What Does Shadow/Darkness Mean to You?

Over on Facebook, I have a few folks that ask questions to me via private messages. Usually, I take a few lines to answer – and the questions are typically short, softball questions that are all over the place. However, from time to time, I get a really extensive question that I feel might be a good blog post. This was how this post came to be…

Q: What does Shadow and/or Darkness mean to you

That is a really meaty subject to tackle, and not one I have really gone towards a ton. I certainly hope I can do this some sort of justice. I hit my own moments of darkness. I have spent time with my own Shadow-self. None of those times were pleasant, and I tend to not write about my thoughts during these times, though I really should make a more concentrated effort to do so.

Gizmo hiding…sort of

Perhaps, a better place to start would be a bit of a description of what I mean by these terms. Shadow or Darkness, for me are the tougher times in life. When I have tons of self-doubt of who I am, what I can do, what I am capable of. Many times, just interacting with this particular perspective can lock me up into a non-moving perspective. Where I am afraid to do anything for fear of not being “good enough” to do what is necessary. or that my actions or thoughts will just make things even worse. It is a severe paralyzing perspective, which can have me curled up on the floor of my office, literally, in tears.

Usually, I am fairly confident that I can find a solution to whatever problem I am given. Even when I don’t think I have the “right” skillset to tackle an issue, I am always sure that I can do my best to get around the problem with the skill sets that I do have. The innate troubleshooter that lives inside me is capable of putting things together to attempt a solution, no matter how awkward, inappropriate or offbeat that may be. However, there is always the moment where I have trouble seeing myself being able to solve any problem. Where I am telling myself that I am not good enough to even try and get to a solution. That it might be better that I never would have existed.

Those moments of despair are my moments of Darkness. Those are the moments where my Shadow Self whispers my worst fears into my ear, and my brain buys into what is being said. Those dark moments of the soul are extremely difficult to get through.

There are other sides to Darkness and Shadow as well. Shadow and Darkness are not just markers of despair, anxiety, or other moments of self-weakness. Darkness can also be a veil between the know and the unknown, purposefully keeping you off of information and experience you are not quite ready for. You need only tighten up your belt and courage, and reach through that veil to find what you might be seeking. No matter the distance of the veil, there will always be another opening of light further on. Are you willing to go? Are you willing to take those steps into the unknown? Be careful of stepping forward too quickly and too willing. The darkness can hide obstacles in your path. Gnarled tree roots seeking your footfalls. Slippery rocks seeking to unbalance your walk. Sharp ends of branches looking to snag your hair, your clothing or deeply scratch your skin, so as to alter your sense of direction. Or who knows what else? Those noises you hear may be unnatural things, seeking your flesh.

The true meaning of what Darkness or Shadow may be is truly up to you. For me, it depends on the situation and the momentary experience. There can be the shroud to push through to find those new experiences. But that shroud can also bring despair, confusion, and doubt to those who are not completely prepared for what can happen. Sometimes the shroud obscures the world around you – depriving you of one or more of your senses. Other times, it can show you the world around you in extreme clarity, and provide a sensation of doubt over your abilities. In either case, the Darkness or the Shadow is there as an experience. And sometimes that experience can be so painful as to stop your whole world.

So what to do?? How to get beyond those moments? Well, that answer is different for everyone. But I can promise you this: someone is there to help guide you through things. If you need a hand to guide you, there’s Cat Treadwell’s extremely awesome book Facing the Darkness. Nine Hells, there’s always me. You can always write me (elfster@gmail.com). It might not be the same thing as someone being there, but at least its something. Like I said, there’s always SOMEONE that can help you. You can call a crisis helpline, and talk with someone. It’s something. And something is always better than nothing.

Remember folks, everyone goes through the moments of Darkness in their lives. Everyone has a Shadow Self that whispers those thoughts of doubt in their ears. Some folks are better at telling that Shadow Self to take a hike. For those that aren’t, there’s always help available, somewhere. Those dark moments won’t last forever. Those moments do hurt, but in time the darkness fades, and there’s a hand to hold.

I Resist By Living My Life

“Resist.”

I cannot tell you how often I hear this word in its various little instances. And how little attention I have come to pay to it. Sure, I get the criticism. I am a white, heterosexual male. I understand all of that, but the constant chant of finding opposition through negative phrasing and actions…well…man it wears on this hippie.

