The Pagan Blog Project: A is for Again
About two years ago, I threw myself into paganism without much of a foothold to start with. There was no community that I knew of for me to be a part of, there were no pagans in my family, none of my friends were pagan. I didn’t have a real grasp of the direction I wanted to go, a path to follow. I didn’t even know if “pagan” was the word I was supposed to use for what I was looking for. All I had to go on was a stack of used Llewellyn books, Google, and an empty abyssal feeling in my chest that I knew needed to be filled.
It was chaotic but easy starting out. I read through some of the books I’d found (a lot of Scott Cunningham for the most part), took some notes, got a little more comfortable with terminology, started doing my best to observe Sabbats and Esbats, doing small spells here and there. But something about all of it wasn’t really falling into place. It was interesting and enjoyable, but not really fulfilling, and still extremely directionless. I decided rather quickly that Wicca was not going to be the correct path for me.
Six months later, I got into the Tumblr pagan sphere. What an educational clusterfuck that was. The little globe of knowledge I thought I had got swatted out of my hands and shattered on the ground pretty quickly. And that was fine and necessary. I sat back and read for awhile after that, looked at how different people moved within paganism, magic, spirituality, all of it. And somewhere in among all the arguing and randomness I did start finding things that called to me.
The main one was Heathenry, which was also my first exposure to reconstruction-based polytheism. A couple of others were Kemeticism and Luciferianism. Now, at this point I was very concerned with labels because they seemed to be flying around all the time. Heathenry was the one I always seemed to go back to. Kemeticism was and is awesome to learn about and study but proved to not really connect to me. Luciferianism worked well with my views (and still does), but it’s more of a philosophy and inspiration for me rather than a religion. And Heathenry has its claws in me. It’s like something is etched on me that I can’t see but I can feel.
Even so, I didn’t feel like calling myself “Heathen” was completely accurate either. Yes, I’ve spent the better part of a year learning the runes and their meanings. I’ve read the myths and learned a lot of the history. Of all the deities I’ve tried to connect with, the Northern pantheon is the one that seems to actually reach back for me, or in some cases straight up not leave me alone. But the culture surrounding Heathenry and even the more general Northern Paganism kept turning me away.
In October, I stopped everything. I stopped practicing magic. I stopped studying. I stopped praying. I stopped even talking to or thinking about the deities. I had to cut some things away to find what was important, and I had to cut them away for a very long time.
And, gradually, as the winter moved in and snow blew over the plains of my usually warm and brown Oklahoma, and the ice incased the trees and our homes, I once again felt the tapping of someone wanting to be listened to again. I don’t know if it was myself doing the tapping or someone else, but it’s there. It’s time to go back. Let’s do this again.
But this time will be different. I’m going back with a bag of tricks from the places I’ve been. I’m going back with someone walking with me. And I’m going back with both of us knowing that I get to pick where we go.
And the best way to choose a path is to get rid of the things obscuring it.
On New Year’s Eve, as the moon waned to nothing, I rang a bell through my house, then followed it with a path of smoke. I then packed away all of my magic tools, all of my devotional items. I cleared the path so that I could look farther down it.
Now it’s time to go wandering.