With most Pagans I know, we all swoon at the opportunity of knowledge. Books are good, lovely and incredible sources of information, and there is just so much to know. This is a spiritual path where you are constantly learning, constantly feeling like you’re new all over again, again and again. One can never hold too much information in their head, but where do you begin? How do you work out what you will study first, when the topics and possibilities seem endless?
And when does your own mentality catch up to you? This feeling of being a newbie has followed me on my path from the beginning, one I have walked for almost thirteen years. There is always something that I won’t know, people who have a greater knowledge about another topic, and the reality of it all was quite overwhelming. With each new person I met, I found myself becoming smaller and smaller, amongst the mass of information in others heads.
And that was just knowledge. When it comes to finding out how others practice, that’s a whole other matter. I cast circles quite simply, and often without any tools or even an altar. I felt that there was something wrong with me because I didn’t feel comfortable with a wand or athame, or because I didn’t raise my arms at some points and do other things with my body at other points. I was actually told that there was something wrong with my way of thinking because I’m not a fan of spellcraft, and because I don’t do a spell a day. I don’t feel the need to. In my life, I’ve found that everything comes in due time, and I accept that. I don’t feel the need to push for something that I may not be ready for.
And titles. Oh dear Gods, why do we all get caught up with what we call ourselves?! I was once in a Facebook group, trying to teach those very new to the path. Disaster isn’t a strong enough word, because they were all caught up with titles. Where they trying to piss off their overly Christian parents? Possibly. “I’m an Eclectic Witch with Celtic pantheons.” I’m sorry, but that reminds me of Mrs Bucket (sorry, Bouquet) talking about her dear Sheridan and his Royal Dolton collection with the hand painted periwinkles! I tried to teach them to keep an open mind while learning, but the moment I said, “Well I’m not actually Wiccan,” they didn’t want to hear anything more from me. They were happy to continue on with insisting they can’t practice meditation without an athame (because we all know you need one of those to meditate >.< ) and…wow. Needless to say, I gave up the role of teacher quite quickly.
Last weekend was Samhain. Summer’s End, the Celtic New Year. A time to let go of all the old and move on refreshed into a new year. For this Samhain, I’m leaving the notion that I’m inexperienced behind me. To stop comparing myself, my beliefs and my practice to others, thinking what they are doing is correct, and I’m naturally wrong.
For Samhain, a dear friend and I got dressed up and went to The Hill, to attend a public Samhain Full Moon circle, put on by local Alexandrians. I have never been to an Alexandrian circle before, and it was amazing! Elaborate (compared to what I do), with a beautiful traveling altar and temple, and a wonderful ritual that had everyone involved. It was then that it truly dawned on me, that as much as I loved being involved in this circle, I’m quite happy with what I do by myself. I have no need for comparisons, or to try and force myself to adapt what others do into my own practice. We have no book, no written law about what must be done, and how we must go about doing it.
Then I realised that the same goes with knowledge. While there are others with certainly more knowledge about topics, that does not mean I know nothing (I know nut-tzing!). This morning I realised just how much I knew, when talking with someone quite new to the Wiccan path. Things that I know, I seem to take for granted. I seem to forget about how many books and articles I’ve read when my beloved books are left in boxes in our spare room. Years ago my sister said to me that she had all this information locked in her brain, locked behind a wall and she didn’t know how to destroy the block to it. I feel like that, but I’ve recently knocked down the blockage, and I feel alive.
Names of herbs, crystals are sticking and I’m remembering their properties with ease. I think I forgot at just how much study I have done, how many hours I’ve dedicated to studying bits and pieces to further my knowledge on this path – the phases of the moon and how they correspond, chakras, days of the week, tarot, runes, Deities, stories…it’s wonderful! All this knowledge has come back, and I don’t know what I’ve done, but I’m loving it!
I am a Child of Brigid and Herne. I don’t walk around a circle to cast one, I visualise one. I don’t call the quarters, demanding that they attend my rite – I ask them if they’d like to join me, and thank them when they do. I don’t script my rituals, I make them up on the spot, going with intuition, and the vibes I get when I connect to where I am. I have an athame but I don’t feel right using it. I talk to trees and honour my Ancestors in ritual. I practice a mixture of Witchcraft, Wicca, Druidry, and (when near the ocean) Ocean Witchcraft. I love, miss and ache for the ocean, but being landlocked I am loving being able to reconnect to the Earth. Living in Sydney, I am loving being able to learn about the Dharug and Dharawol tribes, connecting with the energy they instilled in the land for thousands of years before my ancestors arrived. I have OCD (Obsessive Crystal Disorder) and love working with the different energies of them. I am studying with the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, and I am loving it as it is right for where I am in life right now. My altar consists of earth beneath my feet and trees at my side, sky above me, fire in the sun, and water in my blood – or the rain, the dew, the river, the lake, the ocean.
Call me what you will, I know who I am.