“Low Point” – The Rabyd Skald – The Grey and The Wayfarer – Part 30

Happy Woden’s (Odin’s) Day!

Full Family/Friends Disclaimer in Force.  This is me being raw as far as my feelings for the purposes of writing therapy. There are strong emotions with all this that may be uncomfortable for some. You have been warned.

This will be in two parts.  The first will be done before I talk to my therapist today and the second afterward. This is why it is later than normal today.


I think I am at a new low point since everything blew up almost two years ago  This spring so far as been hard emotionally. The memories and the stuck feeling I have just won’t seem to go away no matter what I do. I feel like The Grey is ever-present even when I have good things happening in my life.  I need a fresh start and I have the plan to do that.

I am not going to give the details. I am playing that part close to the vest and it is known only to a selected few. One of them is my wife, but the nature of it is causing a strain on us and our marriage because this is where our two different directions are starting to get the most obvious.  I love her, but this is where I feel I was before two years ago and now it’s worse because of everything that happened. I really feel like I am not in the right place anymore or doing the right thing.  I need to talk about this and get some clarity.


If there is one word I need to keep in mind the next two weeks it’s ‘guilt’. That is why I feel guilty all the time when others are feeling bad.  My therapist wants me to take notes about how I feel guilty and specific cases in which I do feel guilty. I think she might be on to something. Is it guilty that holds me back the most?  I take full responsibility for things I can control and guilty for them is understandable, but am I feeling guilty for things I cannot control or for how others feel and think like I am the cause?

Something to think about and make note of for a couple weeks.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.


“Heritage, The Grey, and Dried Salt” – The Rabyd Skald – The Grey and The Wayfarer – Part 27

Happy Mani’s Day:

I should be happy with my life right now, but I struggle with it.  Things are getting better for my life all the time, but I feel something is missing in my life. Now those of you of faith need to understand this has been going on for a while and it isn’t the result of losing my faith as it precedes this.  Jesus never filled this supposed hole in my heart as much as I preached it was so.  Before I lost my faith in Christianity, it was this thing known as The Grey that was like clouds over who I was that indicated to me that I was missing something.


I have been studying my family history to see if there is anything in it that might indicate why this is so. I mean there are signs you can see in people by where they lived when they got married, the number of children, divorce, and death in a lineage that can tell you if things were rough or smooth for that person.  My continued use of Ancestory has proven to me that stories can be written and my lineage is varied but readable.

Some highlights:

  1. My father’s biological parents were people who eventually abandoned him.  His father because he was a drunk and his mother who knew she couldn’t afford him and his siblings.  The Bauman and Hole families are those legacies. The first family stretches back to Germany; the second is Dutch and Irish. I only know all this now because I discovered my biological grandmother’s (who I did meet while she was alive) maiden name and that opened the door to who she was married to and their parents. My grandfather was a drunk by all accounts and my grandmother found herself alone and on the streets.  She gave up my father for adoption.  She would go on to divorce two husbands and finally find a man who treated her well.
  2. This biological lineage has highlights but is noted most for its many marriages, divorces, and remarriages even at times when divorce was only allowed for infidelity indicating that infidelity was present. But also some of these remarriages are because a woman or man would watch their spouse die of some disease. There is a lot of sorrow on this side of the tree inflicted by the world and by self. I can see it and I don’t even know many details.
  3. My mother’s side of the family is far easier and better documented. It is a story of successful farmers, pioneers, and colonists. Most notably the Ackley’s who came from England to settle in the British Connecticut Colonies in the 1600s.  Many of them originally from Weymouth England and London.  They ended up coming further and further west until they settled in the Kalamazoo and Portage area of Michigan.
  4. Of course, my mother’s mom is even simpler and shorter.  The came from the Netherlands.  Like the whole family just picked up and left the Groningen area of the northern Netherlands.  My great grandparents and their parents all at the same time just got on a boat and came to America in the 1890s. They settled in Michigan and the rest is a short but powerful history of a family of Dutch Reformed people doing well in their new land.

