I Think I’ll Dye My Hair Blue

In a little more than a month, I’ll have yet another celebration of a full circuit around the Sun. Yeah, in modern vernacular its referred to as a birthday. but for me it truly is just another day. This will be the end of (::silently counting on fingers::) my 53rd year on this planet, and the start of my 54th. In all of those years, I’ve seen a lot. A lot more than I really care to admit. Lately, most of these days has been me averting my eyes, mainly from the train-wreck we seem to call “American politics.”

Now, before you start moving on believing that I am about to rant on American politics and the inane rule of it all, that’s not precisely where I am going. No, my position on American politics is fairly well understood; instead, I am taking a few glances back over the shoulder. The Don Henley lyric goes:

Out on the road today I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac
A little voice inside my head said
Don’t look back, you can never look back
I thought I knew what love was
What did I know?
Those days are gone forever
I should just let ’em go, but….

Looking back, I wasted so much of my time on things that really meant so very little. Politics is one of those things. Back in 2000 or 2001, I started paying attention to the political world. I would listen to the talking heads on WBAP radio in the morning, and then in the evening, I would change my listening perspective to the now defunct Air America radio channel. WBAP had conservative pundits such as Mark Davis (local to DFW), Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity on. Air America had Thom Hartman and Randi Rhodes. I had always felt I was getting both sides of the issues. The reality was something different. I look back at this time and think….

Don’t say words you’re gonna regret
Don’t let the fire rush to your head

As Alan Parsons Project notes, speaking ill of the times long past is not always the brightest of ideas. Suffice it to say, much of today’s political climate, I’ve seen before. So I don’t get as overly excited as many others might over various news events. But I do keep a wary eye on the rest of the world, just in case someone does decide to throw a match down the gasoline well.

Iget a lot of bombastic expressions over my less than enthusiastic embrace of “The Storm” that so many others have brought forward. I see the rain, I see the localized flooding, I have been there to help those that needed an extra hand. But its not really all that different from the Satanic Panic of the 1980s. However, instead of running for the proverbial broom closet, I decided to stand firm and not give in to any form of anxiousness or panic. yeah, there is a definite odor in the air of those that are seeking to forcibly bring their standards and “moral code” on to others. I hear those voices, and roundly ignore and rejectall of that. I do not need to do that with violence or name-calling. But make no bones about it, I’ll turn the other cheek until the first blow is thrown. After that, its on like Donkey-Kong. But I sincerely hope we don’t get to that level either. I’d rather win people over with logic than a right-cross.

A twenty-two year-old me would have rolled up his sleeves and waded right into the fight – swinging fists, flying elbows and putting my size seven-and-a-half up someone else’s ass. Fifty-four year-old me doesn’t want things to get to that level at all. I’d rather win the day with words and kindness than visiting fascism with violence. Because I’ve seen how little that violence actually wins the day. Don’t get me wrong, there are times that violence is the only manner in which to win the day, I just hope we’ve not crossed into that territory just yet.

I don’t watch or listen much to the political talking points shows anymore. No one’s opinion is going to be changed by the opinions expressed on these shows. Nor do these folks reveal anything new. These talk shows do nothing more than keep up the drumbeat for their respective foot soldiers to march with. That took me a few years to realize it. Now, I spend very little time listening to any of these folks. I prefer to be educated by what I listen to, in terms of news, or entertained by whatever music I happen to have on. “News”/”Talk” radio does neither of these for me.As I have said, I get slammed against the wall for not listening to the steady beat of the “war” drums, but maybe that’s because I’ve heard all of this before. I remember people getting up in arms about illegal immigration, and the spread of detainee camps along the border edges. I can easily recall the days of class warfare, when there was a distinct middle-class caught in the cross-fire. I remember the constant debate of a woman’s right to choose (or not). The distorted use of the Bible to justify violence against abortion. clinics. The constant barrage of anti- and pro-gun advocates dotting the landscape. All of that is not really new. What is new is the distance of the chasm between the sides. The lack of a middle ground. And the abuse those seeking that middle ground get from both sides. All of that is new. And extremely disheartening.

