Adventures In Ecuador

OZ’s Walkabout Journal  

Viernes (Freyaday) 9/5/19

Dona and I are currently in Cuenca, “Ecuador’s most important and beautiful colonial city. Dating from the 16th century, Cuenca’s historic center is a Unesco World Heritage Site.”

A large building with a mountain in the background

Description automatically generated
Cuenca from the Mirador

When the Spanish arrived in the 1540s, they encountered the ruins of a great but short-lived Incan city called Tomebamba (“Valley of the Sun”). The Spanish eagerly dismantled what was left of it, incorporating the elegantly carved Inca stones into their own churches and other structures. Before the Inca, the indigenous Canari people had lived in the area for perhaps 3,000 years. They too had a city here, called Quanpondelig (“Plain as Big as the Sky”).

Miercoles (Wodensday) Aug. 28 was Alaura’s 70th birthday, and she and Dickson threw a spectacular birthday party at his place, with dozens of friends attending. There was an open bar, and a couple of tables full of pot-luck yummies. There was live music all afternoon and evening with two different professional performers, both of whom were superb.

A group of people standing in front of a crowd

Description automatically generated
Alaura’s 70th birthday party

Dickson and Alaura turned us on to a remarkable substance called “Panacea C60 [carbon 60],” composed of nanocarbon “Buckyballs.” It seems to be appropriately named, and we’ve been applying it to everything from nasty “no-see-um” bug bits to skin spots, all of which have gone away. Here’s an excerpt from a research paper:

Soluble NCMs [nanocarbon materials] have been shown to possess activity against cancer (e.g., breast cancer), tumours, arthritis, HIV-AIDS, influenzas, etc. There are even reports of their possible use … for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The poster boy fullerene derivative, C3-tris malonic acid possesses activity against Parkinson’s disease in mice. A recent patent documents their use as antioxidants, as these are Radical Oxygen Scavengers (ROS)… Is it true that water soluble NCMs are a panacea for all diseases? Though recent work seems to suggest this to be true, such claims need to be carefully evaluated.

“Water soluble nanocarbon materials: a panacea for all?” Current Science, Vol.114, No. 9, 10 May 2018 https://www.currentscience.ac.in/Volumes/114/09/1846.pdf

Their brochure says C60 is “a powerful antioxidant 172 times more potent than Vitamin C.” It’s touted as “a catalytic free radical scavenger; protects liver from toxins; anti-viral; inhibits build-up of arterial plaque; rejuvenates organs; stimulates glutathione production in the liver; regrows/lengthens telomeres; reverses the aging process; detoxes free radicals, heavy metals, pesticides and radiation…”

C60 is available from Red Lion Pharmaceutical Labs: https://c60redlion.com/

A person posing for a picture

Description automatically generated
Anna Elizabeth de Castro with self-portrait

On Jueves (Thorsday) the 29th we had a lovely visit with artist Anna Elizabeth de Castro and her shaman husband, Miguel Castro. He’s of the Mapoche tribe in Chile, while Anna’s sultry accent conveys her North Carolina origin, and her high cheek bones attest to her Seminole ancestry. Anna gave us a full tour of their paradisal home and gardens, which they had built in only a few years. Anna’s house designs were amazing—white beehive-like domed structures (she’s a beekeeper) of adobe with beautiful hobbit-like interiors.

A building covered in snow

Description automatically generated
Anna’s dome homes

Likewise amazing were her gardens of exotic flowers, fruits, vegetables—and a stone labyrinth. We talked—as I so often do, especially with shamans—of these dark times, and the coming Awakening. As always, we found ourselves in complete agreement: the Old Order must crumble into dust before the new one can emerge, like a Phoenix, from the ashes. But the seeds of the new are already planted, and growing…

A plant growing in a tree

Description automatically generated
OZ & Anna in her garden

Viernes (Freyaday) morning the 30th we took a 7:30am van from Vilacabamba to Cuenca. It was a 4.5 hr. drive winding through spectacular mountains, deep canyons and valleys, with small villages and isolated farms along the way. We arrived in Cuenca about noon, planning to stay at Mi Casa Hostel, but our host, Gary Kissel, hadn’t given us the address. Dona and I each tried to phone and text Gary many times, but no answer.

We looked up Mi Casa on GoogleMaps, and took a taxi to that address, but no Mi Casa. Yellow taxis are everywhere, and really cheap. All you have to do is stick out your hand, and a taxi will pull up within moments. We drove all over town for two hours, and ended up back at the same place, a nice little Hostel called Mochiliers. By that time we were so frustrated, tired of lugging our bags around, and not hearing from Gary, that we just checked in for the night.

We had a lovely dinner and evening, but in the night Dona was hit hard by altitude sickness (Cuenca is at 8,400 feet!). She couldn’t breathe, couldn’t sleep, had chest pains, and was pretty panicked. She wanted to leave immediately and get down to a lower altitude.

I have a CPAP breathing machine for sleep apnea, and I let her use it until she fell asleep. In the morning she seemed a bit better. We looked up “altitude sickness” in our Ecuador guidebook, which says it goes away in a day or two, and recommends cocoa leaf tea. I recall that we used that in Peru in 1990.

Sabado (Saturnday) we took a taxi to Gary’s Mi Casa Hostel at 1321 Estevez de Toral—which is a lovely place with a large common area, including courtyard and kitchen. Gary is great, and we all hit it off immediately. He gave coca leaf tea to Donna, and she’s been much better since. He’d put together a book showing all the things to do in Cuenca, so that afternoon we walked up the street to Parque la Libertad, the old prison. We took the glass elevator to the top of the 138 ft. tall Mirador (viewing tower), which offers a 360° view of the Historic Center and the northern part of the vast city. We noticed that very few buildings are more than three stories tall.

A group of people standing next to a window

Description automatically generated
At the top of the Mirador

After the Mirador we took a taxi to the Pumapungo museum. It was very disappointing, in that the displays of Ecuadorian artifacts were just in glass cases with no explanatory labels, and there were no English translations of anything. There were some nice little model dioramas, and the upper floor was filled with full-size native village scenes with realistic mannikins. One room contained a number of rare and eerie tzantzas (shrunken heads) from the Shuar culture of southern Oriente.

A picture containing grass, outdoor, ground, track

Description automatically generated
Archaeological ruins at Pumapungo museum

Outside was an Archaeological Park featuring some foundational remnants of the old Inca city the Spaniards had conquered in 1584. A large circular aviary had a number of local birds—including the grey Mexican eagles. The door to the interior was locked, and a cat was sitting right in front of it. She turned to us and plainly asked us to open the door and let her in, as there were birdies inside!

A picture containing grass, tree, outdoor, rock

Description automatically generated
Birdhouse at Pumapungo museum

Domingo (Sunday) evening was our monthly CAW (Church of All Worlds) Board meeting via Zoom. We currently have Board members in the US, Thailand, and Ecuador—truly an international church! These are exciting times as we turn more and more to our younger Clergy to carry the CAW Vision into the New Age. The meeting lasted three hours, and was often contentious, but in the end everything was resolved elegantly to cheers and whoop-de-doos.

A picture containing transport

Description automatically generated
Piedra de Agua

On Lunes (Moonday) the 2nd,  we took a bus to Piedra de Agua hot springs spa in Los Banos (“The Baths”), five miles SW of Cuenca. The volcanically-heated waters flow from a fault (“Loma de los Hervideros”) at 70° C (158° F), and are then cooled variously for the different pools, some of which are underground in caves. Lunes was a 2-for-1 day, so we got the whole treatment: mud baths (red & blue), box saunas, hot and cold pools, and finally, a large shallow chalky-white mineral pool. We got into nice conversations with our fellow bathers, who come from all over the world to these famous baths.

A person standing in front of a stone building

Description automatically generated
Wizard at the baths

That evening we went down the street for the best pizza either of us have ever had. The New York Italian owner, Robert VasSalli, visited with us while his lovely Ecuadorian wife baked the pizza. A wonderful man with a compelling life story, he was suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease, and was closing the place the next day; we were his final customers.

On Martes (Tiwesday) the 3rd, we went to the Tame Airline agency to get our return flight this coming Sabado (Saturnday) changed from Lojas to Cuenco. The agency was right at the Parque de la Madre (“Park of the Mother”), where there was a planetarium, advertising shows every hour on the hour. We were too late for the current hour, so we decided to walk across the bridge over the pretty Tomebamba River that runs through the city, and up the 88-step staircase to check out the little Museo De La Culturas Aborigines.

A stone building

Description automatically generated
Looking down the up staircase; planetarium is red sphere in upper left.

This Museum was really hard to find—we had to knock on a locked door to be admitted by a nice lady, who took us through the restaurant in front, gave us a guidebook (in English), and showed us a staircase to the large upper level. Wow! It was amazing! More than 5,000 archaeological pieces representing more than 20 pre-Hispanic Ecuadorian cultures going back some 15,000 years.

A picture containing animal, cow, mammal, elephant

Description automatically generated
Stone possum at Museo De La Culturas Aborigines

We were so enthralled by this vast collection, and reading all about the artifacts in different rooms, that we missed the next (and last) scheduled planetarium show. But out in front we noticed a sign that advertised a Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon” show! So when we got back to Mi Casa, we made plans with Gary to all catch the 2:00 show the next day.

A group of people standing in a room

Description automatically generated
OZ in Museo De La Culturas Aborigines

Miercoles (Wodensday) evening at 6:30 we’d scheduled a “Meet the Wizard” event at Mi Casa, so Dona, Gary and I took a taxi back to the Planetarium early to catch the 2:00 show—with our attitudes all properly adjusted. We were the only customers, and the guard said there needed to be at least ten to do the show. While we waited anxiously, seven more people showed up, so it looked like we were good to go.

But just at 2:00, another person came in and informed us all that the projector was down, and there could be no shows that day. Disappointed, we looked wistfully at the “Dark Side of the Moon” poster, and realized that it was actually advertising a one-time special free showing at 5:00 the following day! We were told, however, that it would be very popular, there is seating for only 84 people, and we should get there by 3:00 to get in line or we’d never get in. So we resolved to come back the next day.

A statue of a person

Description automatically generated
Wizard in a carved tree in the Park of the Mother

We walked back through the park, where several dead trees had been artfully carved into strange figures. Then we hiked up the 88 stairs to check out the little Carolina Bookstore, to talk about them carrying my books. Their sections were indicated by murals, and I loved the one of Cthulhu for the horror, sci-fi & fantasy isle.

The Great Cthulhu at the Carolina Bookstore

Nobody showed up for the “Meet the Wizard” event, so Dona just took us all out to dinner at Full Criolo, a Venezualan restaurant a few blocks away that Gary liked.

