Quarantine Has Changed Some Routines

As most of the states, if not all of them, are working through issues of opening back up – I thought it might be interesting to take a look at this from my own perspective. Both from a personal point of view, as well as the way this changes some of the approach to my daily Path. After all, its a bit apparent that the COVID-19 issue is going to be around for quite a bit of time longer.

A Touch of Background

Most folks who read this blog or know me in person are aware that I have some health issues that make me quite susceptible to the COVID virus. I am a Type-II diabetic, which compromises my immune system to a great degree. I was also stricken with Pneumonia a little over a year ago, which also brought on an aspect of kidney disease thanks to the drugs that I was administered during that illness. So, my respiratory system is still being built back up, but it will never be as strong as it was. Respiratory issues are another factor in being susceptible to the virus. My kidney failure issues add to the strain on my immune system, making that particular weakness even more glaring. And I’m not much of a spring chicken at the age of fifty-four either – though everything I have read, the virus is more susceptible to individuals about a decade older than I am. So all of this informs me to remain away from others as much as possible, as well as continue to take the precautions that were in place during Texas’ shelter-in-place mandate.

Changes in Personal Routines

I used to not give being in public a second thought. Granted, large crowds make me nervous beyond the Nine Hells, but I could traverse in public without a thought. Nowadays, I have to be a little more prepared when I go out into the public. I carry my inhaler with me wherever I go. Normally, I carried it with me when I was doing some sort of strenuous activity. Not anymore, I just cannot take the chance of being any distance beyond my physical person. I carry a mask with me wherever I am. I have a mask here on my desk, another in my truck, and two more that I have stashed in each of my to-go bags (read: backpacks). Inside the truck or the house, I do not wear the mask. However, once I step outside of the truck or even take a walk around the block – the mask goes on. I do realize that its not 100% effective at keeping droplets carrying the virus at-bay, but whatever percent it is – its certainly better than zero.

Because of my health conditions, I do try and work out as much as I can. It helps with my diabetes, and keeps my blood-flow at a somewhat healthy state. Plus, my fat ass could certainly use the sweat equity. I spend most of that time in the house – mainly in my office. I ride my Peloton bike as much as I can, and have even started incorporating some small weight-lifting into the daily regimen. I do get outside and walk around the block, and always wear a mask doing so. I don’t come into direct contact with anyone…but better to be cautious.

Changes in Spiritual Routines

I don’t keep an altar in the house. This is as close as it gets.

In the past, I used to spend time in the morning greeting the sun, by standing in the backyard. I still get up around sunrise, but rarely do I head outside. My typical greeting comes with me standing at my west-facing window and watching the growth of the morning shadow of the house – followed by the slow shrinking of the mid-day sun. Again, I try not to be out of the house for too much. My daily routine has always been to thank the Gods for Their guidance at mid-day, and I still carry this out. In the past, I did this at my stone circle in the backyard. Since the move, I have not had the chance to get outside and rebuild the stone circle. Perhaps that’s something I might need to take the opportunity to do so. Just not right now. Instead, at mid-day, I stand before the little icon of Gaia that you see in this picture, which has found its own spot on the same smaller bookshelf in my office. In the late night, I added a period of meditation since the quarantine period. It is this time where I seek the guidance of my Gods…Tricksters They may be, but I can always find some wisdom in what They provide to me. Even if I am the butt of Their jokes from time to time. I’ve gotten quite used to the sophomoric pranks. While its not as ideal as I want it to be, much of these changes to my practice have been necessary for me.

What About You?

Have you found yourself making alterations and changes to your own Spiritual practice? Perhaps, you’ve reached a blocked point where you are not sure how to proceed with making changes. I’ll provide a piece of advice – take it or leave it as you see fit. Making changes to your Spiritual practice is similar to making changes to your daily routine. Try it. Give it a chance and do it for a short bit. See if it works. If it doesn’t, go back to the way you did it before – if you can. If you can’t go back – try something different. The worst that can happen is that you need to change it again. If you need to, give it a shot…see if it helps.

–T /|\

The Forecast is for Change – not the End

The Storm is here. A lot of folks have talked about this, including me. And occasionally, I get someone that Emails me asking just what exactly is the Storm. Sometimes these Emails are tinged with worry, like the world is about to end or that Pagans are about to be lined up and sent to detention camps (aka WW2 Nazi Germany). Other times, the individual is trying to make sense out of what is meant by this – the world looks “normal” to them, so what is the big deal?

Well, for me, the Storm is not an end-of-the-world or impending Armeggedon thing. I have heard many folks mention that the Storm is an intense “Tower times” moment – more now than in previous individual memory. By “Tower times”, this is usually a reference to the tarot card “The Tower” which is typically associated with danger, crisis, destruction, liberation, or change. Now, I am not a huge Tarot individual. In fact, before this year, I owned zero Tarot decks. As a divinatory form, it is just not something that draws me to it. In fact, most divinatory forms have little call or interest to me. But that is a different deer trod for another adventure in the woods.

I realize its easy to interpret the tidal changes that we see in our real world around us with a cataclysmic ending of the world. And who knows? Perhaps, we will see such an ending to human society going far forward into our future. Certainly, we have done a smashing job of finding ways to alter our environment’s capacity to sustain our existence going into the future, perhaps even irreparably at this point. Certainly, there should be no standing by during this particular phase where the environment is concerned. From my perspective, violence and anger won’t solve the problem, but I also realize I am a single voice being drowned out by the overly vocal others from every side. It is certainly noticeable that our prevailing media continues to showcase sensational endings to our world via asteroids, comets, super-villains, nuclear exchange, pollution, genocide, zombies, pestilence, and even via the hand of the Christian God in terms of the Book of Revelations.

The news does not hold any better signs of the world around us. The 365x24x7 news cycle continues to be dominated by school shootings, undeclared (and even declared) war footage, threats of nuclear annihilation, and the legal machinations of splitting society by race and gender by our respective legislatures. Everywhere you turn, the entire world seems to be screaming that this is the precursor of the end of human kind’s existence.

Yeah. I grok that. All of that creates a narrative that is easily understood. A lot of it evokes our combined worst fears – racial violence, the systematic genocide of the “have-nots”, the thrusting of the entire world society backward through a nuclear holocaust, or a world engulfed in constant warfare and violence. There is not a single question in my mind, I shudder at the thought of any of this becoming reality. And I can certainly see where others might find it to be time to call for the falling of the sky.

But this Tower time, as many others point out to me. A time of unexpected change, according to what I have read about the ultimate meaning of this Tarot card’s meaning. And unexpected change, from my perspective, yields unexpected results. Certainly, the outcomes I mentioned previously are on the table. But so are other outcomes that are not talked about often enough. A world that does not see racial differences as a context to divide us as a human race, but rather describe the differences between us. Differences that can be embraced, learned from and upheld in the beauty that each has. Perhaps, a threat of nuclear annihilation will be the watershed moment in which these horrible, indiscriminate weapons are eradicated from the stockpiles of the world’s military forces?

Sure, I hear you. A lot of that is blowing sunshine up people’s asses. The world does not operate that way. We have indoctrinated the idea to fear and hate those that are different from us. Subjugate them before they subjugate or destroy us. I can understand that skeptical and cynical approach to being in the world. And to be frankly honest, it is a far easier shift to getting to the terrible side of these scenarios than it is to the side I would really prefer things to be. Because hate is a far easier emotion to embrace.

As a young boy, I was taught by my parents to hide my affectionate side. It was considered to be a showing of weakness because you openly showed tenderness and caring for others. I played sports – soccer, baseball, and even some American football. I was taught to “hate” the other side. To “destroy” them on the field of play. That aggressive perspective was not be shunned, but to embraced – to be held on to tightly – to be utilized in a “win at all costs” mentality. Fair play? What was that? There are only winners and losers. And then the momentum shifted in the other direction. Everyone got a trophy for participating. An emphasis on “fair” play was made. Everyone was provided the perspective of being equal, regardless of whether they won or not. And some of that has been brought forward by this up and coming generation.

