Meeting Margaret Atwood

Tuesday 11/6/18

Another full and wonderful day at the Parliament. The highlight for us, however, was getting to spend over an hour and a half with Margaret Atwood, author of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” sitting in front of a nice fire in the drawing room of the historic Campbell House in downtown Toronto. We found so much to talk about! The entire meeting and conversation was filmed for a documentary on Margaret that is intended for release next October or so. Margaret’s husband Graeme Gibson and Gypsy joined us for part of the conversation, and Margaret gave me a pre-publication proof copy of her latest book, Hag-Seed, a modern adaptation of “The Tempest.” I can’t wait to read it! Then we all went back to the Convention Center for Margaret’s talk on “Climate Change and Women.” Lucy Cummings, who introduced her onstage and conducted the Q&A, referred to her as a “national treasure” of Canada.

Parliament of Religions

Monday 11/5/18

This is the 5th day of the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto. Gypsy and I are having an amazing time! Connecting to so many people; fantastic workshops and panels, but even more significant are the conversations we get into with folks sitting around in the little conversation areas scattered throughout the convention center.

Since I’m wearing my Pagan and Wizardry ritual regalia, I attract a fair amount of attention. People want to know what religion I am, and when I tell them I’m a Pagan, they’re generally quite interested in learning more. Likewise, when Gypsy tells them she’s a Witch High Priesstess, Many already have a pretty good idea of what Paganism is–a food vendor outside the hall even said, “Oh, the Old Religion!”

Laney Goodman and her Mother Drum presentation invited Gypsy up onstage to sing with them–invoking the Four Elements, engaging all to drum and chant, blessing Mother Earth and the work of the Parliament. Their company included Imani, ALisa Starkweather, Kathleen Rouleau and others.

Much of the programming has to do with dealing with global climate change. But there are a lot of programs about women in religious leadership, including a panel on Priestesses, with Selena Fox, Dierdre Pulgram-Arthen, Angie Buchanon, Inija (Romuva HPs from Lithuania) and other Pagan Priestesses. Dierdre even gave a presentation on the main stage of the Plenary, where many individual religious leaders made short speeches.

There was also a gratifying amount of talk about the Goddess–particularly Mother Earth. Various indigenous American tribes were represented in a continuing series of talks by Elders in the large constructed Longhouse and tipis, and they were all about Mother Earth, Mother Nature, etc. All were extremely concerned, sharing warnings about the dire fates of the 4-legged, 2-leggeds, and their ancestral lands, urging us to act now to stop the tides of destruction that threaten all life.

At one presentation by indigenous people on prophecies of this time, I got to make a statement that in my travels throughout the world, I’ve spoken to indigenous shamans and elders of Australia, Peru, Guatemala, Hawaii, Siberia, North America, Nigeria, etc. And from all these conversations, a single word has emerged that I felt commissioned to bring here: “Awakening.” This is the Time of the Awakening. And all agreed enthusiastically.

Yesterday Belladonna Laveau of ATC (Aquarian Tabernacle Church), Andras Corban-Arthen of EarthSpirit and I had lunch together, and Andras and I had a pretty fierce argument over the capitalization of the name of our religion–Pagan. He refuses to capitalize it, insisting that Paganism isn’t really a religion, but merely a category of religions, like animism, monotheism, etc. I, however, maintain that several million of us identify our religion as “Pagan,” and to not capitalize it is a grievous insult. We’re not done with this…

At 4:30 in the afternoon, we had a “flash mob” spiral dance, chanting “Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna.” The spiral opened into a snake dance proceeding up and down escalators, throughout both convention halls, and we were joined by many others, including Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.

Last night Belladona and her ATC crowd took us back to their B&B for a fantastic home-cooked dinner and conversation that is going to have significant results down the line…stay tuned!

Today Gypsy and I will be meeting with Margaret Atwood, author of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and the meeting will be filmed by a company that’s doing a documentary on her.

