Using tea and talk, Pamela Dylag is creating community for women one serving at a time
Pamela Dylag, co-owner of Velveteen Rabbit and facilitator of High Priestess Tea, greets me on a warm Thursday afternoon to talk about the monthly women’s gathering. I meet her at the bar, where on the previous Saturday I was welcomed as an attendee by the scent of sage, a choice of delightful teacups, an assortment of teas, and light vegan snacks. I then joined some 25 or so other women on the bar’s cozy couches and chairs. After a group meditation, we focused on that month’s speaker — stripper/writer Valerie Stunning, who talked about sex and empowerment — listening, engaging, and asking questions.
How Did High Priestess Tea come to be?
I’ve been thinking about doing some sort of women’s collective for the last few years. It seemed like an idea that was going to take a while to get to, so I thought, how could I facilitate this idea? Well, I have a space. I have Velveteen Rabbit. I can utilize that.
Then the idea for tea came to me. I’ve been reading tarot for a while; High Priestess is a major arcana, in a tarot card. The idea for tea came because I wanted this to happen during the day. I felt like not everyone drinks. Also, when you have events based around alcohol, you can get distracted, and I wanted it to be a productive sort of meeting, a coming together. So, I thought tea would be a nice thing to have, an afternoon tea. Then I thought the name High Priestess Tea because of high tea. It all sort of came together in December. I thought, what a great way to start 2018. Every month I can have a tea.
What do you want women to get out of it?
The ethos is to connect, empower, and inspire women. I want to do all of those things. Topics that we’ve talked about bring certain women out. Some women come to every tea, and others come to certain topics that are of interest to them. It brings women from all backgrounds.
And I’m not necessarily exclusive toward women. I’m definitely making this for women, but women have brought their partners. I am also completely inclusive to all or any kind of gender identification, basically coming together as a community, learning, growing, understanding each other and just having a nice ritual every month.
At the beginning you do a group meditation. What made you implement that?
It’s something I do. I practice meditation every day. I practice yoga. I’m also a reiki practitioner. (But) I don’t want this to be geared necessarily for spiritual practices only. Meditation is just to get everyone on the same vibe, so we can be open and receptive to listening to the guest speaker, and really understanding what they are saying. I just think it’s a lovely way to start. It gets everyone calm and in a peaceful, open space. So everyone is present and really there.
You have had different themes such as self-care, film, and sex. How do you come up with these themes?
I always ask for suggestions. I have some ideas, but I definitely want the attendees to speak and let me know what they would like to hear about. Its kind of a combination of ideas I’ve had, and ideas attendees have.
A lot of the speakers I know. Well, actually, all the speakers I know. That was another thing, because I own a bar, I know a lot of people. I thought, I know so many amazing women, and I’m a connector. That’s what I do. I connect people all the time. I always want to connect women. People will ask me about something, and I’m, like, “I know the perfect person you need to talk to for this.” I want to bring these women together who wouldn’t necessarily meet under different circumstances.
What are your future plans with High Priestess Tea?
I’ve been thinking about that. It’s all about balance in my life right now. I would love to grow this thing, but I think for me in order to grow it, I’ll need partnerships. I’m kind of letting it grow organically. Right now, I’m trying just to keep it consistent, but I would like to see it grow into whatever that may be.