Portals Featured Sponsor: Coventry Creations


Jacki Smith (left) and her sister Patti.

These shining beacons of good vibery are the owners of Coventry Creations in Ferndale, Michigan.

I met Jacki last year at the Earth Warriors Festival in Ohio, and took to her right away. She is just the kind of woman I admire; a feisty redhead with an inspired business savvy, she has carved out a life on her own terms, through creativity, passion, and ingenuity. Back in 1991, Jacki was studying herbalism and aromatherapy, and decided to make candles infused with herbs and oils to give as gifts. The quality of these candles was so high that several folks encouraged her to offer them for sale. Reluctant at first, she decided to give it a try. Patti came on board a few years later, and Coventry Creations has now sold nearly 2 million candles worldwide.

Coventry Creations is committed to handcrafting their candles locally, and has continued this tradition for over 20 years. The quality, scent, and beautifully designed graphics of their candles surely have helped them become so successful, but it seems to me that the core of their success is really the enthusiasm and genuine passion they bring to their creations. Says Jacki, “At Coventry we see magic as the moment when you move past your limiting challenge into the healing that manifests the life you desire. Magic is our passion, and we live that passion in every candle, message and fragrance we create”.

Both sisters believe in the power of creating a vibration in harmony with your intention as the way to facilitate changes that bring you closer to the life you desire. The scents, colors, herbs, and words used when crafting each batch are  carefully chosen and focused on as each candle is created. Jacki and Patti bring their own sense of magic to every candle they create.

The way they describe it is downright musical!

Jacki has always been drawn to candles as a tool for intentional magic, for the moods they create are conducive to a meditative state where we can more easily slip beyond the grasp of our self imposed limitations and into a place of true healing.

You can read more about her candle magic philosophy right here.


Look at these beauties! They smell as good as they look too.

In short, Jacki is a rockabilly badass who lives her life in screaming color. She brightens up the day of anyone who comes near her, as I have witnessed personally on numerous occasions. If I were looking for help getting out of a funk and back into a sense of personal power, I would trust Jacki as a guide wholeheartedly.

BONUS: Jacki has lent her mojo to Portals on several fronts, having supported our campaign both as Coventry Candles and as The Candle Wick Shoppe. She pledged at the Custom Song level, so I will be writing her her very own song of celebration, magic, and love of the earth, which you will surely hear by year’s end.

I hope you will give her the warm hospitality our music and arts tribe does so well, and give both her sites a visit.

Here are her details:

Coventry-Portals-AdsJacki Smith;
Enchantress, President and Trouble Maker
Coventry Creations, Candle Wick Shoppe and Type 40 Sales
www.coventrycreations.com   Products for your soul!
The Seeds of Magic are found in your imagination and planted in your deeds.

Candle-WickCandle Wick Shoppe
175 W 9 Mile Rd
Ferndale, MI 48220

From Candle to Reiki; from Mojo to incense we are your feel good store. Visit our new “spiritual apothecary”  filled with  unique gifts, candles, oil and incense and experience our Reiki Healing Center and our new Mojo Bar. We have the remedy for what ails your soul!


Each of these Portals sponsors has been hand selected by me as someone I would feel proud to showcase. They will each be getting a feature here over the next few months. Click the banners to visit their pages.

Portals Featured Sponsor: the Candle Wick Shoppe!

11828613_10153511941891085_9104382544571297988_nAh what could be better after a long and arduous tour than a wee nip of Professor Fenster’s Snake Oil! After all, it cures what ails ya, and also reminds us that “If it don’t bite, it ain’t right”.

Which was the line that sealed my fate as the new owner of this quirky flask. I can’t think of a better place for my favorite Scotch come next Pantheacon! Especially since the tag line for Portals is “Siren Song and Snake Oil”.

This flask was made by a Detroit artist and is one of many fun items available at the Candle Wick Shoppe, today’s featured Portals sponsor!

Winter and I performing at Candle Wick Shoppe.

Winter and I performing at Candle Wick Shoppe.

