Hi all. I’ve dropped this in the Beginners forum because I’m new to both of the religions/traditions mentioned in detail here, and it didn’t feel appropriate placing it anywhere else. Apologies for all the personal threads recently, I’m hoping to give more to the forum soon than just asking for advice all of the time, I just lack a lot of practice knowledge at the moment to offer most people.
I’ve got myself into a bit of a conundrum. I’ve been searching for the right path for me for about three years now. Those three years have not been for nothing; every day has brought me inch by inch closer to the thing calling out in my soul. Institutional teaching and hard rules haven’t given voice to that song very well for me. Books and exercises have been more successful. The right moot group has been the best, where my feelings fit in harmony with the energy of the whole group.
Now, I’ve come closest so far to something that feels like coming home. Two possible paths seem to be opened up before me, but I have my reservations and a few blockages that I can’t seem to overcome right now. These paths are Cornish Witchcraft, and Druidry.
I should contextualise that my only guiding principles have been to seek something that makes me feel more connected with the earth, that worships Mother Earth; and that whatever I practice has compassion and peace in it above all, which also means I value preservation of my mental health and happiness primarily. I don’t practice unless it feels right and brings joy to my soul, even if that joy is silent contentment. Pretty vague, but it always gets me back on track.
My reservations with Druidry are more straight forward. I felt drawn to this path through Emma Restall Orr’s Principles of Druidry, which I loved to bits and I felt I really learned something from it. However, everything I’ve read from Philip Carr-Gomm so far has left me feeling cynical. I have reservations about the claim that this is a practice that dates back to the ancient Druids, or even that the ancient Druids are the kind of people depicted by Romantic poetry. I think my greatest doubt is the romanticisations in his writing, only because I’ve studied literature for a bit now and I have a knee-jerk reaction against that poetic style. (That is definitely not said with a tone of holier-than-thou though, at all – it’s a personal preference). Because of this, I’ve felt more turned away by the Gwers and OBOD introductory package than anything, and as previously mentioned in another thread I’m being plagued by worries about cultural misappropriation. Generally, it feels pretty hopeless right now.
I’ve felt the most excitement recently reading Gemma Gary’s Witchcraft: A Cornish Book of Ways. Specific sections made my heart soar, because for the first time in a while I found any mention of a native and local deity, spirit force and practice to my home (Cornwall), and I’ve been seeking that recently. However, a lot of the imagery seems almost demonic at times – this is probably my ignorance shining out so I’m deeply sorry to anyone this offends. For example, it talks of ‘Devil’, a goat god and the Bucca Dhu, who closely resembles the Devil. There’s of course nothing wrong with that, it just seems to delve into something much darker than I’m used to, and to call on a practice more practical than I was originally looking for. In my search for deeper connection with Mother Earth, I’m not sure if I’d benefit from traditional witchcraft. Even so, the mythology talked of, the seasonal structure and the metaphysics all seem so attractive to (or just right for) me. I think that was the first time in a while I couldn’t put a book down. Ultimately, I’m intimidated, maybe even a little afraid. Another fear is that I’d be calling on some force in nature that is deeper, and stronger, than I can handle. I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew.
Which brings me to why I want to follow a tradition at all. I feel very much disconnected right now. I have a great relationship to a local goddess, the spirits in the green spaces and the ancestors I’ve met with. I have an active practice and guidance from spiritual mentors. Yet even so, I feel something is empty in me. I feel as if I need to belong to a tradition, almost invalidated to a certain extent in my practice otherwise. Which is probably not the healthiest mindset. In an ideal world, I’d meld both practices but the intensity of Cornish Witchcraft still intimidates me from that option.
I also really enjoy the self-help witchcraft I’ve read a lot of, the kind with positive affirmations, mindfulness meditations and lots of pastel colours in it. This draws closer to feminist witchcraft like in Lisa Lister’s Witch, I think. It just really calms me and makes me feel more whole. I guess that embodies my focus on my mental health and happiness, which can be volatile and unstable sometimes.
A part of me knows I’ll have to trust myself in making these decisions. But some of it – like my reservations – are perhaps improvable with context, which I seriously lack as a newbie to all of these practices.
Again, sorry for the posts like these. Thank you to anyone with advice or a perspective.