trance stories: compassion fatigue




I was watching a vlog created by a Wiccan who was talking about the signs you know you’re a witch. It seemed that all of her signs had one thing in common: empathy. What I took from it is that a witch is someone who cannot help but have compassion for all living beings, be they human, animal or plantlife. That of course doesn’t mean that one does not appropriately respect and fear predators, be they human, animal or plantlife. Thus the first thing a lot of rookie spellcasters learn is protection spells. At least, that’s the smart way to do it.

And why not? If you were naturally inclined to feel empathy, you wouldn’t see things as black and white. You wouldn’t see an ultimate good and ultimate evil. You wouldn’t limit your care and compassion to those in your own tribe, denomination, gender, orientation, race or mental ability.

Perhaps you don’t share the view that your tribe is to be worshipped and honoured no matter how terrible it might become, and the enemy is to be fought against no matter how innocent it may be. You might see someone who believes in an ultimate good and ultimate evil as an ill, deceived, violent, potentially dangerous predator from whom you might require protection, or might be in a position to help.

But if your psychological bedrock is not built on the notion of an almighty god and its people, locked in a holy battle against an evil demon and its people, what exactly do you believe?

I’ve learned of something called a “pantheon”. While the young, popular religions (yes, to a cultural historian, two thousand years is VERY young) don’t necessarily utilize a pantheon to express the wisdom of the ages, most ancient traditions do. The wisdom I’m talking about is the spiritual maturity to understand that, rather than all of reality working on a binary system of good competing with evil, the more likely substance holding the cosmos together is a series, or pantheon if you will, of forces with competing or cooperating interests.

Have I lost anyone yet?

With this in mind, I received a wisdom during last night’s adventure.

Chaos and desperation. A man makes a pact he cannot honor. A whole group of people, a generation, is filled with fear. And a disturbing thought on the side of fortune: sometimes the wrong thing is the right thing to do.

This, I think, is a just a token of maturity. It just means I need to appropriately respect and fear the fact that people don’t always automatically care about how I feel in the way I sometimes can’t help but care… I guess at some point someone gave me the curse and blessing of empathy. Without it, I wouldn’t be so good at my support work job. But when I allow it to control me, I sometimes act against my own best interests. Which rune would this be?

I can’t help but feel that this whole thing started as a result of the meditation I recorded last night. It was a simple one, written by Diana Paxson, with some basic thoughts on the meanings of the runes. It’s meant to be used with the book “Taking Up the Runes” which we are now studying.




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