I’m Getting Tired…

…tired of the elitism and jealousy in spiritual circles.

I’m tired of watching good people tear each other to shreds over things that any supposedly educated and mature person could work out amicably.

I’m tired of the fundamentalism of “I’m right, you’re wrong!” every way I turn.

I’m tired of allowing myself to be marred by the doubts of others.

I’m tired of the belittlement of things I hold close to my heart.

I’m tired of being considered a “sheep” or moron by proxy.

I’m tired of being part of a wider community that is snide and bitchy and no better than the faiths it claims to surpass.

I’m tired of having to choose sides.

I’m tired of the energy that is wasted by people who have allowed themselves to be tainted and twisted and then blame it on other people.

I’m tired of these people who will smile to your face, whilst concealing their envenomed blade behind their backs.

I’m tired of people telling me who my Gods are (or aren’t!)

I’m tired of the hubris of some people who think they are the mouthpiece of a deity and can perceive to dictate to everyone else what is and isn’t right. And alternatively, I’m tired of those people who pull apart those people who claim to be the mouthpiece of a deity. 

To be honest, the way we are going as “pagans” and “witches” we may as well all go back to Church because a lot of us aren’t behaving any differently than the people in the faiths we supposedly reject.

If people don’t like what I’ve said, or want to interpret it as a personal attack on them, fine – be THAT egotistical! This world doesn’t revolve around your big heads. 

It’s Getting Dark

I keep ending up here…I’m tired of having to fight to get back to a life that isn’t fulfilling or worthwhile just to end up back in this dark place further along the line. Nothing ever seems to go right and no matter what I do, try or aspire for it just falls apart each and every time. People keep telling me to change the way I look at things, to be positive, to ride it out…but I am tired of hearing it.

I’ve been quite angry and abrupt with close people lately because what they are telling me to do is the same thing I hear time and time again – and it just doesn’t work. This time if I’m not numb, then I’m frustratingly angry with no outlet. I have no control in life any more – everything is controlled and dictated by outside forces. Talking just doesn’t help. It only makes me more angry. Over the years I’ve had counselling, CBT, NLP, tried mindfulness, meditation, yoga, self-help books, hypnotherapy…it just doesn’t work or is not sustainable long term once the stress begins to mount up.

I’m frustrated because I don’t feel like I’m being heard or understood. Never before over the last ten years have I felt so bleak and hopeless. The thoughts are a lot darker, the desire to hurt myself and even to kill myself are a lot greater but the only suggestions anyone – personal or professional – offers me is to talk about it and that just makes me feel even more hopeless and more angry.

And I don’t even have my faith any more. I feel dead inside and no prayers or ritual bring me any comfort. I even dismantled all my shrines and packed the stuff away, but my partner came home drunk that evening and got upset because I had done it, so I put it back up to keep him happy but it just sits there…there is no power or presence there. I feel powerless, a fraud and a failure and talking is supposed to be the great cure that will get me back into the rat race.

I’m so tired…I don’t have faith, I don’t have motivation, I don’t have power, I don’t have purpose…it’s an effort just to exist. Even the doctor’s aren’t much help, ascribing me as having “low mood” as if I’m just going to snap out of it. My family and friends are mostly distant either because they’re too busy living their own lives or just because they don’t know what to do; but ultimately there’s nothing they can do. No one has a magic wand or a special pill that will fix things and this world is so f-ed up that I don’t really want to be a part of it anyway.

I haven’t even bothered reaching out to people further afield, because I don’t like to put myself on others but also because I don’t feel it will do any good…ultimately the same suggestions come through. Try or not, everything rests on my shoulders to change things but I can’t change other people or outside forces and largely that’s what affects me the most. And yes, I know that most people will say it’s all about my perception of those people/things and how I react to them that makes me feel like that but all that says to me is I’m supposed to just pretend to be ok living a crappy life in a crappy world, and play-act my way through until the end. But I’m even too big a coward to hurt myself or to throw myself under that train, off that bridge, to slit my wrists, take that overdose…

Makes no difference. I can never figure out if I want to laugh or cry or scream any more. The days are nothing. Meaningless and empty and I just feel like I’m the butt of some cosmic joke. Yeah, everyone has their own problems and there are people out there in far worse situations etc…it means nothing to me. I’m sick of caring because it has never gotten me anything. Whether I’m kind and caring or a selfish bastard I end up in the same place.

And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg…I just feel like a slave to this existence.

Living by the Two of Swords

In recent times I have felt as though I am held in some perpetual limbo, both physically and spiritually. All the things I have tried to do have lead to moments of not knowing which way to turn for the best and the stresses that have accompanied such decision making have on occasions dragged out for months, because I had convinced myself of not knowing which way to turn.

All divinations done for myself in any of these situations has always garnered the Two of Swords (or a card of a similar meaning) presenting me with the base knowledge that deep down I know what I have to do. But even so, I eventually move forward and before long come crashing back down at the foot of that blindfolded lady with her crossed swords; or more accurately thanks to the below image – to the Lady Hekate and Her burning brands.

I am stuck. Lost in the void between courses. Adrift in my own darkness. Numb save for anger and frustration. There is no up, no down; no forward, no back. Confusion reigns supreme. Though I’ve been here before numerous times in the last ten years of my life, this is by far the darkest and most bleak of times and I see no way out and mostly, don’t even want a way out. For the alternatives are a mixture of equally bleak or pointless because of the delusion of living in this world, being nothing but a slave to this modern age for no thanks or respite save death.

Upright or reversed, the Two of Swords seems a prevalent force in my life and no matter how truthfully I try to make decisions and live by my choices, I am broken to pieces and ground down time and time again left to silently scream into the abyss.

So how many more times must this Fool be strapped to the Wheel of Fortune only to be ground back into the dirt? Why can’t people understand why I’m so reluctant to bother getting out of the mire, when I’ll just as readily end up back in it?

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The Two of Swords from Pistis Sophia: The Goddess Tarot (Copyright Nic Phillips & Kim Huggens 2012)

Too reserved to revel?

“Many are the wand-bearers, few are the Bacchoi” ~Plato

The first time I encountered Dionysos it was more like just passing in a hallway – an individual you’ve seen many times before without interacting, merely just nodding an acknowledgement in their direction. Eventually, however, these encounters became something more; a dialogue was created and the relationship that grew from it became a very good one.

In a short time I learnt a lot, felt a lot of things changing and began to make sense of my own personal “bigger picture”. That’s when he pulled the rug out from under me.

I hit the floor so hard, my teeth rattled. And when I tried to get up, he pinned me down and metaphorically blindfolded. I was shook up and turned over, pulled apart and left in a dark, dank corner of my own mind.

I felt alone, cut off, naked and scared. I didn’t know which way was up, or down; left or right. And quite quickly, I began not to care. Eventually I didn’t need him to keep me pinned down – I kept myself prisoner and the darkness, fear and pain became a comforting cage of solace that I didn’t want to escape from, because the real world was even more painful and scary.

That first time, I was “down there” for almost seven months. That was when I was made aware of the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel and found myself being nudged towards it. Over the years I’ve been back and forth between the darkness and the light a couple of times – each time being rendered apart by Dionysos and left to pick up my own pieces.

Despite all that, I never blamed him or tried to avoid him and yet we became distant. My ritual and prayers seemed muted and unresponsive. In time I stopped actively seeking him out, but missed the union I had shared in the past. Every now and then I get a sense of him on the periphery of my consciousness but like smoke, if I grasp for it then it slips around my fingers and dissipates.

So perhaps it isn’t surprising that recently, amidst all the unsettlement and chaos going on in my personal life, that I felt the “pull” toward him again. I started reading “Dionysos: Exciter to Frenzy” by Vikki Bramshaw, there was a global rite being organised and most recently I became aware of the Thiasos of the Starry Bull and what Sannion and others are creating.

But in reading and following and playing catch up with everything, something has niggled me in the back of my head…Am I really a Dionysian?

