Sunday, July 2, 2017

Conscious Destruction: Waltzing with Death

**Please disregard my excessive use of the word Fuck in this blog. I have been using it a lot lately more as a descriptive and less as an emotive.**

As of late, I have been blogging for the intermediate and more advanced practitioners of Craft. This blog is no exception and, as such, is probably dangerous due to the very nature of what it is. Meaning, don't try this shit at home and if you do and you blow yourself up, well, I fucking told you not to do it. (There's your fucking disclaimer, by the way.)

In recent weeks, there has been this huge fucking discussion regarding ritual animal sacrifice and the validity of the practice within my home community. Legalities aside, if done properly, it is no different than Kosher or Halal practices and the animal is given a quick death and its body feeds the family or community. I don't see any wrong doing with this. That is my view. However, I also do not believe that this practice is something that should be readily available to just anyone to witness, either. This practice is one of those mysteries that we don't think about as being a mystery. Why? Well, because in this way we are an active participant in something becoming dead, taking a life.

In today's society, unless you have grown up on a farm that slaughters its livestock or you hunt and fish, you are most likely not going to come across the opportunity to kill something larger than a spider or a snake and who cares about spiders and snakes, right? Well, maybe some of us do, but the point is, in general, we don't value those particular lives like we do, say, a horse or a dog or even a chicken. (And, honestly, that is a mistake we all too often make.)

Looking into the eyes of an animal as it is about to cross over, watching the realization of immanent death in its eyes and watching the trust it had in you shatter, or in the case of a wild animal, watching the fear in its eyes if you don't make a clean kill shot and you have to slit its throat in mercy, changes you on a fundamental level. Yes, I have assisted in livestock slaughter and I have gone hunting a time or two. The very primal, base energy of death changes you.

Magically speaking, this type of death energy is different than what we normally think of in our cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth. The normal, everyday energy of the cycles is cyclical death energy. It ebbs and flows much like the cycles of the seasons. The conscious destruction of a life is Death Energy (note the capital letters there). As the practitioner, you are taking an active part in choosing when that creature realizes its fate. In that moment, you become death.

Now, imagine, if you will, a sacrifice ritual with a dozen active participants and another hundred onlookers. How much energy is going to be raised in a rite that large? A metric fuck tonne. What happens when that energy is released? If you have a good facilitator, it is going toward whatever magic has been spun, whatever offering has been given to the gods, but we all know that no matter how good the facilitator is, some of that energy isn't released.

Everything that was touched by that energy absorbs it, at least some of it. Ritual jewelry, wedding bands, watches, clothing, earrings, body jewelry. All of it will absorb that energy. This doesn't include the energy that is absorbed into the walls of buildings or the ground, trees, grass, chairs, tents, picnic tables, and any other physical thing you might have with or on you. All of those large festival-type rituals have a burst bubble type of action when the energy is released. If it is directed upward (as it should be), little droplets of the energy are going to fall down to the earth like rain because it didn't exactly adhere to the big swell or ball of energy thrown upward. The number of people not letting go of the energy can and does contribute to this.

I'm sure at this point, you're thinking, "Well, ok. So, let's just throw some salt at it or smudge it and make it wonderful, happy energy." Except that doesn't work with Death Energy. That energy is a base energy. It is not changed or transmuted because that's what it is at its very core, much like pure elements in chemistry. One atom of Death Energy is Death Energy just as one atom of gold is gold. It is not the type of energy that you smudge away with sage. There is no 'raising its vibration' to change it from what it is. Conscious Destruction will never be anything other than that.

Okay, well, since Death Energy doesn't change, what does it do? Glad you asked. Death Energy kills things. Plain and simple. Death Energy looks like a blessing in disguise or a curse. This kind of energy often strips away titles. It strips away labels. It strips away all of the outside 'stuff' that we think gives life meaning. We find ourselves looking around us and wondering where all of the people went who make us feel important. We look in the mirror and wonder why people no longer tell us we are beautiful. We wonder why, suddenly, no one wants to hear our words or why, suddenly, we stumble over the strings of our guitar or keys of our piano. Death Energy forces us to look at ourselves, naked and vulnerable with no filters and to find worth in that.

