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A new life and career

Just three weeks ago I branched out yet again.  For those of you of who have checked through my bio you may have noticed just how many varied lives I have led.  My father-in-law Noel directed me through an old manager of his to the RAC.  Now I work in sales.  That bloke outside the services you see, the man by Tesco, the woman in the shopping centre?  That’s me now (well obviously not the woman part.)  For my sins I attended a training course, which was run by three of the Sales managers.  Direct sales is something I have never done before so as you can guess it was at first a bit nerve-racking, still is to be honest.

Every company has rumours and I have noticed already sales-staff speak in whispers more than most.  I have been told great things about companies and terrors on the other hand.  But what I do know is what I have gathered from my own eyes.  I have been given excellent support every step along the way – down to uniform, the stand, training and managers who are eager to help.  Now this is not a recruitment message but just my late notes on what I should have spoken about last week.

Its an interesting few weeks.  Along with starting in sales I had a fantastic patch of bad luck that I have never had happen to me before.  Such as quite a bad road accident, no one else involved but my poor car had to see the garage quite urgently.  Added to that I had some blank days, never good especially when starting up.  But since then I am back on track.  And its a job I love the money I have earned so far is quite comfortable, even with the bad patch.  Im out of the rain mainly and I spend my day talking with people – talking is my job.

People are by and large really nice.  It is so easy to bemoan the state of the nation, to despair on the country but I can assure you the majority of people I meet – which at a supermarket is a cross-section of everyone there have maybe been less than a handful of people unpleasant to me – that’s ten days of meeting hundreds of people a day.  I have learnt a lot from conversations, shared tales and been given an easter egg and a cheese and onion pasty.  The most amazing thing I find is how so many people wish you a good day, not automatically but turn around and wish you one direct to you.

Spare a thought to the salesman.  And if its me do buy from me 🙂

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A post at last, Loyalty

And so I find myself debating on whether to put this online.  Although this time not out of laziness.  Years ago when I was starting out writing in earnest I realised their would be times that I found myself writing things that wouldn’t always be popular with my friends – all of them at any rate.  But I promised myself if it beneffited others and the content was worthwhile I would not back down.  And so thats what I am doing here.  I suppose in that sense its a question of loyalty to myself.  Its been a while since I have last posted.  Too long in ways and yet this will be quite a personal post.

I find myself in an awkward position.  Awkward and quite painful.  I am, in ways socially awkward, not so much anymore but lacking in so much of the experience of friendship that comes from university and earlier childhood.  Thats not stopped me and I have pushed past it more recently.  But every so often, it catches I think is the best way of putting it.  I stub my character on the step of life.  In this case an individual that for the person’s own reasons can’t stand me and has made it clear.  In quite obnoxious and demeaning manner to a friend.

Now my friend was affronted by this attack on their slimeball but afterwards it quietened down and my friend calmed and following apologies to each other the situation was put aside.  Now let me clarify that – after apologies between each other.  No ideas of retractions or apologies to me, which is ok in a sense.  I have grown up to the point that I realise that not everyone likes you.  But my point is surely the idea that it should have been outrage my friend felt on my behalf, they should have rushed to my defense.  Not as seems to have happened, rushed forward in the offense to defend themselves.  The slurs came from an old best friend of my friend, and so it was felt like a personal attack (perspective I feel is missed – yes its personal but to whom exactly.)  Once they had circled each other and seen that they were not attacking each other and their apologies over hurt feelings were made all was put behind.

How should I feel on this?  Surely a good friend will back you up, defend you – particularly when what’s said is stupid and offensive.  I know its too much, and I don’t expect, all my friends to be best friends or even for them all to get along.  But shouldn’t I expect them at least to stand up for me rather than tolerate abuse?

Now at present the situation rears its head – I’m to be there at a function from my friend, one for their friend.  Now where do I stand there.  It simply confuses me.  And hurts to be honest.  Melodrama, melodrama.  But I suppose the worse thing is my friend thinks that they backed me up by attacking first time round.  So its leaves me stuck unable to express how I feel.  I don’t want them to cut off their friend for me, I don’t want that, I don’t want their unhappiness.  Its just a stupid situation…

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On Music Matters

A short little post for you my readers upon my musical taste.

