Oct 15 2009
A Good Life, A Good Death: Preparing for Samhain, with special guest, Reclaiming co-founder M. Macha NightMare (by webcast).
$5 offering requested for this event only. Questions, call 803.422.4565 or email us.
M. Macha NightMare, Priestess & Witch, is an author, teacher and ritualist, with a penchant for collaboration. She is an initiate of two traditions of Witchcraft: Reclaiming and Faery/Feri, Reclaiming’s root tradition.
Before she became known as Macha, Aline found NROOGD Witchcraft in 1971, then, in 1975 met a young woman named Starhawk at a local metaphysical bookstore. From 1975 to 1979 she circled on sabbats with covens Compost, Honeysuckle, and Raving. (Thirty-five years later, Compost Coven still exists.)
Among the founders of Reclaiming, Macha was the first person to identify Reclaiming, which until then had been a collective of Witches teaching and offering public sabbat rituals, as a tradition in itself.
In 1981 Macha joined the Covenant of the Goddess, the oldest and largest non-denominational organization of Witches in the USA, with her then-coven, a group priestesshood called Holy Terrors. Since joining CoG, she has worked with all manner of Witches and Pagans throughout the United States, as well as in Canada and Brazil.
Beginning in 1992, Macha has organized and presented video and independent film screenings and panels to discuss such matters as “Changes to Paganism in the 21st Century (CE),” “Goddesses & Matriarchies,” “Pagan Clergy,” and several other subjects. In addition, she has served as a panelist, most recently on “Teaching Methods in Pagan Traditions” in New York, “Who and What Are the God/dess/es?” in Delaware.
In 1997 Macha co-created, with Starhawk, The Pagan Book of Living and Dying: Practical Rituals, Prayers, Blessings, and Meditations on Crossing Over, which formed the foundation of death and dying workshops Macha has presented throughout the country. Macha has served on the Advisory Board of the Sacred Dying Foundation since 1997. In 2004 reviewers for PanGaia Magazine voted The Pagan Book of Living and Dying the Number One book for advanced Pagans.
Macha wrote Witchcraft and the Web: Weaving Pagan Traditions Online in 2001 and Pagan Pride: Honoring the Craft and Culture of Earth and Goddess in 2004. The former book was published in Brazil in 2006.
She is also a contributor to anthologies: Irish Spirit: Pagan, Celtic, Christian, Global, Patricia Monaghan, editor; Exploring the Pagan Path: Wisdom from the Elders, Kristin Madden, editor; and Celebrating the Pagan Soul: Our Own Stories of Inspiration and Community, Laura Wildman-Hanlon, editor. Her writing has appeared in many periodicals, and she has frequently spoken on behalf of the Craft in electronic and print media, and at colleges and universities.
Macha’s besom has taken her to present at Pagan festivals, conferences and conventions (Starwood, Heartland, Magical Mountain Mabon, Sacred Harvest Festival, Between the Worlds, PantheaCon, Ancient Ways, CUUPS Annual Conference, and Pagan Pride Days from Vermont to Utah, Florida to Washington State.)
In 1998 Macha participated in The Biodiversity Project Spirituality Working Group, a small gathering of religious and environmental leaders, in Madison, WI; their work informed the publication of Building Partnerships with the Faith Community: A Resource Guide for Environmental Groups.
As a member of the Nature Religions Scholars Network (now called Pagan Studies), Macha has been quoted in scholarly works on Paganism, goddess studies, and New Religious Movements. She participates in the annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion, of which she is a member, and attendant Conference on Contemporary Pagan Studies.
In 2002 Macha was among those featured in a year-long study in Marin County by Roberta Swan called “Women in Leadership in Faith: Voices of Hope and Healing in a Troubled World.”
In 2003, Macha participated in New Religious Movements: A Symposium on Earth-Based Spiritualities sponsored by Auburn Theological Seminary’s Center for Multifaith Education in New York City. She returned there in 2005 for a ritual, “Bridget: A Celebration of the Triple Goddess of Forge, Flame, and Healing Springs.”
She has spoken about and on behalf of Paganism at colleges and universities (Cornell, UC Berkeley, Sonoma State University, St. Lawrence University, Stanford, St. Mary’s College, College of Notre Dame, New College of California, California Institute of Integral Studies), seminaries and professional schools (Auburn Theological Seminary, Pacific School of Religion, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology), as well as to religious journalists, reporters and interviewers in all types of news media.
Macha holds Elder credentials through CoG. She is the former chair of the Public Ministry Department at Cherry Hill Seminary, now serving on the board of directors. Prior to taking over the department, she taught a 15-week survey course called “Call of the Dark Mother: Working with the Dying, Death, and Grieving.” She is committed to developing the first, and so far only, program in public ministry for Pagans. She views this endeavor, shared with other dedicated and accomplished colleagues, as an opportunity to set a high standard for future generations of Pagans.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for the Advancement of Women in Religion. And she is also on the Sacred Dying Foundation Advisory Board. She also represents CoG and CHS in the Marin Interfaith Council, one of the oldest and most diverse interfaith groups in the country.
Her matron deity is Kali Ma. Her magical practice is inspired by feminism and a concern for the health of our planet, and is informed by Celtic, Hindu and Tibetan practices, and the magic of enchantment. Macha is an all-round Pagan webweaver.
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