Celebrating The Old Ways in New Times for July 2021
The Summer Solstice is hitting hard with steamy days, muggy nights, and gorgeous gardens right now!
I trust you have already enjoyed your Summer Solstice gatherings or solitary rituals, and enjoying all the joys of Summer in all its splendor!
As it is in between Sabbats, I get to pick what to write about, and I’d like to discuss the Heathen virtue of hard work. It’s not exactly what we’d think it is, but it’s just as important as people say.
Industriousness and determination are other words used to express this, and I admit, I’m one of the first to say it’s not right to expect EVERYBODY to work hard, support themselves, and contribute. Due to various things, not everybody can, and even those of us who can most of the time can’t do so constantly.
In America, we work more hours, get less time off, work full time into older age, and get less retirement benefits. Medicare does not cover all health care expenses, and for generations, elderly people unable to work starve or die due to preventable things they could have avoided had they been able to afford proper food and medical care.
So I will say, our attitude as a whole as Americans is a mess.
Yes, I am one of THOSE people who believes we should support the vulnerable, and instead of spending money on wars, our taxes ought to foot the bill. I’m an advocate to tax churches, corporations, and raise the taxes on the rich. Call me a Democratic Socialist, and I’ll thank you. I am all too aware that not everybody can support themselves under the Capitalist model, and these people just shouldn’t have to.
I have a full understanding of the fact that if your parents were poor, you probably will be too. Some people are able to dig their way out, but not everybody can. Some hang back from higher education in favor of going to work immediately to support family members. Some may have no older family to support, but believe the right thing to do is to immediately marry and start making as many babies as possible, because it’s what Jesus wants (no he doesn’t), and they truthfully don’t know there is any other way to live.
I know that not everybody has the attention span or IQ to excel in school and get scholarships to higher education they could not pay out of pocket for, and I know even those who can might be terrified of the steep price of paying back school loans for decades. I am also aware that somebody must work those fast food, manual labor, and low earning assistant jobs so we can enjoy the services they offer. I am aware our country is built on the backs of slaves, and the indigenous, who we took literally everything from, and the practice transferred to using minimum wage earners as today’s slaves.
So don’t think I am going to sit up and tell you that if you work hard you will become immensely rich, all your dreams will come true, and you will get all you deserve, because sometimes no matter what, you are screwed at a job.
I’ve been through that myself. I graduated college in 2000 with a BA in English Writing. While I was eligible for hire at a local reporter position, I was unable to do the job because I’m deaf and it entailed a significant amount of phone work. No, they are not required by law to have somebody do my phone work FOR me. I wore hearing aids, but there is still too much I cannot hear, and I’m not an impaired individual who expects ALL people be granted ALL jobs. I would not put a deaf person on the 911 dispatcher line, and I would not have a blind person as an airplane pilot.
I took an activity professional job in nursing homes. I did not need to hear normally to do this, and people were used to speaking up for our residents all day, so speaking up for me was no issue. Unfortunately, it was low pay, and I wanted to move up. That meant getting my professional certification so I could direct. It took years, but I did it.
I got my certification and landed my dream job. Soon after, the recession hit, and my department was cut in half. I found myself the only one on my unit at a job they had bitched that two of us were not doing enough for. Then they REALLY laid into me, saying I REALLY did not do enough work, and soon , a new Executive Director decided to put me on a plan of action- for not doing enough work- and three months later, I was fired.
Nothing I did would prevent this. I had dug in my heels and stuck out a double workload- with no raise and zero appreciation. I had worked twice as hard, and it did not benefit me in the long run. Rather than fight it, I said fine, and filed my unemployment.
Again, I tell you, I know firsthand that hard work does not always make all our dreams come true, nor does it always pay off initially.
What it does is make us responsible, reliable, and respectable. Not every person out there sees our hard work and respects us, but no matter what, if we know we do the best we can and are our own best selves, we can respect ourselves. Yes, I walked off that horrible job with the self-assurance I did all I could in the best way I could, and nobody could EVER take that from me.
I have worked as a cavern tour guide, a volunteer, as an independent contractor, a psychic, in retail, and as an online writer since, and nobody, I do mean NOBODY has ever mistreated me on a job since. No matter what job I have, I do my very best for my own mental health and sense of pride. I live to work and can’t stand to feel I’m not useful.
Now, some would say it’s toxic to believe we are only worth what money we earn, and I will agree with that. Even people who are disabled or elderly and cannot work a paying job find ways to do something to contribute to their families and community. Whether it be sending a card or inviting people to visit them, or cooking dinner for somebody, or passing a coupon along- there are plenty of ways to contribute.
