And the Wheel Turns…

DSCF0093Can it really be that we are only weeks away from the end of our first year of restoration? It hardly seems possible. Wasn’t that first weekend just a month or so ago?

It’s been almost 6 months since the work of restoring Raven-Wolf began. Our hopes had been that we would have lots of help and restoration would happen in no time flat. Although that hasn’t been the case, the few who have come have put their hearts and souls into it and worked their fannies off to boot. “Thank you.” hardly seems like words enough to express our gratitude for what you have done.

This past weekend was sort of impromptu. It wasn’t on the schedule, but some of us found time to be there. We recognize there is still plenty of work to be done if we are to open the Sanctuary next Summer Solstice for a festival that welcomes both new people and, hopefully, brings back those who spent Summer Solstice here in the past.

As I walked around the site, I could see camping areas being opened up again. It’s beginning to take on that “park-like” quality once more. There’s an air of friendly invitation beginning to loom. “Come visit. Come enjoy the peace that I offer.” If you listen closely, you can hear it whispered on the wind and through the trees. The Sanctuary longs for Pagans, Wiccans and other Magickal folk to come be part of the experience offered here once more.

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There’s a wood-cutting weekend coming up October 16-18th. There’s plenty of dead trees to fell, wood to be cut up and stacked. Doing this ensures a good stock of seasoned wood for campfires for the next year. What’s even more important about all this is that there will be plenty of wood for the Summer Solstice bonfire! So, if you have a chainsaw or know how to run one, can swing an axe or use a hand saw, can stack wood or even would just be willing to cook a meal for workers or play water “boy” for those doing the wood cutting – we could use your help.

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As you know, this past year has been a “freebie” for anyone who wanted to come down and lend a hand. Next year, when the gates open for the season, the prices for coming to the Land will be in place. Although we have been, for almost 20 years, a “membership only” Sanctuary, we want to give new people a chance to come and fall in love with this Land. For this reason, we are opening the gates to any Pagan, Wiccan or Magickal person who would want to come and visit or help. You will be able to register by mail or at the gate.

After the gates have closed for this season, probably after Hallowmas/Samhain, there will be lots of new information placed on this web site that will include the new Calendar of Events for 2016; prices for all events; how to apply for membership and how to register by mail for an event. Planning has already started for our main event – Summer Solstice. As those plans develop, we will place more information on the web site and network it out through Facebook, Twitter and any other avenues we can find. We hope it will also spread by word of mouth.

For now, the invitation still stands – Come join us! If not this season, then come when the gates reopen in the Spring. You can contact us on our Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary Facebook page, or email us at RavenWolfNature@aol.com. You can also contact me either on Facebook (Samantha Herron) or email me at Durga1974@aol.com.

Come to The Woods 2Love & Blessed Be

What’s on the Land?

RW Site Map0001If you’ve never been to Raven-Wolf or you’ve been there this year and all the rain has kept you from finding out what exists on the Land, I offer up this site map to show you what was recreated and is now in the process of being restored.

We’ve used the 16 acres that make up Raven-Wolf in what we considered the best possible way for both the enjoyment of its human members & guests and to keep as much of a “natural” energy to it for the pleasure of the wildlife that lives there all the time.

One of our policies has been to avoid cutting live trees whenever possible. If there’s any way to prevent that from happening, we try our best to use it. Right now, there is more than enough downed wood and dead trees to keep campfires burning for some time, we only need cut it.

At the turn of this century (I can’t believe I just said that!), we added a play area for children that included the building of playground equipment such as a teeter-totter, swings, and a slide. All these need painting and fixing but still exist in the area marked “P” on the map for future children to use.

Back in the woods, you will find the “Grandfather Tree”. This was the biggest tree left standing after the Land was logged out, before we bought it. The only thing that saved it is a huge burl on the tree. We’ve honored that tree by building a huge chair at its base for storytelling. There are/were small benches for children to sit on and listen to whomever would choose to be the storyteller.

Originally, the bonfire and drumming circle was in the Main Ritual Area, but because of our respect for those who need a little quiet in order to sleep themselves or get their children to sleep, the bonfire was moved to the back of the property in the area marked “K”. This area needs work. It hasn’t been high priority so far but we will get to it. There are even benches (that need painting) for those who come to enjoy the fire and the drumming to sit on!

