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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13 Comments

  1. Angelique Autumn said,

    May 2, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    This makes me very very sad! What an incredible Goddess Retreat Center this would make! I wish I had the money to help and I so wish i lived closer to take part in restoration of this glorious place. I am sure you have ideas floating around in that wonderful Crone head! Want to share? I would love to come an share in ritual sometime! Blessed be!

    Like

  2. Tina Jo said,

    May 2, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    I also wish I had funds to help or lived in a closer location to lend a hand. How sad to hear of such a plight! Please, sister, share any ideas you have. 🙂 If I am able to assist, I would be glad to.

    Like

  3. Debi Bliss said,

    May 3, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    It saddens my heart to read of this…..I wish there was such a place here, in Central Washington. I would so volunteer to help…..

    Like

  4. Natalie said,

    May 4, 2012 at 9:34 am

    It is a shame that this beautiful place has fallen in disrepair. I may not have funds but I do have time and muscles. That is all that is needed in life anyways. What is money but paper and metal. I do plan on heading south sometime this summer (Goddess willing) and it would be my pleasure to bend, pull, carry, tug, wash, scrub, push, clear, gather, restore, remove, cleanse, hammer…… Here is an idea. Make a week event out of it. Get old clan members and new ones and rebuild to former glory and throw the biggest party on the last day. Who knows you just may see me there:-)

    Like

  5. Moose said,

    July 28, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    I’m one of the few remaining that still visit regularly and help with the land. These beautiful photos don’t begin to show the sacred places and wood trails that are kept accessible in the Katwood forest. I try to keep them open with the thought that maybe one day there will be another gathering of good folk. BB

    Like

    • wiccanwoman said,

      August 2, 2012 at 6:59 am

      It is my deep and fervent hope that I will be a part of such a gathering. In fact, slowly but surely, I am trying to reach out to those I knew, who would still feel honored to remember their Clan. Funny you are called Moose, as this is my totem. Namaste, Brother mine.

      Like

  6. wiccanwoman said,

    October 20, 2013 at 7:58 am

    Having spoken with my Beloved Brother a few times over the last 2 weeks, I had to mention how loved I feel… and how complete. It is still possible we’ll be visiting Katwood, but as Summer has ended and Autumn has arrived, once again we will have to wait `til Spring…. If there are any who wish to reach out to my Brother, please let me know. He and his Lady are very alone, and could do with some companionship. BB.

    Like

  7. sahedgewitch said,

    February 26, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Anybody out there who still cares… following the tragic fire which razed the Katwood homestead of Oak Tree Clan to the ground with all possessions lost, I am setting up a fundraising site for a rebuild of Katwood as per the wishes of Daniel and Sue. They are currently safe, staying at the homestead of one of the Clan, Rock, who has opened his home and his heart until something more suitable can be done for them. Please donate generously to help get Daniel and Sue back to Katwood, where they belong, where they want to be… and where all of us are always welcome! Please join the Facebook group called “Katwood Rebuild” – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1561402730769897 – and if you are able, make a financial donation through this link on the GoFundMe site – http://www.gofundme.com/naa788

    BB

    Like

  8. bethfeagan said,

    February 27, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    I’m a member of that clan, and visit whenever I go home to Virginia. I live in Kentucky now, but my heart is in Virginia. And my heart is aching for Daniel and Sue and Katwood with all its spirits and creatures, plants and trees, creeks and springs. It’s alive. And it will be their home again. I donated to the GoFundMe fundraiser for Katwood, and I hope everyone else will too: http://t.co/otS7LlVoFQ

    Like

  9. Patch said,

    March 2, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    Hello, my name is Patch. My wife and I are travelling folk and saw this post. Was wondering where it was located and how we may be able to help. Feel free to email me in response at Drumpatch@gmail.com

    Like

  10. Ayden said,

    March 3, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Hello, Im Ayden. Patch shared this link, and if Im able Id love to help. Im located in VA, and may be able to take some time off to come and help with what ever I can do! please let me know at aydendarling@gmail.com

    Like

  11. Sigre said,

    March 3, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    I live in the SWVA and there are many pagans here. With outreach this can be repaired. Where is it located?

    Like

  12. George Andrews Jr. said,

    March 4, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Just a couple of questions (or several, actually): what is the location and who and what is meant by “The Oak Tree Clan”? I am into the early stages of self-sufficiency and have, within one year of my own efforts, realized the critical need for community; hence my questions. Land is sustanence and provides continuity through generations. Another question is, what is the long term vision? Love to help if the Vision is right for our species.

    Like


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