Pagans Are People Too, See?


In the grande scheme of things Pagans aren’t that much different from everyone else. We may have different ways of viewing the world and different ways of interacting with it but we’re prone to the same lapses in judgement, self doubts, personality traits and character strengths and weaknesses anyone else might be. There’s good and bad in everybody to some degree.

The following article was originally published on Our Pantheons Way on July 28th, 2013

We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love... and then we return home. Pagans.
We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.

During this past week I have been visiting several blogs and finding new ones to follow. I’ve commented on some great posts that I have read by others and in those comments the topic came up again of the fact that Pagans are people too. As people we all have our own individual styles, personalities and ways of doing things. It’s not like there is just one big universal Pagan religion and we all adhere strictly to it’s path and teaching. Paganism is sort of the Linux of the religion world (for those into the techy side of things you might get the analogy). We all bring our own inherited wisdom and customs to the equations, piece it together and roll our own so to speak. Sure, there are various traditions within Paganism which have a more designed view of things and people will come together and work within a system that works for them. It’s a little more complicated than the myriad of denominations to be found within Christianity though. Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics, etc. all have different views, ritual styles, teachings about their “One True God” but they all call him by the same name and they all have variations of one sort or another of the same book. In Paganism the drift is much farther from, say, Wiccans and Asatruar or even from one Wiccan coven and another. There isn’t a universally accepted “One True” deity or set of writings that all must adhere to. Also, I should note, if you meet an Asatruar please don’t call him or her a Pagan, call him or her a Heathen. There is a difference and they will tell you all about it. I use the term Pagan to universally cover all paths that are outside of monotheism because it’s simpler when speaking or writing to do that than to have to say Pagans, Heathens, Animists, Magi, Reconstructionists, Hellenists, Druids, Lord High Mucky Mucks, etc. ad nauseum, blah, blah, blah. Sorry, but at some point ya just gotta grab one word and go with it or you’ll be all out of breath.


But that illustrates my point. Pagans are People. People in all walks of life have different ways of looking at things so labels just don’t stick all that well anyway. You really have to get to know a person before you can understand how their spirituality inter-relates with them as a person. That’s also why it’s a beautiful thing that there are some of us out there sharing our points of view. It’s good that there are many Pagans who are bloggers, podcasters, coven, group and tradition leaders out there doing their thing their way. Some people will come to my blog and say, well that guy uses profanity and tells bad jokes too much and isn’t “spiritual enough” (Yeah, I’ve heard that one before.) for me but they might go on over to another blog and find exactly what they are looking for and that’s fine. It’s good that we have that diversity because people have their differences but want to find other people who are more like them to relate with either as a friend, teacher  / student, or to get together with for spiritual ritual. It’s nice to have a fluid network within a community to allow people to shop around for what works for them rather than see a few that don’t fit, decide the whole thing is a bunch of hooey then drop out all together. I have several friends on my various online social profiles who love the stuff I post and share and others I know have dropped me from their feed or even unfollowed me. I don’t take it personally. I post what I like and those who are like me will enjoy it. That way I am happier because I am not trying to be someone that I am not and those who enjoy my posts are happier because they see someone else who thinks like they do. That’s true whether the people are pagans or something else.

In the shop where I work during the week I am an electrician / Industrial Waste Water Treatment Plant Operator. The people I work with are all facilities mechanics of one sort or another, Plumbers, Millrights, Electronic Technicians, etc. There are many personalities within our work group but one thing is certain, mechanic humor is different from admin humor. The folks working in the cubicles and offices don’t find the same things funny that those of us working on the shop floor find funny. It’s just the nature of the world. People are people. Some people like Coca-Cola and others like Root Beer. Me, I like Guinness. 😉

Anyway, I think I’ve rambled on long enough for this morning. I need to go mow the grass since we got all of that lovely rain last week and we have a double birthday party to go to later today. I hope you all have a blessed and wonderful week. Be good to each other out there and Hail The Gods! Whatever gods you believe in…

Damh the Bard – Pagan Ways live:


Spirituality Should Not Be A Competition

Competition is a fine thing in some circumstances. But, do we really need to compete over spirituality?

