18 October 2019

The Crossroads: what does it mean?

I asked several friends, “What does ‘The Crossroads’ mean to you?” Their answers varied, but even still, there were similar themes.

Decisions and consequences, change and results. Journeys and opportunities, great potential and potentially great loss, letting go, and cycles of life, death and rebirth. Those ideas were present across perspectives. One friend said, “A threshold/ liminal place where the worlds are pinched together.” Another discussed the potential of the space also being frustrating, because to them, the unknown can be frightening, but can ultimately lead to a better place.

Another idea that people agreed upon is that a Crossroads is a place to reflect, then choose a direction – not a place to dwell. Sit, learn, listen, maybe commune with others, then make a decision to move. The option exists to choose a direction from there, and that could simply be to “carry on.”

We each face crossroads fairly regularly. Some crossroads are small, and some are glacial. Another theme that I heard a few times in the answers from my friends was that these decisions we make at each road we cross can affect us greatly as individuals and as a community at large.

When I hear the expression, “The Crossroads,” several things come to mind, but two things stick out more than the others: Supernatural (the hit TV show), and a rap song from the 90s by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.

In the TV show Supernatural, there are Crossroads demons, and these demons grant the supplicant some request, from saving a wife from cancer, to becoming the world’s best blues player (a long-standing real-life Blues tale from the 1930s), to restoring a brother’s soul from hell back to Earth. There are a lot of rules around these demons, including how to summon them, and the contract itself, which requires the supplicant to give up their soul 10 years from the date of the compact.

The song Tha Crossroads by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony was released in 1996, and met with virtually instant commercial success. It was a tribute to the late Eazy-E, who was a supporter of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s early days. What a lot of people don’t realize is that this is a re-imagination of an earlier version of their song, The Crossroads. The original had more explicit lyrics, and never (or rarely?) saw radio play, but also had some lyric gems, such as, “thinkin’ back, in the days when we did some f*cked-up thangs / Now I gotta ask God if that’s the reason my homie’s gone away.” It was a staunch admonishment of the “shoot first” mentality of the 90s gang wars, which they also expressed beautifully in Change the World (not to be confused with Eric Clapton’s song of the same title).

What resounds with me about Tha Crossroads in particular is how many people I know personally who have direct connections to this song. By the time you’re my age (ahem… mid 30s), you’ve certainly lost someone in your life. A family member, a community member, or people you’re close to. When I was 15, my best friend’s boyfriend was struck by a car on his way to pitch in a baseball game, after actively working on turning his life around for the better, and was killed on the scene. My best friend was grief-stricken for months, and it took her into a spiral of so many problems. I remember very clearly at his funeral that a single (tape) of Tha Crossroads was placed in his casket, and that was one of the most meaningful things for all of us. It was a beautiful tribute to a friend and fellow rap fan, and I remember that moment every time I hear that song.

Both of these pop culture references to Crossroads serve to remind us to make the most of the time we have here on this plane. One reminds us that we have limited time here, and the other reminds us to make our decisions carefully because there may be repercussions.

These thoughts and musings on “The Crossroads” bring me to a few conclusions: life is a journey, and what we do matters. Life is short, in the grander scheme of things, and we should make the most of it while we are here, and be deliberate with our choices and our energies. Where have you been? What have you overcome to get here? Which way will you go when you come to the next crossroads? Who will you take on your journey with you? To whom will you wish farewell as your paths diverge? What will you do along the way?

How will you impact the world around you?

By Laura, Accord Editor
Special Thanks to Kait, Darren, Slinky, Lindsey, Xandra, Martin, Amanda, John, Jensen, Rebecca, Willow, Mark, Meagan, Rachel, Julianne, and Kady for their thoughts and input.

11 October 2019

The Power of Three

Soft Moon shadows linger
On ancient hilltops of long ago,
As three familiar beings
Unite to make one soul.

Treasured thoughts of yesterday
Secrets safe in time,
As three gather together
To chant their ancient rhyme.

“Mystical magic combined,
With the unity of three
To bring forth the power
By the Goddess, so mote it be!”

I am the Weaver, Enchantress, and Crone,
The giver of magical sight.
Mine are the last before they are first,
In the silent silver sliver of waning moon light.

“Mystical magic combined,
With the unity of three
To bring forth the power
By the Goddess, so mote it be!”

Mother am I to the child come to living,
Teacher am I to the children of the Earth.
My face can be seen in the full silver moon light.
I am the holder of the gates of rebirth.

“Mystical magic combined,
With the unity of three
To bring forth the power
By the Goddess, so mote it be!”

I dance unclothed and alone in the wood,
Under the waxing silver moon of the night.
Maiden am I of idea’s and imagination
Where the fairy play under the crescent moon light.

“Mystical magic combined,
With the unity of three
To bring forth the power
By the Goddess, so mote it be!”

Shadows of darkness,
Pleasure of light,
Death and rebirth,
Wrong into right.

We are the Maiden, Mother, and Crone
In three different beings we stand undone
To find the hidden remains of our hearts.
United by the power of three to become one!

by Stephie Pie

04 October 2019

Editorial - Stewardship

Let’s talk about Stewardship for a moment. This is a term I’ve heard all my life. In the Episcopal church, they talked about stewardship as a recruitment tool of sorts, and that all made sense (as much as a concept like that could mean to a child). As I grew older, I began to hear that word used in a more secular context - being stewards of the environment. And further, as I grew into Paganism, I learned more about what Stewardship really meant to me and to those around me.

Webster defines “stewardship” in a few different ways, but the most relevant here is:
"the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care."

Throughout my teens and early twenties, the concept that the care of the earth is entrusted to us all, and that we should be careful and responsible with it grew and flourished, and programs for recycling, and reminders to “recycle, reduce, reuse!” grew in numbers to such a great (and wonderful) extent that it is very nearly appalling to many people when recycling is not readily available alongside refuse containers.

Then, in the early 2000’s, we were told that the plastic bottles that some of us were diligently recycling were not actually recyclable, and that they were leaching chemicals into our water. Gratefully, this seemed to cause two things to happen: 1. Plastic manufacturers learned how to create better bottles that are less harmful to the consumer, and 2. More people got onto the “reusable bottle” train. Now with the invention of things like Yeti cups, even people in Texas can have cold drinks hours after they’re poured and not generate extra waste in the process. It’s not perfect. We haven’t eliminated plastic bottles altogether.

The statistics are still rather alarming. A quick search on your favorite web search engine will bring up a plethora of “facts” about single use plastics, some with thorough documentation, others whose documentation is lacking detail, or lacking altogether. One of our amazing CMA Members created this document which contains details about the types of plastics available and great information about their recyclability, chemical content, and other interesting information.

Another wonderful CMA Member wrote into the Accord, and had this story to share:
My grandson told me more than 20 years ago that if I threw a cigarette butt on the ground at Heartland, I’d have to pick up 20 butts as punishment. He assured me that would be extremely difficult because pagans simply did not litter and absolutely knew better than to throw CIGARETTE BUTTS on the ground. I loved that about this community. I loved it that after spending the night partying around the revel fire, there was very little trash to pick up and I almost NEVER saw any trash on the roads or around the campsites. People recycled, for crying out loud! It was amazing! There were trash cans and butt cans and bags that distinguished between “recycling” and “garbage”. That was 20 years ago. 

Everyone seems to have varying degrees of commitment to environmental stewardship. When I lived alone, I had reduced my trash collection to one bag of trash per week at most, and my recycle bin was more often full when my trash was virtually empty. The Pack it in, Pack it out rule at CMA was always an easy concept for me, even before CMA stopped providing the dumpster at festival.

Now that my life is a little more hectic, I find myself not devoting as much thought to being a steward of this world we share - generating more trash instead of recycling, making less environmentally friendly choices, particularly when it comes to lunch at work, and buying the occasional plastic bottle when I’ve forgotten my reusable bottle or mug. We definitely recycle as much as we can (if you’ve been to a gathering at our house, or at Dammit Camp, you’ve probably seen me pulling cans and bottles out of the trash and moving them to the recycle bin), but I always feel like I could do more.

I have challenged my camp this festival, and I hope you consider challenging yours, to bring larger containers of water, and leave behind the individual bottles. I challenge you to consider recycling anything that can be recycled when you return to the default world after the festival. And I challenge you to continue that practice for the following week, month, season, year - whatever you can manage. The things we do become a practice, and a practice becomes a lifestyle. Let’s live our truth, and be intentional stewards of this world we call home.

Accord Editor
With contributions from Bran and Undomiel

27 September 2019

Area and Society Updates

Area Reports

Greetings from the Outlands Area! 

