Hail and welcome!
This journey begins with a name. I call my blog Gray Bear in the Middle because I stand between two totemic Bears: a Black Bear who goes before me and a White Bear who follows after me. Therefore, to them, I am the Gray Bear in the middle. They are spirit presences, but that makes them no less real to me. They have names, although I am not permitted to share those. They are among the Gathering of Guides, Guardians and Companions who have been present for and to me for varying numbers of years. They include other totem animals, particular tree energies, the Ancestors and Spirits of the Land in which I live, and, though I am now a Druid, several saints. Their individual and collective counsel is invaluable. I would be unable to journey without them. I could not live parted from them.
No doubt I will write about them or experiences I have with them from time to time in the months and, hopefully, years ahead.
I choose Beltane to begin this particular journey because it is a one of the days in the pagan cycle of the years that I think of as a Marker Day. As such it acts as a reminder that we ‘live and move and have our being’ in an ongoing flow of time – more on that in the future. What is important today is to pause, even for a moment, to observe and engage with the environment as spring drifts towards summer, much as the willow down glides on the winds, filling the air with the possibility and hope of life yet to be. Marker Days are important because, not only are they days of festivity and feasting, they call us to account. They keep us from letting our life slip away barely noticed.
If we have a map or life plan of some sort, Marker Days let us pause to consult it and see where we are, if we have wandered off the track. Sometimes it is a niggling feeling of remorse, guilt or absence of anticipated joy that if we pause we are unable to ignore. If such feelings arise, a Marker Day allows us to regroup and find our way back to where we really wanted to go in the first place. Discovering we may have lost our way, as it were, does not mean that we retrace our steps and try to find our way back the way we came to the place we wandered off. The serious, assessing part of a Marker Day affords us the chance to ponder over the map, consider the plan and seek a way to find our way to where we were headed and meet the path at a point ahead of us.
Further on we may find that we were not as far off our path as we originally thought. To take the time to assess, consider, ponder and regroup opens up the real possibility of rejoining the way of life that is both appropriate and honourable for us.
Wandering off the track need not be a bad thing of course, in doing so we may have found just where we wanted to be. That said it is still healthy and helpful to pause on Marker Days to take stock and breathe deeply of the joy we have found on our different path.
None of that means that I do not celebrate each day as a gift — an opportunity, unique, unrepeatable, and as such to be cherished. However, having days set aside, as it were, to pause a moment longer and reflect just a little deeper adds an extra dimension to daily life, to being alive and aware. Marker Days such as Beltane and birthdays also enrich the journey providing an opportunity to give thanks for life and living in an intentional way.
Every day, each moment offers an opportunity to engage the journey.
The leaves are strengthening. They are no longer soft and delicate, now hard at work. The birds are busy gathering food to feed their young. The journey of life and living, being and becoming continues.
So, we are back to the journey, but not where we began . . . we are in a new landscape, soulscape, heartscape, because a journey takes us to some place, some where that we have not been before, did not necessarily expect to be. It is not always a place of outstanding natural beauty, but it is where we have made our way, following the pathway of our life.
I hope you will find among the words I share here some that speak to you, connect with your spiritual and life journey, give you something to think about and comment upon.