Magic and Ritual


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.

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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

My children’s birthdays have become a rite of passage as much for them as for myself. After all, the years roll for all of us whether we wish it or not. But the day where I became a mother is without question the biggest rite of passage of my life. It will probably have no equal other than the Great Passage that will occur when my earthly days end.

My dearest boy, my first born, turned 6 years old today. It is always emotional for me, not only because he is getting older, but because of how this symbolizes my own birthing into motherhood. For someone like me who was always deeply involved in thought and meditation, motherhood opened me up to the new realm of deep and overwhelming emotion. By becoming a mother, I learned to feel. It taught me compassion and fear and love and amazement.

Yesterday, we did the socially required ritual of the ‘children’s birthday party’: a first for us, I am still just barely recovering. I don’t think I was that stressed on my wedding day!

Tonight, we spent a quiet evening together. After the kids were in bed, I retreated to my room and made an offering to the Almighty for the blessing that is my son. I offered the only present I felt appropriate for the birth a firstborn son: frankincense and myrrh. I thanked my Lord for granting me such a precious ward and the Great Mother for keeping us in her care.

English: Lords Prayer in Aramaic(Syriac)

English: Lords Prayer in Aramaic(Syriac) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This past full moon, I found myself in a hotel room alone up north. Alone! No distractions, all evening to myself to sit in Spirit. Something moved me inside in a way that I had not felt before, something calling me back to my roots.

As I entered sacred space, I veiled my  head. I placed a bread roll and a cup of tea in front of me, which was all I had as means of offering. I lifted them up and gave thanks.

I turned to the north and I saw a huge circular stone. The stone that guarded the tomb of Lazarus. The stone of resurrection. I put out my hand and moved it and it slid open.

I turned to the east and blew out a deep breath. A warm wind arose, whipping through my hair, violent yet warm. The breath of spirit that filled the hall at Pentecost.

I turned to south and there I saw the fires where the weeds are sent to burn. It was angry and strong and purified all in its flames.

I turned to the west and I saw a rising wave: the tide of the flood, the parting of the seas, the purification of baptism.

I came back to the middle and I raised one hand to touch the sky and one hand reached to the earth. ‘As above, so below.’

Then, it dawned on me the Mystery. We are that which joins the Above and the Below. We are the meeting point which connects the two. There is no other species, seen or unseen, that can do that. There is no other species that can simultaneously live in both worlds. That is the next step of our evolution: To become Human, which means to be sentient beings that connect Heaven and Earth and walk in both worlds at all times. That is what we are meant to do. That is what Jesus was.

At that moment, I heard my Lord whisper: ‘You can be what I am. You are what I am.’

I repeated that like a mantra for a long time. It seems that anything else I could write about Christian Witchcraft would be redundant.

I closed my circle, placing back the stone as I finished. I ended with the recitation of the Our Father in Aramaic. Here is a gift of a video for the sung version, which also ends with a audible pronunciation of the prayer.

Abun d’bashmayo….

Easter Vigil - the fire

Easter Vigil - the fire (Photo credit: Dean Ayres)

My dear friends,

How great to be sitting here and getting back on-line!

Sometimes when you take time away from yourself to give it to others, you end up on a journey of spiritual discovery unlike any other. It has been such for me over the last few months of winter. I gained spirit lessons the like of which I have not had in a long time. When I decided to put my writing on hold to give more time to my family, I was suddenly given time to find sacred space for my own soul. I read a book for fun. I did more shamanic journeys. I dreamed more. I made encounters that taught me great things. I took up yoga again. And somehow, I still had plenty of time to take care of the ones I loved.

This time somehow brought me back to the place I aught to be. I am a Witch. I bless my house. I ask the Spirits to guard us. I counsel others when they need me. I listen, I live, I learn, I become. And all these lessons that I learned, they belong to me and nobody else. I live a blessed life, even in the midst of hardship, this I cannot deny.

For those of you who are curious, I am happy to report that my son has done incredibly well since I have made the decision to put my ‘other activities’ on hold. We have gotten one very good evaluation result a couple of weeks ago which has given us much hope. We are scheduled for more tests next week which will give us a clearer idea of the situation. I don’t want to scream ‘Victory’ yet. I will keep you posted.

But for now, we are ready to enter our most holy time of the year. Every single year, without fail, a revelation is given to me, whether I seek it or not. It just enters my mind, like a Presence, and my vision is forever changed. This year was no exception. This is my own revelation, one that I must live with and grow with. I pray Our Lord to give each and every one of you such a blessed visit this week. This is the week to sit in silence, to slow down the pace, to move more slowly and to talk in measured tones. It is the time to listen to the story of our Lord’s passing and to ask ourselves: “What did it all mean? What does it still me to us now? What does it mean to me?”

 

May the blessings of the Paschal season be with you all

We are our most important instrument, the only tool we will ever need. I walked out of my shamanism weekend completely refreshed, full of an energy that I hadn’t felt in a long time. And even though I am quite tired today (crazy at work lately), I feel that core of energy continuing to glow softly. Taking care of our Selves is a crucial part of being a Witch and a spiritual being. There are many ways to do that. Here are a few of the pieces on how to take care of your body and your soul:

Sleep

I had one full night of uninterrupted sleep last week, courtesy of my lovely two-and-a-half-who-needs-to-sleep-anyway? daughter. It brought home the fact that our bodies and minds really need to sleep to recharge. Six hours does not always cut it!

