Girl, it’s pretty fucking incredible that you can have legs long enough to simultaneously keep you feet firmly on the ground and your head in the damn clouds.”
My friend Myles made this statement in an exacerbated moment, frustrated by my mention of a passing spirit that had caught my attention. Myles is a pretty hardcore rational thinker – a scientist, an atheist, and a complete skeptic of all things paranormal, mystical, and metaphysical. I’m open-minded about the role of both science and religion, a believer in at least few things strange and unusual, and a polytheist. That we manage to be friends is proof to me of the existence of mystical and magical forces in the universe.*
While Myles’ comment was made in a bit of a pissy, sarcastic tone, there is some core truth in it. Exploring paganism requires ‘legs long enough’ to keep yourself open to extraordinary, sometimes unexplainable events… and not let yourself get carried away by them. We all know (or have been ourselves) that overzealous new practitioner who see omens everywhere and interprets every event as something mystical or magical. It’s all too easy to get caught up in moment and in the feeling that the universe is a book of secrets to be decoded… or to assume that the events in our lives are all signs or messages from the deities. And yet, if we’re go down most pagan paths, we cannot immediately dismiss all possible mystical or unexplained events. There will be things that we cannot explain with science, logic, or rational thought.
As in all things, I think there has to be a balance between skepticism and mysticism, lest we get carried away with our own illusions of grandeur. It feels really good to think that the gods have chosen to favor us with their attention or that we’re somehow witness to something extraordinary. Yet we need to take care that we aren’t blowing things out of proportion, that we allow ourselves the opportunity to see things that others may not, and yet still keep things in a reasonable perspective. It’s not always an easy task to accomplish, but well worth the effort for those who do.
*On a side note: Myles’ explanation for our friendship is that I can cook, whereas he is, in his own words, “a hopeless incompetent” in the kitchen. Myles is a black hole for all things mystical and magical (and I’m sure he’d take that as a compliment).