(Revised Sat, Nov. 21)
One of the things that attracted me to the Craft or rather the idea of the Craft as a spiritual path was the sheer drama of it all. And discussing this with friends has at times yielded the same principle conclusions, we all wanted that drama that sense of presence in the world that one usually sees on stage or through art. Indeed many of the acquaintances and friends following the Craft and paganism are also artists of varying modes. Art can be visual, auditory or sensory and in many cases multi-sensory.
When I started out in the Craft (gawd makes me sound as auld, but it was a while ago despite still being young now) like most people I was also discovering more about who I was and what type of adult I wanted to be. Like most teens I may have raised my voice to my parents not because I thought they deserved it but because I was still trying to figure out how to be heard. I had so much going on inside me and not much has changed. In his book, Gathering the Magic, Nick Farrell also commented on this sense of “breaking out” of one’s self. To be fair comes from an old t.v. show called Tomorrow People were the new generation of people “break out” from the mould and evolve. Evolution is a continuous process and not just biologically speaking either but psychologically. When people “break out” even in fringe or subcultural groups like esoterists (pagans included) it can be met with rebuking to downright hostility from the more established members of the social group.
Friendships at the time were dramatic and diverse and they really haven’t changed all that much to be honest. Ritual was a release from all that. In a storm of emotion the magick of the ritual calmed me and centred me. I also found a way to speak in the few rituals I was able to perform that whether to something or not was for me. I was also ready to “come out” as a gay man. As previously mentioned I also developed epilepsy around the same time so a lot of who I considered myself to be had changed and very rapidly. I now had three new labels to use.
Following from a recent review of a musical called Were the World Mine
(link is to a YouTube clip). The musical plays out to the theme of Shakespeare’s, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
, and the protagonist, Timothy, as he struggles to deal with being a gay teen. The magic of this musical takes place when Timothy’s passions are ignited on the stage and as he finds his voice. His newfound “boldness” provides him with the curiosity of making a love potion and using it on the “jocks”. What gets me is that it is the magic of being a faery that Timothy finds in himself. There a wonder clip on YouTube of Timothy as he’s reading Shakespeare and says to the teacher, “I can’t do this I don’t know what I’m saying”, to which her response is “not to worry, understanding comes later”.
The same could be said about martial arts. Like most kids that were bullied after seeing the Karate Kid on t.v. I wanted to learn martial arts so that I would know how to fight but choose not to. I found a kickboxing do-jo nearby and spent several years there. One of the remarks my instructor made to my parents at the time was that he found it hard to develop a fighting instinct in me. Anyone that has done martial arts will know that they are typically comprised of two main arenas, sparring and kata. I excelled at soft-style kata mostly because I never truly believed even after years and making it to the fifth grade that I could fight off an opponent. Disheartened and moving house I gave up.
Advocacy is something a person develops over the course of their lifetime and as they do so they reconstruct it and make it into their own. As witches we ought to know this better than most as true spiritual alchemy. I’m still working on finding who I am as an adult and I am legally one now anyway. Sometimes I get it wrong and speak my truths in a harsh manner or not knowing the full story but part of owning one’s voice to be heard is that when we say sorry we are heard to mean it. Sometimes people will play up on that and we can’t do much about it except be at peace with our own actions.
To my mind there are three principles of witchcraft and the Craft. While at times these three principles seem to masked to the old and new seeker alike in the journey of life and all its lessons. It seems to me that the Craft is made of three ideas which form a rich tapestry of colour and variety:
- Life with all its associated dramas brings forth experience, ritual, in turn, helps to bring all these experiences into focus.
- Without the drama one usually does not strive to form the ritual which is to be one’s voice, their expression.
- Without expression of the ritual to mark the passing of events a person or a people will always struggle to have their voice be heard amongst the chorus.
I believe that while labelled as three principles of the Craft they show us as people how best to find our roles and define who we are. Originally I wanted to call this post, Finding Voices, and it was to be a prelude for my Fear Aisteach blog in which I wanted to discuss the importance of finding one’s true voice in a chorus of people under one banner. I suppose I could still post this entry there as its far from reflective of one subculture. Pagans and gay people have historically been the subject of suspicion and ridicule yet each group has found haven in the storm and provided a role for them in the larger communities. The perception is that gay people have in the past found safety in the arts of drama and music, while pagans express their voice in a art and sculpture, now there may well be exceptions to the broad generalizations there but this is the idea that has filled most people’s heads.
So I challenge my readers that when next you are gathered for ritual to find your voice, your expression to the Gods and to yourself. Record it’s impact on the world around you, for once the ritual is done Life continues by bringing more drama for us to play out upon the Wheel of Karma.