Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

Monday, February 22, 2010

How do you view the Gods and Goddesses?

Pagan Magic  asks:

Do you see the Gods and Goddesses as individual entities, each with their own power? Or are they universal archetypes? Do you even believe in a divine entity? Are the Gods and Goddesses aspects of the whole? How important is it to you to worship them? What experiences have you had? We'd love to hear your views.

My answer —

I think we are all sparks of the Divine fire, metaphorically speaking, i.e. expressions of God — or like one point that expands out and out into many. I tend to see deities and angels as somewhat closer to that original source, but we are all aspects of that. We are in God and God is in us. And when I say we, I mean everything. I'm monotheist, polytheist and pantheist all at once, seeing no inherent contradiction in that. It is, instead, a paradox.

I sometimes say The Universe when I mean God or Deity or Source or Great Spirit — and I experience that Universe / God etc. as having a personal connection and relationship with me. (Much as I might look after my own finger, say, if I also related to that finger as sentient and autonomous.) This Source I see as beyond gender, and surely beyond our comprehension in many ways. When you realise that there are colours our physical eyes cannot see, how much more is there that we cannot in this form apprehend?

For everyday purposes I prefer to focus on the female aspect of Deity, and have no problem meaning that when I say 'God', although I do also use the term 'Goddess'. I think the individual deities are as real as you and me, though not in physical form in this dimension in the same way that we are. I have personal relationships with a number of them. I also see them as embodying archetypes, and again perceive paradox rather than contradiction.

Years before I identified as Pagan, a magician friend who was clairvoyant told me that this own patron deity, Thoth, was with me. He described Thoth, and I realised that this was the same dude who had been hanging around me since earliest childhood. (I always had awareness of the spirit world.) So I knew him as a friend, guide and guardian already, and knowing who he was simply deepened the relationship. I regard him as my patron deity too.

Then, when I first self-dedicated to this path, that morning before I did the ritual I kept being presented with spiders, both in the flesh and in mental images. I got the message and dedicated myself specifically to the Goddess in her aspect as Great Mother Spider. I identified her by the name Arachne, though also aware of the Native American version. It seemed appropriate, as Spider is the Creator (as weaver) and I'm a poet. But then I came to know what a great gift it was from the Universe, that I was directed that way. A witch with hubris tried to attack me and some of my friends and helpers. (The ultimate target was someone else we were close to, but even so, we all felt the effects.) She had some Native American heritage and her totem was Spider, so many of the attacks came via venomous spiders. They were all averted: close calls, and frightening, but not fatal. We soon worked out where it was coming from, and were able to raise enough protection that she gave up. But my point is, just before the attacks began I had been guided to put myself, in effect, under the protection of Spider — and so, while she could mount the attacks through her own connection with Spider, they were then turned away (not only from me but also my allies) by the same agency.

Later again, forming a coven with some like-minded friends, I participated in a journey meditation for each of us to find our specific deity to guide us in this venture, and Ariadne came to me.

There are others I relate to also, in various ways and through various circumstances. Their personalities are distinct and individual.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Was I Tutankhamen?

There — how’s that for a heading to have everyone convinced I’m a self-aggrandising nutter? We all know how everyone who believes in past lives thinks they’ve been someone famous, and no-one’s ever been anonymous and ordinary.

Well, actually I have recalled some very ordinary, anonymous lives. There was the fat German housewife with lots of children, a love of gossip and a fairly disappointing marriage. There was the itinerant Chinese vegetable seller, a young man with neither education nor prospects. And others more interesting but equally forgotten by history.

In fact I don’t think I was any of them, in the sense of being the same identity repackaged and recycled. That’s not how I view reincarnation. I think of the soul as being a very vast entity, pushing this focus of itself out into this reality.  (Theoretically, then, one could meet another aspect of one’s soul during this — or any — particular lifetime.) This means that I might be able to access the memories of any other aspect of the same soul, but could not claim that I — this identity / personality / ego — WAS that other identity / personality / ego.

OK, so I wasn’t King Tut. However, during one soul regression, I most certainly had a vivid experience of being in his body and feeling his feelings.  I — let us say ‘I’, as that’s what it felt like at the time — was standing in the temple, watching adoringly as my father Akhnaten performed the ritual. The temple had a huge opening in the roof, through which we could all see the blazing sun.  As Tutankhamen, I spoke passionately to the person guiding me through the regression, explaining that it wasn’t true that Akhnaten was ugly (as his pictures and statues seem to suggest). I exclaimed: ‘My father was a beautiful, beautiful man!’

At that time, decades ago now, it was thought that Tutankhamen was not a child of Akhnaten. Imagine how vindicated I feel, now that there is clear evidence that he was. Incidentally, it appears that Akhnaten may not have been anywhere near as misshapen as the images portraying him have led us to believe.  I can confirm the supposition that Tutankhamen was frail and sickly, too.

