The Chewy Goo – Here We Go

What is initiation? I have thought about this a lot. It is a tantalizing, juicy term. I have received a formal initiation into an eclectic witchcraft coven, once long ago. I have been part of other’s initiation ceremonies into that coven space, and those were magical, transformative moments for those people. I have also been though a Saturn Return – an astrological marker of time that is sometimes described as a cosmic initiation. I have had tumultuous personal events occur – deaths of loved ones, deaths of beloved pets, surgeries, career switches, breakups, global pandemics. These things can all be described as little deaths; transformative, transmutive processes, the ending of things and being forever changed. Moving through the thickness of these time blobules and popping out the other end means you sometimes war-torn when you emerge, even if you are coated in glitter or have fabulous new wings – or you shed tattered ones and now there’s holes in your stockings. The goo phase of the caterpillar and all that. Initiation can feel like the universe is fucking with you, and not always in a good way.

But what does it mean to ask for it, to come in with open eyes, to loop back around to something you didn’t think you needed or wanted any more?

Oh hey, hello, hi. In this blog I am documenting my journey towards initiation, into traditional Wicca, and completing the requirements for Second Degree. Sorry about this sticky blog post, but there is a potholed road behind me and I need to articulate that.

One of the first interesting stumbling blocks I have come across in this new journey to be initiated into Wicca is my reluctance to tell others about it.

The in/out, show/don’t show, nature of my craft, or the broom closet, or whatever you would it, feels like a tangle to me. I have been semi-public with my spiritual practice, and have written about it on blogs, and have made videos for YouTube. I make art and I’ve admin-ed things, I’ve been a teacher and a student all at once since I basically started. I have never been consistent and kept a single body of work out there for more than 5 or 6 years. This must be frustrating for anyone who enjoys my work in it’s myriad forms – and to have ‘enjoyers’, fans, still feels weird, but unfortunately it has come with some of the other crowd, ‘haters’, as well. At first, haters were fictional, the critique cops in my head who issued my own self a fine for the crime of expressing myself in a joyful and creative way. Then the ‘haters’ became real. Unfortunately when you put yourself out there, others will feel the desire to take you down a peg. It did not feel survivable to continue ‘making content’ in my recreation time at the risk of receiving more of this negative radiation that was not the good kind of sparkle. I decided, the solution was to not sparkle at all. To Be Silent, forever and ever and always and so there, felt like a very good option. I would be one of the ~hidden children of the goddess~ and no one would hear from me ever again.

And the weird thing is I am not referring to one specific incident, but a pattern of incidences, and sometimes it feels like each new one is worse than the last. I want to learn a lesson and get that Wheel to turn into the next cog so I can move on from this cycle. Not so that these things will stop happening – but so that my reaction to them will change.

I have an insatiable appetite for community and creativity. I have always been a bit of a community witch. I read voraciously, I consume content from all over, and often present workshops and lectures with information I have gathered. I enjoy participating in, and creating ritual spaces. I love covens and groups, and I have fruitlessly attempted to be part of one ever since my first coven dissolved – unfortunately in no small part due to my own machinations to make change. That journey has been a bumpy one and at times some of its aspects has caused me to feel a sense of doubt or fear about my own capacity to be a leader in the community. I have felt squashed down or held back by some unknown force, as circumstances failed continuously to coalesce. The air in things has often deflated and the blame came back to some oversight of my own. What if I am the cause for hurt of others through my own enthusiasms? These are not baseless fears as I have seen hurt in the community caused by other forms of leadership, and I am afraid I have at times caused hurt myself. This is human nature, and I fully own my actions. I know I am a reflective person, and a good person too, but sometimes harm happens whether we intend it or not. So this is one element of my crunchy feelings around letting people know – worrying about what they would think and general hubris.

I think part of my fear of telling others about my journey to be initiated into 2nd Degree is also is an element of self-protection, of not wanting blowback from ‘haters’, or even admirers. I think also, in the past I have felt exhaustion from giving of myself so much in too many places, and not remembering to reserve anything just secret for myself. There is a sweetness to magic just being between me, and the sounds of the birds in the trees, and the scent of smoke on my altar. At times I have shared my art too far and wide and it has landed in places where I never intended it to go. I sometimes do not know how to deal with positive feelings from others. I want recognition for effort, we all do, but I have trouble accepting praise. But it can also feel like a precursor to the detractors working their way out of the woodwork. And the feeling of a negative opinion of something that is intimate and relevant to you & yours alone is also hard to accept – even if it is not their business.

Another thing that feels ‘cringe’, for want of a better term, is to be seen as doubling back to go and work towards something which I declared I didn’t want or need in the past. I reserve my right to change my mind, to admit that I was wrong or that my own perspective has altered, but do I really need a crowd of witnesses to see how strange, how looped, how crooked my path has been? Without the framework of a coven to be working within, I recognise that this could also be contributing to a certain feeling of discombobulation. But I think I just need to tell people if it feels like they should know. So that includes my craft students, my peers in the community, and close family members. I am going around the twist and maybe they need to know, that my goo phase is imminent (again). And that my 2.0 version will have some of that “I’m rubber, you’re glue” upgrade to the sticks & stones protocol.

Chewy.

Until next time…

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