Hallow-what?

I miss Halloween. That might sound strange, since we’re right on the verge of it, but for me, Halloween is a relic of the past, of a life I no longer live.

I used to go all out at Halloween, decorating the house, hosting parties, planning elaborate costumes, and of course, during my time as a practicing Wiccan, doing ritual. In Germany, our coven would gather from points all around -Spangdahlem, Bitburg, Weisbaden, Frankfurt- and we’d have a great party and ritual. Then I moved to England, and it was the beginning of the end. No more ritual, no more gatherings. The deepening of the depression, the end of my military career.

I came home, defeated, depressed, emotionally exhausted and demoralized. It took me about 5 years to find another community, and it suffered a major catastrophe and destruction at the hands of a mentally ill person. I left in ’06, and permanently withdrew from Paganism- especially public Paganism. I poked my nose into a couple of ‘pride’ events in the interim, and found the community just as moribund, superficial, and lost as it ever was.

Recently, some Pagan friends wanted me to participate in a revival of the community, and I went to some Meetups. There, I saw the exact same disjointed, passive-aggressive leadership, and two very unqualified people attempting to gather the disparate community under a single banner. My friends were behind one, who quickly proved that she was extremely unqualified for the job. The other one, as far as I know, is still trying to herd the community.

I’m sure someone this year has held some sort of Halloween ritual, and I know there are tons of Halloween parties around- but I haven’t heard about them or been invited to them. If you think I’m unhappy about this, you would be wrong. Not knowing about these things and not being invited to anything is for me, acknowledgement that I am no longer in the Pagan loop. And this makes me happy. Attempts are occasionally made to drag me back into the loop, to become a leader, to do All The Things that would revive the community and get it back on its feet, but I’ve learned a lot about myself in the interim. One thing is that I am a decidedly introverted person- people exhaust me- especially needy people. I can deal with social things to a limited extent, but am not enthusiastic about them. Even the small gatherings I have in my home with a tiny group of friends are an effort, and I find myself more immersed in the mechanics of hosting than I am in socializing. I like to socialize, but it’s gotten more and more difficult for me of late. Maybe it’s the depression- I don’t know. Having fun takes effort, and that effort can be exhausting. It’s a wicked circle. I am not sure how to escape it.

I used to create costumes that totally hid who I was, completely disguising me. I loved watching people look at me and try to figure me out.  I was hiding in plain sight, and I loved it. Now the Internet has become my substitute costume, permitting me to socialize without being social, to mask my personality- or at least filter it- for public consumption.  I still am hiding in plain sight- digitally.

It’s ironic that when I was a kid, Halloween was a brief flurry of candy, costumes, and a day at school where I got to dress up as a favorite character. There were no stores selling wall-to-wall décor and costumes, rare haunted houses, and no ‘harvest’ festivals. It was fun.  Today, I start seeing ghosts and pumpkins, purple, black, and orange things in late August. Whole sections of stores are full of Hallow-esque things, from kitchen accessories, to cupcakes with spider webs on them. People decorate their yards, whole aisles are full of candy, and it’s utterly nuts. I splurged this year and purchased two ceramic Jack-O-Lanterns for my yard, and put out my “Scaredy Cats” flag. I am not going to any parties.
As for the Samhain ritual and Pagan identity, my mind and perceptions have changed enough that I no longer need to do ritual to be fulfilled. Perhaps I should, but as a contemporary and now mature Mage, I’ve managed to blend the extraordinary interactions that ritual used to bring into my regular life- my windows to other worlds are much more easily accessible then they were when I was younger. I do not require as much effort to interact with other worlds. In fact, sometimes I have to build walls to keep them from noising up my own world so I can concentrate. It’s a strange reversal of things- watching TV or listening to the radio to bring the world I dwell in into focus. But that’s the life of a Mage. Every day is Halloween- if that means interacting with extra-corporeal beings. Halloween has become my day off.

Go figure.

