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am i missing something?

Hi Everyone, I've never posted on here before so i'll introduce myself, My name is Malaika (ma-lay-ka), im 20 yrs old, been practicing and learning for 5 years now. I'm a solitary eclectic. Anything else you want to know you can ask, im not good at describing myself.

so i have a few questions for people that no matter where i look i can't seem to find an answer, i apologize if these questions have already been asked.

my first question/query is...actually its more of a statement, i don't know about everyone else, but i dont feel pagan enough, i dont know why this is but i don't feel like im being the best pagan i can be, and for 5 years worth of studying i don't feel like i know as much as i should, i think this is due in large part from not having a guide/line to teach me or follow, and so my learnings have been sporadic. i guess i expected to feel more pagan by now, i know that sounds wrong, but i mean i don't feel like what i expected to feel like. i guess its too hard to explain to people i don't know but im trying,

the second thing i want to ask is if anyone else is having problems doing the practice side of things due to limited time, interruptions etc, and how do you work with this problem?


thanks so much for your time
Malaika

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
shadows_wolf06
Feb. 28th, 2009 06:28 am (UTC)
Hey Malaika,

Wyn here. First and foremost... what exactly did you think you'd feel by becoming pagan?

I don't quite get this concept. Being pagan is a way of life. It's not something you do in your spare time. It's not something you drag out when you can. It's a 24/7 deal.

There are many days when I wish I could spend more time on my studies, research or meditations/workings, but unfortunately, we walk in both worlds; mundane and metaphysical. It's the whole Head In The Sky, Feet On The Ground deal.

This may come out rude (because lately I suck at the English Language) but I assure you it's not meant as such. So after that disclaimer, here goes...

What exactly did you think identifying as a pagan would do? Change you on some fundamental level to the point that you would actually *feel* different? Did you expect a sense of relief, elation, joy, connectedness, etc?

While there are definitely times when those things apply, it's not all the time without a break. And while there are those Ah-Ha! moments when you see the interconnectedness of all creatures and things in this world, they can be- at times- few and far between.

Being pagan doesn't magically (no pun intended) fix your life. It doesn't make you feel better about yourself or give you self esteem or confidence. It is simply a spiritual path that some of us connect to because we find Truth and Honesty within it. We find something that resounds so strongly within it that we cannot deny it's simple complexity and utter Rightness for us.

Being pagan doesn't entail throwing the stones, calling the corners, lining our candles up in a row. Athames, Bolines, Candles, Wands and Stones and Besoms... they're all simply just tools of the trade that help us connect to our higher selves.

Perhaps if you feel unconnected, paganism isn't the path for you. And to be honest, that's perfectly okay. There are many different spiritualities and religions out there are truly wonderful paths to trod. Perhaps you are simply called to walk one of them in this lifetime.

Or, perhaps you are meant to remain on the path you're on and simply need a different viewpoint.

Either you are pagan or you are not. But there is no such thing as being "pagan enough."
beedjay
Feb. 28th, 2009 01:07 pm (UTC)
you are only 20 and you have been practicing and learning for 5yrs now? sounds to me like you are pretty committed.

while i agree with a lot of wyn's comments, i also think i know what you mean. you see, i "feel" pagan in my sense of the sacred....and my perception of the world around me including plants animals and people...and connection with spirit.

when i was 20 i lived alone and i did a lot of studying and practicing casting circles, spellwork, and i went into the pagan community for some classes and open rituals. now i'm 40 and in the last 12 years i have not had TIME to study, draw circles, do much spellwork or any of those things because i have 3 kids and 2 small businesses that i do while at home with them. i, too, felt a loss...that i wasn't pagan "enough". but i was pleased to discover that a lot of my hobbies, and my friends, and my other interests (communications, child care, community and environmental concerns) were all in line with my pagan spirituality.

while i was not "practicing" i was working on building a herbal tea business and nurturing my children and other peoples children with pure and true values and modelling respect for other creatures and environmental responsibility. in the meantime through osmosis i have discovered the COMMONALITY of a lot of other spiritual paths and found joy in the realization that we are all the SAME!

now my kids are not babies any more and i have a little more energy and time so that for the past 2 or 3 years i have started slowly by teaching how to observe the sabbats and to understand the wheel of the year. i hope to find time for some more formal learning and maybe some initiations but i may not. there is so much to do in this life.

so what i am trying to say, Malaika, is that you should really FOLLOW YOUR BLISS. nevermind "trying" to "be" pagan. do what feels right to you and spend your time on things that matter to you. you might wake up one day, as i did, and KNOW that you are indeed pagan through and through. (or not -but you'll be happy)
tylik
Feb. 28th, 2009 02:22 pm (UTC)
Sometimes I wonder if the most useful thing that comes out of doing the formal training thing is that you more or less get a license to stop being insecure about the formal training bit. Don't get me wrong - I'm glad I got the background I did, and I'm particularly glad that I got started when I was young enough that I approached a lot of the more arbitrary aspects of it all whole heartedly. But what did me good was not my initiations, not all the various things I memorized, not all the secrets and so on, but just having a regular practice. (Okay, there was also a lot that I got from learning to work with people. But that helped me more professionally, in terms of learning how to work in a team, and eventually learning how to be a better manager, than in terms of my spiritual practice. And probably having something to put all that extra energy into when I was a teenager kept me out of other troubles...)

I often feel that there is an awful lot more emphasis on the outside forms of things in the pagan community. People do more and more elaborate rituals, they get more and more stuff (because there is nothing like having an antlered crown, handmade from silver to make you a more spiritual person)... and while hey, yeah, this can be cool, there are a lot of people who still come out of it with a sense spiritual lethargy. Because in the end, all of that is outside stuff, and you aren't going to find it outside. Hollow forms are only that.

Figure out what kind of practice would be meaningful to you. I'm a big fan of keeping it simple - meditate every day, in a way that works for you. Dance, or sing, or sit. (Timewise most of what I do is movement oriented, but I am a fan of quiet still meditation, at least some of the time, because it's a lot harder to hide from yourself, that way.) Don't worry about what's written in a book. If it inspires you, use it. But follow first your own heart. Doing that, and doing it honestly and keeping with it is hard work. I don't mean this in the flaky sense of "oh, just do whatever you feel like." Find your own true will. This isn't something you do once, but something to do constantly. Work with that.
foxfyre33
Mar. 1st, 2009 08:14 pm (UTC)
Hello Malaika;

Thanks so much for contributing to Mortar & Pestle! I know in my heart that I'm completely and utterly dedicated to being a pagan - but as you can see I haven't updated this damned thing since the fall. This doesn't make me unpagany - it just makes me human.

Learning is never begun or finished, it's a constant undertaking. While some branches hold that there should be textbook-like lessons complete with quizzes and tests, I hold that's malarkey. There is no right or wrong way to set up an altar, draw a circle, light a candle, say a prayer...if YOU know what YOU'RE doing it for, so does your deity.

Look for common objects in your life to "worship". There are so many pagan symbols we pass every day! The god exists in every tall building, the goddess in every ornamental fountain, and if you can still enough to listen, their guidance is there.

A lot of us fall prey to loneliness because we don't have the weekly support that biblical religions often have, and a good many of us are ostracized to boot. If you get lost or lonely, you're always welcomed here...I can't speak for others, but I always have love for my kinsfolk.
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