An Answer to the Perennial Holiday Question; Yes, Santa IS Real!

December 19, 2014 in Articles by Lasara Firefox Allen

santa-clausReprinted, first published in 2007

When it comes to the delicate matter of belief, there are creative ways to answer our children’s questions without taking the magic out of life.

When my oldest child was about five, she asked whether Santa Claus was real. Her dad and I told her that Santa is real — to those who believe.

Is love real? Is hope real? Is magic real? Is faith real? We can’t touch or see any of these things, but most of us believe in at least a few of them. In some cases, we can feel them. In others, we may see proof of them appearing in the physical world.

I believe in Christmas miracles. I believe that Mystics speak with God. I believe that Tibetan lamas reincarnate with full recall of their previous lives. I believe in our ability to do good in the world, with each conscious choice we make. I believe in faeries, and faerie tales, pookas, ghosts, saints, and goblins. I believe in a power omnipresent and indivisible.

And, I still believe in Santa Claus. I always will. Just like I believe in God, with Its ineffability, and the many faces It wears.

Jitterbug Perfume by Tim Robbins has one of the best descriptions I’ve seen of the human relationship with deity. The premise is this: the gods depend upon our belief in them to survive. Our belief in the gods makes them real.

The power of belief is an important gift we must instruct and safeguard in our children. Belief is what we build our lives upon. Without belief, we may be cast adrift on an endless, meaningless sea. Belief offers a rudder when nothing else can help us find our way.

At 12, my oldest started the Christmas season by saying she no longer believed in Santa. And then complained when she didn’t feel the Christmas Spirit flooding her as we trimmed the tree.

I talked to her about faith.

The fact is, sometimes it’s hard to have faith that Santa will come. I’ll admit it; even I have been known to test The Spirit from time to time. My first Christmas post-divorce I made such a test.

That year it was hard to find my belief in the Spirit of Christmas. I had no one to give my Christmas list to. No one to tell what I hoped to find under the tree. I prayed to the universe to enforce my faith. I wanted proof that Santa was still real.

I wanted indoor/outdoor, “Ugg” knock-off slippers. I know, it’s kind of petty. Slippers? But it was what I wanted. Sometimes, especially in the midst of doubt, fear, and sadness, it’s the little things that matter. Cozy feet on a lonely morning. A small gift out of nowhere.

It was a deal between me and The Spirit, and since I had asked, The Spirit knew exactly what was required to validate my faith.

Come Christmas day, I was gifted a pair of slippers.

That Christmas, Santa showed up as my sister. She didn’t get the slippers for me, but for one of our nieces. When the slippers didn’t fit the quickly growing girl, my sister asked me to take them instead; she didn’t want to go to the trouble of carrying them home on the plane and exchanging them.

I whispered a thank you to Santa, and reminded myself that sometimes He works in mysterious ways; I didn’t know that my sister was bringing slippers for the nieces. She didn’t know I wanted them, either. But Santa did. And He delivered.

Throughout my life I’ve seen innumerable miracles of Christmas faith occur, large and small.

I was 14 when my father left the family. That year Christmas looked bleak. There were five mouths to feed, and no “extra”money to be found. We had a “Charlie Brown tree” cut from a stand of fir trees on our own land, and bedecked with ornaments from Christmases past. We were fortunate enough to have food in the cupboard. But my mother was devastated knowing there was no way she would be able to provide Christmas gifts for all of us.

As the oldest at home, I was privy to the goings-on of the adult world. But to this day, I don’t have any idea who brought Santa that year. All I know is that on Christmas Eve a jolly, bespectacled man with a beard of white and suit of red pulled into our very remote, country driveway in his sleigh — or rather, his worn, old, white pick-up truck — with bags filled with festively wrapped gifts. There was a name on each one.

Santa left the bags on our porch. With a jolly smile he offered a “Merry Christmas!”, and was on his way.

In 2007 my Christmas Miracle was the grandest The Spirit of Christmas has yet conspired to deliver for me; the man I’ve been waiting my whole life to find crossed mountain and river that stormy December to be by my side and spend the holidays with me and the children.

That Christmas I felt like both Doris and little Susan in Miracle on 34th Street; the home, the family, the life that I had been nearly afraid to desire became my greatest Christmas miracle. Now every holiday season is a celebration of that most profound of miracles; the emergence of deep love and partnership.

For me, the holidays will continue for the rest of our lives. My faith in the Miracle of Christmas is no longer shakable. No more tests required – I finally got my ultimate proof. The man of my dreams, now my husband, is here to stay.

Some would say it was just a fluke of timing. And there’s something to that; finding The One is a miracle whenever it happens. But to me, it was more than just a twist of circumstance that this relationship arrived wrapped in a Christmas ribbon. For me, it’s further proof that when we open ourselves to the possibility that magic exists, magic proves itself to be real.

Movies are built on the theme of The Christmas Miracle. In this case, art imitates life. Christmas stories with their grand, sweeping, soaring themes serve as a reminder of what’s possible when we allow ourselves to invest in love and faith. And as believing becomes more effortless, the miracles grow larger. Through our agency, miracles are made manifest.

