Sy Calaelen

Being Pagan Is So Trendy… Unless You Are Learned

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What inspired you to vlog? How do I become a Youtube vlogger in the pagan community? Can you teach me how to read tarot so I can vlog too? Can you teach me how to be a wiccan/witch like you? Oh, did you know [insert something obvious here], because you did or said it wrong. – this is just a tiny sample of the questions I am asked daily from viewers on Youtube. I am lucky that honesty comes easily and I will be honest and assertive where needed, but it is increasing day by day. The one thing a lot of people have in common is a lack of understanding and theory when it comes to magick. They assume that Wicca is just a hobby, and it is not. Others don’t see that Wicca is a tiny proportion of pagan practices, religious theology and witchcraft. A lack of proper study gets on my nerves, especially when they have access to so much and refuse to look it up. This is not a quick fix.

Growing up I had a lot of religious freedom to a point, so long as I didn’t venture out into the ‘real world’ too much. I still adhere to particular customs from my Adventist and Jewish upbringing, but I was open to other Christian paths, especially that of the Anglican Church and the old customs of magick from Jamaica from family members. To a child it was all fun and superstition, but as I got older and started my pagan path officially I realised there was truth to a lot of what I was taught. I used to make potions from mud and various flowers. I casted magick circles without realising they were a part of some pagan practices, I was told all I had to do was pray to God whilst walking a circle three times – at age 6! By the time I was well into my second year as a student witch I had collected around five or six folders full of information, lessons, spells, glossaries, rituals and alphabets. I read up on them. I bought books of all kinds, mainly from olde and new age titles, as well as academic history books to reaffirm the practices and my personal identity.

For me, witchcraft is a big part of my life, my beliefs are what help me focus in life. I didn’t meet any formal practitioners until I was around 18/19 years old. I met a lovely Buddhist monk who introduced me to lots of monks, old friends, nuns and books. I met a ton of Wiccans, Witches and Pagan folks on social networking websites and Youtube. I am glad to know men within the OTO, various Hermetic Orders and other magick systems (all non-Wiccan) who in the last few months have been helping me out by viewing my videos and emailing me later to say if my message was okay or not. Thanks to the internet I taught myself a lot. The reason I vlog is to hopefully inspire and help at least one person in a way that I never had. I know I’m not the fun type, my videos are pretty monotone and full of the theory that people just don’t care about, but what I grumble on about is the stuff that separates true practitioners from the ones who will practice a little and become born again Christians in later life. I cannot help you, I can only help myself, regardless of how sad, lonely or fulfilling it is. I just hope that at least someone other than my fabulous friends will say I helped them understand the jargon, or a life lesson in magick.

The facts, theory and history side of things help shape my identity as I mentioned briefly before, because I’m lucky I can retrace my ancestors steps and reaffirm to those unlearned pagans out there that I have just as much right to practice what I want, when I want with proof. I’m a very deep rooted nerd =P If you don’t put in the effort, how far do you expect to go? The lessons you can learn can be found in book shops, Youtube and on the internet. Learn the little things first, like authors names, how to pronounce the Sabbats, learn the meanings of words in various glossaries and learn the basics of astrology. Once you have that, move onto writing up your own spells according to the method you are most happy with. You folks of today have so much at your fingertips, so learn as much as you can; sift the good from the bad and you will go so far.

Another thing which I take huge pride in is the fact that I extended beyond the circle of Wicca and embraced a witchy lifestyle instead which rewards me with freedom. People who watch one of two of my videos assume I’m a Wiccan and I am not. I haven’t been Wiccan for a little while now. I have kept my eyes open to the things around me, taught myself to not only understand what it is like to have an open mind, but to have one regardless. Once I started vlogging my thoughts and theories on subjects, I had opened a doorway to lots of people are there to seek a strangers’ opinion. I get things wrong, but I’m not afraid to admit it, as I’m human and I make mistakes. Be wary that whatever you learn over the years will have effects on your practice, fingers crossed in a nice way, but if you open these customs up to the world there are some individuals who will put you down, or worse expect you to personally teach them when you know you can’t. I’m not a teacher in any way, just a vlogger airing lessons I’ve learnt and making friends. My practice and beliefs come first in all things; Youtube comes much later down the line. Live for now, live for yourself and be smart.

This post is very odd, I apologise, it is 3am and I haven’t planned it out well… hopefully it is okay!

Sy x

Post script… I was chatting with Uni Witch and he agreed with me on the religious front that Paganism is not a religion, just an umbrella term, so why do people call Paganism a religion? Thoughts people!

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Author: Sy Calaelen

Sy Calaelen is a British writer, blogger and Youtube vlogger, though she isn't filming at the moment. English literature graduate and future social work graduate. Both sites will focus on literary reviews, book lists, comic books and nerd chat, writing and novel tips, and discussions in magick, paganism and the occult. A mixture of everything from her. Reach out on social media from Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram, GoodReads, and Pinterest.

3 thoughts on “Being Pagan Is So Trendy… Unless You Are Learned

  1. Personally I think people tend to use the term Paganism to describe their religious association because they are afraid of labels or that labels will restrict them in some form. Personally I embrace and identify with particular labels and when it no longer ‘fits’ be I change it. For me words and names hold power and in embracing a particular label I have become empowered with the energy that it holds. it all comes down to fear, at least that’s my opinion and insight on the topic. Much love!

  2. Pingback: Hermeticism and Me | The Hermetic Principles « Sy Calaelen's Blog

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