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Showing posts from May, 2006

Under the Maple Tree

I'm finding myself craving a Pagan gathering lately.

Pagans, for those who are not Pagan, like to gather in groups of 40--2000 people for camping, bonfires, drumming, rituals, and workshops. Some of these gatherings are like family reunions, or compared to the magically-reappearing village of Brigadoon. Others are wild and frenetic affairs, with three-story-tall bonfires, all-night drumming and dancing, and appearances of Pagan celebrities (BNPs, or Big Name Pagans, if you're feeling polite; Big-Nosed Pagans if you're feeling a little satirical) and festival-wide radio stations making weather reports and announcements.

I haven't yet been to FGC (Friends' General Conference--the Quaker equivalent of a gathering, for those of the non-Quaker persuasion) so I can't really say how like or unlike a Pagan gathering that is. Perhaps very--perhaps not. I do know that when Young Friends hold their annual camping weekend at our local meeting, the afterglow they bring int…

Kids and Books and War and Peace

I teach English.

I teach school, and I'm new enough at it that I'm still wrestling with questions of my identity as a teacher, and my idealism about teaching is barely touched with the frost of cynical experience. And I teach English, that discipline second only to Social Studies in provoking both thought and outrage with what we teach. Books, ideas, and words--learning to think, learning to feel for others (in fiction or in life), and learning to speak your truth--that is the real curriculum, when you teach English.

And I teach English.

That's important on a whole lot of levels, including a newfound sensitivity to owning the Pagan part of my spiritual identity. Too late--even before this blog and the Quaker Pagan page went up, enough kids in my school had Googled me that I was out "of the broom closet" before my first year in the classroom had ended. Right now, though, I'm wrestling with how Quaker leadings and testimonies fit into my classroom.

My kids liv…