Now this is the law of the jungle, as old and as true as the sky, And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk, the law runneth over and back; For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.
-Rudyard Kipling; The Second Jungle Book
Some of my Tumblr followers saw a post that I wrote this morning about the past year that I’ve had. Some have born witness to it in more personal ways than others. In that, I came to a solid conviction about the nature of my spiritual practice- in that it wasn’t lacking for devotion of belief, but that it was strongly lacking in orthopraxy. Since a psychotic break and the subsequent damages and struggles, both from my mental health and personal life; I have become obsessed with the ritualization of my life. This is a survival tactic for myself and it keeps me settled and stable.
In that, I’ve been rereading some of my old favorite stories, which has included The Jungle Book and its brother. Something that stuck out at me so strongly was the “Law of the Jungle” poem. Obviously, I will align myself more with the wolves of mountain and plain, but that’s a semantic difference that doesn’t serve much of a purpose here.
Over the last few years as I pulled away from conventional pagan discourses and into my own private practice, I have been asked many many times what I believe and what I follow. My answers have been…ambiguous at best due to some concerns about the community at large de-contextualizing my beliefs, redirecting them or even claiming ownership of them. This kind of fear is not something I should be living with. I’m a storyteller and teacher by nature. And I am built for “packs.” And to me, that word has a thousand definitions, and none. So I’ll be exploring that, among other things.
This will be my exploration and explanation of how I built my practice and my faith. It’s a critical examination of myself and the things that I believe, in context to my Sami heritage and what I have learned by becoming more linked into that community and active practice; to my Norse belief system, which I was raised with; my old ties to Catholicism and Protestant Christianity, which influence me to this day in my research and worldview- though I no longer follow that path; and to the Irish cultural practices and sometimes beliefs that influence my day to day life.
There are some things that I will not be sharing, and I’ll be noting the pieces of those practices as they become relevant. This is because some of them are from a closed, indigenous culture, and some of them are from a heritage based practice that I learned from my great-grandmother, in which case it is “blood-based.” (A concept I will address at another time because it has nothing to to with heritage and more of directed lineage and tradition.)
The Law of the Wilds demands that I teach and coexist in the environments around me. Much as my wild brothers and sisters would. So here I am, with a bone to gnaw and a song to sing. This is my practice.