End of Year Letter 2016

Remembering the Earth as Sacred
by Deirdre Pulgram Arthen

December 2016

WickerMan at EarthSpirit Rites of Spring 2016
WickerMan Rites of Spring 2016

Dear friends,
As we move into the winter and toward the end of the tax year, we again invite all of our members to contribute to EarthSpirit’s annual fund to support the work it does all year.

EarthSpirit holds and nourishes a community that supports families and individuals in truly living their spirituality, maintaining and passing along pagan cultures and traditions in a world that does not always share our values. Generous donors, like you, enable us to offer the rituals, classes and gatherings that create meeting places where we can build and deepen meaningful face to face connections, network with spiritual people around the world and also provide some financial support to community members who are ill or struggling.

EarthSpirit Rites of Spring 2016
Bacchus and Ragnar at the entrance gate Rites of Spring 2016
EarthSpirit Baby Saining
Saining Amari at Glenwood Farm, 2016

Rites of Spring 2016
This year has brought challenges. We have lost long-time friends and endured an extremely divisive election cycle. The political climate is tense, hate crimes are on the upswing and we are watching intolerance and prejudice come out of hiding. Some EarthSpirit members are feeling personally vulnerable and afraid. The need for clear information and communication, mutual support, and outreach to the diverse world around us has never been more pressing.
EarthSpirit is doing what it can to provide leadership and an anchor in this time of upheaval – offering encouragement to its members and taking action when we can in places where it is needed. We have written a statement of support for the Standing Rock water protectors, and sent Andras and Donovan Arthen to the camps to both deliver it and to make an offering of waters – from our home at Glenwood and from a sacred well in Scotland – as a statement of solidarity with the efforts there, and as a ritual reminder of the ways that all water is connected.

Donovan Arthen at Standing Rock
Donovan Arthen sharing Holy Water chant at Standing Rock

Now, we are supporting another EarthSpirit member, Ember Arthen-Cheyne, in her effort to go and serve there as a medic. We are organizing healing and singing circles to nurture and strengthen our members. We will be bringing people together for practical conversations about where to take action on behalf of our planet, how and when to stand up for others in the face of bias and discrimination, and also about what we will need to do to ensure our own endurance should the level of hatred increase.

Andras Corban Arthen of EarthSpirit at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Affairs 2016
Andras Corban Arthen of EarthSpirit at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Affairs 2016

The interfaith work that EarthSpirit has been committed to for so many years offers us many valuable connections. Our spiritual director, Andras Corban Arthen, continues to serve as Vice-chair of the Board for the Parliament of the World’s Religions. EarthSpirit and its members are well-known to many in that organization and they are supportive of us. Andras’ leadership within the European Congress of Ethnic Religions connects us directly with people still practicing those old indigenous ways in Europe, and our Earthways Initiative reaches out especially to Indigenous people in the US as well as in other parts of the world. We will continue to join forces with all of these people and groups to further our work to protect the Earth and support spiritual communities devoted to it.

The main ritual of the European Congress of Ethnic Religions in Prague, 2016
Andras Corban Arthen of EarthSpirit at the main ritual of the European Congress of Ethnic Religions in Prague, 2016

As all of this proceeds, EarthSpirit continues its day to day services. In the US this year, we again hosted more than a dozen seasonal rituals in both eastern and western Massachusetts. We reached out to the public at Boston Pride, at academic institutes, Pagan Pride events, environmental actions and at other festivals and interfaith services. We performed handfastings, baby blessings and funerals, counseled members in need, and supported those facing medical and emotional crises. We made improvements to the ritual spaces at Glenwood, our center and sanctuary in western Massachusetts, which we open to the community on a monthly basis. We began working to develop a long-range strategic plan for the organization, and made strides toward improving our infrastructure – maintaining an office and undertaking improvements to our online presence.

All of this work in so many areas requires a significant amount of funding to sustain it. Outreach and activist efforts which include travel – like Andras and Donovan’s trip to Standing Rock – can add considerable expense. Right now you may be overwhelmed with the many choices of worthy causes to which you can donate money. We hope that you will recognize EarthSpirit as an organization that serves you and those you care about – whether you know them personally or not, as well as one that steps up and acts when that is needed.

Our community has always been generous. We have consistently received contributions large and small which ­­­allow us to carry on. We appreciate every single one, as well as all of the volunteer time and expertise that our members contribute throughout the year. We are asking you to please consider increasing your financial donation to EarthSpirit this year to support our work to address the current challenges and to continue to move forward with our ongoing projects. We count on all of you to be a part of the web that holds us together on so many levels.

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

Deirdre Pulgram Arthen, Director

Checks made out to EarthSpirit may be mailed to:

PO Box 723
Williamsburg, MA, USA 01096

You can find out more about EarthSpirit’s work by liking “The EarthSpirit Community” on Facebook or by visiting our website: www.earthspirit.com .

A report from our representatives’ trip to Standing Rock will be available soon on EarthSpirit Voices: earthspiritvoices.wordpress.com