Posts Tagged ‘Spirituality’

This article is a copyrighted extract from the upcoming book, The Inner Alchemy of Witchcraft by Romany Rivers.

Country Diary : Crows fly through branches of a tree“Air is the invisible Element, all around us and within us, connecting every aspect of the universe. It is the space between the cells of our being, the breath we exchange with others and the words we use to share our ideas. Air is inspiration and communication, thought and dream, education and knowledge. It is the Element of mind – ours and the Divine. […]

The secret of Air is its limitless potential, its ability to free every thought, to carry every idea, to blow away the dust from our eyes and show us every inspiration of magic. Air is naturally without borders or boundaries, moving from me to you, from you to another with ease and freedom. The danger of this freedom is that bad news and harmful ideas will be just as airborne as beneficial ones. We can impact ourselves, our friends, our families and our communities just as quickly with harmful words and thoughts. A mind clouded with hatred is just as capable of harnessing the power of Air as a mind clear of cluttered thoughts. Therefore we must, as magical practitioners, be aware of what we think and say. We must also be aware of the thoughts and words of others that we take on as our internal monologue. […]

Air will feed a fire, or put it out.

The flickering flame within the darkness and the house burning to the ground, both are fed by air. Our intentions and our words are like the oxygen that fans the flames of passion or anger. Yet air also has the power to extinguish fire, and it is this contradiction of abilities that we often overlook. Just as we breathe onto a spark to bring it to life, so we can use our breath to blow out the candle flame. We can fan a little flame until it burns brightly in the darkness, using the power of Air to uplift the spirit, encourage passion and confidence, and to illuminate the dark times. We can feed a small fire, giving it the gust it needs to grow, jump, spread and cause further damage. We can inadvertently breathe new life into a dying fire, whether we mean to or not, or we can consciously choose to extinguish a flame before it rages beyond control. How we choose to use our intention and words during times of heightened emotions will determine whether we encourage the fire to rage, or whether we use our power to cease its path of potential destruction.

Those in a position of authority within the spiritual community, teachers, elders, leaders, or priests, will come across this teaching of air time and time again. With awareness we can clearly see how the power or air impacts the power of fire, how the words of someone perceived to be in a position of authority can fan the flames of passion, cut off the air supply that feeds dangerous fires of anger, breathe life into dying embers of old teachings, or fuels the little flames that light up the night. With power comes responsibility, but the power of air and the responsibility of use is not reserved to the leaders of our communities. The Element of Air resides within and around all of us, and we each have the power to choose how we use it. Be aware of how your words and intentions encourage or extinguish the flames around you. Be aware of what you fuel with your breath of being.”

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Romany Rivers is the author of Poison Pen Letters to Myself, The Woven Word: A Book of Invocations and Inspirations, and The Inner Alchemy of Witchcraft. Community books and Anthologies include Witchcraft Today 60 Years On, Naming The Goddess, Moon Poets and Pagan Planet.

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hearth altarI have long been trying to live in the now. To be present in each moment. To let go of my past and to stop grasping at unknowable futures. To be open, receptive, aware. Willing to be who I am, where I am, right now. It is a challenge.

Much of the time my mind whirls with memories of the past and possibilities for the future. My emotions fluctuate around previous experiences, or tangle themselves into hope, anxiety or concern for the future. I react to life as it happens, and my reaction times are slow. I worry about what might be. I grieve over what was. So I sought to become less reactive and more proactive. I tried to tune into each moment as it happened, to process it like raindrops swelling my inner rivers. I tried spiritual techniques, mental tricks, psychological methods. I affirm my connection to the here and now. I practice mindfulness. I meditate. I let go.

I realised that we are never truly in the present moment, we may come close, but we simply cannot immerse ourselves in the now. We need time to process our understanding of now, and the greater the lesson, the longer the arc of understanding. Even listening to my own heartbeat takes the time of feedback and interpretation, but listening to my heart and its desires takes longer, listening to the hearts and desires of others longer still. We are never truly now or then, we are always somewhere in the middle. Like Janus we have twinned faces looking back at past and towards the future – a body in the present, and a mind split between what was and what will be. We are never fully present, even in the present moment.

