Emerge, deepen and transform is 2022’s focus for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair, New Jersey, where I attend. Although, they probably are thinking along the effects of the pandemic, including how congregational life is transforming in general. This is something my elders always encourage in their students.
Two friends at different times the other day said, “Always keep learning.” I almost laughed hearing that from other people. My elders, the Rev. Foxxy Pullen and her late husband, Herm, always drilled this into their students. They are the co-founders of Three Fires Grove, a Druidic learning community. The further you study the more your point of view will change, hopefully for the good. I should know as I have been studying under them since 2001. This is true with spellwork too. In doing workings, we are expanding our minds and transforming.
My elders were thrilled when a young student taught them a lesson. Foxxy explained the importance of this to her Magick 101 class. She said in addition to teaching us that she learns from her students too, challenging and expanding her own perspectives. This was especially evident when a teenager asked about a camouflage shield, something Foxxy was unaware of, and did it.
An adult religious education classmate voiced the argument, “If you don’t know the Bible, how can you defend yourself.” My elder too repeats this often. This is the main reason why I have been taking these classes even though I am Druid. Often evangelists twist the Bible’s words and make their own interpretations of the stories. By deepening our knowledge in the Bible, we can stand up for our beliefs countering what they say. This goes for anything we are not familiar with whether it is religion or something else.
In the Northern Hemisphere, February is a time to get ready for spring. It is barely a month away after all. Now we are beginning to prepare our seeds, and, if only planning for, our gardens. We should be doing so, both mentally and psychically. We are emerging from the cold, dead, dreary winter. It’s a time to reflect on what we have done and what we want to accomplish in the coming year.
Think about the past year: very similar to 2020, maybe a bit less scary though. We still stayed somewhat sheltered, maybe some more than others. Think about what you learned in this time of darkness and confinement. Reflect for a few minutes on what has changed, maybe like a caterpillar you too are about to transform. Nature is awakening, sprouts will slowly emerge from the ground, and you should be too. Now is the time to break out of our shells and grow.
When I look back at who I was a few years ago, I see a big difference. I was timid and terrified; afraid to make a mistake; worried I would say something wrong. Therefore, I was unwilling to take on any challenge. I am not that person anymore. With everything new I do, I am emerging from my self-inflicted cocoon and becoming stronger and wiser.
Working on ourselves is not an easy process by any means. It has taken me years, and I still have work to do. It has helped me be a better Druid and leader. Being a leader is something I never thought I could do. It took me a long while before that actually sank in.
With every spell that we create, we learn. If it’s effective, we jot down what we did; if it’s not, we know better what not to do next time. We grow with both our successes and mistakes. Magick does not always work the first time. It takes trial and error. If we stopped when we failed, we would never know what it was like to succeed-in magic or life. Furthermore, we would not learn to change, adapt or grow if we just always succeeded on the first try.
Just like the Healing Circles that our Sacred Wheel CUUPs chapter holds – we intend to help heal any requests. We find out afterwards when the recipients tell us they are doing better or we see the results for ourselves. However, one time a member told me the meditation we use to send the energy does not work for him. Likewise, we found out this was the case for another participant. My elder and I looked at each line and modified it to suit all. We were not sure if it would have the same strong effect as the original but it did. Now we have two versions that work very well. We learned by doing and expanding “outside our box” or cage as Herm would say.
This is important for growth and life to be able to adapt. Plants get stronger as the breeze moves them around. Being challenged builds strength. As we learn, especially in our paths, we grow. When we develop spiritually, mentally and emotionally, we become better Pagans. We should pass on this knowledge to others.
Always keep learning and in doing so you will emerge from who you were and transform into an even better you. Change is not always pretty at first; it’s often a struggle, sometimes messy but in the end, it’s worth it. Just look at the butterfly.