opinions

Seeing the Signs

November, 2018

Madame Pamita: Her Book, Websites, Music, and Vast Storehouse of Tarot Wisdom

I received a copy of Madame Pamita’s Magical Tarot: Using the Cards to Make Your Dreams Come True this past Ostara, and in the past eight months, this wonderful book has become one of my favorite tarot books. Published by Weiser , earlier this year, it’s a powerhouse of information and magic. I wanted to write a review of this fabulous book months ago but personal events in my own life got in the way. However, this only gave me more time to become acquainted with Madame Pamita via her website and monthly emails. I was really sad that I wasn’t able to get down to New York City to meet her in person earlier this month – I would have asked her to autograph my copy of her book! – but maybe sometime in the next year, she’ll be somewhere in my vicinity. She seems to travel quite a bit!

 

As soon as you open the book, there are two pages of recommendations for Madame Pamita’s Magical Tarot – and from some of my favorite Tarot scholars, like Rachel Pollack and Mary K. Greer. As far as I’m concerned, that’s like getting the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” as they used to say back in the day. Just reading what these eminent Tarot authorities have to say about Madame Pamita and her “complete manual”, as Elhoim Leafar puts it, is an affirmation of the book’s positive value.

In the very first chapter, Madame Pamita talks about the Law of Attraction – how “like attracts like” and that “our thoughts and beliefs will attract the thing we focus on.” (Palmita, 1) She quite logically reasons that when we are focused on loss, afraid of the future, and other depressing outcomes, then that is what we are going to be attracting to our lives. Therefore, we need magic – the “ritual that focuses your attention on the things that you want to influence.” (Pamita, 1). She refers to the Tarot as a “map that shows you what steps to take, what to avoid, and what changes are necessary to manifest all those good things you want.” (Pamita, 1). By laying out the cards, you can see where you need to go – quite literally, or should I say visually – in Madame Pamita’s words, the Tarot shows the questioner:

…where they should be positively focusing their intention, what action they should take to support this aim, and even what ritual

would be most helpful for supporting their objective. Tarot is the key to making your wish come true. (Pamita, 2)

She presents the simplest of all Tarot spreads, the Three-Card Reading. Card One is the Past – Card Two is the Present – Card Three is the Future. Acknowledging that “we can go to amazing depths in a reading” by starting with the questing and then adding “the meaning of each of the cards that we turn up” and then adding “another layer of meaning with the position of the cards in the layout” and the final layer of meaning – “listening to what our own intuition has to say in the matter.” (Palmita, 3). She doesn’t say what to do when the cards don’t seem to make any sense at all but she does admit that learning all this may be “intimidating” but that this is going to be an “exciting adventure” and a “wonderful journey”. (Palmita, 4).

Before she gets into the nuts and bolts of reading the Tarot, card by card, Madame Pamita discusses the history of the Tarot, divination and the occult. It’s a very short chapter – only two pages long. It ends with her recommendation of the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck as the best deck for beginners. I have to say that I do agree with her on that assessment. While it may not have been the original Tarot deck ever used, it has become the “basic text” for the Tarot and the one most identifiable. It’s the deck that is used in the illustrations of Madame Pamita’s book.

In the chapter titled, “Your Mystic Training Begins”, Madame Pamita once again refers to learning the Tarot as a “journey” (Pamita, 7). She says that the “key” is spending time with them – as the saying goes, “practice, practice, practice!” She also stresses “the beauty in being that beginner” (Pamita, 7). She writes:

There is joy in the journey toward gaining knowledge. I look at it as an amazing exploration.

I know that going down the road is going to bring me such profound experiences and that

eventually, if I take the time to really learn and absorb and apply myself, I can get to the

place where I become master of that skill. (Pamita, 7)

The next few pages are dedicated to starting a Tarot journal and how you should keep it. She recommends picking a card a day and spending time with it and writing about it – every aspect of it – from the people in the card to the symbols depicted to the colors used. She says to step “into the scene in the card” and imagine what would happen or “put yourself into the role of one of the characters in the card” and then write about your feelings. She also says to pay attention to the “energy” of the card. She says you should pull a card every morning, meditate upon it, write about it, and then review what you wrote in the evening. (Pamita, 8-9) Quite honestly, if you do this, not only will you learn important lessons about the Tarot, but you will also learn important lessons about yourself. Years later, you can open your Tarot journal and read your progress as a Tarot adapt as well as an enlightened human being.

