Monday, April 11, 2011

A Lonely, Winding Path

{royalty free photo}

The first Celtic Reconstructionist Pagans I ever met left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. I got the impression that CR Pagans were a bunch of snooty armchair intellectuals. Initial encounters with practitioners of Traditional Witchcraft left a similar impression on me as well. In both cases the folks were nice enough to me to my face, but I had the feeling that soon as I left the patchouli and fluffy bunneh jokes would be flying 'round about me too.

This all happened in my late teens and early twenties. It took a few years of maturing on my part to realize that just because I met a handful of asshats, it doesn't mean that everyone in those two groups were like them.

I started to feel restless in my spirituality. I wanted something with more structure and substance. Something with more meat and bones. The restlessness was strong enough to coax me out of my prejudice to reach out and explore. That took a while though.

It wasn't until my mid-twenties that I started to really research historical magical practices and to apply them to my own. And it wasn't until just a few years ago that I embraced Gaelic Polytheism for my religious faith.

While reaching out and exploring I came across many awesome, patient folks {mostly online}, who thankfully changed my previous prejudice. I have come across some wankers too, but we all know that they are everywhere, in all groups. Because of these folks, I had an idea of where to look for research materials. I came into this process realizing that both CR Paganism and Traditional Witchcraft are not "evangelical" and that I would not be spoon-fed. I had to do my own leg work in both research and practice.

I was reminded of all of this because of a recent post that I read over at Erynn Laurie's blog, Searching for Imbas. In the post {Aisling, Ársaíocht, agus Agallamh: A Modern CR Triad} she talks about how there is a need for dialogue and respecting other view points to avoid repeating the same mistakes that are found in extremism in other religious movements. I couldn't agree with her more.

If CR Paganism is going to blossom to its full potential, then it needs to be accessible. I am not talking about going and standing on street corners to convert people. However, if it is to have a future, then we need to welcome new-comers and be respectful to each other.

There is a lot of historical misinformation and cultural misappropriation out there in the more "mainstream" Pagan and new age media. So chances are that this is the type of crap that most people are going to come across first. I understand that it is annoying when someone thinks that chakras have anything to do with Celtic spirituality. That said, one does certainly win more flies with honey.

One is probably more likely to spread more accurate information by a friendly correction and a point in the right direction {to more sound info sources}. Insults tend to just raise walls and the misinformation stays put. But we all know this.

Anyways, me thinking about all of this led me to thinking about where I am today in regards to my practice and faith.

I have been quite content practicing magic on my own, or with a select few people on occasion. In fact, I think I prefer this. When it comes to my religious faith though, I have been feeling a bit of a void that I can only name as loneliness.

CR Paganism {as I understand it at least} is tribal at its very core. Community, family, relationships and interactions are extremely important. This is something that drew me to it.

While I have come across some awesome folks online, I have yet to meet anyone in my region who shares a similar faith. It would be fantastic to be able to celebrate the cross quarter days with other folks and to be a part of group of Pagans that share a similar faith to myself.

So, I guess what I am saying is that I feel like I am missing out on a fundemental part of my religious faith. This probably sounds like I am holding a pity party for myself and perhaps I am.

Self-pity ain't a Gaelic virtue, now is it? Heh. ;)



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Lilac SilverFox said...

I've found myself wanting at least one other, in person, to practice and celebrate with...It is lonely being a solitary sometimes for sure. I'd never want to be a full part of a coven, but would really just love the opportunity to call a friend up and meet up for a solstice celebration or something. I've also been trying to 'find my select path' and while I want to study Faerie and Celtic trads I don't know if I'd ever put myself in one trad faith...I like the openness of sort of doing as you feel more.

Amanda said...

Thank you for posting this, it very much resembles my own path. Being both CR and having always done something I could only label Trad Witchcraft, I've felt like I'm walking between two very different tribes, with neither really reaching out. Thank the gods for the internet. But like you, I yearn for the closeness of working with someone. I have a few friends here who are Wiccan, but I really don't click at all with them on that level and my Asatru friends are not into craft in the least. Perhaps one day we will both find community.... or make one. ;)

Bek said...

Judging by the other comments it seems like you're already in good company :)

I think that feeling like you're on lonely path is common for anyone, well, truly following their own path in life!! And I think that doing that is healthy!

I don't usually comment on these posts (although I enjoy reading them) because I don't know much about your beliefs but I think you're right about welcoming newcomers etc and I'm glad you didn't give up on your interests!

nefaeria said...

Hi Lilac: I hope that you can make it to one of the SC gatherings at some point. I know that you are further South, but I think most in that group are more of an eclectic persuasion or are still seekers {as it sounds that you are}. But I do hope that you find someone closer to you.:)

At least in my case there are a group of Pagans here in the North who are oot and aboot. ;)

Amanda: Ah, this is a challenge I understand! How to blend the two or keep them seperate? I would love to hear how you work your way around this, if you care to share that is. And I do hope that you find that community as well! :)

Beks: Thanks. :) I agree with you that this is not something someone faces when it comes to a less popular faith. I also kinda had this in mind with those who are *aware* at how messed up our system is and who want to be proactive about it. This is a similar tune I have heard from fellow homesteaders. :)

Hertha said...

I understand what you mean perfectly. I live in an area that is just full of very conservative Christians.

There's no other witch is sight. I think I like that. Tea every once in a while would be nice though.

cronnekdhu said...

This post reminds me of Sarah Lawless' post on the 'left handed path' =3