The Scarlet Letter
The cat looked lost wandering around the big empty house. The children were forlorn saying goodbye to their teachers and friends. I realized how long the eighteen years I had lived in Austin really was, and how many people I care about that I was leaving behind. It was a melancholy day.
No way around it. Time to go. My mother had always said, “Be careful what you ask for, for you shall surely get it.” Don’t you hate it when your mother turns out to be right?
I cried and railed at the Gods. Can I undo it? Was this really a good idea? Am I just frightened of the unknown?
And the Gods said… No, because you keep your oaths, especially the ones you make to yourself. What is good or bad? This was what you chose and have been choosing for a long time. You can stop being afraid any time. The sacrifices have already been made.
I thought back to all the statements of intent that brought me to this place. Since I was a little girl I had been saying – I am going to build my own house like my grandparents did, and grow my own food. Since my early twenties I had been insisting—I will live fully by my values as a pagan, conserving the environment, and in magickal space. I will sustain the divine community I experience at gatherings and events.
From my early thirties I had been shouting—I am going to work for myself to create resources by doing something I love. I will function in a creative way of integrity, offering service to my spiritual community. I could do all these things if I just had some money and the right partner. I said these things fervently and repeatedly to my friends and family, to the Goddess, and to myself as I fell asleep at night as the full moon shone in the window.
August 2000 it was my thirty-fifth birthday, significantly the beginning of my fifth seven year life-cycle. I had worked four years at a high tech job for stock options that yielded a chunk of money when I ‘retired’ exhausted and frustrated. Now I had the time to rest and evaluate what to do next.
For more than ten years I had been attending, organizing, doing logistics, marketing, workshops and rituals for magickal events. I had a strong devoted relationship with my Beloved Jonathan, who shared my dreams and values, could do anything he set his mind to, and had twice my courage to undertake a new adventure.
We attended FIREDANCE in California in the middle of August, which was quite unlike any event I had been to before. There was intense focus on the alchemical work of transforming the lead in us, into gold. There were magicians and shamans of tremendous talent to facilitate and support this work with structure, drums, voices and energy. I immersed myself in the brightness, danced the fire, chanted, and prayed.
“Maiden, I know that I am at a turning place. Mother, what do I do now? Crone, show me the path and I will follow it. I swear that I will sacrifice whatever I must to manifest my True Will and make my dreams come true. I know that this is the time. Help me now.”
I heard a soft ‘snick’ as all the links of the long chain of effort and intent softly snapped together. I saw a bright flare of fire sparks as the metal was tempered. I pulled my new golden tool from the fire and plunged it hissing into spiritual water to cool, and went to bed, sore and cold from dancing late into the night.
We took the long way home to see the Grand Canyon, and then drove South through the high desert of Arizona. We had powerful dreams and talk, consumed with our experiences at FIREDANCE and the beauty of the desert around us. In late September we were back purchasing 40 acres where we would live and have a fire circle some day. The Gods didn’t approve of my project plan schedule and pounded on both Jonathan and me relentlessly in our dreaming and waking. By November we knew we had to move to the land and begin the work right away or we would not have any peace.
At the end of January 2001, we were packed and driving away from Austin towards our dream, Arizona, and the unknown. We arrived just in time for Candlemas, which I celebrate again today by building the first fire in our new wood stove and by writing this reflection.
It has been hard work, but I am gratified to observe how much of our intent has already manifested. We have with our own hands built a geodesic dome home. It is wood stove heated and mostly solar powered. It brings the power of living in a round space into our lives. Imagine being in magick circle all the time! We have our own well, greenhouse, and a baby orchard. We cleared and worked a beautiful fire circle last summer. I am currently working a second year as the registrar for FIREDANCE, giving back to that community which was such a key part of the amazing changes in our lives. I cannot wait to be back in that space again this August to re-energize our work here.
Most importantly we are now organizing and hosting our own events. We have formed Animated Human Productions and will be facilitating a series of open fire circles, and two long weekend events, a Silence Retreat and DesertFyre. All that remains is for those of you who are inspired by our story, or are curious to experience this magick, to come and visit us online and in person. We are a little off the beaten path, but the beauty and magick of this place is incredible.
Animate Yourself! Come participate in the divine ritual dance. Help us build the creative spiritual life and magickal community the Gods have shown us. Come enjoy some darn good events.
Always in motion…