A Walk in Sherwood Forest

We’d arrived in the morning, it was grey and a little misty and autumn had claimed most of the leaves on the floor.
Me and my brother changed our trainers for brown leather hiking boots which meant wearing thick woolen socks to make sure we didn’t get blisters (didn’t always work).
Mum opened the lunch box and gave me and my brother a ham sandwich each.  Dad cracked open the brown thermos and poured us a cup of vegetable soup.  Once ready, we got our bikes unloaded and me and my brother tore off, mud flying by the sides of us, the winter breeze hitting us in the face and the smell of mulch in the air…

Is one of my coherent memories from my childhood of going to Sherwood Forest.  I hadn’t been for decades and in all the six years of living in Nottingham, I haven’t been there once.  Until today.

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Photo by locksley2010
Me, Mum and Dad went there for a walk, because that’s what we used to do.  And we like going for walks in the country or any woodland to be fair.
This time around, it was the end of winter and we had no soup, sandwiches or bmx’s.  There were blue skies, sunshine and lots of birds.
There’s a lot of birds, well it is ‘t’woods in’t it?” Said Dad in his Yorkshire accent which, I’m afraid to say I’ve lost touch with and had to get both parents to repeat what they had said numerous times.  Been away from Sheffield too long, I have.  Dad was right though, there were a lot out on the bird tables now in place: Coalmine tits, Great tits, Blue tits (Meantam Gorm in Cymraeg), Robins, and some speckled species I’m not familiar with.  Even the pigeons looked… well, healthy.  “What’s tha’ there, a pigeon?”
“Yes, Dad. A clean one.”

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Photo of sculptured wood by locksley2010.
The bird tables were made from the wood of the forest, in fact it looked like Sherwood Forest had gone eco: flattened paths, grazing areas, natural habitats, dead trees left bare because they support life systems of their own (insect nests, animals, bacteria, that kind of thing).  Many of the smaller tree stumps were carved into all kinds of shapes and designs.  Many dormant trees showed their wonky beautiful shapes:

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Wonky Trees by locksley2010

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Herne’s Head by locksley2010

In fact, where the Herne’s Head Tree was, I remember a huge fallen tree showing all of its roots being around there, me and my brother used to have to get off our bikes to go around it.

We didn’t go to the Major Oak, personally I think it should be left to fall and die like it wants to instead of being kept up just for tourists.

Sherwood Forest was very different from the 20+ years ago since I last went, but I am glad it is being looked after and that it encourages eco living and working with your environment. There are even notice boards educating about local wildlife and plants, apparently Sherwood Forest is even home to a spider that has only its Latin name. Me and Mum thought it should be called the ‘Fly Agaric Spider’ due to its abdomen… and a play on words.

And I didn’t mention Robin Hood once… bollocks!

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Photo by locksley2010

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Imbolc lessons…

I write this now after coming in from the cold and the wind.  I’ve just eaten yesterday’s leftovers of my homemade carbonara and a fresh mug if tea at the ready.

Its been a trying day today.

Today is Imbolc, from the old Irish for ‘parturition’ (birthing), it is the feast day of Brighid and the beginning of the end of winter as well as the start of lambing season.

Brighid is the goddess of poetry, smithing, healing, midwifery, magic and divination.  There is a well named in the honour of St. Brigid which echoes back to the old Celtic way of naming rivers and lakes after a deity.

I booked the day off especially so I could create a ceremony for my allotment group, here in Nottingham.
Only three of us could make it, which didn’t cause a problem.  When calling quarters, we could call upon land, rain and sky instead of the usual four.

I had it all planned out:
1: Build a fire
2: Call for blessings from the three realms.
3: Give offerings to the allotment with what we wanted to contribute.
4:  Make the ceremony about connecting with our inner flame and waters of life.
5: Celebrate with tinfoil wrapped spuds warmed in the fire that we could enjoy with butter and homemade tuna mayonnaise and a flask of hot tea.

However, it appeared Brighid had plans of her own…

Our third member text me saying he had a stomach upset and thought being at our allotment was probably not the best place to be.

I text Pindsvin (Swedish for ‘hedgehog) the news and prepared my OBOD Elemental Weaving Ritual as a back up to do in case I was going to be the only one turn up.  My rucksack ready to burst, I was ready to go! Until the zip broke on my green fleece jacket.  So I threw it off, got my blue one (which is ready for washing), put my waterproof jacket over that, boots and bag on and my hat. Now I was ready to go!

I’d just left the house (an hour later than I would have liked) when I received Pindsvin’s text saying she’d be going, just a little later than planned.  No worries! It’ll just be us then.

On the way there I contemplated the Druid Plant Oracle card ‘The Banes’ when I asked that deck if performing the weaving ritual would be a good idea.  It is a card about taking control in a positive way and about receiving unexpected help or aid.  It appeared that with Pindsvin joining me she would be crucial to the original Imbolc ritual I had planned; I had no idea the card would be so prophetic.

Our allotment is huge.  The two newer parts to it are around the same size (approximately 70-80 square feet, each!).  The original part is for growing stuff, the second part is ritual area and the top part is, at the moment, cultivation zone.  We began with grabbing kindling in the form of birch twigs that had blown off and scattered.  We got some wood from the cultivation zone and snapped it to fit into the fire pit.  Today has been glorious with sunshine and lots of wind, so much wind that my hat kept blowing off and putting out our matches!  We spent at least an hour trying to light the fire.  I was getting annoyed, I’m normally good at this.  The wood was in the right place, as was the kindling including the cardboard I brought, but the wind kept blowing out the flame.  Pindsvin had the insight to start gathering dead dried leaves and stuffing it into the pile… the cardboard caught, the leaves caught… but the wind just kept blowing it out just before it was intense enough to light the birch twigs.  On and on this repeated, until the matches were all gone… it was a fresh new box!  I was very annoyed at this and even threw my lighter at the grass in a total paddy, snarling at the sky “D’you want a fucking ritual!?”
Pindsvin reassured me in saying that what if it just wasn’t a day for a fire? She was even all for leaving me alone to do my OBOD ritual if that’s what I wanted to do.  I told her I was disappointed and that I wanted this to be better (I was being a mardy arse at this point).  Then she said something.  Something that made me stop being a big baby: “Well, if you still want to do an Imbolc ritual, why don’t you do it in the Sunlight? The Sun is more powerful than a fire.” Genius!

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Pindsvin looking ahead,
Picture by Locksley2010. 1/2/2014.

I looked to the growing ground and saw the clouds being pushed away by the wind to reveal gorgeous, golden sunlight.  The photo doesn’t do it justice.  My spirits were instantly lifted and I had a new energy as the ceremony would carry on, just without jacket potatoes warmed in a fire.  We got our things and went down to the seating area (where we used to do the ritual stuff before we had the official ritual area) and I improvised an offering bowl from the remains of an old mug that had come up from the topsoil movement.  We had an Imbolc ceremony and it went as thus:
1: We asked for the blessings of land, sky and rain and greeted them.
2: I said my Brighid’s prayer, asking for her blessings and inspirations.
3: We drank water from a flask, saluted Brighid, then I called this the ‘blessing of water’ ah, Brighid was giving inspiration!
4: We turned to the Sun and meditated on its light and warmth connecting with our inner fire. “Blessing of the Sky”.
5: For the “Blessing of the Land” we gave offerings. To the Guardian of the place, the Silver Birch, I gave honey and milk (supposedly traditional Druidic offerings), Pindsvin threw seeds for the birds to eat.
6: Any more to say: Pindsvin said she wanted to connect with the Smith aspect of Brighid, to go ahead and do stuff.
7: We said thank you to Brighid and the three realms.

And boy, did that feel good! Yes, similar principle to the original, but we totally winged it.  I never intended to work with the realms of sky, land and rain (normally sea, but we live in the mainland) as the actual structure of the ceremony, I’d like to think that was Brighid’s inspiration.

Pindsvin was indeed the unexpected aid and relief I needed today.  She performed her role admirably and had another revelation for me.  Her version of Brighid being a ‘Triple Goddess’ goes: Poet, Smith, Healer.  After the ceremony, she asked which of Brighid’s aspects did I want to work with this year.  I originally said Poet, as in the focus on my acting this year.  Pindsvin told me that I already have the inspiration for that, surely it was the doing it I needed. Agreed, I settled on Smith.

So there we are, a day that originally would have left me sulking at home instead of inspired (Awen/Imbas) and rejuvenated. 

As it was, I learned lessons today:

Things won’t go as planned.

Build a fire in a sheltered space and don’t burn all your matches.

When things piss you off, what are the gods trying to show you?

Help comes from the most unexpected of places, a friend, your environment, old pottery.

Get over yourself and go with the flow.

Brighid has three aspects: Poet, Smith and Healer… which one will you work with?

Why Fracking is a BAD idea…

Britain’s future countryside?
Picture taken from blog.skytruth.org
Image copyrighted to Bruce Gordon, eco flight.

OK, just to warn you, this blog is going to be in rant mode.  I don’t normally preach but this is something I feel is very important.

HM Government seem to think its a great idea to introduce ‘Hydraulic Fracturing’ aka “Fracking” into the UK.  Fracking works by extracting natural gas from shale rock deep in the Earth.
Here, have a look:

http://www.what-is-fracking.com/

I especially love the bit where it says about horizontal drilling (into the shale layers):

This drilling process can take up to a month, while the drilling teams delve more than a mile into the Earth’s surface. After which, the well is cased with cement to ensure groundwater protection, and the shale is hydraulically fractured with water and other fracking fluids.

Sounds safe, right? But wait! Whaddya mean “water and other fracking fluids?”

Among others, Hydrochloric Acid, Methanol, Glutaraldehyde, Polyacrylamide, all for breaking down bacteria, keeping the water ‘slick’ and regulate temperature during heat increase.  Here’s a whole list and what they are for: http://fracfocus.org/chemical-use/what-chemicals-are-used

So, what happens to these fluids after gas extraction?

According to http://www.energyfromshale.org
Spent or used fracturing fluids are normally recovered at the initial stage of well production and recycled in a closed system for future use or disposed of under regulation, either by surface discharge where authorized under the Clean Water Act or by injection into Class II wells as authorized under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Regulation may also allow recovered fracturing fluids to be disposed of at appropriate commercial facilities. Not all fracturing fluid returns to the surface. Over the life of the well, some is left behind and confined by thousands of feet of rock layers.”

So, let me get this straight, the fluids are either reused for further fracking projects or disposed of according to regulation, or even just left in the rock?

So, say if any of those chemicals are leaked into a water supply, they end up killing bacteria which is vital for eco systems to thrive? Or what if the contained water begins to leak into the soil?
This article from the Scientific American (a country that has had Fracking a lot earlier than we did) gives some prime examples: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/are-fracking-wastewater-wells-poisoning-ground-beneath-our-feeth/

Including:
*Discovery of the weakening of rock that is supposed to contain the water fluids.
*Trees that become sick and die after a leak.
*The contamination to ground water supply, despite assurances.

So, if we get the go ahead, we in the UK have all this to come? Especially after proposals for fracking sites in every county, except Cornwall.

And as for earthquakes, according to the New Scientist, the high volumes of water (don’t forget those fracking fluids) can cause tremors, but not enough to be concerned: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21120-how-fracking-caused-earthquakes-in-the-uk.html#.UubbcfynySw

Oh, well that’s OK then, right?

It hasn’t been confirmed whether fracking will actually happen in the UK, our Government is still deciding if its enough of an investment to accept.

I really hope it doesn’t.

It will mean that our greenbelt will be torn up, ripped apart and polluted, for what? The dregs of gas in our global problem of dwindling energy supply? Delaying the inevitable fall for a few more decades?

What really pisses me off is that it seems like with the selling off of our forests and nature reserves, fracking will be another way to rape our land, leaving well holes to blight our landscape.  I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but here’s what I can see as a possible future for Britain:
All land marks sold off, corporations running our schools, police and medical facilities.  Thousands of more estates built on one half of the greenbelt, the other half as toxic zones or sterile after the fracking wells have been removed.  Pockets of woodland and nature parks owned by companies who charge all for entering them. Britain’s Green, either gone forever or sold off for profit.

