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!

Online Course: Holiday Magic

HlidaMagcEnjoy the holidays, Pagan style. To make your season happy, abundant, safe, sacred, sane, and magical, this course has five powerful aspects. You receive:

WhtSnoflkOne) Weekly lessons. Each lesson is a digital Book of Shadows entry (PDF), ornamented by my seasonal shamanic art, which makes the Book of Shadows a cherished tradition in the years ahead.

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.)

PnkSnoflkTwo) 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.

WhtSnoflkThree) 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.

PnkSnoflkFour) 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.

WhtSnoflkFive) 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.

StarSwirl3November is a turning point in the Pagan calendar. The course starts November 3, with your first lesson. You receive one lesson a week by email for 11 weeks. That will bring us halfway into January.

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.


Options
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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.

Making Talismans

I’ve always loved making altars. My house is full of them … or, rather, is one big altar.

Using altars, in all the ways I did before illness descended in 2001, is no longer an option, long story short. Making talismans has picked up the slack. Many are ones I can wear. My body is an altar, and I adorn my body with magic.

Every talismanic pendant, necklace, hair adornment, or scarf I make for myself is magic for my altar. You’ll often see me wearing two or three magic pendants. I almost always wear the same enchanted earrings and rings every day, and did this long before the illness came, but these magical staples are accompanied by ever-changing Fey-touched adornments.

In the evening, choosing which talismanic pendants, necklaces, hair adornments, or other pieces to wear the next day is a meditation, part of a spell.

Making talismans for myself, both to wear and to place in my environment, is an important part of my magic and spirituality. I constantly make new items. Crafting and using them have become vital stepping stones. Each one—both the making of it and its use—paves my shaman path, furthering my journey. Each piece calls me, in a different way: calls me back to myself, calls me by one of my true names, calls me to my ancestors.

Others call my heart’s desires to me, invoking prosperity, protection, wisdom in a specific area of my life, success with a specific project, or whatever else I might long for.

In 2001, illness came as a permanent guest. By 2004, I only had months to live. However, now, I’ve another 20 years in me. Talismans are one of the things that made all the difference. In fact, I get healthier every year.

When I was first sick, a physician told me that most people in my situation never get back out of bed and can accomplish nothing for the rest of their lives. I am up and about and doing all sorts of things! Some day, I might completely recover and bid farewell to my longtime guest, a teacher I will no longer need. Talismans are helping pave the way. Though almost 70, I don’t feel old, just ill, and the illness decreases constantly. Eventually, old age will catch up with me. But, ha, it hasn’t caught up with me yet, and I’m 68.

I make talismans for every purpose possible, and might make several talismans to the same purpose.

I make so many talismans, but it works out beautifully. After they have served me—and many of them continue to serve me for years—I might combine several of them into one necklace or wall-hanging, one grand spell. Or, when a charm tells me to do so, I will pass it on to someone else or to the earth. Some charms I will probably always keep, they continue to hold me up. Some charms I will asked to be buried with.

When I have time, I make talismans for other people. … Well, I’m constantly making digital talismans for my students, but I don’t usually have much time to make many non-virtual amulets except for myself.

I make talismans out of wood, stones, beads, bones, and feathers. Or I spin cord from silk, wool, and bamboo. I dye silk cloth and paint it. I calligraph words and symbols on paper or tree bark. Spoons and forks and anything else at hand might become a talisman. Magic is in everything, so anything can be used to make a talisman. Or can be used as a talisman without being crafted into one.

The cast-iron skillet in which I fry my breakfast eggs is a talisman. After all, a pentacle is an amulet, and what better pentacle than a heavy cast-iron piece in which the four elements combine: the heat from the stove, the fruits of the earth, the moisture in foods, and the scents filling the air.

Perhaps a pentacle and frying pan would be better named ritual tools. Or altars. But words can limit magic. Everything is an amulet, altar, magical tool. Unlimited by definitions, imagination is allowed to bring us in mystical directions we might not notice otherwise.

