When Heathen Gods Crash Your Roman Holiday

Or: A Spirit-Worker’s Year in Review

I haven’t written much about the way Odin has really turned my world upside down in the last year. Not a lot, at least. I think partially, because I’m not really sure where it’s going in regards to where I fall within a religious practice. I think, perhaps, in my private practice I’m coming to terms with simply being a Pagan and Polytheist without a cultural descriptor ahead of it. But I’m not there yet. It’s funny to me that I’ve spent so many years debating the usage of Roman in my label that shortly after finally accepting it, I would be clinging to it and uncomfortable leaving it behind while Gods scream in my ear “Go Heathen, go Gaul, go somewhere else…”

December 17th was the beginning of Saturnalia, which was the first Roman festival I ever celebrated. But last year at around 1 in the morning on that day, I was up too late reading in bed. Suddenly I heard howls coming down the large stoney cliff and over the creek in my back yard. Then I felt a Presence standing outside of my window, which due to the split level is directly above my head. I got the very distinct message that I wasn’t supposed to peek out the window, and honestly I was too terrified to look anyway. In my mind’s eye I saw a pair of brown work boots and dark blue jeans.

My first thought beyond staying as still as possible, like a deer locked in the gaze of a predator was, Holy shit. It’s the Wild Hunt.

Slowly the howls traveled up my drive way, out into the street, and further down it.

The next day, I set about trying to figure out what had happened, because surely I had been in the presence of a God. But it wasn’t Hekate. It wasn’t Apollon.

By the time morning came around, I’d decided to not go with my original instinct, because at the time I was obsessing over Romanizing the local world around me. I quickly talked myself out of the Wild Hunt theory.  That was not my thing.

I asked Facebook. Coyote was brought up. Local Gods. Silvanus. I decided Silvanus was a good enough God for me, so I ran with it despite feeling like I’d gotten something wrong.

The following day, I caught sight of Someone standing on the hill, watching me. I felt Them in my home despite drawing the very specific line of You shall not come into my house. Mr Foxglove reminded me that he’d watched a man walk up the incredibly steep almost cliff-like limestone hill only to duck behind a tree and disappear. I’d rolled my eyes at the time, telling him that there must have been a small hill the man had gone behind.

What scared me the most about the situation, though, was that I had local apples that earlier in the day had been absolutely fine. Suddenly there was one that was so rotten that it was nearly seeping through the hanging basket it was sat in. I threw it out.

About an hour later I turned around and the apple was back again. Along with the Man on the Hill.

So I proceeded to flip out. It had been years since I’ve particularly terrified of things like this happening, because in my life these things happen far too often not only to me, but those who are have contact with me. Non-believers. People who have to believe on some level, because shit happens and Gods arrive. Gods come into my loved ones’ lives like ghost stories. Sometimes They stay. Sometimes They were just there for a fleeting moment. Hekate on a street in Los Angeles, letting an internet friend at the time know that She was watching; Her presence clearly giving me warning that I ignored at the time that another point on my spiritual path was about to be unlocked. The Man with a Hat, now understood to be Odin, chasing off boyfriends in high school as a ghost… Even Mr Foxglove saw Him in the house in Iowa the first time he came to visit me there; I told him it was simply an angry, drunken ghost who lived in the house.

Gods arrive in my life like a knife in the ribs; none of them particularly gentle in Their handling on first contact. I suppose my stubbornness is a strong bolt on the doors They walk through, and when They discover a gentle shake isn’t going to be enough to get my attention, They get out the battering ram…

They stand outside my bedroom window with howling creatures and cause me to panic. That is how you get my attention. I’m almost ashamed to admit it.

The following day, I grabbed up the remaining apples in my home, some pork I’d made the night before, and a jar of milk. I made the trek up and around the block to the hill at the back of my yard. I’ve discovered the logistics of living on the edge of the Ozark Bluffs makes even a small hill one you have to walk around the block to get to the top of. It screws with your spacial understanding… There’s a magic to it, though. Almost like the Tardis, a world bigger on the inside than it seems from the outside.

