The Solitary Road and Personal Power

The Solitary Road and Personal Power

Author:   Crystal Blanton  

When I came to this path I had been looking for my spiritual self for some time. A new friend introduced me to Wicca, sparking something in me. I read so much information in such a short period of time my brain was overloaded with various traditions, beliefs, gods, goddesses and a host of other things.

I had a fear of joining a coven yet wanted more. I thought that, without a coven, I would not be able to advance and learn. So many books made references to studying in a coven and listed solitary as if it was a last resort. After much internal debate, speaking with my friend and overcoming the fear, I set out to find a group. And I found one.

Recently, after more than a year of study in this group, I decided to leave for many different reasons.

In reflection of my experience in a coven I have realized that I have learned many things, but not specifically about the Craft. I have learned a lot about group dynamics, honesty, integrity and the ability to trust my own instincts.

My experience in a coven, however, isn’t all negative as it has brought me to my own understanding and feelings about being a solitary practitioner. To be solitary is to trust myself, my knowledge and my judgment. To be solitary means that I am responsible for myself and my own karmic return.

It is the realization that it’s not about how much you know or the right or wrong way to do something. It is about my individual connection to the earth, the universe and the Lord & Lady. It is about what feels right to me and not necessarily how others interpret my spiritual growth.

As I am approaching this place in my journey, I feel empowered in knowing that I have the answers inside of me. It doesn’t matter which degree I have or any of the other aspects I consider to be religious politics. It only matters how I feel about my spiritual connections in my life.

So often we are conditioned to believe that everything in life is in black and white, right or wrong. And, with that ingrained in us, we seek outside people to “show” us for fear that we may do it wrong. What we sometimes fail to understand is that right and wrong is a concept. It is a box of morals and rules that are subject to everyone’s individual interpretations. So, in reality, nothing can be black and white because as humans we are all different shades of grey.

This is not to say that covens, groups or teachers are bad things. I think that everything has its place in my learning experience. But it is to say that, when we as pagans go into the world looking for spiritual leaders and/or covens, we should keep things in perspective.

Everyone holds the power inside themselves. Everyone’s journey is different. Everyone has knowledge inside.

A group should enhance and add to your experience, but it is still your experience. It doesn’t matter if you are sitting in circle alone or with the highest of High Priestesses, your connection with the Divine is a very personal one; a connection that no one else can replace or give you.

As a solitary I am relearning how to celebrate alone. When I began thinking about leaving the group I was in, I had the same fears of going solitary as the fears I had in the beginning of joining a group. It is truly amazing how things go full circle.

As a solitary I have really discovered that my attention needs be focused around my connections with the universe and the spirit and away from structure. The freedom in realizing that I can do whatever feels right to celebrate the Sabbats or Esbats is indescribable. Whether a ritual, feast, meditation, prayer, bike ride or walk outside in the elements, anything can be an act of honoring the Lord and Lady and the turn of the wheel.

Personal power is something that everyone has but is so easily given away. In making a decision to be solitary I have decided to keep mine.

When I first began this path I was afraid to do any magical work without guidance. I celebrated the Sabbats and began meditating but didn’t feel that was enough. I realize that I didn’t have the confidence in my spiritual self but that has changed some in the last 2 years and is continuing to grow more solid everyday.

Once I got that I held the power within myself; rituals, meditations and celebratory activities gained more power. I am finding that the key to feeling power and raising energy as a solitary is confidence. The difference in my personal power today versus a year ago has grown and shows itself in my work.

When exiting the coven I was in, I didn’t exactly understand that. It became apparent to me the minute I did some work as a solitary. “In perfect love and perfect trust” doesn’t just apply in a coven setting. It applies in our relationship with the Lord and Lady, the universe and most importantly within ourselves. I am learning to have perfect love and perfect trust with my spiritual self and my own personal power.

I have a nice group of solitary friends that I hang out with for friendship and spiritual connections. Today when I connect with friends for magical purposes, I come as myself, as my own high priestess. And my journey continues… .

There is this saying that says, “Wherever you go, there you are”. I say that to others in my job on a weekly basis but never applied it to myself.

Whether I am solitary or in a coven, it is my energy, power, knowledge, strength and hope that I take with me. What an empowering thought! I now understand that the power I experienced as a part of the coven was mine.

I am a woman, a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a heart, a human. I am powerful, strong, knowledgeable, spiritual… … … I am a Pagan, I am a Witch, I am a Solitary.

Total Protection Incense

Experiences We Don’t Understand
Hidden Gems

by Madisyn Taylor

All of the events in our lives lead to other events, they are all connected.

Sometimes we have an experience that we don’t understand, but if we look deeply, or wait long enough, a reason for that experience will usually reveal itself. All the events in our lives lead to other events, and all that we have manifested in this present moment is the result of past events and experiences. We cannot easily tease apart the many threads that have been woven together to create our current reality. Experiences that don’t make sense, as well as any that we regret, are just as responsible for the good things in our lives as the experiences we do understand or label as “good.

This is especially important to remember at times when we feel directionless or unsure of what to do. It is often at times like these that we take a job or move to a place without really knowing if it’s the right thing to do. We may ultimately end up leaving the job or the place, but often during that time we will have met someone who becomes an important friend, or we may have an experience that changes us in a profound way. When all the pieces of our life don’t quite make sense, we can remember that there may be some hidden gem of a reason that we are where we are having the experiences we are having.

It’s fun to look back on past experiences with an eye to uncovering those gems—the dreadful temporary job in a bland office building that introduced you to the love of your life; the roommate you couldn’t tolerate who gave you a book that changed your life; the time spent living in a city you didn’t like that led you into a deeper relationship with yourself. Remembering these past experiences can restore our faith in the present. Life is full of buried treasures. Chances are, you’re sitting on some right now.

