control

The Naked Goddess III

April, 2018

I’m part of a lot of spiritual groups and on one of them someone posted this.

Well I had a lot to say, because I feel like that gender (which is more complicated than a binary) is absolutely important to talk about. I am never comfortable when someone says we should talk about something. Silence has a very specific power.

My main issue with this is one group or part of the gender spectrum have had the power, privilege and control of everything, including spirituality for thousands of years. We cannot “white wash” this out of spirituality. When you fail to acknowledge this privilege, the differences, difficulties and discrimination that happens, you add to it. There are more than two genders. Yet pretending gender doesn’t have a bias, that wider societies and cultures doesn’t hugely favour one over everything else is wrong. You are ignoring the problem. I liken this to when privileged white people (like me) say “I don’t see colour”. It effectively erases the thing about a person or group you have and historically have issues with. It is literally removing the part of a person or groups identity. It also allows passive discrimination, bias and abuse to occur.

Spirituality can never be divorced from society. The body politic, if you will. That is why privilege always comes in. We cannot ignore the bias towards certain groups or genders. Ignoring what is happen in a larger cultural context doesn’t make it more spiritual. Spiritual is an expression of the sacred authenticity of people. It always has a cultural context. In real life terms this means folks whom are non-binary, trans, LGBTQ+ or female are going to suffer more discrimination, abuse than those not. From harassment to income, to insurance and medical care, one group significantly is more secure, more safe, and better off.

This has an effect. From spiritual courses requiring money and travel to not having a bathroom you can use, it will have an impact. This totally removes the right of those suffering to say anything if there “is no gender”. It robs them of their identity and silences them to the difficulties and joys about their lives that make them unique.

We, spiritual and pagan people should care and recognize gender, in all its diversity. We should care because we should be advocating, creating spaces and being aware that being different is beautiful and a strength.

Spirituality is not passive or weak. Kindness and inclusivity is a strength, it is courageous.

I don’t know, what I don’t know. However I am open to listening. Listening to trans, non-binary and gender fluid people as well as the scores of women around me.

I am aware that the patriarchal hangovers and wider social norms creep into our lives often without us seeing them. There is a darker more insidious message in this short post though. Setting up the Christian dichotomy of “spirit as good and body is bad” that has been used to torture and abuse millions for thousands of years. This body verses spirit things exactly plays to these problems with body politics and gender issues. It robs people of their loving divine connection to their bodies and lives. It villainises healthy sexual desire, normal bodily function, and the power of the physical world. It divorces and stigmatizes the powerful animal instincts that dwell within.

The “animal” within is not a malign influence that must be erased or destroyed or caged. Doing so removes a deep and divine force within. If it is respected and held in balance it is wise. If it is repressed or caged it reacts like any caged wild animal would. Of course if it runs riot we become less, diminishing any part of the whole makes us less. We are instinct and intellect. We are our desires and our ability to wait or let them go. We can dwell within desire, be it sexual, hunger or rage, acknowledge them and not act. Yet unless you learn to respect and listen this animal side will act out. Repressing parts of ourselves (usually out of shame) is deeply damaging and not spiritual.

It might look like it from the outside. It might look saint-like and perfect but it just isn’t authentic to a whole person. Now some folks are wolf-spirited, some are more like deer, or lions or elephants. It is not my place to tell anyone what their inner animal must be. Or their gender. Or sexuality.

Yet I will honour them. I will make space, and listen, most of all listen. I will acknowledge my position of relative privilege as a white bi-sexual female that people are more understanding or accepting of me in certain places than people whom are differently gendered. I will speak up and stand up to the injustices and intolerance. I will bridge my ignorance with kindness and recognition.

 

 

Book Review – Lucid Dreaming Plain and Simple: Tips and Techniques for Insight, Creativity and Personal Growth By Robert Waggoner and Caroline McCready

March, 2018

Book Review –

Lucid Dreaming Plain and Simple:

Tips and Techniques for Insight, Creativity and Personal Growth

By Robert Waggoner and Caroline McCready

No sailor controls the sea…Similarly, no lucid dreamer controls the dream. Like a sailor on the sea, we lucid dreamers direct our perceptual awareness within the larger state of dreaming.” – Robert Waggoner.

We don’t consciously create our dreams; we only ride their waves and direct our experience.” Caroline McCready.