From the top of the hill, it is another world. It’s a place completely ignored by man, save for people occasionally making a jaunt up the steep almost cliff-like hill to cut across it. It’s surrounded by urban expansion such as a school, golf course, and homes, but for the most part it’s simply an abandoned .6 acres that was possibly meant for constructing houses upon before someone thought better of it. It’s filled with discarded street cement. It’s wasteland. And, amusingly, due to that fact it’s filled with native plants such as horsenettle, which I would have never learned about had I not gone on that walk. In fact, any time I wander up there, I find myself learning something new about the land. I notice a plant or a certain quality of stillness. Coyote droppings. A deer herd. This is the magic world of the liminal, and I understand that is why I love it the way I do.

At the top of that hill, my home looks a million miles away.

And now, randomly during meditation, I will find myself dropped into the middle of that space again and again. I’m a gray squirrel running up the hill towards it. I am laying in the weeds naked. And the Spirit of the Hill, who is wild and far too interested in me now that He’s aware that I’m aware of Him, regularly comes to show me something new.

On the day I left my first offering, I didn’t know any of this was coming. I wanted to be left alone. I asked politely to please stay out of my house. I promised to compost in offering, which has only manifested recently in a place I was shown would be where to take dying plants… A place my husband picked out one day after yardwork, and my mother followed suit. The neighbors, before they moved or died, put their own yard scraps in that place as well.

That day, the first day I was up There, I walked home with my eyes to the ground. These were the days where rocks were appearing as I found myself becoming more and more in tune with the land of my blood. I plunged my hand into the Missouri River 2 months before when It called me to the point where I could no longer ignore visiting it, and pulled out rocks to take home. While getting family pictures taken on a day the winds were ridiculously strong, a rock fell from the sky to my feet. The adults with me looked at it with confusion, wondering aloud where it had come from. When no one was looking I made sure to calmly tuck it into my pocket and carry it home. The golden limestone I brought home from the hill is large… Nearly the size of a baseball. That was the rock I was given that day.

It wouldn’t be until February that I woke up one afternoon from a nap, having dreamed that Odin came to me. We talked of obligation, the blood of my people, and other things I could no longer remember upon waking. He gave me a golden, jeweled cup to drink from that was filled with blood. We both drank from it. I woke up wondering what it all meant. I had spent my time avoiding the Norse pantheon, because I had no interest in it at the time… Or perhaps I was a little scared of it.

Slowly it started to occur to me that Odin has always been in my life. On looking over His Wikipedia page, a picture of Him peering from under His hat made my blood run cold. In my teenage years, I was haunted by a shadowy figure that was the shadow man in a wide-brimmed hat. At times I would catch glimpses of Him about the house, watching me in mirrors for instance. But most of the time I would smell beer or whiskey, feel Him around me. I’d wake up in the middle of the night to Him standing over me and talking in a mumbled language I could never understand. Others started having run-ins with this ghost.

The day it really hit me this was a possible reality, I remembered that shortly after my daughter was born, my mother hand put a letter into my hands from a psychic in the United Kingdom I’d written to in 2001. She said, “I thought you might want to see this.” I remembered it spoke of the Man in the Hat, as I called him. I hadn’t actually re-read it at the time, but I scrambled to find it when it came to mind.

It read:

I do pick up spirit activity around you – You are especially susceptible – he needs to touch your hair he tells me. “You have such beautiful hair.” I know that he means you no harm and is simply there to watch. If you desperately want rid of him, tell him loudly and firmly to “Get lost.” It may take a few goes to get through to him, but he’ll get the message eventually. If you’re okay with him, let him stay. He’s harmless enough.

The other one is not like this. He’s dark and not so happy. He’s old and has beer around for a long time. He says his name is “an old family name in the village.” Sounds like Edward or Edwin. He has clean hands, so he’s never done hard work, but he says “All of this was our farm.” And if you go to the bottom of your land, you’ll see a boundary or a wall, which was a bit of the farm yard. (I would like to see this myself. Nice little bit of history.)

He speaks with an accent, which seems to be broken. Like Swedish or Norway by the sound of his “S” like “Ssss.” Take care, because he’s bossy and used to having his own way.

As a note, the house I was living in was a farm house, but the letter had always been a mystery to me. She was correct about the beer and the darkness. However, I’d spent a good amount of time researching. There were never any Edwards or Edwins that owned the land my house was built on in the town. There were no Scandinavian people. There was no boundary wall. And yet, I didn’t write off the letter; I just brushed it off at the time I was researching. Psychics are rarely 100% right.

Edwin, however, is one of Odin’s names. Reading it now with what little education I’ve gathered of Odin is an exercise in understanding His sense of humor. Finding the letter somehow confirmed momentarily that I wasn’t completely losing my mind, which honestly is something a person who is God-touched likely fears even more than the average person.

Things have gotten stranger and stranger… This last year has been nothing but an exhausting, wild ride as my physical health has turned from bad to worse to tolerably terrible yet hopeful. I feel like it’s just about time for me to start trying to piece it together into a chronological timeline… Like all the things I’ve been experiencing, things I don’t even have the energy most days to talk about let alone write about. Dreams I only have fragments of… The Gods who come to talk to me… Gods I’m not even sure I know who They actually are… An insanely complicated and convoluted language of symbols that I’ve yet to fully figure out what they all mean.

All this year has gotten me is the absolute deconstruction of the very core of my beliefs, friendships, and my body. And yet I have faith. Some argue that faith isn’t a Pagan value… That we don’t intrinsically hold faith as a polytheist value… But I do. Some days I’m not even fully sure that I exist, because more and more my life seems like some novel I should have read in my early teens.

But the Gods exist. The Gods are real. They are here. With us. Meddling. Forcing us to grow.

The Gods are here. That’s my message through all of it. They are real.

Two nights ago, a bomb was dropped that left me uncomfortable and alone. It ripped out my heart and caused me wonder exactly what the end game to this journey actually is. I’ve been told over and over again that the reward will be great, but sometimes I have to wonder if perhaps the reward will be great for someone other than me… And then I’m disturbed by my own internal urge to keep walking the path I am without actually knowing where I’ll end up.

I was told my time with Apollon is over, and I understood that the love is still there. Part of this journey is attempting to find this God’s light in the darkness again, but He is no longer Apollon…

I don’t know who the God I’ve loved all these years is anymore. My mortal mind finds this a hard concept to adjust to. Syncretism is painful, my friends, as much as it is joyous and beautiful. The same could be said about spirit work and mysticism… The Gods are not always beauty and joy. We carry this truth in the pit of our bellies, and despite our attempts to step away from the concept of appeasing the Gods we still seek Their hand in our life with each offering laid out to Them.

I can almost remember the point where I realized that I was to spend my life seeking to make each moment a prayer to Them. Each action a direct connection, an example of how They work through others. People may not know that I am a Pagan, but I try to live my life in a way that gives honor to the label and the Gods we carry in our hearts as if they did should they ever find out.

I said at one point that we shouldn’t seek to be martyrs of our religions, but I’ll openly admit that I sometimes wonder if that’s exactly what some of us are destined to become. Because if we touch the Gods, if we find ourselves woven into the fabric of the World where the Gods truly are, then we run the risk of being wounded by the truths w/We make with each other. We may not be made in the likeness of our Gods, but we are made of the same emotions… I would argue that, truly, our emotions are part of what makes a spark in each of us reach towards the possibility of our own divinity within us.

There is a path taken. The choice must be made on some deep soul-level to walk it. But walk it we must, because sometimes the only other option is to die. So perhaps it’s not a road but a river… Swim with the current or die. Or, in my case, give up and let the current take you where it will.

