As the weather has started to take a turn towards the rainy – and most likely not today or tonight, but soon – I started to wonder what I would write about this time. So, I put my iTunes on psycho-shuffle. That’s a shuffle that utilizes my entire music collection and does random shuffling through everything. How big is everything? Well, it comes to 15,068 songs that total out in time to approximately 112.9 days. Some of those “songs” are complete albums done up as a single file. Psycho-shuffle is just a way to inspire myself with lots of different music in the background. At this moment, I have “Perfect Strangers” from Deep Purple’s “Come Hell or High Water” playing in the background. I have no idea what will come up after it gets finished – nor do I care.
As I said, the weather is about to take a slow turn to the wetter, which Texas needs. Water from the sky. The sound of rain falling has always been a magickal sound for me. Not to mention the extremely distinct smell of petrichor in the air. For me, these two distinct aspects provide a wonderful basis for the mindset of meditation and ritual. Plus, if I want to let my mind wander, I can easily set myself back in time within my life to various moments that I associate strongly with the sound of rain and the smell of petrichor.
A lot of my empty time has been spent looking back with associated smells and sounds. I have had enough empty time on my hands that I have found myself looking back on various moments within my life. Much of my life really came together in the mid-to-late 1980s, after I had joined the Air Force and started my initial steps on my various Paths within Paganism. Thinking through that time, I have only kept up with a small handful of people from that time. Despite all the time that has passed, these folks are some of my closest family. We might not talk for years on end, but when we do manage to get together – in whatever fashion – its like no time has really passed. I have folks within my OBOD family that fall into that same category. As I think about all the Pagans that have come and gone from my life, these folks make up only a small percentage of that small group. Then, when I add all the non-Pagans that have come and gone through my life, I realize how small of a number all the Pagans are in comparison to the non-Pagans.
So, where am I going with this? Well, I’m not completely sure. This is an exercise of just opening my mind and writing. I made it to this point, where I need to gather my focus. Ok, so I realize that I am looking to place an emphasis on the people that have come, gone and remain within my life. All the varied relationships that I have had – good, bad, indifferent – and the new ones that I will encounter as I continue to move forward in my life. Each of those people, no matter how small of relationship I have had with them – they have all had – and will have – an impression in my life. My Spiritual path is one of experience, and that includes the people I have encountered. Looking through my own struggles with American politics and how it fits into my life, I can remember conversations I have had with various people on that count. The discussions about the differences between Republicans, and Democrats. The differences in approaches that the Green Party, and the Libertarian Party have in that discussion. Why the two-party system holds such a dominant position within the American political system. Why the third parties gain no traction in this political setup. Why its foolish to consider a vote for the third parties to be a “wasted” vote.
That’s just one aspect. I can spend all kinds of time pulling back conversations that I have had with other folks about the Gods, aspects of ritual, baseball (don’t get me started, please), programming (don’t get me started here unless you really want to have that conversation), why I suck at mathematics, and so many more things. While I may not remember the names of the folks that I have had these conversations, I can recall the conversations. As an aside, why do I recall these conversations so easily, but it takes me FOREVER to learn someone’s name? Maybe a thought to explore for another time.
Conversations, interactions – the stuff is essential for me. Sitting out by a fire at night is an ideal location for all of that to happen. The fire provides some illumination, but the darkness also provides some aspects of anonymity too. That anonymity can be ideal when a conversation takes a serious turn. Plus, there’s the extra added observational point of the stars above, unless the weather doesn’t permit that view. But those conversations with other folks is the start of a musical jam for me. Anyone that wants to add to the conversation. Those that choose to be silent are also participating by being there. No matter the total number around the fire, the conversations and interactions are all extemporaneous. We are winging it. There are no rehearsed speeches. There’s all of us adding our unique input. Some serious. Some sad. Some non-sensical. Some humorous. Some supportive. But all added to the jam we are creating together as equal parts.
I know that some folks reading all of this will be scratching their heads wondering what the Nine Hells I am getting on about. There will be other that grok what I am saying. There will be others who “sort of” get it. What I am detailing here is how I learn, how I grow on my own Pagan Path. I know some will think that I am totally off-base because “Paganism has to be done THIS way and this way ONLY.” I grok that concept. I don’t agree with it though. My of learning and growing works for me. It MIGHT work for others, as well. But I am not arrogant enough to think it will work for EVERYONE.
So, I will measure this as an incomplete thought. In the future, I might come back around to this and try to expand and make a clearer picture. However, this is where it is for right now. 😊