Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Broom Closet

The Broom Closet is a place in which many pagans and witches reside. Not physically, for those who might be a bit confused, the Broom Closet is a figurative term. I can’t imagine broom closets are particularly practical places to stay in, for many a reason. The broom closet to pagans is as the closet is to the LGBT community. The notion that someone has stepped out of it is usually quite a big deal. Either it means that they feel their family and friends are accepting of their beliefs and path, or they have accepted that their friends and family will condemn them to a life of misery for their “satanic” ways. It can be quite a difficult thing to approach in one’s life, particularly the growing teen pagan community.

When I first picked up Paganism I was about 13 or 14, probably after watching something on TV like Charmed thinking “I could do that”. Alas, I still haven’t found the method of setting blue sparks out from my fingers or even how to freeze time, but I’m working on it. As young as I was there wasn’t anything out there for me to read, so I went to the internet, as many young pagans do. I don’t recall what the website was but some of the contents was not particularly friendly. After reading this website for a few weeks my brother made comment that he’d seen that I’d been on it, and he was going to “tell on me” and I was going to be in trouble. Swiftly, I stopped visiting the website and all went quiet.

A little while later I went back to the internet, and joined some communities and engaged in conversation and learned. I had at this point “come out” to friends, some accepting, some just thought I was downright weird. Oddly, the ones who thought I was downright weird were the ones messing about with tarot cards. Pot, kettle. There was one girl in my English class though who was Wiccan, and she loaned to be the Idiots Guide to Witchcraft & Wicca. I never did finish the book before she wanted back, but it was brilliant. I loved it so that when I had money of my own, I bought my own copy.

I didn’t properly come out to my parents. I think my dad has his suspicions due to me desperately wanting his Doreen Valiente book, he nearly gave it to me but due to a section on “sex magick” he decided I should wait until I was older. I got the book about an hour after this exchange as he didn’t exactly hide it very well.
I probably owe a lot to my dad about my belief. He introduced me to start-gazing, told me stories of myths and legends. My father loves the Green Man and moon gazing hares. I suppose he probably got me onto magick in some way or another too, wishing on stars etc, deep down that is a kind of magick. So I have a lot to owe him. However, he also showed me scary programs like “Strange but True” when I was little and I’ve never quite got over some of the things I was shown. I shall never walk through wheat fields on my own now or run downstairs with the lights off. You never know what might be awaiting you.

I moved to England from Scotland when I was 18, although it wasn’t official for a while beyond that. Having the freedom from my family allowed me to explore further, buying books on different aspects of the craft, writing notes. My boyfriend, now husband, was aware I was into it, though didn’t and doesn’t believe. He left me to it. Happy enough for me to do what I was doing. It’s remained that way, which makes me happy.
My husband and I married in August last year, a few days after Lammas. We had a pagan ceremony, which, when discussing the wedding with both sides, I mentioned with caution. Both sets of parents, fortunately, were really interested. So it was settled, handfasting it was. I don’t really know what I was expecting when I came out, my parents aren’t particularly Christian, my husband’s parents are Catholic though no longer practicing. They all loved the ceremony (including my somewhat Christian Aunt), and I had the wedding I’d always wanted.

Fear is what probably stopped me coming out properly, and from coming out for a long time. From the moment I knew I was pagan I felt persecuted. From friends at school turning from me to a lady at work actively trying to convert me to Christianity after I had come out at work. Although I am proud of being a pagan, I am still very careful who I mention it to. If no one asks, I don’t tell. Simple as that. It’s a difficult thing to gauge, you don’t know how someone is going to react. Someone could go way over the top and want nothing to do with you, others will just going “Well, that explains everything.” Trust me, it’s happened.
If anyone is reading this who hasn’t “come out”, I wouldn’t say hide it. Unless you are really scared that something is going to happen to you, don’t hide it. Paganism is becoming such a huge force out there at the moment, and although there are still persecutions, no one is going to tie you to a stake. Let coming out be your choice, not that of someone else, you will know in your heart that it’s something you can do. You might be surprised with how accepting people are, I know I was. Also, if you’re a teenager you might find that everyone will accept it as a phase, as “one of those things”. The only thing I will say is do not lie. If you don’t want to put it in words, then put it in writing. I’m rubbish at speaking but I find a good letter gets your views and opinions across, and you don’t even have to be in the same room!

