Thoughts For a Memorial Day

July 1992

Me – USAF – July 1992

Memorial Day weekend. Perhaps no other weekend makes me cringe from the words I tend to hear when folks find out that I was active duty Air Force:  “thank you for your service.” Its not that I find the words to be hollow – though I, in fact, do. Its that these words are for those who have served, or continue to serve with the most selfless act that can be done. Military members give up their Constitutional freedoms, so that they may protect that very same document. Military members are not governed by the Constitution of the United States, but rather by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. They choose to protect the Constitution and the very freedoms that we all enjoy. And sometimes, the ultimate price – their very lives – are what we, the citizens of this country, pay.

There’s a healthy argument to be had over the reasons behind such payments. The United States utilizes its military forces for all kinds of actions – from trying to keep the peace in a region at war, to protecting the interests of this country and its citizenry at the direction of our duly elected, representative government. Just what defines “correct, and just action” in the defense of those interests – as well as whether those interests are even correct and moral – are all worthy topics for America’s citizenry to debate. But not for this weekend.

Memorial Day is for honoring those who have paid the ultimate price while wearing the uniform. And for those who have paid the ultimate price, even as everyday citizens who had not made a military commitment towards the defense of this country. Memorial Day is for the fallen. Not the living. Its not for a debate of why precious, young lives were spent over this particular issue or region. Its for paying respect for the lives that were lost, far before the promises of old age, a life of experience, and unbound potential had been put into motion. Arguing over the merits of what the politicians and government officials decided, which placed these brave individuals’ into harm’s way is a useless manner of remembering, and pays no respect to those who sacrificed all.

Yes, Memorial Day will be filled with picnics, BBQs, and familial gatherings – as it should. But we should not spend an entire weekend without turning our focus to the endless fields of white markers. Our country’s gardens of stone. And remembering these individuals for what they put on the line, so that the rest of us may enjoy our freedoms.

Likewise, it would be remiss to not pay homage to the men, and women who died fighting for their governments’ behalf – even when they were on the other side of the battlefield. Much like our own soldiers, they were taking up arms to protect their way of life. No matter how foreign or different, we in the West may see them – they were attempting to defend their own families, lives, way of life, and governments. No matter how right or wrong we may see all of that. Just because they were on the other side of the battle, does not mean that they have not earned our respect as well. Memorial Day should be for all, not just a chosen few.

So, hopefully, all of you enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. Save your thanks towards the living, there will come other celebrations geared specifically for them. Stop for a moment and reflect on those that have fallen. if you can, take a moment out of your day, and visit one of the many Gardens of Stone around the country and the world. And thank those that have fallen for the sacrifices that they made on your behalf by remembering them, and the impact they have made on your life – small or large or somewhere in between. Spend a moment to keep their memories alive, for that which is not forgotten will never fade.

 

Morphing the Myth: What Does Myth Mean to You?

This is the second in a series of posts that are inspired from questions I wrote down during the “Morphing the Myth” panel at Pantheacon, earlier this year. In asking myself these questions, and writing about them here in the blog, I wanted to take a deeper look at an area of my own Path in Paganism that I sometimes overlook.

As I noted in the last post, Mythology and story-telling can provide the gateway for folks to look deeper into Paganism – or for some, be the first steps that they may take on their search within Paganism. I am no different in that manner. Digging through Encyclopedias at the base library opened a door of belief and thought for me, particularly where mythology and folk-tales were concerned.

Thanks to the wonderful podcast “The Celtic Myth Podshow” run by Gary and Ruth, I have been introduced to the world of Celtic Mythology in a manner that I have never had before. They produce a podshow that retells the stories of the Celtic Myths in a manner that I can only describe as something akin to the radio programs from a historical time frame called “The Golden Age of Radio”. At times, they have included interviews with various Pagan folk as well. One particular moment that stands out in my mind is when Damh the Bard and Cerri Lee were interviewed in an episode. The recreation of such myths as the First Branch of the Mabinogion, and the Irish Mythological Cycle have introduced me to a world of stories, and tales that I had never known previously. These shows are literally story-telling treasures for me, and occupy a place on my iPhone that I reserve for long trips. If you have never heard of this wonderful podshow or these two fantastic people…you seriously need to.