Off the screen, food banks fill for at least one day with more than enough to feed the local hungry. People open their homes to strangers so they will have somewhere to be on Christmas morning. Communities pull together and provide gifts for children who would otherwise be without.

To quote the words of song writer Red West, popularized by Elvis, “if every day could be just like Christmas, what a wonderful world this would be.”

As a Mystic mama, I don’t feel like a hypocrite or a liar, or as though I’m misleading my children by allowing them to believe in a power that makes their child-lives a little more happy, a little more bountiful, a little more hopeful, a little more magical.

And as they grow older, The Spirit need not disappear. Instead of losing heart at the news that Santa is a myth, faith can continue to flourish. Given the chance to become part of the spirit of Saint Nick, children become an active part of that energy of selfless giving. They become the ones who enact the miracles of the season. They grow to be the hearts and bodies that offer those miracles up.

It’s been proven to me again and again through personal experience that the Holiday Spirit does exist. I have been both the one who receives and the one who delivers on the promise of hope that the season offers.

The Spirit is palpable. It acts in the world. Call it the power of faith, or Jesus, or Santa Claus, or generosity — it’s a reminder of a bond of love for our fellow human beings.

Regardless of the name we give it, it sustains. If we allow it to, if we believe it will, it acts through and for each of us, bringing miracles to bear.

A Body-Positive, Sex-Positive Women’s Weekend: The Healing Fire of Sovereignty!

December 18, 2014 in Latest News!, Upcoming Events by Lasara Firefox Allen

A Body-Positive, Sex-Positive Women’s Weekend:

The Healing Fire of Sovereignty!

abstract_fire_flower

Brigid’s Day/Imbolg/CandlemasJan 31 at 10:30am – 6PM, and Feb 1, 2015, 10:30 – 4:00pm
Redwood Valley, CA — ALL WOMEN WELCOME.

Join us on the weekend of Brigid’s day to explore your womanbody as a sovereign, sweet, safe, sexy, joyful space. We will explore our birth-rites of pleasure and health, by the healing light of Brigid’s fire.

This weekend will empower you with tools and practices that will help you come into more intimate relationship with and inhabitation of your flesh.

Our powerful teacher’s core includes:

Lasara Firefox Allen – author, teacher, activist, coach.: deprogramming techniques (burning out the old), embodiment, and more.

Corine Pearce of Mendocino School of Holistic Massage & Advanced Healing Arts: healing self-massage and breath work

* Kir Kir, aka Rosetta Risque; body positive healing with photography

* teacher TBA: herbal self-care for sexual health and pleasure (teacher tba).

We are offering two days of workshops; on Saturday all exercises and classes will be readily accessible (if sometimes challenging) material, and all activities will be fully clothed.

Sunday, once group comfort and trust has been achieved, we will introduce more intimate practices. We will access deeper levels of shedding and relearning, sit together in circle as clothed or unclothed as is comfortable, and embrace our own bodies with love and trust.

You may register for just the first day, or for both days.


Early registration;
I was referred by:



Sliding scale available upon request.

Lodging is not available onsite. There are many hotels, motels, and BnBs nearby, and you may even be able to find hosting with one of the local participants.

20% Off EVERYTHING at my SquareUp Store!

December 1, 2014 in Latest News! by Lasara Firefox Allen

Get 20% off EVERYTHING at my Square Store!

Select your items, and then use the code CYBERMONDAY at checkout!

Gifts for your sweetie, or yourself!

IMG_5695 Sexy Witch books

Yoni Eggs

COURSES:

21 Days to BODYLOVE

Fivefold Goddess Initiation Cycle

…Coaching

Tarot Readings, and tarot gift certificates!IMG_5239

Small Business Saturday — Extra Special Deals!

November 28, 2014 in Latest News! by Lasara Firefox Allen

Hi, love!

IMG_5695It’s Small Business Saturday! This is the opportunity to support your favorite small businesses with your holiday shopping dollars. So, I’m doing my part to save you some money, while also getting unique, meaningful, transformational gifts for your loved ones.

Here are my Small Business Saturday deals!

***10% of sales will go half to Run for Justice, and half to Magickal Cauldron of the Western Sea.***

My Small Business Saturday theme is BOGO! Buy One, Get One – free, or half off, in most cases.

If you’re going for something in the lower price range, Yoni Eggs make a perfect gift for the special lover in your life. (As long as she has a yoni!) What an AWESOME, sexy, caring stocking stuffer! ;)

Love Your Yoni Eggs:
buy one, get one half off (my choice of stone)

on Square Market

 

Something a little bit less, let’s say, intimate…but really caring and transformational?

Buy one tarot reading gift certificate, get one FREE!

on Square Market

Workshops:

Buy one, get one half off! These workshops are open to all women, and are a deep, sweet, life-changing, and awesome way to bond with your sister, mother, daughter, bestie.

