tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Anime - Chibi Kenshin)
Tonight, I watched "Religulous", a documentary on religion by Bill Maher. Well, I watched it again. I first watched it a few years ago, as a DVD rental when I was still living with Charles. Of course, he watched it as well, and agreed with many of the points.

Now, I identify as a pagan (to facilitate discourse; I'm more accurately a Norse-style Saxon Heathen, with just a touch of interest in herb lore, divination, candle magic, and British Isles witchcraft), and Charles is a devout Christian.

I can appreciate wanting to find something in which to believe. Especially as one ages, the threat and doom of death grows ever larger and more real, and we as a society have conditioned ourselves to fear death as if it's this horrible monster, come to rob you of everything that makes you unique.

In my opinion, that couldn't be further from the truth. Even if you believe that death is truly the end of all things, and that there's nothing after, you're forgetting one particularly important detail: what you are doing on this planet while you are alive. No matter if you are a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew, a Wiccan, an atheist, an agnostic, a Buddhist, a Taoist, or a Jedi (I understand many of these begin to get into philosophies instead of religions, but I'm being very inclusive on purpose), the choices you make while you are living on this rock orbiting our insignificant main sequence star are what remain of you long after you are gone, no matter what you do otherwise. Your choices, even one as simple as speaking politely to everyone you have a chance to talk to when you leave your home, will have ripple effects that will spread far beyond your close group. The person who receives the benefit of your good decisions is just as likely to spread that good mood, as would one receives your discontent and anger.

So, back to the subject of religion. What is it about it that causes rational beings to go off the deep end? If someone heard some aspect of a religion in the context of mythology, would they still be so sure that it's literally true? Why are religious people so quick to violence when their faith is challenged?

...and here is where I dozed off, and lost my train of thought.

*sigh* I guess it's bedtime.
tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Default)
I really should already be in bed, but the gods (and my own sense of order) demanded that I clean my place first. Since I'm still up, I thought I'd share a couple of interesting thoughts regarding my (lack of) path.

As I mentioned before, I had a moment where I made a completely new altar while I was on vacation, and it felt right. I still have it up, and am pleased with it. However, something has changed in the month since I put it back up. I have moved the Celtic deity candles off of it. You see, having them there didn't feel "wrong", per se, but I felt like I was missing a point somewhere. One day, I was looking at my altar, and I was struck by the realization that the Celtic deities are tied to me by blood. That is, they are in my mother's heritage, and so they are in mine.

However, the Norse deities speak more loudly to me (metaphorically speaking, of course -- something about them feels more "right"). While I think both can lay a claim to me by heritage (maternal side is Scottish, Irish, German; paternal side is English, at the very least), I think my active decision to worship the Norse brought them to prominence.

Yes, I said "worship". While I am hedging my bets and refusing to classify what I am doing, I can at least say that I am not an atheist. In fact, my hypothesis about being one because of a fear of worshipping the wrong gods or doing it wrong, is probably pretty accurate, but I have more soul-searching to do before I say that is the case for sure. I do know that the idea of paying homage to the Norse deities brings me a feeling of happiness, even without any tangible results. Regardless of why I worship, or what deity I choose to worship, I gather a distinct sense of calm and peace from my choices, so I have chosen to not question it, at least until science can prove otherwise. (I remain a proud scientific skeptic. No, they aren't contradictory. If science disproves something my path believes, then I will alter my path accordingly. Questioning why is vital to our existence on this planet, and I don't intend to give that up for even a second.)

At any rate, I decided to move my Celtic deity candles to a new location, and make them part of my ancestor's altar. For the time being, that is back on the fireplace mantle as it was before, but I want to find a better permanent place. This feels very good, though, almost like I have figured at least one thing out.

Also, I have had a golden statue of what appears to be Idunna since May Day last year. I felt such an urge to get it last year that it was almost a moral imperative. Ricky even talked to Champagne about getting it after her tent was closed for the night. Last year, I said, "oh, that's not Idunna. It's Freyja," and I made it the centerpiece of my altar. Earlier this year, even when I was looking to put my altar back together, I said, "Oh, I was being silly. That couldn't be anyone but Idunna."

However, while doing some random research online, I discovered that Wagner blended the two goddesses together in his Ring Cycle. That is, while it's clearly Idunna, there is precedent for identifying it as Freyja instead of, or in addition to, Idunna. That settled in my mind in such a way that I would almost swear I "heard" a voice saying, "see? you weren't being silly."

