Monday, March 31, 2014

Dissolution Announcement


Dear Friends of Hudson Valley Pagan Network Inc. ~

I am writing to you today to alert you to some changes within HVPN Inc. which are on the horizon and which will directly affect this blog and its readers.

Hudson Valley Pagan Network Inc. has enjoyed a remarkable twenty plus year history of existence in the Capital District of New York. We evolved in the early 1990’s out of a handful of interested individuals who desired to foster community and make it easier for local Wiccans and Pagans to find each other. A parallel goal was to provide a public face for Pagans within the larger Capital Region community, to fight stereotypical anti-Pagan propaganda and reduce fear of Paganism through offerings of open public ceremonies and education. Our founders wanted to be the “Pagans that did something”. Out of these very modest beginnings with idealistic youthful hearts and high aspirations we were able to achieve a great deal of success over the years.

Our numbers grew and our organizational operations became more formalized over the years. We moved from meeting in each other’s living rooms to meeting in public venues which could accommodate our growing membership and make ourselves available to the larger Pagan community. We organized and hosted public and semipublic ritual events for the eight seasonal holidays. The second Sunday of the month served for years as the day of our business and Community Meetings. We also organized and facilitated a training and ordination program for those who were interested in offering their services to our community and others as Pagan Clergy. In the later years we began to organize and host Spiritual Retreats consisting of a day away for Pagans in the countryside to commune with nature, each other, and the spirit within. Early on we published a newsletter, Crescent Shadows, which was free to members and sold locally to promote our activities and provide a forum for education. With the coming of “cyber space” and the development of the online world we tapped our Membership’s talent and created our own Yahoo! Group, Blog, and Face Book Presence. These eventually took the place of our print newsletter. For many years there were additional social and educational events such as the very popular “HVPN Witches’ Ball”, a costumed ball at Samhain attended by hundreds. Some even travelled from out of state for a night of dancing, feasting, prizes and fun. Also popular was our annual daylong seminar of classes, “HVPN University”.  This event was not only an opportunity to attend a variety of workshops taught by local talent but boasted wonderful vendors and internationally known and respected Pagan guest speakers such as Isaac Bonewits and Selena Fox. We eventually established and achieved the goal to incorporate as a formally recognized not-for-profit 501(c) 3 organization so that we could make better use of the funds we were raising. Charity had long been one of our focuses and with the not-for-profit status this was formalized. Countless hours have been donated by our Members at fund raisers (such as our Psychic Fairs) which not only allowed us to finance the wonderful events mentioned earlier over the years but also allowed us to provide charitable support to those in need. In the early days we raised money for a variety of outside charities in support of such worthy causes as increasing literacy etc. In later years we began our own Adopt a Family Program which started out helping adopted families just at Yule time but then expanded to a full year of assistance! Over the years our Members have been so generous with their time and their dollars. We have made a real difference in the lives of so many people and have accomplished much to be proud of!

In the last several years our Membership has been in decline and efforts to reverse this trend have failed to be successful. Although our decline can be traced to multiple factors, I believe a large source of this decline can be attributed to cultural shifts that have accompanied the advent of the Internet and the subsequently ever evolving tools of social media. These are able to feed the growing appetite for easy access to information and “community” with efficiency in the comfort of wherever you happen to be.  In many ways a networking organization like ours ceases to be relevant in today’s world. An organization that fosters face to face interaction which is “member run and member driven” requires a level of time and commitment in exchange for the benefits it offers to its members, placing us at a clear disadvantage in terms of attracting new members, especially from the younger generation. With fewer new members coming in with energy and enthusiasm to foster activity we have not been able to sustain our former levels of activity. Many of our events have been discontinued over recent years as interest, funding, and participation has waned and cutbacks have been necessary.

As an organization, our Members have recognized that we are in a state of decline and have discussed our various options.  We have at length come to the conclusion that the responsible thing to do at this time, which is in the best interest of the organization, its Membership, and the people it serves, is to dissolve HVPN Inc. This conclusion was formalized at a business meeting of our Membership in the Autumn of 2013 and the process of our dissolution is now underway. Once we have completed the process of dissolution, Hudson Valley Pagan Network Inc. will cease to exist as part of the dissolution process is to surrender use of the name. Though our Members will continue to function as individuals, within informal community and as a group of friends it will no longer be under the banner of HVPN.

