Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Body and Soul

The reality of Rootedness that I spoke of in my previous body is not some static thing but rather something that is dynamic and vital. It’s not something that imprisons or keeps one anchored in some kind of stationary or sedentary way, but rather it is an ecstatic , spiritual reality that provides a dynamic connection to a source of spiritual power. From the womb of the Mother life is conceived following transformation and this is birthed anew within. All is change and change is constant, the evolution of the soul. The fire from the core of Earth pulsates within whilst my Spirit cries to the starry heavens. And here is a tension that I have struggled to reconcile for some time, a mystery that I have not fully understood: the relationship between body and soul. If you think I am going to explain that mystery in this post, then I am going to have to disappoint! This journal is simply a journal of markers, signposts within the fog of my own spiritual journey, I don’t claim to have any answers of any great significance. All I do here is record the steps that I take, as well as my frustrations of how slow those steps are all too often.

More than once, in a variety of ways, I have questioned the relationship of body and soul. I’ve been criticised in some pagan circles over the years for what some have called being ‘too serious’ or of blurring the line between the celebration of the body and spiritual experience, but I think some of the criticisms miss the point. In understanding the relationship between body and soul one starts to understand who one truly is. Am I my body? Am I not my body? I know that I am of this body, but I am also aware that I transcend this body. There is a dynamic relationship here that I still don’t fully understand. I am of the dust of the Earth, and my body will return to this Earth, but I also know, with increasing conviction, that housed within this body is something far greater. What has bothered some of my pagan friends, over the years, is that when I start to speak in this manner is they misunderstand my comments and interpret them as Christian-esque. Trust me, with my evangelical Christian past, this has bothered me too, but nothing could be further from the truth. What I am beginning to see is that the soul within me, far from being some kind of separate entity seeking salvation in order to return to God is in fact the spark of Divinity itself, not separate from, but part of, an ever evolving expression of the Divine Mind, part of The All, my own Divinity. In many ways I know not of what I speak, yet I sense this and as I sense it I feel such a resonance within that I can’t begin to explain, which probably isn’t any help to anyone!

This can’t be some kind of intellectual exercise, it has to be something of an experience, and whilst theory is important, at the end of the day what really counts is ones own spiritual experience. Increasingly what I am seeing is as one lives dependant upon the body one is dragged into a kind of spiritual treacle that is almost impossible to move within. The body is the vehicle, but it is not the all in all. The body is important, and it is to be celebrated, but it is not the end in itself. It has a purpose, but it is not the purpose itself. Attachment to the body does not allow for spiritual evolution because such an attachment leads to a dependence upon that which is seen, whereas, weird as it sounds, the reality it actually that which is unseen. And the unseen is not some kind of airy-fairy made up candy floss fluffy superficial thing, it is pure spiritual reality and part of spiritual growth is learning to cross the bridge from this level of consciousness to that which transcends dependence upon the body, it’s senses, it’s delusions and its limitations. Yes, these are all words that I’ve read before, but slowly they seem to be falling into place at a new level, at a new depth and in a new way.

But this raises anxiety as well as excitement because I know, only too well, how I cling to this body, even though this body fails me at every turn. The frailty of my body is evident, in recent months it has failed me further, requiring to be (surgically) patched up, once again, until it fails, again, and yet still I cling to it because to do otherwise causes fear to rise within me. The existence of this fear tells me that I have further to walk across the bridge and that whilst my picture of what lies beyond the bridge is getting clearer, I’ve still yet to fully cross the threshold that separates the levels of consciousness of which I speak. And the more I cling to this body the more I will suffer because that is all this vehicle can do, ultimately. My attention needs to shift from the seen to the unseen, from the delusion of the seen to the reality of the unseen.

From my humanity to my Divinity.

Thursday, 14 May 2009


I, like you and many others I am sure, have been to countless ceremonies where one has been encouraged to visualise ones roots descending deep into the earth from the soles of ones feet. I’ve been taken through this so many times it’s almost become hackneyed, but in recent days this is something that has started to take on a greater and more powerful meaning for me. It’s starting to become real. I say starting as I feel that I am taking further steps into a deeper and more profound experience of what it means to truly be of the Earth, yet also of the celestial heavens.

We do not have to ‘get back’ to Nature because we ARE Nature! This truth is something I constantly have to remind myself of when the pressures of living in this incarnation seems to cause me to take my eye off the ball and I feel that I have lost that sense of connection. I haven’t lost it at all – the roots of Nature People are not suddenly cut off when other things rush in an attempt to seize our consciousness, any more than walking would snap them off. They are always there, travelling deep into the very heart of the Earth. And the fire that is found at the Earths core also travels through our veins. Nature, the wonder and the mystery of life, death and rebirth, this Earth, the Great Mother, is part of us and in us as we are in Her and of Her. We are from the dust of the Earth and we are touched by the hand of the One Divine Life just as all Nature is the Divine made manifest.

There is an art to being able to step back and shift ones consciousness, even whilst engaged in what seems to be the most stressful aspects of ones working life, and re-entering that area of consciousness that allows us not to reconnect, but to once again become aware of the reality of that continual connection; our rootedness. It is a constant, we just need to move into the awareness of that fact. I don’t claim to have mastered this, I don’t claim to be any kind of expert, I am just beginning to discover, however, that this is a truth that I can fully enter into. Our roots travel deep and wide into the heart of the Earth, just like a tree. We are not some flimsy seedling, we are as the most mighty of trees with roots the depth and strength of which cannot be overestimated. We are HUGE!

Yet at the same time we are filled with light from the One Divine Life, filled with the light from the One where Being comes from Unbeing. Our Higher Self can radiate from our physical eyes. From the void the One Divine Life flows into our Kingdom, this earthly, physical existence and brings life and I am filled with Divine Light. A child of Nature in my physical existence, a Son of the Gods in Spirit. My soul sings to the One Divine Life for I am of Them, yet my body celebrates and glories in being a Child of Nature. This is not a situation of conflict, but a wondrous union, a sacred mystery, a magical celebration. This is something of power. And as all Creation flows from Unbeing so I can bring into reality that which resonates with the Divine Will, for as above so below.

This is the true wonder of Oneness, of interconnectedness, and it comes from moving out of Ego into the reality of our Divine Relationship. Leaving attachment and moving into our God-Self. This is a process, an evolution, and I am a Learner in every sense of the word, yet I sense the reality of this and my intention is to move ever deeper into the truth of who I am.

My roots travel deep into the Earth, yet I am filled with Inner Light that flows from the One Divine Life and I am of and in that One Divine Life and both aspects resonate with the mystery of creation.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Blissfully Unaware

A number of people I have spoken with recently have told me that they choose not to read newspapers, read news sites on the internet, watch TV news or listen to radio news as they prefer (and I use the term they used) to remain ‘blissfully unaware’. What bothered me even more was the fact that they shared this information with me with a kind of piety, as if, by being in this blissfully unaware state, they were somehow enjoying some kind of deeper, more fulfilling kind of spirituality than I could achieve, as I chose to remain up to date with current affairs. I came away from all these interactions both confused and concerned. I’ve been mulling this over now for a couple of days.

