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Mindful Meditations

January, 2019

Guided Video Mindful Meditation

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About the Author:

(Amy Dubenetsky & Becky Coates, respectively; Writers of the Mindful Meditations column & Coven Sisters.)

This Mindful Meditation is brought to you by Amy Dubenetsky, a Bodyworker/Reiki Practitioner/Witch based out of Manchester, CT whom leads group meditations as well.  Amy is deeply involved with her Coven, Organic Farming, and various Dance Communities across the country.

Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @bodyandbeyond444.

Art Video

November, 2018

Swedish Petroglyphs

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

I look forward to reading your responses!

***

About the Author:

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

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

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

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

(YouTube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

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

Witch & Popcorn

November, 2018

Just in time for Halloween and the love of all thinks spooky, Netflix released a dazzling supernatural horror from Spain called Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil. Watch the trailer here at this link below:

While the film is a very good watch, beyond that, it’s based on an old folktale, which in one form or another, has been around for thousands of years. The story is told many ways, but basically, a cunning Blacksmith is screwed over by the devil upon making a pact- and the Blacksmith figures out how to stick it to the old devil, and get out of the pact.

Set in 1800’s Basque region of Spain, the tale unfolds about the mysterious Blacksmith named Patxi. The village folk speak horrors about him, telling their children stories about him as if he’s a child eating boogie man. He doesn’t do much to dispel these rumors, as he has his property barricaded off, and he attacks anybody who comes near. The townsfolk say the devil lives there.

But the story is deeper than that. He had struck a deal with the devil to get home to see his wife during the war, only to discover things were not as they left them. Heart wrenching tragedy follows, and despite the fact the devil was dishonest on his end of the bargain, he sends a demon to collect Patxi’s soul.

Hilariously, the demon is no match for the bitter blacksmith, and all hell breaks loose both on earth, and later IN hell, as the mighty blacksmith seeks revenge and justice from the devil, himself.

This is one of the best made modern takes on an ancient tale I’ve seen in quite a while. Everything about this is a feast for the senses. The grisly, grimy Blacksmith’s squalid home is a stark contrast from the splendor of hell. The morbidly shabby hutlike shacks the townsfolk live in are offset by the magnificence of the forest. The children are filthy, skinny, and bruised and bloodied. In contrast to this, the beautifully animalistic demon is a yummy shade of licorice red, and covered in glitter! Crippling age is offset with youthful innocence. The use of severe extremes and striking contrasts provide extra shock, and communicate the level of misery the characters in the film are crushed under.

Beyond all of this, the film communicates the ignorance of uneducated society, and how bored small-minded people demonize the innocent. The old Pagan superstitions and Christian extremism combine with this ignorance to create a town of people easily controlled by the denizens of hell, and the voice of the so-called saving god is unheard.

A lesson is taught in this film through the fatal mistakes of Patxi. He was judged as a horrible human being, but he was actually a beautiful soul whose momentary lapse in judgement lead to the one event that he never forgave himself for. The village folk took this a step further and branded him untouchable for life. In the end, he is the only person from his town who has the strength to protect life.

Another lesson is one that Pagans speak of quite often. We reject the concept of beings that are all good or all evil. The demon sent to collect Patxi’s soul winds up defying hell and helping to save the day. Many of my Pagan kin say one man’s angel is another’s demon, and even demons can do things that help people.

I won’t add any more spoilers. Watch it for yourself. You don’t want to miss this wonderful film.

Happy viewing!

***

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.

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

October, 2018

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times October 2018

Bright Blessings,

This is the end of the growing season for me due to the kinds of plants I grow, and I’ve already started fall cleanup. It’s also the time I begin planning what I will plant in fall, and I decide what I might like to consider growing come next Spring. I am busily reading bulb catalogs and selecting next years seeds.

Pulling the zinnias is always heartbreaking, but we had such heavy rains earlier in the month, they had been knocked over onto the sidewalk so badly, and I had no choice. They wouldn’t have been left another week even, however, as they were spent. The stems and roots were packaged up as yard waste, and the flower heads given to a neighbor friend who dotes on the neighborhood birds. The birds just love to munch on zinnia seeds in the flower heads!

Also, we are rolling towards Samhain, the final harvest, and in Westerville, the town just North of Columbus where I live, that means we are having pumpkin patch trips, apple picking days at orchards, and the last of our tomatoes we proudly grew all Summer are blessing us with abundant bounty.

It also means poison ivy for those of us doing cleanup. BAH! A neighbor told me to vinegar spray the heck out of them, and I am going to do that today.

I also did not plant as much this year and I’m glad I didn’t. My back has taken a turn for the worse, and although I am in physical therapy now, it’s been getting progressively worse for about five years now. I may have to accept downsizing the amount of plants I do from now on, and I am not happy about it.

The Good and the Bad

Like in the garden, there is good and bad in all things. Everybody wants the good, but facing the ugly realities happen to be something few care to do.

Instead of the typical Sabbat based article, I will be reviewing a couple of things that came up in pop culture that has a lot of feathers ruffled in our communities, discuss some things from a generation ago, and why we ought not to be so quick to fly off all angry or offended.

The Box

The first thing that made so many Witches, Wiccans, and Pagans angry was the Witch Starter Kit Sephora was about to release.

Various individuals blew up all over social media calling it theft, appropriation, offensive, infuriating, intolerable, and what have you. Many bloggers condemned it as sacrilege, and disrespectful of Witchcraft and Wicca, and there was such a public outcry, Sephora pulled the product, and they apologized.

Apparently, I am the only Wiccan/Witch/Pagan who was not in any way upset by this product.

Before you boycott me, or burn effigies of me, hear me out.

I am going to number the reasons why it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to be upset about this product.

