Hi readers! This popular tag has been floating around YouTube and Instagram for a few weeks now, and I wanted to leave you all with something before I run off to Free Spirit Gathering. Enjoy!
I’ve learned that, like the Wheel of the Year itself, my life moves in cycles. I can remember being a Blue Star Dedicant years and years ago and realizing—courtesy of my very astute teacher who told me I needed to keep track of these things, which sounds obvious now but totally was not at the time—that my interests, moods, relationship with my body, and connection to the gods all ebbed and flowed according to the seasons. I am the happiest and most ambitious over the summer. In August, I have to be mindful of depression, which will set in as school starts. Halloween is fun, but I tend to be sick or injured this time of year. December is a good time to talk to the gods and feel them most strongly in my life. Imbolc always has be gunning to start some new spiritual project that’s usually a little beyond my scope at the time. I spend too much money in May, because all of my Taurus is hanging out and I feel good about the coming time off. And so on.
Years of doing this, and I finally have a reasonably good sense of myself. I used to try to fight it, but I find that it’s easier to just flow and be patient with myself. Work isn’t going away, and neither is depression, tax season, or final exam schedules, so better to just do what I can to prepare and move through these things as gracefully as possible.
My coven has a cycle to it to: times when it’s easier to meet often, times when people need extra support, and times when I feel like the worst high priestess in the world because I have to relinquish much of the coven’s functional work to others for the sake of my mental health. It’s not a problem, but in the past it’s been very frustrating. When you don’t recognize patterns and respond accordingly, it can feel like everything is just happening to you beyond control.
Mostly, I wrote it to amuse myself and my friends. I knew going in that the biggest challenge would be writing a story that felt authentic without excluding my non-witch audience. How to work in community jokes and contemplations on stuff that really matters to my personal experience while not alienating a roomful of people (one of whom is responsible for my grade) who might have zero experience with any kind of Pagan anything?
The feedback was surprisingly useful, and I was pleased that they seemed to think I’d pulled off something worthwhile (or, at least, not just produced a steaming pile of garbage). As a room, however, one snag sat at the center of the critique:
“I need to know this narrator’s religious background,” said my professor.
I should add, here, that the rules of our workshop prevent the author from speaking. We’re required to listen, take notes, and be thoughtful. I was not permitted to engage and instead practiced my (still bad) poker face.
“A loss of faith narrative could be interesting, but it matters where he’s coming from. Was he raised as a witch? And, if not, what trauma led to his conversion?”
Harmony Nice is one of the leading voices in this latest incarnation of Wicca, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this book does what Teen Witch by Silver RavenWolf did in the nineties, both good and bad. Though I’m not its target audience by any stretch, I see myself twenty years ago in this book. Adult me is uncomfortable with that at times, but it’s the truth.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been a beginner, but being active on the Pagan and witch Internet means that I’m constantly in contact with newcomers. I see their questions (and sometimes have them directed at me), I check out the books they’re reading, and I watch what’s changing since I first got started in the nineties (a lot, for sure).
Recently, I was telling Mat Auryn that I wish those of us who have been around for a while would recommend different books. After all, the community has changed, people’s values and interests have shifted, and there are generational differences that we should respect. We know more about the history of Wicca and witchcraft, we have different ideas about what it means to be Pagan, and we have myriad more paths and traditions available for newcomers.
So why are Scott Cunningham, Ray Buckland, and other oldies still at the top of most of the reading lists floating around?
Happy Yule, friends! I spent yesterday tending house, mulling wine, and preparing for holiday travels and visiting with family. Here are some thoughts on the turning wheel, the beginning of the year, setting intentions for a new year, and my next book.
Look! After almost ten years I finally learned how to make video thumbnails. Good for me. I get lots of comments on Instagram with folks asking about my the leather journal I’m using right now. It seemed to make the most sense to just make a video! You can find the link to the shop where I got it in the video description.