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I am on the cusp of a new beginning.

New beginnings are terrifying. And liberating. And challenging. And not without a degree of nostalgia and loss. Things have to end in order for other things to begin.

Circle of life, and all that stuff.

My house is almost completely packed up. Our bed is on the floor, without a frame. We sold the bedroom set a few weeks back — in part because we’d grown tired of it, but also for the cash. Sleeping on the floor has been a strange, college-like experience. I feel like I’m in my early 20’s again. That is… until I see someone in their early 20’s. They all have so much hair.

My blog has been still and silent for over a month. It’s the longest hiatus I’ve ever taken from blogging since I started this project in December of 2010. (See the archives for proof.) I haven’t really known what to blog about, for one. But even more than that, I’ve been aware of the fact that what I needed most was not documentation of my life, but rather a fuller engagement with my life. Blogging, or any kind of self-reflective, memoir-esque style of writing, when done with extreme regularity, can begin to transform one’s perception of their life. Instead of it being the thing that you are doing it becomes the thing that you might be able to write about.

Life is more than just content.

So I stepped back. No need for a big announcement. The blog wasn’t expiring, nor did I have any real sense of when it would pick up again. I’m not even sure it’s picking up right now, to be honest. But the time away was necessary considering the transitions that were on the horizon.

In two days I will say goodbye to Denver, to all the people who I love, and I will drive across country with my husband, our three dogs, and our truckload of stuff. We’ll arrive in Portland on Monday and then something new will begin.

And I have no idea what that will look like.

natura_pagana - Le Mat

Image by Diego da Silva

When we first started talking about moving to Portland, I had this vision of finding other like-minded Druids and starting up an ADF grove. Oregon seems like a good breeding ground for Druids, and I romanticized the idea of fostering a small community once I arrived. This could still happen, although it won’t be with ADF. I couldn’t say which group it would be affiliated with, as I haven’t been inclined to pursue membership anywhere else just yet. I’m still very, very much a solitary.

A solitary without a regular practice, at that.

So it’s interesting to imagine what this blog could become in the coming months. How, without any religious structure or form, will I continue to reflect on or engage in a spiritual life? Have I been that dependent on belonging to a group in the past that I cannot write and reflect without one?

I don’t think so, but I don’t know.

That’s the thing about new beginnings. The are necessarily shrouded. They are not transparent. There is mystery inexorably woven into every aspect of them. We don’t know where we’ll get our food, walk our dogs, build community. We don’t know how the weather will feel, how the land will look as the seasons change, or how we will be embraced by the people of Portland. We have no clear sense of what the future will bring.

But I think that those are the conditions which make possible some real magic.

So maybe when we get to Portland I’ll start blogging with more regularity. Maybe I’ll write about what it feels like to live around so much lush greenery. Maybe I’ll write about what it’s like to live so close to a river, or in a place that’s not dry as a bone. Maybe I’ll stumble upon some little metaphysical shop and spark up a conversation that leads to a post, or I’ll meet a Witch or a Druid or a Unitarian that I’d only known on Facebook, and maybe that interaction will shed light on something that has, unbeknownst to me, been hidden. Maybe I’ll discover a spiritual practice again. Maybe I’ll find the room to try something new, or better yet, to try something old, something forgotten, underutilized, or neglected. Maybe there will be more new beginnings than I know what to do with, and I’ll have to write about all of them.

Or maybe I’ll do something altogether different.

I don’t know.

This time away from blogging has reminded me that you have to live a meaningful life first, and then write about it. You can’t write your way into happiness, or understanding, or peace, or even wisdom. You — or, more specifically, I — cannot just parse out life within the pixels. I have to get a little dirty. I need to spend some actual time being embodied.

Writing is not a substitute for living. Writing is simply a reaction to living.

 

A few added notes:

• Check out the upcoming edition of Witches & Pagans with Your’s truly on the cover and pre-order your copy here. T. Thorn Coyle asks some insightful questions, and the conversation that ensued went to places I hadn’t expected it to go.

• The good people at Belham Apothecary (aka Horn of Hern Home Arts) sent me a delightful little gift basket of incenses, soaps, perfume blends and ritual items. The owners of the shop are a delightful young couple from Georgia, and I’d highly recommend paying their Etsy shop a visit.

• In case you missed it here is my writeup of the Sacred Harvest Festival on The Wild Hunt. I have a feeling I may do more reflecting on this experience once we get settled into our new home.

• Lastly, if you’re an Oregonian and we haven’t already met on Facebook or Twitter, please say “hello” in the comments. We don’t know many people in town, and it would be great to feel like we aren’t complete strangers when we arrive.

Photo and sketch by Mike Rohde (CC)Dear Portland,

I’m moving to you in August.

My husband and I are packing up all of our things, loading up our three dogs in the car, and driving for two days across Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, a bit of Idaho, and a good stretch of eastern Oregon to get to you.

Neither of us have lived in you before. Sean’s visited more than I have, but every time I’ve been I’ve really loved you.

Part of me thinks you’re kind of a pagan who doesn’t really identify as Pagan. You don’t like labels. But you compost, and your people seem more aware of their impact on the natural world. It’s not like you’re one big coven or something, but you do have a lot of trees. You’re kind of one gigantic grove.

That sounds lovely to me.

Moving to you during this time when I’m without a defined religious identity feels like it may be a portent of some new Way on the horizon. My husband reminds me, though, that this change I’m feeling is really about me, and what’s going on inside of me.

You’re just a coincidence.

But you seem like more than that sometimes. You seem like the promise of something better; the hope of a greener, more contemplative practice. You seem like fertile soil for the kind of religious life I feel drawn to.

I’m sorry if that’s putting a lot of pressure on you. It may be unfair of me. I don’t want to create unrealistic expectations of you. You’re a city, after all. You don’t really owe me anything, and nobody asked me to move to you. We’re moving, in part, because a number of changes are lining up to make this feel like the exact right moment to leave Colorado.

For one, our kid is starting college. He doesn’t really need us the way that he did before. We’ve been prepping him for a while about wanting to leave Colorado one day, and he’s even though about moving to Oregon after he has a few years of school under his belt. He’s still got his mom here, and we’ve promised to be back for some holidays and to fly him out for other ones. We think he’ll be ok without us.

We’ve also been offered a really terrific living situation once we arrive. Our friends are moving eastward, and they’re letting us rent their house. We won’t be paying any more to live there than we are to live here. All we’ve got to do is come up with the money for the moving expenses, and I think we can cover that.

More than anything, we just really want to be in Oregon. There’s been a pull toward that state for years, and neither of us has been able to understand why.

I guess I’m telling you all of this, Portland, because I’m trying to make sense of what this move means. I’m looking around at all of my things, all of them representing some period of my life — my Christianity, my Druidry, my time with ADF and the Fellowship — and I’m considering what it means to pack all of that up and move it to you. I don’t know which of these things are still important to me, or which I will have no use for once I’m there. I don’t know if I should get rid of everything and start from scratch, or if I should cherry-pick the things that seem worth taking.

[The fact that my stuff is such a concern to me is something worth noting, perhaps something worth it’s own post.]

I have 6 weeks to prepare myself to be in you and I don’t really know how to start.

So, I’ll begin with this letter. A one-way correspondence. You won’t read it — and that’s ok — but writing it helps me start to process through all of this.

Your future resident,

Teo

P.S. Did you know that John Michael Greer lives used to live only about 4 hours south of you? I love his beard. Maybe I’ll grow a beard like that once I arrive. Maybe I’ll start looking into AODA, too.

 

This morning we slept in until 7:30. That may not seem incredibly early to some (it isn’t all that early for my husband and I), but it’s a vacation compared to the day of surgery and the first day of recovery.

We woke to discover that my kid was experiencing some sharp pain, a common experience after top surgery. My husband and my kid’s mom stepped into action, assessing where the pain was and how it rated on a scale from 1 to 10. They administered a bit more pain medication, and then called the hospital to speak with a nurse.

