Do You Fear Making Mistakes?

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If I’m afraid of making mistakes, I will be afraid all day every day.

But I need help to not be afraid. When I receive Divine help, my fear dissipates. Here is my prayer for help:

MistakesMay I not fear my mistakes.

May I have the highest ideal possible and do everything within my power to achieve it. May I realize that even my best attempts are riddled with imperfections.

May I remember mistakes are part of doing anything, and thus fearlessly reach for the stars.

May I feel safe knowing whatever problems my errors cause are nothing compared to the Goddess’ power as She carries me unceasingly toward beauty and happiness. May I fearlessly trust She is doing this even when I cannot see it.

May I love myself exactly as I am and celebrate my mistakes as part of my attempts to live fully and serve the Goddess well.

BYABa3

Divine Embrace

DivineEmbrace

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Divine Embrace

Worship. It’s become a “bad” word. Years of oppression have turned the sweetness of worship into bitter chains. Centuries of censure replaced the ecstasy of divine embrace with a dogma of sadness. But I worship you, who reads this now.

I worship the trees. I worship snow as it falls on my face. I lift my face to the sky to worship it.

And I will not relinquish the joy of lifting my face and heart to worship my Gods.

I rededicate the word “worship.” I free it for anyone who should want it. No one gets to exclusively own it. I free it to be whatever each individual wants it to be. I free it for anyone who wants to give and receive the love and power that can occur in worship.

So mote it be.
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Extraordinary people need extraordinary spiritual guides. Extraordinary people do not hesitate when they find a guide. http://www.outlawbunny.com/pastoral-counseling

Wyrd 2014

My wyrd New Year’s resolution: Ecstasy and ease.

Sometimes, it is vital to do things the easy way. I work hard on my spirituality. That’s important. But we can get stuck in the idea that growth has to be all work, no play. The resulting experience sucks—I do not want to feel like God’s drone!—and does not always make for the most inner growth or power. So I constantly create fun modalities for inner change, for my students and myself.

Life and growth will not always be easy. When I’m counseling a trauma survivor, we may be in painful tears together. That is a good thing. Hard work, balanced by fun and ease, has been my ongoing approach.

Empowerment can be accomplished through joyful simplicities. Joy nurtures the spirit. For example, I receive commissions for fantasy portraits, which I paint in trance. They affirm the client’s wondrous essence, inner and outer beauty, and power. Below is one I did of myself. Scroll past it for the rest of the blog:

MddleManagment4ChaosGod2012WT

With the Divine, we can grow spiritually, and overcome obstacles, the easy way, sometimes. Heck, not just sometimes, but a lot of the time!

Recently, I asked one of my students to give me a spiritual challenge—whatever she felt I most needed to work on. Oddly enough, it was to do things the easy fun way. Huh? Me, who is already so good at that? I mean, I have a ball in my life. There is mega-laughter in the classes I teach. And my Gods have a great sense of humor, too—we have a blast together.

But you know what? My student was right. There’s always another level to reach toward. I’m forever wanting to achieve more for the community and in my private life. And I am not, right this second, referring to more fun and ease, but to what I want to accomplish overall.

After meditating on the assignment my student gave me, I realized that the progress I envisioned, for both my private life and what I want to accomplish as a community shaman, could only be achieved through a new devotion to fun and ease. Hah, what a great challenge—to have more fun than ever and go easier than ever!

2014 is my year of doing that.

With so many demands on our time and money, streamlining our lives and choosing pleasure may not seem possible. Nor may there seem time to get needed spiritual support. But here are three easy ways to do all that. There’s that word again—”easy!”

1) Ignore new year promotion-hype that sells you a lot of product, which is the same old stuff that never worked before. Stick with the tried-and-true. Sometimes, we blame the tools we have, instead of our use of them. If you’re not using a hammer, it’s not the hammer’s fault that the nail never gets driven in. Revisit one of your basic tools that has supported you in the past. Use it a little.

