Samhain, as I have explained a few times before, is where I consider the start/end of the Wheel of the Year. For me, its a time similar to the Julian calendar turnover at December 31st. Many folks at that time will look back over the past year and reflect on what happened, as well as looking forward into the near future with resolutions and prognostications concerning their lives. During Samhain, I follow a similar thought pattern, though I leave the forecasting to a more generic level.
Throughout the year, I kept getting the urgent messaging to “slow down” from both Crow and Coyote. I made plans to alter my scheduling a bit more, pulling back from many events, and made the final push towards closing out what had turned into a very hectic personal schedule. My idea was to slowly pull back, and use the winter as a time to relax and turn a lot more inward in my practice. Apparently, I was not heeding what I had been told, as I found out in my return from a pilgrimage trip to Iceland, as I contracted pneumonia from my time there.
My pneumonia has brought my life to a stand-still. I spent eight days in the hospital before being released for home-care with a PICC line inserted into my right arm. That line allows intravenous antibiotics to be added here at home rather than me staying in the hospital. After a week, I was pulled from the antibiotics because my blood-levels were completely out of whack. I now wait for my blood levels to return to normal before finding out what the next steps in-home care will be. In the meantime, my pneumonia continues to run its course with heavy coughing on my part. My body continues to work the problem, albeit at its own pace.
During this time, I have been kept from work, which means I have far less to do on a daily basis than I did before. It also means that my anxiety and the pressures of my job are non-existent. My focus has been on writing (for as long as I can sit at the keyboard at any given time), reading, and working on my Ovate grade studies. Focuses that I have set to the side so that I can manage my job’s workflow in the past. All of that has been a step-by-step analysis of not only where I currently am in life, but where I have been in the past year.
My life has definitely been a race from location to location to task to task. A true comparison of the metaphorical rate-race, without the competitive rat. To continue along that analysis trail, I have been running in the wheel, but going nowhere. My recent life has been concerned with a constant barrage of work tasks related to data retrieval and analysis, both major aspects of my job. My problem was that I would bring all that home with me. There was no shut-off valve. Nor was there any outlet for other things or people that I could wind down my week with a few hours – not that there have not been offers of such, there certainly has been. But I continually fell into my pattern of work over everything.
The trip to Iceland was about connecting with a land that was very foreign to me, removing all aspects of my life to the side and focusing on something different. The trip was meant to be a change of pace and certainly served to be exactly that. I spent the trip relaxing, connecting with the land, and connecting with the people on the trip. In my estimation, I was the only Druid on this trip. The majority of the others were Witches of one variety or another – so there was a distinct difference in daily approaches to personal Spirituality. But with ten days, there was not really a ton of time to talk with others about such areas of personal depth – particularly when you are taking the time to get to know them as people first. Were the trip longer, I could see deeper conversations becoming a measure of focus in conversations.
I had gotten the messages of slowing down, changing focus, and diving deeper into my own personal Spirituality before the Iceland trip. I had plans to bring everything to a slower pace – tapping on the brakes a little at a time. Apparently, that was not appropriate. Now, before anyone thinks I am laying all of this at the feet of Crow and Coyote – you would be very wrong. My pneumonia was likely brought on by the change of temperatures between Iceland and Texas (approximately 60F on the day of return), along with the heavy pressures I had already built for myself where work was concerned. But this pneumonia is a major hammer-fall to what I need to change in my life. Something that Crow and Coyote have been chiding me over for nearly the past year.
So this illness, while not exactly the best timing whatsoever, is a major reminder that life needs to change. I have noted before, I am not a Priest for Coyote or Crow. I am not built that way and my working agreement with the two of Them does not approach that kind of concept. But I do need to tighten down parts of my bonds with both of Them. My work in the OBOD training materials also needs to be tightened up and followed. It was a promise I made to myself during the first Gulf Coast Gathering. My practice there has gotten sloppy and needs to be brought back together. Finishing is extremely important to me. And yes, there are specific plans for what happens when I am finished with all three grades within OBOD. Lastly is a change of perspective. Reworking what is important, and placing work in the isolated box it belongs in. I am so much more than the work I do. And its time I focused on that a lot more with the focus that the rest of my life deserves. Work has been placed first for too long.
As I noted, Samhain is the New Year’s point for me. This is the time of year that I tend to dive deep within myself and look at where I am, where I have been, and where I would prefer to go. This year, I get the added notation of my own health and focusing on fixing that for the future going forward. My future does not hold protests against the current Presidential administration as a high-level goal. Nor does my future hold a spot for me to be a “big-name Pagan”. As far as I am concerned, I’m just me. I ramble on. I prattle about topics here and there. If people listen, they listen. If they get something from what I say, that’s great as well. But in the end, I am no different than any other Pagan in the wide world. Just like them, I am trying to live my life. Simple as that.