Magick is Real and It’s YOU!

water-bubbles

I want to share with you, dear reader, some of my struggles. We’ve all been there, right? Sometimes life is just damned difficult.

In this blog, I’ll share with you about a time when I was deeply struggling with a lot of things, motherhood and sobriety in particular. It was when I began to discover what was inside of me, or perhaps what I was, what I am… what we all are- Magick.

You see, Magick is REAL. In fact you’re made of it. And because you don’t know/believe this down to your core, you’re playing way too damn small.

Even many self-proclaimed witches who practice spell-craft on the regular are playing too small. Because wielding the power of Magick in your life can change everything. It’s not just the ability to manifest that career or love-life that you desire (although it does that too!). It’s the ability to change the world, starting with yourself.

You and Magick are one and the same. But perhaps you haven’t met your personal Magick yet. I know a way that you and Magick can become intimately acquainted, leading to the intuitive and pervasive knowing that you ARE Magick.

I did not always have that knowing. At a time in my life, in early sobriety, I was experiencing panic attacks, night terrors and uncovering memories of a deeply traumatic childhood. I was being tossed about in the waves of my live with nothing to reach for, nothing to hold on to.

I also had a toddler; Maggie. She was beautiful, bright and willful as hell! And with all of the emotional upheaval I was going through, Maggie flung the most difficult challenges at me. I was drowning in the depths!

drowning-depths
I remember a day when visitors to our home brought her a little gift. It was an M&M shaped tin, full of M&M’s, so, basically a million dollars to a three year old.

We were still in that phase where she needed prompting for polite behavior, so, as the tin was handed down to her, I reminded her, “Say Thank You.”

Maggie looked at me, doubtful, with her hand on her million dollar green tin full of happiness and remained silent. I said “If you don’t say Thank You, you can’t have it.”

She shot me a look full of baby daggers and much more disdain that a three-year-old should be capable of mustering, and, Little Miss Maggie turned her little body around and walked out of the room, without saying Thank You – and without the tin.

I felt my head dip under the surface of the water. Clearly, I was in trouble.

Maggie’s defiance and attitude had me screaming at her daily, right in her face, at the top of my lungs. Honestly, it amounted to child abuse and my lack of self-control had me crying myself to sleep every night over how horrible a mother I was.

I went under the waives again, unable to draw breath.

My emotions were ragged and I felt like I had no control, no ability to pause and think before blowing up at her over something. I’d heard a lot about the idea of “responding instead of reacting” but I had no idea how to get there. I was deeply worried that, because of my childhood, I couldn’t be a good mother to my child.

A part of the treatment I’d found for my own emotional difficulties was meditation. And when I first started to learn meditation, with the help of a teacher, I was convinced that I just couldn’t do it. I believed that I was simply a person with some kind of mental flaw that rendered me incapable of deep meditation.

My mind would race with a million thoughts that I couldn’t seem to quiet. One thought would lead to another and another until meditation was the farthest thing from what I was doing. I was told by someone that I had “monkey brain”. I assumed that, for me, this was a permanent condition.

I was given a number of different techniques to try, such as staring at a candle flame, listening to certain sounds, walking meditation, etc. And still, those thoughts would abound in my head and I felt like a meditation failure.
And with my daughter, when she would act out and I would still yell at her, I felt like a parenting failure as well. And for the third (and final?) time, I went under. Would I simply be swept out to sea? Would that be better for all concerned anyway?

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What I didn’t realize at the time was that there was progress. The number of thoughts had decreased over time and with practice. And I just kept trying.

I found a guided meditation tape that seemed to help me move a little further along. The words and the imagined journey helped me focus and get to a place where the thoughts would subside for a bit.

And with Maggie, I was becoming aware a little sooner, each time I screamed, that she had triggered some painful switch in me that caused me to react that way.

I was failing forward. A life preserver appeared.

And then came the day when I was listening to that guided meditation and I lost time. I ended the meditation and realized that, for part of it, even if just a few minutes, “I” was gone. The awareness of “self” that we all walk around with had vanished for a while. And the relentless thinking had stopped.

What took the place of all that thinking was just bliss. It was utterly indescribable but in that bliss I felt the whispered, pervasive and irrefutable truth. “You are VASTLY more than you believe yourself to be.”

And I took a deep breath of air.

Then, one day, not long after that brief but blissful success in my meditation, I responded to Maggie instead of reacting.
She was throwing a crying fit about the way I cut up some vegetables and I knelt down at eye-level with her and I became fully attentive to my child in that moment, simply, totally present. I said nothing, but I looked at the pieces of broccoli and looked at Maggie with a concerned expression on my face.

And she stopped crying and stared at me. We both looked at the broccoli and suddenly I took a piece and popped it in my mouth and chewed in an exaggerated way. She smiled a little at that. And so, I wondered aloud whether the broccoli tasted differently, having been cut this way.

So, she tried one and very thoughtfully chewed and tasted it. Then she looked at me and said, “Nope! Tastes the same!” and took the plate back to her seat at the table and happily munched and suddenly, I could swim.

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It was a miracle. I had met my personal Magick. My meditation practice was the first step in discovering the Truth of my vast Magickal self. And I was beginning to discover how to wield it with power and purpose.

Maggie’s 24 now, and we have an awesome relationship. I’ve been practicing meditation and witchcraft for over 20 years and my personal Magick has helped me through many other struggles as well. I’ll share some of those with you some time.

How can you meet your personal Magick and take that first step towards being the active creator of your world?

If you’ve tried meditation and struggled with it like I did, or if you’ve never tried it but are looking for a way in, I have a gift for you.

I’ve developed and recorded a 20-minute guided meditation (similar to the one that sparked my first success) utilizing my years of experience and my desire to liberate souls.

It is backed by music which features binaural beats which are formulated to help your brain reach more relaxed wave-states and aid in your ability to find deeper meditation.

This guided journey incorporates the six elements I’ve discussed before, bringing you through connection to Earth, Fire, Water and Air, to Spirit and finally to Void, where your Magick self is waiting.

Start your journey by signing up for Inner Court emails to receive your free guided meditation to try it out. As an Inner Courtier of Witch in the World, you’ll be the first to learn of events, workshops, freebies and specials.

To subscribe, scroll up and enter your  e-mail in the Subscribe window in the left-hand side bar.

And we’ll talk some more about other ways to rescue from the depths, that limitless Magickal power that is YOU!

Suicidal Teen to Warrior Witch: How Does THAT Happen?

When I was 14 years old, I was suicidal. I was an outcast who didn’t fit anywhere. I was the poor girl of divorced parents in a private Catholic School. I kind of hated everyone.

suicide-girl

At school, I was ridiculed by students and teachers alike because I was so awkward, depressed and different.  Teachers looked at me like I was some kind of a bug under a microscope, as if maybe they could figure out what kind of disease I was.  The other kids barely looked at me at all, but when they did, they just flung insults at me.

I had this fantasy, at the time, where I was sitting on a cloud, hovering above it all.  Each hurtful word or look that sailed my way, I saw as a stone that I would catch and use to build a rock wall surrounding me.  I had no desire to fit in.  What I really wanted was to disappear.

At home my family had begun treating me like a bomb that might suddenly explode. The year prior to this I had been raped by the man who was keeping company with my mother. He disappeared from our lives right after that but he left his mark on the whole family.

I was told that it was very important, for my reputation and for the whole family that we keep that “situation” very hush-hush. Don’t talk about it.

No, of course it wasn’t your fault, but don’t you dare tell anyone. They’ll think horrible things about you, and us! Just… get over it.

My way of “getting over it” was to just stop being. I made a few cowardly and not quite-strenuous-enough attempts at suicide. And then, one night, there was a school dance. Someone I barely knew gave me a fifth of Southern Comfort. I drank it, blacked out, passed out and was dumped by the kids who gave me the alcohol at my doorstep.

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When I came-to in the morning in my own room the first thought in my head was, “I don’t have to kill myself!  I can just drink!”  It brought me to that place of nothingness that I desired. I decided to continue technically living. But I was mostly dead inside.  And I did drink, whenever possible after that.

Fast forward about 14 years and my husband of 2 years, whom I loved deeply, was looking at me in disgust and giving me an ultimatum. I had to get help and quit drinking, or we were done. I remember feeling, suddenly, like I was underwater and couldn’t draw a breath. I didn’t want to lose him, so the next day, I did get help and I stopped drinking.

