When I started out on a pagan path years ago, the number of mistakes I made were Legion. Now that I am more experienced, one might think I make fewer mistakes.
I don’t. They’re still Legion; they’re just of a different sort and I learn from them. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is true for most of us.
(Food for thought – why are suspicions always sneaking? Are they afraid to walk around normally?)
Here’s an example: when I started out, even though Sekhmet made herself known to me, I tried ignore her in favor of One Ultimate Goddess and One Ultimate God as the books I was reading said I should. I was an IRAB (I Read A Book) pagan, and my practices were of that nature. I cast circles, called quarters, did magic, had cakes-and-ale, etc. all with much pomp and circumstance and no idea how to really do it. I bought tools I had no idea how to use because I thought I should have them. I thought (and spoke as if) all Pagans were Wicca-influenced. And, even when being smacked in the face with what didn’t work for me, I continued to try to fit myself into a mold…much as I’d done with my birth religion in the past.
As I said, my mistakes were Legion.
I finally figured out that Sekhmet wanted me to follow a Kemetic-influenced path when it came to Her worship. And, then I made different mistakes. Instead of truly listening to Her, I did what I thought I should based on things I was reading. I didn’t give offerings or interact with Her during my menstrual cycle despite Her telling me it was fine. I didn’t offer anything but water and bread despite Her asking for beer. I tried to fit Her into a mated pair with another one of the netjeru…with interesting results and a reminder that I don’t live in Memphis.
In addition to the mistakes I made with Sekhmet, I truly didn’t understand the things I was speaking about publicly. I didn’t “get” Ma’at outside of Her being a goddess. I didn’t know what the Nun was, or Zep Tepi. I had a hard time understanding the ka and the ba.
Mistakes – 42/Reality – 0
But, as time went by, I began to learn more. I found a wonderful interfaith Pagan site called The Cauldron and read through every thread on the forums before posting anything of my own. (Yes, I lurked for awhile.) I bought books recommended by intelligent members and read them before discussing them. I began to understand what Sekhmet was asking me to do and, more importantly, WHY. I learned from my mistakes and was able to correct them. By the time Neb.y Set came along, and I realized Who it was, I had enough base knowledge to be able to accept and welcome Him.
The fact that we make mistakes and can learn from them should not be hidden. It is in those mistakes that our strongest lessons dwell and, as we learn new things, new mistakes will be made. It is human nature; to do anything else wouldn’t work.
I’d like to see more people discussing the mistakes they’ve made and how they learned from them. I’ll most likely start a thread over at The Cauldron to explore the topic further…but I’d be interested to see if anyone reading this has a mistake (or 42) to share.
(And no, Sekhmet and Neb.y are *not* a mated pair. And it didn’t cross my mind to try and match them up. Just saying. ;))