  1. There are tons of similar kits out on shelves and have been for quite some time. What, you think the “Starter Voodoo Kit” you nabbed at Barnes and Noble or Half Priced when you were 17 were authentic and written by a real Voodoo priestess? Think again. You think the “Crystal Pack” you nabbed at a similar shop, or even a metaphysical store were by a real elder of the craft? Not necessarily. Both mainstream shops, and metaphysical shops sell such items on a daily basis and have for quite some time. Nobody who is raising hell and crying that Sephora’s kit is a great injustice to our sacred traditions seems upset about the other kits at all. This is no different.
  2. Look what is in it.
  1. A tarot deck, which you can get almost anyplace these days.
  2. A rose quartz crystal, which again, gets sold in kits constantly. We had a stash of different ‘crystals’ at a cavern where I was a tour guide, and you can nab then at various trendy shops at malls these days. Many non-metaphysical stores carry magical crystals, and nobody complains.
  3. White sage- which, I am sorry is not in any way European. It is Native to the American Southwest, and South America. So don’t tell me that was misappropriated by this company from European based Pagan and Witch traditions. WE took it from Native Americans. We take a LOT from their practices, and that is a proven fact. Witches use white sage, and don’t think twice about the fact we got it from somebody else. If we are allowed to incorporate practices from others, then others are allowed to incorporate our practices into theirs as well.
  4. Various good smelling tubes of something something.

Each of these products is sold to, sold by, and used by Pagans, Wiccans, and Witches on a daily basis. They are also sold by non-magical practitioners who want to earn money. Even some mainstream groceries carry essential oils these days, and I know of more than one organic market that has nag champa, white sage, and tons of essential oils for sale. Nobody bats an eye about that. Sephora is just one of many companies creating a product that the magical public uses.

Furthermore, in the apology they released, they said “Our intention for the product was to create something that celebrates wellness, personal ceremony, and intention setting with focus on using fragrance as a beauty ritual.” That is magic folks. And glamour. Witches are well-known for using certain looks, and scents to illicit responses, and beauty and making others find us pleasant smelling will draw more people to us. Rose quartz also initiates love and affection. It’s just another magic kit.

  1. Not everybody in our communities who sells to us belong to the tradition of merch they are selling. I will reword that to make sure people understand what I am saying. Every metaphysical shop where I have ever entered was ran by somebody who practiced a particular path, but sold things for members of many other paths besides their own. Some shop owners are not initiated, and just self-educated, and are very good at running a store. At no time in the 13 years I have been active in the Pagan/New Age/Metaphysical community have I ever heard one individual remark on this fact, let alone refuse to by merch for Wicca from a Druid, for example. It would make no sense because how would we be able to buy anything if we were so picky? Sephora’s product is no different.
  2. Furthermore, not everybody in our community who is either a business person or clergyperson has any education, training, or affiliation outside of their own thing. Don’t believe me? I have met more than one self-initiated, self-ordained “Priestess” who recognizes no elders, and put herself in charge because she wanted to be the boss. They have no issue finding followers. I have also known non-clergy who read a few books, and declare titles for themselves they swear was bestowed celestially, and everybody else is just too unenlightened to understand. There are always a number of them at every large gathering, and they slip in and out of our circles seamlessly. We “don’t judge” and we “are inclusive” and put up with a lot of bullshit because we are terrified of somebody getting mad at us for questioning them. Why do we accept this at face value from people who come to our gatherings who are not one of us, yet we raise hell over a product that is actually usable? Furthermore- who is the actual person who designed the kit? Are they Pagan or not? Would it matter if they were?
  3. The people who make tarot cards are not always practitioners. Some are just good at art, got a deal, and have bills to pay. Furthermore, the people who do the assembly line work cannot possibly all practice magic or be Pagan. Nobody seems to mind about that. The people selling you the merch at a non-Pagan shop may or may not practice magic or one of our religions. Again, nobody seems to care. How do you handpick your tarot cards? Do you research the manufacturer and artist and pick over a deck because they do not adhere to your tradition? Nobody does this. It would make no sense. So why are we mad at this manufacturer but none of the other ones? It is not possible to buy all things for our religious or magical practice only from others who practice just as we do.
  4. Is it because it’s more mainstream? Well, how many times have Pagans. Wiccans, and Witches decried the fact the mainstream often rejects us? Now that we are “socially acceptable” enough for things we use to be saleable in a mainstream shop, as we swear up and down we deserve to be, we are insulted. I am sorry, but we cannot have it both ways. “It’s a corporation so they have no right to take our money” some have said. Really? I will mention Barnes and Noble and Half Priced again. I am not sure which of the three companies I mentioned makes more money, but all of them are pretty large, successful businesses.
  5. Our practices are derived from other practices. Period. I have already mentioned our use of white sage. But let’s talk about Wicca in general. An excellent publication that is one of the most controversial in our history is Aiden Kelly’s Inventing Witchcraft. In it, he published parts of Gerald Gardner’s Book of Shadows. The entire Book of Shadows is now available for free online at Sacred Texts. Here is the link- http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/gbos/index.htm Nobody was supposed to see that except initiates, as it was secret, and for members only. Some Wiccans were very angry with Kelly for this. Oh yeah?
    Well, Kelly demonstrated line by line just WHERE Gardner got certain things from. Some from Crowley, some from Rudyard Kipling, some from varied other sources, some on his own. But Gardner and early Wiccans swore Wicca was ancient, from an unbroken tradition, and unchanged for centuries, even thousands of years. My question was- if it was all SO secret, why did Gardner and others put ads in the newspapers, contact journalists to do interviews, write books for publication, and generally put Wicca in the public immediately? Because nothing was secret, nothing was ancient, and they wanted to attract as many as possible. That is fine, it being a small, secret tradition for the few, and it is now readily available for anybody who will buy a book cannot both be true at the same time. Furthermore, Doreen Valiente, a true High Priestess, took one look at some of Gardner’s ritual writings, and said “No way.” She rewrote quite a bit herself. Kelly’s book can be had from Amazon.com, and here is the link.
    Wicca is not an ethnocentric ancient religion that went underground and reemerged when Gerald Gardner decided to publish books. It’s Gardner’s creation. It’s one I am thankful for, but it’s something that was pulled together and created from the many things that inspired Gardner. We, those who practice that have no business criticizing others for doing the same things we, ourselves do.
  6. We do not own the practices we utilize, and are not allowed to tell other people they cannot practice what we do unless we give them permission. Many other religious traditions, including atheists who believe in energy and spirits use the things we use, and follow some of the same practices. We do not have the right to dictate they are not allowed. Even somebody who thinks a kit at a shop is pretty or interesting or looks fun has the right to buy it and use the things without our guidance, permission, or approval.
  7. Nobody is making fun of us. Nobody makes us look bad but ourselves. I could list all the things I have seen and the people who I have met in the community who have driven me to tears of frustration over the years with their bullshit, but I know good and well the rest of you have seen pretty much the same things, so I won’t bore you. We also almost never call people on their shit in our communities unless it is childish arguing online over some discussion topic. I would really like to see us focus more on the condition of our own community instead of pitching fits about how some people who don’t belong in our circles views us.
  8. It is not the mainstream’s job or responsibility to portray us correctly. That is up to us. I am so over the people crying over Charmed or the latest horror flick’s wrongful use of the pentacle. I am sick to death of hearing people passionately declare Hollywood makes us look like devil worshipers and is to blame for misconceptions about us. No. Again, that’s us. And that did not come from Hollywood originally. It came out of the fact we use terminology the Xtains have used for centuries to denote devil worship. The word “witch” was never used to indicate something good until Gardner “reclaimed “ the word, swearing up and down the Inquisitors misunderstood the indigenous religions and demonized them. If you read what the witch trials looked for, you will not find one damned thing about Mother Earth, the goddess, blessing babies, handfastings, honoring elders, or blessing the garden. You will find sex with the devil, killing innocent people, enslaving people, poisoning neighbors they had a disagreement with, turning into rabbits to eat all their neighbors vegetables, causing crop blights, and insect infestations, peeing in a hole to create a hailstorm, making epidemic illnesses, etc. The word Coven, the number 13, the black hats, a horned man all in black, and brooms were all things “confessed” to during torture during witch trials. Nobody ever did those things. So Christians were taught there were evil people worshiping the devil doing all the awful things you could think of, and we are a new religion of people using the language set by the Inquisitors having “reclaimed” the terms? Likewise, the terms “Pagan “ and “Heathen” was used in the Bible to denote terrible people, and yet we call ourselves these things and demand to immediately be identified as the good people we actually are as opposed to the horrible people the words have been used by Xtians to describe. I think this is unfair of us.

