Pagan Blog Project: Balance

Balance is a central concept that I battle with in my magical and spiritual life. I’ve learned a long time ago that I have to have balance to make things work. I can’t just focus on “darkness” or “light”, both really have to be present.

I spent the better part of a decade on the Left Hand Path doing the “I’m so dark” thing. Then I was so spiritually dessicated that I drank from the Druidry’s light like a man in the desert, but that wasn’t any more fulfilling in the end. I think it was Aleister Crowley that said “An adept stands with his head in the highest heavens and his feet in the lowest hells”. I’m no adept, but it’s good advice I think.

I’m going to quote Jason Miller’s course here again, because this single quote is EXACTLY why I love his system of magic and pretty much the main reason I’ve adopted his use of the label “Sorcerer” to describe myself.

The witch is typically associated with folk magic and outdoor ecstatic rites, The Mage with high ceremony and the indoor temple. Many seem to feel that these approaches are mutually exclusive,  I reject this approach and so have chosen the term Sorcerer. Let the sorcerer bask in the warmth of The Solar Logos and the Wisdom of the Moon! Let the sorceress do magic that requires both the careful execution of complex ritual and the absorption of ecstatic trance and wild dance! Let us cultivate both intellect and intuition, the celestial and the chthonic, the masculine and the feminine. The competent Sorcerer will be comfortable doing magic in a Lodge, a circle in the Wilderness, or out in the open streets of a city. -Jason Miller Strategic Sorcery Class Lesson 1

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this definition because it describes my own practice so well. It describes my entire ideal as a magician. Hell I I might just frame it and put it on my temple wall as a daily reminder! I have to have a balance between the solar and lunar currents. It’s also one of the reasons I am drawn to Druidry, because I see it embodying both of these currents. There’s the Druid part of me that loves to get down and dirty and work with bones and skulls, to do rites on the beach side surrounded by earth, sea, and sky and the genus loci. There is a the part that loves to pursue the “higher mysteries”, as evidenced by my recent interest in Hermetics, and perform temple magic with all of the fancy trappings and regalia that goes with it. If I focus on either on to exclusion, I feel totally unbalanced. I literally need both to feel whole.

This is also embodied by my patron deity, Hekate (Common you knew I’d work her into this somehow didn’t you?). While she gets pegged as a “dark goddess of the underworld”, she is equally the Luminous Empress of the Empyrean realms. I honor her in both fashions.

When I think of balance, I think of a pendulum. A pendulum is the epitome of balance, but it is not balanced because it stands perfectly still. It oscillates wildly between two extremes. Left and right, over and over. Somehow, between those wild fluctuations, it finds perfect balance. My practice is much the same way. I used to think “balance” meant having to balance out everything all the time. Now I realize that sometimes I’ll go through long periods of wanting to “bask in the solar logos” and do temple work. Other times I’ll want nothing more than to spend weeks at a time doing shamanic type stuff. I let my spirit tell me what it needs, and in this way my practice is dynamic and fluid.

Balance to me also means going beyond labels. I know there has been a recent movement in the past few years to define yourself as one thing. I strongly and vehemently reject this mindset in my own practice. I’m not saying that others are wrong for using one label. Hell I even envy you, honestly, but that’s not my path. What I am saying is that I don’t think that those of us who have out hands responsibly in multiple pots should be made to feel as lesser beings.

I am not “one thing”. Any attempt I make to define myself as one label ultimatly meets with failure. I practice Druidry, thus I am a Druid. I practice magic and ritual and theurgy, thus I am a Sorcerer, Witch, or Magician call it what you will (I like sorcerer personally). I’m currently even going beyond “Pagan” and taking more of a neo-platonic world view, but I still worship Hekate as well as seeking union with the first source. As my practice evolves and become stronger, the labels dissolve and become less and less accurate. I take this as an indicator that I’m growing and moving forward. Labels are a great help, but when they become hindrances, we must be willing to leave them by the road side.

Finding balance is an art, and I’m constantly striving to maintain it. It’s not easy for me, but it’s necessary and even rewarding. It seems to be the central theme of my path.

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20 Responses to Pagan Blog Project: Balance

  1. Greetings,

    The picture you’ve posted above is of is Shiva alongside His daughter and consort Tara-Ma. I found this picture a few weeks ago, and it spoke to me in ways that I can’t begin to put into words.