The present is the past before you are able to grasp its importance and significance. And the unknown future is upon us before we even avert our gaze from that which just was. The importance of a single moment takes time to realise, yet it is the time in between experience and understanding that unravels the truth. This is the time when we listen, learn, understand and integrate the importance and value of every now. Therefore even if the only moment we have is now, it is the liminal times that we both seek and treasure. The liminal times may be brief and in sharp relief, or they may stretch over years as we slowly come to terms with that which once was, and with that one moment that changed everything.

This was my lesson, hard learned. By striving to remain present, I fell through the cracks of time and discovered the in between. The dusks and dawns of my own understanding. I live in the liminal times.

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fall.jpgSo today is Canadian thanksgiving – one day among many days to express gratitude. Our first thought on a day like this is gratitude for the harvests, for the food in our bellies, the roof over our heads and the warmth we need for the coming winter. For this and more I am grateful. I am thankful for those who have stood by me, with me, and even against me, for they all help to shape my sharp and smooth edges. I am thankful for those who have pushed me, challenged me, supported me and encouraged me. I am thankful for health, happiness and well being for myself and those I love. I am thankful for beauty, change, inspiration and the coming darkness. I am thankful for busy days and days of rest. And even many, many years after traveling around the world, I am still very, very grateful for hot running water and flushing toilets. Today, I am thankful for the small things and the bigs things, for the physical things and the spiritual things, for the intellectual things and the emotional things, and for the sunshine lighting up trees of red and gold.

Happy thanksgiving.

RRivers logoTeachings of Earth: All things must die; yet death is not the end.

Earth shows us the complex cycles of life and death. All aspects of nature, even those that seem most enduring, will eventually leave their current form. They will die, break down, transform. The more we observe nature, the more that we understand that every death feeds into the cycle of life – that energy itself does not die, merely transform. The horror of the rotting corpse feeds the world and nurtures new life. The leaves fall as they must for the trees to survive the winter, to feed the ground, and to make way for the new blossom of spring. The very planets of our universe are born and will die. There are many little deaths within our own life. Moments when relationships, behaviours, beliefs, knowledge, even things we held as truth must die. As it is natural for humans facing physical mortality, we often resist the death of these aspects and grieve their loss. When we face these inner deaths, especially those of deeply held beliefs, it helps to look to nature and understand that the death we resist may actually nurture new life within us, it may in fact be necessary for us to continue along our cycle of magical, emotional or spiritual development. To grieve is a part of the process and may actually be very enlightening, for grief is the twin of love, pain the twin of pleasure. Understanding why we resist the death of that which no longer serves us, why we grieve it’s loss, why we feel pain to let something go, may actually tell us why we held on to the belief, relationship or behaviour so tightly to begin with. Release what you must, watch the parts of yourself that are unhealthy die a slow death, and do so with grace and understanding. These aspects will transform in time, becoming fertile soil for the new seeds you plant.

 

Romany Rivers (c)2014

This article is a copyrighted extract from my upcoming book: The Inner Alchemy of Witchcraft by Romany Rivers

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Autumn arrives

As my son cries

And places fallen leaf upon my outstretched fingertips

Fix the tree he pleads

The leaf

It fell over

Fix the tree

If only it were so simple

To kiss it better

To hug away the hurt

To ease the seasons sorrow

I wonder if his heart will break a little

With every red gold shiver

With every bitter breeze

With every leaf crunching underfoot

The tree is broken in his mind

How does one explain

The time and tides

The ebb and flow

The come and go

To brimming tear filled brown eyes?

Is it too hard a truth to learn so young

That some things cannot be undone?

I cannot fix the tree for him

And reality upon me dawns

Just as the time has come for leaves to change

The mighty Mama also falls

No longer magic touch

Healing all with simple love

There are things in life beyond a Mamas reach

She cannot even fix the tree

(c)2013 Romany Rivers

Blessings of the Autumn Equinox to you all! May the turning of the seasons bring you peace and bountiful harvests. Look out for the story behind this poem in the upcoming community book ‘Pagan Planet’ due for publication soon!

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…)

Cleansing StormWitchcraft teaches the duality and polarity of spectrums, the interconnectedness of all things, of light and dark, masculine and feminine, positive and negative, conscious and subconscious. Just as we accept that our universe is made of dichotomies that cannot exist without the context of their opposing meaning, we must accept that we are also many different and often opposing aspects that create a whole. Many practitioners envision a spiritual split that creates ‘Light’ and ‘Dark’ aspects of ourselves. Some practitioners attempt to work with and develop their light sides, and shun the dark aspects of themselves as negative or bad.  However, to know thyself is to know those parts we keep hidden in the shadows, locked in darkness, obscured from understanding. When I ask why someone is afraid of the dark, I wonder if it is the darkness itself that causes fear or whether it is the fear of what we may find within the darkness. (more…)

Shauna Aura KnightAn artist, author, community leader, event organizer, and spiritual seeker, Shauna travels nationally offering intensive education in the transformative arts of ritual, community leadership, and personal growth. She is the author of the Dreamwork for the Initiate’s Path and the ritual facilitation book Spiritual Scents. She’s also a columnist on ritual techniques for Circle Magazine, and her writing also appears in several Pagan anthologies. She’s the author of the forthcoming books The Leader Within and Ritual Facilitation. The anthologies Stepping in to Ourselves: An Anthology of Writings on Priestessing, A Mantle of Stars, and Calling to our Ancestors.

Shauna is also a fantasy artist and author. Her mythic artwork and designs are used for magazine covers, book covers, and illustrations, as well as decorating many walls, shrines, and other spaces. She is passionate about creating rituals, experiences, spaces, stories, and artwork to awaken mythic imagination. (more…)

Doreen ValienteEnlightenment and spirituality doesn’t require a price tag – that is a personal journey and cannot be given to you, although it may be guided and supported. Knowledge should freely available, but the providers of knowledge should not be expected to devote time, skills and experience for free. So here lies the constant, and often heated, debate about paying for training in Witchcraft, Wicca or Pagan Spirituality. On one side, the argument that all aspects of spiritual education should be freely given; on the other side, that every practitioner is entitled to a fair compensation of their time, experience and skills.

This argument rears its ugly head time and time again in the Pagan community. What amazes me is the unhealthy fascination that we place on very specific forms of training – namely eclectic Wicca training courses. No one seems overly concerned with Pagans who charge for classes, courses, workshops or services such as Tarot or Astrology. No one verbally assaults Pagan Celebrants who charge for handfastings, baby blessings or funerals.  No one insults the professional Pagan who writes for a living, owns a store or holistic centre, or operates a retreat centre. In my understanding, the debate really heats up when offering a year and a day training in Wicca that combines a variety of skills and teachings that people would otherwise be happy to pay for should it be provided in bite sized pieces. The debate about Wica vs Wicca, Gardnerian/Alexandrian vs other initiatory systems such as Odyssean or more eclectic Wicca aside, the idea that any Priest/Priestess/Coven or Mystery School would charge a fee in exchange for education seems abhorrent to many practitioners.

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Sole_e_Luna

 I have often been asked:

 “If the Divine is all one,

how can there be so many Gods and Goddesses?”

I am but one body of flesh and bone and sinew, comprised of the genetics of millions who came before me. I am but one body, made of billions of cells that act without my conscious interference, a single entity made of stardust of the universe. When I die my physical form does not cease to exist, it transforms and feeds back into the universe. I am unique, but recycled and recyclable. Therefore I am one, yet also a part of the all that is, ever was or will be.

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