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MagickalArts

August 1st, 2018

Let freedom Ring-Part Two

The Cosmic Horae: Order, Justice and Peace Shall Rule

The Executors of Divine Order

Dike(Order) – Eunomia(Justice) – Eirene(Peace)

Dike: Hora of Order

Themis’ daughters are the seeds of extension for maintaining what has been decreed within the heavens. These are the controls that remand the individual to the laws of karmic order when encountered at death by their mother Themis. Their attributes are the affirmation of cosmic and earthly law being reflections of the same dynamics of order and balance that are upheld in both heavenly and earthly matters.

Dike, in her role as keeper of justice and order made judgment of the moral order of humanity. Dike is often associated with the astrological sign of the Virgin, Virgo. The analytical and careful attention to detail being the primary energy called upon to maintain moral order and justice for all mankind. Hers was the responsibility to ensure that man acted in accord with right action and bestow swift punishment for any infringement, especially in the case of one who was acting as judge and counsel.

The Greek poet, Hesiod speaks of Dike in this way in his epic poem, Works and Days:


“Listen to right and do not foster violence; for violence is bad for a poor man. Even the prosperous cannot easily bear its burden, but is weighed down under it when he has fallen into delusion. The better path is to go by on the other side towards justice; for Dike (Justice) beats Hybris (Outrage) when she comes at length to the end of the race. But only when he has suffered does the fool learn this. For Horkos (Horcus, Oath) keeps pace with wrong judgments. There is a noise when Dike (Justice) is being dragged in the way where those who devour bribes and give sentence with crooked judgments, take her. And she, wrapped in mist, follows to the city and haunts of the people, weeping, and bringing mischief to men, even to such as have driven her forth in that they did not deal straightly with her. But they who give straight judgments to strangers and to the men of the land, and go not aside from what is just, their city flourishes, and the people prosper in it: Eirene (Irene, Peace), the nurse of children, is abroad in their land, and all-seeing Zeus never decrees cruel war against them. Neither famine nor disaster ever haunt men who do true justice; but lightheartedly they tend the fields which are all their care. The earth bears them victual in plenty, and on the mountains the oak bears acorns upon the top and bees in the midst. Their woolly sheep are laden with fleeces; their women bear children like their parents. They flourish continually with good things, and do not travel on ships, for the grain-giving earth bears them fruit.”

Eunomia: Hora of Justice

Eunomia exerted her power as provider of governance of justice through good law. Legislation, judicial determination and their processes and the ultimate outcome of enforcing those determinations made were her specialty. Eunomia’s name is used to describe the “principle of good order”. Her image was often painted on vases and in the company of Aphrodite as a reminder of the need for lawful action in matters of the heart, marriage and loving relationship.

Eunomia was the mother of the three Graces; Aglaea (Grace and Beauty), Euphrosyn (Good Cheer, Mirth and Merriment), and Thalia (Festivities and Banquets). Again, we see the disbursement of the mother’s gifts flowing through the Graces, each needing the space of governance to ensure neither excess nor poverty in their expression.

Demosthenes, the prominent Greek statesman speaks of Eunomia in his rhetoric, Against Aristogeiton :

“You must magnify Eunomia (the Goddess of Order) who loves what is right and preserves every city and every land; and before you cast your votes, each juryman must reflect that he is being watched by hallowed and inexorable Dike (Justice), who, as Orpheus, that prophet of our most sacred mysteries, tells us, sits beside the throne of Zeus and oversees all the works of men. Each must keep watch and ward lest he shame that goddess, from whom everyone that is chosen by lot derives his name of juror, because he has this day received a sacred trust from the laws, from the constitution, from the fatherland,–the duty of guarding all that is fair and right and beneficial in our city.”

Eirene: Hora of Peace

Eirene was the personification of peace. Hers was the final blessing of the action of rightful justice exacted in a lawful way with resolution that would ultimately restore and disperse the Divine Justice of her mother, Themis. So great was her influence that the citizens of Athens set up an altar and erected a votive statue to her in the Agora of Athens. The statue shows her as a young beautiful woman holding the infant Ploutos (the God of wealth) in her arm. In artwork she is also depicted carrying a cornucopia, the symbol of the abundance that may be gathered when peace rules every action.

