Pagan Blog Project – “U” for “Understanding”

I’ve always been reticent to really chat with other Pagans about what I believe and how I practice. This is usually because I’m very different from most practicing Pagans or Witches. Hell, even saying “Yes, I’m a witch” gets me funny looks from Pagans and comments like “You shouldn’t say that.”

You’d think a bunch a tree hugging dirt worshipers would be a little more open to how individuals practice. Every so often, you’ll see posts in major Pagan blogs about how Pagans need to be more understanding of one another and that trying to get a consensus of what we all believe is a kin to herding cats. While I believe there is strength in that lack of uniformity, but a little more understanding of that very lack of uniformity would go miles towards a greater sense of community despite all our differences. Then perhaps wouldn’t be so hesitant to talk to people who share my brand of faith.

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Pagan Blog Project – “U” for “Undefined”

Ahh, the unknowable element. The looming cloud of the incomprehensible. I know this may scare some people but to me, this can also mean potential. Anything undefined leaves space for definition, for discovery.

In a way I envy neopyites since they have so much to discover and to learn. In their search for definition, they will have epiphanies I have to search my tired old brain to remember.

I try to explain to friends and my kid that not knowing, being undefined, isn’t a bad thing; it’s an opportunity. It’s a clear path to discovery and it’s being laid out right before you. Don’t miss the chance and enjoy the journey.

 

Pagan Blog Project – T for Training

I try and meditate every day for at least 20 minutes to clear my mind and be able to focus. It’s not every day that I have to perform a huge ritual or anything but each little meditation session is like running laps to train for a marathon. I’ve found it much easier to get in the right frame of mind for worship since I’ve started to train my mind to reach that state.

My eventual goal is to have 40 minutes to an hour of meditation time a night but yyeeaahhh… Maybe when I retire. =_= There are days where those 20 minutes are spent just calming myself down. But the benefits are more than worth it. It’s like an old muscle you stretch back into fighting form. I suppose all those years of martial arts paid off in the sense of giving me a trainer’s mind. I’m always training, striving, trying to be better and so better to improve.

Pagan Blog Project – “T” for “Teacher”

“When the student is ready the teacher will appear” ~Buddhist proverb

There are few things would dare call absolute but the statement above is indeed an absolute. In my experience, this has been the most true thing I have ever heard. Whenever I have had need of a certain spiritual lesson, the person or persons who will give me this lesson are right there having come into my life at exactly the right time.

For good or ill, I am grateful for all these impromptu teachers. Not all the lessons have been easy or pleasant. Many involved a fair amount of tears and still hurt to this day. But what I have taken away from these lessons have made me the strong, capable person I am today. So, I look forward to the next teacher to come into my life. May they be lenient with their lessons. XD

Pagan Blog Project – “S” for “Spell”

It’s usually the first question I get asked when I tell people I’m a Pagan Witch. “Do you cast spells?” Can it get annoying, sure. But it beats getting asked if I worship the devil.

The quick and dirty answer is, yes I cast spells. Many may think of this as a roughshod explanation but most of the time for me, spells are prayers with kickass props. Can I cast without props? Sure. I do it all the time. Quick thanks for a good day, guidance in a decision, safety when traveling, patience with my kid; anything that strikes me at the time.

I say it’s like prayer because a spell is just focusing your will and intent on a specific goal. And like prayer, it only works if YOU do. Go ahead, cast 100 weight loss spells. If you sit on your ass and eat gallons of ice cream for dinner, it won’t work. If you pray for a job yet never take an interview, it won’t work. It sets you up to go out and make your destiny. It gives you confidence and a sense of purpose. Something some of us sorely need.

Pagan Blog Project – “S” for “Satisfaction”

When it comes to things like satisfaction, I tend to lean towards a more Buddhist approach. It is desire that leads to despair and then you cannot truly attain satisfaction because you always Want. It’s an endless cycle of trying to fulfill a need with only temporary satisfaction, a hunger that’s never quite sated.

It’s hard not to desire things but I try to be realistic with the things I desire. I want to pay off the mortgage early so I send in extra payments when I can. The satisfaction comes in that temporary sacrifice (not having that extra cash on hand) for the long term goal (the slow but steady shrinking of that debt). The same thing goes for cooking my own food, rather than ordering in or spending a day just cleaning. I get the satisfaction of a meal made with my own hands and the freer energy of a clean, well-organized space.