Three months after quitting drinking, I discovered that I was pregnant. So, it was quite a whirlwind first year of sobriety. New home, new life, and I was doing all the “right” things. Under my “keep-it-together” exterior, I was terrified of the changes, of becoming a mom, of everything.

I felt as though I’d better have something to hold onto after my child arrived because I felt like I was rattling apart. I felt like my whole body, mind and soul were being shaken with the fore-shocks of an earthquake that were increasing in intensity. And childbirth would make me just crumble into a million tiny, broken pieces.

But when my daughter was born, everything changed. I fell so hard in love with her that, if the shaking continued, it just couldn’t touch me. My early days with my baby were idyllic and peaceful and just so full of a love I’d never even imagined was even possible before. The quiet and calm were positively blissful.

But when she became a toddler, with high intelligence and a gigantic (Leo) attitude, the world began quaking again. I was almost 3 years sober and the reasons I started drinking in the first place started rearing their ugly heads.

I began having horrible night terrors and full blown panic attacks during the day. Memories jumped at me like the slasher in a horror film and stopped my heart in the middle of a sentence sometimes.

I began to have dreams that uncovered older memories; memories of molestation when I was very young. And all of this was going on while I was trying to navigate early sobriety and early motherhood.

One day, while grocery shopping, I was beset by a panic attack. My daughter sat in the child seat in the shopping cart as we started to check out and she watched as my hands shook and my face turned red and my breath quickened to sprinter pace, while sweat poured out of my body. She gaped up at me with wide eyes saying, “Momma? Momma?”

I had to grab her out of the seat and just leave. I left my basket and the groceries half in the cart, half on the check-out conveyer, and I just ran. I ran, with my baby girl in my arms, like we were being chased by a murderer. But we weren’t. It was just my past chasing us.

I managed to get her buckled into her car seat and myself into the front seat and I just sobbed.

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I cried with frustration and fear over the panic attack, I cried over all those things that happened to me as a child that I never acknowledged or dealt with, but mostly I cried because I NEEDED to be a better mother.

I couldn’t have this MESS of a woman that I had become be an example for this precious, innocent child. She was looking to ME for guidance, for information about how to go through the world. I couldn’t have that.

So, once again, I sought help. I’ll spare you the stories of the months of seeking for the right kind of help, and let you know that I finally did find it. And I was introduced to meditation and I became what I would describe as a spiritual seeker. It was kind of like I just found a new addiction. But this one was healthy.

Little by little, my “episodes” slowed down and finally stopped all together. My meditation practice grew, my spiritual practices evolved. Through all of this, I came to understand, and eventually appreciate, ALL of the experiences of my life. And I became the role model that my daughter deserved.

(And what I mean by evolved is, Catholicism to other “lighter” forms of Christianity to agnosticism, to spiritual-not-religious to Buddhism to an eclectic combination of practices with a healthy dose of Hindu philosophy I saw as “Renee-ism” to atheism, to Wicca to a more general paganism to the weirdo-crone  warrior witch that defies description that I have become today!)

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I sought out personal power in every arena. I learned how to govern my own life and I won my freedom. After years of this practice, every aspect of my life changed for the better, and I began to encounter other women who were in need of healing in ways that were similar to mine and in ways that were different as well.

What I understood was that, having come through these difficulties, and finding solutions, I now had a responsibility to share what I know. I was finally armed with enough information, personal power and experience to help others strategize their battles.

This is just one of the reasons I became a Diviner, spiritual adviser and coach. And today, I absolutely LOVE seeing the women I work with improve everything about their lives.

 

7 Signs You’re Ready for a High-Powered Magickal Heart

What do I mean by a “High-Powered Magickal Heart”?

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The heart is the power center of the body. This is where your magickal energy comes from. It is the seat of your will and desire.

When you set your sights on a goal, mundane or magickal, this is the womb that births your idea into reality. The more power you give to it, the more powerful your manifesting abilities will be.

Whether you’re already a magickal practitioner or just someone who wants to get shit done in life, turning up the dial on your heart-center will make things happen for you.

So, are you ready to go Mega-Watt? Maybe. If you can identify with the following list, you’re ready. And the ride is glorious. Read on!