The Commercial

Now I come to a commercial that is making people mad as hell also, and to me, it’s not infuriating either. Here is the video:

 

 

It’s about a 15 second commercial for Constant Contact marketing. It shows women sitting in a room of their business products, one meditating, the other playing a digeridoo. I will add both are white girls who look like they are about to run to Starbucks for their Pumpkin Spice Latte on the way to yoga. That sounds good right now!

They click on the page to see how many folks have looked at their listing through Constant Contact, and there are a lot! The girls are tickled pink, and one says “Oh, my goddess!” and then resumes her digeridoo playing.

And people are losing their minds about this also.

Here’s the thing. I know a LOT of New Agers and Pagans and Witches and Wiccans who look, act, talk JUST LIKE the actresses in the commercial.

I am sorry if you have not had the pleasure of meeting such delightful people, and if you find these people insulting or infuriating somehow, but this commercial in no way makes fun of or misrepresents these types of folks in our communities. There are a lot of folks just like these gals in our communities, and it was a realistic representation.

So, on one hand, we throw a fit about Hollywood not portraying us just as we are, but if somebody portrays us just as we are, we are also very angry. Then again, if they do not mention us at all, we feel left out.

The upset reactions by so many to these things says a lot about how much growing up a lot of us have to do, and I have no sympathy about how offended some people are.

Just because you are offended does not mean that you are right.

The Working

I had thought of doing a dispelling anger working for people who find it so necessary to get upset and offended over things like this, but I have a better idea. I want to make you laugh. One of the people I studied with utilized laughter as banishing, and I have found it to always be very effective.

I am not making fun or ridiculing. I want to show how silly we can be sometimes. I get mad sometimes too, but getting offended, and assuming people are trying to harm us or disrespect us every time they mention magical practice does nothing but make our day and life negative. It’s important to stop when we have a knee jerk reaction, take a step back, breathe, and really look objectively at things.

Or consider this- There are now so very many of us, and we have become so much a part of the mainstream – we are now portrayed by the mainstream, and products for our personal use and for those who aspire to join us have made it into mainstream stores.

This is SO good.

Enjoy this lighthearted take on being offended by one of our funniest practitioners.

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.

Sacred Art Video

May, 2018

The Sacred Marriage in the Great Below

Our soul’s craving for wholeness drives the unfoldment of all stories.

A profound mystery teaching is found at the heart of a collection of myths from ancient Sumeria, such The Descent of Inanna and the sacred marriage of Ereshkigal and Nergal.

The language may be archaic but the message is timeless: the sacred marriage between divine feminine and masculine principles is what animates and revitalizes the cosmos

This phenomenon needs to occur within our own psyche (on the level of soul and archetypes) as much as in the world around us.

I invite you to take a journey of initiation into these mysteries by means of this art video!

I also invite you to check out the following telesummit: The Lost Power of the Grail on which I am one of the speakers and we explore some of the themes from this art video:

https://www.sairasalmon.com/grail/

***

About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans – A Spiritual Toolkit for Life: Using Shamanism Creatively with Young People of All Ages (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book SACRED ART, A Hollow Bone for Spirit : Where Meets Shamanism will be published in December 2018.

Click Image for Amazon Information

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

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

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

(Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

Sacred Art Video

April, 2018

YMIR AND ORION

First Ancestor, First Shaman

 

During a sunset walk in the snow, one afternoon in Sweden, the star constellation Orion appearing gave me a powerful vision that involved the primordial giant of Norse mythology: frost giant Ymir. (In truth I had never before assumed any connection between them!)

Ymir was the First Ancestor and First Shaman. The gods dismembered him and created the world from his body parts.

Therefore Ymir was the first person to die and he became the Lord of the Dead.

The word root of the name Ymir means “twins”. A profound mystery involving twins resides in both the night sky and world mythology.

Watch this video to find out more…

Imelda Almqvist

***

About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book SACRED ART, A Hollow Bone for Spirit : Where Meets Shamanism will be published in December 2018.

Click Image for Amazon Information

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

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

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist  (Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

March, 2018

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times for March 2018

Bright Blessings,

I write this on February 19, and it is a pleasant fifty-seven degrees Fahrenheit outside, with a soft, misty rain.

