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Handfastings.org Founder
Shira G. Tarantino - Artemisia Cybele
Shira, whose magical name is Artemisia Cybele, is a Witch in the Minoan Tradition (an ancient Crete tradition of the sacred Snake Goddess and Minotaur God), which is a derivative of the Gardnerian path.  With a cultural background in Judaism, she has been Pagan all her life and has been a practicing Wiccan since the mid-1990s having immersed herself in Minoan studies since 2002.  Shira studied under High Priestess Lady Chandara Anath as a member of Circle of the Crescent Moon (Initiation and Dedication), which was one of the original covens affiliated with Temple of the Evening Star [a 501 (c) 3 Wiccan organization] in New York.   

Shira is the founder of Handfastings.org, a website that links people in the Pagan and Wiccan communities with ordained officiants.  She first conceived Handfastings.org on Beltane of 2004.  It is a free service to the community and helps to connect couples and families who are interested in being handfasted (wedded) with Pagan clergy.  The website currently lists more than 70 legally ordained officiants from four countries.

Shira is delighted to announce her new position as teacher at the Woolston-Steen Theological Seminary.  She develops core and elective curriculum, currently teaching natural magick as well as preparing a class on sacred costuming to be taught in the near future. Sponsored by the established Aquarian Tabernacle Church, the Woolston-Steen Theological Seminary is one of the first accredited seminaries in the U.S. dedicated to Pagan theology and Wiccan studies and the first of its kind to offer live online classes with audio/visual teacher-student interaction.  Shira is thrilled to be a part of this new and unique venture. 

An artist and writer, Shira has worked in fundraising and development since 1994.  She is a former director of development of a number of New York-based non-profits and is now a volunteer consultant for charitable organizations.  She is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology where she studied advertising and communications along with fashion design. 

Currently affiliated with the Church of Spiritual Humanism for the purposes of ordination, Shira has created Perfect Love Handfastings and is legally registered to perform handfasting ceremonies in New York City.  In addition, she has studied Reiki and received her Level 1 attunement from Reiki Master Valerie Gaglione Schott, M.S., R.M.T., IARP of Westchester, NY. 

As a Priestess of the Goddess, Shira considers herself to be a student of life and will forever welcome newfound knowledge and fresh experiences during her existence on this good Earth as Mother Gaia sees fit.  She is in love with Wiccan ritual and helping to better all creatures of the planet through magic, meditation, love, tolerance, and understanding.  She lives in Westchester with her husband and their two cats.

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