Normally, I don’t write in the evenings. My brain goes into an unwinding mode during this time, and my thoughts typically do not flow as naturally as during the mornings after the first cup of coffee. Yet, here I am, hacking away at the keyboard, drinking water, and listening to the thunder and rain outside my window.
I still get a little flabbergasted when people recognize me. “Hey, you’re TommyElf the podcaster!” is something that I hear from time to time. Not as often as people think it might, because podcasting is not a huge medium whatsoever – but it does happen far more often than I ever thought it might. On a trip to East Coast Gathering a while back, it happened on a crowded flight from Denver to Philadelphia. Its happened a few more times at Pagan Pride Day events as well. And for an individual like me, who shuns the spotlight, it can be a very jarring moment.
The podcast episodes of “From the Edge of the Circle”, and “Upon a Pagan Path” were never meant to thrust me into the spotlight. I have never had a desire to be a well known individual or “Big Name Pagan” as it gets tossed around in some circles (and was applied to me and another person quite recently). I do not write these blog posts to get my name out there either. All of that is done to give back to the wider arching Pagan community or as John Beckett would say, the Big Tent of Paganism.
The reality of who I am, is that I am quite shy with people. Its very difficult for me to approach people and just talk with them. As the first podcast hinted at, I prefer to be at the periphery of things. And as the beak that smacks the back of my head, the paw that smacks my behind, and the soft fingernails scraping against my neck remind me – Crow, Coyote, and Fliodhas prefer it otherwise. There is no desire for me to become infamous and well-known; rather that I communicate with others better. I have mentioned before about how far into the background I melted during Pantheacon. That’s instance of where I have been taken to task over.
See, people wonder what it can be to present yourself as a follower of a God or Goddess. This is only part of it. Fliodhas continues to drag me out of my self-created shell by placing me into situations and locations where I must interact with others. Coyote continually reminds me not to take myself too seriously whenever I feel an astonishing sense of accomplishment or importance. And Crow. Crow is about communicating better. More often. With better frequency and consistency. And believe me, each of these three can be stern taskmasters when there is failure on my part.
So why serve Gods and Goddesses that are stern about you accomplishing the tasks that They want? Well. Because I want to. I know that sounds somewhat smart-ass in nature, but it is true. Crow, Coyote and Fliodhas ask things of me; I can always say “no” to what They want. But I say “yes” because I want to. I have the Free Will to accept or reject, just as anyone else does when they hear the call of their own God/s. I am not a slave to Their needs; I am there to help and assist where and how I can.
And service to a God or Goddess is not for everyone. Nor should it be. Every Pagan has their own unique Path to walk. Every so often, we share footfalls on parts of our Paths, but the overall journey is unique to each individual. For some, the Gods make Their choices and ask. For others, the Gods may not speak directly to. Having a God speak directly with you or not speak directly to you at all – does not make you unique or “not good enough”. It makes you that person – the Pagan that you are. And in the end, that is what matters most. Your own journey. With Gods and Goddesses speaking with you or not – your journey is important. That journey is how you grow. That is how your Spirituality connects with the world around you. It is unique to you, and you alone. Some aspects of it you will share with others, some of it you might not. But the sum of it all is uniquely yours.
Yes, I have areas where I need to grow. I have some things that are being asked of me that I have done poorly. Thankfully, my three Gods are being patient with me to this point in getting better. And all of that, frankly, is between me and Them. Just as your journey on your Path is for you, and you alone. Let’s walk together for a while, and talk together. Perhaps, if you are reading this and you will be at Pantheacon or Many Gods West? If so, I am looking forward to getting the chance to spend time with you. If not, invite me out. We can talk over drinks or coffee or even a meal. Or even a short walk in the park. At least we can make our Paths similar in that moment – walking the same stretch of Pathway.
7 thoughts on “Walking the Same Stretch of Pathway”
The question of how to be Pagan without hearing deity in any significant way has been a big question for me, for many years now. I really appreciate how you’ve approached that in this blog. Thank you.
Thank you Nimue. If you had asked me about this about a year and a half ago, I would have stubbornly said that the Gods are talking with you, but you are not listening. I have been shown that it is otherwise…the Gods do not speak to everyone. Gods speaking with people is not what makes those people great in their own Spirituality. Its what the person does within their own Spirituality that allows them to grow, and become the Pagans that they are meant to be. Determining the measure of someone else’s Spirituality using your own as a yardstick, in my opinion, creates the concept of competition – “are you Pagan enough?” – that drove so many of us away from the modern Judeo-Christian faiths where such yardstick measuring commonly occurs in this time of Humanity’s experience.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks again 🙂
I really like this post. There are times when I doubt that I am hearing what my deities are saying, and other times when there is NO DOUBT whatsoever that I’m hearing what they’re saying. It gets complicated, to rest on that very over-used adjective. And, as you say, each person’s relationship with Deity is really intensely personal.
LikeLiked by 1 person
If you are planning to attend the OBOD Gulf Coast Gathering in March, and if I am able to spot you there, I will very shyly introduce myself. 😉 I’m an introvert who lives a considerable distance from any hubs of Druid (or pagan) activity, and this will be the very first time that I’ve been able to participate in an event of this nature. My decision to go was based partly on what you’ve written about the GCG in the past.
So, regardless of whether I meet you in person, thank you. 🙂 I haven’t commented on this blog before, and I wanted to let you know I appreciate it.
I will definitely be at GCG. 🙂 Already have registration completed, as well as reservations for the RV nearby. 🙂 You will have fun at GCG…and with Kristoffer there this year…you will come face-to-face with one of the funnest (is that even a word?) people I have had the chance to meet. Looking forward to meeting you. 🙂 And don’t be a stranger….just write me…I won’t bite. Well, not hard anyways. LOL
How fabulous! I’m coming by train from Nebraska, so I have an onsite ticket for Group Camp 3. I’ll just say hello when I see you.
Kristoffer kindly replied to my very first post at the OBOD forums back in January 2016—I have to say that completely blew me away at the time. He does come across as a marvelous person in interviews, and I love his books, especially The Journey Into Spirit. Thus I’m dying (so to speak!) to hear his presentation, which sounds like it will be about rites of passage.
I’m also looking forward to finally receiving an in-person OBOD initiation, which is something that really means a lot to me. I’m sure it’ll be a thoroughly lovely retreat all around. 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person