The next chapter is another two-page shorty that is nonetheless packed with power. Entitled “Magic Words”, it covers affirmations, “one of the most powerful spiritual disciplines that you can incorporate into your life” (Pamita, 11). As Madame Pamita insists,

Affirmations are positive power words that we can say to ourselves to rewire our brains,

making us magical receptors for good things…Words create magic. Magic is the act

of shifting reality through our will. Therefore, magic spells are words that create our

reality. (Pamita, 11).

Two paragraphs down, she again insists, “Your thoughts create your beliefs and your beliefs are infinitely powerful.” (Pamita, 11).

She includes affirmations with each description of every Tarot card – she calls them “Magic Words”. Like the diary journal, Madame Pamita outlines how to use these “Magic Words” and Tarot affirmations on a daily basis. I like the idea of taking a photo of the card of the day with your phone and making it your phone’s background so you have it with you all day long. I also like the suggestion of recording the day’s affirmation as an alarm on your phone so that you hear it at various times during the day. The thing with affirmations and rewiring the negative thoughts in your brain is that you really do have to repeat the chosen affirmation over and over again or else it doesn’t work. I find Madame Pamita’s instructions to be founded in logic and common sense.

The next chapter – which is the last chapter before she delves into the mystery of the Minor Arcana – is about “Making Magic with the Tarot”. Again, Madame Pamita has one good suggestion after another! I have often used various Tarot cards on my altar or in meditation but I have never put a Tarot card in my shoe! (Pamita, 13). That’s a new one on me! I am not at all sure that would even be comfortable. I think placing the card of the day in the pocket of my coat or in the front pocket of my hoodie might be a better idea.

Before she gets into the Minor Arcana per se, she covers Roman Numerals. She even provides a chart so that the beginner knows how to read the letters as numbers. I guess I’m showing my age – I remember learning Roman Numerals in second or third grade – back in the 1960’s. We even had to do sums using Roman Numerals! However, I do realize that this is something that is no longer taught in school – perhaps hasn’t been taught since my own childhood. I know my own son – who is now twenty-five years old – was never taught Roman Numerals in school – I taught him myself. This chart is a handy guide to those of us who may not have been taught this simple way of reckoning numbers or may have perhaps forgotten it.

For what it’s worth, in some Roman Numeral systems, 4 is written as IIII and not as IV, and 9 is written as VIIII, and not as IX, and 14 as XIIII, and so on. But generally, her chart is correct.

The first suit she covers is the suit of Swords – “The Airy-Fairy Swords”, she calls them. (Pamita, 20). She tells us to “think about the qualities of air” whenever one of these cards show up in a reading. Air is the lightest of all the elements. Winds “whip around quickly” and an opened window “to let in a breeze can freshen up a room.” (Pamita, 20). She also points out that,

Air is breath and the word “inspiration” literally means to breath in. The element of air and the

suit of Swords represent all these qualities. How did Swords end up representing air? Well, you

can imagine the sword waving cleanly and precisely through the air as it’s being wielded by a

skilled fencer. It’s sharp; it’s fast; it’s defined. (Pamita, 20).

Madame Pamita writes that in the world of magic and making your dreams come true, thoughts are the beginning. “Everything that has ever been created was first a thought.” (Pamita, 20). So it makes sense to start the Minor Arcana with the suit of thinking and the intellect. But as she reminds us, the suit of Swords not only represents our thoughts and what happens in our brains but all forms of communication – verbal, written and electronic. The suit of Swords is an important suit when we are doing spell work or considering any kind of magic.

After she covers the Swords, Madame Pamita moves onto the “Fun and Fiery Wands”. She writes, “While the Swords are meant to define and cut with the precision of clear thought and ideas, the Wands are the realm of action, passion and will.” Therefore, the Swords are the first step of manifesting magic and the Wands are the second step. She directs us to think about “the essence of fire: it can be the warmth of a fireside, the light shed by a candle, or the raging destruction of a forest fire.” (Pamita, 50). She says that mastering the control of fire was an “evolutionary shift” for humans and that mastering the suit of Wands will be a similar spiritual shift for the Tarot initiate.