The poet, Hesiod describes Eirene in this way:


“But they who give straight judgments [i.e. those who invoke the goddess Dike (Justice)] to strangers and to the men of the land, and go not aside from what is just, their city flourishes, and the people prosper in it: Eirene (Irene, Peace), the nurse of children, is abroad in their land, and all-seeing Zeus never decrees cruel war against them. Neither famine nor disaster ever haunt men who do true justice; but hardheartedly they tend the fields which are all their care. The earth bears them victual in plenty, and on the mountains the oak bears acorns upon the top and bees in the midst. Their woolly sheep are laden with fleeces; their women bear children like their parents. They flourish continually with good things, and do not travel on ships, for the grain-giving earth bears them fruit.”

Order, Justice and Peace Shall Rule

There is much we can learn from the Horae and much we can apply to the way in which we live today. The principles of lawful order and justice for all of humanity remain the same. The desire for a peaceful coexistence and the balance and Karmic blessings that are the products is still a dream for many. Remembering the work of the Horae and the natural cycles that surround and are in support of a balanced and orderly life are the beginning steps towards establishing Themis, or Divine order. Taking time to honor and show devotion to the order that is established within your life already and then seeing it grow and extend exponentially into every facet of your life’s work, much like the energy imparted in the daughters of Themis and Zeus, will feed the archetypal energy of these Deities and draw the power of their pursuits back into balancing chaos and discord.

And, the ultimate blessing will be that of knowing the peace of living a life that has come full cycle in embracing the cycles of the seasons, the will of the fates and scales at life’s end of Themis.

References:

1. Hesiod, Works and Days 212 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :

2. Demosthenes, Against Aristogeiton 25. 11 (Greek rhetoric C4th B.C.) :
3. Hesiod, Works & Days – Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.

***

About the Author:

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

She is the author of:

 

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.

Let Freedom Ring! Part One

The Cosmic Horae: Order, Justice and Peace Shall Rule

 

 

In Greek Mythology the classification of Goddesses known as the Horae composed two basic components of cyclic action. This name given of “Horae” was used to describe several goddesses whose primary function was order, balance and justice from the aspect of nature to the larger demands of Cosmic events. The earliest writing about the Horae is attribute to Homer’s Iliad as custodians of the gates of Olympus. These were the daughters of Mighty Zeus and the Titaness, Themis, Goddess of Divine Order. Early worship in Athens separated the six dominant Horae into two triads that in combination attended to the order of society from cosmic affairs to the human needs.

The first of these being the Triad of the three seasons: Thallo (Spring), Auxo (Summer) and Carpo (Autumn). These Goddesses were considered the guardians of the growing season and agricultural blessings were bestowed by their continuous and fruitful cycles. Their worship was predominantly within the rural communities, serving the needs of the farmers and those living more simply and closer to the lands. Their annual festival was held in Horaea.

The Second Triad was responsible for the right order and balance of the Cosmos; thus affecting also the balance of daily mundane life and order within society. These were considered the Cosmic Horae and in addition to recognition in Athens were worshiped in the main cities of Argos and Olympia where politics and wealth played their games of power. Even their parentage spoke of power being the daughters of Zeus and Themis, the Titaness of Divine Order.

In the Hellenistic and Roman periods the Horae became the four seasons and were considered to be the daughters of the sun god, Helios, and the moon goddess, Selene, each represented by the conventional seasonal attributes of Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall. Subsequently, when the day was divided into 12 equal parts, each of them took the name of Hora (meaning “hour”) and each was responsible for a section of time and the energies that would prevail.

The Horae carried aspects of their parents, which when applied together formed a cohesive balance and whole. The cycles of the seasons continue through the balance of order, justice and peace and the fates web the stories of birth and death for those of humanity who will live in accord with those cycles in keeping with the laws. The focus for this essay is the Cosmic Horae of the Second Triad; Dike, Eunomia and Eirene and their Mother Themis.

The Titaness, Themis

The Goddess, Themis was an ancient deity of the First generation of the creation myths. She is one of the twelve Titans and daughter of Uranus and Gaia. She was responsible for maintaining and overseeing Divine order and much like the Egyptian Goddess, Ma’at, she was considered the personification of order within the Cosmos. Cosmic order was the required state for justice and balance to prevail and from the natural chaos of creative endeavor, Hers was the power to restore and provide the necessary structure to keep chaos at bay.

Themis is often depicted as blindfolded and carrying the scales of Justice and we all are familiar with the saying that “justice is blind”. In this way her actions and determinations had no bias of who, what or when. It was simply a fact that order would prevail, at all costs. Her final ruling could be severe and her judgment was precise and specific in its application. Maintaining Divine order and justice also required that she sit in judgment of the newly deceased and make final decision of whether they would enjoy the afterlife of the Elysian Fields or be cast into the deep abyss of Tartarus and eternal torment. Therefore, it behooved the individual to follow the precepts of law and order in their earthly life and this was upheld by the control of her daughters, the Cosmic Horae seeing that justice was preserved in daily affairs.

Another of Themis’ roles was that of a visionary. She was the overseer of the Oracle of Delphi before it was dedicated to Apollo and held in his domain. And, much in the same manner that we adhere to the principle that “with great power (or insight) comes great responsibility” there is a necessary application of balance, order, ethical and justifiable communication required when sharing the insights of visionary and oracular sight. Misspoken words can produce chaos, fear and restrained action if not productive to an outcome that should be driven by free will rather than destiny’s pre-determined hand.

In some myths, Themis is said to have (wed) the mighty God Zeus and their union produced the Eunomia, Dike and Eirene who became known as the Second or Cosmic Horae. The Fates (Moiraies) were also said to be progeny of the powerful Zeus and exacting Themis and again the themes of order are played out. Clotho spun the thread of life on her spindle; Lachesis measured the amount allotted to each individual and Atropos chose the manner and time of death. Each, becoming an extension of the Cosmic order of life and death. Each carrying out the broader reach of their mother, Themis.

 

References:

1. Hesiod, Works and Days 212 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) 2. Demosthenes, Against Aristogeiton 25. 11 (Greek rhetoric C4th B.C.) : 

3. Hesiod, Works & Days – Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.  

 

Part Two Next Month:

The Executors of Divine Order

***

About the Author:

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

She is the author of:

 

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.

(Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash)

 

This document is intended as a commentary on, and companion to, Wendy’s Division of the Soul class. I have called my text ‘Multiple Souls,’ because I believe it is equally valid to say our identity is closely associated with inner spirits. Where we draw the boundary of identity depends on the circumstances. On spirit journeys we encounter deeper levels of ourselves, but we also have to deal with other entities in passing. Some of these are completely independent, others are partly integrated with the soul, partly independent of it.

Please bear in mind that this is lore, not information. It isn’t necessary to agree or disagree with all or part of it. Lore is like ore; you must dig it out for yourself, melt it down, refine it, and shape it into the tools you particularly need. This is, in fact, my lore, my ore. It fits my needs, but it goes without saying that it will not and cannot fit all of yours. If you can make use of it, do so; for the rest, take it as entertainment.

The rest of this text serves as commentary on Wendy’s document.

Many Hindu and Buddhist traditions teach that the everyday personality dissolves when Brahman or nirvana is realized. The Craft attitude to this, I believe, is that it doesn’t explain why we find ourselves in phenomenal existence, on this plane, at all. What is it for? When a witch has an experience of the deep self, with access to memories of past lives and a sudden understanding of this life and its limitations, this seems to be a living, growing entity, absorbing the lucid experiences it receives from life after life. This we call the root soul. Each life begins when the root soul sends a shoot up to Middle-earth. A baby is born. The extension of the root soul that comes awake at this moment is called the bud soul. The bud soul looks out on its outer world. But behind it, looking on silently from the inner trunk, is the dream soul. The dream soul can go down and up the trunk, down to the root soul, and in fact does so at death. It is usually quiet during waking, but helps us weave our dreams at night, providing access to inner spirits in the field of the sleeper’s imagination.

The dream soul is in communication with the root soul. It is called the dream soul (by Michael York) because its journeys up and down the inner pillar generally start from dreams, in particular lucid dreams, when we know we are asleep and dreaming. The bud soul (called by York the life soul) watches over the body during these journeys. But it can also travel from the waking state, from a peculiar state of awareness called lucid waking. At such times, the experience of Middle-earth continues but additional senses are added to it, so that other levels of the inner pillar shine through, as it were, our ordinary perceptions. Journeys down the inner pillar frequently contact old, forgotten memories and bring some of these to the surface of consciousness when the dream soul returns.

Like a tree, our inner trunk has tree-rings, containing memories, feelings and viewpoints from past experiences in this life. When we journey inwardly, we acquire the freedom to experience the world as we once did, at different ages. We also recover the freshness of early experience, along with early enthusiasms. In the course of his or her inner journeys, the witch begins to live life from all the experiences of this lifetime, and even, in time, from far memories of past lives. This anticipates the work of integration of this lifetime’s experiences into the root-soul which is largely accomplished in the period of rest and recuperation between lives.

