Taking time to become aware of the self is a large part of the modern Pagan movement. In the last twenty years, exploring the psychological aspect in many of the traditions has been as important as the metaphysical and the spiritual work. Many have done this, as part of a training course or in their own deep learning, but perhaps subsequently allowing it to fall by the wayside; once it’s been studied, that’s it, let’s move on. Being aware of your emotions and behaviour is a never-ending quest in self-awareness. In order to live as Pagans it should be a lifelong exercise, in order to ensure that we are living honourably and respectfully within nature and the natural cycle.
Indeed, it is our responsibility to be aware of what we put out into the world, emotionally and physically, as Pagans. We know that we are a part of a greater web, therefore when one strand is tugged, all the others shiver all the way down to the core. We need to be able to see when we have failed to act with honour, in our human relationships, in our relationships with the natural world, in our relationship with the gods and the ancestors. And in doing so, we can work to make amends, to reweave those threads that have been pulled apart.
Sometimes the damage is so great that we need to start again, and that is perfectly acceptable. When there is no possibility of working with another without losing that sense of honour, where there is no respect, then we can walk away calmly and begin again, focusing our energy on creating the world we wish to live in that benefits the whole. We can still try to understand the situation, working with compassion, but we don’t have to participate in it any longer, especially when it becomes abusive.
We face many challenges in our modern world, some of which we shared with our ancestors, some not. Alienation, isolation, war, climate change, technology: all these we have shared previously with those who have gone before. How we respond to it makes all the difference. Emma Restall Orr, on the Patheos website as part of her article on the environmental crisis and how to respond gracefully as a Pagan, states: