Samhain Blessings

Halloween, All Hallow’s, All Souls, All Saints, Samhain, and Day of the Dead.

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However you celebrate this time of year: by recognising the thinning of the veil, or the lives of your ancestors, perhaps it is with Persephone embracing the crown as Queen of the Underworld, or the start of the new year. May your harvest be fruitful and your ancestors at peace.

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We call to the Ancestors
Those who walked before and
Who keep our connection to the Old Ones
We invite you this night as we honor you and the
Gift of the final harvest

Holy Lord(s)
The Harvest is complete
And we ask you to come
And share in the Festival
Join us in our joy as we celebrate the cycle of life

Great Crone (goddess)
You who guide us to the Underworld
that we may learn from your Lord
We bid you welcome.
We ask you to come and join us
And celebrate your gifts of harvest for your people

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Do Labels Help or Hurt?

Hope and I were discussing a mutual friend, who has had issues in the past with channeling darker destructive entities and causing harm to others we care about.  She asked why The Powers That Be (TPTB) didn’t stage an intervention.  Our friend after all is an Oracle or has the potential to be an Oracle – why don’t they intervene for one who could do so much for them?

I reminded her that Deities and Powers don’t force their will on us, even when we may benefit.  (Hope begs to differ, based on personal experience!) We have choice and free will. (Again, Hope doesn’t buy that) Our friend thinks she acts from a place of love and light therefor has denied help in the past.  Much like an alcoholic or drug addiction, we cannot force help on them if they don’t desire it.  They will walk away as soon as we are done and go back to doing what we tried to intervene for.  This rankles Hope to no end and someone she cares for may be being hurt.

It evolved to discussing a couple of my Patrons – Herne the Hunter and A’palymi (an ancient Lemurian Destroyer Goddess.)   Hope asked how well they got along, to which i replied they get along just fine.  Herne leads the Wild Hunt, searching out those who murder, rape and act in a purely malicious manner and A’palymi is portrayed as evil because she is a Destroyer. A’palymi is NOT evil.  Destruction is necessary for new growth and possibility.

We further debated just what is evil?  Are the forces our friend works with inherently evil?  Is she?  How do we define evil?  Just who has that right?  Society labels actions and people as evil for things they do, but also labels others as good.  But those label are subjective, based on the experiences and views surrounding a group of people.

I ask again, who is right and who is wrong?  In the end, who is the one to give these labels, and who is correct?  The one making the labels sure thinks they are correct while others think them wrong.  Are we as humans truly equipped to make unbiased judgements?

Hope asks if even Deities can make unbiased judgements.  I posit that they have the tools to see a person completely, not just pieces at a time.  They can review an entire life, every action and thought behind it.  As humans, we don’t have that ability.  Deities and TPTB definitely have an unfair advantage there. Hope says that that still doesn’t mean They are unbiased.

I think the problem lies more in the need for and concept of labels.  Labels present undue expectations.  They influence reactions, before you even walk in and talk to someone.  Like many unjustly label A’palymi or Kali or other Dark Goddesses as evil purely for the act of being a Dark Goddess.  They aren’t evil.  They fulfill an function in the act of Balance in the Universe.  They just are.  They are neither good nor evil,  yet many insist on giving them that label.

I propose that the real problem goes back to labels and the less evolved thinking I discussed in my last post.  We need to stop judging and labeling.  It only divides and tears us down, it does not encourage or foster unity.  They do more harm than good.  Perhaps as those following a more peaceful and love centered spirituality we and hold be called to tear down the labels and judgements and hold down foster love and exploration for understanding.

Truly Seeing Vs. Autopilot

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I saw this one on Facebook today and it sums up quite succinctly a couple of themes that have been going through my head lately.  The problem with so much of what is going on in the world today is that we don’t look deeper.  We judge based on the cover of the book instead of actually opening it and looking inside to see what is really there and going on.

