This week, I’m going to write about diaries. Spiritual diaries and journals in particular. In some ways, this feels like a bit of an odd topic, but for lack of other ideas to write about, I’m going to follow the Muses and see where I end up.
I’ve always been an inconsistent diaryist, even before I got engrossed in the land of blogging. I keep them all, of course, but my handwritten diaries are all half-empty. I’ve got so many journals and books half-filled with my thoughts, but the possibility of repurposing them as ordinary notebooks is inconceivable. They’re diaries. That’s what they’ll stay, even if I’ve only used half the book and won’t keep writing in it any longer.
As for spiritual diaries, I’ve had a few. I had a Book of Mirrors I started back in 2002 or something and continued to use for several years, albeit intermittently. It was, admittedly, a bit less spiritual in the beginning, but it was quickly filled with prayers to Goddess and other assorted spiritual things. It’s a really odd book to look back on, as I hardly remember why I wrote any of the things I wrote. But I keep it anyway. It has some of the first attempts I made at writing my own hymns for the Gods in it, so it’s special in that way. I can look back on those words and see how true they still ring, all these years later.
I also kept a dream diary for about two years or so some time in 2002-4?. That was about as committed as I got. I was never very good at writing down my dreams, mostly because I was never that troubled by them. The ones I remember are the ones that stick with me after I’ve woken up. Sometimes, they don’t mean anything. Other times, it’s something more significant. It’s a very odd little snapshot of my dreamscape, because some of those dreams I can still recall with vivid detail, all these years later. I still don’t think half of them mean anything, but it’s still an interesting thing to look over.
I also started a Book of Blessings once in a thick A4 sketchbook thing. I often used my calligraphy inks in there, as well as texta, and did all sorts of devotional art and prayers. It got gutted in the last BoS reorganisation and the pages I’d used are now in sheet protectors in a file. The rest of the book is in a plastic bag, still, I presume, waiting for me to do something with it.
I also have a Shemsu diary I attempted to keep some time ago, right after I’d had my RPD in 2006. That didn’t get used very often either, and it’s still half-empty. But at least it’s more of a diary sort of thing, small though it is. I still kind of dip into it now, adding an entry to the pages, but not so often anymore.
The main spiritual diary I have right now is a notebook that began life as something of a BoS, but has since turned into a ‘drafting’ sort of journal, where I can write things out and play with ideas, help them form into something coherent before I attempt to unleash them into the world.
My DW/LJ blog serves a similar purpose, except for the fact people get to read these ones. They’re still draft quality posts as I’m still figuring shit out. I’m attempting to write down things that are hard to write down, and I share them because I want to see if anyone else can follow where I’m going. That feedback is important for checking on your spiritual growth, and I’m at that stage of my life now where I want that feedback, to be able to play with philosophical, theological, and other spiritual ideas in a way I wasn’t capable of when I was a baby pagan.
I often wonder why I keep them when I look over them again. They’re not the most eloquent or insightful things in the world. None of them are very deep or philosophical. But there are moments when I do see some small lightbulb emerge. And it’s a good record of where I’ve been. I can see where I was at that time, and see how my spirituality has developed over the years. I think that’s important, to be able to look back and see where ideas have come from, to trace back those developments to points you might not have been aware of at the time.
This, more than anything else, is why I keep doing it. So there’s some sort of record of my thoughts about my religious and spiritual beliefs so that I can make sense of them, if not now, then a year or two down the track when things make more sense.