Certainly, there is a battle of sorts between a newer generation that wants to express itself freely, and an older generation that wants the world to stay where it is culturally. Those of you who were alive when I was born (1965) and experienced this culturally tug of war, can stop me anytime. Same thing for those of you who lived through the decadent time of the early to mid 1980s (along with me). And those of you in the 1990s….anyone seeing a cycle, yet?

A large portion of what we have seen, comes from a difference in the overriding cultures. But there’s other stuff underneath all of this too. The idiotic sub-culture of racial supremacy, pounded out in whatever format you want to frame it in. And all of that is greased with the corrupt nature of what our politics have become here in America. We talk about resisting “the man” using slogans and concepts from the 1960s to reframe our fight against the megalith of older generations and dying poster-frames for the tired concept of racial inequality.

But I get it. I understand the entire resist conformity. I’m in a minority Spiritual Belief system. I am a believer in the minority perspective of polyamory. I believe that people should love who they love, regardless of societal straw-folk that are lit with the flames of hatred towards race and gender. Everyone should have an equal chance at the same pay rates as any else – regardless of race, gender, age, hair color, whatever. Depeche Mode probably put it best….

People are people so why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully

So we’re different colours
And we’re different creeds
And different people have different needs
It’s obvious you hate me 
Though I’ve done nothing wrong
I never even met you
So what could I have done

I can’t understand
What makes a man
Hate another man
Help me understand

But beating our brains against concrete and steel walls not of our making is not useful. We bloody our heads, with nothing to show for the effort behind the shouts of anger and pain we make – and the hollow thump we create against said wall. However, I think there is a better way to go about things.

We all know the maxim that the way to get magick to work is to get off your ass and do whatever needs to be done. Perhaps, we should use our own behaviors as the beacons towards how to accomplish what is necessary. Instead of screaming and yelling – we live. We live as we normally would. As if the laws that keep loved ones apart are not part of our lives. We show how our lives are just as “normal” as anyone else’s, by living our lives. We don’t incite the violence, but we also don’t stand to the side when someone is being abused. Even someone on the “other side”. Most Pagan-folk that I know are compassionate people. I think that more of that compassion needs to be on display.

No. I don’t think that the idea of “resistance” is blowing out shop windows of corporate stores. I think that is criminal activity. You don’t like the big-chain coffee store? Don’t shop there. Want to show the old 1950s folks that people love who they love, and that is normal? Then treat your relationship normally. Don’t use it as a flail when you’re in public. Certainly don’t hide it. Just be yourself, the way you feel your relationship SHOULD be viewed by everyone. Resist the stereotype by JUST LIVING. Don’t become the parody that you think you should be…be you. Just live. That, my friend, is resistance. And don’t become a punching bag. Defend who you are. If you must physically defend yourself or someone else – do so.

As I note in nearly anything that I write…all of this is merely my opinion. My style of “resistance” may not live up to your standards, and that’s fine. But remember, before you criticise and chastise me for not being “Pagan Enough” or “Resistance Enough”…I’m not saying that anyone MUST do ANYTHING I have noted above.

Playing Dress Up With the Gods

One of the most interesting sides of working with Gods and Goddesses that I have found comes from how They get depicted by various folks. What makes it even more interesting is how tightly folks will hold to the notion that the way their own mind’s eye depicts the Gods and Goddesses is the ONLY way that They should be portrayed. That single empirical attitude makes me cringe every time I hear it – whether it comes from a Pagan, Polytheist or even a Monotheist.

Let’s consider the monotheistic Christian God and His progeny, Jesus ben Joseph. Now, I am not arguing the divinity or what not here – I am purely looking at the manner in which these two figures get depicted. Both are typically shown as white males. God typically is shown as a greying man with a long, flowing beard. JbJ gets shown as a long-haired hippy type, typically with long blondish-brown hair and typically a goatee or fairly stylized beard. Now, there are folks who will decry this, and point out that JbJ was born in a part of the world where the typical skin-tone is brownish, not the lighter skinned European tones we tend to see in paintings and even in movie scenes. So, given that – who’s right? Who has the correct essence here?

