I do my best to accurately write, from my heart and mind, the things I understand to be true, and interpret, in my own words, what I believe to be true. To the best of my ability I aim to present information I have processed, after much deep thought and study, here on my blog, and anywhere else I publish my words, to be the truth. After someone puts into question something I claim is the truth, or points out I have not shown enough evidence to support my claim, I feel like I have failed, yet when their motive is to correct me, I appreciate it. I’m not always on the ball, I can forget to do something, I might get distracted, and I’m not perfect! Perhaps I left an important reference out or, in my haste and excitement to get out my answers, I made a simple mistake that blew my honest intentions out of the water. But when someone’s motive is to shame me, it serves no purpose other than to force my face into a pile of self-doubt.
Where did I go wrong when I thought I really got it right this time around? I had gotten very proud of myself with my last article on Witchcraft Where Witches Came From. I did not receive a lot of criticism over it, only one close friend had something to say that worried me. I realized I had left out a few things and I intend to go back, re-summarize, and add to the article at another time. I intend for the article to be part of a series on the origin of Witch mythology. But perhaps I am in over my head. Normally, I am not a scholarly, journalist kind of writer. I am great at writing from my imagination and using song and poetry to express my emotions, something I have a lot experience with, it’s my comfort zone. To write an informational column-style piece of blog is a challenge for me, yet often can be very rewarding, especially when it helps someone else to really understand something from a new perspective. I don’t mind writing essays, and I’m perfect at autobiography, yet for a close friend, I will meet any challenge, or dare they give me, especially out of respect and love for them, even more especially when they are the ones who are genuinely asking the questions in confidence and looking to me to provide the truth. Plus there is a desire in me to impress upon them I am trustworthy and that I am worth their love. Yet why do I feel like I have to fight, compete, and meet any challenges in the first place in order to win anyone’s love and respect? Why can I just believe it has been given already and trust that I can be free to express my truth to them without fear of rejection?
Whenever I write about my religion, it does affect me very emotionally. Being a Witch has its good days and bad days, but just because it has been considered evil for centuries by billions of people all over the world does not mean it should be evil, no matter if the origins of the use of the word were to describe someone who practices evil. I’ve spent a lifetime redefining, reclaiming, and reviving the tradition of Witchcraft as something very good and decent. Even if it is a close friend who asks a dumb, possibly offensive question, I forgive them and do my best to answer them with the best of my knowledge. When what I have to say is not enough for them, I get very sad. What were they asking me to prove? Why were they so disappointed? Where did I go wrong when they thought my information wasn’t enough?
I could write MORE. I want to go DEEPER. I’ll change it. I’ll draw down the Moon for my friend, for anyone, just to get them to smile at me again. I want to still play in their playground and combine our wonder-twin powers and activate talismans and charms and spells and… change the world, take over the world, make it a better place. But does that requires me to be better? Perfect? More awesome? My passion growls. I want to fight. But I have no sword. I just have my words, my art, my songs, my fluffy, comfy silly stuff magic that must seem so small compared to what other people can do, right? Why do I feel like I am so lost when it isn’t just myself doubting me, but when it’s also someone I love who is disappointed in my efforts? It’s like those times I felt helpless when watching over a friend’s baby when I can’t get them to sleep, or how helpless I felt the time I could not take away a friend’s pain after their little brother just died from cancer.
Please don’t stay sad or mad. I wish I could make it better, but I can’t. I’m sorry I couldn’t wave a wand and whisk up the proof you wanted when I promised I would. I really thought I could do it. I never want to fail you. I want to make you feel good. I want to make you laugh and smile. Please don’t go away. I’ll make it better.
What am I truly setting out to prove when I struggle to speak the truth? And why, after I spend days and nights of research, isn’t it enough to produce the right answer to please someone else? I think that my objective then is not to present the truth, but to gain acceptance. My emotional state overcomes my reason. I write out of urgency to please. This blocks my ability to think clearly. I become an idiot. When it comes to wanting to keep and maintain my friendships, I’ll bend over backwards and end up hurting myself.
