Traditional Witchcraft, Spirituality, and Ethics

FDG2016TphatCurrently, it is a prevalent opinion among Pagans that traditional witchcraft was strictly magical, lacking theology or moral aspects. While I can respect that theory, it is not congruent with my own experiences. I suspect whether traditional witchery had sacred or ethical aspects varied by locale or by family tradition.

I never argue with anybody’s experience, only their theory. Theory is ever-changing. I’d never want to invalidate anyone’s experience, including my own. I’ll share mine below.

My experiences lead to conclusions that differ from the aforementioned current popular Pagan position. I hope to add to the Pagan dialogue on the topic, and provide support for those who, like me, have an unpopular point of view.

Growing up in a family tradition, I learned magic and a mystical worldview con leche. Therefore magic and mysticism were a given, as much a part of life as the air I was breathing. In the process, a religious and ethical worldview was deeply ingrained in my cells.

Note I say “my cells,” not “my brain.” It took my entire childhood and adolescence to imbibe the tradition’s basics, because cellular lessons take time.

The understandings of the tradition were so deeply imbedded in our home life that much of the family tradition was taken for granted, not out and out spoken, but more implied and lived. This includes the theist or moral aspects.

In fact, calling it an understanding in the above paragraph is somewhat of a misnomer. It is not so much an understanding as a way of being.

In any case, a lifestyle with many of its important aspects being subtle or unspoken seems an earmark of many traditional witches I have met.

When I got older, I saw that this subtlety sometimes causes people who were viewing the family tradition from the outside to not see the tradition’s deep religious and ethical roots, only the more overt—and perhaps less core—trappings. When I participated in family traditions in Europe, I usually found deep religious and ethical roots in them.

Observers are not engaged in the family culture. They are standing outside it, watching. Only by being part of a shamanic family culture over a long period of time can one can really understand the culture. The notion that to watch something is to fully understand it is a fairly current concept of scholarship. As I said above, learning the traditional witchcraft of my family required an experiential, long term lesson.

It has become almost de rigeur to insist traditional craft never had sacred or principled aspects. This makes it important to me to write this post about my family tradition, because I feel I’m speaking up for my Gods, for my witch ancestors, and for others who feel as I do.

I do not like it when a theory ceases to be a theory and becomes a mandated belief—in other words, when someone is mouthing somebody else’s words to, consciously or not, invalidate other seekers. Unfortunately, the concept that traditional witchcraft had neither ethical nor theological base has become yet another Pagan rote declaration, usually said—or written—in an intimidating tone of I-know-better-than-you-so-whatever-you-think-is-stupid.

I can admire people who authentically believe other than I do. An informed and friendly exchange of ideas about traditional craft, spirituality, and ethics could be a lovely thing. Healthy debate is a wonderfully educational process for everyone involved. A supportive, respectful, and thoughtful exchange of ideas can do wonders.

But debate is not the same as trying to legitimize and define one’s path by invalidating someone else’s. That hurtfully invalidates a lot of newbies who already feel insecure about their belief system. This can crush a newcomer’s spirit.

Coming to our community, hoping to finally find fellowship, but instead encountering someone just as invalidating as mainstream society, can be doubly heartbreaking, because they thought they had finally entered a safe space. So they often never participate in our community again, and end up without support in their Pagan explorations.

People who need to squash others in order to validate their own power have less power than they think, and more mere bluster than they realize.

Thus, I felt impelled to write this post to support invalidated Pagans.

A last thought on traditional witches and ethics: perhaps in some cases, a lack of morality had less to do with any tradition and more to do with human nature. Some people just take anything, even that which is moral and sacred to begin with, strip it of those roots, and use it for their own selfish—or even evil—goals.

I hope this post is a useful contribution to Pagan dialogue about traditional craft.

If you want experiential lessons in traditional craft, I teach The Third Road, a tradition I channel, informed by the magic of my ancestors and my mom. (Channeling teachings is part of traditional craft.) I teach mostly via group phone calls—aka teleseminars. Here’s the link to subscribe to my newsletter, which tells you about upcoming classes: http://www.well.com/user/zthirdrd/InfoForm.htm

Bless you.

