Pagan Authors and America’s Class System

Pagan Authors and America’s Class System
Money and Hierarchy in Today’s Paganism

Warning: I am standing on a soapbox.

Recently, someone with whom I’d been conversing on Google+ for a few weeks was surprised to realize I was an author and she owned one of my books.

It might seem odd that her surprise surprised me. I asked why she was surprised. I don’t know if my question seemed ingenuous and pretentious. She kindly responded that she does not run into authors. Ah, of course! I understand.

The thing is: I get out of touch with stupid consensus realities, so forgot it is unusual for a best selling author to be available, acting just like a community member. That’s why I didn’t initially understand her surprise.

But as long as big name Pagan authors are hard to be in contact with, they help create a class system in our community.

Before going into that, here are examples of how our American class system plays out in Paganism, for context.

There are a lot of people with money in Paganism. Nothing wrong with money, but I’ve encountered many wealthy Pagans who refused to say hi to me, let alone speak with me. They blatantly snubbed me.

Check this out: some of them, including big name authors, snubbed me until they found out I had major media access—e.g., scripted a segment for a Barbara Walters show—then acted like I was their best friend. One of them even gave me family tradition material! Ugh! What a fake!

Another example: I met someone at a Pagan conference who later became my student. She eventually told me I’d been the only one at the conference who’d said hello to her. This happened at a “spiritual” conference? What a joke!

There are many reasons people get ignored at spiritual conferences. But class is often one of them. Some people’s excuse is they are too busy. At the conference where no one said hello to the woman who became my student, I was scheduled to give two presentations, one concert, etc etc. “Too busy,” in the case of some moneyed people, translates into “too busy focusing on my own selfish needs and those of my elite group.”

One last example: I don’t expect conference staff to always stop to talk. They may have so many responsibilities that they need to move at a lightening pace, zooming past people in order to get to the next responsibility. But I was stunned that the staff at a major Pagan conference couldn’t even smile at participants as they ran past them. That seemed less busy and more self-important.

So I tried an experiment to see if I was right or if perhaps they were just a very shy group or something: I let it “slip” that I had just done a televised ritual for a quarter of a million people. Suddenly all the self-important people had smiles for me. They became utterly gracious. Not good!

Okay, back to author accessibility. Discussing it necessitates highlighting some of media’s dark aspects, so I want it clear that I’m very grateful to be in the media. Not many people get that chance, especially women raised without money like me. But I need to talk about the darker sides to give a whole picture.

The world of corporate media promises hopefuls that success in publishing, acting, etc makes one part of an elite that enjoys money, prestige, and a pedestal all of your own to climb on. As a women who grew up without much money, I hoped for more than I had as a kid, but I refuse to get it by joining in a class system. I’ve paid dearly for that decision—slandered by colleagues, constantly plagiarized, and worse. It seems if you won’t join in being an oppressor, they’re going to do everything they can to oppress you, lest you blow the lid off things and reveal their true nature.

One of my editors was shocked I put my phone number in my books. A marketing consultant told me that international authors do not teach small groups like I do. But I believe spiritual teachers should be accessible.

There’s a game you’re supposed to play. The game’s a trap. It eventually stifles your creativity and innovation, until your work becomes a pale imitation of your earlier creations. Stifled innovation allows a class system to thrive; otherwise, authentic dialogue and inspiring art might nurture social change.

I’m grateful for media access, and I hope I use it wisely. I have tremendous admiration for people in the media who stick to their guns in terms of the content they produce. I know how hard it is for them to do it. Being in the media is not the bed of roses portrayed by the powers-that-be.

The upper echelons want you to think media life is inevitably easy. They hope this lie will make you jealous of your blue-collar friend who worked their butt off to get a foot in the door of an upper class scene. Why? So you will not have your friend’s back when push comes to shove.

The powers-that-be have another reason to convince you life in the media is innately easy. They’re trying to cover up the actual facts: if you’re in the media and refuse to play the elite class game, it’s beyond rough going. As I said, you get slandered and otherwise trashed—sometimes to point of financial destitution and psychological devastation.

Is it worth it? I can only answer for myself. I get tremendous satisfaction from expressing myself. Also, I chose to become a public figure because the Goddess asked me to. It’s always worth doing what my Gods ask, whether I see how it pans out for me at the time or not.

There is money to be made. There’s nothing wrong with that. Legitimate, caring shamans, whether Native American or Celtic, charged for their services in ancient times. But if money is made through supporting our class system, Paganism oppresses us like the huge religious and spiritual groups that many Pagans left to be free of oppression.

Oddly enough, being accessible makes people suspicious of me sometimes. For example, when slander about me was making the rounds about 13 years ago, someone I was mildly acquainted with asked me what the true story was. I didn’t want to get into “He said,” … “She said,” because that seemed like going around in circles.

So I responded, “Come on over the house, hang out with me. Do ritual with me. Then decide for yourself what you think about me.”

LOL, the woman thought I invited her in hopes of stealing magical secrets from her—secrets that I was actually the author of myself, although she did not know it!

Good grief!

I’m not suggesting public figures be without boundaries. You cannot survive the public arena without them.