Navy Tug Of War Competition - Public Domain
Navy Tug Of War Competition – Public Domain

I believe a good spiritual path should fit like a nice comfortable pair of shoes. It should keep your feet protected and help you get where you are going without being constrictive or causing blisters. But, not all feet come in the same shapes and sizes right? My comfortable pair of shoes might be too big or too small for your feet. Not to mention, I might like black or brown shoes but you might prefer yours white or blue. In the end though, It’s just shoes, so what’s the big deal? If you’re happy with the ones you’re wearing and they get you where you need to go then what concern is it of mine why you don’t choose the style I prefer? Ah, but people can be awfully competitive can’t they? Whereas, you or I might have such laissez-faire attitudes about shoes, there are some stories of people shooting folks over a pair of shoes. But why? What is it about this man-beast that makes everything have to be about competition rather than just enjoying the journey? Frederick G. Naerebout of the Department of Ancient History, Leiden University, The Netherlands  wrote an interesting study entitled ‘Religious Competition: Is It A Useful Concept?’ which I found to be an interesting read as I was researching the history of religious conflict in ancient times recently.

If you go to your church or temple and find the spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment you seek and I go to the forest and meditate under a large oak tree to find mine who is the lesser for it? If none of the above interest you and you’re content to spend the afternoon reading a nice science fiction novel or tinkering in the garage then how am I harmed? There’s no need to compete over everything. Just enjoy life and let your fellow man-beast inhabitants of the world do the same.

Have a blessed day! 🙂

 

Spiritual Unity – Event Planning Lessons Learned

I’ve heard it said many times and have repeated it myself as it is so dawgone true. Event planning and organization is pretty much like herding cats. But that’s okay, once you start figuring out what motivates cats.

Local Pagan Unity Fest Event
Local Pagan Unity Fest Event

I’m by no means what I would consider an ‘expert’ at event planning and coordination but I have been involved in several at various levels over the years and have picked up some wisdom along the way which I can remember not having as I naively began my journey. The most recent one I am working with is called DFW Pagan Unity Fest and it was created by a local lady who is well respected and loved within our community. She is moving away though and I was honored when she offered to pass the torch to my tradition sister and I as the co-organizers of the event she started for a community which demanded it. I do mean demanded too because people around here really wanted to see the event happen then and they do now. To be honest, my tradition sister and I were considering not having it this year and maybe wait until next year because there wasn’t any seed money to take care of rental fees, insurance, porta-potties, and all of the other associated costs of putting such an event on. We figured, okay we’ll take a year off, have some fundraisers or something and revisit it next Spring maybe. But then the emails, messages and calls started coming. “Hey, is it happening? When is it happening? If not, why not? How can we help? We’ll front the money if needed!” Yes! People offered to help do whatever was needed to make it happen this year regardless. So we thought it over and collectively said “Wow! I guess they really want to do this. Let’s see if we can book a venue.” The venue was open for the date we needed so the whole thing kind of took on a life of it’s own and this amazing community of people are showing up and getting things done.

It makes me think of something I saw my temple brother post on his timeline on Facebook earlier this week.

A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done; his aim fulfilled; they will say: “We did it ourselves.” – Lao Tzu

It’s so true though and understand that by sharing this quote I am not trying to cast myself in the role of leader here. Indeed, I was ready to let it ride for the year. But the force of the community as a whole wasn’t having that. Where does this leader exist? Within us all, I dare say. We are all leaders in our own right when the time and situation calls for us to step up and say or do what needs to be said and done. I take great pride in the knowledge that I am surrounded by such wise and powerful leaders who can lead, even when people barely know they exist as leaders. Or, even when people know full well that they are leaders but they chose to lead from the sidelines so as to be a catalyzing force rather than a divisive force in the community. Wisdom tells us from where best to lead when and where the situation calls for it.

Most events I have worked with have been spiritual festivals of one sort or another aimed at predominantly Pagan minded folks. Sometimes they’ve been aimed at a particular segment of the community but more often they’re aimed at a broader section. These events usually have some common basic elements.

  • Rituals – People want to experience spiritual energy and collectively thank the divine (in whatever ways they perceive the divine) for being a part of their lives and the events of the day. They like to experience rituals as others may perform them and note differences in style and focus. It’s all a part of the exploration and sense of adventure, mystery and learning that following a spiritual path brings us. These are some of the things that are the catnip that some of the cats are herding in for. But not all.
  • Vendors – Ah the shopping! The wares! The stuff that looks good, smells good and feels good! How exciting it is to browse around and see so many different things that you didn’t even know you needed in one place. It’s a win-win. The vendors usually fund a large portion of the event by way of vendor fees but in return they access a potentially large crowd of willing and interested shoppers who will but their wares and keep them in business to sell another day. For this is the life of a retailer. They unite people with things they desire and in exchange they receive enough currency for it to be worth the trouble and effort. They work hard to haul their equipment and items out there, set everything up for enticing display, and keep it clean and protected. It’s not an easy life but some find it rewarding. Lots of the shopper cats flock to them like fresh cans of tuna. 😉
  • Entertainment – Oh the music! The dancing! The feats of magic and artistic imagery! Yes, there are cats who are drawn to the playful balls of yarn and the games of amusement and there are cats who just like to sit back and enjoy the show. These, too, become part of an organizer’s arsenal of cat herding tools of the trade. Dancers want to dance, players want to play and the vibrations carry througout the event adding to the ambience and energy. Ahhhh, smell the catnip? 😉
  • Workshops – Hey! Did you hear one of your favorite bloggers, authors, podcasters, or community leaders might be there putting on a workshop on that subject you’ve been interested in? Won’t it be cool to see them and hear what they have to say? Of course it will, just jump down off the furniture, arch your back and do that cat strut over to the workshop tent to see what’s going on.
  • Fundraising For Charity – Most events of this type are hoping to raise money for local charities and do some good in the community. It feels good to do good and it is also good publicity for people to see your spiritual or otherwise connected community doing good things. So buy those raffle tickets or bring those donations. Maybe even roll up a sleeve and give some blood. Good cats are drawn to good causes. Meow!
  • Kids Activities – The kids are coming along and they might not be much in to the shopping scene or the music that’s playing on stage. Maybe they haven’t heard the spiritual call to ritual yet and don’t care much about the workshop subjects. Kids want to play and if you can give them some activities to be involved in with adult supervision for awhile you might get some you time and they get to have some fun. Let those kittens come play with the ball of yarn for awhile so you can enjoy the show or visit the shops. Yes, this too is a good cat herding element to consider and if pulled off right the kids and the parents as well will appreciate it.

Wisdom Of Trees, Stars & The Irish

Summer Triangle wide field view of stars by NASA and ESA.
Summer Triangle wide field view of stars by NASA and ESA.

“You look at trees and called them ‘trees,’ and probably you do not think twice about the word. You call a star a ‘star,’ and think nothing more of it. But you must remember that these words, ‘tree,’ ‘star,’ were (in their original forms) names given to these objects by people with very different views from yours. To you, a tree is simply a vegetable organism, and a star simply a ball of inanimate matter moving along a mathematical course. But the first men to talk of ‘trees’ and ‘stars’ saw things very differently. To them, the world was alive with mythological beings. They saw the stars as living silver, bursting into flame in answer to the eternal music. They saw the sky as a jeweled tent, and the earth as the womb whence all living things have come. To them, the whole of creation was ‘myth-woven and elf patterned’.  —  J.R.R. Tolkien, from ‘Mythopoeia’

Old Irish Blessing - The Irish Way - May there always be work for your hands to do. May your purse always hold a coin or two.May the sun always shine on your windowpane. May a rainbow be certain to follow the rain. May the hand of a friend always be near you and May LOVE fill your heart with gladness that cheers you. - raise glass - Sláinte!
Old Irish Blessing – The Irish Way – May there always be work for your hands to do. May your purse always hold a coin or two. May the sun always shine on your windowpane. May a rainbow be certain to follow the rain. May the hand of a friend always be near you and May LOVE fill your heart with gladness that cheers you. – raise glass – Sláinte!

She is foremost of those that I would hear praised.
I have gone about the house, gone up and down
As a man does who has published a new book
Or a young girl dressed out in her new gown,
And though I have turned the talk by hook or crook
Until her praise should be the uppermost theme,
A woman spoke of some new tale she had read,
A man confusedly in a half dream
As though some other name ran in his head.
She is foremost of those that I would hear praised.
I will talk no more of books or the long war
But walk by the dry thorn until I have found
Some beggar sheltering from the wind, and there
Manage the talk until her name come round.
If there be rags enough he will know her name
And be well pleased remembering it, for in the old days,
Though she had young men’s praise and old men’s blame,
Among the poor both old and young gave her praise.

– William Butler Yeats

Natural Remedies For Cold, Flu And Other Crud

So, for the last few days of last week I was under the weather with a sore throat and chest congestion. Like most of my friends and family, I prefer natural remedies for such situations when possible and save going to the doctor for more serious matters. So, I posted on Facebook that I was gargling with salt water and drinking concoctions of Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey as well as ye olde stand by Hot Toddies. I also shared an article on my feed about 22 Natural Sore Throat treatments.

Herbal Remedies - Nature's Pharmacy
Herbal Remedies – Nature’s Pharmacy

My friends quickly chimed in with other suggestions to try demonstrating the great depth of knowledge and wit to be found among my circle of friends. I was experiencing pretty good results with the salt water gargles and the apple cider vinegar and honey however. The salt serves to reduce the swelling in the tissues of the throat by drawing out the excessive fluids causing the swelling. The acidity of the vinegar quickly kills off bacteria which cause the infection. The honey serves as a soothing agent as well as an anti-bacterial. But what about some of these other suggestions? I might want to try them out next time some type of crud creeps up on me and brings me down.

Warm milk and honey makes a sore throat feel better

The honey I am most assuredly in agreement on and perhaps the milk too but my mom was always big on avoiding milk when sick because she believed it causes the body to produce more mucous. Still, I did sneak some milk when I wasn’t supposed to and have to agree with Jay on the soothing properties.Also Mayo Clinic says the milk and phlegm thing is a myth. Anyone else have some thoughts on that?

Slippery Elm Bark is a good one but it tastes pretty horrid so you would have to add Honey and maybe a touch of lemon, adding milk sometimes will add more mucus unfortunately, Peppermint and Marshmallow Root are good soothing herbal teas for the throat. We are all struggling with this crap and yes my Friend it sure does get quite old…Do some Reiki on your throat if you can or have M.

I’ve used peppermint for soothing stomach and throat ailments in the past with pretty good success and have heard about Slippery Elm Bark’s benefits but the aforementioned horrible taste has always caused me to shy away from going that route. Marshmallow Root seems to give some temporary relief and I’ve heard good things about black licorice tea as well but haven’t tried it with a sore throat yet. Anyone else? Unfortunately, I’ve never learned Reiki although I know a Reiki Master near by who has offered to teach me.

Oregano, cloves, cinnamon and ginger help also. I usually eat the oregano fresh and make a tea with the rest. Hope you get to feeling better soon!

I have had some luck with the cloves, cinnamon and ginger when sick. I can’t say that I’ve ever tried oregano in my remedies though except, perhaps in chicken and noodle soup. It’s worth a try though, right?

if you are fighting a cold try GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract) Will pretty much kill anything. you just put some drops in say orange juice to hide the taste and it works amazing.

I can’t say that I’ve ever tried Grapefruit Seed Extract but I did some reading on it and have to say that it sounds quite intriguing.

Bourbon

I’m definitely with you on that. Enough bourbon or whiskey and I won’t care how my throat feels or if I even have a throat. Lol!

Fresh tumeric in your soup is great too – tastes nice *and* has anti-inflammatories & antioxidants… I’ve been finding fresh tumeric in the asian food stores pretty regularly and at the regular grocery too (Haggens in Snoho carries it) – a little chunk really adds ommph to the broth in soup, and you can feel it spreading the goodness… I swear by it…. and it freezes well

I do enjoy turmeric. I’ve never had fresh. Only powdered. Thank you, I’ll look for some. There’s an Asian Market not far from my house. My daughter likes to shop there.

 

Get some Rooibos ( African Red Bush ) tea and drink at least three cups of it a day. Feel better soon my friend!

Oh yeah, I forgot about Red Bush tea. I think we used up what we had on hand the last time some crud was going around. I guess it’s time to get some more.

Changing Times And Some Laughs

Friday the 13th ya say? Whatever, I’m not changing my ways.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly aging
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
Cause the times they are a-changing – Bob Dylan

A driver is stuck in a traffic jam on the highway. Nothing is moving.
Suddenly, a man knocks on the window. The driver rolls down the window and asks, “What’s going on?”
“Terrorists have kidnapped Congress, and are asking for a $10 million dollar ransom. Otherwise they are going to douse them all in gasoline and set them on fire. We are
going from car to car, taking up a collection.”
“How much is everyone giving, on average?” the driver asks.
The man replies, “About a gallon.