DNA and Ancestral Ritual

DNA Science and magic meet. I won’t choose between mysticism and science. They can feed each other.

My ancestors are spiritually important to me. So I’m combining science and spirit in a deeply personal way: I ordered an AncestryDNA test kit.

A mystic, I travel through the blood in my veins, back through time, to discover the ancient ways my family once practiced. Today, the logical rational side of me does the same by spitting into a vial. This test tube becomes a chalice that arrived by mail, enclosed in plastic. Two supposedly disparate halves of me come together to feed my spirit.

I mailed my saliva, part of my sacred body, to scientists, who will analyze it to reveal my ethnic background. They’ll go back through many generations, the same way my meditations have. Their work will expand my otherworldly travels.

The lab analysis will determine where my ancestors hail from, based on a science my layperson’s mind can’t understand, no matter how much experts explain it.

Many scientists would be equally puzzled by my ability to uncover historical information by meditating on my blood. I have my expertise, they have theirs. I get to draw on both.

A relationship with my ancestors, in ritual and daily life, is pivotal to me. They lovingly support me. And I tend them. Trance journeys give me a strong intuitive sense of my ancestors. The DNA results can help me know whether my intuitions are correct.

It would be fine to trust my intuition without the DNA results. (Check out my blog about that: Mysticism and Non-Academic Scholarship.) But corroboration is useful.

Science can support my spirituality in other ways, too.

For one, I come from a European shamanic family tradition. Some of my family history has been lost. I’m hoping DNA will fill in gaps.

For example, I might see how major societal events impacted my family’s past generations to shape the family’s spirituality. That familial story could provide context to better understand my own path.

Luck allowed me to gather a staggering amount of anecdotal evidence about my ancestors. Information from relatives, and from strangers I don’t know but who have my last name, and from other sources, provided enormously convincing material, when looked at as a whole. I believe anecdotal evidence is part of folk culture and one source of the old wise ways. This fecund anecdotal evidence can be augmented with DNA science.

For example, the DNA test might help me gather more anecdotal evidence, if it leads to relatives I hadn’t learned about previously. They might know family history I don’t.

DNA results could also be a jumping off point for more ancestral rituals. I love the wisdom of ancient cultures, and appreciate reenactment whether based in textbooks’ history or intuited history. I revere native and ancestral spiritual practices. These leanings feed my desire for DNA info about my ancestral roots.

I can best explain another reason for wanting a test by telling you a personal story.

A friend of mine was part of a DNA study. Before continuing the story, let me be clear: I’m not part of any study. My test kit is from AncestryDNA. They’re not experimenting on me, and their tests results do not show an ancestral timeline such as you’ll read about in my friend’s tale. I checked out some companies, and AncestryDNA seems to give the most comprehensive results. If you’re interested, their kit is also easy to use.

Back to my story:

My friend phoned me one day, and exclaimed rapturously, “I got the DNA results. My family originated in Egypt!”

Then she added, “My later ancestors migrated to Greece. Guess where else my ancestors migrated to?”

I responded, “Mongolia?”

There was a long pause. Then she said, in a stunned voice, “That’s right! How did you know?”

“It was obvious. Your immense love for Egyptian religions motivated you to become an Egyptian scholar, devoted to reviving ancient Egyptian spiritual practices, which became part of your personal devotions. Later, you seriously worked with Greek Gods. Then, you channeled material that had no geographical basis, as far you knew, but later found out that the material resonated with documented Mongolian traditions.”

I continued, “Your family only told you about your Caucasian Irish lineage. But your earlier ancestors influenced your mystical life. Your spiritual quest this lifetime follows the migration of your ancestors, step by step!”

The point of my story: I want to know if my DNA matches my various spiritual leanings.

There can be valid reasons we’re drawn spiritually to cultures we were not raised in. Our DNA might be one of those reasons. I don’t hold with the idea that you should only use the spiritual tools of your obvious ancestors.

