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Celebrating The Old Ways in New Times Review & Interview with Gabiann Marin

March, 2019

March 2019 for Celebrating The Old Ways in New Times

March
2019 for Celebrating The Old Ways in New Times

Bright
Blessings!

I
cannot tell you how excited I am that it is almost the Spring
Equinox! To prepare, I assembled a precut garden box today, and have
been diligently bagging up the dead leaves from last fall I spread
over the garden beds I already have. I never buy mulch that way! Once
the thaw starts, I dig out the leaves, and just throw them away.

While
I joyously begin celebrating Spring at Imbolc, the fact I can see the
green fingers of garden bulbs pushing up out of the earth reminds me
the growing season is set to begin very soon. I am buying seeds left
and right, and soon, we will start stockpiling the pea gravel and
soil for the new garden bed!

The
undesirable parts of things like cleanup, spending money on supplies,
and lifting and carrying heavy things must be performed to benefit
from the beauty of the victory garden we covet. I, for one, hate the
sight of worms, and have ever since I was a child. I, however know
that without those blind wrigglers, my garden will not grow, and if I
don’t see them, I know something is very wrong.

Like
the garden, our lives are made up of all sorts of things. Things we
like, and things we dislike. More than that, we also like and dislike
things about specifically our own selves.

Turn
on the television, and you can almost always find a makeover show, or
some type of advertisement for a service or product that will
completely transform you, supposedly getting rid of some aspect of
yourself you loathe. Our culture supports that self-loathing, as they
use it as excuse to earn money from us.

Now,
I am not saying we ought to forego improving ourselves. What I am
saying is that all of us have something we CANNOT change about
ourselves that we imagine to be some monstrosity. Some hate the shape
of their feet, the sound of their voice, the fact their hair is
naturally curly or straight. Some hate having an adams apple, and
some think their neck is too long or short. Some want to get rid of
freckles, or bleach their skin which they imagine is too dark. Almost
all of us have demonized some aspect of ourselves we simply cannot
help.

But
we are not monstrosities in any way. We simply misunderstand these
parts of ourselves, and radical self-acceptance is the only solution.
What better time for that than the Spring Equinox, which is often
used to get rid of the old and bring in the new? Instead of throwing
out some part of ourselves, why not change our way of thinking
instead?

This
Month’s Review

To
fit with this theme. I lucked into an interview with Gabiann Marin,
author of the awesome book, Monsters and Creatures. I
found the book to be well written, well researched, and an easy read.
Of course, she could not include ALL monsters and creatures from all
of time in the book, but she packed in quite a lot into the neat 196
pages.

From
the Basilisk to Zombies, Marin draws readers into the fascinating
world of creatures, and provides more than just lore. She includes
historical anecdotes, and education about real phenomenon.

I highly recommend the book, and it can be had through this link.

Not
only was I fortunate enough to review this good book, but I got to
interview the amazing Gabiann Marin!

Read
on!

The
Interview

Saoirse
– First, let me say, I was impressed with your book Monsters and
Creatures. I never know what to expect from a reference book on
creatures- and I was thrilled because I found your book very well
researched.

You
packed so very much good information into it. How long did it take
you to gather all of that in formation, and what was the process for
research you used? What background in research do you have, and what
is your philosophy about educating your readers as an author? 

Gabiann
Thank you.  The research part
was quite interesting.  I have grown up with many of the
creatures in the book in so far as I have loved and read mythology
and fantasy and history since I was a small child.  In fact the
very first book I bought for myself (at the age of seven)  was
The natural history of the vampire by Anthony Masters and I still
have that book. So I guess it took a lifetime to gather all the
information. 

The
greater challenge was how to get all the information I wanted to talk
about into such a small book.  I didn’t want it to just be a
dictionary of fantastic beasts.  I’m a writer and the power of
all these creatures are in their stories and I wanted to be able to
share that… Give a context of these creatures in history and
psychology and society.  

I
have been a professional writer for a long time as well as an
academic, so I read widely and have a pretty varied interest and
abundant curiosity in just about everything – so I
find researching information pretty easy. 

The
process for this book was really to decide what monsters and
creatures I wanted to include.  The publisher was pretty adamant
the popular ones were included… Which I agreed with… But
I was also intent on introducing readers to more unusual and lesser
known creatures and tell their stories too. 

Saoirse
– What made you decide to write about this topic, specifically? This
appears more like a long-term interest in these beings turned into a
good book to share what you have learned with others. Am I right? 

Gabiann
– Yes.  I love animals and the natural world and am fascinated
in how we, as humans, connect to and understand nature. 
I have always believed the stories of monsters and creatures are some
of the most potent and informative ways that we express our love and
fear of the world around us. 

