Friday, March 29, 2013

PBP Week 13: G is for Great Work

Within my own Wiccan church construct, when one reaches a certain level in their studies, one must begin thinking about his or her Great Work.  The Great Work is something that is going to be a life-long commitment by the practitioner to help in the furtherance of the religion and their own growth.  For soon-to-be-leaders within the community, this is a very important step.  The Great Work is, in essence, how one will 'specialize' within the community.

Just within my own church, my High Priest has the Great Work of promoting the religion of Wicca through (obviously) running a church, speaking to groups and giving workshops, as well as teaching the religion.  One of the students of the church is leaning toward youth teachings as her Great Work and one of the Third Degree High Priestesses I know has a Great Work of community building.  So, as you can see, the Great Work isn't just things like herbalist, healers, psychics, and writers.  It is where your passion lies within this path and how you best fit into the community.  After all, we still need planners and organizers for the festivals we go to; we also need kitchen witches and bards!

Then, you have people like me.  As I was coming upon my First Degree initiation, I had my Reiki 1 attunement.  I have always had an interest in healing and various modalities of healing, so I figured that it would be a natural progression for me to go into the healing arts and learn several different kinds of healing practices, maybe learn accupressure or accupuncture.  Oh, no!  It's not that easy.

Hekate and Ares never make it that straightforward.  Never.  They say, "Okay, Miss Lady, you want to be a healer?  Here is how this is going to go down.  Once you are initiated, we are going to send you far, far away from your High Priest and Priestess, but we aren't going to let you go it alone.  You will have support!  Then, you are going to truly know what 'the healing arts' are all about."

I am sent to a community that is the exact opposite of what I know.  My home community stretches (literally) from West Plains, Missouri all the way to Lake City, Arkansas and on to Jackson, Tennessee (if not a bit farther).  These people, hundreds of them, are from both churches and covens and they work together in an effort to unify everyone within the community whether they are a solitary or group practitioner.

My current community has these pockets of super amazing people!  Like, I've honestly not met a 'bad pagan' yet, however, there has been some trauma that has bred an aura of fear nearly community wide.  The irony of that statement is that this fear seems to have come from within, not without.  This town is very progressive, forward thinking, and liberal and has a huge pagan community in it.  I have talked to a few who have reached out to talk vaguely about the trauma that befell the community long before my time and I am taken back by the fear.

Is my Great Work to heal this community?  My gods didn't say 'You will heal these people!'  I do not want my readers to even entertain the idea that I am destined for something grand like pulling together a whole community, because I'm not.  However, they did have to show me what can happen when a community does become shattered and splintered.  They did have to show me how the efforts of the few walking their talk can sometimes be a struggle.  They did have to show me that sometimes fear paralyzes groups of people and that they lose trust in everyone completely.

The path of a priest or priestess is, sometimes, a lonely one.  It is exhausting.  It is difficult at times.  Those things said, they have also shown me that things worth doing are worth the loneliness, exhaustion, and difficulty and eventually, the hard work is rewarded.

The Great Work is different for everyone on this path.  It requires years, decades of service to the gods and the community.  It is that one thing that, when we are lying on our deathbed, we can say is our legacy.

Bright blessings, friends!!

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