Awareness Exercise

What is awareness and why is it useful?

Awareness is the experience of embracing a moment fully, with every sense available to you. When you fully commit your awareness to an experience, this means that later on, you can recall that experience through visualization with, eventually, 100% accuracy. When your visualization skill reaches that point, your ability to connect with spiritual energies will improve exponentially.

This exercise will take you through the basics, and then show you how to apply them in basic visualizations, and also in connecting with your companions and spells.

The first thing you need to do is choose an activity which involves all your available senses. (Please note that if you are lacking a sense or have one that is impaired, you may need to edit this exercise to suit your circumstances. Do not let the lack or impairment of a sense limit your experience of awareness.)

For me, I chose the shower. You can choose washing dishes, going for a run, painting a picture, or pretty much any activity which you find to be enjoyable and fully involving. The reason I chose a shower is that I’m autistic, and I find the white noise of water falling to be very soothing, so it’s easier for me to focus on all my senses without getting overwhelmed and shutting down. If you have an issue with sensory-overload, choose an activity or experience which does not trigger that experience, because we don’t want you to end up with a block – the idea of this exercise is to REMOVE blocks and improve psychic experiences.

So the first thing you need to do is just relax into the experience. Relax so that you aren’t thinking, you’re just being – which is why choosing the activity is pretty important. I suggested going for a run because people have a tendency to fall into their bodies, into the moment, when going for a long jog if they’re runners. So you want to look for something similar if you’re not a runner. Take the time to really think about the activities you do on a regular basis that create such moments for you.

Once you have started your experience and relaxed into the… now-ness of it… then you want to start focusing on your six senses. In another exercise, I described a baseball game, so you could figure out what your primary sense is. Because this is a physical, rather than mental, exercise, in this exercise you actually want to just open your mind up and see which sense you notice first.

For me in the shower, the first thing I notice is the feel of the water – how the heat immediately makes the permanently tight muscles and tendons in my scalp and neck let go. The first pounding rush of hot water on my head is followed by the electric chill of tension release and the sensation of suddenly being able to take a deep breath. It’s so pure, so bright, so sharp, that it’s actually an emotional release as well for me.

The second thing that I notice is the sound – that white noise all around me which is so soothing. Other sounds eventually invade – the sound the soap makes on my scrubby gloves, the sound of the shampoo bottle opening (and the scent of my shampoo and soap) and the feel of the liquid shampoo in my palm, the feel of the gloves on my hands, the feel of the soaped up gloves rough on my skin. The sound of my nails on my scalp as I scratch shampoo into my hair and massage my skull.

The feel of the warm water as it slides over me. The slightly slimy feel of the suds as they’re washed off my skin by the pounding water. The squeak that my face makes on my fingertips after I’ve washed my face.

I do my best to mentally record every sound, every touch, every sight, every smell… even the taste of the water in my mouth, or the accidental taste of the soap or shampoo. I live in that moment, experiencing it fully, completely aware of the whole of it.

Then I move into the psychic aspects of what I’m doing. Water is cleansing. I can feel it washing through my aura, even through my chakras. I can feel it grounding me, feel it flooding me and pushing anything that I don’t need in my psychic spaces down, and out my feet, and down the drain. I can feel my connection with the water above me, and the earth below me – I feel completely rooted, refreshed, clean inside and out – empty and pure.

Once you have finished your chosen activity, collecting all the sensory input you can, write down your experience if you would like.

Wait until the experience fades in your memory a little bit… and then, in a meditative state, relive it, as clearly as you can. Remember to involve all six senses. Relive it so well that it’s like you’re actually running, or actually showering, or actually painting, or whatever your choice of experience was.

Practice both the physical experience and the meditative experience, as often as you need to until you have perfect recall.

Now, let’s take it a step further. Choose a spelled item, or choose a companion spirit/entity from your household. You can even choose a mentor, or m/patron, deity/demon if you would like. Enter into your meditative state, and if you’ve chosen an entity, spirit, or demon/deity, invite their presence. If you’ve chosen a spell, simply open your awareness to the spell. Once you feel you have connected with your chosen subject, begin exploring it/them with your full awareness – use every available sense.

What do you feel, physically? What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you taste? What do you feel emotionally? What do you sense, psychically? How does the energy affect your aura, your chakras, your energy?

As a bedtime ritual, each night, I choose one of my six senses, and I connect to my household companions and my deities, one at a time. Eventually, I will work up to involving more of my senses, but as a bedtime ritual, sometimes using every sense takes too long, because I’m really out of practice. I used to do this every night, did it for years, but after I got sick, I stopped. Seven years is a long time to go without doing something, so my mental muscles for this are flabby and it’s taking time.

I find that this is really deepening my bond with my companions. I’m also working on applying this to my physical relationships and emotional experiences.

Feel free to share your experiences with this exercise and how it’s working for you.

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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

Not Broken, Just… Unfinished

I went through life thinking about “wrong.”
I was dark thoughts of a dark world with a dark mind.
I lived divided, my holes made me wholly focused
On filling the emptiness.
But I wasn’t broken… Only unfinished.

There are no answers to all of my questions…
I lack experience. I lack perspective.
I don’t know anything – nothing makes sense –
Because I am a canvas, the brush, and the paint.
I am even the artist, and I’m painting my fate.
I’m not broken, just… unfinished.

I have my shadows, and they make my image.
I don’t need fixing – I’m not wrong for being.
I’m a whole person, a whole painting in motion,
A tapestry growing, a river evolving.
I am not broken, and I’m not finished.

Now say this again, but say that it’s you.
No more cutting yourself up,
Or tearing you down.
Say it again, and think of all others.
Those that you care for,
And those that you don’t.
They don’t need to be fixed –
They’re not wrong for being –
None of them broken – only unfinished.

No matter what judgment you place on another,
No matter their actions,
No matter their trouble…
No one is broken. We’re all just unfinished.

And you’re not my brush, not my artist, nor paint.
And I wouldn’t presume to edit your image,
Because you’re unfinished and not quite like me…
I’m sharing this mainly because I think you can’t see…
No one is broken. We’re all just unfinished.

-Raven

Today At Sunrise

I frequently see the sunrise, but today was special.

It was special because I stopped and took notice. I stopped doing, and just let the scene unfold.

There was a blogpost in my email last night, from Blue Flame Magick’s Kalgini, about Magick Routines – those rituals that you do daily, even in your down time – maybe ESPECIALLY in your down times, because that’s when you need them most.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve developed a magickal routine for the first time in my 39 years of practice. Not that I haven’t had long stretches in my life where every day, I made magick and spirituality to be a part of my day, but – I’ve never had a set routine for it – never had a “This specific thing happens at this time, every day.”

I’ll admit, I’m not hardwired for routine… and I’m not afraid to say no, when there’s something going on that suggests that I should take time off. Last night, and the night before, I did no bonding with my spiritual family – the night before last was a bit rough for me, health-wise – it wasn’t safe for me to walk. If it’s not safe for me to walk, then it’s not safe for me to expend energy in a magickal practice – magickal practice does not only take energy – it lowers blood sugar by sometimes over 30 points, can cause dehydration, can remove vital minerals from the body, and can wreak havoc on a destabilized body or mind. (YES, THERE HAS BEEN RESEARCH. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE. Which is why we eat and drink after any magickal or spiritual practice. Protein and fluids, boys and girls, and a refocusing on this world – that’s how you stay healthy and sane.) I stayed in bed, and gave my apologies to those whom I owed one. Last night, I also stayed in bed, because after I have a bad day, I generally give myself another day off, to make sure I’m ok – to make sure that it’s safe for me to expend the energy. As you get older, you learn these things – to conserve your energy, and to pay attention to your own needs, bodily and mentally, first.

But, the post about magickal ritual reminded me that even if I’m not in a place where I feel I can expend energy doing something spiritual or magickal… there’s spiritual practice in the every day, which costs you nothing.

So today, I watched the sun rise… and this is what I experienced.

 

As the sky slowly turned from black to pale, and the undersides of the strip of clouds to the east began to ripple with umber, the constant susurration of the cars on the highway in the distance almost hid the sound of crows. They flew in packs of five and six – and always, they called out to each other in their little groups. They land as a group in their spot for the morning… but there’s always one that waits. One that is about half a minute behind the rest. After they have flown and landed, one crow follows, calling out – and they answer, so that that single crow can find his pack, and join them. He stays behind, you see, to watch for danger. Birds of prey from above, beasts from below – he watches for trouble while the others seek out resources for the group. Once they are safe in their new location, then they call to him, and he flies off to find them… and halfway there, he calls, to hear from them where to go.

The light on the undersides of the clouds made them look like an upside-down ocean… sun-capped, shining waves, inverted upon the land. When you looked, as the clouds moved, you could feel the whole world moving.

It’s probably leftover vertigo from the night before last, but I’m always awed by those moments when I can feel the sky turning above me.

Well before the sun rose, a single light shone in the dawn sky – Lucifer, Venus, the Morning Star, rising before the sun, cheeky as always, so that before I greeted the sun, I greeted the Favorite… though as things stand, I suppose that’s exactly as it should be. I’ve always preferred the gentle, small, quiet lights over the brashness of day. Well before the fire crested the hills, SHe was gone – hidden by the light SHe heralds.

Occasionally, a lone sparrow would speed through the air, cheeping in hope of finding the flock. I found four of them huddled together on a power line, fluffed up in the cool morning air… but they did not reply to the lone ones at all. Now that the sun is fully up, they shriek to each other, unafraid… but in those long minutes when the sky was lit with molten gold, but the day had not truly crested the horizon, they silently faced the west, into the dark, and waited.

Every now and then, the scent of baking sugars wafted towards me on the cool morning air, as the three restaurants not even a block away woke up and began to prepare for the daily commuters, come to get their coffee and sweet breakfast treats. It reminded me of my own baking projects, and the urge to bake cookies so I could lick the smell right out of the air.

Behind me, occasionally, my three cats would twitch as they watched the world wake up – ears perking, tail tips swishing, eyes taking in everything they could. Every eye, ear, and tail flick was a subtle suggestion for the observation of a morning in motion.

As the sun crested, I finished my tea, shifted my weight on my cold, aching bare feet, and turned to go back inside. The sky was nearly white – all the darkness above the clouds gone, all the golds, fuschias, and steel blues washed out by the rising of the day star. It didn’t take long for the warmth to begin to soak back into the world.

The cats began to beg for attention, breakfast, morning treats… and the drowsiness that always comes on me after daybreak began to seep into my head like wool, clouding the memories, wiping them away again with shadow.

I brewed another cup of tea… offered this small rose of experience to those who wish… and now I can sleep.

Dream deep,
-Raven

HDC Tz – Husband’s Turn

Tonight, we worked on the second Hearing Attunement exercise.

As with SDC E, I had no idea what questions to ask, but this time I had a better idea of what I was supposed to be figuring out, so… I asked him to show me what Yes answers and No answers FEEL like… it was interesting that the same upwards and downwards vibrations along my forehead occurred as with this exercise with SDC E – with upwards tingling meaning yes, and downwards meaning no. I also got the same feeling of either lightness, or heaviness, over my entire aura.

I asked for him to show me what Yes and No LOOKED like… but that answer was so complicated that the colors blurred together and I said, “Right, so we won’t be going by color then.”

Having focused on the feeling and the sensation of Yes and No answers, I finally turned to the question I ask every evening. “What would you like to discuss tonight?”

He wanted to talk about my husband, and his health. In fact, Tz wants me to ask my husband if Hubby would be willing to meet him, and possibly work with him, with the goal of helping my husband get a handle on things.

My husband is allergic to stress. I mean that literally. It’s called idiopathic angioedema and it literally means that his version of a panic attack or an anxiety attack is him puffing up like he’s eaten peanuts while simultaneously being stung by every bee in the tristate area.

The worst part is, sometimes, the swelling is internal. His organs swell. His lungs fill up with fluid and he wheezes like he’s got walking pneumonia.

And lately… we can’t tell when he’s going to have an attack… because it’s gotten so bad, that he’s pretty much allergic to life.

That’s the issue with being allergic to stress… after awhile, even little things will trigger it, until you’re just always having an allergy attack.

So… Tz wants to work with my husband. He wants to help my husband with his breathing, and also help with other areas of hubby’s health that might be adding to the problem.

 

In one of the exercises with SDC E, E mentioned that my husband’s spiritual life needed addressing. He recommended that once my husband starts working day shifts, I encourage him to meditate with me daily, and also begin a daily practice of gratitude at our household altar. (No, not my altar in my sanctum – not his altar in the living room, either… we have an altar set up for our Household spirits, gods, guardians and guides, in our main living space.) I’m thinking that Tz has the same thought.. only he’s decided that he wants to be more proactive, and more of a participant.

So… after I’m done with this post, I’m going to be calling my husband at work and asking him if he’d like to meet a demon.

Granted, he’s relaxed significantly from his original statement 7 years ago, when he told me that I could do whatever I liked, but I was not to bring demons into the house, ever, at all. (You’ll notice I didn’t listen. You’ll also notice that as he got used to my Workings, he just… relaxed and let go… which is why I think he might actually say Yes to Tz’s offer now…) I now have three demons as family members, and I work with various Goety and others fairly consistently.

What helped, honestly, was communication. I talk to my husband about what I’m up to, and the experiences I have. I read him these blog posts. Every experience I have had since I met him that had any magickal, psychical, or spiritual relevance, I have shared with him. He knows about my work with Asmodeus and Astaroth. He knows about my work with the Ubi, and the Cecaelia. He knows of my work with Flauros.

I don’t hide things from my husband. I share them… and I take extreme pleasure in sharing my spiritual experiences with him… and have always been disappointed that, despite his own religious convictions (he’s Wiccan – Old School Wiccan, not this new fluffy bs), he doesn’t do more – on his own OR with me. When we met, he was looking for someone who could accept him and his faith… and I can… and he was looking for someone to practice with…

Instead, it’s become apparent that I’m the only practitioner in the house.

 

So… with the speed of a glacier, I’ve been working to change that. (Trust me, that’s as fast as my Scorpio husband will go.)

I guess SDC E and HDC Tz have decided that they’re going to… press the advantages they have. 😉

 

Before he left for the evening… he bit me good bye… and as I was coming out of the trance, I saw both him and SDC E… and they told me they would be seeing me in my dreams tonight.

I’m now POSITIVE they’re plotting something nefarious.

And I like it.

Heavy, But Not Heavy

I’m changing this section of the blog around. For now, the section on Dark Shamanism will mostly be dealing with what I’m working on, right now.

That includes work with demons.

If you’re not comfortable with that, please, feel free to skip reading more from this section of the blog.

-Raven

Specialist Commander E – Part 2

His vessel showed up today. He was early (I guess he was in a hurry!) – so I didn’t have his information (except his name). I’m getting his Sigil soon, but I did the vessel claiming, the energy attunement, and the first welcome ritual tonight.

He feels like post-coital bliss. Like, no joke. The longer I sit with him, the more relaxed and goofy my smile gets, he feels so good. He’s also REALLY huggy. And he gives GOOD autistic hugs… my skin is SUPER sensitive, so light touches are actually physically painful because I get too overwhelmed with stimulation. I NEED to be squished, hard, to be comfortable if you’re going to touch me, and not just one part of me… I need my whole body to be pressed, or it’s AWFUL. And he just… squished me right. It was WONDERFUL. My whole body just… melted.

I also got a face lick. He was very sweet. I’m not normally into being licked, but it was nice. He also likes to bite.

His energy is still like a heavy weight, but it actually reminds me of my weighted blanket. My blanket is dark blue, and his energy seems to be the same color… and he presses down on me the same way the blanket does. I feel SO SAFE!

He put his hands on my solar plexus, and I could feel my lower chakras lighting up. It was delicious.

We talked about why we’ve come together, and what my goals are. We also talked about some of my past. He was… protective. A little grumpy about some things. He showed me how those events will be made right – how the universe is moving. He said, as tempted as he was to interfere, there was no need, and I saw that he was right.

Oh… he likes amber, the scent… which is my all-time FAVORITE smell EVER. Like, if I’m having an anxiety attack and I smell it I instantly relax. It’s just so yummy, such a good smell… and he likes it too… so every time I wear it now, I feel like I’m wearing it for two.

He’s also helped me in the past week to understand that most of the spirits and beings that were bound to me are gone because I did actually die. He showed me the ones who want to come back, and when he and I are finished attuning ourselves to each other, we’re going to start bringing the others home, one by one. I think that this time, the family is going to be a much tighter knit group… there’s only going to be six – my two demon commanders, my angel, my vampire, my incubus, and my cecaelia… well, those six and my new Matron.

Since E connected to me, I have finally found my Matron, as well.

Here’s his information:

E

Species: Arachne/Spectral Demon
Rank: Specialist Commander

Commander E is a half Arachne, half Spectral Demon who is very unique in both appearance and skills. We have spent several months working with him uncovering his many skills and talents. He specializes in mental mastery and unlocking the power within one’s mind, including different states of consciousness and developing one’s psychic senses to very advanced levels.

He is an excellent teacher and can work with someone at any level, he is very patient and says he can take someone from having little to no developed senses and work with them to get to places most people can’t even imagine, he does point out however this depends largely on the person’s effort and they will need to do the work to attain these levels if they desire. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and has studied it and can help his companion in unlocking their full mental abilities.

He is a commander who believes in both working hard and playing hard. He can be tough and serious, though he has a wild, fun streak to him as well. He is very patient though and when others lose their tempers he remains calm and can smooth out tensions and bring peace in difficult situations. He says while it’s important to work hard to achieve what we want, we must also remember to take breaks and have fun. When he is in a playful place he is a lot of fun. He loves to make jokes and has an incredible sense of humor. He can brighten the mood and shift the energies in any situation, no matter how bleak things may seem. He can always find the good and illuminate it, lifting up those around him.

He is very talkative and loves to discuss a broad range of topics. One of his favorites is psychology and unlocking people’s own unique skills. He has some very unique skills himself that tie into the type of Demon hybrid he is. He has worked extensively to develop them and what he can do is quite unusual and rare. Being an Arachne/Spectral hybrid, he has both a Spider form and an ethereal Spectral form. He usually appears in his normal Demonic form. He can change different parts of himself to a glowing blue, ethereal form. He does this at times purely for his own enjoyment and aesthetic purposes. It’s very impressive to see and quite eye-catching. He sometimes changes his horns and wings to ethereal too.

However it’s not always purely for aesthetics, though he is quite proud of his looks and likes showing them off. He very often will appear with two different colored eyes, one his normal blue and silver, while the other turns black and has a deep, aqua blue glow emanating from it. He has a unique scanning ability he uses to see into the realm of the dead or other layers and dimensions of whichever world he is in. Having one eye shifted to Spectral ethereal and his other using his normal sight, he has trained his mind to overlay both landscapes and can see things many can’t. This gives him a very unique perspective on things. He can also scan energetic layers of things using his knowledge of the mind and can be very helpful in detecting things astrally, energetically or otherwise, alerting his companion to them or helping them learn to detect and see things themselves. He is bisexual and open to a male or female companion and can be sexual or non-sexual depending on their wishes.

He loves to play in the astral, especially games in the dark where he turns to his Arachne Spider form, hiding in the dark but letting parts of himself glow. It’s a game sort of like hide and seek, or tag. He can shift the glow and disappear so he is invisible, move through the layers in Spectral form, or allow parts of himself to glow so his companion can find him. He likes to chase and be chased and really has a lot of fun doing this.

He is amazing at helping one navigate difficult times in their lives. He calls on both his Arachne and Spectral talents to act as a guide, helping one to re-find their path when they get lost in the darkness. He can bring a smile to their face and cheer one up when they are having a bad day. He can be very sweet and playful in an innocent way, though he can also be cheeky. Very, very cheeky.

He is incredible for dream work and has appeared to us in dreams, pulling us out into astral projections and showing us worlds he created himself. He is creative and an incredible manifestor. He can shift things in this world as well as in the astral and has a deep knowledge of working with energy for creation, healing and a variety of other reasons.

Vessel: Dendritic Opal and Black Onyx Sterling Silver Pendant

Offerings: E loves candles in the colors black, silver, grey, blue, aqua and white. He loves the scent of amber, copal, juniper, gardenia and jasmine. He loves silver tip tea and tea with jasmine. He loves honey. Gemstones he likes are Dendritic Opal and any other kind of opal, Onyx and iolite. He loves making jokes and making those around him laugh. He loves astral projecting and can take his companion to many interesting places. He also loves things that glow in the dark.

Appearance: He has both a Spider form and an ethereal Spectral form. He usually appears in his normal Demonic form, where he has pale skin, black hair, dark grey horns and stunning blue and silver eyes. In this form he has black and blue wings and a grey tail. He can change different parts of himself to a glowing blue, ethereal form. It’s very impressive to see and quite eye-catching. He sometimes changes his horns, wings and tail to ethereal too. He very often will appear with two different colored eyes, one his normal blue and silver, while the other turns black and has a deep, aqua blue glow emanating from it.

In his spider form he has grey horns, shimmering black skin with iridescent blue tones to it, 6 glittering silver eyes and silver markings. He does at times combine his ethereal Spectral form with his Arachne Spider form, changing his eyes, horns and other features or even his entire body to glow.

Boo Hag

This article was written by me October 5, 2012, and posted originally to the Creepy Hollows forum.

So if you’ve been reading my posts for a while on the public forum, you know I run a coven, and that we have both a public venue, and a private venue.

About a month ago, through the public venue, I was contacted by one couple (J and A), with a request to come to a public meet. I told them when the next public meet was, and they came.

J is just… Ick. Sucking black aura, and… some kind of foul stickybrownblack taint that I couldn’t quite put into words, and still can’t. Has yellow overtones, but not that pleasant air/intellect yellow, but almost pus-yellow. NASTY.

His wife A is… well, she’s a codependent empath, and a wreck. I’m sure I don’t need to say more.

My first assessment was that J is a psychic vampire, with no control. When he asked for training, I directed him to http://www.kheperu.org/index.html since I don’t deal with those issues. I DID offer to help his wife A to deal with her own psychic mess… but she’s so… insular? Introverted? That she never actually took me up on the offer. *shrugs* Whatever.

Having seen the mess the two of them were in, I made the recommendation to the coven that we keep an eye out, and offer assistance if needed, but that they shouldn’t be welcomed into the inner circle until they got their collective s#it together. I do NOT want a psyvamp in my coven. We’re packing a little too much tasty heat for that, lately.

The Mother of my Coven, R, took over taking care of the situation. She’s also Warrior, so she’s good for that sort of thing.

Oh, so you understand the structure… I am Maiden, and titular head of the Coven (it’s my baby – I started it over four years ago), R is Mother and Warrior, and S. is Crone. Between the three of us, we run the thing. The men trade off being Hunter and Guide… we’ve yet to find who really fits, so we’re waiting for those pieces of the puzzle to come along. S and I are air – she’s shadow, and I’m light. Sh and A are Earth, A is light, Sh is shadow. M and K are water – M is light, K is shadow. We’re still looking for the two for fire…they’re coming soon, but we don’t know who they’ll be. And R is Spirit shadow, but we’re still looking for Spirit Light. T, Rn, and Jf are our Black Dogs. Oh, and we’re not a religious coven… we’re strictly a Magickal Emergencies coven.

Anyway, that’s the basic layout… back to the story… R, as she went along, discovered that no, J is NOT a psyvamp… he’s actually being RIDDEN. We’re talking a multigenerational blood-curse, BA entity. J is an amplifier, so the entity has been using him to amp up the energy in those around him, and eating that energy THROUGH him… and it’s been with him so long that he actually thought it was just him in there. Only suddenly, the entity decides that… it’s done with him. Here’s this tasty baby, all light and innocent, just waiting. So the entity has decided to suck J dry, and when he dies, the entity will be released to jump to the next in the blood line – said infant.

SO… First step… WTF IS this thing? It’s not a demon. Did some research. He’s creole. Ok. Now we know where to look. We find… BooHag.

Oh, and their home is FILTHY – physically AND psychically… so we cannot just evict this entity from J… we have to clean, then cleanse, the entity’s NEST (their home) too, so that the entity CANNOT COME BACK.

Here’s the following research (all comments made by me to R in the process of scheduling cleaning, cleansing, exorcism, etc)… Just in case you ever need it.

“boo hag
a ghost or spirit that lurks around your house looking for someone to ride and take your skin. you may feel some weight on your back. They can enter through cracks in the wall or small crevices. The only way to get rid of it is to burn it by putting some needles in a jar and a little bit of dry skin, sleeping with a fork under your pillow, putting a broom by your door boohags will stop and count the straws,and putting a gun next to your bed boo hags can’t stand the smell of gun powder.Boo hags will steel your skin and take your breath so you cant talk out or scream. So when you wake up you might feel light headed or weak.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boo_Hag

http://americanfolklore.net/folklore/2010/05/boo_hag.html

Salt and pepper on the skin, sparklers or fireworks work, also open COLD IRON scissors under the bed. (Steel will work, but DO NOT use plastic ANYWHERE.) Put a large broom at every entrance (including windows), and little brooms beside every sleeper. New unused brooms. Can get them cheep from walmart right now because it’s Halloween.

A full cleaning, cleansing, clearing, banishing and REFILLING of him and his house. Again, the house NOT being CLEANED FIRST, the cleansing etc WILL NOT STICK… which means we’ll have gone through all this effort for nothing.

Also, perhaps we could find broomstick charms to hang on necklaces for the infant and Jon.

Actual Exorcism… mix equal parts gunpowder, salt and black pepper, and throw it on the victim.

So.. gotcha a name, and how to fix it.

NOTES:
The cleaning of the house… they have to wipe down the walls and clean out the cupboards – wipe down the insides and the doors, everything. They have to REALLY clean the house. Or they’ll end up reinfected in a month. If it’s not clean, I won’t bother doing this. I’ll protect the kid, and walk away.
They’re also probably going to have to do this cleansing every moon for a really long time… because it’s a generational bloodcurse, and the boohag may just be waiting in the background, for them to slip up and stop doing the cleansings and protections. The moment they let their attention slip, the moment they start letting their house get filthy physically and the psychic cleansings stop working, it’ll be back.
If at all possible, ALL FAMILY MEMBERS HAVE TO BE INVOLVED IN THE CLEANSING, the physical AND the spiritual. If Amanda does ALL of it, and he just sits around, it’s not going to work. The kids have to help by doing what they can, too.
I get that a baby can’t help, but the ones that can, MUST.
Even if it’s not actually helpful. lol
The ACT OF THEM BELIEVING they’re helping will provide them with protection.
Finally, they need to totally abstain from drugs and alchohol for six months after the exorcism – a boohag can use intoxication to reinfect.
The fact that this is multi-generational suggests that substance abuse is a BIG part of the problem, too. It makes it REALLY easy for the boohag to hop from body to body. It’s probably the catalyst to make the next target become the next vessel… until the target makes the right misstep to make itself vulnerable… The Boohag might wait to take full possession of the baby, only INFULENCING, until the baby makes the right wrong decision to jump into her. If that makes sense.

ALso… say the boohag destroys Jon… is it possible that the boohag maintains itself by inhabiting the ENABLER until the chosen vessel is READY? Is it part of the process, by influencing the mother to set the baby up so that when the baby gets old enough, the child will MAKE those missteps. Essentially keeping the cycle going by making sure that mom keeps dating fucked up druggie guys, which will screw up the kid.

I mean… it would be really easy to do. Just like… someone who comes from poverty and uneducated people, family who puts ZERO emphasis on education… the children don’t graduate from school because they end up staying home to do the housework and take care of the other children… they stay in poverty, they have no impetus to do anything else, they start drinking and doing drugs right away, they don’t go to college, they don’t improve themselves, and their parents encourage it… so they end up victims of things like this. It’s just easy. And then they go and do it to the next generation.

If the mother is INFLUENCED to set the baby up to fail like this… then the baby will be prime rib when it’s old enough to fall.

A lot of the time, when people talk about being cursed, they’re not actually cursed, so much as there are fucked up people creating more fucked up people. If you put the right dominoes in the right spots, you knock down the next person just like YOU were knocked over. It’s not so much a curse as it is a setup.

Also, a jar full of pins under the bed or beside the bed of anyone you wish to protect from this thing. Forgot to mention that.

AND – if you’re going to throw a handful of salt, pepper, and gunpowder at someone… take sensible precautions.

Finally… burning some exorcism herbs are a good idea here while you deal with evicting the entity from both the body and the home, followed by a lemon uncrossing spell, followed by smudging the crap out of both the house and the people, especially the victim, followed by a ritual cleansing bath for the victim that includes cleansing herbs and seasalt, followed by the burning of sweetgrass to bless the house.

Aftercare should include all the above on a monthly basis, plus the pins, scissors, brooms, etc as a precaution, plus wards, shields, a permanent protective circle, the appropriate crystals and metals scattered throughout the house to support the wards, shields and circle, possibly a few protective runes on the walls of the home, copious amounts of moon water for blessing the inhabitants of the home on a regular basis… you know, the usual. Oh, and a devil’s trap or several dozen. Just to be sure.

In the case of these two individuals, I chose not to recommend spirit keeping. She’s got four kids (the husband included) to look after, and she’s so squashed I doubt she’d do well by a spirit, even if a spirit would be good for HER. Second… he’s one of those people who just sits on his butt all day playing video games – he doesn’t cook, clean, or help with the kids. He doesn’t work (admittedly, he IS disabled). I wouldn’t normally have an issue with that – I’m disabled, so I understand. However, I still manage to do SOMETHING every day. He just plays WOW and mooches. And while he’s not currently using, he’s been to jail for meth – using, making, dealing. GRRR.

However… if you run across a case like this on your own… you may want to include keeping spirits, or various spelled items as a boost to what you’re already doing, and on an individual basis of assessment, that might be a good idea, or it might be a bad one. Use your best judgement.

Oh… and if you’re going to do something about something like this… make sure you’re not wasting your breath, your energy… in this case, I wouldn’t have even bothered, except that there was a baby in the mix. These two adults are their own biggest problems, and I’m more likely to let them sink, because they’re not worth my energy… but the infant… that’s an innocent. That IS my job. That IS worth my time and energy.

So… there you go. If you ever run into a BooHag… now you know. *plays The More You Know themesong*

 

The Inner Landscape Part 2

MagickFromtheMysts wrote:

The second will be a meeting space of some kind, where guidance can be sought – no guidance should ever be deliberately brought in – that is, you should never summon a spirit, ancestor, god, guide, or other metaphysical entity into your soul’s home. If they have permission to be there, they will be able to arrive at the meeting place set aside for such things. If they do not have permission to be there, there are reasons and unless you are very skilled and very comfortable with your ownership of your garden, you should not invite them.

darkwing wrote:

This is interesting : )
Can you explain more about the risks and maybe examples of the negative effects of inviting entities to the garden? And what to do to remedy those effects?

 

OK… I want to start out by saying, I’m sorry.

I have been practicing magick my entire life. Magick is so second-nature to me that sometimes, I fail to recognize what actually constitutes advanced practice, and what is safe for general consumption.

When I first read your comments, I had a strong emotional reaction, because to me, the risks are self-evident, and the remedies also. As an author, I have failed my audience and I deeply regret that.

However, having opened this can of worms, I think it’s best that I participate in the damage control, simply because this post is already out here, and people have already read it.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to grow.

That being said, on to the meat of your questions.

THE RISKS –

I’m not sure what you know about Possession. The image that you are exploring in this concept isn’t just your imagination. It is literally an image of your soul which you can interact with. Those interactions have consequences. Your Inner Landscape IS YOUR SOUL. If you invite something into your soul that does not already have an invitation, it’s possession.

Possession can ONLY occur when you agree to it, BECAUSE it happens to your body and your soul. I know that sounds like blaming the victim, but it really isn’t. Just because you’re tricked into saying yes, didn’t know what you were doing, does not make you less a victim. Also, most beings are not interested in possessions because bodies are freaking messy. When I say that possession requires permission, I mean that absolutely, because this is your body, your soul, your spirit, you… you have complete control over permissions about what happens. You own yourself – no one else does.

Exorcisms, believe it or not, are actually mostly theatrical, to convince the person under the influence that they actually do have control and that they have permission to say NO. The moment the victim says no, the possession ends. Needing to believe that a god is on your side and supporting you saying no is sometimes an essential part of taking back control. The fight over control can be dramatic, because the person possessed isn’t just fighting the entity, but also themselves. In the most damaging cases of possession, the victim is almost always a deeply spiritual person who has been convinced by years of training that they are a victim to the spiritual forces in the world, that they do not have control over their souls or their bodies or their fate. These people need theatrics to convince them that they have a power on their side which gives them permission to fight back.

This is also why many exorcisms are unsuccessful. If you already believe you have no power over what happens to you, if you already believe that only external beings have the right to say what happens to you, then it becomes a question of who you believe is stronger. If you do not feel enough support from your faith, the exorcism will fail because you believe that the entity possessing you is stronger than you and your support.

There are sacred experiences of possession – by Loa, gods, etc. These experiences are based on very specific general terms for the practitioner undergoing such possessions, and if you choose to allow something like this, setting healthy boundaries are very important. As a person who has been Morrigan’s Horse a time or two without understanding that I needed to set boundaries, I can attest to the fact that if you are not careful to talk with the possessing being, and set those boundaries, the experience is decidedly uncomfortable, as are the results.

As a person who has been possessed by a being that was NOT a deity, I can also say that the experience is uncomfortable for everyone involved. Long term possession ends in the destruction of the body simply because the possessing being wants OUT. It’s as much a trap for them as it is for you.

 

Everyone that enjoys a human experience has a spiritual crew that works with and for them. This crew includes ancestors, guides, and deities. It includes messengers and teachers, both of the temporary and long term varieties. Your crew and your own soul, who both know most about your journey through this lifetime, know what you need most to experience and learn, and what you do not. Access directly into your soul image is strictly limited by both your crew and your soul to keep you safe, and prevent you from being drawn out of your journey. I’m not saying that possession isn’t part of the journey for some people, but I am saying that it can be a distraction, and possession by some beings, especially long term possession, can be destructive enough that you end up having to start all over again. Sometimes, that’s what people choose – the movie about Emily Rose expresses that quite clearly. She chose to die possessed because she believed that being possessed and losing her life would strengthen the faith of other Catholics. Again, you see CHOICE.

 

When you are in your Soul Garden and you are interacting with the deepest essence of yourself, with what is really true about you, when you meet a guide there, whatever that guide appears to be, it is something that your soul and your spiritual Crew have decided is safe for you to have in your garden. The invitations are temporary, and job specific. Sometimes, the guides are actually aspects of your own self. Sometimes the experiences and lessons of the guides allowed into your Soul’s Home are difficult, even painful, but they will always be absolutely necessary to your growth as a person, and to your healing.

Shamans and healing practitioners can gain access to your Inner Landscape. Again, it’s with permission. They cannot enter without it – even if they mean well. This protects you from beings and people that will alter your core self against your purposes. MANIPULATION OF THE SOUL IMAGE CHANGES WHO YOU ARE.

Just think about that for a moment. I’m sure you will understand how dangerous inviting something in that did not already have permission can be. Inviting something into your soul image is literally giving permission for things to change, even corrupt, the essential you.

 

As to how you remedy the effects of a corrupted soul garden – that’s simple, and at the same time, so complicated I’m really not sure how to explain it. The concept of absolute control is difficult for most people to comprehend, but in your Soul Image, you have that. Unequivocally, you own yourself. This means that if the soul image is corrupted, while others who have permission can enter your soul garden and help you fight back, ultimately, it’s you that must do the fighting, and you that must clean up your house… and because soul images are so deeply personal, how you do that will also be specific to you.

