Don’t look now, I think it’s a new post…

Do you know that I still sometimes get follow notices for this blog? Even though I haven’t touched it in…good gods, seven years! Wow, has it been that long? Yeah, I guess it really has. Is it just on the off chance I change my mind, after all this long time, and wander back to post again?

Well, if so, I guess someone’s getting their wish. 🙂

In truth, I’ve gone back and forth on reviving this blog zombie for maybe two years now, debating with myself the pros and cons. Do I have anything to say anymore? And if I do, is it really worth it for me to say it?

It has been a wild ride, these last seven years; to say it has left me very changed is a vast understatement. Looking through these old blog entries again, I feel no connection to them, they were written by a different person, a very stupid person. A lot of it now makes me wince with embarrassment, and a strong desire to reach back in time and try to knock sense into past me.

I think I have some insight, I think the problems are passing… Oh foolish child, you have no idea. It has only just begun, and you are all unknowingly walking ever deeper into the shit storm. You don’t know a damn thing.

It’s that experience that runs through my mind when I consider raising my head again, when I consider what I might have to say. If for no other reason than because I did have a lot to say about it once (perhaps I should add here that I have had other blogs in the intervening years, though they do not exist anymore for good reason) and almost all of it was wrong. Maybe the sort of wrong that needs to be corrected – especially where other people were concerned, even if no names were ever mentioned plenty knew or could easily guess whom I was speaking of. If I do nothing more than get that story out, leave it here for bored internet wanderers to find and then vanish forever, it might be worth it.

Unlike when I began this blog, I have become very reclusive over the last several years, perhaps especially on the internet. I have retreated from group involvement, I am not on social media, I’ve had little to do with people who are not family by blood or choice in quite a while now. For the most part, I am okay with this, furthermore I think I’ve been better off this way. I have a personality type that is heavily introverted and disagreeable, which makes me something of a natural loner and I have embraced that. One day I may change my mind and wish to reach out again, but that has not been my inclination of late, and I’m not sure I see it changing in the very near future.

The pagan community as well has changed quite a bit since I was active in it – much longer than seven years ago. That is to be expected, and honestly most of the changes I note are ones I’m not terribly surprised by (for good or ill), but there is a lot I don’t like about the current tone and focus. There are a bare handful of pagan blogs I pay attention to any longer, as in I could count them on one hand – a depressing situation, one I try to rectify sometimes, combing through what I can find for something that doesn’t give me a headache, occasionally I even find a new gem but very often it’s just more headache.  And this will change again, I’m sure, as all things do, and maybe it will even get better instead of worse. For now though it is what it is, and it’s another factor keeping me at bay.

Only partially, that last. Because there is a part of me that thinks to come out here and offer an alternative, talk about the things I want to see discussed, as I used to, what I miss seeing. Amazing to me that there is anything left in me that thinks that way, the aforementioned introverted/disagreeable personality type making me both ill suited to and uninterested in the sort of go forth and set the example thing certain groups I used to be a part of would encourage of each other. I suppose some things are important enough to you that you want to try, even if it’s not in your nature.

I can’t promise I’ll be a regular presence here, in fact I can all but promise I will not be, I was never great at scheduled content. I do want to get my post up about the great spiritual crisis (which might be several posts, depending), and after that I’m not sure. We’ll play it by ear.

If you remember me from years back, or if you’ve just wandered by at some point and were curious: yes I’m still alive, no I haven’t converted away, still here doing what I need to do (trying, trying very hard), still getting by and doing a little better at it than I used to.


The gateway is full of ghosts, also full is the courtyard

Before embarking on our epic, cross country move, the girlfriend and I did a divination to see if we had the gods’ backing, both in regards to locale and timing. That was what came up as the description of our lives in Baltimore. It is apt.

Almost every post I’ve made here has in some way referenced the constant struggle my spiritual life has become, it has been going on for that long. I would come here with some insight, convinced I knew the root of the problem, convinced I could move forward, or at least fake it until I make it. And things really would be better, for a while at least. And then it would all fall apart again, leaving me often more depressed than I was before. I just could not seem to climb over that wall or outrun the negative thought loop in my head.

