Let’s Talk Witch – REINCARNATION

unicorns and fairy

Let’s Talk Witch – REINCARNATION

 
Most Witches don’t believe in heaven or hell (except here on earth, as in a really good piece of chocolate or a really bad date). Those are primarily Christian concepts.
 
What we do believe in is the ongoing cycle of birth, living, death, and rebirth. Like the cycle of the seasons that we call the Wheel of the Year, most of us view this cycle of life as a natural extension of our other spiritual beliefs.
 
Since as Witches we believe in taking responsibility for our own actions, we also believe that we reap what we sow-that what you do in this life will determine what you end up dealing with in the next one.
 
Most Witches also believe that one of our major goals as human beings is to better ourselves (sometimes referred to as the Great Work, to acknowledge that for many of us this is a pretty big job … ).

Reincarnation means that, thankfully, we have more than one lifetime in which we can learn all that we need to know. (Personally, I’m sure that I will hit perfection any time now … the next lifetime, or maybe the one after that. Or the one after the one after that… oh, never mind.) The point is, we take what we are given in this particular incarnation and do the best we can with it.
 
Some Witches also believe in a place called the Summerlands, where we go to rest up in between lives and where we may meet up with our loved ones once again.
 
The main thing is, we don’t view death as an end but merely as another transition, a natural step in an ongoing dance. While we mourn for those we will no longer have with us in this life, we also know that nothing in the universe is ever truly lost to us. We will see all those we have loved again sometime, either in the Summerlands or in another life.
 
Some Witches actively try to find out information about their past lives by using a variety of approaches, including psychics, trance work (also known as “journeying”), and past-life regression. sion. And while many of the folks who offer such things are out-and-out frauds, there are some people out there who are the genuine article.
 
Just use some common sense if you are going to use outside help on your search. If someone tells you that you were Cleopatra or King James the something-or-other in another life, then asks you for lots of money, chances are good that the person in question is full of it.
 
Learning about a past life may help you to uncover the reasons for issues that you are dealing with in this one-especially if you seem to be stuck making the same mistakes over and over. Hopefully, finding out more about who you were in a past life will help you work to improve the one you are living now.
 
Whether you seek to learn about your past lives or choose to focus exclusively on the here and now, the knowledge that what you do matters – not just today and tomorrow, but in many tomorrows to come – should inspire you to make the most out of the lessons that life, and the gods, offer you.
 

 

Deborah Blake, Everyday Witch A to Z: An Amusing, Inspiring & Informative Guide to the Wonderful World of Witchcraft

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Summerlands

Shining bright against the sky,
they never seem to fade or die
And as they glow throughout the night,
Round the world they go in flight”
-Peter Fein

~ Three Stages of Life by Klimt

There were many symbols sacred to the Celts. The number three was evident in many of their spiritual practices,
for instance, the three worlds:

The Upperworld (Sky)

The Middle World or Earth (Land)

The Lowerworld or Underworld (Sea)

The Celts determined that the rise to the Summerland was by accessing the Sky, while entrance into to the Lowerworld or Underworld was admitted through the Sea or by mounds known as Sidhe (shee). The Underworld does not refer to ‘hell’ as the Christian beliefs, but rather a place of rest to await and be reborn. The Celts did not believe in an all-evil entity such as the Christian devil.

Reincarnation seems to be one of the most controversial spiritual topics of our time. Hundreds of books are being published on the subject as if the Western world had only recently discovered this ancient doctrine.

Reincarnation is one of Wicca’s most valuable lessons. The knowledge that this life is but one of many, that when the physical body dies we do not cease to exist but are reborn in another body answers many questions, but raises a few more.

Why? Why are we reincarnated? In common with many other religions, Wicca teaches that reincarnation is the instrument through which our souls are perfected. One lifetime isn’t sufficient to attain this goal; hence, the consciousness (soul) is reborn many times,each life encompassing a different set of lessons, until perfection is achieved. Perhaps being an “old soul” means one is a slow learner. No one can say how many lives are required before this is achieved. We are human and its easy to get caught up in our day to day dramas.

A man could even become his own daughter by dying before she is born and then entering her body at birth. Some tribes avoid eating certain animals because they believe that the souls of their ancestors dwell in those animals.

 

In Wicca, we seek to strengthen our bodies, minds and souls.We certainly live full, productive earthly lives, but we try to do so while harming none, the constant One upsmanship, intimidation and looking out for number one slows this journey down.

 

The soul is ageless, sexless, non-physical, possessed of the divine spark of the Goddess and God.Each manifestation of the soul(i.e: Each body it inhabits on earth) is different. No two bodies or lives are the same. If this wasn’t so,the soul would stagnate.The sex, race, place of birth,economic class and every other individuality of the soul is determined by its actions in past lives and the lessons necessary to the present.

 

As an aid in learning the lessons of each life, a phenomenon exists which has been called karma. Karma is often misunderstood.It is not a system of rewards and punishments,but a phenomenon that guides the soul toward evolving actions. Thusly, if a person performs negative actions, negative actions will be returned.Good brings good.With this in mind, there’s little reason to act negatively.

 

 

Karma means action,and that’s how it works. It is a tool, not a punishment. There’s no way one can “wipe out”karma, and neither is every seemingly terrible event in our lives a byproduct of karma.

