Traditional Shamanic Culture and Business

Rosmrta

Did you know ancient Celts had a goddess of marketing? Or that their shamans charged for many of their services, as did ancient Native American shamans? Did you know ancient Mesoamerican merchants traveled to find sacred goods?

Shamanic culture once brought the sacred into commerce, in a way we desperately need today for two reasons:

1) It will allow us fulfilling, loving, profitable work.

2) It can help stop the immense, worldwide suffering caused by callous business practices.

The division of sacred and profane in the marketplace strikes at the core of human rights, Faerie witchery, and happiness.

As a witch, I’m part of a long heritage of magic used as a tool to free people from oppression. As long as the marketplace is driven by profit to the point of callousness, instead of by an ethical focus on being of service, results will remain tragic.

So I developed innovative theories and methodologies that provide a missing piece of witchery—a shamanic approach to the marketplace. I teach it in my new book:

A Sacred Marketplace:
Sell without Selling Out or Burning Out.
Mysticism + Marketing = Sales.

ClickHereSmall

The book is two pronged in its benefits:

1) Many ethical, loving people have special gifts they want to bring into the marketplace but are stymied because they can’t figure out how to maneuver the insanity of our current business world.

These folks include artists, psychics, coaches, and others in alternative fields. Also included are people whose heartfelt dreams are less obviously special—e.g., you can make cosmetics in a loving way.

A Sacred Marketplace shows good people ethical ways to thrive in business. The book teaches

* easy, powerful, ethical marketing

* my personal philosophy of life, which is shamanic and spells out why it is moral to earn a living doing what we love and how doing so is vital to the well being of all Gaia’s children

* shamanic exercises to help you actually live that philosophy and develop personal traits for career success

2) The other benefit: if these good folks were in business, their sheer presence would help shift our business world into one where people matter more than profit. These loving practitioners would not have to do anything other than be present in the marketplace.

More talented good-hearted people in the world of commerce will—without these individuals even trying to do so—automatically transform the dominant business paradigm for society as a whole, from corporate, uncaring greed to loving concern for the individual.

I’m delighted I was able to create this book’s material. I am proud of my work in a way this society tries to squelch. Be proud of yours. Enter the marketplace with your special gifts and be prosperous. In the process, you’ll make a better life for everyone.

I care about you, so I beg you: do not wait. Great endeavors start when someone says, “I’ll do what I can.” If all you can manage is reading two minutes once a week, and you have no time to analyze what you read or to apply it, that’s a legitimate start. The book is Third Road shamanism, which means you absorb on a gut level, just by reading. Do it. Click here for A Sacred Marketplace: http://www.outlawbunny.com/2015/10/15/a-sacred-marketplace/

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.

Mysticism and Non-Academic Scholarship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pantheism and Mosquitos

Pantheism and Mosquitos: Practice Vs Theory

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

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

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

Francesca De Grandis, 2013

Francesca De Grandis, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope you post a story of your own below.

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