I’ve been with a coven for just over a year now. And of all the things I’ve learned so far, I think the two biggest lessons for me are these: (1) There is so much more for me to learn, and (2) Knowing yourself is crucial.
The first lesson is sort of a given–no one can know everything there is to know–but it’s one thing to know it and another to accept it. But let’s leave that one aside for the moment and head to the second lesson, know thyself. I bring this up because recently I dyed my hair purple.
Yes, purple. It’s bright and beautiful and fetching. It suits me perfectly in both looks and personality.
I dyed my hair because it makes me happy, and for no other reason. I like the way it looks, and it makes me smile. But inevitably I get the question “why purple?!” and inevitably my choice in hair colors seems strange or even offensive to some.
It bothered me in high school to get those looks and those questions. It even bothered me a little bit in college, but I got less of those kinds of reactions because I was clearly a college student, and that’s just what college students did. Now that I’m out of college, some people argue that dying my hair an unnatural color is a sign of immaturity and a lack of seriousness. If they knew me at all, they would know those statements are egregiously false.
However, those looks don’t bug me as much any more. And the questions only truly bother me when they come from family because I would hope that they would know me better. I am more at home with my body and myself now, and I know myself far better than I did before.
Purple hair makes me happy. It genuinely bring joy to my heart and soul. I know this about myself now. And I also know that what makes me happy is not going to make other people happy–but as long as I am secure in the knowledge of myself and in what makes me happy, then it doesn’t truly matter what other people think. I know who I am. And if who I am is a purple-haired young woman, then fine. Perfect.
I think the guideline of “know thyself” applies to more than just Wiccan teachings. It’s a good guideline for just about anyone, no matter your religion or beliefs. Having knowledge of your needs, your wants, and the things that do not work for you can bring significant improvements to your life and your happiness. You end up learning what really matters in making your life a happy one, and what you can end up leaving behind.
So certain people think I should have left behind the purple dye when I graduated college. But I know that as long as my job doesn’t mind my purple hair, then I will continue to dye it whenever I want. I know that for me, it is not a mark of immaturity or a lack of seriousness. It’s a mark of knowing what makes me happy and learning to recognize those things and the reasons or motivations behind them.
The process to knowing yourself can be painful. And it will most likely entail leaving behind things which you previously cared about or thought worked well for you, but which you now find do not serve you well at all. By no means is this a fast process, and results are not immediate. They accumulate over time. Small changes and realizations become big changes, and one day you wake up and realize how much has changed. I believe this is why so few people end up truly knowing themselves well–it’s difficult, it takes time, and it may dredge up issues or facets of yourself that you may not want to face. Like I said, it’s not necessarily an easy path. It hasn’t certainly hasn’t been easy for me!
It may be the harder path, but after beginning this journey and starting this process myself, I can say without any doubt that it is worth it.
“Find out who you are, and do it on purpose.” –Dolly Parton