 

We learn from karma only when we are aware of it. Many look into their past lives to discover their mistakes,to uncover the problems inhibiting progress in this one. Trance and meditation techniques can help here, but true self-knowledge is the best means of accomplishing this.

 

What happens after death? Only the body dies. The soul lives on.Some Wiccans say that it journeys to a realm variously known as the Land of the Faerie ,the summerland, and the land of the young. This realm is neither in heaven nor the underworld. It simply is-a non-physical reality much less dense than ours. Some Wiccan traditions describe it as a land of eternal summer, with grassy fields and sweet flowing rivers, perhaps the earth before the arrival of humans. Others see it vaguely as a realm without forms, where energy swirls coexist with the greatest energies-the Goddess and God in their celestial identities.

 

One day you may “know”, not believe, that reincarnation is as real as a plant that buds, flowers, drops its seed, withers and creates a new plant in its image. Reincarnation was probably first intuited by earlier peoples watching nature. Until you’ve decided for yourself, you may wish to reflect upon and consider the doctrine of reincarnation.

 

~ Vienna by Klimt

 

“We are not human-beings having a spiritual experience,
but we are spiritual-beings having a human experience.

~ Deepak Chopra

 

~ The Waiting by Klimt

Where we come from, where we go . . . beyond punishment and judgments there is acceptance and unconditional love, from where we separated us. Life never starts, never ends, just its expression does change, which makes us believe we die, or we take birth.

All the ancient peoples of the world believed in the reality of reincarnation and a majority in this world still does. Buddhists, Hindus, Druids, Celts, Britons, Gallics, Platonists, Pythagoreans, many gnostic Christians, are only some of the people that hold to this doctrine. Add the Inca and Maya civilizations, the old Egyptians, the Roman poets Vergil, Lucretius, Horatio, the Stoics, and the list is still not completed! Also the Jewish Sohar, the famous Kabbalistic book, contains references to reincarnation.

Moonsmuses.com

The Mystery of Past Life Recall

The Mystery of Past Life Recall

By

Under hypnosis, numerous people recall the details of previous lives, even to the point of taking on the personalities of their former selves – and speaking in foreign languages!

In 1824, a nine-year-old boy named Katsugoro, the son of a Japanese farmer, told his sister that he believed he had a past life. According to his story, which is one of the earliest cases of past life recall on record, the boy vividly recalled that he had been the son of another farmer in another village and had died from the effects of smallpox in 1810. Katsugoro could remember dozens of specific events about his past life, including details about his family and the village where they lived, even though Katsugoro had never been there. He even remembered the time of his death, his burial and the time he spent before being reborn. The facts he related were subsequently verified by an investigation.

Past life recall is one of the most fascinating areas of unexplained human phenomena. As yet, science has been unable to prove or disprove its genuineness. Even many who have investigated claims of past life recall are unsure whether it is an historical recollection due to reincarnation or is a construction of information somehow received by the subconscious. Either possibility is remarkable. And like many areas of the paranormal, there is a propensity for fraud that the serious investigator must watch out for. It’s important to be skeptical about such extraordinary claims, but the stories are nonetheless intriguing.

Past life recall generally comes about spontaneously, more often with children than adults. Those who support the idea of reincarnation believe this is because children are closer to their past lives and that their minds have not been clouded or “written over” by their present lives. Adults who experience past life recall often do so as the result of some extraordinary experience, such as hypnosis, lucid dreaming or even a blow to the head.

Here are some outstanding cases:

VIRGINIA TIGHE / BRIDEY MURPHY

Perhaps the most famous case of past life recall is that of Virginia Tighe who recalled her past life as Bridey Murphy. Virginia was the wife of a Virginia businessman in Pueblo, Colorado. While under hypnosis in 1952, she told Morey Bernstein, her therapist, that over 100 years ago she was an Irish woman named Bridget Murphy who went by the nickname of Bridey. During their sessions together, Bernstein marveled at detailed conversations with Bridey, who spoke with a pronounced Irish brogue and spoke extensively of her life in 19th century Ireland. When Bernstein published his book about the case, The Search for Bridey Murphy in 1956, it became famous around the world and sparked an excited interest in the possibility of reincarnation.

Over six sessions, Virginia revealed many details about Bridey’s life, including her birth date in 1798, her childhood amid a Protestant family in the city of Cork, her marriage to Sean Brian Joseph McCarthy and even her own death at the age of 60 in 1858. As Bridey, she provided numerous specifics, such as names, dates, places, events, shops and songs – things Virginia was always surprised about when she awoke from the hypnosis. But could these details be verified? The results of many investigations were mixed. Much of what Bridey said was consistent with the time and place, and it seemed inconceivable that someone who had never been to Ireland could provide so many details with such confidence.

However, journalists could find no historical record of Bridey Murphy – not her birth, her family, her marriage, nor her death. Believers supposed that this was merely due to the poor recordkeeping of the time. But critics discovered inconsistencies in Bridey’s speech and also learned that Virginia had grown up near – and had known well – an Irish woman named Bridle Corkell, and that she was quite likely the inspiration for “Bridey Murphy.” There are flaws with this theory, too, however, keeping the case of Bridey Murphy an intriguing mystery.

