Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Intentional: Collegiate Crossroads Crucible

So each year at the Sacred Space conference I have found that I tend to come home with at least one really big ‘AhHa!’ moment. In 2011 that AhHa! was recognizing, for the first time, that I went to college at the crossroads. Now, I mean this figuratively in that college is that place between being dependent and independent and choices made in this liminal space shape current and future paths. But for me personally I also mean this in a very literal sense.

 I went to school at Southampton College of Long Island University, now closed due to incompetence at the highest levels. To get to my school, the directions include: get on NY-27 and drive, keep driving, enjoy the pine-barrens, drive some more and at the first stoplight, take a right. We were the first intersection, the first power substation, the first sign of civilization past the barrens, the first real stopping place on the main road down the south fork. If you let your head go way out with it, the school was a liminal point (college), in a liminal town (first stop on the south fork), on a liminal place (the south fork – between the ocean and the bay), on a liminal place (the island – a glorified sandbar left by glaciers). Once this AhHa! hit, some parts of the college experience suddenly clicked and made so much more sense.
If any of you have caught me at one of those times where I feel safe and supported enough to be open about my experiences (totally different blog post), you have probably heard me talk about Campus. Campus is a collection of energies, spirits, essences and places of power that just happens to have a college sitting on top of it; doesn’t that sound like a perfect combination (sarcasm alert). Every couple of weeks the P.A.G.A.N.S. Club would walk the boundaries of Campus after our meeting and it would go a bit like this:
  • Leave the upper class dorms, waving to the sleepy presence that’s in the big field
  • Walk over towards Pratt hall and say hi to the Indians on the front lawn, check that they are maintaining the boundary of Campus along Montauk Highway
  • Take a few moments for someone to play with the dead boy in the windmill
  • Skirt the actual footprint of Pratt Hall, just making sure there are minor wards up; that house is spooky and doesn’t play well with others
  • Stop by the ley line under the pine tree circle, if so inclined cheerfully check on the dragon there that smells of deep ice and raw rock
  • Swing out around the theatre and play with those bouncy spirits in the (non-circular) pine tree patch
  • Feel, check and reinforce the front boundary of Campus along the road that cuts from NY-27 to Montauk Highway
  • Smile and wave at the Public Safety officers at the front gate, they may think we’re crazy but they’re always friendly
  • Connect with the corner-node of Campus that begins the stretch of boundary with NY-27, high tension lines and the railroad track parallel along the line; check and reinforce as necessary while walking along the inside of the high tension lines.
  • While passing the freshman dorms, smile at the Montauks and check that the Peconics are loosely contained
  • Enjoy the rest of the walk around the upperclassman dorms and back home as Campus feels better, whole, grateful, at peace… this is the most difficult to describe
    Many traditions teach that crossroads are places of power and we certainly found this to be true. What’s less often said is that places of power are typically neural, not positive or negative when one looks at their entirety. As a place of power Campus challenged us to experience the mundane and the non-mundane concurrently, but it was never malignant.
    Those with any sensitivity to energy were forced to either deal with their layers of experiences or to block one out completely. Many of my friends choose to self medicate the non-mundane away and others fell so far behind in their mundane responsibilities that they could no longer continue to be there.

    As I look back there are only a few of us that managed to maintain grades and continue to grow in our power, hence the crucible in the title. For me the challenge of Campus enabled me to just treat as ordinary so many non-mundane things:
    • Listening to my body and fasting when called to do so 
    • Picking up cards as a tool for my intuition with Tarot Card fights that lasted till 2am 
    • Having conversations about past lives with other people that were there with me and have the same memories 
    • Having a group of people all experience walking the Boundaries as described above, and experiencing it in the same way at the same time 
    • Warding a space 
    • Tapping a ley line 
    • Forcibly ground myself and others 
    • Talk with and interact with spirits and energies and even spirit entities 
    • Allowing the Goddess to speak through me 

    At the time we didn’t think about it too much, this is just what we did and what happened. Looking back, and even a bit at the time, I can see how overwhelming this could be and understand why my friends may have made their choices. I use the crucible analogy because what Campus did was strip away all the peripherals and just leave us with the pure experience of all of these things; some of us managed to make it through the fire.

    I miss Campus. I miss walking the boundaries and I worry how Campus is doing with all the changes. I miss the friendships I made there. I deeply miss the friendships that were lost. But mostly I miss the luxury of sharing experiences in a truly safe space, without judgment. I’m recently starting to connect with people who feel the same and having honest and open conversations with them is helping, slowly but surely.



    1. When I was looking at colleges, I visited Southampton College and even debated applying. Despite the school's incompetence, I'm a bit jealous of the magickal experiences you had with other pagans at school. We had a pagan club, but it was far less experiential and more academic.

      1. I actually looked at U of Delaware :) We were in a special place at a special time.

    2. My college had a pagan club, but it tended towards immature people aruging non-stop. I wish it had been more like the one you described, because now that I think about it, my college had plenty of magickal places too, like a church haunted by a civil war solider, a haunted house the university owned, and as it was a land-grant university, several wonderful outdoor spaces. How great it would have been if everyone could have stopped fussing long enough to do real magick.

      1. I'm not saying we didn't have drama, lol, but we did alright :) I'm sure it would have been a real interesting place for magick too.

    3. Wow Kat, very meaningful and powerful. Thanks for sharing this.

      1. Stacy, Thanks for reading :) I really need to use the time I've set aside for Sunday posts to dig deeper into my own spirituality, including major events like college.

    4. Like other commenters, I was part of a Pagan campus group as well, though our experiences were much more academic. We had a lot of instances where we held Sabbat celebrations and all that, but most of our gatherings were to learn a new skill or topic. While I loved it (and miss it -- nothing like them college experiences!), I do wish I had what you had. I'd be missing it, too. :)

      Thanks for posting this... it's real eye-opening. And I'm glad you're finding some kindred spirits around here, even outside those campus lines!

      1. Stephanie, I really appreciate you stopping by and your support. I'm really enjoying my work with Central Maryland Pagans and the opportunity the group has to create safe space to talk about non-mundane happenings. Our most recent 'workshop' really turned out great.