Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pokémon GO and Magickal Thinking

Given its release in Canada this month, like so many of my readers, I’ve been caught up in the Pokémon GO craze, even though the original game was after my time.  One of my acquaintances on Facebook recently joked about “when your coven goes to meet in a park and wind up playing Pokémon GO...” , and  I quickly realized that there’s a profound truth hidden in that.  I think the game encourages magickal thinking, and so makes a nice fit (or distraction?) for anyone on the Pagan path.

A word on maps.  Think about GPS (Global Positioning System) applications such as Google Earth, and the maps we carry in our own heads. These are comprised of layers consisting of  topography, borders, lakes and rivers, roads, buildings, parks, etc., etc. Add to these the layers that are more personal to each of us, but of which others may not be aware. Depression-era hobos used tagging to indicate which houses gave good handouts, and which would run you off with a shotgun. Criminal gangs have their territories, as do panhandlers, buskers, and bottle-pickers. And I’m sure each of us has their own mental map of destinations and the routes to them. Skirmishes, wars and global conflicts begin when the boundaries on these mental maps don’t agree. 

As Pagans, every time we create sacred space, we add another layer to that map, and by doing so, alter our consciousness. The steps of a Wiccan circle-casting - banishing, purifying, and cutting the circle, inviting in the Elemental powers, and the Goddess and God – are done with our minds, so that we “enter” that map, and “leave” it when our work is done and the circle opened. The more experienced of us can do it without all those steps, but the mind-work is similar.

Niantic, the makers of Pokémon GO, used map-layering based on an earlier product in the creation of the game. As you probably know by now,  Pokéstops and Gyms in the game are real-world locations – parks, churches, sculptures, signs, and other points of interest -- but with the additional augmentation of  being landmarks in, okay, call it PokéWorld or PokéLife.  In Pagan terms, every time we play the game, we access a spirit world, a parallel of the land of Faerie with its own landmarks, populated by strange elemental creatures. But without the ritual of creating a circle, the simple opening and closing of an app on a cell phone can suddenly throw us into and out of a parallel and magickal world, and if we’re not properly grounded, that can cause real-world problems.

The first thing I discovered playing the game is how easy it is to trance out if you’re focused on the PokéWorld in the screen rather than your own surroundings.  Hence the warning displayed every time the app loads to be alert and stay aware.  As has been well-reported, people have been injured or worse walking into traffic following the trail of an elusive Pokémon; even if you’re driving to locate a Pokéstop to load up on Pokéballs, it helps to have a navigator in case you forget to shoulder-check, or to access a Pokéstop on the corner of a busy intersection (assuming the GPS has caught up with you).

The three teams – Instinct, Mystic, and Valor -- seem to be elementally based, which may be a factor for those reaching Level 5 and trying to choose a team, although the relationship is a bit fuzzy. Valor (Red) suggests Fire to me, perhaps similar to Gryffindor in Harry Potter. The description of  Mystic (Blue) as careful and analytical suggests Air or perhaps Earth to me, even though the colour is indicative of  Water; I think of Hufflepuff in the Potterverse.  To me, Instinct (Yellow) suggests Water, or perhaps aspects of Fire, and reminds me of Ravenclaw, but its alignment is “Electric”. Interpretations may vary; this will undoubtedly be a good topic for discussion.

Pokémon GO is certainly the phenomenon of the summer (we’ll see how it fares in a Calgary winter), and I can see it as a launching point for long-term technological GPS applications.  But it’s also a psychological phenomenon, and for those of us in Pagan communities, a magickal one.

August Events:
Note these events are listed for information purposes only. Dates and locations may be subject to change; see the source for details. If I’ve missed anyone and you’d like to add to this listing, please contact me. All times Mountain Daylight Time.