So does heritage being this split have an effect on me? I guess I will wait for the DNA test results, to clear up the few loose ends that remain.  But right now the fact all of this is clearer should be something I am enjoying but other things seem to be pulling me into the Grey.


I believe part of it is where I live.  It has been mostly overcast and dreary this winter and that is never good for anyone with depression. I have been getting more concerned about my finances but it looks like a new job in my current company might help alleviate that short term for a bit anyway. My car and I went into the ditch and it is developing mechanical problems since.  I may need a ‘new’ one.  Life is intruding a lot right now and that triggers depression even if it is good.

Family trigger warning: Reading further might be a little too troubling for family members.  I am simply trying to get some things clearer in my mind and I find writing them and posting them does this, so hang on from here down. 

My marriage has definitely improved, but for me, there is still a lot missing and no matter how I try to fight it, I am becoming more restless every single day. The one thing for sure is whatever is missing, this improvement hasn’t fixed it, at least for me. I feel very much like I am giving up what I want to make my family happy at this point. I know what I want to do but I am fairly sure there will be a lot of pushback. This struggle, of course, causes The Grey.  That and thoughts returning from a lost love.

Dried Salt:

Miss Salty returned to mind due to posting a Facebook memory only to find her reaction to it with her name attached.  I guess feelings about her have solidified to a point.  I miss her; I care about her still, but I still wouldn’t trust her.  I know that sounds stupid probably, but the pain of this is still not gone.  I was looking at some old poems about her on this blog and the feelings are still there when I read them.  Although. I did manage to get through John Legend’s – ‘All of Me’ without crying once or shutting it off to avoid crying. She still haunts me like a ghost.

I avoid any sort of news about her, I haven’t even looked at her social media pages since June of 2019. I intentionally try to not think of her at times but she seems to come back in my thoughts more than I would like. WTF?  I should be a lot wiser from this whole situation but I miss that feeling I had and wonder if I can get it back. It is not happening with my marriage, improved though it is.

I guess I cling to this because, for a few months in 2018, I didn’t feel like something was missing.  This bothers me.  What was it that made me feel like I wasn’t missing something, because this relationship with Miss Salty, in the final analysis, was a shitshow?  How did this rollercoaster of an affair make me feel whole for once? For the first time, there was light in The Grey and I want to know what was it about this relationship that did that?  Can I get it back some other way?  All these questions are just made to order triggers for The Grey. I guess I have something to talk about with my therapist.

Walking the Grey:

True to form, Perseverance kicks in and no matter how I feel, I keep walking. I remain The Grey Wayfarer. Ravens of reason and wisdom overhead while following the wolves of what I need and want.  I search for the missing thing that will make me whole once again. Finding this wholeness is a large driving force and motivation in my life right now.  I walk the Grey because this is so worth it to me, I will walk in sadness for the rest of my life to find it.  Succeed or fail, it is worth that much to me.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.


“Counseling Thoughts” – The Rabyd Skald

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day!

I would normally be doing a Freya’s Chambers today but I need to do some more research on some things before I wrote about them.  Part of the problem is my thoughts are a jumbled mess since meeting with both my job coach and my therapist on Wednesday so I feel the need to write about this at least in general terms.  It is not really a The Grey and The Wayfarer kind fo post.  More of thoughts being conflicted sort of post so I am trying to sort them out by writing about them.

Every time I think about the job situation it brings up a whole pack of emotions because of the fact that my last church fired me instead of accepting my resignation so it leaves my job history with a huge hole. Of course, I don’t feel I want to use any of those people as contacts for new jobs because I clearly can’t trust them.  That resource is gone and so I am now painfully aware I need to do something very uncomfortable for me which I build my network back up and that means talking to people about what they do and seeing if it fits me. I am just not very good at just starting cold conversations like that.

