Posted on:  Jan 15, 2022 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Everyday Magic, Featured, Path Basics
The media feeds us an ongoing narrative of the horrors of humanity: political corruption, environmental devastation, mass shootings, to name but a few. Yet our lives are also touched by acts of philanthropy, creative expression and everyday goodness by the bright-souled, golden-hearted people in our midst. Between these polarities, we are left disoriented, torn between repulsion and reverence for these base aspects of our human nature.
Who are we as a species? Are we beauty or are we beast? Does fear or love drive us? What rules our world and our lives – an ethos of domination and destruction, or of nurturance and creation? And what do we make with our pain? Beauty and goodness, or more horror and pain?
I want to reach out and touch your heart. To feel your warm flesh and pulse under my palm. I want to tell you everything is going to be okay. That we can figure this out, we can find our way through the madness and destruction that dominate the headlines, and align ourselves with those that come into this world to spread goodness and beauty.
But I can’t. Because we live in a turning moment, a time of choice between all that we are and all that we can be.
Individually and collectively, we need to stop being afraid, stop judging and stop insulating ourselves from the raw truths of our joy and our pain. And hardest of all, we need to accept that the horrors the media feeds us and the beauty that touches our everyday lives are both expressions of our inner humanity.
In this acceptance, you can come to understand that you are not separate from the beastly and the beauty out there in the greater world. Your life story is woven from the best and worst of your personal history and makeup. And you, like every one of us, were born into and entrained within a collective ethos that produces terrorists, mass murders, poets and philanthropists.
What do you do with your personal pain? What do you do with your gifts and opportunities? Do you make more sorrow and pain for yourself and others? Or do you allow life to teach you, and help you blossom and grow into your true, big, shining self.
It all comes down to the imperative of choice making. In the face of the suffering and joy, and light and shadow of your life story, what do you choose?Check out Path of She book offerings in the Path Store.
Artist: Karina Pavlova
Posted on:  Jan 9, 2022 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Pagan DreamerThe Dream
I’m at a pagan spiritual retreat, helping to lead ritual. I guide our group in a breath exercise that’s a mirror of the process of deep change. We breathe and move in the space together, turning our awareness inward on the inhale, and outward on the exhale, shifting from self focus to other focus.
On the inhale, I ask the question: how do you want/need to change; and on the exhale: how do others need you to change? We continue this breath and attention process, over and over again: inward to outward, self to other, personal change versus change in others, seeking our individual place and purpose in this time of collective transformation.
The dream ends leaving me with an insight into my relationship with my aging mother. What she needs from me and my siblings isn’t only our well-intended support, but also more asking and listening on our part: what do you want? need? how can we best support you in this time of transition and endings?Dream Teaching
Although this dream ends on a personal note, it’s really a big picture dream that addresses the pressing question: how do we find our place and purpose in these edgy, transformative times we live in? Do we focus on personal change that arises from our life story and circumstances? Or do we dedicate ourselves to outer change? What drives deep transformation: our individual narrative and journey, or societal, outward-focused action?
In this era of the Me Too and Black Lives Matter movements, people are showing up to their personal pain and translating it into a collective force for deep-rooted, desperately needed social change. A raw, authentic, irrepressible power is released in this fusion of inner and outer, and self and other that is challenging the very foundations of our status quo reality with its battle cry: enough is enough, and the time of change is now.
You don’t need to be marching in the streets to participate in this epic, global movement. Instead you can keep things simple and close to home, beginning with wherever you are right now in your life. Just follow the practice offered by my dream.
Breathe, deep and slow, turning your awareness inward and then outward, from self to other, over and over again: how do you want/need to change? how do others need you to change?
Listen deeply to yourself. Listen deeply to those around you. Listen deeply to the sorrows of the world that call to you. How can you best support yourself and others in this time of transition and endings? What is your place and purpose in the making of a saner, kinder and more loving world? Whatever you discover can guide your journey of healing and transformation, both personally and in your greater environment, at whatever depth and pace are right for you at this time.Lesson in Pagan Dreaming
Dreams are not just about powerful ideas and insights. They’re also emotional experiences. Often dreamwork focuses primarily on the images and content of the dream. Just as important is how the dream makes you feel, and this too is part of the dream teaching.