Worst case scenario.

Best case scenario? This doesn’t happen!

Here’s a few of the anti-fracking petitions I have already signed myself, by all means look into fracking for yourself, I, for one am against it.

http://my.greenparty.org.uk/civicrm/petition/sign?sid=3&reset=1

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-the-shale-gas-extraction-by-fracking

http://www.campaigncc.org/frackingmeeting

“Quoth the Raven…”

Here we are: 2014, a year away from the Hover Boards we were promised in the movie ‘Back to the Future 2’.

Bringing in the New Year has undergone many changes, especially in modern times where the mainstream celebrate with fire works and lighting Chinese Lanterns, perhaps unknowingly passing the old year and welcoming the new with the most basic (and instinctive) method of communal celebration: fire.

The New Year in folk tradition paints this as a time of transition, not only numerically, but in the world around us as well as the Otherworld.  Yorkshire lore has it that high winds around NY are the ‘Winds of Change’ where the new year is literally blowing away the old year, its effects and energies being cleared away.  In some areas including Yorkshire and beyond (apparently this also applies in Southampton), it was tradition to open all the windows just after midnight to let out all the bad luck and spirits gained from the old year… you had to be careful closing the windows though, because you could end up trapping a passing spirit in your home!

And in this transitional chaos, the world was seen as being in flux.  Meaning, if you knew where to look you could divine what the new year portended.

One Celtic tradition has it that if you were to watch the skies all of NY night, and you knew your clouds, you could tell what the year has in store.  I honestly can’t remember where I got that from, I think its Irish with variants in Scotland and Wales.

Others include:

* First Footing: good or bad luck on you and your household depending on the looks of the first man to come to your door just after midnight:
Dark Hair: Good fortune
Red Hair: Bad fortune (there’s your racist).
In fact, with that tradition, apart from the dark haired fella, any red headed, squint eyed, flat footed, women (there’s your sexist) are all bad luck!  Although if a man has a high instep or rides a horse then that’s very good luck (!?…).    I have flat feet and, in the right light, red in my hair, so next year I might go and knock on the doors of any neighbours who piss me off!

* Clocks: Should be wound up at the time of the beginning of New Year to bring good luck.

* Waking up: For a girl to awaken in the morning of New Years Day to see a man pass by, from her bedroom window, supposedly meant she can hope to be married before the year is ended.

So, getting into the spirit of New Year divinations, I asked my Druid Animal Oracle this simple question:

What do I need to focus on in 2014?

The answer:

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Raven (Bran) reversed.

It means recognising that you cannot build or make foundations of something new without the destruction of the old.  It can also represent having to endure the dark in order to find the light.
Or it can mean the realisation of opposites “in light there is darkness, and in darkness, there is light”. There are stars in the night sky and there are embers that darken in any fire.

I will admit to thinking “Oh shit” when I drew it, but at the same time there is a sort of dread excitement… a development of something new but something will have to give way, what that will be is for 2014 to reveal.

“Allons-Y!”

Sources

Anonymous, ‘The Complete Book of Fortune: The secrets of the past, present & future revealed‘, Blaketon Hall Ltd, Exeter, 1988, p. 483.

Philip & Stephanie Carr-Gomm, ‘The Druid Animal Oracle Deck‘, Connections Book Publishing Ltd, London, This version printed 2005, pp. 20.  Illustrated by Bill Worthington.

Ethical Healing

OK, on the OBOD course, I’m given to understand the sphere of healing falls within the Ovate grade.  I’m not there yet, I’m still studying the Bardic grade, although I’ve been a practicing healer for as long as I discovered I could do it (really? Yes, since I was Sixteen- a long time ago!).

I’m not one of those “Are you sick? Let me HEAL YOU!” types who go around and start ‘psychic spamming’ and  laying my hands on you against your will.  The last time that happened to me was just awkward, I felt sorry for the woman, good though her intentions were (I wasn’t ill or sick, I was recovering from heartache after bumping into my ex all the way back in 2000).

