April is almost over but I’ve yet to write about the Great Texas Trip. I wouldn’t want any of the terrific people I met out west to think this reflects poorly on them; it’s simply a reflection of the distractions I found when I got home.
The saga starts in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, where I was the guest of Sacred Journey Fellowship. My old friend David Pollard, who was once on the CUUPS board with me and is currently president of CUUPS, is active with this Unitarian Universalist congregation. The Fellowship has been around for many years, and has been known by many names, but in its current incarnation in Garland, Texas, it is unabashedly Earth-centered. I almost wrote unabashedly Pagan, but you know, they say Earth-centered and far be it from me to redefine someone else.
Saturday I presented a daylong workshop that I like to call Propping Up the Magic, all about the use of magical tools. The space was great, and the participants enthusiastic. I’ve done this workshop in much more limited time frames, an hour or two, but it was wonderful doing it over a whole day, much more like what I’d envisioned. It’s intense work.
On the next morning I did the “sermon” at Sacred Journey’s Sunday Service. This one was hard. I talked about Isaac and his legacy. We used a recording of his Hymn to Bridget as an intro; terribly appropriate since Bridget was Isaac’s patroness and is the Fellowship’s patroness for this year. However, hearing him sing is hard for me. I never know quite how I’ll react. This time, as I am wont to do, I cried. Not a great way to start a speech, but I muddled through. Dave P. recorded the talk and put it on the CUUPS podcast.
I had a couple of days off after that, but had to spend part of that time fussing at the hotel chain where I was ensconced. I didn’t travel with my antique, weighty laptop, so was happy to find public computers in the hotel’s business center. One little problem, though; they were running blocking software on it. I tried to access the site for Chrysalis Moon, where I’ll be speaking in July, and found it blocked as an “Alternative Spirituality/Occult” site. Displeased. Tried to access my blog. Blocked: “Alternative Spirituality/Occult”. Very displeased. (I could, however, get into the Council of Magickal Arts website — go figure. Heads up, CMA, apparently you are neither “alternative” nor “occult”. Who knew?)
I immediately shot off a nasty gram to their customer service department, pointing out that “Alternative Spirituality/Occult” people travel for business, too. I have not yet gotten a satisfactory reply, as the local franchisee is trying very hard to weasel out of a “religious discrimination” charge by saying the sites might have been “Social Networking,” which they block (Why, I can’t imagine. If you want to keep your employees off FB, that’s your privilege, but travelers?). However, I do not intend to let the matter drop. “No one else has ever complained,” they said. Well, dear ones, someone is complaining now.
(No, I’m not going to rat out the chain or hotel here, at least not while we’re still in dialog. I will, however, tell all if I can’t get this resolved to my satisfaction.)
That said, the time was otherwise restful. I had a comfy room with a big TV, which was a novelty since I haven’t had television since I left New York state last November. Although after half a year, one thing had not changed — 57 channels and nothing on.
From DFW, I headed down to San Antonio on Tuesday for my workshop Internal Tarot, sponsored by the San Antonio Pagan Alliance. Another one of my favorite workshops, this one looks in detail at the iconography of the Major Arcana, with meditations to develop a relationship with the cards. Again I was gifted with a nice long time slot, and a great roomy space in the community room at Heimdall’s Bridge. Support your local metaphysical shops, folks. They’re a rare breed and you will miss them when they’re gone.
I had time on Wednesday to hang out with Lyssa, my San Antonio host, and to have dinner with Dydan from the SAPA. Had great vegetarian food downtown at Green. They have a garden in the front yard, so I felt right at home. The zucchini tamales were amazing and I don’t remember ever having refried black beans that tasty.
On Thursday, Lyssa drove me down to the last leg of my trip, The Council on Magickal Arts’ Beltane campout. The Hill country was lovely on the drive, even though they are in deep drought. That cast a bit of a pall on the event, since that part of Texas is under a serious burn ban — no candles, no tiki torches, no campfires, no bonfire. But the spirit of the participants more than made up the difference.
I presented my Ritual Participation Skills workshop and managed to
coerce seduce a number of helpers for my Saturday night ritual. I had to do some serious rethinking on it, as it was originally going to be a lead-in to the lighting of the Revel Fire bonfire. Couldn’t do that. So instead, I filked Isaac’s song “Avalon is Rising” to “We’re the Fire Rising” and we became our own celebratory bonfires. It worked, thanks to the many singers, especially the lovely Darwin Prophet and her guitar, who volunteered their talents. I used a lot of Isaac’s music; I hope I did him proud.
And then home.
But I might be back in Texas before too long. Spirit Haven, the CMA land, needs a serious upgrade to their wastewater handling systems (as in, “or else” from county government). CMA stalwarts in Houston are in the early stages of planning a fundraiser for later this year, and I might be on the guest list. Here’s hoping.
But before that, you can catch me at my next stop, the Florida Pagan Gathering Beltane, May 5-8,