MONICA / JOHN WAINWRIGHT

In 1986, a woman known by the pseudonym “Monica” underwent hypnosis by psychotherapist Dr. Garrett Oppenheim. Monica believed she discovered a previous existence as a man named John Ralph Wainwright who lived in the southwestern U.S. She knew that John grew up in Wisconsin, Arizona and had vague memories of brothers and sisters. As a young man he became a deputy sheriff and married the daughter of a bank president. According the Monica’s “memory,” John was killed in the line of duty – shot by three men he had once sent to jail – and died on July 7, 1907.

SUJITH / SAMMY

Born in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), Sujith was barely old enough to speak when he began to tell his family of a previous life as a man named Sammy. Sammy, he said, had lived eight miles to the south in the village of Gorakana. Sujith told of Sammy’s life as a railroad worker and as a dealer of a bootleg whiskey called arrack. After an argument with his wife, Maggie, Sammy stormed out of his house and got drunk, and while walking along a busy highway was struck by a truck and killed. Young Sujith often demanded to be taken to Gorakana and had an abnormal taste for cigarettes and arrack.

Sjuth’s family had never been to Gorakana and hadn’t known anyone that fit Sammy’s description, yet, being Buddhists, were believers in reincarnation and therefore not completely surprised by the boy’s story. Investigations, including one conducted by a professor of psychiatry from the University of Virginia, confirmed as many as 60 of the details of the life of Sammy Fernando who indeed had lived and died (six months before Sujith’s birth) just as Sujith had said. When Sujith was introduced to Sammy’s family, he surprised them with his familiarity with them and his knowledge of their pet names. This is one of the strongest cases of reincarnation on record.

DREAM RECALL

Hypnosis isn’t the only method by which past lives are recalled. A Britsh woman was distressed by a recurring dream in which she, as a child, and another child with whom she was playing, fell from a high gallery in their home to their deaths. She vividly remembered the black and white checked marble floor on which they died. She repeated the dream to several of her friends. Sometime later, the woman was visiting an old house that had a reputation for being haunted. With its black and white marble floor, the house immediately was recognized by the woman as the scene of the deaths in her dreams. She subsequently learned that a small brother and sister really had fallen to their deaths in the house. Was she recalling a past life, or had she somehow psychically tuned in to this dramatic history?

GRAHAM HUXTABLE / ARNALL BLOXHAM

Another fascinating case of past life regression took place in Wales where Graham Huxtable, a mild-mannered swimming instructor, was placed under hypnosis by hypnotist Arnall Bloxham. In a trance, Huxtable not just recalled a past life, he seemed to actually become a man named Ben, a boisterous gunner on an 18th century British frigate called Aggie. While inhabited by the personality of Ben, Huxtable would call out orders to the men on the ship in a heavy accent and use obscure nautical terminology. He even relived every moment of a battle in which he eventually suffered an injury to his leg.

Bloxham had difficulty bringing Huxtable out of trance, but when he did, the man complained of a pain in his leg. And when Bloxham replayed a recording of the session, Huxtable was astonished at what he heard, recalling nothing of his experience under the trance. Although experts could verify the terms and language that “Ben” used, they could not find records of a ship named Aggie nor of the ship’s captain he had named. Past life recall… or a case of multiple personality?

T.E. / JENSEN JACOBY

In 1958, a woman who in this case was identified only as T.E., underwent hypnosis by her husband, a medical doctor and experimenter with past life regression. Once in a trance state, T.E.’s voice deepened to one that was distinctly male and she declared in broken English that she was a farmer named Jensen Jacoby who lived in the 17th century. T.E.’s speech was peppered with Swedish words, a language that she and her husband swore she did not know. After six hypnotic sessions, T.E. was talking exclusively in Swedish, even conversing fluently with several Swedish persons that her husband had brought in to witness the phenomenon. These native Swedes confirmed that she was speaking a somewhat archaic form of Swedish that would have been spoken at the time Jensen said he had lived.

These are just a few of the more well-known examples of past life recall. Those who practice past life regression therapy today claim that it has certain benefits. They say it can shed light on present life personal issues and relationships and can even help to heal the wounds suffered in a past life.

Reincarnation has also been one of the central tenets of many Eastern religions, and one can return to this existence in a new physical form, whether it is human, animal or even vegetable. The form one takes, it is believed, is determined by the law of karma – that the higher or lower form one takes is due to one’s behavior in the previous life. The concept of past lives is also one of the beliefs of L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology, which states that “past lives are suppressed by the painfulness of the memory of those former existences. To restore the memory of one’s whole existence, it is necessary to bring one up to being able to confront such experiences.”

FAMOUS BELIEVERS IN PAST LIVES

  • General George S. Patton believed that he had been a soldier in many previous lives, including in the service of Alexander the Great.
  • Benjamin Franklin may have been professing his belief in reincarnation when he wrote that he would return “in a new and more elegant edition, revised and corrected by the author.”
  • Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were contemporaries and both professed believers in past lives.
  • Edgar Cayce, the American psychic, believed that he was a resident of Atlantis in one previous life.

 

Source:
About.com

Past Life Memory

Past Life Memory

by June Kaminski, MSN PhD(c)

Past life recall is an elusive subject in Western society, yet a common and accepted one in many other countries and cultures. In recent years, Eastern philosophies as well as ancient European ones have precipated a surge of interest in the possibilities of multiple lives.

