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

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Ah! The Watery Retrograde!

As the old Julian year comes to a close and breathes its final, dying breaths over the next 3 days, I thought I would post just one more time.  This time of year always seems to take it out of people.  It always seems that we are harder on ourselves than we should be.  This is, I think, even more pronounced this holiday season with Mercury being retrograde in Pisces.

Do I blame everything on Mercury when it's retrograde?  No.  However, I do blame certain uncharacteristic things (i.e outbursts, tantrums, and even apologies can go into this category) on Mercurial influence because that's what our fleet-footed friend governs.  I also apply this to specific people and situations, not just a blanket 'Oh! Mercury is being a scamp again!'

This retrograde, I'm noticing a lot more fear and anger than I normally see and it is in people who don't normally exhibit such exaggerated shadow emotions.  It seems that the deep swimming fishes have taken Mercury into the darkest recesses of our hearts and minds and have invited him rummage around.  What he brought back to the surface has not been pretty, for the most part.

That said, what he has brought into the light has been necessary.  Oh, you're soul tired?  Oh, you're worried that people are mad at you?  Oh, your life train has jumped the track and wrecked?  Oh, you're lonely? Scared? Unhappy? Lost?  Good!! Good?  What. The. Actual. Fuck. Muse.  Yes, these things are good. These things are good, if for no other reason, because you are acknowledging them.  You recognize that the status quo in your life isn't fulfilling you.  Your soul knows that what you are doing now isn't all you can or are supposed to be doing.

This is the beautiful thing about our retrograde times.  The things that we struggle with (or ignore!!) can't be ignored during these times of retrograde, so we have to face them.  We have to, at least, look at them for what they are and for how they effect us.  They are burdens that we may or may not even know that we carry.  Sometimes, our burdens are so great that we can not sort through them all.

What about our friends who seem to sail right through these retrogrades? (Don't you look at them and want to choke them out? HA!!)  Well, a few things just might be going on.  I have friends who are currently sailing through this one.  The theme for them seems to be two-fold.  First, when something comes up they step back (maybe not immediately) and look at it objectively.  Those I know who don't have much difficulty with retrogrades have, for the most part, unpacked all of their baggage and recognize it for what it is, even if they haven't actively worked through it.  Secondly, they recognize it as their own.  This one is important. They recognize that if people are pissing them off, then they need to look at the reason why.  The other side of that, though, is that if they piss people off constantly during retrograde (i.e people ask for advice or insight and get mad or they call people out on their out of character behavior), well, they own it.  They accept that their message wasn't wanted or needed, or that the person just wasn't in a space to accept it.  Most importantly, they do this without judgement. It's a 'well, they will either figure it out or they won't' mentality.

One other thing of note that I need to add here about our friends who seem to sail through these retrogrades is this: They may not actually be sailing through, but casting the illusion of doing so.  It is easy, especially on social media, to simply post memes during times personal upheaval and not actually post any thoughts, or to simply go ghost.

So, where am I going with all of this?  I don't know.  This is turning into a completely different blog than I intended.  I suppose here we should go back to the magical axiom that is written at Delphi, "Know Thyself."

For those I know who practice that particular axiom regularly, they have examined their own lives and personalities, their own actions, words, and reactions.  They acknowledge their short comings and their own failings and, importantly, don't dwell on on them as such, but work toward making those weaknesses into strengths.

Life is very much a struggle in every aspect of it.  Ones ability to make it bearable depends on perspective.  Do you look at life as a series of obstacles, shortcomings, or failings, or do you look at life as a series of lessons for your soul?  Do you constantly berate yourself for not being or doing more than *insert circumstance here*?  Do you constantly look at your circumstance and berate yourself because it is less than you expected at *insert age, location, etc*?  Why?  Why set yourself up to suffer?

Know Thyself.  Are you at a place where you can change your circumstance?  If not, work toward that place.  Don't think of setbacks as insurmountable obstacles.  They may just be little forks in the road to get you on the right track.  They might just be tiny little, personal retrogrades that hope you will pause and examine them.

We look at retrogrades as bad things, but they don't have to be.  As this year comes to a close, my hope for you is that the struggles become easier to overcome and the shadows begin to fade.  My hope for you is that you find a light in your personal darkness that guides you over the rocky terrain of life and into brighter, smoother roads.  May the sun be ever in front of you and the shadows cast behind you.

Brightest Blessings, Friends! Happy New Year!!

(Also, for those reading this who are more well versed in astrology than I am, please, feel free to add your wisdom.  I know just enough on the topic to know that I don't know. I tend to observe people during astrological events and glean information based on common actions/reactions during that time.)

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Wishing You a Blessed Season

It appears that 2016 was not a year of writing for this blogger.  It was a year of many things, mostly transitions, but it was not a year of writing.  For that, I must apologize.  I must apologize because there was a time (2015!) when I was much more prolific than I have been this year.  I suspect that 2017 will be different, but as yet, I don't know how.  So, if you care to read on, here are some (mostly) non-pagan musings on 2016 and the transition it offered.

So many I know had a tremendously difficult 2016.  Karmically speaking, time seems to have run out on them.  What does that mean?  Am I being a judgmental bitch again?  No, I'm not.  I'm being observant.  2016 was a supremely karmic year for a whole lot of people.  Suddenly, the excuses weren't cutting it any more.  Suddenly, the rug was snatched out from under people.  They lost (read: the Universe cut away) all of their reasons for not moving forward. They lost all of the dead weight in their lives.  I watched many of the people I care about the most lose nearly everything that mattered to them and some were left with nothing, not even their dignity.

It was a tremendously painful year for me to sit and watch so many seemingly bad things happen to so many people I care about.  I offered comfort to those whom I could.  Others would have lashed out or held on hoping I could fix it for them, so I simply sat back and mourned their losses with them. There was a third group, though, who I watched flail helplessly as 2016 dragged them under.  This third group pained my heart the most.  This third group was hit the hardest.  This third group was hit the most unaware.  It was this final group of people who simply refused to believe that their lot for this year could be tied into their actions.  They refused to believe that their actions and attitudes could have possibly created their circumstances.  They raged and railed.  They swam against the karmic current.  They refused to believe that by their own actions this year could be what they reaped.

My own year was much less traumatic.  My own transitions were moderately smooth, for the most part.  I set my intentions in December and began working toward them.  Some of the transitions, I didn't want to make, but I knew I had to.  Some of the transitions, I bounced happily through.  Other transitions, well, other transitions I'm still looking at the sky and shaking my head.  Interestingly, my biggest transitions have happened since June, when I moved (that being one of them).

Clarise and I moved into a small basement apartment in June.  We were quite happy to spend our evenings eating cheese and crackers and fresh produce while we read or watched television.  It took 3 weeks for all of that to change.  The gods laughed and laughed at me as they sent me an old friend. He helped me transition from living with someone to living alone.  He taught me the art of being alone without being lonely.  He reminded me that there are other people like me out there in the world.  Clarise fell head over all eight tits in love (and she, basically, hates everyone).  He was in transition, too.  We transitioned, together.

We spent a lot of time together, getting to know each other even better.  Now, in less than six months, we are married.  That's one transition that I did not see coming!! (Neither did he!)  Most importantly, we are happy.  Our ways of being are very complimentary of each other.  We think of each other first.  We both wonder what the hell happened, but refuse to question it!

So, as this year wanes, there is more transition.  However, it is good transition.  Remember, if you spent most of 2016 flailing and going from one traumatic thing to the next, then maybe some of your karmic debt has been paid and you are on the road to better than you could have begun to imagine!  Don't wallow in the bad.  Sometimes those things simply have to happen to get us on the path to where we need to be, to be happy.

Have a blessed Yuletide season, Friends.  I will be back in 2017 with more musings and more adventures.

May you always have a candle to light your way in the darkness.  Blessed Be.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Soft Pantheism and Hard Pantheism: What's the Difference? Does it Matter?

We often hear the phrase, “All gods are one god,” but what does that really mean?  Is it an acknowledgment of monotheism? Is it truly how we see our gods? What does that mean?  This is, in essence, soft pantheism.  It is the belief that the deific energies of our universe manifest themselves in the way we, as individual human beings, can best interpret them. Hard pantheism is, by its very nature, the opposite.  All gods live and exist in their own right. Does the difference really matter?  I tend to say probably not, in the grand scheme, but in my own practice, I do make the distinction.

