As someone with a handful of chronic medical conditions, I want to be clear about what people can expect from me. I also want to provide accommodations to you if you need them and they’re possible for me. Please let me know about any questions you have about this information, so we can figure out what the options are.
I usually think, talk, and write in paragraphs. This is not something everyone likes or does well with. If you find reading this site difficult, there’s a decent chance we’re not going to be a good fit for each other for ongoing teaching or small group work.
- I have multiple chronic health issues, and have set up my life (and calendar) to help me manage them.
- I sometimes need to reschedule meetings or adjust plans if something is flaring.
- Email is my preferred communication method (other than in-person teaching.)
- I expect most teaching and group work to take place in my apartment.
- My apartment has some common allergens (cat, fragrance) and requires managing a flight of stairs. It is on several bus lines.
- My preferred teaching style includes background reading both online and in print. I can make adjustments for this in many cases.
- I have substantial experience with people who read lips or who are visually impaired, and have ways to adapt tradition practices to these needs.
The conditions I live with affect how much energy, stamina, and focus I have on a given day. I’ve set up my life so I can manage the basics (work, household necessities, etc.) but if more than one of the things I live with is flaring, I may not have a lot of energy left over after I take care of the basic essentials.
Scheduling: I sometimes need to cancel or reschedule plans, or change how I go about them (especially if we’re talking about more complex ritual activities that I am leading). We can talk about how you’d prefer to handle this and how much notice you need.
Long-term planning: Things outside my usual routine take me longer to recover from than most people, whether that’s the environment (a winter storm), good things (travel), or bad things (getting a cold). I plan ahead to avoid this when I can, but sometimes that’s not possible.
Please use email if possible: Email is something I can answer when I have focus and energy. I use several tools to help me remember to follow up if an email comes in at a bad time. Other communication methods may interrupt me at work, not be seen promptly, or I may forget I need to answer them.
Other methods: Phone or text are not good ways to get hold of me unless I’m expecting to meet or hear from you. My phone ringer is usually off unless I’m expecting a call and I may not see texts promptly. (Voicemails are sent to me as an email, so I can see it and call back promptly if there’s an emergency.)
I don’t generally share my phone number with people unless I have regular ongoing interactions with them.
Reading texts: I use a lot of reading (online and print) as part of my teaching either to expand on material we discuss together, or give you background before a particular topic. If reading is difficult for you, we can find other options, but it may take substantially longer to cover the same topics in training.
A note about Facebook: I have a Facebook account under my legal name, but do not check it regularly. I do not discuss Pagan or other personal information on it (health specifics, for example) for a variety of reasons I’m glad to discuss in detail if you ask.
Where do we meet? My default assumption is that we would do most teaching and ritual activities at my apartment : I live alone, so quiet space is not a problem and it makes it a lot easier on me when I’m prepping for either ritual or teaching.
I’m open to considering alternate locations as long as they offer sufficient privacy and quiet for ritual or meditation work, and so long as they do not require substantial transit time or additional setup time from me.
My location: I live two blocks from several bus lines that stop at various Red Line stops (Harvard, Porter, or Alewife), and about five blocks from a bus that runs to Lechemere regularly. There is street parking near my apartment.
Access: I live in a walk-out basement apartment in a private home accessed by a number of stairs (three up, then three down, and about twelve down). There are sturdy railings. Once you are in the apartment, it is step-free access.
Allergens: I have one cat. The apartment has wood floors, and I run air filters in the living room all the time and sweep and vacuum regularly.
Due to my allergies and my cat’s needs, I am afraid I cannot have service dogs in my living space.
I use moderate amounts of perfume and scented products (natural scents, generally) routinely as part of both my personal ritual practice and self-care. Avoiding specific scents before a visit is something I’m willing and able to do in many cases, but avoiding all scent likely won’t be possible.
Key points: Some of our ritual practices may have additional challenges, risks, or difficulties for people with chronic physical or mental health concerns. Some portions of the tradition include oathbound rituals where you may not know in advance all of what will happen in the ritual.
One thing I ask of all students is that ongoing conditions have been reasonably stable for at least 6 months (you’re not in the middle of trying new treatments or making significant changes in medications), and that you have access to suitable professional care if something flares up. I expect the same thing of myself.
My practice is to ask questions about people’s backgrounds at different stages of a student’s work, before the things involved come up in ritual or other experiences.
My initial questions focus on making sure we can find a good place to meet, and then more detail when someone asks to become a Dedicant, with additional discussions before two specific oathbound rituals as they come up.
These discussions do involve sharing medical information, so that I can help you make informed decisions about specific situations, and so I can consider what adjustments might help.
Incense: Incense is a key part of a particular part of our ritual, however, the scent and ingredient choices are fairly flexible. The normal amount is a single stick, burned with good ventilation: the required amount is about 10-15 minutes at most, but could be put out after that.
Food and drink: Ritual includes shared food and drink: the default is wine and bread (small amounts in both cases) but alternatives are possible. I generally prefer an additive model (for example, wine, bread, and then other foods people can choose and a non-alcoholic drink) rather than removing options. Post-ritual meals are more flexible.
Adaptations: I have some experience adapting common training practices (breathing techniques, guided meditations, ritual steps) for people who have difficulties for various reasons: we can discuss these when they come up.
Indoor or outdoor? Outdoor ritual may be a possibility, but for a variety of reasons, ritual is most likely going to be indoors, with perhaps an outdoor segment before or after. I am heat intolerant (which makes outdoor summer rituals complicated), and 12 years living in Minnesota made me very aware of the discomfort and dangers of the cold.
[Last updated: January 2019]