More and more people are giving at least some thought to the potential credibility of the notion that they may have lived before: as another person of either gender, in another era and often in another country and socioeconomic situation. People ar beginning to pay attention to “deja vu” experiences, or sudden and brief “pictures” of themselves as another person – and at least wonder if these could be clues to who they were before.

Often, when first studying the theory of reincarnation, people wonder why they don’t remember clearly who they were. How could this theory be true, if it is all so vague and often impossible to validate? There are many reasons for this block in memory, one being the fact that it is not part of our mainstream culture. In countries where past lives are a “given”, young children often share long dialogues of memories about their lives in other times and other bodies. In fact, some children have remembered being people who had died within the past decade or two, which did lead to investigation and uncanny evidence. There does seem to be evidence in countries like India for this theory of reincarnation.

Another reason that we often do not readily remember all of our past lives is that our memories are best focused on NOW, this life. Remembering our past lives does have merit but should not lead to feelings of longing or obsession. Certain memories of relevant past lives can give us alot of “hidden” information about our life’s work this time round, and what recurrent patterns, life partners, and unresolved karma, fears, and challenges we have chosen to work with in this lifetime. These same selective memories and life parallels can point us to the gifts and talents that we chose to work on in this present life, and even who we have chosen to spend our lives with, whether a spouse, children, parents, friends, coworkers, and so on.

The resources on this site will guide you through some activities to help you to get in touch with the past lives that are pertinent to this current life you are experiencing right now. As you practice these activities, you will find glimpses and memories sprouting up more and more as you go about your daily life. The lessons, the talents, the messages from your former selves can help you discover the true meaning of your life and to ascertain what your Life Path is now in the 21st century.

To begin to explore the topic of reincarnation and past lives, sit back and mull over these questions. Write down your answers as well.

1. What places have you always dreamt of visiting?

2. Are there places that totally repel you?

3. Are there historical eras that fascinate you?

4. Are there any people that you have felt instantly drawn to? Ones that you ponder over – wondering where you’ve met them before?

5. What talents were you “born with”? Or which talents were easy for you to cultivate?

6. Have you ever experienced “deja vu”?

Source:

Reincarnation Central

Let’s Talk Witch – Karmic Consequences

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Let’s Talk Witch – Karmic Consequences

Karma is a Hindu concept that has been adopted by many Westerners, especially those in the New Age and Pagan communities. While many people talk about karma, not everyone fully understands it. Its effects over several lifetimes are also often misunderstood.

What Is Karma?

Karma is the Hindu law of cause and effect. For every action you take, there is a reaction, although it’s not equal and opposite. When you take beneficial action, you receive a beneficial effect. When you take baneful action, that will come back to you, too.

Your karma is a part of your soul, and it determines, in part, how your life will play out. If you live a just life, you will receive more just benefits. If something negative befalls you, look to your history and see what might have caused it.

Leftover Karma from Past Lives

The karmic backlash or reward for your actions is not always immediate. Sometimes it takes years to feel the full karmic effects of any action. The span of time between an action and its karmic effect can actually stretch over more than one lifetime. The actions you took in your past lives affect your current life to some degree. They might decide your role in this life, or how your life is lived. You can rest assured that really evil people will receive appropriate punishments in their future lives. Hopefully, you weren’t a terrible person in your past life, but if you can’t see any reason why so many things in your life seem to be going wrong, you might be dealing with retribution for mistakes you made in a previous life.

The Hindu concept of time is not strictly linear, so there can also be a karmic influence for an action you’ve not yet taken. Living the best life you can in order to balance out the negative weight on your karma is the best solution for dealing with karmic effects you had no role in creating in this life. A Hindu’s goal in life is to carry out his dharma (duty). If you attempt to serve your life purpose, it will benefit your karma and counterbalance the mistakes of the past or future

Source:
Author: Selene Silverwind
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The Daily OM for January 28th – Who Am I

Who Am I
The Heart of Unknowing

by Madisyn Taylor

The question of who we are is a seed that can bear much fruit if given the chance to unfold.

At some point in our lives, or perhaps at many points in our lives, we ask the question, “Who am I? At times like these, we are looking beyond the obvious, beyond our names and the names of the cities and states we came from, into the layers beneath our surface identities. We may feel the need for a deeper sense of purpose in our lives, or we may be ready to accommodate a more complex understanding of the situation in which we find ourselves. Whatever the case, the question of who we are is a seed that can bear much fruit.

It can send us on an exploration of our ancestry, or the past lives of our soul. It can call us to take up journaling in order to discover that voice deep within us that seems to know the answers to a multitude of questions. It can draw our attention so deeply inward that we find the spark of spirit that connects us to every living thing in the universe. One Hindu tradition counsels its practitioners to ask the question over and over, using it as a mantra to lead them inevitably into the heart of the divine.

While there are people who seem to come into the world knowing who they are and why they are here, for the most part the human journey appears to be very much about asking this question and allowing its answers to guide us on our paths. So when we find ourselves in the heart of unknowing, we can have faith that we are in a very human place, as well as a very divine one. “Who am I? is a timeless mantra, a Zen koan ultimately designed to lead us home, into the part of our minds that finally lets go of questions and answers and finds instead the ability to simply be.

