Monday, 8 March 2010

What Do You Seek?

Sometimes I think I am probably not very likeable.

There are people who seek the things that I have literally just fallen into; some of them want those things quite desperately, but cannot find them or are denied them somehow. I think I can understand how such a person might view me with contempt or jealousy or anger, because I know I can come off as being very cavalier about my blessings. I don't do humility very well at all, though if you catch me in the right mood I can wallow in self-recrimination and low self esteem with the best of them. Usually I am just oblivious to the deeper desires of the hearts around me, unable to really plumb the depths of their wants and needs and often unable to find a reason to try. If I have something and I'm inclined to share it with you, I will; but if I get the impression you're trying to extort it from me, or emotionally manipulate me into giving it up, I'll dig in hard to deny you. I'm wary of alterior motives, even the ones I can't understand.

At the time that I met the man who would become my high priest and initiator, along with lover, husband and partner, I wasn't actively seeking much of anything. I found him on a lark--hell, it was practically a dare--and thought he sounded interesting. The word Wicca meant little to me; I was a pagan already, following an Egyptian practice, and all I knew of Wicca was what I'd gleaned from the one Scott Cunningham book I owned. All those little early-70s paperbacks I mentioned in an earlier post I'd quite put out of mind by that time--all those nekkid rituals and whatnot were just hippie free-love crap, remember? But he was Gardnerian and I was bored and curious and a little tired of the rut of my solitary practice (not as much ritual stuff available for the Kemetically inclined back in those days) and I was just willing to suspend disbelief long enough to consider that someone else might have something I'd like to have--knowledge, wisdom, insight, experience. I was in my late middle 20s, book-smart and people-dumb, and went tripping along blithely over the cliff before I even quite realized I was on the precipice. In a very short time I was initiated, then acting as priestess for a pagan grove, then being elevated, then running a coven, and did I have clue-the-first as to what I was in for? Does anyone, ever?

But it came so easily to me, gifts that were bestowed upon me that I never actively sought and probably would not have sought had I thought them through. I was fortunate to have a partner who balanced me so well; I'm fortunate still, in that regard! I learned on the fly and did the best I could, though I know now that I was sorely lacking in some most of the interpersonal skills that a High Priestess needed. To me there is a difference between priesthood and ministry; I always felt myself to be of the former and not the latter, and if that doesn't necessarily excuse any of my people-skills failings it at least does go a way to explain them. But those who sought what I held so lightly in the palm of an open hand were not always disposed to draw such fine distinctions, and my dispassionate stance could only have been off-putting to those who wanted--needed--a compassionate and maternal presence to guide them on the path.

I was a motherless child, in the Craft sense; abandoned early and left to flounder without an experienced female role model. I had to make a lot of stuff up as I went along, draw my own conclusions, think things through far more thoroughly than I might have done otherwise. It's probably the only reason I made it this far, really. My husband wasn't going to banish me as an HPS most surely would have had I hit her with the kinds of impertinence he faced from me daily. But having to think for myself meant that I expected no less from everyone else--Why are you asking me? Who cares what I think, what do you think? I'm sure more than one person mistook me for being a complete know-nothing simply because I would not or could not spoon-feed them my hard-won knowledge, but that just wasn't my way. It still isn't. Fortunately things are different now.

I know there are seekers, those who want to be a part of British Traditional Craft, and I tend to avoid them. What I have, what we have and what we do, are absolutely a part of that current, of that continuum of practice, and yet I know--instinctively as well as intellectually--that we're just off-center enough for it to be a problem. Most of the seekers who seek these ways are also seeking community and connection, and that is something that we can't offer, because we are Independent and keep our own counsel. I don't want to disappoint anyone else who comes to me looking for something that is beyond my means to give.

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