Saoirse
– As I am Pagan, I know a lot of people who embrace belief in human
connection with supernatural beings. One friend said these
“creatures” may be nothing more than manifestation of
spirit people perceive so well, they mistake them for flesh! While we
know about logical explanations like- manatees can be mistaken for
mermaids, etc- what is your take on the theory my friend presented? 

Gabiann
– I have a rather unique perspective on people’s belief systems and
how they engage with the mystical, the natural and the
supernatural… And that is that however someone perceives these
creatures – as real or imagined, as pyschological manifestations
or as historical creatures… They are probably right. 

We
manifest our understanding of the world and ourselves through the
stories we tell and that shapes how we treat each other and the world
around us.  Spirit reaches us through story, symbol and
myth.  

If
your friend perceives spirit as a unicorn or a dragon.. Then
that is how spirit presents itself to her.  She is using these
stories exactly how they were meant to be used – for her to step
beyond the human condition and understand the world beyond herself. 

Saoirse
– I want to know all about you! Tell me about your writing in
general, and beyond that, YOU in general? What made you decide to
write? What else are you good at? What projects are you working on,
and what else is in the workings? 

Gabiann
– That’s a big topic… Where
do I start? 

I
suppose I have always been a writer, I wrote my first short story at
the age of eight and won my first literary prize when I was
fourteen.  I became a professional writer when I started
University.  I was originally going to be a vet but ended up at
the last minute studying writing instead. My mum was surprisingly OK
with this!  

I
started my professional writing life writing film and theatre reviews
and then actual plays.  I worked as a corporate copywriter for a
few years but realised it was a bit soul destroying so shifted over
and became a writer for charities and causes I believed in… Like
Amnesty International, The Wilderness Society and Greenpeace.  

I
also wrote for Australian television for a few years but it was a
hard road back then with very little Australian content being made.
So in 2000 I began writing children’s books.  In 2003 I
wrote a book for young readers about a child in Australian
Immigration detention called A True Person, which won a few
international awards but most importantly was the first book in
Australia to tackle that issue.

I
still write social justice material in fiction form but moved into
editing and writing non fiction after leaving an academic job in
2016.

Currently
I am dividing my time between teaching writing and film at
University, while editing and writing non-fiction, original and
adapted film scripts and completing a fantasy fiction book about
Medusa.

Saoirse
– Tell me about your personal spiritual path, and if it influenced
your work on this topic.

Gabiann
– I am Wicca and have been since I was quite young, however I am
more a pagan in the classic sense, in that I believe there is a
natural force which guides the world and creates and determines
life. I believe we need to understand and respect this
force… Which currently as a global entity we are not doing.

All
of my work has, in some way, reflected my belief that people are part
of – not in conflict with – the natural world.  And the natural
world is actually supernatural, in that it contains spirit as well as
material things.  This is hardly controversial, as literally
everyone in the known history of humankind has believed a
version of this – yet for some reason mankind have been
intent on focusing on the differences in this belief and killing each
other over how we individually choose to understand and express that
spiritual essence .  To me spirit is nature herself…
Everything in it is amazing.  It contains things which we are
only just beginning to understand. 

I
don’t follow any organized religion because I believe that most of
them limit us into hatred and division with both ourselves and the
other beings we share this planet with.  But I have a huge
respect for most religious people who are just trying to find ways to
connect with the bigger sense of power around them.  I believe
that when we are in contact with the natural world… Go beyond
the realms of mankind’s selfishness, greed and violence, we
can connect to that
spirit. But
honestly I do not think we as humans are the most important things on
this planet.  Not the single or indeed the main focus of any
spiritual force which may exist.  The trees and the rocks and
the mountains have watched us rise and they will watch us fall. 
Creatures we can barely imagine have roamed this earth thousands of
years before we were even conceived of.. And other creatures
will no doubt walk across our fossilized bones.  And that is a
good thing.  Nature is immortal. So the smallness and pettiness
of humanity and our need to find meaning and place has always
underpinned my work.  As well as a commitment to kindness,
justice and understanding … Towards each other and all
beings. 

Saoirse
– Have you had any personal encounters with creatures or spirits you
would like to share?

Gabiann
– I think there is magic in the world, and spirit… particularly
animal spirits, can help you find your way to that magic.

When
I was in my twenties I had a very hard time. As I believe most
young women in their twenties do in a world that is constantly
telling us that as females we are simply not good enough, pretty
enough, smart
enough. Then one night I had this amazing dream of two tigers who
embraced me when I thought they were going to rip me apart. 

I
woke up realizing that I was worthy and strong and loved.  I
still believe today they were manifestations of spirit telling me to
stop worrying about all the silliness around me and understand that
my purpose… the purpose for all of us,  was simply to
be a good person. Once I realized that, life became much clearer
for me and I was able to follow a path that wasn’t so concerned about
whether I fitted in with the very narrow ideology of being a
compliant, acceptable, quiet woman. Which I certainly am
not!  And rather tell stories and be part of the world in a way
that expanded, not limited my and other creatures existence.

