The Candle’s Flame, Moments Before Twilight

One of my favorite times of the day is when the sun starts making its entrance back into our daily lives. When that bright disc in the sky nears its rise over the edge of the earth’s curve. That period we refer to as “twilight”. As the sky goes from completely dark to the beginnings of the sky starting to lighten. The colors are amazing, as your eyes adjust with the slow procession of the sun towards the edge. Until the sun finally peeks over that curve of the earth, bathing everything in that bright light that will illuminate our environment for a time, and warm us to one degree or another. This is a beautiful time of the day for me. This is also a dangerous time of the day for me as well.

I am suffering from diabetic retinopathy in my eyes. Essentially, I have some hemorrhaging of the blood vessels in my eyes, due to periods of high blood sugars. To try and stabilize the condition, I have injections into my eyes at regular intervals. And I hate needles. With a passion. But that’s another direction in all of this. My eyes are their weakest during the morning and evening twilight hours. Walking around, no problem. Behind the wheel of a car? That is a different story. The world becomes a very scary, two-dimensional world. The location of oncoming traffic is a little difficult to discern. Thus, a scary and potentially dangerous situation for me. If I am out driving during the twilight hours, I will find somewhere to pull over until the world is much lighter or much darker.

As I write this, I am looking out the window to the west. The sun is setting, and the sky is a pretty salmon color. In a short while, everything will be set back into darkness. Over the weekend, I was an observer in Cat Treadwell’s Imbolc observance. You can find that on YouTube here. She had mentioned about living in the in-between spaces during this time. This resonated a chord with me, especially concerning my issues with depression.

My depression tends to take the form of a very dark environment, where you can see absolutely nothing. There is danger from objects you cannot see or even comprehend. However, like all my dark, depressive times, I know that eventually the environment will lighten – much like the time of twilight in the morning. So, I do take comfort in the knowledge that my depressive moods have a cycle of some type. Though the periods of darkness can be much longer in some cases in comparison to others. But I am also cautious during this time because I cannot completely trust my vision.

Imbolc is a time of new beginnings. I would also offer that it is a time to be cautious as well. Yes, Spring is coming. Yes, the world is getting lighter. However, weather patterns can sometimes fall back to the cold, dark aspects of Winter without a warning. Those moments can play havoc with one’s mind and mood. However, we can rest assured that Spring and the warmth of light will eventually come. Just as I can always count on twilight being over after a period – making driving not as dangerous for me.

The entire world is coming out of a long COVID nightmare. Vaccines are becoming available to the public in greater quantity. Yes, I am just as impatient as anyone else to get the two shots. However, we are in the twilight hours of this period of our collective nightmare. Much like my need to be patient for twilight to pass, so my eyes are better adjusted, I also must be patient for the vaccine. That means continuing my hyper-vigilance concerning protecting myself from others. I can only hope that others do the same.

I have electricity to keep my home lighted and heated during the Winter months. Granted, this time of the year is nowhere near as harsh as other parts of the world can get. After all, this is Texas. We’re not in the more northern climate zones. Winters here are generally mild. Summers…. well, that’s a time for a different post. However, I am reminded that prior to the wonders of modern electricity, lighting was achieved by candlelight. Imaging that for a moment, I can see where the light of the candle or even the light of the hearth was integral towards the promise of Spring. Light would be more abundant. Warmth would be far more plentiful. And that light was the measure of beating back the darkness.

My depressive state is already starting to have the first glimpses of light against my darkness. I am still cautious in my approach towards things being better than before. After all, there is always a chance of slipping back into the dark. My twilight seems to be on the near horizon. I cautiously hope. I realized that this also follows the cautious hope of the glimmer of Spring that Imbolc provides. So I am thankful that I have a compass, of sorts, to work with through Imbolc. For me, its something solid that I can grab a hold of. And that’s a good thing.

–T /|\

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Thinking About: New Beginnings

Today is a rainy day here in Hillsboro, Texas. As I sit here and write this blog post, I am reminded of the time of year. We are in the time of Imbolc on the Wheel of the Year. A time of new beginnings. For me, today is no different in that regard. In my life, I stand on the edge of new beginnings. I also stand at the edge of endings as well. After all, many beginnings in our lives are the start of new adventures. Much like Bilbo Baggins sprints down his Path to catch up with the dwarves on their quest to the Lonely Mountain, I find myself taking steps along a new portion of my own Path. Just as Bilbo left behind his contented life for new adventures, I leave behind pieces of my Past, and move towards a Future that holds some exciting promise towards the short-term. While a lot of other Pagan-y folks find Samhain to be the time of taking stock of how things have gone over a period of the year – essentially making Samhain akin to the secular concept of New Year’s Day – I find that this time lends itself better to my perspective of thinking.

