beliefs

Art Video

November, 2018

Swedish Petroglyphs

 

 

Sweden has an abundance of mysterious petroglyphs. The Swedish word for petroglyphs is “hällristningar”. This refers to figures and shapes carved in rock surfaces. Most of these images are pre-historic in origin.

Scandinavia has a very large concentration of rock art, created around c. 9000 (the first century BCE). There are about 30,000 registered sites (but new sites are being discovered all the time). Vivid interpretations have been attempted, based on Old Norse beliefs and Sami ethnography.

In truth we do not know until today what their purpose or meaning really was. Do they tell stories? Were they a backdrop for community rituals and ceremony?

This video offers an introduction and some key information followed by shamanic drumming inviting people to meditate on (or journey into) five photographs of Swedish Petroglyphs.

I invite you to share your experiences in the comments section for this video. Who knows, this might just give us some powerful (if non-scientific) clues to the lives of the Bronze Age inhabitants of Scandinavia!

I look forward to reading your responses!

***

About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in 2016 and her second book Sacred art: A Hollow Bone for Spirit (Where art Meets Shamanism) will be published in March 2019.  She was a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit in both 2016 and 2017 and is a presenter on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. She is currently in the editing stages of her third book “Medicine of the Imagination” and has started her fourth book “Evolving Gods: The Sacred Marriage of Tradition and Innovation”

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist

(YouTube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

Natural Born Shamans – A Spiritual Toolkit for Life: Using Shamanism Creatively with Young People of All Ages on Amazon

Finding Your Own Way

August, 2018

Chapter 5

Setting Boundaries

Not every adult believes in the existence of the spirit worlds, but almost every child does.

That we still have that child within us and are influenced by forgotten beliefs, has a major impact on the results of our meditation. If we wish to ensure that our journeys are positive and uplifting, it is best to set boundaries before we begin. The poems and art in this book will naturally tend to lead to the areas mentioned and always have a positive aspect. However, as we forge our own path to mental and emotional balance, it is best to have this ability completely under our own control.

Keep an open mind about the imagery and words used. This is not a book which favours any belief system. I have witnessed many different beliefs helping people who needed to make a change of perspective at that point in their lives. I am a pragmatist. I have only included those things which I know to be helpful. I leave it to others to argue as much as they wish about “absolute truth”.

The Auric Egg

This exercise has many applications apart from setting boundaries during meditation It will help the reader in stressful situations and in dealing with those who would try to overpower our emotions and sensitivities. Once mastered, I would advise using it in any situation in which we feel anxious or threatened.

I once had a student who believed he had to enter some type of bird’s egg and complained about the yoke being in his way, so I will try to describe the auric egg in as great a detail as possible.

Before you start the exercise, take a few moments to peer at a fine mesh colander or a flour sieve.

Try to picture the fine mesh in the shape of an egg with the wide part at the bottom. If you find it easier to do so, – just imagine it as a sphere around you.

It is best to start this meditation with the treeing exercise. (section 5)

Feel the light from the sun pouring in through the crown of your head.

As you picture the light from the sun filling your body, begin to push it out from your solar plexus.

As you breathe in, push the light out until it forms the shape of an egg around your body.

See the light turn to gold and form a shell around you made from fine golden filaments.

Tell yourself that this light will let nothing negative or dark enter your mind. Only positive thoughts and feelings are allowed through it. All else is filtered out.

Take your time. Spend as much time as you need to master this.

If you have trouble in visualizing, then think of yourself in a warm, safe bubble. Feel the warmth around you. Tell yourself that you are loved and protected.

If there are any smells or sounds that you associate with comfort and safety, then take the time to remember them.

Remember… there is no rush and no pressure. It may take a few attempts for some people to get this exercise flowing smoothly.

Was there a special place where you felt safe? Remember that.

Was there someone in your childhood who was a protector? Remember them. Say their name. Remember how you felt when they were around. Fictional characters will work too!

Even if you visualize well, adding these memories will make what you are doing easier and even more effective in setting a safe boundary for your meditations.

Then allow your mind to wander.

Now might be a good time to start keeping a record of your thoughts and feelings.

Paint the Sky with Summers Hues

Paint the sky with the deepest blue,

Paint your world with all the brightest colours and the lightest hues,

Golden corn and buttercups, a gleaming yellow sun,

Silver streams that sparkle, – cool and clean as when the world began.

