Sunday, June 9, 2013

Shadow Work III: Timing

Part 3 in the Shadow Work series: Timing and Shadow Work.

{Note there is where we're getting into the nitty gritty opinions section, so disclaimer: This is my opinion and my version of shadow work and you are allowed/encouraged to disagree and change this to suit yourself and your needs! Shadow Work is not a monolith, and neither is Paganism}

(Note in this post I am talking mostly about Emergency work/Complex Work, as I have the most experience with that type. The Timing for self work can be entirely different, though much of this applies to both)

You might wonder why I'm dragging out the nuts and bolts decision making process for shadow work, as opposed to methods, and Woo, and the Juicy Parts

Partly it's because many don't think there IS a decision making process that goes into highly emotional work (as if those two things can't coexist), and it's partly because many haven't experimented with, or examined, their limits, and the decision making process involves you looking at, and accepting, those limits and their validity. So--onward, to Timing!

Life is largely a huge game of timing. You can apply for hundreds of jobs, but timing is what often gets you the one. Right place, right time. Sales at the store are limited. Most people plan their families around other events in their lives/their stiaution. Timing is half luck and half planning, if you ask me. It's how you 'randomly felt like going to the grocery store at 8 AM on a Saturday, and you ran your cart into that random person because you were super freaking tired and they ended up being your spouse and what a weird story, right?' Seriously.

Timing is an undercurrent in everything. It's more acceptable to ask someone to date you as a stranger than to marry you. It's more expected to wear shorts in the heat than in negative temperatures. It's more appropriate to say "I'm sorry" than "Congratulations" at a funeral. It requires some situational-reading, y'see, and the same for the Work.

To say this another way, there is a such thing as taking Shadow Work upon yourself at the wrong time, and the wrong place, because you are at your limits emotionally and physically at that time. There is a situation that involves trying to take the Work on to get around the natural emotional grieving process or speed it up, when in reality your needs dictate you need to let that part happen first. There IS an order to this vague thing we call Shadow Work, and it's important to consider not just "when", but "IF" you should do it for yourself at this current time.

Basically, you need to not be at your breaking point to attempt shadow work in a safe environment. It's not meant to force you into a breakdown when you're on the verge of completely losing it. It's meant to help you bury things that are ready to go. In my experience, if you try and speed the grieving process this way or force yourself into a breakdown, the shadow work often "fails" in some way or another. You can't get through it or it doesn't "take". I say this because MANY TIMES I have thought my grieving was over and I was set to process the tail end, and only in the middle of working when I broke down sobbing and clawing my face (in the negative sense--there is a positive release like this too, in terms of reaction) and breaking in half I realized I wasn't actually over it, and I needed to process fresh things first, then try again later.

I have since learned the timing better, and know to wait until my body tells me it's time.

In short, Shadow Work isn't a tourniquet to stop the blood from a fresh wound. It's the cast or the bandage you put on the wound after it's bled itself out and most of it has been stymied. 

We all know everyone processes life altering events differently. For some, the grieving process is a lot longer than others. I know that I take a very very long time to process and get over huge events, and you can thank my earth-sign moon for that, because we have a hard time with drastic and sudden change, him and I.

When I was just starting out I thought I had to do shadow work consistently, like on a monthly basis, but it turns out that was far too soon for what I was working on. I was almost trying to do shadow work while the trauma (in this case abuse) was still happening, so what occured? I would do the work, and walk right the fuck back into the situation I was shadow-working on and revert immediately. It was honestly not a good idea. It took a solid 2 years after getting out of that situation for me to do the PROPER shadow work for it, and bury it/move on.

You don't bury somebody in the process of dying, you wait respectfully for them to take their time to pass, and then you start the rites. In this way you could say shadow work is very linked to death working. You take the time for yourself to heal enough to do basic life functions, and then you can begin to think about the work.

Let me rephrase that--

Directly after a traumatic event, seriously, don't even think about the work. It shouldn't be a priority. Surviving is your priority. Kick and scream and cry and handle the immediate fallout however you, as a human, like to do those things. Don't think about the work for a while. Let the event simmer and stew for a solid few weeks, at least. After the immediate shock period ends, you can test your limits. Shadow Work involves calling up events in gory detail and reliving them, then dealing with that final fallout, but if you're stuck in a period of crying 4 times a day because you can't HELP reliving them already--don't even think about the Work. Shelve it for another few weeks. Do not feel ashamed about doing this: As I said shadow work is a decision. It is your decision when and IF you take it on. You don't have somebody to please here; this is purely for your own well being. Forcing yourself to relive things you can't think about without breaking down completely at the current time isn't shadow work, it's mental torture. (PLEASE don't do that, seriously.)

