Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in December we will be asking people questions about Paganism and Pagan religions and culture. Want to weigh in? Find the next question at the bottom of this post!
Pagans are continually seeking the Light of Knowledge. What is the mystery that you are currently trying to unravel in your heart? Where is your search for truth taking you right now?
Galina Krasskova responds:
Surprisingly for me, the last few months have taken me into a deepening understanding of the importance of honoring one’s ancestors. It’s one thing to know in the head that this is important, to pay lip service to it with quick offerings before other rites or rituals, even to set up an ancestral shrine….and that is what I did for a long time. It’s quite another thing though to have the understanding ingrained in not only the head, but the heart and the guts, in the blood and bone and marrow of one’s spirituality that being in right balanced relationship with one’s dead is utterly fundamental to an organic, healthy, strong, and resilient spirituality. I never expected to really ‘get’ that, in the same way that I ‘get’ that connection to the Gods is important. The past few months have opened up a whole world of connection and relationship for me. It hasn’t all been pleasant, I’ll admit.
My adopted mom died in February and while I’d slowly been edging toward more fully developed ancestral practices for a long time before that, it was her death that really opened the door to that for me. Suddenly, I got my ancestral house in order! She was there, doing in death what she had always done in life: watching over me, guiding me, offering comfort and advice. I felt her there completely differently from when she was alive but just as strong. Through my tie to her, probably the most transformative one I will ever have in this lifetime, I was able to connect more strongly to my other honored dead. Then on the heels of that came the obligation to start working on their behalf, to try to heal and untangle knots in my ancestral lines. In return, I experienced the full blessings of their attention and care in my own life and since then there’s been that ongoing give and take. It’s amazing, just amazing to feel the full well spring, like a rushing, flooding tide of their power and presence at my back supporting me.
I’ve also been greatly blessed by the Gods, Loki in particular, in having made the acquaintance this year of two powerful ancestor workers and their presence in my life, the growing friendship with one in particular, has been an ongoing grace, blessing, and encouragement. The Gods have taken great care of me and sometimes the gratitude I feel for that is overwhelming.
As for me? My truth is leading me in interesting directions that I hope to explore more fully next year.
First, I am continually fascinated and disturbed by my own religion. Wicca can seem deceptively simple from the outside but the more I study and practice the more I find myself engulfed in a deep, elegant and unexpectedly passionate mystery. It is elusive yet ever-present, needful, wholesome, austere while being warmly affectionate. I at times wonder if i will ever feel grounded and proficient in my own tradition as I feel in pan-Pagan culture. I’m looking forward to exploring that in the series on Wicca we are launching next month on the Pagan portal.
I also find myself continually perplexed at interfaith relations between Pagans and mainstream religions. I recently found myself floundering to explain my faith to someone who’s religious perspective and context is far different from mine, and I remembered Julie Maldonado’s excellent post on Pagan Apologetics. It’s fascinating to see how Pagan organizations are so very different from mainstream organizations, and the pros and cons of that. How we interact with the public and with mainstream religion and media is something that is ever on my mind, and I expect to take that into the coming year. I have more questions than answers.
Secondly, I am being challenged to change aspects of my life, to better serve my community both in the macrocosm and microcosm and to fully inhabit Pagan womanhood and the lessons of the Goddesses. It’s a daunting year ahead. I look forward to it!
What important experience would you have never had, if you had not become Pagan?
If you’d like to weigh in just e-mail me your short response (250-500 words) before Dec 22nd. It’s sfoster at patheos.com.