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Today is a day for dreams.  Today is the day a dream of mine became reality and it is the day that new dreams are to be born.  Today is the day that a circle of stones, dedicated to the religious gathering of Pagans, was created at Syracuse University.

Seven years ago I wasn’t the Pagan Chaplain at the University.  There was no Pagan Chaplain, but I was the religious advisor for the student Pagans on campus and at that time I had a vision where the students would have a place of their own.  It didn’t have to be exclusive, in fact I didn’t think it should be.  Rather it needed to be a stone circle where they could observe ritual, meet with friends or do whatever.  This needed to be a place where they could feel the energy of their gods and their beliefs – a place where they would be reminded that they did matter.

Seven years ago I requested a stone circle to be built on campus.  For seven years I would periodically bring the subject up to those that needed to be reminded that Pagans did not have a place of their own like other faiths.  For seven years energy was built to push a dream forward and for seven years the ancestors watched and waited.  After seven years the energy culminated and the ancestors were heard.  I was asked to resubmit the proposal and all agreed that a circle would be built.

What changed in that seven years?  My position changed from advisor to Chaplain and with that a voice formerly foreign at the religious table was now heard. A new Dean at the Chapel was introduced.  The previous Dean had welcomed Pagans to the Chapel but it was the current Dean that understood the need for place. What changed was Pagans became recognized as valuable members of the religious makeup of the University deserving the same respect as any other faith tradition.

Yes, today is a day of dreams.  The stone circle doesn’t look like the stone circles created so long ago.  There are no standing stones familiar to so many.  There are only four stones – a stone at each cardinal point creating a 20’ inner circle.  The stones are large and made of blue stone, imbedded in the ground laying flush with the earth.  They needed to be unobtrusive, reflective of landscape and useable.  They are altar stones and any tradition, Pagan or otherwise, will be able to use them.  The dream came to life today when four stones were laid.

However, the laying of these stones is not the end of the dreams.  It’s the beginning of dreams.  A place for the seeds of possibility to break through and find sunlight to help them grow.  For many the creation of this circle seemed like a natural process and in many ways it was. When the voice of the ancestors sang once again those ready to hear their story listened and all barriers became non-existent. This was the right thing to do, this was the right day to do it and on this Samhain the ancestors will be honored in their stone circle.

Today I am overwhelmed. I’m overwhelmed with both the awe that I feel when I realize what has happened but also at the thought of what will be the next dream to come to life.


The adventure of a life time began a few months ago when the Pagan students and I were invited to participate in the “Many Faiths, One Humanity” interfaith trip to London.  We were all excited, thrilled that we were finally “included”.  Then reality hit: how are we going to pay for this?  It was interesting to sit in the room and watch the faces move from total excitement to complete terror of “what if I can’t come up with that much money”?  $3600 each – that seemed overwhelming.  Well, that’s when magic happens.

I’ve been asked on a few occasions how far along we have gotten in our fund-raising activities.  The questions of “how much is left,” “what has come in so far,” “what can I do” and a myriad of other little inquiries have been tossed at me all along the journey.  I haven’t answered any of the questions for a reason. You don’t interfere with magic and manifestation while it is still working.  I believe in that fourth pillar of the pyramid – you keep silent.

But today it’s done, yes the manifestation is complete.  Not necessarily in the way that the students envisioned in the beginning.  There was no large donor handing over a huge check, we didn’t see thousands of checks for $10 each coming in the mail, but what happened is true magic.  As we began I told the students simply not to worry; the money was the least of our issues, the Universe had already provided what we needed and all we had to do was the required work.  What was that work?  Allowing ourselves to be open to opportunities that would present themselves which would result in the funding to become reality.  They looked at me like I had grown a second head.  But it was simple magic, simple money manifestation that we needed to do.  Tell the Universe what we needed, not be greedy, and then be open to the results.

I had to explain that what we expect the magic to look like and what it really looks like is usually very different.  That doesn’t matter; what matters is going with the flow and being thankful for the results.  So, let’s see how the expectation and the reality differed.  Each student understood that there was a price to be paid: $3640 each.  I had one student tell me to worry about the others first, she would be okay.  The other students (students of all faiths) were told to go back home and ask their local “churches” to help in sponsoring them.  Hmmm… that was a tough one and I had to explain to the Chapel Dean that we don’t exactly have churches and if the students could find a group chances were it would be small and have very little funding to help.  Second suggestion: have the students talk to their home colleges and see if there was any co-curricular funding that might help them out.  That was a novel idea and we had no idea what it meant, but the students decided to go for it and off they travelled to talk to some Deans.

First piece of magic: one student asked and was granted $1000 from his home college. First set of defeats, kinda: two students are told no funding was available.  But during the one of the conversations a students had a most unusual experience; she saw one of the cards she reads with on the Dean’s desk.  That’s right, one of the cards from her Russian Gypsy Fortune Telling cards.  She knew she had to be seeing things, it really wasn’t there; it was just HER imagining it.  At the same time the words of the Dean telling her no were flying past her like birds.  She heard the words but they didn’t matter.  As she left the office she understood the adage “nothing ventured, nothing gained” and realized an opportunity opening up in front of her.  She emailed the Chancellor of University and explained that even if she wasn’t able to go due to finances that the opportunity being presented was too great to fail.  She explained where she had tried to find funding and asked if the Chancellor had suggestions where else there might be funding that she could pursue.  The Chancellor responded, she granted each student in the program $1000, $12000 total. Second piece of magic falls into place. 

All this time donations were coming in; the pagan community responded and gave what they could.  I had to explain to the students that when pagans give it isn’t necessarily in the form that you are expecting.  Those that had funds to share did, but the bulk gave energy to allow the doors to open and the road to clear so that we could achieve our goals.  That was just as important, if not more so, than actually sending cash.  Gifts come in all sorts of manners.