The ideal time to do Emergency-type shadow work for an event is on average for me a few months to a year after the event. By that time everything is good and simmered for me and most of my depressive anger has gone out of me; rationalizations in their place. At this point I have analyzed and analyzed the situation multiple times, and it has largely exited my consciousness, because I did those mental work-throughs. This is very important. I often say shadow work is successful when you forget that you did it. The ideal time for it is when the trauma just comes back to bite you at random times, but you can handle those times without much emotion or upheaval in your day, and you want some help to handle the last bits of that thing, because you recognize it has no real positive impact anymore on your life. You have to be in a strong enough and safe enough place to survive reliving those events and letting them go, and that takes no small amount of courage and preparedness.

It's not a forgetting process; more of an accepting and cutting one.


This brings me to my final, more practical, point about timing.

Assuming you recognize you have an issue to work on and want to begin the work, I suggest choosing a time when you can be alone in your house or find somewhere you won't be interrupted. If that's when you go to bed because it's all you have, that can work out.

I prefer an empty house in case I get really deep into the work, because it does create almost a trance state or an ecstatic state, and in that state you might thrash or cry or vocalize and not necessary be worrying about someone else coming to ask if you're okay.

Note you can have somebody with you if you prefer, and you trust that person. The thing is, they have to be prepared to see you go into what might look like from the outside a semi-violent fit of emotion, and NOT step in unless asked. The expressive, ugly part that makes us uncomfortable is supremely important, and it's not good to quell it. Part of the shadow work is giving yourself the safe space to ugly cry and claw the carpet and chant profanities and not be composed and perfect and Okay.

Make sure you're in a safe spot, whatever that means to you, and feel free to call deities or guides to aid you. Make it a ritual, if you prefer. Make it something to celebrate, if that works for you. The Work is positive, even if it is difficult and painful, and you have the right to celebrate having the courage to begin.


Shadow Work II: Types

Shadow Work is the monolithic term that I and other uses for this kind of thing, but what it is and what are the types of work?

To define the term, to me Shadow Work means facing the dark parts of my life on purpose, instead of burying and sweeping them under the rug. It is a conscious and necessary process in which I choose to face these things on a regular basis. This process in turn keeps me healthier, more stable, and more prepared to handle trauma and emotional times.

(For the hows and practical applications, you'll have to wait until part IV)

Within this idea of Shadow Work, there are many approaches, and this often depends on WHY you're doing the Work.

I have divided it into:

  • Immediate or Emergency Shadow Work
This is what I consider shadow work in direct result of a traumatic or otherwise life-changing event. Doing Work to assist or aid with a recent death, a break-up, past abuse, assault, disease, divorce, and things of that nature. This is the most common type that I will do.

Additionally in my experience, this type of traumatic experience has the most likelihood of leaving the individual with fall-out that shadow work alone won't fix. This includes the obvious psychological trauma (which counseling can aid) but also the metaphysical fall out of soul-piece loss and cords and connections. It is common to have a single event cause a series of issues that need to be approached from several angles.

             + Assisted Shadow Work

             I put this under the first heading because it is possible to have aid from the Spirit worlds for your work, and indeed it might constitute a LARGE part of the work you do with a particular spirit. Granted you can be assisted in any case of Work, not just a trauma.

            Note the roles can be reversed. If a SPIRIT needs help with ITS traumas or its work, the individual can be brought on to bear witness and act as a support or aid system to the spirit. This sometimes occurs in people who work with spirits that need to cross; shadow work is often the last leg of the journey.

  • Self-Focused Shadow Work
         This is work that is undertaken as a direct result of a desire to change or focus on a particular quality of your own personality that you personally do not like. If you have deep seated anger issues, or anxiety, or problems trusting others, that's what this is for. It is usually long-term and can have many facets and layers, as issues rarely develop in a vacuum.

