That Path is for Your Steps Alone

“Why don’t you talk about ritual more often?”

“Why don’t you hold an online ritual or a talk, like everyone else is doing?”

“Could you please do an online ritual so others can see what you do?”

This pandemic has forced a lot of folks to create and work within online formats. I’m a little envious of those folks, because they have a better internet connection than I do. Currently, I am surviving by working from a Satellite Internet feed, which is slow as the Nine Hells. Streaming anything is just about impossible to achieve. This is the technological stumbling block I run into concerning either being in or even watching a Facebook Live event. Zoom video gatherings are also not in my capability to accomplish. Neither is creating videos and uploading them to Youtube. I just do not have the technology to do that right now.

The closest thing I have, is this blog. Well, that and my inane presence on Facebook. I’m sure I irritate more than one person with my silly antics on there. But then, I use Facebook (mostly) for fun and keeping in touch with some folks that I consider to be my family. Part of the way I approach my daily Paganism is to find something fun for the day. Its why I post a daily morning music video (for the most part daily), for the start of the day. For me, music is a great way to start any day. Currently, I am listening to Joey Taffola’s album “Infra Blue”. He’s a guitar shredder, and the album showcases his mastery of the guitar (Gods, I wish I had this kind of talent with the guitar). But music is always a part of my day. Thus, the reason I share musical selections in the morning with folks. I doubt that many people even click on the video link to listen to the song, but its just my morning offering to the world at large.

This blog is sort of the same thing. I share my thoughts on topics here, and hope that some kind of discussion (even if its just in your own head) gets started. I’m not here to tell people who they should approach and live their Paganism. That would be completely ridiculous of me, particularly since I believe everyone has their own unique approach to a topic. I have said it quite a few times – I’m not a leader. I am not here to elevate myself in any way, shape or form. I am not here to push a brand, or to have designs on being a Big-Name Pagan that gets invited to speak everywhere. I wouldn’t turn down an invite of any sort, but its not my goal on my Spiritual Path. My goal is simple. To just be me. Nothing more complicated than that.

Most of my ritual work is personal, individual stuff. In my thirty-plus years on this path, most of it has been spent doing stuff on my own. I do gather and celebrate with various groups when it comes to the turning of the Wheel. This year, celebrations that I normally attend were cancelled because of COVID-19 fears. I am thankful for that…not just for myself and my rotten immune system, but for all the people that would normally have come. Safety is always a paramount concept in my mind – thanks United States Air Force. As my ritual work is personal – and very off the cuff – I fear that it would never translate well, either in video or written form here on the blog. But I will say this…improvisation of ritual is a wonderful thing, but you need to master the basics of your chosen Path first. Those basics are the starting point for improvisation. Just like Joey Taffola learned the basics of playing the guitar, before he started improvising his own jams, which have turned into his really creative albums. Basics come first. That provides a cohesive starting point for your improvisation.

Picture by John Beckett, who takes amazing photos

Now, I have noted this before…I’m not a leader. But despite what I believe of myself, I cannot alter the way some people might look at me. Yes, I have thirty-plus years on the Pagan Path. Yes, I have wandered through Wicca, generic Paganism, and currently utilize Druidry and Polytheism as the primary backdrop to what I do and practice. However, none of that makes me some kind of amazing individual that other should follow in my footsteps. I can show you some of the land-mines I have encountered along the way. But a Spiritual Path is yours and yours alone. Walking directly in my foot-falls will show where I am, but it does nothing for you. Sooner or late, you will have to leave the Path, and blaze your own trail through the Spiritual wilderness. Because, in my personal opinion, Spirituality is an unplanned experience…its not a play with a script that you basically read from. Yes, we do utilize scripts in group rituals. You can just read the words of the page, or you can put some dramatic flair into what you are reading – become the role you are assigned. No one is asking you to be an actor…only for you to put emphasis and your experience and emotions into the role. Its the same on your Spiritual Path. Sure, you can follow me…sure you can do things EXACTLY as I did. But in the end, you are robbing yourself of putting your own stamp on what you are doing. You’re missing the chance to really be you, and to let that light shine brightly in the darkness.

I get asked a lot about the OBOD Bardic and Ovate initiations. I have been through both. I could easily provide all of that to someone who is asking. I could detail aspects of the ceremonies. And I would be robbing that initiate of the experience of those ceremonies. An experience that I found exhilarating and exciting. Something that continues to have super strong meaning to me to this very day. And I know that my experience was unique because it brought meaning to what I knew. Why in the world would I want to rob someone of all of that? As a moment of remembrance, I’ll leave with some Grateful Dead lyrics that have always had great meaning for me on my Spiritual Path, from the song “Ripple”:

There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

As I said before, music is a huge part of who I am. And lyrics are ways that I have used to help process aspects of my life in a manner that I can better understand. I am not a leader, and yet I am. I cannot control how others might see me and the manner in which they set me. But I can resist the temptations that such affiliations can offer. Because in the end, I’m just me. Another traveler on the road with you. This Path is for my steps alone. But the song says nothing about those that walk beside you on the Path. Let’s walk together until you need to blaze your own trails. Besides, I like the companionship…

Thinking About – You’ve Lost That Pagan Feeling

Thursday! Its morning, and I still have no idea what I am going to be writing about. LOL Yeah, this blog is a little off-the-cuff, but then Life is a spontaneous thing with me. Yes, I do plan things, but I try not to plan down to minor minutiae. Besides, Life is sometimes fun when the unexpected happens… Four hours later, I’m still sort of struggling with what to write…LOL

This is something that tends to happen with me when I attempt to force my writing. Essentially, I just blank out and lock-up. Its definitely one of the things that I have learned to deal with over a great deal of years. Mostly, I just let things go, and write about whatever tends to come to my mind. if nothing comes, I tend not to write.

Which leads me to wonder…could this happen when dealing with your Paganism? Well, why not? In fact…let’s make Thursday a permanent “Thinking About…” topic time, eh?

Ever had that feeling with your Spiritual Path? Everything was so strong, vibrant, and just right there – and then all of a sudden, it wasn’t? Where you feel like you should be walking in the forests of northern California, and instead its like you’re walking through the scrub prairie of western Texas? ::Raising hand:: I’ve been there. More than once. That spiritual dry spell, where it feels like you’re never going to have the same connectivity ever again. Definitely a tough place to be. Worse, it seems like anywhere you go for advice, its like whoever you talk to just doesn’t quite “get” what’s going on with you. I’ve gone through those before. I’ll tell you about the worst one though.

I was in Germany. I had been stationed at Sembach Air Base for two years, and had the luxury of living in the middle part of the Palatinate Forest Nature Park. This is an area in southwestern to mid-western Germany which has deeply wooded areas that are protected by law. There are a handful of cities within the forested area as well as a fairly good number of towns, but these municipalities are strictly maintained so as not to encroach on the forested regions. At least not without environmental impact studies and a LOT of discussion from city and town councils beforehand. This forested area is OLD. The walking trails throughout are extremely numerous, well-walked, and extremely well-maintained by the local Forest Service. It is beautiful countryside, and the magick is deeply rooted here. It takes very little effort to reach out and find the Spirits of the Land, the Spirits of Place, and all the Otherworld denizens living here.

My first two years being stationed at this particular area of Germany were an absolute wonder to me. I had shaken off the label of Wicca, as well as large aspects of that practice because it just did not suit who I was. Instead, I adopted the perspective of being just a good ol’ Pagan. Nothing more than that. I figured if some system was right for me, it would have to hit me in the face. That would happen nearly decade later, but that’s a different perspective altogether.

The change over from all of that feeling, emotion, and magick being right at my fingertips disappeared overnight on one weekend. Suddenly, I felt nothing. No matter how hard I tried to reach out, no matter how hard I tried to find that feeling again – it was all gone. I literally felt like a man who had been blinded and left to wander a featureless void. I spent nearly every moment trying to figure out why things had happened. Why I couldn’t feel. I even considered that I might be ill or even depressed, and went to the local military hospital to be checked out. Even though I had suffered a tough time after Desert Shield/Desert Storm, the answers were no to medical issues – and a “maybe” to Psychological stress. I used to drink heavily to get beyond tough moments in life. But for this? I didn’t even want to touch alcohol, it just wasn’t something I felt an urge for.

Me – USAF – July 1992

In time, I would screw up, and this got me discharged from the Air Force – two years prior to the end of enlistment commitment. I was sent back to the States and essentially dumped at the duty station nearest my place of enlistment – Barksdale Air Force in Shreveport, Louisiana. I was still having issues with feeling in touch with my Paganism, and could feel myself drifting in Life because of that. This was a very low tide period of my life. I would eventually find new friends, and basically relearned about the spark of living life. That renewed energy helped to re-kindle the fire in my life with Paganism. And suddenly, I could feel things beyond me again. It took a lot to realize that it wasn’t Paganism leaving me, it was me trying to deal with a lot of complex and emotional aspects of my life. Once I got over the hurdle – or around the obstacle as I am more likely to say nowadays – I could see the Path ahead. And seeing the Path ahead is what makes the difference for me.

Consider this for a moment, you’re shut in because of this virus stuff…and you’re feeling like your Paganism, your Spirituality, your connectivity with the world is slowly starting to die….perhaps its not. Maybe, if you think things through, you’ll find that being stuck inside is causing you to lose your connectivity, that you need that fresh air. Take a quick 15-minute walk outside. Avoid people, just like you have been told to do. Just take a quick walk. Try not to touch things, and if you do…wash your hands the moment you get back home. But if you gotta get outside…get outside. If you have a backyard…visit it often. But most importantly….realize this: you’re not alone. If you’re reading this – you’ve got the internet. Write an Email to your friend. Do a video call with them, if your connection allows for that (I can’t do streaming where I am because the internet connection doesn’t have enough power to facilitate that type of connection). Yeah, it sucks that we are all seemingly stuck inside…but we don’t have to lose our Spiritual connections over it.

The time frame that I described above is 1993-1994, just a touch before the time of the commercial internet as we know it. The internet has helped to reduce the feeling of all of us being so far apart. The internet may not have been able to help me sort some of the things I had going on in my head, but it may certainly have put me in touch with the people I missed the most – the Pagans that I knew in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Keep that in mind…being able to connect and talk with others can be helpful. I, for one, am here. Should you need to talk: elfster@gmail.com is my Email address. I may not have any of the answers, but I will listen.

–T /|\

Stories Live On In All Of Us

…and its Sunday. As everyone crouches in their basement, waiting for the Coronavirus to pass by their house as if this were the times of Exodus, I went out and got a cup of coffee at my local Starbucks. No line. Apparently the Christian faithful don’t hit the Starbucks around here before they fill the church pews. And yes, I do partake at the giant coffee box company – particularly when my Keurig is hidden in a mountain of cardboard in the garage. But such is life. We improvise where we have to. 🙂

#CoronaPanic

Oh? The Coronavirus thing? Easy. Wash your hands. Don’t pick your nose. Don’t pick your friend’s nose. And if you are displaying symptoms, either self-quarantine yourself or go to the hospital to get tested. Above all, DON’T PANIC. Doing so will only scare the shit out of your fellow human beings…and make things worse. Really, that’s all I’ve got. Hope you weren’t expecting more.

The Coming Days

For me, the coming days are filled with memories of the end of life, particularly for three people. Monday will mark the passing of my father. Wednesday will mark the passing of a very dear friend, Pam “Kid” Harris. Thursday will mark the untimely death of one of my “heroes”, Randy Rhoads.