My crocus, hyacinth, and daffodils are pushing their green fingers out of the earth, and I have the sliding glass door open to allow some of the nice, fresh air into the house. My husband was saying it “feels like” Spring yesterday.

I corrected him, “It IS Spring, and it started the first week of February.” I explained Spring is not something that starts all in one day, but is a season that unfolds gradually, and people miss out on most of it if they don’t observe Nature daily. There have been more birds present for weeks, and I have been seeing worms, squirrels, and stronger sunlight quite a lot as well. It gets warm, and then cold again as The Cailleach struggles to maintain winter, I explained.

He just smiled, and turned on the car radio.

I’m both the Pagan, and the gardener in our household, and nothing I said made any sense to him.

Looking in Unexpected Places

More than looking for signs of the seasons in unexpected places, we find ourselves looking for a lot of things that may not be as clear as day to us. We look for answers to life’s big questions. We seek guidance when we feel lost. We open ourselves to inspiration in our arts, when sometimes, we can’t come up with any ideas.

Most of all, for many of us, we seek out the faces and presence of our gods when we feel they have stepped away, or the ways we have perceived them before seem to point to their absence.

The gods are still alive, and out there, even when we cannot feel them.

The issue many have expressed to me is they cannot feel that strong, powerful indication their deity is nearby. I have felt that myself. My gods come to me in well defined ways at times, and others, more subtly.

For example, it’s always easy to pick up the shape of the runes in the clouds when I have called for guidance from The Alfather, but he is also speaking to me when I see no signs, and I do not see him in my spiritual eye. He sometimes expects me to make a decision on my own, so he does not provide an answer.

Turning to the Gods in Difficult Times

Those times tend to be most difficult for us, because we have been conditioned to see the gods and goddesses as powerful, awe inspiring, ever present beings who are glued to our side at all times. This is due to Christianization of our gods. We attribute the beliefs the Christians who raised us have, and we get upset with our gods for not being the way they never promised they would be.

We sometimes doubt them entirely if they do not do all the things we expect of them. We forget they existed before us, will exist long after we leave these bodies, and still exist during times when they have few or no worshippers. We ask for things like healing, financial help, or love, and if they don’t deliver, we sometimes feel betrayed. We forget that many of the Pre-Christian gods had very high expectations of their devotees, and accept prayers, but made no promises to be wish givers.

The Christianization of Pagan gods happens in more ways than this, but this is the biggest way.

We also forget these are gods and goddesses of Nature, and were not always honored with buildings. Some absolutely had temples, but some did not. For the devotees of Pagan gods from places like Rome, Greece, Germany, and Ireland, some of the structures for these gods are still standing, but we don’t have access to those temples, so going to “the house” of our god or goddess every time we want to communicate with them is not going to happen.

Their Answers

For me, I continue to struggle with the fact my ways of perceiving my gods has drastically changed since my body has. I used to see answers in dreams, and got strong gut feelings in regards to what changes and progress I was to make. I went to a lot of group rituals, felt the gods speaking through others, and the collective energies we raised filled me with the divine also.

I fell ill, and everything from my brain functioning to my ability to go places, and circle with people changed. Some days, it seemed the gods voices went silent.

At first.

I begged for healing, and it never came.

That did not mean that my gods were not listening. It means my body is mortal, and time changes how it functions. I begged to be healed, and the gods answered they wanted me to adapt to my body’s changes.

I prayed that I could get back to work, and of course, it’s been over three years, and that is not happening either. The gods answered they wanted me to learn to live on less money.

I prayed for the pain to stop, because it limits the things I can do. The gods answered they wanted me to learn how to cope, and work within the constraints the pain caused.

Worst of all came the terrible despair, anxiety, and fears this all caused. I asked the gods to take that away. Their answer was, they expected me to live with it, and function mentally despite it all.

I asked for it to stop, and I asked to go back to how I had always been before. The gods answered that they expected me to pull myself together as best I could, function as well as I could, and adapt to the new normal the changes in my body created.

I fail at these things some days, and other days, I succeed. The gods have not told me to be at peace with the way things are, or to give up. They tell me to do my best every day, even if my best isn’t as good as I’d like it to be.

I asked, and they answered in the way they decided to, not in the way I asked them to answer. We don’t get to decide how they respond. Oftentimes, when we ask them for help with something, they respond with a request from us instead.

In the past month, I have really reached into myself to try and find the old me. I want to be her again more than I can express. Some days, it feels like she is long gone, but I discovered something. She is still inside me. I have caught glimpses of her in reflections in mirrors or glass more than once. It feels so good to see that old, familiar face. I see my new face also, and I am still reconciling that I am the same person, when I feel very much like I am not. Rationally, I understand I have changed, but am still me. Emotionally, I grieve the changes, and I feel like I have laid who I was for all of my life to rest. The goddess has reminded me in the past month that is not so, and I am still very much alive with things to do before I reincarnate.

She didn’t take the changes in my body away like I wanted her to, but she reminded me I am still me no matter what.

Nunnos by Daniel Faria

I talked about these things to introduce a wonderful film about the god Cernunnos called Nunnos by Daniel Faria. Luckily, it is on YouTube, and we share it here on PaganPagesOrg. It’s a little over three minutes long, and you can watch it by clicking one of the links now!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-cdYS_r2jc

I was lucky enough to be introduced through e-mail to Daniel by our beautiful editor, Jennifer, and he was good enough to let me interview him.

Interviewing Daniel Faria

Saoirse- I watched the film, and first, let me say it was very nice. You made me hungrier for the Spring and Summer! You really captured the spirit of the growing season and the forest.

I noted it was a unique take on the god, and focused on his healing, gentle, nurturing side, as opposed to his god of the hunt side. He was gentle and caring, as opposed to just powerful and lusty. What made you decide to portray him as you did? Also, I most appreciated the fact you selected a softer, less gym ripped actor to portray him. The ripped, buff image of Cenunnos, if you will notice, is a modern one, and old depictions showed him with an ordinary body- like your actors. 