As distracting as words can be, they are equally useful, wondrous, and enchanting. If I frame a shoe as an “amulet,” that might show me its magic and how to use it. The next day, if I frame the shoe as an “altar,” other valuable ideas might emerge. Ditto framed as “magical tool.”

Dividing a shoe into amulet, altar, or magical tool as strict categories is beside the point and self-defeating. These words—amulet, altar, and tool–can evoke significant perceptions, and the perceptions evoked by one word might overlap with perceptions evoked by another word. That’s not a problem; the point is to find power; I refuse to forsake power by restricting myself through the mental rigmarole of categorizing everything into little boxes.

Magic is in everything.
I am its altar.
I am the magical tool on which I draw the most.
I am a talisman.

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Holy Sweaty Joy

RosesTwineHoly Sweaty Joy—
Ecstatic Spirituality and Sacred Sexuality
A Seven-Week Shamanic Class-by-Phone

Train in the Third Road Faerie ecstatic path.

Claim magic.

Revel in Faerie Faith rituals and mysteries:
* Reside in your core essence, so your authenticity shapes decisions.
* Own your joy.
* Empower your goals—and heal your spirit—through celebration.
* Imbue daily activities with confident passion.
* Move past inner blocks to your inherent, sacred sensuality.
* Be a sex god(dess)!
* Revel in your unique bewitching sexuality.
RoseLine
Click here to enroll.

No prerequisites required; however, adepts find substantial depth.

Fun, ethical classes. I limit enrollment. No impersonal, glib teachings. Receive personal attention.

Holy Sweaty Joy contains core Third Road teachings and is a prerequisite for advanced Third Road Shamanic Training.

Nuts and bolts:
* We meet in teleseminars (group phone meetings). To participate, just dial the phone.
* Class meets seven consecutive Thursdays, from 6 to 7 p.m. EST, starting Thurs June 14.
* Reserve Thurs Aug 2, same time, for a makeup class in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned sessions.
* Total enrollment is $250. Your carrier might charge you for the call; charges appear on your phone bill. The event’s area code is a U.S. #.
* If you’ve taken this class before, repeat it at half-price.
* Click here to enroll.
* Upon receipt of payment, your place is reserved, and event phone #, etc., emailed to you. If you need more info, or want to discuss scholarship, trade, or payment plan, call 814-337-2490. No refunds.

RoseLineA bit about me as a teacher:
* When I teach orally, I’m embedded within a family oral tradition I entered in infancy, learning magic con leche.
* Holy Sweaty Joy is not training you could get from a book.
* I thoughtfully channel curriculums, constructing lessons over time. This tunes us into enormous, subtle powers. Holy Sweaty Joy is not a jumble of undigested white-bread ideas declared, “Voila, genuine Pagan stuff!” 🙂 Instead, I committed my lifestyle to developing counterculture material for you.
* I received full-time longterm shamanic training. It was not academic but an experiential training of skill sets. That focused study allowed me into the heart of reality, in trance 24-7, channeling worthwhile lessons, for seven years.
* For decades since, my Gods asked me to trance only part of the day, to ground me. Feet more on the ground than ever, I continue to explore our magical yet earthy cosmos, and channel new material for earth-based mysticism classes, because resting on my laurels would be no fun. I like fun.

Magic is transformative fun that does the job when all else fails. Click here to enroll.

Be a Goddess Training

beagoddess

I’m going to lead a group
through the training in my book
Be a Goddess!:
a Guide to Celtic Spells and Wisdom
for Self-Healing, Prosperity, and Great Sex.

For details, keep reading.

Be a Goddess! is a down-to-earth training in Celtic shamanism, showing you how to:

* Cast spells for abundance, a happy home, and romance.

* Love your body, be cleansed in spirit, and increase wisdom.

* Enjoy more passion, sensuality, and individuality.

* Use the simple, potent magic of the Faerie folk.

* And get just about anything else you want by using The Spell Itself.

The book is written for independent use, so lots of folks completed this bestseller on their own. But for folks who prefer a more personal approach, I’ll lead a group through the lessons, via group-phone-calls (aka teleseminars). During meetings, you:

* get whatever particular support you need to do the book’s lessons

* have your questions answered

* and otherwise receive pivotal camaraderie and motivation.

Just dial the phone to participate.

Plus, I’m available one-on-one by phone, for up to 45 minutes total, during the course of our lessons, if you have questions, your momentum doing the lessons falters, or you have other concerns.

BaGCertWTReceive the above certificate of completion by email. Your certificate will not have a watermark on it. Fill in your name and the date to take pride in yourself.

Super-special free bonus: an exclusive online forum. Between phone meetings, benefit from a private space where students can receive support from each other, share victories, and ask each other questions. This is solely for students, no “teacher looking over your shoulder.” I will monitor only for unkind remarks; you deserve a safe space.

The group meets every other Sunday by phone, starting April 8, from 4:00 to 5:00 PM EST, for a total of eight meetings. Just dial the phone to participate. Reserve Sunday July 22, same time, for a makeup session, in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned meetings.

Total cost: $250. Your particular carrier may charge you for the calls. Scroll down to enroll: enter your phone number and pay securely with PayPal.


Pls give yr phone number.



Upon receipt of payment, your place is reserved. You receive event phone #, etc., by email. If you need more info, or want to discuss scholarship, trade, or payment plan, call me at 814-337-249O. No refunds.

There are no prerequisites. You simply need the book with you at all meetings.

I probably won’t offer this event again for five years.

This Faerie magic book is considered an irreplaceable classic. Though released in 1998 to a niche genre, present-day sales outstrip those of many recently published mainstream titles. I had no budget to promote this book. I worked eight years writing it because I wanted it to live on long after me, as a step-by-step program that could guide unusual individuals toward profound personal transformation and inner wisdom.

Our process during meetings will be based in my book and, as such, will not be part of Third Road’s oral tradition.

Calligraphy to Ornament a Book of Shadows Page

Below is a stop motion vid of calligraphy I did for my upcoming online class in Italian magic. I’ll use the calligraphy in a Book of Shadow page for the course (unless something unexpected stands in the way. And I might keep tweaking it, I never know because I am very fussy, but so far I am happy with it).

If you want to see the vid again after it’s played, click the arrow that’s kind of circular or refresh the page.

I attempted to calligraph the word “Strega” in a way that conveyed the power of traditional Italian witchcraft.

Art is magic!

To receive announcements of upcoming classes, subscribe to my free newsletter here: http://www.outlawbunny.com/newsletter/

Laughing Vulva, Goddess Womb

Laughing Vulva, Goddess Womb:
Claim Your Divine Feminine Power.
A Three-Month Ritual Group

We’ll meet by group phonecall to do the ritual, seven times over three months.

Fontaine2

The womb and vulva metaphysically embody everything—everything! Abundance, power, confidence, sexuality, creativity, personal authority, and more. I mean, look at the picture above. Even the devil was frightened by the woman’s display of power.

Want her audacity? This three-month rite centers you into laughing vulva, Goddess womb, ferocious vulva, inner-temple, so you:
* Step into full inner authority in all parts of your life.
* Have the confidence needed to create prosperity and happiness.
* Feel safe in any circumstances.
* Enjoy a sense of power—and safety—that allow creativity to blossom.
* Know in your bones that your power is equal to anyone and any situation, so you can handle anything and come out on top.

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


Pls give yr phone number.



This issue can be triggering so do not read further if you might get triggered.

IrisMiniThis event is not just for individuals with physical wombs and vulvas. This is about your psyche, the spiritual anatomy, its power, overcoming the suppression of it, and reveling in your female aspect.

Everyone has a female aspect. It is called the “anima.” Most individuals bear an archetypal wound of the anima, regardless of whether they have physical wombs and vulvas, medical problems with their pelvises, are mothers, or were born physically female.

This core cultural wound and core wound in our psyches affects every part of our lives. Every part. The wound is healed by this ceremony.

IrisMiniEven powerful individuals—savvy witches, individuals deeply ensconced in their feminine power, and alpha males—can suffer from this wound. It might cause them great pain or inability to take the next step toward their cherished goals.

Since the anima touches every aspect of life, symptoms of its wound can vary from person to person. This is discussed below.

For many individuals, spiritual injuries are reinforced by physical trauma to the pelvic area, from rape to unnecessary C-sections.

The injured anima creates messages that invalidate our claim to the very help we need to heal the anima. For example, the first time I offered this rite, someone said,“My hysterectomy left me emotionally shattered, so I don’t qualify for this ceremony,” but that was why they desperately needed the rite.

In other words, the wounded anima can make someone unknowingly view a symptom of the wound as an invalidation of needing healing.

Here are common expressions of feeling the anima wound is irrelevant or feeling barred from my ceremony. They keep someone from getting support:

* Hope and effort are pointless.
* There’s no point when I feel such emptiness inside, hollow longing and loneliness.
* I can’t have a child.
* I lost my child, who died young.
* I lost my child—she hates me.
* It’s all my fault anyway, everything I do is wrong,

There are many more symptoms, and not everyone has the same ones. Whatever reason you as a unique individual need healing and empowerment of the anima, I can hold you and your needs.

Enrollment is limited. I gear the ceremony to the specific ways the anima wound has impacted the rite’s participants. If you’re unclear about some of the anima wound’s specific impacts on you, I’ll help you figure that out during our meetings.

Every session I also send you soul healings.

We are not powerless in the face of society’s and nature’s forces. In our womb power and laughing vulva, we find the sure ground of our being. We find the bottom line within—our essence, its irreplaceable and irrepressible power and joy, and our connection to Divine help. We accept our faults and find our glory.

Beautiful anima! I’m happy about of my two-word poem “Laughing vulva,” because it helped me convey a joyful power I’d once found difficult to express: the power this rite gives you.

This ceremony requires no ritual experience.

The group meets by phone; just dial the phone to participate.

IrisMiniStarts February 21. We meet seven times, from 6:00 to 7:00 PM EST, every other Wednesday. Reserve Weds May 23, same time, for a makeup session, in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned meetings.

Tuition is $250. Your particular carrier may charge you for the calls. Scroll down to enroll: enter your phone number and pay securely with PayPal.


Pls give yr phone number.



Upon receipt of payment, your place is reserved. You receive event phone #, etc., by email. If you need more info, or want to discuss scholarship, trade, or payment plan, call 814-337-2490. No refunds.

This ceremony can be used as one of the two qualifying electives required for Third Road advanced shamanic training.

Embrace your laughing vulva and Goddess womb to know your full potential. Embrace your Cosmic Source—you. You are the residence of mysteries, starlight, and love, a deity within. Think of that woman lifting her skirt to scare off the very devil himself. I bet she felt powerful and had a good laugh.

Ancestor Magic: Mothers

Honoring Our Human Mother

By blaming all problems on the mother, an oppressive society deprives many individuals of immense power to create an amazing world for themselves and for All Our Relations.

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Our repressive society has fostered an attitude of blaming the mother for everything. Constantly portraying moms as monsters who cause any and all psychological damage and blocks to success we suffer is an effective way to hide many a woman’s goodness and power. If we honor our mothers—by seeing their full power and goodness—we acquire abilities to create an amazing world for ourselves and All Our Relations.

Such capacity for freedom is threatening to oppressors, which motivates them to make it hard for a person to see their mother’s goodness.

This post paints a picture that may not be relevant to everyone, but please keep reading because it might be more relevant to you than it appears thus far and empower you greatly.

