Voices

Today… inspiration, but also gratitude. I am thankful and deeply touched by the voices of those who read my words.

Creative folk will know how hard it can be to expose your work to the world. I’m often nervous about doing so, but take a deep breath and press the button to Save or Publish, before the doubt gets overwhelming.

The words I’ve received in return have been so wonderful.

Today was a hard day. I fought, but was unable to stop a watery meltdown this morning. This was fixed by Himself being fantastic (as always), but also by the ‘ping’ of comments arriving from my blog posts. And an unexpected gift from one very special lady. 

The Universe hears us, of this I am sure. Too many times, far beyond coincidence, the perfect thing has appeared, precisely when needed. This actually set me off again, tearing up – but now in happiness, overwhelmed with awe at the generosity and love stretching across the internet. 

I do what I do because my words find connection. I speak my truth, because to do any less would dishonour you, the reader or listener. Please know that I am so very thankful for you all.

The flame of my inspiration is rising. The breath of many keeps it alive xxx

Restart

Today. Temperatures in the minus, Himself on night shifts so I’m not sure what day it is, only that it’s daytime… but things are moving. Restarting life after too long a pause, it feels like. But I have my touchstone of my homeland to keep me grounded.

Every day, without fail, I must walk the dogs. Gearing up to it can feel like a chore, but once we’re outside, their joy buoys me up as we explore what’s changed on the hill since we were last out.

Last night, we had flurries of snow. Today, thick fog. Not cloying, but like a gentle blanket draped across us. Everything is tipped with white from the frost. A spiderweb on a postbox is jewel-like. My neighbour has already placed bread out for the sparrows and blackbirds.

No matter what chaos is going on in the world, my hilltop is my home. Always discovering more about it, feeling with all my senses (including mud up past my ankles on occasion!), and now ready to face the day.

Restarting this blog is the first step in Doing. Moving forward xx

misty-fields

Seeking the Sacred

Today:

I can’t do this. I can’t. It’s too much. Better to just hide, to let it pass. I’ll feel better eventually.

No.

The voices come, tapping at my mind. No – that’s not right. Not voices, exactly, but knowing, thoughts, feelings. My subconscious is kicking me to move, to do, to get on. You have an idea. Get on with it, or it’ll be gone, and you’ll feel even worse.

I think back, to this morning. A story told to me by a beautiful priestess, of her own work with her Goddess, her commitment and bravery. I remember her smile, so very bright, and the hard work she puts in to her community.

This is spirituality. This is work, but it’s not – it’s just doing, being. A compulsion, drive, vocation. Making manifest what’s inside us.

I think back again, to the stories I’ve heard in the last week. Of doubts and accomplishments, madness and survival. The impossible but true. The voices of old friends and total strangers. Somehow, they know I’ll listen without judgement, and I do.

But where’s my voice? What am I doing with all of this? The current of inspiration is entering me, but then stalling, not flowing on. The connection needs to be reforged.

I call to those who listen to me. Random words – a prayer, a spell? Or just talking? Does it matter? I speak, and they hear.

I feel my stomach unclench, muscles loosen that I hadn’t realized were tense. My heart lifts a little. I reach out and fuss my puppy-dogs, who’ve been guarding me. One is curled up on my feet as I write this – one of his human companions, his safe place. Simple connection.

I remember what it feels like – the feeling of Self which that black fog blocks. I think of brief images from social media, as if friends have been rapping on my mind as well: wake UP, dammit! And myths of darkness, heading deep within to find what’s there – not evil or destruction (well, not quite) but treasure. A quest is pointless is there’s no challenge to battle through, with goal ahead and journey to learn from.

I love synchronicity. The map we have to remind ourselves to consult from time to time.

I remember love and laughter, joy in simple things. So easy to lose sometimes, but then easy to recall as well, if you know how and what you’re aiming for.

Yesterday, I was explaining to a random Interested Person about the sacred in the world around. He kind of understood, but the words weren’t sufficient – arm-waving was needed, and foot-stamping, and a lot of metaphor and random noises. We got there. Common ground.

And I was speaking to someone online who wasn’t really listening, caught up in their own concerns. Sadly, I had to step away. But I’m still here, and they know that.

I’ve been gifted two candles this month: one crafted, one foraged. They will light the way, as all of these people (and more) are inspiring me with their tales, bringing me back to what’s important.

The old tale of the Druid teacher is that they stand at the edge of the Forest of the Unknown, waiting as guide. Sometimes they point the way and let you step forward; sometimes they kick your arse to get on with it! Even Merlin went mad among those trees, but that wasn’t the end.

This is only the first step of this particular side-road. I can feel change in the air as my homeland turns into Autumn (my favourite season), and know it’s time to move. I’m not sure where I’ll end up, but the Fool’s journey has to begin.

 

I’ve often been asked about my writing process. It’s something like this. I would apologise for its randomness, but I feel it has to come out this way today – so here it is.

For an explanation of precisely what I’m doing, visit my main Druidry blog, The Catbox.

We step onto the winding road and head into the unknown…

Reaching

I call to the wind
Feel its touch on my face
And its breath through the leaves
As is mine.

I call to the sun
Feel the heat in my fingers
Life running through
Inside and out.

I call to the rain
Touch the full clouds above
Taste the damp in the air
And beneath my bare feet.

I call to the earth
Questing down, rooting deep
And unable to find words…
So I stand.

I reach, all around
Heart to soul, spirit to spirit
So different and yet
Connected.