My dream begins with a group, collective experience, and shares a breath and awareness practice for deep inner and outer change. This is the primary content of the dream. Yet the dream isn’t done with its offerings; it finishes with an intensely tender, emotional part of my life: my love and support of my aging mother.
This is raw and real for me. In the dream, I connect with the visceral, vital power of my love and compassion for my mother, and my desire to do my very best to listen and support her in this last part of her life.
This dream tells us to breathe, to love, and to listen from our deepest, most tender heart and best self, not just to those close and dear to us, but also to ourselves, and the many others in our lives, even those that we may see as our enemy. Death is a messy, emotional business, as is the birthing of new life, and that’s where we’re collectively at: a death-rebirth moment that’s being driven not just by our pain and wounding, but more importantly by our love and best presence.
So breathe. Love. Listen. Offer up your best presence and support to yourself and others. Start simple, small and close to home. Trust that you’ll find your place, purpose, and kin that walk your same path. The time of change is now. And this is how we can heal and transform ourselves and world together.
Check out Path of She book offerings in the Path Store.
In late December, I decided to do a major house clean to have a fresh start to the new year. When moving a cabinet, I found a tiny fridge magnet amidst the dust and debris, with the single word — “Here”.
I laughed out loud and immediately pinned this word up on my bulletin board as a reminder for the new year. The Mysteries, with their quirky, in-your-face communication style, were hammering home a message they’d been giving me over and over during the holiday season. In our community Yule and Winter Solstice celebrations, we have a tradition of pulling divination cards for the new year. Every card I pulled was a version of a common theme: surrender to the process; have patience and await the will of the Mysteries; don’t lust after outcomes; something must die for something new to be reborn.
Here and now in the Northern Hemisphere, January is in the throes of the winter season. This is the time of the Dark Goddess and Her rebirth magic, where new beginnings arise from the vast unknown of the sacred dark, and death, endings and wounding are essential for the birth of new possibilities and growth.
Like so many people, I find January a trying month. I’ve already had enough of the dark, cold, dreary days, and crave the return of bright sunshine and warm weather. Though I’ve done my deep magic at the Winter Solstice, come January 1st, my New Year’s resolution mindset kicks in, shifting me into the outcome focus of goal setting and action taking.
Yet something else in me, more primal and wise, resists these outer-directed activities in favor of rest, simplicity and a slower, inside-out focus and pace. Every January, I struggle with these counter impulses: one arising from my cultural conditioning and the other from my soul-based knowing. I get the Mysteries’ message, loud and clear: this culture-soul split within me is my transformative edge and pathwork for the coming year (and beyond), as is the imperative to be here now, in presence and surrender to this journey that is my life.
Though this is most certainly a personal directive for me, it’s also a collective message for our spiritual pathwork in these edgy, world-changing times. When I open myself to this collective message from the Mysteries, this is what comes through.1. The here and now encompasses the totality of our life experiences.
The here and now includes both the everyday reality of what we know and directly engage, and the vast expanse of the unseen and unknown. It’s a whole, round, complex thing woven of the many strands of our life story and shared society: the light and the shadow; the beautiful and the wounding; the parts of us that we honor and cling to, and those that we repress and run from.2. The here and now is a state of being.
To be here now requires that we be fully present — open, empty and curious — to this whole, round, complex thing that is our existence, and to the specifics of what is happening in and around us in real time. There’s no past, other than how it’s currently revealing itself, and there’s no future. All we ever truly have is this moment, then the next, and the next. Like breath, the moments and specific times in our unfolding life are here and then gone, here and then gone, one naturally following the next, over and over and over.3. Life-changing healing and transformation happen in the here and now.
In any given moment, exactly what we need to heal and grow stirs in our inner landscape and shows up on our doorstep. The kind of truth that can mend our soul and set us free is already here, poking and prodding us to pay attention and do our spiritual pathwork. This is here and now pathwork, requiring our full presence and commitment to: follow where this healing moment leads us; seek out the missing parts of our Self and life story that are ripe for our conscious engagement; and do the hard, wondrous work of transforming our life. One healing moment naturally leads to the next in this unfolding journey of soul.4. To be in the here and now, we need to step past our cultural conditioning.
