Sshhh. I’m Resting

I haven’t been here much at all since Samhain prep time. A thousand pardons. Samhain is a busy time here in this lively WNC Pagan community–that keeps me on my toes. Then FaerieCon, then a couple of pieces for a local magazine, then ThanksGaia in Atlanta and now home. No traveling for a couple of months and a chance to dive deeply into the Darkening time.

Hence, resting. Planning a bit for next year and prepping for the Yuletide but mostly getting a good amount of sleep, exercise and nettle tea. Using the time that the agricultural gives us each year to renew ourselves–and thinking of my second Saturn return, which visits me next year.

My heart has been broken by deaths of some dear ones and the serious illnesses of a couple others. Mercy me, this Tower Time is taking no prisoners. Change is pummeling our sisters and brothers and our ownselves–teaching us the lessons of balancing on a wire high in the air while weeping.

I hope you are resting a bit, too, in spite of the call of the holiday season. This one is also the season of advocacy and action as we take to the streets and to social media. We are trying to be good allies to those most grievously affected. And even that has become hard, complicated, confusing.

So, I am resting. And thinking. And feeling deeply and releasing the grief and pain of it all.

I hope you are finding time for all that, too.

Good Faeries Ball

The bands were Faun and SJ Tucker–Sooj–whom I’d seen at the Festival of Souls in mid-October outside of Memphis. We got dolled up (faeried up?) and enjoyed the bands in the ballroom for a while, then retired to a bar in the hotel where we could sit down and also have a glass of wine.  Not much to tell you so I think I’ll post some of the pictures for you.

faeriecon 2014 030trashing the room

faeriecon 2014 032cleaning the jools

faeriecon 2014 022make-up close up???????????????????????????????full length…yes, it is a Lady Godiva wig???????????????????????????????your basic bathroom mirror shot

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Star masquerading as a good Faerie

Witches’ Pizza and too many pillows

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We three met and ate pizza and had tots of a maple-flavored whiskey. We laughed and gossiped and commiserated with the recent accident that broke her ankle. Hours in that welcoming place, witches comparing notes and stories. I think I could literally sit at the Morrison’s feet for a very long time, soaking in the wisdom, the courage, the verve. But as the night stretched into early morning, it was time to go back to Cockeyville and leave that beloved friend and teacher behind.

The bed in the hotel was very tall and covered with enormous pillows, which helped me feel like one of the Little People myself. I piled the pillows onto the comfy chair and settled down for some rest and good sleep.

The conference began on Friday and sleeping in was a distinct possibility, thank goodness.

My first commitment was a panel discussion, an introduction of the Mythic Track headliners. What a remarkable group I was part of! I knew them all from previous festivals and conferences and the possibility of learning from them and spending social time with them was delicious. Michael Smith and I serve on the board of Cherry Hill Seminary together so we have a chance to banter at monthly board meetings. Ivo Dominguez is one of the organizers of the Sacred Space conference where I’ve taught for three years now but we rarely have sitting-down-together-time. Raven and Stephanie Grimassi taught at Pagan Unity Festival last year, where I was also teaching.

See what I mean? Stellar. Rock stars all in the Pagan world.

Jason joined us for the discussion and we had a funny, informative discussion which was good, since only one person showed up for that intro panel. Bless her! (To be fair, we were opposite a very hot author panel and one of the first events of the con, so it was perfectly understandable.) And besides, we had a great time.

My first class was a shorter version of a workshop I’ve done several times–The Spirit-Haunted Landscape. The room was full, the audience enthusiastic–off to a good start!

Then…the shopping. There were rows and rows of stalls with some of the most luscious high-end merchandise I’ve ever seen at one of these events. Clothing, jewelry, handmade soaps, books and cds, even some fairy dust. I’m not much of a shopper but I acquired a handmade soap in the shape of a British police call box. It was blue and smelt of Earl Grey tea.

A supper with friends set us up nicely for the Good Fairy Ball later that evening. But first we trashed the hotel room by unpacking the make-up, costumes, wigs and jewelry necessary for Star and me to be “good fairies.”

Away with the Fae…but first a meeting of witches

piano witches

To finish up this year of teaching and travelling, I was invited to teach at Faeriecon East, up in Maryland. My friend Star was kind enough to drive and we started out a little before 10 AM, heading first west and then northeast. In a little space of time, we were slipping into the deep long valley of the Shenandoah. The low ridges flanked 81 on either side and I longed to touch the sweetly-tended old farmlands.

It is a long, long valley and it seems sometimes as though one will never escape Virginia. But at last we wandered through that odd bit of road that is Virginia and Maryland and West Virginia and Maryland again. The road around Baltimore was easy, even at rush hour, and we arrived in a timely manner at the town and the highway where the conference hotel was reputed to lie.

But where was it exactly? In the early darkness, we drove about and finally stopped at another hotel to ask directions. As it turned out, we had by-passed our destination because there were no lights on the sign and few on the front of the building.

So much luggage! Costumes, workshop materials and notes, suitcases, snacks and more and more. We needed two trips with the big brass cart to get everything up to the room.

Unloaded, made pit stops, met with our genial and not-at-all-freaked-out host, Jason Pitzl and prepared to head south again to meet with our friend and colleague. The two witches got back in the car and wended their way to the home of The Morrison. Dorothy Morrison.

Asfidity

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My new book–no, it’s still unfinished–is called Asfidity and Madstones.  I haven’t had any luck in finding old-fashioned asfidity until the really kind people at the Raven and Crone witchery shop found some at one of their sources and ordered it. It’s dear at $100/pound but nothing works like it and certainly nothing smells like if.  When Lisa contacted me to tell me my special order was in, she wrote “It smells like ass.”

I’m going to do traditional Appalachian asfidity bags, some out of flour sacks and some out of red flannel.

Here it is.  I wish you could smell it. But you might do well to be happy that you can’t.

Home from the Hill

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The herb conference ended today and I had a sweet time, as I thought I would.  My public work was concluded Saturday morning so I had the rest of the day to attend classes and visit with friends.

The Willendorf class on Friday was well-attended, for which I am very grateful, and the discussion during and after was lively and gratifying.  I’ve adapted it to cover people who are not embracing Willendorf–the round and lovely–but to include anyone who has body issues that stifle and torment them.

It was especially fun when we did the guided meditation and I invited them to stretch out on the soft grass and so many of them did that there was no room to walk.

The advantage of presenting in successive years at a conference like this is that women who have attended classes in previous years come up to tell you how they remember a presentation or how it touched their lives for months afterwards.  How blessed to know when words and ideas continue to work their magic long after they’ve been spoken.

After my class, I attended one on death midwifery and the teacher was quite good.

Friday evening, after I had set up the altar/meditation space and unpacked, I got a tempeh wrap from the food truck and sat on the balcony, watching the dancing, drumming and singing around the fire.  I had warned my roommate–whom I knew!–that I would probably go to bed early and she shouldn’t fret about making noise coming in.

I did, and slept very well indeed. Which was good because Saturday was a very full day.

In the Mothership

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Just checked in at the SEWWC (aka the Herb Conference) and plopped my wee suitcase on my wee bed. This year the teacher housing is in the only remaining building from the site’s Black Mountain College days and the accommodations are luxe. I am sharing a room with another teacher and there’s a bathroom just down the hall. The view from the porches is incredible and I will post pictures as I can.

I’m doing the Embracing Willendorf workshop and facilitating a talking circle the following day on Body Love.

Doesn’t that sound fun?