Mind you, I am not okaying co-option. I’m saying legitimate cross cultural shamanism exists.

That legitimacy is hard to come by. It would take a whole book to explain how to pull it off ethically and otherwise, so I won’t get into it here, except to say:

By “cross-cultural shamanism,” I don’t mean “core shamanism,” AKA the idea that shamanism is primarily the same in all cultures. I disagree with the modern standardization of shamanism.

My experience is that shamans individualize according to cultural differences, and way past that, individualizing family by family and person by person.

My personal definition of legitimate cross-cultural shamanism is an ethical, thoughtful blend of earth based mysticism as it manifests in various cultures.

Moving on:

I am a little worried. With adventure, comes fear of the unknown: am I going to like the DNA test results?

But mostly I’m excited about the DNA adventure I am embarking on.

And I feel gratitude for science and magic.

When the DNA results arrive, I’ll post them here, and share how it impacts my mystical journey.
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Note: I first posted this blog May 2015 at http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/a-faerie-haven.html and post it again here for those of you who tend to read me here.
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Lenormand Giveaway

Update: Both decks mentioned below have been claimed. But I’ll keep giving away Tarot, Lenormand, or other divination decks til all the decks are gone. So stay tuned to my blogs, at http://stardrenched.com and http://www.outlawbunny.com/blog/ End of update.
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Today’s giveaway is Mystical Lenormand by Regula Elizabeth Fiechter and Urban Trosch.

I have two Mystical Lenormand decks to give away.
MystclLnrmBackstory: Thirty years as a spiritual counselor has led me to use a wide variety of decks. But when gifted a huge collection of divination decks recently, I decided to pass on the handful that don’t resonate with me. I only keep decks I’d use. End of backstory.

The Mystical Lenormand decks are in good condition. I didn’t check whether all the cards are there, though I imagine they are. But then, I’m happy to read with an incomplete set, because it makes the deck unique.

To spread the bounty, I’m only giving one deck from this collection per person.

You don’t even pay shipping. This is a complete giveaway. Giveaway blesses the giver.

Do you want a Mystical Lenormand deck? Instructions:

1) In the comment field below, write the name of the deck: Mystical Lenormand
2) Email me a postal address (U. S. non-military address only) to which I can ship the deck.
3) Include your phone number in the email, in case I have trouble shipping. My email address is outlawbunny at outlawbunny.com
4) Put “Mystical Lenormand” in the subject field of the email.

Important: If two people already wrote the name of the deck in a comment field, it’s not necessarily too late for you. Often, people will do part one of the instructions, then forget to do the rest. First two people to do all four steps of the instructions receives the decks.

I’ll update this post to let everyone know when the decks have been claimed.

I’ll give away another Tarot, Lenormand, or other divination deck soon, and will keep doing it til all the decks are gone soon. The next few months, stay tuned to both my blogs for the giveaways: http://stardrenched.com and http://www.outlawbunny.com/blog/

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On your life journey, you deserve the best tools. Click here to learn about the Faerie Ritual Set: http://www.outlawbunny.com/2014/06/11/frs/

Celebrating Our Familiars

Familiar
Once a kitten, cute and shy, but she changed: The familiar comes of age.

I painted the above piece last fall, joyful at my little kitten growing up and coming of age as a familiar.

I also wanted to share that immense happiness about my kitty with you, in the spirit of celebrating all our familiars. Creating a painting seemed a way to do that (but I had no chance to post it til now, LOL).

Animals are far more multifaceted than some people understand, but we who live with familiars know better. Let me share a story about that.

After I painted the piece, I wanted to make a Merry Yule greeting with my kitty in it, just for my personal use. (You might have seen my post of it to wish you Happy Yule 2013.) I thought I’d try to adapt the above already-finished picture. The result surprised me and was interesting: Though the adaptation changed only the cat’s environment and the text, and left the cat itself exactly as is, a completely different facet of her became obvious.

