If you haven’t read the story I wrote some years back about my hair-raising experience at Hotel Phillips in Kansas City, MO, you’ll want to check that out before you go further with the following tidbit.
Kenaz – Torch – As we emerge from Mercury retrograde, Kenaz merkstave arrives in time to put things into perspective. Usually regarded as meaning a spark of hope or enlightenment out of the blue, the emphasis of this stave is awareness emerging from pitch black. Note that Kenaz is brightstave in the photo.
Originally published at Pagan Square.
I’ve long wrestled with the concept of ‘life purpose.’ Foremost, it seemed limiting–just one? And it smacked of New Age woo. The true wrestling part, though, was that I felt a deep calling, always, like since I became aware that I was aware, between 5-6 years old. I didn’t know what the calling was, and for most of my youth I was satisfied to just recognize that it was.
I recently had the honor of writing for TarotWikipedia, on life as a modern shaman.
To many who find the modern shamanic path, the summation of that work is learning to journey. Sometimes called skywalking, starwalking, or soul flight, journeying is the term most often applied to ecstatic trance. It is the cognisant dreaming state of willing an aspect of the soul to travel out of the body, into a destination in the spirit realm, for benefit of self, other, or community. That’s a mouthful, yes, and it’s intense travel.
Many learn to journey by taking classes taught by someone who has mastered the technique. It’s actually not hard to find classes on ecstatic trance all over the world now, often flavored with many cultural influences. Certainly many books and websites outline various approaches to spirit travel. This jaunt into the unseen is not just an exercise in experiencing the self out of form, but an opportunity to map the Dreaming, to greet spirit guides and totems, to heal, to bless. The act of shamanic journeying, itself, becomes a relationship one has with All Things.
I teach ecstatic journeying, and have since 2000. I’ve mastered the technique of journeying, despite that it dips and dodges, shows me new faces and territories, then swings out and loops back to familiar climes and allies. The thing that I work on to this day is rooting into everyday life what my shamanic journeys teach me. This is the part that can’t be taught in a weekend class, or perhaps even through years of classes. This grounding is the part that can only be learned by doing it, everyday, all day, through every aspect of life.
Learning to journey isn’t a technique, it’s a lifestyle change. I tell this to students who take my classes; I’ve said it repeatedly in the many articles and essays I’ve written on modern shamanism. Ecstatic journeying changes our lives. It rearranges our synapses and priorities, and allows us direct contact with the spiritual manifestation of all that our imaginations can perceive. When we journey, we return changed in ways that can’t be planned for, and most certainly can’t be ignored. That attention must be given in sharing, doing, being, creating the world of imagination–where we live.
Originally published at TarotWikipedia.
I just wanted to take a moment to thank the supporters of my blog, Intentional Insights. I created my blog on this day in 2004, and ever since it’s had fantastic support, a sustained rapport, and a host of featured, cherished others.
I don’t often write on a personal level in my blog. I also often don’t celebrate my own successes. Now that I think about it, those two things are likely related…
At any rate, I’m thrilled for all the relationships that I have formed with others through my blog. Thank you for your inspiration and being candid about what you want to read in it. Thank you for always being kind and honest, and for sticking with it through its various iterations and growth spurts.
Indeed, I do wish us all intentional insights, active engagement, and compassionate wisdom in All Things.
I sent out my monthly newsletter the other day, and have had such a great response to it that I’d like to share part of it here. Go gently into the holidays.
Over the last year I’ve been sitting back, watching lots of dramas play out. Groups splintering, belief paths diverging, relationships ending, jobs disappearing. We’re all familiar with the big ones–the world economy diving, governments crumbling–or at least their integrity is taking a nose dive. As I observe these patterns coming to ends, I’m reminded of the optimism and excitement that was rampant at this time last year. Remember? Winter Solstice 2012? It had a certain ring, an air of mystery. Even if you didn’t buy into the prophecy proclamations, propaganda made it impossible to escape the finality of it marking an end. To some, it was The End of a way of consciousness as we’ve known it.
At that point, there seemed to be moot acceptance that certain systems would fall–the “bad” ones, the inhumane, unhealthy, hateful, harmful ones. Yet, a year later, we’re confused as to the sweeping personal dramas, the inability for rote patterning to quench deep desire. Some of the closings aren’t terribly dramatic. I’ve had a lot of people report that they just can’t go through the motions of everyday as they used to. Their daily routine no longer fits. The rituals they’ve followed to get ready for work for fifteen years suddenly constrict. The desire for a new shiny elusive something won’t abate. In particular, many express feeling conflicted about how to approach the holidays, because lifelong traditions feel foreign, yet no new way reveals itself. Old patterns aren’t working, but new ones aren’t coming.