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

Each of these three had major influences on my life. Of the three, the only one I never knew face-to-face was Rhoads. Randy’s death happened in Leesville, Florida from a plane crash. I remember reading about his death in the local paper in Shreveport. A founding member of Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band, Randy’s style of playing inspired much of the coming metal and hard rock scene – even into today. The band had played in Shreveport a few weeks earlier, but I was unable to go due to work constraints (I worked twenty-five hours a week stocking shelves and unloading a truck when I was a Junior and Senior in high school). I would have missed the article, if my father had not sneered at me and noted that some “druggie” musician had died. My father was never found of my musical tastes, which were far away from his 1950s country music tastes. As much as I had never met Rhoads, his musical styling was magick for me – and remains as such to this day.

Of the trio I have mentioned, my father’s death was next. I was informed of his death while I was at my first OBOD Gulf Coast Gathering. My mother had passed away six months to the day prior to my father. While her death was an expected one, his was a complete shock. I was never really close to my father. His bond with my sister was far tighter and much more sincere. She shared his ultra-conservative values, which probably helped tighten that bond. My mostly liberal perspective, along with my attitude of rebellion, probably helped spread the distance between the two of us. When my mother suffered through major dementia over the last three years of my life, my father and I attempted to rebuild our relationship. While it was a little stronger than before, the deep strains and chasms between our ways of thinking were nearly impossible to bridge completely. Most of our phone discussions were about our mutual health conditions of diabetes and high blood pressure – and the manners in which our respective physicians were treating each of us. According to the coroner, my father had died of a massive heart attack, most likely as he stood up from the table while having breakfast. His morning medications, along with his diabetes log, were set at the table – as he always diligently did each morning.

Pam was a true friend. We disagree on nearly every topic you could think of. A devout Christian, as a lesbian she was considered a social outcast just as I was as a Pagan. We met in a programming class, where Professor Richard Robins was teaching Pascal Programming. By the end of the third week of class, I had already worked my way through the entire book, and started helping other students to understand the language. Pam was one of the more difficult folks to get to understand the concepts. her brain was never wired for the abstract concepts that programming really requires of its acolytes. However, she understood the concepts of Psychology, a class we took together. We sat up front in that class – exactly in front of the desk, where Professor Todaro liked to sit and lecture. After class, the two of us would stay and talk with Todaro from time to time, getting her perspective on various related topics to materials. It was Pam who persuaded the college Library to hire me for their Internet Lab, a place where I flourished in helping students find research materials for their papers. When things were slow in the lab, I would walk the second floor of the library straightening things up and putting materials back where they belonged….an action that endeared me to the rest of the library staff. Pam, a big Houston Astros fan, would often invite me to her house to watch her team play against my team, the Cincinnati Reds. We had fun ribbing each other over our teams’ various mistakes. When I left college, one term from graduating, to work full-time in Dallas – we lost touch with one another. I found out about her death from one of my classmates from the Pascal programming classes, who has gone on to become the Registrar at the college.

As I sit here listening to Queensryche’s “Operation: Mindcrime” while typing all of this, I am reminded that excellent storytelling in the vein of this album is a manner in which the memories of those who go beyond the veil continue to be alive. Randy continues on with the music that was recorded. he lives with every song with his playing on it comes through a set of speakers. My dad continues to live on – not just in my memories, but the memories of other family members, and the memories of his friends and coworkers. Kid continues to live on in the memories of those of us who knew her, interacted with her – both frequently and infrequently. Her huge, loving heart is never forgotten.

So I’ll challenge you a bit…look around you. Think of all the people you interact with, frequently and infrequently. If they passed, what would you remember about them? If you passed, what would you hope that they remember about you? If you are unsure if they would remember you in that vein – do something about it…. #JustSayin’ Stories live on in us….

