Another Time and Another Place

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We’ve all had that feeling before – the feeling of being out of place in the surroundings we are in.  This feeling of “otherness” has been the inspiration for great poems, books, and songs.  Imagining how we would be if we were somehow dropped into another life can be potent fuel which stokes the fires of creativity.   I know that in the back of my mind, I would personally love to be the reincarnation of Merlin from King Arthur’s Court…I am quite satisfied that, in all probability, I lived the quiet life of the cunning man deep in the forest of the British Isles.

I have learned in my magickal studies that the soul or spirit is ongoing.  While I sit here writing in my 47 year old body….my centuries old spirit has seen many things that this mind can only dream of.  I know that for some, reincarnation is something you may or may not believe in, but how do we explain that certain knowing that we get when we put our feet down on a certain plot of land….or that feeling that comes with walking into a place we have never been, and yet, we feel perfectly at home.

This feeling of “otherness” that I referred to earlier, is particularly strong for me when I am deep in the woods.  Even when I have been hiking in the mountains, forests thick around me….completely unsure of where I am, all I have to do is put my hand on a tree or sit down in the dirt and I am at home.  I listen to what these friends tell me….these friends from hundreds of years ago….and I can find my way.

I have also encountered people who seem to be a constant in my ‘lives.’  There have been some friends who have come into my spiritual space….not needing a formal invitation or a fanfare.  They just belong there.  These are people whom I know I have shared my energy with in past times.  I believe that we have been allowed to walk forward into other planes of time as a comfort….an instigator…a cheerleader….and a strength to each other.

This is the person who you may have never met face to face….never touched or walked alongside….but you know them.  That comfort level….that trust…a continuation of spirit and energy from a time and place gone by.  It is the same spirit that is there when the wind blows against your face.  It is that same spirit that I feel when I hear the ‘Graaaaakk’ of Mama Crow.  I have known her spirit for eons.  It is that same spirit that comes to me in the form of a blue dog.  Friz now….before Friz, Sally….before Sally, Patches.

I am often given glimpses of those past associations in my dreams.  It is always one of those instances that you know it is much more than a dream…more than fantasy….but more memory.  I know, when I dream, that as I stand in the middle of those woods, hands outstretched and other sets of hands join mine, that they belong to  those that I have traveled lives and spiritual planes with before.

The magick associated with all of this cannot be expected to be anything less than powerful.  Life nowadays sometimes scares me.  When I am overtaken with those anxieties, I think on the things I must have survived (or not) before.  When I think on these things, it stirs resolve inside of me that I never before thought I had.  I tend to fret over the little things….the day-to-day crap that isn’t worth a piddly-fart.  I find, though, when it comes to the big stuff….the major crises that tend break the strongest people…that is when I dig my feet in, plant myself and push my magickal shield out with all the force I have.  It is also in those moments that I call on those I trust, to walk alongside of me.  When I feel those familiar hands joined with mine….that is when you see magickal sparks fly.harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-part-2-preparing-for-battle-hogwarts-protective-spell-shield

It took a while for me to realize that the power inside me has been building for hundreds of years.  Lord and Lady have poured themselves into me since time began.  I have walked the forests and fields many times over with Cernunnos himself.  The moon and I are such good friends because we have been nurturing that friendship for centuries.  Wolf has been walking with me since his spirit came into existence…and Mama Crow has been there for many many lifetimes.

I don’t take those human counterparts for granted either.  The energy we share now is only a culmination of energies that have been coming together since the time of the ancients.   As we join that energy….we can’t even begin to fathom what is coming into being.  I look at the world around me.  It is my time to change it.  The power inside of me joined with the power of those heart brothers and sisters will set the world on its ear.  I don’t take the commission of the Gods and Goddesses lightly.  Change has been affected in me so that I may bring change to those people and places surrounding me.

Especially lately, magick has been coming out of my pores.  Always the magnificent result I want?  No. Always the magickal result I need?  Yes.

Hang onto your hats fellas!  It’s gonna be a bumpy ride!

Blessed Be!