Case in point, this post by Sannion detailing an initiatory rite. Reading it was fascinating and evocative. But when it came down to it, I stood in my own way and said “you’d never be able to do that”. And I’m probably right. Ritual nudity aside (that’s a big enough hang up for me as it is), the idea of being that “free” is something that scares and intimidates me. I don’t dance, I don’t sing, I don’t vocalise. Even when I’m drunk I’m fairly controlled.

People say there’s an edge to me. That sometimes it shimmers behind my eyes, a little predatory; a little scary. But the bolt on that door is fairly secured. It scares me. I scare myself. As far as general society goes, I’m pretty outside the “norm” and yet I’m still not outside with the true outsiders. I’m standing on the edge of the reserve, by the fence staring out into the wilds; listening to the distant shouts and laughter, the music and the singing.

Even should one of those revellers come up to the fence and invite me to join in, I know I’d politely make my excuses and shyly go home. You’re either in or you’re out. And if I can’t live it then I shouldn’t be hoping and pretending.

There’s no such thing as a reserved Dionysian.

Glasters Relocation Fund

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The mystic beauty of Avalon…

Ever since the first time I visited Glastonbury a couple of years ago, I knew within two hours that this was a place I needed to be nearer to. I have come to know so many wonderful people and always feel “home” when walking the streets or gazing out from the top of the Tor. 

After recently visiting again and spending a lovely weekend soaking up the atmosphere, I once again found myself confronted with too many signs and nudges to ignore. From the situations and conversations that took place, I am now moving towards making now/the New Year the time to make that move and stop standing in my own way.

Myself, my fiance Russell and our good friend Rob are aiming to do this as a group venture; supporting each other in the process and we know we have a strong network of very close and caring friends and family. Moving will mean a complete fresh start for us and for me personally, I will be closer to family.

So I’ve set this page up as a way to gather together the funds to help with relocation costs. 

Now I’m not trying to set myself up as a charity for this, I don’t expect strangers or people who don’t really know me to “dig deep”; I’ve set this page up as a single place where my friends and family and donate money as an alternative to gifts over the festive season and for my birthday in March. Also, where we can deposit our own contributions as and when we can afford to.

Clearly if kindly fairy-godmother/father types out there wish to help, then Gods bless them and known or unknown we will forever be grateful for your help in making this dream a reality.

And so, if anyone truly wants to get me something I want this festive season, I have just one small request: donate to the “Glasters Relocation Fund”. I know asking for money is cliche and a little cheeky but rather than get some things I don’t really need I’d rather that people who care about me, help me achieve what I want to in the New Year – and that is relocation to Glasters/the surrounding area. I don’t care if all you were gonna buy me was a pair of socks or a £-shop candle, it’ll benefit a greater cause in the long run being put into the Glasto Pot.

Thank you!

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Ghost Hunting: Wainbody Wood & Gibbet Hill

Last night was my first ghost hunting experience and it was very interesting indeed! I have always been very open-minded and have wanted to try something like this out for myself – for the very reasons, if nothing else, that I’ll be able to tell when someone is hiding in the dark trying to scare me against something altogether otherworldly happening.

The night started off with meeting up with the rest of the group, walking through to base camp and being split off into smaller groups. My group of six and the guide/organiser of the event, after taking some time to protect ourselves spiritually/psychically, first went down a trail into the woods where very quickly we noticed a severe change in temperature. Whilst we were standing in the dark, calling out, we became aware of flashes of orange light some distance ahead among the trees. This light began to appear from different directions as we continue to speak out to the spirits, should any be present and I got a feeling of being watched and at one point saw a hazy mist just above head level off to my left. I also got a sense of time from the area, like the residual energy and spirits were a few hundred years old.

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Russell stands off in the darkness, with this strange shape/light to the left of the shot (it appeared on 3 consecutive shots in this direction).

