Openness vs. Trust

Okay this is my first blog of the New Year and its taken some time, heck we’ve celebrated Imbolg already and almost time for Ostara/Spring Equinox, but I have been exceptionally busy with returning to college after a year to myself and my own thoughts. Its not just my blogging and online presences, omnipresences to some people – as I seem to be everywhere these days, that have suffered I’m now finding myself too busy to even bless myself! Since my last post on Existential Paganism I’ve found myself studying some theories from Cultural Theory in my course and even existentialism by Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir amongst others and I had considered more theory posts on philosophical aspects to paganism and my Craft, all of which amounted to nought because I wanted to get at something more personal for once.
Since starting up Pagans in Eire in 2008 I’ve found myself more and more at the centre of the neopagan circuit in Ireland which has been such a huge learning curve challenging a lot of preconceptions. None have been more prevalent than my own sense of self, which Sartre might suggest comes from my relationship to the Other in my life. Those people who reflect me poorly or not. For him and other existentialists we really were who we hang with and we need to take responsibility for this ourselves in order to give our lives meaning. This really isn’t a concept completely alien to Craft or magical pursuit in general with the magical axiom or Principle of Attraction or the notion that energetically like attracts like.
Before I found myself on the pagan scene, like many I found myself performing some “priestly” duties such as conflict resolution, indeed many contemporary texts on what witches do reinforce the idea that the witch as a priest or priestess once functioned as arbitrators in the community because of their position as being in that liminal space as part of the community but also with a relationship to the forces beyond it. So many witches are said to make for good counsellors because we naturally mediate between seemingly alien perspectives. I agree with this to a point arbitration and counseling are very stagnant roles in modern society and while modern witches might have a natural flare or empathy to make for very successful counsellors I think formal training is a must. In any event, almost by self-fulfilling prophecy I found myself as the natural referee amongst many social groups and actually honed a keen sense of what conflict resolution entails.
The problem I found myself in since then is that for the longest while I’ve continued to find myself in highly conflicted spaces and at first I thought to use what limited skills I’d honed to help friends and such but I find myself more and more at the centre of the conflict even if I have no personal past connections to it. Its an extremely stressful position to find one’s self in over and over and not be able to spot the reasons why this is becoming cyclical in nature. In the hopes of finding out why I was attracting conflict and drama but also where I wanted to head with my elements of life such as the Craft and my career plans as a teacher and how these might marry into one another in the expression that is my life I found myself making the decision or agreeing to it (with myself?) to approach one of my closest friends for a Tarot reading. We’ve been promising to read for one another for years but something always crops up, this time it looked set to happen as I was invited down to Cork where my friend would be reading.
Alas dear readers my friend and I were exhausted so our readings never happened but like most moments of synchronicity we chatted for ages and even met up with more friends who managed to open my eyes a great deal. Through my ceremonial work (I can take about this because its subjective and doesn’t break Oaths) I’ve come to the fresh awareness that I have trust issues. Don’t get me wrong years of being bullied for being gay to the point of daily prayers to God for death and inspiration as to how to kill myself I’m aware we all have trust issues but I’d been through counseling and had become more assertive and empowered that I thought I’d over come these issues. I started to have friends and social life so surely something was going well?
Thing is I don’t trust people. I keep expecting them to walk away or somehow realise I’m not worth their time. So I’ve come to question why friends comment that they enjoy my sense of openness and admire it in some cases that I have yet to really trust people. Even my closest friends I fear will walk away if do or say something they don’t find agreeable. This isn’t to infer that they are fickle or such but that I have issues I need to address so I can be more of who I am quintessentially. People see me as a Coven leader, a writer, and a teacher but what no one can see is the journey to get to those points. As a coven leader or facilitator what do I lead or facilitate, as a writer what do I write (and nope blogs don’t count!) and as a teacher how do I teach a class when I have all these other aspects of my identity calling for exploration and expression.
The Craft and neopaganism in general is full of diversity where one can be spiritual and still enjoy getting naughty or dirty for the soil is sacred or at least revered by most pagans. The Craft and magic a path of contrasts and juxtapositions. As such I don’t think its a matter of finding one answer that is true but more about learning to let go and trust others more. I may or may not have posted in regards to Lughnasadh celebrations at the Grove of Sinann where I found that I placed myself in the control position of tending the fire so people wouldn’t fall in (luckily had the excuse I don’t drink so can’t really play the game properly anyways) but in other games we were all given permission to win by creatively breaking the rules yet I couldn’t do that. The idea was we had to find a creative way to cheat and win by going round in the Tree Circle but I went AROUND the tree circle like a race.
I’m sorry to some friends and family that might find this tough reading in parts but I guess I needed some form of acceptable catharsis – openness isn’t the same as trust and is clearly a form of defense. I would rather be open and honest and have others reject me in advance before I become attached and missed them all the more. In truth this blog was never about answers but about the process and I don’t plan on committing to a follow-up at all. I welcome comments and posts as always – answers to questions might be somewhat vague or outright avoided and given the personal nature of this blog I reserve the right as its my hope that the process might help me to engage this blog less on theory side in future and more on practical benefits of paganism and witchcraft.
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