The Lost World of Old Europe

by Deirdre Pulgram Arthen

Last week while I was in New York I visited this wonderful exhibition at the NYU Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. The gallery, which is very near the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the upper east side, contains two full rooms of stunning female figurines and beautifully painted pots from between 5000 and 4000 BC in Central Europe. This collection has never been in the US before and is really worth a visit. Even if you can’t get there, the web site, which has lots of information and photos, is worth visiting and the book that accompanies the exhibit is wonderful. Just wanted to pass along the recommendation!

From the exhibition website: “The Lost World of Old Europe brings to the United States for the first time more than 160 objects recovered by archaeologists from the graves, towns, and villages of Old Europe, a cycle of related cultures that achieved a precocious peak of sophistication and creativity in what is now southeastern Europe between 5000 and 4000 BC, and then mysteriously collapsed by 3500 BC. Long before Egypt or Mesopotamia rose to an equivalent level of achievement, Old Europe was among the most sophisticated places that humans inhabited. Some of its towns grew to city-like sizes. Potters developed striking designs, and the ubiquitous goddess figurines found in houses and shrines have triggered intense debates about women’s roles in Old European society. Old European copper-smiths were, in their day, the most advanced metal artisans in the world. Their intense interest in acquiring copper, gold, Aegean shells, and other rare valuables created networks of negotiation that reached surprisingly far, permitting some of their chiefs to be buried with pounds of gold and copper in funerals without parallel in the Near East or Egypt at the time. The exhibition, arranged through loan agreements with 20 museums in three countries (Romania, The Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of Moldova), brings the exuberant art, enigmatic goddess cults, and precocious metal ornaments and weapons of Old Europe to American audiences.”

For more information about the exhibit location and hours: http://www.nyu.edu/isaw/exhibitions.htm

For detailed information about the contents of the exhibit: http://www.nyu.edu/isaw/exhibitions/oldeurope/

(photo of the Thinker from the introduction to the exhibit)

Pagan Coalition Calls for Religious Freedom in California Case

The EarthSpirit Community is part of a coalition of national Pagan and Nature-centered religious organizations which has released a letter calling for religious freedom in a California court case. The case, which has attracted national attention, is being waged over whether California should hire prison chaplains from outside five “state approved” faiths: Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and Native American.

In an amicus brief, the conservative Christian group WallBuilders, Inc. called on the courts to reject the case of Rev. Patrick McCollum, a Pagan chaplain and long-time EarthSpirit friend, arguing that Paganism is a “second tier” religion and therefore not subject to the protections of the First Amendment.


Our Freedom: A National Pagan Civil Rights Organization rejects the state’s claims in general and the WallBuilders, Inc. amicus in particular. Our Freedom states that Pagan inmates have requirements and needs comparable to those of the five faiths currently being served. Our Freedom stands in the promise of our nation’s Constitution and its guarantee of religious freedom.

Included in Pagan inmates’ needs are: access to paid Pagan chaplains to facilitate regularly scheduled religious services; provision of spiritual guidance and counseling support; facilitation of Pagan rites of passage and liturgical needs; and service as intermediaries between Pagan inmates and correctional administrators and staff to educate about Pagan religious needs or requirements of Pagans.

[For further information and links, see the bottom of this post.]

The following letter was sent to the Office of the Governor of California; WallBuilders, Inc.; Clerk of Court, United States District Court, Northern District of California; and Attorney Caroline Mitchell of Jones Day, Attorneys for Plaintiffs.

To Whom It May Concern:

We, the undersigned, are a widely divergent group of American citizens. We hail from varied economic strata, educational backgrounds, ethnic groups, and cultural experiences. We are taxpaying citizens of this country, and some of us have served in uniform. Members of our religious community have died in that uniform, protecting this nation, its constitution, and all that it stands for.

All of us are deeply spiritual people with sincerely held religious beliefs that have called us to service beyond our private lives. In many cases, our courage in being public about our faith has caused us persecution, harassment, and ostracism. Yet, we persevere in our spiritual traditions and in our faith. This is the testament of our sincerity to traditions that fall outside the religious mainstream and the spiritual status quo.