21 Days to BODYLOVE:
First
registration at early bird rate, 2nd one HALF OFF!

on Square Market

Fivefold Goddess Initiation Cycle!
First registration at early bird rate, 2nd one HALF OFF!

on Square Market

If you have any questions, drop me a note! I’ll be online to answer them, and to make sure your orders get filled immediately.

P.S. I also have some jewelry available over at facebook! Buy one, get one free!

QUESTIONS? Contact me!

Finding Gratitude – with love, from my heart to yours. (Games, too!)

November 27, 2014 in Articles, Latest News! by Lasara Firefox Allen

IMG_6217Today is not the easiest of days to find gratitude. Yet I know I can. And I know that remembering what I’m grateful for doesn’t make me a traitor. It brings balance. Some light in the darkness. A measure of water to replenish the well.

When I remember what I’m grateful for, I can more easily see the things that need changing in the world. I can remember to pray with gratitude, to fight in the name of gratitude, and to love and get on with the business of living, with gratitude. In the name of gratitude.

In moments of great heartbreak, I find myself grateful that I have family to come home to. In the moments where my body hurts so badly I don’t know how to go on, I keep breathing, and find gratitude for this body that just does keep going on.

In the dark moments, I am grateful for the faith that sustains me, the value I hold in the Work I am blessed to do in the world. I am grateful for the children I have been blessed to bring into this life, the amazing grace that is the lives they are creating for themselves. I am grateful for my parents, all their love, their dedication, and the values and learning I have had handed to me – even when it’s been a crazy ride, I’m still grateful.

I am grateful for my husband, for the love and life we share. I’m grateful for love. For the adventure of it. For the joy of it, and even the pain of it. I am grateful for the continued exploration of it.

I am grateful. Even in the hardest moments, there is much to be grateful for.

As the war continues in Ferguson, Palestine, Afghanistan, and all the places war is raging right this minute, I find gratitude for the people on the front lines. I’m grateful for the teachers who are teaching, the fighters who are fighting, and mamas and daddies who are holding their babies as the fires rage. I am grateful for those who are teaching me how to be a better activist, and a better person.

As I think of all the things I am grateful, I cannot deny my privilege. I am grateful for so many things that I know are offered to me because of often unseen, often unacknowledged privilege. And in this lies a deep pain, and shame. Yet if I cannot recognize my privilege, it remains invisible. Made visible it becomes a tool. A tool I am grateful to do my best to learn, and learn again, how to use for good.

So in gratitude, I raise my voice against hatred. I gift what and when I can to people who need a thing I have to offer, and am grateful in the giving.

As the fight for recognition of human rights continues, I am grateful for each person who raises their voice, or in anyway offers themselves to the struggle. I am grateful for the opportunities to show up where I can, signal boost when and how I can.

I’m grateful for the community of world-changers I am blessed to know and work with. Learn with. Teach with. Love and live with.

I am grateful.

And we go on. In gratitude. Fired by a passion for liberation.

What are YOU grateful for?

From my heart to yours; some games of Thanksgiving.

First, a card game, from me to you;
Get GRATIGORIES! Get grateful.

A Gratitude Round Robin – Gratitude Games * A Grateful A to Z – A Gratitude Game for Kids of All Ages

A Gratitude Game – Gratitude Round-Robin
Posted on November 21, 2010

Definition of Terms

a. Round is a go-around where everyone in a group gives their answer.

b. Round-Leader is the facilitator of the round. This position transitions at the conclusion of each round. The role of round leader can go to the person who wants it next, or you can pass the role in the round, either to the left or right. If a player does not want to be a round leader, they can pass.

Basic Guidelines:

a. Never force, “cajole” , or pressure any player into responding to any prompt. “Pass” is always an acceptable response.

b. The main rule is: Answer from gratitude. BE GRATEFUL!

c. Always give the person who is offering their gratitude the floor. Do not interrupt them, question them, or quiet them. If you’re playing this as a family, it’s especially important that you allow one another the full range of voice.

Round-Robin:

Sitting in a circle, or around a table, one person starts with a statement of gratitude, then everyone else in the group follows one-by-one. The group can set guidelines as desired.

Some possibilities:

  • Stay within a theme for each round.
  • No repeats per round. (For example, if someone says they’re grateful for family, someone else may say they’re grateful for a person IN their family, but not repeat the more general idea.)
  • Staying with one idea for every round (like, the round-leader says they’re grateful for apples, then everyone in the round says why they’re grateful for apples).

A Grateful A – Z — A Gratitude Game for Kids of All Ages
Posted on November 17, 2010

When I was a kid, we played alphabet games in the car to pass the time on long drives or road trips. I’ve recreated one of those games, with a gratitude theme. A Grateful A to Z includes players of all ages – from talking age up.

A Grateful A to Z is an adaptable game. Variations are listed below. For young players, A Grateful A to Z serves two purposes; it teaches both language skills and gratitude! And, with older players, there are ways to make A Grateful A to Z more complicated.

