A Few Thoughts on Change, Personal Rituals, and Connections

I woke up to a nice rainy morning. Nothing super heavy, just some slight rainfall. When I went out to my rain gauge to check the rainfall amounts, I found that the bottom of the vial had shattered. That was from the heavy ice storm we had a short while ago. I will go and find a replacement for it a little later this afternoon. With that task finished, I headed over to the bird-water

DFW Pagan Pride Day 2013
DFW Pagan Pride Day 2013

station, dumped and cleaned it, and refilled it with more water. Then I spread three handfuls of birdseed and a handful of sunflowers for the birds and my backyard friend the squirrel. When I was finished, I sat on the wood railing around my tree and waited for the sky to change to a lighter hue of grey. No sunrise this morning to be seen, the grey clouds overhead hide His entry into the sky. Then I head back into the house, put a Keurig container in the coffee machine, and check my morning blood sugars. After a few minutes, the coffee maker finishes its chore, and I head back upstairs to read through the posts that accumulated overnight – and check my Emails. And this, aside from the weather, is my morning ritual. I wake up to greet the Sun.

Its really weird. On days that I miss doing this, I wind up feeling a bit out of sorts. Like my day is not going to be “complete” when the sun dips back under the horizon. In my experiences, missing Personal Rituals can do that to you. When I described this to another Pagan friend, her comment was “Wow, that’s really simplistic!” I was a bit surprised by the comment. That particular moment took place about fifteen or sixteen months ago. And it really shook me to the core.

Self-esteem has never been a very big thing with me. I am really an excellent second-guesser of my own actions. And sometimes, its really put me into positions of inaction. Unable to determine which course would be the better one – I just shut down. If I can’t figure out the direction, its best to just sit and do nothing. But, after a few times of doing so, I realized that doing nothing was also a choice. Thank you Rush (the band, not the overblown windbag on the radio).

If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice. -Rush, ‘Freewill’ from the album Permanent Waves (1980)

I can still be a bit indecisive, and a little slow on making the decision that is necessary – but I have gotten better. Which means that the comment about the simplistic methodology that I use for my personal rituals does not sting nearly as much today as it did previously. About four months after that comment, I brought up the subject again with my friend. She and I hashed out the “why” of the comment, and found that there was a significant difference between the two of us as Pagans. She enjoys ritual as something akin to a dramatic retelling, where I look at ritual as an individual, quiet moment between myself and the Gods. For her, ritual takes place in a certain location, around a certain time. For me, ritual can take place at anytime, anywhere. So who is correct?

Well, that’s an easy one to ascertain. We both are. What works for one person in ritual, certainly has the potential to not work for another person. We are all unique, individual beings with significant differences in personalities, and approaches to what is considered to be “Divine”. I have been a Pagan since 1987. My approach to what is “divine” has changed dramatically over the years – but then again, so have I as a person. My personal Spirituality changes with me.

As I grow older now, I have a greater desire to spend my free time in settings where there is more wilderness. I feel more “at home” and “comfortable” there then I do in the modern, industrial, concrete-and-glass jungle of today’s society. I have a greater desire to simplify my Life. My garage was over-flowing with material that I have been dragging with me throughout my Life. This Winter, I have been going through everything in there and removing things that I no longer need. Materials that can be used by someone else are donated to local shelters and services to hand out to others in deeper need than myself. Materials that are no longer necessary and unable to be donated, are sent to the trash bin. Smaller, simpler Life.

Over the past year, I have spent time in the counsel of Coyote and Crow. These two Gods have taught me a lot about having fun. How laughter is the greatest spellwork that can be achieved. I have had the chance to understand a bit more about myself. And I have learned to interact better with other people as a result. I have been coaxed out of my comfort zone for a lot of things. Most notably, I was brought into the fold for working on this year’s Pagan Pride Day. The people there accepted me as part of the team – and while I showed up late to the initial planning, I found myself able to fulfill roles that I never dreamed that I could. When Pagan Pride Day was finished, all of us had compliments paid to us over how things were run. I helped with the aftermath cleanup. And I was determined to be the last to leave – which took a while – but I managed it. I had the opportunity to look over the location where Pagan Pride Day had been held – and see an area that had just achieved so many connections and re-connections between people (myself included, I saw a lot of people I had never seen face-to-face before, as well as people I had not seen in close to a decade). I realized – long afterwards – how important connections are. How those connections create a living organism in its own right.

So, now I step forward. Just a little under an hour since I was outside. Its time to re-evaluate where I stand in my Life, and look at what needs to be altered, changed or removed. There is one thing I am completely sure of though. I spend far too much time in front of this iMac screen….

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