Then again, Missing Persons may have said it best of all:

I might as well go up and talk to a wall
’cause all the words are having no effect at all
It’s a funny thing am I all alone

Something has to happen to change the direction
What little filters through is giving you the wrong impression
It’s a sorry state I say to myself

What are words for when no one listens anymore
What are words for when no one listens
What are words for when no one listens it’s no use talkin at all

When Life Gets UnConnected

Its the middle of the week, which is the middle of a rough week at work. But its only been rough in terms of the volume of work, and that ain’t all bad. So I’m sitting here at the laptop, enjoying a glass of Rattlesnake IPA from the Big Texan Steakhouse, listening to 80s rock on the headphones, and trying to figure out what to tap on the keyboard for tonight’s post.

I run into moments like this, where the well seemingly runs dry. I’m not completely sure what type. The blog is about how I approach my Druidry on a daily basis, and here I am – drawing a blank. I could write about the American political scene (boooring!), or about the state of baseball with the new trading deadline rules that went into effect for this season (even more booooring!), or I could fall back into talking about SQL code which I find fun, but I don’t think many people would care about.

Well, since I’m in a dry period of material – let’s talk about that for a bit, shall we? I am sure everyone has gone through these particular moments, where the Awen just does not want to flow, and you feel cut off from everything you enjoy from the creative perspective. For me, its a particularly difficult part of dealing with life. You just don’t feel inspired in what you’re doing. Rituals feel stale and rote. Everything creative just feels two-dimensional and uninspired. What in the Nine Hells can you do?

Well, there’s always board games. A good game of solo monopoly can show you a level of monotony that you never dreamed could be had. Or you could play a solo game of the board game Risk. If you ever thought that the game went on forever, you ain’t tried this yet. Or you could drag out a manual on how to repair and maintain the upkeep on your vehicle’s engine. Absolutely stimulating reading. Seriously, you will sink to depths you never previously realized.

The reality that I have found, is to just wait it out. Take a walk through the neighborhood, or if you are lucky enough to be near a nicely wooded park – go there. If you area runner, do that instead. If you ride a bike, try that. Just pedal and steer. No thought (aside from being a safe rider out on the roads) is necessary. Just do. If you read, pick up a book, curl up on the couch with your pet (or pets, if you have more than one furry child at home) or if you prefer your significant other. Let the words drag you into an alternate reality in your mind (unless you are choosing to read some technical manual). Just relax. Try not to fall into binge-watching tv or binge-eating. Too much food is unhealthy, and too much sitting is even more unhealthy. Get the blood flowing, and just turn off the mind for a short bit. Once you have finished all of that, take a shower and go to bed. Get more sleep than you did the night before. When you get up, see if you can recharge that dilithium crystal chamber of your mind and get the starship back up to warp speed.

I believe that the point of all of that is to break up the routine that you have developed. I have find continually routines to be killers for me in the creative aspect. If I can change the routine, find something different to set the focus on or even turn the focus completely off, I have found that it helps resettle the brain-meats and restart the idea of creativity.

I do a lot of trouble-shooting of code in my job. Sometimes, I get so focused on one thing that I miss the little stuff. When that happens, I find I need to take a break to resettle my thought processes and climb out of the routine I have set in troubleshooting. Part of the entire process of finding errors in logical, technical structures is to see things from a different viewpoint. Being too focused in one paradigm can allow pattern-fixation to set in – where you only look for certain keywords or structures. When you are fixated on one style, you miss out on the little details that usually matter. That, I have found, is a mode destroyer in trying to find logic and syntax errors in code. In looking at how to approach my everyday Druidry, I have found this to be an excellent way to help reset the way I see connectivity in the world around me when I have hit pattern-fixation.

Maybe some of this will work for you and kick you out of the creative rut you can find yourself in. Maybe it doesn’t. Perhaps, the creative rut is something a little deeper, a little more complex – such as depressive state. I’m no expert on depression, but I do have my own bouts with this entire thought-pattern. It is a hard one to break through. And even when you manage to break through, you can find yourself right back in it shortly afterwards. For this, I can’t really provide anything beyond my own personal experiences. Sometimes, finding my way out of this paradigm is as easy as a cup of tea and some music. Sometimes, nothing I try works and I find myself breaking down to tears and an inability to make myself move. The only advice I have is to continue trying to fight your way through it.

I can; however, recommend a particular book that has helped me in the past. Cat Treadwell‘s book Facing the Darkness has a lot of helpful scenarios and methodologies to try. None are a guarantee of success, but each helps develop a personal toolkit to at least try when you find yourself trying to break through to your own personal light in the darkness.