For many of the soft pantheists I have known, any god form from any pantheon can be interchanged with a ‘corresponding’ god form.  I have heard soft pantheists (and I love this example!!) do their best to equate Isis with Hekate.  Is it doable?  With some stretching and pulling, yes.  With this same stretching and pulling, I have heard these same people try to convince other that Hekate came into being as a deity because the worship of Isis spread north from Egypt.  Is it possible?  Sure, but pigs could also fly out of my butt.  Sarcasm aside, archeology has made the tenuous suggestion that they may have occurred, based on a small amount of evidence.  As a reasonable and rational person, I do not ignore evidence, however, as a hard pantheist, I believe that Isis is Isis and Hekate is Hekate.  (I don’t even like the Latin spelling of Hekate, despite the fact that it literally makes zero difference in anything but the aesthetics of the name on paper.)  One may have evolved from the other, but just as Athena sprouted from the head of Zeus, once there was a separation they ended up taking on independent lives, therefore are not the same.

As a hard pantheist, I believe that all paths lead to god, but which god is up to the one walking the path.  I see the gods, all 5,000 plus worshiped on this planet today, as individuals.  Some may be similar in our understanding of them, but they are all different entities.  For several reasons, I am a hard pantheist.  First, I believe that no finite thing can fully comprehend the infinite.  The concept of ‘god’ is an infinite being or source.  The mind is a finite thing.  Therefore, we as finite beings can not even begin to fathom the infinite.  We can only fathom other finite things, which is why it is easy to rationalize ‘one god, many faces.’

However, we live in a reality where everything is also energy.  If that is the case, our thoughts are also energy and therefore real.  So, as each god came into the collective consciousness as a thought, how did they become real?  Well, how do we manifest a thought? Action.  Our actions: prayers, ritual, hymns, and all manner of worship brought them into being.  It sustained them and gave them form.  Our myths and tales gave them form, personality, and history.  Our cultures bred them in all of their forms.

I am a hard pantheist because I do not want to cheapen or water down my own worship or the worship of those around me by assuming or claiming specific gods are equivalent or the same.  Your Sun god, while similar to mine, isn’t the same.  Your War god, while having many of the same representations as mine, isn’t the same.  When we, as pagans, generalize our worship to a concept instead of a specific deity it can scatter the energy of our worship between the vast numbers of gods that the concept represents. (That said, there are times when this practice is absolutely appropriate, make no mistake.)  Scattered energy tends to have little focus so it doesn’t have much sustenance, much in the same way that building a weak or scattered cone of power in ritual just doesn’t pack the same punch as a focused one.

I am a hard pantheist, mostly, because my gods demand it.  There was a time when I was, absolutely, a soft pantheist, but my gods do not like it when I scatter my energies.  They do not like sharing the offerings I give to them with other gods of similar concepts.  They do not like sharing me.  I have many gods with whom I share myself, not just Hekate and Mars.  They come to me as they will, not as concepts but as individuals.

Praise be to the gods!  Blessings upon those who sustain them!

Brightest blessings, Friends.



Friday, April 8, 2016

Being Different: Acceptance and Embracing Our Different-ness

Today I sat a talked with a co-worker who has been having a difficult time.  She has two pre-teen girls and, honestly, a life full of chaos.  This has transferred into and negatively affected her work life over the past year.  So, she is suffering disciplinary action and she doesn't understand why.  In her heart, she believes that she is being picked on.  In reality, she isn't following the rules that everyone else has to follow, so she's being disciplined.

She and I talked today.  Simply put, she believes that, in being an integral part of our team at work, that we are all equal.  In a perfect world, she would be right.  However, we do not live in a perfect world and we do not work in a perfect world.  We work in the medical field.  We work in a place of structure, hierarchy, and often times, silly rules that make sense to no one.

Our former supervisor was a champion at making everyone feel equal... At least on the surface.  Our new supervisor is also very good at this (in a genuine and compassionate way).  However, my co-worker chooses not to see this because she isn't being afforded the same 'protections' that our former supervisor gave her.  My co-worker is being treated just like any of us and she doesn't understand why.

