Ignorance, When Left Unchecked, Turns Into a Cancer that Rots Everything It Touches

Some years back, before I started blogging, a few coworkers took me out to celebrate a breakthrough in a particularly difficult case. There was a client who had been assigned to our case management team for many months before I got there. This individual wouldn’t leave the house, wouldn’t allow anyone to enter the home, and would show up for follow ups only once in a blue moon.

When I read the case, I noticed that the client would lose our services if two more mandatory contacts were missed. I got in my car and drove to the client’s house. I just sat in the driveway… waiting… like a creep… Nothing happened the first day, but I went back the following morning, before heading to the office. The client walked out of the house with three dogs. I walked up to them, and the smallest of the dogs growled at me. I stopped, put my pink notepad on the ground—yes, very professional pink!—and sat down, extending one hand and smiling at the dogs.

“They don’t like people,” the client said.

“Neither do I,” I said without looking away from the dogs. “People tend to suck rotten ass.” I think it was the first time I used that phrase.

The little dog was the first to venture my way. The two big dogs followed shortly after.

“Do you mind if I walk these beauties with you?” They were beautiful pups, but as malnourished as their human.

The client squinted at me, suspiciously.

“You can sniff me, too,” I said, “as long as you stay away from my butt. We aren’t that close yet.”

The client laughed a loud toothless chest grumble that made me think, Recommend smoking cessation and make a dentist appointment. The client didn’t say no or yes, but there were no complaints when I started walking next to the group.

A few weeks later, the client was following a care plan that worked for all involved. That was what we were celebrating, when an outreach worker—a case manager in charge of presentations at churches—said to me, “I don’t want to offend, but I might. I’m asking because I thought I knew, but after meeting you I’m not so sure anymore.” I nodded, and she continued. “What kind of religion is Witchcraft?”

I chewed my bite of spinach, bacon and pineapple for longer than it was probably necessary. Drank some water and wiped my mouth with a napkin. Returned the napkin to my lap, after folding it neatly. Then I said, “It is about trees, and energy, and gods, and individuality, and community; there is balance, too, because good and evil aren’t always themselves, you know? Sometimes you wish for rain for your crops, without thinking that your neighbors are getting married outside. It’s paying attention, so that your good intentions don’t end up becoming the bad magic that ruins someone else’s wedding…”

I went on and on and on, my Wicked Darlings. What I quoted isn’t even a third of what I said that day. All of it is true at its core, but it isn’t exactly what I meant to say. It has taken me years to figure out what I wanted to say then and put it into words. This is not the post where I tell you what being witchy means to me (today), but I will soon (in many posts, I suspect).

I’m writing to share another example of my words not saying what my brain means. It happened when I replied to “The Balls of Yahweh; Sunday Thoughts,” in which Francie discusses the “re-emergence of the Goddess” and asks if She needs “a man-god to keep her company.” This is what I said:   

Me, a week ago – “I think everything, groups in particular, need balance. Both female and male aspects of Nature make a [w]hole. I get a bit uneasy around groups that are only for women or only for men—they feel… artificial. I’m not saying that craving separation, every now and then, it’s a bad thing. For instance, I doubt most men would want to join a Let’s Talk about Our Hot Flashes Circle. But when it comes to keeping the world turning, everything is needed in balance.”

Me, a few days after the first comment – “This post (and my reply to it) has been in my mind ever since I read it. I was thinking that what I said is sooo very unclear. I mean everything about balance being necessary, and about male and female aspects, but there is so much more to it… You see, I don’t think that opposites (when it comes to gender) ha[ve] only to do with men and women. Take Debra and her Rare One, for instance, they are both females but they are also opposite sides of a whole.

I need to sit and think about this one. I must, or it’ll drive me nuts. It’s bringing up other issues, too, which have to do with the [way] we (and by ‘we’ I mean ‘me’) say things. As much as I want to, often what I say in words is not exactly what I mean in my heart. I’ll be back…”

Like I said in the comment above, I spent many days thinking about the post… After way too much time not finding a way to put my thoughts into words, I went to reread Francie’s entry and the replies to it. And you know what, my Wicked Luvs? Debra, She Who Seeks (and who happens to have lovely hands), said it for me:   

