Monday, December 31, 2012

PBP 30: Zephyr, or Duskenpath Year in Review


{Image of Zephyr from}

No but really I think Zephyr is a good fucking word for this year. Cold and sharp and changing but slow at once, on the knife's edge between horrible and really good. A breeze one minute but a gust the next.

I said I would finish out the project on time and by the Gods, I will.

This is your Duskenpath year in review.

1. A year ago, I created the blog for the Project and really expected either a) nobody to read it, so I originally intended to do it as a records thing, or b) to be badly received for choosing to be open about shit I felt was Not Talked About at large. 

Pretty much a year ago today I sat next to therosebell and said "I think I want to do the blog project." And I sat there trying to think of a clever witchy name and couldn't, so Duskenpath just came to me (other loser names were other variants of path from a thesaurus, and shit involving wolves) and I created the name, feeling like a giant fucking tool, and then since it was lolzy I slapped the title on one of my fox skull photos and created my humble ass little blog.

I had tried and failed to start blogging regularly before, so I kind of half expected to fail this year too, since I never finish what I start. Well, it's not midnight yet, and I'm finishing it, and for that, I'm very proud.

But what I'm most proud of is this blog has become its on entity. Its own thing. I get emails and comments weekly from people either seeking help or thanking me for giving them the words, or the forum, to express things they needed to express. And that makes me the happiest. Because that was my other aim in writing. I figured if I could reach one person that couldn't find answers anywhere else, I'd be validated in what I was doing. I wasn't expecting the sheer volume of emails, comments and general support from readers. When I opened up my tumblr to better engage with people who follow or enjoy my stuff, I really got it even more. This blog was really, legitimately helping people, and reaching people who needed it.

And I think everybody really just wants to do what little good they can for other people, you know? In whatever way we can. If I can do that by cursing a lot (for some reason you guys seem to like it) and writing down my thoughts in a guide format, then I'll do it.

2. My first post was an intro post.  I am much changed now from who I was then. This year, for me, has been one of transition, but also of stagnation, horrible depression, and really seeing the darkest parts of life. Being so deep in a hole you lose time and forget how to climb out. 2012 was the year of Losing for me. Not all the losing was bad, but it hurts anyway. I hope 2013 to be the Year of Gaining, for these things have to come in cycles.

4. I began the Spirit Series as a way to help those who were into Spirit Work, because when I was dragged in, I didn't know which end was up. It remains the most read series on my blog, when I was expecting it to be the most hatemail-inducing. I have gotten more mail, questions and comments on this series alone than anything else--and that's GREAT! I feel like this is one of those things we SHOULD talk about and don't, as a community, so my goal was to really begin a dialogue about it, if I could, as well as to help. I could have used help when I began my work, so I am always glad to give it.

3. I began the Poison Master List project. It remains unfinished, but it jumpstarted my herb research and gave me a lot of perspective on stuff. It also taught me for some reason people really dig reading about Jack in the Pulpit. (Seriously, it has the most views of any poison post--what gives, guys?)

5. I publicly wrote about my guide Kratos/K. This was new for me, because I had never been very open about him before, but it felt right to speak more about it this year.

5.5 I told you my complete story of how I began my Spirit-Work. I also publicly told you I was Otherkin, another thing I thought would be the deal-breaker in the community. I was proven wrong again. Tons of you reached out in support and in camaraderie, and it seriously melted my old heart.

6. I spoke to you a lot about my own personal journey and shadow-work. The dark side of the Magix and exciting shit. The untalked about side of Spirit-Working and living a double life on the astral, and how weak it can make you. I find this important because I don't wish to project this image of perfect stability and power and shit when I'm struggling as hard as anybody else. I wanted to keep a kind of transparency, halfway for my own sanity, and halfway to really show Spirit-work changes you, at the deepest level.

7. I spoke to you about my personal calendar project, and found that lots of you were experiencing the same transitional period. Work on that is still being done, but I started it this year. I think it's important more of us begin cataloguing our own forays into personal calendar making.

8. I codified a lot of my own thoughts on astral methods and shit I did myself but never thought about, such as my crystal grid posts. This helped me a lot to figure out better ways of explaining myself and my methods to other people, and has been a sure exercise in trying to translate from astralspeak and images into english. I'm still surprised it's understandable.

9. I began the Tarot Project, which I'll be taking up again now. I also turned other people to the tarot dark side. Muahahah!

10. I finished out the Blog Project! Which was one of my goals when I began this blog.

So, thank you, friends, readers, enemies, frenemies, and famiry, for over 20,000 views, 300+ comments, tons of dialogue  mutual help, interaction, debate, discussion, and fascination. Though I didn't expect it, I'm beyond happen Duskenpath has grown into something like this. Here's hoping 2013 is the year of Growth for us all. (And Peace, peace would be just dandy too.)

PBP 29: You're in the Matrix: Illusion Magick 101

Congrats. You're in the matrix.


If you've even been Spirit-walking to anywhere, you've landed directly in the matrix at least once. And by the matrix I mean in the fucking mires of an illusion.

Illusions, the astral, and you.

If the astral functioned like earth and had percentages of shit in the atmosphere, it would be at least 85 percent illusion magic and energy. Illusion magic is what I mean when people refer to glamours, and things generally not being as they seem, or when you choose to appear as something you're not. If I choose to appear to a human spirit as an Angel, I'm using illusion magic, that is, consciously controlling the energy waves around my spirit body to bend them into a particular form.

Illusions are woven into the very fabric of that, and this, world. Every time you dress a certain way you're portraying an illusion meant to do something. Impressing someone, dressing to look attractive, attract attention, or even to be invisible are all illusionist tactics, and used in our bag of tricks. Human society functions on a bed of illusion and trickery. The entire political system, for instance. The illusion of choice in many aspects of our lives. The idea of a false dichotomy. The idea of illusion as a tactic is nothing new.

Camouflaging for war, choosing a dress carefully to wear to court with nobles to express some sort of wealth, the wearing of an engagement ring--all of these aspects can contribute to an air, glamour, or illusion.

Now that I've given you physical examples let me tell you rule 1 of the astral--shit is rarely what it seems.

Take it from somebody who has landed in illusions enough times/has been formally trained via my guide to tell the difference. The astral is a serious of illusion pitfalls, traps and nonsense, some of it woven into the very fabric of the astral itself (like a Matrix without a creator) and some created with a specific purpose in mind. You can create an illusion with a specific target in mind, or you can just leave a trap a la hunting and trapping to just grab whatever for a particular purpose.

Now the nitty-gritty: When I say astral illusion magick, the process is as follows.

1. You have a need for an illusion. This informs what sort of thing you need to put up. For instance, when K. was testing my illusion skills, he told me to create a dense landscape and try to out-maneuver him in that landscape.

2. Like a crystal grid, the illusion has to be anchored to something in reality. The Last Unicorn had that part right about Mommy Fortuna's magic. Every great illusion has to be anchored to a shred of truth or real shit to be stable. It might be counter intuitive but an illusion is a living, breathing entity/spell that has to be fed from some source you create.

3. How many anchors you choose ups the complexity of your illusion, because illusion breaking involves locating and dismantling anchors. If I create a 6-anchor illusion we're going to be there a while as you try to locate and dismantle all of my shit. It's like rigged capture the flag.

When I saw anchors they don't have to be visible. They can be points of energy, like light, and this makes it really difficult to find them. More often I find them in "weak points" in the illusion, like a back wall, or a window, or some area that doesn't look as "finely crafted".

4. The number of anchors you need depends on how many "points" your illusion has. If you want a forest, that's 1 point: physical space. If you need time to pass there, you have another layer, like an illusion-onion. If you need other entities to be in the illusion and act normal, a la Inception, that's layer and anchor 3. If you want hostile weaponry or entities, that's layer 4. And so on and so forth until you can get a very complex illusion.

The more anchors you have in the creation of illusion, the more "high definition" your illusion looks, as compared to a regular TV screen, which is how everyday, mundane reality looks.

Illusions essentially created boxed-in areas/think of like a forcefield over an area of the astral/this plane. It's like a giant half sphere over a huge area, right? This illusion is then anchored to something inside that space, and "programmed" to either keep things in or let things in or don't let things out unless in such case they find a way to break out.

Before you get all creeped on me consider this: Illusions, like most things, can be good or bad.


+You need a completely closed off area to train, speak to someone, or perform some action or other, completely away from prying eyes. On the astral there are many.

+You are transversing memories of things that happened already and need to keep your body safe while you're off traipsing.

+You need to disguise yourself to go on recon journeys or you just really can't be seen.

+You're facing a foe you can't defeat in a bid for power but you might be able to get away with trickery and quick illusion magick.

+You're working with human spirits that won't go with you to the other side unless you look a certain way and you need to change your appearance.

+If you can make an illusion, that means you can break it, and that's possibly the most valuable skill you can learn on astral journey.

+If you really want to beat somebody up/curse somebody but it's not really a good idea, it's a valid way of shadow working to create an image of them, destroy it, and process a lot of feelings without involving somebody else's threads and energies.


+To force you to face something (This can be helpful to you or coming from a harmful entity that forces you to see horrible things over and over)

+To give you said closed space to speak to the entity/spirit/deity away from prying ears and eyes

+To distract you while they go after your physical form (have had this one happen)

+To try and beat YOU in a fight because they can't match pure power to yours so they go to illusions instead, which most aren't skilled at breaking unless you've been trained

+To train you in some skill facing illusion people/"enemies" so you can't hurt yourself or others during practice sessions (for instance I practiced healing in illusions often so I wasn't literally hurting other people by accident)

+To trick you by appearing to mimic your guide or deity in a bid to gain something from you, whether that be trust, energy, your affections, or anything else you have that they want and can't outwardly take, or don't want the fight.

So now we have a sampling of reasons illusions can be very useful to us and others. I can't teach you exactly how to create the illusion because it depends on the person/can be dangerous in the wrong hands, but I can teach you how to recognize and attempt to test or dismantle an illusion you're inside. This is ultimately far more useful to the beginner because not everybody is suited to illusion magick. Like healing or cursing they are skills that you either pick up easily or have to work really hard at. Illusions are kind of my thing because they are my guide K's thing as well, so I got introduced to that shit very early on.

Make no mistakem illusions can be highly dangerous and volatile things, but if you do Spirit-work you're PROBABLY going to walk right into one at some point. The tricky part is you may not know until much, much later, because illusions can be seamless and mimic reality to a fault.


1. On an individual/"Glamour"/Shapeshifting

This I have firsthand experience with, and this is why I stress discernment with trusted Spirits. Things ROUTINELY try to mimic K to me. Like, all the time. The thing is he's not an easy person to pull off. Consistently something is off, either his mannerism or his energy or even missing buttons from a coat. First, learn details of your entity. I know what K wears, and why, and what he feels like, so when it's NOT him I just KNOW immediately. For a second level of discernment, we invented a system where he presents a certain signal or sign and I do the same so we know we are the other. This is also intelligent.

But recognizing a glamour or shapeshift on another being comes down to first knowing what the original person they're mimicing feels like. This makes it exponentially easier on you because you're scrutinizing for anything, no matter how tiny, that is "off" in the picture they've crafted. It's hard to keep up a complex appearance so often something is bound to be missing that they just forgot.

Secondly, this is a feature of most illusions, but look for shininess. There's no better word for it. One function of illusionist practice is it has the side effect of making the creator hard to look at, as if it's a very well-waxed and shiny car. The aura or energy field takes on an almost too-HD appearance and, when compared to a background, looks strange, like a photoshopped realistic animal on a cartoon landscape.

Look for things that would never happen. Once in an illusion world K killed his wife right in front of me to test my healing capabilities. Yeah weird shit happens on the astral but it feels different in an illusion area.

Look also for "waviness" in vision like heat off the black pavement in Summer. If you're lucky and the illusionist isn't that good, parts of the illusion will look weaker than others or give themselves away as a key.

2. Over a place/"Area"

Look for, again, the shininess. But if you approach the boundary of a place, step over it and suddenly it feels completely different, be highly suspicious. If the Illusionist is good, the boundary will be barely perceptible to astral sight, but there will be one.

It could be hidden or broken up but if you focus extremely hard something is usually off that you can more or less feel. Astral trick--you have actually throw energy like dust against a suspected boundary and watch what it does. I throw like blue energy-sand at boundaries and they usually show me where the boundary is. This is useful in battle situations because if you can sense a boundary you can slip into an illusion and take it over yourself, trapping the original maker inside.

The wavy heat lines also apply, and look for very either conspicuous or non-intrusive items. Giant, strange trees, lakes, out-of-place items, etc. These are usually anchors for the illusion and the area around them is extremely weak.

3. Involving an entire area/with people

Everytime this one has happened to me it was like Inception. The people milling around didn't notice me until I figured out I was in an illusion, and then it was like open fucking season. Most Illusionists don't have the time to "program" individual people doing individual shit for forever into an illusion, so for this case look for people "repeating". The same guy crosses the street 5 times as you watch, the same woman drops the same hat and gets it, or the same dog sniffs the same mailbox 6 times. You're looking for the absence of random movement.

Also weirdly enough in illusions I notice a lot of people tend to program wind/air into the thing. Just a weird detail to overlook.

Okay Dusken, so I suspect I'm in an illusion--what now?

There are a couple of things.

1. Reality Checks

Illusions are nasty shits because some of them come with a layer of memory fuckery or ability fuckery. Look for the sudden inability to use magix you know how to do any other time, or, like dreams, forgetting how you got there.

2. Guides/Gods Behaving Badly

Look for sudden 180 personality switches in guides or gods. If they fail your checks, procede to fuck them up. It won't hurt them; the illusion should just dissolve.

3. Look for strange waviness, shinies, or objects

As described above.

4. I have one or more of the above, Dusken!!

This is where I try to describe to you how to dismantle an illusion.

First, you have to locate an anchor point. Remember what I said above--an illusion mimicking a perfect replica of Venice has at least 4 layers, or anchor points. One for the landscape, one for the water, one of people, and one of sound. If an element is very complex, much like a 3-D model, it requires its own anchor. Programming water is very difficult, so I could attach that visual to one anchor point.

In my hypothetical vision of Venice, I get to choose my anchors. So I choose a statue of a guy on a horse in the town square, a merchant stand, a boat that moves around, and one pigeon.

Guess which one of these you could locate first?

Finding a stationary anchor that's huge and gives itself away is easy. I always proceed through an illusion checking these first. Press on it with your hand. A lot of times your hand will go right through or feel this gummy like resistance. Reach into the item and pull something out. Sometimes it feels like pulling the plug on a bathtub, sometimes I legit retrieved orbs and powerful objects from an anchor. When you remove an anchor it's like causing a black hole in the energy system, so be immediately prepared for collapse, inception style. If an illusion has multiple anchors, it's usually somewhat stable until you get rid of all of them.

So you got rid of that first anchor. How are you supposed to locate an anchor of a merchant stand among hundreds? For some reason anchors give off this violent blue energy to me when I set the intention to "show me the key." So I kind of just feel the direction an anchor is in and I can tell from there what to do. Alternative, fucking start running at shit. Not kidding. Run until you feel like you hit a wall and the illusion repeats glitch style. This usually means you're near an anchor.

The air around anchors also, as stated above, tends to be weird and warpy. I've legit seen patches of black background on an otherwise normal landscape, like I was in a badly glitchy video game. You're looking for areas of sudden high-glitch. Images skipping, people going backwards, etc.

The third anchor is harder. A boat is a moving target--sticking an anchor in that is kind of hard. In this case you're still kind of feeling out direction. I also employ sigils at this stage. I have a sigil I use that functions like a compass and points me to weak spots. It's just a matter of visualizing something like that yourself and following it. At this point I would get on top of the moving object and remove the anchor that way.

The fourth one is similar. But if on a "living" creature, be prepared for a chase. The illusion is a closed circuit and will try to prevent you from breaking it, even if the creator isn't present.

Be prepared to fight the minute you recognize the illusion. The world tends to turn on you the second this happens. That means people, animals, and evil forests style. In a particularly horrible instance the minute I realized it the simulated torture that was occurring got fucking tons worse. And make no mistake--you can feel sensations in an illusion just like in the "real world". And they can be twice as traumatizing.

What happens when I remove all the anchors?

Fucking run. No joke.

Illusions collapse with an absence of anchors. I'm talking black-hole quality. Get the fuck out of there through any door you can before it shuts completely. There will be a door. There's just a matter of finding it, is all. Be prepared to fight while running because the astral loves you okay.

In part two I will eventually be able to explain how to forge/create illusions, but this is the more important skill for people that don't have some serious reason to use or need illusion magic. I simplified it a lot and I know it sounds confusing so feel free to ask for clarifying shit.

And don't think about how much of daily life is an illusion. You'll think yourself into a grave, trust me.

Monday, December 24, 2012

PBP 28: Extricating Yourself From the Vicious Spirit-Slump

{Picture from}

You see what I did there? With that title? ohohoh I'm so fucking clever.

But "X". Like, what the fuck? Do you expect me to find some weird way to write about doing Spirit Work while playing Xylophones? Don't answer that. I bet you fucking did. Don't lie to me.

In the wake of my last 'serious post I found myself at a new block. The last 4 or so months had been one long, strong, vicious slump. In every aspect of my life. Shamanic work was at a stand-still. Add to that still no progress on my career front, more or less isolation from 'friends', being job-shamed on a daily basis, and a seeming fucking impasse in spirit and astral matters because my soul decided post-last-war it was time to peter out, dig a hole somewhere and stick posies on top of us because we were DONE, and you can see where this article topic is coming from.

I kept getting signs--it's time to wake up. It's time to move. You're stuck on your spiritual path and everything is now hinging on it. Before, everything was hinging on emotional progress. Even given my current state, I have made significant progress in self-work recently. So now comes the natural following: what the fuck is happening on my spirit-path?
For the past who knows how long my Spirit-work has focused more or less on other-people's-issues. They are tangential to mine--but they're NOT mine. Certain parts are, but not the whole. Remember the healer's mantra. Some things are really not your problem until you make it that way by getting involved or getting feelings involved and really wanting to help people. That's all fine but you end up after it's over wondering where YOUR work went. Where the fuck you even are now.  You have to set boundaries for yourself or as a helping-person you lose soul pieces like they're loose change and you end up having to do twice as much work for yourself every time. (And I'm guilty of this which is why I point it out.)

Recently, things have been falling into my path. I feel like talking to somebody because I suddenly feel really horrible, and they message me asking if I'm alright and I publically said nada. I think to myself "man I could use insight" and a friend offers a reading without me saying anything. I think "Man I need to get out and do things" and lo and behold another friend texts me at that exact moment asking to hang this weekend. I don't often notice these things but this succession--it's important. When the Universe begins to give you shit--it's my sign shit is about to go down. In a big way. So you better man up because your slump is about to be driven out on its ass. That in combination with my sudden atypical dreams and I have to wonder. Couple that with a feeling I have--I despite it as "great purpose rising up to meet you"--and having a friend literally say those exact words during a reading and I wonder.

In this post I was going to talk about dragging yourself out of the Spiritual Slump, and some tips on how to go about it--and I think now I'm more prepped to speak on that.

I got tired of sitting around and I sized the signs I had about 2 weeks ago and decided to shove against them--I asked for help. I chose to move my own fate-wheel. And that gave me the final info needed to continue this post.

I think there are 2 kinds of Spirit-Slump:

Brought on by you, and brought on by things outside of you. The difficulty is in first, knowing the difference, and second, knowing whether to paddle and weather the storm or start swimming anyway and hope for the best.

I think slumps brought on by you mean things brought on by your inner turmoil over something. Either you feel you need to change and you can't, or you don't know where to go, so you stop walking the path. I think physical life can take over and you lose interest for a while and come to a stagnating point. But I think most times you identify the path isn't serving you anymore but you don't know why, so for a while you just stop, and then it drags on.

I think slumps brought on by things outside of you happen because there is something you're not facing. I consider this a forced fucking vacation for people that need significant soul retrieval and emotional working on by the universe. For instance, since I graduated I have done every fucking thing possible to look for jobs in my field. I petitioned deities, my guide, I did tons of spellwork, sigil work, work with reiki--everything imaginable. I didn't just sit here and let it be. Nothing happened. I was basically told No, it's not time for you yet. You have shit to handle. So, everything stopped for me on the physical level. Came to a grinding halt. And I did nothing on my end to bring it on. What ended up happening was I had nothing else--so I went back to the Spirit. I think also Deities can force you into a slump if you're not paying attention to some vital aspect of your path or they're forcing you into places that are uncomfy but that you ultimately have to go or risk never progressing.

I think these two are hard to seperate, and even harder to figure out. When you're in a slump--either you accept that the wheel has stopped turning and wait for something to move it again, or you start running after it.

And sometimes, like Fallow Times, it's fine to sit and wait. In fact, it's necessary. You wouldn't be in the slump if you were handling shit, and the slump is forcing an extended vacation for you to do so, even if you rail and hate it it's still a reluctant gift you should take. I ran after my wheel a lot in the first 2 months and eventually accepted it had a very good reason for being there, and let it happen. Went with the current.

