Published in the Children or Artemis’s Witchcraft and Wicca magzine last week.
I originally wrote this on my return from Artemis Gathering on 16th August 2016. Here for your unedited pleasure….
Fresh home from Artemis Gathering and eager to write this, I say fresh, I am now. The drive home caused a few thoughts to spin around my chilled, slightly crusty camp-worn head and I urgently needed to get them down.
The thoughts began with recalling the same journey a year ago and the encounter I had with some Mormons on arrival at a kids party to pick up my family straight from dropping off all my camping gear. The mormons had spotted my Witchfest wristband which in my haste to get back out I decided not to remove due to not finding the scissors quickly enough.
I was as usual in a chilled state and not expecting to defend or explain my path at a kids party, so was a surprise to see a group there who then spotted this and triggered a two hour conversion on comparative religion – but in a good way. I really enjoyed it in fact.
For the sake of not making this a huge article on that event alone, the exact trigger for my current thoughts, was explaining that we pagans go to camps to learn and discuss whatever we feel in sharing, and these often small nuggets trigger ideas and inspiration in others which are unbeknown to those who grant it.
This parallels exactly a conversation I had before departure this year (and I will spare his embracement of naming which i find even more shy than me). His observation was that each year, older and experienced pagan speakers although still forming a good selection of talks seem to have inspired new speakers to come forward to give their experiences an airing. I agreed with that observation and reminded him of the abject horror of my first talk some years ago and growth in my own confidence (which I don’t fully notice but others have), and perhaps been partly inspiring for some of my friends to do the same.
There are a growing number who join in each year, and I’m sure with their own similar journey will experience unusual effects like my own. For example, and I will name drop as she deserves it, Jenny remarked that the sudden focus of people asking questions from her talk and being in effect a source of wisdom (even if you don’t feel you are one – and I know that feeling myself) comes as a shock. This is the cycle of each generation within our community and seems to go unrecognised when many focus on the established pillars of our community. We are still young as a community, but time will take its toll and we need to remember that while those gone before deserve a place in our hearts those that come after also have a voice and a thirst to ask and seek slightly differently.
I understand the feeling that Jen and all of the others that find themselves here i’ve had further unusual episodes that have occurred in the past year or so in coming to terms with the interest in the various topics i have talked on at Artemis and Witchfest.
The past year or so I have been struggling to decide if I should voice my thoughts openly on this cycle, and certainly from my own experiences of it a few times I almost created a forum post but then never posted. Experiences this weekend lead me now to say what the heck.
I have found great joy in meeting and talking to so many people over the years at these events, but my own lack of confidence has been gnawing away with the thought why do people come to hear me? Are my words having any effect on those that listen. I will be honest and say that from last year and until this event my intention was to completely withdraw from the community because I was under the impression that I’m having no effect whatsoever.
When I voiced that thought to myself at Beltane 2015 I knew that would be contrary to what my goddess has planned for me and events started to remind me of why I go through all of this nervous pain each and every time. Here is what I have learnt…
Going full circle, those who speak new or experienced often have no idea what effect their words will have on those listening. The realisation by the recipient may come far down the line where any connection with the origin is lost and so we never know. I have learnt that this is fine, I have no desire to be thanked at every opportunity and to be content that sometimes someone out there may have been impacted and perhaps can’t communicate this back. I can live with that now.
We keep going because we feel that something however small we might consider it to be to ourselves may be big news to someone else.
When you come to camp or any event pagan or otherwise, remember that your words and actions too may make someone else’s day, or even their future.
I am sure that every person that was at the gathering, and other events of course could share something that will lead to opening another’s eyes. I know it is scary to reveal what you think you know, I’ve done enough of that myself and i’m still scared but what harm can it do other than lead to a brief bit of embarrassment? It can only lead to positive things.
Don’t be afraid, step forward and be a part of the wonderful pagan community and inspire the next generation.