Posted on:  Aug 25, 2021 @ 12:00 Posted in:  Pagan Dreamer
Bono from U2 is my lover. He brings me on stage at a concert and delights in my beauty which reaches outward from my luminescent center and shines through my skin. He kisses me, deeply, passionately, activating his own inner, shining beauty. Then he performs a song called: Being With My Soul’s Deepest Love. I lay my hands on his back and send our joined energies out into the audience. As the last note slips into silence, Bono shuts off all of the lights, blanketing the stadium in an inky backdrop for the dazzling brilliance of the combined shining of each and every member of the audience.
This is a dream I had many years ago that I loved so much, it was the basis of my first Path of She blog post. It’s teaching is simple: you are infinitely beautiful and infinitely worthy, beyond your wildest imagination.
I return to this dream teaching over and over again in my writing and my personal journey of soul. The dream came back to me recently in my efforts to come to grips with the deluge of fear and negativity that has become the norm of the daily news cycle. I ask myself constantly: how can I and others become a positive force in the face of the destructive and reprehensible aspects of our human nature that seem to dominant our shared society.
And I return always to the same themes of our innate beauty, love and goodness as powers that can change the world for the better.
In this dream, the shining beauty of one person is infectious. I light up Bono and Bono lights up the whole stadium. This isn’t because we are the stars of this show, shining brighter than everyone else, but because we offer an invitation, by shining our beauty outward, that draws forth the shining beauty of everyone else.
Right now human society needs all of us to be this invitation to others. To do this, we must fall in love with ourselves, embrace our star-bright beauty and shine it outward into a hungry and waiting world. When you shine, you invite others to shine, and they invite others in turn. In this way, we can light up the whole world.
This doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t need a stage or a voice like Bono’s. You can start with the simple and the everyday. Choose the things that give you joy. Give time and effort to the things you’re good at. Share these good things with others. Make gratitude your first response to whatever life brings your way. Shower others with kindness. Appreciate and receive the beauty of others.
When faced with the worst side of our humanity, offer up your best in response. Love to combat hate. Inclusion to resist discrimination. Peace to soothe conflict. Beauty as an offering to horror. Generosity as a remedy to greed. Compassion to embrace suffering. Dispel fear with hope, with laughter, with creativity, with love, with every beauty tool you can imagine and lay your hands on.
Most of all, believe in the best of yourself and our humanity. Believe that each us has a shining fragment of the Cosmos in our core that’s our special gift to share with the world. Believe that we can choose and live from the very best of our human nature. Believe that you matter, that you can make a difference in the small and big ways you live your life and engage your greater community. Believe that your shining is infectious and can send a ripple outward that will draw out the shining of others. Believe that when we shine together, we’re an unbeatable counterforce to the fear, destruction and negativity that plague our human society and Earth home. Believe these things and then act on them.
Every act you do, every choice you make, every thought and vibe that goes outward into the listening Universe can be your offering of beauty to this world and your invitation to others to shine by your side.Lesson in Pagan Dreaming
Dreams can change our life and this world. The Mysteries and our soul offer us powerful teachings through dream stories and images that can cut straight through our mental barriers, and plant seeds that continue to grow and blossom in us for years.
We feel the power of these dreams upon waking. We return to them again and again, or they show up years later, seemingly out of the blue, once more inspiring us with their perfect, powerful message.
In recent months, big dreams that I had many years ago are coming back to me. And I’m seeing how the seeds they planted long ago have directed and shaped my life’s journey. Some were a foreshadowing of this time of great turmoil and change. Each is a treasure — an affirmation and guiding force that show me that the Mysteries and our souls have a strong hand in our destiny and that their deep intention is to help us heal and grow into our very best, beautiful selves.
This is such a dream. I offer it as an invitation for you to join me, and so many others, in sharing our soul’s deepest love, our best, shining beauty, with a world that is hungry and waiting for our combined, dazzling brilliance.
Artwork by Jimmy Lawlor
Carl Jung was teaching us about the love revolution when he said that the opposite of love is not hatred, but will to power.
Will to power pretty well sums up the ethos that underlies our mainstream society where those at the top of the pile claim the right to dominate those below them. Self-interest and greed go hand in hand with will to power, and this toxic combination is what drives our political, economic and social systems.
The Goddess has been teaching me about this love revolution for years. Our humanity is at a pivotal turning point where the world as we know it, arising from this ethos of will to power, has set us on a collision course with ecological disaster and societal meltdown. When I ask the Goddess how we can change this destructive trajectory, She always tells me one thing over and over: love is what can mend our human soul, and transform our shared society.
The love revolution isn’t a new idea. It was gifted to us by the sixties counterculture, where love, compassion and awareness were seen as the basis of a revolution in our human consciousness and society. Then it seemed as if the love revolution fizzled out, and we continued on the same collective, destructive trajectory of self-interest, greed and will to power. But here we are, sixty years later, returning to this tenacious idea of love as a counterforce that can mend what ails our lives and shared society.
What is this transformative love that Carl Jung, the Goddess and the sixties counterculture are talking about? This question has been central to my own spiritual journey, and quest for personal and collective transformation, and this is what I’ve discovered.Love is a base human need.
We are wired to give and receive love both within our intimate circles of family, lovers, partners, children and friends, and the broader circles of our fellow humans and creature companions who share our Earth home. We can love ourselves, other people, things, ideas and activities. We typically think of this personal kind of love as emotional, but it’s also about service that honors and nurtures the well-being and happiness of others.Love is a state of being.
I’ve opened to this state of love through meditation. What I experienced wasn’t an idea or an emotion, but more a place or part of my being where I was love. My whole being was infused with an absolute peace and acceptance of everything and everyone. There was no separation between me and this love; it was in me and outside of me at the same time, everywhere and in all things.Love is the primal power of the living world.
We live in a material Universe, of matter, of Mother, of love as life’s unquenchable desire to create and nurture new life. From our flesh and bone bodies to our shining souls, we are woven of this primal love, as is everything around us. Love is our essence, and the energetic matrix that connects every living thing. We are part of this love, and we are this love. There is no separation, and never was.Love is a choice and sacred responsibility.
Humanity has been blessed and cursed with a dual nature. We hold within us the powers of creation and destruction, and their mirror forces of love and will to power. For millennia, we have collectively chosen will to power over love, and self-interest and greed over concern and care for others. To heal our souls and transform our world, we must consciously choose love over will to power, and then begin to live in accordance with this choice.Love is unconditional and inclusive.
No one and no part of ourselves are unworthy of this love. Beauty and wounding, light and shadow, creation and destruction, those who love, and those who cling to will to power — all of these complex, opposing aspects of our inner landscape and collective humanity have brought us to this turning moment, and all are in need of acceptance, healing and transformation. Love is deep and wide enough to hold everyone and everything, and in this meeting and mixing of the full range of our humanity, we can become whole, holy, and something new, kinder, wiser and more powerful.Love is a revolutionary force that can mend our souls and transform our world.
Beneath the thin veneer of a world constructed on will to power, beyond our personal burdens and scars of broken hearts and wounded life stories, this vast, infinite love calls us home to its welcoming embrace. We need only reach back to reclaim the love that we are, and the love that is ours to share. This love will heal and transform us, and then we, in turn, will heal and transform our world.
We, every single one of us, are the catalysts of the love revolution. The outer world can only change when we ourselves change, and choose love over will to power as the guiding force in our lives. This isn’t an easy journey. It calls us to claim and heal our wounded love, and to extend compassion and care to the great circle of our humanity, with all its mess, complexity and diversity. It requires that we become something new, a deeper, wider vessel for the love that is Goddess, life, and our true essence and best nature.
With each healed heart and mended soul, person by person, step by step, change by change, love is the counterforce to will to power that can guide our way forward into a kinder, caring and sustainable future.
Posted on:  Aug 3, 2021 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Goddess
It’s day one of my spiritual retreat, and time for our morning learning circle. I’m part of the Ancestors Path that meets in the shade of a mighty willow tree, with a pristine mountain lake and craggy peaks to one side, and untamed West Coast rainforest to the other.
Our teacher leads us on a guided trance. We’re going to meet our psychopomp: our personal spiritual guide in the land of the dead, and then journey with this ally to connect with the Ancestors.
In the trance, I come to an ancient wooden door. There’s a key in a lock, the key of conscious choice, that I turn and then enter the space beyond. I find myself on silver, shining path suspended in a black void — a vast, fertile emptiness of infinite possibilities.
My psychopomp meets me on this silver path. She takes the form of a sleek black panther who greets me by placing a paw on each shoulder. Even though I’ve never worked with a psychopomp before, my soul immediately recognizes my spiritual guide as an old ally and friend.
The teacher continues the guided trance, and tells us to seek out the land of our Ancestors with our psychopomp.
