MoonArmsCeremony with No Tools:
Meditation Communication with Guardian Spirits

By Patricia Althouse

Two years ago I wrote a ceremony that used no tools. It was a general ritual, accessible to anyone, and a ritual that could help connect or deepen one's relationship with the Elements and the Divine. It was intended to help provide a physical, mental, and magical space to grow and connect with the Earth on a spiritual level.

One of the elders of my path of Wicca, known as Stone Circle Wicca, has taught me that it is through Wiccan ceremony – especially its regular practice thereof – that we come to innately know our overwhelming ethic, which is the knowledge of our connectedness to everything around us. This connectedness is inescapable to one practiced in Wicca, and a source of spiritual intuition which informs our active intention as we navigate the conflicting choices we make every day. This feeling of connectedness extends beyond ceremony and into our every day as we live our life.

Read more ...

hands on stoneListening to the Harmonies of the Singing Stones

By John Robinson

This past Labor Day when I normally attend Stones Rising, I had another personal commitment that prevented me from attending. However, I recalled that the preparation for Stones Rising occurs the week before during The Stone People͛s Intensive. As that week was free and I had never attended that event, I decided to go and help. 

I am so fortunate to have made this decision! With a much smaller group of the tribe, like 25 or so, I was able to work with friends and make new friends while helping in various ways for the coming Stones Rising. By the way, the use of intensive͛ is very descriptive of this event. Work started shortly after breakfast at 8am and continued virtually non-stop till dinner at 5pm. Normally, I am a bit of a night owl, but that first night I was in bed by 10pm. The second night, by 8pm. While tired, I was able to see how we collectively completed all of the preparation work that until then, I knew happened, but not to the extent it does.

As part of my participation, I volunteered to help power wash some of the Standing Stones and all of the altars. This year was pretty hot, being around 90° or so, and power washing seemed like a good way to help out and to keep cool. But there was something else about this experience I did not know when I volunteered, the Stones were waiting to sing to me.

Read more ...

The Road to Sundance

Michael McGee

SundanceThe Wi Wanyank Wacipi, or Sundance, is a traditional renewal ceremony of the Lakota people held in late summer. Historically the different Lakota bands were spread out over the plains and the Sundance was the time for them to come together as one people to honor the ancestors and pray for the continuance of the people.

The community would gather its resources and help prepare for this ceremony and a Dancer would be chosen to carry the prayers of the people and their community. This chosen Dancer will prepare for an entire year for this ceremony. Then during the ceremony the Dancer goes through four days of purification and prays in the sacred arbor for the four days of Dance. During this time the whole community would give support to the ceremony and their Dancer by cooking, tending the fire, singing, or simply by being present under the arbors. The Sundance is not only a renewal ceremony of prayer for health, help and healing of the people, but also a gathering of the communities.

Read more ...

LoricaThe Lorica of Four Quarters

By Christopher (Blinx) Doerfler

Four Quarters Interfaith: to me, that last word is at the heart of what we do here on the Land.
I feel that the idea that every path, every religion, has something to offer reflects one of my core beliefs that spiritual truth is too large for any one system to fully encompass. I believe that each person must find what works for them and also to let others use what they find works in their own lives. I have seen this in many of the moon rituals. I have seen this in the myriad of projects that have happened on the land. If Four Quarters was a food it would definitely be a stew. The potato of African traditions, the onion of Celtic beliefs, carrots comprised of the Native American ways of worship all sprinkled with the spices of Faerie, Norse, Wicca and Alchemy to create a hearty meal that blends all those flavors together.

It is with this idea in mind that I am creating this offering to my tribe. The core idea is one that has roots in monastic Christianity and very probably from even earlier Pagan traditions. The term is Lorica, which translated from Latin means breastplate. In the olden times knights would have these inscriptions written on armor or shields to recite before engaging in battle. The prayer itself calls upon the powers of the Divine to protect the knight from evil in all its forms. The most famous of these is the Lorica of St. Patrick.

Read more ...

Supporting Ceremony: Crossing the Cultural Divide

by Kurt Griffith


The Neopagan movement in America has always had a most interesting relationship with the spiritual pathways of Traditional Native American ceremony. We have a lot in common; but sometimes the cultural gap can be a significant and difficult obstacle.

Be that as it may, there are many Native practices that have established themselves firmly in the many paths of Earth Religion now practiced in the New World. The Drum, Smudging, the Sweat Lodge and Vision Quest come immediately to mind. I truly suspect that most of these ceremonial techniques are universal to indigenous traditions worldwide, but have been kept most accessible for us by First Nations people of the New World.

Read more ...

The Inner Language of Four Quarters

by Kailin Miller

“Come and stand with us beneath the moon
  In the Circle on the hill.
  Become the babe passed through the Stone
  And let your family welcome you home.”

