SUBSCRIBE

mental health

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

February, 2019

Hygiea

(Image
Credit: Amazon)

Hygiea,
the daughter of Epione, the Goddess of the Soothing of Pain, and
Aslepius, God of Medicine, is the Greek Goddess of Health and
Healing. Hers is a healing family, as Her sisters are Panakeia, the
Goddess Who Cures All and Iaso, the Goddess of Remedies.

Called
Salus in Rome, She is also the healer of both physical and mental
disease. She is sometimes called the Protectress of Mental Health.

Her
symbol is a cup, or chalice, surrounded by a snake, as She is most
commonly shown with a snake wrapped around Her body, holding a bowl
for libations.

The
cult of Hygiea started in the 600’s BCE and spread during the plague
of the 400’s BCE. A statue of Her stood at the entrance of the
Acropolis, along with Athene.

Hygiea
was very holistic in Her approach to good health, professing the
benefits of eating well, getting enough exercise and the concept of
disease prevention from cleanliness and hygiene, from whose name
comes the words and its’ variations.

We
would do well to follow Her advice in the present day, as well.

(Image
Credit: earthandstarryheavens.com)

***

About
the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is [email protected]

My Name is Isis (Volume 4) on Amazon

Children and the Seven Generations

July, 2018

 

Colonial states separate children from parents because they know it works. It destroys and traumatizes for generations. It’s an attack on the future as well as the present.”

-Jesse Wente

In my writing, I make it a point to stay out of commenting on political stances for many reasons. However, when policy starts to cross over into human rights violations that threaten the health of future generations, as a shamanic practitioner, spiritual warrior, and fellow human being, I am compelled to speak. And this article is the result of one of those moments. When the story broke of asylum seekers from Central, North, and South America being separated from their children at the US border, I felt it important to share what I know about child development and early childhood trauma. I also want to add from the beginning that this isn’t a solely American phenomenon but a result of patriarchal beliefs and structures that our world currently operates under. This system is hurting men, women, and children all around the world and it’s time to start questioning its modus operandi.

As an educator, I’ve dedicated my adult life to the thriving of families by supporting children and parents. This looks many different ways that go beyond academics and guiding families in setting up appropriate education models for their children. The truth is, children who are living in poverty and with a substantial amount of trauma are in survival mode: no brain can take in new information when it is in constant fight of flight. Poverty is not a crime nor a result of laziness; it comes out of oppressive policies that benefit the few and marginalize many of the most vulnerable citizens. Parents who struggle financially love their children and most are good parents despite the challenges they face. Poverty is not a reason to separate children from their parents; many social services seek to provide financial aid so parents can raise their children to adulthood. Supporting families means keeping them together, providing resources to help families to thrive, and creating policies that help parents to raise their children without so much stress on the family structure. Currently, we have a worldwide economic system that places undue stress on young families and when family systems start to collapse, parents are often blamed for their “failure.” My job is to advocate for kids and families, look for that support, and put it in place to give families some breathing room while they are doing the most important job on earth: raising healthy, resilient, compassionate, and creative citizens.

Recently, an excellent documentary series came out showing how we humans develop from our earliest years and how vital the first years of life are in creating our self-concepts, attitude toward life, creativity and flexibility of mind. In “The Beginning of Life,” experts in the fields of human developmental stages, pediatric medicine, psychology, and neuroscience come together to paint a new picture for societies that show how important it is to support families and what the effects are to society at large when we don’t provide this support (i.e. increased crime rates, higher health care costs, and higher taxes). One social worker recently told me that it is much less expensive for the government to provide groceries for a family for a few months while they get back on their feet than to pull a child from a home and put them in foster care. If you don’t care for the moral or financial arguments, the science is clear: parents and kids belong together. Many people don’t like the idea of using tax payer dollars to support families, however, when we start to separate families without providing them with the support they need first (i.e. parenting classes, financial aid, job training, good daycare, time for maternal and paternal leaves), the cost to society at large tends to be much greater for all of us. I personally want my tax dollars to be spent on investing in the wellbeing of future generations instead of on policies that focus on short term financial “gains.”

I made a spiritual vow many years ago to protect children’s rights. My motto is “do no harm.” This seems impossible for us humans and yet I feel that it is a worthy vision to hold in front of me as I do this work. Many people in the world don’t realize that we have a three-decade’s old international document in place that sets out the rights of children via the United Nations called the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 3 states the focus of the document: “In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.” Most folks would agree that staying with his/her parents is in the best interest of the child unless the child is being neglected or abused, which is not the case here. And even though the children who are separated from their parents are being fed, clothed, and sheltered, we know from longitudinal studies of children who grew up in Romanian orphanages that providing the basic physical needs of life is not enough for children to thrive. For children to be truly healthy (mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually), they need to be surrounded by safe and strong attachments to caregivers and community members who love and know them. When a child is taken away from a parent or guardian, this is a significant trauma that cannot be underestimated and often takes a lifelong toll on the child. If readers don’t know about the decades long Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACES), I highly recommend watching the TED Talk at the foot of this article. Many children and adults in our “corrections” systems have high ACES scores, not surprisingly.

You might be wondering why I am so passionate about this as a Canadian citizen with no voting rights in the USA. First, I am a child of immigrants who came to Canada looking for a better life for future generations. My family and I have been able to heal from the intergenerational trauma of growing up in a dictatorial state because of the relative safety and support we’ve experienced in Canada. Second, as a shamanic practitioner, I know that what we do today affects the seven generations ahead and the seven generations behind us. We have the chance to shift what we believe about children and their value in a way that our ancestors perhaps were not able to. Respecting the work of parents and the rights of children to explore their new world in safety is actually good for all of us because those kids will be deciding policy and taking care of us when we are elders. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a traumatized, jaded, and perhaps violent person taking care of me when I am an elder. I want to be surrounded by adults who were nurtured when they were children. These adults are more likely to be compassionate, have a strong sense of human and environmental rights, carry love in their hearts, and be active in their citizenship.

I know from researching that this practice of separating children from parents has been happening in the USA and even in Canada for quite a few years now; this is a non-partisan issue. I am not an American citizen otherwise I would be writing my local political representative. I will nevertheless look for ways to make my voice heard as an international citizen. I hope you will join me as a citizen of the world in making sure we protect the most vulnerable members of our society because the truth is that we are all connected to one another. We are all relations.

NB: Further information on the research presented in this article appears in the resources section below.

 

Resources:

 

The Beginning of Life

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bejT24M4TQ

 

TED Talk: How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95ovIJ3dsNk

 

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CRC.aspx

 

American Civil Liberties Union

https://www.aclu.org/

 

article: Family Separation: Trump’s Cruel Immigration Policy

https://www.indivisible.org/resource/trumps-new-cruel-immigration-policy/

 

article: Canada Aims to Avoid Detaining Migrant Children, but it Happens

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/canada-detention-children-united-states-1.4709632

 

***

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 coach, 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

A Woman’s Place…

March, 2018

Not all women are mothers; but, all mothers are women.

In the wake of yet another mass shooting of children, by a young man who, for all intents and purposes, was also a child, what do we do?

As women, as mothers, who carried these children within us, and birthed them into life, each death is a pang in our hearts. They are not our children, and yet, they are our children, each and every one of them – the children who were and are murdered. The child who is the murderer, is also our child as he, too, has suffered. This includes the adults who have been killed, as they, too, are someone’s child.

Help for those who are mentally and emotionally ill is almost non-existent in this country. Ask any parent who has tried to get help for their child. They know, they can tell you. Mental health care is a joke, and help is hard to come by and they wash their hands of your problem as quickly as they can. If you do, by some chance, find someone to help, your insurance may or may not cover it, and then where do you turn?

Yet, are these all cases of mental or emotional illness? Each time this happens, that is what we are told and the government speaks about making it harder for those who are mentally ill to get guns (never happens). While some of them may actually be mentally ill, as I don’t believe someone without issues of some sort would deliberately go out and murder; yet, this is still not a full answer. Most of these shooters are young, white and male, again something the government downplays. Imagine the outcry if one of these senseless acts was perpetrated by a young man of color. We would never hear the end of it. So, we have young, white males committing these murders and it always is “he’s mentally ill”. Yet, there are women out there who have mental illness, white women and women of color and yet, they do not commit these violent murders of innocent people. So, blaming it completely on mental illness is missing a large part of this picture. We may never really know the missing piece, as they so often take their own lives.

Past tragedies such as this have taught us that the Republicans will do nothing to control the sale of weapons in this country. Too much money flows into their greedy, little pockets; money that they are loath to give up. The Republican base sees “liberals” and “progressives” and worst yet, “democratic socialists” coming to take their guns. They don’t listen to what is said. No on wants to take your damn guns, just tighten the controls on them so it is harder to purchase them and eliminate the purchase of assault weapons. Why does anyone *need* an assault weapon? I admit that I am anti-gun, but I still would not be in favor of taking guns away from those who have them. I am very anti-hunting for the killing of animals – vegetarian-vegan here – but I know those who do and enjoy it. That is their choice to make. I also know those who own guns but are in favor of stricter gun controls; one immediately comes to mind. Why does he understand and others do not?

A couple of years ago, as things began to go downhill in this country with the campaign of the current person in the White House, I wondered, where were the young people? I remember the 1960’s well. Teenagers, and young adults were out there in the forefront of the protests against the war, the marches for women’s equality, civil rights marches where human beings were beaten and hit with water from forceful hoses, just because they were people of color. If I close my eyes, I can still see the clip that was on the news. They were beaten and brutalized by the police and the National Guard, who were there for their “protection”. They were arrested. But they persisted.

Children died then, too, at Ohio State and during lynchings in the South.

Now, finally, out of this tragedy in FL, come the children, these teenagers who lived through and survived a shooting at their school, a place where they should feel safe, a place where their friends were brutally murdered.

These kids are fighting the good fight, and I hope they do not get discouraged because they have a hard journey ahead. But journey on they must, and in the process, encourage and support other kids all over the country, and the world to stand up for their principles, for what they think is right. If they get suspended for walking out of school during a protest day, as Texas has said they would do, don’t let that deter you. Continue your fight.

Those politicians who have accused these children of being actors, or shills for the Democrats, or doing it for attention are digging their own political graves. These children, these teenagers, these American citizens, will one day, in the very near future, be voting, and guess who will be voted out. We won’t say good bye, but good riddance and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

So, as women, as mothers, we must support these children in what they are doing, march and protest along side of them, encourage them to stand up for their beliefs, what they know in their hears to be the right thing. What they are doing may deter future tragedies, future cold-blooded murders and even more parents having to bury their child.

*(ADDENDUM: The opinions and feelings in this article are those of the author only and do not in any way represent the opinion of PaganPagesOrg.)

***

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess, as well as Mago Publications She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Womens Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis, the Egyptian Goddess”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is [email protected]

For Amazon information Click Image

Notes from the Apothecary

February, 2018

Notes from the Apothecary: St John’s Wort

The first of February is ‘Time to Talk Day’, encouraging all of us to talk more openly about our mental health, and thus work towards removing the stigma surrounding mental health conditions. With that in mind, I thought I’d investigate an herb that has a long history of use within mental health: St John’s Wort. Do any internet search for St John’s Wort and you will be immediately inundated with ads for whole food shops trying to sell you ‘Nature’s Greatest Anti-Depressant’. But does it really work? And does the plant have more to it than being a crucial part of the pharmacopeia? There are differing opinions on the efficacy of this herb, but it’s certainly popular and not just among your traditional herb users. It’s even recommended by some ‘mainstream’ medical professionals, and shows no signs of losing its popularity.

The Kitchen Garden

As well as improving your mental outlook, this rather lovely plant can enhance the look of your kitchen garden, with its lovely yellow flowers and delicate leaves. Hypericum perforatum, the plant is distinguished from other hypericums by the tiny dots on the leaves, which look like perforations; hence the name.

I have hypericum at both sides of my house; a huge bush at the back which is a riot of yellow in summer. It attracts so many bees, and you can sit on the back doorstep and listen to the entire shrub vibrate with their activity. I have a smaller plant in a tub at the front of the house, which is the medical herb, but I want it to grow a bit bigger before I even start to think about pulling bits off it. A re-potting is in order I think, as I think it has outgrown its current environment.

St John’s wort is pretty easy to grow. It doesn’t like too much sun, so that shady spot where nothing else will grow is ideal. It does need a bit of light, but really not much at all. The spot my shrub is in gets about an hour of sunlight once a day, and the plant is thriving. It isn’t fussy about soil type, and once established doesn’t need much care. It can self-seed, and may spread further than you initially wanted it, so just bear that in mind.

For those with no gardens, the herb is readily available in whole food shops, herbalists and on the internet. As always, do your research, and don’t buy it if you aren’t sure what it is. This isn’t an herb I recommend eating or using as a decoction purely for refreshment, due to its strong impact on the mind. Keep this one for the medicine cabinet only, and only with qualified guidance.

