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Author Topic: How do you make things work?  (Read 3321 times)

Redfaery

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How do you make things work?
« on: December 21, 2014, 10:02:19 am »
Hello all! Happy Solstice! In a stroke of luck, my family is actually having a Christmas party today. I hope I can convince them to build a big fire in the chiminea on the patio. AND THEN I WILL DANCE AROUND IT.

Um Sorry. What was I saying?

Oh yes. I have a question for those of you who are like me - eclectic and solitary. How do you make your practice work? How do you fit the pieces together? What do you think helps move an eclectic practice from "a bunch of random shiny bits" to "hey, this works"? Is it experience? Is it creativity? Is it the compatibility of the various bits? Is it how they are fitted together? Is it a combination of these, or none of these?

Thinky thoughts please!
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Kylara

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Re: How do you make things work?
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2014, 10:15:20 am »
Quote from: Redfaery;167699
Hello all! Happy Solstice! In a stroke of luck, my family is actually having a Christmas party today. I hope I can convince them to build a big fire in the chiminea on the patio. AND THEN I WILL DANCE AROUND IT.

Um Sorry. What was I saying?

Oh yes. I have a question for those of you who are like me - eclectic and solitary. How do you make your practice work? How do you fit the pieces together? What do you think helps move an eclectic practice from "a bunch of random shiny bits" to "hey, this works"? Is it experience? Is it creativity? Is it the compatibility of the various bits? Is it how they are fitted together? Is it a combination of these, or none of these?

Thinky thoughts please!

 
I am solitary and very eclectic.  What I find works for me is to have a base line and then to tie other practices onto that base in ways that make sense.  For me, my base is witchcraft (or neo-wicca), a spiritual path revolving around honoring the divine, both within and without.  I am Norse oriented, but I do work outside the Norse pantheon.  I also have practices that are drawn from way outside the Pagan umbrella:  CM, chaos, even Christianity.

I think the thing that makes my eclecticism work is that I look at my practice through the eyes of honor.  I try to see into the heart of a practice I like and find it's essence.  That is the part that I honor, and that is the part I try to bring into my own path.  When I try to work with two inspirations that seem to be at odds, I look for the things in common.  

Sometimes, I do think that some things just don't work together.  Sometimes I find that separation of time works, so I may not work with two particular energies or ideas in the same working.  Sometimes, no matter how much I love a practice, I just feel like it wouldn't work with the rest of my life and beliefs, and I have to appreciate it from a distance and not use it in my own path.

I think a lot of it is trial and error, especially when you are on your own.  Sometimes things that don't seem to be working are just rough, kind of like when you pick up a new skill.  I just recently started crocheting again, and my chain stitches were all over the place when I picked it back up.  The more I did it, the more even they became.  I see that in my path as well.  Some things start out very patchy and seem kind of thrown together, but the more I do them, the more I smooth out the rough edges and the more it all seems to fit together.
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Sobekemiti

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Re: How do you make things work?
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2014, 10:34:24 am »
Quote from: Redfaery;167699
Hello all! Happy Solstice! In a stroke of luck, my family is actually having a Christmas party today. I hope I can convince them to build a big fire in the chiminea on the patio. AND THEN I WILL DANCE AROUND IT.

Um Sorry. What was I saying?

Oh yes. I have a question for those of you who are like me - eclectic and solitary. How do you make your practice work? How do you fit the pieces together? What do you think helps move an eclectic practice from "a bunch of random shiny bits" to "hey, this works"? Is it experience? Is it creativity? Is it the compatibility of the various bits? Is it how they are fitted together? Is it a combination of these, or none of these?

Thinky thoughts please!

 
Priorising, and a lot of trial and error, and listening to what my gods wanted, tbh. For me, it became a matter of deciding what's important enough to do every day, what can be done every week/month, and what is better done seasonally/occasionally/when needed/etc. I certainly needed an overarching cohesion to my practice; everything has to make sense, and has to work together.

For me, anyway, once I had my yearly structure, and from there, my monthly and daily structure, the rest sort of fell into place. Anything that didn't fit into that structure, or wasn't relevant, was dropped. Having that focus for my practice really helped me hone in on what was important; eclecticism can result in an awful lot of shiny things which may or may not all be relevant, and/or work well together, and sorting through them all can be a long and frustrating process.

So, yeah, ultimately, it's a matter of keeping what works, and tossing what doesn't. Sort of like when you do spring cleaning, or you strip out a room to redecorate, and only bring back what you really want in there. That, for me, is the mindset that really worked to pull everything together, so I didn't end up with an eclectic mess of a practice, and was able to build something that works.
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a.walker.abroad

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Re: How do you make things work?
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2014, 10:35:40 am »
Quote from: Kylara;167700
.
Sometimes, I do think that some things just don't work together.  Sometimes I find that separation of time works, so I may not work with two particular energies or ideas in the same working.  Sometimes, no matter how much I love a practice, I just feel like it wouldn't work with the rest of my life and beliefs, and I have to appreciate it from a distance and not use it in my own path.
.

 
I think one of the most important thing is to make sure the essence of the pieces fit.  Think about folk traditions.  It doesn't matter where it comes from, if something works, and the basis of the practice isn't out of line with everything else, then it gets used.  

In my own practices, I have fought with this for a long time.  I've come to the conclusion that I just have to trust my gut.  I have a rough idea, and a "feeling" of what my practice is.  If I learn about something new, and it feels out of place, even when I look at it with all of the bells and whistles removed(just the core of what and why), then I don't use it.  