What made you decide, specifically, to portray THAT particular god, and how did he speak to you before, during, and after the film? I paint, and I personally find deities speak to me extra when I am painting them. They tell me how they want to be portrayed. I’ve even been sent on a pilgrimage once before I was allowed to finish! Did anything similar to this happen for you?

Daniel- The process of creating Nunnos was very simple and fast. One day I took my notebook and then I wrote down four different short film scripts for Jesse, the actor who performs Nunnos. The four short films were really different from each other and only Nunnos was related to a God. I chose to portray this side of Cernunnos exactly because of what you said: the modern depictions of Cernunnos usually focus on his strength as a hunter and on his sexual energy. It is as if there was only this face of the God. But we know that Cernunnos, just like the Goddess, also has different faces. Why not showing another one?

When I come to think about it, I don’t really remember how I thought of portraying Cernunnos specifically. It could have been any other God like Odin or maybe Zeus. I think it was Cernunnos himself who asked and guided me through the process. I even made a sketch about the costume and the flute. Suddenly I had everything ready, just the way I first imagined.

I remember the day we went to Parque Lage, here in Rio de JaneiroParque Lage, to shoot the video. It was on a day in December 2016. It was a really hot day and there were many people in the park. Jesse and I walked through the park until we found that site under that tree you can see in the video. We asked for Cernunnos some protection, so we could prepare everything and shoot with no interruptions.

We prepared the camera, costume, make-up and everything else and shot the video. It was only one take. The final version is that take. No editions, just video effects. It was amazing!

I started editing in the same week. Everything went fine and easy until I realized something. I needed to record the soundtrack. Again, Cernunnos guided me. I made it besides I wasn’t a musician yet! From the video soundtrack, I was blessed with the idea of creating an audio track and then it turned out to be Nunnos’ Healing Song alongside the musical project Trismegistia.

Everything happened that fast. Nunnos, and Nunnos’ Healing Song were released on 11th February last year. It will be its first anniversary on a few days!

On the day Nunnos was released I received an Instagram message from a person I did not know. It was a young man who was thanking me for the short film. He said Nunnos really touched him and talked to him. He was considering to commit suicide on that very day, right before watching the short film. When he watched Nunnos he felt loved and remembered that Cernunnos would always care for him. He gave up the suicide idea, then. I was as surprised as happy!

Since Nunnos was released I’ve been receiving many other similar messages telling how Cernunnos touched people and how they felt better after watching the film.

So I think Cernunnos intention was to spread this message of “cure and love”. It’s been working, I guess.

Saoirse- That is beautiful! When you work with the Pagan deities, they speak, and give very good instructions as to how they want to be portrayed. Have you had any other experiences besides how he guided you to portray him, yourself?

What is your personal religious or spiritual path?

I’m going to guess you are also close with nature somehow? Am I right, and how so?

What other projects, pages, or websites can I share?

Daniel- Yes, I had many other experiences with other deities. When we were shooting Hounds of Hekate, for example, Jesse and I went to the same place where we shot Nunnos: Parque Lage. Again, it was very crowded. Different from Nunnos, Hounds of Hekate is a music video. It has got many different takes and there’s the dancing part.

We were looking for a place where we could prepare everything for the dancing part and we were guided by Hekate to that area you can see in the video. It was full of people when we arrived. We asked her to help us once we were making a video in honour to her. A few minutes later, it was completely empty.

We stayed there for around 40 minutes. Time to get dressed, prepare the camera and shoot the dancing part from different angles. No one appeared. When we finished shooting and started collecting things, people started gathering around again immediately.

In other occasions, not related to videos, I was also guided by deities. The creation of Santuario Lunar is an example. After I read the book “The Goddess Path” by Patricia Monaghan, I immediately started creating the website and I had no experience at all with blogs by that time.

I consider myself a natural witch. I’m from the Brazilian countryside and I used to be very close to nature. Nowadays I live in Rio de Janeiro, capital city. There is a park on the left side of my building and I can see a bit of Baia de Guanabara from my living room. I’d like to have more contact with nature, but here it is not very easy, though. I go to parks and to the beach, but not as much as I’d like to.

My current projects are Santuário Lunar website (http://www.santuariolunar.com.br), Trismegistia (https://open.spotify.com/artist/3oJxfvyA2GgoI7gLuwZXWt?si=pq-YQphRTNanELmFduYkbg) and Templo de Saule (Saule’s Temple) an online holistic therapy website which is starting in Portuguese and soon it is going to be available in English as well (https://www.templodesaule.com.br)

I’m currently starting a new music video for Trismegistia. The song and video will be available soon on every streaming platform.

Make sure to check out all Daniels projects through the links and his pages he provided!

Many thanks Daniel for the beautiful, healing film, and the amazing interview!

Cernunnos

I’d like to write a little bit about the god Cernunnos. Like many Pre-Xtian gods, devotion of him is being resurrected by today’s Neo Pagans.

Because our ancestors writings are lost if they were ever made, knowledge of him is lost, but what little we do know is enough for many to venerate him.

Gerald Gardner of course refers to him as The Horned God. Indeed, his name in both Gaulish and Latin contains parts of their words for horn. His name was carved in The Pillar of The Boatmen, which was created in 14 CE, part of which is missing. Only his head, the horns adorned with two torcs can be seen unless the lower part is found someday. His name was also carved on a metal plaque discovered in Luxenborg, naming the god “Cernunicos”, thought to be the same god, as well as an inscription from Montagnac naming “Carnonos”. Images of the horned god with torcs and or horns not using the name Cernunnos, or similar spellings are numerous, and perhaps the most famous being on the Gunderstrup cauldron with the horned god seated, holding a torc and serpent, and surrounded by animals.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gundestrup_cauldron#/media/File:Gundestrupkarret2.jpg

We believe him to be a god of the hunt, the forest, life, vitality, strength, male virility, and power.

Due to the fact writings and unbroken tradition of worship do not survive, we are guessing.

However, I am of the belief these gods still speak, and make themselves knows to those who belong to them. Our devotions to them will never be exactly what pre- Christian Pagans were, but their voices communicate clearly with us, and we know them as intimately as people did centuries ago, before Christianization.

