I want to talk about this again, because the more I think of it the more I realize that movies that depict women as witches, and therefore evil, is also a type of Christian propaganda. Now, I've already touched on this in my last post and The Mary Sue movie review nailed it as an offensive movie to women and people of color, but I want to talk a little bit more about Christian propaganda. See, Christianity is the default cosmovision in America with a staggering 83% belief. This means that as the default norm of American society, people tend not to believe in reincarnation, they believe magick is bad, they believe that one day all the 'good followers' will be summoned up to heaven, they believe that there is only one God (who, in their collective reality, is white), and miracles are different from magick. This is a worldview that dominates American culture, which means that your average American believes the above statements are right and true. I've also heard that some Christians believe yoga is evil! Yoga is a series of stretches! But, to interpret that sociologically we can infer that Americans tend to believe anything that comes from another cultures spiritual practice is evil.
The more I think of it the more I realize most things are propaganda. The news: propaganda. T.V. shows: propaganda. Propaganda is just another way the the beliefs of the collective consciousness is influenced through media. I guess I'm just tired of Christian propaganda in a largely Christian nation. Though, as I say it I understand it: Christian propaganda is used as a means of reifying Christian cosmovision. The year is 2015, and we still believe miracles are not the same as magick. We believe that women who wield power are witches (I don't often hear about fear of sorcerers). These beliefs hold up the Christian paradigm that witchcraft (or the old religions/the old ways) is evil, and women are evil. If cultural belief holds these two sentiments true, then women's truth will always be questioned (when men speak they tend to be believed, whereas when women speak their truth is questioned), and the majority of people will not seek out their own power. I guess I coming back to what I said in my last blog, which is, this propaganda scheme seems to be more concerned with keeping people unempowered.
I originally wrote this for the blog at the Green Man store in North Hollywood. Posted here for your viewing pleasure.
I have always approached the moon tarot card with a bit of apprehension. Although my spiritual traditions revere the moon as a Goddess, and divine celestial energy, the apprehension I have felt has been towards what I have read about the moon card. If you were to google the moon tarot card the general words associated with it are: illusion, fantasy, something is being hidden, deceit, etc. These descriptors aren’t the type to make a person feel warm and fuzzy about their position, or about this supposed Goddess energy. I knew there was more to it, but I’ve generally just kept it at arms length with the overarching acceptance that the card means that not all the truths are on the table, someone is lying.
Now, currently the moon has come back up to be investigated further, specifically as I was in Italy recently and I pulled the Moon tarot card for a fun puppet project while I was there. I looked at it, and at the meanings that were then presented to me by the facilitator: feminine power, the divine mother, and magic. I held in the back of my mind the same apprehension that I have always felt, but I played along with the puppet project, and decided to take the meanings that the facilitator had presented. Maybe the Moon would reveal herself further to me in my experiences in Italy, and those experiences would redefine the meaning for me, or maybe I just needed to be aware that some truths were being withheld. As is true for most experiences in my life, all of the above was true, as well as the Moon showing me its magic.
In the week that followed I was taken on a journey of falling in love, participating in healing ceremonies, and visiting various black Madonnas, all while my spirit was in contact with the soil of my ancestors. So much magic! I felt blessed, and not too worried about the Moon tarot card. I figured I could ignore that I got that card, and just revel in the universe’s gifts. Well, hindsight would dictate that the universe’s gifts include the Moon card, and a new understanding therein.
When I returned home from Italy I began to learn the true magic of the Moon card. The romantic situation I had involved myself revealed some very important truths that had been kept hidden from me, thus the Moon card stood true to its meaning. I looked back at my time in Italy, and how I had pulled the Moon card, and let myself just sit in the revelation that I knew as soon as I had pulled the card that truths were being kept hidden.
If I let that be the end of my understanding of the Moon card, however, I would be doing myself, my experiences, and you dear reader, a great injustice. I continued to look up meanings of the Moon card to see what else presented itself. I referenced my first tarot book (that came with an accompanying deck), the Secret Tarot by Jane Lyle, and looked over her interpretation. One very important statement stood out: If involving a romantic relationship, be wary though you might feel the mutual infatuation, and the deep soul connection of true love, chances are you are under a spell, and it is not real. Eureka! This made complete sense to me, and to what had happened in Italy. Whoa!
