collapse
2019 Donation Drive

It's time for our annual Server Donation Drive! We need to raise at least $650 (same as last year) to keep The Cauldron's server online for another year. Please help! Either hit that Paypal button to the right and make a one-time donation in any amount or set up a monthly Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor subscription. You can find more info in this message!

Donations as of 13 Sept 2019: $656 donated. $6 more our minimum goal! Let's beat last year's total of $99 more than the minimum!


Note: This total is updated manually, usually once a day


* "Unable to verify referring url. Please go back and try again" Problem Logging In?

If you get an "Unable to verify referring url. Please go back and try again" error when you try to log in, you need to be sure you are accessing the board with a url that starts with "https://ecauldron.com".  If it starts with https://www.ecauldron.com" (or "http://www.ecauldron.com") you will get this error because "www.ecauldron.com" is not technically the same website as "ecauldron.com". Moving to the more secure "https" means it is more picky about such things.

Author Topic: General/Non-Specific: How do I get started?  (Read 1737 times)

zeldazelda

  • Sr. Newbie
  • **
  • Join Date: Feb 2014
  • Posts: 17
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Unknown
How do I get started?
« on: November 20, 2017, 02:13:14 pm »
Hi,

I have no idea if this will make any sense, so I'll try to keep it short and sweet. (Note: That didn't work out so well, sorry for the long post.)

Background

In 2012 I deconverted from my parent's religion, which was a tiny sect of fundamentalist Christianity. At that point I called myself an atheist. I have softened somewhat since then, and now I consider myself agnostic.

Paganism has always interested me, but I never found myself in a place where I felt "starting out". Now I feel like I've reached that point. I'm secure financially and in my home life, but I'm struggling with an overwhelming feeling of meaningless and disconnection from the world (FYI, I have already sought medical treatment for anxiety and depression). A few weeks ago I decided to finally experiment with spirituality and paganism, and the desire to do so has grown ever stronger ever day.

Where I'm running into problems

So far I have started by planning a Yule/Solstice celebration with my husband (he is an atheist/Stoic, but very supportive of my foray into different religious paths). That's going well. But my difficulty is in the daily/weekly practice of paganism.

I have a very difficult time starting any project without a direction. I feel like I'm floundering in the wide sea of paganism. Luckily, I've been watching pagan YouTubers for long enough to know what I am not interested in (at least not right now): Wicca, crystals, casting circles, polytheism, overt supernatural ideas, groups, covens.

I gravitate toward nature-based ideas, old holidays, and self-improvement/identity/shadow work. I imagine this is some sort of eclectic paganism. I'm an information sponge, but researching paganism has turned out to be anything but simple. What I find online is either too shallow or seems dubious. Everything is up for grabs and it's overwhelming for me. I like having somewhere to start from, but there isn't anything I can hold onto. Even my ancestry is a mash of almost every country in Northern Europe.

I guess I'm looking for ideas on where to start or how to create some cohesive path for myself.

Should I be practicing a daily ritual? I don't want to jump in the deep end, but I feel like most beginner recommendations lack the experimentation that I am looking for. Maybe I'm going about this all the wrong way. I'm hoping someone here can point out what I'm missing.

And hopefully this makes some sort of sense. :)

Thank you so much.

Sefiru

  • Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Nov 2013
  • Location: In the walls
  • Posts: 1698
  • Country: ca
  • Total likes: 345
    • View Profile
Re: How do I get started?
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2017, 07:23:00 pm »
A few weeks ago I decided to finally experiment with spirituality and paganism, and the desire to do so has grown ever stronger ever day.

It's early days yet -- some of us have taken years or decades to develop our paths. I'm still adding to mine after 20+ years (holey moley I feel old typing that).

Quote
I've been watching pagan YouTubers for long enough to know what I am not interested in (at least not right now): Wicca, crystals, casting circles, polytheism, overt supernatural ideas, groups, covens.