What does this means in terms of this blog?  Our Members have decided that we no longer generate the amount of activity that warrants the maintenance of both a blog and a Facebook Page.  Activity here has waned. Therefore, in the near future this blog will be taken down but the Facebook Page will be maintained. For any who are interested in keeping in touch with the soon to be former Members of HVPN Inc. the Facebook Page has been re-named “Hudson Valley Pagans” as a temporary measure while we work on deciding a new group identity.

With the dissolution in process we will have one final opportunity (as HVPN) to make a difference in the wider community. We have been granted permission to distribute our remaining funds as directed by the wishes of our Members in support of Wiskers and in support of our final Adopt a Family recipient.

Our founders had a vision for what we could accomplish and I think we’ve done amazing things that, hopefully, would make them proud. But of all the successes we’ve celebrated, the one which I feel is most important harkens all the way back to our roots in 1993. We fostered and grew a community, a true community. Does this mean we were problem free in some blissed out state of glorious harmony? Hardly! We are human, after all, and in truth we have suffered some losses because of that. However, we did foster and still live relationships that are real, complex and invigorating. They push us to grow, sometimes in spite of ourselves, but always in the knowledge that we are a community, a family, that we can count on for support and to give us a well-deserved kick in the ass when needed. Many of us have been friends for twenty years or more. We’ve fought and we’ve reconciled. We’ve celebrated and we’ve mourned. We’ve seen children born and grow to adulthood in our community. A generation of people raised as Pagans! We’ve held each other through the loss of many elders. In many ways we’ve come full circle as all life is destined to do. We’re back to meeting for coffee and in each other’s living rooms for holidays weaving dreams for the future. To quote a very dear friend of HVPN, “If it gets any better than this, I cannot imagine how.”

In closing, if I've managed to miss any other major pieces of HVPN history please forgive. Twenty years is a very long time to summarize. I welcome and would love to hear of your favorite HVPN memories and stories and invite all of you to share them with us here!


Until we meet again, blessings to you all!
Allan P.
(acting HVPN Executive Officer)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Spiritual Retreat – Autumn 2013

 

Please join us Sunday, September 22, 2013 at Universal Pathways in Berne, NY (http://universalpathways.wordpress.com/) for our final event sponsored under the name of HVPN Inc. Dissolution of the organization is under way and this name will be surrendered as part of that process. “HVPN” has been a banner under which we’ve gathered as a community over a twenty year history. Join us to celebrate our accomplished past and plan for a future we’ve yet to create! The archived photos and other HVPN memorabilia will be available to those interested. Children and teens under the age of 18yrs are welcomed at the retreat but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The agenda for the day is loosely structured and will offer a mixture of activity with plenty of unscheduled time to be spent in the manner which you will find most meaningful!

 

10am:  Gathering and Greeting

11:00am: Opening Group Ceremony

1:00pm:  Community Potluck Feast  

3:00 – 7:00pm: Free Time for Solitary and small group pursuits

 

Cost: HVPN Inc. is covering the cost for admission for all HVPN Members and guests for this retreat. However, voluntary donations to support the ongoing mission and care of the land at Universal Pathways, though not tax exempt, are welcomed.

 

What to bring: This time the main feast will take place at mid-day but will remain potluck. Please bring a dish to share. Ritual wear is welcome and encouraged! Consider bringing drums, tarot cards, journals or other ritual items you may wish to use in the time allotted. Consider clothing needs for both indoor and outdoor activity as the weather permits including activities throughout the day and evening. All participants are invited to stay and attend Universal Pathway’s celebration of the Autumnal Equinox which starts at 7pm and also includes a potluck dinner after the fire circle!

 

 

Universal Pathways is located about 15 minutes south of Altamont via Rt 156 and then Co. Rd 254 (Pleasant Valley Rd.) Please feel free to contact me, Allan, at artaios3@aol.com  for more information.

