Category Archives: uncategorized

Building Relationships With Our Gods in a Ten-Second Society

Ok…the title is a bit misleading. But it is derived from a conversation point in a panel from Many Gods West 2017 this year. And it does bend back to something I have heard quite a bit from people trying to work their way into a relationship with a God, Goddess, Spirit of Place, Spirit of Ancestor, etc etc. The typical question boils down to a similar cry from many of them…

How do I get a [insert God or Spirit of choice here] to work with me or talk to me? How do I connect with Them??

That’s not an easy question to answer, and at times, I have felt a bit awkward trying to provide an answer that might make sense or at least be bit coherent. Creating a relationship with one or more of the Gods (I am going to use this as a generic catch-all from this point on out – so please don’t get hung on terminology) is not a simple thing. In my opinion, it takes time; it takes effort; it takes personal sacrifice; it takes patience; it takes determination; it takes research; and it takes love. And to some degree, I would urge a little touch of caution in trying to create a relationship or connection. You never know precisely what you are going to wind up with – even after all the research and effort.

If you have read the blog, you know that I am a Priest of Crow. I am dedicated to Crow, and it took a long time for me to get to this point. Prior to Crow, there was Coyote. Coyote spent about two years putting me through a few tasks, all designed to force me to not take myself so seriously. Eventually, Coyote led me to Crow. From the beginning, my relationship with Crow has been a very slow, deliberate build between the two of us. First, we learned how to communicate between the two of us. Then, we worked on building trust for us both – a process that continues to this day. That was back in 2005-2006….I am unsure of the exact date. It took even longer before I decided to become a Priest for Crow. And there’s a long conversation about my aversion to the title of “Priest” that figures into all of that as well. But the point here is that it’s a long, complicated process. Coyote and Crow didn’t just appear in my Life and an immediate bond between us was formed. I am sure that others may have a different experience with their own Gods and the relationships that they have. But that is just not my case.

Currently, our modern-day society is fast-paced. News, information, and other things are available at near instant speeds to any individual. Through the magic of the internet, combined with the delivery platform of a digital phone, tablet, and/or computer – everything happens quickly. We can pay for our coffee and other food items from our phones, while en-route to the location we are purchasing those items from. The expectation is that our items will be ready for pickup when we get there, and we can skip the long lines to just waltz in and waltz right back out. Need information on something? Just type a descriptive word or phrase into our devices, and the information arrives at our fingertips at break-neck speed.

If all that can happen, why can I not create a relationship with one of the Gods through a simple five-minute meditation? I have already spent five minutes doing this, that should be enough, right? Well, my experience has been that it is just not that simple. In fact, in a manner of speaking, it is a lot like dating. Sure, the flirtation feels great – there is a promise of something more, but you need to come back, again and again, to continue to build on that interest. But building a relationship is about more than just making out and the hope of an eventual tryst for the night. There’s trust, bonding, building on so many other aspects of mutual interest, exploring differences and the avenues that this may open up. The same holds true for a relationship with the Gods. Spending time getting to know about your potential relationship partner will require some research. Reading Their myths, reading what other bloggers and writers may have to say, and even visiting sites that may be sacred to

The same holds true for a relationship with the Gods. Spending time getting to know about your potential relationship partner will require some research. Reading Their myths; reading what other bloggers and writers may have to say; even visiting sites that may be sacred to Them; invoking Them in your daily rituals and offerings; and even performing rituals that are sacred to Them. All of this requires research, study, gathering required materials, and practice, practice, practice. And even when it is all said and done – you might not even get a second glance. Much like trying to court favor with that attractive individual that you would like to have a relationship with; you can find all your effort was for naught. Because the Gods, just as we human beings do, have the choice of saying “no way.”

Fret not, you can still go through the same processes of devotion, adoration, and just essentially praising the Gods as you see fit. The only difference is that you may not receive reciprocation in your efforts. Sort of the same way that I adore Lzzy Hale, but she likely has no clue that I am alive.  😉

Probably the most key thing, in my opinion, is not whether you manage to create the relationship between you and your specific choice among the Gods. If you’re a hard polytheist – believing that all the Gods, Goddesses, and Spirits are distinct, unique beings – the fact that you believe is what makes your relationship with the Gods a beautiful thing. And this even goes for the monotheists that are out there. You may not have the direct-line that you were so wanting, but you do have belief. Whatever that is anchored upon is important, and a wonderful thing. No one should be able to wrestle that away from you. And who knows?? It just might be the start of something beautiful and special between you and the Gods. And it might even be a God, Goddess or Spirit you never considered.

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Poem: Traversing the Storm

Traversing the Storm
2/9/2017

Smoke on the horizon
Or is that the fog of today’s news?
Harbinger of times to come
The Storm is here

Destruction and carnage
Focused all around without a shot fired
Only bombs generated by Twitter
Fueling the source of the Storm

No soldiers running towards the danger
Only soldiers becoming the danger
On a shore far away
Dealing with their own Storm

I am unsure that I can hold on
Or even survive this onslaught
I reach into the nearby darkness
Seeking tribe within the Storm

And tribe will be the answer
The necessary anchor stone
To survive the tempest-like winds
Induced by the arriving Storm

Grab my hand, hold on tight
With one another we persist
As individuals and groups, we resist
The Storm we have all foreseen

A Tune Called War

So, Donnie has decided to go ahead with the Keystone XL Pipeline, the Dakota Access Pipeline, and shut down all talk about Climate Change. In short, he has decided to wage war against the environment. And, in my opinion, declare war against the First Nations people. That’s nice (not really). There’s lots that can be done though. And there’s lots more than just what I have noted above. This is merely the straw in the wind for me.