I gravitate toward nature-based ideas, old holidays, and self-improvement/identity/shadow work.

Hmm. I'd suggest you look into Druidry (either the modern or the historical version), and you might find the Arthurian mythos to be of interest as well.

Quote
What I find online is either too shallow or seems dubious.

Present company excepted, I hope  ;) We have had many, many discussions here about the questions you have, as well as threads about book and website recommendations.

It's true that if you want in-depth information you'll need to go to actual books in many cases. Do you have access to a public or university library? There's also Amazon, but that can get pricey fast so maybe wait on buying your own books until you know more specifically what you want.

My advice here is: read widely. Not just books "about paganism". Read philosophy, mythology, fantasy novels, poetry, history etc.

Quote
Should I be practicing a daily ritual? I don't want to jump in the deep end, but I feel like most beginner recommendations lack the experimentation that I am looking for. Maybe I'm going about this all the wrong way. I'm hoping someone here can point out what I'm missing.

Actually, the oldest part of my practice is a daily ritual: a prayer at bedtime. The words and addressee have changed several times, but I have been doing this every single day since I was about 13. I'd say for anything daily, keep it simple and give it a place in your existing routine (eg. brush teeth, pray, lights out).

Also keep in mind that Paganism is not one-size-fits-all or off-the-rack. If you find something that sounds almost right, you can totally adjust it until it is just right for you.

Also also, it's ok to make mistakes. Some things you try won't work for you, and that's fine. You can set them aside and try something else. (The less said about my attempt at sacred dance, the better.) As you've noticed, paganism is broad and there is sure to be something, or a combination of somethings, in it to suit you.

Jenett

  • Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 3077
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 634
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: How do I get started?
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2017, 02:20:43 pm »
I guess I'm looking for ideas on where to start or how to create some cohesive path for myself.

So, one of the things to think about is that it's going to take some time (and that's okay.) You're probably going to need to get comfortable with the skill of mining sources for ideas where you like some parts of it but not others (because a lot of culture-specific paths will involve polytheistic deity material, and a lot of the general intro material out there is Wicca/religious witchcraft focused).

That said, a bunch of these sources can definitely be mined for stuff that will likely work for you.

Basically, you don't want to take stuff that has some safety precautions without the appropriate safety precautions, you don't want to do a thing that is going to be culturally insensitive or annoy a specific deity - like taking a practice that has strong cultural links or deity focus, and leaving that entirely out. But that still leaves a number of options.

Sources I'd suggest you check out:
There are several older books by Pauline and Dan Campanelli (from the early 90s) that are very cheap used copies these days, but they have a strong European-based seasonal-traditional set of things you can do or get inspired by. The two most relevant are The Wheel of the Year and Ancient Ways.

I haven't reread them closely in a while, so I suspect that there's also some stuff that is no longer considered accurate/appropriate in there, and I'd definitely double check any herb/item/etc. safety thoroughly in good modern sources.

Deborah Blake's non-fiction books are focused on witchcraft, but there's a lot of good seasonal or cyclical ideas tucked in there. Titles include: A Year and a Day of Everyday Witchcraft: 366 Ways to Witchify Your Life, Everyday Witchcraft: Making Time for Spirit in a Too-Busy World, and The Goddess Is in the Details: Wisdom for the Everyday Witch

You might also find Marian Green's A Witch Alone helpful: it is deistic, but focused on seasonal cycles, and with a lot of more introspective/reflective material that might be a good framework for asking questions about what you want to pull together.

Finally, more on this in the daily practice, but Diane Sylvan's The Circle Within is a good starting place for personal practice (again, with some adaptations.)

Other reading and sources
I also agree with Sefiru about reading widely - one thing I do periodically is try to read a book every month (I normally read 8-10 in the average month, to give you an idea of proportions, though a lot of them are light pleasure reading) that focuses on a particular interest. I've done this with elements, with particular kinds of topics, with projects I'm working on (related to astrology, or music, or whatever).