Well, I say that both are right. If JbJ looks like a white, European hippy when you make your connection with him – awesome. Its what works for your Mind’s Eye. Your Mind’s Eye will lay down a depiction that works for you. That doesn’t make it the sole depiction out there, just the one that manifests in your own Mind’s Eye. If JbJ looks a bit more like an Egyptian bricklayer who has seen the sun for far too many days of his life, that works too. For you.

When I first felt I was being contacted by The Morrigan, I had a tough time trying to figure out if it was Her or not. My depiction of the Gods is a bit more modern than most people tend to think. The Valkyrie that were showing up were dressed in jeans, boots and typically t-shirts. Coyote and Crow both tend to manifest in my Mind’s Eye like a pair of dusty hitch-hikers in the midwest. Torn up jeans, worn cowboy boots, disheveled hair, five-o’clock shadows on their cheeks and chin, a t-shirt and a beat up jeans jacket if the weather is cooler. None of those are typical depictions that you will hear or read about from other people. That’s because this is what works for my Mind’s Eye. I think of any of the Gods showed up looking anything close to their depictions in the Deities and DemiGods handbook from the Advanced Dungeon and Dragons collection – I’d likely have a heart attack. I know I would have a tough time relating to Them.

So why the t-shirt and jeans motif?? To be honest, I’m not completely sure, but I do have my own theory. I am most comfortable in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Since this is where my own personal comfort level is, I project that within my Mind’s Eye when working directly with the Gods. Who knows, They may have me depicted in a toga in Their own Mind’s Eye. I don’t ask because its really just not that important to me. Nor is it really important to me how others depict the Gods in their own Mind’s Eye.

Now, there will be folks who are closer to being purists when it comes to the depiction of the Gods. They will saw that most of what I am describing her is a person’s fanciful imagination, and not a proper vision of the Gods. Well, I’ll agree with the first part – what my inner Mind’s Eye depicts is definitely part of my “fanciful imagination.” Without that in place, my mind would have a very difficult time understanding, comprehending, and translating what I see from beyond the veil (my opinion, thankyouverymuch). The second part? Well, I can understand, comprehend and relate to the point that is being made. Visions of the Gods tend to have similarities that help identify what is what. But its a debate stage I refuse to wade into because I am not here to tell anyone that what they experience is real or not. I leave that type of rule-chasing for those that feel the need to go there.

Seriously, if someone wants to play dress-up with the Gods and put Aphrodite in a sheer negligee, go for it. If She has a problem with it, She’s going to make sure you know. But that’s between you and Her. Me? I’ll be hanging out at The Four Winds Bar (hat tip to Blue Oyster Cult) having a drink. Make mine two fingers of Bushmills Black. Neat, please.

Approaching the Start – Its Up To You

Welcome to the new year. The first day of the calendar year is a reminder of new beginnings. We tend to make resolutions of what we are going to do for the coming year, mostly bold proclamations that we would love to complete, but generally set aside after a short period of time. We enjoy making predictions for the coming year, and try our best to divine the events of the coming future in wide, sweeping generalizations. Sometimes these prove to be true, sometimes these pan out to be absolutely nothing or something in-between.

There is really nothing wrong with loud, boastful statements proclaiming our success going forward. Nor is there anything wrong with ominous warnings associated with dark clouds on the near- and far-horizons. But to be able to discern what the future may or may not hold – one must move forward. Then the terrible moment will eventually arrive – when the boastful statements or dire warnings actually come true. And the true measure of the matter does not come from the veracity of the statements, but rather from the depth of the individual’s experience.

I see the start of a new calendar to be similar to that of an initiation. A new beginning that starts with a step into the unknown. Where one finds that the beautiful forest holds terrible secrets within its dark depths. And those terrible secrets become the lessons which one can build upon – failure or success – the experience teaches us where to step, what to watch, what to listen for on the wind, as we wend our way through the dark unknown.

At my very first Gulf Coast Gathering (which incidentally was the first Gulf Coast Gathering), I was initiated into the Bardic grade. I was the very first initiate to step forward for initiation. There was a bit of the “fear of the unknown” with everyone. None of us knew what to expect. I believe all of us were afraid of “getting it wrong” when there was really nothing that would be “wrong” in our actions. It wasn’t what we did or how we said something – it was the experience that mattered. Much like going forward with 2019, you won’t know until you do it.

