Monday, 30 April 2012

Beltane for the Masses

I'm sorry if this is not my most coherent of posts but I'm still getting over the effects of a minor concussion from banging my head on the interior of my other half's car when he went over a pothole*. Trying to sell Beltane, the fertility festival in an interfaith environment is not an easy task, trying to not give the stereotype of licentiousness within our rankings. It is difficult how to word things so people don't get the wrong impression. I have marketed it a festival of creation for a start off. The focus of the meditation is about unlocking your inner beauty & in igniting the flame of creativity to help achieve, something which I can't remember the name of. It has come back to achieve their potential. I'm so going to have to write this pathworking down as I can't get my words out or I'm forgetting them one or the other. It is difficult to get across such a notion in such a way that people are trying to think you are trying to create a mass orgy in a rather inappropriate situation & further damage the stereotype of Witches & Pagans. I going to do my usual Wildwood Pathworking, though toned down a little in the symbology to make it more accessible to people of all faiths to join in. I'm sorry this will have to be it for my posting today as this is making my head hurt. I did have a whole layout in my head as to what i was going to say but with the head scrambling, I can't remember half of it or possibly most. Yours shaken, Pagan Chaplain.

*means curb unless my concussion made me blind as well as daft.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

April Showers

It has rained a fair bit over the last couple of weeks, everybody is moaning about it but aren't they missing the bigger picture here? What is April known for weather wise? Rain, April showers, so why is everyone surprised it is raining in rainy season? Why are people grumbling about it? if you don't want to live in a place that has much rain, live on the south coast of Kent, then you will probably be glad of the rain when it comes. Seeing as though most of the country is facing drought this summer I would have thought that people would have been welcoming of the rain. I posted on facebook to a friend who was moaning about the rain, pointing pout the drought situation & how the rain is dealing with the possibility of it removing the threat of it, her response was, I don't use a hosepipe as I live in a flat, so therefore have no garden, I pointed out she still used water though, although I did miss a trick by not mentioning about the watering of the crops that provide her with food. If you are having such real problems with the rain get some waterproofs, some wellies & start splashing about in puddles, it is fun & brings back a certain amount of childhood innocence & mischief. rain it is good for us, even when the whole drip of water down the back of your neck sends unpleasant shivers down your spine or you find that your waterproofs have developed a leak. Enjoy the precipitation, Yours soggily, Pagan Chaplain

Friday, 27 April 2012


Recently I have been witness to or had to avoid aggression. But what does aggression actually achieve? Every time I come across it I end up thinking what a douche. In my eyes it doesn't suggest how powerful you are, just how much you haven't master your communication skills, leaving you feeling insecure. It also leaves other people feeling just as lousy as you, why can't people talk things over, OK there may end up a bit of bickering from time to time but keep your cool & you can sort your problems out quicker without that awkward time you have to spend in limbo to cool of & the fact you shouted once quite often leads to shouting again which is far from helpful. I have hardly ever argued with my current partner perhaps 3 or 4 times max, which is not bad considering we have been together for almost 8 years. I had a guy stare at me a couple of days ago, all I did was look in the direction he was in as he had kicked a drinks can, which snapped me out of a daydream & he thought its a prime time to start a staring competition, which by this point he'd crossed the road & he was direction I was walking in, he stared that usual fatal stare as he went past me but I didn't follow it, though I felt as though he was still staring at me & as I looked around to cross the road, out the corner of my eye I saw him still staring at me. I did want to go ask him if I'd done anything wrong for him to instigate it or clear up the misunderstanding but when someone is in that zone it is hard to break them out of it. Another couple yesterday starting shouting at each other for rather petty reasons, I looked over & the guy shouted back at his partner 'look even, that man's looking at you now, you are being so pathetic' I raised my eyebrows shook my head & carried on walking, i didn't want to get involved in that one either. I have found it best to stay out of other people's arguments as it only leads to trouble & one or both of the parties getting upset. It is hard to deal with it, there is usually a deep underlying cause for it. If you feel you are the brink of an argument, step back, look at yourself & what you are hoping to achieve, wonder will it better sorted by talking in a calm rational manner rather than flying off the handle saying something stupid or even getting physical in your aggression. You can deflate a balshy rarara type person by being calm & reasonable & then leave feeling smug knowing that they were the ones who looked unreasonable & not you.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

