Tag Archives: #uponapaganpath

Top 50 – How an Introverted Druid (Me) Deals With the Idea of Being Top Anything (And a Few More Thoughts)

Earlier this week, I got a surprise Email, stating that this blog made the “Best Pagan Blogs on the Planet”. Knowing the traffic of this blog, which on its best days would be considered as “light” against many, many others, I was a touch skeptical at what I was reading. So I clicked the link and had a look. I was 26th out of the 50. There were many other blogs, which I am flattered to be included among – but some of the bigger traffic blogs were not listed at all. Not sure why. Not even sure how I managed to get into a Top-50 anything…so it was also a touch confusing.

To be fair, I am not discounting my blog’s reach or the people who read it. Nor am I trying to downplay something nice about my efforts. However, I am also a realist. It would take six or seven times the traffic that I currently get to reach the plateau that other blogs have. Most of those blogs have a platform that helps advertise and place these writer’s blogs in front of many more people. Most of these blog writer’s also have books, have been around a lot longer than I am, publish at a greater frequency, etc etc. But regardless of all of that, I am extremely grateful that some folks find my writing inspirational for their own spiritual practices. And in the end, that is what matters most to me. Traffic stats, advertising, trying to drive readership way up into the stratosphere…all of that would be nice, but it is not my primary goal.

There are a few folks that get frustrated with me over my lack of desire to promote the blog, as well as the podcast. But honestly, I have never been good at shouting my own name from the rooftops. However, I love promoting what my friends do. When I promote them, I always feel like I am pushing forward good karma for them. When I promote myself, I feel like a Vaudeville shuck-and-jive con-man. And I have never been able to completely explain why I get that unctuous feeling.

Here on the blog, I write my own feelings. I am provided a degree of anonymity through the written word. That allows me to be a bit more open with what I feel, in contrast to how I would in a face-to-face environment. Yes, I am an introvert. An introvert that is constantly shoved out of the shadows and into the light by both Coyote and Crow. And that becomes difficult to deal with from time to time, as well.

Being thrust into the spotlight is truly an uncomfortable spot for me. I do have opinions. I do have perspectives on things that happen. I do have experiences that I can relate to others on how I have walked this Path since late 1986. But I have always wondered if what I have to say, what I have to relate really matters. Thankfully, I have had a few folks remind me of just that via comments here on the blog, comments in face-to-face environments, and via Email. So, while I have that fear of saying nothing of value, quite a few others have noted otherwise. And that is what continues to have me blogging.

And then, there’s the podcast. Ever wanted to be really uncomfortable as an introvert? Try doing a podcast. Try doing a podcast where you have the chance to interview people. Where you interview people that you admire. Yeah. Thanks for that situation, Crow – my fine-feathered friend. Currently, the podcast has not put out an episode since March. Partly because of time constraints (especially the last two months with my paying job going through a huge transition – and my actual job duties changing radically with that), and partly because I keep thinking about making changes. Except, that the podcast does not need changes. It needs content. And it needs me to get to getting said content. This is another instance where I will need to concentrate on getting out of my shell. Because, honestly, I cannot continue to live in such cramped quarters.

Lastly, I will be starting another blog.  Yes, another one. I will be writing for Moon Books’ coming blog platform – as one of many bloggers. I am both thrilled and frightened at this prospect. Blogging for a platform of bloggers, with advertising behind it means a brighter light will get shone upon me. I hope I am worthy of this and that I can exceed the expectations of Moon Books. As a publisher, I have a great deal of respect for these people, as well as the writers that they bring forward through the books published there. Nervous is probably the best word to describe how I feel. I already have a pile of potential topics to write about, and will be including some aspects of research with my writing. Yeah. Nervous.

With the inclusion of writing for a blog on the Moon Books platform, this blog will continue in the format I have used it for – personal intonations on topics that catch my eye or pull at my heart. I am not sure if I have a book within me, but this year’s National Novel Writing Month will determine that to some degree. I have three ideas for what to write…two non-fiction perspectives and one fiction. I have a few more days to figure out just what I am planning on doing.

So, I made a top-50 list. How I got on the list or even into being considered for it? I honestly have no idea. According to some of the material I have found concerning the list, you had to submit your blog to be considered. I never did such a thing, which means someone out there thought enough of my blog to submit it themselves. And for that; whoever you are, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Perhaps my efforts to write better blog posts helped you to think of me. Perhaps, the topics I have been bringing compelled you to do so. Whatever the reasoning, I thank you.

 

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Episode 018 – Podcasting is Hard!

