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Author Topic: Starting over?  (Read 7291 times)
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« Topic Start: July 20, 2010, 07:59:59 am »

For the past few years, I have been feeling a bit stagnate in my current practice....mainly because I haven't been doing much with it.  I'm not sure what the cause is.  I also know that I have some spiritual beliefs that would probably be more in tuned with other cultures (I know that at least one of them is a hold-over from my Wiccan days).  I find the idea of eclecticism more appealing every day so I was wondering if anyone could give me any advice?  Has anyone else felt the need to start over?
« Last Edit: July 20, 2010, 08:05:56 am by RandallS, Reason: Subject changed » Logged



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« Reply #1: July 20, 2010, 08:43:22 am »

I find the idea of eclecticism more appealing every day so I was wondering if anyone could give me any advice?  Has anyone else felt the need to start over?

Not sure how to answer this, my thoughts and feelings about that topic are there, but I never tried to communicate them before. So for what it's worth, here my ramblings.

Actually I found myself at a kind of predetermined breaking point quite a few times already and it seems that I'm there again - right now.

For ex. we discussed building a practice in the Hazel and Oak SIG.
And I started to think about ritual outlines, read the ADF page (which is indeed a great resource) and started to invent a new altar set up and a new basic ritual and then... found myself at the point, where I looked at this and thought: erm, fine and why do I not feel anything about this?

There I started to ask myself some questions. Basically about what is really important for me, what does ring truth for me? In no way this should express that I think about folks doing it otherwise, that their doing is useless, or meaningless, but I found some things having no meaning for me.

I was surprised by some of the answers, really. Finding out that something like doing offerings, was just going through the motions, was meaningless, that was strange. But all those things stripped my believes down to the bone.

I did a bit of thinking about how I really think the universe works. And found myself being in a place other than I started from. Just yesterday the notion of better stopping to be too sarcastic, came to my mind. There are some things, I might've discarded too fast.

Soooo, 'new' beginning for me too.
Not really new, just adjusted I guess.

End rambling.

My advice, go for what resonates within the core of your heart, soul, mind whatever.
This will be truth. Don't do anything, because you think, you should, because it belongs to practice x. You are the only one the whole thing has to work for.
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« Reply #2: July 20, 2010, 10:07:50 am »

For the past few years, I have been feeling a bit stagnate in my current practice....mainly because I haven't been doing much with it.  I'm not sure what the cause is.  I also know that I have some spiritual beliefs that would probably be more in tuned with other cultures (I know that at least one of them is a hold-over from my Wiccan days).  I find the idea of eclecticism more appealing every day so I was wondering if anyone could give me any advice?  Has anyone else felt the need to start over?

I have definitely been there.

In my strictly Celtic period, I was doing what I am doing now: taking my beliefs and trying to write them out into a cohesive, shareable practice- not because I expect anyone else to follow it, but as a method of ensuring that I wasn't contradicting myself in places, that the theology made sense, etcetera. I got really focused for a while and found myself with what appeared to be a viable, modern Celtic pagan practice, but it didn't resonate with me at all. I couldn't connect.

So I stepped back and said, okay, I need to go back to the beginning, so I did. I started with the gods (because for me personally that's where a religion starts) and re-evaluated. And I followed all the branches of thought that followed from there, all the different beliefs I was holding on to, all the ones I had discarded, and figured out what resonated and what didn't, and started building practices to reflect those beliefs. I'm still in that stage now- I routinely find avenues of thought that I had not wandered down before, and I have a lot of beliefs about the world and the gods that are not reflected in any kind of practice yet. But I'm taking it slow and constantly re-evaluating what I've done and where I am before I go and add anything else, so I don't end up in that same place again.

So, my advice: I would sit down and write out everything you believe that you can think of. All of the religiously oriented ideas that you have, get them down on paper in front of you, even if they seem really obvious. Write down practices that you know resonate with you (offerings, or meditation, or whatever) and concepts or practices that feel important to you but you're not sure what exactly to do about them. I'd even take a look at what you've moved away from and try to figure out why it didn't work- was it the whole thing, or just parts? When you have a better idea of the big picture you'll have a better idea of where to go from here.
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« Reply #3: July 20, 2010, 11:00:25 am »

For the past few years, I have been feeling a bit stagnate in my current practice....mainly because I haven't been doing much with it.  I'm not sure what the cause is.  I also know that I have some spiritual beliefs that would probably be more in tuned with other cultures (I know that at least one of them is a hold-over from my Wiccan days).  I find the idea of eclecticism more appealing every day so I was wondering if anyone could give me any advice?  Has anyone else felt the need to start over?

