Friday, March 29, 2013

PBP Week 13: G is for Great Work

Within my own Wiccan church construct, when one reaches a certain level in their studies, one must begin thinking about his or her Great Work.  The Great Work is something that is going to be a life-long commitment by the practitioner to help in the furtherance of the religion and their own growth.  For soon-to-be-leaders within the community, this is a very important step.  The Great Work is, in essence, how one will 'specialize' within the community.

Just within my own church, my High Priest has the Great Work of promoting the religion of Wicca through (obviously) running a church, speaking to groups and giving workshops, as well as teaching the religion.  One of the students of the church is leaning toward youth teachings as her Great Work and one of the Third Degree High Priestesses I know has a Great Work of community building.  So, as you can see, the Great Work isn't just things like herbalist, healers, psychics, and writers.  It is where your passion lies within this path and how you best fit into the community.  After all, we still need planners and organizers for the festivals we go to; we also need kitchen witches and bards!

Then, you have people like me.  As I was coming upon my First Degree initiation, I had my Reiki 1 attunement.  I have always had an interest in healing and various modalities of healing, so I figured that it would be a natural progression for me to go into the healing arts and learn several different kinds of healing practices, maybe learn accupressure or accupuncture.  Oh, no!  It's not that easy.

Hekate and Ares never make it that straightforward.  Never.  They say, "Okay, Miss Lady, you want to be a healer?  Here is how this is going to go down.  Once you are initiated, we are going to send you far, far away from your High Priest and Priestess, but we aren't going to let you go it alone.  You will have support!  Then, you are going to truly know what 'the healing arts' are all about."

I am sent to a community that is the exact opposite of what I know.  My home community stretches (literally) from West Plains, Missouri all the way to Lake City, Arkansas and on to Jackson, Tennessee (if not a bit farther).  These people, hundreds of them, are from both churches and covens and they work together in an effort to unify everyone within the community whether they are a solitary or group practitioner.

My current community has these pockets of super amazing people!  Like, I've honestly not met a 'bad pagan' yet, however, there has been some trauma that has bred an aura of fear nearly community wide.  The irony of that statement is that this fear seems to have come from within, not without.  This town is very progressive, forward thinking, and liberal and has a huge pagan community in it.  I have talked to a few who have reached out to talk vaguely about the trauma that befell the community long before my time and I am taken back by the fear.

Is my Great Work to heal this community?  My gods didn't say 'You will heal these people!'  I do not want my readers to even entertain the idea that I am destined for something grand like pulling together a whole community, because I'm not.  However, they did have to show me what can happen when a community does become shattered and splintered.  They did have to show me how the efforts of the few walking their talk can sometimes be a struggle.  They did have to show me that sometimes fear paralyzes groups of people and that they lose trust in everyone completely.

The path of a priest or priestess is, sometimes, a lonely one.  It is exhausting.  It is difficult at times.  Those things said, they have also shown me that things worth doing are worth the loneliness, exhaustion, and difficulty and eventually, the hard work is rewarded.

The Great Work is different for everyone on this path.  It requires years, decades of service to the gods and the community.  It is that one thing that, when we are lying on our deathbed, we can say is our legacy.

Bright blessings, friends!!

Friday, March 22, 2013

PBP Week 12: F is for F.E.A.R.

Ah, Fear!  How are you, you wily fucker?  Still stealing people's breath?  Their words, thoughts, and actions?  Oh, Fear, you are a cunning friend.  You quite enjoy comforting us as you stab us in the heart, don't you?  You like whispering all of those negative things, don't you?  You enjoy the tears, the rage, the hurt.  You live for the moment when you can wrap yourself around any one of us and whisper, "It's okay that you can't.  It's okay that you won't try.  Don't.  Ever.  Try."

As you can tell, I have a long standing, masochistic relationship with my fears.  Through my training in Wicca, though, I have learned that fear is a necessity in life and can even be a good thing.  First, I have been taught to define fear as:


The ego, through fear, teaches us how to look out for ourselves.  This is good, right?  Well, it's a great thing if you are standing on the edge of a cliff.  Fear may cause you to take a step back.  However, not paying bills because they are late for fear that your creditors are going to yell at you isn't a good thing.

Magically speaking, how do we manifest our own reality without fear?  Well, we first have to know what we are afraid of.  Speaking from a personal standpoint, I have, historically, been afraid of both success and failure.  How's that for irrational fears?  I have never failed at anything I put my mind to, and can't think of anything at which I am a complete and utter failure.  I'm horrible at tennis.  I'm too tall for tumbling.  I'm mediocre at painting.  However, just because those things aren't my strong suits, doesn't mean I fail.  It just means that I'm better at basketball, stenciling, and writing.

The fear of success has been my own biggest stumbling block.  If I'm good at this, others expectations will rise through the roof.  That has always been my thought.  If people know I'm intelligent, then they will expect more from me.  If people know this.  If people know that.  Until recently, I attributed this fear to my own ultra-private sense of life.  I know now that it is not.  I understand now that saying to another person I am limitless and believing it are two different things.

After figuring out the root of our own fears, what do we do?  I mean, one can not cast a successful spell if one is afraid of success, correct?  After figuring out what we are afraid of and why, we have to face that fear.  Even if facing it means doing so little by little.  Facing a fear of heights means stepping closer and closer to the edge until you go as far as you dare, and then going one step farther.  It means listening to that small voice of fear, but ignoring it.

When I first began facing my own fears, I had to do so in a manner that calmed and tricked my ego into a false sense of security.  It was literally a case of me telling myself, "Okay, Self, I'm going to do something that  you said is going to hurt me, but I'm going to do it a little bit at a time so we feel safe.  If we get hurt, it will all be my fault and you can tell me so."

For the most part, I know now when I am being irrational, and I can convince myself of this.  Magically speaking, I have done many things  since I began taming my ego and stopped listening to the smooth voice of fear.  How do you convince yourself to face your fears?  Do you?

Brightest of blessings, my friends!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Pagan Blog Project Week 11: F is for Fluff Bunnies

We all know that one guy or girl in the community who has the fanciest of velvet robes, the most expensive athame, dozens of tarot decks, and all of these really cool and expensive toys and relics of the Craft, but he or she couldn't cast a circle to save his life.  People like this are, quite arrogantly by some, called fluffy bunnies, and while they get on the nerves of many people, they may just have a place within the greater pagan community.

The above description is for one type of 'fluff bunny' pagan.  There are many types of them.  There are those who would be called a witch simply to be different and cause shock in other people.  There are those who want to claim the label of witch, but refuse to do the work of going through the degree system and changing internally. Then, there are those who would search for knowledge under the guise of 'knowledge is power' and do nothing with that information.  As the Craft evolves and the religion becomes more prevalent, there will be more and more people who come to the Craft for information, not to learn.

So, what do we do with people who come across like this?  What do we do with those who are obviously more into being different than being spiritual?  We do the exact same things with those people that we do with everyone else.  We love them anyway.  Without getting angry or frustrated, we do our best to guide them to their own understanding of their own personal path.

For those with the 'knowledge is power' mentality, dealing with them can be a bit trickier.  We still love them anyway, mind you.  However, these people come across as sincere seekers who are interested in learning and changing.  Then, when things get beyond the general information on the religion and get into the actual personal changes, the approach is a little more hands off.

With these particular people, there seems to be the mentality that if I know what happens, then I can make the choice to do it or not.  This mentality happens when a person is firmly stuck in the element of Air.  The curiosity about something drives them, but the fear of the unknown stops them short of full achievement and moving into the element of Fire.

Insincere seekers follow every religion and paganism is no exception.  We can only accept these people for who they are and hope to help them find their own true path.  They aren't to be scorned or made fun of, as they have their place just like anyone else.  How do you deal with the fluffier of pagans in your community?

Brightest blessings my friends!!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

PBP: E is for Evolution

When many of us think of evolution, we think of Mr. Charles Darwin and his grand tome The Origin of Species.  What I am talking about here, though, is the evolution of thought and how, as magical people, we differ from muggles.  This came to me as I began to get a migraine at work.  I have been getting them for days now and have chosen to attribute them to dozens of different mundane stimuli.  However, today I stopped and thought about the spiritual implications of a migraine.

First, I always get migraines around my right eye, an eye that was magically... altered.  This is coupled with the fact that (according to the pain in my neck, I think) my self-preservation urge is higher than it should be.  Then, the kicker.  I find myself having a negative conversation with myself around mid-afternoon, nearly every day now.  All of these things on the heels of a physical illness (which has a whole other set of spiritual implications that I'm not going to get in to) and I have a recipe for disaster, energetically speaking, if I don't evolve my thinking and move away from the low energy negative thought forms.

So, just exactly how am I doing this?  Well, like changing anything in my life, it's a process.  I have to begin by recognizing the negative thoughts and I have to acknowledge them.  In my acknowledgement, I ask myself just exactly why I am thinking along those lines.  Asking a simple 'why' stops the negative thought process in its tracks.  Not only does the question stop the negative thoughts, but it also allows me to see just who or what I am blaming for all of my negativity.

When I allow myself to see who or what I am blaming for my negative thought processes, I then ask myself 'why' again.  I have to know if they are really to blame or if I am simply projecting my insecurities upon them.  So, I keep asking why until I come to the answer that involves myself.

