Wednesday, September 14, 2016

California CoG Coven working with active duty military Pagans

Annual Report, Dragon’s Weyr Circle
National Coven member,
Covenant of the Goddess

 Sarah “Stone” Hentges & Lisa Morganstern 
"Dragon’s Weyr Circle members have done a number of things for many years but we have not reported them to Grand Council.  Dragon’s Weyr is a traditional BTW coven, practicing Wicca, with some members who are “out” and others who are not. We respect the traditional secrecy of our faith. We are involved in our community leading public rituals as well as blots and a number of us are involved in Antelope Valley Pagan Pride Day, which Lisa Morgenstern our HPS founded. Lisa has been doing prison ministry as a volunteer Chaplain at California State Prison-Los Angeles County since 2005. She has taken the past year off but continues to advise on the internet via The Troth’s In-Reach program, which supports Heathens in prison and seeks to provide an alternative to the racist Heathenry which is rampant within many prisons. In-Reach has helped a lot of Heathens be permitted to have services in prison that normally would have been told no by the administration because of ignorance of Asatru, Heathenry, and other forms of Germanic Paganism. Lisa also serves as a member of the Antelope Valley Interfaith Council and offers prayers at the two annual services held, the Thanksgiving Eve Service and the National Day of Prayer event.

Amy Watson (Nia-Ailey), one of our long time members, continues her ministry as a REVL (Religious Education Vocational Learning) and Non-Chaplain Worship Leader at Los Angeles Air Force Base. She is not currently leading services there like she did at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio, or at Edwards AFB in California, but she has been asked to lead some training classes for interested employees and airmen by the Chaplain. Amy was asked to man a Wiccan booth for a Diversity Workshop at the base this month. She began this work nearly 8 years ago, and has been an inspiration to other members of our coven to make similar use of their credentials. COG is one of three Pagan Organizations that the military will recognize a clergy credential from and authorize a COG credential holder to lead services.

When Amy’s family moved to a new base, Lisa Morgenstern was authorized to lead services in her absence at Edwards Air Force Base. Sadly there are few “out” pagans currently at Edwards of which we are aware, and the current Command’s Chaplains are Evangelical Christians. Lisa continues to reach out to the Chaplains at Edwards should there be a call for services, because when there are people requesting it, we can start services again. Previously we held weekly Thursday services at Edwards for a group who have mostly PCS’ed (moved away).

One of our newer members, Sarah “Stone” Hentges, has this to report: Dragon’s Weyr Circle now has a member that is the Wiccan Lay Leader at China Lake Naval Air Weapons Center in Ridgecrest California.  These are the first Wiccan services offered at this base.  Until 2016 the Navy offered no Wiccan services in the western region.  As of August 2016 there are two Naval bases that offer these services.  On Thursday May 5, 2016, the national day of prayer China Lake held its first Wiccan services with the Lay Leader and two participants, one of which had to leave early.  As of August 2016 there are six core participants and multiple occasional participants, including one retired and one active duty Sailor.  We have a room dedicated to our meetings so that we may store items there rather than take them home every time we meet.  We hold ritual for Full Moons and Sabbats and have multiple other activities such as meditations, herbs, stones, and spell crafts.  We always share a potluck meal.  Without the support and encouragement of my coven and ordination from The Covenant of The Goddess this would not have happened.  The China Lake group meets every Thursday at 1800 in the All Faith Chapel Education Building room 8. If you find yourself in the area, please join us. 

This past Memorial Day, Lisa and John Morgenstern and Sarah Hentges drove about three hours to another California base to meet with Heathen military servicemen who wanted to have a blot. John and Lisa led a ceremony to honor the Einherjar, the fallen warriors who are revered in Asatru. Her COG credential and a letter from Diana Paxson of The Troth helped that along. Because Lisa had her COG Credential and the chaplain of that unit was familiar with COG, we were permitted to hold this service in the Chapel, on a military base, which had great meaning for us and we believe, for the two servicemen who were new to Heathenry.

Dragon’s Weyr Circle members feel strongly about supporting our military and our freedom of religion as well as other social justice issues regarding minorities.   We are proud to say that we have led services for military on 4 different bases over the years and for Navy, Marines, and Air Force."


Lisa Morgenstern