The Earth Calls to Each of Us but Only a Few Will Hear the Call

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This past weekend was another of the few remaining work weekends for the season down on Raven-Wolf land. I was unable to make it due to illness and it saddens me to report that only two people came to continue the work there. I want to say “Thank you!” to Mary T. Borden, the Coordinator, and her daughter, Jennifer Borden, the Head of Maintenance for the work they accomplished in ridding the Land of leftover trash from many previous years of former members. Ladies, you are awesome!

Here’s the thing I really don’t understand though. Over the years, the last few especially, I’ve heard Wiccans, Pagans, and other nature-loving spiritual people say how they would like a place to go and meet other like-minded people. I’ve heard people say they want to be out in Nature where they can practice their rituals and beliefs unencumbered by city noise, neighbors and other distractions. Raven-Wolf is Pagan-owned land and has been for over 25 years. The whole purpose of getting this land was to provide such a place.

Then there are a myriad of people who talk every day about planet Earth and how we all need to be doing things to help Her. You’re right. Part of what we humans are meant to do is be stewards of the Earth – to work in harmony with Her and help protect and conserve the plants, trees, and animals. Well, that’s the other part of what Raven-Wolf is all about. That’s why it’s called a “nature sanctuary.”

So here is Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary – a place for communing with Nature, being a steward to the Earth, and a sacred space where you can practice your spirituality without fear of interruption of any kind. Where are these people who say they want such a place? Where are the people who claim they want to be part of the healing of the Earth?

Although this 16 acres was bought primarily for Wiccans, Pagans and other magickal folk, all who walk a positive path and care about Nature and the healing of the Earth are welcome. They always have been. So, if you’re an ecological-minded person, a tree-hugging person, a lover of the peace and quiet of the country, you are most welcome no matter what your spiritual path may be or even if you have no spiritual path.

Please forgive me, I’m feeling a little sad right now. This little piece of the planet needs hands and hearts to help it. There is a desperate need for people willing to come and spend a few hours, a day or even the weekend to help out. Whether you can wield a chainsaw or cook a meal, you’re help would be greatly appreciated. If you can run a mower or use a paint brush, the Land could use your help. There are so many things that need to be done that there’s something for anyone, no matter how physically capable you are, to do. Quite frankly, the Land needs all the help it can get.

The rebuilding and recreating isn’t all about work though. Raven-Wolf has been that place to celebrate the changing of the seasons, rites of passage, and other celebrations. It has been a place of drumming circles, bonfires, dancing, laughing and so much more. That part of Raven-Wolf needs to be brought back into existence as well. New, happy memories are waiting to be made.

Two weekends remain before the official closing of the Land for the season: September 30 – October 2 and October 14 – 16. While there is still trash to be cleared away and dead trees to be marked for felling, there is also an opportunity for drumming, talking, laughing, enjoying Nature and each other. We hope you will find the time to come and join us.

I want to close with a poem I found years ago whose words have so much meaning.

WE HAVE FORGOTTEN WHO WE ARE

We have forgotten who we are.
We have alienated ourselves from the unfolding of the cosmos
We have become estranged from the movements of the earth
We have turned our backs on the cycles of life.

We have forgotten who we are.

We have sought only our own security
We have exploited simply for our own ends
We have distorted our knowledge
We have abused our power.

We have forgotten who we are.

Now the land is barren
And the waters are poisoned
And the air is polluted.

We have forgotten who we are.

Now the forests are dying
And the creatures are disappearing
And humans are despairing.

We have forgotten who we are.

We ask forgiveness
We ask for the gift of remembering
We ask for the strength to change.

We have forgotten who we are.

U.N. Environmental Sabbath Program

native-american-proverb

Blessed Be,

Elder Maya

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Breaking News!

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Both Council and Board members met this weekend to discuss next year’s Gathering. With rain in the forecast, we gathered at the First-Aid Station to discuss ideas that would improve the event and entice more people to come and check it out.

The first conclusion that was come to was that although Goddess Gathering Reborn was a spot-on title for the 2016 Summer Solstice event, returning to the name that brought so many people together in the past was the right thing to do. I present to you –
Goddess Gathering LogoWe’re adding a “theme” title: “Solstice with the Goddess”

Next on the list was setting the dates for next year. It was decided that, since the actual Summer Solstice occurs on Wednesday, June 21st, we should return to the way things used to be done and make the Gathering a five-day event. Mark this on your calendars!!! Goddess Gathering 2017 will be held June 21 – 25, 2017.

