overcoming

Gael Song

July, 2018

Working with Shadows

With all the news about self-harm lately, I decided to write about working with shadow energies this time. As a psychotherapist and light healer for forty years, I’ve seen a whole lot of them. And there are a few basic ways of dealing with fear that I wish everyone knew. The first one is that fear has no power of its own. It wants to steal our power by getting us to believe in it, focus on it, and do fear-based things. All of these; thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and actions have creative power, which create our own personal futures and add to fear’s power. So, the first thing to remember is, fear isn’t permanent. It can be intense at times, putting a whole lot of pressure on, but as soon as you focus on something you love, instead, the fear dissipates. And as soon as you heal it inside, it will be gone from your life. This is suggestion number one. Don’t give fear power in any way. Don’t spend lots of time focusing on things you are afraid of. Don’t listen to it. It’s not truth, and it only wants its own way. So, how do you tell the difference between a real warning from the spirit world about some danger in the world and a fear trying to get you to succumb to it? By the pressure. Fear wants to take control and can be really pushy. Real inner warnings from my guides and angels have always been gentle, a simple sentence and inner direction that is spoken quietly and only once. When fears come into my life, I simply write them down to heal in my next meditation and go back to whatever I was doing. (Obviously, this isn’t enough in a life-threatening situation, when taking immediate action to protect yourself is necessary. But those don’t happen very often.)

The second thing to know is that anyone can transmute fear in seconds and become empowered and stronger as an individual. The way I do this is to call in the specific fear energy associated with some negative event from my day, still my mind, and focus on that one shadow. Let’s say someone insulted me or stood me up or pushed me around in some way. As I think about that negativity, I can feel the resonance somewhere in my body, a tension or weakness. I send my mental focus to that place of tension and wait. In moments, memories of that particular fear playing out in various lifetimes arise in my mind, many memories from the time of my descent from heaven to earth, too. (If you don’t read energy in detail, not to worry, just getting a sense of it will help.) There are usually several lifetimes attached to a single fear impulse that has come into my life, a series of past lives. I focus on the shadow energy until I can feel the belief I have inside related to this fear. For instance, I may see a memory of a life where my mother yelled at me a lot, and I took on the belief that mothers aren’t very nice or don’t love me very much. So, once I understand the belief, I imagine it moving into the diamond light in the center of the four lobes of my heart. This diamond spark is the highest vibration in the body, a drop of Creator fire. And the shadow energy looks like smoke, which moves along with my thoughts. Just thinking of it coming into my heart pulls it there. (My druid guides say the mind is strong enough to move quarks and this is what I am seeing with my inner eye.) Anyway, once the shadow is sitting in the diamond light, it simply melts away or transmutes back into light, like a little cloud disappearing in the sky.

I want to access the belief in particular because my guides tell me it is beliefs that create our own little worlds. Our so called ‘realities’ are a precise outpicturing of our inner beliefs and can be changed by inner healing work. Inner creates outer, my guides have told me many times along the way. So, when I am imaging a fear moving into my diamond light, I also release my contract to believe in it, forever and a day. And after every healing on myself or with a client, I smile as watch the spirit world remove the effects of that fear from my own or my client’s life. Once, at the very beginning of energy school, I did a healing with a very, very skeptical client, and afterwards that day, her mother happened to call her. I found out later this hadn’t happened in 50 years! That client was instantly convinced! But most outer changes are subtle, gradual shifts into a better kind of life. And the next time I am faced with some fear energy I’ve recently healed, that shadow has no effect on me anymore. I just have no reaction to it at all, since the inner connection has been dissolved.

