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Being a Pagan in a Strange Land
Once you arrive in a strange land as a Pagan it can take a while to orientate yourself and get to grips with the local culture. If you have followed the suggestions in the last article you will have a reasonable idea of what sort of culture you are in, its attitudes to Pagans, and may even have some local contacts. You will know what level of protection your travel insurance gives you and know the contact details of your nations embassy.
It’s also a good idea to leave details of your travel plans, along with some check-in times with a friend. Preferably the same person you left your passport and insurance details with. Then if something does happen to you at least you know that someone will be letting people know you are missing or in trouble. Paganism in many countries is a subculture all of its own and, unless you have a local contact, it can take a while to work your way into it and knowing you have backup can give you a lot of confidence.
Other ways to make Pagan contacts include interests and hobbies connected with the Pagan field. Yoga groups, folklore societies, and anthropological associations are all good ways to meet fellow Pagans but even less obvious activities such as quilting and martial arts can be good ways to find like-minded people. These approaches put you in touch with the genuine practitioners of magick and local Pagan paths much faster than going around asking for the local Witch. Taking the latter approach can attract the attention from all sorts of weird people and groups, from people of questionable sanity to fringes of the local criminal community. Hence the importance of people knowing where you are as a safety net.
Magick, of course, is also useful. Most people think of protective talismans and guardians in connection with this activity, but you can also use it to contact ‘Genius Loci’- the local spirits of the land. Approached with respect and politeness they can be very useful in helping to find the appropriate local contacts, and also setting up useful coincidences to bring helpful people and events into your life. Sometimes these happenings can be quite dramatic and the wise Pagan will realise when this occurs and use it to maximum effect. This is a difficult experience to describe objectively, but is what experienced sports people, particularly those who play tennis and golf call being “In the Zone”. In this state everything takes on a flowing quality with each event turning out exactly as you want and leading you to the desired outcome as a matter of course. If you realise what is occurring as it happens you can end up looking really in tune with the circumstances and make a good impression on the local Pagan population.
Research the correct Deities or aspects of Divinity before you go, and start setting up a connection with them. By ‘correct’ I mean the ones that best suit the purpose of your visit, or that resonate with the purpose of travelling to that area. When my wife and I travelled to Australia to marry and see a solar eclipse I looked up the key Deities for that continent. There appeared to be few that covered the continent as a whole, but I found the easiest to connect with were the Rainbow Serpent and the over-reaching aboriginal concept of the Dreamtime. The Serpent is symbolic of the energies of the land, including both ley-lines and sources of running and standing water. The Dreamtime covers both the creation mythos of the continent, and shows the way to access them through
psychopomping, changing your state of consciousness. In earlier times this might have been done using psychoactive substances from plants or animals but, these days, psychological and breathing techniques are used that are just as effective, if not more so.
When travelling these altered states can spontaneously occur due to changes in body chemistry due to jet lag, which is useful to know when you are travelling. On my trip to Australia I used this to my advantage, in one memorable instance influencing the Rainbow Serpent to have it rain several times in one week at Alice Springs to end a drought. The full details are in my book “The Wizards Way to Wealth” as they are too in depth to go into here. This sort of contact doesn’t always produce such dramatic results, in the drought case I was moved by the plight of the animals suffering from it and petitioned the Serpent on their behalf. This type of altruistic magickal request, which can include petitioning for wisdom, understanding, and similar aspects of self-improvement seem to get the best results.
As with some Deities in your home country you can find those in foreign lands that will happily work with you to grant your wishes of perceived power, money and other desires. However, they tend to play pretty rough in some places. As mentioned in an earlier article the “Rule of Threefold Return” is a relatively new bit of dogma in western magickal and new age circles. Magick in other parts of the world runs on a completely different worldview and if you are not aware of this you can end up in some dicey situations very quickly. All too easily you can find out that the Deity is the one running the relationship – and you are its servant/pet!
But, as long as you take precautions in the same way that you do for physical travelling, all should be fine. If you have included self knowledge of as part of your Pagan path then you are less likely to be attracted to the lure of power over others and transient wealth, preferring instead to expand your skills and experience in a positive way that benefits all concerned. Local Pagans and magickal practitioners are usually happy to do skills exchanges and learn from each other. In my experience the local Shaman or Herbalist is frequently a better healer than the local Western-style medical practitioners and is worth seeking out if you don’t trust the local doctors. As long as you assess the risks and know what you are doing being a Pagan in a strange land can help in your development and those you meet on your way.
Content copyright © 2015 by Ian Edwards. All rights reserved.
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