Daily OM

Enhanced by Zemanta

Your Ancient Symbol Card for Jan. 20th is Wisdom

Your Ancient Symbol Card for Today

Wisdom

A very, very few of us are fortunate to be born wise. For most of us our Wisdom evolves, grows as we move through life gathering experience and knowledge. Wisdom denotes your thoughts and feelings derived from the melding of your life experiences with all that you have learned. Our Wisdom can get us through the difficult  moments in our lives as well as provide the mental and spiritual tools we need to succeed.

As a daily card, Wisdom indicates a time when you should rely heavily on past experiences and knowledge attained to make important decisions in your life. This is a time where reflection and planning should guide your actions. To act rashly, on impulse at this time may well cost you in the future. Go slow, think things out, weigh all of your options carefully and then proceed.

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Shaman Perspective

A Shaman Perspective

Author:   Crick   

Have you ever found yourself walking on a single thread across the abyss of your mind?

And then falling off into the depths of your spirit?

This is a common event for a shaman.

For the most part, those who hear the calling of the wounded healer will have experienced a near-death experience at some point in their lives. I personally believe that such an experience ignites a deep insatiable curiosity to seek out answers not readily available within the mundane world.

As a student of shamanism, a journey that began in 1999, I also believe that many of the Great Mysteries of life reside within the depths of our being. It is this belief that lends itself to seeking out the answers to such mysteries through deep and personal introspection.

In essence, a shaman is a spiritual healer. But before one can begin to heal others, you must first attempt to heal yourself. And since such a healing is never a complete success, the term ‘wounded healer’ comes into play.

During this healing process of the individual spirit, one must be prepared to undergo a complete change in personality. Ones emotional and mental outlook will be altered for life. During this journey inward you will be expected to embrace your Shadow Self.

Carl Jung, a noted psychologist once said, “That when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and are torn into opposing halves.”

So it is with those who follow the path of the shaman. The shadow self is a collection of feelings, thoughts and experiences that are dark and negative and are stored deep within the psyche.

To become a spiritual healer, one must be willing to take a perilous journey inwards. And once there, to have the courage to face the shadow self and to come to understand and to embrace it. This lends itself to a balance within the soul.

When we try to balance the scales too far one way or the other then physical, emotional and mental illness are the result. A shaman learns to harness the dark energy projected by the shadow self and to balance it with the light energy that is projected by the ego or conscious state.

In order to do a healing, a shaman will follow a single thread of energy back into the abyss to see what is at the other end. Once there they can see what caused the problem to begin with and begin the healing process.

I would like to point out that one of the side effects of traveling the path of the Shaman is that it tends to make one extremely honest with oneself and those around them. Some folks may think that this is a very positive result. However it is not always so. We live in a society where subterfuge and dishonesty are the norm.

For instance how many of you have grown up with the adage “if you can’t say something nice to someone, then don’t say nothing at all”? This may seem like good advice but in all honesty (grin) it takes away from the polarity of life. Life is not all sugar and cream and to better appreciate life and indeed to grow spiritually we must be aware of this fact.

This brings us back to the lessons of how to balance the Shadow self.

There are many tools available to one who follows the path of the shaman. One of these is called a Soul Retrieval. This is where it is believed that due to a traumatic experience of either a physical and/or emotional event, which a part of the soul has broken away and is floating around either in this realm or perhaps in an alternate realm. The departure of this piece of the soul can once again lead to physical, emotional and/or mental deficiencies.

And so either the Shaman or in some cases the patient, seeks out and attempts to encourage the missing piece to return. I say, “encourage” because we cannot force the missing piece to return. The events that caused this event to occur must be addressed as part of the over all treatment.

An example may be that one was sexually abused as a child and a piece of the soul broke away. The trauma associated with the abuse must be addressed as part of the Soul Retrieval or the missing piece may refuse to return to its original place within the soul.

An alternative to this practice is called energy extraction. Sometimes a profound experience will leave a residue of energy within our soul that is not in tune with the rest of our spirit. A shaman performing an extraction will connect with their spirit guides or their animal totems and isolate and then remove the opposing energy. This operation allows for ones spiritual balance to return and thus lends to a healthier life both physically and spiritually.

Another tool or experience used by the Shaman is the Vision quest. This is a very personal experience where one seeks out a vision that is specific to the individual. This seeking is done through a variety of methods such as fasting, ingestion of certain herbs, physical deprivation, mental/emotional preparation and so forth.

During my first Vision quest, the spirit of my second son who had passed at birth appeared in a very vivid way. But he appeared as the age he would have been had he still been living within this realm. I won’t go into details of course, but the experience had a profound effect on my thoughts and emotions. I have never had such a lucid connection as I did during that quest. My personal understanding of what we know as life and death was expanded beyond my wildest dreams. As already mentioned, a Vision quest is a very unique and personal experience and will be so for each individual who undergoes such a trial.

Of course the path of the Shaman is not for everyone, even less so then the path of Witchcraft being open to all who seek it. But for those few who are able to withstand and indeed embrace the rigors of such a life, well, there is little that I can say, for you already aware of the spiritual rewards that await you within the abyss.

Amongst these gifts is the ability to connect with the spirits of plants and animals. Such ability is invaluable to one who seeks to become a spiritual healer. For many lessons are learned through such connections. A belief in animism is a basic tenet of shamanism.
There is also the ability to travel the threads of life to alternate realms. Within these realms one encounters wise teachers who are willing to impart their wisdom to such a seeker as a shaman.

There is much, much more to walking the path of the wounded healer, but I hope that this brief look into such an exciting path may inspire someone to seek what may be the path for him or herself.

Blessings

Crick

Enhanced by Zemanta

Walking in a Wiccan Wonderland

Walking in a Wiccan Wonderland

Author:   Janice Van Cleve   

The market is full of all kinds of books on Wicca. They speak of Sabbats and spells, recipes and charms, and a few even go so far as to address correspondences and history. Yet rarely do they really investigate the deeper religion and mindset of Wicca. It is important, therefore, to touch if ever so briefly, on some basic concepts that underpin walking in a Wiccan Wonderland.

The human species, by its inherent nature, seems to have a proclivity for creating religions. There is something about consciousness that wants to connect to the realm of the spirit. Some say that our consciousness remembers a prior existence in a spiritual realm. Others say that our essence is spirit and our consciousness yearns to be freed from its temporary attachment to a material body. Still others say that our consciousness is aware of a spiritual plane beyond the material and that it seeks connection to it. Whatever is the impulse for creating religions, they generally fall into two groups: the supernatural and the natural.

Supernatural religions reach beyond the natural world and fabricate nonsense (literally not of the senses) , which cannot be reached by either sensory or rational means. Supernatural religions are faith based religions because the doctrines they propose often fly in the face of what our senses and reason tell us. The only way one can follow a supernatural religion is by making a leap of faith to believe in things that cannot be proven by natural means. Supernatural religions often propose a deity and a moral code of behavior. They often attempt to encompass the whole universe to answer questions such as creation, the meaning of life, and life after death and base their beliefs on a sacred scripture.

Natural religions, on the other hand, remain solidly rooted in the natural world and they are informed completely by the senses and by mental analysis. Natural religions are experience based because they depend on individual and group experiences. For this reason they are often lacking in doctrines, rigid moral codes, and answers to ineffable questions. Practices and concepts that are similar or held in common are most often based upon mutual agreement rather than upon strict hierarchical demands by some authority.

Natural religions by and large tolerate diversity because they see diversity all around them in nature and they understand that each person’s experience of nature is different. Supernatural religions, on the other hand, generally do not tolerate diversity because faith in one belief is by definition “one size fits all”. It is for this reason that supernatural religions are driven to proselytize or persecute while natural religions live and let live.

The caveat should be made here that assigning specific religions totally to either the supernatural or the natural category from their beginnings to the present day would be stretching the point. Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Pagans, and a host of other religions and philosophies have displayed aspects of both categories through history, sometimes even simultaneously. However, as a generalization, understanding these two groupings is a helpful heuristic is finding the Wiccan Wonderland.

Wicca is a branch of Western European Paganism, which is a natural religion. The word “Wicca” is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning wisdom. Wiccans or witches (both come from the same root) are the wise ones. They study and explore and experience nature to develop their knowledge. They may specialize in herb lore, astrology, spells, counseling, science, philosophy, or any other branch of knowledge. That is why Wicca is sometimes called “The Craft.” It is a learned body of knowledge and skills.

Wiccans do not “believe” in their religion. They work at it and learn it until they know it. The more obscure questions of creation, the meaning of life, etc., are well outside the Wiccan experience and they are generally content to leave them there and not to offer any hypotheses about them.

One part, therefore, of walking in a Wiccan Wonderland is the constant thirst for knowledge. For this reason Wiccans are not called “the chosen people”, “the elect”, or “the saved”. Rather they are called “seekers” because they continue to seek for knowledge and to perfect their skills. Some find satisfaction in accumulating this knowledge for its own sake or in teaching it; but for many Wiccans, the purpose of knowledge and skills is to use them.

Knowledge helps us make informed choices. Living by choice is a significant part of walking in a Wiccan Wonderland. It is amazing how many things over which we really have a choice once we think about it.

For example: Nobody makes us happy or makes us sad. These reactions are how we choose to respond to a situation. Likewise we don’t have to go to this meeting or that party, eat up all our food, or send a card for a birthday or buy a gift. We can choose not to do these things. All the social rules of etiquette and manners, as well as ethics and morals, are culturally learned behaviors. A Wiccan’s only guide, besides her own experience, is the Wiccan Law, which is variously expressed as “And ye harm none, do what ye will.”

This does not, to be sure, give Wiccans free license to run riot. Choice bears consequences. We are free to choose not to go in to the office, but the boss is then empowered by our choice to fire us. We are free to drive over the speed limit, but the officer is then empowered by our choice to pull us over. We learn from our mistakes and add the knowledge gained to our experience. Of course we don’t have to reinvent the wheel by learning everything from personal experience. More often than not, we choose to go along with laws, manners, and other culturally learned behaviors because these are usually the result of the learned experience of others or they make rational sense.

As children parents and peers, pastors and professors condition us, to follow a whole laundry list of rules. Later as we grow up and are exposed to a broader set of experiences, we begin to question some of the things we were taught and we begin to make up our own minds. When we decide that something we were taught is not true or no longer serves us, we intentionally get rid of it.

Conversely, when we figure out something new that does seem to serve us, we intentionally adopt it. By the same token, when a Wiccan finds a practical application of Wicca in her life that suits her needs, she dumps old mindsets and habits that get in the way and adopts the new application.

One of the basic new applications made by Wiccans is the rearrangement of time. Time is an artificial construct. Hours, days, and months are completely arbitrary. The natural structure of time is the seasons. So another part of walking in a Wiccan Wonderland is structuring our lives around the seasonal calendar.

This is a tough one because schools, jobs, and modern social institutions are formed around measuring time by clocks and Gregorian calendars. But let’s think about it. The most holy Christian holiday is Easter but Roman and Orthodox Catholics celebrate it on two different days. The Jews have Yom Kippur, Hanukkah, Passover and a whole host of other holidays that the mainstream does not. Professions have their own calendars, too.

Politicians follow three seasons of the year – legislating, blaming, and fund raising. Accountants have four seasons, which correspond to their quarterly reports. If all these people can rearrange time according to their needs, certainly Wiccans can organize their time around the eight Sabbats of the year.

If a Wiccan seriously applies the eight Sabbats to her daily life, she goes a long way toward walking in a Wiccan Wonderland. The eight Sabbats occur in the natural world. We feel the quickening of spring at Candlemas and we see the daffodils at Spring Equinox. We know the warming of Beltane in our hearts and all around us. We experience the long light of Summer Solstice, the late summer flowers at Lammas, and the falling leaves at Autumn Equinox. At Samhain we feel the nip and chill of winter and at Winter Solstice we rest in quiet peace – to the degree we can escape the commercial madness artificially created by the American material culture around us.

The natural seasons reflect the accomplishment of our wills – our intentions. We set our intentions each year at Candlemas. Through the year, we grow in our enjoyment of life, our appreciation of new sensations, filling our seeking with new knowledge, and intentionally pursuing our goals. Then in autumn we take stock, fulfill our debts, forgive our injuries, and look back in satisfaction at what we accomplished even if we did not complete all the grand plans we made.

Then at Samhain we release it all. We die. We surrender to the inevitable ending of all things. We close the book. We put away the score sheet. That tally is done. We empty ourselves and become completely free. In winter we lie in quiet and peace, carrying no baggage from the past nor imposing any requirements on the future. We don’t have to. We know – as opposed to having faith – we know as Wiccans that we will be reborn and that new possibilities and opportunities await us when Candlemas comes round again. We know that we will grow in the Craft from new knowledge and new skills.

Christians speak of new life, new zest, and new possibilities when they are “born again” – and they only get born again once! We Pagans get to do it every year!

Wiccans bring home this cycle of the year with daily prayer. Daily prayer is key to walking in a Wiccan Wonderland. We begin by grounding and centering ourselves in alignment with the four elementals – Air, Fire, Water, and Earth – and their corresponding directions – East, South, West, and North. This in itself is a powerful renewing and rewarding practice. It is a statement that we are here and we know where we are. It is a statement that we intentionally take a position in the spiritual realm and in that position we claim access to the forces of spirit that operate there.

After grounding and centering, it is useful to express first gratitude for the blessings and accomplishments appropriate to that direction. For example, I am a writer. I thank the East for any writing I accomplished the day before, for ideas that popped into my head, for emails that I wrote, letters to the editor or to legislatures that I sent. In the South, I express gratitude for the instances in which I showed courage, where I stood my ground, or for journeys I made safely. In the West, I am thankful for friends and relationships, for a date the night before, and for nice things people have said to me. In the North, I am thankful for healing of the various aches and pains that my aging body seems to acquire in increasing frequency, for money that has come to me, and for the material things that provide me comfort and enjoyment. Many of these thank you’s are for things I asked for in prayers the day before. After thanking, I ask for things I want this day. Asking – receiving – thanking is a daily loop that helps me remain conscious of the spirit realm while I am working in this material realm. This daily loop also replicates in a micro way the macro pattern of the seasons.

In conclusion, walking in a Wiccan Wonderland can be summarized as living intentionally, full in the knowledge of who we are, of what we want, of what we’re doing, and of what is happening around us. Walking in a Wiccan Wonderland is making conscious choices and taking full responsibility for them. It is a land of ever renewing seasons – ever knowing, ever growing, ever changing, ever lasting.

Blessed Be!

The Daily Motivator for Nov. 15th – Real, fulfilling life

Real, fulfilling life

Life gives to you what you give to life. The way you experience life depends  on the way you choose to live it.

If you act according to your own greed, you will suffer from the greed of  others. If you live with hatred you will be the recipient of hatred.

When you live out of a sense of authentic love, you will receive love from  others. Live with true respect, and you will be truly respected.

You cannot possibly get the good things you do not wish to give. You cannot possibly avoid receiving in return whatever it is you offer to life.

A puzzle that is solved for you is really not any fun. A life that is lived  for you is no life at all.

Make your own way, shoulder your own burdens, and give your very best in  every moment. That is real, fulfilling life, and it is priceless.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

The Power of Spirit

The Power of Spirit
Author: Crick

As a witch I firmly believe in the rebirth of the spirit that we call reincarnation. Having said that I have had moments where I have wondered about the development of spirit, as it goes through such stages.

For instance I have mused on whether all of our spirits have started from the same level of experience and need as far as our individual growth. Or are some spirits inherently wiser from the get go and thus advance more rapidly then others?

If one is to believe that the final goal of the spirit is to become as one with one’s chosen Deity. Then another thought would be as these spirits reach their goal, are they in turn replaced by new spirits?

Or are new spirits added according to a divine plan of which we have no knowledge of while in earthly form?

What is the source for the terms “Old souls” in relation to certain folks? Could this be those spirits who have gone through a number of lifetimes?

Or is it the spirits who have gone through a number of lifetimes who have actually obtained knowledge of the lessons that are assigned to each life?

Once a spirit has completed a life are the lessons connected with that life now behind spirit or do they keep shifting from one life to another until spirit finally “gets it”?

Or are these lessons lost and spirit simply moves on to the next set of challenges?

For living a life is no guarantee that such life lessons have been learned at all. It is no secret that some folks wile away their lives through the use of alcohol, drugs, extended moods of anger which only results in negative energy, arrogance which is where one is simply spinning their wheels rather then learning and so forth.

It seems that as far as the human psyche goes, it is easier to engage in negative behavior then it is to actually take hold of ones life and to draw closer to deity.

Taking this thought a step further, once spirit reaches its final goal, are all spirits equal in knowledge and experience or are there various levels of accomplishment that spirit can attain at the end of its journey?

I personally use the analogy of spirit being the flower encased within the human body or seed if you will. As we go through this life we make the conscious or in some cases unconscious choice of either nurturing this flower or not.

When the seed/human body falls away then the flower/spirit is allowed to sprout. It is how we have nurtured this flower/spirit, which will determine whether it becomes a beautiful flower or a weed if you will. This further determines whether spirit needs to repeat the process or whether it can then be free to evolve even further along the spiritual path.

I may be a cynic, but as I look around this world I see more weeds then beautiful flowers.

It seems as if so many folks these days are becoming more and more near-sighted. Being far more concerned about their immediate human desires which are mistakenly perceived as needs rather then the broader picture which is the nourishment of our spiritual needs.

If spirit can feel emotional pain, it must be writhing with anxiety.

As pagans we are aware of the many subtle intricacies of our spirit.
For instance our spirit consists of a soul, which serves as our inner voice. We are aware that there are orbs of energy called chakras that in turn are associated with our major organs.

There is the aura which ebbs and flows in accordance with our emotional and physical states. And some will say that there is an etheric layer of energy that resides as a buffer between the energy of the aura and the actual soul.

At any rate these are the things that we know about the spirit as humans. Could there be so much more that we don’t know about the spirit?

Could the Great Mysteries of life be the discovery of knowledge that we lack in regards to our spirit?

Sometimes I wonder if the spirit sheds the soul when the physical body dies, much like a tree that sheds its leaves when going into a dormant state.

I personally believe that each soul is unique to each physical body. And that spirit chooses which soul to inhabit in order to garner the experiences that are inherent to that particular soul.

I also wonder what we actually mean by the expression, “free spirit”.

Could this be an archaic reference to a spirit that is unfettered? Can a spirit be enslaved or contained in some way by another spirit or perhaps an entity that we are unaware of. Can a lack of knowledge through lessons ignored or not learned lead to such a state of enslavement?

Could it be that all of the horrendous acts of violence, emotional, physical and mental that human’s do to each other be a result of such spirits who have become so enslaved?

These thoughts are not that far fetched really.

In ancient times the Egyptians believed that when a body had reached its final days the spirit would come before an intermediary for judgment. The soul of that spirit which was represented by the heart of the deceased was weighed on the scales of Fate against a feather.

If the soul turned out to be lighter then the feather then the spirit/soul was allowed to pass into an idyllic environment, a resting home for spirits if you will. But if the heart/soul outweighed the feather then the soul/spirit was immediately destroyed by a waiting demon.

I am not sure if this meant that the Egyptians believed that a spirit could be terminated or if this was an analogy for the death of that persons experience up to that point. In which case, the spirit would have to begin all over again. Which leads me to my final thought, is there a set agenda or curriculum if you will that the spirit has to attain to reach the end of one’s goal?

I realize of course that any answers one may have to these musings are pure speculation. But in all reality, isn’t life but a series of speculations?

 

Footnotes:
From the thoughts of an old man…

The Samhain Experience

The Samhain Experience

Author:   Crick   

My family roots begin in Ireland and were later relocated to Tennessee and amongst the Ozark mountains of Missouri. My personal experience with Traditional witchcraft began in 1960. As such I was raised to honor the four main sabbats, though we did observe the solstices and the equinoxes as minor events if you will.

To our family, Samhain (Oiche Shamhna) is the most important Sabbat of the year. Pronounced as “Sow-in by the Irish, as SAV-en by the Scottish and as SOW-een by the Welsh. It is exactly opposite Beltain on the Wheel of the year. It is reckoned when the sun has reached 15 degrees Scorpio. Thus, Samhain lies exactly between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice. And as such, it is known as a Cross Quarter day.

Samhain is also known as “Samhraidhreadh” which means “summers end”. This indicates that Samhain is the start of the Celtic “New Year”. The Celts were known to have divided the year into two seasons, consisting of summer and winter. The belief is that summer is governed by the Big Sun (the sun) and the winter is governed by what is known as the Little Sun (the moon) .

Samhain is one of the four Fire Festivals and is also known as “Trinoux Samonia.” Originally this Sabbat was celebrated for three days, the day before, the day of and the day after.

In modern times Samhain has become basically a one-day celebration. Neo Pagans tend to lose sight of the historical and spiritual significance of such an important day by combining their Christian beliefs with their newfound pagan beliefs and thus they often intermingle Halloween with Samhain. This corruption is explained away by parroting “it’s for the children”, though this special day is hardly one for children. I do not understand how Neo pagans can claim to understand the significance and energy of such a special time and yet allow their children to make a parody of such a spiritual experience, but then it is what it is.

Traditionally, Samhain is the day when the God symbolically dies and the Goddess is in mourning, though she knows that He will be reborn at Yule.

It is also the Third and Final Harvest, and as such, it is a time for preparing for the coming year. It is also known as the day of the Feast of the Roman Goddess “Pamona”.

Another interesting note is that Samhain is the day that the Tuatha De Danann realized their permanent victory over the Fomorians.

