Vaguely Pagan in Portland

The official Coffee Coven blog! We are a group of eight witchy gals in metro Portland, Oregon, sharing our vaguely Pagan musings in this odd city of adventure. Nous sommes les witchies sexies! Keep Portland weird!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

magickal afternoon

Recently a crafty friend made a necklace for me. On one side is the word “student” and on the other, “witch.” I love that the necklace captures two sides of my life, but I can choose which one to reveal to the world.

This afternoon I decided to wander into Crystal Heart, a local metaphysical store. I visit this store fairly regularly, and wanted to get more information about their upcoming wellness faire. At first I was disappointed that the normal person I talk to wasn’t working today. And the person who was there didn’t have much info about the faire, since the format is changing and another person is organizing it.

We chatted for a minute – about the faire and a mutual friend, and I mentioned that I am a part-time student. That led to the inevitable question, “what are you going to school for?” I responded that I just started working on a Master’s in Counseling.

To my surprise, the woman I was talking to already has a Master’s in Counseling Psychology, from a university which emphasizes “positive psychology.” In addition to working behind the counter, she has started a life-coaching practice. Effectively blending counseling with an interest in metaphysics. I have thought about how my “student” side and “witch” side relate and interact, but wasn’t what this would look like after graduation. Now I have some more things to think about, and an actual person to ask when I think of more questions.

I don’t know yet how I want to blend my Pagan spirituality with my counseling practice, but now I know that there is some precedence for this kind of work and there are resources out there. This wasn’t the conversation I had expected when I walked in the door this afternoon, but was the conversation I needed to have.

I think the feeling I had as I left the store can best be summed up in the words of a popular bumper sticker:

“The Goddess is alive and Magick is afoot.”

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Vaguely What?

Since the beginning of our little coffee-shop group of Paganish females, we've all been pretty loose about defining ourselves. Some of us are Wiccan, some are Celtic Pagan, one attends Druid rituals, and others are happily eclectic or non-specific. Our founder is an ordained minister who has a love for all things Egyptian. The question of belief isn't one that comes up much in conversation because we are a social group, not a coven. Since we don't do rituals together, we don't define ourselves by one specific faith. It always has been sufficient to say that, when asked to fill out questionnaires on our religious leanings, we mark "Other."

There's great comfort in knowing that you're part of a group that doesn't judge you. They already know your "dark" secret [covering mouth in horror]: You're a Pagan! And they don't care. Not one bit. It's kind of like what happened when a friend from college told me he was gay. I think he expected me to choke on my soda and renounce his friendship. Instead, I said, "Umm, okay. Wanna go for pizza?" And that was the end of that. With this group of Pagans, we're all beyond that need to label. We sip coffee. We do laundry. We watch TV. In other words, we are normal.

If you believe Pagans are dangerous freaks, I invite you to look around next time you're in a public place. We are teachers, wait staff, graphic designers, mental health therapists, writers, administrative assistants, computer gurus and even police officers. It's like I told one of the group members the other day: "In Portland, you can't spit without hitting a Starbucks and a Pagan." It's true to varying degrees all over the country. People are becoming Pagans because it meets a need.

So relax, America. We don't hold recruitment meetings and give out free toasters to the newly converted. The only thing we might want to spread is our non-dogmatic and pluralistic approach to religion, which, by the way, the world could really use right now. We aren't dropping bombs or killing people over minute details of creed. We do argue sometimes and throw people off our blog, but that's it. No bloodshed.

Vaguely Pagan is a way of life and a political statement. Embrace the vagueness.