guilt

During this season my mind seems especially geared towards nostalgia and the past. While this may make sense, it also offers a unique perspective on previous paradigms — that is, I look back at who I was a year or more ago and sometimes feel poorly about where I presently stand. Right now, I feel this about my spiritual practice, which has for the most part fallen by the wayside over the last few years.

I know that our practices change, and I understand that often we must develop and shift our priorities in order to fit everything into our lives. Three years ago, most of my time was devoted to work, my practice, and my social life. I had so much time to devote to my practice because I prioritized it very, very highly. I currently work full-time, have a committed relationship, and (mostly) maintain a house. Although I think of my gods and ancestors often, I do not have the level of connection to Them that I had years ago — at least, I don’t connect with Them as frequently. And that makes me feel as though my relationship with Them is less than it was before.

It may be that we are less connected now, but I don’t think that the guilt that I hold here is productive. It does not seem to serve Them at any point that I feel greatly ashamed or unworthy (unless I have really earned it), and so I don’t know that the weight of guilt I’m feeling is really worth the anguish. I don’t think that what I’m feeling is really something that I should dwell on. Still, it is present, and I feel that I may grow from acknowledging it and respecting it before moving on. Here’s to re-prioritizing and moving forward with all things, including my practice. I really feel that I can improve things in this way.

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In many forms of paganism, there is a focus on dualities ranging from light and dark to good and evil. Since I’m working on being a student of nuance, these bother me for very specific reasons, but it exists mostly as a pet peeve. What truly gets under my skin is the male/female duality, particularly with regard to energies. It strikes me that I have no idea what people mean when they try to qualify energy as such, and I don’t think many of them know either.
In western traditions the terms “masculine” and “feminine” typically are representative of certain qualities that do not have much with what it actually means to be male, female, or any other gender. Typically, these terms mean “active” and “passive” respectively. They mean “expansive” and “containing.” Most of it comes down to the idea that men are the rod and the wand and women the cup.
Many of us, particularly those part of or allied with the trans community, understand that these terms do not describe the experiences of any gender. We know that a person can hold expansive or contractive energies regardless of their genitalia. A person’s energy cannot be gendered through qualities it possesses because there is no one list of qualities aligned with any gender.
Making language reflect these ideas will require a systematic reworking of popular terminology in magic and paganism. It will be an incredibly long road based on how deeply ingrained this language is, but I think it can be done. The challenge is present, and it would do the pagan communities should step up to the plate and build better language.

For the last few years I’ve grown vastly across the board — personally, interpersonally, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Just over two years ago I was having wild, grand experiences that honestly were part of what kept me going. My practice was the foundation of my entire life, and my small bedroom was adorned with over a dozen shrines and little altars. Because I was so deeply affected by my father’s death, the event was a major catalyst. I think of the person I was just before he died and struggle to connect the two of us — including in terms of our mystical encounters.
You see, after arriving at that hospital for the last time, I felt the world grow quiet. Everything fell to the wayside, although I cognitively knew that certain spirits were checking in on me. I couldn’t get out of my vessel for about eight months, and when I did I noticed things changing. My experiences were simple and followed a general pattern (go in, talk to Freyja, go home), whereas before they would have seemingly no rhyme or reason. I blamed it on the help of my mentor making things in my practice shift, and I moved on.
As I developed, one of my Brothers mentioned that the astral is a realm far beyond our 3D capacity, and so he does not think we should take everything literally. This now seems to resonate — if the other realms are outside of our timelines and our physical limitations, why should we take every detail as gospel? If I take a 10 dimensional experience down to my 3 dimensional vessel, my vessel cannot process the richness of the experience.
So, what does this mean for all the fantastic adventures I had before the silence? What of the bonds I forged? Was my connection to Hermes just something symbolic (or worse, fabricated)? I still do not have all the answers on this, but as I work to reshape my practice I am considering possibilities while looking to the future. I may learn that some things were not accurate, and I may never know others for certain. As I continue to move forward, I can at least say that the ride will be interesting.