Jul 29 – Aug 6:  Calgary Fringe Festival. Info: http://calgaryfringe.ca
Jul 30, 11:00 am: Inglewood Sunfest. Info: http://inglewoodsunfest.ca
Jul 30, 7:30 pm sharp: COGCOA Lammas Community Ritual. http://www.cogcoa.ab.ca
Jul 30-31:  Didsbury Days of Yore.  Info: http://mountainviewartssociety.ca
Jul 31, 7:00 pm:  Paranormal Pub Night Kensington, sponsored by Ghost Hunt Alberta.
Aug 1:  Heritage Day (Alberta).  Traditional Lughnasadh, or Lammas.
Aug 2, 2:46 pm:  New Moon. Tinne/Holly lunar month begins.
Aug 6-7:  Brooks Medieval Faire. Info: http://brooksfaire.com
Aug 6, 7:30 pm:  COGCOA Coffee Cauldron. See Jul. 30.
Aug 12:  Perseid Meteor Shower peaks before dawn.
Aug 13, 10:00 am:  New Age Market at Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Hall.
Aug 17, 7:30 pm:  Calgary Witches' Meetup. Info on Facebook.
Aug 18, 3:29 am: Full (Sturgeon, Bear, or Corn) Moon.
Aug 18, 7:30 pm:  Calgary Witches’ Full Moon Circle, in SE Calgary.
Aug 26 – Sep 5: Calgary Pride Week 2016. Info: http://calgarypride.ca
Aug 27, 1:00 pm: Calgary Heathen Meet & Greet. Info: Calgary Heathens on Facebook.
Aug 27, 4:00 pm: Psychics, Henna and Fashion Show Fundraiser. Info: Gaia Gathering on Facebook.
Aug 30, 7:04 am: Mercury Retrograde to Sep. 22.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Outdoor Labyrinths in Calgary Area

I’m back, apparently by popular demand. The Evergreen Tradition Facebook page received a number of new views in May and June, and I’ve been motivated to make it worth your while. The opinions expressed herein are my own.

Now that summer is here, it may be a good time to make use of some of the public outdoor labyrinths around the city. Though some are associated with churches, they are open to everyone, and may be easier to access than the indoor versions. Labyrinths go back thousands of years, and are a venue for walking meditation, as you follow the single path towards the centre, pause there for as long as you wish, and return with new insights. Most are based on the famous labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral, which is roughly divided into four quarters, with spaces resembling double-bladed axes (labrys) between facing corners. The Cretan, or classical-style labyrinth, frequently has seven circuits, and can easily be constructed by anyone familiar with the starter “seed” pattern at the centre.  (See for example,  http://www.labyrinthos.net/layout.html   Nerd alert: the 3:5:8 proportions in the pole method are indicative of the Fibonacci sequence, the “golden numbers” of organic growth.)  I’ll list the indoor labyrinths later this year.
1.      Silver Springs Labyrinth –  51° 6'23.55"N, 114°10'55.66"W – use alley behind 6243 Silver Springs Hill NW in the Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs. A 60-foot diameter Chartres-style labyrinth, completed in 2012.
2.      St . Mary’s Parish Labyrinth, 10 River Heights Drive, Cochrane.  An outdoor, 44-foot medieval labyrinth, installed October 2014.
3.      FCJ Christian Life Centre, 219 – 19 Avenue SW.  Seasonal Cretan-style labyrinth on lawn, closed in winter.
4.      Christ Church Anglican Labyrinth – 3602-8 Street SW.  An outdoor Chartres-style labyrinth in Elbow Park, completed in 2014 as part of their centenary celebrations.
5.      Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd Labyrinth, 408–38 Street SW (Wildwood).  Outdoor labyrinth rebuilt in 2016.
6.      Southwood Community Association Labyrinth, Sacramento Drive and 110 Avenue SW. 50.953909° Lat.; -114.077836° Long.  Outdoor brick-on-grass Cretan labyrinth with easy access from Anderson LRT Station.
July Events:
Note these events are listed for information purposes only. Dates and locations may be subject to change; see the source for details. If I’ve missed anyone and you’d like to add to this listing, please contact me. All times Mountain Daylight Time.