I don’t know where I’m going. But I know that, even if I wanted this all to stop, They wouldn’t let that happen. The Gods don’t always take no for an answer. There’s no point in being upset about it, because that’s not something that’s going to change. And that, in itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. Why would I honor Gods who didn’t know better than I do?

Yet I can see why Odin would give His eye these days. I understand that desire to see everything, know how it all will end.

Hail, Apollon. Thank You for Your lessons. I’ll forever love You.

Hold on tight, y’all… I’m heartbroken, but I get the feeling this has just turned into a very interesting ride…

(Hail Florence, patron saint of godspouses everywhere…)

At L.A. County cemetery, unclaimed dead await a final resting place – LA Times

It’s not very often that I simply put up an article on my blog, but I am still sitting here with a bit of shock about me on this one.  I mentioned elsewhere that my hope is by next year to start a foundation for those in our religious community to help cover funerals and final rites for our people…

This may not seem like a terribly important thing to everyone, but to me this is a silent epidemic in our American society.  It’s something I don’t want to see happen to our people.

I felt like I should share.

At L.A. County cemetery, unclaimed dead await a final resting place – LA Times.

Reblog: E Nos Lases Iuvate: Si vis pacem…

Preparation in time of peace, when it seems that everything runs smoothly and nothing seems to trouble us, means to achieve those tools – through study, practice of otium, care of the spirit, martial arts, the agricultural/gardening activities, walk in the way of meditation, spiritual exercises – necessary to deal with adversity. It is obvious that it is not an easy and simple path. It takes a lot of effort because the precondition for achieving the Pax Deorum is first resolve your own “inner war.” We must first be prepared to dominate our inner chaos, our agitation if we are to achieve spiritual peace. Inner peace is a precondition for peace outside. Unpreparedness introduces us into a state of war in which we will be surely defeated.

via E Nos Lases Iuvate: Si vis pacem….

 

I loved this entire article and wanted to share it.  I don’t feel that this is the only spiritual path towards being able to attain this, but this is an outlook I encourage others to explore for themselves in their own practice.  A solid foundation in the face of adversity through practice of what you are called to cultivate with the Gods and Spirits is a true gift that is attainable through dedication and strength of purpose even during the easy points in life.

Who are Our American Gods?

I’ve been pondering this question a lot lately, rolling it over in my head.  The Roman answer would be that the local spirits are Genii, Lares, and Manes.  We have Columbia, who came from Libertas, but is Her own Goddess despite some discomfort of the origin of her name.

But none of this sits well with me.  To say it’s not enough isn’t quite right, but I think I want more than this generic naming and placing of the spirits I encounter here within the context of a historically European religion.

I can sit and study all day the religions of the Native Americans, but those religions are not something I am working into my own tradition even if we recognize and honor the Dead, trying to atone on some spiritual level for what my white Ancestors might have done on this soil.  I have that generic 1/16th Cherokee that can’t be proven.  My father raised me with some specific beliefs from a couple tribes, not appropriated, but learned from someone claiming membership to said tribes (in a time before the great New Age appropriation started).  They are practiced in my home, but it will never be something I teach outside of our own family cultus.  It isn’t mine to teach.

So I face the great American mutt dilemma, possibly a very historically Roman one, and I find myself looking around at the world around me that is the New World going Now what?  Do I box these spirits into the confines of Roman Syncretism, knowing very well how much we know about how Gods didn’t exactly mesh correctly even back then?  Do I relate to these Gods as Apollon?  As Odin?  As Someone else?

I suppose I could, but something in the pit of my stomach tells me that’s not the way I should be going with this.  This is not what They want of me.  We carry the Gods of the Old World in our hearts and spirit, but how do I find a way for them to historically relate to America?  How to I make them current?

