This post will be a bit more personal than usual. In recent weeks I have been looking at where I am in my life, and all the things I do with my time, with teaching, writing and otherwise. I’ve been asking myself some pointed questions, such as, “Am I wasting my time, or am I really making a difference?” and “Do people really give a you-know-what about what I have to share or what I teach?” Where my writing is concerned, I like to think they do, or this blog would not have over 1,100 followers and it would not have won Best Religion Blog (in a contest for local bloggers) for two years in a row. It would appear that my writing has been moderately successful, not to mention the three books I self-published. I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I think I am much better as a writer than a public speaker. I have found that the pen truly is “mightier than the sword” and sometimes even the spoken voice. When I’m teaching a public class, I often have trouble finding the right words to express things I want to say, so I try to write down as much as possible before-hand, and try not to sound like I’m reading! Public classes are always a bit awkward for me, but they are necessary, although you never really know how many people are going to attend. Sometimes it is only a few, and other times there is nowhere left for them to sit. You just never know, but there are advantages to both small and large classes. Another factor is that the type of paganism that I practice doesn’t appeal to a lot of people here. I’m not Wiccan, and I’m not eclectic. My practice blends Druidry with Witchcraft and Celtic Paganism, (also called DruidCraft), it is very specific and it is not everyone’s cup of tea. I do enjoy teaching, but I am honestly much more comfortable sitting in front of a laptop writing than I am in front of a class. However, in some ways, I have felt obligated to put myself out there and teach publicly, if for no other reason than to give local people a viable alternative to certain other teachers in the area whom I consider questionable, to say the least. I do not teach from an academic perspective, but rather from a practical, real-life, everyday living approach, with a little mysticism thrown in. Some call this being “fluffy” but I disagree. I believe most people would rather have information they can work with rather than some kind of arrogant intellectualism. I try to make things simple and easy to understand, and I have had many kind words from readers who say I have done just that.
Here where I live there aren’t many teachers, and classes are sporadic. Bethlehem PA is kind of a small town, and pagans of various practices are scattered all over the Lehigh Valley. It would be nice to see more people who are mature and knowledgeable, with years of experience in witchcraft and paganism step up and start offering classes. It is important for folks to have a number of options to choose from, instead of the same handful of people doing all of the classes. I have decided that as of September 1st, 2015, I will only teach privately and will no longer offer public classes.
A solitary path is much more appealing to me now than working with a group. Group gatherings just don’t hold as much appeal for me as they once did. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and less patient, but it is also because organized groups often have expectations, personality conflicts, and widely varying beliefs and practices. I don’t shun them altogether, as I have many friends in these groups, but I don’t attend them as much as I used to. Even as a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, I am still solitary as there are no OBOD groups where I live. In one sense I am quite on my own, but in another sense I am never alone. Cerridwen is always with me, as Witch-Goddess, Mother, Teacher and Guide. And my partner Matthew has always been supportive of my path. He also shares my obsession with Harry Potter.
This has been a matter of much confusion, and perhaps a bit off-putting for some folks where I live, especially since my last name is also Potter. This is not my birth name, but it is the name I have used for over 10 years since I chose it as a magical name. As far as I am concerned and regardless of what anyone else thinks, it is my name. I have never used my birth father’s name except when I absolutely must. He was absent from my life and I have no personal connection to his name whatsoever. For the longest time, I sought to have my name legally changed to Potter, and I even had the legal paperwork prepared, but there were other issues that made it impractical to change my name just yet. Those issues are out of the way now, and the only reason I haven’t changed it yet is due largely to my own procrastination. I can imagine what people were thinking (Does he think he’s Harry Potter?) Of course not. I just connected to Harry’s story in a deeply profound way, as his childhood and my own were remarkably similar. I have been involved in the Harry Potter fandom for over 10 years, organizing groups and events, lecturing and even writing a book about metaphyical themes in the Potter stories. We have made many friends through Harry Potter and have had some amazing experiences. There is not one aspect of my life that has not been touched by Harry Potter. It has been firmly ingrained into my life. Some find this extremely odd, but as they say, it is what it is.
All of this rambling brings me to this point: After my last scheduled class in August (See the Upcoming Events link at the top of my website), I will no longer offer public classes, and just focus on writing and continue making my hand-crafted magical items, which thankfully have done well. My spell candles and spell bottles have done very well, they have been sold not only in local shops but in Witchcraft shops in Salem, Massachussetts and have been shipped to the U.K. I did have an Etsy store, but when they changed their policy regarding magical items, (You can no longer say that your items produce a result), I closed my Etsy store and now only sell magical items through this website via Paypal.
So, I am doing away with those things that aren’t working and sticking with what is. What I know for certain is that my writing is making a difference for people. My spell candles and bottles, blended incense, soaps and other items are helping people. My name is Rik Potter, Druidcraft is the path I was meant to follow, the Goddess Cerridwen is my guide, and whenever I need to get away, Hogwarts will always be there…