–T /|\

Conventions Versus Fests – Some Personal Observations

Its Tuesday evening. I am listening to Halestorm on Shuffle/Repeat from Pixel. If I didn’t pick an artist to do this with, Pixel would be a schizophrenic mess. I could potentially go from Halestorm to a Classical concert to Black Sabbath to 45 Grave to Kenny Wayne Shepherd and even more. Just a touch too wild for me. So, I picked Lzzy and her boys to rock my headphones.

This past weekend was Austin WitchFest. It was quite an interesting event. When Shadow and I got there, it was raining and somewhat cold. Shadow packed for a potential change in the weather. Me? I read the “forecast” of partly sunny and low 70F temps, and came in a t-shirt and jeans. I had brought my cloak with me, but had opted to leave it at her apartment after reading the forecast. Yeah, bad on me. Once the rain died down, Shadow’s umbrella did not want to close, so I wound up carrying the open umbrella for the rest of the time we were there. At times, I felt like I was at the bus stop with the Totoro. 🙂

There were plenty of vendors, a handful of workshops, and even some music being played by a band at one point. Figuring on the weather that greeted us on our arrival, I thought that the turnout would be fairly low. Instead it was nearly the opposite. The longer the day went, the more people it seemed came out to the event. Were they all Witches? Were they all Pagans? Well, I can saw that not all were Witches. I know of at least two Druids that were there (myself included in that count). As for the Pagan side of things…I couldn’t really say yes or no. There was no poll being conducted at the door, and frankly I don’t think anyone would have cared one way or the other. And to really be blunt, I don’t think it really matters.

The large turnout probably did the coffers of vendors and the event a lot of good, which I believe to be an awesome thing. However, the large turnout, in my opinion, showed another aspect – that Pagan-oriented events are not dying, as it has seemed with the shuttering of Pantheacon. I believe that there is still a thirst out there for Pagan-oriented events. Vendors, talks, lectures, workshops, music, dancing, and all the fun associated with it…I believe there is still a desire for all of this. I just do not see how events are coming to a close.

At Austin WitchFest, Matt Auryn held a workshop/talk around mid-day at the center of the festival. While I did not attend any of the workshops, it seemed to be fairly well attended – another point towards my belief that events like this are not dying. All of this; however, begs a different question for consideration: are regional/local events such as the Austin WitchFest more likely to survive than say a national event such as Pantheacon?

This is a good question for the larger Pagan community to consider. Holding an event on the immense scale of Pantheacon takes a lot of concentrated and coordinated effort. Now, don’t get me wrong, putting on a single day event like Austin WitchFest takes work too, but there are a lot more moving parts in a four-day convention like Pantheacon that need to be considered. I only went to Pantheacon three times. In that time, there was a lot of political in-fighting amongst groups of people that attended. There was a large amount of controversy that seemed to haunt the convention as well. And in some ways, it felt like a good number of attendees came to watch the spectacle that such confrontations created.

Let’s face some facts about larger convention-style events, folks. There is always going to be controversy and confrontation. There will always be people pissed off at one another, and willing to bring that out on a larger stage that something like Pantheacon provides. But these confrontations drive away more people than it draws. ::raising hand:: Here is one of those people that eventually feels the need to not be around such nonsense.

I can’t say that there wasn’t some level of confrontation at Austin Witchfest because there likely was. I say likely because I never saw anything of the sort. I saw a lot of people happy to see others that they had not seen in a while. I encountered a lot of friendly and helpful people. Shadow’s umbrella had a pretty pattern on the inside of it, and quite a few people had very sincere compliments about that – just as a singular example. If there was any negative attitudes or encounters – these were likely quickly resolved or abandoned by the involved parties.

At Austin WitchFest, there were probably five to seven workshops. Not a whole lot for an event, but I would consider it to be the right amount. People interested in the workshops certainly attended those. There were probably somewhere between forty to fifty total vendors (not including the food vendors). Not a massive amount, but more than enough to provide plenty of options and variety. All in all, I would consider Austin WitchFest to be an awesome event that was very successful. There was plenty, but not a massive overkill of anything.