So, I sat down with my co-worker today and we had a chat about how we are different from our nursing co-workers.  I learned many years ago that, no matter what field you are in when you are 'low man on the totem pole', you are held to a different standard than those 'above' you.  She did not understand why, as a secretary, she is required to stay her full eight hours, even if there is nothing to do when the nurses can finish with their daily work and go home.

She didn't understand that in our positions, it is perceived that there is always something to do.  Today, we were completely finished with our work by a little over an hour before she had to leave.  She didn't understand that it is her job to sit and answer the phones until it is time for her to leave.  Her rationale was that she could roll the phones over to our call center.  That is a perfectly good rationale, but it still means that she isn't doing her job, and she doesn't understand that.

Many times over the last year, she has left early because she 'didn't have anything to do' and there were charts to be filed and new patient appointments to be made, on top of any phone calls that came through, typically from patients.  She left early because those things could wait, instead of doing them and getting them out of the way.

As people, we look at each other and we hold each other to standards that may or may not apply.  We do this in our relationships.  We do this at work.  We do this in the groups that we work with.  We often see people in regards to how we want them to be, not how they actually are.  As pagans, specifically those of the Wiccan path, this thinking and behavior, directly applies to the phrase "Perfect love and perfect trust."

We are all different, but at any point in the day, we can almost all guarantee that we are going to be working in a group of some kind, either face to face or via phone, Skype, or social media.  We can apply perfect love and trust to every situation and person in our life when we love that person for who they are and trust that they will act within their very nature.  Your nature may be different from mine.  I may be content to twiddle my thumbs for the last hour of my work day when everything is complete whereas, you may not be as content.  I may do my best to be all things to all people in my day whereas, you may need to focus on one task at a time.  Neither are inherently bad, yet if I expect you to do seven things at once when you are only capable of one thing at a time, then I am going to be irritated and disappointed.  I am not trusting your inherent nature.

It takes a lot of personal reflection to recognize that our different-ness isn't bad.  It takes even more reflection to recognize our inherent nature and the difference in the nature of another.  We can not compare ourselves with another and then wonder why they get more or we get less.  When working in a field with clear hierarchal boundaries, it is even more important to accept that one's status outside of work has no bearing on one's status while working.  Even more importantly, embracing that status (within reason and not allowing one's self to be abused) leads to a greater understanding of one's self and one's role within the bigger picture.

Being different isn't bad.  I like being different.  I don't want to be 'more' or different than I am by my very nature.  I see my Self and where it needs to change and improve.  I see myself in others and recognize their nature as being different from mine.  I do my best to work with it, not against it, even when I really want to stomp my foot and scream.  So, when you find yourself in a situation where you are being treated differently, or being accused of treating another differently, step back and examine that different-ness.  Are you acting according to your nature or are you reacting according to their nature?

Brightest Blessings, Friends!!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Left-Handed Path? Right-Handed Path? Walking the Middle Road.

For many months now, I have entertained the idea of writing a blog on this topic.  There seems to be an upsurge in the number of people who walk the Left-Handed Path (well, say they do, anyway) or are, at the very least, interested in it.  According to Wikipedia (because we know how trusted it is) the Left-Handed and Right-Handed paths are defined as:

In Western esotericism the terms Left-Hand Path and Right-Hand Path refer to a dichotomy between two opposing approaches to magic. This terminology is used in various groups involved in the occult and ceremonial magic. In some definitions, the Left-Hand Path is equated with malicious black magic and the Right-Hand Path with benevolent white magic. Other occultists have criticised this definition, believing that the Left-Right dichotomy refers merely to different kinds of working, and does not necessarily connote good or bad magical actions.

So, even Occultists can't decide the exact definitions of these paths.  I see these paths in slightly simpler terms than 'black' or 'white' magic.  My own views are as follows:   LHP leans toward a more destructive nature while RHP leans toward a more creative nature.  Either way, there is a cost to these paths.