For me, that is where my hope is placed. I do not understand this younger generation, but I am warmed by their embrace of all as equals. Their protest methodologies make me cringe at times, but their goals are admirable in my opinion. And as they try, they sometimes fail. And from those failures, they learn, they adapt, and they grow. And perhaps, it is their efforts that have brought about Tower time. They are pushing at the base of the Tower and have started to make it sway. They are aiming to make changes. They WANT to make changes. Perhaps, it is their efforts to shake the foundations that have brought out the racists in our society into the open. After all, the shape of our current, modern society does have racist aspects to certain legal points. Definitely food for thought, don’t you think?

The Storm is here, that is for certain. Is it a hurricane gale slamming the coastline of our society? Not likely, from where I sit. But it certainly is a bad thunderstorm, where flooding will be prevalent. Our neighbors will need our help getting through all of this. We will need to help pull them from the swollen creeks, and help shelter them during their time of need. End of the world? Not really. Our world will be changing from all the turmoil we are seeing. However, unexpected change can bring unexpected results, so the shape of things yet to come remains hidden behind the curtains of heavy rain. And while I am hopeful of what the outcome may be – I still carry my staff and my sword – hoping I never need to unsheath the one, and only need to use the other to reach further into the rushing waters to help others.   –T /|\

Changes, Mythology, Storytelling — My Three Themes at Pantheacon

I’ve now been at Pantheacon for two-plus days. I only have a partial day left and then I wing it back to Texas on a Southwest Airlines jet taxi. I have met o many lovely and wonderful people here. Most by just sheer coincidence of being in the same room for a panel or presentation. A few of them are presentators that I specifically came here to meet face-to-face. Tonight, I happened across Selena Fox for just a moment – but it was long enough for me to thank her for all the help that Circle had done for us in the miltiary when we were petitioning the chapel for worship space at Ramstein Air Base. She may never remember that twenty second conversation, but it meant the world to me to thank her.

Oddly enough, like so many things in my life, Pantheacon has had three rolling themes throughout the entirety that I have been here. And its not the themes that the Con has had – if they have even had any, I’ve never been aware of that. These themes seem to reflect more of what’s going on directly with me. ::sigh:: Perhaps I should start at the beginning.

At some point last year, Crow hammered me in the head, pointing out that I needed to get out of the shadows and step out into the open. This particular convention immediately came to mind. Somewhere, I cannot recall exactly where, I made my intentions known publicly and started lining up my crows and starlings (so to speak) to come out here. Then John Beckett mentioned that he was going as well, and offered to partner up with me in getting through the entire process (as well as sharing a room – which I am thankful to him for that offer). If that had not happened, I would have been at this convention on my own – and totally freaked out. Once I committed to this with John, there was no backing out for me.

I don’t do very well in large crowds, so I knew this entire experience was going to be a challenging process for me. But I managed to find a few spaces on the edges, where I could people-watch. And that helped. But then, as I started attending the panels – three themes started to leap out at me. In Shauna Knight’s panel on “Finding Your Personal Magic” there were undertones of looking at your journey, finding how your story was unfolding – your own personal story. That committment has consequences to it, just as any choice does. It was the first step in the process. It was my second panel of the day, and an excellent starting point.

Saturday, I spent most of the day people watching. There were smiles everywhere. People laughing, enjoying themselves, enjoying the company they were in. I noticed the young ages of many there (I’m 50 – most people are “young” to me) I sat and wondered what their stories were. What journey brought them to this hotel, here in San Jose, California? And how did they step on to this Path of Paganism? Where were they destined to go with it? There was that under-current of storytelling again. This was further reinforced by my second panle of Shauna’s which was on Chanting, Trancing and Storytelling. There are stories everywhere – you only need to look a little to find them, hidden in the bushes and trees at the side of the Path. Stories are everywhere. Tales, epics, serial episodes – its all imprinted in our being.

Today’s panel on “Morphing the Myth” and John’s talk in the ADF Hospitality Suite only reinforced this even more. As john noted “who is writing your story?” Indeed.

Coming out here, I understood the thematic that has been running through my life since my return from England in early January. Change. Life will be about change on many different levels for me. I understand and accept that this is coming. But Mythology and Storytelling have now joined that mix. I comprehendd some of what that *may* encompass. There’s a lot to think about there, but I certainly see some of the framework behind the concept. Its also had me thinking about how mythology can relate to programming, but that’s definitely for a different blog post.

Where does it all go from here? I honestly have no idea, but I am certainly excited about it.