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Monday, October 15

Creativity in Practice

I have been playing around lately with the idea of getting a new athame, and have realized that the blades I am considering are not really traditional athames, and may not even be things people normally consider. For example, for a bit I was considering using a straight razor and have now moved on to possibly using throwing knives, which thus far makes more sense. I will expand on the idea of throwing knives as athames once I have that more clearly worked out in my head, but for now I want to address the differences in practice that comes from ideas such as my non-traditional athames.

Never will you hear me say I am like anyone else. I am very proud of the fact that what works for me may work only for me and no one else even has to understand it. However, I am very aware that there are many people out there that believe deviation from the norms of 'Pagan' practice are incorrect. This is not a viewpoint I can stand behind. I have always embraced differences between myself and others. I grab on to symbols and use them specifically because they mean something to me. In this way, I don't consider what others take that symbol to mean when I am using a symbol for myself. I may take bits and pieces of my belief from things I find in other places, for example I am not going to rewrite the symbolism of the pentacle when it already works for me.

But, when we move past symbols, I understand that different traditions have certain restrictions for tools and such. I do not follow a specific tradition, thus I don't feel like these restrictions are important. I mentioned an athame. If the traditional black handled dual edged blade works for you, use it. If you believe you have to make your own blade, good! I like black knives because I like black. My first real athame that I still use has a wood handle. However, it is mass produced and has started to become bland to me. I like flash. Those aspects that put us into magical space work well with my mind. So, at this point, I want an athame that reflects the darker side of me. Now, let's take that a step further. Not only do I think that the athame does not need to follow traditional conventions, I also do not think that the athame has to follow traditional symbolism. In my mind, an athame is not only a phallic representation. A blade can be a symbol of the goddess just as easily as it can be a symbol of the god. Again, I will expand on this in a later post, but for now the basics we just need to realize that traditional conventions do not need to apply if they do not work for you.

Even further, there are ideas in Paganism that most people believe to be universal. My example here is the elements. Most pagans use the directions to represent the same elements such as East for Air. Now, this is a simple convention that is understandable. For some reason, I was never able to memorize the traditional correspondences for direction and element. Only when I examined these things for myself and decided what element should be in what direction was I able to memorize it. Again, not everything works universally for everyone. Embrace that!

I will leave you one more thought on this idea of creativity. Examine every aspect of practice. Just because you have been taught something does not make it true. Perhaps it is true for your teacher, but it doesn't have to be true for you. Re-think everything. Take what you know and question it. Is there something that could do the job more efficiently? Send me your thoughts below.

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