Dear Amanda et al.,

I doubt many of you know me, as I wasn’t able to make the meeting last Sunday at Alchemy Arts. I’d met Amanda the day before at a small gathering; maybe some of you were there. I was the small, dark-haired woman who bent Amanda’s ear so intently.

I’d like to add my reflections to Amanda’s, if you’ll allow me.

I described myself to Amanda as a “lazy pagan,” but, after reading her description of Ivan, I have to say that I’d put myself into the “atheist” camp as well, except for a handful of things I *do* believe in:

1. The power of thoughts to transform neurochemistry, to transform actions, and, thus, to transform lives;

2. The power of human intentions channelled into actions to influence the lives of others;

3. The power of perception in helping us understand life and all it is–and isn’t–and our personal power to choose to see life from a different perspective than the one our biology and experiences have formed, to challenge and transcend that perception with the help of others.

I don’t know what my role in Babylon will be. I’m at somewhat of a crossroad in my life right now, having turned 50 on Wednesday, an age that, in my youth I believed I would never reach, and, as it approached, was terrified of reaching. That I’m here–still here–at all is somewhat of a miracle to me, and I woke up Wednesday morning believing I could do anything. Which, quite frankly, doesn’t help me narrow down my choices for the next chapter in my life.

However, I’m committed to Babylon, with trepidation not only for the difference in my beliefs compared to those of others, but also for the time it may consume. I hope what I can bring to the group is perspective and wonder. Because the thing I believe most, with all of my being, is that there is more in life about which we don’t know than that we think we do know. I believe that science will someday explain what we call “magic(k),” just as science is learning that the “old remedies” have always had their bases in biology, chemistry, and physiology.

For me, Imbolg has always been the “Spring Cleaning” celebration, a time to clean out our homes and hearts of that which we no longer find useful, giving it away so that others might benefit and find use in those things, and to burn in the bale fire those things that are so broken that they have become a danger to ourselves and others.

This is my goal: to celebrate a blessed Ostara with a much lighter load to carry, both materially and neurologically. I hope becoming active in Babylon will help me reach that goal; and that, in getting to know me, you will find what I have to give useful.

Blessed Be,

Gretchen Alder

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