Lately, there has been a wave of frustrated young Wiccans on the brink, and people who have left Wicca or other witchcraft friendly Pagan groups claiming that they do not connect to deity or deities. Some say that it is because they don’t relate to specific deities in their group or former group’s main pantheon. Some say that it is because they believe that their power should only come from within, and they don’t believe in or believe they should rely on any external source.
As I said in my video commenting on this wave of independent individualists, the main problem with these frustrated youths is the illusion of division. Sad as this is to see, I can’t actually be angry about this. It comes from a lack of guidance in the basics. When I say the basics, I mean the basic-basics like understanding Nature from the witches’ perspective, and principles of energy.
Those of us who had the luxury of a basis in a spiritual or religious background that was very active don’t get these people. Even if that background was in one of the big three monotheistic systems, if we were raised by folks who were more than weekend adherents, our first solid food of spirituality was omnipresence of the Creator. “God” is everywhere and in everything. Even atheists whose beliefs are strictly scientific, understand that matter is made of energy. So it’s a tomato-tomato situation that a witch applies to their practice similarly to a scientist. When a process or working brings reasonably repeatable results, it becomes a standard part of that witch’s practice.
For young witches today, this is not something that can be taken for granted though. Since most have no guidance or their guides don’t have a strong grounding in the basics of spirituality, metaphysics, or conventional physical sciences, they see no real need to think on or experience the One-ness before they start getting into deities and spells. Many feel that they can’t connect to deity because they don’t understand that they can’t disconnect from deity.
The Problem With Paganism As a Gateway
Well, to be clear, the problem isn’t so much Paganism as it is the way Paganism is approached in the west. Western readers with more strict monotheistic or western style atheistic upbringings learn about deities from a safe distance. They read, “Eshu is the Yoruba deity of fortune,” and think, “If I want to win the lottery, I should invoke Eshu.” They don’t consider, after reading Eshu’s many features that they woke up this morning because the force of Nature that we pathetic humans articulate with our insufficient primate lips and throats with the sound, “Eshu,” deemed that we have sufficient health, youth, strength, blood sugar, and nerve function, to wake up.
Like their distant, “God” is a judge or benefactor in the sky, and their distant “Satan” is a boogie-man tempting one to sin, they relegate Eshu to a distant other who may live in the crossroads or if they are an expert by western standards, their doorway, but not in themselves. So let’s take another gate-keeper: Hecate,do you think it would be easy to walk away from Hecate if one understood that she is embodied in your eyelids? The folds of your brain? Between each of your fingers? In the walls of every cell in your body?
Can one really leave a reality once they truly experience it?
Your People, Your Pantheon
Another issue where I see most western Pagan teachers dropping the ball is in dealing with the Ancestors. Many if not most of the young people who come to various Pagan communities are there because they did not find the connection with deity (or the pulse of Nature for the atheist/agnostic) within the belief system they were brought up in. They are looking for a sort of spiritual home or a way of thinking about the Universe that makes sense.
Though the many deities from many traditions and cultures, as well as the found deities of the great writers and teachers are wonderful, they can be hard for many to feel their connection to. The older, more experienced Pagans and witches often take this for granted because they may have already been through dealing with their Ancestors, and figure this is what everyone has already done when they get to the Pagan community. Some even worse, did not go through this at all, but managed to fortunately find their connection despite skipping steps.
More than one young lady I’ve watched and heard on video have said that they don’t connect to fertility deities because they are not trying to have children at the moment, or because there are medical fertility treatments now. Do you think they would feel the same if they understood that they owe their existence to fertility, and perhaps prayers to whatever deity for their safe passage into this world? Do you think they would feel that way if their first fertility deity was or was worshiped through an image or artifact of their dear departed great grandmother or oldest or most fertile known female Ancestor?
It is easy to connect to deity or if you’re atheist, gain witchcraft level hypergratitude, if you understand that you are already connected to deity or the Universe. Every atom in and around you is in a cycle. On this Earth and in this Air, it is surging in and out of you at all times. On a wider, cosmic scale, you are in a Universe in motion, and well, made of startdust.
Today, I hope that I have sent you in the right direction of experiencing your pantheon. Now let’s take it up a notch to practical witchcraft.