31 Days of Paganism– Day 24

What is your favorite season, and why?

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Autumn. All the way. I love the way that the leaves crunch beneath my shoes! The weather is beginning to cool (as much as it can, given where I live– we don’t get so many seasons here), and although it rains it’s not everyday, and the smell of the rain mixed with grass and leaves is just so calming. Have you ever just breathed deep when you’re outside in the rain? And sometimes I imagine the raindrops as little blessings from the goddess or whoever is up there and in control of the weather.

Being in the middle of an extreme drought, I’m especially grateful and appreciative of rain since we’ve had so little in the past few years. When I get the chance to walk in the rain it feels like a baptism, or an anointing. I don’t know, it just feels really spiritual, like I’m being touched by the Divine. Perhaps that’s because we’ve been getting so little rainfall I just forget what it feels like to have raindrops falling on my face. While we’re on the subject, I really REALLY wish I lived in a place with actual seasons! I live in the Bay Area of California– the temperature doesn’t really stray from a range of 50 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit, so we never really have winters, just grey springs and foggy summers (and crunchy autumn leaves sometimes). I wanna live somewhere that has snow in the winter! I want to live somewhere with real deal autumn leaves, and a recognizable transition from winter to spring.

31 Days of Paganism- Day 1

How did you discover your path?

That’s a good question, that I’m not really sure how to answer (what a way to start this challenge off with a bang, right?). I think it’s difficult for me to answer because I don’t really know what this path is. I mean, I know that I am some kind of pagan, but not which kind, or what tradition I want to be affiliated with. But I can say how I was introduced to paganism as an umbrella term for a bunch of (sometimes) polytheistic, nature-based religions. I was raised in a Christian family– my mother’s side of the family is Catholic, but we were raised Protestant, I would say in evangelical churches mostly (although my mother took us to a great Methodist church when we were in elementary school, a church that I still think about with fondness). I was baptized in a lake when I was eight years old, and I took Christianity pretty seriously.

But when I was in high school I started to question my place in the church and wondered what else was out there for me if Christianity wasn’t a good fit. So I made an effort to do research on what else was out there. Basically I discovered my path through a lot of searching and reading lots of books and articles about any liberal-minded religion that I could think of, and some that I didn’t know I existed until I looked. Nature-based religions really made sense to me because I felt that if the Creator made the earth, surely They meant for us to take care of it, to be grateful for it, and to see the divinity in it. There was less talk of sin and more talk about being a responsible citizen of the earth and I liked that a lot. I also appreciated the ideas of interconnectedness and interdependence that I saw many people incorporating into their ritual and practice as pagans. So I thought, I think this could work!

Unlike many, my introduction to paganism wasn’t through Wicca, and I honestly had little interest in witchcraft or Wiccan traditions when I first explored paganism. I was way more interested in Druidism and straight up nature worship. Like white hoods and chanting and maybe hugging trees and spending the night stargazing and praying. I dunno, I had a very limited view of what paganism meant. Not that paganism can’t include those things, but there’s so much more to it than I originally anticipated.

I’m now more interested in incorporating witchcraft practices to my daily life and embrace the word Witch, although I don’t see myself wearing all black and stirring potions in my cauldron anytime soon (although how cool would I be?!). I want to learn more about herb lore and maybe spell work. However, I still heavily rely on prayer and more formalized worship as my main connection to the world and to the Divine. I use my words more than my hands, I guess I should say. My voice is my most powerful spiritual tool.

Healing through Storytelling

At my job we have this list called the Terms of Faith and Resistance¬†and some of the groups that are facilitated here recite this list before every session. I’m newly imageacquainted with this list, but it already really speaks to me in a deep way and I feel like I can use it in my own life for healing. One of the terms is Tell the World my Story. I struggle with a few embarrassing/shameful things that are incredibly hard to talk about publicly, and I hold that shame silently and suffer for it. Part of the healing process is to share your story– you have no idea how important it is to have someone to listen to you, to hold space for your to share your most vulnerable experiences without judgement or unsolicited advice, just to be there and to say “I hear you.” It’s a validation of your humanity! Many of the clients that come through the building are spending their days feeling unheard, like they don’t exist, and when they come in here they may yell at us or become disruptive. But sometimes when someone stops them and listens to what they have to say, validates their feelings in some way, it really makes a big difference in that moment. Continue reading

3 Things To Boost Your Spiritual Practice

I don’t think I’m the only person in the world who sometimes has trouble walking the walk when it comes to spirituality/religion. Perhaps you’re new to a path and are struggling to move beyond the memorization of ritual to fulfilling connection to the Divine. Maybe you’re a longtime practitioner who’s become stuck on autopilot. Whatever the reason, it’s important to check in with how you’re doing, and if you need to, add a little something to revitalize your practice and live your faith. Here are some simple things you can do that can really boost your connection to Spirit even if you only have a few minutes to spare.

Animals pray, too!

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