Since I began my own spiritual path 22 years ago, thousands of fears have shown up in my life. And every one came in as an unpleasantness in my life, some quite gentle, some dramatically intense, but every one simply a message from God/Goddess that I had some attachment to or belief in that particular fear. I now believe that nothing is really meant to harm us. All our troubles are simply a message to go inside and heal something. But there are teachings along the way that are important to learn, too. Dealing with pain in a positive way is deeply empowering as well. I became a spiritual warrior over all those years, and my life has become far more peaceful, gentle, humble, and meaningful over the years. I don’t get rattled very easily anymore. And learning things the hard way helps us never, ever forget the truths being built into our hearts. Enduring pain builds compassion for others who are in the same plight, too. Just reading about others who are suffering doesn’t engage the heart very much but living in that identical difficulty certainly does! So, everyone’s challenges in life bring forth the embodiment of wisdom. And this is because humanity’s main task is to renew wisdom for the cosmos. I have soul memories of long ago, before my own fall from the Creator Sun. Wisdom had grown stale and flat across the cosmos, and some star systems were invading other star systems as a result. Wisdom is a living thing, so it can only be renewed by living it into being again. And that means descending into realms of non-love and learning the laws of love all over again, through the hard, hard lessons of our lives. This is the task humanity took on. We are highly respected by the spirit world for this very difficult task. It is very honorable work, no matter how small one sometimes feels pursuing it.

Another important thing to know about fear is that is does not shift by force. Yelling at it will only make it rise up and get stronger. I watched this happen in energy school as a fellow student tried to force a fear energy out of her friend. Telling a fear to go away will not work, nor will yelling. The more you push it, the more fear pushes back. That’s because pushing and control are fear-based, and even fear is in service to love. Only love transmutes. So, thinking positively, taking loving action, holding the shadows in the light in the heart, then and only then will they disappear from our lives. Maybe halfway along on my own path, I finally realized the fears that were showing up in my life were just as afraid of me as I was of them. I learned to speak to them gently and explain that I wished only to heal them and meant no harm. My process became far easier after that, for even a crowd of shadows would simply lie down by my side and wait until I had time to heal them all.

I’ve been doing two healing meditations a day for 22 years, about 20 fears a day. So, complete healing of all the levels of one’s descent does take time. But it’s become a way of life for me now, and I barely notice when some shadow energy opens in my mind or outer life anymore. Also, there is a single core fear that each person carries, and this fear is wrapped into all the others and will reoccur all along the way until the end of the path, when it is finally healed. And then, one’s true love at long last shows up (I am still waiting!) and that highest destiny or inner divine child is finally birthed into a living reality.

It’s really easy to shift oneself out of a fear, too, far easier than most people realize. Calming music, for instance, restructures the emotional body in moments. Doing something fun, despite the pain, does the same. Calling a friend works, too. Trees, rivers, the sea, flowers, animals, and the earth are all amazing healers, and all are waiting eagerly to help us in any way they can. And if you are really constricted in your life and can’t do any of these things, imagine yourself shrinking down small enough to sit inside the diamond spark in the middle of the four lobes of your heart to be surrounded by the diamond light (You don’t have to be able to see it in your mind’s eye, just set the intention. It will be.) This eases just everything, and often solutions that are sensible and workable, very creative ideas, come forth. If you can do nothing else, think positive thoughts and just endure. Don’t give in or give up. Don’t try to force change or send negative thoughts, which will just create a rebound on yourself and make it all worse. Do whatever you need to for yourself to stay strong. Suicidal impulses, for instance, will always shift in about three days, just wait it out and things will look quite differently. Wisdom is being built into your heart during your difficulty (and you are likely paying off some less-than-loving action of a former lifetime, too), know this, and that you will be released by the universe when it is time.

But more than just oneself, all humanity’s old unhealed fears, our collective unconscious, is creating what happens across the global stage. Lots of people are suffering here! We all have five basic parts of our inner spirits; boy (right abdomen and leg), girl (left abdomen and leg), mother (left chest and arm), father (right chest and arm), and beloveds (heart). Earth is structured the same way, with four continents and the Middle East; the boy in S. America, girl in Africa, mother in the Far East, father in N. America, and the Beloveds in the Middle East (a hologram of the Creator Sun). So, let’s say I have past lifetime fears about starvation in my left abdomen or leg, my little girl spirit inside. Until those fears are healed, they will affect the lives of people living in Africa, the little girl continent, as well as all beings in the girl quadrant of the cosmos. Healing my own fears draws a small bit of shadow off the whole earth, especially the place on earth where that fear is anchored in, as well as the entire universe. So, the really hopeful part of all this is that, if every person healed old fear energies inside themselves, their lives would turn into the true love/world service happy ending that has been written into all our inner divine children. The earth would turn into Paradise, and the cosmos would become one big heavenly playground of creative expression. All the outer fear-based creations would simply disappear: hunger, poverty, disease, crime, war, and on and on. Wahoo! So, keep walking, everyone. Keep hoping and healing. It will get very, very magical before too long, I just know it.

