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.

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*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.

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.

Out of Curiosity

Now that I am no longer involved in internet email lists, I have turned my attention to a previously mostly ignored area, Pagan Blogs.

Though I may have a slightly dusty blog myself, with the exception of a small handful of them maintained by friends of mine, I’ve mostly ignored this medium before. There is a limit to how much online reading I can do in a day, and some of the lists I was one were very active. With that officially out of the way now, I’ve been refocusing my attention in this direction.

I put out a call on my Livejournal to be pointed toward any Pagan blogs I’ve not heard of that might interest me. On the off chance that someone here who doesn’t read my Livejournal (or who can not comment there) has any recommendations, I am still looking. 🙂

I have also noticed my blog linked in places that I wasn’t previously aware of. Which of course is always appreciated. But, for curiosity’s sake, I am interested to know who has my blog linked where. If nothing else, perhaps I can at least return the favor. 🙂

Time to Move On

If you are a Pagan of some variety (and I imagine that at least most of the people reading this blog are) then you may have noticed this past month was a tad… well, crazy. The Pagan Wide Crazy has affected most of the people and groups that I’m acquainted with, as every even small frustration and minor personal problems all erupted at the exact same time. The massive infighting, which we Pagans are more than used to dealing with, was a lot worse than I ever remember seeing it before.

I’m not usually one to give much weight to concepts like Mercury retrograde, especially when I so often see it employed Pagan wide as a get out of being a douche free card. But this incident, how far reaching it was, almost makes a believer out of me. If it had been just a few people in one group in one tradition perhaps, but its hard to believe even for a more skeptical mind that this was all pure coincidence.

The end result of this incredible drama filled month is several people walking away (or going to walk away) from the various groups, organizations, internet communities that they once called home and foraging out on their own. And yes, as you may have guessed, I will be among those people walking away.

This is not something that suddenly came up in the last month (in all likelihood wasn’t for any of the people who have walked away, even if it may have seemed that way to those they left behind), it’s not something I’m doing because of everyone else many of whom are friends of mine (though I admit their leaving as well does lend some strength to my move as well) and it likewise has nothing to do with personal problems that have occurred between me and a group I was once involved in (which some of you may or may not be familiar with). This is something I have been struggling over for some time. I have been silent here and silent elsewhere in other religious venues as I slowly and rather painfully worked out how to make this final major change to get me to the place where I need to be now.

Actually back when I accepted that the reconstructionist label no longer fit who I am and what I was doing, I should have taken the hint then it was time to back off from the community. I had thought it would be easy enough to continue interacting with people and groups, because after all nothing with me has changed that dramatically. I didn’t immediately see the overall problem with that statement: I have left behind a label that no longer has any real relevance to me, and yet I will remain in groups defined by that label.

At one point in time, I definitely needed it. When I was first starting out, first learning, the online community was an invaluable resource. And indeed I was one of the people who managed to make it through my newbie years unscathed, something that people who didn’t manage it like to claim is impossible (of course, I also did a lot of research on my own, was more likely to ask for sources rather than answers and carefully worded the questions that I did ask so that I would not be misunderstood). But now, as far as the basics of belief and practice go, I already pretty much know where the majority of the community stands and, more importantly, I know where I stand, and as I explained in a previous post that place where I stand is fairly far off from the average. And there is still a lot that I need to learn in order to do the things I need to be doing, and those are not things that I can learn from lists and forums, not things I can share with the people there.

My spiritual life has largely been on hold for this last year, part of this has to do with internal problems that were cranked into high gear with my second dedication to Hermes almost a year ago now (and that part I’m sure came as no surprise to him and was likely planned on, knowing me as well as he does), but also because of my being slow to act on several of the changes I need to make in my life to get myself to the place where I need to be. A year spent up against a road block is more than long enough, and its high time that I go through and make the changes that I can make (because not all of them can happen overnight, unfortunately). It is no longer good enough to maintain ties with communities just because they once held some importance to me even though that is no longer the case, because I’m not at the same place or because they themselves changed. If something is not actively contributing to my spiritual life, if I am not getting something out of the association (and they getting something out of an association with me) then it is not worth it to continue on. There is a limit to how social I can be even over the internet (I am an introvert through and through :)) and how many different things I can pay attention to at the same time; I need to focus myself in appropriate directions and weed out any and all distractions.

Though I do not intend to sit here and bad mouth the community as a whole (certain individuals within the community yes ;)), it goes without saying that it needs some work if it is going to stay around and be a real presence in the years to come. That many of the long term and more successful organizations are currently going through major upheavals (mostly centered around prominent members leaving) and re-evaluating who they are and what they want to be accomplishing is (I hope) a sign that this change is about to begin. Truly, I wish them all the best of luck.

But this does also signal, as is usual in times of healing and transformation, that things are also about to get a lot worse before they get better – if they get better. And this also presents yet another reason why I need to back off now.

I am a liminal person serving a liminal god; this has always been the case, but over this last year my liminal status has become even more pronounced (if possible) than it was before. I have never been community oriented (note that I did not say anti-community, there is a huge difference between condemning something altogether and recognizing that, while it is a positive thing for others, it does not work for you) and always knew I was destined to be mostly solitary, serving Hermes in a private one on one fashion as opposed to on behalf of a (human) community, that any involvement I might have in the community would be secondary at best and any impact an indirect result of that private work – which makes sense if you think about it, as Hermes’ action in the world often comes about through accident and coincidence, indirect routes. For those who want to insist that if you are not neck deep in community then you are Doing It Wrong, I must respectfully (or not so respectfully, such as the case may be) disagree; this may not be a common, mainstream path but it is certainly a legitimate one. Every religion has its fringe element, and that is where I plan to be.

If the community is going to survive and rebuild itself, it’s going to take a lot of work, and people that are both realistic about what that work actually entails and are committed to getting it done. It may never be a community it a traditional sense – keeping in mind there that I draw a very sharp distinction between “community” and “a bunch of people loosely tied together over a particular commonality”; the latter does not equal the former (that many people expect that it does is, I think, one of the biggest sources of the Pagan Drama we all know and love), it takes a lot more than having one thing in common and co-existing in some internet elist (or even in a real world group) to make a community. It may never be more than the latter (with a few real, smaller communities scattered here and there), but that doesn’t mean things can’t be a lot more functional than they currently are. People need to decide what they really want, and more importantly, what they are willing to do to accomplish that. It’s not going to be easy by any means.

And, as a liminal person, I am not meant to be a part of this solution. My focus is, and has to be, on my largely personal and private relationship with Hermes and the Work he wants me to do. I simply do not have the same investment, personal or spiritual, in the formation of a community (or functional group of people) that those who both want and need, again personally or spiritually, that in order to be fulfilled and doing what Work they need to do. And as such, I can not allow their problems to become my problem; especially in the midst of a massive upheaval and the (hopefully) start of a major transitional period, I need to back away.

A lot of people might not like this, and indeed people who are very community oriented often do not understand (and mistake the motives of) those of us who are not. We all have our part to play, and it isn’t all focused in the same direction. This troubles I’ve had this last year have really shown me where my place is, where my focus is, and how I truly need to be moving in the right direction or the rest of my life suffers as a result. Being embroiled in community drama is proving to be both a distraction and a drain; a year is more than long enough I can not remain stuck behind this road block any longer, I need to put my energy back into my relationship and my private practice. The community is not truly benefitting from my presence as I said I can not be part of the solution to their troubles; I could continue to hang around and take up space anyway but that would be pointless, worse I could try and force myself to be involved and volunteer for work I’m unlikely to ever actually do because my heart isn’t really in it (while sacrificing my actual Work in the process) but that would cause far more harm than good. Really, this is best for all involved.

I do not intend to disappear from the internet altogether, merely pulling back into my own private corner of it. There is likely some good that I could do here publicly for those who seek me out, not to mention the individuals I’ve met who do contribute to my spiritual life whom I don’t want to lose contact with and… well, I am an introvert with a lot of trauma related issues and many problems interacting with people in person, the internet has always been a social outlet for me, to help find the few people out there I can relate to and tolerate. And I may even maintain some presence on a small handful of lists and forums, provided they are contributing something to me and I to them. For those who want to find me, there is always my Livejournal and of course this blog. And as I refocus my energy into building my spiritual life in the direction it needs to go, I hope to be using this blog a lot more than I currently do, as I’ll have more to talk about again.

