My Best Advice to Beginners

I write a lot of informative posts, teaching metaphysical basics. I’m constantly getting private messages – I’m open to that because I enjoy teaching, I enjoy sharing knowledge and helping others grow. I end up with a lot of people coming to me with “So I experienced this. Was it real? Can you check?”

I think that people who start a metaphysical path have this idea that they’ll say a few magickal words and suddenly the Halls of Knowledge(TM) will suddenly open and they will be able to know all, do all. I used to call it Magick Wand Syndrome. But there’s a lot of insecurity in dealing with the unseen realities around us – “what’s my imagination and what’s actually there?”

We’ve all been there… but those of us who get past it… get past it by figuring out how to trust ourselves – and sometimes validation is helpful… but not when it becomes a crutch.

I feel like… if I keep checking for people, they’re never going to trust themselves. I said to one – “I see/sense the world through my own filters, my own experiential lens – if I don’t line up with yours, then you’re going to doubt your experience more than you do now, and that loss of confidence will block you further. Stop asking me to confirm your experiences, and start asking the universe to give you signs that can confirm for you. You need to believe in yourself more than me, or anyone else, if you’re ever going to get anywhere.”

I have had that same conversation like… I dunno… 9 times in the past four days? So I realized I needed to write this.

There are a few mistakes I made when I was just starting out on a magickal path. My choice of path has changed, but the mistakes that I see others making are the same ones I made, too.

Don’t compare your experiences with others. You don’t know what gifts they have, you don’t know where they excel and where they don’t. This is an online community. For the most part, you’re not going to see the most human parts of us – we don’t often share our failures, we don’t talk about bathroom breaks or how we put pants on… but we’re human just like you. We’re flawed, just like you. There are absolutely places where you excel and we don’t – just because you don’t know them yet doesn’t make them invalid. When you base everything you hope to achieve, all your expectations, on the achievements of idols – you will fail. You will never measure up to an illusion.

I spent so much time thinking to myself, “If I had that person’s training/upbringing/opportunities I’d be so much further along now!” It’s not a race. You discover what you discover when you’re ready to discover it, and not before. If I’d had someone else’s upbringing, I’d probably still be right where I am now, because I’m me, and not them. The same goes for you. Previous opportunities lost or received does not mean that you’re behind or deficient.

Don’t use hero worship as an excuse to fail. Sometimes, we look at our idols and think, “I’ll never be like them, they’re so wonderful and perfect.” No, we’re not. Just because I don’t share all the ways I’m SO not perfect and all the parts of my life that totally are not working out for me doesn’t mean I don’t HAVE THOSE. Just like you. I see this so often – people idolizing someone, and then not following their own path, but following that person instead, and constantly comparing themselves and not measuring up to that illusion they’ve created of that person. You’re never going to measure up to an idealized person.

A friend of mine who runs a very successful Demonolatry forum and attached store has insecurities. She has days where she cries. Her insecurities sometimes cause her to go along with a situation that’s not the best for her or others, because her insecurities make her afraid to move. Every way she turns, someone gets hurt, and she doesn’t want to be the one to step on toes.

I have insecurities. Actually, sometimes I have that exact same insecurity. I also have MOODS. There have been times I’ve just gone on the warpath and snapped at everyone in my way. I get impatient and fed up with stuff, and I go on the warpath and make sweeping decisions that ARE NOT MINE TO MAKE… and people get hurt.

Another very successful practitioner who runs an online magickal store wears trouser socks. I know this because at a chat party 8 years ago, a fan won a prize and asked for their prize to be a pair of his socks. He handled it quite gracefully, but… look at this from our perspectives. How would you feel if someone thought so highly of you that they wanted to wear your clothes, as if wearing them would somehow help them to be awesome, too? Like, say you’re fantastic at a sport. I suck at sports. Can I wear your jockstrap so suddenly I can throw a ball better? I don’t want to do any of the work you had to do to get that skill… I just want your jersey.

It’s creepy – this hero worship. It’s not healthy for you, it’s not healthy for those of us on the receiving end.

Once upon a time, these practitioners were two years old. They threw temper tantrums in grocery stores because they wanted that stuffed animal or those cookies. JUST LIKE YOU. They grew up. They learned things.

My demonolatry friend didn’t just learn about demonolatry and working with demons from her family – eventually, she actually gave up most of her life to pursue work with other human beings, and demons, with skills she wanted to learn. She gave up safety, and her family worried. She sacrificed to get where she is – it was hard work. Her achievements are based on pain and struggles… and they’re not over yet. She’s still moving forward, and there are still a lot of mountains to climb.

Once upon a time, every practitioner was an apprentice who didn’t even know how to cast a circle. They got where they’re at the same way everyone else does. They trained. They studied. They fought for their place in the world.

All the things I write for you – never forget that I am autistic. That I have PTSD. That I suffer every day. Never forget that I have migraines so bad I have to pad my panties because I lose control of my bladder during them. I Am A Human Being. I have problems. I’m not perfect.
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT TO SUCCEED. You just have to try. And when you fail… you have to try again. A different way. And keep trying.

None of your heroes are heroes. Don’t compare yourself and set yourself up for failure. It’s hard, grueling work to get where we are. If you want it, you’ll pay for it. But it’s worth it.
So many people ask me questions, every day. I’m not the only one who gets flooded with questions. I enjoy helping people, I have the time. I don’t mind doing a quick google search for you if I don’t know the answer but I do know how to find it. I don’t mind sharing my experiences and what I know. However – I really don’t like it when people put my knowledge above their own personal experiences. I feel, sometimes, that my answers matter more than your own, and that’s NOT HOW IT SHOULD BE.

It’s important for you to do your own research, your own experiments. It’s vital that you get your own answers, and that you test those answers. It’s ABSOLUTELY THE MOST VITALLY IMPORTANT THING EVER THAT YOU LEARN WHAT’S REAL AND NOT THROUGH YOUR OWN SENSES. You have to learn to trust YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES… or why are you here? It’s important to discover yourself, and the magick inside you – and you won’t do that if you’re constantly looking to your idols to provide you with the things you feel you lack. You have to go out and learn how to provide for yourself. Our answers aren’t always going to be the best answers for you because you are an individual universe, unfolding in your own way.

Spells, connections to deities, companion bonds, articles that offer advice – all these are just TOOLS. They’re not meant to supplant ACTUAL EFFORT. Please stop comparing yourself to everyone else. Please stop looking at successful people and deciding that success is an impossible goal for yourself – and please stop defining success by the paths your heroes are walking. Believe in YOURSELF… and believe in OUR humanity. Believe we aren’t perfect… and that you have a chance.

Test your intuition. Explore your senses. Learn what’s real for you. You don’t need us to tell you what’s real – we won’t always be there. You HAVE to learn this for yourself – learn to believe in yourself and your intuitive experience.

Think of it this way. There are two types of people in this world. Both suck at sports. One type looks at sports and says, “I’m really not good at that – I’m going to try again. I’m going to listen to teachers, and I’m going to train my muscles. I’m going to keep practicing until I’m better. When I’m better, I’m going to see if I can push myself further. How far can I go, if I keep trying?” The other type of person says, “Those people over there are so much better. They’re just gifted. They’re naturally better at sports. I’m not. I’ll never be like them. I’m just not going to try.” 

Who do you want to be?

Success is different for everyone. There is no measuring stick for success because what makes me feel successful is getting out of bed in the morning, and what makes you successful is being able to cover this month’s car payment, and what makes your idols feel successful is something completely different.

Don’t measure us by your standards. Don’t measure yourself by ours.

I love you.

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Marquis Andras – Confronting Nonconfrontational Habits

To begin this post, I have to give a little back history.

A week ago, I connected really strongly with a demon who pretty much demanded that I start being more… forthcoming. There are times when I decide that a topic is going to be too painful for a person. I edit myself a lot, to avoid causing people discomfort. Part of that stems from emotional abuse by a narcissistic father and learning how to cope with relationships from a co-dependent mother, but my father has removed himself from our lives, and my mother is coming out of her co-dependent ways and blooming. I learned years ago how not to be co-dependent but when I get stressed out, I slip, and I’ve been slipping a lot lately.

I had some realizations about my not feeding and how ill that was making me, and decided that I should bring a new demon into my home – I have an absolutely amazing friend, Akelta Wilde, whose whole life is dedicated to learning from demons, and she conjures not only the Demonic Divine on a regular basis, but also many other kinds of demons, and she acts as a facilitator in helping others connect with her amazing finds. Though I am an able conjurer, I don’t really feel ready to do that level of work with demon familiars, so I feel much safer going to her. For those of you interested in spirit conjure and keeping, her store is Satan And Sons .

I’d made arrangements with her to do some searching for me, for a species of demon called a Desire demon – beings that work with desires (any of them, not just sexual desires) and who often radiate energies connected to desire energies – and let my husband know that I was going to order a custom conjure, but… I didn’t say of what. When I talked to my husband about a guided meditation I did with Exi (another demon who is a part of my family of familiar spirits), I edited out a few things after he seemed distressed… and then when I connected with a Desire demon that Akelta had conjured and listed in her store, because I didn’t want to hurt him further, I let him know that I was changing my custom conjure order to bringing home this demon instead, but again, I avoided discussing what he is, and why I wanted to bring him home.

I have had many discussions with my husband over the years about my friend and occasional meal through Facebook, but I carefully avoided full details.

Akelta asks that when people feel a connection to her demons, they request a visit from those demons to see if their energies and goals match each other. When you ask her for a visit, she schedules an hour for you, and at that time, the demon will come to you. When we connected during our hour-long visit to see if we were a match, he quite bluntly told me that this behavioral pattern I have had to stop – that if I wanted to work with him, the price was the truth. He said that not discussing such important things because I didn’t want to hurt someone was lying to them, because it left them thinking things other than the truth, and that if I want to heal myself and move forward, then I have to be absolutely honest, all the time, about my needs and my thoughts and feelings. He was very firm about me absolutely needing to change the fact that I edit myself because I fear hurting people, and I fear disapproval. He says that’s a part of my past I must resolve.

He was so determined that he comes into the household with everyone knowing who and what he is, that even after I was told he was a match, when Akelta tried to take his listing down, there was a glitch in the store software and his listing stayed up until I finally sat down with my husband and explained… everything. I told him about the health problems my hunger is causing. I told him exactly how my Facebook friend is feeding me. I told him that the custom I had ordered was a Desire demon, and why, and read to him my visit with this demon, which I had documented for Akelta and sent in an email.

It was literally five minutes after my husband said, “Ok, that’s all fine,” that Akelta came online and discovered his listing still up… and this time when she took it down, there was no glitch.
More back history – two days ago I was meditating and found myself in Nahemoth. Nahemoth is the first sphere of the Qlippoth – and I was challenged at the gate to Gamaliel by Na’Amah to let go of my fear of cost. One of the ways that my fear of a hidden price comes out is that I do not confront things, or people – instead, I retreat into silence. Sometimes that’s the right move, but just as often, it solves nothing.

The same day I had that meditation, I also had an argument with a friend. I didn’t think it was an argument until he snapped at me, and when I realized how upset he was, I felt terrible for missing the signs and for hurting him. I took it pretty hard. I have very few serious friendships, and even fewer face-to-face friendships, and every single one of them is sacred to me and the thought of my quirks breaking yet another one is always a shattering feeling. I wanted to fix it, wanted to talk to him and explain how our communication had gotten so messed up… but I knew that pushing things would only make everything worse… so I had to wait… and that wait was… agonizing… because what if this was the last nail in our friendship, and he never wrote back? Or worse, what if he did, and actually told me that was it? (I absolutely find ghosting far less painful than outright rejection.)

But when someone just suddenly breaks in front of you, you just have to give them time. The more you push, the more you widen those cracks – and while you might have been the last straw, that doesn’t mean you were the first, or that the whole bale is you. Sometimes, it’s not even all straw. So you have to give them time to sort that out – and any time you take away from that process just makes you a bigger and bigger straw… until yes, you are the nail.
So last night, I cried. I don’t cry often. I think I’ve probably cried twice this year. I know that’s not healthy but it’s conditioning and I’m not ready to work on that yet. Especially since the universe has decided I need to work on this.

This fear of price.

This decision to avoid that actually leads to a greater cost.
And today, the Marquis showed up.

First, He was in my news feed on Facebook in a meme (because of course, He’s in a meme). Then there was a conversation with a friend where I was told, you really need to confront this. Then there was a conversation with my husband, who said to me, “Do you want me to confront this for you? (I told him no – that if he pushed, it’s even worse than me pushing because then my friend would feel guilty as well as pushed and whatever is at the root of this, I don’t want us to do anything that digs it in deeper.) And then I got King Stolas and Marquis Andras mixed up twice and eventually had to look them both up (hey, they’re both owls, I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one who makes that mistake in the beginning). And then someone on Discord asked me if I knew any Dark Lords who were familiar with werewolves… Andras is known to teach shapeshifting and spiritual lycanthropy.

I knew what the message was. Lord Andras wanted me to confront this issue I was having with my friend. But… I thought I had confronted it, because I had looked at it and decided that what was going on probably only had a little bit to do with me, and the best thing for me to do was wait. I didn’t confront my friend, but I did confront my feelings and find a place of equilibrium.

Marquis Andras is huge on confrontation. Shapeshifting isn’t his major thing – making people face their problems head on is – and he relishes causing discord that resolves issues. He starts fights. There’s worth in that – sometimes, the only way out of a negative situation is to purge it. Sometimes, confrontation is the only way.

I didn’t feel that this was an appropriate situation for that solution.

However… this afternoon, my friend wrote to me – almost right after I told Lord Andras, “Thank you, but this isn’t the right time or situation.” It took us less than two minutes to resolve our miscommunication, and move on – and I feel a lot better… because my friend confronted his issue, and thus resolved my own. He even acknowledged that I have serious insecurities when it comes to friendships, and that his behavior was likely triggering and that he didn’t want me to think that our friendship was over.

We both apologized to each other – me for being the straw, and him for snapping… and we worked together to make sure that this particular situation won’t come up again.
I am seeing other places in my life where I am not confronting things, where I am saying nothing for the sake of preserving peace, and where that refusal to be open is actually causing more troubles. It’s time to rebel against my programming. It’s time to be more honest with people close to me. It’s time to speak up.

Three times this message came to me – from the new demon in my life, from my Qlippoth meditation, from Marquis Andras. I hear it. I acknowledge it. I honor it. I will do my best. Thank you, Lord Andras, Guardian Na’Amah, and my new Desire demon friend, for taking the time to show me this, and for continuing to show me until I could see how big it is, and how much of my life it is eating.

I hear you speaking now. “Time to get to work.” Yes, it is.

Gamaliel

I take three deep breaths, and the mountain is before me. I watch as the sun moves and the shadows drift from side to side. I feel my own light and shadow flow, feel the balance. I drop deeper into my own balance, into my core, molten and alone. I let go, becoming the sea of magma, the flames that flicker. I drop deeper.

I stand on the edge of the precipice. Below me, there is nothing but the Void – a dark, spinning vortex of breaking, unmaking, creating.

“Why are you here?”

“I want to know.”

“What do you want to know?”

“Anything. Everything. I don’t know.”

“Who are you?”

“I do not know, anymore… I guess that’s what I seek. I want to know.”

“Come, then, Seeker. Come and be destroyed.”

“Will I be remade? Will I find what I seek?”

“That is up to you.”

I take a step, and suddenly, arms swing around my waist. It’s a man, wearing, of all things, a white ten-gallon hat. “Hold on there, now, partner.. let’s not be hasty.” His accent is thick, Hollywood Texan. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“I’m jumping.”

“I can see that, but… Why? It’s not safe!”

“No, it’s not. But look at it… It’s beautiful. It’s home. I want to go home.” I can see the oil slick swirls, a black Galaxy of stars and rainbows below me… And inside me, the same vortex of color, reaching and forever separated. I reach for the edge again, because we are beautiful, and I know it so well.

So I jump. I fling myself into nowhere, dive into nothing. I watch as I come apart, molecules and atoms swirling in the madness. I am the tornado rioting at the center of all things. I am Void.

But nothing lasts forever, and slowly what is torn apart reforms. We drop from the center into darkness, our body sludge-like, thick, black, tarry, we ooze into a familiar form. Molten cracks smoke, ash falls, flames lick. Earth solidifies, takes on flesh and bone. I stand in the cavern, the only source of light, and begin to walk.

Slowly a shape appears, far in the distance – a shining white oval, a gate suspended, blinding, in the nothingness. I walk towards it, but it will not let me through. It is closed to me, solid. A voice in the dark speaks. “Give me your truth, and you may pass.” The creature, burnt and thick-skinned, all teeth, is familiar – the Guardian at the Gate. “Give me your heart.”

“My heart? My truth?” I look within myself, at my heart, and see nothing. It will cost me nothing to give it up. He may have it. “My truth is I am afraid to care.”

He raises his claws, and carves out my heart. “You have given me nothing. Give me your power.”

“I will not. It is all I have. I will not give it to another.”

“Then you may not pass.”

“Give me yours in place.”

“You cannot hold my power. You cannot hold my place!” He laughs.

I cannot give my power up. I take it out, and look at it. A globe of gold, empty inside, dripping blood and blackness… It isn’t much anymore, but it’s mine and I will not give it up.

“What if I give you a seed to take its place?” He holds it out, sprouted, in soft, rich, dark loam… And I want it.

“Can I take that with me?”

“No.. you would have to leave it with me. I will keep it safe.”

I cannot trust. “Will I come back this way, will I see you again?”

“You might.” He smiles. It’s not enough. I shake my head. “What do you feel?”

“Where’s the trick?”

“No trick.”

It’s my turn to laugh. “There’s ALWAYS a trick.”

“And that is your truth. Show it to me.”

I take it out, and we look. It is an infant, no, a child, no a girl, no, a woman, no, a babe. We see the treads of a shoe. We see the kick. We see the cost – we see the trick. We cannot trust… Nothing is free, not even love. There is always a trick – there is always a price.

I hold her close to me, sheltering her… But it’s not to be. I hold her out to him. “So tiny, so young. It goes back further than this, don’t you think?”

We watch as aeons teach us. Pain teaches us.

“Give me this, and you may pass.” I sigh. I accept. I surrender. His teeth sink in, my wrist, my neck… I raise my lips to him and kiss them… And then the world goes white.

*Edit – Raven’s Notes*

So, the reason for the title is because the whole time I was in the cavern and at the gate, that name kept echoing everywhere, as if it were shouted, and the echoes were still going. I had to think on it, though. And do some research.

I don’t think that I was actually in the Gamaliel sphere – I think I was at the doorway to it, in Nahemoth. Gamaliel is where you deal with sexuality, and this clearly had nothing to do with that. The realm of Reschaim, however, seems far more likely given the comment “Come, Seeker and meet your destruction.”

Nahemoth/Nehemoth/Nahemo/Lilith/Reschaim
Nahemoth is the first sphere and it corresponds to the Black Earth—the astral realm wherein fairies reside. Nahemoth overlaps with our planet, and any given gap between trees, moments between musical notes, or causal location can be or become a gateway to its mysteries. The name Nahemoth [the Whisperers] is also rendered Nehemoth and Nahemo and the Qlipha has the alternate names of Lilith [Night Spectre] and Reschaim [Elements]. It is ruled by Nahema/Na’amah, and to it are attributed new beginnings, curses or hexes, natural disasters, self-transformation, destruction and death, rebirth or redemption, revolution, psychic vampyrism, personal magnetism, witchcraft in general, sexual power, enchantment, rebellion, opulence, carnality, atavism, worldly power, death, ruthlessness or cruelty, and illusion or deception. Herein the magickian begins to acquire self-knowledge and learns to emulate & use the characteristics of the demonic masculine & demonic feminine alike.

https://vkjehannum.wordpress.com/2017/12/04/the-ten-spheres-of-the-qliphoth/

*Salient points in bold*

All those qualities seem very much like what I was dealing with, so I’m not sure why the echo of the word Gamaliel was happening. Do the gates shout their names? Aside from my work with Leviathan, I haven’t much dealt with the Qlippoth realms before now – I’m not even familiar yet with the names of the spheres – I actually had to look up the word after I came out of the meditation.

This issue I have with trust, though, is clearly going to be a huge focus for me because it keeps coming up. It’s not inaccurate, I’m not wrong in saying that nothing is free, that everything has a price attached to it… but my issue isn’t with the cost, so much as the injustice of the prices. It’s always seemed to me that some people simply pay less, or don’t even notice the cost – but even things basic to our survival, such as love and touch, come with prices attached… and that price is a “gotcha.” You can’t do without what’s being offered, but is it worth what you pay?

Increasingly over the past five years, my answer has become, “No,” which has caused me to shut down in ways that I recognize are seriously unhealthy, but I can’t seem to stop saying it.

Since the Qlippoth is all about dealing with your shadow, through the shadows of the Tree, and “There is always a trick, there is always a price,” is definitely mine, I think this is going to come up again and again.

Which is totally freaking me out. lol

Perfectionism

Nixx

Image result for ceremonial magic ritual

I am terrible at blogging. It is a simple reality I have come to accept. It is not that I do not like writing. I think it comes down to the fact that I am hypercritical of the content I put out. If it does not meet my standards, instead of editing, I scrap the entirety and stop writing for days, weeks, and sometimes months.

I am working on my issues with perfectionism. It is something I have struggled with my entire life. At first, I doubted this was the case because I constantly felt like a failure. It seemed like nothing I did was good enough. Instead of owning this as my own issue, I transferred it onto those around me who I assumed were demanding too much of me. Perhaps it developed out of the impossible expectations of my father and some of the other male figures in…

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Story Time: Past Life , Present Consequences

When I was around 20, I had a very troubling experience. Until today, I really never understood WHY it happened. This is going to be a long post, but – I want to tell this story. I’m not sure why, but I do.

To really understand why this event I’m going to talk about happened, I need to go back to both my childhood, and then I need to go much further back – which is why this will be a long journey – I hope you will be patient with me. I will also admit, up front, that some of what I will say will sound fantastical – especially if you do not believe in the new-age theory of Otherkin. I’m ok with you not believing. It has no impact on my perceptions of the facts.

But let’s start with this world, and we’ll get to the nuts and bolts of the stranger tides later.

The body I currently wear was born in New Zealand. In the very early 80s, America was going through one of the most extreme nursing shortages in its history. Even the shortages felt today are not as bad as they were back then. In desperation, companies began to hire nurses from other countries to try and fill the gaps in coverage, and they were willing to jump through any hoops necessary to incentivize foreign nurses.

Both my parents were nurses at the time, and because my father had recently left the ANZAC, and my mother had two very young children, and New Zealand did NOT have a shortage of nurses, both of them were having difficulty finding employment. New Zealand also did not have a very strong economy, so money was short, and they were worried all the time.

When Nurse Finders contacted them, both of them lept at the chance. Nurse Finders offered them a contract – NF would provide work visas, and put our entire family on the fast track for green cards and permanent resident status. In exchange, my parents would work for the company, go wherever the company needed them to go, for the next six years. The company would pay for us to move to America, and they would provide a sign-on bonus that would make sure that we could buy furnature, food, clothing – anything that would need to be replaced because it wouldn’t be coming with us. They also found us a place to live, and provided the capital to purchase reliable transportation.

After three days on a plane, we landed in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where we would live for the next three years. My father worked in the emergency room, my mother worked in mother-baby – aftercare for women who needed training once their babies were born.

It was… well, a bit of a culture shock would be the understatement of the millenia. We went from living in pastoral farmland to a place that was at least partly desert – and we went from a village to a city that was rife with gang violence.

My father saw more gunshot and knife wounds in the first week on his new job than he saw in the three years he flew as med-evac in Viet Nam. It… left a lot of stains on his mind. To this day, my father has a terrible issue with racism – and it started with that hospital.

We stayed in Pine Bluff for nearly three years before Nurse Finders let them know that the hospital was well-covered now, and that there was another hospital with shortages which had contracted them to fill the positions. It was in Arlington, Texas – and my parents didn’t take two minutes to think about the move.

