Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Interview with BRITTANY SHERWOOD LOKA (Vampire Court of Northern Wisconsin) by Dave Wolff

Interview with BRITTANY SHERWOOD LOKA (Vampire Court of Northern Wisconsin)

Tell the readers about your interest in witchcraft and/or the occult, and your spiritual paths. What inspired you to join Temple House Sahjaza and what are you learning through them?
My interest in the occult started in high school. I started reading a book I got from Goodwill about a girl who found out her mother was Wiccan. I ended up looking more into it and found out one of my best friend's families were Wiccan. Since than her mother who I also now call Mom has taught me a little of everything from tea leaf reading, to rituals to do with my son, and not just Wiccan but many different pagan religions. I joined Sahjaza to gain even more knowledge.

How did you and Goddess Rosemary meet? Have you been involved in any activities related to Temple House Sahjaza?
I met Goddess Rosemary a year and a half ago through King Maven when I first started my court. Rosemary has helped me to grow my court and help my community more. I joined Sahjaza in October and worked with them on the Semicolon Project to help spread suicide awareness. I also have been taking classes at Sahjaza's Academy Of Grey Mystics.

How much did Goddess Rosemary help build your court, the Vampire Court of Northern Wisconsin? What made you want to join Sahjaza?
When I started the Court I did not realize how big the VC really was and I was not sure who to ask questions to. Then I heard Rosemary teach a class and I knew she was who I was looking for. She has been a great support to our court and has helped us to grow not only with advice but also by introducing me to others in the VC, and putting her faith in us to Host the Family Reunion this year. She helped to strengthen my court by introducing me to Batty Goth and giving us our link to Michigan and helping the family their and also by trusting me to watch over a second court in Wisconsin to help make the distance between members smaller and the courts more intimate. Members of each court can go to either courts meeting and we will host event together. The Black Moon Court is its name and my Regnant Dameyian Sahjaza will run it.
I thought about joining Sahjaza for about six months before I did it. I had a pull to them right away but I was worried it was too good to be true but in the end the family environment, the chance to not only learn but also to teach what I do know are what sealed the deal for me and I could not be any happier in my decision. Even writing that sentence a feeling of love and relaxation sweeps over me and from someone who suffers from PTSD and Anxiety that is something that does not happen to often

What was the book you acquired from Goodwill about this girl discovering her mother was a Wiccan? In what ways did this discovery affect her, and how did her story speak to you?
The book was called “Book of Shadows”. It is the first book in the Sweeps series by Cate Tiernan. In the book the discovery changed her whole life because she found out after she started having weird magical things happen to her and around her. It was something she had no choice to learn about, and she is very powerful, so many people wanted to take advantage of it. It is a fiction book so it has a lot of fantasy magic in it but it also had some truths about Wicca in it, like how it was once seen as good. Healers would use it to save people and help people. Then it turned into a bad thing so they had to work in the shadows. The story more than spoke to me. I grew up in a Christian community and my grandparents are strong Catholics so no one speaks of stuff like witchcraft without saying how bad it is. When I read how it works with the earth and it can be good and help people I was drawn to it. I got so sucked in I got the rest of the book from the library and finished the series in a week. It opened up my world to new and loving emotions and a belonging that I did not know before.

How did your community and your grandparents feel about your discovering Wicca through Tieman’s “Book of Shadows”?
My Grandparents always supported me threw anything I did even if they did not agree. They never treated me different. We kind of don't talk about it to respect each other. My community was not as supportive. I was the face to pick on in school but after school I kept to myself and the people that I trust to know who and what I am have all accepted me. They ask questions but don't judge, but I am very picky who I share the real me with.

You and Goddess Rosemary of Temple House Sahjaza are collaborating on planning events. Which event was your first?
The first event Goddess Rosemary and I did together was an online campaign called Sweetbloodvamp to support type 1 diabetes awareness. The name came from a book I read as a teen called Sweetblood by Pete Hautman. It's about a girl with type 1 diabetes who had a theory that all the original vampire stories were from what happened to diabetics before the world knew what diabetes was. Diabetes hits home for me because my husband and son both have type 1 diabetes and Goddess Rosemary has a family member with diabetes. Last November we spread information about type 1 diabetes on Facebook and Instagram, and shared our stories about how diabetes affected our lives. We had wonderful helpers in my court Enchanted Haven, Batty Goth Sahjaza and her great art skills and all of Sahjaza. Pete Hautman sent us some signed books and bookmarks that have been given to children I know with type 1 diabetes. A few were kept to add to the raffles for our next event.

How much artwork did Batty Goth Sahjaza contribute to your efforts to spread awareness about diabetes?
Batty Goth was a huge part in the Sweetbloodvamp campaign. She did all our banners and helped to spread everyone's stories. Batty is my right hand in everything the Court does and is my biggest support. I owe a lot between our campaigns and how far the court has come to her and her hard work.

How actively has Batty supported the VC and what else has she done to boost your activities?
Batty has had her hands in the VC for a long time. Her experience and knowledge has led to her being a great help with both my court and she has lent advice to others also. She helped to find members in Michigan, done all out art work, helped to make out court symbol and also make it into a 3D blue print ( with help by another great member Agdistis Noctem Aeternus). She also runs the Michigan United page and helps run all our social media pages. She helps plan all events we do and has great ideas. She does all this well taking care of the In-laws, working and going to school. I have no clue what I would do without her.

How many copies of Sweetblood did you receive from Pete Hautman for distribution? Are you still keeping in touch with him since he passed them along to you?
We got a copy of Sweetblood and a copy of another book. When I contacted him I was planning a party of Type 1 diabetic kids and the books were going to be gifts to some of the older kids. Due to weather and a few other problems the event was unable to happen. So I plan to use the items we got now as a way to educate more people by giving them as door prizes at our event. This way we can show people who don't know and understand about diabetes can learn through the eyes of a little girl and how kids struggle everyday with it. I have not written to Pete in a bit but I plan to share every good achievement we have with the campaign with him. So he knows the impact his great book has had on the world even if it is small.

Did you read Sweetblood in printed form, or was it published online as a download? How much of an impact has it made since its publication? Would you recommend it to people who are interested in learning more about diabetes?
I read Sweetblood in printed form. I still have the book to this day. I am not sure of the impact it made on others but it made a huge impact on me. My Grandpa also had diabetes and it helped me to understand what was going on with him more. Also when I met my husband in high school I also helped me to be calm and collected when it came to his health. I would recommend Sweetblood to any child with type 1 diabetes. She goes through many emotional changes that all kids with diabetes go through. It can help them to feel more normal and not think of themselves as different and strange. The author emptied his own feeling about his childhood with diabetes into the pages and you can feel that. It gives people who know nothing about the book a glimpse, but there is a lot more it does not show. We share awareness and stories to get everything in the open.

Where on the net can people purchase Sweetblood? How much of a response has it received so far? Did you raise as much awareness about diabetes as you hoped you would?
You can order Sweetblood and other books by Pete Hautman on Amazon. Sweetbloodvamp received a small response in the first year but we had a good number of Type 1 diabetics share their stories and thank us for our work to spread awareness. I did not know what to expect for our first online campaign but just knowing we helped a few people to share their stories it was a good turnout in my heart and mind.

Who started the Semicolon Project for suicide awareness, and what has the extent of your work been with them since the beginning? How have you gone about spreading word about this project and who have you reached so far?
The Semicolon Project was started by the Austin Vampire Court and the Court Of Live Oak. The history of Semicolon For Suicide started before that, but they turned it into a community project over the past few years. Most the efforts belong to those courts and the Sahjaza family. I and my court have been involved by sharing our stories of our pain of our past and the stories of others. The Project of the past two years has grown little by little and more of the Vampire Court has been involved but it is my hope that we can spread the word outside the Vampire Court and help others to learn to love themselves and get help to push past the pain and live the life they are meant to live and live happy.

What classes have you taken up with Sahjaza's Academy Of Grey Mystics? How helpful have those classes been helping shape your path to greater knowledge?
I have taken classes on Herbology, protection and shadow work, and there are many more classes I hope to take. The classes have helped a lot. I have epilepsy and it affects my memory, so the classes help to reestablish what I already know and helps me to gain new knowledge. It not only shapes my path but helps to reinforce it. I gain knowledge to not only better myself and my beliefs (kind of like others going to church) but to help others most of all my court. The more I know the better I can protect and teach those under me so that they can grow into the strong spiritual individuals they hope to be.

What classes on herbology, protection and shadow work does the Academy Of Grey Mystics offer? How much have you leaned with those classes and what are the other classes you are considering?
With herbology the first class is on the basics so that people know the risks of using herbs and also shows what good things they can do. Protection you learn how to shield yourself, also how to ground and center yourself so you can keep your shields up. I just started shadow work but so far I have learned how to listen to my dreams and inner thoughts ext. to open myself up to the things I hide deep down to better know myself. Protection I took as a refresher but I learned new tips. Herbology I learned a lot about different herbs that I did not know like some plants the flowers can be poisonous but the roots can be heeling. I hope to learn a lot more in Herbology 2. I am looking to finish all the classes the Academy offers but next I think I might do Astral Projection, and charms, talismans, and amulets.

What is the latest event you are planning with Goddess Rosemary? When and where will this event be taking place?
The newest event we are still working on is happening in July. It is a Gothic Renfair being held in Tomahawk, Wisconsin at a castle on an island. We have been planning since November and work every day to make it more amazing. We will have vendors, guest speakers, and archery demonstration, a dark moon ritual, and even dinner at the castle. Many hours have gone into the event and we have had wonderful items donated for our raffle. We will also have a table set up for all the Sahjaza authors to showcase their work. We are always looking for new vendors and everyone is welcome to join.

