Remembering One of My Favorite Authors – RIP Margot Adler

By now, I’m quite sure you have heard – Margot Adler, NPR reporter and author of “Drawing Down the Moon” has passed away this morning. Furthermore, I’m quite sure you will have read a few folks remembering her, the folks who had the pleasure of meeting her. I’m – unfortunately – one of those folks. But I admired her a great deal from afar.

I first encountered Margot Adler through an obscure night-time radio program out of New York City. It was called “The Hour of the Wolf” and in 1972, it was fed through the night-time airwaves of the Armed Forces Radio network, where a young boy – just on the verge of discovering the worlds of Science Fiction and Fantasy, was given the fuel to feed his imagination. I never knew that was Margot Adler – and the show changed hosts from Adler to Jim Freund a few years later. I never knew who she was, but her program helped me discover new ways of connecting to my world around me – through story…through tales…and even through Myths and Legends. It would talk another fifteen years before I bumped paths with Miss Adler again.

In 1987, freshly into the United States Air Force, I started talking on a local bulletin board service with a young lady who identified herself as a witch. She was seven years older than me (what can I say – I have a thing for older women), and answered a few of my questions on Wicca. Soon, she loaned me two books – my first moments in Paganism – Starhawk’s “The Spiral Dance” and Adler’s “Drawing Down the Moon”. Between the two, it was Adler’s work that drew me into Paganism. It was her writings in that book that urged me on towards exploring deeper in my Path. It took another thirteen years before I ran across her in my readings again.

hereticIn 2010, I ran across her book “Heretic’s Heart: A Journey through Spirit and Revolution” and literally devoured it in a single sitting. It told the story of her growing up – in a world of turmoil, and finding kindred spirits in some of the most unlikely places. And it really touched my heart – reminding me of what a life of service to others was really about. And that we are all in service to others – in some manner or another. It was also through this book, that I discovered that it was Margot I had been listening to in 1972 and 1973 as a young boy. Talk about a moment of shock!

Sitting here, reading all the posts from people talking about having met her – and what a vibrant soul she was in life…I’m envious. There are a handful of authors that I would absolutely love to meet: Cat Treadwell, Nimue Brown, Joanna van der Hoeven, Philip Carr-Gomm, Brendan Myers, and a few others. Margot Adler ranked right up there. Reading her books, it felt as if she were talking directly to me – like we were sitting at a table in coffee shop, enjoying the moments with whatever was on the pages of the chapter. That’s something that each of those writers I mentioned also do for me…and I think that’s one of the reasons that Margot will be missed. Because her warmth and personality seemingly leak right from the words on the pages – and she becomes more than an author, even to those of us who never had the chance to meet her in this Life.

She will be missed in this incarnation, may she have just as much inspiration for others in her next…

Pushing the Environmental Cart Along

Over at the Patheos Pagan Channel, the bloggers there were posed the question about whether or not the Environmentalism aspect of Paganism has failed. I have read a lot of the blog posts there, and some are extremely articulate about their perspective. I even chimed in a bit on John Beckett’s post, wanting to toss in my two very uneducated pence on the topic. Thus far, there have been a few equally articulate responses to the posts.

I won’t try to get into the science and stuff behind climate change. I just can’t do that, because I am fairly ignorant when it comes to matters of ecological science. I focused on business processes and technology when I was in my collegiate classes – a far cry from what is necessary to talk with any degree of intelligence on climate change. (Aside: some would even argue that there’s a lack of necessary capacity and capability to discuss anything in an intelligent manner on my part. Haters, just gotta love ‘em)

And yet, I advocate that climate change is real. How can I believe in climate change when I cannot explain any aspect of it from a rational point of view. From personal observation, of course. I have lived here in Texas since the mid-1980s – with the exception of a few years at the front of the 1990s and at the end of that same decade. I do recall the summers of then – and these were not nearly as hot as today. We would see summer temps in the high 90s, and about ten 100s over the entire Summer. And that’s if it was a particularly hot Summer. We had our share of hardcore thunderstorms, as well. But not nearly the number that seem to show up here these days. Now, is that a scientific assessment? Nope, and I won’t claim it to be such. Its just me remembering the past and comparing it to the present. I have read a lot on climate change as well. A lot of the science is, admittedly, over my head. But what I have read, both pro and con, has helped me to the position of seeing climate change as something that is here.

