Dark Moon is the time for looking inward. Simple little words for something that can be monumentally difficult. Sometimes we need a little nudge to do those things in life which we find unpleasant, but we know are necessary. With that said, we will all take this opportunity to do a little digging...deep into the core of our beings...to explore what honesty means to us and discover whether we are living what we believe.
While there are many key ingredients to living the Craft life, honesty may be the most important.
The above quote from Starhawk talks about practicing magic, and while some would take that to mean the act of casting spells, we understand (or should) that there is no separation between magic and everything we do and are.
With that understood, it is likewise understood that honesty is important in everything you do and say. Honesty is at the heart of Perfect Love and Perfect Trust. Honesty is at the heart of spiritual growth and progress along the Path.
Being honest with yourself is every bit as important as being honest with others. Why are we talking about honesty? We are talking about honesty because we believe that some students are not honest with themselves with respect to their feelings about group in which they find themselves.
For some, it may still be too soon to know for sure whether or not they are on the right path. Circle of the Moonlit Sea allows students a year after the completion of the Introduction to Wicca classes for students to decide whether to continue as Seekers with Circle of the Moonlit Sea, or to continue elsewhere in their search for the path which is right for them.
It is part of our duties as Priest and Priestess of the god and goddess to be able to distinguish between those people who we can personally assist with their spiritual quest, and those who would be better off with different teachers.
From the first Introduction of Wicca class we make it clear that while Wicca, in general, welcomes a wide range of beliefs and practices, a coven, particularly a Traditional coven, has very specific rules and expectations of its students and members.
One should never join a coven because it is the only act in town. We know that many, many people do exactly that. We hope that by being honest about the expectations of the Coven students will, in turn, be honest with themselves and with us if they ever find their needs and expectations were not being met within Circle of the Moonlit Sea.
There is a poem (author unknown) which states this philosophy beautifully:
Go about your own path.
I will go about mine.
Should we meet and agree,
it will be beautiful.
If we do not, then it too,
will be beautiful.
For your path has its own beauty
and wondrous sights as does mine.
The greatest beauty will be for us to
share our experiences and be made
richer by our differences.
Blue Moon Wicca is a very specific path with very specific rules and expectations. It is important that every student understand and agree with the tenets of the tradition. Seekers are required to sign a statement stating that they have read, understand and agree with the tenets written in the Book of Light.
The meaning of Wicca is spelled out in Class One of our Introduction to Wicca course:
Wicca consists of Spirituality: Wicca is a way of life, a state of mind, and a way of relating to deity and to the world around us. Wicca is not merely something we do when the mood strikes us.
Enlightenment: We are on a constant quest for answers and explanations to questions such as: Who are we?, Why are we here?, What is our place in the grand scheme of things?, What does reincarnation mean to us? We are not afraid to question anything and everything about the world around us, and best of all, we do not feel a need to find the one and only true right answer. Answers lead to more questions, which lead to more meditation, and more enlightenment.
Magic: We use the energies around us to strengthen the power within us. We do not use this power for power over others. We carefully consider each magical act to be sure it is consistent with the Wiccan Rede: Harm None. We believe that the ability to do magic is a gift from the gods which must not be abused.
The goals of members of the Circle of the Moonlit Sea must include a sincere interest in all three of those areas and a sincere desire to progress in all of those areas.
Class Nine of our Introduction to Wicca course focuses on Wicca as a way of life: Living Magically. We can not force anyone to be interested in spirituality, enlightenment or magic. We can not make anyone live Wicca. Our job as Priest and Priestess of the wise ones is to help shed some light on the path to those goals. We can not and will not force anyone to stay on the path as we see it. The path of Blue Moon Wicca is a narrow one and it is not for everybody. Those who are meant to tread The Path of the Wise were born to tread it. As one progresses spiritually one begins to understand that there is not a single path, but many similar ones. They may or may not lead to the same place. That is not for us to judge. We all have (or should have) personal goals - goals that we set for ourselves. If these goals have been chosen with careful consideration, and with the help of the gods then we should do everything in our power to reach them.
If we find that the path we are on does not feel exactly right then we need to ask ourselves honestly if it is the right path.
And by right, we mean, of course, right for ourselves, not right in any global sense.
A Coven is never something one should have to try to fit into. To do so is to miss an extremely important and fundamental difference between paths of enlightenment and mainstream religion.
When we find our path strewn with bumps and pit-falls and rules and regulations which rub us the wrong way then we are on the wrong path!
That is not to say there is any fault in the path or any fault in us. The fault lies in sticking to the path you are on when you know in your heart that it is not the right one, it is just convenient, generally comfortable most of the time, and is close to what you feel you need. The problem with sticking to the wrong path is that you will not reach your goal!
The right path feels right! There are few if any doubts. It is possible for goals to change over time. A path which feels right at one point in our lives may become uncomfortable as our goals shift or the path twists in an expected direction, or may not be exactly what we expected when we first stepped on to it.
We must be alert to these changes in our feelings and goals and path. We do no one any favors (least of all ourselves) when we close our eyes to the reality of change. As witches our sixth sense should be more highly developed than that of the average person. We need to be in tune with the energies around us and within us. We become more and more aware of the feelings and emotions of those around us. We are only fooling ourselves when we choose to stay on the wrong path. Others in the path will be well aware of our inner feelings of disharmony. Unresolved disharmony can disrupt any group dedicated to achieving a common goal.
If you have any doubts as to whether you are on the path that is right for you set aside some time to meditate on it. Thinking and meditating are two different processes. We think and figure with our conscious minds, which may be muddled with unrelated thoughts and worries, or you may try to process too much information at once, or you may find your self flipping from one image to the next so rapidly that you can not focus on anything.
Meditation stills the mind and sets aside consciousness so that we can digest and process information in a more logical fashion. We may also, during meditation, ask for advice from the gods.
If you are finding it difficult to meditate you may try the Cartesian Coordinate method of analyzing a question. You begin by writing down the exact question you have in mind, then you ask yourself the following questions, trying to list as many answers as possible. The Cartesian Coordinate works with any topic on which you are having a difficult time making a decision. It won't necessarily solve all of your problems, but it does a good job if used honestly.
What will happen if you do?
What won't happen if you do?
What will happen if you don't?
What won't happen if you don't?
Sometimes the Path of Craft is a happy-go-lucky one. Sometimes it is very somber and makes us think. But mostly it is somewhere between the two: a beautiful rainbow of experiences. And always, it is a path of learning: about ourselves, each other, and the world.
Examine your feelings and the experiences you have had in the Craft thus far. Don't be afraid: be honest. It is the only way to grow.