Back from a short hiatus, which had me tweaking the podcast format a bit. No interview in this particular episode, but I do a bit of a talk on how my life is being aimed towards the direction of being a storyteller. Plus, I make an attempt to recreate the story of “The Screen Door Boar and the Bardic Initiates” that I told around the fire at this year’s OBOD Gulf Coast Gathering a short while back. Personally, I’m not happy with this version of the re-telling, and will work towards a new recording of the tale, which I will put up at a soon-to-be-created Soundcloud page in the near future. But in the meantime, enjoy this version (I hope!). I also have two songs from Bran Cerddorion‘s upcoming new album “The King of Dreams” for everyone to hear. This stuff is super awesome, and already in my own personal music rotation on my iPhone. I will also be at CalderaFest later this year, where I do believe Bran will be performing…hope to see all of you there as well!!

As always, if you hear music on any of the podcast episodes that you like – please take the time to buy from the artist. Please help support your independent Pagan artist! We want more music from these awesome people….

Email:  elfster@gmail.com

Twitter: @t_elfster

WordPress:  https://tommyelf22.wordpress.com  “Life With Trickster Gods”

Direct Download: http://traffic.libsyn.com/paganpath/PaganPath018.mp3

 

Episode 017 – Exploring Pagan Ministry by Cat Treadwell

This episode, with huge thanks to one of the most awesome Druids I am happy to know, is a talk by Cat Treadwell entitled “Exploring Pagan Ministry”. I found the talk quite fascinating, and quite honestly it has helped change some of my mindset towards the concept of “Priest” within the bounds of Paganism. The volume was a bit light on the original file, so I tried to boost the volume a little bit. Hopefully, that worked well enough.

Congrats to the three winners of Shauna Aura Knight‘s books that were given away on the last episode. This episode, I am giving away two albums from Bran Cerddorion, “The Hour Before Dawn” and “Four Branches: Tales of the Mabinogi in Song”. To be the winner of the two albums, just send me an email to elfster@gmail.com (please include an address that I can ship these to you) before midnight (Central Standard Time, United States) on October 31st. That’s it. You win, you get the albums. Simple as that.

Closing out the show….I decided to dish out one of my favorite S.J. Tucker songs “Sultry Summer Night” from her “Stolen Season” album. One day, I’ll get the chance to catch this lovely lass live.

As always, if you hear music on any of the podcast episodes that you like – please take the time to buy from the artist. Please help support your independent Pagan artist! We want more music from this awesome people….

Email:  elfster@gmail.com
Twitter: @t_elfster
WordPress:  https://tommyelf22.wordpress.com  “Life With Trickster Gods”
Direct Download: http://traffic.libsyn.com/paganpath/PaganPath017.mp3

 

Episode 016 – Alf Herigstad

After a lengthy hiatus, the podcast is back.  And we start off with a discussion I had with Alf Herigstad at this year’s Pantheacon.  Alf is the voice behind the podcast “Being a Better Man” as well as the head gothi of Hawk’s Hearth Kindred. Being a bit ignorant of Asatru, I utilized part of the discussion to better understand some of its aspects with Alf, with I very much appreciate. We also discussed aspects of his daily practice up in the Washington state area, which I admit was quite fascinating. For those who may be attending Many Gods West this year, he will be presenting “A Heathen Perspective of Ritual Slaughter” there. The link for Many Gods West is located here. The link to Alf’s extremely interesting podcast is located here. Check out both of these links, very interesting stuff. I am making plans to attend Many Gods West next year, if it is held then.

The return of the podcast is also going to bring about something new….giveaways. When I was at Pantheacon, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Shauna Aura Knight, and purchasing three of her books, which she has signed. I will be giving each of these books away to three listeners, who respond via Email. Yes, there will be three winners….one for each book. If you wish to be entered into the drawing for a specific book or books, please let me know via your Email.  The book titles are as follows:

  • Ritual Facilitation: Collected Articles on the Art of Leading Rituals
  • Pagan Leadership Anthology: An Exploration of Leadership and Community in Paganism and Polytheism (edited by Shauna Aura Knight and Taylor Ellwood)
  • The Leader Within: Articles on Community Building, Leadership, & Personal Growth

You have until July 30th to submit your entry (its just an Email) to elfster@gmail.com. I will announce the winners on the next podcast, which will be out the first weekend in August.

Finally, in the middle of July, I will be adding something new. I will be doing a short video, which will be available through the podcast link, taking you around my local (somewhat) area. I will start with my stone circle in the backyard, where I spend many mornings and evenings in meditation, and ritual. I will be doing this via the Periscope App, which I have been experimenting with over the last few months. I will also be doing short videos when I take trips to various places as well….you won’t be seeing my ugly mug, well…not that much. But I thought this would be an interesting addition for the podcast. Let me know what you think, if you would like.