Finally, I've begun reading Travels Through Middle-Earth: The Path of a Saxon Pagan, on Brian's suggestion, when he heard my description of my mental idyllic pagan experience (which is thus far, only in my head). While I still prefer the Scandinavian names to the Saxon names for the deities, this almost feels like a better fit. I'm Heathen, but I still acknowledge from where my heritage comes. Another interesting thing, at least to my mind? I flipped through to the list of deities it gave: Sunne, Mona, Eostre, Tiw, Woden, Frigge, Thunor, Hama, Freo, Ing Freo. Put another way: Sun, Moon, Ostara, Tyr, Odin, Frigga, Thor, Heimdall, Freyja, Freyr. From Odin onward, every one of those gods were ones I named specificially for my New Year's Eve ritual back in 2011-12, when I made a list of oaths. Meanwhile, Tyr was the first god I was drawn to. Fascinating coincidence, if coincidence it is. Sometimes, a duck is a duck, but this has me wondering, at least a little.

At any rate, I was working on this far longer than I expected to be doing so. I hope it clears up some questions, if you had them. I have far more I need to address in this and my other blogs, but this begged attention first. :)

Good night, all, and may you wake wiser, happier, and more alive than today...
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 (Default)
Because it's applicable to this journal, I'm posting my three "essays" on here. No, I don't feel they are formatted as essays, but I've not done a proper essay since 1994. Still, it is good reading, if I may be so bold. Enjoy. :)


How did you come to Paganism?

 I never came to Paganism.  Honestly, I would say that Paganism came to me, as it was not quite a conscious choice.  Rather, it was a realization that I likely already was a Pagan, who just did not yet realize it.  I will attempt to relay my story here, to the best of my ability.

 In 1987, I was 11 years old, and had begun to discover the joys that reading can bring.  I happened across a copy of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and eagerly devoured it.  I quickly read the rest of the series, and bemoaned the lack of similar tales in my school library.  One day, though, I decided to grab a book on mythology. I suspect that it might have been a young adult version of 1001 Arabian Nights.  I was hooked.  I went through every single mythology book that was in my school library in no time.

 At that time, I had just recently stopped going to church on a regular basis, due in part to my mother deciding to attend a new church with a very New Age feel that felt more like a snake oil show than a place where I could practice my spirituality.  I did not really miss going, because I had questions that could not (or would not) be answered at church, such as “What was here before God?” and “How do we know that all the world’s religions aren’t ultimately worshiping the same God, but using different names?” 

 Something in those ancient tales tugged at me, and I began to thirst for more stories like the Chronicles of Narnia and the world’s mythologies. Finally, in my early teen years, my aunt purchased two books for me, because I showed an interest in fantasy that even she noticed.

Ironically, while the two were from different series, both novels dealt directly with Gods and their actions in the world for which they were responsible.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I was experiencing a shift in how I viewed the world, thanks to my love of reading.   Over the next few years, I read many more novels.  The ones that stuck with me best (and stick with me to this day) were those in which the Gods had a role to play.

 Years passed, and my subconscious search for the Divine was put on a back burner while I threw myself into mundane pastimes.  I still read, but I had become so distant from my spirituality that I barely noticed that I had stopped looking for something to fill the void left by Christianity.

 Then, in 2002, I had my lack of spirituality catch up with me.  I had financial troubles which led to the repossession of my car by the bank.  I began to keenly feel the lack of a guiding force in my life, and wanted to change that.  I looked again to Christianity, but again found that its adherents could not stand up to scrutiny.

 Music has always been very important to me, and it was in that same year that I discovered Blackmore’s Night.  I got their three releases at the time (“Shadows of the Moon,” “Under a Violet Moon,” and “Fires at Midnight”).  Many of the songs on those albums spoke to something within me that I could only describe as primal.  The title tracks of the latter two releases particularly spoke to me, and for the first time ever, I began to wonder if I was destined to be something non-Christian.  I didn’t know enough about Paganism at the time to realize there were more paths than just Wicca/witchcraft.

 Over the years, I had known several friends who claimed to practice witchcraft, but I did not see any sign that there was more to it than playing with magic. However, the magic I felt coming from those songs made me actually do a search on the subject.  On October 23, 2002, I discovered a vital spirituality that spoke to that part of my soul that I’d long forgotten was still searching. Here is an excerpt from a private LiveJournal entry on that day:

Tomorrow is payday, and I think I'm going to go to Waldenbooks, and pick up a couple of books on Witchcraft.  There, I said it.  The "OOOooo" word.  For some reason, I don't know if I want to call myself a witch.  I don't know if I want to cast spells.  Of course, to be fair, the more I've read on the subject, the more I've seen everyone saying "don't assume that you are going to do the Hollywood kind of magick" and "if you came just for magick, then prepare to be disappointed".  This implies to me that it's on a deeper level than it was with Charles, Murray, and group.

 I wound up picking up a couple of Scott Cunningham’s books, including The Truth About Witchcraft Today, and Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner.  I read them both, though it would be years before I was comfortable with the idea, simply because of my preconceptions regarding magic.

