Today I was going to write a post about love in a religious context, but a quote caught my eye and redirected my thoughts. From Juniper:
You refused to teach us the Mysteries without having to play by your rules and allow ourselves to be brow beaten. So we went and found them for ourselves, with blood and sweat and piss. Literally blood and sweat and piss.
A High Priestess once said to me that people don’t actually do that sort of stuff, spit into a cloth, or piss into jars or cut themselves and pour it into their offering dish. I laughed bitterly. Because that is exactly what we do.
She also has a post, from 2011, about ‘why there are no more Gardners or Crowleys‘. Both of these are tied into what I want to talk about today – which is adventuring into the unknown, daring to go where there might be dragons, and, if you’re lucky, learning how to ride those incredible creatures.
I was talking to a friend last night about how sometimes I don’t feel like I should be writing for Patheos. I’m a nobody. Like, an actual nobody – I haven’t finished college, I’m trying to find a job, I haven’t done anything for Pagandom or polytheist communities or any of that. I’m not trained or initiated into anything. I’m just sort of over in my own corner muttering and puttering about, sometimes getting feisty enough to yell at the big kids. He looked at me with a bit of pity and irritation and said, “If you think like that, you’re never going to get anything done.”
Ouch. But, that’s the truth.
There’s discussions going on now, as they do pretty much all the time, about how elders aren’t respected and the hard work people before us (young Pagans) have done is ignored. Which, I agree on some fronts – the people before me have made incredible advances and ensured that I could grow up in a place where I wouldn’t be killed or homeless because of my faith. It’s easy to forget that battle has been waged (and still wages) at times. But sometimes elders and organized groups aren’t respected because they’re failing, because they’re decaying, because they’re stagnant or cliquish and are headed for a big, awful explosion. (What got that thought percolating was this post over on Mountain, Path, and Pool.)
That isn’t to say there aren’t people that I look up to or groups or traditions I admire and want to be involved in – there definitely are. Some people are my friends, some are people I only know through their writings, others are people I’ve been lucky enough to meet and who lent me hope. Without having people to talk to, discuss and argue with, without having people to tell me that I’m being rude or too impulsive, I’d be all lost and going on a lot of wild goose chases (well, more than I do already). And they seem to think I’m cool, and I think I’m pretty cool, and at the end of the day, if my gods, my friends, and I are happy, it is cool. It doesn’t matter if I get looked at when I go on and on and on about new gods and pop culture spirituality. It doesn’t matter if people seem faint at the mention of curses or ‘darker’ practices.
I want to find the dragons.
I want to go farther, I want to fly into the unknown, and I want to come back panting and laughing and full of joy and sorrow and possibility. I want to share what I find (because I like the sound of my own voice, of course). I want to ride on dragons others have already trained, and I want to show others the dragons I’ve trained so they can ride them, and I want to see people go even farther into the unknown.
I’m a sap, I know, and probably more than naive for thinking that we can go farther if we just try and if we ignore people that warn us off it for being ‘different’ or ‘weird’ – but, well, I kinda like being a sap. I don’t start doing this to walk an easy road. I started because my blood told me to and the gods encouraged me to and, at the end, it brings me the most joy I’ve ever known.