Not a terribly scientific perspective, I agree. But its the perspective I have come to. Please don’t try to explain climate change or disprove it to me. Once you start down the path of Environmental Science, my eyes will glaze over, and I will zone out and begin to think about how to balance my checkbook. Hardcore sciences is not something that excites me, nor is it something that will hold my attention for a long period of time.

Anyways, back to the topic. Has the Pagan Environmental movement failed? Maybe. I can’t be sure that the Pagans of today would agree with the Pagans of yesteryear over what would be a “successful” move within the area of Environmentalism. Just as I believe that the Paganism of today, might not be an acceptable definition of “growth” for the Pagans of yesteryear. I can’t speak for the Pagans that came before and where their mindset is. Nor can I speak for the mindset of the Pagans that are yet to trod this Path. In all honest, I can’t even speak for the Pagans of today. I can – however – speak for me and where I am right now.

Full Trash CanWe live in a disposable, consumeristic world. People consume, consume, consume. And to make their consumption easier, manufacturers create products that are cheaper, and far more disposable. I was reminded of this in the conversation thread I was having on John’s post. The next morning was trash pickup day in my neighborhood. Talk about a moment of synchronicity. As I carried my half-empty hefty Cinch-sack out to the curb, and rolled my overflowing Recycling bucket out behind it – I took a glimpse down my very short street here in Suburban America. Each of my neighbors had multiple trash sacks set out by the curb. Only two others had recycle bins out as well. One of them, I knew was filled with glass beer bottles. Every week, if I am home at the time of pickup, the clinking of those bottles is extremely loud as they are loaded into the recycling truck. But I mentally took note of the differences between myself and my neighbors in the amount of trash. A quick thought on the average was three bags to my one. One of my neighbors is a family of five. The others, however, have the same number of people living in their homes as mine: three. And yet, I was extremely outnumbered in terms of the amount of trash generated.

Now, my comment was concerning the amount of trash found around the Goatman’s bridge here in Corinth, and the lack of trash barrels available for people to dispose of their trash. Putting in trash containers may not ebb the tide of trash around the area, but its a start. I am currently lobbying the three town councils that maintain the trails to do just that – as well as organize a monthly trash pickup day for the communities, which I have already noted I would gladly volunteer for. None of this is going to do much to ebb the amount of trash that is currently found in the DFW metroplex, or even in the surrounding areas of Denton county. But I argue that its a start. Small steps first, then we can move into larger steps. To be honest, to get momentum in a movement of any kind, you have to start with motion, and then hope the inertia helps by taking hold.

Has the Pagan Environmental movement failed? If we measure that success or failure by the determination of an older generation of Pagans – then the answer may well be “yes”. has that movement failed to gain the inertia necessary to be effective. Sure it has. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t get behind the cart and start pushing again. Perhaps even more people will help get it moving, and perhaps that doesn’t happen. I do know this, if I don’t start pushing, the answer changes from “maybe” to a definite “yes” – and I would rather try helping the movement along with what little effort I can provide, than to sit to the wayside and talk about why the cart isn’t moving. Just my pair of pence…spend it how you see fit.

Walking Through Mythology…Or Looking Out for the Roots in the Path

In a series of dreams and meditations over the past year-plus, I have been slowly nudged towards Celtic mythology. About four months ago, I finally relented to all the little pushes and shoves, starting my journey by reading the four branches of the Mabinogi.