Whatever methodology you decide to use to assist you in getting things back into normal motion; whether you are fighting a dry creative time frame, a barren period of feeling connected to the world around or trying to make your way through a personal period of darkness, remember that your friends are there. You know who you can talk to about what is happening without getting any kind of judgment. Treasure those people, for they are important – even when all they can do is listen. Listening without judgment is sometimes the very best medicine you can find. Even when all you have is a block on your creativity. No one makes it through this journey of Life alone. We all make it to together.

Circling Back to Cultural Appropriation

Not long after I closed down the anonymous question/answer sessions I had on Facebook, I received a startling message accusing me of cultural appropriation over my relationship with Crow and Coyote. I can’t use any of the message that was sent to me, since I do not have permission from the individual to use any part of the message, so I will do my best to convey things by paraphrasing the best that I can.

The accusation was fairly blunt and straight-forward. I was told that I was taking from the First Nations’ cultures and belief system and grafting directly on to my own. Rather than “staying in my lane” (paraphrased), I was trying to make myself into a white member of the First Nations. That by doing as I was, I was essentially stealing from a culture that wasn’t mine. I get the gist of things.

For this article, I googled a definition of the phrase “cultural appropriation” and encountered the following:

The unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc. of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society.

http://www.google.com – search term: “cultural appropriation”

Nearly everyone knows that my relationship with Crow is a paramount focus of my spiritual life. When Crow approached (for lack of a better term) me to work directly with Him, I asked this exact question. The response I got was as follows: [Crow]: ‘I am not asking you to follow the Old Ways of the People. I am not asking you to be a Shaman of any sort, nor to emulate their ways and abilities. I am asking you to work directly with me in ways I cannot and will not ask the People for. I need you for other things.’

Capricorn – Max Ernst

Crow doesn’t want me to be a Shaman or Medicine Man, nor am I desiring to adopt the aspects of First Nations people. My primary focus is to be a Guardian where needed, required or requested. My relationship with Crow is a one v. one relationship. I am not being asked to attend pow-wows or even pass myself off as a white-man of the People. When I asked about whether I should follow the practices of the People, Crow reminded me that our relationship was different than the one He holds with the People.

“I call who I call,” He replied, “and I call to you. I have need of your talents. I have Knowledge and Experience to trade. Take your time, weigh the good and the bad. Decide if our bargain is a good one or not, and let Me know.” Well, I did, and my choice is obvious. I follow a First Nations God, but not as a member of the People because I am not of the People.

Who are “the People?” Well, part of that comes about from where I physically live. If you trace the interstate route between Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas metromess, you will cross the Oklahoma/Texas border near a small city called “Gainesville”. I live in a small town just three miles to the west of there on Texas Highway 82. The town is Lindsay, Texas. This was the eastern edge of the Commanche peoples’ winterlands on the central plains. The term “Commanche” translates to “the People” and it is this reference that bleeds through in communicating with Crow. I have no First Nations blood in my DNA; other than a cryptic entry to one of my Great, Great, Great uncles having married “a Cherokee Woman” according to my Ancestor charts. Still, I would never consider this to even grant me even a peek into First Nations’ ancestry for myself; thus I constantly state I have no First Nations’ blood. I am not of the People. I know this and acknowledge it. In our initial connections and meditations, Crow acknowledged this as well.

Part of appropriate the spirituality and religion of the First Nations’ people, according to the definition would be my adoption of the customs, practices, etc etc of the First Nations people, which I am not doing. The relationship I have with Crow is between He and I. I am not trying to claim myself as a white-man who is being admitted into all that is the First Nations. My relationship with Crow is individual, and He was clear that I am not to adopt the customs or rituals or concepts of the People. Because I am not of the People. And I am perfectly fine with that. Crow calls me, not as a part of the People, but as a different relationship between He and I. Anything else would be disingenuous. I would, in essence, be pretending to be something I was not.

Now to be completely honest and clear, I have no need to explain myself or my relationship with Crow to anyone. The Gods call who the Gods call. No reason needs to be provided, nor explained. Regardless of what I explain or describe, there will always be those who will continue to label me with cultural appropriation. So be it. Some minds will not desire to listen. In the end, the real place of understanding is my own. I must always be sure that my relationship with Crow is squared and appropriate between He and I. The opinion of others does not matter.

