• The high priest welcomes the scribe into the sacred circle and calls for all members “to let go of all negativity, to feel your roots reaching into the lava at the center of the earth.” (Photo by Darren Taylor)
  • Pagans gather several times a year to ward off evil with rituals observed during candle-lit ceremonies in a Johannesburg lounge. (Photo by Darren Taylor)
  • “Our roots go way back, thousands of years before all the accepted religions such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam,” says a leader of the group. (Photo by Darren Taylor)
  • The high priestess holds up a ceremonial dagger to invoke aspects of the rites of ancient elders. "Most of us in this coven come from ancient Celtic roots,” she said.
  • “We reach for the stars and call down the moon! I bow before the moon, I bow before the moon,” Pearson cries out. (Photo by Darren Taylor)
  • Pearson calls upon the Goddess of the Full Moon, Selene, who they revere for her “nurturing and mothering” nature at the end of the Esbat ceremony. (Photo by Darren Taylor)
  • Most of those assembled are merchants, accountants, teachers and doctors who gather to observe the seasonal equinoxes. (Photo by Darren Taylor)
  • Pearson lifts a ceremonial goblet of wine. “We believe very strongly in Jesus; he’s the god of little children in paganism. We also believe very strongly in Mary, because she’s a virgin goddess…” (Photo by Darren Taylor)
  • The high priest, Greg, kneels before the high priestess. They are discreet in their practices because of the popular prejudices against them. "We say live and let live, respect and love everyone,”  Pearson says. (Photo by Darren Taylor)

  • The high priestess, Shanyn Pearson, calls on the archangels for the group’s protection. “We believe in the earth, we revere the earth; the earth is our mother. Without her, we will die. We worship the Mother Goddess way above us all.” (Photo by Darren Ta

The Nature of Earthly Worship

Darren Taylor

Published May 10, 2014

A coven of Johannesburg believers gather occasionally to pay deep tribute to the earth through ancient Greek, Scandinavian and Celtic traditions.

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