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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Quest for Connection Down Under

For many witches and pagans, one's practice is deeply connected to the land. It is in this that the oft-used, and sometimes contested moniker of 'earth-based spirituality' originates, and whilst I have a lot more to say about the idea of what 'earth-based' actually means in the context of witchcraft, for many, it has literal interpretations.

The turning of the Wheel and the observations of the Sabbats as framed by contemporary neo-paganism is one that links in movements that are both solar and earthly. Cultures live and die by the weather and the elements, even today in our world of modern conveniences, and this is something that many neo-pagans seek to tap back into, in order to weave meaning into our lives and to join in the dance that strums throughout the All. We gather on the Sabbats to celebrate the changes and to honour the deities who stride the land with us, and we feel and honour a connection that is deep and sacred. The waxing and waning of the planet matches the waxing and waning in both our lives and in the cosmos; in the Beyond, and Between. As the veils shimmer and lift, rise and fall, we dance in our circles and break bread with each other and with our Gods, however we view them to be.

The ubiquitous Wheel, however, takes on quite a different face when you are no longer in the Northern Hemisphere. Travelling Down Under, the Gregorian calendar no longer lines up so neatly if one chooses to continue to work with the land. Unease and disconnect inevitably arises and different pagans seek to take up this challenge in different ways. Horned creatures are not found in the wilderness, our moon crescents are backwards, our sun moves around the other way... we are looking at it all 'upside down' with a vague sense of colonial displacement.

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In Defense of Pop Culture Magic

 

When I first wrote the Invoking Buffy article for Newwitch Magazine I got a lot of flak from the occult and Pagan communities. I was accused of being flaky, a fluffy bunny, and a variety of other labels. When I wrote Pop Culture Magick these criticism increased ten fold. Once, when I was talking with a Celtic Reconstructionist friend, she pointed out that her Gods had been around thousands of years, which seemed to automatically confer more validity to her spiritual practices, compared to my own. When I pointed out that the stories around her Deities were the pop culture for the people who had told the stories, I was told that such a perspective was blasphemous and that because her Deities had been around for millennia they were automatically more powerful than any pop culture Deity. And when I was interviewed by Pagan Centered Podcast it was a hostile interview, with their goal being focused on trying to disprove what I practiced. I could probably tell you a few more stories along these lines, but I think you get the idea: Pop Culture Magic, and any associated beliefs, spiritual practices, etc. are considered to be the bastard child of Paganism and Occultism by a good number of people who inevitably seem intent on proving why their beliefs are more valid, more spiritual, more anything than pop culture magic is.  And if you, like me, are associated with practicing pop culture magic you'll be told what a flake you are and how your spiritual practices aren't as good as the person to your left or right who believes in more traditional deities. You'll be told it's fiction and that you're wrong and they're right.

Some of this bias comes from a tendency to revere something that is older or more traditional (older is better), and perhaps even purportedly rooted in nature. While I think its important to maintain a connection to nature, I am skeptical as to how older religious systems automatically ensure that particular connection. If anything, I have found that developing a genuine connection with nature is much more primal and based on your willingness to spend time and effort in nature. For example, choosing to deweed your yard and really put your hands in the dirt to take care of the land is an action that is very connective to nature, with no Deity required to facilitate said interaction. A long hike can also be just as connecting, allowing you to become part of the land by choosing to be in it, instead of merely observing it. The smell of the land, the feeling as you walk it is a spiritual experience that again needs no Deity in order to facilitate it. All that is really needed is you and your willingness to connect with the land and learn from it, as a result of the connection.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    I think the recons would argue that they have allowed the gods to find and shape them. As for myself, any entity I'm working with
  • Rhiana
    Rhiana says #
    Let me start off by saying I find both arguments be they pro or con to have valid points. Having said that, I often wonder why we
  • Frater Isla
    Frater Isla says #
    Good point. And I've found that most internet 'discussions' are just ego dancing. I've maybe gotten two actual responses where I f

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

 

Like most people, I have moments of feeling out of my depth, unable to contain myself in the face of frustration, disappointed expectation, physical or emotional pain, financial stress, or even just overwhelm at the onslaught of suffering and cruelty that floods this world. This tends to dismantle my ability to function effectively.

I am grateful for this flaw, this tendency to feel out of control, unable to cope with daily challenges, making epic drama out of what are in truth mostly very modest problems. Although this tendency has caused me pain, misfortune, lost opportunities, and so forth (and at times made me into a hypocrite), it has also made life into a creative challenge for me. And this leads me onto a path of growth, exploration, dedication to transformation.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Steven
    Steven says #
    Such a timely post from my personal perspective. I suspect you have touched upon the essence of something that transcends the bou

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