2) Ignore hyped up approaches that demand more time than any sane productive person has. Instead, take a moment. For example, keep your tarot deck or runes by your bed. When you wake up in the morning, pull one card or rune, as you’re scrambling out of bed to feed the kids. While you go about your morning routine, spend a few moments thinking about the card. I’m not suggesting you go into trance, sit in a lotus position, or have deep thoughts. I’m saying that, if you cannot do a lot, do not be discouraged and forsake all attempts—just do what you can. Giving a tarot card or rune some consideration, even for a few moments, can open us to Divine guidance, inner resolve, or peace, regarding the day ahead. It can really be a benefit.

3) When you finish reading this, keep heart open to fun, easy ways to: Grow, overcome life’s challenges, and have support for your life.

Here is a way to have all three. Enjoy a Spirit Portrait—it is a gentle, organic process of empowerment. And you give me a chance to fulfill my New Year’s resolution. I adore mirroring people’s wondrousness to them; it is truly some of the best fun. My spirit grows a bit with every painting. Together, we make a great 2014. . . . Wow, I love that idea! Providing joyful support, having a great time in the process, and our shared happiness? Yes! Info at http://www.outlawbunny.com/2012/03/16/fantasy-portrait/

May our fey-touched hearts enjoy 2014 to the max!

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Lady Olivia Robertson

Interviewed by Francesca De Grandis

Lady Olivia Robertson is one of the pagan leaders I’ve most admired (discussed in my blog Meeting Lady Olivia Robertson: http://stardrenched.com/2013/04/17/meeting-lady-olivia-robertson/ )

My deep love for Olivia led me to interview her, to help share her wonderful message. The event was recorded in my home in the early nineties. However, life intervened; the tape languished for two decades. I’m finally able to share it.

Technical Notes: If anything Olivia says in this post offends you—e.g., it is inaccurate—blame me. Maybe I transcribed the interview incorrectly. I have not finished transcribing the entire recording—thus far, it is 3500 words, even edited. I am posting it in parts as I get them transcribed and edited. There are a few more bits I should have cut, for clarity’s sake or the like, but if I delay posting until I have time for more cutting, there might be another decade’s delay. A fact check is in progress re spelling of names that I could not fact check myself.

Some of the interview is a lovely retrospective and awesome history.
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Part One

Francesca De Grandis: Tell me about your recent travels. You’ve been to several places in the US, to Japan, where else?

Lady Olivia Robertson: Well, it’s very exciting. Now Fellowship of Isis is getting on for 15,000 members in 90 countries, and these people correspond, we have postal courses and, in the end, they want to meet each other. So we have conventions and conferences, and the first one I did in Ireland, naturally, I had our own ceremony in September. And after that, I went to London, where we had a marvelous convention in one of the most beautiful Jacobean houses in England, called Charlton House after Charles I. It was built for Henry, the Prince of Wales, who must have been Pagan, because they have nothing but carvings of nymphs and satyrs…

FDG: Oh, I’ve been there! It’s in London?

LOR: Yes.

FDG: : Oh, it’s beautiful! Even the banisters and along the stairs, aren’t there wonderful carvings?

LOR: And the fireplaces and everywhere, yes! So our convention, which was about our seventh, was held in the library on a sunny day, so we could lie out under the trees in this beautiful garden. Then I took a Virgin Atlantic flight (which I liked very much) and floated over to New Orleans. There we had a very dignified venue at the campus of the University of New Orleans.

I want to emphasize that we have some witches, some Catholics, some Protestants, Buddhists, Hindus—you name the religion, and we have it. We actually had two Catholic priests, one who gives his name and the other doesn’t. But the point is that we accept all religions as feminine. In New Orleans, there was a more cultural and artistic line, but they had some jolly witches who gave us a party afterward.

Olivia in her drawing room. Click to see more clearly. I cannot give photo credit. She sent me this snapshot about six years ago, with a note in its back, "The drawing room, remember?," which was her usual very sweet self.

Olivia in her drawing room. Click to see more clearly. I cannot give photo credit. She sent me this snapshot about six years ago, with a note in its back, “The drawing room, remember?,” which was her usual very sweet self.

