Monday, July 26, 2010

philosophies derived from palmistry

A long time ago I purchased a book (will link or add info later) on palmistry out of curiosity and oddly enough, the book’s explanation of the 2 systems of palmistry, Asian and Gypsy, have stuck with me and informed my own sense of “fortune telling” practices.

The book stated that the Gypsy tradition of palmistry only reads the left hand because it believes that our fortunes are carved out at birth, never changing, as our fates are predetermined. The Asian tradition, according to this book, reads both hands and then considers the differences between what was “set” at birth, and the decisions we’ve made (left hand=fate, right hand=decisions). According to this book, what we do with our destiny and how that then changes our path, is of greater significance than just looking at our fate.

Obviously, my bias is clear. I agree with the Asian system because I believe, wholeheartedly, that while life may have a map of sorts, how we get to where we’re going is largely up to us.

This same tradition of palmistry is something that I’ve extended beyond the book, into my life at large, in keeping with my mother’s love of the following proverb:

If life gives you lemons, make lemonade

We may be dealt a rough hand, or an easy hand, but what we do with that hand determines who we are. We are not defined by our circumstances, despite the blessings or curses they may bring. We are defined by the choices we make. Obviously for some, the choices are more difficult and more limited, and I respect that for some, my claims of “free will” may seem laughable and a middle class luxury. And sometimes they’re probably right.

Regardless, I’ve always found it inspirational to think about how the person we are has more to do with the decisions we make and they ways we go about living our lives than with where we come from and what we were given in life. And it's something that I think about a lot when I do other fortune tellings, like tarot or runes, because I don't think that the future can ever really be told, other than to indicate where you are, at this moment, based on the decisions you've made now.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

finding my way back, past the wall, to my practice

As I feel my way back to the pagan path, it seems quite fitting that I am asked to think about why I hit that wall in the first place and what it means.

When I moved to Montreal at the tender age of 23, I was fully committed to the pagan path.It fit, it felt right, it felt like home to me. I’d read Mirian Green’s A Witch Alone  and nothing else had ever really appealed to me in the same way.  I knew that I wanted to continue down that path and learn more and with that in mind I joined a local workshop about Wicca to learn more.  And learn I did. And even though some of it didn’t always fit, and it was a challenge to negotiate my way through the various paths and find my own voice despite my insecurities, I knew that I was on the right path. Things were slowly coming together and even though there were many other areas in my life that needed to be worked on and they were working against my spiritual path being fully realized, I was chipping away and making my way.

But then it all just sort of stopped. I don’t know if it was gradual or all of a sudden. I suspect that it was gradual because I can’t really pinpoint where or when it stopped. But when I went to events I just felt a disconnect. There were too many people with too many issues; too many people that I couldn’t take seriously; too much jealousy and insecurity about not being the one who connected with others; and most of all, too much fear about getting up there in the center of the circle, taking the next step, and learning to trust myself enough to move beyond my shadow role. I believed but couldn’t seem to get over my insecurities and my cynical flake radar. I just felt out of sync. So my insecurities took over and I second guessed everything, and so I retreated because it because less about the joy I found in the circle and more about why I was able to connect, which defeated the purpose of being there in the first place.

Perhaps my path is unique, perhaps not.

I know now that I needed that retreat. I needed to find me and my voice before committing to or participating in community building. I needed to test my path and see if it really fit. It wasn’t an easy time in my life, and I lived through some significant challenges in order to emerge stronger than ever. But all through it, through all the questions, doubts, fears, everything, is the knowledge that my beliefs held strong even if I wasn’t practicing. There were times I railed against the loss I felt from not practicing, from the disconnect I felt with my spirituality and my everyday life, which sometimes drove me even further afield.  And I tried to find it in other places and in other ways, but in the end, here I am again.
 So when I listened to Tommy Elf’s podcast this morning, I couldn’t help be admire the synchronicity of it all. I’m back and I’m surer than ever. And now that I have the faith, confidence, and sense of self that I lacked in my early 20s, I feel readier than ever to explore living my path.