The Old Ways

My mother taught me how to can fruits, vegetables, jams and jellies. It was one of the most enduring skills that I’ve ever learned, still with me after 50 years. I am proud that I can store the food that I’ve grown. In the coming winter months it makes me feel secure knowing every ingredient that we’re eating as the North winds howl. I carry with me the memories of sweating over a hot August stove as the product of our efforts come out of the canner gleaming and colorful; the delightful pop that tells me the lids have sealed.

My grandmother Verna taught me how to sew; on an old treadle Singer, believe it or not. I learned about life from those lessons. How patterns come in pieces, like puzzles, and how to use a discerning eye to fit them together to make a whole. How to use the tools available and stitch slowly with love to find the beauty in a particular piece.

Life experiences have taught me that “it takes a village…”. Elders hand down  knowledge of how to be self-sustaining and keep alive the inner workings of where our food comes from and how to live productively for the betterment of the community. Sharing our own unique skills to barter or buy those things that we ourselves cannot produce creates a web of inter-connectivity that expands our prosperity exponentially.

For me, Raven-Wolf represents spiritual community. For those who shed blood, sweat and tears to heal the Land, the gift of the healing of Spirit is given. We can touch the earth and hear Her singing, filling us with the joy of a job well done, and in the touching we connect with each other.

It is primitive camping when we stay overnight. There is no electricity, and only a hand pump for water. This may seem like an imposition, but it only seems that way. There is much to be said for the concept of struggle. Working hard at doing things the old way causes us to dig deeper within ourselves, to learn about where we come from. In turn we can begin to see where we are going.

A lot of the “primitive” skills are being lost to technology and convenience and I think a lot more than canning, sewing, hunting, building shelters and connections to Nature are going by the wayside. While it is easier now to buy our food in the stores, get our clothes off the rack, and watch “church” on tv, the interconnection and true interdependance are atrophying.

We are people of the Old Ways, worshipping the Old Ones through Nature and connection. Even though many of us are in a place where we can’t build our own furniture or can our own tomatoes, we can still remember to keep in touch with the concept of self-sustanence through community involvement. Whether it be shoveling gravel at the entrance to Raven-Wolf, taking a meal to a shut-in, or a donation to the local shelter, keep in mind that these are your fellow travelers.

We need each other. Our Mother calls to us as Her children to behold each other with reverence, as well as mirth; to share with each other our love for Her and with ourselves; to keep pure our highest ideals; and to Remember the Old Ways.

Blessed Be,
Lady CrowW

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is usually thought of a day, or weekend, when we remember and honor those who have served in the military of our country. We take a moment to pay homage to those who fought and died so that the rest of us can remain free. This is as it should be.

As we take those moments to honor our members of the military, I would like to take a moment to honor another group of people. Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary has been around for 25 years now. During the course of that time, we have seen many people come and go. The ones that we miss the most are the ones who came, gave and who have now crossed the Bridge of Light. To these fine souls, I have come this day to give recognition and pay tribute.

Lew MorrisThe first time I had the pleasure of meeting Lew Morris was when he and his wife, Kathy, drove onto the Sanctuary Land at the time of our first Gathering there. They were driving a truck with 55-gallon barrels of water on it because they had heard we had no water on site yet and they wanted to help. That act of generosity allowed people to have water to wash and cook that otherwise might not have been available.
Lew was a gentle soul who did whatever he was able and always had good conversation for those who sat to talk with him. In 2005, he was the first of our losses and is missed.
ChuckMA27552739-0001A number of years would roll by before we would suffer another loss. Chuck Pugh, known to many as “Lord Pan” or just “Pan” had a very creative and inventive mind. That ability helped immensely in the beginning stages of building on the Land when money was scarce. Taking downed wood, lashing it together to make a framework, he then hung tarps over the frame and created the first outhouses for use on the Land. Almost any building standing on the Land he had a hand in building.
Sadly, we lost Pan in August, 2010. The restoration of the Land will not quite be the same without him. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War, having served in the Navy at the time.
HawkOnly a little over two years would pass before we would lose another of the Land’s builders. In September, 2012, Paul Emler, known to almost everyone as “Hawk” took that journey across the Bridge of Light. His campsite remains empty and the Land seems so empty without his presence. With Pan, Hawk use his own brand of creativity to create benches, torch towers for the Lower Ritual Circle, a playground for the children and so much more. We honor that creativity and will miss that smile.
John LindbergMere months would go by when we would receive word that another of the original people was lost to us. John Lindberg, a veteran of the Vietnam War and Wiccan, returned to Summerland in December, 2012. From the beginning, John helped however he was able and always had very good ideas to share. We are saddened by the loss of this spiritual Brother.
Lady CerridwenDebra Lindberg, known to everyone as Lady Cerridwen or “Lady C”, just recently left us. In October, 2014, she slipped away from us. Without the help of this woman and her mother, the Land may not have continued to exist. When our land contract was almost up and we needed funding to continue, Cerridwen convinced her mother to loan us the money so the Land would be ours. She continued to aid those on the Land with wise counsel for years. We owe her so much. She will sorely be missed as we restore the Land to the sacred space it was meant to be.

We are all growing older and our lives are so impermanent. Recognition needs to be given, not just on one particular day of the year, but often, to those who contribute to our lives in their own special way.

This holds true for the many who are still with us in this physical reality, but have chosen not to return, for whatever reason. There have been so many who have contribute to the establishment and building of this sacred space we call Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary. Although there are too many names to mention here, we know who you are and we remember and honor your contribution to this very special place. Perhaps some day, you will decide to return so that we can tell you how much we appreciate what you have done to create what we have. In the meantime, “Thank you.”

As we continue to build, restore, and revive the Land, it is good to remember the foundation upon which this was built and all who contributed to it. Blessed Memorial Day.

Love & Blessed Be

Elder Maya