I've gone through this cycle, though in a different way. I actually started out very eclectic, even syncretic, but eventually I wasn't sure what to do with it. However, in some ways it's still a part of me. In specific instances, I still believe that the same deity may have another name among a different people. However, for the sake of formality, ritual, and caution, I refrain from using more than one. 

Now I have a very traditional and historical approach, and I think there is an alternative to starting over, which is supplementation. Sometimes you can add things that fit well with your current belief, or that fill in the gaps. I remember that one person here is a Buddhist, among other things. Particularly with eclecticism, I think the difference between starting over and simply adding to what you already have is all in the amount of newness you inject into your practice.
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« Reply #4: July 20, 2010, 12:20:00 pm »

So, my advice: I would sit down and write out everything you believe that you can think of. All of the religiously oriented ideas that you have, get them down on paper in front of you, even if they seem really obvious. Write down practices that you know resonate with you (offerings, or meditation, or whatever) and concepts or practices that feel important to you but you're not sure what exactly to do about them. I'd even take a look at what you've moved away from and try to figure out why it didn't work- was it the whole thing, or just parts? When you have a better idea of the big picture you'll have a better idea of where to go from here.

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« Reply #5: July 20, 2010, 12:26:06 pm »

For the past few years, I have been feeling a bit stagnate in my current practice....mainly because I haven't been doing much with it.  I'm not sure what the cause is.  I also know that I have some spiritual beliefs that would probably be more in tuned with other cultures (I know that at least one of them is a hold-over from my Wiccan days).  I find the idea of eclecticism more appealing every day so I was wondering if anyone could give me any advice?  Has anyone else felt the need to start over?

I did that any number of times.  I kept trying to fit something that already existed, and NOTHING fit me.  So I'd go through motions for a bit, get bored with it, toss and restart.  Repeat ad nauseum.

Biggest problem, which I've been talking about a lot lately, is that a lot of these practices seem to lack foundation.  It's all about the pomp and the handwaving and the rituals, but not about the daily life.  (not all, and far from all PEOPLE - but really, take a look in any 101 book).  There's none of the daily life stuff that makes religion more than just handwaving theater.

I think before you start going on about gods and religion, you need to think about the daily life stuff.  What MATTERS?  What's the foundation?  Without that, NO ritual is going to really fit ....
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« Reply #6: July 20, 2010, 01:03:20 pm »

I think before you start going on about gods and religion, you need to think about the daily life stuff.  What MATTERS?  What's the foundation?  Without that, NO ritual is going to really fit ....

-nod-
It's often that I get the feeling, folks (somebody, nobody here, just in general) is going about being a witch, a pagan, a -insert whatever- as a hobby.

Something you do, when you got the time for it and when you feel like doing it.

But to be fair, a lot christians I know only rise to the surface at baptisms, weddings, funerals and oh, yes x-mas. (There is even a term coined for this: submarine christians  Cheesy)

Maybe it is a problem with us. Us, our time, our culture.

To relate to my belief in every day life and to draw strength from it, is something I'm working on - at least I try.  Roll Eyes It is a bit hard, when you're foundations shake ever so often. But maybe, well, could it be, that it is just about that? Grow strong and steady, despite everything around you shaking?
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« Reply #7: July 20, 2010, 01:31:47 pm »

For the past few years, I have been feeling a bit stagnate in my current practice....mainly because I haven't been doing much with it.  I'm not sure what the cause is.  I also know that I have some spiritual beliefs that would probably be more in tuned with other cultures (I know that at least one of them is a hold-over from my Wiccan days).  I find the idea of eclecticism more appealing every day so I was wondering if anyone could give me any advice?  Has anyone else felt the need to start over?

Yup.  Very.

I had an entire BOOK written about what I figured I was doing, but as time went by, I really came to realize it was an academic exercise rather than a spirituality.  I was trying to make spirituality into a neat package, structure it all out make rules and create a system by which the universe operated according to me - or how I could better operate within the universe by following the right order.

I still have it.  I don't look at it because in all reality I can't without wanting to hang younger me by a noose around the neck.  I think in its time I did believe a good portion of it.  I made myself more effective but I really had to trim the fat as the years went by and it distilled down to a few things that were significant and a lot of song and dance that no longer was. 

I find that some of the fat that I trimmed was stuff that the thought of saying out loud alone made me feel stupid.  Then I sat down and asked myself why.  In a lot of cases I was finding I had intellectual cogs put in that made the system work but that didn't really ring true for me.

So I rebuilt focusing on the places that I had put in filler material for continuity, purging the places that I more concerned about making sense than describing what I actually believed.

I think in order to rebuild you have to be willing to go through the stages where there is no continuity other than yourself and to be critical of your own beliefs and your own practices - as well as other peoples so you don't accidentally stick things on just because they look good or it is nice to feel like it all has an order. 