I am bothered by these comments on a number of levels, not least because if one is blissful because one chooses to bury ones head in some kind of pseudo-spiritual sand, then one should expect to have ones head cut off! This kind of attitude causes me to picture people rearranging deckchairs on an ethereal Titanic. I was also reminded of the rabbits in Richard Adams ‘Watership Down’ who thought they had a wonderful life, unaware that they were captive and being bred for the pot. I just can’t see that this is what we are called to as magical beings. We’re here to affect change, not to live in some kind of self imposed ivory tower refusing to acknowledge that change, or evolution, is required. We are the people who can affect change!

I’ve not read Dion Fortune’s ‘Magical Battle Of Britain’ but the little I have read about it leads me to believe that during one of Britain’s darkest moments she encouraged people to come together in a series of meditations with the sole aim of not just protecting the UK, but the world, from a terrible fate. Far from burying her head in the proverbial sand, she sought to lead and train people in using their spiritual and magical energy in such a way as to bring real light into the world during a time of terrible darkness. Here was a demonstration of the immense power we hold as people of spirit and how we can affect very real change when we come together with focused intent. If we are truly magical beings, then change will be a constant, both within, and without.

This has bothered me because of where Europe finds itself at the moment. In a few weeks we have the European election. In my own country, the UK, this generates very little interest, and voting apathy in this regard is well known. This bothers me because it is at times of economic recession, as well as times when people lose fath in the political and democratic process, that people turn to the more extreme political parties for answers, usually because they offer scapegoats for all the worlds ills, scapegoats that some people are willing to accept with the consequence of many minority groups suffering as a result. It is already becoming apparent within the UK that some extreme right wing parties are spending more on this European election than they have in all the others put together because they sense their opportunity to gain their first seats in the European Parliament.

Far from being blissfully unaware, people of spirit need to seeking the Divine Mind and working magically to bring about positive change. At times such as these our spiritual path cannot be something that brings gain just for the individual practitioner, but needs to be something that spills and reverberates out from this and brings positive change for all. I have a very powerful and genuine sense for the need for our spiritual practice to be used in part to send out protective energy to guard and protect our nations at what is a very vulnerable time.

This isn’t a party political post, but it is my attempt to call us all to action, whether this be in a magical sense, or in the sense of causing any European readers not to rest on your laurels, but to firstly use your vote, and to use it responsibly.

Whilst we are not in the situation Dion found herself in, let’s follow her lead, and look outward at such a time as this, as well as within.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

The Apprentice

I hate the BBC TV programme The Apprentice. There – I’ve said it and I feel quite alone is saying so! I feel alone as it’s one of the UK’s most popular TV programmes, gaining plaudits, awards and millions of viewers and it is peddled as very much the programme to watch – but I really don’t like it. I actually find it disturbing and worrying. I’d go as far as to say that it actually offends me.

The Apprentice is one of the ever increasing number of reality television shows to hit our screens. In this programme people are set tasks by Sir Alan Sugar to test various aspects of their business acumen. Each week, the candidates are divided into two teams and Sir Alan briefs them on the new task. The team appoints a project manager and this person is responsible for leading the task. After each show, the candidate who has impressed Sir Alan the least is ‘fired’ and usually in rather humiliating fashion. The goal for each candidate is to make it through all the various tasks in order to win a six figure salary as Sir Alan’s Apprentice.

Why don’t I like the programme? Because it has the affect of bringing to the surface all the aspects of the human personality that I really struggle with. Those aspects that I feel that as spiritual beings we should be moving away from. The candidates all appear to be prepared to sell their own Grandmothers if this would secure victory. Everything within the programme plays to their own ego and their inflated opinions of themselves. When they feel they’re in trouble; that is, when they feel they are in danger of being fired, the venom that spews from their mouths and the pure hatred that is sometimes evident in their body language in order to denigrate the others is nothing short of scary. Perhaps it reminds me too much of the office politics that all too often surrounds my working day.

Yet, I watch it each week. I think I watch it to convince myself that what I don’t like about it is really what I don’t like about it! Perhaps I want to see it improve; perhaps I want to see someone actually look out for someone else. Perhaps I want to see someone demonstrate a degree of understanding of another person, perhaps I want to see someone demonstrate empathy, put someone else first, recognise another for who and what they are as opposed to seeing each and every other candidate as nothing other than a back to stab and a carcass to climb over in order to get what it is they want for themselves. They feign teamwork, but in the end the single motive is about self. In other words, there is no authenticity, no transparency, everything is false.

I guess the reason I struggle is because everything about this programme challenges my own values. Some people have labelled me as naïve because of the values I hold, but I refuse to believe that other people exist merely as a means to my own gain. It is fellowship that is important, not what someone else can do for me to make me look or feel better. We should be celebrating each other, not denigrating each other.

The Apprentice appears to further popularise the misconception that we should use force to obtain our goals, that the means justify the end result. Conflict, it would appear, is fine as it brings about selfish ends, whereas what is truly important is purification, a stripping away of all the former, in order to bring about a deeper and fuller manifestation of ones Higher Self and therefore selflessness. It’s about a laying down, which, ironically, once we fully move into this arena, brings far more worth and value than one could have ever initially realised.

Domination is a theme that runs through The Apprentice, and of course this programme simply reflects where we are as a society. It’s all about survival, it’s all about profit and gain, whereas the magickal being is called to lay down and surrender, not control and dominate. Magickal power is birthed in sacrifice.

This is what Dion Fortune refers to as the death of the personality and increasingly I am beginning to understand what it is she actually means. I don’t pretend to have arrived at this point but I see more clearly than ever just what it is that is required of me in this moment in time.

Where it will lead . . . well, that has to be another story!

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Quite A Journey

Yet again it seems as though I have disappeared off the face of the earth! It's been ages since I have posted here, but that is simply because I've not been able to see to make any posts! Whilst I tried writing in large fonts in a Word document, and then copying the article to my blog, I found that even this caused me eye strain as I was not able to see the keyboard properly.

Thankfully I feel that I am now through the worst. I have new glasses and these appear to have corrected my problem with close vision. The lens that has been inserted into my eye that works has corrected my long and middle vision. My eye pressure that was way too high now appears to be within normal limits once again, indicating that it probably was a reaction to the steroid drops that were prescribed.

It's been a real journey and I will confess to having travelled to some pretty dark places during this time. I don't have the time or the energy to post about them now, but I am sure that they will inform posts I make in the future. I have been forced to face a number of shadows in my closet and I feel that I have come out of this particular journey changed. It really feels as though I have been back in that cauldron of transformation - once again!

How have these events changed me? I feel more in control of myself and feel less prone to allowing others to take over the steering wheel of my life. I feel my priorities are clearer and I feel that I have a greater strength in articulating and asserting these priorities. I feel stronger in myself and I feel I know myself better. I feel I have a better grasp on what is important and, actually, I feel as though I have less ability to suffer fools! By that I mean those who get so wound up about things that actually don't really matter! I feel like a wise old fool, and the contradiction there is important!

My recent situation whilst not life threatening has been life changing. I've felt the fear and threat of that in a very real way. However, whilst midway though this journey my best friend in all the world was diagnosed with breast cancer. This was so weird, in 24 hours my dear friend went from being well and happy to being told she had an aggressive cancerous tumour and needed major surgery. It's been like blows have been coming from all sides and I really don't know why or what all of this has been about. As you can imagine, as well as my own stuff, my dear friend's journey has also been occupying my mind and taking my energy, as this is where it has been most needed. I'm so pleased to be able to say that recent tests have revealed that there has been no spread to the cancer my friend has experienced and she is now awaiting details of all the follow up care she will need. Please keep her in your thoughts, prayers and spiritual practice.