         For instance, my work on my self has been mainly in the area of my anxiety. So I sat down semi-regularly with myself to work on that. Additionally, I find this type of shadow work, the process of changing old habits and patterns, needs to be attempted on the fly to combat things often and repeatedly, versus emergency shadow work, which is in some ways FEELINGS ALL AT ONCE and becomes vastly better after.

            +Preventative and regular Shadow Work

         You can, in fact, do preventative shadow work. This is more like a check-in you do every so often to see how things are. You might not think there's anything bothering you anymore, but it's worth it to sit down, be silent, and really look very deeply into the well just to see. It's not a bad thing to clear the crap before it becomes bad.

  • Complex Shadow Work {Multi-Type}
         This is my name for work that encompasses emergency and self-focused at once, because let's face it, a lot of the time they are inseparable  So this just means yes, you can be working on SEVERAL issues at once, in the same work.

  • Multi-Lifetime Work
        This type is specifically referencing old, OLD issues you have left over from past astral lives or what-have-you. In many situations issues build and stay with us and they may not surface until several lifetimes later. In this life I did a ton of shadow work that centered in a life hundreds of years ago, in a different time, because it became apparent it was still bothering me. When you begin digging into your issues on purpose, you uncover a lot of shit. Some of it is ooooollllddd. Don't be surprised when this happens.

Note these are my definitions after doing this for a while, and you may have more, or less.

The reason I mention types is because in the next installment, which is on timing, I will be covering the fact that your timing largely depends on your issue, and it's very important to be mindful of why.

In the process of Shadow Work, often once you pull the plug on the bathtub of feelings, it doesn't stop. You will work with one issue, and solve it, and in solving that issue you unlock another you completely repressed, and another, and so on. This is why any type of Work should not be undertaken lightly, or at the wrong time.

More on this in part III!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Shadow Work, I: A Series of Little Deaths

I know I have talked about shadow work before (here) but I have done so much of it and learned so much FROM it in recent months, I feel a series has become necessary, and needed. Shadow work, in my sight, also remains misunderstood in the greater woo-woo community.

So I give you part 1 of the Shadow Work posts: A Series of Little Deaths.

This post is about the philosophy of shadow work.

What I have learned in the past few years of my life, which is when I began paying attention and I "woke up" to the astral, is Life seems to be nothing but a series of little Deaths.

They are little as in small, so many of us don't notice. You keep on chugging through the worst of everything, and there are ups and downs, but rarely do you look backwards and contemplate the series of graves you're leaving behind on your path of chugging forward.

It happens when you love and lose and it really affected you and you can't eat for a month. It happens when you lose someone to death that you really cared about. It happens when you lose a pet, or a family member to something other than death. It might happen when you have a health scare, and nothing actually happens. It might happen when you missed hitting that kid at the intersection by millimeters, because you weren't paying attention. It may even happen when you wake up and somehow you can't remember where you end and someone else begins, and it's terrifying.

We are dying all the time, and the deaths are not the same, nor the same intensity, for everybody. It's pretty much always painful, even when it's sorely needed. You KNEW you had to end that relationship, but it hurt anyway. You KNEW your family member was losing a fight with their health, but it hurt to let go all the same. It's easier to buck up and keep moving forward and get over it than it is to sit with the self you're in the process of burying and hug it and let it cry.

We're told it's bad to wallow for a long time in feelings or depression or normal human reactions to loss. 

This is worse in situations that are considered 'commonplace' or like 'regular life things'. We're told to get over it, it's not a big deal, it was just a break-up, it was just a move, it was just a job loss, just a best friend that hurt you deeply, not like it was a REAL event. Not like somebody died, or something.

Somebody did. YOU did. But maybe it wasn't visible to them.

"Small" things can affect us greatly. And if you acknowledge that you have the right to feel like you're dying because of an "insignificant" life event, because it was significant to YOU, then you are on the right track.

That's what shadow work is for.

It's terrifying to wake up and realize you've lost pieces of yourself. There are stages of grief, they say, but they don't tell you the last stage is dying yourself. Acceptance, they say. Acceptance often means admitting you will never be the person you were before, again. 

