Some people like to wear no-show socks. Some people like no-show deodorant. Me? Well, I enjoy those things, too, but something else I don't tend to show much of is my spellcrafting or much of my practice.
This post is both an update to the last post about my "blue moon" ritual plans being cancelled, and an attempt to address something that a viewer pointed out which has also been an ongoing struggle of my own. I refer to the practice of sharing our personal practice online, and the connected suspicion that if we don't show it, maybe we're not really doing it at all.
Of the almost 300 videos on my YouTube channel so far, I have 54 in my "Religion-related videos" playlist at the time of this blog post, and some others are probably also related to my spirituality but not enough that I put them in the playlist. Of these 54 videos, I can count FOUR demonstrations and TWO celebrations--videos where I show an event I'm attending (a drum circle in 2008, and Pagan Pride in August 2012). There are also several videos where I explain, in words, something I have done previously or the way I normally do something (like grounding/centering) without actually showing me doing these things. Of these videos, I can count somewhere around FIVE. I know that on paganperspective I have done at least two demonstrations, one showing how I would do a "love spell" to draw love to me, and the other was some energy work that I have an extra video from on my channel. So as you can see, showing myself doing spellcraft is not common, but I have shown some things, and other things I am alright with explaining in words.
The rest of my practice--the other drum circles I've attended or held in my backyard or living room with family and friends, the first group practices I did way back in 2004-2008 when I was starting to study Wicca, each time I cleanse crystals by the full moon and the sun, walking meditations, dreams, shadow work circles, elemental meditation circles, my Litha ritual this year, little spells here and there for energy or healing or protection and so on, or the simple offerings and crystal cleansing I did for the "blue moon" this past week--is not shown. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist, of course. It only means that I don't show it to the whole world. Many of my rituals are done outside in the middle of the night, so recording wouldn't even be practical if I wanted to record them. I think everyone understands that not every moment of any YouTuber's life is shown in videos. Even the Shaytards, who have posted a video every day for years now, leave out some moments. So I think people know that just because I'm not showing my craft does not mean it doesn't exist, especially when I do talk about a lot of things afterwards.
A Personal Choice
Despite this probable understanding, I do struggle with what to show and what not to. From the beginning, I did not feel it was right to record myself performing a ritual. Something like that is personal, and having it recorded feels to me like I'm only doing the ritual to show it to others, which is not the case when I'm working. I don't even show my altar set-ups, because whenever I go to take a picture, I have this feeling of "So you set this up just to show other people?" I enjoy looking at pictures of other people's altars, and people have asked to see mine, yet so far I have not desired to show my personal practices. I talk about them pretty openly, but SHOWING them is different for me. I did, however, take a few photos with my cell phone of what I did for my Litha ritual this year, planning on sharing it later on down the line, or maybe even next year. I need a buffer zone for sharing things, to a point where I feel it's been long enough that it won't affect my feelings about what I've done. I need and want that personal time with it. It's for me and my connection to the Universe. Yet, I enjoy connecting to other people. So I do have some pictures stored away that I may share at some point, and I do plan on showing my "Craft Room" at some point in a video.
Like I said, there are some videos that do show or explain bits of my practice, though perhaps they are too rare for people to take note. Even when I've done demonstrations of spells in video, the one on paganperspective was for demonstration only, going through the motions. I did it again afterwards with my energy actually into it. I didn't feel comfortable actually performing it on camera, but I wanted to show my process to show people how I do it. In my flower affirmation video, I was actually collecting the flowers I wanted and then releasing them, so that was as close to showing real work as I got with video, though to me it was much more informal and therefore did not bother me as much to show it. And with my Doorknob Spell, I would show that, but it was just a story about what happened years ago! If I still had the dry erase doorknob hanger, I would gladly demonstrate, but I think that one's pretty self-explanatory as a story. In my Samhain Ritual video, I talk about what I did with the UU club. It wasn't appropriate to record the actual event, but I didn't mind at all telling my viewers the specifics, and I do plan to share the notes of the ritual at some point so that others may use it if they like.
Finally, I come to the most recent, my Pagan Pride 2012 video which was recorded at Cleveland Area (Ohio) Pagan Pride on 25 August. We got there just in time for a public ritual of sorts, and when it began I gave the camera to my friend so that he could record some things while my other friend and I participated in the ritual. It mostly consisted of dancing, and the video shows just a little of us greeting the elements while the leaders of the ritual did the actual calling. I thought since it was public anyway, sharing a bit would be a good opportunity for others to see. Several people commented on the fact that they don't usually see me participating in ritual or actually doing any working, so it was nice to see. And one person voiced my thoughts that I have long since ceased worrying about--whether anyone else had been wondering if I was "all talk."
I don't blame anyone for wondering it, necessarily. I have sometimes wondered if people thought that about me. But as I responded to the comment, my personal feelings are still more important. I do show some things, and I share a lot of things in the form of stories and explanations. I do not feel as though I am in any way coming off as fake. But I have wondered if some people think so, because there are quite a lot of pagans on YouTube who show themselves doing various things pretty frequently. Perhaps I am a minority, but I don't mind it.
More of the Same
While I do not personally feel that I am doing myself a disservice, I do think maybe it's important to share the videos I have done that show or demonstrate things, and to share why I don't show more. I really appreciate people's videos that show me how to do things, like make offering stones or black salt, or when Dancing Rabbit demonstrated Starhawk's salt water cleansing. So why don't I do more of that, showing things that I do? People have asked me to show how I cleanse stones, and I keep meaning to and just haven't yet. People ask to see my altars, and again, when I get to showing my witchy room, I will show my general, simple set-ups. But generally I don't show more because 1) I don't feel like I know enough or know something better than anyone else, that I should make a video about it, or 2) it feels too personal and I don't want to betray that, or 3) I feel that it suffices to point you to someone else, because that's where I got it anyway, so why should I redo it? I hold no specific authority just because it's me doing the video.
I'm going to continue only showing what I feel is appropriate (by my own standards) to show, and I am going to continue enjoying what others feel like sharing. Nothing will change, but maybe it does good to explain.