Just a few thoughts

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Growth, Change, Endings & Beginnings (A post I wrote back in the spring)

 I'm not even proof-reading this, really, just skimming it. It annoys me to have drafts saved, so here it is, what I was going through earlier this year, and why I was MIA for so long (or at least part of the reason).

I've realized  recently that part of my problem is that I can't learn more from my books right now. I've been pouring through some of my books for a while now, trying to figure out what it is that I'm missing, with no luck. Books have always been a comfort for me, even when I knew I couldn't really get anything more from them. I'm a total book junkie and I'm well on my way to living in a library, and I spend basically every moment possible with my nose in a book. I digress (I'm terrible for that).

I've spent a long time worrying about the "right" way to do things and other things like that, and usually when I think I'm past thinking that way, something new will come up. A perfect example is my current situation.

Spent years figuring out that I'm Pagan. Just Pagan, not a recon, Wiccan, etc., and a Witch. Well, I knew the Witch part for ages. I was so focused on labels for so long, I nearly forgot why I was drawn into Paganism in the first place. I lost myself while trying to label myself. And why? So I could throw out a couple of words to let others know what I believe? I really don't know.  But now, here I am once again doing the same darn thing. I'm feeling pulled towards the Norse Gods and what do I do? Start looking for a way around it, or a label to stick on it. On top of that, I've been panicking trying to figure out how to approach Them because it's new territory for me. Really, you would think that after having spent time with Egyptian, Greek, and various Celtic Gods/Goddesses, I would have no problem with this. But for some unknown reason, the Norse still intimidate me.

It's like a kid  going to one of the Disney places and seeing their favorite character, but being too shy or afraid to run over and actually "meet" the character.  Ok, it's not quite the same thing, but I think it's a similar feeling. I was that kid (only it wasn't Disney) and while I was thrilled to see one of my favorite TV characters in person, I was too  shy and scared to say "Hi." That's kind of how I'm feeling now. I'm odd that way. I've always been pretty shy at first, for whatever reason.

Anyway... Instead of just going for it, I've spent months trying to rationalize why I'm feeling called by the Norse Gods. But, I also feel like it's an old group of friends trying to convince me to hang out again because we haven't seen each other in ages. So while I think it's pretty new (the Norse in my life), at the same time it feels almost like I'm being called home. So many Pagans describe learning about Paganism as "coming home," and while I felt that way, too, this is almost like a repeat of that experience, but even more intense.

 I wrote this post months ago, but I never published because it felt unfinished. Well, last night (the 27th of May), I had a sort of epiphany. Truth be told, I've had a few recently about all of this, but I haven't sat down to sort it all out in my head. I've come to the conclusion that I'm drawn to what I'm drawn to for a reason and it's really no one's business but my own. I can choose to share (as I do from time to time here), but I'm NOT obligated to proclaim everything I believe to the world. There are no "Pagan Police" to come along and get me for not being "Pagan enough," or anything else like that, and I'm sure in time the reasons for at least some of this will become clearer.

In the meantime, I think I'll stop worrying about WHY I'm feeling pulled towards the things I am, and just see where it takes me. I'm so tired of trying to please other people in every aspect of my life. If I step on some toes, that's too bad. I don't mean to offend anyone or be disrespectful, but I can't exactly change what I continue to feel drawn to. So why should I even try?

Feeling the need to clarify something

So, I think many of us have seen the terms "matron" and "patron" thrown around. Hell, I use them sometimes (there's a post on this from a while back, where I used the terms in the way they're generally used by members of the Pagan community these days).

However, more often than not, the words are not being used "correctly." Now, hear me out. I'm usually one of the people going on about how language evolves, words take on new meanings, etc., and that still applies here. I think that if those are the terms you want to use to talk about the Goddess and/or God you work with, that's fine.

But, "matron" doesn't just mean "female," and "patron" doesn't just mean male. The following are definitions from dictionary.com.

Now, taking these definitions, what can we determine? First, that a "matron" deity would probably be one who is more "mature," possibly with a partner, and potentially involved in domestic affairs. For example, Frigg. I think that Hestia would also qualify, and probably Hera. "Matron" does tend to always refer to a female deity.

"Patron," on the other hand, does not necessarily have to be a male deity. Let's look at definitions 2 & 4. This is what I think many people mean when they talk about a "matron/patron" deity, of either gender. They're referring to a deity that they have a relationship with. A deity that probably supports them, in some way. I'm not going to post a definition of what a "patron saint" is, because I think we all have a general idea. If you don't, it's basically a saint that is considered a protector/supporter/etc. of a particular group or cause, like the "patron saint of children." Some people, I've no doubt, view some deities in this way. I can't substantiate that claim, but I feel confident in our diversity, which always includes beliefs about the divine (whether it's a lack of belief, or the exact way one views the Gods).

While I've fallen into the habit of calling a female deity my "matron," and as far as I know (this is UPG territory, just as a warning) Hekate is fine with that, she is really my "patron goddess." Why? Because she supports me. She guides me when I need it, she's there when I pray, she usually shows up when I invite her to a ritual, and I just feel her presence with me regularly.

 As with any other subject, everyone will have their own opinions, and that's wonderful. This is my belief, and I just wanted to share it in case anyone has ever wondered if they're using the terms "matron/patron" in the "wrong" way. Personally, I don't really care. I picked up the habit years ago, and it stuck. I am trying to change that, though, because my inner linguist (or something) is irked by my misuse of the terms. However, the meaning of words does continue to change, and I think that it's perfectly acceptable to use the terms in the way I generally see them used. Most people will know what you mean, either way, so don't worry about it too much.