Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Stir of Our Echos

Wow, the last few days have really been crazy. But there's bad crazy and good crazy. I am blessed with lots of good crazy.

The Tulare County Paranormal Society has been sponsoring a series of free to the public classes all though the month of October.

Each class have been focused on a different aspect of the Paranormal. Everything from Psychics & Mediums, Witches & Witchcraft, to Spirits & Ghosts. I was honored to asked by a friend to be a guest speaker and shed some light on the false stereotypes of the Wicked Wiccan Witches.

As it turns out I had stereotyped "Paranormal Researchers" just like the mundanes have stereotyped me as a Wiccan. So I began attending their meetings to get to know them better and get a more educated understanding of what they do. I was pleasantly surprised by their approach to subject of the Paranormal.

As we explored the open discussion in a warm group setting, I realized how much we all have in common. Their are just as misunderstood as we Pagans are, they are stereotyped as inaccurately as we Pagans are and seem to attract a lot of unique people for all the wrong reasons.

I deeply respect the care & respect these people exhibit when approaching "Ghosts" and the professional and scientific manner in which they attempt to document activity. They explained how many times, "certain people" are attracted to places that are believed to be haunted and often times perform ceremonies or rituals there, leaving behind candles and strange markings.

They mentioned that knowing someone with a knowledge in these areas would be nice. I felt compelled to mention that this was not my area of expertise, but rather my area of study. I don't think I would be able to analyze a scene and interpenetrate or read the symbolism used, but I do have every confidence that I would recognize it and be able to find out. In fact I would enjoy it. Magical Detective. That would be fun.

So I have joined the team, and am honored again to have become the Chaplain and spiritual adviser. The lecture went well, there was a good turn out and everyone was very active and receptive. Probably one of my favorite crowds yet. And Friday night we dawned our new TCPS t-shirts and met in old town Visalia for a photo shoot with a Fresno Bee photographer, we're gonna be in the paper next week.

But Friday morning started out bright and early on my way the State Hospital. I have been a Volunteer Prison Chaplain for almost three years, but Friday was my first day in the service of the Department of Mental Health. I must say I enjoy volunteering for them, they have been very warm in their welcome and extremely accommodating in meeting my needs and desires for services.

They had asked me too prepare a syllabus of my scheduled services and was happy and proud to say I already have one ready. I was even happier and prouder to see their surprised response, they seemed impressed with the "application of symbolism" used in my services. I applied that symbolism in my first service there Friday morning.

I brought a bag a leaves that my daughter and I had collected from the local cemetery. I shared my childhood memories of my Grandmother and the special story she shared with me. We all selected our own leaf and wrote the name of someone special on it and each took our time sharing it with the group. These men I had only known for a half an hour or so shared their personal grief and for a few, acknowledged the death of a loved one for the first time.

After the bag of leaves was passed around, a small marker followed so that everyone could write a name on their leaf. This is an important part of the craftwork, it turns the leaf into someone. It is interesting to watch the way different people hold their leaf. Some cradle it with both hands and speak directly to it, while others hold them down at their sides not looking at it.

Once they have said what they have to say they, place their leaf on the Altar. Some kiss it goodbye and have a hard time letting it go but enjoyed the opportunity for visitation and closure. I have been providing this service at Samhain for a few years now and it never fails, every year at least one person writes the name of their victim, and shares something powerful. I can't imagine the courage it takes to do this.

Some people think I am nuts for volunteering to work in the Prisons and even more crazy for working in the State Hospitals, but like I said, I blessed with a lot of Good Crazy. Blessed Be.

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