This blog post is one in a series where I explore the Iron Pentacle and how it has changed for me since becoming a parent (Read the first installment, Sex, here). In my religious tradition, we have a tool for alchemy called the Iron Pentacle. It is a five pointed guidepost to helping you achieve personal balance. Each point on the pentacle is a human birthright:
Sex, Pride, Self, Power, and Passion.
Pride is often confused with conflated ego, and in the Christian tradition is considered one of the seven deadly sins. Why on earth would Feri witches revel in such a thing? Simple- we are Gods*. We have a right to be proud of our accomplishments and words and deeds, especially when they manifest our True Will and the Will of the Divine here in this world.
Pride is the shameless recognition of our own self-worth and ability. It allows us to live fully without reservation, allowing our true nature to shine outward while not giving in to the ego's temptation to compare ourselves to others (whether favorably or disfavorably). "What is called pride in our culture is often merely arrogance. ... Arrogance has its flip side in self-deprecation, which is just another face of the arrogant posture."- T. Thorn Coyle, Feri and Reclaiming initiate.
One of the most interesting conversations that I've had about Pride in this context was in one of Thorn's classes. Thorn put forth the idea that you cannot be proud of someone else. This disturbed me, as I have felt this emotion especially when I taught sixth graders in the Oakland Public Schools.
Of course I could be proud of a child that struggles to read when all obstacles are thrown in their way! My kids had poverty, hunger, non-involved parents, apathetic teachers, and a curriculum that saw them more as guinea pigs than people with needs to contend with. But then I looked deeper. "My kids"- huh. There was my ego, getting in the way of their accomplishments. They learned to read. Yes, I facilitated or assisted but it is truly their accomplishment. I saw then that on some level, being "proud of someone" is trying to take credit for their accomplishment in some way. Wow. What a revelation.
Wanting a baby very badly meant going through the physical transformative process of pregnancy that was sure to trigger me on a very visceral level and submit to whatever birth experience manifested itself. And for a while, it looked like a repeat C section, which made me an emotional train wreck.
Judi (my midwife), Wolfy (my doula) and Oberyn (my partner) for being there for me when I most needed them.
And as for feeling Pride for my son, when he accomplishes a milestone (as he seems to do daily these days), I am happy for his success- and I revel in that joy. Which to me, appears more honest than feeling Pride.
*Unlike some religions that believe that we "have a spark of the Divine" or we are mirror reflections of the Divine, Feri believes that we ARE Divine. And the work of your lifetime(s) is to become that God that you already are. Hard work, becoming a God.