I
am still very spiritual and have engaged with spirit in many ways
since then.  But I remember that dream so clearly even now. 
It’s why I became a pagan and a feminist. 

Monsters
and Creatures, as well as its companion book – Gods and
Goddesses, was written as an introduction into the history of
humankind’s need to use story and myth to understand the world. 
They are small books but I hope they pack a punch and give people a
bit of an insight into what unites us – which is story… and what
defines us – which is how we understand the world around us.  

They
are both written to be fun, informative and easy to read and I
really hope people engage with them.  Our continuing fascination
with supernatural creatures is one of the many things that unite us
as people.  And sharing these stories is the best way to create
connections between us across time and cultures.  

I
am happy to engage with readers but have a limited social media
profile as I find the online world to be somewhat mean-spirited and
focused on conflict.  I have a facebook authors page and an
Amazon Author’s page through which I am happy to engage with those
wanting more information about me. 

If
you are interested in getting a copy of any of my books they are
widely available through Amazon as well as most good book stores.  

Saoirse
– What is your FAVORITE Monster/Creature you included in your book,
and why? Any encounters, dreams, or visions of/with it/them?

Gabiann
– This is a bit like asking me to choose a favourite child! 

All
of them are my favourite in different ways. I love the more unusual
ones like the Japanese Yokai because they are just so quirky and,
although they can be a bit nasty, they are essentially just really
cool, interesting little creatures who don’t bother anyone and just
hang about doing their own thing. 

Researching
the book I found the bird-like creatures the most fascinating as
they were probably the ones I knew the least about. Again they are
usually positive, kind creatures who help rather than harm us. 

But
I guess if I had to pick a favourite it would have to be Medusa. She
resonates about the power of women and her story is one of injustice.
She was never a monster, just someone who was trying to live her
life. She only harmed those who attacked her and she was a victim of
one of the most heinous and cowardly acts in all of mythology. It is
impossible, I think, to see the story of Medusa as anything but a
parable about male violence against women and the hatred of the
established patriarchy of strong independent females. For that reason
she probably resonates the strongest. 

I
am actually writing a fiction book about her – its a crime caper
comedy believe it or not!  

For more information on Gabiann Marin Visit:

Gabiann’s Linkedin Profile
Her Author Page on Facebook you can follow.
Her Amazon Author Page.

The
Sabbat

The
Sabbat this month is Spring Equinox, known by many Pagans as Ostara.
Many take Bede and the Grimm’s word for it that Ostara was a
Germanic goddess who had a hare as companion and eggs were auspicious
to her.

Unfortunately,
no evidence that this was a goddess exists in imagery or writings
prior to Bede.

But
since writings can be lost, and many passed traditions on orally,
there is a chance this is true. It may also be true that Xtianity
absorbed the Pagan rites to Ostara in their Easter practices.

One thing that is NOT true is the ridiculous meme claiming Ishtar was the goddess Ostara because the name is similar to Easter. Ishtar was never venerated in the British Isles, and ancient British pagans had no knowledge of her whatsoever. Xtians converting British Pagans did not adapt Middle Eastern Pagan practice either.

If
Ostara was a goddess, she was, as Grimm, and Bede say, Germanic.

Both
Ostara and Easter are celebrated with the new life of the Earth, and
new spiritual life for worshippers in mind.

But
while Xtians think of it as their god rising from the grave, and
Pagans think of it in earth based terms, another way to look at it is
rebirth of way of thinking.

New
Life

Earlier
in the article, I spoke of the things we loathe about ourselves that
are things we cannot control.

Examples
I shared were of physical things we might not like, but have no
ability to change. Other examples include things such as the presence
of depression that is being treated as well as possible, but is a
lifelong condition, memory problems after stroke, inability to digest
a favorite food anymore, inability due to medical reasons to have
kids, or even being divorced when you did not choose to be.

My
challenge this time is to think of that thing which you cannot
change- and forgive yourself for it.

Believe
me, I do not say this lightly, as I have things I am upset with
myself for. I say things like “I am sorry for the way I am” and
“I wish you did not have to deal with the fact I have X problem.”

This
is perhaps the least productive thing we do as human beings. In
essence, we punish ourselves for something we have no control over.

We
make ourselves out to be guilty, when in fact, if we could change
whatever it is we hate about ourselves, we absolutely would.

So,
the self-loathing stops. Now.

It’s
going to take a conscious effort to undo your counter productive way
of thinking about yourself, and replacing that with forgiveness, and
amping up the self-love, and it’s one a one time, “fling a spell
and forget it” thing. It will take a different amount of time for
each person, and you may have to tweak the working to suit yourself.

