Ok, so have you ever noticed that herding Wiccans is like herding cats? I’m slowly learning this (ok, really not so slowly, but I try to give them the benefit of the doubt here…). Why, you may ask, do I have occasion to learn about herding Wiccans? Easy. I’m a pirate eclectic that seems to have landed herself solidly in the midst of a very staid Wiccan coven.
I’m sure a lot of you wouldn’t put the words “staid” and “Wiccan” together. Witchcraft and conservatism…? Nooooo…not possible. But seriously, Wicca is Pagan Old School. It seems to be a the modern trend to be “Neo-Pagan” and eclectic. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, as long as you’re not trying to claim something you’re not or don’t have the rights to (like saying, “well, I’m this degree is this tradition” without understanding what that really means) or perhaps as long as you are willing to understand that you have a lot to learn. But there was time (long ago, perhaps, but really not that long ago) when nearly all Pagans were Wiccan, or some other coven-based, initiation-based tradition. Just because it stopped being “cool” to be Wiccan doesn’t mean all the Wiccans went away. Oh, they’re still here alright! Up close and personal! Right in this owl’s feathery little face!
I’ve always been a very solitary pagan. I have my group of pirates and that’s all I’ve needed. Until now. Now I’ve been dragged kicking and screaming into a very traditional, and in many ways conservative, coven of Blue Star Wiccans. For this I blame my Significant Other. Oh no, I couldn’t just show up to ritual and simply enjoy being in circle…Learn the Craft he tells me…I remind him that I’m happy with my own…but there goes my kicking and screaming again…
And really, he has a point; a lot of people don’t really study what they like to talk about. I guess I was spoiled. My pirates are all extremely well read and open about the fact that they steal from any and all traditions that catch their eye. Eh hmmm, Pirate. None profess to be a third degree high elder priestess in the such and such tradition. There really isn’t any pretentious BS (BS, Blue Star…is there a correlation…? I’ve heard stories…) going on. That’s not the point. Living a pagan life is. There’s a reason they and I avoid hierarchy and deal in a lot of discordian energies. (The S.O. and I were arguing over Eros last night, he was all like, “Goddess of the morning, blah blah blah…” and I was all like, “Ummmm…out of Chaos and primordial beginnings dude…WHATEVER…”)
But out there in the Pagan world, I’ve run into my share of “three-chapter-Pagans;” they read three chapters of a book and know everything. Really people, you can’t just read a book and think you know everything. Which is what I keep coming up against in my search for the larger pagan community. Where did all these fluffy bunnies come from? How can they possibly look at that Old Time Religion and get bunnies?
And so I find myself in a unique position.
I was formally dedicated to Blue Star just after Imbolc 2012, the first step in studying the tradition with an eye toward Priestesshood. Taking dedication was a decision I struggled with in my little owl brain for quite a while. It took nearly a year and a half to give in to the inevitable. And I don’t imagine I’m your typical dedicant either. I have been pagan for many years. This isn’t my first rodeo.
And oh, did I mention my authority issues?
I still cling stubbornly to a lot of my own practices. There is a reason I became pagan. I realized I needed the divine in my life and I fought a very long and hard battle to get to where I needed to be in order to feel both sane and healthy. (And while I thought I lived openly as a Pagan to all, including family, apparently I only just came out of the broom closet to my parents over Yule this year. I’ve never tried to hide being pagan, I am dating a very well known pagan author and musician… but somehow they’re just now figuring it out… They are very concerned that I am worshipping Satan. *goes and bangs my head against the wall for a while…* ARGH!)
In most aspects of my life, I look pretty normal. I graduated with a Baccalaureate from a snobbish public school and I now work a nine-to-five job. But in all reality, I exist in the In-Be-Tween. The people I work with are generally horrified by my bohemiam lifestyle and the pagans in my circle are baffled about my nine to five job and what they see as my “normal/conservative” lifestyle. I just can’t seem to please anybody.
What can I say? I’m an Owl. (Mind you, in the Wiccan coven, most have a nine-to-five job. Irony?)
So here we stand. This blog is going to be dedicated to the trials and tribulations of being a little eclectic Owl that’s greatly overshadowed by “The Great Wiccan Tradition”. (Or Blue Star, anyway).
And seriously guys…it really is like herding cats most of the time.
I think a lot of people have bought into the idea that “Wicca = whatever you want it to be” even if they don’t identify as Wiccans. So they think Wiccans are silly and fluffy and so on. Personally I don’t associate that sort of thing with Wicca – to me, Wicca’s just initiatory, everyone else is just confused or misled. So I get you completely when you say Wicca’s very conservative and staid and so on. Personally Wicca is not for me and this is one of the reasons why 😉 Good luck with it, anyhow!
My first introduction to the craft outside of solitary practice was in a Blue Star Coven. When I left in 1998, because I was moving from Kansas to London and getting married, I had been the Hand Maiden for several years. I’m more witch than Wiccan these days, but the formality of ritual learned those many years ago still remain.
Your parents saw what they wanted to and ignored everything else. I’m so proud (which sounds so sappy, but, eh, it’s awesome that you’ve found what works for you). As long as you come visit.