The Pagan Newbie
We often hear of someone who considers themselves a newbie on the path of the mystical arts, or of others referring to someone as a newbie. But is either of these descriptions really accurate? The concepts of paganism and the parameters that define such concepts have always been since the first human took breath and more likely even before the advent of humans. There are some who will say that paganism and thus by association the mystical arts, died out and is just now being re-discovered. But is this really an accurate observation? Or is it really our perception and thus sense of awareness that is new? How many times as a child did you have an “imaginary friend”? Was this friend really imaginary or was it just that the mind of that child had not yet been brainwashed to deny such a sense of awareness? Was the perception of that child such that they could see/sense other-worldly beings? How many times as a child has one seen faeries? And yet as adults such sightings have become a desire that is in many cases difficult to achieve. Why? Did the faeries cease to appear? Were they as some would have us think; simply figments of our imagination? Or are such invectives towards the imagination really just subtle denials of that which really does exist but which certain folks feel more comfortable denying the existence of? Within paganism, imagination, which is visualization by another name, is a necessary tenet or tool of paganism and by association, the mystical arts. And who but a child has such a powerful and unfettered tool as that of imagination/visualization? And so instead of viewing paganism/mystical arts as some re-discovered form of belief, perhaps it’s simply that our realization and thus acceptance of what has always been is really what is now coming into play. And if this is the case, is anyone really a newbie to paganism/mystical arts? Could it be that those who now choose paganism/mystical arts are basically just shedding the denial that has been implanted from an early age? When we walk through the woods and a deer silently walks by without one noticing it, is the deer non-existent or is it just our sense of awareness that is the reality here? When we go fishing we cannot see the fish beneath the surface of the water but we cast our lines in anyway. Do the fish hidden in the depths not exist because we cannot espy them, or do we cast our lines into the murky waters because we know that there is something there even if we cannot physically see it? Or do we decide that what one cannot see, one cannot acknowledge and thus we move on without bothering to cast our lines in at all. Paganism/mystical arts are akin to this analogy in many ways. Every person on earth is involved in paganism/mystical arts their entire lives and has always been. For it is such tenets of reality, that have immersed us from the very beginning of time as we know it. It is our sense of awareness of this reality that determines whether we once again step onto the path of paganism/mystical arts. Saint Augustine once said; “Unless you believe, you will not understand”. And so though there are some who will deny the existence of paganism/mystical arts this does not preclude a reality that is ever present and ever evolving. It simply highlights a sense of denial of a profound awareness. And as this denial is pierced and recognition of reality and the higher truths that accompany it are brought into the scope of one’s awareness, that person re-emerges onto the pagan path that in all reality they were always on. And so in essence, no one is a “newbie” as such in regards to paganism/mystical paths. And so such descriptions as “newbie” should be seen not as an introduction by one to paganism/mystical arts, or as it is in some cases as a diatribe used to elevate one’s own sense of personal status, but rather as a re-awakening of one’s awareness of such a reality. In my own “personal opinion” such a term as “newbie” should be a cause of celebration much like the birth of a new born child. For when one opens their awareness beyond the layers of denial that have accumulated over the course of one’s life, that person has emerged from the depths of denial and is once again swimming freely in the waters of self discovery and personal growth. Is this not a cause for great celebration and adulation by those who willingly walk the pagan/spiritual path? If we are determined to utilize the word “newbie”, then perhaps we should consider changing the implications of such a word from the current understanding. For in essence, we are all “newbie’s” as we seek to walk the mystical path. For each time we encounter a mystery of life and arrive at an answer that works for our individual lives, we open the door to yet another mystery or experience. Is this not the essence of what it means to be a pagan? It is this constant seeking that for me at least, defines the difference between being a subservient member of a religion and being a seeker on a spiritual path. The latter has set parameters of which subscribers are expected to follow blindly without question. And of which one is discouraged from questioning even when such questions beg an answer. As a seeker on the mystical path, one has un-fettered liberties to form and then to seek the answers to the questions of spirituality that we all face, whether as a member of a religion or as a seeker on the spiritual path. And so if I have to take on the label of “newbie” in order to experience such freedom of the heart, mind and soul, then I personally will wear such a label with humble pride. For as a newbie, I look forward to the rest of my life as being involved in a state of discovery and learning. If being a newbie equates to being a pagan, I have found my calling, have you?