Meanwhile, I started to feel myself getting tense.

I came into the living room of our extended-stay hotel room, where my husband and I sleep (pullout beds are an assault to one’s back, so we’ve resorted to pulling the 4 inch mattress onto the floor). I sat on the couch and thought of my shrine. I miss my home, more so even than on normal business trips. I miss the accessories of my daily practice, the smell of my incense, and the sanctity of my space.

I clutched the small pouch I wear around my neck. Inside is a piece of wood which was collected at the place where Isaac Bonewits’s ashes were spread, a gift to me from a big-hearted ADF Druid. On the outside is Brighid’s cross.

I held this little pouch and thought about my patron and about Isaac, and I prayed. I prayed that my kid would be spared the pain, that the Goddess would be near, and that She would provide a sense of peace. I didn’t have much time to pray, or to do any sort of elaborate ritual, but neither were necessary.

You can open the heart with just a few simple words.

Why a daily practice matters

It becomes clear in moments of great stress why a consistent daily practice is so important.

When I’m home, I do ritual every morning. My ritual, as I’ve written about before, is built around an ADF liturgy. There are short forms of this liturgy and very long forms. But the length or structure of one’s personal liturgy isn’t as important (in my opinion) as is the ease with which that the liturgy can become internalized.

My daily practice has carved a groove deep into my consciousness. It has created an awareness of the presence of the Kindred — the Divine as I recognize Them — that I can call upon in a moment’s notice. I may not engage in the same sort of ritual working, but I can connect with Them nonetheless.

And that is why a daily practice matters.

Allowing my practice to be rooted in liturgical language is useful to me because it provides me with phrases that can be memorized and called upon when needed. My liturgical phrases are cues for the heart to soften, for the mind to quicken, or for the body to release whatever tension it’s been holding.

For example, when I light Brighid’s candle at home I say or speak internally these words:

“From land to land, from hand to hand, from flame to flame.”

This reminds me that the fire in my little Zippo lighter was given to be from a Druid who visited Kildare, and who brought back with her the flame of the Goddess. Using those words gives me a sense of connection to both my tradition and to a sacred place.

When I extinguish the flame I say,

“The fire of Brighid is the flame in my heart.”

This reminds me that, although the external fire may go out, the internal fire remains.

By speaking these words daily, I’m able to create a deep, meaningful practice. Then, when I’m sitting in some drab room in a corporate hotel, I can recall those words, say them under my breath or in my mind, and remember that feeling of reverence and sanctity.

It helps.

The Fire Burns On

After a few phone calls, we learned that the pain is normal, and that there’s nothing to worry about. The morning went on as planned, with the kid reclining in bed and the rest of us trying to keep on top of our other responsibilities.

But there was a fire burning in my heart again. All it took was a few words to remind me of that.

Do you have simple phrases that connect you to a regular practice? Is your tradition liturgical, or do you incorporate some kind of steady ritual language or form into your daily practice?

What words come to you in moments of worry?

[After you’ve posted your comment, be sure to check out the new feature on Bishop In The GroveLetters!]

Trans knotwork on Zazzle

Inspired by a comment posted on Trans Is A Teacher For All Of Us, I posted the following status update to Facebook:

“I wonder how my Wiccan friends might respond to the idea that the Lord and Lady gave us our form, or that a trans person transitioning is the greatest insult to them.”

The feedback I received to this one status update was proof to me that we need more discussion about gender essentialism in Pagan communities.

[Full disclosure: I’m not a Wiccan, nor am I a believer in deities who, in any literal sense, gave us form. I’m also the parent of an amazing trans kid who just underwent top surgery, so I’m biased.]

Below are some of the responses to my status updates. I’ve left people’s names off of this post to keep the emphasis on the ideas.

“I am not Wiccan, but I find it incredible hubris to think that we could decide what is the “greatest insult” to any deities. How does that person know what the wyrd of a trans person is?”

“The presence of a hard and fast gender binary in Wicca was kind of a turn off for me. In the Radical Faeries in DC we expanded this concept into recognizing God-Forms as Male, Female, Both, and Neither. When theology fails you, change your theology.” (emphasis mine)

“As a Wiccan, I find that idea very belittling.

We have a way of working in Wicca that makes a heterofocal use of sex differences. And personally, I love it – connecting with the way male-female pairings are how the natural processes that give us people (including trans people, gay people, straight people with no interest in ever reproducing, and so on) and food (again, eaten by the lot of us) is a very powerful thing to me.

But to take that way of working, and turn it into a single minded view on sex, gender, sexual orientation, and/or sexual expression I don’t just find bullshit in itself for its quite obvious disconnect with reality, but also an insult to that fertility focus that I love in its implication that others of us who find spiritual expression in focusing on it share their inability to see beyond it. The wonder of fertility is in the fact that we *can* see beyond it – that it leads to things beyond itself. Otherwise it would just be an interesting machine.”

“Personally, I think a trans person making the physical transition is taking the path they were meant for. Each soul has its own journey of discovery and growth, and trans people have a harder road than some other people. They should be nurtured, welcomed, and accepted for who they are. I may not understand the trans person journey, but that isn’t required for me to be supportive and caring, one human being to another.”

“Trans is the manifestation of analog gender. It’s produced by nature. I wonder how animals manifest it, for it must occur in them. And as below, so above.”

“This is what I love & honor so much about trans & two-spirit nature. They destabilize so many fixed notions. They make everything more complex & interesting. Fundamentalists of all stripes are forced to gracefully bend or clumsily break.”
“When my spouse of ten years came out to my as transgendered, I stayed. The small community where we live views us a different, some of the people most offended by the transition now are great supporters. If nothing else Andrea has shown people that we are all the same deep down just in different wrappers. I’m pagan, she is working on her own spirituality.”
“Any theology that doesn’t take the realities of both biology and human social structure/culture into account is just superstitious nonsense. Saying that any deities “made” us a certain way and have some sort of “plan” for what we’re supposed to do with our lives is just nuts and might as well be fundamentailist *xian* thinking re-packaged into a dualistic concept of deity. Harumph and phooey.”
“My theology is that of co-creation with the Gods, not submission to their will. If I were to embark on that kind of change, I would consider it a dance of co-creation with the Gods, not a defiance of them.”

“Many of us pagans converted from religions in which the godform(s) were authoritative rule-givers and have a hard time giving up that paradigm. Personally, I don’t have much truck with deities who demand obedience or subservience to their will; if that’s what I wanted, I’d have stayed with the religion of my birth.”

There is a lot to sort through here, and admittedly I don’t have the space or perspective to work through it right now. But, that doesn’t mean the conversation can’t continue!

Please share your thoughts about gender essentialism, its connection to Pagan traditions, and how you think it needs to be embraced, adjusted, or rejected altogether.

Then, after you’ve updated your feed, show your love of this newly independent blog by sharing this post on the social network of your choice!

(P.S. Thank you to everyone who sent love and prayers to me and my family. We really appreciate it.)

It snowed last night. First of the season. There wasn’t quite enough to break the branches like last year, but it was enough to remind us that the season of fall, as much as I’d prefer it last forever, is simply a transition. What we’re witnessing in the seasonal display of colors is the letting go of something we’ve grown accustomed to.

Transitions, periods when something is neither one thing nor the other, boggle the mind. It would be so much simpler if the world was binary, which I think is why so many people continue to hustle that fallacy. Convince the world that things are either/or, and you can eliminate the need to deal with the grey-area transition periods, some of which can last for weeks, months, lifetimes even.

My kid has been engaged with transition for a while now.

It began with pronouns. She preferred he, and so we began to give that a go. It can be harder than you might think. I’d slip sometimes, especially in private, because I’ve grown accustomed to having a stepdaughter for seven years. I’ve gotten used to thinking of her in a number of ways, and adjusting those perceptions takes time.

Then, there was the period when, with the aid of some ace bandages, the chest of a she looked much more like the chest of a he. This made him incredibly happy, and he seemed to come out of his shell even more when presenting as a boy.

