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The Emperor Norton Pagan Group

Looking back at how this all started, I realize I might not be here today if it hadn't been for Emperor Norton. The Emperor Norton Magickal People Social of San Francisco, to be exact. But in the beginning, it was just the Emperor Norton Pagan Social...... That's where I met Diana for the first time.

For those of you who have not met Diana, she's kind of like a force of nature.And I say that in total love. There is an attraction about her that is very hard to put your finger on. People may not always like her, but they NEVER forget her. I think I was the very first person to show up at the first meetup. I'll leave it to Diana to tell how and why she started the group in the first place, but for me, I was looking for a place to belong as a pagan and people to share ideas with- without feeling pressure to join their particular path. I'd always been a solitary practitioner, and my previous experiences with groups left a bit to be desired. To be clear, they were nice enough people, but I'm not really a joiner. And, I don't really wander the tried and true paths. I'm the type of person that if I feel I need to speak to other beings, I just speak to them. I get the same results or better than if I did the whole ritual thing. I also don't always jive with the whole hierarchy thing. I've been practicing for over 30 years, and while there is still SO MUCH MORE i have to learn, I've definitely picked up some "out of the circle" thinking. and I've found that, more often than not, people on more traditional paths are not okay with that.

But even I want to converse with others, I wanted to share and learn. That desire led me to I hoped to find a group that would work for me. When I read the description for Emperor Norton, I was hopeful but cautious. The description was basically ALL ARE WELCOME. And it's true. All ARE welcome. Just don't be an asshole, treat people with respect. Keep it simple, lol. And when I met Diana, we hit it off immediately, talking about a multitude of subjects. And I knew this was a group for me. I had no idea that the decision to come there that day would lead me on this incredible journey!

In the years since, we've had many an interesting adventure. I daresay some of it is truly incredible to believe. I think I'm becoming used to it though, haha. I don't wake up thinking I should be committed as much anymore. I won't go into much detail. as some of these adventures are not just a part of MY story. But through it all, I've learned quite a bit about my magick. My magick is a mixture of demon and Fae. I work with both light AND shadow. I don't consider myself good or bad. I AM BALANCED. I connect to both sides of my magick for the greater good. Helping people has always been something I'm passionate about. Shadow work is just another tool in my endeavors to help. I connect to both Seelie and UnSeelie courts in my Fae magick, which has had a bigger learning curve than anything else. But it connects me to Life and growth within nature. Currently I am learning more about the Morrigan and Celtic pantheon, though I do not work exclusively with them. I am not connected to a particular path or tradition. Most witches work in circles, I am pleased to say I think outside the circle, hee hee. Though I do think I'm very well rounded.... (see what I did there hahahaha)

These days the group is still a great mix of people from various aspects. Our core group are people I absolutely ADORE for some many different reasons. People may come and go, but I'm very happy to say we are building a strong foundation for our little community. Sometimes it's tough in the pagan community, as a whole. If you are not attached to a specific trad or path, you re often times viewed as "other" or "lesser". In my 30+ years of practicing, I've met people in high positions of covens that don't have enough juice to knock over a field mouse, and "newbies" with so much power it makes my teeth itch. Pedigrees just don't matter to me. Diana, fortunately, does have somewhat of a "pedigree" in our world, which is nice because it helps them take us seriously. I prefer to stay in the background at that point. But I'm the first to jump up when we are going to experiment with some crazy multi-dimensional shit!

I remember one time in the group, we had visitors from another group come by to "check us out". Most of them were perfectly wonderful people. A few did unfortunately suffer from that particular disdain. As per our usual, we did a round robin for introductions. My standard intro is "Hi, I'm Nikki, I'm the co-organizer, I provide sarcasm and comic relief." I usually describe my self as a Kitchen or Hedge Witch, because sometimes the working with demons part makes new people nervous. There was a lady with the visitors who spent the beginning of the meeting chatting with Diana and the leader of their group. I'd been chatting with different people, but at this point was sitting back and just people watching, happy that groups were getting along. This woman came to chat with me. Her statement as she sat down was "So, I've finished talking to the brains of the operation (Diana), I want to see what the "kitchen witch" provides." I was a little taken aback at the sneer in her tone, but I replied "I told you, i provide sarcasm and comic relief." I could have told her some stories that made her hair stand up, but what's the point. I'm a metaphysical mutt, it's true haha. We chatted for a few minutes, but then thankfully she moved on. Surprisingly, they've never returned. I wonder why?

That's the entire reason we run our group the way we do. If you are on the fringe of the pagan community and don't necessary jive with a specified path or tradition, who can you ask questions of? Who do you experiment with? Where do you belong?

The Answer? With US. We'll be your community, we'll be your village. Just don't be a dick. Because then we will butt heads, and NO ONE likes that. And if you ARE a part of a specific path or tradition, you're welcome too!!! But, please don't come to preach. Come to listen and learn, and to teach. We can learn so much from each other when we communication respectfully and peacefully. Don't discount what some else has learned on their path, just because it's different from yours. The Universe speaks to us all in our own languages. When we put aside our differences and work together, wow, the things we can accomplish!!!!

That's my two cents for this post. I hope you found it interesting, at least! xoxo, Nikki

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