SUBSCRIBE

mental

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]ail.com

My Name is Isis (Volume 4) on Amazon

The Bad Witch’s Guide

February, 2019

The Bad Witch’s Guide to Pagan Prayer

(Photo by A L L E F . V I N I C I U S ? on Unsplash)

A
lot of people assume I don’t pray. This is wrong. I have a daily
practice and that means I connect in some degree to what is sacred to
me and within me, usually daily.

My
prayers can look like regular praying, or dancing, or cooking or
nothing at all. Let us talk about what I mean when I say prayer.

To
me a prayer is the mental and spiritual and sometimes physical
seeking of connection to the Divine within and outside of the self. I
have prayers I have written as well as some from the Feri tradition
on my bedroom walls. I may repeat those silently or aloud as written
as as my heart directs in the moment. The words are important but it
is the sensation of connection, or depth, of Anwen that lets me know
I am not just reciting. I am deliberately altering my consciousness,
with a mind to connection.

While
I also meditate often, meditation differs from prayer. In prayer I am
expressing something to myself and the Gods. In meditation I am
listening. I surrender to that connection. Sometimes I listen more
than I speak, sometimes I speak more than I listen. At the root of
prayer is hope, at the root of meditation is trust, faith. That is
why meditation is difficult for a lot of people. Not just because it
takes practice but because to surrender your thoughts, to really
listen within and without is an act of surrender. You have to let go.
Scary stuff for a lot of people.

Prayer
is different. It is an expression of seeking and of holding on, maybe
even building something. Even if there were no Gods prayer would be
important as an expression of our hopes, our strength and desire for
life and connection. An affirmation of awakened selves.

Sometimes
I call on specific Deities though more often I call on the Lord and
Lady, God and Goddess, or even simply Ancient Ones. I usually call
Herself first and then Himself. It was the Feri way I learned early
on and one I still use. I find myself “speaking” more to Herself
and “listening” more to Himself.

I
like the Charges a lot too. Though I don’t use them directly often
save in ritual circle.

Praying
can be dancing, my unspoken hopes and desires moving my body and
radiating that into the world. It can be in song, pagan in origin or
otherwise. It can be in my hands as I touch someone (I like “may
what is sacred to you heal you”). There are prayers in my teacup,
in the glass I use to take my medicines (I am getting better
everyday), in the spoons I use to stir my cooking food. Even if it is
only the words “thank you”.

I
was lucky enough to trade and receive a book of translated
prayer/poetry of Inanna. It is fascinating, ancient and beautiful. It
is rather sexy in places too! As a prayer it is a love poem. “She
who adores, adore me!” It was eye opening because prayer for many
people is a saintly bland affair. This was funny, entertaining,
erotic and tragic. It was eye opening.

Prayer
is more than a wishlist of wants like a child’s list of presents to
Santa. Prayer is speaking in heart, body and mind to what is sacred.
There are wonderful prayers out there but crafting your own is both
more personal and more relevant. You have the option to be as
specific as you like. Writing is often a prayer too. Whether it is
poetry in my many notebooks, on twitter or articles like these, I
have to connect to write. I have to reach into the light within me
and the light without to find the words, though sometimes I can not.
Sometimes there are no words only sounds or sensations.

One
of the other techniques some Feri traditions teach is to simply speak
to your Gods. No thee, thy, thou. Just you talking. Though I do this
least I do find it helps keep me sincere. It is a helpful expression
of where you are. Part confession, part shooting the breeze, this
kind of prayer is both cathartic and humbling. As someone whom has
been and felt I had to be superwoman this gave me a space where I
didn’t have to be perfect, all-knowing or strong. I could rest my
head on my Mother’s breast and cry, rest and just be.

My
personal shrines within my bedroom are where I come to pray most
often. I find cleaning them and it’s objects a prayer in itself.
While I do give offerings to the Gods this is usually part of rites
and ritual rather than daily prayer. I don’t like having food in my
bedroom, so if I do give offerings it is usually flowers, crystals
and objects like feathers I find that have meaning to me. Much like
my own daughter as a small child would bring me flowers and pretty
things.

If
praying is something new for you start small. Something short you can
remember easily or write in a journal. Taking a few moments to say
something from the heart is a beautiful way to start or finish your
day. It can be specific or open as you like.

Goddess
you are the sweet sacred earth

I
am of your body and I am blessed.

