PBP - Discard Your Junk
When people start something new, they tend to go overboard when buying things. Most of us are guilty of this. I know I am.
Then, we go through "buyer's remorse." We all ask ourselves, "Why did I waste so much money on this crap?" I like to make everything myself so I don't go through this, and then I go overboard on getting the things I need to make it.
I needed to make a door saddlepbp-discard-your-junk-fn1 to cover up the end of a wooden floor of my old apartment to stop the floor from sliding. I literally needed to make two cuts for it to fit for my particular doorway: a 90° and 45° cut. I already had a miter box and a saw. I took a picture of it when I made my new used workbench.
Naturally, I decided that I needed to get a power miter saw for my 1-bedroom apartment.
After the project was done, I realized this was ridiculous. I made a mistake, but I couldn't return the saw anymore. I was stuck with my waste of money and space.
The next step, of course, was to store the saw on a shelf, taking up valuable storage space in my little apartment. "But I might need it later," I lied to myself. "This wasn't a waste of money. It's the first step to building better projects. There's no way that this large, awkwardly shaped object will get in the way whatsoever."
Eventually, I started to resent myself for buying it.
The reason I write this is because I notice a trend where people treat their religion like a hobby. How many websites have you seen where details of people's faiths are debated like the bylaws of a club? The most obvious large-spread topic I've seen recently is "Pagan" vs. "pagan" (capitalization) and which small sets of our splintered factions should be "under the 'pagan' umbrella." Does your splinter of our small minority count? There are also conversations debating which type of knife blade wields the most power (high-carbon vs. stainless steel, sharp vs. dull athames, etc.).
If you've ever been to a convention of any kind, religious or not, you'll know that even with the shows, demonstrations, workshops, concerts, rituals, and other events, the biggest draw to the convention is the vendors. People like to buy Stuff(tm), especially new pagans. It's natural. You are getting in to something new, so you want to explore the field. Of course, since the dawn to time, there has always been someone with a gimmick and a pitch that will sell you something to fill a void in your life that you didn't know you had.
If the end result is to acknowledge and give worship to the Gods, then how much Stuff(tm) do They require you to have? Do you truly need those crystals for Them to hear you? If I can't afford that birch wand with the garnet set in the tip, does that mean I am damned? Does the guy with yew wand and emerald tip have a better connection to Them? Is that wand the FiOS to my DSL? (Granted, I don't believe in either.pbp-discard-your-junk-fn2)
Over time, most people start realize that there is little difference, and they settle on the items they like most:
- "Silver Ravenwolf is full of crap. Walter Burkert is the shiznit!"pbp-discard-your-junk-fn3
- "I just cut myself with this athame! I guess it's a boline now, but I already have one I like."
- "This carved-ivory dildo with ruby balls just feels more sacred to me than the cyberskin one."
That's fine. Everyone has a favorite. But at the end of your sacred shopping spree, what do you do with the Old Stuff(tm)? When you no longer use your old 56k modem to the Gods, do you throw it away? Do you donate it/give it to someone? Or, do you stick it on a shelf or in a trunk somewhere, never to be touched again because you "may need it later."
Paganspbp-discard-your-junk-fn4 have a lot of Stuff(tm). Witchcraft involves a lot of tools and materials. Do yourself a favor. Once you find that perfect athame, give the rest up. You're only even going to use one. Keep a backup if you really want to, but you don't need eight of them. If you already have a different cauldron for each month of the year, eleven of which are kept in storage at a time, maybe you don't need that 16 quart cast iron cauldron because of the cute patterned trim at the top.
If you find yourself hoarding religious paraphernalia (to call it something other than hoarding is denial), but you can't bare to "waste" it, don't waste it. Use it one more time: as an offering. Give it a proper send off by donating it to the Gods. Burn it, break it, and/or bury it. Then, don't buy another.
I have exactly four items I use: a censer, two bowls (one for flammables, one for liquids), and a candle.pbp-discard-your-junk-fn5 If I had a fireplace or a backyard, I would require exactly none of these things. When your faith is a belief and not a hobby, you can see that the Gods are always in earshot, and They don't care how much Stuff(tm) you have. Faith is a believe, and it does not require 3 easy payments of $19.95.
pbp-discard-your-junk-fn1 A door saddle is the piece of wood under the door that covers the edges of two floors.
pbp-discard-your-junk-fn2 I do not practice witchcraft. Forcing my will on the world around me is an act of hubris.
pbp-discard-your-junk-fn3 Even if you don't believe in what she has written, reading the book still taught you that you don't believe in that path. Do you still need the book anymore?
pbp-discard-your-junk-fn4 I think by now we're all thinking of the big W, but this applies to many other paths as well.
pbp-discard-your-junk-fn5 Full disclosure: I also have two small statues, but those were gifts that have much more sentimental value than true religious value.