You can choose a category, or allow A Grateful A to Z to be free-form. Free-form is recommended for younger players, and is easier than working with a category. Themes or categories are recommended for more advanced players.

1. Definition of terms:

a. “Round” is a go-around where everyone in a group gives their answer to the category, or passes.

b. “Round-Leader” is the facilitator of the round. This position transitions at the conclusion of each round. The role of round leader can go to the person who wants it next, or you can pass the role in the round, either to the left or right. If a player does not want to be a round leader, they can pass.

2. Basic Guidelines:

a. The main rule is: Answer from gratitude. Be GRATEFUL!

b. Never force, cajole, or pressure any player into responding to any prompt. “Pass” is always an acceptable response.

c. Always give the person who is offering their gratitude the floor. Do not interrupt, question, or quiet them. If you’re playing this as a family, it’s especially important that you allow one another the full range of voice.

Remember, you can print out these directions, or you can upload them to your palm-top and not print at all. Please keep your “footprint” in mind when considering your options.

Variations and Detailed Guidelines:

A Grateful A – Z, Freeform:
The round leader starts a round with the phrase “I’m grateful for…”, and chooses anything starting with an A. The round leader can pass the prompt either to the right or left. The round ends when the alphabet ends. You can make it more complicated by offering a “no repeats” guideline.

A Grateful A – Z, with Themes:
Round leader comes up with a theme – people you’re grateful for, things you’re grateful for, inventions you’re grateful for.

Enjoy your family this holiday season!

Black Lives Matter

November 26, 2014 in Articles by Lasara Firefox Allen

michael-brown-ferguson-missouri-4There are some who think that myself and others are over-focused on Ferguson today; as people – white people yes, but also just *people* – our *basic humanity* requires our attention and engaged action.

I’d like to share a few thoughts that have been formed and informed by an activists panel this weekend I was fortunate to attend; the Pagans of Color panel during the Pagan Activism Conference Online event hosted by the Pantheon Foundation. As an ally, I am listening. And what I have been made to understand most recently – and not just from the voice of one Black friend, but from a whole panel of activists and educators who are People of Color, not even a week ago – was to KNOW that it is my responsibility to speak up when racist shit is happening.

The whole panel was amazing and I didn’t take notes, so everything is a bit blurred together. I will offer attribution as I am able to remember. (If I get it wrong, I hope y’all – Crystal, Xochiquetzal, Elena, Black Witch, and Khi – will correct me?)

1. Speaking up about gross injustice is not about being an ally; it’s about being a decent human being. (Thank you to Elena Rose for this thought.)

The truth is that white people are afraid to talk about racism. But it MUST be talked about. We need to say the words. Feel the feelings. Move into and through the discomfort. Again and again.

1408358933000-Police-Shooting-Misso-EleyAs people who understand the necessity of creating and supporting spaces in which change may occur, we can and MUST use our resources in order to create those spaces.

2. Boosting the signal is important – there are so many words out there that need to be to shared out. As white people who are doing to ongoing work of confronting racism (in ourselves, our families, our communities, and the world) we each have a platform. Many of us have reach. As people who know that change is needed, it is our responsibility to use that reach to create the space for that change. (Thanks to Crystal Blanton here.)

3. It’s been clearly explained to me that it’s not righteous to let it fall to People of Color to ALWAYS call out the racist shit that’s happening. Our Black sisters, brothers, family, friends, community members, and all People of Color, are EXHAUSTED from doing this work day in and day out. (Thanks to Xochiquetzal Duti Odinsdottir for this one.)

It is possible to listen, and to make space for marginalized voices, AND to raise my own voice against injustice.

Too few people are talking about it. It needs to be talked about. Race and racism needs to be unpacked. Not just today. EVERY day.

If we’re not willing to join in and condemn the system of racist violence, we’re condoning it.

Vast amounts of gratitude to Black Witch, Khi Armand, and the panelists mentioned in the flow of this post – for being willing to teach, stand tall, be the lightening rods and keep showing up on the front lines of day to day education. I am trying to live into what I am learning from all of you.

black boy and copsFurther; I know it’s an unpopular opinion, but for the record, I don’t condemn the rioting.

This is no longer about one Black boy – if it ever really was just about one Black boy. It’s about Mike Brown, but it’s not about Mike Brown. (Did you know 14 teens have been killed by cops since the day that Mike Brown was gunned down?).

It’s about the systematic racism and oppression that allows for young Black men to be gunned down with impunity. It’s about the continued existence of state-endorsed lynch mobs in 2014. It’s about character assassination as judge, jury, executioner. It’s about the continued dehumanization of Black people in America today.

This is about parents needing to teach their Black children – their Black sons and daughters – to protect themselves. To be afraid. I don’t think any of us who are not Black can really understand what it’s like to have to teach your children to live in fear as a tactic for self preservation.

This is about the value of Black lives. This is about Ferguson, and it is not about Ferguson. This is about racism in America today.

