Like many people I have found this year to be a bit of a doozy and to say the very least I will not be unhappy to see the back of it tonight. 2016 numerically adds up to 9, not only that my age of fifty four compounded my feeling that this year was to be a year of transitions and gateways. Maybe that is just my own interpretation and what I set in motion for myself, but my own journey really has been focused on both a physical, spiritual and mental upheaval, refocusing and reforming. Every aspect of my life has been scrubbed, assessed for relevance and usefulness then either dispossed of, tarted up or repurposed. It has been intense but finally it’s starting to feel good.
This year I have changed the form and feel of my house, many of you have followed the saga so I shall say little more of that, I have also cleaned out my mental closets in the process too, old habits and outworn ideals have falled away with the tumbling brick walls of the house. I am coming to terms with my aging process and all that entails, I am no longer fearful of it or feel trapped by it. What I am is determined to make the most of every moment I have left in this existance and eventually leave this world with no regrets. I have also re-focused on my personal sprituality taking time to enjoy a spiritual course on Anglesey with The Anglesy Druid Order. The ADO course was instrumental in bringing me back to a personal spiritual focus and interestingly it also facilitated a clearing out of the deep seated life worries and fears that had been growing over the years, particularly that of the aging process, which was not helped by so many of my favourite artists/iconic influences dying in droves throughout the year.
Next year I will have officially been on a druid path for twenty years, though an undoubted ‘pagan’ all my life, although strangley it was only when I found druidry that I also find a name for what I had always believed in. I committed to the OBOD study course after connecting with people who felt like long lost family. I have spent much of that twenty years studying the myths and legends of these islands and across the world and trying to find ways to make them tangible and relevant to this modern life via immersive ritual experiences at camps and workshops. From the beginning of my journey I was thrown into a world of overwhelming experience taking me beyond even my own imagination, which had always been pretty vivid, opening me up to people, emotions and realms I had always believed existed but had struggled to find the keys to unlock, my life changed beyond recognition. In that change I was taken over by a longing to help others find those same keys.
Somewhere along the way everything became about putting things ‘out there’, finding ways to enable anyone who was searching for a connection with a deeper part of themselves as well as the myths in order to understand how the ancients interacted with their world, more over to try and emulate that in this. All very laudible, the only thing is to a large degree, I stopped putting myself through the process in anyway other than in my head. Oh don’t get me wrong when I say it was all in my head, my head is always in full on conversation with gods, faye and otherworldly entities. I am exploring the realms, emotions and revelations that my inner journeys take me to as I work with the elements of stories. It’s just I largely stopped being a full participant in the rituals and my role has become that of a facilitator. Now this is without doubt one of the greatest learning curves not to mention a powerful drive to be impecible in how you work both with people and with the material itself, but often the process requires you to be somewhat removed from the full potential of any ritual. By necessity one ought have to have one eye on the manifest world in order to deal with any eventuality of the mundane kind that might reduce the intesity of the experience for the participants. Not that this is a complaint in anyway, more a kind of acknowledgement that I was desperate to get back to feeling able to let go, to fully immerse myself and let the energy of the moment engulf every part of me, as I used to at the beginning of my druidic journey.
For the first time in a long time I committed to another focused spiritual journey that was just for me, over the ADO course of four weekends I was challenged physically, emotionally and spirtually to examine my journey so far and I loved it. I loved not knowing what was going to happen, I loved being pushed to my extremes (well I did love it on reflection after the fact, when I had recovered), I loved the magic and the new insights into old ideas, and I truly loved connecting with the group that journeyed along side me.
There is something to be said for depth of feeling you find with companions who are walking the same pilgimage. A deep sharing of thoughts and feelings comes with the trust of shared experiences, especially when you are all pushing at the edges of your physical and emotional comfort (not that there was anything more dangerous than sleeping in dorms and dealing with uneven ground in the wet or the dark). There is a support and recognision of the real human-being in front of you that goes beyond the norm, something that makes the world feel safer because those people understand and value you for who you are. That is unless you hold back and don’t allow the mask to fall. In that case you will gain nothing useful from the process. If you are unwilling or afraid to commit to the journey and keep everyone at a safe distance, what can you expect to gain by walking the path? And if you are not will to put yourself fully on the line, why would you even bother to turn up?
Suffice to say I have taken this year of change, challenge and refocus and done some hard thinking.
All this re-assessment has been done in the atmosphere of a similar global theme. It seems to me and to many others that the planet has gone nuts and we are all living in a world that is spiralling out of control. Fear and anger are rampant, the unease is palpable, also people are just plain fed up with the general state of affairs across the globe, particularly in the form of our political elite. We have made some let’s say ‘interesting’ choices in the name of democracy and who knows where those choices will lead us. One thing is for sure, whether you were for or against Brexit, Trump or any of the other “kick the establishment up the backside” choices that have been made, life will certainly be different and we will have to take and make the best of the consequences as they come. For now we all have to find a way to calm our own turbulent waters again, to get back some compassion for our fellow beings on this planet, learn to trust, have faith and try to muddle along with each other again in a spirit of celebration of the similarities, not focusing on the differences. It is time to stop being whipped up by the lies of the media into a fearful frenzy and start fact finding for ourselves. It is the only way to be at peace with the planet as a whole, and not just the human aspects of it.
At the root of my philosophy I am and always have been an unashamed hippy, not the drug taking, free love, freeloader kind, but the life is a beautiful opportunity, let’s just be nice to each other kind and that informs how I view the world, which sadly means I can not be a ‘perfect’ hippy. The things I see in the world often make me angry, cynical and judgemental, I have a soapbox for so many subjects onto which I will readily jump to proclaim my opinions at anyone daft enough to listen. But here’s the thing, that kind of reaction drives me bat shit crazy and feeds into the fear frenzy so prevelant at the moment. I am tired of feeling embattled and want to affect a change in myself and my world this year, I’m too old for this shite to be so dominant in my life I want some balance back. To this end I have decided to focus entirely on creating a bubble of peace, spiritual balance and creativity in what ever way that inspiration strikes me. I will not be listening to the general hubbub of the media instead I will be eminating a feeling of peace and quiet resistance toward the fearmongerers of this world. My true hope is that it will ripple out from one person to another and change the global atmosphere. I would like to urge you all to join me in a hippy love in if you feel so inclined. I will be joyously rejecting the fear and spouting peace and love. Let’s be relentless in countering bullshit with facts, but without rancour, rather do it with firm but gentle insistance of a wider more tolerant view, let’s love bomb the bullshiters and flowerpower the haters this coming year. Let’s bring a vibrant, dynamic new Hippy philosophy into 2017.
May life be gentle with us all this coming year, may the gods be kind and may love be the guiding light. Happy new calendar year everyone.