Two Christs

With same-sex marriage legal across all fifty states, there has recently been even more noticeable dissent in Christian communities about what is just. There are two main factions: the first is almost constantly spewing racist, sexist, and homophobic commentary about how the nation is sliding into sin led by those outside their faith, and the other is hearing the former and stating that God is love.
Although I avoid Christian spirits at every opportunity possible, this dissent still causes me grief. I spent most of my education in Catholic institutions, and so I’m fairly well-versed in the theology. When I hear these discussions, I get a bit of emotional indigestion despite no longer feeling connections to the entities in question.
My biggest hang-up in the discussion of Homophobic, Racist Jesus v. Loving, Selfless Jesus is that the former just isn’t in the Gospels. He just isn’t. In the Gospels I read in school, Jesus Christ was a man born to a carpenter’s young wife, and as he grew into his ministry he spoke to those cast out by the greater society. He loved the poor, the sick, the disabled, the young, and the elderly. The myths we have about this man display someone who loved openly regardless of gender, social status, and age. Reading the Gospels, we see him angered once: when a market is erected in the temple, desecrating the sacred space. In some Christian traditions, Jesus Christ is both a man and divine, and so Christians in those lines should take these actions as being the actions of their Father.
So, what about everyone who believes in Racist Jesus? Are they wrong? As much as I dislike it, I really think they’re also correct. While I don’t think it’s possible to see the original recipe Jesus Christ in this way, there are other options.
I think Racist Jesus was made. I think this version of Christ is a recent invention of the white social conscious because the original version didn’t serve their bigotry. The concept may have started with one pastor, but it has exploded into being a force that is the egregor for the right-wing political machine. As the Christian right becomes more extremist, I see them screeching their bigotry in the name of this new deity because the previous one wouldn’t accept it.
In a way this is a second coming of Christ, but it is not in the way many Christians would hope. It is darker, and it will be up to politics, economics, and cultural shifts to see if this deity will continue to gain power. The best thing we can do for now is to continue powering forward against bigotry through education and activism, and to hope for the best.

The Sea of Mystery

As humans, as creatures with 4 dimensions of perception at best, we are unable to really understand the universe around us. As we quest for greater knowledge, we will only barely be able to comprehend existence, and a vast sea of Mystery lies beyond what we can know naturally.
Being naturally curious as a species, humans tend to want to explore the sea as soon as they see it. After all, it’s new, and it is constantly changing and uncharting itself. It is deeper than any one person will ever know, and its depths are darker than the living will ever really comprehend. It’s only natural that many stare into the Mystery and want to know it. How, then, can we know it?
Faith.
Faith is the easiest way that many of us encounter the Mystery. Some of us are born on the water, and others fall in love with the sea after a lifetime on the shore. Sometimes our ships run aground, and sometimes we go back out again.
Every time we choose to fight for our place on the waters, we learn more about the source of our existence and about ourselves. We continue to do this even if we return to the safety of the harbour rather than trying to survive the storm.
This also allows each of us to seek our Will with regard to the Mystery, as we can dive deep or dip toes. And there’s nothing wrong with any of this, just as there’s really nothing wrong with never knowing the sea or staying far inland.
Whether we choose to answer the song of sirens or stay on land, the Mystery will continue to churn. The waves will continue to crash upon the shore.

y’know, the weird thing is that I thought my life was going to become infinitely witchier when I got out of my parents’ because I was going to have my own dam, my own little end of the universe and all that jazz.
what really happened is that I became more quietly witchy. right now I’m taking my order’s next ritual off because I’m still too easily winded by spirit work, and I don’t pull out magical tools or connect with my spirits anywhere near as much as I used to. for the most part, I’m not doing much but going to work, coming home, working from home, and spending time with my partner and the cats. 
that doesn’t mean I can’t still throw down if someone threatens me (or if I need something), but. y’know.
for the most part, I’m not doing much. I don’t know that I’m entirely okay with the absence of spirit work from my life, but I’m okay with the lack of spellcraft for the most part because I’ve never really liked having too many magical balls in the air at once. I also haven’t really needed it since most things have been at my disposal either by providence or by pure convenience since I now live in a major city. 
I dunno. we’re working on moving now, and I’ve got a few balls up in the air. once we move I think we’ll both have the space to get into our own routines, but after that I want to get back into the swing of working with my spirits more than just putting out offerings and praying. I want that work back. since I’m also trying to go back to school and work full-time this will be a challenge, but I think I’ve got it. I think I can do this.

Lots of shadow work right now.
I’m considering going back to school, but my motivation is all wrong apparently. As I said in a previous user, I’ve dropped out five times. Twice from the same college. Classrooms and I do get along, I promise. The issue lies in that I never feel motivated to pursue something I don’t want.
So, what am I doing? Why do I keep doing this?
Don’t know and also don’t know. What I can tell you is that my interests are varied, and so I’m afraid of feeling blocked in to one specialization instead of pursuing all of my interests. I’m also flat out afraid of failing, and my Watcher has kept me in a neat, safe little holding pattern for a while now.
As eager as I am to tell him to fuck off on this, I need to understand why he’s blocking me in the first place before I can get around him.
Therein lies the work. For now. I won’t let him win.