Tuesday, 21 August 2012
Picture by J. Palfreyman copyright 2009
It has been approximately a quarter of a century since I began to walk this path I now call, Traditional Paganism. In the beginning my path was less Traditional but has always been and remains, Pagan.
Like many whose journey began in the nineteen eighties, my influences were primarily Gardnerian. What today we may call “Wicca” although at that time, that was a word few heard or used.
Within the past decade my practice has changed, as have my beliefs somewhat modified. I have become perhaps more earthy, polytheistic, increasingly inspired by folklore, less “wiccanesque” and increasingly, what some may describe as “Traditional.”
My studies began with correspondence and the type of year long postal course that many today dismiss without thought. However, I was lucky. My exchange was with a couple in Yorkshire, whose sound advice and level headed approach has served me well. Although I am less “Wiccan” in my approach now, their teachings remain an important foundation of my praxis. I am indebted to them and they remain my spiritual parents.
Over the past decade I have developed further than in the previous decade and a half. This has been facilitated by my improved opportunities to socialise with other Pagan folk, the formation of the Hearth of the Turning Wheel, with the attendant development of coven working and brainstorming sessions with persons whose friendship, I sadly no longer enjoy.
In recent weeks emails and visits from persons new to Paganism, has caused me to reflect upon my own first steps upon this Crooked Path. They come to me so insecure, so full of questions but with a fear of making themselves appear foolish or ignorant. Twenty five years ago, that was me and I sought the very same answers.
This has all given me “pause for thought” as I have found their questions difficult to answer. Not because they are complex but because they are simple enquiries. The questions are often difficult as they relate to matters that do not apply to my own specific path. They are difficult because there is so much that I no longer do. Nor are their questions foolish or stupid, they are rational and sensible; even though they may think that they are indeed, asking “stupid questions.”
Is the fault mine? Is it really so difficult to communicate with someone who has not read the same one thousand books? That being a conservative estimate is not boasting but has relevance. Reading has been a significant influence upon my development.
It is therefore, proving increasingly difficult to communicate ideas and concepts relating to my own beliefs and practice, in an intellectual sphere, simply because so much of my own praxis is instinctive. I feel totally under-qualified to teach but that is preferable to being a self-proclaimed expert on everything under the sun.