The feeling of being lost on this path is stressful and depressing. By not following the predetermined beliefs and laws prescribed by mainstream religion, one is left to find their own way through self-discovery and soul searching. For many, the idea of total freedom from the chains of religious tyranny is liberating and exciting, but I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge the fear and uncertainty that I’ve experienced since I decided to denounce Christianity as my religion. This fear isn’t rooted in the idea of Satan or going to Hell, but it’s more the fear of what others think about my spirituality and the attempt to express myself without drawing attention to my “alternative” religion. And this is always followed by the statement, “stop caring what other people think!” Well I do care, and I don’t know how to change that. Maybe I’ll eventually get to that point, but I’m not there yet. Since I was a kid my religion has always been a huge part of my self-identity, and being a Christian, it was very easy to find others to accept that and those that rejected me were easier to deal with because I had a community to belong to. As an adult who has left Christianity and is seeking a path of my own, I don’t know what scares me more, what others think of me or the loss of that sense of community. I’ve been studying pagan and esoteric traditions for quite a while now, and deep in my heart I know that’s the kind of path I belong to. I wish I knew the way to eradicate these fears, otherwise I will never progress anywhere. I think it’s also important for me to realize that these fears have very deep roots that not only affect my spirituality, but every aspect of my life. As the season shifts into autumn, and the shadows are growing, I’m feeling the effects of my own shadows and it’s time to stop being afraid of them. It’s the presence of light that causes shadow, and you can never have one without the other. I can either choose to stay in the darkness and never grow, or I can continue to look up at the light and face the shadows of myself. I’m just tired of not knowing where to go next. Everyone else seems to have everything all figured out, I want to find my own self-confidence to be exactly who I want to be without worrying about what people think.
One lesson I’ve learned recently is always be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it. I always ask the universe to provide me with lessons and challenges to allow me to grow, but I haven’t been so welcoming of these challenges once they arrive. I struggle to smile through stressful times, often complaining and wishing things could be better, but when are we ever at a place where things can’t get better? This journey isn’t over til it’s over, and I’m certainly not ready for it to end. I was writing in my journal last night, filling in the final page of the book, when I got really emotional realizing that I was once again leaving behind something and moving on to another leg of this journey. I started writing in the journal over two years ago, having completed one other before this one, so once I finished writing I went back and looked through a lot of the pages, particularly ones right at the beginning of my path. It helped me to see how much I’ve changed, but even more so it reminded me of how much has remained the same. I would write down how stressed I was, how depressed I felt, how much I wished life was easier. But wouldn’t you know, my life IS easier today than it was back then, and all those struggles I felt were too much to handle, I handled them pretty well. I can’t complain when life gets a little tough, because I don’t care what anybody says… it ALWAYS gets better! It doesn’t mean I won’t encounter more challenges ahead, but with the strength that I’ve gained from the past, it prepares for what lies ahead. That’s what this journey is all about; evolving.
I closed my journals and put them back on the shelf, then opened up a new blank book that I’ll use to record this next season of life. Opening up a blank book and seeing nothing but clean empty pages is always a little scary for me. It’s a lot like starting down a road that has no signs, but you just start walking and see where it leads. I sat in quiet meditation for a few minutes, listening for any guidance or a sense of comfort, and then I pulled out a couple of my oracle decks to do a quick reading. The voices that came through the cards, were none other than the spirits that have been with me all along, telling me that I’m not alone and they will continue to be with me on this journey. I’ve got a few deities that I’ve connected with, that span across multiple pantheons and cultures, but in this moment they all surrounded me together to give me comfort and a feeling of protection. I know that I’m not alone, and that I have strength within me that is always available when I need it. I’m still feeling called to begin a year and a day, which I plan on starting soon. I feel like this new year will have a lot of great things in store.
I’ve thought of beginning an official ‘year and a day’, something I haven’t done since I started studying paganism and witchcraft, but as the new year approaches it just seems like a good time to start. My thoughts on it have always been that it’s basically a “trial” period of deciding whether the Wiccan path is right for you and during this trial you’ll learn all the basics before being initiated (this would be in a coven setting). As a solitary who’s been studying for a few years now, I have the basic knowledge but I have no intention of joining a formal group, so what purpose could a year and a day serve?
Well I see value dedicating myself to something, anything. I consider myself a wanderer, but if I just keep wandering in circles, I’ll end up nowhere new. Maybe it’s time to start surveying the landscape I’ve traveled and set down markers indicating where I’ve been. Before dedicating myself to a path, I feel it’s important to really be honest with myself, question the beliefs that I hold, and in the process let go of those things which I won’t have any use for. I’m really tired of feeling lost. I’m tired of carrying around useless baggage that weighs me down, causing confusion along the way. I’ve read a lot of books, most of which I respect and learned a lot from, but the many voices cloud my vision making it hard to focus. I blame myself for craving information and foolishly thinking I can cram it all into my little head, hoping somehow for it all to make sense, but one thing I’ve learned is that this isn’t something that can be rushed. Patience is key, and I’ve just gotta go with the flow.