Here is his picture in The Pillar of the Boatmen-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cernunnos#/media/File:Cernunnos.jpg

More exciting than just the photo, one of the men who actually lives right here in my town traveled overseas and actually SAW the Pillar of the Boatmen! He made a beautiful video I am linking here for you to watch. Many thanks for this amazing educational video to Rev. Michael Dangler of Three Cranes Grove ADF, and co-owner of The Magical Druid in Columbus, Ohio.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lzpQzxTk6c&t=218s

March Working to reach the Gods

I was gifted with a prayer I wrote four years ago today in my Facebook Memories, and I think it is perfect for this month’s working. This prayer can be to any god or goddess you like. You may give them a gift, and cast circle, or not before doing this prayer. This prayer can be said by anybody to any god or goddess anytime.

A Prayer to the Great Goddess

When I search for you,
remind me not to look
in places from a time
before my language was born-
in places far beyond the reach
of my yesterdays and tomorrow’s.

Remind me not to look for you
in some high mountain
I may never reach
or some ancient site
whose soil I may never touch.

Let me seek you, rather,
in the gray and the blue of the sky,
in the night,
and in the dawn.

Let me hear your voice
in the laughter of a child
and in the tears of the bereaved.

Let me see you in my suffering and my anger.
Let me search for you in the silence of my heart
and know you are there even when I think I can’t find you.

Help me to remember
the answers to the mysteries
are as simple as a smile

or opening my eyes from deep sleep.
I will see you in my visions
and meditations,
in my waking awareness,
and in my forgetfulness.

Let me never forget
your great mercy,
even when I’m not feeling especially merciful.
Let me hear your comforting words
when I feel attacked,
and assume your power
when I feel defeated or weak.

Let the earth, the sky, the forests be your temple.
Move in and out of dwellings.
Move beyond time, and flaws, and fears,
and let me remember that I, too, am you.

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

 

Sacred Art Video

February, 2018

THE RESURRECTION BONE

 

Many spiritual traditions call the human body a Temple.

It has taken me 50 years on this planet to fully comprehend the truth of this teaching! The Tzeltal Maya people take this concept a few steps further. They believe that the human bodies and the bodies of animals they hunted have a so called Resurrection Bone.

This bone is part of the pelvis and it often the last bone to survive when a body is unearthed long after burial. Tribal hunters believed that from residual essence here a person will be reborn after death.

This is why they often carved the sacrum of animals they hunted. Ritual care for this bone ensured success in the hunt and carry favour with the gods.

They also believed that the human body has loci (places) of transformative power. This means that we can access the cosmos, powerful gods, ancestors and other worlds using portals in our own body.

Watch this brand new art video, created in January 2018, to find out more about this profoundly intriguing cosmology!

**

About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book SACRED ART, A Hollow Bone for Spirit – Where Meets Shamanism will be published in the Autumn of 2018.

Click Image for Amazon Information

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

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

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

(Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

Imelda is a presenter on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True

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

And she presented on the Shamanism Global Summit with The Shift Network in both 2016 and 2017

http://shamanismsummit.com/program/132

The Divine Child

January, 2018

 

I am writing this article on Boxing Day or Annandag Jul in Swedish (our family is in Sweden).

I always pay close attention to dreams and my dreams last night were full of children.

I am wearing a warm furry silver cloak and walking around a forest. There is a spectacular night sky overhead. The stars are reflected by the ice crystals trapped in my cloak meaning that I myself am sparkling with star light (not unlike a Christmas tree!) I am Mother Winter! All around me child spirits are darting around and playing in trees: luminous, joyful but also “ghostly”, as-yet-unborn. I open my cloak and give them all a place to gestate safely, in the Womb of Mother Winter…

The central event at Christmas is, of course, the birth of a Divine Child. For Christians this is a very particular child: Jesus Christ. However, the concept of a Divine Child exists in other cultures and belief systems as well. Here is a blog that provides a good overview:

http://mythicspiral.blogspot.se/2013/02/gods-divine-birth-in-religion-and-myth.html

It explains how many of our world’s myths and religions start with the birth of a Divine Child who grows up and becomes a Saviour God as an adult. This Divine Child or god, incarnated on Earth, usually does not have an easy time of it. Often it comes close to being murdered and faces an evil ruler (sometimes its own human father). Miraculously, this child does survive and becomes a revolutionary who plants the seeds for a new paradigm and new ways of collective thinking and dreaming.

The Divine Child exists in alchemy as well. It is often seen as the offspring of the alchemical marriage of opposites or opposing forces: sun and moon, light and dark. You could say that the whole sacred art of alchemy is contained within the image of a magical or divine child because it holds the key to processes of transformation and transmutation.

What if some of the children leading tough lives today are here to become our future world leaders?!

Christmas is a good time to reflect on the fate of children in today’s world. My husband got our three children up before dawn this morning to perform a pagan family ceremony by the nearby lake. They considered themselves hard done by, being lifted from their warm beds before sunrise!

Many children all over the world face serious (real) hardship today as well as every day and night of the year. They grow up in war zones, politically unstable regimes or places of extreme poverty and deprivation. They are at risk of losing their lives, their parents, families, homes or livelihood.

Even in the more affluent Western world many children suffer abuse at the hands of the very people who are supposed to love and protect them: their own parents. The so called “festive season” tends to increase family tensions meaning that for many children Christmas is not a happy time. Instead it is a time of increased physical and emotional abuse. Alcohol use increases too and that is never good news for children.

So today I invite everyone reading this article to spare a thought for the children facing hardship almost beyond human comprehension. Also for the spirits of children who died young or where aborted, who live on as spirit children in other worlds. For more about this I invite you to watch my 2014 art video:

 

SPIRIT CHILDREN

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpSLQLHN2B4

 

 

I am a presenter Year of Ceremony with Sounds True and the title of my Full Moon Ceremony) on January 31st is Drawing Down the Divine Child. I invite everyone to check out this wonderful program!

 

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

 

In a way all children are divine children because a divine spark glows in their heart (as it does in adults). Might it be the case that some children choose to come to Earth to hold up mirrors for all of us and expose injustice?

Might it be the case that soul groups of children incarnate collectively to bring specific issues to global attention? If so, could we find ways of honouring this sacrifice?!

Our word sacrifice is derived from Latin and literally means: making sacred by offering to the gods.

