One year ago today, I went to a pagan festival in search of higher truths and met the love of my life. This is the first picture of us ever taken, the day after we met when we lay next to one another in his tent.
“I could have died right there…’cause he was right beside me.”
—Lana Del Rey, Ultraviolence
Happy 1st Anniversary, Sweetheart. <3 I love you more than words can express.
I mean, we started off the day playing glowing bocce balls in the backyard until three in the morning. Could we be more meant for each other?? Haha. I can only imagine what the rest of the day holds!!!
Well, I feel like it's time to tell our unique love story, so here goes...
The day before I met Julius, I told a woman in a white veil about my deepest fears. It was early June—the first day of my first Pagan Festival—and there I was, broken down and bawling before the Goddess herself. I told her that I had made a great sacrifice in choosing to write my series of novels and asked if I was on the right path. Tenderly, she held my head in her hands and said, ‘of course, my beautiful daughter. Of course you are on the right path. Hold on to it. What else is there?’ And just like that, the author’s flame within me had been totally rekindled.
While sitting outside the following day, I read a profound sentence in a book about the archetypal link between Christ and Dionysus. Of course I promptly underlined it, feeling that it validated my own theories more than anything I’d ever read before. Feeling inspired, I closed the book and started on my way toward a Past Life Regression ritual. Just as I’d come close enough to see my group gathering under the gazebo, I was stopped in my tracks by a gentle male voice.
‘Hey, how are you?’
I turned around, surprised to find a strikingly handsome man sitting against the wall. It was not his handsomeness alone which intrigued me, but his uncanny resemblance to the main character from my novels (the Dionysian archetype that I’ve been drawing pictures of for many years). The two of us began a lively conversation in no time. I told him about the novels I was writing. He told me he was studying crystal healing. The two of us couldn’t stop talking. ‘I’m Madyson by the way,’ I said. ‘What’s your name?’
‘Julius.’ He smiled warmly.
After a while, we got up and walked around together. He introduced me to his fun-loving friend Katrina, brought me back to his tent and flirted with me unabashedly for the rest of the day. We’d begun to play little mind games with one another, bantering and joking through contests of wit. Even so, neither of us made our feelings completely clear until that night.
Once the sun had set, I decided to enter among a female-only group who had gathered together for a frivolous maenad* parade. After our ritual leader made her fervent speech about love, sex and alcohol, we quickly touched our plastic cups of wine together and got busy adorning ourselves in glow rings and glow sticks. ‘It’s all about the passion ladies,’ she said. ‘Now we must go out on the prowl and catch ourselves some men!’
First we wandered out onto the dark fairgrounds in a wavy line, singing and dancing to the beat of the distant drums in the drum circle. Julius hadn’t left my thoughts all night, and the only thing I wanted was to be with him again. When the group split up to go capture unsuspecting members of the male gender, my good friend Lindsay pushed me gently. ‘Go and find your bearded man.’ And that gesture, it seems, was all it took to send me rocketing in the direction of Julius’s tent.
The camping area was nearly desolate at the time. Some of the tents were set up facing one another and I felt as if I was meandering through some sort of tiny village. There was a faint blanket of fog that settled in the grass, growing denser where I peered into the distance. A figure had begun approaching me—a tall, dark figure with long, curly hair—and I knew immediately who it was. He beamed as we came closer to one another. “So how’s the ritual going?’ he asked.
‘I don’t know…’ I said slyly. ‘Apparently I’m supposed to find a man to kiss.’
We had begun to circle one another. ‘Oh really? And how’s that going?’
‘I don’t know yet.’ I stopped in front and him and looked upward, attempting to fit his entire stature in my vision. ‘I’m supposed to find my Dionysus, and I think I’ve found him right here.’
‘Aww,’ he said, nearly blushing. ‘So what happens next?’
‘Just a kiss,’ I told him playfully.
‘Oh, how I’ve longed to kiss those heavenly lips.’ It wasn’t long before he took me into his arms. We walked together a small distance back to is tent where there was more privacy and shared our first kiss. I had never felt such incredible euphoria in my life. Afterward I was shaking and tingling, unable to comprehend what just happened.
He was forty-four, he told me. I was twenty-three. And yet the years between us felt like nothing. We held each other deep into the night—two strangers who believed ourselves mysteriously reunited under the stars.
The next day, we lay side by side in his tent. I gazed into his eyes and touched the contours of his face. ‘You look like my soul,’ I told him.
‘Your soul has a beard?’ He laughed.
‘Yes, actually,’ I said, and proceeded to expose my inner Jungian geek as I described the concept of anima and animus. He listened to what I had to say and found it interesting—which was comforting to me, knowing we had only grazed the tip of the iceberg of my glaring weirdness. Luckily I found out soon enough that we were both complete and utter weirdos who complimented one another in the best kind of way.
Nearly every other week since then, I have traveled across the state to visit him. The present is glorious and frightening. I look into his chestnut eyes and watch the love and fear of what it means to live at the burning point of our existence. Being with Julius has yielded the most incredible period of my life—full of all the light and darkness within me, manifesting now before my eyes in the external world. As above, so Below. I’ve told him of the mysticism of our meeting; his undeniable likeness to my main character (among countless other synchronicities), and he has embraced these notions without running.
I often remember the bullies from college who told me to give up on my difficult dreams, stop writing my series of novels—let it all go. But they were only the voices of cowardice and complacency, wanting to sabotage my pathway on the road less traveled. Love and dedication is never easy. Becoming vulnerable is terrifying, but here is the secret: there is power in vulnerability. There is power in love and compassion. Loving Julius and creating my art is exactly where I want to be.
Again, I am going to hold on.
*Maenad: a female follower of Dionysus.