SisterSoul –

Thanks for including me in this worthwhile telling…

Blessings & Peace

H.A.G.

 

1.What is your full name, age and spiritual titles?  What do you do with Lake Street Church?  What have you studied?

 

(Rev.) Hazel L’Aura G.

I am a non-denominational minister ordained at the Spiritual Science Center, a school dedicated to teaching comparative religions, philosophy, and service to humanity.

 

I am an Ecstatic Dancer, Energy-Worker, Poet, Performance Artist, Contemporary Bard…Called “The High-Priestess of Ritual & Resonance”… The Village Voice”.

      I consider my self a ‘Spiritual Midwife’.

Founder & Facilitator of ‘SHE DRUMS’ the Women's Community Drum Circle, ‘the WE drum Tribe’ A Community Drum Circle for ALL & SANCTUARY (the Funky Church of the Cosmic Rhythm) YOUR-Communal-Free-Form-Sacred-Dance...As well as co-facilitating D.E.V.A (Divine Expressions of Vital Alchemy) a Dance COLLABORATIVE

 

LSC has been my spiritual container for these events for the last 4 years.

 

Having grown up in the Heart-Land, l took my heart to San Francisco at the tender age of 15 on a full scholarship to study Philosophy & comparative Religion @ S.F. State University. This lead me to travel extensively to study with indigenous Shamans, Priestess's, monks & mystics from around the globe. These years of research & experiential learning formed the basis of my practical philosophy connecting rhythm, & sound vibration in its many forms, voice, healing, the mind & human consciousness, deep ecology, & intentional metaphysics. Landing in New York, I began applying my mid-west work ethic, & this eclectic blend of teachings, building community with the Homesteading movement on the Lower East Side; while creating experiential ritual theatre, & playing in various original Bands. The circle of life has brought me back to Chicagoland to spark intuitive empowerment through SHE DRUMS, the WE drum Tribe, SANCTUARY, & D.E.V.A

 

2.  How long have you been doing these things?

     

I began my studies with the S.R.I.A. The Socitas Rosicruciana in America, when I was 15 years old.

 

3.  What does Halloween mean to you?  What are its origins?

Samhain is one of the high holy days of the year. It's a time to meditate on our link with the Other Side, that realm we slip into when we dream or die or dance with ecstasy or loosen the binds of our logical minds, to hopefully negotiate a smart new treaty with our dark side…Many people are so frightened of this realm that they avoid ever knowing it…thus ensuring it will always haunt them like an ominous shadow…that must be one of the reasons why Halloween has taken on such a gruesome aspect…But when we create the safety of sacred space, the power of All Hallows is a source of power and renewal for us…During this season the veil between the world of the living and realm of the dead is thin. It’s an opportunity to communicate with our ancestors, to heal old wounds, to open to their blessings...One of your dead relatives may have something to share, if you are open to hear their message…You could also catch a glimpse of yourself as you were in the distant past…or will be in the far future…for what is time but a construct to mark the circle of eternity… Contemplate the fact that there will come a time many years from now when you will die…Imagine yourself as the person you will be on that day…Look back on your life and think about all the things you wish you would have done that you didn't do…Then come back in time to the person you are today and perhaps you will chose to vow that you're going to get started on accomplishing these things sometime in the next three months…the time of the dark…maybe you’ll go home & take a long hot shower after midnight. Step out, light a candle, and gaze in the mirror until the secrets begin to flow…but for now, let this time inspire you to catch a glimpse of the other side of the veil and pay reverence to your ancestors…You have two biological parents, four grandparents, and eight great-grandparents. You wouldn't be you if it weren't for those 14 people. The legacy they bequeathed you plays a major role in determining your virtues & vices, your attractions and aversions…And this is a perfect spiritual & astrological moment to get to know them better. In fact, deepening your connection to your family's history will provide crucial clues, as you seek to reinvigorate your tired old perspectives on long-running dilemmas…Look within…to evolve your understanding of where you came from and where, therefore, you belong…? Think on those ancestors aligned with love & light that you would like to honor…Maybe you have unresolved issues that you would like to work out…or maybe you’d like to skip right over the direct bloodline thing & honor a historical ancestor that has inspired your life…think on them that made us…call out their names, speak their stories if you will, as you cook their favorite foods & light incense as an offering to the dead…

 

