It’s getting close to Mabon, the second harvest, and to the next leg of sojourn in the spiral path. During this particular Sabbat, I am reaping the harvest and gathering the fruits of my labor. This isn’t just the harvest of The Wheel of the Year, it’s the harvest of an entire 19 years of dedicating myself to the Path. I think about where I started from; a scared, angry, and very mentally damaged young girl to the woman I am proud to be today. I am mother, wife, friend, writer, and have the esteemed privilege of being a Priestess in my community.
My grief and anger stemmed from the loss of my father and the other hardships I faced throughout growing up. The healing I received from others in my Tribe helped shape me into an author who is writing my own Path through the spiral passage. Becoming Priestess facilitated a whole new sense of purpose and responsibility, one that I felt I was called to do my entire life. I may have not had the tools to appropriately express my gifts, however, I did have the dedication to do what was needed to move forward through my own grief and sadness to become a whole person. I didn’t do that alone, I did that with the love and support of my Tribe, that even through adversity, still encouraged me to better myself.
On September 22nd, the ritual of Mabon at Deeply Rooted Church, I will stand in front of my peers and be judged whether I am worthy or not of donning the title of Priestess. I look forward to this event because I know that whatever the outcome, I will have work to do to improve myself. My pilgrimage does not stop at simply becoming ordained. I have never been motivated by title alone and thank the Gods because the amount of ego needed to sustain that would be daunting at best. Title with purpose drives me to further describe, define, decipher, and debate the next chapter of our spiritual journey as Pagans. So what is that?
Our first step in Paganism is just beginning. Yes, we have a wide array of brave elders who came before us to manifest Paganism into being. We can thank and honor them for the sacrifice that they have made during the course of their lives. Now we’re the next generation of Pagans that are desperately seeking a purpose. We know what it is that we have to do, and we understand the need for acceptance and diversity, yet do we have the bravery required for what comes next?
I believe we do. Through the observances and experiences of being in an intentional community such as Deeply Rooted Church, I have noticed one pressing matter that seems to be keeping us in a loop instead of advancing spiritually and socially. I have also not only been witness, I have also been an active participant in the process of evolution. What I’m talking about is our great ability to hold each other back because we’re afraid and there’s many reasons for this fear that are completely justified.
Fear. Distrust. Physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual abuse that not only is the worm in the Apple that is Paganism, it is the poison that eats away at the entirety of humanity. This terror of being attacked, bombarded, used, and abused haunts out entire community like a banshee crying out into the night. It consumes our thoughts, keeps us up at night, and scarily enough, drives us away from each other. We are better than this and I have seen evidence of it that jumps outside of the sphere of unverified personal gnosis. It’s real, you can reach out and touch it if it’s consenting to the experience.It’s the relationships and experience that I’ve forged over the course of my tenure at Deeply Rooted.
Now, I believed myself to be an honorable person, and I am believed myself to be a person who did the *right* thing. I believed a lot of things about myself and my want of being *right* justified everything I did and pushed me away from others. How young and naive I was back then. The isolation triggered a myriad of mental illnesses such as anxiety attacks which became the driving force of verbal reactionary attacks that I wasn’t even aware of the detriment that it caused. This was not limited to my interactions with other Pagans, this was the entire scope of my existence on Earth. On my path to Clergy, I found out firsthand how impactful my words and my thoughts were and thus the damage or healing that they could cause. Abandoning my ego, accepting that I wasn’t always *right*, and listening to the contributions of peers helped me reshape and rewrite the person I am today. The goal is no longer always being right or reiterating a point over and over because I want it to be true, the new challenge is accepting the spiritual lesson inside each new insight from other Pagans.
I don’t think I’m the only person who has gone through these karmic trials. I observe the struggle of others in their fear and how they feel justified in distrusting others. I’ve also seen the fallout of online groups and nearly my own Church. I realize that if we’re going to advance, all of us need to recognize not only this frailty in other Pagans, yet also ourselves. Many of us are motivated by the same primal fears and react accordingly. This is normal and just part of the process of the human evolutionary journey. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up over our misgivings nor should we congratulate ourselves too much on our victories. Humility, that’s the missing piece of the Pagan puzzle.
If we can recognize our similarities more than our differences, then we can advance and do great things without pursuing the same old boring routines that only leave us empty and wanting more. It doesn’t matter if Bob is a soft polytheist and Kim is a hard polytheist. In the end of each point explored just leaves us with the need for more clarification to the Great Mystery that is life. What a person believes in is just where they are on the Path and is an important part of their growth and development. If all we do is battle out our frustrations on each other and dismiss the spiral path, we are no more Pagans than we are anything else.
I don’t want to end this article on a negative note or tell people what to do. The gift I can give is one of my own harvest. I can tell you that my experiences in the past 19 years and the interactions with folks at my Church have only intensely stoked the fires of my passions. I have seen humility, forgiveness, and honesty on the Pagan path. Human sacrifice, not a bloody and obscure ritual from our past, an event that causes all those involved to get closer in the process. As a spiritual path, we’re very blessed to be able to start over and rewrite our adventure. We have not lost anything as long as we can trust each other again and discover the same universal truths that our ancient ancestors lived as part of their daily lives.
The Crop of Paganism lies in understanding, in asking questions, and being polite to each other. It’s not always easy and it takes a lot of self-realization work to overcome what keeps you back. Human sacrifice is necessary and that means digging deep into our understanding of ourselves in order to understand how we relate to each other and the natural world in which we honor. Our harvest is our friendships and networks, through our communities and social groups that unite us. Paganism is just a word until we work together to define what it means to us. Community and Tribe are integral pieces of the puzzle that makes the final picture crystal clear. We were destined by circumstance of our creation, the human race, to work together to accomplish great things and that beautiful vision is entirely dependent on what each of us chooses to harvest this season. All of our experiences and challenges are vital nourishment for the entire process to be successful. So I’m asking you the reader and the entirety of Paganism, what crops have you reaped during this time?