More later…

Eastern Pennsylvania

Sunday 9/16/18

As you know, I’m currently in eastern PA. Last night was a huge fund-raising event put on in my honor by Kim Consoli and her Order of Avalon. It was held outdoors, at a local farm in Lebanon, PA, with a wide creek running behind the vending area. Around 60-70 people attended. There was vending, feasting, live music (3 bands!), dancing, raffles, auction, a Mabon ritual, fire-spinning, bonfire, etc. I sold all my remaining copies of “The Wizard & The Witch,” and gave a short talk on “Awakening into Quantum Consciousness.”

It was great to finally meet Silver Ravenwolf, as we’ve had friendly communications for nearly 30 years—since she created the WPPA (Wiccan/Pagan Press Alliance), for which Green Egg won numerous awards back in the ‘90s. But we’d never actually met face-to-face before last night! She was delightful, and told me about her current book project about the PowWow tradition.

The event concluded at midnight with a moving toast to both Morning Glory and me for our life’s work for the Pagan Community. The degree of honoring was really overwhelming.

By the time we got everything broken down and packed into the car, dropped off the photographer, and got back to Kim’s house, it was 2:00 in the morning. Kim made us all some midnight munchies, and it was 3:am when I finally crawled into bed.

We all got up late, Kim made coffee and breakfast, I got caught up with my email and messages, and musician Jimmy Clark and I had a long business meeting around his doing awesome covers of Gwydion’s songs. His main current project is an ambitious creation of music videos for each of the 22 Tarot Major Arcana, and he’s recruited me to portray “The Hermit” (#9) which we plan to film at David Donohue’s place in Barto, PA, on Oct. 5.

Satyrday

Satyrday 9/15/18

Tonight is the big bash that Kim is throwing in my honor from 6:pm-midnite with her store, The Order of Avalon. It’ll be at a beautiful farm in Lebanon, PA. Musician Jimmy Clark has done an amazing job planning and coordinating the program, which includes pot-luck feasting, book-signing, Mabon ritual, group meditation, music & dancing with three bands, fire-spinning, raffles, auction, and a talk by me on “The Awakening”… The Press will be covering it, with photos, video, and maybe even a drone. So far over 100 people have said they’re coming, including Silver Ravenwolf. This should be amazing!

Thursday I received a much-needed massage from Neil, one of Maedelyn’s housemates, who is staying there recovering from cancer surgery. Also living there is Will, Maedelyn’s long-time paramour, and Littlefox, who helps with housekeeping, cooking, etc. A delightful group household, much like MG and I used to have at RavenHaven and Shady Grove.

Neil took me out for lunch, and a visit to his regular home—an apartment among many in a magnificent labyrinthine mansion built by John Uri Lloyd (1849-1936), a Cincinnatti “pharmacognocist” and pharmaceutical manufacturer, and author of the remarkable 1895 allegorical sci-fi novel, “Etidorhpa (Aphrodite spelled backwards), or, the end of the earth: the strange history of a mysterious being and the account of a remarkable journey.”

According to Wikipedia, “The book purports to be a manuscript dictated by a strange being named “I-Am-The-Man” to a man named Llewyllyn Drury. Drury’s adventure culminates in a trek through a cave in Kentucky into the core of the Earth. Ideas presented in Etidorhpa include practical alchemy, secret Masonic orders, the Hollow Earth theory, and the concept of transcending the physical realm.” The book spawned a cult following, and was translated into seven languages.

Thursday evening we binge-watched the first half-dozen episodes of “Strange Angel,” a superb miniseries about Jack Parsons (1914–1952), early rocket scientist, founder of JPL and the entire US space program, and a Thelemite occultist whose involvement with Aleister Crowley, the OTO, and L. Ron Hubbard is well-known in Pagan circles. Parsons died in a mysterious explosion in his lab on June 17, 1952.

I spent all day Friday driving nearly 500 miles to Kim’s house in eastern PA, arriving in time for dinner and a fun evening hanging out with Kim, her partner Shawn, Jimmy Clark, David, and “Mom.” Jimmy and David were rehearsing the music for the bash, and Jimmy played me some of the songs he’d already recorded for his ambitious Tarot Trumps project (for which he wants me to play the Hermit for the video), and a number of his fabulous covers of Gwydion’s songs.

