Posts filed under ‘Pagan Events’
I had a fabulous time at Paganicon 2016. Northern Roots Grove and several other Druid groves & orgs hosted a party suite and decked it out to look like a forest. The others were Whispering Spirits Protogrove, ADF in Appleton, Wisconsin, Dancing Waters Protogrove, ADF in Onamia, Minnesota, and the Oakdale Grove of the Reformed Druids of North America, and Rev. Amy Castner, the ADF Upper Midwest Regional Druid was there too, along with Rev. Melissa Hill of Cedarsong Grove.
On Friday I went to a long workshop put on by Shauna Aura Knight about Designing Intensive Rituals. I’d gone to two of her workshops last year and was impressed- I highly recommend her workshops, rituals, books and artwork! She was trained in Diana’s Grove Mystery School and also has worked with Reclaiming. Ecstatic rituals with multi-layered chanting that leads people into trance is very much her style.
Then I hung with various people, finding the folks I met the previous couple years that I know from the Cauldron Forum- Vieva, Veggiewolf, the Kemetic from Little Canada whose name I can’t remember sorry! and Jenett Silver.
Then I went to Vieva’s presentation- Ramifications of Pantheism. If everything is sacred or divine, what implications does this have? How do we live our lives as co-creators of the universe? Vieva has her own pantheistic philosophy, FlameKeeping, but this was more broad in focus to get people thinking about what it means to hold a pantheistic worldview. One idea I took away from it is that in pantheism, there is no Us vs. Them.
My birthday was a few days ago (the 16th) so here’s a little year in review…
- Dan (my partner) has been amazingly patient in teaching me to drive, last summer he got me a car, a little Kia Rio to practice in.
- Along with some other folks, starting forming an independent Druid grove in July- we have had several rituals since then, written by-laws (adapted version of Twin Cities Pagan Pride) and chose the name Northern Roots Grove, we also now have a logo.
- I got my driver’s license in September (the 3rd test)
- Got a job in December at my alma mater as a fund-raising assistant, but my skills were not quite up to snuff, so I lost it. Oh well, still learned some things…
- Smashed up the Kia (I’m OK though!) Buying a new car today! (well new to us..)
- I’ve been enjoying serving as a board member of the Bisexual Organizing Project, was re-elected to the position this January (it’s a year-long term)
- There is now a GLBT+ adults with autism support/social group that meets monthly at the Autism Society of Minnesota, prior to the general adult support group led by BOP’s own Sara Lahti. Ran into one of my former campers there!
- I just signed up for Voc Rehab (3rd times the charm) Looks like it may be slow getting in due to state funding crunches, so if I get put on a waiting list, I’ll try other things too…
- Starting up a Bi+ board gaming group- I had a little trouble getting it off the ground before, but just met with one of my fellow board members and we came up with some strategies.
- Northern Roots Grove will be hosting a party suite at Paganicon in March, along with several other Druid groups. We’ll be next door to the Haitian Vodoun suite. Sign up by the way- another deadline for it is Feb 21!
- I will be doing a presentation at Paganicon focusing on clearing up common Pagan misconceptions about Irish history post-Christian conversion. It’s only 45 minutes so I will not be covering the Troubles…
- Helping plan the BECAUSE conference– Bisexual Empowerment Conference, a Uniting Supportive Experience- it’s coming up in April- you should register! and submit workshop proposals! I’m thinking of doing one about self-advocacy.
So I’m not sure if this will attract my target audience who likes to post St. Patrick’s Day memes about snakes, but hey, it’s worth a try…
Irish History & Culture- From Patrick to Modern Times
Many of us Pagans are fascinated by the world of the pre-Christian Celts, but what has happened in Ireland since the coming of Patrick and Christianity? Come learn about the changes in Irish folk traditions, the impact of British colonization and the global Irish diaspora- including here in the Twin Cities!
It won’t be til March, so plenty of time to plan. It’s a 50 minute presentation (there was a 90 minute option, but I figured that might be too much for just me talking) I’m hoping to also include visuals.
The opening ritual for the 1st annual ADF Upper Midwest Regional Retreat was written & led by Dale Frampton of Whispering Spirits Protogrove. Some of his fellow grove members couldn’t make it to the retreat, so he recruited some of us to fill in. We were delayed by dinner from a local pizza place taking longer than expected (we were competing with graduation parties!) Though when it finally arrived, it was delicious! All the vegetables are grown in-house and the pizza is baked in outside wood-fire ovens.
But the result of the delay was the ritual was extra dramatic- in the dark, with a tiki torch lit procession. It was pan-Indo-European to be inclusive for a group of mostly strangers, but was quite effective. We focused on asking various Gods/Spirits of the sun, sky and winds to bring us a clear sunny day on Saturday, as rain was a possibility.
The retreat was held at Deeply Rooted which is a Pagan intentional community. Long story short, it was land owned by a family for multiple generations, but the land isn’t good for farming so it wasn’t going to use. (We found out why- the soil there is almost all clay!) So Wayland, the son of the family asked his parents “Say, since we’re not using this- could I get my inheritance early?” and he incorporated into a land trust with 501c(3) status. Not sure if I got that legal terminology right. Anyhow, I had no idea what facilities to expect- I’m used to knowing what to prepare for from going to state parks or commercial campsites, so we brought everything we could possibly need. I was planning on writing a review of the facilities to prepare other folks who might be interested in visited- especially in terms of accessibility issues. But it’s a bit tricky to judge them at the current state they are in- due to all the rain and the clay-based soil, things have gotten very washed out and they have not been able to put down the foundation for the community center they have planned to build. If you could help them out with donations, that would be awesome!
While I realize there have been various attempts at Pagan community centers that did not get off the ground, this one seems very well-organized. I suspect part of it, is in the bigger cities, people have the luxury of keeping to their own little sub-groups, but in more rural areas you need to set aside your differences and band together if you want to have anything. We have lots of Pagans in the Twin Cities, but they were not cohesive enough to support the Sacred Paths Center. Deeply Rooted has a more committed community, and they are planning on doing outreach to our area, I told them I’d be happy to help with that as I am familiar with the communit(ies) here. One issue that I’m not sure if is there is another group called Earth House, that has been raising money for years by holding a festival for a supposed community center. I’m not sure where they are with that, or there would be any issue with them resenting Deeply Rooted or if there is money and willpower for them to both do their own thing. It’s mostly the Wiccan Church of Minnesota folks that are involved with it. One thing I was glad to see was that a diverse range of groups are working together on it- there are Heathens, Wiccans, Druids and other flavors of Pagans, and they also rent space to other groups.
I had a fabulous time at the ADF Upper Midwest Regional Retreat, and Dan really seemed to enjoy it as well. He’s often felt reticent about my involvement in Paganism, not due to the religion itself, but the many difficult & problematic individuals, groups and social situations I’ve encountered. He cares about my well-being and wants me to have friends & community members that are supportive and encourage good habits rather than “poor oppressed me!” attitudes. Participating in the retreat helped us both feel a lot better about finding a Few (or more!) Good Druid/Pagan/Heathen folk, and brought us together as a couple. We learned a new amusing term- “Spagan” (capitalized or not?) short for (non-Pagan) Spouse of Pagan. I really feel it’s important to be inclusive of our Spagans at events and show our appreciation to them- as much of our participation wouldn’t be possible without them- certainly that is the case with myself! Dan has chauffeured me to many a ritual & meet-up, including having to deal with bad directions/organization & communication! So even he has a vested interest in Pagan communities getting it together!
Going further back to How We Ended Up at This Retreat…I ran into Dale Frampton, the organizer of Whispering Spirits Protogrove, in Appleton, Wisconsin at Paganicon back in March. He was the one person who recognized & commented on my Gaeltacht Minnesota shirt and asked about it in Irish. I responded a bit clumsily, we laughed and began chatting about our Irish studies, and also founded we were both ADF peeps. By that point I’d really drifted away from ADF & let my membership lapse, after various frustrations involving attempts at grove organizing, and other people starting groves in areas I couldn’t get to, but talking with him, I got more interested. Earlier, Amy Castner, the Regional Druid, had sent a survey about organizing a retreat, and I hadn’t even bothered responding, rationalizing “well even if they have a retreat, it will be some place far away that I can’t get to, so why bother”. “Midwest” in ADF tends to skew to an eastern definition, in Michigan & Ohio, though we have a lot of members & groves there though, so there are Reasons. (Besides- we can change that!) Anyhoo, other folks rose to the occasion in spite of all my cynicism. I was very excited to see a retreat much closer (around Wasau, Wisconsin) and while I was working on getting my driver’s license, it was still up in the air and I definitely needed a camping buddy, so I asked Dan and he checked with his work schedule, took that Friday off and agreed!
We also managed to connect just on Thursday with a woman in Minneapolis who needed a ride- Dale had sent me a message on Facebook, but due to my self-imposed Facebook fast for June, I didn’t get it til I saw it on my phone. (Facebook is blocked on my account on Dan’s computer, but not on my phone, but there’s using FB on a tiny screen is…annoying!) Anyhow, we exchanged emails & phone numbers, and I was really glad we managed to connect, because it turns out Joy had just joined ADF so it was a nice way to welcome her into the Fellowship, and it turned out I had met & hung out with her at Paganicon as well! She said she’d been going around asking people their paths, and trying to find other Druids, and I was the only one she found! There are more of us, but I’ve been in the TC Pagan community for 15 some years, and she’d only moved here in 2012. We plan on getting together to do Dedicant stuff after my family goes back to Wyoming.