“I have always thought that ‘genderizing’ various human characteristics is problematic. All humans are capable of feeling, doing and being everything. I don’t believe in intrinsic ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ characteristics. As far as I’m concerned, therefore, our human concept of the Divine encompasses everything in perfect balance. What we call that Divine concept is irrelevant. So I call it the Divine Feminine because female imagery resonates most with me. I don’t feel the need to invoke a corresponding Divine Masculine for balance or wholeness. Speaking of that divine balance, it incorporates both light and darkness too, in my opinion. Or good and evil, if you use those terms. The Divine is simply the source of all…”

I started blogging because that day, years ago, when a coworker asked me about Witchcraft as a religion, I didn’t have the right words to say: To me, Witchcraft is not a religion. It is being alive and living. I don’t believe in gods the way most people I know do. I think of gods as powerful intentions and thoughts that are true to those who believe in them. Yep, it’s clear that I might have to blog and live for many more years before I can fully explain what the last three sentences actually mean. Yet, I feel I’ve been doing an okay job at showing what witchery means to me.

I started the process by recognizing my own ignorance, and accepting that it was okay not to know everything—no one does, even if they really think they do. The best teachers are those who go through life living, learning and letting other people watch. So I watch… It is the reason why I read every comment left on my blog (and reply). And as you can see, reading the comments at other people’s blogs helps, too *cough, cough, Debra rocks*

Learning isn’t always easy. Finding descent and knowledgeable teachers is even more difficult. Adelina explains some of what I mean in “Egos and Elders,” her latest contribution to Kallan’s Sunday Stew. She offers good weapons for the battle. Yes, I said battle. I think that the inability to say, or show, or make what we think of the world into some kind of graspable art is a type of malady everyone should fight against. For ignorance, when left unchecked and allowed to fester in its own juices, turns into a cancer that rots everything it touches.

Your thoughts, my Wicked Luvs…


“Falling… or Escaping???
Take control of YOUR LIFE”

39 comments:

  1. For me, it is not so much about balance as it is about seeing the whole picture and embracing everything, warts and all. "Male" and "female" are some of the categories our orderly human minds (ahem) like to think and arrange stuff in. Still, most of us would probably not think of Kali first when we were asked about the "feminine" aspect. So, for me, this concept goes far beyond balance.

    (Maybe because I am not exactly balanced, either.)

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    1. I like this general idea... the thought of seeing the Divine in the self.

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  2. Well I actively avoid all "women only" groups. I know there are times when us girls just want to party, but anything that stinks of deliberate aggression is like a red rag to me. I like balance, and sometimes I need "specific" imagery to focus my intentions/thoughts, so while I agree with the perfect "Divine", I still like the idea of a big sexy God of the woods to escort the lusciously feminine Goddess :D XXX

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    1. I just had a flash of the "lusciously feminine Goddess" walking her journal through the woods with her "a big sexy God." ;-D

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  3. I have just come back.. and you offer this not so easy topic for discussion/reaction! Thanks, Magaly :) For me finding balance within yourself is more important than doing the same outside. Perhaps there can never be balance,nature changes itself, makes someone suffer and someone happy because of the same rains. But I simply like that I have my second half with me, who is different yes, but also can be sensitive and emotional at times just like me, and I can be sometimes even stronger than him. May be this is how we find balance.
    P.S. I liked Gina's "big sexy God of the woods" wording :)hehe

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    1. LOL, I just said the same thing about Gina's idea. She's too funny.

      I think your vision of god and goddess and the Divine is very close to what Diandra (and I, too) think: a reflection of what's inside of us. I think that make perfect sense.

      Welcome back!

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  4. <3 sometimes even tho your heart knows there are just not enough words you know....

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    1. Isn't that the true! Thank goodness for all the other ways of showing what we mean, if not we would be more confused than we already are.

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  5. Good food for thought and something I'll also have to think on a bit before responding; both on what Witchcraft means to me as well as the gender specific aspects of deity. For myself, I work with both male and female Gods, but I know that isn't everyone's thing. It wasn't mine for a while either... which will take some time to unjumble and iron in to words.

    I think I'll be swiping this idea for a jumping point for a blog of my own, wicked one. I hope you don't mind. :)

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    1. I've said this a couple times while replying to this post's comment, but I'll say it again: I love the fact that for most of us our Divine is what "we need and want." It makes me happy that so many of us are open enough to choose.

