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

Monday, May 31, 2010

Experiencing the Divine

The town that I live in has quite a few churches, as I suppose many towns do - and each of them have posters which change weekly, asking questions such as 'Find God through Jesus', 'Have you found God?' - as a pagan I've always felt in touch with the divine spark - but these posters make me question the experience of Christians - do they connect to God like we do to ours? and then that got me to thinking, what experiences have other pagans had with God/Goddess/Creator.
I said:
 Well, I suppose Christians must answer for themselves, and that it would depend on the individual Christian. I see those posters as advertisements addressed to unbelievers, part of the evangelical impulse of the Christian churches. It also seems to have to do with the Christian concept of being 'saved', of finding God in that sense, involving a renunciation of 'sin'. These are all concepts which feel very foreign to me.
As for me, in childhood I was unquestioningly aware of the divine spark in all things. It was just there, part of what is. It was a surprise when I realised others didn’t always share that awareness. I learned not to speak of it but never became unaware.  That, I think, would have been impossible.
I was always aware, also, of spirit beings of various kinds. Only I didn’t think of them in that way; they were just people who were around. Some of them were maybe a bit different, but the main difference was that, again, other people weren’t aware of them. There was one who seemed particularly protective, though not in any way that curtailed my freedom. He was humorous and wise (still is). It was many years later that a magician friend described his Patron Deity, Thoth, and I recognized that he was talking about the dude who’d been around me forever. That was pretty exciting as Thoth is, among other things, patron of poets. But mainly he’s a friend.
I have since met others on a personal level, usually — though not always — when 'journeying' (including Jesus, btw; he’s been around a long time too, as a friend, and in later years as my 'Master of Healing'). But the question was about God/Goddess/Creator, the Source of all, whom I sometimes refer to as Great Spirit or The Universe, and like to address as 'Mother'. I can’t think of a time when that energy hasn’t been present in my life. There has never been any need to 'find God'; God’s never been missing.

In or Out of the Broom Closet?

Pagan Magic said:
Whilst Paganism and Earth based religions are more socially accepted today, there are still many people who remain in the broom closet through fear of persecution, social stigma and bullying. Are you In or Out of the broomcloset? Was it easy for you to announce your path, do you object to people announcing their religion? Have you suffered at the hands of intolerant people. Looking to hear from all sides - your experiences both good and bad, what advice would you give - what support do you need?


I said:

I'm out, and I neither hide nor flaunt it. I don't usually raise the subject, but if people ask, I tell them.

I'm completely open about it online, and must say I have made some wonderful Christian friends who are broadminded and understanding, and can see me for who I am, not as a label — which is how I see them too.

In my offline life, for a few years I wore a very large pentacle. Eventually I gave it to someone, and replaced it with a much smaller one, but still clearly a pentacle. Then one of my customers for a psychic reading looked at it, and asked what it was. I told her, and she said, 'I don't think I'll have a reading after all,' and left. That was the only occasion in many years; still my husband was worried that wearing the pentacle might lose me customers, so for his peace of mind I now wear one which is a Celtic knot and looks like a heraldic rose as well as a star. Any Pagan recognises it at once for what it is, but others seldom do.

In fact I've always copped a lot more flak for being a professional psychic and healer. The narrow-minded consider those occupations, too, to be the work of their Devil. The repercussion, though, have been no more troublesome than being accosted verbally with arguments not of my seeking – which I bring to a halt as quickly as possible.

My close friends and family know I'm both witch and Wiccan. I don't think they are bothered by it; some may regard it as another of my eccentricities. You know – like being a performance poet, dying my hair purple, running meditation classes, and marrying three times. Many of my friends are of course witches and/or Pagans themselves. A number are healers, and quite a few are psychic.

In my mother's family there was a lot of telepathy and intuition among the women – my grandmother, mother, aunts and cousins. They used to say jokingly that they were all witches, but they really only meant they had ESP. They would have repudiated any suggestion that they were witches in our sense. And yet it makes me think there must have been a strong hereditary line there which at some stage became hidden and forgotten. I am the only one who took it seriously as such, and looking back, I think that must be because my gifts were more pronounced. The others tried to convince me and themselves it was "just imagination".

Although I am well and truly out now, there was a long period of my life when it all went underground and became suppressed. But it would not be denied and had to break through eventually, I'm glad to say. I managed to avoid the very real possibility that I might have been labelled mad by being fairly discreet about it at first, until I understood what was going on and who to trust, and became comfortable with it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fraudulent Psychics

Pagan Magic said (in  November 09):
It came to my attention yesterday that a local tarot reader - who seems to have only just appeared on the scene - is making very upsetting and disturbing predictions.

One of his clients, a young girl - was told that the predictions were always right, and that her brother would kill his best friend in a car accident, before committing suicide - she (the querent) would commit suicide shortly after this. Obviously this has left her feeling very shaken, and as she has a disabled mother - very emotionally distressed.

Now, as I've heard this third-party I can't very well confront this young man - however I am putting together a press release for my local papers (and one that I can later turn into an article for general distribution).

The press release will cover the following areas:

The rise in people turning to psychics
Types of psychic and their services
Guide to choosing a respected and reliable reader
What to avoid - the signs of a fraudulent psychic
The Law - i.e. the UK Consumer Protection Regulations

I would like to hear from genuine psychics on what people should look for and what to avoid - so that I can provide a responsible yet practical guide to prevent other people from being affected, not just by this young man - but by other fraudulent people.

Thank you for your help
.

