June 2011


How is everyone doing with the last exercise? Any success?

 

Now that you can see that thin film of smoke that surrounds the body, try seeing a little further. Still in the dark (well, it’s easier for me that way), try focusing your gaze about 10 inches in front of you, without focusing on anything in particular. Just look at the space in front of you. See if you can make out something, like a whirl of light, or maybe even subtle flashes or a sense of something moving. How does it move? What color is it? Is it easy to see or a little out of your reach?

 

Another variant is to look at someone else, focusing on the area just around the body. Preferably, you would ask the person for permission, or else you might get a weird look and a ‘What are you doing?’ The head area is where we give off the most heat and it might be easiest to see a kind of halo effect there. Basically, it is like looking right above a bonfire. You can see through, but everything is kind of distorted and it moves around. Same thing happens around a person. We are just so used to seeing it that our brains have kind of filtered it out. Yet, it is an important step in acknowledging that we are made of the same energy that a bonfire is made of. This envelope that surrounds us is extremely important in magic, as it will be a starting point in knowing your energy signature and is also crucial in learning to expand, contract and shield. But I’ll save that for the next lesson.

Keep practicing!

Blessed are thou, Lord of all Creation, for giving us the Mysteries,

That we are made in your Image, co-creators of all that is.

Blessed are thou, Holy Mother, from whom all blessings flow,

For bestowing upon us the greatest of Truths:

We are one, connected and undivided, ever flowing and never ending.

Most Holy Ones, I give you thanks for that which has been bestowed upon us through your kindness.

As the sun in its highest, you shed upon us your strength

Reminding us that it is indeed our own strength that you show us today.

As we behold your glorious orb today,

May we never forget the power that lives within us, power to move mountains, as you have taught us.

All blessings and honor to you, Lord and Lady

For yours are the kingdom, the power and the glory, now and forever.

Aa-men

Our journey into the world of traditional teachings continued Friday with the presentation of the pilot project for the Cree traditional health program. We were honored with the presence of Tulshi Sen, who is working together with the Elders and the Cree Health Board to set up this program that promotes teachings of the Elders and empowerment of the youth.

Tulshi Sen is a world acclaimed writer and speaker and his wisdom and journeys radiate from his very being. A hindu boy from Calcutta, as he describes himself, he was classically trained through a Jesuit education. He then traveled the world, gathering wisdom from Elders and masters, stories that he shares with humor and passion.

He opened the day with this story:

He was doing humanitarian work in Nepal when he joined a group gathered around an elder. The elder said, ” Son, you are well-versed in scripture, is that so?” He answered that he indeed was. The elder then asked, “Then, can you tell me why God called Adam and Eve by those names. Why not Jack and Jill or some other name?” Tulshi admitted that he had no idea. The elder scoffed at his lack of knowledge and sent him away without another look.

Tulshi tossed and turned all night. At the break of dawn, he rushed to the elder’s hut, who was waiting for him. He asked the elder, “Can you please tell me the answer?”

“In Hebrew, A- means ‘No’ and Dam means ‘breath’. Adam is the one with no breath. He has no life. And so, God breathes life into his nostrils. Every breath you take in, is that breath of God, of the universe that fills you and gives you life.

Eve, from the word Hawa, means breath. She is the mother of all living things.

What is Adam’s main function? He is the namer of things. He is the vision that brings things into being. But without the breath, without Life, these things are empty. Only when Adam and Eve combine do we have creation. If you have vision for it, Eve will produce it.

So, in his original state, Adam could only name things he could see. So he complained to the snake saying: “I see things and I ask ‘Why?’. To this, the snake answered: “I see things that never were and I ask ‘Why not?'”

So in consuming the apple (which was in fact a pomegranate), they became like God, able to create from the void that which did not yet exist. Theirs was the gift of imagination, to create something new, combining vision and divine breath. Adam and Eve.”

