Diana’s CrossRoads During the Pandemic

Diana’s CrossRoads During the Pandemic
Creating Spiritual, Physical, and Financial Wholeness in Crisis

I’m at double risk regarding Covid 19, being elderly and disabled by a chronic health problem. I’m also unable to receive medical care, due to corrupt bureaucrats.

So I understand that ethics and inner empowerment are possibly irrelevant luxuries for some folks when life gets really hard. But not for me. My spiritual wholeness and commitment to serving community during this crisis are tantamount.

After repeatedly conquering circumstances that easily kill people—e.g., poverty and life-threatening illness—I saw that, for me, my spirituality at such times was an essential tool for both surviving and the subsequent establishing of my happy, prosperous life.

At a ritual I led last week, we each found ourselves at a moral crossroads and made decisions about which route to take. In the months ahead, I think a lot of people, myself included, might face a lot of moral crossroads. Most of mine will likely be about the need to dedicate myself more than ever to relinquishing false ego, surrendering to my Gods, and serving Them and all Their children. At least that’s what came up for me during the ritual.

During the rite, I channeled the “script,” so it’s not written down. But I’m hoping to convey a bit of its sentiments in this post.

We each went to the otherworld and stood at the archetypal trivia with Goddess Diana. In Roman Religion and the Cult of Diana at Aricia, C.M.C. Green says the crossroads of Diana is not the cross-shaped junction made when two human-made roads cross, but is the Y-shaped trivia found in less tame environments and is created by animals’ travel. Green spoke of paths that connect to make the trivia as wild and dangerous, explaining that a human walking such trails might stumble upon a ferocious animal, and an animal traveling thusly through the forest might come upon a hunter. I couldn’t find the passage in the book again that discusses this; I hope I’m not misrepresenting Green’s work.

The day of the ritual, the roads’ deadly possibilities represented moral dangers to me.

Morality is not an abstract, for me. For one thing, when I do not make moral decisions, my good fortune diminishes. The diminishment isn’t always related to the decisions, per se. Poor ethical choices block me from blessings. Ethical choices increase not only my wholeness of spirit but also the wholeness of my finances, physical health, and every other part of me. For example, when I sink endlessly into worry about finances, income dwindles if not outright evaporates. It is only human to fret. But, at least in my particular case, living in that mindset is being self-involved, which isn’t a virtuous state.

I’m not implying poor ethical choices cause all misfortunes. I was talking about my own life. Plus, my good fortune is far from dependent upon my flawed, human efforts. My generous Gods have my back. But any of my problems not of my own making can be exacerbated by my poor choices.

I cannot speak for other people, but I am by nature a selfish stubborn person, who suffers from ego. I do not know if these propensities in me are greater than in anyone else, but they have caused me great suffering. I work hard doing everything I can to do away with these flaws, but, being human, will never reach that goal.

I recently hit a point where I felt I had to dedicate myself to my efforts to eradicate the aforementioned traits more than ever. More about that in a bit.

There are always opportunities for my selfishness and false ego to exert themselves. For example, it’s easy for me to condemn someone hoarding supplies during the outbreak. My reaction to hoarders is pure ego. Instead of climbing up on my high horse by harshly judging someone, I want to remember we are all flawed, and we’re all in a growth process, learning and growing, so there is no logic in judging.

It is easy to spot obvious immoralities, such as hoarding supplies during the pandemic. It is harder to spot subtler immoralities, such as condemning hoarders. Flaws can be sneaky, disguising themselves so that we don’t see them in ourselves.

The overinflated ego of judging others hurts me. Grandiosity can make me feel I am above the need to look at my own failures. Time spent in outrage is time I need to look at my own errors that day, cook myself a good meal, and otherwise be good to me. Plus the time I spend judging others is time needed for being of use to community.

Judging others also closes heart and mind, not only to the those judged but to everything. I want my heart and mind open to the Goddess’ guidance about ways I can support my community during the pandemic. I want to do everything I can as a shaman and human to help folks—myself included—stay on an even keel, stay whole, stay on top of things, and remain effective.

It’s impossible to walk on air like a saint. However, my past experiences of major crisis taught me how to keep returning to an even keel, keep returning to practices that build wholeness, and thus stay on top of things and be effective.