It usually works best for me for this kind of work if it's not a dense academic book, but instead something more general popular non-fiction: it gives my brain things to chew on without being so demanding I need to only read it when I've got good focus. (Which means I don't read it while I'm working on going to sleep, which is a chunk of my reliable reading time.)

It's also worth building up a list of other things you take in on a regular basis that expand your view of the world and how things connect - this might be an RSS reader and following blogs, this might be podcasts, this might be finding documentaries, whatever makes sense for you.

Quote
Should I be practicing a daily ritual?
Good question!

So, first thing: daily doesn't have to mean daily. It can mean regular. Some people do better with one or the other. Or are like me, where I do a bunch of small stuff I don't think much about daily, and then semi-regularly do more complicated stuff that can shift based on health, schedule, what else is going on, etc.

Two practices I'd suggest are worth trying out and seeing how they go for you, though:

1) Basic self-awareness energy work (centering, grounding, shielding):
These are 'what is me, and what is not me' and 'how is that affecting how I interact with the world', basically.

With anxiety and depression (or, actually, basically any chronic health thing) taking a moment to go 'okay, where am I today/right now' and evaluating can be a really helpful long term practice. You don't have to try and fix the thing, but knowing it's there can help you start to make choices that work better. Or at least give you some things to explore.

Links to essays with a bunch of options on my Seeking site from the Doing page. (My personal background and focus is religious witchcraft, so the more ritually stuff focuses on that, but the general energy stuff at the top is widely adaptable.)

2) Seasonal changes
One really simple exercise is to find an outdoor place you can get to easily in all weather, and make a point of visiting. Some people do this daily, some people do this weekly, some people do other patterns. Spend a few minutes there each time, and observe the seasonal changes - What's green? what's flowering? What's seeds? What animals do you see or bugs or evidence of them? What noises do you hear? What's the ground like under your feet? What's the weather like?

These are all great ways to establish a connection to the larger world and build it over time, and connect to seasons and cycles.

3) Other stuff to consider (but that might take a little more exploration)
Some people like prayer beads (and the Pagan forms of these don't have to be deity focused: they can be things that remind you of things you want to focus on, or different parts of your life : I can see about writing up some more notes though it may have to wait until after Thanksgiving.)

Many people also like doing a 'pick a Tarot or oracle card of the day', though this usually works better if you can figure out a deck that works for you. There are smartphone apps for these things now too: I am lousy at remembering to do a card at home before I head out the door, but much better about remembering to do one sometime in the morning on my phone. (For values of morning, since I just remembered I hadn't done today's while writing this paragraph and it's after 2pm.)

What you do with that, mind, varies a lot: some people meditate or journal or reflect on it. I mostly do it as a 'thing to keep in mind'.
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

Uneryx

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Oct 2017
  • Posts: 199
  • Country: ca
  • Total likes: 128
    • View Profile
  • Religion: it's eclectic (woogie woogie woogie)
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: How do I get started?
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2017, 11:37:43 pm »


So, one of the things to think about is that it's going to take some time (and that's okay.) You're probably going to need to get comfortable with the skill of mining sources for ideas where you like some parts of it but not others (because a lot of culture-specific paths will involve polytheistic deity material,...

What you do with that, mind, varies a lot: some people meditate or journal or reflect on it. I mostly do it as a 'thing to keep in mind'.

Gonna have to file all this away for later.

I'm pretty new myself but what I decided to do was spend a year learning the basics and exploring what interests me. Every new moon I change subject of what I'm focusing on so it's sort of a sample platter but it helps me figure out what in this pretty overwhelming world of paganism is right for me.

I did all the dabbling and research too - for a good two years or so! Before deciding to screw it and jump in. And unless something (or someone) jumps out and grabs me, in 11 months I'm gonna revisit my notes and figure out what next.