    With that said, I agree with your statements completely. I find the obsession with labels leads us towards being superficial. In my experience, I find that if I’ve attempted to label myself as anything other than a pantheist, I’ve attempted to cling to that label as though it was a pen that I had to stay in. Its a trapping of the Ego, and is thereby problematic when one seeks to move past such limitations.

    That, of course, leads us to the heart of the matter, which, in this case, revolves around balance. Understanding various paths and working within and without them can allow us access to a greater source of Wisdom – it lends us strength and the ability to be patient with and tolerant of the beliefs of others.

    Regards,

    SE

    • Bone Druid says:

      Sorcerous Endeavors,

      Thanks for identifying the photo. I thought it might be Shiva. To me it very much represent exactly how I see Hekate as well. The picture spoke to me as well!

      Understanding various paths and working within and without them can allow us access to a greater source of Wisdom – it lends us strength and the ability to be patient with and tolerant of the beliefs of others.

      Very well said, I agree completely. Being able to work within multiple paths, while still treating each one with the integrity and respect that they deserve, leads to a very strong practice and greater insight to the inner workings of the underlying reality behind the symbols. I’m very glad to see others share this mindset as well.

      • You are quite welcome. It is indeed a very powerful picture.

        As for the ability to work in multiple paths in a respectful fashion, I find that I must agree with you on this as well. When we work to behave in such a fashion, it frees us from many of the societal trappings that keep us boxed in.

        Regards,

        SE

  2. Aj / Melia says:

    I love, love, LOVE that picture. It perfectly evokes Hekate in my opinion.

    Nice article too. Still trying to decide on my b word.

    • Bone Druid says:

      Thanks. It totally reflects how I see her. Looking forward to your B post. I had a hard time coming up with a word too. I’m liking this PBP exercise. Making me think and write about stuff I normally wouldn’t.

  3. sanil says:

    The image looks to me like Harihara, the combined form of Shiva and Vishnu. I see someone else identified it as Tara-Ma rather than Vishnu, and I’m not sure which of us is right, but either way I think it’s interesting that you see it as Hekate. I can sort of see what you mean, but it would never have occurred to me and it gives me a new way to look at her.

  4. aynfean says:

    Excellent post as always. It’s funny I’ve been having trouble coming up with a B word (I’ve settled on Badb just need to write it up) but I can’t believe I didn’t think of Balance. When someone asks me to define my views of spirituality, etc it’s the word I always use. Interesting that I forgot it now, might have to explore that next week.

  5. Shefyt says:

    When I think of balance, I think of a pendulum. A pendulum is the epitome of balance, but it is not balanced because it stands perfectly still…. Now I realize that sometimes I’ll go through long periods of wanting to “bask in the solar logos” and do temple work. Other times I’ll want nothing more than to spend weeks at a time doing shamanic type stuff. I let my spirit tell me what it needs, and in this way my practice is dynamic and fluid.

    This is very similar to how I like to think of balance — the balance of the dancer, balance in motion and stillness both. I still tend to forget that it’s all right to swing far to one side or the other for a while, and then I worry because I’m not managing to balance everything all at once. I’m not a very good juggler! This post is a terrific reminder — thanks so much!

    • Seillean says:

      Thanks Shefyt,Yeah that sounds like my own experience. It took me awhile to come to this realization. Especially when one has limited time it’s really hard to balance more than one thing at a time.

  6. Suvi says:

    brilliant write up, thanks

    I joined the Druid Network a year ago after stumbling on to an early post on feral druidry; a description which fitted. Its a relief to find that finally you belong.

    Suvi

    • Seillean says:

      Suvi, I recently joined the Druid Network too. I have to say their view of Druidry is what most closely matches my own of all the Druid groups out there. Good people there!

  7. ladyimbrium says:

    I am ridiculously glad that I found this blog! I am thoroughly enjoying your insight, points of view, and humor. Keep writing!

  8. Pingback: Magickal Media Blog » Blog Archive » News for Pagans, Monday, 1-23-12

  9. I don’t ascribe to any particular pre-defined path either. I follow a path that sometimes joins another for a bit of the way, sometimes has me hacking my way through the virgin forest. One day finding me walking alone, another walking with many others. It might be a bit irregular – at times evenly paved with smoothed gravel, at other times muddy and spurting weeds, sometimes straight and clear, sometimes winding and mysterious. It’s still a path though and it’s all good.

    • Seillean says:

      Sally, I loved your analogy. That’s how it is for me too! Sometimes we find others to walk with us, but ultimately our path is our own and we have to be prepared to step off and walk alone for awhile.

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