hursday we went down to the CT Beltaine, I figured that if we left at noon, we’d have plenty of time to set up, whereas Willow figured we should get there at noon- as soon as we were allowed to arrive. My bad. She was right. (I spent the morning working on handouts for workshops and making seedcake for the ritual I was doing. On the way we had to stop for gas, and for bungee cords for the trailer. The kids had totally loaded the night before without me.
We got there around 4 and Jane (who we were sharing food with) was set up near the entrance, but there were at least 10 pop-ups between us and her. So we were almost directly across the field from her (about 200 feet), which ordinarily wouldn’t be a big deal, except that she’d blown out her knee and couldn’t walk well (she did get a cool walking stick from one of the NH merchants though) Luckily it turned out that she could get free food from the vendors, which was right next to her. The view from our tent shows her double pop-ups way down at the other end next to the yellow and white striped roof)
But it was a hike for us to get to the closest privies or classes. I generally left in the morning and didn’t get back until all the classes were over, while the girls sold all day. Once I left my hat behind, used my cell phone to call Willow and she just waded across the river to where the classes were with it for me. (The bridge was all the way up past the beginning of the merchants and then down the other side of the river to get to the class tents.
Oh, and I need to tell you- the electric system to the trailer broke so the lights weren’t working- I figured we should get another, but Willow fixed it- Willow rocks! We ALMOST didn’t need to leave site (it’s kind of a tradition- having to head out to the nearest K-mart for whatever we didn’t think to bring- but that’s where my cool sun hat that is totally covered with gold sequins came from), but we’d stopped on the way in for more propane for the lamps and heater, but no, one of the lamp glass broke, so the kids had to run out first thing Friday morning. They also found Kat a Reanimator Green folding chair- which she needed because her old chair had pretty much died.
The wind was gusty, even if sunny and warm, and I “lost” several of my sculptures. I really need to discover some way to avoid that- they survive traveling just fine, but a gust of wind and a head or hand falls off. (You can see we kept lying them down in this picture of me.) We glue them back together and sell them for half price (frankly I sell more of the half price ones than the full price ones- I wish I could figure out how to afford to sell them at a lower price), but I’ve just gone from getting $10 an hour to $5 an hour- for the time I put in, and as a craftsman who may well put in 50 hours a week, I still don’t end up with a regular income, so I can’t afford that kind of loss. There must be a way to protect them.I did morning rituals on Saturday and Sunday. I was only scheduled for Saturday, but we just decided to meet again for Sunday, and I think I’ll do it again all mornings next year. I do short rituals, and there’s nothing else to do at 8 AM if you wake up as usual. Of course, SOME people are up drumming until 3 AM, so they don’t wake up until much later. I’ve learned to go to bed around 10 when the sales stop.
That is, of course, somewhat of a miss-statement. For the week before the event I’d been going to bed at 2 or later in a desperate attempt to catch up on the interviews coming in for the book; it was playing havoc with my sleep cycle, and I was SO happy to be able to go to sleep at a reasonable hour. Every day I decide (again) that from now on I’m going to bed at 11 at the latest, no matter what’s still to be done, and my luck with that varies.
Let’s see, I gave workshops on Rune Magick on Friday, on Soothsaying Ethics on Saturday, and on Huna Healing on Sunday, as well as one for parents on Teaching your kids to deal with Fairies, Ghosts and other Invisible Friends. When that wasn’t happening I went to workshops! Jane did one on Frey and Freya, on on Mithras and one on Thor and other Thunder gods. I also listened to half of one on Medicinal herbs (I was teaching against the other half) and heard Laurie Cabot speak about the Witches Public Awareness League. Kat watched Jane’s shop so she could go to one on midwifery which looked good (now that the Divine Thunderbolt is off, she’s going full steam ahead on her Folk Medicine book, and had just finished doing the childbirth chapter). Sadly, the lady wasn’t very organized, and some of her information was simply bad- too much feminist spin. I sympathize as I used to believe many of the same myths, but I’ve since learned that while we have to go forward with the best information we have, not to be sure of anything. All facts are potentially revisable.
