Wednesday, May 24

Paradigm Shift

This space has been quiet since the winter solstice. There are reasons and I'd like to share them with my readers.

Mama Stacey experienced an awakening at the end of 2016.  I had a psychological break-through in the arena of surfacing memories and life-altering realizations.  I began therapy and joined a support group.  I also joined a 12-step program to change my coping strategies.*

As I have been working my 'program' and more has been coming forth through therapy, I am understanding what it is to lie to one's self, to compromise one's self, to be an enabler, to internalize blame/guilt/shame, to excuse away abuse, etc.  My users and abusers are no longer invisible to me.  My negative coping and comfort strategies are no longer normalized. 

My feet have shifted on this Earth. 

Today, I am making healthier choices and healing a little at a time. This involves a lot of focus and a lot of change.  I have made confessions.  I have ended friendships.  I have strengthened others.  I have set boundaries. 

One of the boundaries I have set, one of the changes I have made, involves my spirituality.  Not all of you will like this.  Some of you may identify with it.  Some of you haven't read this far, haha. 

When I was no longer willing to lie to myself, I was left with no choice but to reject a mass portion of Paganism.  I refer to it as "woo".  Woo is anything that is a self-soothing lie, a disinclination to admit mental illness, a bastardization of science, wishful thinking, disguised desperation, a gimmick. 

I no longer buy into: astral travel, energy work, magnetic bracelets, lighting candles to send energy, essential oil therapy, sound therapy, familiars, auras, psychics, tarot card reading, dragons, cleansings, past life regressions, crystals, ghosts, spells, curses, "guides" or otherworldly voices, etc.

You may decide to believe in these things.  That is your choice and your path. 

There are things within the Pagan community which still delight me.  I adore the tolerance, the fun holidays, the music, the myths, and the environmentalism.  I love drum circles, camping, Solstice cookies, herb gathering, and my little boy dancing around in faerie wings.  For those reasons, for now, I will continue to raise my children within the Pagan world.  However, when they ask me why the man talking to himself is telling everyone that he has an invisible dragon on his shoulder...  we will discuss loneliness, mental illness, and negative coping skills. 

If you're looking for a label, I suppose you'd call me an atheist.  Maybe a Pagan Atheist.  I'm still on my journey. 

What this means for the ITHOMS blog is that many older posts have been deleted.  I will no longer offer "woo", but will continue to offer crafts, reviews, toy and book lists, sabbat recipes, secular homeschooling, and earth-centric child rearing posts. 

I pledge to be honest with you and I hope you'll can be honest with me. 

Thank you for listening,
Mama Stacey



* As this is a family blog, I wanted my readers to note that my 12-step program is NOT for drug or alcohol abuse.  While I firmly believe that NA and AA members who are in active recovery are zero danger to children, I understand that there is a negative association between certain addicts and children.  I want to assure everyone that our children have never been in any danger.  There is an absurd number of harmful ways to 'soothe' oneself and Mama Stacey chose avenues other than alcohol or drugs. 

2 comments:

  1. Well, first congratulations on getting things sorted out. Second, wow, your definition of the Pagan things you reject blows my mind. If I see a man talking to himself and to the invisible dragon on his shoulder it would never, never, cross my mind to accept that as a truth. You dream of dragons, yes. You think it has a sense, yes. We can talk about it. You see a crow and it has a sense for you, yes. we can talk about it. Not getting a grip on reality is not a Pagan thing it's an illness thing. These are separate issues.
    Cheers,
    Lucía

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  2. Greetings Mama Stacey! I recently stumbled across your blog and I have so enjoyed reading your posts, but for some reason I only just now noticed this most recent one. I think it is very brave of you to take the plunge in being honest with yourself and others on a deep, spiritual level, something I myself am also learning to do. After reading your post, it sounds to me like you *MIGHT* be in a similar place that I was a few years ago, so I thought I would share a little of my own experience.

    When I began practicing Paganism as a young teenager, it felt like I had finally found the much-needed spiritual home I had pined for throughout my childhood. I wholeheartedly accepted much of what you refer to here as "woo." But - to make a very, very long and complicated story short - I spent three years in an abusive, exploitative relationship with an older man who also identified as Pagan, but indulged in many harmful coping mechanisms under the guise of the Craft - and even worse, used many aspects of Pagan beliefs to manipulate and exploit me over the course of our relationship. To make matters even more confusing, he also suffered from schizoeffective disorder, and to this day I am honestly not sure how much of the abuse I endured was due to his being a jerk or the effects of the illness. On top of that, the two of us for awhile became involved with a local, social group of Pagan-identified folks in the small town where we lived, where I saw much of the dark, grossly twisted side of magical thinking (i.e., people taking hard drugs and claiming it was a part of their "spiritual practice" or engaging in sexual "rituals," some of which involved vulnerable young people). As you can imagine, these experiences soured me on Paganism, so that when I turned 18 and moved away, I cut all ties with the magical community. For several years, I rejected all religion and identified as what I called an "openly spiritual atheist:" someone who didn't believe in a higher power, but found a lot of beauty and healing in the natural world and the wonders of science, and was open to the possibility of strange phenomena. And for a long time, that worked well for me.

    But...I was also really angry and depressed for much of that time. When I was 22 I finally began therapy to deal with the things that had happened to me, and within a year I had made incredible progress. One night near the Winter Solstice, I had an epiphany: I realized that in my heart and soul, I really and truly was Pagan. I had turned away from the things that had brought me so much peace and joy because of a handful of jerks. The little witchy spark in me had never really managed to die, I had just buried it deep inside of me for a long time so that I could heal from the past and grow into a new, better version of me. Now that I'm older and wiser, I've reemerged into the Pagan community (thankfully this time with kind, mentally stable folks!) and I cannot imagine ever leaving again.

    And I don't regret the time I spent as an atheist. I believe very strongly it was something I needed to go through in order to heal and grow, and that it ultimately strengthened my Pagan faith rather than weakened it. I'm not saying that this will also happen to you - you may never return to Paganism, and that is 100% okay! Rather, I'm sharing this because I want you to know that no matter where you are on your spiritual journey right now, it is completely, totally valid. Keep being honest with yourself and never stop questioning and exploring, and you will ultimately come to the place that is right for you.

    I wish you many blessings and peace along the way.
    -Nori

    (PS. Sorry for the super long comment!)

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