What Isaac taught me

In 1973, I see the book "Real Magic" by Isaac Bonewits in a card catalog. I search for it, only to find it’s in the restricted section of the library. I can check it out, but only for a week at a time. After checking it out five times, my grandmother buys me a copy. From this book, I learn that magic can be approached analytically and artistically.

In 1979, I write an article on using the Laws of Magic in role-playing games; the article is published in some small gaming magazine. I receive a letter from Isaac Bonewits, letting me know of Authentic Thaumaturgy. I’m stunned; I thought that someone as important as the author of a book on magic would not know about gaming. Isaac is not offended by my stepping on his toes; in fact, he mentions my name in the second printing of AT. I learn my first lesson about communicating with grace (though it would take another decade for that lesson to sink in).

In 1991, I find a group with which to being my Wiccan education. To my surprise, Isaac is the High Priest and co-teacher of the group; I meet him face-to-face for the first time. I learn the beginnings of what it means to be a Wiccan and a pagan.

Over the next 19 years, through lectures, he teaches me about ritual design, the ethics of magic, the practice of magical excellence. Through action, he teaches me about being raising a pagan child, about community, about magical action against intolerance.

In the last couple of years he teaches me about the value of friendship, as I become one of his best friends mainly because I invite him to games of Munchkin at my house.

In the last few months, he teaches me about dealing with illness and pain, and facing the end with dignity and acceptance… while refusing to go gently into that good night.

Today he taught me about the ending of pain, and dealing with death, as I help to carry his body out of his home.

Brother, wherever you are now, may the embraces be warm, may the booze be flowing, may the music be lovely, and may the discussions be stimulating… not necessarily in that order, of course.

Walking around Utica, NY

Sounds boring, doesn’t it? But every place has a different vibe and energy. Utica turns out to be more than just a generic upstate NY city.

My impressions:

– The architecture is varied and interesting… and the buildings are clean. I hadn’t fully appreciated what living in an area that’s not dominated by air pollution can do to an environment. Or maybe the Uticans do a better job of building upkeep than where I live.

– There’s definitely a cosmopolitan “feel” to the place. Within a couple of blocks of my hotel, there’s a Grace Episcopal Church, a Masonic Temple, a mosque, and a Kosher Deli. (Those who think that last one does not belong in this category do not fully understand Judaism.)

– There’s a nice fountain in the middle of the downtown area, surrounded by several benches… and a not a homeless person to be seen. Maybe this sounds petty, but my last trip was to Los Angeles, and that memory still haunts me.

– The main reason I was walking through downtown Utica was to look for a place to have dinner. There were lots of places… but apart from a Chinese take-out and a pizza parlor, they all closed by 3PM. Utica is definitely a breakfast+lunch town, but I guess you eat at home.

– The drive up here: Upstate NY is gorgeous. I’d forgotten how beautiful it is here.

— Posted using BlogPress from my iPad 3G

Location:Columbia St,Utica,United States