Jul 1: Canada Day.  1:00 Grand Opening of Beloved Healing Arts, 827 – 17 Ave. SW.
Jul 1-3: Otafest 2016 at Telus Convention Centre. Info: http://otafest.com
Jul 2, 7:30 pm:  COGCOA Coffee Cauldron. http://www.cogcoa.ab.ca 
Jul 4:  NASA Juno probe arrives at Jupiter.
Jul 4, 5:03 am:  New Moon. Duir/Oak lunar month begins.
Jul 8:  Get out of Dodge (in your Ford or Chevy) week begins.
Jul 9, 10:00 am:  New Age Market at Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Hall.
Jul 9-10: Vul-Con 2016 in Vulcan, with guests Adam Nimoy, Robert Beltran, Sally Kellerman, Robin Curtis, and others. http://www.vulcanconvention.com
Jul 15, 7:00 pm: Paranormal Pub Night in Inglewood, presented by Ghost Hunt Alberta.  Tickets $40 through eventbrite; food and drink extra.
Jul 17, 7:00 pm: Paranormal Pub Night in Kensington, presented by Ghost Hunt Alberta. Tickets $45 through eventbrite; food and drink extra.
Jul 19: Calgary Witches’ Full Moon Ritual, led by Heather Dawn.  Info: Calgary Witches’ Meetup on Facebook.
Jul 19, 4:59 pm: Full (Buck, Bear, or Blessing) Moon.
Jul 20, 7:30 pm:  Calgary Witches' meetup at Denny's McMahon.
Jul 21-24: Calgary Folk Music Festival. http://calgaryfolkfest.com
Jul 24, 7:00 pm:  Paranormal Pub Night at James Joyce, presented by Ghost Hunt Alberta. Tickets $40 through eventbrite; food and drink extra.
Jul 29 – Aug 1:  Panfest Alberta: Creating Balance, south of Edmonton. http://www.panfest.ca
Jul 30:  COGCOA Lammas Ritual.  See Jul 2.
Jul 30, 1:00 pm: Calgary Heathen Meet & Greet. Info: Calgary Heathens on Facebook.
Aug. 1:  Heritage Day (Alberta).  Traditional Lughnasadh, or Lammas.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Calgary Pagan Resource Guide - May, 2016

A Guide to Pagan Resources in Calgary
Compiled by Stephen Hergest, revised April 24, 2016

Note: This is frequently being updated; if you know of anyone I’ve forgotten, please let me know.  These are provided for informational purposes only; I do not necessarily endorse all those listed, and some may be inactive.  Visit my events calendar and blog at http://evergreentrad.blogspot.com

Druid – Chinook Hills Druidry: http://www.chinookhillsdruidry.org
Heathen – Calgary Heathens: http://calgaryheathens.org
Pagan – Calgary Pagan Pride Society: http://www.calgarypaganpride.ca
Pagan – The Pellars Path:  http:/www.meetup.com/the-pellars-path (closing)
Pagan/Wiccan - Calgary Witches Meetup:  http://www.meetup.com/Calgary-Witches  Also on Facebook.
Pagan/Wiccan - Covenant of Gaia Church of Alberta:  http://www.cogcoa.ab.ca
Wiccan – Cochrane Wiccan Meetup, on Facebook.  Also at Calgary Witches’ Meetup.
Wiccan - Evergreen Tradition (my group):  http://evergreenwicca.tripod.com
Wiccan - Fireweed Teaching Circle:  http://www.fireweed-circle.ca
Wiccan – Sisters of the Dark Moon: http://www.meetup.com/sisters-of-the-dark-moon
Wiccan - Spring Saplings Wiccan Coven (gender-neutral):  http://www.witchvox.com/vn/vn_detail/dt_gr.html?a=caab&id=41643
Wiccan/Druid/Shamanic – Grove of Mysteries/Spira: ravenofapollo (at) gmail.com