And here I am at Beltane, a time where I long to dance with the Goddess and God and feel the real power of their love coursing through my veins, providing renewed energy to every aspect and sphere of my being. I feel in need of this in a very real way. I feel quite drained, spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally.

I look for a time of renewal this Beltane.

Friday, 3 April 2009

The Question of Suffering

I still have to type in font 28 and then copy and paste this into my blog – and I can’t focus on this that clearly, either! I am so sorry that this means I am currently unable to read and comment on your blogs – please don’t think me rude! Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful comments.

I have been experiencing many emotions during what I have been referring to, both ironically and humorously, as my ‘time of confinement’. However, whilst said in jest, there is also some truth in there; as ever, ‘many a true word spoken in jest’. It is true, I do feel incredibly frustrated, and I do feel confined. There is so much that I am currently unable to do and as such my frustration with self, as well as my situation, grows and as these emotions grow so does resentment. I resent the fact that this situation has been foisted upon me. (False) guilt then comes along as my situation is not life threatening and will pass in a few weeks, so who am I to be feeling these things anyway?!?

But there is learning in all this. I am now wondering where my responsibility lies in this situation. How and why did this happen? Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way whatsoever thinking ‘why me’ in some kind of melodramatic ‘poor little me’ way, but what I am wondering is; have I somehow allowed a chink in my spiritual armour or a leak in my aura to develop and grow that has allowed this to happen, and if so, what can I do about this? Is there a lesson for me to learn in all this, or should the only lesson that suffering can ever teach be how not to suffer any more? Or, as I am spirit housed in this physical vehicle for a period of time in this incarnation, is suffering of the physical vehicle inevitable as it is fragile and weak and prone to fail – or is this something one can rise above?

As you can imagine, these questions are doing my head in! However, these are questions I am pursuing as I have never been given an answer to the thorny issue of suffering that I have found satisfactory from the pagan/magickal perspective.

In my long and distant Christian past suffering was also referred to as one of the consequences of humanities fall from grace – it was a consequence of sin. I was actually told that when I lost the sight in my left eye that I “clearly had sin in my life and that I couldn’t expect God to heal until the sin was dealt with and removed.” You can, I am sure, imagine how such a comment affected a 23 year old coming to terms with such a loss at such a tender age. This only added to my sense of guilt at being gay, as it felt that it had to be this fact that was preventing God from healing me. Whilst I moved in these Christian circles I saw many, many people in the most desperate and even life threatening situations come forward for healing, and leave as sick as they arrived, but with condemnation, guilt and rejection added to their issues and problems because, as it would have seemed to them, God chose not to respond to the cry of their heart. In my own personal experience I went through a period of profound depression as it seemed to me that the God who at the time I believed to be the creator of the Universe, who I thought I had a personal relationship with, had chosen to reject me. Being rejected by the creator of the universe takes some getting over!

Clearly, this was not the case and obviously I have moved on from something that happened 23 years ago – but you get my point. Christianity offers an answer to the question of suffering, unsatisfactory as it may be.

Buddhism teaches that all is suffering, that existence itself is suffering and that this is caused by desire and attachment. The Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eight-Fold Path deal with this, I over simplify, I accept this, however, what I am simply attempting to show is that Buddhism places suffering at the very heart of its teaching.

So, as a Magickal Being, how do I respond to the very real issue of suffering? As I deepen my relationship with Source so I enable the Divine to operate more actively and positively in my life. This isn’t about sin at all, rather it is about exploring the inner planes more fully and deeply and experiencing the manifestation of the Divine within me at ever increasing levels of reality. As my Higher Self manifests, can there be room for suffering?

Clearly there can. Leading occultists whom I have the deepest and most sincere respect for have died through contracting serious disease. Is this a reflection upon their spiritual development? I think not! To think otherwise is to imply judgement, and I don’t see how that is appropriate or necessary.

So what is the answer? Why is suffering so evident? How is it possible to have ones Higher Self manifest and then contract disease that threatens ones physical existence? Women and men of spirit, down through the ages, have cried out to their Gods with this question and it would seem there are as many answers as there are people asking the question. I don’t think I have an answer at the moment and I really would value the thoughts, ideas, and feelings of those further along the path than myself.

I wonder whether it really is a simple case of the divine spark within each of us being capable of a process of evolution through meditation, ritual, pathworking and encounter with Source, whilst the human vehicle is frail and susceptible to aging, pain and suffering and death as experienced by all things on this plane of existence, Suffering, it would seem, as Buddhists discovered long ago, is at the centre of everything and is maintained by our buying into dependence upon that which we experience through the limited human senses. The answer lies, it would seem, in the evolution of our soul, and our commitment and dedication to this process.

Sunday, 29 March 2009


Firstly, I genuinely want to thank each and every one of you who has sent messages of support in recent weeks, either here on my blog, via Facebook or directly in email. The encouragement and hope that I have experienced through your support and kindness has been immeasurable and my thanks and gratitude are heartfelt. You have shown, in your kind words, the truth that within each of us there is that Divine Spark and that through this we are all truly connected. When one hurts, we know and we respond by way of reaching out in love. This is not some fluffy sentimental thing, but a powerful demonstration of the love that flows from the One Divine Life. You have shown that to me in some measure, and for that I thank you.

I’m sat here at my PC writing this post in Word in font 26 and then I’ll copy and paste it into my blog – I just hope that works! I actually can’t even see this font size with any clarity as yet, so I hope that what I am typing actually makes some kind of sense! I am sorry, but as yet I am not in a physical position where I can read or respond to your blogs. I think it will be the end of April before I am able to do so. Please don’t think I’m ignoring you, I’m just not able to physically read at the moment.

Not being able to read or write following my eye surgery has been something of a frustration to say the least, this severe limitation upon my day to day living has thrown me upon others in a way that has deeply challenged my need for independence. My partner could not have been any more supportive, he’s been loving and wonderful, but whilst this has been a joy for me, it has also been something of a challenge. Allowing someone to do something for you, however basic that thing may be, starts from believing that you are worthy of ‘doing for’, if that makes any sense. And herein lies one of the lessons that I’ve been learning in recent weeks – an age old lesson that keeps coming back to me in various ways and in various degrees; one of truly believing my own self worth. Accepting and embracing my intrinsic value, believing that I am worthy of love, love from others, and love from the Divine. It’s a lesson that I thought I had learned many years ago, but I’ve seen that it’s actually one that we go on learning through our experience of this incarnation, and as we go on learning it so it travels deeper into our conscious and deeper in our soul, taking our soul ever forward on its evolutionary journey.

I am loved. Say it. Say it out loud. Look at your reflection in a mirror and say it out loud. Do you believe it? I have come to see, yet again, that I am indeed loved and held in the palm of the hand of the Divine. I am learning to trust that love and to move in the power of that love, to allow that vibrant energy to truly course through my veins and to move in the truth of what it means. Being catapulted into this however momentary experience of dependence has shown me, by way of the sudden and abrupt removal of many of my everyday supports and crutches that I can trust myself to the One Divine Life and that this One Divine Life truly manifests within me and surrounds me.

