I'm just home from a long day in Long Beach, Pagan Pride LA/OC 215. Old friends and new gathered with hundreds of other festival goers to fill the Rainbow Lagoon park with community, magick, and life.
It is the first Pagan Pride that I actually got to get into the ritual and classes. Pantheacon 2014 put an idea in my head, that this experience is not just the practice, but the community that I am in. And I'll get to that, but I need to review recent events in my life and go forward from there.
In recent weeks I made the decision to close up the teaching shop at the Crystal Matrix and try out new things and new directions; This is important as I found Temple LA, the start of the other half of my work. You will remember that I founded TempleWell some time ago, but after about a year I felt it was better to fold everything into a nice little package (that's me) and regroup from that perspective. TempleWell went away... to earth.
I did leave a lot undone, things that I wanted to come back to, and so here I am in these last few weeks opening up those pages. I've got bookmarks in many places in my life, and I find that it's time to finish those stories and write new ones. That is what Temple LA is for me.
When I made that decision I did not know that we would be taking care of a family member, or that I would find the Crystal Matrix, be a reader and teacher there, or creating my own home studio for my work. I had intended at some point to pick up with the Temple of Witchcraft again, and having talked to Christopher in the past about being a West Coast temple person, I ultimately came back to that dream. I did all of these things in the last two years, and they were good.
Rich in spirit things that were part of the toning and shaping up for this new phase in my life. So I started fixing past mistakes, and opening up connections, and making social events, and teaching on my own... things that I know to be really awesome but couldn't find a venue for. "Just do it" I told myself. And I did. And so things change.
Today, Pagan Pride was an eye opening experience. Today I went to the festival and met people in my community: Wiccan, Heathen, Pagan, Witches, Herbalists, Atheists, even some Christians that participate in Pagan Pride, and felt such a calling to purpose.
I started my day with the Raven's Cry Grove (ADF) opening the day with ritual. Lovely. And I have to give Griffin Ced of The Green Man Store a huge applause. His community talk and ritual at 2 pm, The Body of our Diverse Community, was just brilliant. It inspired gathering in chant and movement. I'm still seeing the new folks to the pagan community in the center singing out to us, with the High Priestess in their center, as we sang and chanted into them. I cried a few times. I sang like no one was listening, and I found that I sing pretty dam good when my heart is in it.
And THAT was what it was for me, finding the heart in this work on a whole other level.
If you weren't there I really wish you could have been. It was so much, but not too much, and just brilliant to be a part of. So much of what I get to see or experience in the community is often quiet, contemplative, somber, but Griffin got us moving, humming, and weaving magick. I lost myself.
A few members of our circle were able to make it out and join me. Thank you Ambar, Josh, Sarah and Jaime, and Zoe for joining in the festivities.
This work isn't about the money, or power, or social prestige... but if you do the work right those are benefits to the path. It is about connecting the work with the land, the community, the body and doing something with it. For me this is not about "special" attunements, or levels in an "order," or any of that high muckity-muck. That's all in the way of the dance, the chant, the heart, the light, the community, the earth, and the magick.
That inspires me as I move forward. This is where I want to grow forward.
I look forward to many more events with our growing circle, within the greater spiritual community of LA.
My love, my best,
Scott K Smith