[Teo Bishop is a Druid hailing from Denver, CO. You can find his blog at Bishop in the Grove.]
As a long-time follower of the Wild Hunt, I’ve found it encouraging to read posts about the different ways Pagans across the country are gathering, celebrating, and organizing. The Pagan community, from my experience, is a charitable one. We have a real desire to take care of our own, but we’re also willing to reach out to others who may not share our world view or religious tradition.
So, in the spirit of Pagan Community Notes, a regular feature on The Wild Hunt, my guest post will showcase some of the important charity work taking place in the Pagan community of my hometown, Denver, Colorado.
Hand to Hand Project
As we move closer to the Winter holiday season, and our hearts and minds open to the spirit of giving, Pagans in the Denver Metro area are taking part in the Hand to Hand Project, and intra-faith Pagan community service project designed to provide assistance to the community’s elders. Services provided by the group include painting, minor plumbing repairs (fixing a leaky faucet), minor roof repairs (replacing a missing shingle or two), weeding, mowing, organizing, weatherizing around windows and doors, and hauling away trash.
Former Hand to Hand Project Coordinator, Mari Cowel, explained her perspective on why Hand to Hand is a valuable service to the Pagan Community in Denver:
“It’s hard for people to ask for help when for their whole lives they’ve probably been extremely independent. And when we age, we get frustrated when we can’t do what we did twenty years ago. And it hurts. It hurts to admit we need help with something as intimate as cleaning our house, or moving things in our garage, or cutting our grass.”
The project is currently headed by Joy Phelan, local coordinator of Front Range Pagan Pride (an event which I blogged about here), who also founded the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans chapter (CUUPS) at Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden, Colorado in 2006. According to Hand to Hand’s Yahoo Page, anyone from the Pagan community can participate, and those who need community service can have their hours logged.
For more details, and to find out how you can donate your time and resources, click here.
ISIS Books sponsors Readings For A Reason
The Denver metaphysical bookstore, Isis Books and Gifts, owned by Weiser Books author, Karin Harrison, whose most recent book, The Herbal Alchemist’s Handbook,received publicity in Denver’s widely distributed free paper, The Westword, frequently opens its doors to the Pagan community, offering classes in Wicca, Qigong, and Money Magick, to name a but a few. In December, continuing the spirit of holiday giving, Isis is hosting a local psychic, Sean Michael Morris, for his series, “Readings For A Reason.”
According to the Isis website:
“In this special group reading session, Sean Michael Morris will contact your guides, tell you about past lives, reveal sacred contracts, and more. He’ll be picking from everyone present to offer free mini-readings throughout the hour. As well, he’ll be available for any questions you have about being psychic, spirit guides, reincarnation, etc. This class is on a donation-only basis, and all proceeds will go to a local Denver charity.”
The local charity set to receive the donations for December’s “Readings For A Reason” isMetro CareRing, a non-profit food pantry initiated in 1974 by five downtown Denver churches (First Baptist Church, Central Presbyterian Church, St Paul Lutheran, St. Paul United Methodist Church, and Trinity United Methodist Church). According to the organization’s website:
“Last year, Metro CareRing provided 131,698 hunger relief and self-sufficiency services to low-income and homeless individuals, offering food, nutriton and healthy living education, utility and transportation assistance, employment readiness programs, and identification documents.”
While Metro CareRing was formed from within the Christian community, the organization has been nothing receptive to working with Morris, who said about the group,
“They don’t care what you believe – that isn’t what they’re about. They just want to feed people, and help them get through whatever hard times they may be going through.”
Earth Haven – A Pagan Retreat in the Rocky Mountains
Pagans long for safe places to gather, to do ritual, and to express their religious identity with a sense of freedom and protection. In response to that desire, Living Earth, an open circle of individuals and families in the Highlands Ranch/South Denver area, who present the annual Pagan festival, Beltania, organized under the name, Earth Haven Alliance, and purchased 2.09 acres of land in the Rocky Mountains. They designated the land as sacred space for Pagans of any and all traditions.
“If you seek a commitment ceremony, a rite of passage, a retreat into nature, a place to work your magicks, to unfold your mysteries, Initiations or to hold outdoor workshops and classes, Earth Haven is intended to provide that place for you.
Our whole plan will eventually include a Temple, an amphitheatre with gazebo, sweat lodge and underground kiva, meandering walkways, plenty of camping spaces and more. There are already two permenant fire pits on site, and plans to have a waste management system and driveway with parking spaces by the end of 2011.”
For more photos of the project, visit Earth Haven’s Facebook page. Tax deductible donations can be made directly through the group’s website. I’m sure they’d appreciate your support.
The Pagan community in Denver is vibrant, giving and full of amazing people. I’m grateful to be a part, and I’m honored to be able to share a small bit of news about my home with The Wild Hunt readership.
Bright blessings to you!