Not only does this energy kill things, but it calls to those who need it. It calls to those who are weak, sick, or desperate. It sings gloriously to the lonely and the scared. This energy embodies the essence of Shadow Work. One must know where one is weak to shed that weakness. One must know why one is lonely to make peace with it. In discovering our weaknesses, we can turn them into strengths if we but work with them.

What about those who aren't ready to deal with Death Energy? What about those who think this is all a load a hooey and salt and sage and sandalwood, et cetera. Well, those are the people I worry about blowing up themselves or others. Those are the people who rail against the world when something doesn't go their way. Those are the people who like to blame everyone and everything around them for their own life going to pot. Those are the people who run up against the wall every time they get just a molecule of Death Energy and stagnate for months or even years. Those are the people constantly looking backward at what was because 'things were better'. Those people don't see the blessings death brings. Those people are not mature enough to recognize the energy for what it is, either. Thankfully, because of the basic and primal nature of that energy, it recognizes the difference between the novice and the master. It gives the novice no more than he can handle while meting out a harsher lesson for the master who should have known better.

As pagans, our lives are always more than simply observing the seasons, the sky, the creatures. There are times when we are allowed to play an active part in the creation or destruction within those cycles. When we choose to consciously destroy life, we take a waltz with death. While on that waltz, we look into the hooded face of the grim reaper. Sometimes we see the gaping maw of the abyss as that death consumes us. Sometimes we see the gaping maw of the abyss as that death consumes us and then explodes into a big bang of the creation of a new cosmos.

Death is not a mystery that most are ready to explore. They are not ready to know what it is like to become death. This is a mystery that many stumble upon without realizing just how much change happens because of it. This is a mystery that, if begged for, the gods don't often deny. It then becomes a case of : Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.


Regards,
River

(Oh, and if you have managed to read this far, I honestly don't care what your opinions on animal sacrifice are, so please don't bother commenting on the morality of it. I believe that is a choice that we make as we walk our individual paths and nothing you can say will change my mind on that. Also, no, I do not practice it in my path. However, if you have commentary on your experience with this type of energy, please, feel free to expand all of our knowledge with your wisdom, as it is always welcome.)

**Also, I'd like to add that I know of only one person besides myself who works so closely with this kind of energy. In fact, she is the one whom I go to when I have lessons that I need to work on with this energy or when I know that I am missing something. If, like me, you are that kind of weirdo, rest assured that you are not alone and there are those of us who quite enjoy raucous conversations about these things.**

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Practical Paganism: Psychic Attack

If I had to guess, there is a metric fuck tonne of literature out there on psychic attack.  I'm sure that I have even written on it a time or two through the years. However, this seems like a good time to do a guide on the different types of psychic attack as well as how to combat them in practical ways.

First, we must describe what a psychic attack is. A psychic attack can be defined as negativity sent toward a person, whether conscious or unconscious, with the intent to do harm. This includes both general negative juju as well as astral entities sent with the instructions to be bothersome. So, what can be done about it? Glad you asked!

Most suspected psychic attacks just simply aren't psychic attacks. What I mean by this is that another person isn't sending the negative juju, we are attracting it. Yes, it happens. Yes, it happens more often than we want to admit. Energy follows the path of least resistance. All energy. From a lightening bolt to an arc welder to a television, energy only wants to complete the circuit and do what it is meant to do. Psychic energy does the same thing. If you have a bad day and your thoughts turn to the negative, what happens? Things kind of snowball. When you go to bed, you reset and you get up the next day maybe feeling better, maybe not.

