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

Monday, June 1, 2020

The Gender of God

A poet whose blog I read just posted this wonderful haibun. (Go on, read it; it’s quite short and truly delightful.)

I fell in love with it.

But then, a little while later, I had the thought that it would have been even more perfect if she’d said ‘Praise God’ instead of ‘Praise the Lord’. The word Lord is clearly male, whereas I like to think of God as female.

Of course, many many people all over the world – probably the majority – believe that God is male, as the widespread book religions* teach. But a substantial number believe that God is female – or that God encompasses all genders and much more besides, whilst they personally prefer to focus on the female or Great Mother aspect. (This latter is my own position.)

Well, it’s obviously a bit much to expect that devout Christians will stop equating ‘Lord’ with God, or that the devout of any other book religion will allow their Deity to be more gender-inclusive. So, if that seems to some of us to be selling God very short, it’s up to us to find our own words.

It’s seldom necessary to make huge changes. I do use the word Goddess sometimes, but ‘God’ works for me too. In my mind ‘God’ is all-encompassing and can be interpreted as ‘Goddess’ if I choose to focus on that aspect. In fact I see the words ‘Goddess’ and also ‘Deity’ as being similarly all-encompassing. (Sometimes I say 'the Universe', giving it this same meaning, way beyond the physical universe. But that's a bit tricky, as I might sometimes refer, in another context, to the physical universe.) The reality of God, I believe, is so vast as to be far beyond our understanding. Paradoxically, each of us can have a personal relationship with the Deity – and to do that, it helps to focus on one aspect we can relate to.

‘Praise God’ works for me.

*The books: E.g. the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, the Vedic texts, the Buddhist sutras and shastras…. (
Individuals have written books about the Pagan or earth-based spiritual paths, but they are not ‘have to’ books of laws to be obeyed; they are not regarded as the sacred words of God which emanated from the Deity even though written down by people.)

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Taking Issue with the Word ‘Abundance’

People often recommend that we ask for it in our spells, visualisations, affirmations, whatever. It’s better to use that word than ‘money’, they assert, because ‘money’ is too limiting.

I think ‘abundance’ isn’t limiting enough.

I’m inclined to be fat. I’m afraid to ask for abundance in case I acquire, among other things, an abundance of flesh! In fact it’s a very general word altogether. The Universe might interpret a focus on abundance as meaning you wish for an abundance of anything and everything you experience. There are some experiences I definitely would not want more of!

So what I ask for is  prosperity.

This is a much more specific word. There are, of course, various kinds of prosperity one might be blessed with, but all within a certain category, all positive in nature.

I’m a witch and a poet. Both poets and witches understand that they need to be very careful and precise in the way they use words. Words have power!

Monday, May 25, 2020

How to love yourself

By Caitlin Johnstone

How To Love Yourself

Caitlin Johnstone

Jan 14, 2019 · 4 min read

Bring a deep, enthusiastic “yes” to whatever feels like the center of your experience right now. Not with your thoughts, but with your feelings.
Go on. Try it. You can’t do it wrong.
If you have a thought rattling around in your head that’s taking up a lot of attention, that’s the center of your experience in this moment. Bring a deep, enthusiastic “yes” to that. Take it in the exact opposite direction of rejection, and embrace it fully.
If you have an emotion, if you’re looking at something interesting, if you’re just feeling your body, whatever’s in the spotlight of your attention in the present moment, bring a full, unequivocal “yes” to that experience. Not to the thing itself, but to your experience of it. If you’re thinking about a murderer, you’re not sitting there going “Yeah, murderers!”, you’re bringing a deep, penetrating “yes” to your experience of thinking about the murderer.
If you are having difficulty fully yessing what’s in the center of your experience, bring a deep, experiential “yes” to that difficulty. If you’re having some elements of rejection or revulsion toward what happens to be at the center of your experience in a given moment, bring a deep, enthusiastic “yes” to your experience of that rejection or revulsion. You will notice the rejection or revulsion relaxing the more “yes” you can bring to it.
Practice doing this in each moment. Keep turning your attention to whatever feels more or less like the core of your experience, no matter how insignificant or petty it may seem at first glance, and give it a full embrace of felt affirmation with 100 percent of your being. If there is resistance to this embrace, embrace that resistance with 100 percent of your being. Practice doing this from moment to moment to moment throughout your day.
This doesn’t mean accepting anything anyone tries to impose upon you, and it doesn’t mean ceasing to say “No” with your voice. You can say “No” with your mouth while fully and deeply yessing that experience in the present moment. It simply means making a practice of bringing a deep “yes” to the core of your being in each moment.
This is the direct path to self-love.
Many people say the words “I just need to learn to love myself,” or intuit that many of their inner difficulties stem from self-hatred, but putting self-love into practice is a confusing ordeal that people rarely seem to know how to navigate. If they were raised in a loving environment, they tend to do it naturally, and if they were raised in an environment full of rejection, they tend to internalize that rejection.
The reason self-love is such a confusing ideal to put into practice despite one’s ability to intuit its central value is because our society is full of so much confusion about what the word “love” means, and because there is no actual, tangible “self” that can be found anywhere in experience. Two things:
1 — The most useful definition of love I’ve been able to come up with is a deep, enthusiastic yes to something. It’s the exact opposite of total rejection, which is the experience of “No, all no to all of this.” It’s the experience of “Oh! All yes to all of this!” It’s as simple as that, and it’s a skill you can get better at.
2 — When I say there is no self that can be found anywhere in experience, I mean no matter how hard you look within your own field of experience you’ll never find a solid thing in the here and now that can accurately be labeled “me”. You’ll find sensory impressions, feelings, thoughts, and a mental story about an individual with a particular name who’s led a particular kind of life, but an actual self only exists linguistically as an abstract concept we invented to differentiate one human body from the others in our speech. I am saying “I” and “you” in this essay, but these are just concepts of distinction which only exist out of linguistic convention in a totally boundless and inseparable field of experience.
Self-love in practice is therefore the deep, felt yessing of the core of this swirling, shifting, shapeless light show that is the human experience.
As you become more skillful at loving the core of your experience, you’ll notice yourself becoming more skillful at loving everything that comes up, including family, co-workers, animals, trees, music, the wind, the ground beneath your feet, and the sun upon your face. It’s like pouring water upon the point of a cone: by pouring love into the center of your experience, you ensure that it will spread outward and everywhere.
If you make a diligent practice of this, rejection will find less and less purchase within you, and you will quickly transform into a deeply loving and joyful being. And from there, miracles can happen. And a new world can be birthed through you.
Note from Caitlin's website:
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