For the few of you that may have been curious, I was using those magickal rituals to create the biggest pentacle in the history of the United States!
Pentacle Point 5: The Self
Sacred Plant(s): cannabis, fungi, henbane, mandrake
Alone in a field on the border between North and South Dakota, I dropped the fifth and final letter of Her Sacranomen and offerings of all four sacred plants. I dropped it for the Self. For the Will. And for both the Dreams that I am living now and those I have yet to explore.
Welp, the tour ended and I am finally home! The last few stops (Philly, NY, Salem MA, and Odgen UT, proved most lovely!
Being in NY was great (though draining)- getting to see family and friends, and especially skating with NYSE! I left my camera in NY when I went to Philly, so I don't have any photos. Maybe someone who was there can send me some. When they do, they will be posted!
Salem was wonderful for a host of reasons - first, just walking around town and taking in all the old buildings and atmosphere. I stayed the night with Jenn and Stark, who after the talk took me out for pumpkin beers (#basicwitch) and "chowda!" The bar featured this HUGE neon witch on the wall!
Back to their place for an evening of sitting on the roof patio and enjoying a full moon! That morning I woke up and walked down to the bay with Stark to take pictures and perform the Fourth Point of my pentacle across the US ritual (see below!).
And as always, driving across the country with stops in STL and Kalamazoo, on the way to Ogden to see good friends, is always a heart-warming experience. I was even able to stop by Gillette, WY, for an impromptu derby clinic. I had just driven about 12 hours getting to my buddy's place in Gillette. As I am pulling into his driveway he comes walking out the garage door and asks if I want to go to a derby practice. What could I say other than Yes? When I arrived, the captain asked if I wouldn't mind running the practice! So from driving for about two days straight - STL to North Dakota (to complete the ritual!), North Dakota to Gillette - I went right into derby mode and ran an edge-work and strategy practice for Coal Miner's Daughters Derby.
The talk at N.O.X was full! Afterwards, a bunch of us went back to the place I was staying for some pumpkin beers, good cheers, and to sign the costume! A great way to end two months on the road!
Till next time!
Pentacle Point 4: Family
Sacred plant: henbane
In Salem, MA, I drop the fourth letter of Her Sacranomen. I drop it for family. Family has come to mean more than just biological relations for me. Family is comprised of those who are willing to share your struggles, and believe in your Life, your Dreams, and your Will. Family does not judge as it guides.
I consider myself fortunate to have family spread out across the globe. Every time I venture into the unknown, far from home, I am reminded of how large my family has grown.
For family, I drop the fourth letter of Her Sacranomen, an offering of henbane, a feather, and a song of thanks for those family members that never stopped supporting my endeavors
Sacred plant: Fungi
Offering: shell and water
Quote: “You are who you walk with.”
- Frank Amendola
When I think about what the word “friend” I am reminded of how lucky I am to have surrounded myself with truly beautiful human beings in life. Our paths may lead us into different areas of both light and darkness, and yet we remain true to each other and supportive as we move along the fabric of time. To watch the people I used to do the dumbest stuff with grow into the extraordinary people they have become has been a blessing. To watch my derbyfriends consistently get better and better in the pursuit of our shared passion has inspired me. To watch my magickal friends mold the realities of their lives has made my life all the richer.
So, for my lifelong buddies that I grew up with; for my derbyfriends who have helped me grow into the person I am; and to my magickal friends who keep me firmly on the path towards my true Will, I offer a shell and water from the South Pacific, psilocybin, and the third letter of Her sacranomen.
Well it's taken a minute to get to a place where I have reliable internet access. But I've also felt lazy these last few days after all the driving, so I guess everything aligned nicely in that way. This post is going to be more pictures than words cause it's essentially fitting the last leg of the first half of the tour into it.
From Austin I drove to Houston to see my derbyfriends and even got to attend practice with Houston Men's Derby, a team that grew out of the (sadly) now defunct Hardwood Rollers.
A quick drive up to Dallas found me at Bubastis Oasis where Hattie received me warmly. The talk went well and the audience was stellar! Tony (Hattie's husband) even gifted me an original painting he had done! They let me crash at their place where I was able to eat the best mashed potatoes this side of reality. Also, since in my total daze that I left Los Angeles in I had forgotten to acquire the MUCH NEEDED element of water needed to perform my ritual in the south east! Thankfully, Hattie had a sea shell from SoCal and some ritual water as well, which she gifted me for use.