What does myth mean to you? How do you incorporate it into your life?

Myth can have so many meanings to so many different people. Stories, folk-tales, superstition, lessons from time….the list can literally be endless. For me, myths, and mythology are ways in which I can connect with my ancestors, with my Gods and Goddesses, and with myself. My ancestors, like the ancestors of anyone else, told stories around their campfires, late into the night. These stories held cautionary tales for the listener, explaining where and how things went sideways…and how everything eventually got put back together. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what cultural environment you look to, you will find the Bardic Arts involved in society – telling the tales of the Gods, the Goddesses, the Heroes, the anti-Heroes.

For me, I live in an area of the southern Plains peoples. Here, the peoples of the First Nations lived, hunted, warred with one another, and were part of their cyclical aspects of the environment around them. At their fires, they told the tales of their Gods and Goddesses. How trickster Gods such as Crow and Coyote created mayhem and mischief, and the punishments and repercussions that occurred from those actions. When I finally felt the pull and call of the Gods, I was not overly surprised to find Coyote and Crow over my shoulder. I read up on their respective myths, learned how to handle their aspect of humor, and derived my own lessons of humility from those tales and my own interactions with both of Them. Their tales do not always overlay completely into my own Life. In fact, that rarely happens ever – if at all. But there are parallels between Their tales and some of the lessons I have encountered in my Life.

Its difficult to relay the meaning of Myth to my own Life in a manner that may make sense for you, the reader. Everyone will draw something different from Myths. Everyone’s interaction – or non-interaction – with the Gods and Goddesses will be different. After all, we are all unique individuals, its only logical that our experiences with the Gods and Goddesses will be just as unique. For me, Crow, Coyote, and Fliodhas, are ever-present. Not always over my shoulder, or whispering in my ear – but typically near. The Myths and Tales that I do have, are treasured readings for me. Whenever I feel lost or out of sorts, I pick a Tale and read. Sometimes, I find meaning in a place I had not before, and sometimes reading the Tale provides some insight I had not considered before, even if it were not provided directly within the story itself.

I sometimes wonder what will happen when the Tales, Stories and Myths will no longer be told. I truly believe that which is remembered will never fade. And those moments become reminders that this is part of what brought me to the Path of Druidry – the Bardic Arts. Damh the Bard, Bran Cerddorion, Wendy Rule, Spiral Dance, Paul Newman, Loreena McKennitt, Gary and Ruth, Fionn Tulach, the great Robin Williamson….and many, many others, have brought the Myths to life in their songs and retellings. yes, that which is remembered, never fades….

–T /|\

Morphing the Myth – Gateway to Paganism

As I related in the previous post, I am embarking on a series of posts that answer some of the questions I posed to myself in notes at Pantheacon 2016. The panel was titled “Morphing the Myth” – and to honor that particular panel, I have chosen to title all of the posts in this series as “Morphing the Myth” with the question following it.

In the panel’s description in the Con’s Information booklet, it was noted that many folks have come to Paganism through various stories. So, the first question I wrote down was

What is your gateway to Paganism?

In a manner of speaking, the question seems somewhat silly at first glance. Essentially, some topical approach is being blamed for one’s deeper involvement in Paganism. Sort of similar to blaming Cocaine usage on one’s earlier usage of marijuana or if one wants to complete the slippery slope of context – one’s usage of cigarettes at an early age. But, we will pick up this football and run with it. At least until the referee blows the whistle.

Mine was fairly simple. I was a curious kid, and loved to spend hours at the base library. Particularly in the section where the encyclopedias were kept. Yeah, I used to read encyclopedias for fun. That was where I came across the Roman Gods and Goddesses. That eventually lead me to the Greeks, the Celts, and the First Nations.