I have wondered, quite often, what would happen if we – as a collective society – approached the coming year with the wide-eyed wonder of an initiate. Perhaps, if we looked into the unknown with a combination of fear, wonder, and excitement, that perhaps we might not see the world in terms of combat, warfare, or us versus them. Perhaps, we might see the dawning of each new day, the start of each new week, the beginning of each new month, the approach of each new year as new steps towards an experience that we have some control over. We can control our feelings, our dislikes, our hatred, our approach to leaving some out of things because they are “different” from us. If we can do that, perhaps we can get to a point where we understand that each individual has to experience life for themselves. Their experience will not be the same as ours because they are not us – no matter how similar they might be.

I honestly believe that no one else has had the same initiatory experiences that I have. That the way someone else experiences those same sensations from those same ritual techniques will be similar in some aspect to my own, but unique enough to be different from everyone else.

What will destroy the magick of an initiatory experience? Knowing what is to come beforehand. The things that made my initiation such a wonderful experience was the unknown. Pulling back the shroud on an initiatory experience prior to an individual experiencing those moments, in my opinion, deprives them of one of the most beautiful sensations one can experience. You will notice, I have not discussed any particulars of any initiation, except in the most general of terms. No one likes having a surprise no longer be a surprise. Trust me on that.

The same holds true for the coming year. There are things we can speculate at, which are likely to come true. Mostly because we understand the psychology and mannerisms of the individuals in question. Yes, Trump and Putin will meet somewhere in the world for a BDSM evening between the two of them. Yes, Putin will be the top. Maybe. If it were true, I will need a lot of mind bleach, that’s for sure.

There are a lot of ways to view the coming year. I personally like to view it as a present that slowly gets unwrapped. You might have a guess to what it might be from the shape of the package, but there are smaller details that you will get to experience when you unwrap it. First you have to unwrap it. Just as you have to take a step forward in time to experience the coming year, or you have to take a deep breath as you step down the Path to your new initiation. The experience awaits as an unknown. You can fear it, you can embrace it, or you can do both. The final choice on what you do and how you experience it is completely up to you.

The Calendar Year….In Closing

Gizmo hiding…sort of

Well, its the end of another calendar year. 2018 was not the greatest year I have ever had. In early October, I spent eight days in the hospital with pneumonia. After that, I spent the rest of the month and a good chunk of November at home trying to recover. The meds that were prescribed to me put my body into kidney failure, which I am still trying to recover from. In the Summer, I lost both Gizmo and Kaylee to cancers that spread through their bodies like wildfire. Gizmo was difficult because cancer had gotten into her throat, and she had begun to have trouble breathing, as well as eating. Kaylee, on the other hand, had cancer throughout the rest of her body. Even with pain meds, it was obvious that her quality of life was plummeting very quickly. All of that contributed to this being a very low year for me. But I still wrote, and continue to write. I grieve for my two furry children. And I miss the more healthy me from earlier this year. But everything continues forward. Over the past month, Gabby and Raven have been added to the home. Neither of them is Gizmo or Kaylee nor should they be. Nor are they replacements. They are part of my family, and I enjoy having these two kittens in my life. They make life interesting and fun.

Earlier this year, I also brought my podcasting “career” to a close. I was a podcaster for two podcast shows, which ran twelve years total between the two of them. Towards the end of the second podcast – Upon a Pagan Path – I started to realize that many of the folks that were doing shows out there were covering much the same territory I was, and doing it far better than myself. Plus, in my own personal life, I just could not fit enough time into making sure that things were managed in a timely fashion for doing such an endeavor. So, I made the semi-difficult choice to step aside. Do I miss it? Sometimes. I enjoyed the rapport I had with my audience. I definitely miss all of that. But like I said, others do a far better job than I had ever hoped of doing. 

Over the course of this year, not including this post, I wrote sixty-nine times here in the blog. The most popular post for the year wound up being The Morrigan is Not a Valkyrie. A lot of folks have interpreted this in one of two ways – both having a measure of correctness. (1) I do not wish to work with The Morrigan. (2) I had difficulty seeing the difference between The Morrigan and the Valkyrie, where it should have been easy for me to tell the difference. Both are true. The Morrigan scares the shit out of me. I know the commitment it takes to work directly with Her. I have seen it from some of the people I know that do work with Her, even on a casual basis. I prefer the more casual approach I get from Crow and Coyote – though They can be just as intense. As for not being able to tell the difference. Well, in my defense – I don’t work with Celtic or Norse Gods…being able to immediately tell the difference just wouldn’t be in the cards for me.

