I’ve had a bad week. Now I’m not asking for anyone’s pity or sympathy here, we all have bad days, weeks, even months sometimes. And when we do have bad days, it’s easy to forget about the little things that make life better. For me, many of those little things are Pagan related, and doing them doesn’t fix everything, but they do make everything feel a whole lot better.
I’ve been living in California now for almost exactly six years. When I moved here I thought I’d get to visit water all the time (ocean!) but the Pacific Ocean is a good hour drive over the hill (and that’s when traffic cooperates) and the portion of the San Francisco Bay where I live is basically a smelly salt swamp. So my visits to water don’t happen as often as I’d like.
But right now we are getting a pretty good amount of rain, and the creek near me is actually a creek! I tend to think of “Steven’s Creek” as the name of a local road instead of a stream, but right now it’s most definitely creek like. I didn’t jump it or anything, but just hearing rushing water is soothing, and cleansing in its own unique way.
The best part of visiting the local creek is that it’s part of a local park. That means it’s surrounded by trees (mostly). It’s all a rather narrow gash in an overwhelmingly suburban city-scape of sprawl and highways, but it’s something!
Being in California means that Imbolc is actually springlike! My walk included blooming flowers, fresh ferns, and a much needed reminder that life goes on. In the cosmic scheme of things we are only a part of the Wheel, and probably a rather insignificant part of it. The crises and controversies that fueled my week even more insignificant.
I’m a Pagan! I want to do Pagan things, I want to be a part of a community that celebrates Pagan things. I don’t want to spend my Imbolc typing up emails and arguing with people. Being outside is always a reminder of the important things.
The trail I was walking on puttered out a little earlier than I wanted it to due to flooding, so I ended up going through the downtown of a city next to my own. During that side-trip I stopped at a local Metaphysical store and paid a visit to their indoor waterfall. It’s not as grand as it sounds, but it’s always relaxing, and perhaps even more importantly yesterday it’s very centering.
Paganism (and the Wiccan-Witchcraft I practice) is not especially dogmatic, but there’s one rule I try and take to heart: “like attracts like.” It’s not a solution to every problem, but carrying around negative energy leads to a negative state of mind, so I used the calmness of the waterfall to center myself and put some distance between myself and the stress around me.
On my way back home I stopped by a local watering hole, not because I’m a hopeless lush, but because I work at out of my house and wasn’t quite ready to go back yet. Better yet, the folks who work at my local pub aren’t just casual acquaintances, they are actual friends I do things with socially. “Friendship” is not necessarily a Pagan thing, but it’s something I feel that we value in our communities. Between chatting with them and texting a few of my beloveds I felt like I was in the middle of a mini-pep talks.
When we are stressed, when we are out of sorts, when we feel like the whole world is closing in on us, that’s when we need our Paganism most. Ritual makes our world better. It reminds us of what we need to do and of the gods who love us and most likely want us to be happy. (Tonight is ritual night, that’s going to make me feel a lot better!) Nature will always be a pick me up, and I’m happier for it.
It really is dumb to have say that if you are having a bad day it’s important to remember to be a Pagan, but this is something I forget, and forget often. My life’s work revolves around Paganism, but that’s not being a Pagan. Being a Pagan is getting out and getting into those Pagan things that right outside our door, even when they seem far away.