Paganism was not even remotely on the radar in my growing-up years. Even when I began my personal journey in earnest, I sought out more visible and accessible spiritual and intellectual approaches: Buddhism, feminism and New Age spirituality. Paganism found me, speaking to my big, wild, delicious, magical feminine nature like nothing else did. After just one ritual, I knew this was the spiritual path that sang to my soul.
Paganism is not just about beliefs, it’s about stepping outside of the strictures of everyday reality and stepping into full-bodied experiences of the wild, magical world of what else is true and possible. After twenty-plus years of pagan explorations, these are the precious things that I’ve learned:
Life is delicious.
Paganism is a spiritual practice that calls us to a joyful, sensual communion with nature and our bodies.
Take a walk on the wild side with your unruly, untamable pagan nature. Turn up your favorite music and dance from the inside-out. Eat a bowl of the ripest, sweetest fruit you can find. Make love to your partner as if you are made of one skin. Breathe the blue of the sky deep into your lungs. Spin yourself dizzy under the moonlight. Be radically, delectably, unapologetically alive!
Even in those bumpy times when your challenges and losses bring your down, remember that life is delicious and that there is always a brush of beauty to sweeten your sorrows.
The Earth is alive.
Paganism is defined by its earth-centered ethos. While our collective humanity has lost sight of the ways of the green world, pagans hunger to touch and be touched by the powers and splendor of nature. And in this sensual, embodied exchange, we awaken to the living world.
Hang out in your favorite green space with your senses on high. Attune to your exchange of breath with the trees: their green breath of oxygen with your red breath of carbon dioxide. Open your flat palms toward whatever wild thing catches your fancy and sense the tingling meeting of your energies. Peer into the microcosm of a rotting log, with its teeming collective of interdependent inhabitants.
The Earth is alive. One web of life connects us all, breath to breath, and essence to essence. What your mind has forgotten, your body remembers.
The Goddess is everywhere, in everything.
I didn’t go looking for the Goddess. I set myself on the trail of my lost humanity and womanhood, and one day there She was, everywhere and in everything.
She is the burning ember of light interwoven with matter that shines forth in all living things. She is the unending, outrageous beauty of the wild world. She is the driving force that calls us to strive and struggle, and to grow and blossom. Her cupped hands hold us in the shifting seasons of our joys and sorrows, and life and death moments.
The Goddess’s deepest presence is love, not as an emotional state, but rather as the primal desire of life to seek out, create and nurture life. Through this love, all things are made holy and infinitely worthy. We are made holy and infinitely worthy.
So without, so within.
Pagans celebrate the wheel of the year: eight sabbats that mark the turning seasons of nature and their shifting balance of darkness and death with light and life.
Our life too is a shifting balance of light and dark, joy and sorrow, and life and death moments.
Ponder the seasons of your own life: the death-like times when darkness, sorrow and loss swallowed you whole, and other times when the sun was shining bright and life was rich and full. Dig deep and notice that the good things in life hold you in your darkest moments, and that your sorrows and challenges can make your high points all the more poignant and precious.
So without, so within; like the natural world, our humanity is woven of darkness and death, and light and life. And in this bittersweet, powerful truth, we can find our balance and wholeness in the face of life’s shifting seasons.
Magic is real.
Magic, in basic terms, is the ability to experience and work with the Mysteries (alternative states of being and knowing). Think of reality as a frequency dial that can tune into the astounding magical possibilities of the world around us: “normal”, everyday modes of consciousness fall within a specific frequency range; the Mysteries are engaged at different frequencies on the dial.
Pagan magic practices, such as ritual and spellcrafting, develop and deepen our abilities to turn the frequency dial and work in altered states of consciousness.
Be brave: turn that dial, step between the worlds and the Mysteries will show up, in all their wonder. Brave experience by brave experience, you can come to truly know that magic is real and a natural part of our humanity.
Don’t take my word for these things I have shared. Instead, think of paganism as an invitation into the realm of what else is true and possible. Take a little journey beyond the everyday for yourself and bring back whatever sings to your soul.
The Path of She is published on alternate Saturdays; follow it via RSS or e-mail! If you like Karen’s work, like her page on Facebook or maybe buy her book, Tale of the Lost Daughter, a fictional spiritual adventure into the life-changing world of magic and the sacred feminine.