Is this year’s Gothic Renfair your first, or is it a yearly event? If the event succeeds, will you host another one?
This is our first year for Gothic Renfair, but we hope to keep it going every year and bring more people and vendors from all around the USA.

How did you go about seeking guests to appear at the fair? How much of a response was your advertising met with?
We have banners and photos we are sharing threw social media. I also have gone to local new age shops and handed out flyers along with other members of my court and a few of our guests have come to us through word of mouth. We are getting a good amount of chatter of people wanting to join us either as a guest of vendor but I think next year we will choose another weekend because I found out we booked for the same weekend as a lager festival in the area. I hope that we can still have a good amount of people come and grow every year.

Name the guests who will be appearing at this year’s Gothic Renfair, how far they will travel to be there, and what their talents are.
We have a lot of great guests this year. Goddess Rosemary will be their of course all away from Minnesota Reverend HEOP Lieth is coming from Alabama will be doing a Dark Moon Ritual for us and also the dinner blessing Friday night. King Valic Lore Sahjaza and Queen Krista Pope also from Alabama will be renewing their vows. Grand Duchess Jane and Grand Duke Timothy Gothington Sahjaza and high Elder Ordained Priestess Victoria Elder Stephany will be coming from Ohio and also hosting our Sunday brunch. These are just a few of our guests. We will also have books by Sahjaza authors on display and a few of the Authors will be there to chat with people like Goddess Rosemary and her newest book the Sahjaza Book of Shadows.

Who should people get in contact with if they’re interested in appearing at Gothic Renfair?
You can contact me about Gothic Renfair at either vampirecourtofnorthernwisconsin@hotmail.com or go to our website at http://www.mothercrowjar.wixsite.com/sahjazafamilyreunion. On the bottom of the home page is a place to contact us.

Do you know the name of the castle where the Gothic Renfair festival is taking place this July? What historical significance is associated with it? Did its significance have any bearing on you choosing it as an event location?
The name is Kelley's Castle. It was built by a great guy named Peter Kelley. He is still building it but he opens it to the public every year during the Tomahawk Fall Ride, a big bike rally that happens in Tomahawk every year. He has knights, kings, dancers, etc. It is a lot of fun the whole family. I choose the location because of it being hidden in the forest. Also because I knew my family loved the place so much that others would too. We are the first group to be allowed to rent the island but Peter hopes to make it a venue for weddings and other events once it is finished.

How long has it taken Kelley to build Kelley’s Castle? Is he drawing from any cultures to furnish the place? How soon does he expect it to be completed?
Peter Kelley started to clear the land and add septic in 1987 and started to build the castle five years later. I believe his inspiration is more Celtic but I am not sure. Here is an article about the castle: http://www.house-crazy.com/kelley-castle and here is their website page https://www.facebook.com/kelley.castle.3. I am not sure what the final product is going to be or how long it will take but I am excited to see how it turns out.

Are there online resources where people can read about the Tomahawk Fall Ride? What information can people find there?
You can read more about the Tomahawk Fall Ride at a number of websites. Here are a few links to some information and history.
You will find that the ride benefits the MDA; the first ride was of only a few riders who just wanted to brave the cold north woods to see the fall colors. It grew in popularity over the years on its own, but grew even bigger when Harley Davidson and their two plants in town got involved. It went from a Motorcycle ride to a four-day party event but still holds the same ride that was used in the beginning. Once it hits town people line up to view what is now called the thunder parade to see all the bikes and riders. You would think a motorcycle rally is just a big party and only for adults, but it can also be a family event to walk the main street of the town, look at all the motorcycles, and get good food and merchandise. We go with our son every year. Once the sun goes down you can go to Bubba's big party or stay downtown and listen to bands on both ends of Main Street.

Where does the Tomahawk motorcycle ride go, and how many stops does it make on its route?
The fall ride is an eighteen mile ride that starts in Tomahawk. Then it goes down Kings Road through the township of King, to the Harrison area, and back to main Street Tomahawk for the thunder Parade. There are no stops but it is a great scenic drive.

Are there other events you all are planning for the rest of 2019 and beyond? If so, do you want to briefly mention any of them?
As of now we are just looking to make the two campaigns and the Gothic renfair early events. Putting all we have into them till we get our messages out and make the renfair the best place to get back to nature.

What do you most want Temple House Sahajza and the other groups you are involved in to be remembered for?
I want Temple House Sahjaza and my court and all the others I work with to be known for their willingness to teach what most won't and our ability to make a difference in the world with our teachings and our charity works. The best thing to give the world is everything you don't have to make sure someone else can make the world at peace.

-Dave Wolff

2 comments:

  1. This was an informative and great article.
    Thank you sister for the Court shout out and representing the Sahjaza Family in such a graceful way!!!

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  2. Great interview! Very informable. So proud.

    ReplyDelete