Technically, I didn’t go anywhere, I was still here, just not HERE. *points at WordPress* Admittedly, I’ve been more active on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.
My responsibilities shifted a bit. Though I didn’t mention it on here previously, one of the new responsibilities I took on began November 1st. I’m the National co-First Officer of the Covenant of the Goddess. My new term began the day after I finished my term as First Officer of the Orange County Local Council for Covenant of the Goddess. Though it’s not my first time on the national board, it is the first time I’ve served as NFO, and in the 40 years the organization has been in existence, I’m the first person of color to ever serve as NFO. What a strange thing to be “the first” of.
So far much of my time as co-NFO has been spent cleaning our Facebook page of spam, moderating comments, replying to comments, and answering emails. That alone is nearly a full time job. It’s amazing that despite our large following how many of them have no idea that CoG is an actual organization, not just a Facebook page for people who believe in the Goddess.
So, after I became co-NFO of course then it was Thanksgiving, Winter Solstice, New Year’s Eve, and my birthday in fairly rapid succession. Interspersed with preparing my students for initiation into my coven, teaching students for my ritual arts class, hosting Meetups, HOA president (what is this, my 3rd or 4th year now?), HoC business, getting ready for Pantheacon (then not going because of a family emergency), family and home life.
Oh, and we also got a new insanely rambunctious kitten. Her name is Clementine. Unfortunately, our house wasn’t kitten-proofed prior to her arrival so there was a lot of damage done to my ancestor altar and plants. C’est la vie!
At any rate, I’ve returned and am trying to get back in the groove, so to speak.
Oh, also, if you’ve sent me an email via this site in the last few months, you’re going to need to resend it to me. I was having issues with my email. I’ve since resolved the issue.
I will be busy as the festival’s Mistress of Ceremonies (oh there’d be a great joke in there if I was a ceremonial magician) introducing the day’s entertainment (I might even sing a song…), giving announcements, and of course the raffle tickets. They have amazing wonderful things for the raffle!
If you haven’t been, I really recommend it. The purpose of the day’s event is to help bring awareness and education about Paganism, in all of it’s various forms, to the general public. So whether you’re Pagan, Pagan friendly, or not remotely Pagan, but interested in learning, come down and enjoy a lovely day in the park with us.
Thurs Oct 8th – Orange County Local Council of the Covenant of the Goddess monthly council meeting. This is my last meeting as the First Officer of OCLC. This is the meeting where I pass off my FO materials to the incoming First Officer. The new board will take over on Nov 1st at which time I will be stepping up as the National co-First Officer of the Covenant of the Goddess.
Thurs Oct 15th – Mon Oct 20th – The Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City, UT. This event deserves it’s own post all together. There’s so much to say about it. Let’s just say I’m excited, but also a bit nervous, mainly because I’ve never been and have very little of an idea on what to expect. I’m grateful to be meeting up with a few folks who’ve attended previous PWR conferences. This is an event filled with spiritual and religious leaders, world leaders, and people who’ve made incredible impacts on the world.
According to their website:
The Parliament is the oldest, the largest, and the most inclusive gathering of people of all faith and traditions.
The first Parliament took place in 1893. Since, this historic event has taken place in Chicago, USA • Cape Town, South Africa • Barcelona, Spain • Melbourne, Australia – and now in Salt Lake City, Utah!
The Parliament of the World’s Religions was created to cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world.
It’s huge and I’m very excited to be able to attend. I know there’s going to be a over 120 folks from the Pagan community all across the US in attendance. Mind you, that’s 120 that I know about. That might not seem a lot to some, but when you’re talking thousands of people in attendance representing just about every religion or spiritual path you can think of, it’s still a good representation and one that I’m proud to be a part of.
Thurs Oct 22nd – OC Pagan & Witches monthly dinner event. This has often been a heavily attended event.
Wed Oct 28th – I’ll be speaking at Santa Ana College about the history of Halloween. This should be entertaining. This is less about the religious aspects and more about the history overall.
Beyond that there are also family reunions, birthday parties, coven gatherings, rituals, teaching classes on Wicca… October is insane, but it’s also wonderful.
Despite the whirlwind of calendar activities, I am also keenly aware that the veil is thinning and have been experiencing some interesting spectral activity in the home. That should also be a separate post.
Anyway, welcome to October, everyone!
(Not So) Random Music
Damh the Bard – is a modern-day Bard whose spirituality and love of folk tradition is expressed through his music, storytelling and poetry. Drawing on the Bardic tradition, his performances are both entertaining and educational, speaking directly to the heart, and never without a good splash of humour.
Come celebrate Mabon with the
Orange County Local Council of
the Covenant of the Goddess
This is the Autumnal Equinox – so balance is a theme. It is the 2nd of the 3 Harvest Festivals and we will be turning the wheel of the year into Autumn.
Think about the work (spiritual, magickal, social, etc.) that you set out to do this year and what that harvest is –
· What got done this year
· What won’t get started/finished and should be let go of, or maybe set aside to tackle another year
· What is still in progress that you expect to finish by year end (Samhain)
It is also time to honor the fading God as he sacrifices himself for the continuity of life for all.
Mabon is also the “Thanksgiving” festival – a pot luck follows the ritual that should be sumptuous and tasty.
What to bring
For the ritual:
Chalice (cup for drinking);
Your cord— if you have one for the tradition you were initiated into
Wear autumnal colors (orange, brown, yellow, purple, burgundy, red) if you can.
