When I was growing up, my ma stressed one thing above all others…..”Be Yourself!” It was ingrained in my way of thinking from a very early age that you should always be yourself and always be yourself wholeheartedly. I am reminded of a line in “Steel Magnolias” that made my ma cackle out loud. “An ounce of pretention is worth a pound of manure.” I was shown that you should always be proud of who you are and not pretend to be something you aren’t. I have lived by that philosophy since she first whispered it in my ear.
Being myself is probably what got me in so much trouble in the Christian church. I didn’t like being somber. I liked to laugh long, hard, and loud! I loved singing at the top of my lungs. I enjoyed playing. I got reprimanded more than once for being outside playing with the kids when I should have been preparing a sermon. I didn’t care. I was a bit like a male version of Maria Von Trapp in “The Sound of Music.” Everyone was always singing, “How do you solve a problem like Dave?”
I still get in trouble for being myself. I say what I think, when I think it and I act upon it. If I don’t like you, you know it. I don’t expend energy on you. If I adore you, you know it. I tell you in many ways alot. LOL! Now, trust me, I have become tempered….mellowed, if you will, with age. I am still, however, that same stubborn mule of a boy that helped his best friend bring the goats in the house because they might get cold.
I tend to observe alot nowadays. I will tell you though, that if you ask my opinion of something, I will unabashedly give it to you with both barrels. I have been told that I am honest to a fault.
I have, over the years, been asked to compromise myself many times. There were many times I was tempted. The one time I did compromise myself, I regretted it many times over and I vowed never to do it again. I was going to a local church and was a young adult. I had gone to the pastor to come out as a homosexual. When I walked into the office, I sat down and told him that I needed to tell him something about myself. He looked me square in the face and yelled out, “I KNOW!! YOU ARE CALLED TO THE MINISTRY!!” I said, “Uh yeah, sure.” It was a hell of a lot easier than coming out.
I worked in the church for many years. I pretended to be happy and straight and godly. I was none of those. It was like watching a wild animal being tamed as a pet. My spirit was breaking. My heart was breaking. I was losing the person that I worked so hard to become. I didn’t feel the connection that most did to a Father God. But I did understand the triple nature of the Mother Goddess. It was easier for me to identify the Maiden, Mother, and Crone associated with earth and life cycles.
I longed for a connection to the energy that leapt all around me. I yearned for the energy and power the lurched at me from every tree, plant, planet and especially the moon. When I was outside, the moon called to me…..beckoned me. “Spend time with me…..bask in my light…..absorb my power.” My resolve was weakening.
I was living with my partner at the time and pretending to be straight the rest of the time. I had never felt more compromised. I decided that it was time for the true me to begin emerging. Instead of fear and dread, I felt like a butterfly coming forth from the safety of the cocoon. My wings were delicate at first, but then strong and beautiful. I came out to my friends in the church and in the pastorate. I was met with open and loving arms. I came out to my lead pastor. The response I received was, “Ok, so you didn’t grow an extra head. Get back to work.” I was gay. I could say it now and breathe as I said it. I was now, seriously, out and proud.
That was the first step to getting aquainted with myself. The second came with a magickal encounter with Maiden, Mother, and Crone. I had always been able to manipulate energies….I learned that in the church. Raising energy….moving energy….all essential for a “move of the spirit.” I decided to use the connection I was given with animals. I decided it was time to start talking to the animals who had become trusted friends in my childhood.
This major move of the goddess happened during a birthing. I was helping a mother goat deliver a kid that was breech. I was arm deep in the birth canal of the goat and could feel that the kid was going to be stillborn. I got the kid out and the mother moved on to another corner of the pasture. I held that baby goat in my arms, positioned it head down, and began to swing it to force it to breathe. Nothing. Then I started massaging the chest cavity. At that moment, I felt all the power that the triple goddess could give me surging through my arms and hands. I moved them over the baby. I knew something supernatural was happening. I heard a weak throaty sound come from the animal under me. The mother goat came over and started nuzzling the kid. I had witnessed something that few get the opportunity to see (or it is dismissed as something that would have happened anyway). I saw the energy of the lady move into the body of that little goat. I watched it slowly gain strength and become what it was supposed to be. A goat.
Magick is a powerful force and those called to it are given a very very special obligation. Wisdom. All things magickal must be tempered with wisdom.
Nowadays I am a contrary, opinionated old goat (pardon the pun), but I know who I am, what I believe, and what I stand for. Each day is a new adventure and I never know which direction my path may take, but through it all, I am ME. I am thrilled with me, though others may not be. A line from “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar” will suffice.