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The pan-Pagan organization the Firefly House sets up an altar ahead of its Mabon celebration. (Photo by Stephanie Lecci)
Modern paganism, ancient spirituality
October 19, 2018
It's not devil worship. It's not make-believe. Modern day pagans are taking part in a diverse array of spiritual practices reviving traditions of long ago.
The Firefly House is a pan-pagan organization and tradition of Wiccans, Witches, polytheists, and magick-workers based in the Washington DC area. (The Firefly House Facebook page)
Modern paganism defies a single definition October 19, 2018
We explore the lives of those who call themselves witches, pagans, Wiccans, Druids, and everything in between. It’s a diverse group  - with an array of different spiritual practices and beliefs. First, we hear the personal story of David Dashifen “Dash” Kees, who was raised Jewish but later converted to paganism. Then we talk with Sarah Pike, a professor of comparative religion at California State University Chico, about the stereotypes associated with practitioners of modern paganism and the tradition’s origins. She says although very little unites these communities, most of them are reviving pre-Christian spiritual practices and traditions.
 
David Dashifen “Dash” Kees, an initiate at The Firefly House
Sarah Pike, professor of Comparative Religion at California State University Chico 
 

The Firefly House initiate David Dashifen Kees performs a ritual in celebration
of the autumnal equinox, a holiday for pagans known as Mabon.

(Photo by Stephanie Lecci)

Firefly House initiate Ki-Aura Frazier holds up her athame, a knife-like object used for circle casting. (Photo credit Stephanie Lecci)
With pomegranates and apples, DC pagan group marks Mabon October 19, 2018
We’ll meet a group, the Firefly House, that’s trying to lift the veil on paganism while creating an open space for practitioners to find community. They recently held a three day retreat and a ritual to mark the pagan holiday for the autumnal equinox, called Mabon. While a majority of people at this retreat hold different spiritual beliefs, they all value coming together as a likeminded community. Produced by Melissa Feito and Stephanie Lecci. 


Ki-Aura Frazier opens the circle during the Mabon ritual. (Photo by Stephanie Lecci)


Pomegranates were crushed over the statue of Persephone as an offering back to the Earth. (Photo by Stephanie Lecci)
Gabriela Herstik, LA based witch and author (Photo by Alexandra Herstik)
Why one witch says "the craft" is for everyone October 19, 2018
Gabriela Herstik knew she was a witch at 11 years old. Since then, she's developed her own unique craft which includes magick, meditation, fashion, and art. She explains you don't have to have any set of beliefs to practice witchcraft: while some consider it to be a part of their religion, and may worship certain deities, she thinks of the “craft” itself as a set of spiritual practices that anyone can gain meaning from. And she's written a new book as a guide to those interested in exploring witchcraft. 

Gabriela Herstik, witch and author based in LA, author of NYLON's Ask a Witch column and her new book Inner Witch: A Modern Guide to the Ancient Craft



Gabriela poses with a bundle of herbs she uses as part of her practice.
(Photo by Alexandra Herstik)