This realisation has come by way of struggle, resistance and fight! There were indeed things – thoughts, feelings, attitudes, behaviour patterns, call them what you will, that were holding me in a position of restriction, holding me back from my own spiritual growth and development and through having so much that I take for granted on a day by day basis removed, I was forced to look at things anew, and to allow a greater work to take place within me. I am in a far more secure place in terms of my relationship with the Divine as a result of truly waking up to the fact that the greatest limitations and restrictions I place upon myself exist in my own mind and heart. These can present as old concepts, ideas and practices that when unchallenged keep us in some kind of false place. I am starting to challenge many of these things. I can connect with all the powers within the universe, indeed, all the powers of the universe exist within me, so there are no limitations, there are no restrictions. I am now on a journey of truly moving into the realisation of this truth. It will be a lifetimes journey, I am sure, one of continual revelation, realisation and experience, a continual unfolding of truth and deeper truth, and one that will take me to many new places, much of which I will share here over time.

So this period of time has been one of a profound growing experience. It is one that has seen me travel to a very dark and depressed place, but one that has seen me rise up from there renewed, refreshed, challenged, and eager to move on spiritually in a very real and meaningful way.

I seek to grow and develop as a man of Spirit and as a man of Magick. I seek to deepen my connection with the One Divine Life by following the path that is right for me and through this commitment to deepen and intensify my relationship with the Divine. To know even as I am fully known. The Western Mystery Tradition continues to open up before me as the right path to follow, but I can’t claim to fully understand or appreciate all that this means at this moment in time. All I can do is respond to the call of the One Divine Life and place my feet one step in front the other as I move forward into a new place and a new experience.

May all beings be happy!
May all beings be joyful!
May all beings be in peace!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Thank You

I would like to thank everyone for their Get Well messages, but I can't reply personally because I have no near vision at the moment! Thanks for your wonderful support. xx

Wednesday, 4 March 2009


I've been away from my blog for a little while as I am having some health problems. Regular readers here will know that I have no sight in my left eye, and this has been the case for 23 years. I am now experiencing problems with my right eye,and this is making viewing the computer monitor very difficult. The treatment for my current problem is cataract surgery, which is a fairly low risk operation. Whilst the risks are low, in my position any damage to my right eye is obviously very serious indeed. I have to confess to being apprehensive. I would appreciate your thoughts, prayers, rituals, magick and candle lighting. My operation is on Monday 9 March, 1200 GMT. Please think of me. I will get back to this blog as soon as I am able to see!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Somerset Starlings

Although I didn't take this picture (you can find it and others here on the BBC web site) this is the amazing experience I encountered on my way home from work this evening. As I was leaving Glastonbury, the Tor behind me, the skies above me simply filled with what must have been millions of Starlings - and I don't exaggerate! The sky was black with them as the swooped and soared through the evening sky. It was beautiful, incredible, spectacular and awe inspiring. I've experienced this before, but only with the birds in the distance, this time they were directly above me and I almost drove the car off the road as I just had to bend my neck and keep watching them. I just wanted to fly up there and join in with them!

Apparently up to 10 million Starlings can be roosting at Westhay, Glastonbury this time of year, before they head off to eastern Europe. When I saw them this evening, just before dusk, they would have been heading back to the marshlands to roost.

What a blessing it was to witness this incredible sight this evening!

Monday, 16 February 2009

A Confused Ramble

I know I've written about this before, but I am constantly aware of how attached I am to this physical world. It's all I've known for the past 46 years and as I touch and feel and smell and see and hear all that is about me it's reality and substance are undeniable, but then, as I buy into that seeming truth I become aware of my own bodies mortality. This body is temporal, transient, passing through this reality, this dimension, this plane. A vehicle, a tent, housing my immortal spirit, a spiritual evolution.

Lately I have been wondering where the three strands of my path: (1) pagan, (2) spiritual mystic and (3) magick, dovetail, and sometimes I wonder if they come together at all! However, in my heart, I know they do. To me the 3 make sense and work together very well, but at other times, as in my opening paragraph, there appears to be conflict, and it is this conflict that I am trying to resolve at the moment.

My pagan self tells me this world is to be honoured and respected, celebrated and enjoyed, for it is the Divine manifest. My body is also to be enjoyed and my senses are the tools I have to understand, explore and enjoy this world. My spiritual mystic self tells me that this is a one dimensional experience and I can travel beyond this plane, both in my mind and in my spirit, to higher and greater realms and that to buy solely into this plane is to limit and hinder myself and will result in my not fulfilling all that I am capable of. My magickal self tells me that I can steer the chariot, that in finding my own true will and in living my life in accordance with the One Divine Mind I am capable of more than I can appreciate because I am more than flesh and blood. I am one with The All, part of the mystery. Here is conflict, but also here is unity and somewhere here is balance, and it is this balance that I am currently seeking within what feels like a patch of confusion at the moment.

I'm growing out of something and growing into something else and I don't quite get it at the moment. I'm shedding a skin, moving on, taking the next step, and me being me I need a framework to hang all of this upon, a philosophy, something upon which I can build, but at the moment I feel more like I'm walking into a new area that is unknown to me, unfamiliar, and I feel a little more spiritually unsure, less confident. Not questioning, as I know I'm where I need to be . . . I guess I'm just a little more unsure of where it is I actually am!

Right now I'm more aware of what I don't know than what I do. I'm not entirely sure I like that feeling, but here, once again, is a call for me to relinquish control and, not go with the flow as such, because as it was once put to me 'only dead fish go with the flow', but rather to understand just where I am and to slowly steer the ship through this part of the journey until the next destination becomes a little clearer for me.

I guess I'm also wanting to be sure that I do indeed have it right, so there's some introspection and a testing of myself going on as well. Never a bad thing, but not always a comfortable place to be!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

The Lesson of the Mole

I can't believe that it's been a week since I posted here, but sure enough, it is indeed a week since I've updated this blog. I'm not happy about that, but it's simply a sign of the times. Last week was a tough week work-wise, seeing me starting early and finishing late most days, and even with the additional hours put in, there is still a pile of work waiting to be done, with more being added all the time.

So today, I took myself out for a quiet pilgrimage to two of my most favourite places - Glastonbury Tor and Chalice Well. Regular readers of this blog will know that I visit these places often; living so close is a blessing of which I never become complacent. For me, today was about pursuing the movement that I spoke about in my blog of last week, testing it out, seeing what it means, where I need to place my feet. I didn't expect revelations, what I was looking for was some kind of inner knowledge of what needs to happen next to make this movement possible.

Movement and change surround me. Work-wise there is structural change taking place once again, with a plan of massive service change that will be take place in about 18months to 2 years, which will, of necessity, result in further structural change. Within 24 hours of hanging the picture I show in my post of last week I was confronted with the need to make an important work related decision, one that has the potential to affect my future in a number of ways.

