Ancestor Work

Ancestor Work:
Mom’s Holiday China

HlidyPttrnThe above plate is in the pattern with which my mom set holiday tables during my childhood. I forget our day-to-day pattern, but this one stuck in my mind.

As a child, I thought the dish pattern was tacky, but it remained a nice memory. Mom acquired complete settings for at least 10 people, obtaining the pieces one at a time by going to the movies. I love that Toni went to such lengths to add beauty to our home, not letting lack of income thwart her.

One of my brothers got the dish set when Toni died. I would not have used it.

But recently, I searched online until I found one dish in the pattern—just one in her memory and in reminiscence of her passion, amazing kitchen skills, and elegance—elegance I now see in this plate to some degree, and that showed immensely elsewhere.

Rest in peace, Toni. You were a model of exuberance, devotion, otherworldly flight, and competence both culinary and professional. You were also a true lady, in every positive way I use the word lady, including how the Goddess infused your spirit and your magic. Thank you for being a living example for all parts of my day, including my kitchen witchery.

… Later: The more I use the plate, the more beauty, elegance, and grace I find in it. I don’t know if that is objective. E.g., perhaps the grace I notice is a projection of my mother’s gracious maneuvering amidst the immense challenges of her life. She found reason to laugh and give, no matter what.

In any case, to snap the above photo, I had to wash the dish, since I’d eaten lunch from it. Handling the dish with soapy hands, I experienced more of its elegance, this time on a tactile level; the china felt so nicely made despite being a movie giveaway. I wonder if my mother loved handling it.

BYABar4

How to Enchant Your Cup of Tea

Add Magical Healing to Medicinal Herbs

SaffronTea Herbs have physical properties that heal and strengthen one’s body. Herbs also have psychic properties that heal and strengthen one’s spirit and physical being, if given a chance. Here’s how to access that magical healing:

When your cup of tea is ready to drink, simply say, “May this tea Mother Earth has given me in Her wisdom and generosity heal and strengthen my body and spirit.”

Then just drink your tea!

It’s that simple! Saying the words I suggested gives the magical attributes of the herb—or herbs—in your cup a chance to emerge. And the words’ grateful acknowledgment of Mother Earth’s gift opened you to receiving the herb’s magical healing and empowerment. You don’t have to get fancy about it by adding visualization or any other technique. Just say the words.

(If you want to add magical techniques, though, go ahead. I love magical techniques and am committed to teaching them. But the point of this post is a quick enchantment anyone can easily fit into their day. Even advanced practitioners can add more magic to their lives if they embrace some simple spells. In fact, I’m committed to teaching both easy and advanced magic. They both have their place.)

Never use magic in place of proper medical care by a trained, professional physician. Magic is a powerful addition, not a replacement.

And remember, when it comes to herbs’ physical properties: just because herbs are natural doesn’t mean they’re all harmless. And what’s a good medicinal herb for one person can be really harmful for another. Know your herbs—research an herb using several sources. There are many medical conditions and other circumstances—and even many herbs—that require you consult with a professional herbalist instead of just deciding what herbs to use yourself.

Enjoy the spell! This magic in a teacup is simple kitchen magic anyone can use, whether a witch or not.

BYABa3

Spirit Doll

SpiritDoll1Sometimes our friends/clients don’t need “help,” even if we have skills capable of creating positive change for those we serve. Sometimes we serve a person best by investing our skill set in honoring them—and their circumstances—exactly as they are.

Here’s an example. I know someone who’s suffered extraordinary difficulties for years. I foolishly wanted to meddle—”save” her. I wanted to give her spiritual healings. I wanted to teach her shamanic exercises to become stronger. I wanted to show her abilities she doesn’t know she has. I wanted to make a protective amulet to ward off negative energy around her. I wanted to, I wanted, I wanted. None of it was what she wanted … or needed.

Mind you, everything I longed to do for her is perfect for many of my clients. And could be perfect for her at another time.

But the following is what I did. I made her a totem. As I chose objects for it, I let go of what I thought was “right” for her. Instead, I selected items to honor and celebrate who she already is.

The totem’s sole purpose (oh my, voice-recognition translated that as “soul purpose”) was to represent how wonderful she is. I completely let go of all other agendas. That included releasing the thought that her experience of my celebration might empower her to make changes I felt could help her with her struggles. She knows best, not me.

