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Occasionally I wandered in where I was not wanted and gave truthful answers.
Sometimes I even did it deliberately. A little disruption now can prevent disaster later.

Before Our Worlds Touch

This is a page from the third version of Technopagan Yearnings. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at www.neowayland.com/C878670472/E20091027143612

Bone, Heart, Thought, Deed, and Spirit, I honor those who shaped my life

In many Pagan traditions, the end of October is when we recognize and give tribute to those who have passed. The ancestors are never really gone, we carry a part of them with us for our entire lives. I started recognizing those who had helped shape my life, and later I made it a part of my own end of the year rituals. With one possible exception, all the ones I've named aren't This Side anymore.

It's something I've gotten a lot of response from. From Sunni Maravillosa who has done her own version on the web to a couple of dozen of heart-felt emails, it's touched people. That's something that has surprised me. It's not all that original, I took the terms from Zenna Henderson stories, matched with some of the ideas of the Mighty Dead, and threw in some of my own experience. It's a continuation of what was already there, with a bit of me for seasoning.

But that is sort of the point, isn't it? A man's life is measured by the lives he touches.

Over the last couple of years I've tried to carefully choose. This year, it's given me some thoughts for the opposite side of the Year Wheel, but we'll get to that in time. About six months in fact.

In my mind's eye, as I sit here typing this, I'm standing in front of a firepit on a cold night. The stars gleam above, the forest masses on my left side and the desert stretches for miles on my right. Each of you sits, barely lit by the fire, listening to the few sentences I say about my Befores as you wait to speak of your own choices.

This year my Before of Bone is my maternal grandmother. She was orphaned young, passed from relative to relative, married young, and had kids young. She started shy and withdrawn, but grew into being a True Lady. Hospitality was her calling, and compassion her creed. My grandparents were never wealthy, but my grandmother never turned anyone away from the table. No matter what she did or where she worked, she built ties of fellowship and community. I've told you before of Southern Ladies being priestesses of Hestia, though they "knew it not." My grandmother was probably the first one I knew. I never saw anyone (except family) ever leave her home without having their burdens lightened a little. And man, could that lady cook. My stepdad swore by her biscuits.

For years after they arrived in Arizona, my grandmother insisted the family celebrate the anniversary. By the time my cousins and I were born, that had receded. But I still remember every Thanksgiving, every Christmas Eve, most Mother's Days, and the odd family get-together. Great times, especially for a kid. Holidays were almost always spent with at their house.

My Before of Heart was a good friend who served years as a Methodist minister and was a District Superintendent before she retired to care for her own mother. She had the Gift of accepting people where they were and then bringing out their best. She was a first rank soprano and music was her passion. She never married. I do not know but I suspect some things. I will say that she signed the Phoenix Declaration, an act of courage and love no matter what.

My Before of Thought this year is Robert A. Wilson, probably the major inspiration for my own role as a troublemaker. Reading his writings, you're never sure how much is a put on and how much he believed and how much he was trying to tell you.

Which was the point. fnord. Wilson isn't someone you study, he's someone you let percolate through the unsealed crevices of your brain until something shorts out some memories with what he wrote with something that is happening right then.

I learned from the best, but I don't use all of his methods. He's certainly the 20th Century discoverer of the memetic bomb, even if he called it something else.

My Before of Deeds was not hard this year. Norman Borlaug. He's one of those people you should have read about in school. Agricultural scientist, humanitarian, father of the Green Revolution, his work probably fed more people than any other human in history. Despite the good his work has done, to the end of his life he was roundly criticized. It didn't stop him.

I have to explain about my Before of Spirit, Johnny Cash. Growing up, one of my uncles was absolutely fixated on Johnny Cash. He or his sons would play the songs all the time. It wasn't till later when "Cash got cool" to me. I didn't really rediscover him until after I graduated. Then I started hearing him as a crossover artist. To this day, I swear that his cover of Hurt is an amazing piece. Look for the video on YouTube, it really has to been seen to be believed.

Cash is an inspiration because I feel much of my life now is restitution for what I was. Any man who can write a thousand songs and have a active musical career spanning decades is someone worth paying attention to. And if his music touches people and moves them to reach beyond themselves, then yes, Spirit moved them.

Even today, Ring of Fire is one song I can't stop humming. But I want to end this with some lyrics from another, Man in Black.

Well, there's things that never will be right I know,
And things need changin' everywhere you go,
But 'til we start to make a move to make a few things right,
You'll never see me wear a suit of white.

Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything's OK,
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black.

Posted: Tue - October 27, 2009 at 02:36 PM
Man in Black by Johnny Cash

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