In part one of this blog series, I discussed the challenges one might be faced with when your path may be taking a different direction. Once you start to comprehend the messages that are being received. The next challenge is the discovery phase in implementing this new direction.
Sometimes it may be just adding a new deity to your altar and your actual practices may not be affected. Yet, other times it could mean everything you do henceforth will be completely different from what you have learned prior. Being faced with the latter can be very overwhelming, leaving you with feelings of ambiguity and loss. Knowing that all the time and energy you wasted on studying and writing rituals for the past five years was for nothing. Spending all that time collecting and crafting ritual items for all of it just to be packed up to collect dust. Before you clean off your altar and pack up your most prized sacred items start off small. If there is a new deity that you will be working with; try creating a small shrine to help you communicate and build a relationship with the deity. As it was with Hekate and myself, she had asked for a dedicated space before becoming a major facet in my magickal work. It was there that my relationship and practice grew, leading me to new ways to incorporate herself into my rituals and other altar workings. She had led me to information and practices that I never knew existed. However, even armed with all this new found information I was still treading unexplored waters. I still felt like I was loosing a part of who I was. Questioning all that I do and what I had learned. It wasn’t until I was having a particular conversation concerning the disbandment of a local teaching coven that I spoke the words that would ease my own disposition. With not getting into details of the conversation. One concern mentioned, was about how members were having feelings of abandonment of their studies. I had commented that “knowledge is never wasted” in regards to the members having to leave the nest. Unknown to me at the time, these words would echo in my mind over the following weeks as I began to accept my new direction. Is it a new world view order? – Sometimes a new path might lead you into a new tradition that is only different on the surface and yet other times it may change the way you view the world spiritually. Over the years, I have been blessed and cursed with directional challenges in my belief systems and practices. What started out as generic wiccan beliefs of the goddess and god had developed into an encompassed world view of spirituality and science rolled into one. My studies and training had taken me to the point of no return of living a magickal life. Because of all this I was able to find the connections that would allow me to understand other traditions and made any transitions I was confronted with easier. But what would happen if your world view was being questioned, how does one completely change everything they knew to be true. Honestly, I cannot give a straight forward answer, the only advice is to look inward and to ask for guidance from your guides. It has been my experience and others I have spoken with, that over time you will begin to make the connections needed to understand the universe at that given moment of your life and your spiritual path. I believe that once you completely understand that no matter how you practice, what tool you use, or what face you speak to, it is that everything is connected and from this one fundamental belief you can find common ground in any of the spiritual world views. When your deities use the other restroom- In most cases, when you are called to work with Gods and Goddesses they can be easily integrated into your already established practices. However, there can be times when they may be asking for more than what you already are employing such as wanting a shrine erected, a daily devotional or in some cases completely changing the way you practice. When this is asked of you it can be frustrating and a struggle to understand, especially when you come across ideals that go against your beliefs. Such as when a male God has aspects in which you’ve always considered to be female. This can be seen in the aspects of Hekate and Elegua, who are both considered as gatekeepers to the underworld and also in the qualities of various sun and moon deities. If one of these deities or a whole pantheon worth is requesting for a major change in your practice or worship you may want to separate these practices. In so doing, it can be a little cumbersome in taking on two or more practices at once. However, in the end there are many common threads that can be found within each tradition. Which later, having this understanding makes it easier to handle the juggling. For myself, I have found that they sometimes cross lines and meld into one another. Which can make life very interesting to say the least. When you are faced with working with different traditions and the Gods and Goddesses that is associated with them, especially when they differ from what you are accustomed to. The one thing that you should remember is that there is no gender in divinity and that these are just personifications of the energies that come from the male or female aspect of the one, the Great Spirit, or source. To get a better understanding of a deity’s aspects and gender assignment. I recommend looking to the cultural reflections of the tradition in question. For example, in some indigenous tribes the Moon is considered male (a father) and the sun female (a mother), this may stem from the agricultural view that the sun is life giving and that the moon is its opposite. Understanding culturally why they have the aspects that they do or genders that are given, will give you a better understanding of how to implement changes in your practice. Again, if you feeling uncomfortable with the direction you are being led in, it is best to consult with that particular deity and I asked for clarification and the purpose of it all as it relates to your path. Who’s your daddy?- There is a common idea within the magickal community, mainly within the Wiccan community that eventually a particular Goddess and/or God will become your matron and patron deity. This was something that I could never fully grasp. Up until recently, I would always use the generic titles of God and Goddess in my personal practice, because that’s how I related to the energy. I had understood that as humans we needed to put a face and personality to the male and female energies of the universe to understand and comprehend them. I found no use in calling in a specific cultural aspect of those energies. That is not to say that I did not dismiss them when those energies came to me in cultural form that my little human mind could understand. Hekate, being one of them, but she would only come to me when I was about to go through a major change in my life and then she was no where to be found. In fact, on one of my yearly vision quests I had a lengthy conversation with the Egyptian god Ra, where I even asked if he was my so called patron, nope. So I wasn’t completely oblivious to the idea personified energies. I just never saw a reason for it. That was until a few years ago, when I was literally shaken out of bed by Oshun, an Orisha found within the Afro-Cuban traditions. This encounter not only rocked my bed, but my entire practice and concept of divinity. Everything I thought I knew was about to change. Although, I still hold to the idea of the male and female energies. I have learned that even this falls into a spectrum of energy. I began to understand how certain energies that were associated with a particular deity were stronger or more primal than others because of where they fall on this spectrum. I had also learned that the older the deity in antiquity the more predominate the energies were. Long story short, my entire spiritual practices and ideals had changed. However, I had kept my work with Oshun and the other Orishas completely separate from my other magickal practices. Again, that was about to change when in walks Hekate, who this time was sticking around and becoming a focus within my practice. At this same time, I was also being spiritually directed by other means to focus on more of my families native practices and the use of the sun deity known as Natoosi, Hello patron. Which would change everything I did in my normal practice. So the question became “what was I to do now?” Were all those years of ritual writing and following the wheel of the year and moon cycles about to go out the window? Everything I knew to be true for me and my spiritual path was falling apart. I had a matron and patron when I did not subscribe to the idea of having them. To make things worse, they were from two different traditions. How was I to incorporate these into what I already do? Once again, I had to go back to the source of transition, I consulted them, I asked them. So for anyone who might be finding themselves at the same spiritual crossroads as myself, I can only offer this advice; turn to your guides and deities for help and roll with it. There is a reason for everything. In part three, I will give a further explanation my experiences of this transition, in hopes that it touches and helps anyone who might need it within their own “Journey to the unknown”.