veil

Finding Your Own Way

December, 2018

Chapter 8

The Shamanistic Path

I add this section for those who are interested in the spiritualistic or shamanistic aspect of meditation. This is simply an introduction to the world of the shaman. For those who wish to delve further, I would advise finding a reliable teacher to help them. In the last twenty years, there has been a widening of interest in the healing and spiritual practices of our ancestors and many have found a pathway back to a more earth-centred method of teaching and healing.

As always, trust your own instincts. Find out as much as you can before becoming too closely involved with any particular individual. We all go through challenging times, – but if this person is not handling the important aspects of their lives very well, then perhaps they are not for you.

If they care more about money than the work they are doing, then they are most likely not the right person to teach you. If they take on too many students, then they may not be able to give the support needed. Many shamans offer healing and counseling. If you are interested in learning from someone, then this may be a good way to find out if your paths are compatible. Even a good shaman may not be suited to you personally. Be prepared to take the time needed to find a way forward. A good friend who is a powerful shaman told me that the teacher will find you when you are ready. We work on ourselves and the universe guides us to where we need to be. I am always suspicious of weekend courses which promise to turn someone into an instant healer /shaman/counsellor with a nice shiny certificate.

What we know of the early religious practices of mankind is based largely on cave paintings and a few archaeological discoveries. Most anthropologists base their conjectures loosely on the tribal cultures which still existed in remote places up until quite recently, – before becoming overrun by modern society.

It is widely believed that shamans have existed as a separate class for at least 30,000 years.

It is my own belief that many men who were unsuited to hunting became shamans. In many ways, their initiation was as tough as that of the warriors in many cultures. Often they were buried for several days to symbolise a journey to the underworld.

Those with minor disabilities which would have made them unfit for hunting were able to help their tribe by performing rituals for success and journeying inward to help find the best places to hunt for game. They would then be on hand to protect the camp during the hunt and use divination to resolve any disputes. Contacting the ancestors may have been an important part of their duties and healing diseases by the use of herbs, and in serious cases, ‘soul retrieval’

In soul retrieval, the shaman enters the underworld to find the lost soul of a tribal member. The afflicted may have a mental illness or a fever or be near death.

The shaman must be confident and courageous, or he too may become lost in the vast realms of the underworld and perhaps never return.

I would find this idea quaint, – apart from having witnessed the effects on what could easily be called “loss of soul” on a good friend. He became lost during a badly constructed ritual for past life journeying which was popular in the 1970’s. Something rather nasty returned in his stead.

It took most of the night to evict the ‘entity’ and return this young man and he was never quite the same again. I am aware of the theory of disassociated personality complexes, but it is hard to call them that when they read minds and try to tear your throat out. This is why it is best to get a teacher before tackling more advanced work. Always set your boundaries and your intent. Use whatever help is available to you and meditate in a safe and a sane way. Take things slowly and easily.

My own ideas on how early shamanism was structured, are based more on my own experiences than on the little that is known of early man. Because a group of people may live a nomadic lifestyle or exist in buildings suited to their locality, made of straw and mud, – it hardly proves that their culture has not advanced in 30.000 years.

In 1980, I went to see a small collection of artifacts, taken from Newgrange, Ireland, which were on display in a private library in Dublin. I went with a friend, who I will call Susan. We were invited to go there by the leader of a Rosicrucian group we were involved in. All we were told was to look for an item listed as a ceremonial mace head and see what connection we could make with the object. It was an egg-shaped stone with spiral patterns and a hole through it, large enough to fill a man’s hand.

As I gazed at the object, I found myself back in Newgrange, sometime around the building of the passage tomb. A young man dressed in furs sat in front of a fire using the object to grind something in a bowl. He had a clubbed foot. When I commented on it, he laughed and told me it was why he was chosen to be a shaman. When I compared notes with Susan, it turned out that we had shared the same experience. Our accounts of the vision matched perfectly. Oddly, I forgot about this experience for many years until the memory came back to me one day. I wrote the poem below to remind myself of the journey.

Trance is a powerful tool for spiritual exploration.

It can be triggered by many methods.

Hypnotism is the least trustworthy and most dangerous method.

Wounded Heart

Do only fools and cripples live in longing for the light?

Are wounded hearts the only ones who venture deep into the dark to draw aside the veil?

They, who wander aimlessly in woods and fields, to search for wisdom long before the dawn,

Have pity for the poets and the artists who have felt this sense of exile since the day that they were born.

A simple, egg-shaped stone, small enough to fit inside my palm, became the key.

I gazed upon the spirals on this artifact and little did I realise the tale it had to tell.

My friend and I transported back in space and time to when it last was used.

At Newgrange barrow, we both stood, amazed, astounded and bemused.

The shaman sat before a fire, with robes of fur, and mischief in his eyes.

Grinding herbs with stone and bowl, our sudden apparitions seemed to cause him no surprise.

It happened forty, and five thousand years ago, I scarce remember all he had to say.

