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This is the tenth entry in a series on a set of Pagan guidelines known as the Ordains. The Ordains, as we know them today, can be found in the works of Gerald Gardener. Maiden’s Circle uses a simplified version that has been edited and altered to reflect our core beliefs.
“Witches understand that the universe consists of perfect balance; therefore, everything has an opposite.”
When it comes to balance, you’ll find I’m a bit of a broken record. In videos and blogs, I often stress the importance of pursuing a balanced, healthy life. But what does it mean to be in perfect balance? And how is the knowledge that everything has an opposite useful when it comes to guiding us on our Pagan path?
Acknowledging that everything has an opposite can be as deep as we want it to be. We can think of it simply—as light and dark, hot and cold, up and down. Or we can consider more complex pairings—life and death, destruction and creation, right and wrong. Whatever we imagine, it will find its opposite in some form.
But, again, what does it do for us to acknowledge this concept? For me, life is all about cycles. I see the idea of opposites on a circle rather than a straight line, and it allows me to be a lot more zen about my life. Knowing that there’s always another side allows me to take the harder times in relative stride by reminding me that I’ll soon get back to good.
Looking at this concept as a wheel also helps me to reconcile the idea of balance with my spectrum-galore lifestyle. I’m no stranger to the “gray” areas of life, so I try not to view the world through a black and white filter, either.
The problem I think some people have with the idea that everything has an opposite is that they’re looking through that black and white filter.
You know the people: “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.” “If you don’t love everything about this thing, you must hate it.” “If you have a gap in your knowledge about this one thing, you must be stupid.” The list goes on.
Those same people hear “everything has an opposite,” and they immediately begin to decide that only certain things are allowed to be the opposite of others. So, while they’re happy with the idea of night opposing day, to say that pansexual is the opposite of straight (as opposed to gay/lesbian) might spike some fur. Even worse are those who ascribe opposites in much the same way, but this time assuming that that’s what you mean by “everything has an opposite” and being mad at you in advance.
If we really break down what that phrase means, there are no limits to what can and cannot have an opposite. Nor are there to what can and cannot be the “appointed” opposite of things that rest on a spectrum. And acknowledging this can bring us a deeper understanding of our universe.
I think asking these questions opens our minds to expansion. The more we question our universe—the more we ask “why” or “what does that mean”—the closer we come to reaching our potential as human and spiritual beings. Billions of people exist in this world, but many don’t actively pursue balance.
To me, that’s a dangerous way to live.
In my practice and the practice of Maiden’s Circle Coven, health and balance are primary concerns. Of course, I had to learn this the hard way. I’ve gone to extremes plenty of times—with drinking, with relationships, with things that were supposed to be good for me—you name it. Luckily, I’ve never gone so far with anything that I wasn’t able to come back to a healthy medium.
Today, balance is something I have to enthusiastically pursue, so I’ve arranged my life in a way that keeps me on track. Now, when things seem out of sorts, I can sense it in my energy much sooner and deal with the imbalance before it manifests in some physical way. I notice quickly when I’m more tired than usual, when I’m more or less hungry, when I’m suddenly sad for no reason.
Striving to maintain balance in my everyday life, in my spiritual practice, in my health and relationships allows me the comfort of feeling content in my life even when things are difficult. Having that kind of balance internally also affects my external life and being. Things seem to work well for me. Life seems a lot smoother the more I work towards understanding the concept of perfect balance.
What do you think about the ideas of “perfect balance” and “everything has an opposite”? When it comes to the overall universe, what do you think this Law means? What does it mean to you on a personal level? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook.
P.S. I’m in the process of starting a charity that offers aid to people who are homeless. Would you be interested in participating in a grassroots endeavor to create care packages for New York’s homeless?
The idea would involve bags of essentials including blankets, non-perishable food, feminine hygiene products, and more to help someone navigate life without a home. Homelessness can happen to anyone, so I want to do my part.
If you’re interested, email me here and I’ll let you know how you can help!
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA
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Back in the early days of this blog, we mentioned a beta version of our Covenpath course. The course is structured for those who have committed to a Pagan faith, but are relatively new to the practice of Wicca.
When testing the beta version of the course, it was important to have a wide variety of students. In order to get a more rounded viewpoint of what needed fixing, what worked, and what could be expanded upon, we needed both newbies and crones.