My initial reading of the four branches left me more confused than before. I was unfamiliar with the names or the information contained within – and I eventually set the book down, and wondered what the Nine Hells I was doing. Perhaps, it’s best to explain why…

When I first started down my Path within Paganism, I leaned towards the Gods that matched my Germanic heritage – and the Nordic pantheon was where I landed. In so many ways, all of this “clicked” in my thinking, and I definitely could relate to the legends and stories within the Edda. The problem wasn’t with the intellectual connection; it came from a Spiritual connection. For a long time, I felt that having a close relationship with any of the Gods was impossibility, and that worship of the Gods was done as a manner of mouthing honor to them. A form of lip service, if you will. It didn’t change my perspective that the Gods existed – for me that was a definite given – it was more a matter that I felt I wasn’t an individual that they may care to commune or interact with. In early 2007, it all changed for me.

View From a Cabin Near Divide, ColoradoI had taken up reading as a manner of education myself. My particular focus at that time, was studying on the local Native American culture of the Texas plains. On a trip to Colorado, I was staying at a cabin in a remote area just south of Divide, and decided to take a walk along the dirt road. Now, walking is a meditation form for me – it’s the way I work things out in my mind, and the way I clear my mind of all the daily clutter that appends itself there. To the side of the road, I saw a large out-cropping of rock, which hung out over the asphalt road below, and decided this would be a nice place to stop for a while. Sitting on that rock, I started thinking about the Sioux legend of how the Crow’s feathers came to be black – a legend that I had just read about the night before. As I let the sun warm my skin, I closed my eyes and relaxed – finding my way to my own Inner Grove…and found a small group of crows, I do recall that it was either six or seven of them. One by one, they all came up to where I was standing and dropped small objects at my feet.  Blue buttons, silver hat-pins, a yellow piece of yarn. And when the last one dropped its item, they all flew into the branches of the three Oak trees there and cawed at me. In a way, I felt it was a moment of greeting, so I raised my hand and waved – and opened my eyes. On that rock out-cropping, just a few feet away, was a single crow. He stared at me with his little dark eyes, cocked his head to one side and cawed twice. I must have moved slightly, because he instantly took flight, cawing at me the entire time.

It took several more times of having crows crossing my path in meditation, in everyday life, and even in material that I would be reading, before I realized there was a message in all of that. This would start me down a Path of exploring Native American perspectives within my own Spirituality, and finding ways to commune with Crow, as well as Coyote over a longer period of time.

So what brought me to starting down my Path of exploring Celtic Mythology and Spirituality? Over the past year, I have continually seen a few figures from Celtic mythology pop up in various readings, and have even found myself wondering what I needed to know about them during some of my meditations. Lugh, Brigid, and Taliesin have been the most notable that have been poking me in the chest – particularly the last few months. I can take a hint, but sometimes that hint has to be accompanied by a two-by-four upside the head. ::grins:: So far, the largest obstacle for me has been unfamiliarity with the subject material. A first reading of the Mabinogion has left me scratching my head, wondering what I was thinking about when I decided to tread along this Path. So it’s apparent that I need to do a lot more research on the who/what/where/when/how/why aspect than I had originally thought. Remembering back to my first steps on the Native American part of my Path…I did the same thing, but it was that research that brought me to that Path. This is ever so slightly different.

As with any personal search, this is all a process for me. And I know somewhere along this, I will trip over a root, or a rock that is in the Path – which I didn’t see because I was looking to the left or the right of the Path to see the trees, bushes, grass, and rock formations there. And when it happens, I will have to pick myself back up, knock the dirt of my clothes, chide myself for not being careful, and start moving forward again. I learned that from spending time with two Trickster Gods…

 

Cleaning My Daily Filter…

There’s so much going on in the news – the downing of an airline in the Ukraine, Israel going into ground-invasion mode on the terrorists in Gaza, and the border issues to the south of me along the Texas/Mexico border. I have my opinions on each of these pieces in the news, but that’s not why I am writing this. No, this is about something a little different. See, there’s more in the news than just this. There’s more localized news about shootings and robberies – there’s other news about police in Florida being fingered as members of the Ku Klux Klan. There’s news about companies laying off employees for this or that reason. And there’s always the under-belly of the internet’s rumor mill, where people cannot give up their favorite conspiracy theory. The President’s birth wasn’t in the United States. He’s trying to turn America into a Socialist country. This politician is doing this wrong thing. Etcetera, etcetera. And all of these stories have a common theme – they’re all negative in nature.

