Armchair Paganism, the type of Paganism where you don’t actually do anything within your religion, you just believe in “Pagan” things. You might learn about and read about your religion. You probably engage in discussions and debates about Paganism. But other than that, you don’t really do much with it. You don’t do rituals, you don’t praise the Gods (or equivalent), you don’t really do anything. Your religion is more about belief than about action.
And right now, that’s me.
How Could I be an Armchair Pagan?
For the past year I have been performing a significant number of rituals on a regular basis, and before that I was doing rituals kind of sporadically. This year however things have kind of gone a bit haywire for me. It’s all come to a head in the form of me living, with my three kids, in my mothers house. My kids all in one bedroom while I sleep in the hallway just outside of their bedroom door. Sleep is a fragile precious thing, easily lost with just the wrong tone of voice used while the toddler slumbers. And once she awakens, the night is gone, seemingly forever.
This shouldn’t prevent me from doing rituals, once everyone else is in bed I should be able to do at least a simple ritual, right? Not really. Just because a child is in bed, that doesn’t mean they are going to stay in bed. And it’s not my house, it’s not just the kids who might pop out at any moment. Sigh.
So I thought I might be able to do it outside, or in the massive shed – maybe not as regularly as before, but at least a few rituals.
I even planned one out, was going to do the Rite of Her Sacred Fires outside last week. The night came, the kids were in bed, I was beginning my prep work for the ritual and… She awoke. And so began a night of going in and out of the room, trying to keep the toddler quiet, trying to get her back to sleep, trying to make her not wake everyone else up. No ritual was happening that night. The next night and the night after that, not much better. And the next night, it was just too late.
This is Oddly Difficult
I have gone through armchair stages before – like so many Pagans have as well. Many of us go through stages of activity then stagnation then activity, it’s relatively normal I think. But this time feels way different. Possibly because this wasn’t a choice, conscious or otherwise. But also I think it’s the level of activity preceding this moment. I was not yet up to daily rituals – because daily anything is difficult in my life – but I was at least weekly, sometimes more. That’s the most active I have been as a Pagan, ever!
I worked my way up to being so active, with the plan to get more and more active each month or so. Instead, I went from super active to super nothing, in a very short period of time. The sudden and involuntary period of inactivity is jarring and very difficult for me to deal with. I am hating it. Each day I now have that “I’ve forgotten something important” feeling of dread.
It’s not just rituals that I am unable to do either, but other things. Divination is a nope – my cards, tiles, pendulum and other things are all packed away in boxes, buried under other boxes most likely. I don’t even have my brooms for my Hearth Witchery (can’t go using someone elses broom for that).
This is a Good Thing
Often when I immerse myself in something I go a bit overboard and end up burning myself on it, bringing myself to the point where I am unable to do it for months or more. This is why, when I began doing proper Hellenic rituals last year, I started slowly and built myself up over time when it came to frequency of rituals. But I was still concerned that I might overdo it and end up not being able to do it anymore.
Funny how things turned out, I can’t do my rituals – but it’s for a completely different reason. And while I hate not being able to do my rituals, I think it’s that very feeling that makes this a good thing. The very fact that I am hating this inactivity just shows me that what I was doing, what I was working towards, was a good thing and was working well.
And I am really looking forward to the day I can start doing it all properly again.