Winter and I played a charming show at the Candle Wick Shoppe a few weeks ago to a very appreciative audience, and we fell in love with the place! Of course, we knew we would, because we had fallen in love with the feisty redheaded proprietess, Jacki Smith, a year earlier at the Earth Warriors Festival in Ohio. She had a vendor’s table right next to ours, and we hit it off right out of the gate. We quickly found that we had mutual friends (Susan Diamond and Shimmering Wolf of Serpent’s Kiss), and stayed up late into the night talking, laughing, and generally goofing off.

When I asked Jacki what she’d like folks to know about the Candle Wick Shoppe, she had this to say:

CAM00544“The Candle Wick Shoppe is located at 175 W. Nine Mile in Ferndale, Michigan, and has been in downtown Ferndale since 2008. We’ve got all your magical needs covered, as well as any other candle-related needs you would have; we carry all of Coventry Creations candles, along with many other brands of soy, beeswax and paraffin candles and handmade incenses and oils. We have mojo bags that are made in the shop by our staff, who have been described as “friendly, helpful, and hilarious”. Candle Wick is also home to the Reiki Healing Center; we have licensed Reiki practitioners here three days a week, each with their special twist on Reiki healing.  At the Candle Wick Shoppe, we try to create a fun and peaceful space for people to get their mojo on.”

cws peepsI certainly found being at the Candle Wick Shoppe a fun and peaceful place to get my mojo on. Winter and I adored playing in the space. It is beautiful, clean, and radiates a positive playful vibe. Definitely the kind of place you’d want to explore for making magic of your life! They carry several handcrafted items, including Jacki’s own candle line, Coventry Creations. I also found the staff friendly, helpful, and hilarious! Humor goes a long way with me. I really love people who show an obvious passion for their work without taking themselves too seriously, and Jacki and her clan have this in spades.

The Candle Wick Shoppe is a wonderful place for kindling the imagination and planting the seeds of dream deep within the well of the psyche, to activate positive change and gain more mastery in life. If you are a fan of combining vision and action to increase the charm in your life, check out the Candle Wick Shoppe! It cures what ails ya!

Candle-WickCandle Wicke Shoppe
175 West 9 Mile Road
Ferndale, MI 48220
(248) 547-2987





Each of these Portals sponsors has been hand selected by me as someone I would feel proud to showcase. They will each be getting a feature here over the next few months. Click the banners to visit their pages.

Portals Featured Sponsor: Ivo Dominguez

ivodweb_med_hrToday it is my great honor to introduce one of the shining lights of the Pagan community, Ivo Dominguez. And it happens to coincide with the our show at the New Alexandrian Library, spearheaded by Ivo himself! I love life’s little synchronicities!

I met Ivo through T. Thorn Coyle, and he has graciously hosted several house concerts for Winter and I when we are on tour on the East Coast. In the past we have played in a beautiful domed temple room with wonderful acoustics. Last night we played in the New Alexandrian Library and it was phenomenal. We didn’t even use our amps, the acoustics were flawless!

If you haven’t yet heard of the New Alexandrian Library, it is a project envisioned by Ivo and some of his coven mates, to recreate a large library for the magical arts, and they have done a spectacular job! Everything Ivo is involved with has a certain style and the library is no exception.

To say Ivo has done a lot for the Pagan and magical communities would be downplaying the matter indeed!

Therefore he was a natural to ask about participating in a Portals sponsorship, because I knew I would feel great about telling my folks about him!

When I asked which of his many projects he’d like featured he said he’d like to focus on his next book, and his writings in general. He has written four books to date, including “Spirit Speak” and “Casting Sacred Space”.

Ivo’s current book is called “Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans: Using the Planets and the Stars for Effective Spellwork, Rituals, and Magickal Work”.

I attended one of Ivo’s astrology classes a few years back, and it was the best presentation on astrology I have ever experienced, live or in book form. Ivo knows his stuff, and has a natural affinity for explaining it. He describes the principles and patterns of astrology with metaphors that bring them vividly to life, and I found his class to be a richly visceral experience. Ivo’s understanding of magic is the real deal, and I am honored to feature him here.

