Thursday, June 28, 2012

Witch, Heal Thyself!

I want to preface this by saying, just like all of my other posts this is my opinion and my perception.  Because of our unique views on life, healing, and the Craft, there may not be another person out there who experiences these exact things in this exact way.  It doesn't make me any more right or wrong than another, just as it doesn't make me more knowledgeable or wise.  These are simply my own ideas on one tiny topic that I have experienced for a short amount of time.

In March I was attuned Reiki 1 by my High Priestess and beloved friend, Mandy.  For half a decade or more, I'd longed for attunement, seeing the need for healing in the world.  I understood, even before I was given this blessing, that energy work of any kind isn't a cure-all.  I also understood that true healing only happens when one is ready to heal. (Healing being used in a general sense here encompassing physical, mental, spiritual and emotional.) For years I'd lamented my bad luck in not quite ever having the money for an attunement.  I'd met and spoke with Reiki Masters, but none of them quite fit.  I knew that it wasn't theywho didn't fit me, but the other way around.  Until this year, though, I didn't know why.

It wasn't until this year that I started going back through the years and really remembering my own spiritual journey.  I've always heard that this is a path of healing, but I didn't quite understand what that meant.  I didn't understand that being whole isn't just about being in good physical health or taking your medication as prescribed.  I didn't really understand that it also meant having to face ones own darkness.  That shed the proverbial light on some things for me.

When things started clicking into place in my mind, all of the growth I'd been experiencing (and not realizing!!) began to make sense.  I had moments where things fell into place and I could feel soul parts reintegrate.  I had other moments where the workings of the whole universe were crystal clear, and I had yet other moments where I felt crazy and lost, as though I were standing still and banging my head against the wall.  These moments were life changing.  My perceptions changed and so my need to hang on to the old changed with it.

And so, late spring brought my long awaited attunement.  An attunement I was not ready for until that precise moment.  (Isn't that when everything happens, when we are ready for it?) I felt the beauty of the reiki energy as my partner, Ivy, practiced on me.  Her hands grew warm, my ailments did, too.  I felt a great sense of well being.  When we changed places, I experienced something totally different!  I knew, more than felt, the energy.  My hands did not warm uncomfortably, though Ivy's ailments responded with that familiar warmth.  I felt... different.  

For a week after my attunement, I struggled.  I struggled with this strange new perception of the world.  I struggled with being so open to the universe.  I was, honestly, crazy as a sack of asses.  Well, at least I thought I was.  Some things in my life ended up coming full circle at that point and it was then that the thought began to occur to me that maybe I wasn't so different as I once believed.  (Even though I still tend to be the weird one among the weird ones.)

Since then, I have settled in to a reasonably comfortable place with my reiki, as I am still getting to know the energy and I am still figuring out how best I work with it.  However, I have discovered that I don't experience reiki in a typical way.

Only on occasion do my hands heat up in the way they 'should'.  Rarer still does my whole body heat up, as I was warned could happen when I was getting my attunement.  Sometimes I physically feel the energy flowing through me, but more often, I experience it as a knowing.  I simply know that the energy is flowing and I simply know when it has peaked and I am ready to go to another hand position.

Even more astounding (at least I think so), is my searching out of the body's ley lines or energy channels, something I just recently realized that I do.  I'm not sure how to term these... areas.  I haven't done much research on this, aside from little more than basic chakra work.  My hands seem to search out the places in the body where the energy flows most freely to the  ailing area and sometimes it involves touching the area in question, but other times, it does not.  It's quite strange to me.

This knowing challenges every part of my logical self.  It slaps my logic brains in the face 3 Stooges style.  It makes absolutely no sense to me how it could possibly work, but it does.  It just works and, ironically, I don't have to know why.  It is just one of the mysteries of the universe.

This year I have dipped the tip of my little toe into the pool of the healing arts.  I have experienced Reiki and Celtic Healing, both being given to me by some of the most precious and important people in my life right now.  I have experienced my own perceptions and expectations being tossed unceremoniously out of the window in favor of highly illogical and unexplained knowings.  Yet, I don't rush to explain these things.  I don't dismiss them as impossible.  I don't doubt that they are actually happening.  I accept them for what they are: Something more than me, the humble vessel.

I look forward to many more years of learning within the healing arts, learning to simply accept some things as unexplainable, and most importantly being able to be of service to the community.

Brightest blessings my friends!!

(ETA: The HTML when screwy with this one, so if it's weird or the formatting is screwed, I missed fixing something in the code...)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Interconnected Web of Life: Do You Notice It?

