Portland no more… East Bay?

The last week has been an upheaval in a way. A lot has happened and I am stuck in my own thoughts once again. That is like putting your feet in cement and is rarely helpful because searching the present for a solution takes ones eyes off the future and… well the hidden blessing… off the past as well.

Cooking for the Masses

wp_20141101_004Last week I was very busy getting ready for and executing  a meal at the Groundswell space near Boonville. I planned for 120 people and saw close to 100 in the end although it was hard to get a solid count at any point. It was still such an amazing weekend. I got a little play time. I was in charge of the kitchen, but occasionally I had strong people who could take over and operate without supervision. PLUS… CMonster yanked me out of the kitchen for a hike on Sunday.

badgeFBMy Cooking Site – My On-Line Resume

In an effort to prepare for my next life-step-journey thing… I updated my resume site www.PastrySt8.com and www.FlavorSt8.com (pushing them to the same location). I consolidated the sites since my cooking career is somewhat parallel and my pastry future is so limited.

Life Journey Surprises

CMonster wearing the mask I made for him for the masquerade.

CMonster wearing the mask I made for him for the masquerade.

When we got back, CMonster had an email congratulating him on being accepted to school. This is something he had been working on for months. The only issue, it was here in San Francisco. Not Portland. He starts school in 10 months and moving to Portland seems moot. It’s very disappointing, but at the same time it provides a rung on the ladder to reach for. I can choose a direction instead of waiting for the next domino to fall.
Now, I have to get out of his house and find a place in the Bay Area where we can exist together. Where we can have a home and where we can live as long as we need to. Moving to Portland is probably not an option now, but there is always time.
And… I decided to go on a diet… so I will start sharing that adventure here. I am doing something that is a little more hardcore than what is typically healthy, but I am sick of carrying this weight and sick of all the crappy food eating. And, back off the meat again for a while. Ugh, my guts have to look just awful.

Back to Faery Land

Heading back out to GroundSwell today… the new Radical Faerie idealized land in North Central California. The land is awesome though the spirit energy there is nothing like Wolf Creek. I think that will come over time, but neither do I think they want to be another Wolf Creek.
WP_20140907_004It’s been interesting seeing where they are going with this project. I talked to several different people over the last 6 months who all seem to see it differently. However, the more I learn the more it seems like the consensus is coming together. I am not part of the creative team bringing this bad boy together but am encouraged to see what happens.
I have been able to participate solely on the deepest of fringes. But who knows what the future will hold for me.

2014 Spiritual Gathering for Radical Faeries

Yep- that’s what I did this last week. It was a very needed experience and I was so glad I was able to swing it. The postings on Facebook had me so excited and the “Call” (which is the announcement for the event and all the rules around it) was well crafted and made a person feel excited.
Last year I would say I left feeling trepidations over my experience as there seemed to be a lot of conflict with the identity of the land. BUT, if you read my trip report from last year then you can see why. A lot happened and there was a weird balance of good, bad and fantastical.

SGRF2013: Part 1 & Part2

SGRF2014:  Catching up since then: As suggested in the posts from 2013 I never made it back to Samhain and put off going back to Wolf Creek until I felt the call. So, the only Radical Faery stuff I did was here in the city with the local Faeries.
WP_001032Starting off I had zero money and had no idea how I was getting there. Plus, on the 11th hour I discovered my tent was missing. So, I had no place to sleep as far as I knew. Not to mention that I had not quite figured out how I was getting to Oregon and getting home. Think this might be a problem?
A great guy on a ride list picked me up and we drove up to Oregon. Yes, I still have both my kidneys. And, the guy working the event let me borrow an extra tent on the property. All was good. No ride home yet, but hell I had a few days before that might be an issue.

Wolf Creek

The land is amazing to visit. I stopped at the ancestor alter as soon as we arrived and payed homage to the land  because I wanted my return to start better (or the best possible) than last year. The map I found on the refrigerator in the barn showed so much.

The Vibe

As previously mentioned the “Call” was really good. There was this forced sense of desired sobriety last year and that was missing in this announcement. There was drinking and there was a little partying, but in the scope of things it was low key and Hand Washing Sinknice. Nothing close to Burning Man level! Which is a good thing.
I did have a sense of appreciation for the required sobriety normally enforced on a majority of the land. When I was cooking dinner one night my two helpers were drinking and smoking themselves into non-presence because it was the one night where you could pretty much drink anywhere on the land.