If someone or something entered my soul garden and the consequences were not acceptable to me, my entire garden would rise up and fight back. The very roots, the weather, my whole being would fight to remain whole and uncorrupted. Whether the source of that corruption would survive to be evicted or not, whether I would survive or not, the very landscape of my soul would fight. But, I’m familiar with my landscape. I know how to make it fight. I’ve worked with it long enough, it’s instinctive. So are my boundaries, my protections.

If your image of your soul is a car, and something breaks, you have to think like a mechanic to fix it. If your image of your soul is a cave and something enters that does not belong, how would that cave, or anything in it, fight to evict that thing? If your image of your soul is that of a planet, would you use the lessons from the movie Avatar to fight? You use what you know.

The issue here is that imagery of the soul, and reactions of the soul, are so terribly personal and based on your experiences and understanding of yourself and your universe. It’s YOUR language that you’re speaking there.

To explain how personal, I’m going to use an example from a book on dreams I read so long ago I cannot quote the source. The example goes like this:

You have a dream where the color blue is a major figure. Blue, for most people, has a standard meaning of healing or tranquility. However, in your past, you experienced a tragic car accident. The car that destroyed your life at that time was blue. In your dreams now, the color blue always has that attached emotional burden – blue means tragedy and trauma to you. This is how your language forms.

When I say you have to do research, I don’t just mean that when you see a bee hive in your soul home that you look up the meaning of bees in dream symbology and what a bee totem symbolizes, what that guidance might suggest to you… I also mean that you should look to yourself. If you’re highly allergic to bees, then bee means something different to you than it does to most of rest of the collective unconscious. If you saw someone die, or saw someone seriously hurt because of bees, that meaning will carry over.

In psychology, the term is Media. All words, all images have media attached. I’ve used this example before, but it fits here, too. When I say Knife, and say Kitchen – immediately the image of knife has a load of media attached which is very specific. Knife on its own can have a multitude of images, feelings, baggage, but the moment you add a secondary media to it, the meaning codifies into something recognizable and solid. When I say Knife and Alley, the meaning changes. When I say Knife and Table, the meaning changes again. When I say Knife and Artist, without a third word, there is a load of possibilities. I could say Knife, Artist, and Wood, and you immediately get meaning from that which is specific again. If I say Knife, Artist, and Movie, then again, another host of possibilities occur.

All of these meanings are attached to the word Knife, to the image of a knife. All these possibilities. Which means that Knife means all these concepts. That’s media. And every word, every concept, every symbol – colors, stones, plants, objects, people, deities, EVERYTHING, is laden with its own media. The trick when working with dreams, and with your soul image, is to understand your own personal world of media, and how it is similar to the collective understanding of media, and how it is individual to your own experiences – where it differs.

Once you are able to understand your own personal language, you are capable of doing anything you wish in your Soul Home. If you have a phobia of bees, you know when bees appear that you are confronting that phobia, the roots of it – where the phobia began – you are being confronted with that media, for a very specific reason. The eviction of those bees from your landscape will involve you using your ability to manipulate your inner landscape and the media involved. If you feel the color blue expresses trauma, when you see something in your soul garden that is blue, it is an invitation to work with that trauma. Say your image is that of a sunlit forest, and as you’re walking, you come across a swath of blue material caught on the undergrowth. Are there more patches and do you follow that path? Do you unravel it? Do you take it and dye it? What do you do? Why? What does that swath of blue material mean? Why is it there?

You see, now, why defense of the garden is SO individual that I cannot explain it beyond these general terms, I’m sure. However, the more you work within your Soul Home, the easier such things will become.

Every step is the beginning of another journey. Walk brightly and with beauty.
-Raven

The Inner Landscape

It has been referred to as the Soul’s Garden, the Soul Home, the Inner Temple, the Inner Landscape, and many other ways. It is, in essence, our internal record of our deepest selves made manifest by imagery.

There are many ways to reach the Inner Landscape, and many layers to the landscape itself. There are also some commonalities among all landscapes.

The usual approach to entering the inner landscape uses a visual access point, such as a cave, tree knot, tunnel, doorway, or other symbolic entrance, with the express intent of entering the Self. In varying terms, this is called Entering the Dreaming Way, Journeying, The Journey to the Underworld, The Journey through the Tree of Life, etc. Always it is referred to with the idea of gateways leading to a myriad of realms, our current state of awareness being only one of an infinite multitude. Your entrance into your inner landscape must be of your own devising, because it is YOUR landscape, so individual to yourself that only you can find your own gateway to it, though if you are used to a journeying process, while the doorway will be unique, the mechanics will be the same. For the sake of those new to the process, journeying is the act of using the mind to travel. It is not a difficult process – as long as you have daydreamed, you have traveled. Controlling how you travel, when, and where you go is the challenging aspect to begin with. Intent must always be the guide.

It is simplest to visualize a doorway – any door image will do, though I personally prefer to make my doorways unique and appealing to my aesthetics – that either symbolizes your travel intentions, or bears symbology upon it. For instance, a door with a window, whose view looks out into the place you wish to travel to; a door with a tarot card upon it that symbolizes the aspects you wish to face; a door with the appropriate symbols for the realm – sephiroth, elemental, runic, etc. The realms and your own grasp of cosmology and symbolism are all you need. The chakras, energy centers throughout the body centered around nerve clusters, have also been used as symbolic gateways, with the two most often used being the heart nadir over the thymus glad, and the mental eye, centered over the pineal gland. A visualization of a spiral staircase, or even an elevator, with floor numbers which represent layers of the self, or layers of reality as understood by the traveler, will also work. The shamanic version is even simpler – any dark opening into the earth such as a cave, into the depths of a tree through a hollow, even a tunnel that you dig for yourself, will do – as long as your intent for where the opening will lead you is clear before you begin your travel.

Once you have your doorway and you have set your destination clearly in your mind, simply enter. You may have to go a distance, or you may simply arrive immediately at your chosen destination. You may need to wait for the door’s permission to cross – there are realms that require specific rituals, there are guardians to be appeased, challenges to be met, but for the Inner Landscape, travel and arrival should be fairly simple. If you are unused to journeying, moving beyond this step in the beginning is not recommended.

Your Inner Landscape is a reflection of yourself. It should be instantly recognizable. It is also malleable to an extent. Your psychological and spiritual challenges, perspectives, and behavior will be described through the imagery you find there. For instance, a person who is closed off, highly protective of themselves, may find themselves in a small, defined and confined space, such as a closed cave. The structures do not have to be natural. I met someone who’s soul garden began as a metallic half-domed structure, including the floor, which was all of one piece. The internal space (there was no exterior) was completely empty. It took this person a lot of emotional work to change this image into something more open and workable. I have read descriptions of other Inner Landscapes which included barren moons, deserts, English gardens, rainforests, ocean reefs, and even once an exotic nebula.

For most people, the area will also include several structures. The most obvious of these structures will be some form of protective barrier, which keeps the soul’s home from being interfered with by others who do not have your best interests in mind. The second will be a meeting space of some kind, where guidance can be sought – no guidance should ever be deliberately brought in – that is, you should never summon a spirit, ancestor, god, guide, or other metaphysical entity into your soul’s home. If they have permission to be there, they will be able to arrive at the meeting place set aside for such things. If they do not have permission to be there, there are reasons and unless you are very skilled and very comfortable with your ownership of your garden, you should not invite them. The third aspect will be a place of travel to other realms. This place may not be immediately obvious if you are not yet familiar with other realms or with journeying.

