Workshops and New Friends

Tuesday, 7/31/18

Today is a brief break from the incredibly full and rich activities here at beautiful Lake Atitlan in the heart of Guatemala. The past three days have been intense, and I haven’t had a free moment to check my email and FaceBook, or write in this journal. In addition to Dona and me, a dozen guests showed up for the weekend. Amazing people, every one! Saturday I did a 3-hour presentation in two-parts on “Awakening into Quantum Consciousness.” Sunday we held a ceremony of Awakening in Carolina’s beautiful Temple of Illumination (see photo). And yesterday (Monday) Carolina, Maia, Baba John and I hiked and climbed to the top (1,892m) of the nearby mountain, Cerro de Oro (“Mountain of Gold”), also called “The Elephant,” to see a Mayan altar and spectacular views over the Lake. Tomorrow we’re going across the lake in a boat to visit with some of the participants of the past weekend, receive some body work, and do shamanic journeying with ayahuasca. I’ll catch you all up as best I can…

Ceremony in the Temple of Illumination

A Day of Rest

Saturday, 7/28/18

Today is the big day, and the reason I was brought here to Guatemala–my weekend seminar on “Awakening into Quantum Consciousness.” People start arriving in 2 hours, and there is much to set up and prepare…

Yesterday was so beautiful–perfect temperature, quiet and peaceful. Dona and I went swimming in the lake, and laid around on the grass watching the clouds.

Guatemala – Lake Atitlan

Thursday, 7/26/18

A lot in the past few days! I’ll try to catch up…

Dona and I spent all day Tuesday flying down to Guatemala City, where our host, Carolina, had told us she’d be putting us up for the night at her mother’s place. She picked us up at the airport as soon as we’d cleared customs, and took us for a late dinner at a local restaurant Pinche where she knew the people. We got there just minutes before closing. After a delicious dinner Carolina took us to her mom’s—which turned out to be a fabulous luxury green hotel—Terra Esperanza—in the middle of town! Our room was one of three on the 7th floor, with a big common sitting room and wide balcony overlooking the city. We were rather blown away, but the best was yet to come…

Yesterday morning we met for breakfast in the hotel’s café/restaurant Kardamomuss, with Carolina’s mother and sister, both named Lucrecia, and her utterly charming 8-year-old daughter Maia. A beautiful statue of Madre Esperanza graced the center of the restaurant. Esperanza means “hope,” which is the major theme of the whole family, and the name of the hotel. The name of the restaurant referenced Cardamon, an incredibly healthy spice locally-produced from seeds that is claimed to be “a panacea for every illness or medical disorder.” Dona and I agreed this was probably the best breakfast we’d ever had in our lives!

Carolina’s mother told us that the property had originally been a family farm where her husband had grown up. They’d met at the age of 14, married at 18, and had 40 happy years before he died suddenly in front of her of a heart attack, 14 years ago. During their time together, they’d built this amazing “green” hotel/residence/office building, all with local labor and materials.

Lucrecia (the mother) gave us the grand tour, from the swank swimming pool with all-around floor-to-ceiling windows, the well-equipped gym, spa, and healing facilities, to the rooftop garden that could have been a lovely landscaped back yard until you looked beyond the border flowers to the city all round and far below. Several major volcanoes were visible on the horizon, including one called Fuego (“fire”) that had famously erupted last month, much like Pompei, sending pyroclastic flows down the slopes that killed a number of people. They were still cleaning up ash from the eruption. A news report said:

Eruption of Fuego
June 4, 2018: A volcano southwest of Guatemala City has erupted for the second time in five months, sending a deadly plume of super-heated rock and gas into the rural communities below. At least 65 people have been killed, but the death toll is expected to rise.

When the Fuego volcano erupted in February, it produced a one-mile-high plume of ash, but yesterday’s eruption was of a different sort. On Sunday afternoon, the 12,346-foot-tall mountain erupted, hurtling a column of ash a full 3.7 miles into the sky. The explosion also triggered a deadly pyroclastic flow—a hot, fast-moving plume of rock and gas—that engulfed farms, streets, cars, and entire homes at the bottom of the southern slope.

The Fuego volcano is located about 25 miles south of Guatemala City. In 2012, the volcano triggered an evacuation of 10,000 residents, and in 2015 it forced an airport closure. This is the deadliest eruption in Guatemala since 1902, when the Santa Maria volcano killed thousands of people.

After the tour of “mom’s place,” Carolina, Maia, Dona and I ran a few errands around the city, visited an art gallery, and hit the road for the 3-hour drive to Lake Atitlan where we’d be staying at the La KzonA eco-resort. During the ride we were engaged with Maia’s wit and intelligence in running word games, mostly between her and me, regarding who (or what) we’d accept as students in my Wizard School. We even had a competition of  wicked laughs and mad cackles, which Maia won hands-down with an uncanny impression of the cackle of the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz. We stopped at a market to pick up food and supplies, where a total stranger named Lily came up to me, saying I reminded her of Jesus, and lamenting to Dona that she wished she could have a boyfriend like me. She gave Carolina her phone number, and invited us to come visit her. Maia said it was good we had tinted windows on the car, or there’s be a crowd of women chasing after me!

After harrowing encounters with buses and trucks on the narrow and sometimes unpaved road, we finally arrived at Cerro de Oro, the tiny lakeside village near the resort in Lake Atitlan. Lake Atitlan is a caldera lake and what remains of the original volcano are three semi-dormant volcanoes: Toliman, Atitlan and San Pedro. It was after dark as we were shown the lovely stone cottage right on the lake where we’d be staying. Carolina even set us up with WiFi so we could do email, FB, and catch up on Rachel Maddow and Steven Colbert.

This morning I made omelets, we took a wade in the clear lake, and I caught up on my email, FB, and writing this journal. Carolina picked us up around 1:00 to take us to the little farm in Santiago where she, Maia, and her husband David live. Dave is back in the States this month, and Carolina had to supervise the avocado harvest, but Maia proudly showed us all around, introducing us to her horses, ducks, dogs and peacocks—and to her father’s beautiful free-form sculpted and painted adobe that comprise their rooms, temple, and other structures.

Afterwards we stopped at the market in Santiago to get a few items, and then we climbed aboard one of the two main forms of public transportation: a pick-up truck (flete) with high sides around the bed where people stood all packed together and hung on for dear life. Although this is supposed to be the rainy season here, it hasn’t rained yet all summer, and isn’t expected to during our stay. But on the way, a sudden downpour would have drenched us, but the driver tossed up a big blue tarp, which I caught (being in the front left corner of the bed), and everyone spread over us all. We got off at the Charismatic Catholic Church Carolina had shown us earlier, and her guardian/groundskeeper Manuel met us and walked us home.

And so ends our first day at Lake Atitlan…

Packing and Movies

Monday, 7/23/18

I watched the news today…oh boy! Fires raging in Yosemite and San Marcos; the east coast flooding; lethal temperatures skyrocketing in the southwest (here in Austin today it peaked at 109 degrees); buildings collapsing; boats sinking; drownings; mass shootings… And Rump is stripping security clearance from all the Intelligence people who are exposing his traitorous collusion with Russia. Damn!

Our plane leaves at 2:28 tomorrow afternoon. Glad we’re going away for a month to a nice safe tropical paradise surrounded by active volcanoes…

We’ve spent most of the day pulling everything out of Dona’s closets and my suitcases, doing laundry, and sorting out what we need to take and what we can leave here ‘til we return in four weeks. Everything we plan to take for all that time has to go into one carry-on and one “personal item” for each of us. We each have a carrion rolly-bag, I have a fat briefcase, and Dona has a backpack. We’re all set now.

Dona hasn’t seen very many movies in her life in the Renaissance, so I brought a few to show her. Last night we watched “The Princess Bride,” which she’d never seen before. What fun to share it with a virgin! Tonight I’ll put on “Taming of the Shrew” with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

Wonder Woman and Goddesses

Saturday, 7/21/18

When I was in Vegas having dinner with Morganne Baum, she mentioned a movie I hadn’t heard of, called “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women,” about American psychologist William Moulton Marston, who created “Wonder Woman” in 1941. I thought it was a current film, and I looked forward to seeing it with Dona. But it turned out it actually came out last year; how could I have missed it? So we rented it and watched it last Tuesday. A beautiful and sensitive dramatization of the polyamorous love story that inspired the creation of the most famous and enduring superheroine of all time.

Thursday Dona and I drove over to visit Wolf and Kat at their beautiful home in Round Rock, about a half hour from where Dona is staying between shows (she works at the various Texas Renaissance Festivals and Faires). We had a lot to catch up on, including making the full catalogue of MG’s Goddess collection available in print form, and producing the series of “Golden Goddess Guides” she’d envisioned, based on her 13 weekend Goddess seminars she conducted at RavenHaven. We went out to dinner at Threadgills, which Maureen had recommended as having the “best food on Earth.” It was really good!

In just a few more days we’re flying off to Guatemala for four weeks! We are so excited!

Starwood – Day Two and Three

Wednesday, 7/18/18

I’m now in Austin, TX, with Belladona, after a great week at Starwood. I flew here on Monday the 16th, and we’re enjoying a week of personal time together before we take off next Tuesday for a month in Guatemala. I’ve been too busy traveling and dealing with several extremely intense crises to keep up with my journaling every day, so here’s some catching up…

Starwood was wonderful as always—about 700 people this year. I did two major presentations on “Awakening Into Quantum Consciousness,” and two panels—on the Grey School of Wizardry and “Trumpocalypse.” The main event was the great Bonfire Saturday night, after the concert. An elaborate fire-lighting ceremony with torches and fire-dancers ignited the two-story house-sized fire, which erupted with fireworks as everyone ran (or walked) around it in a wild rumpus of laughing, shouting, and dancing to the bank of drummers.

It is my custom and joy at outdoor Pagan gatherings to spend the evenings wandering from campfire to campfire. When I come into the circle of firelight, all in my robes, floppy pointy hat, and lighted staff, I am always welcomed with a pipe, a horn of mead, and a bowl of stew. We sit around sharing stories, songs, and conversation, and then I move on. Isaac Bonewits’ song, “The Wizard” ( could have been written for me…

One of my dear Starwood friends is a Wizard named Wil Strickland, who looks so much like me that people are constantly mistaking him for me. He has his little wizard’s gazebo set up at “The Slacker’s Den” campsite, with his throne and a circle of seats, where he holds court to share wisdom and conversation. Liz and the other folks there always make lotsa food for night wanderers, and it’s one of my favorite places to hang out.

Starwood Fashions: It was up to 110 degrees at Wisteria, and the event was clothing-optional. So fashions ranged from nothing at all to quite flamboyant. Here are a few of the most popular styles in evidence:

Women: Frilly bras & panties only; sexy lingerie with no underwear; top-free or completely naked, often with lotsa jewelry (a la Deja Thoris); belly-dance outfits; Faerie costumes (with wings—especially little girls); barbarian or jungle girl (leather and fur bikinis, beads, feathers); creative and imaginative fetish wear…

Everyone: Sarongs (most common outfit for both men and women); elaborate tattoos; Starwood T-shirts; beautiful robes, ritual regalia, pointy hats (more at night, when it cooled off a bit)…

Sunday was for breaking down and packing up, and most of the guests left. The hard core of staff and a few speakers gathered in the evening near the still-smoking remains of the bonfire for a pot-luck feast of leftovers from everyone’s campsites. A conversation ensued among some guys about the “consent protocols” that have become a significant issue of late (I had people all week asking my permission for hugs!). A lovely woman I’ve known there for many years but never hooked up with walked in on the conversation as it turned to the whole issue of flirting, courtship and seduction—traditionally non-verbal arts which seem to be getting lost in the current culture.

While everyone stood around comparing notes on proper and acceptable verbal agreements, negotiations, and forms of consent, the Lady and I looked each other up and down, smiled, raised single eyebrows suggestively, flicked our eyes, nodded, and left the circle hand-in-hand for a mutually delightful evening. All with barely a word being spoken. And no one else had any idea what had just happened. Decades ago, in the ‘90s, Morning Glory and Talyn used to do very popular workshops on “flirting and courtship rites for Pagans,” and I think we need to revive something like that for our current community, who often seem pretty clueless…


Starwood – Day One

Thursday, 7/12/18

I’m now at Starwood, after a long day of flying Tuesday. After a one-hour delay for my connecting flight from St Louis to Columbus, and a nearly 2-hour shuttle drive from the Columbus airport to Wisteria, I actually arrived on-site about 2:00 in the morning.

Yesterday I got my booth set up, and wandered around checking in with old friends. Found Kim, and spent the evening hanging out with her and Sean, making plans for my visit in Pennsylvania in Sept., with a “Meet & Greet” at her store, The Order of Avalon, on Sept. 15.

The big news flying around Starwood this year is the recent death of Lori Cabot, the famous “Official Witch of Salem, MA.” I’d known Lori since the early ‘80s, when MG’s and my travels with the Unicorns took us to Salem. With her store, Crow Haven Corner, she was an institution, as well as a figure of some controversy during the famous “Witch Wars” of the ‘70s-‘80s.

And shortly thereafter Samina texted me that another significant figure and mutual friend from the Boston area, Morwen Two Feathers, had passed. Each of these deaths of old friends makes me feel more and more like a relic from an ancient time: “and I alone survived to tell the tale.”


Morganne and Ivy

Monday, 7/9/18

After organizing and packing nearly everything I’ll need to take on the plane for Starwood, Texas and Guatemala, I had a lovely evening with Morganne Baum and her wife, Ivy. Ivy prepared a yummy dinner of chicken with peanut sauce, rice, and corn on the cob. Morganne used to live in Boston, and we’ve been friends for a couple of decades, from Rites of Spring and Firedance. She’s a piano virtuoso, and she played me several of her own beautiful compositions in her series of the Tarot trumps (damn, I hate to have to use that word these days!). She’s identified with Wonder Woman since childhood, and she has the most amazing collection of Wonder Woman toys, figurines, comics and other memorabilia I’ve ever seen. Wonder Woman was my lifelong favorite comic book heroine too (I love Gal Gadot in the recent movies!). Morganne is also a fabulous artist, and she gave me a copy of her Alchemical Oracle, which I look forward to working with.

This morning I went shopping with Samina. Today I’ll finish packing my jewelry, before going to tea with Abbi McBride and dinner with George and Jessica. Tomorrow I fly off to Starwood!

Quantum Conscious

Sunday, 7/8/18

Yesterday was intense! My workshop on “Awakening into Quantum Conscious” ran from 4:00 to 6:30, with a half-hour break. Samina and I showed up at Haven Craft at 2:00 to do all the setup—arranging chairs for 40 people, and getting all my statues, jewelry and books set out on the merchandise table, along with munchies and drinks. Since part of my presentation included a power point slide show of Kiri’s “Song of Gaea,” getting that all hooked up was also a bit of effort, as the cables they had didn’t match any of the ports on my laptop.

My presentation went very well, and the 30 or so people who came were very enthusiastic about it. Afterwards, Melissa and Ian (owners of Haven Craft) took Samina and me out to dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant called Panevino. We had fabulous conversation; Melissa is Romany, and we learned a lot about Romany history, lore, traditions, ritual, and continuing struggles for survival. The Romany are still being persecuted throughout the world, as they have been for centuries, and being thrown out of many countries for their refusal to become citizens. Even here in the US, they have trouble getting driver’s licenses, as they often don’t have birth certificates (they mistrust and avoid hospitals, as there have been notorious cases of involuntary sterilization of thousands of Romany women who responded to offers of free medical care). I’m trying to recruit Melissa to join the faculty of the Grey School.

This morning was a Skype meeting of the Grey School Administration. But several key members were unable to attend, so we didn’t have a quorum to conduct business, and adjourned early. Today and tomorrow I’ll be organizing my stuff and repacking to fly to Starwood on Tuesday, leaving my car here with Samina. This will be the 38th year of Starwood, and I’ve attended the last 35 of them. I have to pack everything I’ll need for the next couple of months, as after Starwood I’ll be flying to Austin, Texas to be with Belladona, and then we’ll be flying down to Guatemala for four weeks, where we’ll be staying at the LaKazonA Lodge eco-resort on Lake Atitlan. I’ll be presenting a two-day weekend workshop there, and looking forward to other adventures…

Samina has joined CAW and applied to be a Minister. I just finished preparing her certificate and Clergy ID card. This evening I’ll be having dinner with Morganne Baum, creator of the Alchemical Oracle:

Marco and Heather

Friday, 7/6/18

Last night we had a lovely fajita dinner and conversation with Marco and Heather. We discovered that we had several friends and events in common—particularly around the Oregon Country Faire, with the Flying Karamazov Bros. and other entertainers there. They’ve both led an amazing life of adventures, and travels all over the place—from Portland to Cancun to Guatemala. Marco loves Lake Atitlan, where Dona and I will be heading at the end of this month. Heather is putting together a YouTube show on health, beauty and longevity.

This morning Samina and I went over to Haven Craft to check out the space for my workshop tomorrow, and drop off the statues, books and jewelry I have with me. Today is “First Friday,” so a lot of people will be coming through the shop, and hopefully some of my stuff will sell there and I won’t have to carry it all to Starwood.

Samina threw a lovely potluck get-together tonight. About 17 people were here. So many friends, both old and new. Good food and great conversations, connections, and re-connections. I always feel so welcome in Vegas!