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A Pagan Retreat in Appalachia



It wasn't long ago that the furthest south I'd been was Maryland. Then about 11 years ago I met Jannette who lives in the Knoxville area of Tennessee. Jannette is a warm and sunny person who worked very hard with me as the editor for "Sticks, Stones, Roots and Bones" and more recently on "The Big Book of Soul." Yesterday, I was looking in an old sketch book with Nepalese handmade paper in it, when I discovered this lovely landscape of the sacred grounds at Cerren Ered in Cosby TN. Cerren Ered, a pagan community in Appalachia, is home to many pagan festivals, it holds a camp ground, magickally charged trees and natural formations, a bubbling brook that seems to want to speak to you, and for a touch of whimsy, the infamous castle. I went there at not such a good time in my life. What I found was a natural environment that has a strong spiritual energy, almost every where you walk and I made the nicest friends ever. I spent as much time as I could sky clad because the environment invites that type of natural engagement with the elements. The circular stone structure in the drawing is where some important rituals and ceremonies take place. I found the stone circle to be a great place to connect with the earth goddesses and I did my own private ritual there. I wanted this drawing to attempt to capture the vibrancy, magick and mystery of the Great Smoky mountains, which are home to Cerren Ered, as well as the mystical powers of the water and the wood. Truly, I have never before been to a place like Cerren Ered, where the landscape and people are so alive with positive spirit.

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