This lesson about leadership, in the various areas of my life, has been a somewhat recurring one that has allowed me to face some fears and express some talents and abilities, but it has also raised some questions that for which I doubt I will ever find complete answers.
You’ve now heard the stories about becoming a High Priestess, taking over being the head of the Coven, and even the story of how I was asked to coordinate the annual event called “Goddess Gathering”. This last thing, being a coordinator, opened a whole new can of worms. It is this new “can of worms” that has left me dazed and confused, wondering what makes people do and say what they have done and said.
One thing about me, that it’s important to understand, is that if you asked me to do something, I take it seriously and will do it to the very best of my ability. This task of coordinating this event was no different, even when I was doing it behind the scenes before I actually became the coordinator, the face of the event.
Have you ever coordinated an event, even if it is a small one? If you have, you know the key to it is organization and, if there are enough people, delegating tasks. You have to be willing to trust people to do their best at the task you have given them. Micro-managing only produces unnecessary stress and causes friction.
That first Gathering that was to take place on our new land was a challenge, to say the least. Most of the original committee members had quit for various reasons and we had new land to open up, that didn’t even have a road into it from the gravel country road that ran in front of it.
I started making phone calls (in 1989, computers were little known and seldom owned), to hopefully get help from both my own Coven members and those who had regularly attended the first five Gatherings. It’s amazing how many people who claim to be part of a Nature-based religion don’t want to get their hands dirty or be out in Nature! Even trying to get people to fill the vacant committee spots was more than difficult.
For awhile it looked like my High Priest and I, along with a couple of Coven members would be all there was to put this first event on this land together. Well, I pulled up my big girl panties and took a deep breathe. The Goddess had led us here and I was determined to make this happen.
As soon as Spring broke in 1990, for the next twelve weeks, my High Priest and I would pack the truck, after getting off work on second shift, and travel across state to set up our screen tent at about 4 a.m. and sleep until the sun came up. It was cold in the first weeks. We slept in snow mobile suits, inside sleeping bags on chaise lounges. We’d get up, eat and then start clearing land by hand or with the very few gas-powered tools we had.
At home, I was publishing my newsletter while taking care of PR for the Gathering and sending out information about the upcoming event while still running the Coven and going to my mundane job.
Please don’t assume I’m bragging here or trying to set myself up as some kind of martyr. The fact is I want you to get a clear picture of how seriously I took all this. To me, if it meant burning that candle at both ends and in the middle, then that’s what I would do to make it all come together.
In the weeks that followed, more people did show up to help and the event did take place. What an adventure that was! (I’ll have to tell you that story sometime.) The other thing that happened was an occurrence that began my questions about people. My two Coven members, who had willing said they would help and took on numerous tasks, not only didn’t do the tasks but quit and refused to speak to me! When I finally did get the female, I’ll call her Cindy, to speak to me, she informed me that I expected too much, that there was no way they could do all that I expected and take care of their personal lives. I was shocked and stunned. I had only expected them to be honest as to what they were willing to do and then do it. Cindy even had her phone number changed so that I couldn’t reach her! I was devastated. What could I possibly have done wrong? I had always asked them if they were willing to do this or that. I never demanded anything. What good would that have done? They had willing agreed to each thing and never said anything to the contrary until time started running short and I needed the work to be done. I was extremely confused and now, besides losing some dear friends and Coven members, I had that work to take care of as well. Little did I realize then that this would be a theme that would repeat itself over and over again throughout my sojourn as Coordinator of Goddess Gathering and Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary.
As I have probably mentioned about this land of ours, it’s whole purpose was spiritual in nature. It wasn’t your usual piece of ground used for flea markets or county fairs. It was to be a sanctuary for people, plants and animals. For people, it meant a safe place to reconnect with Nature and practice our rites of worship. It meant we would be stewards of this land and keep animals and plants safe as possible. For me, it meant putting aside my ego – with any fears, doubts or agendas – and listening to the guidance of the Goddess as to how this piece of land was to be used.
Over the course of the 13 years I was the coordinator, rules were made and changes occurred. When I presented something, it was because it had been presented to me as guidance in meditation. I think, because most didn’t really bother to get to know me, they felt I was feeding my ego. What was even stranger was that almost no one had the courage of their convictions to speak to me about it. From behind my back, there was much said about how “unapproachable” I was. Yet, almost no one even tried to approach me. I was confused….very confused and hurt. I was trying to do what I was being guided to do and I was being condemned for it.
After 20 years with the Gathering and 11 years doing the Coordinator’s job, I really had had enough. I asked the Goddess for a sign that I could retire and She gave it. I spent the next two years screening people to take my place and then training the candidate that was chosen. The rest of the story I’ve related elsewhere in my ramblings should you desire to hear it again.
In 2002, ten years ago, I handed the reigns of the position of Coordinator over to my successor. I left and only returned to clean out my “cabin”. It had been my intention to return and participate in the gatherings to come, but the Goddess, the Universe, or by whatever name you would choose to recognize a higher authority chose otherwise. My tenure there is done and in some respects I miss it very much.
I know there was a Divine plan for that land. I know it was never meant to “die” the way it has. Some say, “It is good to be King (or Queen).” I don’t think many realize the responsibility that is required to be a good one and how people will dislike you for trying to do your job well.
I now understand why I’ve always believed so much in the saying, “Walk a mile in my shoes (or moccasins).”
May your journey bring you wisdom and may you find wisdom in standing in another’s shoes.