This is the only photo I have so far. She'll probably make me pay dearly for doing it, but I'll have a few more up, sometime during winter/spring 2000. For now, this one will have to do. It certainly captures her, and all the things about her that attracted me in the first place. :-)
Update: Denise now has her own website, Cygnet's Nest.
Where to start. . .at the beginning I suppose. I was born in July 1958--you do the math, because I donít want to have to remember to update this page every birthday. Although I was born in Illinois, I canít remember living anywhere but Madison. Besides, a large portion of the people living in Madison donít come here until college, so I consider myself a native. I like Madison, itís cocky enough to think itís a big city, but small enough to still care about what happens. Now if we can just stop getting ranked #1 city to live in America things will be fine.
Oh yeah, this isnít about Madison. . .itís supposed to be about me. Hmmmm. I work as an administrative secretary for the University of Wisconsin. Office work has been good to me. As a state employee if you get bored with a job, you can always move somewhere else without losing any benefits, etc. Plus, the University brings some pretty interesting stuff to Madison, like the Dalai Lama.
But this isnít supposed to be about the University either. Shucks. In 1992 I experienced a spiritually transforming event. By the Fall of 1994 I had discovered Earth-based spiritual paths (paganism). I lean more towards shamanic practices, and believe the divine spirit is in every part of creation. I guess that makes me a pantheist. While I have a few different spirit guides and power animals, Dog Spirit has always been there for me. Watch me long enough and youíll realize how canine-ish I am (tip: begging works, but you need just the right tilt to the head and wide-eyed look).
The pagan community in this area is an enigma--sometimes it seems to be strong and very visible; other times it seems to disappear into the background. It takes a while to get plugged in. You need to go to a few events, meet people, be willing to reach out. However, once you connect, it is a great group of people who would go out of their way for you. The internet and usenet groups were wonderful in helping me connect to other pagans--solitary, but not lonely. It wasnít long before I contacted the local Unitarian Universalist Society, and was connected with their Womenísí Full Moon Ritual Circle--a group I continue to be active in (check the SpiritBase calendar).
At some point early in 1996 a great young man named Wade started a mailing list for Wisconsin pagans. He would manually forward all the messages to the group. Out of that grew the Wisconsin Pagan Mailing list (loving called the WIP list). Dan and I became acquainted in the early days of Wadeís list, both having the same domain name in our e-mail addresses. In February 1996 I started attending the Sunday night open shamanic drumming circle, and met Dan face-to-face shortly afterwards. However, the Universe evidently seemed to think we needed to learn yet a few more lessons separately, and kept us apart until Fall 1999. Now I canít imagine life without him. . .well, not true. I can imagine it--but itís a WHOLE lot less inviting.
Which brings us to now. . .Iím through. Go have a snack now (just canít take the mother out of the Cancerian), and then return to browsing Spirit Pathways.
I Used to CurseI used to curse the rain
as it poured from the sky.
Ruining my plans,
Iíd cry ďWhy me! Why?Ē
I used to curse the wind--
swirling, gusting through my hair.
Toying with the curls
so carefully arranged there.
Then Great Mother took me in her arms
and spoke lovingly in my ear.
Sharing secrets of the Universe,
some too terrible to hear.
Now I laugh with the rain
And I sing with the wind.
I know them as a part of me,
a part that never ends.
Denise, June 1995