Traditional Date: All Saints' Day (Hallowmas), November 1st.
Astrological Date: Sun 15° Scorpio
As with all the traditional Solar Festivals, the early Christian Church was quite happy for the mid-Autumn Festival to continue to be celebrated, provided it was given an appropriately Christian slant. In the Church calendar it is All Saints' Day (also called Hallowmas, from which comes Halloween for the preceding evening; remember that traditionally, all the Festivals commence at sunset on the preceding day). This is the day on which you can pray for all those Saints who do not have special days of their own; and indeed pray to them for their intercession with God. What is more, the following day, November 2nd, is designated All Souls' Day, when prayer may be offered for anyone who is departed from this life.
The Day of the Dead is a holiday that focuses on remembering dead relatives and friends, giving them offerings, and praying for their safe passage to heaven. The night before All Saints Day, families stay up all night making food for altars and guests. The altars are put out at this time in the home for the spirits of the dead. On each altar is the dead person’s favorite food and drink, toys and candy for children, and alcohol and tobacco for adults. Candles adorn the altars as well. At 4 am on November 1st, the children’s spirits arrive and leave 4 hours later, after consuming the spirit of the offerings on the altar. This is repeated later that day with the adult spirits. On the second day, prayers are said for the dead and priests travel to cemeteries, blessing the graves and praying. There are three masses that day, indicative of the strong religious beliefs. The evening of the second day, graves are decorated and there are picnics in the cemeteries (which would be unheard of in the United States). This day is much more social and the food that was on the altars is given to friends. Also, the image of a skull is present in both toys and candy that are given as gifts to living friends and family. Day of the Dead deals with accepting the deaths of family members and helping them get to the other side.

 

The Pagan celebration of Samhain has its origins in a much older cultural tradition. The Celts lived in continental Europe (where the Romans called them the "Gauls") as early as three thousand years ago, migrating after that to the British Isles. Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany have been the strongholds of Celtic language and traditions in modern times. Samhain was the most important of the Celtic fire festivals, or holy days, because it marked the New Year. The harvest had ended and winter was on the way. The last crops had been picked, a chill was in the air, and the dark half of the year was beginning. Samhain was an important festival that served many purposes: spiritual, agricultural, social, political, & military. It was a holiday of obligation to unite the tribe. To commemorate the New Year, fires all over the Celtic world were extinguished the night of Samhain, then relighted from ceremonial blazes kindled by Druids (the religious and intellectual leaders of the pre-Christian Celts).

In northern Europe at least, the lighting of bonfires at this season of year is perfectly natural. Just as Michaelmas, or Mabon, marks the end of the grain harvest, so Halloween marks the end of the fruit and vegetable harvest; everything that is perishable needs to be stored inside now, to protect it from frost, rain and, later on, snow. Meanwhile, out in the fields, there is the remaining debris of the harvest to be cleared, a year's growth of hedgerow to cut back, and of course the drifts of brown leaf litter that are such a characteristic feature of autumn in our temperate climes. All this must be disposed of, hence the bonfires. Of course, the fires themselves are welcome, too, the communal bonfire in the field as much as the family fire in the hearth, for the warmth and protection that they give to us as the weather begins to turn unpleasantly cold. And then there are the animals. The sheep and the cattle can not be left out in the bare, cold fields. Those that are to be kept over the winter have already been brought into the barns; the others will have been slaughtered to provide meat for the cold, dark days ahead when fresh food in in short supply. This meat will need cooking or drying to preserve it for the months to come. This, in turn, will call for more fires.

Traditionally, too, the hunters of wild animals and birds for food would be out in force at this time of year. In the Pagan lunar calendar, the full moon of the month of October is known as the Hunter's Moon. After the end of the breeding season, and before the severe winter weather that would kill off many of these creatures anyway, large numbers of hare, deer, wild boar and various game birds were taken for the cooking-pot, once again for the purposes of supplementing what might otherwise be a rather meagre winter diet.

With all this death around, it is not surprising that people's thoughts turned to human death, and Samhain is a celebration of death. To many people today it seems odd to speak of celebrating death, yet for our ancestors it was not seen as the end of an individual life, but simply as the passing of that life through the veil of darkness that separates our world from the world of spirit beyond, where it would enjoy life renewed.

It should be no surprise, then, that it is commonly believed that at Samhain, while not leaving our own world, we might nevertheless see glimpses of the spirit world beyond, and perhaps even meet with souls who have already passed into that realm. To honor those that came before us gives perspective on our lives.

 

4.  What kinds of things do you personally practice and do on Halloween?

 

I create sacred space in my home & in my facilitation for the honoring

of the ancestors…stories of lives lived are told, offerings are given…

in ritual we work with fire for transformation, burning away all obstacles to create a better life in the year to come… AS A FEAST OF DIVINATION... THIS IS THE MOST POTENT TIME OF YEAR TO PEER INTO THE FUTURE...AS SAMHAIN EXISTS OUTSIDE THE BONDS OF LINEAR TIME...WE STRADDLE THE THRESHOLD...ONE SIDE TURNED TOWARD THE PAST, IN COMMEMORATION OF THOSE WHO DIED DURING THE LAST YEAR...& ONE SIDE GAZING HOPEFULLY TOWARD THE FUTURE...WITH MYSTIC EYES, ATTEMPTING TO PIERCE THE ALREADY THINNING VEIL, TO DIVINE WHAT THE COMING YEAR HOLDS...

 Also enacting the archetypical life/death/life myths of Innana, Persephone, etc. can be quite enlightening…

 

 5.  Americans spend 6.9 billion dollars a year on knick-knacks for Halloween.  How do you feel/what do you think about this commercialization and the general American perspective on Halloween?

