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

Upcoming Training

Update: The day and time of this event has been changed, so you can enroll if the new schedule suits you better. New schedule: we meet seven Sundays, from 4 to 5 PM EST, starting Sunday November 8. Classes are consecutive weeks except we skip November 29, for Thanksgiving weekend. Reserve Sunday Jan 10, same time, for a makeup class in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned sessions. Rest of class info is below:

Come Home to the Faerie Queen
A Seven-Week Faerie Shamanism Training

FeyRealm

The Faerie Queen tells us, “I’m Mother of the Faerie Nation. And more of you are awake to your magic now—lovers, warriors, children and elders, changelings, cats in disguise, bards, wolves, gardeners, corporate executives, tricksters, star-children, and many others. Come to me, come home, I will protect you and tutor you until our starlit cells flow back and forth between us like the milky way in all its immense luminosity. You’re awake now, my Faerie children. The new global Fey village has begun.”

This class responds to the Faerie Queen’s call. You’ll create previously impossible possibilities for you, Gaia, and all beings. Honest. The curriculum is the culmination of decades’ work. Rewrite your DNA and break through to the stars.

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

The Fey-spark in humans re-ignited. Ancient starlit blood came forward till it finally hit critical mass; Faerie magic’s thoroughly awake in many people. This leaves us with new questions and new approaches needed to answer them:

image* Have you sensed shifts in the human/plant/mineral psyche?

* Can you have self-healing, prosperity, and great sex during present times?

image* Do you feel the mystic part of you desperately needed by everyone, including you, right now?

* How can we better use our new/old/undiscovered/shifted powers, both magical and mundane?

image* Do you find Paganism too dogmatic, not pagan enough? Do you long for fellowship that supports your unique vision?

* How can mystics—ranging from activists to quiet magicians—come together to love, celebrate, and protect Gaia? Can Gaia—and ourselves—be happy, or even survive, without such a tribe happening globally?

This class addresses these issues with innovative magic and fresh ideas.

FDG2015ProfileYou also receive lessons to be your style Faerie shaman. There are different places in Faerie, each special. One is your home. This class helps you go home. If you’re already home, you’ll learn (more) about its unique magic and spirituality, and use them practically to empower your mundane life.

This teleseminar is multi-leveled, suitable to entry-level beginners and adepts.

Come Home to the Faerie Queen qualifies as one of the two electives needed before advanced Third Road training.

Nuts and bolts:
* These are group meetings by phone. To participate, just dial the phone from anywhere.
* Class meets seven Sundays, from 4 to 5 PM EST, starting Sunday November 8. Classes are consecutive weeks except we skip November 29, for Thanksgiving weekend.
* Reserve Sunday Jan 10, same time, for a makeup class in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned sessions.
* Tuition: $250. If you’ve taken it before, repeat it at half-price. Your usual long-distance charges apply and appear on your phone bill. The event’s area code is a U.S. #.
* Enroll here.
* Or pay by check or money order here.
* 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.

imageIf you want to be part of this experience, enroll now, because I don’t know when I’ll be able to teach it again. It’s maybe been six years since the last time.

If you see someone else’s class that sounds the same, this class is original material. No one teaches it but me.

Faerie holds daily miracles. I trust that.

Enroll here.

DentaliaBar

A mystical event is no substitute for medical care by a trained physician, psychiatric counseling, or other therapeutic treatments. Participants are personally responsible for the consequences of their voluntary participation.

Druid (Elven) Chant

Yule14BlackThis is a seasonal chant. It can be used not only for the Winter Solstice, but also for winter months subsequent to Yule.

If you recite it, please tell me what happens. Walking through falling snow, I channeled this poem. When the Goddess gave me a line, I chanted it immediately, while continuing my passage beneath a gray snowy sky. The experience was a gift from the Goddess, and doubly joyful when, reaching home, I managed to get a version of it in writing, because now I can share it with you, my fellow seeker (as well as use it again myself). Sharing our journeys blesses me utterly. So it would be wonderful to know your experience with this chant.

And, by the way, it works perfectly well without the snow storm, LOL. You do not need falling snow to use this chant.

Druid (Elven) Winter Solstice Chant
Francesca De Grandis, 2014

With the falling snow,
stars plummet to ground.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

I, elf, know my losses.
I, elf, know my losses.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

I, elf, know my pains.
I, elf, know my pains.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

I, elf, am not trapped by any sorrow.
I, elf, am not destined to mythic melancholy
or an inevitable tragedy of erroneous lore.

Yule25BlackAaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

Stars descend with the falling snow.
The chill and the heat bless me.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

All the power of the stars is mine.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

My powers are from the dark Mother Goddess.
My powers are from the blazing newborn King.
My powers are from the earth’s molten core.
My powers are from the fiery silver stars.
My powers are from the Dragon flame—all cauldron fires are mine.

By my powers, I easily manifest utter connection to my Gods.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

weebossideBy my powers, I easily manifest self.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

By my powers, I easily manifest beauty.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

By my powers, I easily manifest self-love.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

By my powers, I easily manifest usefulness to others.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

By my powers, I easily manifest peace.

Yule29BlackAaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

By my powers, I easily manifest fun.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

By my powers, I easily manifest happiness.

By my powers, I easily manifest wealth.

By my powers, I easily manifest health.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

I easily manifest connection to all my self.

I easily manifest connection to all things.

I easily manifest integration within myself.

I easily manifest integration within the World Tree.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

I easily manifest Faerie.

Aaaaahhhhhhhh.
Wooooooooooo.
Aaaaahhhhhhhh.
Wooooooooooo.

Om.
Om.
Om.

purchsbanr2

Bickering, Community Service, and Self-Awareness

Part two in a series on supporting newcomers (and oldtimers) in your spiritual community. May, 2013. Part one is on my other site, at http://www.outlawbunny.com/2011/06/14/welcoming-newbies/

A woman phoned me to inquire about my classes. That’s not unusual; I teach oral tradition style, so feel I should be available by phone if someone wants to ask about my work.

She immediately said that very few pagans are hard-working in their spiritual efforts. This is not unusual, either; I hear that sentiment plenty.

After addressing her community critique, I tried to move the conversation past it, but she kept returning to the issue. She is not someone for whom I’d be a good teacher.

It is only human to bond with someone new by denigrating others. But it is a tendency I try to avoid: While it feeds the ego of the two people bonding (they get to feel superior to everyone else in the world), it keeps them from getting any actual work done. I mean the sort of work that happens in my classes: for example, self-examination, self-care, nurturing of ability to serve community, and building shamanic skills. No, I am not the teacher for her.

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

The fool is about love. Fool, tarot card, Francesca De Grandis, 12-03

When first working as a spiritual counselor in an occult shop, I received a pretty big shock. I’d been guiding folks in a private practice, mostly by referral. Suddenly I was thrown onto the front lines. Someone would come to the shop to consult with me because their daughter had just died. Or their 14-year-old son had gotten somebody pregnant. Or their husband beat them.

I went home and threw out my lofty new age abstractions. I threw out my Celtic cross spread, at least for most of the shop appointments. (For those of you who don’t know the spread, it makes for a complex lengthy session.) A lot of these shop sessions were only ten minutes long. After that my boss pressed the buzzer: Time’s up!

I sat in my home and started coming up with very fast spreads that would tune me into the heart of the client’s issue(s) and the essence of the advice they needed. I compiled a list of community resources: contact information for women’s shelters, teen crisis counseling, etc. I honed my inner skills more than ever so that I’d sense a client’s needs stat.

I was a working minister.

Decades later now. As then, not all my work is with trauma survivors. Often, I help people with more “everyday” concerns,” as well as train folks in shamanism, other esoteric skills, creativity, and marketing. But I’m definitely always on the frontlines: in community, with a busy schedule of counseling and teaching.

I mention being a shop employee and my ensuing work because: I’ve rarely gotten involved in pagan debates; I am too busy! Mind you, I discuss my work with other front-line ministers who can help me polish my shamanic skills, not burn out, and otherwise address my work. But I do not want to be criticized because of theoretical issues that have little basis and are thrown on the table by angry people with no understanding of what I am really up against on the ministerial front lines.

When we’re busy looking at our own faults, polishing our own skills, taking care of ourselves, and serving community, we don’t have time to unnecessarily criticize people.

Criticism is appropriate sometimes. Each of us needs to be held accountable by community. And healthy debate is joyfully welcomed in my classes because fresh perspectives rise.

The sort of criticism that I’d like to see less of is the endless picayune bickering that seems to produce little. Hmm, well, it produces swollen egos, draws the limelight, hurts sincere seekers whether newbie or oldtimer, and silences timid souls. Important sidebar: It hurts the newbies not only because they feel rejected but also because it encourages them to behave in kind.

Even as an oldtimer, I can feel hurt and invalidated, when people get so riled up and so angry and bitter; and behind their words is the statement, “I am better than you, I am better than you, I am better than you.” And behind that statement is their primary one: “Go climb in a hole so that your sincere efforts don’t shame me any longer.” This can be devastating to newbies who are ardent seekers with hearts wide open!

Those kind of arguments and the comments of that person who phoned me are also tantamount to saying about the person being criticized, “You are the ‘other.’ You are ‘one of them,’ so you are not as worthy of love and respect. I do not have to treat you with caring and decency because you do not have the same vulnerabilities as me.”

Now, if this post ends now, my mental meandering amounts to me just being another superior jerk. But I am going somewhere productive (I hope):

It felt important to paint a recognizable picture of high-handed community strife and its outcome for three reasons:

1) If you avoid insane community debate, you still might be uber-critical of other pagans (or someone else) within the confines of your own mind. When I find myself doing that, it’s time for a good look at myself. Internal criticism (perhaps a running commentary on the superiority of others, lol) has the same impact on me as it would were I voicing it online. Same impact, dude! I might be avoiding looking at my own errors or avoiding responsibility, to either community or self.

Feeling superior is more comfortable than looking at my own faults. And superiority can, oddly enough, make me feel safer than self-care. And superiority is safer than getting out into the world to try to make a difference. You avoid the endless, high-handed criticism of I-know-better-than-everyone-else idlers who are likely to pursue you once you try to make a diff in the world.

2) Angry superiority is what many newcomers first see. Or we might meet newbies with a subtle version of the same thing. I want to make a practice of examining myself for this. For example, is my ego playing out in a more subtle manner? Goddess, when someone inquires about my work, keep me humble, welcoming, self-aware, and focused on love and service. Goddess, at all times, keep me humble, welcoming, self-aware, and focused on love and service.

3) If you are afraid of getting into the pagan community because of what you see, now you know i see it too. You are not alone. Please realize there are people who do not bicker. We aren’t as vocal because we’re busy living. If you ask the Universe to guide and inspire you, you will find us.

And, with us, you can work and dance and celebrate the Gods. Because we are pagan to the bone. Heathens, celebrating the stars, the earth, the seasons, ourselves, and each other.

You will find us. We are here. I am like you.

Hiding, Healing, Power. Pt 3

Dear site visitor, I want you to see the Faerie tale illustrations at their best. When WordPress shrinks a pic to fit the page, it blurs. Please click on a painting to see it unblurred; it makes a real difference.

 

 

 

Hiding, Healing, Power. Part Three
Written and painted in March and/or early April, 2012.

Part one: http://stardrenched.com/2012/06/13/hiding-healing-power/
Part two: http://stardrenched.com/2012/06/27/hiding-healing-power-pt-2/ 

Part Three
When she grew up, something else wonderful happened. That little girl grew up to be Goddess Diana—Great Mother, Light-Bearer.

Faerie art, Francesca De Grandis

Diana, Great Mother Goddess. Available as a limited first edition print. For more info, click on the picture.

A child became a deity, yes. Yes, she did. Let yourself hide.

Hiding is not always about shame or fear. It might be a time of preparation or privacy, a time of beauty or empowerment, a time of nurturance or growth.
 
Faerie art, Francesca De GrandisHiding can be motivated by discretion.

A hiding child became a deity, a bearer of light, a light held high. The woman no longer hiding.
 
That little girl was always god. But she needed discretion to find it.

Diana lived with her cat who was secretly a Faerie. (See Aradia, Gospel of the Witches, for lore about Diana and her Fey Cat.)

The woman, the Goddess, hung a welcome sign on her front door. People came to see her. (Mind you, she still hid a lot of the time, and we will get to that in a moment.) She healed people with her light. Or tickled them with it. She used her light to guide others to their own shiny brilliance and to that of the Gods.

Here is the welcome sign she hung up. Faerie art, Francesca De Grandis
Faerie art, Francesca De GrandisDiana is Goddess of Witches. This warm, protective deity has given me tremendous solace and healing many times over the years.

Often, her visitors hid with her. That was fun.

And sometimes—often, in fact—she still hid all by herself. Well, her cat was with her. As were other gods. They are always nearby.

Tucked in her home, she traveled to wonderful places.

Faerie art, Francesca De GrandisHer visitors went on great adventures with her, traveling between the stars.

Faerie art, Francesca De Grandis

Where You and Diana Go if You Visit Her. Available as a limited first edition print. For more info, click on the picture.

 When someone is hiding, I look twice to find the god. The end.

Faerie art, Francesca De Grandis

Storyteller (the author, self-portrait). Available as a limited first edition print. For more info, click on the picture

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