We are Pagans. Paganism is a collection of diverse contemporary religions rooted in indigenous traditions or deriving inspiration therefrom, characterized by a belief in the interconnection of all life, personal autonomy, and immanent divinities. Inside our spiritual traditions themselves, there is a wealth of diversity, just as within Christianity there exist different and distinct communities such as the Roman Catholic, the Presbyterian, the Lutheran, the Methodist, the Baptist, the Mennonite, and the Greek Orthodox. Although Wicca and/or Witchcraft comprise the largest sub-segment of Paganism, other sub-sections of Paganism include Druidry, the Norse Asatru, Strega, the Church of all Worlds (CAW), and numerous other traditions including modern believers in the ancient gods of Rome, Egypt, Persia, Gaul, Great Britain (England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Cornwall) and Greece.

At this time, we turn our attention to the ongoing legal struggle occurring in California, wherein prisoners and a Wiccan chaplain are seeking equal footing in the state prison system. The Pagan Plaintiffs seek the same considerations, opportunities, liberties, and equality in the exercise of their faith during imprisonment as is already available to the Catholics, the Protestants, the Jews, the Native Americans, and the Muslims. The Catholics and the Protestants are sub-sections of Christianity. Christians, Jews, and Muslims are monotheistic religions sharing a central patriarchal god.

In one amicus brief submitted by WallBuilders, Inc., the question is asked:

”The true historic meaning of ‘religion’ excludes paganism and witchcraft, and thus, does not compel a conclusion that McCollum has state taxpayer standing … paganism and witchcraft were never intended to receive the protections of the Religion Clauses. Thus, in the present case there can be no violation of those clauses … Should this Court conclude that McCollum has taxpayer standing … this Court should at least acknowledge that its conclusion is compelled by Supreme Court precedent, not by history or the intent of the Framers.”

We Pagans respond to this on three levels. First, the intent of the Framers of the Constitution of the United States is perfectly clear on the issue of religion and government in that the only mention of a “God” appears in exactly one place in the original document, and that is in the determination of the date in which the document was signed. The preamble makes it clear that it is “We the People,” and not any one particular God, who determines both the structure of government in this country and the benefits/rights which that government will provide.

Second, even if one were to conclude that it was the intent of the Framers to be exclusive in matters of religion and not inclusive, one must look at some of the other demographic classes who were excluded from the rights and privileges by the Framers in the Constitution, such as women and Africans. “We the People” clearly referred to landed white men. The truth is that no matter the work of genius worked by these great minds, they were minds of the times in which they lived. Thirty-three percent of the signers of the federal Constitution were slave holders. Thomas Jefferson himself was the master of a plantation run by slaves and sexually frequented the black women whom he held in thrall. James Madison, who actually wrote the Bill of Rights, owned slaves. The drastic error in permitting slavery to exist beyond the founding of our government was an error to be solved only in blood through the Civil War and a subsequent amendment to the Constitution.

If we were to read the Constitution only through some sort of lens in which we claimed to know the minds of these men, then we as a people and as a government could not have progressed forward into the twenty-first century, and a significant number of today’s American citizens would still be disenfranchised. It is the genius of subsequent generations in using and interpreting the Constitution as a living document which spares us from the insular thinking of the eighteenth century.

Third, the California district court would be wise not to answer the question posed in the amicus of the WallBuilders, Inc. in the affirmative. To do so would give a legal foothold to a viewpoint which is blatantly discriminatory and which flies directly in the face of decisions regarding modern Pagans and  Witches/Wiccans: decisions made by state courts, federal courts, administrative agencies such as the EEOC and state agencies such as the Missouri Tax Commission, which must surely be one of the most conservative governmental entities in this country.

Thus, we as Pagan Americans say to the Northern District Court of the State of California: Do not be fooled by the subterfuge which WallBuilders, Inc. is  attempting, and turn aside their position by answering it in the negative.

Furthermore, we as Pagan Americans say and affirm to the Northern District Court of the State of California, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, California Attorney General’s Office, and the Governor of the State of California, that Pagan inmates have similar requirements and needs comparable to those of the five faiths currently being served. Included in these needs are: access to paid Pagan chaplains to facilitate regularly scheduled religious services, provide spiritual guidance and counseling support; facilitate Pagan rites of passage and liturgical needs; and to serve as intermediaries between Pagan inmates and correctional administrators and staff to educate about Pagan religious needs or requirements of Pagans. In doing so, the state of California will continue to move forward into a system which is inclusive of religious belief.

Sincerely submitted:

OUR FREEDOM: A Pagan Civil Rights Coalition
http://www.ourfreedomcoalition.org

Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF)
Rev. Skip Ellison Archdruid

Circle Sanctuary
Rev. Jerrie Hildebrand
Minister

Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans
David Pollard
President

The EarthSpirit Community
Andras Corban-Arthen
Director

Gaia’s Womb/EarthTraditions
Rev. Angie Buchanan
Executive Director

Irminsul Aettir
Susan Granquist
Gydhia

Isis Invicta Military Mission
Rev. Rona Russell
Coordinator

Lady Liberty League
Jerrie Hildebrand
Managing Director

Order of WhiteOak
Dr. Kenneth Proefrock
President

Ozark Avalon Church of Nature
Rev. Rose Wise
High Priestess/Administrator

Pagan Educational Network
David C. Sassman
Director

Pagan Pride Project, Inc.
Maureen Duffy-Boose
Assistant Membership Director/Corporate Secretary

Sacred Well Congregation
Dr. David L. Oringderff
Executive Agent, SWC IEC

GREEN EGG
Ariel Monserrat – Editor/Publisher

Individual Members:
Cairril Adaire
Rev. Drema Baker
Charlayne Elizabeth Denney
Dana D. Eilers
Rev. Kathryn Fuller
Ellen Evert Hopman
Ariel Monserrat
Tom Donohue



For further details about this case, please see:

Beliefnet article describing particulars of McCollum appeal
Americans United piece on McCollum case
Washington Post article on WallBuilders, Inc.’s amicus brief against McCollum’s appeal
PDFs of briefs in McCollum appeal

Also note:
The EarthSpirit Community has provided supplies and resources to people incarcerated in prisons across the country for more than 30 years. In Massachusetts and in many other states, direct access to prisoners is not denied to pagans and, in fact, I correspond regularly with the MA Department of Corrections, which is often looking for pagan clergy to serve its population.

If you are interested in volunteering time to help serve that population, contact me at earthspirit@earthspirit.com.

Thanks,
Deirdre Pulgram Arthen

Haiti needs relief

As we know, we are deeply connected to all beings and the fortunes or misfortunes of one affects us all.

The current disaster in Haiti is beyond comprehension – hundreds of thousands homeless, injured, orphaned or dead. An entire crowded and already destitute city destroyed. In our warm homes here, for which we are so grateful, we can all reach out now with compassion and generosity, sending practical help along with our energy and prayers to the many victims of this disaster.

I encourage everyone reading this to take just a few moments to open your hearts to the Haitian people and then to take action. Even a small contribution will join with others to make a difference.

You can do your own research, but I found a couple of easy ways to donate quickly with your cell phone:

Yele Haiti: donate $5 by texting “Yele” to 501501, which will automatically donate $5 to the Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund (it will be charged to your cell phone bill).

American Red Cross: Send a $10 Donation by Texting ‘Haiti’ to 90999.

You can find out how to do more through some of the many agencies working to get aid to Haiti at:

  http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2007/impact/

  http://www.google.com/relief/haitiearthquake/index.html

  http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=1004

sent with love,

Deirdre Arthen

Twilight Covening 2009 Visioning Ritual

by Deirdre Pulgram Arthen

Returning from this year’s Twilight Covening, I am struck once again by the power in a community working ritually together on a deep level. Each year we create a spiritual bridge together that brings us from the season of summer exuberance and brightness into the dark time of introspection and germination. The effect of this special and potent time stays with me all through the winter.

This year’s Visioning Ritual on Sunday was about the essence of fire itself, its many aspects and our relationship with it, as the humans that we are. It was about getting outside of our assumptions and symbolic minds and approaching a natural and elemental force – open and listening. It was a journey to learn, to shift and to gain a new companion in our continuing travels through our spiritual life. Here is the story that that was told to begin the journey. May it inspire you to travel further.

TWILIGHT COVENING 2009     VISIONING RITUAL STORY
Deirdre Pulgram Arthen, October 11, 2009

You are embarking on a journey to find a vision; to seek a path to follow into the winter.

