Please note…after reading below’s heartfelt words from Ocean, feel free to join her and other Friends of the Crossroads for a cyberspace celebration featuring some yummy food, plenty of booze, and great music! You can find the party here:
Today is Litha, better known as the Summer Solstice…the longest day of the year.
But I know it best as my anniversary. I was ordained as a Wiccan High Priestess at the Summer Solstice. I became the FIRST Deaf woman in the United States to achieve the title of Third Degree High Priestess – and to this day, as far as I know I am still the only Deaf individual to hold such a rank.
That was in 1984. Thirty years ago.
Ocean wearing her priestess vest
Today as I celebrate my thirtieth anniversary as a priestess, I reflect back over the years…the people I’ve met, the experiences I have had.
I’ve been blessed.
Ocean during her “red bob phase”…wearing a silk celestial shirt
I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a number of wonderful gatherings large and small over the years.
Ocean falling asleep at a long-ago gathering of Deaf & ASL participants at Ecumenicon
I’ve meditated in a sweat lodge, danced around a campfire, drummed in a circle, walked across hot coals.
Ocean in her water mask, participating in a ritual to cleanse and bless the Ohio River
I’ve stood outside in a sacred grove under a full moon, and called forth Spirits near and dear to me.
Ocean visiting Spirit Tree – a very special and sacred friend
I’ve sat inside in a room lit by candles, with the scent of incense wafting in the air, and invoked those same Spirits.
Ocean praying at the altar during a candlelight vigil for the victims of the shooting at Newtown
I am especially thankful for the many wonderful people I have met and friends I have made over the years, who have shared with me their own knowledge and wisdom. I especially want to honor the members of my Clan and my Crossroads Study Group, who have become my own special family. I am not going to try and name everyone here, for fear of forgetting someone…but you all know who you are.
Ocean with fellow Hoosier and Priestess, Edain McCoy
Back in 2009 I put up a post here at the Crossroads announcing the silver anniversary of my ordination. A number of people sent me warm remarks, which were incorporated into the post, along with photographs of myself – some of them with friends. I was just looking at it the other day, and remembering fondly the people in these pictures, and smiling in gratitude for their kind words and the love which they expressed.
Ocean with Clan member and Spirit-Bro Wolf Wind
It’s now five years later…wow, where did the time go??? When I mentioned this to my maiden priestess Crystal, she shared with me her own disbelief – seems like just yesterday we were partying under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, dining on steaks, lobster, and chowdah while washing it all down with goblets of mead.
Ocean with her SpiritSistah, Maiden Priestess, and Partner-In-Crime Crystal
A lot can happen in just five years. I’ve returned to the place of my birth in the Midwest, and now make my home in Louisville, Kentucky. I nursed my mother through her final months of terminal illness and watched her finally succumb to the ravishes of cancer. I purchased my very first house, and with a friend made that trip of a lifetime to visit the sacred sites of Ireland. I’ve reunited with a couple of friends from my past, said hello to some new friends and goodbye to a few old ones. I’ve taught at a deaf preschool program, where I’ve learned valuable lessons from a bunch of four year olds.
Ocean and fellow Deaf Priestess D’Angel in front of the entrance to Stonehenge, in County Meath, Ireland
Ocean with sign language interpreters Darren and Pam at the public presentation given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
I’ve announced that I am a writer, and to that effect I am now working on a book – My Goddess Wears Hearing Aids – which hopefully will be published next year.
Yup…this High Priestess wears hearing aids!
I’ve continued to practice my spirituality – predominately as a solitary, but every now and then I get together with others, such as my dear friends Fyre and MoonRose, or my gal pal Tara. I oversee a small group of like-minded folks on Facebook, interact with other Pagans on various Pagan sites, and make the occasional Pagan-related post on my own page. I continue to write articles for my blog…although now with the focus being on my book, I’ve not been blogging at the Crossroads so much.
Ocean with peace-loving gal pal Tara
But regardless, the merger of my identity as a Deaf person with my spirituality as a Pagan continues to be the predominate theme of my life.
Ocean in her Witchy Hat
It’s been a good thirty years.
Ocean today, relaxing at an antique fair
So on this day of Midsummer I raise my chalice of mead, thank you all for being a part of my life, and offer you this special blessing:
By the Earth that is Her body,
By the Air that is Her breath,
By the Water that is Her blood,
And by the Fire that is Her spirit…
May the Goddess bless and keep you always in her heart,
May you always remember that I love you, merry meet and merry part.
And merrily shall we meet again.
Goddess Bless and Goddess Keep,
Please feel free to post a comment below and share your own thoughts for Ocean as she celebrates this milestone!