tek2way: Nature - Lightning Storm (Nature - Lightning Storm)
As I've said in recent posts, I've been pretty much atheist for a while now, driven partially because of a very bad situation regarding one of my supposed patron gods and a girl who couldn't draw the proper line between teacher and student. Despite that, I have continued to subscribe to a British Druid's WordPress blog, because she isn't a complete nutcase. In fact, her posts frequently are insightful and helpful, even to one such as me.

On April 13, she pitched a book of someone that she knew: Judith O'Grady's Pagan Portals - God-Speaking. In the post, she said:
God Speaking tackles head on that problem about mental health versus religious experience. We live in a society where to hear voices, is to be crazy. Most Pagans sidle carefully around the subject, wanting to claim personal experience but at the same time not wanting to sound deranged. This book explores the issues in a witty and compelling way. Judith O’Grady is a person with a lot of valuable insight to share, and a really accessible writing style. She deserves and audience.
This intrigued me greatly. This might be the sort of thing to give me insight to be of help to Rick. At the very least, it might help explain what happened (maybe). So, I added it to my Amazon shopping cart, but didn't commit to buy it. After all, I'm atheist, so what use is there in buying yet another pagan book?

Well, my vacation began the first week of May, I wanted to order some Celestial Seasonings herbal tea, and it was only $7, so I decided to get it. When it came in, I was slightly disappointed to see that it was only 52 pages. Nevertheless, I decided to read it anyway. After all, if it wasn't very good, I'd be done with it by the time I realized it. :)

While the editing could have been better, and I'd like to have seen the concepts expanded a bit, it presented a very interesting take on the subject. I actually enjoyed it, and am grateful that it's so short, as I think it needs to be read multiple times to fully digest everything within.

When I finished it, I felt like something that had been missing was back. Oh, it wasn't back fully. It was more like, "hi, I'm here, but I'm knocking at the door and waiting for you to say come in." Still, I felt an oddly light sense of being, despite my "atheist/scientific skeptic" tendencies. Of course, the author is a scientist (biologist)/trance seer/Druid, and I even discovered that she is an animist, which I realize is very likely what I am for sure, regardless of other labels.

That night, while working on Robert Jordan's Towers of Midnight, I suddenly had an urge to rearrange the implements I had on my "not-altar" in my room. It took all of five minutes for me to decide that I needed to relocate the "not-altar" to my chest of drawers, and move the books to the bookshelf. I dug out the two boxes of pagan paraphenalia, and TWO HOURS LATER, I had a fully functional altar again.

By fully functional, I mean that I had my six deity candles (Odin, Thor, Freyja, Aine, Brigid, and the Morrigan), my green man oil burner, my wood chalice, my offering bowl, a wand, my rune-inscribed hammer, a steel athame, my pocket knife, a large key, a blank book with the seven-pointed star of the fey on the cover, and some various miscellaneous figurines and trinkets that I associate with my spirituality. This is more altar-like than I've had my altar in a long time.

I can't explain why I included the athame, but every time I tried to leave it off (telling myself that I just wanted it to balance the hammer), I kept thinking that I should put it on there anyway. I mean, I actually argued with myself over this. I think that it was because I received it as a gift from the aforementioned girl. During my argument, when I thought of this reason, I felt compelled to say, "She is no longer my teacher. She is no longer welcome to guide me spiritually. She can discuss things spiritual with me at some later time, but she does not get to guide me." I don't know what it was about that, but I felt better after saying it.

When it was complete, I lit my deity candles, got back in bed, and continued reading my book. Around 5am, I finally put out the candles and went to sleep.

The next day, I learned that this person said she needed to replace something that I know I was responsible for, and she tagged it "#endings #sacredspace". Could this be coincidence? Possibly. I don't know.

So where does this leave me? Not quite an atheist (being guided inexplicably to set up my altar again isn't necessarily divine guidance, but it also isn't necessarily NOT, either), not quite a pagan believer, still a scientific skeptic. The Norse pantheon still "feels" right to me, but I have to reexamine who I followed, and why. The Celtic deities on my altar also need to be researched more fully. I guess I should also see what I can dig up on "Diana", given my feelings about the Moon (and that image in particular).

