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Be Love: A Meditation Exercise

Posted on:  Feb 14, 2024 @ 9:00 Posted in:  Goddess, Pathwork

The Goddess tells me one thing over and over again: to heal and evolve this world, we need to become something different. We need to be love.

Though these words sound simple, what do they really mean? What is this love? And how do we go about being love?

Love is woven into the fabric of existence, inside and all around us. We are this love. Our very being is made of its golden strands, and our sacred purpose is to be love.

What Is this Love?

To answer the question: what is this love, I have to tell you a story.

I was attending a workshop on the Buddha’s doctrines on love. As the teacher delivered his dharma talk on this topic, I shifted into a meditative state and opened to this love he spoke about.

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.

Later, in my connection with the Goddess, I came to understand this place or part of me as the golden love of the Goddess that had little to do with my pre-conceived notions of love, and everything to do with my direct experience in the Buddhist workshop.

This isn’t the romantic love of Hallmark Valentine’s Day cards, nor a warm, enveloping, motherly love, but something woven into the very fabric of existence — sometimes fierce, tugging and unrelenting, like the ocean calling us back to its life-sustaining waters — sometimes hot, sensual, igniting, like the skin-on-skin of a lover’s touch — other times gentle, accepting, peaceful, like the hands of the Goddess cupping us in their infinite interior — always as close and intimate as our breath, yet also way beyond our limited human conception of things — something of soul, of body, of experience, not mind.

What I know, beyond all doubt, is that we are this love. Our very beings are woven of its golden strands, and our most sacred purpose is to be love.

How Do You Go About Being Love?

To answer the question: how do you go about being love, I offer you a meditation exercise.

1. Start with a simple breath meditation.

Take several full, deep breaths, following the sounds and movements of your inhalations and exhalations. Feel your body soften.  Empty your mind of thoughts and worries.  Relax.

2. Turn your awareness inward.

Imagine stepping away from your mind’s way of understanding the world, and into the vast wisdom and knowing of your body and soul.  Ask to be shown the love that you are. Keep your focus on your breath, with your body soft and your mind quiet and curious, and see what comes to you.

The challenge in this exercise is to get completely out of your own way, letting go of all preconceived notions and expectations, including the story I have just told you.

Be profoundly still and open, and let the love pour into this emptiness.

3. Bring this exercise to a close.

Before you complete your meditation, imagine lighting up your whole being — mind, body and soul — with the golden energy of this love. Totally immerse yourself in the love that you are, and the love that is everywhere and in all things.

Let this connection change you, in whatever way is good and right for you at this moment.

When you are done, use your breath to fully return to your physical form and waking consciousness. Pat your body and say your name out loud. Then slowly, softly get up and continue on with your day.

In the days that follow, and every time you do this meditation, pay attention to any shifts in how you conceive and engage yourself and your outer existence. Set the intention to embody and experience this golden love of the Goddess in your everyday life.

Trust that these things will change you in profound ways. You’re healing and evolving yourself and our world. You are being love.

Artist Unknown

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)

Your Sovereign Leadership: Discovering Your Inner Beauty and Power

Posted on:  Feb 4, 2024 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Path Basics, Pathwork, Power/Leadership

Don’t look outside of yourself to understand and source leadership and power, look within. Every one of us is a leader when we tap into the inner sovereignty of our unique configuration of beauty and power.  To be a leader is to take full ownership for your best qualities and abilities, and gift them to the greater world through your presence and actions.

With a vision of sovereign leadership, there’s no top or bottom of the pile, no better or worse, just infinite configurations of soul-sourced beauty and power.

As a young woman, I was hungry for power and influence. From my middle school years onward, I was a consummate leader. My siblings, school mates and later my co-workers would most likely have told you I was bossy, competitive and a compulsive overachiever, but my mother knew different.

She sensed I was a gifted, high energy person adapting to the cultural options available to me for power and leadership.  She steered me into a business education and corporate career, and couldn’t have been prouder when I graduated top of my MBA class and lined myself up for a prestigious consulting career.

Pivotal events conspired to rewire my understanding of power and leadership: the lightning flash of insight that my material, achievement-driven life was bereft of soul; my refusal to follow a career that required me to operate as a man in my woman’s body; and waking up to the mean-spirited, abusive underbelly of my culturally inherited, hierarchical model of leadership.

In this leadership model, leaders stand out from the crowd by being better or more than their competition: more brainy, more skilled, more charismatic, more influential, more connected, more aggressive, more of whatever attributes are lauded in a particular environment. Power is to be hoarded and shared among the limited, most worthy few.

A Sovereign Vision of Leadership

Even after I had become a spiritual person following the egalitarian, life-affirming ways of the Goddess and sacred feminine, I still coveted ‘better than the competition’ leadership status in my new spiritual circles.

Then one painful, life-changing day, a dear friend made me shamefully aware that my conception of power and leadership, with its ‘better-than’ ethos, was predicated on negating the innate worth and soul beauty of others. As in most of my turning points, I was gifted with a dream vision that completely rewired my understanding of power and leadership.

In this vision, I am sitting on a throne, bearing the full regalia of a queen: crown, ring, scepter and royal robe. When I look around, I am surrounded by infinite thrones, interconnected by a web of silver, shimmering threads, one for every person, creature and life form on the Earth. And I know that when you approach my throne, you must bend and kiss my ring in recognition of my unique beauty and gifts, and when I approach your throne I must do the same for you.

There is no top or bottom of the pile, no better or worse, just infinite configurations of beauty and power.  Your true leadership shines forth when you fully claim the inner sovereignty of your soul-based Deep Self and honor the same in others.

Discovering Your Sovereign Leadership

In this sovereign vision of leadership, you seek out your personal power by turning your awareness inward. You become the leader you are meant to be when you claim and live from your unique configuration of beauty, gifts and best qualities.

To do this essential pathwork, you have to step aside of your habituation of thought and action that tells you who you are and what your place is in the outer world, and turn your attention to your inner voice, the one connected to your soul-based Deep Self and true beauty.

Here is a simple, potent exercise to begin this pathwork.

1. Quiet your mind and center yourself in your inner landscape.

Find a private space in your home where you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes. Take several slow, full breaths, focusing on the movements and sounds of your breath and body. Let go of your thoughts and any stress or tension you may be holding. Make yourself as empty and open as you possibly can.

2. Turn your awareness inward. Look to your past and select one incident when you felt authentic and powerful, either by yourself or in the company of others.

Open to this incident. Remember the details. Feel the experience in your body. Let it speak to you and teach you about the beauty and gifts that are yours to live and share with others. Really take this information in. Let it infuse and fill you up with a felt sense of your personal power and best qualities.

3. Visualize your inner throne room and claim this space as your own.

The incident you are remembering arises from your inner sovereignty, a place inside of you that holds your unique configuration of beauty, gifts and best qualities.

Use your imagination to create this inner space. It can be a throne room, or a garden, or whatever symbolic space speaks to your inner sovereignty and personal power.

Settle into this room. Fill it up with everything you know about your beauty, gifts and best qualities.

Set the intention to continue to visit and learn about this inner space, and the secrets it holds for you on your path of reclaiming your sovereign leadership.

4. Bring this exercise to a close.

Place your hands on your solar plexus and know that this sovereign space exists inside of you, in your core, and you can return to it at any time.

Then use your breath to bring your focus back to your physical body and your waking, everyday consciousness.  Pat your body and say your name out loud.

This exercise is not a one-time practice, but a continuous focus of your Path of She pathwork. When you do this kind of deep, introspection work and set the intention to learn more, life will bring new lessons, insights and experiences your way to help you truly know and reclaim your beautiful, powerful sovereign leadership.

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

Artist Unknown

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.

To Wake, Perchance to Dream: Communing With Your Dreambody

Posted on:  Aug 27, 2023 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Pagan Dreamer, Pathwork

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.

1. Set aside time to connect with your dreambody.

Your dreambody is most present and accessible in those initial moments between sleeping and waking when the tendrils of your dream still hover in your conscious awareness. So set your alarm a bit earlier to give yourself time to be with your dream energy and images before you need to get out of bed to start your day.

2. Work with your dream upon waking.

When you wake up, don’t let your thinking mind kick into gear. Stay with the movements and sensations of your breath, and open to the images and energy of your dream.

Imagine breathing the dream into your body and letting it fill and infuse you.

Say yes to the dream, yes to its guidance.

Don’t worry about intellectually understanding or analyzing the dream. Your intention is to connect and commune with your dreambody and its gifts of dream images and energy. Understanding will come.

If you don’t wake up with dream images, still stay soft and open in the hazy, delicious space between waking and dreaming, and know that your dreambody is present in this space. Keep practicing this exercise and dreams will come.

3. Record your dream.

When you get out of bed, write down a few key images and insights from your dream, and your emotional responses. Note any themes or issues that are present in the dream that speak to your healing and personal growth.

If you have time, record the whole dream because often it’s the subtle, background aspects of a dream that hold the treasures of insights and inspiration.

4. Bring your awareness of your dream into the rest of your day.

Whatever you were dreaming when you woke this morning is also present as you go about your daily activities. Remember that there is no separation between sleeping and waking; it is all one dream.

Pay close attention to the events and situations of your waking life, and see if they reflect and further inform the images, energies and insights that came to you from your dream.

Look for unusual, significant or emotionally charged situations. Think of these things as offerings from your dreambody that can further your understanding of the soul-based energies and spiritual mysteries that are directing your outer life at this time.

Set aside time to journal these events and situations, noting the details of what happened, the insights and emotional reactions that come to you, and the links to your dream.

5. Be changed by the dream.

Your dreams are not random. Your dreambody wants you to learn, heal and grow.  The dream that came to you in this exercise, both from your sleep-time and the events of your day, is a gift from your dreambody.

Take in the images, energies and insights that have come to you from this dream. Let them change you, and commit to continue to follow where they lead.

This exercise offers a foundational practice for communing with your dreambody. With time, quality attention, and your willingness to be changed by your dreams, your love relationship with your dreambody will naturally blossom and help you become a masterful dreamer.

But don’t take my word for it. The dreaming is unfolding at this very moment, just waiting for you to wake up within the dream that is your life.

Check out Path of She book offerings in the Path Store

Photo Credit: Andalucía Andaluía