During crisis, mysticism can become a source of strength, renewal, and hope, or foster self-destructive escapism and denial. This post has an empowering ritual.
Please note: though this post discusses how to avoid denial and escapism, sometimes it is important to let them be. Trust yourself to make the right choice. Or, if unsure, ask for input from a trusted expert. For one thing, denial and escapism can be trauma symptoms that help you cope.
Some situations can feel like too much to bear, and I long for something bigger and more powerful than me to fix my problems. I turn to mysticism for the solution. It often works.
Sometimes, all doors seem shut, and I am desperate for a door to open somewhere, somehow. I turn to mysticism. It often works.
However, mysticism can be healthy or unhealthy. Personally speaking, my otherworldly endeavors must be very grounded in my real life, so I get my feet on the ground and remain down-to-earth. I will explain what I mean by that. … Well, a full explanation would take pages, but I can quickly explain enough for the purposes of this post.
Some of my rituals are not as mystical as other rites I perform. All magic is mystical, but there are varying degrees. Sometimes I do very mystical rituals; they might have highly lyrical liturgies and fanciful images, and create a very trancy, sparkly, buzzy experience. Other times, my rituals are less mystical, more direct, and more straightforward, e.g., they proceed in a rather mundane manner, directly dealing with my inner blocks, by necessitating I own up to a specific anger, fear, self-doubt, sense of powerlessness, or the like. I often deal with anger, trauma, fear, etc., in extremely mystical rituals, but that would be escapism were it the whole of how I handle inner turmoil.
The ritual below deals with unsettling emotions, self-defeating beliefs, and the like in quite a grounded manner, while also including more mystical ritual elements. The more grounded aspects of this little ceremony help keep it from feeding denial and escapism.
The Choice to Have Power: a Ritual for Magnificent Selfhood and Divine Support
This magical spell can help you experience spiritual renewal and fortitude, and feel longed for peace and hope. Other possible benefits are increased confidence and a substantial claiming (or reclaiming) of selfhood—who you are deep down, with all your strengths. The ritual also helps you tap into the Goddess’ immense power.
If, when doing this ceremony, you feel you are not doing a “good enough job,” not to worry. The sheer attempt is sufficient.
If unsure how to implement part of my instructions, you might explore whether that text is suitable for one of the three following approaches.
1. Do a visualization. For an example, let’s use the ritual’s paragraph “I choose to live in the reality of my truest self with its wisdom, balance, and magic. I settle into that reality by letting my body sink into it. I sink into my truest self with its wisdom, balance, and magic.” Decide what physical sensations you might experience if you trusted that you had wisdom, balance, and magic, and then imagine your body feels that way.
2. To continue using the same example, you could recite that paragraph as a liturgy, slowly reciting it two or three times. That can be powerful.
3. Or read that paragraph aloud as if you were telling a Faerie tale, and try to go along with the mood of the tale.
Here’s the ritual:
Additional ritual instructions:
1) During the ceremony, if you don’t land smack dab in the center of your personal essence, at least momentarily, you likely moved radically toward it. Try doing the ritual once a day for five days, over the course of a week, to continue the energy’s positive direction.
2) If you feel performing the ritual once didn’t progress you toward your magnificent selfhood at all, it could’ve happened anyway—even to a large degree—without you feeling it yet.
3) If the ritual felt effective, or even fairly so, you might want to do the ritual twice more over the next week, to re-find, remain in, or move deeper into the reality of your most competent beautiful self who is living in the care of a loving Goddess.
4) Here are two reasons to work on only a single block in the ritual:
Sometimes, working on more than one not only diffuses a ritual’s energy but also turns the rite into escapism.
Also, focusing on a single block allows me to own up to it on a gut level, rather than just recognizing it with my mind. That gut recognition can make a big difference in whether I can move past that block or not.
I’d love to hear how this ritual goes for you.
… I want to time how long it takes to read and execute this ritual. … It took nine minutes, reading slowly. That nine minutes includes time I added for pauses in case someone needed to go over the instructions to better understand them. The timing also represents doing the rite as you read the post, as opposed to reading it all first then going back to do the ritual.
I timed for three reasons. I wanted to see if this is a ritual that easily fits into a busy schedule.
Brief ceremonies can be powerful.
I also wanted to see if I might use the ritual in the Virtual Pagan Monastery, an event held via group phone calls. The meetings are mini-retreats that last fifteen meetings, and I lead a ritual in each one. A nine-minute ritual leaves us time to open with the quick protection spell with which we always kick off meetings. We’d also have time should anyone need to jump in to ask a question about instructions as we were doing the rite. Perfect!
My third reason for timing is that I love my Virtual Pagan Monastery. It’s a chance to touch down a few times a week with other seekers and lead a rite to take care of ourselves. But some folks don’t enroll because they don’t realize that brief rites can be powerful. So now this little ceremony is here to prove otherwise.
Walk between the stars with me.
We’ll find a moment’s peace,
our spirits held secure by Gods
Who also cradle everything.
Then we’ll return to earth,
our hearts and strength renewed.
We’ll have the means to serve life well
and stay the course that day.
And when earth’s weight bears down on us,
we’ll walk the stars again.
And, once more, gain the help we need
to meet the hours ahead.
You might think of it as a Goddess temple, Druid grove, Faerie circle, Pagan monastery, or retreat to an otherworldly haven. It has been sanctuary, even in the hardest times.
