Certain events go down in the history of Manhattan Party-Making: Truman Capote’s Black and White Party; Warhol’s Factory Scene; and the heyday of Studio 54 are some examples. I expect that few, however, are as unique as the Witch-Gala Book Launch of Michael Lloyd’s Bull of Heaven: the Mythic Life of Eddie Buczynski and the Rise of the New York Pagan, which took place at Restaurant Sala One Nine on August 19, 2012. The point of Sala One Nine (a truly excellent restaurant, by the way; if you are ever in New York, by all means, treat yourself to a delicious and uniquely Pagan dinner, at Sala One Nine) the point is this: it is the site of NYC’s former premier Witch Store Magickal Childe. All the more brilliant, then, as the choice of place for the official book-revealing of Bull of Heaven (awaited with such eagerness by the NYC Witch Scene for so long, I can’t begin to tell you). You might not quite be able to appreciate, but the window of the space is decorated with Herman Slater’s official portrait for the occasion, and the cover-art for Bull of Heaven, as well as Empowered by several Witch-Candles set across the shelf. Everyone in attendance agreed, it was such a Joy to see Witch-Candles burning again at Magickal Childe (Sala One Nine).
The occasion as well, was one for the most Select of NYC Witches- in that the guest list drew upon Witches who had been “on the scene” since the late ’60s, or at least since the early ’70s. Joining these were certain members of the Newer Traditions of NYC Witchcraft (in some cases, persons so “newer” as to have been Initiated by some of the older attendees). Here is a brief review of some of the Luminaries of the Occasion (my thanks to Matthew Sawicki, Lucky, and Michael Lloyd for sharing their photos):
It is with such pride that I present this photograph of my friend Matthew Sawicki and the Awesome Duo that he dubs the “Minoan Mothers” of New York (taken outside Sala One Nine). This photo alone demonstrates the (sometimes complicated) Lineage Tradition of NYC Witches- in this case, reaching back to Eddie Buczynski himself. Matthew was initiated into the Minoan Brotherhood by Eddie’s last personal initiate; and he has been initiated into Eddie’s Wica Tradition through a Lineage of East Village Covens. The Minoan Mothers featured with him are Carol Bulzone (Lady Miw-Sekhmet) and Ria Rivera (Lady Rhea), called the “Minoan Mothers” for being the co-founders (with Mr. Buczynski) of the Minoan Sisterhood. I remember Lady Miw and Lady Rhea as the proprietresses of Enchantments, the Witch-Store of the East Village in the early ’90s. As this was the Rent Generation Era of NYC at the time (immortalized in a show called Rent; perhaps you have heard of it), characterized by the bohemians and artistic types inhabiting the then-derelict neighborhood- I remember the days when Lady Miw and Lady Rhea were the Rent Generation Witch-Queens of NYC. (I also remember being in the Pagan Contingent of a Pride Parade in the early ’90s, where Lady Miw had herself hoisted atop this great, strong Pagan’s shoulders, and carried down Fifth Avenue, shouting out her Gay Pagan Pride from this excellently elevated vantage point.) These two ladies have done so much to foster Pagan Community in NYC, it is my pleasure and honor to acknowledge them.
One of the things that I loved about the “NYC Witch-Gala” was the Meeting between the “Old School” Craft of “The Day,” and the “New” Craft of “Today.” Nowhere do I think this is better expressed than in this shot, depicting Carol Bulzone (Lady Miw-Sekhmet), co-founder of the Minoan Sisterhood and co-Propriestess of Enchantments, greeting Selkie Lyrazel, High Priestess of Grailwood Coven. For the record, I have many good friends involved with Grailwood, and have attended many of their Open Rituals. They do excellent work, and are a marvelously inspired and committed group of Witches- led by a marvelously dedicated and inspirational High Priestess. Check out how the dynamic of this picture, all by itself, “reads” Two Generations of NYC Witchcraft, greeting one another with Witches’ Good Feeling. (Also check out how Bull of Heaven is on the table behind them.) This says it all about the Gala.
Please see here a notable gathering of the “First Generation” of NYC Witches: (from Left to Right) Bennie Geraci (Damien); Ria Rivera (Lady Rhea); Kaye Flagg (Lady Vivienne); Matthew Sawicki (Lord Apollo); Roger Pratt; Margot Adler; Sally Eaton; Carol Bulzone (Lady Miw-Sekhmet); Michael Lloyd (Minos Hesperus); Karen Bartlett (Lady Althea); Artie Jamison (Lord Tammuz); and Gwilym Dafydd. These are the people who started the “Magickal Life” in New York City (well, except for Michael Lloyd, who chronicled it, instead). It was a special honor to have been present at their reunion.
The New York Times (which covered the event) made a bit of the “strapping man” who worked the door for us, clad only in a “loincloth and headdress.” (Well, of course we had a “strapping man” working the door, dressed only in a loincloth and headdress. If you’re going to give an invitation-only affair in midtown, you need someone to work the door; if you’re a Pagan giving a Pagan invitation-only affair, of course, you want someone “strapping,” dressed like a loin-clothed Aztec, working your door. Just think about it for a minute, folks, and you’ll realize- of course you do.) In this picture, we may see Michael Lloyd- our host for this uniquely Witchy and Gay Pagan Affair- with our “strapping” doorman: who happened to come to the attention of the New York Times.
And here, with this natty gentleman, we see Gary Suto, the High Priest, Director, and Producer of the Eddie Buczynski Memorial Ritual (and doesn’t he look very dashing and Pagan Professional Fashionable). For the record, Gary is the founder (in 2004) of the New York Open Gay Men’s Pagan Circle, which performed the Ritual. As an example of how one Pagan’s Vision can affect many others (even beyond his imagination): the Minoan Brotherhood founded by Eddie Buczynski is kept alive in New York City by Gary, Minos of the NYC Minoan Grove Temenos Ophiuchus. (Gary was elevated to Minos by his Minos, Michael Lloyd; for the record, I personally know all the guys involved in Gary’s Grove- they are all a great group of guys; any Gay Male Seekers interested in the Minoan Brotherhood, and Eddie Buczynski’s legacy- this Grove I would recommend whole-heartedly, and without hesitation).
As someone said during the Ritual: Keep the Light shining! Pass it on!
May the Gods preserve the Craft- and may the Craft preserve the Gods! Blessed be!