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.

Spirituality, Small Groups, and Promotion

Fool, tarot card, Francesca De Grandis, 12-03

Fool, tarot card, Francesca De Grandis, 12-03

Been in an interesting process. Wld luv yr insights.

I was in a position to blog at HuffPo. After mega-deliberation, I decided that it’s not for me, at least not yet. (I’m not anti corporate media: I watch tv and movies, published with HarperCollins, scripted a segment for a major tv network, enjoy YouTube, etc.)

Interestingly enough, after my decision re HuffPo and some other corporate media, I was asked to blog for Dharma Trading Co. And I have absolutely loved working with them! Their audience is nowhere near the size of HuffPo‘s, but it feels right.

Yesterday, Anne Newkirk Niven, editor of Sagewoman and other pagan rags, asked me to blog for her. I was given a choice between blogging for http://witchesandpagans.com, which has 30,000 Facebook likes, or the soon-to-be blog for Sagewoman (7000 likes) that will become part of the larger witchesandpagans site.

After looking at the site, praying, and meditating, I chose Sagewoman. That might seem the poor promotional choice, because I don’t know if it means less readers. You’re supposed to get as many readers as possible, right? But numbers aren’t everything.

Strength, tarot card, Francesca De Grandis, 12-03

Strength, tarot card, Francesca De Grandis, 12-03

Narrowing my focus sometimes implements one of my life goals: authentic connectivity, which can require a community I get to know.

I am not saying that no one gets to know anyone at witchesandpagans.com. I am not saying I chose Sagewoman in order to narrow my focus. In fact, I am not stating here why I chose Sagewoman. My process of choosing Sagewoman was complex—and partially sheer intuition—and I do not fully understand it yet, so will not try to outline it here. My point is: I made my choice despite the possible numbers, and the choice is in keeping with my life goals. I am not making a pronouncement on what is “right,” I am just sharing my process. Speaking of which:

I do not strive to be queen of the witches. I want deep connection so that, whether in print or in oral tradition, we can get spiritual work done. Am i knocking big numbers? No. There are types of spiritual work you can do in big numbers. There are types of authentic connection that can happen in big numbers. (I must say, though, that big numbers too often consist of folks spouting off about how much they know, telling you how superior they are to you, and decrying the pagan they now think is a jerk.) When going for large numbers feels right and honorable, I do it. The rest of the time, I do work that requires smaller groups. I usually limit class enrollment, for just that reason.

What do you think of all this? My process is terribly against-the-grain in some ways, so I wld love your thoughts, whether you post them here or on Facebook.

———————–
Want support from a shaman who lives intuitively and successfully meets life’s demands? Please make an appointment for a session.

No Need to Fit In!

People trying to decide if I’m the right guide for them often say, “I’m eclectic, so I don’t know if I’ll fit into what you teach.”

image

Detail. Faerie Realm, silk painting, Francesca De Grandis

Oh dear! It is terrible that the prevalence of bad teachers requires that issue to even come up.

Most of my students are eclectic. I am, too. Those who look for the core of reality, the heart of magic, and the essence of mysticism do not want to be boxed in by labels (Wicca, hedge witch, Druid, Taoist, Christian), and are not looking for ego-feeding titles. They are drawn to teachers who, whatever their path, support students to find their own idea—and experience—of the core of reality, heart of magic, and essence of mysticism. I hope I’m one such teacher.image

During our lessons, we transcend labels and titles, to focus on finding our individual beliefs, personal myths, and shamanic gifts. If folks already have them, I help them polish their personal approach, even if they’re already master level.

Magic, Spirit, and life cannot be standardized.

I do tend to call my classes “Wicca” or “Faerie.” I’m of the generation in which “Wicca” and “Faerie” referred to (among other things) individualized earth-spirituality. Unfortunately, nowadays, those terms are often used rigidly, to denote a set liturgy and belief system, which invalidates many beautiful Gaia lovers.

You’re not alone if you’ve faced invalidation. When first teaching (eek, that was in the eighties!), I thought I knew the one true way. Then I realized my students were my peers and fellow travelers. Guess what? After explaining I wld no longer support a hierarchy, imageI lost many of my students, they migrated to a fundie tradition of fey magic. I was devastated, stunned that people I loved—many of these were my beloved initiates—could not make that move with me, that attempt at being egoless. It was, and still is, painful to see ego takes precedence over ethics, effective magic, fey sensibilities, and beauty. But I mention my experience because it might be validating for folks who went through something similar. Ok, enough negative stuff. To quote “Buffy, “not for me the furrowed brow.”

Onto the rest of my beautiful day—my Gods’ embrace, a flow of joy, magic, and right livelihood, a flow carrying me toward even more joy, magic, and right livelihood. I hope this post is validating and/or, if you’re considering me as a guide, informative.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
Want shamanic counseling? I can guide by phone. Book an appointment online. http://www.outlawbunny.com/pastoral-counseling/

Blessing #2 and Gratitude

Detail, Faerie Landscape, Outlaw Bunny

As the relaunch of this site approaches, I pray to all gods I hold dear, World Tree, the lines which I come from and which I create, and the rest of my Faerie crew, please keep safe and bless this site.

Please keep safe and bless all who support this site through their direct work on it or simply by visiting in good cheer.

Please keep safe and bless me and mine, all my work and all my life.

May this site be maximum fun and beauty, helping cosmos, my Gods, Tree of life, the lineages I come from and which I create, the rest of my Faerie crew, and all beings stay safe, whole, ecstatic.

May this site be maximum service, helping all be safe, whole, ecstatic.

Keep me and my work in your light
that my own light be bright—a beacon.
May all I do and am be a shining beacon
for those who should see it—not a beacon to me,
because I am too frail to carry anyone,
but a beacon leading people to Divinity, as they see it,
that they be loved so fully as to be stardrenched.

May I shine bright in joy.

May I shine free from harm.

May I shine hidden from anyone who’d try to
extinguish my light or otherwise harm me and mine.

May all for whom I am the right spiritual guide find me.

May this site create abundance for me and tribe. 

May this site and all my work
be a welcoming hearth to star-dusted travelers.

May all I do here be according to the Divine Will.

Thank you. So be it.

Dear visitor, a bit of the above blessing is adapted from an earlier prayer I wrote on my other site.

On another note: Humbled by blessings in my life, I had to paint this banner to express gratitude. It hangs in my kitchen. I put it here to send thanks into the universe, to you who bless me—this includes a site visitor who blesses me simply by a single good-willed visit here, whether now or any time since the 90s when the site started.

It is such joy to love my gods, ancestors, and the rest of my community­—the joy of loving a blessing itself.

I feel excited wonder about all the blessings this site has received during our revamp of it, so want to share about that in upcoming blogs.

Thank you for visiting.

Kathi, my webmaster. I painted it in gratitude for and homage to this amazing woman