For example, a lot of people try to use me as a scapegoat. They think I have media access because I’m “one of them,”—e.g., someone not as deep as them or who has not faced as many challenges as they have. After all, how could I have accomplished all I have, if I’d faced tremendous challenges? Poppycock! Yes, challenges can defeat us, but too many assumptions are made about people in media. Whatever shadow projection someone wants to use as a punching bag, it can do terrible things when projected onto someone. That someone, after all, is a real live human being, with all the vulnerabilities of a human.

Another example: Between death threats, nut cases, and the sheer quantity of well-intended but intrusive readers, I’m protective of my home address.

Sometimes people who love my work almost force themselves on me as a best friend, not realizing they’re being discourteous, pushy, and perhaps outright scary. So home address aside, I have to make boundaries.

I also have to take care because my work is controversial; I’ve been picketed by so-called Christians, and I can tell you, it is terrifying to sit in a wheelchair, physically defenseless, while a bunch of people led by a man dragging a 10 foot cross think you’re evil.

When my dad died, I learned the importance of a private phone number, instead of using my private phone for business.

At his passing, I felt like I’d been hit in the head by a two-by-four. I could barely speak and needed support from friends. But I couldn’t pick up the phone when it rang, because if the person on the other end was a stranger asking about my shamanic services, I was so emotionally overwhelmed by dad’s death that I couldn’t even explain I wasn’t in good enough shape to discuss work.

Yet I needed to answer the phone, in case friends called, because they might not have left any messages—it’s daunting to leave messages when somebody’s died. This was before Caller ID, so I had no way of knowing who called unless I answered the phone. So I was isolated when I was in great need.

But none of these are reasons to be completely unavailable.

Ok, I will get down off my soapbox now.

I first posted this essay in 2016 on http://witchesandpagans.com/

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Traditional Shamanic Culture and Business

Rosmrta

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The book is two pronged in its benefits:

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

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

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

* easy, powerful, ethical marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

DNA and Ancestral Ritual

DNA Science and magic meet. I won’t choose between mysticism and science. They can feed each other.

My ancestors are spiritually important to me. So I’m combining science and spirit in a deeply personal way: I ordered an AncestryDNA test kit.

A mystic, I travel through the blood in my veins, back through time, to discover the ancient ways my family once practiced. Today, the logical rational side of me does the same by spitting into a vial. This test tube becomes a chalice that arrived by mail, enclosed in plastic. Two supposedly disparate halves of me come together to feed my spirit.

I mailed my saliva, part of my sacred body, to scientists, who will analyze it to reveal my ethnic background. They’ll go back through many generations, the same way my meditations have. Their work will expand my otherworldly travels.

The lab analysis will determine where my ancestors hail from, based on a science my layperson’s mind can’t understand, no matter how much experts explain it.

Many scientists would be equally puzzled by my ability to uncover historical information by meditating on my blood. I have my expertise, they have theirs. I get to draw on both.

A relationship with my ancestors, in ritual and daily life, is pivotal to me. They lovingly support me. And I tend them. Trance journeys give me a strong intuitive sense of my ancestors. The DNA results can help me know whether my intuitions are correct.

It would be fine to trust my intuition without the DNA results. (Check out my blog about that: Mysticism and Non-Academic Scholarship.) But corroboration is useful.

Science can support my spirituality in other ways, too.

For one, I come from a European shamanic family tradition. Some of my family history has been lost. I’m hoping DNA will fill in gaps.

For example, I might see how major societal events impacted my family’s past generations to shape the family’s spirituality. That familial story could provide context to better understand my own path.

Luck allowed me to gather a staggering amount of anecdotal evidence about my ancestors. Information from relatives, and from strangers I don’t know but who have my last name, and from other sources, provided enormously convincing material, when looked at as a whole. I believe anecdotal evidence is part of folk culture and one source of the old wise ways. This fecund anecdotal evidence can be augmented with DNA science.

For example, the DNA test might help me gather more anecdotal evidence, if it leads to relatives I hadn’t learned about previously. They might know family history I don’t.

DNA results could also be a jumping off point for more ancestral rituals. I love the wisdom of ancient cultures, and appreciate reenactment whether based in textbooks’ history or intuited history. I revere native and ancestral spiritual practices. These leanings feed my desire for DNA info about my ancestral roots.

I can best explain another reason for wanting a test by telling you a personal story.

A friend of mine was part of a DNA study. Before continuing the story, let me be clear: I’m not part of any study. My test kit is from AncestryDNA. They’re not experimenting on me, and their tests results do not show an ancestral timeline such as you’ll read about in my friend’s tale. I checked out some companies, and AncestryDNA seems to give the most comprehensive results. If you’re interested, their kit is also easy to use.

Back to my story:

My friend phoned me one day, and exclaimed rapturously, “I got the DNA results. My family originated in Egypt!”

Then she added, “My later ancestors migrated to Greece. Guess where else my ancestors migrated to?”

I responded, “Mongolia?”

There was a long pause. Then she said, in a stunned voice, “That’s right! How did you know?”