I’ll be staying here for the next few weeks, before moving on to Salem in early October, where I’ll be spending the winter with Gypsy…

Travel Spell

Travel Spell
by OZ 9/14/18

The road ahead is clear before me;
Dame Fortuna favors me.
May the journey home restore me
To the one I’m meant to be.

My Mission in this indefinite Walkabout 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). I am being supported on this journey (gas, food, motels, car maintenance…) by generous donations, particularly via my Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/oberonzell

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

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

–J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Long Roads, Smiling Faces, and New Lessons

Wednesday 9/12/18

Saturday the 8th I had an easy 3-hour drive from Omaha to Kansas City, where I stayed with Ashiling. That evening was the monthly Pagan Movie Night, and she took me over to Selene Rati and her husband David’s house, where nine of us gathered to watch “Practical Magic,” with Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock. We had a nice little talk about the movie afterwards, and then went back to Ashiling’s place, where I had a 45-min. phone interview with Belladonna LaVeau for her Global Wiccan Summit Radio Show. My takeaway insight afterwards was an adapted slogan for The Craft: “HARM NONE; HEAL ALL.” T-shirts and bumper stickers coming!

Sunday morning I drove 100 miles to Boonville, MO, where I stayed the night at Oak Spirit Sanctuary (formerly Ozark Avalon), visiting with Kerry Lynn and others. We had a great potluck dinner and a splendid evening sitting around on the porch, sharing stories, and playing with a little furball puppy. What a fabulous place—160 acres, with a large old farmhouse and various outbuildings, circles, shrines, camping areas, etc. Exactly the sort of place we in CAW were trying to find and acquire back in the early ‘70s. They host many gatherings and events, but currently, no one lives there in residence.

Monday morning I was back on the road again, this time a 2-hour drive to St Louis. I arrived at Pendragon’s place in University City around noon, and she, her partner Len, and I had a great visit and catch-up (a fellow artist, Pendragon and I had been lovers in the early ’70s; I did a drawing of her as “Lilith” for the cover of the Samhain 1994 issue of Green Egg, that she still uses as the back cover for her Tarot deck, the Pendragon Tarot).

From 6:00-7:30 I was scheduled to do a book-signing at Pathways Bookstore, which had been founded and operated by Deborah Letter/Bourbon, who had been my first teacher in the Craft, way back in 1970. She died five years ago of cancer, but Melina Valdejo carries it on. People were already getting seated when I arrived at 5:40, and they kept coming in during the whole evening. More chairs had to keep being added. It was gratifying to see so many of my old friends from the CAW’s early St Louis days of the late ‘60’s-‘70s. I based my talk on questions folks asked, and we sold all the books that Melina had bought for the signing.

Afterwards, Carolyn Clark, Don Wildgrube, Tom Kullman and I went out for dessert and catch-up talk at Denny’s—where we often used to adjourn after Nest meetings in those thrilling days of yesteryear. We’ve all known each other for around 45 years, and in this little group, I was the youngest! I drove Don home, and got back to Pendragon’s about midnight. She and Len and I stayed up ‘til 2:am talking…

After a great breakfast at Pendragon’s, I paid a little visit on an old friend, David Klaus, who has been isolated from the community for decades, and is not doing well. His wife, Nila, had died two years ago, so we commiserated our widowhoods with each other and talked geeky stuff at MoKaBe’s Coffeehouse, where we both had Strawberry-Banana yogurt drinks.

Then it was back on the road at noon for a 6½-hour drive to Cincinnati, to spend a few days with Maegdlyn Morris, her husband, Greg, their daughter Nola, and their housemates—all folks I knew only from Starwood. What a great place they have! A big old rambling log farmhouse built in the 1940s, on two acres of property surrounded by park forest. With another time zone change, I arrived at 7:30, just in time to get a brief tour before an outdoor barbeque dinner, and more conversation late into the night. I turned them on to the 25-min. psychedelic animated video by Dr. Seuss, “Halloween is Grinch Night” (1977). Check it out on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygSEkwRCQPM

This morning Maegdlyn and Greg took me to their favorite breakfast restaurant, the Blue Jay, and then we paid a few hour’s visit with Nola and her partner Elliott. Nola is 22, and I’ve known her pretty much all her life from Starwood. She’s a blacksmith, among other things, and had been a student at my Grey School as a teenager, which she feels was the most important thing in her life. She now has a burning Mission of wanting to foster networking among the various transformational communities of her generation that she’s part of—such as Burners, Ravers, Pagans, Rainbows, Makers, etc.

