purpose within personal practice

Recently, I took some time to pull out a tarot deck with a particular question in mind:

Why am I a practitioner of Craft? What is my personal Purpose within my paradigm of magic and witchcraft?

Alright, let’s talk about purpose within the context of personal practice.

Purpose, and having a sense of what I’m supposed to be doing, is an issue I struggle with on a regular basis. I’m the kind of person who sets a goal, strives towards it, meets the goal (or the goal becomes irrelevant to my current path), and then suddenly realizes that I no longer have a point in the distant future to run towards. I do this with mundane life and my practice in general. It’s disorienting, and frequently leads to me spending large chunks of time running back and forth, wasting energy moving myself in circles trying to figure out what to do next, rather than being able to fall back on a fundamental system that governs the action aspects of my psyche and processes.

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The Wheel of Fortune in the Rider-Waite Tarot

Without having a solid foundation on which to build a practice for day-to-day life,  I found myself having to start from scratch every single time I reached a goal, or any time a goal became irrelevant to me. It became exhausting. While I still find it worthwhile to make an effort to reflect on changes in my life, milestones reached and the like, I felt like I was reinventing the wheel at every turn.

 

Not fun.

Recently, I took some time to pull out a tarot deck with a particular question in mind:

Why am I a practitioner of Craft? What is my personal Purpose within my paradigm of magic and witchcraft? 

I figured it was the best place to start before I fleshed out other questions about my goals and beliefs.

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“Purpose in the Craft” tarot spread

I used a type of meditative tarot for this reading, using both intuition and connection to the Divine Flow. It’s important to note both of those aspects being present, because a true and lasting sense of purpose is going to come from within, as well as the hand dealt out to me in this life, as it were.

The spread shown to the left isn’t the reading I did for myself, but rather an illustrative tool to show the card placement.

Card 1 is a signifier card that I had chosen for myself during a short ritual prior to doing the reading (in my case, it was the Page of Wands). For a lot of readings, I will ask that the Divine Flow choose a signifier for me, and use that as part of the reading as a whole, allowing it to show me a reflection of myself that I may have been blind to, depending on how in tune with myself and where I stand at the moment. For this particular reading, I knew coming into it which card signified my current state, and my point of purpose, so I was able to start the reading with that.

Card 1: The Querent; a signifier card
Card 2 & 3:  The Querent’s personal purpose, the aspects of themselves that are within their abilities; their reason for practicing the craft
Card 4 & 5: The foundation. Why the Querent’s personal purpose has become what it is, and the past relevant things that form current beliefs and purpose
Card 6 & 7: Outside influences. Things completely outside of the Querent that affect their purpose, seen or unseen

When I did the reading for myself, I found that I had moved away from where I should be, causing myself more confusion and a misplaced sense of loss. By returning to my roots, I can find my purpose within the craft as a Seeker, spirit worker, mover among the beyond, communicator with all manner of things, be it the dead or spirits or gods. A builder of bridges.

These are things that I’ve known for myself in some small sense, and spent all of last year forgetting. Last year was a continual parade of the suit of swords – a lot of tough decisions and pain, yes, but also me spending so much time in cerebral thought that I didn’t let myself stop and breathe into any of my other aspects. That I drew the Page of Wands for myself in the initial ritual (and the appearance of more wands in my reading) gave me a new sense of hope and excitement that I can move into my true place of being and have harmony in myself there.

At some point in the future, I will change again, some part of me will break past the wondrous seeking nature of the Page of Wands, but when that happens, I will still have my purpose, and my answers to fall back on. And that’s pretty exciting.

a shout into the void

Lately I’ve been feeling the pull again to create and make and put stuff “out there” once again. To allow the thoughts and ideas that have been hibernating to finally push up and out in the Spring season, air to fire.

I’ve kept blogs, journals, sketchbooks, and other sorts of self-documentation for as long as I can remember. In my late teens, I kept a public (though anonymous) profile, posting on forums and a series of blogs that became less anonymous with each iteration. It was my shout into the void, a way of reaching out to something, someone, who might feel a connection with what I had to say. In those early blogs, I sought validation, recognition, a way to not feel totally alone with who I was and how I thought.

The last three years have seen me pull further and further inward: my blogs lie dormant, my tumblr is relegated to reblogs of pretty flower photography and cats, my general need to create and display and connect with a greater world outside of my own very tiny sphere has all but disappeared. I have become the epitome of The

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The Hermit in the Rider-Waite Tarot

Hermit, closeting myself to learn and regroup and reevaluate my beliefs, practices, and identity. This is all well and fine, except that lately I’ve been feeling the pull again to create and make and put stuff “out there” once again. To allow the thoughts and ideas that have been hibernating to finally push up and out in the Spring season, air to fire. Since last year was such a “cold season” for me and my household – emotional setbacks and loss, pain, betrayal, and a generally distress-filled year – the metaphor for the sleeping life finally bursting through the frozen ground is particularly fitting here.

The process of deciding to open my heart and mouth again has been a little bit problematic for me, mentally. I don’t ever really know what I want to share, much less what I should share. On one hand, I feel incredibly protective of my practice. Alongside that protectiveness comes the fear that people will see what I have to say, what my practice is (and therefore, my identity), and seek to undermine it through naysaying or mockery. At one point, I also feared that my practice could be “defiled” in some way – that someone could see what I’m doing and take pieces of it from me. While I don’t feel that way about it anymore, I still frequently have the knee-jerk reaction – all stemming from fear that my identity isn’t good enough, or strong enough to hold up to scrutiny. Heck, it probably isn’t. I’m an incomplete psyche in a messed up vessel. Which leads me to my other major issue…

A lot of my practice nowadays comes from a place of attempting to rebuild what was lost through my early years: dealing with trauma, piecing together missing memories, and reconstructing a sense of self that has been shattered over and over and over again. It’s an incredibly personal process that leaves me feeling tugged two directions – one aspect wants to shut down, shut out, attempt to do my healing in silence and solitude. It’s the wounded animal part of me (and, surprise surprise, primarily ruled by fear) that shirks into the darkness to lick the wounds alone, shunning all help and fighting for the strength to make itself well, alone. The other aspect longs to reach out and connect to people who might understand, and in a reminiscence of blogs of times past, receive validation.

I’m not used to talking about my wounds publicly. Like many people in my position, I’ve spent inordinate amounts of effort and dedicated a large portion of my life to stuffing down any weakness, completely shutting down and bottling up the parts of me that cry to be let out and allowed to heal in the fresh air. I’m still not entirely sure that the habit will be easily broken, or even that it will be broken at all. But possibly, by at least recognizing that those weak places are indeed there, I will have enough momentum to get me started.

The last reason for my hesitancy to blog is really a pair of reasons that are more mundanely embarrassing – I have absolutely terrible follow-through, and a remarkable tendency for change. The latter is something that I’ve always shied away from admitting, because to me, it smacked of uncertainty. There are countless ideas and beliefs for which I hold something to be A True Belief for myself, and then months or years (or weeks!) later turn around and notice that – Wow, no, I don’t believe that at all anymore, due to [new information/an experience/etc]. As long as no one takes anything I say as The Way To Do Things (which, I don’t believe anyone does or ever has, so we’re good), I have to learn to be okay with my aspect of Ever-Changingness. As for the lack of follow-through… this just means I need to get myself to write more.

Here is my new shout into the void.