As promised, today I’m going to go through the four points I raised yesterday that will really aid anyone who is just beginning their journey as a Pagan or Heathen and is struggling to establish their own practice/s.
To recap, here are the four points once again:
1. Know what you are good at, whether that is talking, reading, drawing or weaving baskets.
2. Think about the things that are important to you. Family, sense of identity, achieving particular goals.
3. Find out what kind of learner you are: aural, visual, kinaesthetic. There might be others.
4. Have a good sit down with yourself. Talk aloud to yourself if it helps. Think (or talk) long and hard about yourself and identify the things in yourself that are problem areas. For example, self esteem or a really bad tempter.
Once again, as I said yesterday I will be using myself as an example to better explain what I mean. So, off we go…
1. Know what you are good at.
Knowing what you are good at is something that you need be honest with yourself about, and is something that the opinions of other people can help you discern. Why it is important is that it will guide you in your choices of what medium you will use to practice. By which I mean whether you will read books for specific instructions on what to do, draw sigils ands runes or just straight forwardly intone or speak your workings.
The reason this is important is that it will ensure that you don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you aren’t capable of something. While it is all well and good to say ‘Oh, but I like a challenge or to be challenged’ this is one of those things where, I think, it is best to put yourself in a position where you are more likely to succeed than you are to fail. There will be time for challenges and trying things that you aren’t so good at later on down the line.
For myself, language and writing and words are one of the things that I am good at, though not the only thing. Words in virtually any form and an increasing number of languages is something that I have an innate skill with, so I have been drawn to mediums like the Futhark Runes for my practice/s.
2. Think about the things that are important to you.
There aren’t really any two ways about this one. You need to think about these things, because these are the things that are going to motivate you when you are first beginning. These are the things that are really going to hold your interest while you are practicing, the things that are really going to be at the forefront of your mind.
For me my sense of self, and things surrounding that, are what is most important to me. Its important to me because I really lack a sense of self that is mine. I’ve see myself through the eyes of other people so much and for so long that I don’t really have any vision of myself through my own eyes. Hence, solitude and being just Me is the motivation behind much, but not all, of what I practice. For the moment.
3. Find out what kind of learner you are.
This stems from a purely practical element. Knowing what kind of learner you are will help you work out how best to go about your learning. Funny how that works… Seriously though, its no different to being in school or university. If you are someone who learns by doing, then you are going to find practices that require a lot of reading or listening to be less than stimulating. Do yourself a favour and just a reputable test that will give you an idea as to where your learning tendencies lie.
Myself, I am a kinaesthetic learner. I learn best by doing. Even when I look like I am doing nothing, where its sitting at my desk or staring at my computer screen without actually doing anything, chances are that I am actually thinking about a half dozen different things. As a result, I find something like meditation (which yes, is doing something in a literal sense of the word, but its doing something by stopping everything else) I find very, very hard.
4. Have a good sit down with yourself.
Everyone, and I mean absolutely everyone, has flaws. Big flaws, small flaws, new flaws, old flaws. These things are the things that are going to be confronting you and really, just generally getting in your way. While flaws carry a negative connotation, I don’t think that it really the case. Flaws are just something that you need to acknowledge and be aware of. Sometimes they can be an inconvenience, while other times they will be an incredible asset to you. It is also good for your overall mental health, which I’ve mentioned in the past is something that I think carries a lot of weight with Pagans and Heathens.
I have a big, nasty, convoluted ball of self esteem issues that range from consummate self loathing to being overly self effacing. Its more problematic than helpful at the moment, which is part of why it is something that I work at a lot.
So, with a bit of luck this will be helpful for someone. Obviously, these four things aren’t the be all and end all, but they definitely represent some of the things that I think you should keep in mind when you find yourself feeling more lost than when you started your path.