You'll be similar, yeah. Still "you" at the core. But something is gone, now, that wasn't gone before, and you will heal and you will come out stronger, but not the same. And that's not a bad thing, but more of an acknowledgement. At the end of your Work you will look back and you will not understand, recognize, "be" that same self anymore. You will wave to each other on opposite ends of the path, and turn and walk away. You will feel like that self is a stranger, because the transformative process of your little death, and your work to go through it, and then eventually build a little headstone and say farewell to that self, has divorced you from it. Put you outside your body, unable to feel, see, and think that way again. 

The Work puts you on the outside the same way having astral awareness does. Shadow work gives you vivid, and sudden, and constant self-awareness. You will know the deepest parts of yourself, and guide those parts by the hand through your inevitable walk into the void and out the other side. And when you are on that other side, you will not look back, and you will know the work is done.

You won't realize you've completed the work until days, months, years later. You'll realize suddenly, as you're drinking some tea and smiling to yourself in Winter, that you haven't thought about Him in 6 weeks. That the things that friend did were really shitty and you will never, ever let someone treat you that way again, because you're worth so much more, and suddenly you actually BELIEVE that you are. 

When you are on the other side, the shadow work will be worth it, because you'll forget why you had to do it to begin with. 

And the You that comes out will be a hundred times better than the you you began with, even if it doesn't feel like that now. It will.


Monday, April 29, 2013

The Danger of Losing Touch: Shadow Work

(No image)

Hello, blog. Today I come to you...different. Not-the-same.

I am here to talk about the danger of losing touch. Not with your blog, or your friends, or your anything, but yourself. Not your practice; this goes deeper than that.

This is the ultimate goal of shadow work: to restore the "self", whatever form that is for you, and in whatever way you feel it needs to be restored. When we talk about soul-shards leaving and soul-shatter, we're talking at the base level about a loss of self. How that happens, and why, is another discussion. You just need to know it happened to me, and I thought I had done the Work, and I was Better, and I Wasn't, and that was the best possible thing to happen to me.

I have talked before about how I am two-minded. One half of me is intellectual, is "airy", spends time reading about heavy topics and likes chilling out with ideas. I like to pretend, sometimes, that that's the only half. And I pretend that's the only half and then I act surprised when I turn around and realize I feel empty and lost and I can't honestly explain what I'm feeling because it feels like "nothing". It feels cold. Because at the heart, I have this tendency to sweep my other half under the rug.

The other half is the messy one. The Witch. The Spirit-Walker. The Half-Animal. The one with all the feelings, the good and the bad, the ANGER, the righteousness. The ecstatic visions and the journey and the death rites and the throwing yourself down in the dirt, the mud, and howling like an animal and ripping flesh from bone with sharp claws. She's all wearing the skulls of animals and losing yourself to the night, losing molecule by molecule until you and Night lose track of what is what and you become each other and that's the true fulfillment.

Today I have been reminded that an intellectual practice is not one I can sustain alone. As much as I like to think of myself as this rational, reserved Spirit-Walker--I'm NOT. And I can't pretend I am. And the worst part is I wasn't even aware I had shut that other part of me off, again, until I did the Work and I lit the sacred incense and I poured my shit out on the ground in front of my Underworld betters and said "I'm sorry. Help me." I didn't understand why my facet, the one who guards my heart space, slapped me across the face and told me "You can't keep doing this." I didn't understand and that hurt her worse than anything; the blindness more than the action.

She meant I can't bury this huge portion of my practice. Half of my practice is airy and purity and intellectual--but the other half is human-and-animal, blood and guts and ruin and strong-eats-weak and all of the laws of nature. It's the crashing waves and the thunder and the lightning and all of that in the breath-the-blood of my human body. And that doesn't make it "bad" or "something I don't want to deal with". And at the core, I want to know WHY I keep doing this, so I can stop.

As much as I do offerings and write about deities and Spirits and whatever, it doesn't Fulfill. It doesn't suffice. It feels like eating a feast in an illusion, and the more you eat the more you're confused because you don't feel any fuller. You don't feel like you've eaten at all.

That messy side, the Underworld Side, the Animal--she is the food. She is the hunger and she is the feast all at once. I can read and write about the Work all I want, I can pretend I'm scientific and hard-nosed and academic and what-have-you, but I'm sitting at an empty banquet table wondering why I'm so hungry. I NEED that side of my practice like I need breath and water and food. And it's really sad that I keep realizing and forgetting this.

