Words

I found this on my bookshelf yesterday.

Bought last year for 50p from a second-hand book-swap shop in West Sussex. Published in Germany almost 100 years ago. This edition printed in an office literally around the corner from where I worked as we entered this new century.

Its readers may have changed considerably during that time, but the journey these words have made is as fascinating to me as what they have to say.

What words inspire you today, lovelies? In their existence as well as their voices.

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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.

Why

I’m not often asked why I do what I do. The more common reaction is appreciation, enthusiasm and curiosity – and then a deluge of questions!

It can be hard work. Some days, I am just worn out and no use to anyone. It can feel thankless.

Then, on days like today, I’m reminded all over again, simply Why.

Invitations to perform Handfastings and Renewal ceremonies. And Funerals. Life-changing moments.

In-depth discussions of the work being undertaken to have Pagan voices recognised by Government. Including the constant striving for legalisation for the aforementioned ceremonies. Lasting change.

Encouraging creativity, seeking inspiration, keeping the tales of this land alive.

Discussing Druidry as it is lived, every day. If I’m being listened to, I’m encouraging others to explore with me.

Hugs and thanks from random strangers who’ve read my words.

And then finally, being unexpectedly moved almost to tears by ‘The Battle for Stonehenge’ documentary (here). Hearing the voices of others with shared belief.

I am just one character in this tale, narrator and player. But I do my best to make what I do count, by its truth. Word by word, step by step. Constant challenge, often battling, moving forward.

Inspiration.

Brimming Over with Wrongability

Like everyone, I’ve been told throughout my life when I’ve been at fault, whether it be by family members, teachers or friends. Nothing wrong with that – it’s how we learn, after all.

Except… for those times when your secret self cannot possibly believe it. Even if you can see why the other would call your thoughts, words or actions ‘wrong’, the determination rises to prove yourself right. Sometimes this is a battle. There can be casualties.

I’ve been seeing evidence of this in various places lately, contemplating the balance that is needed but often thrown askew by limited perspective or information. Notably in the rhetoric of politicians versus the op-eds of the Press, and the sound-bites of social media. Those who don’t want to see the full picture, because it would clash with their agenda – far easier to call ‘true/false’.

But it’s the voices of the artists that resonate most strongly with me. Those with fire in their heads, often called mental illness; I recall hearing once that the poor man is mad, while the rich merely eccentric. I may be somewhere in the middle, myself.

My fire isn’t stoked by madness – the black dog drags me away from the creative flame. But then from that darkness comes the determination once again, to strive forward and prove myself. I might not be ‘right’ (I’ll be the first to admit that!), but I want to explore the journey, the reasoning, the full story in each of its’ multitudinous hues. By burning your hand, you learn not to touch… but you learned this yourself, through truly feeling, experiencing, knowing that truth.

I’m not advocating attempts to fly by jumping off a roof to see if you can. As the late, great Bill Hicks said, ‘Start from the ground!’ But do start… and keep striving on. Because if we don’t, if all we do is believe the voices of others, then we surely lose our own.

‘Some day I must make a list of the reasons for which I have been thought mad and by whom: it would make such an amusing medley.’
(Explorer Dame Freya Stark, writing in 1930. From ‘Passionate Nomad’, by Jane Fletcher Geniesse)

‘The contrariness that others saw was really just the persistence of longings too important to let go of: images in his head kept alive by a fierce imagination that overruled an increasingly contrary world.’
(From ‘Van Gogh: The Life’, by Steven Naifeh & Gregory White Smith)

Riding the Winds

One of the trees in our garden is just the slightest bit green-tinted at the moment. I know that one day soon, I’ll look outside to see those little buds have all sprouted at once (or so it seems), and the green mantle will be dancing in the breeze, singing the song of the winds.

But today, there was no buffer. Branches swayed and pitched, still exposed from winter – and I could clearly see the thick nest left there by last year’s visiting birds.

Built when the leaves were dense (possibly to hide from Harry the cat), the nest was abandoned in Autumn and is still vacant. I watched as those winds threw its’ foundations every which way.

The nest did not move one inch. Constructed so well from such tiny pieces of matter, it moved with the branches while staying upright and intact. The tree might be blown hard, but the structure remained. Should any of the local flocks notice and return, their chicks would be perfectly safe there.

Later on, as I drove into town, more evidence of that avian strength and wisdom. A beautiful buzzard hanging low over the busy road, apparently waiting for me to pass before swooping onwards and upwards again. He rode the waves of the sky in simple play, with occasional curiosity as to what was going on beneath, but entirely in his element.

The winds may buffet us, we may try to protect ourselves, but sometimes it just takes the observation of what goes on naturally to realize: the most important thing is to ride the waves, in the manner that suits us best.