Thursday, June 27, 2013

Seeking Community

Human beings require contact with other human beings.  Even the most private and introverted human being, and I fit that description as well as most, needs contact with others to be healthy.  My younger brother, who is the only person I know more “anti-social” than I, needs his wife and his daughters to be happy.  In some of the worst prisons on the planet, solitary confinement is one of the most severe punishments possible.  Next to physical torture and perhaps worse than execution; solitary confinement is considered by many to be a form of psychological, emotional and mental torture.  Infants who are deprived of human contact will fail to thrive and eventually die.
As I have said, I am a very private and introverted person.  You might doubt the truth of that statement considering the nature of this experiment and the things I have shared here but, I began this exercise as a way of reaching out and connecting with my Community, as a way of contributing to the Great Work.  It is actually more comfortable to write about anything from the solitude of my home, from the peace and quiet and tranquility of my room with only my Pwca to engage with physically and energetically, than to attend a social gathering regardless of how fond I may be of the others in attendance.

 Solitude is a beautiful thing and necessary for my well being, but isolation is not healthy for me.  I need to engage, to connect with my family, my friends, my beloveds, just as I need to connect with my Gods, my Ancestors and my Allies.  I was a solitary practitioner for many years and while I was very happy with my life and my path, I had reached a crossroads on my journey, a turning point that resulted in my seeking out community. 

I had to be pushed and prodded (by my Patrons) to overcome my discomfort with strangers enough to attend a ritual with a group of people. I made a couple of false starts, I attended two very different rituals with two very different groups but neither one was the right place for me.  I joined a small group of witches and met my soul sister, my Anam Cara, but the group was short lived and inappropriate to my nature. I considered myself fortunate and blessed to find a soul-friend and retreated to my previous solitary practice. 

But the Lady and Lord were not content with this.  They knew, if I did not, that I needed community to continue to grow.  They knew that without community I would stagnate.  Without the catalyst of others, without the drive to serve, without purpose and intent, I would not evolve as they intended me to. They are wise. 
Eventually, I walked into the house of my High Priestess, whom I had never met, and participated in a Mabon Ritual with about a dozen other people whom I had never met.  That was the moment that I found the Weavers of the Moonfire and eventually the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel.  Less than a year later I was dedicated.  I am now a Bonded member and Second Degree Initiate of my Coven and Tradition. 

Solitary practice is both beautiful and rewarding and most of my practice remains solitary simply because I live alone (except for my Pwca).  My personal work is done alone most of the time but, I am never really alone and that is one of the wonders of community.  My work affects my entire Coven, and to some extent my entire Tradition.  The work my coven-mates do for their own growth affects me.  I would not be challenged, as I often am, if it were not for my commitment to serve my Community. 

Without the challenge of nurturing others, I would not understand my own needs.  Without the challenge of interacting with others and their energy, I would not have learned to know my own energy and my own magick beyond the level that I had achieved until then.   Without my High Priestess to push my boundaries,  and her completely other nature to my own, I would not have the wisdom of a point of view so different to mine.

The thing I remember most was the amazing surprise I felt at the feeling of having come home among those strangers.  My life is about relationships and I give thanks for the relationships I have with my Beloved Moonfire and Assembly.  Community is an amazing gift.  It gives me a place to grow and to learn and to become so much more than the person I am without them.

If you are walking this path, if you are walking alone, even occassional contact with communiy can support you in your work and on your journey.  Do not be afraid to seek it.  It can take many forms and it can be what you need it to be.   It can help bring light to the shadows.

“One Spirit in the dark, like a candle wavers, many Spirits joined as One, burn with the power of the blazing Sun.  There is strength in Community, a Circle empowering you and me. The Circle binds, yet sets us free. In the Goddess’ name, so mote it be.” (Pagan chant-Author unknown)

“It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around can warm up to its glowing, that’s how it is with God’s love, once you’ve experienced it, to share His love with everyone, you want to pass it on.” (Christian song-Author unknown. Remembered, from summer camp as a child, this past Sunday around the fire ring with my Coven celebrating the Full Moon and the Summer Solstice.)

Goddess or God, Pagan or Christian, we are Human and Devine, and Love is the Highest Law.  

Sunday, June 16, 2013


I was very fortunate to grow up in Pennsylvania.  The place I grew up was more rural than not. I now live in a small town not far from my parents' home and I am still very fortunate in that the borough in which I live is a small town surrounded by mostly rural townships.  I do not take any of this for granted.  I do not believe I would thrive in an urban environment.

But I do not take advantage of the blessings of my surroundings as much as I could.  I drive to work 5 or 6 days a week. I work all day in an enclosed building (banks do not have windows that can be opened). I drive home and eat something and I spend time with my Pwca, reading or writing and performing my daily practice.  On Sundays (the one day the bank is closed) I spend an hour or two at a place beside a stream in the woods at a park 5 minutes away by car.  I take offerings and I sing and I listen. 

These visits are completely necessary for my well being and my health, and for nurturing my relationships with the Fae. They are also necessary for nurturing my soul, my spirit, my relationship to my Self.  They are healing and learning and life giving. It is there that I can breathe in the air and hear the trees and smell the water and feel the sunlight and watch the Herons glide silently with strength and grace.  It is there that I can remember the magick I felt as a child.  And it is there that I can feel it once again and reconnect with the universe within and without. 

Summer is a time when the magick of life is full to overflowing.   The air is warm and fragrant. The trees are in full leaf in a million shades of green.  Fish swim in the deep waters and birds fly in the blue sky.  Deer run through the woods and foxes too.  Fawns come out of hiding to follow their mothers.  At twilight, fire-flies rise from the grasses to blink in peridot green to find each other and fulfill their life-purpose (to mate). 

I love summer in the natural world.  I love walking barefoot in the grass and in the mud and feeling the breeze on bare arms and dangling bare legs in cool water flowing by.  I love sitting in the shade of the trees and hearing the wind whisper in the leaves.  I love watching the sunlight create stars on the surface of the water. 

The past few weeks I have been working at a new place and the drive to and from work is longer.  I can no longer retreat to my home in the middle of the day, and when I get home I am tired and sore.  But I need to spend more time walking outside.  Some things are just more important than how tired and sore I might feel. 

I am going to try to walk for a few minutes after work every day.  There is a cemetery on a hill behind my home and I am going to visit there each evening.  The Summerland is a name Pagans sometimes use to refer to the place our souls may go after incarnation, or that our spirits might visit between incarnations.  It is a place of beauty and peace and rest, full of pleasures and fruit and flowers. But the word invokes in me the life of summer in the land where I live, where I have lived my entire life.  I need to spend some time everyday in the land of summer…at least until the Wheel turns again.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


I am a hedonist.  Perhaps not in the classic definition, I don’t believe that pleasure is the only good thing, the only goal worthy of pursuit.  But I do believe that pleasure and joy and happiness are noble goals.  I believe that I am in this body, in this incarnation to experience the physical, the emotional, the intellectual and the inspirational.  Pleasure and pain, loss and longing, joy and grief, happiness and sorrow, love and despair are all worth experiencing, this is about how very important it is to experience the physical pleasure of life.  This is about the treasures that I experience because I am alive.

The silky sweetness of a piece of chocolate melting on my tongue and the first sip of coffee, warming me from the inside as it travels down my throat to my belly.

The breeze drifting in through open windows and greeting me in my bed and the comfort of warm soft blankets against my skin.  The sound and vibration of my Pwca curling up against me and purring until he falls asleep and the warmth and softness of his fur against my hand.

Birdsong outside my windows in the morning and the chirping of crickets at night.  The wind whispering in the leaves of trees and water dancing over rocks in the stream and heavy rain drumming against the earth.

The cool, heavy stone in the palm of my hand, the light of the sun or the moon shining in the window and reflecting off the crystal bowl of water on my alter.  The light of the candles flickering and the scent of incense drifting in my room.  The sound of my prayers as I sing them in the evening and the feeling of power emanating from my body to make those prayers.

The sparkle of water on my skin in sunlight and the feeling of the breeze making the droplets dance.  The sound and light and color of snowfall and of sunrise and stars sparkling in the clear night sky.  The glow and crackle of a wood-fire and the voices of beloveds singing and laughing and talking into the evening.  The feeling of a favorite dress moving as I dance.  The silky coolness of mud between my toes. 

The kiss of a lover that quickens my pulse and raises my body temperature and leaves me breathless.  The caress of a beloved, her soft, cool, slender fingers or his strong warm hands.  The soft place just above the hip that needs to be kissed and the smile that results.  The music of a loved one’s laughter and the sheer joy in knowing that I made them happy.

The fluid expressions on the face of an infant and the completely self-absorbed determination of a toddler testing the realization that they can impact their world. 

The soft steady breathing of a beloved as they sleep.  The quickening of the babe inside the womb, the warmth and weight of the newborn in the crook of my arm, the strength of my sons as I hug them as grown men.  The feeling of my daughters’ hair as I brush it with my hands, the indulgent smiles of my grown children when I tell them that they are beautiful and that I love them. 

The memory of all of these pleasures.  These are the lights, the treasures, the gifts of life.  These are why I am here and why I am grateful and happy to be.