Links

Being a Better Man Podcast:  http://beingabettermanpodcast.com

Shauna Aura Knight website: http://www.shaunaauraknight.com/

Many Gods West: http://www.manygodswest.com/

Pantheacon: http://pantheacon.com/wordpress/


My Email:  elfster@gmail.com

Life With Trickster Gods (my blog): http://tommyelf22.wordspress.com

Direct Download Link for this episode: http://traffic.libsyn.com/paganpath/Episode_016_-_Alf_Herigstad.mp3


This podcast was created using the following:

  • Garageband v10.1.2
  • The Levelator v2.1.2 (revision 4261)
  • Zoom H5 Four-Track Portable Recorder
  • Apple Mac Pro (Late 2013) using OS X El Capitan (v10.11.5)

 

Episode 012 — Two Brendans

Well, the title is a play on the song “The Two Magicians” — and in a way it fits.  The first part of the show is a talk that Brendan Myers gave at this year’s OBOD Gulf Coast Gathering in Mandeville, Louisiana, titled “Highlights in the History of Pagan Philosophy”. The second Brendan is Brendan Howlin reading an excerpt from his book “The Handbook of Urban Druidry”. I have to be honest, I have yet to purchase this book (its on my lengthy ‘to-buy’ list), but am certainly looking forward to reading it now!! The show finishes with a lovely duet by Kellianna and Wendy Rule signing “The Ash Grove” from Kellianna’s “Traditions” album.

The direct download link for this episode is:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/paganpath/UponaPaganPath012.mp3

As always, you can contact me at elfster@gmail.com.

—-

Brendan Myers books can be purchased via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Brendan-Myers/e/B001JRZNF0/

Brendan Howlin’s book can be purchased via his website:  http://www.urbandruidry.com/

Kellianna’s lovely music can be purchased via her website at:  http://www.kellianna.com/

Wendy Rule’s awesome music can be purchased via her website at:  http://www.wendyrule.com/

When Gods and Goddesses Come Knocking at the Door

My Backyard Stone CircleI have been touched by the Gods. Back when I first started along my Path in Paganism, I never truly understood that statement. Just a year earlier, I had walked away from a Pentecostal Christian friend over a very similar statement. He had claimed to have the direct connection to God through the use of his ability to speak in tongues, as well as translate directly for those who were touched in a similar manner. I questioned him as to the origin of his “new” language. He responded back that he wasn’t sure, and that it didn’t matter to him.

“But it matters to me,” I fired back, “You are wanting me to take on faith that you are not making this up as you go.”

“Of course you have to take it on faith, you have to trust implicitly in God,” Mike tossed back at me. He had a rather smarmy smile to begin with, and his statement preceding his smile at that moment only bolstered my image of him as a used-car salesman trying to hustle a deal.

I kept hammering away at his statement, trying to get him to reveal this mystery language that he had suddenly been provided through a George Malley moment (for those confused – in the movie Phenomenon George Malley learns enough Portuguese from a book in twenty minutes to comfortably converse with a native conversation). After a short period of time, I found that he was following the incoherent babble of Robert Tilton, a TV evangelist who swiped money from people that mailed in “love offerings”.

So, when I hear the statement of being “touched by the Gods” my mind immediately ran to this scenario, and my skeptical brain kicked into over-drive. And stayed there for the better part of fourteen years. It was, after all, the only reference I really had to work with.

Now, I know very different. Its not difficult to find where the Gods touch our lives. Its just not nearly as dramatic as it gets made out to be on TV or the movies. Its more a manner of understanding, comprehension, and opening your mind a little further. No God or Goddess is going to just pop down right in front of you and say “its time for a good fucking – get your clothes off.” Although, I’m understanding that Hemsworth’s Thor could have a significant pull for the ladies. However, if we’re going there, I’m a little partial to Hudson Leick’s portrayal of Callisto or Aphrodite as played by the lusciously gorgeous Alexandra Tydings. Just saying…

But while the Gods may not be dropping in for a bit of lewd coupling, there are times that the Gods call on specific individuals. For this, I was equally skeptical. I’ve always been of the mind that the Gods ignore humans for the most part – in much the same way that humans ignore ants. There are folks that I know that make it publicly known that a God or Goddess has tasked them with something to do, or have laid a claim on them as individuals. Quite a few years back, I would roll my eyes and quietly laugh behind their backs. Again, why would the Gods lay any claim into our lives? We’re just silly humans after all – with far little value to the Gods in whom we place a ton of faith. That is – I believed that way until found myself being influenced and led in a particular direction by Coyote.