The Apothecary

As previously mentioned, the key issue St John’s Wort is indicated for is depression. Depression is often called ‘the common cold’ of mental illness, but I really don’t think this is a fair description. Yes, lots of people catch colds. But you catch a cold, you rest, you take some paracetamol and after a few days you feel better. Depression is nothing like this. Depression can hit you like a stone, or it can creep up slowly. It can nibble away at you day by day, leaving you strung out and exhausted but still battling on, or it can knock you for six, leaving you incapable of anything. There are different levels of depression, all unpleasant and all needing different types of treatment. That’s why it’s extremely important that you don’t read articles like mine and immediately bulk buy St John’s Wort, as it simply may not be the right choice for you. Speak to a professional or a qualified person, and look at all the options available. Your mind is precious; be kind to it and make informed choices.

The reason many people do choose St John’s Wort, is that is clinical trials, when tested against a placebo and other anti-depressants, the herb was more effective than a placebo, without some of the undesirable effects of the ‘standard’ anti-depressants. St John’s Wort has a particular action on the liver; yet another reason why you shouldn’t take it without medical guidance. It is this action that makes it so effective, yet it also means that it can interact badly with other medicines. It’s a powerful herb, and one not to be taken lightly. You should also speak to your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or using oral contraceptives.

Having said that, the medical opinion overall (based on various studies, including the Cochrane Report) seems to be that research into the medical use of St John’s Wort is very promising, and anecdotally, many patients have had extremely positive results.

Traditionally the herb had other medical uses too. Mrs Grieve tells us that it as used for bladder complaints, including bedwetting in children. Applied externally, it was supposed to help ‘caked breasts’, which today we would refer to as blocked milk ducts.

Folklore

An interesting titbit from Grieve’s Modern Herbal is that the name hypericum is from the Greek hyperieum meaning ‘over an apparition’. My Greek is rusty (read: non-existent) so please feel free to correct this; I struggled to find anything to back up Mrs Grieve’s claims, and another source stated it actually means ‘over an icon’ from the tradition of placing the herb around religious statues. It was believed that the aroma of the herb was so strong and unpleasant as to chase evil spirits away.

Other traditional beliefs include the power to protect from lightning. I am not testing this one out. But, I have had St John’s Wort growing near me for many years, and I haven’t yet been struck by lightning… Draw your own conclusions.

The Witch’s Kitchen

An alternative name for St John’s Wort is Hexenkraut, literally German for ‘witchcraft herb’ or ‘magical herb’. This name is also sometimes used for mistletoe, one of the most powerful plants of the druids (see my article here), which gives you an idea of the potential magical power of St John’s Wort.

As has been suggested by the idea that it can chase evil spirits away, the herb can be used for protection. I believe this is why the herb often pops up in boundaries and hedgerows, as it creates a natural metaphysical barrier to protect the boundaries of one’s home or land. It can also be used to exorcise ‘demons’; generally, I find that the only demons hanging around are manifestations of negativity either from myself or those around me, and St John’s wort is excellent at banishing these. Even just having the bush outside the house makes it so much more cheerful; a very basic but very effective magic.

St John’s Wort is also used in prophetic magic. There is a tradition from Germany, of grinding the flowers between the fingers and examining the colour the oils left on the fingers. The more red the colour, the more likely the practitioner was to find love.

Cunningham tells us the plant is masculine, and associated with the sun, and fire. I wonder if this is mainly to do with its ‘sunny’ outlook and bright, yellow flowers. He also tells us that the plant is associated with the god Baldur, but I wonder if this association is actually a confusion of the German name Hexenkraut, which, as mentioned, also means Mistletoe, the plant that ended Baldur’s life.

The medical usage of St John’s Wort tends to focus around improving mental health, so it’s no surprise that the plant is used to banish negativity and attract happiness. It seems to act on this both in a physical (medical) and metaphysical (magical) way.

Home and Hearth

Strew the flowers around the boundary of your home for protection against visitors who mean you ill. A sprig of the herb and its flowers in a vase near the front or back door can help keep positive energy at a high within your home.

Remember…

Your mental health is incredibly important. If you feel low, or you are struggling, please get help. Speak to a professional, and don’t ever, ever start taking medication without getting some qualified guidance first. Just because something is ‘herbal’ does not mean it is automatically good for you, or the right choice for your condition. The following organization may be able to help:

USA

Samaritans USA

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

The Trevor Project

UK

Samaritans

Young Minds

Mind

Image credits: Hypericum Perforatum, copyright Aelwyn 2007; hypericum-perforatum(Blatt), copyright Michael Gasperl 2005; hypericum perforatum, copyright Bff 2011. All via Wikimedia Commons.

 

***

About the Author:

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

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

Follow Mabh on TwitterFacebook and her blog.

For Amazon information, click images below.

Shamanism and Mental Health

November, 2017

“Your mind is potentially the most flexible part of you, much more so than even your body, emotions, or spirit.  The reason is that the primary quality of your mind is your imagination.  Developing your mental self means developing the power to focus your imagination in order to expand your awareness, increase your ability to learn more and faster, appreciate different points of view, notice the reactions of others more quickly so you can adapt to them more effectively, and include more patterns of behavior in your repertoire for coping with the unexpected, to name a few.”?

*from: “Huna: Ancient Hawaiian Secrets for Modern Living” by Serge Kahili King

 

Last year, I had a social worker tell me that shamanism is not an accepted form of therapy (certified social workers all have degrees in psychology).  She went on to tell me that unless I’d been diagnosed with depression or addiction by a psychologist, my self-diagnosis was not valid.  She was trying to drive home the point that unless an expert tells you something about yourself, you can’t possibly just know what is up with yourself.?  She demanded to know why I didn’t just go see a counselor.  My response was simple: “I did see a counselor and it didn’t work for me so I looked for something that did.”

I know she wasn’t satisfied with my response but I could sense that she was closed-minded about this topic and decided not to delve into this further with her.  I changed the topic.  Recently, I was speaking to another social worker who happened to have indigenous ancestry.  When I told her that I did ceremony and learned shamanic tools to heal myself, she smiled and nodded: “Yes.  It works, doesn’t it?”  The relief I felt was actually stunning to me.  I hadn’t realized until then how much of my life I’d lived in fear of being institutionalized if people found out about my psychic skills and how I use them. After all, talking to dead ancestors and totem animals could be interpreted as psychosis.  

The indigenous social worker went on to tell me that she comes across the same ignorance I experienced often in her field where psychologists think that what they learned in their training is the only valid knowledge out there.  She also went on to tell us that this is why the health care system often fails indigenous peoples: because it is culturally insensitive. I had heard this before from a Hawaiian elder who is also a nurse and runs a clinic that blends Western medicine with Traditional Hawaiian medicine on the island of Oahu.  The clinic has been so successful with indigenous Hawaiians because they are offered a choice of blending medicines or just staying with one mode.  Best of all, doctors and traditional healers work in harmony to provide care for their patients.

