When the Land was first purchased, it had just been logged out so there was devastation everywhere left behind from the logging company. There were times when you could actually feel the pain the Land had endured from being pillaged and plundered by those who only cared about the dollars that could be made from the standing timber. Sad, hardly describes the sight and feeling as we began the work to prepare for the first Goddess Gathering to be held here.
It began just after Vernal Equinox, 1990. At first, it was just me and my High Priest/husband, the late Chuck Pugh. We both worked so, after we got off second shift, we’d pack the truck and make the 3 ½ to 4 hour journey across the state. As I’ve said before, there wasn’t even a driveway onto the property, so we had to park on the road, tote everything in and then set up camp so we could get a couple hours sleep before our day began. I look back now and wonder how we did that. In March, there was still snow so we slept on chaise lounges in sleeping bags and snowmobile suits to keep warm inside a 10’ x 10’ screen tent with the flaps down.
What really became interesting was April when the rains came and came and came. I think it was the Goddess’s way of cleansing the Land from all that had been done to it. We got used to working in rain ponchos and slogging around in mud, as the work continued. Most of that work was done by hand with hand tools since there was little money after the investment in the Land and no electricity for anything beyond hand or gas-powered equipment.
It was sometime in April we did manage to get a driveway cut into the property by hand and enough gravel to make it up the driveway’s incline to the flatter land. By then, we were also getting some help from many, many dear friends and fellow Pagans and Witches. By the end of April, we had actually managed to get a small camper onto the Land so that we could at least rest comfortably. (That’s a whole story on its own!)
As the Earth began to turn green, we were hopeful that we could make this work – some how, some way. We needed at least two outhouses, but had no real money for materials. There was all that downed wood, so they started building with what the Goddess and God had given us. Very primitive, but it worked!
Did I mention it rained? And it kept raining. We kept working. By the time Summer Solstice came we were as ready as we were going to be. We continually told people what to expect – primitive. The weekend of Gathering…guess what? It rained! As I told you previously, it was miserable in some respects but a real blessing in that it brought us together as a community, even if just for that one event.
This is what this Land was meant to do – bring people together. It was meant to be a sacred space where we truly can connect with Mother Earth and ALL Her children…including each other. Gathering once a year is never enough when you meet like-minded people whose company you enjoy, in surroundings that you love. The rain doesn’t matter. The cold, the heat, none of it matters. What matters is the sacredness of tending to the needs of the Land and sharing the company of those who hold similar views and beliefs.
So now we begin again. The first work weekend approaches. Will it rain or will the sun shine? Will it be warm or will it be cold? I don’t know. What I do know is that an opportunity is being presented to any who care to be part of the rebirth and resurrection of some truly beautiful sacred space. Who knows what we could build this time? The new friendships alone could be worth the time invested in coming.
Come join us, rain or shine, won’t you? Oh, just in case, bring a rain poncho!
Once again, for those who have never been to the Land before, you may request directions by sending a SASE to: Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary, P.O. Box 61, New Straitsville, OH 43766.
If you have any questions, please feel free to send an email to RavenWolfNature@aol.com We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.