13 August 2013

The Re-Wiccaning, Part N

It's been a long time since I've written in this blog. A whole year, actually. A lot happens in a year.

Anyone who's browsed through the posts on this website will know that my views on spiritual topics have never been very stable. For many years now I've been searching for the spiritual path that best suits me, moving between Wicca, qabalah, ceremonial magick, chaos magick, left-hand path philosophies, Discordianism etc. In the end I always seem to get sidetracked by something else, or simply bored.

Last Christmas I spent a couple weeks in the country with family. What with limited internet access and all I had plenty of time to kill there, and as often happens at such times, I got to thinking about spirituality again.

One of the things I thought about was Wicca. Books about wicca were the thing that originally got me started on this path, after years of passive agnosticism. And it occurred to me that I kept returning to Wiccan ideas time after time. This was my first exposure to the world of the occult, and it had made a lasting impression. As recently as early 2012, I was writing about a resurging interest in Wicca, although I veered off that path once again... to other ideas that lasted no longer.

So I made a New Year's resolution. For one year I would try to be Wiccan again, and try not to go chasing after every idea that crossed my mind. I'd try to hold regular sabbats and esbats, based on (more or less) traditional Wiccan forms, and, you know, just... be Wiccan.

It's August now, and... the experiment hasn't gone perfectly, perhaps, but it could be much worse. I'm still 'into' Wicca. I have, however, been much too lazy at performing regular rituals. This is not a new problem for me, however, and was pretty much expected.

I say 'Wiccan', but of course I'm hardly the most stereotypical, mainstream example. Years of reading, and thinking, about different occult traditions have given me a very different perspective than what I had when starting out many years ago, reading Cunningham, the Farrars and the like. Sure, I was always a solitary, eclectic practitioner, but I expect I'm even more so today.

There are many things in traditional Wicca that I don't necessarily agree with, or am just not interested in. There's a lot of new age-y mumbo jumbo that my basically naturalistic world-view can't quite get behind. A lot of Wiccan writers talk about reincarnation, for instance. As far as I can tell, there's no scientific evidence about any kind of afterlife, so why waste time thinking about such things and not just make the best of this life? And there are those who treat magick and psychic abilities as literal forces, whereas I prefer to see them, first and foremost, as simple psychology. A lot of Wiccan authors are pretty obsessed with gender, trying to see everything as male or female (or of the god and of the goddess), but honestly, that should only apply to the mating habits of certain life-forms, and there is so much more to the world than that. Wiccan morality too is something that I approach in somewhat looser terms than some. 'If it harms none, do as you will,' is in fact a rather good guideline to live by, but I do view it more as a guideline that a strict rule.

But I do revere a god and a goddess and perform rituals based on wiccan texts. And I think this does make me Wiccan, although some might disagree. Speaking of the gods, I'm still trying to get to grips with what exactly they are and what they mean to me. This has proved a surprisingly challenging, but fascinating, pursuit. Because they are, of course, man-made symbols, but yet they are somehow... something more, as well. It's very hard to define in words.

What originally nudged me off the Wiccan path several years ago was the lure of qabalah and ceremonial magick. But I have long since become disillusioned with those traditions. It's... kind of a 'not seeing the forest for the trees' thing. All those complex symbols and formulae just get in the way. I need a simpler, more immediate, down-to-earth kind of spirituality. And, at its core, Wicca is that to me. But only time will tell if it's really meant to be. This time...

No comments: