Throughout 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.