Idk if thats your speed but I'm glad I'm not the only one on here getting into the pool.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk


Castus

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Location: Virginia
  • Posts: 795
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 67
    • View Profile
  • Religion: doo-doo-doo-dee-doo
Re: How do I get started?
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2017, 12:06:14 am »
Hi,

I have no idea if this will make any sense, so I'll try to keep it short and sweet. (Note: That didn't work out so well, sorry for the long post.)

Background

In 2012 I deconverted from my parent's religion, which was a tiny sect of fundamentalist Christianity. At that point I called myself an atheist. I have softened somewhat since then, and now I consider myself agnostic.

Paganism has always interested me, but I never found myself in a place where I felt "starting out". Now I feel like I've reached that point. I'm secure financially and in my home life, but I'm struggling with an overwhelming feeling of meaningless and disconnection from the world (FYI, I have already sought medical treatment for anxiety and depression). A few weeks ago I decided to finally experiment with spirituality and paganism, and the desire to do so has grown ever stronger ever day.

Where I'm running into problems

So far I have started by planning a Yule/Solstice celebration with my husband (he is an atheist/Stoic, but very supportive of my foray into different religious paths). That's going well. But my difficulty is in the daily/weekly practice of paganism.

I have a very difficult time starting any project without a direction. I feel like I'm floundering in the wide sea of paganism. Luckily, I've been watching pagan YouTubers for long enough to know what I am not interested in (at least not right now): Wicca, crystals, casting circles, polytheism, overt supernatural ideas, groups, covens.

I gravitate toward nature-based ideas, old holidays, and self-improvement/identity/shadow work. I imagine this is some sort of eclectic paganism. I'm an information sponge, but researching paganism has turned out to be anything but simple. What I find online is either too shallow or seems dubious. Everything is up for grabs and it's overwhelming for me. I like having somewhere to start from, but there isn't anything I can hold onto. Even my ancestry is a mash of almost every country in Northern Europe.

I guess I'm looking for ideas on where to start or how to create some cohesive path for myself.

Should I be practicing a daily ritual? I don't want to jump in the deep end, but I feel like most beginner recommendations lack the experimentation that I am looking for. Maybe I'm going about this all the wrong way. I'm hoping someone here can point out what I'm missing.

And hopefully this makes some sort of sense. :)

Thank you so much.
You'll need three feathers, a bowl of Jell-o, and a thumbtack.

zeldazelda

  • Sr. Newbie
  • **
  • Join Date: Feb 2014
  • Posts: 17
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Unknown
Re: How do I get started?
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2017, 10:46:58 am »
It's early days yet -- some of us have taken years or decades to develop our paths. I'm still adding to mine after 20+ years (holey moley I feel old typing that).

Hmm. I'd suggest you look into Druidry (either the modern or the historical version), and you might find the Arthurian mythos to be of interest as well.

Present company excepted, I hope  ;) We have had many, many discussions here about the questions you have, as well as threads about book and website recommendations.

It's true that if you want in-depth information you'll need to go to actual books in many cases. Do you have access to a public or university library? There's also Amazon, but that can get pricey fast so maybe wait on buying your own books until you know more specifically what you want.

My advice here is: read widely. Not just books "about paganism". Read philosophy, mythology, fantasy novels, poetry, history etc.

Actually, the oldest part of my practice is a daily ritual: a prayer at bedtime. The words and addressee have changed several times, but I have been doing this every single day since I was about 13. I'd say for anything daily, keep it simple and give it a place in your existing routine (eg. brush teeth, pray, lights out).

Also keep in mind that Paganism is not one-size-fits-all or off-the-rack. If you find something that sounds almost right, you can totally adjust it until it is just right for you.

Also also, it's ok to make mistakes. Some things you try won't work for you, and that's fine. You can set them aside and try something else. (The less said about my attempt at sacred dance, the better.) As you've noticed, paganism is broad and there is sure to be something, or a combination of somethings, in it to suit you.

