Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Soul Retrieval

You probably recognize that your spirit (some call it soul) is separate from your physical body. When you leave your physical body and go out into the astral planes, the physical part is left idling while the soul travels. I use the word soul because our friends in the First Nations tend to use it instead of spirit; spirit is usually reserved for the Great Spirit (otherwise Manitou). It is a strong belief among many groups that the soul can be split into many parts and that, whether you realize it or not, you may leave such parts at distant places or with people you love. You are still connected to such parts with what has come to be called an aka thread. "Or ever the silver cord be loosed or the golden bowl be broken ..." and so on in old poetry. So did you ever think that your soul could be split into several pieces--that you could give away, as it were, fragments of yourself and still limp along? Often human beings may leave behind or give away parts of their soul, perhaps to a former lover or to a deceased relative. Soul retrieval is one name for the experience in which you may get back that fragment and become whole again. The underlying idea here is that your soul is divisible, and that when you fall deeply in love with someone you give away part of your soul to that person--and you probably receive part of their soul in return. Many of you have had such an exchange. So what happens if the relationship ends? "Oh, when s)he left, I felt as if part of myself went with them!" It's the stuff, all too familiar, of unnumbered love stories and torch songs, non? --that feeling of loss associated with any major separation, whether it be by death, divorce, military events, or even when a child goes to college. You feel as though there's a hole in your life. Such a hole is the missing part of your soul that has remained with the Other. When you meditate on the over-all situation and on the idea of becoming whole again, you can get over that feeling of loss in a more rapid, more wholesome way. Our friends of the First Nations say a thread remains, that joins you to any part of your soul that you have left somewhere, and that in meditation you can follow the thread and find the piece of your soul that is missing--and can bring the fragment back with you to become whole again. This is a straightforward approach to what a psychologist or counselor works toward with you in grief counseling ... though it does not happen in a single sitting, goodness knows. In meditation you can grief-counsel yourself (thinking of your loss in terms of a piece of your soul that is temporarily lost or absent). We have had experiences with work such as this. One which was truly amazing was with a young woman who had been comatose for six weeks. With the aid of a shaman we communicated with her astrally as she lay in her comatose state and told her to follow the spirit thread leading to the place where she had left her soul. It turned out that she had been driving late at night with a carload of her young friends, that she had missed a curve and had run head-on into a tree. A very good friend had been killed. She blamed herself for the accident, so deeply indeed that her soul had remained at the scene though her body had been carried to hospital. In less than 15 minutes the shaman had helped her release her self-blame and had talked her out of her comatose state, by leading her soul to rejoin its body. She became whole again. When you lose someone, you need to think in terms of becoming whole again. Dwelling on what you have lost and weeping over old mementoes and such things doesn't hack it. You have to take a pro-active approach and determine that you will get all pieces of your soul back and go on with a full life. Indeed, the most wholesome step to take is to purge your dwelling of any and all traces of the departed one: all photos, artifacts, old garments and possessions ... when you can bear to do so, get rid of it all. I, Yvonne, promise you this: Your tears are the first sign that your healing has begun. Blessed be.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Where did all the Joy go?

We have just watched "The Wicker Man", that old, old film. The joyful deeds and dances those actors performed prompted these thoughts. Of course to sell the film back in those days, the story had to have at its climax (ahem) a human sacrifice. The christians were the leading proponents of human sacrifice, having burnt alive maybe as many as 10 million heretics (their own backsliders) and a hundred thousand or so pagans who wouldn't toe the line. People were much to valuable to be burnt; and pagans did not have burning in their catalog of punishments, despite what the christians tried to imply. In the dim dark past when we started Wicca, the Craft was a happy, joyful spiritual path. We simply had a lot of fun. But gradually over the years the attacks by sociopathic members of the Abrahamic religions forced us to become more serious and in some ways almost to resemble them! Most of the attacks centered on such things as nudity and sexual freedom. " I don't believe in it, or I can't do it, so you can't do or have it!" Today many Wiccans feel bound to live within boundaries that were never imposed by Wicca but are the self-imposed result of trying to avoid censure from the uptight hangers-on of joyless religions. To say the least, it's ironic when we realize that originally christianity itself was originally a joyful religion, sexually free, whose adherents were simply having a good time. When christianity was approved as a permitted religion, one of many, by Constantine, Connie's co-Consul Lineus said, "Yes, that's okay, but men and women can't meet in the same building because the religion is too licentious." So we can see that from the early days of christianity it guarded itself against this accusation and became uptight, not to be bested in the inflicted-uptightness sweepstakes until Islam came along. When christian leaders had families, they had a tendency to leave the church property to their relatives, so the church decreed that its leaders could not marry. Now misery loves company; thus the requirement of celibacy meant that those who were forced to be celibate didn't approve of sexual activity for the rest of society. "If I'm not gonna get any, you aren't either--at least not without a lot of furtive guilt." Members of the Craft are doing the same thing to ourselves that the christians did to themselves. A sexual initiation (gasp) is no longer approved. In an attitude that we Frosts can hardly bring ourselves to believe, it is labeled "old-fashioned". People of the Craft, self-styled Witches: We are here to tell you that if you continue down this path, puckering ever more tightly, all the joy will be gone forever. Others may live such a tight-ass, constricted life, but that's not enough. They live to inflict their way on others. If you want to be celibate: be celibate. But don't do it because someone with an ax to grind says you must or you'll go to hell. Can you repeat after me, "If it harm none, do what you will" ? We are not hustling movies; we just want to get the joy back. Don't be so bleeping serious, boys and girls: It's all research, after all. Come dance and drink and ... with us. Blessed be Gavin and Yvonne

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Using Msditation

When you have spent some time (maybe a lunar month) meditating, many things that people label "odd" may start to happen. The first: You will sense the presence of an entity: a discarnate being, let's say, who may be someone who has recently graduated ("deceased"). Such awarenesses are often called spirit guides. You may have heard people joke uneasily about their "fairy godmother" or their "guardian angel". Try to welcome your discarnate visitor(s) mentally and, when you get to know them, give them a name. If you live in a city large enough to support a Spiritualist church, seek out that church and attend some meetings: Sunday morning maybe, but do try to investigate the things they do on weeknights. You'll be surprised. Once a link is firmly established between you and your guide, you can stop using the protective salt circle and maybe the affirmation. Many of us, though, never stop affirming our intent and our gratitude with each sitting. Now is the time to decide what you want to use your meditation for. Just to update any incoming bulletin from the other Side? That's fine. Basically meditation relaxes everything and improves your health; but it can also serve for what is called astral travel: You leave your body idling while your spirit goes to a different level of awareness. For lack of a better comparison, it's as if you had double-parked outside the store and popped in to run a quick errand. The car is idling, ready for you to jump back in and drive away. Before you sit down to meditate, you need to think of something that we call an urgent necessity: something you need to know which is not easily looked up on the internet or easily determined by using your latest electronic gadget. When we taught a class on all this at a seminar; one attendee decided that her urgent necessity was to ascertain whether her cat was all right with the cat-sitter. She was actually able to travel on the astral plane and to see the cat and to be assured that it was doing well. It's fashionable right now to investigate your genealogy. Many people doing it have found that they can overcome gaps in their family line where they got stuck and were unable to progress through normal procedures. This often happens because records had been destroyed, and was especially prevalent in the post-Civil War period; example: when courthouses and all the records they held were burned. Southern records of emancipated slaves often do not include any specifics of past owner/slave histories. Slaves were regarded as property, not people; and they were described simply as "field hand" or "house slave" or the like. Such gaps can be filled in through astral travel: going back and "seeing" your ancestors. Astral travelers quite often notice that travel into the past eventually gives them pictures in sepia tones, and then fades out as they go further back in time. Further, the travelers can make no changes in the scene(s). This is reversed in travel into the future: There the colors of the scene brighten and the travelers' every thought makes changes in what they see. Here the Buddhist quiet mind is most important--vital, in fact. It's natural enough to feel confident that you can keep your mind quiet; but when you go into the future, if you think about a white bear standing in the corner, it will suddenly appear. This may be dangerous: When you get to that point in your future "real"--temporal--life, you may verily be faced with a white bear that you have unwittingly placed there. ... All of this may sound extremely weird--but when you try it, you'll find that instead of being weird, it's fact. And never forget about the Law of Attraction: When your intent is benevolent, good experiences will come to you. When it is negative ... need we get explicit?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Meditation in one easy lesson