Driving to Glastonbury this morning I was pleased to be alone. My work is all about people, be them staff or service users, and as such voices surround me all the time. Much as I enjoy working with people, today was very much about much needed time for me, away from noise, chatter, and clutter. I was making sacred space. As I turned a corner and the Tor, shrouded by mist with the tower just visible, came into view, the first of a number of experiences occurred - I cried! I wasn't expecting that and I can't say that I was feeling particularly sad, but clearly there was emotion there that needed expression and tears flowed freely as I smiled at the familiar and beautiful Somerset Levels, with the Tor standing tall and majestic. The energy from this sacred site was such that it drew emotion from me, releasing pent up feelings of frustration and confusion, cleansing and throwing out useless emotional clutter that wasn't serving me and that was hindering renewal. This was a deeper work of space clearing.

Climbing the Tor was harder work, physically, than normal. I don’t know why, perhaps it had something to do with the vegan chocolate cake I made yesterday in which I omitted to put enough baking soda! (note to self: read recipes thoroughly)!

As I reached the top of the Tor I walked to my favourite spot, stood, closed my eyes and became aware of my inner immortal spirit. I focused upon my true reality, the fact that I am spirit incarnated in flesh. I called to Source and saw my spirit intertwined with Source, like a huge silver cord travelling to the very heavens, bound together, wrapped up in one another, inseparable, and connected, one and the same. I’ve never seen this picture quite like this before, but it was clear, the cord was huge, massive, and it twisted and turned its way from the very core of me to the very highest heavens. I was aware of voices and movement of people around me, but nothing could break the power of this moment. This was a reminder of the strength, the power, and the unbreakable nature of my connection with Source.

Freedom was also a theme of my quiet meditation. In my minds eye I saw a huge bird flying toward me, expecting this to be an owl, my usual magickal bird, I was surprised to notice that it was, in fact, a Peregrine Falcon, swooping at great speed, revelling in the freedom of the wide open space that it enjoyed. I was conscious of my spirit longing for this same sense of freedom and aware that my own physical tent, this body that houses my immortal spirit can feel like something of a trap at times.

My consciousness was then taken to the little mole hills that were appearing around the Tor and here was the final lesson of today. These little hills of fresh soil were testimony of a huge amount of work going on, underground. Little, insignificant piles of soil concealing an industry of energy and effort taking place below by such a small creature. Here was the lesson in my stepping toward this need for movement – preparation. So much of our pagan world can be lost is show. The best robes, being seen in the right places, knowing the right people, the outer show, yet what is vital is the work that is happening within, and sometimes the outer evidence of this may be a simple little hill of soil, but underneath the personality is being prepared for that on-going process of initiation, whereby huge and significant changes are taking place, all in preparation for a new and dynamic phase of being. Encounters with Spirit, with Source, have to affect change, if they are real and genuine, and true freedom, true liberation, and true initiation are result.

The snow of recent weeks has had the effect of bringing the nation to a standstill, and we could be forgiven for thinking that in the face of Nature, we are powerless. Indeed, this was my first thought, but again today I have seen that this is not the case, because we are as much part of Nature as the snow itself, and that when the human mind, in true connection with its inner self, connects with the Divine Mind and picks up the message from the Divine Mind, we can bring anything into being. It may take some considerable time, but we are not powerless, we are more powerful that we may care to realise. Just like the little Mole, who builds tunnels and makes an incredible world beneath the soil, so we, when we connect with the Divine Will, can also bring into being things that are truly amazing.

So, as I walk towards this next phase of being, my call is to prepare, to put in the spadework, to strengthen and deepen my connection with Source and to step into my true calling.

The other things that are bothering me at the moment will then fall into place and become clear. I just need to shift my attention to that which is truly important.

Sunday, 8 February 2009


I'm just coming to the end of what has been a week of annual leave, it's been lovely! I had lots of plans, including sorting the allotment out among other things, but the snow arrived, in droves, and put pay to all my plans! That was a good thing really, as I had to adapt and change in light of the new circumstances and it actually forced me to rest and relax - which was probably something I needed above all else. I have so many lessons to learn about 'chilling' and 'being' and just letting go and trusting. This week I had a lesson in this first hand!

One thing I did this week was to treat myself to a framed photograph that I've been eyeing up for quite some time. It's been on display in the window of Dicketts (the stationers in Glastonbury High Street) for weeks, and I've never been able to simply walk by it, I've always been forced to stop, stare and journey with all the photograph conveys and contains. Photographs of pictures or photos never really work that well, but here it is, I hope this helps, in part, to explain why I love it so:

For me this photograph is all about change, about transition. It talks to me of moving from one phase of life to another. Perhaps from this physical plane to the heavenly realm through the death of this physical body. Perhaps the transition of initiation, with all the profound changes this brings, or perhaps through moving through another rite of passage. It's a photograph that for me captures wonder, excitement, joy and promise and it exudes trust; placing ones trust in Deity, in the Unseen. Behind is black and white, a one dimensional existence, ahead is the colour of wonder. It also calls for action, for the initiate to actually step forward, to step out in trust, to act according to ones firm belief. To me this picture is totally awe inspiring because it contains all this, and then some!

I guess this speaks powerfully to me because this is where I feel I stand at the moment. I am convinced that in some way, shape or form the calendar year of 2009 will be demanding a step of some kind from me. I don't know at this stage exactly what form this step may take, but it will be a step of transition, a step that requires me to move from one place to another, the opening of a new phase in my life, a new phase of growth, of development, of existence. This may relate to my working life or my spiritual life, I don't know, perhaps both, but movement definitely feels as like a theme for this year, whatever the nature of that change may be. Somehow I will be travelling into a new place, moving way from what may transpire to have been rather one dimensional into a multi dimensional and multi faceted experience.

My meditations and rituals for the early part of this year will, I am sure, focus around a kind of preparation for me, building upon the preparatory work that has gone before, and that has been recorded in this blog.

As well as this picture there is a place in Glastonbury that also has this kind of impact upon me. It's the area of the two great Yew trees at Chalice Well, captured perfectly and beautifully in this photograph, not taken by me, but by Morgana, of the Glastonbury Pilgrim Centre:

As I stand in this space in the gardens I am again powerfully reminded of my calling to 'stand between' as though I hold the tension between life and death, light and dark, heaven and earth. I don't know how that sounds to you, and I can see how it may sound pompous, but it really is a real and dramatic sensation and, just as I found it impossible to walk past the photograph, so I find it impossible to walk past the two great Yew trees. I've been fortunate enough to conduct ritual in this part of Chalice Well, working with this powerful energy. I consider that a great privilege.

The immediate challenge for me is to move forward in this revelation, using the energy I describe, deepening my relationship with Deity and stepping into this new phase, this next part of my calling. What I can't afford to do is simply tread water . . . this is a time of movement and change, that much is perfectly clear!

Friday, 6 February 2009

Twenty Five Things About Me.

I have a page on a social networking site, as I find this a good way of keeping in touch with friends who are 'far flung.' Recently I've been 'tagged' to write 25 things about me that others might now know. Whilst I don't like the 'tagging' aspect, and am not doing this here, I thought I would post my '25 Things' here, as they will provide an insight into me as a person, and sharing me with you is all part of my spiritual journey. So here goes!

1. I was engaged once! Yes! That might surprise some people who have always known me as gay ‘out and proud’ Andy, but I was engaged to a woman and 3 months from the wedding day I realised what a terrible mistake this would have been, for her as well as for me! It was all part of me giving into intense pressure from the Christian community I once lived within to conform to their vision of what was ‘right’ and ‘normal’ for me, as opposed to me taking time to listen to myself and discover who I actually was. I learned a great deal from this experience, but I do feel bad for the woman I was engaged too, as I didn’t handle it very well at all at the time.