That is not the end of the Moon card story though, because I knew that even though the truths had been kept hidden from me, and the true love story didn’t last, there was more. I sat down with Griffin, manager of the Green Man store in North Hollywood, to ask him what his take was on the card. What I took away from his explanation was that the Moon tarot is responsible for usurping order. In other words, the moon’s light is not its own, but rather a reflection of the sun, and the moon controls the tides, which means that the moon can create magic. The moon can open the doors to magic, to the other realm, and to shifting ones life. This was another eureka! moment. In my adventures in Italy I had hoped to heal my love. I kept my intention broad on purpose. In my life I have had many disappointments with love, and wanted to heal my heart from those experiences.
With Griffin telling me that the moon brings madness, chaos that disrupts order as a means of changing the direction of things, basically being a facilitator of magic at its core, and an opening to the realm between the worlds, I was able to fully understand my experiences in Italy. The ceremonies that we had participated in created a form of chaos in each of our lives, and allowed for the magic of healing to be facilitated. In my particular life story I have never been able to say what my needs were, I was never able to stand in my truth in a love relationship and say, “No, this is what I need.” I have always bent my needs to the needs of others. This lesson was finally learned with the help of the moon. Bringing about the magic spell of a true love story that had all the ingredients for a joyful relationship except for my needs being met, and a foundation of truth, gave me an opportunity to learn my lesson. The moon changed the trajectory of my own personal order, which was not actually healthy for me, and allowed me the experience of reclaiming (or maybe claiming for the first time) my truth, and standing in it. I was under a spell, a spell of healing my love, and for that I am grateful to the moon, and the Moon tarot card.
The Moon creates a crossroads, a space between the worlds, for one to stand in their truth and create magic. It is at this place that we must trust our guts (or intuition) and stand in the knowledge that we carry because the moon also says that not all the cards are on the table, but you know your cards, and you must stand strong in their truth. The moon calls you to be brave, to heed her calling and venture between the worlds, and in this space to commune with the very core of who you are. Are you ready to change trajectories? It’s an amazing, wonderful ride if you’re willing to be brave enough to embark on the journey.
Blessed Be, and Hayaya!
I watched 'The Seventh Son' the other day, and though I thought Julianne Moore was AMAZING, I was a bit disappointed that I was watching yet ANOTHER movie that portrays witches as evil, and needing to be killed. Jeff Bridges plays the witch slayer, a man that believes the inquisition was justified. In fact, the whole movie rests on the premise that witches are doomed to become evil, and everything in history that has sought to destroy witches has been justified.
I know, I know, I know: It's just a movie.
BUT movies carry ideas into the collective consciousness, and it is commonly thought that witches are evil, even today.
Sometimes my students will say really offensive things to me when they find out I'm a witch because they assume that I am into evil stuff. I am not evil, I am empowered. I believe that I am not a victim to circumstance, but an agent in creating my own life. In my understanding a witch is someone who casts magick. Magick is the ability to manifest something physically from an ethereal energy put out into the world. Magick can be helpful, or harmful, and sometimes a mixture of both. It is the duty of the witch to be constantly evolving and ethically concerned in order to make sure they are not casting harmful magick. I also believe it is the duty of mundane human beings to also be checking in with their motivations, ethics, and evolution.
But, are witches inherently bad, and seduced by power?
No. Modern western society, that has been indoctrinated into Christianity (as interpreted by the people in power) have been taught to forgo their power. Witches will seek power, because accumulation of power transforms reality. Power does not equal power over others, simply the power to change one's own life. Those who do not seek out power are not a threat to the people in charge. This actively works against the best interest of the masses. Portraying witches as evil has nothing to do with witches actually, it seems to be more about keeping the majority disconnected from their own power.
Think about it...
I am a witch. Sometimes when I reveal this fact I am met with the question,"Well, you're a white witch, right?" the trembling fear baring audible under their breath.
I generally respond,"Actually, I'm more of an olive complexion" which is a play on words, and not an answer to what is being asked.
