Inspiration + Creativity + Enthusiasm = Personal Passion (Thinking About)

Inspiration. Creativity. Enthusiasm. Mix that all together, and you have your passion. All that wrapped up together creates an energy that is unlike any other. A heady elixir that you will crave to the end of your days in this existence after you taste its first drops. Some people search for what will drive their passion throughout their entire lives. Others know exactly what it is at an early point in their life, and spend their days pursuing it in a maddening, inspiring chase that at times resembles the travails of the Wild Hunt at its pinnacle.

Recently, I have been watching Ant Anstead Master Mechanic tv series on the MotorTrend channel. Now, I am familiar with Ant’s work from his time with the show “Wheeler Dealers”, also on the MotorTrend channel. He has a very peculiar sense of humor, but also gets really passionate in explaining how a car part actually works. Now, I’m not a mechanic whatsoever. Unless you count working on computers as being a type of mechanic. I learn a few things about how cars work through Ant’s explanations, but not enough to roll up my sleeves and hang my shingle as an auto mechanic. No, what really draws me to Ant is his passion for what he does. On his new show, the Master Mechanic one, he is building a tribute car to the 1930s Alfa Romeo 158 Grand Prix race car. I watch and marvel at his ability to create this vehicle from scratch, using old car parts from a Fiat Spyder (I think that’s what it was) and some newer technology parts to make the vehicle far safer than its inspiration. Watching him work and explain is like watching a kid in a candy store with $100 in his pocket and no adult supervision.

I love being around people that are like this. I love listening to them explain whatever it is that they are doing, even when I don’t understand one bit of what they are talking about. Its not the topic, its the energy. The way they glow as they describe all the intricate details of what they are doing. Its just amazing to bask in their exuberance.

I have been told that I can get the same way, too. No surprise to me there. Databases are a fascinating world to me. I can remember when I got hired at the college, I could talk anyone’s ear off about how to setup a database or how to write a complex query. I’m passionate about the storage, maintenance, and reporting of data. I can also remember during my last year at the college how quickly people turned me off as well. That’s the other side of having that uncontrollable passion. Not everyone appreciates it for what it is. In my case, it essentially turned me into a pariah within the system – someone that was shunned and disregarded, even in my own field of passion. Truth be told, when I got fired, it was no surprise to me. In fact, it felt like a massive weight had been lifted from my chest and I could breathe freely again. You can snuff out someone’s enthusiasm quite easily, particularly when you dismiss that passion as “useless”, “misguided”, or “stupid” – all words that I was told to my face about how I felt about working with data. yes, from people in a college who had been directed by upper management to become “data-centric” in their decisions. In many ways, I’m quite content to not work there anymore. But that’s getting side-tracked…

One of the big points that Ant makes in his show is that building a car from scratch requires about “80 percent preparation.” This is true of anything you do, even within your area of passion. Database schematics need to be determined and figured out – right down to the data type. Which key fields map to what tables is also important. The same holds true for anything that you are passionate about. You have to lay the groundwork to be able to create from. This even holds true within your Spirituality.

I have talked quite a bit about how my own Spirituality is rather free-form. However, even that requires a degree of preparation as well. Before I could get to the point of being able to free-wheel what I do on a day-to-day basis, I needed to take the time to build the basics, or if you prefer, develop the groundwork for everything. For instance, how to construct the beginning aspects of a ritual for just myself. Do I draw a boundary between myself and the world? No. I prefer to have everything in the open and not bound away from the connections I feel with the world around me. Do I call to the Four Directions? Yes. Plus, I have certain Gods and Goddesses ascribed to each direction, all of which has meaning for me. Do I do magickal workings once I have completed the start of the ritual. That depends on what you call magickal workings. Most of the time, I meditate and seek guidance from the Gods and Goddess I have chosen to work directly with. Sometimes, I write. Sometimes, I just sit and let the experience of my immediate surroundings wash over me. Just depends on what and why I am doing this for. Regardless, there is a basic framework I manage. On top of that framework, I add my own flourishes to make it my own.

Does that work for everyone? I don’t think so. But I can only speak for myself. You would have to do a lot of asking to find out the true answer to that question. But before I could add the flourishes that I use, I had to know what the basics were, and how each worked. No different for database work or automotive work. You have to understand the territory you are about to work within before you start moving things around.

For me, it helps that I am super passionate about my beliefs and the ritual patterns associated with it. That passion keeps the framework in my mind, and makes it easier to recall those requirements when I have need of them. Same thing with databases, and the same for automotive issues, I would guess. Now, I do tend to forget things from time to time, which is why I have things written down. That way I have somewhere to reference when my mind doesn’t want to remember. Its the same reason my bookshelves are lined with several texts on databases. I always have something to reference when I am forgetful or even when I am about to really experiment with what I have. I can check to see what the rules and requirements are before I start playing the mix-and-match game.