Jueves (Thorsday) Gary had a Spanish lesson with a charming girl named Michelle. I sat in and got some lessons as well, until it was time for Dona and me (Gary couldn’t cut loose) to grab a taxi to get back to the Planetarium by 3:00pm to get in line to see the “Dark Side of the Moon” show. There were already about 50 people (mostly all college-age) in line ahead of us, and as we waited, more people kept coming until the line stretched all through the park. Finally a lady came through and handed out tickets to the first 84 people in line.

We got in, got seated, and looked forward to what I remember from 45 years ago in St Louis as the most amazing planetarium show ever! First, the stars would come out slowly, rotating majestically around the North Star, as the music began. Then, with the initial crescendo, the lasers would begin tracing unearthly color-shifting shapes across the starfield as the music swelled, moving around us in circular stereo…

Well, that’s what I expected, anyway. But the lights were turned off, we were in total darkness, the music came on…and that’s all.. No stars, no laser light show. Just Pink Floyd in the darkness. We could have gotten the same result at home with a sleep mask and stereo headphones.. But everyone clapped at the end, obviously not knowing what they were missing, and on the way out, the lady asked how we liked it. I could only respond with disappointment at there being no light show; after all, that was the whole point of having it in a planetarium!

Domino (Sunday) evening we’ll be catching our plane back to Austin; bidding farewell to exotic Ecuador!

For previous Journal entries and more, be sure to check out my personal website: www.OberonZell.com

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

August Update

Saturnday 8/16/19

Dona and I are currently in a little permaculture farm named Finca Fina in the Andes Mountains, southwest of Vilcabamba, in the southern tip of Ecuador. I’ve had very limited and sporadic internet access in the past few months, and here it’s pretty bad. High winds and other issues have the Internet going off and on randomly, and I have to keep rebooting. It takes me a long time just to read my email every few days—if I can—and then I have other things to do here, such as workshops, rituals, etc.

Dona at the pond in Finca Fina

Moonday morning 8/5, I drove 6-1/2 hours (410 miles) to visit Adrian Cunningham in Bossier City, LA. In the evening he’d planned for me to do a workshop at the Peace of Mind Center in Shreveport. But that fell through, so he just had a few friends over, along with his wife Mee-Hye and their son John. After Mee-Hye’s homemade pizza and some great conversation, Adrian did a short video interview for his blog.

OZ with Adrian and company

Tiwesday morning I drove another 5 hrs. & 20 min. (335 miles) to be with Dona in Austin, TX. We met in 1982 at the Texas Renaissance Faire when I was touring with Lancelot, the Living Unicorn. We’ve been consorts over 37 years, though there were 27 years in there where we were out of touch. We only reconnected in 2016, when a friend gave her a cell phone so she could call me. We picked up right where we’d left off, and have been continuing our adventurous relationship ever wince, traveling to exotic places in between the Renaissance Faires that she’s vended at for the past 45 years.

Dona and OZ with passionflower

Dona doesn’t get out to movies much, and I love ‘em, so On Wodensday the 7th I took her to see the new Lion King in 3-D at an Austin Imax. We both loved it.

Thorsday afternoon we visited with Wolf and Cat, hanging out in their lovely swimming pool on a hot Austin afternoon. Later they took us out for an Ethiopian dinner—Dona’s first. She was delighted.

Friday evening I was invited to be Guest of Honor at a Sacred Sexuality meetup at Soma Vida in Austin. River del Llano MC’d the conversation—primarily about polyamory, but wandering off in different directions as the 40 or so people asked their questions. Afterward many of us went out for drinks and pub munchies to the bar at Hotel Eleven. Everyone was so wonderful and engaging, and I really felt the love we were there to share. River recorded the talk, and here’s the link: https://uncagelove.com/blogfeed/2019/8/15  River says: “I hope your community might enjoy this post and all it has to offer as well!  Feel free to post and share everywhere!”

The Sacred Sexuality meetup in Austin

We spent Saturnday packing for our trip to Ecuador. Early Sunday morning the 11th we took a Lyft to the Austin airport for our flight to Ecuador. We flew from Austin to Ft. Lauderdale, FL, then south to Quito, Ecuador, where we arrived about 11:00 pm. We had to hang out and try to catch a few winks on uncomfortable seats in the airport all night before our dawn flight to Loja, way down in the bottom of the country. When Dona started to do a little work on my sore back, a kindly native woman gave her a container of healing salve, which felt wonderful.

Dona boarding the twin-prop plane to Loja

The little plane to Loja was a twin-engine propeller plane. I can’t remember how long it’s been since I’d flown in one of those! We landed in Loja about 7:00, and were met after clearing customs (really, there weren’t any; they just asked a few questions and stamped our passports) by our hostess, Jacquie Omi, who was jumping up and down and waving outside the baggage claim door.

We’ve been here at few days at Finca Fina, where Omi and her husband Don have built an utterly charming Hobbit house into the hillside, complete with a big round door. They call it “Summerland Tierra de Verano.” They are both brilliant and amazing people, also in their 70s, like Dona and me, and totally dedicated to environmental causes and eco-restoration. Omi’s always maintained: “If my last trip to the bathroom isn’t to a dry-composting toilet, I’ll feel like a failure.”

Don, Omi & OZ at their Hobbit house

Omi is our new High Priestess of the Church of All Worlds, as well as being on the CAW Board, and she has great experience and exciting ideas that she’s bringing to the Church. As a teenager she spent ten months in a nunnery having a child of rape. There she became disillusioned by the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church, so she left home at 16 and joined the Unitarians, beginning the spiritual journey that led her to Paganism and the CAW.

