Cascade Writers Review

Earlier this year, a friend of mine reminded me of a non profit organization she worked with called Cascade Writers. She iterated that I should check it out if I wanted to explore my writing abilities and network with other authors, publishers and editors. Thankfully this once, I listened.

In the last 20 years of working in the background of conventions, organizations and festivals I realized that I cannot remember the last time I attended an event as a spectator! The whole thing was unprecedented and I was worried I would be bored, or ill at ease with all the new people!

I was very surprised just how intense the panel topics were and how many of them were! They included things from beginning in short stories, to sentence structure to editing to decolonizing our stories to avoid toxic tropes.  Among it all was a wealth of acceptance, and camaraderie.

People were kind and curious.

I know, I know… I didn’t know what to do either but I did something unprecedented in such a new environment. I made friends. I talked about my ideas. I was listened to and I listened and offered constructive thoughts in turn. It was three days of a creative conversation with like minds with various backgrounds all bringing their own flavor of perspective to the whole experience.

To top off my experience, I was talking with a panelist for the Religion, Faith and Myth in writing discussion. It turned out she was a Christian minister, and I shared I was a Pagan minister. Even in Seattle Washington, in the heart of liberal ideas, I get nervous talking about being a Pagan or Wiccan Minister. Not only was I welcomed as a fellow person of the cloth but invited to work with her on her panel.  It was my first panel and I had a BLAST and would do it again in a heart beat. Hopefully we can get a Rabbi to join our discussion and do it again next year!

 

Photo Credit:
2018 Cascade Writers Staff
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Spring Mysteries: Graces

One fateful day, after Lammas Monologues, hosted by the Aquarian Tabernacle Church, I gave my permission to be cast as a Grace for Spring Mysteries Festival 2017.  Little did I know, how demanding, and how rewarding this role would ultimately prove to be.

While I cannot give many details about the journey of Spring Mysteries, because it is something we all must experience for ourselves; I wanted to share my journey as a cast member for this intrinsic and profound experience.

The rehearsal schedule was demanding. Just like any production worth their salt, the ATC takes their responsibilities to the travelers to Eleusis very seriously.  By August the previous year, we knew our roles, and shortly after Hekate’s Sickle Festival in October our schedule began. Every Sunday was spent rehearsing lines, energies, costumes and more.

Silly me, I had thought that being one of the Graces would be a simple role. Just sing, and be merry right?

The Goddess has many faces, and in this assumption I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Being a Grace, means not only working with the energy of one of the Graces, but of the Furies, and the Fates as well. There is a triad of energy one learns to manage and maintain, while still memorizing lines and songs. Learning to balance, and interweave that presence with the Gods, the cast, and the participants was life changing.

One energy is that of new beginnings. The Grace energy took me on a ride of gently but firmly mastering the ability to see the new, to nurture love and joy. The second energy of the Furies is intense, and obviously angry.  For myself it was easy to become the Den Mother of the ritual, the bridge between the pilgrims and the Gods. However, it was not easy to let myself be angry.

So much of our society has no place for true rage to be channeled in a healthy way. Rehearsal after rehearsal, I struggled with this emotion. How to emote pure primordial rage without succumbing to it? I tried different props, I tried different makeup, I tried screaming exercises.  It really wasn’t until it was that weekend, that the energy finally fell into place and allowed me to be terrifying, and angry while consciously not invoking the Furies, or bringing unwanted energies into the Holy Rite and Sacred Space of the Eleusinian Mysteries.

The third and final energy is that of the Fates. They watch, they witness the travelers on their path. This was the eternal quiet. There was no place for ego, there was no place for false modesty. This energy was almost like the witching hour. We’ve all felt that one time during the day, where we realize and acknowledge our own power and we realize that we are ‘the most powerful thing on earth’ and can do anything! Yet, with that knowledge is also a profound sense of understanding of where that energy can be channeled to the best benefit.

Graceful joy. Enraged Fury. Fateful acceptance.

Three energies, combined into one like a pyramid sheltering all those who came to seek the mysteries.

I now sing a little louder.

I now communicate my feelings more clearly.

I now wait patiently and powerfully as I observe my path and the direction I walk without guilt or fear.

Being cast as one of the Graces, was NOT simple.

This being said, there is no ‘small’ role in the Mysteries. There is no ‘throw-away’ part for the mildly committed. Every single aspect is vitally important, and touches every cast member as well as those attending in new and transformative ways.

Origionally appeared in this Post The Aquarian Tabernacle Church’s blog on PaganSquare, run by Witches and Pagans and xposted to Panegyria in 2017

Spring Mysteries 2015

Every spring for 30 years the Aquarian Tabernacle Church has held a festival honoring the Mysteries of Eleusis.

If you are like me you might be wondering just what ‘Eleusis’ is…. or perhaps you are better educated than I, or have already attended SMF before.

I will say the events of Eleusis are…. well elusive.

It is something you must experience yourself in order to understand, and those attending Eleusinian Mysteries are oath bound to keep secret what happens to those who are not already initiated.  For more on this oath, please see this article written by Dusty Dionne.

In order to see both levels of the Eleusinian Mysteries you need to attend two years of SMF and participate in the Greaters and Lessor Mysteries.

This year was my first exposure to the Lessor Mysteries. What some might call a play or an exhibition of theater is so much more when you have Priests and Priestesses fully invoking a Deity they have been working with for half a year if not more. The air practically crackles with the power as you see it unfurl.

The Mysteries are profound and extremely personal, while the Festival is a joyous event I would say be ready.

The Mysteries are work. Ritual is WORK. Ministry is WORK. Self reflection is WORK. With the effort I saw participants and clergy alike put out into this year’s great work alone, I could power the sun itself.

Pagan and Wiccan ministries are going through a revival as the Age of Aquarius settles this world firmly into it’s lap. No more do we have to hide from persecution, no more do our fallen soldiers endure blank headstones when they would have the pentacle guarding their place of rest. No more are the uninitiated left to flounder with poor or unscrupulous teachers.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE.

It is time to embrace that choice. If you are looking for FELLOWSHIP there are many reputable groups out there. Do not be like me and hold on to the poor experiences of the Witch Wars coming out of the 1980s and 1990s.  Not all groups are out there to suck you dry, or put you in dangerous and predatory positions of self and soul. There are groups, covens, churches out there who will APPRECIATE your work, your service, your path and who honestly care if you are happy walking it.

There are schools now, recognized places of education acknowledged by our government. Woolston-Steen Theological Seminary is a recognized house of education in the State of Washington. Not just a mail order course with someone without any accreditations who may or may not know a witch from a hole in the ground. There are records, there is accountability, there is opportunity to grow both as ministry and for academics alike.

You too can grow…. if you CHOOSE to.

What it really comes down to is choice. You have it. The scary part is you have always had it, and you let it go… to get further, to make more money, to have more THINGS.

Guess what… those THINGS …. they never made you happy to begin with did they?

MAKE YOUR CHOICE.

It is OK to be LOVED.

It is OK to be HAPPY.

Now that you’ve been reminded, where do you start? You start as with anything in life, research. In day to do day life, referred to as mundania; we do more research into what brand of coffee or tea we buy than what religious house we want to be a part of.

Think about what you would want to know with buying a new home, or taking a new job. All those questions can in some way be applied to place of worship and growth.

CHOOSE to be HAPPY in all areas of life, an you will be.

xposted to affiliated publication Panegyria