Azrael, the Angel of Death was my midwife. Like countless children born since humanity first looked to the heavens in awe, I should not have survived infancy. In these early days of the 21st century we have lost sight of the natural order of things, including infant mortality, which is one of Nature's ways of ensuring a healthy human populace; but I digress. I was born with a fatal birth defect of the heart (ask any of my Xes, it never healed), and should have passed Beyond the Veils long before kindergarten. But the Medical Sciences had long divorced themselves from the wisdom of Aesclepius and Nature under the false banner of compassion, so in 1963 I was placed in a vat of ice so that my heart would slow enough for surgeons to improve the flow of blood through a defective valve.
Azrael, my midwife, visited during this procedure and invited me to see what lies beyond the veils of mortality - yes, I "died" at least once during open heart surgery - and we established a life-long friendship. Azrael, contrary to myth and fiction never feels cheated, for Death knows there is no Life that will not experience its embrace and escort into the Mysteries. Some would surmise that being on a first-name basis with the Angel of Death, would instill a ruthless and cold-hearted view of Life, but in my case, the opposite seems to have manifested. In fact, my first violent act was directed at older boys who had caught a frog and were torturing it to death. I got my ass kicked. The frog died anyway. But Azrael had somehow instilled in me the the ideals of a Warrior - Protect the weak and the helpless, even if it means your own loss. Very few times during this lifetime have I been unable to appreciate Life in all its manifest forms - from the spiders in the corners of my home, and the Copperheads who slithered through my campsites in Louisiana, to my K-9 and Feline companions who have blessed my life with their lessons of unconditional love. I feed the birds, the squirrels, the deer, coons, and field mice conscientiously and regularly and hope that my body will return to the Earth, unpolluted by toxins to feed the worms.
Medical Science is about to confirm what I already have gnosis of: I have prostate cancer and will not likely live beyond 2015. It's okay, I've already enjoyed 48 years of life during this incarnation that the Gods did not expect me to see. Medical Science...
Those who know and love or hate me know that I am a Heretic and Mystic (they tend to be the same thing). I was born thus, or more likely, was given the gift of Mysticism by Azrael almost 5 decades ago by her touch (all my angels and Goddesses are gorgeous, by the way, even Azrael). My view of Death is not Fear based and my Pagan Name - 7th Pillar of Sophia - is a trubute to the 7th Pillar of ancient wisdom, "There is no Death."
For the time that I have left, I intend to make sure my daughter has all she needs to blossom as a woman, create some awesome artwork, continue my writing about the Western Mysteries and help those I encounter in need of assistance. As Lady Patra taught Alexi and I, "You are Love." I prefer to think of myself as a manifestation of Divine Light, but "Love" sounds so much warmer.