The truth is, I do perceive elements of reality that most people do not.  This doesn’t make me crazy or ill.  It wasn’t until I started studying shamanism that I met teachers who helped me learn how to use the psychic skills I had without medicating them out of me.  I’d been on anti-depressants in my twenties and they only served to make me feel numb and inhuman.  I am not against using medication and I know that it does help some people. Ultimately, it needs to work for the patient. With shamanic practice, I’ve learned more about who I am, what my skills are, and how to use them to support my own healing and that of others.  Most of all, I’ve learned to embrace these gifts instead of trying to hide them from the world.  This brought a sense of wholeness to my life that was previously missing.

Last week, I celebrated the launch of my new book about the topic of healing addiction with shamanic medicine (“Dreaming of Cupcakes”).  As I relayed pieces of my healing journey to the audience, I realized how shocked they were at my candor about mental illness and addiction.  They were not used to hearing someone be so forthcoming about these taboo subjects.  And they were certainly not necessarily accustomed to someone sharing about their ability to communicate with the spirit world.  In the end, people asked some great questions and I felt good about leaving them with perhaps a new perspective on mental illness.

After the launch, a mental health nurse who was in the audience came up to me and asked if I would speak to her mental health nursing students at a local university.  Of course, I said yes! Whether this happens or not, I was just so floored about the fact that this would even be on offer and it showed me that something is changing in the universe that is allowing for these conversations to come to the fore today.  Even a decade ago, putting this into the public arena would have been much more challenging.  Most of all, I am hopeful that we can learn how to direct the attention of our minds and put them to the use that Spirit intended for them: to remain open to new ideas. And I truly pray that everyone who is struggling with mental health can find the support they need in a way that doesn’t force them to sacrifice who they are.

 

***

 

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 Amazon information, click image below.

 

For more information go to: www.spiraldanceshamanics.com

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

March, 2016

Spring Equinox 2016 Part II

My last article focused on cleaning toxic people out of your life. I believe that is a good first step. I have a lot of experience with toxic people! I am an adult child of a toxic parent, and said parent has also crossed the veil. I know that although that toxic relationship is over, the hurt and heartache is not. Some people think you can just “get over it” and “move on with your life” as if nothing happened. While I realize things that happened to us are in the past, and thus will never happen again- I also realize that not everybody can forget these things.

Aside from hurting over past memories, and having flashbacks or PTSD, many adult children who survived a parent who was mentally ill suffer from fears they will become just like those parents. This can affect all of your relationships. You can either find yourself unable to maintain relationships, or find yourself maintaining unhealthy ones. Some people decide not to have kids of their own, out of fear they will be the same sort of parent that their own parent was. Some fear genetically passing mental illness on to a child, as well. Substance abuse is higher for adults who had mentally ill parents, and overthinking “all the bad things that could happen” happens more often when you had a traumatic or abusive childhood.

No matter how many therapy sessions or tranquilizers you take, these things can haunt you for your entire life. I could certainly provide spellwork to ease these sorrows, but I prefer to address what mundane things you can do for yourself as an adult once you have endured this sort of childhood, and what we can do to be supportive of the children or adult children of mentally ill parents. Also, mental illness is not a choice, and our loved ones struggling with mental illness need our support too!

The best man for the job

It is often assumed the most highly trained professionals or social workers our tax dollars pay for are the best people to be supportive of kids dealing with their parents mental illness. While I agree these people are absolutely crucial, most especially in cases of child endangerment, oftentimes, they rely on professional experience and education to guide them. But they have absolutely no idea whatsoever HOW it feels to be the victim.

If you, yourself have been a victim, then empathizing with other victims is second nature for you. You instinctually can tell if something is not right, and you can remember how you felt when you were a child. It can be healing to be a victim’s advocate. To be somebody who reaches out and makes a difference for people who cannot do for themselves. You could not prevent what happened to you, but helping to ensure somebody else’s suffering is eased- or even if somebody is rescued from a situation you could not escape from can do wonders for your own peace of mind. Your participation in somebody else’s rescue or healing cannot change your past, but it might help you to at least feel better that you were able to spot somebody else going through it, and intervene in a positive way.

Those old meanies!!!!!

I have, in my mom’s side of the family, in my work in long term care, and in my religious community, met a lot of people diagnosed with a mental illness who really are mean, hurtful people who do bad things to other people and have absolutely no remorse. Hell, some of them LIKE inflicting suffering! They blame everybody else for their actions. I also know some people diagnosed with a mental illness would NEVER EVER deliberately hurt anybody to save their own life, and who are kind people well-known for all the awesome things they do to make the world a better place. I am also aware that very often, mental illness takes over, and the people suffering from the disease unintentionally cause harm. They really cannot choose to do any different.

Children raised in this environment are often taught that their needs come last. Many children of mentally ill parents become their full time caretakers by their teenaged years, and sometimes find themselves in dangerous situations their parents inability to make good decisions puts them in.

Most people I have encountered who suffer from mental illness really do love and care about their family, and friends, and children, and want to make everybody happy. Their illness just prevents them from making good decisions about what is best sometimes.

Luckily, we are living in a day and age where scientific breakthrough has shown ways to help sufferers of mental illness. I know some people who medication is a godsend for, and others who are helped by counseling. Much attention is paid to doing the things necessary to help people suffering from mental illness live healthy, happy lives. However, sometimes, little attention is paid to the children of mentally ill parents unless their lives are at stake.

It is assumed it is best for mentally ill people to have normal family lives- which translates as keeping children at home with mentally ill parents. This often makes the parents happiest. Unfortunately, this is not always best for the children. I know each case is different. Some people I know were rescued and did not live with their parent’s illness for one day! Others narrowly escaped with their lives!

My story

While times are better than say, fifty years ago, I know from experience that the goal of “keeping a child with the parent” is not always a good one. Fortunately, my brother’s grandparents were granted custody of him when he was in high school. I was not so lucky.

Mom’s family tried to intervene when I was in high school- and of course the State decided it was best for mom to keep me with her! I survived, but my emotional wellbeing did not. By the time I was in my early 20’s, I was a very angry young woman.

Just before I moved, I was old enough to understand certain things were not okay, and I had started putting my foot down. By this time, mom’s self-medicating of her mental illness drove her into dangerous parts of town, with a gun in the car, so she could buy narcotics. We could have been killed one night. I moved out that very night after attempts to reason with her resulted in her threatening to “bash my mouth in” . I told her if she hit me, she would never see me again. As I packed my things, she exclaimed, “But I didn’t hit you!” She could never understand that her behavior was not okay.

Immediately, she faked a suicide attempt, having all her sisters who lived in town, her mom, AND our Catholic Priest run to the hospital at 2 A.M. because they were so scared they would lose her.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

I had no idea who to talk with, and our Priest was not trained in mental health counseling. I was, thankfully in college and loved to read. I sought out self-help books, and spoke with a counselor.

