Yule

Yule (Photo credit: Jupiter Firelyte)

Blessed Yule everyone!

I’ve been away for the last couple months. Work has kept me busy, really busy. I’ve also needed time to regroup and focus on what is important so as not to get scattered. My rituals have been simple and my meditations brief. I could probably use a lot more time to just sit and breathe. I’m looking forward to the holidays to get my balance back and to reconnect. Actually, just the act of writing this blog right now is having a surprisingly calming effect.

I did a journey not long ago and asked how do I get my balance back. I saw myself aboard a ship in the middle of a storm. There was one message: Get off the ship. So that’s what I am trying to do. Life sometimes feels like it is setting the agenda and it takes a lot of energy to get the control back. The hardest part is usually to recognize the madness as out of control. And then to stare the beast down and rise above it. So that’s what I am trying to do. I’m also trying to reconnect with what brings me joy. You know, the feeling deep in your being that takes over and makes you laugh uncontrollably, or create wonders, or sigh in deep contentment. I wish you many of these moments.

The moral of the last few months is that there is a time to focus entirely on you. The world is usually all the better for it.

Tonight, the whole family lit a candle to help the sun come up. We made wishes for our happiness and for there to be light in our world. It was simple.  The candles are still burning bright behind me. As we enter the time of celebration of this light, whatever we may call it, I make a wish to reconnect with Joy. May the light shed our fears and bring out the authentic self we were born to be.

Blessed Yule!

New post on Pagan Square! Check it out here: http://witchesandpagans.com/Pagan-Paths-Blogs/the-importance-of-the-social-context.html

 

 

Hello everyone!

I want to share a video that will change your vision of what it means to be different (and I think we can all relate with that…) It completely fits with my last post of trusting something deep inside. The take-home message: Stop learning, start thinking, and create!

This post is also in response to the news story of this woman in Ontario who sent a letter to a neighbor (who has an autistic son) saying that autistic people should be euthanized. As a therapist working with people with special needs and as a mother, it pains me that there is still such stupidity in the world. I’d like to share a little bit of awareness about this condition.

I used to believe in this myth of Autism. I’m a health care professional. It kind of comes with the territory. I’m not saying that it doesn’t exist, but the more I lived with it, the more it became this AMAZING thing. I don’t want to minimize what families are going through. It’s tough! Every single day!!!! And some days you just want to go fetal and let yourself wither away. But the truth is that there are people in this world who think differently, who are evolving different abilities. Us magical people go through exercises to expand our senses to another level. These people are born that way. Picture this: We process about 8 pieces of information every second. We filter out everything else. Autistic people process between 30 and 200. The strongest hit are the ones who are constantly bombarded by stimuli. This means that they smell everything, hear everything, feel their very own clothes on their bodies… at all times. They live in a ‘wave’ of sensory stimulation. Others can still manage the information coming in, but they live in a heightened state. They will notice the detail in a picture that escapes everyone else. They won’t be able to keep a conversation because the crickets are too loud. The stories in their heads take over the whole world. But they are smart! Many have IQ’s that are well above average. It is a huge spectrum. And because the world is so unpredictable and that they get constantly surprised with incoming stimulation, they like to keep their world predictable and they are susceptible to meltdowns and anxiety. It is just tough to be so stimulated all the time. And it is tough to be constantly expected to live as if this is not all happening.

I started this paragraph with the ‘myth’ of Autism. Autism is an opinion. It is again an imposition of what is normal. But I think the following videos speak for themselves. We should be amazed by these people and let them develop their beautiful gifts instead of stuffing them in the same box with the rest of us. Doreen Virtue has written extensively about these Crystal children. So this topic flows perfectly from my last post. Time to think outside of the box and to use whatever gifts are given to us.

So the first video is about a young boy named Jacob Barnett. He is 11 and just got a Ph.D. in astrophysics. His pre-school teachers thought it would be a waste of time to teach him to read.

The second video is about Temple Grandin who explains how her brain works in images. This ability allowed her to revolutionize the way we handle livestock and how to treat animals humanely.

 

These videos speak for themselves. Take a few minutes and be amazed!

I have a little story to tell.

Last week, my son had to go under general anesthesia. After his first dental work, he developed a total fear of the dentist. So despite the fact that he had only minor work to be done, anesthesia ended being the final option. We looked to every possible option and it really came down to that. As an occupational therapist, I had seen plenty of surgeries gone very wrong, so naturally I was worried.

After he had gone under, I went back to the waiting room, surrounded by all the other parents who had children in there. I had read somewhere (though I looked, I couldn’t find where I had read it) that soul loss can happen during general anesthesia. Shamans use soul retrieval techniques to find missing pieces of people’s souls that can happen during trauma or soul theft. I have taken a number of workshops in shamanism, but I had no idea how to do a soul retrieval. But this was my son and I was going to do whatever it took.

I sat cross-legged on my chair in the waiting room and closed my eyes. The other parents probably wondered what the heck I was doing, but I so didn’t care. It was my job to protect my little guy. I journeyed out into the middle world. I ‘got up’ and walked right through the wall to my son’s bedside. I called my guides, I talked to him, I surrounded him with a bubble so that his soul would stay close by. I guarded without pause to make sure that no pieces of his soul wandered off.

Then, in an instant, my focus broke and I was back in the waiting room. The connection was completely severed and though I tried and tried to get back in there, I just kept bouncing right out. What was going on?

Then I understood. They had just taken him out of the anesthesia! And as I realized that, the dentist came out and told us they had moved him to recovery.

Everything went well and he woke up without problems. Relief all around.

The reason I am writing this is that we are taught to fear, to not trust our deepest instincts, to surrender control to those who know best, to follow the Establishment. I didn’t know how to do a soul retrieval. And yet, I KNEW! I knew how to protect my son. And I did! I just went deep inside and did what I thought was the right thing despite what might have looked completely crazy to all those other parents. It wasn’t crazy or irrational. The fact that I knew when it was over confirmed to me how real this power was.

You must understand that I am probably the most normal person around (well, at least, I think so….) I’ve been involved in magic and paganism for over 15 years. But I I imagine dress like a hippie, own an occult store of some kind, do Tarot consultations and workshops for a living, etc…. It is not what my life is like at all. I am the person you sit next to on the bus. I work my day job, manage my business, get my kids to school… My day to day is no different from yours.

I need to repeat this: I am no different from you.

That night, I felt greatness fill my whole being. I felt like I had honored my sacred duty to do what was right and not to follow blindly what was being told to me. I took my own power back. I had power to help my son, a power which was irrational to most and I used it. I left the doubt behind and reached within to find that power. There are many in this world who would have us believe that we are powerless, that someone else knows better. But our power is infinite, beyond belief. Your power is infinite beyond belief. You KNOW what needs to be done and how to do it. I am not just talking about magic. Magic is just a technique. What matters most is believing, reading the signs of the times, seeing what the universe is telling YOU.

May this full moon bring you a taste of this greatness that is within yourself. Blessed be!

 

Blessed Lammas everyone!

 

Loaf Mass was the christianized version of this Sabbat, where the first harvest flour was used to bake bread. This bread was then placed on the altar at mass as an offering.

 

Bread is such an important symbol in Christianity. More than a commemoration of the Last Supper, it is also a symbol of our life’s work and how that work is our own personal offering on the divine altar. It marks a change from the offering of sacrificial animals at the Temple altar to our own offering of what we do with our lives. We stop offering others’ blood and start giving our own sweat.

 

Harvest is a symbol that outweighs words. Isn’t it the basis of our survival and the basis for all our celebrations? The combination of offering bread and commemorating the work that brought it about is such a powerful image.

 

You recognize a tree by its fruit. Harvest time is that time to honor the work you have done all year and to give thanks for the fruit it has borne.

 

May your harvest be plentiful!

Bread

Bread (Photo credit: CeresB)

I attended a 2-day workshop on Shamanic Dreamwork. I don’t know how much I wrote about Shamanism on this blog, but I think it is the tribe that I feel most comfortable in right now. The people that compose it are varied, very down to earth and very conscious of being in a state of personal power.

I am lucky that Montreal has a thriving shamanic community offering the courses of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. I sign up for the workshops whenever they are offered. This weekend was a workshop on Shamanic Dreamwork.

At the beginning of the workshop, we were taught about the concept of ‘Big Dreams’. Big Dreams are dreams that are particularly vivid. You feel them on different sensory levels and you usually wake up with a very strong feeling. I looked back and I realized what a great part dreams have played in my spiritual journey. I can go back at least to the age of 10 and remember some of these great dreams. Whenever I would go to sleep with a pressing need for assistance, I would always be graced with a dream that would give me an answer to my query, or comfort, or guidance. They are stuck in my memory, as if I had actually been there.

Shamanic dreamwork goes much further than simply ‘interpreting’ dreams. It is truly about journeying to understand what the dream is telling us, what the spirits are telling us through the dreams. We also worked with dance and singing and tribal dreams. We journeyed for others. We journeyed to recall universal dreams.

The Foundation for Shamanic Studies offers workshops throughout the world. You can find a workshop near you at http://www.shamanism.org

If the drum beat calls you, go and have a look.

I have a confession to make: I always shrugged off the concept of ‘being in the moment’. What does that mean, anyway? You have to plan ahead and dream and make things better, right? How can you do that if you are sitting in your own presence.

Here is one of the lessons I have learned lately: being in the now takes discipline and is probably the most  active way to live your life. I always pictured people who abide by this concept as being passive and just going where the wind takes them. But as I take time to understand myself and reconnect, I see ‘Now’ as a living entity.

Living in the ‘Now’ means that you have to do what is in front of you. You have to look at life honestly and see what needs to be done right now. And that calls for choices at every instant. For example, the most important thing right now for me, is to make sure that my family is safe and that they have all they need to grow. What that means concretely, is that for me to be able to do that, I have to be rested and have all the energy at my disposal. So I have decided to go to sleep early, sometimes at the same time as the kids if that’s what I need. That’s what needs to be done Now. It is my sacred duty. I choose to put other things aside because that is what ‘Now’ requires of me. So ‘living life in the moment’ calls us to make choices, to live actively and to not get lost in a hypothetical future.

Going back to being a ‘student’ has been a great exercise in humility. Why humility? Well, having written a book and having people consult with me and blogging etc… There is always the presumption that that is a great thing that I have to continue doing. What author does not want to keep publishing? I certainly do. I love writing more than anything else I have done in my work. But I had to also acknowledge the ego part of that and the fact that this moment was for reconnecting myself and reading the signs of what this moment is telling me. ‘Now’ requires something else of me and that there is no greater honor than to honor that commitment.
I am sure that you all have things that you feel you should do. The truth is that right now, there is only one thing you must do. You know what it is.

As mentioned previously, I am in a Student Cycle. I am taking this time to recenter on me and what I want to learn, where I want to go and so forth.

My starting point is peace and stillness, and although that sounds pretty straight forward, it takes so much discipline to just sit yourself down and breathe. I am not even talking about meditation. I am just sitting myself down and aligning back my energy within my physical body. Those of you who are sensitive to your own energy, you will notice that your energy body is often slightly peripheral to your physical body (Well, mine is, anyway) My energy center is always slightly in front and to the right of my physical. So I am making a point right now, as much as I can, to sit a few minutes to bring the two together. You wouldn’t believe how relaxing it is to ‘come back home’.

So, I am centering back on me. In this day and age, this sounds selfish. But I am the greatest instrument God/dess has given me. It needs to be in good working order.

In the process, I have learned a valuable lesson:

If you are happy, everyone is happy.

Think about it….

Greetings everyone!

 

Wanted to let you know that I wrote a post on Pagan Square/Witches and Pagans on the Sciences et Avenir – Hors séries (January-February 2013) issue on the Pagan origins of Christian beliefs.

http://witchesandpagans.com/EasyBlog/the-origins-of-our-beliefs.html

Enjoy reading!

Adelina

Blessings to all!

This post comes as a response to an absolutely wonderful conversation on my blog following the Ash Wednesday post. It addresses the validity of scripture in the context of the Crucifixion. Imagine this: two people who disagree about the ‘validity’ of scripture and who don’t tear each other’s hearts out! There is reason to be hopeful!

Basically the question that poses itself is: Is the Bible central to the Christian faith? It certainly is for certain denomination. The argument that was presented in a comment by one reader (please read his comment on the post entitled ‘Ash Wednesday’. It is very well presented and extremely respectful – Thank you!) is that the Patriarchs of our Tradition agreed on the Canon and that is what we can consider to be our Holy Scripture. All theological implications that form the basis of our Tradition stem from it.
I always tread cautiously when I speak of theology or Church history. I am a simple person, and although I read a lot, it is so easy to misinterpret or misquote events or scripture. My understanding is that it is still debated whether the council of Nicea (and I believe there were more than one) resulted in the acceptance of the Biblical Canon.  Let’s face it: We have been disagreeing on the interpretation of what Jesus said as far back as the Baptism in the Jordan. We have to go on Faith more than anything else. It’s the only thing I feel any certainty about (I acknowledge the paradox!) But I digress.
We needed a written record of our beliefs and our Story. No doubt. That is why we are still here learning and debating about it. In the context of the times, it was great foresight of the Church fathers to compile such a text. It was also largely a Roman requirement to bring the Church into the New Age of Romanità. We have to remember the context of the first Councils. Christianity was finding its place within Rome and it had to make sense to that new ‘audience’. That is why we witnessed a certain ‘philosophizing’ of Christian theology around that time. To be accepted into the Roman elite, the people of Rome had to understand it. Christianity had to speak its language. The first council of Nicea was summoned by Constantine to quell the division within the Church on various heresies. Constantine could not afford dissension within the ranks of the Church and he basically made the Church fathers sit down and agree. There is a solid Roman influence in the compilation of the Church theology and scripture.
Another problem that I have with accepting the Bible as the only source of authenticated scripture is the fact that the gnostic current and the Judeo-Christian currents were completely absent from the discussion. When you read the gnostic gospels, it is evident to me that these beliefs were also present at the time when Jesus walked the earth. To disregard them is like erasing a part of our history and a part of the teaching we received. I don’t believe that they are any less valid than the Canon gospels.
It’s difficult to study Christianity. You would have to dedicate your life to it. And still, you could only base yourself on ‘what is written’. As an author, I can tell you that it is not because I wrote it that it becomes truth. I am not comparing myself to Paul or any of the evangelists (please don’t misunderstand me!), but we can only write our experience and perspective of the moment. That changes and grows as we become wiser and more compassionate. To freeze something in time and consider it non-negotiable is dangerous. The Bible is our historical document, our best record of the path we have been taking. It is impossible to go into the debate of whether it is accurate or divinely inspired. Like I said before, it all goes back to Faith. The one thing that I think is mandatory if you call yourself a Christian is to love and support your brothers and sisters. If anyone uses the Bible to go against our only commandment, then they shouldn’t call themselves Christians.
This discussion began around the topic of the Crucifixion, the explanation of the Divine sacrifice in the scriptures and the topic of Salvation. Basically, the question posed was “If you don’t believe what Christ and His followers said about Himself (in the Bible) then why do you even care what His teachings were?” I want to expand briefly on this.
First of all, I do care about His teachings. Very much. A fact remains: Christ did not write anything down. He did not come to start a religion. Unless you want to argue the concept of Divine inspiration of the scripture (which I think is un-debatable), I believe that biblical accounts (Canon or gnostic) are a point of view of the authors on the events that took place. The Crucifixion is a central Mystery of the Christian faith. I will never deny that. I have already expanded on what I understand (if ‘understand’ is the right word) of the Mystery.
That being said, the letters of the first Christians were written in a context that we must not forget.  The first communities were under persecution and many died for their beliefs. It is therefore not surprising that Christ’s sacrifice has such a prominent place in the letters of the early Christian communities. There was, at the time, a glorification of martyrdom that inspired the communities to keep their beliefs alive. This can be read in a number of early Christian texts, one of the oldest being ‘The Martyrdom of St-Felicity and Perpetua’. I don’t belittle their sacrifice, for without it, the Christian story might have died in the womb. It is just important to consider that the scriptures may have put more emphasis on the sacrifice of the crucifixion to sustain the communities suffering from persecution.
One last point: the concept of salvation through the Crucifixion as described through the letters of (probably) Paul, is a foundational text of the Apostolic movement. The gnostics did not hold the same understanding of the meaning of the sacrifice and most did not believe in martyrdom. Different point of view, but still Christian.
It is difficult for me to write this post. It shakes the very core of our beliefs and requires very important questions to be asked. The most important of which is: What does it mean to be Christian? As I wrote in my book, that question is infinitely more difficult to answer than what it means to be Pagan. These questions bring up so much animosity, deep-rooted in thousands of years of disagreement. I don’t want to fuel that. It’s not our way. I feel it is important to have open discussions to ensure that we all feel safe in seeking that which makes us more like Our Lord, whatever that may be. I hope that in this, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.