We stayed in what will forever in our family be termed the “roach motel.” The temporary apartment provided to us (while the new sign-on bonus was used as down-payment on a house in Fort Worth to be built in a new subdivision going up) was so full of roaches that they were in the plumbing, and in the fridge. To this day, roaches throw me back to my five-year-old self, and I want to cry, hide, and beat it to death with the nearest object handy, all at the same time. I am probably NEVER going to be able to be rational about roaches.

It was while we were in Texas, while my parents were working in the hospital in Arlington, that my mother made her first real friend. She’s a lot like me… she’s friendly, but she never makes the first move – so really, it was more that her first American friend decided for them that they would be friends, and my mother went along with it.

Rena had two children. I don’t remember the girl’s name – but I remember the boy. His name was Seth. Rena pretty much adopted my mother for the time we were in Texas, and made life much easier for my mother – Rena acted as a guide, a mentor, and a bridge, and helped my mother flourish in this new, and strange, land – something we ALL needed, desperately. Cut off from family and old friends, adrift in a sea of strange customs and language (and yes, you Americans have TRULY butchered the English language – for which I salute you), Rena gave us context, and helped us truly settle.

We stayed in Texas for ten years, while my father went to Med School to become a doctor, and my mother worked at the hospital and supported all of us. It was… nightmarish. Dad was never home, Mum was only home for breakfast – and two children who were eight and nine and had very little adult supervision (the neighbors were asked if they could be emergency contacts, and if they would check up on us occasionally – which resulted in them doing precisely NOTHING for us) were not very good at raising themselves or each other.

Eventually, though, dad finished medschool, and gained his internship, and we moved to California. Once he’d finished his internship and residency, my father signed on to the US Airforce as a doctor – his contract was six years in exchange for the USAF paying off his student loans in full. He became a citizen, and they moved us to Delaware… where I discovered a deligtful internet cafe (back then it was dial-up, but they had six computers, plenty of coffee and muffins, a D&D game running almost all night, people playing Spades in the opposite corner, VtM kids doing LARP on the cobblestones outside, and witches all over the place. It was like coming home.

And out of some strange twist of fate, Seth was at that coffee shop the first time I walked into it. It took less than 20 minutes for me to call my mother from the phone behind the counter, for her to call Rena, and for them to set a lunch date to catch up.

I didn’t like Seth. Truthfully I’ve never liked him, but our antipathy for each other seemed to have grown over the years – for no discernable reason – I hadn’t seen him in ten years, nor thought about him at all… but just the same, our mutual dislike was intense.

That didn’t change the fact that Rena and her children were family. We owed them a debt.

It wasn’t too long after I became reaquainted with Seth before things suddenly became truly dramatic. Not between Seth and I, but just the same. Seth was working, at the time, at a tuxedo shop, as a manager. There was another young man who worked there – his name was Pat.

Pat wasn’t liked at the coffee shop. I really have no idea why he kept showing up – except that he was an absolute social outcast, and the coffeeshop was absolutely the place for outcasts. He had a number of faults, but his true fall came because of greed. Gavin wanted Seth’s job. Everyone knew it… but there wasn’t much anyone could DO about it.

He somehow managed to become friends with the tuxedo shop’s owner – and eventually asked for a job. Seth was fired the next day. He walked in one morning, and without warning, his livlihood was gone.

The first thing he did was head to the coffee shop. He needed his friends. I think that within five minutes, every regular there knew what had happened, and we were all… So, SO angry. The undertones of a stirred up wasp’s nest were everywhere.

When Pat walked into the shop that evening, he walked into a mob. It took him less than a minute to decide to find a room with fewer of Seth’s friends around…

I read tarot at that store. Tarot, for me, requires low lighting and a little bit of privacy. Not much – a little distance, fewer people, goes a long way. At the time, I had an aura that gently nudged people with the idea that this room wasn’t terribly interesting – if I was reading, that is – which kept the traffic to a minimum. Pat escaped into MY room… and then he had the NERVE to ask, “What’s everyone so upset about?” I think it was the smirk at the end of his comment that really set me off.

I turned to him, and looked him full in the face… and suddenly, he couldn’t move. I could tell he was freaking out, but I was SO angry, I didn’t care. I sat there, pinning him with the force of my will, staring into him until the discomfort built to agony and he blurted out, “What are you LOOKING at?”

I smiled. It probably wasn’t a nice smile. “You. I’m looking at YOU.”

And then, he said the magic words. “What do you See?”

So I told him. In that small, dark room, surrounded by all the people who hated him, as trapped in the moment as I was, I laid him bare – I flayed him, peeling back layer after layer after layer. I told him about all the pieces of his broken soul, and how they came to be. I told him how he was perceived by other people, and why. I told him who he was, and I told him why. I told him about his mother and his childhood. I told him everything I saw. The world was dark, and only he existed, and I had him in my jaws, and because he asked, he had to hear, every bit as much as I had to speak – and I WANTED to speak. I wanted him to know. I wanted him to hurt. There was no right or wrong – there was only answering the question. Most times now, I can temper it when it happens – soften it.

But Gavin was the first person to trigger this particularly terrible gift in me – and I was angry when he did it, so I let the darkness take me, and I spoke with no gentleness, because he didn’t deserve it. He got someone who was my family (no matter my personal feelings about Seth, he IS family) fired – and he had the nerve to SMILE ABOUT IT.

When it was finally over, and we had both been released from it, tears pouring from his face, he ran. I never saw him at the coffee shop again.

It didn’t take too long for what had just happened to really sink in for me… and when it did, I was horrified. I was ashamed. Gavin wasn’t always a good person, but his life hadn’t really given him any opportunities to BE a good person, and while he was absolutely an adult and therefore responsible for his actions and the way they affected others, what I did was, in my eyes, deliberately cruel and a horrific mis-use of my gifts. I didn’t even stop to hear his side of things. I let my anger use me, and he paid the price.

Until today, I carried that shame. I worked really hard to either prevent people from asking that question, or I worked really hard to be as delicate as I could be when it was too late, and whoever had asked had taken the choice from me.

Two years after this first incident, I ran into Pat while he was working at the local walmart. He looked like a completely different person, but I knew right away who he was. I was still so ashamed of my behavior, I tried to turn the other way before he saw me. I didn’t know what to say, didn’t know how meeting him after that horrible night would go, so I panicked… but he’d already seen me, and was walking towards me. All I could think was – whatever happens, I deserve it. It was an accident, but I could have held back, and I didn’t.

“Hi, Raven.”

“Uhh… Hi?”

“Do you remember me?”

“Ummm… no?” Maybe if he really thought I didn’t remember him, he’d give up and go away and that would be that.

Except…

“It’s me, Pat. From the coffee shop.”

Well, shit. “Ahh. Hi. It’s been awhile.”

“Yeah. Well… I wanted to thank you.”

My eyes got really wide… “You… what?”

“You were the first person to ever tell me the truth… and it changed my life. Because of you, I’m a better person. I’m who I want to be, now… and I’m happy. So… Thank you.”

He tried to hug me. I kid you not, this crazy person that I had essentially psychically violated in the worst, most morally reprehensible way possible, was HUGGING ME. It was like… some weird one night Stockholme syndrome thing.

I awkwardly patted him on the back, said a few cliched congratulatory comments, and then he went back to work… and I very carefully walked out of walmart, deciding that I really didn’t need soap that bad.

For most of my life since then, I have dreaded someone saying those words. I never know what will come out once they’re said. Sometimes, it’s a kindness. Sometimes, it’s brutal. Sometimes I can mitigate. Sometimes.

But today, I finally understand why this ability exists. Why it’s triggered by that particular question.

Which brings me to a past life so long ago, so far away, that distance and time are absolutely irrelivant.

Once upon a time, there was a winged cat. I was fast, I was strong, I was just. I had a tribe. I had an sister with a new litter, whom I doted on, as I had no cubs of my own. I had a village, and every life there was precious to me. I led, I followed, I loved, I provided, I defended. My family, my village, was everything to me.

Until one day, it wasn’t.