So this post is about the ultimate goal of shadow work: acceptance.

It's easier to accept things that happen to you and outsider things. It's really fucking hard to accept you are not who you say/think/believe you are. You might realize it, but it takes a while to set in. For me, I think it's finally setting in. I can't promise I'll never lose touch again, just that when I do, I will remember this working, and this moment, and I will hold it tight to me like a flame, and I will stop jumping off the cliff and killing half my soul for the sake of an idea.

This is a promise.

Monday, April 15, 2013

For Boston

In lieu of a post, I am posting here the two versions of healing sigil I have created for those victims of the Boston explosions today. I find sometimes you want to help in any way you can, but you're unsure how to proceed. I made these for people who might want a symbol or a directive for their energy.

It's based off the supreme healing capabilities of the nautilus, and the spiral, and the writing is essentially astral speak for "Energy to Boston", "Safety to Boston", etc. Feel free to print my sigil or modify it.

I kept the jps very large sized in case you want to print them.

When sending support energy, I am always sure to include a "If this energy is wanted", clause. It's find to act as a support, but never forget your source has free will and should be allowed to reject the energy if it chooses.

Stay safe, Boston.

Friday, March 8, 2013

When To Bring Out the Side-Eye: Occult Info Edition

(I found this Michelle-Side-Eye-on-google.)

Okay I realize this is probably treading directly into uncomfortable territory for a lot of people in the community, but I've heard an alarming number of stories in the past few weeks from people over private message and other means about this very topic and I feel I need to address it. I feel like I'm not good enough at psychology to tackle it properly but I'll try in my ineloquent fashion anyway. And this is my experience, YMMV, standard disclaimers etc.

That topic is: When should you be concerned or suspicious when other people offer you information about your own metaphysical background/self/energy/guides/Gods?

Just to get this out of the way, I am NOT shitting on Godphones and people who are asked to act as intermediaries between certain physical parties and certain spiritual ones. I know several people in my life who have been indeed been told by Deity "Go tell this person this thing for me."

There are a couple reasons to do that:
  1. The Deity legit can't reach you for whatever reasons and so reach out to others to deliver their message.
  2. Sometimes it's a test of your ability to listen.
  3. Sometimes it's a test for the person telling you, as well.
  4. Sometimes it's contract-related between you, the intermediary, and the Deity.
  5. Annnd it can be a little from each column too.
So that's by no means unheard of and it's a practice that deserves to be respected like all roles taken on by those who walk the Path, whatever roles they may be. To be clear I'm NOT talking about people who legitimately Godphone or oracle upon request for others and its part of their path. (I myself do tarot and oracle/akashic readings for people on request.)

What I'm talking about is deliberately using occult or metaphysical information, often fabricated, in a concentrated effort to control, extort, or manipulate another individual. 

So let's say for example you can't really see your past lives and for whatever reason you maybe want to, but you're not really thinking about it. You start dating someone who seems okay and starts to tell you about your past lives. You believe them, because you don't REALLY have evidence to the contrary, so it's an either-way thing. They weave this extensive backstory between you and the person and write this grand tale in memories about how you've always been together and always will be and ~destiny~, and like I said, you don't have evidence to the contrary and you like this person, so you might get a little creeped, but you're kinda like "Maybe they're right?"

And that's where it begins. This is where Imma stop you and talk to you about ethics.

As a healer-type, I am very concerned about ethics. I won't send a single spurt of energy to somebody without asking them, even if I have in the past, EVEN if they've given me permission to do so at any time. And even then I take precautions; I tell the energy to shut off if at any point they decide to stop accepting. (And it seems to indeed shut off.) Also being an Oracle-type, I tend to Know things about other people right off the bat. Example of this is Otherkin-type energy, animal guides, Deities; a lot of that I can pick up. (Not all the time, not for everybody.) However, unless explicitly asked, I'm not going around telling everyone I meet this information.

Why? Several reasons.
  1. I accept I could be completely off base and I respect the feelings of the individual before MY feelings, so I don't want to create an awkward situation, unless, as I stated, I am specifically asked about a topic or my feelings on something they feel. Especially if this person is of a religion or faith that would directly contradict what I have seen and might become upset by my info.
  2. By telling someone this information I may be inhibiting their natural exploration or pathfinding and I don't think depriving them of that discovery process is my place.
  3. Even if explicitly asked by the person I can be told "no" because the Spirits agree with me on point # 2, and ethically speaking I'm not going to act against those wishes.
Also my morals are not everybody's morals and that's cool too. I'm setting you up an example of someone who legitimately does oracle and divinate for people without desire to manipulate, through my list of ethics.

