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Revisiting The Spiral

Author: Rhiannon Keneally
Posted: March 28th. 2016
Times Viewed: 3,603

It has been almost a decade since I enthusiastically wrote “Dancing the Spiral of Wicca” for a Literature and Composition Class, though it was posted here much later. Looking back, it shows all the straightforward, youthful optimism of a Witch in her late teens. How the rest of life should be.

Reflecting on it, I found it was too easy. That essay showed how we can break down and simplify the differences between the Judeo-Christian religion and Wicca to bring us together. It did not take into account my growth as a Witch or a human, nor did it count on the growth and change of others, even in this past decade.

Wicca is not what it was when I was in high school. It has become much broader. It has branched out considerably, and, basing my opinion on the definitions of Scott Cunningham and earlier writers, it is not the same. It might be the same rituals, the same beliefs, but Wicca maintains that childlike simplicity. It is the arts and crafts, the ritual gatherings in a generally G or PG setting. Most Wiccans won’t discuss heavier use of magic for things beyond their immediate lives. They leave it as white only, or weak grey at worst. No one wants their hands dirty, nor do they like to become heavily involved in ethical dilemmas.

There is nothing wrong with wanting a simple life, or for wanting to maintain a positive life and attitude. My issue is that the spiral has turned, and our world is a different place than 2007. We are still post 9-11, for those of my generation who are young enough to mark it as our societal, life-altering event. Our needs have become forefront. The use of the Internet and social media has brought to light issues and problems that our world has faced and is still facing. They have always been there – rape, 8-year-old child brides, female/male genital mutilation, sex and human trafficking, to give a brief list of this week’s issues alone – but now it is instantaneous. It is more in your face.

As Witches and Pagans (or whatever you identify as) , we must become more self-aware of and conscious of our worldview and how we interact in it. We cannot remain like ostriches with our heads in the sand.

Please do not take this statement as pro or anti-Democratic, Republican, Socialist, or any other political group. It is not to promote anyone or anything, or that we necessarily have to stick our noses into everyone’s business. It most definitely is not a statement that we must go to war, or that war is a necessary thing (in most cases, I feel that it is not) . What I am trying to say is that we have to become more aware of how we treat others and how we interact in our Grandmother’s web. We cannot go on as we have been without consequences.

As Witches and Pagans, we should not be taking a back seat approach. We shouldn’t reserve our energies and rituals for the minor, every day issues. For some, it is all you can focus on. I am not knocking that. It is those of us who have our lives together, who only have the blinkers focused on dead ahead. I think of Z. Budapest and T. Thorn Coyle, who both have been working for decades with Pagans and Christians on a host of issues, from race equality to gender stratification. They are constantly sharing on Facebook the challenges they face personally, but also of the struggles all of us share.

This is the key, in my mind. It is an active mindset. It is having a different viewpoint, to be able to stand in someone else’s place and try to understand their story. It is not a matter of their race, religion, color, or gender. It is not your age, sexuality, income, or political ideology. We are human beings, and we should treat each other with the respect, honor, and dignity that should be given.

And that is the realization I have been coming to since 2007. We are not just congregations of faceless, vast bodies. We all have individual stories.

What a great realization. It sounds poetic and profound, like something you might hear from Atticus Finch, about walking around in someone else’s shoes. It just goes to show how young I still am. So, how are we to take these grandiose statements and apply them in real life, not in Narnia?

Unfortunately, I found that the first step is to jump in. You don’t need to take on all of the world’s issues. None of us are Hermione Granger or Harry Potter. We can’t tackle all of the world’s evils on our own. Learn about something that you either never thought of as being an issue or find something personal that sticks in your craw. Follow it. Learn the sides of the issue. Learn who’s involved. Ask why.

That is part of the next step: learning to listen, even if you disagree wholeheartedly with every fiber of your being what the other person believes. To know that there is an issue, you have to listen. This is hard, and I don’t personally know too many who are perfect at this. I will be the first to admit that I’m not.

I found that listening to other people’s stories helped me, even if I couldn’t do anything about it. It is allowing another to have a voice. Reading “Humans of New York” really helped me bring perspective to viewpoints I would never have imagined. Everyone has a side of the story. We just have to learn that what we hear is not the whole picture. Ever.
This all still sounds really great, with life lessons from a twenty-something that most either knew, suspected, or plain did not want to hear it from. How does this involve magic and being a Witch?

Basing my definition on authors like Scott Cunningham, magic is the force that we use to shape, change, and manipulate the world around us. This definition is, from my understanding, part of the root of where Wicca comes from. It is evolving and growing. It is culling and stripping the worn-out. It is building and rebuilding.

Every good Witch and Pagan I know understands that, in order to have the goal you wish for, you have to use all of the tools available to you. You can pray all you want for that 6-figure salary, but you won’t get it without updating your resume, doing interviews, and actively searching for it. You have to put in the elbow-grease.

The same applies for our world. We are the creators of our destinies. We have the power to write our story, change the endings. We do not have to accept that there is nothing we can do to right the wrongs of the world. The still-optimistic twenty-something knows that we still can. We have the tools. We have the knowledge. This is what will change our viewpoints. It will not be Christians vs. Pagans (or vs. any other group) . It will be human beings together, one day at a time, one person at a time.


Rhiannon Keneally

Location: Terryville, Connecticut

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