***

About the Author:

Jill Rose Frew, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, energy healer, workshop leader, and author. She will be opening a school teaching light healing and the Celtic path of enlightenment in 2019. For information, please see www.CelticHeaven.com

She is author of Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to arthurian Fulfillment (her name was Jill Kelly then), and Alba RebornAlba Reborn, Book One, RevisedAlba Reborn, Book Two, and Alba Reborn, Book Three.

Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to hurian Fulfillment

Natomas Craft Notes

December, 2016

Flags, flax, fodder, Frig !

This old Devonshire witch greeting conveys best wishes for the four goods in life: (1) a house (flagstones), (2) clothes (linen was common), (3) enough food (for you as well as your livestock) and (4) a good sex life. No. (4) is taken from the name of Odin’s wife, the Goddess Frig. Frig was the Goddess of conjugal love, so you are not wishing promiscuity on someone. No true Pagan will use Her name in coarse expressions, by the way !

Light a Candle

Whenever a fundie or some other cowan (non-witch) vilifies my religion, I remind myself of the saying “better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” Then I do just that – I literally light a candle. It’s amazing how quickly candlelight calms my ruffled feathers ! Then I do something for the Craft.

Craft work comes in four flavors: (1) Work for oneself, (2) Work for others, (3) Work for the coven and (4) Work for the Craft. Here are some examples of the four lines of work:

(1) You have to work your personal Craft before you can do anything helpful along the other 3 lines. This can include study, ritual practice, handicrafts, growing herbs, taking a walk to study local flora and fauna, meditation, or doing inventory, for instance. Doing inventory means I go through my clutter and organize it, getting rid of what I don’t need and making use of what I keep. Getting rid of things can often mean giving them away, putting them where they will do the most good. Inventory is a good way to clean one’s life and make more room in it for the Craft.

(2) Work for others can mean working with a magical partner or with a relative newcomer in the Craft, helping him or her to find source materials, sharing techniques and so forth. As covens grow, it’s a good practice for intermediate witches to buddy-up with people just coming in, and it takes a lot of the burden off your overworked HPS. At the same time, I have profited greatly from partnerships with Craft sisters and brothers operating on a more or less equal level of familiarity. Partners can point out mistakes to each other and help to spur each other to more consistent efforts.

(3) When you have passed your first degree it is time to begin thinking about the state of the coven itself. Sian Airgeaid, for instance, is currently lamed by my own absence, due to the need to find work which took me to Sacramento. This places a high burden on the HPS and means that I can’t always attend ritual occasions. Initiates should be concerned about this and offer to help shoulder some of HPS’s organizational burdens. Work along this third line involves asking questions about where the coven is going, how much it should interact with other covens, how it can best attract and screen new members, how it can acquire more capacious facilities, and so forth.

(4) Work for the Craft as a whole is the proper concern of everyone, whether new or old in the Craft. One should never joke about one’s beliefs, especially to outsiders, but have respect for the Craft’s dignity. You must consider how ‘out’ you want to be. Are you wearing a pentacle (pentagram in a circle) on the outside to attract attention, for instance? If so, you may get more than you wanted, and much of it may be negative or at least uncomprehending. If you are an ‘out’ witch, how far are you prepared to go to answer the ignorant and bigoted about your religion? Don’t forget, also, that if you display the pentacle you become an example of the Craft, so you may have to think twice about flipping people off or otherwise losing your temper. On the positive side, work for the Craft can include getting on the internet and making contact with other witches and Pagans, developing liaisons with kindred spirits out there, as a way of building our much-needed Pagan community. Do consider getting access to the internet, as it is the best way to reach like-minded people while avoiding the sort of local visibility that can invite persecution. There are a lot of lonely solitaries out there waiting to hear from you !

