It’s Friday morning and cold for Sydney. I’m sitting on a bus waiting to go to the Australian capital and my thoughts turn once again to this ongoing experiment. I say ongoing experiment because unlike what seems to be a majority of others who maintain blogs, pagan/heathen/polytheist or otherwise, I have a tendency to simply not write if I find myself too pressed for time or feel like I have nothing of merit worth saying. Thoughts plague me however and so I write.
O.O.M – Out of Mana
Thanks to the modern culture of multiplayer role-playing games that gave rise to the digital obelisk that is World of Warcraft, delightful phrases such as ‘out of manna’ have entered the vernacular. In an ironic twist it is thanks to the fantasy that I have a way of describing the reality.
I last wrote while working and living in Japan and for a time I was able to faithfully write for here and Gods & Radicals and some other places. However, the more time passed the more I found myself lacking the faculty needed to compose anything like what I had been previously. The ‘stuff’ that I relied upon for my poetry; for crafting the politically and spiritually intertwined works Gods & Radicals has become famous and infamous for; for even writing for myself in this place; it all just dried up.
In all essential respects, I felt as though I was out of mana.
No doubt for some people, that kind of self-assessment is an easy one. Whether because a greater sense for that kind of energetic exhaustion, a sharper degree of self-awareness or even simply more experience. I however found myself caught in a loop of putting all my psychological fortitude into my job and then trying to burn even more of that fortitude in attempts to relieve the pressures of work by engaging with the world through writing.
Given the topic and nature of what I was trying to write about I am not so surprised that ‘O.O.M” is how I now describe the feeling. What did and still does surprise me is that my writing draws on the same source as my praxis. On the one hand there is a certain kind of logic to it. Delving into certain topics, particularly the ones I tend to write about could conceivably draw on one’s ‘manna’ and when not aware of that easily use it all up.
I have never considered my writing, here or at G&R, to be either meditation or part of my praxis. They were always just things that I did as a way of being part of a community, contributing and processing my thoughts. Considering it more however, I do wonder if there is something to the idea that certain kinds of meditation expend your energies rather than rejuvenating them.
Nevertheless, its been almost six weeks since I have come back from my work in Japan and the many things that I reckon were taking their toll on me. A large chunk of the time that I’ve been back was spent in the place I am going to today. Then it was to sit for a number of stages of a process to start Masters studies that, much like the later days of my time working in Japan, left me with little energy or attention for other things. Circumstances however make fools of us all.
Heathens and Family
I don’t often talk about the Heathen side of me, though it is one I have often said I felt I have. Much like the Pagan side, I don’t have very distinct conceptions of myself in relation to the larger idea. That said, there are moments like this one where I find myself considering some of the aspects involved.
As we are all in one way or another in the know, I will forward in saying that I intend to enchant (is that the best description) my family and more specifically my parents. There are reasons why, the most important of them is that while I don’t wish to be either estranged from nor physically close to my parents I do still care for and about them. Undoubtedly someone will feel that its not my place to meddle but as I see it what I propose to do is not too different to the avenues already available to married persons.
Thus, my personal conflict is less about acting and more about the centrality of family and clan and the household to Heathenry.
Can one be a heathen, legitimately, if one desires to not be near ones family and desires to not be a part of their world in a significant way?
Again, this is something that I feel many people would have many opinions on and normally I would agree with them but in this instance I would if those refrains really hold water. Can someone qualify as ‘heathen’ if they have no place they call home; certainly by any definition I’ve come across for ‘home’ and ‘family’ I won’t qualify in either of those for likely the next two and a half years…
I am flying to Germany this Friday. Part of me wishes I could say it is for a pilgrimage or some deliberate spiritual adventure or even to visit a long missed lover. Those things I feel would be far more apropos the usual reasons pagans and heathens and polytheists travel. I however am running to Germany for two simple reasons: to improve my German and to be away from my family.
It’s now Wednesday evening. I’ve eaten dinner, my bags are mostly packed and I don’t have many things left to do before I depart for Frankfurt on Friday afternoon. There is just one last thing I must complete before I leave. I might be leaving, in part, to get away from my parents and the inability to process emotions that is one of their most prominent private traits. However, I’m not the sort to just let things be.
Much like my question regarding heathenry, many people will likely have an opinion on this: enchanting my parents to be happier. I would ask you however, is what I will do any different to what a lawyer or a therapist or an intervention does?