Just a few thoughts

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Stupid Labels

After receiving a mental "bitchslap" from my best friend the other day (I requested it), I have finally, once again, made peace with myself.

I dislike labels and I always have. I understand that they have a purpose and can be very useful, but sometimes the need to label ourselves can become so frustrating that it overshadows other, more important things. I've had this problem before. I was so desperate to put a label on myself a few years ago because other Pagans or Witches would ask me about my path and I was struck dumb. They wanted to know what I was and I had no idea what to tell them. All I knew was that I started off with Wicca and eventually discovered that it wasn't quite right for me.

After I ventured off on my own little path, I had no idea what to call myself. I suppose the easiest thing would be to say that I'm an Eclectic Witch. I lean towards a more laid back, homey approach with my Craft, so I identify a lot with Cottage, Green, Hearth and Kitchen Witchery, with a bit of folk magick thrown in, I suppose. Spiritually, I'm a melting pot. I have traces of Recon elements, Buddhism, Wicca, Shamanic practices, and who knows what else, all wrapped up in this complex (yet insanely simple) web that is my spiritual path.

I realized, while meditating this morning, that my issue lately with the Norse Gods was my fascination and pull towards Norse recon groups. I'm not a Recon of any sort, and to try to adopt the practices altogether would feel forced and fake for me. I have a lot of respect for the various Recon groups out there, though, and I've found bits of personal truth and "rightness" within those groups. I think that all the bad things I've heard about Asatru, Odinism, etc. made me second guess myself. I was feeling like I couldn't incorporate anything from Asatru and the like because I wasn't actually a part of any of those religions. I had the same problem with Wicca back in the day because while I identified with some aspects of Wicca, I was not a Wiccan. I took a lot of heat from some Wiccans for that because I would talk about aspects of Wicca and they would go off about how I was disrespecting their religion by incorporating parts of it in my practice, without actually being Wiccan.

I've never really believed that one has to declare oneself a member of a particular religion or spirituality to find beauty and truth in it. For example, I've known Christians and Atheists who found beauty and truth in Buddhist teachings, and incorporated those things into their life. So, while I identify with certain things from Asatru, Celtic Recons, Wicca, Buddhism, etc., I'm not any of those things. And the truest beauty of Paganism, in my opinion, is being able to form your own spiritual path and make it unique for you. You can find truth in any religion, philosophy, etc. and add it into your practices. I know there are people out there who think this is horrible and should not be done, but I'm not one of those people.

It took a mental bitchslap from my friend and a brief meditation on something totally unrelated to snap me out of the daze I was in, but I've finally regained my senses and see things clearly again. I never believed that I had to be a card carrying member of any religion to incorporate the parts that felt true for me into my own path, but faced with change, I panicked and started looking for an excuse to not go with my gut and try to figure out where the Gods are leading me next.

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