I've been going back and forth about this for a while. We have a great deal of technique and knowledge and experience in practitioners and teachers and books all over the world. All of that is tremendously valuable. But it also comes with baggage.
Carrying around the baggage seems to be less and less desirable. So much of the baggage is ugly and mismatched. We've stolen it from cultures all over the world. It doesn't matter that it was stolen 500 years ago, that suitcase doesn't really belong to me. And if we ignore the stolen baggage, what about the bad behavior of our predecessors? And the rampant gender essentialism and misogyny that pervades the traditions we've been given?
At some point, we must look at our inheritance, and decide if we wish to continue as we have been, or if we wish to begin anew.
The obvious choice is both. It's practically a necessary choice. We have been shaped and molded by our cultures and traditions. We can not truly escape them. Even by simple rejection we further them. But we don't have to keep repeating the same bad patterns.
If I may use a powerful example: We don't need to spank children as discipline because we were spanked.
Starting from Scratch isn't really. It's staring at a blank slate, but with the accumulated knowledge of what worked and didn't work. That leg up is tremendous, and it is how we honor the past without repeating it.
I don't have all the answers about what a brand new start looks like. But I know where it begins. The central tenet of Queer Witchcraft.
Everything begins with relationship. To self. To the smaller lives within us. To the sibling lives around us. To the greater lives we are part of. To our history and to our future. To our ethics, our faith, our culture, and our politics.
Everything is relationship. And so that is where we start.