Well, hello, there. Salve. Saluton. I’m delighted to make your acquaintance. Unless I knew you already, in which case I was delighted to make your acquaintance when I first made it, and am now delighted to see you again. Hoorah!
Welcome one, welcome all, to my little fairyland lean-to. You should find it moderately well appointed: the campfire keeps crackling away doing its campfire thing over there; the lounge area is there – just choose a big floofy cushion and make yourself at home (there’s a free bar and nibbles in the bowls); there’re quiet meditative spaces over there by the lake – lovely views, too. Just along that path through the woods you’ll find our little private spaceport and hangar (painted green and covered in twigs to comply with local planning regulations) – that’s where Ceit keeps her spaceship; and if you go that way (“Never go that way!“), you’ll find the dark and eerie forest that I keep meaning to go wandering in but somehow keep on finding other things to do, funny that.
So then. Of me, I will tell you that I’m a forty-something-year-old trans-woman living in what’s currently the United Kingdom. That’s the wildly weathered nation off the north of France and sort of bolted on to the top-right part of the Republic of Ireland.
I’m happily married, with a cat (with, not to, you strange imagineers of oddities, you), and I work in an office moving files around, sometimes at night. OoooEEEEooooEEEEoooo. Yes, my firm has files that sometimes need marshalling in the dark. What can I say? It’s all terribly important to the business and a dizzying altitude above my pay grade. Mine not being to reason why, and all that.
I was born and raised in a bit of a rural locale and currently live in a not-quite-as-rural-as-I’d-like-but-not-too-urban-either-until-they-build-on-every-last-patch-of-greenery-which-shouldn’t-be-too-much-longer locale.
This is my home page in the sense that it’s the first page my browser goes to and links to some of the other sites I like to visit — but being hosted on WordPress means it’s primarily a blog. I’m slack when it comes to updating blogs, though it’s a constant quest of mine to get better at it. And just in case I do do that, I thought it would be fair to let you know what to expect on here.
First, there’ll be politics, and the complaining about thereof. Now I am going to try not to focus on politics too much: I find it all too easy to talk about, and often get really cross about, and I’d like this place to be a little less fraught and grumpy than that. That said, I’ve spent a long time in debates about political matters (I cut my Usenet teeth in alt.politics.british, gods help me) and it’s become something of a habit that’s proving very difficult to break — especially in the current climate when politics doesn’t feel like something I can just ignore. Still, as far as this site is concerned, I’m going to try very hard not to make it a focus. I will fail. Perhaps rarely, perhaps often, but I will fail, and you will see my political positions laid bare. They are what they are, as a former manager of mine used to say, and when they show through I will not be making any excuses for them. Some advice up-front: if you’re the sort of person who thinks the words ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’ are insults, we probably won’t get on.
Then, on occasion there may be posts on religion, faith or spirituality — mine and other people’s. These are things I’m also quite happy to talk about (and, again, have done online since alt.religion.christian in the old Usenet days, and by crikey what a screwed-up environment that was). I have some fairly established opinions on these subjects as well, along with a subjective perspective of my own, but no more than I think anyone would.
Religiously speaking I generally define myself as a Roman Druid, which sounds like a total contradiction in terms. For many years I’ve felt a certain affinity with the gods of Rome, if not necessarily the Roman religion as such. The classical deities, I think, represent a divinity that makes sense to me, in that it describes what is, rather than expecting me to look past what is to what I hope may be. The gods of Rome — in particular the ‘Dii Consentes’, the traditional group of twelve primary deities to which I generally add one more for a sort of council of thirteen* — serve as embodiments of those aspects of nature, and of human nature, that most immediately concern people in the lives we lead.
But, in recent years, as I’ve explored aspects of my own self that have previously been kept hidden, it’s become apparent that there’s another layer of… religion? No, not quite. Belief? Again, nothing so specific. Spirituality? It’s not really all that spiritual. I suppose I’ll have to just say a layer of something that’s drawn me not away from my established gods but perhaps to a place where I see them in a slightly different light. And it’s this layer of whatever-it-is that’s led me to adopt the label of ‘Druid’. Mine isn’t a Druidism, or Druidry, that’d be accepted by existing Druid organisations, I’m sure. It’s not about embracing the mythologies of my Celtic ancestors (I’m not entirely uninterested in Celtic mythology but I don’t subscribe to it and don’t feel any particular affinity for it). For that matter, unlike most Druids — most pagans, in fact — I don’t feel any particular connection to my ancestors at all beyond any feelings I may have developed for those I’ve known or know personally. Perhaps I could best put it in visual terms.
I’m not a Druid in this sense:
Nor fully, entirely comfortably in this sense:
But more in this sense:
Meh, I’ll probably ramble some more about this in the actual blog section, and hopefully manage to make more sense. If not so you get a bead on it, then at least so that I do.
(I get tuppence for each time I say ‘sense’. I’m going to be rich.)
I’m also intrigued by matters of the paranormal and the fortean, so they might crop up, too. In such things I always describe myself as a sceptical believer: that is, when it comes to ghosts, UFOs and alien encounters, cryptids and sightings of strange beasties, and suchlike, I do believe that people are in many cases sincerely reporting their experiences. They are legitimately seeing things, hearing things, feeling things. The question is what those things are, and where they come from. I have my theories, but my scepticism kicks in when breathlessly overexcited people shout OHMAHGAHDOHMAHGAHD on shaky videos of night-time lights in the sky, when it’s quite clearly a helicopter. Or when people lose their shit over utterly unconvincing photos of obvious UFO models. Or when that mysterious eerie gnome with its peculiar gait is actually a chimp someone’s stuck a silly pointy hat on and videoed in the dark, YouTube.
Actual encounters and experiences, reported by honest, embarrassed and confused witnesses I tend not to dismiss out of hand. While I don’t believe that aliens are visiting our planet, nor that the spirits of the dead hang around to talk to or torment us, nor that God or gods reach down from their lofty wherever to manipulate our lives, I do believe that there are aspects of our greater reality that humanity doesn’t have a very firm bead on yet.
Moving on, I love a spot of popular culture, particularly in the area of science fiction – though not the hardest sort. I find Arthur C. Clarke and his admirably brainy kin rather too heavy going for me, and I tried reading a Greg Egan book once and it was like banging my head on a very featureless wall. I followed the idea of the story well enough – it’s just that the book spent so much time explaining why it was really really accurate, properly hard science that it rather forgot to give me any interesting characters to care about.
Rather, give me Star Trek. Give me Doctor Who. Give me Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars: franchises that sacrifice a little (or almost everything) in the “authentic science” department, to give us instead stories about people. Modern myths that explore the perceived virtues of our age, and the examples of heroes and villains as they reflect our evolving modern moralities. (Superhero stories could also fall into this mythic category, but to be honest I’ve seen rather too many of them of late.)
That probably sums me up reasonably well – at least as far as it explains the mix of stuff I’m hoping will eventually appear on this site, if ever get my finger out and actually post some posts.
(Oooh: I can add here that, along with Suzanne, UK Ambassador for The Asatru Community, I co-present the Frithcast podcast, which you can listen to HERE. Frithcast is focused on an Asatru/Heathen spiritual worldview, so I’m sort of the guest sort-of-Druid; but if you’re interested in Norse or Germanic religion, or ancient northern European history and culture, you might find it worth a listen.)
(* There’re essentially two lists of ‘the’ twelve Olympian gods whom the Dii Consentes reflect, but the lists disagree on whether Hestia (Vesta) or Dionysus (Bacchus) should be included. Since they both seem pretty important to me, I’ve decided to list thirteen. It seems fitting in other ways, too.)