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Posts Tagged ‘wicca’

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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I’ve had to step away from my training.

It’s a complicated thing, but I’ve talked before about some of the mental health issues I have, and they’re just not cooperating with the level of energy that comes with (and is required for) coven work. I’m perfectly happy and really enjoy the Work, and I love being in circle, but the backlash the next day is, well, awful. And a little scary. It’s not an all the time thing, but after our (wonderful, high energy) celebration of Beltane this weekend, I had two of the worst days I’ve had in a long time.

Maybe it’s that my meds aren’t working (this is highly possible, from other cues in my life), maybe I just can’t handle the energy levels raised in a close knit circle.

Maybe I’m just not cut out for this priestess thing, no matter how much I may want it.

Self-limitation sucks, especially when it is because of things you wish would just go away.

I know that paganism and mental illness are not mutually exclusive, but they’re butting heads right now, and it sucks. I know this is the right decision, that I can still worship my Gods and do my magic on my own, and that I’m still allowed to be close to my circle mates. But it will be different, and it’s not what I want or what I’ve spent the last 18+ months working towards.

I’ve talked with my HPS, and she agrees strongly that this isn’t something I should push to continue if it’s going to make me sick. I trust her advice, and it’s somewhat comforting to know that this kind of mental backlash isn’t normal. It’s not a grounding issue either, or one of focus – by all accounts I’m fine when I’m working and have good energy flow and am grounding properly, it’s just… too much for my brain I guess.

Still, I’m conflicted by having to step away (at least for now, I keep telling myself) from something I really want to do and be. Even knowing its the right and healthy choice doesn’t make it fun.

I’m the River Daughter, and I’m a witch… and I happen to also have mixed bipolar and an anxiety disorder.

Somehow, I’ve got to find a way to make that work.

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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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I’m going to try out a “weekly check in” kind of post, to keep myself honest about what I’m doing (as well as to keep me “aware” of the things that are going on around me, from a seasonal perspective). I think this will usually be on Mondays, but I still had houseguests yesterday, so Tuesday will just have to work for this week!

Here we sit like birds in the wilderness…

The birdfeeders are up again for the fall – a little earlier than last year. Hopefully we’ll get a better set of birds this winter, as we now have more than just generic “wild bird seed”. As of right now, we have a thistle/songbird feeder, a sunflower feeder, a “bird seed blend” feeder (that has a pentagram on it… but don’t tell anyone. It’s disguising itself as a Texas Star), and a tray-style feeder up on a high pole. Eventually when it’s cool enough, we’ll add a suet feeder.

In two days, we’ve seen a mated pair of cardinals, chickadees, sparrows, tufted titmice, mourning doves and whitewing doves, and a bluejay. I’m hoping to see the bewicks wrens that nested in our front wreath at some point, as well as the woodpeckers that live in the front maple, some finches and … well, anything else we can get to stop by for a snack.

I need to look up whether it’s too late here to catch migrating hummingbirds or not. I know we’re far enough south that we see them on their spring and fall migrations, so it’s worth a look. I’ve got an extra hook on our feeder-tree that’s not being used!

What I’m Reading

  • Divine Wind; The history and science of hurricanes, by Kerry Emmanuel
  • Greenmantle, by Charles de Lint
  • Some of the Valdemar books by Mercedes Lackey (re-reading, summer brain-candy style)
  • Keeping a Journal You Love, by Sheila Bender (out of print, from the library) – This one is something I’m going to look into purchasing for myself, as the prompts in it are interesting and different. Either that, or I’m going to make a big list!
  • A book on Texas Gulf Coast ecosystems and ecology… that I forget the name of. I checked it out of the library and Husband Unit promptly stole it off to work where he’s been reading it during down time.

Wicca: A Year and a Day

(This doesn’t count as part of What I’m Reading, because I’m not really “reading” so much as “doing” it alongside the book)

Thanks to weekends, traveling, and houseguests, I’ve gotten a bit behind on my Year and a Day. (I’m on day 9 after two weeks. Oops.) Still, the exercises have been valuable, and I’ve been keeping up with the journal side of things. Some of his meditation tricks have been very useful, and I’m finding myself working on grounding and centering a lot during the day. (Also, the slow, intentional breathing seems to help me quiet my mind and fall asleep. It’s not helping me STAY asleep, but I’m getting more sleep than I was, so hey – improvement!)

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Pulled out all the dead plants – currently have three pepper plants, two okra plants, an eggplant plant, and a roma tomato plant that are still alive enough to give a second season a try. All are stressed (except the okra, of course), but seem to be trying to flower, which is encouraging. Hopefully when it cools down they’ll start actively producing again. Echinacea is in full bloom, and it’s become one of my favorite flowers. I’ll probably plant it in the front beds next year as well, since the huge purple flowers are gorgeous.

