Hail Dionysus

To say this post represents a bit of a reboot of this blog is an understatement. I could come up with a bunch of bullshit excuses for not writing here, but I’m gonna be honest. It was the summer, I discovered the Zen of cycling, which I spent many hours doing, and I was kind of rediscovering my path. But what good is a blog if you don’t post to it, right? So I’m bound and determined to do better.

Rediscovering my path. I swear Pagans spend more time thinking about their spirituality than evangelicals. The difference (in this context) is that the evangelicals have a narrow, defined, path that is defined by a written text. Pagans have a wide ranging array of choices, mostly defined by what we think we know about ancient times.

But this summer, I got honest with myself. I am not a Scott Cunningham Wiccan. I am not all sunshine & light. I have that aspect as a part of my psyche, but it is not completely me. I’m not the person who is going to spend lots of time on rituals. I seem to be more of a philosopher, perhaps a mystic, than ritualistic practitioner. So Wicca, a path for which I have a great deal of affection, is no longer my destiny.

I am delighted to say that I’ve actually connected with a deity. This has eluded me, well, basically my entire life. But I did a lot of thinking about who I am, what kind of life I’ve led, and while doing so, what god did I encounter repeatedly? Dionysus. He is the perfect god for me. If I were magically transported into the pages of Greek mythology, my role would be that of a satyr. Their depictions as of lovers of wine & drink, women, and any sexual or physical pleasure, along with a carefree nature mirrors my own. The difference being that in real life, I suffer great bouts of anxiety over having lived such a life. Dionysus was also a god representing rebirth. I can embrace that with all my heart, because I’m fairly certain that my lifestyle has chopped years off my existence here on earth in this incarnation.

This, dear readers, is not to say I’ve led a life of sloth and debauchery. Rather, I’ve dipped into the waters of a wide array of sensuous delights with relatively few partners. I worked from the age of 16, but have not been a very responsible money person. If I had a dollar, I spent it. Luckily, my wife excels at that aspect of life.

I’m a left hand path kind of guy. I’m a leader of my own path, not a follower of others’ paths. I have dipped into the waters of Luciferianism, because I see that path as one of enlightenment and knowledge, rather than evil. The Left Hand Paths get a bad reputation not because of the true disciples of the path. Rather, they are harmed by those who use those paths as an excuse for criminal, hateful, or harmful behaviors. The person painting an inverted pentagram on the side of a building isn’t a Pagan or Satanist, they are a criminal.

Dionysus does not represent hatred or criminality. He embodies the joys of life, even if their excesses may be harmful to the follower.

A Turnabout in 481 Words

I’m just revving up when it comes to using social media.  My daughter is the queen of it, and I’ve learned quite a bit just by listening to her trials and tribulations.  Interacting with others who have traits, personalities, or practices similar to my own is by far the best thing about participating in this realm.

The one rather depressing aspect I’ve found is that social media makes me feel rather old.  I’m no spring chicken, being well into middle age, but before I got involved with social media, I thought of myself as, well, rather youngish for my age.  However, it seems I find that most people that are active on say Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and even blogging are appreciably younger than me.

This does not completely surprise me.  When I began my Wiccan path in 2004, Yahoo was king, and they had lots of Wicca and witchcraft groups, some of which I joined and actively participated.  I realized then that I had come “late to the party” in terms of my age compared to many of the other participants.  There are, of course, many older Wiccans and witches, many of whom have written the books we all have used to educate ourselves.  Buckland, Farrar, Morrison, Starhawk, etc.  But I find that the vast majority of those I interact with on a daily basis through social media are those in their twenties and thirties.

I have many friends my age that don’t know the first thing about social media.  They aren’t on Facebook or Twitter.  Becoming a witch drove me to use the computer and mobile media.  Since there are far fewer of us, we tend to get a bit lonely, and all this connectivity helps us feel a part of some sort of community.

Don’t get me wrong, I love communicating with those younger than myself!  The younger people have so much enthusiasm, fresh ideas, and are open to sharing.  I hate when I see long time Wiccans or witches bashing those new to the path.  Who do they think is the future face of Wicca, or any other pagan path?

I often ponder what life would have been like had I found this path in my late teens or twenties.  Much different I’m sure.  Those who embrace this path in their youth now are much more open about it.  Starting on this path at an early age enables one to surround themselves with friends who have similar viewpoints.  They also have a lifetime of marveling at nature, and embracing the unseen.

Actually, now that I’m writing about it, perhaps all the interaction I have with younger folks is keeping me young!  It certainly helps me keep an open mind about nearly everything, which is something I can’t say about many of my friends that are my age.  Wow, I think I just gave myself a therapy session!!

Thanks kids!

 

Balancing Hippie and Goth

As stated succinctly in the tagline of my blog title, I’m an enigma.  If you look that word up at Dictionary.com, you find this definition: “a person of puzzling or contradictory character.”  I think that describes me pretty well, as does the title of this blog, Gothic Hippie.  Let me explain.

In 2004, at a relatively advanced age, I became a pagan, and subsequently, a Wiccan.  This bold move on my part did two things.  First, it conjured up (pun intended) all the old hippie tendencies of my youth.  I was an earthy kid, who in middle and high school wore bell bottoms and army jackets with peace sign and ecology flags sewn on it.  I was highly influenced by Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, which ignited the environmental movement.

Sadly, after high school, I got all caught up in the me generation of the 1980’s, and conveniently forgot about my youthful causes.  Wicca brought that back.

Secondly, Wicca awakened my goth side.  I had always had interests in macabre things, such as horror movies (atmospheric, not Freddy Krueger), vampires, dark mythologies, hauntings, etc.  When I began meeting people in the witchcraft community, I became familiar with the goth subculture.  I found that I had a lot of common interests with those folks, and I explored further.  I found more interests and practices that I enjoyed.  Over the course of the past six years, this way of looking at life has become as ingrained in me as my hippie outlook.

I suppose it’s not as diametrically opposed as it appears at first glance.  The hippie movement was a counterculture opposition to the establishment, as is the goth culture.  Without the hippie movement, there might not have been a goth subculture.  They are both cultures that eschew societal norms.  It can cause me a degree of mental tug-of-war at times, but normally it’s a fairly easy balance.

I have tried blogging a few times, both under a Wiccan premise.  Honestly, I found it difficult to write about Wicca or witchcraft all the time.  With this blog, I feel I can talk about a wide range of stuff, both magical and mundane.  If you are reading this, I hope you’ll stop by again!

*photo of very cool button found here