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Musical Album "Chosen"

Musical Album "Chosen"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Costume Imagry

Terra Mysterium has committed itself to maintaining an active blog. As a member, last week it was my turn to post. I was rather proud of the concept which I presented and I have to say, I admire the group's commitment to activity...ahem...

I encourage you to visit the Terra Mysterium blog to read my colleagues' work and the video blog portions are quite something.


It’s the beginning of the holiday season. It’s that beautiful time of year when the air turns crisp and scents of apple pie drifts on the wind. Our clothing changes towards cozy sweaters and outfits for the upcoming festivities, this seems to fuel the pulse of the world; for even the trees are putting on their party clothes. Don’t you know that they have a party before their long winter sleep? They get pretty wild, the trees. We clean up traces of their dresses for days after their celebration.

The way we dress makes a powerful statement as to who we are. Even the trees are aware of this when they pull out their stops with their “look at me!” leaves in sultry autumn colors. When we walk into a room full of people, unconsciously everything from our color choice and the shapes we have combined come together to help people form an opinion. Our clothes have an answer for a question that hasn’t yet been asked.

Especially in the finite world of a stage performance, a character’s clothes are specifically important. A costume designer has to consider carefully the message the overall image conveys to the audience. Like any art, costuming does have to have fluidity. A true artist must attempt to voice a message in the most boisterous tone, while allowing the audience their own vision. Different individuals, with unique set of circumstances will have different interpretations of the same art form.

Color is particularly open to interpretation. Green is a color particularly favored by Terra Mysterium. With connotations of growing things, images of spring and the environment around us, it is easy to see why green is a favorite for shows featuring the spirits of nature. Green can also imply abundance and vitality as a reference to vast flowing green fields. Did you know though, that in some Eastern philosophy, the power center (most commonly referred to as a chakra) over your heart is green? If your circumstances include this, the color green might suggest love or vulnerability. We can also be “green with envy.” Which suggests that green can be associated with darkness and the more dangerous. This, in Terra Mysterium shows about the unpredictable tendency of nature, is perhaps an appropriate message to convey.

The color red too, also provides multiple messages. It is without question a power color, an anchor.

In the gothic world, enamored of death, black is the favored color. However it was the deep passionate shade of the pomegranate which took center stage in Finding Eluesis. Partly because Terra Mysterium wanted to make a statement about the passion between Persephone and Hades, rather than getting caught up in a dark depiction of the Underworld. Red can also symbolize profound joy.

Shape, is also symbolic. Terra Mysterium is particularly fond of more historic lines. The forms of the Renaissance era which are flowing and constricted at the same time fit our perceptions of those unpredictable nature spirits of which we are so fond. Though truth be told, Terra Mysterium is currently enamored of the Steampunk movement. There is something decidedly alluring about Victorian era clothing done in modern leather and metal. These costumes ask a question: what is being repressed and hidden? And, what is desired?

Truly our hope through our entire art form is to reflect our questions on our audience.

What are you hiding?

What is your secret desire?

Did you think about that when you got dressed this morning?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Terra Mysterium's Video Blog

I am very proud to have been included in Terra Mysterium's Video Blog series.

Keep watch for other interesting clips and announcements!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Terra Mysterium Announces a Special CD and 2012 Calendar Promotion!

4318 N Sheridan Rd, Apt 2A
Chicago, IL 60613-1455

Dear Friend,

Thank you so much for your support of Terra Mysterium over the course of our journey. Since its inception, Terra Mysterium has strived to offer unique and innovative ritual theatre to the Pagan communities of Chicago and surrounding areas, and we could not have done it without your incredible enthusiasm. So it is with excitement that we are writing to you today to announce that Terra Mysterium is about to enter a new chapter in our artistic development, and we need your help!

We have made it our goal for 2011 to incorporate and become a 501(c)3 not-for-profit company so that we can invest even more in the development of the arts in our communities, as well as continue to provide you with fresh and engaging music, storytelling and ritual theatre. In order to meet this goal, we have worked hard to develop a number of truly exciting projects. First, we are thrilled to announce that we will be releasing our much anticipated cast album, featuring all of your favorite Terra Mysterium songs, this June. Additionally, poet and company member Ruby Sara has produced a solo spoken word album entitled Phaskein that will also be available in June.

We would also like to announce two additional projects. Premiering in July, is the solo music CD, Chosen by company member Amy Christensen, which is inspired in part by her work in Finding Eleusis. Available this fall, is the 2012 Terra Mysterium Calendar, Feminine Mysterium. This beautiful color calendar, marks the lunar cycles, major American holidays, Equinoxes and Solstices, and includes the major festivals of the twelve Divine Feminine Forms featured in the works of Terra Mysterium and Amy Christensen. And there are even more projects in the works! As you can see, we have a full year ahead of us.

And you can help make all of these goals possible!

As our dear friend and loyal supporter, we would like to offer you a special pre-order promotion. If you order any or all of these forthcoming works, before June 1, 2011, in addition to a pre-production saving and no additional shipping costs, your Feminine Mysterium calendar will be autographed by the women of Terra Mysterium.

Remember, all of these projects will help finance our not-for-profit incorporation as well as future productions. They will also become our primary marketing materials so that we can continue to present our work at events like the Chicago Fringe Festival and Earth Traditions Oasis.

Hurry before June 1, 2011 when this special savings will be gone. Order on PayPal today!

We are enormously proud of our musical and artistic collections and we know that you will love them! Please help make these and future project productions possible. Thank you again for all of your support.


Matthew Ellenwood
Artistic Director, Terra Mysterium

Order Now Before June 1, 2011 to Receive Special Discount Prices and Free Shipping!

Album Cover
Terra Mysterium Cast Album (CD)
Special Promotion Price: $13.00
Price after June 1: $15.00.
(You save $2.00 plus free shipping!)
(Available 6/12/11)

Phaskein: Spoken Word by Ruby Sara (CD)
Special Promotion Price: $13.00
Price after June 1: $15.00.
(You save $2.00 plus free shipping!)
(Available 6/12/11)

Chosen: Music by Amy Christensen (CD)
Special Promotion Price: $13.00
Price after June 1: $15.00.
(You save $2.00 plus free shipping!)

(Available July 9, 2011)

Calendar CoverAutographed Feminine Mysterium 2012 Calendar
Special Promotion Price: $10.00
Price after June 1: $12.00.
(You save $2.00 plus free shipping!)

(Available September 15, 2011)

Join the Mysterium! Become a Donor!





Donation Amount

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Book Review: Exploring the Northern Tradition by Galina Krasskova

Not only did Exploring the Northern Tradition provide me with a wealth of information on my target Goddesses, Freya and Hel, it also introduced me to the Goddess Saga, who immediately connected with me and provided me with a new mission for projects in my next cycle of my Women's Thealogical Institute, Re-formed Congregation of the Goddess, International program. I learned a great deal about the Goddesses functions, sacred objects and holy tides.

I also enjoyed learning about the ritual Symbels. This affirmed more of what I believe to be inherited (Viking) memory, as I have always had a notion of a time of honor where stories of successful deeds are told and the guest of honor is the one to give the gifts rather than receive them. I have been thinking of having a ritual on my 40th birthday, and I would love for it follow the format of a Symbel with the opening speech (the hallowing), the assigning of a female ealu bora to pass wine to the attendants but first to me as symbelgerefa so that I may toast the Goddesses, the Maegen (luck) of those gathered and then to speak of my accomplishments and state my upcoming goals. Then wine would be passed to the group so others may state their goals and/or take pride in their accomplishments. I might select a Thyle whose obligation is to challenge any goals they think unrealistic, and to keep all on track. Then I would love to honor those people who have had significance in my life with gifts. The Northern tradition relies heavily on hierarchy, and so it would certainly be appropriate for some gifts to be more extravagant than others.

As my heritage is Scandinavian and German I feel very drawn to the Northern Traditions. I feel it like a memory; I know it in my soul. However, Ms. Krasskova describes herself as a heathen and makes a point to draw a heavy line between the term Heathen and Pagan. Neo-Pagan is nearly put forth with disdain in the writing, and Ms. Krasskova warns that some orthodox heathen groups tip into racism. As a practicing priest of Heathenry for over 12 years, I think Ms. Krasskova would not make such a statement lightly. As one who has been called to serve Diana and Persephone, I know that I could never join a Heathen kindred where the requirement to join would be to ignore the summons of my Greek Goddesses. Saga though has plans for me.

I witnessed a bit of Saga's power during Milwaukee Ostara. One little girl and two young women in their teenage years were so taken in by my role as Persephone in Ruby Sara's and Johnny Rapture's ritual and then again when I sang, that they made a point to speak to me during the festival. They honored me by their words and again when the littlest of them gave me her painting from the children's area. She said that she had made it specifically for me. Music and poetry are in and of themselves, magic and sacred. I wish I could meet those lovely ladies again, for I would invite them to my 40th Symbel as honored guests. They were the very voice of Saga, and they helped me realize my path: I have more music to sing.

Upon seeing Saga's name written in Ms. Krasskova book I realized that I am Viking Skauld in my soul and my blood. Saga immediately whispered that my next project should not only honor her, but others like her. I believe that I have known Saga for ages; and she doesn’t care that I’m one of those annoying “neos.” She is calling me and the fact that I’m Viking, well, she considers that a bit of a bonus.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Book Review: By Land, Sky and Sea by Gede Parma

Mr. Parma is a witch of Balinese-Celtic ancestry raised from childhood in paganism. He is the co-founder of the WildWood Tadition of Witchcraft and is a devotee of the Goddesses, Persephone, Aphrodite and Hekate. His spiritual path incorporates elements of traditional shamanism, Balinese Hinduism, British-Celtic Witchrcraft, Stregheria, Greek Paganism, Feri, Reclaiming and WildWood Witchcraft. He has written award-winning books on pagan topics and witchcraft.

After visiting Ireland, Mr. Parma was inspired to write this guidebook to further develop shamanistic abilities with the intent to inspire those on a pagan path to infuse their craft with purpose. It is divided into three sections, utilizing his inspiration from his trip to Ireland, the home of his Celtic ancestors, the Celtic three-realm cosmology, though the book draws from other pagan traditions.

In the section, “Land” which acquaints to the physical plane of being, he strives to encourage the reader to become aware of their physical self. Mr. Parma provides detailed exercises on breath, including yogi breathing, huna breath and counted breath. The section continues with meditation exercises. One that I found to resonate personally was the “Tree of Life” mediation. In this mediation, one becomes the tree whose roots delve deep into the underworld (sea), the trunk grows proudly upward (land) and whose branches reach outward into the celestial sky.

Land further elaborates with physical spiritual manifestations such as dance and touch. I am often moved to dance, once a photographer took a picture of me, I was completely oblivious as I was in the thrall of dance and the picture always struck me.

Photograph courtesy of David Hails Digital Images

My eyes had a particularly ethereal look, and I am fairly certain that element of the photography had not been altered. After reading Mr. Parma’s notes on trance work, I can see that what the photographer captured was me experiencing and becoming one with what is divine. Learning this, I am now anxious to do more work on trance utilizing the dance that seems to come naturally to me. This illumination also made me keenly interested in the topics which followed; the magical practices of omen walking and divining labyrinths.

In “Sky” he explains that knowledge can be found in transcendence. He proposes that magic is a way to experience divinity and the connectivity of all things. Once again Mr. Parma outlines a series of magic working exercises. One that I was particularly drawn to was the creation of psyballs. In this exercise he outlines imagining a ball of energy which can be infused with a magical intention or wish. Mr. Parma believes that the force of creation is in essence a magical act. As we are all born of magic, it is our birthright to use magic and develop it. The sky chapter continues with steps to induce astral flight and outlines several steps to increase one’s spiritual awareness to develop the magical or psychic ability of clairvoyance.

In “Sea” Mr. Parma expounds on the concepts of clairvoyance and trance and encourages readers to vision quest to the underworld to experience death in the context of rebirth. It is only in death that we can see eternity evolving. This section also focuses on the concept of channeling or becoming the oracle through which the divine can speak. Mr. Parma wishes his readers to experience truth, but warns that truth is unique to the individual. I think it is important to note that an oracle must also embrace silence. Those that wish to hear will be open, but our individual truth may not be for the ears of all. In the “Sea” section, Mr. Parma uses the stories of myth to demonstrate the concept of rebirth. His accounting of the Goddess Persephone was particularly moving for me as I am also her devoted follower. He also accounts the journey of the Norse Goddess Freya and her necklace of Brisingamen. As she is another goddess that I am studying, this myth was of particular interest and I am eager to read the books on Nordic mythology cited in Mr. Parma’s bibliography.

I found Mr. Parma’s book filled with rituals, and interesting concepts and certainly his goal to enrich my spiritual path with purpose filled magic has come to fruition with me. I also had the opportunity to meet Mr. Parma in person. We had an impassioned conversation about our mutual goddess Persephone and the messages she has brought to our lives. In fact he signed my copy of his book, “blessed is she who hunts for flowers.” I believe he was referring to our beloved Persephone in that it is her hunt for the perfect flower that begins her decent into the abyss where she harnesses her fear, accepts her fate and becomes the awesome Goddess of death and rebirth. I saw that he took a moment to think of what to write to me, and so I think too that he also was referring directly to me; in that I have undertaken my own path and am willing to accept the truth that may unfold within my destiny. Mr. Parma is only in his early 20’s. I was stunned and a little intimidated that one half my age could impart such surpassing knowledge. I have already fluttered in the realm of astral flight with the techniques of this book and look forward to practicing more of the other concepts. I look forward to watching this young man’s career and I hope I will have the opportunity to meet him again.

To learn more about Gede Parma and his work, please visit his website.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Book Review: Demons of the Flesh by Nikolas and Zeena Schreck

Nikolas Schreck is an American Born writer and left-handed philosopher and spiritualist. He has traveled internationally with a trip to Egypt in 1983 as one of the defining moments in his life as it was there that he discovered the God Set and became his practitioner.

Zeena Schreck was formally known as Zeena Galentea LaVey, is the daughter of Anton LaVey of the Church of Satan. She obtained international notoriety at the age of three as she was baptized by her father into Satanism and has been a practitioner of what is known as the “left-handed path” for the whole of her life.

Demons of the Flesh: The Complete Guide to Left-handed Sex Magic was given to me by a dear friend after I expressed my frustration with the Satanic community, who claimed all magic was within the realm of Satan and essentially left-handed in nature. Though when I challenged these professed Satanists to explain what they meant, no one would accept the challenge.

I found this book to be well composed and articulate. It had a great deal of historical information on personalities like Anton LaVey and Alcester Crowley. I found the history of the Church of Scientology (as an off-shoot from sex magic sects) particularly disturbing. The information presented on the Hindu Goddess Kali was fascinating and I may decide to gather more information on her.

As I understand, with the aide of this book, sex magic is the practice of channeling the energy gathered during love making, using it in a ritualistic forum to effect magical change. While I would have to agree that that particular energy would probably be quite potent, I personally have no desire to attempt any of the applications presented.

The Schrecks’ attempted to convey that the left-handed path is not “better” than a more conventional spiritual path, but explained that very few can manage the left-handed way with success. Indeed the Schrecks’ detailing of Crowley’s life led me believe he was nothing more than a sex addict who ruined his life with his unabated lust. Personally I did not see the advantage of the left-handed path when physical ruin and insanity seem to be the side effects. They did present one success story: Jesus of Nazareth, which disturbed me more than their accounting of Scientology. As one who was raised Christian the idea that all the beliefs given to me as a child might actually be the exact opposite of the truth had me reeling for my breath.

However once I got over the shock, I had a new understanding of the reasons why an individual may pursue a left-handed spiritual path. The Schrecks often referenced India where to this day a system of chaste claims dominion over every aspect of a person’s life. The left-handed path gives its practitioners a way to break out of that oppression, if only for one night during a ritual of magic. Likewise in the Christian-Judeo climate of today’s world, many find it stifling and seek out an extreme alternative to satisfy an unfulfilled spiritual need. With that under consideration, one cannot deny it is a viable spiritual option for some.

My test for a great film or book is whether it stays with me and I remember it. This book is highly rated and I must concur that the Schrecks are probably the best authorities on Satanism, the left-handed path and Sex Magic. As my friend knew it would, this book answered many of my questions concerning Satanism. It is exceptionally informative and most certainly memorable. It rocked me to my core, challenged all of my beliefs, and hurt my heart. However I cannot deny the true knowledge gained. I know my beliefs are sound and right for me. My Goddesses will heal my heart and I will be made stronger for the experience.