Sweet green grass and roses of the deepest red,

Shady fern-filled forests with the softest, mossy pillows where you rest your weary head.

Why imagine gloom and doom,

when you can paint your future with your brightest hopes instead.

The ocean beckons us with promises of warm dry sand that trickles through our hands,

A bucket and a spade create a fairy castle or a soldier’s keep with turrets and a moat.

The simple joy of lying on the beach and listening to the waves,

and love hearts on the sand, that wash away as quickly as we write.

Long mild days to trek, to travel, to explore,

or lay and bask; – I dare to question, who could ask for more,

The heaviest of hearts can find that on a summer’s day it lifts.

The rich and poor alike can both enjoy the summer’s gifts.

Summer is a season and a place deep in your heart.

Summer lasts forever when our final winter thaws,

Even in this fleeting, fickle world of pain and flaws,

Summer is the journey of a heart that needs no laws.

Summer is that secret place of calm within the storm,

Summer is the goal of those who seek to live beyond the norm,

Even as the icy grip of winter howls, and swirls around our homes,

Summer is the warmth within our hearts and hope of better things to come.

Just take a few minutes to absorb the images from the text and the art.

 

This meditation will help boost optimism and courage. It will help us to see beyond present difficulties and start to manifest more positive and helpful responses to challenging situations. Nothing material lasts forever in this fleeting world, especially not hardship or misfortune. What does last are the valuable lessons that we learn, and the joy in our hearts from happy times. The wheel of life will turn. Winter thaws into spring and then the summer comes.

Now is the time to remember all the good in your life and all the times that you felt loved and protected. This will help to release the energy from your subconscious mind and free you to find the best solutions to any obstacles in your journey to a happier and more balanced life.

Take the time to compile a short list of your successes in the past and present. Remember books and films where the main character won through after many difficulties. Concentrate on the positive things in your life and only on actions you can perform immediately to help the situation. Then tell yourself that you have done all you can for the moment and relax until a solution comes to you from within.

This meditation is very helpful for increasing the effectiveness of the Auric Egg exercise.

***

About the Author:

Patrick W Kavanagh, Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver

Writer, poet, Patrick W Kavanagh was born in Dublin and now lives and works in Lincolnshire in a small rural town. Patrick became fascinated by the strange abilities of the human mind from watching his mother give psychic readings using tea-leaves and playing cards. With a lifelong interest in metaphysics and parapsychology, he has given tarot and spirit readings for over 40 years. He travels to many events with his wife Tina, exploring the power of shamanic drumming to heal, and induce therapeutic trance states. They also hold a regular drumming circle in the picturesque Lincolnshire Wolds.

By Patrick W Kavanagh available at most retailers:

Finding Your Own Way: Personal Meditations for Mastery and Self-knowledge.

Gael Song

September, 2017

Goddess Leading

     Raised in a Christian household, as an adult I was actively involved in my church, following in my mother’s footsteps. But then, six months after she died, I did a simple ceremony to release her and felt a powerful feminine Presence materialize in the ethers beside me. “I will be your Mother now,” that Presence said. Only much later did I realize it was the Goddess, She Who was never ever mentioned in my world. And suddenly, all I wanted to do in my leisure time was search out esoteric books on Celtic lore and times, a hunger within propelling me that I didn’t understand. During the summer before my oldest daughter left for college, we took a trip around the coast of Scotland (sunwise, not that I thought about that then.) And we stopped at every stone circle, souterrain, and barrow along the way, tramping through farmers fields and up unnamed hillocks (until my girls simply refused to get out of the car to look at any more!). My heart was literally starved for connection with my motherland and the divine feminine that poured into my feet and legs as I walked that soil. But after twelve years of voracious reading and searching, I remained restlessly unsatisfied. The Celts hadn’t written anything down, and many of the texts that tried to fill those spaces were confusing or filled with gaping holes or obvious distortions. I kept sensing ancient truths and mysteries, just beyond my reach.

     Then I attended a week-long retreat with a Celtic shaman, which left me astounded to realize I could talk telepathically with trees, stones, and turtles, that I could slip between small spaces and enter other worlds, where druid teachers stood ready to teach me in the hushed silence of moss covered trees. How many more stone circles I visited that way! Saying very little, the waiting druid guides led me on mental journeys to sacred sites and other realms where I’d lived before or quietly opened portals in my heart and mind. At first, I kept trying to talk with them, asking question after question about Celtic life, which brought only gentle smiles and amused silence in response. Not one of those druids ever said, “You must do this or that,” thank Goddess! The choice was always mine in the end. Such silent respect and service to my wondering soul drew me to the path as nothing else could, for in my life I’d known a fair amount of control, servitude, and neglect. And mysterious surprises kept appearing in my outer world, too, beckoning, beguiling me down this Goddess misted path.

