Thursday, November 29, 2012

Visceral Magick - Live Streaming Workshop

I'm very pleased to announce that my first live video streaming workshop has been scheduled, for Friday, December 14th at 8:00 PM PST. The fee for live streaming will be $10 for the 2-hour workshop, and after the event it will be available as an on-demand video for $3.

Visceral Magick Workshop
An in-depth workshop to explore the visceral experiences that lead to the union of magical and mundane, and the techniques to trigger those experiences, resulting in magic that is physical, manifest, and potent. These experiences and techniques empower any tradition. Peter explores both ancient and modern techniques and experiences, using the framework of the Cauldrons of Poesy from Celtic Tradition.
This workshop explores a set of basic experiences, ideas and techniques that used to be at the heart of every magical Tradition, which are frequently overlooked or ignored in modern times. But they are the very things that breathe life into magical systems, the secret key that makes the magic actually work.
 Peter Paddon, author and Witch, lays out exercises and practical applications that enable us experience magic as a manifest force in our life. Instead of visualizing energy in your crafting, feel it raise the hairs on your neck.

Pre-order the event, and watch it live here

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Busy Year Gets Busier...

As if I didn't think my life was busy enough already...

First of all, my Kickstarter project was a success, and I am now the proud owner of a cool little video mixer, and set up ready to start doing live streaming video workshops. I will soon be scheduling the first of these, but in the meantime I will be getting used to the wee beastie by using it for my live video streaming private classes, sharing what passes for my wisdom with our extended training coven (63 or so students, spread all over the world). It is a great way to test drive and familiarize myself with the potential of multi-camera work.

Travel is a big deal over the next few months too. We just got back from an amazing henna retreat, where we learnt from some of the best in the business how to create beautiful henna art. I came home inspired, fired up, and with new friends - and a ton of photos!

Next week it is friends who are travelling to see us - our good friends Doug and Anna Helvie from North Carolina will be exploring the joys of Los Angeles with us. They are the heads of the Eternal Harvest Tradition of Wicca, and also initiates of our Y Ffordd Wen Tradition, and we are looking forward to showing them the sights.

Then a few days after they head home, we are off to Oakland and San Francisco to participate in the Pagan PodkinSupermoot, getting together with other Pagan podcasters to meet and greet the fan, and share workshops and tall tales. November sees us travelling once more to North Carolina, whjere we are attending Shadow Harvest - hosted by the afore-mentioned Doug and Anna - along with Orion Foxwood.

I'm still working on the new book, "Enchantment: The Witch's Art of Manipulation Through Gesture, Gaze and Glamour" through all of this, as well as publishing other books. Our recent release, "Ragnarok Rising" by Doug Roberts, a zombie apocalyse novel featuring an Odinist corrections officer and his law enfocement colleagues, is doing incredibly well on Kindle, and Doug is working hard on the sequel. We also have a sequel  to "Demon's Apprentice" coming out soon from Ben Reeder - "Page of Swords" is almost ready for the press, and is a great continuation of the story.

On the DVD front, we recently released "British Witchcraft", featuring English Witch and master herbalist Nick Ridge, sharing his skills with herbs, poppets, and flying ointment. We will soon be releasing a DVD for Peter Freeman, a wonderful storyteller from Wales, sharing tales from the Mabinogion, along with other Welsh folk tales. Peter's DVD, "Tales of Wales vol. 1", should be out in time for purchase as a Yule present for your favorite Welsh wizard or Celtic crafter.

So that's it for now - there are so many things I want to share with the world, but we can only manage so many at a time!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Catching Up

My word, how busy my life has become!

Here I am, working on my new book, "Enchantment: The Witch's Art of Manipulation Through Gesture, Gaze and Glamour", and I suddenly realize I haven't posted a blog entryfor a couple of months. Part of that busyness is due to the taking on of students in the new training coven, which I have to say is performing way beyond my expectations.

We ended up taking on a total of nine new local students, and 43 long-distance students. I figured catering to long-distance students was a matter of logistics rather than of one-to-one interaction - for the most part - so we did not balk at the number, but dove in head-first.