October 30, 2014 at 10:45 am Leave a comment

Seeking Purpose

Image

 

I like this image- it is an excellent illustration of interactive elements of motivation, and how to live a good life without being dragged down by inertia. That, along with ennui, depression, and boredom are the enemies of purpose, although if you properly utilize their energies in the Current and Pattern, they can be useful.

I’ve always distinguished between profession and vocation: my profession (what I’m paid to do) is messing around with computers and communication technology of all sorts, and my vocation (spiritual calling) consists of my flying under the radar as a quietly practicing 21st Century Mage- the cumulation of all my occult and metaphysical training. I am a TechMage, if you want to get precise.

But what are the elements of my passion and mission? I have a passion for writing and learning, and I love collecting and curating music. I am now in a place where I prefer gaining experiences to accumulating physical things. And as I grow older, those passions are deepening.

My mission? I think I’ve expressed this in becoming the Teacher Who Appears (and Disappears). It’s difficult to pin down- am I a lightbearer? A healer? An awakener? A 21st Century shaman? Some of all of these? I do know that I wasn’t sent here to consume and breed. I am a bundle of incarnated sunlight- an avatar. I came to this place with pre-loaded cues for me to access at a certain age and stage of my life- if I survived to that point. I did- barely. (Avatars aren’t given any physical privilege when they incarnate- they’re subject to the same life hazards as all beings.) But my cues guided me in a different direction from most people. My express disinterest in being DNA- driven was evident from some of my earliest lucid (post age 7) memories. That disinterest and in consumption and breeding only grew as I matured, and continues to be a major driving force in how I live my life today.

These four elements- my profession, vocation, passion and mission answer the four questions:

‘That which I love’ combines my passion and mission: learning, and teaching the Pattern and Current through Light and Sound, and Appearing and Disappearing when necessary.

‘That which the world needs’ combines my mission and vocation: Using my understanding of Current and Pattern as a Mage to bring the awakening Light to others, so they can also apprehend their real purpose, and break free of the traps of consuming and breeding.

‘That which you can be paid for’ combines profession and vocation. Happily, I do get paid for being a techie, and I have a very portable and in-depth skillset. And I am gradually sanding away my distaste for asking for recompense for magic(k)al favors- readings, insights, and the like. I prefer barter in that realm, though. And I do have an idea for a book in my mind, which might bring me a few bucks if I am prudent about how it is published.

‘That which you are good at': I am a computer whisperer. I can mind-meld with any tech, and fix nearly anything that isn’t broken beyond my means to repair it. And I am an excellent writer and curator- I have accumulated a wonderful treasure chest of experiences, and have good ears, good taste in food, books, and environment (albeit a bit quirky at times- but who cares?), and younger people seem to like me. When someone says they want to be me when they grow up, that’s a high compliment.

Now we are at the Venn center: Purpose. What is my purpose? I am a TechMage with deep experience in both the physical and spiritual realms. I have a tuneable noise filter, and can see through the often-deliberately crafted noise-smog to the kernel of a matter. I can reveal it, understand it, and make it real to those around me. I use my craft and skills to poke people Awake and discern Current and Pattern through light and sound. My professional skills keep me alive, and my vocational skills save lives.

What is your purpose?

June 6, 2014 at 8:44 pm Leave a comment

My Evening with Zachary Quinto

Zachary Quinto

Zachary Quinto

I was out mowing my yard when my friend Lindsay blew up my phone trying to get my attention- did I want to see if I could go to Provincetown and see Zachary at a fund-raising gathering for the local theater group?

I contemplated the price of the KRK-8 near-field monitors, Audio-Technica M50x cans and the workstation desk I was about to get (digital music creation and mixing is my new hobby), and put them on hold. After all, a chance to see the fellow my dad dubbed ‘Ol’ What’s His Ears’ in such a venue didn’t come along often, and I could get the gear any time. (Plus, it might be on sale- I’m anything if thrifty!) Mingling a bit with Zach in the same room? Sure! Sign me up!