Tommy at the Beach

Yes, I spend a lot of time reading – even when I go to the beach

In essence, my gateway to Pagan belief came from reading the encyclopedia. Granted, it took a while before I realized that I believed in the Gods and Goddesses as the individual entities I see Them as today. I had a lot of Catholic programming to overcame, and a lot of “civilized” societal mindset to shed. I was raised in a household that really wasn’t heavy into belief; even though the children (me and my sister) were sent to Catholic schools. Not for the religious education, but for the so-called “superior” education we would receive in comparison to the public schools. But education with Catholic schools comes with mandatory religious education. So I had plenty of years of being pounded with the idea that a single God with a triune perspective was the “only” way.

When I finally made my initial steps on to the Path of Paganism, the Catholic veneration of Mary made the transition to relating to a God/Goddess paradigm was rather simple. Each of the aspects of the God – Jupiter, Pan, Odin, Thor, Loki, Coyote, Crow, Cernunnos, the God of the Hunt, were just different faces that allowed the follower to relate better. The same held true for that of the Goddess. Not a really far step away from the Christian perspective of a singular all-knowing God. There was no way that anyone was going to blow the mind of this simple, young Wiccan in the United States Air Force.

Over time, my understanding of the Gods and Goddesses began to change. I can’t really pinpoint a time frame or a specific book or movie or talk that set me on a pathway to understanding that each of the Gods and Goddesses were individual, unique beings. if I were pressed a bit for some accuracy, I would put it somewhere between 1997 and 2003. Give or take a few years in either direction. And to be honest, I am not sure it really matters one way or the other. I know what I believe now. And for me, that matters far more than the exact details of how I got here.

I am sure of another thing, though. That not every Pagan out there will believe exactly as I do. Some will see the Gods and Goddesses as aspects of a God and a Goddess. Others will believe as I do, that there are many, individual and unique entities. Others may not believe in any Gods or Goddesses whatsoever. And I am not really all that interested in how close or far away from what I believe that they are. I only care that they believe in what do they do believe in. That they put their heart and soul into who they are. That they live their life as Pagans of whatever stripe – without regret, without apology. And that they respect others’ rights and needs to follow their own hearts and beliefs.

Every single one of us have something that led us to this Path we walk. It was a gateway that brought us to a point where we decided to follow this particular Path we are on. In the next post, I’ll take a look at Myths, Stories, and tales – and the roles that these can (and do) play in my daily life.

–T /|\

Morphing the Myth – a Personal Look

One of the nice things about taking time off from everything else in life, is that I get the chance to look backwards a bit. In this case, I was digging through some old notes in my Evernote application. I ran across some things I wrote during the “Morphing the Myth” segment from this year’s Pantheacon – which was an absolute blast. As I read through the notes, I realized that each point could be written in up as a set of posts for the blog, and I have been working on that since that point. Later this coming week, I will start publishing those here on the blog. However, I thought it would be prudent to preface those posts with this one.

One of the first things I should do here is to introduce what the panel was about. According to the Pantheacon booklet I received during my registration:

Morphing the Myth (S.P. Hendrick)

Mythology is an integral part of our belief systems. Over the years, however, these ancient tales have been transformed and added to in order to make them more palatable to modern audiences. Many Pagans of today had their first experiences with Paganism in their reading of ‘The Mists of Avalon’ or watching the British ‘Robin of Sherwood’. How has the modern interpretation of mythology changed the Pagan community, and is it a change for the good?

When I was putting together my schedule for Pantheacon, this was one of the “must attend” panels I had starred. There were only five of those total. “”Finding Your Personal Magic” (Shauna Knight), “The Dark Side of Druidry” (John Beckett), “The Cauldron of Change” (Kristoffer Hughes), and “Bardic Magic” (John Beckett). The last was held in the ADF Hospitality Suite, and I would hear it again later at the Gulf Coast Gathering (2016) in a slightly revised format. The other panels were all presented by people whom I have met (briefly in some cases), but “Morphing the Myth” was on a topic that has drawn me in quite a lot over the years. Mythology. And it went further down the trail…into the realm of how new stories create new mythologies, and how retelling of the stories can change with the moods and tastes of the popular culture of the time. In other words, morphing the story to fit the understanding of the new cultures that have grown up.

