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Every cell in our beautiful and amazing bodies contains the whirling wisdom of the universe. This is the journey of one witch remembering that, and celebrating the sacred and divine in beings of all genders and manifestations.

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Oxymoronic, Isn't It?

In the chorus of one of the sillier songs on my “Out of the Broom Closet” CD I gleefully sing:


“Well I’m a libertarian socialist, Christian Witch,

in a traditional alternative life.

I’m a very civil rebel, and quite a small town urbanite,

oxymoronic, isn’t it?”*


This past month seemed to highlight what for me is normal, but perhaps intrigues or even astound others: my ability to live and thrive, dance and delight, in the liminal space of dispersant worlds and apparent opposites.


My month started by going back to one of the traditionally conservative places I grew up for the memorial service of one of the many father figures in my life.  He had been a California Highway Patrol officer (beloved even by truckers he cited), an avid hunter, a committed Shriner, a lover of Scotch, everyone’s favorite little league coach.  His service was a mix of salty stories, Masonic rites, and then, back at the family home, shots of whiskey and the promise from his son that I might inherit a set of deer antlers and a family tea pot.  The next day, back in liberal West Sonoma County, I circled with my large Reclaiming Witch community to celebrate the festival of Imbolc.


The following weekend I headlined a concert of 20s, 30s, and 40s jazz as a fundraiser for the youth program at the rural United Church of Christ congregation where I served as pastor from 1988-2000.  It was lovely to see old friends who have shifted from parents to grandparents, eat homemade snicker-doodles at intermission, and catch up on church gossip.


A few days later I headed off to Silicon Valley for PantheaCon, one of the largest conferences of self identified Witches, Pagans, Heathens, and practitioners of other Earth Based Spiritualities.  I found intellectual nourishment and challenge at a “kick-ass panel” moderated by T. Thorn Coyle tackling the topic of “Pagans and Privilege.”  The panel examined racism, misogyny, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, and economic disparity in the pagan communities. Also at PantheaCon I danced wildly and joyfully with folks of many genders at “Love Songs of the Goddess,” an ecstatic ritual celebrating the Goddess in her many faces. I attended a Wiccan-Christian ritual where we cast a circle and in that sacred space meditated on the seven seals in The Book of Revelation.


During the next two weeks I attended two chapel services at the historically Christian seminary in Berkeley where I now serve as campus pastor.  One chapel service revolved around addressing human caused climate change.  A student, who had spent the first part of her working life as a scientist, preached on the interconnectedness of all things. Then I served the sacrament of communion, reminding those gathered that our bodies, the human body of Jesus, and the mystical Body of Christ, were all made up of the same elements as the Body that is The Earth.  The following week at chapel we celebrated the story of The Transfiguration of Jesus, with three transgender students sharing their understanding of transfiguration and transformation.


In the midst of all that I met with my Christian denomination’s Committee on the Ministry for the periodic review all ministers in our region do every 3-5 years.  We talked about my dance in those many different circles, and my dancing barefoot in my back yard as a spiritual practice.  The very next day I sat on a panel at UC Berkeley at the International Conference on Non-Monogamy, sharing how important it was for Christian pastors to learn how best to care for and serve folk who were in Poly family configurations, including my own.


During the last week of February I drove out to a friend’s ranch while they were away so I could tend to the chickens, a little lamb named Arthur, and a goose named Couscous.  Walking down to the sheep pen in the pitch black moonless night to feed Arthur, I reflected on the past month.  Oxymoronic isn’t it?  No, not really, seems normal to me.


Blessings on all of us who  live and thrive, dance and delight, in the liminal space of dispersant worlds and apparent opposites.  May the sacred cells of your sacred body revel in the "oxymoronics" of life.



*to listen to some of the songs off my “Out of the Broom Closet” and “On the Alluvial Fan” CDs including “Oxymoronic, Isn’t It?” go to

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Lizann Bassham was both an active Reclaiming Witch and an Ordained Christian Minister in the United Church of Christ. She served as Campus Pastor at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley working with a multi-faith student community. She was a columnist for SageWoman magazine, a novelist, playwright, and musician. Once, quite by accident, she won a salsa dance contest in East L.A. Lizann died on May 27, 2018.


  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Friday, 28 February 2014

    This is wonderful, Lizann - and a timely reminder to all of us, that just because we may not be able to reconcile opposing notions, doesn't mean that we have the right to tell somebody else that she can't be whatever she wants! Such a thing obviously exists - because you are it! Keep on truckin', sister!

    You're campus pastor at Berkeley? How cool is that! All of us 60's would-be flower children wish we had gone there.

  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham Monday, 03 March 2014

    Thank you so much Ted for your kind words about my odd but wonderful life. Yes, I get to hang out in Berkeley - still an interesting and unique place!

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