Ostara Ritual and Staying with Jeanne

Monday 3/25/19

I’m presently staying with my old girlfriend Jeanné Berger, who I met at the Maryland Renaissance Festival in 1982, when I was touring with the Unicorns. She visited MG and I several times over the years, from when we were living at Coeden Brith on Greenfield Ranch, to the Old Same Place on the Rushing River. In the summer of 1990 we travelled to Alaska together, where we had many adventures.

Friday afternoon I drove to Richmond, VA, to spend a couple of days with Micheline Vogt. On Sat. evening we conducted an Ostara ritual at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond. About 30 people showed up, including half a dozen kids. In addition to doing HP ritual stuff, I told stories of Spring Equinox—and the fertility Goddess in whose name we still celebrate the holiday of Easter. The kids all gathered around as I read the charming little book of “Ostara’s Hare,” by Tara Waddle, which links the Eostre Bunny with the constellation of Lepus, just below Orion. Afterwards we all enjoyed a potluck feast.

Sunday morning I left early to drive over two hours to Jeanné’s place in Crownsville, MD, just outside of Annapolis. I arrived at noon, as Jeanné was setting up for “Cakes & Ale” – a splendid Medieval Feast prepared by Margaret Planetgenet and her husband Mark. The main dish was “Pecoke With Ginger Sawse.” (chicken with ginger sauce), and much excellent wine was imbibed with toasts between courses. The final beverage was Café with Jacquin’s Ginger Brandy & Coconut Milk. There were eight guests around the table; the whole package was a charity event Jeanne had purchased to benefit RESCU Foundation (Renaissance Entertainers, Services, Crafters United).

In addition to the fine food and drink, we were regaled with songs and tales of food and customs of the times. A remarkable synchronicity following Thursday’s theatre event, “Confections,” at the Folger Shakespeare Library in DC, where the main exhibit was “Before ‘Farm to Table:’ Early Modern Foodways and Cultures.”

Last night, after the feast, Jeanné took me out to her favorite local wine bar and coffee shop, 49 West, where we played a game of Scrabble (She won handily. Who knew there were so many 2-letter words?).

Jeanné is a world-class cook, and today she made awesome jambalaya for lunch (I helped by cutting up stuff and de-shelling the oxymoronic jumbo shrimp).

But before we ate we took a pleasant walk through the Maryland Ren Faire (MRF) site, which is right next door. Jeanné has been working there for the past 37 years, since I met her in her first year, and she has a lovely 2-story massage booth, with 4-8 massage therapists working constantly during the Faire, which runs from the last week in August through the 3rd week in Oct. See her booth website at: www.HerMajestysHealers.com

And now I must close this entry and hit the road for my next destination, visiting Joe Fleming in Midlothian, VA (a 3-hour drive). When I left Salem at the first of this month, all the fields were blanketed with snow. As I’m driving south into spring, flowers are blooming and buds are appearing on the trees.

Be sure to check out my personal website: www.OberonZell.com

#pagan #roadtrip #wizard #bucketlist #adventure #ozpatreon

Experiencing “Confections”

Friday 3/22/19

Moving into Spring, yesterday was gloomy and rainy. Nicolo had tickets to an intriguing immersive theatre event called “Confections” by Third Rail Projects, at the Folger Shakespeare Library in DC, which houses the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare-related materials. The main exhibit in the Library was “Before ‘Farm to Table:’ Early Modern Foodways and Cultures;” a perfect introduction which we perused before the performance. The show began at 8:00, and we were appropriately hungry!

It’s hard to describe the experience, as it was so rich and personal. After a charming strip-tease introduction (from Elizabethan finery to chemises) where we stood around a long, long banquet table populated by the five actors (3 men and 2 women) in slow-motion shifting states of undress, the 48 audience members were divided into three groups of 16 and led into other rooms (normally closed to the public) in the labyrinthine Tudor mansion, where we experienced various exquisite vignettes and personal interactions with the cast—all around the central theme of the sugary confections enjoyed by the nobility during the Age of Exploration and the era of Shakespeare—and the human price of those feasts via the slave trade to supply cane sugar from prison camp “plantations” in the Caribbean. For those lovely tiered cakes, pastries, and outlandish feasts that grew obsessively popular among the aristocracy as more ingredients from the colonies became available were made possible only through the enslavement of African people.

And finally, all the audience and actors were reunited to sit at the great banquet table, to “let them eat cake!”