Almost everywhere in the world people have made small fortunes teaching one form or another of what they call meditation. Recently we saw a course of twenty-three lectures advertised for $249--reduced to $49. So maybe there's a chance that some people are catching on to the fact that to meditate, you don't need a 23-lecture course. Quelle horreur! We believe that this blog today will teach you all you need to know. We have been teaching meditation as a small segment of our extensive course on Wicca for nearly fifty years, so here is your one-page instruction sheet. Ideally you will begin all this on a night when the moon is not full--best of all is right after new moon. 1. Find a comfortable chair, preferably of wood and with no ferrous metal parts. 2. Find a place away from every electric cable and free from such distracting things as a bookcase full of books and pictures of loved ones or family. 3. Get a shaker of salt, and a small wooden bowl of water, and a quiet-running timer, and a candle of white or pale yellow. 4. Have handy a pad of paper and a pen or a pencil. 5. On an evening when the sun is below the horizon, sit in the chair facing north or east. (We don't know the reason, but it seems to work better if heterosexuals face east, the place of new beginnings. For everyone else, north might be better. There is no law saying you can't try both. More research is needed. 6. Light the candle and turn off the lights. 7. Moving in a sunwise direction, sprinkle salt in a circle around the chair. Sit in the chair with the bowl of water at your feet. 8. Set the timer for 15 minutes. 9. Affirm, Nothing but good shall come to me. Nothing but good shall go from me. I give thanks. 10. Close your eyes and sit without moving. Let the mind wander where it will. If you get a lot of job problems floating in, or other thoughts, stop. On the pad write down the thoughts. Put the list of problems into the deep-freeze or under a flatiron. Promise yourself, "I'll deal with all that after I've had time for myself." 11. Sit in your chair. Start the timer again. Wait. If more problems arise, deal with them as you dealt with the first batch. It may be that on your first trial run you won't get past the jangle of problem-solving. Be persistent. 13. Shutting down! When the timer sounds, thank the Guide and promise that you'll be back tomorrow, same time, same place. Make this commitment inviolable. That's it. You have learned to meditate. It does help to be relaxed. The best form of relaxation is having an orgasm within thirty minutes of the time when you start the sitting. A glass of red wine doesn't hurt either. It may be that nothing seems to happen. Remember: You may receive impressions through any one of the five senses. You might see pictures; you might hear voices; you might "feel" things such as emotions, or find yourself thinking of a place where you've been, or hum a phrase from a song. You might feel physical things such as temperature changes. Accept them all. After the timer rings and you come back to this level of awareness, simply say, "I give thanks" and try again the next night at the same time. Now. Was that so difficult? You may want to start your investigation at new moon, the time of new beginnings ... or you may not. Persistence and regular timing make meditation work. Those who know us know that we regularly meditate at 10 p.m. each day, so we ourselves no longer need to take the phone off the hook. Reflect on this fact: Grandma meditated while she was washing dishes at the kitchen sink. Grandpa meditated while he followed the plow.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Wicca Basics

The five points of a pentagram and its center serve to recall the basic ideas behind this new/old path. 0. Deity At the center of the pentagram is the concept of Deity. All genuine religions and spiritual paths require an unknown, unknowable Deity at their center. So-called "religions" that require their followers to worship named deities are cults. The Wiccan Deity is beyond thought. Trying to define It inevitably, arbitrarily limits It. If you want spiritual or mundane help for yourself or others, it is better to imagine a lower-level deity who has power on this temporal earth-plane of existence. Such power comes from the millions of people who have prayed to such named god-esses and have put psychic energy into the concept of, say, Shiva or Shakti or Mars or Aphrodite or a million other named god-esses. 1. The Wiccan Rede, If it harm none, do what you will, has become almost a catch phrase in the Wiccan community. The drawback is the defining of harm. Harm must surely include not just physical harm, but also developmental harm, as well as the stunting of spiritual growth. If you make someone feel guilty--especially in front of his peers--you have harmed them. In a similar way, if you shame someone, you harm them. If you frighten a child with a bogeyman, or stifle creativity, you have harmed them ... Thus it goes on. 2. The Law of Attraction. In a social context people of like mind are attracted to each other with an attraction transcending gender. Of course this is the opposite of physical laws of, for instance, electromagnetism, in which like repels like. The Law extends as well to spiritual planes. If you are negative, you will attract not only other negative people; you will attract negative spirits and perhaps negative experiences. 3. Power through Knowledge. You have a power that you may not have felt. Everyone has it to a greater or lesser extent. The power can be felt if you carefully move your fingers past the palm of the opposite hand. It can be shown to exist with a child's toy: a Crooks radiometer. Karate experts call it ch'i; Germans name it vril. When you develop the power through knowledge, you can do many things with it: healing physical ailments and healing even your life. 4. Harmony. Here we consider getting in tune with the natural cycles of our Mother the Earth as She moves through the cosmos. For example, we understand that movement in a sunwise direction is better than going against Nature in moving anti-sunwise. The drive toward harmony gets Wiccans in tune with the natural cycles of the seasons, the moon, weather, and food, and stops them trying to resist the cycles. We welcome the changes of season as signs that at base all is really well in the universe. 5. Reincarnation. Reincarnation was a basic precept in Christianity before Emperor Constantine's mistress, Deborah, threw it out. As she pointed out, "Connie, the threat system of hell doesn't work if you believe in reincarnation." Reincarnation is a basic precept of Hinduism and many other world-wide spiritual systems. Wiccans subscribe to what we call progressive reincarnation. A tiny piece of divine fire inhabits a minute life form. By the time that living thing "dies", the piece of divine fire has grown slightly and qualifies to inhabit a larger, more complex life form. This constitutes a progression of the spirit from smaller to larger. Reincarnation can be considered a system of learning and growth: The spirit learns in each lifetime, and thus grows. It is as natural as the progress of a child through various grades in school.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Making your Gods and Goddesses work

