Epiphany or Reminder?

Given my recent illness issues (read: crazy-deep depression and crippling anxiety), I’d been wondering (nervously) what would happen when it was time for me to step up and Do Public Work again.

Yesterday was my first Handfasting ceremony of the year. People. Promises. Questions. Stepping up to lead and hold.

There was no fear. Nerves, as always, and intention set. But the pit of dark remained firmly closed.

I pondered this on the journey there. How could I be so calm, so ready, even excited? It seemed amazing.

A slightly dry, amused voice inside simply said: ‘Because this is what you do.’

There isn’t really a word for it yet (and we do need one). Priesting, ministry, chaplaincy. Service. Vocation. To myself, my Gods, my loved ones, and those who come to me, asking.

I’m here, doing what I should be doing, because I can, because I truly want to. That simple truth is beyond reassuring. A bit of a revelation, of something I perhaps already knew. Now I’ve been reminded.

The Handfasting was beautiful. And my feet feel sturdier on the path today.

This circulating meme struck a similar chord as well today:

Transformation, evolution… progress.

Onward.

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This week has been difficult. I have written nothing, because I don’t want to remember the thoughts I’ve been having. But they were real.

Last week, Himself convinced me to buy a notebook. No big deal, I have many.

But this one is different.

This notebook is blank. Unlined. Bare pages. All waiting to be marked.

This book represents such a huge fear. Of making my mark and being wrong. Of mess, of failure, of ruining something that could have been more.

This is nonsense, of course. But like those awful thoughts that I’d rather forget, still real.

I want to mark these pages. I want to write, to draw, to sketch and scribble, with no judgement. I want those voices of illness to be drowned out by what I AM doing, rather than what I’m afraid to do.

My marks may be good or bad, but they will be mine. And true.

Battling onward. Still here.

Small Magics

(Cross-posted with The Catbox).

To paraphrase many notable occultists, Magic is the art of changing consciousness at will.

We all do this, all the time – but unconsciously. We let ourselves be influenced by outside forces, as our attention is moved from one thought to the next.

But when we take charge of our consciousness, with intentional and will-power, we can feel the change happen.

As I walk this path, I often say that Paganism is a constant practice (in the same way that we practice magic). We learn about ourselves and our connections with others, and create change with our thoughts, words and actions.

Today… perhaps a simple change, but to me, a profound one.

I felt myself beginning to slip, to spiral down into the depression. Quickly – time to take action.

Moving is the first step. Sometimes I don’t even get that far, which is why I usually have a book or a knitting project to hand.

Then Doing, something which brings me back to myself, usually through happiness, an activity I enjoy. Alter the negative feeling, grab onto something to stop the spiralling fall.

I distract myself with this, even though the anxiety-voices are telling me that I have things to do, I should be working! But no.

Right now, I’m spending this hour in an indulgent, sweet-smelling Bimble bath. I’m reading a book. I’m washing myself thoroughly, then using pleasant scented Lush oil afterwards. I wrap myself in a soft dressing-gown, and fuss the pups (who’re always glad I survived The Bath).

I can now feel mind and body relaxed. The tension has dissipated, the worried voices gone quiet. I was able to beat it (this time). It’s not always so simple, but I celebrate this victory.

Each win tells me that I can do it, and keep on doing it. Even on the worst days.

I’m now sharing this, cross-posting so that in these small words can themselves be a magic spell, to inspire in turn.

If you need it, feel my hand reaching out to you. We can get through it, dear ones.

Small magics, together.

Love Is…

Realized I forgot to post yesterday. This is due to Being Knackered after Saturday’s travelling and speaking adventures!

Today, I’m still so tired. Someone once questioned this, saying ‘You’re just standing there and talking, what’s tiring about that?’ I asked if they’d ever done it. They looked shocked, and replied (in a disgusted tone, as if I was stupid to even ask), ‘No!’

I often wonder what people see when they see me Doing My Thing. Does it look easy? If so, it didn’t always. Those who remember the early days can confirm this.

But honestly, I don’t know how I could not do this now.

I received a quiet message today, asking about a Handfasting. I’d love to help. Plans are being put together. All is good.

It’s for a poly (ie polyamorous) relationship.

I’ve had so many people nervously approach and ask if I mind performing their ceremony, given that it’s ‘a bit unusual.’ From relationship styles to locations, I’ve heard many ‘strange’ requests.

