I’m just back from the Rocky Mountains and am so very thankful I got the chance to go. Before heading up to the land of spring snow, jagged peaks, and non-existent cell service, I had the lucky opportunity to offer a class on Brigid at Goddess Isis Books and Gifts in Denver. One of the many wonderful things about being a Pagan author is the opportunity to see so many beautiful stores. Goddess Isis Books was not only stocked with fantastic, interesting things, but it was packed with people!
I want to thank the staff at Isis Books for giving me space to share my work, as well as all the people who attended! It’s always humbling to see a room full of people freely giving up a spring Saturday afternoon (and a beautiful Spring afternoon it was!) to hear me ramble on.
A special joy was getting to see my friend and fellow-writer Layne. Layne and I went to college together. I used to read her Tarot with my Art Nouveau Tarot Deck (which I call “Old Faithful”) back when I had to flip through a book to figure out the meanings. I got good at Tarot by reading at her parties in exchange for wine. Well..”getting good” is a stretch. I have no idea how good those readings were, but I do know those Tarot nights ended with me face down on her couch. Now, she lives in suburban Colorado with her lovely husband and two adorable boys!
After my time in Denver, I headed up into the mountains with the Auburn Fellows where I was, as they called me, “A Servant for the Servants.” These people are some of the greatest voices for faith and social justice of our time. It was my job to make sure they were happy and comfortable and had plenty of trail-mix. The video below is of Reverend Otis Moss giving me my Fellows Super-Hero name:
One of the things I love about supporting the Auburn Fellows is being in the midst of such a cross-section of faiths. They are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and of course, there’s me: the Witch in the bunch.
We were at the Shambhala Mountain Retreat center which is a Buddhist center. One of the many things this center is known for is their Great Stupa in which an enormous Buddha (easily three stories tall) resides. I had a cold during the trip and had to spend most of my free time snuggled in bed. But on the last evening, I felt strong enough to climb the hills to visit the Stupa. After my visit, a Christian pastor asked about my own Wiccan faith and how that fit in with being at the Buddhist Center. I love those kinds of questions as they make me think a little deeper.
In my faith, my Goddess has Her moments when She may get a little jealous, but She does not have the “You Shalt Not Have Other Gods Before Me” mantra that the Christians have with their God. For them, there can be a bit of a struggle in going to visit the shrine of a different God. For me, it’s rude to not go to visit the locality’s God. It would be akin to staying in someone’s home and not introducing myself to the host. When I visit a new God, I rarely ask for anything. I may bring an offering, or I may just say hello.
My Goddess might encourage me to seek out other Gods if She feels They have something to teach me. I passed through a patch of birch trees on my way to the Stupa. Birch is a tree I personally associate with my Goddess so it confirmed for me that I needed to go visit the Buddha.
This time, I did ask for something. I can’t presume to know if The Buddha liked the “Servant of the Servants,” but I did get what I asked for. For that, I give thanks–to the Buddha, and to being a part of a faith that encourages me to seek wisdom and understanding from different Traditions.
Lastly, a few photos from my time in the mountains. Some of them are from my dorm room window because I was a sicky-poo most of the trip.
Red Rocks, Colorado and their beautiful amphitheater!
And a few more shots from the Shambhala Center: