Sunday, July 29, 2012

Spirits 101: Victim-Shaming, YOUR consent, And Spirit-Walking





{Picture of my Kuan Yin altar when I lived at my apartment. Placed at the window, she anchored the space and created a natural shield from the window, which is a portal.)


{Trigger warning for mention of parallels between victim shaming in sexual assault situations and hauntings. This is not meant to equate one with the other or make one more serious than the other; I just have a lot of experience and knowledge about victim shaming against assault survivors, so I'm pulling from what I know.}

In my last post, I stressed Spirit-Consent. Not traipsing around like an asshole, generally being respectful of the shit that was there before you, you know, the usual. Today I am talking about the flip-side of that conversation.

You maybe didn't realize it because my last post was focused on only Spirit-Consent--but you have consent too. You have the right to expect the exact same respect from the Spirits you work with that you give them. Because, although you respect their consent, that's not an open invitation for them to blatantly disregard YOUR consent. Respect is not an invitation to waltz in and do whatever they want either.

You have the right to expect to be regarded as an equal in terms of personal space and boundaries. That goes for Spirits, Ancestors, and ESPECIALLY Deities/Gods. Like humanity, actually respecting that boundary depends on the individual. And in the case they don't respect it and you bypass ignorance as an excuse, you need to show them where the boundary is. And sometimes they don't respect that, and then you need to show them where the boundaries are with your fists.

I tried to make it clear in the last post: I am not above throwing Other Beings out on their asses if they don't respect MY clear shields and boundaries. There are things I WILL NOT do OR ALLOW. And they are told this. I respect them and their boundaries only so long as they respect mine. If you have a boundary cross I consider that a personal attack worthy of being dealt with. Even if the spirit is traumatized and crazy, there is a fine line between bending over backwards and respect. There's a fine line between doing offerings and assuaging the spirit because you're not an asshole, and the Spirit haunting you out of malice for the next 15 years just because.

Real-world example. If a God got all in my shit, I'd be like, woah man. Calm the fuck down. You are NOT to be getting into my bodily nonsense, nor anywhere NEAR my body, if you come here again. You are not to touch me, get up close to me, or make weird remarks or advances without my permission. Do it again and I will punch you in the face and exact my vengeance. You'll notice this is exactly how I would handle a human breech of consent situation. There's a reason for that.

For a record of how that went, go see my post on marrying a land spirit. Point? Somebody got punched for not respecting my Underworld Self's autonomy and consent.

In the last post I spoke about being an internet badass, of knowingly going to mess with Spirits because you think your command of them is great or you feel mighty. There is a marked difference between trolling around on purpose and accidentally stumbling onto hallowed ground and making a Spirit-Enemy that follows you home by accident.

And there's a marked difference between that and waking up one day, minding your own non-metaphysical life, to demons on your ceiling.

Becuase, when it comes to Spirits, a lot of times you had no fucking choice in the matter.

There are so many cases of Demonic or BAD nonsense just coming to call on people, just because they want to fuck shit up. Regular, everyday non metaphysical people who are haunted by shit and seriously made a target by a stronger entity looking for a joyride. This is a reality. It happens. And frankly we don't talk about it enough.

Often I see the victim blame game being played when it comes to a bad possession, or a very bad haunting, or a spirit attachment. Often the first question is 'What did you do?' What did you, the person, fuck with, to bring this on? Sometimes, you did something stupid like open a portal 10 years ago. Sometimes you did absolutely nothing.

And you know what? As in a real life situation, a woman has the right to lie completely naked, spread eagled and passed out on a lawn, and not get assaulted. That's simple bodily autonomy and consent. Trying to tell a woman it was her fault--she dressed the wrong way, looked the wrong way, went home with the wrong guy, etc, creates a false dichotomy that makes women (and men) think they can somehow prevent rape. They can somehow prevent another individual's actions. They can somehow control it.

The truth is, you can't. In any rape situation it's the attacker that make a conscious decision to attack. Nothing the person did or did not do could have prevented that decision.

Bringing this back to Spirits. A LOT OF THE TIME, really horrific hauntings/possessions happen to somebody who literally did nothing to invite it. And even if they did--technically, it's their right to NOT get possessed or attacked by shit, as per consent. Does every Spirit follow that? No. Just like our Rape Culture, you have nasty fucking individuals that get off on power and overriding consent.

And a LOT OF THE TIME there is NOTHING the person could have done to prevent the haunting. Many times they're spontaneous, or the person didn't know enough about defense, or the entity was just too plain strong or came to them when they were very young.

My point is when really terrible Spirits happen to regular people, we need to stop assuming it was something they must have invited, or shaming them for doing something stupid. Maybe they played with a Ouija board 10 years ago when they were 7 and BAM! Attachment. How does shaming them solve their problem? It doesn't. And sometimes you're like me and you've done nothing and suddenly Spirits are in your room 24/7. I never asked for it. It just happened.

Sometimes dark entities search kids out and fuck with their heads and give them nightmares and haunt them to feed off the energy. How did the kid invite that shit? They didn't. It just Happened.

Okay, we clear on this? Don't automatically assume it's the victim's fault for somehow causing their own haunting. I seriously doubt someone stood in their house and went YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD BE GREAT RIGHT NOW? My own personal demon possession that ruins my life! Yeah, sounds good! (And even if they did, yes, it might be stupid, but Spirits, and even Demons, are capable of self restraint. It doesn't mean they HAVE to take the bait. It takes 2 to tango.)

So, that said. We're going to discuss how I would go about setting boundaries with unruly Spirits. This implies they can be reasoned with. After that, we'll proceed to when you need to get the fuck out or make them get the fuck out or you're dealing with entities that don't respond well to anything but fists.

How to set boundaries with Spirits in a few easy steps!

1. Lay a good defensive foundation in your home/where you'll do the Work/in yourself.

Even if you live in a good neighborhood, you lock your doors, right? Same applies here. Difference between paranoia and being stupid.

2. Decide what your boundaries ARE. Write them down. Live by them.

You can't make boundaries if you haven't clearly decided where yours are. If you work with Spirits, do you not want them to bother you at work? Do you not want them around your children, even if you work with them? If you work with a Deity, what if it starts getting too handsy/friendly with you? Are you okay with that, or no? What if a Spirit asks for something you're unwilling to do? (One of my extreme never-cross boundaries is animal sacrifice or offerings of meat, due to strong soul taboos against eating or causing suffering in animals.) What if a Spirit asks to possess you? Or doesn't ask? Can you handle that? Do you WANT to? Decide these things for yourself.

3. If a Spirit/Deity approaches you for help or just to be a d-bag, clearly state your boundaries to the Spirit.

 Again, this is assuming the Spirit/Deity is overall pleasant or able to be reasoned with and not a slobbering entity trying to eat your face. Obviously is something is coming at you repeatedly it doesn't give a shit about boundaries. We'll get to that later.

In any case, you can't expect anybody to follow your boundaries if you don't clearly state them. For instance, using the animal offering/sacrifice example above, if I think the Deity might ask for that sometime, I clearly state that I won't be ever doing that for them. This way, if that's a deal-breaker, the Deity/Spirits knows right away and can choose whether they still want to work with me or not. This way everybody knows where everybody stands first. It's a fair situation.

Ask the Spirit/Deity if it has boundaries too. In the spirit of respecting consent, you don't want to be a d-bag either.

3a. Let go of the idea that a Deity, by virtue of being Divine, will never cross a boundary you make for yourself, highest good and love and light and etc etc.

I've had it happen before and it will happen again. Especially when Gods declare you their property without your consent and then your life starts going to shambles and then they try to possess your body without your consent and theeeen you need to put a stop to it. And it's not easy. But it can be done. Ditto for Spirits, etc.

4. If a boundary is crossed, let that Deity/Spirit know it crossed the boundary, and why, and explain it will NOOOOOT be happening again.

Some Spirit/Deities make us uncomfortable on purpose. Like Tricksters, they go out of their way to make us rethink our lives. But even to me this is a marked difference between pushing boundaries and going against them utterly. For instance, if I'm journeying in the Under-realms with a Deity there and I die repeatedly as a transformational experience, that's not crossing my physical boundaries. If something tried to kill me HERE? Yeah, that's crossing my boundaries. And if they try it I will fight back. Another example. For me, Gods getting up in my shit in a physical/sexual way is a positively uncrossable boundary. That shit is mine and mine alone and everybody else can butt out. So if something is trying to get with me in the God-Spousey way they will soon make friends with the walls. And the floors.

And some Spirits maybe honestly didn't realize they crossed your boundary. It's fair to reiterate, just to remove all doubt that it could have been an accident. This way, if it happens again, you'll know why.

By the same token, if a Deity says "No red on my altar, that's a taboo," then you probably shouldn't put that there. It can be considered a boundary it doesn't want you to cross. Again, respect and the two way street idea. They have the right to react badly if you act like an asshole or cross their boundaries on purpose. (Boundaries can be physical Land, too!) But you also have the right to be pissed if they cross your boundaries on purpose. Respect doesn't mean being an Entity-Doormat.

5. If the boundary has been crossed repeatedly and made you legitimately feel unsafe, and/or the Thing doesn't seem to really have a consciousness and/or is legitimately just trying to eat your face off, for no apparent reason, proceed to defensive/offensive maneuvers.

When do I personally go to fuck-off-level? Not for a boundary like "Don't bother me at work, Spirits." Sometimes you have Spirits that are in legitimate and immediate need of help, so they find you wherever. That's fine. Sometimes my Guides/Gods visit me at work/my house, that's fine. Sometimes I have random, non threatening Spirits chilling in my room. We mind our own business. That's fine. That's not crossing a boundary so strict I need to go handle it and be internet badass about it.

But once, when I was asleep, I was possessed by a more or less non conscious Entity in my room. I did really creepy shit like lift the mattress bodily while on it and drop it, repeatedly. I don't remember any of this, somebody else had to tell me that's what happened. That, my friends, is fuck-off-level. When you possess me when I'm asleep and I have no idea who the fuck you are, we have a problem, friends.

Have a Deity/Spirit chilling around your kids and that's a boundary? Whatever, just ghosts. Have a Spirit willfully FUCKING WITH/possessing your child? Fuck off level. Fuck-off level for you should be fluid or situational. There is never one standard Fuck-off level for every person.

Anyway, proceeding onward! What to do when you've reached fuck off level/declared war on an entity that is making your life hell.

0. Refer to the Discernment post: Figure out what you're dealing with.

Do you have a haunting? Is there good reason for it? Was the house built on hallowed ground/somebody died there? Declaring war on regular human Spirits over that is probably not going to work as well as moving them on/helping them.

If you have a haunting and the Entity is definitely not human, then what the hell is it? What kind? Shapeless, formless, Entities that just want to eat your face? Or is it writing on the walls in human blood that it's going to murder your ass? And even if it is, what are you dealing with?

I dealt with a Demon possession (I mean Demon in terms of a Species of entity, not in the evil fear mongering way, aight?) once that was Amadeus of the Christian pantheon. I dealt with it from a Christian exorcism standpoint, because that was the correct pantheon for the Spirit that refused to get the fuck out.

You need to know what, exactly, you're dealing with before you can determine a correct course of action.

1. Refer back to the Consent for Spirit Workers post. Is the Spirit not giving a fuck because you crossed its boundaries/didn't show it respect first? Just be very sure about the actions you'll take.

2. Fortify the fuck out of your house/defenses/children/animals. Your house is YOUR temple, and I want you to defense the fuck out of it.

But Dusken, how do I defense the fuck out of my house?

I'm making a more intense post for this later. But a few ideas.

    1. Salt across every threshhold. BLACK SALT IS BEST, yo. Salt in the backyard, too.
    2. Sage the entire place (which is NOT a defensive mechanism! It's a cleansing mechanism!) mix the ash of the sage/incense with water, and draw X's on all the doors. Don't ask, it scares some kinds of demons away.
    3.  Draw sigils fucking everywhere. You can draw them on paper and stick them to walls, even. Defensive symbols and sigils. It's better if you use one streamed to you directly: sigils that didn't 'exist' before are much harder to break/undo.
    4. Invoke help from guides/deities. Unless of course you're warding against a Deity. Then find a Deity that really doesn't like said other Deity. (If Apollo is coming after you with threats of making you his and sexual advances, how about you go find a Virginal Goddess that abhors rape? You know who doesn't appreciate rape? Hekate. Artemis. Now you get the picture.)
    5. Set up energetic booby traps. Pretend it's the zombie apocalypse and you're that farmer with the red hat and 16 assault rifles on a rocking chair in your house facing the door. I will be going into more detail about this in the next Spirits 101/Defense post. But it's very possible to make energetic "trip wires" around your property, or make it so your animals are alerted if a strange Spirit comes to call.
    6. Make friends with your House Spirit/Land Spirit. Offer it a bargain in return for fortified defenses and letting you know how shit is. I contacted a friend's Spirit for her, and being a Deer, it requested apples, buried weekly. But they never had problems.
    7. Serviors/Thought Constructs. A Chaos-ish idea, this refers to creating an entity specifically to go around and kick shit out. It's like a program that's alive. This is a long tale so I'll keep it for later, but it is possible.

Now that your walls are fortified and shit...

3. Tell the thing to fuck off.

Yeah, you heard me. Fair warning before war is declared. In some rare cases, if you make a solid, unwavering stake on your land/house/self, the Spirit steps off because its will can't match yours. But you really have to be at scary angry level to pull this one off. There can't be fear. It has to be a haunting so bad it throws shit at you daily for you to reach this point. And this obviously isn't going to work with any kind of strong entity/willful thing. Asking something to please not possess you is not going to solve the problem.

Moving on...

4. So the thing didn't fuck off, right?

BUT WAIT! Before you go all Rambo on that spirit, there's something else to remember: Many entities actually can't help their nature. Void or Demonic critters are often (at the lower levels) hungry with a half-consciousness. They may legit not know what they're doing. I've also encountered mentally ill ghosts that had no idea they were smashing shit in the next room. This doesn't mean to have to suffer them. It just means you need to approach removal with the right frame of mind. You're not being an internet badass: in many cases, it's sad as fuck trying to get rid of these things because they really don't know better. You don't have to run in guns a blazing for every case. The intent is not to torture, but to restore balance.


Time to get some serious artillery in here. Consider this your beyond filling the house with white light/fluffy nonsense primer 101. There are a variety of ways to go about it, and I can't suggest one that will work for all situations because they're all unique. (Are you dealing with possession or no, human entity or no, attachment or not, etc etc) But I can suggest some other nonsense. Here are some options on removal that isn't just waving some sage around.

A. Trap the entity in a place where it can be neutralized and moves on of its own accord because it can't 'feed on you' anymore.

This is not an easy thing to do, nor should it be done lightly. I've witnessed/aided in doing this exactly once, because there was a Spirit that literally gave us visions of fires and the bed collapsing on us all the time. We felt extremely unsafe just being in the room. And it wasn't the type of Thing that can be talked to and reasoned with.

This method involves trapping the entity in an object. We used a clear quartz bracelet. I'm not going to go over the method; if you really NEED to know you can find out from the Akashic and guides. But we trapped it in a bracelet, then threw that bracelet in a box that was sealed thoroughly with Babylonian sigils. And then, we stuck that box on a window someplace it wouldn't be opended for months.

When I finally opened it months later, the bracelet was clear. What happened? The entity, devoid of energy, "starved" to the point where it forced its way out. Since it couldn't get back into our room, it went back to the astral from whence it came.

B. If you can, actually Journey and challenge the entity in its own land. Obviously only do this if you're capable of not losing soul pieces in the process.

Notice I'm not going to tell you exactly how to fight and defeat an entity. If you don't know yet, I'm a fan of the theory you're not supposed to know yet. Exception: If it comes after you when you're completely unprepared and nothing you do can stop it. In that case, feel free to contact me and we'll look into it together. It's much safer to have someone with more experience look over the case.


C. Positively flood the house with energetic pitfalls and booby traps. Bonus points if you enlist the help of Deities, Guides or Land Spirits. Two can very easily play at a fear game.

I will elaborate more on energetic pitfalls and boobytraps in the forthcoming Defense post...but calling in outside help is never a bad plan.

D. Alternatively, find somebody who knows how to do one of the above, is experienced and will be able to do it without fucking themselves up.

As I stated above...it's not exactly safe to attempt this if you're not in the right place. I stress asking trusted outside forces (mortal and non) their opinions and guidance first. If possible, that is. And feel free to email me or comment anytime if you have a specific Entity problem. I've seen pretty much everything. Nothing sounds too crazy to me.

5. Provided you got the thing to move on/fuck off, re-cleanse your person, house, kids, pets, etc. Remove any attachments that may have been laid and cut any cords you might have hanging around.

By "cords" I mean energy attachments a Spirit might make to try and leach energy/feed off you from long distances.

Alternatively, ask your Spirits to scan you and cut your cords for you, if you like. A simple meditation for cord-cutting is envisioning a sword slashing all around your aura, cutting all the strings. Proceed to thoroughly cleanse your home/self and set up new wards/defenses.

Then have some alcohol. You'll need it.

I'm sorry for the extremely beastly long post. I just started writing and then realized "Oh, I should include this too..." and it just snowballed. Hopefully it's readable.


OTHER SPIRIT 101 POSTS:

1. Consent for Spirit Walkers

FORTHCOMING SPIRIT 101 POSTS:

3. Defense for Spirit-Walkers
4. 'Moving On' Human/Familial Spirits for Beginners

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Crystal Scarf Grid


So the Powers That BE seem to be dragging me head first into my healing duties again. I picked up a few stones today, and this gorgeous green scarf, because it literally was calling to me, saying USE ME IN YOUR HEALING DUTIES!!! So I bought it.



I laid it out on the floor and realized...I needed to put crystals on it. I had the itch. I did, and realized the scarf is a giant crystal grid blueprint. Fuck you universe, I get it. But fuck you. I love when things like this happen. Sudden moments of epiphany. I guess back to healing it is.

PBP 18: Order of the Golden Monarch



There's a place on the astral called The Order of the Golden Monarch.

More specifically, that's what the Order call themselves. The building in which they meet, and mostly live, is called the Temple of the Golden Monarch.

It's interesting because they make no marking on their doors, which are glass, quite ornate, and very tall, (at least as tall as two men, stacked upon each other) but think, and not delicate. In fact, the building, which from the outside seems to be single-floored, is in fact a cleverly disguised illusion. To the passerby, it would seem like a long, elegantly designed greenhouse, with a silver frame and thick glass panels, so as not to reveal what's inside.




The frame looks rather like this, but easily a half mile long.

The building itself is on its own plane; impenetrable to those who don't have business there. The building seems unassuming and unprotected, nestled in a grand meadow of wildflowers and groomed rose gardens. The building faces an open courtyard, with gravel pathways that crunch underfoot. In the center of the courtyard is a grand, circular fountain with statuary in the center (a mermaid, 2 fish, and of course, flowers) which at night gives off a faint blue glow. Upon approach, one is overtaken by the rich smell of lavendar and spice, which they cultivate closely around the courtyard. The plants are high enough to touch, and velvety. Often they develop an otherworldly warmth that seems to come from within. One could assume this is from the nature of that plane, or the successful scholarship of those who study there.

Many come from all over to bask in the strange exotic scents the hybrid orchids they cultivate seem to give off, like a mix of vanilla and patchouli. The orchids are strategically placed around benches in the area.

When one approaches the building, there is again an alarming lack of defenses. The glass doors open of their own accord, long enough for you to glimpse the silver butterfly handle, or perhaps feel how the glass is cool yet somehow feels incorpeal at the same time, but not long enough to cause uncessary pause.

 {The architecture is trippy like this}

You may notice one of two things first: one, the brilliant filtered sunlight that illuminates the whole of the interior, or two, the verdant smell of a thousand types of plants held within the same building, mixed with the old scent of leather bound books in an attic. For the second floor of this building, which hugs the walls and overlooks the ground floor, is a giant research greenhouse, home to several hundred strains of plant, herb, and poison, and home to several hundred birds as well. The ground floor is a handsome library; freestanding Oaken shelves filled with a myriad of very old books, quiet study rooms, comfortable seeming lounge chairs and couches, and other standard library fare.

There are two strange elements: One, a large, marble seeming statue in the center of the Ground Floor, featuring a Monarch butterfly in flight, supported by an artistic rendition of wind supporting it, and Two, that the Ground Floor is also a butterfly nursery. The patrons (who are all dressed in long, white robes, which are slightly silken to the touch and knotted at the waist by cords) coexist utterly with the butterflies they raise here. They flit along the ceiling, the benches, the chairs, up into the second floor greenhouse and back down to land amongst the shelves. They glide effortlessly in groups of 50 or more, every color and none, some Otherworldly with wings of metal that reflect the sun; some black as night with entire universes in their wings. They have no fear of people: wait long enough in one place, and a brilliant violet butterfly as large as a dinner plate may grant you a visit. (Feel the wings, if you get one: these butterflies aren't harmed by it. They feel like feathers, or soft cloth.)



The library has no tender or check out system; the building itself breathes and sees and is conscious of its stores. There are a few dedicated members of the Order who live within the giant greenhouse (the quarters are through a hidden back door in the library) and tend to the plants, books, and research, but this is considered a very high honor and only a few do so.

Those who seek answers are guided to the correct shelf in the library. How, you ask? The Butterflies also contain a secret. Enter the library with purpose, and a Butterfly will personally guide you to the book you require. This is the purpose of their raising. They live in a symbiotic relationship with the greenhouse and the Order, and as such they can see and function on a level other Beings cannot.

All the knowledge of the ages is contained in the books here. Each is like a portal into another realm of existence; energy bound in old, cracked leather that's rough to the touch and pages that are yellowed and smudged in places. Do you have a question? Why not enter the library? You've been standing outside this whole time...

~*~

I have a confession to make, dear readers: I just involved you all in a thought experiment. An astral experiment, as it were.

Because the place I described up there? It doesn't exist. Or rather, it didn't exist, until I took you through it.

Let me explain.

Creating shit on the astral is all about having a clear vision for something, and then engaging your 5 senses with it on purpose, because the more deeply you fall into the vision, the stronger the creation becomes, until it gains a metaphysical/corpeal status.

The elements I borrowed for this story exist, but the place didn't before I created it. And you co-created it, the reader, if you let yourself get lost in my tale. I engaged all of your senses, and if all went well, you were taken in and 'there' before you were aware of it. I'm showing you that astral creation and your 'imagination' are really not different.

I had you create something astrally before you had a chance to explain to me why you couldn't do it. I engaged your energy before your rationality could tell me no, that's impossible.

What I did was supply you with an astral blueprint. I showed you what this place would look like, and in your mind you saw and felt and tasted and touched and went there. You created this place in your inner space, and on the Astral. And if the next reader after you does the same, they will also be creating the space. And if a hundred other people read this and contribute THEIR thoughts and energy to this astral blueprint, like constructing a building, the vision will grow stronger.

I supplied you with benchmarks: photos to aid your visualization, to ensure you started with something before launch. I led you into the vision, and I placed you at the gates to my blueprint, but you're the one who created the place. And, since you created it, you can use it. It's yours. Try going inside and exploring. Hold a question in your mind and go to the books. I gave you a portal to real astral knowledge, and you're the one who stepped through it and came out on the other side before you knew what happened.

This, in a nutshell, is an idea of Chaos Theory. Give many people the same sigil or Blueprint, or tell them the layout of a Temple all members can use, and they will all add their energy and Mind to it, co-creating, with many other peoples, a place anybody can access and use.

This was a thought experiement on my part. I want to see what happens to this place (because the moment I wrote about it, and had the original idea, it was a Place on the astral.) in 2 weeks, or 2 months. I want to see if several people can alter the vision. Will it expand? Or change? How? I left many descriptions purposefully vague because I want to know where people take the blueprint.

Blueprints, in this case, are merely suggestions. I open them up to you, the traveler.

Technically, you, the readers who made this place: YOU are the 'real' Order of the Golden Monarch.

And yes, this was completely my Astral contacts' idea. I swear we'll be back to normal posts after this...

~*~

{Images from Wikipedia.org, and lifted from Freshomezine}

Monday, July 16, 2012

Spirits 101: Consent for Spirit-Walkers


{Picture from http://www.bostonno.com}

{As with all of my intro/explanation posts, this can be found under the tag '101s'.}

Consent is a huge deal in my Shamanic/Spiritual practices. A huge fucking deal. Probably the number 1 element I could not practice without. And if you ask me, anyone who regularly works with Spirits/Journeys/the Astral/even Ancestors and Land Spirits especially should be really concerned with consent.

So what do I mean when I say 'consent'? Well, consent helps to smoothe the gears of human society. You don't walk into your friend's house, open his TV cabinet and decide you'd really like to borrow ALL of his movies without asking. One, it's rude and probably creepy as fuck, and two, kinda looks like and might be a crime. Smaller-scale, you usually wouldn't start helping yourself to every foodstuff in somebody you just met's kitchen without asking them, because again, creeper alarm. In the more serious vein, you should always ask for consent in a sexual situation, because if you're not sure if you have it, or you absolutely don't have it, congrats, you have a very good chance of being a rapist.

Let's stick this in Spirit terms.

Metaphorically, you're the Land spirit, okay? I waltz onto your land and start developing buildings. Oh, what's that? You had no warning and I'm kind of deliberately stomping on you? Oh well, I can't hear you screaming at me, so it doesn't matter.

Another example. I'm a dead animal attached to a pelt. I was roadkill, or I was killed in a fur farm, and you don't know that when you buy my pelt/tail. I'm frightened and frankly pissed off, and still attached to my parts. You don't know that when you decide to dismantle them or wear them in ritual without my consent. I am understandably upset by this, and when I snarl or snap at you or try to make it known, you think I'm attacking you and you force me down or get rid of my parts, thinking they're victim to a 'bad' spirit attachment. You don't think about my side of the story at all.

A more intense example. I'm a traumatized/highly energized spirit who died horribly. You come into my place of death and start poking around because you can, or you start maybe doing a ritual on my lands. I try to make it known to you that I have a problem with this, and you freak out instread screaming demons at me and conjuring your defenses because you can't understand why I'm upset. I then get more upset, because I'm traumatized and perfectly content being left alone, and you're honestly not understanding why I'm so angry at you.

All of these situations COULD have been avoided if you did one simple thing: Before you do anything on another person's property, or with another person's property, just like in real life, you should probably ask the rightful owners if that's okay with them.

It astounds me how many seem to not think of this concept in Spirit-working. It avoids a lot of mega-trouble, and it keeps your relations polite. It's so ingrained in us who are mannerly to ask the rightful owner if it's okay to do things. As a kid you probably asked the parents if it was okay to do things, since they were the authority.

If you're walking onto a Spirit's land, they are the authority, the rightful owner. So if you're going to proceed to do something without even acknowledging or telling them, they might be a little understandably nervous, confused, or upset with you. Think of a stranger walking into your house and rearranging all your shit and then throwing things around. Would you be a tad scared? Confused? Wondering who the fuck this person was? That's what I'm talking about. Consent.

I've read a few blogs in the past week that seem to stomp all over Spirit-consent and then wonder why they got so pissed at them. I've pondered and pondered this seeming lack of common sense, and I've come up with a few reasons I think it happens, starting with the biggest one.

1. Ignorance

Believe it or not I really think a lot of this consent issue is simple ignorance. I don't always think it's the Spirit-walker's fault that they stomp all over consent. After all, of the Pagan traditions that approach Spirits at all (I mean beyond a cursory 'lol they exist maybe lol'), how many really, deeply consider the Spirit's rights and point of view? If you've found one, really, I'd like to know which. And I'm talking about every spirit, from Ancestors to the smallest Land Spirits in your garden. Every single one. (And how many discount that those things even have spirits?) And how many approach Spirits only as something to be used and discarded, like humans love to approach pretty much everything? Yeah. So I can see how this is not often being considered.

The thing is...whether you want to think so or not...everything has a Spirit. Whether you stomp on it or not does not require your belief. A Spirit doesn't need you to believe it's there to kick you in the face, or for you to fuck their shit up. So if you're going to work with them (or if they decide to work with YOU and you're just along for the ride) please really ingrain everything I'm telling you and apply it to your interactions. I'm not saying this to be HERR AUTHORITY, I'm just concerned for the well-being of the Spirits I work with and the people who work with them. Fear is not the way to go when working with them.

2. Fear

I think this is the second biggest reason for the lack of emphasis on spirit consent. Even among people who work with them, there is often an element of fear when it comes to Spirits. Fear is healthy--it tells the body when to make a run for it. But too much fear, unchanneled, stops us from searching and prevents us from thinking clearly.

I get that. Even I get freaked out at Spirits sometimes--especially ones that don't respect MY consent and wander into m house unaccounced and I can't clearly identify them for a while.

I think people are afraid to reach out and contact a Spirit first. Maybe technical reasons--your awareness is borderline good, and you're afraid you'll make up the responses, or maybe you're afraid of the idea of a Spirit telling you no or getting angry with you for even reaching out. I can see this especially in a very active/haunted area.

But the thing is--if you're afraid to even contact the Spirit to get consent, maybe you shouldn't be doing shit on their land or with their parts if you're not fully prepared to get backlash, you know? It's like yeah, asking your mom to take you to the doctor for birth control might be awkward, but isn't that better than getting knocked up later and having to face her with that interesting story? Okay, extreme example, but you get my point.

Even if you're terrified, even if you think you won't hear a response--the simple act of explaining what you're going to do, or maybe leaving a small offering, is usually enough to at least get you on good terms with the Spirit. Just trying can be enough. And it's sure as hell better than doing nothing.

3. Being an Internet Badass

I really hope this is in the minority of reasons people don't ask the consent of Spirits before doing shit.

This is the category I put people into when they specifically fuck with Spirits in haunted places/known traumatized places on purpose because it might make a good story later/test their skills/prove they're an internet badass.

There's that old idea in martial arts where if you're the third degree blackbelt in the class, you're usually the one who knows enough not to go around looking for trouble so they can beat people up. But if you're the newbie in the class, you haven't learned enough discipline or gained enough wisdom to realize that's kind of pointless and not a good use of your skills or time.

This is what I mean by internet badasses. People who may go specifically looking for trouble or for 'tough' Spirits to fight or try to take on to stroke their defensive egos or show how obviously on top of their game they are. So you can guess the last thing they would do is ask Consent, because clearly they're more powerful than silly land spirits, and besides they could just get rid of a dissenter anyway, right?

Yeah...no. Trolling around like an internet badass trying to show your utter mastery of Spirits is not going to gain my respect. Or their respect. And respect is a two way street. Spirits have ways of fucking with you, and the thing is there's many more of them than you. So I suggest letting go of an attitude like that fairly quickly.

THAT SAID: Should you defend against a Spirit that is wrongfully after you? Hell yes. As long as you tried talking to the thing and you're sure you didn't do shit/or you apologized and it's still coming after your ass. Then, like in real life, you end that shit. But if you went looking for that shit I'm not going t respect your ass.

Oookay. Moving right along here.

IN WHAT SITUATIONS DO I THINK YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY SEEK CONSENT OF SPIRITS/HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT DOING SO?

+Times in which you are doing a ritual on open land, especially land that has a history of haunting or violent or traumatic experiences. Examples: battlefields, sites of hangings or murders, unmarked graves.

REASONING:
Firstly, politeness. Secondly, if you just waltz in and begin doing whatever you feel like, you not only run the risk of spirits being pissed, but also of the ritual becoming FUBAR'd by said Spirits who have no idea what you're doing. Double for this if your ritual is meant to invoke Spirits of any sort. Thirdly, you're risking attachment and said pissed spirits following you home since you opened the doors on their land.

HOW TO APPROACH THIS:
If you can contact the Spirit before even coming upon the land, that's actually even better. You'll be meeting in a no-stress environment kind of like a phone call. Focusing on the energy of the place/a photo of the place and asking to contact the Land Spirit there or a particular Being there is an easy enough task. As always, use discernment. Though we treat Spirits with respect, do not assume every Spirit is always truthful, or is looking out for you.

Failing this, I suggest you properly ward and put up defenses, and travel to the land, if possible, a week or two before the ritual you planned. Then, you can sit quietly with the land (in a circle, if you prefer) and ask to contact the 'main' Spirit there. You can then explain your intention, what you plan to do, who you plan to bring, what the ritual is for, etc. Be specific. No surprises or lying. And if the Spirit tells you no, that would bring upset here, you should probably listen. And in the case you don't, at least you know why you have a pissed off Spirit in your face during the whole ritual. On the other hand, if the Spirit says yes, that's no problem, you're now on good terms and know you at least let the Spirits there know what the deal was, so all parties are on equally respectful footing. And sometimes the Spirit says yes, that's fine, just leave an offering for us on the land before or after. And that's fine too. Again, respect and discernment. Asking for a portion of ritual food is fine, but asking for a blood oath or your first born is obviously not.

+When deciding whether to work with Spirits of pelts, furs, tails, animal/human bones or other parts.

REASONING:
Well, not being a douche. There's a reason people pre-consent to be organ donors, you know? You don't want to just start using a dead thing's parts without permission because frankly it's sort of creepy and disrespectful to the Spirit. Think about how upset you might be if someone started using your bones and you were still attached, without asking you first. Kind of awkward right?

HOW TO APPROACH THIS:
Even if you're in a store feeling up a pelt and wondering if it's 'calling' you, despite the feeling, as awkward as it looks, I would try to shut my eyes right there and silently ask the Spirit of the item if it wants to come home with you. It feels a lot better to have a 'yes' (and I'm talking a yes in the form of a vague feeling of 'yes'--it doesn't have to be a strong verbal yes for every spirit) than to take it home and realize you have a terrified Animal Spirit attachment.

Sometimes you don't get an answer either way with Animal parts--this is because not every single item has an attachment. I personally have a few that don't have attachments at all. But asking just in case there is an attachment is always necessary. This way, if you establish contact, you can usually tell from the state of the Spirit how it was killed or died. I've actually found out things from the Spirit the seller won't tell me. For instance, they sell tails at Renaissance faires a lot. I know what to look for when it comes to Fur Farm tales (which I do not patronize) so when I asked the seller where their source came from and he didn't know, I had suspicions. When I felt up the tail and focused, I felt the violent death still hanging over the tail, and I just knew. So I walked away instead of buying it.

By the same token, maybe you have a fur farm death part that really wants to come home with you--to someone who can honor the part instead of using it for some other purpose. Many times a sacred purpose helps the Spirit to handle itself and move on, and many times if you're Called to this path fur farm parts will find you because they need help dealing with their traumas. This is why it pays to ask the Spirit what they prefer.

And sometimes you have a part that wants to be Honored in exchange for you using it/keeping it on your altar. My one fox skull takes energy in exchange for work, and we have that worked out. It keeps us both happy. Some parts might ask you directly to help move their attached Spirit along, and in that case I recommend a small ritual/offering to the Spirit, or whatever it suggests. Doing this kind of Work can be extremely rewarding.

+When putting together an Ancestral altar.

REASONING:
I've had people disagree with me on this before, and that's just fine. You do what feels right between you and your beloved deads.

Anyway, I think before setting up an Ancestral altar, it's a really good idea to ask said Deads what they think about that. Who knows, maybe you have a Grandma like mine that might be really skeeved to be housed next to my skull collection, since she was severely German/Roman Catholic inclined. Maybe she doesn't care, and that's a-okay. But the way to go about figuring that out is asking them directly.

And maybe you don't get a response either way at all, or they don't care, at which point, sure, why not? But personally I like to ask before creating a shrine/remembrance to any Spirits. Alternatively, you could create the space first and then invite the Ancestors into it, and if they refuse that's their preogative. Both of those techniques are fair.

HOW TO GO ABOUT IT:
I would personally meditate with a photo of the Deads and ask them to speak to me. Then, using discernment techniques of course, I would ask directly if they would mind/prefer to be venerated on my altar, and I would explain what I meant by that, and ask if they had any requests. For instance if they were particularly fond of an item and want that on the altar, it's good to know what that is and why. As an added plus it helps to build trust between you and your Deads.

+When moving in to a new place/land.

This maybe isn't so much a Consent issue strictly as it is a politeness issue.

REASONING: 
When you move to a new place you like to get to know your neighbors, and find out if there are creepers around, you know, the usual. Personally when going to a new place I like to sit down outside and sense out Spirits in the area. Usually you have the standard Land Spirit, the big one, and the little one for your land specifically. It's a good idea to introduce yourself and ask if the Spirit wants anything/has anything to tell you. Especially information about the grounds itself.

HOW TO GO ABOUT IT:
Sit on the grass/ground and meditate, opening your senses to Spirits around. Use Discernment, but ask for the Land Spirit, introduce yourself, and maybe leave an offering. My friend had a Deer Land Spirit once that asked for apples when she went on vacation to watch the house for her and guard against break ins. Well, she's never had one, in any case.

+When entering/exiting Hallowed Ground.

This one is at the end because this one is really fucking important.

REASONING:
Most of the time when you bring home a Spirit attachment it comes from really active/haunted/traumatic land. All of the times it's happened to me, I was doing something stupid on Hallowed ground, as in, land that serious shit went down on. The Land remembers that trauma, and the Spirits there can sometimes be trapped, scared, or confused. Or all 3.

 So how to try and prevent this? First, if you know you're going to said Grounds, make sure you have solid defenses and wards in place. (I'm working on that post still, I swear.) Going in with Respect for Spirits is NOT THE SAME as going in defenseless to a situation. Not every Spirit wants to fucking kill you, but hey, some do. Not gonna lie to you. The key is not to assume every Spirit wants you dead OR means well for you. You know, like in dealing with strange people in real everyday life.

HOW TO GO ABOUT IT:
Anyway. When entering or existing Hallowed ground I like to pause at the border and sense out the land. If I sense fuckery there, I can generally pick up feelings from what it was. If it was especially bad I mentally ask permission to walk on said land, and I can generally feel if I have a yes or a no. A casual yes is a 'Yes provided you leave something of value behind as an offering'. But be careful leaving offerings of objects very personal to you--leaving something you have a lot of energy invested in can be a one way ticket to attachment land of the long distance sort.

And there isn't really shame is turning back from Hallowed Ground. Obviously if you're driving through it it's not like you can just turn around if there isn't another route, so in cases of travel I suggest still mentally explaining/apologizing for trespassing. Make yourself out to be the humble one. You're the kid, remember? They're the authority in this situation. Mentally explain you're just passing through and mean no harm, and you'd appreciate it if they gave you the same. In the case you HAVE to pass through fuckery land and the Spirits are not pleased with you, I still emphasize heavy defense, and invoking of seals/sigils/Deities if you feel personal harm is coming at you. I have mighty Respect for Spirits, but if I've tried reasoning and talking and really getting into the Spirit's head, I'm also not afraid to protect myself from harm. But more on that topic later.

Now I'm sure I don't have to tell you that this is all from my experience, YMMV, yadda yadda, I'm not the divine authority on how to work with Spirits. I'm just trying to make those who want/do work with them aware of some important concepts maybe they didn't consider before. I'm not trying to blame people for not doing it 'right' or 'my way', just trying to open you up to some possibilities to make the Work smoother. Take it as you will. :)

I promise to make a basic How to for Spirits 101 post after this, since this is more advanced in thought than that. And that's how I always do shit here: Post the advanced post first and the beginner post second. So wait for that if this one makes no sense to you.

OTHER SPIRITS 101 POSTS:

2. Victim-Shaming, YOUR consent, And Spirit-Walking

So then I rearranged the entire Shamanic Altar!


I don't think I've had all the boxes facing forward in a while--the energy is now FORCIBLY DIRECT, and I love it. My old altar wasn't fitting the Shamanic Revival happening in my shit right now.


Close ups.


Those are the candle holders I bought from Goodwill before. Since we're approaching that time soon I dug them out.


Sacha the Seal, Sedna's Turtle, and the crazy rock I just bought.


Raccoon, Keeper of the Cards.

Now back to real posts later.

Friday, July 13, 2012

PBP 17: Not Human, Continued: My Story



Welp, I don't really know how to begin with my tale. It might sound less unbelievable than my attempted forest Spirit accosting, or maybe more believable than my accounts of traversing the Shamanic Underworlds, but who can measure something like that?

Welp, let's begin here. That picture of the book above? That's a book I bought when I was around 12 or 13, if the date of publication can be trusted. I don't remember much from that age; in fact my childhood memories are almost completely blocked out save for a few weird happenings like how I used to try to go through portals and was sad it never worked physically. I do remember finding that website, in all its '90s sparkly glory, and feeling like I had discovered the truth of my life. So based on that feeling, we can assume I was at least thinking of the possibility of being Otherkin, but not in those words, around that time frame. Which, when I was trying to discover the date the other day by looking through that book, actually surprised me. I didn't realize I had been so young.

At that age I think I was still de-facto Christian and had no real sense of spirit-anything. I was living in a locked box and obviously something in me knew something was up with that.

As I write this, I realize the only strong memories from my childhood involve Unicorns. I remember being at a fair down at the Jersey Shore, and a game that had these terrible framed sparkly photo-shop images. I think I was maybe 6 or 7 honestly. I remember it was some sort of ball game, and there was this one picture of a unicorn mother and its foal, complete with sparkly purple background, and I had to have it. And I remember my dad won it for me, and I was so happy, and that poor beast sat on my shelf for the next (easily) 10 years.

I remember being in this stupid Sunday School thing on tuesdays my parents sent me to until the 7th grade. I remember the only reason I looked forward to going was that my teacher had a treasure pile you could go into once a month if you were doing well, and she had this ceramic purple/blue/white unicorn rearing from a cliff that I needed to have. I diligently worked my ass off just to get that statue, which also sat on my shelf for 10 years. I remember in the 3rd grade or so, we had to use cardboard to make a fake little chair, and decorate the chair in art class. I painted mine hot pink, added grass to the front, and carefully cut out a unicorn with wings and a rainbow mane for the back of mine. I was the only one to do a creature. It was in the district art show for a month.

If I look at my shelf, I easily had 5-6 children's books on Unicorns. I had a dinosaur obsession, like most kids, and I had a unicorn obsession. I didn't really have other 'phases' with creatures, not like other kids might.

Fast forward to a little later in my childhood when I discovered the movie The Last Unicorn. I rented it from Blockbuster at age 10 or so, and I rented it literally every week for 2 months and watched it twice a day some days. It felt like it struck a chord so deep within me I couldn't explain and I just had to keep watching it because that feeling of nostalgia and sadness and connectedness was something I needed somehow. Everyone else I talked to about it called it silly or dumb or they weren't interested. When when I watched that movie it was like my soul was singing and I couldn't grasp why, and it was so beautiful somehow I needed to keep trying to understand.

Then, cue me on the internet (the newly born internet if memory serves, I remember a lot of AOLing) obviously google searching 'Am I a Unicorn?' (I would have to, to locate that book). And obviously it never occurred to me this might sound weird, because I felt so extremely and honestly that it was true. I remember now sometimes when I would run I would feel 4 legs flying around me, and often I used to walk in tip toe, just because it felt more natural, and people would ask me why I was doing that. I used to imagine hooves and it would make me more sure-footed, and I was wary of anything being on my forehead because it felt weird, etc. So in any case, obviously I located that site, which is kind of weird because the people who ran it were definitely talking about being Otherkin but in more Christianized terms. And you have to think how weirdly uncanny it was that that book actually existed, when I was searching for it. But who knows...? In any case, I definitely remember asking my parents to order said book for me, because I was too young, obviously. No credit card or anything. And I remember feeling really embarrassed like they would think I was weird or crazy for wanting a book titled 'Are you a unicorn?' and I think I explained it away as being something metaphorical or not what it sounded like. In any case my dad did buy me the book in the end.

And I read the book cover to cover like 7 times. And there was some metaphorical Christianized bullshit I willfully didn't care about regarding unicorns, but then there was some interesting bits. They described qualities of the unicorn-person I suppose, and I remember flipping out that I definitely matched those qualities. Even since childhood I just had this strange, deep compassion for animals specifically, and unfortunately humans. I was always wide open and there was nothing I could do about it. When nobody else seemed to care about saving bugs on the playground, that was me, saving them. I wanted to save everything. When they knocked down trees near me to build, I cried. I felt the loss of the land like it was in my own heart, and everybody else looked at me like I was crazy. I still feel the loss of life when an animal is killed around me, and I feel the land dying when we bulldoze through it, and I speak of it to no-one because I've never found someone else (in real life) with such a profoundly deep connection to everything (DISCLAIMER: MY DE FACTO WIFE THE BRASS BELL WOULD LIKE ME TO TELL YOU ALL SHE IS ONE SUCH PERSON. END DISCLAIMER.). It's why I'm vegetarian and despite everybody telling me it's the circle of life I still get horrifically depressed when animals and lands die. Why? Well, death was never in my paradigm, in unicorn-life. Death did not enter my picture. It makes too much sense that I can't handle it now, because I never had to handle it then.

Anyway. I read the book and I then secretly thought to myself that I was unicorn. And I told nobody because by this point I realized how crazy it sounded, but when I thought it to myself it was like a warm soul-blanket that explained the feeling of being an alien on this planet. It put into words all of the feelings I had about the soul before I knew what I thought of my soul. I fit in okay in high school and such, but no matter how I got along with everybody, I still felt like an alien. Like there is a side to humanity I will never comprehend.

So fast-forward a little from 12 to college level. I went through some heavy shit, with insane panic attacks and all this nonsense, which coincidentally lead to me discovering Paganism along the way. By the time I entered college I had more or less buried the unicorn side of me again, because rationality won out. It didn't make me happy to bury this side, because it just increased the horrible feeling of incompleteness and definitely made life a task. I would go through life forgetting the Unicorn thing, and every few months would remember and go 'Oh yeah, that's why I felt so shitty the past few months.' and forget again. Meanwhile my Shamanic calling was happening, and I had other shit to work on for the time being. Spirit animals were following me around everywhere and I had to handle things. And I met The Brass Bell there, and she pestered me about making a Unicorn altar. And I was all OH YEAH I SHOULD DO THAT, HAHA...and never did it. Figures.

And fast forward again to still not feeling totally 'me' and like I was neglecting a serious part of myself. Also include some dreams about unicorns and collecting all the last unicorn comics and unicorn books that came out and actually described unicorns how I felt they were, (white, more deer-like than STOCK HORSE OMG, and delicate) and throw in some serious astral shenanigans in which I finally shut down and reached out and saw a unicorn there, and you have last Summer.

Include some phantom limb and some explanations of why, when I learned to energy heal, my natural instinct was to put my head on things and draw it out that way, and the picture is pretty complete. I finally shut up and asked my Unicorn-self to share itself with me. I had astral awareness by this point so I finally accepted that maybe, I do have a Unicorn-soul, and if so, she should be able to be contacted. And so it was.

And she showed me some memories of a forest (her forest, my forest) and I tapped her memories (my memories) and learned about what happened. I learned to merge with her, and the feeling of bodily completeness is beyond speaking. When I could run around in that body, I wanted for nothing. I thought, is this how everyone else feels in a human body? It was both exhilarating and heart-breakingly sad, because I would remember I was not that on the outside. And the powerful desire to be in that body that matched my soul and not this cumbersome one just intensified the more I connected. And I have shape-shifted other beings, totems, and guides, and none of them every felt like this. I know the difference.

So, in presenting myself as Shamanic, no nonsense, and dark-themes-enjoying only, I am actually not giving you a true representation of who I am. Because the box that all comes in is pretty gay, and white, and delicate, and extremely compassionate to a fault, and happens to be unicorn-shaped. So I'm hoping taking a risk and posting on my Otherkin story gives you a more rounded idea of my personality. I have many sides. One of them is Shamanic and 'dark' and etc, and the other is higher realms and stereotypical white unicorn that looks more like a deer and lived alone in a forest her whole life and never saw another of her species.

Oh, and I did end up making that altar. And only then did my soul really settle down, because I couldn't bury it anymore.



{This is my Shaman altar}







{Which is right next to the Otherkin altar}

{My trusted Voodou-friend bought me the unicorn box for my birthday. It's beautiful and vintage. I love it fiercely.}

A little on the information I do have from my past life memories...

I dunno what it is but everyone seems to spend a lot of time defending the 'ACTUALLY UNICORNS WERE TOTALLY VIOLENT AND BADASS!!!' viewpoint in the Otherkin community. And I just don't see it. The information I have about my Self was that you don't use the horn on anything because it was like a lightning rod for the universe. To soil it with the physical was a serious stupid move that only a rookie would make. And at least I was actually the total stereotype of the 'peaceable' unicorn (I knew how to defend myself, however. Scarily.), without the love for humans. I wasn't a 'loving' being. I was detached. I was a watcher of life, but not a participant, and this was by design. I felt no love for humans, so I watched them on an academic level. But it wasn't violence or base instinct.

Unicorns were not strictly speaking 'animals' (according to my memories) and as such were not 'animalistic' if I'm to believe the information I've had. However, neither were they totally white lighty fluffy happy creatures whose only jobs were to bring joy to childrens. To believe one or the other is to discount the whole of what a Unicorn is, which is a higher realms being with its own 'magix' system which requires intense study and mind breaking physics that really more or less never gave a fuck about humanity. I don't know if people are afraid of identifying with something 'soft and nonviolent' because it somehow makes them 'not a badass' compared to Dragonkin/Gyrphonkin/Therians or what, but I'd really like to know where it comes from. (Is it the same as people afraid to accept their 'non awesome' bug totems, or worm totems, because they aren't huge and intimidating?) In this case, the temperament of the unicorn from The Last Unicorn (her underlying current of not really giving a fuck about people beyond doing what was energetically right in Unicorn form) is dead on to what I've seen. And at least in real life I've never met another one that had the right energy to be legitimate. But I'd really like to meet one.

Another weird thing: Almost every other Unicorn-kin I've spoken to claims to have a name that looks like LOTR language and has 26 letters. I don't have a name...because I didn't need one. I was what I was, and names are for when you need to differentiate the self from others. Since it was only me around, what use would I have for that? Maketh no sense. So I dunno if I just had a vastly different experience from every other 'kin on the planet, or what's up with that. Instead I just like to keep to myself and reserve judgement on that front.

In any case, I hope by posting more or less my jumbled bout of memories and experiences here, other Otherkin in the pagan community might come forward and feel okay to post theirs. I mean, come on, can it really be gayer than identifying with a Unicorn? Seriously bros, you have nothing to worry about. And please do post Otherkin altar spaces if you have them, it's a rewarding experience to keep one.

For a more academic/book-based/researched entry on Unicorns, you'll have to wait until U. In the meantime I'm gathering all the actual research books I can get on them in preparation for that entry, and my thoughts on the 'rationalizing' of the Unicorn mythos. Til then.

OTHERKIN RESOURCES OF NOTE

Lupa: A day in the life of an Otherkin {Article from a draft of her book}  <---Seriously read this it says what I want to regarding Otherkin except much better and awesomer.

Lupa: A Field Guide To Otherkin {The book for purchase}

Otherkin Alliance (Forums, Articles on being Otherkin, etc)

Otherkin.net {Articles}

Otherkin.net {Article, Good take on what an Otherkin is}


THE WONDERFUL '90s SITE I BOUGHT MY BOOK FROM {I regret nothing}

http://www.unicornsunited.com/

Monday, July 9, 2012

Happy One Year :)

It's my one year anniversary with The Brass Bell today, so I made the 'love altar' look pretty. Yay! That is all.




Witch bottle, filled with objects that are charged, and a note with a sigil.

A Wicked Pack of Cards: Learning to Love your Deck-Spirits



{Shot of my Russian Gypsy Fortune Telling Cards}

{NOW EDITED AND EXPANDED WITH MORE INFORMATION!}

{As with all of my instruction posts, this post can be found under the tag '101s'.}

I've been on a Cartomancy-driven tarot/oracle buying RAMPAGE lately. It's come out of nowhere. But I so love fortune telling and using the cards. It gives me some weird ancestral joy.

Those of you familiar with Tarot of divination of the Card and Rune sort probably already know this, but: Every deck has a Spirit. Whether you think that spirit comes into being when the artist paints the cards or when they're first pressed or you think that Spirit is shared between every deck of cards of that sort manufactured or they are all highly individual, every deck still has a Spirit.

Whether it speaks to you or doesn't, or appears as a human or something else entirely, or refuses to look you in the eyes because it's a prissy bitch, or refuses to speak anything by Aramaic, you're still dealing with a more or less conscious thing.

There is some disagreement amongst tarot readers on this topic. Are decks mere stacks of cardboard, or are they somehow sentient, or sentient enough to fuck with us? Are they mere tools used by Other-Things to show us what we need, and other than that, are just paper and ink? Me being the hard Animist/Chaos person I am, yeah, I've been bitch-slapped rudely by enough decks, repeatedly, to buy the individual deck-spirit idea.

But let me tell you: You're missing out if you aren't sitting down and really getting to know your deck spirits. Believe it or not, they can be incredibly helpful.


Example time. I recently bought these babies. Doreen Virtue's Unicorn Oracle Cards. Fluffy as fuck, I know. But I wanted to know if my feelings (that this deck would somehow work for me, in my hands, given my past) were true on this. And I got the deck, and something was missing--Doreen, interestingly, does not include a single spread in the book. This was actually a very interesting approach.

So besides the basic past-present-future approach, I was sort of at a loss for how to use these cards. What situations could I read for? And how? I didn't want to apply generic layouts to this deck--because every deck is vastly different in what it prefers. So what did I do? I sat down with it and asked to speak to the Spirit of the deck directly.

And it gave me TONS of information on what I NEEDED to include in a reading layout to get accurate results with this deck. It explained the optimal positions of the cards and what they meant. (For instance, it demands that there be 4 cards in 'Guardian' positions for the 4 directions before any situational reading is done.) This is info I could have never gotten on my own, because it's so specific to this particular set of cards, and I would never have guessed it would have so many specifications.

So learn to love your Deck spirits.

The more you work with a deck, the more you get to know its Spirit, even if you don't speak to it directly. I know my Animals Divine tarot only works for emotional/spiritual issues. I know my Rider-Waite gives me cold, hard facts as they are and nothing more. I know my Russian Gypsy cards care genuinely about my well-being, and when they warn me, it's out of a Grandmotherly sort of desire to see me come out above strife. But I also know the Russian Gypsy cards love to give me half-truths and half-lies in readings to test my ability to distinguish.

How do I know this? Through handling and using the cards and tracking what they do and do not do well, and adjusting according. I don't 'speak' to the spirit of the Rider-Waite--it just Is. I don't 'speak' to my Animals Divine--I can just feel the nature of its Spirit. I can and do speak to the Unicorn oracle because I need clear information on its usage. But interacting with a Deck spirit doesn't have to be some huge conversation. It can just be a feeling of knowing. Like regular Guides, some are inclined to speak, with words, and some just send imagery or feelings. Both are legitimate. And some might refuse to speak to you at all!

HOW CAN I SPEAK TO A DECK SPIRIT IF I HAVE NO AWARENESS/CAN'T MEDITATE/CAN'T DO IT OMG???

Fear not, if you can read cards at all you can at least ask a Deck Spirit to describe itself. Example time.


This is a Tarot spread I was given by guides/etc specifically to ask a Deck Spirit to describe itself. It looks like a simple 5-card reading, but the positions are important.

What you're aiming to think about when shuffling is "Describe your purpose and spirit". You're asking the spirit of the cards what it can do for you.

The first 3 (leftmost cards, top to bottom) positions are purely description on the part of the deck. Is it a 'sad' spirit? A light-hearted one? Stoic? Talkative? These cards can help you figure that out.

The 4th position (middle card) is "What can I do well". So this card will hopefully tell you what the deck can help you with. (Emotions, Physical, Spiritual, everything, others, just yourself)

The 5th position (rightmost card) is "What I can't do well". This is asking the deck for restrictions it has. You can expand either of these positions to be 3 cards like the first positions if you think you need clarifying.

I tried this technique with my Rider-Waite mini deck, above. The cards it gave me for itself were the Page of Cups, Knight of Cups, and Sun. Interestingly, when I shuffled and thought about what the cards might be in the tarot, I really thought a cups suit.

This is where you need some intuitive interpreting skill, because the deck is speaking to you through known imagery. So impressions take precedence over meaning for a moment.

The sun, Knight of cups and Page of cups are all describing to me an optimistic, young-seeming, romantic/poetic/sensitive deck spirit, which, since I know this deck, would have been my guess. This particular deck spirit has never spoken to me, but they have that energy about them.

My idea for 'What can I do well' is that the deck excels at options. It's very good for spreads with multiple future outcomes, but it also won't hesitate to tell you straight when you're being a douche about the choices you do have available.

The last card tells me the deck doesn't excel at spreads that utilize snap judgements or yes/no definites, which is what the 8 of wands seems like to me in this position. It can give you fair judgement assessments but it can't necessarily tell you DO THIS or DON'T DO THIS.

Feel free to shamefully steal this technique and see if it works with your decks.

MY DECK JUST ISN'T WORKING FOR ME NO MATTER WHAT I DO??

And here we might have a mundane explanation. Like in human everyday life, sometimes you're not going to jive with certain people. I have certain decks that just DO NOT jive with my energy. They feel awkward in my hands, I can't get a good reading off them, and they sit on the shelf and collect major dust.


Sometimes the Spirit of the deck just does not jive with you. Don't take it personally or assume it's their fault. The best thing to do is hand the deck off to somebody who might resonate better with its energy. For instance, my Fantastical Creatures tarot, I have theorized, does not work for me because it combines 78 individual creatures from mythology, and the deck Spirit seems confused, at best. Sometimes that many things from different cultures do not play nice together, and for me that energy bleeds over into the deck. It doesn't have any attachments or anything...we just don't work well together as partners. And that's fine. Let it move on to somebody else.

DEALING WITH A...DIFFICULT DECK SPIRIT

Sometimes you get a difficult/fun/ohmygods Spirit, like with any Occult item. A friend once had a pendulum that only gave her answers if she asked in Aramaic. That's what I classify as...a Personality. Personally I think these Spirits are hilarious. Personality is great. But what to do when the Spirit is basically like 'No, fuck you, I'm going to tell you nothing'?

Firstly, assume the Spirit knows itself better than you. Is it telling you jack-shit just to be an asshole? Or could it be you're not ready to hear its answers or honestly work with it? (I can definitely see 'advanced' decks purposefully blocking out a beginner if they might use it wrong.)

Secondly, keep working at it. Like a human relationship, give the deck its space. Ask it how it wants to procede. Just because it refuses to work with you now doesn't mean it's time to throw it out. Maybe it's a test, and should you pass, the deck can become a really close ally that gives you banging readings and actually helps you in readings for others. Who knows? Don't make snap judgements right off.

Thirdly, proceed slowly. If the deck refuses to do something right off the bat, don't do it. And if the deck has requests (some of my decks only work with a candle burning, and my Gypsy cards love vodka) try to meet them. Honestly it's worth it to work with a 'difficult' Deck Spirit.