In a nutshell, I like classic rock.  I think the ideal music I love was summed up by the name of a radio show that used to be on Today FM on Sunday nights, Dad Rock.  The programme had played for a while before the audience chose its name.  It was a title that had more to do with the music that was played then some form of gimmick of a show image.  Dad rock was the kind of notion you get from the forefathers of rock, is it metal, punk, psychedelic or prog?  Dad rock came before these, it was the birthplace of these genres.  Its an idea that’s hard to explain.  I like all forms of rock music but this kinda of classic rock you can feel inside.  It makes your heart beat and your soul sing.  I don’t listen to music to relate, to think or so on, I listen to feel.  Whether its the Ramones, Lynyrd Skynyrd or Hendrix.

Outside of this I do have a thing for 80’s music – the synthesiser heavy power ballad and reggae.  Reggae is an interesting one.  The culture of its birth, the Caribbean islands share a quite similar cultural history to Ireland; don’t forget the no dogs, no blacks no Irish signs that were still to be found in London in the 40s.  And of course our massive numbers over there – including the slaves Cromwell shipped over to originally create the British colony upon Barbados.  I think this is some of the reasons I find the music and the themes within so interesting.  I can relate.  It is also of a kind that I like.  All about sharing.  The music is made by sampling and remaking and passing it on to your friends.  No work is ever finished just begun.  I do find it challenging that all of the music is so Jah-centred, their name for Jesus, simply because I am not a believer.  While I find the imagery evocative it doesn’t evoke in me the same emotions.  Much of my personal past and what I know from history has shown the persecution my religious culture has faced at these hands.  But its a small thing, personal issue that I need to push past, because the music and the sentiment is about a greater higher love and respect for each other.

I will list out below in future – as this post will get archived and linked for a bio – my favourite tracks, albums and artists.

Above them all is Thin Lizzy and Phil Lynott.  Who is for me a fantastic hero and whose exemplary lyrics have always inspired deep emotion within me and that which people say so often about musicians – his words seem almost to be uniquely personal to me – although I know they apply to so many.

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The unknown

Funny thing the unknown.  A conversation I somewhat participated on twitter recently dealt with the topic and how mankind how dealt so… well with it all along.  Which is not at all.  The unknown and human interaction with it is an incredibly important topic and issue for pagans.  Its where the fear comes from as regards us.  Its why today the majority of people accept us in these secular days.  Superstition is basically a fear of the unknown and today in general it is lacking because things that we believe in for most people are not unknown quantities – there is a scientific answer for it.  Or so people rationalize.

When we talk about magickal work, dealing with unseen energies that people have not heard of; or gods and ways of worship people are unfamiliar with we bring in fear into their life.  To be frank I see it often enough within the community.  Which is why at times there seems a need for a lot of us to categorize x means this, nothing else.  That way it is known and finite and definite.

The second reason to which the unknown is so important to us as magick-workers as opposed to pagans is the experimenting that goes along with it.  That is for me, I’m not much of one to follow through on the tried and tested techniques.  I want to know something from the inside, understand how it works.  As with most knowledge our society is based upon – linguistics, chemistry, mathematics, astronomy most of this throughout the ages has come from occult scholars and theorists.  This willing exploration of the unknown, the taste for adventure and at times the failure, sometimes catastrophic that is a consequence, is crucial to furtherance.  To growth, of the individual, the race and the path.

For a final little story.  I remember when young loving the night.  I loved the darkness it brung, fear wasn’t in the unknown.  What I knew was there at the time didn’t really cheer me up much instead the void of darkness and black allowed for hope of things good and nice to come from it.  Its a side to me I have not lost, my taste for the new – be it beer, food, knowledge or people – has not since been quenched.

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On finishing books

I am a writer and its both, in my eyes, almost a species, a sub-race of man and a title, a position.

Inside I wrote, always all along.  More recently I have been blogging so much, video-casting as well as pod-casting with the occasional poem.  Every so often I tried to write a bit of creative writing.  But that has been the extent of variance in my writing.  Previously I used to delight in changing the scope, continually, of my works.  Including the style, the topic, the theme and so on.  Most recently with November drawing near I took upon myself both NaBloPoMo, of which this is part of, and NaNoWriMo, which today I just completed.

I have had a poetry book published, but most of the work verging on all of the work I took upon myself.  Including the setting of the book, the marketing, even the arranging of the opening night and sales of my stock.  To be honest I have gotten a little disheartened back then.  I say back then because I avoided it, writing for a long long time.  It was all at a time in which I had moved on from so much in my life.  Turning over a new leaf I determined to never return to how I was then.  In that way I would avoid in all ways what I had priorly had to put up with.

