Black Tent Offering at Oasis 2016

The Oasis event held by Earth Traditions, a Pagan church out of Chicago, is presented every August. It’s focus is to present intermediate and advanced level workshops in a relaxed, family-friendly venue.

I’ve attended Oasis for three years. I’ve been impressed with the incredible quality of the people and presentations and lack of ‘drama’ there. I highly recommend checking it out (www.earthtraditions.org).

This year I held the second Black Tent offering for Oasis. Last year was the premiere year and I unfortunately did not get anything written up about it. This year I was ready.

The idea for the Black Tent came from Danica of the Black Stone Pagan Hermitage (https://blackstonemonastery.wordpress.com/the-black-tent-temple/). As stated in previous posts, the Black Tent is a temporary shrine space created with the intent of honoring Endarkenment and the Holy Darkness. This could be used for meditation, grief work, deity devotion, shamanic journeying, or other deep/dark works. “To Go Dark and Deep” were the by-words.

My Black Tent was created from a black canopy owned by Angie Buchanan, Founder and Director of Earth Traditions. It was set up in the basement of the main meeting hall. The inside of the tent is silver and I think that adds a bit of visibility in an otherwise black interior. It was draped with yards of black material, using clips and cording to keep it attached to the tent. The entrance was facing a wall, affording privacy from those wishing to use the basement for other activities (for example the silent auction tables were there as well).

I hung various Deity images along the interior – featuring the art of Stuart Littlejohn (With paintings of Santa Muerte, Marie Laveau, and Maman Brigette) and Sarah Lawless (Horned God). On the altar, people were invited to add whatever tools/statues they wished. There was a small black cauldron in which was placed black stones for people to take back home with them the blessings of the Black Tent.

I included some of my Deity tools/images on the altar. Including Odin, Kali, and my Mother, An Morrigan. Here are some photos. They were taken before the space was officially sanctified with permission of the Powers.

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The back of the Black Tent

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The Interior

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Space for An Morrigan

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Space for Various Deities, including Hel, Kali, and Santa Muerte

Also included was a black Remo shamanic drum for people who wished to journey and a lovely, large scrying mirror lent by Angie. The candles were all battery operated for safety, since they would be burning 24/7.

As I built the tent with the assistance of a sister devotee, I said prayers to the Powers that were to be invited. I asked for protection, compassion, power, strength, and blessings from the Dark Mother.

I did a brief opening rite on Tuesday night and the tent was left there 24/7 until Friday morning, the last day of the event.

I said each line and the attendees repeated them after me:

“Darkness before me,

Darkness behind me,

Darkness above me,

Darkness below me,

Darkness to the left of me,

Darkness to the right of me,

Darkness around me.

Darkness within me.

To the Vastness of the Holy Dark we bow down.

To the Fierce and Compassionate Darkness we bow again.”

Those last two lines were inspired by the Order of the Black Madonna’s Dark Moon devotional rite (for info on them see: http://www.orderblackmadonna.com/).

Friends attending this year gave excellent feedback. “It’s a Safe Space for Dangerous Work!” one attendee gleefully exclaimed. Two others utilized the sacred space as a container to hold a difficult conversation. It was also well used by those who were preparing to take part in the Sacred Hunt ritual (a transformative, ecstatic rite). I was excited to see people making it their own.

The creation of this as a Sacred Space was initiated by me as I asked for the Dark Mother’s blessings, but was built and perpetuated by the attendees.┬áThe Dark Mother, and the other Powers, responded with loving support.

On the last day, some attendees helped me take it down in a mindful and respectful manner – all offerings were given to the forest nearby and prayers were made as the items were removed.

I invite anyone intrigued/excited about the idea of a Black Tent to build one for yourself. Contact Danica and/or me and let us know how it goes.

All Hail the Fierce and Compassionate Darkness!

On the Importance of the Dark

So – why Dark? I have heard some people question this emphasis. Sometimes out of curiosity, other times out of disagreement.

