It’s very easy nowadays to get caught up in the “Information Age.” In a daily feed where you can see people sharing photos of their daily meals, celebrities being open and vocal about mental illnesses/sexual preferences/gender identity, and hot debates about whether or not an issue is making the “media news” and why or why not, it’s hard to imagine that there is information not being shared.*
We tend to fall into the frame of space that if it’s something we’re seeing, then it’s being talked about. And if we’re not seeing it, then people must not know or must not be doing it.
I hadn’t really thought about it until I heard a few very different interviews, where the subject made blanket statements about aspects of Paganism/Esoterica/Metaphysics based on what they had or hadn’t seen, which lead to their positions/conclusions/actions.
But that’s not really accurate. Not everything exists in the realm of the online world or in the public space. Not everyone puts everything out there. Even people who talk and write a lot (like me) don’t show or talk about everything.
The repetition of those similar phrases being sounded off, poked something in my head. It seemed rather ironic that within the context of mystery and oathbound traditions, to assume everything’s been said and put out on the table in the modern day. That everyone’s daily practices and explorations are what is shown to the rest of the world. The phrase “to Know, to Will, to Dare and to Keep Silent” also popped into my head, which has multiple interpretations depending on the tradition that has embraced it. (Also similarly, rule number one (and two) of Fight Club is “You do not talk about Fight Club.”)
You may be saying now,”Hold on, wait up, didn’t you have a post about how there really are no secrets?” Yes. But let’s look a little closer at the “to keep silent” part.
In my opinion, it’s not so much about secrecy as it is about the things that are left unsaid within the public space. The unspoken can protect identity, maintain privacy, and respect others’ experiences. Also, not everything is meant to be consumed in the open, but is best revealed within the shadows, in a space without words. Lastly, consider how are the words being used in the first place? Do you really need to prove what you know or where you have been? Sometimes yes, most of the time no. There isn’t a magickal bingo card with spaces you must fill to prove your worth.**
Personally, there are aspects of my path that I choose to reveal, and others that may remain hidden. And these aspects can shift and switch places over time. I don’t have to hang out all of my labels and flags of experience out on the line. There are also things I’m still unraveling and discovering, still working out in my own space – the cauldron is still brewing, so to speak. When I do write or talk, I share to document some of those experiences, to open doors or windows for others, to put some light on the path. But that doesn’t mean I’m illuminating the whole path with bright LEDs.
It’s also important to realize that many people either don’t feel the need to share or write about their experiences or their path openly. The public outlet is simply not for them. Some people aren’t even online (really!). It has nothing to do with hiding anything. It doesn’t mean that they’re not practicing, not experiencing, or not doing, just because you don’t see the evidence of that. Your slice of life is your own view – which can also mean sometimes you’re not paying attention for one reason or another. Nor does the Universe see fit to show you everything in your “feed” of life. I find we discover things when we’re supposed to – if we’re paying attention.
Use silence to reflect, consider, and investigate – both inwardly and externally, but never assume. There is more left unsaid than we can ever see or know. Which is a pretty amazing, beautiful and scary thing.
*To be clear, I am not passing judgment upon any of these things, just commenting on the range of sharing we see in any given day.
**I do want to mention that sometimes silence is a warning. If someone is making big claims, but their history is mysteriously vacant and vague, take heed. Someone who is secure in their path can back up their history and be direct when asked about it.
(This post is from the ModernTraditionalWitch Blogger Archives, originally posted on 2/23/16)