I also think slumps are sometimes a test that will piss you off enough for you to finally scream fuck it and chase your own wheel down. I believe the first couple months of my slump were a gift, and I believe once I hit December 1st I did enough work that my soul woke up, looked around, went "What the FUCK are we doing here still?" and started my wheel moving again. I mean I literally woke up and felt something was Moving again. Like I was stuck in stagnant time and time began flowing again and I felt it while it was happening. I think Dec 1st was my warning "Run. Chase the wheel again." So I went to Eagle, a guide who had been hanging around, waiting for me, to finish my hardcore soul-work. And I said let's fucking do this thing. I was tired of waiting and forced my own work. Which is not something to be taken on lightly. In the past 3 or so weeks I am literally a different person than I was before December because of the sheer volume of soul work and shadow work that has been piled upon me courtesy of Eagle.

I think what path to take in a slump depends on how fragile you are at the time, and how fucking pissed you are to be stuck in one place. I think the anger has to grow in you like a slow fire, and the wheel has to be at the perfect moment for you to give it one final smack to kick the slump entirely.

So I think if you're in a slump, you have to figure out what type it is. If it's a type brought on by yourself, here's some ways I've found that help to kick your wheel back into motion.

+If your slump is because you're feeling ambivalent or lost on your path...

It's time to man up and admit your path isn't working for you. I think a lot of people have a tendency to cling to ideas of things, and not realities. Maybe when you began your path you were a Hellenic Recon, and if it's stopped working for you, your views changed, or you feel like it's not that perfect shoe-fit anymore, you have to first admit that. And it can be hard to admit you're not the same as you were, because we build communities around the paths we choose, we know people, we commune with people on that level, and all of these threads make it difficult to start over when we've done so much work on the current path. But you're only hurting yourself if you just continue to do what you've always done not because it fulfils your needs but because you think you should.

If the general path still feels right, begin researching other angles or finding other perspectives for your pathwork. Maybe it's not a matter of reinventing your path, but changing how you walk it. You have to discern what feels ambivalent and kind of off for yourself and work on that. For me that meant completely scrapping my previous ideas and reinventing my wheel and everything I thought about life.

Sometimes it means researching paths you never even thought of, and re-evaluating why you started your path and where you want to be eventually if you keep walking.

+If your slump is because physical life took over and ate your time...

Figure out why that is. If it's because you're busy working a hectic schedule for a while, either accept that you're not going to have as much time for Spirit shit, or don't. Sometimes physical life does need to be your focus, and your Spirits need to respect that. You can't juggle two worlds all the time. There are going to be times when you have to shut the door for a while to handle things in your physical.

Alternatively, if you foresee this physical world taking over as a problem, begin to find ways around it. If you're spending all your time at work, maybe create an incognito shrine you use on your breaks. If you have a hectic family life with kids or something, schedule in time to go outside, and it doesn't have to be much. For me if I don't schedule the time it's not happening. And your brain will invent all kinds of reasons why you don't deserve that time or you're selfish or whatever. Ignore them. If everything was fine you wouldn't be in a slump. Communing with Spirit is a need just like sleeping and eating, and just as important.

+If your slump is because you went through something traumatic on this plane that prevented you from doing anything but surviving...

Respect that. You have to handle your physical pain and grieving period before you can even think of spirituality. You have to respect what you can and can't handle at all times. You shouldn't be doing shadow work if you can't think about the event without crying every 5 minutes. You need to give this thing time. Accept that this time has a purpose and tend to your other needs first.

+If your slump is because you feel like what's being asked of you on your path is above your paygrade...

It's time to decide what you want. If a Deity offers you a deal to do something for the rest of your life in exchange for something, really look at what you want. Consider your options. Sometimes Callings can't be avoided, like my Calling to do Shamanic work just found me. But Callings are often decided by your soul before your life, whereas Deals from Gods/Guides can be accepted OR rejected. You're not obligated to take one way over another. You have to decipher what feels right and where you want to be on the path in 10 years, and weigh your pros and cons.

By the same token if you fear the next step you see you have to take even though it feels right and your soul is screaming for it--perhaps what you need is the leap of faith to embrace whatever the change is because you can't stand being stuck. That's basically what I did when I broke my fate-wheel. It depends on you.

+If your slump is because no matter what you try life is forcing you to stop and slow down...

This is the one time I really think you should listen. If everything goes wrong over and over again, I am inclined to think there is a good reason. If all the spells and prayers in the world change nothing, I assume the suffering is something I am meant to go through, because I lack perfect foresight and my Guide knows what is coming for me in the future and that I will be grateful in the end. Sometimes you really do have to trust this cycle is something you have to go through and take it day by day instead of fighting.

In the meantime--you can try faking it til you make it. Go through the motions of what your normally do spiritually even if it feels weird or half-hearted, and see where it goes from there. At the very least trying will help you inform your decisions.

Also remember Slumps are cyclical. You're going to have slumps and you're going to have awesome times where everything is clicking and going well and shit is just dandy. The key, to me, is knowing when to fight it and when to accept it. Knowing when your actions will end it, or knowing when to wait for it to end. That's not really something I can teach, because I am learning that myself as we speak. But eventually you'll learn it too.

PS; Merry holidays to all those that celebrate. <3

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Web of Light

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(This post is in reference to something that recently happened to me regarding my Spirit-Work with a few souls of children that came when I offered aid for those lost in the massacre at Sandy Hook the other day. If reading about this still disturbs you, I won't be referencing it too heavily but likely it will speak of some parts briefly. Just a warning.)

I'm sure I'm not alone in saying as a Spirit-walker, I was a mix between astounded and fucking disgusted/shocked at once when I heard the news about Sandy Hook. I read about it when the first body counts were low, maybe 16-17 at that point. The more I read the more I couldn't believe humans had finally sunk to an astoundingly new low to take violence out on new, young, clean souls that hadn't wronged anybody. Especially for a Spirit-walker, the death of young soul is fucking heartbreaking. Everything about it is just horrible. Having to walk a child across the plains of the dead is terrible in itself, but wrenching a young soul away from parents, family, etc before they had more than a tenuous attachment to the world--that's the real heart-breaking part. Because believe it on not, child souls are usually just fine to move on. The real tragedy is the loss of potential of the soul, and the hole in the hearts of those that knew and loved the soul. The loss of innocence shattered by a horrible moment of action. The fact none of the surviving children will ever be able to forget this horrifying event, let alone the town who must now turn to comforting their families that have lost.

I bring this up because part of my Shamanic work is disaster relief for estranged souls coming out of various situations. I offered up aid for the Japan tsunami/earthquake disaster, and again recently for the tsunami that happened off the Arctic, and the other day I was offering aid for shit happening in South Asia (both to animals and people). I feel the need to offer to do things for this souls, should they desire it, because I have to do SOMETHING. I have to, in some small way, help them be okay, should they desire that. It's the bane of the person meant to be a healer. You want to, in some way, save everybody, even though you can't. But you sure as hell have to try anyway, despite how heartbreaking the work can be. Parents shouldn't have to bury children; people shouldn't have to take children across the divide. So it goes.