Then, I went back to this wonderful Isis Oasis. Now, Isis Oasis is interesting because we’re now a legal religion in the United States through this Temple of Isis. We’re not pretending to call ourselves the “Church of something-or-other” because Isis is 6,000 years old, and Christianity is only 2,000. So I don’t see why we should have to pretend to be a church. And this is a Temple of Isis, where we don’t have “women priests,” we have “priestesses.” We have about 600 priestesses. We have priests as well, of Isis or whatever aspect of the Divine Feminine they wish to represent.

FDG: 600 priestesses, and how many priests?

LOR: I’m not sure, really: I have my figures at home, but the 600 includes priests. We have about 650 ordained people now in the priesthood. I ordained some in New Orleans while I was there—it was lovely—both priests and priestesses. Then I did the same at Isis Oasis. Now, that has been very generously donated by the Reverend Loreon Vigne, Priestess Hierophant of the College of Isis, to her Temple of Isis. So, really, it’s the first Isis land in America. You know, you have all these other religions having land. This 10 acres of land includes a temple, which is small, and a wonderful theater with full colored lights for ritual, which holds about 100 people. She can put up about 60 to 100 people there. There is a wildlife sanctuary for endangered species—lovely ocelots.

FDG: Her sanctuary for endangered species is special to me because, amidst all those animals, are peacocks. They are sacred to me. Loreon lets me make friends with her peacocks.

LOR: Yes, you can. And her sanctuary’s a good thing now, because some animals are dieing out, but she sells them, and some are re-introduced into the wild, whatever is necessary that can be done for them. And it’s a very, very happy retreat center: There are all these places—you can sleep in a pyramid, or sleep here, there, and everywhere. It’s a wonderful place for a convention. We had the famous Luisah Teish, who came, and Mary Greer, who wrote Women of the Golden Dawn. I’m so old —I’m 80 now—that I knew W.B. Yeats and AE and all. When you’re 80, you don’t mind saying it. I can dance and travel, and just do anything I like. I don’t feel any different from when I was young, which is very nice. When I lived in Dublin, we had a house there and we knew Yeats and that whole lot.

In Part Two, Olivia discusses visits with William Butler Yeats.

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Mysticism and Non-Academic Scholarship

A mystic needn’t be an academic to be a scholar. Why is this idea important? Some people create a magical, fulfilling life based in a non-academically-shaped worldview. We also might want to teach from such an orientation. Our cosmology can be as carefully constructed and extensively developed as any scientific understanding, but many would crush our power by insisting there is only one intelligent way to see, to learn, to study.

Trust your observances made through mystical states, e.g., trance. Trust your non-ordinary modes of perception, like intuition.

I’m not suggesting you blindly believe and act on everything you think you’ve observed. For example, when you have an intuition or receive guidance from spirits, run it by a down-to-earth person who exists on the mundane plane. Non-academic perspectives are as subject to fault as academic insights.

But, luckily, I did not wait until a university validated each step of the many I needed to travel along my shamanic path. I’d have taken fewer steps, losing great joy and fulfillment, not only in my personal life but also because I would have taught less.

Academic validation does happen to me lots, and it feels nice. But relying on it as a way to tell myself or anyone else, “See, I know what I am doing” would undermine my belief in my style of scholarship. An example: Pics of subatomic particle tracks validated what I’d seen in trance for decades. But I’d validated it for myself already. Hence the painting below:ShamanicPhysics 2012-03

Training can be crucial. Just as a scientist studies his “craft,” so have I. I also spent years in trance, 24-7, researching as diligently as any scientist in a lab.

I’m not suggesting you trust yourself only if you do the full-time training or research I did. Mine was needed because of goals I had as a teacher and mystic. Otherworldly reality is innate in us all. Just as many linear-minded non-scientists trust their personal worldview, so should many mystics observe and assess their environments, drawing our own conclusions, instead of docilely following “experts.” I mention my full time commitment only to reinforce the extensive possibilities of mystical wisdom.

