self help

App Review: Simple Habit – Meditation for Busy People

May, 2018

App Review

Simple Habit – Meditation for Busy People

Once more into the world of meditation apps I wander! This time I’m exploring the benefits of Simple Habit, an app I’ve had for a while but only used very sporadically. Again, I started with the free version then looked to upgrade for more features. The app is normally about $6 a month for the full version, but you can invite friends to get limited time access to premium content, so I bugged my friends and family in order to get access to the good stuff. Just for you guys. Because I loves ya.

The interface is less showy than the other apps I’ve looked at. It’s a dark gray background, with ‘windows’ style blocks displaying the title of each meditation. It’s very easy to navigate, and the lack of ‘flashiness’ lends itself well to a tool that’s designed to be calming and soothing. There’s a search function that allows you to look for key words. It even suggests things you may be looking for help with, such as ‘stress’ or ‘sleep’.

On the home page, there’s a larger block that simply says, ‘Play Next’, which shows the next meditation that’s either been recommended or lined up based on what you’ve already listened to. Clicking on this today opens ‘Simple Habit Starter’. The block disappears, and the screen shows a podcast style interface with the round circle showing how much audio remains, a pause/play function and before you start, a friendly reminder to ‘Take a deep breath’. Again, the colors are very muted, there is no clutter on the screen. It’s as if the app has been designed specifically to avoid distracting you from examining the recesses of your mind, by being as unobtrusive as possible.

Simple Habit Starter’ is subtitled ‘Introducing Mindfulness’. Many of the meditations (possibly all, I haven’t listened to them all so can’t say for sure!) start with ‘You’re listening to Simple Habit; a daily vacation for your mind.’ What a nice idea, that meditation is taking your brain on a little break. Someone called Cory Muscara tells me to get comfy; either sit or lie down. Close my eyes if it feels comfortable. Give myself permission to be here; stopping can feel foreign. There’s nothing I need to achieve. I’m encouraged to focus on my breathing, and the short starter session is over before I know it, leaving me oddly refreshed and keen to explore the other features. Before I do anything else, I’m encouraged to aim for small meditation goals, like a 3 day streak.

What I particularly liked was once the meditation was over, the app doesn’t fling you right back to the home screen, but lists other meditations you may be interested in, to add to your play list. Some are on the same or a similar theme and others are by the same guide. This is a great feature as if you are picking meditations that appeal to you, you’re more likely to be excited about meditation and see it as something to look forward to, rather than something you ‘should’ be making time for.

I did seven ‘sleep better’ sessions, and believe me, I have listened to *many* guided meditations promising a great night’s sleep, so wasn’t expecting anything special. I was pleasantly surprised. Each of the first six sessions taught you a different technique to help you fall asleep. What I found most useful about this was the fact that most of these techniques can be used without the need for external audio input. Once you’ve learned the skill and practiced it, you can simply relax and use the power of your own mind to put it into practice, without having to load up the app every time, which can wake you up further.

Simple Habit is perhaps one of the best mediation apps I’ve found so far. Even when I ran out of ‘premium’ time and was flung back to freebies only, I still found plenty of relevant meditations, from really short ones for busy days, to longer ones for after the kids have gone to bed. The guides are positive without being condescending, it’s reasonably priced and it’s easy to tailor the experience to your own needs. Highly recommended.

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft.

Follow Mabh on TwitterFacebook and her blog.

Click Images for Amazon Information

 

 

Book Review: Modern Machiavelli 13 Laws of Power, Persuasion and Integrity By Troy Bruner & Philip Eager

October, 2017

MODERN MACHIAVELLI

13 Laws of Power, Persuasion and Integrity

By Troy Bruner and Philip Eager

I will start off by admitting that when I was asked to read and review this book I very nearly said no, because it had “Machiavelli” in the title. At a second glance I noticed that it also has the word “integrity” in the title. That got my attention: how on earth do these things sit together? My curiosity made me say: sure, send me the book….

It arrived. From the first page I was gripped! Now I actually wish I had read this book a few decades ago. There are so many scenarios in this book I recognise completely: have been there… have done that… have expected others to respond a certain way …. they have responded in a baffling or hurtful way…. a way that makes no innate sense to me.

Over the years I have spent hours (and drunk many a cup of tea) unraveling such “case studies” (scenarios) with close friends. Over time I have learned many things the hard way. I realized (slowly, painfully) that we project onto others the way we are ourselves. Example: if someone does me a favour I would always remember that and actively look for an opportunity to do something in return for that person. For that reason I expect others to follow this principle of reciprocity too. Over the years slowly discovered that some people do not think like that at all – they think a person like me is a pushover, or “once the goods have been received, don’t give it another thought!”

This book joins up the dots. It explains why people behave the way they do and essentially claims that for all of us to be truly effective in life, we need to actually master a degree of strategy. There is no other way! We need to learn about managing conflict and understanding both the overt and covert behaviour of other people. We also need to get some kind of handle on the dynamics of (what the authors call) “interpersonal power”.

Earlier I said that I wish I had read this book a few decades ago. The only problem is that my twenty-something year old self (less experienced, more idealistic even than I am today) would not have believed what the authors wrote. “She” would have considered this a slightly depressing and cynical book and put it aside. And then she would have ended up learning ,many of those lessons exactly the hard way I actually did. On reflection… I would definitely have been ready for this book 10 years ago, perhaps even 15…

Reading this book there were so many occasions when a penny dropped and I thought: AHA!, So that was the dynamic at work when X,Y or Z occurred. The authors describe the situation perfectly – even if events unfolded in baffling or upsetting way for me.

My verdict is: if you repeatedly encounter dynamics that undermine personal or professional relationships – and you are ready to try a different approach – get a copy of this book! Even if just one key relationship improves, or one professional disaster is avoided because you will be more aware of meta-communication (unspoken messages conveyed) and baffling rules of the social game – it will be well worth the purchase!

This is a book I am going to keep at hand and return to. I would say: read the whole thing (so you know what is covered) and then start again trying the author’s suggeestions for some scenario that persistently causes you difficulty or stress. Often a change in behaviour will change the whole “tango” because people can no longer suck you into the same old way of doing things. That is where greater awareness and more effective communication and agreements can occur.

Oh and just to be crystal clear: this book advices you to act within the parameters of your own integrity at all times! This book actually deals with ethics. But ultimately it tells you that to live a life where intregrity is a core value (and not be disillusioned into giving up on fellow humans or becoming a recluse in the desert) you actually need to master the issues of healthy personal and professional boundaries, strategy, perceiving the true motivation of others and having an arsenal of effective methods for handling common situations occurring in the work place (and even our social circle or families).

Highly recommended!!

***

About the author:

Imelda Almqvist’s book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon on 26th August 2016.  She is based in London,UK and teaches shamanism and sacred art internationally. 