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When Fear Becomes Faith

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This week has been a different kind of week.  I went in to work to find out that my roomie, who happens to work with me, was let go.  It seemed as if everyone around  was screaming and running around in circles.  “What will you do? How will you make it?  Where will the money come from?”  All questions, that indeed, one might expect to be running around my head….but instead, the big question….”How is he?”  I was determined that the bosses would not see reaction from me….isn’t that what was expected?  I hunkered down and did my job.  When I got home that day, I walked through the doors and was greeted with the question, “What will we do?”  I answered, matter of factly, “Whatever needs to be done.”  It was the first time in a very long time that I felt that much resolution well up inside me.

I have told you all before that, in my croning years, I have become somewhat of a worrier.  This was not the case years ago.  I used to welcome any challenges….the harder the better.  I used to thrive on change and uncertainty.  Is that what youth entails?  Do the young thrive on the unpredictable and the questionable?  No…..this is not a right awarded to the young.  This is a mantle placed on the strong of heart.

I left the condo especially early this morning.  As I placed my backpack on my shoulder and wrapped myself in the warmth of my cloak, the little dog at my feet waited for me to put him inside his hoodie.  He danced around me knowing that we were going to meet the morning sunrise on his terms.  I carried friends with me to the woods this morning….their spirits engraved in my spirit.

When we got to the woods, I set everything up.  I put the wolf skull and the crow skull into place….placed the candles on their respective sides and then brought out my abalone shell and my sage bundle.  As I lit the sage and started fanning it all around me, I closed my eyes and saw many of the dreams that have come to me through the week.  I know that so many have psychic abilities….I believe that one of my giftings comes when I sleep.  In the dream realm, I am able to see the spiritual….the magickal….and the powerful.

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The dreams I have been having this week involve me and two other male witches.  In most of  the dreams we are circled together in a catacomb setting….there are candles lit all around.  On a tree stump in the middle of us is a large leather bound book and our wands.  As we begin the ritual, light begins to glow around each of us….red around me, blue around the friend to my left and green around the friend to my right.  Each night the dream has gotten stronger with a more powerful energy encircling us.  The final dream had us in a wooded area…stump table in the middle….book and wands.  We took each others hands and began to chant.  As we chanted, the book and wands began to rise.  To the left, the friend is radiating blue light….to the right, the friend is radiating green light…..in the center, red light pours forth from me.  The light and energies swirl around us to combine into one large golden energy field.  We rise above the ground….flying in a circle in the midst of the trees.  We laugh as we move….by no effort of our own.  We know that there is a power there that none of us have ever experienced.  The final dream was last night.  As we rose into the air and spun with the forces of energy, a doe came into view.  She was snow white with a brilliant silver tuft of hair just in the center of her head.  Behind her was a buck….that same brilliant white with gold antlers and shimmering gold eyes.  Our eyes met and I recognized both and they recognized me.  It was obvious that they were both spirit beings.pg53

white-doe-2My dream life has been very active this week.  As I lay there in the leaves strewn across the floor of the woods, I could feel Friz rousing.  He either saw or heard something in the trees beyond us.  I looked up and saw a doe many feet from us.  I urged Friz to be quiet so that she would stay as long as possible…..I realized that we were there in the midst of magick.  At that moment, I called to the Lord of the Forest and waited for his energy to surround me.  As I heard the wind blowing through the trees and felt it moving around me, I knew that he was there.  The doe stood stock still staring at me and that little blue chihuahua for the longest time.  I called on the energy of the Horned One to fill me….to stir that pure wild energy that I longed for.  At that moment, the doe spooked and jumped and bounded off into the distance…..but at that moment, I could also feel the energy of the Horned One along with Wolf and Mama Crow.  I could feel something rising in my chest.  In that moment, I felt that little blue chihuahua bristle up and a strong and mighty “Buffff!” rose from deep inside of him.  I laughed  and rolled back onto the leaves and he jumped into the middle of my stomach.  Even he had felt the power.

I know that the next few weeks may bring challenges for me….but I also know that they will tap into a strength that only my connection with a power greater than I can bring.  I must never doubt the power that resides within me.  It is that power that the Lord and Lady join with to make the magick rise.  It is in that connection with others that makes me rise against whatever may come against me.

What do I feel now?  I feel peace.  I feel strength.  I feel power.  None of these shall ever desert me.  It is my choice whether to embrace them or leave them in the cauldron by the door.

Take my hands brothers and sisters.  Let us fly far beyond anything that will try to keep us from that magickal part of us that hungers to rise higher and higher until we are flying next to the moon.