A Lack of Concern for Others Well Being

Yesterday I saw a woman fall over a child at the bus stop, she landed on her face & the bridge of her glasses had cut into her nose. I was standing a another bus stop the row behind hers, when I heard one of the ladies who were in front of me waiting for the bus say she's down. Kind of dismayed that none of them looked like they were going to see if she was to be alright, which is contrary to my attitude, I went over to help, & while trying to get someone to offer up something more than a tissue that would only disintegrate & leave pieces stuck in the cut, thankfully another lady got out a clean hanky which would suffice. I not on my own helping her by any shot, there was another lady there who got to her quicker & was doing a good job & there was only little I could do. But whilst I was over there I heard an elderly I would say gentleman but that would be doing gentlemen a disservice, say will everyone who is getting on the bus get on the bus, this was said with obvious impatience in his voice. As it happens the bus driver was not letting people on the bus as he was calling for medical back up, I felt my blood boil but refrained from having a go at him so not to draw attention to or embarrass on the woman who had cut her nose, but I did shoot him an evil look. It is not the first time I have done first aid on someone & made myself late for things because of it, but am I in a minority of people who actually give a damn? I ended up being late to my first day volunteering at a drop in centre once when a woman with cerebral palsy fell into the the road & I was only one of 2 people who came to help her, she sprained her ankle, I did the best I could & phoned for medical assistance due to the way she fell, just in case I had missed something. I keep thinking why does it happen to me, but I really it doesn't I just pay attention to anything to people if something out of the ordinary happens to them. I give up my seat on a bus or on a train for someone who needs it more than me if I'm not sanwiched in by someone who doesn't care & is unwilling to move. I don't consider myself special, different, overtly altruistic or superior for it, but why do people not help, what goes on in their minds that makes them ignorant of others. It take much to help someone out & afterwards you get an overwhelming sense of doing the right thing, plus if I was in such a situation myself I would like to think someone would help. This has happened as a a couple of old ladies helped me off a bus after I had sprained my ankle after landing awkwardly after jumping over a belfire in flip flops (which was quite embarrassing & is not something I will ever do again). Yours Helpfully, Pagan Chaplain.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

The Non Joy of Cats

Don't get me wrong I'm not looking at getting rid of my cats (well most of the time I'm not), but I have found living with my two cats somewhat problematic. I get used as a scratch post, so I occasionally look like I'm self harming. I get pestered for when their bowls are full & one minute they like a certain food, then they decide no I don't like it & leave it for it to go manky, though sometimes they will let another cat in the neighbourhood eat it & then say look at me I've eaten it can I have food now I'm hungry. They lie on their front on any thing black, on their back on anything white, so they will leave noticeable hairs on things. They do not leave you alone when you are on the computer or reading something. When they want fuss they offer you their head & before you no it you have a face full of cat butt. They do kamikaze runs at your legs when you are carrying something large enough for you not to be able to see what is at your feet, so you end up booting them across the room & spend the next 10-15 minutes chasing round to see if they are OK only they don't want to be anywhere near you now even though they the ones who decided to try & cause you grievous injury in the first place. They want to come into the bedroom when I'm trying to get intimate & will start mewing & scratching at the door, which is incredibly off putting. If you are not out of bed when they want you to be & your other half has left the door open as he is getting ready for work, they will jump onto the bed & be loud & restless until I get out of it so they can have the bed to themselves, if they feel the need to cough up a fer ball or are going to be sick, they will head straight to a carpeted area of the house even though they were in a wipe clean area when they first got the need to disgorge. If I have just planted something in the garden they decide to use the area as a toilet so it doesn't grow. Jezebel brings frogs in & Gabriel likes catching sparrows which are declining in numbers. They also like scrabbling into the bin to dislodge anything that they think will taste good & then leave it in the middle of the kitchen. They will hide in inaccessible places when it is their/your bedtime & will stand over the crux of the door when you want them either to go in or out of the house which is hugely annoying when need to leave for work. They also claw the carpet & the sofa. Can anybody tell I'm having a bad cat day?

