Allyships: A Call for Submissions for the Summer 2018 Issue of Isis-Seshat Journal

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Really excited about this, folks! I’m going to be submitting a piece of my own!

amor et mortem

Seeking Submissions for the 2018 Summer Issue of Isis-Seshat Journal on the Theme of “Allyships: Spiritual Alliances with the Animal, Plant, and Mineral Kingdoms”

Deadline: Friday, July 6

Anticipated Release Date: Monday, July 23

Many of us who engage with the Sacred in Polytheistic, Pagan, or Animist ways maintain a “this-world” focus, believing that we can enlist the aid of helping spirits from the world around us in our Work. But what does that mean, exactly? How do you know when your pet cat, for example, takes on a role greater than that of household companion and aids you in your ritual magic?

cat-1841561_960_720 CC0 public domain image courtesy of Pixabay

What about the relationships you have with the plants that fuel your herb magic—how did you initially cultivate those relationships? What guideposts signaled to you that you were on the right path? How do you maintain those relationships with those…

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Watch your mouth! The worst four-letter words known to humanity and Paganism!

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My teacher and Pagan Clergyman Wade Mueller once told me, “Hope is the most dangerous word in the English language. By hoping something will happen in your mind, you’re not working to make it happen in the real world.” At the time, I had struggled with a huge fear of success and expressly seemed to embrace failure as if it had been my best friend. I had always been taught to use the word “HOPE” and because of that, I relied heavily on things happening by chance and not by my own efforts. I was a victim to my own toxic mindset. Wade Mueller of Deeply Rooted took away my hope and helped me discover for myself the kind of person I am capable of being. With that said, this article builds on his original work so please refer to him for more information on the topic.

And it was with that train of thought from my mentor that got me thinking about what other four letter words exist in much the same way as hope. What impact do they have on myself and Paganism in the larger scheme? Well, one of my huge struggles in becoming a Pagan was overcoming the pull of emotions that had me spread thin and usually exhausted from my efforts. Those emotions were expressed in three four letter words, “Love, Fear, Hate”.  In much the same way that hope is dangerous, so are these words and the emotions they can illicit. Words are incredibly powerful things. By invoking certain emotions, we open ourselves up for successes and failures alike.

Before I sound a little too much like a Vulcan from Star Trek, let me explain. I don’t think emotions should be purged from humanity in an attempt to create a more peaceful world. That isn’t realistic nor feasible at this time in our development as a society. One of the ideas I’ve been embracing is that emotions are tools for certain situations. They are never meant to overrun us and destroy the accomplishments and achievements that also go along with the failures and downfalls. We have to be a whole person and accept the darkness in our personalities as well as the light.

If you’re a Pagan, you might associate with the common-held belief that water represents those emotions. A little bit of rain is helpful for a crop of plants, yet an entire dam bursting is chaotic and destructive. Love, Fear, and Hate all fall into the category of dangerous emotions that can turn that nurturing rain into a deluge of epic proportions. The question I had to dig deep to find within myself was just this, “Is this situation worth feeling love, fear or hate towards? Is this something I *hope* will get better or do I have the ability to make this happen on my own or with help from friends?”

Is every Pagan out there looking at humanity and saying to yourself, “What the hell is happening?”

Love, Fear, and Hate all have different definitions to us. There is no single definition of these words. To each of us, they have a very different meaning and on top of that, there is no scientific evidence that PROVES these emotions exist. Emotions do not exist in “nature.” You can not go out and find “love” you can only see the evidence that the thought exists by actions expressed by people. Then, on top of that, you need to determine if the intent of the individual’s actions was really lining up with the emotion that YOU assigned those actions.

Ask a person with mental illness to explain what love is and you’ll hear a myriad of different responses from the normal associations to things that will curl your toes. Fear? Fear of what? Once you accept death, being afraid of anything is actually kind of ridiculous. Death is going to occur, and you will most likely not know the time and manner of your death. You can not escape it. And hate? That’s probably the most laughable emotion of all. Hate can be expressed by a species called humanity that seems to have social amnesia in regards to the value it assigns historical accuracy and so bored of being lonely that it has to compete against it’s self in RACES.  Race doesn’t exist. The only race is expressed by the genetics of people who have survived war, disease, famine and have bred healthy offspring. Genetics is scientifically proven, some abstract idea of people of varying skin pigments and other cosmetic features as being inferior is hilarious to me.