Pagan Theology

June, 2011

Pagan Theology:  The Mountain

While I think both of us would really like to avoid any reference to Miley Cyrus in this column,  I am going to talk about the mountain, and the climb [1].   We all have our own mountain, and our own path.  For some its steeper, for some, higher.  Sometimes its wooded and we, like Dante, can’t quite see where we are headed.  For others it is so rocky and barren they can barely stand it.   Many people decide on the Christian path, even if they don’t stick to it and their mountain looks really different from the one Christ actually climbed.  Others, the secularists, turn away from the mountain and go have a beer in town.  Pagans take a different path, one that is both tough and magical.

Thinking about paths and climbing, I thought it would be worthwhile to talk a little about the idea of journey in the context of a Pagan theology.    I know I risk getting my wheels stuck in the mud of advice columns [2], but I’ll try to avoid the usual prescriptions.

In his book “Four Spiritualties” Peter Richardson [3] discusses four different types of spiritual paths.  His paths correspond to different Meyer’s-Briggs personality Indicators [4].  These personality types go back to Jung’s psychological types, which in turn work into the idea of the magical.  But that’s another story.

In his book Richardson describes the journey’s that appeal to each grouping of personality type:  the path of unity, the journey of devotion, the journey of works, and the journey of harmony.  While you might want to read his book to see which type of journey you fit into, and what each one entails, I was inspired by his idea of journey to think about what constitutes a Pagan journey.  What propels us along the path?  What actions lead us to fulfillment, and how do we get there through the Gods and Goddesses?  These are big questions, ones I’ll only begin to talk about here, but I think they are extremely interesting questions.

Unlike Richardson who sees each journey as an integrated set of actions that encompass all the different aspects of spiritual questing, I want to examine the individual components that make up a journey.  In other words I’m using Richardson’s idea of the four paths as a way to organize my thinking about the tasks that lead us along the Pagan path.   These are:  take others with you, find love, find peace, and practice.  Each loosely corresponds to Richardson’s paths:  unity: others; devotion: love; harmony: peace; works: practice.

The first task is to take others with you on the journey.  Without others, the journey will not only be lonely, but you will miss the key lessons that compassion and humanity can teach you.  If you look at many Pagan books, they focus a lot on the inner and out works, but not on works that engage us with other people and the world.  The book religions are all about engaging with the world, in particular Christianity focuses a lot on not only how you treat others, but in how you treat the least fortunate, the outcasts, and the marginalized.

Taking others with you on the journey means travelling together, and picking up those who are laying beside the road.  In travelling together we are asked to test our faith against the beliefs and actions of other Pagans.  While it is totally possible to be a solitary practitioner, and to be spiritual alone, it is not possible to be religious alone [5].  Beliefs, practices, magic, spirit, faith, and other beliefs are private, but religion is both private and public.  It is an organized faith, whether it is organized around a circle, a Pagan festival, or a meetup.  It asks that you not only believe, but that you take the risk of speaking and affirming your belief amongst others.  Faith that is witnessed, that is tested, grows stronger and propels you along the path.

Teachers also give us the experience of the other in our journey.  Learning by reading or having a spiritual experience often requires considerable work and in many cases you still get it wrong.  A teacher, at least a good one, can explain in few words many things that you have overlooked or misread.  And only a teacher can teach you how to be in a faith.  Attitude, confidence, the idea of a magical will, are all things that are shown and taught between people.

Travelling together and with our teachers we often encounter the less fortunate.  There are those who are down on their luck.  In fact today there are many more down on their luck than in the past.  There are also those who are down on their spiritual luck, those whose attitudes, personalities, and abilities have left the alone on the journey.  Many of those people show up at our circles and meetups.  We need to show compassion, in order to learn how to be compassionate.  But at the same time we are on a climb.  The Pagan path is both demanding and weird.  Those who drop behind on the path, those who are not disposed to its hardships and requirements, we must let them know we will be waiting, but they need to know that we will not stop.  There is a balance between helping, and stopping.