For the pot luck:
Food to share
Plate & utensils for your own use.
Sunday September 13th at 2:00pm – 6:00pm
Gutosky Park 9201 Ferris Lane Garden Grove, California 92841
When I first began to practice witchcraft it was on my own, no mentor or teacher. I was very young and purchased books from the local book store to study. We didn’t have the internet like today… well, it was 30 years ago, and I wasn’t old enough to drive to any of the pagan supply stores in the area.
I didn’t find Wicca or any others who practiced it until about 1992. At that point rituals and spell work were rarely done with a friend or two if any were ever present. I came out of the broom closet in 1996 and it wasn’t until 1998 that I began regularly attending public rituals.
In 2000 I began to officially study a tradition with a teacher and participating in regular ritual with a group that eventually became my first coven. In May I attended Gaia Grrrls and in July of the same year I attended Witch Camp. Both were held in the Mendocino redwood forest and those experiences changed my life completely.
Gaia Grrrls and Witch Camp were both wonderful pagan community experiences for me. I met lots of new people, made new friends, and enjoyed quality time in a pagan community. We ate all our meals together, studied and did rituals together. Each camp was a little different, but the one thing I clearly walked away with was a strong desire to have the comfort of a community as I furthered my studies on this path.
It was at Witch Camp that I met Jeffrey Albaugh. We became good friends and he introduced me to the folks at Touchstone Local Council. He was one of their founding members. I shared many rituals and meals with this group. At the time they were the pagan community I was closest to emotionally, even if they were 70+ miles away. This is part of why TLC is so dear to me. However, the distance made it difficult for me to be there for all events. In SoCal 70 miles can be 2-4 hours depending on how awful traffic is. To help keep perspective… in good traffic, it’s about 4 hours to drive from OC to Las Vegas.
In 2002 I attended my very first OC Witches Meetup. The Meetup website back in those days was so completely different than it is now. We had almost no control over how things worked. All groups had a set date and time that occurred once a month. Communication between members was tremendously less than ideal. We didn’t have any official organizers like we do now. Also, members voted on our event locations; locations that were picked by one guy in New York who perhaps had never even been to Orange County, CA.
Instead of organizers we had people that voluntarily took on the role of “host”. Hosts were people who attended, looked for others who were attending, greeted folks, maybe got the ball rolling with introductions, and helped where ever possible. I took on the role of host and paid to become a Meetup Plus member soon after joining Meetup. By 2004 the site had changed, those of us whom were hosting had been official organizer for a while and the site was switched from being free to having to pay to be an organizer.
Contrary to popular belief, I did not start the OC Witches or Pagan Meetup groups, someone at Meetup.com did. I joined at the suggestion of a friend who was interested in finding out more about it. I knew I was searching for something, but I had yet to fully understand exactly what that was.
My second Meetup was simply amazing! The group of us met and we all just “clicked”. We started at 7pm and hung out until 1am because we were so excited to have met each other. I discovered what it was I’d been searching for; Community! I knew there were more pagans within our small conservative county, and I was going to do what I could to help bring them together and create a more active and strong local pagan community.
Shortly after my second Meetup I set about an ambitious plan, I personally emailed and invited every individual I was able to locate on Yahoo whom listed themselves as being located in the Orange County area and had any paganism topic listed in their interests on their profile. It took me weeks to do all this by hand, but it completely paid off! Our membership numbers increased quickly as word began to spread about the Meetups. At one point I was the organizer of the world’s largest pagan Meetups for 3 full years.
Unfortunately that changed when Meetup shifted a few things around. My memberships aren’t as high as some groups; however, my attendee numbers on average still seem to be larger than most other groups.
In the 10 years I’ve been doing Meetup I’ve helped many members within the local area find teachers, covens, friends, and community. Our Meetup groups have also worked together to help our greater community by participating in charity work.
I’ve also assisted with other communities by mentoring Meetup organizers from around the world to help get their groups off the ground and running. I’ve networked with pagan and witches Meetups from other counties, such as San Diego, and co-hosted events that garnered us media attention.
In 2003, to further a desire to bring community together I gathered two letters of recommendations from both the current First Officer of TLC (Jeff Albaugh) and First Officer Emeritus (Susannah Faith) so that my coven could join the Covenant of the Goddess. I was hoping to help the Orange County Local Council regain some visibility to the local community and help build up our OC pagan community at large.
I spent five years helping coordinate events, doing PR, and building stronger connections with our neighboring local councils (LCs), national organization; and bringing the community together for a variety of events, including Merry Meet 2008, until my term limit as a board member was reached.
By 2007 someone noticed my efforts. I was awarded the 2007 Community Service Award presented by Pagan Pride Los Angeles for my “dedication and devotion to promoting religious diversity and tolerance, particularly paganism, through education and community service.”
For more than a decade my main motivation has been to build community, a task that hasn’t always been easy, and there have been times when I’ve doubted if it was worth it. It’s a labor of love and in the end I am unable to deny that I have helped bring many of my pagan brothers and sisters together.
On occasion I’ll get an email from someone telling me that because of my Pagan or Witches Meetup group they’ve found what they were looking for, or felt like they returned home to “their people” and are grateful. In other words, they found community. It’s in those moments when all the doubts fall away and I realize that it truly has been worth while.
And One will always remind me of the 2 years I was a co-host for a Goth radio show. This particular song has been stuck in my brain for the last 24 hours or so.
And One: Killing The Mercy