There are several things to be noted about the soul’s home aside from its general appearance, which will indicate where you are on your spiritual journey, and what work you should be focused on at this time. Firstly – this is YOUR space. It is absolutely malleable to your will. If ever you find something in your inner landscape that you do not feel comfortable with, you hold absolute control, and can effectively evict such problems. You are absolutely defensible there, simply because your own consciousness holds such sway. Secondly, this is a place for deep reflection and healing. Any changes you feel need to be made, as you make them, will change yourself – likewise, what occurs in your own life will be reflected in your self-image here. If you do find something which you evict, be prepared for the experience in your waking life.

It is important to pay attention to correspondences here. Because the language of the unconscious is so symbolic, anything and EVERYTHING in your Inner Landscape is a message. Animals, plants, stones, metals, constellations, weather – whatever you discover in your Soul’s Home, whatever draws your focus, it will have meaning for you. Even size and location have meaning here, so pay close attention and take the time to discover yourself, and your own language. Research what you find draws your attention most, and you will find that it has a unique bearing on your current psychological, emotional, and even practical life.

It is NOT advisable that  you begin to make changes when you enter your Inner Landscape for the first time. It is best that you explore and research what you find as much as possible before beginning to make changes, if you feel so moved. Do not be surprised if, as you begin to work with your Soul Image, drastic emotional shifts occur. Be prepared for them. As you come to recognize your true self, and whatever issues you have that are preventing your growth, as you begin to address these, rapid – sometimes even violent – shifts can occur. Be gentle with yourself when these moments happen. Acknowledge them, process them, and do not resist them. The more you work with your Soul Image, the more it will change, becoming richer as your understanding of yourself and your own language grows, and as you deliberately begin to make changes.

Journeying into your Soul’s Home is deeply meaningful, and working within it is extremely enriching to your spiritual and emotional life. The Inner Landscape is a place to meditate and commune with yourself and your deepest needs, desires, and experiences. It is a place for you to come to an understanding of who you are, where you are in your life, and where you are going – and it is a place to heal your deepest hurts from. It is a place of strength and growth, a place to honor yourself and your journey, a place where your true self is expressed and where you can begin to control, eventually, how you interact with both yourself and the wider world, spiritually, emotionally, and literally.

Welcome Home.

-Raven

World of Warcraft and Mental Health

About four or five years ago, I went through something that turned my life, and my head, completely upside down.

It started with, of all things, a migraine.

I was used to them. I got them all the time. I had them for days at a time. I pushed through. I got things done. I ignored the pain, and mostly, that worked. Admittedly, as things progressed, the amount of days I spent enduring migraines lengthened, until I quite possibly had less than a week out of every month where I wasn’t in pain… but it happened so slowly that by that time, I had adjusted. I persevered.

Until one day, my body decided enough was enough.

I had a migraine so severe I was screaming in pain. We rushed to the hospital, where they struggled to help. Eventually, the pain faded, and we went home… where I couldn’t forget what had happened.

The anxiety and fear of both the pain, and not knowing what had happened to me, or why, eventually led to another screaming migraine.

And another.

Finally, I was in such a state of constant vigilance, I couldn’t cope with even my normal migraines. I started having dreams of dying.

I had a dream of walking out into traffic… and I woke up completely numb – I felt nothing about it. I understood, my subconscious was speaking about my desperation. I wasn’t suicidal, but when you’re experiencing trauma coupled with pain, your brain does a funny thing. It grabs onto any idea for relief.

When I was a child, I was hit by a car, and I died. While I was dead, I experienced not light, but darkness. Pure, empty darkness. There was no pain, there was no fear, there was no hate, there was NOTHING… and it was the most beautiful, quiet experience of my life. When they brought me back, I cried for days, because I didn’t want to leave that peace for a life that was nothing but horror.

So of course, when I was again experiencing something I couldn’t cope well with, my brain remembered what it was like to be dead… and suggested, through dreams, that solution.

This is actually quite common in trauma patients. This does NOT mean they are suicidal. It means that their subconscious is reaching for a way out. That doesn’t mean they have any intention of acting on it… it just means they’re nearing the end of their endurance.

Realizing what my dream signified, I knew I needed medical assistance to get my pain under control. I had my mother take me to the hospital, where I TRIED to explain to multiple medical professionals about my pain, and the dream, and what I needed.

THEY decided I was suicidal, and stopped listening to me. They sent me to an inpatient psychiatric facility for a week, where I experienced even more psychological trauma. The only person I met during that week who DID understand was a paramedic who was an Iraki war veteran. He had shrapnel in his head. He lived with pain daily. He understood the difference between wanting to die, and your brain trying to find solutions to situations.

The end result of these experiences was an anxiety disorder, severe depression, and PTSD.

I sat on the couch for two years. I barely spoke. I wasn’t really aware. People spoke to me, and I honestly felt everything they said meant nothing. Their questions were all obvious, and clearly rhetorical. I stared at the world, and felt nothing, thought nothing. I was empty, at the bottom of a deep well. The world was very dark, and I didn’t care. The only time I experienced any emotions, I would be having a panic attack.

Eventually, we realized that the hospital’s solution of drowning me in medication I didn’t need had exacerbated my situation. My doctor took me off every medication she could.

I was unmedicated for a little over a year…. and slowly, I started to live again. I wasn’t my old self, by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t think I’ll ever get that person back. She died – that’s how I look at it. We found out that I have a sensitivity to sugar. I’m not diabetic – it’s a different issue. If I have too much sugar, I get migraines. We also found out I needed glasses, which clearly contributed to my issues. Dehydration and forgetting to eat definitely contribute, but the main cause is sugar. I stopped drinking gatorade, which I had been drinking because of chronic electrolyte deficiencies, and got an app for my phone that reminded me to drink, and to eat. My migraines and my anxiety both cause me to become very scattered and forgetful. I needed those apps.

Because I was home, and unwell, I had a lot of spare time. I read a lot, but even someone for whom reading is a passion can become tired of reading when that’s ALL you do… so I started playing games from Google Play. I played mystery games – games with a story line, where you would have to find objects, and use them to complete tasks to get to the next section of the game.

I bought a LOT of games. It was becoming expensive.

My husband suggested I try creating a character on WoW. When we first met six years ago, I had tried to play, but I had this tiny Vista hybrid laptop. It had a flip around touch screen, and the latency on the thing was so bad, I couldn’t see what had killed me… It was so bad, that I got very frustrated and just decided that I wasn’t a gamer. I didn’t blame my tech… I blamed myself. After all… I’d played console games with friends. I knew I was bad at games. Shoot – I died during RPG’s.

However, he convinced me to give it another go. I had a newer computer, and he’d played on it. It wasn’t awful, so he thought I would be able to play. He was right, for the most part.

Because I have a lot of social anxiety, I didn’t run any dungeons. I just quested. Despite that, I leveled a toon to 100 in under four months. For a new player, that’s pretty good. He bought me Legion as a present, for making it that far.

The thing about Warcraft is that it gives me goals. Small, achievable tasks, for which I gain rewards. Slowly, my mental health improved, because my confidence in my own ability to solve problems grew. I started running dungeons with my husband and his best friend. I joined a guild and ran some content with them.