Let me tell you a story about someone who was on a similar journey not so long ago.

A young man left home to seek a future for himself.  He knew it was time, though he had no particular goal in mind.  He just knew that if he looked hard enough he would find his way. So he wandered for months and had many wonderful adventures, but as the winds grew colder and the nights grew longer, he began to feel afraid that he would be pulled along into the cold dark time with no direction or path.

The stranger he met on the road one day appeared old and quiet. They traveled along together for a while side by side, and then the young traveler asked the wise woman, for that is who she was,

“What am I to do? The winter is coming and I am travelling without direction.  How will I know which path to chose?  How will I find my way?”

“Fire is the key”, she answered.  “Fire transforms.  You give fire one thing; it gives you back something else.  You must get to know fire, for if you do, fire can offer light to show you a path to chose and the power to follow it”.

“Know fire?  I lived with fire my whole life; I already know fire” the young traveler responded.

“No”, the wise woman said.  “What you have is assumptions about what you do or do not do with fire.  What you have is a head full of stories about what fire “means”.  Leave these assumptions and stories behind, and let yourself gain a new companion on your journey.  Fire is not an easy companion, but it is a strong ally.  It is obvious that we are made of earth and air and water, getting to know the fire itself brings us closer to knowing the fire within”.

And with that, she turned and walked away.

Not really understanding exactly what the wise woman meant about “knowing” the fire, the young traveler decided to see what he could find out about what it meant to know fire.  He went to the first fire he found and joined the crowd around it; he listened and he watched.  Eventually, he came to do as the people around that fire were doing, and after a short time said to himself,

“Ah, now I see, now I know fire and can ask for its help finding my way”.

But the fire answered, “No, there is much more, seek another fire.”

So he did.  He traveled for a time and found people gathered around another fire, and he tried to do as they did and come to know the fire.  Again, after a short time he said to himself,

“Ah, now I really know fire” to which the fire responded “No, there is much more, seek another fire”.

And so the young traveler did, fire after fire, taking a bit of knowing from each one, until one day he encountered a fire that spoke to him first!

“I recognize you”, the fire said.  “You have seen me in many forms, and I have seen you at those times as well.  If you work with me now, and bring all that you have learned, I will help you find the path to take.”

And so the young traveler approached that fire with an open heart, bringing all the lessons he had learned, and he began to talk with and listen to and dance with and make offerings to the fire.  In its turn, the fire offered him its light, its flickering visions, and the power to act on what he saw.

Together, they began to create a vision and find the direction for the next step on the traveler’s path.

[photos by Robbi Packard and by Dave Anderson]

Western Massachusetts Pagan Pride Day

by Deirdre Pulgram Arthen
photo by Michael Whitehouse

ritual circle at Western Mass. Pagan Pride Day
A number of EarthSpirit folks from the area spent yesterday at the Western Mass. Pagan Pride event. Thanks to Cassie Olewinski, whose hard work organizing was quite evident, the day was a great success overall. The EarthSpirit Community had been asked to lead the ritual this year and MotherTongue was also asked to perform so, since we had an information table there too, it was a very full day.

For the morning performance we intertwined group choral pieces with solos by Sarah Stockwell Arthen and Andras Corban Arthen. The mix was a good one, it went beautifully and we were well received – though it is always difficult to play for an audience that is milling about, and you kind of wonder if anyone is really listening. It’s certainly not the best venue for quiet or subtle songs, but we did hear appreciatively from people afterwards.

The afternoon ritual was the part that I found provocative in a lasting sort of way. We began with some of our community drummers playing to gather some energy and people in the area for the ritual. Again I was grateful to have a significant group of EarthSpirit Community members there, because many of the attendees seemed reticent about joining in, and together we created critical mass to get things moving. (Someone later said that the rituals in past years have been more demonstrative than participatory.) We began chanting and spiraling in to create a circle and did collect many people, but a portion of them still remained outside, even when invited in. It was a very participatory ritual including several chants, collective knot work and another spiral dance – a pretty typical EarthSpirit style ritual with an emphasis on accessibility for all and connection among the people there and with the natural world around us. The work of the ritual was about each person taking responsibility for her or his side of the relationships in their life – relationships with self, other people, the community and the web of creation – seeing what it is that we each need to do to hold our relationships with integrity and binding ourselves to do so. It was a good piece of work and it felt good as we did it together. We ended the ritual with the recognition that integrity in our relationships can bring us inner peace and, from that, help to create outer peace in the world that we are a part of. We sent out our wishes for that peace.