There are three two-seater outhouses on the Land that we have hopes of converting to DYI composting operation some time soon. The one in the Main Ritual Area is under construction after being hit by a falling tree several years ago. These also need painting and are on our “To Do” list.

Besides the Main Ritual Area, where the Opening, Main, and Closing Rituals for the Summer Solstice Gathering are held, there is the Lower Ritual Circle that can be used for private rituals of either individuals or small groups. You’ll find it marked “L” on the map, near Registration.  Although a lot of clean-up has been done here, we still have a few things that need doing to make it usable again.

Most of the campers and cabins that exist on the Land need work done and there are a few of these that could be used/rented by people coming to spend time on the Land once they are restored. If you have an interest in restoring one of them for your own use or that of others, I would say contact Mary Borden about how to make that happen.

The hill that takes you from the entrance level of the Land to the upper level has been called “Dragon Hill” for years. More appropriately, it’s really “Draggin’ Hill” because if you walk it, it’s guaranteed your ass will be dragging when you get to the top! It’s a good healthy workout and after you’ve done it for a while, you can actually do it without puffing and panting.

Well, that’s a brief tour of Raven-Wolf. Here’s hoping your curiosity has been peaked enough to come and see it for yourself. Although it remains a ‘work in progress’ as we continue to restore it, it is beautiful and peaceful. Come visit, won’t you?

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Elder Maya

Come When You Can, Do What You Can

Goddess in SpringtimeEarth Day has come and gone. The Lady continues to spread Her Springtime gown. The weather is growing warmer. There is still much that needs done on the Land known as Raven-Wolf if we are to bring it back to a place where gatherings can once more be safely and pleasantly held there.

I’ve heard many say that due to health issues or other complications in their lives, they don’t feel they could be of any help or they couldn’t endure sleeping on the ground. These comments have come from both new people interested in what Raven-Wolf will have to offer in the future and from those who have been members for some time.

As I have stated before, I’m not the 42 year old that helped open that Land 25 years ago. Soon to be 67, my body does balk at sleeping in anything other than a comfy bed. Sitting at a computer 6+ hours a day and having arthritis makes doing any kind of physical work exhausting and, the next day, painful. But, you know what? That Land is a very special place and I want to be a part of restoring it. After the first work weekend, it took me four days to return to what is normal for me. It was a good soreness though. I felt like I had gone there and aided in the healing. However, being a practical Taurus, I realized that I had to find a compromise – one that allowed me to be part of this and still keep my body as happy as possible (and also keep up my responsibility to two cats who were freaked out by being left alone for 36+ hours). So, I gave it some thought and came to the conclusion that the best option for me was to go for the day and then return home to my cats and my bed to rest from whatever I am capable of doing to help heal this precious, sacred site.

It is here I would like to address the fact that although strong, young people are needed to do some of the work, there are other things that those with less strength can do to help. Can you rake? Can you take a bucket and sponge and clean? Can you cook? Can you pick up sticks or stack wood that others have cut? Can you sweep? Can you sit at the gate and be sure that new people are directed to where they need to go or that those who don’t belong at Raven-Wolf are turned away? There is so much that doesn’t require you to be a “lumberjack” or a “ditch digger”. I, myself, am mostly a “paper-pusher” these days. So be aware that we could use people that can raise funds, promote the Land and our web sites, write articles and more.

There are a certain number of campers and cabins available on a “first come, first serve” basis right now. So if you are not able to sleep on the ground or don’t have the equipment to do so, check on the availability of these limited spaces with Mary Borden. If that still isn’t something you can do, then think about doing what I will be doing – come for the day. Saturday would be the best bet. The gates open at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. That’s 12 hours that could be devoted to helping in whatever way you are able and you can still return home to sleep comfy in your own bed.

Once we restore the Land, then maintenance will take far less time and less people. Right now, however, I ask you to consider or re-consider what, when and how you might be able to help in this large task that faces us. The end result will be that next year you will see a schedule of actual events with the Summer Solstice Gathering being the primary big gathering of the year where you will experience workshops, rituals, a potluck ritual feast with a big bonfire and drumming to follow. Is this not something worth working towards and being a part of? I think it is and I hope you do to.

The Goddess calls…

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Blessed Be,

Elder Maya