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The Wilderness Between Spring/Summer 2024 Newsletter

Happy Full Moon! It's been a busy few months for us as the earth bursts back into bloom. 


Steward News


The Wilderness Between stewards are pleased to share our new sigil! Sigils are an ancient form of magic, symbols imbued with the intent of the creators and those who use them.

This design centers around a pawpaw flower creating ripples in still water. The pawpaw is a treasured native plant that has been part of one of our most longstanding traditions—foraging at Mabon. The symmetry of the petals and the outward circles in threes calls to our Druid tradition, representing the three breaths, three parts of the Druid’s Prayer for Peace, and many others. We hope that this sigil will represent peace, learning, and community for our group. What does it say to you?


March Steward Ritual Recap

by Mason


In March, the Stewards held our annual leadership retreat. This is a chance for us to work toward the organization and function of The Wilderness Between, review and discuss feedback we’ve received over the year, and imagine what the next year might look like for the group. We chose the themes of connecting and collective creation for this retreat.


The Stewards retreat is an opportunity for us to engage in fellowship and conversation, and one of the times in the year when we engage in deep ritual together. This year, Jay and Juno planned a ritual to dedicate our new group sigil, which Juno is going to tell you all about in their article, and our primary evening ritual was a collaborative dinner planned by Jillian.


The dinner ritual was a fun, creative, engaging, and collaborative way for us to focus on intentions for Wilderness Between in the next year that I wanted to share a bit about with you. I thought the ritual was so neat and wanted to illustrate one more way that folks can DO ritual.


I also think a dinner ritual is an opportunity to talk a bit about feeling fed and nourished by this community, and why we, as Stewards, continue to do the “work” of leadership to in turn offer some of the rich nourishment that we receive with others.


Our dear friend and Steward-adjacent (aka Devil’s Advocate), David, led us in physically preparing the food: we each shared in the responsibilities of chopping, measuring, mixing. The we prepared a meal of stuffed peppers for one another, an offering of nourishment to one another. Meanwhile, Jillian led us in the deeper work of preparing our intentions. First, we determined together an overarching intention for the year:


Nourishing our connection to the Living World.


Then, we shared with each other individual intentions that we felt would help bring about and support this communal intention. Things like offering opportunities to connect more with our animal and other non-plant allies, spending more time in bare feet, taking responsibility in our communities, sharing more meals, getting out of our shells, and many others.


Using edible ink, we wrote these individual intentions on rice paper, finally added them to peppers that were not ours before the meal went into the oven.


When dinner was prepared, we shared our peppers together and we literally ate our intentions!


We took them in to become a part of us. We let them fuel us, not just for that weekend, but with the goal of nourishing us through the next year. To aid us in continuing to offer things members want or need, to build on our growing traditions, and continue to invite you to bring your own offerings, skills, and gifts to our little community.


Because WB is a collective! Even though there are some of us who have taken on the responsibility of Stewardship, the community exists and is what it is because of the many wonderful things that everyone who comes out to events or offers a bit of their time provides.


So if you have ideas of something you want to offer, we want you to engage, be nourished, and nourish others alongside us. Reach out to a Steward, submit the member event form, or even just share your thoughts, questions, or pictures on the Discord. We would love to experience a bit of what feeds you!


2024 Wilderness Between Survey results

by Marybeth


Recently, The Wilderness Between sent out our second ever member survey, in hopes of finding out from you what kinds of events you are most interested in, and how we can make our community better.  I’d like to share a brief summary of the results with you, and talk about some of the changes we are trying out in response to your feedback.


        The biggest theme among the survey answers we received was “more” - more events closer to your area (pretty evenly distributed between Maryland and Virginia, with some DC requests) and more in-person events in general, including requests for more events about Druidry, plants, gardening, foraging, skills for sustainability, and more seasonal celebrations, camping, and hikes!


This year, we hope to add more in-person events of various kinds.  Ryan led a wonderful spring mushroom and plant hike a couple of weeks ago (Mason was our morel mushroom finder of the day), we had a seed swap and gardening Q&A at the recent Ostara ritual, and we also met up and danced around the maypole together at Frederick CUUPS’ joyous public Beltane ritual.  In response to a request for some events to learn about our animal friends, Mason started a book club series for a book called “The Genius of Birds,” which has been a fascinating book to discuss.  We are also continuing Mason’s wonderful “Meeting the Trees” event series, recently had our annual strawberry picking event at a new location that hosted a Strawberry Festival, our annual Goods and Gear Swap in June, and plans for more hikes and outdoor events to be posted on our Meetup page soon.  Check the Meetup page often to see what we’re up to.


        A few of you were kind enough to volunteer to assist with or co-lead events.  We have a relatively full calendar for the next few months, but there are still a few weekends open, so if you have an idea for an event, please reach out to us and let us know!  We will also try to reach out to those of you who offered help as summer approaches.  We’d love to have your help - many hands make light work, and a greater number of people helping with events allows us to make our offerings more varied and interesting. (Co-leading a hike is also a great way to get an event on the calendar that’s closer to you and works with your schedule.) We also have quarterly planning meetings if you prefer to talk in real time about your idea, but you can send a message to any one of the stewards at any time.

 

        Finally, I’d like to sincerely thank you who took the time and effort to fill out the survey and let us know how we can improve the events we offer to you.  We take your feedback to heart, and hope you will continue to send us your ideas and suggestions.  We also invite you to attend our quarterly planning events to share your ideas with us directly, or just to hear what we’re up to.

 

        If you have any questions or comments about the survey results, please message Marybeth on Meetup or Discord.  Thank you!


Event Announcements


Finalized details for all WB events are on Meetup. Note that some events may not be posted in this newsletter as locations and times are being finalized by event organizers. The next Planning Council Meeting will be held on June 15, 2024.


In keeping with the spirit of growth and our purpose as a collective organization, we would like to hear from members who have skills they would like to share or events they would like to lead. If you feel called to do so, please visit the new page on our website and fill out the form.


Meeting the Trees 

June 9 - 1:00 PM

National Arboretum


Litha Goods & Gear Swap and Bardic Circle

June 15 - 11:00 AM

Rock Creek Park


Planning Council Meeting · Summer 2024

June 15 - 7:30 PM

Virtual


Book Discussion: The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman (chpt 7-end)

June 30 - 7:30 PM

Virtual


Tomato Festival

July 20 - 10:00 AM

Moon Valley Farm

Woodsboro, MD


Druid Practices Discussion Group

July 28 - 7:30 PM

Virtual · 4th Sunday of the month


Intro to Primitive Camping/Lughnasadh Camp Out

August 2 - 4:00 PM

Elizabeth Furnace Recreational Area


Lughnasadh Celebration

August 3 - 11:00 AM

Elizabeth Furnace Recreational Area


Druid Practices Discussion Group

August 25 - 7:30 PM

Virtual · 4th Sunday of the month


 

Friends of WB

Stone Circle Council — www.stonecirclecouncil.org

Frederick CUUPS — frederickcuups.com/events

The Firefly House — www.meetup.com/thefireflyhouse


WB online


Contact Juno via email junovega23@gmail.com if you have something you would like to share with the community and we will include it in the next newsletter.


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