What lingers with me now is the recognition that came once again as we sang and danced together in that little green patch of earth near the highway, that many people in the greater pagan community – even those who have been involved for years – have not had much experience of that kind of ritual. Many people who consider themselves pagans gather more often indoors and follow a prescribed and scripted ritual when they celebrate their spirituality. To be invited to open up to the land that we were on and to the beings there, to feel our connections with each other and with the earth, to reach inside and find something there waiting to speak out – these are all aspects of ritual that I take for granted at this point but which were surprising and especially moving for some of the people who came up to me afterwards.

Today, in the September sunshine, I feel especially blessed and filled by the spiritual community that we have within EarthSpirit and by the traditions that we have preserved, reclaimed, brought together, developed and shared over these 30 years. It is wonderful to me when I watch people who celebrate and assume that this is the way that it has always been – because that shows me the depth to which the work has taken root. And it is also wonderful when I am with people experiencing these ways for the first time and they tell me that they will never forget that moment – because I am always amazed at their willingness to be so open and I am reminded of the importance of what we are doing together.

EarthSpirit and The Parliament of the World’s Religions, part 1

by Deirdre Pulgram Arthen

Logo for 2009 Parliament in Melbourne

Logo for 2009 Parliament in Melbourne

A little history

“The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions was created to cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world.” (www.parliamentofreligions.org [2009 archive])

In 1893 the first global interfaith conference in the United Sates was held in Chicago, and in 1993, as a centennial marker, the CPWR held its first modern parliament event. Members of the EarthSpirit Community attended that first Parliament where we offered presentations and performances, helped to organize a large full moon ritual in Grant Park, and Deborah Ann Light, a joint representative for EarthSpirit, Circle Sanctuary and Covenant of the Goddess signed the document “Toward a Global Ethic,” which you can see on the Parliament’s web site. (TowardsAGlobalEthic.pdf [archive] or here) It was a remarkable experience, and those of us who went brought back both a new awareness and appreciation of the variety and depth of spiritual practices and traditions around the world, and a sense of what the Earth-based traditions such as ours have to bring to the global interfaith conversation.

In 1999 the Parliament was held in Cape Town, South Africa, and again EarthSpirit was represented. Susan Curewitz Arthen and I organized a joint information table for U.S. pagan organizations and also offered presentations. Before the Parliament itself, I was also involved in discussions with the Council in Chicago which led to the crafting of a document titled “A Call to our Guiding Institutions,” addressed to religion, business, government, media and education, and which was presented and endorsed at the Parliament itself. (CalltoGuidingInstitutions.pdf [archive] or here)

In 2004 the Parliament was held in Barcelona, Spain, and EarthSpirit was again represented. MotherTongue traveled to Spain to perform, and members of EarthSpirit offered workshops and rituals and organized a shared information table. For several years prior to this event, Andras Corban Arthen had been developing connections with pagans throughout Spain, and particularly in Barcelona, so we were able to include many of them in various Parliament events and forged deeper friendships and connections which continue to this day. Two Spanish pagan groups have specifically used EarthSpirit as a model in developing their own organizations.

Andras and I were invited to be a part of the Assembly of Religious and Spiritual Leaders that year, and as such, we participated along with 200 other international delegates in in-depth conversations about issues such as access to clean water, equal rights for women, religious violence, and other critical concerns facing the world. From these conversations and others like them throughout the event, participants were encouraged to make commitments to taking action in their local communities.

In 2006 Andras was elected to the Board of Trustees of the CPWR and has been an active member there ever since. In 2007, he represented the Indigenous European Traditions on behalf of the Parliament at the Universal Forum of Cultures in Monterrey, Mexico, where he offered workshops and participated in rituals with members of the local indigenous communities. (http://spiritofthearth.blogspot.com/ )

In preparation for the 2009 Parliament, he has been a member of the Indigenous Task Force, working with a small group to contact and recruit leaders of indigenous spiritual traditions from around the world to offer special presentations at this year’s event. His focus has been especially on bringing in practitioners from South America and Europe. He has also been a part of the Program Committee, reviewing many of the thousands of program proposals that have been submitted, to help create the best possible content for the Parliament. Andras has also been building connections with pagans from Australia, and especially from Melbourne, where the Parliament is taking place.

