Skryclad: Clothed In Visions

Observations of the light and the dark of what is, was, and might be in the Pagan community's expansion and evolution.

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Staying Power

I took a few days off from the world so I could stay in it for the next few  decades. Many things have happened in the last month, that have pushed me off my center, upset the balance of my emotions. I was interviewed on June 10th about my work with AIDS as an activist and as the executive director for Delaware’s main AIDS/HIV organization in the 80s and early 90s. It was like a war zone during those years. One year I attended the funerals of 65 friends, I stopped going to funerals for many years. The memories opened old wounds. Then the massacre of LGBTQ people in Orlando happened. I have friends and personal connections there. I am also a Cuban that’s been in the US since fleeing Cuba in 1961, that was woven into my experience of the massacre as well. In addition to my own distress, I had to put on the clergy hat and be available for others who needed comfort and support. And all of this in the midst of a horrible election cycle, more tragedies for people of color, more glaring examples of rape culture, more bigotry against trans people, crises in the lives of my community members, internecine conflicts in my broader spiritual communities, and more. Then I was treated poorly by people that I have helped often. I shrugged it off, reminding myself that when you try to free an animal from a trap it is just as likely to bite you as to bless you when you help it.The last straw was the report of a father unwilling to pick up his son’s body for burial because his son was gay. I was thrown away by my parents when I was 18. I was done.

I knew I was in trouble. I tried to arrange a meeting to unburden myself with a friend, but didn't manage to call her. I started re-reading the Stoic philosophers, usually a bad sign for me. I doubled my meditative practices. It wasn’t enough. Most people tell me they experience me as perennially helpful, engaged, kind, and patient. Moment to moment I was flipping the Janus faced coin of incandescent rage and ice-bound sadness. I put away my cell phone, turned off my wifi, cancelled everything I could, and stayed home. I listened to music, read fiction, worked in the garden, hugged my husband, played with our dogs, and did not try to explain myself to anyone. My Jim, answered the land line, dealt with people who showed up at the door, warned off people that wanted to be helpful, and gave me the space I needed. This is not the first time that I have taken a break from the world nor will it be my last. It is the first time I am telling people of my struggles and why I drop off the grid. I intend to stay in the world and to stay on target with my work for many, many years. I’m back again, until I take another needed retreat from the world in several years. 

 

I care about many things. I love many people, communities, and the Earth. I am passionate about many issues. I lean into the discomfort when I discover something that is wrong in myself, cultures, technologies, religions, and politics so that I can do my part to change what can be changed. This means I live a rich life with bright lights and abysmal darks, and I would not have it any other way. I have been out for 42 years, active in the Pagan community for 38 years, and despite all the turmoil and controversies in these communities, I remain committed to them. There are many other communities within which I strive for a better world and a better me, but this is a blog post, not an autobiography so I’ll keep it brief. Since I’ve begun to catch up with emails , texts, messages, and social media, I’ve been heartened by the outpouring of support and the encouraging words about taking time for self-care. I appreciate the support and I’d like to say that my self-care is as much for you as it is about me.

 

I strive to be a good person and I do not want to add to the troubles of the world. I do not want to lash out at people. I do not want to inflict harm on others when my condemnation of the world is stronger than my compassion. Marcus Aurelius said, “The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.” I would substitute the word “response” for “revenge”. When I don’t have the wherewithal to be different than the source of my injury, it is time to take a break. The more you become awake and aware of the state of the world, the more effort must be given to bring it all into balance and perspective. Each of us is different in how we process things. I have short acute bouts of cynicism and despair with long periods of being at peace with the long game of mending the world. Your cycles and processes are your own. Perhaps you have a shorter cycle or have a chronic low level response. Or perhaps you avoid the struggle by choosing not to see it, choosing to evade knowledge to escape the responsibility that comes with it. I encourage you to care for yourself so that you will retain and renew the ability to care. Staying power is staying in your power. Don’t give it up.

 

 

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Ivo Domínguez, Jr. is a visionary, and a practitioner of a variety of esoteric disciplines who has been active in Wicca and the Pagan community since 1978. He serves as one of the Elders of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, a Wiccan syncretic tradition that draws inspiration from Astrology, Qabala, the Western Magickal Tradition and the folk religions of Europe. He is the author of Keys to Perception: A Practical Guide to Psychic Development, Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans, Casting Sacred Space: The Core Of All Magickal Work; Spirit Speak: Knowing and Understanding Spirit Guides, Ancestors, Ghosts, Angels, and the Divine; Beneath the Skins with other books in the pipeline as well.
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Comments

  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard Wednesday, 29 June 2016

    Holding you, my brother. Always. I spoke your name to the Midsummer Moon at PSG and prayed a prayer of peace and justice, but above all love. So much love.

  • Jae Sea
    Jae Sea Wednesday, 29 June 2016

    It's so important to allow the space, uncrowded, to flow. I'm here for you. Hugs & Love.

  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien Wednesday, 29 June 2016

    Brigit's balm, my friend.

  • Holli Emore
    Holli Emore Thursday, 30 June 2016

    love and gentle calm to you

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