I’ve been stuck for awhile – my brain works in odd persnickety ways and won’t let me move forward on anything until I complete a task I find uncomfortable, such as the last two posts where I video myself for your view. I find myself oddly charming in the videos, and my inner critic is horrified that I find myself charming AND telling me if I lost one thousand pounds I might have some sort of lame career as an actress. My inner child’s dexterity in delivering the middle finger has been coming along nicely, and now I sense less bruising on her when I reach down to cuddle her and see how she is. My inner critic is nonplussed at the defiance. It’s sort of awesome.
So, now that I’m finally moving forward onto the next Kingdom in Vein of Gold, I wanted to pause and talk about something I drabble at here and there – that whole thing where I’m Wiccan, and as I’ve expressed on my writer-pagan blog, I am looking at starting a coven 5-10 years down the road, after some intensive training and study for myself and for the person whom I hope will partner me in it. (But if he does not, I will let him go with peace in my heart.)
One of the things that keeps standing out to me over and over is how many practices in the Artist’s Way and Vein of Gold (and to some extent Finding Water) are either exactly like practices Wiccans are taught to engage in – or take the core of our practices and frankly, do them better. The toning experiment that is the first exercise in Kingdom of Sound actually connected me really well to where chants come from, and suddenly I don’t need to know so much what the words mean. When we begin any magical practice, meditation, etc. we are told to “keep a diary” and sometimes are even told to keep multiple diaries. You’re told the “clear your mind” adage in meditation, and while you’re told what visualization is, very rarely are you told how to enhance your internal visualization skill until it’s a vivid experience. The end result is often failure: rather than using the diary as the tool of meditation, it’s used to report on meditation, adding yet more tasks to an overburdened potential Wiccan. When the person doesn’t go through with all those exercises, instead of recognizing the absurdity of all the demands, they’re often made to feel as though it’s their own failure, that they’re not dedicated enough or just too lazy to follow through.
While sometimes a person may not be suited for Wicca, shaming the person out of working on it instead of allowing the person to discover on his or her own that it’s the wrong fit is unnecessarily cruel. I also think that it’s not just unfair, but utterly absurd, that any person should have to engage in a tug-of-war between their spirituality and the demands of daily life. These exercises definitely make those concepts work together, because they do have a non-denominational spiritual bent behind them. Also, many of those techniques are the same techniques used (or that COULD be used) to get a prospective magical person into magical thinking: it’s amazing what spells can be cast with paper, pen or crayon. In Cameron’s work, the walks and the exercises build up that internal core of vision, teach you what a meditative state feels like while working WITH the busy brain, and life itself becomes a creative process. Spirituality is not and should not be something that is out of your way – experiencing G.O.D needs to happen in a way that fits within your own conception.
So, among the things I’m considering is the feasability of using the Artist’s Way as an initiatory work. Some witches have their students help them weed their gardens and wash their dishes. I might hand them a box of crayons and a Julia Cameron book.