I’ll be staying here another day (Thurs.) before heading on to Pennsylvania on Friday to spend the next three weeks with Kim Consoli, beginning with a major “Meet and Greet Mabon Celebration with Wizard Oberon Zell” from 6:pm-midnite on Saturday at her store, The Order of Avalon, 325 Dairu Rd., Lebanon, PA. Looking forward to seeing some of you there!

Omaha

Sunday 9/9/18

Passing through each time zone going east has made the trip interesting, as I keep getting to each town an hour later by local time. Friday evening I arrived at Charlie Odorizzi’s beautiful store, the Next Millennium, in Omaha just in time for my scheduled book-signing at 6:00. Customers bought up all the books that Charlie had stocked, and the two-hour talk that followed was packed. Afterwards Charlie took me to the Sheraton, where he’d booked me a nice room.

Saturday morning (yesterday) I took Morning Glory’s little burgundy Prius, Garnet, into the Grease Monkey shop in Omaha for a needed oil change and maintenance check. Charlie had recommended them, and they were fast and inexpensive.

Happy Belated Birthday Mama Maureen!

Friday 9/7/18

I got into Cheyenne last night, had a nice dinner at the Country Kitchen a few miles East of the city, and stayed at a Rodeway Inn. Today I have another 8-hour drive to Omaha, where I’ll be doing a book-signing and talk at Next Millennium from 6:00-9:00. The talk will be on “Cycles & Seasons of Pagan Emergence.” All this driving is becoming quite a challenge; I just hope Morning Glory’s little red Prius can hold out!

Tomorrow I have an easier 3-hour drive to Kansas City, and then on to Oak Spirit Sanctuary in Boonville, MO, on Sunday. Monday the 10th I’ll be driving on to St. Louis, where I’ll be doing a book-signing at Pathways Books, founded by my first teacher of the Craft, Deborah Bourbon, who died of cancer a few years ago.

I wanted to mention that last Friday was Maureen’s 66th birthday! In congratulations and tribute, I’d like to say a few words about her. She has been my loyal and stalwart supporter, personal manager, bookkeeper, website designer and manager, and all-around Gal Friday for the past five years or so—since before Morning Glory died. I can’t imagine how I’d manage without her, and I hope I never have to find out. A Reiki Master and  CAW Minister, she is on the Boards of Directors of the Church of All Worlds, the Grey School of Wizardry, and the Academy of Arcana (now closed) and is the Administrator of CAW, as well as the Chief Technomage of GSW. While she has spent a great deal of time in California with me over the past few years, her family and home are in Marietta, Georgia, where their family auto dealership business is based. Thank you, Mama Maureen, for all that you do, and all that you are!

A Beautiful Handfasting

Thursday 9/6/18

I’d hoped to be able to keep up my journaling every day or two, but I’ve been on the road continually, driving up to 8 hours a day, and then arriving at each destination barely in time for dinner. Evenings are filled with socializing, and by the time I can get to bed, it’s too late to write. But I want you all to know that my Walkabout is going splendidly! I need to design a road trip T-shirt like bands have… I’m having wonderful adventures, and meeting wonderful people all along the way.

To catch up a bit since my last entry, I picked up Maureen/Judith Saturday morning, 9/1, at her hotel in SF, and we went over to the Beat Museum (http://www.kerouac.com/), which is run by her old friend Jerry Cimino. We spent a while touring all the exhibits on two floors, and took pictures with the 1941 Hudson featured in the 2012 movie of Jack Kerouac’s famous beatnik novel, “On the Road.” Then we drove 248 miles up to Weed, just north of Mt. Shasta. On the way, we had to stop for gas right in the middle of the smoke from the huge Hirz fire, and my voice was harsh for days afterwards… We were put up in a lovely B&B, and had long visits with Rasa and Marlis.