Protests, writing campaigns, petitions, contact your representative in Congress. All good things to start with. Then there’s magick. Don’t look at me cross-eyed like that. I just said that working magick is an option. Seriously, don’t look at me like that!

I know.  I have said in the past that I do not work magick. And I don’t. Unless I have a really good fucking reason to do so. Well, that option has arisen. Donnie wants to be the bully in the room; then it is past time to break his nose and knock him on his ass.

Now, I know some of you are not magick workers. Totally get that. Some of you are, and it is a primary tool in your toolbox. In fact, you have probably already started using it to some degree shortly after tiny-hands took office. Those of us that work magick sparingly – for whatever reason – it is time to dust off the ol’ toolbox and set things in motion.

So, yes, do the petitions, get out to the protests, be the fly-in-the-ointment at the work camps (if you can), contact your congressional and state representatives. Be the loud person in the room. Being quiet, rational and calm is a good strategy, but at some point – you have to step it up a major notch. It is time to rain the magick down on Donnie’s head. That’s my call to everyone else…particularly those of you that were holding back (as I was). Donnie’s called the tune.  And its war.

–T /|\

Its a New Calendar Year – A Few Thoughts

Sitting here in my hotel room in Dublin, Ireland – I find myself writing this post for the second time. The first time, I had written it in an app on the iPad, and started to copy and paste it to the WordPress web site. Unfortunately, I didn’t hit the key combination that I thought I had, and lost the post. So, I will try to re-piece it again today.

I do not do the New Year’s resolution. Not even during Samhain. I do; however, make agreements with Gods and Goddesses to work towards Their means. My Three that I work with the most are Coyote, Crow, and Fliodhas. Coyote has always asked me to step forward on my Path, but by being far less serious about myself than I have been. I have learned that to some degree; even to the point of poking fun at myself. Ritual work, spell work, even just living out one’s day does not have to be something completely serious. Of course, humor does not always translate well from one individual to another, which probably lends to how some people find me to be so ‘odd’. Crow has been typically in the area of communication – particularly in communicating to other solo Pagans that they are not alone in some of the things that they go through. I have been on a Pagan Path of some sort or another since 1986. That means I am starting my thirty-first year as a Pagan. In my first twelve years, I was completely convinced that only a Pagan working with a group could truly be a Pagan. When I started hearing so many folks saying the same thing, even when I finally understood that a Pagan didn’t need a group to be a functioning Pagan of any sort…I realized that a lot of people needed to hear what I had to say on that count. Thanks Crow. 🙂

So here I am. In Ireland. The island where Fliodhas – the Irish Goddess of the forests – is. I am where She is. She has let me know it quite well. She has shown Herself in so many ways, in so many places. In Killarney, She showed herself everywhere. In the forest, I could see Her within every tree, within every deer that we saw, every fox that skittered away from our horse-drawn carriages. Away from the forests, I hear Her soft, high-pitched giggles in the crowded shopping areas we have visited. On our trip around the Ring of Kerry, I felt Her soft caress in every bone-jarring blast of cold wind off the Atlantic ocean. In my dreams, I have sat and listened to Her quietly talk about Her love of the island. And I nodded slowly when She mentioned that there was something that needed to be done by me – if I wanted to. I still do not know exactly what She is going to want from me coming into the next year, but I said yes. All I can do is wait.

2016 has been a rough year, particularly on the folks with Bardic talents. So many of these folks have passed beyond the veil during the calendar year. And with the election of Donnie as President of the United States; there seems to be a lot of distress and a sense of impending doom among many folks. Certainly, Donnie merits watching as President, but hopefully there won’t be that much political damage to correct within the next four years. Certainly there will be battles to be fought, and certain hate groups have bubbled back to the surface, but we can survive this Storm together. And the passing of many Bardic talents means that many more will need to step forward. Their voices, their presences will be at the forefront of how we handle some of the issues of our day. The Arts have always been the voice that drives the narrative. We will find those voices to replace the David Bowies, the Princes, the Carrie Fishers, and all of the others that have stepped beyond the veil. We patrons of the Arts, we need to not only find these new voices, these new personas, these new storytellers – we also need to support them. That is what 2017 will bring us.

Let’s not sprinkle moon-dust on everything and proclaim it beautiful though. The Storm is here. We need to help protect one another from the coming deluge. But in doing so, we can find beauty in who we are – as a human race. Not divided by skin, eye or hair color. By height, weight, sex, gender, or creed. There’s no moon-dust in all of that, ya’ll. There’s an understanding that the only divisions that keep us apart…the only divisions that keeps us from finding solidarity within each other….those divisions are created by, and perpetrated by us. And we have the ability to not let this continue.

