Every so often, I feel the need to bring myself to a short stop – and take inventory of where I am, as well as where I have come from. Over the last two years, it certainly feels like I have been doing a lot more of this.
I stepped on to this Pagan Path back in 1986. The month was sometime in April or May – I’m not quite sure, but I do know that in a little under two years, I will have been following this Spiritual Path for thirty years. Later that same year, I will turn 51. That’s quite a long time – and most of my life, and the vast majority of my “adult” life.
A little while ago, I wrote a post titled “Yes, I am a Priest”, where I discussed for a bit how I am realizing that I do embody aspects of what the title of ‘Priest’ entails. While this particular notion is rather commonplace for other Pagans, this was a profound watershed moment for me. I have consistently avoided applying the title to myself, since I never considered what I was practicing within my own personal Spirituality to be that of ritual clergy. As I noted in that blog posting, I found that there was another way of seeing things, which made the application quite appropriate for me.
When I started on my Path, the only formal training I had received came in the form of two Rainbow Years with two different Wiccan traditions: Isian and American Tradition of the Goddess. I never truly understood why I never progressed beyond the Rainbow years in either – except that I knew that what I had learned was not “right” for me. The rest of my knowledge came from reading, and discussing material from these books with other Pagans. A few years back, I started the Bardic Grade for the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids – a program I am still working through and plan to finish by the end of this calendar year. And most recently, I took up a year-long course with another Druid Path.
Oddly enough, it’s the culmination of these two different courses together that are really informing me of what I am, why Druidry is the correct Path to be on, and what it all means to me personally. Some of the things that I have eschewed and avoided are being shown to me as being the missing pieces of the puzzle for me to understand the whys related to all of that. Aside from the silly diversion of avoiding the title of Priest in relation to what I am learning, there has been my precise avoidance of Magick, and my embrace of impromptu, spur-of-the-moment ritual over organized ritual.
Both Magick and organized Ritual are aspects that I am starting to embrace. Remember, I have been nearly thirty years on my personal Path – and most of it has been done while trying to avoid these aspects. In a manner of speaking, I can be considered something akin to a wilding – or as the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the term: “not domesticated or cultivated”. If you prefer, a better term might be ‘unstructured’.
So here I sit, noting that these pieces related to structure and titles are only recent finds. When I snap these into place in my Spiritual Puzzle, I can see the connection between these aspects and what I already know and practice, as well as connections to areas I had never quite understood. And all that is thanks to two programs of studies that I am currently in, as well as books such as Emma Restall Orr’s “The Wakeful World” which have all informed me of the importance of understanding these missing pieces, as well as the connection these have to my own current practices and understanding.
Nearly thirty years. And I only now understand this relatively novice-related concept at this point. Which makes this a bit of a personal checkpoint for me. Did I not learn this because I was being stubborn about doing things my own way? Was I full of meaningless personal pride over this? Or perhaps, I just was not ready to move forward on this until just now? This is something I really need to spend some time and re-evaluate of who I am and what I have been doing. And I seem to be at an appropriate place and time within my life to do so.
Still, it shows me that there is always something to learn on this Spiritual Path I walk…no matter how much time I have put in here. Life is a long and winding trail of experiences – and there’s always a new experience just waiting up around the bend. I only have to open my mind, my senses, and my heart to touch those experiences.