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’m a Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I’m an ordained priest in the Universal Gnostic Fellowship. I’m the Coordinating Officer of the Denton, Texas Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. This year I’m also serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of CUUPS National. I’m a member of the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

I write as a spiritual practice. It helps me organize my thoughts and work through ideas and concepts. It helps me evaluate my beliefs and practices against my core values and against what I know (or at least, what I think I know) to be true. It helps me interpret my experiences (religious and otherwise) in ways that are both meaningful and honest.


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