Most pagan blogs I’ve read contain information about what the contributor is doing in their religious/spiritual life. It’s a typical thing really – write about what you know, what you do or want to do, what you think, etc. Yet…how many of us actually write down the things we don’t want to do on our paths? We might note that something was tried and didn’t work, or didn’t fit where we’re trying to go, but how often do we go beyond that?
I’ve actually got a long (mental) list of things in mind, but to keep this post from going on and on (and on and on) I’m going to limit it to five:
In no particular order…
Casting a circle (and its attendant elements)
Where do I begin with this one? Well, for starters, casting a circle before doing ritual workings, or spells, or connecting with deity is not a Kemetic practice, nor is it related in any way to FlameKeeping. As it’s not of the paths I practice, it is natural for me not to cast circles, call quarters, watchtowers, or elements, or do any of the other circle-specific things.
This is not to say I don’t, at times, create sacred space, or ritual space. It simply means that when/IF I do, however, I go about it in a different fashion. Remember: different does not necessarily equal WRONG.
Following the Wheel of the Year/Celebrating the Wheel holidays
This is a simple one – the Wheel of the Year has no bearing on my path. Those holidays are not mine, and there’s no reason for me to celebrate them. Since they don’t apply to me, I don’t try to work them into my practice.
I do sometimes celebrate my own holidays that may share a date with a Wheel holiday (31 October springs to mind), but a shared date does not mean a shared holiday. My holiday might not be yours, and that’s okay…so stop trying to tell me I really DO celebrate the Wheel and just don’t know it!
Correspondences – linking colors, herbs, stones, elements, shapes, signs, etc. to deities
For the purpose of my path, what matters is the deity’s bailiwick and what the deity asks for (if anything). Otherwise, my offerings and shrine decorations are strictly traditional – flowers, cool water, incense, bread, beer, milk, etc. If you ask me what stone Sekhmet likes, or what herb is associated with Ganesha, I’m not only likely not to know, but I’m very likely to tell you that up front.
Although: funnily enough, I am reminded that there is one exception to this – Set is associated with red things, and I color my hair red for him. Thanks, Big Red!
(Despite the name, don’t give him cinnamon gum. It’s only funny once. Seriously.)
Incorporating Earth-/Nature-Centered practices
I am neither Earth-Centered nor Nature-Centered, and neither my FlameKeeping nor my Kemetic practices require such things. I do enjoy nature, and being out in it when it isn’t as hot and sticky as the mouth of a mastiff, but I believe everything is Divine and so (for me) nature holds no more potential sacredness than my left shoe.
I don’t seek out nature for religious purposes – I seek it out because I like it and like learning about it and experiencing it. I’m as likely to have an ecstatic, amazing religious experience hanging in bondage as I am on top of a mountain…and it’s likely the place I’m hanging has climate control.
Decrying other religions or religious practices
All religions have a fail-state, including my own. Using those fail-states to decry entire swathes of people in the name of a handful is not acceptable to me, and something I will therefore not do. In my opinion, saying that all <insert religious practitioner name here> are/do a particular thing makes as much sense as saying that all mammals* give birth to live young.
(*Most do, but not all. Also, some non-mammals give birth to live young. Live birth is therefore not a distinguishing characteristic of mammals.)
There’s my five. Like I said, I have more than that, but I think the ones I listed are a good representation of how my brain works and how I practice. So, what don’t you want to do? What doesn’t make sense to you? What have you rejected, for one reason or another?
Please share! The more we learn, the more we grow and improve, after all.