When people ask me if I’m a white witch they are asking if I am a ‘good witch’ (as opposed to evil). Let’s, for a moment, ignore the fact that calling a witch white as a means of inferring goodness has an inherent racist connotation. I find it humorous to ask a witch if they are good because we generally don’t walk around asking our friends, family, or co-workers, if they are good people, and in essence that’s the exact question that is being asked. Yes, I think I’m a pretty decent human being, but I’m not an enlightened being living among mere mortals. I have not achieved buddha, I am not a saint, and I am not otherwise without human fault and folly. My magick is a reflection of me as a person, which isn’t all good (if we’re gonna be completely honest with ourselves, no one is). I do make efforts to try and follow guidelines in order to not cast baneful magick, just as people (I hope) make efforts not to be bad people.
Magick is not inherently good or evil, it is a way of working with the energies of the universe in complete participation. One’s magick becomes stronger the more mana (or raw energy) they have access to or accumulated. A person can be born with strong magick and never be trained in the use of it. That person’s thoughts will sometimes be projected out into the ethers as a magick spell, and sometimes they will have bad thoughts. Do you understand?
Yes, I am a witch. If I was a bad witch do you think I’d actually tell you? Hahaha. If you were a witch would you cling to an idea of complete goodness in everything you do? If so, I would ask that you look up shadow work, and get to know yourself truthfully!
ps. If I ever do call myself a white-witch it means that the marketing devils have gotten to me.
I have noticed a disturbing trend lately, and maybe it is because of my white privilege that I've only started to see it recently, or maybe it is because of the new reality introduced by social media that I am seeing what people actually think and feel. I am noticing tons of racism and sexism within modern American paganism!! I mean, come on, really!!? A group of people that is generally seen as CRAZY-PANTS by dominant society still hold to inane concepts of superiority? Now, let me specify here: I haven't heard pagans say men are better than women, or whites are better than blacks, but that is not the current face of racism. Sexism still exists both overtly and covertly, though people tend to just think men are superior to women, instead of saying it out loud (and the backlash against certain feminist witch movements is a testament to this). Racism nowadays is hidden in social interaction. If you are a symbolic interactionist theorist then the modern era is your playground and you are reveling in the goldmine of data!
Wait, what?! I imagine if you're not a sociologist then everything I'm saying is mish-mosh to your ears. When we say we are not racist that is one thing, but when our society has underlying racism embedded in our laws and norms, then acting as we were socialized to act actually perpetuates the racism that we believe we are not a part of. Dizzying, I know! But what can we do to not be racist!? We can listen when people tell us that they are experiencing racism. We can pay attention when people tell us that #BlackLivesMatter, not because all lives don't matter, but because there is an experience happening (e.g. unarmed black men being killed by the police) that is rallying people to shout that Black Lives Matter! Meaning, the emphasis on black lives is to bring attention to the outrageous injustice that is currently happening.
As part of the Pagan community, and a practicing witch, I call out to my fellow magickal practitioners and ask that they start reflecting on their reality. We are a group that is not so far away from being condemned and burned, and now society is slowly allowing our religions into their laws. This transition is slow, and to our benefit no one knows we're pagan until we 'come out of the broom closet'. For others who are discriminated against whether they are out or not, this society is a constant reminder that injustice is alive and well in the land of the "free".
(originally posted on Feb. 2, 2015) So, today is Imbolc. I'm not exactly sure how I missed that, but I do know that even when I am not consciously aware of the holidays, I am observing them. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I am getting over a cold. Today, I continued to cough up/out the sickness (think purging and cleansing) and cleaned my living space. I got rid of those things that are carrying old energy and I rearranged those things that are still pertinent in my life, while burning house blessing incense. I continued to clean, and clean, and drink plenty of water. Imbolc (Brighid's day) is a powerful moment to light the flames inside yourself to create (fertility) what you want in your life, as well as bring passion (fire) to those creations. Interestingly it's also for purification, which is what I've been doing to my body, and my space all day! I plan to light the flames to burn through the night with intent, and to give thanks to the universe for always guiding me (even when I'm seemingly not paying attention). That's really the funny thing about magick, and the magickal lifestyle, if you are intune with it, it will guide you through this adventure of life!
