Sooo normally I do not share the private workings of my coven or its members, however I think this story is a bit of a testament to the spirit of my sister Susan, so Im breaking my norm and posting here.
First, the backstory. Susan and I met the summer of 1998 when Fox News invited me, Susan and another local Priestess to be interviewed for a piece on Wicca & Witchcraft. It was instant kinship and they invited me to join them in a Harvest Home ritual they were performing at the W/S UU that fall. That ritual planted the seed, and by Jan 1999, I had become one of the original Org Team members of Path of the Moon Collective, Susan’s brain child for an open safe space for Pagans in the Triad. After Susan’s personal coven closed, Susan began studying Kabbalah with my group’s class, and later became an initiate of Clann C, which was her spiritual home until she felt her childhood Episcopal church calling her back. In the years I knew her, she helped mentor my public Pagan path, kept me strong when issues there inevitably arose, had my back when I shifted Clann C’s focus off the local Pagan community to Triad wide charity & service projects, repeatedly encouraging that not only I, but Clann C itself continue to work only where our hearts were passionate, and where our efforts would be needed and therefore appreciated. We have continued to follow this advice since.
So, on Friday evening, I was obsessing over what we could do during Clann C’s Beltane sabbat that could honor Susan’s transition, yet not bring down the energy of Beltane, which would have pissed her off, since it was one of our sassy “sister witch’s” favorite sexy Pagan festival days. Mind, I was obsessing over this while I was looking for costume pieces for my upcoming burlesque performance (which would have tickled Susan to death by itself) when suddenly I heard over the vintage clothing store’s speakers…..
“Dearly beloved.. we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Electric word life, it means forever, and that’s a mighty long time, but Im here to tell you…. there’s something else… the Afterworld. A world of never ending happiness, where you can always see the sun, day or night….”
I literally stopped breathing and then said under my breath OH SUSAN! shaking my head with a smile. If you listen to this song from Prince & The Revolution, basically what’s its saying is, life is short, so grab it NOW while you can. So I knew this was how we could honor Susan, by dancing our Maypole to this song and weaving the energy of Carpe Diem into our lives. But I had forgotten about that by the time I got home that night.
So yesterday morning six of the members of Clann C attended Susan’s Life celebration in Greensboro. Many of the original POTMC org team and Pagan community of that time were there. It was a grand meeting of the Clans that she would have been happy for. Stories were shared about her life, and as people were telling them, I had the distinct impression of Susan sitting in this floral chair that was sitting on the dais behind the people who were speaking. Im pretty sure it was right about when her husband was telling the “squirrel initiation” story that I suddenly got the image of Susan clapping her hands with glee kicking her feet back and forth as if she was a little girl, too small for that chair, when “Lets Go Crazy” popped back into my head. This time I quickly wrote it down on the back of my Service card.
As we were leaving the service, I turned to my crew, who were in tears and sniffling, and told our Hagma that they needed to “cry that out before Circle”. It sounds harsh I know, but Susan would have rathered any day of the week that we be “happy nekkid Pagan dancing” (we don’t actually practice naked BTW) than keening any day, so they knew what I meant. Later last night we held our Circle, a Circle in which Susan’s presence kept “making itself known” in fairly distinct ways. I hadn’t told my brethren about my change of song choice, so they had no idea what was about to happen as we chose our color ribbons and our Maiden crowned the pole. All I said before I pressed play was “This one is for Susan” and then my group proceeded to have the most gloriously fun, exuberant, laugh filled, crazy dance energy 7+ minute maypole wind up I have EVER had the pleasure to be a part of. Think 80s video rocker chicks & guitarists, how they performed and danced, but in ceremonial white robes and cords, and you’d maybe get a picture of what that looked like. LOLOL
Ironically, even though she was in better health back when she was a member of Clann C, she wouldn’t have been able to sustain that crazy dance, so we all decided afterwards that she specifically chose to ping me with THAT song, so that she could kick up her own heels and “Go Crazy” last night, joining us as the Sidhe ride back into our world bringing magic and mayhem with them. I cannot WAIT to see what’s in store for us these next months, with her impish spirit among that lot! So watch out for her my friends, because I have no doubt she will be there pinging you all too!
Thank you Susan, from death comes life… the Circle turns.