And this is the time of year where I say I don’t.  I can’t.  I won’t.  This is the time of the River for me.  It’s time for me to visit with the Missouri River, giving offerings and thanks.  Sitting down with the Entity that whispered to me “Welcome home,” realizing that it was the place of my blood.  Each river has its own Spirit or God connected to it, and this one is large and powerful.  This one is a God.  And it has been here longer than the religions of man.

What do I call the God of the railroads that were the lifeblood of the West, which rose in greatness and then fell into obscurity…  And yet this Midwestern Spiritworker living in the heart of Katy Country can’t help but feel the chill run through her as she watches a train cross across the fields of corn in a river bottom.  There’s a God there.  What is Its name?

Who are the Mountains?

Who are the Plains?

Why do the European myths fall short to me while the myths of the Americas feel like they are not mine to touch?  Why are we so complacent, complaining that Americans have no cultures like the romanticized Europeans, but falling into the grooves of ancient religions that don’t fit quite right in the space we’re in now?

Why do I sometimes feel like I’m about to shoot off into the space of birthing something new?  Why can’t I simply be at peace and ease with where I’ve been all of these years?

Someone whispers to me, “Inertia is death.  And I am the hand that pushes you.”

I have a good feeling I know Who it is.

What 20 Years Has Taught Me

Missouri River by http://www.flickr.com/photos/shotaku/870553709/in/set-72157600194555080
Missouri River by http://www.flickr.com/photos/shotaku/870553709/in/set-72157600194555080

Warning: I swear in this a few times.  Please don’t be too shocked.  My mouth is well-versed in the sailor’s language in person.

I looked at my calender to realize that today marks 20 years with Paganism as a conscious choice in my life. I have officially self-identified as a Pagan for more than half of my life. I remember this type of experience being thrown around as credentials for being an Elder in the community when I first started. “I’ve been a practicing Pagan for 20 years,” someone would say to qualify their argument in online spats. And I would quiet my brain. I would listen to what they’d say, thinking This person has been doing this forever, and surely they’ve discovered many truths on their path.

Standing at 20 years, you know what I feel like I know about Paganism, Polytheism, Roman What-Have-You, and the Universe Around Me?

Absolutely nothing.

Seriously.

Abso-fucking-lutely nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Maybe I’ve been Paganing the wrong way. I have no community in the flesh near me; in fact, I’m starting to suspect I may be a bit of a misanthrope when it comes to finding a brick and mortar community. I have no special titles. No awards. No laurels and accolades.

Dear Little Camilla of the Teenage Years, how I want to kiss your forehead. How I want to let you know that gut feeling you had that measurement of time isn’t what makes an Elder was the correct one. What matters is the quality of their heart and the wisdom (which doesn’t automatically come with age or time) gained from experience is not a one-size-fits-all game. No one gives you the secrets of life at 20 years in or at 60 years of age.  You who were pissed off from day one about the Crone archetype making people feel that, just because they’ve managed to survive X amount of years that they’re suddenly wise and elders. You were right. It’s quality. Not quantity.

At 20 years, I’ve been doing it all wrong… I hold a firm understanding of my own understanding of How Things Work. Oh my Gods, I’m shocked when people tell me I seem to know what I’m talking about. Oh my GODS, I have an informal student or two lurking about out there in the world…

Oh my Gods…

Is there such a thing as a Pagan and/or Polytheist Quarter Life Crisis? Because I’m afraid I may be headed into one a little early…

Because here are the real secrets I’ve learned in the last 20 years:

The minute I assume I’ve got a firm grip on something, the Gods see fit to knock me off my feet. The moment I say “I am XYZ,” Someone grabs me by the head, spins me, and sends me off in another direction. The very second I publicly called myself a Roman Polytheist, I heard a little whisper in my ear of “No, you’re not. You are a child built of Missouri River clay, and your blood is the sweat of this land. Your heartbeat is the ghostly echo of the Katy in the river bottoms, rolling prairies, and forested hills. You are the yellow limestone bluffs you love so much. You are a Midwestern mystic. You are an American Polytheist, and that’s not a 4-letter word. Stop trying to be things you are not.”

