It’s amazing what you can do—absolutely free!—on the Internet now.
It turns out, you can create a lively and dynamic app that lives on the web, so a shortcut to it serves as a phone app for any platform. And you can do that without knowing how to code.
I was pointed towards Glide apps by a member of the Atheopaganism Facebook group. It took a bit of learning, but now there is an Atheopaganism app that you can use to download key documents, visit the Society and blog websites, revisit essays about each of the Atheopagan Principles, follow links to various Atheopagan social media channels, and, if you wish, buy the book or Atheopagan symbols and paraphernalia.
I installed the app on my phone this morning, and it already has been useful, as I was able to pull up resources during a conversation with a co-worker that contributed to our conversation.
Story time! Time to visit my Really Not Finest Hour.
There’s going to be a lunar eclipse on Saturday, July 4.
As many of us know, the Moon’s phases run in roughly 19 year cycles. What that means is that 19 years ago, a full Moon with a lunar eclipse fell on the 4th of July.
And 19 years before that, there was another: July 4, 1982. That 4th of July is a date I remember vividly.
I saw the bloody Moon that night from the walled outdoor enclosure of a mental hospital called Oakcrest.
I was twenty.
Less than a month earlier, I had graduated as valedictorian of my community college and was set to transfer to a university.
But three days before, I had slit my wrists in the bathtub.
The details don’t really matter. I was a complete mess, as I have described previously. I had freaked out and harmed myself and I was in a locked facility. I would spend a week there before release.
I remember that it seemed apocalyptic, that red Moon in 1982. My world was burning, the air was still and hot, and the Moon flew over, sullen and bloody. I was enclosed by locked doors and walls, denied anything with which I might hurt others or myself. My fellows were various flavors of depressed or delusional; I remember a sorrowful, distracted young pregnant woman who stood before a mirror for hours, combing her hair and singing the same single line from a pop song, 867-5309, over and over.
I am now closing in on three times the age I was at that sorry time. I look back at the sad, lost, self-deluded boy/man I was at that time—and trace the faint white lines that still persist on my wrists—and I feel tremendous gratitude that I was foiled in my plan.
Side note: depression is a bastard. I have written about this before. But that’s not what this story is about.
No: this story is about how—no matter how bad it gets, no matter how hopeless it seems—if you have time, you have the possibility of something better.
You have hope.
I’ve been through peaks and valleys since. Especially in the following few years, there were serious valleys. Even when I succeeded, I alienated people and loathed myself.
But I was never hospitalized again. And things got better. I healed.
Now, I have reached the third of those lunar cycles. The July 4th, 2020 Night of the Red Moon.
The pointless, baseless self-hatred has at last subsided. An effective combination of medications has become available. Life, once so awful, has become a rich amalgam of beauty and horror, and somehow I have come to peace with it, choosing a path that both rigorously focuses on the real and chooses to celebrate the glory of What Is.
I have chosen the joy.
I will look up at that red Moon this Saturday, and I expect I will cry: cry at its beauty, cry at the passage of the years, cry in relief that I have had these 38 years since my night under the blood Moon of July 4, 1982.
Friends, I don’t know whether it is possible to communicate this except by living it, but if it is, please know: it can get better.
However bad it is.
That red Moon will come around again, and with it, bring hope.
Goddesses and gods. Fairies and ghosts. Magic spells and hexes. Dragons and griffons and mermaids.
Epic. Mythic. Heroic.
Well of course they are. We are story-telling creatures, and who doesn’t love a good story? If these were pedestrian tales, and boring, why would we listen to them? Why would we long for them to be real?
It’s all very human.
I can’t blame someone for wanting to live in a world where such things are real. A childlike* world of magical beings and epic wonders.
Reality is. We can imagine many things that are wondrous and beautiful and yet which do not exist. And fairies and hobbits and elves and ghosts and gods and goddesses are among them.
Or so the scientifically credible evidence suggests.
Woe be unto us, right? Our world is stripped of wonders. Cue sad trombone.
VVRRRRRTTTT scratching needle sound
I’m sorry, but please.
We are intrinsic parts of a spectacularly beautiful planet in a Universe that showers us with gifts and wonders on a second-by-second basis: oxygen burning in our cells, leaves alchemically converting sunlight to sugar and breathing out that oxygen for us to consume, soil bursting with food…auroras and glaciers and deserts and mountains and rivers and sunsets and rainbows and oceans and all the magnificent creatures. The pleasures of food and drink and art and music and dance and love and flesh.
…And that is just this world.
Beyond, so much. SO much. A Cosmos filled with enough beauty and strangeness to stagger even the coldest heart.
How can this not be enough? How cannot all the worship, all the reverence, all the transported joy a person can possibly muster not be engendered simply by looking around and paying attention?
My Paganism is the spirituality of reality. Just this: just what is here.
Because it is enough. It is more than enough.
If there’s more, it will have to either stop playing hide-and-seek and show some real evidence of its existence—at which point I will begin to marvel at it, the way I do everything else—or it will have to go without my attention.
Because there is already so much—SO much—to revere that we know for certain exists.
Questionably factual stuff will have to wait in line.