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May 30th, 2006


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07:57 am - A sorta Wellspring review, 2006
Before I left Wellspring, uberrod asked me why I was leaving. "A friend needs help," I told him.

"Is this the kind of help where they say, 'I need help moving,' or the kind where they say, 'I need help moving bodies'?"

"More the bodies kind of help," I replied.

I spent five waking hours at Wellspring this year before I had to leave. I wasn't sure when I'd get back, but I figured I might make it back for a night. Hard to say. There were far more important things than being around a bunch of people who could get along just fine without me.

I drove out past the hardware store where I kissed a girl in public for the first time and reminiced about that for the first thirty minutes of my drive, though I admit that it flew from my mind when the two deer ran past me on the interstate. From then, it was an experience of driving through areas I've never been, checking to ensure that my passport was intact, and getting where I was going. I had both my portable altar from Waking With Fire last year and my Kit in the car to ensure that I was ready for anything.

Somewhere along the way, I realized how strange it was that the words, "I'll be there," were really so deeply meant. I thought about how I had said it, and at the time, I meant it. I knew that. What I did not know was how deeply I meant it, how desperately I wanted to be there. I did not know how deeply and desperately I intrinsically knew that the distance I was traveling for this friend was a drop in the bucket compared to how far I would go.

I listened to strange techno remixes of "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" and "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk". I saw some beautiful scenery and watched for the crossings over an old trail I know and love.

"It was then . . . that I asked myself the big question of whether or not I really wanted something as complicated as a woman back in my life."
-Tully Mars, A Salty Piece of Land, p. 93
I read that quote while wrapped up in a blanket on a temporary bed, and I started thinking about my life and my relationships. I think that yes, I do want to try that complication again, I do want to have that fun and that fear. It's the paradox of the game that you play and the life-and-death struggle that women and relationships are that I want. As Jimmy sang, "I came off the rebound, started lookin' around, and figured out it's time to have a little fun."

In many ways, the trip was good for me. Getting to see an old friend and realizing the depths of my feelings for that friend, how I would have gone ten times as far simply to be there; seeing new places and old ones all at once; I met new people and learned new things; and I even had the amusing experience of, "Oh, you're Michael J Dangler! I read so much of your stuff!" and I think (hope) I managed to avoid the blush of embarassment that always accompanies that phrase.

St. Barbara was with me for the entire trip, watching over me through storms and strangers, lightning and ninja monkeys. A friend was my guide, who got me from place to place, and I'm indebted to him for everything he did for me on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"When do we start?" I asked.

"As soon as he gets back."

"I know you said he was off island right now, but where is he?"

"Last week he was suddenly called by the gods to Xibalba."

"How far is that from here?"

Bucky started laughing. "Well, it ain't down Highway 307. Xibalba is the nine-layered netherworld where shamans seek the wisdom of the spirits. There is a steep and secret road through a series of caves that can be entered only by shamans. It is a very dangerous place, with lots of snakes and dragons down there; torrents and abysses flank the road, which is covered with thorns. In this place, the evil demons live who dare to challenge the gods to combat."

"I think I'll wait until he gets back," I said.
-A Salty Piece of Land, p. 70


I was surprised to find that my St. Barbara medal has a reverse of St. Catherine of Siena, who I don't know anything about. All I can see, as I look at the medal, is another figure. To me, Cathy ain't a saint. Sorry. I'm going to stick with my saint of lightning and my roaches, thank you.

Still, Barbara got me through a rough time. The storms, the descents, the ascents, and a couple other things. I do have a pair of patron saints now: one Catholic and one Discordian. It's kinda the same way I look at the deities of other pantheons: the deities there are things I can work with without necessarily believing in them. Guys like Hermes, Manannan, and Thoth simply don't exist in my usual paradigm. This is, generally speaking, probably okay, as I doubt they believe in me.

I returned to Wellspring on Sunday night, in the middle of the ritual. Bard Dafydd was just finishing the attunement, talking about the interconnectedness of the Groves, and I stepped into the circle right next to Skip. I spent the rest of the night and the early morning discussing policy, primarily, and trying to get all the things done I couldn't do because I was away. I came away satisfied that the 15 total waking hours (out of a possible 120 or so) I spent at Wellspring were spent very well, and that I had spent every minute of the weekend in exactly the right place.

