That Path is for Your Steps Alone

“Why don’t you talk about ritual more often?”

“Why don’t you hold an online ritual or a talk, like everyone else is doing?”

“Could you please do an online ritual so others can see what you do?”

This pandemic has forced a lot of folks to create and work within online formats. I’m a little envious of those folks, because they have a better internet connection than I do. Currently, I am surviving by working from a Satellite Internet feed, which is slow as the Nine Hells. Streaming anything is just about impossible to achieve. This is the technological stumbling block I run into concerning either being in or even watching a Facebook Live event. Zoom video gatherings are also not in my capability to accomplish. Neither is creating videos and uploading them to Youtube. I just do not have the technology to do that right now.

The closest thing I have, is this blog. Well, that and my inane presence on Facebook. I’m sure I irritate more than one person with my silly antics on there. But then, I use Facebook (mostly) for fun and keeping in touch with some folks that I consider to be my family. Part of the way I approach my daily Paganism is to find something fun for the day. Its why I post a daily morning music video (for the most part daily), for the start of the day. For me, music is a great way to start any day. Currently, I am listening to Joey Taffola’s album “Infra Blue”. He’s a guitar shredder, and the album showcases his mastery of the guitar (Gods, I wish I had this kind of talent with the guitar). But music is always a part of my day. Thus, the reason I share musical selections in the morning with folks. I doubt that many people even click on the video link to listen to the song, but its just my morning offering to the world at large.

This blog is sort of the same thing. I share my thoughts on topics here, and hope that some kind of discussion (even if its just in your own head) gets started. I’m not here to tell people who they should approach and live their Paganism. That would be completely ridiculous of me, particularly since I believe everyone has their own unique approach to a topic. I have said it quite a few times – I’m not a leader. I am not here to elevate myself in any way, shape or form. I am not here to push a brand, or to have designs on being a Big-Name Pagan that gets invited to speak everywhere. I wouldn’t turn down an invite of any sort, but its not my goal on my Spiritual Path. My goal is simple. To just be me. Nothing more complicated than that.

Most of my ritual work is personal, individual stuff. In my thirty-plus years on this path, most of it has been spent doing stuff on my own. I do gather and celebrate with various groups when it comes to the turning of the Wheel. This year, celebrations that I normally attend were cancelled because of COVID-19 fears. I am thankful for that…not just for myself and my rotten immune system, but for all the people that would normally have come. Safety is always a paramount concept in my mind – thanks United States Air Force. As my ritual work is personal – and very off the cuff – I fear that it would never translate well, either in video or written form here on the blog. But I will say this…improvisation of ritual is a wonderful thing, but you need to master the basics of your chosen Path first. Those basics are the starting point for improvisation. Just like Joey Taffola learned the basics of playing the guitar, before he started improvising his own jams, which have turned into his really creative albums. Basics come first. That provides a cohesive starting point for your improvisation.

Picture by John Beckett, who takes amazing photos

Now, I have noted this before…I’m not a leader. But despite what I believe of myself, I cannot alter the way some people might look at me. Yes, I have thirty-plus years on the Pagan Path. Yes, I have wandered through Wicca, generic Paganism, and currently utilize Druidry and Polytheism as the primary backdrop to what I do and practice. However, none of that makes me some kind of amazing individual that other should follow in my footsteps. I can show you some of the land-mines I have encountered along the way. But a Spiritual Path is yours and yours alone. Walking directly in my foot-falls will show where I am, but it does nothing for you. Sooner or late, you will have to leave the Path, and blaze your own trail through the Spiritual wilderness. Because, in my personal opinion, Spirituality is an unplanned experience…its not a play with a script that you basically read from. Yes, we do utilize scripts in group rituals. You can just read the words of the page, or you can put some dramatic flair into what you are reading – become the role you are assigned. No one is asking you to be an actor…only for you to put emphasis and your experience and emotions into the role. Its the same on your Spiritual Path. Sure, you can follow me…sure you can do things EXACTLY as I did. But in the end, you are robbing yourself of putting your own stamp on what you are doing. You’re missing the chance to really be you, and to let that light shine brightly in the darkness.

I get asked a lot about the OBOD Bardic and Ovate initiations. I have been through both. I could easily provide all of that to someone who is asking. I could detail aspects of the ceremonies. And I would be robbing that initiate of the experience of those ceremonies. An experience that I found exhilarating and exciting. Something that continues to have super strong meaning to me to this very day. And I know that my experience was unique because it brought meaning to what I knew. Why in the world would I want to rob someone of all of that? As a moment of remembrance, I’ll leave with some Grateful Dead lyrics that have always had great meaning for me on my Spiritual Path, from the song “Ripple”:

There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

As I said before, music is a huge part of who I am. And lyrics are ways that I have used to help process aspects of my life in a manner that I can better understand. I am not a leader, and yet I am. I cannot control how others might see me and the manner in which they set me. But I can resist the temptations that such affiliations can offer. Because in the end, I’m just me. Another traveler on the road with you. This Path is for my steps alone. But the song says nothing about those that walk beside you on the Path. Let’s walk together until you need to blaze your own trails. Besides, I like the companionship…

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