Seriously. You listen to the people who report these stories, read the stories in print and on the internet, listen to the digital denizens fight and argue amongst themselves over this or that point – its nearly to the point of shouting at the walls of your house: “ENOUGH ALREADY!” And to be perfectly serious – it is enough.

For the last three years, I have spent a large amount of time and energy trying to locate a news agency that just reports the news. My result? A lot of wasted time and energy. Every single news agency I came across not only spins the news they “report” in a manner that reflects their desired political perspective – they all lead with sensationalized news headlines. It seems that the old adage of “if it bleeds, it leads” is a time-honored and very true axiom of our news coverage. Since I could not find any news agency that did not spin and twist the news like a tired balloon animal – I finally locked down to the idea of limiting the amount of time I spend watching and reading the news. One of the prime catalysts for me was the story of the missing Malaysian Airlines jet. The coverage started to cycle on a 24/7 coverage of speculation, drama-filled coverage of grieving family and friends of the people on-board…and I had my fill. Every third or fourth day, I would click on a story on the coverage – just to be caught up on what had happened to that point. With the rest of the news, I spend less than thirty minutes of my day reading the news now – and have become very selective on what I will read during that time.

For me, the same held true for conversations, and the endless debates on this or that aspect. I do read and participate in debates and discussions on the internet, but when the tone becomes contentious or the points being made become circular – I bow out. The result is that I have found participating even less in many “conversations” I would normally have stepped into with both feet. And when I do make a statement, I think carefully over what I am about to submit, and look at whether I am adding anything to the conversation other than a “me too!”. A few friends have noticed this, and asked what was up – when I made note of this particular approach, I noticed that they started to do the same thing. Oh, I still participate in the fun-filled joking that I have always been a part of – its a part of my personality, and frankly if it brings a smile to the other person’s face – it certainly accomplished that momentary mission.

I am certainly not advocating everyone to start looking for ways to remove the negative influence in their lives so that they can start farting rainbows with every step. There’s always going to be bad moments, bad days, and bad news. Nothing is ever going to change that, but I can limit how much of all that stuff I let filter into my daily interactions with people. Or to quote from Styx:

Keeping my mind on a better life
Where happiness is only a heartbeat away
Paradise, can it be all I heard it was
I close my eyes and maybe I’m already there

What About the Gods?

I read a lot of stuff about Technology. In some form or fashion, over the past quarter century, I have been employed in some manner associated with the field of Technology. I am a blogger.  I am a podcaster.  I noodle around with musical instruments and mixing sounds on my iMac. In the classroom, I teach students how to look at this technology as a tool that will allow them to reach into the future for what they dream about. And oddly enough, I follow a Belief System that holds a high reverence for things “natural”. There are no Gods of Technology. There’s no Patron Deity for the CPU. I feel just as “at home” and “comfortable” in a mainframe environment, as I do when I am out walking in a deeply forested area or hiking in the mountains. What a delightfully odd dichotomy.

So, with a focus on technology – it only stands to reason that I read a lot of technology blogs, articles and books. I also have a handful of video bloggers that I watch and listen to. One of these is Nixie Pixel – an extremely intelligent Linux advocate. She runs a very interesting and compelling Video Blog which has a lot of discussion on how Linux newbies can get started down that road. However, she also poses very interesting questions – such as one that came a few days ago:

Looking back on your career, twenty or thirty years from now, what do you want to say you’ve accomplished?

I read this, and brushed over the question as something mildly interesting. But, my little Elf that resides in the background of my brain kept pushing the topic back at me. Why did it have to just be my career? What about my life? Long after I pass on beyond the veil, what would I hope people say about me?

