Articles/Essays From Pagans
January 10th. 2017 ...
The Gray of 'Tween
Becoming a Sacred Dancer
Little Dog, Big Love
December 9th. 2016 ...
A Child's First Yule
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)
October 10th. 2016 ...
Witchcraft from the Outside
September 11th. 2016 ...
How Did I Get Here? (My Pagan Journey)
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
September 3rd. 2016 ...
Rethinking Heaven: What Happens When We Die?
What is Happening in My Psychic Reading?
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
An Open Mind and Heart
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
June 13th. 2016 ...
Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
How to Bond with the Elements through Magick
Magical Household Cleaning
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity
Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected
The Fear of Witchcraft
Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele
Magic in Sentences
Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess
The Evolution of Thought Forms
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion
Spring Has Sprung!
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Energy and Karma
Community and Perception
December 20th. 2015 ...
Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
Native American Spirituality Myopia
A Dream Message
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?
Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism
I Claim Cronehood
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
The Gods of My Heart
January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
Pagans All Around Us
Broomstick to the Emerald City
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Culture In Capitaland: The Little Pagan Community That Could
Article Specs |
Article ID: 10496
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 4,001
Times Read: 4,399
RSS Views: 73,370
Author: Rev. Viktoria Whittaker
Posted: February 5th. 2006
Times Viewed: 4,399
In the years before the Stonewall uprising, the gay community on the northern part of the eastern seaboard found the unlikeliest of havens. It was a small, nondescript city not bordering on any coasts. Indeed, other than being located at the confluence of two rivers, it had no bodies of water to speak of. It sported no beaches, resorts or anything that would have drawn them in as tourists. It was and still is a very middle-class, middle-American area. Indeed, it is such an unglamorous place that it has been not-so-lovingly referred to as “The Armpit of America”.
And yet, it was said that during the 1950’s it had more gay bars (which was the center of queer community at the time) than Boston, Montreal and New York City combined. Indeed, I have heard many old-timers recollect how gay men would come in by the busload looking for a good time, or just to be with others like themselves. This community even had its own Transgender organization during that era - the Transvestite Independence Club - that is still thriving to this day as the Transgender Independence Club.
It was this foundation that built a community in this city and carried it strongly through the 60’s. During this time, it established a Gay and Lesbian community center, which is now the oldest one in the country that is still up and running. Gays are now a fixture in this city and host an enormous Pride festival every June.
So which city is this?
It’s Albany, the capital of New York State.
Sounds exciting and thrilling, doesn’t it? It’s definitely not San Francisco, and even though it’s but a 45 minute drive away from Massachusetts and Vermont, they’re still just not the same. Although it’s no bastion of liberalism, it’s definitely not the Bible Belt either: you see just as many Bush bumper stickers as anti-Bush bumper stickers. It’s as middle-of-the-road as you get.
This is an example of an alternative community which is feared and loathed by the Christian Right establishing itself in a center of mainstream Americana. Through years of hard work and organizing, gay people are finding their place in American culture. To be sure, it can still be dangerous to be gay in certain parts of the country, but no doubt many gay people will tell you that it’s a lot easier and safer to be openly gay than it was in times past. And it all happened in Albany, first.
So what does all of this have to do with Pagan culture, you may ask?
My answer: everything.
Other than the obvious overlap between the two communities – that there are many queer Pagans out there – I would argue that this same “great experiment” can be repeated with the Pagans, and already we are seeing signs of it.
Among other things, the Albany area is home to the Tarot Certification Board of America, which certifies Tarot professionals worldwide (www.tarotcertification.org).
We are also home to the Trinity Temple (www.trinitytemple.net). It is a building that has served many purposes during its existence. It was built in the early 20th century as an Episcopal Chapel and then became a Spiritualist church in 1965. For nearly forty years, the Spiritualist/Christian Metaphysical congregation held séances, healing services and psychic fairs, developing a reputation for being the site of miraculous healings as well as developing into a potent energy vortex. In the spring of 2004, it was acquired from the aging and dwindling Spiritualist congregation by the Correllian Nativist Wiccan congregation known as the Temple of Astral Light. It thus became the very first Pagan group in the area to have its own church building; one of so very few in the country.
The Trinity Temple also serves as the home for the Correllian Directorate, the administrative branch of the Correllian Nativist Church which is the largest and fastest-growing Wiccan tradition in the country. It also hosts the East Coast campus of Witch School, which is now more than 156,000 students strong. In these roles, it holds regular open rituals, classes, hosts local Meetups and this past September hosted the Witch School Conference on Leadership and Education/Correllian Lustration – the very first one ever to be held outside of Illinois!
The Schenectady Pagan Cluster of the neighboring city of Schenectady is another Pagan group which holds regular open rituals ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/schenectady_pagan_cluster/). It meets at the site of the former Spring Eagle Magick Shoppe in Schenectady (soon to re-open as the Phoenix Rising Magick Shoppe!). The Cluster formed in 1998 as an eclectic, multicultural group of street Pagans that found its home at the Spring Eagle. Today, it is an affiliated shrine of Astral Light and along with holding regular rituals it holds classes, hosts an AA meeting, participates in the local Interfaith community and ministers to Schenectady’s inner-city poor.
Do not think, though, that because we have such organizations that we have been free from the bickering, politicking, character assassinations and Witch Wars that have plagued the Pagan community in the past and still do. On the contrary, we have seen some truly fierce and nasty ones here. There was one where a good friend and colleague of mine was falsely accused of being a child molester, but that was one of many. A year ago, there was a particularly vicious one involving the local Pagan Pride Day planning committee. The end result of that one was that Albany lost its Pagan Pride Day event. Not to be stopped, some local folks organized their own, alternative festival called E.R.I.S., for Earth Religions In Service (www.erisny.org).
My point here is this: you can’t please everyone in your local community. As a friend of mine from the Albany PPD committee (who was also a veteran of Massachusetts PPDs) once very wisely said, “Trying to keep every Pagan happy is like trying to keep 200 five-year-olds with ADHD happy”. It just can’t be done. But this has not stopped those individuals who had a vision from making Albany, the Armpit of America, a noteworthy place in the Pagan universe.
Witch Wars and Pagan Politics are much like death and taxes in our community; something that is just simply a part of life. Those of us who made these things happen in the Albany area have seen more than our share. The main difference is, we never give up and we never let the bastards get us down.
If you have a vision of what you want your community and your culture to be, follow it and don’t let anything stop you, not politics nor anything else. Don’t let the fact that you live in a square, boring middle-American community stop you either – Albany is as square as you get! If you do, there is no reason why you can’t do what we did, and that is the greatest magick of all!
Rev. Viktoria Whittaker
Location: Palenville, New York
Author's Profile: To learn more about Rev. Viktoria Whittaker - Click HERE
Other Articles: Rev. Viktoria Whittaker has posted 1 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Rev. Viktoria Whittaker... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2017 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).