Putting the Pagan into the Pilgrimage: How I Brought My Craft On the Road

Photo by Alexandrite Photography – https://www.facebook.com/alexandritephoto

Before I made the decision to go on my road trip I had begun re-exploring something I hadn’t been active in for almost a decade: paganism and witchcraft. It was something that had resonated with me from a very young age, but after a brief stint with Wicca as a pre-teen I fell away from it for multiple reasons. Wicca hadn’t felt right to me and, still feeling the pressures of living in a small Christian town and feeling the stigma from friends and family, I eventually stepped away from my practice.

Shortly before my catastrophic life upheaval I started quietly immersing myself again with the newfound knowledge that Wicca was not the end-all, be-all to witchcraft. Since then, I’ve slowly grown into my path as an eclectic pagan witch and it’s been a major part of my spiritual growth and mental health.

Now, you may be wondering just how I manage to keep up on my craft in the van. After all, there’s limited storage space, we’re always on the go, and it requires a lot of dedicated time and preparation to practice, right? We don’t exactly have a broom closet to keep supplies in (pun intended).

While all of the above hold a small measure of truth, I’ve found many ways to keep my spiritual journey alive and well with some adjustments. For me personally, this meant picking and choosing things to bring on the road with me that don’t require as much space or special tools/ingredients, the main three being my crystals, my tarot cards, and (the easiest one to bring) meditation.

As my mother would happily tell you, I have been a nut for pretty rocks since I was a small girl. Many of the crystals I brought along with me are ones I have had the majority of my life (which in the grand scheme isn’t very long, but to hold onto the same rocks for upwards of a decade is pretty impressive for someone like me who loses her keys .02 seconds after setting them down). It only made sense that they would join me for this journey as well. There are different uses for different types of stones, rose quartz probably being the most well known as a representation of self-love. While there are times that I pick out stones for specific purposes (like when I made myself a money jar! More on that later), for the most part they just lift my mood with their beauty when I need a pick me up.

Setting up my work spread (crystals, tarot cards, and my money jar all pictured)

When I was a little girl, my dad and I used to have a morning ritual of either pulling three cards from a deck of playing cards or rolling three dice to see how our day would go; one card for the morning, one for the afternoon, and one for the evening. As an adult, I still like to follow this tradition with my tarot cards! They also serve as an unbiased form of advice if I have a decision or situation that I am struggling with. Trust me, the cards don’t lie and they certainly don’t sugarcoat anything for anyone! They’re great at reminding me when I’m on the right track and when I need to do some self-reflection and improvement.

Okay, this last one is a bit of a mix between spiritual health and mental health. Meditation has been around for thousands of years, dating back as far as 5000BC (that’s a long time, roughly 7000 years ago!), so it’s safe to say that it works with as long as it has been practiced worldwide. On the more spiritual side of things, I use meditation to feel closer and more connected to my spiritual guides and deities and my “higher self” so to speak, as well as using it for what we witches know as ‘shadow work’. Shadow work is the process of looking into the not so pretty parts of yourself and typically involves healing inner child wounds so we can recognize our own unhealthy behaviors and where they stem from.

Photo by Alexandrite Photography

But meditation isn’t only a mystical form of worshipping the divine and fighting off our own shadows, it’s also been used by psychologists for centuries as a means of treating mental illness (in fact, shadow work is based off a meditation method developed by Carl Jung, feel free to check out the article I linked at the end). It serves as a way to relax after a long day on the road, and in terms of my mental health it has done wonders for helping me manage my anxiety through mindfulness and grounding meditations.

There you have it! Even on the road, it’s very important to devote time to things that help you feel whole, especially when you spend a lot of time moving from place to place. With such constant change my crystals, my cards, and my handy dandy brain help keep me rooted to myself and the things I love the most.

Additional Links: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_(psychology).

3 thoughts on “Putting the Pagan into the Pilgrimage: How I Brought My Craft On the Road

  1. But….what about your demon dog? Pistol. She,z certainly a source of wonder & affliction. I still roll 3 dice each morning. Silly but its never dull. Thirsty Pagan misses his youngin.

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  2. It is indeed challenging to both “travel light” and bring your necessary kit along with you. I have several things in my “tool box” for my own spiritual, religious, and meditative needs (not pagan, but eclectic indeed!) — and paring them down for travel is challenging! But I have learned over the years to improvise and have created some of my own tools that can serve multiple purposes. (Especially when I’m limited to what fits in a backpack for a week!)

    For me, there is a level of peace that I’ve found in knowing that I can participate in my routines and practices with a scaled-down tool box. It tells me that my needs are able to be fulfilled within my own self when I can’t rely on the “tools of the trade”.

    I’ll be interested to see how you streamline your tool box over the course of your travels and adventures. Who knows, you might one day be a key source of knowledge for future pagans on pilgrimage, looking for tips on what to bring, what to substitute, and what to collect along the way!!

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