A Garden Is Magic

Photo of Jenelle’s Garden. In the garden is a statue of Quan Yen and a street sign that reads “Queen Street.”

Months back, I gathered with some of my sister Third Road initiates, by phone, to do a magical spell. (Third Road is a tradition of Fairy magic that I channeled and continue to channel.) During our ceremony, Jenelle Leigh Campion read a poem she’d written about her garden, pictured above. Her artistry wowed me once again.

The poem also portrays themes dear to me:

* Inner wholeness created through connection with the larger whole and through appreciation of every part of the whole. This sensibility is central to my journey as a spiritual seeker and Fairy shaman.

* The green world as an enchanted realm in which each plant is a living spirit. Plants are my friends who give me great joy with their beauty and wisdom, while they help me with my witch spirituality.

Here’s Jenelle’s poem, prefaced by her introduction:

This piece was inspired by a writing prompt that asked me to write from a “family consciousness” perspective and use the “royal we” pronoun to describe a family having a group experience. Instantly, my garden called out as the collective voice that would like to be channeled into my writing and this was the result.  

Garden

We are the garden.
We are the ones who grow.

In the misty, humid dawn we drink in dew
collectively unfurling
from the evening’s contraction.

Hibiscus sees the light first,
standing almost as tall as the wall behind us.
Only a few shy flowers appearing amidst the bush.

Our bright pink petals of Lady Magenta
highlight brightly
in the sea of our green.

The tender arrives to inspect
our changes and newness
and inspire the cherished waters to flow,
refreshing and preparing us
for the work of the day.
Growth.
New achievements unlocked.
New blossoms to bloom.

Magnolia is always in the light drawing nutrients
down from the heavens and
up from below the foundation.
She hugs the earth and sky.

The cluster of Bamboo and Rosemary
are the grandmothers in the garden.
Kwan Yin stands in their heart,
reminding compassion.
These plant darlings shimmer in green
and laugh into the wind as they bend.  

The potted plant party corner thinks
it’s having an exclusive event.
And they are right.
The late day sun is their jam!
Drinking in and
reveling in brightness
their medicine becomes
plump and potent.  

We all become more
plump and potent,
happy in our brightness
or shade.

Easter Lillies, Holly, and Queen of the Nile
liking their cool calm zones
to chill and become beautiful.

We are the garden.
We are the ones who grow.

We are one circle,
within a larger neighborhood circle,
and a city circle,
state,
country,
continent,
world.

One global plant family
everyday turning up
to bring delight
to our courtyard.

Jenelle, who also paints amazing pictures, says, ”It is my joy to send art out into the world because it nurtures happiness, creates feelings of abundance in our lives, and shares the spiritual support and magical empowerment that the sweetness of beauty can provide.

I’m blessed by my students because, like Jenelle, they are amazing companions for me along the Faerie path. Join us. My newsletter tells you about upcoming classes and other events. Click the banner below to subscribe.

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Honoring the Ancestors: The Man Who Raised Me

Photo of my beautiful young parents

Honoring the Ancestors: The Man Who Raised Me

Honoring ancestors has many aspects for me as a witch, and just as many for me as a human and individual. I want to touch on a few, before talking about my dad.

Ancestors Who Were Oppressors

Human nature being what it is, we all have ancestors who were horrible people, and some who were outright oppressors.

When I teach how to contact ancestors, do ritual with them, and live in alignment with the old ways of our forebearers, someone inevitably asks, “What should I do about awful ancestors? I don’t want any contact with them, let alone honor them.”

Whether the student deems those ancestors oppressors or terrible in other ways, the question is important.

The answer can’t be one-fits-all. Nor can I personally hang the problem all on one hook; I’ve had to approach it from a lot of different angles, including the following:

I myself have had to make peace with awful ancestors. For one thing, I don’t want hate in my heart. I can no longer bear the damage it does me.

For another, making peace helps me regain wisdom lost over the ages—herbal medicine, witchcraft, and other empowering choices suppressed by oppressors.

My very first ancestors at the beginning of human time (well, I believe the line from which I descended started long before that, but I won’t get into that here) started threads of wisdom and power that have spun forward in time. Every one of my ancestors has held and holds a piece of that thread. I don’t want my resentments to break the thread any further than has already happened. Even if an ancestor contributed to that breakage, I want to repair it.

Making peace doesn’t mean I ignore injustices ancestors have perpetrated, any more than I’d bury my head in the sand about living family members who are complete racists or otherwise awful.

But I find some peace in my heart, and that is how I honor ancestors whom I otherwise want nothing to do with, and thus repair threads that might’ve been damaged by them and my own hate. This is what I’ve learned through my own trial and error and what works for me.

What Is Ancestral trauma?

Ancestral trauma—or ancestral wound—is the suffering of a family member or members that then passes down to the next generation and the next, until it is healed. Though it’s passed down through behaviors and internalized oppression, as a shaman I also sense a maimed energy that each generation picks up. That energy also transforms the familial DNA. The behaviors and internalized oppression help create and maintain the energy. And vice versa.

Finding peace about awful people in my familial line is part of how I’ve healed the ancestral wound they passed down to me from the trauma they themselves caused to my other ancestors and that they themselves might have suffered. Carrying hate in my heart continues the legacy of hate and holds trauma securely in my DNA. Feeling hate is one thing. Holding onto that hate is another.

Ancestors if You’re Adopted

Another common question is how to deal with ancestors if you’re adopted. There are so many questions when it comes to that, including one relevant to this post: making peace with an abusive adoptive parent who has passed on, or with their ancestors.

A family member of any kind carries (or breaks) the thread of ancestral wisdom, power, and information. My theory is that, should that family member have adopted you, they hold a piece of the thread not only in their own bloodline, but surprisingly enough, hold a piece of the thread in your own bloodline. There’s not space here to go into that theory. But, if you’re like me, making peace with adoptive parents who’ve died could be important.

Awful ancestors are no small concern. There can be huge challenges, including endless questions. It takes time to deal with it all.

For example, it’s taken years to make peace with my father who has passed on. And I still experience some hate for him. I will continue to work on it.

Learning to align with my ancestors that I might live in the magic, beauty, wisdom, and power known by my forebearers has been an ongoing process. There’s been no single step then, voila, all done. But I take one step at a time, and that yields big results.

I’ve repeatedly needed to take different types of action.

For example. I’ve had to channel a lot of ritual to do this work. But now I have a body of rituals I can continue to use and also teach in my classes, and draw on for one-on-one shamanic counseling sessions. (Links to information about classes and counseling are below this essay.)

My first ancestors spun threads of wisdom and magic. Generation upon generation added more threads, until now thick ropes connect me back into the past, to my very first ancestors.

The answers that help me might not be the right ones for you. My experiences are not your experiences. But sharing our experiences can be healing. The following story about my father represents a bit of my journey making peace with him.

May 12, 2020:

Honoring the Ancestors: William Stafford

Dad, looking worn My father was always on the outside looking in. And he loved music beyond all reason.

He was a small-minded, violent man, who suffered a hard life.

I found his name in the census, which shows that, at seven years old, he disappeared from his mother’s household.

I found someone by his name in another household, that of a farming family. I suspect Bill had been sent out to work and live on a farm because there were too many mouths to feed in his own home. This is possibly corroborated by information one of my relatives has provided. In the census, Bill appears back with his mother a few years later.

Around the time he disappeared from home, his mom remarried. Did Bill’s stepfather not want him? Was this one of the first times Bill was on the outside looking in, face pressed up against the glass?

After a stint in the military during World War II, he returned from overseas and disappeared again. As a child, I was told that, during that period, he was in the south, “living with hillbillies, and ended up on a Georgia chain gang.”

My young father in uniform

Decades later, I asked him about it. All he’d tell me is that it wasn’t a chain gang. It was prison or jail, I can’t remember which, and he wouldn’t tell me why he was arrested.

After his time in the south, Dad came back to Boston—where we lived—and continued to be on the outside looking in.

He would pretend to be Irish, in a town that adored the Irish.

He would pretend to be a cop. In 1964, I was 14, and the Beatles were playing in Boston. The arena was a madhouse. When the concert was over, the crowd poured out into the lobby, and there was my dad, come to drive me home.

“How did you get in, Dad? Why did they let you in?”

He had convinced the security guards that he was a cop. Perhaps he’d flashed them a fake badge; I can no longer remember.

There was a police radio in his work room in the basement. My dad, the not-cop.

He chased fire engines. One time, he pursued one of those howling trucks, only to see it turn onto our street. He kept following. The truck stopped at our house.

Always on the outside looking in. A spectator to his own house on fire.

The man was as right wing, racist, sexist, -ist, -ist, -ist, as you can get. But when I was sixteen, I met a guitar-carrying hippie who didn’t have a place to stay. I brought him home. In retrospect, I don’t know why. Dad hated hippies.

But dad didn’t throw the kid out, didn’t care that he was a peace-loving hippy with long hair. The guy was carrying a guitar, and that’s all that mattered.

Or, maybe, Dad knew what it was like to not have a place to stay. Perhaps that’s what happened.

Bill loved folk music as much as he hated liberals. In those days, folk music was paired with Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and revolution. Dad didn’t care.

I wonder if his appreciation of folk music came from his hillbilly friends.

Bill loved show tunes. This macho man raised me in a home where vinyl recordings of Broadway musicals constantly played in the background. I still know a lot of those lyrics by heart, and still happily belt them out to entertain myself.

Dad looking worn but happyWhen I was 14, I asked him and Mom if I could start going to folk music clubs. These were clubs for adults, and were not in my neighborhood. They were in downtown Boston and Cambridge.

Mom and Dad went to a club with me and decided I could go to them on my own.

Their attending the club with me was bizarre because they usually had very little to do with me. I was a feral kid who’d raised herself.

But there was Dad’s love of music again (and Mom’s huge-hearted ability to foster my wild dreams and artistic escapades).

Within months, I was playing some of those clubs myself as a musician.

When Bill died, I felt like someone hit me in the head with a 2 x 4. But only days later, I needed to be in the music studio. Before recording my album, there’d been 10 years of starts and stops. Recording were finally underway, due to circumstances that were temporary, the deadlines were incredibly tight, and I didn’t know how much longer Bruce Smith—my coproducer—would be available. It was now or never for this, my first, album.

It just so happened we were scheduled to record a song I’d written about Dad years back. When I arrived at the studio, I told Bruce that I’d probably break into tears at some point, and to give me five minutes to cry, and that then I’d be as professional as always. I also told him to not pull any punches when we were critiquing the mix; I didn’t want him being sensitive to my feelings; I wanted the best possible recording.

When recording the song, I thought of how Dad’s face was always pressed up against the glass, an outsider looking in. He would’ve loved to have been in that studio with me that day when I was recording a song about him, would’ve loved to have been on the same side of the recording booth’s glass walls.

The album was a bestseller. Dad would’ve loved that.

Mark Chimsky, who’s edited some of my books, asked me for a blurb today. I don’t usually give blurbs. The whole blurb thing is often just one big dishonest elitist scam, with people in power giving blurbs only to other people in power, and excluding most everyone else. But Mark is one of the most ethical, dear individuals I’ve ever met. He would’ve opened the window if he’d seen Dad’s nose pressed against the glass.

Later that day, I saw my blurb along with 19 others. The top blurb was from Johnny Cash. There was my name right below Johnny’s. I wanted to cry. The two names together would’ve meant a lot to Bill.

It doesn’t matter whose name is where. It’s all ego and illusion. Bill’s lack of self-worth drove him to construct a false ego, which he kept inflated by pretending to be Irish in the Boston of my youth, where Irish was a big deal—and an Irish cop at that, which was an even bigger deal—and by bragging about his teenage kid who played guitar.

He kept his false sense of self inflated by hating everyone who wasn’t … him. America was better than the rest of the world. Massachusetts was better than the rest of the country. Our neighborhood was better than all the other neighborhoods. Our family was better than all other families. And he was better than everyone else in the family.

He’d disappeared from the census, disappeared into prison, and disappeared into the recesses of his own self-doubt. So he bragged and hated.

I’m not saying his choice to brag and hate is the inevitable result of being made invisible and being shoved to the other side of the glass.

I’m not saying he shouldn’t have been made accountable for his hatred. I’m saying his choice is understandable.

I didn’t like Bill. He was an awful man, in ways there’s no point in giving details about here. A few years ago, when I found out that he wasn’t my biological father, it was a relief to know that we didn’t share DNA.

But I’ve come to understand that he was an intelligent, passionate, inventive fellow, and that he was shoved around and denied, denied, denied. (For one thing, he was a self-taught electronics engineer and resented that lack of college education kept his earnings low, despite many years in the electronics field.) I’ve come to compassion for this guy who helped make my childhood miserable.

No, I didn’t like Bill. But I’ve come to appreciate him.