      Blog way, my dear Danni. This conversation was truly started by Francie, continued by Debra and others, and then me... now it's your turn ;-)

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  6. Thanks for the shout-out, Magaly! I like how you reached out to your difficult client through befriending his dogs. Even the crustiest of people have a soft spot for those who love their pets, it's true.

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    1. Nothing calms a spook animal faster than the sight of someone being nice to the offspring they love, methinks ;-D

      Thank you for putting my feeling into words!

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  7. Oh, I love what you said about it being okay not to know everything. If the Divine wanted us to know everything, we would have much clearer instructions! Part of life, the good part, is the discovery, the growth, the unfolding. Just being and loving. And if you believe the Divine is infinite and beyond our human understanding, it makes total sense that you could never "know everything". Instead, you just celebrate when you discover a little corner of truth that works for you.

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    1. I love the possibilities this implies. Knowing just a tiny bit, but being capable of learning more. Discovering "a little corner of truth" while someone else is exploring theirs. Just imagine what could happen when we share... ;-)

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  8. I think I'm in one of those life phases where I'm turning off the analytical with regard to the spiritual, and just immersing myself in the mystic. The feelings, the experiences, and the transcendent bliss of joining with the various gods I work with is its own learning experience. Maybe sometimes we don't need to know the answers, or ask every question? At least every other Thursday we can take time away from questioning in favor of experiencing?

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    1. Always swimming and swimming with purpose. Every now and then, it's okay to just drift a bit while the water caresses your skin. I LIKE it!

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  9. Thanks for the mention Magaly! I thank you so much for reading and sharing my blog...I adore you!! I loved reading about your work with your client...and not to sound corny, but I'm proud of you for your patience and compassion for that man and the many others you serve.

    As for the talk of witchcraft as a religion...I think you are an embodiment of what it means to you. You show it in what you do every day. And when your co-worker asked you about it, it may not have been so important that you said what it meant to you. It may just have been that you were guided to say, at that time, what she could understand...

    Fyi-My hubby might join a 'Hot Flashes' talking circle, because he gets them too! He is a reminder to me of the masculine perspective and experience in all parts of life. He is now going through Andropause as I have just started Menopause and our symptoms often are very similar! He has had 'hot flashes' for a couple of years before me, so how could we assign gender to something he was actually teaching me about when my time arrived? I understand the Divine as masculine and feminine most of the time, but perhaps that is at times when I need more help. When, at some moments, I am a bit more enlightened than others, I see the Divine as the greater whole of all things. The rest of the time, my puny human brain needs the illustrated version so I can learn, grow and understand better.

    You are a wonderful writer. Thank you for continuing to share your spirit with us...

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    1. Thank you, right back for that wonderful article, I must've read it five times. It applies to so many things, not just witchery. I have a good writer friend who is brilliant. Some time back an idiot professor, who I swear has something against her, started telling her that her writing wasn't good enough. I wanted to slap the man. My friend's writing is different: sharp and in your face, funny and sometimes terrifying, and because the professor didn't approved of it he just crushed her. My friend still struggling with that memory she admired the worthless excuse for a professor. So, yes, your post is right on. We should never "check our brain at the door."

      Now I can believe anything about hot flashes! I've been having the damn thing since my first moon. TMI, I know, but I'm hopping they stop when I hit menopause. Hey, you never know. Tell your hubby that all of us can be hot together ;-)

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  10. Balance comes in so many forms. This is a beautifully put explanation of the struggle I've had with this so often over the years. There was a period of time when I needed to put all of my personal energy into the Sacred Feminine, as a pushback/rebalancing of so much divine Male energy that was surrounding me. I'm no longer feeling that need so much, and I think it's a direct reflection of how much more in balance my life and my environment is. I honor the Gods and Goddesses as time and circumstance dictate, and worry much much less about what percentage of male to female or androngynous or unknown gender they might be. But it took that separation and retreat into feminine spirituality to allow me to heal from male dominant religion in order to come out the other side comfortable with the broad expanse of sacred, gendered or otherwise. Thank you for opening up this discussion!

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    1. Eclecticism of tradition and practice is pure magic, isn't it? I love how you didn't quite know what you had/needed (spiritually) until you experienced what you had one aspect at the time. "Balance [indeed] comes in so many forms.