I’m reminded of Palestine. This is a war against oppression.

Who is the enemy? Who do you lash out at when you have no one to hold accountable? When no one is held accountable?

As non-Black people, we are outraged. Black people – mothers, daughters, sisters, brothers, grandmas, grandpas, sons, daughters – are terrified.

Terrified, and fighting for their lives.

‪#‎blacklivesmatter‬ ‪#‎fergusondecision‬ ‪#‎handsupdontshoot‬

Cyber Monday Specials! Get Gifts for Your Witchy Girl Friends!

November 23, 2014 in Latest News! by Lasara Firefox Allen

IMG_5239 IMG_5242 IMG_5695 IMG_5706Cyber Monday+shopping from your friends’ small businesses = win/win.

Come back here on Monday for a bunch of special deals! Yoni eggs, Sexy Witch books, tarot gift certificates, price reductions on registration for workshop and courses!

Excellent gift ideas for your loved ones. (And yourself – no one knows better what YOU WANT! :) )

See you here on Monday. Until then, have an amazing Thanksgiving week. CLICK HERE to find some fun gratitude games!!!

Upcoming Courses, including the first ever Fivefold Goddess Initiation Cycle!

November 10, 2014 in Latest News! by Lasara Firefox Allen

laughing with stars

Photo by Jeff Weston. Thanks, Jeff! (Effects and filters by me. Can’t blame him for that! ;) )

Hi, friend!

Until the past couple of days, I’ve been kinda quiet for a little bit. I was busy with the living of life and honoring of death. And now I’m back!

It’s been quite a year for me. I was pretty wiped out for a bit there. So I gave myself some time off from teaching. It was nice. I let some dust settle, let some light in.

With this Witches’ New Year marking  a portentous turning, I’m feeling inspired. Tied more deeply to my roots, more clear on what I want to see in the near future.

And I made some vows. They shall remain half hidden, half revealed for the time being. By Witch eye!

As usual, I have many irons in the fire. I am learning how to handle them with a rhythm that beats more like a steady heart – my heart, on a good day.

Yes, working on my working being more like my heart beating. Sometimes this is easy. Sometimes it’s the The Work itself.

In the rhythm of things I turn the wheel, setting things back in motion.

As you may have seen, I have a few classes coming up. I have my on-line classes planned out December – early April. Starting with Happy Healthy Winter Holidays – a course that will offer opportunities to reinvest the season with intention and fun, to commit to community and family time, and to take care of yourself in the process.

Holiday candles Wallpaper__yvt2Then in January, the second round of 21 Days to BODYLOVE. The first round was so powerful, that some of our BODYLOVE alumni will be coming back for a second round. (Sign up now (or before Thanksgiving) and get the early reg rate of $150 at SquareUp. Use the code “GRATITUDE=$49OFF” at checkout.)

In the end of February I will be offering The Fivefold Goddess – An Initiation Cycle into a New Divine Feminine. I’m incredibly excited about this, and have a hunch that a book may be in the works. Because 1., yes, I feel ready for that. And 2., I think the time is right for this one, as do the women I have talked to about it.

The Fivefold Goddess speaks to and for women who are looking for an archetypal system that offers a relationship with creative potential that exists beyond our biology, and more easily encompasses and reflects the life experiences and phases of women. This new initiation cycle will be fresh, transformational, and a doorway into claiming a wider spectrum of woman-beingness. An early reg bonus of $50 off is available through winter solstice, when you register at squareup and use the code “SOLSTICEGODDESS” By Dec 21.

So yes, I have a number of courses coming up. As always, I want to make them affordable to everyone. And as opposed to the way that marketers tell us too do, I’m telling you about all of them NOW. Payment plans are available, and the early reg bonuses above. AND, if you want to participate in all three courses, we can create a payment plan for 21 Days and The Fivefold Goddess, and I will gift you registration in the Happy Healthy Winter Holidays course. For free.

In addition to all of this, I have some special events for my local ladies. My New Moon WOMANifestation circles are happening nearly every month. AND, I am planning a New Year’s Day Tarot and Tea party in my home. Stay tuned for details. (And I am booking for holiday parties in your home or at your event too!)

And, If you live farther away, we can do coaching and tarot readings via Skype or pretty much any video interface.

Happy New Year to you, of the Witches’ variety that is. And may your coming season of light in the darkness be blessed with love, support, family, community, and joy.

All love,

-Lasara

fivefold goddess bannner 1

On Honoring Our Dead, Community, Belonging and Not Belonging, Culture and Appropriation

November 10, 2014 in Articles by Lasara Firefox Allen

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My offering of fresh soul cakes, cream, spiked magickal cider, and assorted treats for the Pictsies, our ancestors, and the hungry ghosts.

I had a pretty amazing few days of fêting the beloved dead October 30, Nov. 1, and Nov 2. Starting with a sweet, intimate Halloween party and Samhain celebration that culminated in a simple Witches’ New Year circle around the fire, and treats left out for the Pictsies. (Like we do, in our family.) Fresh soul cakes baked with magickal herbs – rosemary, saffron, rose petals, and more. Apple cider with seasonings the warm and bring abundance during the cold months. Friends, and a lovely fire on a cool, damp, northern California night.