☆Did you know??? You are an Outlander ... IF you are Not in a designated area --》Austin, San Antonio, Coastal Bend, North Texas, Central Texas or SouthEast Texas. Please join our CMA Outlands FB Group. We all aspire to Be A Part of a Community.  

☆We are looking forward to seeing you during CMA Beltane festival at our Outlands Area Meeting at 11 AM in Volk Ve on Saturday, October 19, 2019.  

☆Are you ready to serve our Village as an Outlands Area Rep?  This would be the time/place to raise your hand and say, "Yes!"
☆If you have any upcoming events in Your area of Outlands, let us know and we can help Boost the Signal. 

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask your Area Reps. It takes community to build community. 

~Alchemy♡, Outlands Area Lead Rep 
& Arrick, Outlands Area Rep

Society Reports

*CMA Family Society Seeks New Lead* 

Hey, everyone! For those that don't know, Candyce is the current de facto lead of this society. As you may have seen if you've read the Meet the Candidates page, she's running for Director of Communications. As such, she would like to pass off leadership of this society to someone that can dedicate more time and energy to building it up. We can vote on a new leader at the Family Society meeting at Samhain. 

Minimum requirements: we're looking for someone that can post relevant content in the FB group, submit content to the Accord, and lead the meetings at festivals. Ideally this would be someone with children that can help bring back activities for children at festivals and maybe even coordinate bringing and caring for children at workends. 

There is a lot of potential for this group, but Candyce is going to be swamped with board stuff and won't be able to help realize it. Please be thinking about if you could be that person! See you at Samhain!

Fire & Flow Performance Society 

Festival Reminders:
🔥Saturday, October 19th @Pan's PlayHouse
PLEASE Attend the All Revel Societies Meeting with ALL of Us at 2pm!!!!  Revel Rousers, F&F Performance, Drummers, Dancers & More!!!
🔥Fire &Flow Performance Society Meeting:  Saturday, October 19th @ 3pm  AFTER the All Revels Societies meeting. We will move across to our established F&F Performance Area by the Maypole at the conclusion of the business portion of the meeting for more skill sharing, practice, etc.
🔥Come find us at the NW corner of Revel Fire --》 Each Night of Festival for Fire and Flow Performance. 

Due to the Fayette County Burn Ban and the extremely dry conditions at the land, our Board of Directors had to make the Hard decision. 

No Fire Toys during Samhain 2019
LED/Flow Toys Only

Thank you for understanding the safety of our Land and Spirit Haven Family must come first. 

As always lets make this an awesome (and safe) festival that brings us closer together as a society!

Looking forward to seeing you all again,
CMA Fire&Flow Performance Society Leads: 
Patrick Thomas - Draco Pendragon 
Jennifer Birr - Rogue
Carla Hargrove  - Alchemy♡

20 September 2019

Austin Witches Ball

The Council of Magickal Arts proudly presents 

Austin Witches' Ball 2019: Corsets and Kilts! 

The fabulously wicked DJ Dren Pasht will be spinning WitchWave and other dance-able delights, and burlesque performers will scintillate your senses. There will be divination readers, vendors, a silent auction, and a costume contest, so dress to impress! 

Event Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/376841096241903/

Elysium Nightclub Friday, October 11 Doors at 9pm $10 donation for entry

13 September 2019

Death Takes its Own

Welcome to the first post from the Death Walkers of Spirit Haven. We're a newly formed
Society that has come together to explore and honour the work of death. We each come from
different backgrounds and different perspectives, and we're still formulating exactly how we will
serve this community, but we're going to begin with introductions and explanations. In the
coming months, you'll see us speaking about our own histories, our approaches to death and
death work, and our plans as a Society. If you're interested in joining, we have a Facebook
group (Death Walkers of Spirit Haven) and will be hosting our second Society meeting at
Samhain of 2019.

Death Takes its Own

or “How I Became A Grief Priestess”

Submitted by: Rowan Badger

What a lot of people understand in the practical sense, but frequently don’t grasp in the spiritual
sense, is that death chooses its own. We all have some experience with someone that physical
death took from us when we would have willed it otherwise, but when you get into talking about
death work, death magic, and grief practice, there tends to be an expectation that those who do
it sought it out.