As human beings, we don't want to hear that we are the cause of our own harm, but we oftentimes are. Those negative thoughts tend toward lowering our vibration and allowing more negative (or maybe more appropriately, low vibration) energy in, which in turn, affects us and it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.

What happens, then, if a psychic attack is just that? What can a person do to combat such an attack? Most books and websites out there make many of the same basic suggestions: smudging with sage, black stones (usually black obsidian and black tourmaline) shielding, bathing yourself in a white, loving light via visualization, etc. These things are suggested because they work.  They are suggested often for the same reason. That said, what happens if you do these first line things and they don't work? Well, they aren't basic, first line things for nothing, right?

If basic stones, shielding, and smudging don't work, I like to do a combination of basic things next. That may sound silly, but sometimes layering works. What do I mean by layering? I mean using multiple artifacts for multiple purposes.  For example: Smudging and placing a combination of black stones near any opening to my physical space. Maybe use tumbled hematite to reflect the energy back (tumbled hematite is shiny and can be used as a mirror) or raw hematite to absorb and ground the negativity. Then, use obsidian to 'cut' the energy. It is, after all, volcanic glass.

After that, a protection and banishing oil using salt, black pepper, cinnamon, bay, rosemary, and cayenne pepper can be made. The salt creates a boundary. The black pepper (again) 'cuts' the energy that might get past the stones. Cinnamon and cayenne pepper are hot and will burn (both literally and figuratively). Bay and Rosemary are both for protection. **A word of caution when using this oil. Cayenne and black pepper will burn the fuck out of your mucous membranes if you don't wash your hands thoroughly after using it!!!!!** Mix it as you would any oil, and anoint your doors and windows with it. I would not suggest using this mix on yourself, as again, the peppers and cinnamon can burn your skin.

Once these things are done, wait and see.  If things get better, you have protected yourself.  If things don't get better, there are other things to be done that are not quite so basic.

One, not quite so basic thing that can be done is the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.  If you haven't ever done it or don't know what it is, you can find this (particularly good) instructional on YouTube. The LBRP is an excellent tool for banishing all negativity. Yes, it does use the archangels, but this is from the Golden Dawn, so it's expected.

Another not so basic tool is the mirror. I say not so basic because mirrors can be broken (as can hematite, from above!!) Of course, one can not simply stick a mirror on the wall and call it good. It needs to be cleansed and charged for its purpose before being placed mirror side out. That's right. You want to see the back of the mirror. These must also be cleansed and charged every so often because they are magical tools in this instance.

A third not so basic exercise is to look your attacker in the eye and tell him/her you know what they are doing and it isn't working.  This is, probably, one of the more dangerous things you can do. It is dangerous because if your will falters for even a moment, your attacker might just know it and can use it against you. It is also dangerous because it is, in essence, psychological warfare.

What I mean by this is that you have to use all of your own confidence and charm when confronting your attacker. How many of us can muster that up? Not many. It takes courage, confidence, and most of all, knowing ones self. You absolutely must be confident in your self, your will, and your magic for this to work in any capacity. The moment a doubt enters your mind, you have defeated yourself.  So, this particular approach isn't for everyone.

However, if you want to try it and you succeed, then your attacker will be caught off guard by a few things.  First, said attacker will be caught off guard by how bold you are. Your bravado (false or otherwise) will let said attacker know that you are not what you seem to be. Secondly, if done right, your bravado will plant a seed of doubt in your attackers mind. This is the reaction you want. You want your attacker to second guess him- or herself. Finally, if this approach works, anything you say after calling out your attacker will plant a seed that you are not to be trifled with.

If calling your attacker out isn't your style, there are other not so basic exercises you can use. I will reiterate, these may not be palatable to some as they are Craft and, as such, may fall within the realm of gray or black magics. (Oh, yes, yes she did!!) And, as we all know, the Universe does not like a vacuum, so what we put out always comes back to us. Before moving on, I ask that we all be aware of these things.

