The New Jersey Iron Garden

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The New Jersey Iron Garden

Postby The Madame X » Thu Apr 21, 2016 4:04 pm

The New Jersey Iron Garden, Reclaiming the Flame that Flourishes the Seeds
by: Madame X & Trismegistus (Jabbar Martin)
with contributions by Lord Traveler Asura MacPhee, Finna Beruthiel DeElf, Blueeyesoulfof Ra Horakhty, Asif Murad, Herr Wulfsunus, Lord Ramirez, and Lord Kage Von Draconus

In this two-part article we bring together the builders of the Iron Garden, both the new and the original court to better illustrate and ultimately lead you to better understand what fires this impetus, what is, and was, the Iron Garden through the eyes of its founders, and where exactly are we headed. It is our desire to inform, reminisce and inspire.
In the first section of our article we bring together the six founders of the new Iron Garden to detail their aspirations, goals and unveil what drives them forward. While in the second section we draw upon the earlier memories and inspirations of 3 of the original Iron Garden Founders. It has been both an honor and a rare pleasure to be able to collate this very relevant piece of New Jersey Nightkind History.
So, sit back, grab your favorite libation and enjoy.

Part 1

The New Iron Garden

The founders of the new Iron Garden: Madame X, Lord Traveler Asura MacPhee, Finna Beruthiel DeElf, Blueeyesoulfof Ra Horakhty, Asif Murad, and Herr Wulfsunus come together to clarify, explain and highlight some of the most pertinent details about this new organization. We hope that you enjoy reading their altruistic perspectives and community-minded goals so that perhaps you too find inspiration and a new way to contribute to your local community.

When Madame X returned to Bergen Country after living for several years in Savannah, GA, she was very saddened to see that the Court of the Iron Garden was gone. In an attempt to survey community interest, she revived the NJ Chapter of Bloodlines International in 2012 and many NJ denizens reached out to her inquiring about a NJ based haven. Asif Murad, Black Swan for House of the Dreaming, and old friend and supporter of the Vampire Community, was one of the people that over the years kept reminding the Madame that it would be a great idea for her to build a NJ Court. For years Herr Wulfsunus of House of the Dreaming wanted to “create a regularly occurring NJ based event, where all would be welcome to participate and share in its value and growth.” Lord Traveler, of House Sabretooth Asura MacPhee, who is a resident of Hudson County, wanted to start something for NJ as well; he wanted to avoid all the travel into New York City and still associate with The Community. But it wasn’t until 2014 that they came together to act upon the idea. Madame X approached both Asif and Finna Beruthiel DeElf to help create the new haven; Asif to bring in the wisdom of the past, and Finna to bring a fresh balanced view for the new Court. Blueeyesoulfof Ra Horakhty adds that she was excited and very interested in being part of an organization that would bring together Nightkind to learn, network, have fun, and socialize. “I have the perfect team of thinkers and doers”, said Madame X. “I am so proud of what we have done so far.”

“Our Mission is quite simple”, Asif says, “the Iron Garden exists to provide a safe haven for like-minded kindred to socialize and a reoccurring time and place to provide presentations, readings, discussions, and entertainment pertaining to the darkly dark interests.” Blueeyesoulfof Ra Horakhty adds that it is also a great platform to promote the arts, conduct charity work, and network. Finna states: “the purpose of the Iron Garden is to direct individuals toward the resources they are interested in discovering and to help them develop their knowledge and skills.” Unanimously, all the founders agree that The Iron Garden is certainly not here to convert anyone to paganism, to the occult, or to vampirism, but instead to help each other awaken and grow to a new layer of reality. This is our mission and our continued future goal. Madame X hopes that this contribution to the NJ Community inspires friendships, artists, writers, artisans, mystics and all the journeyers that make up the New Jersey Nightkind Community.