Again, there are times at which I will be legitimately moved by things to tell people information, and that's not what my article is discussing. I'm trying to tell you, even if it's me, and I listed my ethics up there for you, you still need to be suspicious as fuck of my information. That's not offensive to me. I consider that basic spiritual self-defense.

Being suspicious is a very good survival instinct you should develop on purpose. Being suspicious as fuck has saved my ass many times on the astral, especially when dealing with mimics. 

In the above scenario--your SO weaves you a tale about your past lives you can't ACTUALLY refute because you have no evidence of your own to counteract--step 1 is to examine why this person is telling you this.

Is it:

    A) Because they legitimately saw this and really want to tell you?
    B) Because they're providing context to make your relationship seem like "more" than it is?…Why?
    C) Because, by inventing a story, they are weaving the beginnings of a manipulative web in which you accept what they say as fact on metaphysical matters you can't refute?

Can you REALLY discern which it is? Would you bet years of your life on it immediately? What if you bet wrong? Plenty of people have. I saw it happen in my own house.

This is the issue with trying to turn your personal experiences/knowledge into something another person should automatically jive with.

Let me tell you some shit:

Just because you can't at present refute it doesn't make it automatically true.

At least for me, I require proof either way. Me and Rosebell really do have an astral past. How do I know this? This information was shared, disputed, discussed, re-discussed and rewritten multiple times--equally--between us. It still is. The difference is when somebody comes up and begins telling YOU all about YOUR life and the room for discussion isn't there. They're not interested in your thoughts or experiences. They're only interested in what they know about you. Why are they so hell-bent on telling you how things are? (Again reiterating this is unsolicited, as in, you didn't ask for this info)

Your experiences are yours. Period. If something doesn't feel right to you, it's not. Disregard it. Get the fuck out. Side-eye the shit out of people that relay all your lives to you and it involves them or especially them having some sort of power or connection over you. You feel Otherkin and someone tells you "I have uber epic psychic powers and I can tell you're not, so you're not"? Punch them in the face. Then leave.

BUT--YOU CAN BE WRONG! I've been wrong plenty of times about things in my metaphysic journey. But I'm saying BEING WRONG is your experience to have--NOT SOMEONE ELSE'S. You can absolutely be wrong about things--and the person might be right and have best intentions, but they're still intervening. If you think you have a God bothering you and it's someone else--that's your discovery. Same with being Otherkin, or being Empathic, or a Dreamwalker, or any number of things. There were people who knew I wasn't Wolf-Otherkin way before I did, and they respected me enough not to tell me until I figured it out for myself at the correct time for me. (It turns out it's Fox, if you're curious.) I side-eye the shit out of people who try and tell me things (unasked) because I wonder--

"What's so bad about ME being wrong about MYSELF? Why are you trying to prevent me from having the experience of learning to be wrong and analyze my self-perception?"

By the same token, you don't have to prove your feelings, or your personal knowledge, experiences, or Spirit-relationships to anybody. You live in your own head, and therefore your truth is personal and inherently your own. I like evidence and self-analysis as much as the next person, but reality is by its very nature happening inside your head. Reality is personal. Nobody gets to change your personal reality for you, before you're ready, and if they want to, you should question why. 

The worse-case scenario is the one I mentioned above. Be warned there are people in the community who will attempt to use fabricated occult things to exert control over you. I feel as though this is a somewhat unique angle to approach manipulation from; precisely because they're telling you things that could be false but you can't overtly PROVE either way. And if you're naturally trusting like me and a newer Path-walker and you respect this person and think they want to help you learn, all the worse. If someone tries to implant false memories of your past/change your perception of reality (this is similar to Gaslighting techniques) it can be generally refuted by other means. But someone inventing facts about you spiritually--what do you do then?

Well I'll give you a few steps I've found have helped me out.

