When You Know Something Needs To Be Done But You Don’t Know What

Last week’s post The Gods Are Getting Impatient generated a lot of comments, both here and on Facebook. It seems I’m not the only Pagan getting messages to pick up the pace and do what must be done.

Some of the comments expressed frustration. This was from people who feel this same sense of urgency but don’t know what to do with it.

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I’m more than a little reluctant publish a list of things that need to be done. I fought enough battles with people who thought I was “trying to tell everybody what to do” and I have no desire get into that again. More importantly, the things I’m feeling pressured to get done right away are local and personal. For example, there is a certain ordeal I have to complete in the coming weeks. It’s mostly a solitary thing, though it may involve two or three others. This is very important for me and for my contribution to the Great Work of this time, but it’s not something blog readers can help with. Nor is my ordeal likely to be relevant to anyone else.

There is no master plan. I’m convinced many of the Gods are cooperating with each other, but to what end and to what extent I do not know. I have enough trouble figuring out my place in all of this – I can’t possibly figure out yours.

But when multiple people ask the same question at the same time, that’s usually a pretty good sign I’m supposed to write about it. So here goes…

Take stock of your situation. Where are you? What’s going on around you? Who’s around you that could use your help? What knowledge and skills do you bring to the table? Somewhere your abilities intersect with some great need. Maybe that means tangible, this-world actions. Maybe it means spiritual, Otherworldly actions. Maybe it means both. Regardless, there’s something you can do that needs to be done.

Double down on spiritual practice. Put extra emphasis on prayer, meditation, offerings, and other acts of devotion. Build and maintain relationships with Gods, ancestors, and other spirits. Listen. Listen long enough and intently enough and you’re likely to hear something.

Stay busy while you wait. Waiting can be frustrating. Staying busy makes things a little less frustrating and it makes productive use of fallow times.

Read. Study. Practice. You may not be needed for something right now. But you will. Trust me: offer to help more than once or twice and Someone will take you up on the offer. You’ll want to be ready when the call comes, not wishing you had done more spellwork or hedge jumping and less TV watching.

If my current work had been put in front of me seven or eight years ago, I would have felt thrilled – I didn’t know enough to fully appreciate what all was involved. Now I won’t say I’m scared, but I’m definitely concerned. I feel like I’ve done a mostly good job of completing the preparatory work I needed to do, but there are still areas where I wish I had done more.

We’re never truly ready for times like these, but that doesn’t stop them from coming. What we don’t have we’ll make up for with resourcefulness and determination.

Be careful with your words. Don’t promise what you won’t do, or what you can’t do – not even when you think no one is listening. Someone is always listening – and I’m not talking about the NSA. Contrary to what some of my well-meaning Pagan friends like to say, intent isn’t everything. “I would give anything if…” or “I pledge my life to…” are not words to be thrown around casually.

My work is not your work. I really really want to encourage you to do the deep work necessary to figure out what you need to be doing right now. I occasionally get UPG to deliver to someone else, but those are specific messages for specific people. I have no grand revelation for the entire Pagan community.

But I know some people are going to read down to this point and say “but I still don’t know what I need to do!” So last night I did something I rarely do: in my evening prayers, I asked for a message in a dream. And then something even more rare happened: I got one.

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I was in a generic outdoor space and I was trying to get home. I was being stalked by people in institutional white uniforms – this was a combination of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and any one of a dozen or so movies and TV shows where a non-conforming character is locked away in a mental hospital “for their own good.”

I couldn’t find my car and I knew the stalkers would trap me if I got on a train, so I ran. I knew I couldn’t run all the way home – I just wanted to get to a place where I could get help and find transportation. I ran like I haven’t been able to run in fifteen years. But every time I’d stop, the stalkers in the white uniforms would start to close in and I’d have to take off again.

I needed help, but my phone wouldn’t work. I could see some friends in the distance – real people who I would trust with my life – but I couldn’t get their attention. And the stalkers were closing in.

I had no weapons – they were all at home – so I fought hand to hand. I hurt them like I’ve never hurt anyone in real life. But as soon as I put one down, another would show up. I had more strength and endurance than I’ve ever had, but I was getting tired and I knew I wasn’t going to last much longer… and if they took me away, it would be worse than death. I needed help and I wasn’t going to get it.

I woke up in a sweat, even though the bedroom was about 60°F. I realized it was a dream, sat up, leaned over to the nightstand to get a drink, and drank like I had been running for real.

As I set the glass down, I heard a familiar Voice behind me whispering: “you can’t do this alone.”

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What do you do when you know something needs to be done but you don’t know what that is? Find the others. Find a local Pagan group. Find a handful of Witches and Druids and polytheists and form your own group. Find an active UU church or a progressive Christian church. Connect with like-minded people on-line. Go to conventions and gatherings and meet like-minded people.

Get help.

Give help.

Form alliances.

Every time I post about groups, a handful of people comment about their bad experiences with Pagan groups, how there’s nothing around them, or how they can’t travel for one reason or another. I’m sympathetic to their situations, but this message was very clear.

Some people are called to solitary practice – perhaps you’re one of them. If so, this message isn’t for you.

But if this seems to fit, perhaps it’s time to put on your armor and get out there one more time.

I have my assignments and they have very aggressive due dates. My work is not your work, even if we’re playing on the same team, even if we’re fighting in the same army. Concentrate on the work you’re called to do, and if you don’t know what that is do the deep work necessary to figure it out. Stay busy while you wait.

But if you’re looking for an assignment and you’re willing to take it on, go find the others.

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