Here is a blurb for Practical Astrology:

“More often than not, people think of astrology as a tool for divination or the exploration of one’s personality. Astrology is considerably more than that. It is a sacred science, a highly descriptive symbolic language, and it is also a technology that can be applied to ritual, herbalism, the use of crystals, and much more.

This is a practical handbook for any practitioner of magic to use in building individual rituals and creating the most effective magic. Concise, focused, and expertly presented, this book teaches the core concepts of astrology so that wiccans and pagans can truly apply it to their practices”.

Portals Ad Ivo


BONUS: I hear rumors that you will be able to get astrological readings from Ivo in the near future!

Ivo has done wonderful work in the community with his meta coven, Assembly of the Sacred Wheel.  Numerous covens have grown out of the core training offered by the Assembly, and provide strong community support for the East Coast Pagan community. He is an absolute gem for our community!

You can learn more about Ivo, including his books, classes, and readings on his website:



Each of these Portals sponsors has been hand selected by me as someone I would feel proud to showcase. They will each be getting a feature here over the next few months. Click the banners to visit their pages.

Strange Denizens Beneath the Bay

Photo Jul 24, 10 25 17 AM

When starting any travel journal, I like to start where I am. So this morning I went out to the bay to say a final farewell before we hit the road.

As I was strolling along, I happened upon these unfortunately looking spirals of what looked like some sort of animal poop. Bird poop, I wondered? What kind of bird poops in spirals? None I had ever seen. Usually bird poop is a bit more splappy. I decided further investigation was in order.

Photo Jul 24, 10 30 32 AM

So up close I got. This poop is thoroughly covered in sand. Did the animal poop underground? Is this from some sort of creature that dwells beneath the sand? Maybe it isn’t poop at all. I grabbed a stick and sliced through a few piles. It was sand through and through. Not poop at all.
Some underground creature must be burrowing out its dwelling.

Photo Jul 24, 10 31 10 AM

As I stood there, I saw a spiral of sand push up through the ground. A biological event was in progress, clearly!

As I looked around, I noticed these little jellyfish-like creatures nearby. There were hundreds of them. I decided these creatures must have something to do with the spirals. Perhaps they burrowed up from beneath the sand, and then expanded into this shape once they were above ground?

Most curious. I have never seen a creature like this, nor heard about one.

Photo Jul 24, 10 31 26 AM Photo Jul 24, 10 31 36 AM

They also left these little sink hole thingies.

Photo Jul 24, 10 32 45 AM

I decided they must be jellyfish and went on my merry way.

When I returned home, I decided to consult the Almighty Oracle. (i.e. Google).

This is what I learned:

Actually yes it was poop. So glad I got right up close to it and prodded it with a stick! Lucky for me, it is in fact still mostly sand. Turns out these spirals are the castings of something called a Lugworm, which can grow as long as 9 inches. And those jellyfish? They are sacks filled with Lugworm larvae. EW.

Apparently it is Lugworm hatching time right now at the Emeryville section of the SF Bay, and my fascinating nature experience was every bit as revolting as I had originally feared. Moreso even. Giant worm larvae, yay! To think that just a foot or so below me was swarming and slithering with giant worms near a foot long! Leaving big ole jelly sacks to hatch more of themselves, while littering the beach with worm poop.

I love nature!!

Silliness aside, that was actually kind of cool for me. To witness a biological happening that is not 3 minutes from my house, something that I had never even heard of. And their poop is pretty clean. These worms eat sand and absorb the bacteria out of it for their food, and then eliminate the sand. You could say this is the cleanest sand on the beach!

I still draw the “Poop is cool” line at coffee beans shat out of the butts of lemurs though.

No wonder the seagulls are so fat and happy around here!

Stay tuned for more riveting tales of weirdness! Our tour starts in 30 minutes!

For a pictographic tour journal you can follow along on Instragram – I’m sharonknight777.

Portals Featured Sponsor: Serpent’s Kiss Magick Shop

Serpent's Kiss - what a beautiful store!

Serpent’s Kiss – what a beautiful store!

It’s time for our next Portals featured sponsor! This one is going to write itself because I have loved these folks for many years now: Susan Diamond and Shimmering Wolf of Serpent’s Kiss in Santa Cruz.

These folks are awesome. Genuine. Full of magic. Drenched with life and spirit and adventure. And successful owners of one of my favorite magic shops!

Susan and Wolf are seemingly tireless, and like all the other Portals sponsors, very committed to building community. They host numerous classes and events, including concerts. Winter and I have played Serpent’s Kiss many times, as has Wendy Rule and SJ Tucker.

They are the creators of the New Orleans Folk Magic Festival, Conjure Con, Conjure Craft, and Witches in the Woods. They have a multi-room store that offers magical supplies from a wide range of traditions, with an emphasis on Hoodoo and root work. They offer candles, oils, incense, stones, books, statuary, and clothes, among many other things.


People I love: That’s Susan and Wolf on the right. Along with Didi, Orion Foxwood, and Star Casas.

They also host the popular Redwood Nights drum circle, on a gorgeous, secluded slice of the Santa Cruz mountains. Creating events that give their community unforgettable experiences is a strong suit for Susan and Wolf. They instigated an excursion just recently that ended up being one of the highlights of my life so far; a whale watch that closed out the Conjure Craft weekend, wherein we spent about 20 minutes amidst a giant pod of dolphins. It was so beautiful, I wept. Susan, being my mermaid sister, wept too. (I almost begged off this trip, and Susan would not let me wiggle out of it. A fact for which I am profoundly grateful!)

Susan really does feel like a sister and kindred spirit to me. She is very much a mermaid girl. She looks like Stevie Nicks and dresses like a beach combing bohemian. I love her style. Her magical philosophy is akin to my own as well; that to work magic is to delve into the deep sea of Dream, and thus, sea magic is very relevant to the practice of magic as a whole. As you know, sea magic is very close to my heart. There is talk of Susan and I teaming up to offer a week of sea magic and song in Hawai’i! Both of us are the type who love to plot and scheme endlessly about amazing experiences we can create and share with our clan. Mwahaha!

If you love witchy sea priestesses and the magic they make, get yourself to Santa Cruz and check out Serpent’s Kiss. Hook up with their community and stay in the loop about when we are all going to Hawai’i!

Serpent’s Kiss
2015 N Pacific Ave
Santa Cruz, CA 95060


Each of these Portals sponsors has been hand selected by me as someone I would feel proud to showcase. They will each be getting a feature here over the next few months. Click the banners to visit their pages.

Let’s Get Betsy Tinney in the Porcelain Princess Music Video!

Ms. Tinney dresses up any film set!

Ms. Tinney dresses up any film set!

In one week Winter and I are going to make a music video. This will be only the second professionally produced video we have had occasion to make, and it is thanks to all of you who participated in the Portals vision!

We are frantically running around, pulling together the remaining details, and I hold no illusions that I will have anything resembling a non-video life for the next week. Being on set is great fun; the camaraderie and the glamour of everyone all dressed up and in their best light – literally – is quite a thrill. It is not easy to pull together the resources for such an epic undertaking, and it could be some time before we are able to do another one. So naturally we want to make the most of this opportunity!

Since the entire crew of Tricky Pixie are the featured artists on our music video song, Porcelain Princess, we have had the fantasy since day one of flying Tricky Pixie in to be our “house band” for the video. Alas, that just was not in the budget.

But, what if we could have one Tricky Pixie in the video? The one who lives closest to us?

Maybe, just maybe, this would be doable.

We want to fly Betsy Tinney down from Seattle to be the Porcelain Princess cellist!

To that end, we have created another Flash Specialty Perk specifically for this purpose! As a successfully funded campaign, Indiegogo invited Portals to participate in their “In Demand” program, which means we can continue to offer perks through the Portals campaign until the project is complete. So, we have added a GET BETSY perk. For $25 you get a download of Betsy’s album, “Release The Cello” plus an additional download of anything from Winter’s and my current collection.

