Chicago Witch: Witchy Living in the Windy City

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My experience at Pagan Spirit Gathering 2014, Pt 3 of 9

Continued from page 2...

 

Monday, June 16th:

I woke up early with a severely full bladder and the really loud sounds of nature. I tell ya, ambulance and police sirens, fire trucks, car alarms, ice cream trucks, motorcycles, horns blaring and semis hitting the air brakes on the expressway ain’t got nothing on Nature! Our bathroom is adjacent to our bedroom, so ordinarily, it’s not a big deal to lie in bed a while until I’m ready to get up. When camping however, even just something as going to relieve oneself in the morning is a big deal. I’m a Prudy McPrudeson, so that walking a couple (city) blocks to the bathroom in the nude was not going to fly. I hurriedly dressed and made a mad dash to the bathroom, and when I was there, I wished I had my bathroom kit with me to get the showering done at the same time. The (near) full moon was still out, so that was just enough of a stunningly beautiful focus away from how badly I needed to go!

 

On the way back, I stopped by the camp store where I met one of the kittens who live below in the crawl space. It was extremely friendly, and it made me miss home that much less. It looked exactly like our baby back at home, right down to the black pads. I was so happy to feel the purrs against my chest.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Stonehouse-kitten.jpg

 

(Sweet little baby! They should have Rent-A-Cat for all of us who miss our furbabies!)

I attended the first Morning Meeting, and I am going to admit my favorite part about it is the mini puppet show featuring Marty the Drama Llama. It’s what keeps me going as much as I can to, y’know, actually attend for important stuff, Not even Arthur Hinds’ Good morning PSG! excites me as much as Marty’s whining and bitching. (Sorry, Arthur. You got upstaged by a puppet.) Yes, I’m a weirdo. Keep reading; I’ll say that about myself a lot.

 

That day was beautiful, and I spent a good amount of it at my booth painting. I knocked out three large paintings that afternoon, but only after I prepared a really nice lunch for me and my neighbors – chicken fajitas on corn tortillas with beans and Spanish rice plus cucumber salad. I figured I was attending the Zodiac Potluck that night, so I may as well have fun cooking during the day.

 

The potluck was the first real community thing I had done outside of meeting some folks who visited my booth (and morning meeting, of course). The way it works is they set up tables in a circle with each sign written on it. Whatever your sign is, that’s where you place your dish. (My offering was a 7lb can of chocolate pudding, and I created my own label for it as a fangeek joke from the Walking Dead: Carl’s Choice!) It’s also where you start to serve yourself, and you work your way around to get a smattering of everything else. I learned a few things that evening:

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 (Carl's Choice Premium Chocolate Pudding!)

-          We Pisceans are efficient! Our offerings were canned/prepared foods that mostly only needed a can opener and a spoon. Sagittarians, on the other hand, put a lot of love into what they offer others – things that are fresh and healthy.

-          A good portion of the incredible amount of food was snatched up in ten minutes flat. Everything except the really pretty garden salad. That was still untouched.

-          People who choose the clothing option really need to “wrap that rascal” when attending a potluck. There was one guy whose genitals were at the same height as the offerings as he reached over to serve himself. Future note: No hot dogs in the potato salad, please! (That actually became an inside joke for the rest of the week.)

 

Later that evening, I decided to put my blender to work and served up some margaritas while enjoying some stimulating conversations with my neighbors and Patrick McCullom. It was also the first time I had ever tried venison steaks. I didn’t eat much, as I stuffed myself at the potluck, and also because too much meat at any given moment upsets my stomach. But hey – that’s why I go to PSG – to try something new. And I liked it! It wasn’t gamey at all; I’ve had lamb chops with a stronger flavor, and I love lamb! Patrick talked in depth of all his works, and I have to say it was the most stimulating conversation I’ve had in ages. He’s a really humble guy, funny as hell, and that’s saying a lot for someone who hobknobs with the wealthy and powerful so we Pagans can benefit the liberties we sometimes can take for granted. I’m not fond of the term leader – in fact, I sometimes loathe it, as it can come off as cultish to me. (It has me thinking of that episode on The Simpsons when Homer joined the cult. Na na na na na na! Leader!) But Patrick? He’s all good.

 

One of the things that was funny that night is realizing both Judy and I were wearing very similar blue maxi dresses. That required a selfie, which Judy said she had never done one of those before. I made a joke that Elders get to tell us youngins we are the ones who have to change in such situations. Ha!

 b2ap3_thumbnail_Me-and-Judy.jpg

(Fiiiine. I'll go change!)

It was also the first rain warning we received from the staff to batten down the hatches. What I didn’t tuck away I covered with cheapie plastic table cloths and shower curtains I got from the dollar store, fastened with clothespins. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked just fine. A lot of people liked the idea, and I had plenty to go around, so I gave some out to folks who didn’t have as much coverage as I did. In fact, a lot of people who arrive with the bare basics in their small cars said they too would pick up the idea for themselves next year since they take up so little space. They’re not tarps, and they have a carbon footprint for sure, but they’re good to use in a pinch. Just please, please, please be responsible and pick up after yourselves when you leave!!

 b2ap3_thumbnail_Tarps-inside.jpg

(Not so pretty any more.)

That night, I slept very soundly with the thunder rolling in, in spite of the humidity. I credit that to not having to worry about a bucket of water or fallen branches dropping on my head in the middle of the night.

..to be continued.

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Lori Dake is a life-long native several generations back , is a mom to an adult son and married for over fifteen years. She is a leasing agent primarily serving the North Side and has also worked as a paralegal for several years. Sometimes, she’s a hardcore fashionista, and sometimes a concert shirt and jeans are more her style. Hobbies include painting while listening to 80’s metal, writing, participating in various forms of philanthropy and creating fabulous meals on a budget.

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