Articles/Essays From Pagans
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)
October 10th. 2016 ...
Witchcraft from the Outside
September 11th. 2016 ...
How Did I Get Here? (My Pagan Journey)
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
September 3rd. 2016 ...
Rethinking Heaven: What Happens When We Die?
What is Happening in My Psychic Reading?
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
An Open Mind and Heart
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
June 13th. 2016 ...
Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
How to Bond with the Elements through Magick
Magical Household Cleaning
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity
Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected
The Fear of Witchcraft
Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele
Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess
Magic in Sentences
The Evolution of Thought Forms
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion
Spring Has Sprung!
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Energy and Karma
Community and Perception
December 20th. 2015 ...
Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
Native American Spirituality Myopia
A Dream Message
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?
Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism
I Claim Cronehood
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
The Gods of My Heart
January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
Pagans All Around Us
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
A Microcosmic View of Ma'at
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
Abandoning Expectations and Remembering Your Roots
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
The Blackberry Grove - A Pagan Parable
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The students at the Summerland Valley were learning the secrets and ways of the Craft with their master and mistress.
One lazy student, in a fit of boredom, asked his master, “My Lord, I grow tired of practice. If the gods are so powerful, and if they are immanent as you say, then why must we work so hard to learn the knowledge they have provided to the elders of the Craft? Why are they secret at all? Why can’t we just be told the mysteries of our way like our Christian brethren?”
The Lord was not angered by the lazy student’s queries. In fact, he smiled as a father would for his child.
“Come with me.” the Lord replied.
He took the lazy student away from the others, through several fields and deep into the forests, until they arrived at a grove. This grove was thick with thorn bushes, save for a narrow path in between.
“Look at these bushes.” the Lord replied. The student did thus, and he discovered that the bushes were filled with blackberries.
“Go ahead, eat one.” the Lord said. The student eagerly ate a berry from a nearby bush, not bothering to see what he had picked. He quickly spat it out, realizing he had eaten a red one, one which was not yet ripe.
“The ripe ones are deeper in the bush.” the Lord said.
The student realized this, and spotting a ripe berry further within the bush. He immediately recoiled as the first thorn cut into his skin. He tried again and again, but each time he pulled back as the thorns scraped his hand and caught a hold of his robes. He started to pull away, to search for another, more convenient berry.
“No!” the Lord commanded. “You’ve been struggling to get that berry. Are you willing to lose to a bush?”
His pride irked, the lazy student thrust his hand into the bush and grabbed the berry. Yet to his dismay, the student’s hand was heavily cut, and the berry had been smashed in his hand.
“There there now, ” the Lord said as he healed the student’s hand. “Do not fret.”
The Lord then, with his infinite magic, made the thorns move away, until the bush exposed the ripest, most juicy berry it held. With great ease, the Lord plucked the berry from its branch, and then allowed the thorns to return to place.
The student looked expectantly at his master. “Master, may I please have that berry?”
The Lord replied, “Would you really deny me the pleasure of this sweet fruit? Are you so selfish that you would wish to reap from another’s work?”
The student, having felt ashamed of his request after what his master said, refused.
“I thought as much.” the Lord said, and then he ate the berry.
“My student, ” the Lord said, “do you understand why I have brought you here? This is the Blackberry Grove, where during the beginnings of summer, this thorny brush produces the sweetest blackberries. But you cannot just take them. The bushes demand more respect than that. Look at the berries on the outside of the bush. They are small, withered from the heat, and some are not even ripe. Yet if you look deep within the bush, you will see the prize berries, those that grow large and are never sour.
But the bushes won’t just let you take them. They want you to earn their treasures. If you can surpass their thorns, you will have the berry. But if you are weak, you will never reach them, and if you are too hasty, you will destroy the fragile berries and do a great disservice to yourself.”
“My son, these bushes are the gods, and their berries the mysteries, the secrets that they can reveal to you. There is the common knowledge that you can get from the surface of these gods, but if you really want knowledge and power beyond that of ordinary people, you must work with the gods, earn their trust, and be respectful of them, or they will never remove their thorns. Only those who have done the work that is necessary, only those who have entered a true relationship with the gods, can be granted this gift of knowledge.
It is also for this reason that you may never fully profit off another who has done the work. For once the knowledge is consumed, like the berry, it can never be completely released back into the world. The mystery of the Craft is something that must be experienced, not something that can be explained, just as nobody can perfectly explain the taste of the blackberry.”
The student understood. He remained in the grove the rest of the night, working to reach the sweetest berries. He worked hard to avoid the thorns and to not break the branches, and though he failed many times, he learned from his mistakes, and learned how to get the berries without being scratched.
The bushes, impressed by the student’s diligence and respect, soon began to recoil their thorns, so soon the student was able to access all of the ripest berries in the grove. He gathered what he did not eat, and returned the next morning to the other students and his master and mistress.
He offered the berries to his classmates, none of whom had eaten such fresh berries. When asked where he had gotten them, how he had gotten so badly scratched, or how to describe the taste of the berries, the student remained silent.
“You must discover that for yourself.” he would reply.
And for then on end, the student was no longer lazy, and would be forever known as The Diligent One.
**This is a story I wrote over a year ago, at my family's old farm. It was during the Louisiana summer, when the blackberries were fully ripe. As my mind pondered over these fruits, I felt a surge of inspiration. Whether it was the gods, spirits, or my own imagination which brought about this story, I was compelled to write. Take this story as you will, and I hope you enjoy.**
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