I saw him with binded chest and I remembered being seventeen, sneaking out of the house in a mini-skirt, a baby-doll shirt and motorcycle boots, with full makeup. I kept my sideburns, though. It wasn’t show-girl drag, it was gender-play.

Playing with gender felt so natural to me, and so liberating. Rather than perform masculinity in the way that I’d struggled to do for most of my young life, I gave myself permission to be something in-between.

It would be unfair of me to lacquer my memories and understandings onto my kid, thinking that what was, for me, a period of radical exploration and expression, must be the same for him. It might have similarities, but it is certainly different.

My kid is trans.

In a few weeks, the transition speeds up for him, becoming more physical. Binding will no longer be necessary, and presenting as a boy will begin to be much easier for him. Interestingly, his transition will become — in a way — fixed. His state of in-between becomes more permanent, more an extension of who he his.

For keeps.

I’m scared for him, and I still can’t completely location the reason for my fear. Perhaps it’s that transition is inherently scary, or maybe having grown up an other in this society I understand how challenging that role can be, in practical terms. To be gay has become much more fashionable, but to be trans is still very difficult. Even the people on the fringes want things to be black and white.

We want our gays and straights, our Gods and a Goddesses, our men and women, our clear, unbreakable lines between what is masculine and what is feminine. We want everything to be simple, and explainable, and assignable to whatever categories we’ve become most comfortable with. Those among us who resist the categorization, who not only accept transition but embrace it, force the rest of us to take a hard look at our assumptions. About everything.

Transition is inevitable. It just happens. The winter comes whether you’d like it to or not, so you might as well search out the beauty in the snow. Ours is not to force nature into being what we would like it to be, and neither is it mine to tell my trans kid that he really would make all of our lives easier if he could just keep being a girl.

It doesn’t work that way.

I like to think of trans people as agents of transition and transformation. They call on all of us to acknowledge that what we assume about the world is not always the case, and what we believe is fixed about humanity is often quite fluid.

To embrace trans is to embrace a truth about the world.

That’s how special my kid is.

We’re searching for new beginnings, my friend and I.

Yesterday, we took to driving along open roads, through fields turned yellow from the heat, with music playing loud enough to drown out all else, and we let the sound paint a picture of how much we’d changed.

A year ago, my friend and I let go of summer.

For me, the transition to autumn was swift and certain, and I gave myself no time to mourn the loss of light. For him, it was different. The slow draining of color from the maple leaves allowed for a deep, lasting sorrow to set in. And when the winter came, it stayed. There was little in the way of spring blossoms, and the summer heat has only felt oppressive.

The cold persists in defiance of the sun.

I’ve encouraged my friend, as I find I’m doing with many people these days, to try and root himself in a daily practice. When we get stuck in a season, and we feel unable to be fully present, I advocate that we make some new ritual to place us firmly in the season of the moment. It needn’t be complicated, only sincere.

For me, my personal practice is influenced by a variety of sources, some of which are quite complicated. I was born and bred an Episcopalian, and as such, my individual religiosity tends to be more structured and formal. I favor liturgy over improvisation (that is, unless I’m singing), and my daily rituals, when spoken aloud, are delivered in a tone that would be familiar to many an Anglican. But it doesn’t have to be that way for my friend, or for anyone who is searching for a method to feel present and connected again.

If I were to proselytize anything, it would be for everyone to develop their own personal religion; to make their heart into a hearth for lighting their own, distinct, sacred fire. How this is done is not of great importance to me, so long as it is done with intention, and done regularly enough to create a deep and lasting groove in your consciousness.

Ice on Fire, by Eugenijus Radlinskas

For me, I need to turn my little room into a sanctuary. I need to light my incense, prepare my offerings, speak with reverence and clarity to the gods in my heart, to all that is seen and unseen. I need the drama, because that’s a part of who I am.

For you, it could be as simple as standing in the morning sun, eyes open or eyes closed, and placing your awareness on your center, or your edges, or the feeling of the dirt, the tile, the carpet underneath your feet.

Whatever method feels right for you, the important thing is that the fire in your heart remain lit, and that you honor that fire regularly. As I wrote on Imbolc earlier this yearI keep vigil to the fire in my heart, for the fire is a birthright, an inheritance, and the fire will keep me warm as the summer turns to fall, and the fall to winter. The fire will sustain me through the cold, and prepare me once again for the return of the sun. I light this fire, and I experience a new beginning.

This is what I want for my friend, and this is what I want for you, as well.

So I ask you, my insightful readers:

If you were me, and you found yourself in dialogue with a friend or family member who felt disconnected from the fire in their heart — their feeling of passion, their sense of purpose, and their connection to divinity – how would you advise them to get reconnected? What words or rituals might you share in order to help someone discover that fire again? Is there is a part of your personal practice that would be helpful?

How would you help get someone unstuck from their perpetual winter?

A friend messaged me this morning to tell me she’d been fired. The news was unexpected, as it often is, and she was understandably torn up over it. My heart sunk, and I hurt for her. I wanted to reach out and embrace her, but I couldn’t. There was only text between us, and the text was insufficient. Words are not the same as touch, the same as shoulders, the same as passing the tissue across the table. Words are sometimes not enough.

About a year ago I lost my job. It was non-traditional creative work, not the kind that pays regularly or has a set schedule. But it was still a job, and it was a central focus of my life. Losing it was devastating, and profoundly disorienting.

I didn’t allow myself much space to acclimate to my new state of joblessness. There was no time. There was a mortgage which had become, overnight, too much to manage, and I had a sense that the momentum I’d worked so hard to build in my career over the previous decade would be for nothing if I didn’t figure out, immediately, what I would do next. On top of all that, the people with whom I’d worked closest, who had become my support system — professionally and personally — were gone.

So, I scrambled. I called on friends to make introductions, and I began developing new business relationships. At the same time, my husband and I made the quick and difficult decision that if we were to stay afloat we would have to move out of our home. There was no way around that. So, in the course of a month we found a realtor, cleaned out most of our things, and put the house on the market. It sold in less than two months, and we moved across town into our smaller, more-manageable, for-rent abode. It was October, and a cold air had blown in. Hardly any time had passed, but nearly everything in our world looked different.

Turnover is a word misused in conversations about business. It’s vernacular for a cold, calculated process of comings and goings; new name-tags, new punch-cards; a new face to smile at, or laugh with, or avoid. But turnover would be better used to describe what happens in the heart, in the home, in the entire universe of the person who’s experienced a great loss. We undergo, perhaps even suffer, a turnover.

Many people “turn to faith” in moments of crisis, but it occurs to me that this phrase may not sit well with many contemporary Pagans, especially those who come from more literalist Christian backgrounds. Perhaps “turn to tradition” is less loaded, but I’m not sure it means the same thing. Turning to faith is often painted as an act of one rejecting logic, or practicality, or something sensible. Faith is the problem, it would seem. But I’m not sure I see it that way. People “turn to faith” because they hurt, and they’re reaching for something to sooth the pain.

We fall down, and we get up. Sometimes it seems that this is our only choice to make: to get up. As we sort through our faiths, our beliefs, our correct terminology, our religious traditions and our community disagreements, there are people on the edges of every conversation who are simply trying to get up from whatever knocked them down last. It seems to me that if our religions aren’t equipping us with the tools to help our neighbor get herself up, or to help us lift ourselves up from whatever tragedy has beset us, then they are lacking something essential.

I wonder –

What have you turned to in moments of crisis? Faith? Tradition? Have you experienced a loss which led you to become more religious, or less so? Do you feel like Paganism, in any of its expressions, provides us with the tools to support one another in moments of pain, of suffering, of turnover? If so, how? If not, why?

Please share your story in the comment section, and feel free to engage one another in dialogue about your experiences. Then, pass this post along.

The new head of the company told me on Thursday, in a calm and steady tone, that we have reached the furthest point we can in our working relationship. We need to accept that we’ve done everything we are capable of doing.

In short – you’re fired.

Ah…THAT’S why he closed the door when I came in here, I thought.

I told him that I understood, and I did. I haven’t been a big money maker for the company. And while the business always considered itself to be more family-run than big-box, money is money. You make investments where they bring returns. Cold comfort to someone who just got laid off, but I can see the logic.

I told him that I didn’t harbor any bad feelings about this. It made sense. On the bright side, I’m leaving the relationship much better off than I was before. I told him all of this, in essence reassuring myself to him. He listened, and he smiled. He was polite and patient with my process. After all, I’d never be coming to him again to ask for support or money; the least he could do was afford me a few minutes of my keep-your-chin-up-edness.

We exchanged a few pleasantries, made note of the details that would require tending to, then bro-hugged and said goodbye. We parted ways.

Just like that, a 4 year partnership is unceremoniously de-partnered.

Every step I took between the office and the car felt heavy and deliberate. Slower than normal. I narrated the next several minutes in my head:

Step, step, step, breathe… This is the world now…. step, step… Everything has changed… breathe…. Everything is different. And you’re ok.

Before This River Becomes An Ocean…

The next morning, during my devotional, I turned over an oracle card that represented Brighid’s Flame. The card had the word “Faith” up at the top, and the message was to trust that things are going to work out.

Faith, huh? So… I’ve moved away from Christianity, embraced a Druidic tradition, accepted “Pagan” as a word to describe my current spiritual and cultural expression, and the message from my patron deity is to “Have faith”? Did a Celtic Goddess just go all televangelist on me?

Or, in keeping with my previous posts written during Pagan Values Blogging Month, am I faced with the challenge of exploring a value that is more than just a pagan value?

Time To Pick My Heart Up Off The Floor…

I got back to my hotel and sought out comfort where I could find it. I made phone calls to all the people who didn’t just break up with me, and I reassured myself to each of them.

This is a great opportunity, I told everyone, for me to have a fresh start. A blank slate.

I wasn’t in denial about it. I didn’t pretend that I was unshaken, or that I wasn’t all lumpy throated and salty eyed. I was just deciding to take the good and take the bad, Facts Of Life style, and to own up to a more holistic view of the situation.

The truth is, this is a great opportunity. I’m poised to begin new partnerships with people who really want to work with me. I have support coming from many different areas of my personal life and my career.

But am I willing to believe that truth? Is that believing an act of faith?

I Reconsider My Foolish Notion

Pagans are so centered around practice. We define ourselves by what we do, not by what we believe (generally speaking). But faith is all about belief, isn’t it? How do we reframe faith as something that you do instead of something that you have?

Could we imagine ourselves crafting faith? Could the act of engaging with a belief — as I’m currently doing when I frame a job loss as an opportunity gain — be understood as a faith-working? A faith-casting? A magical act?

When you do simple magic, like sending a prayer to the Gods on a burning piece of paper, or crafting a sigil to represent a change you wish to see in the world, there’s a moment where you are required to charge that magical working with your energy, and then release it. Once released, you’re supposed to forget about it. The act of forgetting is an important component of the working. It’s the whole, quit looking and just let the water boil thing.

Perhaps that’s what “having faith”, or a phrase that I’m becoming more fond of, “doing faith,” might mean. I decide what this situation is, looking at all sides of it, and then I stop thinking about it; I forget that I made the decision, and I allow everything to unfold around me. I do faith by acting on my chosen belief that a firing, in this situation, is better described as a timely transition between business partners, and that plays out in my conversations with loved ones, with colleagues, and even with my readership.

This post is me faith-ing.

‘Cause I Gotta Have Faith…Oh, I Gotta Have…Faith

There’s no simple conclusion — either to this post, or to my situation. And that’s the point. Its all a process. I get up in the morning, and the world is new again. A blank slate. A new post, still unwritten. The opportunity for a fresh take on my life, using my words and the active engagement with my beliefs as a willful act of creation, is laid out before me.

All I have to do is trust…believe…

Cast faith.

 

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