Eat well

Make sure that you keep your body well fueled by eating the things it needs. I believe that we know what our bodies need and we should accommodate those needs. Don’t let your body run on empty.

Find your power

I came back from the weekend with a very tangible feeling of having received a gift of power. I don’t know when or how, but I felt full to the brim, as if a piece of the puzzle had been given back to me. I realized that I had probably given my power away to certain people or circumstances in my life. Take your power back into your hands. Do not let others make decisions for you that you do not agree with. Find that inner strength to take your place in the world, whatever that place may be. Feel like you are making your own choices.

Tune out the noise once in a while

We often don’t realize how much noise we are bombarded with and how many images are begging for our attention every second of the day. This is terribly apparent to me since coming back from the north. My tolerance to noise has gone way down and I realize that a lot of it is just background chatter that prevents me from truly looking in and finding better ways to live my life. So I turn off the radio in the car, I rarely watch anymore television. I take the time to look around instead and to really see what is happening in the world around me.

Look around

I get a great sense of serenity by just taking a good look around and looking at people. I feel like we are trying to avoid looking at each other, smiling, as if someone might ask us for something that we cannot offer or question us or I don’t know. Every now and then, we need to look up and SEE. When we do look around, we know what is coming, we are in a state of preparedness and a state of openness to our neighbor. There is something very calming in knowing where we are and what is happening.

Treat yourself

Every so often it just feels good to do a little extra for you. Buy that book, or sit in the coffee shop with your favorite mocha-sprinkle latte or take a second piece of pie. This is about finding pleasure in life. Usually pleasure lies in the littlest things.

Don’t forget that you are human

I think spiritually inclined people have very high expectations of themselves. We strive for that moral perfection, ideals of compassion and virtue. We have to be able to stop every so often and laugh a little. We don’t have all the answers, we learn from our mistakes and we keep going.

Re-connect

The shamanism weekend was about re-connecting: reconnecting to the Great Source, to my community, to my family, to my practice. Like our bodies need food, our soul needs connection. This can be in the form of prayer, ritual, journeying, studying, meditating, attending services, or even dancing wildly in a club. Whatever brings your soul up to connect to something bigger than yourself.

Books

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been asked numerous times to help new seekers in their learning of Christian Witchcraft. There is nothing that fulfills me more (aside from my home angels, of course) than to share that which I have learned over the years. I have started to post exercises on this blog (under the tag study group) to share what I consider to be the basics of the practice. Here I come again with a renewed offer. I list here what I consider to be my level 1 course. You will find here a list of readings and homework that I consider to be essential for all of those of you who are starting out (and maybe the others who want a little more structure in their learning). I suggest a deadline of Easter for completing all the coursework. All homework should be kept in a notebook. All exercises should have an entry in a book of shadows with comments and descriptions of the experiences. Each reading should also have a summary of the book with comments of what you found interesting or puzzling in the material. This is how I was taught and I hope that you will find it both challenging and inspiring. You may send me your course work once it is all completed. I will not take in partial homework. I also offer no guarantee that I will read all of it. But I figure that it gives an added incentive if you know that you may receive feedback in the process. As I have posted on Facebook, I am still keeping my day job, so I hope you will all understand that I am offering as much time as I can.

 

Coursework for Level 1 – Course in Christian Witchcraft

 

Mandatory Readings:

Crafting: Arin Murphy-Hiscock, Solitary Wicca for Life

Magic: Scott Cunningham, Wicca: A guide for the solitary practitioner

Magic and Mythology: Berg & Harris, Polarity Magic

Pagan history: Margot Adler, Drawing Down the Moon

Anthropology: Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman

Christian Mysticism: Kyriacos Markides, Riding the Lion

Christian Studies: Pagels, Elaine, The Gnostic Gospels

Energy and healing: Selene Vega and Anodea Judith, The Sevenfold Journey

One work of fiction that relates to Christianity, Paganism or a combination of both. Highlight the elements that stir a new understanding of these spiritual paths.

Some suggestions of works of fiction:

Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

Christ the Lord – Out of Egypt by Anne Rice

The Gospel According to Pilate by Eric Emmanuel Schmitt

A Love Divine by Alexandra Ripley

Bless the Child by Cathy Cash Spellman

Any of the Chronicles of Narnia

 

Homework:

– Define Magic and Energy. What do these concepts mean to you? Why do you want to study magic and what events in your life have brought you to want to undertake such studies?

– Define Paganism, Witchcraft and Christianity. What are these practices/religions to you? What are the differences and the similarities? What calls to you in each one?

– Do the Elemental explorations (study guide)

– Practice Centering and Grounding (study guide)

– Practice energy work: energy fields, shrinking and expanding, seeing your energy field and others’ (study guide)

– Practice visualization exercises (study guide)

– Watch the DVD ‘What the Bleep Do We Know’ and comment it

– Build an altar (take a picture)

– Perform a ritual from start to finish (either a Sabbat or an Esbat or a ritual spell)

– Research the concept of deity. What is deity for you and how do you express it?

– Each lunar month, do the exercises for one chakra in The Sevenfold Journey

 

Some of you may finish quickly and others may extend beyond Easter. I wish you an exciting journey with this. God and Goddess bless you on your journey!

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