I am creating multiple prototypes of my life to come but all of them require either moving to the one place I still have contacts and that is not going to sit well with my wife and perhaps even my family.  I WANT a completely fresh start just to move on.  Just to have the feeling that I am not going to run into somebody I know and have to explain things all over again.   I won’t have the fear of running into Miss Salty or the Dirty Pig because I still don;t know how I would react to either. I just to be with my best friend and start over in a new place with new people.  This involves a big move literally and figuratively.

I don’t know how to express this any way that is spoken, so I write about it and I am trying to be careful about being open about what I talk with my therapist about in detail but the fact that I continue to struggle with doing what would make me happy versus what makes everyone else happy has become the BIG struggle of my life. This is my frost giant to fight right now. The problem is sometimes I see the face of the frost giant and it’s my own.

Part of me died with my faith, but it keeps acting like a ghost to haunt and attack my thoughts and feelings.   I am trying to bring new life to the place of deadness, but to me, that means a lot of new things need to happen and soon.  As an atheist, life is much more precious to me now realizing it will be the only one I get and is finite. I want my own happiness to be central and I want to do all I can to secure it.  I just don’t feel that will ever happen if the situation does not change drastically.

Both my job coach and my therapist have helped me sort out my own thoughts on this and for that, I am very grateful.  I truly think people should get over the stigma of therapy.  I am glad to have it. I have to thank The Clergy Project for that.

Thanks for reading this very personal post but it needed to be done.  My writing has stimied and so has my reading.  Sometimes getting things off my chest helps.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.


“Before and After” – The Rabyd Skald – The Grey and The Wayfarer – Part 24

Happy Woden’s (Odin) Day!

This post is a little later than usual because I am doing a little bit of an experiment with it.  In about a half-hour, my therapist and I will be meeting via Skype and we will be hopefully discussing some of my issues so what you are getting with this installment is The Grey and The Wayfarer ‘before and after’.  So the part marked ‘Before’ is what I was thinking before I went into session and the part marked “After” is my thoughts as I reflected on them after the session.  It has really been up and down these last two weeks so I need to talk about that.


The issues I want to discuss in this session are the main two of my marriage and identity.  In the issue of my marriage, there are some things I need to discuss with my wife and my therapist is going to help me, according to our last session, as to how to approach this discussion as I am a little apprehensive of talking about the specific issues.  It’s weird because this isn’t about sex or intimacy but more about common goals, vision and what are we going to do now. What are we now with our values shifting in different directions and the objective for our lives shifting.

The second issue of identity is one of trying to figure out what I am now that I am both an atheist and no longer a pastor.  Part of this is career issues that my job coach is helping me with and I will talk on that at a different time.  This is deeper than that.  More of a foundational question.  My hope is there will be some insight as the last two sessions have been more of me talking and her digesting things and coming to understand my situation.  Hopefully, she has some wisdom, because right now I could use some and I am starting to feel confined and trapped by the situation.  That’s before.  See what happens and then I will write an after and then post both.


Things worked as I think she guided my own thoughts into doing what needs to be done.  I need to really think about a direct course of designing my life as far as what I am going to be while having options.  My primary identity is being a writer, but it is going to be my second one which can be multiple things that will define me as far as other people are concerned for a while.

Also, we talked about Christmas and the family mostly.  I just don’t want it to be drama, but I also have the task of telling people I don’t pray anymore over the meals.  It’s more about celebrating the season of Yuletide and being with the kids and grandkids as much as possible. I am just there to enjoy, not be the spiritual master of ceremonies.

Of course, we talked about my marriage and all I will say about that is that a conversation between us needs to take place soon.  No more there, as no one else needs to know yet what is going on. I just now have it very clear that before the new year my wife and I need to talk about some things. ‘Need’ being the keyword.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.


“Hospitality, Atheism, and Asatru” – Of Wolves and Ravens – Hospitality

Happy Mani’s Day


I have been struggling with something for a while now and that is the ability to connect with people. When I was pastor fo my last church I created a small group of people with the idea of sharing and prayer for one another. I called it Living Stones based on `1 Peter 2:4-5:

And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

The point was to share one’s struggles and triumphs in one’s spiritual walk with Christ to become drawn together in relationship with each other and Christ as living stones.  it was good in that it was for a while one of the best support groups I was ever a part of and my main motivation for creating it was my need for companionship where I could be open with people about some of my feelings.  It is the support group aspect I miss very much.

Hospitality is the same virtue if you take a broad definition of showing care and concern for others.  Asatru’s definition is about sharing when one can, especially with those far from home. Being kind. But for me, it is also about gathering with others in an environment that is safe so one can share more than prosperity, but one’s life with others.  I miss it.  But I also have developed through the painful experience of trusting others that people can betray you when you need them the most.

The atheist community is foreign to me.  I mean not completely so, but I am just starting in it nad it is good that through the Clergy Project I have a group and it did meet my goal.  But it isn’t the same as having people in your life every day or a couple times a week. Real flesh and blood that you have hospitality with.

To the Wolves and Ravens:

“Feed the Wolves, but Listen to the Ravens first.”

Needs (Geri):

I still need something but I am not sure I will ever have it again.  Fellowship.  I lack fellowship and it is eating at me.  The problem is I don’t trust anyone anymore. How does one meet a need in your life when you have trouble trusting those that could provide it?

Wants (Freki):

On a want level, I want this in other relationships to be deeper, but once again trust or my high expectations seem to get in the way.  So better not to trust at all than being disappointed.  Hospitality demands I trust and boy do I struggle with it even though it would gain for me something I need and want.

Reason (Huginn):

So what is the reasonable thing to do?  It is the question I will have for my therapist on Woden’s Day. I am glad to have a group to talk to and her about this, but how far do I trust them even. Or is the better question, how far do I trust them?  I hate being lonely on the one hand, but I can’t trust people at times enough to open up so I am not lonely. Will I ever find someone to be fully transparent with again?

Wisdom (Muninn):

Wisdom is very cloudy on this issue for me.  Grey and overcast. Hopefully, something will become clear.


Hospitality is the virtue I struggle with the most. I just don’t know what to do about it.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.


“Rogue Wizard Delay and Other Notes” – The Rabyd Skald – The Grey and the Wayfarer – Part 23

Happy Sols’ Day!

Rogue Wizard Delay:

No, it is not an accident there is a delay in the next chapter of Rogue Wizard and this is a The Grey and The Wayfarer post for The Rabyd Skald.  It’s connected to the fact that the more I think about writing this next chapter, the more the Grey seems to hit me.  It seems to be one of those moments where I have a choice about facing the Grey and walking through it – it needs to be done.  But when I do this is up to me.

Writing is therapy for me, as many of you know.  Sometimes it is unpleasant and has to be done. Other times it flows.  I this case I know what I want to do and what should be done and they are the same. The problem is the process of writing is going to be an emotional roller coaster. So I am having trouble,  but I will have it done by next week but not this week. Apologies.

Support Group:

My support group is working out very well. I mean it is great to have fellow former clergy to talk to who are also non-believers in anything.  It makes everyone relatable and a lot of them have been through the process and at a later age than me so they help out a lot in keeping my feet on the ground and standing.

My Therapist: 

My therapist and I have had two sessions.  Doing it on Skype allows me to see her and she can see me so it gives me a genuine reactions both ways.  She is a good listener and hasn’t been judgmental at all.  Mostly though she has listened to me and thinks that next session we can start working on a plan.  The main two issues I deal with on this level are my change of identity and my marriage.

Job Coach: 

Through The Clergy Project, I also have job help for my career change.  I decided that even though I could use a new job soon to go more organic and find what fits me as well.  I don’t want to be doing a job I hate just to pay the bills anymore. So what do I enjoy and can make money at the same time is a journey of discovery and my job coach is taking me on and she is really thinking January or February which still is within my goal of having this done by March.

Reading List:

I was reminded by my wife that there are many books on my shelf that I have not read and should read them. So new books only when needed to keep the pattern of a non-fiction book; then a fiction book.  I haven’t been doing well on this yet, but I have started. Mostly though it is going to be a process of going through my library and pulling out things I haven’t read and putting them together to work through the rest of this year and next.

