Posted on:  Aug 3, 2016 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Everyday Magic, Path Basics

The Breath of Magic: The Magic of Breath

Our breath, though we ignore it most of the time, is something we are intimately familiar with. It is an innate, natural part of our human functioning that we could no more suppress than we could stop the rising and setting of the sun.

Breath is the magic of life. We come into this world on a breath, leave it on a breath, and mark every moment in between by its life-giving, rhythmic powers.

Every moment of our life is a gift from its life-giving powers. We come into a life on a breath, and leave it on a breath, and mark every moment in between by its rhythmic cycles.

Breath is the dance of our inner world with the outer world. In-breath: we enter deep inside ourselves. Out-breath: we share what is inside with the world. Return in-breath: we draw the world back into our body and let it feed and change us.

Most of us have lost the true capacity of our breath. We breathe in a shallow, truncated form, neither fully filling our bodies, nor fully emptying them. We ride the crest of our breath, rather than the deep and wide range of its powers and mysteries.

Yet what is lost can be regained. We can learn, through conscious awareness and specific techniques, to breath in the manner our bodies and beings where designed to function.

And when we do, our bodies are enriched and our conscious awareness expands, because breath is the bridge between the physical and the spiritual, where mysteries unseen are made manifest in our living forms.

Read the above once more, but now apply these same words to magic.

Breath is magic. And magic is breath.

Photo Credit: Miguel Salgado on Unsplash

Posted on:  Jul 27, 2016 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Sabbats

A Lammas Mystery: Lugh and the Miracle of a New Harvest

Excerpt from The Path of She Book of Sabbats.

As the sun begins its downward arc toward the horizon, the God Lugh greets you on the summit of a hill, backlit by soft, descending rays. His long flaxen hair is tied back with a leather strip and He is dressed in the simple, handspun garments of the country folk who worked the land in ages past. He smells of sunshine, soil and sweet growing things.

Lugh guides you in Lamma’s mysteries of life, death and rebirth, and your harvest pathwork as one cycle ends on your journey of soul and another begins

In the circle of His shining presence, you feel safe, protected and nurtured. Somehow you know that everything that He has to offer, He would gladly give to you and to others, and that wherever His blessed light touches the Earth, a natural abundance arises and flourishes.

With wide-sweeping arms, Lugh draws your attention to the panorama of golden fields that spreads out before you; tall, slender stalks of wheat bend and rustle in a hot wind, top-heavy and ripe for the harvest.

“Below us is the great exchange of life,” He says, “the miracle of sunlight transformed into sustenance to feed the children of this hungry world. But there is a price to this miracle: what has come to full fruit must give its life to fill the bellies of the living; death is the price some things must pay to ensure the wellness and renewal of the whole.”

A sword appears in His hands, its hilt toward you and the tip pressed against His breast.

“Everything has its season,” He says, His sky blue eyes locking onto yours, “The seed of the new resides within the body of the living; the grain must be cut down for the seed to find fresh soil. All things of the material world are governed by this ever-repeating pattern; one cycle must end so another can begin.”

Lugh gently draws His fingertips across your field of vision, and your awareness shifts so you can view the landscape through His unclouded awareness. You take in the weaving of life that underlies the golden fields: the parched, barren soil, the particles of contaminants in the air, and the murky sludge in the nearby stream.

“Like the green-growing world, humanity has also come to the end of a cycle,” Lugh says, “For millennia, your species has lost sight of the natural ways and rhythms of the Mother Earth. You have taken more than She can bear, and despoiled the air, water and land that sustain you. Now you are reaping what you have sown; this imbalance has come to a breaking point, threatening the very elements that support human life.”

For a few moments Lugh is silent and you can sense the Mother Earth as He does, weighted down and weary, with Her living systems stressed and failing. And you know in your deepest heart that She is fragile and precious, and that Her stability and health are being severely jeopardized by our collective disrespect and maltreatment.

“I do not share these things to burden you with a vision of gloom and despair,” Lugh continues, “Within everything is the seed of a new season and a new harvest, and their miracle of a new, life-affirming beginning.”

The sword now appears with its hilt in Lugh’s hand and its sharpened point pressing against your tender skin.

“You too have come to the end of a cycle on your journey of soul,” Lugh says, “and your personal healing and evolution are intimately intertwined with that of humanity and the Earth.

“The outer imbalance in the natural world and the malaise of humanity reside within you, side by side with your inner imbalance and discontent; each reflects and informs the other. And the seeds of the new are there as well, within your living body and life story. With these seeds, you can mend and renew your life and this world. But there is a price to be paid for this miracle; you must be willing to change in profound ways.

“You must ask yourself: what is ready to be harvested and cut away in my life in service of my soul work, and a more sustainable, life-serving exchange between myself and the Mother Earth? What lessons must I ingest to aid my transformation? What am I willing to sacrifice for new seeds to take root in my life and the greater world?”

The sun now brushes the horizon and you feel the chill of the impending darkness. Lugh’s light is dimming and you reach out to touch Him, and infuse yourself with His illuminating wisdom, wide-scope vision and truth-seeing powers.

A great sadness and sweet hope fill your heart, a knowing that a time of reckoning has indeed arrived and that you must change, humanity must change, if we are to preserve the beauty and abundance of the Mother Earth. Some things must end, must die, for something new to be reborn.

Lugh speaks to you one last time, “Remember that the seeds of the new are held within the body of the living. Everything you need to heal, grow and transform yourself and your world is present in this now moment, in the golden field that is your life story. Be guided by your journey of soul, and the endings and new beginnings that naturally arise within you, moment by moment, and season by season. Be bold, be brave, be wise. From the depth of this cycle, a profound new beginning arises.”

With a sudden gust of wind, Lugh and the hilltop vision are gone, transformed into a descending spiral of golden chaff. And in your cupped hands are the seeds, the miracle, of the new harvest to come.

Celebrate Lammas with the Path of She Book of Sabbats. 

Buy now at the Path Store

 

Artists: Brian Froud and Jessica MacBeth (Faery Oracle Deck)

Posted on:  Jul 15, 2016 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Path Basics, Pathwork

Black Box Reality: Stepping Beyond the World You Know

Listen to the Podcast.

Think of a black box, with clearly delineated dimensions and solid, impermeable sides — this is a potent metaphor for our tightly held conception of reality, constructed of our beliefs, values and understandings of the world around us. Consider the vast, expansive space outside the box — this is true reality, unconcerned with our puny human constructs and limited imagination. What we can perceive and experience is delineated and limited by our black-box reality.

Think of a black box, with solid, impermeable sides, as a metaphor for our limited concept of reality. True reality is the vast, expansive space outside the box.

The Path of She calls us to step outside of the world that we know and to embrace what else is true and possible. Integral to this pathwork is enlarging the dimensions of our black-box reality, which in turn broadens the scope of reality and experiences available to us.

This is easier said than done because we’ve spent our whole life immersed in the self-reinforcing foundations and building blocks of our black-box reality, forged from the mainstream culture, our family conditioning and our personal adaptations to the world around us. Yet sometimes it only takes one illuminating insight or experience to crack open our black box and let in the light of new possibilities.

A Personal Story of Cracking My Black-Box Reality

Early on in my spiritual journey, I experienced what I call a keystone moment — an event with enough potency to crumble a foundational element of my black-box reality and replace it with something new and expansive.

At the time, I was part of a Buddhist meditation group that met every Monday evening. Although my MBA-addled mind desperately struggled with the strange, new notions of my teacher’s weekly Dharma talks, still I had begun to sink into my meditations and experience a modicum of inner peace and spaciousness.

This night, shortly after I’d settled into my sitting, my body started to twitch and change. I felt my face extend into a long muzzle, with a cold, wet nose. My eyes became sharp, wary, and bristly, rough fur emerged on my cheeks. Then I flung my head back and opened my mouth in a long, silent howl. I had morphed into a she-wolf, perched on a hard pillow, in the middle of a group of silent, slow-breathing humans. The experience was visceral, embodied and undeniably real.

Now, I will admit, I was scared witless; nothing in my black-box understandings of life could help me make sense of this. But another part of me reveled in this glorious window into the true nature of my expanded, mystery-filled humanity.

Through this one experience, a radical thought was born in me: I had no idea what it meant to be human. With this single thought, a lifetime of conditioning about who I was and what was possible crumbled into dust.

My black-box reality suddenly, irrevocably cracked wide open, exposing me to a vast, wild world of spiritual truth, possibilities and experiences. So began the next phase of my spiritual unfolding that continues to this day.

An Exercise In Expanding Your Black-Box Reality

Though my personal story appears to be a spontaneous, dramatic instance of expanding my black-box reality, I’d primed myself for this experience through my commitment to self-awareness and truth in my meditation practice. This exercise is also one of seeking self-awareness and truth that can prime you to step outside of your black-box reality and let in the light of new possibilities.

…read more

Posted on:  Jun 24, 2016 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Goddess

Walking the Path of She: A Personal Story

Listen to the podcast.

A circle of candlelit faces gather around the center altar at a community ritual. We each speak our vows to the Goddess. I say simply, “I vow to be myself; to show up naked and unafraid.”

The path that led me to this vow began after a wake-up call many years ago. I was in my mid-twenties, totally lost in the mainstream culture, with a business education and a corporate career, living a material, achievement-driven life that neither fed my soul nor gave me joy.

After years of travels with the Goddess, I’ve come home to the vast depth and power of my Self, and it’s a quiet, simple place where I know that I am beautiful and worthy as I am.

My wake-up call was not gentle: a collision on a ski hill that fractured my skull and cracked my world open. I woke up four days later with a facial palsy that severely disfigured the right side of my face. For the next eight months, I found myself on the fringe, exposed to the ugly underbelly of our social order reserved for those deemed unworthy and undesirable; a place where strangers felt at liberty to cruelly ridicule, harass and repulse me.

As odd as this may seem, the experience was tremendously freeing and empowering. I had been roughly pushed out of the safe world that I knew into a harsh and abusive one, and I found that I was unafraid and undiminished. The stripping away of my outer beauty made me consciously aware of my inner beauty and strength, and of the profound circle of love and support of my family and friends.

My travels with the Goddess had begun. Like the tales of Inanna and Persephone, my awakening soul led me inward and downward, into the mysteries that underlie everyday reality and the shadowy recesses of my psyche. Layer by layer, I was stripped bare of my waking world masks, conditioning and wounding. Change came, constant and unrelenting. Anything that stood between me and my soul-based essence, what I came to know as my Deep Self, had to go.

…read more

Posted on:  Apr 18, 2016 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Pagan Dreamer, Pathwork

To Wake, Perchance to Dream: Communing With Your Dreambody

Listen to the Podcast.

Dreaming has been diminished in our modern Western society, relegated to a flat, limited version of its true, vast potential. We have been taught that dreaming is an activity reserved for the dark of night and the oblivion of sleep. Sometimes we remember snippets of our dreams, but even these we barely pay attention to in the rush of our demanding lives.

There’s no separation between your dreams and waking life; awake or asleep, it's all one dreambody communion that can guide your personal growth and life journey.

Half of our humanity — the part that connects us to our soul and the spiritual mysteries that underlie everyday reality — is lost in this truncated conception of dreaming.

Yet dreaming is what it is, no matter how we conceive or engage it. What is lost can be refound. It is as simple, and as difficult, as replacing one way of understanding dreaming with another.

Let me offer you a different conception of dreaming: there is no separation between your dreams and your waking life; awake or asleep, it is all one dream that can guide your personal growth and life journey.
The Wide, Wild World of Dreaming

You dream at night where the laws of physical reality slip away and open you to the unbound adventures of the realm of spirit.

You dream when you meditate, work magic or engage in other practices that shift you into an altered state of consciousness.

You dream when you go about the business of your daily life, drawing events and situations to you, especially those that are unusual, significant or emotionally charged.

This wider, wilder conception of dreaming invites you to broaden your awareness to include the workings of your soul and the spiritual mysteries that infuse and inform your life.

It teaches you that your life is not random. The things that come your way from your daytime and sleep-time dreams, be they profound or profane, joyful or painful, spiritual or mundane, are the stuff of your personal growth and evolution.
The Dreambody

Dreaming is literally second nature. We have a physical body for engaging the material world and a dreambody for the wide, wild world of dreaming.

In our sleep-time dreams, where our mind and the laws of physical reality are turned off, our dreambody reigns supreme. In our daytime dreams, our dreambody is a guiding presence that helps us engage the soul-based energies and spiritual mysteries that direct our outer life.

These powerful dreaming capacities reside within us all, but for many they have atrophied through lack of attention and use.

At the beginning of my spiritual journey, I didn’t remember my sleep-time dreams nor understand the importance of dreaming in my waking life. Now my dreambody connection is as natural and ever present to me as breathing. How did I make this profound shift? First, and most essential, I fell in love with my dreambody.

The foundation of becoming a masterful dreamer is to establish and cultivate a deep, respectful and passionate relationship with your dreambody. Like all good relationships, it takes strong desire and focused attention to court and cultivate a bond of love, communion and trust with your dreambody.  
Communing With Your Dreambody

Here is an exercise for reaching out to your dreambody with the intention of starting or deepening your relationship. …read more