We began to walk around back to the base camp (the path in this part going in a circular direction) and as we reached the second part of the path the icy air and sense of being watched dissipated and the woods felt a lot more “normal”. Back at the camp, we were asked to try a spirit board to see if any of the spirits would come through. I was intrigued to try this as I’d never “dabbled” with Ouija boards or anything, having been “warned” off them by my mum at an earlier age. However, I was feeling brave and wanted to experience it and be sure I wasn’t “pushing” the glass or anything.

We took turns in asking questions to any of the spirits that wanted to communicate. After a few moments of pause, the glass gingerly began to move. The first concrete message to come through gave us a man, called F. Gulf from 1845 whose profession started with an “S”. After that we had another male who gave the initials “CJ” as a name and then began to spell random letters, though it occurred to me that perhaps they were Roman Numerals (I, C, M etc.). After that the board seemed to go quiet, however during the time we were using it and calling out, there was a lot of activity in the woods around us; noises and such that appeared to be coming closer to us.

Next, two of our group (my partner and another lady) opted to go back down the path towards the “cold area” and see if they could pick anything up. Whilst they were down there, we at camp could here noises coming from that direction, including a large “snap” of wood and the sound of a pained man calling out – as if someone had fallen over in the dark. When they came back to the group, they said they hadn’t heard anything and that it hadn’t been my partner who had tripped or something.

After that we swapped guides and went off towards Gibbet Hill, where historically three soldiers had been executed for the murder of a man in Coventry and their bodies tarred and hung in gibbets for 69 years as a warning that Coventry was a lawful city. Once we walked over through the woods to the right area, we were split into groups of two (though my partner and another lady we’re put on their own) and we tried calling out for any spirits. It seemed reasonably quiet, but we did hear a few heavy sounds in the bushes ahead of us; but it was more like foot-falls rather than some animal moving through the foliage.

Then we moved up a bit further and tried out a “human pendulum”, where we formed a circle holding hands and one person stood in the centre and we asked the spirits to use our collective energies to move the person. We didn’t have much luck with this and then another group joined with us and we tried it again, finally getting more of a result with a couple of members. But still not very much communication or anything clear.

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A strange shape that featured on 5 shots along the path at the Highwaymen Camp area.

Once again we swapped groups and went with another set of guides back towards base camp. They took us back towards the area we had first been in and whilst I was walking towards the back of the group I took a number of photos. In every single one, there appeared a white “blob” in the left hand corner. I checked that my fingers weren’t in the way and that the lens was clean and still the shape appeared. Then when we stopped and were split up, I took pictures in all directions around me and the form was gone. We spent some time on our own, in the dark, whilst the guide called out. I felt something “stand” just behind me and began to feel very uneasy and then out of nowhere there was the sound of a woman screaming.

That scared me quite a lot and I ran to the nearest person (my partner). Logically I thought it must have been someone in one of the other groups. The guide came to stand with me and I explained what I’d felt so he sent my partner to stand where I had been. He called out and I took pictures in the direction and a white shape appeared once again in the left hand of each shot.

We headed back around to base camp where we met up with another selection of the main group who had also heard the scream but had thought it was one of us. By the end of the night, it had been established that everyone had clearly heard the woman’s scream but each person had thought it to be someone in another group. We also asked about the history of the area we had been in and were told that it had at one time been a highwaymen camp and that the people of Coventry had begun to get tired of the robbery and so soldiers had gone in and slaughtered anyone they found living within the woods.

We were then lead up towards what had until recently been used as a pagan circle as well as a camping ground by local Scouts. This little area had such a wonderful and peaceful energy and the trees opened up to a clear sky, where we saw a couple of shooting stars! It truly was magickal and I would love to visit this area again in the daytime.

From that small respite of positive energy we headed down to another area which had apparently been quite active earlier in the night with other groups. It was instantly much colder again and I didn’t like the sense of the area without specifically being able to put my finger on it. We spent quite a while in this area as a small group but nothing really seemed to happen; all photos didn’t show anything up and despite a feeling of unease there was no real activity.