2 downloads for $25 is barely even a fundraiser, it is practically the cost of you getting yourself some new music. We wanted it to be a win win for everyone. We have done a meticulous job of sticking to our budget so far, but airfare for a person and a cello wasn’t in it. Still, we know Betsy adds so much visually as well as musically that we really want her to be part of it. And she wants to be part of it too!

So if you would like to score yourself some great new music, while keeping us out of the red and ensuring that our video has added visual appeal, get on over to Indiegogo and snag our featured perk, GET BETSY.

Your eyes and ears will thank you! And so will Winter and I!


Portals Featured Sponsor: Mithros Designs



It is time to introduce another Portals Sponsor: jewelry makers extraordinairre, Mithros Designs!

Mithros Designs (also known as Oddysey Craftworks) specialize in pieces inspired by myth and magic. They describe their work as “magic in metal”. Each piece is cast to order, and they offer quite an array of different styles.

They even feature a necklace based on one of SJ Tucker’s designs – the labyrinth from her Blessings album! The stone at its center is….wait for it….a Sugilite!


Sooj’s sugilite labyrinth!

This is one of my favorite pieces of theirs, for not only is it beautiful in its own right, but it reminds all who wear it that we can step into the magic Sooj evokes for us at any time. Artists collaborating in this way to deepen each other’s worlds definitely hits my sweet spot! This is what Portals is all about, after all, and Mithros Designs nails it with their collaborative spirit!

We met Mithros Designs proprietors Liv and Andross Moore at SJ Tucker’s Strowlerfest in St. Louis. They were there vending their wares and were very supportive of the whole Strowler tribe and all the artists involved. The camaraderie at Strowlerfest is one of my strongest memories from early touring years, and Liv and Andross were very much a part of that.


Who wouldn’t want this customizable gorgeousness to celebrate their union?

Very committed to leaving a small footprint, they describe their process as “obsessively green.” They use 100% recycled metals, 80% – 100% recycled packaging, and are fastidious about making sure no contaminants get into the water and woods around their home. That is certainly in alignment with the values of the people I know!  So if you are a believer in the “Vote with your dollars” mindset, you’d be voting for a whole lot of goodness when you pick up your next piece of jewelry at Mithros Designs.

In keeping with their willingness to throw in with other artists, they have supported not only Portals, but also Hexenfest. If you like either of these projects, know that Mithros is a part of the team that makes them happen.

They also have a fragrance line at http://underhillalchemy.com

Their website is currently undergoing a redesign so they are asking folks to visit their Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/OdysseyCraftworks

You can learn more about them in their own words, also on Etsy, at https://www.etsy.com/shop/OdysseyCraftworks/about

Thank you, Liv and Adross of Mithros Designs, for being part of what makes art go around!


Each of these Portals sponsors has been hand selected by me as someone I would feel proud to showcase. They will each be getting a feature here over the next few months. Click the banners to visit their pages.

What Type of Pagan Am I?


I often wonder, when playing that endlessly amusing game we humans play, of categorizing and labeling everything under the sun, that we may understand things better, “What type of Pagan am I?

I know what type of Pagan I am not. I am not a “The Secret” type of Pagan. I do not believe the universe exists to give us stuff, and all we have to do to live the life of our dreams is to activate the Law of Attraction. If this be the case, there are an awful lot of really shitty magicians in the world. Especially in developing countries. What’s up with you people, that you haven’t yet manifested a Keurig in every home?

Yeah, no.

But that’s not to say I think The Secret is 100% bullshit. No, I think it is only partial bullshit. Which is, frankly, a much more dangerous category of bullshit, because it’s sneaksy.

I do think there is merit to Will, for example. I believe we can actualize our strengths as humans, more than perhaps we thought we could, by analyzing our motives and reactions, and by observing what sort of results our actions bring us, and then adjusting accordingly to make more conscious choices. In this way, I do believe we can create our own reality, at least in part. So, I do believe in a “Law of Attraction” of sorts. If you cultivate yourself to be a responsible, inspiring, and low-drama person, you increase your chances of spending time in the company of other responsible, inspiring, and low-drama people. As these types of people tend to be more effective in the world, your chances of success also increase by being welcome in their company.

