Snowstorms and New Opportunities

Wednesday 1/30/19

After driving back to the Ren Faire site 45 miles north of Houston, I spent another week with Dona in her little school bus. I hope you all watched the awesome Blood Moon eclipse on Sunday night, the 20th. It was quite a spectacle!

I took a Lyft to the Houston airport and flew back to Boston on Thursday the 24th. There was a huge storm which buffeted the plane like a small boat on a stormy sea as we flew into the Boston airport. The government shutdown was clearly affecting the airports, which were crowded with passengers backed up by flight delays and cancellations. If I’d scheduled my flight a day later, I might never have been able to go at all.

I was met at the airport by my good friend Andy Burke, who drove me back to Salem in the pouring rain and dense traffic. What would normally be a half-hour drive took nearly an hour. It was good to get back to Gypsy’s after the harrowing adventure. While I was away, there’d been quite a snowstorm, but most of it had melted by the time I returned—except for piles of hard drifts from the snowplows. Glad I missed it! However, it’s snowing here tonight, and the temp (with wind chill) is expected to get down to 20 below zero by morning!

Saturday the 26th was a wedding for the daughter of one of Gypsy’s friends, which was a wonderful event. Having performed hundreds of weddings and handfastings over the past 50 years, it’s rare that I’ve been able to attend a wedding where I am not myself officiating, and can just enjoy myself with no responsibilities.

Yesterday I did a major Skype interview, auditioning for a new TV show dealing with unexplained phenomena. According to the Casting Producer:

“I’m seeking experts in several specific areas. I understand that you have an expertise in magic and wizardry and I’m hoping that you might be one of the experts I’m looking for.

“We’re developing a new series for a major cable network that will help people experiencing unexplained phenomena understand what is happening to them. We want to help people who feel they are under a curse, experiencing demonic possession, or living in a haunted space understand what they are dealing with. This project will seriously explore the unexplained, and we are looking for accordingly serious experts who can back up their explanations of phenomena with historical examples of magic, curses, hauntings, and possessions.”

I think the interview went well, and I’ve signed their contract. Now we’ll just have to see if their proposal gets picked up by a “major cable network.” If so, this will certainly affect my plans for the coming year!

Other than the possibility of a TV gig—which would entail studio work in LA or NY, and on-location shooting—my current plans are to leave Salem at the beginning of March, driving South. I’ll be looking for people to visit, and possible book-signing and workshop gigs, in RI, CT, NYC, NJ, Eastern PA (Mt. Joy; Philly), MD/DC area (I want to visit the Smithsonian again…), VA, NC (my brother lives in Hendersonville), SC, GA (Marietta/Atlanta), FL (Orlando).

I’ll lay out more of my plans for this year’s Walkabout schedule in my next journal entry… If you’re along my route and would like to see me and put me up for a night or two, please email me with your address and phone number so I can put it in my address book and cell phone. Thanks! Oberon@mcn.org

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

Back To NOLA

Friday 1/18/19

Last Monday, the 14th, we all went back into NOLA to see stuff we missed on our first visit. Most of the museums were closed, as we’ve discovered museums are all over the world on Mondays. But the old St Louis Cemetery #1 on Basin St. was open and offering tours, which we took. Fascinating! Because NOLA is at sea level, all the tombs are above ground, with many niches into which thin (now cardboard) caskets with bodies are shoved. After a year and a day, they are decomposed enough that another casket can be inserted, pushing the previous remains into a central well where they drop into a chamber below, to mix with centuries of other remains. This “receiving vault” is called a Caveau (Fr. “cellar”).

Tomb of Marie Laveau

Of course we visited the tomb of Marie Laveau (“The Voodoo Queen of New Orleans”), where there are always fresh flowers. Her burial in 1881 was recorded as the 63rd of 84 remains in that tomb. We saw the pyramid tomb made for Nicolas Cage, and the big tomb with the Goddess statue where Peter Fonda tripped on acid (for real) in the 1969 movie, Easy Rider.