     A few years later, I was led to attend a school of energetic healing, using light to heal inner fear in a simple meditative process. And I watched in utter wonder, after one of my classmates or teachers did a healing with me, as the spirit world meticulously cleaned up every reflection of that recently transmuted fear in my outer world. It quickly became very, very clear that my inner fears, many from past lives and my long ago descent from heaven to earth, were holding the patterns of my life in place. None of my druid guides explained this, either, their teachings fiercely experiential. They simply surrounded and held me in silent wisdom and ancient love as I observed and learned for myself. My life was a bit of a shambles back then, a difficult divorce and concomitant financial nosedive with three daughters to raise. And in my misery, these small sips of freedom the Goddess held out put wings on my heart and feet.

     So I began to do healings on myself every morning and evening, hoping for release into happiness within a year, at most. But every time a fear was healed, a new fear took its place. And negative circumstances kept occurring in my life to activate these new fears and open the ancient memories for healing. Life was full of these surprises, though I learned not to take them seriously, for they disappeared as soon as I transmuted them in my next few meditations. Plus, these challenges were interspersed with Goddess enchantment that often left me breathless with joy—like the day I was wrung out from a cross-country drive and a nasty encounter with a lady at a B&B. And suddenly, as I flopped on the sofa after finally arriving home, a hundred fireflies lit up at once, all fluttering just outside my windows in the deepening dusk. I felt their hearts surrounding mine like a crowd of happy children, lifting me instantly out of my fatigue and despair. The most lightning bugs I’d ever seen before were five or six spread out over the river and meadows below. So sweetly magical, that was! And things like this began happening more and more, too, Goddess blessings, every one.

(photo from smithsonianman.com)

     Every couple of weeks, the color that filled my aura moved down into the ground, and another came in from above, as if I was ascending a rainbow ladder of light somehow. I began to tune into these colors, feeling them intimately. And every couple of years or so, there was an intense passage with severe anxiety or time pressure or financial strain that lasted several weeks. And at the end of each of these times, I broke through into a whole new realm in my mind, a place entirely different from what I’d seen in my meditations before. And each time this happened, the outer circumstances of my life instantly changed as well: a home sold, a change of partner, a move, or new financial resources that broadened my life and work. There were seven of these passages, and I could feel that they were initiations: the first earth, next water, then air and fire, then cherub, bone, and diamond. I could see concentric sheaths of light in my aura burning off in light as I emerged through these passages, too, moving from outer to inner. The last challenge is still ahead of me, the diamond initiation, connected with my core wound, my guides say. Currently, I am working in the final sheath within, too, an intensely bright light in the heart’s core that matches the seventh world of the inner planes, the heaven they call the Diamond Core.

     It’s been twenty-one years now since I began this healing process, thirty-six since my Mom passed over, years of solitary druid practice, for no one in my world has been very interested in my path, very few even respectful of the Goddess Who holds me so tenderly, especially in my pain. But during all these years, my inner world was filled to overflowing with fae friends leading me to sparkling fabrics or recycled clothing in nooks and crannies of discount stores, then telepathying unusual designs for ceremonial wear to sew, suggesting delightfully unique recipes for dinner at the last minute, or leading me on spontaneous outings in the forest. My druid star brother was ever nearby, too, teaching me laws of love of the Celtic realms of heaven, the sacred geometry of nemetons, and holding up a standard of respect for all life that was literally out of this world, along with my star sister, always ready to help me understand those ray colors and inner planes of light, 350 in all, that neatly sorted themselves into those seven heavens. The Celtic pantheon appeared, too, one by one, over the past seven years, as regents of the fifteen structures of light in the Diamond Core that regulate cycles too numerous to mention, as I slowly moved up the inner spiral staircase of light.

