celebrating International Pagan Coming Out Day
Divination * Food * Workshops * Music * Dancing
...May 14 & 15 1900 W. Fulton, Chicago IL

Can you feel the stirrings of the season shifting and of Life-Force Rising?
Can you feel the energy of healing, inspiration, and rising up within you?
Will you join us to celebrate together in communal gathering and ritual?

Welcome in the springtime at our Beltane festival, workshops, entertainment, open ritual, and more.

Saturday May 14: "International Pagan Coming Out Day" Festival for Pagans & Alternative Spirituality 10am - 10pm
Public Beltane Ritual 7:30pm
Sunday May 15: Pagan Leadership and Community Building Conference, 11am - 6pm

In honor of International Pagan Coming Out Day, and the season of Spring returning, join us for a Beltane festival, and leadership conference in the heart of the city.

10:00 AM Doors Open
10:30 AM Opening Ritual
11:00 AM Workshops - Multiple Tracts at Once
12:00 PM Lunch (self provided)
1:00 PM Workshops - Multiple Tracts at Once
5:30 PM Dinner: Taco Bar (part of admission)
6:00 PM "Bellydancing by Magda"
6:30 AM "Erotic Poetry Slam Featured Poet: Marianne Schaeffer"
7:00 PM Fire Spinning
7:30 PM Main Beltaine Ritual: Ecstatic, Inspiration, & Community
9:00 PM Fire Spinning
9:30 PM Drumming

Saturday, May 14: Beltane Festival and Pagan Coming Out Day

Join us for several tracks of workshops on Mythology, Story, Energy Work, Psychic Self Defense, Shamanism, Ecstatic Dance & Movement, Pagan Camping, the Warrior Path, Pagan Spirituality, Power and Energy, Mexican Paganism, Magic, Ritual, Coming Out as a Pagan, and much more!

Saturday evening will feature bellydancing, firespinning, poetry, and other musical entertainment. We'll offer an omnivore (meat and Vegan) taco buffet for $5 for dinner. Saturday evening's ritual will begin at 7:30.

Saturday, May 14: Main Beltane Ritual 7:30

Saturday evening will close with an open ritual celebrating the fertility of inspiration, spiritual connection, and ecstatic energy raising in community. We will work with the Nine Muses and ask, What inspires you? What breathes life and life force into you, what brings you energy? What do you wish for, reach for? What projects are you beginning? Do you want to fill your life with the passion and fire that you crave? To take in the blessings of the Muses and of life force, will you risk desire?

As a tribe we gather around the clan-fire and journey together in the alchemy of inclusive, participatory, and ecstatic community ritual. Join us to rise up and fill with life force!

Sunday, May 15: Pagan Leadership and Community Building Conference

This single track of workshops from 11am-6am will focus on tools and skills for leaders and community builders. Whether you're a longtime Pagan leader, or a community builder in spiritual or grassroots groups, or even just looking to build skills in facilitation and leadership, please consider joining us. Part of this day will offer workshops on leadership and facilitation skills.

The afternoon will feature a large-group roundtable and brainstorming session. What skills, tools, and education, and assistance do we need as a community? How can be better serve our communities? How can we help one another to build community? Sunday will close with a brief ritual to step into our highest, most authentic self as leaders, change agents, and community builders.

Registration Information:

Admission: $5-$25 sliding scale per day, no one turned away for lack of funds.
Taco Buffet: $5 per person
*Please contact us for work exchange options
When: Saturday, October 23rd, 6pm
Where: MKP Center, 1900 W. Fulton, Chicago IL (Parking & CTA info below)

Children & Teens:
There will be separate play area for children, and responsible teens are welcome to attend the adult programming. If you'd like to be part of the children's programming please contact

Sponsorship & Vending:
Sponsorship: $25 & up, includes advertising, some tables available for vendors, readers, and healers.

Parking, CTA, and Transportation:
MKP Center, 1900 W. Fulton, Chicago IL. This is 3 blocks west of Ashland, one block east of Damen, and 2 blocks south of Grand. Parking: There is plenty of free parking on Fulton, including a well-lit free parking lot kitty-corner from the venue.
CTA: The Damen bus is just one block east, and the Ashland Green line is 4 blocks away.
For any transit questions, or to arrange carpool, please contact or