If you're still reading, good. The next exercise that can be done has two different meanings. The fith-fath. In the Irish and Scots Gaelic, a fith-fath is a charm, often spoken in rhyme. It is used to obscure a person from the site of another. We often hear children use fith-faths.

"I'm rubber. You're glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks on to you."

Oh, you've heard that one before? It's a bit of sound defensive magic, I think.

A fith-fath is also the making of a poppet. To create a fith-fath there is a whole ritual that goes with it that I will not get into here, but must life must be breathed into it. If you are interested in learning more about fith-fathing, please feel free to research. These can be used for bindings and other, similar, forms of magic.

A fetch is similar to a fith-fath. Again, depending on your information source, your fetch is created in the physical (like a poppet) with a ritual and sent to do your work to be undone when the task is complete. A fetch can also be an astral entity, similar to an elemental but created by you in the astral realms, sent to do your work and cause change or create havoc in the physical. Either way, once the work is done, it must be undone.

And finally, the Witch's Bottle. Oh a great many things have been written on a witch's bottle, but it's because they work. You can find recipes for them online, so I won't go into the mechanics of constructing them. I will, however, discuss the magical actions that having one creates.  First, they are an excellent all around protection. However, they protect against all negativity indiscriminately. What does that mean? Well, it means that if you have one and you and your best friend have a big fight and said best friend spends the next 3 days (attacking your psychically) and wishing you dead, then said friend dies horrifically and unexpectedly, it could have been the bottle protecting you. Yes, I have seen something similar happen. One does not need to aim the bottle at a specific person.  The inherent magic in the bottle (your intent and its sole purpose) is a very potent passive magic.

The other side to a witch's bottle is that particularly skilled practitioners can find a way to break them, therefore breaking the magic. If it is buried, they can find them and dig them up and then they have something of yours to use in magic against you.

All forms of magic, defensive and offensive, carry risks and benefits. Not all suspected psychic attacks are actually psychic attacks. As always, it is important to wield your magic with responsibility. It is important to weigh the costs and benefits of such magics. Protecting ones self and family from psychic attack is important, but also striving to do the right thing is, too. Always be practical in your workings and always be aware of how they can affect yourself and those around you.

Until next time, brightest blessings, Friends.
River Mourningstar


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Doing What Feels Good in Your Spiritual Practice

Greetings Dear Readers! It has been a great many months and a great many changes since I last stopped by. While I won't say that mundane life has taken over, I will say that it hasn't been all flowers and unicorns with rainbows shooting out of their asses.  Life has been... life: some of it joyous and some of it not-so-much, but I have grown.  I have grown as a person and I have grown in spirit.  Which brings me to the subject at hand, a phrase that has always annoyed me when it is said in spiritual conversations: Do what feels good.

When I hear those in the position of elder or teacher tell seekers to 'do what feels good' it annoys me to my very core. Why? Well, do we tell toddlers to 'do what feels good' regarding playing with other children? Do we tell our tweens and teens to 'do what feels good' when they want to go out and spend time in the mixed company of friends? Do we compassionately look upon our addict friends who are struggling and tell them to 'do what feels good?' No? To all of these? Then why would we tell spiritual toddlers, tweens, teens or even, addicts this?  The phrase 'do what feels good' is one of two things: a misnomer or bad advice.  Here's why.

First, doing what feels good is much different than following one's instincts or spirit guides or gods. Why? Well, most people new to the Craft have to learn patience.  They have to learn to be still and quiet. They have to learn to slow their mundane 'monkey mind' and move past it to actually focus.  Focus is what we look for during meditation. It is how we learn to listen properly.

Doing what feels good tends toward being the path of least resistance. In most instances, this is not a bad thing (and therefore, is not always bad advice) but true meditation takes, literally, years of practice.  When I say 'literally', I mean a long fucking time. I mean daily practice working up from 5-10 seconds at a time (because that's all you get in the beginning if you're lucky) to 15-30 minutes or more. This kind of devotion to a practice is not easy and it does not feel good.