I
want you to know that you are a perfect reflection of the creator,
and what WE think of as flaws are sometimes just things our culture
spits at. We have to train our minds to resist this cultural
poisoning, which is basically abuse, and VERY toxic. We have to
sometimes be the goddess or the father god for ourselves, and know
better than the crap we are told.

This
working entails giving a gift to yourself. You are worth it! This is
done in parts. How far apart you space the parts is up to you.

The
Working

To
start, get a plain white candle and a small receptacle to burn paper
in.

Get
paper, and writing materials.

Part
1
– You are going to sit down and write a letter to yourself.

You
are going to make it as long as you like. Go into great detail about
the thing you loathe about yourself and go ahead and cry out how much
you wish you could change things. It is okay to type and print out
the letter if you’d prefer not to hand write it. Include in the
letter why you understand you can’t change this. Say all you want
to about it and how you feel about it. Just get it all out. You don’t
even have to have one sitting be the whole letter. It can be as long
or as short of a letter as you want. It can even be just a paragraph
or less long.

Part
2
– Then you are going to write your goal for changing thinking.
You are going to have to really think about what thinking you need to
discard, but also what thinking you need to replace it with. Then,
you need to decide what action after the change of thinking you are
going to take. Be as detailed or as vague as asking your goddess or
god for guidance.

Part
3
– Have your initial letter, and then your other papers which
list your goals and planned changes, have your receptacle to burn in
, and light the candle. You can do this at your altar if you want to,
but you can even do this outdoors, or over the kitchen sink, or stove
if you prefer. Do this at the place where you are most comfortable
burning papers.

Read
your letter aloud to yourself. Let it all sink in, and as you are
reading, feel how crucial it is you let this self-loathing go. Then
read the second papers, and truly tell yourself that you are going to
lay aside the old way of thinking, and start the new way of thinking.

When
you have read it all, take one more sheet of paper, and write out a
very short summary of everything on the papers.

Burn
the papers, keeping the summary.

As
the papers burn say, “Out with the old, in with the new, I am the
goddess/god, and I am whole and perfect. So Mote It Be.”

Once
the papers have burned, release the ashes to the wind, and let your
candle burn all the way down. Clean your area up, and place your
summary somewhere you can look at it to remind yourself of all the
things you wrote. Because, remember, this is a long-term change, not
something you are going to release and forget. We have to make
conscious efforts to transform, most especially our way of thinking.
There is no “putting it out there to the Universe to manifest”.
We are going to do this ourselves, for a permanent change.

Part
4- Gift yourself something representing the change you are making. If
you hate your feet, get regular pedicures or start wearing shoes you
really love but thought you could not wear on “those” feet. If
you are upset you did not reach a goal, and the opportunity is gone,
celebrate a goal you DID make. If you are upset you have a chronic
condition that is never going to go away, pamper yourself somehow and
reassure yourself you are not to blame.

Blessed
Spring, and New Beginnings!

Blessed Be!

Monsters and Creatures: Discover Beasts from Lore and Legends (The Supernatural Series) on Amazon

***

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
.

Bringing Up the Next Generation of Witches

November, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Going Shamanic Radio

August, 2018

 

Going Shamanic” is hosted by Jennifer Engracio on P.A.G.E.  Media Project’s blogtalk radio each month. The show focuses on how to integrate shamanism into every day life. Instead of relegating the spiritual aspect of ourselves to Sundays at church or weekend workshops, this show will support listeners in weaving ritual, prayer, magic, alignment with the Spiritworld and the Earth into their lives to enrich their experience of living.

This Month’s Topic: Storytelling as Medicine with Greg Leach

Jen speaks to seasoned storyteller, Greg Leach, to find out how stories can be told to help us transform, heal and grow as individuals and how we can tell stories that support healing in our communities.

Greg Leach began telling stories when he was 8 years old.  In high school he enjoyed what was then known as Public Speaking.  After university, he wrote for the underground theatre movement.  For a period of time he was a member of the Writers In Residence program at Tarragon Theatre.  Shortly afterward, he wrote for CBC Radio Drama.  But he really came into his own as a storyteller when he entered the marketing world.  They say that every brand has its own story, and Greg was busy developing and modifying brand stories.  He found that the stories that seemed to work best were the stories that had the benefit of being true.

Going Shamanic is hosted by Jennifer Engrácio, about how to integrate shamanism into everyday life.

***

About the Author:

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

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

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

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

Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’S Shamanic Journey into Healing

For more information go to: www.spiraldanceshamanics.com

The Anti-New Age: What Western society is getting wrong about pursuing enlightenment by Guest Writer Bénédicte Rousseau

July, 2018

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.

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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