Afterwards, we got a late dinner at China Chilcano, a Peruvian Asian restaurant in Chinatown, DC. Quite a celebration of the Equinox!

Today I’m leaving Nicolo and Joanne and their lovely Imagine Acres for a two-hour drive to Richmond, where I’ll be staying for a couple of days with Micheline Vogt. On Sat. we’ll be conducting the Ostara ritual at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond, where I’ll be telling stories of Spring Equinox—and the Goddess in whose name we still celebrate the holiday of Easter.

Sunday I’ll be visiting my long-time sweetheart Jeanné, who I met and loved at the Maryland Renaissance Festival in 1982, when I was touring with the Unicorns (the same year I met Nicolo and later, Dona). Jeanné is a fabulous cook, and she’s preparing a special Medieval feast for a small group to which I’m invited.. She lives in Crownsville, MD, a 2 hr. 20-min. drive from Richmond.

#pagan #roadtrip #wizard #bucketlist #adventure #ozpatreon

Delicious Food and a Cacao Ceremony

Thursday 3/21/19

Tuesday evening’s pot-luck dinner and cacao ceremony here at Imagine Acres was just delightful! We had nine people around the dinner table: Nicolo, Joanne, Richard, Monica, Claudia, Christel, Jim, Jeanné and me. Jeanné is Sicilian, and a great cook—her bread pudding casserole with bacon was scrumptious! I’ll be visiting her Sunday for a Medieval feast she’s putting on.

Cacao ceremony dinner. Monica, Joanne, Jeanne’, OZ, Claudia, Jim, Christel, Richard. Photo by Nicolo.

Christel Libiot and Jim Wert have an organization called One Heart Cacao. They have conducted numerous cacao ceremonies in the Mid-Atlantic, and have a global following. They use 100% pure ceremonial-grade cacao (chocolate in its purest form). This comes from wild Criollo trees grown and processed without any chemicals, and hand-prepared by indigenous Mayan people in the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala, where Dona and I spent a month last summer. Criollo is the wild and most ancient of three main varieties of cacao. It makes up less than 1% of the world’s chocolate, as crop yields are low.

According to the flyer Christel and Jim handed out, “Cacao is a superfood with medicinal value and over 300 nutritional compounds. One of the main active ingredients is Theobromine (literally, ‘God-Food’), which facilitates the release of dopamine, the ‘pleasure hormone.’ Cacao supports memory, immunity, heart health, and relieves stress and depression. It contains the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food on the planet.”

For more info, and to order this special cacao: www.oneheartcacao.com

David Wolfe says: “Chocolate is helping usher in the ‘Cardiozoic Age’ – the Age of Heart. Cacao seems to help correct the imbalance between mind and heart, allowing the mind to support the heart. Increasing the heart energy brings forth compassion, wonder, healing and, most importantly, unconditional love.”

Since Morning Glory’s Ascension, She has been proclaimed a “Goddess of Unconditional Love.” And one of the things She loved was chocolate! So I felt Her presence presiding over this ceremony, which I opened with our traditional CAW food blessing to “Holy Mother Earth.”

This cacao ceremony was transformationally healing for me. As my closest friends know, I have had a lifetime aversion to the smell and taste of chocolate, due to PTSD from a childhood tonsillectomy, and the chocolate ice cream they gave me to eat after I emerged from the anesthesia – which felt like burning lava down my ravaged throat.

Yesterday we watched “Reefer Madness: the Movie Musical,” which no one but me had seen before. We all agreed it may be the best musical ever, even eclipsing “Rocky Horror.” If you haven’t seen it, you really should! You may want to have a little safety meeting beforehand…

After the movie, I drove 20 minutes to visit Tamara Shepard Truitt, her husband Tom, and her son Justin, in Waldorf, MD. Another fabulous cook, she served up a Moroccan dish of lamb couscous. Her mother, Ayesha, had spent a lot of time in Morocco before she moved with Tamara to Annwfn 40 years ago to live with Gwydion. We were all enthralled at the time by the incredible stories of her wild adventures with Tamara’s father, who was an international drug-lord. Tamara was just 9 years old back then, and she fell in well with all the rest of our feral “kid pack” at Greenfield Ranch – the 5,600-acre Hippie homesteading community in the Misty Mountains of NorCalifia, founded in 1972 and still going strong, of which CAW’s Annwfn is a 55-acre parcel. MG and I were sorta honorary Aunt & Uncle to all our kids as they grew up to become fine adults.