For me, listening to my Gods and staying close to Them is a priority. It helps me stay centered and strong, so I’m able to take good care of myself and be of maximum service. And I need Their constant guidance to be effective. They give me ideas about everything from the logistics of executing a mundane chore that seems beyond my limited physical capabilities, to the creation of specific shamanic events that’d serve folks well right now.

Important aside: My upcoming three week event is one such event: https://stardrenched.com/2020/03/16/upcoming-event-3/

Crisis and trauma are crossroads at which I grow—even if I can only do so quite slowly—or go down big time. The chances for selfishness and false ego to emerge quadruple. So, given that the societal traumas of the past year have impacted me, I’ve dedicated myself more than ever to pursuing surrender, service, and egolessness.

As an example, here’s one way the chances to stumble ethically increase: possibility of hardship can make one feel like one must do something wrong in order to survive. The expression It’s just business embodies that attitude. It excuses ill behavior by positioning the choice for morality in the face of survival threats as a new and different quandary, specific to one’s own situation, instead of as a core aspect of spiritual struggle since earliest human times. In fact, we might say that, in a way, (and only in a way), the dilemma of choosing one’s spiritual ideals over survival might be the essence of morality (or an essence). This is not to suggest that one should not fight for survival. Survival can be the moral choice.

I hope the above paragraph or anything else in this essay doesn’t sound preachy, judgmental, and black-and-white, as if 1) anything less than perfection makes you a complete failure, 2) we should shame ourselves for the least mistake, and 3) I alone know the correct steps in crisis, and thus am capable of making moral decisions for you. To the contrary, I believe that, under the pressure of crisis, people might need more than ever to be gentle with themselves and others: more than ever accept how imperfectly we act, more than ever esteem the littlest step we take toward our moral ideals, more than ever honor every act of kindness we make, and more than ever respect the need to take breaks from solving problems.

And I surely don’t know what anyone other than myself needs to do.

In any case, moving on: Many of us on spiritual paths can easily fall into focusing on spirituality as a tool only for personal gain. E.g., “If I meditate to be more serene, I’ll be more levelheaded. Then I’ll be able to earn a better living.” Though I think using spiritual tools to enrich one’s material life is healthy and important, and I teach that sort of application, it’s not healthy for me if it’s the whole picture. I need spirituality to also be a means by which I stay in shape to be of maximum service to the Gods and all Their children.

I have watched people who, when navigating hard times, cleaved to Spirit solely as a tool for their own sole betterment. It backfired, increasing their selfishness, false ego, and bitterness, and often causing them serious financial, romantic, and other problems. Some of those folks persisted endlessly along the same path, which turned them into horribly harmful people. It frightened me. I don’t want to be like that.

And, as I said, if my spirit is not in reasonable shape, neither are my finances or anything else.

Moreover, when I forget spiritual tools were gifted me both for my own personal betterment and to keep myself in shape to be useful, I find myself on an emotionally distressed hamster-wheel, with thoughts like, “I’ve got to improve myself. If I don’t, there’s going to be a disaster. If I don’t there’s going to be a disaster. A disaster. A disaster.”

Then, focusing on spiritual tools as a means to getting in shape to serve restores my balance, peace, common sense, joy in life, and trust that the Gods have my back.

I had three choices standing at the trivia. Going backwards didn’t seem a choice because you can never return to the past. But I could stay where I was. Sometimes that’s the moral stand. For example, I might need time to be with what I’m feeling, or to rest and gather the strength to move forward, or to choose which direction to take, or to plan my first steps along the road I choose. (Self-care is a virtue.) And sometimes I am just stuck. Moving forward is more than I can manage, and I can make a choice to accept that, and thereby surrender to life as it is, since I too, even when I’m stuck, am part of life.

My second option was the right hand pathway forward (I don’t know why it was to the right). On it, I could move forward into once again deepening my commitment to serving, surrendering to my Gods, and letting go of false ego.

The left-hand path was also a path to greater surrender, usefulness, and egolessness, with one difference—compassion for myself.

I realized, looking with my otherworldly eyes, the right-hand path at my particular crossroads included constantly chastising myself for not changing fast enough and for not being “better.”

That path also required I view each of my missteps, no matter how small, as proof that I’m a complete moral failure, and that my vigorous moral strivings are insincere. Forgetting that we all stumble a great deal, I’d live in fearful certainty that my smallest error would lead to moral, emotional, financial, or other disaster. The path also had me traveling along, all the while overlooking my improvements and all the good I do.

