Archive for Events

The Pagan Journey — 2011 Interfaith Film Festival

Not perfectly on-topic — but I wanted to take a moment to say thanks to the Washington, DC area local producers and Pagan leaders who produced and appeared in the film “The Pagan Journey” — part of the 2011 Interfaith Film Festival and, I’m told, their “Proclamation of Faith” category winner.

I know several of these folks and I’m delighted to see their work and see it do well!

You can see “The Pagan Journey” here

The YouTube channel for the 2011 Interfaith Film Festival is here

— Michael


Wonderful Sacred Space Conference

Just finished a wonderful weekend at the 2011 Sacred Space Conference.   I’d like to thank Caroline Kenner for asking me to submit classes as well as the whole host of other event planners.

I presented a class on healer ethics — which was a very broad class concerning common ethical considerations across a wide variety of healing professions from the more medical (professional counseling, acupuncture) to the alternative (Tarot readers, energy healers, etc.).  We had a small but very enthusiastic group and the class about ran itself with all the examples and questions.  I was very pleased with how it went.

I also presented a very well attended class on trauma spectrum disorders with the goal of educating group leaders about what different disorders entail, how to spot them, and possible effects on their spiritual groups.  Another good discussion.

The conference was fantastic — I got to go to several sessions from other presenters I really enjoyed.

I missed Jonathan White’s class on “Ceremonial and Counseling Work with Anger” which combined Pagan ceremonial methods for working on anger with counseling.  Likely was a good class — his always are.

I’m happy to see several classes on mental health popping up at Pagan spiritual conferences and even happier at being invited to help teach them.

— Michael


Baltimore Open Spirit Circle

Hi All — A bit off the topic of Pagan counseling, but I’m excited about a new monthly fire circle that has started up in Baltimore.  Besides just being a fun (and spiritual) event, I’ve seen some clients who seem to be able to use the energy and movement at these events to help work through their emotional issues.  So there’s a bit of a counseling tie-in.  Mainly — just want to get the word out for Baltimore!

The next events are on Saturday, March 27 and April 24th at the Whole Gallery, 405 W Franklin St, Baltimore, MD at 7pm.  There is information about parking and carpooling through the organizers or their FaceBook page also.  See below.


Open Spirit Circle Announcement:

Open Spirit Circle is a family friendly event open to all spiritual paths. Creating a sacred safe space to express ourselves through art, music, movement and silence. We drum, dance, chant, trance, sing, meditate, and manage to collectively and collaboratively find a harmony that lifts our spirits together.

We would like to encourage full group participation. Please bring your chants, poems, art ideas or any other short participatory things you feel called to share with the group.

Our events are designed so that everyone can contribute in many different ways. Feel free to join us for set-up and or take down.

If you are moved to bring sacred items to share for the night or to donate to the ongoing of events, we will be happy to accept them if brought in during set up time.
Items that we could use are tapestries, crystals, feathers, sea shells, and candles (7 day and glass enclosed preferred)

We set up a food area for nourishing ourselves during the event. Healthy easy finger foods are much appreciated. (grapes, carrots, nuts, chips, pretzels)
Be sure to bring a water bottle. We will have a 5 gallon dispenser for water.

Some art supplies will be provided for the art table and we welcome more being donated.

Each event we ask for a donation to help keep the event going monthly. We will not turn anyone away for lack of money. Your time, service, or donation of other items is also valuable to us. Suggested donation is from $3 to $10.00.

For more info contact

Ayla 410-388-1514 or Tanith 571-527-8039!/group.php?gid=264026526623&ref=ts


Pagan Centered Podcast Show

Yesterday I completed about a 2 hour interview with Amber and Dave at the Pagan Centered Podcast (PCP) — a show that tells it how it is on a wide variety of topics.   I was thrilled to be able to talk about one of my favorite topics — Paganism and psychotherapy.   I believe the show is slated to be #108 or so in their line-up 3+ weeks from now.  I doubt it will be 2 hours after editing.

We covered a variety of interesting topics — which I won’t talk about much right now because that would ruin the anticipation, wouldn’t it?  A few topics we discussed:

  • Is it hard for a Pagan to find a good therapist?
  • What are the criteria for selecting a good therapist?  What additional criteria might a Pagan look for?
  • Do patients claiming experience strong paranormal gifts always get prescribed psych meds?
  • Can a patient claiming to be Otherkin (the idea of having a soul that is either partially or completely non-human in some way) be in a healthy mental state?
  • What are some guidelines a new Pagan patient should follow when going to see a therapist?