I’d just bought the plane tickets when a massive tornado came along and wiped out most of Mayflower and Vilonia. I don’t live there, but I have colleagues that did, and dealing with the aftermath consumed most of my time for the next couple of weeks. So, I didn’t get in on the ZQC plotting of the cards and cake. And when I did finally come up for air, it was nearly time to go, and I hadn’t had my usual pre-travel panic attack yet. I wadded up my courage, and dealt with it. I think the whole crazy thing with the tornado probably depleted my usual Panic Checklist- and wore it out.

I got to MA, met my friend Lindsay, and learned about the alternate universe in Peabody that plotted to make us loop endlessly around on 1 until we chanted the right combination of cuss words, invoked the u-turn god, and bribed the ‘nobody up our butt when we had to make a lane-change goddess’ and finally found our hotel. The next day, I invoked my own mental ‘do not make me barf on the damn ferry’ loop to get across to P-Town.

Provincetown is Santa Cruz East, y’all. The only thing missing was a boardwalk with a big roller coaster and ‘Keep P-Town Weird’ bumper stickers.

But, Zach… He announced his presence by posting some great Instagram photos of where he was staying. Elvis was in the building!

Suddenly, all the panicky nervousness I’d kept tamped down pounced all over me and very nearly caused me to bail on the evening. My friend saw me lying quietly on the bed, nearly dozing. She didn’t see the horrible disaster movie that was playing out in my head, all the things that could go wrong. I used a bit of Vulcan logic and a few cognitive techniques to address each one, Whack-A-Mole style, and reminded myself that my day job involves dealing with a lot of very powerful and influential people, and fixing their computers. I often leave them laughing, and nearly always leave them smiling and satisfied- even the prickly ones who can get really awful. And hey! This was Zachary Quinto, a man known for being gracious with fans. This was going to be fun, right? Right?!? Besides, I figured that the one thing that utterly terrified me would not happen anyway- that one thing being Eating In Front of Somebody Famous (State governors and politicians don’t count.). I knew I’d be at the same table with him, but probably might get a distant view of him where I could maybe sneak a few photos.

Yeah, right.

I even inspected the table to see who my companions would be- and ZQ was on the other side, according to the place cards. I was safe. He swanned in and greeted everyone at the cocktail party beforehand, and I made sure to drink only one glass of wine. I had some great conversations with some of the event people, Josh Andrus (the event phototographer), and even Zach, and saw him getting his portrait made upstairs in the balcony. I even visited a bit with his boyfriend, Miles, who was sweet and shy, and very flattered that I’d liked his photography and art. I purchased a nice Tennessee Williams messenger bag, too- continuing my quest to become a Bag Lady on my own terms.

The time came to start the main event, and I found my seat. I was inspecting the salad, noticing the lovely roasted asparagus, when Zach rolled up and asked me if I minded if he sat next to me.

You know that record-rip sound? That was playing in my head. Suddenly the whole universe galloped off on some crazy stampede, leaving me craning up at that handsome mug. A massive bass-drop later, I said, ‘Yes, please!’ He smiled and climbed in next to me, and a whole new universe forked off.

That universe was the one where I did NOT eat my asparagus with my hands (but Zach did!), faint, fall over, say stupid things, hog the conversation, piss anyone off, go all Aspie and technical, get drunk and accidentally call Zach “Spock”, or start a bun-fight.

Instead, I had a very pleasant chat with him, and got to rub elbows (and biceps!) with him, and bask in the wonderfulness that he radiates. He asked about the tornado (which surprised me), congratulated Arkansas for sort of legalizing same-sex marriage, talked shop with some of the other people nearby, and took a bunch of great pictures with my phone, once he figured out that you didn’t have to swipe it to get it to work. He and Miles bid on and won a cancelled check from Tennessee Williams’ papers, watched some presentations about local events, and gave an interview on stage about The Glass Menagerie. He was given a red velvet cake and a pile of cards from the ZQC that Lindsay had arranged to get, and was awed and genuinely pleased at the number. He demolished a large slice of cake, gave me one of his bon-bons (I can’t eat cake), and grinned at my father’s nickname for him. And I welcomed him to ‘thirty-several’- that indeterminate age where you can be what you want. Oh, and I ate my food. I was actually hungry, and the food was excellent. It helped that both Zach and I are lefties, so there wasn’t too much trouble. We were smooshed in pretty tight, and took turns leaning on each other. Zach alternated leaning on me on one side, and Miles on the other. I think he was enjoying being smooshed. And yes, he is as gorgeous in person as he is digitally. Moreso, actually.