Both Madame X and Lord Traveler wanted to pay homage to the original NJ Court established in the late 90’s; they wanted to recognize and remind everyone of the Haven that came before, give the older community members a bit of nostalgia, and, at the same time, allow the newer members to share in the history of the NJ Community. Wulfsunus reminds us of the “meaning of the name Iron Garden, the Garden State, the Ironbound section of Newark where QXT’s is located, and that all members would be like seeds flourishing in a garden.” Blueeyesoulfof Ra Horakhty loves the protective imagery of the name and Asif wholeheartedly concurred with the suggestion to retain the Iron Garden name since we had the support and trust from the Primus of the original Iron Garden – Lord Vahmp. It was a bonus that we were able to secure QXT’s, the original venue, as the venue for the new Iron Garden, Madame X says. She wants to reclaim the flame that burned so brightly in the original founders when the Iron Garden first came to be two decades ago; and now, over a year later, we can still feel that fire burning in our hearts and see the seeds flourishing in our garden.

According to Madame X, who herself was one of the founders of the original Iron Garden, she attempted to track down and contact all the other original founding elders out of friendship and courtesy. “It would have been wonderful to have them all by our side as we build a new organization inspired in the old. All of the Original Founders have a seat at our Advisory Table if they so wish it.” Some have chosen different paths, Wulfsunus continues, or have simply chosen not to be active members for personal reasons. We are however, very proud to have one original founder on our advisory board, Lord Ramirez, and another original founder, Lord Kage, frequently in attendance. We have an open door, not just to the original founders, but to any Elders or Members of the original Iron Garden to join us. We are waiting for you.

Some of you may have noticed the stunning Iron Garden logo we herald on our webpage, posters and banners. This logo was created by the talented Miss Larue, of House of the Dreaming and Black Swan to Madame X. Madame X was initially looking for a NJ based artist but the preliminary costs were perclusive, so after several attempts to involve the NJ artist community she turned to her House resources where Miss LaRue was pleased to dedicate her precious time toward designing just the perfect logo that transmits both: the strength of iron, as well as the flourishing nature of our garden. While Miss LaRue visits NJ, she is a denizen of Alabama. Miss LaRue is an accomplished artisan, whose formal training includes apprenticeships in archaeological conservation, restoration, scientific illustration, and traditional techniques. Her formal education includes a degree in Fine Art and Anthropology from the University of California Riverside. This fabulous logo is currently being trademarked with all rights reverting to its creator.

“A social gathering where houses, clans, tribes, ronin, etc come together to discuss different topics and share news or updates of what is going on within the organized bodies of the community is a Court”, states Lord Traveler. In a way we are just like a Court, but he adds, we consider ourselves a ‘haven’ more so, because unlike other Courts, we do not advocate exclusive membership. Wulfsunus agrees and he expands by stating that the Iron Garden is a very inclusive organization open for all to attend, unlike Courts who can be very selective. Asif reminds us that the Iron Garden is a gathering without politics or badmouthing. Madame X chuckles a little, and reluctantly admits that the Iron Garden is a court; after all it was inspired in the Vampire Court System, and certainly draws upon her experiences with the Court of The Iron Garden, The Court of Lazarus, as well as Black Atlantis and Black Oaks. The basic difference, she adds, is that “it is focused mainly on education, spirituality, networking and socialization for all Nightkind and their friends, where politics take on an inconsequential role”. “It is a Safe Haven”, attests Lord Traveler as he explains, “A Safe Haven is a place where everyone can go, enjoy, and indulge in their nature, without fear of being mocked, criticized or judged”. Finna adds, “in a Safe Haven you can discuss and learn about those things that you just can’t in your Dayside.” “No judgment, no banishments, no ostracizing others, no walking on egg shells,” says Asif, “here no one is worried about being kicked out, or undermining egos.” Wulfsunus reminds us of our First Gate: Haven – our Nocturnal Sanctuary – “Enter our walls to find safety, peace and pleasure in the company of fellow Nightkind. At the gate, leave behind all unsettled differences, malicious intent, and drama. Come and make this your home.”

At the Iron Garden we have Citizens. “Citizenship is membership but more”, says Madame X. “Membership often implies passive joining, Citizenship however means dedicated involvement in building the organization and each other, it implies a certain patriotism, fraternity, and sense of duty.” Wulfsunus concurs: “a Citizen has a vested interest in the growth within themselves, as well as, the growth within each other, and by cultivating this, ultimately the growth of the Iron Garden, and by extension the whole of the Community.” He adds that the quality of our Citizens will certainly determine the quality of the events we host, and the quality of our contributions to the greater community as a whole. To be a citizen of the Iron Garden, according to the Scrolls, the individual must have a vested interest in the growth and well-being of our haven, must have attended Iron Garden gatherings at least three times, and be a Jersey Denizen (either live or work in NJ). Non-denizens of NJ need to attend 4 times before being eligible for citizenship. Citizenship enables individuals to vote, join or form a Family/House/Coven, and retain un-moderated posting privileges in any Iron Garden groups. Citizenship is a privilege as much as a responsibility; all Citizens must publicly pledge to respect our private Scrolls and the Seven Gates of the Iron Garden.

The Iron Garden is completely open to and supportive of any individuals who may wish to start their own House, or build another NJ based Court, says Wulfsunus. “We are here to aid people in their growth, not to restrict them”, states Finna. If an individual wants to start a house, it would certainly not be a problem, Traveler adds, also, if there is a house in NJ that wishes to be recognized and included in the iron Garden, it can certainly be done, so please step forward. Madame X reminds us that there are some basic guidelines for house building and recognition in the Scrolls. Traveler adds that, “NJ is a pretty big state and anyone who wishes to start another NJ Court, is certainly welcome to”.

We realize some maybe curious as to the terms for the titles detailed in our Scrolls like Seneschal, Amanuensis, etc; these are less used terms for common roles. Madame X has always had an interest in the more gallant vocabulary of the Victorian times and appreciates the creative vampire terminology to distinguish the organizational roles. “We can’t pay our dedicated organizers, so the very least we can do is offer them recognition and a prestigious title to describe their function and experience.” Over the years the tiles have changed from Prince, to Primus, to Host but the function has more-less remained the same, and similarly from Secretary, to Keeper of the Scrolls, to Scribe, to Amanuensis, from Sheriff, to Keeper of the Blood, to Marshall, and from Priest, to Cenobite, to Hierophant, depending on the interest of each court. All the terms we use at the Iron Garden are part of the English language, just not frequently used, and each term is described in detail in our Scrolls.

We look forward to the continued interest, questions and participation of those that read this article. Feel free to reach us with your feedback. Please join us in person at our monthly Gatherings every last Friday of the month at QXT’s, at our frequent Citizen-sponsored outings, and at our online locations:

Part 2

The Original Iron Garden

Here we hope to shed some light on the history of the original Iron Garden, which inspired the current Iron Garden with name, spirit and location. Madame X, Lord Kage Von Draconus and Lord Ramirez are delighted to collaborate in the creation of this well thought out article, they were 3 of the 6 founders of the Original Iron Garden, and they have come together in this article to reminisce and talk about the driving force that brought them together under one banner, the spark that motivated them, and the inspiration that stemmed from that group now over a decade after its closing. We hope that you too come to admire the past efforts of the Elders of the early NJ Nightkind Community, and like them, find the flame of inspiration to fuel new projects, ignite new milestones, and encourage new heights for yourselves and your respective communities.