We ended up with a packed curriculum for the traditional year and a day, resulting in a weekly class schedule. We teach the class with local students present, and share it via live video streaming to the long-distance students, who interact via chat. So far, this has proven surprisingly effective, even for the sabbat rites. In addition, most weeks I do a "Magister's Question Time" via live video streaming, and both the classes and question times are recorded and made available to students. As a result, I am becoming quite expert at this live video streaming thing.

That in itself has spurred me on to try and use up even more of my time. It occurred to me that if I can do my workshops and lectures online using live streaming, I can reach many more people than the limited few who can come to my in-person classes. So I've decided to work towards two methods of getting my workshops online.

The first is the simplest - to provide live streaming workshops on a pay-per-view basis, where "attendees" pay a small fee and get to see the workshop live on video, and interact via chat. The advantage of this method is that anyone can access the class from their computer or tablet device, from anywhere in the world. The recording of the workshop would then be made available as a streaming or downloadable video for a small fee.

The second is more ambitious. I want to get together with stores around the world to offer "virtual workshops". Using Skype or similar technology, a workshop would be held at a store anywhere in the world. Attendees would go to the store, just like a regular workshop, and I would "beam in" via live video, and appear on a large TV or video projector connected to a laptop or other PC. A webcam would feed the audio and video from the store back to me, so we could all see and hear each other, and interaction would be very similar to an in-person workshop. The advantage here would be that locations that would be too expensive to cater for (due to travel and accommodation costs) could be reached for no more than a regular workshop fee to the attendees, which would be shared between the store and myself in the usual way.

I hope to set up similar schemes for some of my fellow authors too.

To facilitate this, I realized that it would be very useful to be able to use more than one camera - for close-ups of demonstrations, etc. - and so I have started a Kickstarter project to raise the funds to buy a video mixer that will allow me to do just that. So if you have enjoyed my books, DVDs, podcasts and workshops in the past, please consider taking a look at the Kickstarter project, and pledging a small amount towards it (even $1 will help). If you can't pledge but would like to help (or even if you can pledge), please do not hesitate to share the project with others you think may be interested in it.

Help get Peter Paddon's Workshop Online

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Announcing the Formation of a New Training Coven

For some time now, the Ancestors have been making it clear to us that there is a need for us to provide a greater service to the Art, and against all common sense and sanity, we have chosen to comply with their requests.

So it is that we have decided to bring into being a new teaching coven. This coven will be a sister to Briar Rose, but will otherwise be completely autonomous. As the focus of Briar Rose is to do the Work, so the focus of this new coven will be to teach the basics, to share the Mysteries of the Crooked Path to those who are willing and able to pass beyond Her Gates.
Membership of this coven will be strictly limited, with a set number of local and distance places being available. Membership will require a commitment of the traditional year and a day. But do not contact us directly to request that you be considered for membership – all such direct requests will be refused.

Below, you will find information on how those who are interested may make their desire known, and students will be chosen from those who follow the directions given. There are no guarantees of acceptance, and once accepted, no guarantees that initiation will follow – as the old saying makes clear, “many are called, but few are chosen”.
There will be a certain number of local and distance learning positions available in the coven, and those interested in studying with us can make their interest known by following the directions below. Please note that those accepted for training will be committing to the following:

  1. Attending all classes (for local students) and handing in all homework, unless a good reason can be provided
  2. Maintaining the confidentiality of the Coven and fellow students
  3. Reading the required reading material for each section of the training
  4. A materials contribution of $10 per month will be requested of students. For local students, this will cover the cost of consumables used in teaching (candles, incense, refreshments etc), and for distance students this will cover the cost of making and mailing DVDs containing audio-visual material
Local students will be invited to attend weekly classes and the eight classic Sabbats. Distance students will be required to study with the aid of written material and video and audio recordings, and will be invited to attend the eight classic Sabbats if they are visiting the Los Angeles area at the time.

