I’ve had this altar up honoring my parents for the past year. Sorry it’s gotten so bedraggled. Yes, it certainly was time it came down. I start with this photo because my Mom was one of the original witchy women! Totally in her element during those rare moments when that veil of magic would steal over her.
I remember one time, back in the 1970s, when my brother John and I had convinced Mom to smoke pot with us. The result? A deep three-way conversation among equals, unlike ever before. I have no idea what we talked about, and I’m sure John doesn’t either. But . . . about an hour later, stern doctor Dad came home for lunch from the office for his usual cottage cheese and prunes.
He senses something in the air. (Not something he can smell, as the windows had been wide open. Just a change, a charge, and after all, the man was a sensitive Pisces!).
He walks over to where we are sitting, huddled together, a puzzled look on his face. “What’s going on?” he wonders. Mom, low down in a rocking chair, turns her pert little face up to his tall German self, bangs her arm decisively on the armrest, and pronounces, with absolute authority: “WE’VE COME ALIVE!”
So as I said, she had her bona fides in the witch department. Indeed, at one point, my five sisters and I had a sign maker carve a sign for over the front door, saying “Kreilkamp Coven.” It was a joke, of course. The females all got it. Dad didn’t have a clue. Our two brothers weren’t old enough to notice.
So, a few days after the one-year anniversary of Lady Renee’s death (dear ol’ Dad had died one year earlier), I dismantled their altar and took the portion that I had received of her cremains out to the back patio gardens. It had occurred to me recently that she wouldn’t want to be sprinkled in the GANG garden proper (that was for Dad, who thoroughly approved of this (and perhaps only this) aspect of my life: his chore as a kid was to take care of the family vegetable garden for their large family). No, she would want to be sprinkled where people gather, where social life is vivid and real. Aha! Yes! A light dusting of Renee went on those sweet, mostly flowery, patio gardens out back.
Just in time for Katarina’s Witchy Woman Equinox Luncheon and Celebration, yesterday, for which Kat had prepared gargantuan quantities of food, all of it excellent, including roasted vegetables, tiny tomato salad, squash pie, apple crisp, tuna fish salad with egg, on and on. Plus, she asked me to kick in money for the cider. Okay.
She had billed this event as lasting from 1-6 p.m. for women and children, with men allowed after 6 p.m. I thought that was a pretty long time for a gathering, and asked what she planned to do with that whole afternoon. She didn’t know. Thought it might end up as some kind of open house. Well, it did not! About 15 women and two kids came all together, most of them mingling from beginning to end, and a few men straggling in afterwards for the pie.
Not only did we eat a ton, but Heather also led us in a meditation. Ooops! Not us; them. Because during that particular hour I happened to be showing three students from Indiana State in Terra Haute (one hour northwest) around the garden, grounds, and two homes of our little eco-pod, as part of their class assignment to find out about and visit, they said, “existing ecovillages.”
“What’s the occasion?” They were so glad I asked. Their college has just “bought a big piece of land and is thinking about starting an ecovillage”! Wow.
More and more I realize that though I’m not a “teacher” in the academic sense — “No,” I explain, when asked over and over by just about everybody who meets me for the first time, “I’m not a professor at IU. Just a regular person.” (I don’t know whether to be annoyed or flattered) — I AM a teacher, an alternative teacher, demonstrating and sharing experimental templates for cultural and philosophical transformation. I’ve been doing this work for decades, in one way or another. It feels utterly natural, a part of my nature.
Okay, back to the Witchy Woman event. Here’s the photo that accompanied the invite Kat sent out on facebook.
My long-time neighborhood activist partner Georgia even came over, she who does glorious “soul collages” in her basement studio. Here she is with her hat, sporting a tiny raven . . .
Of course, we decided to do collage, using National Geographic images. Spoiler alert: not just for you but for all of us: National Geographic has just been snatched up by Rupert Murdoch. Makes me want to gag.
On Wednesday, the iconic yellow-bordered magazine, beset by financial issues, entered its own uncharted territory. In an effort to stave off further decline, the magazine was effectively sold by its nonprofit parent organization to a for-profit venture whose principal shareholder is one of Rupert Murdoch’s global media companies.
In exchange for $725 million, the National Geographic Society passed the troubled magazine and its book, map and other media assets to a partnership headed by 21st Century Fox, the Murdoch-controlled company that owns the 20th Century Fox movie studio, the Fox television network and Fox News Channel.
Under the terms announced Wednesday, Fox will control 73 percent of the operation . . .
Here’s Leah, our chicken mother, showing Asiri a mother hen and her baby just now being returned to the rest of the chickens —
Of course Leah cut out a bird, a glorious peacock, for her display.
[I kick myself when I remember that I forgot to take photos of the big interruption for the afternoon, moving the chicken coop, which required 15 minutes, many strong arms and lots of onlookers. Done!]
As for the art, neighbor Asiri’s Mom Mariela, shown here, third from left, next to me, Kat on the other side of me —
was the first to jump in. Here’s her creation.
Notice the purple, made with poke berry juice from one of the patio gardens (hope she blew off Lady Renee’s ashes . . . Oh wait! It has rained, since then.)
Her daughter Asiri — who, BTW, takes puppy Shadow for walks in late afternoons — started out by leafing through National Geographics.
And ended up alongside her Mom, also with poke berry juice.
Halfway through the project, neighbor Jelene mentioned that she is busy pulling invasives from her yard and her next door neighbor’s yard. I offered to lend her our nearly new PullerBear. She was thrilled.
Meanwhile, Jelene’s artistic creation was spectacular! Blew me away.
Then there was dear Vicki’s creation, greenish. (She had also gifted lots of dried flowers from her yard for us to work with.)
The puffin head? I cut that out. Don’t know who put hair on it. I also found myself cutting out men’s photos, both the incredibly poignant photo of a deeply compassionate man in a war zone carrying a body bag, and tiny photos of heads of men in various contortions of egocentric angst. Somehow, I wanted to put them together, glue the heads to the body bag. One conscious man carrying the others, praying they will break through the small self into the Love that powers the universe . . .
Oh yeah, I know it’s not exactly a happy symbolic construction. But then, whatever! It was me, at that moment, what I saw and felt.
Katarina’s art was subtle. Here’s her pressed leaf, with pussy willows to the side, and a healing cartoon. (She works with tinctures and grows herbs.) I had cut out the brain. She decided to use it. Notice poke juice at bottom.
— composed a decidedly dramatic piece (both her Venus and Mars are in Leo!):
One last pass through most of the table and we’re done!
BTW: the KEEP IT WILD combo is also Kat’s. This one NOT subtle! But, there are flowers coming out of the little girl’s mouth . . .
P.S. Lady Renee had a fabulous time.