 I met Brian Young through work, and grew to be friends with him.  One evening in early June 2010, someone did a Tarot reading for me at his house, and I knew I needed to explore this path again.



Outline your Experience in Paganism:

My experience with Paganism began initially over eight years ago.  I’d been keenly feeling my lack of spirituality in life at the time, and in October 2002, I finally did a web search, coming to http://www.wicca.com.  After reading several of the articles on the web site, including the FAQ, I made the decision to pick up at least a couple of books on the subject.

I picked up two books by Scott Cunningham: The Truth about Witchcraft Today and Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner.  Both were amazing to read, though I balked once the latter got into actually practicing magic, for I had known some friends who had played with witchcraft, and had it go horribly wrong for them.  I wanted a spirituality, a religion, not a way to cast spells.

Over the next several years, I picked up more than a dozen books from a variety of authors, including Raymond Buckland, but each time I got to the point the book began discussing using magic, I would put them down. I really connected to the spiritual side of the books, and got to know many of the basics that way, but was unwilling and afraid to go further with actual magical practice without someone with whom I could talk. Ironically, it never occurred to me to search for Memphis pagan groups, and I did not even imagine that a pagan church could exist.

In January 2008, though, I was transferred by my job to the Kroger at Poplar & Highland. It was there that I met Brian Young.  Over the course of the next two years, I grew to know him and consider him a friend, though we never really spent any time together outside of work.

I had my last fling with Christianity early in 2010, and gave my box of pagan/witchcraft books to Brian, thinking I was never going to need them again.  After about a month, though, I ran into the inevitable “my way or the highway” attitude again, and quit trying to make Christianity work.  I confess that I might have talked myself into it because I had feelings for a very devout Christian woman at my job, and I lost interest when the relationship with her fizzled.

In early June, though, I had the opportunity to go over to Brian’s home, where I met Jon Peppers and Jessica Gross.  That night, Jessica gave me a tarot reading, and I was amazed that I felt that I might have found where I needed to be. I inquired about Brian’s path, Asatru, and he suggested that I read Diana Paxson’s Essential Asatru.
I liked what I read, but what really struck me was that it didn’t assume that I would be using magic, and it was the first time that I really saw a non-Wiccan pagan faith.  I also noticed that the Nine Noble Virtues actually stressed personal responsibility, and I felt I had found something I could stand behind.

Over the next several months, I read many more books on the subject.  I had the opportunity to talk to many folks for whom that was a path, and I learned a lot about Asatru, Heathenry, and Paganism in general.  I became a paid member of Summerland Grove Pagan Church, and attended every church meeting that I could.  I attended the Sabbats that I could as well, though I refrained from participating initially because I was nervous that I would “do it wrong.”

In November 2010, I was invited to visit Trudy Herring’s coven, because I expressed an interest to see a ritual that Brian was going to do.  Before I left that night, I was invited to join the coven, and I attended it until March 2011, when I decided that I wanted to figure out my faith for myself, before I put myself into an interfaith coven like that.

Also in early 2011, I received a gift of a set of Ogham sticks from a friend, who commented that she saw me on a Druidic path.  Ever one to research, I picked up John Michael Greer’s The Druidry Handbook: Spiritual Practice Rooted in the Living Earth.  After reading that book, which I took my time doing, I began to see more of how I acted, rather than how I thought, in Greer’s writeup of Revival Druidism.  I am not switching paths, though, until I feel I have done sufficient research into both, so that I can make an informed decision.

In the coming year, I anticipate that I will learn a lot about myself through my shadow-work and that I will better understand my path..






Describe Your Experience in the Pagan Community:

It wasn’t until June of 2010 that I knew there even was a Pagan community in the Memphis area to participate in. I read books on the subject of Wicca/witchcraft, but never did any practical work with them, mainly because I wasn’t interested in magic, which stemmed from a fear that I would do something stupid, blundering on my own without a teacher.

By August, I had joined Summerland Grove Pagan Church, and was attending the church meetings whenever I could get away from work. I also attended any Sabbats that I was free to attend, though I was shy about participating in ritual until recently.

In October, I went to my first Festival of Souls. As my first pagan festival, it exceeded my expectations, once I was able to relax enough to enjoy myself.

I visited Trudy Herring’s coven in November, and was subsequently invited to join them. I remained a member until March 2011, when I withdrew so I could focus on my own developing path.

Early this year, I participated in FoS planning meetings as a member until the meetings went to staff-only.

I look forward to the coming year, and meeting even more of the pagan community here in Memphis.

◾ Tags:
tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Music - Symphony X)
I was scheduled today from 2-11, though I wound up working until 1125. On my way home, I was feeling like I needed to write something, but I didn't understand what I needed to write.

