Greetings as the radiant one shines through the trees and the breezes sing summer songs,
Thank you Starhawk, Woevan folk, Naomi, BC organizers and teachers and campers. Thank you.
As an organizer and priestess (with different hats in different years) for Free Cascadia Witch Camp, and as a friend to some of you most directly involved in these conversations, I write in a tone of kindness, imagined eye contact, and goodwill:
I’ve been asked my opinion on the matter of the story of Ganesh, my thoughts about cultural appropriation and decolonizing work within Reclaiming, and more, over the last some months by folks directly connected to BC camp. I’ve tried to share what I thought would be helpful in creating a sense of mutual understanding amongst differing opinions and questions about positional motivations. I’ve tried to encourage direct communication and empathy. I’ve offered the framework of a presentation at the Cascadia Rising Bioregional Confluence that evolved into a daylong exploration of Feeling for the Path of Right Relationship guided by Inquiry, Complexity, and Intuition as a means of supporting ongoing dialogue. In Free camp, we are also exploring similar conversations, and we have no easy answers. We have many questions and we have a commitment to stay with the questions, which, in my opinion, range from intriguing to heart wrenching in their essence.
My questions for this conversation:
– How can we/you continue to approach each other and this conversation in ways that don’t evoke defensiveness or shame?
– How can we/you continue to create and hold the container of dialogue in ways that support the possible/necessary discomfort within ourselves?
– How could we/you continue to embed the delicious richness of this evocative curiosity in the depth and breadth of the times we live in, and the tradition we are working with/within?
– How can we/you continue to exalt listening and learning over telling and knowing, especially in the moments of passionate longing for understanding, transformation and healing?
– Do we/you know what is the shadow within this conversation, and are we/you working with it consciously and attentively?
– What are the differences between cultural appropriation, pollination, sharing, and birthright?
In the same way that our tradition approached the timely emergence about gender inclusive language within the Principles of Unity, which I know was not easy in content, or satisfactory in process for all, I believe we are, as a tradition, approaching this meta conversation about cultural appropriation now. What a great gift. I believe it is alive within many camps, communities and individual witches. I honor BC camp for your willingness, inadvertent or too publicly intimate as it may feel, for the ways that you are already trying to engage this. And I honor Aja, Scout, Sid, Esther, and Naomi for bringing attention to specific parts of our tradition that may need deeper examination. I hold that we are perfectly imperfect in our shared desire to nourish the beyond-our-lifetime-vision of collective liberation. I feel gentle about our mistakes, misunderstandings, and miscommunications, and I invite you into that allyship of gentleness if it does not feel close already, because this is part of the work of the day from where I sit. I feel curious and excited about what will continue to unfold, and the harvest that will be shared of this magical journey. Our youngers are paying attention not only to what may come to be “decided”, but how we, those of you who are elders, and those of us called to be teachers, mentors, and guides, will embrace the interplay of our passions, beliefs, and desires around this. Let us lift each other up, and in doing so, give them clearer pathways for the challenges that will ultimately beset them in their time of leadership.
From the part of me that Spirit knows more truly than I know myself, I humbly ask that a regenerative patience with ourselves and each other shine through in this moment of necessary and beneficial questioning. I pray that the firmament of this ongoing conversation be of an integrity to the service of Life and the Whole Time healing of our ancestral and descendent lineages. I pray that the grief and praise soaked endeavors of our shared and differing magics be imbued with a vulnerable generosity, presumed positive intent, and a trust that change is imminent, because we live as and within Mystery always. I pray that we have the collective confidence and courage to handle each moment as it comes to us, gracefully, kindly, and from the root of our convictions born of learnings that are still growing. I pray that we are able to befriend the uncertainty, to dismantle the entitlement to know and the enslavement of our words, and to lean in to the call before us. May we receive the strength, clarity, steadfastness, and love of our guides and allies, the ancestors and the future beings, and of you, Sacred Source of all. Please be with us as we feel for the path going forth. With gratitude and reverence, respect and devotion, thank you and blessed be.
I offer myself as a conversant, facilitator, and friend, if that may be in service in any way, without any need to be further included. Thank you again to each for the precious and potent magic that you carry.
With kindness and care.