Blessed Be!

Locking Horns with Your Destiny

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Today as I was looking at dailywicca.com, I found this description of the Horned God, Cernunnos.

The Druids believe that Cernunnos (under many names) is the oldest of the Ancient Ones, first born of the Goddess at the time of First Earth. They believe he grew in the womb of the All Mother, waiting to be born to initiate the everlasting, unbroken Circle of Life. While he is the Lord of Animals, he is also a tree, forest, and vegetation god, making him the Guardian of the Green World. In his Dark Man, or Underworld aspect, he is the one who comforts and sings the souls of the dead to rest in the Summerland. He’s one busy fellow!

During the spring and summer months, he is celebrated as the Green Man. He first appears as the young god, son of the Goddess. Then, in summer, he becomes her consort. In autumn and winter, he is the Dark God, who journeys to the Underworld to die and return to the earth. There, as his body is embraced by the earth, the seeds of his light are released and rouse the Goddess’s womb. Soon, he will once again be born as the new son in the spring. He is seen by the Druids as a triple god: Father, Son, and World Spirit.

But this god does not belong just to the Druids. Many pagans of various traditions and beliefs have a strong relationship with Cernunnos.

Frequently mentioned as a principal god in the Celtic pantheon, he is seen as the embodiment of virile fertility, life, animals, wealth, good fortune and the Underworld. Usually pictured seated in a half-lotus position, he wears the antlers of a stag. He is depicted as a mature man with long hair and beard usually wearing a torc or holding a torc in his right hand. A ram-horned serpent is usually in his left hand. Sometimes he holds a purse brimming with coin. Sometimes, he is a man with a stag’s head. He is often depicted with wild animals at his feet or near him and vegetation surrounding him.

The antlers signify his stature among beasts just as the torc denotes his stature of nobility. (To the Ancient Celts, the torc was a Celtic symbol of being initiated into nobility.) The antlers also represent the spreading branches of a tree. The serpent reflects his wisdom and his knowledge. Cernunnos is the spirit of the woods, a powerful archetypal nature spirit, and male partner to Mother Earth. Because the hunter often falls in pursuit of the prey, he is recognized as both the God of Death and the Guardian of the Underworld, and embodies both hunter and prey. (This is another aspect indicated by the serpent.) It has been suggested by some because of the Celtic torc, that perhaps he was also the Celtic God of Initiation, though nothing in Celtic lore remains to substantiate or disprove this theory….

…Regardless, Cernunnos is placed today at the head of the Celtic pantheon by any number of religious groups. He is honored for his role in the turning of the Wheel and his relationship with the Goddess. He is worshiped for his wild spirit, the fertility he lavishes on the Earth, the animals he protects and for his connection with the Underworld. He embodies all that is male and wild within nature and is honored and respected for it.

I have always, as long as I can remember, felt a drawing toward the energy of the Horned God.  I know that so many know him by so many names.  Even when I worked in the church, I saw the trinity very much like the description of Cernunnos above….but unlike many in the Christian church who tried to make God sexless, neutered, ambiguous…I saw him a strong, virile, sexual energy…ready and desiring to impart that same energy to me.

Though I have a strong devotion to the goddess, I feel that I have always hungered for that male energy…that part of me that I never really felt existed as a gay man.  Having grown up on a farm in rural North Carolina, you learned to hide any part of you that didn’t seem to ‘fit’ with the way the other guys around you acted.  I know that many young gay men struggled with these expectations.  I found myself, at an early age, thrown into the midst of the ‘reindeer games’ as I like to call them.  Young bucks going out into the woods to hunt….punching arms and calling names and skinny-dipping.  I look back on this now and see that it was all a part of showing dominance and strength.  I fell into it quite naturally.  Hunting was easy for me.  It was all about listening and watching.  My granny had taught me to track a rabbit in a snowstorm.  I can still do it, if need be.  I have always been an exhibitionist, so skinny dipping was old hat.

I remember one fellow in particular who seemed threatened with the fact that most of this came easily to me.  He began to step up the arm punching and name calling.  We were all in the woods setting up a camping site and I turned around to help with the tent.  He tripped me and I fell flat on my face….I was also taught to turn the other cheek by my granny.  I laughed it off and brushed off the leaves and dirt and went about my business.