New Beginnings

I can understand that a lot of folks will read into this idea of new beginnings and think that I am changing and vacating my Druidry. Hardly. In fact, if anything were closest to the truth it would be that I am doubling down on who and what I am. I am a Druid. I am a Polytheist. I am a Pagan. None of that is part of any aspect of change. My approach to each; however, is subject to change. Parts of that are also in the mix of new beginnings. Much of what I am about to relay may come off like a batch of New Year’s resolutions, and that is exactly the point. Right now, my life is sitting off the railway tracks. Part of this is a process to right the train that is me, and get things rolling forward in a positive manner.

Exercise. Let’s face it. I am a chubby, out-of-shape, fifty-five-year-old man. I have underlying health conditions that are not in my favor where life is concerned. That means that I need to do better at keeping myself as healthy as I can. That means taking my medications at regular intervals, as prescribed by my doctor, eating better, and getting my fat ass out of my computer chair on a regular basis. I have already plotted a four-and-a-half-mile walk through the neighborhood, which is what I used to walk every other day when I lived up in the Corinth, Texas area. Add to that I’ll be adding some weight training, along with some stationary bike work. I know that I will probably not be able to hit every single day that I have planned for working out, and that is really “ok”. Just so long as I manage to do most of the times that I have laid out. I am not going to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Dwayne Johnson, but I will be a lot healthier than I am now.

Gwers Studies. My goal here is to be finished with my Ovate studies by the end of the calendar year at the latest. I have created a schedule for this as well, making sure that I do not push myself too hard. Recently, I have restarted my Ovate work, and am taking things very slowly and methodically. I have learned that it is far easier to move at a pace that I am comfortable with rather than push myself too hard. Pushing hard achieves burn-out status for me far too easily.

Online gatherings. This past year of COVID has taught me a lot about myself. I am a far more social creature than I had realized. Time away from Pagans that I truly love and admire has cratered my own feelings of loneliness and despair. I have eschewed online gatherings for quite some time, always sermonizing to myself that it does not replace the feelings that I have in face-to-face gatherings. The reality is that this statement is true. However, when online gatherings is all that is available during a time frame where a pandemic is raging throughout the country (much less the entire world), you work with what you have. Sure, I can grumble about it, but what is available is what is available. Today and tomorrow, I take steps in that direction with two online Imbolc gatherings.

I have spent an inordinate amount of time indoors in 2020. During that time, I managed to read three books. Three. Long past time for me to get back into that habit. Plus, I will be doing reviews on what I read from time to time. I also watched very little television and very few movies. I already have a list of tv shows to check out, as well as a grouping of movies. I seriously doubt I will be reviewing any of these, but I do need some leisure time in all of this. Plus, I purchased a Play Station 4 and am already scouting for games to play. However, I don’t want to get sucked down that rabbit hole too far. Games are nice for leisure, but I certainly don’t want these to dominate my free time.

Endings

Just as there are new beginnings for this time of year, there are also endings to be considered. Some endings are not worth the time to dwell upon, beyond acknowledging that things had happened. Others contain some important life lessons to put into perspective and think more deeply upon. Certainly, I have had some endings to things within my life. Most are quite personal, which I will not share here. Some are extremely painful to dwell on, others not so much. All have provided lessons that will help me find a better perspective towards walking my Daily Path. Some have involved people no longer being in my life, an aspect that has me mourning the loss of these folks within my life. However, life continues, and dwelling on these losses for too long of a time will stall the forward momentum I am trying to achieve. But as I stated, they will be mourned and remembered in a happier light by me.

Imbolc is a time of new beginnings. This is approximately the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. The crops are growing again. Slowly, in this colder period, but the promise of lush, green growth is there. The beginnings of Spring are upon us. The beginnings of new endeavors are here as well. This is the reason that I see this time as a position where new resolutions for your daily Path can be made. The above is merely my perspective on this time of the year – my personal outlook on how I am approaching this new year. This is also a time of the year to be hopeful of what is to come…an outlook that I find encouraging with a COVID vaccine becoming more widely available. Change is certainly in the air. How you approach that is up to you.

–T /|\

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