Perhaps it is a function of “evolved thinking” that I get so frustrated when I see all of the discord, prejudice, and everything other bit of phobic and manic behavior.  If w are to truly and honestly walk this path, evolve, and see the Goddess return and be accepted, we HAVE to stop looking at the outside and see the soul within.  We are spirits and pieces of the divine living a human experience.  Stop letting Ego rule.

So often right now I see too many people getting caught up in this cause or that cause, I call it the war of the hashtags.  Or pushing their beliefs as being more important than anyone else’s, yet decrying they don’t like being persecuted for their beliefs/stance.  Well hey, how about they take a look at just what they are posting/preaching/saying.  So often it is a reflection of their own thoughts and internal dialogues.

I work so very hard to stay out of all of the drama.  I scroll past the political, the religious and the inflammatory posts.  I just don’t need or want that energy in my life.  I don’t argue my opinion, I don’t chime in, I just keep my thoughts to myself and scroll on.  Because I know that too many of those I would reply to, the fallout and commentary would not be debate but attack and counter-attack. Invariably, some will feel vindicated while others offended and ostracized.  I don’t need that.  I’ve been there, done that and just refuse to go there again.

What I do, however, is walk with the Goddess AND God in my heart.  I seek balance and love everyone, giving every person the love and respect they deserve for who/what they are on the INSIDE.  I don’t care about race/religion/gender/nationality/profession/body type.  I don’t see the cover, and haven’t for a long time now.  I look deeper, and let the inside, the soul, the Divine spark, of those I surround myself be what I see.  Our bodies don’t define us.  Our Paths don’t define us.  Liking a post on Facebook doesn’t mean you’re anymore devout than scrolling because you don’t believe the hype or don’t believe the phony message portrayed.

Spirituality, true spirituality, is walking with the Divine and seeing the Divine in all.  Accepting others for their beliefs, even when we don’t believe and respect those beliefs.  We don’t have to like it, we can think they are idiotic, but we also realize that we can’t always argue with them to sway them.  Some are just going to continue to believe the BS they are fed.  We can still love them.  We can still disagree.  But we can damn sure save our sanity and not engage.  Because, at the end of the day, we walk a Path that is about love – Universal, pure and beautiful love.

When a Funk is not a funk

I have been lucky enough to know Hope and Glory for a long time now – I’m not going to say how many years, it’s not relevant. Our relationship has been lifetimes in the making. (Hope has no proof of reincarnation. She remains skeptical) When you have known someone for this long, you start to really understand them and their moods. Good moods, bad moods and even when they are in a down right funk. If you ask them they know my moods as well. It happens with friends. You don’t even have to be empathic to notice these things.   You just have to have your head out of your ass er… your heart open to see and feel the emotions of those around you. It’s not some trick.

So when Hope or Glory are in a funk I know, when they are truly excited and happy I know. When they feel trapped and are struggling I know and vice versa.  They are family and we know when someone is off. Most of the time this off-ness is normal. I understand that emotions like everything in life are on a continuum. We are not meant to be always happy or always sad but flow from one emotion to the next.  I teach and study yoga; this is one of the key parts of a healthy yoga practice, to know and to focus on the moment, to experience that emotion fully, and then move on to the next. We are always flowing and ever changing.

So when Hope, Glory, one of my Spawn or Coyvere gets stuck in an emotion, it’s a flag to me that something is up. Not always ‘oh, my stars and garters, it’s a magical attack!’, but something wrong – let’s dig into it and find out what’s up.

I have my check lists that I always run thought before jumping to a magical cause. Do I need to eat, do I need to drink something, am I in pain because I over did something, and lastly am I really just this pissy and moody because of hormones or is there something else going on?  Coyvere has blood sugar issues; he can get rather dark, broody and glum if he hasn’t eaten in a couple of hours. Both he and I were hard on our bodies in our youth so they ache at times. Being pre-menopause sucks. These are just realities of my being in a human body.