Our Western-world culture is the antithesis of the here and now. We fixate on a physical, intellectual version of reality that represses and fears the unseen and unknown, and the shadowy, wounded aspects of our personal life and shared humanity. We cling to the past, obsess about the future, and rarely find ourselves in the present moment. Our conception of change is all about ego, willpower and concrete outcomes, skimming the surface rather than engaging the depths and mysteries of true, transformative, here-and-now change. To be in the here and now, we need to shed our cultural conditioning, and learn new ways of understanding and engaging ourselves and our world.5. The here and now is this present time and moment.
The Mysteries have impeccable timing. They’re delivering this collective message in this present time of the winter season, with its Dark Goddess mysteries of the sacred dark and rebirth magic that can help us step past our cultural conditioning, and step into a greater reality and way of being that are in alignment with the here and now.
The Dark Goddess takes us into the depths of the sacred dark, within and without, where we can reclaim what our culture has taught us to deny and reject: the mysteries of the unseen and unknown; the shadow and wounding of our life story and collective humanity; and the lost treasures of our secret desires, sleeping beauty and dormant potential. This spiritual pathwork is truly of the here and now, requiring a loving presence of emptiness and curiosity, and an unwavering commitment to seek out the greater truths that are the lost strands of the here and now of our life, and the deep roots of our transformative change at this time.
The Mysteries offer us this message in this now moment as this year of world-changing turbulence and disruption, comes to a close, and the new year begins with an edge that promises more of the same. Change is coming, deep, fast and bumpy, and the stakes have never been higher, personally and collectively.
Whatever you need to heal what is broken, inside and outside, awaits you in the vast unknown of the sacred dark. Whatever is coming next will be reborn from this whole, round, complex weaving of the here and now of your life and our world. This is the transformative, rebirth magic of these here and now times.
If you’d like to further explore this winter season pathwork with the Dark Goddess, check out the latest offering in the Path of She Guided Journey Series:
Winter Journey – Your Rebirth Magic: Braving Your Inner Darkness
Turn Inwards ~ Discover Your Rebirth Magic ~ Make Your Life Anew
Let the Dark Goddess be your guide in this season of the sacred dark and magic of rebirth.
Your Winter Journey includes seven lessons with integrated teachings, exercises and journal tasks in: the Winter Journey Guidebook (pdf ebook), Winter Journey Journal (pdf ebook), and Winter Journey Guided Meditation (mp3 audio).
Posted on:  Dec 31, 2021 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Path Basics
With the Winter Solstice, the new solar year has begun, followed closely by the turning into a new calendar year. Now is a time of endings that mark new beginnings, and the tradition of New Year’s resolutions.
New Year’s resolutions can be a catalyst for profound, soul-sourced change, drawing on the Path of She practice of yes magic. Yes is the most powerful magical word in our vocabulary. It’s a word that the Universe pays close attention to. Say ‘yes’ and doors of possibilities open. Say ‘yes’ from the depths of soul, and you can transform your life.
Right now, at this very moment, the power of yes magic is at work in your life. Every choice you make and action you take, consciously or unconsciously, is a yes spoken in the language of the material world that weaves the fabric of your everyday existence. This is powerful magic: you are, in effect, spellcrafting your life.
When you make a New Year’s resolution, you’re focusing your will by setting an intention for the coming calendar year. This is a perfect opportunity to use yes magic in service of your personal and spiritual growth for the new year.
Making Your Yes-Magic New Year’s Resolution
1. Heed Your Soul Desire
Yes magic operates in the domain of soul, not surface-level needs and wants. To use yes magic for your New Year’s resolution, you start by turning your awareness inward, and seeking out the soul desires that are reaching for expression in your outer life at this time.
Start by exploring your existing thoughts about change in the new year. What healing and personal transformation are you hungry for? What are your fears and hopes at this time? What new skills, knowledge, lifestyle enhancements and resources would you like to cultivate? Why do you want to make these changes in your life?
Then take a few more deep, grounding breaths. Let go of everything you’ve written, and imagine yourself slipping beneath these things you know, and the wants and whys you can readily name. What is beneath these things? What soul-based longings are trying to make their way into your conscious knowing at this turning into the new year?
When your journaling feels complete, put your writing to one side, and let your insights and discoveries percolate inside of you.
- Connect With Your Will
Yes magic is also about being grounded in your everyday life, and working with the impetus for change that’s already present in your outer environment. Desire turns your awareness inward, seeking out what you want to change. Will’s job is to focus your awareness outward, and to drive change in relation to your existing life circumstances.