Now, I am not a person that likes headlines. I prefer to be somewhere slightly out of sight – able to work in the background and make a difference, but rarely known for what it is that I have done. I am a part of my local Pagan community – but a very small part of it. Most local folks would have difficulty picking me out of a lineup. The same holds true for the Pagan community in the online environment. Yet, I do run a podcast – and have been podcasting for quite some time. I write openly in this blog. So, occasionally I do place myself out in the sunlight for people to read and hear.

So, I attempted to figure out just what I hoped people would say about me thirty years from now. Or even ten years after I pass along the Path beyond the veil. And I am still at a loss for words. Perhaps, I would hope that people might say that listening to my podcasts and/or reading my blogs, that they found information that was helpful to them on their own Path. Perhaps there’s more than just a sliver of truth in that statement, but I honestly don’t see that as a driving force in my Life. So like anything else, I turn this over and over in my brain – trying to see it in a different light or perspective.

Last night, on Facebook, I saw a share of a link from John Beckett. He was sharing a link to a Patheos post from Niki Whiting entitled “Avoiding the Gods“. In prefacing his share of the link, he pointed towards a concept of “one’s Great Work”. Intrigued, I clicked on the link and read Whiting’s article. I wasn’t nearly as enthralled with the post as John was, but it certainly started me embracing the idea of looking at a different direction to try and answer Nixie’s question.

What if my focus on who would be talking about me in the future is the wrong point? I do write these blog posts to allow others to see where my thinking is – and hopefully be a signpost towards something to try or something to avoid for others. But perhaps that is not the focal point I should be asking myself. Again, I come back to one my troubleshooting skills that has served me quite well over the years — taking a problem and rotating it, trying to see it from a different perspective. And it suddenly came to me like a bolt in one of my dreams last night.

Yes, I do write about my dreams. I keep a pen and a notebook in the nightstand next to me, so I can write the moment I wake up. And if I find myself too groggy to do so – I grab my iPhone and make a voice memo to myself. And sometimes, the memory of what I dreamed about burns bright in my mind, long after I wake up. This is one of those particular moments.

Crow in Trinidad, CO

Crow in Trinidad, CO

The setting – which is my own internal Grove of the Heart, a place that I have created for myself to help facilitate meditations – was an extremely familiar location. Normally, this is where I encounter my Dream Crows – a flock of Crows that inhabit nearly every dream and meditation I have had. I have taken to affectionately calling them “the Squadron.” Normally, I encounter them here, but not in the dream last night. I found a shaggy looking man, with a close cropped goatee (I know – weird imagery) standing in the middle of my Grove of the Heart – waiting for me. he has a cloak made of bird feathers of all kinds, and is leaning on a very tall staff topped with the skull of some small animal. On his head is a helmet or cap of some sort with tall deer antlers. When he speaks its almost in a hoarse whisper. And after his singular statement, he turns and walks into the nearby woods, slowly disappearing from my sight.

What about the Gods?

Sitting here and typing this…I am still getting shivers from recalling this moment. Shortly after he disappeared, I woke up in a cold sweat, grabbed my iPhone and repeated the scenario I have just typed for you to read here.

Indeed.  What about the Gods? I realize that it really does not matter what anyone is going to say about me – five minutes from now, five years from now, thirty years from now. If my words inspire others to travel their own Paths, that’s great. But that’s not the point. The point is that I live my Life here in this environment to make some difference for those that can get something from my words, but also to be an extension of the Gods – Crow, Coyote, Lugh, and any others that wish to take a hand in my existence. I am here to be one of the many that help do Their works, in whatever manner they want.

In thirty years time…five minutes from now…ten years after I pass beyond the veil from this existence – it does not matter what people will say about me.  I hope that whatever it is, that the people are kind and loving about what they may say…but what truly matters is what I do for the Gods in my Life. Indeed, what about the Gods??

