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Showing posts from March, 2014

Sacred Fire: What Do I Hope to Build

We have a guest post running today, over at Sermons from the Mound, part of the ongoing March series on the future of Paganism.  If you'd like to read Sacred Fire, head on over and take a look.

Meeting for Grieving

Meeting for worship was quite an experience for me today.

Of course, Judy Harrow's death was on my mind. I felt a poignancy to giving two Quaker elders their ride to meeting today--I was so conscious that what I cannot do for one elder, I am comforted to be able to do for another, so that even carpooling felt like an act of remembrance.

Then, as I sat down, and just as I felt myself give way to sadness, one friend left her usual place and walked across the room to sit beside me, took my hand, and gave me a hug. I was reminded that I was not alone in my sadness, but with yet another of my spiritual tribes. It felt as though my grief brought Judy into the room with me, that it made a link, not a division in my worlds.

And John and Mary Ellen were there. I had hoped they would be. John and Mary Ellen were caretakers at Woolman Hill back in the days when NELCOG used to meet there, and the fond memories go both ways; they remember their Pagans with love, just as they--a…

Judy Harrow (1945--2014)

I want to write about Judy, but it's too hard. It's like I'm standing too close to something, trying to take a picture. Nothing comes into focus. It's all too big to fit into the frame.

She was family. I guess that's what it comes down to. She could be maddening; she could be irascible. She sang off key; she made mistakes.

She had the most astonishing students you could imagine; she was smart and disciplined and passionate, and she adored reaching out to people she imagined might be more those things than she was. She was righteous to a fault, absolutely dedicated to Pagan movement and the Craft, and probably constitutionally incapable of compromising her ethics. She loved scholarship and scholars, she loved innovation and music... and she loved her community.

She was the first person to call me a "Pagan elder," and her saying it was part of what made it true, what made me think I could maybe live up to that.

She loved Woolman …

Pipes Lined with Fairy Gold

I wonder, sometimes, how much of my spiritual life is owing to the physical arrangement of books in the Wilbraham Public Library when I was small.

I learned to read early; I can't remember a time when I didn't know how to read.  And in the beginning, I'm sure read what every young child reads: picture books picked out by my parents.

But my memories of books begin in the Wilbraham Public Library--not the spacious brick and glass building they have now, but the late Victorian building that was torn down before I started school.  Built in 1875, it looked like a castle to my childhood eyes... which is almost all I remember about it, except for a glass display case for a teddy bears' dollhouse, and the fact that there was one particular little nook in the children's room that was just the right size and shape for my small body to feel cozy and enfolded.

And that small nook was where the fairy tale books lived.

It's only now, as an adult, that it comes to me how odd …