Reflection on 2022:
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.
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
Sun, Jan 29 · Time TBD
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
Friends of WB
Frederick CUUPS (https://frederickcuups.com/events/)
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
The Firefly House (https://www.meetup.com/thefireflyhouse/)
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 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.
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.