I’m willing to bet that you are super passionate about something. Star Wars, maybe. Or writing. And I’m also willing to wager that in your passion, you have learned the basic components of what you are passionate about. Those basics are the foundations of what really excites you…the stuff that really gets you. And that’s important. Its quite a heady drink to have. And it is so very worth it – even when others scoff at what is important to you. Don’t be deterred when others don’t “get it” – just keep stepping and bouncing to the beat of your drummer.

–T /|\

A Measure of Being Alive

So I have been away from the blog for a short bit. However, I have not been far from the keyboard, and yes, I have been writing, creating, and continuing to explore my Druidry through various means. It is, after all, who I am.

Yes, I have given into the perspective that I am a writer; that the written word is where I should be. I enjoy writing, putting my thoughts into words. I do not like editing and reviewing what I have written nearly as much. Certainly, it is the weaker part of what I do in this medium. However, it is a necessary evil, and a skill set that I will need to take more time to work on.

To that end, I decided to go ahead and open a Patreon page (yes, this is an obligatory advertisement of sorts). Its not a ton of money, nor do I expect many people to sign up for it. Its just a single dollar per month. I could not go any lower than that, otherwise, I would have. The point of the Patreon page is to write more in-depth and personal material than I would dare share on this blog. A lot of the material is very self-introspective, and is some aspects of self-examination. I will also include my poetry there, as well as some photos from my trips to various locations throughout the United States (and sometimes Europe).

Much of this process materializes out of this particular time of year. I tend to do a lot of self inspection during the early part of Spring. The other side of it is to hone my craft of writing. As Tyrion Lannister remarks to Jon Snow in the first novel of George RR Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire“:

My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer and I have my mind…and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge. That’s why I read so much Jon Snow.

The same goes for any other process – writing, magick working, ritual preparation – repetition matters, as does review. The more you work with something, the more relaxed you get with the process, and your skills grow. Want to be a programmer? Immerse yourself in the language you want to learn. Want to learn a new language to speak or write? Practice it daily. Review your progress, see what you have done. Find your mistakes, and learn from them. That constant aspect of repetition and review will be like muscle memory, and you will soon find these desired skills become nearly second nature.

When someone finds out that I am on a path of Druidry, I typically hear the same question (eventually):

Picture by John Beckett, who always manages to catch awesome photos of me, and whatever else his lens focuses on.

How does one become a Druid?

My usual response these days has been to say that one just lives their daily lives with intention. That you find ways to incorporate these beliefs; whatever they might be or look like, into your everyday living. Stand outside each morning and greet the rising sun in whatever manner feels befitting to you. And within reason for the social setting you are in. Standing on your sixth floor apartment balcony and greeting the sun in the nude might feel “right” but I am fairly sure there is a city ordinance you might be violating. Just sayin’. But living your Druidry (or whatever) should not make you inconvenience your daily life, but rather compliment it. My daily routine does not afford me the ability to rise before the sun and greet its rising like I have in the past. However, I still take a moment out of the morning to stop, and greet the already risen sun. The fact that I no longer greet the sun as it peeks over the horizon does not diminish the significance of the act in my daily life.

How does one become a Druid? Indeed. How does one become a writer? How does one become a policeman? How does one become a musician? Drive. Desire. Repetition through daily life. Review of how one has accomplished what they have in those directions, and seeking to improve on those accomplishments in the future. We build what we are in layers. We start with a base that feeds our desire to become what we want, to be what is inside of us. Each successive layer improves and strengthens what we have achieved. Step by excruciating step.

Will there be failures? Of course there will. There will be mistakes made. Go back and re-read some of my blog posts here. My writing is terrible, and sometimes the flow of thought is not the easiest to follow. My vocabulary is not always the strongest. My spelling mistakes and grammar mutilation is on bright display. But my heart is in everything I write, as jumbled and buried as it might be. Much like the beginning guitarist, it does not sound great, but I have to start somewhere. The same goes for anything that is in the early stages of development. Not everyone is an instant prodigy.

Want to be a Druid? A Pagan? A Polytheist? Whatever else you might be able to think of? Read. Learn. And then do. And do again. And review. And do again. And again. And review. And again. Adjust along the way. Change and alter as necessary. But keep trying. You can do it. You just have to strengthen up your will-power and do it. be prepared to fail. be prepared to learn from that failure. Following the purported quote of Albert Einstein: “…once you stop learning you start dying,” we are always learning, because it is a measure of being alive.