Goddess
you are the sacred waters of life

I
am of your body and I am blessed.

Goddess
your breath is the sacred air we breathe

I
am of your breath and I am blessed.

Goddess
you are the candle and the star

I
am of your radient light and I am blessed.

Goddess
your way is that of gratitude

Your
way is of peace.

Your
way is of joy.

Your
way is that of love.

Your
love willed me into creation.

I
honour you and I am honoured by you.

So
mote it be.

You could easily add a named Deity of your choice, replace blessed with anything else, like strong, wise, or holy. You can make it as complicated or simple as you like, it is the reaching with your heart and mind for that sincere connection that matters. So mote it be means “as I have spoken it will be so”. I prefer it to Christianized Amen. Blessed be is always a good ending too. Different paths may have different wordings. If you do something while you do this prayer, like light a candle or such after a time the act itself becomes connected to your prayer.

You
do not of course have to pray. Yet if you are seeking I think it is a
worthy endeavour. It is in the seeking that it matters. For if you do
not find it within you will never find it without.

The
one place Gods inarguably exist is in our minds where they are real
beyond refute, in all their grandeur and monstrosity.”


? Alan
Moore

The Bad Witch’s Guide

January, 2019

The
Bad Witch’s Guide to The Older People”

Or
You get Better or You Get Bitter”

There
are some people who never seem to get old. Their bodies might age,
but something in their eyes and heart has remained or even grown.
Then there are people who seem to crave death. Sometimes it is
depression. Often untreated, under supported and dealing with the
loss of a great deal. I have been the supporter of an older relative
dealing exactly with this. Without support and indeed medication
these folks become something dark and unpleasant. As The Veil grows
thin for a person you start to see what might be beyond for them, a
light or a darkness. This is not about religion or faith but an
almost physical psychic presence around people near the end. Those
near their light glow. There is a peace and beauty.

Then
there are the other ones. A presence like black sticky smoke. A smell
of something rotten or burnt like old tires or something sickly
sweet. It seems to pour from them. I can not tell if it’s their
mood, their energy, their internal mean-spiritedness or the
manifestation of something else.

Older
people are just that, people. They are neither saints or devils, but
dealing with someone whom is dark and difficult because they are
family is hard work. It is often hard physically, emotional and
spiritually.

So
how do you live with or be around this polluting force? Toxic
parents, and relatives become no less pleasant as they age and some
just use their frailties (real or imagined) as weapons to brutalise
their children and spouses and grandchildren.

As
a child of a toxic parent and one who watched someone become one in
their last years of life there is a complex soup of horrible
feelings. Guilt, duty, blame, shame, fear and pain.

As
a witch I have to change my perspective.

I
must squint at the situation sideways and think magickally.

Firstly
the mundane. Is this person mentally ill? Are they depressed,
grieving or suffering in some other way? Is mental health support
possible? Many older folks have still have a lot of shame and
misconceptions about mental health. Many have some really ugly or
difficult coping strategies. From alcohol and cigarettes, to shutting
themselves away, generationally we are in a much better place to
understand mental illness today. Some might be struggling with side
effects of medications, not knowing that their could be newer better
medications or combinations out there. Some might not have been to
the doctors at all. Avoiding what they think will be a frightening
truth.

Reach
out. Find charities and professionals that listen not only to what
they say but your input too. It isn’t easy. We had a lot of doctors
simply refuse to believe Pop’s had depression. That many of his other
issues would have been solved if they treated that first. In the end
it was as much that as his vices that killed him.

Of
course you can not help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. This
is perhaps a hard truth of our own we must face. The other option is
also mundane and really tough. Sometimes you have to walk away. For
your self, your health, sanity and well being. This might be a break,
this also might be an end to the relationship. It is not our job to
watch someone destroy themselves.

If
neither of these two are applicable (life is complicated and messy)
protect and cleanse yourself and space as often as you can. You might
want to physically clean it as well as smudge. Adding salt and
essences to your wash water can help. Protective wards, charms and
crystals help a lot too.

There
are a couple of things that can help absorb some of the toxic seep
but they are not permanent measures. One is sacrificial house plants.
Sounds macabre I know. House plants tend to die in the presence of
such people, yet these little heroes can and do take much of this and
convert it as best as they can. They don’t have to be fancy, and if
you get a few you can rotate them around (increasing their lives for
a short time). Ferns are good. One near where they sit, one in their
room, one in the loo or near where they spend a lot of time and
absorb a lot of yuck. Some quartz pebbles might even make them live
longer.