Well, I contributed the best I could through cooking for the 40+ guests and staff on the land. It was exciting that it seems it was was people remembered most about my visit last year. It also felt so amazing to feel so welcomed back. It was cool that so many people that were there were burners. (more below)

So I took a camping spot down by the creek because I wanted to be around people. While some people think this kind of a thing is sex, drugs and party on… well… for me it was just a nice chance to disconnect from the world and think about the things I need to take care of in life right now.

The Miss Wolf Creek Pageant

OMG this was just so much fun and it was done on the night people were allowed to have alcohol which made even more of a hoot! There is a building called the drag closet with all kinds of fun things in it that have been donated over the years. No, I did not get into drag but damn these boys are so much fun!!!!!

SGRF : Trip Report : Part 2

Less than a week ago I came home from the Wolf Creek Sanctuary (WCS) where the Spiritual Gathering for Radical Faeries (SGRF) was being held. I have known of Wolf Creek for years and dreamed of going there to be part of this liberating  witchy and sexual place in the woods. Is the fantasy bigger than the reality?
A friend of mine came by this morning for coffee and asked me about my take away from my experience at the SGRF and it gave me time to formulate my thoughts. As we looked at pictures from the Wolf Creek page on Facebook I took a quick inventory of that fantasy versus reality.
First off I do not think attendance was ever much more than 35 people at any given time and I asked about that, when I was told that there were usually more than a hundred men on the property participating usually. Reasons for people not coming this year:

  • a call for a sober space at the gathering
  • the rainbow gathering happening the same weekend.

Coming back it took me several days to fully decompress. It felt like the world was so huge and I was in this tiny bubble moving through the city. I was in the woods a week with almost no technology and only some human contact.

Expectations v. Reality

I went with no expectations or intentions because after upsetting my world by quitting my job I just needed a kick-start or reboot. I did know there was going to be witchy stuff and I did know there was going to be a strong sexual presence out there but how it all flowed together I had no idea.
I was first introduced to Wolf Creek through a porno… yet I expected nothing like that at all.
My first day I had some amazing spiritual encounters and I explored the land by walking it and feeling the expansiveness of the space. It was a breathtaking and beautiful venue that stretched up the hills of Oregon. The land itself is rich in energy and spirit that is older than the Faeries currently residing there.
Sexually I waded in and found myself conflicted with the people there because I found myself very attracted to two in particular. That is never good, perse’, because it is just a bad head space to get into.
Anyhoo, I started seeing a lot of pockets of sexual activity and even participated here and there.
There were a smattering of workshops on the schedule hastily thrown together by one of the people working hard at the gathering that were all jacked up on the schedule. Heart circles occurred daily that were really very therapeutic although some made it their personal cathartic stage of self martyrdom or a soap box for their position on sobriety (more on this later). Get a group of people from different walks of life or levels of sobriety and try and have anything different happen… right.
The lack of workshops and overt sexual nature of the limited number of people present made the meaning of the gathering feel a little lost in the fog. Even the workshops that were offered were sexual in nature. It was the outlook of some people that saved me and my outlook in all of it.

Side Story

I arrived on the land Thursday morning about 3:30 am when was the exact time my phone battery completely died. Not a great mystery, I had my phone on all day without charging it. BUT!!!! The thing was I had my phone in my hands when I got out of the car (so I thought) and never saw it again. It was clear I left it in the car… right?
Well, long story short … lost phone … shady experience* with driver made me concerned … misdirected blame … phone mysteriously appears when packing to leave land.
(*I made an agreement with someone to be driven to WCS that was only paying for gas for trip [by Mark my friend because I had no money] and on the way we were baked in the car, then frozen because the windows would not close. That was not the shady part. 2 reasons I do not want to go into here because they are unfounded but perceived, third because she was asking for more money when we got there)
I moved my tent twice in the time I was there. I rolled my my sleeping back and the phone slid across my tent right to my feet. Just as I was getting ready to leave.

