A Christian saint co-opted for a festival of getting us to buy stuff. As a Druid, Valentine’s Day is not something I find all that relevant. I see the pressure it puts on people, in terms of spending, and proving something, and I find increasingly that I’m not tempted to play. In years when I’ve been in insecure, not-so-happy relationships, I’ve felt the need for some kind of affirmation. On this day, at least, let there be romance and some sign of love.
Tom and I started today, and will end it, curled up in each other’s arms. There will be affection and affirmation, and probably something indulgent with sugar in. Not because it is Valentine’s Day, but because this is how we are with each other, all the time. We pause to celebrate that at significant anniversaries, and at times when we just want to. Today we are not doing much in that vein, we have a book signing (Made in Stroud, 11-1) and the boy needs his PE kit biking home, and that’s going to account for much of the day.
As a Druid, relationship is key to everything I do. As a gothic-romantic sort of creature, love has always been at the centre of my life. Not the need to be loved by people, but the need to love, to find things and individuals who fill my heart with joy and inspiration, and who I can adore in whatever ways turn out to make sense. Not just today, but every day. People I write stories, poems, and songs for. People I go to with offerings of cake and other odd creations. People I speak openly with, and give time to.
Most of us are guarded and careful when it comes to matters of the heart. It can be a real block to relationship if you can’t have that flow of verbal honesty. It also takes time to build up the trust in another person, such that if you do bare your soul, you can be reasonably confident they will neither point and laugh, or run away. There are many different kinds of intimacy, of body and soul, of heart and intellect, and sharing any of those is a very big deal, and sharing all of them is life and self altering, if you get it right. This is not something to do lightly. It’s also not something to play at.
There is an intense language of soul friends and heart sharing. A language of love that is not in normal circulation, but that is used carefully and intensely by people who mean it. What I have seen too often is people appropriating the styles and expressions of openness and soul, not because they mean it, but because they like the impression it creates. Valentine’s Day can be a focal point for such things. A time to throw words at your beloved because they sound good, make you look good, create the impression of you as wild passionate, poetic and wonderful. If the creating of the right impression is more important than the intended recipient, you’re going very wrong indeed.
It is not an act of good relationship to conjure with language in order to cast yourself as the romantic hero. It is not an act of good relationship to fabricate the baring of your soul in order to play a part, or go along with the imagined spirit of a day. The desire to be loved does not make it a good idea to magic up an illusion of love, crafted from un-meant words. Tomorrow, you will have to deal with the person who believed you. The bitterness of finding that what was said, was not meant, is immense. So don’t say ‘I’ll love you forever’ if you are just hoping to get laid. Don’t call someone your soul mate because you like how it sounds. Don’t claim to offer an open heart when all you’re looking for is the reward of being found appealing, and your heart is nailed tight shut.
Romance without reality is a total waste of time.