I would like to apologize to all for not writing any blog entries for some time. This was not by accident. In recent months, Cathy’s blog entries have been used against us in this ongoing case. Although it is something we and our lawyer can deal with, I did not want to risk adding fuel to their fire and having my words used against us. I decided to continue not only because there have been a few exciting developments recently. A few days ago, the New York Times ran an article in the Our Towns column by Peter Applebome. Many thanks to Peter for a great interview and a great article! Also, many thanks to Colin DeVries of the Daily Mail and Julia Reischel of the Watershed Post and Jason Pitzl-Waters of the Wild Hunt for keeping our story out there.
It has been a very long, difficult journey for all of us, but especially for Cathryn and myself. Some well-meaning individuals have suggested that perhaps this is an indication that we are not supposed to be here. This is certainly not so. We have already long settled this with Mother that this is Her home as well as ours. She has also made it abundantly clear that there are certain issues that need to be worked out through this case, not the least of which is to temper us and make us stronger. We will never give up. Moreover, the more we discover about our situation taken in the context of the community, the clearer it becomes that this is just pure, blatant discrimination. We simply cannot walk away and let them win. No matter what the cost.
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Here is the more mundane news of what has been happening around here: At the end of May, we went to the town Grievance hearing over our denial as we have for many years now. This time, we came with supporters AND our lawyer who read the law to them and cited case law on issues like ours. We even offered to give them a tour of the property (which they refused), but once again, we were still denied.
In June, we completed the columns that form the three gateways to the temple as well as several more benches. We acquired a cement mixer and can now build as many concrete structures as we want. This is very important to us as well, not simply because of the durability of concrete, but also because it was one of the great, technological achievements of the Roman Empire. Still, it’s not exactly easy to work with concrete, especially if you are a woman. The column sections weigh a good 150 pounds each. I regard building with concrete as a testament of faith. Ultimately, we hope to fill the temple with concrete benches as well as cast altars for the Pagan circle. We also hope to create colonnades and fountains for the grounds. (Note: what we are doing with the concrete work is legally nothing more than garden statuary and DOES NOT REQUIRE A BUILDING PERMIT)
During the past Eight months, we have provided charitable housing for a total of four individuals. The shortest stay was 48 hours and the longest has been with us for four months and is still here. She is a remarkable woman who has contributed much during her stay. She has been teaching us weaving and has introduced us to the production of kefir. Thanks to this, we will be able to make our own cheese, beer and bread in the ancient way and without commercial yeast, yet another step toward self-sufficiency which is what we have wanted for a long time.
Palenville Pagan Pride Day was held on August 28th and was a great success. We collected 30 pounds of food for our local food pantries and we had over a hundred participants. We held several rituals and workshops.
Inside the house, we are almost finished with fixing and painting the old plaster walls. We are also almost finished with putting new floor tiles in the upstairs hallway, since we have already removed the old carpet and linoleum that was underneath. We have installed some reproduction as well as reconditioned antique lights adding to the period feel. Ultimately, it’s little touches like this that we hope will truly bring the building back to it’s 1890’s look.
The telegraph office is now complete and is set up in such a way that there are two desks representing two companies, Western Union and Postal Telegraph. They can send messages to each other in demonstrations. We are still hoping to have a remote location set up elsewhere for sending and receiving messages. Our telegraph office may also appear in a documentary about telegraphy currently in production. I’ll keep all the details posted as they occur.