Tonight, I actually wore my Yggdrasil pendant again. It felt like it was time to do so. I didn't question it, and I didn't parade it around, but I liked putting it on.

I don't anticipate being immediately back in the swing of things, but I think that my admission last time about being an atheist because I was feeling burned by my spirituality may not be too far off the mark, after all.
tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Art (Hallman) - Runesword)
Come with me a moment. Defying conventional beliefs about time and space, we go back to the 1980s. It is a time long past, a time not yet come around, a time that never was or will be. It is also now...the 1980s )

Let's return to our current time. It is our time. It is also a time that will never belong to us. It's the far future, and the ancient past. It is... Now )

So, there you are. I trust that you've enjoyed your visit to my memory. As I lower the veil back down and seal the doorway for now, I know that I personally feel an unmistakable and tangible lightness of being. I may be a 36 year old Customer Service Manager of a grocery retailer in Memphis, TN, but I've made an important connection tonight to a 10 year old who had just taken a step into a much larger world. That book's place as the very likely first fantasy novel I ever owned (gamebook though it was) absolutely, irrevocably, and beneficially changed my life...

...forever.
tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Default)
I'm not really sure if I put this in my last blog entry, but Charles and his wife have asked me to move. Oh, not immediately, but I definitely gather that "the sooner, the better" is definitely the way I'm supposed to look at it. He told me he wanted to make sure that I didn't hustle out in such a hurry that I take on a sub-optimal solution, and I appreciate that, but I don't plan on hanging around any longer than absolutely necessary.

With that in mind, I went into the attic today, and pulled down everything that I own up there (aside from my 8" reflector telescope). I went through it, threw away a lot of stuff, and set aside a crapton of stuff to give away/sell (I'm not going to ask money, but as this will help me move, whatever's thrown my way would be appreciated).

Nothing was spared. I'm keeping my runs of Kenshin, Love Hina, and Negima. The rest, including Maison Ikkoku, is being given away. My massive set of 4 bookcases now has one set of shelves that is completely empty, I removed so many paperbacks (and a few hardbacks). I've removed a few movies from my DVD collection. My RPG collection is probably 3' (yes, feet) shorter. I intend on going through my CDs soon, too. I'd filter out my cassettes too, but, well, they're cassettes, and I get old man *and* metal cred for having them. :) (Honestly, I *could* get rid of a lot of 'em, but I intend on keeping all my Helloween, my Body Count album with "Cop Killer", and Green JellO's "Cereal Killer" soundtrack (first album -- only album?).

At any rate... )

All in all, despite feeling.. pushed .. into moving ASAP, I am fairly optimistic about this. Earlier this year, I filed Chapter 7, and my debt has been cleared. I'm not proud of it, but I was given a second chance, and I'm going to make the most of it. To that end,"> I'm pointedly *NOT* looking for a roommate. It will be tighter than I've been used to, but my living room will be decorated the way I want, it'll be organized the way I want, and when I walk in, I'll know it's mine. My personal debate: bottom floor to avoid my heavy feet and simplify moving in/out, or second floor for security?

Also, the question of WHERE in the metro area would be good. In this, I'd prefer to stay out of Memphis, since I have an ancient car, and I doubt it'll pass emissions. Still, I've seen something down near my old store that looks not too bad, and is reasonably affordable (I would LIKE a 2 BR apartment, so I can have my computer in my "office", and my bedroom stays, well, my bedroom. :))

Well, I have work WAAAY too early tomorrow, so to bed I go. I just wanted to make sure that I updated before I fell asleep.
tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Misc - Double Deuce)
I got started on my car, and after fixing a seal, the axle went in smoothly. I rejoiced, for I was nearly done. I ran to AutoZone, got the cotter pin I needed, and came home and reassembled things. Then, I tested it out. It didn't make the noise when I was in reverse like before...

...until I hit the brakes. I tested my left turn with it, because that's when I first noticed a problem, and still heard the scraping noise. The old left axle was DEFINITELY bad, though, so I at least feel confident that I replaced something that NEEDED to be replaced.

I've finally eaten something, and I'm going to be going back outside momentarily to begin jacking up the car and removing the tire, etc. There are a few things different, but it's not that bad, and I have the basics down already. I just hope I'm done soon enough to be able to enjoy SOME of this day with my girl.

