Conversations with Deity

Are never as easy as one would believe.  Yes, I seem to have this great cosmic connection.  I’m blessed (or cursed as it were) to “hear” or sense answers from the Universe and Deity.  It gives the impression that I can just sit down and have a cuppa with an Energy and get endless answers.  So why can’t I just sit and write a blog post whenever and wherever with these grand conversations?  Because it isn’t ever that simple.  Yes, I hear them at all times of the day and night when they have something to say, but I don’t just sit down and say “Hey Deity, how are you today?  What shall we discuss?  How’s the weather and what do you want me to share today?”  Carte blanche access like that is an opening to let them have more access and control than I am willing to give.  Or an opening for absolute silence and possible rejection that is scary and often unwelcome.

In being asked why I haven’t had a post to share in ages, it was suggested I just reach out and talk to Herne.  He is, after all, my long standing Patron and someone I trust so he won’t try to go all power hungry and take me over right?  The answer I got when I reached out was quite simply this “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

Does that mean just because I can talk to Deity, I shouldn’t always?  That would be my take.  I don’t want to become dependent on their advice and insight.  I want to know that my mind is my own, and they are just occasional visitors coming in to say hi and share some insight.  They may have answers, but it doesn’t make them the right answers.

We seek, but to seek we have to have direction.  At least this is one of my guiding principles.  Unless you know for certain that you want to know the answers, don’t seek them.  Think it through before you ask for help because it isn’t always the help you need.

For a while now I have been stagnant with my own personal practice.  Yes, I celebrated Litha with a lovely Sabbat ritual online with my Online School.  But celebrations on my own?  Not so much.  Sabbats I try to join the online community I am part of to share energy and honor the energy that is surrounding us lbut beyond that…  I’ve felt a sort of disconnect.

I know, inherently, that the time to study is coming up.  That I need to get back to working on my spiritual (as well as other aspects) to find a sense of balance that I am missing.  I know that another group I am part of is going to be starting up a Chakra study again.  That I failed at miserably the first time it ran as a group effort because life got in the way.  So it is presenting itself as another lovely option for me to learn as a group and get off my spiritual ass and grow again.

Yet something holds me back.  Something makes me doubt.  There are Beings I can reach out to for help.  But are they truly going to guide me when even *I* am unsure of where I want to go and what I want to do?  The Charge of the Goddess (popularized by Doreen Valiente) tells us that the great mystery can only be solved when we look inside first.  Look within for the kernel of truth that starts it all.Deity will give us answers, will give us the answers they think we want, but how do we know they are the answers we truly need if we don’t start looking within?  How do we know they are the right answers for us if we don’t internalize and explore that which we seek?  We are ultimately the ones responsible for finding our own answers, and just because an answer is given, it doesn’t mean it is the best one.  Answers, spirituality, and conversations are really not one size

Deity will give us answers, will give us the answers they think we want, but how do we know they are the answers we truly need if we don’t start looking within?  How do we know they are the right answers for us if we don’t internalize and explore that which we seek?  We are ultimately the ones responsible for finding our own answers, and just because an answer is given, it doesn’t mean it is the best one.  Answers, spirituality, and conversations are really not one size fits all.

Perhaps, in this instance, the Conversation with Deity, is more to focus on what isn’t said.  A reminder that even no answer is still an answer.  “No right now” not just “No.”  Silence is an answer.  It is that gentle nudge that right now, they don’t have the answers you seek because you aren’t asking the right question or they aren’t the right one to give them.  Instead of relying on others to find the answers, start with self and figure out what you want asked first.  Only then can you really begin to find the answers you really need.

Followers, Worshipers, and Zealots, Oh my!

As often happens, this post is inspired by a conversation with Hope.  She asked first what the difference between a follower and a worshiper was.  That slowly morphed into “Well what do the Deities prefer?”  After two days of tete-a-tete and debate, a post has started forming.  Or perhaps it started yesterday but has solidified more today to be ready to start this post.  Let me first begin with definitions from Dictionary.com to help solidify more the meanings of each of these words….

Worship:

  1. 1:  to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power

  2. 2:  to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion a celebrity worshipped by her fans

Follower:

a:  one in the service of another :retainer
b:  one that follows the opinions or teachings of another
c:  one that imitates another

Devotee:

:  an ardent follower, supporter, or enthusiast (as of a religion, art form, or sport)

  • : a person who enjoys or is interested in something very much

  • : a person who has very strong loyalty to a particular religion or religious figure

Zealot:

  1. 1capitalized :  a member of a fanatical sect arising in Judea during the first century a.d.and militantly opposing the Roman domination of Palestine

  2. 2:  a zealous person; especially :  a fanatical partisan a religious zealot

: a person who has very strong feelings about something (such as religion or politics) and who wants other people to have those feelings : a zealous person

Why do I give these definitions, not just my definitions?  Because it sets the stage.  I have always thought worship is more formal, while followers are more loosely connected in their offerings.  A devotee is definitely one who honors and connects on a deeper level to a Deity.  Finally, a zealot is a fine line definition.  I tend to see them as the fanatics, those who are almost militant in their beliefs and worship.  It would seem, by the dictionary definition, my view of worship and following of Deity are actually reversed.  Or, perhaps they really aren’t all that disconnected as my brain has made them.

I suppose the real question and the crux of our conversation was more, do the Deities want stringent followers and organized “religion” or is the occasional offering and honoring okay.  There is a chorus of different answers in my head.  Some of the Deities I work with say “yes”, others say “no”, and yet others are more “meh, whatever.”

For most, I think the consensus is “So long as someone gives an offering and honors me, I don’t need a stringent following.  I accept the offerings and help as is truly needed.  Zealotry led to our downfall.  Yes, having Priests and Priestesses, followers and followings is what we all desire.  Some sort of semi-regular honoring.  But proselytizing is just not becoming of us any longer.”

Like much along this path, there is no real clear and definitive answer.  It largely boils down to the individual and the Deity they are working with.  The connection they have and the beliefs they hold.  Ultimately, listening to what the Deity prefers.  What others do if they are practicing in a group, and what they are capable of doing in their locale.

Let’s be honest, it’s not always easy to have large Esbat or Sabbat rituals and we are as often as not solitary practitioners for whatever reason.  This makes it difficult to form any formalized “religion” and practice and following or worship becomes the norm.  Hence the…  not necessarily ambivalence, but the laissez-faire attitude.  I think Hope put it best earlier today when she said, “So it comes down to quality over quantity.”

As is so often the case, knowing you have the support of a handful of dedicated few, is a lovely thing.  It keeps them relevant.  It gives their ego and their energy a boost.  So long as they are relevant and receive energy and honor or offerings, is much more needed?

Of course, as I ask that I hear a shouted, “Of course there is!”  But the question is, what more is needed and are there those out there willing to offer it.  Sure there are, but is it really acceptable for it to be offered.  In some cases, sure.  It is situational I’m sure.

I feel like I’m rambling here, but I think the question is just a wee bit circular and not so easily answered.  I’m trying to figure it out as I go.  That’s all I can really do.  And I’m trying to share the answers I hear.

What do YOU think?  Do we need more formal and structured interaction with the Deities we form bonds with?  Or is informal and steady offerings enough?

Though I have been called Oracle and seem to hear the words or messages of many, my practice is still more informal.  Making offerings as the moment or need arises.  A few have a permanent place on my honoring shelf.  I have incense for a select few Deities that I burn as offerings.  I work with the Deities most appropriate for spells on the rare occasion I cast them.  But for the most part, I sit back and watch.  I follow my gut and the situation.  I am a Daughter of the Lord and Lady, the God and Goddess and the faces they take are the faces needed in the moment.  While some names or faces are more permanent or steady in my life, the energy of the Universe is more my following.  For now, they are happy with that.  Or is it content to know I honor them, even if I don’t follow, worship or devote 100% to them?  We exist and co-exist in the moments the wheel turns and our spokes align.