So, would I consider a national even like Pantheacon to be a dead aspect when compared to a more regional/local event such as Austin WitchFest? Personally, I find the comparison to not really be a good one. There is plenty of room for both types of events to not only survive comfortably, but also to provide to the wider Pagan community’s needs. I don’t really see an ending to the Pagan convention format with the ending of Pantheacon. Conferences such as Mystic South and Paganicon – as two singular examples – will fill the void left by Pantheacon. Or maybe something else may arise from the closing of Pantheacon, only time can really tell. But I do see a future for more local Pagan events such as Austin WitchFest, many of which will provide some stronger alternatives to the Pagan Pride events that take place each year. Just an opinion….

…and in the future, I’ll listen to Shadow and take appropriate gear, no matter what weather.com says…

–T /|\

The Stars From A Different Vantage Point

Well, its been a while, has it not? Yes, I am running slightly off the Tuesday-Thursday-Once_on_the_Weekend schedule I have been trying to keep. But then, moving will do that for you….

Yes, I moved further south in Texas – on to the other side of the DFW metro-mess. Closer to Austin. Closer to San Antonio. Closer to Houston. I am fairly certain there are not very many Pagans around here either. But coming from closed-minded, overtly Catholic, supremely unfriendly Lindsey, Texas – anything is likely to be a better choice. Plus, there is a lot more woods here…and the Hill Country of Texas is just a stone’s throw out the window. It also cuts my drive to my chosen family by nearly half the drive it was before (for the moment). So there are plus signs all around.

But at night…the stars are in a slightly different place. And for someone that spends a lot of time with the night sky, its a little disconcerting, confusing, and odd. However, every night sky has all of us seeing the same night sky. Some with different stars, some with the same – but its really just because the vantage point is different.

Then again, Life is different than it was a year ago, five years ago, ten years ago, or even when I graduated high school in 1984. And it better be. Life is always continually moving, always changing – some of those changes are too gradual to really notice until we stop on the path and look back into our personal histories.

My life as a Pagan has been in a constant state of change and flux. Not because I had no idea where I wanted to go or what I envisioned myself as some aspect of a Pagan. Quite the opposite. I have been a Pagan for over thirty years. I have always had a fairly strong idea of what being a Pagan meant to me. for the most part, that Path has always been beneath my feet. Meeting up with – and working with – Gods of any sort, I never really envisioned any of that, and yet here I am. Druidry was the last Pagan Path I ever checked into, it turned out to be the tightest fit to my own personal beliefs.

What got me to here? Time. Patience. Perseverance. There were plenty of times that I could have turned back to my southern Baptist beginnings or even the Catholic upbringing my parents aimed me towards when they wanted me to follow their desires for me. But both of those Paths never really settled well for me. Likewise, I had plenty of opportunities to step away from the ridicule and harassment that I faced during my time in the United States military. I stuck with it because this Path was right for ME.

Interestingly enough, I always am asked why I have remained a Pagan through to this point in my life. Its an easy question to answer – because this is who and what I am – but a difficult answer for non-Pagans to understand completely or correctly. Sometimes, its almost as if you have to be a Pagan to completely grok the idea. or maybe I am just not getting the point across because I am doing a poor job of explaining it. Most likely its because I don’t feel its my job to explain every aspect of my Spirituality to others in words or tones that they can comprehend or not be hurt emotionally by. ::shrug::

So, now life will continue under a blanket of stars that are the same…yet different. My world will be drastically different down on ground level. Buildings will be different, the people that I see daily will be different. But the sky will have some familiarity to bring me comfort in both my daily life and within my Spirituality.