My time with Coyote turned out to be rather short, because it was a lesson I was being tasked to learn. When it came to ritual and religious stuff, I was a bit stern. Ok, it was like I had a super long stick shoved up my rear. Through Coyote, I learned that the sacred could include laughter and frivolity. But I also found myself eventually dealing with Crow.

‘Its just another Trickster,’ I would tell myself. Just a furthering of the lesson from Coyote. But after a time, my meditations came to be more significant with Crow, and Coyote became far less frequent. Everywhere I went, there was some form of blackbird following me around. At work, there are two Crows that greet me nearly every morning. In the afternoons, I leave them whatever crumbs I can manage to gather. And Crows actually have the capacity to remember people’s faces. So far, no one at work has really noticed that these Crows that are sitting on the parking lot lights always ‘qwork’ whenever I come out of the building. Plus, I know its more than a coincidence.

Crow was insistent that I change the format of the podcast. Instead of me talking, I was to provide a platform for others to talk. ‘People need to hear about the Pagan Path,’ I was told in one meditation.

“Isn’t that evangelizing?”

“Only if you try to convert them to your Path. You are only letting them hear about the various Paths. They will make their own choice to walk those Paths or not.”

Since that time, the podcast has made its changes. People other than myself are being featured on the show. And I am quite happy with the result. Plus, I am getting people in front of a microphone that normally are never heard of or from. Yes, I am interviewing the average, everyday Pagan for shows. And all because the God that has literally taken me under His wing told me I had to do something for him. Many folks, including myself, do not realize that Crow is a messenger.

Like many folks who have had the Gods enter into their lives, I have had my moments of doubt. My moments where I bristle at the requirements that are laid upon me. Listen to the first year of Upon a Pagan Path, you’ll hear it (and there’s not that many episodes either). I paid the price for that piece of defiance. I saw Crows EVERYWHERE – even in my dreams and meditations. To be fair, I ALWAYS see Crows in my dreams and meditations. There are five of them. Except that during my period of defiance, I saw HUNDREDS of them! Eventually I got the message: get back to what you are supposed to be doing.

If you have ever wondered what it can be like having a God or Goddess putting themselves directly into your life, I found a video that seems to explain just that. Its from the Rock Opera, “Jesus Christ Superstar” and specifically is the song ‘Gethsemane (I Only Want to Know)’. I chose this specifically because of the facial expressions and the way the actor – in this case Glenn Carter from the 2000 TV adaptation – managed to get the vocal inflections into his voice during the entire segment. Particularly moving is where he finally accepts his role as the sacrifice, and still has a hint of defiance towards God for putting him in a position with no choice.

Is there a choice? Certainly. I could have chosen not to agree to Crow’s expectations for me as a podcaster. Before the bargain was struck, I could have walked away without any repercussions. Now…that’s a completely different issue.

Not everyone is going to have a God or Goddess hanging over their shoulder. And there will be people who doubt that it even happens to those that are claimed by their Gods and Goddesses. You won’t find me arguing with those folks. Its far easier to just nod, and let them go along their Path, smug in the knowledge that they pulled one over on me. After I get finished wiping up the blood where Crow’s talons have dug into my shoulder in anger at their statements – I’ll just get back to what I meant to do.

Episode 010 – Gulf Coast Gathering 2015

Episode 010 – Gulf Coast Gathering 2015

In today’s episode, I recall my trip over to this year’s Gulf Coast Gathering. Put together by Highland Oak Nemeton, the gathering was a fantastic time! I met a ton of new family members, was initiated in the Bardic Grade, and even handled the role of Herald in the Alban Eilir ritual. I managed to get two very fun interviews – one with fellow Bardic initiate Malbren, and another with fellow attendee Cyn. The musical feature is a song written by one of the attendees – Bran Cerddorion – called “Awen Flows Free (Not in Kansas Anymore), which is about the Gulf Coast Gathering itself. Along with all of that is the debut of a new segment: The Book Corner, which is my take on a book that I recently have read. This debut segment, I talk about Nimue Brown’s “Druidry and Meditation”. The spoken word segment is a my reading of a Robert Frost classic…

Bran’s awesome music can be found at his Soundcloud page: https://soundcloud.com/brancerddorion
Nimue’s books can be found at Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Nimue-Brown/e/B00AZM663S/
Nimue’ wonderful blog can be found at: https://druidlife.wordpress.com/author/brynneth/

I can be reached at Email: elfster@gmail.com

Direct Download link for the show is: http://traffic.libsyn.com/paganpath/UponaPaganPath010.mp3