So a huge thing for me is research. I enjoy reading a lot more than actually doing. Perhaps that’s a flaw. I’m told it’s definitely a flaw at times, since I do spend a lot of time in digging for old resources. It does do me quite a bit of good as a history major however, so I suppose there’s at least some good in my predilection for researching things. Not to mention, lots of times you need to research for the mythologies and folklore. Because a lot of stuff in the “New Age” section of bookstores is sometimes a bit iffy. And, I like academic articles with sources listed.
So being a college kid is great. I have access to JSTOR, ProQuest, EBSCO, etc, and while I’m in Germany, access to several German databases as well. I’m taking advantage of this to get articles on spiritual things, mythologies, folklore, traditions…all with wonderful sources listed. Yes, academic research isn’t the end-all-be-all of this, but it helps. And I’ll admit I’m a bit of a sucker for it. I like having sources. And for mythologies, the studies are very helpful. Not to mention, if I’m uncertain of something, I can see what other people have to say about it. Example, if I want to know about medieval religious practices, I can search for those kinds of things in the databases.
In the last 2 weeks I’ve found 3 or 4 articles on medieval views of magic and witchcraft, by looking up information on my paper on the University of Cologne in the Middle Ages. So by accident I’ve found these. Deliberate searches would lead to more information. And, it’s interesting to see what the analysis on medieval beliefs of religion and spirituality are. So that’s just one little path I’m going to work on going down once I’ve finished the bulk of my homework for my program classes this week. After all, not too many people write well-sourced books on medieval views of magic and witchcraft. At least, I’ve yet to find some good books in the “New Age” section of my local bookstores. And libraries are probably bad too, for the most part. They stock what people will check out. Most people don’t really look for the kinds of things I like to read.
The other thing I’m excited about doing is researching Slavic mythology and folklore. I’ve yet to find books about it in bookstores, and even broad overviews of mythology almost never have anything. So that’s a brick wall. However, JSTOR and my other databases look promising. I might not find a lot, but I have found a few articles that look to be possibly helpful. And from there I can then check out the sources used, to get more information. So my college article database access is going to be excellent. I always like new information.
Then I’m also thinking, once I’m back at home and a bit settled after readjusting to time abroad, I should work on my whole form of practice. I probably research too much. I do a lot of reading, which isn’t necessarily bad, but I do so much that I tend to neglect actual physical practice. I need to find a bit more of a balance so that I’m not working on one to the total exclusion of the other. I suspect I’ll always be a more research, book-bound pagan than a “go out and practice” kind of type. But I can at least work on finding a better balance than the one I have right now. After all, there’s only so much book learning can actually do for one before some action must be taken.∗