I was not able to try working off the success I had with my Hermaversary celebration (which was my last post here until recently), because just shortly after that the circus freak show that was my cross country move swung into high gear. I was unable to spend much time dealing with religious matters because all my energy was going to dealing with epic amounts of stress and keeping my head from exploding. When I arrived here and much of that stress (though by no means all of it) was gone, its cause if not its after effect, I took a much needed and well earned break. I lost myself in some of my favorite relaxing activities and swore off anything that would cause me more stress – which, sadly perhaps, did include my spiritual life. It wasn’t how I wanted to come down here but I was at my absolute wits end and I needed it.

But just because I wasn’t actively pursuing it, doesn’t mean it wasn’t in the back of my mind; turning over and over, insights bubbling up to the top, as these things often do, just waiting until I’m ready to deal with it again. That moment finally came a short time ago, and finally here we are again. Yet another post on how I know what is wrong.

Yes, I do think I have some new insight. But I don’t think any of the old ones I came up with were wrong. They were all a small part of the puzzle, but not the whole picture that I initially took them for. And those insights I did have I tended to underestimate and downplay their effect on me, in my desperation to have it all be over and over now, I tried to convince myself the problems were not as bad as they really were. Of course my mind knew better, and sooner or later it reminded me of that.

The change in my relationship dynamic with Hermes is a big part of it. Probably I should have seen this coming, but I didn’t. Thought it would be okay because it was Him and I know Him and I trust Him, but it isn’t. No matter how much I just want to be okay with it, it just hasn’t happened. Yes, a lot of my expectations were heavily influenced by the experiences of others and that did me no favors, but that certainly isn’t all of it. It changed the way I see Him in relation to myself, it changed my instinctual reaction to Him. It made me uncomfortable; and when I’m uncomfortable, my walls go up.

My leaving the company of two groups was harder on me that I at first wanted to admit. I had spent quite a while with both of them, both had in some way shaped my spiritual life when it was in new and vulnerable state, and not all of that influence was ultimately healthy or beneficial. It is amazing how your behavior can be influenced by group think, even when you might not personally agree with something you might still do it anyway, or just be reluctant to go against it, even if every sign is pointing you in that direction, because its just not what’s done. It wasn’t just the stress from interpersonal drama, the way I would be told I’m one of the group while at the same time being singled out by them, being needlessly ridiculed over practices and beliefs and attempts (on both sides) at re-education when my life didn’t perfectly line up with your standards. I have a lot of lessons I need to unlearn, a lot of group imposed taboos to shatter, in order to move on in the direction I need to go in.

I have acknowledged that I feel a good deal of bitterness toward my former spiritual homes, one for leaving me so woefully unprepared for the things that happened to me, and the other for not being the support base it purported itself to be. Recognizing this anger will,  I think, be helpful in moving forward. But it will likely take a lot of time and work to find all those unnecessary and toxic beliefs running around in my head, and deeply ingrained thought patterns don’t just vanish overnight.

But that, I now realize, was not all of it. And even acknowledging the true severity of those issues wouldn’t have helped me earlier. Because the problem, the bigger picture, was my life itself. Everything in my life was wrong.

I remember something that Hermes told me right before I moved to Baltimore at His request, when I was still talking things through with my future room mates but before anything was finalized and so my mind was still thinking of other potential places to go. Hermes told me I needed to go to Baltimore first because there was something I needed to do there; after it was done I would leave, go further out and settle elsewhere. I always remembered that even if  didn’t pay close attention to it. And it didn’t take too long to figure out what I was doing in Baltimore, I was there to collect my partner, to help to drag her out of her life and take her on the road with me. My moving there was a catalyst for both of us, almost immediately our lives began changing in ways we never would have predicted and in ways that were unsettlingly similar; we both began more and more disconnected from things and people we had thought were important, and pushed us closer together as a result. That experience bonded us together even before we fell in love, which is of course exactly what They wanted. Once I saw the writing on the wall, I knew my purpose in that city had been fulfilled and it was time to leave.

And it took us two years to actually leave.