The original Iron Garden was started to provide the NJ vampire community a safe harbor and a local place for congregation. The only place previously available was the Court of Gotham aka Society Nocturnus Of Gotham (SNOG), in New York City. According to Lord Kage, many NJ residents did not want to travel all the way to NYC to meet. The Original Iron Garden’s vision was to unite community under the banner of building up the goth and the vampire scene. Regarding the Original Iron Garden mission, Madame X adds that “it was created to help NJ based Houses find more members, to offer titles of distinction to notable NJ individuals, to achieve positive recognition for NJ, and to find local like-minded to share the Vampiric, Therian and Otherkin experience with.” The following is an abstract from the original bylaws: “The Iron Garden has been established to initiate a new age of honor, respect, friendship and brotherhood between all Creatures of the Night that dwell in the Newark region and its surrounding areas. The Iron Garden is built upon the ideas and beliefs of its membership and offers a safe haven for all Gothics.” Madame X and Lord Kage both believe the Iron Garden achieved its original mission, at least in part and for a time.
According to Lord Kage, the original Iron Garden Court started in the year 2000 and diminished by mid 2005. Madame X however, believes that Iron Garden planning started years earlier perhaps more like 1998. Although, none of the three founders were a part of the court by the time of it’s disbanding, Lord Kage believes it’s closing was due to the loss of interest by the whole of the NJ VC. Lord Ramirez adds that although most, if not all, of the Iron Garden Founders were a part of the Gotham Court, the NJ VC had needs Gotham simply could not address. “It’s really a shame that somewhere along the line the Iron Garden lost its focus”, said Madame X.

The name for the Iron Garden has an interesting story. Lord Ramirez tells us that “first, it was named the Court of Eden, like the original Garden of Eden, but that name didn’t last long.” Lord Kage reminds us that: “the name Iron Garden is a combination of The Ironbound and The Garden State. Since the central gathering ground (QXT’s) was near the Ironbound district of Newark, and New Jersey is the Garden State, it only made sense.” Kage recalls the Iron Garden had an ankh, a password protected website accessible only to members, and online chat groups for discussions and debates.

Kage fondly recalls that meetings were held at QXT’s in Newark, NJ and eventually migrated to a secret location in nearby Kearny. These meetings were private events with access only to members and member-sponsored guests. Turnouts were very good at times, considering it was a private event. Lord Kage, Lord Ramirez and Madame X recall that officers and citizens had separate in-person meetings that took place every month. The monthly Court was held at QXT’s, The Citizens had monthly outings – like cemetery walks, poetry nights or bowling, The High Council met generally at one of the Elders’ houses, and the Triumvirate, or ruling threesome, also had a meeting a day or so after Court and another one a day or so right before. Lord Ramirez adds that “after a while, the Iron Garden just held a single meeting monthly, a more general court, where small matters were discussed person-to-person during the more relaxed ‘salon’ portion of the evening immediately after the court.”

“In the early days of the Iron Garden a Court was a simply gathering of like-minded individuals who shared a common belief and goal”, says Kage. Madame X adds that Court was simply a monthly meeting, where announcements were made, fundraisers were discussed, trials were held, and everyone gathered to socialize. Court was a neutral ground where all Households, Clans and Caste members were welcome to attend (with the exception of anyone that was excommunicated or banned).
Lord Kage states that Citizenship with a Court meant that you were serious about being a part of the Court and that you wished to take an active role in achieving its goals. Madame X recalls that to be considered a citizen of the Court, the member must have attended that specific Court at least three times. When a new person was invited to attend (usually sponsored by someone already within the court) there would be a public introduction and the person’s formal name and scene name were entered into the books. If the individual decided to stay on as part of the Court, they had to attend an “Educational Seminar”, and after 3 months of service, or after attending 3 general Court gatherings, they could then become a Citizen. Those who were educated were then ready to become Fledglings or Initiates to a house and then take a citizenship pledge with the Court, generally adopting both a Sire and a Household, and declaring to uphold the Black Veil, as well as the Scrolls of the Iron Garden. Plus, Citizenship meant that Citizens attended QXT’s for free that night.
Their Primus and first Regent was Lord Vahmp; their second Regent was Lord Kage, with Scorpio as Sheriff, and with Madame X and later Dawn as Scribes. Lord Kage believes that The Iron Garden had as many as 6 Houses represented under its banner with many active Ronin. He recalls that the Iron Garden had very friendly relations with both SNOG and later Lazarus and even co-hosted events with them.