I did quite a bit of traveling through the year – at least all the way through September. I made it to my third Pantheacon in a row. Now, Pantheacon trips are expensive for me. San Jose, California is not a short trip. And while I do enjoy Pantheacon very much, it is also a scene of chaos, tumultuous energies, and a lot of what I deem as “unnecessary conflict”. For four days, I have to keep my shields up, as it were, as well as find grounding space where I could when I could. Thus, I will be skipping Pantheacon 2019 in the coming year…not just because of the energies, but because of a whole myriad of things that have converged together to make attendance there especially difficult. My trip to Iceland utilized nearly all of my vacation time and my pneumonia recovery time has eaten away a lot of other off-time margins that I had been holding in reserve. I will be making the ADF Imbolc Retreat in Mountain Home (I will be purchasing my attendance package shortly after I post this), as well as the OBOD Gulf Coast Gathering which has become my Spiritual Home. Aside from some possible one-day trips within the region, that will likely be the totality of my travel for the coming year. It is definitely time to bring things to a slower moving pace…and reintegrate with my roots here.

But sixty-nine posts…this works out to 18.90% of the year. Ok. Not that bad for someone who claims that he’s not very good at this. The reality is that I am probably a little better than I really admit. And I could do a far better job of posting as it stands. So, as the new calendar year seems to be a good marker for new goals, I will work towards eighty article posts for the coming year, and twenty poetry type posts as well, and another synopsis for the year post at the end. A total of one-hundred and one posts for the calendar year. I will likely be re-visiting some of the older posts, to come back and flesh out topics a bit more. I will have some newer topics as new off-shoots happen. And all of it will be my perspective.

Remember folks, the point of this blog is to share my perspective, in the hopes that it will let you come to your own conclusions on various topics. Not one single person needs to agree with me on what I write. All I ask is that we respect each other when discussing those differences.

Have a good new year…and remember…be yourself not a projection of what you think others want you to be. You’ll be far happier with who you are…

Being a Pagan on Wednesdays…

What is it like to be a Pagan? In a given month, I hear this question asked about five to seven times. Usually offered in hushed tones, like the two of us are doing a covert drug deal in the open. I can grok why though. When someone finds out I am a Pagan, they think I am hiding in the open. That I am afraid I am going to be jumped on by any hardcore, overtly Christian that may be in earshot. or that I am going to be snatched up by a demon possession team for a sekrit exorcism. To be frankly honest, those pushy, overt Christian types are far and between in my experience. And it has been a long time since I was cornered in the Sembach Air Base Post Office lobby at three in the morning because I appeared in the centerfold article of the European Stars and Stripes newspaper.

Just Like Anyone Else

Over the years – let’s see, since 1986, which makes it thirty-two years – all I have really wanted to convey to anyone is that being a Pagan is no difference than being any other Spiritual faith. Much like a Christian believes in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit; I believe in many more aspects of Gods and Goddesses. The difference is not in what we believe, the difference is in how we experience our Spirituality in the world around us. Same with any other faith. In fact, it is the same if you compare with any other Pagan, any other Polytheist, and any other Animist. We all have differences in our experiences with the world around us – both physically and spiritually.

No single moment of experience is exactly the same. There will always be small differences. Little anomalies that make our experiences unique. As each should be. I can stand in the exact same location as you, see the exact same view of a landscape as you – and have a completely different experience. Yours may merely be that the scenery is pretty or massively exquisite from others that you have seen. Mine may be more geared towards a massively detailed experience of the soul of the trees, rocks, ground, skies, rivers, seas, lakes, and animals that permeate that same landscape. The feel of the Spirits of Place might catch my breath and show me a deeper aspect – how this land lives and breaths. Or it might not. Even then, my appreciation of the beauty I see before me will be different from yours. Our experiences of the world around us, mundane and spiritual, are unique between what we experience and ourselves. We are unique beings, just as the Spirits of Place, Spirits of Ancestor and the Gods and Goddesses are unique beings. The connections we create with all of those and even with ourselves will be just as unique as we each are.