Thank you so much! I'll look into Druidry. I do have access to a public library system, but even in my city of 200,000 people, there was only one book on paganism, "Drawing Down the Moon". I was quite disappointed. I am going to look in our local used bookstore; I might have more luck there.

And thank you for reminding me that it's okay to make mistakes. Sometimes I get so stuck on doing "the right thing" (perfectionism) that I don't end up doing anything.

zeldazelda

  • Sr. Newbie
  • **
  • Join Date: Feb 2014
  • Posts: 17
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Unknown
Re: How do I get started?
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2017, 11:00:00 am »
So, one of the things to think about is that it's going to take some time (and that's okay.) You're probably going to need to get comfortable with the skill of mining sources for ideas where you like some parts of it but not others (because a lot of culture-specific paths will involve polytheistic deity material, and a lot of the general intro material out there is Wicca/religious witchcraft focused).

Wow, tons of resources and recommendations! Thank you so much. I spent some time last night reading the basic "Doing" skills on your website (specifically the Centering and Grounding sections) and now I'm very interested in practicing those skills! That's a big change for me, since I tend to shy away from practices that rely heavily on the use of the idea 'energy'. However, the way you describe the practices is practical and down-to-earth, and it makes sense to me. I also think they'll be very helpful for me when I am experiencing anxiety and depression.

Your website is a goldmine, I am very thankful to you for writing it.

I'm excited about doing morning and evening practices. Last night before bed, I practiced some deep breathing, imagining my breath like a wave traveling from the soles of my feet to the top of my head. Not only was the breathing relaxing, but it kept me from thinking the negative thoughts that plague me so much at bedtime. And then this morning I wrote a short note in my journal, lit a candle to symbolize the sun since it's rainy outside, and pulled a tarot card from my Wildwood Tarot.

A question for anyone who wants to answer it -- do you ever feel negative about your daily rituals and want to quit them? Do you ever feel them lose their effectiveness? What do you usually do when that happens? (I'm trying to prepare in case it happens to me, so I don't drop the practice entirely.)

Sefiru

  • Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Nov 2013
  • Location: In the walls
  • Posts: 1698
  • Country: ca
  • Total likes: 345
    • View Profile
Re: How do I get started?
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2017, 10:32:54 pm »
I do have access to a public library system, but even in my city of 200,000 people, there was only one book on paganism, "Drawing Down the Moon".

Yeah, not exactly a beginners' book. My public library here is similar: there isn't much about paganism in the Religions section (Dewey decimal #299) but you can also look in the Occult (133), folklore and customs (390-99) and ancient history (900s).

Quote
And thank you for reminding me that it's okay to make mistakes. Sometimes I get so stuck on doing "the right thing" (perfectionism) that I don't end up doing anything.

I figured, since you said you had some fundamentalist Christian background, which is usually pretty strict on having One Right Thing.

do you ever feel negative about your daily rituals and want to quit them? Do you ever feel them lose their effectiveness? What do you usually do when that happens? (I'm trying to prepare in case it happens to me, so I don't drop the practice entirely.)

Mostly I've had this problem with my weekly rather than daily practice. One thing to do is to think about what isn't working and adjust as needed (f'ex, I changed the day I do weekly ritual to a work day because I'm too tempted to slack off on weekends). Another thing to do is to schedule in breaks - for me, I skip weekly ritual if I'm having my period that day. For a daily ritual, you might choose one day of the week to skip.

Jenett

  • Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 3077
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 634
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: How do I get started?
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2017, 09:38:48 am »
Yeah, not exactly a beginners' book. My public library here is similar: there isn't much about paganism in the Religions section (Dewey decimal #299) but you can also look in the Occult (133), folklore and customs (390-99) and ancient history (900s).

There are some complex reasons why it's difficult to find books about modern Paganism easily in libraries.