If you’re unfamiliar with this long-distance experience:
Twice a week, I lead fifteen-minute-long ceremonies via group telephone calls. This continues for six weeks—ongoing spiritual sustenance that fits into a busy day.
During every ritual, I also give a direct spiritual transmission. You receive profound care, so are better able to meet the hours ahead and live fully.
To define my particular transmissions: I was born generating a beneficial field of energy. During our meetings, it adapts to your needs, e.g., personal growth, a soul healing, physical health, joy for your wild heart, safety on the mundane and etheric planes, the spiritual strength to get back up after life’s knocked you down. The transmissions do not focus on one benefit only, but bless you as a whole being. They also add luck to anything you do to improve your life.
The Virtual Pagan Monastery group meets twice a week for six weeks, starting May 12:
We’ll meet from 3:15 to 3:30, EST, on Tuesdays and Fridays.
To participate, simply dial the phone.
You’ll need about three minutes after each session to do a special grounding, which I’ll teach.
Reserve Tuesday June 23 and Friday June 26, the usual time, for makeup sessions in case I’m unavailable for planned sessions.
Total enrollment fee: $250. Your carrier might charge you for the call.
Click the Pay Now button to enroll securely through PayPal:
Limited enrollment. Upon receipt of payment, your seat is reserved. You receive event phone number, etc., by email. Refunds unavailable. Call me for more info or to discuss scholarship, trade, or payment plan.
Explaining this event is hard because many people think Paganism lacks inward, contemplative aspects or inner adventures. For my outward efforts to be effective, powerful, and loving, I need the inner life.
My inner life is also a precious, exciting joy that fuels the passion for life in my more outward experiences. Please give yourself contemplative times and inner adventures. Visit the Virtual Pagan Monastery.
We all make choices about what’s best for us and what helps us best serve others. For most folks, that excludes a huge amount of time in ritual. (Actually, I believe anything we do is ritual, but I need to define ritual in the more usual way here.) My choice was an ongoing enormous amount of rituals, which required a solitary life, since I couldn’t found an in-person Pagan monastery. A description of my day is relevant to this event:
I rarely see anyone in person. My contacts are mostly between the stars, doing ritual with folks. Otherworldly time spent with students and other wonderful friends is an enormous nourishment and joy that feeds me like few things ever could, given my particular personality and spirit.
So much time alone allows me to, among other things, do devotional practices and channel shamanic rites I lead.
New terms are needed to depict spirituality that is liberating instead of oppressive. For example, devotional or contemplative activities needn’t be dour, overly formal, or anti-sex. So I made up the term ecstatic contemplative to describe folks like me. I also coined Pagan monasticism to hopefully expand the sense of the possible lifestyles.
Since few people have the time that I do for ritual, I had the idea of a virtual Pagan monastery providing mini-retreats for you. You needn’t be a monastic, or want to become one. Take advantage of my decades as a Pagan monastic; I’ll draw on my daily experiences to create fifteen-minute rituals for you.
Many folks have “inner monasteries”—places they visit and practices they have—to nourish themselves, ensure they cleave to their paths and their truths, and engage with the Divine. But a lot of these individuals tell me lack of time keeps them from going inward often enough, let alone coming up with a ritual for themselves on top of that. Each Pagan Monastery meeting has a ritual all prepared for you, I lead you through it, and the weekly schedule is easy.
You needn’t go it alone.
I usually only “open” the virtual monastery for visits in the early months of the year, but I feel it’s important right now. For one thing, some of us need our spirituality more than ever, and need empowerment more than ever, but it can be hard—if not near impossible—to spiritually tend to oneself at the present time, and the virtual monastery is a quick way to do it.
In ancient shamanic culture, sacred group meetings were part of the everyday, even during major upheaval. Tribes were normally busy taking care of business—hunting, weaving, etc., and all the more so during crisis. They didn’t try to shoulder on without group rites. The ones I’ll lead in the Virtual Pagan Monastery are heavy duty ceremonies.
This magic is so strong that fifteen minutes of it improves your life. For example, some of these brief rituals can, all on their own, land you smack dab in the reality of you, your truest self with its wisdom, balance, and magic. When you don’t arrive in the center of your personal essence during one of those rites, you likely move radically in that direction, so you stop holding your breath, exhale with enormous relief, and feel longed for peace. Plus the rites we’ll do add up to the substantial claiming or reclaiming of selfhood.
You emerge from each brief session prepared to make life more serene, fulfilling, and abundant. You’re more able to do whatever’s needed to achieve your goals and stay centered while you’re at it. This is support to be powerful.
Feedback: “Someone might think, ‘I won’t get much from 15 minutes.’ … But Francesca’s Pagan Monastery showed me how deep a 15-minute ritual can go. She knows how to do this.”
If you’re skeptical about these visits accomplishing what I say they can, and you suspect 15 minutes isn’t worth your time or money, you’re smart. The world is full of “spiritual” con-artists.
My claims aren’t hype. Few people can do what I do. If one of my services or books accomplished something nothing else had for you, that starts to give you the real picture.
Add that I trained from childhood as a shaman. Then, for decades, I’ve dedicated my life to developing shamanic skills and innovative ritual methodologies and to becoming a guide capable of addressing a lot of different life arenas.
So when I announce I excel at facilitating shamanic experiences and making fifteen minutes relevant and extraordinary, I’m talking truth. But don’t take my word. Trust what your gut tells you. It might say that, in fact, my methods have led to miracles.