 

Here in America, Halloween calls for an interaction with spooky strangers, that come out of the night, knocking on our door, shouting, give me a treat or you’ll get a trick…on a spiritual level, trick-or-treat, can be seen as a demand that strangers, a symbol of the unfamiliar parts of ourselves, give up their gifts to us…cause there is a lot of energy that gets locked up in the dark…& Halloween is an opportunity for us to dialogue with the dark, the shadow side of The Self, & call that energy back…light & dark are not opposites, but 2 parts of the same cycle…In order to fully appreciate the festivals of light, that return with the winter solstice, we must 1st grow in the dark womb of our perennial inward journey…with the veil between the worlds so thin, great transformations are possible, since the power of all the dimensions are available to us…& it’s not only the veil between the physical & spiritual worlds that thin…it can also be the division between any 2 polarities, like the left & right hemispheres in our brains for instance…or between any 2 realities that are struggling to coexist, like war & peace for instance…this dark night can represent a resolution of paradox…a respectful meeting of the different sides of the same coin, that can initiate the healing transformation required, in order to let the light back into our lives, once we’ve come to understand & own our side of the dark…

 

6.  How do you feel about pagan/witch stereotypes?  Do you think the Malleus Maleficarum contributes or still resonates to these portrayls?

 

I don’t let other people’s ignorance infect me. Witches are healers, working with plant medicines & herbs,

I have worked hard to heal the hurt & anger I feel about the ‘witch burnings’.

  

Do you know about the history or origins of some of these stereotypes –

like the black cat,

 

familiars

 

green skin,

 

Wizard of Oz

 

pointy hats

 

magicians hat goes back to antiquity. Ancient Etruscan coins from the city of Luna have a head on one side which may be the goddess Diana. The head wears a brimless, conical hat…funneling in the power into the crown chakra…the ‘crown of the Magus’..  

 

or broomsticks?

 

the correlation between brooms and witches is not noticeable until the late 16th and early 17th centuries and has been  mostly popular in continental Europe. Before then, witches were depicted astride shovels, sticks, forks, hurdles, and demon-animals. Eventually, witches were shown more on either demons in the forms of animals or on brooms.

1.      Brooms are a symbol of female domesticity and most witches were women. If the woman of the house wanted to indicate that she was not at home, she placed her besom outside her front door. By laying it across the door, it was supposed to protect the home. 

2.      The early household broom, or besom, was made from the broom plant, or from birch twigs or heather, and shared some of the traditional lore attached to these plants. 

3.      Many flying ointments contained hallucinogenic ingredients. If a broomstick was rubbed with such potions and used for riding or masturbatory purposes, a sensation of flight would result as the poison easily penetrates the body through the vaginal and anal veins.

4.      The association between witches and brooms goes back to ancient times, when pagans performed fertility rites to induce their crops to grow high. These people mounted pitchforks, poles, and brooms, and rode them like horses in the fields, leaping high into the air and dancing.

 At first, the brush end of a broom (or faggot), was pointed downwards so the witch could "sweep her tracks from the sky." Nevertheless, by the end of the 17th century, the reverse was true. Witches often rode with the faggot-end up, with a candle in the faggot to light the way to the Sabbath gathering place.

 If the witch was inside a house, she theoretically rose through the chimney, although in court, few witches ever acknowledged doing such a thing. Sorcerers flew on brooms as well as witches, but men were more often shown riding pitchforks. A pitchfork was both a very convenient steed and tool. She could either ride astride the fork, or, when seated backwards upon a goat, she could carry her cauldron between the prongs of the fork. A piece of cloth could also be fastened to the fork in a sail-like fashion. Last but not least, it might also serve as a parachute in case the charm happened to fail suddenly.

 Brooms are not only a means of transportation, they can also be used to raise up storms or imitate somebody’s else form. In Hamburg, sailors, after long toiling against a contrary wind, on meeting another ship sailing in an opposite direction, throw an old broom before the vessel, believing thereby to reverse the wind. A famous Scottish witch of the 17th century, Isobel Gowdie, claimed to have used her broom in an original way. Instead of using it for travelling, she used it to deceive her husband. Before going to a sabbat, Isobel substituted her broom for herself in bed. She said he never knew the difference.

In modern witchcraft, the broom is used to purify space before a circle is cast. It is related to the element of Water and is used in many water spells involving cleansing.

 

7.  I tried to contact several Catholic priests as well as Lutheran ministers and Baptist preachers for this story.  The only response I got was two weeks after my phone call from a priest's secretary to tell me he left for China.  What do you think about this turn out of responses?

 

Goddess Bless Rev. Bob & LSC

 

8.  What do you think about people who are against Halloween?  For instance there's a Halloween Outreach program to try and stop this season's celebration.

 

‘Fear is the mind killer’

 

9.  Tell me about when Rev. Bob Thompson decided to change the church's Service of Remebrance from early Spring to Halloween?  How did you influence it?

 

DEVA ‘s 1st dance performance @ LSC was the Samhain spoke on the wheel of the year. This created an opportunity for awareness, which the congregation took to heart.

 

Blessings &

Peace -

H.A.G.