I got absolutely no support from mom’s family when I needed it most. Some of mom’s family made a choice to chew me out, feeling it defended mom- who they KNEW was severely abusive- because they were parents themselves, and were terrified at the thought of their own children turning against them. “You will understand someday when you are a mother”, I was told. They believed a child should honor their parents- and take care of their parents- even while the parent was jeopardizing their child’s life.

I had no personal rights to be a basket case in some family member’s opinions. I was failing to forgive, and how would I feel if god did not forgive me? I was cussed out and yelled at, and if I saw a family member in public, there was never a “How are you”, there was only a “ Have you gone to see your mother?” I was chastized by church members who recited scripture verses-because they believed mom when she cried and told them I had abandoned her because I did not want to take care of her.

What they did not know is that nobody could take care of my mother until control of the pills was handed to the professionals!

It felt like nobody could accept that my own sanity depended on being away from my perpetrator. They could not accept that my healing was more important than giving mom what she wanted. This response from blood relatives and church members compounded the pain and hurt I felt. I found out that family members were aware of almost everything that had gone on, and they did not care. They expected me to take it regardless. I finally cut off all communication with all of mom’s relatives and did not go back for years.

Luckily, I did meet plenty of other survivors of similar situations. I discovered that while I had previously thought my story was rare- it was not unusual in the least.

The Ugly Facts

According to The National Children’s Alliance, 47 States reported that 3.1 million children received services from some Children’s Services agency in just 2013. It was reported that not quite 80% of the fatalities of children caused by abuse or neglect was perpetrated by the kid’s parent or parents. More can be read at this link.

http://www.nationalchildrensalliance.org/media-room/media-kit/national-statistics-child-abuse

This just shows that child abuse is very widespread!

Right now, I am learning about schizophrenia- as I have a family member who suffers from it. A book I recommend was written for adult kids of sufferers. Not only is information about the book here, but an interview with the author is included that you can read as well at this link.

http://www.schizophrenia.com/sznews/archives/005387.html

Also, I found a really good article about psychosocial outcomes for adult children of mentally ill adults.

https://dornsife.usc.edu/assets/sites/782/docs/psychosocial_outcomes_for_adult_children.pdf

I am not saying that all mentally ill parents abuse their kids. Plenty don’t. I am saying that some do, and their kids need support the same way the parents need healing.

Instead of a ritual or spellwork, I will include some suggestions for how to be supportive of children of mentally ill parents- both non-abusive parents as well as abusive ones. Also included is how to be supportive of your ill loved one, and some things to keep in mind. You can always do protective magic or light a candle or pray for people suffering. I don’t think that ever hurts.

Prayer and spellwork creates change- but it is not enough sometimes. In all circumstances, the more you can do physically, the more successful your endeavor to create change will be!