Friday, 20 April 2012

Power Obsession

People are obsessed with power nowadays, those who have it, those who want it & who don't want to lose it. I have an uneasy relationship with power. When I wanted it I didn't get it, when I didn't want it I got it. I tend to stumble into these things rather than seek them out, but I'm willing to relinquish it when the time comes. As Aung San Suu Kyi said 'Gaining power does not corrupt people, trying to keep it when you have it does'. Other than having an ego trip, which will ultimately be your downfall, clinging onto power is destructive, you only need to look at the problems of the Middle East, North Africa, Zimbabwe, Russia & Burma to see that. It is undignified & will ultimately lose you friends, allies & respect, you will look desperate & you will lose credibility. There is nothing wrong with trying to achieve power by positive means, but bullying your way to the top will make things brutal on your descent. All things have cycles & the Wheel of fortune will deal its fate on you. the 3 figures on the card of the wheel of fortune are traditionally the dog/Anubis whose motto is 'I will rule' the lion/Sphinx 'I rule' & the snake/Typhon I have ruled. those who have had power but it is on the wane advise those who are at the top, those at the top should listen to those who have gone before & support those who are on their way up. A beneficent ruler does gain respect & is far less criticised in the long run as long as they are able to do the job they set out to do. I feel lucky in the fact that we live in a democracy, where ultimately the power is to the people, we have a right to protest & we can vote our leaders in & out of power, which is more than what some people around the world can do.

Thursday, 19 April 2012


I have my quirks, I'm proud of them, many people, call me weird or strange, I take those phrases as a compliment. I would hate to think I was ordinary, though when I was school I tried my best to 'be normal' & fit in. I was always one of the geeky kids but didn't particularly fit in with them either as they were all sci-fi & I was all nature. But when you are an adult you try your best to be different, try not to be boring & mainstream, as it the things that make you stand out that make you more appealing, people like a sense of mystery in the initial part of meeting you. Vacuousness doesn't hold people's attention for too long before they get bored & walk off. And those who are bland really on the look at me attitude & then get uppity when you don't pay them attention. Indulge in your slightly more unusual hobbies (& I do mean that in the plural as if you only have one subject to talk about again you would fit in the dull category), because even things like nature watching can prove interesting to people if you present it right. Plus some of your experiences might then go on to inspire other people to do things out of the ordinary & become extraordinary. If you are quirky but shy try finding a group of people first who you share at least one common interest in & if possible make it one where it requires feedback or where comments are welcome. this will boost your confidence in your quirky side & when you come out off your shell people appreciate it more, you may end up fitting in more to the wider community too as you will have found your voice. So geeks, freaks & eccentrics around the rejoice in your quirks & never be normal again. Yours freely, Pagan Chaplain

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The Evil Men Do

It always surprises me how some people have such little regard for human life, to have to go through a memorial for someone who is murdered is hard, seeing the reactions of the family & friends of victim, it would take a cold hearted person not to be moved & disturbed that someone could inflict death on someone & pain on all who knew that person. It is an experience that I hope I never have to repeat. When I became a chaplain I knew it wasn't going to be all tea & scones but nothing prepares you for this. My thoughts go out to those who knew the victim. I can never get my head round how people can such things, what would drive a person to such a place where they think it is a good idea, how they would get away with it & ignore the possible consequences of their actions. What leaves their moral conscience, I guess we will never know, I'm just thankful it is not such a frequent occurrence. However angry I have ever felt I have had the the sense of reason & I don't lose the consequential thoughts of the aftermath so never get myself in the place where I would be able to do something drastic or heat of the moment, but then I seldom get angry as I find it unhelpful. Hope none of you have to go through this, stay peaceful. All the best, Pagan chaplain.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy

Sorry for the lack of recent posting, this has not been because I have run out of things to say, that will never happen. I have just been rather busy & not in a way that has been conducive to updating my blog. It seems that my cold was only the least of my worries, though not sure how much I can talk about any of the incidences that have made the last week difficult. I took on my chaplaincy role not expecting it to be all tea & scones, but I didn't expect to be dealing with some of the things that have happened last week. I also didn't think I would have to deal with some of the situations in my other job either, but I would like to thank my other half for being an extra set of ears, it is valued. I would also like to wish my friend Becky good luck in her new job, will miss working with you. Hopefully normal service will resume soon. Today may look promising for another post.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Man Flu, Not on My Watch

Today I have a cold, lovingly given me by the birthday boy last Sunday. So why does it slow down some people more than others. OK I feel like rubbish but I still have things to do. My world does not stop just because of the snuffles, today I have fix the toilet seat, plant peas & do the weekly shop, as well as general household chores. I maybe a bit more sleepy than usual that is true but boredom sets in too quickly with me, I hate daytime television with a passion & not doing things because of a minor ailment leaves me feeling guilty beyond belief. My advice for people with a cold is:

carry a good supply of tissues
eat spicy food
drink hot toddies
avoid dairy
put eucalyptus, tea tree & lavender oils on your pillow (Olbas oil will also do the trick)
keep active
sleep when need be
don't milk it, you will only feel worse, your mental state does affect your healing time

For those with colds who are 'dying on the couch', call yourselves men? My grandma stays more active with a could than you. For those of you who do actually have conditions where a cold can kill you the above statement does not apply. The world is still turning & I'm carrying on regardless, yours lurgified, Pagan chaplain.

I however retain the right to wear trackie bottoms, a hoodie & a t shirt for maximum comfort

Monday, 9 April 2012

The Easter Bunny & Others of his Ilk

So why was it that people thought that rabbits brought us eggs at Easter? The answer is they didn't, near enough everybody assumes that the Easter bunny is a rabbit when in fact the original Easter bunny is a hare, this will help explain this curious notion a little. Remember this is from the time when people thought flies had 4 legs, barnacle geese hatched from goose barnacles & cuckoos turned into hawks in winter. The reason why is makes slightly better sense it being a hare is that unlike rabbits hares don't burrow but create forms which is a scrape in the ground lined with grass to create a sort of nest for its young, abandoned forms make good nests for lapwings so occasionally have eggs in them, so it would make sense to them somehow, after all they didn't know as much about species & the ins & outs of the reproductive cycle as well back then. So to the Mad March Hare, people see them boxing in the field around this time of the year, it was originally thought it was males competing for a mate, another misconception as it is a male & female, with the female saying the equivalent of 'not now I have a headache, leave me alone you freak, I said no' clunk as she bitch slaps him in the kisser. There is also the lunar associations with the hare as people used to say you can see the hare in the moon, the are a fair few cultures that say this, though myself I have never seen this, perhaps I should look at the moon without my glasses on but then I'll end up seeing 2 blurry moons & you tell me you could see the entire works of Shakespeare on there & I probably wouldn't argue, that is more to do interpretation of lines in people's heads more than anything, but it is a good thing to tell children as they still have that kind of imagination & magic & you can tell them that are mimicking their friend the Moon Gazing Hare looking at his friend. Ah what it would be like to have that innocence again, it is all too fleeting as they grow up too quickly these days & stop believing at a younger age in such things.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Rowan Williams' Last Easter Sermon

