Reverence and horror —

The past is strange, you know…

One thing that isn’t common knowledge about me is that I was (am?) an ordained minister. Reverend Michael/Mick/Raven (yes, I occasionally went by my pen name), occasionally just: The Rev. I was ordained through a convoluted system where the druids I had hung out with the previous year (I had moved away from their direct influence) agreed to support my ordination through their parent group which, at the time, happened to be Universal Life. As I understand it, they later got their paperwork in order and were ordaining folks directly rather than through a church that had the basic tenant that everyone had a right to be ordained and God was however the ordained person perceived Him to be, even if He was a She (or a sexless flying spaghetti monster, for that matter). You, too, can get your official papers through the UL webpage for the simple task of providing some information to them about where you live and an email contact. While a number of folks do it on a lark, not many people actually utilize their ordination other than as a party discussion topic.

I actually subsequently registered with my State’s authorities and was therefore able to legally officiate at weddings, funerals and baptisms. And I did a few weddings, mostly because people saw me as a cheap alternative to a church (I refused all donations), or because they wanted something more than the Justice, but not too religious. I gave up after a series of divorces eventually became the norm for those I had joined.

I also gave up the practice entirely when I discovered that no one could really give a shit about what I was all into. Forget “church”, I was unable to find a single someone to sit at a coffee house with me to discuss my off-beat branch of Celtic/Native American-influenced/Taoist/eclectic shamanism. Shamanism is all the rage these days, but I don’t rightly recognize the form it has become. At the time, however, it was considered “weird” unless you were into Carlos Castaneda and peyote, which I was not.

I ended up during that time becoming the “official reverend” for an Irish folk band from Austin, Texas. At the time, I had not been to Austin, but the band made infrequent appearances in Saint Paul at a Irish dive with live music called The Half-time Rec. A friend and I got to hanging around when they showed up and, because they were relatively unknown in Minnesota, their audience was small — so we stood out like a sore thumb. They befriended us as a result, and we frequently went to their shows and after-parties. It happened to be convenient that I had my phone number on some business cards, so I handed one to the lead singer when she asked how they could get in touch before they came the next time to set up a non-pub get-together. Her and her husband laughed and laughed when they saw my title, mostly because they had never met someone who seemed to match their idea of a reverend so poorly before: I swore, smoked, drank and told raunchy jokes. They decided instantly I was “The Rev” and called it out when I would come their shows. “Hey, the real show can begin! Our spiritual advisor, the Rev is here! Woot!” Occasionally, they’d ask for a prayer or a “good word”, in which case I’d steal from someone else and provide wisdom along the lines of: “On that slippery banister of life, may all the splinters point in the right direction.” Yeah, not original at all.

I haven’t kept up with my ordination, so I’ve probably been dropped from the rolls. But it was an interesting period that I wish I had pursued with a little more focus.

Carrion child, pray for me
Play your wild card
See the house come down around your head
Home to me, so much dreaming
Some say I'm growing cold and
Taking over
Nothing, cuts, two ways
Taking over

- Andrew Eldritch (Sisters of Mercy), Possession

i feel a monster
deep inside
clawing outward
ready to burst
with the exploding
of my heart

your name moves my lips
in those sacred hours
while time i pray for you
to appear and to
take me in your arms

Died, praising God for his gift and grace:
For she bowed down to him weeping, and said
“Live”; and her tears were shed on his face
Or ever the life in his face was shed.
The sharp tears fell through her hair, and stung
Once, and her close lips touched him and clung
Once, and grew one with his lips for a space;
And so drew back, and the man was dead.

Jaufre Rudel, troubadour of the early–mid 12th century

time will
show who
the real monsters
were --

bodies like cordwood at summer's end
stacked in the name
of pride

Convinced his dick was the source of all the evil in his life, David decided to exorcise his demons once and for all over the bathroom sink at three a.m. with a butcher knife…

Photo by Rachel Claire on

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