Monday, October 29, 2012
PBP 26: Visceral Realities: How I got started in Spirit-Walking
This is somewhat in response to questions I get on the reg', but also in response to an email that basically said:
Dusken, how did you get started on your path? And can you rec me books or sources that you used?
For some reason I thought I wrote up My Story before, but I think I didn't on this blog. The reason I call it Visceral Realities is an interesting one.
I think there are "levels" of belief. My "level" of belief in WooWoo depends on the day. There is a constant "belief" there for the astral, my guides, etc. But you might know what I mean when I say there's a difference between it being REAL to you, and it being TOO FUCKING REAL to you.
For instance, you can BELIEVE in aliens, etc. But if an alien legitimately comes to your house and tells you all this shit, then leaves--that's CONFIRMED BELIEF. It's on another fucking level mentally because it shatters your reality. I think humans have the capacity to BELIEVE anything. And I think you can wholeheartedly believe without doubt X Y and Z. But then other people, or events, CONFIRM without a doubt your beliefs, and your worldview is still shattered. Even from just the force of being right.
I mention this because my story of how I got to the astral/took on my path is a lot like that.
Our story begins somewhere in highschool. I DO know I was roughly 17. I don't remember much of middle and high school. I am told this is common, especially if you, like me, were the victim of consistent and constant bullying and Outsider-ing. I am almost glad I don't remember much.
What I DO remember was having panic attacks. I don't talk about this often on the blog, but I was pretty ill mentally at this time. I think it was a lot of stress and self worth issues I am just now beginning to handle. But I suffer from Hypochondria. Ever since I was small I've had it, I dunno where it came from, but I constantly think I have diseases, I have a deblitating fear of injections and needles, and I can go on benders where I get so stressed from thinking about the disease I don't have I create symptoms.
Anyway. It's much better handled now. But at the time my hypochondria spontaneously spawned panic attacks.
Lots of people don't know this, but though panic attacks have a TRIGGER in most cases (like crowds, species of animal, they often don't have a CAUSE. You get them, and then you keep getting them. The first time I got one I thought I was dying. Which, if you've have one, it can feel like.
If you haven't had one, a panic attack is an uncontrollable mental cycle that convinces you you're dying. Then you begin to freak out, your fight or flight response is triggered, your heart rate jumps, you hyperventiate, and sometimes you legit pass out from the bodily strain. The worst part is you are trapped in a PANIC CYCLE in which you then begin to FEAR having an attack because it's fucking terrifying. You live in fear of having one, especially in public. What will you tell people? So it goes. And because you fear the attack, you trigger more. That's the thing about attacks.
The point is, I developed them. At this point in HS I was identifying as Atheist. The catholic church burned me, bad, even though I never actually believed its theology. (I have memories of asking my mom HOW I was supposed to accept jesus into my heart. And she was confused. Because I told her I tried and nothing happened, repeatedly.) Anyway. So I was a mix of Atheist and Zen Buddhist. I was very accomplished at meditation and stilling the mind. So when I got panic attacks it was fucking terrible.
The point is they got worse and I went to therapy, which didn't help me at all. She didn't understand what panic attacks were. She gave me meditation papers, which does not help during a panic attack. This part isn't important.
What IS important is when I left her office one night under the full moon I had what you would call an experience of imminent Deity, I suppose. One minute I was looking at the moon, the next I felt the Universe rush in and break my head open. I had this crazy vision of a giant Goddess figure, embracing me and telling me it was time I came home. It shattered my reality. It was what you call Visceral/Shit got too real. I stopped identifying as Atheist, though it didn't come easy. I became less stressed. I got happier, less angry.
Eventually I bought a panic attack workbook and cured myself of the attacks. I haven't had any since. (If you also have attacks I can recommend you it. Once you break the cycle of fear of the next attack...you stop having them.) But the experience of imminent deity stayed with me. I researched. I looked into Paganism in my studies. Around this time I also went Vegetarian for ethical reasons. I found Wicca.
I bought the Wiccan books. It felt sort-of-right but not RIGHT-RIGHT. I found a Wiccan friend in class. We discussed magic. It was fascinating. I felt this path, whatever this was getting at--this is what I was searching for.
I had more problems with the Male end of the Wicca paradigm than the female end. I still do. I don't really work with Gods other than my guide. I don't HATE males. I don't DISLIKE them on principle or anything. I just find a strong unnamed dislike of that 'energy' or physicality involved in male-ness. I don't know why, I have theorized it's tied up in both past life issues and my extremely bad fear of pregnancy and childbirth, coupled with my probably experience of rape in past lives. Anyway, despite that, I didn't want to be Dianic Wiccan or anything, rejecting that paradigm. I just had serious problems with a narrative of Fertility, when I really hate fertility as defined as male/female---> OMG BABIES.
So I branched out, found Green Witchcraft books. I liked it better. It was more grassroots and nature based. I felt Wicca had somewhat divorced itself from the natural world. (Note I am talking about book-Wicca. I realize initiated Wicca is completely and totally different, but it wasn't for me.) It still wasn't totally right though.
I think I kept looking. By this point you have to realize I am a mythology buff. Ever since I was small I read every mythology book I could get. I was extremely familiar with Greek mythology in particular. So I knew OF a lot of deities before I was even 'pagan' identifying.
I think I let the Pagan research fall to the wayside for a bit because I knew it wasn't RIGHT but I didn't quite know how to proceed or where to go from there.
Note at this point in HS I was an amateur. Gods didn't talk to me, I BARELY did experimentation with energy work and sensing. I had a few crystals and a really small 'altar' with basic Wiccan things on it. I didn't know K existed, nor what to do about it once I knew. I had never SEEN a Spirit or had weird things happen to me, even though I believed they existed.
That was roughly 4 years ago.
So never let somebody tell you you have to have innate feelings or some shit. As far as I know I thought I had 0 four years ago. So fuck that. If Spirits knock your door down, shit will happen. Skills be damned.
Anyway I DID amass a huge collection of Pagan books during this time. But you reach a point where you have to go beyond books, and that's where I stalled.
Fast-forward. It's the first day of my freshman year of Art School, in Philly. I am living in the dorms. I unpack my small altar consisting of a Bast statue, a little box, a few crystals and an altar plate. Across the hall is therosebell. She's the first person to meet me. Down the hall is who I call Druidchick, a hereditary Druid by family lines, with half a family of hardcore card-carrying Asatru. She also saw Spirits from a very young age as clear as if they were solid. My soon to be room-mate is an Empath with strong Shamanic tendencies, and an energy worker. My soon-to-be-friend has connections to crystals so strong she says she can hear them singing in different voices. I met all of these people within 2 weeks.
When the Universe fucking wills it, fuck coincidences. They will find a way.
The Universe gave me seasoned motherfucking people with abilities I didn't know existed. On MY floor. In my dorm. I mean, come on. I was the fucking newb. And it was a matter of time before my head broke open for the second time.
Within the first month therosebell gifted me with the pentacle I still have today, and Druid-chick gifted me with a hematite necklace that belonged to a Reiki Master because she said it was meant for me. I think the hematite is where everything began.
I took up energy-work again in part by helping my room-mate control her empathic abilities, which caused her mystery health problems that doctors could not figure out a source for. I can't explain to you how I learned to "rip", or what I call Psychic Surgery, which was my first method of healing--because it was like I held the hematite, wrapped around my hand, and I felt a distinct sensation of "ripping" of blocks from anybody in the surrounding area. Like I was just the holder, and it was teaching me through feel how to do this process. I eventually learned to get better and do it without the stone as well. So I think that was the beginning stage.
The next stage was becoming a pied piper for Animal spirits. My awareness was shit, you understand. But Spirits will not be deterred. I began feeling distinct cold spots in my room--ALL OVER my room. They had distinct edges. I knew enough about spirits to know they WERE, but not who or what they wanted. I asked therosebell and druidchick at various points. My roommate also had strong spirit-sight that began to kick in. Our room became host to Dogs, Cats, Rats, wild animals, once the entirety of the Chinese Zodiac, in order, including a dragon, and a lot of other shit I didn't even see. It become common to have cold spots 24/7. We got used to it. Druid Chick told me I could pick the animal spirits up and put them outside. I never realized I could 'do that' to Spirits. Somewhere between picking up ghost sheep and bothering therosebell I realized I was losing grip on my reality. Or what my reality used to be. I lived in a fevered state of half-insanity, which is kind of what happens when the Spirit World kicks down your door.
There were no books for this. None. But I DID have a wealth of experience in the form of the people I mentioned. I was fortunate. Others are not. That's why I write this blog.
We formed a sort of pagan-study-group, the people I met and me. They forced my soul growrth into over-fucking-time. I learned more by the day than I had my whole life. Consistently reality broke and repaired itself when I opened to what was POSSIBLE on this path.
I got comfortable with animal spirits. I accepted what Was. I began to work on "hearing" Spirits. I had a cat hang around and scratch me when I was trying too hard, or not enough. The astral wounds physically hurt here. I got better to avoid the pain.
Then 3 seperate people asked me if I knew about the giant white wolf following me around. I knew he was there, sort of, in HS. But the confirmation was my second dose of Visceral Reality. Of shit getting too real. I initiated contact. He wouldn't speak to me. I tried harder. He allowed me to get close, but never spoke. Frustrated, I accidentally dove into Shamanism, which by this point I had heard of. I felt the Siren Call and knew it was a matter of time because I was dragged headfirst into the path. The realization began to come over me. So I embraced it. One night I set up a ceremonial crystal circle and my roommate said "Okay, I'm going to go shower and you do whatever you have to do to contact your wolf. Because the tension in here is horrible." So I did. I shapeshifted. I went halfway insane and danced and prowled and entered trance, and I saw his memories from the inside out. We WERE each other. We established the connection. When she came back she told me I had wild energy, that I had wolf eyes. I felt right. I felt like this was what I was looking for forever.
I researched Shamanism. I found Harner first, then rejected him. I researched Academic things. I looked into Spirits and Totems. I found Lupa. At first Lupa said things I scoffed at. 6 months later I picked her up and realized she was completely right, and I was the one with the inexperience. I began to 'see' Spirits better. I helped a few with my friends. I met a few of my Guides and began working toward things.
Note--This all literally happened in about a 6 month period. In 6 months I went from 0 to reality breaking heavy fucking Shamanic path walking. You can see how I spent most of the time in a fever of some sort, learning everything I could.
Come December my Guide finally spoke to me. He told me his name. That was the second beginning of everything.
I remember I finally did a Self-Dedication ritual to Paganism for myself in February of that year. It was simple but meaningful. I knew there was no going back. It was right before my birthday, which is Imbolc.
We did a small Imbolc ritual in the dorms with illegal candles. The RA was told we were sacrificing small animals in the room by Druid Chick's Xtian roommate, despite the fact we slowly and carefully told her what we were doing and why and she seemed respectful and left the room to give us space. The RA was confused when we cracked baby jokes. She never apologized. I never forgot.
The next year, I progressed farther. I found Sedna. I researched deeper in Shamanic studies and healing, anything I could get my hands on. I actively put hands on people and used crystals for healing in ways I just 'knew' because of my Clair-sentience. I was shown how to do Soul Retrieval in a dream, and the next week I successfully used it to bring someone in a soul-coma back. She didn't remember anything from the time she was out. That was the third time reality got TOO REAL, visceral, and altogether terrifying.
At the same time it felt RIGHT. All of it. I NEEDED to do this because my soul screamed for it. I think around this time I experimented more with Journey. I became better at trance states. I saw crazy shit. I spent more time with my guide. I can't remember at what point I 'woke up' on the Astral proper, but it was year 2 or 3 for sure.
I spent time with Bast and Anubis. I read tons of academic books on all sorts of shit. Therosebell and I connected again and began talking about EVERYTHING spirit-related. I progressed, again, at hyper-speed. I put down the pagan books altogether because my UPG was giving me far more answers than that.
In year 3 I began to feel kinfeels again. My Unicorn side resurfaced. I began to think there was more to this than my head. I made a unicorn altar. Therosebell facepalmed because it took me so long. We kept a permanent house-altar that changed with the seasons. I conducted a few rituals. Shit got even more real.
During this year, at Imbolc, we had a few people over we hadn't seen for a giant ritual. We lit the whole table in candles. It was beautiful. We all went into the other room and hear a noise so loud and vivid we all swore somebody had upended the table and broken all of our glass in a single move. We ran into the other room. Nothing was touched. That was almost worse. That was the next time shit got TOO REAL. Visceral reality. The feeling that this is real. This isn't just in my head.
My last year at college my astral sight got better. I discovered more about my facets. (I met them in year 3). I began to puzzle out UPG and write it down. I made plans for a calender because I had long since rejected the wheel of the year. I researched other healing modalities and became interested in reiki and other sorts of touch healing. I looked into Chaos magick seriously and completely agreed with everything and incorporated it on purpose. I got more into Sigils beyond the 101, courtesy of my guide.
In January of year before I decided to write this blog for the PBP so others might learn from my story.
And here we are today.
I have forgotten a lot of junk, but that's the tale.
Unfortunately books by and large DIDN'T help me because it was not my experience. So I can just recommend Lupa and Penzack for general things because they rock, and the rest was Academic I rejected eventually anyway.
But hopefully this explains some shit to you guys.