I am the wild hunter of the forest deep
And I am the fire upon the hill
And I am the sower of the seed
And the tiller of the soil of the earth
And I am the golden warrior whose arrows are the shafts from the sun
The thunder is my hoof fall
The wilderness is my shrine
I wield the oaken staff
The elements at my call
By day I am the sun
By night I ride upon the wild winds.
– Daghda Cosantóir Dandelion‎

“It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grammes a week. And only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to twenty grammes a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? Yes, they swallowed it.” – 1984 George Orwell.

Another reason to love Cards Against Humanity:

Cards Against Humanity - Changing Life For Workers In China
Cards Against Humanity – Changing Life For Workers In China

I love this! Workers in China usually don’t get to have vacation time to spend with their families and loved ones. But this company did something remarkable to change that. We need more of this in the world. We need more people caring about people. Profit is one thing but goodness and humanity should always prevail.

We're going to build a wall. It's going to be the best wall. And we're going to make the Picts pay for it. Vote Hadrian AD117
We’re going to build a wall. It’s going to be the best wall. And we’re going to make the Picts pay for it. Vote Hadrian AD117

Kylism 11217 “Hey dad, what if there was a pancake eating a waffle next to a waffle eating a pancake?”

More Kylisms here

Who Built The Georgia Guidestones?

The Georgia Guidestones is a granite monument erected in 1980 in Elbert County, Georgia, in the United States commissioned by a man using the self-confessed pseudonym Robert C. Christian.

Georgia Guidestones - Public Domain
Georgia Guidestones – Public Domain

Some have referred to them as the American Stonehenge. Whatever you call them though, they contain a set of 10 guidelines, inscribed on the structure in eight modern languages, and a shorter message, inscribed at the top of the structure, in four ancient language scripts: Babylonian, Classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Egyptian hieroglyphs.

  1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
  2. Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.
  3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
  4. Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason.
  5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
  6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
  7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
  8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
  9. Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite.
  10. Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature.

Who put these here and why under such secrecy? How is this 500,000,000 population to be achieved in a world of more than 7 billion now? Erecting this mysterious monument could not have been cheap so someone with fairly deep pockets was likely behind it. But to what end? What might their agenda be and how do they intend to go about achieving it? Are they a call for how humanity should rebuild civilization after an apocalyptic war or some other calamity? Some have praised their message and others have been stricken with fear at what they might represent but they are clearly there and someone spent a great deal of time and money to have them placed and did so under a secret identity so the big question is why? Any ideas?

Some have pointed to how the pseudonym R.C. Christian resembles Rosicrucian. That’s rather interesting to note as well but is there anything to it?

There was a movie made about them in 2012 which I haven’t seen yet. I wonder what they might have uncovered?

The Hurrier You Go, The Behinder You Get

Hurrier and hurrier the people go in this rush, rush world we live in. No one stops to smell the roses anymore.

The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.
The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.

For the past twenty seven years and then some of my life I have worked for a major airline. The transportation industry is all about keeping on schedules and keeping things moving. So, you might think I would be a person who is always in a hurry but the opposite is true actually. I hate to be rushed and usually resist anything that forces me to be in a situation where I must feel the pressure of time upon me. That doesn’t mean that I am always late wherever I am going. No, quite the opposite actually. I typically leave my house nearly an hour and a half before my shift is to begin even though the drive to the parking lot from my house is only around twenty minutes followed by about a ten or fifteen minute bus ride from the employee parking lot to the terminal. I have plenty of time to get to work and that’s how I like it. Just in case traffic is bad on the way in or I have a flat tire or some other trouble along the way. I leave very early specifically to avoid having to hurry. If I were running late then I would have to be like so many others out there driving at excessive speeds on the roadways, weaving in and out of traffic, pushing and shoving onto over crowded buses to try to be the first one on board and first one off board then running to the time-clock to get there just in time to beat the clock.

