Haven’t written a blog post in a while…mostly due to me catching up with my students’ grades, but there have been a few other factors included. I’m working on my last assignment in my MBA. Once finished, I will just need to wait on the school to confer the degree. In the meantime, I’m lining up my paperwork for my very last degree – a Masters in History, which is part self-indulgence, and part career protection. I’m also continuing down the road with my OBOD studies…which I devote about ten hours a week towards. Once I finish my MBA, I’ll probably add a few more hours in that arena from the resultant free time. But always – ALWAYS – A L W A Y S – I make time to get outside and spend some of my day in my local environment. Today, that was done in the rain. But I always make time to go outside, very early in the morning.
Recently (yesterday as I write this), the Wild Hunt posted an article on John Muir, relating to the experiential side of religious belief called “Quick Note: The Unexplainable in a Secular Context“. Now, I don’t agree with the titling aspect of the article – nor do I agree with the material in the article – nor is that what I am writing about. The article discusses the experiential side of John Muir’s naturism…something I’ve come to add within my own spiritual life and practice, particularly over the past two years. For two straight years, I’ve traveled up to the mountains of Colorado. The first year, I specifically went to the Colorado Springs area to visit the stone circle at the Air Force Academy – a trip I hope to repeat next year with a much more purposed point. The second year – this year – found me going up to Wyoming with a short stop at Red Rocks Amphitheater. Both trips provided me with ample opportunity to hike out in the wilder parts of mountains – which in turn let me open myself to the environment and experience the Kami – for lack of a better descriptive – in those places.
I came away from each trip with a better understanding of my place in the great web. And I’m planning trips going forward (monetary aspects hopefully allowing me to do so) to other locations. Some are planned side-trips for greater trips. Some are the greater trips. All of them are planned with the position of being able to experience the world around me a little more each time. I’m lucky enough to be able to make long-range plans such as these. I’m also lucky enough to have a job that gives me time between semesters to do just this. And I thank the Gods each morning for just that.
Maybe I’m not a “conventional” Pagan (if there really is such a thing). I don’t seek a congregation or a church or a Circle or a Grove to be a part of. I understand the desire, need, want, or whatever descriptive one may apply to that feeling – the place of being a part of such a group. I have those same “wants” and “desires” as well. But I see myself as being a “Pagan”…my brothers and sisters in spiritual nature come from many different perspectives. To me, as Pagans, we’re all part of the same big tribe. I also have no desire to be a part of the clergy of any faith. I see a lot of my friends aiming in those directions – and I see how that fits well within their beliefs and world. Some of them have been striving in that direction for some time – and I’m truly thrilled to see them stretch out their spiritual selves to achieve that. I think its downright awesome that they head in that direction and place themselves in a position where they can achieve their goals. Its not a Path I walk. I’ve said it before – my “Church” is the environment around me – when I walked on a trail up in Wyoming, I felt “at home” – and I could feel the world around me…in essence, what many people would describe as a “church service”.
Don’t get me wrong folks…I’m not dogging people who find what they need as clergy members. Nor am I dogging the folks who found what they need in a church service. I’m merely pointing out that neither of these things works for me. That doesn’t mean I think these particular directions are wrong – they’re just wrong for me. I’ve heard folks comment that I’m leaning towards Shamanism…maybe that’s the truth. I still believe the Gods are there – they exist. Sometimes their existence isn’t a readily known quantity to me…and sometimes I can feel them standing just right – there (writing doesn’t lend itself to this statement – on the word “there” I’m pointing across the room). I’ve also heard some people state that I have no idea what Paganism is all about…I respect that statement of opinion. I think they’re wrong…but I respect the fact that they made it.
Regardless of all that. I’m a Pagan. I’m not a Priest. I’m not a clergy member. And I don’t want to be one. I’m a Pagan. I’m not worried about how the world sees me. I’m not really caring about what label or descriptive that other folks put on me. I’m a Pagan. In the future, I hope to add other descriptives to that…Bard, Ovate, Druid. That will take time – time that I’m willing to spend. Those experiences, along with countless others that will take place each and every day of my Life – that’s what I reach for…those are the strides that I make. A close friend of mine once commented that I do my best thinking when I’m out walking…so I should call myself “Strider”…I’m not so certain about that…but I do know that I call myself “Pagan”….