The Bard and Jester

Welcome Readers! Here you will find some real life experiences and musings that I'd like to share with you. So, come on in, if you have the time and I'll do my best to be entertaining... Please click on my sponsors' links!!! Established March 12, 2005.

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Location: New York, United States

I can be a clown, a poet, a fool, a romantic, a diplomat, a beast...it all depends upon the timing and circumstance.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Dancing Naked With the Witch Covens of NYC part 1

When I first got on the internet, back in 1994, I found my way to the religion of Wicca through Prodigy ISP...which is funny because the ISP's symbol was a pentagram.

I won't go into how Wicca has nothing to do with Satan and evil and I won't go into much detail on Wicca itself...there are a multitude of books that already explain that and if you're curious, go check them out.

I met a Wiccan priestess local to NYC on Prodigy's New Age BB who was willing to teach me the Wiccan Mysteries. During the course of my initial education, she introduced me to a witchy store in NYC's East Village called ENCHANTMENTS. Last I heard, the store was still there.

ENCHANTMENTS held classes on late Saturday mornings in a lovely backyard garden called "The Grove". It was fenced in and tall buildings loomed over it on all sides, but the way the garden was set up, with trees, shrubbery, trickling fountains, a camp fire and statues of Pagan spirits, you could forget that you were in a crowded city of millions...especially since the buildings effectively blocked most of the city's ever-present din.

It was a place made for chanting, dancing and calling up the gods of the ancient religions. I had a great time there and I met some interesting and a wacky folks. Sure a few were real kooks and others space cadets, but that didn't matter, each and everyone of them, regardless of the state of their respective sanity, was open-minded and questing for the spiritual truths that elude us all...I love those kinds of people best...especially after a life time growing up among people stagnated and sheltered in the security blankets of beliefs that were programmed into them since a very early age and, thus, not come by honestly.

I even met Pagan celebrities like Laurie Cabot--Salem's most famous witch--and I was eventually initiated into the coven of a well-known witch-author named Silver Ravenwolf.

I loved those times. After the Grove session ended, I would often lead a bunch of us to Thompkins Square Park, which was just down the block. There we'd sit in the grass and listen to or dance along with the drums of the Mediterranean people who jammed there.

Oddly, though I belonged to Silver Ravenwolf's Black Forest Coven--which was located in Pennsylvania--my teacher, an aspiring theatre actress living in NYC, had us study and socialize a lot with another coven, that of a Saxon magickal tradition. They held their sabbats and esbats in the basement of a large Queens apartment building. The superintendent was a witch of that Saxon coven.

It was this Queens coven's tradition to perform all their rites skyclad--the Pagan term for nude--and the first time I was invited to participate in one of their Sabbat rites, I was told that if I agreed to attend, I'd have to do so skyclad. The basement, like those of many of the larger NYC apartment buildings, was extensive, with many warrens and usually only the super could get access to it all...so we were assured of privacy.

I said, "What the hell, why not." I thought it would make an interesting tale to tell someday and it was a real test of my courage...to step out naked before people both familiar and somewhat unfamiliar. I wanted to see if I had that courage...of course, it helped that I was physically fit.

The only concern I had was getting an erection during the ritual...I mean there were married couples there and without pants, anyone can tell what a man is thinking and I didn't want to offend anyone.

So, I went. The building looked like your average city tenement, which I'd seen about hundred or so of and, prior to that day, I had never once given a thought as to what secret events may be occuring within their bowels.

So, I went in, undressed and then stood naked with about 15 other equally skyclad people. It was summer, but the concrete was cold to my feet, the air comfortably cool on my bare skin.

The ritual began. We chanted, we invoked, we danced. Fortunately, I didn't have an erection and the general awkwardness melted away. There was something about chanting and dancing in the buff that stirred some primeval memory in my blood. I actually enjoyed it and, after that, nudity--whether it was another's or my own--no longer made me uncomfortable.

But the real test for a heretosexual male like myself is hugging another man while the both of us are naked. That takes alot of confidence in who you are as a person.

But I'll tell that tale in part 2, and all about the big, week-long, Pagan festival in Western New York State.

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