You are viewing the "love" Archives
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.
The same message — one that seems simplistic and naïve at a quick glance — comes to me over and over again: to mend our soul and heal our world, we need only show up to the love that is Goddess, that is life, that is here, now, all around and within us.
This message first came to me in a group trance led by Starhawk at a spiritual retreat focused on being a positive agent of change in these turbulent, evolutionary times:
Our intention for the trance is to seek guidance from the Mysteries on how to shift the destructive ways of humanity. A sense of urgency and despair fuels our magic. The human world is a mess. We are destroying the planet. And time is running out.
As we close our eyes and begin to visualize together, someone suggests we head to the East, the direction of new beginnings. A path appears that leads to a broken-down stone castle, overrun with vines and weeds. People see and name what appears to them in this desolate place.
But I see only one thing: a voluptuous, naked Goddess floats above the ruins, on Her back, Her legs spread wide, with a river of golden honey flowing from Her yoni — down through the broken castle, down the path we have traveled, and out into the waking world. The image is so unexpected and outrageous that I have to push myself to share with the group.
I have no idea what this vision means. There’s a sense of disappointment with some group members. When you’re looking for practical, concrete spiritual guidance, what do you do with a larger-than-life, honey-gifting yoni?
Yet the peace and grace in this vision stays with me — a seed of wisdom, of power, of hope, of ease — gestating in the secret depths of my inner landscape.Waking to Her Golden Love
Fast-forward several years, and many powerful magical and life experiences later — the vision returns to me, and this time I get it
I’m at a Samhain ritual. We’re working with the wild winds of change charging through our waking lives and world. Each of us gives voice to the Goddess.
This is what She says through me: “I am here; the awakening is now.”
What does this awakening look like in my life? Big endings: my dear friend is dying of cancer in the prime of her life, leaving behind her young family. Big new beginnings: I’m publishing my first book, Tale of the Lost Daughter. These immense events push me to the limit and split me wide-open, with the powers of death and creation turned on high.
What comes through this chasm is love — from the community that holds my dying friend and her family in a 24/7 circle of support — from the Tribe that gathers close to witness and charge my birthing of Tale of the Lost Daughter into the world — from my pagan-circle companions who weave magic between the worlds with me — from my beloved partner, son and family who are the beating-heart center of my life.
I feel this love viscerally; it’s thick and sweet and golden. It coats my skin, fills my lungs and overflows from my heart. I lavish it on others, unable to staunch its flow, and let others lavish it on me in return.
The Goddess is here. She is this love. I am this love. It is everywhere and in everything.Mending Our Soul — Healing Our World
Fast forward a few more years to the present moment. The human world is still a mess. We’re still destroying the planet. Time is truly running out. Urgency and despair are still our shadow companions.
The broken-down castle of the vision is real. We bear witness to it every day in the dysfunction, injustice and destructive roots of our political, social and economic systems, and in the heavy burden of personal pain most of us carry from our life experiences and family history.
I turn to the Goddess for inspiration and guidance, continually asking the question: how can I be a positive agent of change in these turbulent, evolutionary times? I open my heart, step out of the way, and let her flow through me.
And I find myself writing and speaking about your beauty, your goodness, your power, your love; these precious, precious things are your, and my, best offerings to this world. I don’t turn away from your wounding, or mine, or the pain and horror of this world. These too are part of our journey forward, cupped in that golden love that is Her greatest gift to us, and our greatest gift to each other.
My heart aches, with love, with pain, with life, with death, and with all the moments in between. Each struggle is an opportunity, to show up, to see clearly, to speak truth, to be changed, to love, and love, and love more.
The golden-honey yoni of the Goddess is also real and ever-present, lavishing us with Her life-centered and nurturing love. We’re not separate from this golden love. We don’t have to earn it. Nor do we have to spoon it out to others in small measures.
My mind, the part of me that wants direct, concrete action, still doesn’t understand these things. But that doesn’t matter. We can’t change this world just by doing things differently. First we have to become something different. That difference is the golden love of the Goddess. We must embrace and live this love, be this love.
Check out Path of She book offerings in the Path Store.
Excerpt: Path of She Book of Sabbats
The natural world and our human psyches turn toward the mysteries of death at Samhain. Cold and darkness descend upon the land, and the wild world shifts into decay and a death-like sleep. In many cultures, this time of year is marked by offerings and rituals to honor the dead, our beloved ancestors.
Usually we don’t like to think about death. Most of us run as fast as we can from the frightening specter that decline and death conjure in us. It is the ultimate irony that the moment we are born into life, with our very first breath, we are also born into death. And we must live every moment, every breath, knowing that we will die, and that everything around us, all that we love and cherish, will eventually come to decay, to death, to dust.
Samhain teaches us that there is no hiding from death. It comes in the falling of leaves, the lengthening darkness and the cold grip of Winter. It comes in our remembrances of our beloved ancestors that have passed on. It comes in the wrenching of our heart as we witness a dear one slip from this world into the next. It comes with the graying at our temples, the sagging of our flesh and the unstoppable march toward our last breath.
And death comes with gifts in hand if we have the courage to show up raw and naked to our pain, losses and fears.
that every breath is a miracle not to be wasted;
that each person, each creature and life form, is worthy, precious, sacred;
that life is oh so hard and oh so exquisite;
that pain and loss help us remember what we cherish most;
and that love, at the end of all things, is what remains.
Love is death’s most precious gift to us. Love, not money, possessions, career, social esteem and the many other alluring outer trappings of life, is the balm that soothes us in the face of death. Love is what connects us to those who have passed on. Love calls us to reach out and hold each other in our grief. Love is what joins us heart to heart and soul to soul to another. Love is our best offering from our Deep Self to the world.
Samhain is a time to contemplate the mysteries of death, not from a place of fear and resistance, but from an acceptance of death as a teacher and guide for the living. Yes we are born into life and born into death, and it is this very, inescapable fact that makes every moment so precious, fragile and bittersweet beautiful.
Death isn’t a summons to fear, it is an invitation to love, deeply, wildly, joyfully. And when death seeks us out at the end of our days, let our last breath be a prayer to love.
Honor the Mysteries of Samhain
with the Path of She Book of Sabbats.
Photo Credit: freestocks.org on Unsplash
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:  Jun 17, 2021 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Sabbats
There’s a powerful juxtaposing of realities going on right now. One is our human world stuck in a mindset of fear and scarcity that bears the fruits of poverty, social injustice, war, mass overconsumption and climate change. The other is a life-centered ethos revealed in Nature’s emerging summertime landscape of stunning beauty and overflowing abundance.
Two realities, two ways of living and engaging the world around us, two different outcomes for our lives, human society and Earth home. At this moment, both these realities are turned on high, in our face, shaking us awake and asking us to choose.
This isn’t a comfortable discussion to have. It asks you to show up to the toxic brew of sexism, homophobia, racism, violence, environmental destruction and the myriad of other ills that pervade our human psyche and collective behaviors. These terrible events and human ills aren’t isolated, disconnected aspects of our society. They’re symptoms or outcomes of a reality of fear and scarcity that rules our world, where there isn’t enough food, money, jobs, power, social status, and even love to go around. In a reality where the dominant, aggressive and greedy rise to the top of the pile, gathering life’s goodies to themselves, things are going to get nasty and ugly.
Here are three simple, potent lessons from Nature that can help you revision your life and our collective reality in alignment with the powers of life in Summer.
1. Abundance is real.
In the sun-bright days of Summer, abundance isn’t an illusion or utopian ideal. It’s real and substantive, woven of the raw elements of sun, earth, rain, soil and seed that, through the wondrous miracle of life, produce the foodstuff that feeds the hungry bellies of this world.
Nature’s abundance expresses itself in an ethos of generosity, of giving more rather than less, and taking only what is needed. Take a single cherry tree, not only does it offer up delicious fruits for humans and creatures alike year after year, but the pits of the fruit provide the seeds of future plants and harvests.
Imagine living in harmony with Nature’s ethos of generosity by giving more of yourself rather than less, and only taking what you truly need by walking lightly on this Earth.
Imagine conceiving this same abundance in our shared society, where a decent standard of living is a given, and power, worthiness, love, and other markers of personal satisfaction and social value are infinite and available for all, each in accordance with our deep, true needs.
2. Life is good.
The powers of life are at a peak it the Summer, and the good things of the living world are on full display. The sun is hot. The sky is clear blue. Wild things are plump, healthy and busy tending their young. Ripe fruits weigh down branches. Gardens are overflowing with produce.
Sunshine caresses bare skin. Luscious flowers scent warm breezes. Wild music of birdsong and buzzing insects fills the airwaves. Flowers paint the landscape in bright colors and vibrant greens. Strawberries are soft and sweet. Life is very, very good.
Imagine living and sharing this same goodness inside of you by gifting others with your best qualities and nature.
Imagine a world in which Nature’s goodness is cherished, with its gifts and wonders received with gratitude and a debt of protecting these precious resources, and where people share their own goodness and best nature with others.
3. All life is beautiful and worthy.
Wild things don’t have self-worth or identity issues. A dung beetle doesn’t stop to measure its beauty and value against a butterfly. It goes about the business of being a dung beetle, in alignment with its unique dung beetle purpose and place in the great weaving of life.
Be it a dung beetle or butterfly, dandelion or rose, robin or turkey vulture, mouse or wild cat, no one is more beautiful or worthy than another. The summertime powers of light and life call every living being to blossom, flourish, and play their essential part in the balance and well-being of the whole.
Imagine honoring and claiming your beauty, gifts and sacred purpose, knowing that you’re truly beautiful and worthy, and that your contributions to life deeply matter.
Imagine living in a world where others do the same, where there is no better or worse than, just infinite configurations of beauty and gifts, all contributing to the balance and well-being of the whole.Visioning a New World
As I share Nature’s lessons and these visions of a life-centered reality, I want to be clear that I’m neither naïve nor someone who believes that light and love can banish life’s evils. Nature isn’t always gracious and generous. Winter brings scarcity and death, and the wild world can deliver up devastation through earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters. Yet Nature always returns to abundance, goodness and life.
In the same way, our personal lives and collective humanity are plagued by the natural ravages of illness, suffering and death, as well as the countless ills and horrors of our collective reality of fear and scarcity. Yet we can choose a vision for our lives and world based on a reality that always returns to abundance, goodness and life, no matter what challenges and hardships come our way.
This isn’t an easy choice to make. It’s hard sometimes to believe in abundance, goodness and life’s beauty in the face of the pain, suffering and horrors that weigh down our personal histories and shared humanity, and the terrible, terrible things we humans continue to do to each other and our Earth home.
Believe me I know, because I’ve traveled into the depths of my own personal horrors and those of our humanity, and come out the other side. I’ve come to understand that I/we can’t undo the harm that’s been done to us, and to the people and things we hold dear. What we can do is look life in the eye, see and speak truth, and choose accordingly.
We humans are capable of immense horror and great goodness. We can build a world based on an ethos of scarcity and fear, or abundance, goodness and beauty. We get to choose, each moment and each challenge, which of these two realities will be our guiding force. Yet, in the end, only a life-centered ethos, love and the best of our nature can mend our hearts, transform our life and take on the momentous task of creating a new, better world.
Nature shows us what we’ve forgotten. It teaches us that abundance, goodness and beauty are real and ever present. It reminds us that nothing is forever; from the depth of Winter, life always returns to and unfolds into the stunning plenitude of Summer. So too we can emerge from the long winter of soul of humanity, and a collective ethos of fear and scarcity, to return to a life-centered reality that can embrace and nourish us all.
Imagine that there’s a place and purpose in this world for every person and wild being, each beautiful, worthy and precious, and that we each bring our best gifts and qualities to the communal table of humanity to solve the problems we’ve created and build a better world together.
Then shift into this living state of abundance, goodness and beauty; stretch out your hands and send this vision outward, like a prayer, into the suffering hearts of our human world.
Bring these lessons and the life-centered ethos of the Summer into your life through the Path of She Guided Journey – Summer Journey: Thou Art Goddess .
The Summer Journey: Thou Art Goddess offering is part of a Guided Journey Series through the seasons to help you seek and source the transformative, life-centered teachings of the Goddess and Nature. The Summer Journey includes: a Guidebook (pdf ebook), Journal (pdf ebook), and Guided Meditation (mp3 audio) that offer an integrated, seven lesson program with wisdom teachings, awareness practice and journaling exercises, and a guided meditation.
Learn More at: Summer Journey: Thou Art Goddess.
Buy Now at the Path Store.