Still Haven’t Found…

In a somewhat recent article on CNN (which I cannot find again), there was a notation that Witchcraft had entered into the mainstream of religion here in America. And that Christianity had shrunk considerably. Witchcraft, the article had noted, had 1.5 million adherents within the United States. After I finished the article, a few quick thoughts kicked through my mind. 1.5 million adherents, yep, and they all attend Pantheacon in San Jose each year. Each. And. Every. Single. One. of. Them. Or at least that’s the way it seems to feel. But all of that makes me wonder, how are these folks defining “Witchcraft”, and to think further, how are they defining “Christianity”?

Certainly, I have watched the Neo-Pagan movement, what some might define as the “fluffy-bunny” or “New-Ager” movements, get larger and larger every year. These are generally the folks that are seemingly at the edges of the Pagan model. The fuzzy edges of the circle, if you will. And there is the well documented shift away from the overtly conservative Christian model that has been happening for quite some time. Using those aspects, I can see where the article is pulling its descriptive perspectives from. However, now that we have a slight understanding of where this comes from – let’s step away from the politics of what is and what isn’t a Pagan or a Christian.

People are constantly searching for a spiritual home. For most of them, a spiritual home need only be a few inches deep in the dirt around them. There is little or need or desire to dig deeper, find a more solid foundation for what they are trying to do. They only wish to be part of the larger crowd. This sheep-herd mentality is common. I saw it when I was searching for my own Spiritual home. The way that all the folks I hung out with in high school flocked to the Southern Baptist faith because the “hot girl” was there. There was no desire to learn more about the faith they were getting into. They dug a few inches deep so they could stake their claim to land they had no desire to cultivate. I dug deeper and found a faith that couldn’t support my way of thinking. It took a long time to formulate who and what I was, to find a label that would work for me.

Labels Take the Guesswork Out of Knowing

Labels are wonderful things, particularly when curating disparate data sets. A few meta tags here and there and you have a wonderful system that keeps things organized and in separate containers. Awesome stuff for a library, a dataset or even a collection of things, but not so much for working with people. Or is it?

Yes, this is a slight divergence from my usual positioning on labels being adhered to people. I am quite well known for the manner in which I eschew the concept of labels being applied in any manner to a group of people, much less to a single individual. However, despite the very bland, very non-descriptive way that labels tend to be utilized as convenient non-thinking manners of classification – labels can be useful for simplistic organizing of categories. A Druid is a Druid. OBOD, ADO, BDO, ADF, what have you…all of these are Druids even though they are all very different organizations of Druids with emphasis on methodologies and types of magickal use. Take a step further back, and those differences all set back into the fact that these are all Druid orders. So, if we use these labels are quick methods of organizing and classifying thoughts in our minds, while remembering that each order has significant differences that make each of them unique, we don’t have to dig too deep. If Druidry is not your thing, you know you can set all of these groups off to the side, and search elsewhere in your quest for a Spiritual home. Just remember, if you still haven’t found…circle back to these and have a quicker, deeper look. You might actually find what you are looking for.

Same As It Ever Was

I have watched Christian friends go through similar searches. Moving from church to church, seeking a fellow group of people that accept them for who they are and whatever minor idiosyncrasies they may be carrying with them. Perhaps, the plastic Jesus glued to the dashboard of their car is more important than wearing a necklace with a crucifix. Maybe they like to throw out a loud “Amen” during the sermon. Or they prefer a potluck spaghetti dinner be held in the basement for the church’s youth. Yeah, whatever. They go through the same searches that we have all done as Pagans. Shuffling through the deserts of our Spirituality, trying to locate the sweet tasting water of a Spiritual oasis that soothes our throats. We all search for our Spiritual homes. And what’s the difference? We disagree on how many Gods and Goddesses exist. We disagree that monotheistic Christianity is the ONLY way to personal fulfillment.

Yes, my usual answer to folks asking “What’s it like to be a Pagan” tends to be a flippant “Is it Thursday or Monday?” But there’s a hint in that answer too. It all depends on the day. Because each day brings a new experience. Sometimes similar to others. Sometimes not. But unique regardless.

Oh Please, Not Her!!

I wanted to circle back around on a post I wrote a while back, The Morrigan is Not a Valkyrie. A lot of private commentary, particularly from folks that follow and actively work with the Morrigan, have been done via Email since the publishing of that post. Some of the commentary and discussion has been great stuff, and some of it….well, not so much. Which is really an “ok” thing because those folks are entitled to their perspective and opinion as much as I am to mine. But that is not the focus of what I am writing….as you shall see/read in a few.

