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Puck deCoyote

An open letter:

I generally keep my posts private, but I am opening this up as a public post in hopes some of you may feel compelled to pass it along.

This letter is an apology of sorts, as well as an explanation.

As many of you know, in 2012 I had a serious back/pelvis injury. In 2014 I started receiving a long series of steroid injections to try and locate the source of my injury. While the steroids did their job, they had unfortunate side effects. And while they brought the inflammation down, helping me to walk again, due to the nature of my injury they did little to help my pain.

To say this pain was intense doesn't even begin to scratch the surface. I had many occasions of pain so blaring that I became a crippled ball of agony. There was nothing else other than the pain.
To top off the pain and the steroids, I was also on various narcotic pain medications.

This combination led to the worst mental break I have ever had, which unfortunately due to social media, was also very public. I was consumed by roid rage, and was lashing out at everyone and everything around me.

So, my formal apologies to everyone I blew up at for little to no provocation. I ask that you take the circumstances of that time into account in your judgment of me. Try to remember who I was before all this happened. I can't say that I am totally that guy anymore, these last couple years have changed me, but I am no longer fighting everyone and everything.

I hope you will consider giving me another chance.

Thank you for reading this,
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not haiku poem that I wrote today
Whisper to me in the shadows
Of things long past
Tell me of the sorrows shared
The blood spilt
The widow’s wails
Speak to me of a Warrior’s death
While you wash the stains clean
In a river of blood
While the crows call
In the stillness found outside of time
Speak to me my Queen
And let the war drums pound
Speak and I will hear
This litany of the Mighty Dead
So they may sink into my sea
Resting at last in peace
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Haiku poems that I wrote today:

Brilliant searing rush
Of the pin in the poppet
Pain returns again

Delirium's kiss
Hardwired electric buzz
Onward to the night

Surreal wakefulness
Meshed in between the chaos
Of supposed rest

Wings of our Angel
Expand backwards from my heart
I am Beautiful
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There has to be someone out there who wants to pay me for being the awesome person that I am....

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New blog post today.  This one has a little meat to it at 2,595 words.  :)
I have found myself on the receiving end of the label “poser”, many, many times in my life.  It starts when we are all kids, the other kids taunting and teasing, but the specific label of poser doesn’t generally get thrown into the mix until early adolescence when so many of us are trying to find our identities.  It seems to be our nature to look for identity on the outside at this time, which is fascinating isn’t it?  We look for others who like the things we do, the same clothes, the same music, the same hobbies, and through those similarities we find labels that we start applying to ourselves, and man did I go through a few.  For your reading pleasure I will compile a list of a good number of the labels I have given myself or adopted through the years:

Stoner, Thespian, Goth, Freak, Punk, Raver, Faery, Candy Kid, Bisexual, Graver, Witch, Mostly Lesbian Trapped in a Man’s Body, Asshole, Feri, Puck, Husband, Priest, Initiate, Father, A Real Man, Cleric, Bard

So this list is far from comprehensive, and includes things that are contradictory, because we all pick up and drop labels throughout our lives.  We are trying to define ourselves based on the perspective of something external, so the labels themselves change as we change, as we discover the real I underneath.  Stoner was the first label I adopted in 7th grade because I liked rock music and wore a flannel shirt.  I didn’t smoke pot for the first time until I was 17, so now I find that first label quite amusing, but I don’t shame myself, because I see it now for the normal developmental stage that it was.  Through the help of a saintly Junior High theater teacher, I quickly realized that label wasn’t for me. She pointed out that I was more than just the music I liked.  I really dove into theater and acting then, and made friends with a lot of people “like me”, so when I was in 10th grade I joined the Thespians club.  I even had a letter jacket from it that I wore with much pride.  Then in 11th grade my parents got divorced, and it was a very ugly divorce.  My parents never stopped to think what their childish hatred toward one another did to the mental state of their child, and to be honest they still don’t.  I don’t mention this because my path is anything unusual, but because the pain of this at the time was the vehicle to my next stage, my next set of labels.  I had had enough of people not caring about my emotions or my pain.  So in conjunction with the newest wave of popular music brought into major cultural awareness by people like Marilyn Manson, I began attaching to labels that had multiple dimensions.  I defined myself by the music I liked, but I liked that music because it spoke to my emotional state.  Goth, Freak, Punk, ect.  I know there were MANY kids at my school who thought I worshipped the Devil (especially in my poetry class!), but I never adopted that label, because even then despite the black makeup and pain I still considered myself a Christian.  Then my senior year a friend of mine took me to my first rave, and that event set off a chain reaction that was the foundation for the rest of my life.  Raves are often a very magical place, often thrown by magical people who often cast circle in the space before the party starts.  I had my first REALLY defining spiritual experiences there, where I realized there was WAY more to consciousness, life, and reality than I had been raised to believe.  I realized I wasn’t just my pain that defined who I was, but so much more.  I think this is when Puck was really born, although I didn’t take that name until much later.  Being a big kid and cartoons were a big thing in the rave scene back then, so I called myself Tigger at those parties, as I started realizing that there was more to me than my birth name described, but at the forefront was the label of Raver.  I would go around finding people who were really open, and I would play with their energy body while doing a type of psychedelic dancing called Liquid Hands.  I know I was the catalyst for many people experiencing energy for the first time, mainly because they would often say things like “Holy shit what did you just do?” and the like.  One might jump to the conclusion that it was because these people were all on drugs, and while many of them were, I always liked the challenge of messing with sober people.  Those were the ones who would really have their minds blown, because I was introducing them to the subtle sensations we are all trained to ignore, and they couldn’t just dismiss it as a drug trip.  I jumped through a few sub labels those years, again based on personality traits and which type of techno I was into at the time, but yet it was more than that.  I started at this point to see the patterns, of how it wasn’t just the music and personality traits, but that now I was starting to really narrow down to labels that weren’t just superficial.  I liked this kind of music and I was this kind of person, but I would notice that the similarities I shared to those around me were no longer limited to the immediate shared interest.  I started to notice what at the time I called the Other people, of which I was one of.  The people who shined brighter than the rest of the folks, and that those people also noticed it in me, and included me in it.  I also noticed that there were certain men among these Other people, what I later came to label Fae, that I was incredibly attracted to.  My father told me one time that the only thing I could do that would make him stop loving me was to be gay, so that was incredibly challenging time.

These people would talk about things that I didn’t know a lot about, like meditation, energy, magic, so I started reading.  Then reading wasn’t enough, and I went into a store in Walnut Creek, CA that at the time was called Dolphin Dream, and met Storm Faerywolf.  I think on that first day we both knew on some level that we would be in each other’s life for a long time.  I learned about the Craft and about myself.  Around the same time I also started studying qigong.  It is hard for me to have to really pinpoint down in my practice what is Feri and what is Taoist anymore, because I have studied both for so long, they really have become one within me, as tends to be the Feri way.  I have spent my adult life thus far learning (not in a way that greater society deems acceptable as I don’t belong to a major world religion, but learning nonetheless), about the nature of reality, and about God who is the Gods.  I have added many new labels along the way, but as is also the way of those who continue to grow and learn, I feel the need to identify the Me within by one of those labels lessen every year.  Labels really are an illusion, because they rely on the perspective of other to be true; but when we see that reality we don’t need to abandon them completely, because we can clearly see their use in this particular linear reality we all seem to have found ourselves bound to.

So what does that little glimpse into the life of Puck have to do with being a poser?  Well, there are many other labels that I didn’t include in that list, because they were the labels given to me by others acting out of their own pain.  I’ll give you some of that list too:

Dork, Nerd, Loser, Drama Queen, Fag, Pussy, Crazy, Passive Aggressive, Asshole

We as human beings are constantly assessing those around us.  Our brains like categories, file folders if you will, where information can be stored.  It helps us be able to pull up pertinent information when we need it in the moment.  And as human beings living in this imperfect world, we are also all in pain.  Because of this, when we come across someone who triggers some negative feeling in us, we give that label an emotional inflection, and in the process we throw the pain we perceive as being caused by these other people back at them.  I don’t say this with any judgment on it one way or the other, it is just the way of things right now.  I am confident that, when we as a species are ready, we can move beyond this trend, but it is where we are now, and have been for a LONG time.  One of those hurtful labels that get passed around is Poser, or some variant thereof.  I think in the Craft, the label that gets used to mean poser is generally “Fluffy Bunny”.  

Earlier on my Feeds, I talked about how we all need to be sensitive toward others, and at the same time we need to work on not being so sensitive ourselves.  Hurtful labels, well, hurt, and so we don’t hear the intention behind the pain; we just reject them outright.  Sometimes we embrace the hurtful label to “reclaim it”, but in my experience that was just another way the label was ruling my life.  I was called unmanly, fag, queer, pussy, and things like that for so long that I embraced it, but in that embrace I rejected certain things our society calls “manly” out of hurt, not logic.  I stayed in a victim mentality, which is what our society has labeled “unmanly” or “female”.  The cognitive distortion here is that qualities like strength, personal power, and having a thick skin have nothing to do with what you have between your legs.  People were trying to tell me that my emotions were causing them distress, that my tendency to run away when I felt hurt was not a beneficial one to have, but I didn’t hear that, nor does anyone hear a message when it is flung with emotional violence.  I also didn’t want to see that I was an emotionally violent person too.  I didn’t want to see that I had learned to be emotionally aggressive as a survival tactic, so it turned into subconscious passive aggressive behavior.  