OZ and Tamara

Tamara got out the enormous photo album Ayesha had assembled, and we spent hours poring over the photos of her life from infancy to now, reminiscing about those glorious days of yesteryear. There were even pictures in the album of Gwydion, Morning Glory, me and our Unicorns! So much nostalgia, and such a sweet reunion!

This evening Nicolo has gotten us tickets for a play called “Confection,” by Zack Morris. As I understand, it’s an immersive experience, like dinner theatre. I’ll tell you all about it in my next Walkabout Journal installment…

#pagan #roadtrip #wizard #bucketlist #adventure #ozpatreon

Adventures In Virginia, Maryland, and DC

Tuesday 3/19/19

Sethlan, OZ, Orion

I left Orion and Sethlan Friday, and drove down to Alexandria, VA, to visit my old friends Burt & Stephanie Johns. Burt was with CAW back in the ‘90s, and is currently hosting a Heathen Kindred called Mannaheim. A few folks came over for the evening, and Stephanie prepared a fabulous dinner. We stayed up very late reminiscing on old times, Starwood Festivals at Brushwood, and what we’ve all been doing over the past decade or two.

Saturday afternoon I drove to Laurel, MD, to do a talk and book-signing at the Crystal Fox—the biggest magickal store I’ve yet visited. After the gig I returned to Burt & Stephanie’s to join their Heathen Sumbel with 14-15 folks. This consisted of several hours passing around a horn of mead and raising toasts to everything we could think of, followed by “Hail!”eathen Sumbel

The Crystal Fox

The next day (Sunday) we got up a little expedition to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in DC with Burt, Stephanie, Perris, Tani, Hal and Joe. The Metro let us out right in front of the Trump Hotel, so we had to get pics… Sadly, my favorite section, fossils, was closed for renovation. But there was plenty else to see. Worn out from a full day of walking through the many excellent exhibits, we adjourned for Thai dinner at a restaurant called Thaiphoon.

At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History… Tani, OZ, Perris, Burt, Hal, Joe. Above, Sue.

After dinner I drove about an hour to Brandywine, to visit for a few days with Nicolo & Joanne Whimsey at their Imagineacres Farm. Nicolo and I had met in 1982 at the Maryland Renaissance Festival when I was touring Ren Faires with Lancelot, the Living Unicorn. He and my dear consort Dona (who I met at the Texas Ren Faire that same year) are old friends, and it was she who connected us back together. Now retired from the Faire circuit to pursue teaching, Nicolo and Joanne are long-time performers in juggling, Shakespeare, and animal acts, and they have two very sweet donkeys (Sophie and Rosa) and a beautiful horse on their 125-acre farm. Yesterday we spent some time with the equines, and took a nice hike through the farm and canyon, looking at waterfalls and fossils (brachiopods). We were joined by the Simpsons (Rick & Monica), and as seems to be the usual case, we stayed up late sharing stories and laughter.

OZ, Rosa, Joanne, Monica, Nicolo (in front)

Later this afternoon I have a phone interview with Dan on Brattleboro Community Radio-WVEW-LPfm. I’ll post a link where you can hear it… Then this evening a few more friends are coming over for a cacao (chocolate) ceremony. One of these will be Jeanné Berger, one of the great loves of my life, who I also met at the MD Ren Rest in 1982. We haven’t seen each other since we traveled together to Alaska sometime around the early ‘90s. I am so looking forward to seeing her again!

Tomorrow (Wed.) I’m going to visit Tamara in Waldorf, MD, which is only 10 minutes from here. When she was a little girl, Tamara lived with her mother, Ayesha, and Gwydion Pendderwen, on CAW’s 55-acre sanctuary of Annwfn on Greenfield Ranch in Mendocino County, CA. Gwydion died in a car wreck at Samhain of 1982 (that was quite a year!) – on Tamara’s birthday. Over all these years since, she’s gone off to have a full life, and it’ll be great to meet her family and catch up.

Thursday I’ll be back here at Imagineacres, where Nicolo has gotten tickets for a play in the evening called “Confection,” by Zack Morris. As I understand, it’s an immersive experience, like dinner theatre. Sounds like fun!

Friday I’ll be leaving lovely Imagineacres and driving down to Richmond, VA, were I’ll be staying with Michele Vogt. On Saturday, we’ll be conducting the Ostara ceremony at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond, with Michelle as HPs, and I serving as HP.