‘Mel’ said:


Thank you for asking. :) The future is many times changeable. I personally believe that if such a terrible psychic message were to come across to me, it would also come along with advice on how to prevent or alter the future. People aren't told of their tragic deaths unless it isn't their time and there is a way to change the outcome. Personally, even if I saw such an outcome, I most likely wouldn't share it because it would cause way too much fear. However, I might delve deeper to see if there was a message I was being asked to pass along in order to alter the future event. I have inadvertently prevented such things but I was never aware of the danger, I only gave a message and advice, it was taken to heart and that is how the tragedy was avoided. Anyways, here goes:

1. A good psychic will tell you that the future is changeable.
2. A good psychic will never tell you that they are always right. No psychic is 100% accurate.
3. Do not trust a psychic that tells you that there is a curse on yourself and/or your family and that they need additional money to light candles for you in their church in order to lift the curse.
4. Do not trust someone who tells you that they can solve all your problems for you through their own magick and ask for personal belongings from you and/or more money to buy supplies for a ritual.
5. Do not trust someone who puts you down for your deep rooted beliefs. Example: You work with the Angels and mention it to them and they tell you not to do that anymore. This kind of thing is an attempt at dis-empowering you...making you vulnerable and more dependent on them.
6. Don't trust someone who brags about themselves and goes overboard on trying to convince you of how powerful they are.
7. Do not go to a psychic when you are extremely depressed or grieving unless you already have a trusted relationship with one. When we are vulnerable and go out looking for a psychic, this is often when we attract bad psychics. You can get lucky and find a good one but as a rule of thumb, take care of yourself, go talk to a friend, meditate, exercise...do something to bring your energy and mood level up before seeking out psychic advice.
8. You shouldn't feel worse after seeing a psychic. Even if the session made you cry (it happens) you should still leave feeling lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders.
9. Don't trust a psychic that needs personal information about you before they start the reading. If a psychic asks you for clarification during the reading, chances are, they are digging for information to use.
10. Consider promises and guarantees red flags.

Not all "bad psychics" are bad people. Some are people pleasers that just want to feel special and want to be liked. They may be beginners at reading and believe that they are better than they really are. It's not right but it's not the same as the others out there that are intentionally out to manipulate and control others. These types are in a different, more dangerous class. Some of them really are psychic but are using their gift in a really negative way.

Good psychics come with different personalities and different ways. Some are quiet, some are loud, some are bubbly and some are solemn. Best thing to do is go by the guidelines above but also trust your gut. Everyone has an intuition about things. If alarms are going off inside you, pay attention.

As a reader personally, I never know if my reading is accurate until after it's over and the person gives me feedback. I don't ask for any information. First name and a handshake is just the polite thing to do. I tend to do all the talking (and prefer it that way) throughout the reading, just letting the information flow out. When someone starts talking during the reading, it totally throws me off and my emotions and opinions get in the way, it lessens the accuracy of the reading. It is my belief that the message is already there, it's not something the psychic has to think about, they just have to receive and deliver it. But again...I don't mean to pass judgment on other good psychics, this has been my experience.

I said:
     
Yes, Mel's remarks are excellent, and cover the matter thoroughly.  I would only differ on one point. In my own practice I do ask for feedback on what I am getting, in the specific instance when I am working as a medium. I describe who I am "getting" and ask if they know that person; or, if they have asked to be put in touch with someone in particular who has passed over, I will ask if I am getting the right person. It's not uncommon for some other deceased friend or relative to come through, and we both need to know who is communicating.

I have an arrangement with my guides that if there is something the client is not supposed to know, then I don't get it in the first place. It saves all the worry about whether I should or shouldn't tell them. If I do see anything untoward, I don't leave it at that; I find out either how to prevent it or, if that is not possible, how to deal with it for the best.

I tell my clients that "nothing is set in concrete" and that "forewarned is forearmed"; that I can only tell them what the tendencies are at this point, and they have the power to change them. If they have a dilemma, I try to show them what each option would be like for them so they can make an informed choice.

Oh, and another thing - the mark of a professional is that they'll refund your money if you're unsatisfied. I have only had to do so once, when a woman came back after her reading, to complain that she had wanted serious advice and I had fed her a string of platitudes. I felt this was far from the case, and she simply didn't want to let in what I had told her - however I just said, cheerfully, "Oh, let me refund your money then," and handed it to her. She was mollified, and allowed that I had probably done my best. I later heard that she was bad-mouthing me all over town for being a fake, but I wasn't worried - plenty of people knew otherwise.

In fact I had given this woman extra time at no charge because I wanted to help her understand the changes she needed to make in her life. That's probably another sign: a good psychic will be more concerned to be of service than to be rigid about times - unless there are other clients waiting.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Do Love Spells Actually Work?

Pagan Magic said:

In the media, Love Spells are probably the most common form of magic which is depicted - from childhood story books to Xander's unfortunate incident in BTVS which left him fearing for his life.  But, do Love Spells actually work?

Has anyone ever met a person under the influence of a love spell - or themselves been affected.  How were these spells broken, and if they weren't what happened to the persons involved.


Can Free Will be so readily controlled by another? Is casting Love Spells simply wishful thinking - or is it a dangerous form of magic?  Are there situations where a love spell should be used?

 I said:

I wouldn't do it because, if it involves a particular person that's manipulation, and if it is general it would need to be VERY carefully worded. I think a self-love spell or ritual is the way to go. Even more, practise loving. Become a being of love, and you will naturally attract it.

Afterthought:

Why would one want a forced or coerced love anyway? What if the spell wore off and the person didn't like you any more? Even if not, surely you must always feel cheated and insecure? Better to be loved truly, and for yourself!