Writing Books:

I have come to the conclusion that I need to do my book writing like I do this blog.  I need about 3-5 projects at once and rotate them so boredom does not set in. Basically, I have three non-fiction books and two fiction in the hopper now.  I try to make progress on one or more every day.  It is the word count that matters.

Final Word:

Thanks for everyone’s patience.  My emotions tend to dominate my writing more than other things in my life. I have been able to be consistent on this blog, but other things need consistency too. Thanks for reading.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.


A Skald’s Life – Business Virtues – Generous Leader

Happy Wooden’s (Odin’s) Day

Journal Entry:

I miss being in leadership.  I also miss being generous.  That said, I understand the need for this hiatus from both right now.  I am healing from a lot of things and while I have seen wounded leaders do very well, I am also sure those same leaders collapsed when the crisis was over to heal themselves.  I guess I am just healing and life itself will determine when I get back into the action.

“A leader should be silent, thoughtful and bold in battle.”  It is what I strive for and the virtues of being self-reliant, industrious and hospitable all do their part in the actual activity of trying to be that kind of leader. All the virtues really do but it is these three that guide me in the kind of leader I want to be.  Self-reliance tells me that if I am not willing to do something myself, I shouldn’t ask someone else to do it. Industriousness tells me that if I want those under my leadership to work hard and enjoy their work, I need to do the same.  Hospitality says I need to reward those who do a good job for me well and not be cheap or stingy.

The last line of Havamal stanza 15 points out this in a lifelong attitude that must be cultivated.


“Self-Reliance is the spirit of independence, which is achieved not only for the individual but also for the family, clan, tribe, and nation.”

Principle: To achieve and maintain personal independence and advocate for independence in my family, state and nation.

Goal:  Find a new, better paying job by the end of June 2019 or before.

Bucket List: To own and run my own successful business or company.

I can’t emphasize liberty being the key to prosperity enough. Throughout history, liberty and prosperity go hand in hand and that is no accident.  I will remain an advocate for liberty for myself and others until that day of death.  It is a very noble cause to fight for.


“Industriousness is the willingness to work hard, always striving for efficiency, as a joyous activity in itself”

Principle: Work with the enjoyment of work itself.

Goal: Finalize last requirements for my degree – Internship by May 2019

Bucket List: Write A Novel and Get it Published.

I struggle at times to enjoy doing my current job. It really is my own mind about as it isn’t a terrible job. It is probably my own frustration at not moving toward a new and better paying job that I would enjoy more than anything else.  I don’t want to feel stuck in anything ever again and so that is probably more on me than anything else.


“Hospitality is the willingness to share what one has with one’s fellows, especially when they are far from home.”

Principle: To share out of my abundance to help people where I can with their life’s journey.

Goal: By March 31st of 2020, to be the leader of a support group of some kind.

Bucket List: To own my own home by March 2024.

I always stand ready to help, but there is still this healing issue that kicks in from time to time. Part of it is my need for counseling to assess the progress of my healing and where I need to go. I don’t want to be guilty of “physician heal thyself” when I may not be good in the eyes of an objective mind.  I want to know for sure that I have been helped before I help others in the same way again.

Higher Virtue – Justice:

I struggle with the fine line between vengeance and seeking justice. Coming to terms with the fact that justice may never happen and moving on also can be difficult. I want to be at peace but there are always the internal struggles that keep me from that and I would like them to end.  Mostly though, I just try to not let my personal pain spill over into my relationships with others.

 Daily Routine:

  1. Wife: Communication / Cuddle Time
  2. Blogging – Organize, revise, write a new post for the next day, 15 min. work on fiction.
  3. Reading – half-hour. Priority order: work, school, pleasure
  4. Study / Homework / Research: half hour per day minimum or until all necessary work is completed.
  5. Personal Business: record financial transactions, savings plan actions, budgeting, appointments, other actions, etc.
  6. Check Communications and Email after 2 pm but before 4 pm.
  7. Weekly Routine Items
  8. Nutrition: Daily Carb Count – 2

I really want to focus on the daily and morning routines once school is over completely.  This is the last week of last things with that.  I do some of the things on this list automatically so that is good. The rest is work in progress.