Yes, the panel intrigued me quite a bit. In fact, I might even say that it was the highlight of the entire Pantheacon for me – at least from an intellectual side. And that’s not taking away from the cerebral aspects of any of the other panels I attended. Hardly. Just merely stating that this one panel piqued my curiosity in a manner that I could not explain, heading into Pantheacon.

Once I arrived at the panel, I found quite a few folks had already arrived. I was four deep in what appeared to be a crowd of about thirty-five. For an early morning panel, I assumed that this was a healthy number of attendees. As the panel continued, more folks filtered in. With S.P. Hendrick were two other individuals – an Australian man (judging from the accent) whose name I never caught, and a lady whose face seemed familiar. She turned out to be the author Diana Paxson, whose books I have adored for quite some time. As my notes show, the conversation moved along some very familiar territories, which I will explore through the next series of posts. And the conversations were absolutely fascinating. In one of my writings after Pantheacon, I noted this as well as how the panel has had me looking through various stories that have been favorites in my life.

IMG_0215And while I have alluded to where I am headed with this next series of posts…I am about to dive a little deeper than before. What I am wanting to do, is to dig a little deeper into the ways that mythology, stories, songs, poems and other aspects of the Bardic Arts fuel the fire of who and what I am. Hopefully, some of what I am about to present over the next few posts provides a way for you to look deeper into your own personal Spiritual fires. And perhaps, some of the questions I walked away from this panel with will also help you look a little deeper into how mythology presents itself to your life, your Spirituality, your connection to the Gods and Goddess, and your connection to the world around you. I know its done just that for me.

–T /|\

 

Down the Rabbit Hole –A Short Look at Reincarnation Theory

Writing is a ton of hard work. Even when its not writing for a book. Or a magazine article. Or a research paper. Its hard when its just a blog post. Or a journal entry. It can certainly be somewhat tough to get the words in your head to flow through your fingers and through the keyboard. Honestly, its tough to come up with coherent topics at times. Which is why you are getting the blog post you are currently perusing. Because I cannot find the right way to say everything that is swirling in my head at the moment.

Its not like there’s not a ton of topics that could be written about. The trans-gender bathroom issue. But then again, I think everyone under the sun has covered that topic in about as many different manners possible. There’s the American politics scene. But then again, I would like to keep my dinner in my stomach, and not splayed all over my iMac monitors. There’s the shoddy manner in which my Texas State Attorney General is playing politics, religion and morality with his elected position. But all I can really do is hope that voters remember what tyranny REALLY looks like when they go the polls in the next election cycle. And to just be frank, I’d rather the voters make their own choices when it comes to things like that. I try very hard not to be preachy about politics these days.

But all of those topics are just “meh” for the most part. Definitely pots to leave off the stove. My interests are going back towards reading again, and mostly on topics like Celtic and Irish history, along with parts of Roman history. But none of that really lends itself to good topic writing. There’s only so much you can write about reading history…and to be honest, I’m not trying to dove-tail a lot of it into today’s societal outlook. There may be a few parallels, but nothing that I can conclusively lay a postulation upon. After all, my own thoughts are that today’s societal environment is today – what happened in the past is a different time frame and concept.

Which leads me down a different trail of thought. In approaching each day is a new moment in time, I realize that each moment is unique and will never come again. There will be similar points in time, but only similar. Each would be unique. If I look deep enough, I can find distinctive differences between the two points in time; even though each is quite similar in tone and feeling to the other. Which leads me down another thought path — perhaps the same can be said about each individual, in fact I believe that to be true. No matter how similar two people are; they are different people. But then, that makes me wonder aloud about the reincarnative process. If, as I do believe, many incarnations of each being happen on this plane of existence, would the returning individual be the same as they were before?

Let’s go with a totally out-there perspective:  many, many, many people have claimed to be a reincarnation of the famed ceremonial magician Aliester Crowley. Would they have to be EXACTLY like Crowley in their current life? Or would they possess only a certain aspect of Crowley’s, which would be combined with the rest of who they are?? Could they be a mixture of several different beings, melded together into a new essence?? Or just certain parts of various beings that are combined together to create a new matrix for this new incarnation?