The dream-soul is that portion of the root-soul that is projected into Middle-earth at the start of a new incarnation. It is not the whole root-soul, but is the part chosen to deal with the circumstances of the new life. It selects its new bud-soul from the elementals round about, and the latter serves as the elemental of the new body, much as a dryad is the elemental of a tree or stand of trees. It interacts with the bud-soul from time to time, especially when returning from a spirit journey, and the part of the bud-soul so affected will accompany it back down to the root-soul at death, leaving only the original body-elemental to stand by the grave. In pagan times offerings were made to this elemental, and it still retained some connection with the dream-soul, sending the etheric portions of the offerings down to the Summerland. As graveyard offerings have largely ceased, the connections between the two souls are not kept up, and in time the bud-soul forgets its incarnation as a human and goes into nature as a local genius. The Buryat Mongols say it takes about ten years for such an elemental (called by them the suld) to forget its once-human existence.

The bud-soul also serves to relate the dream-soul to the physical and social environment in Middle-earth. The bud-soul employs language and engages in audible as well as mental talking. The dream-soul communicates in images and feelings but is usually silent, looking out on Middle-earth through the eyes of the bud-soul.

The ancient Balts and other peoples assigned a special tree to each person throughout life. The tree had to be tended with care, for if it died, it was believed the person would die also.

Between lives the root-soul enjoys the company of its generic family, as well as a special family of souls, called in this tradition the witch-family, who have agreed to reincarnate together and help each other to evolve. Some of these souls are reborn at the same time, while others stay in the Summerland and help their witch brothers and sisters from the Other Side. When we encounter one of these witch brothers or sisters we feel especially close to them, perhaps closer than to many generic family members. Eventually the root-souls of a witch family have absorbed all the experiences and lessons necessary, and are ready for transmutation. As a group, the witch family travels to the Sun and there receives a body of light. This is described in both Tuscan witch tradition and in the Prasna Upanishad. This concludes the tutelary relationship with the Watchers and elementals. Thenceforth, the soul of the witch will be a special sort of elemental that is balanced in all four etheric substances, air, fire, water and earth, and their attendant powers. One can still visit Middle-earth on occasion, but it is no longer necessary to reincarnate. The bud-soul is carried within the body of light and can be used to generate a temporary material body for this purpose.

This is as far as I can see, or imagine, our future. We want to grow, develop to the point where we will be of use to the gods, or, probably, the daimones or demigods. Many ancient initiatory systems describe our ultimate destiny as becoming a daimon or demigod ourselves. I don’t think this is particularly important; for myself, I am more interested in what work I will be doing. Perhaps I will pay back the help I have gotten along the way by guiding a mortal after me, or by guarding his or her home. Or perhaps I am being trained, through various lives, to do some special work for the gods. This is where I stop speculating; I am content to wait and find out.

Notes from the Apothecary: The Poppy

With colors ranging from a delicate, golden yellow to brash, bold scarlet, the poppy is a self-contained paradox. Powerful, yet delicate and short lived, this evocative flower has been associated with sleep, death and rebirth for many centuries. This connection comes from the fact that opium, a powerful drug used for inducing sleep and trance like states, is derived from the seed pods of one particular kind of poppy, papaver somniferum. It is possible that humans have been cultivating this poppy since 6000 BC.

Red poppies are also a symbol of remembrance, ever since the trench warfare that took place in World War One in the poppy fields of Flanders. They are used to remember those who fell in defense of other; soldiers and warriors, ancestors who died in battle and those who were affected by the horrors of war. In the UK especially, some people feel like the red poppy glorifies war, but they still wish to honor those who died, in which case they wear a white poppy. This signifies that they do not agree with war on principle, but that they respect and remember the sacrifice made by those who had no choice but to fight.

The Kitchen Garden

Poppies are classed as an herbaceous plant, and are grown mainly for their flowers and seeds. Many of the flowers are highly elaborate, having double or semi-double layers of petals. The red, multi-layered poppies always remind me of Spanish flamenco skirts.

As well as being a beautiful addition to any garden, poppies are very practical. The seeds are delicious, and are often used as decoration and flavor for breads, cakes, buns and muffins. As well as tasting great, like most seeds, they are a great source of protein. They are also high in calcium, so ideal for a dairy free diet.

The oil can be extracted from poppy seeds and used as a cooking oil, or for salad dressings and in baking.

