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Archive for the ‘community’ Category

 

 

I love working in my kitchen.  When I’m there, I feel close to Brighid, my patroness and guardian of the hearth.  Over the years, I’ve turned into a real foodie.  I love making my own food.  If I can grow it, that’s even better!  The kitchen is a great place to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.  Although we’re not perfect, Weretoad and I have been making considerable efforts!

I was really, really pleased to get a food dehydrator as a holiday gift from my parents.  Drying is one of the oldest forms of food preservation.  I’ve been doing a bit myself the old fashioned way – mostly with herbs and chili peppers from my garden.  This new dehydrator will allow me to dry larger quantities of food quickly and using very little energy.  Last night we dried two bunches of mini bananas that were on their way out and dirt cheap at the grocery store.  Sure they’re not local.  They weren’t organic either.  But using old bananas that would have been thrown out anyway is very sustainable!  They are so delicious too.  They aren’t like the typical banana chips bought in stores, which are usually fried before drying.  These are chewy like a gummy candy!

 

 

 

As I write this, I’m making tonight’s dinner – stew and dumplings thanks to my father’s dumpling recipe.  A few years ago, I was more likely to make some sort of vegetarian hamburger helper type meal – something from a package.  To a busy gal more focused on literature than food, they seemed healthy.  As I’ve grown, I’ve become more interested in what is on my plate.  Where did it come from?  What’s in it?  Is it really good for me?  Again, we’re not perfect, but we’ve made huge strides in making a majority of our meals from scratch or from local/organic products.  Making food in the traditional way, I feel, brings me closer to the Kindreds.  Working in the kitchen, as I said, strengthens my relationship to Brighid of the hearth.  Using better ingredients brings me closer to the Nature Spirits.  Preparing meals from scratch rather than from a box and becoming more and more familiar with traditional methods brings me closer to my ancestors.

We don’t feel that we’re perfect (we have lazy moments) and our journey towards better sustainability continues.  It is a very Druidic journey, in my opinion.  Witches and Druids who strive for a closeness with the Earth should take such a journey.  Some of you may disagree with me, but it’s something I believe very strongly.

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Study Programs


My progress is slow.  I’m waiting for my books on magic in Northern Europe to arrive.  I cannot wait to attack them!  As far as the art SP is concerned,  I have to combine my working outlines into one document.  I was going to do laundry today but I think I’ll do that instead!  Last night I finished my book about Brighid and, oh my goodness, I learned so much.  A full review will come soon.  I promise.

Where were you when I needed you?!


The “former” MVPN forums* have a new member – a person who just moved from the “North Country” (not sure from where, exactly) to Utica.  Not only that, but she and her husband have recently become interested in Druidism!  When I was in Utica trying to start a protogrove, where were the other Druids?  Now I’m up here, and they move to Utica.  Bugger all!

Unfortunately for them, although the MVPN forums are still an open, networking space, the group no longer exists as it was.  The Wiccans are having more intimate gatherings at their homes and have every intent to focus more on their liturgy for the sake of personal development.  I hope the new Druid sees my reply in which I encourage her to check out ADF and Muin Mound in particular.  I hope to see her there!  

Sad News


I discovered a couple nights ago that my “oath ring” was not on my finger. That’s right, the ring that belonged to my mother.  The one I used to replace to broken ring.  I’m officially bummed.  That ring was important on so many levels.  I’ve looked everywhere…  I know it’s not tragic and that there are people with way worse problems, but I’m allowed to feel sad about it.

On the plus side, I felt driven to sit down and *really* meditate before bed.  I was having a difficult time getting into it for a little while.  As soon as I entered my “mental nemeton,” I found my fox spirit waiting for me.  I’ve been seeing and hearing about foxes everywhere recently so I wasn’t surprised to see her there.  She lead me through the forest and over a hill to a lake where she told me to bathe.  I washed and somehow felt better but also felt the desire to cleanse myself in a physical lake.  I also felt an overwhelming validation that the ring was not my spirituality – it was merely a symbol of it.

Hmmm…  I should do a reading.  I definitely feel that there are lessons to be learned from this, but I would like to hear what the Kindreds have to say about it.



* I say “former” because, although we have decided to change the name, the boards are still called The Mohawk Valley Pagan Network.  I’m really pushing for a name change and for the group to become a networking site for all of Upstate NY.  For more on this, please see my post “On the Vital Importance of Pagan Community.”

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Jason Pitzl-Waters from Wild Hunt posted a fascinating and alarming blog entry today about an evangelical  Christian group called Repent Amarillo and their bullying tactics against anything they perceive to be immoral, including Paganism. *  This is very frightening to someone living in a predominantly rural setting with, in my opinion, limited safe havens for liberals.  I’m surrounded by Christian churches.  Right now, they seem more welcoming and peaceful than anything else, but there’s always that fear of what they would do if they knew about my beliefs.  What could I do to protect myself?

Jason writes:

That doesn’t mean we need to out-militant them, but it does mean that Pagan communities, especially small and vulnerable Pagan communities, need to prepare for the coming storm. They need to come out of the “broom closet” now to their employers and family before they are outed by these “soldiers”, they need to be prepared when the faux-military trucks and loud-speakers roll up to their events, they need to know the law and how to use it, and they need to be ready to network with the larger Pagan community and other sympathetic minority faiths so we can get the word out, show solidarity, give aid, and withstand these bully tactics. They may have come for the swingers first, but if we show no shame, and stand up, it can end with the Pagans.