Insights I gain through altered states are building blocks of trainings I create. But I don’t carelessly throw something together in the name of Divine inspiration. I spend years developing a curriculum before teaching it.

My fastidiousness does not naysay the observations of someone without training. The psychic realm is as much a part of human heritage as ordinary daylight; we all have insights about it; and they are important contributions to community dialog. In fact, one of my goals as a teacher is to create tools that help people trust their insights and recover their innate mystical awareness, which has often been squelched.

Being a mystic does not deny your intellect. (And too many beautiful, astute, linear minds are used to invalidate somebody’s heartfelt, lyrical worldview.) I know amazingly left-right-brain integrated mystics.

It’s like being a musician. In my last year of college, I supposedly needed more units of logic-based classes to get my degree. But the college president felt that my thirty hours of music theory, which is mathematically based, obviated the need for further logic classes.

When I write a song, channel liturgy, or travel faerie realms for info, my intellect needn’t suppress my efforts. It can weave in and out of my emotive fanciful state, improving my effort. I also might go over what I have created to rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, until I’m satisfied.

In various mystical states, there’s a dance between the two sides of the brain and the heart and soul. Each aspect of you comes forward, adding what it can. All of you weaves constantly, in such rapid-fire succession of ever-changing intertwinings that you might be totally unaware of this complex inner interaction.

At such times, we learn truths that others may deny. We plug into immense powers to control our own destiny. We become part of miracle. Even other pagans may try to invalidate these gains, Goddess bless them, instead of realizing that their approaches and ours can be different without either of us being wrong.

But the things we learn in such states set us free.

This has been a limited view on mystical scholarship. But the crux is: Let yourself be free.

Pantheism and Mosquitos

Pantheism and Mosquitos: Practice Vs Theory

I am theologically a theist but, practically speaking, often apply my belief system in a pantheist manner. For a couple of years, I’ve been trying to figure out how to work mosquitoes into my pantheist practice. Ok, I know it is funny (and I like being funny), but it is also true.

I’ve no theoretical problem with mosquitoes being the Goddess. It is practically speaking that I am stumped. And I don’t have much use for theory without practice.

I suffer from Skeeter Syndrome. For example, today, mosquito bites at my elbow caused a single swelling that is five inches across and quite high.

Francesca De Grandis, 2013

Francesca De Grandis, 2013

For me, being fed by the Divine requires being in the moment. God is now. When I try to escape the now, I might leave myself behind. When I look for solutions in some faraway place, well, as they say, there’s no place like home. The now is where I have to find metaphysical home.

As a pantheist, I believe all of self is a weave, all of existence is a weave.

I also think pantheism implies a divination system: Every particle of the universe, every moment and being in my day, can be read for guidance. Applying my pantheist theory sometimes requires 1) watching for that guidance 2) examining the weave of the moment for a weave of meaning 3) acting on what I discover.

I’m about to have oral surgery. There are a myriad of reasons that I am far more likely to have complications from a simple surgery than most folks are. I’m doing everything I can to prepare really well for surgery.

Looking at the swollen arm, it occurred to me: Mosquito is God. Oh my God (heh), mosquitoes are trying to help me with the surgery, perhaps.

I started wondering about the root cause of extreme allergic reactions to mosquito bites. What exactly about me makes me so allergic to the bites? Holistically speaking, this allergy might not be isolated. Perhaps there’s some deficiency in me as a whole that causes the allergy? Is it a deficiency that, taken care of, would make me do better with surgery?

I researched this question online, to no avail. Then I called an herbalist friend. She had no insights.

I called another friend, Susun Weed. Though rushing to cook dinner, she kindly gave me a quick ‘n’ dirty answer (adding that I could get a full answer through her radio show. Her answer was hurried, so I hope I understood it correctly; if you want to correct me, please do). Susun said I have an “inflammatory response,“ which is caused by eating foods that cause inflammation. She told me to stop eating pepper in all forms. She said I should cut down on stimulants like coffee and ginger, and to eat anti-inflammatory herbs, eg linden, comfrey leaf, and marshmallow root.