Now that you’ve heeded your soul desire for change in the new year, you next turn your attention to your will, and its connection to what’s happening in your life at this moment.
Ask yourself: what’s up for me right now, and demanding my attention, positive or negative? What opportunities and challenges am I facing? What unusual or synchronistic events have come my way? How are these things revealing the personal change that’s ripe for me at the beginning of this new year?
Answers may come to you immediately, or you may want to let them brew for a day. When this activity feels complete, move on to step 3.
- Align Your Desire and Will
Yes magic sources its immense, transformative potential from the alignment of the twin powers of desire and will. When you say yes to your soul desire, and fire up your will to make this desire manifest in your outer life, you’re tapping into the deep, foundational roots of spellcrafting magic. It’s like sending up an intense, focused beacon into the listening Universe, and activating its mysteries of manifestation in service of your personal transformation.
Close your eyes, and put one hand each on your heart and belly. With several full, slow breaths, imagine yourself connecting to your heart with its inner knowing of your soul desires, and your belly with its outer knowing of your will. Open to the meeting and mingling of the insights that came to you in your step 1 and 2 activities. Feel these energies come into alignment in the core of your being, with your will primed to service your soul desire.
Move directly from this activity into step 4.
- Craft Your New Year’s Resolution
From the insights and information that came to you in the prior steps, craft a specific, yes-magic New Year’s resolution.
Words matter. Your soul, will and the mysteries of the Universe heed the specifics of your intention. Speak in empowering terms, naming what you want to bring into your life, rather than what you want to get rid of. Keep your resolution simple and brief, yet also use words that have power and meaning for you, and that make your soul sing. Make sure there’s an action element to your resolution, something that you’ll do to help manifest your intention. Leave lots of room for the unexpected and the unknown, so the Universe can weave its manifestation magic.
Symbolic actions matter. Design a simple ritual that can charge your New Year’s resolution, and send its message outward into the listening Universe. You can create sacred space, light a candle, and speak your New Year’s resolution out loud three times. You can charge a symbolic object, like a piece of jewelry, an altar item, or a written affirmation that can be a touchstone to your New Year’s resolution yes magic as the next days, weeks and months unfold. Or you can come up with your own ritual that speaks to your soul and intention for change.
It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as it’s symbolically connected to your New Year’s resolution, and anchors this intention in your soul, body and physical surroundings.
- Release Your New Year’s Resolution
With yes magic, like all spellcrafting, you don’t grip tight to your intention. Gather up your presence, commitment and power. Charge your New Year’s resolution through your ritual. Then release your intention, setting it free to work its yes magic, as it will, in your life.
For example, if your resolution is to become a more loving person, this might show up as a big fight with your mother. As counter-intuitive as this may appear, on a deeper level your heart might be blocked because of an unresolved issue with your mother. So the Universe delivers to you what you truly need: a conflict to heal your heart with your mother so you can continue on your chosen path of becoming a more loving person.
Yes magic and your soul have their own timeframes which can manifest change in an instant, or take a long time to unfold. In practice, the work of your soul is all about process, not outcomes. What matters is the depth of your engagement, not the speed of your journey or your destination.
- Do Your Soul Work
Yes magic isn’t about words. What you do is your true yes, not what you say. Unless your actions back up your New Year’s resolution, nothing is going to happen, or more accurately, something will happen, but it’ll be in alignment with the yes communicated by your actions.
And remember to look for the unexpected. With your yes-magic New Year’s resolution, you’ve activated powerful manifestation energies, and these energies will reveal themselves in the insights, dreams, issues, challenges and opportunities that come your way. Expect to be surprised, to dig into places that you’d rather avoid, and to be led by mysteries that you don’t fully understand.
Do your spiritual pathwork to the best of your ability, and trust that this is enough. With conscious awareness and commitment to your New Year’s resolution, you can change in profound, transformative ways, and become ever more masterful at the yes magic of spellcrafting the blessed gift that is your life and the living of your soul desire.
Photo Credit: Gaia Orion
Posted on:  Dec 17, 2021 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Sabbats
Winter Solstice excerpt The Path of She Book of Sabbats.
On the longest night of the year, in the thick of the mysteries of the sacred dark, turn your mind to the Great Below and the fearsome voice of Ereshkigal:
“I am the still, held breath of the dark that precedes the dawn.