Then Odin lays His hand down on the table in a game of cards I wasn’t even aware I was playing with Him, and all I can say is “Oh. Shit.” as suddenly a dozen mysteries, coincidences, and odd happenings from my life make sense.  Because where did Odin even come from?!

That is something else I’ve learned in my 20 years: When a God comes knocking, you answer the door. Even if you’re terrified of what it could mean. They tend to know when you’ve shut off all the lights are are hiding behind furniture trying to pretend you aren’t home. Imagine that.

So what does this all mean? I have no idea. Sometimes you just have to put your trust in the Gods and go where They take you.

That’s what 20 years as a Pagan has taught me.

Call For Submissions for a Beloved Dead Devotional

I said I wasn’t going to start this, and yet here I am anyway…  Doing the Work.

Crossing the River: A Devotional to Our Beloved Dead

Calling for submissions for Crossing the River: A Devotional to Our Beloved Dead, edited by Camilla Laurentine (and possibly others to sign on at a later date). Submissions open August 7th, 2014 and close February 28th, 2015.

The intention of this devotional is to build a source book of modern meditations, hymns, prayers, and other resources for death workers working in our greater community. All Pagan and Polytheist traditions are welcome and encouraged to submit to this project.

Submissions should fall into one of three categories: Vigil of the Dying, For the Recently Deceased, and Funerary Tools. They may include, but are not limited to meditations, poems, hymns, prayers, original retellings of myths, rituals, and scholarly articles with a focus on historical practices within one’s tradition. Artwork is also welcome and encouraged with a preference for pieces that are easily reproduced in black and white.

Multiple submissions by the same author are welcome. Contributors will retain their original copyright of their work. Previously published work is welcome, provided the author retains the original copyright. All work must be original and proper citing in MLA style.

Please provide a small bio about yourself to be included within the anthology. All contributors will be asked to sign a publication release prior to the publication date (estimated May 2015) or their work will not be included in the publication.

The editor (or editors) reserve the right to make minor changes to formatting, spelling, and grammar as necessary. Requests for modifications of submissions may be made as necessary. The editor reserves the right to reject submissions.

Artwork must be 300dpi.

Send all submissions as .doc, .rtf, .odt, or .jpg. Please send all submissions to the editor at NotAWiccan(at)gmail(dot)com.

All contributors will be allowed to buy up to 4 copies at cost of either the ebook or printed publication. There will be no financial compensation provided. All proceeds will go towards building scholarships to pay for those seeking classes and further education involved in death work in our community.

Summer Bounty

DSC01096Hail to the Gods, Big and Small, the Lares and Genii for providing my house with the bounty of summer.  Hail to the Penates for keeping these treasures safe until we are able to enjoy them.

 

Asklepieion: My Big Dream

I mentioned in a video that I had been given the charge to build a temple for Apollon, but I realized that I’ve been kind of nervous about talking about what it is that I feel called to accomplish with my life… Partially because I really don’t want to hear the naysayers’ opinions. Partially because I’ve spent so much of my life avoiding the calling towards what I realize I’m meant to be doing in this world… It’s hard to say I have a calling and a vision for my future, that I feel I was placed in this point and time in history because I have Work that I am supposed to do, and not feel like hubris is creeping in.

I talked to my therapist about this the other day. I went back to therapy, because I’m working on social anxiety issues and pain management via cognitive behavioral therapy. But really? CBT is pretty awesome. It aligns with Stoicism and mindfulness. Finding Personal Center and conquering the doubts, fears, and shadows in my own psyche while on relatively equal footing instead of in the middle of mental health emergency is proving to be a really empowering and enjoyable process thus far.

It’s that whole “Know Yourself, y’all” deal that Apollon has driven home to me.

