Posts Tagged ‘Watertown’

Rivers Protogrove gathered at Thompson Park in Watertown, NY for a workshop on gems presented by our own Tara.  It was incredibly informative!  She struck a really pleasing balance between the science of gems and the magical properties.  Tara has an extensive rock collection that she allowed us to explore.  For an experiment, she asked us to look at the stones and select one or two that really called to us.  The one I felt most pulled to was what I can only describe as a solid white glob.  Something about its soft curves was comforting. Tara chuckled when I picked it out and said she wasn’t surprised.  She instructed us to research our stones in one of the number of resources she brought to share. Turns out it’s called menolite and is associated with femininity, the role of the priestess, and lactation!  We also learned about the local geology, how to select stones for healing work, not to eat malachite, and how to cleanse our crystals.  A big gold star to Tara for reminding everyone that not all gems come from ethical mines and so we should be selective of where we make our purchases!

We then had a study group for anyone working on the DP and above.  We shared our challenges and accomplishments, gave some feedback, and came up with goals.  I’m excited for a future study group meeting.  I’m just wowed by how much hard work everyone is doing!

Watertown_VortexAfter our workshop and meeting, some of us took a short walk to the new sign marking the general area of a supposed vortex/portal.  You can read more about it here.  Interestingly, it’s in the same side of the park where some friends and I felt some Otherworldly energy before, but we never witnessed any disappearing acts or got lost.  After reading the latest stories about Watertown’s connection to Area 51, I get why the city is celebrating that little bit of history… but connecting the vortex to aliens feels kitschy.  That said, it’s all in good fun and if it encourages people to get out and explore Watertown’s beautiful park, why not?  As we had our meeting, we saw several people walk or drive by to take a look at the sign.  Perhaps open-minded and curious visitors to the 1000 Islands region will detour to Watertown to see it for themselves.

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If you’ve been reading my blog for the past year, you know I’ve been working towards building an ADF Druidic community here in the North Country.  It started in June with a “coffee hour,” and progressed into a few study group meetings – the first in Watertown and the second in Carthage.  Our Facebook group has grown and, while discussion comes and goes, the interest remains.  We’ve even attracted someone right across the border in Canada!

Our next gathering is coming up this weekend and it is going to be a bit more than a study group meeting – I’m actually planning a ritual to frame the opening and closing of our time together.  The purpose is to celebrate the new season and honor the Nature Spirits for their bounty.  Since the group has been discussing Nature Spirits, it seemed right to make them the focus of this ritual.  We’ll also discuss our next planned ritual, Samhain.

Last weekend, I met with two of the study group members.  They have both been very involved since the very first meeting – I felt they were ready to help me organize something bigger.  The Autumn Equinox rite coming up is going to be very casual so as to “blend in” at the public park we’re meeting in.  Since it’s our first ritual, I don’t want it to be too involved.  Everyone is still learning and the less they have to keep track of, the better it will be.  All the same, I will be sure everyone is involved in some way so they experience a sense of ownership and I don’t feel alone on stage.  I’m hoping this only grows at Samhain.  We’re still working on finding a more private yet accessible location for that rite… and we have a possibility in the works.

When Weretoad and I left Muin Mound’s Autumn Equinox rite, he lamented the possibility of growing apart from them through forming a new group.  I worried the same thing.  We discussed it some as we took the long drive home.  I asked him if he would be happier if I abandoned the possibility of starting a protogrove, but he insisted that I shouldn’t because he knows it’s important to me.  I found myself asking why is it important.  Am I just looking to play leader?

Reflecting on my life, I always end up in such positions.  I dare say it’s natural for me.  I started clubs as a child, was elected president of a literature club in college, and was elected scribe in two Pagan groups.  I naturally like to facilitate and organize, especially when I see a desire in the community.  Someone has to step up and help make things happen.  I like to make things happen, even when it stresses me out.  (Don’t even get me started on organizing parties – I love doing that too…)

But it isn’t just my desire to make things happen.  There really is a desire in the North Country for something other than Wicca.  Not only that, but there’s a desire for open community.  Covens are hard to find, but ADF Druidism is all about opening its doors. This doesn’t come without some complications, but it’s necessary for such a group to be out there.  I think most Pagans are into security and safety, but not everyone is into extreme secrecy.  Some of us just want to come together, form friendships, educate/learn, work magic, and worship the Kindreds.  I read about other groves who meet every month – sometimes twice a month! – to share discussion, healing, and fellowship.  I used to be part of such a group in the Utica area and I loved it.  I still get excited to see the people I met through that group.  It’s not that I don’t get excited to see my grovemates in Syracuse – but I can’t see them as often because of proximity.  I miss being able to meet without it being a big day trip.  I miss being able to say, “Hey, who wants to meet for tea and casual Pagan discussion tonight?” without worrying about gas prices and getting home at a decent time for bed.

I truly hope this study group turns into something more.  Like my husband, I will miss seeing Muin Mound as often when the study group matures… but I know we won’t lose touch.  Hell, I’m already plotting ways for the North Country group and Muin Mound to get together!

At the same time, I’m not going to count my chickens before they hatch.  The study group still has a lot of work to do to become something more.  I don’t want to embark on the protogrove boat alone – I need to know everyone has my back and that we’re in it together.  Perhaps by next June, we’ll be ready.

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I haven’t written about the North Country Druidic Study Group in awhile.  We had our third meeting last weekend and it was very successful!  There were less people than the second meeting, but many had family obligations which is understandable – especially in the summer when everyone wants to visit and have fun!  We have been talking about Nature Spirits – who/what they are, how we impact each other, and how to work with them.  It’s mostly focused on the physical realm – what is corporeal and readily experienced by the average person’s senses.  I firmly believe that, even though the more mystical side of Druidism is very interesting and rewarding to study, you won’t gain much without feeling connected to the “here and now.”  We started to tap into magic and energy last time with a Two Powers exercise.

The group is still in its infancy.  Who knows who will stay?  Druidism won’t be for everyone, so I’ll understand if some people decide to part ways amicably.  There seems to be a core group of people – individuals who have been to each meeting, are very active on the Facebook group, and who really seem happy with what they’re discovering about Druidism.  One even joined ADF!

There’s been some discussion about the possibility of starting an actual grove in the North Country!  I did explain that we need to take baby steps toward that since it’s a lot of work.  My biggest concerns, at this point, are where we can meet and how involved everyone will be.

The meetings have been in three different places.  I’ve been communicating with a Yoga center in the area about the possibility of having our rituals there and we’ll see how that turns out.  If that doesn’t work in our favor, there are various parks in the area.  But in winter?  I don’t really feel the UU Church is the answer since I’m not a member and there’s already a CUUPs chapter there.  I am opened to having people I know in my home, but ADF rituals are supposed to be opened to the public.  I’ve always admired the Ellisons’ hospitality at Muin Mound Grove.  It’s on their property and new people come in and out of their house each high day.  I’m not as comfortable with that, at least right now.

So, we’ll see what happens with a location, but I’m taking steps.

With regards to group involvement, the “core” I described seem willing to work with me.  I’m hoping the core only grows.  I’ve never been a part of a Pagan group that didn’t have a dedicated core and then more casual members on the periphery who show up when able.  Muin Mound is the same way, as was the Mohawk Valley Pagan Network.  The local CUUPs too.  A good four or five people seem key to making sure things get organized.  I have heard of new protogroves having difficulty with members, though.  One person will feel like he or she is doing all of the work and nobody volunteers.  I know from being a president in a college organization that sometimes a leader has to delegate since people aren’t always aware you’re seeking volunteers.

For now, the group is small and everyone is learning.  My husband and I have the most experience with ADF Druidism followed by one of the core members.  I can’t honestly expect more involvement until people gather more experience. As the group grows, I’m hoping others become more involved as they grow and feel comfortable in Druidism.  Although I’m organizing and facilitating everything at the moment, I do want the group to feel comfortable making suggestions and even leading meetings in the future.

Before our last study group, I used my Animal Oracle to draw an omen and pulled the goose which can mean parenthood.  The second meeting’s omen was a wolf which I interpreted to mean pack.  The cards seem to aptly describe the situation right now.  I’m forming a pack and have to nurture those who are interested.

I’m hopeful for my little group – hopeful that we grow into a pack – a family 0f North Country Druids.

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Goodbye Garnet

Watertown Daily Times | Zoo’s cougar euthanized following long-term illness.

I was reading the local news and was saddened to see that my city zoo has lost it’s beautiful cougar, Garnet. Apparently he was believed to be the country’s oldest cougar – 18 years when most live to 12. He was suffering and I’m sure he is at peace now. I was interested to read at the end that Garnet was taken by the state from a Syracuse man who kept him as a pet.  As far as zoo exhibits go, his habitat, though small compared to their natural range, was very nice.  In situations like this, I am glad there are zoos as “domesticated” wild animals are hardly able to return to the wild successfully.

This is kind of a random post for my blog, but my oldest readers should recall that I originally started on Blogger as “The North Country Pagan,” aspiring to post about Pagan-related news in Northern NY.  The loss of such a beautiful nature spirit, and the tragic yet compassionate relationship he had with humans, is worthy of my blog indeed.

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Fun Times

When I originally started this blog (when it was on Blogger) it was partially dedicated to getting used to the North Country.  I’ve been up here for nearly two years and it’s been an adjustment moving away from  dear family and friends, favorite hangouts, and such.  I still miss home and am continually amazed at the wonderful changes going on down there.  The indie craft scene is flourishing, there’s a proposed Irish cultural center in the works, and there are so many great independent cafes.  There’s also a lot of culture – theater, a lovely museum, book clubs…  People in Utica really don’t realize how good they actually have it.  Sure it’s not some cosmopolitan paradise like Boston or London…  But who goes out that often anyway?  Most people I know have busy lives full of work, family commitments, and a need to be home bodies. I know if I moved to a major city, I would still spend most of my time at home in my pjs.

As I learn more and more about my new home, I find more to love.  Today my new friend C took me to a couple of great places!  First we went to The Apollo Restaurant and, my gosh, they have excellent Greek food!  What’s even better is that they have many veg*an options and they don’t put feta on everything!  Yay!  I had a garden pita sandwich, sweet potato fries, pita and hummus, and some exquisite baklava!

Next we went to The Paddock Club which is known for being a martini bar.  In honor of my socializing I tried a drink called “girls’ night out” and it was really great!  It was like drinking candy.  The bar is one of the most gorgeous I’ve ever seen.  It’s in a historic arcade so the building is naturally vintage.  They tastefully decorated with antiques so it’s got a very classy feel while also being fun and intimate.  It’s almost like a Victorian burlesque without the nudity and prostitution!

So I had a great time and I can’t wait to do it again.  I’m so happy to have found two new, wonderful places in my new home.  I’m also happy to have a new friend who is on a similar wave-length to me.  It’s a bit hard to make friends as an adult in a new town!

Tomorrow the socialization continues as I join my grovies for a Spring Equinox celebration!  Happy spring everyone!

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