In 1980 Omi began studying Renzi Zen. In 1991 she founded the controversial Church of Iron Oak in Palm Bay, FL, which affiliated with the Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) in Index, WA. In 1992 she incorporated the Summerland Monastery, defending her legal right to have home church services. In 1993 she met Don, who had the CAW Proto-Nest of the Ancient Sacred Mother. From 1996-2008, she and Don tried to create a sustainable eco-community—Windtree Ranch—in Douglas, AZ.

Omi has been ordained by a number of Pagan groups and Traditions, as she was serving many men in prison in Arizona. She was ordained in CAW at Samhain of 2016, and elevated to High Priestess at Beltaine of 2019. CAW has only one HPs at a time, and she serves a term of seven years.

Vilcabamba—Valley of Longevity

Yesterday, 8/15, we took a taxi truck to the nearby town of Vilcabamba, which is often called the Valley of Longevity. Locals assert that many residents reach 100 years of age, with quite a few attaining 120, and some even up to 135, which would make this an area with the oldest inhabitants in the world. In 1973, Dr. Alexander Leaf of Harvard Medical School first introduced these people to the world in his cover story for National Geographic Magazine. One of the locals told us that the water here contains colloidal gold and silver…

Even as Vilcabamba’s international fame grew, scientists continued to investigate the secret of the villagers’ longevity, but some were beginning to grow skeptical. In particular, Dr. Alexander Leaf, the Harvard Medical School researcher who had been among the first to conduct research in Vilcabamba, was having doubts. His suspicions were aroused when he realized that the villagers were inconsistent in their self-reported ages. For instance, in 1971 he had met a man who reported his age as 122. When Leaf returned three years later, that same man claimed to be 134 years old.

Leaf then persuaded Dr. Richard Mazess of the University of Wisconsin Madison and Dr. Sylvia Forman of the University of California Berkeley to help determine the correct ages of Vilcabamba’s elderly population. They reached the conclusion that there was not a single centenarian living in Vilcabamba. The oldest person in the village was found to be 96 years old. The average age of those claiming to be over 100 years was actually 86 years. The researchers presented these results on February 27, 1978, at a workshop at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

Far from being the ‘Valley of Longevity,’ the researchers concluded that “Individual longevity in Vilcabamba is little, if any, different from that found throughout the rest of the world.” Further, they reported that “Life expectancy (corrected for exaggeration) at all ages in Vilcabamba (and Loja) is, in fact, less than in the U.S.”

(-Wikipedia)

The Oracle & the Wizard

My presentation was held at a charming Vilacabamba restaurant named Mestizo. From 11:00-noon I was interviewed live on camera by Phyllis Serene, “The Oracle,” co-founder of GoddessUniversity.org on her Facebook page www.facebook.com/phyllis.serene and she has a podcast. We totally hit it off together! You can see the interview at: https://www.facebook.com/phyllis.serene/videos/10157454484107118/ 

The interview was followed by several hours of Q&A with about 30-40 people. Alaura Love www.facebook.com/laura.loborios, who set it all up and did the promotions, was surprised that more men showed up than women, which is apparently unheard of for such events. Linda Gomez, the restaurant owner, (www.facebook.com/MandangoStero) cooked and served us all a sumptuous lunch, and everyone seemed to have a great time. Omi talked a bit more while I ate lunch.

OZ and Omi: the Wizard & the Priestess

On Sunday we’ll be going back to conduct an official in-person ordination ceremony for Omi, followed by a Croning rite for Alora. Dona and I will be staying on in Vilacabamba for another week, before going on to Quenco. I may be doing other events there…

For previous Journal entries and more, be sure to check out my personal website: www.OberonZell.com

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

Visiting Frankenmuth

Sunday 7/7/19

Last Sunday, June 30th I drove three hours to Otisville, MI, to visit Terry and Tanya Hughes. I’ll be staying with them for a week, until I leave for Starwood on the 9th. We’d met last Halloween in Salem MA, where they joined in the grand procession I led up to Gallows Hill for the huge Samhain ceremony conceived and run by Gypsy for many years.

OZ with Terry & Tanya

I don’t have any more gigs scheduled between now and Starwood. Tanya and Terry are such gracious hosts, just encouraging me to kick back and relax while I’m here. Having been offline for most of the past few weeks, I’m spending a lot of my time catching up on email, FaceBook, and my various projects—such as the Pagan Credit Union, the Grey Council, and the 2020 Vision Project. I’m also renewing my effort to open communications with Disney regarding their obvious incorporation of my Millennial Gaia in the penultimate scene of their marvelous Polynesian animated film, “Moana.”

Terry’s brother Aaron. Tanya’s brother Jim, and other family have been coming over for barbeque and conversation, and in the evenings we watched more episodes of Sabrina. We finished off the first two seasons last night with episode 20. I won’t spoil it for you, but one has to wonder, what next?

Wilkommen to Frankenmuth

This past Wednesday, July 3, Terry and Tanya took me to the nearby town of Frankenmuth, settled by 15 German refugees from Franconia, Bavaria in 1845. A charming little community of 19th-century Bavarian-style architecture, it’s “Christmastown” the way Salem, MA is “Halloweentown.” The first thing you come to after passing under the highway-spanning “Willkommen” arch is BRONNER’S CHRISTmas WONDERLAND, which promotes itself as “The World’s Largest Christmas Store.”