When I got home, and finally checked email, I discovered that I was not selected as one of the at-large members for Summerland Grove. Instead, Krisi and Wendi received the votes to make them at-large members. I'm honestly happy for them, and hope that this development will prove to be beneficial for the church.

However, I cannot say that I am not a little disappointed. In fact, I'm really disappointed. I didn't know I had such an attachment to gaining a position in the Board of Directors. It could be that I felt like I could effect some change from within, and really step up my involvement with the church and community in general. Perhaps I had thought that if I was more intimately involved in the goings-on with the church, I could help head off this disastrous path it is on. I don't mean to belittle the two who got the positions. In fact, I want to go on record saying that I am *NOT* belittling them at all.

Could I have served successfully, given my new position at work? Could I have served ethically, given my disdain for one of the Fourth Realm students? Could I have served the church without falling victim to the corrupting influence of power? I would like to think so. As it is, I will never know.

I do not know now if I will clep First Realm at Festival of Souls this year, either. I believe that I want to, if only so that I can begin the shadow-work that comes in Second Realm. The basics of paganism are just that: the basics, and I am very familiar with most of the elements of said basics, to the point that I find myself unable to read the books assigned for First Realm students. At least, I cannot read them all the way through. I skip around, and read passages here and there, but I have not read them cover to cover.

I need to study the hows and whys of ritual, grounding and centering, and magic in general. I am not set in my path, either, and this makes studying difficult. At least, I have led myself to believe that it does.

Which brings me to another point altogether: my path, or lack thereof. I was really attracted to Asatru when I discovered it last year, and felt that I was on the right path. However, toward the end of last year, and through spring especially, I began to question my devotion to this path. For some reason, I began to wonder if I really was on the right path. Hearing that Jørð was interested in being my patron had a very real effect on me. The earth herself wanted to be my patron. How does one handle this information? Denial and acceptance are the two obvious choices. However, I believe that I ultimately chose a third: I began to reconsider whether I was actually supposed to worship her in her Norse guise, or if I needed to get to know her in a cultural way more closely tied to my heritage: Celtic.1

On my father's side, my ancestry has been traced back to an immigrant named Nicodemus, in the late 1700s. On my mother's side, the Ferrells crossed over to America in 1732, and have a definite Scottish, Irish, and German heritage. While this heritage definitely grants me some leeway on the Norse side of things, it also firmly roots me in a Celtic bloodline. I have always had a massive attraction to the British Isles, the legend of King Arthur, faeries (especially the tales of the Seelie and Unseelie Courts), and learning about Ireland. Even in my most diehard anime fan days, where I wanted to visit Japan more than any other, Ireland was still in my top two, for the reasons I listed.

I cannot live without music. I have learned that this week. Due to the stress of work and the long hours I've put in, I haven't been listening to music as much as I would like, and it caused me to sink into a funk that was dangerously close to self-destructive. Getting a day off from work and listening to music (and spending time with good friends) helped pull me out of that dangerous low. For reasons I cannot explain, music feels very fey to me. It's one of those things I do not question, and that I do not wish to argue. It simply is.

I love storms. I love trees. I love space. I love science (except when it snickers behind its hand at faith). I love the feeling of being surrounded by trees, to the point that the lack of trees was the deciding point for me to move back to Memphis, when I desperately wanted to stay with my mother in California.2 I love the feeling of a cool breeze on my face while sitting outside on a crisp autumn day.

What am I? What is my path? I do not know, and cannot say for certain…yet.

For now, I think I have exhausted my line of thinking for the night, so I will go to bed. Tonight, as I go to bed, I will repeat the following phrase over and over until unconsciousness claims me: What is my path? Show me, and allow me to remember.

I work tomorrow, starting at 9am. I hope to be able to skip out after six hours or so, but I will have to see when I'm there.

Sleep well, my friends, and may your dreams bring you a peaceful sleep, and a refreshing morning.


1 - Brian, being a hard polytheist, will say that Jørð is Norse only, and an earth goddess figure from another culture isn't the same. However, for this one goddess, how can the Norses' Earth be different from the Celts' Earth, or even the Egyptians' Earth for that matter?
2 - I also felt that I couldn't leave my father completely alone. I have a parental loyalty to him that I don't have to my mother, and this confuses and saddens me at times.
tek2way: Art - Handful of Stars (Art - Handful of Stars)
I was scheduled today from 2-11, though I wound up working until 1125. On my way home, I was feeling like I needed to write something, but I didn't understand what I needed to write.

When I got home, and finally checked email, I discovered that I was not selected as one of the at-large members for Summerland Grove. Instead, Krisi and Wendi received the votes to make them at-large members. I'm honestly happy for them, and hope that this development will prove to be beneficial for the church.

