The experiment: how well can I serve my Bay Area coven from a small island in the PNW?
CAYA Coven's Wildflower Priest/ess training is really a three-year process. The first Aspirants year is a general education that anyone can take if they wish to learn more about the coven tenents and procedures. At the end of that year, one may say thank you and move on, or be recognized as a Dedicant of the coven. Dedicants may decide to go further down the Priest/ess path by becoming Initiates. At the end of that year, one may ordain or not. If so, one enters the Ordination Service Year. And that's what I'm a couple of months into.
The requirements of OSY seems to have changed over the years, but no matter what they entail, not only is it a fair trade for all of the training for which CAYA asks no fee, it is also necessary to complete them before one may move onward to Advanced Wildflower training. AWT leads to Ordination as a Wildflower High Priestess, and that is one of the required achievements in order to be considered for a seat on the High Council. I am describing this whole process because I had no clue about it when I entered this training, and it may be helpful (or at least interesting) to others. Perhaps I am mapping out my future?
So, how about NOW?
Encouraged by CAYA Coven's recent explorations of various internet options to support our endeavors— as well as insightful conversations with my beloved Wildflower Big Sib, Wishbringer Molly Blue Dawn— spending a few months back in my Heartland home seemed possible. The Distance Aspirants meet monthly, just as the locals do, however their meetings are held online. In fact, more of the CAYA service planning meetings are held online, including those of the High Council. We also have a private G+ clergy group that is very active, and who would even know if I were commenting from SF, the PNW or Timbuktu? And for this service year I am on the new Education and Information track, which mainly generates and disseminates materials that, well, educate and inform! My main commitments to this track are those of stewarding the CAYA Pinterest, CAYA Instagram, and CAYA reddit profiles.
In addition to the various deity cults that I belong to (for my dedications to Ganesha, Hermes and Kuan Yin), I also participate in what is currently a fledgling study group, Beyond the Binary, which may or may not one day become a spiritual affinity group similar to CAYA's two groups, the GreenMen Tribe and the Blood Root Honey Priestess Tribe, which currently offer services to honor men's mysteries and women's mysteries, respectively. For BtB, I steward a monthly events list announcing whatever seems to belong under the banner of Trans*/Pagan, in my very humble opinion. I also post to our blog about events I attend and books I've read, although I'm way overdue on that particular task.
It seems that, via internet, I am able to serve plenty. Pretty fancy, eh?
So reluctantly I made the decision to hook up my forest cabin to the
interwebs. For many years I have appreciated the absence of technology in this rustic
place of personal retreat. No TV, no cell phone reception, no internet.
Just a hand-cranked Victrola and a very very old turntable with a stack
of records from the Take-It-Or-Leave-It. And I rarely use those, as the sounds of the birds and the seals and the wind and the rain— as well as the mesmerizing silences— are music to my ears. It has been blissful disconnecting from the electronic world in this place, and I made the decision with some bit of mourning for the sanctuary I felt. Yet my gratitude is greater, for this small, mild sacrifice is what has made it possible for me to be here and to be there NOW. More accurately, it has expanded my experience of HERE.
Other practices that keep my energies in tune with my Bay Area kin are chanting with Yeshe Rabbit's online sangha and synchronizing my Dark Moon practice with that of Sam Webster's monthly Hermes and Hekate services in Oakland.
I have several trips planned in July, August, and September to attend events and rituals in person. Hooray for convenient travel options!
Meanwhile, I am seeking opportunities to serve my island community. I have been perusing the community boards and speaking with anyone remotely witchy. And Lopez Island has quite a spectrum of heathens lurking, frolicking and sometimes parading about.
I found my first gig at the beach bonfire supper hosted by my friends, Molly and John, of the fine and fancy Celtic Swan Forge. They had prepared a fresh rabbit picadillo and cornbread made with a well-seasoned sourdough starter. As they have been two of the most avid supporters of my journey to Priest/esshood, I offered a Bunny Blessing to the meal, shaking both my medicine rattle made from a rabbit skin and my stuffed poppet rabbit, Pat. John has graciously permitted me to post his photo of the occasion, with which I will close this post: