This morning, on the way to work, I noticed that the signs warning you that a lane was about to become exit only said “Thru traffic merge left”. When I was younger, you were expected to understand that this lane was becoming an exit only lane (usually thanks to the short dashed white lines, or overhead signs) and move over if you weren’t exiting. Now they tell you explicitly. You’re not required to think.
When did we need to be told the obvious? Is the world moving too fast for us to keep up? If that’s the case, why don’t we slow down?
There’s information coming at us from a huge number of directions. Just at work, I monitor email, 11 different chat channels, phone calls, text messages and private conversations … all to get the bits and pieces I need to put into a whole picture. And that doesn’t count the meetings. That’s a lot of information to process. My job is a lot about communication and managing information, I’m trained to do it, and I’m good at it. But what about people who aren’t? Even in our daily non-work lives, we get hit with texts, facebook, twitter, google+, and whatever other social networks you’re on … even when you’re not at home! There’s so much information coming in that there’s no time to think. We just react.
Sometimes we forget to take a break, to remind ourselves that it’s okay to just take some time and think.
Initiation is a personal experience in which one becomes aware of mysteries-realities that were previously hidden, that cannot be communicated by one person to another in words or symbols, that must be experienced directly, firsthand.
by Ellen Cannon Reed in “The Heart of Wicca: Wise Words from a Crone on the Path”
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about initiation and what it means to me. I am part of a tradition that works primarily online, although I’m lucky enough to have the High Priestess within a few hours drive of me. My tradition is wiccan, and thus an initiatory tradition.
The challenge we have is that in addition to the coven, there is a school for people interested in wicca and our tradition who do not wish to become part of the tradition. This only limits people who are interested in pursuing the third degree coursework, as that is much more personalized and more involved in understanding how to work within the tradition. Most of the work before that is learning the basics (and not so basics) of Wicca.
The first and second degrees are fairly in-depth in the subjects covered, everything from the basics of the history of Wicca, to how to create your own amulets, talismains and thought forms. The tradition is eclectic, there’s not a whole lot of “this is how we do things” or spells handed down from a traditional book. The first and second degree initiations are large affairs, with people from all around the world attending online. The third degree initiations are done in person, as is most of the third degree training.
So it comes to me to think about what each of those rituals are. I have been initiated into Wicca before I came to my current tradition and it was a different experience than the initiation that I have had in my current tradition. It’s not that the online rituals weren’t powerful experiences … I have been in tears before due to an online ritual (more than once), but the online initiations didn’t seem to have the same effect as the in-person initiation. I think it was simply the amount of personalization. It’s not possible to do an individual initiation when there are a large number of students. It’s more like a graduation ceremony than an initiation (in the definition above).
That doesn’t mean that the ceremony wasn’t good, or a good way to mark a transition, but it wasn’t the life changing experience that I expected from an initiation. I am not the same person that I was before I was initiated into my current tradition, but I’m not convinced that it was as a result of the initiation.
The more I learn and study, the more I realize that I want that in-person training. It’s not that far out for me in my current path and I’m looking forward to it.
I look forward to learning now, from people who are willing to teach me now, and later from those who will teach me later. One day, when it’s time, I may go through another initiation. In the mean time, I’ll enjoy the journey.
I am a creature of habit. I think to some extent we all are. It’s so easy to continue to do the same thing time after time. But does it really help us?
Sitting in the same area on the train helps my train-riding friends to find me. Building habits of spiritual practice help to keep me sane. But I have learned that I can’t rely on those habits. If something happens differently and puts me out of my routine, then I’m likely to forget something that has been a habit.
So habits are not all bad, sometimes even good, but we should be aware of what is habit and what is not. Sometimes we need to work outside the routine, sometimes we need to break our habits.
As with all, nothing should be un-changeable, nothing immutable. We flow and turn with the Wheel of Fortune. Being aware and willing to change is our best road to peace.
At the Goddess Festival last year, I took a little over 4 ounces of blended fiber and spun all event on a spindle. It was an amazing experience! All the different experiences from the festival were spun into that yarn .. the fantastic rituals, the fire dancing, the amazing workshops and the wonderfully welcoming event are all in that yarn.
Once home, the yarn sat on my altar for a while, then recently I plied the yarn and worked it up into a wide scarf, or shawl. It’s long enough to go around my neck, and wide enough to lay over my shoulders.
It’s so wonderful and soft! And now it’s sitting on my altar, awaiting it’s dedication.
With still a lot of winter to go, I’m ready for spring! So I took the time to re-decorate my altar for late winter/spring.
I’ve got some little goddesses, one of them was given to me by a dear friend, and the other has the word “imagine” on the back of it. The altar is decorated with silk flowers and candles .. the cloth is some lovely fabric that I cut down and hemmed. The big candles are both from the Sacred Mists Shoppe .. the blue is my main altar candle, and the orange smells lovely and invigorating.
This is another step out of the broom closet for me … a public place on the interwebs where I can express my witchy and crafty thoughts and more. I have a couple of other blogs with different focuses, but they have generally slowed down or stopped. So .. we come to this one.
My first wordpress blog *grin* and hopefully it’ll continue to be a good one.
If things go the way I expect, you should be able to find my musings on all sorts of stuff, from things that I’m studying at the Sacred Mists, to Facebook, to crafting, to gaming, to the general world out there. I’ll try to keep the posts at least somewhat pagan oriented, but they’ll be just sort of … well … me.