Categories
witchcraft

What’s your frog song?

I was out for a sunset hike this evening, walking through one of my favorite wooded spots, when I heard something marvelous: the trilling sound of frogs singing their little hearts out.

I stood there, taking it all in: the frog symphony, the birds twittering before bed, the sound of branches creaking in the breeze, the rosy-orange light dipping behind the hillside.

In that moment, I didn’t want anything I didn’t already have. 

I wasn’t thinking about yesterday or worrying about tomorrow. 

I felt grounded in my body and right with the world.

Going outside, for me, is a surefire way of feeling more at peace, no matter if deadlines are looming, dinner’s not made, and laundry needs doing.

We all need these ports in the storm, but we don’t come with an owner’s manual–we must discover what our unique havens look and feel like for us.

Too often, we wait until we’re depleted and hanging by a thread, and then we reach for the nearest thing to help us check out: Netflix, another beer, or scrolling through our Facebook feed.

While there’s nothing wrong, necessarily, with any of these pursuits, rarely do they leave us feeling truly nourished. We might get a respite from our worries, but there’s often a nagging sensation that problems are merely lurking at the margins.

While I love me some Netflix, being in nature is different. Rather than helping me check out, it invites me to check in–with how I’m feeling, with my state of mind, with my body.

In this place, when all of my parts feel acknowledged, they start to release their attachments, tensions, and story lines. No longer clamoring for my attention, they relax into what I can best describe as a “dynamic stillness.” 

And in this state of being, while the externals of my life might be the same, I’m able to see new options and creative solutions, or simply be at ease with leaving things be.

What’s your frog song?

What’s the thing that helps you drop into who you are and feel at peace, even if only for a minute or three?

Don’t wait until crap hits the fan. Make time for your frog song today.

Categories
mind and emotions witchcraft

Is that a fact?

Our self-talk can impose serious limitations on our lives when we state an opinion as a fact and when we use this as inarguable justification for our action or inaction.

Let’s say Laura is mulling over her financial situation. Her health insurance premiums as a freelance writer are eating up her monthly income, but she doesn’t want to get a full-time job because she’ll have to write about topics she hates all the time, and she’ll never be able to write about things she enjoys.

If I were to sift through her mental conversation, these look like factual statements to me:

Laura’s health insurance costs are x, which represents 35% of her income.

Laura wants to pay less for her health insurance.

A full-time job is one possible option for accessing lower-cost health insurance.

These, however, are untested assumptions, not facts:

A full-time job will require her to only write about topics she hates.

A full-time job will prevent her from writing about things she enjoys.

Now, I’m not even advocating that Laura run out and get a full-time job. What I am advocating is that Laura–and I myself, and all of us–look at our untested assumptions, particularly when they are having a direct impact on how we act or don’t act.

Our assumptions and biases set up blind spots in our lives. If Laura is determined that all full-time positions represent misery, is it possible that she is subconsciously filtering out information to the contrary, such as job listings and other career opportunities that could be enjoyable?

Consider this passage from Amy E. Herman’s book Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life:

The process of sorting out the pertinent or important from the inordinate amount of information received by our senses is quick, involuntary, and, scientists believe, somewhat unconscious. The brain scans information received from our environment until something captures our attention; only then is it uploaded into our consciousness. Since our capacity for attention is finite, only a relatively small amount of input is ‘realized.’ Information that is not categorized passes through the brain unassimilated; it exists, but we don’t perceive it.

What is one of the ways that our brain creates a shortcut when sifting out what’s important and what’s not? Through our biases.

In the words of Anaïs Nin, “We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.”

Seeing With New Eyes

Later in the book, Herman outlines a simple three-step process for addressing the biases that each and every one of us has.

  1. Start by becoming aware of your biases and work on releasing the unhelpful ones.

We all have biases. If you are a human being, you have them. With that in mind, all of us can benefit from looking at what our individual biases are. You don’t have to share them with other people; this can be a private process, so no shame, no blame. Just honest, compassionate self-reflection.

Once you’ve identified a bias, ask yourself the following questions (taken directly from Herman’s book):

Are my prejudices or my way of viewing things limiting how I listen to and communicate with others? Are my biases helpful or harmful to me and my success?

If they are limiting or harmful, work to release them. Simply being aware of our biases can go a long way in this department, and then it’s a matter of recognizing when they crop up in daily life and consciously choosing to explore other ways of seeing the situation.

If you find your “all full-time jobs are utter shit” bias rearing its head, pause and look at the situation from another angle. Try asking yourself: What are some positive things about this job opportunity? Pretend that you’re trying to convince someone else that this job is a good opportunity for them–what reasons would you provide?

If this proves too difficult, remove yourself from the situation or otherwise create distance to lessen the effect your biases are exerting. For example, perhaps you ask a friend to read the job description and describe, from their perspective, what they see as the possible pros and cons. Or take a break and do something else. Come back in a few hours and see if you view things differently. Hire a career coach who can provide more objectivity. Book a session with a therapist.

2. “Don’t mistake biases for facts; instead use them to find facts.”

As Herman reminds us, “Our biases are not verified facts. They are feelings and experiences that make us want to believe something, but they aren’t enough to create a conclusion.” (emphasis mine)

A great way to do this is to simply turn your bias into a question. Turn “This full-time job would prevent me from writing on topics I enjoy” into “Would this full-time job prevent me from writing on topics I enjoy?” From here, you now have options. You can go on an interview and ask for examples of topics you’d be asked to write on (in other words, you can test your assumption in the real world, not just in your head), you can set aside time outside of work to write in your journal or on a blog about on topics you love, etc.

A bias is a closed door. Turning it into a question opens the door and invites us to see things we otherwise would have missed. It expands our horizons and broadens our choices and opportunities.

3. Get feedback from others.

Most of us need help pointing out our biases. We’re so used to seeing things one way, it’s hard to conceive that another way exists. Run your conclusion past someone else and truly listen to their feedback. For example, if Laura were to tell me, “I can’t get a full-time job because I’ll never be able to write on topics I enjoy,” well, let’s just say we’d be able to have a lively debate on that one!

Herman concludes:

To effectively observe, perceive, and communicate factual truths, we must be able to account for our biases and, in many cases, overcome them. And thankfully, science shows that we can with simple awareness and conscious replacement…The human brain is malleable. We can change our perceptions, make new neural connections, and train it to think differently.

Your words, mental and vocal, are powerful. In witchcraft, they are the makings of spells. What magic are you weaving with your words? Is it a magic of expansion and creativity or one of constriction and limitations?

The choice is yours.

Categories
mind and emotions witchcraft

Past Lives and Chipmunks

Since Christmas, I’ve become acutely aware that my time with my grandma, at least in this current physical form, is limited. She’s still in great health, thankfully, but…well, she’s preparing–giving away her books, sifting through photos and letters, and making arrangements. And it’s hard. Man, is it ever hard.

Last week I read this book, and the little great-grandmother-Buddhist-nun character had me weeping.

I called my grandma and it all came spilling out: how afraid I am of losing her, is she afraid of dying (she replied “Ohh, no” and with such serene confidence that I completely believe her), and how much I love her.

We talked about the book, which led to a conversation about physics and multiple universes (all part of the story, and I don’t want to spoil it by saying more), and our beliefs of the afterlife. While I wouldn’t say that I believe in any one view of the afterlife, since I’ll hardly have definitive proof until I’m there, my spiritual path leads me more in the direction of reincarnation. My grandma, a devout Catholic, believes her future is in heaven with my grandpa, and I so want that to be true for her.

And that got me thinking…what if they’re both true? It’s not hard to believe that the universe and its workings are far vaster than anything I could conceive of, so why not?

Before we got off the phone, my grandma reminded me of one of her sayings that she uses, especially when she’s going through a rough patch, “Be happy, just for today.”

And that planted a seed. The result: This story, which is my search for peace in the possibility that truth is so much bigger than I know.

Categories
meditation tarot witchcraft

Your Personal Grail Quest, Part One

If you’re going on a journey, it helps to have a map, and a Quest is no different. Well…it’s slightly different. If you’re going to a new restaurant, thanks to Google Maps you can see the entire journey before you set foot out of your door, but a Quest map is a different animal.

A Quest map is more selective in what it reveals, and yes, I’m talking about the map as if it’s sentient, because in a way, I believe it is.

The map is the universe, and just like no one has a complete and total understanding of the universe, no one is privy to the entire map at the start of their journey. If you’re scratching your head and considering throwing in the towel, let’s get more specific and explore what the map is and what it isn’t.

  • The map is complete, just like the universe is complete; we’re just not capable in our human form of seeing the entire map all in one go. But the good news is we don’t need to, and in fact, if we were to see it all our minds would be utterly blown, and then if there was anything left of us, we’d be bored stiff, because seeing the entire map would take all of the surprise out of life, like the ultimate movie spoiler. After a while, there’d be very little point in getting out of bed in the morning, because we’d already know what was in store for the day.
  • Even though we can’t see the whole thing, we are always given the next step or two on our journey. That next step might not always make a whole lot of sense, and we may be wondering what the point is of doing it, but that next step will be made apparent just the same. Once you take that next step, a further step will be revealed…
  • I know I just said we don’t get to see the entire map, but that’s not entirely true (get used to it–the Quest is full of paradox and seeming contradictions). While you cannot see your personal map in its entirety, you can see the universal map in its entirety, and from there you can get an idea of where you are, very much like the “you are here” signs at the mall. My favorite tool for accessing the universal map is the tarot, and this is what I’ll be outlining in this book, although it is far from the only option. Astrology and the Kabbalistic Tree of Life are just two of the many other options that exist, and by all means, once you learn the basic concepts of finding your place on the map, feel free to use whichever tools resonate with you.

The reason why we do this work of checking our location connects to our definition of a Quest, which, to recap:

A Quest is the process of setting the intention, moment to moment, to see life as a sacred adventure designed to further your personal evolution and expansion.

Seeing where you are on the map clues you into the gifts that life is offering you in the present moment, the gifts that are designed to further your personal evolution and expansion.

This is incredibly awesome, because what this means is that you’ll be able to consciously look for these gifts, and from personal experience, these gifts can show up in pretty strange and unexpected places, such as arguments with your partner, wonky interactions with a coworker, and other circumstances that most of us would rather avoid and that we’re certainly not used to viewing as gifts.

Seeing your location on the map allows you to make spiritual lemons out of lemonade, mining unpleasant experiences for rich insights and rewards. Trust me when I say this is a total game changer; it turns life from something you have to get through to a moment-by-moment adventure, regardless of whether you’re stuck in traffic or in the middle of mind-blowing sex.

Using Tarot As Your Map

Let’s look at how we can use tarot as our map, and this method is accessible even if you’re totally new to tarot cards. For starters, a tarot deck consists of 78 cards, and the deck can be divided into what’s known as the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana cards. Arcana means “secret” or “mystery,” which is perfect for our sacred quest, as we’ll be plumbing the depths of the unknown, looking beyond the surface to uncover the lessons and plans meant just for us.

The Major Arcana is made up of 22 cards numbered zero through twenty-one, and as their name suggests, these are the “biggies” in the tarot deck; they’re the cards you’re most likely to see featured in movies, cards like Death and the Hanged Man. The Major Arcana depicts a carefully chosen sequence of archetypes, and this sequence begins with the Fool and culminates with the World. This is our universal map of how to travel from the position of the uninitiated Fool to the all-encompassing World.

To begin, take your tarot cards and separate them into two stacks: the Major Arcana cards (the cards numbered zero through twenty-one with names like the Devil or Strength) in one stack and everything else in the other.

When you’re ready to check the map, you’ll take a few moments to prepare a sacred space using whatever method you like, and then you’ll shuffle the stack of Majors. The card that you draw from this stack indicates the lesson that your soul is being asked to embrace right now.

Now, it’s time to interpret that card. Even if you’re a seasoned reader, I encourage you to empty your mind as much as possible and approach the card fresh. Have a notebook handy so you can jot down your impressions.

Begin by simply looking at the card. Take note of any aspects of the image that draw your attention. What are they–Symbols? Animals? Human figures? Certain colors? Jot these down in your notes.

Begin to describe what you see in the card aloud; you might be surprised at which elements come into focus as you do this. Take more notes.

The object, here, is to pay attention to, and make a note of, which elements of the card capture your attention and resonate with you, even if you can’t articulate why. These elements are what we’ll be calling “clues” on our Quest.

A clue is a detail in everyday life (a quote, an image, a thought, an animal, a scene from a movie, a feather…) that resonates with you.

If something resonates with you, treat it as a clue.

Once this process feels complete, look over your notes, let the information sink in, and see if you can formulate this into a one- to two-sentence lesson statement.

Let me walk you through an example. Let’s say there’s a turtle in the card that captures your attention. After meditating on this for a minute, you realize how often you feel harried and rushed. Perhaps you formulate the lesson, “I am learning how to slow down, how to take my time and cultivate patience.”

What if your notes don’t lead to any lessons that you can see? Not to worry. You’ll simply go a bit further in order to coax the necessary information from your intuition. Here are three great ways to do this:

  • Meditate on the card. This simply means sitting in a comfy position, closing your eyes, relaxing your body and mind, and conjuring up the image of the card. Watch to see if anything changes or moves. If there’s a figure in the card, whether human, animal or otherwise, ask if they have any messages for you. If you’re not visual you can do the same process by looking at the card with eyes open, setting the intention of receiving messages from the card, then closing your eyes and paying attention to any sensations or thoughts that arise.
  • Look the card up in a tarot book and see which elements of the book’s interpretation, even if it’s just a word or phrase, jump out at you.
  • Look up an element of the card in a non-tarot book. For example, if the roses in the background capture your attention, look up roses in a metaphysical book and/or a field guide. See what jumps out at you as you read the entry on roses.

Then, try to formulate your lesson once more. If you’re still feeling stumped, set the intention to receive your lesson in a way that is correct and good for you, and go about your day. Pay attention to anything that reminds you of the card, and treat those details as clues that are designed to help you discover your current lesson.

In a future post, we’ll talk about the next step in using the tarot to guide you on your Quest. Stay tuned!

Categories
chakras witchcraft

A Prayer for Protection

In my first-year witchcraft apprenticeship, I learned many different techniques for protection, and one of my favorites was something called a Lorica.

From Wikipedia:

In the Christian monastic tradition, a lorica is a prayer recited for protection. It is essentially a ‘protection prayer’ in which the petitioner invokes all the power of God as a safeguard against evil in its many forms. The Latin word lōrīca originally meant “armor” or “breastplate.” Both meanings come together in the practice of placing verbal inscriptions on the shields or armorial trappings of knights, who might recite them before going into battle.

I wrote my own Lorica, using the opening and closing from the Lorica of St. Patrick (not a big fan of him, but hey, his Lorica is nice!), and I love to say it first thing in the morning.

If you’re familiar with the seven-chakra system, you’ll see that I’ve used that as the framework for many of the stanzas. I like to focus on each chakra as I recite the relevant lines, feeling the energy moving from my root to my crown. I’ll even touch those parts of my body to really integrate the experience and weave the energy of protection throughout my entire being.

If the seven-chakra system is new to you, here’s what to look for in the prayer:

  • Earth/Grounded/Body = root chakra
  • Water/Flowing/Emotions = navel chakra
  • Fire/Burning/Will = solar plexus chakra
  • Breath/Inspiration/Heart = heart chakra
  • Sound/Vibrating/Voice = throat chakra
  • Light/Seeing/Vision = third eye chakra
  • All/Oneness/Divine = crown chakra

My Witchy Lorica

I arise today

Through a mighty strength,

the invocation of the Trinity,

Through a belief in the Threeness,

Through confession of the Oneness

Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today

Grounded in the Earth

Flowing with the Water

Burning with the Fire

Inspired by the Breath

Vibrating with the Sound

Seeing by the Light

Connected to the All.

I arise today

Guided by the Mother

Asking and receiving

Creating and connecting

Guided by the Father

Engaging and directing

Mastering and protecting.

I summon the powers

Of my body and emotions

My Will and my heart

My voice and my vision

And the Divine that unites them all.

The Goddess and the God are within and without

Above and below

In my words and in my heart

In my mind and in my soul.

I arise today

Through a mighty strength

the invocation of the Trinity,

Through a belief in the Threeness,

Through a confession of the Oneness

of the Creator of creation.

Categories
mind and emotions witchcraft

You Can’t Get There From Here

There’s a nature reserve outside of town where I love to hike, and on the way, I drive past an old farm. It doesn’t look like anyone lives in the ramshackle house anymore, but there are often cows grazing in the pasture. From the road, I can see the pasture sloping down and giving way to shady woods, and there’s the briefest glimpse of a creek winding off into the trees.

I’ve totally fallen in love with this farm, and one day, on my way out to hike, I heard the voice of one of my Guides: “Send them a card.” Them being the owners of the farm.

Now, I am a card-making fiend, and the more glitter the better. On rainy days, you’re apt to find me dominating the dining room table armed with Mod Podge, markers, and enough glitter to coat a continent, and I love to surprise family and friends with my sparkly creations.

I have not, however, sent a glitter card to a complete stranger and certainly not as a way of indicating my interest in buying a farm from them.

When I heard my Guide speak, my initial response was, “Ooooooh, that sounds fun!” (Which, by the way, is always a good sign.)

This was quickly followed up by, “That’s too silly. You don’t just send goofy cards out to people you don’t know if you want them to take you seriously enough to sell them your farm.”

This latter type of inner talk is always a red flag for me, because it purports to be an inviolable rule given away by the words, “you don’t…” as if there are actual universal rules regarding the sending of glitter cards and the buying of farms. Pretty sure those don’t exist, despite what my ego-mind thinks.

Post-hike, I meditated and asked for further guidance, and I was reminded of something that I too often forget:

How we get to our destination defines our destination.

Let me unpack that statement.

My “destination” is buying land so that, one day, my husband and I can build a magical house. When I think about this destination or goal, I feel very specific feelings, what author Danielle LaPorte would call Core Desired Feelings. In a nutshell, LaPorte teaches that if you identify your Core Desired Feelings, aka how you most want to feel, you can then find ways to cultivate those feelings on a regular basis, and from there create “goals with soul.”

Contrast this to the typical approach to goal setting, which can result in feeling empty and asking ourselves “is this it?” even after we reach a goal, because we weren’t conscious about lining up how we want to feel with the goal we’ve been chasing. In the latter situation, we may find that getting the job or buying the house or finding the partner isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

When I meditate on our dream house, I feel three things every single time: I feel free, I feel intimately connected to nature, and I feel immersed in beauty. It’s interesting how many of my life decisions are based on these three feelings; they’re clearly important to my soul.

But back to our statement: How we get to our destination defines our destination.

Earlier in our land search, I was taking a very different approach than glitter cards. Buying land was “serious business,” and somewhere in the process of reading books, searching land-for-sale websites until I’d worked myself into an anxious mess, and picking fights with my husband if I felt he wasn’t as committed to this goal as I was, I managed to squeeze every ounce of fun from this dream. 

I was feeling anything but free, connected to nature, and immersed in beauty.

If I approach every step of the way from a place of stress, anxiety, and conflict, how can freedom, connection to nature, and immersion in beauty emerge?

If I am planting the seeds of our dream in poor soil, I cannot expect the eventual plant to be radically different.

If, instead, I remember how I want to feel when our dream is a reality–free, connected to nature, immersed in beauty–our dream will be imbued, right from the start, with those qualities. And bonus: I don’t have to wait until we have a house to feel that way; I can feel it right here, right now.

And wouldn’t you know, making a glitter card totally captured those feelings for me. I felt free, not constrained by made-up rules; I felt connected to nature (see my little bee below); and I felt immersed in glittery beauty.

The inside of the cards reads “Your farm is the bee’s knees.”

Whether this card results in us buying this farm or not is besides the point. The power lies in my internal shift from seeing this process as an obstacle to how I want to feel to seeing it as an opportunity to feel that way right now.

One more example: A friend of mine is in constant money-making and -saving mode. She’s terrified of not having enough money when she retires, and her method for achieving that goal is to work as hard as she possibly can now. Not surprisingly, she is very, very stressed out most of the time.

In the past ten years, I have watched her change jobs three times, each time due to her current job reaching the boiling point of stress. She starts each new job with the belief that the stress resided in her past job, not within, and that it will go away once the past job goes away. Each time, though, the process starts anew and the current job becomes increasingly more and more stressful.

Here’s the thing: I know my friend well, and I know that what she wants to feel is supported. She grew up in a home environment that was the polar opposite, and she has spent all of her life trying to capture that missing feeling of being supported.

So, too, I learned from a young age that “adulting” and being responsible meant constricting yourself into a teeny-tiny box of perfection and acceptability. In order to be an adult, it doesn’t matter how I feel or what I crave on a soul level; it only matters that I’m adhering to the status quo and “behaving.” Thus, whenever I got into situations that felt weighty and “adult-y,” I put on my too-tight status quo pants and cut off my flow of natural creativity, communication skills, and inner power. No wonder things got weird!

My friend was using the model she learned as a child–not being supported–to try to achieve a feeling of support. Said another way, she was trying to feel taken care of by not taking care of herself, i.e. by overworking herself to the point that she was completely stressed out and manifesting physical health issues.

How we get to our destination defines our destination.

My friend believed that if only she worked a little harder, pushed a little more, put in another year, or two, or ten…then she’d feel taken care of.

But you can’t feel taken care of by not taking care of yourself.

I can’t feel free by cramming myself into the status quo box.

You can’t get to a place where you love your body by hating it through punishing diets and exercise.

You can’t get there from here.

If you start with how you want to feel now–not later, not after you lose the weight or buy the house or land the job–those feelings will guide you to situations and people that are right for your soul, and you get to feel the way you want to feel, right here, right now.

You get there by bringing there to you.

Faith is to believe what we do not see; and the reward of that faith is to see what we believe.
– Saint Augustine

Categories
meditation tarot witchcraft

Why isn’t spiritual guidance more direct?

As someone who works with Spirit Guides on a daily basis, I spend a lot of time thinking about guidance: how it’s transmitted, how we can seek it out, what forms it takes, where it comes from, and so forth. Fascinating stuff.

Yesterday, I was thinking about the ways in which I receive guidance and wondering why the guidance doesn’t always come in a form that’s super direct and to the point. For example, in response to, “What should I do about x?” I don’t always get an answer of “Do this. The end.”

Now, to be sure, that sort of direct response does happen, but equally often the answer comes to me in symbols and other images or through synchronicity, tarot readings, and dreams. And even when I do get a direct response like “do this,” I often am not privy to the entire plan; the action step I’m given is but one stepping stone in a larger journey that is still largely a mystery to me.

I asked my Guides to help me understand this a bit more and, ironically, they gave me a very direct answer. (Hey, Spirit Guides have a sense of humor, too!) My Guides explained that if guidance was always given in a direct, precise manner, well, life would be boring. So boring.

My response was, “Yeah but…I don’t know. I think it would just be nice to have clear answers all the time.”

To which they replied, “Really? Would you watch a movie if the main character showed up on the screen, asked for the answer to her problem, a voice from the sky said, ‘Go to this town, meet this person, start a family, and everything will be fine,” and then the character went about doing just that, exactly as described? The end.” Okay, they had me there–that did sound hella boring. I wouldn’t be willing to sit through a two-hour movie like that, much less live an entire life that way.

They continued, “Humans are wired to get satisfaction from accomplishing challenging things, from pursuing things–not just from experiencing outcomes. If every day was just a string of getting one thing that you wanted after another, with no pursuit in between or mystery or anticipation, you’d turn to dust with boredom. There would be no impetus to get out of bed in the morning.” I couldn’t argue with that.

“And further, there’s something else at play here: a preference for left-brain thinking over right.” Here, my Guides were referencing a string of books that synchronicity had delivered to me over the past month. The first, The Secret Teachers of the Western World, explored the idea that our society is currently very left-brain dominant, but that hasn’t always been the case. While modern prevailing thought values concrete “facts” and hard evidence, dismissing feelings and intuition as quackery, in previous times (and certainly, in various “alternative” groups today), dreams, intuitive knowing, symbols, and other right-brain ways of understanding the world were equally honored.

And the next book that came to me, a wonderful graphic novel, Unflattening, explored the difference between language and pictures, how language has trumped pictures in our left-brain society (for example, comic books are considered by many to be fluff; they’re not “real” literature), and how we can enrich our experience by blending the two modes of thought and perception rather than valuing one to the exclusion of the other. So, too, I was approaching guidance with the assumption that direct, language-based, “facts” are superior to symbols, dreams, and intuitive knowing, and that’s totally not the case; both are valuable.

When I looked back over my journal entries from the past few years, I saw this beautiful mix of direct, concrete guidance (“create this website,” “apply to this school”) and more symbolic guidance (powerful tarot readings, insightful dreams, books that were just what I needed to read at that particular moment in time). When the situation was best served by a direct answer, that’s what I received; when the process of finding the answer for myself was more in alignment with my highest good, that’s what I received.

When it comes to the latter kind of guidance, the more symbolic form, my Guides concluded with this, “Would your life feel more adventurous, fulfilling, and rich if you were given a Grail Quest…or a to-do list?”

Here’s to embracing the beautiful mystery and to receiving guidance in its many beautiful forms!

Categories
meditation mind and emotions witchcraft

Sometimes Guidance Looks Like a Total Jerk

In my last post, I talked about some hairy interactions I was having with an acquaintance. If you missed it, you can read it here so you know what the heck I’m talking about in today’s post.

Midway through the situation with this acquaintance, Petunia, and shortly before writing my previous blog post, I realized that I was in a very reactionary place internally; when Petunia would say something mean, I was paying a lot of attention to the storylines in my head that were triggered by her comments.

This didn’t leave me in a very clear state, to say the least, but once I was aware of my inner muddledom, I was able to make a different choice. And that’s when I chose to see the situation as a lesson, remembering that one of the ingredients for radical life change is seeing life as a wise teacher (and not a jerk who’s out to get you).

From this place, I was inspired to look at my journal entries from the past month, and wouldn’t you know, there was a gift hiding in plain sight.

So, Petunia and I had been considering joining forces on a long-term work project that seemed mutually beneficial. The day we discussed this option, that night I asked my Guides for their input before bed. My journal indicated that the very next day Petunia started acting like she’d overdosed on hatorade: she was making snide comments and consistently cutting me down when I shared ideas.

Sometimes guidance comes in the form of dreams (and I had one of those, too; more on that in a moment), tarot readings, or insights in the shower.

And sometimes it comes in the form of someone acting like a jerk.

Once I made the connection between asking for guidance on the co-working situation and Petunia’s negative behavior, my answer was crystal clear: no, this was not a good situation to enter into!

Interestingly, once I told her my decision, the negativity stopped and hasn’t been a problem for a couple weeks and counting now. (Although I have become keenly aware of how pessimistic she is about life in general, a bullet I’m very glad I dodged by not choosing to partner up with her.)

As for the dream, the night that I told her my decision to part ways, I dreamt that she and another friend were instead doing the project together, and dream me felt very left out. One of my Guides appeared right before I woke up and imparted the message that, even if I feel left out in response to future events with Petunia, know that I made the right decision to walk away and don’t let those left-out feelings push me to recant.

It’s not always easy to look for guidance in the face of annoying situations or people who are acting like assclowns, but wow, does that shift ever open up a world of possibilities and growth.

When you’re faced with an unpleasant situation, take care of yourself first and foremost, and gently try to shift toward asking, “What is this situation trying to teach me?”

You might be pleasantly surprised by the gifts hiding in plain sight.

Categories
mind and emotions witchcraft

Here’s Proof That Your Words Have Power

As a student and practitioner of witchcraft, I have learned (and experienced) time and time again that words have power. And yet, even still, I sometimes forget just how powerful they really are, and I slip into harmful or judgemental talk or otherwise misuse the power of speech.

While out hiking this past weekend, my husband and I came upon a stream that was alive with toads, and I mean alive. The air was thrumming with their calls, and the water looked like a chaotic toad rave. We could even see the crisscrossed “necklaces” of eggs woven through the shallows. It was amazing.

One of the toads was partially submerged, singing his little heart out, and I was mesmerized by the vibratory patterns created in the water by his vocalizing. They’re hard to make out with the poor-quality video, but with each call, the toad was surrounding by ever-expanding circular waves.

While I know that my own speech also creates sound waves, because I can’t see them as readily it’s easy to overlook this truth, but Mr. Toad made it perfectly clear that the sounds we emit affect our environment in a very real way. And to extend the example even further, his sounds (along with the rest of the horny toad choir) initiated a chain reaction that keeps his species alive–no small feat.

How are your words shaping your life, and the lives of those around you?

Categories
witchcraft

What Type of Psychic Are You?

Did you know there are various forms of psychic abilities? Many of us have Hollywood-esque ideas of what it means to be psychic: Waking up from prophetic dreams to an ice-cold room full of dead people trying to get your attention, getting a complete download of someone’s past just by touching their hand, and so forth. Now, I’m not saying those things can’t happen, but if you’re waiting for signals like that to clue you in to your psychic abilities, you might be disappointed.

Instead, here are some clues to help you uncover your psychic abilities right here, right now. Chances are, you will have multiple abilities, although some may be more dominant than others.

Clairvoyance

This is what many people think of when they think “psychic.” Clairvoyance is all about visuals, so if you’re clairvoyant you may see images while in meditation, in dreams, in your mind’s eye while you’re talking to someone, etc. The key is that the information comes to you in a visual format.

This is my primary psychic skill, which isn’t surprising since I’m a visual artist. I see anything from vivid images to snatches of pictures or splashes of color in meditation and during tarot readings; my dreams are like detailed films; and I often see images, colors, and energy patterns in my mind’s eye when I’m around other people.

Clairaudience

This is the psychic ability based on sound. You might hear voices (like someone is in the room talking to you–although this is not super common–or in your mind), or you might hear snippets of a song, a bell tone, or other noises that convey information.

While this isn’t my primary psychic skill, when it does occur, I hear voices in my mind that are distinctly different than my own inner dialogue; it’s as if I’ve picked up on somebody else’s radio station for a moment. I’ve heard other people use this example: You’re trying to figure out a problem, and when you get in your car the radio is playing a song that speaks directly to the issue at hand. (Some might also call this synchronicity, but I believe the two are intimate bedfellows.)

Clairsentience

This psychic ability is all about being able to sense emotions (past, present, or future), and these emotions might be connected to a person, a place, an animal, etc. One way that I receive clairsentient information is during a tarot reading: While I’m doing the reading, an emotion will arise in my body, such as anxiety, happiness, or sorrow, but it has a different feel to it than if the emotion were my own. Once I acknowledge the emotion and receive the information it contains, the emotions leaves my body completely.

This term is often used interchangeably with “psychic empathy.” If you are a psychic empath, you pick up on other people’s emotions, and perhaps even their physical pain or other ailments. If this is you, I highly recommend doing a Google search on “boundaries for empaths,” because my life was a roller coaster ride before I realized I didn’t have to pick up on everyone’s stuff like this, and that I could still get valuable psychic information without acting like a trash dump for other people’s emotions and pain.

Claircognizance

This ability is characterized by a sense of knowing. You just know something, even though you probably can’t detail the reasons why–you just do. This knowing can occur in the form of a “gut instinct” or a fully formed thought simply appearing in your mind. For me, this happens often in conversation: I’m focusing on listening to the other person, and suddenly, as if out of nowhere, a fully formed thought appears in my mind, something that would have taken me awhile to cook up had I been thinking about it consciously.

Clairolfaction

This is one you don’t hear about as often, but I believe more of us use this ability than we realize. This is the ability to receive information through smell. While all of us can smell the aroma of baking bread and come to some logical conclusions based on that smell, clairolfaction looks a little more like this: You meet someone for the first time and they smell “off,” even though, physically, you’re not aware of them having BO or wearing any funky perfume. As you get to know them more, this scent is confirmed by a realization that the two of you aren’t compatible. Another example: I was in ritual with some friends of mine, and suddenly, we all detected the smell of wild onions and flowers, very strongly. These were not scents present in the physical environment.

Which ones are you?

Okay, onto the fun part. I’ve noticed that I have certain language tics, which correspond to my dominant psychic abilities, and I’ve seen this to be the case in my friends, too. Try this fun test on yourself and see if the corresponding psychic ability resonates with you.

If you say things like [   ] then you might be [    ].

“I see what you mean.” – clairvoyance

“I hear ya.” – clairaudience

“I feel you.” – clairsentience

“I know what you mean!” – claircognizance

Hmm…as for olfaction, I don’t know, do people still say things like, “I smell a rat!” or “This smells fishy to me”?  😉