Then down to SF. My daughter, who will be 18 in February, had asked me to take her to Dia de los Muertos in the Mission. It had been a couple of decades since I had been there, but I wanted to go with her. Partially because we have always honored our dead at this turning of the wheel (and in more innocent times, before the deepening of my thoughts on white appropriation of marginalized cultures and continued colonization) offrendas, calaveras, and papel picado had a place on our Witchy altars, along with the treats for our ancestors and the other items dedicated to the supernatural beings that walk amongst us at this time of year.

And partially because I want to spend as many moments in ritual space, having peak experiences with her as possible before she moves out on her own in the coming year cycle. She had never been to the Spiral Dance, and I wanted to share this with her.

In my heart this is the beginning of a new year; with new hopes and dreams and fears and joys. New paths to walk and oaths to keep.

I know in my heart that these rituals will help us both transition our relationship. And I trust they will make her stronger as she heads into a larger, less certain world.

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Me and Aurora, post altar build, pre ritual garb.

As happens, the space opened for us to also enter into celebrating the Reclaiming Spiral Dance – again, for the first time in 20-some years for me. But it was another experience of ritual to share with my daughter, and another layering in of the recognition of life cycles, so important now. And always.

And, I had experienced an intimate death in the past year. A member of my extended family, my Goddess-Auntie Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart, who also happened to be a teacher and leader in the Pagan movement. In another of a long list of requests She has made to me through and beyond her dying time, I was called upon to create an altar in her memory for the ritual.

I invited my mom, Motherbear to come and be part of the altar building. It made sense. Now three generations of Witches recognizing the passing of time together. And in recognition of our family, extended familial, and land-family connections, Kirsten Johnsen too; a land-sister (Greenfield family), and another of MG’s death doulas, or whatever we were as we were there in Morning Glory’s dying process.

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Mighty Dead Memorial Altar, Spiral Dance.

As it turned out, there were many Mighty Dead – the elders and teachers from our Witchy and Pagan lineages and traditions – who had passed on in the year cycle from last Samhain to this. And an altar needed to be built for them all. I was glad to volunteer my crew to create this more expanded altar too. So many of these Mighty Ones are dear to our hearts, our teachers and compatriots. Donald Michael Kraig, Antonia Lamb, Lady Loreon Vigne, Margot Adler, and SO MANY others . This year so many passed into the next place.

So as things tend to happen, the experiences show up in ways that offer us opportunities we are blessed to walk into. My favorite way to attend just about any event is from inside the beast; from the ground and grounding up, part of the workings of the collective, the setting of space. Because Magick is real, I – once again, like so many other times – got to share this experience of diving deep into the fabric weaving with Aurora. And with my mom. Again like so many other times.

Yet rare, too. There have not been so many where the three generations of us all get to plug into that current together, crafting the weft and weave as three generations of Witches working on a shared project.

Traveling through time and space together in a weekend long liminal space as a multigenerational familial unit was an opportunity to practice what I preach; to spend dedicated time in worship, community, communion, family. To learn how to take better care of my elders – and my personal elder; my mom. To take into account the procession of age marching on. To make sure my mom didn’t have to carry too much, walk too far, stand too long.

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Three generations of Witches. Me, Aurora, my mom Marylyn Motherbear.

And to make sure my kiddo ate often enough, slept enough hours, got to do at least many of the things that were important to her while we were in The City. (Yes, we’re Country Pagans.) And to share important moments while trying not to make it all too precious.

Time marches on, and we march with it. Moments happen as they will.

(I also recognize how well my kiddo knows me, how much she takes care of me too – knowing my triggers, anticipating my transitional difficulties, smoothing the way in her graceful manner, holding the space for me in the edge-places where I tend to feel less safe. She’s also learning how to take care of her elders. I recognize this.)

On Sunday I got to see MG’s daughter and an old friend of mine, and land-sister, which also felt like an important part of the weekend, though it was a busy visit (she styled my hair – which she is AMAZING at), and we didn’t have a lot of time to get to the heart of the matter. Yet, the heart of it is right there, in death. As it is.

Then Mom, Ror and I got ready to head over to Dia de los Muertos.

Ror and I are in ongoing, months-long conversation about cultural appropriation, and this time was no different. It was amplified. Our weekend was woven through with conversations about heritage and appropriation and colonialism and privilege and feminism and eurocentrism and displacement and Inidgeneity and community and allyship and respect and process. The conversation is had in bits and pieces, with ever-changing context and content and participation.

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Aurora and me.

Ror chose to paint her face in death paint, but in honor of her (our) heritage she decorated her skull mask with Celtic knot work, and painted a pentagam over her heart.