There are also times in our lives when we have worked hard and just need to lay back, and rest a while. We all need that from time to time, and that’s not lack of hard work. Then there are the people whose goal seems to be to do nothing useful from birth to death, and they have a knack for figuring out how to get people to do everything for them. The very same nonproductive people are often the first to complain about their bad luck and how tired they are of never “getting ahead” in life. Oh well…
So I will agree it is neither about money or being constantly at the peak of our productivity levels at all times. The virtue of hard work is about working towards something that means something to US- not “the man”. What is it that holds meaning for you besides surviving the day-to-day grind, and having your physical needs met? Are you an avid gamer, and you want to reach a level in your game, but don’t know how? Hard work at studying, speaking with experts, and then practicing until you reach your goal is the way to do it. Were you raised poor by somebody who tried to get you to just never get a higher education, and sit at home with them instead of pursuing the career you wanted to? What will you do? Give in, or get out and do what you want? Hard work can get you out of that situation and on the way to the one you prefer to be on. Are you stuck in a dead-end relationship wish somebody who doesn’t value you, but they have beaten you down emotionally so badly, you have stopped believing you deserve better? Mental self discipline to not listen to them while you work up the strength to leave is the form of hard work that will get you out of there, and open to better relationships.
Try A Little Harder
There comes a time when we have done all WE feel is necessary to meet a goal, and want to just throw in the towel if that’s not working. That is the time to take a hard look at things, see what other people have done to accomplish what it is we want to, and adjust our approach. Sometimes, we have done a LOT, but just not the right things, and all we need is to adjust our approach. That’s okay. It’s just part of the hard work process. Then there come times when we are tired of trying, missing, trying again, and feel so dismayed we just want to quit.
The number one thing that holds most people back from doing the hard work towards a goal they would like to meet is the belief that they don’t have what it takes to accomplish it. All the “What if’s” about all the scenarios that could occur if we fail start playing over and over again in our heads, and those stop us dead in our tracks, sometimes keeping us from even trying, don’t they?
Here is where walking a magical path comes in for us at these times.
When the “what if I fail” questions and doubts start”, immediately- and I DO mean immediately, flip I around and say “ what if I succeed?” Keep it up the whole time, and push yourself to try anyway, no matter how scared you are that you can’t do what it is you want to.
Then- START, and keep going. Every time the “ What if I can’t do this “ creeps in ask yourself “What if I can? “ and think of all the great things that will happen once you meet that goal.
Hard work is the magical way to make more than you ever imagined happen. YOUR way! Yes, you can!
About the Author:
Saoirse is a practicing witch, and initiated Wiccan of an Eclectic Tradition.
A recovered Catholic, she was raised to believe in heaven and hell, that there is only one god, and only one way to believe. As she approached her late 20’s, little things started to show her this was all wrong. She was most inspired by the saying “God is too big to fit into one religion” and after a heated exchange with the then associate pastor of the last Xtian church she attended, she finally realized she was in no way Xtian, and decided to move on to see where she could find her spiritual home.
Her homecoming to her Path was after many years of being called to The Old Ways and the Goddess, and happened in Phoenix, Arizona. She really did rise from her own ashes!
Upon returning to Ohio, she thought Chaos Magic was the answer, and soon discovered it was actually Wicca. She was blessed with a marvelous mentor, Lord Shadow, and started a Magical Discussion Group at local Metaphysical Shop Fly By Night. The group was later dubbed A Gathering of Paths. For a few years, this group met, discussed, did rituals, fellowship, and volunteering together, and even marched as a Pagan group with members of other groups at the local gay Pride Parade for eight years.
All the while, she continued studying with her mentor, and is still studying for Third Degree, making it to Second Degree thus far.
She is a gifted tarot reader, spellworker, teacher, and was even a resident Witch at a Westerville place dubbed The Parlor for a time.
Aside from her magical practice, she is a crocheter, beader, painter, and a good cook. She has been a clown and children’s entertainer, a Nursing Home Activities Professional, a Cavern Tour Guide, a Retail Cashier, and a reader in local shops. Her college degree is a BA in English Writing. She tried her hand at both singing and playing bagpipes, and…well…let’s just say her gifts lie elsewhere! She loves gardening, reading, antiques, time with friends and soul kin, and lots and lots of glorious color bedecking her small home!
On the encouragement of a loved one several years back, she searched for a publication to write for, and is right at home at PaganPagesOrg.
She is currently residing in Central Ohio with her husband, and furbabies.
Saoirse can be contacted at [email protected].