The third step is the Cups – what Madame Pamita terms “The Watery Depths of the Cups” (Pamita, 80). She writes that after the inspiration of the Swords and the passion of the Wands, the Cups is where we put our “heart and soul” into our magic. She writes,

It’s easy to see where Cups correspond to the element of water. Water itself flows to fill in

whatever space surrounds it, so that the Cups is what holds water together. Water represents

those parts of us that seem to some from that inner vessel: spirituality, intuition, and psychic

awareness. The Cup is the center of the heart. (Pamita, 80).

Madame Pamita also points out the differences between the suits of Wands and Cups. They can say the same thing but in different ways – for instance, happiness for a Wands is jumping for joy and shouting aloud while with Cups, it’s a secret smile and a romantic sigh. Wands are sexual passion whereas Cups are romantic love. It’s good to know the difference between the two – in the Tarot and in life.

After the Cups, we come to “The Grounded Earthiness of the Pentacles”, which according to Madame Pamita, represents “the end result” of the cycle of magical manifestation. (Pamita, 109). Although Pentacles are earth, they are also,

…gold discs, reminiscent of gold coins, which can often refer to issues regarding money, financial

stability, jobs, or other means of income. They also have another meaning. That five-pointed star

represents the human body with a head and arms and legs outstretched. So, Pentacles also represent

physical issues of the body and its health. However, that star is also something even more magical.

Beyond being just a physical body, we are made up of stardust. (Pamita, 109).

Another thing she wants us to remember is that Pentacles are “slow-moving and long-lasting”. Unlike the suits of Swords and Wands, which have the quality of quickness about them, Pentacles make a person think of “might and strength” and “roots” and “protectiveness” – all qualities of stability and longevity. (Pamita, 110).

She splits the Court Cards from the rest of the Suits, addressing each of the four members of each Suit as a “family” and giving their characteristics as those belonging to that particular family – for instance, the Swords family “are the intellectuals, thinkers, and communicators” (Pamita, 142) while the Cups family are “the dreamers, the psychics, the creators of the imaginative and introspective art, and the spiritually connected, metaphysical ones” (Pamita, 164) and so on. She suggests taking the court cards out of the deck and “playing” with them to get to know them better. Some of the ideas she has are: choosing a card that you most closely identify with; choosing cards that show the different roles that you play in your life; choosing cards to represent people close to you; choosing a card that “embody the qualities of something going on in your life”, such as your work situation, your love life or your health. (Pamita, 188). It is all too easy to look at a court card and think that it represents an actual person in our life, when it would just as easily represent a situation or an emotion. Working with the cards in the way that Madame Pamita suggests will help break the urge to look at the images on the cards in a literal fashion and be able to truly read them as fully as possible.

After fully examining the Minor Arcana, Madame Pamita moves onto the Major Arcana – “the big leagues” – she calls them. She says that they are sometimes called “trumps” from when the Tarot was a card game – the original name of the cards were actually “Triumphs”. (Pamita, 189). The images on these cards are “allegorical archetypes meant to teach us how to navigate life in the best way possible.” (Pamita, 189). About the Major Arcana, she writes,

The Major Arcana starts at zero and ends at twenty-one. While the Minor Arcana pips represent

circumstances in our life that are more mundane, and the court cards represent people or personalities,

the twenty-two Majors represent big, powerful, and even more esoteric themes. When they show up

in a reading, you can expect them to have a stronger influence and impact on the situation. They may

be the underlying energy that permeates the cards that surround them or offers an irresistible pull in

a certain direction. (Pamita, 189).

Then she examines each card.

I did not write about her examination of each of the Minor Arcana cards or the Court Cards, because she uses the same format as her exploration of the Major Arcana cards. It seemed superfluous to talk about the specifics of her approach to learning each card, when it was the same for every card. So this is why I waited until this point to discuss how she talks about the cards. I have to say that I love her approach! It’s consistent with her theme of the Tarot being a “journey” and a “roadmap” to “adventure”. Indeed, she titles each card as “Your Adventure with …” whatever card it is. If you’re picking a card to work with on a daily basis, thinking about the card as an “adventure” is a heady way to deal with the concepts embedded within the card! And while some cards might be more adventurous than others, each and every card in each and every Tarot deck is an adventure of its own. All you have to do is pick a card and begin!

