Changes in life
These days most folks who embark upon the path of paganism were formerly members of a religion or spiritual path totally unrelated to the path of mysticism. Which in a way is quite ironic, for at one time in our existence as a race, everyone was pagan of one sort or another.
I personally am one of those folks who were born into an Irish family that follows the Old ways.
Does this make someone like me special?
Absolutely not, I was exposed at a very young age to the vagaries of this world in the form of sexual, physical and mental abuse to the point where I often wonder how I lived past my childhood. Being a witch in a family of witches did not insulate me from the realities and/or cruelties of life. In fact my mother who was a minor celebrity during the 60”s and 70” as a Tarot reader, married a Christian man who became my step-father when I was just 3 years old. He turned out to be the most sadistic individual I have ever encountered over the course my life.
And being a traditional witch within a Neo-Pagan world has not been easy either. Many Neo-Pagans have expressed outright disbelief, as if everyone had left the path of paganism only to decide to return all at the same time.
And some have taken on a resentful or jealous attitude towards folks like me. As if we are something to be feared for whatever reasons. And yet, we are no more special then anyone else. We live and work and play like everyone else. And we have the same issues in life as everyone else. We just haven’t followed the same religious/spiritual concepts as many other folks have. Thus the hostile reaction one encounters from those Neo-Pagans is unwarranted to say the least.
Since paganism is about individual spirituality there should be no reason for animosity from those who have made a decision to follow the path of paganism after having been a member of another religious/spiritual belief system. There is no legitimate competition accept in the hearts and minds of humans as to where one is in their spiritual quest.
Having a middleman to determine such things as spiritual issues and direction is best left to other religions/spiritual paths and has no place within the parameters of paganism. And such concepts are best left behind when someone chooses to engage the path of paganism.
However, being a traditional pagan does have some advantages if they are to be called that.
The majority of folks (within my personal experiences) who now engage paganism as their path have come from religions/spiritual paths where pagan beliefs are sullied. This is to say that such folks were taught all of their lives to disbelieve in the issues that shape the beliefs of paganism.
They have been taught that witches are evil and disciples of a bogeyman called Satan, Devil and a myriad of other names, all of which denote a being of malicious intent.
As it is, pagans do not believe in such a scapegoat for mans follies.
These folks are also taught that magick does not exist and that ethereal beings such as faeries, elves, dryads and such, are figments of the imagination. If only such religions/spiritual paths knew better and perhaps they do.
They have been taught to follow the lead of a middleman rather then their own instincts. The mind may say one thing but the heart knows better.
Such folks have been taught to ignore the polarity of their chosen deity thus denying themselves of the loving qualities of our female side. This sense of denial is very foreign to me, for if one were to look out upon the world, there is an obvious male/female polarity throughout what we know as life.
Why deny the obvious when it comes to our God/s?
The list goes on, but then none of these matters when one has decided to switch beliefs and to embark on the pagan path.
So what does matter when one makes such a life decision?
I really don’t have the answers, simply assumptions.
I would assume that one would have to be emotionally prepared to receive all of the love and understanding that has been denied for so long from the female aspect of life. The Goddess has been very patient.
I would think that one has to find the inner strength and desire to brush off all of the misconceptions and un-truths that have been ingrained in ones mind about their current path. Whether one walks through life with their hearts and mind closed or not, does not diminish the fact the there are alternate realms and beings that co-exist with our reality. It does not make magick/energy work a figment of the human imagination.
Rather such denials simply short changes one of the tools that are available to all regardless of religious/spiritual path choices.
But most importantly, be prepared to become a student of life and for life. There are no true masters within this realm we know as life. Whether you are born into this path or have chosen to at some point along the way to embark upon the path of paganism, you will have begun a journey that will continue on until you pass on through the veil.
Is there an end to such a spiritual challenge? Perhaps, but this life is but one step along an extended journey.
And so in a sense I have a hearty respect for those that have chosen to expose themselves to the magickal arts. It’s somewhat easy for folks like me who had the door already open from birth on.
But for those who have walked through the religious sandstorms of life, having their eyes deliberately closed to what some see as a matter of fact has to be quite challenging.
To be able to open ones mind and heart to alternate possibilities has to take on a degree of personal introspection and responsibility. There must be a desire to experience something beyond just the accepted status quo.
To be able to reach out and connect with the truth as it really is rather then as it has been presented takes on a real sense of courage.
One has to be willing to step away from the peer pressure of like minded crowds in order to stand as an individual.
And so to you folks I raise my staff and say to you welcome home…