On the days, where I feed Coyvere and drink some water, we both go back to our normal and it’s all good. Maybe I’ll take a bath in some Epson salts to soak these poor muscles and joints; things relax, pain goes away, and to quote one of my favorite children’s books again “it’s all good”.  Hormone stuff – well, that’s just a ball of long tailed wet cats in a room full of rocking chairs – no real safe way to check that other than personal recognition. Once I’ve got though this check list and if any of these things help then I know the cause is physical or mental.

Days when I go through the check list and nothing helps, like chatting with Hope and getting a headache, and feeling just wave after emotional wave of panic coming off of her, then I can go huh… that’s not right. Maybe there is something else going on.

Recognize that your thoughts come and go; they are not inevitable, nor are they permanent. This is not saying you don’t have a right to be pissed off, or angry, or afraid of something or a situation. It does mean that if you can’t let go of that fear, pissed off or that anger maybe just maybe something is feeding that emotion.  When logic fails then it’s time to check for magical influence. Which (witch?) sounds strange given that magic has logic, but I digress.

Remember the post the three of us wrote a few months ago on cleaning and warding. That is always the first step in checking to see if something has a magical influence. Clean yourself off, dust those chakras, and polish up that aura. Redo your wards, reinforce your wards. Clean off other family members and the pets. Maybe even burn some incense.  Do what you need to do to get the icky out of your house and off you.

If this doesn’t help, call a friend. Friends have a wonderful way of helping you when you are down and with calling you out. We are not always meant to travel this journey alone learn and it is always okay to ask for help

Curses foiled again

Over the past few months I’ve had this conversation with a very dear friend of mine, Marigold, as well as a couple of family members and acquaintances. So when Hope came to me with a problem about her sibling being cursed I was full of advice.

Nettle: “No… it’s not a constant sending of negative energy, that is the crazy part of someone “cursing you” or sending you negative juju – you have to believe it’s happening and then you feed that seed by believing it. It takes about a month to break out of that cycle.

Hope: “So it’s all in their heads? Really, Nettle!

Nettle: “Yes and no, it’s a neophyte negative fantasy – let me explain.”

Hope: (with great foreshadowing) “lol, I sense a post emerging!”

Nettle: (putting on my best professorial robes):

“To curse someone takes energy. It’s a big spell and one that most of us believe – someone is sitting in a dark room chanting to the gods of evil, making prayers and chanting thoughts, sending doom and despair in our direction. Sadly, there is a much more malevolent reality. Think for a moment- who has the time and energy to chant dark thoughts for or about someone all day long? Not me, for sure. Some days I contemplate but then mundane realities like dishes, laundry, having to pay the bills, feed the cats, feed the humans – these all interrupt and well, poof there goes all my thoughts of death, destruction, and world domination.

The reality is that WE BELIEVE we are cursed, and once that seed is planted “all these bad things are happening to me, I must be (The) ‘Cursed”. We feed that seed. Everything bad then because power or food for ‘The Curse.’

‘The Curse’ is a small bit of energy sent as a suggestion that grows and grows by our fear and belief.

So, did someone send them negative thoughts? Yes.

Are they really powerful enough to make “The Curse” on them happen? I have my doubts. Most people do not have that level of power to always send energy to make the bad shit happen. Sure, they may believe they have the ear of the Furies, but it’s not likely.

But when we think/ feel/ believe everything bad that is happening to me right now is because John ‘Cursed’ me last week, we’ve fed ‘The Curse’ with our own power. We are feeding this illusion with our own power.

That is why they are so hard to break from, because we create and feed this illusion.

The reality is that sometimes things suck, sometimes bad things happen, there are random acts of chaos.

There is also nothing wrong with sending out a curse breaker, that will help us overcome the illusion. With most curses being illusion, and illusion being some of the hardest magic to work with or against, it does become a huge challenge to overcome. All tools are useful.

And there is your post my dear.”

(I, Nettle paused here for a sip of tea and to let my fingers rest and to adjust these fancy robes)

Hope: “It’s a nice little post!”

Nettle: “Thanks … does it make sense? This really got to me when I was going though chemo and dealing with cancer”

Hope: “It does make sense.”