For her it’s completely understandable, it must be hard to walk away from a life you’ve been living for years, to fully convince yourself there is nothing there worth salvaging. But for myself? I’m honestly not sure now. I was miserable there more often than not, most of the connections I made (with few exceptions, and they know who they are because they are the people I’m still speaking to) brought me more stress than benefit. And yet I kept trying anyway. I put myself through the wringer trying, I wore myself out, I made myself sick, trying to make things work that I knew, somewhere in my mind, were never going to.

Perhaps because it was my first time out in the world after I escaped the abuse and retreated from society to allow my wounds time to heal; perhaps because it was my first chance at having the real life everyone always told me I never would. Perhaps because He had sent me there and I didn’t want to let Him down by blowing it all to hell, I wanted to make it work for His sake as well as mine.

It was not entirely a wasted effort, I learned a lot about what my limits really were, how to work within them and where I need to call it quits; those were mistakes I needed to make so that I don’t make them a second time. But once Renee and I were together, once we were bonded in that way that made us partners on this divine roller coaster ride, my purpose there was done and Baltimore became, officially, a dead end for the both of us. And yet there we were, trying to make a life in what was only supposed to be a brief pit stop.

I’ve come to see my time in Baltimore now as one long, long transitional period; things didn’t really improve while I was there, it all just changed, one piece at a time, into something completely different until, aside from the fact that Hermes and I were still standing there, all else was unrecognizable. It’s a lot for a person to go through, even if I was given someone to go through it all with. Everytime I thought I had a handle on where I was going, another piece was taken away and replaced with something different and there I was, back at square one. And when all that change was said and done (for the time being anyway, knock of wood), I had no hope of moving forward on my new path because I was living in a spiritually dead place, surrounded by the ghosts of what once was; any success I thought I found there would, of course, be only a ghost itself, vanished by dawn’s light leaving me alone in my confusion again.

Its hard for me to believe now that I genuinely didn’t see it. Right after we acknowledged it was time to go and then didn’t, everything immediately fell apart, and this spiritual crisis of mine finally reared its ugly head. The timing fits so perfectly, I feel like an idiot for missing it. But I guess it is easier to see clearly from the outside than you can in the middle of the fray.

But I am in a new place now, where my gods wanted me to be for the time being. I’ve been taken about as far away from everything I once was while still remaining in the same country, what better place to make a fresh start of everything.

I’m not going to say that all will be well shortly, or even that I’ve made any significant progress. I’m tired of saying that and turning out to be wrong, it’s getting embarrassing and I’m sure you’re all sick of hearing about it. It’s unrealistic to expect that everything will just go poof overnight, even if I was in peak condition and I’m really not, I’m really burned out from the last several months and the last four years. These issues I’ve raised here can not be ignored (I tried, not going to happen) and exorcising them will not be easy work.

Starting my relationship with Him was easy enough, I wasn’t even looking for it it was just there. Some part of my mind thinks it should be that easy again; but its different now and it won’t work like that again. I look back on what I used to have and wish I could go back there again, forget all this that I was given because life was easier without it; that also is not going to happen, and I really think that, if presented with that opportunity, it is not what I would really want. And either way, even if the vows could be dissolved it’s not like it will erase this time it will still be different and I would always wonder what I might have had, likely to my detriment. I’ve been given a clean slate, but the writing that used to be there is still just barely visible, I can’t pretend I don’t see it or that I don’t remember what was there, or that it won’t continue to influence my behavior for some time to come.

I have now, I think anyway, done all that I needed to do to get myself in the right position. I’ve moved out of that city of ghosts, I’ve cut ties with all the dead ends in my life so none of that can influence me anymore than it already has. I’ve fixed it so that the only real voices I will hear will be my partner’s and my god’s. I continue to wish longingly that there was some other tradition I could join up, continue to think it might have been easier to have a template to work off of instead of feeling my way around in the dark (and I know some people out there would really envy me that total freedom I’ve been given, and maybe one day I’ll be able to look back and see this as a good thing, but I don’t envy me much right now and there is no use pretending I feel differently), but that is also not going to happen and it’s another mistake I don’t intend to make again. External circumstances are as right as they are likely to ever be; the rest is up to me, and time.

Will it all work out? I don’t know, I’d like to think so, but the obstacles are such that it feels foolish to make any promises. It will take time though, and work, real work, and that I need to keep reminding myself. I’m not just simply getting back on the horse like I’ve been trying to tell myself; that horse is long gone, there is a bull there in its place, and I’ve all but forgotten how to ride.

*Blows Off Dust*

Been a while since I’ve been here, huh?

For those who do not follow my adventures elsewhere on the internet, over the course of this year so far, I have broken ties with two dysfunctional, toxic Pagan communities, dealt with spiritual depression and the effects of our current shitty economy, and left behind a city where I was miserable (and which I should have left two years prior) and moved (rather suddenly, and with an almost cartoonish level of stress and drama) across the country to a different city sight unseen (making this the second time I’ve been so Ordered in my short adult life).

Its been busy here, to say the very least.

And so, as this transitional period is slowly winding down and I’m feeling my way around in my new circumstances and figuring out how to make it all work, I find myself coming back to this blog again. I admit, when I started this I didn’t have the clearest idea what I was going to do with it, and things in my life began changing very quickly before I had a chance to figure it out. Initially I wanted this to be a space for articles rather than more casual writing (that was what my Livejournal was for), but I’ve not been in the right headspace for that. And so I’ve been quiet for the most part.

Now, I think that Livejournal may not be the right space for me now. I’m not abandoning LJ like so many other people have recently (although I would be lying if I said the fact that so many people I used to interact with there are gone hasn’t contributed to this decision), but I do think I need another format for spewing my thoughts onto the internet. Beyond this not being a so called “social networking” site (a big plus for me at this point) my old haunts here are very much tied into those communities I’ve walked away from, the fallout from that has left me more burned out than I really realized (and I’m far less social than your average person as it is, I burn out quickly over less). I need to focus myself now on processing the changes I’ve undergone, finding my feet again and figuring out where I’m going now; the less I have on my plate, the fewer ties to the toxic environments whose programming I’m trying to shrug off, the easier it will be for me to do that.

This will likely become the main outlet for my online presence, at least for the time being. The writing here will likely become more casual in tone as a result, but it will continue to focus on my religious life as that is what I am here about. I do not promise that I will be posting every day or even every week, I know a lot of people blogging can produce posts that often and one of my struggles with this site was feeling a pressure to come up with something of quality to say on a fairly consistent basis (my muse hates pressure). It will be as often as I can, but hopefully, more than I have been.

As a start, I’ve changed the look of the blog; I liked my former layout aesthetically but the white background was a little too harsh on my eyes (I would like my current set up a bit better if I could change the link text color from orange to blue, but maybe in time I’ll have the money to do so, we’ll have to see). It won’t be the only change I make here, there is a lot here that is outdated and it would be helpful to make this better reflect where I am now toward the end of this long, long transitional period.

As a side note, if I have an outdated link of yours here, if you’ve changed blogs, changed names or anything else, comment and let me know, I can get it fixed.

Until then pardon the sawdust, and when I’m done making the updates I’ll be around again.


This past Wednesday, March 10, was the three year anniversary of the vows I made to Hermes (dubbed the Hermaversary, and I wish I could take credit for that, but it was Sannion who made it up). Every year I have celebrated this as a personal holiday, and its always been one of the most powerful, meaningful days in my religious life.

Though things did not get off to the very best start, my chronic sleep problems were acting up badly the week and a half previous and an accident forced me to postpone the ritual until the day after its actual date. Which is of course frustrating, but its important not to let the frustrations weigh you down, important to do something anyway even if everything does not go perfectly as planned. This is a lesson I need to relearn from time to time.

A short time before I had begun serious work on the spiritual problems I was having, the way I’ve been sabotaging myself for a long time now, an area I’ve had many false starts on before but which I think I am making progress with now. Finally I had found the right person to talk to, that said the things I needed to hear, things that didn’t occur to me however obvious it might seem to me now, things that Hermes himself couldn’t have said because I wouldn’t have been able to listen.

That was the theme for this year’s Hermaversary celebration. Our status to one another had changed but our relationship was not clearly redefined in light of that change. And I got more caught up in the experiences of others, using them not as a guide and perhaps an inspiration but as a basis upon which to build my own expectations. And that is never the way to do things, if you take nothing else from my writings take that: your relationships with the gods, whatever those relationships may be, are defined between you and the god, not by anybody else; you set yourself up for nothing but frustration, not to mention setting yourself back, giving more weight to the opinions of others than the needs of yourself and the god.

I had that pounded into my head by a friend, and again by Hermes as I spent the greater part of the day sitting in seclusion by his shrine, praying, meditating and communing with him (as is traditional for me this day). We hammered out those details that need to be hammered out, and I was finally ready to hear what was and was not a good idea for me (and for him, he is an individual being after all) and not take it as a failing on my part.

Finally he granted a request I’ve had for over a year and gave me a vision of what I’m preparing for, what Work in part I will do for him. Its not relevant now because I’m not there yet, but it is good to know what I’m moving toward, to have a solid if partial image of what that place will be. I think it says something about the overall improvement of my mental state that my request was fulfilled.

I’ve missed hearing his voice. I’ve missed the sure knowledge that it was his voice I was hearing. I need him to be in my life and I’m glad that he’s back – or that I was able to let him back in as he hasn’t gone anywhere, it was my ability to trust that that abandoned me.

I want to say this will keep moving in a positive direction, but I have had many false starts and so don’t want to say anything too early. But that I understand a few things now that I did not before, that there are some guidelines in place that weren’t there before, gives me some hope. Its a foundation to begin working from, a foundation built on what is between us in the here and now, not what was there years ago before things changed, not what I feel should be there because of what other people have or don’t have.

I spent about six hours attending him privately at his shrine in our temple room; it was intended to be an all day affair (as it has been in years past) but after that he ordered me to go out, a combination of sleep difficulties and bad weather has kept me in the house far too much lately and I needed the fresh air. The girlfriend and I walked down to the one park in the city where I can feel a sense of presence, bought him a coffee I poured out on the ground and continued communing with him and going over everything I had been told in the hours before.

Three years and I regret nothing, would make those same vows all over again if asked to do so. He continues to make my life better and richer just merely by being there with me, and I hope I provide some benefit to him as well (I must, because he lingers, not something he tends to do). I feel as strongly for him as I ever have and, however hard it has been, I still want to be right where I am.

Hail Hermes! May this next year be easier and more productive on us both.

The Current Focus Here

It has recently been brought to my attention that the focus of my posts here for the most part has shifted to me and my personal struggles. I’m not entirely certain if the comment in question was specifically about this blog (although that does seem more than likely) but either way I realize that it does apply.

Admittedly, I never did intend for this to only be ruminating about Hermes and the other gods I worship, but to discuss my spiritual life as a whole. There is value in posting about struggles because it is something all of us do but yet few of us speak about; we make posts when things are going well and the connections are running smoothly, when things are disconnecting we’re quiet until it passes. I try to share at least some of my struggles because I’m sure others have the same issues I do and this way both I and they can know we’re not alone in this and perhaps learn from another’s experiences.

However, it never was my intention to have things become so skewed in one direction. I can see why it happened, I began this blog just before I entered a very difficult time in my spiritual life, so much has been struggles for me lately. Naturally my blog would reflect that. And even if things have vastly improved since then I’m not entirely out of the woods yet (though much of my current problems has to do with it being winter, my down season both spiritual wise and health wise) and much of what I’m doing now has involved picking up my relationship again and making a lot of changes to the way I do things, since so much has happened to make the old ways I did it not work any longer.

The comment (if indeed it was about this blog) was not intended to be critical and I didn’t take it that way. And I also know that this is my blog and I’ll write about what I want. But it hit a chord with me and maybe its time for a break from struggles and a few posts about something different.

In the middle of my winter blahs (made worse by the fact that I was in the direct line of the recent Snowstorm of the Apocalypse and currently live in a city that is not equipped to deal with that much snow so clean up has been minimal – which leaves me pretty much trapped in the house :() the change of tone, not to mention giving me something positive to focus my attention on, might be a good thing.

Why I Serve

A friend of mine  answered this question on her own blog not long ago now, and,  Since I am now celebrating the one year anniversary of my second set of vows to him, vows which initiated a very difficult spiritual period for me, this may be the time to answer that question again.

I can not say that I was someone who always wanted to devote my life to religion and to a deity, indeed if people who knew me even ten years ago saw me now I bet they would be very surprised. Where I grew up the unspoken rule was that religion was something very private and not talked about with other people, my family members were either atheist or the sort of Catholic that went to church on Sunday and that was about it; with no one discussing it or seeming excited about it, it was hard for my child self to see what was so important about religion. I knew early on that Catholicism was not for me, that Christianity in general was not for me, and that monotheism didn’t feel right to me, and that was as far as it went for a long time.

I was exposed to Greek mythology first when I was nine, and I absolutely fell in love with those deities in a way that, in hindsight, probably was the start of a religious devotion. It was also then that I became what I like to call an intellectual polytheist (in that, if deity does in fact exist, polytheism makes more sense than monotheism). Had my childhood been quieter and more peaceful, I may very well have pursued that budding interest further and perhaps wound up on this path much sooner.

The notion of service as well was a completely foreign thing to me when I was younger. I am a lone wolf by nature and learned early on that the only person you can really depend on is yourself; I did not bond with my family (and though I get along with them now that I am no longer living them, the distance has made it even more clear that I am, for whatever reason, more of a close family friend than an actual member of the family) and many of the other people I knew at the time didn’t understand me, didn’t like me and were very often cruel to me. I could not have imagined then loving something so much, trusting something enough to want to serve it so completely.

But that was all before I met Hermes.

To say that I owe him my life is no exaggeration. What I was living before was nothing resembling a life and without his intervention I would probably still be there now; that is assuming I was still living at all and I do firmly believe I was rapidly heading down that path. He came to me when I had been beaten down, broken, written off as a lost cause and left to rot wherever I fell; bit by bit he rebuilt my spirit, rebuilt my life, made me feel for the first time that there was something worthwhile there after all, maybe I had something to live for after all.

My life does not look the same as it did even just a couple years ago, and I am noticeably not the same person either. He moved me out of my old life and into a new one that, after an understandably rocky start, turned out to be perfect. I have a home of my own, a wonderful girlfriend, a trio of pets, several friends (even if they are mostly online) and I’m content and I’m happy; as someone who didn’t have many life skills, worse interpersonal skills and never had a word of encouragement from anyone, that’s a lot more than I could have ever hoped to have.

Though it may not be what I started out wanting to do, I can not imagine ever doing anything else, couldn’t imagine not having him in my life. And yet still there are times when I really need to be reminded of that, of why I’m here and how much this really does mean to me.

To say this past year was difficult is an understatement, and the difficulty started with those vows made. It was not a minor step I made there, it was something I knew would fundamentally change our relationship dynamic, and as such it was going to drag a lot of issues to the surface (especially when dealing with an area where I already know I have baggage to spare) and force me to deal with them. I can’t say that I handled that part gracefully, but probably in a typical and understandable way, and probably exactly as he expected me to. My relationship suffered during this last year and I spent long stretches of time feeling cut off from him, cut off from the purpose he gave to me, and that only made it worse. And though I knew, both from moments when he forcibly punched through my walls and messages he sent me through other people, that he still loves me and he’s still here and not going anywhere, it didn’t make things easier or at least never for very long.

I spent a lot of time this last year questioning my path; if this is where I want to be, if this is something I can even do. I don’t know about the second part, but I do know that I want to try, that I’m not ready to give up just yet. After all that Hermes has done for me, all he has given me and everything he has come to mean to me, I owe him my absolute best effort and I know I haven’t given that yet. But even beyond the gratitude, I don’t want this relationship to be over, I don’t want to end it.

Hermes has given me a list of tasks to perform, items to acquire, things to learn; I have a basic daily routine I am supposed to adhere to, and regular times I am supposed to spend with him. This is how I will begin to get my spiritual life, my relationship with him, back on track; this is the first step I have to take before I can progress further. Hermes is not, in my experience, the sort of deity to grab someone by the short hairs and drag them kicking and screaming down the road – trick you into doing what he wants you to do yes, arrange circumstances that forces the issues he wants you to deal with to the surface yes, physically force you no. Especially not in our relationship, in these circumstances this is a decision I need to make on my own; I know what I need to do and he’s waiting for me to make my move all on my own, waiting for me to decide this relationship means enough to me that I’m willing to do the work and deal with the road blocks.