She describes each card thoroughly. She writes about each card as if we are sitting in the scene of the card, whether we are in the fertile sundrenched field of the Empress or sitting in the busy workshop of the industrious VII of Pentacles or hanging out with the bored youth under the tree in the IV of Cups. Reading her descriptions of each card puts you firmly in that card. No matter what the card is, she presents it as an adventure and a lesson. Every word is a gem. I can’t stress this enough. I am on my third close reading of this book – as opposed to opening it up for regular use – and the more I study Madame Pamita’s use of language, the more I admire her. It’s not just her depictions of the cards – it’s her lush, poetic voice that I love.

After the description of the card, Madame Pamita includes four short sections which I think are most helpful for the beginner but also for anyone who is interested in the finer points of the Rider-Waite-Smith system of divination. The first section is called “The Keys to the Treasure Chest – Key Symbols”, where she lists every symbol of the card she is describing. The second section is called “The Wizard’s Words of Wisdom”, which is her take on what the card means in a reading. The third one is journal questions, which she calls, “Behind the Mysterious Door”. And the fourth and last one is “Magic Words” – Affirmations for that particular card. I scanned the page for the X of Pentacles to give an example of this. The card shown is out of my own collection.

The last chapter in the book is called “Where Do I Take My Adventure From Here?” Madame Pamita exclaims, “You did it! You have had seventy-eight adventures – one with each other of the tarot cards…Where do you go from here?” (Pamita, 251)

I find it interesting that she does not include any spreads in her book. In fact, she advocates using a One-Card reading when you first start reading for your friends and family and then, when “you’ve mastered one card readings, you can move on to larger, more complex spreads, such as past/present/future three cards readings or even a ten card Celtic Cross reading.” (Pamita, 251). How refreshing! Most tarot books present the Celtic Cross as the default spread – it’s like trying to learn a Chopin Mazurka on the piano without ever learning your scales or proper finger training. She writes that it’s most important just to “enjoy spending time” with the cards. Again, I cannot agree more! If you are not taking the cards out on a daily basis and shuffling them and laying them out, then you are never going to learn their language.

I have to say that I can not recommend Madame Pamita’s Magical Tarot: Using the Cards to Make Your Dreams Come True more highly. Whether you are a beginner with Tarot cards or have been studying them for over thirty years like I have, this book is a GEM.

So who is Madame Pamita? This is Madame Pamita! This is a picture from one of her emails.

She is from Los Angeles, and has a spiritualist’s shop there. I went to Google and found her website. Click here to find out more: https://madamepamita.com/ There’s a lot there, so plan to spend some time! I was pleasantly surprised to find out that she is a musician as well as a spiritualist! If you click on the “ian” side of the website, it’ll take you to some really cool links – her music, her photos, press releases – she is really doing some very cool work! Listen to “Madame Pamita’s Theme Song” – it sounds like something out another time – like a voice from one hundred years ago. I could barely hear it – I think that’s by design – but still, her voice spoke to me in a most appealing way. I’m telling you all, if she comes anywhere in my vicinity, I am definitely checking out her show – whether it’s spiritual or music – because everything I have read or heard about Madame Pamita is totally and completely intriguing. I mean – I would stay up past my bedtime to see her. For an old woman like me, that’s really saying something!

I also joined her mailing list. She sends out monthly emails with information on where she is appearing that month, information on how you can study with her online, a spell for that month, and where to follow her on social media – yes, she in on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, if you wish to friend or follow her! Isn’t the modern world fabulous? So many ways to connect!

Anyway – between her book, her presence on social media and the world-wide-web, and her live appearances across the United States, Madame Pamita is moving beyond her LA occult shop – and I for one, am happy about that! I hope someday to meet her in the flesh but until then, I will content myself with her books, her website, her music, and her vast Tarot wisdom. I hope that you do the same!

Until next month, Brightest Blessings!

Madame Pamita’s Magical Tarot: Using the Cards to Make Your Dreams Come True

References

Madame Pamita. Madame Pamita’s Magical Tarot: Using the Cards to Make Your Dreams Come True. Newburyport, MA: Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC, 2018.

https://madamepamita.com/

https://www.parlourofwonders.com/

https://madamepamita.com/music

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About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

Book Reviews: Reiki for Beginners & Reflexology for Beginners

February, 2018

Book Reviews:

Reflexology for Beginners–Stefanie Sabounchian

Reiki for Beginners – Victor Archuleta

I am a certified reflexologist and a Reiki Master Teacher, and for years I have practiced these modalities together. So, it seems only fitting to present these lovely little books in one review. The books are written in the same style: a brief introduction to the modality, how it works, and its background and history. They are similarly illustrated many clear, detailed and colorful diagrams. As the titles indicate, the content is directed to beginners interested in practicing on themselves or their families.

