I’ve had a few readers ask about the notion of “unschooling my Masters’ degree” that I spoke about in an earlier post. After some thought, I realized that I’ve been doing so for years now, and just hadn’t recognized it as such. I’m still not sure exactly what to call my topic, but I thought I’d share some background in this post. I’ll write more about where I’m taking it next in a follow-up article. Oh, and by the way, this post also explains the origin of this blog’s name, Starcat’s Study. Sort of a play on words, you see. Heh.
In 1992, nearly 20 years ago, I wrote: “What is this thing that I am so glibly calling ‘The Study’? Well, it is a personal study of topics that could fall under other labels. The problem being that I wanted to avoid labels as being too limited and stereotypical. But for clarity, I’ll tell some I considered. One is ‘Spirituality,’ but that makes one think of organized religion or groups, and this is much more personal. Another is ‘New Age,’ but that has such a negative stereotype sometimes, of flaky consumers on the latest bandwagon. ‘Occult’ is also a word with negative stereotypes, but of a less harmless nature. People equate the word with evil. Since I’m chaotic good, I avoided that. Something that I have called myself is a shaman, but again my own meaning of that word is very different from typical ones.”
After quoting one of my new favorite authors at the time, Amber Wolfe, who combines shamanism, New Age spirituality, and Wicca, I continued: “I am an Aquarian shaman, but a reticent one, and perhaps more a scholar than a healer. One way I feel I can help people is through writing, as well as helping myself this way. As I accumulate all this varied knowledge, I’m not only learning myself, but collecting sources and backups for theories and ideas for later writing. I still don’t know what form or forms this writing will take, but I’m still in the passive, data-gathering stages, although passive may not be the right term. I’m fairly active at what I’m doing, just receptive as opposed to creating and putting out a lot of things. There is some sort of synthesis of ideas going on within.”
Here’s a further description of the process I was beginning to undergo at that time: “The Study includes all sorts of different reading material I keep notes on. It also encompasses the experiences I have that I may keep in my journal or dream diary or whatever. The work that I do with my altar is one example. I’ve developed it into a sort of good-energy altar table with rocks, crystals, incense, candles, etc. It is a bit harder to document the type of work done on inner levels, but I feel it is equally important.”
A commitment to doing the work: “I do feel that I need to devote more time to this Study, especially maintaining a routine of meditating and doing rituals.” And in fact, five years later, in 1997, I started a daily spiritual practice that has carried on through to the present day.
A vision for the future: “There are certain elements that many different ‘magical’ or ‘religious’ traditions have in common, especially for inner work. A synthesis of some of these elements, as well as my own growth and enlightenment through practice and hard work, are what The Study is all about. It has already definitely helped me, and I feel that if I can eventually help others with it all the work will be really worth it. Not only that, but to me it is really enjoyable. Learning is one of the things I like best, and one of the things I feel I do best.”
And, prophetically, looking ahead to the journey of the next two decades: “ I realize (or think I do) what a big undertaking this is, and that there’s no way I’ll ever see all the related and vitally important information concerning it. But that’s all right. Guided by my intuition and guides, I will get what I need for it to continue to be successful for me as I need it. Making my own path, my own religion of one that fits me ethically, morally, and spiritually, is perhaps the best thing I can do for myself and the Universe.”
These days, I’m still on my personal path, and I’m now in a more active mode. I’ve made my writing and related creative projects my right livelihood. Through Feline Dreamers (with my partner BlackLion, who contributes his own wisdom from his journey), I have a venue to share what I’ve learned. I feel thankful and blessed, and I’m so excited to still be learning new things every single day. Perhaps this is more of a Doctorate program.