Portrait of Marie Laveau by Charles Massicot Gandolfo

After leaving the cemetery, it seemed logical to visit the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum. A tiny museum in a shotgun apartment, its several rooms of displays were quite amazing and thorough, with numerous authentic working altars and artifacts. There was a lot of info on Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau, born in 1801. A femme de colour (“free woman of color”), she was famous as a traiteur (“healer”), specializing in love potions and spells. She was a notable humanitarian, adopting orphans, feeding the hungry, taking in the homeless, visiting prisoners, and curing people during the yellow fever epidemics. Her daughter— born in 1822 and named Marie Angelie—carried on as Marie Laveau II until her death in 1862.

Voodoo Altar

The gris-gris room exhibited the four categories of gris-gris (spells): 1) Love and sex; 2) Power and domination; 3) Fortune and luck; and 4) Uncrossing or undoing another gris-gris. A large painting of a Voodoo ritual featured a naked Queen (priestess) dancing “Le Grande Zombi” with a snake. And the final room encompassed several working altars, covered with photos, petitions and offerings.

“Le Grande Zombi” dance

After the Voodoo museum, we all ate dinner at the New Orleans Creole Cookery, where I had a fabulous Creole sampler of shrimp creole, crawfish etouffee, gumbo, oysters Rockefeller and oysters Biennville.

Tuesday the 15th we drove in two trucks for an hour and a half to Jiva’s family farm near Magnolia, Mississippi, where she and Ty have lived for 25 years. On the way we stopped to eat at the famous Mike’s Catfish Inn in Amite, LA, with a fabulous salad bar. I had yummy fried oysters, which I love. The farm was such a homey place—but no Internet, so I was offline for a few days.

Jiva & Ty’s home in Mississippi

After a nice walk in the woods, a lovely salmon dinner, and great conversation around the fire, Dona and I spent the night. We needed to get up early in the morning to drive 7 hours back to her bus at the Texas Ren. Faire site near Magnolia, TX. Now that we’re here, for the past two days I’ve been trying to catch up with my emails and messages, and to write this…

Visiting NOLA

Monday 1/14/19

Full days! On Thursday the 10th, Jiva drove Dona and me into NOLA in her new midnight blue Tesla. What a cool car! No dashboard—just a large touchscreen. Jiva started the tour of the French Quarter at the Café du Monde, where we had to get traditional NOLA beignets (bain-YAY), positively heaped in powdered sugar. Apparently it’s the custom to blow powdered sugar all over tourists wearing black—which Dona and I were (black is the new black) But Jiva kindly spared us that indignity. We checked out several shops, and stopped into Hex on Decatur St. where I’ll be presenting on Sat.

Jiva’s Tesla

On Friday the 11th we went out for the day on Jiva & Captain Ty’s double-hull catamaran sailboat, “Reina Jeannine Lafitte.” Their neighbor Hammond also joined the crew. What a great time, riding the waves, feeling the wind in our sails… We sailed the Chef Menteur Pass river up to Lake Pontchartrain, where we ate a nice picnic lunch Jiva prepared.

Jiva on her sailboat

Satyrday was my day for presentations at Hex on Decatur St. I did a 2-hour talk on Wizardry from 2-4, followed by book signing. Dona, Jiva and Ty came along, and we all went out for a Mexican repast before Dona and I returned for my evening workshop on Ritual Creation from 6-8. Afterwards Hex’s proprietor, the notorious Christian Day, took us out to a fancy restaurant called Kingfisher for a late dinner. I had to try alligator, as so many folks have recommended. It was delicious, much like pork; but it didn’t taste anything like chicken!

The French Quarter in NOLA

Sunday morning we had a Grey School Admin meeting via Skype, Some significant re-shuffling as we move forward into the new year…

Today we’re going back into town to do more touristy stuff…

From Boston to Houston to NOLA

Thorsday 1/10/19

A lot of stuff happening since my last Journal entry on 12/24. On the morning of the 25th I drove up to Schenectady, NY, to spend Xmas with Scarlett and Lleu and their two darling little nieces, Amy and Leah. The girls adopted me as “Santa,” and we spent much of the day playing their favorite board game, Candyland.

Amy & Leah with Santa Oz

On Sat. the 29th I did a Zoom interview with Sumati Sparks for broadcast on her “Successful Open Relationships and Polyamory Summit” on Feb. 19. Then on Sunday the 30th Gypsy and I drove to Boston to record our “Cosmic Encounter” script with Karagan and Jamal. We spent a sweet New Year’s Eve with Jerrie and Charlie, welcoming in 2019.

On New Year’s Day Gypsy and I went to see “Aquaman,” which I really recommend! It’s epic and mythic, evoking the classic legend of the lighthouse keeper and the mermaid, the legend of Atlantis, the reluctant true king (as with Aragorn) and even the tale of Arthur pulling the sword from the stone to claim the Kingship. And the visuals are nothing short of spectacular—the best I’ve ever seen!

Oh, me father was the keeper of the Eddystone light;
And he slept with a mermaid one fine night.
From this union there came three:
A porpoise and a porgy and the other was me!

            (-Peter, Paul & Mary: The Eddystone Light)

On Thursday the 3rd I dropped my car off at the realty office where my big birthday bash had been held in Nov. Barbara, the owner, is kindly letting me stash it there for Jan while I’m gone. Francine drove me to Logan Airport in Boston, where I boarded a plane to fly to Houston to see Dona. As always, we had a great conversation on the drive. On the plane I bit down on something hard that split my upper right molar #4 with a loud “CRACK!” From the airport I took a Lyft 45 miles north to the Ren Faire site in Plantersville, where Dona has a school bus she lives in during the Faire.

Dona in her bus

On Friday the 4th, I tried to get into a dentist in Magnolia, the nearest town to the Ren Faire site, but they were all still closed for the hollydaze. So I took Dona to see “Aquaman” in 3-D. It was like seeing an entirely different movie than the flat version; another whole dimension, and unbelievably amazing!

On Monday the 7th I was able to get into the dentist in Magnolia. His prognosis was not encouraging, but he drilled a bit out between the main part of the tooth and the section that had split and put in a filling, hoping it would hold it together. After that Dona took me on a tour of the Ren Faire grounds, which I haven’t seen since 1982, when I met her on my Unicorn tour of Ren Faires all around North America. She’s one of the senior Rennies, having been doing the Texas Faires (TRF, Scarborough, Armadillo) for the past 44 years.

Dona’s booth at the Texas Renaissance Festival

On Tuesday the 8th Dona and I drove her truck to NOLA. I did the driving. We left at 11:11AM and after a 7-hour drive we arrived at our dear friends, Jiva and Ty, about 7:00, for a fabulous dinner of Jiva’s gumbolaya, followed by watching the premier of the excellent new “Project Blue Book” TV series. We’ll be staying with Jiva and Ty here at their beautiful home in NOLA, and also visiting their farm in Mississippi, over the next couple of weeks. Jiva and Ty have been together for the past 25 years, but they only recently actually got married, in a spectacular ceremony in NOLA that Dona attended.

Unfortunately, the filling that the dentist in Magnolia put in on Monday came out within 24 hours. So yesterday (Wed.) Jiva located a local dentist and Dona and I drove there to see what we could do about my tooth. The only option was extraction, which he did. Even with the anesthetic, it was excruciatingly painful. I confessed everything!

Today we’re going down to the French Quarter to check out Hex, where I’ll be talking on Sat., and just enjoy the Old City, visit the tomb of Marie Lavaeu (“The Voodoo Queen of New Orleans”), etc. And tomorrow we’re going out in Lake Pontchartrain for the virgin voyage of their new sailboat, which they’re naming either “Reina” or “Jeannine LaFitte.”