Some years after this regression, I became very friendly with a woman who had her own memories of having been Tutankhamen. Many of the details she recalled meshed with mine (and were not in the public domain). Around the same time, I met a psychic who confirmed that about my friend, and told me I had been Tutankhamen’s tutor, who was very close to him.  This was puzzling and disconcerting of course, but then, in quite a different context, my friend and I received indications of being twin souls. I’m not sure what that means. Would twin souls share the same makeup, as physical (identical) twins do? Or does it mean we are different aspects of the same soul, happening to inhabit the same time period? Either way, I think it feasible that the me who is here now might have access to ‘his’ (Tutankhamen’s) memories and even emotions.

All I can say is, it sure felt real, and it sure felt like ‘me’ — though not this me who writes this now.  And I certainly have a lot of emotion bound up in it all. Part of this me wants to leap with joy at the latest findings about Tutankhamen’s parentage, and yell: ‘See!!!’

Monday, February 15, 2010

Once More, the Psychic Work

Today I gave my first psychic reading in the new home. It felt good to get out my cards and crystal ball again, and clear my energy in preparation. The space that will be my consulting room is still half-full of unemptied boxes, so I set up at the dining table. Dear Spouse greeted the client (a member of our writers’ group) then disappeared into his office to work on his novel.

My first live, face-to-face reading, that is. I almost forgot that a client I’ll call Earring Lady phoned me from Arizona the other day. She’s an Australian with lots of family here, who frequently spends time here visiting them, but spends even more time in the United States because she’s married to an American.  She and other members of the Aussie extended family have had a number of readings from me over the years.

I was caught on the hop. I’d just been unpacking some of those boxes of books in the garage, and dashed inside to answer the phone. I was sweaty and flustered. However I tuned in, because she thought she must have lost her camera. My description of the place I ‘saw’ sounded to her exactly like a place where she had been with her camera that day. This was one time I thought I’d like to be proved wrong, because my impression was that she won’t get it back.

She phoned because, she told me, ‘When my brother-in-law lost his car keys, you helped him find them.’ This was exciting news. I vaguely remembered the reading.  I hadn’t been at all confident of answering that question correctly, because it’s not the sort of question I’m usually asked. People usually want advice on major life issues.

As did my client today. It’s nice that in her case I didn’t see any hiccups, but many good things happening for her in the year ahead. I’d much rather be the bearer of good tidings! If bad things do show up, I then investigate how they might be avoided, or if that doesn’t seem possible, how to deal with them in the best way. ‘Nothing,’ I tell my clients, ‘Is set in concrete’. (Unoriginal, I know, but it makes the point.)

In the case of Earring Lady, she went on to ask me about a couple of other items she’d recently mislaid, things of mainly sentimental value which she’d been a bit careless with.  I was then prompted to suggest she think about what else in her life she might be in danger of losing by not paying enough attention to it. Three things in a row — that seemed like a message from the Universe.

After today’s client had left, I had an email from a friend asking what I ‘got’ about some things happening in her life. As I’d just been working, it wasn’t hard to do a quick reading for her too.

My own message from the Universe appears to be that retiring from the Sunday markets doesn’t mean the end of my psychic work. Good! I enjoy it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

When should magick be used?

Pagan Magic said:
Is there a time and a place when magick should be used — or shouldn't? How often do you practice — are you a kitchen witch, using magick on a daily basis — or do you save your energies for ritual or in times of great need. Is it wrong to turn to magick before exploring other options? How much is too much, if there is such a thing?

I said:
I think magick can be used any place any time  — but some are better than others, e.g. I would rather do a banishing spell during a waning moon. However, if the need is urgent, that overrides such considerations and our will can ensure the success of the working.

In times past I used formal workings more than I do now. I have been solitary, then in a coven for a few years, now solitary again (as the coven members became geographically scattered and/or involved in work commitments that precluded meeting). When I was first exploring the path as a solitary, I did a lot — daily rituals and other magickal practices as needed. Also when the coven was active, as High Priestess I was very present to magick at all times, and did a lot of both solitary and group work.

Even in the past, and more so now, some practices were/are so incorporated into daily life that I almost forget they are magickal, such as quick clearings of my energy, or that of the environment I’m in, setting up protection if needed, healing people or other living things on the energy level…. Also, I have always done a lot of mental stuff, using thoughts and words as spells. In all things I tend to go for the quick and easy, lol. (I don’t cast circle for these things, but I do for the following.)

I still do something on full moon nights, even if it is only a short ritual acknowledging the Goddess, usually in company with my husband, who was in the coven with me.