So, I’m not here to make a New Year’s Resolution. But I am here to tell you that we – together – are the solution to all of this. We just have to believe in that. Believe in ourselves. And I believe we can do that. I truly do.

Poem: Teeth of the Storm

I heard the peals of thunder
Long into the distance
But creeping closer with
Each passing hour and day

When You first told me
Of the coming Storm
I was unsure of the Message
What Storm? I told myself

When the skies began to darken
And the whispers on the wind
Became shouts upon the gathering gales
I still barely understood

You told me to pass the message along
And I did as I was asked
My vague understanding
Garbled part of the Message’s tone

Find shelter! Prepare for what is to come!
I barely understood the meaning
But beneath the rolling slash of thunder
I heard the beating of swords and spears

Slamming against shields
Getting louder, coming closer
And I knew what was said
Just as the teeth of the Storm arrived

Poem: Labeling Theory

Everywhere one looks there is a label to see
One proclaiming that you might get cancer if you use this
Another stating every ingredient contained within
Calorie and nutrition declared for all

Then there are the labels that are not seen
The ones we all attach to other people
Particularly when they do not conform
To the balance of our own outlook in society

We categorize everyone everywhere
By the language they speak, their height
Their weight, the color of their eyes
Even the color of their skin

By their religious beliefs, what God(s) they worship
What church they do or do not attend
The car that they drive, how much money they make
What sports team(s) they root for

Categorize, attach descriptive, and all is known
No need to communicate, no need to talk
No need to discuss, no need to really know
The label does all that work for us

Perhaps Detective Spooner was truly correct
“One look at the skin, and we think we know just what’s underneath.”
All thanks to a simple descriptive that masks strangers
Into faceless, nameless entities

A product of our social environment
Or an example of lazy analysis?
I cannot say completely for sure
But it certainly is apt for our faceless, nameless humanity

Print it, peel it, stick it and forget it
Anytime you need to know, just look close

Being a Generalist in a Specialized World

At one point in my working career, I was considered to be a generalist. An individual with knowledge of many working areas (in my case, Hardware and Software), but no specialization. At the lower rungs in the business environment, this was particularly fine for someone that was just starting out in a company. But as I advanced further down the line in my career, I was pushed more and more towards the concept of specialization. Until I find myself where I am now – Data Scientist, Data Analyst, Data Herder….whatever title you’d like to bestow upon me. My job is simple. Get information out of the complex data network that the college has, and get that individualized data to the correct people to help them make an informed decision of some sort.

I cam across the following passage in “Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing” by Robert Wolff. And this passage has certainly got my gears grinding over the difference between the way Pagan beliefs tend to approach spirituality, ritual and honoring the Gods, and how more mainstream systems such as Christianity do the same.

All systems (health systems, economic systems or political systems) are creations of our unique way of looking at the world, our reality. Systems are expressions of our beliefs.

…(A)ll our systems are designed around a belief that everything is so complex and difficult to manage that we require experts to help us navigate. There are experts for every aspect of life. Everyone who does anything at all needs training, probably a degree or a diploma, certainly a license. The result is that each of us is powerless, except in the narrow slice of the world we ourselves inhabit. There is hardly anything we can – or are allowed to – do for ourselves. We are made to think that we must ask for expert advice for everything we do.

Because systems are rooted in beliefs, we and even the experts find it difficult to imagine that there might be other ways of doing things. We cannot imagine that there are other beliefs. Thus we think that ours is the only true reality, that other people, other cultures, are backward, archaic, underdeveloped, and so on.

By judging others as less than ourselves, we cannot learn from them. That is sad, because we throw away, suppress, and deny the accumulated wisdom of generations or ancestors. (p.59-60, “Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing” by Robert Woolf.

A few days back, I wrote about my need to redefine the concept of the term “Priest” and how it related to me. In reading this, I am realizing that my problem is not so much that the role is defined in a certain manner by Christian concepts. Its the specialized nature of the role within the Christian definitions that bothers me so much. In many Christian churches, I sat in the pews and listened to frothy-mouthed pastors shout about how to follow the word of God as it sprang forth from the Bible. They would utilize a concordance to help assign modern definitions to translated words and passages. They assumed a role as an intercessor between their congregation and God. It was this specialization that I have been assign to the term Priest…correctly or incorrectly.

IMG_0243For me, as I have to come to understand what the role of a Priest means to me, I find my understanding to be different. As a Priest, my role is not to serve as a position between someone and the Gods. My role is to help in honoring the Gods through ritual – whether solo or in a group. I may be a mentor of sorts to those who are young on their own Path, but even then I am not to serve between the individuals and the Gods. I am to be there, to stand by their side and offer support, and advice. And whatever advice I offer can be rejected, as the choice is the adherent’s to make, not mine. My role, as a Priest, is to be more of a generalist in service to the Gods, to my Community, to my extended family, and to myself.

Certainly, this different manner of looking at the concept of Priest is a step in a slightly different direction on the Path…but its a step I am willing to explore and embrace, as I discover the new sights and sounds with this unmarked trail….