Teasing Out Threads: What I Did On My Summer Vacation

The quiet existence over here at Rock of Eye doesn’t translate to real quiet in my day-to-day. While I am on actual vacation from my dayjob right now [praise be to all the Powers, as I thought it wasn’t going to manifest and I NEEDED a break], summer tends to be vacation season in the US, regardless of whether or not you actually get a vacation then or have a schedule that allows for such things. I saw a bunch of blog posts of this sort and I liked the idea, so here’s my take on what my summer vacation entailed.

To start, summer is almost always my busiest time of year. I do most of my event-ing during the spring and summer and it has been a time when I am not in a classroom, which frees up a lot of time for me to do the long, long list of things that get pushed away during a semester. This year has largely been no different.

  • I did make it to a few events, though I sadly had to cancel on the Polytheist Leadership Conference due to being unpleasantly ill. I was one of the Ordeal Track facilitators for Dark Odyssey: Fusion [NSFW], which I wrote about here, and I taught two classes at Dark Moon Rising [NSFW] last weekend, which is a gathering for pagan-types into BDSM and other kinky things. Both were excellent experiences, if a little exhausting for a variety of reasons [none bad].
  • I began to paint and make art again. I stopped painting a handful of years ago for negligible reasons and it has kind of eaten at me because I love to paint and I’m passably talented at it. Once I opened the door this time, it wasn’t just opening it a crack—it was ripping it off the hinges and burning it for fuel. I have been painting SO MUCH and it’s kind of all I want to do these days. I have to convince myself to that sleep is a necessity and that I have other things to do besides slap paint on canvas/wood/anything that will hold still. I was told many years ago that my art belonged to the Gods and, since I’ve started actually doing art again, They’ve paid a LOT more attention to what gets done.
  • In that vein, it has been sort of Grand Central Station in my life with regards to the divine. As I said to a few friends recently, I have had Gods practically tapdancing in my living room. Eleggua has seen fit to bring some of His friends around, so I have had a steady stream of Orisha popping in and asking for things like space in my home and the Mister has decided that I am well-mannered and well-groomed enough to be sent off to meet His family [particularly His various divine spouses], which is terrifyingly intimidating and a sort of polyamory that I have no practical experience in. In about a month, I almost doubled the number of shrines I tend, with the majority of them being in my moderately-sized apartment. Between accomodating all the divine preferences as to placement and making it so I and my roommate can walk around without tripping over things, it’s been a bit of a challenge with regards to space. I am expecting possibly three more divinities Who will want space and that has me ringing my hands a bit.
  • I have put college on the back burner for now. I pulled out of last semester due to medical reasons and had a bit of a come-to-Jesus moment regarding how I was feeling about school. I was miserable because there was never enough time between my 60+ hour work week, 2-4 college classes, all of my spiritual and religious commitments, and the need for sleep and occasional human contact in a social context. When I started examining why I was so dissatisfied beyond the time constraints, I had to get real honest with myself about my current career path as it related to my education. I am pretty burned out professionally due to my work environment and my education trajectory had me doing the things that drain me as the thing that would make me money. The idea of doing that made me want to jumo off a bridge, so I nixed continuing my education on the path that it was going. I don’t know if I’ll ever return to that path [I doubt it], but I’m out of school for now and am entertaining what will come next for me. I’ve considered art school, which would bring me a lot of joy and little money, and religious studies in African, Diasporic, and minority religions, which would bring me some joy and more money if I get higher level degrees. Both of those things are a ways down the road and none of it is happening now.
  • I have nailed down some of my energetic issues and that has shed some serious light on some of my health issues, which have both increased a bit and had some light shed on them as well by my medical providers. There may be an answer to the medical issues, which will be a Good Thing, but it could/will be negatively affected if I can’t get the energetic issues under control. Out of all the things that I have been doing lately, this is the one that mystifies me the most and that is going to take the most creative problem-solving to treat.
  • I have gotten down to serious business in the writing process for one of my need-to-write books. I’m pretty sure, in a spooky sense, it is going to serve as a capstone on a rather large bit of Work and training that I’ve been doing and undergoing for quite some time. I’m hoping to have a significant chunk of my fact-checking and research done at the end of this dayjob vacation, as well as some actual writing, too.

All of these things have sort of tied [heh] together into the main focus of the last few months, which has been teasing out threads from what I am presented with. In the last year, there has been a lot of ‘here, learn about/learn how to do this thing’, which I have done without totally understanding why. I have now come to a place where it’s ‘that thing you learned about/learned how to do? Take it apart and find the thread of what actually is going on there and how it can be used in a completely different way’.

This has been both amusing, fascinating, and terrifying in turns. It is endlessly amusing because this is very much what quite a bit of my magical apprenticeship was all about—look at the way this thing is done magically, then rip it apart to find the bits that make it work so you can do it in a completely different way. It is fascinating because it plays to how I think about things [now—I didn’t always, but the apprenticeship changed a lot of that] in that I get to apply all of my sociological methods and professional skills and deductive reasoning to things that I actually give a fuck about, versus sitting in a classroom and learning about things that bore me to death.

The terrifying part is that I know where this is leading and it’s not something I am looking forward to or clapping my hands with glee over. It’s going to be a very, VERY hard thing and is going to bring a lot of bullshit to my door. I understand [as much as a human can] why They are putting me on this trajectory, but boy do I not like it. It’s not a happening-right-now kind of thing, but the steel framing for the foundation is almost complete and then it will be time to start pouring. It’s pretty daunting, but I know They have my back on this and that They believe I can do it. I believe that I can, too, but the cost is going to be really, REALLY high. However, They have always demonstrated that the pay is commensurate not only with the amount of Work put in, but the amount of pain shouldered and suffered through. There are seeds of excitement in there, as it’s kind of thrilling, but those seeds are well-buried in the soil of ‘holy shit, I hope you Guys know what you’re doing’ and ‘why did you choose me, of all people, for this’. Inevitably, the answers I get are ‘We do’ and ‘because’, which is pretty much how it goes.

It’s still good to be me. I am on my dayjob vacation and am enjoying the metaphorical umbrella drinks while the seasons switch over to fall up here in New England. May the Gods continue to treat me well and may your Gods do the same.


~ by Alex on September 15, 2014.

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