The Daily OM

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Let’s Talk Witch – The Summerlands

Let’s Talk Witch – The Summerlands

All religious systems have a place where the soul ascends (or descends) when the physical body can no longer function. In Craft belief, we call this place the Summerland. This is the resting place- the way station, if you will- for souls to recover, and categorize information and lessons we have learned. We have no Hell, or place of terror or damnation.

Reincarnation- the logical process of living, dying, and living again on the earth plane. Some religions also believe in transmigration, where an individual’s soul may enter not only the body of a human, but the body of a plant or animal.

In most Witchcraft Traditions, reincarnation is the accepted theology for dealing with the subject of death and rebirth. We move with the seasons, the cycle of the Wheel, the turn of birth, death, and rebirth. That part of it usually isn’t questioned because it is logical.

What is questioned is the space between the living experiences, the number of lifetimes, and the reasoning for going through each one. Also intriguing is “who we were,” with whom, and when.

Reincarnation is one of Wicca’s most valuable lessons. The knowledge that this life is but one of many, that when the physical body dies we do not cease to exist but are reborn in another body answers many questions, but raises a few more.

Wicca teaches that reincarnation is the instrument through which our souls are perfected. one lifetime isn’t sufficient to attain this goal; hence, the consciousness (soul) is reborn many times, each life encompassing a different set of lessons, until perfection is achieved. No one can say how many lives are required before this is accomplished.

In Wicca, we seek to strengthen our bodies, minds and souls. We certainly live full, productive earthly lives, and we do so while harming none. The soul is ageless, sexless, non-physical, possessed of the divine spark of the Goddess and God. Each manifestation of the soul (i.e., each body it inhabits on Earth) is different. No two bodies or lives are the same.

What happens after death? Only the body dies. The soul lives on. Some Wiccans say that it journeys to a realm variously known as the Summerlands, Land of the Faerie, the Shining Land, and the Land of the Young. This realm is neither in heaven nor the underworld. It simply is- a non- physical reality much less dense than ours. Some Wiccan traditions describe it as a land of eternal summer, with grassy fields and sweet flowing rivers, perhaps the Earth before the advent of humans. Others see it vaguely as a realm without forms, where energy swirls coexist with the greatest energies- the Goddess and God in their celestial identities.

The soul is said to review the past life, perhaps through some mysterious way with the deities. This isn’t a judgment, a weighing of one’s soul, but an incarnational review. Lessons learned or ignored are brought to light.

After the proper time, when the conditions on Earth are correct, the soul is reincarnated and life begins again.

The final question- what happens after the last incarnation? Wiccan teachings have always been vague on this. Basically, the Wiccans say that after rising upon the spiral of life and death and rebirth, those souls who have attained perfection break away from the cycle forever and dwell with the Goddess and God. Nothing is ever lost. The energies resident in our souls return to the divine source from which they originally emanated.

Because of the acceptance of reincarnation, the Wicca don’t fear death as a final plunge into oblivion, the days of life on Earth forever behind them. It is seen as the door to birth. Thus our very lives are symbolically linked with the endless cycles of the seasons which shape our planet.

Reincarnation is as real as a plant that buds, flowers, drops its seed, withers and creates a new plant in its image.

Daily OM for November 29th – Reconnecting with Friends

Reconnecting with Friends
Special Messengers

by Madisyn Taylor

When fate brings old friends back into our lives, there is always a reason.

Every person that passes through our lives makes a contribution to our life stories. There are those who play large roles and make deep impressions, but sometimes a brief special appearance before life takes them in another direction creates a meaningful connection. It is a rare gift when they suddenly reappear in our lives after a long absence.

Though the world may seem full of more people than we could ever know, we are often drawn to people with similar energy, which brings us together time and time again. On first meeting, the characters in our life stories may seem familiar. We may know each other from past lives or perhaps we merely recognize the energy of a kindred spirit. But when fate brings old friends back into our lives, there is always a reason. They may act as messengers, reminding us of a part of ourselves we have forgotten to nurture. They might appear to give us a chance to react in a new way to an old situation. They may even bring up unresolved issues so that we may complete them, giving us the chance to move forward on our life path. Whether old friends, previous romances, or once and future partners, their reappearance is more than mere chance. They may never know what they bring into our lives, but the renewed contact is a gift.

If this hasn’t happened to you, maybe you are meant to initiate contact by seeking out old friends. If old friends come to mind or into your dreams, use their appearance as an excuse to get in touch. If an old song or movie reminds you of them, reach out to share the gift of renewed contact. Wherever you fall in the circle of connection and reconnection, be sure to look beyond the surprise of the moment to enjoy the deeper gift that this revelation brings.

The Daily OM

Spirit Guides

Spirit Guides

Author:   Mar-Garet   

My Creative Writing teacher (about 20 years ago) had just assigned to us: ‘Imagine an entity who would symbolize to you great wisdom.’ Then we were to write a dialogue with that entity in our journals. My ‘entity’ turned out to be a Porpoise by the name of Rosa! I enjoyed our journal dialogues so much… .I could ask her anything, and she’d always end up give me good (if sometimes quite hilarious) advice!