DO 2 EXACT-SAME DECKS OF CARDS CONTAIN THE SAME SPIRIT?

This question was raised in the comments. If you ask me, I would say, no, not all the time. I think it's possible for two decks of the same edition to contain the same spirit. For instance, I think the Thoth tarot has a more over-arching Spirit-type than, say, the several thousand versions of the Rider-Waite. I think strong intent when creating the deck, and specific source, can lead to a similar Spirit. I don't think this happens all the time because I also think the Spirit can change depending on what works best with the person. I don't think they are locked into one form all the time depending on the deck.

CAN I DEDICATE A DECK TO SPEAK WITH DEITY/ANCESTORS/SPIRITS, WITHOUT STEPPING ON THE TOES OF THE DECK SPIRIT OR WILL THEY CANCEL OUT?

You can absolutely dedicate a deck for that purpose. In this case the Deck Spirit can act as a phone operator provided you have a good relationship, and in a best case scenario it can act as another discernment tool for you in Spirit interactions.

My advice is the same for every Occult item dedication on my altar: make sure the Deck Spirit gives consent. This can be as simple as a pendulum divination over the deck and a strong "yes". Things will always go better for you in dealing with Spirits if you are polite and ask before volunteering somebody's house for another's usage, you dig?

And in this case, the Deck Spirit might be able to help you out in cases where you go from Spirit-speaking-through-the-deck and suddenly Spirit-who-won't-leave-the-deck. Having a good relationship with your Deck Spirit means it can alert you when somebody needs to go, because it's suddenly crowded in here.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DECK SPIRIT AND A SPIRIT IN YOUR DECK?

With any old or heirloom item, especially jewelry and Occult nonsense, you can risk Spirit attachment. In this case, you can have a Spirit either join your original Item Spirit, or it can force the original one out or into silence.

Not every attachment is negative. Say your Grandma was a card reader of great repute for 20 years before passing, and she stayed on to help you learn her deck. That's not such a bad thing provided you can verify her identity. But if she stays on to make sure NOBODY ELSE uses her deck...well...that's not such a great thing. (Though in all fairness you need to ask the old owner before using their deck! Especially a dead one!)

Sometimes you can have some sort of Spirit you work with attach to your deck, in which case you need to be aware of who is 'in' at the time. When getting information on your deck you want to talk to the deck itself, because nothing will know better than it. Allowing a Spirit attachment to speak to you through readings is fine, if you have a Verified Identity, but it's not the same as allowing the deck to speak for itself. There is a difference.

OMG I THINK I HAVE AN ATTACHMENT HOW CAN I TELL??

Read the discernment post I keep linking to in this article. Come back.

Step 1. FIGURE OUT IF YOU REALLY HAVE AN ATTACHMENT

You generally need some reason to assume this. Does the deck give you a sudden creepy feeling of being watched when it didn't before? Does it spike uncomfortably when you touch it, but it didn't before? Does it suddenly hide itself from you everytime you try to cleanse or handle it? Do your readings suddenly come out remarkably weird/make no sense?

Figure out if the deck just needs a good cleansing or not. Energy spikes, bad reads, and certain feelings can be indicative of a simple cleansing.

     CLEANSING THAT SHIT [Cards edition]
           A. SAGE OR INCENSE THAT SHIT
                   Waft that shit through incense or sage smoke repeatedly.
           B. SALT THAT SHIT
                    Place that shit over a bowl of salt. Not in it, just directly over it.
           C. SEAL THAT SHIT
                    Place that shit in a crystal grid or a purifying seal for extra protection.


Step 2. FIGURE OUT WHO IT IS

Provided you tried Cleansing That Shit and it didn't work, you can move on to step 2 and try to figure out what the fuck is in your cards that shouldn't be.

Firstly: Do you have historical or logical reason to think there is shit in the cards? If your grandma passed the cards to you and is gone now, it might be logical to check if she's the one there because you have some precedent for it. Starting cold is sort of difficult.

Secondly: If you got nothin', I suggest meditating with the deck in your hands and trying be open to impressions, especially unpleasant ones. If you get scared feelings or such things it's indicative of the type of spirit.

Thirdly: If your impressions still point to this, ask a guide or Spirit helper to check it out. They can give you information if you're unable to figure out what's in the cards by yourself. Deities count. If you can't contact a guide/feel comfy by yourself, you can try divination. Pendulum or smoke divination is ideal for this purpose. Use logic and discernment when dealing with Spirit Identification. Even better, have somebody with you that can confirm what you see/feel, preferably somebody not directly involved who can be objected and divinate for you or something.


Step 3. FIGURE OUT IF YOU'RE OKAY WITH SAID ATTACHMENT

Provided you've somehow ascertained what is indeed in your cards, figure out if that's okay with you.

For example: If my Animals Divine deck attracted a Cat or a Wolf spirit that just resonated with the cards, that's no big deal. An animal spirit isn't out to eat your babies. Maybe it just liked the way the cards felt and curled up inside the box with them. Don't assume every attachment is auto-bad.


There are cases in which your helper Spirits attach to your items to...well...help you out. This is easy to figure out: Ask. If they look at you like 'What the fuck?' it's probably not them.


Provided the attachment is something you're not thrilled about (like a vengeful family member for instance) you still might want to try talking it out. Sometimes anger and vegeance can be assuaged through logic and patience. I always at least try to make nice with the Spirit I'm dealing with, even angry/hungry demon ones. Don't jump right into OMG HEXXINGGG. Especially with a pissed-off Ancestral Spirit. If somebody was perceived as stealing your shit, you might be mad too.


Step 4. EITHER LEAVE IT ALONE / MAKE NICE / GET RID OF IT

Once you decide how to proceed, there are a couple routes.

THE HIGH ROAD: LEAVE IT THE HELL ALONE

The road you should take when the spirit is more or less harmless and isn't causing any real shenanigans, or you don't know how to properly remove Spirits and are waiting to have someone who can take a look at the deck. Perfectly valid.

THE MIDDLE ROAD: MAKE NICE

Maybe you try explaining the situation and asking the attachment to leave. And hey, magically this often works. Treating a spirit with, you know, respect, actually does wonders. They might legitimately not know they're causing you trouble. So try this route. Maybe you agree on a conditional situation: you can stay, so long as you don't interfere in my readings for X, or you can stay if you actually AID my readings for x. Bargains can go both ways.

THE LOW ROAD: GET RID OF IT

Before doing this, make sure you exhausted all over options and already went through the 3 steps of cleansing a deck listed above. If you did all that and the Spirit still insists on fucking with your shit, you have license to remove it. Make sure you give the thing an eviction notice so if it ignores it it's the Spirit's fault.


Step 5. PROCEED TO GO THROUGH THE STEPS TO RID THE ITEM OF UNWANTED ATTACHMENT.

1. SALT THAT SHIT (YES, AGAIN)

Yes, really, wrap that shit in cloth and set it in a bowl of salt for like 3 days just to annoy the thing. Don't put the cards directly in salt. That's a bad idea. DECK. IN HOLDER. THEN IN SALT. Sometimes this alone is enough to force the thing out. Check how it feels after.

2. DRAW THAT SHIT OUT

There is where you need experience with Spirit wrangling, but essentially, leaving the deck in the salt bowl, you're going to make the Spirit as uncomfortable as possible in its house. Then, you take a bottle or something with a cork/top that is empty. You place both the deck with the salt and the bottle on opposite sides of an energy seal. The seal draws out the spirit from the deck and traps it in the bottle instead.



3. SEAL THE NOW-EMPTY CARDS

Stick an energetic seal/protection symbol on the deck to 'seal' the door for future shit to get in. This prevents the same thing from re-homing in the cards. PS, the seal above is a strong protection seal from my personal collection. Feel free to use elements of it in your owl seals. This is like a brick wall of shenanigans.

4. RELEASE THAT SHIT

It's not good to keep spirits holed up like pokemon, you dig? It's also cruel. So my advice is to take the bottle somewhere far away from the cards, ward yourself, then uncork the thing and release the spirit back whence it came. The bottle can be thrown out or buried or whatever you want.

5. IN A WORSE CASE SCENARIO WHEN YOU CAN'T GET RID OF REALLY BAD NONSENSE

You can burn the cards. But do it far away from your house just in case, as burning releases Spirit energies into the surrounding area, and make sure you're warded first.

You'll notice I was being purposefully vague in some descriptions. I figure if you have enough experience to be attempting this you should know from other sources how to handle it. I don't want people dealing with nasty things when they're not ready. As always, it's better to have an experienced buddy with you, Deity, Guide, or Human. 

Feel free to comment with any questions or experiences, as always.