For her courses in Norse Shamanism (in both Europe and soon coming to the USA as well) please visit the following webpages

FORNSED IN SWEDEN

http://www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=211324

2 YEAR PRACTITIONER OF NORSE SHAMANISM PROGRAM

http://www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=224450

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/

YEAR OF CEREMONY

http://affiliate.soundstrue.com/aff_c?offer_id=124&aff_id=2260&url_id=86

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

October, 2017

Bright Blessings.

 

Fall is here, and we are rapidly moving towards the final harvest, Samhain.

 

In years past, my Samhain articles gave information about historic observances in Pre-Xtian times, including historic sites. I always include a working, and some personal anecdotes as well.

 

This month, I had the opportunity to talk about ghoulies, ghosties, long leggety beasties, and things that go bump in the night with horror writer, and director Michael Williams.

 

 

 

He and his team just released a fun, and creative horror called The Atoning, which I reviewed, and highly recommend all of you watch. I would like to thank Michael, and his team mate David for arranging the very engaging discussion I will share with you below.

Being both a Pagan, and a witch, I covered topics of personal views on the Otherworld, spirits, and communication with them, psychics, and witches, and what terrifies human beings.

I hope you enjoy reading our conversation.

I will also share a working after the interview.

 

The Interview

Saoirse-Thank you for chatting with me today, and thank you for doing this via internet.

Michael Williams- No problem! Thanks for having me. I appreciate your interested in The Atoning.

S- Horror is my favorite genre, so when Jennifer asked who wanted to review and interview, I was excited! First, I would like to say I read your professional bio, and noted this is your crossing over into horror. This means you hope to do more horror?

M- I am definitely open to doing more horror as long as the script and concept is something that excites me. I’ve always done films with a genre twist, so for my 2nd feature, it made sense to explore horror. However, I had to make sure it was a story that fit into my own sensibilities as a filmmaker.

S- Absolutely. This was a very creative story. Even for horror, which I like to call perhaps the most creative genre. You started out showing a haunting, and it turned out the family being told about WERE the ghosts. That is not something you see often. What made you decide to tell the story from their viewpoint?

M- Well, that was the basic premise that lead to the whole story that followed. I wanted to make a film that felt like a genre-bending horror film that was grounded in a compelling story about these characters. The film literally, and metaphorically deals with Hell. The initial premise was how horrific, and hellish it would be to be stuck in purgatory with the man who killed you, and your son. The main exploration of Hell in the film is Vera’s personal Hell of being in this situation. To me, the real horror of the story is what is going on within the family. The other elements are added horrors to help facilitate the deeper story of our characters.

S- Yes. What is your personal religious or metaphysical background, and how does that shape your concepts of portraying in the film what hell is?

M- I’m a Christian, and I always tend to make films with a religious subtext. However, I don’t like overtly Christian films and don’t want to make those. I would rather make films that can be enjoyed by people of all types. My previous film, OzLand, is a about a lot of things. However, the heart of it is about coexisting, loving, and respecting people with different points of view than you. Because I don’t make overtly Christian films, and leave a lot of room for interpretation, and self-discovery. I often am surprised by what people take away from the films, or even the complaints I get about them not aligning with other people’s Christian beliefs. In a way, I like that. I think it proves that religion isn’t so clear cut. Some people can watch OzLand, or The Atoning, and get various religious interpretations, while other people can completely miss it. First and foremost, I want to make films that entertain people. However, I always want to make films that stick with people after the credits, and allow them to think deeper about its story, and how it can apply to their own lives. As for The Atoning, I never intended to make a film that explored any real doctrine, or idea of afterlife. Instead, I wanted to create a world with its own rules. I have received some flack for not exploring the afterlife in a Biblical way. However, that was the point. Vera is unsure of her faith and beliefs, because the afterlife wasn’t as she expected. Plus, she feels like she is being punished by something she doesn’t deserve. While this isn’t Biblical, it all stems from a lesson I learned years ago. I had a preacher who gave an amazing sermon about how you can’t put your faith in people, or things because those things will ultimately disappoint you. You have to put your faith in God. The next week, he was arrested during VBS. This was a great lesson, and he knew we needed to hear it. In our story, Vera and Sam are both held back from their destination, because of the ties, and unresolved issues they had in life. Vera holds on to the facade of a marriage, and loving a man who doesn’t deserve it. Sam see his dad as a heroic figure. They both have misplaced faith in something that has, and will disappoint them. It’s a metaphor for how some worldly things can hold us back from our potential, or from a Christian perspective, hold you back from salvation. I am not trying to say that our film’s exploration of this scenario is Biblical, scientific, or anything. I merely created a fable in which other themes, and ideas can be explored. The “neo-purgatory” that we explore in the film is something that I made up, and is presented through the writings of our fictional character Charon Lilith. It is a whole new set of rules of how the souls are trapped, and the process for which they can be released.

S- Well, I have no complaints. Let me talk about my publication I personally write for.

PaganPages.Org. Our eMag is an online Pagan publication, and you won’t be judged by any of us.

We come from many different traditions, and have varying beliefs. We do not believe any one person’s beliefs is right, or that anybody else’s are wrong.

M- Exactly! No one can really know. It’s all about faith in what you believe in.S- Yes! As for creating fables. In some ways, some feel that is what the religious myths are anyhow. Just some become dogma, and some become awesome films.

M- And fables always have a message worth exploring.

S- Exactly. Human beings explain things with fables. The sun is a god that gets eaten, and is given birth to, for example.

M- Our lives, and experiences are so complex. Sometimes, fables can help us simplify it, and make it easier to explore, and understand.

S- Yes, they do. This article is going to be about the Sabbat of Samhain. Have you heard of that?

M- I haven’t.

S- This is what inspired Halloween, and we believe the veil between the world of the living, and the Otherworld is thin, and communication with the dead is stronger. That is why you see séances a lot at that time. It is also a time to honor the ancestors. So, themes I am bringing in are about the Otherworld and spirit communication, which your film dealt with. Your psychic was a lot of fun.

M- Oh nice! Yeah, I really enjoyed exploring that character, and working with Dorothy Weems to realize it. That is another area of the film where we have seen some flack from reviewers. However, I think a lot of people are missing how she fits into the bigger story, and her actual intentions/actions. We developed a lot of backstory, and a whole world around her, and how it works within our story.

S- She works with what I call The Power of the Witch. On one hand, she was not completely realistic. On the other, hand, she is the one who makes the atonement start.

M- Well, she isn’t what I would consider a witch. At least, she isn’t just a witch. She is more than that. She is an agent of the devil. We liked to say she received “brownie points” from the devil for every soul she claimed for him. She is more demonic than I think people realize. On the surface, and to the family who hired her to cleanse the house, she is just a medium who came to cleanse the house. She puts on a big show, and gives the family what they think they need to see. However, she merely uses these opportunities to find lost souls she can reclaim for a darker purpose. She can’t touch the souls destined to heaven, but she can reclaim those destined for Hell. With the rules in which our film works, these souls are stuck because of “destination confliction”. These souls are stuck in purgatory with conflicting destinations. They’re held together because of unresolved issues in life that keep their souls connected. Charon Lilith performs a showy seance to appease the family, however, she comes back later to summon her demonic minions. Each of these demons have a specific personality and purpose for “partitioning the souls”, and allowing them to find their ultimate destination. She knew what the family’s issues were, and used her minions to play to those issues.

