Sometimes, it’s easy to forget how spoiled I am living in New Jersey. I have a Dianic circle that I can drop into whenever I want, there’s a co-ed Wiccan ground that’s been around for over a decade, Grove of the Others (an ADF Druid grove) that’s been around for over a decade that I pop into with Jow on occasion and I know there’s some kind of Norse something-or-other that I’ve never really looked into because it’s not my bag. That’s not counting friendly shop keepers in Little India, the huge visitor friendly Hindu temple, the many Buddhist enclaves, the local pow-wows, the three or four Pagan Pride events that are within a two hour drive, various local occult groups and the ATR community that’s a stone’s throw away.
I went to the Author’s Brunch on Saturday and met up with Jason Miller, RO, Harper, Shawn Knight, Andrieh and Jason. We sat at a diner table drinking endless cups of coffee and eating pancakes. Some Crucible-goers passed our table and joked, “You can’t even go to a diner without running into a group of occultists!” We laughed and continued our meandering conversation about brewing, book writing, coming out to our families (or not) and discussing the latest goings on in the community. I hugged and kissed everyone good bye and said I’d see them at the afterparty.
April came to pick up Jow and me and we knew where the hotel was, it was very close to where SalonCon used to be, only about twenty minutes away from our homes. We got to the party early as we usually do so we can catch up with the hosts who I knew long before I was even sure I was a witch. I like to be the green fairy for con after parties, so I had my absinthe sugar cubes from New Orleans, my spoon, my carafe and my absinthe I had made using Sarah’s kit. I started pouring and passing and talking. Lots of people from the blogosphere at the party! Polyphanes, Ocean, Sam Block, Lavannah, Fr. Servitor Lucem, Clifford Lowe, Maggi Setti and of course everyone from the Brunch.
We talked, we drank, we laughed. We left when Jow was going to have all of three hours of sleep to run on for work. In the car, I asked April if she had a good time. She shrugged. “No one wanted to talk to me. It’s like they knew I wasn’t one of them so it was pretty boring for me.” In the past, this had been more of a local event filled with people we’ve known for half our lives, there was always someone for her to play with even if she didn’t want to dork out about occult things. I tried to explain to her that some people had driven an incredibly long distance just for the chance to talk shop but it was late and she was annoyed and I wanted a taylor ham sandwich on a hard roll.
But really, how could I explain it to her? Everyone I’ve dated since college has been Occultist/Pagan or had a background in it. I have two mentors who will meet me for coffee to talk shop, I was an ADF dedicant. Our meetings were dedicated to the sole purpose of talking shop. Gordon and I have rambling ongoing emails to talk shop and he came to New Jersey to see Jow and I get married. I have the whole blogosphere. I have Pagan Prides to have noticed a few years ago that the younger Pagan set now wears floral rompers and smokes American Spirits. They buy their candles at Urban Outfitters. Well, we had occult stores in our malls in my day which made it easy for one stop shopping to buy clothes from Hot Topic, candles from our local witch store and clove cigarettes from the tobacco place. I’m not going to get up in arms just because they’re doing what my generation once did only it looks a little different now. They don’t have to wear their pentacles on their sleeves anymore, being a Worker isn’t shocking where I live. We still have brick and mortar shops in New Hope. All this makes it very hard for April to understand (and me as well) on a gut level that some people need to travel hours and hours just to dork out about occult things. To put faces to names. That it’s worth the trouble because you’re in a room full of people who Get You, who you don’t have to obfuscate exactly who and what you are so you can get along in your day to day life. It’s hard for her to conceive of loneliness that comes with being a Worker when she knows at least twenty just off the top of her head and she doesn’t even practice. But it’s there. And even though I am rarely lonely to talk to people who will Get Me as I’m married to one, it still feels really good to be in a room full of witches, pagans and occultists, laughing and drinking absinthe together.