April’s Suggestions

  1. Accept what is happening and that it is not okay- Sticking up for victims who cannot protect themselves can be scary. The abuser might be your sibling, parent, best friend, or even YOUR child abusing their kids. Taking their side based on concern it would strain relations for YOU if you tell them they are wrong makes you just as guilty of abuse as the abuser. Not only are you encouraging them to continue, but you might even be helping abuse the victim more. Telling the victim to get over it, that things are really not that bad, or the like means you are not only enabling the abuser, but you become an abuser as well. No matter how much you may like or love an abuser, that does not make it okay for them to be abusive.
  2. Get involved- I will never forget the scene in The Divine Secrets of The Yaya Sisterhood where one of the ladies said “It was the belief that you didn’t interfere with other people’s kids”. Then there is the quote- “It takes a village to raise a child. “ It really does. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. Refusal to get treatment absolutely is. Sometimes, people are trying to recover, but they are struggling to afford medications or counseling, or they relapse, it is time to “butt in” and get involved. It is not butting in or interfering at all when you are stepping in to help where help is needed.
  3. Don’t be afraid- Do not be afraid of upsetting your mentally ill loved one by preventing them from causing harm. If your ill loved one is insulted or indignant that you would “come between” them and their kids, and they do not feel what they are doing is wrong- when clearly, everybody can see it is- oftentimes, all hell breaks loose and you are in for World War III. That’s okay. Be assured the more they rage and attack, the more material the law has against them if it comes down to it.
  4. Be ready to take action- You might have to physically remove animals or another human being from their home. You may have to file police charges against them. You may have to testify in a court of law against your loved one. They may hate you forever for this- and other loved ones may take sides against you. I promise that is every bit worth it to be a victim’s advocate, and to stop the pain.
  5. Stick to your guns- Retaliation is not uncommon when you have been the one to stop an abuser. Do not allow whatever they threaten you with or do against you to get you to relent. Can you imagine how much worse it is for the victim than it is for you to be trapped by this person?
  6. Listen and validate- The #1 misconception is that you must CONDEMN your loved one for whatever hardship they have created. You absolutely do not have to. But you can admit it was hurtful to the people who suffered. Validation is the #1 thing some victims need most. That what happened to them was not okay and they are right to hurt. You may be the one hurting. Listen to yourself. Be considerate of your needs. If you need to skip a visit when your ill loved one is being especially excruciating- skip the visit, and tell them you will absolutely come when the behavior stops.
  7. Accept that intentions and results may be entirely different- Another famous quote from The Divine Secrets of The Yaya Sisterhood is “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Accept that maybe the mentally ill loved one did not mean any harm- but somehow harm was still done. Some things are not okay, even if the person cannot help it. But if they cannot help it, expecting them to choose differently makes no sense. They may mean well, but their actions don’t cause things to go well. Even though you might not hold it against them, it is still okay to keep your loved one from causing harm.
  8. Explain without attacking – Obviously, the goal is to maintain happy relationships- not to assign guilt. Compassionately explaining to the mentally ill loved one how a certain behavior causes pain, and what could be done instead might help foster positive change. Yelling and scolding will make them feel misunderstoo. They will shut down and be defensive. However, there comes a time when it really does not matter if the loved one gets defensive if you point out what needs to change- most especially if their behavior is causing bad problems, and they are capable of choosing different. Yup, it’s their fault! In this event, attacking still does not help. Still explain your point calmly.
  9. Accept when you can’t help- Some people literally refuse to be helped. I am reminded of another quote, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” Adults, most especially don’t like being told what to do. Your hands might be tied because of some circumstance. I mean, you cannot hold a gun to somebody’s head and force them to stop a behavior. You may have to wait until your loved one hits rock bottom before you can step in. Sometimes, we are not qualified to help a loved one and a professional is. The turning point in my relationship with my mom was the day I called a crisis hotline, absolutely hysterical. I felt so guilty and ashamed for failing to take good care of my mother, I told the operator! The operator listened compassionately, and then told me I was not the one to take care of my mother. She told me mom needed professional caretaking 24/7 and trying to do so by myself was preventing mom from getting the help she really needed. Now, of course, when I took the operators advice, that caused issues as well- but it was every bit worth it. Without me, mom’s family had to step in. They told her she HAD to get either in-home care or go to a facility. She verbally attacked some of them, saying they owed it to her to take care of her- and they simply said they could not do it. Mom was then forced to get proper in-home care until she could no longer stay home, and was transferred- against her will, of course- to a very good assisted living facility. Despite her years of fighting it, she absolutely loved the place, and so did we!
  10. Accept that maybe you can’t be around your loved one for a time- And that perhaps other people can’t either. Our loved ones endure the things we endure right along with us. There are times when we are each other’s strength, and times when we are broken by our loved ones and have to step away. We are only able to endure what we are capable of. Do not shame somebody for being unable to endure a loved one’s mental illness.
  11. Do not allow your mentally ill loved one access to certain things- If your mentally ill loved one steals money, don’t let them have access to your money. They can’t steal it if it is inaccessible to them. If your mentally ill loved one is legally allowed to drive, but their road rage terrifies you- do not get in the car with them when they are driving and do not allow them to drive your car. You might not be able to prevent them from causing a wreck, but that does not mean you have to be involved.
  12. Reach out- I know from experience how isolating it can feel to have a mentally ill family member. I looked around at my peers and saw the stability in their homes, and it seemed like I was the only one with a sick parent. I was wrong. Reaching out, reading, and talking with other people who were either mentally ill and doing all they could to live good lives, or survive the mental illness of a loved one helped me to understand that mom and I were not abnormal. We were not wrong. We were okay. Reaching out is the #1 thing that saved me.
  13. Mental illness is not shameful, and not a choice- I always say nobody ever wakes up one day and says to themselves, “You know, I have a good life. I am in good health. I love my job, and my loved ones. But you know what? I think I want to give all that up and be miserable. Yeah, I want to see what that is like! “ Mental illness is just like any other form of illness. It happens. Sometimes, we can fix it, and sometimes, we can’t. There is nasty discrimination against mentally ill people. I have never understood that. It’s not like we get mad and shame people who have asthma or a broken bone. So why shame people struggling with another disease they did not choose?
  14. Learn- If you , or if somebody you love struggles with mental illness- lifelong education is best. New advances in medicine and counseling are announced all the time. There is always a chance something can make life better and easier.
  15. Forgiveness of other people is not crucial-forgiveness of yourself is mandatory- The worst thing you can do is tell somebody who was a victim of abuse is to hurry up and forgive their perpetrator already. Many religious people believe a god/ess forgives, so people have to as well. BUT- those adherents conveniently forget the myths point that gods only forgive if the person is sorry, and the behavior has stopped. Few gods/esses will put up with bullshit! And even if in a religious story a god or goddess forgave somebody who was not sorry, I still don’t expect anybody else to. So why use religion as a basis to say human beings should? And I have to say, even if somebody is sorry and has changed, you still don’t have to forgive them if you don’t feel ready to. And you NEVER have to. You are not holding yourself back from some enlightenment or a place in paradise if you don’t forgive. Also, even if you DO forgive and move on from events- that does not mean that you have to welcome the person who hurt you back into your life. Ever. There will be a lot of people trying to push you into forgiveness and forgetting- and they won’t care if your perpetrator starts hurting you again. Do what is best for you, no matter what others say. For those who are aware of what their illness causes them to do- I really don’t have sympathy for abusers- so if you really are an abuser- piss off if you haven’t already been repelled by this article- but if you are a non-abusive person trying your best- you have to forgive yourself. If you don’t, you will not consider yourself worthy of getting better. Then you cannot treat your loved ones better. Forgiving the fact you are imperfect and make mistakes i9s not optional- it is mandatory.
  16. Know that we are all in this together- If you have been abused- you don’t have to be stuck with your abuser forever. But if you are ill, your loved ones depend on you to do all you can to feel good and be well. They WANT you around. They stay with you in bad times, and look forward to the good times.
  17. Giving up is not an option- If you suffer from mental illness- guess what? You are one of millions who does. The human body is so complex, that unlimited things can go wrong! Sometimes, your mental illness lies to you and convinces you that all hope is gone. But there are so many others struggling with the same things you are. Each sufferer is different, but so many suffer with the very things you do. Help and understanding is out there.
  18. Resources are out there- Your hometown has specific resources. Two I am listing here are Nationwide, and you can contact them.
  1. Mental Health America

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/

This site has searches for affiliates by zip code and or City and State. Your local health department or area of family Services can point you where you need to go. Also, a quick non emergency call to your local police to request for the number for your crisis center will hook you up with the type operator who got the ball rolling for help for my mother. Police are getting a bad rap right now- because the bad job the lousy ones do makes all of them look bad. Truthfully, police work does not pay THAT well, and many of the folks in the force are just decent people.

  1. For the loved ones of mentally ill people- your local hospital or mental health facility often has free support groups. You can make a few calls and see what your hometown has to offer.

Also, the National Alliance on Mental Illness has support. Here is their link.

https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/Family-Members-and-Caregivers

Now, if you LIKE NAMI on Facebook, a slew of other pages appears that you can follow. The Facebook link is provided on their Internet Page.

There is a plethora of resources out there because mental health is so important. Together, we can make a difference!

  1. May you be healed- May your gods and guides reach into you and pull out all your sorrows. If you need medical care, may you be brought to the best care there is and may you be able to afford it. If no cure exists, may it come about very soon. May you be surrounded by family and friends who are part of your healing, and when the time comes, may you be part of theirs! So mote it be!

Blessed Be!

 

Door to the Beyond

May, 2009

When you can run with the river…

It’s the same Door, but we’re making more changes this month.  Why don’t you walk through it again with me?

You’ve changed your diet.  You’ve changed your lifestyle.  You’ve changed your habits.  Maybe you’ve even changed your clothing selections.  Your life is still a mess. So what’s left?

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to change your friends.  I’m sure you have some good ones, maybe even great ones… but what about that one (or more) that always leaves you feeling worse than before you met with him/her?

There are many kinds of toxic friendships.  Here are nine basic types:

The User:  This person only has friends as long as he/she can use them for some purpose or goal of his/her own.

The Betrayer:  Nothing hurts more than a friend who breaks your trust.

The Controller:  This person is a friend as long as she/he is in control. They want you to think that they are “helping” you, but refuse that help or break that control and find out what toxic friendship really means.

