Posted in Paganism, Wicca

My Vital Online Witchcraft Community

9509438101_94e41040f8_oIn my last post, I wrote of my desire to incorporate nature and the earth more deeply into my spiritual and witchcraft paths. Pondering that, I began to think about why I had withdrawn from nature to a large degree. If I could point to any one thing, it would be the internet, thus the computer, the iPad, and the iPhone. And the biggest reason for that? Community.

One of the most obvious demons that we solitary practitioners face is loneliness. While we may not care to join a coven, or we aren’t able to find a local coven or other witches like ourselves, we all crave some kind of community. We walk a path shared by precious few (but growing!), and it gives us joy to communicate with others who share our interests and passions.

It took me years to craft (pun slightly intended) my online social community. I created and deleted numerous Twitter accounts, went from one online group to another, and even several different online incarnations of myself. Eventually, I found my voice.

It’s interesting that at first my online voice was far nicer than I felt I was in “real life.” I really wasn’t a “blessed be” person at all. I was far more cynical. I was intolerant of others at times, and less flexible in my beliefs.

That has changed. I’ve become the person you see represented on my various social media outlets. My interaction with other Pagans, witches, Wiccans, and other people who manage find me remotely interesting, has given me a brighter outlook on life. My online Pagan communities have become vitally important to me. I’ve become a “blessed be” person.

I’ve hopped from blog to blog in the past. It’s not uncommon. But I think I found my voice here also. I’m not interested in being a teacher of Pagan information. There are people who do that very well. I think my forte is relating my joys, struggles, and day to day experiences of being a Wiccan. It seems that what I have gone through, and what I continue to go through, is shared by so many others on this path. And that creates a connection, perhaps even a bond between us.

While this is all true, I now realize that there needs to be a healthy balance of online life and experiencing the joy of the natural world. And even there, I can stay in touch. I’ve discounted the portability of social media. I’ve tied myself to the desktop. I have the iPhone with the best camera they ever made. Why am I not outside, taking walks in nature, sharing my experiences and photos with my online community? Why in the world does it always take some degree of an existential crisis for me to wake up to things like this? Argh!

So the quest for balance continues.

Thanks for reading, and

Blessed Be!

 

Posted in Paganism, Wicca

Earthen, Polytheistic Witchcraft

14498887_1790832611140001_1081936355312795648_nThroughout spring, and for about half the summer, I hibernated in the house. I spent an inordinate amount of time futzing around on the computer, iPads, and my iPhone. I spent hours reading and sometimes writing about being Pagan. I spent countless hours curating my cloud & computer based Book of Shadows. I rearranged my altars constantly, fussing over what kind of candles to use, and ordering more. In retrospect, I was doing everything I could not to walk outside.

In August, I began to change that. I got back on my bike and spent more time outside. Whether it was the exercise itself, or getting outside, I began to feel better. The depression I constantly battle subsided, and I was energized. I was determined to squeeze out as much as I could of the remaining summer and fall.

Alas, as it always does, the warm weather left, but I was good through October with cycling. Early November was mild, but eventually the temperatures dropped, and the winds picked up. I now find myself again hibernating, and falling back into those old habits.

Those old habits have been accompanied by a nearly constant mental struggle with my spiritual path. It seems there are far too many days that I’m dissatisfied with the way I view my path, and how it makes me feel. I struggle with finding things to write about here. What can I offer up that hasn’t been rehashed on countless blogs and websites? How do I write about something with which I’m struggling.

For a few days in October, on my Twitter account, I got away from spirituality, and wrote about the upcoming election. I actually had several people say stuff like, “I don’t care what you think about politics, just write about witchcraft.” It made me hesitant to write about other topics that interested me.

So, where do I go from here? Lately, through this blog, I’ve had some discussions about Wiccan books, and Scott Cunningham’s name has come up, as it always does. I pulled out his centerpiece book the other day and read through it. In doing so, it dawned upon me what really drew me in so many years ago. It wasn’t altars, Books of Shadows, spells, or rituals. Granted those are awesome things, but what struck me most was the aspect of Wicca and it’s connection with the earth. That book has a lot of passages about becoming one with nature.

That got me thinking about one of my go-to books, Progressive Witchcraft. In that book, Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone write a lot about connecting to the deities of the land, of the place you live. They present a shamanic view of modern witchcraft practice, with more emphasis on an earthy connection to deity, with less ceremonial practice. A movement centered on connection with deities, rather than simply a God and Goddess. I see it as a polytheistic, shamanistic, earthen based path. There is a really good interview from 2004 on The Witches’ Voice here.

So where does this lead me? In two parallel directions, I think. First and foremost, a deeper connection with deities. Abandoning the duality of the God and Goddess, and finding connections with individual deities. I’ve been thinking in terms of faceless, nearly archetypical God and Goddess. A shift toward an actual relationship with deity, finding an intimate connection.

Secondly, finding a circular connection between the earth/nature, the deities of the land, and myself. Going outside and experiencing raw nature, seeking out the deities that come to my consciousness through those experiences. Moving away from antiseptic rituals written by others, practiced quickly indoors, without channeling deity. Incorporating shamanistic practice into my own spiritual practice.

Somewhere along the line, I’ve gotten caught up in a rather sterile practice, almost void of deity, void of earthiness. I saw myself moving toward a humanistic approach to Paganism, and while I think that path has its’ place, it’s not really the place I ultimately want to be.

I get this is yet another “me, me, me” post. However, it seems, from the feedback I get, that so many people struggle with their paths at one time or another, seeing others find their way can be helpful. To me, unexamined spirituality is akin to adopting your parent’s religion without question.

Blessings.