Working With the Gods

As I noted in the original post, some folks absolutely crave connection with the Gods, particularly the ones that they have a particular affinity towards. Some folks seem to have the Gods crawling all over them, while others seemingly have reached the barren desert of contact. Why the big difference in experiential contact? Well, to be perfectly open and honest, I have not the first idea as to the why of things such as this. I am me. I am not any of the Gods. I do not pretend to know what They think, what They believe or even what They experience. I know my own connection to Crow and Coyote. And I do not pretend that my connection is the singular type of connection to either of these two. The connection and rapport I enjoy with both of Them is singular and unique between the us. Some of it has similarities to how others connect and work with their own Gods, and some of it is so different from everyone else’s that I would potentially call it “unique” – except that I know that there could be a similarity in that process out there somewhere. So “unique” might not be the most appropriate descriptive filler.

However, working with the Gods can come as a point of something akin to a contract as well. Crow and I have a such a working agreement. I am tasked, from time to time, with things to be done. Sometimes it is study of concepts and materials. Sometimes it is a physical task. Rarely do I speak of any of this type of work, because I view it as a sacred tasking from Crow to me. Unless others are to be involved, I keep it to myself, out of respect for the agreement we have in place. At one time, I thought this type of tasking was a form of Priesthood, similar in nature to how the Morrigan tends to work with Her followers (or at least what I have managed to glean from public postings from a variety of folks). But Crow is not the Morrigan. I am not a Priest of Crow’s. I work directly with Crow. My role is more of a partnership than a measure of Priesthood. As was put to me by Crow – “If I wanted a Priest, I would have looked for other qualities that you would never possess. You are not made to be a Priest. Your role in your world is more direct.” Now, what all that means….I am slowly finding out. But the point is correct. I am no Priest.

When I thought I was being courted by the Morrigan, I was not overly thrilled. There is very little give and take in a relationship with Her. Agreements seemingly have a feel of a legal contract with an emphasis on precise wording. That is not a world or environment that I can thrive within. I have had a few of Her followers point out my military service as a starting point of working with Her. It is obvious that She has been gearing up for battle within this world and is seeking Warriors. I have heard the whizzing of bullets fired in anger towards me. But none of that makes me a Warrior either.

Oh Please, Not Her!

So what to do when you feel like you are getting called by one of the Gods that you are apprehensive about working with? Well, the first thing to do…is panic. Run through the streets like your hair is on fire! Scream. Wail. Cry. Give in that you are being pulled into a gravity well and have no control.

No, not really. The first thing to do is to not panic at all. Whatever manner you are getting your calling from, write down every observation you can find. If the calling came through a vision or a dream, write down every detail you can remember. If it gets repeated to you, definitely write down every detail you can recall. And then start your research. Read everything you can find on whatever God it is. Find those you know who have the calling of that God or Goddess, and talk with them about your experience. As the old maxim from the Reagan administration went – “trust but verify.” Trust what you have experienced, but verify what you have going on. In my instance, what I thought was the Morrigan turned out to be several Valkyrie taking turns with their overall message. There was no recruitment pitch going, merely a reminder to get my rear in gear. The slight differences in appearance were the easy lay-up on figuring things out. Except that like any human being, I was looking for the most difficult, tiniest difference to focus on.

So what’s next after the research? Well, spend your time interacting with whatever God or Goddess has approached you. Ask very specific, very pointed questions. But be respectful and polite as well. Remember, you are either accepting or rejecting an agreement. Have some tact. And if you are rejecting, be aware, some of the Gods are rather insistent when they want you. Be prepared for some blow-back as well. Consider what terms you might work with this God or Goddess. You might be able to barter a better deal.

For me, it was a thankful moment that the Morrigan was not making some claim to me for service. I am very aware that I would be a poor choice to work with Her. However, I am also aware that even difficult fits work into whatever Her plans might be, so there is always the possibility that such a calling could be made on me as well. At this point, I have done my research, and am more aware of what might be expected. I know a few more folks from “Team Morrigan” that I can go to for assistance, advice and potential verification. Would I wind up on the “team” or request to be excluded? Regardless of how poor a fit I feel I might be, I would at least listen. So, at this point, I would keep my options open. With an eye on the door, in case I need to go running through the streets, screaming, with my hair on fire.