OZ’s Birthday

Tuesday 11/27/18

Gypsy and I joined Jerrie Hildebrandt and her extended family for a lovely
Thanksgiving dinner and conversation late into the night. Jerrie is
President of CUUPS (Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans), and an
Ambassador to the Parliament. Since we’d attended the Parliament together,
we had a lot to talk about. She’s also been working with Gypsy in developing
promotional materials for the Cosmic Connection.

Saturday has to have been the best birthday party I’ve ever had! Music, art,
fire-spinning, dancing, drumming, food, and a giant birthday cake to share
with everyone! The event was held at the Cameron Real Estate office in
Salem, and hosted by owner Barbara King and agent Francine Braese. Such
sweethearts!

Francine Braese presents OZ with birthday cake; Gypsy Jay looks on.

I cast the circle with my lighted staff. Jimmy Clark, Francine, and Gypsy
Jay performed with Jimmy’s band, JC Music & Wellness (with drummer Erich
Christopher Terry). Gypsy Ravish and Katrin Chapman sang together. Simon
Deacon invoked the spirit of Merlin for a Vortex Healing. Jimmy showed the
fabulous pre-release music video of “The Hermit” Tarot Trump that we all
filmed back in Pennsylvania on Oct. 5. The song is “Bringer of the Light,”
with me as The Hermit. Erich and Gypsy Jay did a bit of Sideshow performance
(Erich driving a nail into his nostril; Jay doing a straightjacket escape
and having money stapled to his bare body). Jay also did a mini fire show
that was quite impressive! Several people brought drums for a great drum and
dance circle. And <https://www.facebook.com/moonlitface> Danielle Tracey
set up her easel and painted this beautiful piece of cosmic art while we
watched, then gave it to me. See more of her surreal spiritual art at
Seizethebeauty: https://twitter.com/seizethebeauty.

Francine presented me with a small carrot cake (my favorite) with 76 candles
(no, not quite!) that I blew out with a wish.

Sunday morning Gypsy and I did three “Cosmic Encounters” for groups of
organizers and friends from the party the night before. We’d been working on
the whole presentation and script for awhile, and this was our first full
run-through with live Guinea pigs. Everyone loved it, and no one wanted to
leave. The experience was planned for 23 minutes (hail Eris!), and we were
right on target. I love it when a plan comes together! Now we need to add
music and a slide show, and put out the promotional materials to make this a
destination for magickal pilgrimages.

On Monday Gypsy and I drove up to her friend Lady’s 1840 Colonial house in
Maine for another wonderful Thanksgiving with more family and friends. There
was snow on the ground. my first snow of the year. Brr!

Extravaganza

Saturday, 11/17/18

Sorry not to have written another entry since getting back from the Parliament. I’m getting back to normal life here in Salem. The biggest news is that my friends Jimmy Clark & Francine Braese have been putting together an extravaganza party for me here in Salem, for only a week from today! These are the wonderful folks who already put on a couple of successful fundraising events in PA before I came to Salem. On Oct 5, we did an all-day filming session at the labyrinthine country home of my old friend David Donohue, for Jimmy’s Tarot music videos of “The Emperor” (David) and “The Hermit” (me). After the last scenes were in the can, we were treated to an awesome theatrical fire performance by Gypsy Jay.

Jimmy, Francine, and Gypsy Jay will be performing again, with Jimmy’s band, JC Music & Wellness (with drummer Erich Christopher Terry) at my “Birthday Bash & Benefit,” Nov. 24. See the Facebook event for details and registration info. Other performers will include:

  • Danielle Tracey: Local Pagan Artist contributing a Live Art experience.
    Gypsy Ravish: Salem Priestess & Witch, owner of Nu Aeon store, Recording Artist.
    Katrin Chapman: Songwriter, Singer, Musician, Recording Artist.
    Simon Deacon: Wizard and VortexHealer®.
    Andy Burke: Local Pagan Drummer & Puppeteer extraordinaire.
    Priestess Alura Rose: Tarot Reader & Teacher