“It was obvious. Your immense love for Egyptian religions motivated you to become an Egyptian scholar, devoted to reviving ancient Egyptian spiritual practices, which became part of your personal devotions. Later, you seriously worked with Greek Gods. Then, you channeled material that had no geographical basis, as far you knew, but later found out that the material resonated with documented Mongolian traditions.”

I continued, “Your family only told you about your Caucasian Irish lineage. But your earlier ancestors influenced your mystical life. Your spiritual quest this lifetime follows the migration of your ancestors, step by step!”

The point of my story: I want to know if my DNA matches my various spiritual leanings.

There can be valid reasons we’re drawn spiritually to cultures we were not raised in. Our DNA might be one of those reasons. I don’t hold with the idea that you should only use the spiritual tools of your obvious ancestors.

Mind you, I am not okaying co-option. I’m saying legitimate cross cultural shamanism exists.

That legitimacy is hard to come by. It would take a whole book to explain how to pull it off ethically and otherwise, so I won’t get into it here, except to say:

By “cross-cultural shamanism,” I don’t mean “core shamanism,” AKA the idea that shamanism is primarily the same in all cultures. I disagree with the modern standardization of shamanism.

My experience is that shamans individualize according to cultural differences, and way past that, individualizing family by family and person by person.

My personal definition of legitimate cross-cultural shamanism is an ethical, thoughtful blend of earth based mysticism as it manifests in various cultures.

Moving on:

I am a little worried. With adventure, comes fear of the unknown: am I going to like the DNA test results?

But mostly I’m excited about the DNA adventure I am embarking on.

And I feel gratitude for science and magic.

When the DNA results arrive, I’ll post them here, and share how it impacts my mystical journey.
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Note: I first posted this blog May 2015 at http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/a-faerie-haven.html and post it again here for those of you who tend to read me here.
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Myth, Body, Gaia, Faerie

A Seven-Week Teleseminar: imageShamanic rituals for Faerie shamans, bardic poets, visionary painters, cosmic clowns, spiritual outlaws, and other fey-touched adventurers. And for anyone who wants to become a fey adventurer.

This breakthrough mystical training will not happen again for three years.

I’m temporarily defining myth as an altered state, otherworldly realm, or mythic self-identification. Myth has a more complex, inclusive meaning during the actual teleseminar.

MYTH, BODY, GAIA, FAERIE is a seven-week process that experientially integrates living in MYTH, being in a physical BODY, experiencing GAIA on the embodied and mystical planes, and walking in otherworldly realms such as FAERIE. This weave
* unfolds rich experiences and ecstatic mysticism uniquely and innately available to you,
* then deepens those wonders more,
* then deepens them beyond more.

Such an extensive weave can hold many things, including practical needs. Our seven-week class helps starchildren improve our daily life (e.g. finances, love, home, and career).

This includes magic to
* manifest physical health by meeting the needs of your star-touched physiology,
* and heal your soul wounds.

imageWe’ll address loneliness, self-doubt, and other challenges star-wanderers can face when society, misunderstanding the mythological, judges our experiences as deluded, immature, or otherwise “wrong.”

Many mystics face emotional wounds and health problems that might lead one to metaphysical power. But other wounds can result from mystical exploration. Negative impacts from vigorous otherworldly journeys have been insufficiently addressed. My curriculums are exceptions; I channel material that heals the original soul wounds, supports flights into fantastic realms, and trains us to come back whole. Lessons will help
* Make mystical experiences safe. (Star-drenched!)
* Keep Fey-touched individuals safer in their mundane lives. (Stardust still falls on us when we walk on the earth!)

Myth, Body, Gaia, Faerie qualifies as one of the two electives needed before advanced training. If this class does not appeal, other qualifying electives will be coming up.

Enrollment limited. In-depth attention for each participant. Authentic connectivity.

Multi-leveled to meet any degree of experience and education. Accessible to beginners. No prerequisites. Powerful for advanced practitioners.

Faerie Ancestor who is a guardian to this site. Silk Painting, Outlaw Bunny

Faerie Ancestor who is a guardian to this site. Silk Painting, Outlaw Bunny

Nuts and Bolts:
* We meet by group phone call. No computer or other technology required. Just dial your phone.
* We meet seven consecutive Tuesdays, noon to 1 EST, starting April 15. RESERVE June 3, same time, for a makeup class in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned sessions.
* Tuition: $250. You might pay long-distance charges, depending on your long-distance plan. If so, they appear on your phone bill. The event is a U.S. area code.
* Register here.
* If you’ve taken this class, you can repeat it, half-price. Paypal me $125, using outlawbunny@outlawbunny.com as the recipient; include your phone number and the name of the event.
* Upon receipt of payment, I email you event phone number, etc. No refunds.
* If you need more info, or want to discuss scholarship, trade, or payment plan, call me: 814.337.2490. There are ways to make this class happen for you.
* Participants are personally responsible for the consequences of their voluntary participation.

Not the same ol’ rote self-help/mysticism/shamanism. Use your intuition and instinct about my ability to help you shine in your own path. My classes = soul-depth, pivotal movement, playtime.

The spiritual evolution we achieve together will give the rest of the cosmos power to do the same. Click here to register.

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