The second task is to find love.  Love is another spiritual goal that is not readily discussed in the Pagan literature.  Perhaps that’s because of all the “god is love” Christian nonsense.  God is not just love, the Lord and Lady come in many forms, love, cruelty, vengeance, satisfaction, plenty, warmth, amongst only a few.  But we also need to remember that we do have Goddesses of love:  Aphrodite, Aine, Ishtar, Inanna, and others.   Love is as much a part of Paganism as anything else, honor, sex, nature, or magic.

Finding love requires more of us than simply falling in love with one of our fellow travellers.  It means seeking and finding the love of the Lord and Lady.  Their love is within us, all around us, it is in everything that we see, touch, walk on, and breathe.  It comes from the breath of the world, from our experience in nature and in ritual.  Love is that which propels us up the path with out fellow travellers.  In it we find that which is more than ourselves.  From love of the Goddess comes peace.

Which brings us to our third task:  find peace.  Peace here refers to inner peace.  It is the balance that comes from a loving community.  It is the calm that comes from knowing yourself and having your beliefs, values, and worth firmly grounded.  Peace lets us navigate the tricky, technical, parts of our climb.  When things become dangerous, peace is the solid bedrock beneath our feet that keeps us from falling.

Without peace there are many challenges that we will not overcome when we face them.  The first test that the mountain usually gives us on the Pagan path is one of ego.  For some reason Paganism, and magic, can easily lead to a narcissistic pursuit of personal power and egotism.  You know everything, you are always right about the Gods and Goddesses, you must be the first, the boss, the most magical.  Perhaps it is the association of magic with power that is so tempting, or the fact that Pagan beliefs are so malleable that we each are essentially charting our own without any higher authority.  Personally I believe that Paganism encourages self-centeredness because it is different, it is not mainstream.  By just starting down a Pagan path you become different, special, unique.  If you long to be special, Paganism can provide that specialness.  We attract those who want to be unique, different.

Unfortunately that way does not lead to peace, to grounding.  It’s too easy to fall from the path, to lose others, to lose love, if it is all about you.  While the rede and the threefold law are seen as the most important expressions of Pagan ethics, I see the magical law:  magic spoken is magic spoiled, as the most important law.  The discipline of not talking about your craft, of your religion, of your beliefs, robs Paganism of that ego feeding uniqueness.  If you do not tell unless you need to no one will know that you are different.  I know how tempting it is to let your Christian friends know about your beliefs.  And I’m not saying you shouldn’t.  But you should also know that there is a power in holding back, and that power is the peace of seeking the Gods and Goddesses for what they are, not what you are.

Another challenge that we face as Pagans, particularly Pagan leaders, is burnout.  Without peace I have seen too many leaders eventually fall off the path, or at least retreat into solitary practice.  If ego claims half of those who fall away, burnout claims the other.   Peace gives you the grounding to know what is important to do right now.  Attend to your Gods and Goddesses first, for they are the mountain and the path.  Everything else, your reward, fellowship, and practice, are second to that focus.

Which brings us to the fourth task:  practice.   Now practice can mean a lot of things.  It can mean a regular devotional practice such as ritual or prayer, it can mean the practice of magic or other practical spiritual arts, or it can mean “doing something in the world.”  I’d contend all of these are a component of a religious practice.  They both ground you in the world, and they require a certain regulated discipline out of you.  In each of them you are giving something, usually time and attention, to the world of the spirit.

Pagan devotional practices are not as regulated as those of other religions with their rosaries and regularly scheduled prayers.  However, just because we don’t have those rules, doesn’t mean that there are not useful, or that we can’t implement them ourselves.  Pagan devotions can range from daily prayer or communion with the Gods and Goddesses to a simple walk through the woods.  With the Gods and the Goddesses all around us, and within us, many daily actions or rituals can become devotional.  Gardening, making a meal, or playing with your dog can all be ways of connecting with the Goddess [6].

But practice is a serious occupation as well.  It is focused attention on the work of the Gods and the Goddess.  Prayer, meditation, and magic represent related but different ways that attention can be focused.   Prayer is a conversation, mediation or shamanic journey is a seeking of union, and magic is bringing the spirit into manifestation in the world.  None of these practices is done well the first time you do it.  It takes practice to do practice right.  That’s why it’s typically called a spiritual discipline.  Because the discipline you accept in focusing your mind gives you the mental and psychic strength you need to accomplish the task.

