Archive for March, 2014

Good Grief: A Lesson in Love

RRivers logoGrief comes in many forms, wearing many guises and answers to many names. Time and time again I have found Grief to be my dancing partner, and every tune has been unique. We expect Grief to come calling when we face the hardest transitions in our lives, the times when we must learn to live without the physical presence of our beloveds, the times when we must learn to live with broken hearts, the times when the cycle of life and death must be understood by a soul encased in emotional turmoil. We understand the sad symphony of our lives then and we expect Grief to envelop us in a cold embrace. There are times when Grief touches us unexpectedly, and a little embarrassed we push away her light touch until the insistence and presence of She Who Will Not Be Denied eventually overwhelms us and we admit to our deepest selves that Grief belongs here. The transitions that belong to the realm of Joy are also home to Grief. As we welcome the birth of new life, we still twinge with sadness at the passage of time, at the choices neglected, the paths untrodden, at the loss of who we were. Grief understands and places a hand upon our shoulders in the wee hours of darkness when the light and joy and celebration fades. She knows that life is complex, that the expectation of emotion does not always coincide with the reality of each situation, and that there is room to hold many of her siblings in the same heart at the same time. Grief takes her place as ice within the heart, a splinter in the mind, a burning in the belly. As long as we acknowledge her presence, She responds to our needs. She will not be denied or ignored. Grief will fill our veins with ice until our hearts freeze, and then She Who Will Not Be Denied will crack us open to shatter upon the pretense of normality. For all this, Grief is not cruel.

Grief holds us while we shake and shiver and face our wounds; She holds us so tight she squeezes out frozen tears and we grow numb within her embrace. She honours us for who we are in our most naked and vulnerable form. She acknowledges the depths of our emotions even when society does not. She does not judge us for the dance, nor does She write the tune. She does however whisper to us. It is a message we may never hear over the sounds of our own tears, but it speaks to our very soul.

“I am Love’s twin. To embrace me is to embrace Love.”

For all the pain we feel whilst rocked in Griefs embrace, is simply the reflection of love. We could not grieve so much, if we did not love so much. To acknowledge the depth of our grief is to acknowledge the breadth of our love. She Who Will Not Be Denied understands this, and takes her role as Love’s Loss in our first dance of acceptance. Accept the gentle grief of life transitions, accept the love of a past self; accept the overwhelming grief of loss, accept that overwhelming love is the reflection of grief.

Grief is the twin of Love.

 

 

This post is part of the Pagan Blog Project 2014.

PBP2014

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money in spirituality My, my, money is a contentious issue at the best of times, let alone when you mix it with spirituality. I have blogged before on the concept of monetary exchange within spiritual paths, and many others I know have discussed the various issues that surround fundraising, paid for services and fair exchange within the Pagan community. I would certainly recommend reading Shauna Aura Knights blog as she has several recent articles reviewing this very subject… and the comments are just as enlightening as the articles.

Let me make my position very clear from the outset, I have no personal issues with monetary exchange for teachers, leaders, clergy, institutions, workshops, training, classes, courses, divination, healing or almost any aspect of Paganism where one person provides time, energy, skill, education, service and value to another. I believe that all people regardless of their profession are entitled to fair exchange for the services they provide. What constitutes fair exchange and whether the service actually has value is a slightly different subject. (more…)

ForgiveI have a lot to be angry about. There are a lot of people that impacted my life in harmful ways, whose actions caused scars inside and out that I will live with for the rest of my life. I have experienced abandonment, grief, bullying, abuse, humiliation and rape. How could that be forgiven?

For the longest time, I could not forgive nor forget. Too many times the pain threatened to swallow me whole and as a child I tried to end my life to end the pain. I couldn’t even do that right. I failed. I carried that pain inside like a burning coal and learned to use it as fuel to drive me onwards, drive me forward, drive me far away from the places that hurt, the people that hurt me and the person I was. The distance I strove for never truly occurred because I always kept that burning ember held within my own damaged heart, and no matter how far I ran I could not outrun myself. (more…)

Witches are people tooHollywood has a lot to answer for. In movies Witches are portrayed in many lights, from morally corrupt, violent or mentally unstable individuals, to trendy teenagers and glamorous, powerful people. A few nuggets of wisdom and near truth may appear, but as a general rule the perception of Witchcraft in film is a far cry from the experiences of Witchcraft in day to day life. You know why? Because it is fantasy. It is fiction. It has little to do with everyday people living their spiritual truth.

However these kind of portrayals are pervasive. The concept of quick fix magic and incredible power can, and does, attract people into Witchcraft… which is where expectation meets experience. I can no longer count the occasions that I have challenged the expectations of a magical quick fix with the reality of hard work and understanding. Witchcraft is a practice. It involves practice. It involves research, reflection, honesty and hard work. The work is not power over others, the work is power within ourselves. It is not in changing the will and actions of others, it is in changing our own perceptions, patterns, actions and abilities. It is not in changing the world at the wave of a wand, it is in changing ourselves one day at a time. It is not throwing a stone and standing back to watch the ripples; it is in understanding that we are the stone, we are the water and we are the ripples.

Having expectations is perfectly normal, but those expectations will not always be met. This in itself is a rich learning experience. By reflecting upon the expectations we hold and how we respond to the challenges or disappointment of unmet expectations, we can better understand ourselves – and to know ourselves is to explore our own mystery. This is the reality behind the fantasy. There is wonder and wisdom, transformation and magic in each person’s life… it simply is not accompanied by a dramatic soundtrack and eye candy special effects.

Be honest in your expectations and remain open to the wonder of experience. Practice and reflect, do and be. You may just find that your experiences then surpass all your expectations.

Pagan Blog Project 2014

Pagan Blog Project 2014

PreOrder

Excited to announce that Poison Pen Letters to Myself is now available to pre-order through this site and through Amazon.com! As a special offer, the first 25 signed copies purchased through this site will receive a free postcard print of my painting Dark Heart of the Fire Flower as a thank you! Please do share this picture far and wide to spread the word. If you would like this book personalized with a message or name, please just let me know in the ‘Add Special Instructions’ box during checkout. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for supporting me and helping to make this book a reality.

Bright Blessings, Romany

Dark Heart of the Fire Flower, Oil on Canvas, by Romany Rivers

Dark Heart of the Fire Flower, Oil on Canvas, by Romany Rivers