Sometimes the Most Powerful Place to Be is Inside the Darkness

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The photo above was taken by my roommate a couple of weeks ago just prior to a pretty major storm.  When he sent the photo to me, he commented about how powerful the energy felt in the midst of the lightness and darkness of the clouds.  As I looked through the photos on my phone tonight….I kept going back to this one.  It reminded me that the strongest, most powerful areas of our life are where lightness and darkness intermingle.

When I look back at some of the most profound moments….the deepest changes….the most powerful magick in my life, it is always….and I dare emphasize always when light and dark butt heads.  When I think of this, one of the darkest times in my life comes to mind.  I was just out of high school.  I had left home and family hoping to find myself among the bright lights of New York City.  I had been there for eight months, sharing an apartment with six others actors, waiting tables on the side…sharing crumbs with the roaches.  I was struggling with my sexuality at the time….after all, nobody in television or on stage was gay….ok, right.  It was 1984.  I had done some commercials, voice-overs, even some theater.  I was actually doing pretty well for just starting out.  I can remember sitting on the fire escape one night….trying to get a glimpse at some of the stars that it seemed I had left back in North Carolina.  I watched as the lights of the city flashed around me.  I looked down and watched the sparkle in the streets.  I yelled out, “I am gay!!”  I did it a couple of times.  Finally, a voice shouted back to me, “Good for you! Now shut up and go to bed!”  My being gay was such a heart wrenching ordeal for me….but in that moment, someone who really didn’t care…let me know that it really didn’t matter all that much to the world around me….why should I let it bury me in self-loathing.New_York_City_at_night_HDR_edit1

Another instance when light and dark met for me was just as I was finishing up my college for the ministry.  I had become so intwined in the problems of others….learning to hide myself again…that I fell into a deep depression.  I went to bed and slept…..for weeks.  I remember my mother coming into my room and saying to me, “Where is my David?  I am used to him being my rock….my strong place.  I don’t know what to do with this one.  My insides hurt when I look at him.”  I crawled back into myself and listened to my spirit cry.  “Why was I who I was?  Why couldn’t life be easier?”  I had been on antidepressants, sleeping pills….whatever could be prescribed to numb my heart.  I had pulled myself out of bed to go to church one Sunday morning in July.  It had been raining for a week and I had to go over a bridge to get to the main road.  As I have mentioned before in here, the water came behind my front tires as I tried to back up.  I was swept out into the flood.  I watched my car sink as I struggled.  It would have been so easy to give up, but something rose up inside of me as I saw the sun between the trees.  I fought with everything I had and hung in a grove of trees until someone heard my screams and a rescue boat was sent out.

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Probably the darkest time I have endured is the death of my partner.  We had loved each other wholly and completely for three years.  When I close my eyes still today, I can remember everything about him.  He was 6’4, an ex-marine, bright blue eyes, brown hair, muscles in all the right places.  His heart was as good as any man’s heart could be.  I knew he was HIV positive when I asked him out for the first time….I never dreamed he would say yes…he himself was a dream.  He did say yes and we spent three short years in bliss.  Nothing was ever too much to handle as long as we were together….he ingrained this mantra into my mind and my heart.  But then, that day came when we weren’t together….when the ambulance took him away.  That day was so dark….watching him on that ventilator day in and day out….finally watching him slip into the summerlands.  This was a time when I realized just how strong I am.  I came to understand how strong loving him had made me.

It is in these darkest times of my life that I learned how to fight.  I understand that as witches, sometimes it can be easier to roll over and just say, ‘Goddess has got this.’  Yes, she may have the situation well in hand, but she also teaches us where our strengths lie and how we are best suited to battle.  I can see in each situation, how I was shown how to get my armor and weapons ready.  Each trial teaches us how to more effectively wield our sword.

I have to admit, it is far to easy to whine about all the little things around us. Trust me, this week I have done my fair share of bitching….about air conditioning not working, people being bitchy.  It is in those times that I need to reach into those recesses and pull on the power that Goddess has placed inside of me. 

If you think about it, we are becoming more like tempered steel every day.  The heat that we endure with each circumstance we face….the strikes that every day life lands against us only sharpens and purifies us.  We are more powerful when we strike because of the processes we go through.

No, I haven’t endured what you have.  You haven’t been through the things I have.  I am not trying to one-up anyone.  All I am suggesting is that we each utilize those things in our lives that should knock us down for the count….show what we are actually made of and bounce back like the biggest mother-fucking ball you have ever seen. 