Whereas on the left path, I’d learn to walk toward my goals with compassion for myself. That self-care would consist of
* acknowledging that we grow bit by bit (with occasional, magnificent leaps and bounds)
* celebrating my progress
* being gentle with myself when I fall short
* admitting my errors without becoming fatalistic
* recognizing my dedication and the vigorousness of my efforts
* honoring my achievements—great and small
* seeing the good I do
* and enjoying the celebratory pleasure of being grateful to the Gods for giving me the ability to do the things in this list.

Two of many reasons I love my friend, Jenn Campus, is that she keeps surrendering to life and focusing on service. The day after the ritual, I happened to see an exquisitely worded Instagram post of hers (she had not been at my ritual): “We have yet to see the spring of this pandemic period. We are still in the brutal winter—wondering if our stores will see us through, wondering who will be standing with us on the other side of it…even if we will be one of the ones still standing. … In the words of Sophie Mainguy, a French ER Doctor: ‘We are not at war and we do not have to be at war. … The firm ambition of a service to life is enough. There is no enemy. There is another organism living in full migratory flow and we must stop so that our respective currents do not collide too much. We are at the pedestrian crossing and the light is red for us.’ ”

Jenn’s post is related to what we did at the ritual. I love my fellow seekers.

The doctor’s eloquent statement about remaining quarantined to avoid the coronavirus has meaning on the mystical plane, as I am sure the good physician knows. For me, that layer speaks of abiding by life however it manifests, which for my own practice is the same as surrendering to my Gods.

Surrender to life is not about giving up or being a doormat. I will continue to stand up for my rights and the rights of others.

Surrender is not about forsaking all pleasure. Surrender helps me use the enormous amount of ethical magical and mundane power available to create the world I want, a world of joy, beauty, and abundance.

Surrender also helps me be of maximum service, whether I am providing shamanic services for my beloved clients, or dialoging with the vet as I try to understand her patient but nevertheless confusing dietary proposal for my ever sick kitty.

During the ritual yesterday, I felt Diana blessing the path I chose. I felt the power She gave me to do what I need as I begin along that path. I felt chills throughout my body from the starlight, moonlight, and sunlight with which Diana filled me.

I also knew Her amazing help that day wasn’t enough. I’d need Her continual help as I walked that path. I have to constantly rely on my Gods. I don’t remember the prayer I said about getting divine help along the road I’d chosen, but I wrote a comparable prayer. Here it is, should it be helpful to you:

Magna Mater, Great Mother of All, Bear Madonna,
and Our Good Father, Co-Creator of All,
Wild and kind horned Pater,
please give me the power and wisdom
needed on the path ahead,
each step today and in these coming months.

Help me affirm:
I have a healthy ego.
I release my false ego.
I acknowledge my limits.
I acknowledge my limitlessness.
I celebrate my inner and outer beauty.

I dedicate myself to joy, usefulness, and power. I give myself to My Divine Parents, that You may shape me and use me as You will. Your desires are also mine, deep within my cells, even if unknown to me for now. I can and do create the amazing loving, beautiful world I truly want. So mote it be.*

I will probably need to make that prayer a lot in the coming year.

The ritual described above was one of the free rites I lead once a month. I’d love it if you joined me in any of them. They and other upcoming events are announced in my newsletters. Subscribe for free here: https://outlawbunny.com/newsletter/

I love you, be safe.

* Attribution: I read spiritual literature of all kinds. As a shaman, I seek the core of reality, and it is found in disparate places. There’s an Alcoholics Anonymous prayer in which are the words God, I offer myself to Thee—to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.

My prayer’s words I give myself to My Divine Parents, that You may shape me and use me as You will are an adaptation of the Alcoholics Anonymous words I quoted. Their sentiments, for me personally, are vital to me, absolutely vital to my spiritual, psychic, physical, and financial well-being, and every other imaginable aspect of my well-being.

My Wonderful Students

My long-term shamanic students are the best people. It’s such a gift to have them as my fellow seekers.

I celebrate them today by introducing you to three of them and the remarkable work they do in their respective fields.

sarah_photoSarah Josey—see above photo—is a Clinical Herbalist, Nutritionist, and Sacred Living instructor. She says she’s “passionate about helping people achieve health through natural means and supporting people on their life path towards overall wellness and happiness.”