Honoring moms is not solely a matter of rituals that honor them, though ancestor rites can add a vitally important aspect. And, though Mother’s Day is a wonderful chance to love your mom, that annual event and ancestor rites can be just lip service unless the core of honoring is present.

The core is seeing their full power and goodness.

Truly honoring one’s mom can be difficult. In my case, I had to break through resentments, societal conditioning, and other blocks to see my mom in all her glory, beauty, and humanness—more special and less at fault than society would have me believe. That respectful, compassionate viewpoint honors her.

And an amazing thing unfolded from it. The more fully I see my mom’s powers and goodness, the more my magic and other powers reach a new level, and this happens automatically without any effort on my part to increase them.

Let me give a more specific example. I’ve felt a hollowness—a loneliness—inside that was once constant and then became occasional. It returned horribly one night, after reading my mother’s diary.

I called upon her spirit, asking her to heal me by giving me the love and presence that I felt she’d never given me.
ToniDiary

I received a surprising message: she in fact had loved me dearly and had been there for me, but because she had been married to a batterer, she was fighting for her sanity—and, I suspect, for her life—so could be there for me only to the extent she had.

Once I was able to say to her spirit, “We were there together, we were together, females together,” I could see that our sweetness as women had been somewhat stifled. Sweetness is the perfect word for it. And, just prior to this occurrence, several people had said that sweetness is one of my powers.

I kept saying those words, “We were there together, we were together, females together,” and felt my mother’s love in its fullness, healing a pivotal aspect of my hollow loneliness. My sweetness as a woman blossomed more than ever.

My sweetness as a woman is an example of one of my powers automatically becoming more full when I see my mother’s goodness.

When women display sweetness, oppressors call it bitter, trying to confuse us. Or they depict sweetness as vapid, syrupy, minor, and silly. Or as being a doormat. Or as being a repressed caretaker. They do not want us to see the immense power of sweetness.

Later, I really started seeing, more than ever before, how brave and strong my mother had been to keep doing everything she did despite the nightmares she was living through. She’d continued to nurture me any way she could, brought physical and spiritual beauty into our home, retained a wondrous belief in magic that filled my childhood and fills my soul still, and so on.

Seeing and reveling in her bravery, I was able to affirm my own. Oppressors don’t want you to see your mother’s power, so disguise it by blaming everything on the mother. They don’t want us to have models of people who triumph despite all.

Nor do they want you to have full access to your mother’s love. Love is the greatest power of all.

Going through a box of mom’s documents recently, I noticed the box smelled of old paper. Not moldy or bad, just old. The papers were also faintly sweet, remnants of mom’s perfumes. The exquisite *sweet* scent of mom’s papers was subtle. Much that is old can be revisited and found sweet and kind, instead of bitter and harsh. When I look past the fraud—loud broad strokes painted by an oppressive society—sweet subtleties emerge to enchant me and my life.

BYABar4

The Figa

The Figa
Reclaiming Women’s Power and an Italian Amulet

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A figa is an amulet in the shape of a closed hand. Often, the tip of the thumb peeks out between the middle and index finger. The figa represents a woman’s genitals and is a charm for protection and good luck. It is also a talisman for fertility.

Even as a youth, I was drawn to the figa, not only as a talisman but as an archetype. It held tantalizing mysteries, and its antiquity and exotic roots were a delicious contrast to the American 50s bland norm.

I acquired a new figa recently, and shot the above photo, so you could see it. Isn’t it beautiful? I absolutely love it!

I purchased my new amulet here; the shop has more, each one different: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ErikasCollectibles

I’d already had a figa for … hm, I don’t know how long. It could be 30 or 40 years, or far less. I don’t remember how I acquired it. I was raised in an Italian, shamanic family-tradition. Otherworldly sensibilities were so typically present in our home, a part of daily life. A figa could slip into my life seamlessly back then, the entry not as noteworthy as it could be for people who aren’t constantly surrounded by that sort of thing.