Lord Ramirez recalls that items addressed at Court were those matters relevant to the local vampyre scene, like solving issues/disputes, affirming new households, recognizing members, and helping all to peaceful co-existence. But it was mostly a safe haven to socialize, where they were not limited in what they could discuss. They sometimes had activities, he remembers, like a NJ Goth Pageant, run by Madame X and Lord Vahmp, and they also hosted a small BDSM dungeon. He remembers the Otherkin House hosted some great parties as well, and Lady Angel had some fun gatherings at her place too. Lord Kage adds that current events were also discussed, internal house rank elevations were honored, possible gatherings were deliberated on, and birthdays were also celebrated. “Once in a while”, Kage states, “they had a guest speaker from another court and afterwards, partied the night away and had backroom domino matches.”

Madame X says that the biggest breakthrough, in her opinion, “was the recognition of Ronin as viable, useful and well-regarded members of The Community. Up to that point, if you didn’t belong to a House you were of no significance. It was the Court of the Iron Garden that first recognized Ronin as Elders. Gotham followed suit with a Knighting Ceremony offered to distinguished Ronin. The difference between Ronin and Rogue became clear.” Lord Ramirez also reminds us of the recognized Otherkin House, which Madame X insists was possibly the very first Otherkin House to obtain Court recognition. Lord Kage also points out that then, most courts remained isolated from one another, while The Iron Garden focused not only on good communication with other courts, but established unity among courts where the regents held quarterly meetings to help keep the peace; this lead to the establishment The Black Marble Society. The Iron Garden efforts in communication and cooperation stemmed a historical five-court-alliance.
“The biggest challenge was setting up the court’s foundations, creating the rules...”, says Lord Ramirez, however, his “best memories were those very first meetings to set up the Garden at Vahmp’s and at Madame X's home.” QXT’s was always a great place and Ramirez was certainly not the only one that felt at home there. Lord Kage says the biggest challenge was while trying to organize and when everyone wanted to take the lead. While his favorite memories were of Iron Garden outings to the renaissance fairs and their fun and fabulous “Midsummer Nightmare” parties.

Currently, Lord Kage is a Ronin and a proud part of Lazarus.
Lord Ramirez tells us that after the Iron Garden he became the local Regent for Septim Civis, the Virginia-based Court where currently, Lord Ryu and Lady Raven flank his Triad. Ramirez is also a valued Advisor on the Organizational Committee for the new Iron Garden. After her short tenure with the Iron Garden, Madame X was asked to help lead The Lazarus Society (est. 2000), now better known as the Court of Lazarus. While she declined to be the host, she did accept the charge of Secretary, later renamed Keeper of the Scrolls. Later in 2000, she also started House of the Dreaming, an International organization, which can be best described as a spiritual family. Over the years she has been inspired to create and co-create many community efforts like The Dark Nations (est. 2007) and The Collective (est. 2010). When she moved to Savannah, she became the Chapter Head of GA Bloodlines, helped create Black Atlantis (est. 2004) in Atlanta, and then Black Oaks (est. 2005) in Savannah. Upon moving back to NJ she became the Chapter Head of NJ Bloodlines (est. 2012) and in 2014 teamed up with the wonderful people you already know to revive the Iron Garden in January of 2015 as Founder and Host.

Trismegistus, Madame X, Lord Traveler Asura MacPhee, Finna Beruthiel DeElf, Blueeyesoulfof Ra Horakhty, Asif Murad, Herr Wulfsunus, Lord Ramirez, and Lord Kage Von Draconus are delighted to collaborate in the creation of this well thought out and comprehensive article. Together they trust that it imparts not only an important NJ Nightkind history, but that it also serves to reclaim the flame of creativity in all our readers so that through it, their respective communities can too flourish with the seeds of inspiration.

Hail the Iron Garden!
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