There are times when I feel very disconnected from my spiritual path. I have been through a significant time of disconnection in the past several months. However, as I have been reflecting on this year, from Imbolc through today, I feel as if my prayers at Imbolc have strangely had an effect on my life during this time of disconnection.
In my path through druidry, I felt during my first year or so of study, very connected with learning through experience. My Being connected with the life force of Nwyfre, the beauty of the Awen. I felt grounded through Earth, inspired by Air, blessed and refreshed by Water. My inner Fire that had been extinguished was ignited with the flame of the Goddess Brigid. I met Brigid, felt the guidance of Ceridwen, made offerings to gods and spirits of the land where I live. I prayed for my dead relatives out by the river, illuminated by the stars. I composed poetry, music, and tended my altar daily. I started writing in my journal and blogging. All of this was new, but felt so much like coming home and connected with the Universe in ways I never knew were possible.
Then life hit me hard. I had a situation with my work where I made a mistake. Something about this brought up underlying PTSD that had plagued me all my life, trauma that I had never dealt with. The flashbacks and triggered responses became severe. I felt lost, scared, and ran from the quiet. I could not sit in meditation, as the inner pain was too much to bear. Distracting myself in my phone replaced my times in nature and at my altar. I had just started Ovate studies through the druid order OBOD. I could not connect with my studies anymore. All of this began around Imbolc, and I prayed to Brigid for the gift of healing through this cycle of the year.
As I ran from the severe discomfort when I tried to quiet my mind, I became disconnected from my druid practice. I stumbled through attempts at reconnection, but the more I tried, the more I felt like a failure, like I was not enough. I began to search through books, through other opinions or approaches to paganism, desperately trying to find the secret that would get me back into my spiritual practice. Desperately trying to find the right approach, the right deity, the right devotions to make me feel enough. But, the more I tried, the more confused and ungrounded I felt. And suddenly, I am nearing Lughnasadh…what happened to my intention, my prayer to the Goddess at Imbolc?
During this time, I was fortunate enough to find professional counseling. During this time where I have not been faithfully engaging in my daily practice, I have been working hard on dealing with the PTSD. I have seen how much this has affected my life…my daily life…how I am in the world. I have realized that I tend to dissociate and never feel safe outside of my home. It has been crazy and eye opening. I am still working on this, but feel determined to deal with my PTSD — to heal as much as possible.
As I reflected this week on things, I felt like I was not really a pagan anymore. How could I be without right practice. Realizing how much of the year has gone by with me disconnected from regular druid practice did not help. Then a phrase came to mind. “I am enough.” I felt a moment where I was able to settle. The frantic musing to find the right devotional practice, the right altar setup, the right books to read in order to find my way back to being a good pagan — all this dissipated like a morning mist. I sat and breathed into the earth, feeling settled, feeling my energetic roots extend deep into the earth. I realized that in a way, even though not through a druid practice, my prayer to Brigid — my intention at Imbolc — has been coming into fruition. The Goddess has been guiding me, not in the way I had envisioned but in a way that my inner Being has needed for years. The Goddess has indeed been guiding me and giving me strength in order to find healing through this cycle through the Wheel of the Year.
My practice from the outside looks very non pagan-specific. It is mindful yoga and meditating — grounding into the earth — feeling into Nature. It is wading in the river, being present to the feeling of the water flowing past my body. It is going to counseling, staying hydrated, prioritizing care of my body, trusting in life. I have not made much progress in my Ovate studies. This is not what I think a distinctly pagan practice should ideally look like, but it is where I am now. As I look back on the year and settle, I feel in a way that I am actually still on my journey — that this is actually part of it — part of my path to connect more deeply with Nature and with spirit. It is enough. In a strange way, this may be the most profound part of my pagan journey that I have experienced.