Urban Pagan in Somerset

Urban Pagan in Somerset

Sunday, 26 September 2010


This weekend my son came to visit for a few days which was lovely and a total surprise when I got a call at 7am on friday morning just as I was leaving for work. He was already down - had stayed the night at a friends and hoping I hadnt left yet. I couldnt pick him up as I would be late for work, but left a key for him to let himself in.
It was lovely to have him here. He left uni in june this year and I hadnt seen him since as he lives in Essex with his dad nowadays though hopefully he will be coming down this way for good soon.
But I digress.........

I had promised to drive him home - back to the house I used to live in many years ago. I havnt actually been back to it for almost 10 years as I saw him so much while he was at university so didnt need to make the trip to visit him there. As his father (my ex husband) also lives there it may have been awkward a few years back too - though not nowadays.

Anyway, driving him back after the dartford tunnel we pottered up the M25 to get to the A12 and then it started....

I havnt actually been back to Maldon where we lived since I walked away from the marriage in 1998! And only touched the edges of Essex on my way to other places so I wasnt prepared for the feelings I experienced. Im quite sensitive to earth energy. I notice the changes of counties, sacred and ancient sites and leys so its not really that surprising, but Essex had a great deal of effect on me and my spiritual path in my past.

Although a solitary pagan since the 70s it wasnt until I moved to Essex in the early 1980s that I found other people like me, circles and groups to connect with. A coven to train in and students of my own once I became a wiccan elder. For those of you who live in Essex, you must have felt the energies there. Essex has a deep and ancient tradition of the Craft and I have always thought I really opened up to the Craft and its teaching once I became part of the land there.

Of course, other people feel the same thing in different parts of the land, and I also have felt a real homecoming feeling in other places too - particularly in Avebury and up near Sheffield where I had an amazing sense of the land - though that may be more to do with my ancestral connection as my mothers family have many roots there.

But many experiences that created the branches of my spiritual path are connected with Essex and its' beautiful countryside, ancient villages and magical history and it all came flooding back.

I allowed myself to really immerse in it, as I also had my youngest daughter in the car, I found myself driving the 'pretty way' getting off the A12 and through the villages. Showing her the various places I held outdoor circles, the pagan federation gatherings,
places that really yanked on the old heartstrings. Memories that had lay dormant for years rose up. People I had known, been friends with, been hurt by, feelings of joy, devestation, many moments and times of my life layered like waves on a shore.

I started to wonder - is this time to come back? Could I find somewhere up here to live and work again? Could I relive the experiences, the wonderful moments again. I resolved to take my daughter on a drive around Maldon, the high street, places from my past. I found myself looking forward to it. Excited to revisit my past.

I put this feeling aside for a while once I got to my son's house. And there I made a discovery. The house I had lived in over 10 years ago, I had decorated and painted and organised. The garden where I had planted trees and plants and lived with my 2 eldest children. Nothing had changed. NOTHING!... Apart from the fact that it was definately now a batchelor pad - different boy toys and gadgets, a few different bits of furniture,tv and motorbike magazines around, the house was exactly as I left it. The walls unchanged. The carpets and curtains the same Some of the pictures on the wall were there as I had left them.

The rooms looked sadly drab now, in need of redecoration. New fabrics and colours. The garden is overgrown and the trees now crowding the once large garden. The front garden still had the wooden tub I grew lavender in over 10 years ago though long empty, but still in its exact place. It was an amazing discovery.

Im not trying to say anything majorly critical of my ex husband. He has never liked change and soft furnishings and houses were not important to him. But what it brought home to me was how things stagnate without change. How things become sad and drab. How memories and nostalgia are fine in their place, but you cant go back. You can never go back. You cannot recreate what has gone.

After a quick cup of tea, we left and I still drove my daughter through Maldon to show her where I walked, drank tea, met friends and brought up my eldest 2 children. I left and drove down through a different route of memories, the magick of the land still in my blood. But the feeling was different - the spell was broken. I knew I had moved forward and drove home again with no regrets.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

What neon sign is flashing on my forehead?

Just had a lovely saturday evening. I invited friends and family to my equinox harvest supper, loads of veggie stew, home made cheesy bread and carrot cake to celebrate. Sadly not everyone could make it this year so we were a little group but an entertaining evening was had by all I think.

One interesting event though, was during a discussion we had about events and situations from our past. Now Ive always known I was rather naive when it comes to the opposite sex and romantic occasions. Well, actually any sex when it comes to it! Ive got so many tales of being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the right guy, or maybe the right place, right time and wrong guy! However, Ive also had occasion to be at the wrong place, wrong time and definately wrong woman!

Now dont get me wrong, I am no homophobic, I have no trouble with same sex relationships, my eldest daughter has her butter spread on both sides of the bread, so to speak. But I personally am not that way enclined and have yet to find another woman I am attracted to physically or romantically. And as I am completely inept in recognising a man being attracted to me, I certainly wouldnt suspect a woman feeling any more than friendly affection.

Several years ago, I moved back to kent and the first thing I felt I needed to do was to find a local moot, meet some other local pagans and make a few friends. So I went to one in the medway towns. Nice group of people, one lady in particular was very friendly, introduced me to her husband and invited me to a party. I went and all was ok until she showed me her S and M room complete with handcuffs attached to chains on the wall. Hmmmm. Ok, its not my cup of tea, but Ive always believed in live and let live, and if it doesnt scare the horses......
But you see Im the most perplexed kind of person when it comes to being confronted with something as to what kind or response Im meant to give. Do I instantly decline what might be on offer? What if it isnt on offer? Do I laugh nervously and head for the hills? Sadly, my usual response is to seem affable and friendly and say nothing. It never happened, lets just move past this experience shall we?

Unfortunatly this sometimes gets me in deeper though. A couple of weeks later and she phoned me for a chat.
Opening conversation from the dominatrix ; 'Im really happily married and so lucky with my husband, he knows Im bisexual - I licked my first clit when I was 15' (far too much information for me, and not a picture I wanted in my head at this time). She continues while I am stumped as to what I should reply ' Yes, when I see a girl I like I tell him about it and he says, well why dont you invite her for dinner. We often end up in bed all together!' Hmmm. Time to change the conversation and get off the phone. So I mumble a few things I dont really remember about what im doing and how I cant make the moot next week (or ever again!!!) As we say our goodbyes she says - ' Its been lovely to talk today, you really must come over for dinner soon.....'

You would think I could see this kind of thing coming! But no! Just the other day, i met a really nice woman at a circle. We got on like a house on fire, similar family, similar life experiences. I felt I had known her for years. She has a family and an older partner. 'Why dont you come over for a meal and meet him - he's really keen to meet you as I dont normally make friends with women, although I am bisexual, I tend to like male company more'. Did I remember my previous experience. Had I learned from it? What do you think?!!

It was supposed to be a takeaway and a couple of hours just meeting her bloke. Well, I realised all was not quite as I supposed when she met me at the front door made up to the nines, a slinky dress poured over her curves and a flower pinned just above the clearly bra less breasts. Oh, had I misread this yet again? Well I was here now, I couldnt just go. So in I went with my bottle of grape juice (well i was driving) to make the best of things. We got a chinese delivered and had a nice evening of chatting. I began to relax and believe I had probably got the wrong end of the stick!

I like to think Im naive and open minded. My eldest daughter says Im just, well, a mug! Even when the situation is slapping me in the face like a wet fish (maybe not the best analogy in this case) I still want to think the best of a situation and not what may be glaring me in the face! Still, I think after the meal when we sat down and I became aware of the bare breast glaring at me in the face, it was probably a clue.

Had it slipped out by accident? She didnt seem bothered about putting it away. So I resorted to my normal response. Thinking to myself, I shant look at that! I continued to stare at her face rather than allow myself to look anywhere else, to chat away until I felt I could reasonably make my excuses and leave.

As a pagan I approach sex I hope in a healthy way - I like it, its natural and provided both (or several) parties agree to what takes place, there shouldnt be a problem. So why do I have a problem in just saying 'no thanks thats not for me' without feeling rude? Or even that they may be offended as no offer was actually in the making?

