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.

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.

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.’ 😉

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.

Honest Rest

I’ve met a few dogs (and their owners) in recent days, and the same comment has come up each time.

Dogs cannot fake it. They are intrinsically truthful (even when trying to be sneaky). If they love you, they show it.

Today, I learned one of their lessons all over again. It was a day of Enforced Rest, after overdoing it working too hard lately.

Sometimes, you just have to stop. And as you live (work and play) with full focus, so it can be good to rest in the same way.

Until you’re ready to face the hard business of chasing, walks and playing again tomorrow.

🙂

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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)