Dr Rowan Williams in his last Easter Sermon is urging schools to not play down the importance of religious education in our schools & while I somewhat agree on certain levels for cultural recognition of others who don't share your faith, to learn about your own isn't that what the churches, covens, groves, mosques, gurdwaras etc are for? I remember my religious education & school & seeing as though my school was a white Christian majority school, R.E. as it was called in my day was pretty much Christian studies, with one day a term where would vaguely read a couple of pages out of a text book on another faith & just do the vaguest of nods to them. It wasn't until working with Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists & Jews did I get any real understanding of what their day to day lives were like. OK if I hadn't found Paganism first I would have probably studied Buddhism further on my quest to find my spiritual path. At school I didn't find out any more about my faith (which was vaguely Church of England at the time), than what I did through my rather uninspiring stint at Sunday school. If we are to teach religions in schools because of the increasing number of us Pagans it would be good to see a nod to us as Atheists already are being recognised. But should we have them as anything other than cultural studies? There is the argument that you shouldn't teach religion in schools, but in that case i feel that there may end up being a bit more of cultural ignorance being created if it doesn't. He is also worried that people don't recognise what Easter is & to many people the meaning has been lost, but those are the ones who are lost from or never been a part of Christianity. Those who are Christian who have lost the meaning of Easter that is disappointing, for those who aren't, if you have the time off spend time with you family & get stuffed.... full of chocolate eggs, which is a tradition that the Christians seem to have nicked from us Pagans. Must be going there is a birthday cake in the oven for a member of my family.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

The End of Abstinence in Sight

Tomorrow sees the end of Lent, no more sitting at my moot drinking Pepsi getting more & more hyperactive as the night draws on. No more feeling like a social leper when turning down a night of going to the pub, yes I will be free, FREE I TELL YOU! In all fairness I have developed more of an appreciation of the alcohol I drink & dare say I wont drink it as much as I did before Lent, as with the frequency at which I drunk it I feel I lost my appreciation of it, though not the taste for it. I found giving up alcohol for Lent easier than I thought I would & don't feel the need to get absolutely hammered tomorrow, causing boredom to everyone except me (I am a very boring drunk as I tend to lecture people on random not very interesting subjects). Though would being away from alcohol this long make me a light weight? I will let you know if I end up face down on the bathroom floor hugging the toilet on Monday. Lent has been a very interesting experience & I feel that I kind of get what Christians get out of it, though I'm in no great rush to do it again. I do seem to have faired better than a fair few people, including Christian clerics which kind of makes me feel a little smug. If you haven't tried it before, it is well worth doing when stick to it. All the best, the still sober Pagan chaplain.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Dumping Stuff in the Canal

One word of advice if you have live fish swimming in & out of your shopping trolley, you have parked it in the wrong place. Maybe it is just that canals have a magnetic charge that specifically targets shopping trolleys. This week saw the removal of a load of things dumped into the stretch of the canal I walk along by a crane attached to a narrow boat & it appears that  some people just really don't care about the environment, it seems that some people like to dump all sorts of things in there. Over the cold snap we had last winter somebody had parked their child's broken kiddie car onto the ice, possibly just to see how long it took to sink. Sometimes it makes you think what is going through people's heads at the time, but the thing that concerned the most more than the shopping trolleys, the bikes & other things that have wheels, was a car battery, thankfully it didn't look as though it had leaked, but if it had it could have killed so much wildlife. I was not the only one who was angered, one onlooker said he knows some people who do it & he had torn strips off them for doing it, good on him, it was just a pity he couldn't tell what they had dumped in there from what had come out of it as I'm sure it would have looked & smelled lovely in their living room & would be the talk of the neighbourhood. It isn't as if the Black Country doesn't have enough scrap metal collectors to take their rubbish away. OK the canals do seem to lack bins for things other than dog excrement (although these aren't used as frequently as they should be either). One of the days we are going to see a fish looking like the one out of The Simpsons. please if you find a shopping trolley in your garden from a night you can't remember please return it back to the supermarket I'm sure they will appreciate more than a water vole would.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Excuse Me Please & Other Manners

