Its the time for the turning of the Wheel, particularly within the Pagan faiths. Samhain is that time of the year that claims there is a thinning between the veils of the world beyond and this one. I’m not wholly convinced of that theory, and maintain that the distinction between this world and beyond never truly changes. Its merely our perception of that such a distinction is more acute than we typically discern. But that’s slightly off the beaten Path I am walking here – the turning of the Year.
Last year, I discussed a bit about why I go into a self-inflicted hibernation: Samhain – Change and Transformation Goes Hand in Hand With Reflection. I also started working towards changes in my own routine for the coming year, which is about to change to a new year. And I have spent some time in reflection of those changes – along with some that came about through more reflection throughout the year.’
This year has seen quite a few changes in my life, both out here in the open, and behind closed doors. Some changes were for the better, some weren’t. Some changes deserve to remain permanent, others need to be looked at more in-depth, and still others need to be completely discarded. But this is the typical cycle of anyone’s life. Whether we do it consciously or not. I turned fifty-one at the start of this month. I absolutely guarantee that I am not the same person I was when I was twenty-five. Life’s experience will change you over time. Things happen that change your outlook on Life, and people come and go from within your immediate circle of being.
One – Writing
Last year, I promised that I would write more, and I have. I spend nearly an hour of each day writing in my personal log. And while I write, I go back and read through old entries constantly. Thankfully, I have EverNote to help me through all of that. It has proven to be an indispensable piece of software that I could hardly do without now. I also have set aside particularly two hours of every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening to work on my Bardic Gwers assignments. This has proven to be an invaluable process, as I have made progress in getting assignments completed. Its also proven to be a part of my week that I look forward to handling. Its where I can shut out the rest of the world for a period of time, and reflect on what the assignments are about. And to be perfectly frank, these two things have helped me a bit in becoming a better writer. I’m still nowhere near the point of being a “good” writer. I am; however, far better than I was before.
There’s a lot to be said about immersing yourself into something that you want to do. I write SQL code for most of my job. Being away from that code for any length of time is painful when I return to it. I easily forget things I do not have my fingers on constantly. “Practice, practice, practice” really does have more meaning than you think. I can see that my writing is getting a little better over time. And as I practice being descriptive with my writing style, I find myself doing a far better job detailing things I previously could never find words for.
Two – Podcasting
For three years, I have carried old episodes of my old podcast “From the Edge of the Circle” for anyone to download. Essentially, I kept the doors open so folks could get those episodes and listen to them – if they wanted to. Last month, I closed the doors to Edge of the Circle for good. Keeping it open, while not a bad thing, always kept my mind open to the thought that I could always abandon “Upon a Pagan Path” and re-open Edge of the Circle. That’s not where I wanted to be. I believe in what “Upon a Pagan Path” is about. Now, I need to focus on keeping it on track. When I first started, I thought I could keep up a two-week schedule. That was just a silly point. Me biting off far more than I could chew. Then I attempted a once-a-month schedule, and that has failed. Now, instead of putting out a schedule, I’ve decided to go with a perspective that I will publish a new episode at least once every 45 days. However, that doesn’t mean that I might publish an episode sooner in that time frame. This, hopefully, will keep me feeling the pressures of “must publish” in getting the podcast out. I make far too many mistakes when I do that – and I have a hard time recovering from software, hardware or scheduling issues.
Three – Being (even) More Visible
Last year, I noted that I had decided to crawl out of my corner of the Pagan community, and try to be more visible. Earlier this year, I attended my first Pantheacon, with John Beckett as an impromptu guide to getting started. Here, I met the super-smart, super-fun Shauna Aura Knight. A captivating smile is always an awesome thing to observe, but Shauna is an excellent conversationalist too! Plus, she runs a wickedly fun and informative panel, regardless of the topic. I also met, and interviewed Alf Herigstad, who runs the podcast “Being a Better Man“. We did an interview outside at the hotel, where I learned my first lesson at Pantheacon: if you are going to interview, have private space where distractions are at a minimum. Yes, I am returning to Pantheacon. This time, I will have a more costly room at the hotel venue itself, but I will also have more time to explore parts of the Con that I did not previously. For instance, I did not get a chance to wander into the dealers room, where I had missed a chance to met several other people I only know online.
This next year, I will also take the chance to go to Many Gods West in Olympia, Washington. After hearing about John’s excursion there, and being a polytheist myself, I decided that I needed to take the chance to attend. I am also hoping to attend the ADF Imbolc Retreat down in south central Texas (this time with the date protected with a vacation day for the Friday). I will also be attending the OBOD Gulf Coast Gathering (already confirmed) in March, and the Dallas Pagan Unity Fest (unknown date at the moment). Living closer to both Texarkana and Oklahoma City, I am looking into getting the chance to attend both of the Pagan Pride Days at these locations as well. And yes, I will have my microphone, and my GoPro camera in tow.
Four – Spending Time With the Gods
Just because this is last, does not make it least. In fact, its probably the top priority for what I accomplish throughout the day.
One thing I eventually got away from over the course of the year, was my daily devotionals at my small stone circle in the backyard. Either the weather was too hot, or too rainy. or too something or other. Those are excuses. About forty days ago, I put all this back in practice. Even when I traveled to Wyoming. I am sure that the other guests at the Inn may have thought I was strange for standing outside the door and staring at the sunrise and sunset – even when it was raining or snowing (yes it snowed while I was there!). As far as I was concerned, that was their problem, not mine. As you know, Coyote, Crow and Fliodhas are where the majority of my time gets spent. Lately, Ravens are being added to the mix. I haven’t quite figured out why, since They are not nudging me in any particular direction. Some folks would claim that sometimes Ravens are just Ravens. That’s not really been my experience. If it happened once, I would agree. When it happens ALL THE TIME, I definitely will disagree. All I can do is continue to puzzle this out as I can, and continue honoring the two Gods and the one Goddess who take Their interest in me.
The Wheel turns regardless of what happens. There’s a Presidential cycle occurring here in the United States. My friends in Europe are all dealing with the sting that has come to every side from #Brexit. My friends in Canada continue to deal with corporate interests finding ways to exploit natural resources located on First Nations land. Here in the States, we deal with the same thing with Standing Rock in North Dakota. Many of my friends are dealing with personal issues that run the entire range of issues. Change is all over the air. Some of it has an ominous tinge to it. I know the Gods are not going to “fix” things for anyone. They will intervene in Their own fashion, in Their own time, and for Their own reasons. Everything I have detailed here is about how changes are occurring for me. After all, this is the time of the Year for looking at how things have gone, and what plans can be in place for the coming Year. What will truly happen? I have no idea. I both fear some of the changes and what they will bring; and embrace other changes that I believe will be helpful. But until the Wheel turns to that point, I – like any else – can only guess at what’s coming.
In the meantime, bring your drinking horn with your desired beverage over to the fire. Let’s sit and talk. Because that is how we make community. Through communication.