     Over these years, my home was gradually transformed with Celtic art, a priestess wardrobe, oak leaves and interlaced designs, crystals, faeries, and roses everywhere. The Goddess called Herself the White Tara, and I began to call the God, Oghama, not Christ. And They became my best Friends, eternal partners in love and union without any of the friction between the divine masculine and feminine so common on earth. I began to feel a growing fusion of that Celtic heaven with earth, a rising of the Goddess and resurgence of the Celtic world here, but healed of the old black magic and sacrifice beliefs. Even my smallest questions were finally answered, the warp and weft of the Celtic tapestry finally mended, not by words, but by years of facing fear and embodying truths that empowered my spirit, understandings born of living experience over many years that remade my own little world into a place of shimmering beauty that thoroughly nourished my soul. The Goddess teaches wisdom first and foremost. If you are tempted to give up on your path, I suggest holding on till the next magic lifts you out of distress, for Her gifts have been amazing and ongoing.

     But then, my inner longing has shifted once again, for more than any other thing now, I wish to see that Celtic heaven manifested on earth. My druid guides tell me that humanity was once born into light in a single instant in this seventh heaven, each person with an eternal love partner in the image of God/Goddess. And each person has the structures of one of the twelve sacred cultures of the Creator Sun fused into her or his very bones, the specific culture depending on the location each person was created out of there. No wonder I can’t help buying yet another Celtic tapestry at the Renaissance Faire! I am guided to start an intentional community based on those laws of love of the Celtic heaven, Celtic to the core: Celtic art, music, sacred spaces, and architecture, pagan ceremony (blended with open-minded Christian, uniting the two sacred traditions of Scotland in mutual respect), and deeply honoring love for the Goddess, finally! I can’t wait for that! May Her bright blessings enfold us all and lead us Home soon.

***

About the Author:

Jill Rose Frew, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, energy healer, workshop leader, and author. She is hoping to found an intentional community in southern Scotland in the near future. For information, please see www.thehomestarcommunity.org

She is author of Guardians of the Celtic Way (her name was Jill Kelly then), and Alba Reborn, Volume One Revised, and Volumes Two and Three.

For Amazon Information Click on Images

 

 

 

 

Finding the Pagan Way

April, 2016

findingpagan

by: Boy So Blue Graphic s and photography

With all the right wing and reactionary posts which have seeped into many pagan groups in this last year, I have been forced to reappraise my own position. I did not feel comfortable posting to pages that shared narrow-minded and bigoted views. I stepped back for a while and looked to my own beliefs. I realised that participation in group activities is not totally necessary to re-affirm our own personal stance. I turned my focus to what is important to me as an individual.

I have friends from many mainstream religions and I detest Christian bashing as much as any other form of xenophobia and fear mongering. All creatures react with fear at times when it is necessary, but only humans nurture fear and build it into the bedrock of their lives. Most of us have some element of fear motivating us, but we need to face up to it and understand its corrupting influence on our lives. We all excel at self-deception, but by accepting the underlying current of fear in our lives, – we can allow it to flow through us and eventually, reduce its impact on our lives and our actions.

One thing that helped me was to look at the core of my beliefs and remind myself why I became a pagan. The concept of the Lord and Lady and the balance which they bring to the world, helped me to bring balance to my own life. Likewise the turning of the seasons, and realising my own place in this, grounded me in a way that Christian mysticism never did. But this is a matter of personal need and personal choice. What helped me may not be so useful to another person. For me, the best way to explain my beliefs is through my poetry. I can express much more in rhyme than I ever could in any other way.

The Sacred Marriage.

The Lord and Lady glide about the forest, as the softly sighing leaves are whispering in the silver light.
The dwellers of the woods are quiet and still, and dark eyes gaze upon the scene entranced,
No man, nor beast would dare disturb the ritual of this night.
Above, the Goddess lights her emissaries, as the moon and earth enjoin in Sacred Dance.

Tall and stately like a silver birch, the Lady flows like liquid moonlight through the trees,
Laughter, like the tinkling of a golden bell, caresses sensual lips and flutters off into the waiting night.
Great Pan himself, is so enamoured of her beauty that he pauses in his play, to place a kiss upon her knee,
Then He resumes His Dance and placing pipe to lips, He fills the Still night air with merriment and pure delight.

Fire to speed the coming of the Sun, blazing high, as sparks are flying to the sky’s,
Warm the Earth!
Writhe like new-grown saplings reaching to the light!
Naked feet, caressing and cajoling Mother earth, can feel Her Spirit and Her Power rise,
And Spring, is surely hastened with the coming of Her Lover, at sunrise.