ast week I decided that I had been energetically out of balance for too long, and that I needed a reset. I looked up to the stars and said, "I need help y'all! Please help me get back in balance." and then I went to sleep. I woke up at 2 am that same morning with a wicked sore throat. I cancelled all my plans and stayed in bed. The sickness was forcing me to slow down, to take care of myself, and to detox. I'm on the 6th day of this horrendous cold that is going around, and I still feel myself adjusting to a new sense of balance. As I am coughing out all the mucus and gunk I feel like I am really ridding myself of old thought patterns, and old fears. I am coming into balance. Knowing this, I also have a very acute sense that I will easily fall back into old imbalance if I am not committed to my own wellbeing. The spirits have given me a chance to heal, but not without my own effort. The kicked off the transformation, but I have to continue the momentum. The same seems to be true with most of life. Remember, if you ask for help you'll probably get it, and sometimes 'it' is some good 'ol tough love!
I have decided to write all my tarot card blogs on cards that make me uncomfortable. The Hierophant is another card that has made me squirm in my seat. The card shows a religious leader: order, structure, belief systems, following the group, and being in an institutional setting are all ideas that make me, a trickster and a gemini, very uncomfortable. The Hierophant is formal, official, and often times depicted as a pope or some other male figure of religious authority. I would often get the Hierophant in my readings, and I would always cringe (immediately referencing the dominant religious leaders of our society). Pushing forth to gain greater understanding of this card, I decided to step outside of myself and look at the Hierophant from a different perspective. Disengage my reference of the dominant religious systems, and look to the Hierophant as a religious leader that I can get down with.
I find that the Hierophant can be an awesome omen of portals opening to new knowledge, to secret knowledge, and the mysteries of the universe, though I tend to not like the way that this card unveils itself, it is definitely a powerhouse card. Whether it regards school of academia, or religious pursuits, the Hierophant tells us that it is time to listen to the rules of the system to attain or achieve the gateway through the portal to new knowledge and mysteries. Rules, rules, rules. All of life runs on rules, whether they are the rules of society, or the rules of gravity, the world runs on rules. Even magick runs on rules, and once you understand the rules that govern magick, your practice becomes much more effective. The Hierophant tells us to learn the rules.
The Hierophant asks us to balance the energies of masculinity and femininity within ourselves, the projective and receptive archetypes that reside within us all. Balance is an interesting concept. Often in the magickal lifestyle we must maintain a balance. Many times in my life this card has represented the necessity to do the hard work of learning, the effort of gaining skills that will help in the long run, because it is important, and not because it is something that I like. In the world of magick there are many many venues of exploration. With the High Priestess we delve directly into the ethereal magick, and with the Hierophant (or High Priest) we delve directly into the books, the mathematical equations, the scholarly knowledge that will lead us with a map through the world of magick. In my experience it is important to do both in order to keep balance.
As I have been working here at the Green Man, meeting new people and doing my healing work, I have found that there are a lot of people who do not know what shamanism, or a shaman, is. Shamanism is a form or practice of spiritual communion that is pre-organized religion, having been with mankind since the beginning of time. Wikipedia defines a shaman as:
“A person regarded as having access to, and influence in the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing.”
I imagine you’ve now read this definition and are wondering exactly what that means. A shaman is a worker and weaver of the spirit realm. A shaman works with and within the spirit world to manifest healing and understanding in the mundane world; a messenger of God, if you will.
I think the best way to describe it is to explain it in a way that juxtaposes it against current dominant religious practice. In Christianity (in the way that I was taught to practice it) you are one of the many sheep in God’s flock. You pray to deepen your connection with God and to feel the power of God’s presence realizing that your destiny is mapped out and you will be consistently tested for your faith and devotion. You find solace in God. As a Christian practitioner in my early years I was highly devoted and looked for understanding and enlightenment through all of God’s teachings. I knew that people could be healed through prayer and that the community of God’s followers was my community.