 This is how I describe those of us called to aid Spirits on our paths, in some way or another. I like to say the work of medicine stops when the heart does, and that's when our work begins. When doctors are putting away the tools, we're picking up our ritual aids, and preparing for the final work. I also say, to Spirits recently dead, it's as if they are standing on an island in the middle of a dark, roiling sea at night. Picture the black waves. The sea is choppy and fierce and the Spirit is confused. Every direction looks the same--where do they go? But those of us with sensitivity to that world (perceived or not) shine out on the dark sea like a serious of lighthouses, bright spots on the dark sea of humanity. The Spirit is pulled toward as like a lost ship at night, and this is why we attract Spirits from all manner of places that need help. Once the Spirit reaches the first lighthouse, they can see another. And another. And if you looked at the dark sea from above--all of these Spirit-walkers together, on this dark background--you would see they join together, and overlap, and become something more. They become a web of light, a web that refuses to let Spirits wander alone in the dark, if they be lost and in need of aid.

This is not some noble purpose to be proud of--it's necessary to do the Work, just like healing, and understand somebody has to do it, so you do, because you can, and your conscience won't let you sleep knowing you could have and didn't. It means spending late nights talking spirits down because they always find you 3 in the morning and they're scared and confused and more lost than you, and having a supply of sigil-inscribed candles on call just in case there's a sudden death near you, and dropping everything to go make sure a family friend that just went is okay, and in my case agreeing to emergency reiki because someone is really close to losing it and isn't sure if they can go on like this. It's often as much work for the living as it is work for the Spirit.

My Work is usually with the non-human--animals and land spirits that I work with on a global scale for the benefit of balance and everything. But Shamans were never meant to practice in a vacuum--if you think they were we're not talking about Shamanism. Your service was first, to the community, and that included your Spirits. Healing, cursing, journey work, these were all feats for the good of balance in the community. So I feel disgusted at the thought of sitting back and watching when human-made massacre occurs when I know I COULD be helping. So I offered my assistance to the young victims of the recent tragedy, because I knew I could. And 3 of them came through, and I took their hands in my hands and I walked them the long way to wherever they were going. And that really fucking struck me. I don't work with people often--because it ruins me. That sort of Work is demanding, and empathetic, and strikes you on a deep level, because you're both humans. Non-humans just function on a different level.

But what struck me even more--is that I wasn't the only one to have offered my help. I went on Tumblr and it was a pile of posts from other witches/Workers I follow describing what they did for the recent victims, or offering prayers or words of support or energy sending for the victims and their families. The outpouring from the community--the global community, not just Pagans and Spirit-workers--was, and still continues to be, amazing. And that is what inspired this post. Every single person--pagan or not, directly called to be a Spirit-worker or not--every single person contributes to building and strengthening the web of light I see when I help Spirits across the dark sea.

So this post is a thank-you to those of us who contribute in some small way to disaster areas as part of our Work. Of course this also includes those who don't do this as part of their work but contribute to disaster relief funds, or helping those affected by disaster of any sort in any way. I include people who just send messages of support or prayers for surviving members affected by tragedy: I consider that important fucking Work as well. I feel as though it's important to speak about what we can do in the wake of disaster situations, as Spirit workers, witches, and pagans alike, and to acknowledge that this is a path thing. It's not a fun job, or a glamorous shiny awesome job, but like all jobs, it has to be done for the good of all, by somebody. And the ones doing these jobs everyday are often quiet about it. So you don't know who's keeping the wheel smoothly running. (Think of that the next time to go to insult somebody's path for being different from yours.)

I don't want to turn this into a post on HOW to work with crossing humans over, because it's a delicate thing that's easy to fuck up and really should only be attempted if you know what you're doing and you've been asked directly to do so, but I will explain a few helpful pointers when working with humans in general I have found helpful.

-When working with human spirits, be mindful of religion. If you choose to look like a flaming Celtic thing, a Christian is going to be extremely concerned. Appearing as something like an angel or catering to their beliefs helps you to establish a bond without immediately sending them running. Some humans are over it and don't care and just want to move on. But always think about individuality.

-It's about the soul. It's not about you. You're not doing some awesome job nobody else can do in crossing those that need your help. You're helping spirits that need it, and you can do the job, so you do. It's like volunteer work.

-It's always about consent. Don't cross a Spirit without consent. I only cross humans that literally come into my house and say, look, I need your help. Chances are if you're meant to work with the dead spirits will find YOU. Don't even send energy to a crisis area without the consent of the Spirits, unless you send it with the ingrained idea "If it should be accepted," so the person has an option to reject this energy. It's not our place to decide if somebody needs energy--we can only offer.

-If a spirit asks you for help and you can't do the job, or you have no training or feel weird, that's fine. Direct them to somebody who can. It's better to admit you want to help and you're nervous than trying and messing up, because crossing is NOT something you want to mess up.

-Always work from a place of compassion. Death, especially in such recent events as this, is usually not a fun experience if you're being asked to do Crossing work. Be mindful the Spirit may exhibit a range of emotions--anger, fear, anxiety, and it may be directed at you, because there's nobody else. Don't take it personally. You are the facilitator to this spirit. It's your job to let them do that for a while, then gently move them on. Always work from a place of kindness.

-Offer your help without demanding it be taken. This is a byline to consent. When I work for disaster areas I open my altar and my room and offer it to lost souls that could use some help from me. This way it gives those Spirits an op-out option. If they don't need help, or don't want to come to me specifically, nobody feels slighted. Spirits have the right to come, or not, and should they come, to choose who they want to guide them. Always remember this.

And once again--a thank you to all of those who help in tragedy relief efforts. That includes everyone from first responders to "mundane" therapists and those who directly support victims, to people far away sending money, support and energy work from a distance. I promise you--we do make a difference. I see it on my spirit journeys. Never think we collectively don't.

And to those souls who still wander--may you find rest under the stars, and peace.

Monday, November 19, 2012

PBP 27: Why Spirit-Walking is Inherently Dangerous

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This is going to be another Serious Post. Because I've been thinking lately on my (now) years of astral experiences. Because lately, the Astral has taken over again, and again, I've had to handle some serious shit that I didn't begin, but it's my job, and somebody has to, so I did. And I reflected on yet another set of lives lost, or changed, and events unfolding, and how it definitely makes you older.

The Astral is dangerous. I know, I know. I've said it before. You know it, I know it--but it's not dangerous in the way you think. In the external way. In the way of other shit being able to get to you there. (Well, okay, it IS.) But the most dangerous part of the astral--the part that should really scare you--is the Astral, the Hedge, the Spirit-World--the entity itself.

The Astral is like a slow diease, or a slow, internal decay. When it first snaps you up it's all wonder and crazy magick shit and insane worlds and it's cool. You don't notice that the moment you step foot there, you begin a process of Losing.

The moment you go there, you Lose. You lose the comfort of not believing it's there. You lose the ability to pretend you have just one life. You Lose a lot of comfort. And the minutes you there are minutes you're not living here. You begin to lose time.