All the rituals I perform combine to create my wholeness. Nevertheless, whatever I did ritually yesterday doesn’t fully cover what I require today. Over and over, I need to regain emotional balance, center into the reality of a caring Goddess, and experience spiritual renewal. This is even more true for me right now.
Consistent ritual is even more vital during difficult times. During crisis, enrolling in this event might be one of the most important steps you take. For one thing, it’ll help bring the most powerful you forward to face challenges and accomplish exactly what’s needed.
If you need to miss some sessions, enroll. Perfect attendance isn’t part of real life.
Please visit me in the Virtual Pagan Monastery. It is a beautiful place.
The affirmation in this post is not only well-suited for dealing with the specific problem described in the post, it is also a good all-around affirmation for starting the new year. Toward the end of the post, I discuss why.
As 2020 begins, here is one of the things I’m thinking about.
Some of the most powerful magicians I know appear to have very little power.
There’s a Chinese myth that dragons, underwater, appear to be carp to those of us who are looking down at the water.
When the dragon emerges from the water, its draconian nature is revealed.
In case you don’t know, goldfish are wee carp. Innocuous little creatures. If the myth that koi are dragons in disguise is true, then the carp’s small, gorgeous fluid fins must be massive, gorgeous, thrusting dragon wings. (Koi is another term for carp.)
It is easy to lose sight of one’s own power or to not even know it in the first place. For one thing, our society seems tailored to distract us from our oh-so-amazing powers—both magical powers and worldly strengths. That ubiquitous attempt at distraction plays out even in the Pagan community.
One such distraction from magic is the prevalent Pagan belief that magic must be flashy and boast of dark mysteriousness in order to be truly effective. Mind you, I do know that dark mysteriousness is real. And it evaporates upon boasting.
… Well, there are times to boast. For one thing, my mother taught me, “Toot own horn. If you don’t, no one else will.”
However, appropriate tooting is different from the words of people who don’t know the difference between boasting about magic and actual magic. … Hm, there are times when boasting is magic and adds to magic. And that does not invalidate my point:
The insistence that truly effective enchantments are flashy and are done by a person who boasts of dark mysteriousness invalidates other people’s power, constantly. And boastful naysayers are often individuals with far less magical strength than the person they are invalidating.
The following simple poesy can be recited as an affirmation. I wrote it to help folks be in touch with their own power.
Even if you are not dealing with a Pagan who is playing out the my-magic-is-stronger-than-yours absurdity, the affirmation is sound empowerment.
Part of my personal belief is that dragons hold all the power of the universe in them—all the magics. This is not something that anyone ever told me. It’s my experience as a dragon—yes, I’m that dragon often mistaken for a pretty little carp.
My belief about a dragon holding all power helped shape the affirmation. I use it simply as a way to get in touch with my enormous strength—getting in touch with the fact that all power is mine—whether someone is trying to invalidate me or not. So reciting it is a good way to start the new year.
I swim through the waters of creation.
Below the surface,
powerful legs thrust, and
powerful wings beat.
All the power of the universe resides in a dragon.
All the powers of creation reside in a dragon,
below the surface of the water.
Below the surface of the water.
So mote it be!
As a young witch, I studied with a guy who’d acquired extremely powerful rituals, which he taught indiscriminately, to whoever attended his classes.
By and large, the energy of the rituals slammed into and through his students, frying their circuits, and opening pathways to demons.
A few of the rites were okay per se, but they didn’t suit the energetic structure of all his students. Such rites were an energetic torrent the unsuited body/psyche could not withstand. For them, it was like being shelterless and hit by a thunderstorm.
The collection of rituals as a whole was also disastrous. Along with the aforementioned problems, the body of rites, as well as the cosmology on which they were based, bit by bit instilled a subtle grandiosity and an, equally subtle, lack of moral accountability in the individuals who did this training. They started hurting people around them, badly.
The grandiosity was partially caused by students acquiring a specific ego structure that can be a temporary means to get through a certain part of a shamanic training. In the case of the aforementioned teacher’s students, that ego structure became a permanent fixture, turning into grandiosity—e.g., self-importance, overestimation of one’s psychic perceptions, and sense of entitlement. This further fueled the students harming people, often completely unaware they were doing so.
Furthermore, that specific ego structure that I mentioned as helpful is suitable only to certain individuals, temporarily. Even the brief period those individuals experience this ego-state is risky.
Most of the errant teacher’s students didn’t realize their immense problems stemmed from the lessons. The power coursing through them was exhilarating, seemingly proving they had found something that really worked. Plus, they saw immediate positive results in their lives. But these improvements were short term and part of a process more destructive than beneficial. The “buzz” felt during the rites became a drug, keeping improvements in their lives and in their psyches at bay, instead of creating forward momentum.
While studying with the teacher and in the years after, I witnessed his students fall prey to drug addiction, suicide, and more.
Here’s another reason most of the students didn’t spot what was happening: society as a whole portrays brute force as the most effective—and actually only real—means to an end. E.g., many individuals consider the acquisition of wealth and resources through both warfare and ruthless business practices to be norms humans must resort to, if they want success in life. This portrayal becomes internalized by some magic seekers, making them believe being buffeted by life and by their magic is the basic state needed to move ahead.