So why do I write this? To circle back and provide a description of how this works for others struggling with similar relationships with Gods of other cultures. Hopefully, this provides an understanding for others to realize that their immediate relationship with the Gods is Unverified Personal Gnosis (UPG), where the tangible part of what makes up your relationship with God(s) is based primarily on your own experiences with Them. And that this can be just as valid and strong as the relationship that others have with the Gods.

Of Ronin, Knights-Errant and Sergeants

Over the past two days, I have gotten a lot of push-back over the last post I wrote, Faults, Limitations and Perspectives. A lot of the commentary centered around what was perceived as “defeatist” language or what some had termed as me abdicating my responsibilities as a leader because it was “too hard”. For me, nothing could be further from the truth, but I quickly realized I needed to explain a bit more than I had.

First off, Leadership

I have tried to be extremely clear about the fact that I do not see myself in terms of being a leader. I know some folks see me in terms of aspects of leadership and have attempted to apply certain aspects of such terminology to me – “leader”, “Priest”, and the such. Those particular cloaks do not really apply to me. In a manner of speaking, its easier to apply the concept of military leadership to where I envision myself. The military command structure is split into two echelons – officers and enlisted. Officers are in charge in whatever situation or scenario applies. Their focus is centered on long-range planning and growth. Enlisted are in charge where officers are not present. Higher-level enlisted are the Non-Commissioned Officers or Sergeants. Their perspective is much more shorter in vision. Charged with getting tasks done that apply to the longer range plans of the officer corps. Their aspect of leadership is typically gathered from their experience. This is where I see myself in terms of leadership.

I’m not in charge, except where necessity dictates. Within the aspects of how I handle my dealings with my two Gods, my charge has always been a simple one: be there when needs dictate. Otherwise, my charge has been to be ready; mentally and physically. Mine is not necessarily a position of leadership, except where needs dictate. When officers are not available to keep tasks on schedule, when they are not available to set the focus. I can perform functions as a leader, as a Priest, or whatever else is necessary, but I am not one of those. My functions are different. My focus is elsewhere. I am tasked with covering other needs. But I can step in where and when need arises.

I realize that a lot of the description in this comes under military concepts, perspectives and terminology. That’s not dictated to me, it is merely the construct that allows me to understand my positioning and perspective in a manner that is easier for my behavior to assimilate and utilize. I have no officers appointed above me. There is no military structure to report into. But the format is familiar enough to me, so that I can function where necessary. I am certain that there are other descriptors that might work better for someone else. This is the construct that allows me to function best in the roles I am asked to take on.

Second, Roles

So what are my roles? What do I need to focus on? Where are things going? How do I fit in? Honestly, these are questions that we all ask ourselves in our own Spiritual walk. Mine is to help, assist, and fill the roles that are empty. At least fill those roles until someone far better equipped comes along to fill that spot. In a manner of speaking, my positioning is that of a band-aid.

Many folks talk about aspects of things as a “storm”. Sure, tough times are certainly here. The difficult side of things are more in the open than ever before. As a society, we have chosen to pull off the band-aids that have been over open wounds. Doing so has pulled off the protective scab that was there before. The wound is no longer fresh, and it has changed. So it seems to be different than before, but its the same wound. The protective scab needed to be removed, so the wound could be allowed to breathe again, and so that a new scab could be developed to allow stronger healing to place. My role is to be there with the new band-aid, ready to apply it to the wound after some helpful medicines can be applied to help speed healing, so antiseptics can be applied to help effect the healing.

My role is also to offer assistance to those needing help. Those that are trying to find direction in the wider Pagan campground. They are seeking a friendly campfire to sit at but are confused at the landscape set before them. They are unsure of which campfire to try and find. I’m not an answer for those seeking to find. I’m someone that can help guide them to where they need to be. Help them to find their answer.

There are campfires that I consider to be “home” for me. Where the people around those fires are family to me. Each holds a special place in my heart. But my place is not necessarily at their fires all of the time. In terms of Japanese legend, my place in this world is much more like that of Ronin rather than a bonded Samurai. Or I might be considered something closer to that of a Knight-errant, to utilize a classification that is more western in nature. I have no true home-fire. My positioning in life is more wilderness oriented than geared towards any aspect of societal nomenclature. But as I noted, part of my role is to step into the empty roles, as needed.