I find myself at times wondering where all the manners from some people have gone, when I walk into work I tend to walk along a footpath which is also a bicycle path & bridle way & one of the things that really annoys me is how some cyclists treat it as their domain only & we should make way for them to pass by divine right without so much as a thank you, most of the time they don't even give you a gesture of them even coming & if I had anything like an iPod on I would have severely mangled to a point beyond recognition & when you out of their way they don't even say thank you, at which point I yell at them YOU'RE WELCOME! like a mad person & mutter to myself about them being rude. There are some customers who come into my place at work (retail not chaplaincy) who stand there at the till they don't say anything no pleases, no thank yous, no shove it up your arses. There are also those people who you open doors for & don't even acknowledge you are there to which my response is similar to that of the cyclists. People who push in also annoy me too, I was on the train with my partner we got up to get off the train at the same time as each other & between me leaving the row of seats & my other half to elderly women barged in in so when I turned round to look lovingly into my partners eyes I ended up with a horrified expression on my face which did not go unnoticed, neither too did the scowl I gave them afterwards as they were getting off the train when i waited for my other half. But the disintegration of manners is not limited to the young it seems to span the whole gamut of society. Have we just expected people will not use manners so there for they decide not use them because what is the point? But surely if that is the case it would make it much more appreciated if people do use them, I know I do & I always use my manners as tends to make people feel better, sometimes I get a little too overjoyed when people use their manners, because it gives me hope for humanity. Sometimes when you use your manners in certain places they give you extras, just because you are being nice in a day when most people are being rude. Be nice to people & they will be nice to you & if they are not make them feel uncomfortable about it if they don't. Don't give up your manners if it seems everyone else does otherwise you will end up being just as rude as them.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Congratulations Aung San Suu Kyi, May Your Vision be Long Lived

Although Burma is not yet at the point it needs to be, it seems to be heading in the right direction. Aung San Suu Kyi has stuck to her guns (metaphorically speaking as she is against the high military involvement of the running of the country) & fought for what was right at great cost to her emotionally & even under house arrest she never gave up hope of a peaceful democracy emerging someday. She has fought long & hard for the rights of the Burmese people sacrificing her own freedom for what she believed. She seems to be bringing about change through none violence & urging others to follow her precedent, she was gracious in victory in the polls & urged other parties not to be disheartened by her victory as they may get victory the next time round. she still has many challenges ahead like all the other people of Burma do, but things seem to be heading in the right direction & we hope that they continue to do so. The military maybe the biggest obstacle to face but hopefully they will see her way in the end. I'm hoping that this will not be the last of what she is inspiring & my congratulations are not premature. She is an amazing woman & many of us could take a leaf from her book, including me at times. Congratulations, all the best, Pagan Chaplain

The Empty Bed

There is soooooo much I want to talk about with various happenings over the past few days that I shall probably do 2 posts today. The first post actually refers to Thursday night/ Friday morning. My partner was working 8pm to 8am, though got called into work early so I didn't see him when I had come home from work. I had to occupy myself with varying different things until it was quite late & I was to tired to do anything but sleep as I get empty bed syndrome & I sleep light at best, because not having my partner snuggling up to me in the night feels weird. So I slept fitfully, then a 5:30am I wake to a clunk, the boiler starts up & my mind rationalises that it is the boiler, then I hear the whooshing noise of a tap being turned on downstairs a little time later, but as still the boiler was making its strange noises I put it down to that. Then I hear the partition door screech open between the kitchen & living room & I then knew I was not alone in the house, somebody had got in. I put on my dressing gown & arm myself with the closing thing that came to hand, which happened to be a pair of stainless steel candlesticks, I leave the safety of the bedroom ready to spring on the intruder, I hear footsteps coming quite rapidly the stairs, fear grips me but I raise one of the candlesticks up ready to strike if I needed, only to find that I would have clonked my other half over the head as he had arrived home 3 hours early. Moral of the story be prepared but don't think that everything that goes bump in the night is out of a horror movie.