I was chatting with Hope and Glory the other day and they both mentioned how quiet it was, magically speaking. No dreams, no gods knocking on the door demanding to be heard – it was this calm. Is it the calm in the eye of a storm or a lull before the next wave of storms hit? I don’t know. I remember being a newbie baby pagan and experiencing the rush of inspiration and adrenalin. It’s very much a high when you are in the middle of one of those download sessions with a guardian or deity. I also remember the sense of emptiness and how dull life became when it stopped. Was this it? Were they never going to speak with me again? Had I learned all that I was going to learn from them? I would worry had I done something to offend someone… Did I piss off my guardians? It was painful. I felt so empty, like a dull shadow of what I was when communing with a deity or chatting with one of my guardians. I was young and didn’t quite understand yet that gods are not bound by this linear time thing that we mortals are.
These days I have learned to cherish these quiet times.
I am blessed, and I must remember this at times like this, to have a coyote spirit mate and to have found yoga. Both of these gifts in my life often remind me that magic isn’t just speaking with the gods and helping them fight monsters or learning their secrets. It’s all about the internal work. It’s finding your own personal divinity within, whether you are making your way up the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, exploring your own chakras, or learning to find the soul seed and your Atman. This is the primary goal of magic: To help you grow as an individual and into your spiritual being, to obtain your own divinity.
As I type this Hope is not sitting behind me but I can hear her asking: “But how do you know what that is?”
The answer is still the same after all these years, Hope my dear. When you are on the right path, learning yourself and connecting with that Atman (higher self) – life becomes easier. Sure we have our struggles, but it’s not the same struggle over and over again unless you have some really shitty Samskaras to work through. For those not familiar with the yoga term Samskara think of it as scar tissue of your karma, those past mistakes you keep making over and over lifetime to lifetime that you can’t break free from. Samskara work makes working with your dark/shadow side a piece of cake –but that is a post for another day. Going back to Hope’s voice in my head – we’ve had this conversation over and over – YOU JUST KNOW and life is easier. Learn to trust yourself, my dear. ❤ (Bah! to ‘you just know!’ Hope)
So, back to my post….
How does one start on this path of internal work and study? Well, here is the catch – we are all individually unique with a wide variety of experiences. The path is different for everyone, but your differences are all going to work to your advantage in finding the path that works for you. We also carry with us baggage from past life, this life that affect how we learn and connect with divinity. It’s my personal thought that one of the biggest crimes committed by Western religion was to convince people that they needed someone more “holy” or “pure” than themselves to connect to deity, to be your go between and to speak for you and to you on the god(s) behalf. No one needs a priest or a priestess to speak with their god(s). That is the one advantage I’ve found in studying Eastern religions. In Eastern religions we are told from the start we have this seed of divinity inside and it’s up to us to learn to hear that voice, not wait for someone else to interpret that voice for us or to act as a go between. It is what resonates about paganism and the path of the magi for me.
And because I know my darling Hope will ask: How do you “start?”
First find something that calls to you that has some form of physical movement. Movement is a key to quieting the body, when you can quiet the body you can quiet the mind. When the mind is quiet, you can listen easier to your heart and your gut. You can focus on learning your own personal intuition and insight. Get out in nature, take a walk, ride a bike, take a tai chi class, a yoga class, blast the tunes in your house and dance like no one is watching. Perhaps you are already an Olympic athlete and maybe then there is something more physical if it calls you mountain climbing, kayaking or running a marathon. Our bodies are not meant to be static they are meant to move.
Second discover your ruts – for example I need three cups of tea in the morning before I can fully function. I have my favorite tea cup and a set ritual for making tea the way I like. This is my morning routine. I got my first cell phone a few months ago and it has become my new addiction it lets me check in with my spawn daily if not hour by hour. Some of these ruts are okay to be in. We need this time to heal to regroup and to regenerate ourselves. But other times these ruts are one of the many things that could be holding us back from trying something new. Ruts are safe; they are comfortable and they are the same. But routine holds traps in the illusion of safety. None of us evolve in a comfortable swaddle. Trying new things can suck. It’s scary and intimidating but it breaks you out of your normal routine, your rut, and offers new insight. Getting out of your ruts lets you look deep inside yourself and discover new parts of you that were once hidden. Learning your ruts takes you deep into your own psyche. It shows you your motivations and your traps.
Third, learn to nourish your body with the food it needs. Now I’m not advocating a set diet. There is no need to run off and become vegan or pure carnivore, I am an everything in moderation kind of gal with strong leanings to being vegetarian and some days vegan. Coyvere is an omnivore and youngest spawn has issues with dairy and for her personal ethics has chosen to eat a vegan diet. This child has never enjoyed meat even as a young newly hatched fledgling she never wanted meat. Children are pretty good at listening to what their bodies want and need. When she eats meat or dairy she is physically in discomfort. Physical pain and discomfort make it hard to meditate and to listen to those inner voices. What we put into our bodies should feed us physically and spiritual. Look at what you eat and notice if it affects you positively or negatively. BTW – tea in the morning makes me happy. No tea in the morning…. *shudders*. Some days I work out and want a huge slab of chocolate cake – I might try to see if I’m really craving magnesium first if that doesn’t help then well maybe I really do need a slab of chocolate cake and it does make me happy. Most days I don’t crave meat, but once in a while the tasty flesh of an animal seared over heat is what my body is craving and needs. The more in tune with what my body craves and needs food/energy/fuel wise the more balanced I feel and the better I feel. Happy tummies do lead to a happy heart. Happy hearts lead to hearts that can speak clearly.
Four – practice your spirituality. You don’t always have to do high holy ritual but for us as humans we do enjoy spirituality and ritual. It can be something as simple as lighting a candle and watching the full moon rise. It can be watching the sun set or a sun rise or preparing a meal for a loved one. You can volunteer, work in your garden, or build a home, lighting a stick of incense at your altar but do something that helps you find a connection to your deities, something that feels worshipful to you. These are all acts of devotion to yourself, to your loved ones and to your deities and guardians
Fifth – be gentle with yourself. Most of us fear judgement or ridicule from others, but in reality it is often our internal voice that is the most damaging. I’ve found (as with most things in life) that my biggest and worst enemy is myself. I bully and ride my own ass far harder than I would ever do to anyone else. I’ve been working on learning ahimsa (nonviolence) to myself. I’ll be honest – it a challenge and I’m glad someone reminded me the other day that we call it a practice. So I try to practice ahimsa on myself first now and then others.
The sixth step or thing you should think of doing to help find your spiritual path and work on the self is to nurture your mind. That saying of “You should learn something new every day” is so very true. Our minds love to be stretched and filled and exercised. There are so many ways to give this a try: gaming, reading a book, watching a movie, writing, going to a museum, taking a class and even speaking with someone always opens you up to learning new things and ideas.
To recap on how to work on your own magical path: Move, know your ruts and step out of them, nourish your body, practice your spirituality, be gentle with yourself and nurture your mind.
Be gentle to yourself!