Web of Life, silk hand painted altar cloth, Francesca De Grandis

Detail from Web of Life, silk hand painted altar cloth, Francesca De Grandis

Ah, the weave! Her choice of examples was synchronistic. Though I do not drink coffee, I’d started using peppercorns and ginger again, last year, after a few decades of neither. Needless to say, they’re banished from my diet again.

A few days later, hoping for more lessons from Mosquito, I realized I often get bit at my joints. I thought, “Hmm, joints are points of connection…My joints also swell…Swelling is like blocked energy…How am I blocking my inner connection of all my aspects?…How am I blocking my connection to friends or community or cosmos or god?” I will not list the answers I came up with, bc this post is twice as long as I had hoped.

The next few days, I received other lessons from Mosquito. In other words, I’m one of those people who mosquitos adore. Despite my best efforts, I can walk out the door and have fifty bites within ten minutes. Take my allergic reaction into account, and it adds up to a lot of opportunities for learning.

I’m not the only person who tunes into the moment or life’s synchronicities to obtain Divine guidance. But this particular incident excited me because I had woven various aspects of my pantheist world view—god is in the now, all of self and life is a weave, the weave of the moment is divination, to name a few—with yet a second weave of practical application: analysis of the bug-induced swelling, a holistic view of my body, mindfulness about the surgery, research online, and so on.

The incident is not unusual for me. So why did I write all this? Do i think my accomplishment so superior to any of yours that i had to show it off? No.

Here’s the thing. The moment to moment down-to-earth acts of a truly (aka actually applied) integrative life are a rapid fire, complex weaving of all one’s aspects, woven yet again in rapid-fire complexity with the external environment. Sharing a single moment of it could take a month of writing.

The event about the mosquito is one such event, expect that, for a change, it can be shared fairly easily! I will have spent only eight hours ballpark writing this. Even though i am oversimplifying it, it still works well enough for my purposes:

1) I want to share my life. Writing this allows me to “shout” my excitement at finally seeing dang awful Mosquito as god, and about possibly doing better after a possibly dangerous surgery that has had me scared. I also want to share the accomplishment! I am proud of and delighted by my weaving of so many things, including following through on them so practically. (The weave is incomplete without practical follow through) 2) As a teacher, I stress the importance of application of pantheism principles, as opposed to just knowing the theory. Practical application of theory is often misunderstood as just creating more theory, or teaching the theory to others. I’ve learned that examples are often a great way to make one’s premises clear. My story gives examples, in one (albeit long) post. 3) I want to walk my talk; the pantheist principles mentioned above are all things I am teaching right now. My mosquito story affirmed to me that I do walk the walk. 4) When we tell our stories, its details might help others more than any theory. The details per se might not be solutions or otherwise useful info in themselves, but they imply massive amounts of info. Massive.

I hope you post a story of your own below.

Suggestion: Do you have a challenge or opportunity that you need guidance about? Observe the weave of events happening around you right this minute. Are they a mirror of you? Do they offer guidance? Imply suggestions? Act as role models?

Safe and Powerful

Safe and Powerful, digital painting, Francesca De Grandis. 2013

Safe and Powerful, digital painting, Francesca De Grandis. 2013

The Bear encompasses all with love. This painting is called Safe and Powerful. The Divine Parent takes care of me. Click on the pic to see it unblurred and larger.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
For limited edition prints that depict the Faerie realm and call magic forth, check out https://www.etsy.com/shop/outlawbunny

Two Prayers for the Sacred Marketplace

This is a follow up to last week’s blog.

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I wrote this prayer to help me be the best possible merchant of sacred goods and services. I never say it unless I follow it with “Merchant Prayer to Oxala,” which is below. Context for both prayers are in last week’s blog. But first, the prayer above, in case you cannot see it in its graphic:

Hermes, Mercury, Exu, open the road and gate to my profession today, that I may serve. Open the road and gate within my heart today, that I may serve. Open the road and gate, today, for the person whose needs and goals are well met by my particular shamanic skill set. Guide my day in the divine marketplace, today. Help me be a sacred merchant, today. Help me try and try and try, today, for to be a professional shaman who is well-serving community means to ever be resurrected, both in my private life and daily in my commitment to the market place.

