Articles/Essays From Pagans
May 19th. 2013 ...
The Role of Identity in Magic
Talking Trash? It's a Dirty Subject but Waste Happens.
My Wiccan Journey
13 Keys: The Victory of Netzach
May 12th. 2013 ...
Pagan Studies I: How Should We Define Modern Paganism?
The Third Path
Nothing Special... Part Two
May 5th. 2013 ...
The Value of Multicultural Awareness
Put Your Back Into It (Our Lady of the Sacred Honey Badger)
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Red Lipped Bat Fish
April 28th. 2013 ...
Lessons from the Lessers: Iris
April 21st. 2013 ...
Taken By The Goddess: The Crescent Moon Tattoo
The Gods/Being Godbothered
To Be A Witch
The Archetypes are Gods: Re-godding the Archetypes
April 14th. 2013 ...
On The Inclusion of Children
'Wand Fun' With Grandson
Lessons from a Baby
Lessons of Freedom: On Divinity and Healing
April 7th. 2013 ...
Out of the Broom Closet... Sorta
A Journey Through the Witches Tarot
History and Science Behind Numerology
March 31st. 2013 ...
What is the Magickal Self?
Ethics and Numerology
March 24th. 2013 ...
Keystones of the Sacred Land
March 17th. 2013 ...
Why Some Pagans and Witches Still Hide
Witch Heritage 101: What Happens When Witch Haters Joke about anti-Witch Films
I'm Not a Broom. So What's with the Closet?
March 10th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Things I Did as a New Pagan: Part 3
Hunting for the Real Witch in Film
The Collective Shadow
Lies - The Opposite of Truth
March 3rd. 2013 ...
Grounding and Releasing Negative Energy
A Patchwork of Magick
February 24th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I Made as a New Pagan (Part Two)
February 17th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I made as a New Pagan... Part One
Gardening with Crystal Energies
A Call from the Ancestors
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Black Water Snakes
February 10th. 2013 ...
We Are the Weirdos, Mister: A Completely Uncool Story of Origin
February 3rd. 2013 ...
"I'll Grind Your Bones to Make my Bread": Pagans and Animal Husbandry
The Role of Contemporary Culture in Magic
A Pagan Response to Endangered Earth
The Great Mother's Gift, Heinlein, and the Nature of Squirrels
13 Keys: The Glory of Hod
January 27th. 2013 ...
Why We Do Need Wicca
The Cosmos In the Coffee Shop
On Travel Spirituality and Magick
January 20th. 2013 ...
Beloved Backs and How to Save Them
Building or Burning Bridges?
Plants, Magic and Intuition
Plagiarism - How It Harms Our Community
January 13th. 2013 ...
Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichés
The Magick and Power of Words
Aging Is Not Easy
The Riddle of Who We Are?
January 6th. 2013 ...
Wicca v Witchcraft
A Witch in the Closet
Gut Hunches, Mouse Dreams, and Pinkie Sense
How Many People Can You Fit Under An Umbrella?
December 30th. 2012 ...
Ritual "Cheat Sheet" Bracelet
Magick is All Around Us
Confessions of a Living Satyr
A Tiny Bit of Belly Dance History
December 23rd. 2012 ...
The Warrior Goddess and You.
World Change: A Message from Greece
What's the Meaning of Life, Anyway?
My Brother's Keeper
December 16th. 2012 ...
Keeping Christ in Xmas
Love is the Law
Listen to Your Heart's Wisdom
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Responsibility and Right Action
Article ID: 6332
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,639
Times Read: 4,108
Author: RuneWolf [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: June 8th. 2003
Times Viewed: 4,108
I've lately taken to thinking of and describing what I do as "Zen Wicca," or "Zen Witchcraft." And I do that with the full realization that what I practice actually bears very little resemblance to Zen as it is normally practiced, and I apologize to those Zen practitioners who may take exception to my libertine use of the term. But, like "shamanism," Zen has fallen into common (mis-) usage, and who am I to buck a current trend?
When I say "Zen Wicca," I mean a practice that is holistic and pervasive, to such an extent that it impacts and informs all aspects of my life. I am not a "Sabbats Only" Witch - I don't just come out of the woodwork on the High Holy Days, don my robes, gird my athame and fare forth to impress the impressible. I am a Witch every day of the week, every minute of the day, whether I'm at my altar or on the toilet. I don't think about being a Witch constantly; to me that infers an intellectual process that is anathema to the spiritual experience. Rather I am always aware of being a Witch. And with that awareness comes recognition of the obligations that I accepted when I made my initiatory oaths to the Gods, the Craft and myself.
Wicca is work, pure and simple. When the Gods bless me, that work involves helping others in my life and my community, maybe even the world. But most of the time, it means working on myself, so that when I am called on to help others in some way, I am ready, willing and able. A big part of that inner work involves the practice of Right Action, which itself involves taking personal responsibility for my life and my actions.
There is an axiom in recovery: "I am responsible for my own recovery." This means that, while I am powerless over my addiction, I am responsible for doing what I have to do to recover and stay clean and sober. Nobody is going to do it for me, no matter how much they want to - no one can do it for me. Only I can make the decision to not pick up a drink or a drug, to go to a meeting, to talk to someone in recovery, etc.
