A Great Lion Passes Beyond the Veil

Shakmah WinddrumShakmah WinddrumShakmah Winddrum has passed beyond the veil and I am at a loss to truly express my sorrow and my gratitude. Thankfully, my dear sister, T. Thorn Coyle has written the very words that resonate within my heart.

We within the Order of Elemental Mysteries are officially in mourning. We stand with our sisters, brothers and warriors of the New Seed Sanctuary and their sister tradition Light Haven in love, light and ultimately in grief.

May She return to the Mystery that borne Her and may Her name resound loudly through the hearts of all who walk the path She carved out of sheer Will and boundless Love.

Shakmah will be remembered, and she will live on in our hearts, in our minds and within our work.

Ashe! Blessed Be! Amen!

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Sat, 11/27/2010 - 11:43am.

The Order of the Elemental Mysteries

Before I discuss my goals concerning my spiritual tradition, I thought it might be helpful to introduce the tradition itself. I had planned to post an intro in early January or February. Oh well, better late than never I say. This piece is drawn from a longer document, and it retains some of its mystical flavor. I had thought at first to edit it further, but decided to keep it because it makes my heart sing. I hope you enjoy it.


The tradition that supports the Reflections Mystery School is called the Order of the Elemental Mysteries or OEM. It is a mystery tradition that weaves wiccan, magickal and shamanic themes together around a mystical core. OEM seeks to create, via its guild system, four semi-autonomous “religious” orders. The four guilds, when launched, will act as elemental anchors for the tradition and assist its members in exploring how the work of their respective archetype informs and nurtures their respective paths.

The OEM is interested in elements, such as air, fire, water and earth. But we are also interested in elements such as the sun, moon and stars, in the dark and the light, and in the primal energies these all represent. We are interested in foundational truths, energies, cycles and currents that run throughout life, as we know it here, in our living planet-wide ecosystem. But we are concerned not just with our own planet; we are interested in life in all forms, manifestation in all forms and evolution of all types. Our interest however is always from the perspective of how does this help us in our very human evolution. What lessons can be learned, what solutions can we mimic, and what patterns can we discern in order to assist our own growth and healing. In this way we try to engage with the ancient elements of our ancestors.

These ancient, eternal elements exist outside our human evolution; they have their own journey and expression. Humans have generally lost touch with these ancient and potent powers. The inert elements we tend to associate with these primal powers are simply the edges of our perception. It is what we can decipher within our narrow human scope and scale. We do not define them nor can we comprehend them in their macro sense. The closest we have come is classic correspondence systems like the Hermetic Tree of Life and the Taoist teaching concerning Yin/Yang. But even these have been contaminated with the religious formalisms and systems of privilege, values and prejudices of our patriarchal cultures, both east and west.

This tradition is about getting back in alignment with the ancient lessons, striped of its rationalizations and tortured logic.

And how do we find our way through this warped human inheritance? We walk slowly and with intention; we listen and respond to the deeper call within the pulse of life. The pulse echoed within our blood. We steer with the flowing fire, the ancient pulse of energy sometimes called Kundalini or Chi. We allow the ancient cultures of the greater than human realms to gently blow us back on course. We descend into the ancestral currents within our bones and follow the threads of geological resonance back to their source. We re-member. We open ourselves to the divine while sinking ever further into our humanness. We evolve. We cooperate with our own evolutionary path. We walk toward the source, the self and the great goddess that is all. And we join the universal dance of life.

Our workings are simple and powerful. We allow divinity to move us, to guide us and ultimately to transform us. We open to the mystery within the so called mundane. We pay attention. Almost anything can be a teacher, any pathway a magickal journey, and every breath an eternity. We are true to our nature, honoring our limits as well as our mastery. Our humility is borne from continuous study and practice. Our scholarship is borne from playful experimentation. Our artistry is borne from patient repetition. And our focus comes from a deliberate surrender to the now.

We claim no lineage to ancient temples on the plains of Africa or in the hills of Greece. We claim no lineage to the green mantels of the sacred isles. We did not descend from the holy mountains nor arise from the shimmering seas. We are new and old. We claim that our practices are ancient, not because we inherited them in some unbroken line. We know that they are ancient because they speak to the ancient echoes within our flesh. We claim that our ways are foundational not because we were touched or initiated within an indigenous rite. We claim it because it mirrors practices still practiced the world over by those who have not lost their connection to the ancient promises. In fact, we ask no special right, we make no claim to land or language. We simply act in concert with our deep sources to help make ready the world for the next step in the evolution of the human species.