This December, nine members of the EarthSpirit Community (so far) will travel ‘down under’ and join Andras to participate in the interfaith conversations, and offer workshops and rituals. We will host our own EarthSpirit information table and will collaborate in creating joint programs with others from earth-centered traditions. We are especially looking forward to connecting with members of the Australian pagan community.

We are very grateful to the members of EarthSpirit who have been so generous in their financial support of our interfaith work, especially over the last two years. While every person attending each of these Parliaments has made a considerable personal investment in order to be there, your donations have enabled the organization to be fully engaged in an ongoing international dialogue among deeply spiritual people committed to building a sustainable future. We have found we have a lot to learn and a lot to offer.

Coming soon:

More information about EarthSpirit’s participation in this year’s Parliament, and an attempt to answer the question, “So what does our community get out of all of this interfaith work?”

If you are a member of EarthSpirit and are interested in coming to the Parliament in Australia, you can get in touch with me: deirdre@earthspirit.com to talk about what we have planned.

Sparks and Ripples at Rites of Spring

by Deirdre Arthen

This year at Rites of Spring, EarthSpirit’s largest annual gathering ( www.earthspirit.com/ros/index.html ), we embarked on what will doubtless become a tradition there – an exploration of how our community’s spirituality manifests in the world. We called it “Sparks of Inspiration, Ripples of Action, Exploring How We Walk in the World”. We all come to the EarthSpirit Community from different places and paths, but we all share the belief that the Earth is sacred so we wanted to look at the many ways we live that belief in our day-to-day lives. The ways may be large and dramatic, or small and simple; public and visible, or private and subtle, and together we make a vibrant mosaic, a beautiful pattern of spirited and spiritual engagement with the world.

To make the patterns visible, we invited all Rites of Spring participants to share their particular part of the mosaic – any actions that have been inspired by their spirituality or connection to the Earth, whether those be in the community, through creativity, for the Earth directly, or in the lives of others – by creating a page, including a description of what they are doing, to add to an actual mosaic on the wall of the Dining Hall. It was wonderful to see how many different ways people are living their spirituality. We read about permaculture and green building, about assisting with births and deaths, about living off the grid, about working with children and working with local communities and about college students planning career paths directly emergent from their spiritual values. The scope was broad and the writing thoughtful. I look forward to sharing some of the specifics with you here soon (after I get permission).

There were several other aspects to “Sparks and Ripples” this year, in addition to the wall mosaic. One was an event on Saturday morning where some very active members of the community, Jimi Two Feathers, Sarah Stockwell-Arthen, Steve Trombulak, ALisa Starkweather, Isobel Arthen and I and some others, spread out on blankets in the merchant Circle to share more about our inspirations and actions in person. The topics ranged from environmental activism, to community planning to service-learning to healing. On Sunday during lunchtime, Sarah Stockwell-Arthen and Isobel Arthen hosted an introductory talk and round-table discussion about sustainability and activism, and several of our community rituals also included some focus on how we manifest our spirituality in the world. (Many thinks to Sarah, Isobel, Stephen, Morwen, Eric and Chris for their work to make this vision a reality at Rites of Spring this year.)

The Web Ritual, in particular, was very meaningful as people first made commitments to taking their own actions in the world and then as so many stepped forward to hold the strands of the web that make our own community – strands of communication, teaching our children, creating music and art, writing, growing food, developing earth-friendly technology, maintaining our sacred traditions and more. As small groups held the strands the rest of us wove ourselves into the web with many colored yarn – some even home-spun that day. The resulting structure was not only beautiful, but especially powerful to be with because of the depth of true intention that went into it.

“Sparks and Ripples” is a chance for us to see new aspects of each other and be inspired by the many ways that members of our community take actions that ripple out through the web, far beyond the bounds of Rites of Spring. We look forward to hearing what you have to share. Please drop us a comment and let us be inspired by you too!