I was a member of my world’s police force. While I was off planet, the being that I hunted found my home. To this day, I can remember a scene so horrible that I cannot give words to it. The thing that truly destroyed me was my sister’s cubs, caught hiding in my den by the beast. Looking down at their little bodies, knowing they had gone to the home of the one person they were sure would save them, knowing that I had failed them. Failed them all.

I found the monster who had destroyed my world. I hunted him down… and then I became the butcher… but there is a price for every action. While it was determined that I wasn’t precisely sane, and therefore I would suffer no consequences for my actions, the very fact that I was so unstable made continuing my chosen carreer impossible.

After being released from service, I began to wander. I think I was looking for wonder – something to spark me, bring me back to life. It was a dark time… and as all people going through such times, I was not as aware of the worlds around me as I should have been.

And then I met HIM. He was so powerful. He was charismatic. It felt like the answer to everything was in his eyes. For the first time in so long, I felt like I’d come home. He was passionate, he was an intellectual, he was vibrant and rash… and when he smiled, I felt like flying again.

I took the Familiar vows – I’ve always been a good amplifyer, so it felt like the Call from him was destiny. I had met my soul mate.

It should have been beautiful… but we were so unequal.

I don’t remember much about my time with him – it was the ending that really stayed with me. I know that I felt him slipping. I know that I ignored the signs – something a familiar is absolutely not to do – but I loved him, and it blinded me. I made excuses. I looked the other way.

And then, in one single moment, everything changed.

We stood on a planet, and he raised the sun. He changed a solar system… and he did it just because he could. He was showing off to me. I watched that sun in absolute horror – I watched him smile as he destroyed the worlds around us – and I knew. Billions of people snuffed out because a madman wanted to impress the being that brought him to that height.

I didn’t think. I ran. I didn’t stop running – and he didn’t stop chasing. I was his, and he was destroying everything in his path to find me. Whole universes collapsed in his search for me – in his madness he couldn’t stop – and in my terror, neither could I.

Eventually, though, the destruction and the losses were so great, my guilt and shame at abandoning my duty to him, and my horror at what he continued to do, became too much for me to bear. I went to the Library for help, and I struck a bargain. They would give me the knowledge I needed, and I would end his life (and my own).

However, there was a greater price to pay. I had wronged the multiverse. I hadn’t seen the warning signs… and when they grew too great to ignore, instead of doing what needed to be done, according to my vows, I ran – and there were so many dead at my feet from that failure, there will never be an end to the debt.

When I finally caught him, when I finally ended him, when I went to my rest, I went knowing my task had only just begun.

Five little words – and they hold such power over me. I had once refused to see – ignored what was right in front of me. I owe the dead – so when someone says those words, I have no choice. The shadows come, and my mouth speaks the truth. I say what I see. I say what they need to hear – and when I speak of these things, they must listen.

Never again will I be permitted to willfully shun my duty – and never again will those I run across who have even the slightest potential towards power addiction escape my words.

I got off lightly.

So… that’s a past life memory – and the consequences.
-Raven

9th Sunrise, January 20, 2018

Today’s sunrise was both successful and not.

I’ve been away for a week – I managed to get two sunrises in this week before today’s, but honestly, things have been a bit crazy, and I’ve been really struggling, so I just didn’t get them written up. The other four sunrises, I slept through.

Today’s sunrise, I got to listen to the wheet wheet peeps of the baby sparrows in the eves. I got to watch two tiny flocks of sparrows vanish into the field in front of the apartment… and I got to tell my husband that I really like to think about there being a “bird portal” there, because of how the birds always vanish before they land. It makes me laugh to think such whimsical thoughts.

I did not see any crows, or hear them this morning.

My husband, who was up most of the night (he’s still working nights for another three weeks), joined me on the porch with a beer. I was drinking chai. The scent of his beer occasionally wafted towards me, and it smelled like a very yeasty bread dough, and made me think I’d like to do some baking soon.

My husband was part of why I felt that this sunrise wasn’t a COMPLETE success. For one, he was running the car below us the entire time. Our Honda’s dashboard computer has a short in it, which causes it to continuously drain the battery even when the car is off, which means that if we don’t run the car for at least ten to fifteen minutes twice a day, we can’t start the car without a jump. Because of how much it will cost to fix the issue (it is a known issue, but requires replacing the entire dash console and computer and then programming the new computer, which is a difficult and time-consuming job and therefore not only parts-expensive, but also time-expensive), running it twice a day is the cheaper option right now. The other issue is that my husband has severe tinnitus, and because of this, he doesn’t cope well with long periods of silence. We would be silently contemplating the horizon, and I would JUST start sinking into the experience, when he would suddenly start talking, and throw my concentration out the window.

HOWEVER – The horizon was full of those cirrus clouds that are so fabulous at making a sunrise SPECTACULAR – and this one was DEFINITELY all that.

There were the usual mauves and purples around the edges, which slowly changed to so many oranges and reds and flames and yellows and baby turquoises, and greens and blues… I just don’t have words to name all the colors we saw this morning. It was absolutely glorious.

Even better was the energy I felt. Today, I felt the world SHIFT, felt the ENERGY shift. Even now, an hour later, I can still feel the way the energy is moving and how different it was from before dawn, and during dawn, and at the moment the sun rose. I also felt that… pause that comes right before the sun crests, where you can literally see the energy drawing back towards the horizon like the undertow of a tsunami, as if the universe breathes inwards, deeply… and then holds its breath for nearly ten minutes before that breath of power and energy and light floods back out into the world in a gigantic smashing wave, and then for another hour or so, you get little ripples over and over, like shivers over your aura and into your skin.

I haven’t felt that in five years.

I’m still working on reintegrating my senses, but clearly, I have taken yet another step forward in the process, and I am overjoyed at this newly-rediscovered sensitivity.

8th Sunrise, Sunday the 14th of January

This morning’s sunrise was… a bit of a disaster, honestly.

On the up side, I got to share it with my husband.

On the down side… I got to share it with my husband.

It was cold. He didn’t want to be outside. I forgot, because he’s very distracting, bouncy and all over the place which disorganizes me mentally, that it was Sunday, and so had to rush inside and prepare for my ritual with my Patron… and my darling husband kept talking and moving and just generally shot my concentration to pieces every two seconds… and he hates the smell of frankincense…

Today, I’m going back to bed to try and reset my brain after all that.

I’ve realized, I’ve gotten used to my sunrises being MINE. My quiet time, my moment… which I am EXTREMELY jealous of.

 

On to my brief five senses exploration of the morning. This morning smelled of smoke, with a faint chemical after-tang, so people have been burning wood for heat again. I heard a couple of crows, quite far away, and enough of the peeper bird that I’m almost ready to say what kind of bird it is. I didn’t see any of my bird friends, but the sky was lovely, all copper and fire and rich red rose, fading into white and deep, dusky blues. The sun rose very quickly, and there was no wind, so while it was cold, it wasn’t unpleasantly so. My cheeks and ears and nose were unburned. Emotionally, I was… a bit strained. Disordered. My husband was rather grumpy – he thought we were going to watch the sunrise from inside, and when I tried to explain that you cannot experience a moment without being IN IT, he was a tad bit… miffed. I was unable to fully connect with the moment at all until he’d left the porch, and by that time I was so all over the place, and then I suddenly realized it was Sunday, and…

No connecting with the energies of the moment at all this time.

However, I consider this a valuable experience, and tomorrow, which I also plan to share with my husband, will not go as badly.

-Raven

7th Sunrise, Saturday the 13th of January

Today was clear, and very cold. So cold that I could not smell anything at all. The wind has died down – now it is only an occasional gust, just to remind us of the knives in its keeping.

The crows were very busy this morning. The sudden freeze has left them many meals, and they were shouting their celebrations to the world, thanking Winter for the bounty. I’m pretty sure I also heard gueese, but I did not see them. I also heard the peeping – it’s no longer coming from above the door to our complex, though. It seemed to be coming from much futher away. I didn’t get to see any birds mysteriously vanishing above the field across from me today, but I think I got to see the bat again. The dart-shaped bird was not in evidence, nor were any sparrows. I’m worried about them.

