We asked you to share what's happening in your world as we go through the pandemic together. Thanks to everyone who responded!
Aidan Solar in Canada
: Yes the pressure has eased up, but the next hurdle is seeing how COVID pandemics and spring floodings mix!!! Should make for an interesting year. Most of the pressure has been adjusting to working from home whilst entertaining a two-year-old, since daycares are shut down. Social distancing is otherwise pretty easy to achieve in remote cities like Sudbury.
Lucia Morena Vela in Spain
: My coven is doing trance work to help all the souls that are leaving find safe passage. As a priestess of the Dark Goddess, I believe She is touching us. Her touch always brings trying times, but also clarity and renewal. May we all find peace and a sense of purpose in these coming months. [Lucia sent us the drawing (left): "
I made a drawing of my last vision in trance. It's attached in case you can use it. The words say "Are you or not my priestess?" "I am."]
Laurel Holmstrom-Keyes in California
: Praying everyday to Hygeia and Asklepios for help with healing protection and sleep. Hecate watching over all of us and helping us with our own crossroads of life at this time. [See at left below a Pagan ritual for hand washing.]
Julie Olson, CMC, in Arizona
: The group I lead, Southern Arizona Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, held our first online ritual for Spring Equinox. We are now settling into a weekly Zoom schedule so that we can stay connected - an informal tarot learning session, dinner and chat, and bring-your-own-craft and chat. I'm also working with the staff of our parent church, UUC of Tucson, to provide pastoral care to all church members. I'm busier now than usual!
Katherine Bayne in Virginia
: There’s a wall, and another, and two more, The floor is bottomless-there’s so far to fall...But there is no ceiling- only the open sky. Looking forward to teaching in the Fall. [photo with little one left]
David Oringderff in Missouri
: While it is causing some extraordinary lifestyle modifications, it is, thankfully, not as bad (yet) in west central Missouri as it is in other parts of the country. For me, professionally, it is requiring some mindful precautions as health care personnel, first responders and law enforcement cannot shelter in-place. We just continue to do what we do. So, Willow and I are sending love, healing and protection to the Universe, and contributing to the local community where we can. She is making masks for my police department, and continues to make them for the community as emergency PPE has not trickled down to rural areas yet. Be well and be safe. This, too, shall pass.
Strobus White in Massachusetts
: The family and I are doing fine. We had mild symptoms in mid to late February, so we're hopeful we have antibodies now. We have been sheltering in place since then, other than essential errands. Teen and young adult kids are ravenous all the time, and seemingly in proportion to the size of the food supply. I have a job in which remote work is business as usual. Other than minor inconveniences and general anxiety not much has changed. But everything's different. Nothing is certain. Everyone, be well and stay safe.
Maggie Beaumont in New Jersey
: In my everyday life, we’ve switched from doing Hospice chaplaincy face to face in the homes of our patients and their families … to phone, Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, and anything else we can set up. This works decently well for most of the family members but is only manageable for about half of our patients, alas. But until there are more masks, goggles, and gloves we’re saving those things for the nurses, who really have to be face to face and in person with the patients who need their hands-on care. I’m okay with whatever happens, and recognize that eventually something will end this life for me, whether it’s this virus or something else, this year or some other time. And I do have preferences. So far life is still being interesting, there is still good work to do that I’m still good at. And so we are here, one moment at a time, until we are not. Love, light, and laughter to all — and Blessed Be.
Megan Woolever in California
: Here in San Francisco we’ve had some excellent county/state leadership which got us inside fast and took the threat seriously. So far we’re flattening the curve here, but they anticipate April 24 to be our peak infection rate. So it’s a little nail biting. Doing a daily Energy Balancing morning meditation to balance my nervous system helps. You can access the
recorded meditation here
if you feel called to take it on as well.
Joan Ouimette, M.Div. and CHS alumna
: Home is the new work and play center. I re-installed a computer camera and talk with people online rather than in person. A bereavement support group is helping me cope with grief following the loss of my husband last December, and we can stay "supported" on line. The group coordinator gave us a list of recommended reading, and I found several of the books. The stay-home order gives me lots of time to read books about grief. A neighbor and I swap lighter reading material. We can still walk outdoors, despite an occasional snow flurry here in Vermont, so we get fresh air and exercise. With the help of a chore list (optimistically labeled "Opportunities") I am relearning some skills that had rusted -- music, for one -- and answering some friends' questions about astrology. Busy, yes. Mentally active, why not? Grateful for this temporary gift of human life.
Michael York, in England
: The Chinese curse? – May you live in interesting times! We all certainly are. I do see the possibility that the structure of our world and the way we live and what we tolerate may radically change. My steadfast militant optimism and/or wish is that this change will be something
for the better. It may all be a bitter pill, but I see this SARS-CoV2 pandemic fundamentally as a ‘gift’ from the Earth. She is forcing those of us who do survive finally and intelligently engagingly to wake up! For the rest,
c’est la vie
que sera sera
. Years ago, when I was volunteering during the Aids crisis, I could think of nothing other to say to young, young hospitalised lads that “More is not necessarily better!” And I still believe that. I am more than grateful for the loved ones, dearest of friends and perhaps uniquely fabulous life well beyond any norm that have been my much-appreciated privileges. I am not yet planning to depart (we have the virus but so far still relatively mildly) – there is still work to get done, but was it Voltaire who said that the cause of death is birth? None of us will get out of the all that there is alive. But in the meantime, let us savour
there is and, at the same time, do our best to make what there is better for others and preferably for everyone.