      If you have a chance, visit Francie. She was the one to start this wonderful conversation, and believe you me she always has fruit for thought. I'm pretty sure she has lived at least 13 lives ;-D

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  11. Who can resist you? You have the magick touch (or smell?), the Client and his dogs had not a chance against your charms; you are amazing! Your beautiful explanation of Balance, just proves it all the more. Well said!

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    1. Once there was a client, who chased me with a knife, who might say that she resist me just fine LOL. But let's focus on the positive right? It's so weird how something so terrifying at the time, it's funny now. Live is a never-ending mystery... the more we shed light upon it, the more we realize that there is still a long way to go. And that's okay ;-)

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    2. We have been so conditioned by society to label everything. In my opinion, all labeling has done is to perpetuate division and hinders growth and balance. It has also led to feelings of inferiority of those who are "square pegs trying to fit in a round hole." When we can get past the need to label ourselves and our spirituality to satisfy society, we are free to learn and grow at a freer rate than we have ever experienced before and finding balance in all things is also much easier.

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    3. So true, Raven! Life would be so much easier if we could have a conversation where names and labels weren't such a big deal. Where everyone was given a chance to explain what they meant or show who they were instead of having to claim a label so that others can see what s/he is all about. Labels, like symbols, are troublesome; they don't mean the same thing to everyone. And sometimes (many times) people don't want to spend the time exploring what anything means to anyone else. That doesn't make for a happy place...

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  12. I agree with the problem with (our narrow, many times faulty) gender definitions. But I don't feel qualified to comment on it in the context of witchcraft, since I only believe in psychology and science. Ignorance though, is always the enemy.

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    1. I think you are a living proof of what individual balance can do for a person. You spent a long time trying to get the right kind of doctor/therapy and nothing quite worked (even if not perfect yet) until someone tried something that was more specific to you. It is not only about witchery, like I said before, is living in a way that works for our mind, our body and if we are very lucky with the environment as a whole. Does that make any sense?

      Oh, and psychology and science are sexy ;-D

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  13. I find that words do tend to get in the way. When I think of masculine/feminine I tend to leave humanity out. For me, it's more along the lines of buck/doe=kid. Throwing in AI seems to leave things out of whack. What gets sticky for many is an inability to leave cultural baggage out of the discussion.

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    1. "What gets sticky for many is an inability to leave cultural baggage out of the discussion." I had to repeat that because I believe you are totally right. It is nice to be cultural conscious and all, but to be true to self we must pay attention to, well... SELF.

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  14. Sitting in bed reading your stuff and wondering again what would be my response if someone asked me these questions... Being Pagan, I don't worship anything, I honor the god Nature as Nature encompasses everything...there are male and female in Nature, but they are not what balances Nature... Nature is balanced by all having what they need...n

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    1. I think, my beloved Judy, you've just made me think about another post... I started writing it a few months back, but it never seems complete. It has to do with words and spirituality; what individual words mean to people. I'm going to explore the word "worship," methinks ;-)

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  15. Got cut off, but guess that says enough...

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  16. I'm not sure my response would be anything more than babbling on about what it is.

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    1. When thoughts are deep, deep, deep, we (and by "we" I mean "me") might need to babble a bit before given them the proper shape. I had a professor who used to say, open the faucet and let all the nastiness run before you can see the clear water... ;-)

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  17. Sometimes I think I could talk for hours about what witchcraft is, why balance is so important to me and how I view gods and goddesses. Then there are the times I can't talk about any of it at all. And, I wonder if that's because the learning curve of self-discovery proves that I really don't know what I think.

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    1. I think that the more we experience, the more we need to learn about things that have to do with what we've just lived. Life looks different after we know more about this and that, doesn't it? So it makes perfect sense that one day we wake up thinking we are in complete harmony and know all the answers--because we do! Then tomorrow kisses us, and leaves our heads spinning in a coalition course with tons and tons of different questions. Live happens... and so do we ;-)

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  18. I think Debra is fantastic and so are you! Magaly, you speak from your heart! I know so many times, I want to say things in certain ways, and it doesn't come out right! LOL!
    I embrace everything and try to send out good energy everywhere! I have to say, I am with Gina and her "Big Sexy God Of The Woods"! I think Gina should paint him ;o)
    Hugs ;o)

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    1. I think all of us who get to share with you are luckier because of the energy you give out. Positive and loving!

      Gina needs to start painting ;-D

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  19. I forgot to say, I watch too ;o)

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