1. No Wimps!

You are not a fearful or overly emotional person. In fact, you probably get annoyed by people who are. You’ve no patience for whiners or drama queens.

Not that you haven’t had deeply emotional experiences, you just prefer to get over it and learn from it and move on, rather than wallowing in the muck of self-pity.

2. Check the Mirror.

Self examination is a regular practice for you. You find it rewarding, interesting and valuable to look deeply into your own psyche to find out what makes you tick. You pay attention to your ups and downs and you analyze the reasons for them.

You don’t shy away from criticism. You don’t automatically take it on either. You can discern the difference between constructive and destructive criticism and whether or not it actually applies to you, because you’re capable of self-honesty.

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3. Give it to me Straight.

You can handle the Truth! You don’t want sugar-coating unless it’s on your dessert.

You are deeply interested in uncovering the truth of any situation, and the truth about the world at large.

Mysteries probably fascinate you, for, as soon as you’re given the idea that some information is hidden from you, you will stop at nothing to remove its veil.

You’ve looked at the High Priestess Tarot card and thought, “What IS behind that curtain?!”

 

truth

4. What’s True and What’s the Truth.

You also understand that truth, to our perception, can be relative. You are ready, willing and able to change your understanding of Truth if given new evidence.

You’re okay with not “Knowing” in the way that is rigid and never-changing, because that shuts down all other possibilities. And possibilities are important to you.

5. Into the Woods!

You’re not afraid of the dark… in fact, you’re kind of attracted to it. The occult fascinates you and you want to learn all the ancient, esoteric, down-and-dirty, magickal stuff. You’re not some new-age light worker and you’re not afraid of words like witchcraft, voodoo or hex. You don’t shun teachers like Aleister Crowley or Anton LeVey. You don’t shun ANY teachers. Because you want it all.

You are insatiably curious about all of the hidden recesses of history, the world and your own psyche. You want to dig deep and search for answers and fill up your mind with every aspect of magick and personal power that there is.

6. A Mind of One’s Own.

And once you have all that information, then you’ll decide for yourself what is valuable to you and what can be forgotten or dismissed. You are no follower of gurus. You may appreciate a teacher for the wisdom that they possess, but you’re not prone to the illusion that any one teacher could have all of the answers.

You’re not a follower. You’re a leader. And you will use your own intuition, experimentation, practice and life to discern the information that serves you from the information that doesn’t. You don’t have to check with any guru, or society, or your mother, or your spouse or the internet when you decide what works and what doesn’t work for you.

7. One-ness.

And finally, you are hungry. You’re hungry for the connection to divinity that you’ve glimpsed from time to time. You’ve felt that sublime no-thingness, that impossible to describe, deep and blissful understanding that you are actually, in fact and truly NOT this flesh, this mundane matter-laden existence that some call “reality”, but something vast, infinite, singular and powerful beyond measure, whole beyond comprehension.

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You’ve glimpsed that feeling and you want more. Because the more of that you get, the fewer fucks you give about that “reality”, or the moors of society, or what your neighbors or facebook friends or family members might think. The more of that BLISS of Infinity that you get the more autonomy and personal power you gain.

And THAT my friends, is where your Mega-Watt heart wants to be. THAT is when manifestation, in this world and all the worlds, becomes child’s play.

If this is you, you are one of my tribe and I offer you a deep bow of respect and an excited fist-bump for the things to come!

 

 

NOTE:  Image source links are embedded in each picture.

The Woman in Black and Cumulative Magick

woman-in-black“Depression is like a woman in black. If she turns up, don’t shoo her away. Invite her in, offer her a seat, treat her like a guest and listen to what she wants to say.”  – C.G. Jung

Depression is a manifestation of the unheard, unacknowledged Shadow.  I like this quote because it gives me a visual for some of the Shadow work I do as a witch.  And why does a witch do “Shadow Work”, you wonder?  Because it is the source of your deepest power.

I’ve been practicing magick for a long time.  And I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

Of course, I started out like anyone else, with the simplest of recipes from some magickal cook book or another.

I think my first spell might have been in high school. I performed a love spell with a mojo bag (red of course) filled with rose quartz, rose petals, rose oil, my lonely tears and possibly blood from a finger pricked by a rose thorn.

Roses are for love, right?  And I have always been drawn (Ha! Pun intended) to blood magick.  Perhaps there’s a bit of vampire in me. Hmmm.

red-mojo-bag

In any case, I can’t remember if it worked or not.  I’m guessing not because I don’t ever remember feeling any kind of love fulfillment in high school.

Anyway, the point is, in spell-work, experienced and novice witches alike tend to spend a lot of time on intention, on correspondences, on the stuff that goes into the mojo bag.  We design elaborate rituals and recite beautifully written, rhyming incantations. We visualize our intention with intense and vivid focus. We chant and dance and burn things and sweat, naked under the moonlight.

And then nothing happens.

This is due, my friends, to the desires of that Woman in Black, the Unconscious Will.

I did my experimentation and performed many, many failed spells.  I put in the time and made the mistakes and wondered and agonized over the “why” of it all.

I wondered if perhaps I was just someone who didn’t have magick in her, which made me very sad and gladly turns out to be very untrue.

If you are wondering the same, dear witchy readers, stop it.  We all have magick in us.  More magick than you can possibly imagine.

After all of the experiments and disasters, when I finally turned my attention inward like the Hermit, I began to understand that there is a far more powerful catalyst for my spells than the things and the conscious intentions that I put into them.

hermit

Don’t get me wrong!  The THINGS count!  Everything counts.  But there is an alignment which must be reached between those things, the conscious intention AND the Unconscious Will in order for a spell to have a chance.

Know thyself, Witch.  This is the first order of becoming a great Magickal practitioner.  And very often, what we think we want, what our conscious mind desires, is not in alignment with our Unconscious Will.

AND, we’ve a tendency to do magick on the very things that the Woman in Black has magickally and magnificently manifested.  Very often our conscious mind labels the manifestations of the unconscious will as wrong or bad.  Our conscious mind says, “No, I don’t want that!”  So we do magick on the things we want to change.  But those things exist in our lives for a reason.

Did that make any sense at all?  No?  Okay.  Let me give you an example.

A number of years ago, I was working a thankless day job of about 50 to 60 hours a week.  This job (the only one I’d been offered in over two years of unemployment) was located about 75 miles away from my home, so I had a commute of approximately 3 to 4 hours a day.  When you figured in all the extra hours and the cost of the commute, the pay I received for said thankless job was below poverty level.

Meanwhile, I was also a very active elder in a large coven, facilitating rituals for groups of up to 150 people at a time, AND running a spiritual center and facilitating workshops, rituals and festivals out of my home.  Oh, yes, I was very busy.  I don’t even know, now, how I found all the time.

My conscious desire was to have an easier life.  My goal, magickal and otherwise, was to have more time for the things that I loved; i.e. ritual, teaching, divination, priestessing.  This meant either finding a better paying job, with fewer working hours, closer to home, or making enough money from my workshops and divinations and rituals to devote myself to that full time.

And don’t think I wasn’t doing magick around that goal!  I was!  Frequently!  And I was working as hard as I could on the mundane channels to achieve it as well.  But this went on for about 7 years.  7 years of toiling, under-appreciated and under-paid.  7 years of being that amazing “ohmygods how do you do it all?!” person that my friends marveled at.  7 years of struggle, hard work, martyrdom!  Ah… there it is!

Why would I stay in that situation for 7 years unless some HUGE part of myself was extremely desirous of it?  The answer is, I wouldn’t.  It was clear that part of me wanted it this way.

That deep-down part of my unconscious, The Woman in Black wanted, longed for, enjoyed and, indeed, LOVED to be known as that marvel who managed so much. She was positively orgasmic over the idea of being the martyr and the ever-struggling one. And she manifested this life-style despite my efforts in the real world and in my spell-craft to produce something different.

(Here’s me, the long suffering martyr.)

martyr

 

The fact is, that any Magick I performed around this conscious desire would be ultimately ineffective without HER cooperation and agreement.

Let’s perform a little experiment, shall we?  Will you participate with me?  Go ahead and raise your right hand in the air.  Go ahead, just do it.  Did you?  Okay.

Now, did you do that consciously or unconsciously?

Most people answer that they did it consciously, because the conscious thought to raise the arm preceded the event.  However, our minds are not capable of consciously firing  each and every synapse in the sequence which is necessary to make the action happen.  The chain of events of muscle movement, tendon stretching and nerve action is far too complicated for our conscious thoughts to comprehend.  All of that is done under the surface, like that proverbial ice-berg.

