Friday, 16 June 2017

Starting on a Pagan Path (with Steps like a Newborn Deer)

A YouTube marathon on Wicca was my point of entry...

Or was it really?

Now that I come to think of it, my teenage years were spent dabbling in a superficial kind of magic, or magick if you prefer, but the thought that there might be some deeper spirituality or divinity at the root of magical practice never occurred to me. Until recently. I underwent surgery and suddenly had a lot of time on my hands while recuperating. Unaccustomed to hours, days, weeks of mainly sitting still, apart from the odd shuffle about the house or - at a push - the garden, I started to read, to think in a deep, focused manner. My life is so busy, filled with noise, routine and filler, that stillness and thought of that kind are rarely achieved. For the first time in a decade I was forced to sit in one spot and... really think.

About what, you might ask?

Down in the rabbit hole of wonderings I dealt with the most existential of questions. My purpose, my capacity, my will, my wish, my wants. A lot of "me" thoughts, at first glance, but actually they did extend quite ferociously to encompass my family, my friends, my neighbours, our shared spaces, gardens and, yes, our planet, its equilibrium made fragile and skewed by humankind.
A quest for healing - medical, spiritual, environmental - erupted in stillness.

Somewhere along this short line of recovery, I discovered that I could no longer feel a connection to the God of the Abrahamic religions. I tried. I read Scripture every day. I prayed. Following surgery, the relationship had gone. Disappeared. Just like that. Nobody was more surprised than I was at this. I've always been spiritual, religious even, albeit in a broad sense. Even when I was not always "following the rules" of my religion, the connection with God was there. Now it isn't.

During rehabilitation nature was my only healer and I longed for broad expanses of water, especially the sea, which impresses the air with its restorative saltiness.

I found myself wondering about nature and divinity, animism, pantheism, non-theistic nature-based practices... and it brought me to YouTube's multiple and varied witchy communities, to pagan websites, to blogs and books. I'm currently reading Scott Cunningham's Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, and his Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, and Thea Sabin's (excellent) Wicca for Beginners.

Wicca interests me, as does witchcraft in general, Celtic witchcraft, Celtic paganism... Labels are tiresome, although likely necessary for communicating your path to others, and personalised deities are probably not my cup of tea.

I have not decided. Maybe I never will. The labels that do attract me at the moment are Celtic, Witch, Eclectic, and Solitary. The solitary aspect being essential. No more groups or priests and priestesses for me.

Blessings, all!