Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Benefits of Taboo

When we think of taboos, we often think in terms of what they prevent us from doing/having, or what they protect us from. Since instituting the spinning taboos that I keep, I've discovered that taboos can also give us things. Today when unwinding my spindle before starting a new week if spinning, I was amazed at the difference between what I can do now, and what I could do when I first started. The daily spinning has not only given me discipline, but a useful skill, and the wool I cleared from my spindle will go into some hand knitted mittens of my own design, then for sale. The taboo mandates that I don't spin at the weekends, or on festival days (unless roving has been set aside for spinning as an offering with other spinners), and this gives me a set time off from it. The more I spin and keep these taboos, the more I learn of Frîja and my foremothers. It's taken many years for me to get from being the tomboy that always fought with the boys with no interest in the fiberarts or goddesses. There was a time when I only ever offered to male gods. But then there was that one pivotal day on a frozen lake in Germany when everything changed. A week or so from now, that moment that changed so much will be commemorated in ink on my skin in a tattoo big enough to be a half sleeve. In a lot of ways, this feels like it's going to be an initiation of sorts, and perhaps it is?

To what though, only time will tell.

Monday, September 17, 2012

To Keep Silent

When I was involved in the UK Pagan/Heathen scene (because it really wasn't that separate at that time), one adage that applied both in the traditional Craft groups and online communications was 'to keep silent'.

Pagans in the UK can be paranoid about not giving out too many details about themselves that can be used against them at a later date in a 'witch war'. For example, you would never tell people what measures you took to protect your home. If you had reason to think that you had enemies in a group, you would also never announce any great opportunities publicly. To rehash the old stereotype of Heathens/Pagans, if you thought someone was trying to get at you, you would *always* try to give the impression otherwise. That your life is hunky dory. That you are A-OK.

Most importantly, the adage of 'keeping silent' helped you to not look self-centred. We human beings, expecially when we're in tough spots socially, tend to imagine that things are aimed at us that aren't. This is advice that we could all take (including me), but sometimes it really is best to hold your tongue, do you research and then see how it all plays out before planning your next move.

Assumptions do nothing for us.