Finding the Pagan Way

October, 2014

Sadly, the daily pressures and problems of life can delay our spiritual growth and leave little time for meditation or reflection. Aged only Forty-eight, my father left behind a life which had been filled by hard work, alcohol and debt,- a life which had always been over-shadowed by the horrors of war.
By the age thirteen, I had lost myself in an endless cycle of work and study. My mother blamed herself for my father’s death, and spiraled into depression and alcoholism. In a terrible row,- about a week before he died, she had cursed him,- wishing him dead. As always, I was a witness, and his reply was chilling. “Be careful what you wish for” was all that he said. I was the only one who knew that he had an inoperable blood cot on his brain, following an accident in work.
By the age of fifteen, I was working forty hours a week after school and struggling to keep up with the unpaid household bills. I had not truly dealt with my own grief. In fact, I was 25 by the time I finally visited my father’s grave, and let go of all the years of anger and disappointment.

Fathers Day

I remember you so well.
Hands like shovels, stubble-chinned
and always shrouded with the residue of last nights beer,
Calloused hands that felt like granite on my shoulders
in the random times you held me near.
And still I call you dad.

Sandy hair , so faded in the sun,
Drunk at night, yet off to work before the day was quite begun,
Who exactly was this man I called my dad,
You weren’t the best at fatherhood,
But yet you were the best example that I had.

My childhood,- full of rows and unpaid bills,
and leather belts that stung the mind more than they stung my legs.
I learned that pride was stronger than the pain,
I never once gave in and never will,- and when you passed,
I swore than none would ever raise a hand to me again,and walk away

What did you ever teach me, apart from never giving up the fight.
What did you leave me, except the feeling of a loss for something that I never had.
But I saw you bleed, I saw you cry,
I saw the deep, deep pain within your eyes,
and scarce a week before you died,
I saw the truth , and realised how hard you really tried.

There is nothing to forgive,
You gave me life, and then I had to live it on my own,
A worrier at four years old,- a warrior at seven,
A mystic ’till the die I day,
and still I try to find the reason why,
So many people say they live for love,
But still the little children die.

Patrick W Kavanagh






I was still a child, pretending to be an adult. Working in a bar until after midnight every night, reading into the small hours, and falling asleep in the classroom on a regular basis.
It was a teacher who freed me from the treadmill by insisting that I had to choose either work, or study. I quit school, took a full time job in a bar, and finally had time and energy to see the world again.
I continued to read avidly. I discovered the dark, atheistic world of Existentialism, by reading authors such as R.D Laing and Jean Paul Sartre. I realised that we create both the madness and the beauty in the world by our choices and actions.
Strangely perhaps, my first spiritual experience as a young adult, happened within the catholic church.
I was persuaded by a friend to visit a large church near where I lived, to view an phenomenon that was then sweeping the Catholic world. It was called ‘Charismatic Renewal’. I stood in amazement as thousands of people ‘spoke in tongues’. It was the most incredible sound I have ever heard.
Several thousand people praising the divine in their own words, came together in an amazing harmony.
It was hauntingly beautiful, but not enough to make me return to my old beliefs. I still believe, that dogma in any form, leads to ignorance and intolerance,- but it did shatter some of the darkness of my existentialist beliefs and gave the seeds of hope. Still undecided, I hung a huge print of ‘The Ecumenical Council’, by Salvador Dali on my bedroom wall,- while I nursed my wounds and pondered the mysteries of the universe.
I became fascinated by the many case histories of people who insisted that they remembered previous lives. Many of them were young children, and their stories made compelling reading.
It was in the eastern concept of reincarnation that I finally found a way to reconcile the horrors of war and bigotry with the need for some rational concept for the existence of the universe.
I was particularly impressed by the image of the universe being ‘The Breath of God’.
In my mind I could see each exhalation of the ‘Source of all Being’…. flowing into the world and evolving into Life, Consciousness and Love.
Finally, the suffering of mankind began to make a little sense…

Past Lives and Broken Dreams

Memory fades..I can no longer tell how many lives have filtered into one,
My mind just seems to drift through time, the battle cries , the heady taste of dark red wine,
It flows, like blood, on muddy battlefields and blackens, dark and sticky on the ancient stones,
My mind is filled with scimitars and crosses, chanting monks,and shamans rattling bones.

Is this returning memories or the slipping, sliding grasp of my advancing age,
Or just a way to get away from this tired and aching body that fills me with impotent rage,
In my failing ears, the sound of booming cannons still reverberates,
The clash of steel, the pounding of the rams against the fortress gates.

In my failing years I feel the awesome strength that once was mine,
Warrior and priest, fighting for a multitude of gods throughout the span of time,
Was it the gods, or just the lust for blood, that drew my heart , I cannot truly tell,
Yet I must admit that scimitar or holy lance or blade of ebony did suit me well.

Constantinople fell beneath my sword, as filled with holy fire I spread the Prophet’s word,
Many witches burned beneath my brand, and many heathens slain by my own hand.
Many papists drawn and quartered, nevermore to spread the lies of Rome,
In many lands and many ages did I kill, to keep the unbeliever from my home.

In this latter life I have a god, whose name I cannot now recall,
I went to church and paid my dues, but never learned to love, or see the writing on the wall,
The dispossessed, the hungry and the poor, were never welcome at my door,
And now I can no longer stay, I feel ashamed, and wonder what the killing was all for.

It’s much too late to change things now,- too late to make a better vow,
I hope that God, whoever He or She may be, Takes pity on me now,
Perhaps next time, I’ll get things right, perhaps next time I’ll seek the light,
Perhaps next time I will discover Love, and never more will feel the need to fight.

Patrick W Kavanagh




“The Ecumenical Council by Salvador Dali” by dalinet.com. Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of The Ecumenical Council (painting) via Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Ecumenical_Council_by_Salvador_Dali.jpg#mediaviewer/File:The_Ecumenical_Council_by_Salvador_Dali.jpg