The next day is when it happened.  He saw me staring just a little too long at one of the other guys as he washed off in the creek.  He pulled me aside and threatened to tell all the other guys.  He was determined he would be liked the most…..if I think back on it, though, I remember seeing his gaze linger just a little extra too.  Every day, he made my life miserable.  The hitting got worse….the name calling….I remember the last day it happened though.  He was bigger than I was and he caught me with his arm at my throat around a corner at school.  He lifted me into a row of lockers and he threatened me.  I wasn’t afraid.  I wasn’t hurt.  I was angry.  At that point every ounce of strength I had welled up into my arms and legs.  I rared back as far as I could and I hit him square in the jaw.  It wasn’t that hard of a punch but it caught him in just the right place and he went flying backwards.  After that day, he never looked at me or harassed me again.  That was the beginning of the energy of the Horned One and I didn’t even realize it.

With some of us gay men who follow the path, we have immersed ourselves in goddess energy…that is completely fine.  Nothing is wrong with that at all….but every so often, I find myself in need of that Wild Man of the Woods.  That energy that is purely masculine….purely sexual…a hunger that can be met with no other energy but that of Cernunnos.  I find that it is an energy that holds the divine masculine at its core.

I have the most incredible, strong circle of women who surround me.  It is a circle of four women and one other man besides myself.  I love the goddess energy that flows forth from all in this circle, but then there are the times you just really need that god energy.  That sharing of the divine masculine that you can only share with another male.  Hell, we all have to have our time of pissing on trees.2013-11-17 16.41.15

Yesterday evening, I went to the woods.  It was misty and damp and rainy.  I had my cloak on and it felt like a heavy wet blanket, so I took it off and packed it away.  My sense of smell was stronger than it had ever seemed to be as I approached the woods.  I could smell that damp heavy smell that leaves give off as they decompose.  I could smell the rain looming.  I could smell something that I had never smelled before in those woods….it was an animal.  I could also sense its energy.  I looked up and not 20 feet from me was a deer.  Just from experience, it was more than likely a doe (I couldn’t get that close).  I was careful to keep still and just watch.  I watched her dance back and forth between the trees….graceful beyond words.  I watched her stop and listen…taking in all around her.  My eyes met hers.  I knew this was a gift….the energy that I could feel transferring between us.  Then came the sound of her loping through the woods…deeper into hiding, further away.

I was honestly dumbfounded.  I didn’t know what to think or what to do.  I had talked to two friends on Friday about us making a conscious effort on Saturday to connect with Cernunnos energy…..who would have ever thought that he would come to me….but in female form.  It was proof…deep in my spirit, as to how closely the divine masculine and the divine feminine are intertwined.

The energy that encircled me was undeniable.  It was the energy of the rutting stag, full of fire and virility and heat….encompassed by the energy of the doe, calming and strong and ever-watching.  Those combined energies took me back to a time when there was no fear in me.  You see, I have seen lately that we humans are afraid of everything.  We have come to the point of letting every tiny little circumstance rule over and control our lives.  The ancients responded to situations…..we have come to the point of only reacting.

There was a time in my life when change was nothing more than going in a different direction.  Since then, I have let it become something that I worry over…fret about…cry, kick, and scream.  It is time to tap back into that wild energy.  The animals do not concern themselves with every little piddling thing about life.  They just live it.  What happens, happens and you adjust accordingly.  It is time for me to pull on that old resolve.  What happens…..happens.  I will adjust.  I will live.  I will not whimper and whine about it not being the fantasy I had all planned out.

I stand prepared.  Staff in hand….wand at the ready.  Moving forward is the only option.  The animals will guide me.  I listen for the call of Mama Crow and the howl of Wolf.  Even the songbird has something to teach me…as do toad and cat.  My ears are pricked forward.  It is time for that change to begin.

I have embraced this hairy, masculine coat that I have been given.  It is time to let the rest of the world embrace it too.

Blessed Be!

The Lost Boys

 

2013-06-13 11.04.28This week I have wanted time outside more than any other.  I know that most folk, when the weather starts to chill and the wind picks up, want to cuddle up inside with a blanket and hot cocoa.  It is with that briskness and bite in the air that I want to wander….I hunger for exploration and romping.  It is like that primal animal part of me kicks in and has to get outside.

