Monday, April 4, 2016

My Journey Into Paganism and Learning to Pave My Own Path

(One of my first altar set-ups. Oh how things have changed!) 

      This blog has existed for close to four months now and I have yet to make a single post. I’ve spent hours sitting in front of my computer screen debating what I should write about. I’ve jumped from one idea to the next without really hitting any that stuck. Today, I was struck by how my procrastination and indecision regarding this first post mirrors the beginnings of my journey into Paganism.
      While I would still consider myself a beginner, I do find myself farther down the path than many others I have known. There are an infinite number of “paths” you can take when beginning your journey into paganism (spirituality in general really) and many more forks in the road as you go. This is, at the same time, the best and worst aspect of beginning the journey on your own.
      In the beginning, I often found myself wishing I had someone to guide and teach me. Oh how easy it would have been to simply follow the lead of a teacher! To have some pre-determined set of rules to follow or a step-by-step guide to what I should be learning and when would have made getting to the point I have reached now far easier. However, there is a downside to that ease. With someone telling me what to believe or how to practice, there are many aspects of myself that would still be unknown to me. If I had followed the lead of a teacher/priestess/etc. the “brand” of Paganism I practice would look far different.
      Don’t get me wrong, there are many, many great aspects of working with and learning from others. There is a special kinship that develops among members of coven or study group that you cannot compare to anything else. I would encourage anyone and everyone to seek out local pagan organizations, groups, craft circles, book clubs, etc. but do so only after you have developed a firm foundation of knowledge on your own.
      The great beauty of Paganism is how vast and inclusive it really is. There are different traditions such as Wicca, Druidism, Heathen, Hedge Witchcraft, Native American traditions, and many more. More often than not, you will also find that each of these traditions have sub-traditions of their own. Wicca alone breaks off into a vast number of different traditions each with their own set of beliefs/rituals/rules/etc.
      I have known many people who start out trying to find one pre-determined set of beliefs that line up closely with their own, and I fell into this same trap when I was starting out. Wicca didn’t seem to cover everything I was interested in learning; Traditions that only include working with the Goddess felt incomplete; Green Witchcraft had the intense connection with nature I was craving but something was missing there as well; and I soon found myself as disconnected and feeling as alone as I had felt sitting in the pews of our local church as a child.  
      It took a while for me to understand that it didn’t have to be one way. I didn’t have to fit into the mold these traditions demanded. I could blend and mold them into something that fit the way I needed them to fit.
      I have a large altar in the public area of my home as well as a smaller, private one in my bedroom. They are both highly personal and empowering. They are arranged and adorned in a way that is pleasing and works well for me. Objects from different Pagan traditions (as well as a few from other types of faiths) sit side by side among stones, plants, offerings, incense, and candles. I’ve begun to pave my own path. In doing so, I have also begun to trust my intuition, care less about what the rest of the world thinks, and find peace within myself.

Thanks for stopping by…
                                            Merry Meet…
                                                                       And Merry Part,

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