Gypsy and I have been so busy catching up from the Parliament, and running the store, that we decided last night that we needed a little break. So we went out to dinner at the Thai Place, and then went to see the new Disney movie, “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.” Starring Keira Knightly, Mackenzie Foy, Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman, it was a gloriously stunning visual and musical masterpiece, and even included some significant ballet scenes. Next we want to see the new Harry Potter movie…

We’re also working on the project that Gypsy brought me out here for: opening the Cosmic Connection Temple of Stars – a Witches’ Planetarium. This amazing chamber was conceived and created by Gypsy’s late husband, Richard (Master Azaradel). We are developing an experiential “star walk” and “Mystick Crystal Activation” for visitors coming here on a magickal pilgrimage. Our first prototype tour will be tomorrow, for a bunch of friends who showed up today who are part of my own magickal training lineage with the late Deborah Bourbon, of Pathways in St. Louis.

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

The Wandering Wizard OZ

“Not all who wander are lost.”
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

In my 76th year of this incarnation, with everything I own placed into storage, I decided to go 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).

I hit the road on June 15 of 2018. After many adventures 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 attended the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto the first week in Nov., and I’ll be based in Salem through the winter, working to open the Cosmic Connection Temple of Stars, before heading off on the eastern and southern part of my journey (including several big Pagan festivals) in the Spring.

I am being supported on this Walkabout by appearances, fundraising events, and generous donations, particularly via my Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/oberonzell.

 

NT-OZ

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…

Mabon

Friday 9/21/18

Happy Mabon! May we all receive the brightest blessings of the harvest!

This has been a busy week! Monday morning I had a long Skype conference with Gypsy and Jerrie Hildebrand to brainstorm ideas regarding my coming to Salem. Planning on me doing readings, talks, classes, workshops, etc. They want to make this a big deal! Then Kim took me for a fabulous seafood lunch at the Rock Bass Grill, right on the wide Susquehanna River. As on my entire travels so far, the weather has been beautiful.

Tuesday we drove around searching for a Best Buy to repair Kim’s laptop, which had been drowned when her basement flooded in the recent big rains. Our GPS said there was a Best Buy in the huge Capital City mall, but when we got there we learned that it had been gone for some time, though it was still shown on the “You Are Here” map—along with restrooms which also were no longer there. The vast space was largely empty of customers, as was the parking lot. How can they stay in business? We never did find a Best Buy, and Kim’s laptop and printers are still all dead.

On Wednesday Kim drove us to various local places of interest. We had a lovely swim and laid about on the tiny beach at Pinchot Park Lake. We had stromboli for lunch, and then went by TMI (Three Mile Island) nuclear power plant (which is due to finally be decommissioned in a month or so). We hiked up Chique Hill to the overlook, then stopped off at Indian Steps archaeological park (sadly, the museum was closed for the day by the time we got there)…

Yesterday Kim and I drove to Conestoga to visit with my dear friends Julia Moonchild and Eddie Garcia. I met them 5-6 years ago when they brought me out to do a book-signing at their store, Metaphysion, which is now closed. We totally hit it off, and it was they who turned me on to the trippy Dr. Seuss Halloween Grinch video. Julia is a fabulous cook, and she made us her special plantain totos to go with pork chops and Spanish rice. She’s from Puerto Rico, and it turns out that we both know well a Taino Shaman there named Miguel Sague, who contributed to an e-book I wrote with Harvey Wasserman on “2012: Apocalypse or Apotheosis?” This year at Starwood, Harv and I shared a panel on politics with Miguel’s son, also named Miguel.

This evening we’re going on a haunted hayride!

Tomorrow (Sat.) we’re dressing up in full regalia for the local Pagan Pride Day in York, where Kim is vending.

And Sunday is the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. Afterwards Kim and Shawn are taking me to dinner at the Catacombs at Bubes brewery right here in Mount Joy.Fun!

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