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Archive for the ‘Seeking’ Category

All Quiet For Awhile

Just a note to say that I’ve decided to give ADF a decent try, and am attempting to complete their Dedicant Path – or at least the parts of it that I’m OK with. (The DP eventually involves an oath to those Gods to complete, which I won’t do if I’m not fully sure it’s the right thing to do. Casually made oaths are a bad idea.)

I’m blogging that journey over at Druid in the Swamp.

I figure if I’m going to try on a new identity, I might as well do it the whole way, and trying to blog here just kept me comparing ADF to Wicca, and that way leads to madness.

It’ll take me a year to work through the DP, at the end of which I hope to have enough to make a decision one way or the other.

If I’m honest, after two months, I still feel like I’m pretending to do something to fill a void where what I really want to do is gone.

But I can do it for a year, and the learning certainly won’t do me wrong. I still feel like a Witch, not a Druid. I am pretty torn about it, but I want to give it an honest try. So I will. Feel free to follow me over there, and on twitter as @SwampDruid. I’m not deleting this blog, and next Samhain I may be back. Or I may not. We’ll see when that time comes.

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Holidays are hard as a solitary when you’d rather be working with a group.

Especially when you’d rather be working with a specific group, that is still working together, just not with you in it. I know why I’m not there, and I agree that it wasn’t helping my mental state. Still, there is part of my (very human) subconscious that says “you got sick and they threw you out”. That part of me may be 4 years old, but she can be loud. My rational self knows better, and knows that’s not what happened, but the feelings are still very real regardless. It’s just hard to let go of something you love doing.

I’ve tried to work as a solitary for the last 6 months, and I’m finding it really hard as well. With no community or feedback, the holidays and full moons have just become little semi-religious holidays that I throw something together for instead of feeling truly connected to the wheel. When I’ve done the full ritual, it’s felt empty and hollow, which didn’t endear me to trying to do the full ritual a lot. It was a little exciting, in a way, when I first started back to doing this on my own, but that faded pretty fast. I guess I’m just not good at going it alone anymore.

A bit ago, I started looking into ADF, since there is a local grove here, and I thought maybe I could plug in there to something neo-Pagan and get the community I’m obviously looking for. I’ve not had the guts to go to any of their major rituals, but I’ve been corresponding with several, and I started to work on the Dedicant Path as well.

It’s… I’m not really sure what I think. The history and study required really appeals to me, so I’m not put off by doing that – in fact, regardless of what I end up doing long term, I probably won’t regret a solid foundation in comparative mythology. But I can’t shake the feeling that there is a ton of depth here that I just can’t get my brain around yet. I’ve done several ADF style rituals, and they’re very well put together, if VERY different from Wicca, but the connection just isn’t there. So maybe it’s just a familiarity thing, I don’t know. (I can’t say the connection is really there with my Wicca-style rituals right now either, so maybe it’s just me.)

I also can’t shake the feeling that I’m a Witch, not a Druid. I’ll admit that may be because I’ve thought of myself as a Witch for years, but it still nags at the back of my brain.

Or maybe I’ll be a Witch AND a Druid, but I know better than to try to learn two systems at the same time.

I’m trying to decide how to start off this new year. Samhain always feels like a good time to put aside the old and start over. I’ve done a few readings (using the Ogam, since I’m trying to learn that system) and I keep getting Muin and Ifin/Phagos.

  • Muin is the ogam of communication and introspection, with connotations both of finding your voice and understanding emotions as well as letting go of the things that you no longer need and gathering in what is dearest to you.
  • Ifin/Phagos is the ogam of Ancestral knowledge and clear thinking, of drawing on the collective wisdom of those who came before you. Use the knowledge of the Ancestors to help clear your own mind.

Which is somewhat auspicious for this time of year, given how thin the veils are and how close this holiday is to the Ancestors. I feel like I don’t have a clear path forward though, which I guess is the meaning of the reading – Use the knowledge of the ancestors to help clear your thinking. Maybe I’ll focus on that in whatever ritual I end up doing today.

I definitely want to start something new, to start working towards a goal again. Maybe that will just be finishing the Dedicant Path and seeing where I feel in a year. I know I don’t have to leave behind what I’ve learned (and, in fact, all I’ve learned should be helping to propel me forward), but I miss working with the intent of getting somewhere. Whether it was to figure out this paganism thing, to find a teacher, to cement my relationship with the gods, or to be ready to ask for initiation, I’ve always had something that I was working towards. The Dedicant Path seems to fit that goal pretty well, and it’s a varied and rich study program that seems like it would be valuable to anyone of any neo-Pagan persuasion.

And maybe I just need to realign my brain with my reality, to know that even though the meds and therapy have made a massive difference, I will never not be bipolar, and bipolar and Trad Wicca just didn’t seem to get on well together. Maybe that’s what I need to leave behind as this year ends, and allow myself to fully experience something new as next year begins. There’s no harm in trying something for a year, right?