It starts slowly, of course. You barely notice, in the beginning, due to the newness, the excitement. You can't help it. The Spider gestures at you, and you follow, because the mystery and secrets contained within are what you've been searching for forever. It occurs to you, maybe, the first time you realize you've been sitting in one place for 5 hours on this plane, astral tripping that entire time, and you have no idea what happened in between. It occurs to you the second time when you first realize you worked on entire day, talked to people, your family, or friends, and the entire time you were off mentally journeying and you have no memory of your entire day. It's not on purpose. It really isn't. It happens because something calls your attention there NOW, so you flip that mental switchboard, and you live that life instead for a while. But while you're there--you're not HERE.

That is why I say there's inherent danger--and why I sometimes wonder why those have a choice would WANT to go. I understand it, though--I do. I didn't really have a choice, but the Astral wasn't as insistent with me as with others. But I often say the Astral is like handing you a giant, beautifully wrapped present. And this narrator voice tells you "Either you can keep the box closed, and live with not knowing what's inside, or you can open the box, retrieve memories, remember people, find your purpose, but suffer unknowable pain, lose people, sometimes repeatedly, and become aware of the condensed pain of multiple lifetimes. But you'll have gained the Knowing." And I was always one of those fuckers that HAS TO KNOW what's inside the box. Just for the sake of knowing.

This is why I wonder why people think Astral travellers are like special snowflakes. In my time there so far, I have seen so many souls live and die, and suffer, and undergo torture at the hands of other entities, undergo extreme bodily harm, pass on only to get stuck, have to be dragged back and killed again because they're a raving lunatic shell of their former soul, and finally have to be put through the gates kicking and screaming before they go. I've seen wars come and go, several times now since my first visions there. None of them were fun or 'interesting'. They were necessary, for balance purposes--but not fun. Sometime around the last war I realized--I'm old. I'm tired. I've been on the astral 4 years and in that time I have seen as much shit as an old wizened army general--complete with souls having appendages torn off, or organs torn out--and I fucking feel it.

The astral is dangerous because in your process of Losing you live a double life. You begin to slowly realize if you tell ANYONE the extent of what you've seen--you'll likely be ostracized. You live like an FBI agent. You live on two levels of Self. One is the Self you show to everyone, the Other is the Self that contains your astral journey, experiences, and the full extent of your soul history and future. You might turn to a friend on level One and think of a funny astral story, then realize oops, they have no idea who or what a Spirit Guide is. Then you might feel the slowly sinking solitary confinement that is the Knowing of all of the shit of the Spirit World, the relationships, the pain, the sorrow, taking on other soul's burdens as part of your own journey, and Seeing shit for how it is--and likely not being able to tell anyone. I tell nobody except Therosebell the extent, fully and completely, of my Astral journeying--and that's because our stories were built together. Before we spoke I was locked in a constant state of isolation and disconnectedness from the rest of humanity. It gets worse if you, like me, have Oracular senses. Then you suddenly meet people you know here on the astral, or know some hardcore shit about their past lives, or deities, or their threads, and you can never tell them. Instead you have to watch them in pain and puzzle it out themselves, which, if you like them, it really fucking difficult to watch over and over again in human lives.

The process of Losing continues when you realize the you that's here is not the whole of You. The Losing continues around the 5th time you realize you're having tea in an astral room of 6 other people and they're all parts of you, and you realize that's not really so strange anymore. It happens when you casually pour tea for the demon visitors that came through the hearth to tell you the current news, and nobody else can see them. It happens the first time your Guide says something that makes 0 sense at the time and it comes true, just like they said, a few weeks later. (And the second time, and the third.) Because it's one thing to believe it--and another to watch shit get too real. The process continues when you're reading and shit is banging on the walls and you go "Can I help you?" and you actually hear a response. It happens when you realize you have more friends there than you do here. And it happens when you fill your first 5 journals chronicling what has happened to you, day by day, and you begin to see connections spanning hundreds of lifetimes, and you realize you were never JUST as young as you thought you were.

Because, here's the rub--once you're in the Know, once you've opened that fucking box--you can't go back. You can damn well try to forget it all, but it doesn't work, my friends. That's the danger of Knowing, of the Astral, of deciding to open your box. That's the true danger of Spirit-Walking. Because though you Lose everything you are--you also gain. You gain knowledge and understanding and relations with things you never thought were possible. But, to some extent, you stop being Just Human.

The Danger is knowing that even in the Pagan community were you ever to reveal the true extent of what you're seen, you'll still largely be thought to be fantasizing or some sort of fraud. (Yes, all of the shit I have revealed to you on this blog is still basically in my level One category. I haven't told you 1/4 of the reality of all of my memories and experiences.) The Danger is losing time because you're living another life somewhere else, and wondering if that's setting back this life any. It's realizing if your family knew they might ship you off to an asylum somewhere. (And in fact, in one of my past lives, that happened. Twice.) And the true scary part is that, once you're here, looking back on as much suffering as I have seen, painted a thousand different ways on a thousand spirit-faces, you realize you still wouldn't trade the experience for ignorance.

It takes an especially masochistic type of person to be an Astral/Spirit-walker, if you ask me. Somebody who takes pain and suffering, horrific visions and memories, as the cost of knowledge, and doesn't regret it even after. This isn't some sort of special awesome-sauce ability. It's a duty. And frankly, if you don't have the Call, be grateful. Because you're side-stepping a whole shitting mess of tangled threads, astral death, MESSY astral death, wars, torture, world death, world birthing, and a whole lot of time lost.

So yes, dear readers, the astral is fucking dangerous. Make no mistake. But the first time you go there--when you step into your own process of Losing--that's by far the most dangerous part.

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 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.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lessons in Gratitude

For those of you who read my blog for badass give no fucks Spirit shit, I'm sorry that I keep making touchy-feely posts. But they're going to go on for a little.

Because plenty of us talk about what we DO--but I have this need to talk to you about what I FEEL. Because Shadow Work is the foundation of my practice. The nasty, horrific, feeling-heavy, emotional, intuitive, baggage-heavy Work that decides how I live and what I do. I am completely different than I was 3 or 4 months ago.

I had graduated college and was looking for a career job. If you told me then "Dusken, in 4 months time, you will realize you haven't been happy in a long, long time. You will lose everything, and you'll completely transform yourself from the inside. You think you want a job, you think you want all of these things. But in 4 months, you will feel grateful. Endlessly, really grateful, for not having a job. You will feel grateful everything ended for you at once. You will emerge from your coffin realizing what you felt pretty much all the time, besides nothing, was anger. You were angry at everything, which is why there was no space left for anything else. You knew what you wanted, but not what you needed. In 4 months you will understand the difference."

I attended a Hindu fire ceremony on Friday night. It was part of the Navatrai, also known as the Nine Nights, which is festival for Durga widely celebrated in India. It was a beautiful and moving ceremony, and during, the woman told us to write down, on two slips of paper, indentically, a wish that we wanted to pass. She said it could be anything, like "I want to talk to my brother again, because we haven't spoken for many years."

Funny story--I knew I wanted to go to the Ceremony. But I didn't know if I could afford it. Then, the week of, I got an email. Because I am a member at my yoga studio, I would be going free. I like to think I'm not an idiot and took this as a sign. GET YOUR ASS TO THIS FIRE CEREMONY, YOU NEED TO DO THIS.

