The Death of the Green Man

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As the seasons swirl around us, we are entering into the transition from light into darkness and back into light again.  We have gone from the wild abandon of summer into the time when the Green Man’s colors begin to change and death overtakes him to make way for his transition into the Holly King.  Our lives seem to always be centered around transition.  Those things that we wish we could control…we have no control over at all.

As we move into this Yule season and cold overtakes the Earth (even in Atlanta, we live in anticipation of the shift in weather).  The briskness that comes with the Northern winds jolts us into a state of expectation.  As we celebrate the different manifestations of our own holiday with others who celebrate in their own ways, we set our eyes on the approach of the longest night of the year….knowing that the light of spring is not far off.

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 Over the past few years, I have become intimately acquainted with the green man through visits from an unexpected stranger.  Someone I have introduced to you as simply, the Green Wizard.  I have learned first hand what a kind, gentle spirit can accomplish through him.  I have learned to listen more intently to what the earth teaches…all through him.  I have learned to trust the heart of faithful friends more. I have learned to love someone who could do absolutely nothing for me other than be a friend and a magickal confidante…someone who represented purity of heart and selfless abandon.

I found out yesterday that the Green Wizard has journeyed into the summerlands.  I received more information this afternoon.  He apparently collapsed on the sidewalk of a small town close to the Tennessee border.  They took him to the hospital where it was found that his heart was giving out.  Boomer, his dog, was put in holding in the local animal shelter.  He quietly slipped from this plane in his sleep.  They found my name and Atlanta, Georgia written on a sheet of paper in his pocket.  The authorities assumed that I might be the next of kin.  I explained that I was a friend and asked what happened to his dog.  I was also told where his pup, Boomer was located.

I engaged my cousin who does animal rescue and she arranged for someone who works with her to go and get Boomer and set up a fostering situation.  There are many more things that have transpired due to his homelessness…especially since there was no identification of any kind associated with him and no direction as far as family or even a name…the one thing that was told to me by the contacting authorities was that at least he knew friendship…there were many who passed on knowing nothing but rejection and hatred.

In my mind, though, I will always see him dancing on the wind.  I can close my eyes and see his ruddy face, his eyes twinkling with hopes and dreams and always that sparkle of magick.  He enjoyed the freedom of being who he was…an extension of the wild God.  I can hear his hearty laugh echoing through the branches of the trees in the woods.  He will forever be Peter Pan to me….always dancing with the moon.

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Am I sad?  Yes…but I can never forget that wonderful spirit.  He always looked for that bit of magick in all things…whether it be an old pair of sneakers…a dog that was considered a throw-away…or a weathered old wizard who seemed to be a little out of sorts himself.

Especially, in this season, I know that so much of the world seems to slumber…waiting patiently for rebirth.  It will be the same for my Green Wizard.  He only sleeps now….we have known each other before in other lives and other magickal places.  It is only a matter of time before we see each other again.

I am excited for him.  This is a new adventure….a fresh beginning coming with the new moon.  This is his chance to be reunited with his beloved Calliope…a chance to dance and finally fly among the stars.  I am privileged to have been able to be a part of his magick.2015-11-19 07.28.06

His energy will always soar around me….sneaking up behind me when I least expect it…laughing heartily at the unexpected.  He was a child of the moon and sun…the earth was his bed and the grass, his pillow.  He was friend to the winged, and four-legged.  He loved completely and wildly and unconditionally.

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As the Green man sleeps, the blood of the Holly King courses through his veins…anticipating his awakening beneath a shield of ice and snow.  With magick, nothing ever completely dies.

And so he goes…with the heart of a true witch.

Blessed Be!

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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.”

Waking the Sleeping Bear

There are days that I look at myself in the mirror and wonder if I have become a shadow of the person I once was.  Have I become a big lumbering bear, staggering from a food stupor after raiding a campsite? I watch myself sometimes wander from day to day tranquilized by life the way the dancing bear from the circus is, always muzzled and kept safely leashed so that I don’t hurt myself or anyone else.

I have watched myself, at work and at home, become so much more like that trained bear.  A smile and a nod that everything is ok and that I am willing to do whatever it takes not to cause ripples in life. My job has become peacemaker, counsellor, problem solver….hmmm parent sometimes. 

It seems that at work lately, the new work force has become more and more immature.  I have found that coworkers now seem to need coercing and coddling instead of being supervised.  Sometimes I feel as though they expect me to treat them the way I have watched mother cats behave with their kittens.  They want me to clean them and preen them, make sure that they are well taken care of.

