This week's prompt: Different Pagan Paths
While I am Wiccan, on this blog I use the term Pagan in the loosest of ways because I understand how vastly different each individual on a pagan path understands this particular term. In part I feel that I understand this because I spent so much time wandering down various avenues before settling back into the place from which I began (I can never do things the easy way... no, if there's a complicated way to do something, yours truly will find it and actually complicate it a bit more for good measure)!
I did everything from looking for patron deities to researching my ancestral roots to everything in between. I dabbled in Unitarianism and Yoga, I thought about joining a Buddhist sangha and I even contemplated looser, more liberal forms of Christianity. In the end, none of it really connected for me and I came back to what really drew me to an alternative spiritual path.
Granted, nowadays my idea of the original path that drew me in is vastly more complex than it was when I started out, but the core truths that drew me still hold true.
Sometimes I think we are so blessed to live in an age where such types of spiritual exploration are possible, but at other times (you know, those moments of spiritual crisis or loneliness), I think that it can be hard to have so many choices. I know, 1st world problems and all that... but sometimes too much in the way of choice can be more crippling than limited choice.
In my own personal experience, the quest for community and teachers has been complex and frustrating at times. I've been walking this path, on and off, for 19 years as I write this, and yet, in so many ways, I'm still a complete newbie.
I remember the days when I used to feel filled with anxiety over ever finding a spiritual community of my own. I worried that I would never find good teachers. I thought that I would always feel like the alienated pagan, walking the path alone.
I wish that I could go back and re-assure my younger self that it would come, that it was all part of the progress and that there would come a day when I would be confident in my own practice and connection that the need for community would seem less important than I once thought it was. But I suspect that I would never have believed it at the time. I was too caught up trying to figure out stuff that I couldn't see past the stuff to my own core truths and knowledge.
I care less now about paths and more about values and lifestyle choices. When I think pagan path, I don't necessarily assume shared values or life choices anymore. Even though I use the term in the loosest possible sense, I don't know that any fellow pagan necessarily shares the same path at all because despite some commonalities, we are all walking our own unique paths in life. You know?