Practice: Melting Beliefs
For this practice, Roderick asks us to review our responses to the words from yesterday and identify a common theme running through most of the responses. Once the theme is identified, we are to reduce it to one word, then etch the word onto a candle.
Then we are to explore the origins of our feelings. To do so, we are to sit down, relax, breathe and “allow the dominant feeling, the main theme of [our] emotional reactions to emerge in [our] awareness” and to “try to feel it fully within [our] body.” We’re to “allow this feeling to transport [us] back in time to a scene from your life that can explain [our] feelings.” Once we have an image that makes some sense, we are to open our eyes, light the candle, and vow to remain aware of our feelings during the learning process over the next year. As the candle melts and changes form, we are to be imagine that the “concepts formed in the past also melt and transform.”
After this is completed, we are asked to journal about the following questions:
- What was it like to take part in this small ritual?
- What emotions did the ritual bring up in me?
- Did I “let go” of anything with this ritual?
Looking over Roderick’s prompt for the exercise, I can’t help but feel that this one was not meant for me. I don’t have any ‘issues’ I need to work through, no emotions like fear or anger over these words that I need to confront. I don’t particularly think my responses here need melting. I think I’ve got a good, realistic grasp of the words.
Surely I can do better than that cop-out!
The last time I attempted the 366, the word I pulled from my responses was “disconnect.” At that time, most of my response followed a format of “this is what I think” and “this is what the rest of the world thinks.” When I meditated on the word, the image that came to my mind was the major blow-out over that my mom and I had when I was 17. The one where she burned all the materials she could find and informed me if I continued with metaphysical stuff I would get no money for college. The message I got out of the whole exercise then was that I needed to “integrate outward practice into my inner beliefs.”
I don’t think I see the “disconnect” so strongly in my responses now. It’s there, but it’s more subtle. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think that’s a product of personal growth. I think that’s because I don’t care as much now. I just went through a year stressing out about impressing graduate schools, and–quite frankly–I’m more than a little done with worrying about other people’s perceptions.
Which just makes it ironic that I’ve begun worrying about my own perceptions of other people. See, if I did have to pick a common theme or “tone” in my answers, I’d have to go with snobbery. I’m at the stage in Wicca where I am deeply, deeply annoyed by teenagers wearing too much eyeliner and pentacles the size of hubcaps. I’m deeply annoyed by Pagans who turn to silly rhyming spells and elaborate candle configurations every time they get a hangnail. I’m tired of the show. I want to see the substance.
In a religion where Lady Fluffikin’s goddess of marshmallow creme–made up just three minutes ago!–is given as much seriousness as Isis…it’s hard to get that substance. Most of the Pagans I’ve met…well, they’ve given me serious doubts as to their sanity. And Pagans are flaky! They just can’t commit to anything! The Indianapolis Pagan Pride Day–possibly the most organized Pagan event in Indiana–is always two to three hours behind schedule. No one knows when anything will happen, so all the workshops are poorly attended.
Somewhere along the line, I’ve become a Pagan snob. It’s in danger of becoming “my view or you’re crazy,” and that mindset is something that the entire Pagan world can agree on. It’s wrong.
So snobbery was the word I carved into my candle. The ritual was calming. Most of the emotions that arose were ones more of anger than anything else, but I dealt with it. I can’t say I’ve let go of all my snobbery…but I think I can limp along for a little while now without getting too judgmental.