I've had a lot of time to think about a lot of things, as you can probably tell. The decompression from worry and angst and fear that this trip brought made it one of the most unwinding sort of vacations I could have ever had, despite the crazy urgency, fear, and occasional dread, I feel a lot better now than I did before.

At the end of the trip, my friend was alright. I admit, I'm still on pins and needles, hoping that things are resolved (and knowing, deep down, that they aren't fully), and I find myself ready to go and do it all over again.

"I'm not looking for salvation, just a salty piece of land."
-"A Salty Piece of Land", Jimmy Buffett

Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: indescribable
Current Music: "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes", -JB

(22 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:ariansdreams
Date:May 30th, 2006 12:16 pm (UTC)
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St. Catherine

She was my patron saint when I was Confirmed with the Roman Catholic Church. Otherwise I'd be as confused as you. She's interesting, though.

Man, that brings back memories. Mainly of some scary old bishop making the sign of the cross on my forehead with oil. I think I was...12? 13 maybe? I dunno. Long time ago. :)
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:May 30th, 2006 12:25 pm (UTC)
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All her contemporaries bear witness to her extraordinary personal charm

Do you think this is a nice way of saying that "Her contemporaries thought she was hot"?

I'm wondering if, in 700 years, books on Paganism in the 21st century will refer to people like druidkirk with the same sentence. . .
[User Picture]
From:singingwren
Date:May 30th, 2006 01:20 pm (UTC)
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Well done!

*claps for you and friend who was trusting and good enough to come to you for help*

We missed you, but it was okay. My only complaint is that I too somehow failed at orchestrating an orgy in that big huge tent. Well actually, I think we both know of a number of people I COULD have started one with... uh, but even a full mug of whiskey and three margaritas would not have triggered that. Hehe!

I hope you didn't feel shunned by me at all in that I didn't really hang out with you whatsoever when you came. I figured we get to see each other more often in daily life but all these people hardly ever see us, plus you had lots of business to attend to whilst I had lots of rambunctiousness to attend to. Good times all around. :)

Now I need to try to find the LJ's of the superbly excellent people that I met...!
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:May 30th, 2006 01:33 pm (UTC)
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I'm sure that yes, the orgy could certainly have been arranged. . . I'll let them know that more whisky and margaritas are in order next time I see them.

And I don't feel shunned if people don't hang out with me. Hell, I never have the time to see everyone I want to see at these things, and gods know I never, ever spend a lot of time with people I'll see again real soon.
[User Picture]
From:tlachtga
Date:May 30th, 2006 04:15 pm (UTC)
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You've no idea how much this makes me miss being in the community. So many parts of my life have fallen away, and it's sad when I think about how much I enjoyed some things.

Oh well. I burned those bridges pretty good, didn't I.
[User Picture]
From:romandruid
Date:May 30th, 2006 04:53 pm (UTC)
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I derno about that... I doubt there are any bridges so badly burned that they couldn't be repaired or rebuilt. Are you willing to try, is the real question... :)
[User Picture]
From:tlachtga
Date:May 30th, 2006 05:13 pm (UTC)
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To be honest, I'm a little afraid. I up and fled, and I probably look like a coward. And maybe I am. Especially with the Welsh Kin. They're probably royally pissed at me.

I don't know. I have to think about this. I had a falling out with the local community, too--two groves I'm not on the best of terms with now. And I have to figure out how to deal with that.

Like I said, I'm going to sit back and think for a little while. My membership runs out in August, by which time I should have figured out what I'm doing. (Yeah, well, if not figured out, at least started down the road.)

But it's good to know that maybe I'm not, you know, excommunicated or anything.
[User Picture]
From:qorinda
Date:May 30th, 2006 06:52 pm (UTC)
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Well, I hope you decide to stay. Your work is still very valued by all of us, and we do miss you.
[User Picture]
From:chirael
Date:May 30th, 2006 08:35 pm (UTC)
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FWIW, I hadn't heard anything bad about you. Granted, I'm not in the Welsh Kin, but I'm reasonably tuned into stuff.