I truly believe ours is a personal path, and so long as we live a good life, not intent on causing others harm while living our life, then there is no real right or wrong answer.  We each find what works for us and go forward.  For some that is a group or Coven with structured practice.  For others that is church, synagogue or mosque to worship with a group of like-minded individuals.  For me, it is being in nature, be it under the trees or toes dipped in the seas.  My path is not to please, while on bended knees.  But to live and laugh, as I walk my path.  Finding joy and sharing with all, as I feel the call.  So live your path, and fear no wrath.  Follower, worshipper, devotee or other matters not, when you are honest with your Deific lot!

Conversations with Deity

Glory here.  Hope has been asking me for quite some time to share conversations with Loki and other Deities who take up residence in my head.  Sharing wisdom and insights I gain from them and being open to asking questions or doing “interviews” of sorts I suppose would be the easiest way to describe it.  The biggest problem here, I have no idea where to start!

“At the beginning is a good place,”  interjects Loki.  Well yes Loki, that is always a good place to start I suppose.  But where is the beginning?  When Loki first decided it would be a good time to make himself heard?  Or when I finally acknowledged that I just may have a touch of Oracle to myself in this life and can really hear what seems to be Deities of old?

Yes, these are two entirely different incidents – the former occurring roughly 5 years ago this month, the latter only happening in full in the last year.  Though, I suppose if I’m entirely honest, I’ve “heard” chatter or gotten insights from Deity for closer to 8 years now.  The chatter and nudges began when I finally decided in earnest to accept my desire for “more” and joined an online Wiccan school.  It seems, in accepting the magic in my life, and actively learning about it, an entire world of possibilities and chatter opened up to me.  (Though, even that isn’t entirely true as the first time I saw/heard the Fae was almost a decade ago in Nettle’s back yard after sharing an offering from the apple pie I was baking.  No longer can I make an apple pie without Fae swarming, but that isn’t really a conversation now is it?)

Back to meeting Loki.  I was in a chat at the online Wiccan school.  I was about to begin grading for our First Degree students, but that had not been announced yet.  One of the students in the chat mentioned work she was doing and was absolutely sure that her grader would know more about Loki than she did.  I mentioned that the possibility was strong the grader wouldn’t, as we all have different areas of expertise and Graders can’t possibly know every Deity.  You see, at that point, I avoided the Norse Deities like the plague.  They held no interest for me.  I was, and still am, very strongly tied to the Celts so saw no need to explore the Norse pantheon.  Loki, however, must have been listening and I heard a very distinctive “I can change that.” For the next half an hour to an hour, he tried to Matrix me and take over a part of my psyche to “download” information about him.

I fought his presence for everything I was worth.  Refusing to let a Deity have any sort of hold or access to me like that was absolutely unthinkable.  While almost purely a mental “fight”, by the end of it I was left light headed, tired, and felt a bit ill.  I thought it was all done and I had won.  Oh, the naivete.  Loki, in the end, refused to give up because I had fought him and fought him off.  I had piqued his curiosity and interest.  Long story short, a scant 9 months later our youngest daughter was born.  When it shouldn’t have happened because we were doing so much to prevent any more children.  (She is the youngest of 4.)  The how and why aren’t important, but the result is he has hung around because he has a vested interest in her, and myself as I raise her.  Has to make sure I do it right, now doesn’t he?

The more she grows, the more I seem to hear Loki (and others.)  But it’s not just the more she grows.  Because as she gets older, I continue to walk my path and learn more about myself, exploring my abilities, my gifts, and learning more about the world around me.  More fully accepting my spirituality and embracing the unknown.  It seems that in doing this, I discover closer ties to Deities and am better able to hear them when they seek to speak to me.  Or deliver messages to others.

While I had talked to Deities and a few other “other” beings, I didn’t truly accept my connection until last year.  Nor not fully at least.  After a couple of incidents last year I’ve decided it’s time to stop running and accept the situation.  I may not always like it, I may not always “rise to the occasion” but I am doing my best to accept it and move forward with dignity and honor the voices and messages.Well, that is after I vet the voices and make sure they are who they say they are.  Because let’s face it, there are a lot of powers and energies out that that want to be heard and will pretend to be someone else for a bit of attention.  Yes, even here I speak from experience.  Experience is a harsh task master.  While walking this path, we only really and truly learn when we practice.  That is why Paganism, Heathenism, Wicca, and similar spiritualities are called a practice.  Because to learn, we must walk the path and practice to gain mastery.  Even then, our “mastery” is only until a new experience comes up that causes us to question, explore and learn anew.