I have had, in one go, two stories published written in Irish in a compilation work.  They are something I am quite proud of.  I remember the shock I had to see those words in print.  It blew me away totally, thinking of it the only times that has happen to me outside of writing has been the day of my wedding.  Following all of this I sit here barely writing, blown away at my achievements.  Personal more than anything.  I have spent the month working with demons over the month.  Not particularly bad ones I seem to have found out.  Just persistent ones.

This month has been about me reclaiming the title to what I feel I am inside.  I know this post to the majority won’t mean much but the results of it probably will.  I hope now following this I will move beyond feelings of guilt and past problems to draw in the gifts I have.  Here is hoping that this book goes well and further.  I will be moving on with this book and cleaning up the kid’s book.  I truly think that with the right chances and everything going well next year I should be a professional writer.

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Water’s wonders

As I was pondering what exactly I would write about this evening my mind flew over the topics I had already completed.  I considered doing another post on a topic on a post as a matter of explanation on myself.  Why not fire?  Why not indeed, but in this case I have chosen its opposite – water.  I already have a post this month on the topic of fire.  This is something I will further bulk up and justify so that others can more clearly see and understand so that they in turn can internalise my thoughts.

When I embarked on the journey of shamanism I was introduced to elements, not just literally, of life that I had never integrated into myself.  I had seen them, appreciated and read upon – such as the mysteries of water.  But they were not my most natural elements and so I shied away from them.  In the end however shamanism and the will of the gods brought me to places I had never imagined a creature, in this case, of fire would go.  When I worked in Ballina, as an archaeologist I moved around a lot and lived in places for 3 – 4 months stints solid, I was embraced by the river that divided the dual town on the Clare border.  The town Killaloe is literally separated by a bridge into the overspilling, or vice-versa, town of Ballina.  This water sucked me in and I was brought a new aspect to my life the appreciation of the element of water.

So what is it?  Water isn’t simply water.  It embodies all liquids.  As an elemental category we view water, H2O as the archetype.  Water is as life, not water is life water is as life.  It flows.  Continuous, onwards, life evolves and never stays still.  Like time it is progressive and moves and blends as it goes forward.  Its cooling and submersive.  It doesn’t just sit on something it swallows.  I know water typifies the emotions but to me it signified the flowing river or the raindrop the Sublime, the notion the Romantic poets aspired to or the Rami Sufists in their apocalyptean views on love.

Water to me has been frozen in my mind as that eternal river.  Timeless, swallowing engulfing.  Waiting for me to slip in, wear its coating like a skin.  Never to surface.  To take with me all my life.  Not with a feeling of malice, but with a feeling of timeless motherhood.  Maybe that’s why so many men, in particular those of prehistory had such views on women – when they saw female energies typified in such forces.  Its without a doubt that this force I saw was far beyond me or any man, something beyond what any person could be.  Something we could become one with at her terms.  These are forces above and beyond this world, this material world.  Before the advent of man and will last longer than us.  Their impact felt upon so many planes of existence that we can only wonder.

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A note and a thank you

Pardon me my readers I am getting written out of it this month between this and NaNoWriMo.  I won’t bore you with all my personal stuff but writing is something that I had done at a prestigious rate, all forms of things and at a vast rate.  In an effort to wipe clean the slate of my old life and not return to it, now that the lifestyle and the person I am is much improved.  So I left behind writing, fearful, so a lot of this has been me reclaiming my gift and living down my demons.

I blog a lot anyway and this has forced me, by a challenge I set myself to stay on target.  See one project from start to finish.  I have always meant to essay my ideas on paganism and I am glad that I have begun.  Some of the posts remain as they are even thought they should be expounded upon and some have yet to be written.  Everything needs to get linked between each other and some things need referencing a bit better to be of more use.

I have a few projects online at current, all on the go.  I think this has taught me to work in seasons.  I want to finish everything I have at present, make it all current and up to date and from there work on them in more structured plans – for example finish off my post on Libra Source about Live Writer, or in Puppy Journeys of Cambridge and its museums.  All in all I think this month and these posts have given me a lot of clarity and purpose for the next year.

As I have spent this month submerged in writing I have gotten back into reading more on writing, craft-wise, publishing and so on.  I do believe my primary talent that I offer to my sites is my content.  I hope in the next while to fix what I have and then after see about presenting it in the easiest possible manner to read.  As I have said many times about going pro with it, I do plan on being a pro writer soon.  I have made a success of myself when I pushed and put my energy into it and this is worth it.  I think by neatening and preparing the bulk of work I do already have online and an easy to access and easy to digest manner then that will give me another push forward.