I was not there, I cannot tell this tale in full.
Perhaps my senses are too numb, perhaps my mind to dull.
But every day I ask the Goddess that I may Awake,
and every night I look up to the Moon for guidance,
for the journeys I may make.

Patrick W Kavanagh

I believe that there is much yet for me to learn, even after 50 years of searching. I know that when I touch the core of life that these are the images and emotions that flood my mind and heart. I am aware that I have an ongoing and evolving relationship with spirit which has guided and helped me for many years. There have been thousands of messages and hundreds of times when Spirit has physically helped me. There have also been hundreds of times, when I did not listen and paid for my own stubbornness. This is my journey and not anyone else’s, but, I hope that by sharing what I have been given, I can help others to make sense of some parts of their own journey. This is why I write.

Lord of the Woodlands

Dawn brings a cold grey light beneath a moody sky
that does not seem to greet the day with joy.
A sleepless night is followed by a solitary walk.
I long for peace, – but expectations are not high.
The glistening grass has soaked my feet,
and chilled me to the bone.
I curse myself for such a choice of routes,
but still I’m grateful for this time alone.

The woodlands beckon me with sheltered paths
beneath its softly sighing trees.
Perhaps in such a sheltered grove
My aching mind may find some ease.
So I wandered in that twilight world
that held the dawn at bay,
beneath its gently waving arch of green
that kept the world away.

The woodlands watched me as I walked,
Though lost in morbid thought,-
it’s little voices whispered gently in my ear.
Inviting me to share the home they loved so dear.
Slowly, carefully I walked,
in case I should disturb the woodland creatures at their play.
Watchfully, I carried on, fearful to arouse the beings
who live within the pause between the night and day.

But there He stood, despite my care.
Wreathed in mist, the sparrows nesting in His hair.
As He walked, the flowers bloomed beneath his hooves,
and though I wished to run away I could not move.
Eye to eye, I thought that I would die from fear.
But as I held His gaze, I felt my misery dissolve.
Emotions flooded through me, and then they washed away as tears.
For only goodness flowed from Him,
and if He wills it,
I will walk with Him for all my Years.

Patrick W Kavanagh

 

Spiritual Seeker

June, 2013

I’d like to begin this month’s column by saying thank you for the warm welcome I received last month, and also for the wonderful suggestions. I’m delighted that so many PaganPages readers are open to the idea of an exploration of faith that is going to move outside of traditional Pagan boundaries.

About midway through May I began my project. Rather than jump right into to my search with a heavy theological tome or holy book, I decided to start with something a bit lighter, a spiritual biography of a sort entitled Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine. In it, Eric Weiner, a self-described “gastronomic Jew” decides to explore several religions in an attempt to find a spiritual home. He whirls with Sufi Dervishes, meditates with Buddhists, does a Shamanic workshop, and even takes part in a Wiccan ritual. Reading this book let me live vicariously through an eclectic mix of religious experiences: my favourite kind of living.

Okay, true, reading about religion is not at all the same as experiencing it. And Weiner freely admits that his “seven-eighth-assed participation” (his term) in a lot of these rites didn’t and couldn’t lead to real religious experiences for him either. To know a religion, to feel it in your soul, you have to really try to live it. That, I think, was my problem with Wicca. I studied it and I knew it well, I even lived the morals and ideals, but I didn’t live the rituals. I didn’t make them my own. Saint Francis of Assisi said “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” That wasn’t how I was living my spiritual life.  I guess you could say I was a library or bookshelf Wiccan.

I’ve spent the past several years saying “I don’t know what I believe, but I do know what I don’t believe.” Reading Man Seeks God helped me to find a few more things I don’t believe. I’m good with the Golden Rule, which finds its way into Wicca as the Rede, and into Buddhism as “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful”, and into numerous other religions in similar but different words. I’m also all for prayer and/or meditation, for charitable deeds (as long as I can stay clean), for contemplation, and possibly even for fasting.  In his book The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James describes people for whom “religion exists not as a dull habit but as an acute fever.” That is what I want, and that is how I want to believe.

One of Rumi’s most famous sayings is “Either appear as you be or be as you appear.” I think this might be one of the touchstones for my search. Do the practices and beliefs of the faith cause a fever in my soul, or do they land me back on the bookshelf?

What about you? Do you live as Saint Francis did, demonstrating the gospel of your faith through your actions, or is more a mental exercise? I’d love to hear from, either in the comments below or via email.