The best part? Zach’s photogenic qualities are apparently contagious. I generally hate pictures of me, and rarely post them or permit others to do so. But sitting next to him obviously did fork off a new universe, one where Sunfell Actually Looks Pretty Good In Pictures For Once. I don’t know when that will war off, but my souvenirs from the evening are warm and wonderful.

Photo by Lindsay Robinson

Photo by Lindsay Robinson

Photo by Sara Eserei

Photo by Sara Eserei

The end result

I hope to see him again sometime- maybe on stage, or at another event. But this was one of those wonderful moments that will remain etched in my mind and heart, some time spent with a genuinely brilliant, kind and generous soul. Wherever his path takes him, I hope he does well, and finds happiness and peace. And I hope that five-leaf clover that I picked from my Mutant Clover Patch brings him lots of luck and laughter.

Thanks, Zach. You made my day.

I love this picture, because it combines my camera-shyness with the classic Zach-with-fan pic. His little grin makes it perfect- like he did it on purpose.

I love this picture, because it combines my camera-shyness with the classic Zach-with-fan pic. His little grin makes it perfect- like he did it on purpose.

We were really smooshed together.

We were really smooshed together.

June 3, 2014 at 12:40 pm 1 comment

Moving Day

In the light of all the crazy stuff going on in Russia, I’ve decided to move the contents of my Live Journal (Sunfell’s Earth Walk) to one of my Word Press blogs, “Maid of Words”. That blog is currently private, and will remain so.  I do plan to go through it and post relevant things to this, my public blog.

Before Word Press became the predominant blogging platform for serious bloggers, Live Journal ruled that roost. It had a great run, then Six Apart went and sold it to a Russian company, who promptly did a series of rude and destructive things which forced the majority of Western users to flee the platform. (google Live Journal blackout) to get more details. I kept my own blog there, but stopped keeping it a paid account. Around about that time, Facebook opened their gates to the masses, and put a stake in the heart of blogging as most people know it. Reluctantly, I joined it, because most of my Live Journal friends fled there.

I’ll be up front and say that I hold my nose every time I go to Facebook. It’s another, fancier version of AOL, if you ask me. It’s the internet with training wheels, and worse, nasty little nosy trackers that are all in your business whether you want them to be or not. Worse, the idea of ‘frictionless sharing’ was the rule of the day, and being a generally private person, rubbed me completely wrong. The controls provided by Live Journal, and now, WordPress are much friendlier and more conducive to folks like me who like to actually write, as opposed to dropping slightly longer than usual ‘tweets’ into the walled garden that is Facebook.

Did I mention that I do not like Facebook? Google Plus tried to bag some of Facebook’s teeming masses, but failed miserably. Twitter is a great beacon, and Tumblr belongs to fannish slash-shippers, role-players, and porn slingers. (I have managed to remove the porn from my Tumblr feed, but it took an effort, and I still get hot-dog shots from time to time, mostly from people shopping actor’s heads onto porn star bodies. They quickly get “X”d.) They’re nice, but not really for writers. Live Journal was.

I will miss Live Journal- it was the community of the last decade, full of interesting people, posts, and interaction. For 8 years, I ran a community there called “Dark Christianity”, which closely examined the extreme right of the sect, with a lively group of people that, at its peak, had around 1500 members, and posted about 30 posts a day. I managed to keep it peaceful, with a carefully vetted team of moderators to keep trolls and troublemakers at bay and keep the dialogue flowing. I closed it last year, and deleted it. It was great training for later moderation gigs, including one with Zachary Quinto’s old official site. They’ve since moved to Facebook, where I still monitor and (rarely) moderate, but like LiveJournal, Facebook has taken the lively heart out of that community, too.

