Eveyonce in a while I come across what this or that person advises to some new soul that has just discovered paganism…sometimes the advice is good, sometimes it is fluff, and sometimes it is so freaking critical and mean it makes me wonder how anyone has a converstation with this person in the first place.
So this is my two cents…my 7 step program to becoming pagan, so to say–really, IMO, to BEING pagan, since I really don’t think you should ever stop doing any of these things…
1. Read. Read everything. Read the boring academic stuff that puts you to sleep and read the fluff. Read what other people call crap–keep in mind that sometimes you can find something useful buried in it. Read what other people recommed, keep in mind that sometimes its crap. Read about mythology, philosophy, other religions, neuroscience, psychology, history, biology… Keep reading…and then use the stuff between your ears and think about it.
2. Think. Think critically. Keep a journal to keep track of your thoughts, of the things you learn and of the things you like or dislike and why, of the things you agree with or don’t and why. Make lists of the things that interest you. If you something interesting, research it–if you don’t find it interesting, research it anyway…its always good to know what others think and why.
3. Observe. Watch nature, follow her cycles. Learn about the place you occupy, geographically and ecologically. People watch. Find a group–or two—or ten that allow non-members to go to rituals, see how they do things. Go to a pagan festival or two, or ten–just to meet and talk to people and see what they do and why…you may learn something, you may not.
4. Meditate. Meditate in whatever method and manner works for you, but try new things. Use visualization and guided imagry. Meditate to music, meditate to silence, meditate indoors and out. Try tai chi, or trance dance, get a drum, learn to play no matter how crappy you think you are. Use meditation to order your thoughts and your place in the cosmos. Be proficient in achieving a meditative state.
5. Practice. Find what works for you. If it doesn’t work the first time, try it again a few times. If it just doesn’t work for you, find something that does. Practice only that which follows your sense of morality and ethics. Try new things. Try old things in new ways.
6. Discuss. Exchange ideas. There few things that work as well for ordering thoughts and ideas and information that discussing them with others. Find someone to talk to about what you learn, find more than just someone to exchange ideas with if you need to. Take what everyone says with a grain of salt–for some people, you might need the whole shaker :D…
7. Act. These are not separate ideas to be taken individually, they are all pieces of a whole–of your whole self.. Figure out how they work together, and integrate them into your life. Take action with purpose and integrity to your beliefs. Apply your knowledge and skills to your daily life. Let your everyday activities be a reflection of your spirituality. Remember that every action has a consequence. Once you take action, reflect and readjust as needed to ensure that your actions are a reflection of your beliefs and that your beliefs are making you your very best self.