With so many branches under the “Pagan Umbrella” it can be overwhelming, especially to someone brand new to this path, as to where to start their learning. Even those of us who have walked this path for a while, we are often lovers of learning and want to approach each to see what works and what doesn’t for us personally. With so many branches, I have met people who often wonder why we need so many of them. It’s not a new thing – there are multiple branches within the Christianity Umbrella and within the Islamic Umbrella, so we’re not alone in this.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what is my path. What it is, what I believe, what I want to focus on. What do I want to bring more of into my path, what needs to be put on hold, what’s run its course, and most importantly, what just isn’t for me.
So a few things got me to this train of thought:
- Pushing my spirituality to the side to concentrate on a summer subject at university really messed me up. I guess it made me a “normal Muggle” and honestly, I really didn’t like it.
- Herne really, really didn’t like being put to the side. He was actually pretty pissed. Yes, He understood why as I’m partly doing my degree as a way of honouring Him, and it was 14 week subject crammed into 8 and took a lot of my time and energy, but He was still annoyed. Fair call.
- After recently being asked, “how did you come to Druidry” I began to ponder if it is Druidry that I practice, that maybe it’s always been an aspect of Druidry that I’ve practiced as I’m not really big on spell craft…and does it really matter?
- The more I tried to follow a path I thought I should be on the more I felt alienated by it.
- The more I tried to follow the above mentioned path, the more Herne tried to bring me back to the path of the forest.
For the last two years I’ve incorporated Goddess spirituality into my path. It is a beautiful path, but I’ve discovered that it isn’t for me. Rather than something empowering, which is the way for many, I began to feel less feminine the more I journeyed down the path. I felt like it wasn’t meant to include me.
Yes, it absolutely was something I was meant to experience as parts of the path helped close doors and find answers to unanswered questions, and I got to work with some amazing women who I absolutely adore. It became difficult as sometimes I felt as though, as someone who mostly identifies as a woman (sometimes I don’t feel like any gender…don’t let the boobs and my ability to menstruate fool you) shouldn’t Goddess spirituality feel…normal? Like coming home? I tried to find that empowering moment that I could see women around me (particularly in workshops) feeling, but it was lost on me. I became envious and a little jealous of those around me because they were finding something, connecting to something, that I just couldn’t grasp.
While (one particular) moment was a beautiful cry of “We are Women! We are powerful! We have a uterus and are the bringers of birth! We are Daughters and Mothers and Grandmothers! We hold the cauldron of creation within us!” my brain was retaliating, arguing, and denying it all. It was fighting what I was hearing, putting up walls and walls and la la la la la I can’t hear you la la la la la.
“No! I am a Child of the Hunter!” It would argue. “I am the of the Wild One, the Stag God! He who brings death and the cycle of nature! I am of the Forest! I am the blood and bone and sweat of the hunt! No child will be born of my womb as the animals of my home are my children, and it is THEY who I protect!” The animals, naturally, being my cats as I’m someone who’s ovaries don’t work and have come to terms with not having human children.
The more I tried to ignore the internal battle cry of disagreement, the more it took control.
Eventually it became a penny-drop moment, a true display of how not every path is right for everyone, and another reason why I love the multiple branches within Paganism because it really is a personal choice which path we take. We take the path that is right for us, that makes our souls sing with pleasure and joy.
I am thankful for the experience, for the relationships I got to build with the women I worked with and the Goddesses that I was introduced to. The path has ended, and it’s time to head off to a different direction.
So what is my path? Where will the journey I am to take lead me? I’ve no idea. I trust Herne and what He has planned for me, and that’s enough right now.