Inside Bronner’s vast CHRISTmas Wonderland

Designed with an Alpine architecture and operating year-round, the vast building is 7.35 acres in size with landscaped grounds covering 27 acres. It’s a very strange amalgam of Christian nativity stuff such as miniature and lifesize creches, statues, angels, camels, Magi (yes, Pagan Zoroastrian Wizards) juxtaposed with secular holiday stuff like Xmas trees, acres of ornaments, countless Santa Clauses (including black ones), giant snowmen, white-tail deer (not reindeer), little light-up winter villages, etc. Incongruously, there are even major displays of Halloween stuff, with little haunted houses and villages and lotsa stuff from the animated film, The Nightmare Before Christmas.

The lifesize creche in front of Bronner’s

A big sign on the life-size creche in front of the store explains that the Nativity is best dated to 4 BCE, but they don’t question the date of Dec. 25, which we Pagans know was chosen by Emperor Constantine to co-opt the Roman Winter Solstice celebration of Natis Solis Invictus (“Birthday of the Unconquered Sun”). But nowhere is there any mention whatsoever of the real “reason for the season”—Winter Solstice. No hint of Yule, no Sun symbols, Green Man, Isis and Horus, or any other Pagan seasonal symbols. Unless, of course, you count all the secular decorations, which we know to be Pagan, but evidently these people don’t.

And even more Bronner’s

According to the Biblical account, Jesus was born six months after his cousin, John the Baptist. John was born while his father was serving as Priest in the temple, during the month of Nisan, which falls over March-April. So Jesus would have been born around Fall Equinox, while the shepherds were still staying out in the fields with their flocks at night, before bringing them in for the winter. In other words, nowhere near Winter Solstice.

OZ at one of many Bronner’s manger scenes

The Christian element in Bronner’s comes on really strong. Tanya and Terry said they’d been thrown out previously for asking about Yule decorations and symbols. I think they may have noticed our pentacles, as we were followed around the store by suspicious floorwalkers. Worried about being overheard, we kept our blasphemous comments low and quiet. A spooky experience more in keeping with Halloween than Christmas.

There are big signs everywhere helpfully explaining the historical significance of everything. After touring the quaint little town and its museum, we went to the famous Zehnder’s (founded in 1856) for their special “World Famous” family-style chicken dinner. Billed as “America’s largest family restaurant,” the period-costumed waitresses kept bringing additional servings of chicken, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, broccoli, buttered noodles, etc. as we requested them.

Zehnder’s Restaurant sign

On the 4th and 5th we visited with some of Terry & Tanya’s friends and relatives. Interesting folks…

Last night I performed a handfasting ceremony for Terry & Tanya, under a bright quarter moon.

Terry & Tanya handfasting.

Tuesday the 9th I’ll be leaving here. I’m picking up Samina at the Columbus Airport and going on to Starwood. I look forward to seeing many of you there!

For previous Journal entries and more, be sure to check out my personal website: www.OberonZell.com

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

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Monday, 6/24/19

After a week at PSG (Pagan Spirit Gathering), I landed last night at Elizabeth Sturino’s place in Dayton, OH. Since PSG had no wifi, I’ve been offline for 9 days—the longest time I can remember! I’ve spent today catching up with emails and Facebook. Now to catch up with my journaling…

Elizabeth lived in Amsterdam for a few years and served as Personal Assistant for Michael York in 2014-‘15. She has some amazing life stories! We have quite a few friends in common, and have attended some of the same festivals, but never actually met before now. We’ve been totally hitting it off. Her daughter Chloe and four grandkids are also living here, and I think they think I’m Santa Claus…

Elizabeth’s grandkids: William (6), Declan (4) and Eisen (2)

It’s been raining here since I arrived, but tomorrow is supposed to be clear, so we’re planning to drive out to visit Ohio’s Great Serpent Mound—which I’ve always wanted to see.

So, right after my last entry, I drove to Hannon’s Camp America Campground, near College Corner, OH, for the legendary Pagan Spirit Gathering, which I’ve heard about for decades, but never managed to attend before—although Morning Glory came once back in the mid-‘90s. This was their first time at this new site, and intense rain over the first few days turned much of the campground—including the main ritual area, the vendors row, and the dancing ground in front of the band stage—into a sea and rivers of mud. It made me think of Woodstock. But everyone had a positive attitude regarding this adversity—having had a PSG a few years previously completely washed out by flooding!

OZ and Selena Fox

PSG is an annual production of Circle Sanctuary, and Selena Fox and her partner Dennis (“Dr. D.”) were omnipresent, directing, solving problems, shuffling schedules, conducting rituals, presenting workshops, and, well, everything it seemed. Most of the 600 people present were members of Circle, and this is the only Pagan festival they ever attend.

Although I knew very few of the people there, everyone seemed to know me. I was deeply moved by the warm welcome, acceptance, and honoring I felt from everyone. Many people came up to me and told me how I’d changed their lives. As at all Pagan festivals these days, “Welcome Home!” was a common theme, even printed on the complimentary guest tote bags.

OZ with Penny & Zenobia

Other special guest authors were the elegant Lady Tamara Von Forslun (“The Witch of Oz”), my friend Jason Mankey, and Kristoffer Hughes from Wales, whose book, “Journey of the Soul” had been an important reference for my own forthcoming “Death Rights & Rites.” We enjoyed each other’s company and conversation at the authors’ pavilion and mealtimes. Many other charming new connections: Dineh, John & Paul; Penny & Zenobia; Ash, Bob, Jim, Harry, and so many others.

Laura Gonzalez—born in Mexico City, now living in Chicago—shared a bunkhouse with me. She has shows on CircleTalk Blogpost Radio in Spanish and English, and now Portuguese as well. We stayed up late in the cabin seeing eye-to-eye on many topics. I look forward to an interview on her show.