One day, I was dialoguing with her when she said to me, ‘Wait, I must assume another form in order to answer that question.’ What was going on? She changed form into a beautiful and wise female ‘presence’ who has been with me since I was a very young child. The name of this ‘presence’ I called ‘Saji.’

It turned out that Rosa was simply one aspect, or form, of Saji. I had always wondered why a porpoise would be named after a Rose… .then I remembered that the Rose was one of Saji’s ‘symbols.’ Saji, I finally comprehended, is one of my Life Guides (I have two of them, one female — Saji — and one male). Saji has always been there for me, through all my good times and bad times, to comfort me when I was young, and to guide me as I grow older. Her presence is total love, and I love her with all my heart. To me, she is the voice of the Goddess in my soul.

As I continued my journal dialogues, I found that Saji was there for me whenever I needed her. Sometimes, my male guide, Zohar, would come through—a completely different energy than Saji, but still full of love. I knew they were my Spiritual Guides because they seemed to embody my ‘ideal’ Self, and they never steered me toward any kind of negativity, always toward love and positivity. And they never demanded that I ‘obey’ them. They simply communicated their perspective to me… and it was and IS a much wider perspective than I am usually able to see! And it was then up to me to decide whether to follow their advice or not. When I DID follow their advice, I always found a positive experience.

My Creative Writing teacher was interested in hypnosis as a creative writing tool, and he asked for volunteers to participate in his experiment. I readily agreed to be a volunteer. For 32 hypnosis sessions, we explored the world of my Guides, and met other Spirits also.

These Spirits included: Many of my own past selves, writers and other historical figures who had lived in the past and who we admired, extra-terrestrials, nature-spirits and elementals, dragons, unicorns, etc. Once Spirit called itself (it was beyond gender) my ‘Oversoul, ‘ and mostly showed itself as a bright light! I met Saji’s teacher and was told that his name was Carrefour. I was curious about this and found that in the Vodu religion, Carrefour means ‘crossroads’ and is the Moon God.

I was a little concerned about Carrefour, as I had read that he sometimes has a negative aspect. Eventually, I came to realize that what is important is how *I* relate to him, because I feel that every Spirit I meet reflects something within my own soul. The Carrefour that I know is a Trickster spirit, and yet he is so full of love and compassion that he practically overflows with these qualities!

My subsequent research into Vodu has brought me a lot of interaction with that pantheon. I am learning a very positive path, but always there is much struggle against the prejudices associated with this ancient way. That is part of the challenge I have chosen in this particular incarnation. To me, these ‘Lwa’s’ (as they are called in their own language — also called Loa’s) are ancestors who have progressed to the point of merging with world-Archetypes as interpreted through their own tribal mythology.

My own Past Lives often come to me and inspire me with creative ideas and projects. Some of them teach me (or, more accurately, remind me) what I have forgotten! They also help me recognize certain spiritual qualities in other people, which can come in handy when I am doing a reading or a healing. And they always bring with them Spiritual contacts that harmonize with the culture, mythology, and worldview of those past lives. Working with past life selves is simple — as long as you remember that the PRESENT is where power resides. The purpose and work of the PRESENT LIFE is the most vital and most important.

Certain of my Guides and Past Lives also serve as ‘Gatekeeper’ when I am searching psychically for information and communication from other spirits. They keep it positive, healthy, and filter out any negative vibes.

One book that I found helpful in ‘discerning’ Spirits (and Lwa’s) is Initiation: A Woman’s Spiritual Adventure in the Heart of the Andes by Elizabeth B. Jenkins. In this book, Ms. Jenkins describes her spiritual quest in the Andes, and how she progressed from a worldview that was dominant/submissive to one that was more egalitarian. As a family therapist herself, she had a unique view of Spirit-Human relationships and she had a ‘feel’ for when they became dysfunctional. She explains her own spiritual lessons and how she went from a child-level to an adult-level in functioning on the spiritual plane.

In Ms. Jenkins’ perspective (as well as mine) one becomes a member of a FAMILY of both human and spiritual beings. A family works together for the good of all, and Spirits assist only if invited and welcomed. As the Spirits participate and prove themselves as allies, they become part of the family, too. (You may substitute ‘coven’ for ‘family’ here, also.)

James Redfield, in his book The Tenth Insight: Holding the Vision, describes ‘Soul Groups’ that contain all the past selves of each individual human. These ‘Soul Groups’ contain all the knowledge that the individual has gleaned from life so far! As we move into the Aquarian Age, we find that groups are becoming more and more important in our spiritual evolution. Working with groups is challenging, but promises a great leap forward in our consciousness. As we work ‘for the good of all, according to free will’ (Thanks, Marion Weinstein!), we learn the meaning of spiritual cooperation, without the loss of individuality.

I enjoy groups that form themselves ‘organically, ‘ and just come together in a natural way. As such, families can be defined as a group of entities who are have come together related to each other in intimate ways. Families have something intrinsic in common. And the families we create are connected by love.

Families do not always get along, nor are they always in the same mood. However, they ARE always close to each other, whether they are in group-formation or not. They experience kinship; that is, they recognize each other as ‘my kind.’

