A Letter to Portland from a Colorado Pagan

Photo and sketch by Mike Rohde (CC)Dear Portland,

I’m moving to you in August.

My husband and I are packing up all of our things, loading up our three dogs in the car, and driving for two days across Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, a bit of Idaho, and a good stretch of eastern Oregon to get to you.

Neither of us have lived in you before. Sean’s visited more than I have, but every time I’ve been I’ve really loved you.

Part of me thinks you’re kind of a pagan who doesn’t really identify as Pagan. You don’t like labels. But you compost, and your people seem more aware of their impact on the natural world. It’s not like you’re one big coven or something, but you do have a lot of trees. You’re kind of one gigantic grove.

That sounds lovely to me.

Moving to you during this time when I’m without a defined religious identity feels like it may be a portent of some new Way on the horizon. My husband reminds me, though, that this change I’m feeling is really about me, and what’s going on inside of me.

You’re just a coincidence.

But you seem like more than that sometimes. You seem like the promise of something better; the hope of a greener, more contemplative practice. You seem like fertile soil for the kind of religious life I feel drawn to.

I’m sorry if that’s putting a lot of pressure on you. It may be unfair of me. I don’t want to create unrealistic expectations of you. You’re a city, after all. You don’t really owe me anything, and nobody asked me to move to you. We’re moving, in part, because a number of changes are lining up to make this feel like the exact right moment to leave Colorado.

For one, our kid is starting college. He doesn’t really need us the way that he did before. We’ve been prepping him for a while about wanting to leave Colorado one day, and he’s even though about moving to Oregon after he has a few years of school under his belt. He’s still got his mom here, and we’ve promised to be back for some holidays and to fly him out for other ones. We think he’ll be ok without us.

We’ve also been offered a really terrific living situation once we arrive. Our friends are moving eastward, and they’re letting us rent their house. We won’t be paying any more to live there than we are to live here. All we’ve got to do is come up with the money for the moving expenses, and I think we can cover that.

More than anything, we just really want to be in Oregon. There’s been a pull toward that state for years, and neither of us has been able to understand why.

I guess I’m telling you all of this, Portland, because I’m trying to make sense of what this move means. I’m looking around at all of my things, all of them representing some period of my life — my Christianity, my Druidry, my time with ADF and the Fellowship — and I’m considering what it means to pack all of that up and move it to you. I don’t know which of these things are still important to me, or which I will have no use for once I’m there. I don’t know if I should get rid of everything and start from scratch, or if I should cherry-pick the things that seem worth taking.

[The fact that my stuff is such a concern to me is something worth noting, perhaps something worth it’s own post.]

I have 6 weeks to prepare myself to be in you and I don’t really know how to start.

So, I’ll begin with this letter. A one-way correspondence. You won’t read it — and that’s ok — but writing it helps me start to process through all of this.

Your future resident,


P.S. Did you know that John Michael Greer lives used to live only about 4 hours south of you? I love his beard. Maybe I’ll grow a beard like that once I arrive. Maybe I’ll start looking into AODA, too.






14 responses to “A Letter to Portland from a Colorado Pagan”

  1. Heartache Into Beauty Avatar

    Best of luck with your move! I hope you find what you need in Portland.

  2. AnantaAndroscoggin Avatar

    Navigating the city of Portland will be much easier once you learn where the city is divided into Southeast, Southwest, Northwest, North, Northeast, as well as where each of the bridges across the Willamette lead to. (Division Street is the North/South separator)

    And you’ll hear Portlanders reminding folk that the proper terminology is “Skid Road” and “Skid Roader,” seeing as the original location of this starts at the western end of (if I remember correctly) the Burnside Bridge.

    I haven’t been there in a long while, though I passed through the airport in 2001 to attend my parents’ 50th anniversary in Goshen. Portland was a nice city, and has interesting communities surrounding it. Go visit Silver Falls State Park which is just a short distance south on I-5 and then a bit to the east. Visit Multnomah Falls (one of my favorites) up the Columbia Gorge a ways.

    Good fortune in house/apartment hunting.

  3. TarotD Avatar

    My husband just retired and we have no lived in Southern Oregon for 1 week. Still unpacking and getting settled. We moved from Los Angeles .. we used to live in Denver and Glenwood Springs many years ago and it was a hard choice this time to choose between Oregon and Colorado. We looked at Portland but have now ended up 4 hours south of Portland. 🙂

  4. TigressSky Avatar

    Well the other day I happened across your blog and decided to start following you and now you are moving to my city. I too moved here from Colorado just a little over 13 years ago after getting my degree from USC. Although I was born here and all of my remaining family live here – I did not grow up here. Although that is straying off topic. I am a part of the pagan community that exists within the PacNW and have been for 12 of my 13 years here. I too have come to a point of wondering where my spirituality lay once again – surrounded by the things in my life that represent all of the paths I have walked. Anyway … I hope you find great welcome when you come here and I look forward to reading more from you as you begin this transformation. Maybe someday our paths will cross.


  5. mark teeters Avatar
    mark teeters

    Welcome to Oregon,when you arrive.
    I am a friend of Sara and John Michael Greer in the 4 hours south area if Oregon.
    Fitting into a new area is an experience that I haven’t had to undergo in many years. I hope and trust that your relocation will meet and exceed the expectations that you are moving here with.

    Land lightly and hit the ground walking. You may find that the Japanese Garden in Washington Park can be a wonderful place to rest and orient when you arrive. No doubt you will be a bit road crazy from the trip in the heat with 3 dogs. The Rose Garden can also be a wonderful setting to allow you to settle in and fit yourself into your new home.
    Oregon is a place of magic and wonder, but do your ‘homework’ in making it your new home.

    Again, welcome
    mark teeters

  6. Amanda Lynn Avatar
    Amanda Lynn

    Enjoyed your post! I’ve lived all over and Oregon is my favorite place of them all! <3 It really is a Earth/Humanity conscious place… a lot more than anyplace I've been anyway. So welcome! And if you're ever down around Eugene, come say hi at the Willamette Earth Based Spirituality Meetups!

  7. KaTerra Avatar

    You will be here in time for Columbia-Willamette Pagan Pride day on Sept 15th. We have a face book page if you are interested in finding out more info. Welcome to Portland.

    1. Tasha Danner Avatar
      Tasha Danner

      Awesome. Old paths crossing every day. KaTerra-Teo and I have been friends since I was 13 years old. I am so excited for him to meet all my new friends here in the Pagan community.

  8. Soli Avatar

    I hope the move goes safely and uneventfully. For myself, I still have my eyes on the Bay area. The west coast does have a certain appeal to it.

  9. Stephanie Avatar

    I grew up in Portland and even though I haven’t been blessed enough to live there in almost 10 years, when I think “home” that is what comes to mind. It is a wonderful place and I believe that you will find what you are looking for and be very happy. The Pacific Northwest is unlike any other area of the US. Trust me, I know. I’ve lived in Oregon, Washington, Missouri, Louisiana and now Oklahoma. Oregon and Washington are still “home.”

  10. PhaedraHPS Avatar

    John Michal Greer moved to the east coast a couple of years back. But the rest of us four hours south will welcome you.

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      It will be great to finally meet you in person, Phaedra!

  11. Sister Krissy Avatar
    Sister Krissy

    I look forward to welcoming you to Portland!

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      I’m glad to know that the Sisters are rep’d in PDX!

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