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Goddess Festival 2013
  The 2013 FOI Chicago Goddess Festival was "The Rite Of Rebirth". This was performed in honor of our late Archpriestess Hierophant Deena Celeste Hartray Butta, who passed away on Jan. 27, 2013 from Creutzfeld-Jakobs Disease. It was eight weeks from diagnosis to the end. It was a deeply emotional time for those of us who loved her. Most of the Chicago FOI spent time in their home with Deena and her husband Raymond Butta, also a Hierophant and Archpriest, as well as their sons and family. We also honored FOI Archpriestess Laura Janesdaughter at this ceremony. Laura passed away on May 27, 2013. Laura "facilitated the Nephthys Work: Say My Name That I May Live in 2001 after 9/11. She is widely credited with bringing Isis worship to Los Angeles." - See more at: http://wildhunt.org/2013/05/laura-janesdaughter-1941-2013.html#sthash.tMmqDRlp.dpuf The rite was put together in only two months time, a great change from our normal 6 months planning and rehearsals. Raymond chose to withdraw from group activities at this time to have time to heal and recover from his devastating loss. Demetria Nanos's husband Kenneth Jones suffered from a stroke two days after Deena's funeral, adding to the stress of the group in Chicago. Ken's strong and rapid recovery made it feasible for us to draw ourselves together in the summer and make the festival happen with no funds in reserve and little time to book a space. It was held in a new venue for the Chicago FOI, at the Mankind Project Lodge building in the heart of Chicago, within the old city limits from before the Chicago Fire of 1871. This was once the industrial heart of the city, and now is home to artist lofts, new business start-ups, and the like. This is a part of the city that is undergoing a renaissance of sorts, as the large buildings that once housed factories and warehouse Are re-purposed for other uses, keeping the city revitalized. The goals of the Mankind Project are in keeping with philosophies of healing, repair, renewal, rebirth, responsibility, cooperation, virtue and honor. It was a fitting site for the festival. "The Rite of Rebirth" had been performed at the 1997 Goddess Festival. It was the rite we were initially going to do for her in 2013 around Samhain, so we decided it was best to honor Deena with the chance for others from around the country to attend if they were able; many did attend. More details about the festival coming soon ...

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