Hello to all of my tarot, witchy, pagan peeps!
Today, I’m going to talk spiritual anarchy, or as I like to put it, connecting to the All however the f*** you want and in any way that works for you. As a pagan neophyte, I’ve spent the last six months seriously hitting the books, hoping to find insightful, creative practices that I could incorporate into my own. Thankfully, I’ve discovered many, and my spiritual journey has progressed by leaps and bounds as a result. I fully endorse the research method when it comes to growing a sustainable practice that works for you. This endorsement comes with a caveat, however: this madness ain’t written in stone (even if it is), and even if it’s been elevated to dogma-like status by the community, that doesn’t mean you have to practice it. Have an aversion to herbs? Ditch them. Crystals don’t leave you feeling warm and fuzzy? Set them aside and return only when the spirit moves you. Don’t enjoy the concept of deity? Look out the window, smile at the universe, and take it however you see it. If it looks like it works and it feels like it works, than it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. And that’s totally okay.
I happen to enjoy herbs. I like the way they smell, I like using them to create incense blends, and I like adding them to food to create depth and nuance in flavor. I have a decent-sized collection of dried herbs, and I make use of them fairly frequently. Due to my herbal fixation, I figured that I should try growing some of my own; perhaps I’d experience a deeper attachment to them, and that attachment could expand my spiritual practice; hell, maybe I’d even be able to call myself a green witch. I purchased the seed packs, the egg carton-like growing containers, the seed starter mix and a book on growing herbs. Armed with my arsenal, I set to work, and as I tended to my little beauties, I produced visions of the garden that I’d create in my yard. As days transitioned into weeks, I managed to produce a mere few leggy seedlings, but I remained undaunted. It wasn’t until I awoke to find them all dead one morning that I was forced to accept the truth: I have a black thumb. I’ve always had a black thumb. I thought that if I didn’t produce a luscious, verdant herb garden, I’d be less of a witch, and as I gazed at my fallen brethren, I actually felt like less of a witch. And that, my friends, is bull****.
The reason this path appeals to me is that it lacks dogma, authority, and strict methods of practice. I’ve always been a bit of a maverick; I’m forever devoted to blazing my own path come what may simply because it feels authentic and genuine, and it makes me feel like I’m alive. But I came so vulnerable and green to paganism that I was primed to accept suggestions as law, even if they didn’t truly resonate with my intuition and beliefs. This is dangerous. Once we begin making compromises to our spirituality–arguably the most personal and formative aspect of ourselves–what’s to stop us from compromising elsewhere? There’s no need to force ourselves into molds that don’t match our gorgeous, unique curvatures. Your spiritual practice is yours alone, and what you choose to incorporate into it is your choice. What you choose to leave out is also your choice, and you have only yourself to answer to. The pressure to conform, whether spiritually, socially, or otherwise, is at best a nuisance, and at worst a crushing force of soul destruction. Your practice isn’t too fluffy, isn’t too dark, isn’t too connected to a tradition or isn’t too eclectic. If it resonates with who you are and assists your spiritual progression, it’s golden.
The same goes for the tools of your practice: they are yours to use however you decide. Many assert that a practitioner of tarot cannot possibly read for herself. Although I see where they’re coming from (we’re so immersed in our experience that it’s difficult to assess our queries objectively), I don’t necessarily agree. At the conclusion of my rituals, I lay down some cards to help me process the thoughts and experiences that I had. These readings always add an element of clarity, and ultimately invite me to examine my practice in more depth. I don’t use an athame to create sacred space; I’ve found that my imagination and my hands work just fine. Sometimes, however, I feel the need to use a crystal. And when that happens, I use one.
Magickal traditions and literature are phenomenal resources for the nascent and seasoned practitioner alike. They’ve been instrumental to my practice, and will continue to be. I approach them, however, as theories: if they seem promising, I’ll test them. If they jive with my spirit, I’ll adopt them. If something’s slightly off, I’ll modify it to suit my needs. And if it simply doesn’t resonate, I scratch it and return to the drawing board. And if a theory sparks a new, vibrant hypothesis, fantastic. When the path of spiritual evolution pushes us to test our boundaries, we should feel excited, not ashamed, to do so. And when we strike out into new territory, we inspire and empower others to do the same.