Solstice CircleFor many years my husband, Tom Bender, and I have been committed to working and playing with the spiritual aspect of ourselves in a variety of ways. Most of this process has been in community with our tribe in “leader-ful” groups.

We tend to be drawn to an earth based spirituality that is pagan and shamanic but not formally so. Some of us have studied with different teachers and traditions: e.g. Reclaiming and Starhawk, Nicki Skully, Vicki Noble, core shamanism with the Michael Harner workshops and various Peruvian, Buddhist, Native American and Tibetan teachers. Our gatherings, whether planned or impromptu, are an inventive mélange of what feels right in the moment. Sometimes the gathering is large and public; sometimes it is small and intimate. Sometimes inside, sometimes out in nature.

street labyrinth4To find out about most of these local events happening currently, (including others we are not directly involved with) get on the BBQ email list serve put out by Chuck McLaughlin by emailing bbq@nehalemtel.net or contact me.

I am also available to do house clearings, memorial services, weddings and more.

Here are some of the highlights and more regular events of this rich and ever-evolving stew:

Ritual3The Wheel of the Year – Early on there were several of us who felt a strong call to mark the turning cycle of the year. These larger community functions have been less regular in 2013 & 2014…..

  • Winter Solstice – often an inward journey followed by feasting and a potlatch of gift giving.
  • Summer Solstice – sometimes one evening, sometimes a campout somewhere special close by.
  • Equinoxes – tend to involve a labyrinth on the beach, usually the Nehalem Bay in the fall and ocean in the spring, but once a candle lined one in the middle of Manzanita’s main street.
  • May Day/Beltane – Maypole dance in public on May 1st
  • Halloween/Samhain/Day of the Dead – all manner of lively events may happen during this three-day window.

Wanderland Rainforest IseumThe 8 pagan seasonal holy days mentioned above continue to be celebrated by Gwendolyn Endicott with a two hour ritual honoring a different Goddess each time. I lead these rituals once or twice a year.

Shrine of the Mountain & Waters – In 1996 Tom Bender organized the ceremonial siting of a carved beach rock near the top of Neahkahnie Mountain and a mountain rock on the Bay in Nehalem Bay State Park. We rededicate the shrines each year on a Sunday morning in May when the tides are right.

Full Moon Drumming – This very informal group has been gathering at each other’s homes on the Saturday nearest the full moon since about 1995. Rhythmically this group is pretty anarchistic. Although some members have studied formal rhythms of one sort or another, our process varies from noise to some pretty neat entrainment involving all manner of percussion instruments, voice (especially toning) and dance. All ages and skill levels are welcome. We start with a potluck at 6:30.

Ritual47 @ 7 – On the 7th of each month, Joe & Garla Pecore host this meditative ceremonial fire for the healing of the waters – usually at their house in Nadonna Beach (near Rockaway). It starts with a meditation at 6:45. The fire is lit at 7 and we sit around it until it burns down. Followed (or sometimes preceded) by a potluck.

Manzanita Ecstatic Spirit Dance – For 3 years we met every week for an hour of playful, soulful yogic trance dance with playlists done by various of us. We went on a hiatus in Fall, 2013. Now as of Fall 2014, we have settled on Friday evenings at Pine Grove Community House dancing from 6:15 to 7:45. Lynda Chick is organizing this as Spirit Dance 2.0 and admission is $10 (children free).

Munay Ki – I am a local keeper of the nine rites given to our culture by the Laika (shamans ) of Peru that empower one as a wisdom keeper and earth healer. From time to time I do a formal class to teach the rites and a bit of the practice around them. I am also available to give the rites one-on-one.

Past Groups:
Moonspinners – From 1996 until it fizzled around 2002 (?), this group of women met every two weeks to explore women’s spirituality. Oh, the bonds we grew! I still have the newsletters I did during this period. Maybe one of these days I’ll post them.

Mixed Group or Touchstones or Open Circle or Full Circle – Men and women met together for several years on the alternate weeks to Moonspinners starting in 1998. It still occasionally starts up for a while. As of Spring 2014, men’s group has been meeting regularly again on Sunday evenings.

Healing Circle – a group who met for a while to experiment with hands-on healing techniques. Impromptu circles still form spontaneously when someone in the community is in need of some hands -on shamanic work.