Tulshi ended with a smile. ‘That is why I am Adam and I am Eve.’

At the end of the session, I approached Tulshi to ask for his permission to pass on this teaching. He said, “By all means, pass it on to as many people as you can.”

And so I pass it on to all of you.

I spent the day in a meeting with the council of Elders to share on our programs and how we can incorporate Cree traditional approaches for the population. The day started with a prayer to the Creator, asking for guidance in taking care of the health of our people. Then our department made an offering of tobacco to the chief Elder. What he said then moved me. He said: ‘ You offer me tobacco as a sign that you seek our guidance and wisdom. I accept this offering as a commitment before God that I will offer you my assistance. I present this gift before God to ask that he in turn guide me.’

The whole day went on with a succession of teachings that resonated to my core. One Elder talked about how we have all the healing and wisdom within, that we should stop seeking elsewhere for that which we need. The only teacher worth having is the one that will point us to the best teacher we can have, which is our Self. That we are all connected with each other and with all that is and that we are sick because we get disconnected from that inner well of wisdom that lies within.

The friction between western medicine and traditional teachings is very real and can be felt. Many of these Elders were forced to go to residential schools and were taught, as we all are, that it is through logic and reason that you can test the world. Despite this divide, I saw so much kindness in the Elders’ way of giving their teachings, opting more than once to offer their words in English so that we could all benefit from them. I smiled when one of them told us what his father had told him when he came back from studying in the south. He said: “Now, you will go to a school where you won’t graduate.” It made me think of this path that I am on. How often have I asked myself: ‘Where am I going?’ But there is no end point to this road. You just keep walking, collecting pearls of experience that connect to that divine source that makes all things glow with Life.

As I watched the exchange of tobacco, I looked upon this gathering. A hundred years ago, it may have occurred in a tipi around a fire pit. Here we were in a corporate board room of a hotel, sitting around a conference table fully equipped with lap tops and projectors. And yet, none of the magic was lost. We had come for a meeting, a sharing of wisdom and experience. The wisdom hadn’t changed and the generosity with which it was offered was not diminished. I think we have reason to be hopeful.

I am still riding the wave that was Gaia gathering, the Canadian Pagan conference held in Montreal a couple of weeks ago.

I could write about all that I learned over those two days, about the workshop on Voodoo, the workshop on the eight paths of magic and the various panels on gnosis, Pagan history and liturgy. But I am not going to. It would not give justice to the buoyant feeling that is still in me some two weeks later. I can summarize the experience in one sentence:

It reminded me of why I am walking the Pagan path. 

During these 2 days, I met wonderful people. I was familiar with only a small portion of the Montreal Pagan landscape. At Gaia, I was privileged to meet people from other places  in Canada who had different experiences of Pagan practice. There were older men and women who have been in the movement since the late ’60’s, people who remember what it was like when there were no books and when passing on of knowledge was done in complete secrecy. These people who link back to icons of the Pagan movement like Z. Budapest and Gerald Gardner. They are already the elders of our clans. I have met people of extraordinary instruction: university and college professors, PhD’s, scientists and full-time witches who dedicate their lives to the teaching and furthering of the Craft. My co-panelists on Canadian Pagan authors were such people. Sable Aradia became a full-time witch to live her passion for the Craft. Her vibrant energy and passion and her generosity of character make her a truly exceptional woman. I have also had the honor to share the panel with Brendan Myers, philosopher and author of several books, who can weave humor and philosophy so effortlessly that it is a true pleasure to listen to. It brought home the fact that Pagan philosophy and theology exists in its own right. It is not a wacky unregimented practice. It has a core, a soul and a history.

Above all, above the philosophizing and theologizing, it brought back the essence of what I looked for when I chose this path. Everywhere I looked, I saw the passion of its people. I saw the joy of living a life of celebration. I saw that primal need to create and to connect to all that is. A circle within a circle, ever flowing and never ending. It was indeed a return to Gaia.