Rejecting the Past

Being a Pagan blogger and podcaster, I get a lot of contact with folks that are stepping onto their Pagan Paths for the first time, or have not been on the Path for a fairly long time. To be honest, it is refreshing to meet these folks. They are enthusiastic about their first steps, excited about connecting with their new found Spirituality, and it can be quite an intoxicating brew – even for someone like me who has been continually stepping along this path since the mid-1980s. However, one interesting side-effect that I have noticed is the manner in which their previous Path is shed. Sometimes in a very dramatic, and sudden ending.

Now, let me be clear here in the beginning: I am not saying that every single Pagan I encounter does this. Nor am I saying that this is necessarily “bad” or “good” — as with any experience, different people will have different needs and experiences. All of this is merely my own observations, which are definitely colored by my own experiences (obviously – since it is my opinion).

I have heard it before – this new Path [x] is far better than what I was experiencing when I was on [y] for reasons [a], [b], and [c]. Thus, I will completely reject Path [y] as being invalid from this day forth. While I understand this stance quite well, I sometimes find it mind-boggling. Perhaps, it might be better for me to relate my own personal experience here.

Growing up, my Spiritual upbringing was through a series of Catholic schools. My parents thought it would be better for me to get a private school education over a public school one. My parents were Methodists, but religion never played a key role in their lives, so their decision to bring me along this line of education had more to do with the more concentrated education side than it did with the Spiritual side. But Catholic schools do not allow you to move beyond the religious indoctrination one receives there, so I took classes on the Sacraments, Church History, Catholic Theology, and was required to attend Mass with the rest of my class once per month. I attended the classes, I listened, I even participated in a few of the Masses. It was not long that I knew this was not for me.

Once I graduated from high school, I immediately branched out to try and find another Path that was more suited to me. I attended and joined a Southern Baptist church. I enjoyed the fellowship of other folks, who were genuinely interested in who I was and what made me who I was. The social side of the church was an awesome thing. Singing with folks in the choir, bringing my version of toasted garlic bread to Spaghetti put-lucks, even sitting in the bed of a pickup truck in the freezing December cold, huddled under a mass of blankets with others so that we could sing Christmas carols – all of that was awesome. I even joined the softball team in a church league. The fellowship side was amazing. However, the hellfire and brimstone of the sermons was off-putting for me, as well as the theology of humans being doomed to an eternal punishment, simply because we are fallible, just never really resonated with me.

When I joined the Air Force, I decided to not attend any religious aspect. I felt that my Spirituality was something that I had to practice on my own – privately. I felt that there had to be more than just a singular God who was placed at the top of a Trinity, which was treated as a singular aspect. I felt the pull of Nature. I spent time outdoors, even in the hot Texas heat. I could not understand a doctrine that doomed the rest of the animals on the Earth to be nothing more than “stock” placed there for the usage of mankind by an angry, jealous God. Eventually, I stumbled into Paganism, and I found pieces – major pieces of the puzzle – that clicked.

In the first steps of my time on this Path – I completely rejected the Christian faith that I had been a part of. Not just the theology, but the entire aspect. It was wasted time in my eyes. And I will admit, I became very antagonistic towards people who mentioned that I had previously been Christian. What did they know? They needed to open their eyes and see the world for what it was. I lived that arrogant position for nearly a decade.

Eventually, as I was starting to explore the ideas of theology on my own, I started to see similarities between my older positions of faith, and my continual expansion and exploration on my Pagan Path. And the realization eventually was made – I never truly left those particular beliefs completely behind. Sure, I do not believe the divinity aspect of the Christian faith, I see more than one singular aspect of “God”. But that does not mean that all those people who follow that aspect are wrong. They are right for themselves. Its what works for them. But there are parts of their practices and faiths that I have continually held on to: helping others, fostering the sense of “community”, finding charity in my heart for others who are currently in the rocky stretches of their lives – even when its just a smile, and a hug.