S- Yes, she was demonic, I agree!

M- We liked to think she receives extra-long life for each soul she claims. The film is all about facades. Perhaps, she is centuries old, and continues to keep up this facade of a medium to prevent herself from dying, and ultimately having to atone for her lifetimes of demonic deeds. It was a really fun character to explore. I wish we had more room in the film to explore it. However, all of that exploration helped dictate how we see her in the film.

S- She was the one who did bring in the demons yes, but had that not happened, mom and kid could not have moved on. I am, and know a lot of psychics who are hired to go into homes. We talk to dead people, and some have done exorcisms.

M- Exactly! For Sam, and Vera, she wasn’t a threat. Instead, she was the catalyst to finally freeing them. For Ray, well, she was not the person he wanted to see. The more he read into the book, he realized what was happening. He worked to get closer to Ray, and Vera to keep them from “partitioning”. Even in life, he manipulated them to keep them on their side. In death, he had more incentive to keep them on his side.

S- So she POSED as a psychic. That actually makes a lot of sense.

M- Yep. She was just putting on a show!

S- Which I could see, but the family being haunted could not.

M- Yep! Towards the end of the seance, the family starts realizing something isn’t right, and that this woman might be doing more than they hired her to do.

S- Have you, personally ever had exposure to actual psychics, or anybody else who could speak with the dead?

M- I haven’t had the opportunity.

S- Have you ever had experiences where you felt the presence of spirits?

M- I haven’t. I have always wanted to see a ghost, or have an encounter with something unexplainable, but never have.

S- Aaaah. Anybody you know who did?

M- Not that I’m aware of. I have had some friends who have had experiences, but they were more than likely night terrors.

S- I see. You have quite a good understanding of the reality of spirits despite having no experiences.

M – Really? Glad you think so! I just imagined “what if” in a lot of these scenarios. I also wanted it all to be based on reality. I had to think, what was the other family doing and why would these things be happening. The noises or ghostly encounters were just for the genre. They were pulled from everyday actions the family on the other side could’ve been doing.

S- Yes, they were. Now I always say, fictional writers are not responsible to be realistic,

and one thing I love about horror is they sky is the limit to what can be portrayed.

M- Exactly! That was one fun aspect of the genre. There are so many aspects of the genre we could explore.

S- Yes. For me, being metaphysical, seeing fiction is fun.

M- Most definitely!

S- But I get disappointed in the public sometimes, because people see on TV or a movie, and assume it is fact.

M- I understand that. I hope people see our film as fictional. That is why I am disappointed to see people missing the message, and thinking we are promoting a belief that is false. Moreover, we hope people don’t think we are portraying psychics, or mediums in a realistic manner. I hope they see that she is putting on a façade, and is a more sinister character. Our character isn’t intended to represent psychics, or mediums. Ours is evil with purposes beyond just conversing with spirits, or cleansing houses. I hope people realize that. I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to talk about that, and clear it up!

S- Honestly, some people don’t, and that is not writers or filmmakers fault. I realize that the horror is not meant to be realistic. It is meant to entertain! And it does!

M- And it can always do more than entertain! It can be a catalyst for messages, and themes that apply to our own lives.

S- True! I just like the scary! Which brings me to the topic of fears. As human beings, we are scared of so much. Things that could threaten us, our wellbeing, lives, and freedom, and horror takes those themes, and explores them.

M- Exactly! Monsters are scary, but they’re even scarier when they represent, or feed on our fear of more realistic things.

S- YES! And I think that is one thing film accomplishes. It helps us explore what terrifies us. Only we get to watch somebody else dealing with it! What terrifies you, personally?

M- Hmm, one of my biggest fears is losing my memories, or losing my sanity. Ever since I was little, I would collect, and hoard things so that I had a reminder of it. I’m terrified of losing things that mean something to me.

S- That is a pretty normal fear. Without your sanity, or memories, how could one function?

M- What about you?

S- I am agoraphobic. I am terrified it will take over. It has not, but the fact it COULD scares the hell out of me.

M- Most definitely!

 

 

For More information on The Atoning & Michael Williams, visit them at:

https://www.facebook.com/theatoning/

https://www.facebook.com/shendopenproductions/

 

 

***

I very much enjoyed this engaging interview. In it, we learn about his creative process with concepts such as spirit communication, and the Otherworld we observe for Samhain. Belief in ability for spirits to communicate with the living is so widespread, even people who have had no personal experiences create films about it!

 

One topic that is debated often in the Pagan community is how film and TV portrays humans who have spiritual gifts. I’ve heard a lot of people com plain shows don’t portray things realistically, and the public makes assumptions about us based on fiction. I don’t understand this viewpoint.

 

How somebody could believe one human being could raise denizens of hell, fly on brooms, do immortality spells, eat babies, etc. as some shows portray is beside me. People who would believe such things would likely believe it all even if shown only the facts.

 

But believe me, if I could fly a broom, I absolutely would!

I also wanted to touch on the part of our discussion dealing with concepts of the afterlife. I think the reason people are so defensive of their belief system’s dogma about what happens after death is people need to feel like they KNOW for certain what will happen to us once we die. Otherwise, the unknown is too overwhelming for people. Not knowing what is going to happen to you or where you go is too much for some to bear.

In regards to fear, I polled some friends to see what terrifies them.

 

The answers are not in order, but here they are:

Swarms of bugs

Large, dark, enclosed spaces

The Xtain Right

Trump and out government

Cults

Deep water

Failure

Worry about your kids

Being in line at the pharmacy

Forgetting your money

The Passing of time

Impermanence

Drunks with shotguns

Idiots

Spiders

Knives

Losing your vision

Leaving he house alone

Death

Losing Hope

Being single

Being alone

Financial woes

People who hurt others

Animal abusers

The IRS

Ignorance

These are all things that can threaten our safety, health, and wellbeing, our lives, or our freedom. These are things that make our survival mechanism kick in, and tell us to protect ourselves. The very thought of these awful, threatening things are enough to send us into panic mode sometimes!

Then there are the individuals, such as myself who love to watch all this in movies, and finds it highly entertaining!

Another thing on the topic of fears, realistically speaking, is that there are two kinds of fears. There are fears that are rational, and then fears that are not. If you don’t want to go out clubbing because there is a tornado spotted nearby, that is understandable. If you decide to never go clubbing again because one time there was a tornado warning right before you almost went, that isn’t helpful. There is a time to push past fears, and a time to listen to them, because they are warning us of danger.

The trick is, to know which kind of fear it is!

I am not one of the people who thinks everybody should be brave and go out and do EVERYTHING with no worries. I don’t think that is positive thinking. I think that’s downright stupid.