Call for Failure

Sobriety also became an issue for many and it caused some buzz around me. For those who know I have supreme social anxiety, but at the same time I am someone that thrives to be on a stage and I love talking to crowds… freak huh? Apparently the announcement for SGRF called for a sober space that was a reason (or one of the reasons) many people elected not to attend.
As it appeared, some of the core people responsible for producing the event were people who were in treatment for sobriety. At least that was what I was told by one of them. The call for sobriety was a fail because it imposed the needs of a few on the many.
I knew going in that Faery gatherings were typically sober spaces and that there was a set time for drinking; yet illegal drugs were not acceptable. Libations were given a window when they were acceptable and we shared them with the ancestors and spirits. There was no such time setup for this at this gathering that I was aware of.
Failure came when it was assumed that a few struggling with addiction imposed it on others. Failure to draw in important attendees that could have expanded the success of the gathering on every level.

What More…?

A divide has surfaced that has weakened Nomenus (the official name of the church who administers WCS), that has caused a number of Faeries to split off into a new organization called Calamus (name taken from Walt Whitman poetry).
I was surprised how man people I talked to did not know of the split because it was certainly felt at WCS’ recent Beltane event according to another producer I spoke to. It is a shame to see this divide but given the divisive politics that have been rumbling through social networks and the rumblings of members and officers in the community it feels like there are a lot of heels in the sand politics.
This is not my battle nor is it my politics. It is a shame as someone merging into this community and become acquainted with so much conflict. The other side of the coin is that there is a lot of really good here and it gets muddled in personal agendas instead of what makes the unit stronger.
NOTHING against Calamus or Nomenus… maybe this is just the natural progression of what it is.

In the end…

The week was uplifting and I found myself loving, liking and even disliking people I was with. In the closing circle someone started something that should have been quite nice:

Roughly recalled: “You are special and I love you”

…or something like that. I could not do that. Granted, the person that started this in the circle was beautiful and amazing and I felt genuine love, but I could not say that to a few of the people there and I pulled back hard. We were tasked to look each person in the eyes and say that, finishing with a hug, and that was not who I could be in that moment.
I was pissed when people demanding sobriety were the same people smoking themselves into a stupor because their drug (pot v. alcohol or anything else for that matter) was okay. I drank almost nightly when I was there and took my anxiety medication on top of it. I was okay with it even if others were not.
I left the land feeling blessed and I left with some good advice from someone unexpected; about how to matriculate back into the default world.  I was faced with hostile, miserable people all the way home once I was back on the BART heading into the city. I kept my head low and my thoughts focused on the bubble of my universe and stayed out of everyone else’s orbits.
I came home happy that I did what I did and feeling thoughtful and blessed. Part of me felt like I had a mission on my return as well. I am rethinking all that now… wondering if WCS was where I needed to be again. Should I go back to Samhain? (rhetorical question answerable only by me). But, I think I would rather not be a part of other people’s politics.

Us, We, Them: Trip Report Part1

I disappeared off the earth again for a few days while doing some self discovery. I went to a place I dreamed about going to for as many as 6 years; it was called Wolf Creek Sanctuary. The details on the people and history are on their web site, but going there is vastly different.
We learn about ourselves when we are snatched out of our routine, let alone our comfy and safe environment, and set in the deep Oregon wood like where I went. The space has an incredible history, mostly concerning my adventure was the last 40 years since it was founded by queer San Francisco radicals who were called: Radical Faeries.
The property is called a sanctuary as it is also a church with a lot of neo-pagan ideals. This event was called the Spiritual Gathering for Radical Faeries (SGRF) at Wolf Creek which makes sense since it is a sanctuary and a spiritual center. Personally, I felt I keyed into that reality fairly quickly as I was able to tap into energies around me that molded my time there; in some cases very far out of my control.
I plan on writing more about this and covering these subjects in detail in the next day or two and invite you to participate. I plan on returning to the community in October for Samhain (pronounced: Sow-when). Observations and things I feel like talking about include:

And there you have it…. just a beginning of the dialog to follow.
I came back changed  – inspired – renewed – hopeful …. and unemployed so I have to face that dragon really fast. I wish I could take C Monster on that journey with me. But… while I was there and he was here he had his own experiences and he too seems happier. I hope we can stay that way.