I have a regular slot with a pagan magazine. The heading for this slot is Words from the Witch’s journals and I write about – you’ve guessed it – things I have recorded in my journals over the years.
Some of my journals are stunning leather bound creations. I always find it daunting to actually write in these. What if I don’t do the setting justice? Others are gifts from people who know my love for notebooks. I feel the paper – is it shiny? I sniff it for that smell that goes with a good book. (This does not make me weird, at least I hope not. I’m sure I’m not the only one who does it!)
Some of my journals are kept in spiral bound notepads from the local supermarket. These are full of illegible scribble and doodling alongside the notes I wanted to keep. Some records are penned on sheets from the ream of paper that is always present somewhere in the house, then collected into A4 ring binders. There are lots of printed sheets I have taken from the internet on subjects that interested me.
There is a box where random bits have been collected: small scraps of paper with quarter calls jotted down on them, the words to a chant to be learned, a recipe, a ritual outline, the script for a mummer’s play I’d written. I also have documents stored on my computer.
This regular magazine article was born from a realisation that my ‘witchy’ cupboard was bulging with the written words that I had both collected and written myself over quite a few years. I thought this would be interesting to share with people.
What I didn’t realise was how cathartic the experience would be for me. At regular intervals I get to review my pagan past. It reminds me of the things I did and the people I did it with. Some things I still do, some people I still see. Much has fell by the wayside as my life has changed in part due to my health problems. The lives of people around me have also changed for all the various reasons that peoples’ lives change, and they have moved on.
As I read, I smile, I chuckle, I am proud of the things we achieved. I cry for the people I’ve lost. I wonder over things I’ve forgotten, make notes of things I would like to find out more about. I get frustrated where I haven’t recorded as regularly as I should have, and at the gaps where it would have been great to see more. There are some lengthy gaps where life just became overwhelming and I didn’t have the time nor the energy to spare to keep records. Those memories are kept in my heart.
My journals aren’t just records of things we have done. I have recorded my thoughts and feelings towards my life and my pagan practices and how they intertwine. They remind me of who I am. My latest journal under construction – a touchy feely leather bound one – I keep by my chair in my living-room, easily accessible so that I can record in quiet moments.
I don’t aim to write in it every day, but I try to record when I do something specifically pagan – rituals and that sort of thing – and also when things happen that I feel are more than just coincidences, that there is a reason that I have not yet understood. I also include life events – my pagan life is not separate from the rest of my life.
When I started making notes all that time ago, I never stopped to think why I was doing so. I am now grateful that I did. I am enjoying the memories.
Portland Jones – disabilities liaison for Pagan Federation Midlands.