It has been a challenge for me this year to stay true to my vocation — indeed, at some times I hardly could hear it at all. Life with a toddler is chaotic, loving, and busy. (“Watch, Mommy, watch!” he says to me from under the lilac tree, emptying a load of dirt from his dump truck into the garden bed.) Add COVID, full-time work, and marriage to that equation and I am left with precious little time to write or do much else.
But further still — after attending the Ordination of a dear friend, what arose within me were emotions that I had been carrying since my own, both emotions that hurt and lifted me up, and they were so strong and powerful that I could do nothing more than to walk away from socializing, from social media, to reflect upon them.
A difficult reflection it has been. For the vast majority of my pagan life — half of my life, now — I have been an organizer, a leader, a ritualist, a volunteer, an advocate for growth. I travelled and spoke and argued and sacrificed and competed and researched and wrote and, and, and. And yet.
And yet, for the last ten years, ever since the infancy of this blog that has gone through many changes, there has been an undercurrent that is still there. What I would like nothing more is to be a temple priest, an anchoress, a fire tender who holds the still centre around which all else moves. This, I feel, is my true vocation, like Brighid’s priestesses, like Eithne in her starry bower.
I always thought I would get there eventually. Initially I saw it as some sort of sustainable path in addition to all of the service that I was doing in public, with a Grove. But that cannot be the case. Not now, with a child. Not now, when I have seen how much damage that self-sacrificing way of living has done to me. Not now, when I have embraced my introversion, when I have explored my authenticity, when I have found beauty, when I have realized who and what I love.
The gods and spirits still call to me. I can feel the Ancestors under the Earth. They wait for me to place my feet back on this path, the one that has always spoken to me in whispers, in gentle nudges, in inspiration found in other spiritual paths that I have combed through looking for those strands of truth which are mine. I have no illusions that I will be able to step into that ideal life that I seek immediately; I have other obligations that are necessary for my life and the life of others first. (And, what is an ideal life? It is something built over time, not crafted on paper and then simply implemented.)
Other Priests have reached out to me with assurance that how I live is an example to others; embracing the everyday reality of paganism in daily life. They say that the greatest thing I can do for the folk right now is to simply write.
So here is a hearth-centred way of living; here is the comfort of the fire and of stories; of hospitality and abundance and green-spotted cloth. I am a householder, a mother and wife. This hearth is my temple, my anchorhold, from which I share with you my life, my vocation. May I wear a crown of stars, and be filled with melody and fierceness.