Third, Honesty and Truth

Honesty and truth about where I am in life is necessary, in order to properly function in roles that are not really meant for me. As a leader, I am a far better fit than I am as a Priest. I can perform in the role of a Priest in limited capacity, but it is an ill-fit indeed. As a leader, my fit is a little more precise, but there are certainly better individuals for that role than myself. Perhaps, part of my role is to function as a leader for a short period of time, mentoring another along until their grasp of the role is much stronger than my own. Perhaps. But my positioning is not to be in that function for any extended period of time.

I function far better as a Solo Pagan than as a group member. My preference is to be out in the wilder parts of the world. But I also realize that the wilder parts of the world will continue to shrink and disappear. What was once termed the “Wild West” of the Americas was a sign of the last frontier. Many went there to find a new life, a better life that was created through their own hands and hard work. Others went there to find solitude in an environment where few other westerners had been. Some of those folks stumbled into tribes of First Nations peoples, and discovered that within the beauty of the land where Gods, unfamiliar, and yet known. This is where I find myself. Traveling along ridge lines as the sun sets in the west, in a Spiritual environment that seems desolate, uninhabited – and yet is not. This is where I am most at home…

The Little Voice Whispering in My Ear….

Leadership. If you ever want me to run screaming like my hair is on fire, that’s the quickest way to do it. Seriously. I find the entire concept of me being any kind of a leader to be such a difficult concept. I know how fucked up I am, what all my weaknesses and faults are, and I just cannot see myself holding any aspect of leadership anywhere. And yet, I hear all kinds of aspects of praise aimed at me in terms of leadership. “You’re an inspiration to me.” “I love the way you maintain your cool in the face of issues and hardships.” Man, if people could only hear my lovely inner voice coming from my left shoulder, whispering all kinds of thoughts into my ear.

Most of what I know about leadership came from non-commissioned officers’ school in the United States Air Force. A leader is an example to others. The individual that manages to get things done. Knows the rules and follows the rules. The picture-perfect epitome of what the Air Force wants in its enlisted leadership corps. It took six weeks of training for the Air Force to realize I was *barely* capable of holding those aspects in my concept of bearing.

I could get things done, but not always by following the rules. I fractured, bent, folded and mutilated rules in order to get things done. My idea of completing tasks was to get from Point A to Point B. Just don’t ask how I got there. I wasn’t a spit and polish military individual either. Clean, wrinkle-free uniform? Well, that depending on the day of the week. Polished boots? What the fuck for? A spit-polish on my boots wasn’t going to make it easier or better for me to get the appropriate wiring through the small crawl-spaces of the bunker. Why worry about being completely clean when the job was going to get me dirty anyways? Yeah, my mentality wasn’t where they wanted it to be focused. I wasn’t their idea of a leader.

Capricorn – Max Ernst

I did learn leadership from the sergeants who got the job done. Want your subordinates to clean the head? Clean it yourself on the first day, show them what it looks like, and demand that they do the same job or better. Roll up your sleeves and help when things don’t go to plan. Talk about what happened and why it went wrong when everything is working right. Discipline only when necessary and ALWAYS behind a closed door. Praise their effort publicly and often. For me, those lessons meant so much more than the idiotic spit-and-polish concept that was presented to me.

So, knowing that of leadership, why do I run so far from the entire idea? Staying to the unspoken rules of leadership, a lot of that is part of my collective DNA. Why do I move away from the entire idea? What is it that I don’t want from all of that? That’s easy. I don’t like to be the center of attention. I am rather adverse to the feeling of being the primary example of anything. Like I said, that little voice whispering in my ear reminds me of all the issues that should make people shy away from me.

I am also reminded that much of these faults also provide the perspective that I am “just like anyone else.” We all fuck up. We all make the bad choices. We all live with the consequences, both mild and harsh. We all have our “battle scars”. Perhaps, because I am not afraid to publicly embrace my issues and mistakes, some folks find that to be an aspect that they can relate to. Maybe. Whatever it is, if it helps people step up in their own lives and embrace the fire that gets them there, wonderful. If that’s what is going to be a defining factor of leadership, inspiration or whatever you want to call it…so be it. I’ll keep denying the concept…because that’s the only way that I can truly deal with it. At least that’s what the voice on my shoulder keeps telling me….

Of Awen and Imbas – My Perspective

As I sit here on a Monday night, pondering what to write, I have put a favorite album of mine into the shuffle slot on my iTunes. “Misplaced Childhood” by Marillion was one of those albums that really touched me. The music is the perfect backdrop to some of the most evocative lyrics I have ever heard. It was this album that led me to find the poet buried deep inside of me. To dip my hands into the thick, sweet liquid of the river of creativity, what I would later in my life come to know as the “Awen” of my life, and the “Imbas” of my life.

