Grounding Our Web

EarthSpirit Reflections 2023

EarthSpiritEarthSpirit End of the Year Reflections for 2023

Once again the days are shortening and the cold is creeping in; the calendar year is coming to an end. It is time to take a moment to look back at what EarthSpirit has accomplished during 2023, and acknowledge the many EarthSpirit members who have contributed toward the organization’s growth and success. Some members have volunteered dozens of hours teaching, organizing, staffing or planning for EarthSpirit events. Others have made generous financial contributions this year, and still more have helped strengthen the community by attending in person or participating online. So many people have contributed in so many ways. We would not be who we are without you. Thank you! We feel blessed to be a part of this committed and dedicated community.

This year, once again, we engaged fully in EarthSpirit’s core work of sharing knowledge of Earth-centered spiritual traditions and practices, building community connections, developing a deeper connection with the sacred land, and offering transformative ritual.

It has been wonderful to be able to gather in person once again, maintaining existing strong connections and developing new ones. It was exciting to be able to bring our mid-winter weekend event, A Feast of Lights, back to Northampton, Massachusetts at the beginning of the year, making it easily accessible for many members who are local to that area. We will be returning to the same venue, the Hotel Northampton, in January of 2024.

A Feast of Lights 22

We have held seasonal rituals for the community: indoors during cold months, and outdoors with the Sacred Land events at Glenwood which offer the public an opportunity to get to know EarthSpirit’s home and the sacred sites there. We welcomed Moira Ashleigh as our 6th EarthSpirit Community Elder in a ceremony at Rites of Spring this year. We performed marriages and funerals, celebrated births, and ritually marked other life passages, including holding Coming-of-Age rituals for 4 of our young people at Rites of Spring. This community remains remarkable in its care for the well-being and comfort of each other, making room for closeness and distance as needed when we come together at large events or community rituals. We continue to find strength in the web of connection that we have built with each other and with all beings of the Earth.

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Our Zoom skills were put to good use again this year, with the continuation of our weekly Sunflower Morning and Evening get-togethers, hosted by dedicated volunteers Anya Arthen and Katie and Chris LaFond, with others filling in as needed. These weekly online gatherings for members have become a consistent presence and a way of caring for and holding each other over distances and time. Having online connection points throughout the year, along with our in-person events and rituals, has kept EarthSpirit at the center of many people’s lives.

With several certified Death Midwives as part of our community, we are beginning to offer some events and workshops on that topic. We hosted a Death Cafe in November, which was well attended, providing a space for open conversation about death. In January we will be holding a workshop on planning for the end of life and we hope to follow up with more conversations and workshops over the year to come.

Our dozens of event volunteers – teachers, ritualists, musicians, Clan Leaders, fire-tenders,designers, first-responders, cooks and planners – created beautiful and meaningful in-person events for hundreds of community members in groups large and small. Many thanks to all of those who made these events possible, and especially to the many hard workers behind-the-scenes.

This year the Board and a number of core volunteers shared their training in Restorative Justice with the rest of the community through workshops at Rites of Spring. This set of principles and processes provides a foundational structure we can use to hold those who may be in conflict within the community, focused on restoring relationships and strengthening our web. It offers a powerful counterpoint to the mainstream cultural narrative of justice through punishment and instead honors the power of truly listening, the possibility of change, and our interconnectedness even through times of conflict. We have begun to put these methods into practice as conflicts have arisen, and we look forward to deepening our practices together throughout the coming year.

EarthSpirit has maintained its connections with other communities too this year. Board members Chris and Katie LaFond organized the Western Massachusetts Pagan Pride event, featuring several EarthSpirit members as teachers or ritual leaders. Chris has also maintained a presence on a local television show, sharing seasonally about pagan traditions and holidays. I represented EarthSpirit as a featured presenter at Gaia’ Womb in Wisconsin and Andras did the same at Paganicon in Minneapolis. EarthSpirit members also continue to be involved in local interfaith groups and events.

Last winter was very hard on the trees at Glenwood. Some were bent to the ground and others were spit in half from the snow load. One large white pine next to the Peace Cairn had to be professionally taken down at considerable expense. Looking forward, we are planning further repairs and renovations to the Community Center (aka the Common House) and the Board has created a team to consider and discuss what else is needed to maintain Glenwood as EarthSpirit’s home for the future.


Broken tree

The EarthSpirit Community is built by many hands and dedicated hearts. Whether you participate in programs online or in person, whether you listen to the podcast or read the blog, whether you contribute your time, your friendship or your funds, you are part of what makes it happen. We look forward to seeing you this winter, and if you are able to this year, we hope that you will also choose to make a donation to EarthSpirit to help us meet our financial obligations in the coming year. We will happily send you a receipt for your tax deduction.

Thank you all for being part of, and supporting, the EarthSpirit Community.
We wish you all a blessed Yule and a prosperous and healthy year ahead.

Deirdre Pulgram-Arthen
EarthSpirit Executive Director


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