2. I went to Bible College. And this was no ordinary Bible College! This was a place where Christian leaders felt they had an absolute right as ‘Shepherds’ to access the very core of your life and literally control your life. I saw people move house, sell property and hand it over to the leaders, as well as marry, when they were told to do so. This was a place of absolute control, little short of a cult, and as you can imagine, I saw many people break under this pressure. I have to say that I consider this phase in my life as one of the most destructive I have experienced and following my time at this place I wasn’t well. Again, I’ve learned many life lessons from this and am a stronger person as a result. The experience was enough to send me into a ten year agnostic phase, but perhaps this was necessary in order for my new path to open before me. This Bible College was a clone making factory, nothing to do with people finding their One True Self at all.

3. My spiritual life is the central core of me and everything else revolves around this and exists because of this. I consider myself a Magickal Being, my eternal soul inhabits this physical body for this incarnation and I am learning that I am able to commune with my ancestors, my Gods and All Nature as I stand as one with The All. Magick is about changing consciousness through will, and this is becoming more of a reality in my life.

4. I have no sight in my left eye. I lost the sight in my left eye when was 23 following a detached retina. This happened as a result of myopia. So, if I walk past you in the street, it’s not me being pompous and rude, I’ve simply not seen you!

5. I want to write a book! My story, one of coming from a strict evangelical background, the Bible College, being gay, finding my own true path, losing the sight in my eye, I think all these things combine to make a powerful story that people could take inspiration from. I just need to get on and do it!

6. I am proud to be gay! I don’t lecture people about it, being gay is an aspect of me, it’s not all of me, but neither is it something that I apologise for. I am who I am and more than this, I have every right to be who I am. My sexuality is not a second class sexuality, I am a unique individual, beloved of the God’s. Gay people do not seek better or more rights than others, we simply look for a level playing field where all people in this world share an equal opportunity at life chances. This world is still rife with inequality of all kinds, and this both angers and drives me.

7. I do not eat meat or dairy products. This is because I refuse to take the life of another sentient being and I am appalled at the way humanity ‘farms’ animals. We bring suffering and pain upon our fellow creatures based upon some kind of superior standpoint, in the way we intensively farm, slaughter and transport animals and it’s just plain wrong. Even organic farming of animals mistreats them and perpetuates cruel practices.

8. I manage services to adults with learning disabilities as part of the Local Authority.

9. I have been in a relationship with my partner for almost 20 years (although we had a little break from each other in the middle of this!)

10. I have 3 Nephews, aged 13, 10 and 8.

11. I adore cats. Cats are so intelligent, loyal, friendly, sensual, social and loving animals. I share my life with 3 cats.

12. I have just been lucky enough to secure an allotment and look forward to growing my own veggies! First, however, I have to clear the land and, as it’s full of couch grass, I have my work cut out for me!

13. I am increasingly frustrated by the way that ‘life’ stops me pursuing the things that are really important, but as yet I can’t see a way around this!

14. I love the music of Rufus Wainwright – and I just love him as well!

15. Music is really important to me, and I have a very eclectic taste, incorporating many genres.

16. I get angry when people sound off about the ‘politically correct’ culture of today. Whilst I see what frustrates people about this, I feel that people often miss the crucial issue, and this is one of respecting and valuing others and their individuality. Why people don’t get that is beyond me.

17. I cried watching Barack Obama’s inauguration.

18. I love living in this rural part of South West of the UK and would not want to live anywhere else. I’ve lived in towns and cities and I know where I am happiest – it’s here, in the country and I aint moving for anyone!

19. I hate flying. I’ll do it, when pushed, but I absolutely loathe and detest it and would be quite happy never to get on a plane ever again. Ever!

20. I am increasingly aware of the mortality and frailty of this flesh my spirit inhabits and of the urgency to get on and do what I was sent here to do. My working life feels less important, and the outworking of my spiritual practice more so.

21. I love collecting antiques, especially items from the arts and craft movement.

22. I value and treasure my friends and trust is pivotal in all my friendships. It’s crucial to me.

23. I’m tactile and sensual. I think I must have lived as a cat at sometime!

24. I think fundamentalism of any kind is dangerous.

25. I love red wine and drink too much of it!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Snow Thoughts

Today I spent sometime walking around the village in the snow and I took my camera with me, just to make a little video of my home village looking both romantic and magickal, I hope you like it!

As I was walking I was reminded of the wise words The Green Witch posted recently when she spoke of the need for silence. It’s something I’ve been mindful of for some time, and I think I’ve written of it in the past. It’s crucial that I stop and listen to myself, to my own inner voice. Remember;

if that which you seek,
you find not within yourself,
you will never find it without

So I need to take time to stop, to look, and to listen to that voice within, that voice which is the voice of my own immortal soul, the voice of my own divinity, my voice that is of Source and is Source for;

We are stardust, we are golden

Know ye not that ye are gods

And therefore this is the truth within which I must walk.

The voice that I listen to is the voice of the One Divine Mind, that voice that resonates from the starry heavens to my very soul, for we are One. I just need to take time to listen and to step into the truth of that reality – a truth and reality that already exists.

Walking in the snow seems to bring with it such a profound silence. All is still, and this was so evident today. Occasionally I happened upon children playing, and this only served to show me that the distractions in life may often appear innocent and enjoyable, but if they cut off that connection, if they provide a blockage as opposed to an open channel, then they are of little use.

In recent days I have taken stock of how far I have travelled. I can look back and see my own footprints in the snow and I can see just how far back they go. I have travelled a long way indeed. At times such as these, however, I wonder just how much I have actually learned during the course of such a journey! Right now as I feel myself moving into a new phase I feel the need for a teacher as I have a sense of needing signposts for this next phase upon my journey.

Perhaps that’s just sense of apprehension as I move into a new phase. Most of my spiritual revelation and learning has come from my own time alone with the Divine, and perhaps this is how it is meant to be. We’ll see, whatever happens and whatever my course, I know I’m turning a new and fresh corner, and my footprints in the snow lie behind me, not ahead.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Imbolc Blessings

I went to a couple of Imbolc ceremonies this morning as opposed to conducting my own ceremony at home. Although I went on my own, I had a need to connect with others. I’m not always the most sociable of people, I like my own space and my own company, but today I had a need to connect, and I felt that the two separate, although connected ceremonies, would support that. I will still have my own private ritual this week, building upon some of the things that have come into place for me in recent weeks.

The two ceremonies were good – but they left me wanting more. I really don’t mean to sound pompous or arrogant when I say they showed me how far I have come over the years. I guess they were geared with the very new ‘seeker’ in mind, whereas I’ve been walking my path for many years and would have loved to have been presented with something a little more challenging and powerful. I guess that’s for my own solitary practice, and perhaps I can’t expect something quite so ‘full on’ in an open ritual of this nature. The ceremonies took place at The White Spring and Chalice Well, both in Glastonbury, two places that are very dear to my heart.