At the moment, I stand with one foot in and out of the “broom closet.”  I’m very open with close friends and family.  I was very open in college and where I used to work.  In my current field I’m extremely reluctant to confide this side of me in anyone.  I’m lucky enough not to be the only vegetarian at work, but I don’t want to tempt alienation anymore after such a short time there.   (For the record, my diet has not alienated me, but it was something I kept to myself until I learned of the other.)  I suppose, if I were faced by the “coming storm,” I would have to first research and make certain my boss and HR people weren’t involved with any such militant organization.  Then I would probably request a small meeting with my boss, HR, and even mentor to let them know what I am and that I want to be up front and protected.  I would hope that my actions now would speak volumes about who I am and that an added label wouldn’t damage my reputation.

In the meantime, I’m not going to go into a panic about it.  Everyone I’ve met is, for the most part, a wonderful, welcoming, helpful person.  Barely anyone has even attempted to discuss religion with me, and when they do it’s fleeting – what kind of wedding they plan, etc.  At the moment, I’m not worried.

That said, I do wholeheartedly agree with Jason about networking.  The Pagan community is fractured and it is such a weakness in these instances.  We’ve been able to put aside differences and work together to get pentacle headstones and throw lovely Pagan Pride Days…  But thats only the start.  It’s what I’m hoping to get going in NY State with the transitioning MVPN.  I would love to see the forum become more of a networking site for Pagans all over upstate NY.  We need to come together as a community instead of wallowing in our perceived isolation.  We need to have bonds so that, if we ever get negative press, we have solidarity.  We need to know who in our community are lawyers, cops, and politicians.  We need to know who we can turn to and what their reputation is from the get-go.  We need physical meet ups to feel comfortable.

So those are just some thoughts.  As always, thanks again to Jason for a thought-provoking and informative article.

*http://wildhunt.org/blog/2010/03/first-they-came-for-the-swingers.html

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When I moved up here, I immediately began searching the vast internet for signs of Pagan life in Northern NY. I came across the Yahoo group, NNY_Pagans. (I think that was its title…) The mailing list was pretty much dead. The occasional email about a psychic fair or event in Syracuse would show up. I got an email about the death of an Upstate Pagan elder. Otherwise? Zip. And then, this past month, I noticed an influx of adult-themed threads. Disheartened, I finally unsubscribed. I’ll have to resume my search for a community of Northern NY Pagans. I’m surprised not to find something more prominent, really. There *are* Pagans up here. Witchvox attests to the existence of at least a few scattered solitaries. I know there are a couple groups at least – one at the UU Church and another of dubious reputation (according to a couple folks). At one point (I’m not sure if it’s still in existence) there was a Heathen group. Not to mention the Pagans in Fort Drum. I know they are there, too! There are meeting minutes online describing a group of Pagans wanting a ritual space and/or time. Perhaps it’s the migratory nature of the military keeping them from looking to the outside community? On the other hand, if I were in their shoes, I would seek something out even if it was only going to be for a year or two.

In other news, I found a perfectly functional television stand in the garbage near my apartment today. I’m assuming the family bought a larger TV for the Super Bowl and needed a different stand (or something). Still, why throw it out? Why not donate it? Or find another use for it? The ignorance and laziness of people really frustrates me. Luckily I’m all for garbage picking and I now have a new piece of furniture! We don’t need another TV stand but we could use more storage for books and such. Maybe we could put the printer on it… It’s currently sitting (rather unattractively, I might add) on the floor.

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1) Carrionmann got back to me about being a mentor for people working on their Dedicant Programs. I was informed that my DP was excellent and that I definitely qualify! Huzzah! I’m really excited about helping people and giving back to the religious community I love so dearly. I just need to complete the questionnaire.

2) Oak Leaves and Tribeways work – I have an article to edit for someone else and an article that I am writing to contribute. I was thrilled to contribute to the Solstice Tribeways podcast and I definitely want to think of something to contribute for that. Again – I am so excited to get more involved.

3) The artisan guild is working on making a gallery of member work. I need to get some photos of things in! On a related note, I want to start planning an entry for the guild competition at Wellspring!

4) I want to do another trance soon, if not tonight. I feel better and am ready to meet my teacher once more.

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My husband and I went to Muin Mound last night to celebrate Imbolc with the grove. The ritual was held outside in negative three degrees weather! Now I feel like a hardcore Pagan! Last year we did a lot of rituals inside because of the snow/cold and then a surplus of water and mosquitos in the nemeton. A lot of people were feeling disconnected so we vowed to go outside for ritual more. Thank the Gods it wasn’t windy. My poor toes, even in my new cozy boots, were so red by the time we got inside. The ritual was definitely faster than usual, but it was somehow powerful and meaningful at the same time. Huddling close to the fire, I felt a more intense gratefulness for Brighid and her fire. I also felt the blessing of community, which was interesting because the omens reflected this.

Before and after the rite, actually, I felt better bonded with my grovies. We made Brighid crosses and chatted before the ritual. I’ll have to take and post photos later. (My husband made a triforce from the Legend of Zelda Games out of wheat.) After the ritual was the potluck and more socializing. Phoenix showed me her new art studio and we talked for some time about arts and crafts. Skip and I talked about training programs. He’s happy that I’m becoming more active on the forums and chats. He also showed me a photo of he and the other previous Arch Druids naked (backside only) and covered in body paint. LOL! Jen, Candy, Skip, and I talked excitedly about Wellspring this year. Jen seems quite excited that we’ll be there and in the Muin Mound camp this year. I am stoked.

Community is important to me. That’s part of why ADF speaks to me so. It’s about family and coming together to learn and worship. Muin Mound is starting to feel like a spiritual family to me. They are so welcoming and inclusive of both myself and my husband. Such reassurance couldn’t have come at a better time now that MVPN has gone through such a change.

Today the snow falls thick and fast. Another winter day in the North Country. I am grateful to my own resourcefulness and Brighid’s protection for the shelter and warmth I have. I pray that my husband makes it home from work safe. I think our grocery shopping and laundry chores will have to be put on hold today,,,

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