The short version is that a) the systems were designed by 19th century white Christian men who had rather set ideas about the nature and matter of the universe b) changing large systems is complicated and c) that Wicca didn't get an official subject heading in Library of Congress until 2007 and every other kind of Pagan practice is rather further behind that.

(My notes are at home where I am not - I'm on the iPad and travelling - but there is, I think "Goddess religion" and "witchcraft" (which will get you both historical witchcraft trials and modern religious witchcraft) and I think Dianic witchcraft, but looking for say, reconstructionist material takes a lot more hunting.)

The other complication is that a lot of Pagan books don't get reviewed in the publications librarians use for selecting books - they come from small niche presses. There will usually be a few Llewellyn/Weiser/New Page/etc. titles each year, but not all of the titles from any of those - so other purchases will depend on things like a librarian knowing about the book and wanting to add it, or someone requesting it.

The most useful thing to do is try searching some titles of books that seem interesting and turn up on a number of recommendation lists, and seeing what subject headings are used, and clicking through the ones that seem promising.

(Books I usually suggest for trying this are Starhawk's Spiral Dance, Scott Cunningham's Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner, Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon, Thea Sabine's Wicca for Beginners, Rachel Pollack's Tarot Wisdom, and then I'd have to poke at my notes again for non witchy specific stuff. The goal here is not 'find these books' but 'these books are often in libraries, and use those to find the terms they're using so you can find other books'.)

To add to this: I have a fairly standing offer that if someone's willing to share what their local library system is (in PM, email, whatever), I'm glad to put my librarian powers to good use and suggest some titles and subject headings to explore further.

Sometimes libraries really don't have a lot of specific Pagan material, but often they do, it's just not easy to get to, especially if you don't know the subject very well yourself yet. (And often, even if your library doesn't have it, there are ways to get it, and I am also glad to explain the magic words to use with your library to see what the options are.)
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

Jenett

  • Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 3077
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 634
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: How do I get started?
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2017, 09:51:10 am »
However, the way you describe the practices is practical and down-to-earth, and it makes sense to me. I also think they'll be very helpful for me when I am experiencing anxiety and depression.

Oh, yay! And yes - a lot of people make a lot of those things very woo and weird and ambigious. I much prefer the pragmatic 'this is a method of checking in and managing things, just like I check in and manage my physical body.'

(Bonus: the habits involved turn out to be really helpful if you have chronic health stuff you end up having to monitor.)

Quote
Your website is a goldmine, I am very thankful to you for writing it.

Very welcome! I'm always delighted when it helps people.

Quote
Do you ever feel negative about your daily rituals and want to quit them? Do you ever feel them lose their effectiveness? What do you usually do when that happens? (I'm trying to prepare in case it happens to me, so I don't drop the practice entirely.)

So, the things I do daily - and pretty much automatically, these days - are centering, grounding, and shielding. I'll check in with them deliberately occasionally, but mostly it's a "Oh, yeah, I need to do that thing."

(You notice breathing is not on this list. I have a fraught relationship with breathing, because I'm asthmatic, and a non-trivial amount of the time, focused breathing practice results in coughing fits and/or other discomfort. I do try to do a little focused work on it regularly, but it's not a thing I rely on as a touchstone of personal practice, because my lungs are Not Reliable Touchstones.)

I have found that for me, doing a set personal practice - especially anything prayer like - just doesn't work for me. It feels rote, it feels artificial, and it doesn't seem to benefit me. Other people are different!

I do a lot of small things that I set up once and then let do their thing: the wallpaper on my phone is a specific symbol that is my focus for the year, I pick passwords for work (which I have to change every few months) for an ongoing magical or spiritual focus, since I type it multiple times a day, I make playlists of music with a specific goal.

I also feel pretty strongly that whatever I commit to doing as a daily practice should be a thing I could do in a hospital room (mine or someone else's), a crowded airport, a hotel room, etc. - because life is going to happen sometime. (Both good and not so good ways).