And we are not the only ones working in this sphere. We recognize the divine impulse in all traditions, in all cultures and on every continent. Ours has a wiccan flavor, but others are Catholic, Protestant, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindi, Dine, Dagara, Maori, and numerous indigenous paths worldwide. We are all trying in our own way to re-open pathways that have become closed within human consciousness. We are re-kindling the human capacity to grow and change. It shows up in popular culture in films such as the Matrix, The Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars. It shows up in anime as robots and monsters working in concert with humans. It is played out in music genres as hard rhythms layered with higher frequency sounds such as string instruments, flutes and vocals. We see it in architecture as we cycle between rectangular boxes and sweeping arches. Our clothes reflect the same tension, short with long, plain beside brightness, and narrow against fullness. Even our languages struggle as we blend and separate them, cycling between cooperation and demarcation.

Fundamentalist the world over identify with the light while casting all others into the dark. And also the world over, the young and growing grasp the darkness and spurn the light. Humankind is lurching forward on the path and we are kicking and screaming all the way.

The elemental archetypes can help us through this journey. And this tradition evokes them into the human oversoul. We call forward the primal currents and we use them to both hasten and calm a storm that will run its course for at least the next four hundred years.

©2009 Katrina Messenger

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Tue, 08/25/2009 - 3:50pm.

Reflections Q&A

As the application deadline (November 15th) approaches for entering the full time program of the Reflections Mystery School for the 2009 school year, I have decided to offer a question and answer session this coming Saturday, November 8, 2008 from 1 pm to 4 pm.

Stop by at Reflections during that period to get your questions answered. You must RSVP via email by noon on Saturday, so I will know you are coming. The address with directions will be provided to those who RSVP.

If you are not local to DC, include a phone number and you will receive a call sometime during that time period.

This is a no frills, one time offer.

Katrina Messenger

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 12:05pm.

Reflections: Applications Accepted


The application period runs from October 1st to November 15th.

We are proud to announce that the Reflections Mystery School is now accepting applications for the 2009 school year. The school year begins on January 1st, with orientation scheduled for Sunday, January 4th.

Please visit our web site for an application and additional information.

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Mon, 09/29/2008 - 2:45pm.

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Recent comments

  • Nephthys (not verified)

    I've been with Firefly for a number of years, I recently left my position at The Firefly Community to pursue other dreams but to be clear how much I was involved before I address the statements made, I was a teacher, Priestess, member of the Inner Circle of the Council of Elders, Course Contributor, Clergy, Delegate and Divination reader so I was quite involved with Firefly on many levels.

    I am offended by your statement that Firefly is cultish. Given my involvement as listed above I can safely say that Firefly members are not cultish in behaviour nor is Firefly cultish in of itself. I am no longer involved with Firefly in any strong capacity other than that of a student so I can also safely say this is not coming from a blind faith position. I will be the first to admit that part of the reason I left Firefly was because I did not agree with some of the changes Lady Iris intended to make, that being said, I don't support the idea that abuse should be turned into a political statement.

    I don't know Sean and I am not close to Lady Iris (I live in a different country) and have not commented on the situation with her marriage but some of his behaviours are reprehensible. If a President did this he would be impeached and booted so I fail to see why it should be ignored and relegated to 'personal marital issues' when behaviour like this is indicative of larger psychological issues. If Sean Bennett is allowed to use and abuse women in this fashion, eventually he would work his way through the single ladies in the OHF and what would you be left with?

    2 years 2 weeks ago
  • Virginia Carper (not verified)

    I for one have been pondering this question. Iris did highlight a valuable point - how are checks and balances established to prevent potential abuse and to air concerns. These are hard lessons that groups need to learn.

    Without denying people their agency, how do you set up a system that will prevent abuse by other members? How far does a group go to ensure the mental and emotional safety of the adult members?

    For example, I know with my disability (brain injury), I would deeply resent being told that the group is looking out for my best interests. It would seem to be paternalistic on the group's part to assume that I cannot fend for myself. But because of my disability, I can be easy prey for a con-artist. How do you solve a dilemma like that? Can this be encoded or is this sort of thing too nebulous to pin down?

