So, starting tomorrow morning, I trek to a place I have never been – Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. I’ve driven near it…just to the east, in fact, when I visited The Medicine Wheel in the mountains of the Bighorn National Forest. From what I have been told, it will be precisely what I need – a huge break from work, and a chance to refresh my soul with time in the wilds.
Being a Solo Pagan, there’s always the missing factor of fellowship with other Pagans. There’s not a ton of people that I can talk Spirituality with…and definitely not without the blanket of Christian definitions being imposed upon things. Essentially, concepts such as “Priest”, “Fellowship”, and even “ritual” take on conceptual differences when tinged with the definitive aspects of Christianity. Trying to discuss topics such as Gods, Spirits of Place and Spirits of Ancestor all get met with frowns and scoldings that “you are doing it wrong.” If I were a Christian, that would be true. But I’m not. So, for me, staying out of these types of conversations is usually the best tactic.
This is why gatherings such as Pantheacon, Many Gods West, Pagan Pride Days, East Coast and Gulf Coast Gatherings, and many, many more are such joyful places for fellow Pagans. Many of us are not just excited about seeing old friends, and making new ones; but we also get to discuss topics that are typically taboo in “polite company” around our non-Pagan friends and family members. Honestly, I don’t always get invited to the big-people’s tables for these conversations…but I do get the chance to talk with other folks one-on-one (or a few-on-one) for quite similar topics. It is refreshing to have conversations where you don’t spend most of your time trying to define terms for the first thirty-minutes so that everyone is on the same page.
A lot of that is great, but really there is no substitute for being in areas where there’s not a lot of people. Just wide-open spaces (to borrow from the Chicks of Dixie), lots of high sky, and the sounds of everyday life in an area not normally inhabited by humans. Granted, in places like Yellowstone – just as it was in Glacier National Park – there will be tourists and visitors all over the place. But still, there’s plenty of time to find a bench or a rock, and just drink up the environment. Nothing can replace that. No offense to any of my Pagan friends that I look forward to seeing at the various gatherings, but being outside means everything for me.
But this vacation is more then just recharging and renewing myself. Its about relaxing, removing some tension, and just forgetting about work-related issues for a short while. I’m lucky enough to have a job that allows me to do things like this from time to time – as well as making the various Cons, festivals and gatherings that I can. And I am quite thankfully for all of that. I can remember times when Life definitely wasn’t that way for me.
The vacation also allows me to step away at just the perfect moment. October 1st is the end of my fifty-first circuit around the Sun. I don’t measure my life in the concept of years – merely the number of times this planet has made its orbit around the Sun. Because…well, time is an illusion. Each day that the Sun rises is a chance to start a new adventure. Each day the sun sets is a chance to reflect on what has just occurred, and to greet the rise of the Moon, and the inviting comfort of the blanket of night. For me, Life is Life. Each footfall is precious and treasured. Even when things don’t quite go the way I expected them to. Life is a daily celebration of who I am, the Gods I commune with, and the people who continually make an impact on my Life…even when they don’t realize it.
I will be posting to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram when I can. And of course, I will have a slew of new photos that will slowly find their way into the blog. 🙂 In the meantime….step outside tonight into your backyard. Look up in the sky. Find the moon and just stare. If its cloudy, look at the clouds. Try not to have your mouth open if its raining. You don’t want to be the first person to drown standing on land. 😉