 

Click Image for Amazon Information

 

Reflexology for Beginners by Stefanie Sabounchian addresses foot reflexology only. So if you are looking for a broader exploration that includes ear and hand reflexes and methods, you won’t find it here. That said, this book is a fantastic introduction to the practice. Stefanie Sabounchian has written a wonderful “how-to” manual that covers basic principles, various techniques for reflexing and best of all, a comprehensive illustrated directory of reflex points. The illustrated maps of these points are accompanied by specific directions on how to work each one. At the back of the book is a directory of ailments, with listings of recommended reflexes for addressing them. Sabounchian’s description of the finger techniques for working reflex points is outstanding. I tried her method of fingerwalking and found it useful in refining the techniques I learned in my training. I was happy to see that she included a discussion of contraindications and precautions for working with foot reflexology at the start of the book; it can be dangerous to use reflexology in pregnant women, organ transplant recipients, and people with other medical conditions without knowing what you are doing. As soon as I read her discussion of contraindications, I knew the book had been written by a true professional! If you are looking for an excellent primer to start learn how to use foot reflexology for friends and family, I highly recommend learning the practice as great method for stress reduction and health promotion AND using this book to do that. Sabounchian provides a good sequence for working the reflexes on both feet, so you have a blueprint for conducting a full session.

 

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Reiki for Beginners by Victor Archuleta, like its reflexology counterpart, provides a well-designed and illustrated manual for “newbies” who want to explore the practice. I was surprised that Archuleta completely omitted any reference to the fact that Reiki energy is “turned on” in a practitioner via a series of hands-on attunements from a Reiki Master. Most Reiki traditions emphasize this “hands-on” lineage to which a practitioner belongs and through which the oral teachings are passed down. He refers throughout the book to the transfer of “subtle energy” from giver to receiver; in my understanding, this “subtle energy” may differ somewhat from Reiki energy, although it is beneficial nonetheless. And the principles and methods Archuleta discusses apply in the absence of traditional attunements. I especially appreciate his instructions to practitioners on how to prepare for a session and how you create not only a physical but an energetic space that the receiver will inhabit with you! Preparation is key! Like Reflexology for Beginners, there is an ailment directory with “prescriptions” for self and family treatments. Archuleta provides a traditional hand placement series guide for treatment by physical ailment and includes a section on treatment by chakra hand placements. A practitioner can choose a treatment approach, or combine the two!

The professionalism of these two authors shines through in their work. That is the best aspect of these books – you are learning from people who know their crafts! The other wonderful aspect is the illustrations. They are simple and clear and are great visual guides for getting started. If you are curious about reflexology or Reiki for self or home use, do dip into these very practical primers – you will find them quite simple to understand and use.

 

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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

 

Shamanism and Mental Health

November, 2017

“Your mind is potentially the most flexible part of you, much more so than even your body, emotions, or spirit.  The reason is that the primary quality of your mind is your imagination.  Developing your mental self means developing the power to focus your imagination in order to expand your awareness, increase your ability to learn more and faster, appreciate different points of view, notice the reactions of others more quickly so you can adapt to them more effectively, and include more patterns of behavior in your repertoire for coping with the unexpected, to name a few.”?

*from: “Huna: Ancient Hawaiian Secrets for Modern Living” by Serge Kahili King

 

Last year, I had a social worker tell me that shamanism is not an accepted form of therapy (certified social workers all have degrees in psychology).  She went on to tell me that unless I’d been diagnosed with depression or addiction by a psychologist, my self-diagnosis was not valid.  She was trying to drive home the point that unless an expert tells you something about yourself, you can’t possibly just know what is up with yourself.?  She demanded to know why I didn’t just go see a counselor.  My response was simple: “I did see a counselor and it didn’t work for me so I looked for something that did.”

I know she wasn’t satisfied with my response but I could sense that she was closed-minded about this topic and decided not to delve into this further with her.  I changed the topic.  Recently, I was speaking to another social worker who happened to have indigenous ancestry.  When I told her that I did ceremony and learned shamanic tools to heal myself, she smiled and nodded: “Yes.  It works, doesn’t it?”  The relief I felt was actually stunning to me.  I hadn’t realized until then how much of my life I’d lived in fear of being institutionalized if people found out about my psychic skills and how I use them. After all, talking to dead ancestors and totem animals could be interpreted as psychosis.  

The indigenous social worker went on to tell me that she comes across the same ignorance I experienced often in her field where psychologists think that what they learned in their training is the only valid knowledge out there.  She also went on to tell us that this is why the health care system often fails indigenous peoples: because it is culturally insensitive. I had heard this before from a Hawaiian elder who is also a nurse and runs a clinic that blends Western medicine with Traditional Hawaiian medicine on the island of Oahu.  The clinic has been so successful with indigenous Hawaiians because they are offered a choice of blending medicines or just staying with one mode.  Best of all, doctors and traditional healers work in harmony to provide care for their patients.

The truth is, I do perceive elements of reality that most people do not.  This doesn’t make me crazy or ill.  It wasn’t until I started studying shamanism that I met teachers who helped me learn how to use the psychic skills I had without medicating them out of me.  I’d been on anti-depressants in my twenties and they only served to make me feel numb and inhuman.  I am not against using medication and I know that it does help some people. Ultimately, it needs to work for the patient. With shamanic practice, I’ve learned more about who I am, what my skills are, and how to use them to support my own healing and that of others.  Most of all, I’ve learned to embrace these gifts instead of trying to hide them from the world.  This brought a sense of wholeness to my life that was previously missing.

Last week, I celebrated the launch of my new book about the topic of healing addiction with shamanic medicine (“Dreaming of Cupcakes”).  As I relayed pieces of my healing journey to the audience, I realized how shocked they were at my candor about mental illness and addiction.  They were not used to hearing someone be so forthcoming about these taboo subjects.  And they were certainly not necessarily accustomed to someone sharing about their ability to communicate with the spirit world.  In the end, people asked some great questions and I felt good about leaving them with perhaps a new perspective on mental illness.

After the launch, a mental health nurse who was in the audience came up to me and asked if I would speak to her mental health nursing students at a local university.  Of course, I said yes! Whether this happens or not, I was just so floored about the fact that this would even be on offer and it showed me that something is changing in the universe that is allowing for these conversations to come to the fore today.  Even a decade ago, putting this into the public arena would have been much more challenging.  Most of all, I am hopeful that we can learn how to direct the attention of our minds and put them to the use that Spirit intended for them: to remain open to new ideas. And I truly pray that everyone who is struggling with mental health can find the support they need in a way that doesn’t force them to sacrifice who they are.

 

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About the author:

 

 

Jennifer Engrácio has been a student of shamanism since 2005. Jennifer is a certified teacher who has worked with children in many different education settings since 2001. She is a certified shamanic practitioner, reiki master, and lomilomi practitioner; in addition, she runs Spiral Dance Shamanics. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she now lives in Calgary, Canada with her life partner.

Engrácio participated in self-publishing three books that are now available:

The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within”

“Women’s Power Stories: Honouring the Feminine Principle of Life”

“Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’s Shamanic Journey into Healing”

 

For Amazon information, click image below.

 

For more information go to: www.spiraldanceshamanics.com

The Bad Witch’s Guide

October, 2017

 

 

Bad Witch’s Guide to Pinterest

 

I am a bad witch. There are a long list of reasons why I am a bad witch. Having been out of the broom closet for some considerable number of years I would on occasion get asked “but you’re a good witch though?” My response to that depending on the person asking but I found I started to say “yes, a very, very good witch” rather darkly as it usually got the point across.


It might surprise you to find out I like Pinterest. However my major problem with it is the “magick” and spellcraft on there is often utter twaddle. I like collecting (rather nerdy) art, food and crafting ideas, positive quotes to get me through those grey damp days. Magickally though it’s often pretty but not effective. If you’re going to write a chant, and enchantment (to be sung or spoken aloud, which is what enchant means) it has to have a good tone and rhythm to it. It has to be a jingle, an ear-worm, something that has the power and dynamism to buzz around your skull and out into the universe.

 

(Primitive Altar from Pinterest.)