Friday, June 7, 2013


Spiritual Retreat – Summer 2013

 

Please join us Sunday, June 30th 2013 at the beautiful sanctuary known as Universal Pathways in Berne, NY. (http://universalpathways.wordpress.com/). Here you will find an abundance of indoor and outdoor sacred space where you will have the freedom to connect with the sacred within yourself and within nature. Enjoy time in one of the many reading rooms, meditating in the gardens, walking the labyrinth, or finding your own path through the woods and fields. Group activities are not tradition specific and no prior training or experience is needed. Children and teens under the age of 18yrs are welcomed but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.  The agenda for the day is loosely structured and will offer a mixture of activity with the accent being on personal time spent in the manner which you will find most meaningful!

 

10am:  Gathering and Greeting

11:00am: Opening Group Ceremony

11:30am – 5:00pm: Free Time for Solitary and small group pursuits

5:00pm: Community Potluck Feast

 

Cost: HVPN Inc. is covering the cost for admission for all HVPN Members and guests for this retreat. Voluntary donations to support the ongoing mission and care of the land at Universal Pathways, though not tax exempt, are most welcomed.

 

What to bring: The main feast will take place later in the day so bring whatever you’ll need for lunch, light snacks and drinks. The feast will begin at 5pm and will be potluck. Please bring a dish to share. There is a small kitchen and ample outlets for crock pots. Ritual wear is welcome and encouraged! Consider bringing drums, tarot cards, journals or other ritual items you may wish to use in the solitary time allotted. Consider clothing needs for both indoor and outdoor activity as the weather permits.

 

Universal Pathways is located about 15 minutes south of Altamont via Rt 156 and then Co. Rd 254 (Pleasant Valley Rd.) Please feel free to contact me, Allan, at artaios3@aol.com  for more information.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Adopt-A-Family

Annually, members of HVPN contribute to a Yuletide "Adopt-a-Family" fund, gifting a struggling family with the means to enjoy a happier holiday. Past beneficiaries have included strangers, members and friends of HVPN. This year we are pleased to announce that we have adopted Mary Browne, our dear friend and mentor, whose beloved husband Steve was tragically killed this past summer in an accident on their farm.

We are inviting members of the greater community to join us this year in creating this gift. HVPN, Inc. is a tax exempt organization under IRS code 501 (c) 3. Your cancelled check, made out to HVPN, Inc., can serve as your receipt. An additional receipt is available on request. All donations received, earmarked for this fund, will go directly to this gift for Mary. Donation checks can be given to any HVPN member, or mailed to the HVPN, PO Box 5164, Albany, NY. 12205-0164. Thank you, in advance for your generosity. Blessed Yule!

Monday, October 8, 2012


Spiritual Retreat –Autumn 2012

Sunday, November 18th, from 10am through about 6pm we hope you’ll join us at the beautiful sanctuary known as Universal Pathways in Berne, NY. (www.universalpathways.com).

Here you will find an abundance of indoor and outdoor sacred space where you will have the freedom to rediscover and connect with the sacred within yourself and within nature. Enjoy time reading in one of the many reading rooms, meditating in the gardens, walking the labyrinth, visiting the cave or finding your own path through the woods and fields. The agenda for the day will be very loosely structured and will offer a mixture of solitary and communal activity with the accent being on personal time spent in the manner which you will find most meaningful:

10am:  Gathering and Greeting
10:30 – 11:00am: Opening Ceremony
11:00am – 5:00pm: Free Time for Solitary and small group pursuits
5:00pm – Closing: Community Feast

Cost of admission is $25.00 per adult. Children and teens under the age of 18yrs must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and are admitted at no charge. However, donations on their behalf would be welcome. We will be happy to accept cash (please attempt to have correct change) or checks (made out to HVPN Inc.) upon your arrival. All proceeds collected benefit Universal Pathways.

Mary has mentioned that the Leonid Meteor Shower is that weekend so if anyone would like to stay into the evening to enjoy the beautiful night sky they are welcome!

What to bring: The main feast will take place later in the day so bring whatever you’ll need for lunch. Light snacks and drinks to share throughout the day will also be welcome. The feast will begin at 5pm and will be potluck. Bring a dish to share. There is a small kitchen and ample outlets for crock pots. Ritual wear is welcome and encouraged. Consider bringing drums, tarot cards, journals or other ritual items you may wish to use in the solitary time allotted. Consider clothing needs for both indoor and outdoor activity as the weather permits. Please be aware that cell phones and beepers often do not receive signals in this location. However, the office does have a phone for urgent calls.