Not realizing the source of their new problems, the students figured they were at fault, and just needed to work harder at the lessons. After all, the teacher boasted about his lessons’ power—his demeanor, tone of voice, and words exuding, “Ooh, look how dark and mysterious and dangerous we all are. We are real witches, not like those pretend witches.”
Later on, I became the go-to person, when one of that teacher’s students fell apart. For example, I was at a Pagan festival, and someone came into my tent and said, “Francesca, so-and-so did a blah-blah-blah ritual with their teacher last week, and now is completely falling apart. She’s a mess, can barely speak. Can you help?” I took care of her. I even had to do an exorcism on one of his students.
I was raised in a shamanic family tradition. I was already teaching witchcraft and working professionally as a psychic, when I went to study with this deluded teacher. So I had a different perspective from his other students, as well as the ability to psychically see the damage caused.
Surprisingly, the harm he caused was a good lesson for me. Though I could manage the energy he was teaching, I came to see that managing it and wanting it as a lifestyle were two different things. I knew the energy wouldn’t be healthy for me long term (aside from a few bits here and there).
Seeing how this energy adversely affected those around me also affirmed that witchcraft is not one-size-fits-all. I committed all the more to my approach as a shaman:
You see, I neither heard nor read anyone mentioning that energy could fry a person’s circuits, or that some seemingly benign energies can open pathways to demons. I neither heard nor read anyone mentioning a rite needing to suit the energetic structure of the person doing the rite. I neither heard nor read anyone mentioning rites, and the cosmology on which they were based, subtlety instilling grandiosity and lack of morals. I neither heard nor read anyone mentioning a specific ego structure as a means to get through a certain part of shamanic training. And so on. I developed all these theories myself and, with no one else mentioning them, it would’ve been easy to have mistrusted myself. But the problems caused by that errant teacher’s lessons proved my theories to be sound. And, as I said, I committed all the more to my approach as a shaman:
Many lessons I teach, and spells I do for my community members, are gentle yet effective. Their immense power is often subtle. My students/clients report miraculous improvement in their lives. The changes are long term. When appropriate, I teach and perform rites that run overtly powerful energy, or energy I liken to thunder; the two types of energy are sometimes one and the same, but not always. (The thunderlike energies taught by the aforementioned teacher were, by and large, not healthy for anyone. But there are wondrously beneficent thunderlike energies.)
I am gentle with myself energetically. Yes, dynamic power like thunder is great. Yes, power is everybody’s birthright. But there are many forms of “thundering” power and not all suit everyone. And some are tied to demons. (I don’t risk hanging out with anyone who thinks they can safely play with demons.) I run only the thundering powers that suit me. I teach only the ones that suit the specific individuals attending my classes. When needed, I meet with those students one-on-one, to teach them additional powerful rituals tailored to their particular energetic makeup.
Gentle is a big power and just as dynamic as “thunderstorm” magic. Gentle powers are among the strongest. Subtle powers are also among the strongest.
So, though I can run more overtly huge powers, ditto “thunderstorm” magic, and both are a large part of my practice, I need to use gentle and subtle powers just as often.
The proof is in the pudding: my students’ success in their professional and personal lives demonstrates what happens when gentle and subtle magics combine with more overtly powerful and “thunderstorm” ones.
Sometimes I feel like the spells I am doing to improve a given area of my life are getting nowhere. Then I try to remember that, often, change takes time and happens in incremental steps. When I do this, big change can arrive all the faster, perhaps quite soon. This is a smarter course than spells that slam energy at me.
Small progress adds up to big progress.
Big changes can be happening, even when I don’t see them.
A therapist once told me you might not notice a big change in yourself till a year after it has happened. Wow!
Big external changes can be well underway, but I won’t notice.
And, as my students and I can attest, huge positive changes can happen immediately when you combine overtly huge powers, “thunderstorm” energy, gentle rites, and subtle magic.
So mote it be! Goddess, thank you.
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Pagan Authors and America’s Class System
Money and Hierarchy in Today’s Paganism
Warning: I am standing on a soapbox.
It might seem odd that her surprise surprised me. I asked why she was surprised. I don’t know if my question seemed ingenuous and pretentious. She kindly responded that she does not run into authors. Ah, of course! I understand.
The thing is: I get out of touch with stupid consensus realities, so forgot it is unusual for a best selling author to be available as a community member. That’s why I didn’t initially understand her surprise.
But as long as big name Pagan authors are hard to be in contact with, they help create a class system in our community.
Before going into that, here are examples of how our American class system plays out in Paganism, for context.
There are a lot of people with money in Paganism. Nothing wrong with money, but I’ve encountered many wealthy Pagans who refused to say hi to me, let alone speak with me. They blatantly snubbed me.
Check this out: some of them, including big name authors, snubbed me until they found out I had major media access—e.g., scripted a segment for a Barbara Walters show—then acted like I was their best friend. One of them even gave me family tradition material! Ugh! What a fake!
Another example: I met someone at a Pagan conference who later became my student. She eventually told me I’d been the only one at the conference who’d said hello to her. This happened at a “spiritual” conference? What a joke!
There are many reasons people get ignored at spiritual conferences. But class is often one of them. Some people’s excuse is they are too busy. At the conference where no one said hello to the woman who became my student, I was scheduled to give two presentations, one concert, etc etc. “Too busy,” in the case of some moneyed people, translates into “too busy focusing on my own selfish needs and those of my elite group.”
