Fast forward to 2003 and I'm a freshmen at SPLASH! searching everywhere for the Pagan student alliance booth which I don't think I ever found. Still, I somehow figured out when meetings were and showed up to the second meeting of the year, made my introductions ("Hi, I'm Gina, Gemini. I like working with Aradia, I consider myself more eclectic pagan than Wiccan at the moment because Gerald Gardner skieves me, I'm CAS Pre-med, and I just really want to hang out with similar minded people") was, I think, my introduction to myself. I was absolutely FASCINATED by Aubrey, the then president, a fellow Gemini, well-spoken, well-read. I asked if I could speak with her sometime just about general stuff such as being pagan vs. Wiccan, Gardner, Aradia, etc. Soon after I was at my first Pagan Pride Day, befriending North Eastern Sarah, learning about City paganism with Amy, and going to Pagan Parenting discussions with Aubrey...not to mention all the shopping. Within a month I was hooked. I don't think I missed more than 3 meetings that whole year.
Over the last 4 years at Nemeton I've experienced some of the happiest and saddest moments of my life, been angry, felt empowered. I've been through several major changes, including our new status as a religious organization, the switch from a pagan organization to a wiccan one, the start of fairly regular circles in Marsh Chapel, the switch of retreat centers from Maine to Azure Green, a change in the schedule of retreat...the list could probably go on. I've trained Cabot with members of Nemeton, I've met some of my best and closest friends and lost some. I met my working partner and sister, my current roommate, my HP and my future HPS. I've been a regular member, a VP, a co-president. I learned to write circles, to work cooperatively in circle, to control energy, to lead, to teach, to learn.
I probably experienced not only the good changes in Nemeton but also some of the lowest points as well. Even when I felt like my heart was breaking and people would say, "Look, why don't you just leave the club? You don't need this stress," I'd say, "No, this is my family. You don't just leave your family when things get messy. I've given everything to them, I'm not bailing out just because it's difficult." I've NEVER regretted that decision.
Being a Witch, being clergy, and being a Wiccan all require a lot of work and a lot of difficult changes. You have to learn, first of all, to follow the Rede, to live by it, to make it an automatic thought that accompanies every action. You need to learn the threefold law, and in what instances you're willing to risk the repercussions of your actions...and you have to be responsible enough to handle those repercussions. In other words, when an unfortunate but necessary action needs to be taken you must be prepared to say "I will accept it if these actions come back at me in a negative way, I can make that sacrifice." Nemeton has taught me all about sacrifice, and what an important part it plays in our lives.
Nemeton can become one of the most important parts of your life if you want it to. I spent a lot of my time thinking about the club, making posters, getting forms signed, designing rituals...and even just wishing it was time for a meeting so I could be with the people I loved, so I could teach or learn, so I could BS and laugh, so I could worship, so I could be in a comfortable environment.
So who am I today? Hi, I'm Gina in the mundane world, Selena Kaida in practice. I'm the former Nemeton Vice President and Co-president. Gemini/Cancer cusp sun sign, Leo Rising, Cancer Moon. I'm a Wiccan. Priestess in Cabot tradition, about to *hopefully* dedicate with an Alexandrian coven. I like to work with various deities, consider myself particularly close with Bastet, Hestia, and, recently, Hekate, as well as Lugh and Lucifer. I'm soon graduating from CAS and SAR in Biological anthropology and Health Sciences, respectively, and working on my MPH in epidemiology, also at BU. I'm a servant to my gods, and am/hope to be a member of the clergy for my people.
Odds are, without Nemeton, I never would have become most of those things, I probably would have suffered a nervous breakdown ages ago, and I would have lost touch with my faith. So thank you Nemeton, current and past members, for giving me so much, and allowing me to have *hopefully* given something back.
Nemeton VP, Co-president 2005-2007