Typically, we do not teach true meditation first. We may instruct seekers on how this is done and tell them to practice on their own, but we teach them other skills to go along with this because true meditation is tough, even for more advanced practitioners. Oh, we tell people to meditate, but what we really mean is for them to learn to focus, relax, and maybe even visualize. Most of those things, in time, lead to true meditation, but none of it is attained by doing what 'feels good.'

Secondly, what 'feels good' to me probably isn't going to be as good for me spiritually as I want it to be. For instance, it 'feels good' to put people in their place with the truth. Got a co-worker or friend who likes to blame the world for their problems when you can clearly see where their actions or inaction has caused the troubles? Don't you just want to look at them and remind them that only they can fix their situation? Yes, we all do. However, honesty and brutal honesty are two different beasts. One can lead said person around until they come to the conclusion (and feel good about it) or one can brutally hack away at said person's argument (which is, honestly, my favorite because it quickly gets to the heart of the matter) and show them the naked truth. I may be doing what 'feels good' to me, but that brutal honesty feels pretty bad to the other person. Haven't we all been that other person? Yes, we have.

Third, and something you don't hear a whole lot about these days, it is almost a guarantee that if it 'feels good', then you can bet the ego is behind it.  The ego likes easy things.  It likes to be right, to be stroked, to be listened to.  It likes to 'do what feels good.' The ego hears 'do what feels good' and smiles.  It says, 'meditation is hard.' It says, 'you don't have to meditate to be adept.' It says, 'you can make it up as you go and people will believe you.' The ego doesn't want us to grow beyond it. The ego doesn't want us to see past what it can show us. The ego wants us to live within our basest desires.  The ego likes it when we 'do what feels good.'

All of this brings me to my final point in the 'do what feels good' talk. As modern neo-pagan practitioners, we have a litany of information out there. We want to believe that everything is fluid and nothing is set in stone, but that simply is not true. (The truth is the truth whether we believe in it or not, remember that.)

There are certain laws that we must live by. (Here, I bet you are challenging this statement in your mind, aren't you?) We must live by the laws of physics. We must even live by the ones we haven't discovered yet. (Gravity, anyone? XD) Spiritually, we must do the same thing. The 7 Universal Laws are a good place to start. It doesn't matter your path, they are universal laws for a reason.

Other laws that aren't necessarily laws, per se, reside in Gardner's 8 Paths to Power and refer to the cost of magic and magical practices. Learning to astral travel via meditation costs a whole lot less, energetically speaking, than learning to astral travel via drugs, sex, or pain. Drugs, sex, or pain may be the path that 'feels good' and it may be 'quicker' option, but the cost will always be greater. There is no bartering. There is no sharing that cost. There is no passing that cost on.  These costs go beyond Wicca, as well. Just because it is Gardner who made them known, does not mean that non-Wiccan's are immune.

Remember, the next time you (or I or any of us) are in a position where a seeker asks for advice or a 'how to', don't just give them a generic 'do what feels good.' Doing what feels good is leading to a generation of spiritually handicapped individuals. Telling a seeker to 'do what feels good' could ultimately lead to that seeker being spiritually maimed or killed. Advising a seeker to 'do what feels good' could lead them down the road to animal or human sacrifice (on your advice) and put blood on your hands. Advising someone to 'do what feels good' could lead them to hooking up with 17 different people on Tindr and getting a disease. (Guess who gets to reap the energetic consequences of that, yup, you, for giving really bad advice.)

Next time, instead of telling a seeker to 'do what feels good', think about the potential consequences of  'feeling good' and, instead, say what you actually mean, unless you actually mean 'do whatever makes you feel good.' However, remember that is a double-edged sword and no matter what happens, you are ultimately going to be affected by the decision that seeker makes due to your words of wisdom. Words have power, right? It's why when we put them together they call it 'spelling'.

Brightest Blessings,
River Mourningstar