However, I found the reason for my needing to be there today in one reading that was given. It’s been credited to a number of people, and in truth I am not sure of its origin (hopefully someone will enlighten me!) but it goes like this:

Mother, Father, God, Goddess, Universal Power
Remind us daily of the sanctity of all life.
Touch our hearts with the glorious oneness of all creation.
As we strive to respect all the living beings on this planet.
Penetrate our souls with the beauty of this earth, as we attune ourselves to the rhythm and flow of the seasons.
Awaken our minds with the knowledge to achieve a world in perfect harmony.
Grant us the wisdom to realise that we can have heaven on earth.

This prayer struck me powerfully and spoke to me deeply. In the ceremony it was read out and as soon as it was read, the ceremony moved on, but I remained with it. I couldn’t move on. This was the reason I had to be there today and for me a new foundation was laid for my journey this year. It’s as though this prayer summarised all that my Path means to me and reflects where I have been, where I am now and where I am going. I was meant to hear this. I need to take one line at a time for the purpose of my Imbolc blog entry, forgive me if this sounds a little like a sermon!

Remind us daily of the sanctity of all life

All life is sacred. Nothing new there, you might think – but how real is that truth to you? What do you see as you walk this earth? That’s what struck me today. As I rush through life (and I am conscious that I tend to march and run as opposed to walk through each day!) The One Divine Life is made manifest in All Nature. The glory and wonder of Source is evident all around me each and every day I live my life. Why do I often seek and cry out for guidance, for a word, for a sign, when the wonder of the Divine surrounds me – more than that, is within and is part of me – each and every day of my life? There is also a call to action here, and I think this is something of the message for me this year – it’s as much about doing as it is about being. Both are required, both are necessary, both are needed. If all life is scared, then this demands that I not only notice it, but that I respect it and treat it as such. This is about walking the walk, living the life, responding to that clear call not just in word, but in the way I actually lead and live my life. It’s easy to write words on a blog, it’s easy to present something to others, to pull on the mask, to play the part, but just how real is it? I hunger for that reality.

Touch our hearts with the glorious oneness of all creation.

I’m increasingly aware of the journey my soul has made over many lifetimes and of my oneness with The All, with all creation, with all things. But now I find myself moving into a place where I am aware not only aware of this incredible oneness, but also of the wonder of my connection with all things. I can reach out and touch and feel and be one with The All because I am at one with The All and part of The All. This ‘glorious oneness’ this true and powerful connection is something that I want to move deeper into, to truly experience this and know this, to feel and hear the message from the Divine Mind and glory and revel in the dynamic of this interconnectedness.

As we strive to respect all the living beings on this planet.

For me this followed the theme of my own personal responsibility. It can’t be all about me seeking this and seeking that – it’s also about what I give to others, to the planet and how I embrace the sanctity of all things. It’s about my personal response to the love and power of the One Divine Life. It’s about my hearing the message from the One Divine Mind and acting accordingly. It’s the responsibility that follows the blessing; it’s the call to action. It’s not all about what I can get; it’s also about what I can give.

Penetrate our souls with the beauty of this earth, as we attune ourselves to the rhythm and flow of the seasons.

This is a deep and powerful attunement. It’s not just about dressing up in the correct seasonal colours, singing the correct songs and putting the correct things on our altar at the right time, it’s about a deep and inner attunement. It’s about a coming into oneness with the natural energy of the Earth and of the One Divine Life and living as One. It’s about stepping onto the ray beaming from Source. As we do this, our spiritual sensitivity grows, and with it our empathy. This is all part of the process of continual initiation, of spiralling ever deeper into the heart of Source and finding home there.

Awaken our minds with the knowledge to achieve a world in perfect harmony.

I think as magickal, spiritual beings, we have a role to play in ‘bringing things in.’ I don’t know how to express it in any other way, but I see myself as a Gatekeeper, as someone who ‘stands between’. As a Magickal Being, I hold that tension and I bring into being that which is required both in my life, and in the lives of others, those things that are needed to further and deepen ones progress and the reaching of ones spiritual potential. It’s all part of the discovery of my own spiritual journey and the acquiring of the knowledge we each need to move on, to progress and to bring that real, lasting and genuine harmony into our own lives and the experience of others. It’s about bringing into reality that which the Divine Mind sends deep into our own spirit.

Grant us the wisdom to realise that we can have heaven on earth.

And for me, at the moment, this is all about relationship with Source. Of enjoying that deep relationship, that dynamic relationship, with Spirit. Of recognising my own divinity, my own roots, my own place in The All and as part of The All, and glorying in that and celebrating that truth. It’s all about the balance of joy, celebration and personal responsibility, it’s the natural outworking of a personal relationship with The One Divine Life.

So it is this I move into this new calendar year, using this prayer as my blueprint. This blog will no doubt continue to record my journey, including my trips and falls, as I seek to make this a reality in my life.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

When I'm Calling Your Name . . .

I've said in a recent post that the events of the past few months have hammered home to me the truth that I am not my body. I live in my body for this incarnation, but my body is not me and I am not my body. I am more, much, much more than the flesh and blood that keeps my current vehicle physically alive. I am more than my drives, more than my impulses and more than flesh, blood and bone.

Likewise I am more than the things I feel. I am not my feelings and my feelings are not me. My emotions do not provide me with my identity. My identity comes from something much older, something that existed before my current body was formed and that will survive long after my current vehicle returns to the Earth.

This is something I've known for ages . . . but that's it, I've known it - has it actually sunk deep within me? I don't think it actually has. Like all of us I've become aware of just how much I've been clinging to this body and this apparent existance - that which I can so easily see, taste, touch, hear and smell, and it's this clinging, this inbuilt sense of dependence that in effect creates the false reality that has the potential to fool me over and over again until I start to trust, once again, in that which cannot be really trusted. The end result of this is that I actually loose connection with who I truly am. This happens as a result of impulse, or desire, overtaking will and instead of this vehicle becoming a voluntary collaborator, it becomes my master, and that's not good!

Spiritual growth has its birth in truly knowing who I am and more than that, living and acting and being in that truth. A member of staff said to me today "I'm a human being not a human doing!" and it made me smile that this old adage was being reflected back to me. It's a hackneyed statement, I agree, but one that contains such truth for all of that. What I do does not define me, even what I feel does not define me, it's the truth of who I really am that defines me and this comes from moving out of the realm of reactivity into the realm of claiming and living in the truth of my own birthright - I am from Source and I am of Source - I am as Source.

I have a sense of needing to travel back to the place of my origination. I have no idea if that makes any sense to any one at all, but I know what I mean! A need to travel back to the place of my true birth. Long ago, as recorded in this blog, I embraced Andrew, my Younger Self, and this was a deep and significant move forward for me, but in many ways that was something that happened on a psychological level - but no less real for that. Now I see I have a need to move in the power of my Magickal name and to truly embrace that aspect of me and to allow the power of that to flow through my physical body. I need to move in the power of who I really am and celebrate the strength and power of this. It's not just a case of being given a Magickal Name, it's actually about moving in the reality of that in a real and living way.

The more than time goes on the more disconnected I feel to this physical body. I don't mean that I disrespect it and I don't mean that I don't enjoy it. I experience this world and this incarnation through it, and many of those experiences and feelings are very pleasurable, but that's not all that it's about. I'm beginning to appreciate what the combining of the magickal and the pagan aspects of my spirituality means, and in a sense it feels as if I am becoming ever more Mystic. That's surprised me to an extent, but it seems that's the way I seem to be developing.