We hear, all of the time, that all life is interconnected.  Native lore explains this through various tales of Spider Woman or Grandmother Spider (some of my favorite creation lore).  Each of us is connected.  We are connected to each other, to the Tree and Stone People, to the land, the sky, the water, and all things both manifest and not.  For some of us, this connection is stronger with our animal brethren, for others of us, it is stronger with plants, and for some, there seems to be no connection at all!

For many years now, I have noticed my own personal connection growing stronger.  Some days, the trees sing loudest, other days, it is the animals, while at other times, my connection seems strongest with the elements.  I know the seeming strength within this web is only my perception or my focus at that particular moment.  The strength of the web does not wax and wane, only my notice of it does.

As of late, I have noticed that my connection with the plants is strong.  Living where I do, with so much native flora, as well as an herb garden, it seems quite natural, I suppose.  I have been entrusted with the care of some herbs by a High Priestess who is very special to me and these joyful little plants speak!

Late last week, I spent part of an afternoon re-potting them.  It was quite a joyous occasion to sit in the yard, under the shade of an old Maple, and pick out the different pots according to what the plants wanted.  A couple of times, I wasn't listening and I set the wrong plants in the wrong pot, so before I could actually plant them, I had to do some swapping.  Had anyone been around to see me, they would have likely though me crazy, sitting in the yard with a wheel-barrow full of dirt, filling pots and laughing and talking to these plants.

Even now, the basil plants laugh joyously like small children and the tiny lavender plant sits quite somberly, as though in quiet reflection.  For people to say that plants don't have personalities, they don't pay much attention to that web of life.  They don't reach out to this other life form with that deep, knowing part of their soul and feel it.

These beautiful green beings are just one example of the simplicity of noticing the Web of Life.  I have, obviously, used a bit of anthropomorphism to describe what I feel with these plants, but the emotions are how I interpret what they say.  For someone else, they could get images or colors through the Web.  How we perceive this communication all depends upon our own personal symbolism and how we interpret it.

So, if you aren't, or don't think you can travel along that Web to touch another life, don't be so hasty to limit yourself.  Sometimes, it only takes a bit of time to simply open ones heart enough to experience something so simple.  Sometimes, in quiet moments of being, we do this and do not even think about it.  We may not know what it is, but we know what we felt, saw, or heard.  The important thing to remember is that we can not dismiss these things as flights of fancy or imaginings, for they are not!  They are an expanding of our awareness and, as nature worshipers, that's never a bad thing.

Brightest blessings my friends!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Respect within the Community

As of late the subject of respect within the pagan community has been a dominant subject in my life.  I have been in the community just shy of two years myself and I have never been accused of being disrespectful.  I have also not been instructed on etiquette.  I've not been instructed on how ones elders are supposed to be treated.  So, I have to wonder just exactly how there can be so much disrespect within this community because I know that many of the people who have been here longer than I have been properly trained and know how to treat their elders.

I've been told by many people within the community that I have been Craft-raised 'right', but the reality of it is, I was simply raised right.  My mother is one of the few true southern ladies left in this world.  She is kind, respectful, and dignified no matter the situation and no matter how she might feel about someone personally.  It is a rarity that she loses her cool, but when she does, it's like an atomic explosion that sends everyone running for cover.  I was taught to treat everyone equally and respectfully until their actions no longer deserved it and then, simply walk away.  There was no reason for fanfare, fighting, indignation, or slander.  This lesson has been driven home to me within my Craft family and, once the energy was expended, there truly was no reason for anger and hatred.  All I could do (and still do) is love and respect that person for the individual she is.  Walk away and keep loving is all we can do.

I bring that teaching into the Craft, but take it to another level.  I am on a path of service, therefore, I treat everyone as though they have been here longer than I and I treat them as though they are of an equal or higher degree than I am.  This means if I have food, drink, or anything that can be shared, I will offer to share it.  If I am standing in line, I will happily let another go in front of me, or at least offer it for them to make the choice (unless they are Anita, one of my High Priestesses, and then I drag her into the line ahead of me because I hope to be half as hard-headed as she is when I am a Crone and I hope my students do the same to me when I get there).  The community and the health of it is much more important to me than any one individual, including myself.

I have friends (whom I love dearly) who are students within the Craft.  I would never deign to see them as 'below' me, even though they are not as far along as I am in their training.  I see their struggles and their triumphs, and I cheer them on because I know how hard they are working and how hard they have worked and, in my mind, that deserves almost as much respect as I give my elders.  Their dedication is something to respect and on this path, no one is 'just a student' at any level of their training.  So, even with those whom are not as far along, I show respect by doing tasks with them as opposed to asking them to do tasks for me.