One last example: I don’t expect conference staff to always stop to talk. They may have so many responsibilities that they need to move at a lightening pace, zooming past people in order to get to the next responsibility. But I was stunned that the staff at a major Pagan conference couldn’t even smile at participants as they ran past them. That seemed less busy and more self-important.
So I tried an experiment to see if I was right or if perhaps they were just a very shy group or something: I let it “slip” that I had just done a televised ritual for a quarter of a million people. Suddenly all the self-important people had smiles for me. They became utterly gracious. Not good!
Okay, back to author accessibility. Discussing it necessitates highlighting some of media’s dark aspects, so I want it clear that I’m very grateful to be in the media. Not many people get that chance, especially women raised without money like me. But I need to talk about the darker sides to give a whole picture.
The world of corporate media promises hopefuls that success in publishing, acting, etc makes one part of an elite that enjoys money, prestige, and a pedestal all of your own to climb on. As a women who grew up without much money, I hoped for more than I had as a kid, but I refuse to get it by joining in a class system. I’ve paid dearly for that decision—slandered by colleagues, constantly plagiarized, and worse. It seems if you won’t join in being an oppressor, they’re going to do everything they can to oppress you, lest you blow the lid off things and reveal their true nature.
One of my editors was shocked I put my phone number in my books. A marketing consultant told me that international authors do not teach small groups like I do. But I believe spiritual teachers should be accessible.
There’s a game you’re supposed to play. The game’s a trap. It eventually stifles your creativity and innovation, until your work becomes a pale imitation of your earlier creations. Stifled innovation allows a class system to thrive; otherwise, authentic dialogue and inspiring art might nurture social change.
I’m grateful for media access, and I hope I use it wisely. I have tremendous admiration for people in the media who stick to their guns in terms of the content they produce. I know how hard it is for them to do it. Being in the media is not the bed of roses portrayed by the powers-that-be.
The upper echelons want you to think media life is inevitably easy. They hope this lie will make you jealous of your blue-collar friend who worked their butt off to get a foot in the door of an upper class scene. Why? So you will not have your friend’s back when push comes to shove.
The powers-that-be have another reason to convince you life in the media is innately easy. They’re trying to cover up the actual facts: if you’re in the media and refuse to play the elite class game, it’s beyond rough going. As I said, you get slandered and otherwise trashed—sometimes to point of financial destitution and psychological devastation.
Is it worth it? I can only answer for myself. I get tremendous satisfaction from expressing myself. Also, I chose to become a public figure because the Goddess asked me to. It’s always worth doing what my Gods ask, whether I see how it pans out for me at the time or not.
There is money to be made. There’s nothing wrong with that. Legitimate, caring shamans, whether Native American or Celtic, charged for their services in ancient times. But if money is made through supporting our class system, Paganism oppresses us like the huge religious and spiritual groups that many Pagans left to be free of oppression.
Oddly enough, being accessible makes people suspicious of me sometimes. For example, when slander about me was making the rounds about 13 years ago, someone I was mildly acquainted with asked me what the true story was. I didn’t want to get into “He said,” … “She said,” because that seemed like going around in circles.
So I responded, “Come on over the house, hang out with me. Do ritual with me. Then decide for yourself what you think about me.”
LOL, the woman thought I invited her in hopes of stealing magical secrets from her—secrets that I was actually the author of myself, although she did not know it!
I’m not suggesting public figures be without boundaries. You cannot survive the public arena without them.
For example, a lot of people try to use me as a scapegoat. They think I have media access because I’m “one of them,”—e.g., someone not as deep as them or who has not faced as many challenges as they have. After all, how could I have accomplished all I have, if I’d faced tremendous challenges? Poppycock! Yes, challenges can defeat us, but too many assumptions are made about people in media. Whatever shadow projection someone wants to use as a punching bag, it can do terrible things when projected onto someone. That someone, after all, is a real live human being, with all the vulnerabilities of a human.
Another example: Between death threats, nut cases, and the sheer quantity of well-intended but intrusive readers, I’m protective of my home address.
Sometimes people who love my work almost force themselves on me as a best friend, not realizing they’re being discourteous, pushy, and perhaps outright scary. So home address aside, I have to make boundaries.
I also have to take care because my work is controversial; I’ve been picketed by so-called Christians, and I can tell you, it is terrifying to sit in a wheelchair, physically defenseless, while a bunch of people led by a man dragging a 10 foot cross think you’re evil.
When my dad died, I learned the importance of a private phone number, instead of using my private phone for business.
At his passing, I felt like I’d been hit in the head by a two-by-four. I could barely speak and needed support from friends. But I couldn’t pick up the phone when it rang, because if the person on the other end was a stranger asking about my shamanic services, I was so emotionally overwhelmed by dad’s death that I couldn’t even explain I wasn’t in good enough shape to discuss work.
Yet I needed to answer the phone, in case friends called, because they might not have left any messages—it’s daunting to leave messages when somebody’s died. This was before Caller ID, so I had no way of knowing who called unless I answered the phone. So I was isolated when I was in great need.
But none of these are reasons to be completely unavailable.
Ok, I will get down off my soapbox now.
I first posted this essay in 2016 on http://witchesandpagans.com/
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It’s no surprise many people reject the idea of karma. An oversimplified understanding of it is disempowering—e.g., shaming people visited by unfortunate circumstances. Let’s look at a definition of karma that is empowering and joyful.
Karma is usually defined as “If you do good, good comes back at you. If you do bad, bad comes back to you.” While I believe that is an important truth, it is also so oversimplified as to be dangerous. Psychic physics aren’t that simplistic. Instead, it seems to me karma is the unfolding of the specific repercussions of whatever you do. Example:
If you cut down a tree, you end up with wood. That’s one possible repercussion. That’s one possible repercussion. But, when the tree falls down, it might hit you on the head, which adds an additional repercussion. Or the tree might hit someone else, and then their son kills you in revenge.
Or you use the wood to build beautiful furniture, which you sell, and its buyers are happy, and you have money for groceries, which helps support the local grocer.
We’re all aware of the threats posed when too many trees are killed. Those threats, too, are possible repercussions. And, if cutting on a smaller scale, a space you clear can be a bane—or a boon—to the forest’s animals. If some of them leave as a result, each refuge will have its own impact on its new home. E.g., a possum who takes up residence in your yard could eat a lot of ticks, which might lower your chance of contracting Lyme disease.
Karma, as defined in this post, has three large benefits. It helps us
1) Understand that reality is an unfolding series of events that we affect.
2) Take responsibility for how much our actions impact the rest of existence (All Our Relations!).
3) Claim the beauty, power, and magic of such an intensely intricate weave.
Replacement of those three enormous strengths with “The bad you do comes back at you, as does the good” can rob us of power as well as the chance to be morally accountable for the chain reactions caused by our actions. There are also enormously positive chain reactions, in which we can take healthy pride. Misrepresentation of karma serves those who want others powerless and desire an immoral society.
Embracing karma’s full ramifications might seem grandiose but is actually humble. Humility is knowing one’s strengths as well as one’s weaknesses.
Humility is also knowing one’s place in the universe, but not in the way it’s meant when someone tries to make you feel worthless by saying, “You better learn your place instead of being uppity!” When we understand karma, we can see our place in life’s weave in terms of our immense power to do good or wrong. Again, humility is acknowledging both your strengths and weaknesses.
Another way understanding karma can help us see our place: we might start to actually experience the incredibly vast and complex weave of life. That can be simultaneously self-enlarging and humbling.
Self-larging because we can see ourselves both as part of something magnificent and as a magnificent element of the larger magnificence.
Humbling because, for one thing, the grandeur of the cosmos provides perspective that can remove any over-inflation of self. For example, we might start to sense there are millions of factors influencing the outcome of any situation; we can see how powerless we are by comparison to all those factors. (I cannot use that as an excuse to avoid taking responsibility for consequences of my own actions.)
The humility gained by acknowledging the consequences of my actions and inactions, and by acting accordingly, improves my life. For example, when I make reparations for wrongs done, I more fully engage in life, which frees me from any unhealthy preoccupation with self that has trapped me; I get swept up in the World Tree—the larger picture, the Gods’ plans. Being caught up like this is humbling on some level. But it is also empowering and even ecstatic.
The idea of “Your good acts generate good acts coming back at you, and your hurtful acts generate hurtful acts coming back at you” remains important. But reducing Karma to only that ends up blaming and shaming good people for the unfortunate events they suffer. Life is more complex than that. The World Tree—life—is a sophisticated organism. It consists of many parts: branches, trunk, leaves, roots, bark, sap, etc. Those many parts are made up of innumerable cells. All this weaves together in a complicated synthesis. Our own actions are only a part of that tapestry.
Spell to See One’s Karma
and Enjoy Life’s Weave
There are constant contradictions that, in fact, are not contradictory. Each one, when riddled entirely by the intellect, seems unable to abide as a reality. But, if entered into as an experience, the supposed contradiction has the chance to be understood, because we get to experience it as a living, breathing fact.
Later, that reality may seem impossible again. That is because, when we retire too fully from action into intellect, we might lose touch with reality again. Our minds are wonderful tools to use constantly, but they get in our way when we think the only way to discover whether something is a truth is to keep it spinning in the mind instead of applying it as an experiment.
So it goes with understanding karma: sole intellectual analysis of it will not work. But when I try to live according to it, it makes sense experientially. That is one of a witch’s powers: to know something is true because you feel it with your gut and in your soul. Witches use their fine minds without being trapped by their limits; instead, we use the whole being—mind, spirit, and body. The following spell helps us do that.
Optional: after putting a purple candle in a candle holder, sprinkle a teaspoon or so of lavender by the holder’s base. If you prefer, use the candle and no herb.
Recite the following. To what extent you can manage, say it from the bottom of your heart.
May I honor and celebrate
my place in the weave of all existence.
May my Pagan heart thrill
to the beauty and magic
of the intricate, powerful weave that is life.
May I see the ripples from all I do.
May I take responsibility
for my place in the weave,
so that I act with good intention
and make reparation for wrongs I’ve done.
May I understand that these words I say echo through the World Tree, as do all words and deeds.
Now say, “So mote it be” (while lighting the candle, if you’re using one).
Let the candle burn down. Or extinguish it after a few minutes to relight again, should you want to repeat the recitation some time soon. If leaving the building or going to sleep, extinguish the candle and relight it when you have a chance. Never leave a burning candle unattended.
I boiled lessons down to their essence, so they tend to be easy and accessible. They include:
* simple quick spells, prayers, and affirmations, to nourish, energize, and inspire you during the holidays.
* fun holiday crafts and decorations, Pagan-style. Use common household items to make enchanted seasonal decor: charms for just about anything you might wish. Children enjoy these crafts. Also discover how typical American holiday decorations can be used in spellwork.
* Special rituals: experience the Winter Goddess’ sacred realm. Center into wholeness and joy. Enjoy the season’s spiritual beauty. Rites include a star-drenched Faerie Solstice celebration.
* Lots of material to choose from. Pick what you want to use this year and enjoy the rest for many years to come. The course includes powerful Fey-touched material I’ve not published till now.
Instead of your having to search online for fun or meaningful activities, I’ll deliver them to you. Enjoy unique material not available elsewhere. (And this course is a way better use of computer time than social media overdosing or too much digital window-shopping.)
Two) Magical decor: eight digital full-color amulets—my original Pagan art—for harmony, success, and more. Print and cut out to hang on your Yule tree or elsewhere in your home. Four of the amulets’ designs are suitable to display all four seasons, for yearlong blessings.
Three) Six audio recordings made especially for this course. Hearing spoken word can be enchanting, and a way you and I can be in sacred space together. So I recite excerpts of the weekly lessons. One recording will be part of the Yule ritual.
Four) I’m available by phone for up to 45 minutes. If you have questions about the material, need support because your commitment to doing the lessons falters, want to further explore a particularly tantalizing part of the curriculum, or have other concerns, feel free to phone.
You can divide the 45 minutes into two or three conversations. Conversations must occur during the span of the course or within a month after.
Five) Exclusive offer: I’m giving a five-day direct spiritual transmission during Solstice week. Cost for individuals not enrolled in this class is $100. You can receive the transmission for $40—less than half price. This Yule blessing heals inner blocks that sabotage your happiness, is a spiritually rejuvenation, and helps center you into what’s truly important to you. These benefits can last for months, if not years.
Post-Solstice lessons provide spells for a great 2018. You also learn how to work with mystical energies that occur in the weeks immediately after Solstice. Years ago, I noticed those energies and spent goodly hours developing related shamanic modalities for significant self-empowerment. Most of the post-Solstice material has remained unpublished till now.
If an unexpected event makes me unable to send one week’s planned material, I’ll extend the course an extra week.
Tuition is $250. Scroll down to pay securely with PayPal:
Enter your phone number. In the drop down menu, you can choose to receive the Yule spiritual transmission.
No experience needed. But even advanced practitioners will enjoy this. If you need more info, or want to discuss scholarship, trade, or payment plan, call 814-337-2490. No refunds. My online courses aren’t transcriptions of oral tradition lessons. I teach oral tradition by phone. The online courses are special unto themselves—magic tailored to be spectacularly useful, exciting, effective, and safe when learned online.
“La Vecchia Religione” is Italian for “The Old Religion” and refers to the traditional practices of a strega. “Strega” translates into “witch.”
I was born into a Italian shamanic family tradition that dates back hundreds of years. Our family has many magics. This online course focuses on one of the most pivotal. Traditional magic is taught contextually, so lessons also provide a mystical overview of La Vecchia Religione.
The Strega practice we’ll focus on is considered the most advanced magic possible, can magnificently improve every aspect of life, yet is accessible to a magical beginner.
One) Weekly lessons received by email. Each lesson is a digital Book of Shadows entry (PDF).
Storytelling relays a great deal of the course’s information, making lessons easy and fun for you. I’ll share my personal tales of being in an Italian shamanic family tradition.
La Vecchia Religione is a shamanic path. Some shamans invoke magic simply through their personal, quite human stories. If you want strega magic, it’s in such stories.
Your reading this course’s stories, with no more effort on your part than when you read a fantasy novel, magically transforms every part of your life—large improvements everywhere. After the course, a special enchantment remains available forever to continue creating numerous, marvelous changes for you.
Benefits of merely reading the stories:
* You automatically start becoming a new you, with greater wholeness of being and peace. You notice your power growing magically and in other parts of your life, so you have better access to all the inner resources needed to reach your life goals.
* Your circumstances automatically start improving. Your most cherished goals become more viable and attainable.
* The stories transport you to a Fey-touched realm. And this course’s stories are true-life Faerie tales with real magic that helps you live in your own special Faerie tale: dreams can come true.
Our lessons will bring us into the presence of Diana Magna Mater (Great Mother Goddess). She gave humankind magic so we can live free and prosperously, overcoming challenges, including liberating ourselves from oppression. She will protect and guide us in our journey.
Lessons also provide easy shamanic exercises that reinforce the tales’ enchantments and deepen your relationship to them.
Two) My full-color art ornaments the PDF Book of Shadows pages, including new paintings created especially for this course. I joyfully painted for ages to create fifty new page ornamentations specifically for these lessons! I wanted imagery to convey the enchantment of Italian sorcery.
Three) Nine audio files recorded expressly for this course. The spoken word is a way you and I can be in sacred space together. So I recite excerpts of the PDFs.
Four) Two fun, easy crafts projects. I’m thrilled about my Pagan-style craft ideas because they’re sooo magical: they help you experience the power of Italian witchery, deepen the magical journey, and increase its benefits. I’ve never seen anything like these projects, and I’m not going to say here what they are, heh. They’re special, and I’m saving them for you.
I painted art specially for these projects, making your part easy: you receive full-color digital files of my Pagan art, so you only need to print the artwork and follow a few simple instructions. I can barely wait for you to have the art! Heck, I’m chomping at the bit, waiting for you to have the rest of the course, too.
Five) One-on-one support. I’m available by phone for up to 45 minutes. If you have questions about the material, need help because your commitment to doing the lessons falters, want to further explore a particularly tantalizing part of the curriculum, or have other concerns, feel free to phone.
You can divide the 45 minutes into two or three conversations. Conversations must occur during the span of the course or within a month after.
I love integrating my art into my writing. Ditto creating audio portions and being available by phone. The five parts of the course (text, art, audio, etc.,) weave together to take you on a mystical journey into the heart of Italian witchery. During it, along with the benefits already listed:
* You gain confidence in your own journey—its spiritual, magical, and mundane aspects.
* You find confidence in yourself, just as you are, right now.
* Important insights come to you—wisdom needed to get the maximum out of life.
* You claim your birthright—your heritage of magic and wildness as a Fey-touched child of the Old Gods.
In addition to being transformative, this journey is core to understanding Italian witchcraft as a whole. In other words, along with improving your life, the journey is also an experiential lesson that conveys a mystical overview of: traditional Italian witchcraft as a magical culture, its otherworldly sensibilities, and its history.
Though they impart an overview and history, lessons are easy, not like reading a textbook. This is not dry history, not dry material, not a dreary recitation of facts, charts, and lists that you have to memorize, plod your way through, or otherwise labor over. You experience La Vecchia Religione in your spirit.
This look into my family’s magic is traditional Italian shamanism no one else teaches. A lot of this is material I’ve never taught until now.
If an unexpected event makes me unable to send one week’s planned material, I’ll extend the course an extra week.
Tuition is $250. Scroll down to pay securely with PayPal:
No experience needed. But even advanced practitioners will enjoy this. If you need more info, or want to discuss scholarship, trade, or payment plan, call 814-337-2490. No refunds. My online courses aren’t transcriptions of oral tradition lessons. (I teach oral tradition by phone.) The online courses are special unto themselves—magic tailored to be spectacularly effective, relevant, exciting, and safe when learned online.
Traditional lore can inform, gently point to mysteries, and outright open gateways. But, nowadays, in the Pagan community, rigid interpretation of lore often becomes a stranglehold on magical and spiritual practices.
I’ve spent years learning lore, meditating on it so it can inform shamanic lessons I give, and creating ritual based in lore. So I’d be the first to insist that, sometimes, lore provides definitive, irrefutable facts. However, common sense is needed.
My mother taught me to think for myself. It was one of the greatest gifts a parent can give.
Furthermore, growing up in a shamanic family tradition (specifically, Italian witchcraft), I got a sense from how mom lived her life that traditional shamanism is far more fluid than usually represented. Yet I see many magical practitioners trapped by lore, which is one way their personal paths and viewpoints are squelched.
An example: one of my students was utterly devoted to Hecate. He was told by another of his teachers that he was incorrect to honor Hecate as Mother Goddess since She is the Crone of the underworld. My student felt crushed. He knew from personal interaction with Hecate that She is an utterly loving mother, and he loved Her dearly as such. Yet a teacher whom he respected was telling him his whole relationship with a deity was wrong.
That teacher probably had the best intentions but nonetheless was unwittingly trapped by lore and unintentionally trying to do the same to the student. Had the teacher actually spoken to Hecate, She would’ve revealed Her motherly traits. But the teacher let lore take precedence over the student’s personal revelation.
Furthermore, had she known more lore, she would have realized that, though one culture’s lore of Hecate says She is the Crone Goddess of the underworld, another culture’s lore shows Her as the Mother. If memory serves me correctly, Hecate was known in Thrace as Mother, but then She traveled to a place where people did not have actual sleeves on their clothing. The sleeves on Hecate’s image were considered bizarre. Hence, it was decided She Herself was bizarre and, as such, must be an underworld goddess. (Please correct me if my history is wrong here.)
The sort of invalidation my student met squelches people’s spiritual explorations and hurts their hearts. The teacher used lore to invalidate someone’s belief system and actual interaction with a deity—a deeply beautiful, meaningful, and pivotal personal revelation. How awful!
Lore is often simply one person’s experience or the experience in one group/culture. A single experience should not be taken as a rigid overview of the matter at hand, a definitive sense of all that ever was and ever will be, of all that is possible for anyone anywhere. The traditional Italian magic I grew up with is not the same as that of some other Italian shamanic family traditions.
Another example: there is Italian lore about threatening the Gods, telling Them that, if They don’t give you such and such, you will revenge yourself upon Them. I can assure you: when you try to bully a God, there’s no telling what the backlash is going to be. I learned this from personal experience, in my younger days as a priestess, and all it took was one such incident to realize I should never threaten a deity again. I told my Gods that, if They wanted me to continue to priestess for Them, They had better give me such and such.
They gave me what I asked for, and They gave it to me in a way that devastated my life. It took years to recover. The false sense of something being okay to do just because it’s lore is too prevalent. I got trapped by lore! When viewing lore, I try to use common sense, look to my own experiences, and think things through. But instead, feeling desperate about needing change in my life, I let myself get trapped.
Lore is filled with starlight, sunlight, moonlight, illuminating the mystical path. I want to dance along that road joyfully, not turn my back on it by using lore to create dogma. So mote it be.