Pagan Studies

At times I am angry and other times overflowing with joy. Sometimes I'm confused and sometimes I have absolute clarity. This blog will explore our human condition through an investigation of spiritual pain and how to transcend our pain to find peace.

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Wisteria's Summer Solstice

For many years I would travel to Wisteria for Pagan Spirit Gathering.  From 2001 until 2008 I spent my Summer Solstice at Wisteria at PSG and loved it.  The community was phenomenal and the energy amazing; however, in 2009 PSG moved to a different location.  Ironically, just as I was going through a divorce it would seem the PSG also went through a divorce with Wisteria and the festival moved to a different venue.  I loved the sense of community that I felt at PSG, but I was also very much in love with the land at Wisteria.  It had a magical and mystical quality for me.

When my father died in 2004 I made a pilgrimage the following year to Wisteria's Faerie Shrine, a location at Wisteria that wasn't part of the PSG programming, and made an offering of my father's US Navy dog tag.  In 2008 I attended Between the Worlds Festival at Wisteria and while there I attended a ritual at the Faerie Shrine honoring our ancestors and sacred dead.  When I enter the Faerie Shrine I can feel my father's presence and the love he has for me as one of my sacred ancestors.  The Faerie Shrine at Wisteria always had an ethereal quality for me that added to the magical and mystical quality of the overall site.  My connection to the land is real and has meaning for me.

Towards the end of 2008 I went off to seminary and for many years I was unable to reconnect with the land that I loved so much.  While I was away I discovered that PSG was no longer at Wisteria and I mourned the division of a festival I loved from the land that I also loved.

Last year I attended Wisteria's Summer Solstice Festival and decided to return again this year.  I am still floating from the "high" of spending nine days at Wisteria celebrating the Summer Solstice there while reconnecting with some old friends and making many new friends.  There are several differences between the energy of Pagan Spirit Gathering and the energy at Wisteria's Summer Solstice Festival.  I have come to remember and relish the many wonderful memories I had in past years celebrating the Solstice at Wisteria while PSG was there but now I am welcoming the opportunity of making new memories at Wisteria in a new manner and with different energy.  

The Summer Solstice Festival that is at Wisteria now is intimate, it is very community centered.  The theme this year was "Creating Peace," and create peace is certainly what we endeavored to accomplish.  This year there were several wonderful workshops including those offered by Patrick McCollum and Kirk White.  I had though of offering workshops myself this year but decided I just wanted to attend and use the time to relax and get to know people.  

As an introvert I enjoy my down time, but I genuinely enjoy people and building community.  When I rolled into Wisteria I was greeted by one of the Wisterian's who greeted me with, "Hi Oliver, welcome home."  To be greeted by name and with "welcome home" brought a tear to my eyes as I drove down the hill to scout out a site to place my tent.  He was right.  I did feel like I was coming home.  That I was connecting to something sacred.  

As I reflect on my wonderful experiences of both Pagan Spirit Gathering and of Wisteria I feel a great sense of spiritual efficacy surrounding the experience of PSG; however, traveling to Wisteria give me a true sense of home.  When I travel there I am on pilgrimage and my journey there is a holy journey.  Is it possible to be in love with a place?  I believe so.

Those nine days at Wisteria's Summer Solstice Festival were nine days well spent.  Now I look forward to making the holy journey back to Wisteria in less then two weeks for yet another adventure as I attend my first Starwood Festival.  

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Rev. David Oliver Kling is a faculty member at Cherry Hill Seminary and a graduate of Wright State University holding a B.A. degree in Religious Studies and a B.A. degree in Philosophy. He has a Master of Divinity from Methodist Theological School in Ohio with a specialization in Black Church and African Diaspora Studies. While in college he worked as Director of Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Yellow Springs and while in seminary he served the Delaware Unitarian Universalist Fellowship as consulting minister. He recently finished a chaplain residency at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Huntington, WV resulting in four units of clinical pastoral education. In addition to teaching at Cherry Hill Seminary he currently works as a hospice chaplain in Northeast Ohio. He is ordained by Sacred Well Congregation and his religious background includes esoteric Christianity, Wicca, Druidry, Gnosticism, and Roman Paganism. His academic interests include Black Church studies, comparative theology, and spiritual/pastoral care.


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