Nothing came on my radar, so it's possible you didn't upset as many people, or make them as upset, as you thought :)

And of course, I'm hoping you do stay in ADF :)
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:May 30th, 2006 05:02 pm (UTC)
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Far as I'm concerned, those bridges are still standing nicely.

Besides, I don't believe that you were the person playing with matches, to be perfectly honest.
[User Picture]
From:tlachtga
Date:May 30th, 2006 05:14 pm (UTC)
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Maybe, but I was happy to pour gasoline on the wood. :-(

I have to think about this. I have till August before my membership is up.

And I still don't know how to handle the local community.
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:May 30th, 2006 05:23 pm (UTC)
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Well, if you need any help on that front, let me know. I'm more than happy to help however you need.

I wonder if I could swing through Philly on my way to Walking With Fire in Boston? And if I did that, maybe through NYC as well, and see some people there?

*thinks*

Well, that could be interesting. Time to break out a map. . .
[User Picture]
From:triskele
Date:May 30th, 2006 05:52 pm (UTC)
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You know that foursome thing was a joke, right? You ran away so fast :) Nora & I were pretending to cook up a scandal.
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:May 30th, 2006 06:04 pm (UTC)
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I got sidetracked. Someone was talking about something involving ADF training, and you know that there's nothing, not even a foursome with beautiful women, that can tear me away from ADF's training programs!

(or so I would have people believe)
[User Picture]
From:chirael
Date:May 30th, 2006 09:10 pm (UTC)
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Did you know that Saint Barbara is the saint that was syncretized with the Santeria god Chango? (This was, as I understand it, due to the colors and the castle/sword symbolism.) Chango is also one of my personal patrons, FWIW :)

In any case, it's good that she watched over you for your trip. I like to think that some of the offerings I made to Ellegua (aka St. Anthony or St. Michael) helped romandruid and I with our own Wellspring travel issues :)
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:May 31st, 2006 12:52 pm (UTC)
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I don't know a lot about Santerian Orishas, but I could see it.

I once thought to get involved in some Santerian practices, but when I leared a tad about it, I decided that they were an all-or-nothing sort of crew. They're about the only group that I won't mess around with for fun.

Cthulhu is safer :)
[User Picture]
From:chirael
Date:June 1st, 2006 01:23 pm (UTC)
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an all-or-nothing sort of crew

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up, in my experience anyway. That's why I quit after one minor initiation. Or as a fellow ADF member at the time put it, the Santera had "high priestess syndrome" ;)
[User Picture]
From:mitakola
Date:May 30th, 2006 11:50 pm (UTC)
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You have such a very beautiful soul. It comes through so clearly in your words and writings. I am basically no one that matters, living on a mountain in East Tennessee and have only just begun the dedicant program at ADF and a local study group. But...I have been in the shadows reading a lot and lucked up on finding some lj's of ADFers and I must say I always look forward to your entries.

Just felt like tell you that you are a beautiful person. Sometimes strangers can pick up on that and respect it more clearly.
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:May 31st, 2006 12:54 pm (UTC)
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Thanks. I just make it up as I ago along. If I make it down to East Tenn again in the near future, I'll see if we can't work something out. I like visiting ADF members.
[User Picture]
From:mitakola
Date:May 31st, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC)
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You would be very welcomed. Warning tho, I live as off the grid as possible and process all of my foods myself, even the meat. And....I have 20 cats. BUT....if you do not mind those things....you are welcomed to visit and stay as long as you desire. LOL
[User Picture]
From:smithing_chick
Date:May 31st, 2006 01:18 am (UTC)
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I've seen St. Catherine's head. Her real actual head. It's in a reliquary in her monastary in Sienna. They moved her body at some point & her head fell off so they made a reliquary for it & it sits up behind the altar.

If you ask a Church official, St. Catherine was one of the main movers & shakers in getting the Church to get it's act together during the Counter-Reformation.

According to our tour guide, she was also a bitchy teenage anorexic who died of starvation by age 30. Her head was *tiny*.
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:May 31st, 2006 12:54 pm (UTC)
(Link)
The tour guides always know more than the official line does.

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