OZ with Laura Gonzalez

The schedule was full of Circle events, rituals, and particularly Rites of Passage: baby blessings, girls’ and boys’ coming of age ceremonies, rites of motherhood, handfastings, ministerial ordinations, and rites of croning for the elder women. A group of older men had initiated a comparable ritual of “saging” for men, and this year I was the only candidate. Despite my being well over the traditional age of “Sage” (55), and a founder of the Grey Council, such a rite had never come up for me before, and I was deeply honored by the ceremony.

A major aspect of Circle is their commitment to total inclusivity, which extends particularly to the trans-gendered, gender fluid, etc. For every event and rite of passage, it was emphasized that people should go wherever they identify, rather than being bound to their biology.

Bardapalooza

As befitting a Pagan gathering, there was plenty of music, performed by several bands as well as lone bards, such as Louis Garou and Mama Gina, who had also performed at the last three Pagan events I’d attended. Bands included Spiral Rhythm, who had performed at PUF, Thundersirens, and Arthur (“King of the Britons”) Hinds and the Round Table. Saturday night they all came on stage for “Bardapalooza.”

Closing ritual

In addition to the ever-popular Phil’s Grill (a staple at several Pagan festivals), there were excellent meals by Jeanette Catering of Sharonville, OH. As they were a mundane operation, I had a nice talk with Melanie S., who headed up the catering crew, regarding what she thought of this gathering of Pagans. I was pleased that she said we were just the nicest bunch of folks she’d ever served. The next day she told me that she’d looked me up, and would be following my adventures on Facebook, so here’s to you, Melanie!

One Year of The Walkabout

Saturday 6/15/19

It is now one year since I placed everything I own into storage, and hit the road in MG’s little burgundy Prius on an indefinite Walkabout. My Mission is to travel around the country making personal visits with old and new friends and lovers, interspersed with book-signings and talks at Pagan stores and gatherings. Previously, people who wanted to meet me had to come to me. Now I’m coming to you! (or at least to a Pagan venue in your neighborhood).

After adventures last year in California, Reno, Las Vegas, Austin, Guatemala, Salt Lake City, Omaha, Kansas City, St Louis, Cincinnati, numerous places in Pennsylvania, and NYC, I arrived in Salem, MA on Oct. 10, in time for Samhain. I stayed in Salem with Gypsy Ravish through the Winter, doing Tarot readings and working to open the Cosmic Connection Temple of Stars at her Witch store, Nu Aeon on Pickering Wharf.

Gypsy and I attended the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto the first week in Nov. Then I spent most of January with Dona and friends, in Texas, New Orleans, and Mississippi, before returning to Salem for Feb. 

On the first of March I headed off on the eastern and southern part of my journey, down through the Eastern states and into Florida, and back up to TN for the Pagan Unity Festival. Then west to St Louis (where it all began over 50 years ago…) for the Pagan Picnic, and south to AR. Now I’m back in Nashville for a few days, before heading up to Ohio for Pagan Spirit Gathering and Starwood.

Three Gates Gathering – group photo

Last weekend’s Three Gates Gathering in West Plains, MO (in the bootheel of the state, 3 miles from the AR border) was delightful! There were about 40 adults and a passel of kids. Among the illustrious Elders were Melissa Anderson of the Circle of Ancient Sisters in KY; Rev. Don Lewis of Witch School and the Correllian Nativist Tradition; Terry Riley of the Southern Delta Church of Wicca (ATC) in Jonesboro, AR; Rowena Whaling (author of Voices from the Stars) from Nashville; and of course, our hosts, Alfred Willowhawk and Willo Wellspring of the Wite Rayvn Metaphysical Church.

We were entertained by bards Mama Gina (aka 9 Toes the Bard), Mystic of Dragonstone, and Ginger Ackley (aka Posey). There were three tracks of workshops every hour, and delicious home-cooked food for every meal. There was a fire circle both evenings, a sword dance, a double handfasting, and two birthdays.

It rained a lot on the first day and night, and the site was pretty muddy. But spirits were high, and everyone had a good time, with great conversations.

The event officially ended early Sunday, but a hard core stayed over a few more days. Terry Riley had left some stuff behind, so I left on Tuesday to drive down to Jonesboro, AR to take it to him and visit with him, HPs Ivy, Ashley, and other SDWC folks, over a great spaghetti dinner. Their church was famous for their big Freedom of Religion March on Lughnasadh (Aug. 1) of 1993, in protest over the Fundie attacks on their store, The Magick Moon, which only survived a month. Now they have all sorts of public projects going, such as a community garden, adopt-a-hiway, and other services to benefit their local community.

OZ with HPs Ivy (L) and Ashley (R) at SDCW

The church house is a labyrinthine sprawl that seems far bigger on the inside than the outside—like a TARDIS. They put me up in a guest room with a private bath! The ritual circle in back is well-appointed with Quarter Gates and a stone central altar. They showed me videos of a few of their musical movie rituals, with songs and characters from Grease, Rocky Horror, etc. taking ritual parts.

Sharing water with Terry Riley of SDCW

Before I left Wednesday afternoon I did a water-sharing with Terry, Ivy and Ashley. Then I drove over 4 hours back to Nashville to spend a few days with Kadira before heading off to PSG on Sunday, and that’s where I am now. Tomorrow I’m off to PSG.