The handfasting was beautiful, with friends and family coming in from Germany, New Zealand, France, Georgia and SoCal. Here’s what my friend Rasa posted on Facebook about the ceremony on Sunday:

 

Richard Rasa is with Judith Maxine Barnett and 4 others.

September 4 at 10:05 PM ·

Both old friends of Robert Anton Wilson, Oberon’s officiating at Marlis’ grandson’s marriage was a coincidence that began when they first met in Santa Cruz, July 23rd, RAW Day 2017. I think Bob would have loved knowing he had a hand in that serendipitous connection.

Oberon and Judith conjured magic for Demian and Leslie’s handfasting this past Sunday. Grandson of my dearest friend Marlis, Demian has led something of a magical life – born in Berlin, now living in New Zealand with Leslie (pretty magical in her own right). Guests from NZ, Germany, France, Spain, as well as Leslie’s family from California traveled along smokey Interstate 5 to arrive at Mt. Shasta. We have had weeks of fires burning around us and many days where you couldn’t be outside for more than five minutes without a mask. On Saturday Oberon and Judith arrived. They drove just past the Hirz fire only some 40 miles south of us, but arrived in Mt. Shasta just after the winds died down, gently blowing down from the North. The Hirz fire could be seen in the distance with giant plumes of smoke rising, but none of it coming our way. Saturday and Sunday were perfectly clear with clean air. I could certainly feel the magic all around us on Sunday, but I have no idea if Oberon’s familiarity with the appropriate gods had any effect on the weather.

 

I replied: “You’re welcome.” (1st Rule of Wizardry: Always take credit)

Monday Maureen and I drove back down to Oakland, where we visited with Morning Glory’s daughter Gail, her husband Joe, and vivacious 12-year-old daughter Alessandra. We stayed in their downstairs B&B, and I soaked my sore ribs (from getting knocked off that horse a month ago in Guatemala) in their new hot tub. We stayed up ‘til 2:00am working on the class rings ordering form for the Grey School.

Tuesday Maureen took an Uber south to Santa Cruz to deal with her stuff in storage there, and I hit the road for Reno. Stacia recommended the buffet dinner at Harrah’s, but I arrived there just after 8:00 to discover that the buffet closed at 8. Instead I got rather unimpressive fish and chips with no chips at another restaurant downstairs. This was, however, the only glitch in timing so far on my journey, so I think I’m doing alright!

After eating, I went over to the local Pagan community center, Sacred Heart Sanctuary in Sparks, and had a lovely evening hanging out with Rune Emerson and Andre. Andre is around 7 feet tall, and his mother, who loved “The Princess Bride,” actually did name him for Andre the Giant. Stacia showed up after work, around 11:30, and took me back to her place for the night.

I hit the road for Salt Lake City early Wednesday morning, the 5th. It’s an 8-hour drive, through a change in time zone from Pacific to Mountain time, and I was pretty beat by the time I rolled up to Crone’s Hollow at 6:30. TaMara and crew all went out to dinner, and we got back just in time for my scheduled “Moot” at 8:00. It was very well-attended—at least 30 people showed up—and we had a good time talking about the early founding years of the Pagan movement. Afterwards they took me to the Ramada Inn, which is where I am now as I write this.

Today I have a 7-hour drive to Cheyenne. I don’t have a gig there, or anyone to visit, and I look forward to a quiet night in a motel before going on to Omaha on Friday, where I’ll be doing a book-signing and talk on “Cycles and Seasons of Pagan Emergence” at the Next Millennium bookstore.

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit!

Saturday 9/1/18

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit! (Google it…)

I got into San Francisco yesterday afternoon, staying with Wynter and Morgan, and their adorable 4-1/2-year old, Lexi. Wynter is working on the Samhain ritual for Annwfn this year, when the King of the May must die… This will be Wynter’s big ritual to qualify for her long-awaited ordination as a Priestess of CAW!

Shortly I’ll be picking up Maureen at her hotel, and driving north to Weed to conduct a handfasting tomorrow. I’ll be back at Wynter’s Monday evening, and then beginning my long cross-country drive Tuesday morning—first leg, to Reno. Stay tuned…