Another thing with LHP practices that I have witnessed is an enthusiastic need to take any personal slight and immediately retaliate from one's deepest pit of anger.  There is a viciousness that the other person must pay more than for the cost of their actions.  Honestly, that is not something that I understand.  I've watched people who walk a destructive path for years (both muggle and magical) and most of them do not see the cost of their actions.  One person in particular tragically lost his mother and his home, along with everything he owned.  Within 6 hours, he lost his mother and his entire life (including the inventory of his entire business).  Think about that for a moment.  A karmic debt was created that took his mother and every earthly possession in a single day.  That's a huge debt to pay.  Those things said all magic has its price, whether it is creative or destructive.  As the practitioner, we have to decide if we are willing to pay that price and we have to decide if we are willing to let the gods decide what the price is.

So, if LHP is the destructive path and it leads to more destruction, what about the RHP?  Surely the consequences for the creative path aren't more creation?  No.  Unfortunately, the consequences for the RHP are also destructive, at least in a way.  But, why?  It's the circle of life, the wheel of the year.  If something is created, something must be destroyed or killed so the new thing can take its place.  Imagine if nothing ever died or withered.  The world would be jam packed with creation.  The ocean would be packed with life.  Both places would be crowded to the point of everything and everyone wishing for death.  That. Would. Be. Bad.

If too much negativity and too much positivity are too much, what is just enough?  Maybe more importantly, how do we know?  Do we know?  I don't think we can know for sure since we all have our own paths to walk.  In my mind, that is the essence of the middle road path.  Sometimes, I have to knowingly and willingly be the destroyer.  (I eat meat that isn't always organic.  Do you know what factory farming does?  It's not nice.  I expect to have to pay that price one day.)  Sometimes I get to be the creatrix and I get to grow my own food.  I get to be kinder to the things living around me and I get to eat the free range organic insert-animal-here.  This is a practical example of Middle Road thinking.

Rarely do I go out of my way to 'make someone pay'.  Honestly, I have to care more than I usually do.  Have I gone out of my way to 'make someone pay'?  You're damn skippy I have!  Oh, you want to threaten to rape me?  If you'll threaten to rape me, then I'm certain you'll go after another woman who is much more accessible than I am.  Sorry, you piece of shit, but you don't get to ever use your dick again... except, maybe, to pee.  Yes, I've magically castrated a man before.  More importantly, I'd do it again.  How do I know it worked?  I paid the price.  Gladly.

In this particular instance, I didn't worry about the price of the magic.  And, there's always a price, remember?  I looked ahead and decided that no woman should have to worry about this particular man again and his need to control women. I also made sure that the only way he would be able to get an erection was through the use of shots. Directly into his penis.  Turns out, needles always made him nauseous. (Gentlemen, are you holding yourselves and whimpering yet?) This is a very personal example of stepping onto the LHP, recognizing and accepting that I am taking the free will of another away, and doing it anyway, regardless of the price.

So, I've written about the price of magic above a couple of times, but I haven't really defined it.  While I don't know that there is a standard definition of the price of magic, for me, the price of magic is defined as 'the price one must pay to bring the universe back into balance after manifestation of the will.'  In practical terms, what does this mean?  Well, it really depends on what the gods or the universe need it to mean.  For some people, it means losing their good looks or reputation.  For others, it means no longer being trustworthy (even if they are, at their core, a trustworthy person).  Occasionally, it means losing a very personal thing or special person.  The price is different for everyone and, sometimes, the price a person has to pay is so great that even years later, the magical act has been forgotten, and the person is still paying the price.

The price of magic is not something we, as practitioners, can bargain.  As such, we have to weigh the decision to use our magic wisely and accept the consequences thereof.  Whether we are manifesting something for the greater good or something quite selfish, it doesn't matter.  There will always be a price and there will always be a price attached to how we manifest these things.

For those who label themselves as walking a Left-handed path, are you walking a path that is more destructive than creative or are you bullshitting yourself into believing that you don't have to pay the same price for your magic that others do?  For those who label themselves as walking a Right-handed path, do you walk a more constructive path that utilizes the cycle of life, death, and rebirth or do you bullshit yourself into believing that because you are doing only good that no bad can come out of it? Do you walk the middle road with the understanding that both the light and the darkness are needed to be whole?

Of course, none of this may actually mean anything to anyone.  I may be full of shit.  I mean, no matter how much good or bad we do while we are here, we all end up worm food, right?

Blessings, Friends!!