Anyway. The woman conducting the ceremony also said "Write as if it's already happening now. Write "I am excited and happy because for 5 hours me and my brother spoke today, and we cleared many things up and re-established our relationship." Then, she said, "But think closely on what you will write. The Universe will give you what you NEED; not necessarily what you WANT. You might want a Mercedes Benz, but maybe what you need is a tiny used car to get you on your life path. Asking the Divine like this is a lot like placing an order in a catalog. You can say oh I want this, this, and this--but things happen. Items get lost in transport, sometimes you get the wrong order and you have to send it back. You can place an order, but when and how it happens is not for you to decide. But know that what you need is coming to you."

I stared down at my blank slips of paper, and it really hit home for me, the lessons I have been learned in the past months since I graduated school. During the ceremony, I realized I was grateful. I thought I wanted a job, a life, to move, to get out. The Universe said, firmly, no. No job, no movement. Forced stillness. Forced psychological one on one time with myself. I can't blame the Universe. I am guilty of always running around like the rest of the Western world. I lost myself somewhere along the way. I lost myself in friendships, in work, in relationships, and in looking to the future and how to get there. All the time.

I thought I wanted wealth. A career. A relationship. I thought I wanted to move out, to get on with what I thought was out there for me. What I got was living with my parents, slowly building my practice and my crafts, fallout in the area of friends and everything else. I got 2 weeks straight of weeping, like clock work, curling into the fetal position and losing it. I got fights with my guide (repeatedly), fights with my parents, and a job in retail. I got anger, and misery, and resentment, and hate, and all of these emotions--and then, above all, peace. Standing on the other side of these hard months of shadow work, I feel again. I feel peace. I feel gratitude. For once, I realize I was masking all of these things because I saw WEAKNESS. FEAR. NEED. So I filled my psyche with anger. With concern for others. And one day I woke up feeling nothing. And for a long, long time, I felt nothing. But I was so used to the Nothing I forgot there was something else. I was so used to hating myself all the time, to improving myself, to being perfect for myself and others, that I forgot a pyramid without a foundation crumbles into dust.

I am Feeling again. I am regaining the sense of connectedness I had when I was small, and all by being completely alone in my own head. For once.

When I tossed my slips into the fire, it was a message of gratitude. Of thankfulness. Of realization. And what I wrote was completely different from what I would have written before the Universe forced my hand.

During Thanksgiving, or Mabon, or Samhain, I would sit there and wonder what to give thanks for. I never could muster anything. I didn't really feel greatful for anything. Not because I was trying to be a dick, just because I couldn't feel thankful. It was really beyond my capacity. How could I be thankful for what I had when internally I was so miserable, all the time? (And I firmly think everybody has a threshold for suffering. I thought I knew what mine was, then I realized it could go deeper than I thought possible. ) Only through very conscious work with self-love, and self-worth, and all those things I scoffed at in those stupid feely self-help books years ago, am I beginning to externally feel. All those books aren't lying. It really does start from the inside and bleed out. You really can't love things right without thinking you're worthy to do it. It's the pyramid analogy again. Self-work and worth informs the power of everything else, and everyone else.

I guess what I'm saying is: though when the Tower happens, it sucks. When your pyramid crumbles you're going to feel like you're losing everything. But sometime, it will end. Really. I promise. And when you stand on the other side of that canyon, watching your old self on the other side, and you smile and wave, and turn to go, you will suddenly realize why you needed this. And then you'll wake up one day realizing you finally understand.

And thanks to the wise Hindu woman at that ceremony, for placing the final cap on my thoughts on my Shadow Work.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

PBP 25: Un-learning, Unearthing, Undoing, and Deep Shadow Work

I am making progress on my calender.

Below you can see figures (the male one is finished, the female one is in progress) representing my Guide and his waifu/she is also more or less a Guide for me. (The suit one is K, the female one is S) Making these figures, finally, is a process part of my calender project. I one day stared at my altar and realized "I don't feel a goddamned thing for this whole set-up, besides it being pretty." It had become a shrine to stuff I didn't do, instead of a workspace.

So I re-arranged everything, as part of my personal calendar duties. I am ripping everything I had apart in an effort to re-learn everything I thought things should be. Holidays, elements, guide relationships, what an altar IS. I am actively re-working all of these things. But, as I have begun to actively consider and re-work with those things, my psychology is entering the process as well.

I am developing a personal mythology based on the two halves of my 'soul'. One is Unicorn, which is my 'core' soul, and the other half is the Shamanic part of me, my Wolf soul. I finally realized this is a perfect way to divide up my year because my energy cycles through both "parts" of my soul with the seasons. So first I had to un-learn what holidays meant. I had to let go of the idea of trying to create holidays that others would celebrate with me. I had to let go of that idea because those holidays don't resonate with me, so it would be false to try and work with them for the benefit of others. I am letting go of pressures I put on myself to work this way or that way because I should.

I had to un-learn the fact society loves to tell us we're selfish for focusing on ourselves. The past 2 weeks has been another giant cycle of trying to let go of people and things that are causing me pain and strife. (dating back to end of my relationship in August, which I will admit is still earnestly affecting me.) It has launched a series of significantly deep and painful shadow work that is bringing to light things that pre-date even my college experience by years. It's unearthing attitudes I had about always serving others before myself, of trying not to 'rock the boat', of keeping quiet so as not to cause conflict even though I should have spoken my truth, and of severe self-worth issues that tie my self-feelings to my perceived wordly achievements. There is no easy, quick way to 'fix' any of these things. But they are, at the core, attitudes most of us have to actively work at undoing.

I think as part of your own Calender/personal narrative project, should you take one on, you're eventually going to hit a point in which you have to actively un-learn and undo something you once never thought about, took as truth, or just assumed Was. For instance, if you began Wiccan and learned the elements a certain way and never really questioned it, and then you switch paths/strike out on your own and discover your own mythos for the elements, you're going to have to un-learn that original idea, like a habit. Sometimes that isn't easy. The same goes for preconceived notions of Gods and what they 'are' and aren't to humans, the purpose of your calendar, etc etc. It can be a long process to un-learn things you once thought were truth or once took for fact. It requires a lot of self-analysis and mind-breaking. But creating my personal calendar happened to fall at the same time as this long (more or less grieving) process for me, and so I think if you choose to take this on, don't take it lightly. It will bring up all sorts of shadow issues you didn't think about. If you choose to go down the rabbit hole of personal narrative, you really will be going down the rabbit hole.

I am digging, deeply, into my own psyche to understand the subtleties of both the Unicorn and the Wolf. This goes beyond psychology, beyond what I have known of the astral thus-far. I can't structure a calendar around me (another idea society will tell you is absurd, which you will have to un-learn) if I don't, at the base level, UNDERSTAND who or what I am. I have to approach myself again with no expectations or notions, because clearly I was wrong in...well...whatever I thought. The creation of this calendar, the shadow work, the introspection into my soul on a deep level, and my new Astral journey that has just began...I think all of these are linked. I think if you begin poking into one of these things, the others may very well follow, and one should be prepared. I can't promise the process won't be long or arduous, but if you come out on the other side with a solid foundation of your personality and your narrative, I think it will eventually be worth it. (Though I am personally far from doing this as I stand now, and I recognize this.)

My advice for those who look to pursue this path which is tied to deep-knowing on your own personal UPG level is to take time for yourself. Part of deep-seated shadow work is letting yourself process. If you suddenly have to weep because something just came up in your mind, (for instance, if your Personal Narrative involves your Ancestors, and you just discovered something in research that just...gets you, for some reason) if you can, do it. The process of self-discovery is naturally linked to constructing the self based on the past you didn't deal with, and the future you want. If you never realized you never had a grieving period, really, for a family member, and it suddenly comes up now, unwarranted, during your process, honestly go with it. I believe these things come up repeatedly for a reason until we honestly and truly deal with them. For instance, if your Personal Narrative involves some form of sexuality or fertility, and you had a history or an event somewhere that really harmed you on a deep level in either of those areas (perhaps infertility issues, miscarriage, or assault) you can expect those issues to come up in the process of your work with your Deitie(s) if you have them, and your calender.

No, not bury them. That is not dealing with them, though some think it is. Dealing with it means telling yourself 'It's okay. I recognize this is a process, and I will take all the time to cry or get angry or anything else that I need. Because this is healthy for me to experience. Because I need to do this right now, and that's okay. This won't happen overnight, and I will be gentle with myself while it happens.'  You might be surprised how hard it is to tell yourself the above phrase. You'll think 'Am I crying too much? Am I taking too long during this period to be sad/angry/how long am I going to be sad about this? Are other people going to think I'm ridiculous that this is still affecting me?' and a thousand other things that try to trivialize your mourning period, or tell yourself you don't deserve this time, it wasn't a big deal, etc etc. The next time you have shadow aspects come up, try and repeat the above to yourself. Really try. Repeat it often, if something comes up for you. And remind yourself eventually there is an end to this period, and that end is peace.

Don't be surprised if you come out on the other side of a Personal Calendar/Narrative project with completely different ideas of how everything is run/how everything is than when you began. This is a shifting, organic process that focuses on active radical re-creation of ideas from things YOU think and puzzle out. It's endlessly exciting but also demanding. You will doubt yourself and your ideas, you will despair because nobody has made YOUR calendar before, and so you have an uphill road to walk. You will be endlessly enthusiastic to work on it, because every day is a new discovery. You're going to get stuck and frustrated when you try to figure out what's important enough to you to keep, and what needs to go. But when you finally have at least the structure, the vague form, the shadow of what you want, the feeling of rightness will outweigh all of the process.

This is all I can tell you from my current process. But I wish you the best with your un-learning, friends. The process is hard, endlessly hard, but gratifying.

(Sorry for the lack of cursing in this article. I realized I got serious business. Here's a bunch of cursing for you if you missed it.

Shit, damn, motherfucker, shit, shitting, fucking, fucking shit, fuck.

Thank you <3)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

PBP 24: Tarot Analysis Masterlist

Yes I am using ONE PROJECT to help my OTHER PROJECT.

Here's my tarot entry masterlist. I am doing them all on tumblr for ease of posting, and will permalink to them here.

They will be added as they are completed.

The Fool
The Magician
The High Priestess
The Empress
The Emperor
The Hierophant
The Lovers
The Chariot
The Hermit
The Wheel
The Hanged Man

Monday, October 1, 2012

78 Days of Tarot: Sample Post & Resources for your study


In case you feel you need some sort of template or starting point, I did a sample analysis of my Magical Forest Fool Card today.

This is fairly extensive, so feel free to take what you want from my layout.


Day: 1

Card: Major Aracana: The Fool (0)

Tarot: Magical Forest

Visual Card Description: A cartoonized pig in a red cloak (with fur trim, almost like a King’s robe) is carrying a bag around a stick. He holds a white rose in the other hand. What looks to be a toy or mechanical dog is following him, seemingly of its own accord. He approaches the very edge of a cliff face and shows no sign of stopping. There are mountains in the background, as well as a sun high on the horizon.

Free association: (Keywords that come to mind on first glance): Adventure, Jovial, Child-like, Reckless, Confidence

Rider-Waite/Traditional Associations: The Fool represents innocence and freedom. He is the completion, the infinite, the potential that humans have before conditioning, before living a fully human life. He is the other side of The World, the last of the Major Arcana.

From 78 Degrees of Wisdom (a book of tarot): For the Fool no difference exists between possibility and reality. 0 means a total emptiness of hopes and fears, and the Fool expects nothing, plans nothing. He responds instantly to the immediate situation. Other people will receive his complete spontaneity. Nothing calculated, nothing held back. The Fool gives his honestly and love naturally, to everyone, without ever thinking about it. {Page 17}

Meaning from the lwb (little white book that came with this deck): Dreamy Little Pig sets out, urged on by his own nature and instinct. “I’m setting out to seek my fortune,” he told his mother when he left home and embarked on the great adventure of his life. He follows his own dream, and for this reason he looks up towards the sky and pays no attention to where he places his feet.

My interpretation: I think visual description is important because before I tried to write what the card was visually, I never noticed before this deck’s Fool wrapped in what resembles the attire of a King. That lends an entirely new meaning to this card for me. This deck does many things differently than any other deck I have used before, and symbolism choice is one of those things.
The decision to make the dog a toy deliberately interests me. To me, this Fool is young. A child at heart, but in so many ways more wise than many. I wonder if his cloak means he was once a King in the past, and renounced his title to seek his ‘fortune’. If you notice the description doesn’t mention what Home is, or fortune. Maybe, having completed the circuit of Worldly fortune, or having enough money or land, he sets out to seek a Spiritual fortune in the world. To me this definition adds layers upon layers to the idea of The Fool.

The backdrop of Mountains is interesting. To me, Mountains are a place of solitude and hermitage. When the great prophets of the past wanted to look deeply into themselves, they secluded themselves in caves, or climbed peaks to be away from the World at large. Perhaps the Fool seeks particularly this inward journey of the ascetic.

I will also cover choice of animal. Interesting, the Pig is synonymous with greed in many cultures. Pig is an insult for one who enjoys worldly pleasures and foods, for instance. But pigs are also highly intelligent creatures, interesting thought to be smarter than dogs. (Funny this artist paired both together.) I think perhaps this choice is reflecting, again, the world turned inward, and also a showcase of a sharp potential untapped.

General resources for your days of study:

I will be referencing the book 78 Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack, because I feel it is excellent and delves deeply into the narrative behind the cards.

Also interesting is The Tarot: History, Symbolism & Divination by Robert Place.

For generalized meanings I actually really like psychic-revelations, because they break each meaning down into areas of influence and also cover reversals.

There’s also of course’s tarot meaning database.

If you want to seriously study Tarot and are curious about the schools of tarot interpretation (Rider Waite is just ONE type of idea for Tarot) check out this guy’s youtube videos. I am linking you to part 2 of a several part series, detailing in depth each respective school of tarot interpretation, with deck examples. Those studying the Thoth (Systems Based) or more Historical decks will find more use out of non-strictly Rider-Waite based interpretations and sources.