I am traveling after a long day of work to one of my coven sister's homes. The full moon usually comes at a very inconvenient time at least 10 out of 13 times per year! My work day was worse than usual today; and now the traffic to the other side of town is chomping on my last nerve. I finally arrive and walk up to the 2nd floor apartment where this month's ritual will be held. Six months ago, we voted to take turns hosting so that we all share in what was often a long commute for some of us. Mainly me and one other girl who live on the far west side of town. The rest of the girls live on the east. This month was Alyssa's turn. I'm not happy because she is a non-smoker and those of us that do enjoy a cigarette must go out on her unshaded 6'-8' barren patio overlooking the complex parking lot. Her patio is on the west side of the building and the setting sun is still shooting laser beams off the surface of the vehicles beneath me. I regret I don't have my sunglasses. As I stand there trying to put my day behind me I am hoping that somehow the sun will descend as fast as the length of my cigarette is decreasing. It's a work night for me and I am more than anxious to get this ritual started and wrapped up as soon as possible.
We are still waiting on Andrea. I am confident I will hear her arrival from the patio because she always enters the room as if she has been chased in by a mob of screaming fans. She would have us all believing that every day is filled with drama and will shut the door behind, lean against it and shout, "OMG! You won't believe what happened today!" This will then be followed by a very boring and believable story told in the most exciting and unbelievable way. You know the type. They are everywhere.
But it's now 6:45 pm and I haven't heard her arrive. After choosing against lighting a second cigarette I open the sliding glass door and enter the apartment being occupied by my sisters. I am surprised that Andrea is here...sitting quietly at the kitchen counter with her back towards the rest of us. Oh Yes! I remember! Tonight she will be the sullen one!
At the end of last month's ritual we voted that tonight's ritual would be dedicated to ensuring the safe delivery of Jackie's niece, her sister's first child who has a due date forecasted for just 3 days after the full moon. Andrea was adamantly opposed and spent a better part of 20 minutes trying to drag us all into a debate. She said it was not a high risk pregnancy and her boyfriend had entered just entered rehab (again) and needed all the positive energy we could send his way. Andrea can blame herself for our objection, After all...as a means to prove to us what drama she has in her life, she has used stories about him and his abuse of her to shock and horrify us. If he was 95 miles away in rehab, good riddance.
More often than not, our rituals end in a competition regarding what or who will be the focus of the next month's ritual. Each member keeps a tally in their head of how many "wins" they have and none of their tally's match. I'm not sure why we are not keeping track in a journal, but I'm glad we are not. Otherwise they would more easily notice that I never make suggestions for our ritual.
I am relieved each month when I am not confronted with the question, "Avalon, why don't you ever offer any suggestions for our rituals? Don't you have something you need help with or someone you would like us to help?" Do I really need to verbalize what they should have picked up on already? "No sisters, I do not have any problems in my life. (lie). I have no extended family members to whom I speak that need help. No, none of my few friends are going through any challenges that I know of." Or I could be honest about my wants and needs and say, "Ya know what? Viagra is not quite doing the job for my husband any more. Can we conjure up a good erection?" The rituals I do alone at home would be considered quite vain and selfish to them. I am vain. But if I was selfish would I be here giving 100% towards their desires? And aren't they the selfish ones because after 8 months they have not noticed that I never have come forward with a suggestion? Or maybe they have noticed but are just glad that I don't because that means more opportunities for them. OMG....do I even like these people?
We begin moving furniture and setting up our ritual items. I notice that once again, Nancy has brought apple cider for the ale. Does this woman not notice how happy everyone gets when I bring mead or someone else brings wine? I mentally scream at my eyes, "Don't you dare roll on me now!" At least not until I turn my back to push this chair up against the wall to make room for our ritual.
Our hostess, Jennifer, is her usual nervous self when she hosts. Why wouldn't she be? Her stink eyed condescending husband who agrees to retreat to the master bedroom for two hours will undoubtedly, in about 45 minutes, realize he must go to the kitchen to get something to eat or drink or he will die. No matter how focused we are in ritual, we will all feel it when the hallway spits him out. We won't see him, but we can follow his movements as he traverses against the backdrop of the kitchen. We will all fight against the intrusion of his energy. But regardless of how hard I try to block him out, I will feel violated. Just as I do when Karen's husband peers at us between the blinds when we are in her backyard.
When it is my turn to host, in the back of my mind I think my husband turns down the TV volume so he can hear us. I have no idea if he does or not. My husband is actually quite supportive and has allowed me to completely take over our only spare bedroom for my purposes. And I know he is fixated on his television shows and I know he is a hard of hearing and needs the volume up loud. But still. My overwhelming need for privacy and secrecy can lead to all kinds of imaginings.
Is belonging to a coven really worth all this angst?
For a big part of my adult life, the internet was non-existent. Finding other pagan minded people was damn near impossible. Now it's easy and I have learned a very important lesson. I am who I am and I can't change it.
I have always been that person that never feels comfortable in a group...unless I have the help of liquid courage. I do not have the overwhelming urge to share my thoughts or feelings with others...I avoid chit chatty social situations.
But so many books that I have read and so many people that I have encountered have stated....you cannot call yourself this or that until you trained for a year and a day and have been "initiated".
That way of thinking reminds me of why I dislike organized Christian religions to begin with. The churches of organized religions cite list after list of what god requires of you and tells you how you must life your life. One of these requirements is being "baptized" or "christened". In certain pagan traditions it's "initiated". I rejected them and I make objection now to anyone who tells me "these are the requirements".
I am an intelligent person that is very capable of seeking the information that I want or need....now that I have the internet. I am who I am and I can't change it. I don't want to.
Now, let's get started on that erection spell!