Fort Wayne, Indiana; Pagan Pride Day
I was lucky enough to be able to attend my home town’s Pagan Pride celebration before my upcoming move this October. I grew up in Fort Wayne the second largest city in Indiana. Some years there are no Pagan events. Since these events are organized by individual volunteers there hasn’t always been someone available. This event is not sponsored by the city like the other summer festivals held downtown at the Headwaters Park Pavilion. Fort Wayne Pagan Pride has been given new life in these past few years, as new and committed individuals have kept the festival going. It is held at a local park where there is an indoor/outdoor area that private groups may rent. This park is smaller and more intimate; also located near a woods and river it brings us closer to nature.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the diversity that the organizers were able to bring with the unique vendors, rituals and performances that filled out the day. There were also workshops scheduled, and I took this opportunity to teach my own workshop. The workshop that I taught was focused on working with the baneful herbs of medieval witchcraft. My focus was specifically working with Atropa belladonna as a plant spirit ally. There were about twelve to fifteen people who attended the workshop. I introduced them to concepts of esoteric herbalism and working with the belladonna alkaloids in a safe manner, utilizing unconventional means of tapping the magical power of these ancient plant spirits.
Workshop on Esoteric Herbalism featuring the NightshadesI went into some depth on creative ways that one can incorporate plant material into their practice without ingesting it. The hands-on portion featured the creation of magical sigils through the use of ink made from the berries of deadly nightshade. We used dried belladonna twigs as our stylus’. One is able to write spells or empower items of a porous nature with these preparations. Another interesting way to work with these plants directly is to create infusions using leaves and white washing the pages of one’s grimoire or other written magic.
In addition, we also discussed the common Nightshades, including those that have become a part of our diet. I also provided information on how to store and preserve herbs for magic and medicine. I was also able to bring various commercial flying ointment samples purchased online for purposes of comparison. My intention was to show the importance of creating one’s own ointments to create an effective but safe dosage.