Uncharted Territory

Here comes another bit of personal introspection that I feel the need to share. Please bear with me…

Recently when I was working through a book on developing intuition, I found myself in the woods on the small farm where I grew up. At first, I interpreted the woods as a symbol of Nature and the Divine in nature, and later as a sanctuary. But as I dug deeper, it became apparent that in these images, the woods were a symbol for the new, the unknown, the unexplored – uncharted territory.

That was the biggest attraction of the woods when I was a kid. The few trails through the woods ended long before the woods ran out. When I had time and was feeling adventurous, I would wander through them, trying to find the source of the small creek that ran through the valley or the route to Banks Road, which I knew ran behind our property. I got turned around a few times, but I was never truly lost. I always knew that if I just kept going, eventually I’d come to some place I’d recognize and I could get home from there.

But in my spiritual life, I seem to be spending too much time looking for a map that doesn’t exist and not enough picking my way through the woods.

As a kid in the woods, even though I didn’t know the route, I had a clear idea in my mind of where I wanted to go. But on this spiritual journey, I have only a vague concept of what I want to be. A few weeks ago I wrote about becoming a Pagan priest, which I do want to be (and have been called to be), but I still don’t have a clear picture of what that involves.

As a religion, Paganism is relatively new: we haven’t yet developed institutional structures and norms – and more than a few Pagans think we shouldn’t. The available “role models” are few – Wiccan High Priests and High Priestesses and Pagan authors. I’m not Wiccan, and I have no desire to run a coven, and my expertise is fairly broad but not particularly deep – I don’t know that I have a book in me, at least not yet.

I’ve said I need to be doing the things I know I need to do (meditation, prayer, study, practice) and that’s true, but I think I need an image of what I want to be. A destination, not the map of how to get there. As above so below, as within so without.

Now to develop that image…

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About John Beckett

I grew up in Tennessee with the woods right outside my back door. Wandering through them gave me a sense of connection to Nature and to a certain Forest God. I’m a Druid graduate of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, the Coordinating Officer of the Denton Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans and a former Vice President of CUUPS Continental. I’ve been writing, speaking, teaching, and leading public rituals for the past eleven years. I live in the Dallas – Fort Worth area and I earn my keep as an engineer.


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