This is why I don’t really like the idea of looking back into my potential past lives. And yes, I do believe that there are past lives within who I am. No, I don’t believe that every (or even ANY) of those past lives are of royal blood, or some “significant” individual (as “significant” as any individual can and would be – that’s a potential topic for another time and blog post). I’m just not all that convinced that knowing who or what I may have been in my past lives would be of any use or significance in today’s environment. As I said before, each moment may seem similar to one in the past – but each moment is unique. Knowing who I was or what role I had played in the past may be an interesting academic perspective…but I am unconvinced that it would play a helpful role in the “me” of today, beyond a “gee whiz” factor.

…and this is what I mean. This little rabbit hole lead me to here. Just be typing and thinking. Is it significant?  Perhaps not. Maybe it opens a perspective or a thought-provoking moment for you. perhaps it doesn’t. Much like John Beckett‘s “Nine Thoughts” perspective on his blog…I believe that this may wind up being a semi-regular feature. Down the Rabbit Hole…a glimpse into a random topic that’s on my mind. Perhaps, next time, we may explore the philosophical difference between the National League’s (American Major League Baseball) non-use of the Designated Hitter. Or maybe we will take a trip into the kitchen and look at some food creation I decided to create (and I make STRANGE food combinations just for the Nine Hells of it all). But regardless, thanks for reading…hopefully you found some of this fun and amusing. Not really sure of the informative part of it though…  :)

 

–T /|\

 

Why the Irish Goddess? The Start of My Process of Inquiry

All right…thank you for the Emails folks.  I will write more often than I have been as has been asked by a group of folks. And staying with the requests…let’s move on from politics, and talk about some other stuff instead, agreed?

A few folks noticed a statement I made a while back about how I was confused that an Irish Goddess of the forest would approach a Germanic kid like myself. Well, I’m not a kid – at fifty-plus (my fifty-first is October of this year) – and as was pointed out to my via Email, there’s a potential for a lot of melding of Celtic Gods and Goddesses throughout much of the cultures within the islands and mainland Europe. Much like the intermingling of Roman Gods, Goddesses, and cultural influences during the expansion of the Roman Empire into the north and western reaches of Europe; there is a potential of similar intermingling of the Celts in a similar vein. Ok, I grok that perspective. And given that my heritage comes from a full-blooded German mother, and an American father whose ancestral tree traces throughout the central Eastern United States – there stands a more than fair chance that my ancestral DNA may be more than fifty percent in the Germanic vein.

Now, there’s some aspects that seem somewhat interesting to me. First, I am drawn with interest far more to the Roman civilization than I am to the Celt. My interest in Roman history goes far back in my life. When I was nine years old, my parents took me to the Base library numerous times. I was allowed to peruse the book shelves for things that would interest me, as well as look through Encyclopedias for information for classroom studies. Two topics piqued my interest:  nuclear fission, and the Roman Gods and Goddesses.

The first was more from a social perspective. The premise and potential for nuclear war in the 1970s was becoming stronger, particularly with the posturing of the (then) Soviet Union. The wild craze of building bomb shelters in one’s backyard had gradually died down, but there were folks who continued work in that vein. My seventh grade Science Project was a depiction of nuclear fission using dominos to illustrate how the method worked. Originally, I had attempted to add some of the more graphic depictions of nuclear devastation from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks, but was rebuffed by my Sciences teacher, and opted instead for pictures showing the internal workings of a nuclear weapon instead.

