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Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
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September 16th. 2015 ...
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
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Sex, Lies, and Witches: Love in a Time of Wiccans and Atheists
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A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
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March 1st. 2015 ...
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February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
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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
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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
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Creating a Healing Temple
September 20th. 2014 ...
GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)
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Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery
August 31st. 2014 ...
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August 24th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
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August 17th. 2014 ...
To Know, to Will, to Dare...
On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows
August 10th. 2014 ...
As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?
The Power of the Gorgon
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Just A Little Bit Different
Article ID: 14861
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: March 18th. 2012
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My beliefs and my experiences work a little bit differently than many of my peers, and often I am asked about the mechanics of my spirituality. What makes being a Witch different from being something else? What exactly is it that I believe? Besides the obvious disbelief in the Christian god, how is it different from Christianity?
The series of conversations from which I draw my inspiration gave me great pause as I considered my answers. Of course, it’s clear that there are many differences. I wanted, though, to put those differences into precise words and to have these developed thoughts replace the general sense of “it’s just different… how could it not be?”.
Right now, I am a solitary practitioner of Shamanistic Witchcraft but I grew up in a Baptist, fundamentalist family, and things were extremely different for me growing up. To piece together the best explanations for the differences in beliefs, I did some comparisons between then and now.
Firstly, when I was young, my pastor was one of the biggest authority figures in my life. His word was accepted, usually without much question, and he had influence in every one of the congregants’ lives. Now, however, I am my own guide and authority. I define my own spirituality and there is no one who is in greater control of what I believe than I am.
One of the hugest things in my former church was the idea of asking for forgiveness from God for any sin. I no longer need to be “absolved” of my sins by a God or a religious officiate. Instead, I know that ‘like attracts like’ and that karma exists. I know that if I choose to do something that is wrong, the person I will be hurting the most is myself. The way I am “forgiven” is not by someone’s word but by the energetic score being balanced- by making things right through action, both through karma received and through trying to undo what I’ve done as much as I can.
There was also a popular idea of having an “accountability partner”- someone who would be there to make sure you stayed “on track” religiously. Now I know that if I do not do what I need to do, I will not progress. It’s as simple as that. My path requires dedication. My patrons and guides will see little point in working with me if I am not going to give my all to what I’m doing. In this way, I am my own accountability partner. I’m responsible for my spiritual wellbeing and myself.
When I went to my family’s church, I believed that God held all power. As things changed, I realized that though deities, guides, and spirits have power, there is much power within me as well. Sometimes I ask for help and I receive it, but other times the response is, “Go do it yourself. You think you need outside help, but you don’t. You have everything you need. Take a deep breath, get up, and do what needs to be done.”
Sometimes I ask questions and they are answered. Other times I get an eye roll and a response that is something like, “You already know the answer to this, so why are you asking?” or maybe, “You think you don’t know the answer, but you don’t need my help to find it, either. You can do this yourself. Look at what’s inside of you. Meditate and dream. The things you need to know will come to you that way.”
Finally, I now know that my spirituality is not going to automatically solve my problems or protect me from troubles. This is perhaps the most profound difference in my attitude since I became a Witch three years ago. I went through too much too young, and as a child with such limited views, I struggled to find meaning in these things. I see this often in people of all ages- something happens and shakes up a person’s life. They proceed to shake their fist at the sky, demanding to know how God could let something like that happen to them. Sometimes people may tell you it’s a punishment for something you did, as a fellow congregant did to me at ten years of age when my father died in an accident.
Thankfully, my ideas and views on tragedy and sadness have completely changed. I know that having caring guides and patrons doesn’t mean that nothing bad will ever happen to me. I accept that. My trust in my beliefs is deep enough that in times of pain and sadness, it is something I cling to instead of question. I understand that some things, like the death of a loved one, will be endured by almost everyone at some point in their lives. It is inescapable, like many tragedies, and it does not mean that whomever you believe in hates you or has forgotten about you.
Moreover, I know that I am meant to suffer through certain things in life. These painful lessons are a part of why I am here, and knowing that gives me a lot more peace when it comes to the traumas I have been through and continue to go through in my life than I had before I found myself in my spirituality.
I know that there is profound meaning in the abuses I have lived through and the difficulties I still have. Some of these things are in my soul contract, because I needed to learn from them. Some of these things happened for other reasons- it takes a lot of time for a person to break out of a pattern if they cannot learn from the lesson. When it is a parent who is struggling with these patterns, it is hard not to feel some of the consequences, especially as a young child. That does not mean, however, that these experiences have any less meaning. Nothing is pointless if you can derive meaning from it and learn from it.
Now there are many times when something occurs and I immediately know what it is that I am supposed to gain from it. I’m not going to pretend that this eases all the pain and makes the journey quick and simple, but it does provide some comfort and it is a path to take through the difficulty. I’ve become able to skip being lost in the dark, not understanding the purpose and not being able to progress past it.
Yes, my spirituality is different and I love it, and putting the discoveries of these last three years into words only makes them all the more beautiful.
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