I have also found that I feel better when I do a daily personal ritual involving the Qabalistic Cross and Middle Pillar Exercise —clearer, calmer, more grounded.

And I perform other rituals and active spells as occasion arises.

I don’t find that my energy is depleted by working, needing to be saved for special occasions. On the contrary, it is renewed and expanded by the work. However this may be because I am a Reiki Master, continually — often unconsciously — tapping into the regenerative Universal energy. (In fact I consider Reiki an order of magick, though I think few Reiki Masters would agree.)

I think it’s seldom if ever ‘wrong’ to turn to magick. (To try and use it for manipulative, vengeful etc. purposes would be wrong — as well as stupid, given that what you put out comes back to you.) Whether to explore other options first rather depends on the circumstances. Telephones are generally more efficient than telepathy, but if you can’t reach someone any other way and the need is urgent, a telepathic ‘yell’ will usually have them contact you. Sometimes it’s a matter of doing both at once. If I break my leg, I’ll use a surgeon and Reiki. If there were a spate of local burglaries I would lock my doors and put magickal protection over the house. If a friend was trying to get clear of an abusive partner, I’d go straight to a spell of binding — though I might also give her/him practical advice.

In principle, I don’t think there can be too much magick. It’s life force energy. Can one have too much health, too much love, too much vitality? However, the specifics of the craft are our tools, and you choose the tool that’s appropriate for the job. ‘Don’t smash a mosquito with a hammer,’ that kind of thing. Use only the amount of force that’s needed to accomplish the goal. But if you don’t know what that is? Depends on the urgency. If you can wait, maybe try a mild spell and see what happens, then something stronger if that didn’t work. If the matter’s urgent, then I guess overkill is better than ineffectiveness. Personally I would seek guidance on the matter, before acting.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Should Magick Be Viewed in Terms of Black and White?

Pagan Magic said:

When people discover that I am a witch, they often say rather cautiously 'But you are a white witch aren't you?' Should magick be viewed in terms of black and white, is there room for grey magick? How do you define black or white magick? All opinions are welcome, but please do not flame those with differing viewpoints. Looking forward to hearing from you.

I said:

Magick is energy. Magick is a tool. As someone already indicated, electricity can be useful or harmful. The same might be said of fire, or a knife. But I get sick of trying to explain that, so sometimes accept the 'white witch' label.

If we have to have a colour, I like the concept of the 'green witch', focusing on care for the environment — but then, it's my idea that all witches revere nature, that that is the core of what we are.

I am fond of saying that ours is the most rigorous code of ethics, with our one rule of 'Harm none', obliging us to consider every individual piece of behaviour.  And, like everyone else, we can only do the best we can. No-one can foresee all consequences of their actions. But it's good that we at least think about the possibilities.

So intention is doubly important! (Necessary for powerful workings, and crucial for ethical considerations.)

Sometimes my intentions might be considered a bit 'grey'. In a fairly empty cinema, I have been known to prevent anyone sitting directly in front of my husband and me. (We are short people.) I guess that's a bit of an interference in people's free choice — but it's not as if there aren't plenty of other choices available. And although I don't do hexing, I certainly do spells of binding at times, to prevent people who are doing harm from continuing to do so.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fluffy Bunnies

Pagan Magic said:

Fluffy bunnies is a term that has been defined in many ways - such as:

"A fake wiccan, usually in their teens, with little or no information about the religion."

"Used as a derogatory term for someone who is ignorant, wilfully ignorant and/or disrespectful towards Wicca yet claims to be Wicca."

"Often a teen who becomes 'Wicca' in order to follow a fad, also known as 'McWiccans'. Often identified by their oversized pentagrams, 'gothic' clothing and the belief that spells given to them by other Fluffy Bunnies online have some sort of power."

As followers of the path, what are your feelings to people who may fall into these categories? Is the term 'Fluffy Bunny' appropriate or is it derogatory? Should we live and let live - or are these people causing damage to the craft? What support could and should be offered? Have you encountered a 'fluffy bunny' and what experiences have you had.

This question has not been posed to cause aggravation or incite hatefulness against those new to paganism.

All opinions are welcome, but please do not flame those with differing viewpoints. Looking forward to hearing from you.

I said:

'Fluffy bunnies' sounds scornful to me. The craft can take care of itself, no matter how others view it — hasn't it always?

I am also not keen on the word 'wannabe'. What's wrong with wanting something?

Before discovering witchcraft, I explored shamanism, and while still learning I deliberately called myself a shaman. This shocked a friend who felt I was being arrogant or disrespectful. What I was meaning to do was throw the label out in front of me as something to 'live into'. If I went public with it, I couldn't get cold feet and sneak away, if you see what I mean. It worked, too.  Maybe these kids are just doing something like that. They have to start somewhere, and we all learn as we go