Love of Nature
College and Post College
Mel returned to the Hampton Roads area when he started college at Old Dominion University in the late 1980s. Mel came out as gay in his second semester at college and was an active member (and later president of) the Gay and Lesbian Student Union on campus. With the exception of a couple of years living in Roanoke, Virginia in the late 1990s, Mel has lived in Hampton Roads ever since.
In the early 2000s, Mel became involved in Paganism. His Pagan interests include Druidry, Hellenism, and Norse Paganism. Since that time, he has been instrumental in coordinating a number of men’s retreats including the Order of the Stone Circle retreats from 2001-2007; the Brotherhood by the Bog Pagan Men’s retreats from 2016 to present; and Arcadia Queer Pagan Men’s retreats from 2019 to present.
Mel has attended other men’s retreats such as Coph Nia: A Spiritual Retreat for Gay and Bi Pagan Men in 2014 and 2015; the Between the Worlds Gathering for Pagan Men Who Love Men in 2017; and Virtual Stone and Stang retreats 2022 and 2023. Mel was also involved in hosting a summer pride picnic in his local community for a few years.
Mel publishes Mysterious Ways, a biennial cyberzine for Queer Pagan men, and hosts the Discovering the Male Mysteries Podcast for Queer Pagan men.
Dream of a Rural Queer Community
Mel has always felt an ambivalence about living in the city. He is very inspired by nature, but being gay has traditionally been easier living in a city where there is an established LGBTQ community.
The idea of establishing a positive LGBTQ affirming community in rural Virginia is not a new idea. It has been Mel’s dream to own and operate some kind of men’s campground since around 1998. Originally Mel looked into the possibility of intentional communities. He also considered the possibility of running a men’s fitness spa should he remain in the city. While taking business classes at Tidewater Community College around 2010, Mel created business and marketing plans with the idea of a men’s campground or men’s fitness spa in mind.
In recent years, Mel has decided to take hold of his dream to create a campground and resort center for LGBTQ+ folks, Pagans, and other related communities that often have difficulty finding safe space at mainstream campgrounds and other venues. It is his hope to purchase land in Southwestern Virginia to create such a space. This will most likely be a retirement project after he retires from his current job in August 2030. However, this dream could happen sooner if Mel is able to find suitable employment in Southwestern Virginia that allows him to continue and keep his retirement benefits.
For more information on Mel, please visit his personal website at www.melmystery.com