One of the greatest things about paganism and witchcraft is the diversity of it. Paganism describes any religion that is NOT Christianity or Judaism, although I think most modern people also exclude Islam as it very closely related both Christianity and Judaism. So paganism includes everything from Wicca and Druidism to Native American and Aztec to Buddhism and Hinduism. It's a very beautiful thing if you think about it. Every culture in the world has had some form of religion, including our prehistoric relatives. How do we know this? We have found burial sites where the dead were buried with flowers and possessions, a sign that they very likely believed in something more than our time here on earth. But what makes paganism so beautiful, is also a draw back.
There is no one set path in most pagan religions. Very few have written holy books like the Bible or Qur'an, making it difficult for many to find their way. Furthermore there are so many fields you can study, like runes, tarot, astrology, and witchcraft, that it can be overwhelming, even for an expert. So how do you pick what to study? How do I decide? I listen to my heart.
I know; that sounds kind of funny. Even reading it out loud made me chuckle a bit, but it's the truth. Sometimes I am just lying in bed at night trying to fall asleep and out of no where I have the urge to design my own runes. And I did. It took me time to gather the stones I wanted and create them, but I did it. I haven't had too much desire since I made them and cast them for the first time to use them again though. Sad right? However, the reason I cast them was extremely important and set in motion this year's events. While stressful, everything I am doing right now is going to have major pay offs. Other times I am on Pinterest looking at random pictures and I get an idea that I just can't shake. Right now I am really interested in organic gardening. I didn't grow anything this year, but with moving I know next spring things will be more stable, and I will hopefully have the space and sun for a beautiful garden.
After I have a topic, I begin my research on the internet. This is honestly the best way to find things. In fact, I try Pinterest first because bloggers tend to have the most experience with things and they tend to be honest. Websites from Google are great, but if I am looking at painting a fabric chair, the blogger who told me her mistakes and what she will do differently next time is far more helpful that a set of directions. Next I turn to books. I browse Barnes and Nobles to find new titles and spend a long time on Amazon reading reviews and ordering books. Books are probably my biggest weakness, but they are great concentrated sources of information. If you are researching pagan topics, books tend to be more in depth, unless you buy a beginner witchcraft or Wiccan books. Beginner books scratch the surface of many topics, but can lead you to other wonderfully in depth books if you check their references and suggested reading lists. If you are looking for a place to start, check out my Knowing Thy Craft post. If I am hitting a dead end, sometimes I will visit my local metaphysical store and ask if they know anything or can point me to someone who does. It is amazing how willing others are to share their knowledge with you. Never be afraid to ask for help.
I have a long list of things I am currently looking into, including why and how witches cast circles, the meaning of trees and plants, herbal remedies, homesteading, organic gardening, and raising chickens and bees. Many of these topics will likely find their way into my blog, so keep an eye out for those posts.
How do you decide on a topic for continuous learning and where do you start you research?