-The immortal words of Syrio Forel, from George RR Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series.
This is something I have been dwelling on quite a lot recently in the context of my spiritual path. The Witch of Forest Grove posted this fantastic piece yesterday about fear and doubt in witchcraft and it prompted this post.
Fear is something that I have struggled with a lot. I have to admit that at times it has been utterly crippling. When I was around 15 and I first came to paganism, I somehow managed to stumble across traditional witchcraft only months after discovering paganism itself. Something resonated deeply within me and (you must excuse the cliché) called to my soul in a way that nothing else has before or since. Yet I was too young, inexperienced and fearful to actually persue that path at the time. The fear of spirits and the otherworld was so great that I couldn’t bring myself to do even the most basic of practices, and after several months of cowardice I moved on.
Years later traditional witchcraft still calls. I felt a burning desire in my heart that I could no longer ignore and a few months ago, after several signs and omens that told me that I had permission to continue; I started out (again!) on this path.
This time, the fear is not so great, but it is there all the same. I get fed little titbits of information in dreams and via omens and signs, I practice divination and carry out my devotions to my gods. However so far I have not practised anything that could be considered magic. I still fear striking the match. I fear becoming visible to things in the dark that weren’t looking at me before.
This week I have had what I think are 2 interactions with spirits (I will hopefully have finished that post later today). Both made me uncomfortable at first but I worked past that both times. This time around I don’t have the luxury of turning away and ignoring things. This time, things are happening for me. This time, the burning desire will get so bad that if I turn away I will surely catch fire.
The kind of witch I want to be is one who breaks taboo and masters fear.
And so I remind myself that fear cuts deeper than swords.