Yet, despite my familiarity with Italian folk culture and my intense draw to this charm, I rarely saw one that I thought beautiful. I was never fond of my old figa, had wanted a new one forever, but couldn’t find one that pleased me till now.

My finally liking one is significant to me as a woman. Read on to learn why.

Seeing my new figa, which is very feminine, sweet, and elegant, I realized by comparison why I’d rarely liked a figa in the past. For one thing, they’re usually quite macho. An object that is supposed to embody female sexuality should … embody female sexuality.

Plus, figa figures are often crude. The crudeness repelled me, though on a subconscious level until I saw my new sweet, elegant figa. The crudeness—again, I experienced this subconsciously—was like being slapped in the face, shamed for being female.

Instead, I adore my new charm. Its sweet, feminine elegance is powerful magic and significant healing.

I was blown away by the shop’s photograph of this piece. And I did my best when I took the photos for this post, but it’s even better to see it in person; its exquisite artistry almost took my breath away. The careful sculpting of an elegant, feminine hand, enhanced by the marbling of its resin, makes it a true treasure.

It triggered a train of thought. The charm must not only be an Italian folk symbol for female sexuality per se, but also imply lot more. The figa must have originally symbolized everything—everything—a woman can be if she is unbound; her full being realized and expressed. The amulet must have once represented this totalness of being and potency in all parts of life. Otherwise, I do not believe the charm would have become so incredibly popular. It is worn not only by Pagans but by many Italians, including Christians.
FigaPic1SmBe clear, when I write, “Everything a woman can be,” I’m implying everything a human can be. I am positioning a woman’s sexuality as potency, the same way a man’s sexuality is often viewed as potency in his business and all other parts of his life.

I love folk art, folk magic, and the place where the two intersect. I also believe one might better understand a piece of folk art if one knows the cultural norms prevalent when the piece was made. That includes pop culture. Enter Kenneth Lane. The figa I bought is a vintage Kenneth Lane.

What was occurring around jewelry designer Kenneth Lane when he had the urge to create a figa that would be neither vulgar nor shaming? What in the political climate impelled him? Or did something solely personal to him serve as motivation? (The political always impacts us personally, but you know what I mean.) Whatever it was, we owe him a debt.

I mean, “figa” is Italian for the demeaning term “pussy.” The styling of most figa figures reinforces that nastiness. I do not object to a figa shaped roughly in a spirit of exuberance, or if a limited skill set did not allow finely honed lines. What I oppose is the consistent vulgar representation and the overall gestalt it feeds, a deeply hurtful cultural norm.

By the way, I see nothing wrong with a masculine figa per se, but there’s something wrong with a feminine symbol generally being masculine.

In any case, Kenneth’s jewelry was popular with Hollywood stars. Although many Pagans wear a figa, the pendant is also popular with non-Pagans. So people can knock pop-culture all they want, but I bet Kenneth’s pendants made women of all kinds proud of being women.

Kenneth’s styling was powerful. It wasn’t until I saw it that I could understand by contrast how demeaning most figas are and reclaim another part of my power. His rendering of the figa was able to heal me from a cultural norm so deeply ingrained and horrible that it still hurt my soul despite my fierce pride in my female nature and witchy wildness. I have a new piece of my magic as a woman and a new piece of my womanly pride.

What had been a sacred image in ancient Rome lowered in value until it became used as a rude gesture. A symbol that once must have honored women came to denigrate them. I believe Kenneth helped change that. I hope my thoughts here help a bit, too.

The profound power that exists in every human is diminished when we reduce anyone’s power through shaming depictions.

But when we shine a light on the wonderfulness of those around us, our own powers shine.

… Now the only problem I have is how to stop myself from buying all the figas in the shop. There’s a gorgeous variety, each piece quite different. I’ve already bought a second one. Here it is on my altar:
FigaPic3SmI will treasure these figas always. Here’s where to acquire an outstanding charm: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ErikasCollectibles

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