Sunday, September 15, 2019


Each day I pick a word from my god-box. Today, that word was LOVE. In his book Anam Cara which roughly translates to Soul Friend, John O'Donohue referred to love as an act of ancient recognition. Father Martin once said that love was not so much two people gazing into each other's eyes as it was two people gazing in the same direction. Over the years,love has been called many things by many people. However, if you're the type of person who thinks seeing is believing, find a couple of people who say they are in love - like my wife and I - hang out with them for a while and you will witness love first hand and then maybe in your next book you'll have some witty saying of your own to include.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Out Of Our Comfort Zone - More on Hurricane Dorian

We assumed that because there were no toppled buildings or up rooted trees on our street, that Hurricane Dorian had not been as devastating as we predicted it would be. But as we ventured further from home and maybe a little out of our comfort zone, we saw sights reminiscent of Hurricane Juan. Like the uprooted tree on the walkway around Morash Park....

There are probably other such uprooted trees. This one is on a well-used hiking path and will need to be moved.

16 – Seven Faces Excerpt from The Seventh Crow, copyright © 2013 Bernie Schultz

Life was different now. I continued my research. It had become a hobby of mine, one that I pursued with great passion. I continued to explore Native American culture, particularly in the area of the Four Directions.

I noticed that although there were slight differences between various First Nations, there was also an underlying continuity to it all. North used white as its color, probably because of snow, and was said to be the direction of wisdom and intellect. South was either yellow or blue and was symbolic of physical health. West was black and signified the spiritual road of darkness many of us walk when we are without faith. East was red for emotional health and led to the land of the rising sun. Some texts claimed the existence of a fifth direction, the non-direction or center. Standing in the center one could gaze in any direction and focus energy to that aspect of life or receive the gifts that came from each direction.

I was so taken by this system of beliefs that I began to adopt the practices of it. I acquired a medicine pouch. I still have it today. In this pouch are the basic ingredients. The Four Sacred Herbs...sage, sweet grass, cedar, and the most important herb of all, tobacco. It also contains some birch bark, a piece of hematite which is a stone believed by native peoples to contain powers of the earth, and various spiritual amulets which I have collected along the way. I wear this on my belt.

For a while, I had also taken to wearing amulets, mostly runic in nature. I developed an interest in Mik'Maw culture and language and would spend long hours poring over Mik'Maw heiroglyphs. This train of research led me to Celtic and Teutonic druidism, to the study of runic languages and eventually to a set of runes known as Pecti-Witan, used by the Pictish Witches of Scotland. I was especially interested in their practice of stone speak, a divination of events based on patterns of cast stones. It was similar to I Ching, a centuries old system of divination invented by the Chinese, the literal translation of which was "Book of Changes".

I began to adopt some of the practices of the Pecti-Witan. I collected stones and kept them in a leather pouch. I went for long walks in the wooded areas surrounding our home. I started to study trees and foliage and their uses in spells and potions.

I acquired a walking staff. I did not purchase it; I made it. I cut it from a tree during the waxing and waning of the moon, shaved the bark off which I kept for some undisclosed purpose, carved a name on the staff - Pathfinder- in Pecti-Witan runes. Nancy and I went camping in the mountains once. I brought the staff with me and consecrated it according to a ritual I had read in an old book.
I was not aware at the time that my research was becoming an obsession. Nancy and a few of our close friends noticed, but they did not know how to approach me on the matter. I supposed they assumed I would encounter something else that caught my fancy and become involved in that.

But the research was only part of the obsession. I was also spending time in some of the old chat rooms, not under my old nickname, but as a new character based on a Chinese tale I had read about a god with seven faces.

By coincidence, I had used at one time or another, six different nicknames in various chat rooms. All were combined now under a new handle, Seven Faces. People in the rooms called me Seven. I thought it sounded cool.

I became interested in numerology. No, not interested. Obsessed. Seven days in a week. Seventh son of a seventh son. Seven deadly sins. Seven wonders of the world. Seven seas. Seven was a holy number because it combined 4, the number of the earth and 3, the number of the trinity. The seventh line of the Lord's prayer is "deliver us from all evil". I began to see the significance of the number seven in everything.

What I failed to see was that it was happening again. The lines between myself and my internet character were becoming fuzzy again.

One day in September of 1998, I left home to go shopping. But instead, I went to the bank, cleaned out everything in our account, boarded a train and went to Ontario. To this day, I do not recall having made the decision to leave or taking the trip to Ontario, but I cannot deny it because I woke from whatever state I was in to find myself at an AA meeting in London, Ontario.

I immediately phoned home to discover that Nancy had everyone but the National Guard out looking for me and was thinking about calling them too. In a few days, I returned home, dazed and confused. 

All I could determine was that it had something to do with the witch. But, I wasn't referring to the Wyoming witch. I was referring to myself, for without realizing it I had become a witch.

I disposed of my Pecti-Witan artifacts and notes. I went to the library, accessed the internet, and deleted all my email accounts and websites. By this time I had at least seven of each.

I spoke to my employers and asked to be reinstated. They kept me on because I was a good worker, but that the next time I wanted to act like Bilbo Baggins I could look for another job while I was away. Nancy forbade me from shopping alone for quite some time. It's a bit of a joke between us now, but it wasn't very funny at the time.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Aftermath of Dorian

Power has been restored to our neck of the woods. We call it Serenity Corner round here. The storm was wild. We couldn't really see it because it hit after midnight and since we were without power.....28 hours we in the darkness of no lights, no phone, no cable, no internet. We used the Barbecue a lot, to cook, to boil water for coffee, it reminded me of camping in Newfoundland, we just didn't have to sleep outside with the bears.

I went outside in the neighbourhood a few times to see if those 140 km/hr winds had wreaked havoc.I was both relieved and disappointed to see that everything, well almost everything was intact.

It certainly wasn't as uprooting as Hurricane Juan. Or, maybe, it just was't that way in our neck of the woods. And, really, isn't that all that concerns us. Certainly, we are worried about friends and loved ones and hope they are alright during such a storm,and we appreciate their calls, etc. But at the end of the day, who was here sweeping off my end of the street? Just me and Nancy. I didn't see anyone else with a broom.