I often find myself astounded by depth of literature out there that is available to Wiccans wishing to expand from their introductory books and move on to deeper, more interesting mysteries. I'm writing this as I sit next two five books in the local academic library:
- Wicca and the Christian Heritage -- Joanne Pearson
- Paganism Today -- Graham Harvey and Charlotte Hardman
- Magic and Mysticism -- Arthur Versluis
- Western Esotericism and Rituals of Initiation -- Henrik Bogdan
- Witchcraft and Magic in Europe (Ancient Greece and Rome) -- Eds. Bengt Ankarloo and Stuart Clark
I wrote these out and linked to them so I could find them later, and if you're interested, you can too.
Anyway, for a while now, I've tried to develop an idea for a book that could come out of the work I've done on this blog. Given my search ratings on certain articles, I have a feeling that much of what I've said over the years has been useful to the internet community at large (correct me if I'm wrong!). Given my mixed background of solitary, coven, and family traditional practice, I think I've seen the gamut of some of the more common Wiccan practices. I want to help people extend their religious experience beyond what is traditionally offered to solitary practitioners. Of course, nothing I write in a book will ever capture that feeling that you get when you're surrounded by fellow coveners, raising power. But for those who aren't in situations allowing them to interact with others publically, I don't want them to be left in the dark, you know?
I'm rambling. That's the problem with this idea that I have, its sometimes just too big for my brain to handle. So yesterday, overwhelmed and unsure where to start, I prayed. And what I got back from the Universe and my inner thoughts was this barrage of questions. Well, one question. Repeated over and over and over.
What is your purpose?
The Universe was yelling at me, I was yelling at me. What is your purpose? Why are you standing at my door without a purpose? How can I help you if you don't have a purpose? What is your question? What is your answer?
A short digression, but I promise to get back to the point at hand and finish the story. So, you know how I've been writing all month? A couple of hints and tips and tricks have helped me along the way. I'm going to real quickly introduce you to them. The first is the concept of writing to an audience. Then revising for a different audience. And again. And again. And you do it five or six times, and suddenly, because you're lazy, you've developed a document which is good for a mixed audience. The second is the concept of showing and not telling. Of choosing your words to demonstrate instead of ponder. I'm not sure how useful this is for the topic at hand, but I'm including it anyway. We'll see where this takes me. And, the third is to write without editing. You can edit later. Write first, edit later. Because if you haven't written anything, you don't have anything to edit.
So I have these three pieces of writing advice and a question slamming into me like a tidal wave. What is your purpose?
And I start to delve into my many collected documents (my "Book of Shadows" is my house. Scraps of paper and stuff. One binder can't hold it all... I'm sure many experienced Wiccans are in the same boat as me) and a few things catch my eye. First, the Charge:
And thou who thinkest to seek for Me, know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not, unless thou knowest the Mystery: that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee.
Second, degree requirements for High Priestess-ship in the Ring of Sacred Fire tradition (my original coven):
Explain the impact you plan to have on the world, and how you will leave your legacy.
Third, many, many documents which outline explorations into the Wheel of the Year, Tarot, types of magic, types of ritual, and many other things.
And I realize that for now, my purpose seems to be to consolidate what I have learned so far into a manual which outlines the hybrid tradition that I practice and use. To not only lay out what I have done, but also, set out guidelines for managed inspiration and exploration through what I call "reflective questioning."
So that's why I'm in the library today. I was browsing our archives and found an astonishing number of scholarly books which discuss Wicca in an historical context, and not only Wicca, but also magic and esoterism as a whole. Now, as far as the "book draft" goes, I'm definitely not "to" these topics yet, but these books are fascinating and I wanted to share.
Another good one, which I own but have not finished or examined in many years, is Ronald Hutton's Triumph of the Moon, which is a scholarly discussion of the origins of Wicca.
Here's the best part of my revelation over the last few days, and the reason for this post's title. I'm writing this book, yes, but I'm using it as an exercise in faith. I know that this version, this first draft, will not be "publishable" by any means, but I'm using it as a challenge to myself: What are my beliefs and how did I come by them?
I know I always start projects and never update you guys again about how they're going, so, I'm not going to promise anything to you. I've got about ten drafts of this same concept lying around my computers' harddrives from the last 6 years or so, and so, something has to come out of it eventually, right? You may get snippets from time to time.
Oh. One last thing, based on that infamous "If you put it online its yours" idea that we have floating around that has no basis whatsoever. I decided that the working title of this tradition that I'm trying to describe is going to be called the "Western Winds" tradition. There are two main reasons for this, first, that winds from the west bring us closer to our ancestors, and ancestors formulate a large portion of my beliefs; and second, that I have always been affiliated with air and wind, and you can see it tattooed on my body: I've got a redtail hawk and a flying pig on my right ankle and left shoulder, respectively.
So I guess the point of this blog post was to call dibs on the new name. Sort of a roundabout way to do it, but hey. You can't do everything straight 🙂
Have a beautiful Tuesday!