But they’re not strange, not really. They’re true for those involved. The ritual that they’re crafting must be honest, or why bother? It must reflect their relationship, what they love about each other. I’ve yet to have a ceremony without humour, for example, and that’d be quite shocking to some, no doubt!

Yes, I have performed poly Handfastings. Also all male, all female, and my first trans ceremony is being organised now.

Love is love. I hold the space for that. I help, however I can. I encourage, laugh along, listen to grievances and assist with problems where possible. I Priest.

The only time I Judge is when the relationship seems troubled – I cannot, in good conscience, wed those who are not ready (although one day, they may be).

I go away, consider, work and then step up to do my job. It may look easy, but under the robe, there’s feet stepping carefully so as to not fall, and inside my heart is the fervent prayer to do right in the moment.

I’m always honoured to do What I Do, and I will continue. Gladly. Inspiring and inspired.

And with a reserved rest day afterwards.

Blessings

Today, I was giving a talk at The Enchanted Market in Bracknell. My first talk of the year – and I was excited but also VERY nervous.

Fortunately, Himself was able to accompany me (and we were allowed to record the talk, so that’ll be going up on my YouTube channel soon).

As soon as I arrived, I was met with a warm welcome… and people just kept appearing with smiles and hugs!

I love meeting folks that I otherwise only see online. Nothing compares to Real World hugs and chat.

The talk room was almost full, and everyone seemed so happy.

And… I’m now home, and feeling so very blessed.

Today, I made £0.00. I was kindly given money for petrol; otherwise nothing.

But I received amazing gifts from people.

Hugs. Smiles. Kind words. Handmade gifts. Seeing my knitted creations worn by others. Hearing their stories. Faces lighting up…

I’m tired but so happy that I can do what I do. This is where the community support goes – and that support takes many wonderful forms. (Including kind words in the comments for this blog!)

Thankyou, dear friends. So much thanks.

BTW, I meant to take photos today, but was too busy. So here’s my travel knitting. 😂 Yarn by GamerCrafting.

Coincidence…

I’ve often said that I don’t really believe in coincidences any more. Here’s one example of why.

Today, while performing a Handfasting ritual, I called to the elements to set the space, as I always do. It was a sunny, calm day, but we were indoors due to the physical needs of those present.

Air made itself known by billowing the curtains on command (and cheekily blowing the skirt of my robe). Water likewise, by having the kitchen tap suddenly burst out some drips when called.

This may seem to be just my noticing because I was looking at that precise moment. Except that something like this happens at every single ritual I’ve ever done.

From rainbows appearing when the couple say their vows, to storms waiting until we’re done before letting rip (more than once).

And that’s before I even mention what happens when I call on ancestors or Gods by name.

Many years of such occurrences have taught me to keep both an open mind and open eyes. You call with true intent… you will get an answer.

Something to bear in mind next time you say ‘Oh Gods, help.’ 😉

What Do You Do?

Today, I was in my little office. Some admin was done, a bit of cleaning, and then meeting a student to chat about Stuff.

One of the questions that was asked – and which is often asked of me – is what a Druid Priest actually does. And every time, I have to pause and think.

There wasn’t a moment when I suddenly looked around and realized ‘Wow, I’m a Priest!’ Rather, it was a process of doing the work and being called by that title, until I had to face up to the fact that I was Doing It.

I’ve written about it before in other places, and no doubt will do so again. But today, it got me thinking in a new way.

Yes, Priest-ing is looking after, guiding or otherwise holding space for folk. When working, I do that.

But as time has passed, and my health has created interesting new speed-bumps to life, I’m having to Priest to myself as well.

I’m very easily tired. I give my all, and it wears me out. I’m not going to stop doing that, by the way, so don’t ask! I willingly do what’s needed, saving some energy to get myself safely home, and then setting aside time to rest. But it’s the question of how best to recharge that’s been in my mind lately.

Doing things that I enjoy helps, certainly. Sometimes, distractions that make me laugh, such as comedy movies or television. Knitting, with its repetitive but focused creativity. Books – absolutely. If the right one can be found, total engagement as I let myself sink into that particular world for a while.

But I think more is needed now, otherwise I’m finding myself wiped out for longer each time. So perhaps ritualised ‘wind-down’ is needed more than ever – something I’ve tried before, but found difficult to get into the habit of.

I’ll no doubt explore this and natter about it as I move forward. But for today, the inspiration from another led me back to myself. Unusual, but needed, I think.

Holding the space to stop doing, and simply ponder…