Thursday, October 16, 2008

October Gathering

(Evine in my living room during the Gathering. You can see one of the wooden Old Mermaids and Michelle Hoffman's gorgeous painting, Refugio.)

We didn't have the Gathering here last year because we were in D.C. So it was nice to have the gals back here. I made rice and two different dals. I used the berber spice we'd made at Spicy Saturday in one dal. In the yellow dal, I used some garam masala I made quite a while ago. I put turmeric, a whole clove, and seaweed in with the brown rice.

About fifteen women came. Linda's sister Ruth and her cousin Dee joined us, which was great. The best part of the evening was that Serena showed up! What a great surprise. All night I missed Linda. Missed her and felt angry that she was dead. I don't like death. It sucks. I don't care if it's "a part of life." It's the last part.

Anyway, it was potluck, so there was lots of food. We did ceremony. First I turned off the lights. I drummed slowly, and we called out the names of those who have died this year and others who have died and become our ancestors over the years. After that, we each held a piece of ice and said outloud (or to ourselves) what we wanted to let go of this year. (Remember, Hallows is New Year's Eve for pagans/witches.) After we said what we wanted to release, we dropped the melting ice into a bowl.

Next, we each held onto a seed. I passed around a plate with dirt on it. We each said what seed we'd like to plant for our new year. Then I poured the water from the melting ice over the seeds. The burdens we leave behind became compost for the new year. (Later I would take all of it out to our compost.)

Then we toned together. It wasn't very loud. They didn't seem very enthusiastic about it. One thing I've learned over the years of facilitating ceremony is that unless people are used to either singing or participating regularly in ceremony/ritual, they have a great deal of trouble making noise—they have trouble speaking up and speaking out. I don't understand it since I've always had a big mouth. But I do believe we all got to find our voices one way or another.

After the Gathering, several people stayed to watch our tape of the debate. Mario and I finished cleaning up, doing the laundry, and working on Church of the Old Mermaids while our guests watched TV.

I didn't get to sleep until 3:00 a.m. Not because the women stayed that late. I just couldn't chill out. The hamster on the wheel kept going on and on and on. Like a crazy woman.

Except for the crazy woman who showed up at the end of the night, it was a fine day.

(Some of the Gathering gals, including Linda's sister Ruth who is showing Thelma photos of her family.)

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