However, I cannot say that I am not a little disappointed. In fact, I'm really disappointed. I didn't know I had such an attachment to gaining a position in the Board of Directors. It could be that I felt like I could effect some change from within, and really step up my involvement with the church and community in general. Perhaps I had thought that if I was more intimately involved in the goings-on with the church, I could help head off this disastrous path it is on. I don't mean to belittle the two who got the positions. In fact, I want to go on record saying that I am *NOT* belittling them at all.

Could I have served successfully, given my new position at work? Could I have served ethically, given my disdain for one of the Fourth Realm students? Could I have served the church without falling victim to the corrupting influence of power? I would like to think so. As it is, I will never know.

I do not know now if I will clep First Realm at Festival of Souls this year, either. I believe that I want to, if only so that I can begin the shadow-work that comes in Second Realm. The basics of paganism are just that: the basics, and I am very familiar with most of the elements of said basics, to the point that I find myself unable to read the books assigned for First Realm students. At least, I cannot read them all the way through. I skip around, and read passages here and there, but I have not read them cover to cover.

I need to study the hows and whys of ritual, grounding and centering, and magic in general. I am not set in my path, either, and this makes studying difficult. At least, I have led myself to believe that it does.

Which brings me to another point altogether: my path, or lack thereof. I was really attracted to Asatru when I discovered it last year, and felt that I was on the right path. However, toward the end of last year, and through spring especially, I began to question my devotion to this path. For some reason, I began to wonder if I really was on the right path. Hearing that Jørð was interested in being my patron had a very real effect on me. The earth herself wanted to be my patron. How does one handle this information? Denial and acceptance are the two obvious choices. However, I believe that I ultimately chose a third: I began to reconsider whether I was actually supposed to worship her in her Norse guise, or if I needed to get to know her in a cultural way more closely tied to my heritage: Celtic.1

On my father's side, my ancestry has been traced back to an immigrant named Nicodemus, in the late 1700s. On my mother's side, the Ferrells crossed over to America in 1732, and have a definite Scottish, Irish, and German heritage. While this heritage definitely grants me some leeway on the Norse side of things, it also firmly roots me in a Celtic bloodline. I have always had a massive attraction to the British Isles, the legend of King Arthur, faeries (especially the tales of the Seelie and Unseelie Courts), and learning about Ireland. Even in my most diehard anime fan days, where I wanted to visit Japan more than any other, Ireland was still in my top two, for the reasons I listed.

I cannot live without music. I have learned that this week. Due to the stress of work and the long hours I've put in, I haven't been listening to music as much as I would like, and it caused me to sink into a funk that was dangerously close to self-destructive. Getting a day off from work and listening to music (and spending time with good friends) helped pull me out of that dangerous low. For reasons I cannot explain, music feels very fey to me. It's one of those things I do not question, and that I do not wish to argue. It simply is.

I love storms. I love trees. I love space. I love science (except when it snickers behind its hand at faith). I love the feeling of being surrounded by trees, to the point that the lack of trees was the deciding point for me to move back to Memphis, when I desperately wanted to stay with my mother in California.2 I love the feeling of a cool breeze on my face while sitting outside on a crisp autumn day.

What am I? What is my path? I do not know, and cannot say for certain…yet.

For now, I think I have exhausted my line of thinking for the night, so I will go to bed. Tonight, as I go to bed, I will repeat the following phrase over and over until unconsciousness claims me: What is my path? Show me, and allow me to remember.

I work tomorrow, starting at 9am. I hope to be able to skip out after six hours or so, but I will have to see when I'm there.

Sleep well, my friends, and may your dreams bring you a peaceful sleep, and a refreshing morning.


1 - Brian, being a hard polytheist, will say that Jørð is Norse only, and an earth goddess figure from another culture isn't the same. However, for this one goddess, how can the Norses' Earth be different from the Celts' Earth, or even the Egyptians' Earth for that matter?
2 - I also felt that I couldn't leave my father completely alone. I have a parental loyalty to him that I don't have to my mother, and this confuses and saddens me at times.
tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Music - Symphony X)
I don't really know why I'm posting in my journal tonight. I was going to talk about the mess surrounding my current church, but instead, with Blackmore's Night's "Under a Violet Moon"* playing in my ear, I'm going to talk about what I believe. (These are my opinions, and while I welcome debate, I will not let anyone just tell me I'm wrong. This is how I've come to understand the world through my experiences, which aren't -- can't be -- the same as yours.)

First, I believe that all that exists in the universe has to have been created by some kind of being. The thought that this is random vexes me, when even the atheists would be hard-pressed to give an explanation of what was here before. Look at anything around you, and it was created, and includes a time that was before it existed. What, then, existed before the Big Bang? The Abrahamic religions claim that there was nothing but God/Yahweh/Allah, and that he is infinite. The Norse claimed that there was Fire and Ice. Everything we see has a cycle, be it life/death or creation/destruction. This seems to be a fundamental aspect of life in this universe, since the very things that give rise to a life, or that yielded the elements that formed the object, inevitably bring about the life's end of the object's destruction. Yet, I've never heard anyone refer to the universe in this manner.

