2021 was one ride I didn’t really want to be on. My year started off showing me a dead-end I had been traveling. So, there was a bit of back-tracking that had to be done. Its never a great thing to be wrong, especially over a life choice – but that does happen. It’s a part of living life. The rest of the year was spent trying to unravel lots of things to get stuff back on-track. That eventually took place, and the end of the year was better than the start. But I’m glad to place 2021 into the rear-view mirror, and 2020 into the distant past. That’s about as much of a review of the year that I care to give. I’m still focused on moving forward, one single step at a time.
I spent the last posts of the calendar year looking ahead, into the future. I did this without tarot cards, runes, and what-not. Instead, I just did what data analysis has shown me to do – look at trends, cycles, data, and attempt to see where things go. It’s a terrible way to predict the future, but it was fun to look at the wider aspect of Paganism in a way I normally don’t. My usually tack in the wind is to focus on my own steps, not investigate the Path of others.
All of that brings me back to a basic point, which lays the foundation of my daily Path. I had a Pagan individual make the following statement to me.
You should be doing [this] in your Pagan practice if you want to be an authentic Pagan.
Well, it got my hackles up rather quickly. There’s one thing I don’t do is have others dictate to me what my Path will or will not be. After all, I’m the stiff that walks this Path daily, and I’ve been doing it long enough to know what my footfalls should be. Once I let my blood pressure lower, I responded back (gently) by explaining that my approach is one of connection. My daily “practice” (I really need to find a better word than this) provides me with the connection I need to my environment, myself, and my Gods. If what the individual was claiming to be “necessary” to be an “authentic Pagan” (whatever the fuck that might mean) brought meaning and use to my approach, I would surely adopt it into my daily Path. If this new approach, technique or whatever did not do that – I didn’t need to be wasting my time, energy, and effort on it. Really, its as simple as that.
For instance, I dabbled at tarot over the last year. I was hoping to find a divinatory process that might be useful for me. As it wound up, the cards are pretty and all, but the divinatory meaning that came up meant nothing to me. Thus, I do not do tarot any longer.
What then, does my Paganism bring to my life? Well, it’s a part of my life. My daily walk in life is informed by it. The Wheel of the Year provides me a basis to work from on ritualistic connection to the time of Year, the land around me, and my environment. My rituals – unorthodox as they may be – provide deeper context to my environment, as well as to myself. My spiritual beliefs help guide me through a daily existence by connecting me with the Gods. My primary focus is the betterment of my connections to the Divine, but I also try to practice kindness to all in every step and each breath I take. Life is not just about me. There are others that we all touch daily in our walk. How we interact with others matters – not just to ourselves, but also to them.
There will be others who will be saying to themselves now: “That’s not my Paganism. That’s not my [insert belief system here].” Not only will that statement be true, but it will also help to shape the directional aspect of their own Paganism. Your Spiritual Path is not some rote system of memory, which everyone else must aspire to – so they can be an “authentic Pagan” in your eyes. Everyone’s approach will be different. What they get out of their own Spiritual approach will be different. They are authentic Pagans because they follow what’s in their heart, what calls to their soul, what provides meaning to their own existence…whatever that may look like. I’m not the judge of what is or is not Paganism in the heart of someone else. Nor would I ever accept such a position. I’m an authority on me…not others.
Paganism, from my perspective, is something that is lived. It can be as mundane as lighting a few candles in your living room and performing a simple ritual to acknowledge the time of the year. It can be as elaborate as leading a large group of people in a complex ritual outdoors, designed to provide an ecstatic moment for all who attend. It can be anything in between that – and even beyond. Living what’s in your heart, reaching out to the Gods (if that’s your thing), experiencing the Wheel of the Year with your mind open and aware in every moment of a single cycle…to me, that’s living your Paganism. And Paganism is meant to be lived, in whatever manner you feel that connects you.
That’s my own personal perspective. All of that might be confusing to you, the reader. I grok that. I’m not always the most lucid in the world when trying to explain where my thoughts are. However, I do the best that I can. I make mistakes, just like any other person. After all, I’m a part of that difficult to predict data set, humans. 😊So, if you’re looking for advice (and don’t just take mine – find other Pagans and ask them) on how to handle your own approach to Paganism and whatever Spiritual belief system you ascribe to – all I can give to you is to be true to your own self. Try things. Explore. See if it works for you. If it doesn’t, set it down, and move on. There’s plenty of other options to try. Don’t be afraid to remake things in whatever fashion works best for you. After all, its YOUR approach to your own Spiritual Path. You know what works for you and what doesn’t. But to get to that point of knowledge, you must try. And try with full effort. And don’t worry, you’ve got this. Even if you feel that you don’t. You’ll find later down the line – that you really do.