Instead of chasing some fleeting material goal, I try to focus on things that will increase my general satisfaction with my life. After that, I can work on being more than satisfied; I can work on being fulfilled. 😉

Pagan Blog Project – “R” for “Reconciliation”

Keeping with last entry’s letter, I’ve also been thinking a lot about reconciliation. Particularly since the dealings with my mother’s estate are very nearly done. Over the last year, I’ve learned some sooper seekret things about Ma that I honestly feel would have brought us closer as mother and daughter. I think I will carry my resentment towards losing that connection with her for the rest of my life. There’s no way I can straight up yell at her for it (unless anybody knows a good medium).

However, I have reconciled with the why’s and how’s of her secrets. I’m a thirty something in the year 2012; having grown up in the 80’s and 90’s and not having to deal with much discrimination. Ma grew up with darker skin than mine in the 1950’s. You don’t come up a poor, Black, feminist in that time without developing a thick skin and a chip on your shoulder.

I wish she could have reconciled all that anger and self-deception before she died. I’m sure sure she would have been happier. Ma always worried I would end up “like her,” someone who thought of nothing but work and responsibility at the expense of all else. But it was that determination which helped me have an easier time of coming to terms with the myriad of feelings a parent’s death will bring you. She made me strong. For that, I am grateful.

Pagan Blog Project – “R” for “Retribution”

Ma always taught me living well is the best revenge. In a way, she was right.

There is always something in you that wants the big confrontation after a fight; the epic conclusion worthy of the final episode of a TV drama. I’ve had those and let me tell you, they are so not worth the trouble. There is nothing soul cleansing about them. Every confrontation has left me weary and soiled. It didn’t matter if I was “right” or if it mended a broken friendship, there was still a sense something once in one piece would never be right again.

Sometimes when something ends, it ends for a reason. There is no real benefit to getting even or getting the last word. For me, the best revenge is to forget the whole thing. As a wise friend of mine said: “Don’t let them rent space in your head.” They’re not worth it.

Pagan Blog Post – “Q” for “Queen”

As in “Queen of Heaven

I am a big fan of the old gods. I believe they are closer to a more primal spiritual experience; the nearly nameless ones who represent the comos in their most pure form.

Gee, can you tell I read Clan of the Cave Bear once? But really, that’s the sort of connection to The Queen or The Goddess I most enjoy. I find I most often send please to the formless Great Mother for help, to The Queen for strength, and to The Goddess for wisdom. Though Their many names may escape me, it is Their essence I usually seek.

When I think of trying to be more like a Queen, I think of a woman of honor, patience, and humility. Someone who doesn’t need the last word, takes the high road, and keeps their home and family safe. I think of a provider, a nurturer, a disciplinarian, and a fighter. I have tried to be all these things when I need to be them but I try to keep myself realistic; no woman can really do it all. We are sadly only human and the flesh is weak. The Queen also needs to nap.

Pagan Blog Post – “Q” for “Quit”

I know the first instinct for any parent is to tell their children never to give up. “You don’t wanna be a quitter, do you?” I would hear growing up. Unless it was smoking or drugs, quitting was never a good thing.

Sometimes, quitting can be a blessing.

I used to try and keep all my friends no matter what they did to me. I would stick to activities I didn’t enjoy because I thought quitting was a bad thing. I endured horrible classes (with horrible grades as a result) and toxic relationships because I didn’t know when to give up.

To paraphrase Brokeback Mountain, I certainly know when to quit now. The very moment something becomes more trouble than it’s worth or starts to be un-enjoyable, I re-evaluate it’s place in my life and see if I really need it. I have to tell you, this process has not only saved me money, but time and an assload of grief. Quitting can be spiritually freeing because you aren’t shackled with life’s unnecessary detritus and left me feeling lighter, more able to deal with more important things (like mortgage agents and prickly 5 year olds). When I quit trying to impress, I made better friends and when I quit dieting, I found better health and happiness.

Seems like quitting may not be as bad as Mama said.