Secondly, and I suppose I touched on this in the first point, I believe that everything has a cycle. From a sapling grows a tree, from which comes a seed, which creates another sapling. Meanwhile, things such as disease, animals, weather, and man will cause the first tree to eventually die. I was born in 1976, by human reckoning, and eventually I will die. I may or may not sire a child that is directly of my blood, but my life will live on in those whose lives I touched. My friends' children will remember their "Uncle Anthony", and the lessons I provided, directly or not.

(I find it interesting how each point seems to lead into the next.) Also, I am not afraid to die. When it occurs, I may not be thrilled about it, but I will not be begging to have "just a few more years" or some other such nonsense. I was born into this life, and it is absolutely certain that I will die. I know that this may sound horribly nihilistic, but see my point about cycles. Whether I cease to exist as "Anthony" is moot. I will have left this existence, and moved on to whatever is next. People who are very important to me die: my grandparents, my first girlfriend, Pop Dunn (who affects me even now -- I get an itch in the corner of my eyes when i see his name), and Trudy. Yet I do understand that, deep down, each and every one of them lives on in my memories, in my actions, in how I perceive this world. Each had a lesson to impart to me, no matter how small or how little I remember it, that has shaped me into the person that I am. My only fear regarding death is that I will not be missed.

(Okay, so the path from one point to the other just fizzled. :-p) I believe that this world cannot exist without both light and dark. Some like to call it "good and evil," but I prefer "light and dark," or perhaps even "creation and entropy." Now, understand that I vastly prefer the light, but I recognize the value of the dark. Without night, you cannot say how bright the day is. Without someone like Hitler, you cannot properly appreciate what Gandhi did. I can apply this to even some of the most mundane things: without bills, you cannot appreciate how much of a relief it is to have money. (Okay, I'll concede that one is stretching it a bit.) As a tree grows and spreads its branches out to shelter the creatures that live beneath it, it also starves other photosensitive beings that live below it. There is a light side and dark side to everything.

I do not believe in the Christian views of Heaven and Hell. Frankly, it might be more accurate that I have trouble believing in any afterlife in which it functions as strictly the final destination. I love the Norse gods, yet I do not know that I can believe that when I die, my soul will go to my patron deity's house, where I will reside until Ragnarok.**

I believe in magic (not the card game, but real magic***). Not the hocus pocus in the Harry Potter films, or the powerful Istari from Lord of the Rings, but I believe that we can effect change in our world through force of will. Willpower matters more than many people are willing to acknowledge. Beyond that, we can find magic all around us. We have but to look. That sunset or sunrise that took your breath away? Magic. A new life being born? Magic. The intricacy with which a spider spins its web? Magic. I find magic in a particularly beautiful piece of art, or in a song that brings tears to my eyes or fills me with such energy I have to bounce around.

To this end, I believe in the Fae. I don't see why, just because I haven't personally seen anything that I identify as being a fairy, that I have to believe they don't exist. Maybe it's the Celtic heritage in me, but I absolutely love stories of fairies. Do I believe that the story of the cobbler and the elves is historical fact? No. However, I believe that they're around us, living and breathing, and are as real as you or I. By necessity, I believe in the dark fae, too. I wouldn't want to run into a real troll or hag, but they're there, just out of sight. I also believe in ghosts and spirits, too, but they creep me out, to be perfectly honest. :)

I also believe that I have not even begun to scratch the surface of my power. What that power entails, I do not know, but I will know it when I find it. I cannot even say that it's a magic that I wield. It could just be finding my life's purpose.

To sum this up:
  • I believe that someone/thing created the universe.

  • Everything has a cycle, including the universe, and especially the life on this planet.

  • I do not fear death, only being forgotten.

  • I believe that a balance between light and dark is essential for the world to exist. Good and evil are facets of the light and the dark, but I favor the light far more than the dark.

  • I do not believe in an afterlife in which I exist there as I did here. After all, like I said, cycles. :)

  • I believe in magic. Without it, life has absolutely nothing worthwhile for me.

  • I believe in fairies, ghosts, and spirits, including the dark ones, which give me quite a fright.

  • I have not yet unlocked my true power.
So there you have it. This is part one of what I believe. I had more, but it meandered a bit, so I edited that part out for another post, to be done another time. I hope that you appreciate and respect my views for what they are: my views. Some of the preceding only occurred to me as I wrote this. Others were things I've known since I was very young.

I love all of my friends. I am fundamentally no different now than I was 1, 5, 10, or even 20 years ago, aside from my life experiences making me view things differently. I still value what I value, love what I love, and do what I do. Can anyone really ask me to do anything else? Do you think I should let them?