A) If you suspect the information of being true, get several opinions.
Especially if you know OTHER oracle-types or spirit-walkers that deal in information--ASK THEM. Especially if someone is talking about your astral calling or your Gods or something and your gut is saying "This seems a little fucking creepy." Ask for confirmation from several sources. Ask your Gods. Ask your Guides. Ask your cards. Ask trustworthy or otherwise un-involved people that don't know either party very well and won't be biased.
B) Exercise suspicion of motives.
Analyze every possible reason behind the person telling you this information.
Even if it's someone earnestly trying to help you out. I prefer people be suspicious, even of information I give them.
C) How does that make you feel?
Does this information make you want to fucking run? Why? Really think about this step. Sometimes the information really does confirm something you know, and that's cool too.
D) If I accepted this information as fact, would it change dynamics in the corporeal relationship between me and this person?
If you accept this story as fact, does it change your corporeal thoughts about this individual? Does it make you think they're more...'powerful' than you? More worthy of respect? More worthy of being followed? WHY? Does this information throw off the balance of power you thought was there before? Does it leave you on the lesser end? Is it legitimately DESIGNED to produce this effect?

Especially the last point is a huge red flag of an occult-manipulator. If the information is DESIGNED to make you doubt yourself, your feelings, your autonomy, or your position is 'Equal' to someone else--to me, that's a very giant huge scary sign of someone out to fuck you up. Seriously--if you suspect someone of doing this, tell somebody you really do trust. If you don't have somebody, you can tell me.

It should also be said people serving as Godphones and intermediaries communicate messages that may unsettle you. That's not automatically a sign of illegitimacy! Deities do that. Some information does that. But in my experience the last point (D) is not something that happens with genuinely helpful people that are doing their jobs. It's work. It's not a personal vendetta to eradicate your autonomy, like an occult manipulator strategy might be. They are totally different things. I'm only mentioning them in the same article to illustrate how NOT THE SAME they are, lest people conflate the two.

And you can ABSOLUTELY ask for help! There's nothing wrong with that at all! If you suspect Loki is on your ass and you know a few people who Godphone for him, there's nothing wrong at all with asking for a second opinion to confirm your feelings, if they (and he) choose to tell you. But in that scenario you have inklings already and are seeking out help for yourself; as opposed to someone attempting to fabricate entire lifetimes that have 0 connection to you in an attempt to...gain something from you. And even in the case where I am moved to seek out confirmation from other people, I still keep my suspicions and analysis of motives. 

This series of questions is designed to keep you safe and keep you wondering. It's a series of things I wish somebody had taught me when I first encountered people I perceived as more open/powerful/oracular than I was, and therefore to be trusted. Staying on your toes like this will hopefully prepare you better in the case you run into one of this unfortunate individuals, and has the added bonus of prepping you most excellently for Spirits on the astral; of whom many are manipulative and will invent shit to get you to trust them.

I don't mean "trust nobody". I've come to believe the vast majority of people really do mean well. Rather I mean "give people (and Spirits) time to earn your trust, and thus prevent stupid situations from occurring." 

There is a difference.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Being God-less (And Pagan) is A-Okay

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Welcome back to the Duskenpath blog, guys. It's the new year. Hope yours is going well.

I've truthfully tried to write at least 3 posts up til now--but this is the only one that suddenly struck me with importance enough to write it. Because it wasn't so long ago I recognized this myself.

There is a difference, you'll find, between being Atheist and being God-less. Generally speaking, Atheism is the belief in no-gods. I am, or have become, effectively, God-less, which is different. (PS I also think it's a-okay to consider oneself Atheist and Pagan, but that's not the focus on this particular article, since it's my-experience based.) I believe in Gods, and in general you can consider me a more or less hard polytheist, as in Thor is not Anubis is not Zeus in my thought-paradigms. I have good reason that goes beyond belief to know Gods are there; I have worked with some in the past and a few have put themselves forward to me. I have no doubt these entities exist and roll the dice on our collective lives.

To understand this article better you need to grasp that you can believe in Gods, but believing does not necessitate worship, prayer or devotion to said Gods. So more or less, I believe in these Deities, but as it stands now, I am devoted, worshipping, or praying to none. Practically speaking.