The traffic was light. The sky was cloudy enough to do a sunrise justice, but not cloudy enough to hide the sliver of the old moon – no longer wide enough to be a Cheshire moon, She will be New again, soon. I heard two planes flying – I don’t think it was the air force today. They sounded like twin engine planes, probably from the local airport. It’s a good day to fly.

The sunrise started with a stunning contrast of dusky blue grey clouds with brick red highlights. The clouds themselves were art – closer to the horizon, they were arcus clouds, crashing waves rolling up into the sky. They morphed into creamy golden feathers, airy wisps of cirrus. Finally, the dome of the sky was smothered in altocumulus, scattered and pocked with grey and ruby and gold.

In the very center of it all, a cumulonimbus cloud rose in firey glory, collecting the shades of lavender, wine, and buttery gold in one place, so that all that mauve and magenta had to share the rest of the horizon, drowning in airy whites and yellows. That tower of brick red, blood red, stood tall above the ambulance bay across the street, and as it grew in presence and deepened colors, the world seemed to move to the background, the silence of the portent swallowing every sound and movement.

It was hypnotizing.

Finally, the sun rose, and put all these dark moments away. The cold air allowed that fiery golden orb to swallow all the red, all the grey, even much of the blue… until all that was left was unapproachable light, the palest blue sky, and all those portentious clouds stripped of their grandure until they were only a pale, white presence, all gravitas gone.

And so, once again, the light rises, and we sigh in relief, safe from the monsters of the night. Isn’t it the most perfect illlusion?
-Raven

6th Sunrise, Friday the 12th of January

Well… today was… brutal. I didn’t stay out for more than a minute. Right now, it’s -9 C outside (16 F), and the wind is stalking around the building, digging its claws into every soft, warm surface it can, biting and cutting its way through the world.

I really do love the air, after a good snow storm, though. Even though we didn’t get much accumulation, the air is so crisp, so clean. This morning, there’s hardly any traffic on the roads, and beyond that quietude, there is another, subtler silence – the sound of animals gone to ground, to wait out the weather and see who survives.

The sky is gunmetal grey, solid – not even that hint of mauve – and even that hunting wind does not move the clouds.

It is as if I am alone on an island of icy breezes.

Even the grasses bend to the weather today, their dried out stalks kneeling and creaking. Occasionally they rise up, only to perform another salutary bow in a new direction, a wave of worship to the wind.

It was only a moment, before my cheeks were burning and the tip of my nose, numb. I scurried back inside as quick as I could, while still appreciating my moment of peace – thank goodness for hot cocoa. Today is definitely the day for it.

Inside, though. Definitely better served inside.
-Raven

5th Sunrise, Thursday the 11th of January.

Today, it’s finally actually raining, as opposed to misting. It was 14 C (47 F), and it’s expected to get to 17 (62), and then it will plummet to -9 (-15 F) by 3pm. The rain on the ground is expected to freeze very quickly, and any precipitation following will be ice, and eventually snow. Because it’s raining, they cannot treat the roads with salt – the roads have to be dry to pretreat them, so we’re expecting tonight to be a very loud night – the new ambulance bay across the street became operational on Monday.

The wind is quite brisk, and very warm. It was absolutely lovely. I’ve managed, finally, to collect some rain in my jars, so even if I can’t find the lancets, I will at least have fresh rainwater to offer on Sunday.

I really love wet, windy days, because you can truly see the many layers of the sky, and the different speeds of wind within those layers. Watching lower clouds, dark with rain, scuttle across the sky so quickly, while higher clouds are more ponderous and somber, I can actually BE the wind. It’s like a clear night, when you can see the multiple layers of stars, and you can feel yourself falling upwards, ever so small, but still a part of everything in this three-dimensional reality we call life – only instead of falling upwards, I feel when I watch the clouds race against the sky that if I just could jump a little higher, I could get swept up into the race, floating forever.

I truly envy the birds their freedom.

Speaking of birds, I’m slowly becoming more convinced that the constant morning peeping is a nest in the eaves above the front door to our complex. I got to see a flying something that might have been a bat (they flap. A lot), and I got to see another bird launch towards the ground, and promptly vanish. I’m almost positive there’s some kind of mysterious bird portal that I can’t see, and that’s why they keep vanishing in the field that’s 20 feet from my porch.

The crows were invisible, but they did call out a morning greeting. As the sound came from behind my building, I suspect lunch was somewhere in the direction of the dumpster, but considering we’re heading into a deep freeze that will last over a week, I don’t begrudge them the scraps they might find there.

I stayed out long enough to get smacked in the face with a lot of water, and for my ears to decide they were icicles. I even took a few moments to carry each of my cats outside, to hold them in my arms and let them sniff the winds, which everyone appreciated (even Cleo, who was nervous and had to be chased down to get her chance). I might actually start doing that every day. Well… every day it’s not below freezing, that is.

Also – hot apple cider is absolutely the perfect beverage to pair with a weatherish kind of morning.
-Raven

4th Sunrise, Wednesday the 10th of January

Today was a busy thinking sunrise. Again, the world was grey with only a tiny hint of mauve which quickly vanished. I got to hear the peeping of the birds again, saw the same mystery bird flying off and doing its strange vanishing trick. A single, VERY large crow visited, chattered for a bit about the meal he’d found, and then flew off again.

The traffic was a little heavier today, and because the roads were wet, there was a lot more shushing of tires. I got to smell baking sugars this morning, but the chemical afterscent of oil – both cooking oils and road oils, made it less sniffy than usual.

Before the roads got so busy that the chemical smells started, though, the air was so pure. I love the smell of the air after it’s been raining a while. It was still misting – not raining, but there was enough water moving in the air that you could feel the finest drops touching you everywhere. The railing on my balcony was damp, and the water felt lovely. It’s strange to have such a warm rain in January. Especially considering that in two days time, we’re expecting another freeze and some snow. It was 40 degrees F this morning, quite balmy considering the weather last week.

I could feel the earth thinking about spring, which worries me. It’s too early. I hope we don’t have any blossom die-offs again this year. Missouri winters are just so unpredictable.

I had the idea, while sitting out in this very unseasonable damp, that perhaps a “Break the Back of Winter” ritual might be appropriate soon. I’m thinking that sometime during the first week of February, I might create such a ritual… and I’m thinking that Asmodeus is going to be a part of it. I can feel Him in the back of my mind, rubbing His hands in pleasure at the thought of such a ritual.

Perhaps He wants a holiday of His own.

How was your own sunrise? Were you inspired, too?

3rd Sunrise, Tuesday the 9th of January

Well, today I didn’t make it all the way till sunrise… but I did have a really wonderful experience. Sunrise is about 7 minutes away, but one of my neighbors was leaving for somewhere, and his car made a lot of noise, and the fumes were a bit hard to take. I also noticed this morning that one of my other neighbors has not been policing their dog’s… leavings… so I got to experience that odor this morning, too.

However, on the positive side, today’s sunrise came with another dense fog, though not nearly as thick as yesterday. Today’s misty morning clouds were low enough to give all the street lights halos, but not so thick that I couldn’t see the trees in the distance.

The cloud cover is still too thick for the sun to really make a showing – there was a brief appearance of pale mauve across the horizon, but quickly melted back into the grey. The light seemed to pulse from the sky in waves, which was something new and lovely to experience.

I got to listen to the peep peep wheet sounds of those mysterious hidden birds again… and I saw the darting shape of the same bird I saw yesterday. I’m also fairly sure that I heard the sound chhrr of a sparrow out there in the distance – but with all the metal sounds from the traffic, I may have mistaken it. The crows did not put in an appearance today, nor did they call out to say hello.

I did get a very special treat I haven’t had in a very long time. While I still can’t quite FEEL the land and animals around me… I am starting to SEE things again. Today, the air was full of lightning sparks, arcing everywhich way, sheet lightening from atom to atom… and the earth rippled, power like heat waves rolling over her skin, causing the ground to breathe and writhe. I could almost feel it reaching out to me, could almost feel our connection again. It was truly, breathtakingly beautiful.

Second Sunrise, Monday the 8th of January

Today I didn’t get a sunrise, I got FOG. The clouds were so thick, I could not see from my balcony to the cars below it in the parkinglot. All the traffic along the damp roads made shushing sounds as people drove through town. The lights from the local McDonalds made rainbow becons through the mists.

