On a lot of levels, life has been very rough with me, recently. It interests me to take a step back and look at where I am, where I've been, and where I'm going, which is something that I do very often but don't often write about.
So, today, this update will be about those things.
Where I've been
The biggest change in my life has been, of course, settling into the role of Neo-Pagan clergy. The experience has been remarkably strange yet straightforward for me, with many things that I expected and many more that I didn't. This path has been the hardest I have ever walked, with breaks in my personal devotional practice hitting me hard, episodes where my body rebelled entirely against me because I pushed it beyond exhaustion, and huge emotional losses. Yet this path is also the most rewarding and deeply moving one that I have ever traveled, as well. It's changed me in some very noticable ways, and I'm a different person than I was nine months ago when I oathed before my friends and family and was consecrated as a Dedicant Priest in ADF. Those who knew me then, I sometimes think, would not recognise me now.
Even my LiveJournal has shown some very obvious changes: it's less conversational and more contemplative, more internal. I noticed this just before I left for Wellspring this year, and I was a bit confused over it. I suspect that this has to do with the journaling I have done for my Liturgy Practicum I journal, which was extrememly enlightening and will be referred to again shortly, I'm sure. I'm also still fiddling around a bit with MySpace, FaceBook, and now CovenSpace accounts, too.
I've entered a sort of "courtship" with a new deity. This particular deity is Vedic, and is called by the name Usas. She is the dawn, and as I type this sentence I realize that if I don't stop right there, I'm going to gush about her yet again. So instead, here's an essay of gushing that I wrote about her.
Over the past few months, I wrote a number of essays, including ADF Ritual as a Mexican Burrito (I got a lot of positive comments on that one), a by-the-numbers comparison of OBOD and ADF, and Nine Virtues of Hogwash, derrived (by request) from Douglas Monroe's infamous 21 Lessons of Merlyn.
Of some interest, too, are things that I have written but never posted anywhere about, such as the Grove's Garanus meditation, a nature meditation, and a fly divination. An oldie but a goodie (and always worth digging up) is The Crow's Story. One of my favourite things, though, is the bit on the Dance of the Thelemites, which I cannot believe I never posted a link to.
I spent the first two weeks or so in April in Greece, climbing Mount Olympus (see video of the Enipas River's springs), knocking on Hephestos' door at Methana, standing on the wall at Thermopylae, viewing temples being swallowed by springs and frogs (see video of the springs in Isis' temple at Dion and hear the frogs in the background), and eating lots and lots of grilled foods.
Where I am
I still give as good as I get; in some cases, I give better than I get. I once read that the more you give, the more you receive, and I try and work on that basis, though it's painful to see people occasionally just stop trying because they think it's healthier for them to cut things out than try to make them grow in a healthy manner.
I've taken on a few new projects, including a personal favourite of mine, the Joker Deck Project (and yes, this is one that you can all participate in). I've also taken a comparative look at the Maurer and Doniger translations of the Rgveda, which proved rather enlightening to me: it seems that an interest in Vedism will lead you down amazingly scholarly paths very quickly.
I'm a bit poor at the moment, I admit, too: it's paycheck to paycheck, sometimes next paycheck to next paycheck, and so you'll notice that I'm becoming less invisible and more visible with the "donate" button on my pages. I made the joke recently that I had earned more money panhandling than I had earned via the donation button on my webpage ($25 in two hours of pan handling isn't bad at all). So, this is all a roundabout way of saying that, if you see this:
Please feel free to use it. It will be much appreciated :)
I am currently very active in writing new rituals. In January, I wrote a Hittite Rite of Offering (warning, opens in .pdf) which was remarkably enlightening. In May, I wrote a Simple Self-Blessing Rite for anyone's use, with no tools or offerings required. Most recently, I dug up an old copy of the Grove's short public devotionals from ComFest last year and posted that.
The biggest change in my life has been the introduction of prison ministry to my role as an ADF priest. I cannot accurately describe how it makes me feel, but I can say, with definite conviction (no puns intended) that of all the things I've done as a clergyperson, prison ministry is by far the most rewarding. It may very well be the most rewarding thing I have ever done.
Where I'm going
In general, it rarely appears to me now that I'm going anywhere but "up" (wherever that might lead). Of course, some disagree with me on that, but I've been working with gloom-and-doom naysayers for longer than I can rightly remember now, and some of them are good friends.
My book, Cultivating the Fire of Piety, is nearly done, and should be ready for editing by the end of summer so that I can concentrate on other things. After a workshop at Wellspring a few weeks ago, I am positive that the book will be received very well, given the comments I had about the whole thing. Plus, I loved talking about the subject.
I've set myself on a path, as well, to get my life going in various directions, and I mean this in terms of real and directed movement, not in terms of figurative speech. I have about a year and a half before I have decided to go full bore into graduate school, come hell or high water, and I hope to make that count. Of all the things in my life, grad school is the one thing I need to get myself out of where I am and into where I want to be.
Should there be more to this particular section? Of course. Is there? Most certainly. However, I'm playing my cards close to my chest for now because I do see a lot of changes coming up in my life. I just don't know how the cards will fall in the immediate future, so I'm not laying out my hand until I'm sure. Until then, if you're really burning with curiosity, just ask me.
And keep an eye open: the Chaos Working Generator has been getting updates, too!
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Check out the old 2003 entries!