Wish me luck, I'm goin' in!!! *dives*

P.S. In other news, my first realm books came in today. Also, the Paxson book on runes is freakin' HUGE -- on par with one of the volumes of Our Troth. Browsing through them will have to wait for now, though. My car awaits.
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tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Sky - Andromeda)
Normal rules apply. I tag a few folks, but participation is voluntary. :)

Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. List 15 books you've read that will always stick with you. They should be the first 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag 15 friends, including me, because I'm interested in seeing what books my friends choose. (To do this, go to your Notes tab on your Profile page, paste rules in a new Note, cast your 15 picks, and tag people in the Note, upper right hand side.)

1. Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
4. Dragonlance Chronicles, by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
5. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
6. The Mallorean, by David Eddings
7. His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman
8. Spellbound, by Ru Emerson
9. The Morgaine Saga, by C. J. Cherryh
10. The Neverending Story, by Michael Ende
11. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
12. The Coldfire Trilogy, by C. S. Friedman
13. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
14. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
15. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Second Edition Player's Handbook, by David "Zeb" Cook

























Yes, they're all fiction, even the game book. Yes, some are not technically single books, because they're 3- to 5-book cycles. Some are pulp, while some are considered classic literature. Each of the books listed above had an impact on me in one form or another. Some had profound impacts on how I viewed the world and felt (Stardust, Neverwhere, His Dark Materials), while some took me someplace that I desperately wished to go (The Neverending Story, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Dragonlance Chronicles).

#8 requires a special citation, because it's the unknown in the list. It's a more or less simple fairy tale story, with a prince, wicked stepsisters, witches, spells, and the fair maiden. Yet, something about the cover art made the story more "real" to me. I get lost in this book like few others. It triggers emotions in me that I can't even completely identify, even now. No book that can do that is bad. For that, it earned a spot on my list.


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tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Default)
In early May, while I was on WoW hiatus, I finally got around to reading Raymond Khoury's The Last Templar. I picked it up on a whim a year or two back, because of the connection to the Knights Templar (real world knights.. I mean, come on!). That book was awesome. It was enjoyable, fast-paced, and the pages turned themselves. I'd love to see it as a movie.

I realized something then, too. I *can* enjoy fiction that's not strictly fantasy or science fiction. It was more of a modern day thriller that used the Templar myth as the backdrop, more than it was a fantasy story set in modern day (which I also like, but I digress). So, I got to thinking about what else I could read that would give me the same thrill.

I chose my copy of The Da Vinci Code (TDVC), by Dan Brown. As with Khoury's book, I'd picked it up a while back, but never got around to reading it. Also, as with Khoury's book, I was gripped. The nonstop action kept me reading. It made me think some, too, since the Holy Grail has always tied into Arthurian legend, and I'm a sucker for that. Just one of those things that make you go hmmm...* When a co-worker saw I was reading The Da Vinci Code, he lent me his copy of Angels & Demons, saying it was a better book by far. You know? He was right, and that's not disparaging TDVC at all. They're both rather good books. One day soon, I'll have to pick up a copy of Angels & Demons for my own.

I've run out of books like that to read, though. I am not sure what authors to look for, or where to look for them at a bookstore. I want to get that other Dan Brown book, but I'll have to remember its name (or read the back cover when I find Dan Brown at the bookstore). Anyone know of any other authors that write in a similar vein?

Tonight, and the whole reason I titled this post thus, I got The Da Vinci Code on DVD. Tom Hanks wasn't bad as Langdon, though I think a more fitting actor could have been found. Sophie's actress was good, but she seemed to be lacking a little of the fire from the novel. Sir Ian McKellan, however, was inspired for the role of Sir Leigh Teabing, even if I did hear Gandalf a couple of times (and Magneto once). :) I wasn't really fond of how they ended the movie, since it deviated significantly in ways, but was basically the same. I definitely preferred the book's ending, but I found it an enjoyable way to spend the evening.

I work 6a-3p tomorrow, doing accounting supposedly. We'll see what I'm doing when I get there. I'm all set to mind every P and Q that I come across. Wish me luck.


* - If you can cite the source for that, you get a gold star! :)
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