A year later in My Own Ashram

When I started this blog one year ago I was living in Wales, debating whether or not to quit or continue with my PhD in feminist Mariology. I had a just three-year old son and a four-month old baby girl. My family was doing well financially. I felt stuck spiritually and intellectually. I started this blog as an outlet, as a way to hold myself accountable to my practice, and as a way to explore what my practice was or might be. I was wary of blogging under my real name, publicly, so that all might witness my special flavor of crazy, insecure, confused, and bold spirituality.

The back yard in Olympia

Twelve months later I live in Olympia, Washington, I quit my program, have firmly left Christianity behind, or rather, I have enthusiastically embraced my own Pagan heart. My son is now just four and baby girl is 17 months old. We’re struggling for money right now. I feel I have more to write about than I have time in the week. And I’m getting more confident writing publicly. It helps me to know that the Pagan blog world is rather small.

It’s been fascinating to follow the statistics for this blog. I’m a sucker for charts and graphs. My Christianity quarter had by far the largest following and daily hits (still small fry by blogging standards). The last month has been especially quiet, but so have I. Place turned into a quarter of rest. I have been tired. So much change in one year! Place also felt odd; it was a ‘tradition’ of my own creation. There was little structure to follow or hang my thoughts on. Originally I had hoped to dive more deeply into the Welsh landscape and mythic history and lore. I meant to transfer that to Washington, but got side tracked by my own exhaustion. But that’s been ok. It’s part of the process. I form the container of my own practice, but I am not necessarily in control of the current.

My outdoor altar. I use the round stone to sit on.

I’ve learned so much in the last year, and much of it specifically related to this blog. I’ve become more confident in my practice and spiritual proclivities, my abilities as a writer, my ability to be a parent and also a thinker and practitioner. I know more clearly what I’d like my practice to look like. I’ve learned more about the blogging world, that networking is important, and that I need to use more pictures in my posts. I learned that I love the Hindu tradition, that I am a polytheist, somewhat of an animist, a would-be mystic, a person who needs and craves practice every day. I’ve let go of some old ways of thinking, much of it left over from the influence of Christian theology.

So what now? Originally this blog was a year-long project and the year is up. I am going to keep writing here at My Own Ashram. My husband is going to redesign the site (we keep meaning to, but it keeps falling last in line of things to do). I will continue to write about my practice – a syncretic polytheistic practice, blending Tantric Hinduism and Feri/Faery traditional witchcraft along with what I learn from living here, in Washington. I’ll review what I’m reading and anything else that I think it relevant. I’ll link to other sites that I write for. I’ll keep blogging through the Delphic Maxims.

I’m excited to take the next steps. This year has been challenging. I hope to embrace that challenge and the discomfort that being publicly vulnerable brings. In fact, I’d like to work at being more vulnerable. It’s not something I naturally good at, but for my practice and for my writing – as well as for my friendships – it’s something that I know is worth developing. I’m grateful for this year. Without reservation I can say that starting this blog has changed my life, and for the better. Thank you for joining me here in my own ashram.

Me and Baby Cakes, taken this morning.

Playing Catch Up
Preparation for Practice
Shinto Blessings
Procession of the Species
About Niki Whiting

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