Then here I am, there I go, on the floor, rolling around, and you be standing there looking down at me, shaking your head, saying, “Val, Val, Val… now you’ve gone too far. Again. What are you going to do this time?”
I could go into the sob stories of how I lost several significant relationships just over this last year. How the close relationship with my brother failed after a petty misunderstanding, made more painful to me because I remember things he doesn’t and this somehow devalues the connection we shared with our mother who passed away March 23rd, 2010. That’s the hardest sob story I’m dealing with this month. Today, March 13th, is his birthday, and if we were still on good terms, we would be up to having fun like we used to and I would feel less “orphaned” in the world. Over the last two years I’ve lost several close friends to misunderstandings over things said, things I never got to defend myself over.
Today my relationships are mostly active online and I, mostly by circumstances beyond my control and budget, no longer have a in-person-to-person interaction with some of my closest friends. All talk is silent and typed. Phone calls are rare. I like having no interruptions and enjoy the quiet, but not when it gets too lonely. There are times when I get desperate for some ACTION and have to take large steps to get out, get involved, make new friends, run around, and just DO something, ANYTHING. Mostly I volunteer to help people in my community. That’s what I believe a Witch, or any kind of spiritual person, should do because leading a religious life means not just having a sense of duty, but ACTUALLY having a duty. I learned that early on from my mother. Rarely do I have to prove anything to anyone these days. Gone are the days when I had to debate philosophy and politics to prove my wits or display my intellectual integrity.
Growing up with a very serious religious background, I remember my mother hosted gatherings on Wednesday nights after church, a sort of after-Bible study party where the adults would argue into the late night over scripture. The kids and I were left to our own devices, some of us fell asleep on the couch to the sounds of raised, emotional voices coming from the kitchen. It always disturbed me. They’re all from the same religion, so why do they love to fight over what they believe with each other? I thought it didn’t make sense. Is this what it’s like with every religion?
I found out many years later that it could be. After co-founding a pagan fellowship and study group at the university in the 90’s, my early twenties were spent listening again to, and trying to avoid participating in, debates over religious philosophy and other spiritual ideas where someone was trying to prove something to everyone, or trying to get me to prove to them something. I hated being accused of not being inaccurate, but being stupid! One of the harshest critics I’ve ever had to deal with was my fellow neo-Pagans. What were we trying to prove to one another? The university fellowship was a diverse group, all of us were from different paths, practicing different traditions. This diversity was a blessing, but also it could divide us.
There’s a rule I maintain with my family now that I would very much like to keep with my friends, and that is to strictly keep conversations between us free of political and religious debates. Those are the two things that have always caused rifts between my relatives. It is what broke my mother and I apart, especially over religion. I will never let that be repeated because I can never get back the years I lost while she was still alive.
Yet, is it right to make it mandatory to not debate anything with a friend, especially when it is over a subject we both feel passionate about, like religion? I remember late night talks with friends that I loved, talks over just about any Occult subject or philosophy that would get my heart pumping as fast as if I were in love. There is nothing else in the world that captures my attention more. It is a beautiful subject, perfect for the late night lifestyle I lead. I long for the nights when I can stay up with a friend and go over notes or brew a potion or write up an incantation or plan a magical group… or better yet start a brand new religion or tradition or whatever. To envision being part of history and become famous, or for I to be the power behind someone’s throne. It is the stuff of legend that speaks to my wild heart. Of course I am going to get fired up, my heart will be tortured, my words won’t come out right, not until there is a common truth, a solid one, to agree on.
Perhaps that is one of the reasons why we debate and struggle and challenge ourselves in the end — to strive for unity. Yet I want to still maintain my individuality. Who is to say that my truth is the truth when it comes down to what is my expression of what I believe? To some I may be wrong, or that I may be preaching something wrong to others; or I just tried too hard and did not look into the right direction and find what someone else wanted? In the end I just pleased myself because I failed to please someone else. It does not make me feel good like it did earlier. I just hope that people understand how I feel and what I did to bring some understanding between us.
Blessings between us be. To us all. Truth, forgiveness, and peace.