In spiritual pantheons like Vodu, or in shamanic paths, one can be called by, adopted by, mentored by, and even married to, a Spirit or a Lwa. This is a more intimate connection and requires a greater level of commitment than just working together. One becomes, essentially, a priest or priestess of that Spirit or Lwa’s specialty. This doesn’t cancel out one’s HUMAN parent, mentor or mate. However, it does require a certain amount of time that must be dedicated to the relationship between the person and the Spirit or Lwa. During this special dedicated time, the person and the Spirit/Lwa learn from each other and cooperate in channeling specialized energy through that archetype.

I have considered being a Priestess of a certain Spirit/Lwa, but have decided that I like to keep things more flexible. I like being able to have a variety of Spirits/Lwa’s to relate to! This is similar to the way I like to relate to my human family and friends. I like a large variety, to bring out the different aspects of myself. (My Venus and Jupiter are in Aquarius, for those astrologically inclined!) I have had many varied incarnations, and I think that I am a very international person!

Other people may have kept to one culture during a lot of their incarnations and, therefore, relate with a smaller number of Spirits/Lwa’s, in a closer and more intimate way. There is nothing wrong with that inclination, either. There are many ways to relate, and many ways to group. There are many kinds of families, but the ones we CHOOSE to create need to be those that encourage us, bring out our talents, support us emotionally, and merge with our own individual style!

Samhain, the Time of the Ancestors

Samhain, the Time of the Ancestors

Author:   Sta Muertero Steven  
Although I honor and serve my ancestors year-round, All Hallows is the time when I go all out for them and prepare a large feast. However, I find little information in many of the marketed texts of Wicca and modern Paganism that deals with ancestor veneration, a practice that is a major characteristic of the vast majority of the world’s basic religions. I’d like to share my views on this and offer what I’ve found to be effective in establishing solid lines of communication with my ancestors, essentially a novena to bring them into my daily life to provide me with love, guidance, wisdom, and protection as I go about my way in this sometimes uncertain world.
In Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, Scott Cunningham writes, “Many Wiccans do attempt to communicate with their deceased ancestors and friends at [Samhain], but it seems to me that if we accept the doctrine of reincarnation, this is a rather strange practice. Perhaps the personalities that we knew still exist, but if the soul is currently incarnate in another body, communication would be difficult, to say the least. Thus, it seems best to remember them with peace and love-but not to call them up” (p. 143).
Thus begins many beginning Wiccans’ view of the spirits of our ancestors, including my own in the beginning. No offense to the spirit of Scott, but I now beg to differ. Through my personal journey in ecletic Wicca, then traditional Haitian Vodou, and now Wica and Traditional Witchcraft, I have come to view the above as a rather naive and simplistic view of the soul and reincarnation. I feel the above concept of the ancestors comes mainly from a combination of a misinterpreted and simplified view of the Hindu doctrine of reincarnation and the typical Western concept of a single-component soul.
A previous co-worker of mine who is from India and a practicing Hindu both believes in reincarnation and honors the spirits of his ancestors. I’ve not asked him to explain how these seemingly contradictory beliefs are reconciled, however, I have to wonder if the explanation is in any way similar to the concepts found in Haitian Vodou, where there are many components to the soul, one of which reincarnates at some future time, one which joins the spirits of the ancestors in the waters below, while the others perform other functions and journey to different destinations. All of these components are important, and one should not be thought of as the “real” soul above the others.
In any case, I believe that one can adhere to a doctrine of reincarnation and honor the spirits of one’s ancestors, even bringing them into their daily lives for guidance and protection, without having the beliefs contradict one another in any way. This has been uncommon in my knowledge of the majority of eclectic Wicca and the modern Pagan religions, however, it seems this may be changing as more individuals and groups (re-) discover ancestor veneration. I feel this view can easily be adopted by the rest of them, giving a more solid foundation in the traditional practices found in almost all basic religions throughout the world. The eagerness with which many of the ancestors of those of European origin seem to flock to the service provided when a descendant begins the service of the Lwa Ginea, in other words, practicing Haitian Vodou, or another Afro-Caribbean tradition, is evidence enough for me that our pre-Christian ancestors possessed a tradition of honoring the ancestors that is long overdue in being re-established in some form by their descendants.
The following is a ceremony I have found effective based on my training in Haitian Vodou. I hope that by sharing this information, the long-forgotten ancestors of those who perform this ceremony will be brought back to this realm to bestow their wisdom and blessings upon their descendants to help guide them toward a more fulfilling life in every way.
The Ancestor Novena
This ritual, although seemingly simple, has enormous effect on a person in that if that person has never successfully established contact with one’s ancestors, this will allow for the ancestors to come fully into one’s life. The ancestors are how every person alive exists. We stand on their shoulders; we have their blood in our veins. Their spirits surround us through the tie of that same blood. For these reasons alone, we should honor them and invite them to be active in our daily lives. But also, they possess knowledge of ourselves and of the world and can provide protection that we would not have otherwise.
In the beginning, one should only establish contact with direct blood relatives, meaning parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on. In an ideal ancestor-venerating society, all other relatives, such as aunts and uncles, would be taken care of by their descendants. However, in this country (the U.S.) and in the majority of the Western world, as you may know, this is not the case. In some cases, passed extended family members may have had a greater effect on the person than parents, and so on, and those spirits may wish to be honored in the person’s line of ancestors, as well. That is fine, however, they should be invited after the direct blood relatives. Those extended family members and even the spirits of those not related to you by blood can be included in your service to your ancestors after this novena has been successfully completed simply by calling their names and asking them to join your ancestors during one of your regular services.
This ritual is effective even if one’s parents are unknown, because we all have never met the vast majority of our ancestors (three, four, five, six, seven, and so on, generations back). This ritual is also effective, and even essential, for a person who had a negative or abusive relationship with one’s parents or grandparents. Whatever that person or those people were like during life, they are now beyond the veil and have learned many things. That’s not to say that they’re more spiritually evolved by virtue of being dead, but that they can now see a larger picture and can be spiritually elevated if they so choose and if you help them to be. They are also now surrounded by the spirits of their parents and families and are possibly being guided by them, helping them understand where they may have gone wrong in life. This is essential for those people’s spiritual evolution because the unresolved issues with their ancestors tie them to the past, preventing them from moving forward. We are never completely free of the past; we are always connected to everything and every time–we are one.
Items to obtain for the novena