“At the Center of Four Quarters,”
by Kailin Stonesinger, Steve Costanzo,and Derek Johnson

Choir and altar

What do our ceremonies tell us? What do they say about who we are, what we believe, what we hope for ourselves and for our children? How do we shape them, and how do they, in turn, shape our hearts and minds?

We come and stand together between earth and heaven, beneath the moon and shining stars; with the whisper of oak leaves on the wind, again and again, month after month. We come together to be together, to be community, to see one another and to socialize, to break bread and share news. And if that were all we sought, we needn’t drive so far - for some of us many hours each way - or bother spending hours and days and weeks preparing these things we call ceremonies, these dances with myth and with life.

Read more ...

Quite by Accident

by Eliza Riggs

Summer 2003

I tripped upon Four Quarters quite accidentally, by way of advertisement you might say. And reading the Wheel of the Year Calendar provided me with mind’s-eye images of what I might expect. A Hippie Haven in southern Pennsylvania? An Interfaith Sanctuary? A farm? A camp? A commune? I did not know, but I was very curious and whatever Four Quarters turned out to be, I believed was worth exploring. And like anything else, I knew I would have to experience Four Quarters to find its truth.

As a first-time newbie in early 2003, I fully intended to spend as much of my teacher’s summer vacation as I could at Four Quarters. And I was told by the smiling faces at registration that if I did, I would surely be a different person by the end of the season, with “The Season” referring to the Moon Services and events that begin in May with Beltaine and end in late October with Samhain. I listened closely and thought this promise might prove true, but how or to what extent I couldn’t know. I did know that I had already seen a great deal and had done a great deal in my 40 years. I had prided myself in identifying problems, figuring the best solution, and then putting the equation to work. I was skilled at overcoming obstacles, and now it appeared I was obstacle free. I had a good job, nice home, dependable transportation, good friends and many, many cats. But I could see I was lacking something. I hadn’t a clue what that something was or where to find it, or I would have already sought it out. The thing I was lacking was not obvious, although I knew it figured largely in the way I viewed the world. “Unfulfilled” may be the best way to describe the way I felt, and as a teacher I had supposedly the most fulfilling job in the world. I needed answers; answers to questions I didn’t know how to ask.

Read more ...

The Roadie Of The Goddess

by James “Reaper” Florczyk

My name is James Florczyk and I’ve been living here at Four Quarters since June of 2006. I was originally born in Wilmington, DE and spent 22 years of my life living in that city. The crime and poor environment was a major deciding factor in wanting to live in a more rural setting, so I then moved to the deep rural eastern shore of Maryland. Being surrounded by woods and nature for the first time in my life was a major learning experience for me, it taught me to interact and respect nature, since being in the middle of nowhere, nature does have a major impact on your daily life.

After living on the eastern shore for a few years I found Four Quarters and attended Drum and Splash in 2004. It was the first real trip to the mountains that I’d ever been on, and I was totally impressed with the scenery and the view. Once I arrived at Four Quarters I was left breathless by the appearance and feel of the place. Finding a place where many traditions were honored and accepted was new to me, since I was used to dealing with the closed minded “clique” mentality that is so prevalent in the normal day to day world. So I found a place where I felt at home, where no one judged me for my eclectic ways or appearance, and I was always encouraged to grow in my own way, and at my own pace. So now, here I am, living at Four Quarters, travelling a path that is true to me, and continuing to grow spiritually and emotionally with help from people who I consider to be friends, and whom I have respect for.

Read more ...

Responsibilities of Vocation

Catherine Buck

“There is no substitute for the
conviction that one has a destiny
and is fulfilling it.”
– Kailin Stonesinger

To what do we respond when we’re responsible? From where do we get our “marching orders?” How do we know what is our work to do? So many times – for example at Stones Rising – I’ve heard folks say that they don’t know what to set their hands to, because they don’t know where they’re needed or wanted. I tell them that their help is valuable in any of our many Paths of Service, but that they should do what they’re most called to do. Some of these folks look at me like I’ve got three heads, some of them jump in and do something, and some of them thank me with a contemplative look on their faces.

Read more ...

 Wiccan Ceremony As Moral and Cosmological Truth

Johnathan White

“...rites are not originally ‘allegorical’; they
  do not merely copy or represent but are
  absolutely real; they are so woven into the
  reality of action as to form an
  indispensable part of it.”
– Ernst Cassirer

Sometimes it is the most unusual or distinct attributes of Wicca that escape the notice of its adherents. I had been using the term for many years before I realized how remarkable it is that we casually refer to our rites as “rituals” or “ceremonies.” When I was a Protestant I know I never heard anyone say, “That was a really moving ritual,” upon leaving church. Without ever commenting on doing so, Wiccans routinely use terms from the detached, anthropological perspective on religion when describing “insider” religious experiences. This practice underscores the Wiccan perspective that ritual as such has inherent value, beyond the event the ceremony celebrates. For ceremony, not mythology, is the central body of Wiccan cosmological teachings, and ceremony, not the Rede, is the central text of Wiccan ethical teachings.

