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Article ID: 4554
Age Group: Adult
Posted: March 25th. 2002
Cleaning Out The Junk Drawer
Everyone has one. It is that dark and hidden place where the old batteries go to die, where every pen and pencil that you own slinks off to hide from you and where dozens and dozens of strange- and too often pointy- items lurk menacingly in the dusty back corners. It can be in the form of a closet too, I guess -and it usually is when one is between the ages of 12 and 19- but for most adults it usually manifests itself in the classical drawer form. Perhaps that should be 'neo-classical'? Cavemen undoubtedly had a pit or a shelf in the cave for those little bits of bone that they couldn't see fit to throw away either. In any case and in any age, we humans have shared an unrestrained need to have some little place to tuck away our handy-dandy utensils, our little treasures and last year's birthday cards. You know, our junk.
Of course, it isn't 'junk' to us. If it were, much as the definition suggests ("things that are considered to be of no use or value"), it would have just gone straight into the trash with the rest of it. Our junk is special. It is the hammer and screwdriver that we need in order to hang that pyramid poster. It is those twisty ties that we need to tie our real junk bags twisty shut. We have those screws for the table (when we actually get around to fixing it), the keys that we can't throw away (until we check everything that has a lock first) and the thirty-two cent stamps that just need a few one-centers to go with them. Hold off on that last one. The post office is raising the price again in June. You might need five-centers instead. Our 'junk' is made up of the stuff that we need -or may need- and the stuff that we want to know where it is when we need it. That's cool. That's using the old bean. That's being resourceful. Soooo... where did all that other kind of stuff come from?
Like bent paper clips. Surely one can just bend a fresh one when one has the need for whatever one needs a bent paper clip for. (I'm not asking. I'm sure that you have your reasons.) Or the remote control from two CD players ago. You already cannibalized the batteries, right? Just wipe your incriminating fingerprints off of it then. And what are all of those unseen little things rattling around in the bottom anyway? Little pieces of plastic from something or other and screw-on caps for something else and scraps of paper with someone-who-you-now-can't-recall's phone number? Perhaps it is time to do a little purge?
I know. I know. Just opening that drawer with such intent can be a little intimidating. I mean, no one but you and your most trusted confidants ever see it anyway, right? Most of the time you can still get it shut (if you lean on the top of the heap a little bit) and most of the time you can still get it open (if you can just get your fingers under that 1997 Yule card wedged against the top). So, what's the big deal? It's easier to just close it up again and forget about it. It's hard to toss some of that stuff. Some of it may still be useful someday and a lot of it has considerable sentimental value. Decisions will have to made. What are we going to keep and what really just doesn't work anymore or doesn't fit anymore and so, really should go? And exactly at which point in the reading of this piece did you begin to suspect that this article was going to be about more than just a kitchen junk drawer? Uh-huh. You know me so well. I'll have to work on that.
There is a lot of 'junk' that we tend to accumulate in our mental junk drawers, too. We all have our pet junk. Some of it has been in our mental drawer for years. We have become emotionally attached to it. It's hard to look at with cool detachment. But it's time for the Pagan/Heathen communities to take a good look. Do I hear drawers slamming? Well that's up to you. It's your drawer. But for those who are ready to clean out some of the clutter, here are some helpful hints on where to begin to look.
Wiccan Drawers: The religion of Wicca started with Gerald Gardner. It is not ancient or pre-Christian. Gardner did base elements of Wicca upon some very old folk practices and lore, but he drew even more from ceremonial magic and esoteric literature and occultism. Today, Wicca is a valid religion in its own right. It doesn't need to gussy up its past with false claims of antiquity. Toss out that original version of Starhawk and get the updated edition. Or simply say that Wicca is based upon Gardner's teachings and that in addition, you are adding some medieval mythology and some English folk customs to it as well as continuing to create new and innovative modern rituals. Learn about the history and culture from whence these customs, myths, Gods and Goddesses originated. You might uncover some more stuff to toss -or to add- when you do.
Witch Drawers: Whether you are a religious Witch or a secular witch, you won't find a certificate of copyright in your drawer. Anyone can use the word 'Witch' whether you think that they are one or not. You probably have less junk cluttering up your drawer than most (Good for you!), but you also have no business poking your nose into anyone else's. If there are no fluffy-bunnies in your drawer, then you simply have less lint. While you might suggest that an occasional drawer cleaning might be in order, you can't force anyone to do it with sarcastic web sites or belittling words. A lot more people might actually admire and emulate your drawer if you'd just stop slamming their fingers in it.
The Heathen/Reconstructionist Drawers: Okay, your people actually invented finger slamming. Your drawer is filled with historical facts and cultural nuances that most others do not fully understand. And you are sick of shagging curious folks out of your drawer and you are tired of having your sacred objects hefted by sticky fingers. These things are important to you. They are not just religious in nature; they are also cultural. They are who you are. Some of us get it. More would get it if you didn't scare or piss them off. You are often admired and some folks are hungry to learn. Consider adding yet another chance for understanding to happen into your drawer.
The Pagan Drawer: This is a very, very big drawer. And it's chock full of junk. This is the drawer into which we have just been shoveling everything that didn't fit somewhere else or didn't have a drawer of its own. The Pagan Drawer is useful. It is the one that we point to when we don't have or want to point to anything else. But it has become such a jumble of junk that it no longer really serves that purpose anymore. What should go and what should stay? The cleaning crew has entered the building and we'll just have to wait and see what will be left when they are done. Have some thoughts on that? Then get involved. This is a big job and it might take a while. But this particular cleaning job is long overdue.
And, of course, there are very many other drawers. There is 'The Victim Drawer' and 'The Sexual Predator Drawer' and 'The Ancient Secrets Drawer' and 'The Don't Want To Deal With It Drawer' and the ever-cluttered 'Don't Even Think About Touching My Sacred Drawer' drawer. Cleaning out the junk is hard. It sometimes is painful. There are all those pointy things hiding there in the back corners. And then after the cleaning itself is done, the drawers might look a little- well, empty- for a while.
But that's the good thing about having a junk drawer in the first place. We can always find something else to put in there. If we add to it carefully and thoughtfully today, then future clean-ups won't be as drastic or as difficult.
And we won't have to hunt through all of that clutter for a damn paper clip to bend.
Walk in Love and Light,
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, March 25th., 2002
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