My new laptop couldn’t handle Legion. I had latency issues. I had lag issues. Loading into dungeons and scenarios took too long, and I frequently dc’d and spent a lot of time catching up to groups… and dying.

We started saving for a computer that could handle Legion. I got The Beast as a Valentine’s Day present this year. I LOVE my Beast.

After I got The Beast, and realized that a large part of my problems WERE in fact technological, I started feeling confident enough to pug dungeons. We moved to a higher population server (we’d been on Moonguard, which is an RP server, and not really our style) which was progression based, because I finally felt ready to move forward. To challenge myself.

I found a WONDERFUL guild. I can’t even begin to express how helpful and understanding they’ve been. I was clear from the start about my issues, and the reason we click so well is that they are a group designed to support people with my health issues.

Because of Warcraft, and a strong support system, I’ve begun to enjoy being challenged. I still get frustrated if I die a lot. I feel like I’ve failed my team. It just pushes me to learn more.

I’m working, right now, to gear a new character, because I want to get into the higher level dungeons, the mythic plusses, and into the Nighthold Raid. I want to run the heroic Guldan battle, and get my Ahead of the Curve achievement.

I want to be ready for when Tomb of Sargeras comes out. I want to be in the front lines. I want to be part of the team of guildies who run mythic challenges for the guild weekly.

A friend dragged me into battle ground scenarios last weekend. It was the first time I’ve done real PVP stuff. I didn’t die as often as I expected. It was chaotic, and confusing… but I learned a lot. I think I’d like to do more, because I know things about my toon I didn’t know before.

 

I have gone from someone who, when I couldn’t log into my bank account, ended up curled in a ball under a coffee table, completely hysterical, to someone who is actively looking to challenge herself. To push. To grow.

World of Warcraft saved me. I am reborn, and I am ready to face the World… and the world.

Thank you, Warcraft, for teaching me that I Can. And thank you, my husband, for insisting I try it. You’re right… it’s cheaper… and a lot more fun.

 

Spell to Protect another Spell from Damage or Destruction

“Neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor air,
Nor any element between,
Neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night,
Nor sun, nor sprite, nor meddling God,
Nor demon, angel, or denizen of places between spaces,
Shall stay this spell from the swift completion of its appointed purpose…
I bind this spell by might of Three…
By Spirit, Astral and my own Body.”

Written by K. Christmas.

Deck Interview Spread

This reading was adapted from a reading first posted to Aeclectic Tarot, which I actually discovered here. Please note that I have posted the original question, and then in parentheses, the question actually answered by the cards. I used The Gilded Tarot, and this is my first reading with them. They actually functioned the way my guides have told me that this deck should — they answered the question by telling me Work Information — the deck is supposed to be used for clarification of channeled information, if I’m confused about how to move forward on a Job — here, the deck told me what my Job is. I have six decks right now, and each one does something different… but that’s another post entirely. Oh, and my paraphrasing, or explaining the meanings of the cards is in ITALICS, but direct quotes (mostly) are in regular type. 
The spread didn’t do what it was supposed to do, obviously – the reading is actually supposed to be a simple six card spread that allows you to meet your new tarot deck and get to know it. It’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s personality. It will show how it can help you grow, become a better reader and a better person. My deck decided that instead of being interviewed, it would interview ME. 

1) Tell me about yourself — what is your most important characteristic? (Who am I and what is my most important characteristic?) 
9 of Swords — The nightmare I posted last was literally saying that I feel completely closed off and alone, but it’s partly my fault because I feel the need to protect my heart. I’m troubled by my inability to trust, but also by how all-pervading my spirituality has become. I’m searching for comfort from wisdom and truth, too much the Hermit, but I’m unwilling to reach out for help, even if it’s near at hand. I’m agonizing over my loneliness, but I don’t trust anyone to help guide or comfort me. It’s not pride that keeps me from asking for help… it’s my knowledge that either the people I might ask will think I’m nuts, or they won’t know how to help me – so I struggle on, alone and isolated. My most important characteristic is my lack of trust in others, and my resignation to work through it, as always, alone.

2) What are your strengths as a deck? (What are my strengths?)  
Ace of Cups — My gift of empathy, which allows me to love with a purity of emotion, is my greatest strength. Empathy is the spirit of emotion, which offers me guidance and allows me to guide others. Because my eyes are firmly on spirituality, I can more easily see my way through the wide range of human emotions, though there were times in my past where I was manipulated by other people’s emotions, which led me down some rocky roads. I am drawn by my feelings along my path, by a series of spiritual epiphanies. However, because of my illness, I often run from my own personal emotional experience, fearing, discounting, and avoiding the intensity of my feelings. I have trouble identifying and expressing my own emotions. 

3) What are your limits as a deck? (What are my limitations?) 
2 of Cups — Faced with the opportunity to partner with someone, whether it is a romantic union or a business venture, I have trouble honoring the gift of the moment and enjoying it, even when the potential for creating something special is there. I am aware of my unrealized potential, but though I am fully cognizant of my incredible loneliness, which is created by my trust issues, I am unable to move beyond them. All the elements of a strong partnership might be in place, but no forward movement happens, and the moment is lost, because of my lack of faith in anyone other than myself. I can never truly enjoy the moment, because I only see it as a form of enslavement. 

4) What do you bring to the table — what are you here to teach me? (What do I bring to the table – what do I teach others?) 
3 of Wands I teach people what they are sending out into the universe, and what will return to them. I teach them how to have patience, and how to have faith that the right outcome will happen. I teach them that all moments are moments of gestation, not action or control. I make choices, and then wait for the results. I am the embodiment of patience and control. (Wow… really? Weird. You guys don’t know me really well.) 

5) How can I best learn from and collaborate with you? (How can others best learn from and collaborate with me?) 
The Hanging Man — "More than any other figure in the Major Arcana, the Hanging Man represents the Fool. By turning himself upside down, by behaving in a manner not consistent with society, the Hanging Man may be judged a fool by many. The difference between the two is important, though. The Hanging Man has come through a challenging experience that gives him a sense of peace and understanding that only people who’ve successfully faced great trials have. The stylized sun above him represents his vision of himself and his place in the universe. He may flounder at times, but he knows who he is and from whence he gets his strength. He is willing to sacrifice society’s approval in order to be true to himself. The message of the Hanging Man is knowing when and what to sacrifice. I am clear about who I am and I let all my actions and decisions hang from that vision. Even if my actions feel clumsy or out of sync with others, I sacrifice their favorable opinion rather than be untrue to myself. I do not put more stock in what other people think than in what I believe to be right." (I’m thinking that the two cards above, The Hanging Man and the 3 of Wands, should be reversed, but my guides say NO.)
So basically, the best way to learn from me and collaborate with me on anything is to understand that I don’t really care about your opinion of me, as long as I’m being true to myself… and I expect you to be true to you, also – and whatever you need to do to be true to yourself, I will be OK with, unless it harms you, me, or someone else. 

6) What is the potential outcome of our relationship? (What is the potential outcome of a relationship with me?) 
6 of Wands — A hero’s welcome, a celebration of a great victory, and the Glory and Joy resulting from wise and balanced choices. Your achievements could only be the result of such well-made choices. You would be in the position to receive outwards congratulations for your actions. You will have done well, and will deserve to be recognized. Enjoy the accolades. So… work with me, end up with a happier life. I knew that, actually. 😛