Not worrying so much about describing a world order or having a belief system so much as finding what you believe. 
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« Reply #8: July 20, 2010, 01:33:59 pm »

For the past few years, I have been feeling a bit stagnate in my current practice....mainly because I haven't been doing much with it.  I'm not sure what the cause is.  I also know that I have some spiritual beliefs that would probably be more in tuned with other cultures (I know that at least one of them is a hold-over from my Wiccan days).  I find the idea of eclecticism more appealing every day so I was wondering if anyone could give me any advice?  Has anyone else felt the need to start over?

I started off as a very eclectic hard-polytheistic pagan. Well, when I finally figured out this whole pagan thing that's what I called myself to anyone who wanted to know. I pulled from various religions, but I stayed eastern for the most part. I went with things in Egypt and Sumeria and India and sometimes Japan or China. I felt a drift pretty early on with all of this. It wasn't that it wasn't fulfilling, but it wasn't something that I was really hardcore, all-for about. I felt... washed out, I guess, and stretched too thin.

So, when I came here I started seeing all of these people in the Kemetic SIG who were recons or knew about the whole recon thing. Sure, I had heard about it and read about it: who hasn't done a Kemetic Recon Google search and come to Netjer-dot-com at least once? But it wasn't until I met Nehet and Bastemhet and Darkhawk that I realized that what they were doing is what I wanted to do.

It's been months since that defining moment and I'm only JUST finally getting somewhere with this whole recon thing, but I feel at peace with myself and with my path.

There is one piece of advice that I found of merit: In one of my books that I was reading, the author mentions that you should take a look at the rituals and prayers of a society in order to figure out exactly what they're about. This way you can actually find out what is important in the faith itself and go straight for the guts.
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« Reply #9: July 20, 2010, 03:39:44 pm »

For the past few years, I have been feeling a bit stagnate in my current practice....mainly because I haven't been doing much with it.  I'm not sure what the cause is.  I also know that I have some spiritual beliefs that would probably be more in tuned with other cultures (I know that at least one of them is a hold-over from my Wiccan days).  I find the idea of eclecticism more appealing every day so I was wondering if anyone could give me any advice?  Has anyone else felt the need to start over?
For me, it's been less "feel the need to" and more "it just sorta happened"; I didn't even really notice it for quite a long time.  That was also partly because its beginning coincided with a bunch of other changes, which entailed going from having most of my practice centred on my coven to an almost-entirely-solitary practice.  And, too, it wasn't a matter of starting over from scratch - it's still part of the long, meandering path I've been treading for decades, still fits into the broad category "eclectic neoPagan religious witchcraft".  It took a couple of years before it began to dawn on me just how much of a metamorphosis there'd been.  (Hmm, metamorphosis is a good word - the butterfly that emerges from the cocoon is quite different from the caterpillar that spun it, but it's still the same being.)  I'm still in "let's see where this takes me" mode (with a strong possibility that seeing where it takes me, rather than trying to pin it down and define it, is an essential part of it), so I'm not sure I want to be to detailed - and I'm very sure that if I do get into detail, it'll be long and complicated and take over your thread Cheesy.

Advice... the very first thing that comes to mind is, if you haven't yet read, or reread in light of your current shift in perspective, Darkhawk's article On Eclecticism, you probably should.

Anything from your Wiccan days that's stuck with you through being a Hellenic recon is probably something that has a strong personal meaning for you; that'd also apply to anything else that's stuck with you through other changes.  Those are likely to be a good start point.

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« Reply #10: July 20, 2010, 08:13:58 pm »

Has anyone else felt the need to start over?

Yep...been there. The thing that helped me the most was stepping back...waaay back...from all of it for a while. I found that the more I researched the more 'cloudy' things became. Once I took a break from everything I was able to re-evaluate what was really important to me and find my center so to speak. I also realized that, for me at least, it's important to allow my beliefs and practices the freedom to evolve. What works today may not work tomorrow...but may work again later on. Life is always changing...always flowing...and as such my practice needs to be flexible enough to change as well...yet supportive enough to keep me grounded and comfortable. Hope that makes some sort of sense... Grin
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« Reply #11: July 20, 2010, 11:46:17 pm »

I find the idea of eclecticism more appealing every day so I was wondering if anyone could give me any advice?  Has anyone else felt the need to start over?

This is exactly what I'm doing right now, actually (I wonder if there's something happening in the stars lately, because I keep hearing about this sort of thing). Honestly, I was starting off this new lunar month wanting to do something completely else. I didn't have it planned out, per se, but I knew things were going to be different, dammit! I was going to be a Serious Pagan, with Serious Pagan Actions and Serious Pagan Issues.