I think I came through halfway coherent and without babbling too much (we’ll see).  I will say that I gave some ways to find therapists who might be more understanding of Pagan clients.  I also emphasized that HEALTH is what matters — not a client’s belief system.

You can download their podcasts from iTunes.  Their website is at

— Michael

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Touch Drawing in DC

Angela Raincatcher (aka my significant other) is running a 6-month class in Washington, DC doing Touch Drawing.  This is an art therapy modality with significant potential.

She states that:

“Touch Drawing is a simple yet profound process where your fingers take the place of pen or brush. Your hands become organic extensions of your soul, moving freely in response to the sensations of the moment. In this sacred space, you can open previously unused channels of expression, enabling uncensored feelings to flow forth. The act of creating with these feelings provides more than cathartic release: it unleashes vibrant healing forces which guide the psyche toward wholeness. Touch Drawing is a practice of creative, psychological, and spiritual integration.”

The first event is Saturday April 4th.

More information on the event can be found here and here.

More information on generally what Touch Drawing is can be found here and here.


Pagan Leadership Skills Conference

This morning I agree to co-lead the Pastoral Care track of the Pagan Leadership Skills Conference this July in Richmond, VA.  For those of you who don’t know about this conference, it is a professional intensive training opportunity for Pagan clergy to beef-up their skills.  Past years have had tracks on counseling, finances, marketing & PR, group facilitation, and more.  If your Pagan organization is growing and you didn’t get to go to seminary and business school (and who did?), then please consider attending the conference.

I’m delighted to be co-teaching with Judy Harrow — a mental health counselor, present (or past?) President of the New Jersey chapter of ASERVIC (Association for Spiritual and Religious Values in Counseling), and Pagan elder.  She is also Chair of the Pastoral Counseling Department at Cherry Hill Seminary.

Here is the current generic write-up on the planned class:

More and more today, Pagan groups are being called on to guide the personal and spiritual growth of their individual members, minister to their needs, and counsel them through life changes. The Pagan community is a unique context for this ministry, and the PLSC Pastoral Care track will give you a base knowledge of common counseling techniques and tools to help you do so. The track will address the foundations and basic techniques of pastoral care, active listening, unconditional positive regard, reflective and additive empathy, appropriate confrontation, spiritual assessment, confidentiality and its limits, and specialized tools and techniques such as what to listen for and questions to ask. This track will equip you to develop a personalized action plan for pastoral care to bring back to your organization or group.


Baltimore Pagan Pride Events

The “Super PNO” for the Washington/Baltimore region is this Friday night at Mystickal Voyage.  Come have fun with other area Pagans.  Also it’s a chance to check out the digs of the holistic and yoga center that a number of area alternative practitioners (and myself) work out of.  Click here for information.
Also don’t forget Baltimore Pagan Pride Day this Saturday.  Click here for more information.  I’m not exhibiting or presenting — will likely stop by just to see what’s going on.


Therapy Decks and High-Speed Coaching

A few weeks ago I participated at a holistic health fair at Mystickal Voyage Holistic Center. I figured I’d run my usual information booth, hand out flyers, etc.

So I got there and — during my 4-hour shift anyway — every single other booth was staffed by a Tarot reader or a psychic. Meanwhile the organizers were assuming that everyone was doing 15 minute readings and had already started a sign-up sheet for me!

Those used to Tarot reading are likely reading this and saying “so what?”, and therapists reading this are cringing…

Anyway, I got a speed lesson in intense 15 minute coaching sessions. No divination. Just tell me your problem, tap into your creativity, and brainstorm next steps. It was fun and seemed to work quite well. Clients seemed happy. Of course, I made far less in tips than the Tarot readers and psychics — so that should be a clue to any students out there as to what profession to get into. (I donated tips to the Stepping Stones Nigeria orphanage for “witch” children.)

15 minute coaching sessions require a focus — something to pull the client right to the problem, tap their creativity, and immediately get them looking at the problem from a new angle instead of the stuck spot they came in occuping. This is where card decks become critical. There is ALOT we can learn from Tarot readers.

