| MICHAEL LLOYD
As I write this in a small restaurant in Athens, Ohio, the contemporary Pagan holiday of Mabon (the autumnal equinox) is mere days away. The changing season is apparent all around. Sycamore trees shine like molten gold in the sunshine. The days run down to dark, while the nights ripen to a misty crispness that demands a bonfire. And pumpkin spice everything is, for better or worse, everywhere.
I’m spending a lot of time in Athens County these days as I prepare to move to a piece of land in the country. Mickey Hart asked me to write an October column before I leave central Ohio, promising that I could do it on “any topic you choose.” That’s always a dangerous proposition to offer this gay-Pagan-engineer-author. As you read this, Hallowe’en is fast approaching. Many of the Witchy persuasion might be tempted at this time of year to hold forth on that subject, but frankly, that’s been done to death for the better part of 70 years now. Instead, I’ll discuss the real reason for the season. Hallowe’en, like all of the Pagan sabbats , is a celebration of change.
Change is often feared because it’s a disruption in our comfortable routines, but change is a vital part of life, for
without change there can be no growth. One simply cannot evolve from a position of stasis. Indeed, how we respond to the very real challenges of man-made climate change in this era may affect the future of our species, perhaps to as great an extent as our ancestor’s response to the changes in climate that forced them from the trees in east Africa millions of years ago, and that prospect scares me much more than a few black cats and vampires.
But not all change is cataclysmic. For example, the gay community has gone from Stonewall to the legalization of our existence and the verge of marriage equality in the space of barely 50 years. This, after millennia of discrimination. However, if the history of racism in the U.S. is any indicator, we’ll yet endure further generations of trauma before we’re held on equal terms with our fellow Americans. Many of them are afraid because an abyss has opened at their feet as their petty assumptions of entitlement and moral superiority have been swept away. Their fear and willful ignorance continues to threaten our advances, but regardless of their resistance – or ours – change will come. It’s not always fast, nor is it without its costs.
I’ve done well by Columbus over the past 23 years (21 of which were spent in Olde Towne East, itself a scene of many changes). I formed the second longest running gay men’s coven in the U.S., co-founded one of the country’s largest spiritual gatherings for queer men, wrote a book, helped inaugurate a LGBTQ employee group at Battelle, served on the Near East Area Commission and the Kaleidoscope board, and found, and lost, love. Change comes to us all. Blessed be.