That Which Shapes: The Context of ‘I’

When I was still in high school there was an unspoken question amongst virtually everyone in my year. Certainly, the existence of this question in a bunch of high schoolers was and is not unique because it is a question that everyone faces at one stage or another. Often many, many times in their life. The question of “Who am I?”

All to often, I think, there are things like this question that are placed in a moratorium of sorts – a place where the question seems to have some merit, but by dint of being asked by teenagers is given little consideration and thus placed in stasis. Then promptly forgotten. Though we occasionally bring it out of stasis for a few brief moments here and there, the seemingly immature question of ‘who am I?’ remains just that – immature.

It is never given a chance to grow up and become a proper part of us. We force ourselves to swallow our questioning nature as teenagers and forget to open ourselves up to it before we can no longer determine for ourselves who we are. What is interesting, for me at least, is that this is not always true. In fact, there are a number of areas in which the question has become quite central to peoples lives. One of these areas is paganism-heathenry.

I mentioned yesterday or the day before that generally speaking, a large number of pagans-heathens leave a path or way of thinking and come to their path in paganism-heathenry as the result of a journey of self discovery. Perhaps not quite in so many words.

Something that has been percolating at the back of my mind for a day or two now is just how much someones personal context affects the path/s they take up in paganism-heathenry. Watching videos on Youtube and other places makes it obvious that a great number of pagans-heathens have come from something else, to paganism-heathenry. More over, there is inevitably some… defining element from their past context that has had a powerful influence over the path that they have taken up in their present.

As a pagan-heathen that has yet to truly embrace actual practice, for many reasons, I’ve found myself observing my own context and how the elements of my past/present context have influenced my movement towards and in paganism-heathenry. An example; at home there tends to be quite a lot of noise – I share a room with my brother who has a habit of talking loudly on Skype while he plays his PS3, with the volume on; the pipes in both my house and the one next door are quite old now and tend to creak and groan a lot; my father often listens to several news shows in the evening, typically with the volume high enough that he can hear from the kitchen.

Is it any wonder then that my first genuinely pagan-heathen book was one on Ogham fews and connecting with the Trees?


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