(The title of this entry is a quote from Benjamin Franklin.)
So, I was reading a blog entry this morning about spell failure and spell success. (The link is at the bottom of this entry.) And what really got to me was the very first sentence to the post, “Everyone loves to talk about their spell successes, but what about failures?” And he raises such a valid point with that question alone. How often are you perusing your blog roll and read about how this spell came true or a petition to X-OTHER™ ended up working to the petitioner’s advantage? How often can you say, honestly, that you’ve sat down and read a blog entry that went on about what the spell caster or petitioner felt ended in failure?
I’ve been wracking my brain since reading his post and have to say that I can’t think of an instance where failure was mentioned.
Personally, I know I’ve mentioned it. I’ve talked about my spell crafting failures whenever I’ve gone on about the desire to do any type of spell work. In actuality, it is because of those failures that I find myself shying away from such things now. I’m so used to having things not work out for me that I don’t want to be disappointed again. I could go on and on about how many different spells have failed, my reaction to it, and what my ultimate desire to end this cycle is. I could go on and on about how I need to work on this, this, and this in the hopes that things will stop failing whenever I cast spells. But you know what? That’s not what I want to talk about. What I want to write about is the fact that, like the Fallow Times, it doesn’t seem to be discussed. And then, I’m going to talk about it in detail because, you know, that’s the whole point here, isn’t it?
Now, secrecy is actually a big part of witchcraft and paganism. I think a lot of this stems from having to live in the broom closet for so long because of backlash in some venue or another. I can understand the need behind the secrecy, but at this point, I can’t respect it any longer. I can’t sit down and say to myself, “Well, not everyone feels this way,” or “people won’t understand so…” I’ve had a big back and forth with myself, with other pagans, and with my gods about keeping things secret. And the whole point in this blog was to not keep things from other people.
I’m writing this journal based on the fact that, as a newbie pagan, I had no one to turn to via the Internet because things were still so dark and quiet (and being snottily accused of being a fluffy bunny when I asked questions). And while I can sympathize and empathize with those who were practicing quietly, I can’t do this myself. I’m loud; I’m obnoxious; I say shit without thinking. And that’s what this blog is about, too. Sure, it’s all about me, me, me (I’m also pretty narcissistic) but I’m also trying to help others who are going through problems that other pagans haven’t thought of discussing in their blogs or don’t think that they should mention said topic in their blogs.
Okay, so my soap box is away. And maybe we’ll find me talking about secrecy is another future PBP post. In the mean time, let’s get back to the subject at hand: FAILURE.
I’m talking about that moment when you realize that what you wanted isn’t going to happen. I’m talking about that second in time when the spell you worked, the hopes you have, the petition you had for/with X-OTHER™ doesn’t end up panning out the way that you wanted it to. Maybe you had a little bit of an answer, but it wasn’t the end result you had in mind. It’s that moment when your gut sinks in resignation and you feel like you suck at life. It’s that moment when you know that what you had desired above else isn’t going to happen. It’s that moment when you say to yourself, “Well. Shit. What the hell is going on here? I did all that I was supposed to!” That’s what I’m talking about.
I think failure is a lot more common than we give credit for. We fail at a lot of things in our mundane lives. I can’t bake cookies to save my life unless I’m obsessively following a recipe. We fail at completing a task because of a time limit or because we aren’t as skilled as we had assumed we were. We fail at explaining things properly to our children or to others with questions because we don’t have all of the information necessary, or maybe we’re just shitty teachers. It happens often in our mundane lives, so why in the hell doesn’t it happen as often in our witchy or pagan lives? And I think that the overall look and feel is wrong: it does happen just as often in our pagan paths as it does at home/work/school/life. We’re just less reticent to speak about it because we’re so focused on being the best that we can be or we’re so focused on keeping our lives in the broom closet that discussing it has suddenly become a pagan no-no.
You know, to be completely honest, I can’t say for sure why the hell failure isn’t as commonly discussed as our successes. Maybe it’s human nature. Maybe it’s the need and desire to put our best face forward at all times and escape the nitty-gritty details. Maybe it’s just the fact that you already feel like such shit about failing in the first place that writing about it will only make it worse. I don’t know. All I do know is that I’ve written about my failures, both on a spiritual path and as a spellcaster, and I will continue to do so because it’s not fair for me to say, “I’m awesome at all that I do,” because I’m not. I fail and I succeed and I fail and I succeed. It is what it is. And it’s just something that I, as a pagan and a mother and an unemployed woman and a Tarot reader and and and, will have to accept.
Now, I’m ending this post and I feel like it’s choppy. I feel like it doesn’t answer all of the questions and I feel like, it’s possible that it will fail what I intended for it to do (alert others that failures happen and it’s quite all right). But, if that’s the case? Then it really just goes to prove my point in the first place, doesn’t it? Failing is all right, too.