Although there’s more to this guided-trance experience, this one, crystal-clear insight stayed with me: my body is the body of the Ancestors.My Body is the Body of the Ancestors
On a surface level, this may seem like an obvious statement. My physical form is the result of the coming together of the DNA of my parents, and this DNA holds the material characteristics of the generations that went before me.
In simple terms, this means who I am, how I live, what I give my attention to, how much I let the past and my family patterns determine my now thoughts and actions, and the myriad of other big and small life choices and experiences that make up my everyday existence matter deeply.
Each of us inherits not only the physical DNA of our family lines, but also the energetic DNA of generational stories and experiences, especially those of trauma. For many of us, it’s the unacknowledged trauma, passed on generation after generation, that’s our shadow partner in life. These things live on in our body and life choices. And they can also end, be healed and transformed, through our body and life choices.
Beyond the trauma, how I care for my body speaks to how I treat the body of my Ancestors. Giving my body the food, sleep, relaxation, exercise and pleasure it needs to be happy and healthy are the ways I honor myself and my Ancestors, and how I show respect and gratitude for the precious gift of life and physical form that my Ancestors have given me.
This body of mine, the body of my Ancestors, is a great responsibility. It’s a miracle — a living, unfolding story — an opportunity for healing, growth and transformation — an invitation to joy, pleasure and love. Our Ancestors in the land of the dead no longer have access to this gift and miracle. There are things that they can’t undo, can’t experience, can’t touch and care for. Yet I can do these things on behalf of my Ancestors and family line.My Body Is an Ancestor in the Making
Life is short, and there will come a time when I’ll leave this world and join the ranks of the Ancestors. My physical body will be gone, but what I did with my body in this lifetime will continue on in the energetic DNA I leave behind. I can pass on the energetic lineage I inherited, or I can make this DNA anew, and gift the Descendants in my family line with something more healed and whole.
Perhaps more importantly, my son and the younger generation in my family witness and absorb how I’m living my life now. All the things I do, or don’t do, to respect and honor my body, and the gift of my life are on full display to the Descendants of my family line.
No one can live a perfect life. These insights from the Ancestors aren’t coming to me as a burden, or to increase my self-judgment and guilt. Instead the Ancestors are calling me to claim and rejoice in this precious body and life of mine, and to know that I have a great responsibility to them, to my Descendants, and to myself.
As always, the lessons from the dead remind us how to live.
Photo Credit: Benji Aird on Unsplash
Excerpt from The Path of She Book of Sabbats.
On the day of Lammas, as the sun begins its descent to the horizon, find a place indoors or outdoors where you can feel the warmth of sunshine on your skin. Make yourself comfortable and ensure that the space and your time will be private and uninterrupted.
Close your eyes and begin to track the movement and energies of your breath. On your in-breath, sink deep, deep inside of yourself and anchor within the core of your being. On your out-breath, feel your inner energies reaching beyond your skin, mingling and communing with the outer world. On your return in-breath, draw these outer encounters back inside yourself, rich with the information and energies of your dance with otherness.
Continue to bring this quality of awareness to the movements and turnings of your breath, inner to outer and back to inner again. On your out-breaths, open yourself to the seasonal energies of Lammas, with Summer still hot upon the land, but with the powers of darkness waxing. On your return in-breath, draw in the smells of the sun-baked land, the changing quality of the light and however else late Summer manifests in your part of the world.
When you feel filled up with these powerful Lammas energies, let them paint for you a flat hilltop with an expansive view of the surrounding landscape. Imagine a sunset-hued sky, with the sun descending toward the horizon. Then sense Lugh appear at your side.
Turn to face Lugh; take in the color of His eyes and hair, the look of His face and form, and the feel of His warm, all-encompassing presence. Clasp Lugh’s hands in yours; feel His strong grip and the powerful currents that course through His fingertips — His are skilled, knowing hands that wisely wield the sword that brings death to ensure the wellness and renewal of the whole. Commune with Lugh, sharing words of welcome and connection.
Lugh directs your awareness to the viewscape before you. See an expanse of cultivated land ready for harvest. This is the golden field of your life story that can show you many things, from pieces of your story and soul work that span your entire lifetime or that have come to light in your recent pathwork. It can reveal the micro details of a single memory, or the wider vista of your place and part in the weaving of greater human society. This field resides within you and is reflected in the outer manifestations of your life. It is always present, a storehouse of information and remembrances, to help you make brave, wise choices on your journey of soul.
With a palm held flat against your mid-back, Lugh fills you up with His wise knowing and truth-seeing powers. A beautiful sword, shining and sharp-edged, appears in your hand. When you gaze down at the surrounding landscape, it is as if you can see into the very heart and necessity of things.
Open yourself to whatever the field shares with you in whatever form, be it words, images, sensations, emotions, memories, insights or information. Breathe these things deep into your body, ingesting their healing, transformative lessons, and letting them nourish and change you.
With your sword, carefully, lovingly cut away the old pieces of your personal story and patterns that must now die away. Offer up this sacred chaff to the Mother Earth, knowing that She will honor your sacrifices and endings by transforming what you have cut away, in Her great composting belly, in service of new life.
Tenderly gather up the seeds of new beginnings and possibilities that reveal themselves in your winnowing work. For now, let the seeds be and do not probe any further into their contents. Hold them close to your heart, infusing them with your love and commit to follow where they lead in the next cycle of your journey of soul.
Take as long as you need for these essential Lammas tasks.
Through His touch, your awareness widens and you take in the whole of Mother Earth. You are a part of Her, and She is a part of you. Let yourself fully feel the power and importance of this primal connection; the Earth’s breath is your breath; Her body is your body; Her well-being and stability are inseparable from yours, and your healing and transformation are Hers.
As your Lammas work draws to a close, visualize the last rays of sunlight melding with the contours of the landscape before you. With every passing day, the power of the sun fades and diminishes, and the seasons of darkness and death fast approach.
A parting is upon you, for it is time to say goodbye to Lugh. Gaze upon His beautiful face, His love radiant still in the encroaching darkness. Share with Him your gratitude for His guidance and wisdom, and wish Him farewell.
The sun dips below the horizon and Lugh is gone, taking His sword with Him. Yet your hands are not empty. In their cupped interior are shining seeds that hold the dormant magic of your pathwork to come.
Let your hilltop vision fade away, and use your breath to bring you back into your physical body and waking reality. When you open your eyes, take in the quality of the light as darkness begins to descend around you. As you finish your meditation, take a few minutes to check in with your emotions.
Lammas can be a time of loss and sadness, and it also brings joy and hope. From endings and death, new life emerges. So the world and your life are forever renewed in the waning light of Lammas.
Celebrate Lammas with the Path of She Book of Sabbats.
Photo Credit: Rose Erkul at Unsplash.com
Posted on:  Jul 29, 2021 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Sabbats
Excerpt from The Path of She Book of Sabbats.
Lammas marks the end of the current cycle of your journey of soul. The wheel of the year has turned from darkness and death, through light and life, and now shines out the last of this season’s light before a new cycle begins. So too you’ve come to the end of one turning of your journey; it’s time to harvest its bounty of life lessons and personal growth, and to seek out the seeds of your next cycle.
At Lammas, the summer sunshine has baked the land a golden yellow. Fruits, berries and grains bend branches and stalks with their plump ripeness, ready to offer up their bounty to the harvest. Yet the outer look of things can be deceiving. Day by day, the light wanes and the dark waxes; cold will soon replace heat, and the powers of death overtake those of life. The balance has shifted, and the abundance that is now so evident will soon be gone.
This theme of self-chosen sacrificial death in support of life and rebirth infuses the mythic roots of Lammas. The Corn King, John Barleycorn and the Harvest King are some of the names given to the sacrificial God who gathers His energy into the crops that are cut down at Lammas to feed the living and to ensure a new harvest in Spring. In Celtic mythology, the Goddess Tailtiu cleared the land for cultivation as a gift to the people, and died from Her tremendous efforts. Lammas is also called Lughnasadh, in reference to the Celtic God Lugh. Tailtiu is Lugh’s foster mother, and legend has it that Lugh instituted a Lughnasadh harvest festival and games in Her honor.
It is Lugh — the Shining One, the many-skilled God, bearing His Sword of Light — that illuminates your Lammas harvest pathwork. Lugh meets you on a hilltop, offering you a wide-ranging viewscape that can help you see deep into the heart of your life story, and deep into the heart of the struggles of the Mother Earth, as one cycle of your journey of soul and one turning of our collective humanity end, and a new cycle and turning begin. In these profound mysteries of life, death and rebirth, Lugh is your luminescent, loving guide as you embrace the incisive, demanding, and often painful tasks that Lammas asks of you.
At its core, Lammas is a season of hope and the miracle of new beginnings. In the golden field that is your life story, you can find everything you need to heal your soul, transform your life and mend our world. Within you are the lessons, endings and seeds of a powerful new beginning that can lead you ever closer home to your Deep Self and authentic humanity.
Celebrate Lammas with the Path of She Book of Sabbats.
Artwork by Qistina Khalidah