So back to being a Poser.  Labels like poser, fluffy bunny, fake, not a real ___, are all aggressive, hurtful labels, but they all do still refer to something specific.  You see, everyone is a poser when they first assign a label to themselves.  When you first see that connection between you and others who already wear that label and decide to take it on yourself, you don’t suddenly become the embodied archetype of that label; especially when that label is something that takes a lifetime of work, like Witch, Magician, Priest, etc.  In the beginning, all self given labels are lies, because there hasn’t been enough time to make them come true.  I often hear people talk about how when someone says one thing, but continuously acts contrary to their stated ideals or label, that they are fake, and well, maybe they are in that moment, but real change in a human being takes time.  It is through holding tight to those little lies in the beginning, that label that doesn’t quite fit yet, that through time they become real.  We have all been a poser in our life, we have all been fake, it is just part of the developmental process, and is one of the reasons I no longer reject all the teachings of the Christianity of my childhood.  Let he who is without sin throw the first stone.  And to that I add, if you notice yourself throwing stones, don’t just keep throwing them for continuity’s sake.  Take a breath, and put it down.  Finding yourself always on the end of the stones being thrown?  Well, it might be time to learn to dodge, and as politically incorrect as this may be in some circles, it might be time to catch a rock and throw it back.  We humans are always throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  We have so much information that seems contradictory that we get tangled up.  We hate the throwing of stones, but we have been hit so many times that we close our eyes so we don’t see ourselves throwing the stones at everyone else who walks by other than the people who have been throwing them at us.  It’s not pretty, I don’t like it, but that doesn’t change the fact of it either.  

The good news is though, that once a human becomes aware of a subconscious behavior, it is instantly no longer subconscious and we have a choice.  So this is my choice.  I owned my bad behavior.  Especially during the Schism, I reacted extremely poorly, and was just as emotionally violent as my supposed enemies.  I am human, and I act poorly sometimes, and that is okay because every other person I see around me does the same.  I see more and more where I have been inappropriately aggressive, and instead of berating myself, instead of bashing myself with that stone thrown at me much harder than it was thrown in the first place, I see them as lessons.  I have also seen that sometimes throwing the rock back in the moment is better than holding on to it, because otherwise we can become buried in them.  What was the mechanism of our pain becomes the ammunition for the perpetuation of that pain in others, because all we know are the rocks that surround us and no one ever taught us how to really just dodge.  And even when we have learned to dodge, we will still come into contact with those who know how to throw better than we know how to move out of the way.  How do we know whether to dodge or retaliate?  We stick to our practice, we stick to our center, we stay in touch with our Highest Self.  I notice trends, I see the roots from where the trend sprouted, and I adjust.  I reduce my own inner pain and tension through truth, and it becomes easier to not hold other people in judgment for THEIR inner pain and tension, and so I can assess how to act, not react.  And sometimes in the moment I am still wrong, and I am still an aggressive ass.  Which is cool, because again, who hasn’t been an aggressive ass?

So, feeling like a poser?  Feeling like a fake?  Feeling like any number of labels that you hold onto in hurt?  Well, maybe you are, and maybe you aren’t, and either way it doesn’t matter, because you really do fake it until you make it.  Who we are in the now is not the complete story of Us, just the chapter we are reading right now, and if you keep stressing about what has happened in previous chapters and what will happen in future chapters, what energy do you have left to just enjoy the story?
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Seems all the cool kid pagan bloggers are on Patheos these days. 
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The quest for spiritual growth and power can in and of itself become a trap. This is one that I fall into VERY regularly. The quest to ease our pain and grow our power can easily become an obsession, a never ending thought spiral that actually increases our pain because, well, we are still in pain and we are not as powerful as we want to be. We start to look outward and point to people we perceive as being where we want to be, but even that is an illusion. Other individuals may have qualities that we value and want for ourselves, but inevitably those people have qualities in themselves that they dislike. There is no such thing as perfection in this life. In the book The World of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama himself admits that he still gets irritated with people, he still has “negative” emotion, but he has learned the tools to not let them consume him, and yet still at times he even snaps at people. There is a difference between devotion to ones path and obsession over whether or not one is walking it correctly.

Extremist thinking in regard to self reflection is a trap that we have all been brainwashed into. Every day we are bombarded with messages that are extensions of the external enemy, the pain of others, and because we ourselves are still in pain, our Fetch, our Sticky One, holds onto them. The Talker component of the human brain CRAVES the familiar. Our brains are wired to strengthen repeatedly used pathways, just like we humans keep making frequently used roads bigger. It’s easy to use those major thoroughfares, it is efficient, but if you are stuck in the Los Angeles freeways at rush hour, it is actually completely counterproductive to use those paths, but there we are, every day, putting on our makeup, drinking our coffee, and screaming at the stupidity of the other drivers. Why do we keep using those same neural pathways even though they cause us pain? Well, I think different scientific and religious minds have been asking that question in different ways since we have been human beings, and there doesn't seem like there will be consensus anytime soon.

All is not lost however! We humans have another amazing bit to our brains, that when we become aware of this phenomenon, we are less bound by it. I can, when I remember, take the next off ramp, and drive down the less traveled coastal highways. I explore all the roads in my mind, and I am constantly trailblazing and giving my mental road crews new places to build. And when I find that I have let even this become an extreme, I can hop back on the main roads when traffic is lighter. I can breathe, I can remember my center, and I can take action. Sometimes, all that action needs to be is to reflect on the progress I have made, and reflection on what I am working on right now. Yes, I am still in pain, I still don’t have all the abilities that I would like, but who does? What am I working on right now that gets me to that person? We get so caught up in who we WANT to be, we forget to be here now, in this moment we live and breathe in.

Who am I? That is the question I was told to ask again and again in my training. Who is this entity that I refer to as I? It is a slippery concept, it is hard to pinpoint down in any logical way that Talker will accept other than pointing to its existence. Talking about the now, the moment we are in, is also a slippery concept. How do we put Now into a linear phrase or snippet without relating it to either the past or the future? Those are easier concepts for Talker, past is what has already happened, future is what hasn't happened yet, they seem fixed. But Now, we can’t even really point to it, because when I say, it is Now right Now, that moment becomes the past as soon as it is uttered. The Now is like surfing a never ending wave; it never stops, we don’t get to take a breath and regroup, it just keeps going, and so Talker does its best to keep you out of this moment. It seems like its too complicated, and sometimes it is, because we keep slipping back into thoughts of the past or the future, but what we forget is the soul level bliss we experience while taking joy in riding the wave. It is totally normal to get tired, and so we all need those moments when we fall asleep on the surfboard, drift back into disassociation from the moment, but we also need to remember to wake back up. And when you are awake, stand up with pride, with joy! Ride the wave that is the Now of our life, feel the wind of the Gods in our faces and hair. Dance, laugh, cry, breathe, make love, make art, commune with the Godherself and her many faces, and take as much joy as you can in the journey.

Like Buddhism, our path is a Middle Path, the road the Queen of Faery walked Thomas the Rhymer down. By being aware in the moment, we can choose the proper course, the proper action, for the forks in the highways we come across. So if you have found yourself stressing or throwing a lot of energy to who you WANT to be, don’t forget to plot the course to that future here and now, and enjoy the sights along those country highways. Be YOU, the marvelous face of God that you are. Because that is the stem of pain right there, forgetting our own divine nature. Forgetting that we are all part of this beautiful tapestry that Freya is spinning, and though our individual threads seem different to Talker, we are all spun from the same source, the same wool that is the Fount we call the One True God, who in Feri we call Suugmaad.

So relax, enjoy the ride. To quote many people, but in my mind Van Wilder:

“Never take life too seriously, you will never make it out alive.”
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Just a reminder about my Page.  I sure hope a few more folks will follow it over here.  I really REALLY HATE FB Pages, but that is where most of my hits are....
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Today I want to talk about Initiation, personal power, and being Centered. I have noticed a trend amongst Initiates that due to the length of many of our trainings, and the fact that we do have the power given at Initiation, to come off as pompous, know it all blowhards. I think it is a trap that ALL Initiates should be aware of, regardless of lineage. I know there have been times when I have come off like that, so I just try to be aware of it, stay centered and breathe. If I am kala, centered, and aligned it is a lot easier, but it is damn hard to always be kala, centered and aligned. We want to be aware of this, because we then become exactly what we used to hate. Many of us, especially myself, came to the Craft beaten, broken, hurt by the world that rejected us. Now we have healed many of those wounds, and have a sense of personal power and Will, but when we are either unaware or unwilling to think of others in regard to how we use that Will, we have become the bullies who broke us in the first place.

