The world can be full of judgmental and limiting people, no matter what your spiritual path involves. Oddly enough, I have compassion for the gatekeepers of knowledge. They use their knowledge as both a life raft and a shield, and it must be exhausting at times. I’ve come across that phenomenon many times, listening to people try to hold forth that their knowledge and path is the only way, or their methods the only ones that work. You may know people like this, or if you do some clear self-examination, this may be you.
My advice? Be yourself. There is a strength in being truly yourself, doing the work, and forging your own way. Sure, it is nice to feel like you belong, and that you’re part of a group. You may hold so tightly to your spiritual path and knowledge, but I urge you to loosen your grip. There is a whole world out there of interesting people, knowledge, pathways and more.
I know people of so many traditions, and I see that it works for them. I consider myself a Celtic Pagan Witch (a CPW for short) which honestly would not make sense to people who do not know me. I am 3% Irish according to my DNA testing, but I am a fierce and mighty 3%. The goddess Brigid called to me and claimed me, and from working with her, I experienced such opportunities, that I am forever grateful. The Pagan part is easy, as I always have been, Pagan to me is as simple as nature is my home. It is an environment in which I thrive and blossom, and it’s symbiotic, as I always offer thanks and commune with all its form as often as I can. A Witch? Well, I make things happen, and I make energy move, and with spellwork, manifested some incredible things in my life.
I know those who follow African traditions, practice chaos magick, eclectic and intuitive witchcraft, Wicca, the Feri tradition and more. What do they have in common? They follow and practice what they are guided to do, and it gives them comfort, and identity and more.
What if you don’t follow a path or don’t know which to follow? Take your time, and see what fits for you. When you get very, very still and listen to your intuition and guidance, then you will know what works for you. I have met some who light the candles, wait for the right moon phase, say a few words, and then sit back. Nothing happens, and they wonder why. Then they give up. Sound familiar? Are you being true to yourself and following what works for you? Or were you just doing what someone told you, or what you thought looked interesting? If you hear resounding silence, then listen some more. It will be there if you give yourself time and space. Grumbling about “this stuff doesn’t work” or “I did it the way they told me and nothing happened, it’s bogus” doesn’t help anyone. Go back to square one, and remove your ego from the work. Figure out what you are trying to accomplish and really search your heart to see if this is what you want.
Being yourself can be daunting. I truly understand. Take small steps, and do what you can. Don’t follow where you don’t want to go, forge your own path if necessary, and look at each step as a stepping stone to your own journey.
Also, be open to experiences. I’ve had friends who tried community rituals, tried to participate in public events, and it didn’t move them nearly as much as their personal work. And that’s okay. At least they tried, and they gained knowledge from attending their events, made a few friends, and developed a resource base they can contact if there are questions or needs.
If you are trying to learn more and feel like you are being thwarted by gatekeepers, just look elsewhere. Keep looking. You have books, the internet, YouTube, a huge variety of online courses, and more. Explore Instagram for visual inspiration, as there are many creative and inspiring witches out there. Find online groups if you don’t prefer being social in person, and always, always be listening and learning. Look for your own strengths as you go on your journey. I would dearly love to be a knowledgeable herbalist, but the amount of information out there is vast, so I satisfy myself with learning the bit that is important and relevant to me. I never say never, and maybe one day I can take a full-fledged herbalist course, so it remains on my wish list for now.
And finally: Be yourself, be open, be honest, don’t compare, and appreciate yourself. Enjoy your uniqueness. It is a strength in this cookie cutter world. I promise you, it is worth the journey.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson