Prayer of Forgiveness

Prayer of Forgiveness
How long before I always forgive readily?
Francesca De Grandis, 2007

I ask the butcher, “Carp?”

“Sure,” he says. Immediately dipping his large meaty arm into a fish tank directly behind him, he pulls out a large fish, throws it on the floor, and raises a killing tool. All of this happens within fifteen seconds of me saying, “Carp.”

I am shocked: Unexpected death will happen within seconds. Nevertheless, while the butcher’s arm descends, before he can slaughter the animal, I bless it. “Thank you,” I silently say, “for giving your life to feed me.”

I am surprised, though pleased, that all my years of shamanism kick in more quickly than the merchant’s automatic killing blow.

That night, I eat the fish, with love for it, gratitude, and in peace.

PiloCsStudy

Click painting to see it clearly.

I want to forgive my enemies in the same manner, trust the life cycle of one being dying to feed another—whomever Goddess deems the sacrifice in the cycle of the minute, the hour, the day, the lifetime.

I want to bless my enemies, saying, “Thank you for any way you fed me or not. I eat the results with love for you, gratitude, and in peace.”

This does not always kick in quickly. It seems that I need more years of growth and practice before I automatically forgive. Goddess, if it is your will, make me a person who readily and immediately forgives. And if it is your will, make that change in me right now.

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Want a spiritual counselor who doesn’t rest on her spiritual laurels but keeps growing? Want support doing the same so your life keeps expanding? Make an appointment with me: http://www.outlawbunny.com/pastoral-counseling/

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.

Professional Shaman. World Tree Resurrection

Eagle with Iris in Great Darkness, OutlawBunny.

Eagle with Iris in Great Darkness, OutlawBunny.

This post is roughly-written, but felt important to post stat, for my personal growth. Spent the morning pouring my heart out in this, I hope you read it.

My commitment to being a professional shaman must be made daily.

Today is Feb 5. The World Tree resurrects today. It is a day to plant.

Ancient MetsoaAmerican merchants traded in sacred good, items of great mystic worth.

From an anthropological view, if you don’t charge for it, it ain’t shamanism. (I support all definitions of shamanism. I mention the anthropological one contextually.)

I tell myself, “Come into the market place, again, today. Do not be stopped by those with dubious claims to power, who brag about alliance with death.”

Francesca De Grandis, May 2012

Francesca De Grandis, May 2012

I tell myself, “Yes, they hurt my feelings and make it hard for people to understand my work enough to know it might really help them. Yes, this immense pain makes my tears appropriate. Cry, do cry. But remember that anyone wrongly claiming they belong to a fierce god of war or death or the underworld is a deluded pawn of the evil bastardization of such a god. They don’t just cause harm, they too suffer. (I’m not referring to an innocently mistaken choice of a patron deity, but an arrogant choice.)

I tell myself, “They’re children playing at grown up, teenagers claiming selves in loud clothes. Like foolish adolescents, they careen in magic cars, injuring or killing themselves and others. But there is nothing I can do, until they know they need help. Move on. Some day, they’ll know better. Then they’ll be attacked and have to learn to cleave to honest paths despite. Ultimately, we are all in this together.”

I leave behind my fantasy of telling them, “Ancient MesoaAmerican football was sacred, the losing team was beheaded, you are not up to that game.” They would not understand. Which makes me utterly frustrated. I leave behind my frustration.

I admit and honor my powerlessness. I focus on me, tell myself, “Honor your healing magic by selling it. Honor your ability as a shamanic guide by selling it. Make beauty with your magic and sell it. Become part of the market.”

Today, I remind myself today, “Every Mayan king was a shaman. Yes, admit in your gut that you’re attacked by those trapped in the modern american division of sacred and profane, market and magic. Admit in your gut how badly they treat you and how hard they make it for you. Then take time for self-compassion. Then stop thinking about finding self, heck, stop trying to find self. Go sell self. Only in service do we find self and fully heal self.

People attack me instead of facing that they’re not willing to get into the game of life and marketplace. My preoccupation with them is my way of avoiding life and marketplace. :-)What a self-perpetuating cycle of avoidance! So I focus on my own failings and on being of service. I focus on today!

EagleWithIrisDetailI pray, “Hermes, Mercury, Exu, open the road and gate to my profession today, that I may serve.Open the road and gate within my heart today, that I may serve. Open the road and gate, today, for the person whose needs and goals are well met by my particular shamanic skill set. Guide my day in the divine marketplace, today. Help me be a sacred merchant, today. Help me try and try and try, today, for to be a professional shaman who is well-serving community means to ever be resurrected, both in my private life and daily in my commitment to the market place.” (I support all definitions of shamanism. This paragraph is specific to a moment in time.)

I post this today, because my heart needs to touch someone who will understand my pain, my commitment, my happiness in my work, and in hopes the post will help them. Please tell me if you understand and/or if this post helps.

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Here’s a description of my shamanic counseling sessions. And you can schedule online. http://www.outlawbunny.com/pastoral-counseling/

Hiding, Healing, Power

Faerie art, Francesca De GrandisHiding, Healing, Power
Written and painted in March and/or early April, 2012.

I call the following piece a Faerie tale. That is accurate but not by most standards. The piece is part my thoughts, part my paintings, part my methods for empowerment (perhaps in less overt forms, such as asking you a question), mixed with little magical stories told through word and visuals. By my definition of shamanism, that is a faerie tale: The sum total helps you live in myth—live in myth generally speaking, and in the particular myths I’m creating here, and in your own unique myths that this piece can help you find and/or better dwell in.

I painted the illustrations brush stroke by stroke—digitally. I just paint on a computer screen instead of a canvas. And with that:

Hiding Fey Warrior In Training. Click on the painting to see it large and without blurring that occurs when WordPress shrinks a pic to fit the page.

Part One

This is a Faerie tale about healing and power. And about hiding. This story is for grown ups.

Sometimes we need to hide. There are many reasons. We might have to hide because we hurt. We find a safe, secret place to heal, or at least to be away from whatever might hurt us.

Do you ever hide? Do you need to tell someone why? Or is it better that no one knows you are hiding?

Sometimes we hide because it is fun.

Sometimes we hide to be alone with our thoughts.

Or with our “imaginary” friends.

Hiding, Faerie Healer in Training. Available as a limited first edition print. For more info, click on the picture.

When children have to repeatedly hide to protect themselves, it can injure their spirit in ways that haunt them into adulthood. But they’re doing the best they know how to keep themselves safe, and that is an act of power.
 
Hiding can also be an act of power when motivated instead by happy events and sweet wishes. We don’t always stay out of sight because of fear and pain; for example, you might simply tuck yourself away in a special place for a while, in order to flourish undisturbed. 

Some people hide to gain powers that only come where no one—without those powers—can see them. They work hard and often joyfully, secretly doing what the Cosmos asks of them. That is what this little Fey fellow is doing—he is a Faerie healer in training.

And perhaps he is also making himself safe from trouble; if you ask him sincerely, he might tell you. Or maybe he’ll just keep peeking out at you from his hiding place.

I’ll post part 2 in two weeks, here. I blog once a week, and am going to try alternating between this and the blog at my other site. Two blogs with two separate RRS feeds.

Please share the URL to my above story; here it is to copy and paste for Facebook or an email or whatever: https://stardrenched.com/2012/06/13/hiding-healing-power/    I want folks to know about my new Faerie tale and my refurbished site (the site you are on has been updated lately with a new look and all sorts of other new stuff). Thank you for your support. I cannot do without it, truly! Oh, wait…I am so 20th century! Unless you’re viewing this blog entry on my site’s home page, you can like my Faerie tale with the nifty Facebook button, right below, next to the Twitter button and the like. Duh!