The Coven will be teaching material for the Crooked Path as practiced by briar Rose. This involves the practice known by such names as “Traditional Witchcraft”, “The Nameless Art”, “The Cunning Craft” and “The Old Persuasion”, which will be expressed through the Myths and Lore of the Welsh Celtic Mysteries as found in the Mabinogion, though it can be expressed through the Mystery of any religion’s more esoteric aspects outside of Coven practice. In other words, we will be focusing on examples and Lore from Wales, but in your own practice it can be used with the myths and lore of your current spirituality.

Please note that while this process is aimed at bringing students to initiation on the Crooked Path, there is no guarantee that if accepted you will achieve that aim. All students will be assessed on their merits, and those who do not go through to initiation in the Crooked Path will be assisted in finding where their path lies.

In return for the commitment of the students, we in turn make the following commitments:
  1. To teach the material to the best of our ability
  2. To provide initiation to those who fulfill the requirements
  3. To assist all others to set foot firmly on their Path
  4. To maintain the confidentiality of all students

This is the way to make known your interest in studying with us. Approaching us by any other means will result in refusal.
  • Send an email to – this email address will be active until the end of May, so make your request before then.
  • The email must include the following information:
  1. Your full legal name
  2. Your address
  3. Whether you wish to be a local or distance student
  4. Any prior experience, training or coven work with any Witchcraft tradition, including Wiccan traditions
  5. Your favorite books on Witchcraft (note: you do not get “extra points” for liking my books)
  6. Why you want to study with us
  7. What got you interested in Witchcraft?
  8. Any other information you feel may be useful or relevant
  • Please be honest and do not exaggerate your experiences. Any untruths that are discovered will bring your association with us to an immediate end. You do not have to be already experienced, nor do you need to be a complete newbie – we just want to know where you are coming from.
  • After a period of reflection, those who are selected to move on to the next step will be contacted. All others will receive an email informing them that they were not selected. No other communication on this matter will be made – NOTE: If you are not successful this time, you are welcome to try again when we next announce openings. Not being selected does not mean you are not “worthy”… it is possible that we will receive more requests than we can accept, in which case we may have to turn away candidates who are perfectly suitable.
  • We realize that, to some, this process may seem exclusive and “elitist”, but the simple fact is that not all paths are suited to every person, and some discernment is required to ensure that the needs of both student and teacher are met. If you do not like the selection process, do not submit yourself to it.
  • The minimum age is 21 years.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

PantheaCon Was a Hoot!

I missed PantheaCon last year, because I was in hospital, so I was determined to make the most of going this year, and by golly, I managed it!

Firstly, with six of us travelling together, I decided to rent a behemoth of a SUV, the Ford Expedition EL Limited, which held allof our stuff and us quite comfortably. I've never been a fan of Ford, but this trip may have changed my mind, especially the Sync system. My wife loved the heated seats and the reversing camera.

There were a lot of obvious improvements at the 'Con... the Doubletree in San Jose had obviously heard the calls for more staff and better food, and as a result we only had to wait for a table once in the entire weekend. The menu had more choice, and issues were dealt with quickly.

As usual, we only made it to a fraction of what we intended to attend... and this year we didn't make it to any of Orion's workshops. "Reading the Stones and Bones" was good, informative, but did not match the description or even the title. The "Excorcism and De-Possession ritual" was a great concept that was somewhat lacking in execution, in my humble opinion. The idea was for folks to dance out their negative emotions, such as shame, fear, rage, greed, etc., which they did, but the transmutation into pure energy - and returning that energy to the people - was incomplete, leaving psychic "ick" in the room. There did not appear to be any warding (they may have done some that we didn't see, but it didn't feel like there was any).

The Avalon Ritual led by R J Stewart, on the other hand, was magnificent. RJ - looking very well and full of life - began by explaining the background to this rite, whic hwas to counterbalance the threat of nuclear energy, both in the form of reactors and bombs, describing it as star-fire in the wrong place. He recounted the role of his mentor (whose name I forget) and other adepts in starting this process, and then went on to explain what we were going to do.

It basically involved using the concept of the ley-line (as a line that joins two places/times through the center of the world) to place us all in connection with the ancient Shrine of Avalon. Note, we were not to visualize ourselves "going there", but rather to bring both here and there together in the now, a much more effective thing.

