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The Wilderness Between Winter/Spring 2023 Newsletter

Reflection on 2022:

-Mason


Though 2022 was still full of unknowns, it was in some ways an improvement over the two years prior. The year for our little community felt a bit freer, like we could get back to more of what brought this community about in the first place: sharing in the sacre

dness of nature, in nature.


I write this on the eve of Winter Solstice and I am struck by how it feels that our community is coming out of the dark and looking forward to what has germinated beneath the heavy snows of the last two years.


We're settling into a balance of how to gather regularly in person while continuing to build community online, and we were able to offer twice the number of events in a year than we did pre-pandemic. Most welcome was the ability to gather in person this year for camping events, shared community events like Pagan Pride Day, as well as our annual Stewards' retreat.


We welcomed Marybeth, Caitlin, and Rosey to Stewardship this year, and were able to gather together to give thanks to Moine, Nikki, and Michael for their gifts and service to the community as they stepped back from leadership in the intervening time. May they feel ever welcome at our fires!


At our retreat, leadership took on difficult subjects of access, communication, and organizational structure, and there is a palpable energy for and commitment to fostering this community. We reflected on insight and ideas gathered from our members through our first annual survey, and we are actively working to manifest some of the things we've learned.


We maintained what are now long standing traditions like gathering at Elizabeth Furnace for Lughnasadh and greeting the sunrise for Yule, and we confirmed new traditions like our now annual Goods and Gear Swap. This year also marked more than two years of gathering online almost every single month to discuss books, practices, and theologies!


I am full of awe at the way our community has shown up for each other outside of public events this year as well. We have held space for one another through challenging times, many of us gathered for the celebration of love of Alex and Ryan, and the discussions on Discord continue to increase and have spanned the humorous to the vulnerable.


We continue to grow, with 2022 being the first full year of event planning via our seasonal Planning Council meetings. I believe that structure plays a large part in the success of our events. Folks show up with their own ideas, interests, skills, and gifts, and offer those to one another. We have always arranged ourselves as a collective, and we continually learn together how to make collective decision-making and organizing successful in the context of our community. I am proud and excited to be a part of a community so full of blessings and talent.


Many, many thanks to the other Stewards, and to everyone who has planned, shared, or attended an event - any event - because you have offered a bit of your uniqueness to our community and we are all better for it!


I hope that we will see you again in 2023 and that whatever it is you are looking for, if you cannot find it with us, we can help point you in whatever direction you may need.


Event Announcements


Wilderness Between

The latest details on all WB events are on Meetup: https://www.meetup.com/wilderness-between/events/

The next Planning Council Meeting for Apr-Jun events will be held in mid-March.


Meeting Trees at The National Arboretum - Winter

Sun, Jan 15 · 11:00 AM

Grove of State Trees - Picnic Area

3501 3501 New York Ave NE · Washington, DC


Imbolc Hike

Sun, Jan 29 · Time TBD

Location TBD


Bone Walk

Sat, Feb 18 · 12:00 PM

Third Winchester Battlefield

541 Redbud Road Winchester VA


Druid Practices Discussion Group: Healing

Wed, Feb 22 · 7:30 PM

Virtual


Friends of WB


January 1, 2023 6:00 PM New Years Purification Ritual

January 18, 2023 7:00 PM Meeting Brigid Workshop

January 21, 2023 7:00 PM Masquerade Ball

February 4, 2023 7:00 PM Imbolc Ritual


Annual North American Rewilding Conference

January 20-22, 2023, Virtual



LGBTQ+ Pride Circle with Stone Circle Council

February 22, 2023, Virtual


Bramble and Moon


Virtual Bardic Circle


Midwinter Devotional 2022 Part I

Kynan (Kaifi Jamil)

We step a few feet at a time

Into the borderland between Autumn’s end

And new threshold of Winter days

Arctic air drifting into the continent

From the home of the aurora,

Visitors from the North

Who find that old leaves have crumpled

When frost dominates the dawn landscape

Before snow-laden clouds enter this world.

Night rushes swiftly into the late afternoon

Creating a void of cold and twilight

To challenge my eyes, face, and lungs

That learn to adapt to little warmth.

Each night, a mirror for my passing thoughts

And focused words in a journal,

Worries and hopes that rise and fall…

Altar candles reveal the space that I explore

While in the distant constellations above

Mirfak shines as the eye of Perseus

While Algol observes us from a distance.

These lucid points

Together with a ray of Awen

Guide me through this first turn of the Year Wheel

Depth of night giving way to faint morning.

In the small hours of the dark time

I first hear the flow of my breath

Relaxed, yet mindful for the vigil

While the Cailleach blows forceful wind

To ring the hanging chimes

Keeping me alert to the altar’s light;

Her tears descend from hidden clouds

As freezing rain and sleet

Tapping upon windows, roof, and trees.

A dome of warmth takes shape

Around the space heater and its bright red light

While I remember the sparks

Of the tall Yule tree crowned with a star

Before whom I concluded one Solstice celebration.

Together (and alone) we raise a prayer

Of bright and brave welcome to the Goddess

Who sweeps through air, land, and estuary

In this liminal time crossing between years.

Midwinter Devotional Part II

Kynan (Kaifi Jamil)

Bright One, nearest Star,

Who fully departed from the North,

Whose presence died among Sky and Land

In the last days of Samhain,

Nearly two months past—

An orange dawn arises over the horizon

And heralds Your return with the end

Of the longest stretch of night.

Holy Sun of life, brilliantly burning,

I greet Your return with awe and relief.

Dark discs within my eyes

Reflect Your emerging glow with joy and praise

For Your presence awakens my body

Yet grants permission to hope and rest

Knowing that your return

Halts the night’s growing campaign.

You uplift the hearts and spirits

Of a multitude of humans and animals

When you peer at the world

Through the bars of trilithon stones,

Between tall pine and spruce trees,

Between mountain peaks,

And above shining rivers and stiff fields.

I stand outside during brighter evenings

And lighter mornings

Though the cold presence deepens

And layers of winter continue marching

Into coming months.

Through long hours of one night

I sailed upon an uncertain river

Flowing through a tired, willing mind

To greet a youthful, curious god

Whose gaze is as radiant

As the new morning is frozen cold;

Sphere and spirit of blinding light.

Beams of nywfre flow

Between a winter Sun, frigid fields,

Chilled waters, drifting flurries,

The dormant bare forest,

Upon the Earth, through the Cosmos.


Meet a Steward


Jay Vanover

Jay grew up deep in the Appalachian mountains. While herb-lore and folk medicine are still part of daily life, being caught skinny dipping under the full moon with a group of women, mud painting their bodies with runes and astrological symbols, was more than the church could handle and he was left to find his true path. He now wanders those magical places where land, water and sky join together, but still rutting in the mud in sacred play whenever the opportunity arises.


Links:

Website: https://www.wildernessbetween.org/

Meetup: https://www.meetup.com/wilderness-between/

Discord: https://discord.gg/d2JcQtk5


Have an idea for an event? Something to add to the newsletter? Writing, poetry, or art for the Virtual Bardic Circle? Contact Rosey and Caitlin on Meetup and we’ll include it in the next edition.

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