I have mentioned to you before…a circle of strong witches that I have come to know as family.  That circle grows more and more daily.  I am fortunate….I have a strong circle of witches (male and female) that surround me.  They call me on the carpet when it needs to be done.  I do the same with them.  I love them….I cherish them…..they stir up the fight in me daily.

When you find yourself surrounded in darkness….all you have to do is keep walking forward.  Eventually you are going to see the sun shining through…and I bet you find yourself even more battle-ready than you thought you could be.

Blessed Be!

There and Back Again….

131164-bilbo-smoking“I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.’

I should think so–in these parts!  We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures.  Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things!  Make you late for dinner!”

My best friend and I were talking last night as we walked out of the grocery store.  Me:  Do you think I have lost my joie de vivre?  Him:  Yeah, maybe a little bit.  You aren’t the same as even when I met you.  Me:  What do you think happened.  Him:  I think you let fear take away what was once inside you.

I have to say that I agree 100%.  When I look back at the person I used to be, there was a sense of daring….a sense of delight that overtook me when someone told me that I wasn’t capable of doing something.  Immediately, something was stirred inside of me that was determined to prove them wrong. RhosgobelWe are told, that as we age, we are to settle down….it is a time to become comfortable.  After all, retirement is looming around the corner and we know that somewhere in our future, rocking chairs and quilts abound.  We have been hypnotized by reality shows….we no longer have to leave our homes for adventure…..just turn on the tellie, and you can live someone elses life.  You can dream of what it would be like to be one of the housewives of Atlanta, or go Hillbilly Handfishing, or you can be Honey Boo-Boo Child……the aspirations are endless!

You don’t even have to leave your home to have date-night anymore.  Turn on “On Demand” and order a movie…order a meal to be delivered and you never have to get dressed or even shower for that matter.  Is it any wonder that anymore we are becoming a batch of stinky, overweight, non-doers?  And trust me, I am  right at the top of that list.  I speak from experience.  It is so much easier to stay at home and never move from the sofa or the patio than to have to fight Atlanta traffic or make the effort to find new and whimsical things to tickle and enthrall the senses.  After all…..I have grown up responsibilities now.  I have two dogs and two cats that hang on my every movement and word….Yeah, right!

I do venture out to the woods or the pond on the weekends…sometimes even during the week.  I dress like powerful mage that I am (well, at least in my mind. LOL)  I look to the elements and the plants and trees and animals for the magick that I am so sure is inside of me.  But there is something missing.  There is adventure brewing in me that has yet to be tapped into.  There is that part of me who hungers to climb the hills outside of my courtyard, climb the mountains beyond and soar into the distance. My sword is at the ready….dragons are around the corner. 2012-10-10 15.00.59

I have entertained the Morrigan many times this week.  My encounters with her have been through the one aspect that I cringe at, but also crave.  She has spent the week calling me to change.  It is time to lay some old habits and thought patterns to the side and embrace a part of myself that I buried a few years ago.  It is one thing to grow older but one must also grow wiser.  The Morrigan showed me many mirrors this week.  In one reflection, I was a ferocious as a wolf.  That wolf, now, because of fear that has been allowed to creep into my life….will roll over onto his back and pee in the air like a submissive puppy.  In another reflection, I kept my wings spread wide like the crow…again, because of fears, my wings have been clipped.  Finally, I was shown the reflection of the buck.  My head high, my gait smooth, my speed swift.  I have allowed fear once again to cripple me and cause me to limp….afraid to move too fast.

I had forgotten that the person staring back at me was the one who had the nerve to leave home at 17 and pursue an acting and singing career in New York.  I had forgotten that this same person took on raising two girls without so much as flinching.  Most recently, he moved to Atlanta without the prospect of a job to be with the man he loved.  I saw courage in his eyes.  I saw fire.

I looked back in….the reflection didn’t seem to match who was staring back.  I have become far too settled.  I have traded adventures for stability.  This is not a bad thing, but I have let the stability become ritual with no expectations.  I have stayed where I am because it is comfortable and not necessarily the best thing for me.