The range of experience helped immensely, but it also allowed for some interesting observations. A few students felt that they had an unfair advantage over other students and were eager to push ahead. Others seemed to feel they needed to push through the tasks quickly to “keep up” with their fellow betas.
We didn’t expect or intend to create this competitive energy, especially considering that the Covenpath is all about personal growth. The result of that energy was that students weren’t getting as much from this course as we’d hoped.
The time spent worrying about where other students were in the course made the whole thing a bit less enjoyable for everyone. The betas put so much stress on themselves to be the perfect student that they seemed to forget the purpose of the Covenpath course.
Later this year, the course will be launched publicly on the Maiden’s Circle website. We’ve taken some steps to prevent a repeat of the competitiveness, and it seemed prudent to discuss the subject of toxic perfectionism.
Chasing perfection is an endless quest
Perfect doesn’t exist. It’s an unhealthy and unreachable ideal. We’ve created a society in which people are always striving for some idealized version of themselves. When we imagine our Perfect Self, it makes us that much more aware of our perceived flaws.
What often ends up happening is we start to see that Perfect Self as a separate entity—much in the way that some people see the soul as separate from the body. Creating a mental separation between our True Self and our Perfect Self often causes a cognitive dissonance, leaving us unsure of who we are.
Striving for that unattainable Perfect Self leads to the constant feeling that we’re never good enough. We feel like impostors, regardless of our own legitimate experiences.
This can happen to anyone. Even doctors at the top of their field still face this self-doubt created by the need to be the best. It doesn’t help that we as a society tend to assume that someone in that position is perfect—at least when it comes to their expertise.
This is unfair to professionals and it’s unfair to ourselves. We’re all people. We’re humans trying our best to live happy, fulfilling lives. Trying to be perfect to the point of distracting and making ourselves feel bad is in direct conflict with that.
Chasing perfection makes it harder to enjoy stuff
Life should be enjoyed. Being on a constant quest towards perfection makes that harder. In our case, it makes the practice of Wicca much less fun. Yes, our faith is very real and serious, but it is built on love.
Doreen Valiente’s Charge of the Goddess is a Wiccan text that is spoken in the perspective of the Goddess. It states:
Let My worship be within the heart that rejoices,
for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.
It’s important to remember that most of us chose Wicca because of the way it makes us feel. Shouldn’t we want to feel good during our practice? Not to ignore the darker sides of our work, but to balance it with love and joy.
Chasing perfection distracts from Pagan work
It could be argued that striving to be a perfect Pagan is the best way to be a bad one. If we’re so focused on perfection, we risk being distracted, and it may even close us off energetically, making all of our spiritual work that much more difficult. It could even make our works entirely ineffective.
During spellwork, it’s important that we’re relaxed and focused on our goal. The same goes for certain meditations and activities used in the Covenpath course. If we’re paying more attention to what we’re doing “right” and “wrong,” then we won’t benefit from the work we’re doing.
Especially when it comes to the course, our goal should be to learn as we go. That means embracing the mistakes and loving the mishaps. In all my years of practice, I’ve never attended a group ritual where everything went exactly as planned. And that’s okay.
Life isn’t perfect and, again, neither are we. We’ve just got to roll with the changes and try to enjoy the ride.
Just Be You
When the Covenpath course launches, along with some other MCCA goodies, we want to make it clear that this path is both a communal and a very personal one. We share it with one another, but our connection with the Goddess has to be forged within us.
We are not in competition to see who’s the better Pagan. We do not invite witch wars or offer degrees and rankings. There is a hierarchy in the structure of Maiden’s Circle to keep things running smoothly, but no one witch stands higher than another.
The High Priestess position is a position of service. It’s an office that requires the most dedication to the highest good of the Coven. A High Priestess cannot and should not run a coven alone, and so Maiden’s Circle is structured with a small council of Handmaidens to help.
No one who holds these positions is perfect. We don’t expect those who come into the Coven later to be perfect, either. We just expect you to be you, whoever that is.
Do you have any hang-ups or doubts that keep you from moving forward? How do you deal with moments of self-doubt and the desire for perfection?
Let me know what you think in the comments!
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA
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