Other stuff is good and useful, but I don't want to base my practice around something that I can't do in those situations or other times when resources and time and privacy may be in short supply.

"Find a bathroom, ground and center quickly" is portable. "Do a thing with a glass of water" is pretty portable. Things you do in your head but take five minutes of quiet are pretty portable.

"Light incense, meditate in front of a candle, with some other specific items on an altar" is really not so much. So those are things that might make good alternate practices, or 'as available' but not be ideal things for the core practices you rely on most.

(I also have enough chronic health stuff that my ability to upright at the end of the day or ability to focus are really shaky sometimes, and mornings are hard, so having a fixed time of day practice hasn't worked well for me at all. So I don't do that.)

I've had some luck with having four or five things where I am "I will do one of these things each day" (mine have often included listening to a song or two on a specific playlist, knitting mindfully, writing, etc. Manageable chunk of time, and if I'm travelling, some of them are more portable than others.)
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

zeldazelda

  • Sr. Newbie
  • **
  • Join Date: Feb 2014
  • Posts: 17
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Unknown
Re: How do I get started?
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2017, 02:49:18 pm »
Oh, yay! And yes - a lot of people make a lot of those things very woo and weird and ambigious. I much prefer the pragmatic 'this is a method of checking in and managing things, just like I check in and manage my physical body.'

(Bonus: the habits involved turn out to be really helpful if you have chronic health stuff you end up having to monitor.)

Thank you so much Jenett! Funny you should mention chronic health issues... I am still in my 20's but I experience chronic pain from endometriosis, as well as related issues from the treatment I receive. It's been an interesting journey, lots of ups and downs. Sticking with anything regular (school or work) is impossible for me because I never know when I'm going to be nauseous or stuck in bed with a heating pad. This is probably part of the reason I'm interested in experimenting with spirituality.

I've been doing the centering and grounding every morning, and so far it's been a very wonderful experience. Grounding is definitely my thing. I woke up this morning feeling pretty crappy after a long Thanksgiving weekend, but grounding helped soothe my grumpiness.

The problem is that the effects of grounding wear off after awhile. A few hours afterward, I notice that I'm back to feeling scattered and unmotivated. Is this what the shielding is for? To be honest, I haven't tried shielding yet because I don't want to do too much at once. Do I need to regularly ground myself throughout the day if I want the psychological effects to stay with me? Sorry for all the questions... I'm just trying to figure this out. I appreciate all your help immensely! (I've already directed another beginning witch to your website!)

Jenett

  • Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 3077
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 634
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: How do I get started?
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2017, 11:16:40 am »
The problem is that the effects of grounding wear off after awhile. A few hours afterward, I notice that I'm back to feeling scattered and unmotivated. Is this what the shielding is for? To be honest, I haven't tried shielding yet because I don't want to do too much at once. Do I need to regularly ground myself throughout the day if I want the psychological effects to stay with me? Sorry for all the questions... I'm just trying to figure this out. I appreciate all your help immensely! (I've already directed another beginning witch to your website!)

Yep!

So, the way I use the terms, centering is knowing what's you and what's not you, grounding is taking in or letting out  energy to rebalance, and shielding is having a layer between what's you and what isn't you. So they all do different things.

It's very normal to need to center, ground, and adjust shielding regularly - especially when you're first learning. As you get more familiar with the techniques, it gets faster and also something you do without thinking about it as much (like, oh, adjusting to the fact there's snow or ice on the ground and how you walk: you think about it for a moment, but you know how to adjust how you move to do it safely.)

Beginning to explore energy work, magic, or ritual can make you more sensitive to things going on around you, which can lead to needing to ground a bit more often (and more deliberately) too. Shielding will help with that as well: the less excess you pick up randomly from around you, the less you're going to need to moderate that through grounding.