#pagan #roadtrip #wizard #bucketlist #adventure #ozpatreon

Visiting a Long Time Friend and Driving Into Spring

Friday 3/15/19

I’m currently visiting Orion Foxwood and his husband Sethlan at their lovely apartment in New Carrolton, MD. As with most Pagan homes I visit, the place is a museum of magickal treasures. Orion and I have been dear friends for decades, but getting to spend actual time together is a rare treat. He travels even more widely than I do, teaching workshops and leading tours of sacred sites. He visited Gypsy and me in Salem, and we also got together a few years before in Santa Cruz, but this is my first visit to his home. He is an amazing store of knowledge and wisdom, especially of the folklore and magick of his Appalachian heritage. Sethlan made us a yummy dinner, and we stayed up talking for hours. We mourned together the recent passing of our mutual friend Raven Grimassi and lamented the continuing attrition of our cherished Elders…

This afternoon I’ll be driving another half hour to see my old CAW friends Burt and Stephanie Johns. They’re having a few folks over for a nice little CAW reunion. And tomorrow at 2:00 I have a book-signing and talk at The Crystal Fox, 311 Main St., Laurel, MD.  http://www.thecrystalfox.com/

I arrived at Orion’ & Sethlan’s yesterday afternoon, after a 2-hour drive from Elizabethtown, PA, where I had a nice lunch date with Chris Davis after saying my farewell to Kim in Mt. Joy, where I’d stayed for the past week. When I drove down to PA from New Jersey, it was still winter, and the ground was all covered in snow. But now on this drive a week later, the snow was all gone and the weather was warm. I feel like I’m driving south into Spring!

The past week with Kim has been pretty full. I did a phone interview on Friday the 8th for the radio show “Up Close and Personal With Rev. Alfred Willowhawk.” Then on the weekend I did two bookstore gigs. The first was Saturday at Kim’s beautiful new store, Twisted by Nature, at 207 N. Market St., Elizabethtown, PA. She was just setting it up for the Grand Opening when I was here last Sep., and now it’s all up and fabulous.

On Sunday Kim drove me to another book-signing and talk at Moon Raven Alley, 1398 Oregon Rd, Leola, PA, owned by Collette Wagman. This is a charming little shop in the style of an old country Witch’s cottage. I talked for a couple of hours about Wizardry, Quantum Magick, the Awakening, the coming 2020s, and 50 years of modern Paganism.

Kim and I did an Escape Room at the legendary Bube’s Brewery (founded in 1868), which was way fun! There were so many clues to unravel and decode that it really takes a larger group to accomplish them all in the given time, but we did quite well, even though we didn’t get out before the cops showed up.

And in spare hours when Kim and Shawn were out, I got into binge-watching a remarkable sci-fi TV series that folks had recommended (and which I recommend to you): “Sense8.” A brilliant and compelling series, with a powerful premise of future evolution of humanity – and more diversity than I’d have thought possible in a small group of protagonists. I got into the beginning of the 2nd season, but now I’ll have to wait until I land somewhere else for a few days with sympathetic hosts…

And yesterday – 3.14 – was “Pi Day,” and the 15th anniversary of the incorporation of my Grey School of Wizardry, of which I am exceedingly proud.

#pagan #roadtrip #wizard #bucketlist #adventure #ozpatreon

Spending Time With Artists

Friday 3/8/19

I got into Kim’s place in Mount Hope, PA, early yesterday afternoon, after a short hour-and-a-half drive from Allentown, where I’d spent yesterday and last night at the home of Sandra Eckert and Peter Bourdelle. They put out the word to their circle of friends-many of whom I already know-and a couple dozen people showed up for a delightful evening of scrumptious pot-luck yummies, wine, conversation and music. Several of the folks were musicians, and Sue Wolfsong and Arthur Louis Benson II are also songwriters, so we had original music with moving lyrics. I wish Sue’s songs were available on CD; her “Butterfly” and “Gypsy Blessing” were awesome, and I want the lyrics!

Sue and Jonny

Sue and her partner Jonny Lee Rosenblatt, along with David Donohue and Dar, announced their engagements and intention to have a double wedding this summer! Huzzah! I’ve known Sue and David (identical twin brother of my dear longtime friend in California, Tom Donohue) for decades, and this was wonderful news.

David, Jonny and Sue

Sandy and Peter were gracious hosts, with family histories of famous artists, whose works are displayed around the house. Peter’s grandfather was Emile Antoine Bourdelle, and he worked with August Rodin! Antoine created the “Heracles” sculpture that can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as a few other major museums, and there is a Musee Bourdelle in Paris. Some of the art on the walls were by Peter’s father, Pierre Bourdelle; and other lovely artworks throughout the house are by Sandy.

The night before, Tues. the 5th, I got to Anthony & Xenia’s pretty late, after an afternoon of recording at Joey’s basement studio with Jimmy Clark and Liz Tapria, who is a trained opera singer. After they were done, I did a one-hour podcast with Erich Terry, but I don’t know when he plans to broadcast it.

Recording in studio with Francine, Jimmy, Joey and Liz

This afternoon I did a 90-minute phone interview for the radio show “Up Close and Personal with Rev. Alfred Willowhawk.” It will be broadcast later in the month.

Tomorrow is the first of several local gigs I’ll be doing in Eastern PA for the next few days I’ll be staying here with Kim and Shawn:

9 Sat 2:00pm-Book-signing and talk at Twisted by Nature, 207 N. Market St., Elizabethtown, PA.

10 Sun 2:00pm-Book-signing and talk at Moon Raven Alley, 1398 Oregon Rd, Leola, PA. https://www.facebook.com/events/287385618874257/

11 Mon Tree of Life Metaphysical Shoppe & Holistic Arts Center, 392 W. Apple St. Ste 3, Ringtown, PA. http://www.tree-of-life-shop.com/

On Tues. the 12th and/or Thurs. the 13th, Kim has arranged a special VIP package: a private 1-hr. lunch with OZ at Bube’s Brewery: lunch, 2 cocktails, dessert, autographed book, autographed photo.

And then on Thursday the 14th I’m driving down to New Carrollton, MD, to visit Orion Foxwood and Sethlin.

#pagan #roadtrip #wizard #bucketlist #adventure #ozptreon

Back on The Road Again

Saturday 3/2/19

Back on the road again, I’m now in Milford, CT. After a 3-hour drive from Salem, I met up here with my dear friends Cate & Frank Dalton. We’ve known each other since 1995, when they brought me out here for their wonderful Craftwise Festival in Hartford, also attended by Stewart Farrar, where I met Liza (who became a member if our Ravenheart Family). Subsequently, we became great friends over many years of Starwood festivals at Brushwood, on 180 mostly-wooded acres near the town of Sherman in upstate NY, where the Daltons had a big campsite right across from the great Saturday night bonfire. Cate is a world-class cook, and she whipped up amazing feasts for her little tribe-which I was pleased to be part of. Over the years we had many delightful conversations watching the painted dancers around the enormous fire, and I watched their three kids grow up.

After Starwood moved from Brushwood to Wisteria, near Pomeroy, OH, in ?? the community was split, with many continuing to attend the Sirius Rising festival at Brushwood, held on the weekend after Starwood. I attended both festivals that first year, but since then I’ve only been able to make Starwood each year. I miss my many dear friends from those glory days at Brushwood, and it was wonderful to see Cate & Frank again, however briefly. They took me out for dinner to a Basque restaurant-a new culinary experience for me. I ordered a seafood paella, and it was fabulous!

Last night it snowed rather heavily, and my little red Prius is rather buried. I should have picked up a window scraper while I was in Salem, but I used Gypsy’s there for the few times I needed it, and I thought coming this far south in March I was out of the snow. Silly me!

As soon as I get the snow off my car, I’ll be heading down to Branchville, NJ, where I’ll be doing a book-signing and talk from 7:00-9:00pm at The Amber Dragon, 3 Milk St. I’ll be staying the night over a funeral parlor, which should make for some interesting dreams!

My last weeks in Salem were filled with dinners out with friends, an amazing Tarot reading from Lori Bruno (descendant of Giordano), and preparations and packing for my departure on this next leg of my continuing Walkabout. It was a wonderful sojourn in the “With City,” and a great few months with Gypsy. I carry it all with me, and I look forward to returning someday.

I am being sustained on this Walkabout journey (and storage fees for my extensive esoteric Library and Museum of Arcana collections) by personal appearances, fundraising events, and your generous donations, particularly via my Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/oberonzell. Thank you for your support!

#pagan #roadtrip #wizard #bucketlist #adventure #ozptreon