On the flip side, if you are a needy and manipulative person, and this goes unanalyzed, you are more likely to “attract” other needy and manipulative people, and will likely get trapped in a cycle of dysfunctional, and thus ineffective, relationships.

So yes, we do have a lot more command of creating our reality than we might think we do, by consciously cultivating who we want to be in the world, and endeavoring to heal any wounds that may be preventing us from doing so. However, we need to realize that we do this within a sea of limitations as well. We may have physical limitations, for example, and we most certainly have societal limitations that make it a lot easier for some to “create their own reality” than for others.

So, it ain’t quite as simple as “Opening to the Universe and all you desire will be given unto you.”

As I like to say, our Gods are not vending machines.

As for Gods; I do believe that Gods exist independently of our minds. I find relating to Gods as nothing more than archetypes in the human psyche deeply unsatisfying, and leads to solipsism, as far as I can tell. (Although solipsism as “knowledge of anything outside of one’s own mind is uncertain” – as opposed to “the world and other minds do not really exist” – is a valid position to consider, but that is a musing for a different day).

I find it useful to relate to Gods as autonomous beings, for the same reasons I find it useful to relate to my friends as having their own unique identities distinct from my own, even though we are told constantly that “We Are All One.” (Another oversimplified half-truth.) It reminds me that there are mightier forces in the Universe than my Self, glorious though that Self may be.

Also, it just feels most accurate. I can perceive these Beings more intricately when I relate to them as autonomous than I can when I think of them as part of my own psyche. (Note, I do not say that Gods “are” independent of my own psyche, but rather, “I perceive” them as such. I don’t, in fact, have any certainty at all about what Gods are. However, I also find I don’t need to in order to have meaningful relationships with them).

Nor does this perspective negate in any way Lon Milo DuQuette’s brilliant aphorism, “Why yes, it is all in your head, you just have no idea how big your head is.”  Because it does appear that we interact with Gods through a sort of “Field of Consciousness,” for lack of a better description. If it weren’t for our ability to expand our consciousness beyond our usual modes of perception, we would not be able to perceive Gods at all. So, it seems we are capable of expanding our consciousness, if not infinitely, at least to a degree great enough to catch glimpses of what appear to be astonishingly vast patterns of Being. Our ability to flow into one another’s consciousness is what makes this possible. (We may not “All Be One” but we are certainly interconnected.)

In short, I believe the Gods have agency.

This puts me squarely in the Polytheist camp.

And yet, I do not serve as priest to any Gods, as do most of my Polytheist friends. I have not made pacts with Gods, nor have I signed on to do their work in the world. I am not a devotional polytheist so much as, well, a friend of certain Gods. Or, if that seems too presumptuous, perhaps an ally. For I see my relationships with my Gods as friendly alliances. I have not married any of them, nor joined their armies, but I do invite them over for drinks every so often. This seems to suit them fine, for they show up more often than not, and we have a grand time.

Are my relationships with my Gods less deep than, say, a Polytheist priest’s, who engages in daily practice and worship with their chosen Deities? Quite possibly. Who can say? I think the benefit of daily practice is felt far more on our human end. It is what keeps our channels open and fluid, that we may perceive Gods more readily. I am not convinced that my (roughly) monthly practice is in any way perceived as disrespectful by the Deities themselves. For a being who spans such vast swathes of time, and indeed likely does not perceive time the way we humans do at all, my guess is, it matters little.

Though it may matter little to a God how often I “call home,” wouldn’t I, for my own benefit, want to spend more time with the Gods, if I truly am a Polytheist, as I claim?

Well, yes, most certainly. I enjoy the experience of being in their company, and I feel more expansive after having done so. But in truth, my time is limited. Which is another way of saying, I have other priorities.

For I am also a Humanist Pagan. I have spent much of my time as a student of the occult on pursuits that could be thought of as “human magic.” Thelema and Chaos magic are both very human-centric. Through practices aimed at experiencing ourselves as the “Primordial Man,” uncovering our “True Will,” and the like, we seek the very flowering of human consciousness that enables us to come into resonance with the realms of the Gods. In other words, we can perceive the Gods because we are of the Gods. I believe it is the fruit of occult practice that accounts for our ability to have satisfying relationships with Gods.

I also believe we humans have our own destinies to fulfill, our own potential to explore and maximize, as individuals and as a collective species. These destinies are inherently independent of the destinies of Gods, although there is often overlap, which is why alliances between humans and Gods can be of great benefit. (Of course, alliances with Gods can also be detrimental if the agenda of the God is not compatible with the true nature of the human, which is why “Know Thyself” is such a powerful edict for those who would traverse the realms of the Gods.)

We humans have our own magic, our own ways in which we navigate the great expanses of time, psyche, collective consciousness, and we can learn to wield our gifts within these great arcs to best fulfill our potential. We can develop our human magic through applied self-awareness, discipline, and imagination in action, and thus increase our ability to shape not just our personal realities, but the greater realities of the world at large.

Much of what I describe here as “human magic” may not be perceived as magic at all, but simply effective, inspired human action. Why do we bring the word “magic” into it at all?  I suspect it comes down to one’s predilection toward poetry, and what types of poetry one most likes to define their life by. For my part, I adore the twilight language of magic, which is at the heart of why I define myself as Pagan at all.

Because I perceive this entire big ole’ Universe as sentient. Alive. Some sort of animating principle heartily and relentlessly desires expression, apparently, for the Will to Life has continued inexhaustibly against impossible odds, forever.

And there I sound like a Pantheist.

So, what type of Pagan am I? I’ll take the lot! I’ll take the whole glorious, messy, imprecise jumble of ways in which we seek to interact with our Universe. Sometimes I perceive life as filled with vast patterns of consciousness not my own, and I call these patterns “Gods”. Other times, I go for extended periods not perceiving any Gods at all, but just an endless, pulsing undercurrent of aliveness, a flow of sorts, that I think of as Tao, or whatnot.

Always do I perceive the great, humbling, bewildering honor of being alive in this moment as a human being. What unimaginably mighty forces went into such a miracle made manifest!

For me, the only response remotely worthy of such an unutterably beautiful gift as that of being alive, is to celebrate that life to the utmost. To appreciate every moment for the awe-inducing experience that it is. I give my thanks by full immersion. I strive to see as much of this world I can, by traveling whenever possible. I offer my gratitude by making music and beauty and art, by loving as fearlessly as I can.

The values of celebration, beauty, art, love, and full immersion in this glorious world are all Pagan values.

What type of Pagan am I? This is not easy for me to answer. But what I can state with full confidence is this: I am completely, utterly, joyously, and unapologetically, a Pagan.


Portals Featured Sponsor: Purlescence Yarns

When I was in the midst of the Portals crowd funding campaign, my favorite part was shining a light on the various artists who are participating. When the campaign needed a boost, I offered the Film Sponsorship level to select businesses, folks whom I felt exemplified the Portals vision in their own work. This “Featured Sponsor” series will showcase each participant and the contribution they make to our communities.

Our second Portals sponsor is Purlescence Yarns!

yarn bowl

Purlescence Yarns, 564 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086

I met the dynamic duo of Kaye and Sandi Luck at a weekend workshop on resilience. Several members of their community were at the event, spinning, knitting, and making all sorts of amazing things out of yarn. I was impressed with their ability to build community; they already had most of the things we were exploring in the workshop underway!

Based on what I saw, it surprised me not at all to find out that Sandi and Kaye run a successful fiber arts business. If the projects I saw are any indication, they have a playful – and downright witchy – approach to crafting things with fiber.

Let’s meet them, shall we?

Sandi is on the left, Kaye on the right.

Sandi is on the left, Kaye on the right.

Quoth Kaye: “We are Purlescence Yarns, a pagan, queer owned fiber arts store.  We specialize in hand spinning, weaving, knitting, crochet and felting.  We carry a large line of spinning wheels and looms as well as many fair traded or locally produced yarns and tools.  We teach anything we do.  We are focused on teaching a clear understanding of the craft, and we want our customers to be able to take care of their equipment as well.”