Since we had heard the voices of many say that the prices we were asking were too expensive, and now reducing the festival to a five-day event, we decided to take a look at what could be done about that. Please note the following changes:

ENTIRE FESTIVAL : JUNE 21-25, 2015 (5 days)
Before April 30, 2017 – $50 per person
After April 30, 2017 – $60 per person

FESTIVAL DAY RATES:
Before April 30, 2017 – $15 per day per person
After April 30, 2017 – $20 per day per person

***Children under the age of 18 are FREE!***

MAIN RITUAL POTLUCK FEAST:
Bring a dish or pay $10 per person

***The new Registration Form can be found by clicking on the title to the left on this page ***

VENDORS: While you still have to pay the regular registration fee to attend Goddess Gathering, there are no additional registration fees for vendors and we DO NOT ask for a percentage of your sales!!! We will, however, be asking you to donate a sale item for an auction to raise money for Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary that will be held during the festival.

We are actively seeking Workshop Presenters and Entertainers. If you have a subject that you would like to present in the format of an hour long workshop or you have a talent that you would like to provide enjoyment for others with, we invite you to go to the Workshop & Entertainment Application form (click on that title to the left of this page), fill out the form and send it back to us. We will then confirm whether you have a spot for Goddess Gathering 2017. Here’s your incentive to get involved: If you are willing to put on two one-hour workshops OR give one full hour of entertainment, we will give you FREE admission to the Gathering!!!

IMPORTANT NOTICEAnother thing that we would really like to be able to do this year is have solar power for those who have CPAP machines and would like to attend. Knowing that you have a way to comfortably breathe while sleeping and still be able to attend the Gathering, is something we would really like to provide for you. We’re looking into it and seeing what we can do to make that happen.

So, that’s it for right now. There are still six work weekends left in this year if you want to earn a discount or even free admittance to Goddess Gathering 2017. Be sure to check them out on the Calendar of Weekends – at a Glance at the left.

Wood-Cutting Weekend

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What a difference a couple of weeks can make – especially here in Ohio! With the warmer, drier weather came many more people to help with the continuing efforts to get things in shape for the upcoming event – Goddess Gathering Reborn – that will be taking place at Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary, June 17 -26, 2016.

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Although it had been designated a wood-cutting weekend (and a good amount of wood did get cut and split), other projects were begun as well. That communal fire pit that sits next to registration had been dismantled at the beginning of the month to let the ground dry. This time around, things were leveled, a gravel based laid, and everything reassembled. Now comes repainting the benches that took a beating through the Winter. Paths that had become overgrown, due to lack of use and maintenance over the years, began to be cleared. More paths to go, but at least the work has begun.

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DSCF0139.JPGThe Land has begun to attract many new people and we are very grateful for the interest and the help. We’re truly hoping the word will spread and many more will find their way to our little piece of sacred space. In the meantime, I want to sincerely say, “Thank you!” to everyone who took time out of their busy lives to come and be of help. Too many names this time to mention, but you know who you are and we are truly grateful.

We are now at the end of April so I wanted to remind you once more that if you intend on attending Goddess Gathering Reborn, and haven’t registered yet, May 31st is the deadline for pre-registrations that will save you money. Please remember we have a capacity of 150 adults and once we reach that number, no more registrations will be taken either by mail or. after May 31st, at the gate. Here’s the information again:

ENTIRE FESTIVAL – JUNE 17 – 26, 2016 (10 days)

March 22, 2016 – May 31, 2016 each adult person is $100.00

***CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 18 ARE FREE***
PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU WAIT TO REGISTER AT THE GATE THE COST IS $130 PER PERSON.
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FESTIVAL RATES – 7 DAYS OR ANY PORTION (6/20/16 – 6/26/16)

March 22, 2016 – May 31, 2016 each adult person is $ 75.00

***CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 18 ARE FREE***
PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU WAIT TO REGISTER AT THE GATE THE COST IS $100 PER PERSON.
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FESTIVAL DAY PASSES – A 24-HOUR PASS
These can be obtained by registering on site during the festival for $25 per person, per pass.
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Remember vendors only have to pay the entrance fee. No other fees are asked to be paid.

You will find registration forms here on the left side of this page under “Goddess Gathering Reborn – Festival Registration Form”. All forms must be postmarked no later than May 31, 2016.