But one thing stood so clearly in my mind, it stayed with me until this very day.

He seemed quite young for one so wise, with a boyish face and long dark hair,

But, when I gazed upon his crippled foot, he quickly picked up on my stare.

I commented upon the injury at which he saw me glance,

He laughed as if I was a clumsy child, and asked how else would he have had his chance?

The wounded walk the lonely path, and fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

The blind can see the things which normally are hidden by the light, – their vision knows no end.

The beggar and the vagabond have riches that a king will never know.

And when the journey has no maps or charts, the child within us knows which way to go.

***

About the Author:

Patrick W Kavanagh, Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver

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

By Patrick W Kavanagh available at most retailers:

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

Bringing Up the Next Generation of Witches

November, 2018

October is quickly coming to an end, and I have never been more thankful. October brought sickness and trials. It was a difficult month to say the least.

But with October coming to a close, Samhain is fast approaching.

Samhain (or Halloween as Little Bear calls it) has always been one of my favorite holidays. Even when it was banned from my childhood home life.

The veil is thinning, the days grow darker, and the nights become almost black.

Living in the Midwest means the weather is unpredictable at the end of October. It could be sunny and hot, or rainy and wet. As a child, “Halloween” meant snow. I can remember more snowy Halloweens than not.

Little Bear and I will make the best of it regardless of the weather. He has his costume picked out. He is going as a zombie SWAT guy. He’s talked me into being a zombie also. He’s a bit obsessed with The Walking Dead right now.

This year, I let Little Bear go wild and decorate the whole house. We put up window clings, black garland, laid out fake spiders, decorated foam pumpkins, and hung up door covers.

Yesterday, we visited the local pumpkin field/corn maze. They have so many activities and it’s a must every year. They have goats, chickens, rabbits, long horn cattle, corn boxes, corn mazes, pumpkin guns, tug a war ropes, inflatables, wooden trains, etc. It is a full day.

Tonight, is pumpkin carving time. I’m sure that my excitement is at a way higher level than Little Bear’s because of the pumpkin seeds. I have dug out some recipes from Pinterest and plan on trying at least three. I have to do normal salt pumpkin seeds. But I’m going to try a sweet version with cinnamon and brown sugar. The other one I haven’t decided on because there is so many variations that can be done. However, I’m leaning towards a savory that uses sea salt and white vinegar. Not sure how it’ll turn out, but we shall see!

One of my favorite traditions for Samhain is the dinner. Eating dinner at the table is something that rarely happens in our home because of scheduling. But when Samhain rolls around, I take the day off. I plan a meal as if it were Thanksgiving and I set the table. I always set a spot for my sister who we lost back in 2015. It helps to bring her close. Little Bear gets excited and will start talking to her spot as if she never left.

Little Bear started asking questions again about “God” last week. This is a conversation that we have quite frequently as he has a hard time understanding something that he cannot see. So, I go into the explanation again. We have talked about the many different religions of the world. Although I am raising him in a Pagan home, I understand that the Pagan path may not be for him.

I found a wonderful series that touches on the spiritual side without focusing on one certain religion. It’s the The Giggles and Joy series. A three-part series that focuses on positive poems. It’s a neat series that I recommend. You can check out my review on them in this same issue!

30-Days of Samhain Offered by Robin Fennelly

October, 2018

30-Days of Samhain Offered by Robin Fennelly

A Witch’s Sacred Journey

The final harvest calls, the Ancestors await and the veils between the worlds have thinned offering the gifts of healing, transformation and deeper communion with the cycles of nature.

Last year I decided to explore the mysteries of Samhain using a daily format of postings and suggestions to deepen your awareness of this sacred time of the year. I am sharing this again for this year’s celebrations and will be adding some other material as we move through the 30-Days of Samhain. Let the journey begin…

The countdown ends with Astrological Samhain, so Day One begins on October 9th and Day Thirty ends on November 7th. Enjoy…

Day One begins here… Welcome and Introduction

For Quick Links visit: 30-Days of Samhain-Index

***

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2)

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1)

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

MagickalArts

May, 2017

All Hail to Astrological Beltane and the Parting of the veils to New Life!

 

magickalartsmay

 

A little background……

In many traditions the date of celebration for Beltane is May 1st and that of its counterpart, Samhain is Oct. 31 or Nov. 1. Although these dates have accumulated much astral energy from repeated use, if you wish to follow the astronomical approach, which is where the origins of the cross-quarter days lay, those dates are premature.

Beltane falls mid-point between the Vernal Equinox and the Summer Solstice. Each of the cross-quarter Sabbats – Beltane, Lammas, Samhain and Imbolc fall within that half way point between an Equinox and a Solstice. And, for those ancient practitioners who strongly followed the correlate of Solar tides, this placement provided very specific energy in relationship to the line of the Sun’s outpouring onto Earth, its placement during these times between and what was called into action in celebration, ritual and devotion.

If you look a bit closer at the timing of the astrological correlates and know, even a bit, about the energetics of the zodiacal signs as they move through the Solar Year, there is a wellspring of underlying meaning that can be drawn from as you open to new levels of connection that deeply inform how you construct your personal ritual or celebration of these cross-quarter days.  One observation is that this timing allows for points of rest and integration from one-quarter event, such as the equilibrium of the Equinoxes or the waxing or waning of the Sun’s light at the Solstices, to the next.

Astrological Beltane

May 5.2017

Sun in Taurus

Waxing Gibbous in Virgo

 All Hail to the Maiden of Fire and the Youth of Earth!

On this day of celebration we honor the Goddess and God as pro-creators of what will come to fruition at the Summer Solstice. She holds the fertility of a womb that is ripe and ready for the implantation of His seed of potency that offers the promise of new life from that union. Her Fires are those of heated waters that catalyze and quicken. And, His Earth is that of a seed of potential for manifestation required as the expelling of a potent energetic force strives towards taking form.

Adding to this are the astrological energies of God as the Youth wearing the mantle of Taurus, the Bull. We often speak of the fecundity of the God at this point of the Great Wheel and the Solar energy that is inherent within the God’s being is amplified by that of an astrological sign of Earth that is stable, strong and able to protect and claim the progeny of his seed.  The Bull is virile in seed and the animal instincts for survival inform the encoding of that seed to take root. Another attribution to this astrological sign is that of stubbornness. I prefer to think of it as longevity and commitment. And, are these not qualities you would seek in a mate?

The Maiden on this year’s date wears the Lunar gown of astrological Earth, Virgo. As a sign of detail and analysis, this wise Maiden offers the gift of sorting through what is possible and what is a waste of precious energy. And, although this may feel very labored and not of the wild spirit that is inherent in this sabbat, it is indeed the ability to trust in your choices that is enabling a wildness that is ready to co-create within the Lover’s embrace. She is the Maiden of earth’s Divinely organized Will; holding within her womb a potential for birthing anything she can imagine.

Virgo’s energy is one of strengthening a foundation that works in accord with the natural ebb and flow of what its wishes to create. Given that this energy is held in a Moon tide that is waxing towards its full expression, that foundation will serve to provide the fertile womb of potential for what will “become”.  And, that becoming will emerge and take clearer form as the Moon Maiden languishes in the a waxing phase of newness as Sun and Moon, Youth and Maiden continue their consummate efforts, as both unite in the fertility and strength of Taurus.

This sacred union of Earth reflecting on itself (Youth) and (Maiden) could be likened to the container that provides the structure and just enough containment to allow a quickening of its combined union to take hold and burst into the life that emerges from this space.  The heat and light of the sun are required to quicken the seeds that lay beneath ground that is fertile and supportive as roots take hold and stem pushes through.

The Veils of Beltane and Samhain

We hear much talk of the “parting of the veils” that occurs during the season of Beltane and Samhain. These are times when the separation between the earthly realm and the other worlds is thinner and the inhabitants of each may more easily interweave ad interact with the other. I have always envisioned these two distinct, yet similar parting of the veils as one of ushering new life and one of re-connecting with those lives that have departed. In my imaging, the Maiden dons the veiling that entices and calls forth the desire of the Youth to mate and from that mating as the veil is lifted, the seeds and embryos of new life have begun their time of fertilization and the ultimate birthing of new form to come. I have always felt that these veils between the worlds were softer and gentler in both their opening and closing. Unlike those of Samhain that generally feel very dense (and crowded), almost an overload of sensation as those departed crowd in to make their presence known and share their messages.

At Samhain, this Veiling is one of the grieving Wife; having seen the demise of her Lover (Lammas’ Sacrificial God) and is heavier and laden with the energy and tears of sorrow. She ages from this sorrow; yet deep within lay the seeds of new life waiting to be brought forth at the Solstice. These veils hold the wisdom of those who have left behind the physical existence and loved ones and their sorrow has become the tomes from which the living will draw their lessons of hope in wait of the growing light to be held at the Solstice.

Another Type of Sacred Union

So, why do I keep going back and forth between Beltane and Samhain? We can consider both as being reflections of the other. We can expand the story of consummate union of the Maiden and Youth and use the dynamics of each as feeding the desire of the other towards creation. Beltane’s Fires of new life will become those of wisdom that pass through the veils of Samhain. And, those who exist behind the veils of Samhain have potential to be those called back into life at Beltane.  This is the truth of our own nature. We are born, we live, we die and during this lifetime we are continually creating from the inner union of the Sun and Moon, Male and Female and all that contribute towards the consummation of our intent.

May the blessings of this Beltane grace and inform all of your creative efforts. May those gifts of yourself that need uniting and a space of loving care be gifted by the passions of Beltane’s fires. And, may you always be mindful of the Great Wheel as a continuum; each flowing into the other and each reaching across to what will be at the half turn of that wheel.

Blessed Be!

Image Credit:  Emily Balivet 2011