Its More Than Just Typing on a Keyboard

Ok. So the last post I wrote was rather bleak in its outlook. The prospects of nuclear exchange can do that for you. But there’s more to life and being alive than being frozen in time by fear.

The calendar has us pointed directly at one of the two yearly turns of the wheel that I tend to run for solitude. Beltane and Samhain are both periods of time that I tend to avoid the outside world, and wrap myself in the cloak of my solo work. But that has more to do with the approach of others towards these two points of the year. This year; however, holds a slight bit of difference – at least for Beltane.

Part of the whispers I hear from just over my shoulder have involved me getting out into the wider community. I live in the middle of of nowhere – on the border between Oklahoma and Texas. The nearest Pagans that I am aware of are over an hour’s drive in any of the four directions. So getting “involved” in the “community” requires a lot of thought, a lot of moving pieces in the calendar, and a lot more dedicated commitment on my part – all of which takes this solo Druid outside of his comfort zone. But no one ever said following what the Gods want and direct you towards will ever keep you in your comfort zone.

Part of all of that has been about me going to gatherings and conventions. Earlier this year, I felt like I lived out of a suitcase. Now, everything seems to be calming down a bit more, and I am getting my legs back underneath me concerning my connection with my local environment. But there’s still the need to get better connected with the wider Pagan community.

Sure, Facebook does some of that, but that’s not what was meant when the pesky freaking beak hit me behind the ear. It just so happens, that in February, an opportunity for re-connection was provided, in the form of two folks I have known for quite some time. Both members of the Denton CUUPs group, John and Cyn asked if I would come down to their Beltane celebration. Apparently….well, its not apparent, its a definite fact…the Gods are poking them towards a particular celebration that I had only witnessed from the top of a hill at the last Pagan Pride Day event in Dallas (that was 2013). So I said “yes”. And apparently, a lot of other folks – both local and from distances much further than my own – have also said “yes”. And as each day passes, the reminders keep coming back in meditations and dreams.

The most poignant reminder has been:  “Remember your word.” I have been poked and prodded about rejoining the wider community for quite some time. And while I make efforts from time to time, it winds up being a dipping off the toe into the water. I usually remember all the politics of the wider community, and my overall distaste for crap like that – and the result is me backing off yet again. The problem there is I am not giving these folks a chance to be who they are. Rather, I wind up painting an old picture onto their new canvas. Many, not all, of the Pagan leaders I remember have disappeared from the scene. They have either moved elsewhere, passed beyond the veil, or dropped out of the Pagan scene for one reason or another. And the Pagans that are here now, are not the same Pagans I recall. Nor is Paganism the same Paganism that it was back then.

So, I find myself at one of those moments that I find in flow charts. A decision. Re-enter the community? Continue to be solo and isolated, with a few celebrations and conventions to punctuate the year? And all of that brings me back to so many other thoughts I have had over the past year. My struggles with the concept of being a Priest. My struggles with having the label of “elder” applied to me. And as I look at all these pieces and concepts, scattered across the grassy area of my Inner Grove, I start to see how each fits together. Whether I like it or not – I am an Elder. I am a Priest. I am a Druid. I am a Student. I am a Teacher. I am a solo Pagan. I am a member of the Pagan community. I am a Friend. And the Gods have slowly pushed me to a point where I can see all these individual pieces, and many more I have yet to completely identify, set out before me. And I can see how these pieces fit together, and where missing pieces remain. So, yeah.

This Beltane, with what John, Cyn, and their group of folks are planning, will be a special event and moment. Its also going to provide another Sea Change for me. I asked the Gods to help me grow and become the Druid, Pagan, and Priest that I am supposed to be. All these steps have led to here, this coming moment. Its a very scary, and uncertain step for me. But there are people that I know here. And other people that I have already met that here, too. And so many others that I haven’t. Be the Priest that I am to be? The Druid that I am meant to be? Be the Pagan that I definitely am? For all that take place, transformation will need to take place. Some of that has already been done – internally. I need to change myself externally, as well. And that means doing more than just typing on a keyboard.