MoonlightThe Roman Gods and Goddesses were something I stumbled upon in picking up some research on the Roman military itself. The more I read about the Gods and Goddesses, the more I realized that these were more than the empty feeing I got when attended Catholic church. The Holy Trinity didn’t speak to my heart. My parents were invested in me continuing on to Catholic services, so I was taken there from time to time. Later, I would be enrolled in Catholic schools, where the indoctrination towards the Catholic church would continue. I would be taught why certain services were held, and when. I would learn more about the Sacraments, and the concept of transubstantiation. None of this really called to me. Plus I still recalled in the book of my mind that there were other Gods and Goddesses that belonged to other cultures. I knew the statement of condemnation – “thou shalt have no other Gods before Me”…but I struggled with the idea that a supposedly loving God would condemn individuals of another culture to spend an eternity in a place of torment, pain and anguish – simply because they had no concept of the Christian God or the Christian practices. To me, it was antithetical to what the Christian beliefs were about (as I understood them to be): loving, caring, forgiveness…. In the late 1980s, I started exploring outside of the Christian faith and found Paganism…and learned more about it than an Encyclopedia Britannica had ever expounded.

That was 1987. Since then, I have explored many aspects of Paganism. And in this exploration, I danced all around the terminology that would open my mind to where I am now:  Druidry and Shamanism. But that exploration that I undertook is something I would never want to relinquish or forego were I given the chance to go back in time and do things differently. I learned so much more by traversing various areas, only to find that it was not where I truly belonged.

Over time, I have had two Gods that have helped guide me to where I am at this point in my life. Neither Wolf nor Crow have ever pointed me in specific directions. Rather, through meditation, dreams and subtle pushes in personal study directions, I have managed to make my way to where I am in Life now. I give thanks and veneration to Them for Their guidance. In return, I have my own appointed tasks that I agree to do. I am not compelled to do these things, I do these of my own choice.

That’s only part of the story that brings me to the here and now. There’s a lot more to it then this. Some of it, I am reluctant to pass along – not because its fantastical and I fear no one will believe. I am not worried at all about someone else believes of me or not. Rather, I am reluctant to share some of this, because it is private and personal to me. Not all of my story is for public consumption.

A secondary question that was brought to this – how does one get the attraction of a God and/or Goddess to themselves? Honestly, its a lot like falling in love with someone. If you spend your time looking specifically for an individual to share your life with – someone you can give your heart to – you will find it to be a difficult time. Furthermore, you will spend a lot of time compromising on various aspects and facets that you would want in a loved one – simply to fit them into your life. You’ve essentially created a human-shaped hole in your life, and then spend your time trying to reshape that template to fit the people you audition for that role. In my experience, its far better to not go into the search, and just live your life. When the person that is right for that part of your life arrives; you won’t need to reshape some template. You won’t even need a template. They fit into your life, and you (and they) will know its the correct fit.

In my personal estimation, finding a God or Goddess working through you in your life, taking an interest in you, laying claim on you….that happens the same way. Keep working on your Spiritual life. Keep doing the things that give meaning to you. Meditate. Do ritual – even solo rituals (this is where I was/am). If a God or Goddess seeks you out, you have the option of being flattered and still saying “no”. Take your time when you feel things happening. Do personal research on the God or Goddess. There’s a reason that I don’t heed the call of the Morrigan…I hear Her, but my Path is not with Her.

All of this is only a starting point. Please understand, I am not an expert in anything, except for myself. I know what works for me. I know what *might* work for me. I know what doesn’t work for me. Whatever those things are…the manner in which I categorize them (will, might, won’t) is not necessarily true for you. Explore. Granted, you might get your hand slapped for being in a place where you aren’t meant to be. Just apologize and back out. And while some might not agree, just remember to mind your manners when dealing with Gods, Goddesses and Spirits of Place.

Yes, I know this post opens a variety of different directions to move on from. One of those will be my exploration of my DNA, in relation to some of my Spirituality. I am not sure that there is that strong of a connection between the two of them, but that’s an uneducated supposition on my part. And as I noted – exploring suppositions brings a bit more information. It just might not be what I expect it to be.

One last note; and take it in whatever manner you would, working with your Spirituality is a lot more than just burning candles, chants, rituals, and meditation. There’s research, digging for information, and even getting outdoors in the dirt. Roll up your sleeves and be prepared to do some hard work…Spirituality doesn’t come free or easy.

So why Fliodhas (or alternatively Flidais)? Why indeed. its definitely time for some inquiry, research, and even some DNA inquiry. Time to go spit for Ancestry.com.

