Posts Tagged ‘Self Development’

fall.jpgEarth turns. Sun rises and sets. Wind blows, leaves scatter, seeds are sown. Thunder cracks, light splits the sky, fire burns bright in the darkness. Rain lashes my skin, clouds obscure my vision. I witness the birth and death of life around me, ever cyclical. I reach out to the elements and wash myself clean, and listen to the whispers of the wind. The world tells me tales of love and loss, of journeys taken, trials endured, planting and harvesting. The water reflects the world back at me until everything I see outside of me becomes the story of my soul. (more…)

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helping-handMy heart goes out to the loved ones of Robin Williams, and to all those touched by his life and death. His suicide has opened a wave of discussion about the impact of depression and what it means to live, and love, and be within the shadow of sadness. This has hit me hard, not least because I know what it is like to smile through sadness, to live with depression and to face suicide. Mr. Williams brought laughter to so many, lifted the hearts of others so often, and yet he lived with a shadow that many of us endure and never speak about. Now people are talking. Everywhere I go I hear people talking about it. The internet is full of people talking about it. Talk is great, we need an open discussion about mental health and its impact, yes we do. But talk is also a trigger, and these last couple of days have forced me to poke old wounds, bringing memories to the surface. (more…)

RIMG0269“And ye shall be free from slavery; and as a sign that ye are really free, ye shall be naked in your rites; and ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love, all in my praise.” – Doreen Valiente

Wicca is not alone in extolling the virtues and benefits of ritual nudity, but it is possibly the most thought of path when we envision naked spirituality. For many, stepping out of our clothing and stepping into sacred space as naked as we were born is a form of rebirthing ourselves into the sacredness of our lives over and over again. But let’s not be naive, nudity may relieve us of our clothing and still add layers to our psyche. Nudity can furnish us with challenges from body issues and self-consciousness, or gender, sexuality and identity concerns, to reliving the trauma of assault and rape. To be naked in ritual is to be vulnerable and exposed, and for some people this does not make a sacred space – in fact it may not even make a safe space. The act of letting go of our clothes, stripping away our perceived identity, dropping the roles we take on in daily life and simply being in our skin can be a powerful tool of transformation and growth; but it is only a tool. When used carefully and with compassion it can be the skilled tool of the surgeon, exposing our issues one layer at a time, stripping us down to truth and bone and blessing; when used with expectation and dogma it can be the blunt hammer upon anvil, creating change through force. (more…)

RRivers logoAt some point on our journey we have all been the neophyte, the newbie, the wide eyed seeker. As children or adults we have come to our paths with tentative footsteps or joyful bounds, absorbing all the wonders we experience, discovering secrets of our Gods, our world, and ourselves. Over time and through experience, those who have walked the path with purpose and passion become known as the Priests, Priestesses, Shamans, Magicians, Teachers and Elders of our communities. However, here lies the paradox: An adept is never not a neophyte. No matter how skilled, how experienced or how knowledgeable a person is in their chosen area of expertise, there is ALWAYS something new to learn. (more…)

Pagan Blog Project 2014

Pagan Blog Project 2014

 

The Question: When do we apply psychological principles to Witchcraft/energy work? When we say that the confirmation bias is what is really at work for superstitious beliefs, why don’t we also apply it to things Witches frequently use, like astrology and Tarot?

In my opinion, the answer to when we apply psychology to our spiritual beliefs is always and never. (more…)

“Personal work is some of the hardest work out there. I often see Pagans wondering, “Where is the advanced level work?” and the advanced work isn’t rituals, it’s not spellwork, it’s not ritual tools…it’s knowing ourselves deeply and working on our issues to be our healthiest, best selves.” – Shauna Aura Knight

RRivers logoToday I found out that a dear friend had passed away. I grieve and I hurt and I remember. I remember the last time I saw him, and I remember the first time I met him. I was just 14. Inevitably my memories of his kindness and his support brings with it memories of why his kindness and support meant so much to me. That year was hard for me. It was the year that I attempted suicide. It was the year that I faced a dark night of the soul, pulled my wounded inner child close to my chest and vowed to find happiness. It was the year I stood tall after each beating. It was the year I learned that there was more – more to life, more to death, more to living and loving and learning. It was the year that I found friends who brought out the best in me, who supported me, who believed in me, who helped me face the long journey towards a happier, healthier me. He was one of those friends and I am honoured and grateful to have known him.

This harsh healing journey is intertwined with my spiritual journey. For me, doing the work of Witchcraft means knowing myself deeply. Understanding my past to understand my present. Exploring the pain of rebirthing myself over and over again. Shedding the skin that no longer serves me, exposing deep wounds to light and love, and learning to love myself for who I was, who I am and who I have the potential to be. The healing process is not without pain, because the very nature of exploring our issues reveals the areas still raw and sore, underdeveloped, weak, and troublesome. Sometimes we must rest deep in the cave, in silence and solitude, licking our wounds until they become a pattern of scars stitching us back together. Sometimes we need the love of an honest friend to gently redirect our attention to the areas of bruising, to show us how we can take care of ourselves. Sometimes we need the structure of routine, ritual and meditation to heal ourselves from the outside in. Sometimes we need all of this, over and over again. The process of living, learning and healing is a work in progress.

The Japanese practice an art called Kintsugi, a method of repairing broken ceramics with gold joinery. Cracks are often aggrandized before being filled with gold, silver or platinum. It is a philosophy that speaks of overcoming suffering, of beauty revealed not despite its flaws but often because of its flaws. Most importantly, it is a philosophy of embracing imperfection that speaks of damage and healing as an important part of the history and creation of each piece, and not something to hide. Sometimes I feel like I am the ceramic pot, broken but blessed with Kintsugi. Every time my heart breaks, I work to slowly heal the cracks with layers of gold and remain a complex, beautiful vessel for the soul.

This post is a part of the Pagan Blog Project 2014, and is in memory of my beloved friend Al and his wonderful family.

PBP2014

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

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…)

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

 

“You shouldn’t try that until you know what you are doing.”

But how can one know, unless one does? Witchcraft is a very experiential path, full of mysteries and wonder that cannot be taught, only alluded to. It is for each practitioner to convert the knowledge shared by others into personal experience, for without experience the magic of the world is simply academic understanding. Direct experience turns the words on a page into a rich tapestry of understanding, and turns the knowledge of others into personal wisdom. With the wonder of modern technology, more and more practitioners are turning to online forums for guidance and support, which presents its own challenges. Despite the ease of meeting like minded souls virtually, and despite the accessibility of information, there is little support for in depth spiritual studies. So often I see the words above typed in chat rooms in response to valid questions – but no further information is shared. The teenage rebel in me rises her head every time and shouts ‘But how do I know when I know what I am doing unless I do it and see?!’ and the woman in me nods in understanding. Too often this kind of vague response only fires up the desire to experiment, rather than encouraging one to step back and reflect upon our skills and past experience.  The tone of this overused phrase comes across as a petty ‘I know something you don’t know’ at best, and at worst it appears superior, patronizing and condescending. Most of the time neither of these attitudes are actually present, but the lack of physical communication in a virtual world encumbers and disguises the true intent of such a statement. Most of the time, the practitioners who use this phrase and similar warning phrases genuinely care that others feel safe and secure in their spiritual experiences. (more…)