Wish me luck people.  For all the pagans out there.  My first pagan priority is the picture book I am working on for kids Little Druid.  After that is a Shaman’s Dictionary but these essays will get neatened, expanded and some more written to fill in what I have referred to.  From then on I may look for a new home for them – a new blog maybe?, or even just on the main site.  This site will revert back to my personal blog following this.  Possibly experimental as well.

Finally a lot of the time when I listen to Pagan Podcasts or so on I find myself disagreeing – not arguing merely disagreeing, this month of posts has actually gotten me out of comfort zone and publically acclaiming my views.

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On Giants and what they were

Giants – the most famous in European myths being on two origins the Greek and the Norse.  The Greek in the form of the Titans, the fabled gods that predated the coming of their Pantheon; for the Norse the Ice-Giants who were in a similar position.  The alleged deities that presided in the Nordic regions before being repulsed by the Vanir.

What happens next is a little different.  The Titan’s, one of which is said to be Kronos, are imprisoned.  Banished often from this world into the myriad realities on the Sea of Islands – as met by Odysseus.  They were often set menial tasks for all time – such as the Miller of Hell in Michael Scott’s Celtic Odyssey (which I know is a fiction but then so are legends – they are made to illustrate points, as this one does now.)  Some are imprisoned within the land or under the sea, often in mountains – such as the Straits of Gibraltar.  The Ice Giants on the other hand weren’t imprisoned and did live on this world – the Arctic regions.  It is a common thread within the Edda and the Norse myths – that of the higher Arctic regions and the people that dwell in it being a lawless otherworld.  Partially due to the living conditions, doubtless due to conditions such as the aurora borealis and the strange climatic and light conditions that exist there.  They were highly fearful of the magical powers of the Inuits and their land was the land of these Ice Giants – to the Norse this was an Other World, no longer part of the material world.

So to my system of faith do they exist in Ireland?  Well yes and no.  Don’t forget part of the problem, as in archaeology, we are missing most of the information and are trying to build a picture of an incomplete and skewed picture.  What we see is wrong.  I will say that, definitely false.  But as accurate a picture as possible, as close as possible.  Some Mountains and one famous set of trenches are recorded as the resting places of solidified giants.  In the case of the trenches near Ben Bulben (which the name now escapes me) it is fabled to be created by a giant bore as he died from a hunt and fell to the ground.  Too we have the tales like the Giant’s causeway and its creation by Fionn Mac Cumhail.

This is where I get sceptical.  Yes some points the stories of him describe him as a giant but I truly wonder any more so than the regular boasting, adaption of tales and superlative adjectives that were used for their heroes.  It interests me because in other cycles we have stories of giants and trolls and dwarves etc.  Whereas in Ireland we merely have tales of the Fae.  Not in anyway to downplay the Fae but one wonders how much the title the Fae came to encapsulate for the early Christian monks that recorded Irish mythology.  On top of that is how much of those recordings that are still present have been plumbed properly.  Many of them are written in old Irish or other dead languages and not available to the public so we can’t really tell.

To end the piece on a happier note I will draw on the images that these precursor deities played finally – their release happened at the end of days, much like the slaves in Revelations, except these Giant primal forces wreak havock on Earth and help lead to its destruction.

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My idea of a clan

When we first set up our website we needed a name for it and chose Clan Raven Cub – was it as simple as putting our two inspired animals together?  To be honest it started a lot earlier.  Before me and Zoe legally wed.  We had been spending time considering what marriage meant to us and for us it meant creating our own family.  Now we have very defined ideas on culture and its expression and due to our shared Celtic views of religion / spirituality we needed this expressed through it.  We wanted to create a family that was free of the Christian imposition.  I am, interestingly, the first of the O Coileains and so with me, with us we are literally a brand new family.

From there travelling back to Cambridge, at Birmingham New Street Station to be precise, I came up with the motto – the right action at the right point – and the name.  Clan Raven Cub.  We wish for this to represent our union together but also the unit we create.  Both in offspring, the energy and spirits we draw in to surround us and hopefully in time the permaculture environment we hope to create to use as a base.

The idea of a clan, a close family based unit; not unique to family but built upon those concepts; ties in well to the Celtic paths – the most modern remnant of Celtic culture surviving on in the Highlands were the Clans’ traditions right up until recent times have continued fairly well.  If you tie this with the ideas we have and inspiration that can be drawn from the wolf and pack our personal version of the Clan was born.  In time we hope to gain a home, not just for us but for what we hope our clan will grow into.  It is a legacy that we want to develop that someday our kids can inherit if they so desire.  But this piece and twist on reconstructionism requires like most things hard work and patience.

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