… I guess in that sense I’ve come to like him. I appreciate his wandering restless spirit that led him to the south after he’d already been in Europe, long from home.

I appreciate his intelligence, vehemence, passion, and determination.

I’ve often wondered if he was one of the young boys who hopped trains during the depression, thrown out of the house because there wasn’t enough food. If so, that was a hard time, and he was a vagrant, wandering. I appreciate that he wandered away from his own soul, and the closest he could get to chasing after it was running after fire engines.

Wherever he thought the fire engines would bring him was an illusion, even when a fire truck brought him home to our house. And somehow, I’ve come to even like Bill for that.

I imagine somewhere, on the other side of the veil, Bill is wandering. I can’t imagine he’s been laid to rest. I can almost see him with my otherworldly eyes, see him waiting for reincarnation, needing another chance.

Dad looking worn but happyThough it’s geared to inflate his false ego, I’m happy today to tell his spirit, wherever he is, “Dad, look, look where my name is. Next to Johnny Cash’s.” And, “Dad, I never mentioned it before. My album with the song about you on it? It was a bestseller. And that book I told you I was writing, right before you died? Bestseller and dedicated to you.”

It doesn’t matter whose name is where. The prestige of a best seller doesn’t matter either. It’s all ego and illusion. But I’m happy to tell Dad where my name went today and to tell him the album and book gained recognition. Because illusions can be all someone has. Blessed be, William.

Additional Material

Honoring mothers: https://stardrenched.com/2017/09/18/ancestor-magic-mothers/

Mentioned above, the best editor ever: https://markchimskyeditorial.com

Newsletters to stay abreast of upcoming classes: https://outlawbunny.com/newsletter/

Spiritual counseling for ancestral trauma and other concerns: https://outlawbunny.com/pastoral-counseling/

The Virtual Pagan Monastery 2020

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.

I hope my above poem conveys, to at least some small degree, the power gained when visiting the Virtual Pagan Monastery.

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.


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.

Upcoming Event

Trauma, Shamanism, and Victory:
A Three-Week Shamanic Healing and Empowerment

Move from trauma to victory.

During or after crisis, the most basic emotional well-being can feel wobbly at best. Serenity and control of one’s life can feel completely unattainable.

In Trauma, Shamanism, and Victory, we will heal ourselves and our lives, and claim the prosperity, love, and other blessings the Universe sends us.

This course is suitable whether your crisis(es) is past or present.

Traumatizing situations range from current health dangers, to family dysfunction in childhood, to trauma in our DNA from ancestral misfortunes, to the loss of a loved one, to a terrifying societal norm, to economic loss, to portions of the media and social media tailored to emotionally batter us until we feel impotent and alone.

When devastated by misfortune, not everyone has the same trauma symptoms. But here are some rough sketches of what might occur. Most of these examples are extreme and might manifest more mildly:

* You function in a daze, mind clouded and emotionally numb. To avoid feeling helpless, you keep busy to the point of exhaustion.
* Confidence in your perceptions, decisions, and moral beliefs diminish. A belief that nothing can improve pervades your worldview.
* Exhaustion of body or spirit makes you feel unable to bear up under the smallest responsibility. The littlest challenge is overwhelming. You might need an hour—or day—to build up to performing a five-minute chore.
* A minimal stress causes panic and terror. It seems as if your spirit—your very essence—has been stolen. You feel without any purpose. Inner and outer power seem nonexistent.
* For self-protection, you withdrew emotionally. Isolated from the support needed to heal and find your power, your emotional devastation increases.
* You don’t go after what you want because you fear the pain and disappointment that might come if you don’t reach your goals will be unbearable. You reject offers of help you need to recover and triumph. No one seems trustworthy.

Whether your trauma (or traumas) is past or present, I reach out to you with my whole heart and soul to invite you into a safe space.

Join me in tribe. Enter a sacred circle. For three weeks, we’ll meet once a week, for a shamanic healing and empowerment circle.

Hope is not a lie. Here’s why:

1) Trauma, Shamanism, and Victory is down-to-earth shamanism that addresses real life issues.

War vets, incest survivors, and others can tell you my shamanic approach helped them move past suffering. 

2) For over three decades, I’ve developed and led ceremonies to help participants move through crisis and trauma and claim power.

Thus, I have an extensive repertoire of shamanic tools for this event. These decades also polished my shamanic skills to a degree of thoroughness that can only happen over time.

3) I’m not coming to our meetings as an outsider, but as someone who used shamanism to overcome tragedy herself. I repeatedly survived situations that would’ve killed most people, and came out triumphant. This informs our process.

It also means I won’t look down at you, with supposed superiority. We meet as fellow travelers.

4) Shamanically (as well as psychologically, and historically), trauma is an opportunity that could not be better tailored to springboard us into personal power.

Trauma, Shamanism, and Victory (TSV) helps our innate powers emerge, so we can better overcome problems, heal, live fully, and inspire others.

TSV also helps unlock our magic, creativity, and warrior spirit.

5) We can thrive in community. In this upcoming event, we can find wholeness, together.

An extremity of duress, even if past, can affect physical health, spiritual vigor, self-confidence, emotional well-being, and effectiveness. Reclaim them with me. With tribe, in sacred circle, in union with the cosmos, we can move on and claim our lives.

This three-week journey has three powerful aspects:

StarSwirl31) Three ceremonies, one per week, for three consecutive weeks. These rites are via group phone calls. To participate, just dial your phone. These will be major healing and empowerment ceremonies.

We’ll work in old-style oral tradition, which allows immense headway quickly. Enrollment is limited to 16 people, so we can perform ceremonies that can only occur in a small group, and so each participant can receive individualized attention if they want that support.

The rituals facilitate major transformation: energy will continue to shift in us after each rite, and probably snowball long after the three weeks end.

StarSwirl32) Direct spiritual transmissions for three weeks. Between weekly TSV meetings, the transmissions continue to support you, keep the healing and empowerment going, and more.

My transmissions are soul healings. They also bring additional serenity into your shamanic process, increase its power and safety, further your personal growth, and add luck when you do anything to improve your life.

One of each week’s transmissions will be during the group meetings.

I can’t say what “direct spiritual transmission” means for other practitioners. In my case: I was born a good luck charm, generating a beneficial field of energy. I don’t do anything to you; I don’t inject you with energy, rearrange your energy, or even dust off your aura, LOL. I simply give off a blessing energy during a transmission, much like burning incense gives off specific magical energies in a room.

My transmissions adapt to your needs, e.g., physical healing, or the spiritual strength to get back up after life’s knocked you down.

StarSwirl33) In addition to individualized attention during group ceremonies, I’m available for one-on-one support by phone, for up to one hour, should you want to privately discuss a problem, or if you have a concern that would take too long to discuss during a group ceremony.

You can divide the hour into two half-hour conversations. Our talks must occur during the span of the course or within a month after.

No experience needed for this event.

If you’re a shaman or other support for trauma survivors: a study showed that caring for folks in trauma can be traumatizing in itself. Join our circle, to receive the care you need.

Only a shyster or inept facilitator would promise to “fix everything” in a three-week ritual. Trying to do too much transformational work, all at once, can buffet the psyche, doing more harm than good.

Our journey can cause life-changing shifts for you. Many individuals who have gone on short journeys with me call the results miraculous. The brevity of TSV helps keep the process from being overwhelming.

A three-week process is long enough for my particular shamanic tools to foster substantial improvements in your well-being and circumstances.

When the three weeks end, you can continue making major positive changes, in a second Trauma, Shamanism, and Victory group.

After the first TSV group, there will be two weeks for participants, including me, to absorb the transformative work we accomplished.

Then a second three-week TSV journey begins—a different ceremony from the first one, utilizing different shamanic tools.

Enroll in either or both three-week groups.

The first group meets Sundays, 3:00 to 4:00 pm EST, for three consecutive weeks, starting April 19. Reserve Sunday May 10, same time, for a makeup meeting, in case I’m unexpectedly unavailable for one of the planned sessions.

The second group meets Sundays, 3:00 to 4:00 pm EST, for three consecutive weeks, starting May 24. Reserve Sunday June 14, same time, for a makeup meeting, in case I’m unexpectedly unavailable for one of the planned sessions.

Full cost for three ceremonies, three weeks of direct spiritual transmissions, and one-on-one private support is $250. Your carrier might charge you for the phone calls into the ceremonies.

Enroll in both groups before midnight April 15 to save $100. Your total cost is $400.

Use the drop-down menu to select one of three enrollment options. Then pay securely with PayPal:


Options
Pls give yr phone number.




Upon payment, your place is reserved. You receive course details—e.g., the phone number to dial to participate in meetings—by email. No refunds. To discuss payment plan, trade, scholarship, or semi-scholarship, or if you have other concerns about the event, call me.

We are not powerless under the brunt of society’s force. Crisis can affect every part of our lives, but together we can move past trauma to live more fully, with confidence, creativity, personal authority, wholeness, and joy. Don’t go it alone or with negligible support. Join tribe. Enroll now.

“Thunderstorm” Energy, Overt Power, Gentle Magic, and Subtle Magic

Huge positive changes can happen stat when you combine overtly huge powers, “thunderstorm” energy, gentle rites, and subtle magic.

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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BoSNwsltrSm

Peaceful Prosperity Now! So Mote It Be!

For me, prospering financially, emotionally, and spiritually requires fully engaging in life, not backing off from whatever’s occurring. Being human, I readily forsake the moment, but if I move into the now on a somewhat consistent basis, abundance comes, accompanied by serenity. One of my blocks to being in the moment is finding glory in self-pity. I try to avoid it, even when things are at their worst, because self-pity makes my defeat more likely. For example, when we thought I had only months to live, trying to avoid self-pity and instead committing to the moment and being of service to it allowed triumph; now I have another 20 years in me.

I want to feel my life is of epic proportion. However, I don’t want to create that feeling by constantly dwelling on my problems, making them grow in my mind, so that I view myself to be an abandoned, struggling hero.

Mind you, my problems are constant. Some are dire. And, as is the case with many individuals, there are ways I am an abandoned, struggling hero, who should be widely admired and is, instead, viewed as complaining about nothing. (Has this happened to you?) Stories of my heroic achievements despite great odds have been stolen to be portrayed as someone else’s, usually one of the very people who tried to block my goals. (Has this happened to you?) I don’t want to ignore any of that.

I do not want to dwell on any of it, though, with the gorgeous self-pity in which I, too readily and too often, indulge. Goddess, please help me not use atrocities perpetrated on me as an excuse to indulge in self-pity. Compassion for myself is not the same as the glory of self-pity.

I want a life that feels huge from the joy I experience, my awareness of my accomplishments, a commitment to live in reality good or bad, and the attempt to be fully who my Gods made me. I’m grateful my Gods give me the ability to constantly do the things cited in this paragraph. I want to do them more. More! Living myth is an ancient magic, one of the most powerful spells I know. It has not prevented all my misfortunes. Tragedy is part of life. However, living myth has made enough differences that my existence has been filled with beauty and abundance, instead of being a tragedy as a whole.

I imagine many people, like me, feel huge one moment because they’re living fully, kindly, and gracefully, and the next moment feel huge from having mesmerized themselves with a self-pitying tale that, even if true, is self-damaging when recited over and over to oneself. (There are times when repeatedly telling the same story of a problem is part of a healing process. That’s not the sort of repetition I’m referring to here. … If you view existence panoramically, a constantly repeated, self-pitying tale is part of a healing process, but the panorama might have to provide such a widely sweeping view that we’re looking at that self-immolation in the context of a healing process that happens over several incarnations. Or, if looking at a single lifetime, every detour from healing and empowerment is part of moving toward that healing and empowerment because every step along the way to health is needed. But I want to avoid as many detours as possible, which means being honest with myself about how self-pity derails me, damages me, and makes me feel powerless so that I am deterred from taking action to stop other people from hurting me.)

I want a life that feels huge and abundant because I face problems as if I have a sword in one hand and a tea cup in the other. I’ll deal with the problems with sword or tea cup, depending on which is most suited to the problem meeting me. If I only use the sword, I’ll hack away 24/7 until my life is shredded to ribbons. Sometimes, I can best solve a problem by sitting down and savoring a cup of tea.

I want to be a mythic, mystic, enchanted servant—to the Gods, the Tree of Life, all its inhabitants, and my oh-so-flawed-yet-perfect-and-beautiful self.

I will have peaceful prosperity now! So mote it be!

Note: if you don’t see how my above thoughts are related to having peaceful prosperity or having it now, trying to figure that out is a shamanic ritual. Even spending two minutes trying to figure it out will move you toward peaceful prosperity, whether you can find your answer or not. I’d love to hear from you about how that goes. If you already see the relationship between this essay and peaceful prosperity now, and apply it in your life, please tell me the results.

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!

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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I Dreamt Donald Trump Is My Roomate

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

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

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

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

An hour or two later he died.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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