That’s just not how I roll though. I prefer to live a life that I don’t need a vacation from. I take my sweet time. I’ve sat and waited for three buses of people with standing room only to go so I can take a nice, leisurely ride up to the terminal or out to the parking lot. Why? Because I have plenty of time to do so. I structure my life in such a way that I do not have to play “beat the clock”. You know what? I find it quite liberating and relatively stress free. Oh, sometimes I am forced into running late by situations or people who are beyond my control but when I can influence the situation I keep it at a nice, leisurely pace. I enjoy the scenery along the way. Smell a flower, touch a tree, take in the view of the sky. Little vacations every single day. That’s just my way and I like it like that.

How about you?

Psychopomps We Know And Love

Psychopomps are coming to take us away!

Psychopomps take us to the afterlife. - Image is Public Domain
Psychopomps take us to the afterlife. – Image is Public Domain

I was inspired by a guest post by author, Paul Andruss on Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo.

He had a lot of good and interesting things to say about psychopomps from various cultures and it got me to thinking that I have a few thoughts I would like to share about them too. He started his article off with a bit of humor and I like his style. But, no, the word does not indicate people who are both psychotic and pompous as one might initially guess. Instead,  they are creatures, spirits, or deities in several religions throughout the world whose responsibility is to escort newly departed souls from this realm to the afterlife. They are not charged with the duty to judge the deceased, but simply to provide safe passage of their spirit. As a cartoon I’ve seen floating around ye olde internet says, “Why does everyone hate the Grim Reaper? It’s not like he killed you. He’s simply there to walk with you into the next world and isn’t it nice to not have to make the journey alone?” I have to agree. I appreciate their services and hope to have a nice conversation with mine along the way when the time comes. I picture a Hogfather like dude walking along philosophizing the universe and what’s right and wrong.

As Mr. Andruss pointed out in his article, Hermes/Mercury is viewed as, not only the messenger of the gods but also one who fills the role of psychopomp too. But this also made me think of ol’ Charon or Kharon, the ferryman of Hades who carries the newly departed across the rivers Styx and Acheron which divide the worlds of the living and dead. In Norse folklore we have the Valkyries choosing the slain who will be swept from the battlefields to feast with Odin in the halls of Valhalla. He speaks of the Great Queen Morrigan whose bird, the raven, is often seen picking over the barren fields after harvest or the battlefields after the slaughter. I’m delighted to learn about this new, to me, author who states in his bio that he has…

“written 4 novels, Finn Mac Cool, and the (Harry-Potteresque) Jack Hughes Trilogy. ‘Finn Mac Cool’ and ‘Thomas the Rhymer’ are available for free download. Hint! Hint!”

I’m definitely going to check out his work and hope some of you who are reading this post will do so as well. Some other figures I’ve seen mentioned here and there as being possible psychopomps are Manannan Mac Lir, son of the sea, who, at one point, seems to have been counted as a ruler of the Otherworld Mag Mell or Emain Afallach. I’ve also seen it said that the Greenman might be seen in this role and Cernunnos too because of his association with being “he who sits between the worlds”.

What about you? Do some other possible psychopomp figures from different cultures and folklore come to your mind? I’d be curious to hear of some from Native American or Asian sources perhaps. The closest things that come to mind for me from such sources are the sin-eaters of some meso-american and other tribes. Some have hinted that the Wendigo of Algonquin-speaking people might also be connected but these are way different concepts, to me, from those typically considered psychopomps. A preponderance of things to ponder. Lubrication for the gears of our minds.

 

It’s Part Of A Larger And Bolder Strategy

A glimpse into social networking versus search engine optimization strategy as it has gone for me so far.

SEO Strategy & Referral Traffic
SEO Strategy & Referral Traffic

If you’re a fan of The Vikings series on The History Channel, as I am, then you probably know where I got that title from. Lol! Hey, it was a great line, can you blame me? But, alas, no this won’t be a post about Ivar The Boneless, Bjorn Ironside and the other sons of Ragnar raising the Great Heathen Army to avenge their father’s death. I’ll probably write about that again later though, no doubt. Instead, my mind is on some things I’ve uncovered while perusing the stats and numbers for Our Pantheons Way in recent times and what it tells me about where my traffic comes from and, more importantly, where it doesn’t get a whole lot from. This helps me plan my promotional strategy.

Social networking is not to be ignored, for sure. Those numbers do add up and they can be significant. Also, the social networks are where a post or some other thing you’ve put out has the potential to go viral and take on a life of it’s own which may be a big break for you, depending on what it is you do. But what I am seeing here (and you big blog people with much larger numbers, don’t laugh at my puny numbers okay) is that for one thing, although Facebook might be considered by many to be the Big Kahuna in social media or Twitter maybe. Pinterest actually brings me more referrals than either one of them. Of course, for anyone, your mileage may vary and it probably depends a lot on what sort of content you’ve got as to whose going to send you the most referrals. Apparently I’ve got some pictures that people like and they’ve made some decent splashes on Pinterest. I know Mom’s Homemade Super Laundry Sauce is a big part of that and it was a re-share but, if it works, it works. Facebook comes in third and I spend a LOT more time on ye olde book of face than I do on Pinterest. Twitter is…..well….where the heck is Twitter? I don’t even see Twitter anywhere. Wow! Just wow. Lol! So much for that strategy.

But, by FAR my biggest source of traffic is, and always has been, the Search Engines. At a whopping 567% more referrals than the number 2 source, Pinterest, Search Engines kick all over social media in my numbers. Also, if you break that number open you will see that Google is by far the king of all search engines still but that’s no secret really is it? I suppose that makes sense though because, let’s be honest shall we, a lot of people you get through the social media sites are just other people with blogs, websites, shops, bands, or whatever of their own that they are hoping to promote too. They’re doing the social networking thing too, like you are, and maybe they genuinely do enjoy your stuff and might reshare some of it in hopes that you’ll return the favor. I’m not completely cynical but I understand some strategy is involved. I know a lot of us fellow bloggers really do like the other bloggers we’re following and we like each other’s stuff. It’s not all just about networking but being honest, some of it is and that’s okay. But what we’re all really hoping for are those people who are actually looking for our stuff. Whatever our stuff is. The things we like to write about or the music, art or ideas we want to promote and maybe sell. Maybe it’s an organization we want to get more members for. But the real deal isn’t the friendly share we get from our fellow bloggers. The real deal is that ever elusive creature we’ll call “the fan”. The fan doesn’t have any agenda whatsoever but, indeed, purely a genuine love of whatever it is you’re putting down. The fan might run across your stuff on social media and start following for more, sure. But a lot of times the fan is going to their favorite search engine and typing in those magical words that bring them to you. Those keywords which sum up what it is you’re writing about which happens to be exactly what they were looking for.

Those are the people who don’t drive up your bounce rate so much by hitting your page then off they go to somewhere else never to be seen again. (For those who don’t know, in SEO analytics a high bounce rate is generally seen as an undesirable thing because it means someone took a look at just one of your pages then left the site immediately rather than sticking around and reading more.) No, the fan sticks around awhile, peruses some more posts, maybe subscribes or at least bookmarks your page and comes back for more later. The fan sought you out, liked what they found and decided to stay for more. That’s who we’re all looking for and these numbers tell me that the search engines are better at delivering those people than the social media sites and that’s fine. When you think about it, that makes sense really. How do the social media sites stay in business? What is their business model? They don’t charge you and me, Joe blow user to use their services. It’s free to be on Facebook and socialize, chat with friends, promote your thing, create events, all of that. The social media sites’ strategy is that they need to keep your eyes on their site because that’s where the ad revenue is coming from. They need to keep their audience at home because sending them off to my blog, or your etsy shop or this other guy’s band page on ReverbNation or wherever isn’t going to keep eyes on their ads on their sites. I’m not knocking it. It’s their business model and you can’t blame them for doing what’s in their best interests. Promoting you isn’t in their best interests unless you’re paying them to promote you.

Search engines work differently though. They know people are always going to be coming back to search so their ads will get those eyes back. Their product is their search results. People go to them to find what they are looking for so whatever search engine delivers the goods is the one that rules. It doesn’t hurt that they have ad networking deals with websites all over the internet too so they still get a slice of ad revenue on a lot of the sites they send you to like….mine for example. It’s just a difference in strategy and understanding that might influence where you prefer to spend your time and energy related to promoting your thing. Whatever thing that is. This is my thing right here. I hope you like it. If so, please share! 🙂

 

P.S. I found Twitter. It’s wayyyyyyy down the list at 18 views for all time. Egads. Shaking my head. Lol.