The End of an Era

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Aside from being a blood drinking, puppy sacrificing heathen (note the sarcasm for all my literal minded friends), I am also a mother. I have an eleven year old stepdaughter, a son who is three and will be four on October 6 as well as twin girls who are 2 and will be 3 September 11.

Being mother of twins is a challenge. For me, that challenge is compounded by the fact that my son is only 11 months younger than my twin girls. For all intents and purposes, I have triplets for 1 month out of the year.

A few weeks ago, I found out that the cutoff date for preschool is September 30. This means that my son will not be going to preschool this year as planned. It also means that all 3 of my babies will start school next year. Although my floors and walls will be cleaner, the cat will no longer suffer from impromptu baths and I will have time to think…even write during the day, I’m not completely okay with it.

I suppose I wasn’t prepared for  the growing up of my babies. When they were newborns, I would say: “If only they would sleep through the night…” Then they did, and I slept soundly but I was completely unaware that they were growing still. They grew and grew and started walking and talking. I spent two consecutive years navigating the terrible twos, have endured endless temper tantrums and changed approximately 2,000 diapers.

Now I have to face the fact that my babies are all potty trained, can dress themselves and in 1 year, they will be leaving me for 8 hours a day! It’s a bittersweet realization, really. I am reminded, when my oldest twin exclaims “No mer diapers” (she talks with a southern draw for some reason), that in the near future, I will be doing triple homecomings, triple proms and possibly even triple weddings.

I am also reminded that one day, when my stepdaughter is in college, that all three of my little babies will graduate high school and leave home together. The plan at that point is to sell my house (providing I actually own one) and travel with the Renaissance Faire. Despite this, I cannot look forward to it. In an odd way, I know that I will miss the fingerprints on my windows, the clothes on my floor and the endless rolls of toilet paper decor.

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My Personal History

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My stepdaughter is having a test Friday about her history teacher. At first I assumed the notion of this to be narcissistic. Then it occurred to me that the lesson was the importance of personal history. I think as American’s we tend to look at History from the eyes of “the greats”. What we tend to forget is that for every highlighted figure in History, there are millions of completely average and unnoticed individuals. So, in the spirit of celebrating personal history, I have decided to compile a brief history of myself. (*Warning* This may be completely boring and unimportant). 

I was born in a small town in the foothills of West Virginia. My name was chosen by my father (who was in the parking lot of the hospital eating Kentucky Fried Chicken while I was being birthed), in an attempt to save me from the name Mary Katherine. For this, I am eternally grateful. Shortly after my birth, we moved to another small town in Virginia. I have no memory of this time period but I know that we were very poor. We moved around some more and ended up just outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

This is where my memory begins. I don’t have full and developed memories of my time in Louisiana but I remember things. I remember the Orchard outside of our house and how we would go out at night sometimes trying to see owls in the trees. I remember my father bringing home an armadillo which he thought was dead. Of course, it wasn’t and it ended up running around our house and terrorizing my mother. I remember being dared to eat mustard out of the bottle and getting sick from it (I still don’t like mustard). I remember our go-cart, BB-guns, and playing in the mud. In all of these memories, I cannot tell you how many different houses we lived in, what my dad did for a living, what vehicle we drove. I know that we were poor (now), but in my mind those were some of the richest memories that I have of my life. 

What I remember the most fondly, was the trees. By the time I was three, I was an expert tree climber. My father has always considered himself a “tree doctor” and he always made extra money for the family by cutting down, trimming and topping out trees. A lot of times, the family would go along with him and we would help by dragging brush, pulling the occasional tree, and (when we were older) cutting up trunks. During these times, my dad would teach us about the trees. He would show us the different types of trees, explain why trees have sap, and show us how to tell the age of a tree. I remember my dad would never cut down a tree until it was dead, even if we really needed the money. I admired this about him and came to think of trees as humanistic and holy objects in the world. 

By the time I was ready to start Kindergarten, we had moved 24 times and ended up back in West Virginia. My brother had already started school. For all intents and purposes, so had I. I suppose my thirst for knowledge is natural because I don’t remember a time that I didn’t want to (or think I already did) know everything. Anyway, by the time I started Kindergarten, I could read and write. My Kindergarten teacher started an activity at the beginning of the year that for every week that we learned to spell a new word, we would get a paper ice cream scoop displayed on the board with the word we had learned. While the other kids were learning words I already knew (like cat, dog, ect.), I was learning to spell Ashland, Mississippi, and Trouble. I was also the only kid who got a scoop every week. 

I may not have been the most popular kid in class (literally having only 2 friends) but I was determined to be the smartest. This continued until I was in the fourth grade. I had a few friends but I was a very odd child. I enjoyed learning, I daydreamed a lot and had nothing in common with my fellow students.

I try to explain to my husband what type of child I was and it always falls short of the truth so I’m sure it will here, too. In any case, here it goes. I was fiery…very fiery! From a very early age, I knew what I stood for and I didn’t back down! My mom’s family is Irish and they liked to “stir the pot” with me, my siblings and cousins. For my siblings and cousins, this game would often end in tears from them and laughs from my uncles and aunts. Not for me! I was never embarrassed, loved attention, and lived to argue! 

I don’t know anybody else who was blessed to have grown up with a family like mine. I was always surrounded by very dynamic characters. My mother is the only person I know who possesses the nurturing spirit of mother, yet could cuss like a sailor while smoking a cigarette and waving a blunt object. You know, like a knife! I have never seen my mom back down from intimidation and I developed a healthy fear of her by the time I was a teenager. My father worked away and my mother had to fill his shoes a lot of the time. If this meant fighting a man, so be it! 

This is the general trend among women in my family. My aunt was a fiery red head. She was the happiest person I have ever met in my life, despite the harshness she has encountered in her life. This being said, I can remember vividly her picking up people by the throat because of difference of opinion. She was a protector and somebody who you just didn’t cross. She died 2 days before my 9th birthday, a loss which devastated, yet educated me. I remember the days before her death very vividly and how the things that were said and done stirred a spiritual longing inside me that will never be doused. 

My grandmother (my mom’s mom) was sweet and gentle; an intellectual and writer. She used this skill, from time to time, to write letters to her foes. I always admired her craft and ability to write in a nice tone while telling someone off. My grandmother was a folk singer and would entertain us kids with her vast knowledge of old folk songs. Sadly, I don’t remember many of them, save my favorite (I wish I was Single Again). 

In fact, music was a large part of my upbringing. My uncles and cousins played the guitar, mandolin, piano, ect. Many people in my family sing and gatherings would often culminate in singing folk, bluegrass, or religious tunes to the sound of my uncle on the guitar. Sadly, I received my musical genetics from my father yet I was completely unembarrassed to be the only individual in the room who didn’t know a G from a C. I simply loved the vibrations of song from my belly to my throat and, to this day, it doesn’t really matter what I sound like; I sing. Loud and proud, I belt out tunes of young and old in crowded rooms or my empty car. Unashamed, I single handily contradict generations of musical talent in my family. 

I was raised in community deeply rooted in Christianity. I attended church every time the doors were open and bible studies were my fairy tales. So how in the world did I become a heathen? Why do I practice magic and talk to the trees? Surely, some of the answers lie in this brief history of my life but the truth of it has yet to be revealed. All that is a post for a different day. 

Death of an Unborn Legend.

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The memories intertwine,

Like the branches of my equinox wreath.

Though I have lived a life of fullness,
Documentation of it cannot be found.

Every Scar,

Every Tear,

Every screaming word
Falls from my biography

Like the leaves of the trees

 

My words melt into the background

Of a dying society.

My life’s work:

A story that will never be heard;

Words that will never be expressed:

Scattered beneath the folds of my societal robes.

 

These burning labels mute me:

For mothers don’t speak like that:

Lovers don’t speak at all

Students only speak when spoken to

Yet inside I am burning:
Dying to convey ancient messages;

Stories of a fallen angel.

 

Broken and Tattered,

Yet glowing with godly grace:

On a journey to teach, to lead

To devour and feed.

Darkness and Light,

Constantly crashing,

Pulling me down

 

Would I be heard,

If I had traveled a different path?

Would I be heard

If I were born of royal love?

Would I be heard,

If I weren’t one of the 47% of useless souls,

Clamoring on the brink of apocalyptic fall?

 

 

The validity of my words will not be defined by society

And as I shed my second skin,

Strength wells inside me.

Out of the deafening silence, I emerge:

A firebird with a tongue like a blade,

And the strength of soul

To save a dying race

 

With change on the horizon,

I answer the call

And blaze toward enlightened society

With the ferocity of a thousand demons.

I must shatter every label,

Understand every crisis,

Jump over every boundary,

And dodge ever bullet.

 

For sane opinion in an insane society

Will become the death of an unborn legend.

School Uniforms and the Rebel with a Cause!

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My stepdaughter has issues with authority. I’m not referring to the normal, disrespectful quality that most American preteens possess. This is a deep seeded and intense disrespect for authority that has grown out of a pure lack of consistent and valuable authority in her early life. I appreciate a healthy level of rebellion, I really do. In the case of my stepdaughter, I could tell her to take her hand OUT of the Alligator’s mouth and despite common sense, she would shove it down further into the alligator’s mouth just to spite me.

It has been a struggle. She’s a really good kid: super smart, funny, talented and very likable. She just doesn’t trust authority. I can’t say I blame her because with the decline in the economy and public opinion of the president down, it seems that everybody’s confidence in authority has been shaken.

I have worked very hard to build some trust in authority with her. I have done the one thing that parents hate to do…I explain myself to her. I tell her why I am saying no and explain why I have instituted the rules I have. I don’t want to crush her rebellious spirit because I think it’s healthy to question authority from time to time. I simply want her to have enough respect and trust in authority that she can succeed in a capitalistic society.

Then, we moved and she started a Middle School that requires school uniforms. School uniforms aren’t that bad. I can easily explain to her that the purpose of school uniforms is to promote a sense of “sameness” among students. I can explain how school uniforms help focus the student on learning, as opposed to the clothes they are going to wear each day. I can explain how school uniforms are supposed to even the class structure within the school. I can  even explain to her why our religious symbols are banned but other religions are tolerated.

What I cannot explain is why her belt has to be free of stitching; why her socks must be below her ankle (even with pants); why she is not allowed to wear sandals. I can’t explain to her why it is okay to wear shorts and pants but not capris. Most of all (the rule that bothers her the most), I cannot explain to her why there is a strict hair length rule for guys.

For a lot of parents in this area, the school uniform code is an annoyance. For me, it’s a real problem. I know my stepdaughter will not have faith in the authority at her school if she feels they are instituting unfair rules. She is a good student and is great at following school rules (usually). However, I’ve seen what happens when her rebellious spirit takes over. I have seen the method that she uses to question authority that she thinks is not strong, and it is not pretty!

I have this mental image of my stepdaughter in school doing something crazy like shaving her head in protest of the hair rule or drawing fake tattoos all over herself to annoy the teachers. I want her to respect the authority of the school but I also see her point here. When an institution creates a rule structure that does not make sense in the mind of the individual, it should spark a sense of rebellion. If it wasn’t for this spirit, the American Revolution would have never occurred, we would not have labor unions, African Americans and women would not be able to vote and the list goes on and on.

I suppose what I am saying is that I admire her spirit. I don’t blame her for feeling the way that she feels about the dress code. In fact, a large part of me blames the school for not considering the rights of the student when planning the dress code. I suppose that I, too, am tired of power hungry institutions imposing ridiculous rules upon the whole of society, simply because “they can”.

Godkillers

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The bedtime savior of my childhood dreams,

Comes to haunt me and my enlightened society      

Covered in cinders with raccoon eyes,

He kills my Gods…

Tears them open with his silver axes;

Rips out their insides

And trades them for liquid gold.

His brother, the transporter

Suffocates me in my sleep;

Choking my lords with toxic air.

Together, they fuel

The great God of sleeping destruction…

As he awaits the call to destroy us all.

The shed of blood,

From dying Gods,

Is the sustaining force of life for all.

Yet, I am condemned by the trolls,

For protecting them;

Accused of walking with the under lord.

As shadows consume the earth,

The cries of angels are muted

By the hand of the Godkillers.

Why is Druidism relevant today?

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The Oxford English Dictionary defines archetypes as “an original that has been imitated”. It is, in fact, the nature of things to be imitated. This occurs in the handing down of things. As most definitions do, it falls short of the true nature of the word. Modern Druidism isn’t an exact imitation of ancient Celtic faith practices. As with the handing down of family traditions, perceptions and interactions with the world change aspects of the tradition and so it becomes more of an adaption or interpretation than an exact imitation. It is the shifting of the unconsciousness of individuals involved in collective unconsciousness that create the changes of tradition.

            This does not mean that the archetype is invalid or wrong. In fact, everything is an archetype. The founding traditions of Druidism were, in their own time, an archetype of something…some original seed that was planted and developed with the shifting of collective unconsciousness. Every modern religion, practice or tradition is an archetype of something that preceded it. Each one of these religions will be an archetype for whatever is to come in the future; it is the nature of man to progress in such manner.

            The original, in this case, may be untouchable but the spirit of the movement burns on inside all current students of Druidism. Although the practices and motions that currently exist may be different, the seed is the same. Men, like trees, were designed to reach upward, outward to connect with a higher power…to connect with all things around us. The seed was planted at a time of which nobody can objectively recall, and it has grown to express itself in a manner of ways. Only the planting of the seed can be called “original”, everything that followed is an archetype, or branch of the same tree.

            Since all faith practices and beliefs were planted from the same seed, we all draw from the same roots and drink of the same water. Although the branches may twist in very different directions and at times they may sway in the wind and crash into one another, they are still apart (as are we, as individuals) part of the collective unconscious. This is the first of things that has long been forgotten.

Wars will wage regarding the separate interpretations of any belief. Individuals will judge, persecute, and even murder in the name of “what is right”. We have become so indulgent in disproving another’s truth in order to assert the power of one’s truth over another that we have forgotten that we all harbor, inherently, the same truths. The differences lie in only our interpretation and expression of them.

This would not be successful without a perceived removal of oneself from the collective unconscious. Throughout written history, there has been infamous splitting of churches, states, and cultures which have impaired perception regarding our connectedness to one another. This has allowed for false superiority of race, culture, sex, and belief systems to arise: resulting, of course, in hate and dissention amongst these groups.

In all this chaos and turmoil, we have forgotten to realize that we are all branches of the same tree of life. In theory, revival of traditions that honor collective unconscious could, with time, heal this gap of dissention. Until we reconnect, as a whole, to the collective unconscious patterns of destruction will continue to rack the world; the end result is obvious.

The second things long forgotten is a connection with the ecological unconscious. Ecological unconscious is the basis of animism (the belief in the unconsciousness of the natural world). The connection between collective unconscious and ecological unconscious was once widely believed. It was during these times that nature based faith systems were formed.

However, as times changed, and humans lost sight of natural connections (societal “progress”, industrialization), religious archetypes began removing this belief from popular study. The result is a disregard for the land on which we live. The physical effects are obvious: global warming, rock slides due to mountain top removals, ect. A dying of the natural beings and process that we are connected to and rely on, at the hands of humanity ensues. Unrenewable sources of energy are being rapidly depleted, the balance of the natural process that sustain life are breaking down.

My favorite thoughts on the subject come from The Druidry Handbook by John Micheal Greer. Greer states that “by definition, unsustainable lifestyles can’t be sustained forever”. In the battle between indulgence and survival, indulgence is taking the prize. This is a product of the removal of beliefs regarding ecological unconscious and our relation to it from common religious archetypes. The belief that the earth is ours for the reaping…that it exists only for the indulgence of humankind and some great place is waiting above is destroying the link between the collective unconscious and the ecological unconscious.

The result is both physical detriments to the environment as well as an interrupted flow of energy between the two consciousness’. Although scientists warn of the psychological and ecological dangers of lack of connectivity and consumption of the natural world, humans persist in these endeavors as if it is of no consequence. In order to truly understand this, one must connect themselves to the ecological consciousness. Without this connection, it is too easy and convenient to destroy the world.

Now is the time that Druidism is most relevant. In order to restore the natural balance of things, we must restore the links between the individual and collective; the collective and the natural world. Interconnectedness and preservation will be the greatest tools to defeating dissention, hate and ecological destruction. Therefore, reviving systems of faith which promote these ideals could, in theory, save the world. 

Condemnation

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“Devil”
They whisper from their golden thrones,
And anger envelopes me.
Their words feed;
Like maggots on a rotting corpse.

Poking, Stinging, Burning flesh;
The wings, the fangs, the razor claws.
My soul deteriorates,
And Shadows devour.

The shift occurs,
And before I can conjure,
My feathered wings are ruptured;
My fiery blaze doused.

I stand condemned before the righteous ones,
The crown of thorns piercing tainted flesh.
Through cackling laughter and pointed fingers,
I pick my mark.

It is revenge that I seek;
And revenge I will gain.
I have sold my soul,
For the purpose of it.

Unknown

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I write in my mind, on walls and in the bathroom of the three am bar. I am the dirt road virgin and the queen of the hallows. I am the shadow of your soul. Writing pieces that gather dust on the shelves of my hard drive, I wilt. All seeing, all knowing yet unknown…I am a writer…searching for a face that fits…searching for discovery.