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Archive for the ‘MVPN’ Category

Having worked with many wonderful Pagans in an open network/group, I’ve experienced the frustration, sometimes even disgust, with other Pagan paths/traditions.  I’ve also experienced the mental and social reconciliation that can happen when two people who believe very differently can come together, learn, and make something beautiful like a ritual or even a lasting friendship.

In MVPN down in Utica, there was always a huge lack of Heathens.  We had one come during a meet and greet (I was not lucky enough to make his acquaintance) but he never returned.  He was looking for others like him and not the Wiccans that were present.  My friend Parallax worships Heathen deities but I’m not 100% sure if she calls herself a Heathen.  She practices through an ADF context, as do other would-be Heathens who take issue with Asatru’s folkish (sometimes racist) stance.

Jason Pitzl-Waters, author of “The Wild Hunt” blog, steps up and questions the often deliberate distance placed between “us” (All of Pagandom) and “them” (the “traditional” Heathens) in his entry entitled “Asatru and the Alternative Right.”  The whole she-bang is definitely worth reading, but the best bit is the final paragraph:

In the end it comes down to this. I don’t have to like all Pagans, I certainly don’t have to practice with all Pagans, and I’m long over the notion of any sort of real “Pagan Unity” ever being feasible, but a broader idea of solidarity is important if we are to capitalize and build on the legal, political, and social gains we have made. When we trash each other to impress other groups or individuals, we don’t damage the integrity or utility of those other religions and traditions, but we do harm the vital solidarity necessary to get the things we all want. This doesn’t mean you can’t draw distinctions or even civilly criticize paths different from your own, but when folks start implying that you shouldn’t be in the larger movement, that’s counter-productive and drains enthusiasm from the activists working for the rights of all Pagans.

Jason is brave to stand up for everyone, and I applaud him for doing so.  At the same time, we need to remember that not all self-described Heathens are like that.  It’s unfortunate that many Heathens have ostracized its more liberal members – the ones who see beyond skin color and country of origin.  Thankfully they have a home in Ár nDraíocht Féin  and the larger Pagan community.  We have our differences, but we need to stand together for our rights.

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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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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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MVPN – It’s Official

Why am I, the self-titled “North Country Pagan,” so interested in what is going on with the Utica Pagan community? I still consider it my home, albeit a distant one now. I found my path in Utica and I made spiritual ties in Utica. My tribe is very much in the Mohawk Valley.

Today, the council of MVPN released an official statement about the future of MVPN*.

Although I am supportive and understanding of this move, change is sometimes hard to swallow. Perhaps it is that, despite my growing fondness of and involvement in ADF, I still feel isolated in Northern NY. As far as I know, I’m the only ADF druid up here. I’ve heard of some people calling themselves druids, but from what I can tell they are really Wiccan. No CRs, no ADFers, no Keltrians… Not even any OBODies as far as I can tell. That’s what I would want, I guess – Druids attached to a tradition I understand, one that is even a little CR in nature. So, back to my original point, perhaps I am simply wishing that I could have a more path-specific group closer to my new home. I am happy for my Wiccan friends, but also a little envious.

Right now, the plan seems to be for my husband and I to stay put for a couple years. If everything continues to go well where I work, we will possibly move closer to Watertown. This would mean more of a commute to my job, but we would be closer to everything else – my husband’s job, shopping centers, a big library, a theater, etc… And ultimately closer to Syracuse, home of Muin Mound, the grove I attend. Where I currently live adds an additional 30ish minutes of driving to and from Syracuse. Oh, how I wish the government would hurry up and build high-speed public trains…

To my Wiccan friends in the Mohawk Valley – I wish you the best of luck and the most sincere wish that this new group you are forming is spiritually satisfying to you. I also hope that I am welcome to join you from time to time in the spirit of friendship and a mutual wish to celebrate the turning of the wheel with you. Although we walk different Pagan paths, you are still my brothers and sisters. Kindreds bless you all.

*For my friends on Live Journal: http://mvpn.yuku.com/topic/263

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I took advantage of the long weekend and visited my family. I was able to attend a performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Utica College. (It was fantastic, by the way!) My dear friend Katrina and former mistress of ceremonies for MVPN was there and we were able to catch up before the show. I say “former mistress of ceremonies” because my last post about MVPN has been confirmed. They had their last council meeting and decided to dissolve. MVPN will remain as an online forum and networking site but nothing more, at least for the time being. The mostly Wiccan members will organize sabbats and esbats somewhat privately, meaning that they will meet with sincerely interested parties and eventually invite them, but the group won’t focus on advertising. It also means that friends are welcome to the rituals should they want to attend.

Interestingly, I was asked to become a moderator on the forums as they mean a lot to me. They are how I maintain contact with my Pagan friends in the Mohawk Valley. I’m not sure when the switch will take place…

I also saw the former Elder of MVPN, Bruce, when getting breakfast at a donut shop. It was nice to see him as he is often silent on MVPN’s boards. He is organizing a ritual to acknowledge the closure of MVPN in its original state.

C’est la vie, I guess.