The guide decided to split us up into pairs and spread us out through the area. Myself and my partner went and stood further up the path and in the darkness we called out to any spirits in the area. At first there was nothing but then slowly the energy began to change; we heard noises around us, my partner head whispers and mumbling behind him. It felt like we were being watched by different people and then there was this sense like we were being circled. It was very negative and the emotions I could feel around me included a lot of anguish and fear, to the point where I began to feel nauseous.

It began to get a little too close and overpowering and so we instructed the spirits to back away, thanking them for their effort to communicate with us. Shortly after, the guide came up the path to us explaining that he felt “drawn” to come and see if we were alright and we explained what we had just experienced before re-joining the rest of our group.

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Strands of mist and haze close to base camp.

I asked if we could go back to the pagan circle, just so I could ground myself a little after feeling such a blast of negative energy and then after that we headed back to base camp, though we seemed to get a little “lost” and ended up taking a very long way around to get back there, rather than the more direct route along which we had originally come.

We spent more time at base camp, listening to some conversation, explaining what we had seen/heard etc. with the others. It was then suggested that we all go back up to the pagan circle to try a larger human pendulum. The majority of us headed back there, whilst the organiser of the event saw a couple of people who decided to leave back to their car. We waited in the circle for him to arrive, with me generally just enjoying the sense of peace and stillness in this little area.

Once the organiser came back he approached my partner and I and asked if he could borrow us for a little experiment. We agreed and our friends who we were with came also. He took us back down the trail to the area where my partner and I had had the negative experience and we all stood there in the dark as the temperature around us dropped, chilling us to the bone.

He asked us what we had originally experienced when down here as the general feedback had been that it hadn’t been very active which he was surprised about. We explained that it had been quite until we had split off where my partner and I had had the rather negative experience.

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Friends Martin, Kylie and my partner Russell with an unexplained “mist” in the corner.

That’s when he explained that the area had been used by at least a dozen reported suicides by hanging in the 80s. One of those people, had been his boyfriend/partner who had killed himself in that very area one night, using a jacket that he had lent him, to hang himself. He then when on to explain how his partner had had a very hard time accepting being gay (early 20s during the beginning of the 1990s) and that usually if any openly gay people/couples are present in the area the spirit usually reacts badly to them, causing nausea, pushing, scratching and sensing of negative emotions. This was fascinating as well as saddening, and during the entire time I was stood there my stomach was in knots and I had an aching pain under my diaphragm.

We finally left that area, my sense of fear, emotion and nausea dissipating by the time we reached the base camp. That was the end of the night, just after 2am in the morning. Tired, a little chilly and certainly with a lot to process, we said our goodbyes and headed home. A lot of the photos I took during the night didn’t particular show anything other than darkness and a bit of flash-highlight foliage, however some (like the ones I’ve included here) had strange mists or haze or blobs that couldn’t be explained as a finger or dust etc because I was doubly sure to check for that; especially in the series of 5 photos where a “changing” shape featured in the same area of the frame (whilst I was walking along a path and stopping to take photos every so often).

All in all it was a very interesting night and I would definitely go on future investigations to other places as well as back to the woods to see what other things I can experience firsthand!

Dionysos Bassareus

I wrote this little poem after meditating on the lesser known aspect of Dionysos as the “Fox God”. It’s a part of Him that has always softly called to me and the fact that Fox has also been trying to get my attention the last few months especially. Once I wrote the piece, again done in my usual “trance” style with no editing I decided to make it “pretty” and found a gorgeous image of a fox, creeping beneath some ripened clusters on the vine. Perfect!

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Dionysos Bassareus “The Fox-God”

Oh charming vulpine Lord,

You who chases birds through the leafy overhangs

And pounces on rodents who threaten the verdant shoots of the vine.

Nibble haughtily at the fermenting fallen fruits come harvest

And grin with black lips at the noon-day sun.

Cry in the night, amidst the cool and fertile earth

Evohe! Evohe!

Fleet and quick-witted, you move unseen

Amber eyes watching from between the leaves

Secretly weaving the magic of the vine.

Protecting the harvest of your gift divine

The violaceous orbs

That draught called wine!

~Kenn Payne