Well, Yule is upon us, along with the major commercialization of the Christmas holiday season. I admit, I have partaken a bit this year in the spending, but nothing nearly as extravagant as past years. No my year has been full of a lot more. There’s been a lot going on in this year too. A full Julian calendar of stuff. My life has literally been turned upside down.
Near the beginning of the year, I was invited to (and accepted) an Imbolc celebration in south central Texas. I went, driving the entire distance – nearly six hours of straight driving by Texas back roads. The celebration was an eye opener for me. I met a LOT of people there.\, all of whom approached their Pagan Paths from many different directions. It was in dreams during the two nights there that I heard the first strains of the Huntsman’s Horn. The drive down and back were therapeutic for me. This particular trip was done alone, just me, the car, and the road. My speakers were filled with episodes from Druidcast, music from Damh the Bard, Paul Newman, and several others…and my mind wandered with the charm of the backroads of Texas’ hill-country. I understand the pull that the road had for my uncles who drove eighteen-wheeler trucks for a living.
March came along, and a matter of excellent timing with my work schedule arose. Spring Break coincided with the first OBOD Gulf Coast Gathering. I found myself on a long drive down to just north of New Orleans, over ten hours on the road. And while tiring, I found myself once again enjoying the comfort of the road. I met many new friends, whose friendships and relationships I have thoroughly enjoyed cultivating. In fact, it brought me on a later adventure to East Coast Gathering later in the year – but I am getting ahead of myself.
At Gulf Coast Gathering, I had the wonderful opportunity to talk with OBOD’s Tutor Coordinator, Susan Jones. I am still in awe of this wonderful woman, who provided me with a lot of advice that I didn’t readily understand. It took a lot of time and thought, but I do believe I am understanding a bit better. I also underwent my Bardic Grade Initiation there, which helped with getting me back on track with my studies. I also had the opportunity to meet Brendan Myers, a very interesting Pagan author. A quiet man, but certainly one of those people that you take a near instant liking to when you met him. The moment still etched in my mind though, comes from the Alban Eilir. Once the ceremony was finished, someone in the group remarked: “look up in the sky” and everyone stopped where they were, and marveled at the clear night sky above. That moment alone was incredible. With the full feeling that ritual energies leave in their indeterminable wake, there was the beauty of the night skies above us. It was definitely a moment to drink in.
The same gathering also brought news of my father’s passing. A moment that clouded the next three months, and found my making numerous trips back and forth from Texas to Arkansas. It also helped me to understand where my real family was. Blood lines may entangle us with some individuals, but the true family is the one that stands by your side through thick and thin. Even now, in December, I am still dealing with some of the residual feelings of my father’s passing. During the move, I slipped off the back of the moving van, and landed on the concrete/gravel driveway. Bracing my fall with one arm, I would end up fracturing one of my fingers.
June and July rolled around and I hoped for calmer times. I made a commitment to go to East Coast Gathering, looking forward to hearing Damh the Bard sign and give his excellent talks. Then the housing market took off, and I decided to make a real commitment to stay in the job I currently have. I put my house up for sale, and looked for one much closer to work – hoping to carve over ninety minutes of daily travel out of my life. Selling the house and purchasing a new one proved to be a rather numbing experience, but was eventually completed – about a month after East Coast Gathering, which (as I noted before) was an experience in its own right.
Traveling in DFW is never a great experience. Its one of the major reasons I do not typically drive below I-635 on the north side of Dallas, unless I have no other choice. Getting to Love Field is one of those “no other choices”. A two-car accident provided a forty-five minute travel delay, which found myself and Pam missing our flight. So we rebooked for another flight to Denver, which would have a follow-on to Philadelphia. We nearly missed the Denver flight as well, since the two were spaced apart at short time frames. Once we made it to Philadelphia, we had a real dickens of a time trying to get a car, which wound up being a Volkswagon Bug. Great gas mileage, lousy comfort. Eventually, we made it to the Camp, and had a wonderful time reconnecting with several of our new-found friends from Gulf Coast Gathering – and made more new friends along the way as well. The entire gathering was wonderful, but the Alban Elfed ritual was spectacular. One young lady, whose name I did not catch, had the role of the Spirit of the Land, the Lady – and when she shrugged off her cloak and strode to the center of the circle, you could feel her presence. You could feel the power of the Lady coursing through her. I have not seen too many moments that come close to possession of the body, but I would swear that this was definitely one of them.
Since that August, life has calmed down somewhat. Everything has moved a little slower. I live much further out in the country – and I can definitely feel the embrace of the land all around. The Spirits here are a little different than back in an Urban environment. There is a much greater demand on one’s time to be with them. Crow seems to be everywhere, here in what was once old Comanche territory. And oddly enough, I have had hints of Artemis in various guises as well.
Yule has always been that moment where I feel the turning of the seasonal Wheel the most. And its also that time of the Year that I tend to look back and see where my footsteps have fallen in the not-so-distant past. There are plenty of directions that I find myself headed – some I noticed the pattern of a while back, others that I am still trying to discern even to this day. But regardless, Its been an eventful year. Sometimes difficult, sometimes a bit more tempered. There were lessons in each moment. Some easily seen, some that had to be puzzled out. I continue to walk forward, marking my Path with my footsteps, wether that be in tall grass, the dusty dirt of the red road, or the powdered sleep of snowfall.
For I am the arrow of the Gods and Goddess that claim me. My flight is toward the target that they set.