The magic continued and the Chapel found that somehow it had funds it didn’t have before to help students, based on need, to pay for the trip.  Grants of $900 each were given to those students that applied and now we are getting closer.  The Dean that told our very brave student no, finds out that there is an academic portion to the trip and awards her a $500 grant.  The end was no in sight and my understanding that the money was there all along began to take hold in the minds of the students.  The magic solidifies.  Two events were now being organized to finish out the fundraising efforts.  Both were psychic fairs of a sort.  The first was a milestone; we held it on campus with just the students doing readings.  That’s right, a psychic fair on the campus of Syracuse University.  The cost was a donation of any amount.  The students raised $83.50.  Not bad since most of the people donated $1 for their reading.

The second fair was held about a week later at a local UU Society church.  Dryad Design sent us two very large boxes of statuary and jewelry to auction in order to raise donations and a local stain glass artist dropped off five pieces to help as well.  The event began to take on a life of its own.  I would get calls and emails from local readers wanting to know if they could participate.  People from all areas were giving items to place in the silent auction.  A wine chiller, tie dye t-shirts, wands, pottery, salon packages, are only a few of the things that people could bid on.  And so we began the evening.  Three hours later at the close of the event I began to count the money that had come in.  Magic happened; manifestation was complete.  What we needed had been raised and the three students who required help to go on this trip were completely taken care of.

As of today I can say, we are done.  That’s right, we have hit our goal.

The fourth student, the one that had said to take care of the others first, we are still working on her portion.  I say that in the context that generosity is wonderful when found in another.  Her fees are paid, yes.  But I would like to help her as well so that the burden isn’t completely on her family.  If you wanted to donate and can any funds that come in at this point will go to reimbursing her.   You can find out how on our donation page.  And the efforts of the students are continuing.  We are still waiting on one last grant that may come through this week.  If it does, we will be overly blessed. 

I want to thank everyone that helped us reach our goals through whatever means that they gave.  It all matters, it all counts, and when we pull together, well that is when magic happens.

It has been a special week so far.  On Monday I spoke with of students on topics ranging from Hendricks Chapel and what makes it work to Atheism.  These discussions really didn’t have anything to do with Pagans or paganism, but my opinions on the various subjects to be included in their class projects.  What made the discussions special was when I began to think about them later.

In one “interview” that wanted to find out how the different religions/belief systems get along and work together so well; what makes Hendricks Chapel unique.  In the conversation the student told me he had interviewed several people, chaplains and administrators, and asked the same question.  What he had found was an interesting attitude when specifically asked about how easy it to integrate Paganism into the mix was.  He was told that administrators never asked us/me to “water down” what we do.  And it is true, they never have.  I have always been given full support in all areas.  That isn’t to say there aren’t things that I have decided over the years aren’t a good idea for a college campus.

First, no sky clad rituals.  I don’t know about anyone else, but this just doesn’t seem like a good idea on a campus. Second, I don’t hold Beltainne on campus.  I don’t want to add sex energy to a campus that is already full of hormones, once again doesn’t seem like a good or responsible thing to do.  Last, no athames.  Come on, no matter how you look at it they are a double-bladed knife (generally speaking) and considered a weapon.  You can’t have it in your control 24/7 and who knows what your room mates boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s best friend’s new party friend is going to do.  That being said, we do everything else.

So Monday night the students met like every Monday evening.  Everyone had asked the same question at some point: “So Mary, what are we going to do tonight?” But business first; there was a couple of “things” to discuss and get out-of-the-way regarding information that they all needed. When that was done I started in on what I had planned: spell making/spell casting.  Something that I think gets talked about a lot but practical instruction doesn’t necessarily occur.  Did I teach how to do specific spells? No.  More to the point, how to construct a spell and the ethics behind why you would or wouldn’t do this type of work.  The evening was great, lots of questions on everything from the difference between a spell and a curse, why would you use a binding spell, what a “love spell” really is, the cost of doing spell work, and lots more.  The evening was great.  One of the students asked it was okay to do spell work for personal gain.  He had heard/read/been told that it was not a good idea, that it was “forbidden”. 

I explained that it was my personal opinion that doing work for yourself, your own “personal gain” was perfectly okay, in fact we all do it all the time.  How many times do we ask for energy to help us get a job, understanding, healing, or… well you get the picture.  It doesn’t make us bad people.  How many times do we WISH to do well in our work, or personal relationships, to be able to make the bills?  Spell work is part of this; I also explained that I had been doing as much work to allow the Universe to open opportunities to help us raise money for their trip during spring break.  That is in a sense personal gain, but it is always done with the highest good in mind.  Let the opportunities present themselves without hurting anyone in the process. I don’t want someone to give funds instead of paying a bill.  That isn’t productive.  The evening was wonderful, the most important part, the ethics part was understood. Do what you will but do it ethically and with the greatest good in mind.  Intention is everything.

The next day I received an email regarding the Interfaith trip and I knew that magic had happened, spells were at work using an unlikely source.  One of the students had secured $4000 for the trip; $1000 for each student.  The Universe had answered the energy put out there by everyone, money was found that could be used.  Like I said magic happens.  Are we at our final goal yet? No.  We still need about $9000, but it will happen.  We have things planned.  The students understand that you can’t just cast a spell and do nothing else.  They are planning fund-raisers of all sorts and the money will come.  I thank everyone that has already given and who plans on giving in the future, we will continue to what we are going to do.

In the meantime remember that magic happens, spells really do work, and I hope that you find joy and unexpected happiness in your day.

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