Sunday, 29 April 2012

On looking back

Returning to my blog after this long hiatus is a very interesting experience.  I have been looking over my past posts and find that there are very many that I had forgotten I had written.  Even re-reading them, I have little, if any, memory of them.  In many ways it has been like finding a long-lost photograph.  I feel as if there is something unreal about them - that they are somehow detached from me.  I perceive my life to have been linear, with some sort of progress from point to point but yet I see that there have been discontinuities and shifts in my thoughts both about myself and Goddess.  I feel very differently about some  things now than I did before.  And yet, there is nothing that I would like to have erased from the record.  Nothing of which I am now ashamed or regret that I have written.

One of the major reasons for this is, I believe, that I am currently, and have been since my return from Hungary, rather solitary.  I am no longer involved in any significant way in any form of communal practice.  I feel very sad about this sometimes but at other times it seems to be a blessing.  I enjoyed ceremony and the feeling of being in the centre of things.  I enjoyed the feeling of belonging and the sense that I was recognised and somehow valuable.  I liked the glamour that came with this. Now, when I go to ceremonies in the Glastonbury Temple - which is not that often since I now have to rely on a very unhelpful public transport system - I feel a little marginal.  Things have moved on.  I have moved on.  It is hard to say, on any particular occasion, which movement is more significant.  It is just that I no longer feel that public ceremony is central to my life and being.  This is both a loss and a gain, a grief and a relief and it is hard to say which emotions predominate. The reality is that they oscillate.

I miss the connection with people.  I miss the structure of community.  I miss that feeling of belonging that went with it.  I am at times all too well aware that, were I to die tomorrow, there are few who would notice, At those times I feel sad.  On other days, however, I sense a freedom in this anonymity.  I no longer feel the need to police myself, to censor my words and even my thoughts, in the fear that I would offend or alienate others.  I no longer feel I have to please and my sense of myself as a human being no longer depends on the esteem of others.  I know that in some ways, through my actions and inactions, I have undoubtedly forfeited much of this.  Time has given me perspective on those occasions when this happened.  I will not go into detail here, but may return to the subject later when they will be more relevant.  What I am concerned with here is my current thoughts and positions.

For the last two years, much of my time and attention has been focused on my forthcoming book about Inanna.  A few weeks ago, I gave a short presentation on some of my research to a group in Glastonbury and was gratified at the reception I got.  My fear had been that I was completely off the wall or, alternatively, merely restating facts already well-known.  Neither seemed to be the case.  I felt that my work was being validated.  That I was, in reality and not just my won imagination, onto something

What I have come to realise is that, without the estrangements of the last few years, I would never have got as far as I already have.  I needed the isolation, first the linguistic one of being in a strange country and second the social one in my own home country, in order to delve as deep as I can into both myself and more importantly, Inanna.  She has remained the constant, the baseline around which all my oscillations are centred.  Even when things have got really dark and my fear seemed close to overwhelming me, there has ever been the awareness that this is part of the process that Her descent embodies.

I have never been one for sweetness and light - I am more drawn to the exploration of the dark, both within myself and others.  I have been forcefully confronted at times by my own darkness and have been all but overwhelmed by it.  I have also, however, become aware that there is strength in this awareness.  For darkness is part of being human.  It is the label I was given to refer to the  instinctual drives necessary to survive.  I do not like to know that some of my outwardly better actions have been, in part at least, driven by such base motives.  I do not like to acknowledge that I am far from saintly and unselfish.  But I am.  For I am human.  I am a man.  And, despite the discomfort that I sometimes feel at this, am glad to be so.

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