Change is a part of life, everything changes. I am not the same person today that I was yesterday and I definitely am not the same person I was when I started my path. And yet, in a lot of ways, we treat parts of our practice as if change isn't present.
Sure, most of us do have evolution in our personal path. We keep learning, and we keep growing, and as we uncover new information or ideas, we work them into our practice. But some things are so very ingrained that they don't seem to change.
One of the things I struggled with for a long time was grounding, and not because I couldn't ground (because I was actually grounding in my own way), but because I wasn't resonating with the 'basic' grounding that was put forth in just about every book and website: visualizing yourself as a tree. I can do it now, and have had some very moving experiences with it, but as a basic, everyday grounding practice it just doesn't work for me. And yet it seemed to be the only way to ground (if you believed the things you read, and at the time I was learning, reading was my main source of knowledge), and so I came to believe I just was horrid at grounding.
I think there is a lot of value in the 'tried and true'. Being able to read about practices that have worked for people for decades (if not generations!) is invaluable, especially to those of us who learned in a very solitary manner.
But I also think it is vital to keep up with the times, in so much as the mentality of today is very different than it was a decade ago, and certainly different than it was a century ago. Things that were commonplace and standard then, may not be as viable now. And things that are at the core of our daily lives today might not have existed then. So why do we have this tendency to take inspiration for our regular practice from times gone past?
As I have mentioned before, I think we place a big value on tradition. We want to connect with our ancestors, with our past and with the people who paved the way for our modern practice. We want to tap into that energy that has been built up over the years. And that is definitely something good! I love finding old rituals or practices and there is a distinct difference I feel when doing something that is rooted in ancient times as opposed to more modern practices. But my life has room for both, and I think we are missing something by not looking to the present (and the future) in our practice.
Sometimes I feel like we, as a Pagan community, have embraced the past as if it were trapped in amber: locked in stasis at the time of it's heyday and being this golden ideal we should try to attain. I don't believe that my deities or my practice is stuck in some time loop. How can we expect our deities to respond to our modern day concerns (when we have computer troubles or fret over being able to pay our phone bills) if we only envision them still as hunters or gatherers.
A friend of mine recently asked about this, about whether we view our deities as being creatures of their time or if they have transcended and can be seen in a more modern way. Do you ever see your deities in modern garb? Do they utilize technology? I feel that some do and some don't. But those that I feel don't step into the modern light, I don't approach with modern troubles. My grandparents are not that tech savvy, and while I love them dearly, and there are many things that I would gladly seek their advice on, if I can't figure out how to do something on the internet, I won't be emailing them to find out what they think I should do.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think we need to stop drawing this line in the sand between old and new. If your practice is based on recreating ancient practices and that works for you, I am very happy for you. If my practice incorporates my modern life, and it works for me, I hope you would be happy for me in the same way.
I think some have forgotten (or never heard) one of the things that I love most about Paganism: we do what works for us! Each of us has things that will work for us, and they may not be the same things that work for others....and that is okay. It is more than okay, it is wonderful. We have the freedom to be who we are, to do what we love and to not feel like we have to do things a certain way because 'that is how they are done'.