 

Samhain – Change and Transformation Goes Hand in Hand With Reflection

Walking on Wild Horse Island in MontanaYesterday, I wrote about my feelings about Halloween – particularly the more bloody aspects of it. Today, its a little shift of the gears. Instead of the spookier element of the Halloween celebration, let’s turn to the more spiritual side of things and have a peek at Samhain.

I’m not going to go into a reiteration of what Samhain is about, or its origins or what not. What I am doing here is taking a small exploration of why I don’t spend a lot of time during this point on the Wheel of the Year with other people. And honestly, this is typically the point on the Wheel that I go into a self-hibernation of sorts.

Self hibernation. What an odd way for me to declare my own positioning. But it does fit in a bizarre manner. Every year, it seems that I get invite after invite after invite asking me to come to some group’s Samhain ritual. And every year, I try my best to accept at least one of the invitations, and then don’t go at all. I have had some people tell me that they were sorry for whatever it was that they may have done or said that caused me not to go. And I wind up having to explain in great detail why its not them – and why its me.

A lot of this has roots back into my desire to be a Solo Pagan. No, not a Red Solo Cup Pagan…just an individual doing my own thing. Red Solo cups are for something completely different.  🙂 I have discussed why I am a Solo Pagan to a great deal throughout this blog. Its a primary basis of who I am, what I am, and how I approach the world around me. But as John Beckett once pointed out on his blog (and I am far too lazy to go and find the exact post), even Solo Pagans need some company from time to time. Typically, I do this during the Summer Solstice period – the weather is usually nice, and it tends to be a gathering time for a lot of Pagans. Just factors that make it easier.

“But why just a single point in the year?” That’s something that continually is brought to me in meditations where Crow appears. I am a Solo Pagan, who enjoys being an individual on my Path, and I am called to A God who just happens to be one of the more social birds in the entire world. So there’s plenty of push there.

Which brings me to the current point on the Wheel. Samhain.

For me, Samhain is a time of reflection on what has happened over the past Year. Granted, I see the new Year starting each morning, but that is a very microcosmic view of the World around me. A more macrocosmic view brings further out, further on — and provides a much wider viewing lens. Everything has changed in the period of a year. Its much harder to notice that at the microcosmic level, as my immediate surroundings I see every day. Change happens every day, very slowly – almost imperceptible. But further out, where I am not everyday – those changes happen at the same rate, but my awareness is not there every single day. Thus when I step back into that awareness, I see the changes very clearly. I am holding memory up to present day and seeing very clearly the change that has occurred.

Then there is the thinning veil, the far easier connection to the Ancestors. This, for me, remains a solid aspect of my personal, individual time for this particular point on the Wheel. While I may be coming out of the darker edges of the fire’s circle of light to participate with my fellow Pagans and friends on celebrating the turning of the Wheel, my veneration and communication with my ancestors remains a very personal thing.

This year, I was invited to several Samhain gatherings. I turned down all of these invitations, except one. From a group that I respect because of their very tight-knit relationships with one another, and for their very honest, friendly, open acceptance of people who are outside of their group. Its not much of a first step back into the public light, but one gathering is far better than no gatherings.

I have very strongly held perspectives of both Samhain and Beltane – and why I avoid each. But it is based on the experiences that occurred from another group. And those experiences happened nearly twenty years ago. Its time to set those experiences to the side, and realize that this came about because of a particular time and moment in my life. The group in question, has changed over those years – and I hold no ill will or resentment towards the people still with that group. They have changed, I have changed. Holding to a perspective of broad-brushed painting an entire point on the Wheel based on actions that happened, nearly twenty years into the past – that’s honestly silly. This past year has been about change and transformation for me. Its time that I continue that – one small step at a time.

Samhain is an important point on the Wheel of the Year for me. Its a time to look back, reflect, see what I have accomplished, see what fell short. Its also a point where I look forward, to see what may lie ahead, and bring my projects and lessons forward with a new plan to insure they don’t fall short again. Its also a time to remember those who have walked beyond the veil, and a time to enjoy the company of those who have remained. Forging stronger relationships with them, and moving forward from that point. As a Solo Pagan, I have managed to do all of these, except the last. For that, you need other people…