There was a major “Craft” focus this year. Maxine Sanders was over from England, as well as Laurie coming down from Salem and Gypsy and Richard Ravish coming from Canada (and some fellow who says he channels Alex Sanders- I wonder what Maxine thinks of that?). I have my usual raised hackles at the presumption, or even just the inference, that all pagans are wiccan, but I was pleasantly impressed with Maxine. She was dignified and articulate and very much a gentlewoman. Perhaps it’s because it’s so easy to compare her with people like Laurie Cabot (Gypsy, Selena Fox, etc.) who present like aging ex-hippie activists. I appreciate the benefits that the activism has generated, but I think it’s time to be less confrontational. This leaves me with the challenge of how focus my presentation- of course I have to not only look erudite, but also artistic, so I need to fine tune that. What is clear to me is that I have a much more positive reaction to ladies like Maxine Sanders, and Dorothy Morrison who wear business suits, and have “serious hair” than I do to the ones with long hair and robes. This is probably why I rarely wear my hair down (that and if I’m carrying a purse, the strap gets tangled.) Of course, those ladies also aren’t fat. I doubt I could afford a business suit in my size. And it wouldn’t look as good on me as my skirts and shawls. Good thing I’m an artist. I guess that sometimes I’m an artist and sometimes a speaker (and need more than one set of clothes).
Saturday I went to two workshops, one by a teacher from New York about pagan kids in the mainstream classroom, and another on raising pagan kids. Sadly, Alicia (the Beltaine organizer) is so very into entertainment that all the workshops ended at 3 for the maypole and went straight into the probably ten various concerts. One of the things I like about Beltaine is that there’s a Good Humor truck that comes down at dusk to sell ice cream- it even has bells.
Sunday morning I went to Witches Heal, and one on Tarot (going beyond the spreads), and a forum on where the Craft goes from here. I suppose if you are IN it, that’s all you worry about, but I’m so excited about all the independents and reconstructionists I’m in contact with for the book that I find it easier to feel they should stop being the center of attention.
We had a fun evening Saturday (during the laser show) toasting marshmallows over our gas tent heater with Mockingbird and some other friends. We started packing up on Sunday at 3, but we still didn’t get out until 7, sigh. This is Mockingbird just below, Kat (in her new chair) and me just above- we’d passed the camera around.
And here’s Willow- you can see we attempted to use the propane heater to make s’mores. It was pretty darned cold and the heater was welcome. But not quite up to browning marshmallows.
This is our tent at night. It’s a fuzzy picture but does give the feeling. (It was very clear this weekend, so it got really cold at night.)
Monday was Kat’s birthday which was very low key. She was pretty depressed because she feels she hasn’t accomplished anything with her life (in comparison with other people turning 20). I got her a “geek tag”, Star gave her some Manga, Dan sent her a book on cat healing, and Willow had the favorite- a syringe (no needle) and a copy of the Reanimator movie which also came with a green highlighter shaped like a syringe. We plan to find her green glowsticks to go with the syringe, and she’ll have to photo-shop in the needle for any pictures she does with it.
Travis and Marie came over (with little Alex), and gave her a copy of a Lovecraftian ABC, and she and Willow went out to lunch. I made an angel food cake, which is still partially uneaten.
Travis loaned us a copy of Happily Never After, which was a lot better than I’d expected. (the Cinderella story, but she ends up with the scullery boy, Red Riding Hood stays eaten, and Rumplestilskin kept the baby. We haven’t been watching much, we got one of those bottlenecks in the Netflix cycle, and I’ve been on the computer almost constantly- as I buckle down to complete the book.