Still walking,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.


A Skald’s Life – Self Virtues – Forks in the Road (Part 3)

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day

Journal Entry:

There are some forks in the road you do not want to encounter because they are difficult decisions to make.  I find the ones involving Self to be this way more often than not.  It is probably because inherent in Perseverance is this simple choice to get up or stay down.  But when you look at the options many times with self, there are no bad ones, just choices where you are trying to determine what is best.

If I wrestle with forks in the road here, it is about trying to find what works and what is best.  There is one issue however that is very difficult but more on that in a little bit.


“Discipline is the willingness to be hard on oneself first and then if needed help with the development with others, so that greater purposes may be achieved.”

Principle: Apply discipline to every aspect of life that it can be applied.

Goal: To follow A FULL Paleo Diet Plan from April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020.

Bucket List: Do a rebellious act on April Fools Day, April 1st, 2020.

I am reassessing every Routine for effectiveness, but mostly I have come to the painful conclusion that I am simply weary with the whole academics and going to school thing.  I am probably going to take at least until the end of the year to think about whether to do a master’s degree and what one at this time.  I think it is best to put that on hold until I have a good job and know where I am living. That said once the semester is over in a little more than a week, I can get a better handle on what is working for me and how to fine-tune it.  I feel like I am drifting here and that isn’t good.


“Perseverance is the ability to stand up and return from defeat and failure”

Principle: Keep getting up after every defeat or failure.

Goal: To engage in an exercise program that involves weightlifting, hiking/walking, and stretching/ yoga an average of three days a week from April 1st, 2019 to March 31st, 2020

Bucket List: To get at least one tattoo by March 18th, 2020.

This is the easy fork in the road for me.  I keep getting up and I keep going forward as best I can.  There is no quit here.  I would probably have to do this less emotionally if I would stop knocking myself down.


“Fidelity is the will to be loyal to one’s Gods and Goddesses, to one’s Folk, to one’s self, and loyalty to one’s friends was as valued as highly as loyalty to one’s family.”

Principle: Be loyal to those who have been loyal to me.

Goal: Celebrate my wife and I’s 30th anniversary (June 10th, 2019) with a mini-vacation

Bucket List: Discover all the countries of origin from my genetics and visit them all by March 18th, 2029.

This is the real fork in the road that is giving me pause.  In particular, ‘loyalty to self vs. loyalty to all the others’ comes up fairly regularly. I feel at times that I am losing what I want and my purpose as I strive for all the rest.  I really need to be loyal to myself at times and that is not always an easy thing to tell people.  I still feel like I need to back off yet with some things, because I am just not ready for them.  Still healing I think.  Deeper healing but still healing.  I really need a new and better paying job because of this because I really want to get back to counseling for myself and my marriage.   I can’t deny since we set it aside for financial reasons, I at least feel a little more adrift.

Higher Virtue – Wisdom: 

Every decision: What is the loving thing to do?  What is the just thing to do? What is the wisest thing to do? It does help to have this system.  It leads to wiser choices.  There are many forks in the road to navigate in life and having a way to ask these questions at each one has definitely helped.

Weekly Routine: 

  1. Weightlifting/Stretching – Minimum 3 days per week.
  2. Walking – Minimum 3 days a week
  3. Job Search – Minimum 3 days a week
  4. Cleaning – 3 days a week.
  5. Writing – 3 times a week
  6. Latin – 3 times per week
  7. Cheat Meal Count: 3 per week.

Needs work but the weightlifting I am having no trouble with.  The rest is still a work in progress.

Goals and Bucket List Items Achieved (Since Summer 2018):

Goals Achieved: 1  Graduated College with a BS in Political Science and minors in Economics and International Business – December 2018.

Bucket List Items Achieved: 0

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.