Parts of Life are about to change drastically though – even more drastically than the people I see or the buildings I drive past daily. I am starting to step into some of the roles of being a Priest. I have no guide or road-map to work from. My footsteps in the sands will be the first for me. My Path of Druidry also has a feel of changing roads as well. The Path before my feet feels more like a thin, rarely used path in the forest than the formal, sand covered, walking trail it has been. My footing is a bit more unsure, so my steps must be more firmly planted. Yet, I continue on.

I have no power over this, you know I’m afraid
The walls I built are crumbling
The water is moving, I’m slipping away

I throw myself into the sea
Release the wave, let it wash over me
To face the fear I once believed
The tears of the dragon, for you and for me

–Bruce Dickinson, ‘The Tears of the Dragon”

In case you have been wondered what these ramblings are about, I added some of the lyrics from Bruce Dickinson’s song “Tears of the Dragon” from his “Balls to Picasso” solo album. In concert, Bruce would introduce this song by saying “Here is a song that is about being shit-scared of change…” Here, its appropriate. Life is always about small, incremental change. You don’t always see it. Move where you live. Change jobs. Start a relationship. All big changes where everything changes instantly. What seems so frightening is that everything at ground level changes nearly instantly. There are hardly any handholds there to keep you from feeling like you are being swept down-river on a raging, uncontrollable river. And some of that is certainly true. But stop. Look up. See the stars? Some of them are in slightly different places than before. But its the same stars. You only change your vantage point….

–T /|\

Life is a Wide-Open Journey…A Few Thoughts

Life is an interesting journey. Sometimes you find yourself on a wide open plain with so many directions to try. Other times, you find yourself trying to squeeze into the most impossibly narrow alleyway. Not to mention all the other path sizes in-between that are yet to be dreamed of. 1/14/2010

I wrote this quote as a Facebook status ten years ago. A lot in life has changed in that decade. A lot has happened during that decade. I made my way into the collegiate classroom after being unemployed the first two years of that time frame. I would spend three years in the classroom, enjoying every moment that I had. I would then transition to a reporting position within the college, where I lasted nearly five years, until finally finishing the decade where I started – unemployed. In some ways, that trajectory has felt somewhat unsatisfactory, particularly when I start measuring it under the standards of those who employed me. And while that decade can be colored in with that particular crayola color, its not truly indicative of what the decade brought to my life.

My life is not a single, monotone structure of failure and success. While the decade did have its moments in employment, as well as several health scares, the deaths of my parents, and a few other items of minor interest, there were a handful of moments of success and triumph as well. However, all of these are not the primary color of my decade. I spent more time in my Druidry studies than any other time in my life. I learned more about the deeper, unseen connections between myself and the world around me. Yes, some of that came about directly from my studies in the Bardic and Ovate grade material from the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids (OBOD). Those studies did more to unlock and open portals of experience I had never really contemplated before, as did a year-long study I did with Cat Treadwell in the mid-range of the decade.

So, so many people have asked me what I learned in my Druidry studies, and what they might learn from doing those studies. I learned more about myself, how I connect to the world around me on a daily basis, and how to explore each of those connections. Those studies and lessons still stick with me to this day, and color so much of my way of contemplating the moment in front of me. For instance, as I write this, I have no idea who might read it today, tomorrow, five years from now, or even further into the future. I sometimes wonder if what I write will have any impact on how others approach their daily Spirituality. In the end, it does not matter how many find anything of importance from what I write. If I reach even one person, at any point in the future, and help them make a better approach to their own lives – that is all the connection to the future that I would truly want. One or many, the number does not matter, so long as what I write helped make some kind of positive impact. As for what someone else might learn from these lessons, that is really hard to say. Every single person is different. Each person has a different set of needs within their own Spiritual life. And to be honest, every person will get something different, according to their own needs. I know Druidry has helped me in numerous ways, especially in understanding the abstract, but I cannot say that anyone else would get the same thing from Druidry that I do.