I have decided that I do have to throttle back some- for one thing I’m getting some soreness in my wrist and thumb etc. I checked out the ergonomically designed keyboards like Joanna had, but even the less expensive version was $70, so I’ve got a rolled up towel under my wrist, and figure I should restrict my computer time to no more than 8 hours a day (as opposed to 18, which no doubt precipitated this). Another thing is that I’m now technically “on” 185 Yahoo groups- from Pagan Ferret Fanciers to Black Heathens. I lost track of the bills, and the power got turned off and we had to get it turned on again. (apparently a batch of the bills I wrote last month never made it to the mailbox- I wonder where they went). I’d better spend at least some time on cleaning every day. I also want to spend at least an hour a day in the garden- it’s so beautiful.
Books I’m reading now include How Doctors Think, which is really fascinating, also Love Medicine and Miracles, an old one by Bernie Seigal on the body/mind/emotion collection, and Elves Wights and Trolls, which is about the way heathens perceive the invisible world.
Star and I picked up the Dave Barry book Big Trouble, because we enjoyed the movie so much, and he enjoyed it so much he read it through. My mother’s mind of course is trying to figure out what other books he might enjoy. I understand reading for pleasure, and was always confused by his not doing it. Of course, considering what I read for pleasure, one has to admit that there is a huge variety in what people like to read.
I’m also trying to get more exercise. We were able to walk further up Pinnacle Road the other day- the road crew has gotten to the Herrick Pinnacle corner. Boy, the road repairs are going to be going on for a long time. There is huge damage further up Pinnacle. I’d had no idea. They finished repairing the stretch of 101, and so aren’t diverting traffic through Wilton anymore- and have taken down the temporary traffic light. I have so much admiration for the road crews.
Kat has been getting really upset about some jerk(s) on the SCA guild who are getting all nasty about the use of the term “mundane”, which I never liked, but which came into common parlance, so there’s not much we can do about it, and the term “muggle” which some people seem to have adopted for non-SCAers as well as non-magickal folks. Now I reserve the label “muggle” for the kind of person who refuses to accept the reality of magick in the face of evidence showing that it is real, as opposed to anyone who isn’t a witch or a Wiccan or an SCAer. I know it’s a natural human reaction to want to be able to organize the world into “us and them”, but it’s not always the most advantageous way of looking at the world. The sad part is, when I see Kat getting so upset, I see myself at the same age. I remember how I bought into the feminist propaganda, and all the other things I have gotten riled about over the years. A log time ago I came up with the definition of maturity as being tired. People who act “mature” are the people who don’t have the energy to try to do “everything”, to fight every battle, to oppose every wrong, or even to “party hearty”. I’m sure that’s why Willow got mature so fast- she didn’t have the option to expend the energy that other teenagers had. Mature equates to lack of energy. And I’ve feeling SO mature these days. Poor Kat infers that we disapprove of her allocation of that much emotional energy to these injustices, I think it’s more jealousy.
Oh, and if you have 6 minutes (and however long your computer would take to load this) this is the link to a very good speech by a young lady about the need for action to protect the environment. She is so right- if there’s no future where they can continue to function, what do our other accomplishments mean?
I still get upset every time I watch TV and see those medical ads. Take a pill for heartburn, take a pill to sleep, take a pill for your allergies (and here’s one in chewable form for your two year old), take a pill for a problem that might come up later, (but god forbid you should actually change your lifestyle). (says the woman who’s typing on the computer even though it hurts) And then there’s the use this poison on your lawn, you may lower your immune system, but you won’t have dandelions, use this once a month poison on your dog to reduce fleas even though it may cause irritation and lead to later serious medical problems, take this monthly pill rather than the weekly one because you are too flipping busy to take the time to take three pills. I am constantly amazed at the disrespect shown the American public. I am also appalled at the lack of ability of most people to make a reasoned decision.
I could blither on further, but I’m going to be good and send this off now.
By the way, it would be nice to hear from you occasionally. What have you been up to?
“The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients, and by parts.” Edmund Burke