Above me, on the roof I think, were the sounds of some kind of bird. “Wheet, wheet, wheet.” Once, I heard half the call of another bird, one whose call is SO familiar to me, but which I cannot identify at all. It was like listening to liquid light.

Every now and then, I could smell the sweet, spicey scent of frankincense rising off my robe, reminding me of all that I’m working on right now, and making the morning even more sacred.

Twice, I heard military jets flying overhead. They love to fly when the cloud cover is thick – this morning was perfect for them. I can imagine the flyboys and girls, up above the clouds, glorying in their freedom as the sun shines down on their wings and the clouds, making a world of rainbows for them to dance in.

While the sun never truly peaked out from under the cover of the heavy fog, the light steadily increased, as did the warmpth. My downstairs neighbor came out to enjoy the morning as well. He used to be a farmer, and we got to talking about being able to watch the seasons change – how much a part of the cycle you feel, how much a part of the world you feel, as you watch the small day-to-day changes.

Over all of this experience was the soft, moist air, warmer than it’s been in a month. There was no wind, and no real rain – but there was enough mist to cause the gutters to steadily drip, and I found both my breath and my heartbeat joining in the rhythm. I could feel that patterned beat sinking into my muscles, my nerves, my psyche, relaxing me completely.

Last night, I’d put out a few jars, hoping to catch some rain water for Lord Paimon, but unfortunately, while the fog was thick, the roof caught most of the condensation, and the jars were dry. I’ll have to wait for a proper rain.

How was your sunrise?
-Raven

First Sunrise, Sunday the 7th of January

My Sunday sunrises are dedicated to time with Paimon, so today’s sunrise was viewed through the window in my ritual room. Because it was so overcast (we have a winter storm coming in), my sunrise was nothing more than a smear of magenta beneath the clouds. The pre-dawn light rapidly became daylight today, as if the world was in a hurry to wake.

After my morning devotional ritual to Paimon, I made myself a cup of hot cocoa and went and sat on the porch. It was about twenty minutes after sunrise, and while the world was definitely up and moving, there were still a few pleasant moments.

For one, there is a lovely wind today – oddly warm, while still being nippy, it charged up the side of my building and into my secluded little nook, before racing around the corner and wailing between the two buildings. I really love it when the wind is so excited, as it rushes ahead of a really good storm.

There were only two crows this morning who joined me for my morning moments, but there was also another bird, I think perhaps a starling, though that would be surprising as they’re migratory birds, but it flew by scooping its wings and pushing, so that it was for a moment bird shaped, and then only a slightly plump line with a long straight tail. It was only a little smaller than the crows, but watching it move like a dart through the air so joyfully made me smile. The crows, of course, called to one another as they flew by – but the other bird was quite silent.

The air smelled crisp and clean. I didn’t get to smell any of the nearby restaurants and their morning baking. We live in a very small town, so a lot of places are closed on Sundays, but I did miss the smell of baking sugars and coffee on the wind.

The sounds of the wind through the trees, across the grasses, and between the buildings, was a steady hiss with the occasional creek and groan, and once or twice, a howl. The traffic was light and distant, the sounds of the cars, and I think a trailer loading up, a pleasant background to my steady breathing.

Despite the storm on its way, the world felt calm. There are times when, before a really good winter storm, you can feel the whole world pausing. Animals huddle in their burrows, wondering if they’ll make it through, people rush off to the stores to pick up the strangest supplies in their sudden instinctual grab for comfort foods, before they, too, retreat to their homes to hide. There’s often a sense of waiting, with an edge of panic. I have always called it Snow Fear, because there’s no better description.

Though we are expecting both ice, sleet, and snow today and into tonight, there is no Snow Fear to be felt, so I know that today’s winter storm will be neglible in its effects.

I sat outside in my favorite pajamas, socks, and robe. They’re all super fluffy and soft, and so very warm that I don’t normally wear them inside, but for early winter mornings, they’re pretty perfect, so I got to snuggle in my soft, fuzzy, comforting clothes, sipping hot cocoa, feeling the wind nip at my skin. It was a wonderful start to my 100 days.

How was your own sunrise?

-Raven

Sunrise Challenge – 100 Days

Starting tomorrow morning, I will be challenging myself to an Awareness Exercise. Every day, for 100 days, I will be present as the sun rises, and afterwards, I will write down my thoughts and feelings, and my sensory observations during the experience.

If any of you would like to join me in the challenge (or do 100 Sunsets, if that’s better for your schedule), please feel free! I would love to hear about your own experiences as we go forward together… and honestly, the more people who are participating and sharing, the more we can all support each other!

See you tomorrow morning!


-Raven

Handy Links For Empaths in Trouble

Empathic Auras

So if you can pull in your aura, then ground, that should help the most. Once you’ve reigned in your aura and grounded, then you can do a very simple cleanse. Eventually, you will want to work on your chakras, because empaths are MADE, through trauma and abuse. Empathy is a natural ability of all humans, but empaths who are as sensitive as you are develop it as a defensive mechanism against harmful situations. Having your aura spread out so wide allows you to be prepared. It’s a form of hyper-vigilance.

So, about cleansing. Once you have your aura contained, and you’ve grounded, I would suggest that you go for a walk in a place where there aren’t a lot of people (I like to walk after dark, or take a hiking trail). While you are walking, just focus on breathing the fresh air, the stillness and the silence. Let the greenness of the world, or the whiteness/darkness if you’re walking in winter or at night, let the weather and the season just sort of recharge you as you breathe it in.

Finally, a bare-bones method is simply to visualize a ball of white light as large as your aura (for most people this is three feet wide, for you it’s probably considerably larger which is why I don’t suggest doing this until you’ve got your aura reigned in) coming down through you from the sky, and a second one coming up through you from the earth. See these balls as collecting all the muck as they go, and as the ball from the sky enters the earth below you, and the ball from the earth enters the sky above you, see the earth and sky absorb those balls and the negativity they’ve removed from you.

Also, this article will be helpful for you. Crystals for Aura Protection

Eventually you WILL have to work on your chakras; the why is handily explained in this article: How Abuse Affects Our Chakras

Also this one: What Blocks Our Chakras and Why

And this one: And this one: Understanding Your Chakras

Here are links to what I’ve written about chakras in the past.

What About the OTHER Chakras

Chakra Lessons: Cleansing

Purification Ritual for Cleansing and Clearing the Chakras

I was an empath once. I don’t recommend the way I had to go to stop it, but I remember what it was like, so whenever I see anyone having difficulties, I feel like it’s my duty to share what I know about it.

-Raven

On Blood Magick

What type of working are you doing during your menses? In the cases where you are NOT one of those women who feel drained, sick, in pain, or any of the other uncomfortable symptoms, menses casting can be EXTREMELY powerful… but once done, they cannot be UNdone.

http://everymagicalday.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/blood-magick-a-blood-spell/

http://www.luckymojo.com/bodyfluids.html

http://wolf.mind.net/womens/menses.htm

http://www.arcane-archive.org/religion/hinduism/yoga/tantra/neo-tantra/the-ritualistic-importance-of-menstruation-and-menstrual-blood-2.php

These should get you going…

The Unwritten “Laws” Of Magick

So, one of the things that I probably haven’t written about yet here are the so-called unwritten laws of magick.

One of those laws is that your subconscious is the one that takes the energy you give to a spell, and seeds the universe with that. Know Thyself isn’t just pretty words… it’s important to understand your deeper self, and your intimate motivations, because yes, absolutely, they will interfere with a spell’s effects.

For example – when I was younger, I wasn’t financially stable. If I got into a tight spot, I’d cast a spell for money. In return for my energies and hopes, I’d get…

1) A ten dollar note under my foot on my way to work… which was monopoly money
2) A whole ton of pennies showing up everyfreakingwhere.

I did NOT get the amount I needed… or if I did, it ALWAYS cost me later. It was always one step forward, twelve steps back.

Another example – when I was a very young adult, I had the usual illusions about love. I cast a few “my perfect partner” spells… and someone always came along… and it was always awful. The issue was that because I didn’t believe myself worthy of love, I attracted, with my spell, people with similar issues, or issues that would exacerbate my own.