Don’t get me wrong, we all have to do our share of coddling and developing of other people, but I feel like nowadays we live in a society of Peter Pans.  We have people around us constantly who don’t want to grow up.  If I counted the times I have had to listen to “He did this, She said that….” I might pull out what little hair I have. I can only try to describe how many times in a day I use the phrase, “And why do you think it made you feel this way?”  And trust me…I am A/R not Human Resources.

Now the funny thing about the Goddess is that she can teach us a lesson when we want it the least or don’t feel like we are emotionally strong enough to put it to practice.  As I told you in the last post, we had been essentially waiting for my grandmother to pass into the summerlands.  Well, she did that last weekend.  I was bombarded with so many feelings that I had forgotten I had.  So many memories overtook me at the strangest times.

You can say alot about my grandma, but pushover was never a word used to describe her.  Never once did she cater to anyones whims or moods.  She was a very matter of fact woman.  She was always one of those women that lived by the philosophy “If it comes up, it comes out.” Don’t get me wrong, granny was never intentionally rude or crass when it came to dealing with people.  She just met them where they were.  I used to be that way.  I remember her telling me many a time how much better she thought I would look with shorter hair and then when I cut it, she would tell me she liked it longer.  She was a very honest individual.  She would also insist that I sing on a regular basis because she didn’t feel I was honoring the universe by keeping it to myself. 

The strength of my grandmother came to me alot over the past week.  She had always taught me to be proud of myself, no matter what anyone else thought.  She always told me that I was one of a kind and the minute I tried to become like someone else would take away my uniqueness.  She knew I was gay.  She embraced it because she loved me for who I was. Why did I think that I would be able to get through any funeral service for her without having to prove the strength she had embedded in me.

I was standing in the line for “visitation” as southerners call it—-it’s a “calling” for northerners and mid-westerners.  As I am standing there next to my niece, I knew there was going to be trouble.  One of our highly “religious” distant cousins is approaching us in line…..You know the type…..teased up and shellacked hair, painted on eyebrows, and round as a bale of cotton.  I hear her just a few folks down from me lean in and whisper to her cohort and whispers really loudly, “That’s the girl that had the child out of wedlock.”  I kept my cool….for a bit.  She gets to me and looks me from horn to hoof and says, “Why do you have that sinful earring?”  I answered simply, “Because I like it.” She retorts, “You know that’s not godly.”  I could feel granny behind me, kicking off her shoes and rolling up her sleeves.  I looked the woman eye to eye and said, “Neither is your teased up, hen-shit brown hair, your painted on eyebrows and your rather substantial ass.  Now leave before I stick my foot up that fat ass of yours and parade you down Main Street.”  After she swallowed all the air in the room, she left.  My aunt leaned over and whispered, “Your grandma never did like that woman.” 

My earring might not be your cup of tea, but it is mine.  I like the way I look.  I may not always feel that self confident with myself, but for the most part I really like me.  It is the same with my homosexuality.  I don’t ask for approval.  It isn’t needed.  I never asked you to enter my bedroom.  I am, however, proud of myself, my partner, our lifestyle and our friends.  I tried to be ‘not gay’ for a while.  It didn’t work.  That is what felt unnatural. 

I am not here to preach gay rights or anything of that sort.  What I am saying is be who you are.  Don’t stifle yourself for the sake of a job or a group of people.  If you roar when you talk….roar proudly.  If you lisp….do it just as proudly.

This week with my grandma’s undying spirit reminded me of who I have become over the years.  I am not a trained bear.  I do not roll over on command.  I do not coddle and tell you that it’s always going to be unicorn farts with rainbow sprinkles.  I offer reality.  I offer love.  I offer strength. I refuse to blow smoke up your hoo-hah.  That was who my grandma taught me to be….myself.

Sometimes it is not only necessary to cause ripples in life.  It is very necessary to just do a big ole belly flop and cause a gigantic splash.  It is good to shake things up every so often—-not for the sake of just causing friction….but because it is needed.  Everything in balance.

I said earlier that we live in a society of Peter Pans.  That isn’t a bad thing….but without Captain Hook, there was never any real purpose for Pan.

So what happened this week?  This ole grizzly got his teeth back….and his roar.  The best magick you can do is to be who you are.

Please join me on my Facebook page.  It is Weathered Wiseman.