There is a CUUPs meeting in Watertown next week, I believe. I’m thinking about going. I looked through Witch Vox’s directory of local Pagans. I already knew that are some Pagans on Fort Drum, but there are supposedly Pagans in Evans Mills, Gouverneur, Antwerp, and Philadelphia. I’m not about to message these people and ask to meet up. That would make me feel uncomfortable. I would feel safer going to an established and open Pagan meeting.

We’ll see what happens I guess!

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MVPN – Dying?

My friend Katrina, the acting mistress of ceremonies for MVPN, replied to an email the other day and updated me on the situation with the Mohawk Valley Pagan Network. Apparently, with myself and another ADFer moved out of the Utica area, the other members, who are all some form of Neo-Wiccan, want to focus more on that path. They want to conduct more private Sabbats and Esbats rather than reach out to the community (I guess). Katrina says the forums will remain to maintain communication with Pagans of other paths and other places in NY (like myself). She has yet to reply to my email requesting a confirmation of these points, but I’m assuming that means MVPN, for all practical purposes, is going to be an online networking site.

There are positives and negatives to this. On the one hand, I can completely understand why everyone left in Utica would want to focus more on their own path. While us ADFers were there, MVPN did its best to cater to our wants and needs. My friend and I pushed for more diversity because not everyone is Wiccan and if that’s the first impression non-Wiccans get, they will usually run away without giving the group a chance. With us gone, it’s only natural for the Neo-Wiccans to study what they feel most called to. If nobody else in the community is looking for Druidism or Heathenism (etc) then why go out of their way? In addition, I wouldn’t feel it appropriate for a non-Druid, for example, to have a Druid ritual just to be diverse. That would be somewhat offensive, in my opinion.

At the same time, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if a Druid showed up in Utica. I know the group wouldn’t turn him or her away, but I get the feeling that the hypothetical “other” would lose interest. When I was in Utica, I seriously thought about starting a protogrove. I asked Robert Lewis, a fellow ADFer and then representative of the North Eastern groves, for a reading. The omens indicated that I had too much going on and that I should wait. Boy am I glad I listened – I got a new job and had to move, after all! That would have really complicated things… Then my friend moved to Albany. I would have been by myself, really… At the same time I wonder if I’ll ever go back to Utica and whether or not I’ll set up a grove there or anywhere else. I definitely feel the calling but it’s not the right time. I feel like I need more experience, to begin with.

But I digress.

So, yes. The core group of MVPN seem to be moving away from MVPN and more towards a private/semi-open circle of sorts. Until the council meets to discuss what this officially means, all I can do is conjecture. In the meantime, the forums, which are supposedly going to be left for networking, are all but dead. Every once and awhile, a new person pops up but then goes quiet. It’s usually just Katrina and myself having discussions. My other ADF friend will occasionally chime in. Otherwise the forums have been used for nothing more than RSVPing for events. I fear that, should “other” Pagans enter the Mohawk Valley, and if they find MVPN, they will think it’s dead and give up. I don’t understand why nobody else joins in on the conversations. Even simple ones like “What are your Yule traditions?” I can see that people looked – but why didn’t they respond? Have they really just given up on networking? On the community? I’m two hours away and I haven’t given up. Should I?

I guess I’ll have to see what the council says.

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“Moving Meditation” has been something I’ve heard more and more about this past year. I’ve read various articles about it and the luck some have with it over more traditional/stereotypical forms – still meditations, if you will. Sitting quietly and letting my mind alternate between quieting and exploring have always worked well for me except for when I’m wound up, tired, or angry. The first time I really tried a walking meditation was at the Mohawk Valley Pagan Network’s “Workshop Day” in the summer of ’09. The welcoming and patient Seraphoenix lead a workshop on labyrinths. It included some basic history and lore, construction ideas, modern uses, and a walkthrough. Although I never reached any depth of being or had any visions, I was able to still my mind very easily. I was too focused on my feet and where I was going to think of anything else. I was feeling congested that day and was amazed at my sudden ability to “clear my mind” without having to focus on my breath – a truly annoying task when one has a cold.

The next time I tried a labyrinth was at the CNY Pagan Pride Day in Liverpool, NY. They set up a simple labyrinth using small posts placed in the grass. One could walk it at any time of the day which was very convenient. I really enjoyed it and hope to see it at a future PPD.

Today I was listening to music and suddenly found myself engaging in what I’ve realized to be my favorite form of moving meditation – dancing. Only I’ve never danced this way before. Usually my dance moves are inspired by pop music, tribal fusion, and belly dance. Oh and I’ve got a little Beatles head wobble and Cotton Eye Joe too. 😛 But tonight… I just… I let go completely and just … threw my body around? I suppose that makes it sound violent which it wasn’t. I was just literally dancing like nobody was watching and throwing myself into a very tribal sounding piece by a favorite band of mine called Faun. The song was Lynansa and it has a pulsing, chanting energy that made my body want to jerk forward and backwards while simultaneously swaying from right to left. The repetitive motion very nearly took me somewhere else – until I realized what was happening. I HATE that! It happens so often to me lately! Whenever I’m just about to break into a deep trance or, perhaps, astrally project, my body snaps out of it. It’s frustrating… However I must be optimistic and admit a minor victory in that I think I truly felt what it meant to trance dance.

It was also an amazing workout…

In other news, I rather liked this top-5 list of best environmental films! Enjoy!

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