However hard this last year has been, and however much harder its going to get crawling out of this hole and training myself in what I need to be trained in, I still have both reason and desire to continue serving. This is still the path I should and want to be on, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes.

Hail Hermes! Happy anniversary and thanks for this reminder, I needed it.

Spiritual Writing

One thing Hermes has always been good at is making sure I get the information I need when I need it (whether or not I actually recognize it as being vital information at the time I get it is a whole other matter). Just as I’m sitting around figuring out how to begin working to regain the ground I lost over this last year, I see this post from Naiadis on her excellent blog (seriously check it out).

What in particular about that post jumped out at me like a divine slap to the back of the head, was where she talked about how writing played a part in her relationship with Poseidon, in meditation and awareness and in her interactions with him.

I am grateful that these things occur to someone, because it certainly never occurred to me.

Receptivity is not something that comes easily to me; despite what you may have heard around Pagan circles about women being receptive in nature and men being projective (and let’s not get me started on that), I am predominately projective maybe somewhere around seventy percent. What receptivity I do have is further complicated by the lingering effects of the survival methods I had to use to get through an abusive childhood, severing and walling off most of the connections I had to anything outside of myself. Naturally Hermes can punch through those walls when he wants to, or else I would not be here now. And I can achieve a state of openness and awareness when I concentrate on it, turning my usual focused attention outside of myself. And this was fine in the beginning, but I know he expects more of me now, something a little more consistent, in order to progress our relationship and the Work. And that means I have to work through these blocks and move past this hurdle.

Browsing around Pagan sites and forums you will find a lot of suggestions on meditation, on opening up and achieving awareness. A lot of them though do not seem to work for me, go against the way my brain processes things. As an example, many of these more popular techniques are geared toward more visual thinkers, and I am more verbally oriented I think in words (I have found a way to make visual techniques work for me, but it involves using a running dialog in my head to paint the picture I’m supposed to see, it all starts with language). While I might be able to move up to the more common techniques in time, first I need to learn something that works with my brain’s natural inclinations.

Oddly, I have never thought of writing as a means to open awareness to things outside of yourself. And the more I contemplate that, the less I understand why it never occurred to me before. Lost in trying to follow other people’s lead, I seemed to have missed the obvious for such a long time.

Writing has always been something that was important to me. Since I was three or four I was constantly making up elaborate stories, and from the time I learned how to write I was committing those rambling tales to paper. When I was a teenager that intensified as my writing was my only escape from what was going on around me. It was always so easy for me to get lost in my work, the hours go by unnoticed, the rest of the world slips away, just me alone with my thoughts that increasingly stop feeling like my own and start feeling like something outside of myself that’s flowing through me, using me as a conduit. It’s amazing what comes out of my head during these sessions, very rarely looking anything like what I originally intended and which sometimes contains layers of meaning it might take me months to see.

And isn’t that exactly what I’m looking for? Isn’t that what the meditation and visualizations are ultimately supposed to achieve, something very close to what I can easily fall into just from having a writing project to be involved in?

Writing has also played an important part in my religious life and my interaction with Hermes, although it was very early on and I think I may not attribute the proper amount of credit to that experience any longer. Who knows why, since every time someone calls me by name I’m reminded of it.

No, Gavin is not the name that I was born with, but one given to me by Hermes and that I took when I made my vows to him. It is my Pagan name, or at least one of them, one I can use in all aspects of my life. Its not an alias I use on the internet, everyone I know now calls me Gavin and most everyone I have met since those vows were made have no idea my name was ever anything different. I have plans at some point in the future to have it legally changed, since the name I was born with (which only my immediate family still uses) feels even less like my own than it did before.

The name itself came from an epic rambling story I was working on for about five years, during the period of my life that I didn’t leave the house and was trying to figure out how to function again. I began working on it maybe a year or so before Hermes officially made his presence known to me, and it pretty much consumed my life at the time; I would get up and do nothing but work on it, eventually coming out of my fog long enough to remember that I have to eat and then right back to it again. Eventually Hermes helped me to see what I was really doing there, aside from fine tuning my ability to write sadistic violence (what? you didn’t expect rainbows and kittens, did you? ;-)), was writing about myself.