 

I love dreaming. As a child, I woke up from dreams feeling like I had visited another world – a world that is as real as the “every day” world we move around in. I still feel that way. I love having a “big dream” – one the feels like a communication from another realm or includes visits from the Beloved Dead. These dreams feel so real, sometimes more real than what happens while I am awake! I have spent years recording my dreams, tracking patterns of dreaming by the moon and by astrological sign. I have participated in dream circles listening to the dreams of others, marveling at how we often had similar dreams or walked in each other’s dreaming on the same night. I often wondered how those connections come into being.

But, after all these years, I have had little experience with lucid dreaming. Other than listening to how easily it comes for some of my friends, that is. And wondering why I haven’t had a sustained lucid dreaming experience. In case you are not familiar with the concept, lucid dreaming occurs when dreamers “wake up” inside a nighttime dream, realize they are dreaming and can direct activity in the dream. Oh, I have so wanted to do this for such a long time. I’ve read lots of books, taken courses, explored all kinds of approaches to lucid dreaming, but have never been able to do more than realize that I am dreaming and shock myself awake with excitement! So, I was truly excited to read “Lucid Dreaming-Plain and Simple.” Authors Robert Waggoner and Caroline McCready are lifetime dream explorers, like I am. They’ve not only experienced lucid dreaming, they’ve studied it. Their research started with the works of Stephen LaBerge, Patricia Garfield, Ann Faraday and Carlos Castaneda, among the better-known early pioneer writers on the topic. I, too, poured over these authors’ works, studying and practicing techniques for lucidity.

 

(Original Painting by Susan Rossi)

 

Waggoner and McCready are much better students than I! They have dreamed lucidly with great success and now offer us a doorway into dream deepening that is a synthesis of the lucidity pioneers and their own experience. And this book is more than a dreaming technique guide. It is a manual about consciousness and perception.

I devoured this book. It is well written and engaging, full of the authors’ experiences in the dream time and well sourced in independent dream research. I have tried several of the techniques for lucid dream entry the authors present. It still hasn’t happened for me. However, I am filled with new optimism. Because Waggoner and McCready broaden the approach to lucidity way beyond simply achieving it. They present lucidity not as the result of techniques or the ability to fly when you want to in a dream. Rather, they raise with the reader an inquiry into of the awareness of consciousness and its role in “waking” and “dreaming” reality. As a longtime meditator, I realized I can go through this doorway to get to lucidity and that truly, dreaming is about playing with the web of consciousness and its interrelatedness with all that is! Waggoner writes that through his practice of lucid dreaming, he discovered a “consistent framework of rules and principles beneath lucid dreaming events” and that this “hidden framework suggested that dreaming and the unconscious actually followed rules and had structure.” Dreaming is not just “random firing of neurons.” In fact, he explores the idea that there is an intelligent awareness that exists behind our dreams and that this awareness will respond to questions posed to it. For those of us who read PaganPagesOrg, this feels quite familiar, I’m sure. All that is has an awareness we can dance with and through this dance we engage in co-creation with the web of energy and intelligence behind the solid world that we perceive.

In examining lucidity with this broad view, McCready and Waggoner address the nature of what is “real.” We readers are encouraged to explore with a critical eye the nature of our assumptions about “waking” and “dreaming.” Through this process, the authors state, we will receive “an education in the nature of the mind and perceived experience that calls forth insights capable of transforming yourself and your waking life.” So, for me, lucid dreaming is now about so much more than remembering to look for my hands in a dream. It is about “waking up” to my assumptions about the nature of what is real. It is about lifting the veil of separation so that all that is does not remain compartmentalized in my mind. So perhaps I am already awake within the dream during daylight hours! I loved this book and recommend it to you to awaken within the dream of your life AND in your nighttime dreams.

For Amazon Information Click Image

 

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About the Author:

Susan Rossi is a Practitioner and Teacher of Shamanism. She is a long-time explorer of The Mysteries – the connections between mind, body, spirit and how to live in right relationship to all of the energies streaming through the cosmos. She works with clients as an astrologer, coach, ceremonialist and guide to the wisdom that each of us has the capacity to access. Her focus is on guiding clients to unblock and rediscover their inner wisdom. , exploration of the birth chart, ceremony, legacy writing, hypnotherapy, energetic healing practice and creation of sacred tools are integral pieces of her practice.

Susan trained in Soul Level Astrology with master astrologer Mark Borax. She delights in exploring with individuals the planetary pattern under which their soul choose to incarnate.

Flying to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com