On Thursday the 8th of December I received a request to please Send a Pagan speaker representing CoG to an organizational gathering in Fremont California, just an hour or less from my house. Very late notice indeed. I wrote back and requested that the person call me directly so that I might have a better idea of what the organization needed and who they were. None of us in this area had heard of this organization before. It is called “The International Center for Cultural Studies”. I love this web page. Its front page has a changing marque that states the idea of more than on way to achieve a goal and the joining together of people of diverse cultures in order to achieve a greater vision.
It focuses on wisdom from ancient roots...which means the wisdom of pagan or pre-Christian religions.
Mr. Praveen Veldanda called me almost immediately and spoke to me for a few minutes explaining that what they were having a gathering at which they were hoping to have different Pagan practices explain the ways in which they were connected. I said that I would be happy to go and because the flyer that they sent out mentioned Romuva I called Prudence Priest and asked her whether she would like to come with me. Deborah Bender allowed as how she too would like to see what we did at an interfaith gather and so also came along...talk about your Weird Sisters.
I did explain that we are clearly a new religious movement trying to create a religion based on what our ancestors practiced but tailored for today's culture. While our wisdom was a ancient as we could determine, our practices were not. He said that he thought that this was fine and assured me that he wanted to hear from us. I painstakingly wrote a twenty minute talk on possible reasons why we are the fastest growing religion in Canada and the United States among the eighteen to thirty year old demographic and how we connected with other Pagan practices then, after consultation with a couple of other Interfaith Reps, left it at home.
This turns out to have been not such a bad thing since I was very late in the speaking order and was, instead of a prepared speech able to simply speak a bit to our growth and the reasons for it and then respond point by point to other speakers and our similarities to their own practices.
Prudence was delighted to discover that these folks knew Jonas Trinkunas and his wife Inija and they equally delighted to discover that she knew them. When I introduced her as Ms. Priest they immediately assumed, and in this case correctly that she was a Priestess of Romuva and asked her to be one of the four Priests/esses for the Hindu fire ceremony. Way better her than me as the entire thing was in a foreign language and she was familiar with the ceremony as a similar ceremony is conducted in Romuva.
It was an interesting atmosphere as the three of us were the only women in attendance. I wish that I could say that I was a smashing success. People did listen attentively. Deborah assures me that I did not make a fool of myself, and they have invited me back to speak to larger groups. Otherwise I cannot gauge my success in communication as everyone sat with a polite closed look and no questions were forth coming.
Prudence and I were both invited, nay urged to participate in an international gathering in March and I have been further encouraged on many sides to go. Unfortunately the gathering is in Delhi India and finances are questionable. They have assured us that all we have to do is get to the airport in India and they will cover all further expenses including board, housing, and conference registration costs. Now this actually sounds like a group used to dealing with Pagans.
Over all they were a very nice group of folks who were well educated, and appeared to be sincere in their stated goals to bring the Pagan world together around ancient wisdom from many sources. I will continue to work with them and perhaps Prudence and I will go to India in March. Funding remains a critical consideration. I will certainly continue to keep you appraised of developments. In the meantime I would highly recommend that you check out their website where they list First Nations of Canada and the United States, right along with Pagans and Druids; fun if nothing else.
In her service,