The
other is a salt and barely mojo. You can make up a big batch and keep
it in a jar and change out and throw away the used one. How often
depends on the person.

Once
a month or once a week depending on how bad it is. This can go under
a mattress, or sofa cushion or even into a pillow.

You
Will Need:

Salt,
the best kind you can afford.

Barley
(pearl barley is fine)

Calendula
oil

Parsley
(dried)

Per
one cup of salt you will need a tablespoon of barley and calendula
oil with a teaspoon of parsley. This is the base mixture and you can
add other things, like moss or wheat straw (again to absorb the
energy).

Say:

Spirit
of Salt I call to thee

Draw
what is harmful away from me.

Barley
keep the Dark away

Bind
it here until I wash it away.

No
darkness shall harm

With
this charm:

Tenebris
et non nocebit (And the Darkness Will Not Harm)

Tenebris
et non nocebit

Tenebris
et non nocebit!

Place
in fabric mojo bag as discreetly or not as you like. Under the sofa
cushion, or mattress is useful and make sure to empty them regularly.
Dispose of the used mixture down an outside drain with plenty of
water. Don’t put it in a river, but you could put it in the sea.

This mixture can be used for a circle ward around your home, too.

While
none of this deals with the cause of the problem sometimes all we can
do is muddle through and keep ourselves safe. In an ideal would this
sort of thing wouldn’t need to happen but the world is often not
ideal and we need to use our magick to keep us as safe as we can.
Toxic relationships are difficult and draining and it can take a long
time to heal from them. If a little magick can help you feel strong
enough to say “no” when you need to then it has done you a great
service.

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

September, 2018

Balance

Merry meet.

Celebrations are often planned for the sabbats, but don’t overlook the power these times add to magical workings. As the world hangs in balance, day equal to the night, we can use its balanced energy to regain our own balance before heading into the dark half of the year.

Gather the materials you’ll use: a marker of any kind and a round disk. These can be the wooden ones found at craft stores, a jar or bottle lid, or the top of a deli container.

This spell can be done as part of a ritual in sacred space, or in any area in which you feel comfortable, perhaps adding incense and candles to set the stage.

Sitting in that space, let yourself relax and let go. Give yourself time to begin to feel the balance of this day and breathe it in, absorb it into every cell. If you cannot “feel” it, know that it is there and imagine its vibration. See a sign that, to you, represents this state. It might be the yin yang or an infinity symbol, a line, an equal sign, a representation of scales, or anything else that can trigger the balance you are experiencing. Othello pieces are white on one side and black on the other, and I have used them in the past.

Channel that vision and energy into the sigil as you draw it on your disk.

Sit with it as you think about where you and your life things are out of balance. Does it involve discipline? Nutrition? Boundaries? Is there something you are missing? Something for which you have an overabundance? A situation that lacks its polar opposite for stability? Take the time to visualize each of them balanced.


Feel yourself come into balance on all levels, filled with peace and harmony.

You can choose to add these words Mackenzie Sage Wright included in a Mabon spell she wrote that can be found on exemplore.com:

As yin is to yang, as dark is to light,

As male is to female, as day is to night,

Find Nature’s perfect balance within me

So I may live my life in harmony…
by the powers of three times three,

this is my will, so mote it be!”

Carry the sigil anytime balance is needed – be it spiritual, physical, emotional or mental – and tap into the powerful energy put into the spell it on the equinox.

Although most powerful when done on the equinox, there is no reason this spell can’t be done anytime of year.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

**

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self-taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

 

