Hallelujah 

The final day of Honouring The Darkness invited me to listen to KD Lang’s wonderful rendition of Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. 

I have enjoyed this song for many years. I’ve danced to it, sung along to it. A month ago I toyed with the idea of including it in my public Winter Solstice ceremony. I didn’t but I love that it has come back to me in this way.  

Janelle asked me to reflect on several of the lines from the song… This is going to be personal, and also a rambling of thoughts forming and constellating. 
1 – “The minor fall, the major lift”
When I look back over the last few years, I have been on a wonderful and challenging journey to fully inhabit my Self in the world. It’s been about growing up, becoming the adult I need in my life, relishing my quirks and giving myself permission to fully indulge myself. And at the same time it’s been about coming out into the world, more vulnerable, more open, more connected. Some of that journey has been really uncomfortable, painful even. But every hurt has gifted me the chance to learn how to grow, to heal. 
2 – “The baffled king composing hallelujah”
This blog has been an interesting study in humility. I am sharing my thoughts and feelings about my self and the world, knowing that I will have changed my mind at some point in the future. I am always not quite well informed enough, which reminds me of Ken Wilber’s phrase “true, but partial”. Something I learned in Toastmasters is you are never completely ready or fully prepared and it is more important to take a risk, and try something new, than to be completely secure and prepared. Inspiration and creativity comes when I’m trying something potentially silly, foolish, or amateur. Knowing that gives me great freedom. I have more adventure in my life because of it.  
3 – “Your faith was strong but you needed proof”
All the time. And I’m fine with that. I think reality checks are important. We all need support, reassurance about our worth, about our safety. I think this is part of the self care I mentioned earlier. I continue to read inspiring and soul nourishing books even though I’ve heard it all before. They support me and give me “proof” of ideas by showing me them through another’s words and life experience. Just as some days it is perfectly fine and good to occasionally spend all day at home watching funny videos on YouTube, looking for reassurance and proof is fine too. In fact, I would say that proof inspires and supports further faith. 
4 – “And from your lips she drew the hallelujah”
For some reason, I am drawn to the She of this phrase, and to the women who have taught me. In particular, the female 5Rhythms teachers I have had: Barbara, Sarena, Gillian, Caitriona. They held spaces, made magic, and on their dance floors, I have experienced joy, moaned in pleasure and deep sadness, and I have melted, burned, broken open, dissolved, cried in agony and in ecstasy. And I love these women eternally for it. I am the man I am because of their magic.  
5 – “There’s a blaze of light in every word”
I’m a words man. I love words. My teachers are usually authors. When listening to songs it’s the lyrics that fire me. I journal, I blog. I love scripted ceremonies with beautiful words. And yet, the times I have felt the awen burn bright in me have been moments beyond words, before words, when I am fully and wholly embodied. In a deep, erotic dance in 5Rhythms. In the passion of all-shields-down, eyes locked love making. In the simplicity of time with my family. A blaze of light Words so bright and loud I cannot see them, but I burn with love by them. 
6 – “With nothing on my tongue but hallelujah”

Hallelujah.  

As the light returns and the days lengthen and the calendar reads 2017 and onwards, I hope your body is blessed with radiant health, and your heart is blessed with radiant love. 

This post is day ten of my personal responses to ‘Honouring the Darkness’, a ten day reflective period leading up to the winter solstice, facilitated by daily emails from Janelle Hardy at http://www.janellehardy.com/hearthome/ 

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Don’t Wait

Day 88 of #100Daychallenge
One day I will die. I don’t when, but I will die. You will too. And I need to remember that. Every time we meet could be our last. Every time we talk could be our last. 

I act out of fear sometimes (often). I don’t say the things I want to. I didn’t ask for that kiss. I said no to you when I could have said yes. I said “next time, I’ll be braver next time”. I contracted in fear over thoughts about the future rather than expanding into joy. Every day lived in pointless fear is a day wasted, because it might be the last. 

One day I will die. One day you will too. Don’t wait. Be bold. Be brave. Live. 

  

Back To The path

Day 70 of #100Daychallenge

Earth moving
World rocking
I stumbled

Dream waking
Where was I going?
Forgetting 

Breath sharing
Wood walking
Hearts merged

List making
Plan drawing
I continue

Stepping into
Empty spaces
Unfolding

Loving deeply
Ash and Hawthorn
Enfolding

Bard telling
Healer holding
Priest unfolding

Power rising
Mists lifting
Grove clearing

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Storms Come

Day 47 of #100Daychallenge

ship-wreck-338090_640

I wish I could tell you that the world was safe. I wish I could tell you that the bad guys have gone away. I wish I could tell you that all the hurt, and the fear, and the pain was for a good reason. It wasn’t. It was something that happened. And it happened to you.

I want to say I’m sorry. I want to make it better. I can’t do either.

I wish it could be simple for you. I wish the world would treat you well. I wish it would promise “no more bad shit”. It won’t. There might be more. There will be joy. There will be peace. But there’ll be more horrible stuff too.

And that’s how it goes.

We can be with it. We can accept it. We can grow from it. It’ll still hurt.

Something Ordinary Together

Day 28 of #100Daychallenge

 
I really like coming to visit you when there’s no “special occasion”, when it’s just an ordinary day in your life. Being a tourist is exhausting, seeing all the ‘must see’s and doing all the ‘must do’s. I’d prefer to chat with you over tea and walk to the shop. I like seeing your world, not what impresses on a postcard. 

I came to visit my grandmother today. It’s not a special occasion- no wedding or christening. I sat at her kitchen table and made myself tea. We talked about family and watched TV together. We watched the news and the weather forecast. It’s meant to rain heavily tomorrow so we went out together and took in the washing. I liked that. We did something ordinary, together. 

Reclaiming Ceremony

Day 22 of #100Daychallenge

  
Pagan spirituality, for me, is largely about reclaiming my own spiritual authority. From my Druid practice and study, I have learned the power and value of creating personal ritual to mark moments of transition in my life. Within sacred space, and witnessed by tribe , world, and divine, I make my ceremony. 

Everyone has been to the common societal ceremonies of baby namings, coming of age, marriage, and funerals. But personal ceremonies are for all sorts of reasons. When a relationship ended last year, I had ceremony with friends to commit myself to a fuller life of health and personal happiness. Yesterday, I had a ceremony with a friend, honouring our relationship. 

This summer, I finished a job and I had a ceremony with my close friends to mark that ending. I had my friend cut my work uniform off of me. I then went into the sea. When I came out, I dressed entirely in new clothes. I told a pagan woman about it last week. She was delighted with the format, telling me that I had reclaimed babtism. And claiming personal spiritual authority, honouring life and relationship, is what real ceremony and living ritual is all about for me.