I don't think that this body needs to be punished into submission. Somehow it's about the body, the emotions, the mind coming together and working in cooperation and harmony with Spirit and somewhere in here, for me at least, it has something to do with fully and truly embracing that Magickal aspect of me and moving with it and in it. Truly being who I really am, fully connecting with my True Self, but on a much deeper level than I have hitherto experienced.

I don't pretend to know how all of this is supposed to happen, but it's a path that appears to be opening up ahead of me and it's one that I will have to walk down and, once again, it's a process that I feel will have it's inception at Imbolc.

It all starts on Sunday, then!

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Dairy Free Andy!

Something that has increased for me in recent weeks is my sense of connection with all things. I've said many times before that I know I am part of The All, but this is something that has become more of a reality for me. I do feel part of it - part of the Dance of Life. It's like I've broken into the circle of dancers, joined hands with them and am dancing along! We're all dancing together, but each according to our own steps, our own paths, separate, yet together.

About three weeks ago I moved from being vegetarian to also becoming dairy free. I'm not about to get on a soap box about it, that's not something that I do, although I feel passionately about my reasons for wanting to live a cruelty free lifestyle. Many pagans have criticised me for this, some even suggesting that my lifestyle is incompatible with walking a pagan path. They are welcome to their view, I just don't share it! What I didn't expect, in taking this step, was the deepening sense of connection it bought to me with all things. I don't mean this in a silly Dr Doolittle kind of way, I just feel that I moved into a new space. I felt joined by the many sentient beings that walk this earth and make their own journey alongside me. It was something that I didn't expect, but it was a most welcome experience. It reminded me of this quote:

Animals... are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth. Henry Beston

I really want to mark Imbolc this year and because I've been somewhat out of action for a little while I intend to make it a kind of rededication to both the Lord and Lady. I'm feeling the 'shove' of Spirit! It's time for me to move on, to get active, to stop dabbling and to really get in there! Often in the past I've allowed this impulse to lead to a kind of frustration, as time and other pressures often get in the way, I'll explore this in my Imbolc ritual which I will carry out in my Temple Room sometime on Sunday. I feel really excited now I've actually written this down - it's a real and genuine intention and now I've spoken it, not only will it come to pass, but it will be eventful!

Monday, 26 January 2009

The Imbolc Quickening

Firstly, I want to thank everyone who has posted on my blog in recent weeks and months. I've been away, and I've probably been away for too long, but it feels good to be back. My time away has taught me many things, things about myself, my spirituality, it's practical expression (walking the walk as well as talking the talk) the physical world around me and those I share this experience with. It's been an invaluable time. A dark time, yes indeed, but without darkness we will never know light, and all things have their germination in darkness, before reaching toward the light.

I posted a 'thank you' yesterday on my last posting so I won't rehearse that here, other than to say my thanks are genuine, your support has been incredible, and I've both felt that support and grown as a result of it. It's carried me, and for that I am more than grateful.

My father is making very slow, but very steady progress. Tomorrow I take him to the Bristol Royal Infirmary for a check-up, the results of which, I hope, will see him discharged from Bristol in order for his care to be provided more locally, that would be a blessing for him, and for us. My mother has also been poorly in recent weeks, and that's been a great concern to me, but she appears to be slowly recovering. What a time it's been!

My work has also been changing around me, causing me to have to travel further and wider and to have to take on duties and roles that were hitherto not my remit, or indeed the reason for taking up my present post. I am first and foremost a manager of people, this is where my skills and abilities lie, yet I am being taken away from this, so I face challenges on many fronts. I have a feeling many of these will be met head on this year, in some way, shape or form.

It is no coincidence that I mark my return to the blogosphere today. At this time I usually feel the Imbolc Quickening and this is something that I have been aware of for some days now. An inner stirring, a hunger for divine connection, a yearning for spirit, an inner exuberance, a need to run and celebrate - and all this because the dance is beginning again. In many ways Imbolc is my favourite time of the year, a time full of such promise, everything is opening up before me once again, and it is my will that can begin to shape my own destiny. I am both excited and also in awe. I have such a sense of things changing - I don't think things are going to be same at all at the close of this year. In here somewhere, and I don't pretend to fully understand it yet, is something about my own ability, as a magickal being, to create my own reality - to open those doors, to make those things happen, according to my will. This is something I am going to learn this year, how I am not sure, but I feel it.

I feel that I have faced something of my own mortality in recent months, and to my surprise, this scared me. My foundation didn't feel as sturdy or as strong as I thought it was - there was doubt, untested belief. How can ones mortality be tested, without tasting death itself? I guess seeing ones own father stare death squarely in the face is pretty much as close to it as one can get, travelling that same journey with him, albeit by a different route. I have a greater sense of the reality of life, death and rebirth. Suddenly I am aware of walking this earth before and also of the reason that I walk this world now. My connection to everything feels greater, especially the earth itself. I do feel, more than ever, like spirit within a body, a life within a tent, seeking, growing, learning and yearning and becoming something new, something greater, to be born anew at sometime, in some place, until I have achieved whatever it is I am supposed to achieve and I ascend to higher realms. Suddenly pagan dogma means less to me and my own spiritual experimentation more. I may not always have a theory to hang something on, I may not always be able to explain it, what I feel or say may come in for criticism from my learned pagan friends, but what the hell? All I can attest is the truth of my own experience. Whilst I want everything I believe to have a sound foundation, I won't be quite so harsh on my own experience any longer, nor will I take the sometimes harsh criticism of others quite so much to heart.

It's weird, I feel as though I am seeing things with older eyes, yet I don't feel old! I feel wiser, yet not particularly wise. I most certainly feel stronger and my Inner Critic has been silenced somewhat! I often fall into the trap of 'oughts' 'shoulds' 'coulds' 'musts' and all the other imperatives, those that have been self imposed, and those that are imposed by others, however well intentioned, but I now embrace a greater freedom. It may not be as easy for me to have my morning meditations, my reading time may be more limited for a while, but hey, I can meditate when and where I can, and I can read when and where I can - I feel a travelling altar coming on! It's time for a more flexible structure to my spiritual life, and life in general, and I will whatever form this takes in the on-coming months. I've spent too many years beating myself up, it's time to forgive and love myself a little more - and actually see and embrace what is truly important for me, today.

It's corny, as it's a phrase that has become so hackneyed in recent years, but I have seen what 'living in the now' or 'embracing the moment' is really all about - I've tasted and ingested the reality of this truth, and its power. It's quite incredible. Truly entering the moment, separate from cause, apart from effect, just truly being - there is power, there is wonder, there is reality in this moment. It's somewhere I want to be more often.

So, the magick of Imbolc stirs. This time of germination, it feels like something of a pre-beginning, only that makes little sense, I guess! My intentions were set around Samhain and now they have been well and truly watered and fertilised. Now is the time of Nurture. That's something else I love about Imbolc, it's a caring, nurturing time. The frosts are not fully over yet, shoots, if they are evident at all, are very young and tender, and they require protecting and guess what? . . . it's okay! One doesn't have to be big and brave all the bloody time!

And I think that's the key for me at the moment, more than anything else, more than getting it right (which has driven me for too long) I simply want to make it REAL.

It feels good, being back!