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.
We all have a story: I was born, I grew up, I began to age, this certain type of person always comes into my life, I continually have these struggles; this is who I am, this is my story. What many people do not realize is that by telling your story you are empowering it. You are empowering the constant drama, empowering the crappy circumstances, the continual references to your past, even past lives. Your sacred breath of life accompanies every word out of your mouth, and you are blowing energy into the continuation of how your story goes.The retelling of your story is as simple as your daily complaints, and expands deeper when you introduce the idea of past lives.
The way that I understand it, past lives are continually happening in the now; time is not linear but seems to be a big spiraling circle. You are accumulating past lives and future lives in the present moment (unless of course you are that enlightened spiritual being who has managed to extricate yourself from the cycle of continual karma). Past lives are nothing more than stories about you in another time; another story. Again, you need to look into the story and see what exactly you are empowering as you retell to friends and family. I am of the belief that it is my duty to strive to disconnect from all of my stories, past, present, future; it’s a daily endeavor. When I say disconnect I mean disengage from the emotional connection and personal interaction with the stories that are told. I believe another way of saying this is ‘to live in the now’. I am sure you are familiar with that saying! So, let’s do it; let’s live in the now!
Here’s a daily recipe that will help you to try it with me:
1. Pay attention to the words coming out of your mouth. Are you often pissed off? Are you often a victim? Why? How can you change your words to stop being pissed off, or stop engaging the victim role? Now, change your words.
2. Pay attention to how you like to hear about yourself. Many people like to hear about themselves, it is an action of the ego, but not inherently bad. Now, what is it that you like to hear about yourself? What are you consistently looking to others to tell you about you? Delve into that question and really embrace the revelations of who you are striving to be perceived as; and check it.
3. Now that you’ve started to create awareness of your daily words, I want you to start creating a new story. Who do you want to be? How do you want your life to manifest itself? Start telling that story. Don’t be hindered by others’ insecurities when you embrace your newfound ability to create your life; they will be momentary nips at the heightened state of your becoming.
4. Take it one step further. Find out about your past lives, and the trauma that was incurred at those times and take action to heal those wounds. By healing the wounds of past lives you will be creating a greater healing in your current life and better prosperity for the future lives. Eventually you may want to start disconnecting from all lives, and just live in the infinite wisdom of the moment. One step at a time.
I hope this helps you on your journey and reminds you to re-envision the story of yourself. Every story you tell is empowered, now it’s time to take responsibility for what that means.
Wait, what?? Yes, I said it, blow your problems into a stone. It’s really quite simple: pick up a stone, take a deep breath in, feel all the problems that are occupying your mind, and then blow it all into the stone. When you’re done you just put the stone back on the earth and walk away. The earth (Pachamama) is readily available and quite capable of transmutating your heavy energy, your bad thoughts, your sadness, and troubles into new life! The earth has the magnificent ability of taking heavy energy deep into the dirt and recycling it to create fertilizer for new growth. Metaphysical composting at its core!
Blowing into a stone is one of the easiest and practical ritual practices that you can have. No one will ever really notice what you are doing, or give you strange looks in your cubicle. Well they might, but then you just respond, “It’s my lucky stone.” Simple. The reason this is simple is because it works on a couple of different levels: first, it requires you to acknowledge your heavy thoughts. Many times we are in constant internal chatter, never really realizing all our brain energy is going towards things that bother us! By recognizing your thoughts and acknowledging them you are taking a moment to be in the ‘Now’. Secondly, when you feel the energy of the thought and blow it out of you, it is a metaphorical purge, using the life breath with magickal intention to expunge your heaviness from you. Try it for a week and see if you feel a difference! What have you got to lose (except bad thoughts and heavy energy)?
For those of you who want to go deeper into this exercise I would challenge you to find a stone that represents you, a stone that you identify with. Now go find a black river rock, and make sure it is bigger than the stone that represents you. Place the river rock below the stone of you and imagine your heavy energy constantly being absorbed into the black stone. When you have bad thoughts blow them into the black stone. When you’ve got all the bad thoughts out of your head, try to have some gratitude thoughts, and then blow them into the stone of you. This little practice will constantly remind you to cleanse and recharge yourself; out with the heavy, in with the light.
Once you’ve gotten this practice incorporated into your routine you can integrate others! If you find yourself having troubles with someone and it is a continuous internal struggle for you, you can find a stone that represents them and blow your intentions for peace into their stone. Then you should also blow intentions for peace into your stone. Place both of these stones on the black river rock and imagine all of your turmoil dissolving. If you feel you need more healing work for this, you can put all three stones in a black back and let them ‘cook’ together; I guarantee that within a week you will have had a confrontation and the issues will be brought out and resolved.
I hope this little bit of stone magick helps you on your journey!
I have noticed that many people tend to focus on what is lacking in their life. Are you one of those? Most likely. We all tend to want more in our lives, and by wanting more we will mistakenly focus on what we don’t have instead of manifesting our desires. Yes, I know this is common, and has been going on for a very long time; nothing new here. As a general practice people will often turn to spells, magick, miracles, prayer, meditation or some other form of interaction with the great unknown as a means of making a change to their predicament. Others, well others will do nothing, and continue their decent into the depths of misery. Life does not have to be this way! I realize that I am insinuating that you must take responsibility for what is lacking in your life, and that in turn this may lead you to decide that you want to feel sorry for yourself, lose hope, become whiney, and helpless. Whoa! That is one severe slippery slope! Don’t do that! Keep reading; I have a practical solution for you.
As a shamanic practitioner and a witch I know that I can work with the universe to help me get to where I want to be. Further, there are healing modalities and techniques that can transform the way you look at life and help you to become a more empowered human (soul retrieval, illumination techniques, etc.), but sometimes people don’t have the time, money or motivation to start this process. In my meditation I was given a message to impart and I think it will help those who are feeling stagnant take a small step towards fulfilling their dreams.
Before you go to sleep think about the next thing in your life that you are working towards – a job, a house, a relationship, a project. When I was a child I would dream about how I wanted my life to be, and I would visualize every part of that (the sounds, smells, taste, feel of who I would become when I ‘grew up’). Somewhere in adulthood we are trained to be more practical, and stop dreaming about what we want. This is a fallacy. How can you bring the energy into your life to create all your dreams if you’ve stopped dreaming? Most of us continue to think that we will eventually ‘grow up’ and enter into our bliss. You are a grown up. It’s time to get the ball rolling and take action in making your dreams come true. Here is a nightly practice that will reignite the spark of your dreamer self, and appropriately it is purposefully done right before you dream!
Nightly practice: Allow yourself to imagine & dream about how you envision your life becoming and who you would become in that life. Use your imagination to decide the interior design, the wall colors, leave no detail up to chance (well, don’t feel the need to be super obsessive about all the details, but also don’t slack off). When you’ve got the picture in your mind of who you are becoming, and it is rich and thick, the energy filling your body, mind and spirit, then go to sleep.
Your unconscious will do the rest of the work! The art of dreaming has become a dying breed. Remember the dreamer in you and start telling the universe exactly how you want your life to be! Blessed Be.
I am very excited about the latest transition in my life! I will now be a full time healer/reader and a part time Sociology professor. The decision to leave my 8-5 desk job was a difficult one, especially in this economy. The universe however, has been rather insistent. Now is the time. So in this transition, I have found that I am undergoing energetic transformations as well.
Yes, I am currently recieving nusta transmissions from my shaman sister, but also the energy in and around me is also shifting... it is refreshing.
So, what have I learned from this experience? I believe the answer is simple and has been a mantra for many: Follow your Dreams.