I grew up in with ugly but effective magick. Really on the farm that was the sort of aesthetic. If it worked it didn’t matter what it looked like (but odds are it would look dangerous and sort of a mess). My first cauldron was an empty white animal feed bucket. My wand a stick. The things I made look crude but worked. The woven herbs and grasses had a grace but I’m not sure they’d pass the Pinterest standard. Maybe with the right filter.

 

(Hanging Herbs on Pinterest.)


Of course it is gorgeous to make pagan artworks, pagan aesthetics and so on. From crystal mandalas to circles of herbs and flowers, I’m just not sure my practical witch brain is wired to wasting so much time energy and supplies on one thing. Some of these images are glorious but you’d need a bail of lavender! I have a lot of herbs, I don’t have them in that kind of quantity. I also have a dog, child and husband and odds are taking up a whole room in our tiny house, on the floor or otherwise would not end well. Wonderful for a photo, not practical witchin’. I don’t hang my herbs up for how they “look” (I don’t even have a drying rack or anything it’s just a series of make-shift jute clotheslines and bundles) I hang them so they don’t rot so I can use them when they are out of season.

 

(White Dress Women in Forest from Pinterest.)

 

Again wearing a lot of interesting make-up and standing in a thin white dress in some moody woods looks awesome, you’ll catch your death if you try it though! Outside witch work requires sturdy hiking boots, sunscreen and good thick coat.


My point is that this sort of aesthetic over function exclude those who don’t or can’t match how these things look. Don’t have a bail of lavender, can’t do magick! Not thin, white and gorgeous? Can’t do magick! Not got five tons of crystals? Can’t do magick! All of which is the reverse of the truth.


Magick is in the ordinary. In the ugly. In the old and odd and hairy. It’s in the bones, the cherry stones, the dirt, and clay and mud. It’s in the scars, the dance, the feeling of it. There is power in the beautiful but that is not the only place there is power.


The utter twaddle on Pinterest in terms of spellwork and chants is so poor as to make me physically wince on occasion (and don’t get me started on some of the utter rubbish that passes for “sigils”). It shows a lack of understanding of the basic mechanises of spellcraft. It’s either over wordy, or not specific, or drawing from all kinds of places I would NOT mix together and calling on things in ways that are dodgy at best, and wildly unsafe in others. A spell tends to work best when it’s short, sharp and pithy.


A “get well soon” card is a healing foci. More specific ones like:
Root, shoot, bud, flower. Grant me now your healing power. Heal________.
You can easier charm this over a bunch of flowers, or even a healing soup. Not pretty (or might be) but effective. Of course having a root, a shoot, a bud and flower added to what you are chanting over helps and for the love of tea, please don’t do it “in your head”. Enchanting mean to sing, to sing into being. It is a powerful and amazing magick that might be odd to do on the bus works wonders almost anywhere else.

 

(A Large Pinch of Salt!)


While free resources can be amazing take what you find on Pinterest with a large pinch of salt. Do your own research, preferably offline and turn off your phone. A lot of the “healing” spells I looked at were binding spells and not very “healing” at all. While I am not “anti” left-hand work, left-hand (or darker) is what it is. Read between the lines, and look at things like a witch. Look at what is missing, what is not said. Oh the sigils are just completely made up, which is not to say they won’t work they are just not based on any ancient system I’ve seen and seem to based more on the Mortal Instruments book series instead.


Make a mess with your magick. Hexperiement, with what works for you and it doesn’t have to be pretty. Make a mess. It’s how it feels that matters, not how many likes it gets!

 

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

 

Renee’s Thoughts Worth Catching

September, 2014

As Seen In — Nature

Trees with roots and leaves are Nature’s bonuses
Trees are cyclical in nature and to be counted on
Trees are able to provide stability

They exude resilience and a strength
They offer a place to play in safety
They always turn, keeping things in movement

As a garden will run smoothly and is effective
As a garden gives back just as much will be given
As a garden it offers true and clear directions

Even if the trees stopped it all today
Even if they stopped providing the gifts
Even after all of this, I would be thankful

If those gardens went out of existence
If the leaves stopped their growth fell down
If it just all gave out, all I would feel is gratitude

Because in this Life, at this moment, and in this place
I am where I can learn and move ahead steady and slow
And the trees and the gardens are my bonuses