The Apothecary

It should come as no surprise to learn that poppy seeds have been used throughout history as a painkiller, considering they contain the raw ingredients of morphine. They also contain tiny amounts of codeine. The Ancient Egyptians are known to have employed poppy seeds for this purpose, but they must have used them while very fresh as the opiate contents tends to fade quickly upon harvesting.

The Witch’s Herbal

The red poppy is a sacred symbol of Demeter, and as such is perfect for decorating any altar you may have to this Greek goddess of agriculture and law. The Minoans also evidently had a poppy goddess, as shown in the clay statuette found at Gazi. This ancient goddess with arms reaching to the sky has her headdress decorated with poppy seed capsules, showing that the cult that revered this goddess placed special, religious significance on the poppy. This may have been due to its narcotic properties, or the simple significance of the cycles of life, death and rebirth. Either way, it’s clear that poppies are a powerful symbol of at least two ancient cults. Using the poppy today can help us connect to these ancient goddesses.

Also within the Greek pantheon, we have Hypnos and Thanatos, the gods of sleep and death, respectively. These twin gods were both depicted with crowns of poppies, once again reinforcing the association between poppies and sleep and death. Death is a kind of sleep that never ends, and being asleep is so close to death in many ways. The poppy reminds us that just because something looks like one thing, it may actually be something completely different. We should examine and reexamine, and be sure of what we are seeing before jumping to conclusions. It reminds us to be less judgmental, more open-minded, and to appreciate the benefits of sleep and dreams.

Dreams are a doorway into our subconscious. And, while our subconscious kicks out some weird stuff most of the time, it can also send us important messages, including messages from our gods and ancestors.

Home and Hearth

Try keeping a dream journal. This can be a hard habit to get into, as you have to remember to write your dreams down the moment you awake from them. If not, you tend to lose details and the whole dream may even fade within a few minutes.

Before sleeping, meditate on an image of a poppy. A red poppy is the one most associated with sleep and dreams, but if a different color has more meaning for you, that’s fine too. Breathe, relax and imagine each petal of the poppy as a layer of your subconscious. Imagine you will be allowed to explore each layer, just as you can clearly see each beautiful petal of the poppy. Immerse yourself in the sense that your subconscious will open for you, blooming like a great flower, with answers and insight.

Keep a notepad and pen next to your bed. That way, even if you wake up at 3am, you can scribble down the contents of your dreams. Don’t worry if you can’t always remember them. The human mind is complex and temperamental! Write what you can and use it to look for patterns, imagery and symbolism.

I Never Knew…

The pain-killing drug morphine, derived from poppy opium, takes its name from Morpheus, the Ancient Greek god of dreams and sleep.

*Image credit: Welsh Poppies in Post Hill Woods, copyright Mabh Savage 2018; the Poppy Goddess at Heraklion Archaeological Museum via Wikipedia; poppies on Lake Geneva via Wikipedia.

***

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: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

 

Follow Mabh on TwitterFacebook and her blog.

 

The Anti-New Age: What Western society is getting wrong about pursuing enlightenment

by Guest Writer Bénédicte Rousseau

 

 

The important thing is not to stop questioning, said Albert Einstein. In other words, considering that the human experience is rooted in the fragmentation of time and space, addressing the New Age movement starts with inquiring about the exact circumstances of its birth and development — a topic that has been written about extensively. Within the context of this article, I would simply like to mention that it is generally agreed that the New Age movement developed in the 1970s, mainly in the United Kingdom, and expanded in the 1980s and 1990s, mostly in the United States. Some people argue that New Age is done by now. Does this mean that we have entered some sort of anti- or post-New Age era? I have no answer to this question. What I know, however, in holy curiosity, is that words matter. Moreover, the use of words is subjective, even when it is believed that a common understanding of their meaning is shared. This article is no exception to the rule.

What does New Age mean? What does the new refer to? What are the essentials of the New Age philosophy beyond the large range of spiritual or religious beliefs and practices it encompasses? Who are its leaders today, and what do they say? The New Age movement has an original intention of unconditional love, freedom, and oneness, which of course I do not oppose. It also has its share of false prophets and gurus, like most religions and philosophical movements. Nothing that raises an eyebrow so far. So, what would raise an eyebrow? Would the possibility of another road, one that may lead beyond what New Age is and what it is not, stimulate curiosity? A new road understood as a field of exploration, where opposites are seen as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than as a threat, where one does not debate but experience, where authentic spirituality paves the way; old as the hills, I know. But the circumstances are different. They evolve with time and space – and this changes the whole story.

