There are many Pagans out there who like to join various kinds of organizations and do many kinds of work. Currently, my list is very short. I’m a Georgian Wiccan, a fledgling Santera, and a member of the Fellowship of Isis, but the list was longer before I moved to Melbourne. It included a coven, the Covenant of the Goddess, the Pagan Newswire Collective, and Cherry Hill Seminary. Like many Pagans, I like to be in service to my community and I like to learn new things to grow and enrich my spirituality.
Beyond this, however, there is a type of Pagan out there that I call The Collector. Like many Pagans, myself included at times, this type of Pagan belongs belongs to many organizations, perhaps multiple traditions, various magickal orders, and so forth. What sets this Pagan apart as Collector is that s/he contributes very little to these institutions. If s/he teaches, it’s a classroom with a revolving door of gullible beginners willing to pay too much. For The Collector, it’s the titles that matter.
Collectors grow increasingly demanding. The more they do, the less they feel they should have to do in order to earn their next title. They do a disservice to themselves and their communities. In Wicca, there’s always more to learn. Even the old stuff can be made new.
I mentioned in a previous entry that I’m currently undergoing correspondence training with a wonderful priestess in California named Szmeralda Shanel who runs the Iseum of Black Isis. She mentioned that she is always surprised how many of the women that come to her already have so much experience. I’m not really surprised. Her material is very good and easily adaptable for both the beginner and the more advanced, if you’re willing to delve deeper.
I’m only on the second lesson (one lesson takes several weeks to complete, or a few months in my case) and we are revisiting the elements. In the lesson notes, Szmeralda says:
Those of us who have been doing this kind of work for a while often get huffy puffy about returning to what we perceive as “simple stuff”. We get all “This is so 101. I’ve been a witch for years; I don’t need to learn about the elements.” A gentle reminder: the elements are mysteries. We never fully know them and we are never done learning from them.
Quoted for truth.
I’m spending two or three weeks with each element, starting with Air, and it is challenging. It’s challenging because I have to think deeper, beyond yellow, spring, birds, and communication. Because I know this stuff and I want to know more. What else about Air?
I went to Pinterest and performed a search for Air. I wanted to see what people out there thought of when they thought of air. Some of the results were expected: birds, butterflies, something blowing in the wind, breath. But there were a few images that caught my attention.
I love this image of the little girls over the vent. The first word that came to mind when I saw it was “frivolity”, which is not a quality I typically associate with Air, or with any of the elements for that matter. I’ve generally considered the elements (and elementals) in a solemn manner (some more than others). When I thought about Air, I thought about the intellect, communication, logic, and scholarship. While I’ve considered the association of the word and of the breath with Air, laughter just didn’t really enter my mind. We Witches can be so serious at times. Could you imagine calling in the element of Air through laughter? Perhaps in the right ritual.
Another image that caught my attention was of a cat leaping through the air. It appears very sharp and focused on its goal. Air is often associated with inspiration and new beginnings and Fire with the transformative power and the actual enacting of your will, but I think Air could also be associated with the focus towards a goal. The archer is a symbol associated with Sagittarius, a fire sign, but the image of an arrow moving through the air, is well, Airy. After all, accomplishing a goal is as much about planning and shooting for it as it is about willpower.
And finally, there was an image of people on a carnival ride. Air is commonly associated with flight and with inspiration, but I think it can also be associated with dreams, which is generally corresponded to the West and Water. In this case, it’s more about daydreaming, relaxation, and the carefree. We sometimes associate this negatively with Air, as in being air-headed, but a certain degree of daydreaming, relaxation, and frivolity are necessary in life.
If there’s anything I’m taking away from revisiting Air it’s to lighten up. As I said, we Witches can be so serious sometimes when it comes to our studies and our rituals.
Do you continuously work with the elements? Do you have new insights or have you developed new ways to work with them?