If you do not have a clear, focused, pure intent, then yeah… your spells will go badly. If you find yourself feeling doubts, fears, or having thoughts that are counter to the result you are seeking… STOP CASTING. Deal with the emotional and mental issue you’re having. Take the time to understand who you are, and where your thoughts and feelings are coming from, and take the time to nurture yourself into a healthier state. THEN go back to casting, with better focus.

Casting while fearing bad things will happen, or fearing the worst, will imbue your magick with those fears, and draw their realization into the physical for you to deal with consciously. It is absolutely dangerous if you’re not ready for it – and normally it’s counter to your actual needs of the moment. There ARE times when that should be your intent – when you’re feeling ready to deal with an issue, using magick to force it into a physical shape so that you CAN deal with it, can be very healing…

But doing it accidentally is… highly unpleasant at best.

There is absolutely a difference between “mind” and “astral” but it takes practice to learn the difference. The difference is essentially that one is internal, and the other external. Astral is EVERYWHERE. You’re in it right now. With focused intent, you can use your “mind” to shape the astral. It’s like… the mind is a muscle, and astral is the dough that you are shaping into whatever you want to bake back into reality.

If you picture an object in your mind, it’s a picture in your mind. Someone else with specific psychic skills might be able to see the object in your mind, but if you don’t do more than PICTURE something, it’s not created… YET. The ability to turn something from a picture in your head into an actual astral reality (and eventually a physical effect) requires energy and intent. You can get energy from practice, or you can get it from emotions in the moment. The stronger you feel about the imagery you’re creating, the more likely it will become an astral projection rather than just something in your imagination. Emotions, when you’re just starting, are the easiest source of energy to create a real effect which can be shared with someone else.

With the exercise I wrote, we use physical energy to create the astral imprinted spell, and we shape that energy with visualizations – the whole exercise is set up to avoid emotional overlay because that way lies dragons. Your emotions are not stable – we almost never feel only one emotion, and most of the emotions we’re not aware of in the moment are negative ones… which means that even the happiest moment is tainted by something underneath which we do not voice. Using emotion to power most spells is thus inherently untrustworthy if you want positive results. If you’re specifically raising anger or pain as an energetic bus for your spell, then yeah, emotion will do the trick.

The reason I start out with having people familiarize themselves with their own energy, as opposed to any other form of energy, is because if you know your own energy, when communication happens, if it’s not you, you’ll be able to recognize it because it will not have your own flavor to it. Until you know yourself and your energy well enough, there is absolutely a danger of misinterpreting your own thoughts as those coming from outside you. The longer you’re here on this forum the more you’ll see people who are confused by this. The ego (and I’m not talking about inappropriate confidence, but the psychological concept of an ego) is full of flaws, and when you start working with metaphysical stuff, all those flaws are going to become bigger. If you have a really negative ego, that’s going to end up being interpreted as an attack. There’s this issue with people who come to the metaphysical world seeking a magickal resolution to all their problems… and that is that the metaphysical world is the real world magnified. Whatever your problems are, adding magick to it will magnify them. The “prime directive” of magick is KNOW THYSELF – because if you know yourself, warts and all, then you can control what parts of you get magnified into the physical world, and which parts you keep from becoming monsters under your bed.

Honestly, though, the only way to avoid this particular pitfall is practice… and the willingness to deal with the fallout of being exposed and magnified. If you want to deal with magick, even if it’s only second-hand by having someone else do things for you (cast spells, conjure spirits, whatever), then you HAVE to be willing to face yourself, the worst parts of yourself… you have to be willing to be accountable for where you are in life. Magick does NOT fix problems… it exacerbates them into the physical so that YOU can fix them. It’s all about personal responsibility… and if you don’t want to take responsibility for where you are in life, then it will absolutely blow up in your face.

I see a lot of desperate people come to magick as their last ditch effort. So much in this world is unfair and ugly and overwhelming, and people don’t always have perspective. Many people who come to magick lack maturity in their emotional responses to trouble. While we can’t stop the world from turning, we absolutely do have power over how we respond to downward momentum… and if you’re stuck in a negative spiral of thought, magick is not something you should be touching. It could ALWAYS be worse.

So… the best way to avoid the issue of being bullied by yourself is to stop bullying yourself. And don’t touch magick until you’re done using yourself, or anyone/anything else as a scapegoat.

The second best is to practice with your own energy, over and over, until you know when it’s you, and when it’s not.

If you are working with energy at the time that you have unwanted thoughts coming up, you can absolutely cast those thoughts without meaning to.

One of the first exercises a magician practices is that of mental control, an exercise designed to improve your ability to focus, as well as exclude unnecessary thoughts. It’s a deceptively simple exercise.

Take five minutes and let your mind run rampant. At the end of the five minutes… write down every thought you had during that five minutes. Practice until you have perfect recall.

Take five minutes and hold only one thought. Practice until you can hold one thought, and only one, for the full five minutes.

Take five minutes and have no thoughts. Practice until no intrusions happen for a full five minutes.

Always create a detailed record of your progress. This will show you where your weaknesses are, and help you determine how to fix them.

-Ed Fitch, A Grimoire of Shadows

You can see how simple it sounds… and I’m sure you can figure out how difficult it is to actually do. For me, because I have ADD, it was pretty much impossible. I had to find workarounds for it.

I found that giving my mind something to do allowed me to focus. In the same way that someone with ADD can zone into a book or videogame and have absolutely NO clue what else is going on around them, if I turn on music or if I create a mental journey for myself, I can have that same level of focus. When I’m working magick, I can be so focused that the roof could cave in and I wouldn’t notice – but only because when I’m working magick, I am actively DOING something.

Another way you can work on your focus is meditation. You can use music to give your brain something to chew on while you dig into the trance state, or you can use guided meditations, if focus is a huge issue for you.. but the biggest asset of daily meditation is getting to know yourself, so it’s actually better to pay attention to your thoughts at that time. You have to learn to listen to yourself, if you’re ever going to help fix the issues you have with yourself or the wider reality.

The issue with magick is that people don’t do daily psychological maintenance. They don’t meditate. They don’t journal. They ignore themselves and focus on the external world… and problems build up. Magick is the manipulation of the internal to MAKE it external… which means if you’re not aware of the internal, magick will make you aware…

And in highly creative, but honestly painful ways.

-Raven

On Creating Consequence Free Spells

All magick is the manipulation of energies, the imprinting of those energies with ideas, and then the manifestation of those ideas into reality.

Magick is essentially neutral. Intent CAN be neutral, or not, but magick itself is absolutely neutral, in the same way that light and gravity are absolutely neutral.

However, humans interpret magick as being polarized when the EFFECTS occur. So it’s not a spell that’s white arts or black arts or dark arts or whatever you want to call it… it’s the consequences.

If you want neutral consequences, don’t do magick, because that’s counter to what magick IS… magick is the art of taking energy and making it have consequences, and NO consequence is neutral in the human perspective. You’re ALWAYS going to see magickal effects realized as either positive or negative. Humans think in highly personal ways. “Do I like this effect, or does it feel bad?” If it feels bad to you, even if it doesn’t feel bad to the rest of the world, you label those consequences as dark. If it feels bad to a lot of people, then a lot of people label it as bad. Someone not affected, or affected in a positive way, will label the exact same spell as good.

There’s no such thing as a spell that has an effect in the world that is neutral in execution. Someone, somewhere, is going to have feelings about the results.

Any magickal spell can be used for either white arts or dark arts purposes. It’s the intent that makes that so.

If you cast a spell with the intent to have flexible outcomes that might or might not impact others in a perceived by them negative way, then you’ve intentionally cast a dark arts spell.

If you cast the same spell with the intent to have a static outcome that does not impact anyone in any way that could be perceived as negative, you’ve intentionally cast a white arts spell.

It’s not the spell that changes. Its your intent. If you want to create a spell that can do both, my advice is to give the spell some autonomy, as if you’re taking the first steps towards creating a servitor. Then the spell can choose what’s best in the moment, but you can set it to default as white arts where the situation allows for it.