I have a whole workshop on using cards in counseling, but basically the story is that they can facilitate answers whether or not you believe divination is going on. The story used in psychotherapy anyway is that the mind is a meaning making engine and that a part of your mind will always try to make a meaning out of any information put in front of it. So if you think of a problem and pick a card, 9 out of 10 times your mind will supply a useful link between the card and the problem. In so doing your unconscious creativity surfaces.

I thought maybe I’d take this opportunity to list out some card decks that I use in therapy that I find very useful. Depending upon the need, I was pulling these decks out during the holistic fair:

Soul Coaching Oracle Cards — Have a simple picture and words such as Strength, Gratitude, Faith, Commitment, etc. Obviously usually used in divination but also great for the therapy situation described above where you ask the client to make a connection between the card message and their issue. I’ve also used these in “Resiliency” class at my psych rehabilitation program with a room full of folks with schizophrenia. The central lesson was that we all have resources to be strong with even if we have limitations or little money. By the time everyone drew a card and discussed their “love”, “freedom”, “grace”, etc. the room was much more upbeat and positive.

Dreaming in Color Deck — Emotional and spiritual states linked to artwork. Good for pulling emotions out of people stuck in their head. I’ve written about these before — click here.

Planning on Purpose Deck — A boring-looking, badly-printed deck by a career counseling center that is absolutely the best informal tool around for figuring out what your life priorities are. It’s supposedly geared towards career but the conversation can quickly become existential as the client figures out what matters in life. Using them is deceptively simple — clients sort the cards (with phrases such as “Nesting, creating a home”, “Sports, sports”, and “Leaving the World a Better Place”) into piles of low and high interest. Then they rank order the most important pile. Then you discuss how to bring their life into accordance with their top rank-ordered values. Good for helping break depression.
Healing the Mind and Spirit Cards — Advice for living with positive affirmations to change your thoughts. Good for when someone needs an “answer” and hope.

Hudes Tarot Deck — I almost never use Tarot cards. If I do, its in the context of architypal work. Along the lines of “find the cards that remind you of parts of yourself”. Useful in this way for helping people come to appreciate and be aware of all of the parts inside them. Usually the client is already familiar with Tarot or I find another way to work. This is one of my favorite decks.




Northern VA Pagan Pride Day

Yesterday was fun.  I set up a booth at the Northern VA Pagan Pride Day event and got to speak with a handful of folks therapist shopping and otherwise wishing to relate their story.  Several came up to me after my workshop on trauma disorders and how they can effect or groups.  I had around 30 people sitting in on my workshop — always nice when there is interest!  A perfect day after the remains of Hurricane Hanna blew through the day before.  Thanks to the Becoming folks and event organizers for all the help setting up.


Northern Virginia Pagan Pride Day September 7th — Workshop on Trauma and Magic

A shameless plug, but hey, I like doing public workshops:

I’m told I’ll have a presentation slot at the Northern Virginia Pagan Pride Day celebration on September 7th. More information on the festival at

Not sure what time I’ll be speaking — I assume not opposite Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone!

I’m looking to set-up an info booth at the festival too. In addition to info on my practice, I’ll have some flyers and be available to talk about my experiences a few years ago with Cherry Hill Seminary. More info on them at

Here’s my topic:

Trauma and Magic: Diagnoses, Groups, and Beyond: Often times folks drawn to the unusual and the occult are re-discovering themselves after a difficult past. That past history can lead to a variety of symptoms that friends may not realize are psychological in nature. These symptoms can effect covens, groves, and other working groups. This workshop will start by covering some of the symptoms of persons with trauma histories. We’ll briefly cover the spectrum of trauma disorders and discuss how such may effect the groups you are a part of. We’ll wrap up with a speculative discussion on the links between abuse and psychic or trance abilities. Time permitting we may range into the differences and similarities between psychosis versus psychic or magical capabilities.

Michael Reeder, MS, LGPC operates a counseling practice in both Baltimore and Washington, DC. His primary interests are Tarot, developing Neo-Pagan “pastoral” counseling methods, and the overlaps between magic and psychology. He holds a Masters degree in Clinical Community Counseling and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Spiritual and Existential Counseling from Johns Hopkins University. Michael has presented workshops for the Mid-Atlantic Pagan Alliance Beltaine Festival, Free Spirit Gathering, and the Pagan Leadership Skills Conference. His blog can be found at


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