Well, perhaps I did, if one takes "life altering situations and thought patterns which led to leaving everything else behind". It's a pretty long story, but basically I came to the point where I realized I was trying to do stuff (and later on realizing that I was trying to get into more stuff) because of feeling that I needed to do it because people I felt important in my life, or groups I wanted to be a part of, or people I looked up to, were doing it as well. I clung to labels that didn't fit me anymore (if they fit me at all), and I felt that if I gave those things up, I wouldn't be a part of the group, or accepted, etc. Eventually I came to terms with the fact that I am me, and I need to do whats right for me, not just what other people are doing. If it happens to overlap, then cool. If not, oh well.

I can tell you that I didn't get very far on the path I was, because I don't think I really belonged there in the first place. Over the last few years since I adopted or followed some sort of recon-path, its just slowly deteriorated until now, when I finally busted those last few threads and finally was able to find a new path, one meant for me. Right now I'm kind of in a weird place right now, trying to figure out where I belong. I'd say fully I'm probably eclectic, because I haven't committed to one path or another (except for my personal own), but right now I'm getting back into a Feri training class I joined earlier in March. I figure its as good a place as any to start.

I suppose if I have any advice.. it is to not be afraid of saying to everything you have built up so far "so long, and thanks for all the fish". You might even come back to a similar place later down the road, or not at all. But if you feel as if nothing is working anymore, then its probably time for new scenery, and a chance to step back -without- pressure, and re-evaluate what you want to do, and figure out what it is that truly works for you, rather than sticking with someone because "it works for other people" or "it worked for me in the past", etc.

Good luck, Mel. Smiley *hug*
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« Reply #12: July 20, 2010, 11:53:57 pm »

This is exactly what I'm doing right now, actually (I wonder if there's something happening in the stars lately, because I keep hearing about this sort of thing).

My best friend is re-evaluating her pagan life, too. It's getting nuts how many of us are like, "So we were doing this and we thought it was cool, but we're going to do something differently similar now."
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« Reply #13: July 21, 2010, 12:43:48 am »

 I find the idea of eclecticism more appealing every day so I was wondering if anyone could give me any advice?  Has anyone else felt the need to start over?

I have been going through the same thing for the last year or so. I would give lots of sage advice but since I suck at the whole process and it is so not working for me all I can say is commiserations.
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« Reply #14: July 21, 2010, 01:51:58 am »

So, my advice: I would sit down and write out everything you believe that you can think of. All of the religiously oriented ideas that you have, get them down on paper in front of you, even if they seem really obvious. Write down practices that you know resonate with you (offerings, or meditation, or whatever) and concepts or practices that feel important to you but you're not sure what exactly to do about them. I'd even take a look at what you've moved away from and try to figure out why it didn't work- was it the whole thing, or just parts? When you have a better idea of the big picture you'll have a better idea of where to go from here.

I like what Juni said here in response to you. 
I like to think of this issue existing in both a "macrocosmic" form, as feeling like this is happening to you now after several years, perhaps, and also in a "microcosmic" form, in the sense of my belief that we go through this issue in some fashion almost every day, because SOME part of the day, or the week, feels stuck or dry, or not having much meaning for us.  If we pay close attention to what is occuring at the microcosmic level, during a single day or week, I think that can provide many secrets and clues to what is occuring on a larger scale for us.
To me, the solution to stuckness or dryness or lack of meaning is always to bring my need or my suffering in stuckness back in some way to the Goddess, to the Divine, and ask for help.  I walk ever-smaller circuits around her, tracing the lines of meaning in my life, until I become clear again where the meaning and where the "live nerve" is, which may be different today than it was yesterday.  I strongly believe that if we allow ourselves to live at the edge of our real, authentic "edge" or live nerve, the point where we are psychologically and spiritually challenged, we will always feel rejuvenated and refreshed, because that place innately provides the water of life.  It is never boring at that edge. 
To me it is important to work to understand the connections between our path of psychological and spiritual growth, and our practices.  Our practices will feel right and rich if they have us dancing close to where our "real" work is to be done, that which will cause us to grow.  We can feel the area calling for growth inside us: it's not to be discovered intellectually, it's to be found by intuition and feeling. 
I view our systems and practices all as constantly evolving and under construction, and not meant to rigidly capture us and trap us.  "The Sabbath is made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" also means to me that our practices are valuable only insofar as they have us going where we want to go.  IF that's no longer happening, there is no value in carrying out the motions, sacrificing ourselves to some law or Sabbath.  We are not made for the practices, but they are made for us, and only as long as they serve us. 
Making a list of what you value, and what you believe, can be your symbolic compass, and re-orient you.  I visualize standing on a mountaintop with a compass set with the bearings being those things I value most greatly, and then stepping forward in the direction they point. 

Logged

If you live according to an example, you live the life of that example.  There is only one way and that is your way.  You seek the path? I warn you away from my own.  May each go his own way....  ---Carl Jung

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