Spirit: Re-sprouting

Wow… It’s been over 6 years since I last posted here. Winter 2014 was just before I became a very busy community college student that put way~ too much on their plate. In 2015 I moved to Washington State and it was just this last December that I moved back to Maryland after finally finishing my Bachelor’s degree. During this time that I was living in Washington, my connection to my spirituality dwindled and then withered until eventually becoming dormant. I had a connection, a community, and a family with the circle I had joined here in Columbia, MD. Before I moved away, I was still practicing and deeply rooted to my spirituality, even though I wasn’t making time to post here, but… after I moved, I wasn’t practicing much anymore. It wasn’t gone, but it wasn’t active either.

Since last fall, little things keep popping up in my life that have that have left little seeds of spirit waking back up. First it was a book I came across in a store, then I moved back and my mom started suggesting we go back to the circle I used to go to, and then suddenly I started finding different instagram accounts with artists that created all manner of things witchy. The last couple years in Washington I was living in Seattle, so moving back to Columbia meant getting to see a lot more of the sky again and on a daily basis too. I don’t drive and so in Seattle I was often stuck to certain parts, usually my college campus. It’s a pretty campus, but I really forgot how much sky you can see all at once until I moved back; and how many trees you can see stretch into the distance. It’s strange how the mind’s imagination can get blocked by the concrete forests of cities as much as your actual eyes can.

Now, I’m back and I want so much to get in touch with everything again, to get in touch with my spirituality again. I’m hesitant though because I’ve learned a lot in the last 6 years. I see how much appropriation there is in neo-paganism, spiritual this or that, and while I can see the systems and history that brought many of us (particularly white pagans) to these practices and pieces that are not our own, I’ve been struggling to figure out what I will do instead.

Here is my answer so far: focus on my context.

What does that even mean?

Well, religions and mythologies and spiritual practices were created, given voice, re-interpreted, and set in certain times, places and communities. These people had certain values, lived in specific places with certain ecology, and they lived their lives in a particular way. I live in Maryland in the United States. I find that it’s important to respect the land I’m on and find a way to be connected to it. How can I do that if my spirituality revolves completely around Irish Celtic traditions that use native plants to Ireland? Land and location is just one part though, time is also important and can make for very big differences to be considered.

So what is my context?

Well… There is a lot to it. Let’s start with the basics: It’s the year 2020 and I live in a central part of Maryland in the United States. What else? A lot of my family’s ancestry comes from Western Europe, the easiest bit to retrace being the part that came from Ireland. I could easily pick up a book or two from my bookshelf and find all kinds of ancient Irish traditions (their accuracy a post for another time). However, those books cannot address the other parts of my context like where I currently live and could be difficult to relate to my life as it is in 2020 (versus how ancient people lived).

I live in a technology saturated world. It’s incredibly important to me because it’s the majority way that I consume music, stories (TV and movies), play games, as well as make and sustain connections with friends and family. I have friends all over the world, in fact most of my friends live nowhere near me. As a writer and artist, as a past and future student, technology is continually a part of my craftsmanship and my education as well. So, a spirituality and practice that doesn’t involve technology will leave out a huge part of my life.

My context is also about who I am. I’m a queer, non-binary man with a past and present that necessitate a spiritual connection that addresses this queerness. I can’t jump back into a telling of deities, spirits, guardians and certainly not a high power that is tied in a gender binary. There can’t just be gods and goddesses for me. I need something more than that.

Certainly, in a 2020 world living in the United States, I need a spirituality that addresses injustice and the importance of creating community in a world that makes it very difficult. It’s difficult, again, because of the time and because of who I am, a white person and a queer person, and it’s difficult because of this globalized world of quarantines, shifting politics, and most of all… technology. I’m usually so absorbed in all my activities online that I often forget that I have a community with those I live nearby because we are connected by land if nothing else and land is nothing inconsequential.

Now what?

My context is all over the place. It’s very difficult to reconcile the differences between them. How can I give space, give time, and do justice to one and still give that to another? These are things I have very little answers to yet. I think about it a lot. This is not something that can be easily answered but instead are like seeds of intention. These are things I value and areas I want to grow in. Growth doesn’t happen very fast. As I water these intentions with careful consideration, with conversations, exploration, and experimentation, I will share with you what I find.

But I can tell you of those seeds I mentioned at the beginning of this post, that have drawn me back in and made me aware of how much I want to be connected again:

The book:

Becoming Dangerous: Witchy Femmes, Queer Conjurers, and Magical Rebels edited by Katie West and Jasmine Elliott (goodreads link)

The Instagram accounts:  there are a few shops on there that make very cool items many a witch would really love, but the main account that has really got me thinking about how technology can mix with older traditions is this account @brujaxtropical. Casting spells by sharing posts or commenting on them is just some of the major insights I’ve made through following this account (which is still fairly new actually). That account is certainly run by two geniuses.

Thank you for taking the time to read this long post and I hope you got something out of it. Getting my thoughts out there and attempting to organize them was certainly helpful for me. Sending my love to all of y’all, love and many wishes for good health and good luck.

Blessed be ❤ ❤ ❤

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