Read more ...

Responsibility to Self and Spirit

by Tony West / Three Blade Jaguar

    All things pass between the Four Quarters of the Earth. And any stray accident or obligation, fancy or dream can account for a person’s first visit to the Land we call Four Quarters. What will draw you back though, is always a quest for Spirit. Something you saw here, someone who touched you here, showed you a way of being alive that is larger, fuller, truer… so you came back for more.

    There is a relationship, then, between you and what you have found on this Land. Where there are relationships, there are responsibilities.

Read more ...


Santeria as a Nature Based Religion

by Patricia Althouse


   At heart Santeria is a religion grounded in Nature. For example: the river is sacred, known as a physical embodiment of the Orisha Oshun. The lightning is sacred, known as the will in motion of the Orisha Chango. The forest is sacred, known as the center of plant mystery and magic owned by the Orisha Osain. Everything in nature harbors the quintessential magic of Ashe; the life force that flows through all matter: including you, me, and brother Maple tree.

Read more ...

A Poem sent to us by an inmate in Missouri

I feel the heartbeat of the World, and I know she is with me.
I hear the songs of the wind,
and my hear soars through the heavens.
I see the vibrance in the colors of life
and the fire that is my soul comes alive.
I smell the sweet fragrance of life, abundance
and my mind finds peace.
I taste the fruits of the World
and my worries are cleansed, for I will never hunger.
And in all that is the God and Goddess, a true harmony with them is shared with the love they have given us.
In this we can find peace and serenity.

2012: What Can Native Americans Teach The World?

by Three Blade Jaguar

    There is always a chance the world – or at least its present Age – will come to a dramatic conclusion on the Winter Solstice of 2012.
    If it does, though, it is most unlikely that ancient Mayan prophets can claim credit for calling the Big Day correctly. They never much expected the end of the world as, in their long experience, each age was followed by another.
    Nonetheless, those Mesoamerican Indians built a civilization that was mathematically, technologically and spiritually brilliant. And their modern descendants can still show us a thing or two about forecasting on a personal level – the art of divination – using some of the same calendrical tools. I’ll give you a brief idea how to do that. First, though, let’s talk about the end of time – as well as its beginning.

Read more ...

Restoring a Sense of Balance

Jon Noll

    Put very simply, to me “Earth Spirituality” means viewing the world that we live in/on as sacred and recognizing that its own natural cycles and phenomena contain messages, knowledge and insight. Rather than treating this beautiful planet (that hurtles through the depths of space at speeds barely conceivable to human thought) as a one-stop shop full of natural resources solely designed for our consumption, it is to be revered instead for its longevity and the life it has provided to us. Insisting on any one label to how that Earth Spirituality is worshiped is akin to name brand versus generic medicines; they all contain the same ingredients and have the same effects. What they all have in common is belief and faith in the power and divinity of nature.

     I have stood in awe as I bore witness to the power of water flowing down a flooding river as the chunks of ice cut through a steel bridge like butter. I watched the footage of another bridge oscillating to a gentle breeze and then collapsing with amazement. I have long been astounded that human beings would choose to live on top of a fault line or in the shadow of a volcano.

Read more ...

My experience of last year's Sun Dance was one of extraordinary spiritual power. Even half a year later, I am still, as the Dance Leader and one of the lead dancers commented, incredibly impressed at everyone’s magnificent effort and the incredible vibe that came off the entire event, magnificently hosted and supported by Four Quarters.

The ten months I spent prepping and making my household insane with incessant Sun Dance songs could not match four days around the drum with an experienced Lakota lead singer. I am twice the singer I was when the dancers entered the arbor. I have to admit, the majority of my recollection of the actual dance itself is Willie Black Cat’s stick expertly rising and falling on the drum and his hands signaling a push-up or change up. After a while the voice came back, too! Washte! For a quite a while after, I was still hearing those Sacred Songs in my head all the time. I find myself singing whenever the brain stops and settles.

I’ve spoken to the Dance Leader about our experience and thinking about this year’s dance. We’ve gotten very positive feedback. Gods 'n' spirits help me, I am already committing for this year. We’ve also noted many powerful and good things coming to both dancers and the supporters from the strength of people’s prayers. Pilamaye! So once again, I am singing, praying, getting ready. Mitaquye oyasin.