You are viewing the "pagan" Archives

Pagan Dreamer: The Bombs of Deep Dreams

Posted on:  Feb 11, 2024 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Featured, Pagan Dreamer

The 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.

Be a badass Dreamer that welcomes challenge and change, understanding that big, deep dreams bring core, powerful healing and transformation.

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.

This is a personal message from the Mysteries, and also a collective one. My newsfeed is deluged with “big bombs” daily. There are immense, tumultuous, wrenching events going on in the public sphere on all levels: socially, politically and environmentally.  The core of our human society is being exposed and challenged.

This is translating directly into our individual lives. In my community, close friendships and my own life, I’m intimately aware of the huge challenges landing in our laps — bombs are being dropped that demand a fundamental re-evaluation and re-making of things as they are.

The most potent teaching in this dream isn’t so much in its content, but in my Waking Self and Dream Self responses. We have two choices when bombs show up in our inner landscape and outer lives: one is fear and frustration (my Waking Self) and the other is curiosity and acceptance (my Dream Self).  

Although fear is an understandable initial response, it doesn’t get us anywhere. The necessity for deep change isn’t going away. Ignore the bomb, and another shows up, bigger and deeper. The best, most effective choice is to be like my Dream Self: a badass that welcomes challenge and change, and understands the bigger and deeper the bomb, the more fundamental and profound the healing and transformation.

This isn’t to say that my Dream Self is reckless and loves messing up my life. Bombs aren’t necessarily about negative catalysts for change.  Sometimes that can be the case, especially if we resist and deny the impetus for change.  But challenges can also be positive, for example: heeding a long-denied passion; healing a deep-rooted family pattern; leaving behind an unhealthy relationship; and stepping into fresh, empowering life circumstances.

The bomb that arrives in our inner sanctum is the specific challenge that we need to heal, grow and transform our lives. No matter whether it’s positive or negative, a response of curiosity and acceptance allows us to heed the promptings of the Mysteries, and of life itself, and to walk a path of profound healing and transformation.

Lesson in Pagan Dreaming

This dream offers powerful lessons in dream images and symbolism.

Dreams speak in the language of images and symbolism. Images work on two key levels: the collective and the personal/individual. 

Collective images are sourced from our shared human consciousness, and offer a universal symbolic interpretation.  For example, in this dream I’m in my house which typically represents the inner landscape and realm of my soul. This is reinforced in my dream by my sense of sovereignty and ownership of this house.  By setting this dream in my house, I know immediately that this is an important dream that will speak to my spiritual pathwork.

Personal images are carefully selected by our Dream Self and psyche to bring specific aspects of our life story and experiences to our attention.  These images provide context and further understanding for the collective images and other dream details, and offer clarity and focus for our spiritual pathwork.

When I work with a dream, I don’t do a detailed analysis of its images and their symbolic meanings.  Instead, I look for the images that are central to the dream, and more minor images that grab my attention. I’m also interested in anything that reflects what’s going on in my life at the moment.

Once I’ve identified these images, I empty my mind and see what intuitive leaps and information come to me.  I may immediately get what the collective image means, recall a memory or situation that reveals the symbolism and purpose of the personal image, or decide I need to dig deeper. Digging deeper may involve research to learn more about a collective symbol, or open journaling to explore the roots of a personal image.

With my bomb dream, the images and symbolic meanings came to me right away.  Without question, the bomb is the central symbol in the dream. This is a collective image that conjures up instant, massive destruction. Given that the bombs are landing in my house, it’s clear that this dream is about profound, core healing and transformation on  a personal level, as discussed above.

But what parts of my life are these bombs connected to, and where do I need to focus my spiritual pathwork?

It’s the personal images in dreams that move us from the collective to the individual level of meaning.

In my dream, the type of bomb is very specific: an old style from World War II.  Again, I don’t need to do any digging to understand the personal symbolism in this image.

My parents were children in World War II, and lived in a city in England that was bombed regularly. My mother tells stories of running for the bomb shelter with my aunt and grandmother when the sirens went off. My father was separated from his family and sent to live with strangers in the countryside. My grandfather was in the Merchant Navy and survived his ships being blown up four times.

