Of Dragonflies, Cicadas, Crows and Frogs and Knowing Thyself

The scenery around me is nothing short of amazing, with any bit of luck I will be getting a proper camera soon and I’ll be able to share pictures of it with you. It never ceases to impress me how much of it there is around me at all hours of the day.

I ride my bike to work, and dragonflies clamour around me in a cloud.

I clean my apartment, put my washing and futon out to air and there are crows sitting, watching.

In the summer cicadas will fill the fields around me with their singing, echoed by frogs croaking.

Each full moon can be seen from my balcony and its light shines into my bedroom with ease.

Mountains and a river hem me in on all sides, channeling what has been a fiercely bitter wind down from the north.

It’s not a scene that you easily or so readily find elsewhere in the world.


In my own way, I have become victim to hubris. Time was that I thought I knew myself; thought I knew myself through and through and was self aware enough to be active in righting my inner rhythm whenever it became skewed. Undoubtedly you’ve heard the old adage about he who lives by the sword… Unsurprisingly, some of the hardest lessons we learn as people, Pagans, Heathens or otherwise are those lessons that we don’t expect or don’t realise that we are learning. Inevitably we end up learning them the hard way too.

Where I have been being blindsided by my hubris was in not seeing or not knowing that my inner or emotional wellbeing doesn’t just affect my Praxis, something I’ve written once or twice about before, it is as much a part of my Praxis as working with the Runes or having profound spiritual experiences is. Hand in hand with this hubris has been what I can only express as an unhealthy relationship to Time, and lesser so with my desire to live as frugally as possible. The trifecta has, I’m somewhat ashamed to admit, been the cause of many of the problems I’ve been experiencing over the last few months and its has taken me until now to really see that. In this respect, my hubris has been exceptionally crippling. Not realising that I was letting myself be penned in and crippled by the very thing that I thought was my ally. A sobering experience to experience yourself being your own worst enemy.

The weekend just past was a long weekend for me, a public holiday on the Monday (Seinin no Hi – the day in Japan when all 19yr olds celebrating becoming 20 and thus full fledged adults, all on the same day). It was also one of my most harrowing weekends in memory. I went from feeling like the king of the mountain and crashed so hard that the things I had been feeling so incredibly confident about ended up freezing because I froze. I simply stopped. That was when I understood what I had been doing to myself and why I had simply frozen. It was a feeling similar to if I had been punched in the chest but instead of a beating heart I just had a hole in its place.

Gnōthi seauton.

Temet nosce.

Know thyself.

Knowing yourself better, teaches you better than anything else what your own limits are. What you really can and can’t do. Lets you know what really is O.K. Reminds you what is important and why its important. Allows you to do things that you didn’t realise that you could (whether a matter of capability or not letting yourself). In short it makes things much easier on yourself, makes it easier for you to be happy. Which is what it really boils down to at the bottom of the pot. Knowing when you are fundamentally unhappy and realising soon enough to discover why and change it, before you hit the dirt hard.

Going through this harrowing, feeling it physically and seeing its immediate effects on my person and slowly getting back up and refusing to give up has meant that I did something in my Praxis I had been, deliberately, putting out of fear that I let control me. In the end it didn’t win and I may have made the first solid step forward in my Praxis in a very long time.

So, remember kids. Know thyself and wield sheer bloody mindedness like a wrecking ball and you should make it through anything that life throws your way, in Praxis or not.


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