I don’t follow Reiki or any official Spiritual Healing organisations, though I have experimented and gone on courses to help refine my method.  Instinctually, I know what to do:

Its all about energy, you replace somebody else’s negative energy with positive energy and send the negative down into the Earth to transform into neutral energy to go to where ever  creation has use for it…

I try to avoid using the word ‘energy’ its far too vague and just a bit ‘hokey’.  I’m not trying to show off, I seriously believe we all have innate abilities that our 21st century minds have been convinced ‘don’t exist’.  We all have these gifts, its just that some can access them easier than others.

When I talk with a friend or member of my family and I discover they are suffering in some way, if I feel it appropriate, I will offer healing to them.  If they accept, no worries.  If they decline, I respect their choice.

A Native American I met, told a group of us the story of finding his mentor dying in hospital.  He went straight away to his mentor and began calling up on the Ancestors and Energies to help heal the dying man.  His mentor, waking up, asked him what he was doing, to which he said “I’m healing you”.  The mentor replied “Did I ask you to?”

Its all very well sending healing to other people when they say they are suffering somehow, but are they actually asking for healing? Sometimes the suffering just want to have someone listen to them, that in itself is its own form of healing.  Every now and then, people just need to vent something or get a subject off their chest… and when they do, it can actually help them to feel better.  We don’t always have to ‘send’ anything.

There is a great difference between healing and ‘surgery’.  I can send you as much healing light from my arse as you like but what if that’s only patching a plaster onto the wound?  What if your suffering actually comes from not the symptoms but the cause of the actual problems? This could be anything from poor diet, underlying issues or even something psychological or simply your biology.  What if your suffering actually comes from things around your life that need some attention or getting rid of? This is what is known as Holistic healing (or wholistic) which means healing of the self by tending to other aspects to our lives that may add contributing factors… I don’t really have magical healing light from my backside btw. 😉

The best form of healing is understanding ourselves and accepting that there are things in the world that are bad for us.  I can’t use a conventional swimming pool for example, the chlorine in it triggers off my eczema in a very bad,  red, itchy way.  In fact, my eczema has taught me humility.  Understanding my ‘skin condition’ has taught me not to be too vain and I have to watch what I eat and drink.  Saying that, if I didn’t have eczema, I’d be a lot more vain than I already am (I’m a Leo, of course I’m vain!) and eating and drinking a lot more shit than I usually do… most likely pumping my body with chemicals that would potentially do harm in other ways…

When someone asks for healing I am always willing to oblige, even if the effects aren’t immediate, they usually manifest within 24hrs.  If not, then the healing has helped in some other unexpected way.

When I’m asked if I can send healing to ‘so and so’ I don’t always respond.  Unless I know the person in question or have taken into consideration other factors (why? and what?), I often refuse because the request is on their behalf.  Yes they might need some kind of relief but again ‘Are they asking for healing?’ I often find it difficult to give people healing for those who-

        A: don’t really want it
        B: don’t even believe in it.

Then again, there might be a request for, say, a young boy rushed to hospital with breathing difficulties, of course I will send healing out for his comfort… but do I have that right?  I recently sent some healing via bi-location and consulted my Oracle to see if it did a young boy any good.  The response was of confusion of the request and of none interference… I was not meant to help him.

Say if someone is dying and talks to me about healing, I cannot and will not even pretend I can help them.  The best I can do is give them some energy (or Chi or Prana, or Nwyfre as we call it in the Order) to help make them comfortable, otherwise I simply ask the Gods if it is that person’s time then please make it quick…

Our society tends to avoid the subject of death unless its on the news or in fiction.  Perhaps there is something to be said for people like the Native American mentor who wanted not to be healed, but let go.

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The healing power of our Sun in the sky, not from my bottom

What makes a ‘Man’? Part 2

Its been just over a fortnight (when did we start saying biweekly?) since I put up my last post.