Cynthia Cebuhar in Arizona
: Sun salutation by the pool early morning here in Arizona...everyone is sleeping so no photo, just my peace-filled moment.
Brandy Williams in Washington (state)
: I'm retired so I write full time and care for my husband who has ALS. In terms of impact on my normal activities the big change is shopping once a month instead of every few days, and walking around the house instead of going to a park. This is very similar to my normal life so I'm neither bored nor restricted. In fact I'm a lot busier than I used to be as everyone's social life has shifted online. I make sure to Zoom people who are alone in their houses, I do at least one call a day. My coven Zoom meets every Friday for dinner and drinks and talk. I experience a renewed urgency to share what I do through writing and video. Privately I am a Tantric yogini trained to recite the Chandi Path. There are specific recitations done during pandemics. My sangha (practice community) is meeting frequently to chant together and we all chant privately daily. I get emails every day from numerous Chandi sanghas around the world about what how they are chanting. I'm thinking a lot about Pagan practices that could unite us all in this same way. [photo of her altar at left]
Jennifer Bennett in Massachusetts
: UMass Amherst sent us all off campus--students/faculty to virtual classrooms and staff to work remotely (i.e., for most of us...Home!). Spring's unfolding has been an anchor for me...birds building a nest in our brand new back entrance/porch...crocus, snowdrops, forsythia all blooming (even during the 6-8" of snow that we got last week here in W. MA, that's now all gone), the gold finches turning...gold! My altar, which has candles for various reasons--and I usually light every evening--is now going most daytimes too. Ancestors, magic/enchantment, health, critters, home's lares...so many reasons to send out a small flame these days. In remembrance. In thanks/gratitude. Asking for assistance--Ganeshaji is being besieged by me these days--with requests and gratitude!
Wes Isley, M.Div. and CHS alumnus
: Personally, not much has changed for me and Mike, but spiritually, there have be more adjustments. I'm finding I need more time in daily meditation to remain calm and grounded. The virus has left me feeling a bit helpless and questioning. It's revealed how close our mortality is rather than how I tend to dismiss it in normal everyday life. Part of my meditation involves more focus on the Ghede, the Vodou spirits of the dead. While they serve to remind me of my mortality, they also encourage me to embrace all of life with joy while it lasts.
Lauren Raine in Arizona
, former CHS Artist-in-Residence: I am fortunate that I have no significant others I live with, and have savings to get by on, and although I fully recognize the suffering of many at this strange time, I am enjoying the quietude and pause of my experience as I might a retreat. My studio is full of images of hands that become roots, and among the roots eyes, which represent the consciousness and intelligence of Gaia, of nature. The roots...the roots we, humans, need to grow and nurture, realizing that we are interdependent and woven with all life. This is not the first pandemic, nor do I believe it will be the last, because we are an unsustainable global civilization out of balance, with an unjust destructive economy that is determined to destroy virtually every living thing...and we need to find a world paradigm of spiritual ecology. I actually feel this is a "wake up" call from which real leaders and innovators will arise to inspire real change. [an older piece pictured at left]
in New Mexico: Now is an excellent time to start up the garden! The bed with all the straw has Austrian field peas growing - they'll help restore nitrogen to the soil, which is what corn needs. In some indigenous cultures a dead fish was buried in the corn mound for the same purpose. I'll just add nitrogen directly to the soil in the new mounds and work it in before planting. As Taos native Robert Mirabal writes in his book, Believe in the Corn, "Plant corn! It'll change your life." I still have lots of seeds from last year if you want to try it! [photo at left]
Amy Beltaine in Portugal
: My spouse and I are comfortable in our tiny rented apartment near the mediteranean sea and adjusting to this unexpected lengthening of our visit to Portugal, though we miss our dog and home and comforts. We are glad that this country has responded pro-actively and compassionately and have hope that we will not see the level of tragedy unfolding in Italy and Spain. At the same time, I weep for those who have lost loved ones, and the medical professionals who are making impossible decisions and working impossible shifts. May all the strength of the mountains, the persistence of the sea, healing of the sun, and inspiration of the life-giving air be theirs. I continue to see my clients over Zoom - grappling with grief, trauma, fear, and confusion, and seeking nourishing water in spiritual wells that feel like they've run dry. (AND... Grateful for the magic of the internet!) (Photo at left is of where we walk to go grocery shopping, Nourishing beauty!)
Jenny Blain in Scotland
: Here in Scotland we are in 'lockdown'. I'm fortunate to have a garden which backs onto woodland, and so the experience of being housebound has both downs and ups: no meetings with friends, no playing music together (though we're trying virtually!) - yet the springtime birdsong is wonderful and I will take what opportunity I can to marvel at the greening of the spring, and the steady movement towards the blossoming of summer. So to all, everywhere, I wish and hope that in this time of darkness and trouble you will find joy where you can, in even the smallest of things, and share this as and how you can with those who are family and friends to you.
And this last word, a second message from
Lucia Moreno-Velo in Spain
, in reply to my expression of concern: We are losing our elders, the ones who remeber the civil war, the ones who know where the common graves are, under roads and buildings, and in the middle of fields. But we are also losing young people and HCP. And people are dying alone. But he worst thing is that it's just a matter of time before this is the norm everywhere. I remember just a few weeks ago (I am in day 26 of isolation) seeing the news about China and Italy and feeling like you sound now.
Please, please take radical measures asap.