Last Sunday, I went to a Midsummer event being held by a kindred that I had been meaning to share frith with for some time. was more than a little nervous, and this was the sort of tension that went beyond the “I’m-about-to-meet-a-large-group-of-religious-people-gee-I hope-they-aren’t-completely-batshit” sort of way. This was the first event I had attended in three years that did not mainly comprise people I already knew. Also consider the large amount of personal, quasi-personal, and bystander-drama over the last year and change it’s probably not hard to tell why.
So, what happened?
We talked. We laughed. We celebrated our Gods and the things they have given us. We had a good time. Discussions were had, and when they got heated? People bowed out respectfully. The kindred in question, Kindred of Mann, introduced me to a new shade of Heathenry; one where both Gaelic and Norse dieties were honored. It was a day filled with interesting things, one filled with solemnity and joy in equal measures.
On the way home, my wife pointed out something to me; she made me realize that neither of us had heard any rumor mongering, gossip, or even so much as an unkind word the entire time. She reminded me of the first Heathen event I had taken her to while we were dating, and how it had more than she was comfortable with in terms of rumor mongering. The thought made me ask the question of why I was comfortable enough to not notice in the first place. How desensitized had I gotten and, in the process, how much apart of the problem had I become?
It was an important visit for me. It was probably the most awkward sumbel I had ever taken part in; for some reason I just couldn’t find the words. Through it all, however, I felt good.
Somewhere in the last month, I lost a little measure of my sanity. It would be very easy to blame the oathbreaker, but I don’t think that’s really accurate. I think this has been something building for a good long time. The last two weeks have been extremely educational. I’ve had to take leave from work to fight a workman’s comp claim, and I’ve taken to putting more of my time into freelance writing. It’s almost impossible to have to change your environment so drastically and not feel some psychological recoil. I’ve had a lot of epiphanies over the last month; Midsummer was where a lot of them started coming together.
I’d like to thank Kindred of Mann for giving me the catalyst to remembering why I take part in the community; you are all frithful folk, and it was a pleasure to be invited to celebrate with you. Thank you, most of all, for reminding me what sanity feels like.