After learning that I put the project down, having no more need to work on it. I had gained a lot of insight into myself during that time, into what exactly had happened to me during my childhood and the impact that it had, how it altered the way I thought and behaved. And having a better understanding of what makes me tick, I was able to begin accepting things and learned how to function within my means rather than using the more common model of behavior. Without the knowledge I gained from that experience, I’m not sure I would have been able to move forward with my life.

I did not immediately connect Hermes to the project, since I had started it before I ever met him and this was before I fully realized just how interested in me he really was. Not until he moved in and ordered a complete remodeling of my life; in addition to requesting my vows and telling me I had to move out of my mother’s house, he gave me a new name, the one I used for that character I unknowingly saddled with all my problems and giving him a way out. Out of curiosity, I had grabbed up one of my sister’s baby names books and looked up the meaning of the name that had been given to me, which I thought I had invented years earlier.

That one name referenced an animal sacred to Hermes was a bit of a surprise, but by itself could still seem like a coincidence. The my new last name was, in essence, an epithet of his seemed like less of a coincidence – and as the years went by, as things changed (or were revealed to me more like it), that fact has gained multiple layers of meaning I never could have seen coming then.

This was my inital introduction to the world of Hermetic Meaningful Coincidence, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last time he brought about a change like that, quietly pulling my strings and moving things into position until I become accustomed to things enough that we can bring it up directly, plus the months or years of set up help to erase any doubt that the message is a genuine one.

I haven’t done much writing in the last several years, I fell out of the habit when my depression got too bad to continue it, which of course only made the depression worse. For the last little while I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about that, about how even when life was at its absolute worst writing was a small bit of happiness that I was able to hold on to, that made things at least somewhat bearable. And while my life is certainly good now, there still seems to be something missing, a hole (or a severed connection?) that my writing once filled which simply can’t be filled with anything else. Writing, it seems, is one of the things I need to be doing in order to be happy and fulfilled and functioning correctly.

My parents, who simply didn’t understand my hobby, used to hang over my shoulder and wonder aloud whether or not I planned to ever do anything with my writing, because if I can’t ever publish and profit off my work then what was the point of it? Unfortunately I think some of that thinking might have rubbed off on me and may have contributed to my putting down the pen for such a long time. Normally I don’t buy into that unfortunately popular notion that it you can’t make money off it it’s not worth doing, and yet I allowed that to get in the way here. I think it was largely do to with lack of encouragement from family, and the people who spent so much effort directly attacking my habit because they didn’t like what I wrote (that it wasn’t all rainbows and kittens), it left me deeply insecure about my talent. In other areas I’m able to ignore or at least work through the negative feedback loop that runs through my head, but this is also the one area where I actually do care what other people think and so it’s a lot harder to overcome years of constant criticism and apathy even if I knew people had alternate motives for saying the things they did. I wouldn’t have the confidence to send anything off to a publisher, so why do it at all then, right?

Now I realize that doesn’t matter. I won’t lie, it would make me exceedingly happy and fulfill my only real childhood dream to get my work published, but making money off something is not the end all to be all, whatever our current culture might think. Writing made me happy, and it connected me to something outside of myself, and that is important, far more important than making money (having grown up around people trapped in careers that made them miserable, I learned first hand money isn’t everything). Even if I end up keeping my work entirely to myself, it will still have been worth my effort in creating it, it will still have served a purpose.

Writers write, that’s what they do and there is no use trying to deny it. I’m tired of feeling like there is something missing in my life, and I’m tired of struggling to open up using methods that don’t work with my brain wiring. With this now in my head, I think I may be able to kill two birds with one stone.

I’ve wanted to begin writing again for a while now, but struggled over where exactly I was supposed to start. I think I’ll take Naiadis’s suggestion and use it as a spiritual tool, a meditative practice and a means to connect again with Hermes. Do again what makes me happy, get my relationships back in order.

And so thank you, both to Naiadis who shared this and to Hermes who probably made certain that I saw it. Who knows how much longer I might have sat with this solution right in front of my face before I saw it on my own.