But as I was saying, I talked to my therapist about it the other day. This was a huge deal for me, because I’ve only talked about the Big Dream in bits and pieces to anyone. Never mind that this fantastic woman, truly a modern day healer, who I’m paying to help me untangle the knots holding me back, isn’t Polytheist or Pagan. I have no idea what her beliefs are, other than she wasn’t too keen on the local inter-faith community locally and she’s got friends with children who are Pagan or Polytheist. And yet, we were able to talk Jung, CBT, and the intersection of mental illness and spiritual experience on a neutral place… She got it. She understood where I was coming from, even if I struggle with an elevator speech on what I believe and can talk more easily about what I’m not instead.

She looked at me. She smiled. And she told me, “Your road is lonely.”

She got it.

Each time I’ve talked to someone, even in bits and pieces, I’ve felt a little more brave about putting it all down in one place. So, despite the fact that I have questions I’ve promised to answer, I wanted to take the time to put The Big Dream down in words to share. The Big Dream I’m eventually going to have to have people helping with, because it’s too big to do on my own.  Even if for now it is lonely.

As I’ve said, Apollon has made it clear that He wants me to build Him a temple. It’s not simply a temple where religious services will be held but a place of healing. And not just any healing but spiritual and mental healing specifically.

I think my own life and watching other friends, both in and out of the Pagan and Polytheist communities, struggle with spiritual emergence, spiritual emergencies, and mental illness has led me to understand that this sort of place is needed. We have very few allies we can go to when we find ourselves having experiences we cannot explain. Mystical experiences can be quite close to psychosis, and typically there is no one there to help navigate the person experiencing them that has a firm understanding of how the spiritual, mental, and even physical integrate to make the larger whole.

You may find yourself seeing a therapist or psychiatrist who can help you get leveled and back in control of the situation, but you may find yourself scared to talk to them about the religious part of your experiences due to being branded one of the mental ill, widely stigmatized in our society.

You may find yourself falling into a community where psychiatry is demonized. Even though it may, in the right hands, be a key to help you obtain some relief without removing the underlying spiritual work. And you may find in that situation that your life falls away from you in a way that causes you to lose more than you are willing to give up.

Or, worst of all, you may find yourself unhelped at all and end up dead.

My dream is to build a place, with a trained and professional staff, that brings about equilibrium for those in this situation. Professionals with degrees in social work, psychology, chaplaincy, and so on, to help serve a person transition from mundane existence to a more spiritually-led life. A psychiatrist who is friendly and open to the needs of this type of situation.

The logistics is that, eventually, a live-in religious community of Polytheists and Pagans would develop on the land that the temple would be on. Small individual houses for those who work both the land or with people along with communal space for (optional) shared meals and celebrations. More small quarters for those who are coming to be helped. All surrounding the space that’s dedicated for Apollon’s temple.

Around that would be a sustainable farm using permaculture, including a bee sanctuary and shrines set up in various places throughout the zones. We would offer a training programs for veterans, teaching them both to farm and helping them work through any mental health problems they might have problems with. We would offer internships and a residency program to hopefully help train other professionals to go out into the world and offer services that align with our values.

This serves 2-fold: One, it provides Pagan and Polytheist training. Two, for those who can’t afford the services monetarily, there can be a sliding scale and payment via work that must be done to keep the community thriving.

If I can get enough land, I would like to offer space for natural and green funerals. At the very least, I know that with my current training in being a death worker will be used to serve those who need help dying, though eventually I would like to explore the thought of offering hospice space for those in need.

I’ve had this idea in my head for about a decade now, but it’s only now that I’m starting to think that it’s quite possible I may be able to actually have this happen. It’s only now that I’m brave enough to start talking about it with others

So… There is my Big Dream. When you hear me talk about building at temple for Apollon, this is what I actually mean. When you hear me say that I’m struggling to figure out what I’m going to do education-wise for myself, this is why. This is what I want to make happen. This is what I’m called to do.