  1. One or two white 7-day candles (large, tall candles encased in glass), or a set of white tapers.
  2. Cascarilla (dried and ground egg white in the form of a compacted powder), or white chalk.
  3. A clear glass of water.
  4. Perfume or incense of a soft, light nature (with an incense holder).
  5. A corner of your home or small space that’s not in your bedroom which can be used (at least temporarily if you can’t dedicate permanent space) to house your ancestors.

Items to have for the ninth day

  1. A white plate.
  2. White flowers.
  3. Food that they may have enjoyed in life, cooked by you, with no salt added (if the ingredients inherently contain sodium, don’t worry about, but do not ADD salt).

Preparation

  1. Clean the space you have chosen for your ancestors. If you plan to have an altar table, that’s fine, but during the novena, place everything directly onto the floor. If you have pets, partition this area off somehow so they will not have access to it, at least during the novena.
  2. Take the cascarilla, rub your finger into it, (or use the chalk) and begin to draw an arc on the floor from one wall to the one perpendicular to it. Make it a solid arc; this will take more work if you have carpet. If for some reason, you can’t use a corner but a section of wall instead, make this a half-circle, starting from one side of the area, moving around it, and closing it in on the other. The purpose is to spiritually close off this section.
  3. Using the cascarilla (or chalk), make nine short dashes along the arc or half-circle. It should look like railroad markings on a map.
  4. Place one 7-day white candle inside the marked-off area, along with the clear glass filled with water. Also, place the bottle of perfume or the light, clean scented incense inside the area.
  5. Choose a certain time of the day that you are sure you can be free to talk with your ancestors at the same time for nine consecutive days, beginning on a Monday.

The Novena

  1. When the time comes, settle yourself in front of the area, light the candle, and open the bottle of perfume or light the incense. Prepare yourself for spiritual communication and open yourself to the spiritual world, whether that is with the Our Father and three Hail Mary’s, or meditation, or a prayer to the God/dess, the Cabbalistic Cross, or whatever. Do this at the beginning of each session.
  2. Also at each session and after the opening part just mentioned, state your full name along with any other name by which you are known, and call to your ancestors both known and unknown. Ex: “I, Paul Michael Smith, Grey Wolf, call to all my ancestors, those I know and those I currently do not…”
  3. After you’ve gotten their attention, thank them for giving you life, for without them you wouldn’t be here.
  4. Next, talk with your ancestors the way you would family members at a family reunion, catching those up who have missed the latest bit of your life, and introducing yourself to those you don’t yet know, which of course will be the majority of them. Tell them what you’re doing (the novena) and why you feel it’s important to you. Chances are, they already know, but it’s necessary for you to speak this aloud to them; it gives purpose and power to your physical actions. Ask them to come into your life and help you do what you need to do.
  5. When you have said all you wish to say, thank them again. Tell them you will be back again at the same time and place to talk with them more the following day.
  6. Extinguish the candle, or allow it to burn the remainder of the day/night until you go to sleep, or allow the candle to burn continuously throughout the novena, which will require at least two 7-day candles. (All depending on how nervous you are about fire hazards. I allowed mine to burn continuously and asked my ancestors to guard the candle to make sure it didn’t tip over or catch anything on fire-nothing bad happened.)

On the Ninth Day

  1. Do your prayers as usual, talk with your ancestors, and then explain that this is the last day of the novena, and that from now on you will come to them once a week to light their candle, supply fresh water, and serve them food if they tell you they need it.
  2. At this time you can place the altar in the area, if you plan to have an altar. Then place all their items on the altar (this is “lifting them up”), give them the flowers you’ve gathered or bought, give them the food you’ve prepared, and thank them again for being an active part of your daily life.

After the Novena
Choose one day of the week (usually this will be Monday) that you can go to your ancestors, light their candle, give them fresh water, give them food if you feel they need it and whatever type they ask for (again with no salt added), give them flowers, alcohol, cigarettes, whatever they enjoyed in life, and talk with them. Place pictures of them and items they owned on the altar; truly make it yours.
While chatting with them share with them your good news and bad news. When you feel you need help in life’s difficult journey, ask them for support and guidance.
Once you have established a good relationship with your ancestors, let this relationship evolve as they dictate. In other words, this is only the beginning.
Brightest Blessings
Hermes