These words are the ones we’re taught to worship in our childhood. Why do you hate those neighbors? Why do love that boyfriend who hits you? Why are you afraid of that lesbian couple being married? So many people work like machines with predictable patterns because of the environment in which they were raised. It doesn’t have to be that way for Paganism. We can’t change the world over night yet we can change ourselves and thereby sending reverberations of that change to our community. We’re magickal folk and we can make this happen!

The first step for me overcoming these baneful thoughts was to diminish my ego. I had to completely redefine who I was and why I felt certain was before I could ever see the truth. When I asked my Gods to help me find that truth, they led me back to my past, to my future and how all of that culminated to create the present. Letting go of my love, fear, and hate helped me overcome years of pain and heartache. Sometimes I backslide and returned to old ways, yet it was only to remind me that I was just afraid of succeeding. I already had the tools buried deep within my personality, they were just turned inwards instead of projecting the person I really am to the world at large.

So watch out for those four letter words. They’re powerful, they have meaning to you that is hard-wired into your subconscious. You can overcome any subconscious programming if you work hard enough and accept what the truths lay at the root of your old ideas. If you work hard and discover you really do hate yourself and have valid reasons, write them down! Make a plan on how you can fix these toxic behaviors and why you have them in the first place. Maybe you aren’t a nice person yet you love yourself and no one seems to like you. If you are alright with accepting that you’ll never be more than a nasty soul, than be content in that personal expectation and turn that hate where it belongs. Yourself.

This world is much like the magickal world as expressed in “As Above, So Below, As Below, So Above.” Be careful what you invoke in your life by the words you choose to assign situations. You never know when you might have to redefine what something means to you because of the actions of others or something else life throws your way. Don’t let love, fear and hate define those situations. YOU can define what emotions you assign these situations. If you work hard enough, you will be in control of yourself as long as you are working on being in control. So mote it be!

Life Through a News Lens

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Do any of you folks out there wear glasses? Ever have a scratch on a lens that has been there so long you don’t even see it anymore? Our brains get used to seeing the scratch and suddenly the view of it is minimized. There’s other circumstances when the human mind will do those things and it can have a huge impact on our lives. There were some big ugly scratches on the lens that I use to view myself and my life’s story. I was so used to those thought patterns that I couldn’t see what detriment they caused in the long-term. As author of my story, I felt it was necessary to set the record straight on how I was able to turn myself inside-out and why I didn’t succumb to the demons that threatened to topple those efforts.

Two years ago, I had a problem. I sold myself the lie that some one else was in charge of my future and I believed it so much it almost came true. The problem was so large and I was so deeply entrenched in that situation that I couldn’t see that I was even suffering from abuse. I kept hitting rock bottom and bouncing right back up to the top because I refused to stay down when taking knocks. Some people would certainly brag about the idea of being so stubborn, and at the time I was certainly one of those people, yet there was a huge disadvantage to never giving myself the time I needed to heal.

And where was the source of the abuse that kept rearing it’s ugly head into my life from time to time? It was without any sense of doubt coming almost exclusively from myself. Those demons I was talking about earlier, their place of residence wasn’t the Christian hell, the whole experience of pain, doubt, regret and self-hatred was being generated exclusively by me.  I felt the need to lash out in many ways which cost me many great opportunities, relationships and sanity along the way. I know now how much pain and sadness I could have avoided if I hadn’t abused myself so badly by ignoring my own needs.

My observation from life is that we Pagans who were raised Christian really need to be aware of the psychological detriment that a Christian mindset can have on some one who is Pagan. Now let me explain that before people think I’m bashing Christianity because I have no such intentions. Pagans live by a very different moral code than Christians. For a Pagan, real mental pain occurs when you break your oaths whether they are to Gods, friends or to yourself. A Christian makes a covenant to an outside force, God. Christians believe that an outside force can either be savior or villain (Jesus vs. Satan) in their Bible, so they raise their children with this very spiritually reinforced idea of all problems occur from outside of us. Christianity, in my opinion, is deluded in ego which is why it’s on the decline.

Pagans believe in self-accountability and that internal forces cause pain.  We believe in keeping our oaths to our Gods, Tribe and ourselves. I was raised to believe that only some one else could be responsible for me and not given the heads up that I am the author of my own story. That’s also my perspective on Paganism in macrocosm. Each Pagan is the sum of Paganism. All of our actions have a very direct impact on our direction. We are the sum of ourself, which is many things to many people yet some how only 1 person to yourself. It seems like humanity has a really weird view of it’s self, doesn’t it? Imagine if you are the savior of your own future.

 That’s PAGANISM! No one, except for you, is going to be your savior. You can have friends who guide you and great teachers yet not one of them is going to be a savior because you can not hold your standards to another’s. You are going to disagree with folks, you’re going to be dead wrong and very right about certain concepts. Even if you consider yourself a psychic, you’re not going to be dealing out the right advice 100% of the time. And how do you save yourself from yourself?

Accept yourself. You’re fat, you’re skinny, you have some mental disorder that was diagnosed to you by a professional. Hey, listen, those are just labels that are used to describe things that you can fix, overcome, accept or conquer. Get the medical help by all means, yet do not stay in the mindset that you are just a patient or a case study. They do not define you and neither do people who do not have your best interest in mind. Only you can define who you are and make it known to the people and Tribe that are most important to you.

I had to tell myself this over and over again as I worked on myself through Shadow work. If you vow to be a healer, then be a healer. Be the best healer you can be without worrying what unnecessarily at the trolls that will almost certainly be around to heckle. This formula applies to the whole of life. Be all that you are, all that you want to be and don’t worry about failing. You will fail at some things and if you keep an open mind, you’ll learn how to make those situations better. Life isn’t always in extremes. As a devotee to Kali, this can sometimes be a hard lesson to grasp. Kali is ever patient, mind you.

I see life through an entirely new lens now. That’s also where I see Paganism. I see Paganism reexamining it’s self and growing. I see more people realizing that the truth is far better than the lies we tell ourselves just to keep the status quo. I would like to see more self-accountability in the community, especially around our young. I think of all the things I could have avoided and all of the heartache had I just taken responsibility for my situation instead of handing it off to something or someone else.  That means trading the ego for the truth and living with the consequences. and for me, as well as so many more, that’s a huge step towards real enlightenment.

I have a real zeal for life now. I’m no longer sitting here and being a spectator. I’m running like an athlete to be the kind of person that can help shape Paganism. A huge weight off my shoulders when I realized my own self-worth. What got me here? What’s the miracle cure? Telling myself the truth, hard work, believing in my self, and having a really great support group like Deeply Rooted to steer me into becoming a better mother, author and Pagan.

I can honestly say I’m happy. I know there’s hardships ahead, I know there are challenges within myself and I accept that I could fail horribly. I’m also kind of brave and adventurous so I oathed to myself that I would see this new life through no matter what. For those of you that follow this blog and my journey, thank you! May your lens be clear, your opinions loud and your snark be clever and original. SO mote it be! 🙂

 

 

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

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It’s raining, it’s pouring
The kind of weather Thunor finds alluring
He rides His chariot through the sky,
under the Aesir’s watchful eye

It’s raining, it’s pouring
Lord Odin is roaring
In Asgard the Gods are dancing
Thunder and lightening are romancing

It’s raining, it’s pouring
Heimdell’s horn is blowing,
Across BiFrost to Midgard’s mighty mountain top
Dwarves are partying non-stop

It’s raining, It’s pouring
This Pagan is loring!
A story sprung from the mind and heart
Open a book, read and take part!

When Speaking to the Gods

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When speaking to the Gods, listen
Hear Their experiences and mind Their words
A distant memory is but a guiding star to the Truth
on the Mind’s Odyssey among the blackened night sky
Speak to the Gods as children,
Speak plain and recognize your Elder
but Speak to the Gods as Parents,
retelling Your sacred experiences
so that the Gods may live through You
Be each other’s Order and move forward,
Be each other’s Chaos and step backwards,
and join in the Spiral Dance
When speaking to the Gods, listen…

The Death of Ego

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The Death of Ego Meditation / Spellwork

by Kim Frank

 

Tools:

Hand mirror (cleansed and consecrated)
Incense (Gardenia, Jasmine, Rose, etc)
White candle
A picture or statue of the Goddess Kali (you may also use Durga if you feel more comfortable with working with Her)
A small offering for Mother Kali such as spicy food, black pepper, or something very bitter or strong tasting such as black coffee. Kali is also very fond of red hibiscus flowers if that’s something you’re able to obtain.

 

Light the white candle and the incense. Close your eyes and take a long, deep breath. Keep breathing steadily and wholly for as long as this exercise takes you. Even if you want to hold your breath, don’t. Breath through the challenges as they arise and trust in this Goddess. Let me set the scene for you so that you can be immersed in this world that we create together by word and thought. You are safe and nothing can harm you in this space unless you allow negativity to have complete control over you. Now, call upon the Goddess Kali in both Her terrible, weapon-wielding state and also the state of the Compassionate Mother.

 

Goddess Kali, please come to me! Show me what reflection truly lies within the mirror before me!

 

Raise the mirror up to your face and take a good look within that reflection. See all that you are and all that you can be as the future unfurls before you.

 

Kali poises delicately above you as She dances, a foot ready to stomp thunderously at all that you are within the blink of an eye. A completely destructive force begins to overtake you and you can barely catch your breath. Is it panic? Anxiety? No, it’s reality beginning to settle in around you. The remains of your ego are tattered and worn. You can clearly see that the ideas and ways of old no longer suite you.

 

Look deeply into the hand mirror. Study your face, the curve of your cheeks and the shape of your eyebrows. Look deeply into your own eyes. Let your mind’s eye take over and think about what you would like to change about yourself. You may envision all of your failures. They may be relationships that have gone sour, advice you didn’t listen to, and the many doubts that you have in yourself. You begin to stand back and realize the full force of what these thoughts have done to you and the damage they have inflicted in your life. You are feeding these demons by constantly doubting yourself and making the dame bad decisions over and over while expecting a different outcome. You have descended into a madness that only reality can set straight. You can trust that during this exercise, the Goddess Kali is watching and waiting for your next move. Will She help you on your new journey or will She hinder you?

 
While you’re in this state, the champion of mankind is patient and stays by your side. Her courageous nature beckons you to summon all of your bravery and keep going.  The only way out of this madness is by learning to take stock of your strengths and acknowledge the challenges of which your personality is comprised. The dark-skinned Goddess sticks Her tongue out and waggles it wildly about in order to pull you out of your trance and back into the moment. The fierce stare in Her blackened eyes is almost too much truth for you to bare. Kali tilts back Her head and laughs at the same moment you come to this realization, the sound echoes off the deep caverns of skull and brain matter that house your mind.

 
Kali says to you, “Child, do you know why I look so fierce?” You can only shake your head ‘No’ and await Her answer.

Kali nudges you and forces you to stare into Her limitless expression. There are No words, no thoughts, music or pictures that can convey to others what you witness in those two smoke-colored orbs. For just a moment, you see a beautiful woman clad in light. She is astride a hulking lion and Her aura burns bright and clear as if it was made of pure sunlight. She is Durga, the root of Kali! You are seeing all of Kali now! She is unlike anything you have ever perceived of Kali in the past. She is more than any history book or Vedic text has revealed to you. Look beyond the casing and seeing more of what She represents teaches you something about yourself in the process. You’re shaking with these new revelations as the Goddess winds down to your level and begins to speak. Kali leans in and whispers delicately in your ear.

 
“I am a reflection of you. All of My terrible attributes come from how terrible you treat yourself and others.  I am a reflection of the demons within that feast upon all of your potential and lies you tell yourself. The only thing to fear of Me is the truth and if you do not fear it, if you tirelessly seek it from Me, I will hand over all that is you and much more. If you can see that you are more than you’ve become, you will see more of My true nature. You will dream of things you never thought possible. You will do things you never thought you could do. I will kill and devour all you thought you were and help you birth yourself in the image of who you are, not what the world expects you to be. Define yourself for yourself and let go of the expectation of failure. That is the death of ego.”

 

And with a thought in your mind as powerful as the trident of Goddess Kali, you put aside your own self-hatred and see past your terrible form and focus on the whole person behind the reflection in the mirror.

 

Kali embraces you in a warm hug that hangs on your shoulders and permeates your being. It almost seems as if the embrace is just too short. The Goddess has much work to do and there are other adventures waiting for both of you now that these demons have been faced. The Goddess asks you to rise, face your demons and devour them! You feel compelled to swear oaths to yourself for yourself and stop worrying about the things and people you have no control over. The great lesson from the death of ego is that the only person you have impact and control over is yourself. Work with that, embrace it.

 

Kali Ma, I am rising up from the ashes of that fallen reflection!  I look into the mirror and see all of myself clearly and without the blemish of self-doubt.  I see my weaknesses as challenges to overcome and my strengths as tools to use to help myself and others rise up. Here is to the fight that ensues when battling these darkest foes, knowing You are there to guide me. Thank you, Kali Ma for the death of ego.

So mote it be!