I have done so much people watching in the past few days.  I have noticed that many people are afraid of themselves.  We have learned to hide behind facades in our lives.  I have watched many, this week, smile sweetly and feign pleasantries when it was so very evident that they wanted to scream and cry and run.  It has become second nature anymore for humankind to pretend that life isn’t there and that we don’t have to deal with anything…..after all, no one wants to hear it, right?

It seems, this week, that so many people have crossed my path….men particularly, who have become adept at blending into the background or becoming invisible.  I have met fellows who have taken a part of themselves….the part that doesn’t seem to fit with what society expects of them and bury them.  I mean, bury them deep….so deep that you might need a jackhammer and dynamite to unearth those pieces of themselves.

These men, I have found, have powerful magick.  Most of the time, as they grow in their abilities, they encounter some part of themselves that society has deemed inappropriate.   I know that in my own life, it was that very essence of my spirit that I have come to know as “Wolf.”  In many Native American traditions, wolf appears to you only when you have requested the tribe’s greatest teacher.  Wolf teaches you who you are and teaches you to develop strength and confidence so that you don’t have to constantly prove yourself.  Wolf brings forth the teacher in us and guards us fiercely. 2013-11-09 22.26.48

In my own life, fear of punishment for those things which “weren’t right or permissible” was what brought wolf energy into my life.  I was always told that it was wrong to be the way I am….you can use any scenario you want there….for being gay, for having certain ‘special’ abilities(talking to animals), or for just being ‘artsy,’ as my uncle called it.  When Wolf stepped in, he stepped in strongly and confidently and has been teaching me ever since how to live by my own inner guidance and not get stuck in the safety of a well-worn path.  Wolf teaches you to listen and communicate with the other animals through body language or that long soulful howl.

In my encounters with men from many different walks of life this week, Wolf has again stepped in strongly and confidently.  In my mind and with the help of a friend and ally,  I have formulated a name for these men….”The Lost Boys.”  With each of these men, spirit has been calling and calling hard.  They have been listening….and with each instance, they are being called to a truer existence.  Some have been called to abandon pre-existing ways of thinking about themselves and spirit.  Some have been called to leave hurt and distrustfulness behind.  Others have been called to abandon the cage of what society thinks and run toward the primal part of themselves that pulls its head back, opens its mouth and releases that roar that has been building inside their own spirit for years.

I have learned, over the years, that when it comes to releasing our inhibitions and opening our spirits to be guided….we can be our own worst enemies.  We go…..but we go kicking and screaming.  We walk the familiar paths with weapon in hand, ready to attack anything that doesn’t look familiar.  We forget that it is in leaving the familiar path that brings adventure.  I remember a quote by Rita Mae Brown. “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”   That is what makes us the lost boys.  Men….even gay men, are notorious for not asking for directions.

In magick, we are given guides…whether it be ancestors, animals, angels or gods and goddesses.  Too much, we like to go it alone.  For some reason, we have come to think that makes us tougher, stronger, more powerful.  It is one thing to be solitary….it is completely different to become isolated.  Wolf travels in packs, but may not always stay with the pack.  Wolf likes loyalty, but also thrives on freedom.  Wolf does not follow a prescribed trail.  He weaves in and out of trees, moving on and off paths and trails and across long stretches of land.

It is in this season….the season when darkness begins, that if I listen closely, I can hear that strong heartbeat of the Earth Mother.  Some may hear it as drumming….music.  That heartbeat is calling to that part of my spirit that hears it strongly and clearly.  There is that primal part of me that connects with every part of the Earth Mother and the fur people and the feathered people and the finned people.  It is like the energy of the buck seeking out that female….that musky strong rutting energy that courses through each of us….that part of us that seeks out nourishment to store up until spring.  My spirit hungers for so much more than the mundane that I encounter each morning……I release myself….I let my spirit run.  I open myself to the teachings of the guides I was given.

You see, I never really was lost.  I was forging a new trail.  My nose was to the wind the whole time…I just never saw what was happening inside of me.  Now I know…..it was all about the magick.  I opened myself up to what my spirit hungered for….what I starved for, and there it stood…right in front of me.  I only had to reach out and take it.2013-11-10 00.14.01

 

Blessed Be!