We live in a world that, despite the glorious promises of technology, creates more and more isolation. The mechanistic view of humankind continues to develop, and this does not seem to be limited to Western society anymore. That would be too easy, and I like to think that we are all in this together. What kind of culture considers that the human brain responds in essence to a binary programme, which is central to the paradigm of artificial intelligence that is based on a mechanistic view of existence? What kind of culture destroys its home, planet Earth, to the point of becoming suicidal, and lets migrants die in the sea out of fear of opening arbitrary borders and losing economic dominance? Far from being against progress, I believe these are some of the questions of our times, and they have everything to do with spirituality. How do we learn to move from a model of ruthless consumption to one of partnership and renewed solidarity?

I have listened to inspiring New Age teachers and have enjoyed reading New Age books; certain New Age intentional communities have proven beneficial for many. There’s no doubt about that. The opposite is, however, also true. Nothing is positive or negative per se. Truths are born in the cradle of personal experiences and change over time, swept away in the dynamic flow of existence. I do not aim to say that every truth is acceptable. Indeed, we have to learn to stand, sometimes vigorously, against any situation that creates suffering — the privilege of the human incarnation. Moral responsibility and actions are important. I simply say that everything can be held with love and presence. Old as the hills, I know.

Like a tree, growing branches would be useless if my roots did not reach deep enough and were not strongly anchored in the ground (Shaman Express). I have personally found much healing and growth in the process of understanding and walking through the depths of my personal traumas and shadows, and this has only ever been possible with the help of others. Love, not fear. Faith, not hope. The human experience is fundamentally incarnated; so is spirituality. In other words, human beings are by definition embarked on a spiritual journey of their own by the mere reality of existence. From this point of view, there is therefore no experience, collective or individual, that is not spiritual. I believe that is true. Love, not fear. Faith, not hope. And in this humble exploration of the meaning of life and greater aliveness, we might eventually land on this path of an authentic spiritual journey, where it is understood that nothing has to be achieved, a path that has neither beginning nor end, where questions matter more than answers.

***

About the Author:

Bénédicte Rousseau is the co-author of the new novel, Shaman ExpressShe has a master’s degree in philosophy. After an unfulfilling corporate career, she quit her job and began traveling the world. She now is a student of the Foundation of Shamanic Studies, and is an active writer and explorer of diverse realities. For more information, visit www.benedicterousseau.com and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram at @benedicterousseauauthor and on twitter at @BenedicteRouss.

Shaman Express

 

A Home Group, Finally

I have finally found a home group! I knew as soon as I walked into the room that this was going to be the group for me. The time is perfect – 7:15 a.m. – it meets Tuesdays and Thursdays – it’s easy for me to get to – the meeting room itself is lovely – very Zen, although it’s a room in a Presbyterian Church. But it has large windows that look out on a courtyard with flowering trees and well-tended gardens and places to sit and meditate – much like any Buddhist Temple might offer. I felt at home immediately.

This spring I have struggled through one of the worst depressions of my life – at least, in last ten years. I had trouble getting to the store for basic groceries, let alone getting to an AA meeting or anywhere else. My entire spirituality suffered. I was amazed to find that I didn’t want to live anymore – and I was sober.

There were many dark days and many long sleepless nights.

Even though I thought I had lost my faith, yet I sat in meditation. Sometimes I sat for hours. It seemed like my brain had stopped to utter stillness but it was simmering like a sober stew. I needed that time of quietude. No sound except the chirping of the birds, vehicles driving past the house and children laughing as they walked to the corner to wait for the school bus. I didn’t dwell on any of this – I just noted each sound and let them go.

My son’s father came to town on route to somewhere else. He has over ten years in AA and is a social worker – he works with the homeless in Florida. He is Buddhist and has many years of practice. We spent the afternoon together, talking and meditating.

The next day, I started going to meetings again. The next week, I found this particular meeting – my new home group.

Soon after this, my son – who has six months sobriety – moved back in with me. I am so grateful for his sober support.

It is still a daily struggle. I have to admit that. At least once a day, I have a wicked bad jones. Something always triggers me. It can be almost anything. The weather – the time of day – a certain smell. I white-knuckle it hour by hour. Then – it passes – and I am so grateful that I didn’t give in.

I know that I have complained about AA for years and found every excuse under the sun not to go to meetings. But now I actually look forward to going to the meetings on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I haven’t felt like this about a meeting in over ten years.

Now I wonder – will the Goddess come back to me?

***

About the Author:

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

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

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

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