And to those in these various groups I’m parting ways with, I do thank you for the help you once gave me and, once again I truly wish you the best of luck in the future.

Decisions come so quickly

Fear not, the Liminal Realm blog is not going anywhere.

It was pointed out to me yesterday by He Who Owns Me, my reluctance is symptomatic of problems with me and not from any genuine concern about other people and their reactions. Which makes sense, I have never played social games, I have never cared what others thought of me, I’ve always proudly and confidently held to a minority, outsider position in my faith its just now gotten a little worse. There is no reason why any of this would suddenly change, and it hasn’t. Its only the confidence I have in my current position that has changed.

And while if something actually happened (something serious anyway, which I am not expecting to ever happen) that would be one thing. But I am Not Allowed to shut down and hide if I’m doing so for the wrong reasons.

So, pardon the saw dust around here as I make some necessary changes, make this into a place where I can speak as much or as little as I choose to.

With luck, I will start making more regular posts soon enough.

Dark Night of the Soul brings about needed changes

Yes, indeed I am still alive.  Though considering I haven’t touched this blog since November who knows if anyone is even still reading.

There are a few reasons why I have not been around. The one most immediate in my mind is my spiritual life remains in a state of upheaval.  I am having more than a little bit of a hard time adjusting myself to my new place in life, to my new relationship with my god and some of the expectations placed on my shoulders.  Rather than coming onto my blog and unleashing a stream of self loathing, I dealt with it quietly on my own. Almost every time I think I have made some headway another wave of it comes on.  I don’t feel sometimes as though I am cut out to walk the path I see being stretched out before me and I wonder if Hermes has made a mistake in choosing me as a mortal tool and companion.

That was the main reason I have been quiet here. But for the last few weeks, as I contemplated making a post here and shut the site down every time, I realize that there is a second, underlying problem keeping me away from this.

I somewhat regret now that I put my name on this blog when I began it, especially now as I have no real way of knowing who may be reading it, who may have found it. I lived for several years in the Recon community, which was a perfectly fine thing while it lasted but it is something I have outgrown. Its a community I feel more and more distant from, because the way my spiritual life is setting itself up for the foreseeable future it is something very different from what I used to be, very off from that community’s general standards.  Its something that could (and has for other people) been cause for hostility.

And it makes me feel reluctant to talk. Because I don’t know how many of my Recon community acquaintances are reading this, and I don’t know how they may react to the things I would have to say now. I have no wish to bring endless drama on to myself, not from those people who have found me offensive in the past and used that as a excuse for harassment, and not from those people who were friendly and may decide that I’m just not who they thought I was anymore.

Am I maybe taking things a little too far? Very likely. So far I’ve had very good luck in discussing my recent spiritual developments even with people not in a similar paradigm themselves, but I also know that’s not going to last.  I feel a need to be honest about the reality of things, because honest is what I am and this afraid to speak thing is extremely unnatural and unpleasant for me. I want to break out of this, and I need to break out of this;  I get this feeling anyway, if I won’t do it on my own my hand may be forced sooner or later.  But I just don’t know how to go about it.

I considered just starting over. Starting a new blog, don’t use my name, and let those attracted to my ideas come and those who aren’t need not be exposed, won’t wander over by accident because they knew me in a previous life.  And I may very well still do that. Were it not for the fact that I really like the blog name I made for myself here, and can’t think of anything else as meaningful to me, I probably would have done so already.

If I do keep this one, some massive changes are going to have to be made. I want to be able to speak in peace, to be as honest (or not) as I choose to be.

Today is my second anniversary of being formally dedicated to Hermes. And it is the one year anniversary of him asking me to take up my current vocation. I am more than a little worried what might come up this time around. After this date has passed, I will work on making my decision and do whatever needs to be done.