I am the hands of the Earth that cup the seeds of new life.
I am the dark powers that pulse within the fleshy matter of your body.
I am the death that promises rebirth, and the kiss that awakens you from your death slumber.
I am the keeper of the lost parts of your soul, and of secrets that can set you free.”
Inanna turned Her mind to the Great Below and Her Goddess sister Ereshkigal. She surrendered everything, even Her life, to the Underworld mysteries of death and rebirth. And through these mysteries, Inanna was transformed into Her full Goddess presence and power.
As terrifying as this journey may seem, know that its rewards are immeasurable. On this darkest of nights, the seeds of brilliant new beginnings, within and without, are stirring from their death sleep, ready to return from the darkness to the light.
Ereshkigal does not rise from Her throne as you enter Her inner sanctum. She is dressed in a red velvet sheath that molds itself to Her voluptuous, curvy form, with a silver circlet as a crown and silver snake bangles on Her ankles and wrists. A smoky heat and feral power rises from Her amber skin and strong, bare limbs, marking Her as a dangerous, commanding being that could easily reduce you to ashes. With an imperial scrutiny, She pierces through your outer veneer into the core of your being. There is no hiding in Ereshkigal’s realm.
Hold your own under Ereshkigal’s probing, black-eyed stare, and stay in your center and power. As formidable as She appears, Ereshkigal’s intention is to help you, not to harm you, though She will ask much of you in service of your greater becoming.
“I know why you are here,” Ereshkigal says, “You have dared to stand before my throne in the Great Below because you seek the miracle of my rebirth magic in your own life and journey of soul, where new beginnings emerge from death and darkness. But be warned, there is a price to be paid for so potent a magic. As the new dawn is born from the darkest night, so too the beautiful new beginnings you desire emerge from the depth of your wounding.
“Long has been the dark night of soul of your human species. Long have you done great harm to each other, and to the good green Earth. Long have you run from the pain and sorrow of this grievous wound. Whatever personal wounding you carry is a reflection of this greater harm.
Ereshkigal leaves Her throne and circles around you. Her movements are sinuous and creature-like, and Her nostrils flare as She sniffs the air, seeming to take your measure from the scent-signature emanating from your form.
“However you have learned to deny and hide from your wounding will not serve you in your pathwork with me,” Ereshkigal whispers in your ear, “I strip you of these things so you can see the truth that is your life and your world, though you travel my ways by your own freewill, and I never ask more than what you are able to bear.”
She presses Her hands, firm and hot, into the front and the back of your mid-torso. Your mind and body become still, silent, empty. Whatever you think you know, think you are, think you want, vanish. There is only the pulsing, fleshy darkness of your inner landscape and the pulsing, potent darkness of Ereshkigal outside and inside of you.
As Ereshkigal withdraws Her hands, something passes through your skin. She uncurls Her fingers and two shining seeds rest within Her open palms.
“These are the seeds of your beauty and wounding that are waking within you,” She says, “Within their compressed interior are the makings of a bright new beginning — a magic that can heal your soul, brewed from the illuminating meeting of your beauty and wounding. You cannot reclaim one without the other.”
Ereshkigal turns your hands palm upwards and places the warm, pulsing seeds within their cupped interior.
“These seeds come with challenge and choice,” She says, “You can take them inside of you and then change will come. Or you can cast them back into the dark. But to no avail, because change will still come. What is waking in you will not let you rest until you have taken the next step closer to the soul-based life you are meant to live, and the new dawn waiting to be born from your inner darkness into the sunlit world.”
The darkness around you begins to lighten as the longest night gives way to the new dawn. Ereshkigal and Her realm grow fainter and fainter until they disappear altogether. Yet the power of Her presence and words remain, beckoning to you from the shining seeds.
One more time, be brave. Raise your hands to your lips and swallow the magic of these seeds whole. Take them inside of you and feel the stirrings of a new dawn within your gestating interior. Though you cannot know where these seeds will lead you in the months to come, you have dared the Great Below and claimed its powerful rebirth magic as your own. You have taken the next step into the soulful life that is yours to live and in the weaving of a new-made world.
Give yourself a gift of soul this Yule season. The Path of She Book of Sabbats takes your deep into the Winter Solstice mysteries of death, rebirth and personal transformation. Available in paperback and e-book at the Path Store.
Artwork by Julie Dillon