Thinking About – Mortality and the Magician
I’ve been asthmatic all of my life. As I’ve written about before here on the blog, when I first heard about the growing threat of Covid-19 I was quite frankly terrified. My mind went back to times as a child when my asthma was so bad I spent nights literally gasping for air at an open bedroom window. Diseases of the lungs are a huge fear trigger for me.
One of the things I’ve learned with my Druidry is to try to walk with death close by. Our culture has created an unreal space where we are very shielded from the visceral nature of death. Although it’s a part of everyone’s life it still comes as a deep shock when it happens. I think it was Carlos Castaneda who once wrote that by keeping the awareness of one’s death close, it helps us be more alive. I thought I did that. Until the lockdown happened. Suddenly it felt closer, more real, than ever.
Quite a distinct possibility even.
Those first few weeks made me deeply reflect on what was really important in my life. My relationships with my family, my connection to the passing of time, my life/work balance, and how actively I was maintaining and engaging with my Druid Path. Over that time I feel I’ve become closer than ever with Cerri, although I couldn’t go and see my children or my parents we made regular time to join together online, and I could see quite clearly that I had more work to do with my Druidry.
Before lockdown, my regular daily practice had slipped, as had my regular meditation time. Not much, but enough. It’s often the case that, when life becomes busy, the first things to go are the things that are best for us, and that had happened to me too. So I made a point to look again at my daily spiritual practice and to get back into regular meditation. You might have read here on the blog that my regular visits with Oscar to the river were replaced with a more local walk along the harbour bank. Gradually I’ve felt those dropped threads being re-woven, and it’s felt so good. It’s like I remember who I am once more on a very deep level. I wonder if this has happened to you also? Seeing those people on ventilators on the news each day brought that feeling of mortality very close, and with it the unimportant stuff, the things I thought were important but in reality weren’t, dropped away, leaving a very real sense of what life was really about for me.
Lockdown brought other unexpected realisations. I’ve spent the past 20 plus years working for and on behalf of the Pagan/Druid community. That community has certain needs. For instance the wish to make open rituals more inclusive. These are good things, and are constant and changing quests. And amongst all of that service the place where the community’s needs, and my own personal spiritual path overlap, had become blurred. I know it’s happened to lots of people who have given their time over the years in this way. But suddenly I wasn’t running regular open rituals, pub moots, conferences, etc. Suddenly I had space to really reflect on how I felt about my Path, my own personal Path.
It’s been a wonderful and exciting Journey.
To me, Druidry is a magical path – it always has been – and the magician within me has re-awoken. Not that he was completely asleep, but I realised he had been resting… It was magic that brought me to the Pagan path many years ago, in a kind of crooked route through ceremonial magic, and to me, magic is very much a part of being an Ovate, but some may look at what I do and believe and say I am actually ‘Witchcraft-Adjacent’. I’m good with that too. Folklore and Magic have always turned me on. My Altar has been thoroughly cleaned and repurposed, I’ve been out harvesting magical plants again, working with the Moon, Sun and the Elements, greeting the morning with ritual, giving of myself once more to Magic.
My dreams are deeper again, my vision has cleared, I can hear Old Horny’s cloven hooves beside me and the Goddess’ song in the air. Don’t get me wrong, I never turned away from any of this, but the noise of everyday life can sometimes draw our attention from the Song.
But the Song is still there.
It’s always there.
Long may the Path be so.