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Posted on:  Feb 2, 2021 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Featured, Path Basics
In my mid-twenties, I was living a corporate, achievement-driven existence that neither fed my soul nor gave me joy. A series of synchronistic events conspired to wake me up and set me on a spiritual journey in search of the missing half of my womanhood and humanity.
My journey led me to Vipassana meditation, feminist graduate studies and new age spirituality. These were all powerful and transformative, and yet something was still missing for me: the feral, sensual, dreaming, witching, life-affirming sacred feminine.
One day it came to me: I am a pagan. This was the spiritual path that sang to my soul.
Paganism isn’t just about beliefs, it’s about stepping outside of the strictures of everyday reality and stepping into full-bodied experiences of the wild, magical world of what else is true and possible. After twenty-plus years of pagan explorations, these are five precious lessons that I’ve learned:1. Life is delicious.
Paganism is a spiritual practice that calls us to a joyful, sensual communion with Nature and our bodies.
Even in those bumpy times when your challenges and losses bring your down, remember that life is delicious and that there is always a brush of beauty to sweeten your sorrows.2. The Earth is alive.
Paganism is defined by its earth-centered ethos. While our collective humanity has lost sight of the ways of the green world, pagans hunger to touch and be touched by the powers and splendor of Nature. And in this sensual, embodied exchange, we awaken to the living world.
The Earth is alive. One web of life connects us all, breath to breath, and essence to essence. What your mind has forgotten, your body remembers.3. The Goddess is everywhere, in everything.
I didn’t go looking for the Goddess. I set myself on the trail of my lost humanity and womanhood, and one day there She was, everywhere and in everything.
The Goddess’s deepest presence is love, not as an emotional state, but rather as the primal desire of life to seek out, create and nurture life. Through this love, all things are made holy and infinitely worthy. We are made holy and infinitely worthy.
Lift your face toward Her living light, open your heart to Her infinite love, take in Her green-drenched beauty and feel Her holy presence in your own shining soul, and know that the Goddess is indeed everywhere and in everything.4. So without, so within.
Pagans celebrate the wheel of the year: eight sabbats that mark the turning seasons of Nature and their shifting balance of darkness and death with light and life.
Our life too is a shifting balance of light and dark, joy and sorrow, and life and death moments.
So without, so within; like the natural world, our humanity is woven of darkness and death, and light and life. And in this powerful truth, we can find our balance and wholeness in the face of life’s shifting seasons.5. Magic is real.
Magic, in basic terms, is the ability to experience and work with the Mysteries (alternative states of being and knowing). Think of reality as a frequency dial that can tune into the astounding magical possibilities of the world around us: “normal”, everyday modes of consciousness fall within a specific frequency range; the Mysteries are engaged at different frequencies on the dial.
Pagan magic practices, such as ritual and spellcrafting, develop and deepen our abilities to turn the frequency dial and work in altered states of consciousness.
Don’t take my word for these things I have shared. Instead, think of paganism as an invitation into the realm of what else is true and possible. Take a little journey beyond the everyday for yourself and bring back whatever sings to your soul.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Law
Artwork by Sarah Sheil
On Samhain eve, in the pitch blackness of deep night, light a single candle in a quiet, private space in your home.
Open yourself to the energies of the natural world as it transits into its winter state of death and dormancy. Sense the withdrawal of energy inward to darkness and stillness, the falling away of leaves, the slowing metabolism of birds and beasts, and the sleeping life force within the barren landscape.
Breathe these wild realm energies into your body. Follow them inward to the dark stillness of your inner core. Tap into the deep roots of your spiritual journey that give rise to your soul-sourced impulses to reclaim your Deep Self and the best qualities of your humanity.
In this self-reflection, remember that life is a constant cycle of death and new beginnings — in the shifting of the seasons, the turning of day into night, and the rising and falling of your breath — in the consciously chosen and outwardly imposed losses and endings of your day-to-day life — in the suffering and passing of a loved one, and in your own fragile mortality, mapped out in the inevitable morphing of your physical form.
Surrender to your own constant cycle of endings and new beginnings, and be present to the personal change that is emerging for you at this time.
When you find the parts of your life that are ending and calling for your conscious engagement, speak them out loud to the listening darkness, and state your intention to travel to Hecate’s crossroads to seek out Her guidance. Then imagine a path appearing at your feet that will lead to the heart of the sacred dark, between the worlds, where Hecate awaits you
See Hecate’s luminescent form before you in the ebony darkness and close the distance between you. Take a few moments to connect with Hecate. What does She look like? How does it feel to be in Her presence? What words of welcome does She share? What words do you speak in return?
Let Hecate place Her hand upon your solar plexus. Commune with Her in the rich, dark stillness of your inner core, sharing with Her the endings that are arising within you and the soul-sourced roots of your impetus for change.
With a sweep of Her hands, two paths appear, intersecting diagonally at your feet. This is your personal crossroads, unique from any other individual or any other season in your life. One path holds the stories and energies of your life as it is, and the other the life your journey of soul is calling you to. Here you can find everything you need to make wise, soulful choices in this death moment of shifting into a new cycle of healing and personal growth.
Let yourself feel everything, know everything, for Hecate’s is the middle path that calls you to be big, wise and powerful enough to embrace the full breadth, the good and the bad, of your life story.
Yet also practice self-care. If at any time you feel overwhelmed by the information and insights coming to you, remember that you are master of this journey and can choose how deep you want to engage your crossroads magic at this time.
As you return to the space between the crossroads, it is time to choose how you will respond to this particular death moment, and how to conceive and engage change itself.
You can choose to see change as your enemy or your teacher. You can choose to embrace the lessons and new beginnings offered by the endings of this death moment, or to let fear and resistance rule you and chain you to the path of your life as it is.
Take several slow, deep breaths and fill yourself with the shining light of Hecate’s love. Feel the power and beauty of this love that can brave profound, life-changing endings, and can hold and heal the sorrow and wounding, and the joy and the beauty, of your life story and pathwork. This same love is inside of you, supporting and guiding your journey of soul.
Then ask yourself: are you ready to walk Hecate’s middle path, consciously engaging all that you’ve been shown and all that you are in service of this transformational death moment? What endings are you willing to embrace? Will you let love and your best instincts guide you on your journey of soul? Be brave, choose wisely; these are powerful times requiring powerful choices.
Your time at Hecate’s crossroads is drawing to a close. Look into Her eyes and acknowledge Her for who She truly is: the Dark Mother who knows you, loves you and is here, always, to guide you in these profound, tricky ending moments in your journey through life. Offer Her your heartfelt gratitude as you bid Her farewell. Then use your breath to bring yourself back into your physical body and waking reality.
Blow out the candle and sit, quiet and still, within the enveloping darkness. This too is a crossroads moment, as is each breath and each moment that follows, because change comes to you in the little and big ways that mark your passage through time and space. In each of these moments, with every thought, word and action, you get to choose how to spend this precious offering that is your life. And by your choices, your destiny and that of our Earth home are woven.
Excerpt from The Path of She Books of Sabbats: A Journey of Soul Through the Seasons.
Let The Path of She Book of Sabbats transform your life through teachings, guided meditations and pathwork exercises that reconnect you with the seasonal energies of the Earth, the mysteries of the Goddess, and the deepest roots of your life’s purpose and story.
Artwork by Sarah Sheil
Posted on:  Oct 22, 2020 @ 10:00 Posted in:  GoddessA Spiritual Journey to the Land of the Ancestors
As the season shifts toward Winter, and the mysteries of death settle upon the land, my mind turns to the Ancestors, and the insights that came to me during a week-long spiritual retreat in the wilds of British Columbia.
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
Posted on:  Aug 3, 2020 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Featured, Pagan DreamerThe Dream
I’m in my house: a special, personal space, and my inner sanctum where I choose the rules of engagement. Messages come to me in this house, delivered by a loud, disembodied voice, and later accompanied by bombs, like the kind dropped from a World War II plane.
I understand that these messages are from the Mysteries that are directing and influencing my spiritual journey. They’re pushing me, sending bombs my way in the form of life challenges, waiting for me to answer them. I refuse to answer, and with every refusal, I enter deeper and deeper into my inner house, to rooms that are secret and special to me.
But still the messages and bombs come. The Mysteries can penetrate this secret, private space within me. And the bombs are getting bigger as I go deeper inward.
After a huge bomb lands on the floor in front of me, I wake up with a jolt and my initial reaction is fear and frustration. Aren’t I listening and responding to the Mysteries constantly? I work my dreams. I pay attention to what’s happening in my life always. I’m willing to heal, change, grow in whatever ways are necessary. Deep spiritual work is as natural and necessary to me as breathing. Am I missing something? And do I really need to just keep getting bombs to do my personal work? Bigger and bigger bombs… egads!
Then it comes to me — I’m not afraid in the dream at all. I’m calm, fully present, even slightly amused. The messages and bombs show up. I observe them, curious, engaged, but choose not to answer the Mysteries’ questions. Then I go to the next level, deeper inside of me, and do the same thing over again with the next message and bomb.Dream Teaching
The message of this dream is pretty direct: big change is here, and that change is driven by challenges that work the deepest layers of the psyche. Bombs are being dropped in my inner sanctum, going deeper and deeper, and getting bigger and bigger. Profound, core healing and transformation are required.