Calgary Pagan Network:  Facebook
Calgary Pagan Pride Society: http://www.calgarypaganpride.ca
Calgary Witches’ Meetup:  http://www.meetup.com/Calgary-Witches (also Facebook)
COGCOA-Public:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cogcoa_public/ (also Facebook)
One World Drum Co, Drum Circle Meetup:  http://drumcircle.meetup.com/222
The Witches’ Voice:  http://www.witchvox.com

Books and Craft Supplies:
Calgary New Age Market: Monthly at Hillhurst/Sunnyside Community Hall, 1320-5 Ave NW and Facebook
Divine Mine:  222, 11566 – 24 Street SE (Douglas Glen) http://www.divinemine.com
Divine Mine: 3113, 8650 – 112 Ave. NW (Royal Oak)
Emerald Cowboy:  #2, 1145 Kensington Crescent NW  http://www.emeraldcowboy.com
Fallen Angel Creations from Above: 827 – 17 Avenue SW http://www.fallenangelcreations.ca/
Friends and Gems Inc.:  Crossroads Market, 1235 – 26 Avenue SE: http://www.friendsandgems.com
The Home of Om:  2312 – 4 St SW   http://www.thehomeofom.ca
New Age Books and Crystals, 142 – 10 Street NW
Nurture Health and Wellness, 63 Crowfoot Cres. NW http://www.nurturehealth.ca
Red Moon Curios: Crossroads Market
Self-Connection Books: #125, 4611 Bowness Road NW http://www.selfconnection.ca
Self-Connection Books:  #564, 10816 Macleod Trail S.
The Silver Leaf: Crossroads Market
Son of the Pharaoh:  1512 - 17 Ave. SW http://www.sonofthepharaoh.com
Soul Food Books Etc.:  213 - 19 Street NW http://www.soulfoodcrystals.com

Earth Gems: 201, 1022 – 17 Avenue S.W.  http://www.earthgems.ca
Green’s Rock and Lapidary: #6, 3220 – 5 Avenue NE http://www.greenslapidary.com
Komarevich Originals Ltd.: 1510-7 Street SW   http://www.komarevichoriginals.com

Herbs and Incense:
Ascention Aromatics: 808 Edmonton Trail NE http://www.aromaticlife.com
Community Natural Foods: 1304 – 10 Avenue SW http://www.communitynaturalfoods.com
Community Natural Foods: 202 – 61 Avenue SW
Community Natural Foods: 850 Crowfoot Cres. NW

Sora: http://www.soramusic.ca
Spirit Quest: Facebook

Ritual Blades:
Cutting Edge Cutlery Co.: North Hill Centre, 1632-14 Avenue NW  http://www.swords.ca
Dark Age Creations: http://www.darkagecreations.com or Facebook

The Art of Tarot:  921 – 17 Ave. SW http://www.theartoftarot.com
Celts and Vikings Store:  http://www.celtsandvikings.com
Circles of Rhythm (Weekly Drum Circles):  http:/www.circlesofrhythm.com
D.I.C.I.B. (Does It Come in Black?): http://www.dicib.com
Elemental Illusions: http://www.elementalillusions.com
Goldgrass Home: 1237 - 9 Avenue SE  http://www.goldgrasshome.com/
GypsyLane Makeup: gypsylanemua@gmail.com
Light Cellar: 6326 Bowness Road NW:  http://thelightcellar.ca/
Mystic Spirit Design: http://www.mysticspiritdesign.com
One World Drum Co., 3415b – 26 Avenue SW http://one-world-drum.com/
Our Angels Center for Wellbeing:  http://www.ourangelscenter.com/
Samaria’s Chakra Dance:  http://samariaschakradance.com
Tribal Connection Market, 41 McRae St, Okotoks
YYC Ferments:  http://yycferments.com/