FROM THE OLD JOURNALS OF MY 17 YEAR OLD ROMANTIC SELF. . .
Journaling has not been a passion of mine, however, I’ve decided to make 2017 the year that I take the pursuit seriously; I’ve started a self inquiry journal for the year, a quotidian journal, am planning to expand my love journal from last year into an old love journal started in 2004 (and again in 2006), and I ripped the pages out of my black leather-bound Celtic journal recently before an Introduction to Crystals workshop in order to rebirth it as my personal Book of Shadows. The first entry I tore out is embarrassing, funny and also interesting in light of the new political landscape we find ourselves in 15 years later. And, I have to say, I’m not quite as spunky, nor do I have such a flare for the dramatic turn of phrase, but I still hold to the same principles. It’s strange to see how much of my heart I lost in those 15 years and to think of how it’s only been in the work I’ve been doing the past year that I’ve rediscovered it. Also. . .I found the real hippies! They all live in the North Bay!
“If we appear to seek the unattainable, as it has been said, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable.
– Port Huron Statement
I am becoming more like Petrarch every day. Wishing I could have lived in generations, even centuries long past. I see the past in a somewhat nostalgic and idealistic way, and very romanticized. Unlike the great Petrarch, I do not hate everything about my generation. I enjoy the technological advances and strong attitudes of women these modern times have brought to most. However, I cannot help but yearn for the passion and adventure of which I read of in history and fiction books alike. Movements like the ones for Civil Rights and feminism are no longer as proactive as they used to be because they don’t need to be. A large portion of the country has progressed and the good ole Hippie days are over. Rock n’ roll lives on, but the Hippies free lifestyle and attire has been shoved into boxes and put away in storage. The patriotism of WWII and the horror of it, as well as the Cold War fears, have been laid to rest but not forgotten. The roaring 20s with the flappers, the moon shiners and bootleggers, and all of those, have been long gone. The superstitions, rituals and “barbaric” cultures of the Celts and Druids have been gone for centuries. Cloaks, runes, festivals and the Tuatha de Danaan have only myth, legend and music by which to be remembered now. The Christians twisted all remnants of Pagan ritual into Christian “holiness” that it is barely recognizable, but at least it is there, here with us today, thousands of years later. And the ancient Greeks and Romans gave us politics, philosophy and science to be brought back into the light during the Renaissance. And the Dark Ages gave us breathtaking Gothic architecture that cannot be reproduced by the more “civilized” methods employed today.
Times in the past had important issues that people believed in, even gave their lives for. They fought non-violently and at the point of a sword. They believed unquestioningly and ritualistically in the powerful and at times vengeful gods and goddesses. Mortals went on legendary adventures and strived to be worthy of heroism: knightly, patriotic and legendary. College students rebelled against authority, rallied for peace and against Vietnam. There are still many political issues that cause our blood to boil: abortion, the death penalty, and religion among many others. Yes, people still protest and go to rallies, unions go on strike, hundreds die in tragedies like 911, but it lacks the fire, the passion, the glory of the old days. Instead of mystery, there’s conspiracies and skeptics. Instead of adventurous journeys, we take vacations and celebrate holidays with songs and presents rather than rituals and festivals. Yes, people live longer, cleaner and healthier lives but are they really any safer? We aren’t as war happy and don’t have as many outbreaks of epidemics in the arrogant USA anyway. We have the benefits of wealth and all the fulfilling excess materialism provides, and I tend to be quite materialistic. Technology is impressive and available to the privileged masses. The bourgeoise class displaced the chivalric and power hungry first class a while back. Still, the Romantic in me yearns, sometimes even pines, for those glorious, revolutionary, long ago days. I admit I am idealistic, the most idealistic of all my friends, Katie told me. I am not quixotic though. I do not “tilt at windmills” or write to the ancient heroes of the Classical period, even if I did, it would be to the Celts anyway.
I see nothing particularly wrong with either scenario anyway. For to balance my idealism and Romanticism, I am also a scientific and analytical person. A vaguely proclaimed Agnostic, I cannot further explain my religious viewpoint other than possibly skepticism. A constant state of doubt, believing there is really no way to prove that there is something higher or to disprove the much celebrated hypothesis. Yet, I am not content with that skepticism, for I believe it is an easy answer for those who are too happy to sit on the fence and not risk jumping off in either direction. So I continue to question, study and search my mind, heart and soul for the answers I seek. Wisdom and knowledge come with experience I know, but the experiences of those much older than I are far more exciting! Does every Korean Democrat stuck in a small town full of white, Christian Republicans feel this way? Or is it only the ones who wish to become philosophers and multi-million dollar film writer/directors?!
– Originally written on July 27, 2002