 

Some fears are learned slowly over time and are ingrained in us so deeply, they shut our minds, and bodies down completely. This is called conditioned fear. A lot of fears are based on bad past experiences, and those fears are ALWAYS going to be there lurking in some capacity.

The trick isn’t to just make them go away. The trick is to learn to function despite them.

When fear takes hold of the human body, certain biological things are triggered. Hormones including epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisone are released. These cause your heartrate to raise, and your blood flow, and blood sugar levels to rise. These make you ready for ACTION! They give you an extra boost you need to defend yourself or run. Reaction to fear can also be freezing, or fainting.

So, what do you do when you are in a situation where you cannot avoid that frightening thing you deem a threat to your safety, survival, wellbeing, or freedom?

Long term, a solution that has been effective in treating 90% of people suffering from fears is something called cognitive behavior therapy. That is, gradually exposing people to their fears in non-threatening ways so they learn they will be okay.

I found a lovely quote. “The fears we don’t face become our limits.” A Robin Sharma is credited with saying that. Another nice quote is “Feel the fear and do it anyways”, which a Susan Jeffers said.

I , personally deal with phobias, which are severe fears on a daily basis, and it was all triggered by an illness that started a few years ago. The result is a battle to even leave the house sometimes. NEVER leaving this house in just not an option. I hate that I have become this way, and I hate that I have limitations I never had before.

I have not defeated the fears, by any means, but every single day when I leave this house, I have to do certain things to function, and I’m pretty certain there are other people who could do the same thing to get through a frightening situation.

I will be doing a second Samhain article for the November article, and I’ll include a more magical working, and topics dealing with The Otherworld there. For this month’s working, I’ll share some steps I recommend to take when facing a fear that have worked for me, and if you think they might help you out, give them a try.

Saoirse’s Steps to Facing Fear

  1. I tell myself I am stronger than my fear– Most times I absolutely am. Sometimes, I’m not. As words have power, I have to talk to myself the times I feel weakest. I tell myself that I CAN do this even if I think I can’t. The more I say it to myself, the more I believe it.
  2. I tell myself it is not worth it to let my fear hold me back.
  3. I tell myself I am worrying about nothing.
  4. I tell myself it will be over soon– And that when it is finished I will see I was scared over nothing.
  5. I tell myself the good things about what I am doing– If it’s a car trip I am dreading, I remind myself of who I am going to visit. If it’s a gathering I am dreading, I remind myself the people who I look forward to seeing.
  6. I remind myself what I get by facing the fear is far greater than I have to give up.
  7. I accept that perhaps I will not be so graceful facing the fear, but I will be proud when I do it anyhow.
  8. I focus on the achievements, as opposed to the perceived failures– If you focus only on the times you reacted poorly, you will forget the times you did well. Try to remember you CAN do well, and strive for that.
  9. Try, try again– Say you fall on your face in the mud running away when you see a cat because cats scare the hell out of you. Walk past the cat again in the future just to prove to yourself that you can.
  10. Get the hell out when you need to– I’m sorry. It’s not a good idea to stick around sometimes. You don’t have to prove your bravery to people sometimes. If you CANNOT get out? Just do the best you can.

Other Things You Can Do!

  1. Wear a talisman– Talisman’s charged with energy to make you achieve, be brave, or accomplish what you thought was impossible are helpful things to keep on hand when you know you are about to walk into a scary situation. Good luck pieces, or things people you love have blessed are good for this as well.
  2. Bless Yourself Beforehand– A little good blessing juju can only help. Some cleanse and bless, and some just bless. Remember to banish, cleanse, and bless afterwards as well. Although the positive energy of achievement might be enough good energy, you don’t need a cleansing or blessing afterwards!
  3. Take a friend along– Sometimes, you have to face things alone, but you don’t ALWAYS have to! It’s okay to have the support of loved ones when you need it. You can always reciprocate another time!
  4. Research the Fear– The more you know about something, the more you understand it. The more you understand it, the less you have to be afraid of sometimes.
  5. Make a poppet of it– Bind it, destroy it, or “strip its powers over you away” symbolically through doing so to a poppet representing it. The more energy you put into destroying its power, the less power it will hold over you.

The most important thing to understand about fear is, it’s normal, natural, and everybody has some form of fear or another. It is no sign of weakness, or failure. There are going to be times when you are powerless, or out of commission temporarily due to a fear, and that is human. We have to forgive ourselves in those situations, and try again another time.

Now, I have a blessing for you that you can look in the mirror and say to yourself during times when you are gripped by fear.

 

I look into my eyes, and I see the divine. I see the strength of my ancestors, and the support of all my loved ones, and mentors. I am greater than my greatest of strengths, and no less powerful because of my weaknesses. I am the human embodiment of the creator, and the beloved child of the keeper of eternity. I am the culmination of millions of years of wisdom, light, strength, and love.

 

That which I fear threatens me only on the physical plane. I transcend that. I have limitations due to this physical body, but that is not who I am. Who I am is limitless, timeless, and ageless.

 

I have the strength to enjoy the best of things, and I have the power to sustain even the worst of things. I am divinely protected until I am fated to cross the veil, and join the blessed ancestors, where I will watch over my descendants, and loved ones until my return to another physical incarnation. So Mote it Be.”

Blessed Be.

 

***

About the Author:

 

 

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.  

Renee’s Thought’s Worth Catching

June, 2015

We are All Worth Catching

The Summer Solstice – it is a time for such extreme heat here in Texas, that it is something that is hard for me to look forward to. It has honestly been a hard time for the to even find a way to resonate with at all.

As the years have gone on, and the heatwaves have cooked me, I have learned to stay with the air. And then I have come to realize that the themes of this precious time for me included of discovering passion love and relationships (friendships and self included) and igniting gusto for goals and a drive for healthiness.

The Solstice also makes the truth shine as the Sun illuminates extreme light on everything. It shines for longer days, so with the high sun and the brightness, honesty and feelings come out to play. It is such a perfect time for me, because right now in my life, I am learning the truths of my inner workings. And I am opening myself to myself. And that is a gorgeous feeling. And to let those feelings and dark places be lit up, well that is nothing short of miraculous for me.

The Solstice itself on June 21st is the longest day of the year and expect the passion I mentioned to be strong throughout the day. Whether it shows up in a love relationship, in your creative endeavors, even in cleaning and organizing your house, go with that passionate feeling. Let the heat and the longer day infuse you with the feeling it is meant to, and go with being red hot!

I suggest using a Pink Tourmaline for this day as well as the Rose Quartz as they both represent love, passion, and honesty. And remember, you can include love for self, honesty with self and so much more. These stones are great to keep on a table near you, in your pockets or purse if you are out, right next to you, or if you have them as jewelry, wear them!

At the end of the day, Life is about trusting and feeling. And allowing. This whole season is a reminder to allow Life’s way work with you, you have the power to create your world with each second. Life is always working for you, not to you. What comes and what goes, well those are both okay. Trust in the process. Feel your way through it. Everything is happening the way it is supposed to go down.

Blessed Summer Solstice, and acknowledge your truth, your passion, and go for it! You deserve it – like I have said —- “if you believe your milkshake brings all the boys (girls too!) to your yard, then it can!”

Spell-Struck

September, 2013

Get out of a rut and get going!

It’s back-to-school time and the kids are ready…but we’re like… “What?”  Too much to coordinate; too much running around to do; appointments; vaccinations; recordkeeping; scheduling; taking care of the house…and all the business that that requires; cooking dinners; let alone preparing for the “homework fun” each night…; AND, to boot, it’s still hot out there!  Our bodies are still screaming Summer!!!!  What’s up with this; and what’s more, how do we get motivated when the air is thick, sluggish, muggy and warm and everyone’s moving in slow motion?  Now, maybe it’s not so hot/warm where you are, but it sure is here in California! We have fires raging all over as this is being typed.  I know too from the weather forecasts that much of the nation right now is in a bit of a warm sluggish spell (pardon the pun) and it hasn’t yet turned the corner to Fall where the briskness of the air helps with the ‘motivation factor.’

So… what’s a witch to do?

Well, first off, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone.  I know, that doesn’t really do it for ya, does it?  Well, it’s a start.

Now, I normally write my own spells.  This spell in its original form (not printed that way here, was originated by Nancy Bennett in 2008.)  I have tweaked it quite a bit, which I believe is enough to constitute this as being an original now, but want to give credit to Nancy as being my muse in this.  Thanks Nancy!  Whoever you are!

What you will need (this is a motivational…get your *** moving spell.)J:

Color to focus on:  Blue and Yellow
Incense or Aromatherapy to use: Either Tangerine, Grapefruit or Orange and a teeny tiny tad of Rosemary.

1.  What is it you want to change (yes, I know you want to get moving and get out of this funk you’re in….but be specific.  What exactly do you want; i.e., physical energy, spiritual energy; healing; creativity; organizational skills; etc….—Remember to use “positives” in terms of what you WANT, don’t think of things you “Don’t Want.”  This will be counterproductive to the spell.  Keep the things you want to ONE LINE.  It can be more than one thing, but write out only ONE LINE on the either the blackboard or child’s notebook paper.

 

2.  Okay, what you’re going to do.  As soon as you wake up, you’re going to write down what you want (keep it to one or two things) on a child’s blackboard or notepad (i.e., a dollar store blackboard; or a hello kitty note pad, etc.) – IF YOU MUST, you may get your coffee first, lol!

 

3.  Place the note pad opened to the page you are writing on, or the blackboard in a prominent place where you will see it continually throughout the day as you go about your daily routine.

 

4.  Do this for 7 days.  Every day, write down the same thing on the next line that you are trying to attain/the thing(s) you want and place the board/notebook back in the prominent place.

 

5.  At the end of seven days (you should have seven lines written that you have walked past, viewed, seen throughout the days’ activities…right?)

 

Now…chant softly with firm intent in a quiet place by yourself with the notebook or blackboard in hand:

Seven times, I have set my goal,
by strength of mind, this goal I’ll know.
Erased or torn, like dust to wind,
it’s active now and shall begin.

Now, doing this outside, wipe the slate (the chalkboard) clean with the eraser or cloth OR tear up the sheet in tiny pieces and blow the pieces off the center of your hand into the spirit winds.  A clean slate has begun and it is currently being manifested into your reality as soon as you have done this.  This spell is best made during the waxing Moon to Full Moon.

 

Every morning, when you first open your eyes, say only this line from your spell (with a slight tweak to the tense) to reaffirm and help manifest your intent:

 

“It’s Active Now and Has Begun.”

 

Say this every morning for 30 days.  It’s not hard.  Put a note by your nightstand or mirror in the bathroom so you remember.  30 days.  Do it!

 

Remember two things.  Spells take SOME WORK on your part.  Second, your INTENT and FORTITUDE are everything.

 

I hope you enjoyed this one and that it helps get your September off to a good roll.  Remember the wonderful Sabbat of Mabon is this month and don’t forget to decorate your home, your altar space and such with all the marvelous colors of Fall to help inspire you throughout the darkening of this season of introspection.

 

May you be blessed and see you next month!

Rebel Rede

November, 2010

Be a Goddess!

It has become trendy to tell women to embrace their inner Goddess, but what does that really mean? I think when people tell us to embrace our inner Goddess they want us to embrace things like our divinity, power, confidence, creativity, knowledge, and sexiness etc. It is the idea that we treat and see ourselves as the beautiful divine creatresses that we are. In a world consumed my shallow definitions of physical beauty and female potential this is not always an easy idea to embrace.

It came to my attention recently how much I was struggling with this concept in my own life. I went from being a sexually uptight conservative Christian to being a sexually uptight politically active feminist. Somewhere in the mix of my religious and political restrictions I had lost my confidence and ignored my sexuality. How can I be a good witch, or be the physical embodiment of our great mother Goddess if I do not embrace my own sexuality and femininity? I wish there was some magical formula for learning to embrace our inner Goddess, but it’s not that easy. We have to work at it and it is different for every woman.

I realized recently that I had been so focused on my spiritual growth this year that I had gotten lazy in taking care of my physical health. I suddenly found myself at the heaviest and “softest” I had ever been. It is not only bad for our bodies to be physically unhealthy, but it is bad for our confidence as well. It takes spiritual, physical, and emotional health to become truly confident-to become a Goddess. Don’t be afraid to be creative though! Do whatever it takes! Much to my surprise I discovered a love for pole dancing. Not only is this new hobby of mine getting my body physically healthy, it is also helping me to embrace my sexuality. I am sexy and there is nothing wrong with that!

Find what makes you feel healthy, confident, and sexy. The journey to becoming a Goddess starts in your mind. It starts with admitting that you are a Goddess and then acting like you are a Goddess. I want you to stop reading this article right now and say out loud, “I am a Goddess, I am beautiful, I am powerful, I am sexy!” Now get off your beautiful Goddess booty and go be all those things! Be a Goddess!

Hally’s Hints

April, 2010

SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME OFF THE PHYSICAL PLANE?

The physical plane; the ethereal plane; it is all relative to who we are as souls, spirits or whatever name resonates with you. As connected as we are to the universe it can seem obvious that moving between the two is easier than once thought and can often deters us from the purpose of this particular life.

Let us take a step back…

When we consider that reality is determined by our own perspective it creates an endless array of definitions for reality; approximately nine billion. So when hearing the term ‘come back to reality’ it is difficult not to smile.

Taking this a litter further we add meaning to all the elements that we perceive which impacts on how our reality is determined.

Consider that Person A attaches the meaning to an animal being that of a child and Person B determines an animal as a lesser species. Imagine the conversation that would transpire on the topic of animals. Is it any surprise the amount of misunderstandings that occur on a daily basis?

The purpose of this elaborate definition is to take us to the topic of this month’s article. We evolve on our spiritual journey gaining more awareness with many of us learning to experience, communicate and travel between planes. Though I would not recommend this practice as something to do when you are bored, but rather something to be done with absolute care taking every precaution possible; the experience cannot be compared to the day to day of conscious living. Consequently it can become increasingly difficult for some to want to spend much time here on Earth.

We must remind ourselves that though our journey has enabled our evolutionary travel we nevertheless are human and in no better terms need to ‘face reality’.

The simple truth is that we all have a purpose and the life we have will never come around again in our ethereal existence however, our ethereal travelling will continue for the duration of our existence, irrelevant of what world or plane we exist in.

It is very possible that the reason it seems easier is because we have been there and done that more times than we can count and consequently it is a more comfortable place to be. The “human” role can be challenging because it is so very physical and can at times seem limiting. The fact remains that we still control our physical through our ethereal. As such, we can control our reality.

When you begin to prefer communicating with other planes due to it being so liberating and peaceful, perhaps others from the physical plane without the same level of awareness may deem this illogical or supernatural, there is a life waiting for you to fulfill and enable you to move forward to wherever it is you need to go.

Avoid this and you may miss out on the best reality possible – your life.

Pagan Theology

April, 2010

Pagan theology: You are it

Off and on over the last few columns I have been talking about various ways of explaining magic.  I divided the ways of talking about how magic “works” into three broad categories:  systematic, individual, and theistic.  In previous columns I covered a variety of systematic explanations, all of which essentially use a set of rules to explain magical effects through some sort of cause and effect relationship.  Systematic explanations say “you do this, the effect will occur.”  These systems can range from scientific to just plain made up.

Now I’d like to talk about individualistic explanations for magical effects.  Here, instead of a “system” or set of rules and laws that explain magic, it is the individual will that creates magic in the world.  Systems can be used to frame and shape that individual “power” but the power ultimately derives from the individual and not the system itself.  An analog to this dichotomy would be the difference between physics and the social sciences.  In physics there are a set of (Newtonian) laws that objects follow independent of who, or whether anyone, is around [1].  Sort of a Platonic ideal of how the universe might work.  These would be equivalent to the magical systems and Grimoires that instruct you on a set of procedures to follow in order to accomplish magic.  At the same time psychology and social sciences attempt to explain individual and collective behavior that involve (relatively) subjective and malleable observations.  Psychologists and behaviorists can talk about the probability that you will do something, but cannot in general guarantee it.  This would be the equivalent of an individual approach to magic:  the burden is on you to make it happen, or not.

Most “systems” tend to say something about individual focus and power, and in fact many systems are designed to help the individual enter a magical mind state so the magic can happen.  Even the purely scientific explanations, such as quantum effects or manipulating probabilities, link to the individual practitioner as something has to get busy affecting probable whosits and quantum whatnots in order to make the magic happen.  However in untangling all these interrelationships it is important to understand exactly what it is we’re after:  why magic works.   Thus we’re asking what comes first: the system, or the individual.    In the case of individualistic explanations, the individual practitioner comes first.

The purest form of individual magic involves psychic effects, such as precognition, psychokinesis, and telepathy [2].  Ignoring parapsychologist’s attempts to embed these effects into a scientific framework, which has not worked well so far, the fundamental idea of all the various psychic phenomena is that there is something within you that you control and manifest in order to have an effect in the world.  This is often characterized as “energy” or some sort of fooling around with quantum or unknown physical principles.  However this, again, puts you into a scientific framework as an attempt at explaining what is happening.

Crowley has a very thoughtful and interesting discussion about the relationship between the practitioner, their will, and the magical link between microcosim and macrocosim [3].  Crowley defines “Magical Operation” as “any event in Nature which is brought to pass by Will.”  Of course he himself admits this covers everything from “potato-growing to banking” in addition to its more magical sense.  Less famously, but more importantly, Crowley goes on to say much of the responsibility for magical operations lay on the individual, as opposed to relying on the “almighty power of God” or ritual practice alone:  “The universe is a projection of ourselves; an image as unreal as that of our faces in a mirror, yet, like that face, the necessary form of expression thereof, not to be altered save as we alter ourselves.”

So, for Crowley (and many others), there is an intertwining between the macrocosim/microcosim structure of magical effects and the individual.  By changing ourselves, we change the world.  At the same time the idea of an event “in Nature” being cause by will implies for Crowley that the event is really in nature and thus dependent to some extent on nature.  “The distance of one’s Magical target and the accuracy of one’s Magical rifle are factors in the success of one’s Magical shooting in just the same way as at Bisley.”  In other words, you cannot create something out of nothing, and what you are trying has to be in some ways possible.

This concept if often reflected in the less sophisticated characterization of magic (or prayer) as requiring active participation in order for it to succeed.  If, for example, you wish for a million dollars, it is very unlikely to happen to you if you sit on the couch for the rest of time watching Gossip Girls [4].  This “get out there and make it happen” is both logical: it probably won’t happen unless you do something; and subtly motivational: sort of a polite way for the HPS to tell the coven members that they actually would be better off if they did something useful and productive.

However there are a couple of more subtle interpretations of this concept that I believe begin to get at the central core of why magic is an important way of both being in and understanding the world. The first interpretation is that magic is a way of spiritual progress.  In other words you practice magic so as to progress spiritually to greater and greater accomplishments.  This you ultimately manifest in the world through changes in your understanding, behavior, and influence of those around you.  You become your own magic and in perfecting yourself change the world [5].

This concept can be interpreted either as self-referential, or world-referential.  In the self-referential interpretation you are practicing magic in order to change yourself and gain spiritual insight.  Any changes in the world are secondary and only a by-product of your ever-closer approach to the Gods and Goddesses.  This is both a theistic interpretation of magic, in the sense that magic brings you closer to the divine, but it also retains an emphasis on the individual, as you are the one approaching the divine.  The world-referential interpretation is a bit trickier, here your inner change manifests in changes in your behavior and that in turn results in changes in the world.  This is more or less “self improvement by magic.”  By performing ritual, ritual that leads to being touched by both magic and the deity, you become more mature, capable, and self-aware in the world.  How you behave in the world begets results in the world.  Obviously this works better if you’re doing magic to seek a love interest rather than a rainstorm, and is more or less an extension of the “get out there and make it happen” school of thought.

The second way to interpret the idea of individual will as the precursor or foundation for magical action is essentially Jungian.  For Jung  the idea of “synchronicity” opened up a different way of interpreting reality [6].  Typically we interpret the world through a causal model.  If I do this, then this will happen.  Chance, among other things, is created from the idea that even rare events actually do occur in the universe, and even a very improbable sequence of events will likely occur if the underlying set of possible events is large enough.  To borrow an example from Jung, seeing pictures fish, hearing the word “fish”, and seeing a fish on a seawall all within the space of a day are a remarkable coincidence [7].

Assuming nothing fishy (!) was going on there was not link between the different, seemingly happenstance, sightings.  So the “links” between the events are not causal in the normal sense of causation.  Instead the link between all the various fish symbols occurs inside you.  You and your interpretation, or the meaning you give them, are what link the non-causal events.  This linkage through meaning is effectively what Jung was talking about when he described synchronicity [8]:

“Causality is the way we explain the link between two successive events, Synchronicity designates the parallelism of time and meaning between psychic and psychophysical events, which so far science has been unable to reduce to a common principle.  The term explains nothing, it simply formulates the occurrence of meaningful coincidences which, in themselves, are chance happenings but are so improbably that we must assume them to be based on some kind of principle or some property of the empirical world.  No reciprocal causal connection can be shown to obtain between parallel events, which is just what gives them their chance character.  The only recognizable and demonstrable link between them is a common meaning, or equivalence.”

So in magical practice something else is happening that is not related to the typical “I do this, that happens” framework that we are all used to.  The magician, and those affected by his magic, are using an alternative framework that replaces causation with meaning as the “glue” that holds the world together.  Magic forms a separate network of meanings that is woven across events and objects in the world but is separate from our physical, scientific, understanding of the universe.  Without us to give the web of magic meaning there would be no magic.  Creating magic in the world is a uniquely human activity, one that arises out of our ability to give meaning to the universe.

This introduces the interesting concept that magic happens neither exclusively inside us, nor exclusively in the world.  It happens between the magician and the world, in a place that literary critics call L’Entre-deux [9].   This presents us with some real advantages as we work to understand what magic is based on.  First synchronicity, and L’Entre-deux, are not predicated on a scientific worldview, so we don’t draw in skeptics or get into arguments with (stage) magicians and scientists, And it also allows us to separate the religious aspect of magic and its practical aspect.  In other words we don’t have to rely on deistic intervention to justify magical workings.  Finally it creates a magical space, a place that is here, but not here.  A meaningful place in the world.  Say, like a sacred space, or a natural wonder, or an experience of deity.  A meaningful place that is not predicated on divinity or divine intervention for its creation. Which goes well with our placing the Gods and Goddess in this world instead of a different one.

It now becomes important to note what I am not talking about here. I am not talking about some exclusively narcissistic view of magical working where the goal is entirely focused on the self and does not have any influence or interaction in the world.  This is not a necessary requirement for us to still be separated from the howling critics of science and debunkers.  We can still be connected and interrelated with the world, but we must borrow Jung’s concept of a non-causal relationship between magical actions and results.

At the same time I am not talking about abandoning the ability of magic to work in the world.  A very plausible argument would be that magic happens within the magician by affecting the magician’s perception of cause and effect creating a synchronous state between their actions and effects.  This makes it very tidy since nothing magical slops out into the world, and into the viewfinders of the scientists and stage magicians.  But that is not what I am arguing here.  I believe it is possible for the actions of the individual magician to expand beyond his immediate mental state, in the same way that telling a story expands the author’s world beyond their own inner mental state.

I believe we are now getting somewhere in our discussion of magic.  The individual is an inherent part of magic.  Magic is a human endeavor prosecuted by people.  Without the magician, magic will not happen.  Thus magic is tied to the will and desires of the worker.  But magic also opens up the space between the individual and the world, the same space opened up by story, art, and, dare I say, imagination.  These exist both in the world, and within us [10].  The magical art exists in this same space between us and the world.  We call this space by a lot of names:  “between the worlds,” “the astral plane,” or “fifth dimension.”  It is the very human process of giving the world meaning, of finding relationships in the world that really matter to us.  That makes magic a very fundamental and powerful tool for how we as Pagans work with the world.

[1] Sure, you’re going to jump on me about quantum effects and observational collapse of probabilities.  The only major problem you have is in fact observational:  for the most part these effects don’t matter in explaining day to day phenomena like birds, kites, and pirates.  Unless you’re doing quantum cryptography or light scattering.  In which case I give it to you.

[2] I really don’t have much of an opinion on the subject of psychic effects.  I’m sure they exist for those involved, however there is a mighty crew of scientists and stage magicians who would strongly differ.  Since I believe that applying scientific criteria, either as an explanation or as a justification, for magic is fatally flawed, I’d have to say that parapsychology is also flawed.  Its flawed because it seeks to understand the “magical” effects using a scientific approach.  I claim you cannot understand “magic” with science.  And, if they actually are doing science then they have failed (for now) because science depends on peer review and consensus.  For me this whole discussion is about religion, not science.

[3] Alister Crowley.  Magic in Theory and Practice, Castle , New York, undated, chapter XIV.  Crowley says a lot in this chapter, I’m choosing just a couple of quotes to integrate it with what I’m talking about.  One fundamental idea is that the microcosim, or what happens under control of the magician, is in turn reflected in the macrocosim or real world.  Another way of saying this is the Hermetic expression “as above, so below.”

[4] I believe this can be demonstrated by examining the number of teenage girl millionaires compared to the popularity of Gossip Girls, but I digress.

[5]  This is also known as theurgy.

[6] While it’s no surprise to bring in Jung, I’m not bringing in his whole worldview, rather the specific idea of synchronicity and its’ placing the individual’s interpretation of events at the center.

[7] Except for the fact they are drawn from a space where you could have seen a bear, frog, apple, or any number of other objects in sequence, but you simply either were presented with the image of the fish, or chose to notice the sequence this time you saw it. I am not entirely convinced of Jung’s characterization of “probable” and “improbable” as these are subjective measures.  Every random or pseudo-random event will have a likelihood of occurring, so nothing, in theory is “improbable.”  Some things have a low probability but then you have to consider your sample space which for Jung’s examples is large.  But I digress.

[8] Carl Jung, “On Synchronicity” in the Portable Jung, Viking, 1971.  In his essay Jung brings in all kinds of stuff about PSI, precognition, and whatnot.  I do not believe these are necessary or interesting.  In fact I think they weaken his argument which has an essential simplicity and, dare I say, postmodern subjectivism about it in the sense that assigning meaning to events places our understanding in a very subjective and personal place.  This is quite different than the objectivist, consensus based, approach inherent in modernism and science.

[9] Readers, viewers, or others enter L’Entre-deux when they find themselves lost in the story, even temporarily.  While they fully realize that they are sitting in a chair or theater, they are suddenly so overcome with the reality of what they are experiencing that everything else is momentarily lost.  This is related to Coleridge’s concept of “suspension of disbelief,” but that is another story (so to speak).  See, for example, Noelle Batt,  “’L’Entre-deux,’ A Bridging Concept for Literature, Philosophy, and Science,” SubStance, 23:2:74, (1994), pp. 38-48

[10] Note we can do a bit of causal reasoning here:  we are in the world, the world is, obviously, in the world, and so the space that we open is also in the world, even though it does not manifest in the same way that the natural world does.

A Simple Path: Journey of a Hedgewitch

March, 2010

*The Hedgewitch lives in the space between the Village and the Forest. Between the mundane and the magical. S/He lives with a foot in both worlds.
This column is dedicated to the Hedgewitches of the planet earth.

The Dormant Season
or A Survival Guide to Life in Limbo

Spring is just around the corner, and new life is beginning to manifest itself everywhere. Even in snow-covered places, the crocus and other bulbs begin to emerge from their long slumber. Flowering tree buds swell and begin to defy the cold with their colorful, hope- and cheer-inducing blossoms.

