Claiming My Power as a Trauma Survivor

I can act effectively in crisis only if I’m doing shamanic practices on a regular basis.

There are times survival takes every single ounce of one’s time. And it’s vital to do everything one can on the mundane plane to take care of a crisis. But, when crisis looms, I have the self-destructive knee-jerk response of automatically focusing solely on survival. I’ve learned that usually does not turn out well, not for me.

So I choose to instead focus on staying balanced, serene, and connected to my Gods in order to receive Their power and guidance. To accomplish all that, I need a lot of time for my shamanic practices and have to use a crisis as an opportunity for spiritual and shamanic growth.

If I, instead, frantically chase after money, security, a resolution of crisis, etc., then the money, resolution, security, etc., don’t manifest anyway. If I stay on my shamanic journey, then money, resolution, security etc., come.

When crisis hits, I need shamanism more than ever.

Historically speaking, shamanism as a means for healing from trauma—and keeping a disaster from damaging one’s psyche—has been a cultural norm. It has surely been a means for my survival and wholeness in rough times.

Shamans have also, since ancient times, used their traumas—even the worst traumas—as irreplaceable chances to manifest great magical and mundane power. This was surely my own experience.

After 9/11 traumatized U.S. citizens, and our government used that tragedy as an excuse to further traumatize us, enrollment in the shamanic classes I teach dropped for a while. When crisis hits, or appears as a possibility, some people believe they can’t afford the time or money for their shamanic training. They don’t understand that continuing their training can be pivotal to overcoming crisis. I provide scholarships, yet few people requested one in the year after 9/11.

One power of being a trauma survivor, for me, is that overcoming disasters left me with shamanic tools I can apply during this brutal administration. Another power is that I’ve learned the need for complete focus on survival is often a mirage. Mind you, I know it’s not always a mirage. But when it has been an illusion, living in that lie almost destroyed me. I’m lucky to be alive, considering what a lifestyle of overwork and worry did to my health.

“Long-term trauma” (LTT) is a worse diagnosis than post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Examples of an ordeal that causes LTT: being kidnapped and held hostage for years; and being married to a batterer for years. Quite a while ago, I suffered LTT. Not to worry, I took the necessary steps to be on the other side of that now, happy and whole. It’s all behind me. I bring up the diagnosis only to point out:

As someone who used Fey-touched tools to survive longterm horrors and come out the other side whole in spirit, I learned that serenity is possible during a horrific situation. Not always, for sure, but tranquility is not constant even in the best of circumstances. Though peace is often impossible when first in a terrible crisis, knowing that peace can develop—albeit sometimes only painstakingly in minuscule increments—is a power I’ve gained from being a trauma survivor.

When I create a calm place inside myself, I find strength and wisdom there to change a situation.

My familiar hangs out with a poppet. I made it probably in the ‘80s.

Like many survivors, I’ve been triggered by recent national events. Like many individuals, I started having trauma symptoms in response to national events. But now, screw Trump, screw his ilk. I decided I don’t have time to let fascists’ behavior traumatize me anymore. I’m doing everything in my power to keep their behavior from getting to me mentally anymore.

I affirm: They no longer will have space in my head. Heck, I’ve known all along that what’s going on in America right now is nothing new. That’s an advantage I have from being a trauma survivor. The horrific injustices currently widespread in our country are what I observed as a child in the ‘50s and throughout my whole life. I suffered terribly from some of these things My point is that what’s going on has been happening since humans first congregated, so I don’t have to lose my mind over it, but can carry on the same way I did the day before Trump got elected—fighting against such atrocities and living my life with joy.

I affirm: I can feel my indignation, rage, and even terror, but not sit in them. I can simply feel them, and then move on to feel my joy and love.

I affirm: Living in terror and rage would keep me from maximum effectiveness as an agent of change in the world. I want to help individuals upon whom horrors are being perpetrated, so I feel my indignation and rage, but do not reside in them.

In this post, I speak only for myself and of my experiences. I want every trauma survivor to find what works for them. So I support those who say a constant rage helps them fight oppression, even though that wouldn’t work for me. I used to walk around angry all day. That hurt my health and made me miserable.

Though I didn’t take my anger out on other people, furious thoughts consumed my mind, time, and energy, distracting me from doing what was needed to be as happy and productive as I became when I let go of constant angriness. Now, with less anger, I’m more likely to take positive action, more effective when I do so, and experience life’s joys more.

Wee shaman

Back to the idea that what’s going on in America is nothing new. I’ve physically, emotionally, and spiritually survived grueling ordeals that started in childhood. Some of these situations were next to impossible to survive, let alone survive spiritually whole. But I did it. For various reasons, I’m a person at risk in Trump’s America. Yet, because of the traumas I’ve gotten through in the past, I know how to find joy, peace, and beauty in my day now.

A few weeks ago, the current events in our country stopped triggering and traumatizing me anywhere near as much because I started taking advantage of being a trauma survivor in the ways I’ve described above.

In other words, I remembered that I’ve been through all this before, that I survived it, and that the horrors reported on the news every day have consistently been part of human society. I reminded myself that I learned tools to overcome crisis, shamanic tools that can keep me whole so I can enjoy my life and keep fighting oppression. I affirmed my commitment to devote as much time possible every day to shamanic practices and to spiritual and shamanic growth.

My shamanism centered me again, moving me miles toward inner wholeness. I intend to keep that movement going till I feel back to normal and then maintain that state through an ongoing abundance of shamanic practices.

I don’t bury my head in the sand about what’s going on in the world or what risks I am in. However, constantly thinking about the terrible state of humanity, or what bad things are happening to me, or that might happen to me, or the very real fact that I may not survive this current administration, will help ensure I don’t survive because unceasing worry would hurt my body badly. For one thing, the stress of nonstop worry exacerbates Multiple Sclerosis symptoms.

I will think about terrible things only to the degree needed, e.g., to minimize my risk, to change bad situations for myself and others, to discuss with my students the problems they face. Today, I signed up to be a phone volunteer for the upcoming elections. That felt great.

Nightmare monsters hide under my bed. They’re close by, threatening, trying to freak me out. I refuse to dwell on them. I prefer to use my time and the spaces in my head to celebrate existence and see its beauty.

If I focus on my shamanic practices and inner growth, I have the strength and bravery to not take the bait—in other words, to not freak out when monsters taunt me with cruel words—and to instead enjoy life.

I’m getting into top form for battling monsters. Staying serene and joyful and in pursuit of beauty help me achieve—and remain in—top form. Vehemently, passionately serene. Joyfully, loudly seeking beauty. So mote it be!

I Dreamt Donald Trump Is My Roomate

I could no longer stand the hate I felt for people who hate.

The night of July 5, 2018, I had the strangest dream. Instead of living in my sweet house, I was living in a large apartment, and Donald Trump was my flatmate. We weren’t lovers, we were buddies. The degree to which I have loathed the 45th and everything he stands for makes the dream quite strange, given that he and I got along quite well in the dream.

In the dream, we were talking, and then I accidentally bumped up against him, and it seemed like his little penis was hard, but he didn’t even blink. Of course, Trump would not blink because he is a sly, awful man. He‘d leave me in that oh-so-awful-and-prevalent feminine quandary of endlessly debating with oneself, wondering things like “Am I just imagining things …?” But I brushed his behavior off because neither his slyness nor anything else about him was bothering me. Remarkable dream for me!

Then I had to go take a shower (not because I’d bumped against him, but just because it was time to take a shower) and, when I got out of the shower, he had left. I think he might’ve been going to the White House, but I can’t remember that part of the dream clearly.

An hour or two later he died.

I told someone that Trump and I were roommates and that I’d seen him right before his death. The man to whom I was speaking said that he really wanted to interview me on his radio show. I agreed.

In the dream, I did not have the media savvy that I actually have. To show the contrast between that dreamtime self and what I’m actually like in “real life:” in my waking hours, I‘ve hosted a show on ABC radio in San Francisco and scripted a TV segment that Barbara Walters produced. Nevertheless, in dreamtime, I didn’t realize that mentioning living with Trump and seeing him shortly before his death would result in nationwide media exposure. Not that, in the dream, I was afraid of being accused of his death. I just was unaware that stating my experiences with Trump would garner major media interest.

I showed up for the radio show. The man who’d asked to interview me was not there. Instead, his female assistant was present. She was new at radio interviews, but she was doing okay getting set up for one. I didn’t know if the show was just for a little local radio station or was syndicated. Then, before the interview started, the dream ended, or I woke up, or I simply don’t remember the rest of the dream.

Recently, I’d come to a point in my life where I just couldn’t stand the hate I felt for people who hate. That anger was hurting me badly. Long story short, it was not anger that I took out on anybody else; it just hurt me inside.

I deep down believe love is the answer and felt I need to embody that at a new level.

Mind you, when I say love is the answer, I’m not a pacifist, doormat, or person who buries her head in the sand about oppression. I‘m convinced, for example, it is possible to stop someone who is robbing others of their rights, and still attempt to have an attitude of love for that awful person.

Letting go of unhealthy anger has been a long journey for me. I’ve worked hard at it. And I know anger is a healthy emotion. But I don’t want my angers to become resentments, be constant, or otherwise restrict or hurt me. An imperfect being, I will never completely let go of unhealthy anger. Luckily, anger is nowhere near the problem it was for me 30 years ago, or 10 years ago, or even a year ago, or even the problem it was shortly before the dream.

I think the dream was a sign that, to a substantial degree, my recent attempts to let go of the hateful anger for haters had succeeded. Goddess, thank you for helping me change.

Snce childhood, I’ve been aware of the concept of “the other,” not that I had a term for it when I was a child. But I suffered as the other. For example, as a dark little girl in an Irish neighborhood, I was repeatedly told I was ugly. And, once, a blonde little girl hurt me, but I was the one who got blamed for wrongdoing and punished. From childhood on, I have been the other over and over. So over the years, I have written a lot of material about the other, often from a shamanic perspective.

Until we get rid of the idea of the other, there is not going to be permanent social change. For example, revolutionaries who overthrow oppressors but then view the oppressors as the hateful, awful other become the oppressors of the old oppressors. Another example: as long as there is the other, the balance of national power will just rock back-and-forth between two small elite groups, instead of everyone being free.

Despite my realization of how much the idea of the other had hurt me, I was still holding on to it in various ways, ways I’ve bit by bit let go of. More recently, people like the 45th were still the other in my eyes. And that was allowing me a rage that kept reappearing and was going to destroy me. Again, the destruction was solely about my internal landscape, as well as the way that impacts my physical health.

I feel the dream showed that I am truly letting go of that sense of other, and hence anger toward people like the 45th. Trying to let go of the concept of the other and the accompanying anger the concept allows, I‘ve been telling myself the past few years that we are all in this together and, there I was, embodying that in the dream, by living my day alongside Trump.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the man and his cronies are so evil that it wouldn’t surprise me at all if one reason they kidnapped immigrant children was to sell those children into the sex trade. I think Trump and his ilk are such heinous beings that, just to make money, they’d sell children who are only months old to be sexually used and therefore die, since such wee ones would not physically survive such assaults.

So when I say some anger is leaving, I’m not suggesting that I am losing my moral judgment. My sense of what is right and wrong, as well as my sense of responsibility to fix what is wrong, remains.

I find it interesting that, in the dream, I made peace with him, and he died. Not that I think someone should kill him. The cause of his death in the dream was nonspecific, and the energy around it and in myself about it was very peaceful. I think the death symbolized that 1) resolution in myself has come, the idea of the other is dying in me and giving way to peace and 2) resolution with people like him is also possible. I’m not implying that, if I reason in a loving manner with him, he’s going to change his heart and behavior. Just because I’m feeling love doesn’t mean he will. He’d just as soon kill me as look at me. He will only change when forced to. But feeling rage over and over will not help me force that change. The ways to compel it, at least for me, are things like voting, campaigning for candidates, signing petitions, civil disobedience and, as my stepfather did in World War II, signing up for the military.

Anger can contract me and close me off from the flow of life. I think the radio part of the dream represented life opening up for me at a new level—even though I’ve done a huge amount of radio, remember that in the dream I’d never done radio—my shamanic and other efforts flowing into the world more productively than ever because I’d let go of unhealthy anger more than ever. So mote it be.

For an article about love as powerful magic instead of groups polarized against each other, click here: https://stardrenched.com/2018/07/07/magic-is-god-herself/

I Will Not Live in Hate

2016nothatesmBoSNwsltrSmI Will Not Live in Hate

Move on! I do not have time to hate you.
I’m too busy loving myself.
I’m too busy loving the stars
and feeling them love me back.
I’m too busy loving people and all my other relations
by fighting the good fight for them.

My love does not make me a doormat.
Cross me or mine, and I will go into battle with you.
I am lethal as a warrior.

But I will not dwell on hate:
any moment I might spend hating you
is too precious to waste that way
because I require every single moment
to love myself and all my relations;
I need every bit of love possible,
and all my relations need every bit of love I can give.

So move on, you will not snare me
in your ugly world by making me dwell in anger,
nor can you distract me from
the wonderful business of love.

The Faerie Queen’s Innocence

The Unseelie Queen and her pawns would have us give our anger supremacy: They would have us fuel our anger with pseudo-morality, the same angry false righteousness that makes pseudo-Christians betray Christ’s message of love.

imageAnger has its place. It should not be suppressed. Nor should its good power be ignored.

But it too often permeates, perhaps subconsciously, many a pagan’s being, many a pagan tradition. It corrodes their magic, until there is none left—none—and they are left only with the pretense of it and childish boasts of power.

I train my students rigorously in magical technique, but it is not enough in itself. I received impeccable magical training, but my magic could not withstand my anger if it were made supreme.

But we have a choice. We can acknowledge and honor our anger, then let it go. Because when we do, we become sure in our guts that we deserve a place with the Faerie Queen and Seelie Court. It cannot be an intellectual exercise—you have to experience letting go of anger to have gut knowledge of the following:

Anger made supreme is a trap the Unseelie set us. When we release anger, to make love supreme, supreme in our cells, the Faerie Queen’s magic and innocence and love flood us. All our green fantasies, and wishes to see the unseen, come true. We feel, feel, note the word “feel,” we will feel the magic that most people can only imagine as part of a dream. Feel it in our waking hours. We will walk the path through enchanted woods. We will feel the World Tree as our safe home.

In other words, we will be magic. That is what happens when a pagan soul relinquishes anger and owns the love in their heart.

Footnote: This material came to me, right before bedtime, day #1 of the Hundred People direct spiritual transmission. But “material” is an insufficient word because, along with insight, was a breathtaking breakthrough experience, more transformative than any realization.

Giving the weeklong transmission caused me many beautiful learning experiences. Posting about only one of them might make that one incorrectly seem more pivotal than the others. But this is the only one I felt guided by my Gods to discuss at length online, thus far.

Have you had a magical Fey experience that substantiates mine or is otherwise relevant? Please post it below. I’d love to read it. And it will support other site visitors.

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