Sounds like fun! I’ve been intrigued by felting lately, and would love to take a class or two!

They describe themselves as “mad spinners and weavers”, promoting their philosophy of “fiber arts as meditation –  especially spinning, as it has a natural rhythm that lends itself to meditating”.  Indeed when I spent that weekend with them, their mad spinning brought to mind the Norns, spinning worlds into existence as they turned wool into yarn, yarn into stunning garments. What worlds might you weave for yourself, as you contemplate life’s deeper mysteries through creative trance?

The Purlescence Living Room!

The Purlescence Living Room! The banner in the background was created by their customers.

The allure of thriving creative community has thoroughly captured my heart, as you well know, so naturally this is something that really resonates with me about the Purlescence gals.  They teach classes, host knit-alongs and craft nights, and even have a dedicated community area, which they call “The Living Room”.

Says Kaye, “We are in this to create space for each person who comes through our doors to be the best person they can be”.

In my book, working with the arts is a fine way to become the best person you can be!

BONUS: Sandi and Kaye introduced me to the work of Nathaniel Johnstone and Abney Park. Nathaniel, as you may know, is now lending his talents to Portals. On spins the web of connection!

Here are some more pictures of Purlescence, simply because they are nifty!

Shop WheelsShop Living Room






Shop Looms










Want to visit Purlescence Yarns and learn to spin your own fate?

If you find yourself in Sunnyvale, you’re in luck! They can also be found online.

Shop Front

564 S. Murphy Ave
Sunnyvale, CA 94086





I sure am having fun shining a light on all these fabulous folks and their offerings to the world. I hope you are enjoying reading about them. Discovering new people doing cool things is one of the best parts of life!


Each of these Portals sponsors has been hand selected by me as someone I would feel proud to showcase. They will each be getting a feature here over the next few months. Click the banners to visit their pages.

Portals Featured Sponsor: John Beckett

When I was in the midst of the Portals crowd funding campaign, my favorite part was shining a light on the various artists who are participating. When the campaign needed a boost, I offered the Film Sponsorship level to select businesses, folks who I felt exemplified the Portals vision in their own work. This “Featured Sponsor” series will showcase each participant and the contribution they make to our communities.

The inimitable Mr. John Beckett.

Our first featured sponsor is Mr. John Beckett! Let me start by saying that John jumped in as a supporter of Portals before I began offering it as a business perk. So he didn’t even realize he’d be getting a spiffy write-up. He’s getting one nonetheless.

John Beckett is a Druid, and a Pagan blogger on Patheos. He has been one of my favorite Pagan bloggers for  some time now, and one of the few I consistently read.

His blog, Under the Ancient Oaks, is a fine example of thoughtful Paganism. He has a reverence for the natural world and the mystery of the Gods that comes across as deep, genuine, and full of wonder, without resorting to fluffy woo terms that don’t mean much. Here is a rational man who nevertheless views his world as infused with Gods and spirits. John Beckett’s world is alive and worthy of devotion. His commitment to Pagan ideals and honoring the earth as a living entity have been consistently inspiring to me.

If one were to ask me what my own world view is, I could easily take the lazy way out and direct them to John’s blog. As a woman who’s perspective is very much inspired by pre-Christian Celtic thought, the Druidic stance is one akin to my own. In keeping with our compatible world-views, John featured my song Fire in the Head on his blog at one point as we were becoming friends.

Some posts of his that have particularly inspired me are:

Advice to a Young Pagan

There is no Supernatural

Hold Loosely but Practice Deeply

I admire John’s service to his Gods and the living world of nature. I admire his commitment to community. I admire the thought and passion he puts into his blog and into his priestcraft. Folks interested in modern Paganism, and indeed the inner wellspring from which Winter I draw much of our music, would do well to check out Under the Ancient Oaks.

It is my great honor to draw your attention to the work of John Beckett. Thank you, John, for the work you do!



Each of these Portals sponsors has been hand selected by me as someone I would feel proud to showcase. They will each be getting a feature here over the next few months. Click the banners to visit their pages.