So it is with life. While I am often powerless over people, places and things, I do have the power to respond appropriately, when I choose to do so. Sometimes this means standing up for myself when my boundaries are violated, and sometimes it means apologizing and making amends when I violate the boundaries of others. What I strive for is the intuitive ability to know what the Right Action is in any situation, and to have the courage and willingness to take that action, even when it is uncomfortable, inconvenient or scary. If I am able to do this, I don't end up needing to apologize, because my actions are not harmful to others.
Where I come from - as the saying goes - personal responsibility is a requirement in the practice of the Craft. If I am not practicing personal responsibility to the best of my ability at any given moment, I ain't practicing the Craft. The good news is that, in a holistic practice, each part of that practice supports and strengthens every other part. To the linear mind, this makes no sense. But then, I don't really care if it makes sense to a linearist - all I care about is that it works.
When I look at it from a non-linear perspective, it really makes perfect sense. As I said above, my goal is that intuitive knowledge of what is the Right Action in any situation. Intuition can be described as the sensing of subtle energies below the level of analytical consciousness. When I work with energy, I am exercising my "subtle energy muscle." I am consciously practicing the perception and manipulation of extremely subtle energies. Projecting and receiving energy, circulating energy and creating and manipulating energy forms all improve my ability to perceive subtle energies. The side effect is that by increasing that ability, I am also increasing my intuitive abilities, since those are based on the same "subtle energy muscle."
So tai chi really does help me to be more personally responsible.
In "Zen Wicca," everything I do is magick. That's the Big Secret. When I am in the middle of a full-blown ritual and am wandering hither and yon between the worlds, its magick! When I am sitting in traffic fussing about being late to work, its magick! In both situations, I am walking my chosen Path - neither is more or less holy, more or less mystical, more or less magickal than the other. If I am infused with the Power of the Lady and the Lord during a ritual trance, then I am just as infused with that Power sitting at a traffic light. The only difference is that I am more aware of it during the ritual. But if I can focus my awareness properly while I'm waiting for the green light, then "suddenly" that Power is available to me. And with that kind of Power available to me, it becomes easier to intuit - and take - the next Right Action.
The disciplines of the Craft, which for me include many that I have "grafted" on to it from other traditions and cultures, don't necessarily give me more control over my mind, emotions or events in my life. However, diligent practice of these disciplines does tend to make my mind more supple and relaxed, my emotions less turbulent, and my overall perception of life less anxious. And they certainly improve my awareness of the processes of my mind, the ebb and flow of my emotions and the essential unpredictability and uncontrollability of daily life. That awareness improves my ability to work with my circumstances and myself in a positive way. Accessing the Power of the Gods at a traffic light won't necessarily make the light change faster, but it allows me to widen my perspective, to appreciate the "Big Picture," and realize that being late to work is not the end of the world, so I can relax.
Witches - like other such folk - are never "off duty." This doesn't mean that we don't sleep, take vacations or say "No" on occasion. It means that we are never disconnected from the Web of Life, even when we feel disconnected. It means that every breath is a chant, every step is a dance, every word is an invocation. We are not adrift in the currents of life, we are stroking downstream! We are little vortexes of energy moving through the manifest world, and it is incumbent upon us to be aware of and responsible for what we do to that world and its inhabitants with that energy. A touch can heal or harm: the choice is always ours. Even when we harm unintentionally, we made the choice to be unaware or careless in the moment.
I can't tell you what constitutes personal responsibility for you, and I won't bore you trying to tell you what it means to me. But a pretty good summary is: "Say what you mean, mean what you say, and do what you say you're going to do." That doesn't mean that I always live up to that, but I'm getting a little bit better at it every day. Mostly because I have come to realize that when I practice Right Action, I draw closer to the Gods, and when I don't, I move away from Them. I can live with the material consequences of personal irresponsibility, but I cannot live without the Gods.
For those who are just joining us, the best things I can suggest are perseverance and consistency. The nature of the techniques is not really as important as staying with the practice. There is an awful lot of material available to the newcomer, and the down side of that is the temptation to jump from one thing to another if one is not getting "results." If we don't find enlightenment after doing what this book says for a week or so, we toss it out and buy a new book, and start the cycle all over again. My experience has been that, while the synergy of certain individuals and certain techniques can yield immediate and impressive results, for the most part any technique should be practiced for a period of at least three (3) months, before evaluating whether it is useful or not. So the real first step is to consider, as objectively as possible, whether the technique appears to have any merit conceptually, and whether it seems sustainable over the long run.
For instance, driving 40 miles into the country every night to meditate in the woods hoping to meet the Horned Lord face-to-face is probably not sustainable for someone working a 9-to-5 in the city, and He'd most likely stay out of sight just to be difficult anyway! On the other hand, a commitment to 13 days of early morning meditation and prayer as an offering to the Lord seems both sustainable and rewarding.
How will this build a more positive and responsible life for you? I don't exactly know. I mean, I can't give you a formula to prove it, or a guarantee that it will actually happen. But one of the cornerstones of magick is focused intent. If you approach anything with focused intent, it will manifest results in your life. And everything affects everything else. Somehow, when I quiet my mind for a few minutes every day, my life becomes quieter. When I work with energy, I become more energetic. When I talk to the Gods, They talk back. When I respect myself, I respect other people. And when I accept the responsibility for being Who I Really Am, I find that I am willing to accept responsibility for my life.
It doesn't make a whole lot of sense sometimes, but it always works.
In Their service...
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