I, personally, almost never pray to Exu without prayer to Oxala. So I wrote an Oxala prayer to say after my Exu merchant prayer. You might recognize phrases and concepts from my past writing, because I’m committed to refining, building on, and expanding on my spirituality. The version of the prayer in the graphic is a briefer version than the text below it:
OXlaPryr1

Merchant Prayer to Oxala

Oxala, please,
help me surrender to you.
Help me surrender to you.
Help me surrender to you.

Oxala, please,
help me know in my cells, each moment, that surrender to you is power and peace.
Help me know in my cells, each moment, that surrender to you is power and peace.
Help me know in my cells, each moment, that surrender to you is power and peace.

Please, clear the roads of obstructions.
Clear the roads of enemies.
Clear the roads.

Please, smooth the roads,
making my passage easy to travel.

Please, help me know in my cells, each moment, that surrendering to you allows me your smooth easy roads along which I can travel in power, peace, and success.

Oxala, you made all creation. Please help me know in my cells, each moment, that, surrendering to you, your power of creation is mine.

Grant me the wisdom that, no matter what I ask you for, I accept the moment I am in—the moment you actually send me—and know it, in my cells, as ideal.

Grant me peace.

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Here’s a description of my shamanic counseling sessions, and you can schedule online: http://www.outlawbunny.com/pastoral-counseling/

Prayer for the New Year: Knowing Beauty

Hiya, Was just reminded of a prayer I wrote a while back. I wrote it for my own personal use, but am posting it because, perhaps, others might find benefit in reciting it:

I painted this blessing banner a year or two ago, but post it now bc it is in the spirit of my prayer.

“May I see and know beauty, inner and outer, beauty of self and all existence.

“May I know that inner beauty I was born with—the beauty of my innate importance and greatness. We are all born with it; may outer beauty never distract me from the beautiful truths and importance in all beings and all existence, but reinforce in my mind the beauty of each person’s truth, power, and importance, the inner beauty of the truth, power, and importance in each and every atom.

“May my creation of outer beauty mirror—and nurture—the innate inner beauty of all reality, instead of being an escape from reality or distracting me from it.

“May I know all my beauty, and help others know all theirs.

“May the beauty of my Gods run through me, flawed a vessel though I am, that others can feel Their utter love. May i be a lighthouse, the beacon of which does not point to me as a solution and hope, but to the perfect loving beauty of the Divine.”

Those of you who study with me know that helping folks know all their beauty (note the word “all”) is important to me. And, for me, beauty is a word with wide meanings. Thanks for letting me share my prayer! It reminds me to use it, LOL! Oh, the line about the beacon might be familiar bc I wrote a similar line in a couple of my blogs.

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Know all your beauty: http://stardrenched.com/2012/06/20/wisdom-adventures/

Santa and My New Familiar (Cute Kitty Pics)

As some of you know, Santa is in my pantheon. Being a good pagan god, he is not distant and inaccessible. He visits me all year. In November, he came over and got to know my new familiar.

They had a great time! Look at the pic below, kitty is clearly telling us, “Santa loves me!”

She also said, “And I love Santa!” She wasn’t fibbing, you can see it in her eyes.

Then she told me, “Santa Claus is not a stuck up God. Santa lets me climb him!” The pic below proves it!

(Yup, Santa doesn’t always wear his red suit, sometimes he likes to hang out in a sweatshirt.)

have a great season!
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I experience profound love from—and connectivity with—the Divine. Do you want spiritual reading that reflects accessible Divine love? How about that honors your idea of Divinity (e.g., God, Goddess, God within, World Tree, Universe)? Read Sprinkling Faerie Dust on Breakfast. Available here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/114317006/sprinkling-faerie-dust-on-breakfast