The Judge:  Judgming and criticizing, this person can erode your self-esteem. The judge is a fault finder. You can rarely do anything completely right with this person.

The Promise Breaker:  This person rarely does what s/he says s/he will do. If you have a date, they are often a no-show.

The Gossip:  Remember, if they will gossip to you about others, they will gossip about you to others.  This is actually a subset of “The Betrayer”.

The Self-Centered Person:  This person can’t think of you and your needs, they are too busy thinking of themselves.

The Competitor:  This person has to do everything better than you (or anyone else) or die trying.  Although some competitiveness is normal in friendships, too much competition makes a toxic friend.

The Leaner: This includes all the very needy friends who cling and may be at your doorstep every day. He/she usually wants all of your time and jealousy often enters the picture in this friendship.  (Another form of “The Controller”, but they just don’t see it that way…)

Is your friendship toxic?  Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

How do I feel after spending time with my friend? Sad, angry, depressed, drained, stressed out, pissed off, etc.

Is there reciprocity in the friendship?

Is there truth and honesty in my friendship?

Is there a mutual respect for one another?

Is my friend loyal to me and I to her?

Can I freely express my true feelings about the friendship?

Does my friend criticize and belittle me?

Does my friend abuse the friendship and take advantage of me?

Do I feel like I always get the short end of the stick?

Do I ever have to ask myself the question, “Why do I allow him/her to treat me this way?”

Do I have uncomfortable/negative feelings about my friend and his/her behavior?

Why do I continue to put up with my friend’s selfishness?

Does my friend consistently lie to me, do I trust my friend, is he/she loyal to me?

There are, of course, many more questions you could ask, but this covers a lot of the territory.

So what can you do about a toxic friendship?  Doing nothing continues the drain on your energy resources.  Talking about it can result in a huge outburst, but usually results in your feeling better at least about yourself, and could start a healing process in your friend.  But don’t expect it to get better soon, and it could be worse for a while.

Toxic friendships are abuse.  Don’t sugar-coat it, there is nothing else you can call them.  The longer you allow yourself to be abused, the more of your personal power you are giving both the friend and the relationship itself, and the less you have for yourself.  A friendship is between two equals.  Anything else does not truly constitute a friendship.

You can repair your friendships, but only as equals.  Nothing else counts as a true “fix”.  Sorry to lay it on the line like that, but there it is.  Taking control of your friendships (not your friends) is a positive move for both of you, and you should do so in the most loving way possible, without becoming toxic yourself.

“One of the characteristics of a toxic friendship is that the good friend feels she can’t extricate herself from the relationship,” says Charles Figley, PhD, professor and director of the Psychological Stress Research Program at Florida State University. “Whether it’s on the phone, in person, or from the friendship entirely, you feel like you are trapped, you’re being taken advantage of and you can’t resolve the problem one way or another.”

Whether the feeling of entrapment has to do with history — you’ve been friends with the person since a young age, like Roberts — or you feel she has no one else to turn to and you need to stand by her through thick or thin, you need to take action to help your friend, and yourself.

Recognize the toxicity. “The first step is to recognize that the person is toxic,” Figley tells WebMD, “or at least that the relationship is toxic. They might not be a toxic friend to others but they are to you.”

Take responsibility. By continuing a toxic friendship, you’re allowing your friend to hurt you, but you’re also hurting yourself. “You have to take some degree of responsibility for the situation,” says Figley, a spokesman for the American Psychological Association. “It’s a pleaser personality — you want people to like you, you want to get along, and it’s hard to say no. But you can pay the price in one way by having toxic friends.” So even though we want to help our friends and have them rely on us in troubling times, take responsibility for toxic friendships and how they make you feel.

Talk to your nontoxic friends. “Talk to other people who may not have a vested interest in your toxic friendship,” says Figley. “People who can give you an objective opinion regarding whether the friendship is salvageable and whether you can manage the toxic friend to neutralize the toxicity, or if you need to end the relationship.”

Suggest professional help. A toxic friend might need professional help at some point to help her get her career, emotions, or family back on track. How do you approach such a touchy subject? If you point out to your friend how she is treating you and ask her to stop, and she continues to do it, you need to take it to the next level.  Say to her, ‘I know you are a good person, but maybe you want to seek help.’ (Of course, this includes talking to your, or her, High Priestess or other Elders, assuming they are not part of the toxic friendship.)  But keep in mind that if it has gone to that level, and a friendship is that toxic, it’s going to be destroyed at some point anyway. Better you make an effort to help your friend address her issues.

End the friendship. “It’s difficult to end a friendship,” says Figley. “Breaking up with anyone, whether it’s a spouse, love relationship, or a friend, is not fun. It’s even more important in this kind of context. In contrast to a love relationship in which you recognize you aren’t compatible, this type of relationships is hurting you.”
Third-Party Toxic

It’s bad enough when a person has to deal with a toxic friend firsthand but when the toxicity is impacting not you personally, but someone you love, like a spouse or a friend, it can be even harder. How do you handle it? As much as you want to jump in and help, sometimes patience is key.

“The person who is affected by the toxic friend has to approach you,” says Figley. “Then, you have every right to provide your observations. But you need to be honest, be objective, avoid criticism, and listen more than you talk. And the worst thing you can do is put down the toxic friend.”

Negativity, explains Figley, will have your loved one defending their toxic friend. The focus should be on how you perceive the situation is impacting your loved one, and how you can help.

As you can see, dealing with toxic friendships is a major part of your life, and a major project in reclaiming your energy.

As Ferron says in one of her songs, “When you can run with the river, why run with the river rat?”

OK, take a deep breath, think about what you need to do (or don’t need to do, and really relax).  And please meet me back here next month, for another walk through the Door.

Hugs,

Moss

Sources: Cyberparent.com, toxicfriendships.org, CBS News article about WebMD, AssociatedContent.com, and the song “Indian Dreams” by Ferron

Door to the Beyond

April, 2009

Breaking the Blame and Shame Game

This month, I take you through the Door into my past – and, gods willing, your present and future.

I happen to be one of those people who tells anyone who seems interested about who I am and how I got here.  You probably know that already from reading this article.

At some point in my childhood, my mother revealed herself to my father as being crazy.  He took her to the doctor (after patching the walls where the pots and pans struck them after missing him), and the doctor’s reasoned suggestion was, “throw her in the State Hospital and lose the key.”  (My mother told me about this just a few years ago, the first time she had ever admitted this imperfection.)  My father refused to do so, and so I grew up with my mother – diagnosed, but untreated.  She refuses psychiatric medications to this day – and perhaps that is where I got my stubbornness on this issue.

But while I was growing up, my mother’s “condition” caused her to pass a wide variety of mixed messages to me and my brother.  To be blunt, I never knew what was “good” and what was “bad”, and from about the age of 5 I was spanked for being “bad” when my father got home.