We are all on Earth for a relatively short time before we become ancestors for those who come after us. Do we give enough thought to those future generations, the children of our children’s children and beyond? Do we actively try to create the right conditions on Earth for their arrival?

Shamanism teaches that we can step Outside Time. Once we do so we can work with both Past and Future. Many spiritual schools of thought teach that Time is an illusion and that Past and Future co-exists in parallel dimensions. (Personally speaking I think of Time as an organising dimension on Earth, not as an ultimate reality). If this is so, it means that we can already connect with the children waiting to be born. We can communicate with those souls and find out what they need from us, what seeds they need us to plant for their future existence.

These are some of the issues we will engage with during my Full Moon Ceremony for 31 January 2018!

For today I invite you to do a meditation (or shamanic journey) and seek guidance from spirit on how you can reach out to one child (or several children, (or even a group of children) today and make a difference. Could you be a mentor, provide a listening ear or a sanctuary? Could you be an ambassador working in a different way: speaking, writing or campaigning? Is there some unique contribution only you can make? The lives of many children have been turned around by having access to that one crucial person who was there for them and provided unconditional support. That person is not always a parent, often this is a neighbour, teacher, aunt/uncle, youth leader or grandparent.

If you are a holistic or spiritual practitioner already working with children I invite you to join a closed Facebook group I recently created (and there is some lively thought-provoking sharing going on there!) The idea is to connect people and map where everyone is, so referrals can be made and experiences can be exchanged.

 

GLOBAL GRID OF SPIRITUAL PRACTITIONERS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1084444561692912/

 

All of us grown-ups are ex-children. Somewhere within all of us lives the Divine Child!

I will close with a beautiful poem that friend and fellow author Laura Perry brought to my attention:

 

For So The Children Come

By Sophia Lyon Fahs

For so the children come
And so they have been coming.
Always in the same way they come
Born of the seed of man and woman.

No angels herald their beginnings.
No prophets predict their future courses.
No wise men see a star to show where to find the babe that will save humankind.

Yet each night a child is born is a holy night,
Fathers and mothers–sitting beside their children’s cribs feel glory in the sight of a new life beginning
They ask “Where and how will this new life end?
Or will it ever end?”

Each night a child is born is a holy night–
A time for singing,
A time for wondering,
A time for worshipping.

 

***

About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. She is currently working on her second book Sacred : A Hollow Bone for Spirit (Where Meets Shamanism)

 

For Amazon information Click Image

 

 

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

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

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist  (Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

http://affiliate.soundstrue.com/aff_c?offer_id=124&aff_id=2260&url_id=86 (Year of Ceremony)

 

 

Rage and Spiritual People

November, 2017

 

 

We have the privilege of being alive in a time of paradigm shift. The world my own parents knew and took for granted has tilted on its axis in the four decades since I was a child. In many ways this is a wonderful thing: courtesy of the internet and social media we now all have access to a vast reservoir of information and inspiration. My own children laugh when I explain to them that in my childhood I needed to cycle to the local library if I needed information about any subject. For them it is all just one finger click away. They cannot comprehend a time where TV programs were limited to certain hours of the day and parents asked their teenagers not to the one-and-only phone in the hallway!

However, all those wonders do have a shadow side (meaning less desirable aspects) and one such shadow manifestation is a sense of brutal overwhelm. Everything that is happening in our world now finds its way into the social media newsfeed as well as onto our various screens (TV, I-pad, computer etc.) In essence this means that we are never free from the information stream (unless we take active measures to cut ourselves of and stem the flow). Wars, natural disasters, famine, forest fires, oil spills, crimes and terrorist attacks (the list goes on) – they have become “daily ingredients in our information diet”.

Fairness dictates that I also state here that the world news and is edited and heavily selected. There are many disasters happening all over the world that NEVER make it onto our screens and that is hardly fair, obviously. Media and broadcasting companies actually choose and select items they feel will get an audience. What we see is just a selection and a selection they put their own spin on by the way they present things, the images they show, the words they use. There are many issues with this process and some people are actively campaigning to raise the collective awareness of these aspects. However, this falls outside the scope of this particular article. The information-feed is relentless, global and overwhelming, full stop!

Spiritually speaking, once something enters our consciousness, we have the responsibility of dealing with it, on some level or in some way. (This is why I stopped watching TV about 20 years ago and I only rarely read newspapers – I prefer reading summaries and articles in quality publications once a week).

I run a number of groups on Facebook for students and people who have read my book or follow my work. In one such group the following question was asked recently:

We all carry the warrior archetype within us but how can we healthfully meaningfully and spiritually deal with rage???

This is an important question in times of both upheaval and global shifts in consciousness. I told the person who asked this that I would respond by writing an article on the subject instead.

Let’s start by doing what I usually do and check out the origin of the word “rage”:

Rage (noun)

c. 1300, “madness, insanity; fit of frenzy; anger, wrath; fierceness in battle; violence of storm, fire, etc.,” from Old French rageraige “spirit, passion, rage, fury, madness” (11c.), from Medieval Latin rabia, from Latin rabies “madness, rage, fury,” related to rabere “be mad, rave” (compare rabies, which originally had this sense), from PIE *rebh- “violent, impetuous” (source also of Old English rabbian “to rage”). Similarly, Welsh (cynddaredd) and Breton (kounnar) words for “rage, fury” originally meant “hydrophobia” and are compounds based on the word for “dog” (Welsh ci, plural cwn; Breton ki). In 15c.-16c. it also could mean “rabies.” The rage “fashion, vogue” dates from 1785.

Rage (verb)

mid-13c., “to play, romp,” from rage (n.). Meanings “be furious; speak passionately; go mad” first recorded c. 1300. Of things from 1530s. Related: Ragedraging.

(From http://www.etymonline.com)

What soon becomes clear is that there is a close link between the words fury, passion, battle and fierceness: to be furious, to speak passionately, to go mad.

So the first thing we need to address is the notion that being a spiritual person somehow means that we do not admit to rage or other negative emotions (not an uncommon perception). Being spiritual does not mean we are going to be exempt from the trials and tribulations of the human condition. It does not mean either that we will never lose our temper or always immediately see some elevated reason why something horrible or traumatic might be occurring.