Nettle: “It was hard to watch the number of people who thought, felt, and believed they were being punished by someone, and that something gave them cancer. These people walked around beaten, battered, and just soul sick.  I had to really work that my cancer was just some random, fucked up chaos of the universe, nothing personal. I’d done nothing to deserve it nor was it a punishment for something I’d done in a past life. It was a random act of chaos – I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. That mindset got reinforced each week with your Reiki and I’m sure that is why 16 years later I’m still cancer free.”

Hope: “Yes, you really ought to transcribe this into a post for the blog. It is very powerful.”

(Then I, Nettle, preened like a happy cat)

Nettle: “It shall be done, Number One.”

Hope: “Make it so!”

And it was, and it was kind of good.

Who hasn’t asked or felt when things in our life suck ‘Is something or someone causing this to happen to me?’ Maybe you had a friend an acquaintance (seriously you can’t call someone a friend who calls the furies on you) who was angry or felt the need to teach you a lesson and thought they knew the best way to teach that lesson was to call a Fury or some other vengeful spirit. I am not going to deny the existence of these beings. The Furies exist, as do other vengeful spirits and guardians.  They have their purpose and reason for being, to bring balance to the universe.  Yet to summon the Furies because someone has pissed you off is like getting a nuke to rid your house of termites.

Life lessons happen; some may be planned, and some are random.

Curses are real, but they are also some of the best illusion magic out there; so what does one do when they think they are cursed?

Do a bit of cleaning (physical and spiritual) of your space, self, and home.  Burn some sage or other incenses.  I’m a fan of a good Mirror spell, using a mirror to bounce the energy back to the caster as well as help you to see the illusion of the spell itself. Rowan branches, iron nails, black lava stones or maybe a nice piece of Ruby in Zoisite to turn that negative energy into something positive.

Take a deep breath and think “What’s really going on here.”

What is Meditation?

Yesterday, while going about my day, I remembered a post from one of the Fitness Coaches I follow months back.  She asked about Meditation and a host of Christians jumped in poo-pooing meditation, saying it was evil.  Telling her instead to pray and read her Bible.  I got annoyed then but didn’t comment; instead I walked away.

Today my Mom started asking about grounding, centering, meditating and ritual.  It reminded me that there is much misconception to what exactly meditation is.  It isn’t always a Monk folded into lotus position with hands on his knees, fingers together and eyes closed in quiet contemplation.

Meditation is pure and simply living in the moment, being focused on a singular task, thought, or activity to the point of excluding distractions.  It can be totally engulfed in a song and letting it carry you away.  It can be focusing on washing each dish by hand and reveling in the feel of the water on your hand and that dish.  It can be sitting, eyes closed and envisioning a scene to help you relax and explore your inner landscape.  It can be drumming and following the rhythm to allow your body, mind and conscious to match the beat to relieve stress and just be.

There are a wealth of meditations out there to be read, followed, listened to, and tried at your leisure.  Meditation is there to help us relax, release stress, and find a bit of balance in our often too busy lives.  It is important for us all, no matter our religion.  So going back to my initial story, it really annoys me when someone equates meditation with evil.  It just isn’t.  It is a tool to help any and every one of us to slow down and enjoy our lives.

It can be those quiet or spoken prayers a Christian says to God.  It is the prayer mat intonations a Muslim gives throughout the day when called to.  It is the lotus position om chanting practice of the Hindu and Buddhists.  Meditation is as varied as the individuals practicing it.  Each one a singular and different experience for the person practicing it.  Images change, messages may differ.  It is what it needs to be and is not defined or constrained by definitions or words we as a human experience give it.

Meditation is not evil or a gateway for evil.  It is a tool to help us find, achieve and maintain balance in our lives.  That is it.  Pure and simple.  Something often lacking in our lives.  A stolen, quiet moment to ourselves to solidify our goals, release our angst, and just be the perfect us we are meant to be.  So go say your devotionals, walk a moon lit path in your mental dreamscape, say the rosary, sit in lotus and chant “Om” or whatever calls to you.  But find the simple moments that call to you, and relax, de-stress, and just be.  Meditate for you.  For your health, your happiness and a bit of balance!

