To introduce this post, a few days ago I put up a status post on Facebook that read: ” To introduce this post, a few days ago I put up a status post on Facebook that read: “So where am I looking for my Paganism to go? What do I envision getting from my individual walk through Life? And how does all of that fit in with others?? Well, I’ve articulated that in the past on the blog, but let’s take a deeper look.”
The first and third questions I have been through in depth, here on the blog, but the second question, I have only brushed up against in various posts, particularly when I was discussing the concept of the Pagan Square Mile, a concept I was introduced to in a talk presented by Kristoffer Hughes. Since I had only brushed up against the perspective in the second, and its hard-linked to the other two questions, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit. Ready for ride? Then, let’s go – and I’ll do my best not to take us over the cobblestones at a tremendously high rate of speed.
Where Do I Want This to Go?
So, where do I hope to have my Paganism take me? Its an interesting notion to entertain, since everyone comes to Paganism with their own expectations, usually colored by their past experiences. And I have found that we rarely go back and see how much our expectations have changed. I’ve been on my Pagan path since 1986. In terms of time, sure it can be described as “quite lengthy”. I know that I looked upon Elders of the Pagan community that had been on their own Paths since the mid-1960s. I was awed with their walk because I could not fathom the length. In 1986, I turned twenty-one. I was very much the typical wide-eyed novice. People that remember from that time would likely describe me as somewhat naive. And they would be correct. I was in my initial steps away from my parents, just learning about fiscal responsibility, and here was this wide-open system of beliefs. A forest path I had never set foot on. I was so ready to explore. I wanted to know everything I could. That was my initial expectation, to learn as much as I could. Titles seemed to come with experience, so I wanted those as well.
Today? Well, I still have the thirst for knowledge, but I have to come to understand that titles are not a necessary part of that. My expectations of Paganism going forward from this point in my life, is that there is a closer bond and connection to be fashioned through my experiences. That connectivity and bond are with the Gods that wish to interact with me, as well as with the landscape around me. My expectations of my Paganism is that I will deepen and sharpen those bonds and connections, as well as those that I am unaware of or have not discovered yet.
The connections that I have with other Pagans is there as well. Many different types of personalities and perspectives. All of that forming a bond between myself and each individual. Some of that is weaker than others. Some of it has been strained for one reason or another. Some of it is extremely tight and close and continues to grow in ways that I never imagined. All of that forms my expectations of my Paganism.
Not titles or roles. Within and from without the wider Pagan community, I don’t need a descriptor or label to do what I do. I just need to step forward and do. The roles required of me will happen. Sometimes what I need to do will be something I don’t wish to, but it will happen over time, as the course of the river Karma will carry me there whether I want to or not.
What Do I Hope to Get out of My Walk Through Life?
This becomes a touch tougher to write about. Mostly because I feel I have already addressed this. But to go deeper, I need to approach this from a different of expectations. There’s a spiritual aspect I’ve brushed against, but have not really reached inside of. My entire Walk through Life encompasses the manner in which I work with the Gods, both the Gods I have binding agreements to work with, and those that approach me for smaller tasks without the necessary longer term agreements.
Working with the Gods means navigating the waters of Their vocabulary and expectations without a depth-finder for your boat. Many folks believe that communicating with the Gods is as simple as drawing on an Etch-a-sketch. No difficult patterns, just simple block patterns. However, I have found the reverse to be true. The Gods are never really clear about Their entire plan or motive, and rarely am I afforded a glimpse at how what I am being asked to accomplish fits into the Big Picture. Sometimes, communications are extremely clear to understand, which helps to accomplish what is being asked. More often than not, communications are vague, cloudy in focus, with difficult to comprehend instructions. Sort of like trying to assemble Ikea furniture without instructions in your native language. All you have to rely on are some pictographs for assembly, and a tight time deadline to accomplish the assembly task.
So, why do I put up with such an insane aspect of connectivity? Well, for a lot of reasons. I want to do the work and tasks I am asked to accomplish. I am a Polytheist. I worship the Gods in all of Their forms. I acknowledge that They are individual entities. Because I sometimes am provided with insight into a problem or issue I am trying to work through during my communications with Them. Because the connectivity I have with Them is one of the many hopes of what I will get from my Walk. And because doing for Them, communicating with Them is part of the doing of my Walk.
At one time, I thought that part of my Walk meant that I needed to find ways to achieve a title and function of “Priest”. Later, I realized that the title meant nothing, it was the ‘doing’ side of things that aligned me with what was being asked of me. Formalities and titles don’t enter into the aspect of doing things. Getting my hands dirty, creating things, achieving the accomplishment of tasks asked of me – those are what matter.
One thing I have started to learn also matters is doing these things without compromising my health. At 54 years of age, I’m not the spry individual I used to be. So, sometimes the accomplishment of tasks includes some negotiation where I am not capable or healthy enough to do what is asked.
How Does All of That Fit in With Everyone Else?
Of the years that I have been in Paganism, I have mostly functioned as a Solo Pagan. But even as a “solo Pagan”, I can acknowledge that working completely alone is not always the best fit for a healthy Walk. However, doing magickal workings with a group when you’re not a regular part of the group is not really a great idea, either. Good magickal workings with a group tend to be better with people who work together on a regular basis. From a solo Pagan’s perspective, if you need to do magickal or spellwork, either do it on your own or with someone you have done such workings with before. Familiarity is helpful in those instances.
Group ritual, for me, is usually better for celebrating the Wheel of the Year. Group work, in this manner is far easier to maintain with folks all of a like mind and a like purpose – celebrating a point in the Year. I’m not knocking group work here, merely pointing out that I do not have a group that I have worked regularly with. I am; however, working with a group of folks in celebrating the Wheel of the Year. No magickal workings, just the Wheel of the Year celebrations. In this manner, over time, we will become more accustomed and acclimated to one another’s energies and habits within a ritual, and then who knows? Perhaps, we would start working magick and the such together, if we all agreed on that aspect.
How does all of what I am fit in with others? On a social level, perfectly fine. Having people to talk with is always a wonderful. On a deeper spiritual level, not so much. But, I am also of the live and let live philosophy. That is to say, no one needs to do things the way I do, except for me. I won’t be critical of how anyone does anything, except where intentional harm comes into play. In my mind, that is just not something I want to be associated with, even on a casual or cursory level.
Wrapping It All Up
Hopefully, this was not too boring or too long. It is one of the lengthier solo pieces that I have written. But I wanted to go a bit deeper than just scratching the surface. I know that some folks will see this as just scratching the surface, but really its not. I’m opening up a bit deeper about where I go, what I do, and what I believe. I will repeat something I have said before — in my defense, Life is complicated. Some parts are easier to open up about than others. But if you would like a thinking or writing prompt, use the little blurb that I wrote over on Facebook to get this post started. What do you want from your Paganism? Where do you expect the Walk you are going through in Life to take you into the future? And how does all that connect you with others? Take some time writing it, I suspect your answers will be similar in some areas to mine, and others wildly different. This can be a good exercise towards diving deeper into who you are, how you believe, and what you want out of your Path. And if I might suggest writing it down, and then a few years down the road – ask the questions again, and see how your expectations have grown and changed.