His partner Anastasia(?) effected this process by singing a haunting song, and his assistance brought in the quarters, and then they raised the Fire of Avalon beautifully and simply. RJ shared the birdlike flute playing he received in meditatrion, that would have been played in ancient time on flutes made from the bones of birds.

Apparently they originally intended to obtain representations of the Sacred Tols (sword, bowl, spear and plate) from vendors, but RJ wa inspired to use the actual invisible tools as energy forms, which we all lined up to hold over the sacred flame and then pass on to the next person. It became apparent to us all that the important act( and the one with all the power) was not the receiving of the tools, but the giving them to the next in line, and indeed, we finished by en-masse handing them off to the future students of the Mysteries.

A personal moment that was ver special was when I got to hold one of the tools over the fire myself - although all my coveners were in the same section of the room, and had therefore lined up in the south for the spear, our line was longer than the others, so at the end two of us got moved by Anastasia to the east and west, and as my wife and Priestess Linda held the spear over the fire, I held the bowl and Carrie, our circle sister held the sword, and a man unknown to us held the platter/oracular head, before handing them back to RJ's team.

Those who held the platter, with the Oracular Head upon it, reported that they felt as if the platter was empty when handed to them, and it was their own head that became the Oracular Head on the platter as they offered it over the fire.

All in all, a very moving ritual, that affected all of us profoundly.

Ofcourse, I also presented two workshops of my own. Both of them were well-attended, and I think they went over quite well. As usual, I got a little choked up sharing some of my personal stories in "Gods and Ancestors and the 21st-Century Crafter", but that is as it should be. My "Invocation and the Ancient Art of Ritual Possession" was packed, with people being turned away as the doors closed on a capacity crowd. Over 100 people put up with my jokes and witticisms, and then watched as I commited the supreme act of folly... demonstrating not one, but four distinct full possessions, using three different techniques. Admittedly, the possessions were kept short (I "had a word" with the deities concerned before-hand, to ensure they would allow me to do this and cooperate with the time), but they definitely kicked my ass... in fact I've spent large parts of the last two days dozing in an attempt to recoup my energy - though that could just be post-PantheaCon fall-out!

Lastly, there was the whole Z Budapest vs. the Trensgendered incident. I've spoken at length about this elsewhere, so I'll keep this short here. I must confess that I've never been a fan of Z, finding both her insistance on mixing politics and spirituality and her insistance that all women are victims and all men are rapists distasteful, but the level of bigotry and hate demonstrated against the trans community - suggesting that they are men trying to sneak into the women's rituals - was positively offensive. Some are calling for a boycott of PantheaCon over this, for allowing her Dianic rite, but I feel that Glenn and her team handled this with sensitivity, allowing both sides to have their say and their space. The Trans community and their supporters protested silently and respectfully, and Z responded with mor hate and misrepresentation... she could have been a GOP Presidential candidate!

So now the Con is over, we're all back home, at work, planning for next year. I got great feedback from my workshops, sold a bunch of books, and we have nefarious plans bubbling away for next year too.

Monday, February 13, 2012

And so, to PantheaCon!

The chore of taxes is finally behind us, and in a few days the wife and I, along with S. P. Hendrick and her husband, will be driving up to San Jose, where we will mingle with around 2,500 assorted Pagans at our favorite West Coast event, PantheaCon. Members of our coven will be there, other Pendraig authors, and friend from near and far, some of whom we only see at PantheaCon each year.

This year I'm presenting two workshops, to make up for missing the 'Con last year while I was in hospital, trying not to lose my leg. So I have two years of pent-up hedonism to expend over the long weekend. The workshops I'm teaching are "Gods and Ancestors and the 21st Century Crafter" and "Invocation and the Ancient Art of Ritual Possession". If the turnout is anything like I got for my "Visceral Magick" workshop there two years ago, I'll be very happy indeed!