Another approach I take, especially if I simply don't have time to have the internal 'why' conversation, is to acknowledge the negative thoughts and then banish them with a hearty 'No!'  When I do this, I stop for just a moment, acknowledge the negativity, tell it no, and then repeat whatever negative thing I was saying with a positive twist.  For instance, "No one else is doing anything that needs to be done around here!" becomes "If everyone is too busy to help me, I will do this work with joy in my heart and a smile on my face."  When I do this, it turns the negative 'why me?' into a positive 'why not?' and it lifts my mood and I carry on with my business.

Evolving our thoughts is not an easy thing to do.  For many of us, this process takes years and years of positive affirmations and moving forward, away from the negative concepts we do dearly love.  The evolution of thought turns into an evolution of self and that evolution of self takes us to better and better places as magical practitioners.  It enacts the Law of Attraction for the positive and good things begin to happen and life is then grand!

Brightest blessing, my friends!

Friday, March 1, 2013

PBP Week 9: E is for Energy

The Law of the Conservation of Energy states, "Energy can neither be created, nor can it be destroyed."  Speaking from a witches perspective, everything is energy.  Everything.  You and I are energy.  Our tools, the food we eat, the grass, the ground, the trees, and even the computer I am using to write this blog, is energy.  If everything is energy, then how is the ground, computer, trees, and food solid?  How is it, if it is energy, different from sunlight or an x-ray?  Just exactly how does all of this fit in to magical practice?

When talking about energy, science and magic meet in a glorious fusion of fact and mythology.  Science lays out in law what our kind have known since time immemorial.  Energy is perceived by its vibration.  If it vibrates more slowly, it is more solid (think of water turning to ice here), and as its vibration increases it loses its solidity (think of water turning to steam).  This is the same thing with emotions and thought.  We have slower vibrations, or negative thoughts and emotions, and we have those which speed up and are positive.

Think about a time when you had a really bad day.  Something unexpected happened and your thoughts and insight turned low.  This negative thoughts maybe caused you to say something negative that you wouldn't otherwise say.  Then you screwed up some important paperwork.  Then your boss yelled at you and you gave him the finger and walked out.  On your way home, you are fuming and not paying attention, so you run a red light and broadside a grandmother going to her grandchild's soccer game.  Now, not only are you feeling quite ill emotionally, but you have now physically hurt yourself.

We will stop with the hypothetical bad day right there and look at the ripples it created, just from a slow energetic vibration.  You said something negative to a co-worker, made a rude hand gesture to your boss, and ended up hurting another person in an accident.  Just these three named people will then decide if they are going to lower their own vibrations (obviously, this is a subconscious thing) to your level.  Imagine if they do and they, in turn, have an effect on three more each, who effect three more each.  Right there it jumps from three to nine to 27.  That's a lot of damn people, and that's only if the ripples stop there.

So many of us don't realize just how our energy effects those around us as we walk this path farther and farther.  We don't realize that others may secretly be jealous of us or dislike us because of our outlook on life.  We don't think about the fact that some people in this world are miserable sods and don't want anything more than their misery.  Understand, when I say 'we', I really mean 'me'.  I have been dealing, as of late, with many miserable people in the mundane world.  For the most part, they are miserable because they won't mind their own damn business, but they don't see it that way.  They have the concept of 'I am my brother's keeper,' when that simply isn't the case.

Now, to jump from people, back to energy.  When we, as magical practitioners, begin learning to work with the energy around us, we connect with nature, with others, and (most importantly, IMHO) ourselves.  We begin to see how the polarities we create manifest our reality.  Or, in my case, my High Priest figuratively bonks me on the head and points it out because I'm am quite obtuse and have Forest and Trees Syndrome.

So, how do we take the negative energy around us and transform it to something positive?  Well, that's much easier said that done, but only because we, as humans, don't like to change.  That said, the first step is to recognize our reaction to the negative energy.  When someone hits you with something negative, what is your first reaction?  When we examine that reaction and make an effort to not repeat it, then we have just raised our own vibration.  When we refuse to stoop to another person's level, we aren't feeding them negative energy and, eventually, they stop trying to get it from us.

I have been told repeatedly by my teachers that love and hate are the same energy.  "You must have loved someone to hate them."  The difference between love and hate is the frequency.  Hate is a very low, slow wave of energy, whereas love has a very fast vibration and a high frequency.  If you don't believe me, then think about someone you know who is always upbeat and positive.  They always look on the bright side of things and can always find the good in everyone and in every situation.  Now, think of them when they are having a bad day or they are frustrated.  These people, those who live in and exude love, tend toward still being pleasant when they are having a bad day.  Their words may not be as soft as usual, and they may be a little short, but they are still nice.  I know people like that and I strive every day to be more like that.  My issues aren't as important.  My this and my that have to take a back seat when I feel bad.

Every day we are bombarded with energy of all kinds.  Every day we choose which of the energies we allow to have an effect on us.  Do you choose to try to live in a high vibrational state or a low one?

Brightest blessings my friends!