For example, there's the whole argument over sage: is it appropriation, does it make sense out of the cultural context, etc.  I know how it is used by Native Americans(though not really sure on the capitalization issues), and my own use isn't the same.  I use the more common smudging method.  Why?  As far as I can see, based on my own cosmology and worldview, spiritual purification is a property of burning the plant itself.  I do petition the spirit of the plant, but this is more out of respect. I don't view it as necessary for the smudging to actually work.
 The essence of the practice makes sense from the view of my practice, and doesn't contradict anything, so I use it.  

Bit rambly, but I hope this helps, even a little.

Aisling

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Re: How do you make things work?
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2014, 04:27:01 pm »
Quote from: Redfaery;167699
Oh yes. I have a question for those of you who are like me - eclectic and solitary. How do you make your practice work? How do you fit the pieces together? What do you think helps move an eclectic practice from "a bunch of random shiny bits" to "hey, this works"? Is it experience? Is it creativity? Is it the compatibility of the various bits? Is it how they are fitted together? Is it a combination of these, or none of these?

Thinky thoughts please!

 
Some quick thoughts on my own path.  Having a framework (or a base line as Kylara suggested) gives a starting point on which to build.  This can be based on a particular deity, practice type, tenet, etc.  For my own practice, the framework is based my relationship to my deity and the work that She has asked me to do.  

All of the shiny bits have be considered from the standpoint of how they fit the existing framework. I have to be very ruthless about weeding out things that I find appealing, but aren't compatible with what I do.  The questions I ask myself when something shiny comes along:  Does this relate to the existing framework?  If so, how and is there already something in the framework that can be amended/altered to include this shiny bit?  If there isn't something similar already, in what ways will this new thing enhance or improve my path and are those ways significant enough to take on this new thing?  Does this thing require amending in order to fit and will doing so cause it to lose its meaning/value? Finally and most importantly, does my deity approve of this shiny new thing?  

If the new bit doesn't relate to the framework, I try to dig a little deeper to find out what about it has actually piqued my interest.  Usually, it's a case of curiosity and collecting new ideas, rather than an actual need to add something new.  I try to let my deity guide me on the things that I feel a strong affiliation for but aren't necessarily related to my existing path.  When it comes to self-care (something I tend to be very bad at), she's more than willing to allow it as a regular practice.  YMMV, of course.
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Faemon

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Re: How do you make things work?
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2014, 11:13:51 pm »
Quote from: Redfaery;167699
How do you make your practice work? How do you fit the pieces together? What do you think helps move an eclectic practice from "a bunch of random shiny bits" to "hey, this works"?

Is it experience? Is it creativity? Is it the compatibility of the various bits? Is it how they are fitted together? Is it a combination of these, or none of these?


I take for granted that there are already workings in this. It's only up to me to figure out how to name this operation or that piece, and what to call it.

How do I fit the pieces together? I'm still working on that. Like, I'm very attracted to my understanding of psychological Alchemy as a metaphor for transformative experiences, and I'm very attracted to my understanding of faery Glamour as this sort of divine universal algorithm through which Alchemical processes can occur. But, I associate Glamour with music and Alchemy with metals. I can get them to gel if I associate Glamour with metalwork as a metaphor (beware faery gold, faeries loathe iron) except that they sort of don't do one-to-one. And I don't do any physical metalwork at all, which I think ought to be necessary if I'm making that a metaphor so that I know how well it aligns, but I don't.

So, it's all of them and then some: what you know, what you do with what you know, how you think about what you know, what you know about what you think, how you think about what you think, how you think about what you think you know...

I go through these waxing and waning phases of stepping into the syncretism where I just do what I do, and also sometimes stepping away from it to kind of meta-narrate what it's really all about.
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Queen of Wands

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Re: How do you make things work?
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2014, 11:45:47 pm »
Quote from: Redfaery;167699


Oh yes. I have a question for those of you who are like me - eclectic and solitary. How do you make your practice work? How do you fit the pieces together? What do you think helps move an eclectic practice from "a bunch of random shiny bits" to "hey, this works"? Is it experience? Is it creativity? Is it the compatibility of the various bits? Is it how they are fitted together? Is it a combination of these, or none of these?

Thinky thoughts please!

 

Go go thinky thoughts! :)

I like to think that it is creativity and experience. I also like to think that I am solitary and eclectic. But, to be honest, it's observation and inspiration and none of that comes from being solitary.

I would have never incorporated Taoism into my path had I not met one particular person. I didn't judge what he was teaching me, even when I didn't understand why or how I was doing what I was supposed to be doing (or what I was even supposed to be doing). I did it and let it inspire me, daily.


That's what I still do. I observe and seek out the inspiration. Who knew that I would respond so much to tarot when I had never touched a deck up until a few years ago? How was I to know how incredible an artist like Pina Bausch is/was when I was raised on Broadway musicals?

Nyktipolos

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Re: How do you make things work?
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2014, 04:32:43 pm »
Quote from: a.walker.abroad;167705
For example, there's the whole argument over sage: is it appropriation, does it make sense out of the cultural context, etc.  I know how it is used by Native Americans(though not really sure on the capitalization issues), and my own use isn't the same.  I use the more common smudging method.  Why?  As far as I can see, based on my own cosmology and worldview, spiritual purification is a property of burning the plant itself.  I do petition the spirit of the plant, but this is more out of respect. I don't view it as necessary for the smudging to actually work.

How do you think certain Native groups use it then??? Like, it is used in several ways, but the idea of burning it as a bundle or a ball was pretty heavily lifted from northern groups who considered the plant sacred. What is the "common smudging method"?
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