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 #ozpatreon #iampaganandivote

Keeping Busy – A Massive Update Since My Last Entry

Thursday 6/6/19

I’m now in West Plains, in the bottom of MO three miles from the Arkansas border. I’ve been here since Tuesday, staying with Alfred Willowhawk and Willo Wellspring of the Wite Rayvn Metaphysical Church. Everyone is busily preparing the 4.9-acre farm for the Three Gates Gathering, which starts tomorrow. I’ve been so busy since my last entry that I haven’t had time to catch up in this journal until now.

I left Moria’s Monday afternoon, the 27th, and drove 4 hours back to Nashville to stay with Kadira for a few days. On Wed. the 29th I drove 1½ hours to Summertown to visit my dear friend Alayne at The Farm. The Farm was founded by Stephen Gaskin, who led a caravan of 300 hippies in 60 buses, vans, and trucks from San Francisco back in 1971—a year before Greenfield Ranch was founded in NorCalifia. Stephen’s wife, Ina May, is known throughout the world as “the mother of authentic midwifery,” which has been a major aspect of The Farm since its founding.

Stephen died in 2014, and Ina May no longer lives on the land, but The Farm continues as a well-organized utopian village community, with approximately 200 members and residents on about 1,750 acres of common land. An additional adjoining 2,000 acres have been acquired by Farm friends over the years, including a land trust, Big Swan Headwaters Preserve.

When I first visited The Farm eight years ago, Alayne was married to Jay-Sun, with a delightful 10-year-old daughter, Alexandra, with whom I really hit it off. They broke apart a few years ago, and Alayne recently re-married a very cool dude named Thai in a big ceremony. We had a fine dinner and evening getting acquainted, getting high on Farm sacrament, and listening to the hippie music of The Farm Band.

OZ, Alayne & Alexandra

Thursday morning Xandra showed up. She is now 18, beautiful, brilliant, and working in a marvelous 30-year-old program called “Kids to the Country,” which brings city kids (5-14) out to the land, along with counselors (12-22) and adult helpers. Xandra has become an excellent artist, and is marketing her vividly colorful paintings as posters, cards, bookmarks and stickers, which she gets produced by stickermule.com.

Xandra drove Alayne and me on a wild golf cart ride around The Farm to visit various sites of interest, including the innovative playground and the beautiful graveyard, with around 200 green burials and headstones. Stephen, of course, has a major cenotaph, but he is secretly buried elsewhere.

Stephen Gaskin’s cenotaph

Xandra’s breakneck buggy driving seldom followed roads or even paths, but careened madly through the woods, swerving between trees and gullies, like a crazed Disneyland ride without the rails. When it started to rain, we just kept tearing along, getting drenched. An exciting follow-up to my white-water rafting of a few days previous!

Thursday evening we all went to a talent show at The Farm’s gathering hall, which was such an archetypal commune experience. I loved it.

Jay-Sun in his store

Before leaving The Farm Friday morning, I visited a bit with my old friend Jay-Sun. Then I drove six hours to St Louis to stay with Kendal Gravitt and Bryant Biek at their lovely home on Park Ave.—the same street Martha and I had lived on when we landed in St Louis for graduate school at Washington University back in 1965 and watched the Arch being built down the street.

The weekend of June 1-2 was the 27th annual St Louis Pagan Picnic, in Tower Grove Park. I was the “Special Guest.” My previous visit to St Louis for the 17thPagan Picnic was ten years ago. When Morning Glory and I left St Louis for the West Coast in June of 1976, there were maybe a couple dozen Pagans in the area—mostly members of our own Church of All Worlds. Now this event was attended by over 5,000 people, with 95 vendors, music, rituals, belly dancing, workshops and general merriment! Paganism has certainly come a long way regarding public acceptance in the past 43 years!

The Old Guys: Tom Kullman, OZ & Don Wildgrube

As always when I visit my old stomping grounds, my oldest friends Don Wildgrube and Tom Kullman showed up to hang around my vendor’s table, helping out and catching up. So many reminiscences from those thrilling days of yesteryear! It was in St Louis over 50 years ago—on Sept. 7, 1967—that I first claimed the term “Pagan” to describe myself and my new religion (CAW) that was just going public after five years as an underground secret “water-brotherhood” (Atl—eventually incorporated as the Association for the Tree of Life).

We incorporated CAW on March 4, 1968, rented a 5-story Victorian on the corner of Gaslight Square, and began publishing Green Egg at Ostara—using it to contact other newly-forming groups I’d hear about, and encourage them to also identify as Pagan. That was the beginning of a religious movement that now encompasses millions of adherents worldwide. And it all began here!

Saturday evening after the Picnic closed the core organizers went to dinner at Sqwires. The party consisted of Kendal (Autumn Moon), Bryant (MoonHawk), Karen Ladyhawk, River Higginbotham, Jasmine (Lisa Bruce), Stag (Sean-Thomas), Liz Rohret, Ambiaka Maupin and me. Our waiter, Mark, recognized our pentagrams, and told us he was really interested in Paganism. We invited him to join us at our table when he got off, and he totally merged in. The next day he showed up at the Picnic with his lady, and spent some time at my booth, buying a Grimoire and a Millennial Gaia statue. One more homecoming!

It rained fiercely Saturday night, with lightning and high winds. Despite putting my merchandise in boxes under the table and lowering the canopy, my table was soaked and several books became sopping bricks. Welcome to the Midwest!

OZ’s vending table at Pagan Picnic

The theme for the Pagan Picnic this year was “Seeds of Hope,” and this was reflected in the rituals and workshops. Jasmine’s opening ritual was a powerful enactment of the myth of Pandora. I presented my talk on “Awakening into Quantum Consciousness.” I was also asked to create and Priest the main ritual Sunday afternoon, which I did with Liz Rohret as Priestess. We worked really well together, staying up late Saturday night with other participants to plan and assign parts.