Samskara

A quick language lesson in Sanskrit to help put to words some of these ideas I’ll be delving into in my post.

  • Samskara: mental impression, emotional knots or subconscious imprints – the mistakes we make over and over again.
  • Sankalpa: a wish from the heart or mind, one pointed resolve to do or to focus on something to improve the self.
  • Atman: the higher or supreme self that resides with deity.
  • Purusha: The soul – sometimes referred to as male or masculine always eternal and indestructible reality of you.
  • Prakriti: divine feminine can also mean that found in nature in its unaltered form it can also mean “that which gives shape or form” nature or pure energy. Prakriti can also be our physical body and mind as well as earth, air, fire, and water. Always eternal and indestructible reality of you.

These days it seems to be all the rage among Pagan communities to find or deal with your dark/shadow side.  While I’m not dismissing this practices in the least I would like to point out that the idea is not something new. Shamans have been dealing with inner demons as part of their practices for centuries and yogis have samskara and sankalpa

In a very basic definition samskara is the scar tissue of your karma, the trigger that keeps you making the same mistake life time after life time.

Sankalpa is a wish your heart makes to help overcome your samskara.

Most of us, when we think of resolutions or ideas to make ourselves better, are trapped in the cultural mindset of how or where we were raised.  We tend to think of this as:

  • If I lose 10 pounds my life would be great…
  • If I quit smoking all my dreams would come true…
  • I’ll make a vow to go to the gym three times a week…
  • If I quit abusing drugs and or alcohol, sugar or caffeine etc…

While some of these are great resolutions that may help you to dig into your dark/shadow side, for the most part these are temporary fixes to a much larger issue. When we become suckered into thinking that some random physical changes to your body or even where you live or what you do to make a living will make your life suddenly easier, we become trapped in our samskara, we are in the Prakriti of life.

Sankalpa, as I said, is a wish your heart makes – a very tiny whisper that once spoken for most of us ego/mind takes over that idea and dismisses it. Sankalpa speaks to us as if we are already divine, it is the voice of our Atman and Purusha– the part of us that already or is always at one with the divine.  Sankalpa whispers things like:

  • You are loved and you can love
  • You are divine
  • Within you is the power to do anything

Enlightenment is not a constant state. We have moments of enlightenment – that instant in that space between the inhale and the exhale and then it’s gone. Our mind, our ego, and this physical body demand that we be present in this physical space –  it’s the price of being alive. Unlike the monks and sages of old, we do not have staff that sees to our physical needs, allowing us the luxury of working to exist in a state of constant enlightenment. We can only hope for these single flashing moments.

I do use yoga and meditation to find these moments as well as an active practice of mindfulness. Notice, please, I said practice, not perfect. It’s a meditation practice, a mindfulness practice.

So just what the heck is this mindfulness anyway?

I like to think of mindfulness is having all my senses aware of one thing at the same time.  I take a piece of chocolate smell it, feel it, look at, smell it, stick it on my tongue and let it melt slowly trying my best to wrap all my physical sense around the chocolate.  I don’t want to become one with the chocolate but I do want to experience the essence of the chocolate with all my physical abilities as well as mental and emotional.  So for a moment I have that, then it’s gone. But that’s okay; it means I get more chocolate, right? Well, maybe I have to watch and to check is that my samskara speaking or my ego saying I need deserve more.  Sometimes my body does really need chocolate.

Another tool yogi’s use is a guided meditation called Yoga Nidra. This is a guided meditative practice that allows for a very deep relaxed state but a still conscious mind. Some equate this to lucid dreaming state. It’s a fantastic experiment should you ever wish to give it a try some night – there are a number online free. Just google Yoga Nidra sometime and enjoy. I have a couple favorites that I listen to time and time again. Each time I hear something new and learn something new.

May you find a moment of enlightenment!