I seriously didn’t have any idea it would generate such a positive response- I just got shook up be a bad dream, which opened up a few anxieties I wanted to get off my chest.  That in itself was a good exorcism of those personal demons.

In my last post, I wrote about courage being essential about what makes a “man”.  By this I don’t mean fearlessness, that is something that (realistically) doesn’t exist.  I mean the courage to stand up and do what is right, the courage to actually dare to make our dreams a reality, the courage to stand by one’s beliefs, the courage to go forward instead of looking back.

Last time, I spoke about my feelings on how I perceive I have failed to utilise my potential, something I have decided to face and take on.

In the past two weeks I have made progress in writing my book (just about finished the last chapter, then I need to fully rewrite the conclusion, leave it a week and check for spelling errors and bad grammar as well as correcting sentences that don’t make sense), I have also been rehearsing the part of St. George for a traditional Mummers Play (being performed in Lady Bay and Beeston on the Solstice day! And I’m the only Pagan in the group…).  Tonight, I will be having my first rehearsal for an acting project created by a friend of mine.  The idea being that once its filmed, he shall upload it onto YouTube and see how it turns out.  I’m a little daunted by this, its the first straight acting piece I’ll be doing since 2007, after I sacrificed that world for a business venture and my marriage (courage was essential for both those adventures, the first evolved into something else and the latter is ongoing).  After a lot of soul searching and stopping from running away from myself, it turns out my performing side was still there all along and will always be a part of me.  It just that now I’m no longer denying it and am seeking to work with it once again.

On the OBOD Bardic course, we are encouraged to find our creative and expressive side.  I knew of mine all along, I just lied to myself saying that part of me was over.  What a fool I was!

Embracing the fire within has taught me that my Bardic self is my true self, something I only diluted with Morris Dancing alone.  Having the opportunities presented to me this year to pick up the rest of my performing side has taken the courage to do that what my spirit has been crying out for.

I have no idea where this project I’ll be rehearsing for is going to go, or even if it will be a success.  The important thing is I am stepping forward to do where I feel my potential lies.

I came upon the gorge that had ripped open the land like a wound.  Instead of anything like blood escaping or bone and muscle being revealed, this wound was dark, sucking in any hope and life into its depths. Looking around the land that was once whole and complete, the gorge stretched on for miles around, as far as the eye could see.  On the other side were pear trees, I could only just make out their vibrant green leaves and golden fruits.  The rest of that land was hidden by a fog, the hidden unknown of the future.
  I spent years looking for a way round, there was none.  I even spent those years thinking I was content with staying on this side, where I know the things I do and am familiar with all on this half of the gorge.  And yet. Yet… the calling from the other half was there, I tried to ignore it, hell even told myself I didn’t need to listen to it. 
  Then one day, I spied the pears of those trees and became hungry.  I knew that whatever lies in that fog is where I needed to go.  So I walked back towards the land I already knew, heading toward the trees and rocks I knew all the names of, and then I stopped.  I turned to face the gorge and breathed deeply, every intake as though they were my last.  So… I ran.  Running toward the gorge, the fire blazed within my chest, my breath as quick as I could take it, the strength in my legs burning as I headed closer and closer to the gaping precipice until my right foot touched its lip at which point I yelled only one thing as I leapt into the air above the darkness: “Geronimo!”

What makes a ‘Man’?

Today’s blog was actually inspired by a dream from last night:

I’m in a two-storey cafe, sitting at the head of a table, Pipes is sitting next to me.  The room is full of actors as we’re filming something in the area and we have all invaded this cafe run by my In laws.
  Sitting at the table beyond ours is a man, he is short and stocky, in his late 40s and has short black hair that is going white at the roots.  He is wearing a white sports top and blue shorts.  He looks a little like Mr Toad.
  In between actors walking between our tables, Pipes is trying to explain to this man why it is wrong for him to have loaned some tables to my In Laws and demanding them back despite the fact her Mum and Dad bought them off him.  In short, he wanted both the money and the tables.  Looking into his newspaper, he states out aloud: “I don’t understand this, why isn’t he arguing for you? He is less a man than he is a warrior!”
  Everyone stops and gasps… he was talking about me! Gob smacked, I just sit there in silence as the man gets up, looks at me then leaves…

I’d quite forgotten all about it until I followed a memory trail that revealed the dream I had.