In the original, I see her depth, nobility, and new maturity. But put her in a different surrounding with different text? Check it out below.

image

What a mischievous no-good girl! Such a naughty look in her eyes! None of that was apparent in the original version.

I’m not sharing the story to credit myself as an artist. My point is to credit the complexity of animals, and how you and I both see it in these two pictures, when a lot of people would not.

Here’s to our familiars, the wonderfully complex and mystical beings that are our companions, teachers, co-conspirators, comfort, partners in magic, and all around friends. I honestly do not know what I’d do without them. They play so many important roles for me. I am grateful to recognize their many facets.

EtsyBotmBnr4

Myth, Body, Gaia, Faerie

A Seven-Week Teleseminar: imageShamanic rituals for Faerie shamans, bardic poets, visionary painters, cosmic clowns, spiritual outlaws, and other fey-touched adventurers. And for anyone who wants to become a fey adventurer.

This breakthrough mystical training will not happen again for three years.

I’m temporarily defining myth as an altered state, otherworldly realm, or mythic self-identification. Myth has a more complex, inclusive meaning during the actual teleseminar.

MYTH, BODY, GAIA, FAERIE is a seven-week process that experientially integrates living in MYTH, being in a physical BODY, experiencing GAIA on the embodied and mystical planes, and walking in otherworldly realms such as FAERIE. This weave
* unfolds rich experiences and ecstatic mysticism uniquely and innately available to you,
* then deepens those wonders more,
* then deepens them beyond more.

Such an extensive weave can hold many things, including practical needs. Our seven-week class helps starchildren improve our daily life (e.g. finances, love, home, and career).

This includes magic to
* manifest physical health by meeting the needs of your star-touched physiology,
* and heal your soul wounds.

imageWe’ll address loneliness, self-doubt, and other challenges star-wanderers can face when society, misunderstanding the mythological, judges our experiences as deluded, immature, or otherwise “wrong.”

Many mystics face emotional wounds and health problems that might lead one to metaphysical power. But other wounds can result from mystical exploration. Negative impacts from vigorous otherworldly journeys have been insufficiently addressed. My curriculums are exceptions; I channel material that heals the original soul wounds, supports flights into fantastic realms, and trains us to come back whole. Lessons will help
* Make mystical experiences safe. (Star-drenched!)
* Keep Fey-touched individuals safer in their mundane lives. (Stardust still falls on us when we walk on the earth!)

Myth, Body, Gaia, Faerie qualifies as one of the two electives needed before advanced training. If this class does not appeal, other qualifying electives will be coming up.

Enrollment limited. In-depth attention for each participant. Authentic connectivity.

Multi-leveled to meet any degree of experience and education. Accessible to beginners. No prerequisites. Powerful for advanced practitioners.

Faerie Ancestor who is a guardian to this site. Silk Painting, Outlaw Bunny

Faerie Ancestor who is a guardian to this site. Silk Painting, Outlaw Bunny

Nuts and Bolts:
* We meet by group phone call. No computer or other technology required. Just dial your phone.
* We meet seven consecutive Tuesdays, noon to 1 EST, starting April 15. RESERVE June 3, same time, for a makeup class in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned sessions.
* Tuition: $250. You might pay long-distance charges, depending on your long-distance plan. If so, they appear on your phone bill. The event is a U.S. area code.
* Register here.
* If you’ve taken this class, you can repeat it, half-price. Paypal me $125, using outlawbunny@outlawbunny.com as the recipient; include your phone number and the name of the event.
* Upon receipt of payment, I email you event phone number, etc. No refunds.
* If you need more info, or want to discuss scholarship, trade, or payment plan, call me: 814.337.2490. There are ways to make this class happen for you.
* Participants are personally responsible for the consequences of their voluntary participation.

Not the same ol’ rote self-help/mysticism/shamanism. Use your intuition and instinct about my ability to help you shine in your own path. My classes = soul-depth, pivotal movement, playtime.

The spiritual evolution we achieve together will give the rest of the cosmos power to do the same. Click here to register.

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Master Healing Class

Update: Don’t wait til “later.” This is a special event. Not likely repeated. For decades, I’ve mentored working healers from diverse traditions. Usually in context of unusually lengthy training. Now, I’ll focus a seven-week intensive specifically on it. If you’ve studied my oral tradition, you know how much I can teach in amazingly little time. Grab the opportunity.

Master Healing Class:
A seven-week seminar
for practitioners of any mystically-based healing art

An opportunity for working healers—whether you are paid or work for free, help only a few friends or offer your services to a huge community, use your mystical ability to heal the physical body or to empower the spiritual body.

These lessons transcend any healing tradition or modality because they’re geared individually toward your unique healing approach. You’ll learn what you need right now to improve your effectiveness as a healer. Tailor-made tools and paradigms to improve your particular gift.

Ask for input about any part of your healing practice, including maximum self-care while healing others. I do mean any part.

Faerie art, Francesca De Grandis

Francesca De Grandis, self-portrait

If you’ve no questions about augmenting your healing approach, you still receive lessons tailored to you, at every meeting. I channel. Each class, I also give direct spiritual transmissions to enhance your particular healing abilities, as well as direct transmissions of lessons.

You transcend the healing tradition that you work in. Or you may not be in a tradition. And you may be self-trained. Or…? Whatever your background, ultimately each healer’s approach is unique.

For three decades, I’ve mentored healers from a large, diverse variety of traditions and healing modalities. It is not about me teaching in a way that limits you to learning set teachings or set energy patterns from me. I have my own approach and help my students foster theirs, all of us guided by Divinity.

The lessons will be suitable to spiritual healers of any kind—e.g., psychic healer, tarot reader, reiki practitioner (and for some of us, those categories overlap, but I was just giving examples).

Whether your work is energy healing, shamanic, or psychic, or …, it is all good.

Powerful even for very advanced healers. I’m experienced in holding space for my peers to empower themselves. The more we grow, the more we need to sharpen our tools and selves; and a shamanic teacher on the embodied plane can augment your process.

Faerie Ancestor who is a guardian to this site. Silk Painting, Outlaw Bunny

Faerie Ancestor who is a guardian to this site. Silk Painting, Outlaw Bunny

Nuts and bolts:
* We meet by group phone call. Just dial your phone.
* We meet seven consecutive Thursdays, from 6 to 7 PM EST, starting FEBRUARY 6. RESERVE March 27, same time, for a makeup class in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned sessions.
* Tuition: $250. You might pay long-distance charges, depending on your long-distance plan. If so, they appear on your phone bill. The event is a U.S. area code.
* Register here.
* Or pay by check or money order.
* Upon receipt of payment, I email you event phone number, etc. No refunds.
* If you need more info, or want to discuss scholarship, trade, or payment plan, call me: 814.337.2490.
* Participants are personally responsible for the consequences of their voluntary participation.

Don’t worry about whether questions that others ask in class will be relevant to you. As unique as you are, you’ll receive more useful material than most folks could imagine. After all these years, I am well-practiced in creating a paradoxical sacred space in which wild souls come together for individually relevant, life-changing lessons.

I can hold you and your particular needs. Enrollment is limited, to foster authentic connectivity and in-depth attention for each participant.

Support to move into your next level as a healer: Click here to register.

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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.

A Faerie Retreat, Created Especially for You

imageNeed renewal and pampering, but can’t get away? Want to sit with a shaman to increase your mystic skills, but travel not an option?

Would you like a private, guided “astral retreat,” right where you live?

Receive a three-week shamanic ritual intensive, tailored to you. Your needs and wishes tended to. Your “astral retreat” consists of:

1) Two one-hour private phone sessions a week, for three weeks. The only time you need to take is our meetings—and huge shifts occur. You will be hoodooed: I channel six experiences to nourish and empower your unique spirit more than some people will believe possible. Sessions also help manifest your mystical, business-related, or other goals.

2) Direct spiritual transmissions five days a week, without you doing a thing. Go about your business, I’ll do the work for you. Note: I don’t decide what kind of energy you receive. I am a conduit, the Divine sends what suits you, whether that is physical healing, removal of blocks to prosperity, intensification of your shamanic skill, all of these, or something else.

3) If you want assignments (to do between sessions), I tailor them to your needs and schedule. Examples: gentle nurturing acts that are easy to fit into your day; or challenging rituals that increase shamanic power. If you don’t want assignments, I tailor our sessions to accommodate that.

Faerie art, Francesca De Grandis

Visit me in my astral home, we will travel. Faerie art, Francesca De Grandis

Individually, services included in the retreat would cost $1350:
– Six private sessions, $750.
– Three weeks of transmissions, $600

In appreciation of your making self-care a priority, your total cost is $1000.

Questions? Prefer payment plan? Call 814-337-2490.

I can create personalized retreats for a limited number of folks. I cleared my schedule to help the retreat fits into yours; other work may dominate my schedule soon. Choose one of the three-week periods below. After payment, if you live in the U,S., I’ll call you to schedule appointments. If you live outside the U.S., call me to schedule appointments: 814-337-2490.

Fine print:
* After registering, if a crisis requires you delay, I give you six weeks to complete your six phone sessions, but cannot refund.
* If you must change an appointment time, I need 24 hours’ notice, or you lose that appointment.

You can do our appointments on a lunch break or with child in your lap. I take care of you. Scroll down to pick your three weeks.


Choose one of the three-week periods below.




A River of Beauty and Joy

Digital art, Francesca De Grandis

World Tree Takes Care of Me, Francesca De Grandis.

Surrender means moment by moment trying to discern and live according to God’s will. Always asking. Doing what we think God wants of us right this minute, then the next. Okay, that is an ideal, impossible to achieve. But it is possible to strive for. (If you need to make substitutions where I have written ‘God,” I hope you do. For example: Goddess, or the Divine. I’ll also randomly rotate such words and phrase, as well as Divine genders.)

Will is a fancy word for desire. God’s desire is the current of events that She creates. (She is God, after all.) This current is a river of love and grace that carries me safely along. I am held in safety, beauty, and joy. I am transported toward yet more safety, beauty, and joy.

Detail, World Tree Takes Care of Me, Francesca De Grandis My God is kind. Trying to live according to the will of the Divine does not require suppressing the self. It means creating full self—including a healthy ego—while aligning that fullness of being with action after action based on surrender to His often gorgeous—and other times infuriating—desires. 

Walking any spiritual path—including that of an ecstatic—without surrender leads to spiritual addiction. There are many forms of spiritual addiction. (One is fundamentalism, and both pagan and New Age fundamentalism do exist.) Here, I want to focus on addiction to a false ego that masks tremendous fear. It is a spiritual epidemic. I have observed it in people in all walks of life, including major spiritual leaders whose lives it destroyed. 

One reason for this fear is that, no matter how competent one is on the mundane and mystical levels, and no matter how important it is to do everything one can to protect oneself amidst life’s myriad dangers, one’s efforts are a drop in the bucket. The world offers endless treasures, but it also holds constant threats, some of them terrifying.

However, the Divine can keep us safe, above all other protections. And, again, surrender to the Divine allows It to shelter us. Surrender puts us in the aforementioned flow of safety. As I said when kicking off these musings, attempting surrender moment by moment—living step by step as I walk along a path Divinity paves—makes life fuller, easier, and protected. 

Otherwise, the aforementioned false ego—and its underlying fear—gets stronger and stronger, compensating for a sense of helplessness in our huge, scary cosmos.

The false ego insists you must cheat and perpetrate other wrongs to survive in such a dangerous world, that you have no choice. The false ego prompts unnecessary attacks on people, insisting this is needed to stay safe. Those are only a few problems the false ego causes. But the net result is the same of all addictions. Life feels scarier and scarier as you become more and more contracted with fear. So you lose trust even in those most loyal to you, and you make worse and worse attacks until you are alone, terrified, and deluded.

I’ve oversimplified matters. For example, how does one know God’s will? (Answer: I can’t! I do my absolute best, but it is still a human endeavor, thus light years from perfect.) And how does one avoid becoming a pompous fool who thinks he knows better than everyone else? (Answer: The Divine might instruct us through friends who love us enough to tell us we’re being arrogant.) Does the idea that spiritual surrender creates protection imply that, if I get mugged, it is because I’m spiritually lacking? (Answer: No way would I blame anyone for tragedies that befall them. Life is constant paradox.) Even these three answers are oversimplifications. But I’ve touched on issues herein in hopes of nurturing dialog. Please discuss your thoughts with friends.

And, equally important, what does the Divine ask of you now, what is asked of you right this minute, now that you are done reading?

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Francesca De Grandis AKA Outlaw Bunny is middle management for Chaos Gods. A one-woman interfaith community, Francesca is a student of Taoism, hangs out with Goddesses, visits Christ, and has been told she’s Buddhist. She struggles spiritually because she’s a brat, but does her best. Her latest book, Share My Insanity: It Improves Everything, is trickster spirituality and divine madness.

Ta Da!

Announcing the renewal and relaunch, the cosmic—and cosmically comic—revitalization of this here ol’ website. Come one, come all, join the Chaos Circus. To explore the wonders, the fantastic, the massive changes I made to this site, use the newly-added, new-fangled nav bar above. Yup, we got modern conveniences to go along with the ancient mysteries you will find here.

Stardusted Traveler, come get your weary soul shined. Have your spirit refreshed by its own beauty, then shanghaied by its own magic.

Have your peculiar ways oohed and awed at—everyone here, including you, is the main attraction.

Sit in the front row to get a good view. I’ll sit with you. Or get in the circus ring: introduce yourself in the comment field.

Allow me to introduce myself. I am the authentic, the original, the amazing and death-defying Francesca De Grandis. That translates Great Freedom, your purveyor of shamanic wonders and mystical madness. Curator of curiosities, middle management for the Chaos Gods, seer, guide, and utter fool.

I make up fancy phrases to describe myself, like bardic brat. They’re true as tar.

My mother was a fortuneteller, my father hit the road when he was 12, hard traveling. His mother was a “showgirl.” After the war, dad went down south and got into trouble. We don’t know what it was, but the story is “he hung out with hillbillies.” I do remember he loved folk music. This is all truth, it’s family history, told the first time on the web right now. I am an old woman, too old to hide those tales anymore.

That’s a bit of my tale, a bit of my myth—real and honest. Be your myth here. Dragons, Faeries, poets, and other inhabitants of the fantastic, please walk your myths alongside mine, I long for company on the spiritual path.

Tell me a bit of your story in the comment field. I welcome and invite you, praise you and incite you—Join the cosmic circus!

 On a more serious note, Terry Pratchett wrote “Things that try to look like things often do look more like things than things.” Ok, quoting Terry is hardly a way to convince most people that I even can be serious. But
I take my work as a shamanic guide and healer seriously, and I am good at it. And I have
fun. Walking an ecstatic path frees you from restrictive either/or rules. And building a convincing persona as Oh-Great-Shaman wouldn’t leave time to serve community. Can I hear a “So mote it be?”
Middle Management for Chaos Gods, Francesca De Grandis

Middle Management for Chaos Gods. Self-Portrait

Magic can be quiet, subtle. I am blessed that, amidst my loud joy and silliness, some people “see” me—just another flawed human whom, for some reason, the Divine uses as a shaman.

I’ll be blogging here, while I continue to blog at my other site . Two blogs with two separate RRS feeds.

As we prepped the relaunch, I started blogging here—just four blogs sharing my personal process renewing the site, and what we revamped. I hope you read them. And this blog has info that will help you find your way around.

Whether you travel with me only on the web, or move into oral tradition with me, whether you post here or I never know you visit, I’m grateful for your wild wyrd ways. Thank you so much for coming!

Please explore the site. I’d love it if you posted feedback. You will be dazzled by dancing Deities, heartfelt happenings, genuine living breathing paradox, and more.