When I began the path (I still identify as Pagan for all intents and purposes, discussion over that term recently notwithstanding) it honestly felt weird to me to worship Gods. I believed they existed even then because I had a few CLEARLY come through to me--but it felt unnatural somehow to pray, or worship. And I thought that was weird because I had conflicting desires--some part of me WANTED to be able to throw my devotion behind some being bigger than me (you can see this conflict coming through in some of my older posts)--and the other half of me said NO and put up a block, and made it feel unnatural. And no matter what Deity I tried, what paradigm, even when they came to ME and said "We're working together", it still didn't...feel right. It never "clicked". Like being stuck in dress that's a size too small because you keep telling yourself you'll lose the 5 pounds and fit better--but you know you're delusional, and the other half of you is like why are you even pretending? Cave and buy the fucking bigger size. Nobody cares but you. This applies to all labels, by the way.

I had Deity statues around and included them in rites and rituals--and it still felt wrong. Like it wasn't right somehow and I didn't have WORDS to describe why it wasn't right. But the Pagan comm at large puts an emphasis on Deity--naturally, of course--so I kept thinking maybe if I give it more time, if I keep trying, maybe the path just hasn't found me yet, and I'm missing something here.

I was half right. The path DID find me--the Deity never did. And for a long time I kept thinking that was wrong somehow. I went through the motions of petitioning Deity and the other stuff, too caught up in the action and the idea I had of this devotion to face the fact it was JUST an idea. It didn't hold water, which is why it made me feel hollow and hungry no matter how much I did it--like pouring water into a vase with a hole. There was no way those actions could fill the spaces I knew I had.

And it was only VERY recently--because it happened without me really noticing, the Deity thing I had, the IDEA slipping away--that I became aware that I had filled those holes, and I no longer felt the hunger. And here I was on the other side, with a healthy respect for Gods, but no pact, nor devotion, nor prayerful relationship with one--and that was okay. That was fine.

There's a point in the Path where I think you tend to step back and look at yourself and wonder why you're trying to hold up a sinking ship. It's sinking, so let it go. It's so much effort, and time, and annoyance, to try and keep, or be, something we know just ISN'T us. At a certain point you have to let go because the holding is just too intense, and the gain doesn't feel like anything but hollow. Eventually, I let go of my boat, which was this idea I had of what I as a Pagan path-walker SHOULD be doing.

In the place of the boat/the leaky pail was astral awareness, and Spirit-Walking, and knowledge born of direct experience, and a bond with my Guide, who is a God, but I don't Worship him, either. In the place of the hunger were answers, and pain, but even the pain was good because it was not hollowness, and there was a certainty of knowing myself and where my path leads. There have been Gods who have aided me, for sure, in my past, when I was younger--but truthfully I think we were never much invested in the other. A passing glance, perhaps, but on different paths. Different wavelengths. And there is nothing wrong with that. And, having reflected on this, I'm no longer afraid of this reality. It's not some lonely, terrifying path I imagined it to be. It feels right for me. It feels as though I should have cut away those parts of my path long ago, because it was never meant to converge with a God's. And I'm writing this because AS I write it I am realizing that it's okay. And I want others who have that same nagging doubt, or feeling, that they should be involved with Gods despite what they feel--that really. It's okay.

You can call yourself a Pagan/whatever term you want here and not be involved with Gods. Really. You don't have to have a Patron. It's not a requirement to worship and pray and offer. Trust me, you'll be fine. If you are into praying/worshipping/offering, that's fine too. If it's just for now you're Godless, and you won't be later, that's fine too. If you were Godless before, and now you have to hit them off with a stick, that's fine too. (If you're okay with that.) It's fine wherever you are, on your path, right now, because that's where you're supposed to be. If you're confused about Gods, that's also fine. You don't have to figure this shit out now. It took me a solid 6 years or so, and I'm standing on the other side of a healthy divide, writing this now.

But your path--your life--is what YOU make it. If you want to be Pagan and don't want Gods--do it. If you're a Recon dedicated to one, or many Gods--do it. If Gods want you, and you don't want Gods--tell them no. (And then, if need be, take Other Measures.) This Path is for you to decide. You decide where to walk from here. And it may be the deciding takes you years and talks and discussions with your Gods, and other people, and what have you, and wherever you end up, in the end, make sure it works for you. Make sure it fulfills you. And if that includes Gods, that's great. If it doesn't, that's also great.

Just a short post I probably could have used ~6 years ago.

PS, post on Fate and Threads coming very soon, I promise.