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As I prepare for the Solstice, I’m finding myself really missing the idea of being a student of a tradition. In a way, it’s a mourning as much as a growing process, and while I understand (and really came to a mutual agreement about) why this wasn’t going to work right now, it’s still hard. Especially knowing that my fellow students are probably going to be initiated soon – though I am very happy for them.

I had my former teacher do a reading for me, in the vein of where I should go from here, and (not surprisingly) any path is going to be difficult, but come with its own rewards. I’ve considered looking at a local ADF grove, just to be a public member, but I’m not sure I could go back to just being part of a laity instead of a student. And I really don’t have the mental energy to be a student right now, especially with the sheer amount of homework that comes with the dedicant path in ADF.

I did a reading for myself as well, and after a long break (while I was studying with the coven), my old friend the Three of Wands came back. While I’ve always seen this as my seeking card, due to the way the main figure is so intently watching the ships on the horizon, I find it has rather a different feeling than it used to. (Oh Tarot, how versatile you can be…)

This time I’m seeing myself watching the ships, the things I see as possible futures, once I get my mental state in order, but there in the foreground are three trees to tend. Things that I can and should tend on my own. While this isn’t a typical reading for the Three of Wands, which usually reflects seeking for something new and leaving the old behind, for some reason I keep going back to his three trees, and the idea of focusing on what I can do here, and now, and on my own.

And really, returning to a solitary path IS something new and challenging, so I guess that part of the card applies as well.

Even if I know the solitary path is hard, and filled with the traps of inaction and succumbing to busyness rather than making time for practice, I see myself going in that direction for the time being. My husband agrees, and thinks a time of inner work and introspection will be positive and help me grow – and grow more stable.

It’s still hard to give up my identity as a student (something I was for nearly two years), but I think it’ll be for the best. I learned a ton in that time, and I’m a better witch for it, but I think I can grow as a solitary witch as well.

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I was reading recently about a book that takes on the differences between world religions. The book is called God is not One, by Stephen Prothero. Caveat: I have not read the book, only several articles about it, but I liked the premise enough to want to ponder it in the context of Paganism/Wicca/Witchcraft (because those religions aren’t included in his book, as far as I can tell).

Anyway, the basic premise is that each religion answers a major problem about the world (or a major question):

Islam: the problem is pride / the solution is submission
Christianity: the problem is sin / the solution is salvation
Confucianism: the problem is chaos / the solution is social order
Buddhism: the problem is suffering / the solution is awakening

And I was wondering if Wicca fit into that. I’ve asked my HPS about it (I’m officially an apprentice to their coven now, which is exciting and crazy all at the same time), and got her answer, but I think this might be one of those times where there isn’t one right answer. This path is so experiential that I can see a lot of different “right” answers.

So what do you think? What is the question about the world that Wicca/Witchcraft/Paganism answers?

Or, to word it another way, to what question is “Wicca” (or Paganism, or Witchcraft) the answer?

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Dear Internet Pagans

I appreciate your efforts to be inclusive of all Pagans, regardless of wearing Pagan-looking clothes or being on “the right” path. This is a good thing, because there is no dogma or defined orthodoxy of Paganism, and that’s how it should be. Standing up for that (as well as for my right to wear cowboy boots) is useful.

On the other hand, taking potshots at oathbound paths doesn’t make you an excellent example of being respectful to other paths very much.

– RD

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Sometimes I wish I didn’t have the names of the cards on them. Not often enough to actually go after my cards with a paper cutter, but on occasion yes.

Today’s card is the 5 of Pentacles:

Ouch.

Not a good card to pull on the day you get your first job interview in months after being unemployed for over a year. The 5 of Pentacles often means financial loss, or financial irresponsibility. It could mean I won’t get the job. (I don’t want to think about that option.) Or, it could mean “don’t be stupid with your newly increased family income”.

But as soon as I turned this card over, I noticed the greyhound chasing the rabbit in the background.

It took my attention immediately.

One of the things I’m working on is a stronger intuitive reading and listening more to the inner voice that shows up at odd times. Usually it’s worth at least considering, and it’s something I’ll need to be much better at as I learn more about Witchy things.

Anyway, so there’s a rabbit, and he’s being chased around. (poor bunny)

Rabbits are frequently a symbol of rebirth and transformation, intuition, promise, and fertility, at least in Western cultures. There is a prominent Rabbit on the Druidcraft card XX Rebirth, and rabbits show up in other places in the Tarot as well.

As such, I wonder if this card, today, isn’t telling me that having a job (even a job that I really want, and am excited about having interviewed for, and would REALLY like to get, and is at a place that I really want to work) will take time away from my seeking.

That having a full time job might “chase the rabbit” a bit.

Which, of course, is obvious, but something I’d not really thought about until I was looking at the card and really thinking about it. Probably a good thing to remember.

I had the Nine of Swords as a jump-card when I was shuffling – the card of the “Long Night of the Soul”. Neither is a particularly happy card, though I’ve drawn the Nine of Swords recently in the middle of a spread that put a very positive spin on it. Hopefully it’s all related.

… and hopefully I get that job!

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