It is easy to see the parallels between the cycles of Nature and the cycles of our lives, as magical people. We pay attention, and are mindful of the changes.  In some of our “seasons”, we are busy and industrious. In others, there is nothing to be done, but to trust in the return of the sun, and that the dormant phase will eventually end. Sadly, our seasons are not always tidily placed into 3-month increments; predictable, steady. Our cycles can last for months or even years.
Yet, there is the aspect of predictability in that they will end, and transition into a new cycle, without doubt.
All things change, both in Nature, and in our own lives.
The very essence of magic is change, if our lives do not change, we know we are magically ineffectual; even stagnant.
Some would say that the times in our lives when we are involved in great productivity and observable change are the most challenging. Sometimes even stressful.
But for me, it is the dormant season that feels the hardest.
The times when it feels like nothing is happening.
This past 3 month period has been one of those for me.
As my garden has lain barren, so it has felt as though my life was taking no forward turn whatsoever.
I have felt like I was between lives. One still ending, the next not quite underway.
It has been quite maddening for me, as I am the sort who feels strongly compelled to make lists, manifest change and get a move on.
As with all seasons, they last exactly as long as they are meant to, quite without regard for how we feel about it.
I have tried various coping methods for this period of limbo my life has been in. This missive is to share those strategies with you. Perhaps you are also awaiting the start of your new life; The Spring for you.
Hopefully, these tips will help make your transition easier, as they have mine.


* Recognize that it is a dormant period for you.

In the same way we know better than to be angry with winter trees for not having leaves, we can ease our own burden of inactivity by realizing this is a dormant period, rather than a productive one.
Just understanding that this is a normal aspect of one’s personal development helps to remind us that spring will come, when it is time.
During this phase, patience, remaining grounded and embracing (even encouraging) the quiet can help us cope.
Accepting that you are not moving forward is not the same as being in denial about it. Know your options and stay abreast of the developments, but also recognize when there is nothing you can do, and accept it as reality.
*Release attachments to a specific outcome.
Just as working a love spell to attract a specific person can be troublesome, so can being attached to only one outcome. The Universe may have something completely different, and unexpected, in mind for you, next. Being attached to any single potential outcome limits your own creativity, and stifles the energy which is interceding on your behalf to create a new life. The best things that happen in our lives are not planned, so trust the process enough to let go of how you think it “should be”.
*Be kind to yourself and others.
Times of uncertainty and stillness can make us frustrated, frightened and even angry. These are excellent times to nurture very simple and necessary pleasures. Good sleep, healthy eating and exercise are often the first things to slip when we feel uncertain. A drop of lavender oil in a tub of hot water can provide a much-needed respite from the cares of the times. Gentle exercise like yoga can help center the body and encourage deep, restful sleep.
Just for kicks, do your hair. Or dress up. You don’t have to have anywhere to go, to make yourself feel special and beautiful.
Splurge on a box of your favorite tea, and take time to quietly enjoy a cup every day.
Create sacred space and spend time in the company of the Divine.
Each positive step you take for your own care will reap benefits far beyond what you can imagine.
*Ask for help, when you need it
In all our lives we have people who love us and want to help us. So often, we believe we should be able to “do it myself”, and disconnect ourselves from those who most enhance our lives. In allowing others to help us, we give them the opportunity to be blessed. We all understand the importance of giving, and its necessity. But we must be equally willing to receive, and to allow others to be blessed for their contributions to our lives.
These can be difficult and uncertain times. But we have tools available to us to not merely survive, but to shine in difficult times. We have families, communities and a Universe which supports us even when we can’t feel it.
Know that the Spring will come and the leaves will return to the trees. The ice of inactivity will melt, and the new phase will emerge.
So often, after a period of inactivity, we will see why it took so long. The perfect place we now walk into is a direct result of having been patient while all the tumblers fell into place.
Trust the process, and be mindful of the blessings along the way.
And know that you are not alone, in whatever season you currently dwell.
Brightest Blessings for a Most Magical and Magnificent Spring,

Hally’s Hints

October, 2009

UNIVERSAL LANGUAGES

I see the beauty of the plants growing in each and every direction subtly oblivious of where they should and can go. They seek the warmth and energy of the sun, sourcing moisture from the earth and air. All else is irrelevant; all else has no consequence to their day.

The days come and the days go. The sun rises and the sun sets. The clouds pass over, sometimes bringing rain and other times a moment of a shadow. There are no conscious thoughts in these actions. There are contributing factors influencing the direction, however it isn’t premeditated or in a manipulative manner. It is all for the greater good.

So many Angels, Spirit Guides, Ghosts, the Para-Normal, energies of another world glide between us; sometimes they are on a particular mission and other times on their way to a new place. We are oblivious, most of the time.

Plants communicate with other plants via vibration, Dogs, Cats; Animals communicate telepathically all the while reading your energy gauging how you are feeling today. So many people believe our environment is lesser than us because the words they use, the way they communicate does not register with our conscious logic. Yet, the irony is that it is so natural and ironically more advanced than the conscious mind. We limit ourselves through believing that it needs to be understood consciously for it to be accepted.

I wonder what would happen when the majority of the planet realise that everything we do, everything we feel, decide and want happens way before it even reaches our consciousness. That our actual behaviour is a result of the process in which our minds work and only once it reaches our conscious mind does the action follow.

So many are blind to that fact that every day they are having conversations with their pets, sending vibrations to their plants and brushing against their spirit guides.

It is common to find yourself in an environment where the people are concerned with bills, getting to work, meeting the deadline, the argument they had with their partner as they were walking out of the door and for some the kiss that they shared. It would be easy to assume that this is more than enough to occupy the mind to consider room for the things that do not occur on this plane and still affect who we are.

The beauty is that when working on the metaphysical plane all of these idiosyncrasies are irrelevant and the sense of space, freedom, openness embraces your very being to the point that what many worry about seems rather ridiculous.

It isn’t surprising that often the conscious drama created is to provide balance or depth to the conscious mind. Almost like a foundation on which it is based so that it has some control and security to exist.

The more many of us go between planes, open ourselves to the energies of the universe that influence and provide so much growth and enlightenment, the harder it becomes to communicate in conscious logic with those that hardly, if ever travel beyond the mortal plane. You hear the words come out from the person before you and though it seems to be English or the language you are familiar with, it however does not make any sense. It does not resonate meaning to your conscious mind leaving you feeling confused; often to shake your head wondering if it is you or them. The barrier is there and until they begin to evolve communication will be a little challenging, for you.

It can be truly fascinating catching up with people that are not particularly close, perhaps part of a social circle that ebbs and flows, to enter into and see how many struggle within themselves and seek refuge in methods of escapism, judgment or hatred. Then consider you were once them.

It is humbling and opens the heart in the hope that they too have the opportunity to experience a touch of what the universe offers in its beauty, strength and unity.

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