This Beltane, my heart aches… for Katwood

I am a Pagan/Wiccan Crone, and my small family and I live on just over a half-acre in Suffolk County, on Long Island, New York. We share our outdoor space with numerous shrubs, plants, and trees: locust, maple (reds and greens), mimosa, several types of evergreen, crab apple, elderberry and mulberry. About four years ago we rescued a tiny oak – just a few inches tall – which now is a sapling of about two feet in height. I know it’s impossible for me to live long enough to see it produce acorns, but I am honored to have provided it a safe home as the oak and acorn are very special to me. You see, my initiatory heritage is Oak Tree Clan, of Katwood Sanctuary – 40 acres of trees, meadows, streams and sacred space located in the Southern U.S.

I am sad to say, the Sacred Space of Katwood Sanctuary has fallen into disrepair. The original High Priestess passed away; her High Priest remains, and he and his Lady live full-time at the Sanctuary. He now suffers from several physical disabilities, and she cannot do heavy labor alone. The property is owned outright, but they need help with the upkeep… and no-one seems to care.

In the “olden times” numerous able-bodied folk would visit, proud to be a part of Oak Tree Clan. They would pitch tents or come in campers and stay for Sabbats or Circle or feasts. They’d pick vegetables, cook large meals and clean-up afterward. Everything was done communally.

All would volunteer for jobs and make it work… but now it seems that all have abandoned their kin because physical labor is too much of an effort for them. I am worried for my Brother and his Lady. I have only recently been restored to my place in the Clan, and I have not visited the homestead in 20 years.

I am told that there had been a fire sometime back, which severely damaged the residence, and my Brother did what he could to make repairs. The outside needs help. The majestic old oak tree fell during a storm, barely missing the front porch. Most of it has been cut up but there is much yet to do.

Brush must be cleared, the house roof needs repair, weeds have to be pulled, food must be planted, fencing must be repaired and strung. The hot water heater was damaged in the fire, so there is only cold water now. The plumbing beneath the house must be insulated, and a barrier must be built to prevent the forest creatures from tearing the insulation away every winter so the water won’t freeze in the pipes. The driveway right-o-way has become so overgrown that it is difficult for a pick-up truck to pass through. There is no way that these two can do it all alone… and having been abandoned by Clan members is a most difficult sadness to bear.

FORTY ACRES, folks. FORTY ACRES OF BLESSED PAGAN SANCTUARY – a safe, consecrated place to gather and worship – and nobody remembers that it’s there! This lonely state of affairs has my Brother questioning his faith, and it breaks my heart. There are many of us who bemoan the fact that there are no places to hold gatherings… but this simply is not true.

Aren’t there any Pagans who would be willing to gather kith and kin and make an event of restoring Katwood to its glory?  These photos are of her gardens there, many years ago (thank you, Matt K). 

Together, we can restore this Sanctuary so our children can enjoy her… and their children as well… if only we make the effort.

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