Since this is the time that the veil between Annwn (the Underworld) and our realm of existence, is at its thinnest, it is a time to honor and connect with our ancestors. To some Wiccan beliefs, this means direct descendants who have passed over. To those of us in the Celtic/Faery tradition, this would be the ancestral spirits and deity that resides within the earth.

One way to honor this day is “Fleadh nan Mairbh” (Feast of the Dead) . To do so, set an extra plate or two at the dinner table for visiting spirits. Another way is “Bannock Samhain” which entails setting out cakes and milk outside the door as an offering for passing spirits. This is also the time for the “Dumb Supper”, a meal served in silence in honor of those who have passed to the Summerland’s.

Remember, this is not a time of mourning, but rather of rejoicing and connecting with those that have gone before us. We do not conjure up these visitors in the manner that a medium would do. But rather we invite them to share the day/night with us.

This is also an excellent time for divination. Roasting nuts in the fire and bobbing for apples are a couple of examples of divination from olden times. Another traditional way is to set a shirt on a thorn bush near a stream and see what spirit comes along to fit it on. At which time you would make enquiries. This form of divination is called the shaking bush. As a spirit fills the shirt, it causes the bush to shake.

Some of the Celtic Deity that you may appeal to for assistance during divination are; Ogma, Rosmerta, Baile, Beli, Coventina, Badh, and Gwyn Ap Nuad, just to name a few.

The concept of the carved pumpkin came about from the belief that carving a scary face on the pumpkin and using it as a lantern as one walked at night would scare away evil spirits. Originally they were carved out of turnips.

There is an Irish legend about an Irish lad named Jack. He tricked the devil into climbing a tree and then quickly carved a cross into the tree so that the devil could not get down. He then made a deal with the devil so that he would not go to hell upon passing. But when Jack did pass, not only was he barred from hell, but also he was barred from heaven as well because of the doings of his life on earth. Hence he was doomed to walk the earth carrying a lantern to light his way. Thus the Jack-O-Lantern was created.

A custom related to Samhain is to light a hearth fire on this day and to keep it lit until the first day of spring as a way of honoring one’s spiritual ancestors and deity. Originally, all hearth fires were extinguished on this day and then relit from the Druidic fire, which was lit at “Tlachhtga”. This particular fire represented the center of Ireland.

Another custom is to leave a candle in the window as a beacon for spirits to find their way home.

Samhain is a time for reflecting on the year just past and preparing for the coming year. One way to do this is to write the weaknesses and negative actions of the past year down on a piece of parchment. After a period of reflection/meditation, burn the parchment in the cauldron or hearth fire. In this way you are starting out fresh for the upcoming New Year.

– Some of the foods associated with Samhain are pork, corn, apples, pomegranates, pumpkin pie, and cider.
– The colors associated with this day are; red, orange, yellow, brown and black.
– For incense, you can try basil, lilac, clove, yarrow or frankincense.
– Some plants or herbs are apple trees, sage, mugwort (divination) , and gourds.
– Some crystals are onyx, carnelian, and obsidian.

It is my personal hope that Neo pagans will once again enjoy this unique time as it was meant to be celebrated and revered. There is much experience and an ethereal energy connected with Samhain if only one allows him/herself to open up to such a special experience. Halloween (All Saints day) is but a corruption of what used to be. Samhain is a revered occasion and time to connect with those who have gone before us. And with those others who walk a distinctly separate plane from this realm. May you have the inner strength and un-fettered desire to experience this event as it was meant to be…

The Journey of a Wild Witch

The Journey of a Wild Witch

Author:   Eilan   

It has been eight years since I first discovered Witchcraft in a spiritual context. Prior to this Magick was very much alive in my life as I was lucky enough to have been born into a family that understands the spiritual dimension of life. My family also had the insight and experience to see and live this dimension in their everyday. In truth there is no difference between what is conceived to be ‘spiritual’ and that which is apparent and ‘mundane’. It is all one. This is my truth and my wild way.

I am an initiated Witch and Priest of the WildWood Tradition of Witchcraft. This means a great deal to me, as I am also a ‘co-founder’ of the original Mother Coven, based in Brisbane and initiated at Samhain (April 30th) 2006. Our ‘tradition’ and way of living the Craft is deeply interwoven with what many people call ‘shamanism’; derived from the Siberian Tungus word for their medicine people – saman. Mircea Eliade, the late Romanian historian, described shamanism as a “technique of ecstasy” and my coven has come to define Witchcraft as an “ecstasy-driven, Earth-based, mystery tradition”.

Our (and all Witches’) rituals and methods of practice allow us to transcend the illusion of separation and therefore to dissolve the ego and actualize the freedom that lives in the heart of all things. I often call and relate to this ‘All’ as the Great Mystery. The beauty of being a Wild Witch is that nothing is absolute and I have come to realize that all of Life is a holy continuum, which constantly seeks to express itself through diversity. Through expression comes manifestation, which allows us to experience Beauty through Perfection (the world in which we live) and then once more we come to the Wholeness of Unity and the cycle repeats itself.

We are born into a plural world of many and pass into the One only to yearn to divide ourselves once more to grow, deepen and enrich our understandings and experiences of that subtle/overt thing – the Great Mystery.

My coven’s tradition has developed and evolved around this wild-trance-dance-of-wonder. The only consistency between our covens is that we honor and acknowledge our heartland the WildWood, keep holy our covenant with the Sacred Four (the Weaver, the Green Man, the Crescent-Crowned Goddess and the Stag-Horned God) and that we remain open and receptive to personal/group gnosis and to Awen (the divine flow of inspiration) . Other than this there are some structural similarities regarding dedication and priesthood and inner and outer courts.

Essentially however we are wild Witches who fly in the face of authority and seek the wilderness underlying the apparent ‘civilization’ of things. Nothing can be tamed, for the wild is free and the free is divine! As we say in the WildWood – “we have actualized our radness!”

What do Wild Witches do? First and foremost – we live! We breathe, we sleep, we eat, we drink, we sing, we dance, we make love, we scream and we spend time sharing presence and being with our loved ones. ‘Being’ is an important principle to consider. To be is quite simple but so many people find themselves distracted by the “this and that” that they leave ‘being’ behind and pursue illusion instead.

This isn’t the same concept found in various Christian philosophies which espouses a “Satan’s fault!” message when sheep stray from the flock so to speak. Witches understand self-responsibility and are aware of action, reaction and consequence (the Threefold Law) . Why not exist in euphoric awareness of self as Self – the animate Cosmos? You are not only a cell within a larger body of universal wholeness; you are whole and thus a perfect embodiment, expression and reflection of the Great Mystery whose cause, undercurrent and outcome is Life.

When we free ourselves from the illusion of past, present and future and surrender to the Flow of the Continuum (the spirals, the wayward ins and outs, the labyrinthine, serpentine undulations of fate becoming) we make real for ourselves the state of being known commonly as “here and now”. This seems to constitute location and time, however it simply addresses the emphasis of indwelling consciousness regardless of where you are and what frame of time constrains it.

There are moments in my life, which I refer to as ‘Nostalgic Rites’. They are pure, simple, soothing, knowing moments that are like the punctuation points in a flow of sentences. They are the markers and the thresholds that appear along our paths when it is time to pause, reflect and feel. I have them often enough in my life to understand their imminent message of timelessness, peace and overwhelming Love! For what I have learnt above all else thus far is that dwelling within the chaos in the cosmos is the peace which neither subsumes or overrides it, but embraces it and lets it be. Chaos is what happens naturally when the undifferentiated potential becomes “this and that” and peace is the understanding that this is the way of Life. All of this is wild; we dwell in a far-reaching, limitless wilderness.

In a recent priestess training session with two beautiful women from my coven I asked both of them to divulge their feelings and reflections of the journey toward their priestesshood, as they are nearing to the ‘end’ of the beginning – Initiation. One of the women honestly came out and said to us that she feared for us (the other priestess-in-training and I) because we are on the top of the mountain, but because we are risk-takers it is inevitable that we will fall.

I had to stop and wonder in that moment why anyone would not want to fall. In fact I also wondered whether it had occurred to her that surrounding the mountain were vast forests, plains, rivers, deserts, tundra, bushland, seas, oceans and lakes; not to mention all of the beings who inhabit these places.

For me the mountain is not the point. It is part of the whole Great Mystery, but the journey does not lead to a single place; in fact the journey doesn’t really lead anywhere. There is no aim to my wandering, to my blissful dance through the wilderness – I simply embrace every experience because it is worthy of it and I laugh, smile, cry, choke, rage, relax, love, ***, change, grow, and a million other things that I couldn’t possibly articulate or fathom for the purposes of this article.

The other woman, who knows me very well, and is one of my closest friends, then turned to me smiling and said, “You are so glib!” She then went on to explain that it was the “natural, offhand ease and articulate fluency and flow” of how I expressed my truth that made me glib in her opinion.

It wasn’t a criticism on her part, merely an observation. I think it is actually quite accurate. I have such ease and flow in my expression because I don’t have to think too hard about who I am or how I feel because I am and I feel in the “here and the now”. I live and I am, and in my experience Life itself is glib.

To my fellow journeyers of the wild way who know in their hearts that they are heading nowhere, anywhere and everywhere – may you dance the Wander with all you are. My deepest well of love to you all!

The Wanderer

The sages say that samsara is to wander, to pass through,
I say samsara is to know the way and dance it.
To dance is to live, and to live is never “to pass through”;
Dance doll – dance and light up the stage…

Then they came with their wrought-iron weapons
And they pierced my soul, and looked for the mark.
I sang to them to soothe their battered spirits.
They sunk their swords in harder, my heart is in shreds.

The blood ran dry and the old seas heaved
And there in the darkest hour all was forgotten,
And tattered clothes were left in tatters,
And the ashes were left in mounds at the pyres.

Is it a fact that when we are lost we wander?
Is it true that when we are in love we dance?
Or do we dance when we are lost?
And do we wander when in love?

Samsara, O holy wheel of Life,
Keep turning, I want to stay.
I don’t want nirvana in clouds far away
For I feel it already…here.

The Wanderer – the Fool?
I don’t mind, I don’t mind being;
For all the pain and suffering and the attachment to desire
There is a keenness that is not worth losing.

I want to live,
I want to wander if that’s what it takes,
But through all this I will dance
And I will dance because I love.

– Gede Parma, 2007

Daily OM for October 16th – Cultivating the Seed Within

Cultivating the Seed Within

Peace

by Madisyn Taylor

We can learn to locate the seed of peace inside ourselves in order to have a reliable source of serenity.

 

In our noisy world, we often find ourselves longing for peace and searching to find it somewhere else. While it’s true that there are places we can visit where we can experience peace, such as sacred sites or buildings, we do not need to wait until we get to one of these places to feel at peace. Instead, we can learn to locate the seed of peace inside ourselves and cultivate it so that it grows into a reliable source of serenity that we can always access, no matter where we are.

We experience peace when we are in a state of mental calm and serenity. It might surprise you to notice how infrequently you allow yourself to be free from anxiety. Realizing this is the first step to inner peace. If you wait until all the details of your life are taken care of to allow yourself to experience peace, you will never feel peaceful because there is always something that your mind can grab onto to create anxiety. It is important to consciously set aside your worries and make time to cultivate inner peace.

