By PAT HARTMAN
Third Degree Wiccan Priestesses like to recount their experiences, too, which is lucky for all of us. As Lady Branwenn WhiteRaven, a.k.a. Paula Jean West, says:
I love being a Pagan travel writer on the Internet. I’ve always wanted to take everyone with me on my travels and now I can…. Doing travel writing for our community and for all the earth-centered, eco-conscious communities has become one of the best things that ever happened to me.
WhiteRaven has Examined a long series of events, every one of which sounds absolutely fascinating. She is also responsible for the exhaustively complete Pagan Festival Schedule 2009-2010. She says the number of Pagans worldwide doubles every year and a half, so we will be seeing more of these festivals, and more attendees. The planet abounds with various kinds of Pagans, including Discordians, Druids, Shamans, Kabbalah people, and Asatru (the Norse).
Patti Wigington, another Third Degree High Priestess and tarot card reader, gives a hand up to neophytes with a series of “Pagan Travel 101” guides to matters of festival etiquette. “Don’t throw anything into a ritual fire unless you are specifically invited to do so,” is a standard of civilized paganfest behavior. And because local laws vary, and you don’t want to get the event organizers fined or jailed, “Pay attention to rules regarding nudity.” Also Wigington warns us that, unless you are specifically invited, it’s very uncool to pick up or touch another person’s magical tool. Their, uh, wand, for instance, or their athame, which is a ritual knife carried by a witch. All good, practical advice.
Overcoming some local opposition, Dover, Delaware, recently hosted the Delmarva Pagan Pride Festival, organized by Ivo Dominguez Jr. and sponsored by The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel. (Delmarva, by the way, is a peninsula that includes parts of three different states. How odd.) Bell, Book and Candle, a shop specializing in candles, books and bells, posted some very nice pictures of this event, which appears to be in a city park and everyone seems to be having a very pleasant time. The Pagans of Delmarva and the travelers who arrived for the occasion enjoyed the drum circle and the kids’ activities, as well as the live music and the words of the teachers who came to discuss esoteric spiritual matters.
“Sacred Sites of England” is not a festival, but a tour that people can pay to join up with. We don’t know the proprietors, although they both practice fascinating specialties. Karen Rae Wilson’s credentials include the titles of Celtic Mystic, Peace Troubadour, Wisdom Keeper, Shaman and Catalyst for Social Change. Paddy Baillie is a sacred sound healer who works through the medium or instrument of singing bowls made from clear quartz crystal.
We like the Sacred Earth Journeys site because it provides a neat capsule description of why each and every destination on their list is a meaningful place, from the spiritual/historical point of view. Somerset for example is “considered the legendary heart center of the world,” and West Kennet Longbarrow is the entrance to the earth’s womb. Getting up close and personal with Mother Earth, here. One blogger complains of visiting there only to be given the hairy eyeball by pagans who were conducting a ceremony, but that’s understandable. They seem to generally be a pretty friendly bunch.
Avalon is where the Lady of the Lake hung out, and Chalice Well runs with healing waters. The itinerary includes numerous holy stones, and three different sites frequented by King Arthur, namely Glastonbury Abbey and the castles known as Cadbury and Tintagel.
But this tour is not just about seeing sights. It’s about empowerment, which is stimulated by the Grail Initiation Ceremony, and it’s about finding the Sacred Feminine and Sacred Masculine tucked away within the traveler’s own identity. Remember the novelist Kurt Vonnegut’s word “karass,” the group of people you’re cosmically, karmically linked with? There’s an old Celtic phrase for that, the “Anam Cara.” The idea here is, signing up for this kind of tour might be a good way to connect with soul friends and kindred spirits. Well, that happens on all the best journeys, doesn’t it? Otherwise, why bother?
We are, of course, soliciting reader opinion on recommended sacred sites.