There are few things more disempowering to a young child than being beaten without knowing what you did wrong.  I tried and tried and tried to be “good”, only to get spanked again.  After a while, perversity set in.  It was much easier to determine what was “bad” than what was “good” (or “not bad”).  I was going to get a spanking anyhow, so I might as well do something so that I “deserved it”.

I got just as many spankings.  But I thought I didn’t feel so bad about it, because I deserved it now.

Later, as I got older, kids started picking on me.  My parents discouraged physical violence (unless they did it to me), so I was told not to fight back.  Most of the abuse was verbal.  So I did what I was trained to do – I started picking on myself.  I told myself, “It won’t hurt so much if I know what they’re going to say and say it first.”

You know what?  It took me a lot of years but, as you’ve read in my articles, I finally figured out that all I was doing was training myself to curse myself.  The hardest thing to do that started my recovery was the easiest – stop putting myself down.  No matter where the abuse comes from, it hurts.  In fact, coming from myself, the abuse had a direct channel to my Younger Self, or subconscious mind, so it likely hurt me more than if it came from someone else.

All of this came back to me the other night as I was reading one of the Great Books of Our Time, Rob Brezsny’s Pronoia (How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings).  On page 253, he gave me the codification of my Next Step in Recovery.

Say these words with me, or by yourself.

I will never again cast a curse on myself.

Being Pagan, most of us know that true Words of Power must be said three times, with intent.

I will never again cast a curse on myself.

I will never again cast a curse on myself.

There.  Feeling better now?  I sure am.

Rob included a poem shortly after this magickal statement.  I suggest you read it aloud, dedicating it to yourself:


I love my strange beauty and amazing pain

I love my hungry soul and entertaining games

I love my flaws, my gaps, my fears

I love my mysterious, dazzling frontiers

I will never forsake, betray, or deceive myself

I will always adore, forgive, and believe in myself

I will never refuse, abandon, or scorn myself

I will always amuse, delight, and redeem myself

Beauty and truth and love will always find me

Chaos and wilderness will always sustain me

I’m the fire and water and earth and air that are forever fresh from eternity


I’m a perfect creation and everything alive is naturally in love with me

So mote it be.

Until we come to this Door again next month,

Hugs,
Moss

Door to the Beyond

March, 2009

Getting Through

Thank you for joining me in another walk through the Door.  Going through it can and has been exciting over the years… but there will always be those times when walking anywhere will be a matter of just plugging along.

We may call this “boredom”.  We may use choicer terms, such as “perseverance,” “dragging along,” or “the blahs”.  Nonetheless, no matter what we do with our lives, there are times when we don’t feel the magick.  Many of us with diagnoses tend to fixate on these times, to where it may seem as though all the time is this way.  But we know that is not the case.

We can’t have excitement 24/7.  We just can’t.  We need down time, time to relax, time to recuperate.  If we see this as a negative, it is easy to fixate on it, and to scream that it’s over.  Many of us choose these times to contemplate suicide, especially if we have had a lot of these times lately.

I give to you the Magick Words which will get you through these times.  As nobody has the same preferences of language, I’ll say them several different ways, and you can choose one.

It’s OK, I need some time off.

I’m just resting.

I can get through this. It’s easy.

This, too, shall pass.

It’s true.  Just as no bad time lasts forever, and no good time lasts forever, no boring time lasts forever.  It just feels like it while it’s happening.

But what can you do to get through it?

Ah, come on, you know the answer.  You’ve done it lots of times.  Read something.  Take a nap.  Put on some music.  Call a friend.  Get on the Internet.  Go for a walk, or a drive.  Anything to fill the time.

You might also find this is a perfect time for meditating.  OMMmmmmmmmmm can fill lots of time.  My problem is, this is almost always the last thing I think of at these times – and probably the best thing I could do.

Do you feel isolated from everything?  Get in touch with everything!  The only way to get in touch with everything all at once is meditation.  Yeah, I’m preaching to myself again; isn’t that the best way to motivate myself?

And if all else fails, you could always write me.  Chances are, it will get to me right when I need someone to talk to.  A quick email to [email protected] will likely get you a quick email in return, and possibly a friend – for now, or for life, that’s up to you.

What else can you do?  What gets you through these periods?  Actions, thoughts, meditations, anything.  Tell me about it.

And next month we can walk through this door.  Together.

Hugs,

Moss

Hally’s Hints

February, 2009


THE MARKET PLACE

People are everywhere, walking in one direction and then another. They are tall; they are short; they are with their friends or with their families chatting amongst themselves oblivious of all that is around them, happily walking up and down framed aisles in a make-shift shed. The air is full of pungent, fresh and different aromas; mixing together to create smells of good and bad; like and dis-like. The sounds are vibrant and never-ending; aisle after aisle the sounds echo from the concrete ground seeming to become louder and louder to a point where the sound, the smell, the bumping of strangers all becomes too much.

For some this can take a number of hours; for others this takes a number of minutes and then for those that it takes even seconds. It is the overwhelming sensation of the need to get out; escape the organised turmoil of this bizarre and somewhat energetically wrong place. Perhaps it is having so many people crammed into such a small space; perhaps it is the location and then there is also the possibility that these people and their energies do not serve you.

Whatever the explanation this seems completely irrelevant at the time. The core focus is to go to a place that is calm and safe; usually home.

How many of us notice when the overwhelm starts to slowly creep up on us? Do you notice the increasing irritation of each person that bumps into you; the negative attitude towards potential purchases and the inability to take a deep breath?

Most of us put it down to having an off day. It gets swept under the carpet as co-incidental or even that we had a late night which is causing our impatience. All of these merely help to emphasize that feeling overwhelmed in the market place is very normal. It is the mix of energies and to those of us that are a little more in-tuned to emotions and energies; a place that we really want to avoid.

Start to notice where it is that you feel comfortable and where it is that for some reason it grates you to go. Perhaps even creates this feeling in the pit of your stomach that something isn’t quite right that up until now you have put in the “it’s all me” basket, when really you are being in-tuned to energies that are draining, zapping and simply not good for you.

As the saying goes ‘too much of anything isn’t good for you’ so imagine what hundreds and even thousands of energies can do to you. Consider the riots at soccer games which are caused through mass chaos from a huge aggressive crowd. How many of these people alone are usually rather calm?

Equally there are places that you are drawn to because they “feel” great. Did you ever wonder why?

Listen within to your own intuition and your natural ability to feel beyond what you think. In the world of feeling, thinking doesn’t even scratch the surface…

The next time you consider going to the market place, ask yourself if it is something that will give you a buzz of happiness or bring you running home screaming for some calm.

Next »