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Archive for the ‘Wicca’ Category

Today is an interesting one – I feel like the topic of deities could have 30 days all of its own!

It’s funny, I feel like I’ve been actively working with gods and goddesses for only a short part of my pagan life. When I first began practicing Wicca four years ago I found it very easy and natural (haha!) to begin working with Great Spirit, elementals and land spirits. I was, and still am, a very eclectic witch, and although I knew that lots of people worked with gods and goddesses, I never felt the need. I felt like my work was fulfilling and complete without them, and if you read my entry on cosmology you’ll know that I believe the gods are ways of understanding Great Spirit anyway.

It wasn’t until I was auditioning for my music course that I first worked with a goddess. I wanted to be in this course very badly – this creative spirit felt completely trapped in a science degree and I knew a music course was where I needed to be. I felt like I needed some extra support, someone to hold my hand in the audition room, and almost by accident I stumbled upon Brighid. I warmed to her straight away – two of her domains are creative inspiration and healing, and as someone who wants to be a music therapist, I saw similarities with myself. She was wonderfully supportive, wise and still continues to teach me a lot. She encouraged me to not be afraid of working with deities, and she was my first experience of their power.

Brighid is still a goddess I revere and work with regularly. And yes, I did get into that music course!

That was two years ago. It took me a while to put names on the deities I was working with, but I think unconsciously it was all part of my deep beliefs that I was still discovering. I spoke a bit about this in my Cosmology entry, but my beliefs are very pantheistic. I see the universe as a manifestation of Great Spirit, or “God”. Divinity is everywhere, within everything, the world is god. With those beliefs in mind, it’s not surprising that working with traditional deities was not high on my to-do list. I was already building relationships with spirits of the land, elementals, dryads and other nature spirits. I was already working with that divinity. I was just working with different parts of it and calling it different names.

I am still very eclectic, and the specific aspects of Great Spirit that I work with are many and varied. One day I may be revering Brighid, the next day I could be asking guidance from Dolphin, the day after trading energies with tree spirits. To me, though, these are all just aspects of Great Spirit. They are ways of understanding Great Spirit. We are human, and we love to categorize things. It makes sense that we find it much easier to work with little chunks of Great Spirit, than try to puzzle the whole universe out!

I believe that a lot can be learned by working with many different deities and benevolent spirits. They can be very different in practice than in books. If we are respectful there is a lot we can learn from each other, for they are of the same divine spark as we are.

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So, I discovered I’m pretty boring writing on my own. Having some sort of prompt-skeleton-thing to start me off is probably going to result is slightly more interesting reading. And so I present to you *drumroll* my version of the 30 Days of Paganism meme. Thanks to Elspeth (Book of Shadows) and Jess (Home Among the Gumtrees) for allowing me to steal the idea….

WHY PAGANISM?
That’s a good question. I’ve lived with two Christians and an atheist my entire life. Most of my extended family identify themselves as Christian. There’s not even a hint of Pagan in any of my family. Actually, I stumbled upon Wicca quite by chance.

Even as a child, being brought up going to church every week, I was always drawn to nature, fairy tales, water, fairies and magic. I was always playing amongst the trees, couldn’t wait to go swimming, talking to “the fairies in the garden” and “the lady who lives in our house” (I still don’t know whether she was a ghost or some sort of guardian spirit, but I would talk to her a lot as a very small child). The world was magical to me, as I’m sure it is to many children. But as a child, I didn’t see it as a spiritual thing. Making friends with the trees and feeling a rush of calm in the water and talking to the lady were just life. The were just what happened.

This love of nature and “magical” experiences were kind of trampled as I grew up. I learned that having anything to do with any “spirits other than God” made me evil and bad. I made friends at school who told me that trees and lakes were stupid and they wouldn’t like me if I thought they were beautiful. As I went through primary and the first half of secondary school, I pretty much forgot all of this. A fairly common theme I think – people forgetting the simple, magical world of being a child. But I relate these early experiences quite strongly to my spirituality. It wasn’t until the age of 16 that I started questioning things.

By this stage I had been quite heavily involved in church – I helped out with childrens ministry and Sunday school because I love working with kids and making them smile. I got fired from that, though, for being a “bad influence on the children”. To this day I still have no idea what that means! But it depressed me, and I stopped going to church. Being free from people telling me how the world worked made me start thinking about what I actually believed.

So I read a lot of books on pretty much every religion and spiritual path I could think of. I think I was trying to find something that logically sounded right. But as soon as I started reading about Wicca, it was more than that. It just felt right, in a strange way I hadn’t felt before. It wasn’t a matter of logic, it was intuition. The more I read and the more I practiced, celebrating sabbats and esbats and doing simple meditations, the more peaceful I was. The magical aspect made me think of those days as a child experiencing nature, when life was peaceful.

And 5 years later I am still practicing. I am still discovering that inner peace and harmony that inspired me to begin with. It feels so wonderful to be actively involved in my spiritual path – to learn things from the world around me, the trees, the god and goddess, rather than being told to just accept “what this book says”. Divinity is so much closer to home, it’s in everything around us. As a pagan, I am an individual. There are no special rules I have to follow in order for my life to be a “good” one. “An it harm none, do as you will” makes perfect sense to me.

There is much more to say, but I’d better leave some things for the next 29 entries!

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