She hasnt contacted me since so I guess I probably didnt pass the test.

so Ive come to the conclusion that I am obviously giving off some kind of signal that indicates Im interested in something. What it is im not sure and how I stop it I certainly dont know. What I would like to know though, is where is the power source and how do I turn it off?

Friday, 17 September 2010

The Growth of my path is an individual thing

Its that time again. The Equinox is almost upon us and I can feel the movement of the seasons wheel as it turns on....

I have always enjoyed celebrating the wheel of the year festivals with a circle, ritual, activities, crafts etc and in the last few years particularly in a family way. In my book Natures Children - celebrating the seasons in a pagan family, I went through the wheel of the year and described the activities I liked to do for each festival with friends and family. I still like to do some of these although as my children have grown, so the activities have developed, changed or new ones have come along.

There is also an additional thing that effects my celebrations which is the way my own personal path has developed over the last few years. Its interesting for me, because I have always been one to enjoy group rituals and circles, and still enjoy the friends and family activities I sometimes organise. But my own personal acknowledgement of my beliefs has become more solitary as the years go by. Now this could be for several reasons. I think this is mainly as my own path becomes more eclectic, I find keeping to one tradition or described path as very difficult. For a while I found my path was balanced with an acknowledgment of the Goddess and the God.

Then for a while, I was more Goddess focused - possibly as a result of a painful life experience and I needed to feel safe - working within a woman only group.

After a while, my path shifted to more animistic, nature spirit working, with very few 'nods' to any pantheon of Gods or Goddesses. Lately, I have shifted once again, to knit together my own path of spirit, animism and God/Goddess working.

I rejoice in this because it indicates to me, that my path is developing, living organically, growing, diminishing, spreading in different directions and allowing all that I experience, feel and know to become part of that personal tradition. I choose to call myself Pagan, because it is a word that to me encompasses so many of my experiences and feelings. But I know that I have sympathies towards other spiritual directions - some aspects of Buddhism appeal to me too.

I love that paganism is such an individual experience and though we have a common identity in many areas, there is also so much diversity and difference. Long may it continue.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

blog award

thank you loopy for my first blog award - the sunshine award. xx

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Home Education or Not?

Yesterday I bumped into a friend I havnt seen for several months. The children have gone back to school this last week and her son - usually in the same class as my daughter had been missing. Had he been poorly? We've all succumbed to the 'back to school' virus/freshers flu that people seem to get at the beginning of the school year so assumed thats why he wasnt at school.

No, he has been taken out of school to be homeschooled. How interesting. I had wanted to try that route for my youngest daughter Rhiannon but circumstances had stopped me being able to do so. Actually in her case it was probably for the best - she's a very sociable little girl, loves having playmates around her and it might have been a rather lonely experience for her.

Dont get me wrong - I dont think thats the case for all homeschooled children. But my financial circumstances dont allow for me to pay for clubs, activities, petrol to go to support groups - or indeed run a car at all if Im not working. And as a single mum, I would have had a lot of problems with various government departments if I wanted to be supported on benefits in order to home school my daughter.

When I was looking into it myself, I attended a local Education Otherwise group with other parents homeschooling their children. It was a lovely group but I did notice lots of the parents were comfortably well off - mostly with 2 parents so one able to stay home to do the homeschooling, or running their own businesses from home. There was one single parent there - but again, she was on a private income so no pressure to return to work. And I think its important for my daughter to see me working to support us from an early age. I dont want her to grow up thinking that claiming benefits is a right or lifestyle choice, rather than a neccessity for some people who have had problems and need support until they get back on their feet again.

I even wrote a chapter in my first book Natures Children - celebrating the seasons in a pagan family (2007). At that time I really wanted to home school my daughter but after a time, realised it wasnt practical for our situation.And so she has gone to school, and in her case it was the best decision.

As I also work now at the school she attends, it has benefited us both. And Im fortunate because it does mean I still get to spend the holidays with her. I can organise trips, arts and crafts and fun things to do together then.

Though I do sometimes wistfully think of my warm bed on cold mornings as we both get into the school to start the day.