Cartomancy

•June 18, 2014 • 1 Comment

IMG_3072At the end of last year, I retired from my oracular trance practice with Apollon, having completed the seven-year service I had promised and feeling it was time to move on. A lot of things have changed in my spiritual life since then. I found the oracles rewarding and useful on many levels, but not something I wanted to replicate exactly. Therefore, I am now offering cartomancy readings, on request, for a flat fee. These will still involve a trance component, but I will be working directly with the spirits (both my personal spirits and whatever others wish to assist on a case by case basis) rather than within the Hellenic tradition. This fits much better with my current practice, and I am already developing an intensive ritual framework for the sessions (which will no doubt be refined over time).

Please see my new Cartomancy page (also linked to on the sidebar) for more information.

(P.S. For those interested, I use several decks in my practice, and I find that intuiting which is the appropriate one for a particular question is part of the process. Currently I have the Cosmic, Morgan Greer, Aquarian, Wildwood, Fairytale and Mythic Tarot decks and the Froud Faerie Oracles. The Aquarian is my oldest deck, which I have been using since I was 13.)

Enjoy the Silence

•June 6, 2014 • 7 Comments

A commenter on my last post reminded me of another important point that came up during that radio show, that I wanted to highlight here.

Plenty of people complain that they wish they could hear/see/feel the gods like certain other people do, or at least wish they could do so better than they currently can. Of course, they often mistakenly think that such ability comes naturally or easily, when in fact it is usually the result of many, many years of work and practice. But there’s another factor involved these days more than ever before, and it needs to be examined. And that is the fact that our culture is geared entirely toward making sure you never have to be silent and still, alone with your thoughts, for a single moment.

The other day I stood waiting for the bus and watched a girl take out her phone and perform a number of completely meaningless actions (I think she was playing some game), just so she didn’t have to sit there quietly for a couple of minutes with nothing to occupy her mind. I am seeing this more and more lately – people unable to stand even a brief time without external stimuli. And this goes hand-in-hand with people being decreasingly aware of their physical surroundings, as they walk down the sidewalk (or gods forbid, drive down the street) with eyes glued to a device.

These trends do not bode well for the future of our species in many ways, but they are particularly dangerous for anyone with spiritual inclinations, especially those who wish to be able to communicate with the divine. How are you supposed to ever hear the voices of the gods when you never permit a moment of silence in which They can be heard? How will you notice the omens They may be sending to you when you don’t ever look up from your phone?

You need silence – both literally and metaphorically – to give Them room to communicate, and to give you the ability to process that communication. And it can’t just be a minute here or there – for not only do the gods not work on your schedule, but it is going to take some time for your brain to unwind and become receptive after a constant barrage of input. It’s like how, if you sit quietly long enough in the woods, you will start to hear more and more birdsong and animal activity, as they acclimate to your presence and you become more attentive. There is a reason that sensory deprivation has been used for ages in order to stimulate altered states of consciousness. Right now we are in a constant state of sensory overload, and it is a serious threat to all forms of mysticism.

Try turning everything off and see how much it changes things. No phone, no computer, no television, no music. Try even no reading, no busy work, nothing. Take a walk and pay attention to the world around you, and the world within you. Sit at your shrine and just speak aloud to your gods, and then give Them space to respond. Remove the constant chatter of the modern world, and your internal chatter will begin to abate as well. Do this often enough, make room for Them in this way, and the results will be significant.

Engaging with the Spiritual in the Physical World

•June 4, 2014 • 11 Comments

I just had a great conversation on-air with Galina and Sannion during their Wyrd Ways radio show. And it occurs to me that the point I called in to make is something I’ve never really seen addressed, and something that would be useful to talk about here.

I’ve talked about fallow times here before, when you can’t hear/see/feel the gods the way you usually can, and how to survive them. Any mystic knows that you cannot just drop your practices, that you need to be able to endure these times of silence and keep your faith. Even for the most connected spirit-workers and devotees, the ability to sense and directly communicate with the gods and spirits ebbs and flows over time – just like an artist will not always be able to access their inspiration (and will suffer just as badly when they can’t as a mystic when cut off from her god). So you can’t rely entirely on being in the right headspace or “feeling it” in order to do your Work, maintain your spiritual relationships, etc.

Which is why it’s so important to have a tangible form of communication between yourself and your gods and spirits. In other words, it shouldn’t all be taking place only in your head, because that’s not always going to work (not to mention, it’s a lot easier to get the message wrong, to end up talking to sockpuppets, and to be plagued with doubt about your internal experiences). Not only do you need to have physical practices on your end of the “conversation” – making offerings, of course, but also engaging the material world when doing ritual and magic – but you need to develop a habit of looking for and acknowledging the divine messages that manifest in the material world – i.e., omens. Because if your fallow times are just the result of the normal ebb of spiritual mojo, the gods can still communicate with you via external signs. Which can not only be a great comfort (and useful to know you’re not on the wrong track but simply in a fallow headspace), but it can allow you to continue your Work with the input of the gods.