In the procession I had mixed feelings – the gentrification of the Mission brings a pervasive sad and bitter taste. It was riding in the night breeze. I felt unsure of the vibe or intention of the revelers in some cases, but also felt the dead walking with us, and communed with the spirits of those lost to violence, lack of care, gender- and race-based harm. I prayed to and for my personal dead, and the collective dead.

Sunday morning I had heard that our own little northern community had been stricken with loss; the brutal rape and murder of a vibrant young woman – a dance teacher – at the hands of a man on Halloween night. There were no details published anywhere; just word of mouth, and raw, fear tinged anger and shock. This also offered another shade of awareness in my walking on Sunday night.

The social justice threads of the Mission Dia de los Muertos observation felt clear to me, in the roots of the movement. And in the energy of the voices of the dead. And in the altars when we arrived at them.

The losses. So many. Young men, boys, black and brown, mowed down by police brutality. Trans people torn away by hate-crime violence. Women lost to sexual violence; indigenous women, Women of Color. Prostitutes, mothers, daughters, wives. Dance instructors. None of us immune to the fear held in the risk of being born in a female body; yet knowing too that women with darker skin are brutalized more often than those of us with lighter skin.

And the loss of cultures. Homes.

Environmental degradation.

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My child and Death share a loving embrace.

I could feel the dead calling out to be heard. Calling out for justice.

And, at the same time, I celebrated life and living with my daughter. And my mother. And our friends. We met up with many of them. Ate together and sat together and walked together and prayed together and talked together.

We honored life and death, living and dying. Dancing, walking, eating. All as mindfully as possible, remembering the dead and offering them the joy of the acts, and the honor-gift of rememberance.

Throughout the ensuing week I have been reading about Dia de los Muertos. About appropriation and the forces of commercialism and exploitation.

There is a fine line between honoring a tradition and appropriating it. And many voices came forth to join the discussion.

Rosa de Anda, a founder of what is now known as the Mission Dia de los Muertos obervance, had this to say:

But this is not about what we had; it is about what we have. It is about the NOW. We have an amazing mix of people in our San Francisco, Bay Area community. Our recently arrived neighbors are not going back to where they came from, anymore than you, or I, are going back to where we came from. We all came from somewhere? How far back do you want to go? This land was Mexico’s until 1857. That is not that long ago, and perhaps that is why we are no longer a minority in places like southern California, where Latinos, by their shear numbers are reclaiming the land.

As Brujas, Witches, healers, and all forms working with spirit, that is our most powerful tool. I have faith that spiritual power is closely related to ancestral work. Spending time with our ancestors informs us how incredibly short our lives are on this planet and how challenging it is to transform what we have inherited. We can heal our past and our future by celebrating Dia de Los Muertos now, and introducing our ancestors to each other.

The hipsters may not know they are in ritual, but they are being affected by their participation. We know that when we are in ritual it is a point of great magical power. I accept this to be the truth, what happens in between the worlds, changes and heals all the worlds.

It is not just the Mission that is dying, blood is spilling everywhere, including in the civil drug wars in Mexico. Get ready to embrace “right action.” We will be forced to take it.

Each one of us participating in this thread is powerful and we have influence to effect how our Day of the Dead is celebrated in our communities. It is easy to pass judgment and criticize the skeletons dancing inebriated on the streets, it is more difficult to think about why these privileged white people find it so necessary to be so drugged. It is more responsible to work towards building homes for the displaced, feeding the hungry, healing the sick and working to mend our broken hearts. That is the reason to celebrate El Día de Los Muertos, because we are alive.

…We have every right to define ourselves as an elevated community practicing and gathering tools from all corners of the world respectfully sharing what our ancestors left for us. We have every right to reinvent, co-create, and succeed in peaceful co-existence. Long live El Dia de Los Muertos!”

— Rosa de Anda
Read more here.

Its is nuanced for sure. And there are many points of view that need to be taken into account. Rosa’s is one of them. So is Aya DeLeon’s.

Like the Pilgrims, you have begun to take over, to gentrify and colonize this holiday for yourselves. I was shocked this year to find Day of the Dead events in my native Oakland Bay Area not only that were not organized by Chican@s or Mexican@s or Latin@s, but events with zero Latin@ artists participating, involved, consulted, paid, recognized, acknowledged, prayed with.

Certain announcements of some of this year’s celebrations conjured visions of hipsters drinking special holiday microbrews and listening to live music by white bands and eating white food in calavera facepaint and broken trails of marigolds. Don’t bother to build an altar because your celebration is an altar of death, a ceremony of killing culture by appropriation. Do you really not know how to sit at the table? To say thank you? To be a gracious guest?

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Interactive Memorial Altar

This year, as midterm elections near and “immigration reform” gets bandied about on the lips of politicians, urban young white voters will wear skull faces and watch puppets with dancing skeleton bones, and party and drink and celebrate. But those same revelers will not think for a single second of deaths of Latin@s trying to cross a militarized border to escape from the deaths caused by NAFTA and CAFTA and US foreign policy and drug policies and dirty wars in Mexico and Central America. Amidst the celebration, there will be no thought for femicide in Juarez, for murdered and missing Indigenous women in North America. As they drink and dance in white-organized and dominated Dia De Los Muertos celebrations without a thought for us, except perhaps the cleaning or custodial staff that will clean up after them, we Latin@s learn what we learned in 1492 about the invaders: you want the golden treasures of our culture, but you don’t want us. Since then, white people have shown that they don’t value indigenous life, but are fascinated by indigenous spirituality.