I see people stare.
They want to feel as I do.

And you know what?
You can.

Lessons in Story

It’s been a busy few months. I anticipated pauses in this blog, but the lapse shows how frenetic things have been (or how my own tiredness). But doing my best to resume with quality writing, rather than just a concession to mark a day…

Yesterday was Pagan Pride in Nottingham. The fifth year, and I’ve attended every one. So many people (always more each time), varied opinions as much as outfits, ideas and reasons for coming along.

The talk I gave was about Priesthood, but in the course of it, one small idea stuck with me. It’s still there now, and so it is being caught in a WordPress net, to share – as seems appropriate.

We all tell our stories. We live them, every day, uncertain of what will come next, but having to face the adventures as they arrive in front of us. Good or bad, and often without any sense of overarching plot or control. But these are our stories, and none are as valid or invalid as any other.

Yesterday, I spoke with so many people, listening to their stories and giving a little of my own. Today, I’m exhausted – all that energy deployed in that rush of hours and chatter, shared hugs and space.

I force myself to work, though. I have to, or I find myself dragged down with the sense of ‘should be doing something!’ So I’m picking up review books that I’ve been asked to write about.

Today’s offering has gripped me and pulled me into its world. The review will come in full, but suffice to say it’s an anthology of fiction, short stories of such breathtaking originality that every one makes me rather wish they were longer (even though that might well spoil the effect).

Stephen King said that a novel is a relationship – a short story is like a kiss. Both intimate, but in different ways. Each story I hear from people feels similar, as they open themselves just a crack to show me secrets, thoughts, anecdotes… and so I listen. I may review these in my head, but I try not to judge.

The good stories stay with us. Every one has a lesson, and not necessarily the one you might think (even a bad tale reminds us not to do things that way again!). If we pause to consider, to listen and review, we learn. That relationship touches us, just for a moment… and there lies its value.

People in front of us or via computer screen, voices from the pages of the past or across continents. Me, now. What stories do you hear today, and which do you hold on to moving forward? And what stories do you tell?

Giving

Sometimes, people can be hard work. I love to spend time with others, but due to the nature and variety of People, there’ll be those who have alternate/opposing views, those whose understanding is very different to your own, and those with different ideas about what’s acceptable.

Broad terms, obviously. Sometimes, people can be frustrating, belligerent and stupid. Or just too ‘in your face’.

I’ve noticed this more since my books came out. People know me, but I don’t know them. They approach me to chat, which is wonderful, and I love it, as that’s where new friends are made. But sometimes, it can be rather overwhelming.

More often lately, I’ve felt the need to retreat, either to my own space or with those who know me well and provide company without demands. But too much of that can be unhelpful as well – the world seems even stranger when only viewed through the lense of the Internet.

Today, I worked hard. Lots of writing, making things, and generally Sorting Stuff Out. As I went, I realized – it was all for others. Everything I was doing for intentionally for a specific person. Which felt rather wonderful. I do my best, hoping that they’ll like it. It raises the bar.

And then the postlady arrived with a mysterious package. From one of my students – a beautiful image of a guardian that she’s spoken of often, drawn so evocatively that I was awed and deeply touched.

I think many creative people devalue their own work because they’re so close to it – there’s nothing special about something when you’ve spent hours swearing to make it just so (although the opposite is clearly true, artistic perspective can be warped and crazy).

But I came to a total full stop today, just gazing at this picture and feeling that connection with the lady who created it… words of thanks just aren’t enough. The work is unique and beautiful, because of the meaning behind it as well as the subject, the effort that’s gone into it, the intention and heart.

This is why I work. Not for the Stuff, or the thanks (although those are lovely!). For the relationship, the appreciation of what I’m doing and return of similar – the sharing of creative magic. My little community gives as well as takes. Overwhelming maybe – but generally with goodness, on a true and heartfelt level. That can be hard to grasp in this cynical world.

When those moments of connection come, I do try to hold on to them. I’m so glad that I have such good friends, that we work together to inspire each other. Know that you are honoured, truly.

I look forward to seeing what the Awen brings next, from within and without.

Bibliomancy

Sometimes, what is needed throws itself at you.

After writing about my proposed ‘book diet’ yesterday, my mind was clearly pondering the idea as I looked about the multitude of titles on offer in my own home. Exciting prospects, all.

As I prepared for bed, one title in particular caught my eye, almost falling off the shelf, shouting ‘Me, Me, Me!’

So this morning, I took it down and opened it up. And was caught.

‘Too often our lives automatically get channelled into narrow, secure patterns, set into deadline routines. Some of us want out…

To do this, we have to live on the edge, between the lines, somewhere between matter and spirit, masculine and feminine, darkness and light, leader and follower, stillness and motion. We venture like tightrope-walkers over the abyss of the unknown. I like it on the edge. I take others with me. This is my work.’

(From ‘Maps to Ecstasy’ by Gabrielle Roth)

Stephen King said that if a long novel is an love affair, a short story is like a kiss. An autobiographical tale is an invitation to an intimate relationship, sharing secrets and seeing parallels between your own experience and that of another person. The words contain memories, experiences and ideas, and can inspire the same in the reader with that shared truth.

I love to hear the voices of others telling their tales. I walk with them on our brief journeys between the pages. And in the case of this tremendously creative lady, I dance with her, along the edge. Her voice speaks to me precisely at the time it is needed; I am both glad and grateful.

I read on.