Yes, I realize I sound crazy.  “I can hear Deities talking in my head.”  Prepare the rubber room and the uncomfortable jacket.  Honestly, though, in a world where we accept so much, is it really so hard to believe that a person can hear Deities sharing wisdom and insights for others?  No, I don’t want the attention.  I don’t want half of what is attached to this “gift” most days.  I do, however, miss it and question myself when I don’t hear anything at all.

So, yes.  Moving forward I may share posts now and then under the heading of “Conversations with Loki.”  What they will be, or what I will share, I honestly don’t know.  Knowing Loki, some may be fun and lighthearted while others may be painful for myself or others and cause us to think, evaluate, learn and grow.  (He says to definitely expect those.)  He is a Deity of Chaos and Trickery after all.  Through chaos, we learn.  Through chaos, we grow.  Painfully.  Slowly.  But we learn, and we are stronger for it in the end.  So, until next time, I wish you fun and joy, but most importantly I wish you well!

Now you see me – now you don’t!

Our Path is called a practice because we constantly seek to learn and grow as we go.  We walk the Wiccan/Pagan/Heathen Path because we desire freedom with few binds and some guidelines.  We value our solitary path while knowing there is a larger web and ability to join with and practice with others now and then.  In that vein, we constantly seek new ideas, ideals, and knowledge.  Knowledge is our friend, a constant companion and one that can be elusive at times.  I recently had the honor and privilege of doing an online class for Psychic Defense with the lovely Thenea over at Magick From Scratch.  If she offers the class again (which we did via Skype) and you have the means, I definitely suggest it.  I learned a great deal from her, and even more about myself.

One of the techniques and exercises we practiced over the four weeks was disguising our energy and ourselves from those who may direct an attack our way.  Those attacks, by the way, are not always as easy as you may think or see in popular fiction (be it in a book or on TV/Movie).  And the disguising yourself can be much easier than you may think.  We practiced disguising ourselves in the Astral, but we also practiced one for our physical appearance.  The latter is the one Hope wants me to share a bit more about.

The technique is available over on Thenea’s blog (linked above) but my experience is the one I’m going to focus on.  Never have I actually tried to work a bit of magick or glamor with others watching.  So that class was a first for me.  I physically directed my energy to work through the process of creating an image to superimpose over my own, after gaining the permission of the energy I was using.  I chose to go with Medusa as she volunteered.  But I created a semi-cartoony version of her energy.  Instead of the beautiful woman with snakes for hair, I had a single cobra head with a woman’s body.  If you’ve seen the cartoon Ninjago, think of the serpentine…s-l1000That’s closest to what I did.

Being Medusa, though, I gave her a green-gold skin tone with lovely scales.  Once I settled the image over myself, I looked up and my hubby, sitting at the other end of our joint desk, had a bit of a yellow-green haze over him.  It wasn’t a huge difference, but enough that it was as if I were looking through a haze of energy.  Something else I’ve never actively done before either.  Thenea said she was able to see a bit of difference as well, though I don’t know exactly what she saw.  Just that my image over Skype had changed as well.  I do know that once I removed the glamor/costume as it were that the haze was gone, so “something” changed with the work.

The process was straightforward, and as I mentioned there is a post already up to walk you through it with sample images over on Magick From Scratch.  If you are wanting a line of defense to shore up against psychic attack, check it out and practice.

Back to that word, practice.  The only way we can hope to gain mastery and prepare ourselves for what may come is to keep working and learning new things.  That’s what the course I did last month was for me.  Reminding me of what I know about defending myself and learning new techniques to do more.  It was also learning ways to determine if a string of bad luck or other malaise is just life throwing curve balls or someone actually breaching defenses.  It is not the only working I’ve been doing to improve my skills and continue to learn, grow and evolve on my path.  It is, however, by far one of the most interesting things I have done lately.  And a reminder that sometimes we really do need to go to others to shore up our knowledge and well of experiences to keep feeding our spiritual needs and practices.

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.

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!