Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The telling of our lives-- storytelling

I've always wondered if storytelling becomes more real than our reality. That we are able to connect with the lives, the thoughts, the motivations of fictional characters so that they exaggerate in such a way that they become more real. We can then empathize, and live and learn, and gain wisdom from characters that exist only in our minds. Such worlds, in science-fiction and fantasy seems so real to the touch, high definition, saturated hues of color. Emotions prick you and send your skin searing-alive, and yet, isn't it just human reality we were trying to explain? For trying to connect with, and fully grasp ahold of, and relate to someone else what life is?

What is the experience of a spiritual being living in a physical form, and finite time, and walking through this physical plane? Reality is some of those ideas and is the core concept of the life experience. But, if it hadn't been through the reading of stories as a small child, i wouldn't have know how lush life could be. Now, I find myself mostly frustrated, disconnected, and not understanding the games, and the basal realities, and the primal urges. It is in those basal urges that drag us downwards. Down under the current of the riptides and into the darkness. There, you scrape your skin against the sands of the bottoms of the shoreline. We exist there, at the bottom of the waves churning in dirt and saltwater. We lay unaware, bumping along, and unable to see, and sometimes, even forgetting which way is up.

That doesn't have to be the case though there's an opportunity for calling a calling in the dark like a lighthouse asking us to move away from the turbulence or not hit ourselves Montse rock cracking up in our heads and spilling forth your life force. This is such a waste! A waste in pure agony, useless and unplanned. That opportunity, that calling, that lighthouse in the dark, it's a pathway to connection. It's a pathway to personal gnosis. It's a pathway to spiritual evolution. I for one am grateful for the authors that were willing to send their mind on trips into the future, into the past, into their own psyches. They were willing to spill it forth for all of us to read its benefits. Without them, I would've been alone with no guidepost, no lighthouse, no guiding light, no hope to move toward the future. And yet, I was able to hold onto the future, knowing that it was waiting for me. I get a thrill every moment, every waking day. Finding myself thrown in the midst of a complex story with complex characters, with magic, with purpose, with love, and connection! All of those past stories are more than just stories. They were a promise of what fully actualized, adult, responsible, and independent life could be.

At the same time, I feel an undeniable urge to continue to pick the brain of those authors so that I can learn how to fully illustrate and convey my life experiences. I must relay them in a way that might get someone else that same sense of spiritual ecstatic, that connection. In my own story, my biggest fear is not share the searing depths of that story. It is to run out of time, or lose my focus, and lose my way. Down that solitary, shadowy path is the fear that my life could be personal mythos hidden under a rock in the dark with roly-poly's the worms, and the centipedes, and shared with another soul in the light of day. This fate cannot become!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Find and supporting Quality towards Preserving the Future for Paganism

I have to say that today I was really inspired by the activity that Raven Grimassi posted on his blog. I noticed the post as my local shop owner reposted a link. Karen, the owner of Mystic Spirit Metaphysical Shoppe has been instrumental in supporting my foray into public Pagan teaching. Here is Raven’s post: Raven Grimassi "How Did it Come to This?"

Here is my response to Mr. Grimassi’s post:

Having a decline in the publishing of the same, badly researched, and often misinformed material might be a good thing. I have found that many people that pass my way are specifically looking for hands-on, informed training. They want guidance to navigate through the sea of fluff. Not much has changed in that way. Before, materials were hard to find. Now the good materials are hard to find. At least we do have the broom closet and witchvox to network and find our local groups and stores. I believe we are in the process of a consolidation as we grow to the next cycle. The laity will always outnumber the priesthood now. How do we disseminate quality training to that growing population? We need local stores as community centers, and we need to be approachable and public as we crystalize the next growth stage for the development of Paganism.

And here is a response to the post that really hit home for me. Brendan Myers discusses some philosophical issues of what needs to be written about and how to go about both writing such material and supporting the authors that are already writing the in-depth books about the real issues.

With Myer’s blog post in mind, I am going to start regularly reviewing my favorite books and Pagan authors on my blog. I’m going to try to focus on currently writing authors rather than deceased Victorian authors. (My favorite classic occult authors include; Dion Fortune, Paul Foster Case, Aleister Crowley, and Sri Aubindo)

Right off the bat I would recommend the following authors:

Dolores Ashcroft Nowicki
Thorn Coyle
Ivo Dominguez Jr.
Jason Miller
Lon Milo DuQuette
Alan Richardson

There are lots of other books I love, but I have never been disappointed with any books I’ve bought from the above authors. Expect to see individual book reviews soon..

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A New Nobility Part II

I spoke earlier about how we need to be able to look out for the good of ourselves, others around us, and our society. The ideas of charity and liberty are some of the ideals upon which our country was originally founded. Such ideals are not new at all, but call for the rebirth and reinstatement of many of the tenants held by the Enlightenment movement and our founding fathers.

I have a bumper sticker that I put on my car in response to many people blindly supporting our government and having pride in the flag but expecting everyone to support whatever the government does without question. The bumper sticker says “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” It is a quote by Thomas Jefferson. For the most part I don’t get involved in politics or in activism. I have been of the mind to work with people one on one, in personal ways. That doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions though.

I don’t feel that there is one right way, for just about anything. I am a quintessential Capricorn and I see things much differently than my Pieces sister or my Leo mother or my Cancer grandmother or my Gemini bosses, etc. I think that is why I have never wanted to get up in arms about differences of opinions. The issues that reach everyone across the board are complex and difficult to solve.

I was listening to an elderly neighbor the other day complain to his sister about the state of the economy, health care, and the government’s role in governing the people. He had a very simple view of how the government should work. He did not feel responsible. He felt that “Big Brother” was supposed to take care of the people and provide for everyone. He didn’t think about government funding or the complex nature of economics in a free market. He wanted Mommy/Daddy government to just make it better. Wow, that’s a nice fantasy world! I would love to live in a world like that.

I am glad to have freedom of speech and privacy in my home. I am glad that I have freedom to my religion and the right to the pursuit of happiness. All of those rights are for me to be able to pursue however I define those philosophies. Our constitutional rights allow us to seek self-definition and allow us to disagree. The system was designed to expect, and make room for disagreement. The system never expected a common religious philosophy or cookie cutter code of morality. I may not agree with how you run your life or your belief structure in God or vice versa. The government just wants to make sure that we aren’t stealing, raping, killing, or otherwise putting each other or our society in adverse physical danger. I am happy that people are allowed to disagree and live their lives differently. We all place different value on aspects of life. I care a lot about spirituality, the pursuit of knowledge, and food (hehe, well I do!). You may care more about knowing a lot of people and having lots of time for social events and expressing your fondness for them. Great! Not my cup of tea, hey, and for that matter, my husband prefers coffee altogether over tea. I don’t have to live my life or even always agree with my husband for that matter either. That makes for diversity, and lively, stimulating dinner conversation.

My point is that the world will never agree. There isn’t a right and wrong way. What works is personal. The government should be there to regulate the people so that they don’t take advantage and cause harm to one another. People seem to assume that their way is right because it works for them. In a world with so much diversity, isn’t it possible there are many right ways? Let’s figure out ways to help others live their way while we seek our personal truths.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Shadow Boxing

 While I was taking martial arts, one of the main ways we practiced on our own was through shadow boxing.  You pretended that your mirror image was your opponent and you tried to outsmart and out fight your reflection.  Its a good way to see if your form or combinations make sense and improve them. 

I found that for a couple of years, my biggest obstacle was the internal struggle I had with my emotions.  The physical fighting, the physical strain of maintaining a posture or controlling my body, allowed a panic and turmoil within me to boil out.  Sometimes it won.  My fellows in the dojo certainly didn't understand.  Sometimes when the shadow self won, they saw me giving up or not trying.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.

And yet, during this time I learned things my High Priest had been trying to teach me for years.  I didn't understand the context of what I needed to integrate.  Now, in the role of mother and High Priestess, I want to be able to fix that struggle for others, and yet I know, like my struggles in the dojo, I can't fight for them.  I can provide the mirrors, the dojo, the classes, the rituals, but they have to fight their reflections. 

I started struggling with depression when I was 8.  It is possible that although I will get better at it, I may always deal with the slipping away from the sun into solitary darkness.  I learn many lessons here.  I have more active, caring support than I ever did before, so hopefully, I'll be able to keep a better perspective on things from now on. 

I look at 2009 and 2010 with gratitude.  I lost my struggle with the dark during this time.  I was abducted and at the mercy of Hades for a time.  Without losing the battle temporarily, I would not have had the compassion, empathy, or understanding of others in their struggle.  When it was time, I was able to return to the land of the sun.  No trial ever lasts forever.  We always have the chance to endure, change, rearrange, and make something new of ourselves and our lives.  I am grateful for the challenges that have made me stronger, tempered my will, and helped me know myself. 

The darkness will come again, and in that night, I will be able to see that which is hidden in the light of day.  When the dawn comes, I will walk into the new day, with new wisdom and new insight.