My spiritual work is most often about what has been defined as Dark or about “endarkenment”*. I am a death midwife and shapeshifting WolfWitch, and my matron Goddess is the Morrigan – an Irish Goddess of War (among other things), Who is often seen in the form of a raven. The shamanic work I am called to do is that of the Psychopomp – a guide for souls who have made the transition from Life to Death, which ties in to the death midwife work and other work such as clearing homes and sometimes people of suffering beings.

The Goddess has seen fit to equip me with the skills/constitution to deal with this type of work. After having nightmares about skeletons as a child, I turned and faced those bones in my adolescence after discovering Paganism. My last dream with a skeleton in it was of Death, as a female skeleton in a purple robe. And she showed me how to use her scythe, by standing behind me and guiding my hands as I cut the grass we were standing on.

But isn’t Dark “bad”?

Well, there can be a “bad” side to Darkness. As there can be with the Light. Just think about the simple definition of each of these. Think of a dark room, with no light in it. That space could either be calming or frightening, depending on the framework brought to it by the person experiencing it. Now, before you get too smug, think about a room that is filled with light. Ahhhh, now that seems better. But wait! Just stay in that room, for 8 hours, for 12, for 48. Erg! Not so great now, is it?

As many others have stated before – our culture is at a great transition point right now. It’s not going so good. “Darkness” everywhere – death, war, disease, economic inequities. Who would want more darkness?

My work with endarkenment is most often about using the regenerative, healing, calming, and transformative energy found in the Dark. It’s about going in and through the Dark to regain the treasure within (as posited by Carl Jung and his theory of the Shadow). It’s about Deepening as well. I always get the image of burrowing down into the soil like a hibernating mammal. To sleep within that healing Darkness.

But my work can also be about going within the “Unhealed Darkness”, where one can seek lost souls as part of the psychopomp’s duties. Within there are also suffering beings that have no compulsion against harming others. Personal sovereignty and power are of the utmost importance. And therein it is often best to bring some of one’s Light as well.

And sometimes that lost, screaming soul is your own. And it can be about looking into the Abyss and withstanding the responding gaze of that Void. About allowing claw and fang to shred what is left of your comfortable preconceptions and lay you bare, bone and muscle.

I don’t eschew the Light; it is a matter of emphasis. While I gladly take part in rites/ceremonies of the Light, my spiritual “homework” so to speak is to help bring the Sacred Dark to the forefront and to help find the treasures that are contained within it, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable.

And so – you can find me under the waning Moon, at the crossroads, dancing with wolves and bones, hair flying free and claws sharpened. Join me!

 

*For further exploration of the term “endarkenment” see the following links:

“Endarkenment: The Esoteric in Dark Ambient Music and Culture” https://blackstonemonastery.wordpress.com/endarkenment-the-esoteric-in-dark-ambient-music-and-culture/

“What on earth is endarkenment?” http://www.wicca-spirituality.com/spiritual-endarkenment.html

Welcome! And what the heck is a Black Tent Temple?

Welcome. And thank you for visiting my page.

As stated in my bio page I was given the task by the Dark Mother to create a “Temple”. Well, right away my brain went to the idea of a physical worship space. But then, just a few days ago on the blog https://blackstonemonastery.wordpress.com/, I read about this Priestess’ idea of a Black Tent Temple.

The Black Tent Temple is inspired by the Red Tent Movement. The Red Tent is sacred space created by/for women to celebrate their womanhood and comes from an idea posited by the book “The Red Tent” by Anita Diamant.

The author of the Black Stone Monastery page wrote about how she has successfully created lovely dark sacred space to go deep, to explore “endarkenment” (more on that later), to mourn, to worship Deity, to scry, and other activities.

Well, this was it! I knew this was what the Dark Mother had asked for. It does not require huge monetary investment, is easily moved from one place to another, and just seemed right. And it will be for any gender expression.

So, I will be presenting a Black Tent Temple both here in Madison and also at a Pagan event in August.

Be sure to check back here for photos and updates. Also, I highly recommend visiting the Black Stone Monastery blog for more ideas.

Blessings.

COMING SOON!

Hello! This is a new blog that I am currently working on. Check back soon!