* -- This song strikes a chord in me that few other songs can. It was also one of the songs that I had on heavy rotation when I first discovered that my spiritual path was not going to follow Christianity...back in 2002. (Yes, I've had a feeling for just that long.)
** -- NOTE: I did not say that I necessarily disbelieve in Ragnarok or the Norse afterlife, only in the concept that I get there and stop and wait.
*** -- I refuse to use the "k" at the end. I know what I'm talking about, and if you don't, it's your responsibility to ask me.
tek2way: Nature - Lightning Storm (Nature - Lightning Storm)
I don't really know why I'm posting in my journal tonight. I was going to talk about the mess surrounding my current church, but instead, with Blackmore's Night's "Under a Violet Moon"* playing in my ear, I'm going to talk about what I believe. (These are my opinions, and while I welcome debate, I will not let anyone just tell me I'm wrong. This is how I've come to understand the world through my experiences, which aren't -- can't be -- the same as yours.)

First, I believe that all that exists in the universe has to have been created by some kind of being. The thought that this is random vexes me, when even the atheists would be hard-pressed to give an explanation of what was here before. Look at anything around you, and it was created, and includes a time that was before it existed. What, then, existed before the Big Bang? The Abrahamic religions claim that there was nothing but God/Yahweh/Allah, and that he is infinite. The Norse claimed that there was Fire and Ice. Everything we see has a cycle, be it life/death or creation/destruction. This seems to be a fundamental aspect of life in this universe, since the very things that give rise to a life, or that yielded the elements that formed the object, inevitably bring about the life's end of the object's destruction. Yet, I've never heard anyone refer to the universe in this manner.

Secondly, and I suppose I touched on this in the first point, I believe that everything has a cycle. From a sapling grows a tree, from which comes a seed, which creates another sapling. Meanwhile, things such as disease, animals, weather, and man will cause the first tree to eventually die. I was born in 1976, by human reckoning, and eventually I will die. I may or may not sire a child that is directly of my blood, but my life will live on in those whose lives I touched. My friends' children will remember their "Uncle Anthony", and the lessons I provided, directly or not.

(I find it interesting how each point seems to lead into the next.) Also, I am not afraid to die. When it occurs, I may not be thrilled about it, but I will not be begging to have "just a few more years" or some other such nonsense. I was born into this life, and it is absolutely certain that I will die. I know that this may sound horribly nihilistic, but see my point about cycles. Whether I cease to exist as "Anthony" is moot. I will have left this existence, and moved on to whatever is next. People who are very important to me die: my grandparents, my first girlfriend, Pop Dunn (who affects me even now -- I get an itch in the corner of my eyes when i see his name), and Trudy. Yet I do understand that, deep down, each and every one of them lives on in my memories, in my actions, in how I perceive this world. Each had a lesson to impart to me, no matter how small or how little I remember it, that has shaped me into the person that I am. My only fear regarding death is that I will not be missed.

(Okay, so the path from one point to the other just fizzled. :-p) I believe that this world cannot exist without both light and dark. Some like to call it "good and evil," but I prefer "light and dark," or perhaps even "creation and entropy." Now, understand that I vastly prefer the light, but I recognize the value of the dark. Without night, you cannot say how bright the day is. Without someone like Hitler, you cannot properly appreciate what Gandhi did. I can apply this to even some of the most mundane things: without bills, you cannot appreciate how much of a relief it is to have money. (Okay, I'll concede that one is stretching it a bit.) As a tree grows and spreads its branches out to shelter the creatures that live beneath it, it also starves other photosensitive beings that live below it. There is a light side and dark side to everything.

I do not believe in the Christian views of Heaven and Hell. Frankly, it might be more accurate that I have trouble believing in any afterlife in which it functions as strictly the final destination. I love the Norse gods, yet I do not know that I can believe that when I die, my soul will go to my patron deity's house, where I will reside until Ragnarok.**

I believe in magic (not the card game, but real magic***). Not the hocus pocus in the Harry Potter films, or the powerful Istari from Lord of the Rings, but I believe that we can effect change in our world through force of will. Willpower matters more than many people are willing to acknowledge. Beyond that, we can find magic all around us. We have but to look. That sunset or sunrise that took your breath away? Magic. A new life being born? Magic. The intricacy with which a spider spins its web? Magic. I find magic in a particularly beautiful piece of art, or in a song that brings tears to my eyes or fills me with such energy I have to bounce around.

