It’s been a long time coming, and even though I’ve lived in dreadful anticipation of this, it’s still painful. The news that 109 was sold was hard. This was the place I’d first breathed a deeper understanding of my spiritual self. It was the place I was dedicated to the gods. The place I met so many dear pagan brothers and sisters. It was the place I was separated from my ex-husband, the place I was handfasted to my wife. It has been a place of learning and of celebration. I felt so connected to WCC and to the ramshackle building at 109 Vaughan. Connected enough to move just up the road from there when I was in need of an apartment for myself and my wife.
So the building was sold, and I felt rather betrayed. At first they just boarded in the back area, and I entertained thoughts of just how long if might resist zombie onslaught. It’s one of my favourite things, evaluating buildings for their level of zombie resistance. The front wasn’t so great with all those big picture windows for the shops; the back was merely okay since the fencing was always coming apart in high winds and needed to be screwed back together. It was only plywood and posts, after all.
Watching the building picked apart at first was nearly a relief after it sat so long, empty, hollow. They pulled apart the south wing first, and I thought about how the Steering Committee I was part of had put in those new windows, how we worked so hard to get the group out of debt and into the black. The parties we held up there on the second floor. How I painted a Green Man on the door to welcome everyone. They knocked down the front part then, and I thought of the beautiful new wooden floor in the temple, and how it was gone, smashed, nothing anymore.
I have to pass it nearly every day, and it fills me with a sense of loss. Maybe because I never really reconnected with the community after they had to move on. In any case, over the last several weeks I’ve seen them systematically take it apart, knock it down, dig out its bowels and then push it all into a muddy hole. Now it’s nothing but a fenced-in yard of dirt. They laid in a sheet of plastic and filled the hole, leveled it all out. I guess there will be condos there soon.
I still have my memories, of course I do. But the sadness remains. I always thought that having a permanent meeting place for classes, rituals, and community events made us strong. Gave us context as a group. Made us legitimate and maybe special, a bit. Now I feel disconnected, and I’ve been struggling to establish my own rituals and routines, to touch that spiritual place inside on my own after letting it languish. Last year, especially, I probably would have fared better if I’d felt more able to reach out to my pagan community while I was suffering such extreme depression and anxiety, but I could hardly make it through the day as it was. I had no energy to seek out the new meeting place, or to make my way to the women’s circle not too far away. I barely got to work enough to pay the rent and keep food around. (That was all due to a separate issue, related to an ex and to court, but I’ll rant another day about the way the court system likes to rough up the victims.)
Anyhow, I’m working on it. I can’t help glancing at the hole in the ground of 109 as I pass, but I’m trying hard to move on and create my own traditions and supports. By next year, if I’m moving to the US with my wife, then I won’t have the option of the touchstones I’ve known here, in any case. That’s painful, but I’m trying to see it as an opportunity to grow and to maybe start my own community as part of my work. I ache inside when I think of my place in the world, because I know I’m not fulfilling it and haven’t until recently been stretching into it the way I know I’m supposed to. I am called to the priesthood. Ignoring that leaves me so empty, and I have to find that place in myself again. Which is why I’ve started up my Solstice Penhallow project, and the Book of Shadows pages, and research, and… and… and…
This is not the end. It is my beginning. Let’s see where I end up.