I told Pipes as I remembered it and she asked if I knew why I dreamt of that.

Thinking on this has revealed something that I actually keep secret, even from myself…

I feel I have failed.

The man in the dream was obviously my Shadow (for those unfamiliar with Jungian archetypes, a subconscious manifestation of the bits of our identity we don’t want to acknowledge, often parts of ourselves we’re afraid of).    This time, the Shadow has personified itself in the things negative about Men in general: he was arrogant, sexist, greedy, selfish, single-minded and uncompromising.  In the dream I also got a sense of what he was like in his life: wealthy, the top of his game, runs his own company, a success, whence the arrogance… all the things I’m not.  Besides our sex and gender we had one thing in common: honesty. In the dream I didn’t defend my Wife, she, as my feminine side was speaking for me, this was a masculine Shadow directly challenging my own masculine self.  In the dream I simply let him walk away because I couldn’t argue back.  In my dreaming mind he was right.

This for me, presented a mind-fuck.

This morning I flipped between sadness, anger and then conviction.

I present a friendly, witty and laid back demeanor, yet underneath hide my own issues which is to do with the fact I feel I have failed.  How so? Let’s look at the stereotypical image of what we in the early 21st Century take a ‘Man’ to be:
Muscular, strong, stoic, rich, handsome, successful, determined, authoritive.

Once ‘Man’ and ‘male’ were synonymously linked.  Nowadays its a concept when you consider transgender or transsexual people.

Looking at the above list: I’m no pussy, but I’m no beefcake either.  I have strength in my beliefs, but not always in myself.  Stoic? No. I’m definitely not rich, both me and Pipes live on my wage in a job I am, at the minute undergoing confidence issues with (I kept fucking things up in September and now doubt myself there).  However, I have a wealth of Celtic History and the old tales.  I have Pipes, my cat and our rented home.  Handsome? I don’t like to brag. ;D determined? Not as much as I’d like.  I’ve been happy to follow and let others take charge, especially where I’m not an expert.  Authoritive? Sometimes, I know I can be in certain situations, but not all of them (work for example, I’m not an industrial person, I just pretend to be).

So, on to the biggie: Successful.  Here’s the crux.  We assume that to be successful we must be rich and have plenty of money to be happy.  That’s not really my problem, I know a couple who have the money, two cars a house and its driving them insane.  So I know and understand that money isn’t everything.  So why do I feel I have failed?  Because, in my mind, a Man has focus in his life be it his trade, his calling, his beliefs.  I feel I have failed because I have not attained “success”.  By that, I mean a contribution to Humanity.  To be able to turn around and say “Yeah, I did good there, I’m proud of that.”  I feel that in sacrificing my acting career (before it really begun) I squandered the ‘gift’ I was given, therefore creating a hole within myself of confusion and fear. 
  On the other hand, If it wasn’t for my sacrifice, my Wife would never have been able to get Pagan Pride up and running or begin her music career.

  This writing has been very cathartic for me and if you’ve read it this far, thank you.  I’ve even answered my own question “How do I be a man?”

Y’see, Druidic tradition teaches us the Shadow is represented by the wolf in the Druid Animal Oracle.  Wolf teaches that the Shadow is not to be feared or attacked, it is to be learned from.  Once that is done we can work on ourselves and transcend the barriers we place on ourselves.  The modern ‘Man’ is material in his ‘wealth’ and distractions, however he has no honour and no courage.

The answer to my question is: I can be a ‘Man’ by having the courage to do that what I am afraid of and stop whining about feeling lost and confused… especially when I actually know what must be done.  There are too many people who think they aren’t worth it in this world… I’m one of them and I don’t want to be anymore.
As Dian Cecht told me: “Love Yourself” and I’ll only start doing that by doing what really makes a man: Bravery.

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Photo by locksley2010

Here’s me, a man with long hair enjoying a glass of wine, cheers!

A blog about Druidry and Weirdry