Now I am not talking about getting up and forsaking everything that my life holds.  I have been called by the Morrigan to change those things that have made me monotanous….that have hampered and suffocated the magick.  I have started an adventure sheet.  I will be doing magick that will help to activate the adventure that I know is still there.  I may need to bare the teeth a little more, spread the wings a little wider, and race a little swifter into the wind….but I am willing to do these things.  That fellow I once saw in the mirror never went away….he was just napping.  Sometimes we have to wake that part of us up…..no matter how hard we protest.2012-09-06 12.09.40

It is time to free the parts of me that have locked away.  I need to remember to dance a little harder, laugh a little louder, run a little faster…..after all, life is one adventure after another.  I just had to decide to get up from the table, turn off the TV and run out of the gate just as fast as I could run.

I AM GOING ON AN ADVENTURE!!!!!the-hobbit_2422493b

Having Been Erased….

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It was a unique day today.  I won’t say that I have felt melancholy today….more like I knew something was going to happen.  I got up as normal, showered, shaved, drove to work, mechanically did my appointed tasks…you know, all that ho hum, work-a-day stuff.  I was in no way prepared for what was looming around the corner at lunchtime.

Now, I have talked about most of my relationships…..but there is one that I have not even shared with my dearest friend or my partner.  It wasn’t that it was so painful…but it was..and it wasn’t…and it was confusing and I didn’t know what to do with myself.  This was my very first relationship…in my mind, I put it into a special compartment….where it existed on its own, apart from my other relationships….but also where it didn’t exist.

I was very young.  We had been dating for five years.  We met when I was sixteen.  It had happened by accident.  He was a sweet boy the same age as me.  We did everything together.  We went hiking, white water rafting.  We discussed poetry and languages and wondered to each other about where we would be when we were fifty.  We were in our fifth year together and making arrangements for me to move in with him.  His family didn’t like me and mine didn’t like him….all because being a couple made both sides face the truth of who we were and who we were becoming.

Then it happened.  I got a call from a friend who worked with the local VFW.  There had been a fire.  They had found him unconscious hanging halfway out of a large window.  I rushed to the hospital.  He was still unconscious.  The family let me into the room for ten minutes.  Then I was hurriedly ushered out.  From that point on, I was not allowed to go back into the room.  I was alerted a few weeks later that he was coming around.  He would recover physically, but one thing had happened.  His memory was gone.  He couldn’t remember much of anything but bits and pieces.  He had no clue who I was. 

His aunt was appointed his caretaker. She had gone into his home while he was in the hospital and removed all traces of me.  She had taken all photos, all gifts…anything that might stir any kind of memory.  In one puff of smoke….I had been erased from his life.  To him, I had never existed.

I was hurt…confused.  How could someone be so inconsequential that they could be wiped completely from someones memory.  Not one speck of me existed in any of the recesses of his mind.  It was as if someone had gone into that big whiteboard of his mind and wiped everything clean.  I had become Mr. Cellophane.

Most people would have crumbled under these circumstances…..I proved something to myself in those months.  I am stronger than any situation that can hit me.  I decided at the moment that I was “removed” from his life…that from then on, I would always be memorable. 

It was then that I continued my pursuit of acting and singing for a time.  It was then that I gathered the strength that I would need to eventually be a pastor to hundreds.  It was then that I pulled from what was buried deep inside of me to begin the study of the Craft.  It was then that I began my journey into what would become the Weathered Wiseman.

In the years that followed, I did all the things that would make me, me.  I don’t regret one thing.  Have I said some things I shouldn’t have?  Sure.  Have I done some things that I might have been able to live without doing?  Sure.  Have I lived a life instead of existing?  Definitely.  Have I lived a life erased or invisible?  Oh Hell No!!  I am stubborn, opinionated, funny, loving, wise, and all over awesome.  Not because I was erased from someones memory…but in spite of it. 

I have learned so many things over the course of this journey…..things that I may have never learned had things taken a different turn.  I think on it now….the element that I most identify with is Fire.  The element that changed my life the most…..Fire.

Many years later, I was working at a local retail store. He came in with his aunt (who didn’t realize I was working there).  He looked me in the eyes and smiled that smile that I had known so intimately.  His aunt politely said, “This is Dave.”  He looked at me quizzically.  “It’s so nice to meet you, Dave.”  Once again, he was hurriedly ushered out of my life.  I sighed. It hadn’t hurt as much as I thought it would.