A thing that puzzles many people when they first come into Wicca is the fact that we use gods and goddesses to delineate things such as emotions. Of course many people are used to this practice because they regularly look up their horoscopes in the newspaper. Let's imagine for a moment that you want to do a ritual to defend your home. You'd like to have the procedure center around some protective elements. So could you say "Great wonderful protective elemental, defend my home"? Or would it be much easier to say, "Mars, defend me"? The god name is just a way of summarizing the attributes you want to use. What we do when we use god/ess names is to personify ceertain aspects. You want lustful love, so you use Scorpio. You want admiring love you might use Venus to personify such love. All we're doing when we use god/ess names is using their attributes. We use the name. Instead of using some vague phrase such as "I'd like a good business-like relationship," we say, "Capricorn, help me." We are so accustomed to thinking in terms of old Roman deities that it sometimes surprises people when we switch over to deities that are appropriate for our cultural background. We might use Epona if we wanted horse-like attributes; but if we're Celtic, it might be more appropriate to use Rhiannon. Whatever name contains the image you wish to portray is the name you should use. Using an unusual name, for instance Ameratsu, as the Great Goddess is meaningless if you are not a Japanese who grew up in Japanese culture. Hindu worshippers make their god/ess images unusual: give them multiple heads or arms so that you will not confuse them with human beings and will recognize that they have more power than mere humans do. The problem with using all protective names of great gods such as Odin or Jesus is that they do not represent a specific attribute but instead are purported to contain all attributes. If you believe that even though they contain all attributes they have more power in each attribute than the appropriate single deity, then by all means go ahead and use them. Personally, if I want to do a lustful sex spell, I'll use Scorpio rather than an aspect of Jesus. Different strokes for different folks, as the sculling crew says. In order to help people who are beginning their study of astrology, instead of using the Roman names we use family members. Everyone can understand sexy young Gwendolyn or funny Uncle Albert. So if you have trouble, use names or descriptions that are meaningful to you and don't worry about it. We think the Wiccan way makes sense and is easy to understand. Blessed be Gavin and Yvonne

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Why you are here

The question often asked is: Why are we here? Wicca offers a remarkably simple answer, namely: We are here to learn and to grow. The growth is in our awareness: some might call it our consciousness. We believe that every living thing has some level of awareness, even if only the awareness of how to reproduce or how to avoid danger. The most elemental living organism gains awareness by simply being alive. After it dies, that awareness (or, if you like, its spirit) reincarnates at a level slightly more advanced or complicated, and thus is able to have more experiences and gain more awareness. We could say, its spirit grows. The process of life/death/growth continues as the elemental being develops through many levels and eventually inhabits a body suitable for the level we know as homo sapiens. We are not willing to say that homo sapiens is the highest life form on this planet--or elsewhere in the multiverse--but just for now let's say that it might be. The spirit that inhabits you has been many things. At the human level it starts with lower awareness and gradually develops more. In Wicca we have a tendency to say that because the female has the opportunity of giving birth and of nurturing a child, she has the opportunity to gain more awareness than does the male. It behooves us to gain awareness by experiencing as many different things as possible during each incarnation. That may take the form of several different jobs in several different levels of prosperity; it may take the form of several different relationships. The old-fashioned Abrahamic idea of one man and one woman being married and experiencing only each other for a whole lifetime is contrary to the spirit's need to gain awareness and experiences. ... Unprofitable ... stultified/ stultifying?? And overall a non-win? The feelings of love and comfort must be some of the most important in the development of a full awareness of the meaning of your existence. We do not mean that you can't be firmly committed to one other person, but nor do we mean that you should forever endure a relationship so archaic and rigid. Once you have completed all your assignments and have gone on, it is generally believed that you meld with other spirits to become a larger awareness. Such an awareness may inhabit some other life form than human, perhaps in another sphere or realm of existence; then once it has cleansed itself of individuality and selfishness, it may re-join the Ultimate Great Spirit. There's more. From being a part of the Great Spirit tiny pieces are continually separating, once more to inhabit life forms at the lowest level and repeat anew the cycle of growth. Thus we say that the whole system is just a method of growth and awareness. It's simple. It's easy. It's obvious, once you extract it from the billowing clouds of piled-on guilt, shame, and fear. It's a game everyone can play. Don't cut off your chances at growth by following the teachings of any one self-appointed guru or moldy old book. Don't follow even us and our ideas. Examine the claims. Ask yourself, Cui bono? Who stands to gain if I follow this path? Blessed be Gavin and Yvonne