Functions of the Psyche in Magick

February, 2012

I have been in the in occult long enough to see some twisted folks and very gullible people thirsting for knowledge; there are a few misunderstandings that go in the realm of the occult Seeker. The occult is primarily in the usage of symbolism, one clear example is in the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. The word “Ateh” is used to mean “thou art” when the real meaning is derived to a beautiful woman in Islam or Princess Ateh in some middle eastern traditions as the original source; The meaning was changed to suit the grounding for the Kabbalistic Cross. Though the meanings are different, all that matters is the symbolism on the psyche in all essence. The symbolism of the occult can affect anyone with a positive or negative affect depending on the entirety of the strength in the Will. As Israel Regardie states in the Complete Golden Dawn System of Magick every person should have mental baggage from the past to be sorted with psychology, not that the person is crazy; the person must be mentally prepared to look in the Abyss of the Occult. The whole being of the occult is to search the SELF. Too many of times left handed paths get labeled as negative due to the fact a person search themselves as many pagan sources state, however, take into consideration Left Hand and Right Hand are just labels to organize thoughts in the mind and much like any religious text: it can be manipulate to a persons own intent and will. There have been great friends I have met, who made the conscious decision to leave the occult because their mind was not ready for the information to be handled, they were not disciplined, and they were really curious dabblers. The scariest thing the occult can present to you is the evocation of the inner “demons” from the ego manifested into the physical. To prepare for the evocation of these inner “demons” created through loss of innocence after birth one must undergo a heavy self improvement process and Ego deflation session before seriously joining magical societies like the OTO, IOT, Cult of Isis, A. A., and other organizations. Israel Regardie was a big fan of Charles Jung and recommended psychology for seekers in the occult for their own safety.

The few bad apples that contributed to this whole crusade against the occult were examples like the

man who shot the congresswoman of Arizona, David Caresh, and other misguided folks who needed to

seek medical attention. They dabbled in the occult and saw parts of themselves they could not handle,

they were not mentally stable as well. The book Catcher in the Rye was the book that was said to

inspire the killings of a high school in Colorado, John Lennon, and even Charles Manson used this

book as a crutch for his murders. The mind must be stable and accepting of all flaws of you and others.

As the Ego fluctuates you take one piece of information and take it to the extreme with no willingness

to learn anymore knowledge, or if you do decide to gain more knowledge it is used in a very

demeaning manner toward less fortunate students in knowledge. The Book of Abramelin even points

out of of the biggest mistakes made by man is to use your pride to knock someone down for you own

ego, which comes from pride. Yes we need some degree of pride and ego to survive in the Shekniah, or

the “Mother”. There is a good friend who even mentioned the best quote that was engraved in my mind,

“I am human”. As to being human we must admit our flaws and forget our pride to send ourselves on

the path of being “HUMAN”. I went through a three year process to prepare my mind for the Occult

and study the OTO agenda.

The functions of the occult should normally start with metaphysical principles and philosophy. Magical

and Mundane values are two separate entities as a whole. There are two different pillars on two different

planes of existence. The laws on the above are not the same as the Below. The Emerald tablet best puts

this line “that which is above corresponds to that which is below and that which is below correspond

that to that which is above.” The upper world or the world past the physical veil of existence has

divided processes that make the schematics and paradigms that are almost altered of what we “think”

we know here in the Malkuth. You can even add the 10sephiroth in the terms of 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10=55 and we can break that to 10 and we can break 10 to 1. So the Kether is

in the malkuth and maluth is in the Kether. Even in the Christian Bible it states heaven will descend and

Israel will be Heaven, the land and crevices that are on the outside of this grand city will be the fire pits

of hell. I am not a Christian and I do not agree with the text, but I like the analogy that both worlds,

Spiritual and Physical, coexist as one in our minds. These are the Two extremes that show the mind is

heaven and the mind is hell. Even in the Opus Mago Cabbalisticum Et Theosophicum it says that too

much salt can kill the fire in the steak turning it to a fluid, leaving the balance behind causing the steak

to rot because it lacks the masculine fire. This Imbalance is one that is caused exclusively be feeding

one wolf more then the other inside of you, thus this imbalance affects all mannerisms, mental states,

emotional states, and beliefs.

The whole world soul is in a place in the subconscious of God, or Yesod, called the Axis Mundi

according to some shamans of the middle eastern and northern African tribes. We are a band of brothers

and sisters that all departed from the Schamjim, or the Primordial Source. It was from this unknown

nothingness that spread to create the universe and manifested, while being bound, to the earth for us to

evolve into the higher intellect we are today.

So many of times we forget that we are a cosmic family and we degrade others out of ego hurting

others; and we are gruesomely wrong for this statement. A part of the Ego is to show dominance over a

brother or sister and correct grammatical errors, misspelled words, and or even out of the slightest of

hand gestures. If someone is so perfect as to the fact they can exalt themselves for the animistic nature

of fighting over “right” and “wrong” this is no more a sign of insecurity over any other. The biggest

dangers of the occult lie in the formula of ego and mental state. There are many various methods to

deflate the ego from Tibetan Buddhism to basic meditations. At the end of the day if you cannot look in

the mirror and say you love yourself on the inside you are not ready for the occult.

I was in the Army for three years. I had to do many things that I did not want to do, since that point I had a hard time looking at myself in the mirror for a year after being out of the Service. I then found my calling on to the path of ceremonial magick to ground my experiences into the Tree of Life. I found my sufferings were for Wisdom to walk the path I am on now. I sought help to face my inner demons from the things I had to do in the military, but I faced them internally. The Next step that worked for me was externally using the Clavis to externally bring them out and face them. The occult is not for everyone. You will find occultist just join for power or knowledge. The occult is not about power or Knowledge, but Wisdom. In the Kabbalah 32 is spelled Lev or the Lamed and Bet. Lev means heart and the Sepher Yetzirah even says the 32 paths of Wisdom. If you have the heart to face the trials and ordeals to be in the occult get ready for a wild ride. IF you feel you are ready then do so for Wisdom, not power or knowledge.

Door to the Beyond

February, 2009

Getting CHEESy

…and written over the Door are the words:  Choice.  Hope.  Empowerment.  Environment.  Spirituality. This is the door we walk through together this month.

I spent two weeks in school this month (January 2009).  The class was called Peer Employment Training, and the end result was to be a certificate as a Peer Support Specialist, making the twenty of us in the class eligible for employment in the fields of mental health and substance abuse.

The twenty of us walked in with our Superman capes and bulletproof Spandex, waiting to be empowered to lift and carry all our charges into a new world.  We were very disappointed, but in a joyful way.

In just the first hour of the class, we were taught how to take off our capes and fit them for each and every person we were (will be) assigned to, and teach them how to learn to use it themselves.  Instead of Advocacy, we were trained in how to make each person we serve into their own expert, empowering them to take control of their own case and not live down to their labels.

You know how psychiatry has been these past 40 years.  You walk into the doctor’s office, you tell him what’s wrong, and he doesn’t hear but a few key words of what you tell him.  He then uses those key words to decide upon a diagnosis, and that diagnosis tells him what drugs to prescribe you.  There is little or no talk therapy, and after being given a label, you are never treated as a full human being again.  They can take you to court and force you to take the medications, or force you to receive electro-convulsive therapy, or force you to go to and stay in a “hospital”, all in the name of Your Own Good, to keep you from Doing Harm To Yourself Or Others.

Voila, you are no longer a person.  You are a label, a diagnosis, a stigma.

I’ve been beating my own head against that barrier for most of my life.  I knew I was still a person.  I knew the drugs were hurting me.  Over five years ago, I told the doctors where to go, and they didn’t have enough on me to commit me somewhere.  In those five years (and in the two prior years), I learned how to take care of myself, how to get well, how to recover.  My recovery is not complete, but I am at least 80% better than I was under their “care”.

I walked into this class expecting to get more bruises on my head from beating against the same old wall… and they moved the wall!  They had even begun to dismantle it!  I grabbed my sledgehammer and did my own best Berlin imitation.

From the first, the word “recovery” was used.  We were told that we were people, not labels, and were not to be defined as less than human ever again.  We were told about our choices, and we learned that this new paradigm has already been in use in a few areas.  There is a new hospital about 40 miles west of Asheville which mimics another hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, where there are no physical restraints, there are no labels, and there are more peer support specialists than doctors.  The treatment area is called the “Living Room” and is furnished accordingly.  People are recovering, and are welcome to come and go as they choose, and are never ignored.

Wow.  Add another wow to that.  We learned about the CHEES Priniciple, which is:

CHOICE:
One choice is no choice.  Mental health can be achieved through the use of drugs, supplements, talk therapy, meditation, acupuncture, chiropractic, traditional Chinese medicine, and many other routes, and withholding information on any of these is dishonoring the individual.

HOPE: You are never hopeless.  Sometimes you can feel so far down that you need someone to hold your hope for you until you can hold it yourself.  The twenty of us were trained to do just that.

EMPOWERMENT: You are the expert on your problems and your solutions.  We will help you find those sources, but you will lead us through that process.  We can give suggestions, but only with your permission and only after trying to get you to see what is already inside you.  We will listen to you; we will do our best to empower you to get your “treatment team” to listen to you.

ENVIRONMENT:
You need to be in a place that suits you, not a “treatment center” and not on the streets.  You know what is best for you.  We will help you discover the options and find ways to get into what you need.