What being spiritual does mean is that we need to reflect very seriously on how we ourselves handle anger or other difficult feelings – and how we respond. (And choosing not to respond is also a response!!)

By now most of us know that just trying to suppress it and pretend it doesn’t exist is very unhealthy and a lifetime of that can lead to serious illness (too much disowned negativity pooling accumulating somewhere in the body). I am not saying that all serious illness is caused by this (there can be many medical, psychological and medical causes for illness). Based on years of doing shamanic healing work, I am just saying that it can be one cause of serious illness.

Most of us are also familiar with the “dumping it on someone else” strategy: a person who misses out on a hoped-for promotion gets home and kicks the family dog or shouts at their children…. That is clearly not going to solve anything either. The opposite is true: the amount of pain and anger expands and affects others.

The person who asked me this question gave the example of an African woman shaman explaining how she uses coconuts representing the heads of people (e.g. politicians she is infuriated with) to get rage out of her system, by kicking them or throwing bottles at them. Her question then was: is that a good idea for all of us, something we can maybe introduce in family life to help our children manage anger?

My answer was that undoubtedly this shaman knew exactly what she was doing (and I didn’t hear the interview myself so it is impossible for me to comment on exactly what was or was not happening there) but NO, I don’t think this is a good general method of ‘rage release’ for all of us.

Shamanism teaches that we can do powerful healing work for someone who is not in the same location by using an object as a stand-in. I was taught to (for example) use a stick as a substitute for a person in shamanic healing work though I always preferred drawing a picture of the person instead. Either way, healing and blessings will arrive as surely as if the person had been in the room with us. Now the same thing is true if we are going to be sending the opposite thing: anger, hate, negative thought forms etc. This is going to affect the person as much as pouring bile and venom over them in person.

For that reason using coconuts to represent the heads of real people is very dubious by my book – because it will affect the people concerned and spiritually speaking that also means that this act carries karma (or spiritual consequences). There is a rule in witchcraft: expect whatever you direct at others to return to you threefold! Please sit with that before you start sending people rage and curses or what not!

Yet this is the operating principle when practitioners of dark magic make dolls representing people and stick pins in them. I am choosing not to use the word voodoo here because voodoo is actually a proper religion in Haiti and I consider it disrespectful to use the word as short hand for “practicing dark magic”. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haitian_Vodou).

I hope that I am making sense so far! So what can we do when we feel overcome by rage and we know that we cannot direct or forward it at other people or sentient beings?

Well, the big issue here is the difference between expressing rage and directing rage. I have had clients punch a pillow, beat a drum or scream loudly in safe space. Rage needs to be released, not bottled up. Working with a group of children I have had them collectively howl at the Moon or run around my garden growling like wild animals. If an urban child, living in a flat with no access to a garden, really needs to smash things you could (for instance) take them to your local “bottle bank” (recycling centre) and have them throw in a large number of bottles, all the while naming whatever they are smashing. Every throw will be followed by a loud and satisfactory crash. Depending on the personality of the child concerned you could also invite them to draw the anger, or sing it, dance it to loud music etc.

Depending on the person you are, the person you are working with (if you see clients) or the personalities of your children (this question was asked in the context of family life) you can find many ways of releasing rage: more physical and aggressive ones such as pummelling a cushion or milder ones, such as writing down exactly how you feel and then burning those slips of paper ceremonially with someone witnessing the act. A friend of mine sometimes locks herself in her car to have a good screaming fit away from her family.

A related method is writing “no send letters”. Meaning you write person (living or dead) a letter explaining very honestly how you feel and then you send this letter to spirit (NOT the person concerned!!!) by burning it (or burying it in the earth, or asking a body of water to dissolve it). Obviously be mindful that you don’t release anything toxic in nature when doing this – choose your materials with great care!

What I hope this article makes clear is that “whatever goes around comes around”. Meaning that if we human beings keep passing on pain, rage and trauma to others – eventually it will roll around again (on a collective level), because anything that is out-of-balance will continue to seek healing until the issue is transmuted or healed for once and for all. For that reason we do not only help ourselves and others, but we are also in service to the world and mankind when we learn to manage our negative emotions: expressing them but not sending them.

A useful book in this context is: How To Heal Toxic Thoughts by Sandra Ingerman.

If we take a giant step back and dare to see the larger spiritual perspective, we can already see the trauma and grief of the future (that will affect human beings not yet born at this time) being created/taking shape just by observing events in our world today. In both a large sense (think of wars or school shootings) and more domestic sense: physical or sexual abuse being passed on down many generations.

Hawaiian H’oponopono has proved to be extremely useful:

http://www.laughteronlineuniversity.com/practice-hooponopono-four-simple-steps/

 

Many people now use Morrnah’s Prayer or just four simple healing sentences. Morrnah Simeona was an Hawaiian shaman. She would use the prayer below to help individuals overcome illness by asking the Divine for forgiveness.

Morrnahs Prayer

Divine creator, father, mother, son as one…If I, my family, relatives and ancestors have offended you, your family, relatives and ancestors in thoughts, words, deeds and actions from the beginning of our creation to the present, we ask your forgiveness…Let this cleanse, purify, release, cut all the negative memories, blocks, energies and vibrations, and transmute these unwanted energies into pure light….And it is done.

 

Four simple healing sentences:

Thank you (for coming to attention – meaning I can now formulate a response or decide to do a small healing ceremony….)

I am sorry

Please forgive me

I love you

These words can be spoken or chanted as a mantra (as we go about our daily business). They can be written on slips of paper and put in front of photographs (with a candle burning). The possibilities are endless!

 

Do we want to be part of the great cycle: of perpetuating pain, rage and trauma? Or do we choose to be part of the Clean-Up-Team, the growing group of people using ancient alchemical tools for changing human consciousness to eliminate what we can from the collective reservoir of human grief?

That is the larger question! The choice is ours!

 

To see how I personally have been guided to work with challenging events and material, please watch this recent art video:

 

THE POISON MOTHER

 

 

Imelda Almqvist, Sweden, 26 October 2017

 

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About the Author:

 

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She currently divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US.

For Amazon information, click image below.

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

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

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist  (Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

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