Back to today….I had gone home for lunch like I always do to walk the dogs.  I spent a little extra time looking at the different plants and flowers poking their lazy little heads out from the dirt.  I had just finished walking the dogs and was rounding the courtyard.  My phone rang.  It was my mother.  She said, “David, I am off work today and the strangest message was on the answering machine when I got back from the grocery store.  It’s for you.  I don’t know who it is.  It’s just strange.”  She played the message into the phone.  It was very brief, but very powerful at the same time.  The words spoken were, “Dave, it’s me.  I don’t know if you are even still at this number.  I don’t know if you even still live around here.  I just wanted to let you know….I finally remembered you.”  Then I heard the dial tone.

All he did was confirm what I had already known.  I am not and will not be erased.  I am not Mr. Cellophane.  I am far too strong to ever be invisible.  I am content.  I hope he is.

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Do You Believe In Magick?

Today was a different kind of day for me.  I actually slept in.  Normally sleeping in for me is getting up at 7am with the dogs.  This morning, I got up, took the dogs out, went back to bed….and slept until 10am.  I know it was because I have been sick.  My body would be wide awake when the pups wake me and would not be able to go back to sleep.

When I finally woke up, I woke up with a strong, strange feeling.  I had an unspeakable joy rising up in me.  I felt as if my being a witch was the only thing that mattered in the world and the air around me positively shimmered.  I could feel the same type of energy coming from the cats and dogs.  I felt, honestly, that magickally, I could do anything.  There were no limits to the power inside me.  It isn’t that the symptoms of the sickness that I have been dealing with weren’t there….but it felt like it didn’t matter.  That I could overcome it…whether it be with spell or potion or whatever means of magick I could think of. 

My cat, Merlin, was in rare form.  He was particularly loveable this morning.  He curled up on my chest for a bit, purring louder than I have ever heard.  I watched him as he pounced down and leapt into the air…playfully batting at nothing (of course, we all know that he was playing with the fae).  I looked on this sight and laughed out loud.  ” I do love magick!”  I felt it fly out of my mouth with the strength and grace of a dragon.  Nothing else allows for the intent that I muster to be turned into something tangible and useable.  Magick is about everything that I can muster from deep inside myself…..it is everything around me…..it is energies and elements and everything in between.harry potter I love magic

Of course, as these feelings overtook me….I felt the call of the woods.  I wanted, however, to go to the local ‘witchy store.’  I got a gift card for Christmas and it was burning a hole in my pocket. LOL!  When I got to the ‘witchy store,’ though, there was a group of young men who were putting out a lot of weird, odd energy.  I heard them discussing that, in their opinions, witchcraft was satanic.  I quietly corrected them and told them that I was a witch and that I didn’t believe in satan.  They laughed strangely and moved to the other side of the store.  I picked up the tarot deck that I had gone for and left.  Once inside my car, I felt the need to cleanse and ground.  I felt like I had been slimed.  My dear friend, Maluna, told me to ‘shake it off….that I was more powerful than that.’ 

I got home and put on my cloak and headed to the woods.  I needed that grounding…that wonderful feeling I had earlier.  As I got closer to the woods, I could feel the presence of the Lord and Lady walking with me.  I could feel the wildness of the woods beckoning.  My spirit animals were almost dancing in anticipation of my arrival.  I watched that little blue chihuahua get rambunctious and I just knew that he was playing with the spirit of wolf and crow.  He was doing the little bounce thing that he does when he is playing with his sister.  I settled into the dirt and I felt the shiver of cold run up my back.  It was bitterly cold out there, but warmly welcoming.  I had to feel the dirt under my feet….if I had thought about it, I would have worn my moccasins.  I took my shoes off and dug my toes down into the dirt…..oh, what a feeling!!  I could feel the elements of earth and air joining with water and fire as I absorbed their energy.  The coolness of the dirt on my toes reminded me how refreshing my chosen path can be. 

Magick is something that was born into me…it grows stronger every day.  It is a part of me and I am a part of it.  With magick comes joy….but a huge amount of power and responsibility.  It took a long time for me to get to where I am and to become who I am.  I look back and some of it was hard….but I wouldn’t change a thing.  I am at a point now where the joy and the thrill of magick are very much a part of me….and a bit of bad energy will not throw me again.  I just need to remind myself time and time again:  I am more powerful than that. 

Blessed Be!

Where Do I Fit?

This past weekend I had alot of time to think about things by the pond. The coolness in the weather seemed to call me outside more than normal. The wind was begging to play and the water was laughing as it was tickled by the breeze. It seems that I am called to the pond so much more lately. My courtyard used to be more my refuge, but it always seemed so ‘put together.’ I knew that my spirit was being summoned to something wilder…something that had not been tamed by the city.