I have an old site, built with Front Page (remember that?) that I plan to move here. This site will undergo some major upgrades, and I will get a paid account here. I will move my domain here, too. In a few weeks, I’ll be taking a course with a local educational extension organization that will teach me how to build and maintain sites using WordPress, and the upgrades will commence.

So, stay tuned. I’ll be posting here more often, and posting links to this blog in my old hangouts. I am not concerned with how many readers I have- I’m not selling anything, and don’t need numbers. But what I do enjoy is interaction- real interaction, dialogue, thoughts. If you’re coming here from Live Journal or Facebook, or my old site, you’ve found the right person. I may try to change the title here to Sunfell’s Earth Walk, but not sure if that that will work.

This place will be a construction zone for a while, but bear with me. It’ll be great.

 

May 6, 2014 at 9:32 am Leave a comment

More Women in the Electronic Arts: A HOW-TO GUIDE

Originally posted on DANCEFEVER5000:

The lack of ladies behind decks and on dance floors has really been bothering me for a while; not just the dearth of women in the EDM community but music in general and indeed, arts culture as a whole. Females are globally underrepresented in the arts from San Diego to Singapore, and I wanted to figure out why.

Naha, Seattle

Naha, Seattle

People told me it was too large of an issue to tackle or have any effect on; sure, I might be able to organize a local women’s DJ night or help promote various female producers, but this giant problem encompassed all music and all arts, and there would be no solution or answer. It was too big.

I did not want a quick fix, either, like an all-female DJ night where the chicks come out spinning beats in bras; those kinds of nights draw more males than females anyway. And I didn’t…

View original 2,384 more words

April 8, 2014 at 9:22 am Leave a comment

Women and Magic… a full moon in Leo post!

Sunfell:

This fellow Mage has some insightful thoughts about the role of women and magic.

Originally posted on Josephine McCarthy:

Something that has bothered me for a long time is something that has come up frequently in magical discussion and that is the issue of women and magic, or to be more precise, sexism in the magical community. Rather than launch into the usual ‘all men a bad and all women are victims’, which is not true by any means, there are some things that as an older woman in my fifties I can pass on to young women stepping out into magic.

View original 1,880 more words

February 28, 2014 at 9:26 pm Leave a comment

She Who Hesitates…

…pays less. I’ve supported and believed in this particular credo for a long time now- especially when it comes to technology. No way am I going to pay a premium price for a first generation item that is essentially a late-beta lab-dump. I learned my lesson about that a long time ago.

I’d been reluctant to give up my perfectly good 26″ Panasonic CRT television because of many reasons: it worked, it did what I wanted it to do, I owned the thing, and hey- it worked. I hung onto it when the 36″ ‘flat’ CRTs came out. I hung onto it when the projection TVs came out. I hung onto it when the first pricey, clunky LCDs and plasmas came out. And I even hung onto it during the transition from OTA analog to digital broadcasting. Why not? I had cable, and it worked.

It still works, but it’s now parked in my front bedroom, awaiting its fate. I wrung every nickel and minute out of that TV, just like I did my now-vintage analog stereo receiver, newly revived after being repaired. But it was becoming increasingly evident that it was time to move on.

I always joked that my TV was so old that I watched either “No” or “Ova” because the ends of the picture were cut off by the HD signal. But the middle was still there, in all its slightly hazy lo-res 525 line progressive scan analog glory. I grew up with it, and although I do use hi-res computer monitors, for me, TV was different. It was supposed to be a slightly blurry window into a parallel universe. (more…)

January 26, 2014 at 1:41 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts


Sunfell

Flickr Photos

Hidden Towers

Bringing the thunder

House of Pork, Italian Market

More Photos

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.