    2 years 3 weeks ago
  • Virginia Carper (not verified)

    I have a traumatic brain injury.

    That being said, I got caught in the cross-fire in the Firefly Campaign, since I did not get with the program - i.e. Firemoon was abused by a sexual predator, who for the sake of the community had to be removed. I was shocked at how this mantra was repeated over and over everywhere it could be. I was shocked at how the Firefly folks did not identify themselves as they sought to achieve their goals. It left a poor taste about Firefly in my mouth since I started to regard them as "cultish", incapable of independent thought or discussion. Also it disturbed me how the Firefly folks who had nothing to do with DC, carried water in the campaign as well.

    Since I had lot of free time, I researched the consistent posters and everything I could find, and an disturbing picture arose. The one you described of a one-sided campaign to achieve a stated end, without proper identification or perspective.

    As for the brain injury - I got raked over the coals for making light of the issue from an avowed healer, who thought my injury was a ruse. That scared me into thinking that perhaps my impression of the "cultishness" of the Firefly group was true. (I know cult is a loaded word, but I cannot think of the word that would indicate a group of people, emotionally inflamed with one mission in mind, and not allowing any dissent.)

    2 years 4 weeks ago
  • Kali Firemoon (not verified)


    I am so sorry that we have not met yet since it so obvious from your comments that you are a close personal friend of Iris’s and know all there is to know about the situation from a front row seat. I mean, after all, one who has seen a woman four months pregnant, losing weight and physically appearing to not be pregnant would of course understand the emotional, and yes, physical stress she was under. But of course, since you were there I don’t need to remind you of that. So lets move on to the rest of the story, you know where her husband chose to have unprotected sex with someone else, who I am sure was a complete virgin and posed no risk to mother or child, and then husband went home to engage in carnal activities with his wife, confident that his unborn child was never at risk. Yes, I am sure that all of your female students understand why you are firmly in the husband’s court. After all, it’s always the woman’s fault when marriages go bad. Or at least that is what I seem to glean from your article. Yes, I am Firefly, and I was one of the one’s chosen to help this woman after she was victimized by this predator who seems to have persuaded the pagan community that it is acceptable to treat not one, not two but at last count four woman as though they were simply a means to his end. And BTW I know she attempted to alert the community to her situation and apparently no one felt it worth even a cursory investigation. Oh yes, one more example of us not wanting to rock any one’s boat. I will tell you that in response to her story, several other pagan women have come forward with similar stories of abuse reported to the male members of a community met with similar disdain and an obvious desire to hide this type of behavior. Do I believe it happened this time, yes; do I believe that this community is willing, no matter the cost, to hide this type of behavior, yes. No one wants to call attention to the pagan community because we already have an undeserved stigma. But that does not mean we should allow behavior none of us condone simply because we are afraid of controversy. If one of us needs be sanctioned, then we either stand and sanction or accept the stigma so many would place upon us. We need to “police” our own. When four and probably five women come forth and tell the same story of predatory behavior against women we either act or fold the tents and go home. So I suggest you talk to all of them before you post any more pontifications. I also realize you can never post this but we both know you will have read it.

    2 years 4 weeks ago
  • Cara Schulz (not verified)

    Hello Katrina,
    Although we know one another, mostly online but also when we met at Sacred Harvest Festival, for your readers let me note that I'm the Managing Editor of PNC-News and the Co-Editor of PNC-Minnesota. I was the primary author of the PNC-News statement that you are writing about.

    The persons who contacted me asking when PNC would cover this were not Firefly members. Most were not local to DC, but were Pagans and polytheists in other parts of the country who had donated to the Pagan community center in DC and naturally had an interest in it. Why would they contact me? Because I'm the Managing Editor and people often contact me to ask if PNC is covering a story or to request that we cover a story. That's how we get many of our articles - through our readers.

    As for why PNC-News put two different situations in one statement, it's because they are related in nature and both needed to be addressed promptly.

    If anyone has any questions, we encourage them to contact us and ask them.

    2 years 4 weeks ago
  • Kat, Emralde (not verified)

    Thank you for this perspective. I very much appreciate the voice of the elders as I struggle with my own (not-voiced) feelings about this situation and its outcome.

    2 years 5 weeks ago