The Summer of Self Love continues! Real quick, allow me to say Happy Leo Season! If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that this is one of my favorite times of the year. I hope you all are well.
Stories Are Important
As a hillbilly, I know this to be truth. We’re a group of people with a long and rich history of participating in the oral tradition. Stories are how we teach the youngsters, it’s how we let others know our perspective–how we relate to and interact with the world around us.
Thankfully, academia also knows the power and importance of story telling to humanity as a whole.
Humans are inclined to see narratives where there are none because it can afford meaning to our lives, a form of existential problem-solving. [x]
If you’re reading this blog, chances are pretty high that you’re a witch, or a pagan, or pagan-adjacent. And within these groups will be two sub-groups: 1) Those of you who already know how important stories are, and 2) Those of you who don’t see the point.
Allow me to plead my case to those of you in sub-group #2.
It wasn’t very long ago that I was a newbie witch/pagan (that’s a lie–I’ve been doing this for 14 years now), so I remember reading all the beginners books (shout out to Scott Cunningham) and feeling two things.
The first one was excitement.
The second was a want so deep it almost felt like a need to go out and buy all the tools mentioned in these books.
And once that wore off (thanks to the cold bucket of water to the face that was my budget), I became obsessed with the idea of learning herb and color correspondences and start scrawling down any spell or ritual I could get my grubby little mitts on.
If your start was anything like mine, chances are you weren’t born into a family of witches who showed you the ropes, nor were you immediately snapped up for training by an established coven.
And, look, I can’t be sure because I’ve only ever been solitary in my path, but if the outer court material available to the public is anything to go by, mythic stories are important to British Trad Craft, and traditions heavily inspired by them.
An important work among a lot of witches and traditions thereof is Aradia, Gospel of the Witches, by Charles G. Leland. Ever hear of The Charge of the Goddess, or Drawing Down the Moon? Yeah, the seeds for those works (in their many permutations) were planted within Aradia. It’s that important.
Somewhere along the line, we forgot the importance of stories in spirituality, and traded them in for shiny, Instagram-able tools.
The Stories We Tell
Stories are as ubiquitous as oxygen, and just as vital.
Any time you tell someone about your day, you’re telling stories.
Any time you talk about your childhood, you’re telling stories.
Any time you gossip about drama among the YouTube beauty community, you’re telling stories.
And sometimes, the stories we tell are…not great, to say the least.
Because every thought you have during the day is a story you’re telling yourself.
I know I used to tell myself some pretty shitty stories. If you could have heard my thoughts back then (you wouldn’t be reading this because you’d be sick of me), you would know I basically thought of myself as some sort of Amazon warrior princess swinging around a flaming sword, ready to burn down the world for its own good.
I was always angry, always in a fight with someone, always raging. I used what I saw as the wrongs of the world to work out my own anger issues and…at a certain point it just got tiring.
I’ve watched friends tell themselves (and myself) stories in where they are always the victim, always the winner, always ignored. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these stories would start to fall apart for me the moment I asked their tellers follow up questions. It was pretty easy to see that they’d set themselves up for failure in order to become a self fulfilling prophecy, or they were massively overstating how #winning their life was, or they never even tried to start up a conversation with the people they claimed were ignoring them.
Of course, most of these friends had become very attached to the story they told me, and would reject the parts they played in their own narratives.
I think the turning point for me was realizing I did the same thing. And so I started asking myself follow up questions. And more importantly, I answered them honestly, and objectively.
It’s fucking hard work, I’ll admit. But the end result was me becoming a happier person. I dumped enough of my baggage to finally have the room to begin my personal growth.
It’s not a miracle cure-all, of course. This method of honesty didn’t cure my depression, or clear my acne, or paid off my debts. But you’d be amazed how much better you’ll feel when you finally decide to stop bullshitting yourself.
The Personal Myth
Stories on their own are, obviously, neutral. They are not good or bad in and of themselves.
Knowing this, I decided to replace my unhelpful stories with helpful ones.
This is where the concept of personal myths comes in. The personal myth is a story you tell yourself to help you make sense of your life and your place within it. They’re a re-framing of past events that point out the character strengths of yours that helped get you to this point, and the character flaws that you could work on to get yourself farther.
It’s an incredibly useful technique, which is why it is part of Lesson One of Philautia.
And I’ve decided to share it here with all of you, for free. If you want a preview of Philautia, where I teach you about the personal myth, just click the link below and grab your free download.
Like what you read? There’s more to discover! To purchase Philautia, click either the banner below, or this link. There’s three lessons, six assignments, and tons of activities (such as a complete ritual and two outlines for you to use in order to make your own, and a 31 day self care challenge–the 15 Day version is here for free), all scattered over the span of 3 months to provide a relaxed pace to learn, complete assignments, and chat with other students in the private Facebook group.
Raise your spirit with Philautia!