SPIRITUALITY: This was the big one. We are using the S-word again, and even the L-word (LOVE).  No more impersonal decisions made on your behalf.  Each of us has our own spirituality, and we peer support specialists are being trained to honor that.

Peer Support Specialists are experts, but it’s a different kind of expert:  We are experts in not being experts (and that takes a LOT of expertise!).  We are learning how to listen to you, how to lead you to listen to yourself.  We do not know what is Right For You – only you know that.

Are you beginning to see why I am so excited about this?  Are you beginning to have hope that the System will die and leave something better behind?  If not, I would be happy to hold that hope for you until you are ready.

To me, the things I learned in this class were more miraculous than if we ever were to elect a black President… oh, wait, we just did, didn’t we?  Damn.  Am I still in the same world I was last year?

I sure hope not.  I like the world I’m in now.  And if we work together, praise Goddess, we will all have something good to think back on.  Why wait for 2012?  The old world is ending now.  We can, we will create the new one together, in peace, love, and all those old sixties things (minus the drug busts).  Remember CHEES and all those bad memories will start to fade.

Let’s walk through another Door together… next month.

Door to the Beyond

December, 2008

Hope and Audacity

Ah, my friends, the door once again beckons.  Let us push on.

“The bad news is, there is no key to happiness.  The good news is, the door was never locked.”

– Swami Beyondananda

Hope.  With it, we can do anything.  Without it, or with the perception of being without it, we feel lost, and many of us choose this time to attempt to “end it all”.  Sometimes we need attention, sometimes one of our friends catches us and kicks our ass and we get back to it.

There is hope around us.  For some of us, it may be the first time we have allowed ourselves to hope.  With every glimmer, there is a rock in our path.  Are we going to step over the rock, or are we going to howl about stepping on it and refuse to go further?

If there was ever a time for not just thinking outside the box but destroying the whole damned box, this is it.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., called several times for the formation of a National Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment; MindFreedom International has now done so, only on an International level, and has even hired (the real) Patch Adams, M.D. (not Robin Williams) to run the organization.

Crazies like us power the imagination of the world, and we now have an umbrella organization to deliver that power.

Some of that power went into the recent US Presidential Elections.  While the results were, for most of us, highly encouraging, we have not yet seen the end of the dismal jimmies and control freaks.  The election of Barack Obama as the next President of the United States is not even the end of racism in our country.  We all hope it is the death knell, but dying organisms stink a lot until you bury them.  (For those conservatives among you, this event is also not the end of  America… for those racists among you, get over yourselves.)

America has never dealt with its inherent racism.  It merely stitched the wound closed without treating it, leaving it to fester.  This election opened the wound — hopefully to clean it out and let it heal — but the deep infection is exposed, and it smells awful.  It is up to each of us to pray for real healing, rather than reseal the wound in its untreated condition.

I am reminded of something I learned while working in wastewater treatment in my youth.  Most treatment ponds tend to attract vegetation and other life.  Since the vegetation tends to grow roots through the sealing layer of the pond, they present a problem, in that the contents of the pond could infiltrate the local groundwater.  So for years, people in the business of wastewater treatment would poison these plants.  What they discovered was that dying plants suck up many times more oxygen than living ones, and most times the whole pond and all the life in it died from not having enough oxygen in the water to breathe.  A dead treatment pond provides no treatment, it just sits there smelling like something died (Can you say “anaerobic bacteria,” boys and girls?  Didn’t think so.).

Who in this world can inject life (air) into a conversation, into a whole paradigm, better than we?  Look for the humor in the situation, and whisper it to somebody.  Watch it catch fire.  Laugh it up, and be gentle with it.  Always remember that the only tested, proven way to dissolve hatred is laughter — good, rollicking, loving laughter, entirely empty of ridicule.  My battle cry is: “PUNS OVER PUTDOWNS”.  Rid yourselves of jokes AGAINST yourself and others — find something loving to laugh about.  Find the silly chink in the subject, and break out your prybars.  HATE STINKS.  That goes for hatred of yourself, hatred of the “other guy”, “other gender”, in fact, of anything “other”.  Whenever any one person is not equal, there is no such thing as equality.  THERE IS NO THEM, nobody here but US.  Go ye therefore and heal likewise.

We have been hospitalized, drugged, tortured, and stigmatized, but we find a way to keep going, even to laugh about it.  I don’t want anyone, ANYONE, treated the way I have been treated… it’s all wrong and it keeps us apart.  And there is SO MUCH we could do together.

I hope I’m preaching to the choir.  And I further hope the choir takes the word out into the world.

Come with me and join the Right-To-Laugh Party.

“Serious Crime: Sure, serious crime is up. But why not look on the bright side? Humorous crime is down.”
– Swami Beyondananda

Until next we walk through the Door together, Metaphors be with you!

Hugs

Door to the Beyond

October, 2008

Rest & Recovery

Last month we talked about action.  In this month’s walk through the Door, we are walking to our campsite, blowing up our air mattress, and climbing into our sleeping bags, in the company of our Family.

There are two things to remember about community action – 1. Always work FOR something, and 2. never do more than you can, which includes resting up.  If you have pagan Family or good friends to rest up with, you get a double recharge over doing it alone.

I’m writing this on a tiny Netbook in my tent.  My closest friend is getting handfasted tomorrow, and I’m “best man”.  The Drum Circle is sounding great; our best drummer, Greyfix, is back after a long absence.  The crickets and tree frogs are adding their music.  There are probably over 100 people here, it’s Friday night, and more are coming in tomorrow.  I’ve given-and-gotten more good hugs in the past 8 hours than in the previous 5 months.  (I haven’t been to a Gathering since Litha.)

Each time I come to a Gathering, my Family comments on how much better (more well) I look than when they last saw me, which is needed feedback; each time I return, my local friends comment on how much more relaxed and recharged I seem.  It’s a great cycle to have going.  I think I’ve mentioned before how this Family has stood by me through times when it was all I could do to lay in my tent and whimper.  By contrast, I am now working two of my own non-profits, putting in time on a third, writing several websites, doing this article, and working professionally as an editor.  This is not being said to puff myself up, but to show you how much improvement is possible, to give you hope in dealing with your own recovery if it is needed.  It was not a rapid recovery – I came to SerpentStone in 1996 after years of mixed rejection and acceptance elsewhere.

There are lots of good Families out there, and lots of local and regional Pagan Festivals.  I recommend finding the “family” gatherings over the “whoopie Wicca” festivals, but that is my choice.  (There is a lower chance of long-term rejection among people who want to be together, rather than those who are looking for a good time.)

Every step along then path was magick.  The magick involved asking for help, finding it, and accepting it.  Wanting to change is the first step, being willing to change comes next, and then accepting the opportunities to change,,, and accepting the length of time it takes to walk the path.  I found my Family 12 years ago; found the people who wanted to start the ALT-therapies4bipolar Yahoogroup 7 years ago; started taking some supplements 6 years ago… and got totally off psych drugs November 5, 2003, almost 5 years ago.  Each step was an act of magick, each step required some amount of faith on my part, and I was not taking these steps alone… but having Family would not have helped a bit if I were not willing to take the risks, to do the magick.

It wasn’t a straight path lined with constant successes; probably far more failures than successes.  I took offense many times when none was intended, and gave offense often when that was not my intention.  Most of the time I was sure nobody could screw up as badly as I was doing… (Ever feel like that?  Then you’re probably bipolar.)  Some people helped me feel like that, but it’s not like I needed a lot of help.  But I knew I didn’t want to feel that way, and kept trying to do better.

There were a lot of setbacks.  I didn’t give up, but I sure took some long breaks before getting my resolve up to try again.  It will likely be just about as hard for you.  (I truly hope some of my readers are ahead of me, and can pat themselves on the back for doing it better than I did.)  “Try, fail.  Try, fail.  Try, succeed.” – A. Low, M.D.

“She changes everything She touches, and everything She touches changes.”  Nobody has the power to prevent Goddess from helping you, and even the power you have to keep Her from helping you is limited.  As the Hindu teachings state, Grace (Anugraha) is unlimited and always available; the only thing you need do is believe yourself worthy of asking for it – and then ask.

I’m aware that perhaps not everyone’s path involves totally discontinuing psych drugs, but be aware that it can be not only possible but quite safe, with help and support.  Part of that support will come straight from Goddess, but it won’t happen if your love of yourself does not eventually catch up with your love of Goddess.  Don’t be hard on yourself along the way, but give yourself a huge pat on the back for each step you take, no matter how small you think it was.  Every step adds up.

And soon you will join me walking through yet another Door:  The door to freedom and mental health.  I will see you next month.