If we bought into the shift of the last year as bringing the end of systems, then that includes personal ones. Our cherished darlings must break, not just our foes and conflicts. Our habits, even if they aren’t overtly harmful or threatening, have to go if they don’t support our greater joy. I don’t think that means that our relationships will end, or our belief system have to change. I think it means the end of systems, finding comfort in the fact that for now and the foreseeable future, there is no system, on any level.
Our challenge at this time is to stay dynamic. If what worked yesterday isn’t working today, so it is. Find a new way. And if tomorrow, none of the above fulfills, there will be another approach. For years I’ve called this era a “hinge time,” because we are at the turning point of treasured Piscean systems giving way to sustainable, organic Aquarian communities.
Center is shifting, constantly.Our job isn’t to try to find it, but to shift with it.
I wish you strong bearings this holiday season.
“Bunch of wanna-blessed-be’s. Nowadays every girl with a henna tattoo and a spice rack thinks she’s a sister to the dark ones.” – Willow, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I love that quote. It speaks to every judgment that can be made, one Pagan to another, that there is a right and wrong way to “do” Paganism, and that we all think we’re better for our way. Not to mention how it characterizes non-Pagans…
I’ve been mostly sitting back and watching the upheaval around public Pagan figures publicly questioning their Pagan paths over the last year, starting with Star Foster, and now Teo Bishop. There may have been a Facebook status or two, though for the most part, I’ve been silent, taking it all in.
Public personas aside, I’ve been seeing a lot of Pagan-bashing within the Pagan community, of late. I’ve received it, as I’m sure many who remain actively engaged with the wider world audience, have.
I’d like to say it’s disturbing. I’d even like to say it’s in direct opposition to all the things that make the Pagan path… Pagan. Mostly, though, what’s foremost in my mind is that it’s familiar.
Many of us weren’t born into a Pagan tradition; rather, we found one, after having been organized into a mainstream religion. And most of us who fall into that category have very clear reasons for why we left that confining spiritual path. While many don’t tend a particular flavor of Paganism, we gravitate to its freer pastures, its open landscape of possibility and connection.
The freedom to do just that is what made Paganism so accessible. Why, then, would any Pagan give grief to someone seeking out a more defined path, even if that path is defined by the strictures of a different religion?
Is it that neat and tidy for some, that it all fits perfectly into a single container, never to spill across the borders of other perspectives? Maybe. Apparently. I don’t think that’s the rub, though. I think it’s human nature to go off-road now and then, and frankly, to observe how others are faring in their adventure. Getting stuck in the mire of judging their religious choices is another thing, entirely.
As animists, we work the personal experience through the observation of and connection with all things around us, including other people. It isn’t about what spiritual path we’re on, or that anyone else is on. What matters is how well we’re working the tenets of whatever path we choose, perhaps particularly as Pagans. How true to our spiritual convictions can we be if we’re comparing ourselves to others? When we begin to personalize what everybody else is doing, how present are we in tending our own process?
Observe. Form opinions, then lay them at the altar of the ego, and move on. Ultimately it isn’t about being Pagan, another spiritual path, or some threatening, unidentifiable tract between. It’s about being a compassionate human.
Originally published at PaganSquare.
Thurisaz – thorn- Wow. How fitting that the last two (and only) times Thurisaz was drawn for The Weekly Rune, Mercury was retrograde, as it is now.
Given Mercury’s odd and often jarring synchronicity, the power of this Rune lies in a keen ability to flow with divine order. As it is connected to the realm of the giants, it represents Thor’s hammer–the implement which when employed brings sudden and drastic change.
As such, this Rune often indicates an abrupt modification of events, usually for the good. It’s easy to see Mercury retrograde as an aberration of flow as we’re used to it. Identifying its quirky, grating way of accomplishing uplifting ends is not always so clear.
A key note about Thurisaz is, while it indicates the time to strike, miss, and it’s over. The moment has passed. Of course, the only way to be assured of wanted outcome is to stay aligned with divine order. And the only way to truly flow with divine order is not to be attached to the outcome.
Ultimately, Thurisaz is about strength. With this Rune we prove to ourselves that we have the endurance and power to allow what is best for us, even if ‘best’ isn’t what we thought it was. In letting go of our idea of what’s best, we allow ourselves to change. In changing, we grow.
–Over the next week, the Runecast for Samhain will be released through the Runic Wheel of the Year Alliance. Don’t miss out on its insights for the Dark time!