That Place Between Sleep and Awake

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We have all had those moments when it seems like we are lost in our own darkness.   Having struggled with depression for most of my life, I have learned to fight my way through the tangles and snarls of vines that depression seems to lay along the floors of the forests of life….or so I thought.  Over the past couple of months, I have been making my way through those forests…plodding out trails…hacking through the vines, only to find myself at the beginning of the trail I had started, wandering aimlessly like a man lost in his own thoughts with all the monsters that he has created keeping a steady pace behind him.

I couldn’t even seem to avoid these battles in sleep.  The moment my head would hit the pillow, dreams of battles and terror and anxiety would invade the calm that I tried to manipulate into being before lying down.  I found myself becoming edgier and angrier because there was no rest to be had.  It was easier when people around me asked how I was to reply with a short, curt “Fine.  Hope everything is ok with you.”

Yesterday morning, I got up really early and retreated to the woods.  Inside the house, I have no escape.  Every room is full with humans or animals at every minute.  I can’t even take a long hot bath anymore without someone knocking on the door, asking me where something is.  There is no silence.  It is broken by the sounds of barking or meowing or a television blaring….so I go to the woods.  I sneaked Friz out of the kennel…away from the eyes of the other pets.  I gathered my cloak and backpack (for some reason, I have come to think if I wear my cloak, I can’t be seen).

We got into what I think of as the middle of the woods…I know that they go on farther, but this is the center of my woods.  I set everything in the place that I feel it needs to go, and I face-plant in the dirt  Friz curls underneath my cloak…and there we stayed for a while.  By a while, I mean that we were there from about 6:30am until around 10:30am.  Just a face-plant…no rituals, no wand-wielding…just a face-plant.

As we walked back to the condo, I snapped a pic here and there of the trees and bushes that caught my eye.  The colors stirred something inside me and for a time, took me away from myself.2013-11-02 17.24.58

Even in the midst of that beauty, I felt lost.  As I went through the rest of the day,  everything that could happen….did.  I even went as far as to doubt where my relationship with my partner stood.  It is funny to me how the universe around us has a way of knocking us out of self-pity.  To side-track my partner and I from an argument….we had a dishwasher that burned a hole in its own bottom….we had a pup that became a living, breathing diarrhea machine.  We had to stop, pull ourselves away from ourselves and concentrate on other things and animals around us.

I went to sleep last night completely exhausted wondering where the magick was in this magickal life.  I hadn’t been asleep hardly anytime before I felt pressure on my side of the bed.  I can’t tell you if it was a dream or reality….those lines were blurred.  I looked up and saw a familiar face.  It was the face of Jim…my partner who had died many years ago.  He looked at me and my partner.  He quietly smiled and began to stroke the side of my head and cheek. Jim looked at me frankly and said to me, “When are you going to stop trying to see in the dark?  Everytime you try, you end up stumbling over yourself.  Why don’t you try walking in the lighted part of life around you?”  He told me about a bush that I had taken a picture of yesterday.  It is called a beauty berry bush.  The leaves are such a vibrant chartreuse that I got caught up in that coloring.  Jim said to me, “That bush isn’t named for the leaves.  You looked right at it and were so overtaken with the color of the leaves that you didn’t look past them and see the berries.  The berries are where the bush got its name.  It is the bright, brilliant purple berry that makes that bush stand out.  You think you have no place to run and hide when you are feeling like this…..STOP  running and hiding.  You will never defeat something while you are running from it.  Face it head on….run directly into it with the intent to make it run.”2013-11-03 09.31.33

I woke up feeling rested, even though it felt like I had been up all night talking.  I know the veil is thin this time of year….I just never knew that it could be like that.  You feel that sense of comfort, but you also feel like you have been whopped up side the head.  I put on my crocs and went to where I had seen the beauty berry bush.  I picked a leaf and a stem of berries to dry for my book of shadows…my book of remembrance.  Sometimes it only takes something small to remind us of the love and energy that surrounds us on a daily basis.  Sometimes it takes that which only magick can supply to show us who we are in the grand scheme of things.

Yes, I am still fighting through….but I am fighting.  The sword is drawn and the shield is up.  I am winning.  I will come forth stronger and more powerful because of it.

“You know that place between sleep and awake, that place where you still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you, Peter Pan. That’s where I’ll be waiting.”