I'm also pleased to say that the Enchantment study group has got off to a good start... this is actually a series of groups around the world working on the material I am putting together for my next book, "Enchantment: The Witch's Art of Manipulation Through Gesture, Gaze and Glamour". We are communicating by video (on DVDs I send out to the remote groups) and a private group on FaceBook, and there are groups across the US, in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. This is a really enjoyable way to write a book!

If you're going to PantheaCon, look me up and say hello. I'll be signing and selling copies of "A Grimoire for Modern Cunningfolk" and "Visceral Magick", and S. P. will be selling and signing her novels, Ellen Evert Hopman will be doing the same with her new book "Scottish Herbs and Fairy Lore", and Ed Fitch will also be there, selling and signing copies of our re-print of his classic "Magical Rites From the Crystal Well".

Monday, January 23, 2012

Now That the Year is Up and Running...

So as 2012 groans into motion, I'm gradually (and also with much groaning) getting back "on the stick" with getting healthy, and making a concerted effort to move my writing and publishing to a new level.

Over the last year I have enlisted the freelance talents of Jo-Ann Byers- Mierzwicki as layout artist for Pendraig, and her husband Tony as editor, and the fruits of their labor can be seen in my latest book, Visceral Magick - both the standard and special editions benefit from Jo-Ann's clear aesthetic and Tony's attention to detail, not to mention his fearless pursuit of clarification. My book is so much better for their input, and I can't express how grateful I am to them. They have worked similar wonders for all the other recent Pendraig releases, and I have every faith that we will be going places together.

Work has begun on my next book, Enchantment, and I have study groups around the world helping me out as they work through the exercises, techniques and philosophy behind the "Jedi mind tricks". I think this is going to result in a detailed and extremely useful book on this aspect of Witchcraft.

Meanwhile, my previous two books, Visceral Magick and A Grimoire for Modern Cunningfolk have been selling steadily, and have picked up some nice reviews. I'd like to thank all of you who have reviewed, recommended or in other ways passed on the word about my efforts, and I especially appreciate the messages I've received by email, FaceBook or Twitter from people enjoying what I have created.

Last, but not least, we have signed up with SmashWords to provide Pendraig's books in all the different eBook formats. As you are probably aware, we have been putting out some of our books (mostly the fiction) on Kindle and Nook, but now with the aid of SmashWords, we can reach the full range of digital editions out there, so watch out for announcements of new releases.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A New Year, a New Project

2011 didn't quite live up to my expectations, though I really have no reason to complain. Eleven months ago, I was brought face to face with my own mortality, and although I have certainly moved well clear of that precipice, I have not progressed as far towards health as I was hoping. I certainly did not get everything done that I was hoping to achieve.

So I've got high expectations from 2012, and whatever else it turns out to be, it will certainly be busy. For starters, I will be attending PantheaCon next month and presenting two workshops, unlike last year, where I spent that particular weekend in hospital. I've got several other trips planned through the year too, not least another visit to the fine Pagan folk in North Carolina. But that is not my big new project...

The really exciting news is that I am working on a new book, and I've decided to involve others in my process. The new book will be called "Enchantment: The Witches' Art of Manipulation Through Gesture, Gaze and Glamour". It will be a practical manual on techniques like the Witches' Eye (or "Evil Eye"), Jedi mind trickes (or putting the 'fluence on people), and creating illusions in order to get people to do what you need them to. Unlike all of my previous writings, this book will be completely devoid of cultural or religious  context, being the pure theory and practice involved in this very old-school form of witchcraft. That way, you can add your own cultural/religious context to it.

But the really exciting thing is that I decided to set up a study group to work through the material, to make sure I am thorough in my explanations and demonstrations. At first, this was just going to be a local group, but whern I mentioned that on FaceBook, I got a lot of responses from people who are out of town, wishing they lived close enough to participate.

Well, the outcome of that was that I decided to video the study group here in Los Angeles, and share it on a DVD with groups elsewhere, and then get everyone to discuss it online together. So far, there are groups in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Florida, Tennessee, Pensylvania, North Carolina, Long Beach California, and perhaps San Diego too. Which means I'm going to get a ton of feedback on both the techniques and the background material, which means that the book is going to be something very special. Personally, I can't wait to read it...