This post is now a memorial to our dear friend and team member Petra Lucas who very sadly died young in January 2017
I’m Petra. I’m one of the Deputy Disabilities Managers. My job is basically to keep up with the goings on in the Disabilities Team and work with the lovely Debi Gregory and Beth Murray to keep us going in the right direction.
So far that has seen me appear live on camera to co-host an Online Festival and talk to people who have been hugely influential in my own path and get them to speak at our Online Festivals. I also leaped out of my comfort zone and gave a talk at Pagan Pride with Beth Murray. I work with Beth Murray to get the Disabled Pagans Voices Project out to you, the people . And now, I am delving back into the blogsphere to manage this blog on behalf of the team.
Petra is speaking here as part of our online festival for Lughnasadh 2016, introducing herself as East Midlands District Liaison and Deputy Disabilities Manager.
That was the scariest 10 minutes ever! But I’m glad I did it.
I’ve been knowingly Pagan for something like 15 years. However, I grew up in a rural family with Granny’s Way of Doing Things. You did things a certain way because Granny had told you to and it felt natural to always mix cake clockwise or to salt the lintels of a new home. I thought everyone swept the area out before starting a new project or refused to let May Blossom in the house before May. It was only when I met a group of friends that were Pagan that I realised that other people didn’t!! I was suddenly being taught all these interesting things… that were totally normal to me. I now know my devoutly Christian Granny had a few secrets but it was good to have a name for the life I led.
My path has always been decidedly Celtic. I loved the Welsh tales growing up and was drawn to modern stories that drew from Welsh legend. Alan Garner, Jenny Nimmo and Susan Cooper sang to my soul and still do. I often reread those books and I look forward to sharing them with my kids. In recent years, I have found myself walking through the woods on the path of the Druid. As is my nature, I read around and have now realised I am a Hedge Druid. I prefer the woods to the maze of buildings but I still love my city home.
My family is very important to me. I love my kids – even when I want to pitch them out of a window. They are a light in my life and they bring me joy. My son is 5 and we are in process of getting a diagnosis for him for Sensory Processing Disorder. My daughter has just turned 1 years old and she is a lively, curious creature like her brother and fierce like her mother. She gets her stubbornness from her father, honest.
My husband of 15 years is my partner in life. He has been with me through my discovery of my path. He walks beside me asking me questions and applying his scientific mind to my world. We agree to disagree sometimes but we both view the world as an amazing place to be in. We work together to raise our kids to see the beauty out there and to trust their own minds about the people they encounter. We know bad things happen in the world but we believe if we can raise resilient, thoughtful children then even the bad things can be dealt with.
My experience of disability is that of parent, wife and patient. My husband suffers from clinical depression; my son has learning disabilities and I have Fibromyalgia. We all have our challenges and we do what we can to help each other. My husband is the main carer for the kids – he cooks, cleans and launders for us all. I take care of the emotional and organisational side of family life. In our family, like my path, balance and service is key.
It’s this belief that got me where I am today, sitting here and talking to you. I heard about an Online Pagan Festival and spent an excited week taking part in the brain child of Debi and Kate Large (Editor of the Pagan Dawn). At the end of that week, I knew I needed to be part of the process. I wanted to help. I knew stuff that could help and I had to reach out to Debi.
That was the start of a great friendship and a fabulous working relationship. The Team has grown and each person adds a new dimension to the team. We all get on well and chat often. When I tentatively asked way back at Beltane if I could help out locally, I did not expect to be whole heartedly welcomed into such a generous spirited group. I have gained so many friends and met so many people thanks to my role first as District Liaison and then as Deputy Manager that I feel blessed that Debi said yes!
When I’m not online, I can be usually be found with yarn nearby or my artist’s pens. I love crafts! They give me breathing room and space to be me. I love to see the pretty things that my hands can create. I love that I can take a simple piece of yarn or a black line and make something with meaning and love. I give away a lot of crafts because I want to share the love and time with others. If something I have made can make someone smile on a sad day, then I think I’ve done my job.
Now as I set out on a new adventure on behalf of the Team and the lively PF Facebook Group for Pagans with Disabilities, I am excited and humbled by the stories I hear and the assistance that is offered. I am truly honoured to be trusted to speak with you all and to share my stories with you.
Thanks for listening to me and I hope to get to know you all in the comments.