Practice can also mean acting in the world.  After all you “practice” a faith or a spiritual discipline.  The practical aspect of faith is perhaps not as glamorous as the spiritual, but its something that we all benefit from.  Leading ritual, helping to prepare meals for the homeless, or working for progress in our religion are all examples of practice.

Think about the time and effort that many of our leaders put into our groups every day.  Scheduling Pagan Pride day, doing rituals, leading classes, and simply organizing covens and groups takes a lot of effort.  These are all spiritual practices that build character and faith through service.    These practices do not make the leaders greater, they make them more humble, more thoughtful, and more prone to realize the ways in which they fall short.  To practice leadership within a Pagan group is to work long hours for only the reward of better self awareness.  In thinking about practice it is important to realize that the practice is not itself what propels you along the path, but the changes it makes in how you see the world.

So what constitutes a Pagan journey?  I’d contend these four tasks:  be with others, find love, find peace, and practice, are great starting points for developing an answer to that question.

The book religions have lots of theological and liturgical answers to the questions of fellowship, love, peace, and works.  But we have little to guide us, as many of the teachings of the old religions have been lost.  Given the proliferation of love Goddesses, for example, it is almost certain that ancient Celtic and Mediterranean religions had deep and thoughtful things to say about the role of love in our relationships.  And some of those relationships are between us and the Gods and Goddesses.

So what path do we take?  What do our ancestors tell us about the climb?  It sure would be great to follow the path that has been trod for millennia.

That is not possible today.   As Pagans we are pretty much on our own.  To climb as high as we can on the mountain we need to understand the path using our own experiences and reasoning.  We need to know how to climb, and where our footing is sure and where it is weak.  This is an enormous challenge, one I do not think we realize the depth and complexity of.  Defining a new way, a way that incorporates reified deity into the quest for transcendent love, inner peace, and selfless practice is very hard work.

Because we do not have the path, we must cut one for ourselves.  That is pretty scary, because the mountain is tall and rugged.  But at the same time it is exhilarating.  As we cut our way up the mountain we are finding remnants of those who have come before us.  As we work, lead, and practice the Pagan path will become clear, maybe not easier, but clear.

[1] Instead of anything by Cyrus (either one), I’d recommend Mother, I Climbed written by the great Dave Carter and performed by Tracy Grammer.  It challenges the whole idea of this column, saying that at the top of the mountain he found nothing, and it was only returning to the earth, the womb of the Goddess (Marianna, who can be taken as an obscure love Goddess or the symbol reason (and France)), that he found peace.  It is a very interesting song, like all of Carter’s songs.  And Tracy Grammer is one of the best folk vocalists recording today.  http://www.tracygrammer.com/php/lyrics.php?uid=506

[2] Another Dave Carter reference.  http://www.tracygrammer.com/php/lyrics.php?uid=98http://www.tracygrammer.com/php/lyrics.php?uid=98

[3]  Peter Tufts Richardson.  Four Spiritualties:  Expressions of Self, Expressions of Spirit:  A Psychology of Contemporary Spiritual Choice, Davies-Black Publishing, 1996.

[4]  Meyers-Briggs Type Indicators and MBTI are registered trademarks of Consulting Psychologists Press Inc.

[5]  I get a lot of grief when I say this, but I am talking in a very technical sense about the term “religion.”  It is not the same as “mystic,” “shaman,” “magician,” or even “witch.”  Religion implies a set of agreed on beliefs, and organization, and a public witness.  Paganism in all its forms totally qualifies on all these (well, except we are not terribly well organized at the strategic level).  However solitary spirituality is not a “religion.” It is a practice, a faith, or a spirituality, but not a religion.  Its not bad, its just we need a term to indicate an organized group who believes the same thing about deity.

[6]  Remember there are Gods and Goddesses for everything, Epona, while typically associated with horses, is also seen in her statuary accompanied by dogs.