I drove and drove until I finally hit New Orleans. I had heard stories about how truly beautiful their Oasis was - and how! Walking into their temple, I was floored by the amount of detail that went into the place. It had that old-style Victorian 1900s feel to it that tickles my aesthetic chakra immensely! To top it all off, Sophia, the Alombrados events coordinator, happened to have an extra projector laying around. Mine had crapped out back in California, so I was a little uneasy about not having it as a backup. My worries were assuaged by Sophia's kindness :)
Plus - I got to use a quill to autograph books! How cool is that?!?!
I left New Orleans the next morning and headed for Nashville. I'd never been there before and was dying to enjoy a night on the town. Buuuuttttt there was a problem. Nashville was too far inland to perform the third part of my ritual! I ended up driving a total of 12 extra hours (6 there, 6 back to Nashville) to perform the ritual in a small town called Aiken, about 2 hours east of Atlanta (will post that update soon). Then back in car to drive to Nashville, where *another* flash flood warning loomed over head. Apparently, this storm had followed me from Austin to New Orleans and then to Tennessee. Since I had to drive the extra miles to Aiken, I was exhausted after I finished my talk. Still, I hung around for a second talk by a person named Brent, who spoke on the "threshold" of magick (to put it *very* mildly). I still haven't really organized all my thoughts on that, but plan to post something when I do. Jesse, a member of the Obeah and Wanga camp offered me crash space with him and his partner Morgan. I think I slept for something like ten hours! I woke up, made my coffee, and drove the 13 hours to NY. While here I was able to set up two talks in the city and another one in Salem for the (not so) ride back to Portland!!
With an hour of sleep behind me I made the 5 and a half hour drive to Phoenix. Arriving at GothSam's house, I threw even more coffee down my throat and we drove to Changing Hands Bookstore. The lack of sleep didn't bother me ... yet. Once I get going, I tend to do okay. We arrived at the bookstore and I was floored by the attendance! Every seat was filled, and more people were coming in! The events coordinator had to open the doors between the two conference rooms to accommodate everyone. At this point, the lack of sleep, food, and crowd overwhelmed me. Five minutes before showtime I went into the bathroom and cried. Utter tears of joy, mind you, but they just poured out of me uncontrollably. I had never been so tired, hungry, and happy in my life :)
Afterwards we (GothSam, Johnny, and Zelda) got some amazing burgers and beers. Zelda and I went back to her place and, while I did my best to stay up and catch up with her, was knocked out cold by the food and drinks. I passed out around 8:30 pm and slept until about that same time, am, Sunday. Zelda took off for work and I took off for the 6 hour drive to Albuquerque. Due to five different construction teams on the highway I was an hour late to Blue Eagle (where I was giving my talk), so I didn't have time for pictures or anything. It was getting late and I thanked everyone who stuck around, despite my tardiness. Got in my car and drove towards Austin, where I would be speaking at Scarlet Woman the next night.
I crashed in "Farwell" New Mexico, which is right on the border of that state and Texas. I didn't realize that I had parked in a freight train yard parking lot and was woken up almost every hour by loud train whistles going off! So, again, no sleep. Woke up at 8 and started the rest of the drive to Austin, which took waaaayyyyyyy longer than googlemaps had indicated it would. In retrospect, had I not gotten three hours of drive-time behind me, I would never have made it to Scarlet Woman on time.
We had expected a low turnout due to flash flood warnings that night (safety first!). With that in mind, and weary from the road, I walked into the venue and perked up when I saw a dozen folks there! I thanked them all profusely for braving the weather to hear my stuff! Gave my talk, and then went out for burgers and beers (yes, again!) with one of the attendees, Hunter. Got to my car, and crashed out for 12 hours.
The most ambitious part of the tour, four talks in four cities, in four states, was over. I did it! Next stop, Dallas!
Had a hectic start to the morning when I woke up to check out my laptop and saw that it had crapped out over the night! Kasey, who was hosting me, didn't have one - so no backup. My worries were assuaged when Raf told me that he had someone who could bring one for me to use!
Kasey and I left for the presentation in La Crescenta a little early to enjoy the most unbelievably delicious cream of corn soup (the name of the place escapes me - sorry!)