Sarah started studying with me before entering her profession. I had the joy of watching this dynamic, young woman grow into her career. I try to empower my students, but it is up to them to take the ball and run with it. Sarah has definitely done that.

She owns an herbal apothecary in Fort Collins, CO, and also spends part of her year in Fairbanks, AK. Check out her work at SarahJosey.com.

I spend as much time as possible in trance because I love it, but I also believe my shamanic classes should create concrete results, improving all aspects of someone’s life. So it’s always a joy to work with someone who’s multifaceted. Kathy Crabbe, who is wrapping up a two-year shamanic training with me, is an artist, illustrator, writer, and soul reader, and lives in Southern California in an adobe style home she and her husband built.

Here’s Kathy:
kathy-crabbe-bio-pickAlong with her impressive list of talents is Kathy’s commitment to using her gifts in service to community.

Kathy blogs at kathycrabbe.com/blog

A spirit portrait I painted of Rommy Driks gives a sense of this writer who has studied with me for eight years:
starfirestargazermergedRommy says of her blog, “I create strange brews of urban myth and faerie tales, while grooving to good music and sipping better tea. Stop by and enjoy a cuppa and a story.”

That’s a modest self-description, considering her writing is truly original, exquisitely crafted, and conveys important ideas. I thoroughly relish her “strange brews.”

Check out Rommy’s work at http://kestrilsrhythmsandgroove.blogspot.com/

I am blessed to be surrounded by exceptional people.

PortraitBotmBnr

Traditional Shamanic Culture and Business

Rosmrta

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ClickHereSmall

The book is two pronged in its benefits:

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

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

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

* easy, powerful, ethical marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

TeleSeminar

FAERIE SHAMANISM—AN ECSTATIC PATH
Seven-Week Teleseminar, 2014

Curriculum includes ecstatic ritual, Faerie wisdom, theoretical basics of Celtic Faerie Shamanism, and some of its more complex aspects.

Companion to Great Goddess Diana

Companion to Great Goddess Diana. Francesca De Grandis, 2012

Receive material to help you discover or deepen your Fey magic: Celtic Faerie Shamanism expresses itself differently in every practitioner. My job as a teacher is to help you build that personal expression, while I also offer techniques for your magical tool box.

Are you on a unique journey? The Faerie Shamanism class steadies your feet.

Also learn training practices and moral stances that increase pleasure. Gain the material satisfactions of an ecstatic practitioner and embrace wholeness, without being snared by addictions or illusions.

Suitable to complete novices, yet adepts learn material suited to them.

An Ecstatic Path is Third Road material (AKA channeled by moi, through rigorous yet joyful efforts) and a prerequisite for advanced Third Road training.

Classes are group phone meetings: just dial the phone to participate.

The group meets seven consecutive Wednesdays, 6:00 to 7:00 PM (EST), starting Wednesday, October 1. Reserve Wednesday November 19, same time, for a makeup class in case I am unavailable for one of the planned sessions.

Tuition is $250. You might also pay long-distance charges; it depends on your long-distance plan; charges appear on your phone bill. The area code for the event is a U.S. #.

Do you long for ecstatic experience? Or enjoy life full-tilt but want to take it up a notch? Click here to register online now. You can also pay by check.

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. Do not email me; my disabilities do not allow me to spend enough time at the computer. No refunds.

This class offers experiential wisdom-lessons not taught elsewhere.

Connectivity, Ecstasy, Service

If we believe in the pantheist or Taoist principle of all things being connected, we walk our talk by serving all things. As an ecstatic, I find heart-rendering joy through service.

We are part of a great weave. Call it the World tree, the dance of life, the Tao—call it Fred. We can be codependent in this weave, or we can have boundaries but still be within it. We can fight it, or we can be fed by. And we can surrender to it.

Surrender can be just a fancy pompous word unless we are of service. There are other ways one must follow through on the notion of surrender for it to actually be surrender, but for now let’s focus on service.

But before we do, I need to add an aside: I am not suggesting we must perfectly attain any of the ideals I set forth here. I would be a hypocrite to suggest I have anywhere near attained these ideals myself. I do cleave to these ideals, and do my best to achieve them (though my best is often poor), and this is all my Gods ask of me.

Okay, back to service. We can serve the weave. My belief and experience is that, if we believe the Taoist or pantheist principle of all things being connected, we walk our talk by serving all things. Serving community, serving Gaia, serving all of life, serving family, serving one’s spiritual tradition(s) and spiritual teacher(s) and spiritual student(s), serving one’s Gods.

We must also serve self, self is part of the weave. Sometimes, we best serve by serving self alone. For example, when we are ill or need to build courage to serve others. Or when we simply need time alone to enjoy ourselves.

Ultimately, to be part of the weave, we serve in surrender. I often forget that. In other words, when my Gods ask me to do something, I often try to set about doing it my way instead of Theirs. But to really do that which my Gods ask me, I must also implement it the way They ask. (Oh, my, in this essay, surrender becomes service becomes surrender.)

When we serve, we align ourselves within the weave, we start flowing with it. We start being fed by it in ways that we cannot otherwise. There is healing and empowerment not otherwise available.

What’s more, we experience connectivity so sublime that it is orgasmic. Literally orgasmic. I have great orgasms because I am of service.

I painted this blessing  banner quite a while ago, but post it here bc it is in the spirit of my prayer.

I painted this blessing banner quite a while ago, but post it here bc it is in the spirit of my prayer.

Being of service is truly pagan, it’s not a wimpy trait, it is part of ecstasy. Not only ecstasy between the sheets but also an ecstatic way of life—being joyfully within the weave whether it’s with your family, your coworkers, a beautiful summer day, or the stars in the sky.

I am blessed to feel connected to every star in the universe and know the thrill of all starlight radiating around me, with me, through me. I know this weave because I am blessed to be of service.

My prayer: Gods, I know that serving is a blessing to me, because all things come from you—my breath, my ability to rise in the morning, my joy, my serving. Everything of me is from you. So do not let me think that my service to others makes me superior. Getting the chance to serve others makes me very very lucky! It is to you I must turn if I want to serve: I pray, please bless me with the power to serve—including the willingness to serve. And bless me with the humility to serve in surrender—when You set me a task, help me implement it the way You ask.

CnslingBotmBnr

The Next Lesson

The Next Lesson
Feb, 2012
I needed to inject some humor into a rough day, so it seemed a good time to share this allegory I wrote last year . . . Me, a trickster? Naw! 🙂

A spiritual teacher had three students she taught for many years. After they finished this vigorous training, one went to a dance class. He found enlightenment in that first dance class, and thought, “Ah, this is much better than what I received from my spiritual teacher, this is the real thing.” Another of the three students started a garden. In that greenery she found God, within only a few days. She thought, “Wow, look how quickly Nature brought me to God. All those years with my spiritual teacher could not do that.” The third of the three seekers became a wealthy banker, and donated millions of dollars to alleviate homelessness. Years of serving this way was his path to enlightenment, because when we do service, God enters us to live within.

The teacher, upon hearing about her students, thought, “Yes, good, my lessons worked.”

FDG2013JCrop

Francesca, 2013

Then she did what she had done every day she had trained the three of them, though they had not known it: She walked out into her garden and danced with God, who lived there, in her garden, as well as in her spirit and heart and hearth. As always when they danced, trees in her garden grew money. People threatened by homelessness, or who already suffered from it, came from miles around, because they could pick that money at will, to pay for shelter and whatever else was needed to escape tragedy.

After the dance, the teacher said to God, “Now, I hope those three students are smart enough to come back to me for the next lesson.”

Bickering, Community Service, and Self-Awareness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was a working minister.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ecstatic Path, Serving Community, & False Ego

The Ecstatic Path, Serving Community, and False Ego
A few thoughts, May Day, 2012

Detail, Root Woman, Digital Art, OutlawBunny.

The occult shop I worked in during the 80s had lockers out back, behind the building. Our customers would buy candles, which we would dress (for example, anoint with magical oils), bless, and then burn in the lockers. Some customers requested prosperity blessings, some asked for healing, some for other things.
 
It was such an odd priesthood by some standards, if not utterly dismissed and invalidated. The bunch of grungy lockers with wax dripping all over them was part of something many would consider hokey, outright ridiculous. But it was the real deal—powerful magic, and of service to community.
 
Priesthood (ministry, call it what you will) takes many sincere forms. Some have more prestige than others. But whether one receives a lot of acclaim or none at all, the Gods know when the heart is filled with juicy desire to serve. And this desire fuels our joy constantly. And the Gods bless such a heart. And the Gods know when, instead, the heart is heavily burdened, made sad by a self-deceiving ego-drive to be at the top of the heap. And the Gods bless this heart, too.

Root Woman, OutlawBunny. If you’re interested in a print of this picture, click on it to go to my Talismanic Art Bazaar.

There is no heap. There is only the joyous dance of life and the chance to serve within it. May all we humans learn at deeper and deeper levels to dive into life fully, not mistaking titles and pomp for ecstasy and caring. And may we always know that ecstasy and caring go hand in hand, like lovers. 

-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-

With its recent relaunch, this site is now split between three servers. (I know there are other options, it’s a long and grassroots story.)

http://www.stardrenched.com is mostly for the site’s blog, events announcements, and new additions to the site’s Grimoire. 

Clicking anywhere on the above nav bar, except blog, brings you to the site’s original domain. Among other things, it has all Grimoire entries prior to 2012.

Way back, there wasn’t space for everything (this site is ancient), so some side pages got put on feri.com 

This blog explains it a bit more.

I recently announced the “revitalized site” as “launched” but it’ll take months, maybe  years, to polish the new look, finish updating text, etc. 

I continue to blog at my other site. Two blogs with two separate RRS feeds. Welcome, old visitors and new!

Ta Da!

Announcing the renewal and relaunch, the cosmic—and cosmically comic—revitalization of this here ol’ website. Come one, come all, join the Chaos Circus. To explore the wonders, the fantastic, the massive changes I made to this site, use the newly-added, new-fangled nav bar above. Yup, we got modern conveniences to go along with the ancient mysteries you will find here.

Stardusted Traveler, come get your weary soul shined. Have your spirit refreshed by its own beauty, then shanghaied by its own magic.

Have your peculiar ways oohed and awed at—everyone here, including you, is the main attraction.

Sit in the front row to get a good view. I’ll sit with you. Or get in the circus ring: introduce yourself in the comment field.

Allow me to introduce myself. I am the authentic, the original, the amazing and death-defying Francesca De Grandis. That translates Great Freedom, your purveyor of shamanic wonders and mystical madness. Curator of curiosities, middle management for the Chaos Gods, seer, guide, and utter fool.

I make up fancy phrases to describe myself, like bardic brat. They’re true as tar.

My mother was a fortuneteller, my father hit the road when he was 12, hard traveling. His mother was a “showgirl.” After the war, dad went down south and got into trouble. We don’t know what it was, but the story is “he hung out with hillbillies.” I do remember he loved folk music. This is all truth, it’s family history, told the first time on the web right now. I am an old woman, too old to hide those tales anymore.

That’s a bit of my tale, a bit of my myth—real and honest. Be your myth here. Dragons, Faeries, poets, and other inhabitants of the fantastic, please walk your myths alongside mine, I long for company on the spiritual path.

Tell me a bit of your story in the comment field. I welcome and invite you, praise you and incite you—Join the cosmic circus!

 On a more serious note, Terry Pratchett wrote “Things that try to look like things often do look more like things than things.” Ok, quoting Terry is hardly a way to convince most people that I even can be serious. But
I take my work as a shamanic guide and healer seriously, and I am good at it. And I have
fun. Walking an ecstatic path frees you from restrictive either/or rules. And building a convincing persona as Oh-Great-Shaman wouldn’t leave time to serve community. Can I hear a “So mote it be?”
Middle Management for Chaos Gods, Francesca De Grandis

Middle Management for Chaos Gods. Self-Portrait

Magic can be quiet, subtle. I am blessed that, amidst my loud joy and silliness, some people “see” me—just another flawed human whom, for some reason, the Divine uses as a shaman.

I’ll be blogging here, while I continue to blog at my other site . Two blogs with two separate RRS feeds.

As we prepped the relaunch, I started blogging here—just four blogs sharing my personal process renewing the site, and what we revamped. I hope you read them. And this blog has info that will help you find your way around.

Whether you travel with me only on the web, or move into oral tradition with me, whether you post here or I never know you visit, I’m grateful for your wild wyrd ways. Thank you so much for coming!

Please explore the site. I’d love it if you posted feedback. You will be dazzled by dancing Deities, heartfelt happenings, genuine living breathing paradox, and more.