Friday, November 30, 2012

Jean’s Place: My Home Away from Home

Every month or so I pack up my stuff & take my show on the road. I go to my friend Jean’s place to do readings & teach. It’s a professional gig, I get paid, room & board. It’s a sweet deal & always a lot of fun. Here’s why.

I met Jean at an annual camping event for the clergy program I had belonged to at the time. She was an Elder of the organization & we bonded very quickly over a group discussion of a hypothetical Pagan Barbie doll & what accessories she might have. We howled with laughter that night along with Diane, Jane, Tony, Kristine & of course my Amy was with me. 

We all went through a lot together as clergy training, in this case Wiccan, is a challenge. We had our share of joys & tears throughout, bonding us together long after we left that program.

We chose to meet at Jean’s place, as it was big enough to hold all of us, including Tony & Kristine’s son Damien who we have all watched grow up. (He taught Amy how to play Indiana Jones & Star Wars Lego on the Wii.) It was located centrally enough, that it made sense to meet up as often as we can, which averaged about twice a year. 

Those beginning years at Jean’s place were therapeutic, magical on occasion & always hysterically funny. The lineup of who could make it would vary a bit. But we always manage to see everyone at least once a year.

It has become my getaway, my home away from home. A place to rejuvenate, just chill & graze on good food all day long. It was at Jean’s that I discovered my love for pesto on Swiss. With a nice piece of wheat baguette, really, so satisfying. Jean introduced us to her, at the time, co worker Ilona, who became the resident foodie, always bringing a carload of Wegmans goods & filling Jean’s coffee table with enough chip, dip, cheese, fruit, bread, spreads & that’s not even touching the sugar tirade of desserts.

We also got to know Melissa, another co worker turned friend of Jean’s, who in many ways acted as a liaison to the outside world, bringing in other people to hang out. It was all very organic. We’d watch movies, trade readings, have a few cocktails. Really, it is the best time that does so much for me personally.

I return to Long Island every time feeling renewed, recharged & refreshed with a new perspective on my life here. That’s what vacations are supposed to do, right? The insights I would receive over a weekend would really shift my thinking with new clarity. It wasn’t epiphany level stuff regularly, though I get those semi- annually. But it has made a difference in my life for the better, for certain.

So, when Jean started discussing doing readings there, that Jane, Diane & Ilona who also read, could come & make some extra cash, I agreed to go for it. It’s a selfish thing for me really. 2 times a year was great, but I wanted more. That I could make enough money for gas, tolls & butts was enough for me. Over the past 2 years we have been developing the program, expanding it, offering classes as well as readings to the menu.

The Unofficial Motto!

I forgot to mention that Jean has both an indoor fireplace & an outdoor fire pit. They get used a lot, even in summer, though at night of course. We have spent so many hours at both outdoor & indoor hearths that it has always been an integral part of the Jean’s place experience. That’s why Jean decided to call it:

Jean’s Place: The Sacred Hearth.

See, Jean has a dream of owning & running her own bed & breakfast. She’s been talking about it for over 10 years. Little by little pieces of the puzzle come together & more are still showing up. Like I said, I try & go there once a month or so, though the holidays are tricky. But we do our best. We’ve been offering Friday night & Saturday readings, but have added classes this past year on Witchcraft, Ho’oponopono, Law of Attraction & even started offering Sunday Morning Services, which is great. We’re building a really sweet community & slowly expanding the events to include Wednesday & Thursday nights.

The original gang still gets together a few times a year & when we do, we don’t do business. But we still  hang out, often with the same people who come for readings & classes. Something good is growing at Jean’s Place, but as I look back I notice it has been growing since we met in the middle of the woods, under a pole tent, at a picnic table, cackling into the wee hours of the morning discussing Wiccan/Pagan Barbie with the button in her back that raises her arms into Goddess position when you push it. Really, these people are my family & we all share the same fucked up sense of humor.

You should see us doing ritual. Really the quarter calls alone… “Heeeeeere quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter,” in the South, of course. I have laughed at Jean’s Place more than any one place aside from my own home. So you can see why I go there so much & why I love working there. It is indeed a sacred hearth for me, as I hold that time sacred. It is also really cool to watch this thing grow over the years into a business helping people chill & expand. Or, as Jean herself has branded it “Love, Laugh, Learn, Grow.”

I am writing this now the night before I pack up Veronicar, my Saturn VUE & head out to Jean’s. I’m doing a 7pm Witchclass & have all day to drive the 3 hours, stop & get Arbys, which we are seriously lacking on L.I., get there, unpack, chill & do what I love most, in a place I love, with people I love, laughing so much I come close to urination more than a few times. 

The Sacred Hearth has really transformed my work into play at Jean’s. I do urge you to check it out & if you live in the South Jersey, Westampton area, drop Jean a line.

For directions or other questions, please contact Jean's Place at: or
609-510-3895 from 9AM to 9PM, Monday thru Saturday. 

On Facebook:

OK, I gotta get some sleep. My pre-drive routine starts at 9am with Starbucks, as usual for any work day. But I know by the time I return on Sunday I’ll be ready for my work week to be really amazing.

Blessed Be,

Rev. Mark A. Lyons, President
Drawing the Circle Productions INC.
631-968-8307 @ProfWitch on Twitter

1 comment:

  1. <3

    See you Sunday, and have a safe trip <3