 The same is said for dealing with people who are trying to take your power. It doesn't matter who it is, but seriously, people can't take your power if you stand firm in your center. But here is where the trap is, and where a lot of folks get stuck, is that to hold one's power and not let someone else take it, one doesn't want to just mirror verbal aggression, but to disarm it. I was in this trap for a LONG time since Initiation, because I for so long was a person who just gave his power away to anyone who came along, but my Tai Chi practice helped me with this. You don't want to meet force with force, but through redirection and firm roots. If you don't want it to be the Bully show, then just turn up your own light, do YOUR things YOUR way, and let the work itself be the proof. No need for conflict, or fighting, or caving, just owning your truth and your roots, and softly not letting yourself be plowed over. I will try to explain a little more clearly by putting it into Witchcraft terminology.

 If you are balanced with your own crossroads, your own elemental balance, this is what it looks like:

 Earth is balanced in that your roots are strong and solid, and your etheric body is firmly rooted into the physical body. When we consciously want to separate them is one thing, but for interacting with the shared reality it is best to have all your parts lined up in your physical shell. Earth out of balance can look like lethargy, because Earth is so slow and heavy. When our bodies are unhealthy we have a constant stream of cortisol being pumped to the brain because your Fetch is trying to scream to you that it is in pain.

 Air is balanced when your mind is clear yet still flowing, like a soft, crisp breeze in the spring. We can think in the moment, on our feet. When Air is out of balance, its more like a tornado. Our mind swirls so fast we can hardly keep up, and we are the slave of those powerful speeding thoughts.

 Fire is balanced when it is the furnace/engine that feeds our will. An engine works by having controlled fire, controlled explosions, in the cylinders. If our fire is burning too hot, if we are consumed by it, by our rage, then it leaks out into every interpersonal relationship we have. If those explosions in the cylinders are too intense, it blows the gaskets and the engine catches fire.

 Water is balanced when the flow of our emotions and emotional energy can flow unblocked. This has probably been the most challenging for me as I have so much Water in my chart that the flow can feel like less of a stream and more like the freaking Columbia river. When we have too many blocks, the pressure starts to build up, and our emotions can spill out, like cracks in a dam, but also the water itself has become stagnant and fetid. Due to the culture we live in, being the people that we are, we usually have a lot of emotional damage as a result of our fundamental selves being rejected when we were young. We put up a lot of blocks because it is easier to throw our emotions into the reservoir of the unconscious than feeling the pain. Part of the demon work we do is to confront these blocks and let the backlog of negative emotion start coming up, but in the context of being able to use our tools like kala to cleanse and purify with Love instead of more hate and self rejection.

 Ether in the microcosm of self is of course our connection to above and below, but also the relationship of our own Divine Twins, Fetch and Talker under the Love of Godsoul. When our head is closed, when we are blocked off from our own Godsoul, it is usually the Super Ego that Freud talked about that takes over. That is our own Opposer, our own False God, because its the part of our Ego that has convinced us it was our Godsoul, that it was the Decider, and then there is a war within, Fetch and Talker at war.

 When all this is balanced and centered in OUR center, this is when WE are the 7th Guardian of our own microcosm, when we have become our own Melek Taus. Our bodies are healthy and strong, so our Fetch is healthy and strong, but we are also connected in our body, having all parts of our self radiating from your real center. When our body is strong and our Fetch pain is reduced, our minds can calm. When the flow of our mind is calm and deep, in line with our own air, our breath being slow and deep, we can see the answers in front of us because we are on point in the moment. We use the fire in our body, not to rage, but to motivate and power. Our passions can be explored without manic intensity, because we are caring for the whole system. When our fire is balanced and not burning too hot, it lowers the pressure of the waters of our emotions, so that we can let the backlog of emotion flow out in controlled, healthy ways. When our waters flow smoothly, we let the emotions of others that would usually get stuck to our own Fetch just flow out, because we can recognize what is our Water, and what isn't. We hold all these truths in our Center, where the World Tree that is our Selves in this dimension reside, and we are balanced in the Twins that is really the Trinity which is really the One. From here, we are Witch, we are Magic, and no one can take our power from us because we can recognize what is happening in the moment, and take compassionate action to redirect aggression instead of meeting it with more aggression.

 So, long story short, own your truth, own it hard, not OVER anyone else's truth, not that your truth is better than anyone else's, but that it is just that, the Truth of who you are and the knowledge you have. And that is about as easy for a single person to roll over as it is for a single person to tackle down the World Tree.
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