I need to sort the compost and get it turned into the garden soon – probably this coming weekend. It’s just so unbearably hot that I’m dreading doing it.

Seedlings for my fall garden include yellow, acorn, and patty-pan squash, bush beans, pickling cucumbers, and little yellow pear tomatoes, as well as green onions, bok choy, and an assortment of sympathetic plants (like nasturtiums and radishes) to plant in the garden to help with bugs. My colony of assassin bugs seems to be doing just fine as well.

My herb plants are doing splendidly… except for the basil, which has flowered and is in the process of bolting and dying (which is fine, I’ll be collecting the seeds). Thyme, sage, rosemary, lemon balm, and bee balm are all quite happy, and the oregano plant of DOOM has slowed down some due to the heat. Aloe vera plants are also doing splendidly.

We repotted the lime tree this weekend, so it’s a little stressed, but it’s not dropping fruit, and seems less stressed than it was in its previous, too-small pot.

Seems like a lot, but I’m introducing some of this from scratch, so I figure most of these posts will be shorter. It’s good to be back into my routine!

Hope ya’ll have a blessed week!

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Quick Note: Thank you to those who left comments! I’m sorry I didn’t approve them sooner – for some reason I’m not getting the emails about new comments properly. I’ll look into it, and for now, welcome and hello!

This Year and a Day is going to be more like “366 meditations”.

I’m pretty sure there’s no way I’m going to be done in 366 days. There’s always the issue of vacations and trips that make spiritual practice difficult. Plus, right now I’m limited on weekends, due to both lots to do (I have a large yard, and our house is a ‘fixer-upper’ in the classic sense of the word) and my wanting to keep things very private. I don’t mind doing meditations and journaling, but going out and doing spellwork while the husband unit is around makes me jumpy.

Which is conflicting a bit. I don’t like not telling him things, but I also don’t know how he’ll respond. (I also don’t like sharing secrets. “Two may keep a secret, if one of them is dead” and all that.)

Either way, the beginnings of this book include some musings on what fears you might have approaching Wicca, and what your religious past is. Oddly, I’ve been looking into this enough that my biggest fears are those of isolation and rejection. I’m afraid of never being able to talk about this with anyone in “real life”, and I’m afraid of my family finding out and turning their back on me.

I don’t do well when I disappoint people. I especially don’t do well when I disappoint my parents (and right now, as someone who’s been unemployed for over a year, I’m pretty much a walking disappointment, judging by our recent conversations).

And my parents are deeply, utterly, wholeheartedly, unquestioningly Christian. As are my grandparents (my grandfather is an ordained minister). And my brother and sister in law. And all my aunts and uncles – except my one uncle, but he’s always been the “rebellious” child and a self-centered prick. And that doesn’t even get into my deeply traditional South Texas in-laws.

So I fear rejection. That I will have to reject myself and stay secret – or that I will be rejected by my family.

We’ll see what comes of all this.

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I’m never sure how to do a “first post”, so here’s a token one.

I’m the River Daughter, a 20 something living in south-east Texas, married, caretaker to two cats, and putting the spurs to a five-plus-year dabble into the Pagan and (neo) Wiccan path. I started looking into Earth-Centered Religion back when I was in College, and things before that are ancient history I’ll unpack another time.

I’ve followed the wheel of the year, and celebrated the cycles of the moon, but I’ve done a lot more reading and a lot less doing, trying to figure out where and how I fit into this thing.

This year at Beltane I did a self-dedication Ritual – the kind of thing where I basically said “Ok, here I am, I want to do this for real, this is me calling on my Year and a Day”, even though I know it’ll take way longer than that.

Since then things have been a lot more secure (go figure, asking the Gods for help gets you help!), and I’ve recently started Roderick’s Wicca: A Year and a Day, since my attempts to find a local teacher have been unsuccessful as yet. I figure if I can’t find a “real” teacher, I’ll just stick with what I can find online and in books that have a more traditional bent.

I’ve read the usual suspects: Starhawk, the Farrars, Cunningham, Valiente, and others, and I’m finding I like some of the elements of Traditional Wicca, so starting there seems to make sense. I won’t know if I’ll fit into a BTW coven until I actually FIND one, but for now I like the more traditional authors (and online communities) quite a bit.

What you’ll find here is… well, who knows, just yet.

I needed an outlet, a place to talk about this whole Pagan and Wiccan thing since I’m firmly in the Broom Closet (and intend to stay that way).

Community is important, and there are some amazing Pagan and Wiccan folks on the internet. Hopefully I can find my own little place among them.

I read a lot of blogs and am a big fan of a number of excellent podcasts, but I’m not very good at social networks, so you won’t find me on Facebook or Covenspace or Paganspace or whatever it is that’s the big thing now. I’m here or on email (riverdaughterblog at gmail).

Peace!

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