|Tempest, circa 1999, photo by Anja Page|
I'm not even sure how I managed to do it all.
In 1998, I formed a student group at RISD for Pagans. There was interest at Brown, just up the hill, and since we did have some crossover clubs, it was opened up to those students. Then students from other local colleges wanted to come (RICC, URI, Bryant, Johnson & Wales, etc), so sure, the more the merrier. Then folks who were college-age, but not in college or recently graduated wanted to come. And once you get past that point, you might as well open it up to anyone. And so the Cauldron of Annwyn Pagan Society came into existence. It became the largest open-path Pagan group in New England not associated with a church until it was disbanded at the end of 2001 (coinciding with my move to California.) During that time, we had regular weekly and monthly meetings, rituals for esbats and sabbats, trips up to Salem, MA, held lighted labyrinths at Samhain in downtown Providence, organized the first RI Pagan Pride Day, and so forth. We worked with the print and TV news media to present Paganism in a positive light, and offered workshops and community outreach.
I also taught metaphysical classes, and built a tradition, forged from my own background and those I worked closely with. I built a website to document it all and help others find their own paths.
And I was the Associate Editor of Crescent Magazine: A Pagan Publication of Art, Philosophy, & Belief - which involved writing, illustrating, curating, editing, and working with the business end of things. Through that, I attended the Pagan Leaders Summit in Bloomington, IN - which was an amazing event - I believe myself and the editor were the youngest folks in attendance.
I attended Starwood, Caduceus Rising, CUUPS Convocation, and other Pagan events/gatherings throughout New England and the Northeast.
All of this on top of finishing college, being married, working several jobs, and learning bellydance!
When I moved to California, I encountered a different sort of community. Where Pagans in New England were dealing with a much more conservative/traditional environment, West Coast Pagans enjoyed more social acceptance in a relatively more progressive and culturally diverse region.
The more time I spent in the Bay Area, the more my overall personal focus shifted. I missed my East Coast family/friends (and you can never really go back). I was putting a lot more energy into my dancing and design, and I sadly burned out on working for the magazine. Everything else I had in me went to making ends meet and trying to maintain balance in my relationships. I didn't feel I had anything else to contribute or anything more to give. My spiritual path went from being very public to very internal and private - sometimes bringing elements into my dancing and on occasion helping out others with ritual and spellcraft.
In the last few years, my life began to shift again and taking root in a whole new way. I've been inspired to create so much artwork and have changed much of my outlook on dance. I look back at all of the information squirreled away on my website, and found there is much to share - as well as add to. And so I have started this blog to share all of that information, thoughts, musings, and feelings...it's a new beginning.