Article ID: 15592
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,038
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Author: Nicky Woodsprite LeBlanc
Posted: January 19th. 2014
Times Viewed: 2,645
In my experience walking the Pagan path, I have benefited from years spent as a solitary as well as years spent as a member of a group. As a solitary, I explored various paths and learned much that helped me evolve spiritually from the teachings of Buddhism, Hinduism, the Native American religions, and others. Now, as a member of a Wiccan tradition that comprises eleven covens, I have been afforded many opportunities to expand and improve my energy work, magickal techniques, ritual design, performance and skill in working with others.
While we are cautioned, before we are accepted into the covens of our tradition, to not anticipate our covens providing us with “the family we never had” or anything of that sort, we do begin to think of our group as our spiritual family after a while. Our covenstead comes to feel like our second home, and our coven members begin to feel like not only good friends but also sisters and brothers. We are not walking in the same shoes as anyone else, but we are with like-minded, like-hearted people, going through similar stages of growing. We can share thoughts and feelings with them that we wouldn’t necessarily share with our next-door neighbors or the people we work with.
Walking the Pagan path, when one seriously applies oneself to the work, is very empowering. We gain confidence. We gain a feeling of strength! Sometimes the “muggle” people in our lives are astounded to see this greater strength and self-confidence coming out in us. We stand up for ourselves, where perhaps we didn’t before. We speak out on behalf of others, and we don’t just settle for things that don’t seem right. Instead of wishing for better circumstances, we go out and make them happen. This being said, we cease being chronic complainers about life, because we have learned to be proactive.
We become better, stronger individuals while belonging to a circle, a coven, a spiritual community. There is an odd thing that happens to some, perhaps many of us, though. In spite of all the inner strength and personal growth, we can become dependent on our group, very much the way a person becomes dependent on his or her marriage partner. At first we are so thoroughly delighted with it! It seems to fulfill all our needs! But in time, we begin to realize that it has flaws and shortcomings. The more we look at those, the bigger they seem. And then, sure enough, we begin to feel resentful that it’s not fulfilling all our needs anymore. Maybe it’s taken in newer members and is focusing more on their needs, and we become jealous. We spend time stewing miserably, and even contemplate divorcing our group, because we feel sure there is another one out there that would make us feel special, and excite us, again.
Running away from a situation or place where we’ve begun to feel uncomfortable, however, is not a very good way to deal with things. As Pagans who are actively working on personal growth, we need to realize that the challenges in our lives are actually there to help us learn new and improved ways of doing and being. We just have to figure out why we’re not feeling comfortable anymore, keeping in mind that “because my group ____” is never going to be 100% of the answer. As my mother used to say about marital conflicts, “It takes two to tango.” Like two individuals who are in a relationship, both we and our groups grow, and there are going to be times when our growth-rates and growth-directions are in sync with each other, as well as times when they are not. It’s rarely anything as simple as someone being right or wrong, and as Pagans we should understand that. There are many ways of doing lots of things…many ways that are right! All that being said, we do not have to like everything that’s put before us simply because it’s one of the right ways, but we owe it to ourselves as much as to our groups to try to make the relationship work out.
We must remember that we are independent beings and do not need to rely upon our group for every bit of our spiritual sustenance. A group is made up of individuals, each of whom has certain knowledge, skills, and talents. There will be times when a group cannot provide certain types of events, classes, or rituals because there are certain skills that no one in the group has. It really is better to put off teaching or performing some esoteric practices until somebody in the group has the experience to do them well. We could look for the kind of event that we want to experience elsewhere. If we find it, then perhaps we can get serious, expand our study, and bring new knowledge or skill back to our coven!
If we try bringing something back to our coven that we have learned elsewhere, and find that nobody seems interested, then we have a conundrum. We could think, “Well that’s too bad, ” and resolve to keep on getting our fill of that thing elsewhere, or we could consider, “Well maybe I didn’t explain it very well. Let me come up with a way to present it that they might like.” That’s how we expand our own communication skills. That’s going to be beneficial to us in all areas of our lives!
Another point to keep in mind is that an active group might have several, or even most, of its members working toward initiatory degrees at any given time. Not everyone can be the leader all at once. Too many people trying to lead can have the same effect as too many cooks spoiling the broth. We have to be realistic with ourselves. There are times when we are inclined to believe we are a whole lot more skillful or accomplished than we actually are. And when others don’t see us that way, we get resentful. There will be times when we really do know all that we think we know, and other times when we really don’t! It is not much fun to be given a position of leadership that we were sure we wanted, and suddenly find that we are not ready for it. We have to assess ourselves often, and realize that if we have to wait for some things, we can spend the time while we’re waiting on learning and practicing instead of on sulking and complaining. Sulking and complaining are human tendencies, but not constructive ones!
There are many Pagans who are solitary, but not by choice. Some places simply do not have enough of a Pagan community to have groups available or out-in-the-open where seekers can readily find them. We know that there are also many groups that form but then don’t last very long. When groups don’t last, it’s usually because the members lose interest quickly or give up too easily on making them work. Groups, like all our interpersonal relationships, are well worth staying with and working on! As we learn to adapt and to work together to form our groups and help them be strong and cohesive, we secure for ourselves something of great value now, and build lasting Pagan communities for future generations of Pagans to enjoy!
Nicky Woodsprite LeBlanc
Location: Greenwood, Delaware
Author's Profile: To learn more about Nicky Woodsprite LeBlanc - Click HERE
Bio: Nicky LeBlanc is an initiate and scribe within The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, a student of astrology, tarot, and qabala, and a member of Builders of the Adytum. Recently she has self-published her first book, The Living Goddess: Ancient Goddesses and the Women who Work with Them in Today's World.
She lives with her husband Joseph in rural Delaware.
Other Articles: Nicky Woodsprite LeBlanc has posted 6 additional articles- View them?
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