I began my pagan education at a Dianic goddess temple, with an ever-changing community of women who mostly made things up as they went along. At the time it was exactly what I needed–after a lifetime in the church I was deathly allergic to dogma. Anything that was too organized or had clearly defined guidelines made me break out in hives. The experience was mostly beautiful. There were, however, some pretty bizarre events that eventually led to me deciding it wasn’t the place for me anymore.
That was when my friends and I formed the circle I wrote about already, where we learned a lot from Ann Moura’s Green Witchcraft books. That was the closest I ever got to being part of a tradition.
Since those heady days of reading tea leaves (“It’s a bee, you’re going to get pregnant!”), my pagan education has been very free form. I became a reiki master, took part in a series of Crystal Journeys, did ritual here and there with many different people with lots of different paths. There was a meditation with some kind of outer space imagery that really fell flat for me, an audio book by Michael Beckwith that really resonated for me, and a one-day retreat so saturated with cultural appropriation I felt like I should write a letter of apology to every non-white culture on the planet. Of course I put in hours and hours of talking to the plants in my garden. And, more recently, I’ve done some exploration of Druidry.
So far it’s been an amazing education.
After all that wandering down different paths–or, more often, crashing through the underbrush willy nilly–lately I’ve come back to the path I started down. I’ve always felt, at my core, like I’m a witch. I won’t call myself a Wiccan because I’ve never really been part of a Wiccan group or been formally initiated into that path by anyone (not even myself). But Wicca makes sense to me.
These days I’m finding myself craving a tradition. It could be a purely personal tradition, or it could be as part of a group. But I want rituals I can revisit often to explore layers of meaning and esperience. I want a solid framework to lean on when life is crazy and I don’t have the creative energy to make it up as I go along. It’s not that I just want to follow someone else’s rules so I don’t have to think for myself. I’m not looking for a cult. I think a healthy amount of skepticism and frequent reevaluation of ones ideals is a very good thing.
I just like the idea of having celebrations I can look forward to repeating. Holidays of every kind are wonderful touch points–places to stop and look back at who I was a year ago today, and to see how I’ve changed and grown.
I want some stability in my spiritual practice. I’m still working out what that might look like for me.