From what I’ve seen in my own experiences and those of others, the more you are aware of the ways the gods might be communicating with you, the more you acknowledge the clear omens when they happen, the more They will use these methods to speak to you. After all, why spend all your energy shouting at someone who’s not listening? But if you’re open to such omens, well, manipulating the world a little here or there seems relatively easy for Them, and probably often more sure to get Their message across, unimpeded by the vagaries of the human brain.

Remember that the gods are not just in your head. That is not the only place you can meet Them. They suffuse the world.

New at Goblinesquerie

•June 1, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Just added 27 new items over at Goblinesquerie. You’ll find: antler incense burners, upcycled vintage wood toys as jewelry, acorn earrings and pendants, a pigeon wing smudge fan, earrings made from claws, teeth and bird feet, and more! (Plus, almost everything new is under $15!) Come visit and explore.

june14

Scientific Magic

•May 23, 2014 • Comments Off

Dver:

Interested in an analysis of runic and cabalistic magic from a scientific point of view? Check out my partner’s recently re-released book Scientific Magic (originally published on Cafepress many years ago when that was our only option for print-on-demand). There’s nothing else quite like this out there.

Originally posted on From the Labyrinth:

scimagcovertnWell, I just re-released my first book, Scientific Magic. Let me take a moment here to describe what it is.

I wrote the book as a response to the Dawkins/deGrasse Tyson type of pseudoscience. Don’t get me wrong: these guys are real scientists, and I have a lot of respect for the genuine scientific work they have done. I believe that Dawkins’ pioneering work in memetics will one day be regarded as a modern On the Origin of Species. I love the new Cosmos, and think deGrasse Tyson has done wonderful work firing up the imaginations and love of science that all kids have.

But when it comes to understanding philosophy and how science itself works, these guys unfortunately resort to the worst sort of pseudoscientific babbling, like that they complain of in Fundies. Neither of them seems to have a clue as to what philosophy actually is…

View original 395 more words

New Creature

•May 16, 2014 • 1 Comment

Visit my imWalde blog to see more photos of my newest creature, Shadow-Walker. He came alive surprisingly quickly once finished and is currently living between two of my shrines. His torso and arms are chalkboards so designs can be drawn and re-drawn on him as desired.

Thoughts on being a Dionysian

•May 13, 2014 • 4 Comments

“I think about Dionysos and whether all who love him are bound in some way, needing to be free. Or sharing some other commonality of person or pattern that fits to His own. I mean, everyone needs freedom from something, but for us… is it the willingness to forsake boundaries, the realization that such chains are there, an abnormal awakeness, a divine contract?” (Ariadne in Exile)

These words echo my own thoughts lately quite a bit. I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a Dionysian (and, I’ll admit, sometimes cursing it too) – how we can never settle for something comfortable or safe, how we always have to be pushing our own boundaries (and sometimes other people’s), how we must be free no matter the cost. And there is great cost, it’s just not as great as not being free.

I have had to give up so much because of Dionysos… including Dionysos in a way, because every time I would get a handle on Him, feel like I knew Him, every time I had established a dynamic with Him, everything got turned upside-down. I have been the mainad madly eating the bark off trees in the forest at night. I have been the priestess calling Him forth with ancient rituals. I have been the chthonic shaman beating my drum in the cave to His rhythms. He has been a man, a buffalo, a hollow mask, a force of nature. There have been times that I was ready to move on, and there have been times when it was agonizing to lose the Dionysos I had grown close to, or stop the way I had been worshipping Him. And yet, if I am to really worship Him, I can’t cling to these things when He says it’s time.

I am often horrified to witness how trapped most people make themselves, blind to their own volition, their own freedom. They complain about living in a city they hate, or being in a toxic relationship, or “having to” do one thing or another, and never realize they have the power to change things. Sure, there will be consequences – and maybe ones so negative that it would be preferable to stay in the situation… but then that is still a choice. But, I think I can understand a little why they avoid this awareness and responsibility. Because freedom can be quite terrible. You don’t get to fall back on comforting habits and addictions. You don’t get to indulge your fears, even if they are quite reasonable. You don’t get to let things just go on in an easy, mediocre sort of way. You don’t get to be complacent.

And maybe that’s a kind of madness too, among His many madnesses… to choose to the hard road over and over, to choose pain and fear and loneliness when our most basic human instincts tell us to choose comfort and safety and gratification. But a Dionysian simply cannot do otherwise. We must see all those things that hold us back and then we must burn them to the ground. We must risk suffering in pursuit of greatness. We must be willing to lose everything – even our very selves, our minds, and our most cherished ideas of our god – in order to worship Him purely and completely.

I do not like many things about where Dionysos has brought me most recently (hence the occasional cursing, as mentioned above). It is unfamiliar territory, and I do not feel equal to the tasks before me. It has required letting go of so much I’m not sure there’s anything left sometimes. I could have gone along rather contentedly on the path I was on indefinitely, and for another person it would have been fine. But this is what it means to be His.

In the first poem I ever wrote to Dionysos, I said “I have gone to the dark with you. I will go to the dark with you.” It is pretty damn dark in the labyrinth right now. But my god was torn apart, He was burned to cinders, and each time He became something more than He was before. There must be death before there can be rebirth. Hail Dionysos.

 
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