For those not familiar to Druidry, its probably a good idea to do some explaining here. Awen, as noted by Penny Billington in her book The Path of Druidry, is “…understood as the flowing spirit of inspiration…” For me, this comes in the form of serpentine river of an unknown type of liquid that is nearly gel-like and has a distinct hue of reddish-gold. Now, that’s my mind’s eye creating an image I can work directly with, I’m quite sure your mileage will definitely vary. This is where I tend to put my hands when I meditate and seek inspiration, usually to solve some coding issue I have run across, or even to write an occasional poem. The point is not what it looks like or the consistency I find it to be in my mind’s eye, but finding it and utilizing it to help my mind find solutions or words I had not thought of before. Sometimes it is a full river of liquid, and sometimes I have to search hard just to find the slightest trickle. Even inspiration can run dry from time to time and force you to dig further and deeper than you thought was necessary.

Imbas or Imbas Forosnai, sometimes know as the “Fire in the Head” is somewhat the same, but its also not. I hope I can do a good job explaining this concept. Imbas forosnai is an odl Irish term that translates to “inspiration” according to Wikipedia. I’ll accept that for the moment, and include that this inspiration was gathered through a means of sensory deprivation, which I have never red or heard of an exact manner of doing so. Once the poet was in this particular state, it is stated that the poet would have the gift of prophecy, stating things without being aware that he or she was doing so. Now, my perception of this is a little different…its the point where the poet, the writer, the musician, the orater plies their craft without knowledge of what they say, write or play until the geas is removed from them. It can last for any period of time. The results can be jumbled or deeply inspirational, depending on the individual hearing or reading the work(s) in question.

Now, my meaning may be different than what is accepted and I absolutely understand that. I still stick to my understanding of what “fire in the head” is – that state of being the tool through which wording, music, or whatever is channeled through you into the physical world. It is a state where you have one foot in this world and one foot in the Other World and you serve as the conduit between the two. And yes, the danger of doing this is that the prolonged connection (whatever time frame that might be) could drive the individual, serving as the conduit, mad. One might even describe this state as a form of possession, but regardless of all that – it certainly does exist, and can be induced in many different manners (or even using no method at all).

Do I strive to find these two states? I seek Awen constantly. When I need to see things from a different perspective, seek a different direction, or even to change a prolonged mood – I reach for Awen. A momentary surge or push towards what I am seeking. That nudge that I need, no more.

Do I seek Imbas forosnai? Not really. I have experienced this state twice in my life. Once, while writing a research paper for a college class. The results were unusable, though I did find bits of information in what I did manage to write. The other time was around an ADF fire during a ritual. There was a moment where individuals were invited to step towards the fire and say something, anything. Most were offerings and thanks to the Gods. I had already mentioned to someone else that I probably did not have anything to say. Yet, I still strode to the fire and offered a statement, asking the Gods to protect the water-protectors at the Dakota Access Pipeline site. I knew nothing of what I said, only that I had said something. I asked several people what it was that I said…and I felt so stupid asking that question. I’m sure someone thought I was high on something. Except that I don’t do drugs, and had not a sip of whiskey to that point in the night.

Most folks will say “yeah, sure” in regards to all of this. I’m happy to end the conversation there and push off to a discussion on how their favorite baseball team is going to do this coming season. I don’t need to argue with people over what I experience. If someone is unwilling to be open to the idea, its far better to move on to another topic than to try and dissuade them from knowing what I did or did not experience. I don’t need to prove myself right or wrong – I am aware of what I experienced. I have no desire to argue the merit of what I had tried to convey.