I was never the sort of girl who hung out in graveyards; I can count the number of black clothing
items I owned in high school and college on the fingers of my hands easily. Hallowe’en was
about candy, and mostly still is for me. A lot of the people who know me casually would have
no idea, looking at me or even talking to me, that I’ve been doing death work for more than a

In the early part of 2004, I got the devastating word that my best friend had been in a car
accident and lay in a coma, over a thousand miles away. Every night for weeks I roamed every
plane I could, looking for her spirit to help her find her way back home. I never found her, but a
few days after word came that there was no more brain activity and life support was ending, I
awoke before dawn with a profound sense of peace and completion. Minutes later, the phone
rang with the final news.

Later that year, notice came from my father about my great-uncle, a man who had been like a
grandfather to me: If you want to see him, go now. My mother and I made the cross-state drive
together, offered tacit goodbyes in a sunny nursing home courtyard, and drove home trying to
pretend we hadn’t seen the shadows gathering around and inside him. A month later, he was
gone. So soon upon my friend’s death, it hit me harder than it otherwise would have, and when
a community to which I was connected lost a much-beloved member to tragedy and violence,
that pushed me over a precipice of grief I have no functional words to describe.

I remember almost nothing of that winter, except a soul-deep anguish I carried everywhere I
went. I spent months simply locked into a pattern of mourning. Imbolc came and went, casting
small rays of hope into the spring, and I followed them out of my darkness.

It was a few months later, the first time it happened. Sitting quietly in a coffee shop, I looked up
to find a stranger sitting at my table. “I don’t know who else to talk to,” she said. “What do you
do when you can’t stop missing someone?” She’d lost someone important to her, far too young,
and we sat and talked through her grief, through her pain. Somewhere along the path that
leads through mourning, she’d made a misstep and found herself unable to move on. Gently,
slowly, I guided her steps and gave her a gentle nudge. I never saw her again, but I assume
she found the way back to where she needed to be.

After that, it became a regular occurrence. In the grocery store: My daughter died five years
ago, when will I stop being so angry? At a bus stop: I hope you don’t mind me talking to you,
but I’ve got to take my mother off life support today, and I needed a friendly face. Over and
over: I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but thank you so much for listening. They just kept
finding me, the ones who could not find a way through their own loss, and each time I would
stop, and listen, and offer what wisdom and signposts I had. Each time, they carried away a
small piece of my spirit to light their way. It was nothing I couldn’t spare, but there it went.
I had toyed with the idea of serving as a priestess, but had taken no steps toward it, and it
became clear over the next two years that a path was being laid out and offered to me. Finally,
one night as I sat chatting with an online friend, he asked to call me. Said he just wanted to
chat without text. We laughed, we joked, and...suddenly I found myself heart-deep in the death
of his father, walking with him as he faced and laid to rest demons of incredible pain and loss. It
took hours, and by the end of it he was weeping uncontrollably. He told me, “Thank you, I had
not cried since my father died.” It had been over thirty-five years; his father died when he was in
elementary school, younger than his own youngest child. That night tore a hole in my spirit
almost larger than I could bear.

When I hung up, I sat at my altar and explained that I was not refusing the work, would not turn
my back on it, but could not serve without a balance to replenish. The voices of the grieving
went quiet, and I thought that my request had been refused and the work had been taken from
me. Then, I was asked to officiate my first wedding, and on the flight home I explored the
questioning space in my heart and I agreed that yes, that would serve to mend the balance, that
as long as I had the work of life, I could do the work of death. Not long after, a timid mourner
found his way to me, and through me back to his own way forward.

There are many faces to the work of death. My province is Grief. I’ll offer no platitudes and I
can’t assure you that anyone is in a better place; we all get the justice in death we never saw in
life, for good or ill. I walk the paths of loss, eyes and heart open for those who cannot find their
way, who cannot understand that grief is the final evolution of love, the final distillation of a
spiritual connection, and that its purity is sacred. My gift is the ability to show the beauty in loss,
to hold space and offer permission to experience that loss without expectation, reservation, or

judgment. We do not, in this world, always give tragedy its full import; I carry within and around
myself the space to do exactly that, to give voice to the weeping howl until it screams itself to
peace and the work of living begins again in the following quiet.

18 January 2019

Drummers and Musicians Society looking for Lead

CMA Drummers and Musicians society is looking for a new leader since Toni announced he is leaving CMA and has stepped down. Need someone who can lead us in reaching out to increase society membership, participation and doing workshops. If interested please contact Chuck Morris on facebook or email at morris.chuck (at) gmail.com. We will vote at Beltane if more than one person is interested.