If you have questions, you can ask them here on the web site or go to our Facebook page – Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary – and ask them there, or you can email us at RavenWolfNature@aol.com. You can also contact me either on Facebook (Samantha Herron) or email me at Durga1974@aol.com. Lots of ways to get your questions answered.

The next work weekend is coming up this weekend, April 29th – May 1st or you can check our Calendar of Events at the left of this page for the other upcoming work weekends. Hope to see you there!
Until next time…

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The Land Awakens

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The Land awakens, Magick is afoot and the Goddess is alive!!!  It is time to open the land and to prepare for the camping season and the Goddess Gathering reborn.  A few of us went down a couple of weeks ago to check out the land to see what needed done and what damage the winter may have brought.  We had some new faces join us with some familiar ones.  We were shocked and happy to see that there wasn’t much damage and that the land was coming to alive.  The only things we found was four downed trees covering the path up Dragon Hill.
We had a new couple that got there first.  They went exploring a little bit and found a hand saw left out from last season and went to work to move a downed tree before anyone else even showed up and asked them to help.  As soon as the rest of us got there we explored and did a quick tour and got to work.  We were having troubles with the chain saw so we got to work using hand tools and pure muscle to move the downed trees to clear the roads.
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With the few hands we had there we got a lot of work done and are ready to get things rolling.  What is there to be done you may ask.  Well there is quite a bit actually.  We need a latrine built and two others painted and converted to compost latrines.  Paths need cleared and fire wood needs cut and stacked.  Gravel needs to be placed on the paths and holes along the drive need filled.  Camp sites need cleared and flowers need planted.  These are just a few things that need accomplished. 
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When the rain and sunshine comes we will need fields mowed and paths trimmed.
Does this seem like a lot of work?  Of course it does but its well worth it and the more helping hands the better.  Is this work too hard for you to do?  That is ok, we can still use you.  WE need people to sit at the registration table, making sure that people are staying hydrated, being a communication person and keep tabs on people and projects, help prepare meals and keep the fires stoked so that others can work on other projects.  Everyone can help either with big projects or small ones.  The goddess and the land appreciates any and all help that can be given.
So come join the fun, fellowship and good hard (or not so hard) work.  Your help smiles and encouragement will always be welcomed.  Until next week and I see you on the Land.
 
Blessed Be,
Willow

The Gates Will Open Soon

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Can you feel it? The first stirrings of the Earth have begun as it wakes from the sleep of Winter here in Ohio. Can you hear that? It’s the Goddess whispering of Her return. She’s calling to us, asking us to help Her.

Soon the first work weekend will take place at Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary and preparations begin for the first Gathering at Summer Solstice to be held there in many years.

April 8 – 10 the gates open for the year and work on a long list of things that need to be done will start. I won’t lie. We need help. The more hands to do the work, the quicker it gets done and the more pleasant Goddess Gathering Reborn will be for all who attend. You may believe you have nothing to offer, in the way of help. Don’t sell yourself short. There’s things for people of all capabilities. Yes, we need help from people who can run a chainsaw, weed whacker, etc., but we also need people to clean and paint. We even need people who can cook or just sit the gate to greet new arrivals. If you want to add your energies to this revival of Pagan celebration, there’s something you can do, no matter what your physical capabilities. We could use your help.

Goddess Gathering Reborn is a gathering for Pagans, Wiccans and all other magickal people walking a positive path. It’s about coming together with like-minded people and celebrating our spirituality. It’s a safe place to come and become who you truly are away from all that’s mundane in your life.

We invite you to come and add your energies to ours in the rebuilding and rejuvenation of this wonderful Pagan-owned site and event. We look forward to seeing you and so appreciate anything you are willing and able to do to bring this dream back into manifestation!

Be sure to check out the “Calendar of Weekends” by clicking on the link at the left. 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 to obtain a map to the site or ask any questions you may have.

Mother Nature - A

Blessed Be

Not Just Another Raven-Wolf Work Weekend

DSCF0066The Sun was shining and the ground was dry as we entered the gate on Saturday morning. A few had already arrived and were in the process of opening the gate as we pulled up to the edge of the driveway. Today, there would be seven of us and we were determined to see how much could be done before we all had to leave toward evening.

It had been five weeks, this time, since anyone had been down and things had pretty much grown up again. There wasn’t much mowing equipment to work with – one gas-powered weed whacker and one mower, both brought by volunteers, but people set to work anyway. Someone grabbed a hand weed whacker and started doing what he could as well.