Ideally, you could schedule time each day to meditate on peace and experience what it feels like to be calm and serene. It takes practice to learn how to let go of your worries, so give yourself some time. Inhale deeply, and feel your worries dissolve with every exhale. Remind yourself that soon enough you will be able to take care of everything you need to, but right now you are taking a break. As the clutter of your thoughts and concerns clear away, you will start to feel more serene. Allow yourself to move deeper into this state with each inhale. Realize that you have the power to free yourself from anxiety simply by deciding to do so. The more you practice feeling peaceful, the easier it will be for you to feel at peace.

Daily Motivator for October 7th – Love this day

Love this day

Love this day and it will be good to you. Treasure this opportunity to  experience life, and the experience will be beautiful.

The progress you seek does not always come in the ways you thought it would.  Yet when you seek, and persist, and expect it, that progress does always  come.

Don’t let yourself become too troubled by the troubles. Remind yourself to  take it all in stride, and you will find great value and richness along the  way.

Go forward with clear and positive intentions, seeking to make a beneficial  difference for all. In whatever may happen, you will discover new ways to  further your authentic purpose.

In its every aspect, life is predominately the way you consider it to be.  Consider it to be unique, precious, miraculous, filled with opportunity and  abundance, and give each moment of your reality a positive flavor.

Make the decision to love this day, this place, this moment, this special  experience of life with the people around you. And there will be so very much to  love.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

The Daily OM for November 28th – The Understanding Underneath

The Understanding Underneath

Experiences with Multiple Meanings

by Madisyn Taylor

The refined impression you glean from your experiences after contemplating their significance can add a new richness and texture to your life.

Though we humans are self-aware, we nonetheless cannot distance ourselves from the world around us and have a natural tendency to ascribe meaning to all that we experience. The significance we perceive in our experiences is rooted in our observation of patterns as they relate to ourselves. One situation has the power to teach us about life because it exposes us to something unfamiliar. Another touches our emotions deeply by enabling us to see how fortunate we are. Yet our initial impressions of an experience may not wholly reveal the true significance of that occurrence because our full response to an experience is like an onion with many layers that all have disparate meanings. Consider that a sunrise may stun us visually while simultaneously evoking memories of childhood and reminding us that each new day is a rebirth.

If you take the time to examine your experiences closely, you will discover that your original impressions may only be a part of a larger story of significance. Peeling away the layers of an event or incident can be a fun and interesting process if you allow it. To begin, relive your experience in your mind’s eye and from multiple perspectives if possible. Your interpretation of any situation is based not only on facts but also on feelings, beliefs, and your values. As you ruminate upon your experience, spend a few moments contemplating how you felt when it began and how your feelings had changed by its end. Ask yourself what abstractions, if any, it awakened in your mind. If an experience stirs up questions within your soul, it may be that in striving to answer them a new layer of meaning may reveal itself to you.

The significance of an experience may remain hidden to you for some time. The meaning of an event can change when viewed from another context or may only become apparent after intense meditation. An incident that seemed superficial may unexpectedly touch us deeply later in our lives. If you take a truly open-minded approach to your examination of each new level and do not shy away from revelations that could prove painful, you will learn much about your relationship to the world around you. And the refined impression you glean from your experiences after contemplating their significance can add a new richness and texture to your life.

The Daily OM

About The Celtic Month Of The Willow Tree

The Willow Tree

Lunar Energies

by Imré K. Rainey

At this point in the Wheel of the Year, we have experienced the rejuvenation and rebirth of Birch, the rise of energy and the sowing of seeds and goals in Rowan, the premature urgings for movement in Ash, and the burst of life in Alder. Now, we stand before our kindred, the Willow, which has long been associated with the Crone, or death, aspect of the Triple Goddess.

The time of protected learning ended in Alder. Willow symbolizes the virtues of learning through experience. In order to fully assimilate the experiences to come in the moons ahead, it is necessary to release burdens from the past which will hinder our growth in the future. The rules and opinions which governed the past may no longer hold for the future: past convictions often become obstacles impeding progress. In this way, the Willow represents the death, or release, of the past in order to wholly integrate experiences and lessons in the future. This does not mean, however, that the fruits of past achievements should be forgotten. Those achievements got you here and will provide the foundation for the experiences to come.

 
Willow also brings with it the desire to abandon the past and the present in search of new beginnings. Look carefully at where you are standing physically, emotionally, and experientially. Survey your environment and the people whom you affect. The glyph for this moon is, “I am a hawk on a cliff.” If the time is right and the possible outcomes have been sufficiently examined, spread your wings and fly off into new horizons of experience.

Be aware, however, that this may not be the right time for flight. If so, sit back and wait; do not act hastily. The lessons needed for growth may lie within your reach now, and later, as the Wheel of the Year turns, you will know the appropriate time to move. In the meantime, you may want use the energies of this moon for rebirth, or rededication to your goals.

Willow’s “stay or go,” “do or don’t” energies can lead to indecision and confusion. Also, if our desire for flight is not satisfied, we may begin to resent others whom we perceive are doing things we can’t. Yet, most often during this month, resentment surfaces without reason or provocation. The Willow itself can be a remedy for these feelings.
Allow yourself to quietly sit with a Willow. Listen to the voice of the wind as it rustles through the Willow’s leaves. Watch the images that form within your mind. Talk to the Willow and accept her guidance. Allow the energies of the Willow to guide you through the movements of the moons to come.