For me, as for many modern Pagans (most of whom live in urban areas), a trip to a wilderness spot such as Muir Woods is a once-in-a-lifetime event, a pilgrimage to a sacred site, a "Journey to the West" in search of wisdom. Such pilgrimages can be life-changing events, and, certainly, I will never forget my trip to Muir Woods. (And, of course, Wilderness spots can only take so many of us traipsing through.) I brought back a tiny, carved, wooden tree to put in the NorthWest on my altar, to help me to connect to the larger spirit of North America, the North America beyond my Potomac River watershed and the red-clay-amended-with-acorn-shells-built-on-a-swamp-landbase upon which I live, garden, and priestess. A small sign in Muir Woods taught me that deer depend upon the Vitamin C from maple leaves to get through the Winter and I'm considering now how to get the falling leaves from my ancient maple to the nearby woods for the deer who live there. I used the word "privileged" in my post about Muir Woods and that word was chosen deliberately. For most of my life, a trip to a place such as Muir Woods was simply out of the question and I'm grateful for the opportunity that my job gave me to visit.
And yet -- despite all the dreams that I've had, ever since my trip, of a Chapter House in Sausalito, dreams of denim-and-cotton-garbed priestesses and priests spending their lives entering the woods and doing reiki for the ferns, and redwoods, and condors, and chipmunks, and moss -- despite those dreams, when I got to the lower level of National Airport and could feel that familiar swamp dirt beneath the floor, leaching LANDBASE up through the soles of my feet and into my solar plexus, I knew that I had come home to my own true work. I am the witch of THIS place and my pilgrimage has only made me more so. Those of us who live in urban areas are called to as sacred a task as are those someone(s) whose reiki I sensed in Muir Woods. Muir Woods is threatened and needs magical care, but so is the strip of land between the parking lot of your apartment complex and the interstate. So is the pocket park located a block away from you in the city, the one where people come to let their dogs run. So is the tree growing through the sidewalk outside your office building. So are the weeds growing in the alley behind your condo. It's all sacred. It's all Goddess pouring Goddess into Goddess. It's all in desperate need of priestessing, in need of reiki, in need of loving care, in need of relationship.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."