In with the new
So it has been an eventful two weeks! I have not been the only blogger who is feeling a lot of New Year optimism, a sense that there is growth ahead. A lot of if is, I think, is the results of the presidential election which I was not really expecting. Mr. Obama has a tough row to hoe, but I think he steers straight on this most complicated of courses. I am really looking forward to the headlines of the coming year. Of course, the House is going to fight him on everything, but I think the Right has been dealt quite a blow this year, and some collective sense of self-responsibility is slowly gathering and growing.
It was warm enough this morning for Solangecat and I to go out and greet the garden this AM. It gave me a lot of energy. As raw as it is to date, there is still that sense of sacred space that I had in California, the sense that I am given energy and hope when I step into that space. I think the land spirits appreciate that I thank them for having us here and ask their guidance on building up the space. I am slowly but surely getting that meadow bed dug. I will only get the heart of it this year, not what I think it will eventually be, but I am determined to get that. We are going to hire Pete Merski’s company to dig some beds and make some paths for us. The paths are going to be raised, four inches of cedar chips and shavings. The cedar is because it repels chiggers. I have had really good results with that general technique. In Danville, we had a lot of trouble with daily ant invasions. As the mint I planted around the house took root and spread season by season, we had fewer invasions every year, and then none at all. So there is progress. I have planted two of the three little Yule trees, and I will likely plant the third today. I did plant some tomato seeds for indoors. I was warned, though, that it was too early, and in fact, it likely is since there is no sign of sprouting. Sigh. So the garden is well and truly in process. Pete is going to come out in early February to do the work. Around that time, I will order the labyrinth template. I still have not decided definitively which one I want.
Ted starts his new job tomorrow; work is going well; we got the blinds on the windows yesterday. The house feels more and more right and comfortable to us all the time.
And I am nearing the end of my Bardic course in OBOD. In the last couple of days, I have been giving much thought to where I want to go with it, whether I want to move on to the Ovate grade or stay where I am and just be a very passive OBOD member with all that I’ve learned in my Bardic year just doing its work in me. It is not a given that I will proceed. And yes, my “ugly and mean” experience chronicled earlier has everything to do with this. I can accept that the organization is not in a place where it has much oversight over its offshoots and has a policy of just letting them be autonomous. That is just their way, something to be either taken or left. What is presently bothering me, though, is that I think I should have heard more from other OBODies in a supportive capacity and saying definitively that what happened was wrong. I did post on the druidry.org forum that I had had a bad experience and wondered how to go about making sure it didn’t happen to anyone else. That post stayed up for a week. One Druid did respond, looked into some of the specifics about the Order’s policies and the seedgroup itself, and say that I had been mistreated. But even when I was notified that the post would be removed because it included an accusation, in the ensuing PM discussion, there was no empathy at all for me, no saying of “We should look at this perhaps” or “Sorry this happened to you.” And that doesn’t fit for me. Plus I am rather liking the idea of my personal process going in a less-influenced direction. I am intensely appreciative of what the Bardic course did for me, bringing beauty, light, and warmth to my life when things were bleak after The Big Move. But whether I want to proceed further with it is another story. I also participated in a thread where it was suggested to me that I use rose quartz crystal as a means of spiritual protection. I replied saying that I respected the power of minerals, but I had always been hesitant about using them due to concerns about mining practices and the conditions the miners worked in. I acknowledged that I did own some jewelry with gemstones in it, so I wasn’t completely consistent. And I asked whether anyone had a work-around for this concern. To date, I have received no response to this. I don’t like that. I think it’s a topic Pagans of all persuasions should be willing to discuss.
And I will not be seeking other Pagan fellowship. I’ve just had bloody enough. The patterns that I see in it are unmistakable. They were there when I first headed in a Pagan direction circa 1994 whether or not I felt I had enough experience with it to call them for what they were, and they are there now. There is the dynamic of, “I want to be important.” I suspect it’s worse than in the past since right now, so many people are unemployed or underemployed. They want a space where they can be an authority, respected, receive deference. Even understanding this dynamic, I have not been able to be patient with it. And with the “ugly and mean” experience being the most toxic example, there seems to be a surprising and utterly appalling desire for power over other people. There is a sense that anyone who says, “Maybe what we’re doing isn’t right and we should look at it” is disloyal. Yes, you are working hard to set up these rituals, but that doesn’t make you omniscient. I created more grief than I knew at the time by pointing out to CAYA leadership that they were courting a lawsuit in certain areas and by challenging their lack of inclusion of people with disability. I believed that by pointing these things out, I was contributing, using my knowledge and experience to save them trouble and pointing out that their definition of “Come As You Are” was by default inconsistent. I know that I would have wanted to hear these things, appreciated the input and knowledge, just as I appreciate our tax accountant telling me to do this or that when I have it wrong. I have seen this repeatedly in the Pagan organizations I know of with a single exception back in California. And maybe it would have been that way with that little Druid group had I stayed there and become more involved. Who knows. I would love to have someone like my friend Helen back in California with whom I could celebrate full moons and the festivals. That would be my ideal. We will see what happens with this, but the only way I will engage with a spiritual group again is if it practically lands in my lap. And right away, I will ask the question, “How are decisions made in this group?” That will help me ferret out whether it’s a democratic setting or not. But for now, back on the solitary path.
And in other newness, the household is settling around and with Bodaciouscat! She was the one I picked on the second visit because a staff member happened to say that she had never liked the shelter. She didn’t want to stay long in her saferoom, but did a lot of hiding when she came out. I told her she was going to have all her feelings and that when she came out, there would be plenty of pets for her. Her forays out from under the bed grew longer and longer. As to the other cats, I think that is processing normally — for cats, those strange creatures with pointed ears. We do have a problem now with all the vocalizations, but I think I’m on it; it’s way better than 48 hours ago. I talk to her silently, communicating that we need her to be silent, that we love her and think she’s beautiful, but need quiet. Then I started to think about where all the yowling might be coming from. Sometimes she does it when she wants pets or food, but sometimes it’s not clear. It seemed to me that it was coming from a place of anxiety. Bodacious was originally found with her littermates at a dump and taken to the Rude Ranch Animal Sanctuary. She was adopted, but returned since the other household cats ganged up on her. So just like I did with Moniquecat whom we adopted ten days after she was dumped at the SPCA in California, I have focused on explaining to her that she is a forever cat, just like her sisters; we think she is beautiful and a really fun cat; she will always be with us. The yowling has calmed way, way down, so I will continue with this for a while.
After what happened with the seedgroup, it is really hard for me to get up and out and meet other people. There is an old time/bluegrass group I’ve connected with on Facebook that meets twice a month, but somehow, I always have too much to do to go to one of their events. And I didn’t go to the Bruce Molsky workshop this weekend, either. It’s like I’m allergic. I think I just have to push myself. Sigh. The really devastating thing is the unilateral rejection, not even so much as, “You have B.O.” These were hubristic, unprincipled people; up to me to not let them damage me.
Onward, ever onward…