As I finish this and try to find some way to close this post, I am confronted with my favorite lyrics from “Misplaced Childhood”:

A penny for your thoughts my dear
A penny for your thoughts my dear

“Lavender”, Misplaced Childhood, Marillion

Essentially I share this to convey some of my own experience with the “Fire in the Head”, and the manner in which I hold Awen within my life. Indeed, a penny for your thoughts, but I certainly hope you will pull back and ask for more. Its worth that…

  1. The Path of Druidry, Penny Billington. p205.

The Calendar Year….In Closing

Gizmo hiding…sort of

Well, its the end of another calendar year. 2018 was not the greatest year I have ever had. In early October, I spent eight days in the hospital with pneumonia. After that, I spent the rest of the month and a good chunk of November at home trying to recover. The meds that were prescribed to me put my body into kidney failure, which I am still trying to recover from. In the Summer, I lost both Gizmo and Kaylee to cancers that spread through their bodies like wildfire. Gizmo was difficult because cancer had gotten into her throat, and she had begun to have trouble breathing, as well as eating. Kaylee, on the other hand, had cancer throughout the rest of her body. Even with pain meds, it was obvious that her quality of life was plummeting very quickly. All of that contributed to this being a very low year for me. But I still wrote, and continue to write. I grieve for my two furry children. And I miss the more healthy me from earlier this year. But everything continues forward. Over the past month, Gabby and Raven have been added to the home. Neither of them is Gizmo or Kaylee nor should they be. Nor are they replacements. They are part of my family, and I enjoy having these two kittens in my life. They make life interesting and fun.

Earlier this year, I also brought my podcasting “career” to a close. I was a podcaster for two podcast shows, which ran twelve years total between the two of them. Towards the end of the second podcast – Upon a Pagan Path – I started to realize that many of the folks that were doing shows out there were covering much the same territory I was, and doing it far better than myself. Plus, in my own personal life, I just could not fit enough time into making sure that things were managed in a timely fashion for doing such an endeavor. So, I made the semi-difficult choice to step aside. Do I miss it? Sometimes. I enjoyed the rapport I had with my audience. I definitely miss all of that. But like I said, others do a far better job than I had ever hoped of doing.¬†

Over the course of this year, not including this post, I wrote sixty-nine times here in the blog. The most popular post for the year wound up being The Morrigan is Not a Valkyrie. A lot of folks have interpreted this in one of two ways – both having a measure of correctness. (1) I do not wish to work with The Morrigan. (2) I had difficulty seeing the difference between The Morrigan and the Valkyrie, where it should have been easy for me to tell the difference.¬†Both are true. The Morrigan scares the shit out of me. I know the commitment it takes to work directly with Her. I have seen it from some of the people I know that do work with Her, even on a casual basis. I prefer the more casual approach I get from Crow and Coyote – though They can be just as intense. As for not being able to tell the difference. Well, in my defense – I don’t work with Celtic or Norse Gods…being able to immediately tell the difference just wouldn’t be in the cards for me.

I did quite a bit of traveling through the year – at least all the way through September. I made it to my third Pantheacon in a row. Now, Pantheacon trips are expensive for me. San Jose, California is not a short trip. And while I do enjoy Pantheacon very much, it is also a scene of chaos, tumultuous energies, and a lot of what I deem as “unnecessary conflict”. For four days, I have to keep my shields up, as it were, as well as find grounding space where I could when I could. Thus, I will be skipping Pantheacon 2019 in the coming year…not just because of the energies, but because of a whole myriad of things that have converged together to make attendance there especially difficult. My trip to Iceland utilized nearly all of my vacation time and my pneumonia recovery time has eaten away a lot of other off-time margins that I had been holding in reserve. I will be making the ADF Imbolc Retreat in Mountain Home (I will be purchasing my attendance package shortly after I post this), as well as the OBOD Gulf Coast Gathering which has become my Spiritual Home. Aside from some possible one-day trips within the region, that will likely be the totality of my travel for the coming year. It is definitely time to bring things to a slower moving pace…and reintegrate with my roots here.

But sixty-nine posts…this works out to 18.90% of the year. Ok. Not that bad for someone who claims that he’s not very good at this. The reality is that I am probably a little better than I really admit. And I could do a far better job of posting as it stands. So, as the new calendar year seems to be a good marker for new goals, I will work towards eighty article posts for the coming year, and twenty poetry type posts as well, and another synopsis for the year post at the end. A total of one-hundred and one posts for the calendar year. I will likely be re-visiting some of the older posts, to come back and flesh out topics a bit more. I will have some newer topics as new off-shoots happen. And all of it will be my perspective.

Remember folks, the point of this blog is to share my perspective, in the hopes that it will let you come to your own conclusions on various topics. Not one single person needs to agree with me on what I write. All I ask is that we respect each other when discussing those differences.

Have a good new year…and remember…be yourself not a projection of what you think others want you to be. You’ll be far happier with who you are…