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This may seem like a peculiar starting post, both for this blog and also for the Pagan Blog Project, but it’s actually rather fitting, because my art dictates how I see the cosmos. It’s why I’m religious at all. It’s also a big part of my practice.

I write, you see. Stories, as much as I can. Poetry, more than I care to admit in public. By training, I’m a linguist, and there is more artistry in translation and in learning to express meaning in multiple tongues than most people will ever know or bother to find. There is a certain elegance to searching out exactly the right words and lining them up in exactly the right order, so that the reader gains not just the information you’re conveying, but a sense of you, too. You can wrap up a person’s mannerisms, their tone of voice, the esteem in which they hold their reader and put all of that information into your choice of words, if you approach language as an artist. You can paint a portrait of someone just as easily in letters as you can in oils.

It was when I was learning how to manipulate words that I started to believe in the gods. When I wrote, there was a peacefulness that came over me, that I didn’t know anywhere else. A serenity, coupled with a sudden compulsion to write until my hands hurt from holding my pen. It was what modern Druids call awen, pure inspiration. And it was the most wonderful feeling in the world.

I chased that awen and found paganism, found gods whose stories and personalities resonated with me, who invaded my stories and my poetry and set up camp in my personal mythic cycle. I found that choosing the right words for ritual and for prayer was something I could do, something that felt creative and satisfying. I started trying to put together the foundations of a personal religious system, not because of theological differences with the big traditions I was learning about- but because their aesthetics didn’t fit with me. (And before that sounds a shallow statement, consider how important aesthetics that fit with a person are, when it comes to creating ritual. If it doesn’t move you, you won’t get to the stage where you can connect with what/whoever it is you want to, be it gods or spirits or your own mind. Ritual full of symbolism that means nothing to you is either terrifying and unknown, or it fizzles out and you wonder what the point was.)

Years after that, I found people who thought that art was as fundamental as I did, who thought that by creating art, we emulate God Herself, in all her wonder. I found the Feri Tradition. It’s one of the larger influences on my path to date, all because I’m encouraged to make art, to recognise that creative process as divinely inspired, to seek to understand things by making art about them.

That is part of the reason why I started this blog. I feel like my skill with words can only benefit from a (admittedly small) amount of discipline. It’s why I’m doing the Pagan Blog Project, too. To improve my art, which improves my Self, which improves who I am in the wider world.

A writer who is not writing enough is a sad creature, indeed. Here’s to changing some of that, this year.