The main ritual was well-attended, and went really well. First, everyone took a handful of compost and filled it with all the negativity of their darkest fears, anger and frustrations. Then, with a circling chant widdershins, we deposited it into a cauldron. Next, each person took a handful of seeds and filled them with their hopes and 2020 Visions. With another circling chant deosil we placed the seeds into the cauldron of compost and charged them to grow…

OZ at main ritual

Sunday I drove up to Florissant to see Carolyn Clark at Christian Hospital. Ordained by CAW at Beltaine of 1973, she was the first Priestess in the western world to be ordained by a legally-recognized church since Emperor Justinian closed the ancient Pagan temples throughout the Roman Empire in the 6th century CE. Carolyn served as CAW’s High Priestess from 1973-1979, to be succeeded by Morning Glory (ordained at Lughnasadh 1974). Now she is very ill, and can barely move—though she says she’s getting better, and she looks forward to writing the story of her life, with a ghostwriter to help. We talked for several hours, and I fed her lunch by the spoonful. So many sweet memories!

After leaving Carolyn, I drove to University City to stay the night with Pendragon. A highly-trained academic artist—sculptor, painter, and art historian—she came into my life shortly after I met Morning Glory in 1973, and the two of them became best friends and sisters. We modeled for each other, and my drawing of her as Lilith appeared as the cover of Green Egg #74 (Samhain 1974), and on the back of her Pendragon Tarot deck. We had so much to talk about!

And Tuesday afternoon I drove four hours to West Plains, where I’ve been relaxing and catching up before the Gathering begins tomorrow. A number of people are here already fixing up the facilities. In the evenings we’ve been playing “Magic the Gathering” and watching movies: Stardust, Bruce Almighty, and Addams Family.

Adventures in Georgia

Thursday 4/25/2019

It’s been a week since my last Journal entry. I’ve been fairly stationary at Maureen’s in Marietta. Mostly I’ve been spending my days doing routine email, Facebook, and various to-do items of business, graphics, etc. Evenings Maureen and I have been catching up on our favorite TV shows, which I’ve been unable to watch while I’ve been on the road: Sense8 (which gives a whole new meaning to the term “clusterfuck”), American Gods, Project Blue Book, Star Trek Discovery, and Strange Angel.

Last Friday evening we went to see the movie Shazam! which we thoroughly enjoyed. I remember fondly the comic book, Captain Marvel, from when I was a kid. Originally created in the 1930s by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck for Fawcett Comics, “Shazam” is an ancient wizard (Whiz Comics #2 gives his age as 3,000 years) who gives young Billy Batson the power to transform into the grown-up superhero Captain Marvel-“the World’s Mightiest Mortal”-by saying the magic word SHAZAM (acronym for SolomonHerculesAtlasZeus, Achilles, and Mercury).

Captain Marvel comic

Fawcett, publishers of the original Captain Marvel/Shazam comics, stopped making them in the ’50s. In the ’60s, Marvel Comics trademarked the name Captain Marvel for their own Kree alien superhero, which meant when DC licensed the Fawcett characters in 1972, they had the Fawcett character named Captain Marvel, but couldn’t call the comic Captain Marvel, so they used his transformation cry “Shazam!” for the title.

This extended to other media as well – DC could not promote the character as Captain Marvel anywhere, even though the character’s named was Captain Marvel. So when Billy Batson made his TV debut in 1974, his show was titled Shazam (okay, The Shazam/Isis Hour, but you get the point). https://io9.gizmodo.com/the-captain-marvel-ms-marvel-shazam-clusterf-ck-explai-1251423862 

Saturday the 10th I attended Frolicon, at the Atlanta Sheraton Hotel, where I shared a room with Talyn, Maggie, and Holly. That was a blast! The con tagline was “Where Nerdy meets Naughty.” Hundreds of happy fanboys’n’girls wandering the halls in a wide variety of outrageous costumes, from the very elaborate to the very little. Many workshops, panels, vendors, burlesque shows, costume contests, stand-up comics, and a huge fully-equipped dungeon. Plus the hotel pool and hot tub. Lotsa fun, and many old friends.

OZ at Frolicon

Monday morning I got a doctor’s check-up; I seem to be in excellent health, pending results of the blood work.

Last night we held our first Grey School Faculty meeting on Zoom, arranged and facilitated by our marvelous new Dean of Faculty, Ambika Devi, whom I’ll be visiting in a couple of weeks. Zoom is a great video conferencing platform-a vast improvement over Skype, which we’ve been using up ’til now. Goodbye, Skype!

This evening I’m having dinner at the Hawg & Ale, “The best BBQ in the Southeast!” with the Songdog Family; Talyn, Maggie, Holly, Tam, Fayth, Ruffio. Afterwards, we’ll go hang out at the Viking Alchemical Meadery ’til they close.

Dinner with the Songdogs

Clockwise from front: Tam, OZ, Maggie, Talyn, Holly, Faith, Ruffio

Early Saturday I’ll be heading off to Belfire at Lake Hartwell, SC w. Talyn and the gang. The first of several Beltaine celebrations I’ll attending in the next week or so.

Then on Sunday the 28th, from 4:00-6:00pm, I’ll be doing a book-signing and talk at Phoenix & Dragon Bookstore in Atlanta. Morning Glory and I have done business with them for decades, but this is my first actual book-signing there.

For previous Journal entries and more, be sure to check out my personal website:  www.OberonZell.com

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

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