(In my experience, figuring out shielding that works for you usually takes a while longer for people than figuring out centering and grounding do - so don't be surprised if you have to do some fiddling with it for weeks or months before you have a thing that feels like it works. It's also common to need to make adjustments if significant things in your life change - health, living situations, stress levels, etc.)

You might try doing it two or three times a day for a bit, then maybe building in keys that remind you to take a tiny pause. I ground at stoplights during my commute, often - take a breath, refocus, center, adjust energy. Some people pick a physical trigger like opening a doorknob, or sitting down in a particular place, or standing at a sink. (Once you get to the 'it takes a breath' stage of practice, there's no harm in grounding a lot. And before that, it's not a problem, it just takes more time, and it's not great to get stuck in 'I have to do this before I can do anything else')

Long term, you do sometimes want to consider not grounding in specific settings. For example, some ritual and magical techniques work a lot better if you have energy moving that is not balanced or grounded, for the duration of the ritual. Something that is stable and steady doesn't have a lot of weight behind it to move things or make changes.
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

zeldazelda

  • Sr. Newbie
  • **
  • Join Date: Feb 2014
  • Posts: 17
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Unknown
Re: How do I get started?
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2017, 11:27:47 am »
It's very normal to need to center, ground, and adjust shielding regularly - especially when you're first learning. As you get more familiar with the techniques, it gets faster and also something you do without thinking about it as much (like, oh, adjusting to the fact there's snow or ice on the ground and how you walk: you think about it for a moment, but you know how to adjust how you move to do it safely.)

Thanks for this info Jenett! I'm having a great time working with my state of being, and I'm excited to try shielding next.

Roots

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Join Date: Feb 2018
  • Posts: 2
  • Country: gb
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Wondering
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her/her
Re: How do I get started?
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2018, 01:44:38 am »
Thanks for this post, it's helpful. I'm in a similar boat as zeldazelda and grateful for the advice.

SunflowerP

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Calgary AB
  • Posts: 8166
  • Country: ca
  • Total likes: 224
  • Don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs!
    • View Profile
    • If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough
  • Religion: Eclectic religious Witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: sie/hir/hirs/hirself
Re: How do I get started?
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2018, 08:17:25 am »

A Reminder:
Hi, Roots,

Just a quick note:  Please remember to quote, even if you're just replying to the first message in the thread.  It makes the discussion easier to follow, and it's required by our rules. (If you're using tapatalk on a phone, please hold your finger down on the message you wish to reply to until the quote function pops up.)

This isn't a formal warning, just a reminder. No reply is necessary, but if you have questions or need clarification, please feel free to contact a member of staff privately.

Thanks!
Sunflower
TC Forum Staff
I'm the AntiFa genderqueer commie eclectic wiccan Mod your alt-right bros warned you about.
I do so have a life; I just live part of it online!
“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” - Oscar Wilde
"Nobody's good at anything until they practice." - Brina (Yewberry)
My much-neglected blog "If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough"

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
2 Replies
1400 Views
Last post July 11, 2011, 07:00:26 pm
by SatSekhem
16 Replies
3130 Views
Last post April 23, 2012, 04:23:35 pm
by Egarwaen
0 Replies
1405 Views
Last post May 28, 2012, 08:52:01 pm
by RandallS
4 Replies
682 Views
Last post July 19, 2012, 01:27:15 pm
by Faemon
11 Replies
3112 Views
Last post February 18, 2013, 01:12:57 pm
by RedHawk

Beginner Area

Warning: You are currently in a Beginner Friendly area of the message board.

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 26
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 3
  • Dot Users Online:

* Please Donate!

The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.

* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Co-Hosts:
LyricFox & Randall

Senior Staff:
Darkhawk

Message Board Staff
Board Coordinator:
Sunflower

Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Board Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, HarpingHawke, Jenett, Morag, rocquelaire, Sefiru

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Reserve Staff:
Aisling

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Cauldron Assistants
[Non-Staff Positions]

Site Assistants
[Non-Staff Positions]
Webmaster:
Randall