I decided to wander out there today after work. It was a really stressful day and my blood pressure decided to bounce up and down like a yo-yo. I found myself getting angry at every stupid little comment and trying to separate myself from everything and everyone. Now was my chance. I went by myself today. I could feel my Lady of the Lake singing to me. I could feel Oak calling for me to nestle myself against his trunk (when I am lying against him, it is almost as if he is absorbing the negativity within me and pushing it deep underground with his roots).

My mind was going in a thousand different directions. I thought about the past. I thought about all the things I had been allowed to do in life. I was a singer, an actor, a clown, a minister, a counsellor, an artist, a boyfriend, a farmer…..it seemed to me like it had been too short a life for all those personalities to be wound up inside me.

I have always been a mutt of sorts. I have always used the old phrase “Jack of All Trades, Master of None.” It is one thing to be able to do alot of stuff, but if you don’t completely excel at those things, it can be dreadfully unfulfilling. There were only two things that ever felt completely natural to me…..being gay and being a witch. I felt like I excelled at both. In the church, I had always been taught ‘Father God’ but I always felt drawn to the Horned one and Mother Goddess.

I laughed out loud today as I remembered my days in the church. I was very much like Maria Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. It seemed that the other pastors I worked with were always singing, “How Do You Solve A Problem Like David.” I always had an unconventional approach to things. I loved to take the classes I taught out into nature to experience what I truly knew was Divine. I spent my lunches wandering through woods and creek beds. I never quite fit into the mold they had created for me.

And this is why I went to the pond today. I am feeling like I am not so much fitting anymore. I am caught inside the hamster wheel. Before the ooohs and aahhs start, my relationship is fine, my walk along the Path is fine, I am basically fine. There is just a puzzle piece loose somewhere.

I think the clearest when I am in nature. I can breathe again. I needed my time with the Horned One and Mother Goddess. I needed it to be me. Just me. I took my shoes off straight away and dug my toes into the dirt. I pushed my hands down into the grass just to feel that connection with the earth around me. I could hear the crows in the distance. My have I heard the crows lately…..and seen the crows…they have been everywhere. I have also been having more dreams about travel this week. I travel in my dreams by broom or by foot or just by puff of smoke.

This has also been a week when animals have been drawn to me more than ever. Dogs that I don’t know at the clinic are running up to me in a crowd of people. The clinic cats have been leaving gifts (goddess help me) on my desk. Today I was standing in the hall at work and I see this flash of white running toward me……it was a ferret who had escaped and ran at me and climbed me. Now you have to know that I am afraid of ferrets, rats, anything along that line. I am hyperventilating and he is having the best time. Everyone around me is laughing because they know of my fear.

Of course as I come to this revelation, it should not surprise me that at that moment there is a black and white cat winding itself around me. I don’t think I have ever heard him purring as loudly. I feel my brain starting to relax. Too many thoughts have been circling it. I smell the turn of the wheel as I sit there. I am delighted by having friends circled around me. I take my cue from them. I make myself laugh with the water. I make myself dance in the wind. I make myself calm and steady along with the Oak, and I breathed contentment like black and white cat.

I am far from depressed. Something has just been off. I find the best way to deal with that ‘off’ feeling is to put myself in the place that I fit best…..right in the midst of the Lord and Lady. While I am watching the world start to go dormant as the wheel turns, I am reminded that there are those times in us when we feel like a blank page. It is in those times that I must allow the Lord and Lady to write on those pages. I must also allow my elemental friends to do the same….it is important to pull on the personalities of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire.

I gather myself and bid black and white cat ‘Good Evening’ and give my offerings to the elements and head back to the condo. I go about my regular nightly duties. I empty the garbage and head to the dumpster with the bag. I open the door into the courtyard and look up….there is a hawk sitting on the brick of the courtyard fence. I fumbled for my camera and end up with a blurred picture of bricks. Immediately I think about the significance of the hawk. Hawk brings awareness and perspective ( Am I going through life blindly right now…going through the motions). He also brings insight and vision (Am I bottling my creativity? Is my self confidence waning a bit). He brings initiative and decisiveness (Am I procrastinating about something).

I can definitely see that the weeks ahead will bring many new thoughts and ponderings…..many days by the pond….culminating in a trip to the mountains of Asheville the first weekend of November. I see an adventure in the making.