So there’s a long bone bead with stars in it, because if anybody has stars in her bones, it’s this woman. The wood is European Elder—sambucus nigra—and is a piece so young that it’s mostly soft, spongy pulp—fragile, as are we all. Its youth also gives it a wondrous sensitivity like my friend’s, and a gentle, subtle, yet dynamic magic that my friend has. The ladybug portrays another aspect of that.

SpiritDoll2

Three luminescent cobalt beads represent the mysteries she lovingly serves. A bead that is probably tiger’s eye and one that is probably goat horn represent how down-to-earth she is; she modestly infuses sacredness into her daily mundane responsibilities, though they are immense and humble.

A purple bead symbolizes the beauty of her spirit and the beauty she gifts people around her. A leaf indicates her care of Gaia’s children. I made the wool bead on top because … well, she’ll know why. And I had to add something sparkly because she is Fey.

At some point in its creation, this wall-hanging chose to be a doll. (Heh, a wall-doll.) So I spun yarn (which I felted a bit to help it set, since its winding wouldn’t be held tight by a weaving or the like) to shape the body.

Is “totem doll” an actual term? … This totem doll represents her spirit. … The term “spirit doll” is popular nowadays. … I could call it a “poppet,” because that’s a term for a doll used in magic. Not that I expect my friend to do spells with this, unless she wants to, but this doll was used magically in that I blessed it. And to play with words, “poppet” is a traditional term of endearment; making this artifact was an expression of love.

SpiritDoll3Creating the poppet was an unexpected gift to myself: I no longer need to fret about someone I hold dear. Affirming some of this woman’s wonderful attributes reminded me she has many other amazing powers, so needs no rescuer; she has every resource she needs within her, including the ability to ask for help when she requires it.

In case someone reads this post as an either/or proposition: I do not usually choose between helping friends/clients create positive change and honoring them exactly as they are. Most of the time, serving them both ways is beneficial.

Facilitating shifts they want in themselves and in their lives is a more respectful process if I also mirror back to them, in word, visual art, or ritual, their beauty and power—including that which is hidden to most eyes and that which they do not even see themselves.

It feels important to mention this sort of mirroring and affirming of those around us can require as much skill, thoughtfulness, and magic as does helping them make changes. For example, I have the psychic ability to see the beauty and power in people, even if they cannot.

Why is it important to mention the skills involved? Because people with lots of skills for creating change can feel frustrated when they can’t use those abilities for someone they care about. But you can apply your gifts another way—to honoring someone just as they are—and accomplish something vitally important. People need to be respected for who they already are. People need to be fully met right where they are.

Sometimes trying to “help” someone robs them of dignity. If instead, we honor them as they follow whatever path they choose, achieve victories that are important to them (as opposed to victories you think they need to gain), make the mistakes they need to make, and explore the parts of themselves they think vital to explore, we give an invaluable respect. That respect is also known as “love.” So mote it be.

BoSNwsltrSm

Pagan Trends, Absolute Truths, and Trusting Yourself

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Trends change rapidly in the Pagan community. We often see “an indisputable fact” ricochet to its exact opposite within years. These “truths” cause immense discord. How can we navigate these treacherous waters without disavowing our own personal wisdoms? We all find our way of doing it. If I share mine, perhaps that might make finding yours easier.

So, a story:

Way back when, most American Pagans insisted traditional craft was nonexistent. People became downright nasty in their disdainful insistence there is no traditional witchcraft. Nowadays, many Pagans discuss traditional craft, what it is, how to do it, and where to learn it.

The party line back then was that anyone who claimed a traditional craft lineage was a liar. The person in question might be completely discredited.

To the best of my understanding back then: a big name Pagan dishonestly validated the material he taught by saying he’d gotten it from his grandmother, a traditional witch, but he lied about her being a witch.

People just decided, if he was lying, everybody else must be. Good grief!

Ok, let me continue this tale by adding how it affected me personally:

I was raised in a longstanding European-based shamanic family tradition. This was hardly a secret to some of the Pagans I knew. But, in case it’s useful context for the rest of my story, I didn’t have a best selling book yet, so the number of people who knew anything about me were far far fewer than later became the case.

You can imagine, amidst all the vitriol and possibility of being totally discredited, I was thoughtful about when to mention my traditional witchery to a Pagan. I wanted to avoid the near certainty of being branded liar in the larger Pagan community.

Close friends knew my family background, and I’d tell others when it was important. In fact, when the bestseller did come out, its back cover mentioned my mom was a Sicilian witch. To do otherwise would’ve insulted her and all my witch ancestors. But I also used discretion. For example, skirting my family history in casual conversation.

What I’m saying is: navigating the dangerous seas of trending “absolute truths” was challenging—for one thing, it can be frightening to buck popular opinion—but I found ways to maintain integrity while also guarding my emotional equilibrium. We can keeps our spirits whole. Here are two navigation skills that worked for me:

One is knowing it is vital to trust your own beliefs and respect the value of your own experiences, despite people who try to hit you over the head with trends to make you feel ignorant or otherwise not as “authentic” a Pagan as they are.

The second navigation skill is discretion. I want to practice discretion about whether to say something.

Nowadays, most people use the word discretion to mean holding silence. But discretion can also mean wisely considering the best course of action, judging each situation according to its specific circumstances. I’m using the latter definition here. So, in terms of our topic, discretion might lead one to speak—to good purpose—or to remain appropriately mum.

It’s vital to speak up for your beliefs when there’s good reason. Losing self-respect does not constitute successful navigation of treacherous waters.

As to choosing silence, let’s start with the example of avoiding arguments with people who aren’t going to listen.

Back when mentioning a family tradition might completely discredit you with many people, I was at a dinner party where someone who was constantly on power trips declared, in a high and mighty tone, that as a scholar she was devoted to naysaying the possibility of a family tradition. She did not know I came from one. I didn’t tell her. (A friend in the know did surreptitiously wink at me. That was lovely support.)

Most people who jump on trending absolutes will neither listen nor engage in a courteous, informative exchange of ideas, because they’ll rush to prop up wobbly egos with pseudo-knowledge. They’ll just try to browbeat you into feeling you’re wrong, though that may not be their conscious motivation, bless them. Wasting your time in a verbal entanglement amounts to letting someone’s pseudo-truth get the better of you. Your time is sacred.

Yet if she had been honestly interested, and merely misinformed about whether traditional witchcraft existed, I might have discussed my family.

Important aside: Though I avoided an argument at the dinner party, I admit my record’s not perfect with that sort of thing. Luckily, seeing how it depleted and upset me helps me not repeat the mistake any more. A hard won lesson, but one that frees me from other people’s opinionated insistences.

This blog is long but the following feels vital. Another example of discretion and silence:

(Please note, I’m going to use traditional witchery as an example in this essay again. That’s a coincidence. The examples have no relation. So don’t think you need to connect the dots between examples.)

More than once, a segment of the Pagan community inflated their position to one of dominance by stating “superior” pseudo-truths, and I could have deflated their posturing by disclosing a bit of traditional witchcraft’s sacred lore.

I stayed mute about the lore. I was blessed to have received it, so would not disclose it merely to prove a point to people who would not have viewed it as precious information but who would have pawed it.

They’d have greedily grabbed at it as mere words—exploited it as verbal fodder they could parrot to appear in-the-know and first string. (Heh, at least I got to feel smug about keeping my mouth shut. … Ok, I admit, feeling superior wasn’t good for me.)

Had I said anything authentic, nobody would have cared. The agenda on their table was to show how important and “wise” you were. That was not an agenda I wanted to be part of, even though telling them traditional material would’ve moved me to the top of the food chain. But climbing up would have actually, as the old expression goes, dragged me down to their level. … Goddess, I was tempted anyway. … Maybe smugness about my silence was my solace.

My story about being silent is relevant to discretion stopping fake truths from derailing your personal hard-won beliefs, in the following ways:

Opening my mouth would have been my ego reacting to theirs, as well as meeting their attempt to move up in a hierarchy with a similar attempt of my own. Both of those would have betrayed my personal belief in not living in ego or falling prey to power struggles.

It also would have wasted my time and life force, instead of me going about my merry business, living happily according to my own ecstatic truths.

Responding to someone’s power play with one of our own can be incredibly tempting, but also incredibly damaging to ourselves. Ego-driven magic and power-hungry grabs put someone on the slippery slope of chasing chimera more and more, less and less living joyously in the beautiful world the Goddess created for us.

Had I shared the lore for the purposes of my ego, I also would have debased that material. Reduced to mere words in order to feed my ego, the power of that beautiful material would’ve been lost to me, crumbled into dust like Faerie gold.

There’s one more way someone’s pseudo-truth would’ve gotten the better of me if I’d blabbed sacred knowledge for the sake of ego and dominance. I would’ve betrayed my following personal truth: I hold my religion sacred by only using it for honorable purposes. To do otherwise, I would truly have failed navigating the rocky seas of community-enforced pseudo-truths and sunk to the depths.

When magic and spirituality become tools to create unhealthy hierarchy—aka dominate others—they go sour. So does the spirit of the practitioner in question. His soiled shamanic path is handed down to his students, its very essence feeding their worst aspects, perhaps subtly but thoroughly. A nightmare for the community.

When magic and spirituality remain tools to serve, in respect for our differences, those tools become more powerful and capable. So do our spirits. Free of contentious opinions and excess verbiage, our innate magic fills each day, often silently. We become blessed by—and a blessing for—community.

I hope some of my above opinions are useful to you.

I teach traditional craft. My Gods bless me with wise students: They are wise in so many ways, but one is that we all respect each other. Honoring our differing views as assets allows each of us to uniquely contribute to the group’s magic and well-being. This in turn allows each of us to benefit from all the participants’ strengths.

If you’d like to join us, I teach mostly via group phone calls—aka teleseminars. Subscribe to my free newsletter, which tells you about upcoming classes: http://www.well.com/user/zthirdrd/InfoForm.htm

Have a magical day.

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.

Upcoming Event

Full-Tilt Magic:
A Go-All-the-Way Unfettered Ritual
to Live Free and Consummately

FullTlt1To explain the upcoming ritual, I need to start by sharing a personal vision of what I’m working toward in my own life:

I want to go the whole way, the last 9 yards—full happiness and prosperity, while of maximum service and burning off the last of my karma. I don’t want another incarnation.

I will go all the way to touchdown, at peace like a wolf howling at the moon or wrestling with its cubs.

I am a fey witch. I choose to be free. I do not bow to anyone’s opinion of me. I choose the wildness of my heart.

The vision describes what I want. Do you want it too, you untamed Faerie witch? We will work toward it together: Participate in my upcoming seven-week ritual. Run free with me.

I’m accepting fifteen people for this ceremony. To be one of them, there are some ideals to strive toward, or the rite will be wasting your time. Participate in the ritual if you will work toward these goals:

No excuses. No playing victim. Instead, take the next step toward your dream life, right away. Heck, maybe that’s choosing your dream life. Find what power you have—small or large—and use it right now.

Give up your ego. Instead of identifying with greatness, do great things. Know when you are getting in your own way. Know when you are getting in the way of the Cosmos loving you. Ride the magic currents sweeping through the World Tree—ride them in their wildness, embracing their magic, power, and beauty.

Surrender. When bad comes your way, accept. When good comes your way, accept. Surrender to serving your Gods all day. Be part of the world change the Gods long for and created you for.

Start now, no waiting. Great endeavors begin when someone says, “I’ll do what I can.” If all you can do is five minutes, that’s a legitimate start. Don’t wait to be you. The world needs you.

No one can fully achieve the above ideals. One of the goals of the ritual will be to empower you to achieve them. Know I am working toward them myself. I live them to whatever degree I can manage today. Today. Today. Join this group, then accept that you fall short—let go of ego. Ego keeps you frozen, not taking action. Accept your imperfections, so you can do great things today.

Though this post kicked off with a verbal expression of my vision, I’d like you to also see the vision and upcoming ritual represented by a painting:

GreatFreedomSm

Our meetings will consist of
* full-tilt transformative ritual—we will rock ‘n’ roll,
* direct spiritual transmissions from me to bolster your spirit,
* and assignments tailored to your journey, challenges, and strengths.

This Third Road Faerie ritual qualifies as one of the two electives needed before advanced Third Road training. Not to worry: if this ritual doesn’t appeal to you, other qualifying electives will be coming.

Nuts and bolts:
* These are group meetings by phone. To participate, just dial the phone from anywhere.
* We meets seven consecutive Thursdays, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm est, starting Thurs March 31.
* Reserve Thurs May 19 same time, for a makeup session in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned meetings.
* Tuition: $250. Your usual long-distance charges apply, and appear on your phone bill. The event’s area code is a U.S. #.
* Upon receipt of payment, your place is reserved, and event phone #, etc., emailed to you. If you need more info, or want to discuss scholarship, trade, or payment plan, call 814-337-2490. No refunds.
* Scroll down to enroll: enter your phone number and pay securely with PayPal.


Pls give yr phone number.



I call forth your wild self, come be with me, I call you forth, I call you forth. The shamanic dancer, I call you forth. The heartbeat of the shaman, I call you forth. Be of maximum service, run free, and otherwise go the whole nine yards: Enroll now.

I am a fey witch, so mote it be.

Pagan Monastery

Pagan Monastery
A Month of Ongoing Magical and Spiritual Support

Three times a week, throughout February,
I’ll lead 15 minute rituals, via group telephone calls:
* Mondays 11 AM EST
* Wednesdays noon EST
* Fridays noon EST

KeepingPower2012-04#2

Scroll down to enroll: enter your phone number and pay securely with PayPal.


Pls give yr phone number.



The brief ceremonies provide safe haven you can fit into your life to focus on self care. An ongoing structure like this also ensures a bit of ritual during your week. And enjoying rites three times a week might inspire you to do more, if you so wish. You do not have to go it alone, here is support.

For decades, I’ve lived as a Pagan monastic (that’s the term I made up for it, because I think it describes my life style to a T). Magical and spiritual practices are well integrated throughout my day. I’m experienced at creating them and know their immense power. I’ll use what I’ve learned to create rituals for you. Join me in my virtual Pagan monastery.

During the rituals, you also receive direct spiritual transmissions to strengthen your spirit.

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Read the following mundane structure of these 15 minute phone calls, so you know whether this service will suit you:

1) Latecomers not allowed. Dial in three to five minutes before the hour, because sometimes it takes a few minutes to connect.

2) We start ritual right away, wrap up ritual at the end of the 15 minutes, then get right off the phone. Containing the ritual within the 15 minute phone call allows participants to fit this in their day, and allows me to fit it into my day so I can provide this service.

3) So there’s no time for discussion. If you’re in crisis, the ritual is an opportunity to find respite, center yourself, or benefit in another way, depending on what ritual I’ve decided to lead that day. Though there’s no time to discuss your situation, you’re welcome to call me to book a shamanic counseling appointment.

4) If a problem comes up specifically related to the ceremony, I’ll discuss it with you either right after the ritual or soon as possible.

5) The first meeting will be orientation to set us up for future meetings.

6) You’ll need about two minutes after every session to do our special Third Road grounding.

Because of the disciplined monastic structure, you receive the ongoing nurture of communal rites. Consistent ritual keeps me centered, happy, productive, and focused on my life goals.

Nuts and bolts:
* These 15 minute group-meetings are on the phone. To participate, just dial the phone from anywhere.
* We start Monday Feb 1 and go through all of February.
* Reserve the first Wednesday and Friday in March, same time, for makeup sessions in case I’m unavailable for planned sessions.
* Total cost: $130. Your usual long-distance charges apply and appear on your phone bill. The event’s area code is a U.S. #.
* Upon receipt of payment, I email you event phone number, etc.
* Call me—814-337-2490—for more info or to discuss scholarship, trade, or payment plan. Do not email me. Refunds unavailable.
* Scroll down to enroll: enter your phone number and pay securely with PayPal.


Pls give yr phone number.



Power can fill your day. Invest in you. Enroll now.

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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Faerie Freedom

KindFey

The road to Faerie is not civilized, but kinder.

I wrote the above line in the 80s, but recently someone asked why. Good question! Here’s my answer:

Indoctrinated with the idea that our wild aspects are always ruthless and to be feared, many people’s wild, beautiful power is crushed.

Breaking out of that oppression, they often go to the other extreme, allowing themselves any actions at all, even cruel or irresponsible ones, unaware they’re being hardhearted. They might honestly believe they’re doing no harm, insisting, “I’m just being me. If you don’t like it, you’re trying to oppress me. Not my problem, because I’m a free spirit.”

I wanted to create a maxim showing a third option, other than the two extremes of suppression or hardheartedness. So I coupled the ideas of wildness and kindness.

However, it’d take a whole book to fully explain why I wrote the maxim, since I was trying to express so many ideas in it. I use my skills as a poet to write lyrical aphorisms because they can contain endless concepts and levels in a few words and touch the heart rather than just the intellect.

However, I should share: on one level, the adage refers specifically to the path I walk with my students—the Third Road—and was written as part of a blessing for students entering into a deeper level of study with me.

I wanted the blessing ceremony to include the following thoughts: We’d long ago rejected the hardheartedness mentioned above. But our upcoming shamanic journey would release more of their —and my—wild power than even our previous work together had done. When gaining another degree of wildness, it’s easy to fall prey to foolishness previously discarded. We needed to continue to integrate our wild and civilized aspects. This would more than ever make us whole in ourselves and as a community. Otherwise, we more than ever risked becoming enormously fragmented in ourselves and alienated from fellow seekers. I preferred to express all those thoughts in words that could be carried through the training not just in the mind but also the heart: “The road to Faerie is not civilized, but kinder.”

Hmm … maybe putting all the stuff in the above paragraph into the ceremony would’ve made things clearer, LOL.

Always happy to answer a question! I can’t always explain my poetry, because sometimes poetry is the only way I can explain something. But I tried my best today.

Blessed be.

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Sacred Doubt

May I not let doubts drive me into fear-based decisions.

DoubtRecently, I was feeling shaky about my decisions in a couple of life’s arenas: I had doubts about how I approach relationship with my Gods. I was also doubting one of my financial decisions.

The doubts popped up during ritual. At first, I thought these distractions during rituals lessened the rites’ power. But I’m realizing that doubt is part of the spiritual process. Sometimes, it’s good to doubt. Sometimes, doubt adds to a ritual. (Yes, doubt during a rite can lessen its power. But I’m talking about something different here.)

I started thinking about the benefits of doubt. Doubt can lead us to change our minds for the better.

Doubt can also lead us through a process that, in the end, helps affirm our decisions and cleave to them better than ever.

Moving all the way across the country sometime soon, to return to California, is a huge decision and risk. For example, I’m giving up ownership of a three-bedroom rural home on 7/10 of an acre, with a $700 monthly mortgage payment (!) to rent at a much higher monthly cost. Eek! So I wrote a prayer about doubt. The prayer could also be used as an affirmation. I share it here in case you find it relevant to your own personal life.

If you use this prayer/affirmation, please tell me how it goes. I’d love to hear your experience, because it will be unique to you.

Sacred Doubt

May I accept my doubts.
May I recognize doubts as part of life.
May I understand doubts as sometimes part of a self empowerment process.

May I not run from doubts in myself.
May I not run from doubts in other people.

May I not let my doubts drive me into fear-based decisions.
May I not let other people’s doubts drive me into fear-based decisions.

Instead, may I remember that my doubts are a part of me
that might be need healing or empowerment.
May I give that part of myself love.
May I give that part of myself respect.
May self love and respect heal my doubts, if they need healing.*

May I allow my doubts to bless me,
with power or other gifts.

Though there are times it’s good to validate,
invalidate, or analyze my doubts,
may I take time for simple gentle awareness of them.

May this simple, relaxed observance
allow my cells’ innate wisdom
to guide my whole being, both body and spirit.

Note 1: I added the phrase “if they need healing,” because sometimes a doubt does not need healing. For example, a doubt can be a partial recognition of a truth we haven’t grasped yet. When we honor doubt, instead of trying to “heal” it, we allow space in our consciousness for the partially hidden truth to fully emerge.

Note 2: Here are instructions for the above-mentioned simple gentle awareness. Instead of watching your doubts with a sharp effortful focus that is a tiring strain, rest your attention on your doubts gently, the way your head rests on the pillow at night.

Use the comment field below to tell me your own thoughts about doubts. We all have different experiences. Perhaps yours are so different from mine that they will enlighten me. Or perhaps yours are fairly similar to mine, which would be helpful affirmation for me.

Blessed be, Francesca

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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/