Recently I’ve started thinking about the generational stories that underlie the dysfunctional patterns that run in my family. I’ve been dealing with some “big bombs” around these patterns that are motivating me to heal and grow in core, fundamental ways.  And this dream points me to my parents’ and grandparents’ experiences in World War II as the aspect of my family story that  I need to explore in my spiritual pathwork at this time.

This dream is the beginning of a longer journey in search of the family and generational stories that will guide my healing and transformation in the months to come. I share it with you as an invitation to embrace your deep dreams with curiosity and acceptance, even when big bombs of healing and transformation show up in your dream landscape and outer life.

Within these dreams, you’ll find the very things you need, woven into the collective and personal images, to guide and deepen your spiritual pathwork, and bring profound, fundamental change to your life.

Check out Path of She book offerings in the Path Store.

Artwork by  Eleonor Piteira (eleonorpiteira.squarespace.com)

Pagan Dreamer: Your Soul’s Deepest Love

Posted on:  Jan 14, 2024 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Pagan Dreamer

The Dream

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.

Our soul’s deepest love isn't outside of us, but inside of us. We’re meant to live big, and shine bright, gifting the world with our best presence and beauty.
Dream Teaching

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.

Our soul’s deepest love is our very own inner beauty, shining deep within our flesh and bones body. Each of us carries a fragment of the star-bright Cosmos in the core of our being, infused with our unique place and purpose within the great web of Creation that holds and sustains us all.

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.

We’re meant to live big and shine bright, gifting the world with our best presence and beauty, and receiving the same from others. Our soul’s deepest love isn’t outside of us, but inside of us. To shine we need only turn our awareness inward and offer our very best outward.

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.

These dreams are treasures. They’re meant to be taken into our body and soul, to wake us up, rearrange our inner landscape, and find expression in our outer life.

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.

Check out Path of She book offerings in the Path Store.

Artwork: Jimmy Lawlor (jimmylawlor.com)

An Ancestral Teaching: My Body of the Ancestors

Posted on:  Oct 15, 2023 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Goddess

A Spiritual Journey to the Land of the Ancestors

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.

My body is the body of the Ancestors: the Ancestors are alive in my body, and through my body and lived experiences, I can heal and transform my ancestral line.

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.

So I climb onto my panther companion’s back, and as we begin to walk, she says me: “the land of the Ancestors that calls to you is your own physical body. Your body is the body of the Ancestors, and each part is connected to a different piece of your ancestral story.”

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.

But below the obvious is something far more profound and life changing: the Ancestors are still alive in my body, and through my body and lived experiences, I can heal and transform my ancestral line.

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.

My body is an Ancestor in the making, and this too is a great responsibility.

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.

Check out Path of She book offerings in the Path Store.

Path of She on YouTube

Photography by frida-vl 

Five Things You Can Learn From a Pagan

Posted on:  Sep 4, 2023 @ 10:00 Posted in:  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 invites you to the realm of what else is true and possible. Take a little journey beyond the everyday and bring back whatever sings to your 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.

Take a walk on the wild side with your unruly, untamable pagan nature. Turn up your favorite music and dance from the inside-out. Eat a bowl of the ripest, sweetest fruit you can find. Make love to your partner as if you were made of one skin. Breathe the blue of the sky deep into your lungs. Spin yourself dizzy under the moonlight. Be radically, delectably, unapologetically alive!

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.

Hang out in your favorite green space with your senses on high. Attune to your exchange of breath with the trees: their green breath of oxygen with your red breath of carbon dioxide. Open your flat palms toward whatever wild thing catches your fancy and sense the tingling meeting of your energies. Peer into the microcosm of a rotting log, with its teeming collective of interdependent inhabitants.

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.

She is the burning ember of light interwoven with matter that shines forth in all living things. She is the unending, outrageous beauty of the wild world. She is the driving force that calls us to strive and struggle, and to grow and blossom. Her cupped hands hold us in the shifting seasons of our joys and sorrows, and life and death moments.

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.

Ponder the seasons of your own life: the death-like times when darkness, sorrow and loss swallowed you whole, and other times when the sun was shining bright and life was rich and full. Dig deep and notice that the good things in life hold you in your darkest moments, and that your sorrows and challenges can make your high points all the more poignant and precious.

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.

Be brave: turn that dial, step between the worlds and the Mysteries will show up, in all their wonder. Brave experience by brave experience, you can come to truly know that magic is real and a natural part of our humanity.

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.

Artwork by:Stephanie Law

Check out Path of She book offerings in the Path Store.

Pagan Dreamer: A Lesson in Flying, Freedom and Fear

Posted on:  Aug 21, 2023 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Pagan Dreamer

What does it look like to live from a place of freedom, rather than fear?  How do we make this shift when fear has us in its grip?  These are big questions that are best answered through life experiences rather than words or theory.  So the Mysteries conspired to give me these experiences, using their foolproof formula for engaging me: my sleeping and waking dreams.

Choose freedom: loosen your grip on life; let go of your clenching fear; soften your body, listen from your root; it knows how to be and dance with what is.

Flying is a powerful metaphor for freedom.  For three days in a row, I had intense dreams about flying.  I don’t remember the details, and I don’t need to. Three is the magic number and the Mysteries had my attention: they were gifting me with one of their life-changing lessons, this one about flying.

At this particular time, I was flying a lot, commuting by floatplane from my island home to my City client on a weekly basis. The morning after the third dream, I found myself as the lone passenger seated in the cockpit beside my favorite pilot, a big-hearted man with a quirky sense of humor. Out of nowhere, he slid the control wheel to my side of the cockpit and said casually, “here, fly the plane.”

I was petrified. Operating mechanical vehicles isn’t one of my strengths.  I’ve forced myself, out of necessity, to master the basics of driving a car, but flying a little tin can of a floatplane above a stunning, but lethal, expanse of ocean and islands, was way, way out of my comfort zone.  My grip on the wheel gave fresh meaning to the expression white-knuckling it.

In response to my ramrod-stiff body language, my pilot friend simply said, “loosen your grip, listen from the seat of your pants, and don’t worry, I’m here.”

And I got, in the flash of that terrifying moment, that this was a waking dream of the most powerful kind. The Mysteries were speaking to me directly through my pilot friend, teaching me how to fly in my life from a place of freedom, not fear.

Loosen my grip on life, let go of my clenching, deadening fear; soften my body, listen from my root, from my flesh, it knows how to be and dance with what is; and don’t worry, I’m held by the love and presence of God, Goddess and the powers of life.

What a difficult lesson this is. Freedom is what we hunger for most, and yet seems most elusive. We’ve been conditioned to associate freedom with having more than enough money and things, which only further feeds the rigid fear and control-based state of mind that’s the antithesis of freedom.

There’s more to my waking-dream story. Within a week of my flying lesson, I was again commuting home by float plane, alone with another pilot, but this time in a winter storm of epic proportions. There was zero visibility and the plane was being tossed about in the wild winds, like a child’s toy in the hands of rough-playing giants. Though my first response should’ve been oh-my-God-I’m-going-to-die fear, it wasn’t; I knew I was still dreaming awake with the Mysteries, and that I was being put to the test on their lesson on flying, freedom and fear.

So I emptied myself of all thoughts and reactions; I entered my body, deeply, fully, and let it move and rock, soft and open, with the violent turbulence of the plane. I saw, very clearly, that this was a potential death moment, and that my fear would gain me nothing. Death didn’t care if it took me rigid and terrified, or supple and open; it was indifferent whether I was in a state of fear or freedom. But my soul did. My life did. And the Mysteries did.

It was my choice, in this moment, and in every moment for the rest of my life, whether to fly from a place of fear or freedom. I chose freedom. Then the pilot said to me, “do you trust me?” And I said, “yes.” And he turned the plane around, taking us back and safely landing at our point of departure.

Believe it or not, I got in a float plane the very next day and the exact same thing happened, and I made the exact same choices. Test and re-test taken. Test and re-test passed.

Life is going to give us what it’s going to give us: flights through easy, sunlit skies and turbulent, rock-us-to-our core storms. I don’t need to tell this to you. You know this yourself — that life is a tricky, bumpy business jostling you between very, very good and very, very bad experiences. And yet freedom is there, in every experience, to choose to fly free with whatever life throws your way.

In those times when a rocky moment has you in its grip, and fear suffocates your freedom, remember these words from God, Goddess, Spirit, Love, Self, or however you name the Mysteries that guide you: “loosen your grip, listen from the seat of your pants, and don’t worry, I’m here.”

Check out Path of She book offerings in the Path Store

Artwork by Athina Saloniti (deviantart.com/chrysalis)