We then drove to Star Sapphire, but couldn't find the door into the Lodge! LA is the only place I've ever been (to my knowledge) where they have "halfs" for some addresses - meaning an address can be "9 1/2 Maple Street" for example. So, looking between two doors, oddly - like REALLY oddly - the 1/2 door just sort of appeared. We both did a doubletake - "was that door there a minute ago?" I asked.
Rafael met us just outside and took us through the magickal 1/2 door, down a corridor that led to a set of stairs going into the basement. The Lodge was beautiful inside! I have really come to love the esoteric art and ancient Egyptian motifs that adorn every OTO lodge!
I was supposed to start at 2 pm, and when that time rolled around I got a little nervous - no one was there. I felt a little embarrassed about it - over the amazing corn soup I had mentioned to Kasey how excited and happy I was that so many people were taking an interest in my work; and there I stood in front of an empty room.
My worries were for not, as little by little folks trickled into the room. Before I knew it, the room was filled! Only two seats remained empty by the time I started! :)
I have to keep remembering to not automatically default to the worst possibility (no one is coming) instead of the less extreme (maybe folks are just running a little late - after all, traffic in LA is rather (in)famous! The crowd was very responsive and I realized that I just have to trust in what I'm doing.
Lessons were certainly learned!
After the talk Kasey and I got some sangrias and went out dancing at some club in Chinatown that featured this interesting form of 1960s French porno-pop music where we were joined by Rachael, Dutchess, and Tui who bring such a positive energy to every place they go! We closed out the bar and went back to Kasey's place for some atari and pick-up-sticks. We were having such a good time that before we knew it, it was 5 am - and I had to leave for Phoenix at 7! Too excited by the turnout and the great night that followed, I barely slept for more than about 20 minutes. Shoveling a vat of espresso down my throat, I got into my car and drove to Phoenix on almost no sleep. No big thang - derby has truly made me ready for the road!
Sacred Plant: Mandrake
Offering: Reptile tooth
Quote: "I'll remember the way that you saved me, now that I'm standing on my own."
When I think "community," only one word comes to mind: "derby." Surrounded as I am by constant empowerment, sorority, and love it is easy to become insular and forget the biases against women in the larger sporting world. Stepping onto that world even briefly, I am reminded that not all people share my perspectives (i.e., I don't really care what a gold medalist's husband does for a living).
But I choose to just let the derby community speak for itself and continue to redefine what athleticism means. I need not tell anyone anything; the women of derby show the world exactly what we are all about every time they step onto the track.
My decade-long experiences as a part of the roller derby Community have been the greatest years of my life. I have grown the most and met extraordinary people that I would not have encountered had I lived an ordinary life. Hell - even as I write this I am in Arizona, not sleeping in my car, but comfortable and cool in my derbyfriend's house.
In that sense, I am never "standing on my own." :)
Anyway, back in Los Angeles, for my Community, the roller derby Community, the home in my heart no matter where I am, I dropped the second letter of her Sacranomen, an offering of mandrake, and the tooth of a reptile.
May the roar of roller derby echo for all time.
Sacred Plant: cannabis
Offering: Blood, Sweat, Tears
Quote: "I don't think of myself as a poor, depraved ghetto girl who made good. I think of myself as somebody who from an early age knew she was responsible for herself - and I had to make good."
Here I drop the first letter of Her sacranomen; I drop it for my homeland. In this age when we can communicate anything, I choose to communicate love over misguided animosity.
It is easy to point a finger at a politician, or a candidate, or anyone really, and say that that is the root of the problem. I choose instead to point my finger only at myself, and remain aware of what I might be doing, no matter how small, to contribute to national divisiveness. In this way, and this way only, can personal shortcomings be corrected.
I choose to embody the classical liberal pluralism for which this nation was founded - even if it were conceived by imperfect humans, which we all are.
I choose to live by the dream that so many, who risk everything to come here, are hoping to share in. I choose to live by the individuality that strong, empowered people like Oprah shaped their lives by. It's not about where you come from in this country. It is what you choose to make of yourself. She made her life what it is, and she did it starting off with less than most of us have; I therefore have no excuse.
So, for my country, I drop the first letter of Her sacranomen, an offering of cannabis, and the only thing I have to give - drops of my blood, sweat, and tears.
May we all live by what we stand for.