 

–T /|\

 

My Druidry Has Very Little Room for Politics

There’s just so much to not bother with in the news. Tons of political commentary, tons of political posturing, tons of commentary on the posturing. There are times – and its quite frequent over the last six months – where I feel like a kid moving the broccoli and cauliflower all over my plate. Essentially I spend most of my time just avoiding the foods that I don’t want to eat. And to be honest, I’ve grown a bit tired of it.

I have many friends who spend lots of time hip-deep in political commentary, and whatever the newest protest movement is at the moment. I completely grow the perspective that this is part of their personal makeup. Politics dovetails into what they do. Its a part of their everyday walk on their Path. And personally, I think its really awesome for them.

For me, and possibly many others, its an emotional drain. And at times, it can be a complete mental drain as well. Yes, there is a certain need to stay “up” on what is going on in the political world. Yes, there are some protest movements that curve into my own spirituality. And in those instances, I will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with anyone working the same side of the road with me on an issue. So rather than pour anything more beyond these three paragraphs, I’d rather spend the rest of this post talking about some of the stuff that inspires me.

I live about eleven miles away from my daily job. I live a similar distance from the Texas-Oklahoma border. In other words, I moved from the suburbs of the DFW Metro-Mess out to the rural areas north of there. My drive to work is a farm road that traverses between several cow pastures. I drive east to work, so the sunrise is something I always see. And while the road is not the greatest in the world, the views are simply amazing. I have managed to follow the travels of the yearly Wheel just by driving to work. This Spring has seen the arrival of a LOT of little calves. They frolic. They run. They jump. They curl up in the grass and go to sleep in the afternoon sun. Over the last few weeks, they have gotten bigger and bigger. They are no longer walking on thin, shaky legs. They have stocky, much thicker legs and bodies.

There are other visitors on my drive. In one stretch of the road, you have to be a bit more aware, as the farmer’s dogs like to chase the cars that go through there. Sometimes they get too close. Earlier this year, one of the dogs had apparently been hit and was lying dead on the side of the road. I really hated seeing that. It reminded me that more than cars, tractors and motorcycles share that little road. From time to time, I see hawks on the fence posts to the pastures. Very regal, very strong features. And then there’s the occasional fox, rabbit, or cat that will dart across the road – traveling from pasture to pasture in their daily existence.

Crows

Looking at the tree in my neighbor’s yard from my backyard. Yes, those birds are waiting for birdseed..

But the road’s not the only place where I find solace, inspiration, and that peace of mind that I like to enjoy. All around me are quiet, nearly forgotten corners of north Texas. The Spirits of the Land are strong here in an area only partially touched by the spread of technology. Sitting on my back porch, I can feel the western wind kick up, bringing the promise of rain and stormy weather. Or I can stand at the western end of my pool (and yes I am lucky enough to have a small pool) and watch the sunrise come up over the trees just to the east of me. I have a small stone circle which I built in one part of my yard, where I step outside to honor Crow, Coyote, and Fliodhas. Unlike down in Corinth, the suburb I lived in, it is extremely easy to see the changes in the Wheel here.

I also find inspiration among my fellow Pagans as well. Honestly, online communication is nice, but it doesn’t replace the awesome time spent with folks talking, discussing, and laughing with one another. I am lucky enough to have a job that allows me to make gatherings in places such as California, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana. And every single time I get the chance to meet with other Pagans, I come away energized and recharged. And many of these people have become more than just friends to me, they have become the family I have never had.

Sure, getting wrapped up in politics works for some folks. And I am not saying that one should ignore everything in the political realm. Part of my Druidry is staying aware of the environment around me – even the political one. But politics is not my focus. Honoring the Gods and Goddesses, venerating and remembering my ancestors, working with the Spirits of the Land, learning, reading, living, loving…those are far more important to where I want to be in my Life. Whether I live up to anyone else’s expectations of me doesn’t matter. So long as I live up to my own expectations, remain honest with myself, and continue to grow and nurture my connections to the environment and people around me….that’s what matters. To me.