New to the Craft

Bridging the Religious Left and Right

As is often the case on any issue, it tends to be that the loudest voices come from the extremities. So when we see conversations on religion in the public forum it tends to be from either an extreme atheist or an extreme Bible-thumper, both of whom seem exasperated that the whole rest of the world is in the opposing camp. All scientists are not godless robots any more than all Christians, Muslims, etc are irrational father-figure worshipers; yet those are the stereotypes that tend to surface when we try to have a discussion on divinity. Science tends to ignore and dismiss what it cannot classify or investigate. No one can prove whether God exists, so science deems the issue not worth thinking about. If you’re an atheist that just can’t help yourself you label it philosophy instead to give it an air of respectability. But you certainly don’t entertain such notions as a human-like all-powerful being. Then on the other side you have those dedicated to scripture and the teachings of their religion. These folks know in their hearts that they are not alone and that miracles are possible. They cannot fathom how anyone could not understand the “truth” revealed in the doctrines they preach, and they either pity those souls, try to convert them, or condemn them to a fiery doom.

Caught in the crossfire are the rest of us whose views fall somewhere in between (or off to the side). The funny thing is this debate will never be resolved, because of its very nature. Both sides are right – and both sides are wrong. It’s like trying to think with only the left or right side of your brain. Rational thought is good for rational concerns, and trying to answer questions of faith with it is ridiculously impossible if you are using rationality alone. The same goes for using only intuitive and emotional thinking. Truth always and ever lies in between the two extremes. Once this is realized, it becomes obvious that the two sides complement each other and can work together for the betterment of both. Trying to defeat the opposition is tantamount to societal suicide.

So where does Wicca fit in to all of this? If you are like me and grew up pressured to join one group and shun the other, it is one of those paths that offer a sane and beautiful solution. Honor a God and a Goddess. Don’t believe anything; know it for yourself. Work magic. Think logically and intuitively. Open your mind. This is not to say that you have to be a Wiccan to avoid the extremes. Obviously there are people of all religions or creeds who agree with these principles. But I find Wicca to be relatively unique in that its basic symbolism expresses these concepts as no other. The God and Goddess of Wicca are archetypes predicated on the notion of balance. The focus on the elements emphasizes the need for equilibrium and symmetry. We focus our mind in magic and open our subconscious in divination. To have one without the other is to be incomplete with only half of the whole. Wicca not only recognizes this but makes it the very core of its teaching. Basically, it gives us permission to explore both sides without having to make an impossible choice. The extreme left and right may find us even more bizarre than their opponents, because we point to the possibility that you don’t have to pick one over the other. A golden mean lies between them where our minds, bodies and souls can find peace through the healthy expression of all of their faculties. Living by the Wiccan way – you can have your (crescent) cakes and eat them too!

Journal for the Month of March:

Picked up a new book this month, Witchcraft: Theory and Practice by Ly de Angeles. I haven’t cracked it open yet but I’m looking forward to it! The major thing I accomplished this past month was consecrating my first real tool – a beautiful pentacle given to me as a gift over the holidays. I had wanted to wait until after Imbolc as my personal New Year’s to start working with it, and pieced together a personalized consecration ceremony that felt right to me. It feels wonderful to use in ritual and it’s been an important milestone for me in marking my journey in the path.

Now that the weather is getting warmer I’m trying to get outside on a regular basis again. One of my new ongoing projects is learning the seasons of the constellations. I remember very basic ones from school, but I never really learned the signs of the zodiac. When stargazing I try to see the sky in perspective for a moment, gazing away from the sun to the distant galaxies encircling our solar system like a diamond-studded belt. Astronomy is a fascinating subject I wish I knew more about. Mark that down as another one to read up on!

My studies have also taken a sidetrack this month as I’ve been reading a lot more on ceremonial magic. It’s kind of like the formal cousin of witchcraft in a lot of ways. Where the Craft is spontaneous and focused on nature, ceremonial magic is more structured and philosophical. Perhaps that’s what led me to this month’s article topic on balanced paths. So far they have complemented each other very well and I think studying both can only bolster the increase of my knowledge and experience when it comes to magic. My only wish is that I had more hours in the day for all the knowledge I want to soak up! That or a photographic memory. Ah well.

Until next month, blessed be! )O(