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The rest grabbed brushes and paint and set about trying to complete the job of painting that had begun the last time. We did manage to get a few things completed: the first-aid station, the upper outhouse, the bridge across the drainage dish and a few benches, but there are still picnic tables, more benches and another outhouse (once the rebuilding is complete) to paint.

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A lot of mowing and weed-whacking got done (just look behind the bridge in the picture), but then the throttle cable on the mower broke and the weed-whacker decided it was done for the day as well. So, there’s still a lot that needs doing. The proof of that is the pond. Here’s what it looked like at the end of May and also how it looks now. Yes, more time, more equipment and more volunteers are definitely needed to maintain this lovely, sacred site.

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We felt good though. For seven people with little equipment, we got a lot done before we decided it was time to stop. You always feel a sense of accomplishment when you realize how much was done with so little. The bonus is that you touched the Earth, you gave back, and you sweated off a pound or two to boot!

As most were cleaning up brushes and packing up equipment and other items, the Coordinator, Mary, came in with her daughter, Jen and Jen’s new baby, Sean. They planned to see what they could do for a little while. We talked about equipment needed and what needed to be done on many levels to make Summer Solstice Gathering 2016 happen to celebrate the rebirth of the Sanctuary.

Yes, there is still much to do, but, you know what? It IS doable!!! We will find a way, just as we always have. We invite you to join us on this adventure. We could use the help. Here’s the thing though…. Once you step foot on this Land, you will see the reasons why we care so deeply for it and want to restore it. The Land has a way of capturing your heart and pulling you in. As we help heal it, it heals us in so many ways and on so many levels. It’s a place where you can leave your mundane problems at the gate and share some time with Nature. You may leave tired, but there will be a smile on your face and in your heart. The Land believes in giving back to those who come to heal Her.

If I’ve peaked your curiosity and you feel you might want to come and help, 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. Ask for the next dates someone will be down there and request a map to the site.

In the meantime, I want to profusely thank the following people for all their hard work last Saturday – Del, Joslyn, Crystal, Ed, Ray, Gary, Mary and Jen. You folks are absolutely awesome!!!

Thank you 7Love & Blessed Be

Elder Maya

Sacred Space

scan0012I talk a lot about the Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary being “sacred space”, but what do I really mean by that? Is my definition of sacred space the same as yours? Because I believe in clarity of communication, I want to take some time here to explain my definition of sacred space and how I feels that applies to the Land that we call Raven-Wolf.

For decades I have belonged to a spiritual path whose foundation is Nature-based. Unlike many of the major religions, we don’t build separate edifices to worship in. At the most, we might have a room in our homes that is kept separate for spiritual purposes. Many have a corner in a room that they use. We would all much prefer to perform our rites of worship outside in our backyards. Sometimes that’s totally possible, sometimes it’s totally impossible. Whatever space we have, we consider it sacred. We do our best to keep it separate from those spaces that are mundane. When we cast our Circles, we are preparing the space we are in to become sacred for the rites of worship we are about to perform. This is our way of “building a temple.” It is a place of both worship and protection.

When we acquired our 16 acres, our intent was to provide a safe place for all those who call themselves Wiccans, Pagans, and by many other positive path names, to gather for the purpose of getting to know each other, sharing knowledge and performing ritual together. For those who didn’t have a backyard or couldn’t go out in theirs to perform rites of worship, this was to be that place where, at least a few times a year, people could come and be Wiccan, Pagan, magickal without fear of persecution.

To many of us, the Land became a 16-acre Circle – sacred space. As words from a ritual state, the Land became “a time that is not a time, a place that is not a place, a world separate and apart” and all done in honor of the Goddess and the God. The gate to the Land became the entrance to that Circle where you could (and should) leave all of mundania behind and enjoy the connection with Nature and your own spirit.

The Land is held in reverence and treated with respect. For all that it gives to us, we return that kindness with stewardship of the Land. Rituals are done on the Land on a fairly regular basis to keep it protected and safe. They are also done to ask for guidance from the Powers-That-Be, by whatever name you may choose to call them. We continue in our efforts to keep it something that exists beyond the mundane world. This is what I call “sacred space.”

It is hoped that you will come and experience it. See for yourself what is being recreated and restored. Come feel the magick that resides within Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary, won’t you?

NatureIn Light and Love,

Elder Maya