I find working together and showing mutual respect as a way to build our community.  It doesn't mean that we all always have to get along.  It doesn't mean that we all have to see eye-to-eye on every situation.  Respect does, however, mean to me that we all must put away our egos and at least attempt to meet in the middle.  It means stowing away our egos and allowing our Higher Self to examine the hurts that have been caused to us, so we can see the lessons in those hurts and just why we were offended, and moving past them, instead of trying to 'get revenge' and passing those hurts along.  Extending respect to everyone in such a way nourishes us individually and as a community so that we may grow and learn together no matter what path we may be on and no matter our how far upon our path we may be.

I believe it was the Buddha who said, "You will not be punished for your anger.  You will be punished by your anger."  Wiser words were never spoken and we should each and every one take heed.

Brightest Blessings my friends

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Mid-Summer's Rambling

Today we stand atop the mountain of the year, 'tis Mid-summer, the longest day!  The blessed Sun God rides at his peak in the crystalline, azure sky.  Pagans everywhere wait for the epic battle of the Oak and Holly Kings, though they know the outcome.

We begin our descent into the dark half of the year, that chilled valley full of our own shadows, our failures, that which we must reconcile before we move on.  Sounds quite scary, no?  Well, it's really not, if we are willing to face our own reflection in that dim, moonlit pool of the self.  While we must still harvest the fruits of our labors for the year during the next three holidays, Litha reminds us that the time for growth is nearly done.  It reminds us that now is the time for the fruits of our life to begin to ripen.

Into the valley we descend.  Deep within the self we begin the trek.  Over the next several months we reap the harvest of our lives and, at Samhain, we rest.  The work is nearly done.  The growth nearly complete.  So, what's next?

Next, comes the harvest.  We enjoy the fruits of our work this year.  We look at the goals that have withered and died.  We examine just why they didn't grow and fruit.  We protect those seeds which are slow-growing, just now beginning to leaf out and turn green.  These long-term goals will soon need shelter.  We look within and make future plans, decide the seeds we plant for next year.  We gaze into that cold, clear pool of our soul and try to see where we may have gone wrong and where we went right.  We decide what should be built upon and what should be cast aside.  This life we lead is much like the seasons, ever flowing forward, cycling, growing and resting.  Much like the river always reaching for the sea, we reach for the divine.

So, on this Mid-Summer's day, sing praise to the Sun God.  Thank Him for His life-giving warmth.  Sing praise to the blessed Mother.  Thank Her for Her life-giving food.  Stand in the grass barefoot and let the sun shine upon your face.  Let our Mother and Father comfort you in your fast-paced life.  Slow down for just a moment and be.

Praise be to Helios!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Resistance is Futile

These are narcotics-induced ramblings.  Please remember this!  There are abrupt thought changes and loads of things that may or may not make sense.  Broken bones, physical injuries, and the like take a lot out of me, but they seem to also make me think...

Last night, in that twilight time between sleep and wake, a thing occurred to me.  For people like me, this is Hell.  There is no lake of fire.  There is no sulfur, brimstone, or demons.  This manifestation, with all of its limitations, is Hell.

While my soul is still one with the divine, this conscious part of me falls daily for the illusions of this reality.  I know that I am limitless, yet I struggle with the illusion of pain.  I struggle with the illusion of powerlessness, helplessness.  "If I can't, then who shall help me?"  For so many years, I have had no answer to the question. Then, I reach out to someone I'm not sure that I have ever met.  Our conversation turns from the possibility of meeting to my own fears and limitations.  Quickly I understand that, yet again, my gods are speaking to me.

They remind me that they have a plan for me.  They remind me that these limitaqtions are tests.  They remind me to seek Them out instead of listening to that voice in my head.  They remind me that while this all seems read, that it is, indeed, an illusion.  This pain in my ankle is a phantom, because this body is a phonatom.  These emotions are wisps of smoke upon a mighty gale.  This entire universe is contained within a single atom within a single cell in the hair on the leg of a humble fly.

So, this illusion of pain and helplessness then becomes a metaphor for that which I feel inside.  My soul screams in agony as I refuse it what it needs.  I have become a living mirror, an outward expression of an internal landscape.  I seem to have injured a small part of my Self in my refusal to keep going forward spiritually.  So, of course, Self must remind me that I can't do that, or if I do I end up injuring my self.  So, where do I go from here?

I suppose I should probably step back on my path and move forward.