Not all white people feel this way. Thank you to those of you who speak up against this. Thank you to all who boycott these events, support Latin@/Chican@/Mexican@-led events, hire our community’s artists, and hold the tradition with reverence. For those of you who haven’t been doing so, it’s not too late to start. Challenge white people who attempt to appropriate. Boycott their events and be noisy about it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to participate in this deeply human holiday, there’s something wrong with wanting to colonize.
— Aya DdeLeon
Read more here.

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Artist unknown. If YOU know, please leave name in the comment section?


It’s important to remember that Rosa De Anda’s eloquent and beautifully passionate (and compassionate) opinion is one of
*many*.  Aya de Leon’s as well. And it is important to continue seeking out other points of view too, even if they are not as easy to hear, or see, or don’t feel as good.

Obviously just because a point of view aligns with ours doesn’t mean it’s the *only* valid point of view. It doesn’t remove our responsibility to continue looking for and listening to subaltern voices.

Things have changed since the ’70s. Some lines are being drawn in a starker way. There is more fragmentation. And, as cultures and voices that are marginal/marginalized struggle to be seen and heard for what they are, it is important to give those cultures and voices the space to self-identify.

For those of us who are would-be allies, allyship may mean just listening a lot, holding the space for multiple – possibly conflicting – voices from within those cultures to be heard, being the megaphone for the range of points of view. Seeking out the voices that make us pause. The opinions that are like a knife; painful and perhaps divisive.

We all want to believe in The Oneness where we are beyond the struggles of Self and Other.

We are divided for love’s sake, for the chance of union.

Sometimes standing in the division is the thing that makes the eventual wholeness possible.

The last thing any of us want to do – or at least I can speak for myself; the last thing want to do is to continue the process of colonization. Unconsciously is as harmful as consciously. Assimilation is a tactic of the colonizer. There is perhaps a fine line between natural transformation of a thing, and forced assimilation.

Many people try to sidestep responsibility by saying that cultures have always done this; that he dominant culture just does this, has done, will do.

I say, just because a thing has always been the way it is doesn’t mean it should continue that way. Just because the dominant culture (any and all dominant cultures) have had their way in the past (sometimes exterminating spiritual and cultural systems entirely, sometimes forcing adaptation, sometimes “transforming” a culture or religion without the consent of the original peoples of that culture or religion) – do we want to continue that trend?

I do not. I do want to help continue the conversation. I want to do what I can to support marginalized cultures in continued self-determination. And over time, ideally learn how to collaborate and cocreate – with full consent – in a shifting, changing world.

There are easy first steps to take; as people with the privilege of a larger platform, a more easily heard voice, we look for and listen to the voices of people who come from marginalized populations. We help to amplify those voices. We listen, and learn. Dance-Black-Death-allegory

We donate to organizations that keep traditions alive. More importantly perhaps, we build community. We ask how we can best help.

And we learn how to feel our way through our own shame and fear, to process our resistance to the things that are hard to sit with – without making the conversation about us.

In all of it, if we are respectful and attentive and intentional, we all find moments of shared experience, shared prayer, shared celebration.

If all goes well, we will find a path that allows us to pray in our different ways, to our different gods, at the same time and in the same space. And somehow, if we hold the prayer for long enough and hard enough, and then back it up with action, we may arrive at moments of accord.

I think that perhaps it is by recognizing difference that we honor one another and approach some sense of shared liberation.

Blessed are the fighters, and the peace makers, and the leaders, and the activists, and the listeners, and the changemakers.

Keep loving. Keep fighting.

New Moon WOMANifestation! November 22, 2014

November 8, 2014 in Upcoming Events by Lasara Firefox Allen

venus37moon_youngCome together with a circle of your sisters this new moon, and play with some WOMANifestation techniques. :)

Date: Sat., November 22. Gathering at 7:00, circle begins at 7:30 PROMPT. Please be on time for the circle. Brief hang out and socialize sesh after circle.

We will set magickal manifestation intentions for the coming month in a sacred, activated, magickal container. Your goals may be financial, community building, personal care, project completion – or all of the above!

Finger food welcome, as well as drinks for after our circle if desired.

$15 donation requested – no one turned away for lack of funds. And larger donations will always be accepted. :)
See pricing below for additional items; Money Magick Spell Kit, Manifestation Booklet

If you are purchasing a Money Magick spell kit and article collection, please paypal payment to info@lasarafirefoxallen.com so I can have your items ready for you.


Cirlce Reg and Manifestation Items



Personal message or email me for directions to you if you have not yet been to my home.