That’s right. My understanding of compassion, humility, and my expressions of hope for the better parts of human beings comes from my steps on the Christian Path. And it took me the better part of fifteen years to understand that this never left me. No, embracing these ideals is not going to make me a Christian again. In fact, these same ideals can be found throughout our wider-ranging Pagan community. Here in DFW, one only has to look at the outpouring of our Pagan community through the Food Drive and the Blood Drive that happened during Pagan Pride Day in October of last year. Nor will embracing where these ideals initially took their root in my Life is not going to make me a Christian nor will it invalidate the Path that I am currently on.

Like any Path that we walk, its merely a collection of the steps that got us to where we currently are. Without my steps on the Christian Path, my feet would likely have not brought me to the Pagan Path where I currently am. Or maybe it would have at some point. I can’t say for sure. All I can do is acknowledge where I walked before, and where I am walking now.

Stopping Along the Path

Every so often, I feel the need to bring myself to a short stop – and take inventory of where I am, as well as where I have come from. Over the last two years, it certainly feels like I have been doing a lot more of this.

I stepped on to this Pagan Path back in 1986. The month was sometime in April or May – I’m not quite sure, but I do know that in a little under two years, I will have been following this Spiritual Path for thirty years. Later that same year, I will turn 51. That’s quite a long time – and most of my life, and the vast majority of my “adult” life.

A little while ago, I wrote a post titled “Yes, I am a Priest”, where I discussed for a bit how I am realizing that I do embody aspects of what the title of ‘Priest’ entails. While this particular notion is rather commonplace for other Pagans, this was a profound watershed moment for me. I have consistently avoided applying the title to myself, since I never considered what I was practicing within my own personal Spirituality to be that of ritual clergy. As I noted in that blog posting, I found that there was another way of seeing things, which made the application quite appropriate for me.

When I started on my Path, the only formal training I had received came in the form of two Rainbow Years with two different Wiccan traditions: Isian and American Tradition of the Goddess. I never truly understood why I never progressed beyond the Rainbow years in either – except that I knew that what I had learned was not “right” for me. The rest of my knowledge came from reading, and discussing material from these books with other Pagans. A few years back, I started the Bardic Grade for the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids – a program I am still working through and plan to finish by the end of this calendar year. And most recently, I took up a year-long course with another Druid Path.

Oddly enough, it’s the culmination of these two different courses together that are really informing me of what I am, why Druidry is the correct Path to be on, and what it all undertreemeans to me personally. Some of the things that I have eschewed and avoided are being shown to me as being the missing pieces of the puzzle for me to understand the whys related to all of that. Aside from the silly diversion of avoiding the title of Priest in relation to what I am learning, there has been my precise avoidance of Magick, and my embrace of impromptu, spur-of-the-moment ritual over organized ritual.

Both Magick and organized Ritual are aspects that I am starting to embrace. Remember, I have been nearly thirty years on my personal Path – and most of it has been done while trying to avoid these aspects. In a manner of speaking, I can be considered something akin to a wilding – or as the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the term: “not domesticated or cultivated”. If you prefer, a better term might be ‘unstructured’.

So here I sit, noting that these pieces related to structure and titles are only recent finds. When I snap these into place in my Spiritual Puzzle, I can see the connection between these aspects and what I already know and practice, as well as connections to areas I had never quite understood. And all that is thanks to two programs of studies that I am currently in, as well as books such as Emma Restall Orr’s “The Wakeful World” which have all informed me of the importance of understanding these missing pieces, as well as the connection these have to my own current practices and understanding.

Nearly thirty years. And I only now understand this relatively novice-related concept at this point. Which makes this a bit of a personal checkpoint for me. Did I not learn this because I was being stubborn about doing things my own way? Was I full of meaningless personal pride over this? Or perhaps, I just was not ready to move forward on this until just now? This is something I really need to spend some time and re-evaluate of who I am and what I have been doing. And I seem to be at an appropriate place and time within my life to do so.

Still, it shows me that there is always something to learn on this Spiritual Path I walk…no matter how much time I have put in here. Life is a long and winding trail of experiences – and there’s always a new experience just waiting up around the bend. I only have to open my mind, my senses, and my heart to touch those experiences.