A few years ago, I wrote a blog on Witch, Indeed called “Being A Positive Pagan in a Dark World“. It seemed to hit a nerve about the topic of positivity. And it remains the blog entry I receive the most notes from, still to this day. It was written a little over a year before the pandemic of 2020, and I look at it now with almost a sense of wonder. So much has happened since then. Such an understatement. Honestly, it feels like several lifetimes since I wrote those words. And that’s just my personal life, so when you add world and local changes, it feels like…a lot. We have all been through so much, and I know we are not unscathed.
Since then, inspired by the response, I wrote a book about that very subject, called Positive Pagan: Staying Upbeat in an Offbeat World, publishing in June 2022 by Llewellyn Worldwide. It is a fulfillment of a childhood dream I’ve had of being a published author. So I want to pause here and say thank you to all those people who wrote to me, as you inspired this book. Having lived through so many life events, some that literally brought me to my knees in despair and fear, I wanted to write down all the magical and mundane wayss that have helped me survive this thing called life. At first, I wrote it in excitement that I was going to be the author of a published book, and as I got deeper into it, the book took on a different form.
My Own Recent Experience
I suffer from anxiety and Seasonal Affective Disorder, and there were points in the publishing process that I simply gave up. Deadlines felt like a literal anvil over my head, and I stumbled through each day, feeling worse and worse, questioning everything, feeling defeated. Part of it was the toll of the pandemic, but the rest was my SAD. Each and every day was a challenge.
One day, when the sun finally peeked out, I had enough energy to survey the wreckage of my days, and said to myself, “Lisa, you wrote a book on the subject. Try doing some of those things you wrote about!” And so I did. It wasn’t easy to get started, and I was really hard on myself. I have always said the journey from point A to B is usually easy, but the journey to point A? It is so very challenging, and takes me a very long time sometimes.
So I did one simple thing from the many listed in the book, then another. There were stops and starts. Looking back, each successive action helped me towards moving through my inertia, and I finished what needed to get done. One act or ritual would build upon the previous one, until I finally had momentum.
So when I say to you being positive is a choice and challenge in this dark world, I mean it, deeply. This isn’t just about finishing one project, it is about surviving the darkness. Surviving a pandemic, life and mental health challenges, health concerns and more. To be very clear, there is no “Smile and everything will be okay!”, no “just think positive!” or similar ideas. What does help is action. Doing something, anything, gets you moving forward as a person, one foot in front of the other. I remain so grateful to have a spiritual practice, a relationship with my deities, and magical practices as the core of my life, because it brings me back to center. What I write about in my book are steps to get back to all the good that’s part of your practices, or can be, if you haven’t developed them yet. It’s a shift in mindset that allows more good things to happen, and helps you handle tough times as well.
The foreword is written by a dear friend of mine, the delightful author Patti Wigington. It honestly made me cry when I first read what she wrote, because she completely understood what I was trying to convey in the rest of the book. As she states herself, making the choice to be positive can be transformative. If you read nothing else in the book, please do read her foreword. I am honored she agreed to write this entry in my book.
So, remaining positive in this dark world? Is it achievable? Yes, and with full knowing and understanding of the darkness in this world, you really can move through your life and tap into that positivity to keep going. All the suggestions in that earlier blog post are still viable, with a few more additions and reminders to ground and shield, learn the magical art of the pivot, and use your skills.
In the book, I discuss finding the core of positivity within you similar to finding and keeping an ember burning deep within you. Anderson Cooper’s mom, Gloria Vanderbilt, a survivor of many tragedies, called it her “diamond”, so whatever form it takes for you, look deep within yourself for that core, and nourish it. Keep taking life one breath, and one action at a time. Add magic to your life, and get out in nature. All simple, achievable things that can change your mindset and your day-to-day life. Share your positivity with others, in the hopes that like seeds, they grow and flourish. Imagine the results if we all did this, what a magical world it would be, indeed.