First Steps on the Dedicant’s Path, Part 1

Three Celtic goddesses, as depicted at Coventi...

Three Celtic goddesses, as depicted at Coventina’s well. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why have I chosen to follow the Dedicant’s Path? Why does anyone choose to begin anything? Most often it’s because it looks interesting. It appeals to us in some way. For me, Druidry offers a way that seems more structured than most. It gives me a way of developing a more physical and emotional side of myself and integrating it with my intellectual side. That’s something I’ve been craving. The DP doesn’t look easy, but that’s OK. I need a spiritual challenge right now.

At the start, I’m not sure anyone knows if something is a path or The Path. I’m very impressed with ADF. I like its balance and its seriousness. There are times, though, when I question whether any path is right for me. While I love ritual and study, I tend toward a kind of apathetic agnosticism. That’s my main reason for wanting to open myself up to spirituality and emotion. I’m also very secular. Not atheist, but strongly supportive of separation of religion and government on all levels. More than anything, though, I’m looking for balance.

I do not like what this country has become

Archie Bunker chair - Smithsonian Museum of Na...
Archie Bunker chair – Smithsonian Museum of Natural History – 2012-05-15 (Photo credit: dctim1)

Living here in the US, I was pretty pleased when it was loudly proclaimed that we were now a “post-racial” society after President Obama’s election in 2008. I had my doubts, but I was willing to keep quiet about them. Turns out that was probably a mistake.

Over the last few years, and especially the last few weeks, I’ve seen this country become a place where it’s’ not just acceptable for bigots to express their opinions, loudly and constantly, but de riguer. Whether it’s racism, homophobia or sexism, we’ve become a nation of loud, foul-mouthed Archie Bunkers. Willful, stupid blindness to the problems around us seems to have become the norm. I believe part of it stems from the cuts to education we’ve suffered in the last 10-15 years, but there’s more to it. There seems to be an attitude of instant gratification in our society that extends beyond the desire for “stuff.” We have completely lost all connection to the earth and those around us, and believe it’s not just our right, but our duty to say whatever hateful things pop into our heads. The backlash against political correctness (what we used to call being polite) in the 90’s has come full circle with a vengeance. If one side says it’s not acceptable to bully kids, a view with which I completely agree, another group comes along and says that not allowing bullying somehow infringes on their religious freedom. Yes, it’s “called the White House for a reason,” but not because it should only be occupied by an old, white man.

I’m sorry, but I can’t keep quiet anymore. I accept that some of this may be my fault for not speaking up sooner. Starting now, though, I will speak up. I’ll speak up when my friends say something racist. I’ll speak up when politicians or other “leaders” support homophobia either explicitly or implicitly. I’ll speak up when women are denigrated or their lower position in society is taken for granted. I will speak up when kids feel the only option to the bullying is death. I will no longer remain silent.

Enough is enough.

The Word-Obsessed Pagan

The Word-Obsessed Pagan

I’ve been a word person all my life. I started reading very early, and I care about language a lot. I may care too much, since it tends to inhibit my writing. I know. Words inhibiting words; it’s strange. I’m also pagan, which tends to be a lot more physical and nature oriented. I think it’s a good balance, but it’s a tricky balance to keep. I process a lot of my life through words. It’s a habit I spend a lot of time trying to break, but I’ve caught myself recently doing it again. So it’s time for me to try to focus on getting out more in the physical world and interact with it.

I need to get out and just walk. My neighborhood isn’t one of the safest, so maybe working towards a new location is a good idea. In the meantime, I can always get out on my work breaks. I’m downtown, but it’s a small city with lots of trees. It’s a good start! Autumn is my favorite time of the year, so this is a great time to start. The leaf color isn’t the greatest now. It was a long, hot summer and there’s just not a lot of color. Today’s winds could strip the trees bare before we reach peak color. I hope not.

I should also start my photography again. I most enjoy nature photography. That’s another good way for me to get out and interact with the physical world, although at one step removed. I’ve always got my cell phone with me, and it takes great photos in outdoor light, so I’ve got no excuse. I’ll start getting some pictures up here soon. Maybe connect my Flickr account?

I guess I should say something about the pagan part. I just started my second year as a part of Ár nDraíocht Féin, and I’ll be using this site to track my Dedicant’s Path work.  It’s a good path for me. There’s a balance of study and physicalness that appeals to me. And today, I just discovered a great Druid weblog, Bishop in the Grove. He’s an excellent writer with some real insights. If you’re at all interested in paganism, especially Druidry, I strongly recommend following his site. You’ll always find the link in my blogroll section on the left. Anything I link to in that section is a site that I’ve personally selected for my own reading, so it’s got to be good!

Until next time…