In the shamanic belief system we are all one, part of the same energy field and part of the same universal truths. You pray to energy of the universe and work with archetypical elements within that universe to bring healing and understanding to people. You pay attention to the messages that come from nature and from spirit and you integrate those messages into your journey (destiny). You are constantly tested, but not in the same way as the Christian paradigm, you are tested to see if you are learning your lessons and following the guidance of spirit. You are also tested with power; once you have learned to work with your own personal power outside power will test you and stalk you in order for you to face complete personal actualization. Truth is at the core of shamanic practice (as is actually usually true for most religious beliefs). As a practitioner of shamanism my cosmology is constantly growing and evolving as I gain greater and greater insight into the mysteries of life.
Base Christian tenets actually are not that different from shamanic beliefs if you are able to hear the truth under the propaganda, however, a shaman talks to God, where a Christian talks at God. But what about Wiccan traditions compared to Shamanism? Actually, I learned Wicca first and I found that to be a great advantage when I began learning shamanism as I had already begun to re-acclimate myself to nature’s rhythms. Wicca tenets and shamanic tenets are very very similar, and generally in my own observations I have found the real difference to be the practitioner and their relationship with the practice.
Have I answered the question yet? Maybe I should say this: a shaman is a mediator between you and the spirit world. If you need spiritual guidance and healing a shaman will talk to the spirits to do both for you. I hope that I have made this more understandable, and that I haven’t offended anyone with my Christian comparison. It seems many people understand the Christian cosmology and so that is the widest reference I could make.
Many blessings to you on your journey; may you pray deeply and commune with spirits when they come calling.
Those of you familiar with the writings of Eckart Tolle (The Power of Now, A New Earth) are no doubt versed in the concept of the ‘pain-body’. While reading an excerpt from one of Tolle’s books I was struck by the similarities between the Q’ero’s view of soul retrieval and the pain-body. By combining the knowledge of the two concepts I have no doubt that we can transcend our old stories, and step into a path of light.
The ‘pain-body’ is a term that is used by Tolle to explain how people shift from being calm, centered, and grounded to seeking out pain and conflict. The pain-body is almost described as an outside entity that takes over the physical body and leads them to seek out discord in their life (with their spouse or loved ones). Tolle does this as a means of explaining how the experience affects the outlook of an individual, and takes control of their functions (the pain-body is not an actual outside entity). When a person is acting from their pain-body they are looking to invoke the pain of their past back into their current situation. Many times this will happen as a means of projection, but other times two people’s pain-bodies with instigate conflict with each other in order to feed themselves. Once the pain-body has been thoroughly engorged it will subside and the person who was affected by it will become the nice, happy person you always knew them to be; that is, of course, until it gets hungry again!
The pain-body is an excellent way to describe the wounded soul. In the Q’ero tradition trauma of the past will exert itself over a person whenever affinity energy enters into their environment. When a person believes that ‘such and such always happens’ they are coming from a place where the original wounding occurred. To further explain this, I like to use the example of a child being spanked by their parent when they are five years old. To many of us spanking is such a common thing that we may not realize there is trauma associated with it. Well let’s say this five year old grows up, and the soul fragmenting that happened from the trauma of the spanking has never been retrieved (hence soul retrieval). Whenever this adult comes into a situation that bares the same energy signature of that initial spanking (like authority exerting power over them in the workplace) they may find that they are unable to control their hurt feelings, their rage, or their strengthened defiance. They are being led by their five-year-old perspective as soon as the affinity enters and they are again acting out as a five year old would. This soul fragment is dictating the actions and reactions in this adults’ life; this inability to be grounded and centered is the same as being guided by the pain-body.
Both the Q’ero and Tolle recognize the importance of acknowledging the existence of the pain-body/soul-fragment; by acknowledgement one can no longer be blindly led. Further, the Q’ero use the soul retrieval technique to disconnect the individual from their wound/trauma and guide them to reclaim the soul fragment, and heal the pain-body. This is important work. Too many of us are being blindly led by our past hurts and re-creating them in our future. By disconnecting from the trauma of the past one can be whole as they step into who they are becoming. For more information on soul retrieval please see my YouTube video on the subject.