For several months now, I haven’t been writing like I normally do.
A long time ago I used to blog without worrying about the consequences of sharing my spiritual path as it unfolded. I would write about what I was learning and what I experienced without shame or fear. I was never one to subscribe to the Wiccan admonition “to keep silent”, feeling that those words were meant for another time and that being “out”, being fully open about belief and experience and lived religion was the best way to move towards mutual understanding. (Besides, I’m not Wiccan, so why would I follow that law?) That ended after a few experiences where people who knew me through professional or extended familial ties found my writing and had something to say about them. I lost my sense of security, and I discovered that I was not as courageous as I thought I was.
Over the last few years I’ve been growing and learning through some amazing experiences: Travel, meaningful work, deep friendships, spiritual study and practice. A few of those experiences have shown up here on A Sense of Place, but most of them have stayed hidden. I have buried the things that were most important of all because I feared the consequences of having a controversial stance on a website created for sharing religious ideas across many faiths.
It seems to me that the co-authors of this blog have had no such internal struggles. They say what they think and face the criticisms as they come. Perhaps they do self-censor in ways I do not know, but not to the same extent that I have. They are teaching me through their examples, and for that I am very grateful.
It is time for me to dig deep and find courage to speak of things that are not necessarily popular.
Some of these things are political, because when you talk about people and place, politics is not far away. This is not to say that I will speak of candidates or politicians, but I will write about justice as it relates to land, people and Spirit. There are many other people writing about these same issues. I am no lone voice in the wilderness. I hope, however, that I will have the courage to write about what is really in my heart: the deep struggle to find a righteous path through these difficult issues.
You may not like the word righteous because it sounds too Christian. Please take a moment, however, to think of this word in another way. Something that is righteous is not only something defined as good by the authorities of a single religion. The heart of the word is right, and I that is what I am seeking. What is the next right thing to do?
For me, this word is also tied to the Hebrew word that is often translated as righteous: Tzedek. Tzadakah is charity. To be tzodek is to be correct. Tzedek is also judgement and justice. Think of the Tarot card Justice. How many meanings does this card have? And what are its teachings as we walk our daily practice?
I also wish to commit to you that I will share more of my experiences with you here. I cannot guarantee that I will share all of the details of every mystical moment that I choose to write about — those hard lessons from past years have taught me some value of “to keep silent” — but I will share with you some of the aspects of my experience that I have been shy to express in the past.
This magickal path I am walking has many aspects that the surrounding culture asserts are impossible. If you are also walking a mystical or magickal path, you probably know what I mean. I do worry about what others will think when I describe my lived experience in plain words. I can hide it in poetry and leave you guessing if I am writing metaphorically. We mystics have been doing that for millennia, have we not? But I’m not so sure that does our community or our descendants any favors.
Expect direct language here about odd conversations with plants and animals. These are not metaphor. They are real. I can explain them away with psychology and comfortable modern rationality, but I will not do that any more, at least not here.
A promise to Brigid
I had a conversation with this goddess at the beginning of February. It happened in a poem. I didn’t light a fire for her on Imbolc or do a traditional ritual for the festival. I just sat down with a pen and some paper and began to write. When I was done, I realized that the poem I’d written was both mine and hers. In it I had made a commitment that I wished I could take back. The poem itself told me what the consequences of refusing the commitment were. I grumbled, put the paper in a box, and hoped that it would go away.
If you’ve ever spoken with a god, you know that these things don’t go away.
A month has passed, and I have avoided writing the important things. Now I give in.
A promise to you
My next post will be about stolen land. And many other posts in the coming months will share that theme. It’s time to face this struggle head on, in public and in spirit. I am frightened of the consequences. I hope that I have the courage to say and do the next right thing.