So what do you call it when you grew up in a tradition, learned a lot from it, owe a lot to it, but have moved away from it in significant ways?
Reclaiming is like a quick-rising bread. If you want to experience the potential of energy and magic, it’s all there at your fingertips without too much effort. It is a great entry-way into the wider world of Pagan spirituality, and has spawned some of the most talented energyworkers, organizers, priests and priestesses I have ever had the pleasure of working with.
It is long past time, however, for me to join the ranks of my esteemed colleagues who have spent years in Reclaiming and then moved on to bigger and better things. In saying this, I want to be clear about what I am NOT saying:
â€¢ I am not saying that Reclaiming is no good.
â€¢ I am not denouncing any Reclaiming person, place or thing.
â€¢ I am not saying that all Reclaiming communities are doomed.
â€¢ I am not saying that I will never practice Reclaiming-style magic.
â€¢ I am not saying that I will never teach Reclaiming-style magic.
What I AM saying is this:
Reclaimingâ€”the tradition and the communityâ€”is not enough to sustain me over the long-term. It can be part of a healthy diet, but is not a staple.
I feel personally empowered, have found my heart’s desire, and am not scared or distracted by challengers of any sort. I have reclaimed just about everything that I might want or need from my personal, karmic, and collective past. I know who needs to be initiated, and who does not. I know my work in the world, and how to do it. I have allies and friends I can always turn to for assistance, and we are committed to upholding our vows and helping others who are coming up through the ranks.
I think abolishing hierarchy is stupid and a waste of time. If you are interested in equality at all costs, you should never have gone looking for your power in the first place. Holding authority with integrity is more important than making others feel good.
I like using consensus, especially with people who know how it works, but I don’t think it is the only meaningful way to make decisions. I think oppression is real, but that doesn’t mean we’re always being oppressed. I have developed an allergy to holding meetings in sacred space. And finally, I don’t think Pagans are going to change the world. Intelligent, passionate, well-informed people who know how to work with others are going to change the world.
So what does that make me? Not post-Reclaiming or anti-Reclaiming, because I still care about what happens in the name of Reclaiming, still teach with Reclaiming, and still have a voice in the community. I’m not turning my back, betraying, or attacking anyone. I just feel like I’ve moved on in some major ways, so that I’m not quite Reclaiming anymore.
I finally decided that what I am is Remaining. I’m not going away. I’m staying connected on my own terms, choosing my battles, and letting the rest go. If people want to study with me or do magic with me, that’s great. But I am not teaching solely to advance the cause of Reclaiming, or the Craft in general for that matter. I just think there are bigger fish to fry.
We need to develop our leadership capacity, our listening skills, our ability to respond creatively in so many different situations. We need to expand our awareness, and not just by changing consciousness at will. We need to educate ourselves, increase our fluency with symbols and languages, get practical with our dreams and visionary in our daily lives.
The whole “Remaining” thing started out as a joke with some friends of mine as we were searching for a name for an organizing group. Please, don’t anyone say that there is now a new tradition called Remaining, or I may have to commit seppuku. I just like how the word flows from Reclaiming so easily, yet is not about constantly losing something to find it again, or blaming someone for keeping something from us. It is a good word for how I feel in this moment: strong, committed, and done with bullshit. I’m ready to move on, with whoever wants to join me.