When I was a very little girl, my father went back to school. He went to Northeastern, so I was often exposed to the wonderful city that is Boston. So when I was picking colleges for myself, I knew that I wanted to be in Boston. It was a toss up between Northeastern and BU (BC was right out, even though I applied). The thing that really sold me was an email from Seamus.
I was excited at the prospect of working with other pagans. At the time, I had really mostly read about Wicca. There were a few girls in my highschool that were into it, and we had formed a pseudo-coven, which consisted mostly of writing in a book of shadows that we passed around to each other and sleep overs that included meditation. I distinctly remember having a conversation with two of my close friends about Wicca. He had just called the watchtowers and he said it was amazing. He showed me how to "call a circle" and I had my first ritual. That summer between senior year of high school and freshman year of college, I spent Beltane with Spiral Tree Grove's open celebration and, although I was too shy to dance the maypole myself with this interesting looking people, I really enjoyed it.
Come fall, I was so overwhelmed with living in a new city, going to a new school, meeting new people, and taking difficult classes that I had all but forgotten Nemeton. What reminded me was the Pentacle poster that graced the posterboard that I passed by each morning in the Myles Annex. I went to the first meeting (which was huge) and Aubrey lead us through a meditation. I think I might have introduced myself as "Michelle, I'm a freshman in CAS majoring in Biology and Psychology. I've been interested in Wicca for a number of years, and I enjoy meditation and feel connected with the Goddess Gaia. I'm very eclectic and, although I've done a few spells, they were mostly all from Scott Cunningham's book." We also did an energy share that day, as well. I remember passing a ball of energy back and forth with Jeff. I remember thinking then that he would be someone important in my life ... a great friend or mentor. And of course, I fell in love with Aubs. I dreamt of the goddess and saw Elizabeth as the mother.
As the semester wore on, I joined Women's Ice Hockey and with classes and practice every night, I didn't have a chance to make it to Nemeton meetings. Yet, after first semester, I was frustrated with the clique-ishness of Hockey and knew I didn't belong. I went back to Nemeton. I met Christ. I befriended Gina. I became close with Amy. I remember talking with Amy in Bio about Beltane and being extremely nervous and excited at the same time. If there were any doubts for my love of Nemeton, they were completely dispelled at Beltane. I got closer with the other youngins (Northeastern Sarah, I miss you!) and closer with Aubs, Jeff, Elizabeth and Shari as well as DtE.
I remember during that trip, we were discussing who would be the new members of the e-board. I remember ending up with treasurer. Since coming to Nemeton I've been a member, the treasurer and Co-president. I've honestly put blood, sweat and tears into Nemeton. I love it with all of my being. I saw great and tumultous change. The recognition of religious status, the excommunication from ICPC ... I've seen initations, and elevations. I've gone to pagan pride, I've gone to maine, I've gone to AzureGreen. Through our advisor, I met Symbios. I've met my working partner and sister, I've met my HP and my future HPS. Over the past four years, I've grown in countless ways. I've learned the hows and WHYS behind ritual structure. I've created and lead my own rituals. I've cast spells. I've become more attuned to the cycles of the seasons and the moons. I've learned more about psychism and energy work that I though I ever needed to know. I've learned about tools, I've learned about meditation ... I've been initiated and one day, I'll be elevated. In essence, I've learned who I am ... all because of Nemeton.
Nemeton has made my laugh, made me scream, made me cry and made me call out in joy. It is truly amazing to see it grow and change as an organization, as I grow and change. I am truly thankful to all of you who helped me on its path and truly thankful for all of the members I have come to meet. I am thankful for the younger members who will keep Nemeton thriving. I am honored to have been your Co-President with my sister. Although this year has been wrought with "melo"drama and frustration, it has also brought me great joy and satisfaction, especially when I see how much YOU have all grown and changed.
I certainly know that Nemeton has made we the woman and witch I am today. I am mundanely known as Michelle, and in circles I am Gaia Aiyana. I am particularly drawn to Greco-Roman deities, especially Gaia, Demeter, Persephone, Pan and recently Apollo and Hestia. I also feel a connection to Yemaja, Breed, Isis and Osiris. I am interested in mythology and lore, chanting, ritual structure, green witchcraft and earth magic, mediation, tarot, runes and other divination and crafts. I am a first-degree initiate into the Cabot Tradition of Witchcraft and I hope to dedicate within an Alexandrian coven within the coming months.
It truly has been an honor to get to know you all. I hope to continue to join Nemeton in circles in the coming years and hope to return to talk to members about the journeys I've taken and the lessons that I've learned. Although I have learned many things, there is so much more of this life to explore. Although I stand on the precipace of great change, I have the confidence to succeed. Nemeton, you have given me that confidence. The ability to speak with my head AND my heart.
Thank you all a million times over.
Nemeton Member and Co-President