If anyone has any questions for me, on anything throughout my blog, drop me a question via comment and I’ll be more than happy to respond to you as I can :)

Blessings )O(

Monday, 25 June 2012

Introductions and My Path

I have wanted to start a blog on my path for a while, mainly to encourage me to get out there and experience it more than anything. It’s a bit too easy to say “yes, yes, I believe this” without really knowing if I do. I’m a lazy pagan and I won’t deny it. I think the closest I get to pagan practice these days is fiddling about with crystals or occasionally gazing at a tree. I’m not really a big one for rituals, either sabbat celebrations or a three hour endeavour to cast a spell (thought I could have been doing something wrong there). Neither am I a “doer” I don’t create or make, or cook particularly, or produce salves and potions or charms. I suppose there are those of you reading this going “So just what do you do?” and I should tell you.

I am pagan. That I think I have known deep down for years. I’ve been studying various aspects of paganism for the better part of 10 years. As a teen I was drawn to Witchcraft and Wicca, as one is, and was determined that that would be me. A lot of it seemed right, and even if it didn’t I accepted it anyway, after all, the man in the book said so. I didn’t know at that time that paths were explorable, interchangeable and least of all experiential. I had one book that took everywhere with me, Scott Cunningham’s Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. An excellent book for the beginning Wiccan, it was the first book I read properly on the path of Wicca, the other being Natural Magic by Doreen Valiente, a hand me down from my father. It introduced me to magick, I saw the simplicity of it, and that was what drew me to the path. Simple magick? Yes please! When I picked up Cunningham I had pretty much left Valiente behind, I felt that Cunningham was the religion side, not Valiente, and that was what I wanted. So I read it, and read it, but I never practiced. There was a fear within me that I was going to do it wrong. Of course, being on my own and with no one to talk to there was no one to tell me that I wouldn’t do anything wrong. What happened would happen. And I wish I had heard of some of the funny ritual stories I’ve heard now then, I might not have been so worried. I felt like I had done one year of Wicca about seven or eight times before I grew fed up. I was more active with online discussion forums and blogs piquing my interest, but I still wasn’t practicing. I was still scared. I had even toyed with the idea of moving to Druidry as it seemed less complicated (that didn’t pan out either). So I got stuck until Tylluan Penry’s Seeking the Green came to me. It was reading that I realised that I didn’t need to do the rituals or the magick if I didn’t want to. One of the wonderful things about paganism is that there are so many different paths to choose from, and if one of those doesn’t fit then 9 times out of 10 someone will create their own. I’m not going to say that my path is unique, but it’s mine. And that’s what matters.

My path has some of the basic points I find that a lot of paths do. I believe in a God and a Goddess, I see them in everything and although when I connect to them I see them as human formed individuals I do not necessarily believe that they are humanoids sat on clouds awaiting our wishes. I believe that they will appear to us in forms that are either comforting to us or less obtrusive. So perhaps they come to me as animals as opposed to just appearing in a human form going “cooee, look at me!” I think that would scare me to death to be honest. I largely feel them instead of see them. I know they are there when I feel their radiating love though nature or elements or what have you. Sometimes just in the middle of the night, perhaps when I need some reassurance. Yes, I’m a witch that’s scared of the dark, shush.

I do believe in magick, it’s something I have a great interest in and it is something I am currently researching. I’m looking into the science of magick, so that’s a lot of physics. So I'm engrossed in Stephen Hawking at the moment. I think that too many people are just generally accepting of magick, it is there, it works. But I want to know why it works, how it works and what laws, if we know of them, control it. Once I have got so far as to having an understanding and a way of putting it into words I will put that up here as I can't be the only one interested in the science behind magick!

The main difference in my path than others, I find, is that although I will follow the principles of harm none, I'm not sure how far I believe in the "what goes out comes back". I don't think it comes back threefold, I don't see there being harm in doing a little something for yourself. Naturally I'm a kind person and so I would never do something that would go against someones will, love spells for me are a huge no-no. Equally, I am highly unlikely to curse someone. So I suppose my morals probably aren't any further than most pagans and witches.

I am largely nature based, I would rather be outside than inside, though sometimes nature conspires against me and inside is best (hayfever :( ). I can’t begin to explain how I feel when I am truly enveloped in nature. I feel the love of the God and the Goddess certainly, I just feel an immense happiness. Like nothing in the world could stop me feeling that way. When I’m down, I only need to go and hug a tree to get back up again. And that t me is probably the most important part of my path, the nature aspect, it helps me, it helps those around me and it helps the world. The energies that our mother and father put out there for us are the best magick of all.

I’m not 100% sure where this blog is going to end up. Expect pictures, expect me to get things wrong, expect the unexpected! Whenever I have an experience, a thought, a ritual, a finding, or just want to coo over the newest crystal, I’ll post here.

Thank you for reading.

Blessings x