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Since Wicca: A long and rambling post

There is a part of Wiccan initiation that asks, 'Art thou willing to suffer to learn?'

Since my initiation, I have left 2 jobs, been attacked, got PTSD, lost a job on account of it, had damned awful treatment from parts of UK administrative infrastructure, met extraordinary kindness on the part of my friends, passed my scuba diving qualification, seen the stars over Halicarnassus, enjoyed steins and snow in Munich, experienced the awesomeness that is Oz, got a new home, helped my cousin set up house in London, spent quality time with my Mother in Granada, done some conservation work and learned a lot of love.

So it hasn't all been suffering by a long chalk, but there's no denying a little education might have occurred.

Wicca is all about the dance of opposites; it's about life and love and having a good time, while revering times of darkness and depth and loss. It's pretty healthy from that point of view, though there are as many ninnies in Wicca as there are anywhere else. Initiations of any kind do not make people 'better,' but may give them a framework to explore their lives as true myths. Wicca is pretty easy. You can follow a lot of other belief systems and still be Wiccan. As long as women are respected equally to men (some would argue more, as a coven is traditionally ruled by a High Priestess, and it is through her the lineage is passed down) and one pursues happiness trying not to harm anyone, you're pretty much there.

In Wicca, there are two beings usually worshipped, though they change aspect; The Goddess and the God. However, there is a being behind them, behind all beings, and this is labelled Dryghten. The Wiccan prayer to Dryghten is as follows:

"In the name of Dryghtyn, the Ancient Providence,
Who was from the beginning and is for eternity
Male and Female, the Original Source of all things;
all-knowing, all-pervading, all-powerful, changeless, eternal."

I have only come across this word once in English Literature, and that's in Gawain and the Green Knight:

“Sumwhyle wyth wormes he werres, and with wolves als,
Somwhyle wyth wodwos that woned in the knarres,
Both wyth bulles and bere, and bores otherquyle,
And etaynes that hym anelede of the heghe felle.
Nade he ben doughty and dryye, and dryghten had served,
Douteless he hade ben ded and dreped ful ofte...'

Which roughly translates as "Sometimes he fought with snakes and wolves, sometimes with wildmen that warred in the caves, both with bulls and bears and boars at other times, sometimes he was pursued by ettins. Had he not been strong, bold and served god, he doubtless would have been struck dead often...'

So circa 14th century, Dryghten meant God. Wicca uses the term to mean exactly the same thing, but without the annotations of Abrahamic religions. There are many names to denote this sense of origin and creator, words for this numinous sense I have had since childhood, something that is all pervasive and very beautiful.

This is probably why I never feel uneasy about crossing religions; Behind human preference and translation, with all its agendas, my feeling is that something listens, consistent in kindness, and whether or not this is wishful thinking, it's what I do and part of who I am.

I ask St Anthony of Padua every time I lose anything. Promised him a pilgrimage to his basilica if Ralik came back. I have been fascinated by pilgrimage since reading about thomryng's journey across the Camino. Whenever I mention it to alternative chums, two in particular are always up for it; one is an excellent and devout Catholic chum married to a devout Pagan, the other is the lady who brought me into the Craft. The latter is a hoot, loves Spain and was thoroughly engrossed when she attended a talk about one pilgrim's journey to Santiago De Compostella. I have the feeling her idea of a pilgrimage is to walk gamely by day, fall into a botega of wine each evening, arrive at the Cathedral and then stoutly refuse to go in.

Anyway, having promised, I have to carry it out. Trouble is, going to visit St Anthony's basilica is not the same kind of pilgrimage at all. It's in Padua, a half hour drive from Venice airport, so there isn't that time to ruminate, meet the landscape, adventure... There is a place where Anthony had a tree-house, and the cell in which he had visions, but I suspect you get on a bus and go there. I have looked at pilgrimage tours, but they defeat the point, to my mind - say rather, they are very much about arrival rather than the journey. When all is said, it would be a drive from the airport, then a couple of nights in Padua. But perhaps the idea is not to concern myself with the entertainment/interest/beauty aspects of the journey, and just do it to sincerely fulfil a promise.

That's probably it.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 20th, 2014 11:29 am (UTC)
I'm studying Sir Gawain at the moment and I was so interested in the Wodwo I hadn't even noticed the Dryghten! *scurries off to reread*

So pleased Ralik is home. Pilgrimage sounds good; I agree with you that the "how" of its fulfilment can be a state of mind as opposed to the physical travel aspects.
Mar. 28th, 2014 08:02 am (UTC)
Gawain is just awesome!

I am trying to dedicate a little time each day to thinking about the pilgrimage; truth is, Padua sounds pretty, but I am just not that interested in it, so yes, I guess the frame of mind will have to frame the journey.

Why couldn't it be a journey to Earthsea?

Edited at 2014-03-28 08:03 am (UTC)
Mar. 22nd, 2014 04:48 am (UTC)
I think it still counts as a pilgrimage even if the travel is easy, depending on the state of mind that you travel in.
They used to draw labyrinths on church floors and walking around those counted as a pilgrimage for those who couldn't make the physical trek. Consider it as a journey of the mind?
Mar. 28th, 2014 08:02 am (UTC)
That is a really brilliant way to look at it, I had completely forgotten about those labyrinths, thank you!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )



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