I love witchcraft. I love all the different correspondences and symbolism, and the art of bringing things together to form a spell. I also feel deeply connected to the old pagan gods and I enjoy the idea of them being able to interact with us today. My draw towards Wicca is inspired by this, and I feel that’s why Wicca is right for me so starting a year and a day just seems like the right thing to do. But I also fear the idea of committing to just one thing. I guess I’ve always been scared of labels, and being forced to go into a box, so subconsciously I jump from one thing to the next to avoid settling in one spot for too long. Maybe it’s a fear of facing myself and actually looking at who I am as a complete and whole person. This is where I need to begin this journey of a year and a day. I need to look at who I am, and every aspect of my being that comes together to form the unique person that is me. I’m not really good at this, but I’m going to try anyways. This is the start of a new direction.
The whole idea of initiation occurring in cycles, more as a process than an instantaneous event, is becoming more clear to me. The patterns in my own life are becoming more evident as I continue to study and explore my inner realms of consciousness. I’ve yet to work with a physical teacher to guide me along, but the universe seems to be making things very clear for me as to what my next steps are. I’m standing at a crossroad, and I’ve been here for quite a while, not knowing which direction to take. The fear of the unknown continues to prevent me from stepping forward into my full potential. It feels as though I’m the Fool on the edge of the cliff, the universe ever so slightly pushing me to jump, but waiting for me to make a move. This calling isn’t going to wait though. There are energies out there that need me to reach my potential and I feel if I don’t willingly choose to step off the edge, eventually I won’t have a choice in the matter. Has anybody else had a similar feeling or calling that has been placed within you?
I glance at the moon as I walk.
I can feel her energy growing,
her fullness is almost reached.
She reminds me of the cycles,
nothing is ever the same.
A never ending spiral
that waxes and wanes.
The foolish ignore,
but the Wise know better.
Why can’t I understand?
I reach but can never grasp.
I look up to the gods,
hoping for a sign.
All I get is a loving smile in return.
These moments of darkness and confusion are the defining moments on our path. We can see the progress we’ve made and stop to take a rest. But my head continues to rationalize. I cannot clear my mind of all the clutter. I need to step out of the light in quiet solitude, but I fear the dark. But in the dark, I know She is there.
It’s been almost two months since I decided to put witchcraft aside and continue expanding my studies, but I can’t ignore the yearning in my heart to return to the path that pulls at my heart. Last night I pulled out my Tarot cards to receive any welcomed advice from them, and they were eager to answer me. The first card I pulled was the 4 of Swords, and I immediately realized that it was time to put all these worries to rest. A spiritual path can have moments of confusion, but my mind shouldn’t be cluttered with the stresses I’ve been carrying around lately. My next step was clear, knowing that I have to lay it all on the table and give up whatever is weighing me down. The next card I pulled was the 8 of Wands. This card has always been a difficult one for me to read, but in referencing my Tarot book the keywords “momentum” and “flow” stuck out to me. I then realized that once I lay all these worries and thoughts aside, only then will I be able to flow with the current of my path leading me forward. I pulled the third card, and there She was.. the Queen of Cups. Now I know that there are so many ways to interpret the Court cards in the Tarot, and I see the validity in most of them, but the Queen of Cups has always been my direct connection with the Goddess. I can’t explain it, it’s just one of those personal things, but I always know she’s around when I pull that card. I immediately felt at peace, knowing that she’s been with me all along, and that I never was too far away from home. My studies in magic and hermeticism will most definitely continue, but I just need a little more paganism back in my life.
Began Lesson 2 in “Learning Ritual Magic” with much excitement about the next stage and all the new assignments to be accomplished, and now just a few days later I’m struggling even to wake up early to perform my morning meditations. The enthusiasm definitely wears off fast when you’re dragging your body along and your mind screams in agony because it would rather be checking Facebook and YouTube in the morning instead of performing the Qabalistic Cross. John Michael Greer, being very aware of these symptoms, addresses the issue immediately at the beginning of Lesson 2 in the book, attributing it to the fear of change that we hold inside. This fear being personified by the Watcher at the Threshold. I’ve become very familiar with this entity throughout my studies, but it’s important that I face it and continue to push through til the end. I have experienced many positive effects as well, so I have faith that this is helping me and guiding me into the place I need to be.