To this end, I believe in the Fae. I don't see why, just because I haven't personally seen anything that I identify as being a fairy, that I have to believe they don't exist. Maybe it's the Celtic heritage in me, but I absolutely love stories of fairies. Do I believe that the story of the cobbler and the elves is historical fact? No. However, I believe that they're around us, living and breathing, and are as real as you or I. By necessity, I believe in the dark fae, too. I wouldn't want to run into a real troll or hag, but they're there, just out of sight. I also believe in ghosts and spirits, too, but they creep me out, to be perfectly honest. :)

I also believe that I have not even begun to scratch the surface of my power. What that power entails, I do not know, but I will know it when I find it. I cannot even say that it's a magic that I wield. It could just be finding my life's purpose.

To sum this up:
  • I believe that someone/thing created the universe.

  • Everything has a cycle, including the universe, and especially the life on this planet.

  • I do not fear death, only being forgotten.

  • I believe that a balance between light and dark is essential for the world to exist. Good and evil are facets of the light and the dark, but I favor the light far more than the dark.

  • I do not believe in an afterlife in which I exist there as I did here. After all, like I said, cycles. :)

  • I believe in magic. Without it, life has absolutely nothing worthwhile for me.

  • I believe in fairies, ghosts, and spirits, including the dark ones, which give me quite a fright.

  • I have not yet unlocked my true power.
So there you have it. This is part one of what I believe. I had more, but it meandered a bit, so I edited that part out for another post, to be done another time. I hope that you appreciate and respect my views for what they are: my views. Some of the preceding only occurred to me as I wrote this. Others were things I've known since I was very young.

I love all of my friends. I am fundamentally no different now than I was 1, 5, 10, or even 20 years ago, aside from my life experiences making me view things differently. I still value what I value, love what I love, and do what I do. Can anyone really ask me to do anything else? Do you think I should let them?


* -- This song strikes a chord in me that few other songs can. It was also one of the songs that I had on heavy rotation when I first discovered that my spiritual path was not going to follow Christianity...back in 2002. (Yes, I've had a feeling for just that long.)
** -- NOTE: I did not say that I necessarily disbelieve in Ragnarok or the Norse afterlife, only in the concept that I get there and stop and wait.
*** -- I refuse to use the "k" at the end. I know what I'm talking about, and if you don't, it's your responsibility to ask me.
tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Music - Symphony X)
I worked until 11pm tonight, and by all rights I should be in bed, given that I have to be back at work in the morning at 930am. However, thanks to the storm named Lee, the temperature outside is absolutely delicious. The breeze stirs my wind chimes, and gently nips at my toes, promising that soon the heat will be gone for a season.

It's at times like this that I feel truly at peace. It's cool enough that the world snuggles down to slumber a bit deeper, but not so cold that the world has to fight to stay warm. When I inhale, I just feel clean. Clean air. Clean earth. Clean everything. Oh, it may not be all that clean, since I do live in the city, but this feeling reminds me of good times.

  • It reminds me of those nights in 2004, when I would sit in the backyard at my parents' house, listening to (personally) inspirational music, writing in a journal with a pen, using the full moon for light.

  • It reminds me of being at Festival of Souls last October, when the chill in the air was cutting, but being in that sacred space with so many like-minded people was just comforting. The one night I got to stay, I remember sneaking out of my cabin at 4am, and just quietly smoking while looking out at Piersol Lake itself. The whole campground was quiet, at least out by the cabins, and I could feel the joyful energy suffusing everything. Maybe that was just me, but that's how I felt.

  • It also reminds me of times I don't specifically recall. When I first began doing research into pagan traditions (Wicca mostly at first), it was around October of 2002, and every morning felt magical to me. I'd listen to Blackmore's Night or Loreena McKennitt and just connect with the world itself, unchained from the notion of "having a path" or "having religion." I was simply more aware of the world as a living entity than I ever had before, and I think that I formed my connection with the Earth then. Whether or not I've listened since, I believe that it was those crisp mornings when I came closest in my life to finding that spark of divinity that I so long to touch.
What I find most intriguing about this cooler time of year is that I am more inspired and more open than at any other time of year, almost as if Autumn was the season I should have been born in, rather than the middle of winter in January. I feel alive. I feel as if I have but to attempt something, and I will accomplish it.

Life has been hard for me. I've belabored the reasons in other posts. Life has also been good to me. I don't belabor those reasons enough. I may be overweight, but I have most of my health, and my weight isn't unmanageable. I may be alone, but I have people in my life who care enough about me to check in with me when I've been quiet too long. I may be poor, but I can provide for myself. I may be more timid than I like, but I can muster determination when it's truly necessary. I may work at a grocery store instead of in an office environment, but I've had my job for nearly 17 years, and I'm finally close to being able to make the step into department management. I may not have all the glory that I see others attain, but I also know that the humility I have serves me far better than the glory would. Autumn reminds me of these things.

I don't claim that the following poem is any good. It literally came to me while I was composing this post. Yet, I enjoyed writing it, so that's enough for me. I could tweak it to rhyme more, but it paints the picture I desire.

An Autumn Evening )

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