During the decade, I turned fifty years of age. In some ways, I feel much older, particularly where my health is concerned. However, in terms of living my life – I feel like I have only just begun. When I was twenty, I felt like I would never be forty. That age was just “too old” for me to contemplate. Now at fifty-four, I hope to experience as much of life as I possibly can. I am open to whatever possibilities are out there. A radically different mindset from the hard-partying twenty-something I was before. I don’t have the desire to run through life with a whiskey bottle in one hand, while waving a sword with the other. I’m a touch more reserved in that capacity thirty-plus years down the line. I have begun to understand that rushing through life is no way to really live – there are intricate details to observe and partake of. Only when you slow down, do you catch those subtleties. And like I noted, I want those experiences.

As I noted in the quote, life is a journey. The past decade has been spent trying to wriggle my way through some fairly tight passageways to get to where I am now – where the plain opens up before me. I can choose nearly any direction I want, except back. I have been there. I want to see the things that I have yet to see. I think that the best plan at this point is to follow the pretty sunset – it leads to an even prettier sunrise. And the deep night between has its own marvelous sights and sounds to be experienced, under the gentle fall of the sky’s dark, star-brightened blanket.

–T /|\

Redefine, Re-Focus…Evolution Not Revolution

2020….back when I WAS 20…I never thought I would live to see this year. Last year, I nearly made that come true in early July. So, here we stand, at the opening of an entirely new calendar year. Now, remember, I don’t make resolutions. Instead, I set goals and then try to reach them.

Last year, I made several goals…and met none of them, thanks to illness issues. This year, I have some smaller goals (yeah right), that will hopefully be a bit more attainable.

First, my Ovate studies have suffered over the past year. Lots of other things took priority, so its time to relight the engines on the jet for this. Its a little past time to get moving on all of this and eventually make a chance at the Druid grade studies.

Second, my search for a job position, somewhere, continues. My desire is to move further south towards the Houston area. But I’m ok with a job up here in the northern tier of central Texas for the time being. Some of this is going to involve doing some creative retooling of my skills, as well as a degree in Library Sciences. I’m a touch late to start a degree program in January, but am already working on an application for Fall term. The sole requirement that I have is that the program must be completely online, so that I am capable of moving when necessary.

Third, and probably the most surprising aspect to me, is to look into actually gaining credentials as a Priest. I know, I know. I have talked so much about trying to move away from this role, and yet every time I turn around, I find this staring my back in the face. It has taken a long time for me to realize that the role of Priest is not what I have shaped it into within my mind. That shape comes from others and how they have approached the role on their own. Just as I shape the concept of Druid into what I see it to be, I can also do the same with the role of Priest. What shape that is really going to take will need a lot of thinking on my part. But it is time to seek out the various aspects towards credentials of some sort. This is one of the longer-term goals that may take more than this calendar year.

…and since I am a Druid….three goals is where I stop for the moment. Just a nice, neat number for me.

Many folks will notice that resistance against the corporate machine or the current abusive US government is not on my list. Because none of that is where my focus is at. I have had several folks tell me that they are concerned that I am not focusing on things such as these. Well, to be honest, sometimes the Path that I walk will be different from that of others. Just because I do not share the burning desires of your convictions does not mean that I do not agree. It merely means that my energy is focused where I need to be. And its ok to be different.

Others will notice that I am still not trying to find a group to be a part of on my daily Path. That is correct. I am still practicing my daily Path on my own. This is the default setting that works for me. Moving towards being a Priest does not change that. In fact, from my perspective, it strengthens that in ways that I am looking forward to exploring.

Many of my friends are declaring 2020 to be the year of their revolution. For me, that does not ring true in my ears. This coming year will be the start of my own personal evolution. It is long past time to change. Long past time to re-define my focus. Long past time to step into the role that has been staring me in the face for so long. Long past time to explore the Path that I am now turning to face.

–T /|\

(Picture by John Beckett)