This is NOT an HVPN member’s only event. We love to see old friends and welcome new friends as well! Any interested persons are welcome! Group activities are not tradition specific and no prior training or experience is needed. Please feel free to contact me, Allan, (artaios3@aol.com) for more information.

Universal Pathways is located about 15 minutes south of Altamont via Rt 156 and then Co. Rd 254 (Pleasant Valley Rd.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

For Steve Browne

To the great bear, Mary's strength -- goodbye.



Break, Break, Break By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Break, break, break,
 On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
 The thoughts that arise in me.

O, well for the fisherman's boy,
That he shouts with his sister at play!
O, well for the sailor lad,
 That he sings in his boat on the bay!

And the stately ships go on
 To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanish'd hand,
 And the sound of a voice that is still!

Break, break, break
 At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
 Will never come back to me.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Happy Midsummer

A wonderful time was had by all in attendance at Midsummer 2012.  Hosted by the ever hospitable Claudia and Bob, it was a great opportunity to rest, relax, converse about everything under the sun, and eat, eat, EAT!  Bob can really build a fire...


And Claudia sets a lovely altar...


Their property is beautiful, and provided plenty of room for camping out.


Before the second feast of the day, we sent our wishes and thanks skyward on the body of our sacrificed Lugh, as energies were raised for the coming harvest seasons.



Thanks to all who made this a very enjoyable event!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Beltane 2012

A chilly but wonderful time was had by all at Beltane 2012 at Peeble's Island State Park in Cohoes, NY.

The sun was bright even if the temperatures were only in the lower fifties.  Congratulations to Nolan and Maryann, the new King and Queen of the May!


We were forced to use a spot closer to the parking lot and power poles, etc. for the maypole this year due to some lanscaping going on at the park.  They were reseeding a lot of the grass and they added a planter near the pavillion!





The maypole wrapped smoothly! May all your spring intentions take flight and manifest!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spiritual Retreat

Please join us Saturday, June 30th at the beautiful sanctuary known as Universal Pathways in Berne, NY. (www.universalpathways.com). Here you will find an abundance of indoor and outdoor sacred space where you will have the freedom to connect with the sacred within yourself and within nature. Enjoy time in one of the many reading rooms, meditating in the gardens, walking the labyrinth, or finding your own path through the woods and fields. The agenda for the day is loosely structured and will offer a mixture activity with the accent being on personal time spent in the manner which you will find most meaningful!

10am: Gathering and Greeting

10:30 – 11:00am: Opening Ceremony

11:00am – 5:00pm: Free Time for Solitary and small group pursuits

5:00pm – Closing: Community Feast

Cost of admission is $25.00 per adult. Children and teens under the age of 18yrs must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and are admitted at no charge. All proceeds collected benefit Universal Pathways. Any interested persons are welcome! Group activities are not tradition specific and no prior training or experience is needed.

What to bring: The main feast will take place later in the day so bring whatever you’ll need for lunch. Light snacks and drinks to share throughout the day will also be welcome. The feast will begin at 5pm and will be potluck. Please bring a dish to share. There is a small kitchen and ample outlets for crock pots. Ritual wear is welcome and encouraged. Consider bringing drums, tarot cards, journals or other ritual items you may wish to use in the solitary time allotted. Consider clothing needs for both indoor and outdoor activity as the weather permits.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Year Ahead....2012

2012 Events Calendar

Events have established as follows:

Beltane: Sunday, April 29th

Midsummer: Saturday, June 23rd

Paganic: Sunday, July 8th, after the Community Meeting

Psychic Fair: Friday, Oct 12th

Witches’ Ball / Samhain: Saturday, October 27th

Yule: Saturday, Dec 15th

Other area notable events:

Venture Inward: Psychic Fairs are February 9th and 10th

WE MISS THE Witches’ Ball!!!!!!

Group discussion has generated quite a bit of enthusiasm to revisit and hold a 2012 Witches Ball. The lovely Dee has offered to chair this event. When discussion pointed out that October was shaping up to be a very event heavy month, the idea to combine the ball with the Samhain celebration by including a short “ritual performance” was raised and well received. Stay tuned for more information!!