So, we can’t accomplish much without the cooperation of that dark and steamy underworld dweller dressed ever so provocatively in black.  This means that if something exists in your life there’s a part of you that brought it about.  As the wise witch Carolyn Elliott says, “Having is evidence of wanting.”

It may seem like a harsh truth, but to me, it was a great revelation to know that part of me was that powerful and all I had to do was convince The Woman in Black to agree with my conscious desires in order to get what I wanted!

So, what did I have to do to change that 7 year stretch of martyrdom?  First, I had to acknowledge that the Woman in Black was wearing the witch hat in a way that I never could, and give her the respect she deserved.  And then, I had to let go of the person I thought myself to be.

It didn’t happen overnight.  It happened over time. And all of the magick I did leading up to the “spell that worked”, counted.  Just like the color correspondences, the stones, the herbs, the incantation AND the intentions counted.  Because everything counts.  And it adds up.  Over time, our conscious mind can feed our unconscious mind the desired, well, desire.  But the key was understanding that my deeply held belief about being a struggler, a martyr, a hard worker had to be recognized in order to be dislodged and changed.

Awareness is the first step, right?  So, once I was aware that I was really digging being the martyr, the put-upon one, once I came to know and appreciate the love I had for my identification with the never-resting-ever-working marvel that I’d become, I had to say goodbye to her.  But the Woman in Black wasn’t going to just let her go.  I had to feed her some new identity to latch onto, one she would enjoy just as much.

There are two ways to dislodge and replace a deeply held belief.

Think of a glass of muddy-dirty water.  You want this glass to be full of clear, pure water.  There are two ways of accomplishing this.  The first is to dump it out, wash the glass and re-fill it.  This example would be equal to a deep, devastating trauma that drastically changes your perspective.  And if you don’t have a trauma at hand, but still want to change, then what?

Take the glass of muddy water and start pouring pure, crystal clear water into it.  Keep pouring until it over-flows, then continue to pour until all that mud and silt and sand has been lifted out of the glass and displaced and you are left with a glass of pure, clear water.

That’s how cumulative magick works.  Each time I did a spell, each time I acknowledged the deep desire to be seen as a martyr and each time I focused my intention on wanting the change, I was pouring the pure water into the muddy and displacing it a little at a time.

And how did I acknowledge the desires of the Woman in Black?  I invitedher in, treated her like a guest and listened to what she had to say.  When she told me how fulfilling and wonderful it was to feel that struggle and hard work, I would close my eyes in ecstatic empathy and FEEL that with her.  When she spoke of being known as that miraculous, ever-busy, make-things-happen kind of woman, I grinned and fanned at my fa
ce and neck to cool those passionate flames arising in me.  You have to really get INTO it in order for her to feel heard and understood.

 

And then, in visualization and in my spell craft and in my mundane life, I began to convince the Woman in Black how fun it would be to be able to do all of those things and still have time to rest.  I gave her the image of us lounging decadently or floating in a pool.  I also gave her the image of us identifying with being a godsdamned fierce, badass magickal practitioner.

spell-caster

Finally, I did a spell to bring me a new life.  But this time, I was entirely ready to HAVE that new life.  I was absolutely done with my martyrdom and ready to move on to the next phase of things.  Within about 6 weeks of that final spell, I was living in a beautiful new place, working a job at almost twice the pay of the old one, with rewarding work and within walking distance of my new home.

And I must tell you, it has been one hell of a magickal ride since then too!

So if your spells aren’t working, it’s probably not a problem with your correspondences or the “recipe”.  It’s probably not an issue with astrological timing or the proper chant. (Although it could be those things too, because remember, everything counts!)

But it is much more likely something deep within you which fears, or is not in alignment with, what you think you want.  Have a chat with the Woman in Black and see if she can’t help you figure it out.

Happy witching!

 

*** Links to Image Sources are embedded in the images.

Words of Wisdom by Witch in the World

Words of W 08-16-16

Hello Dear Readers!

I’m kind of big on this word “Responsibility”.  From early in my training as a witch, it was my understanding that we all have a tremendous amount of power; much more than most folks believe.

In learning spellcraft and witchcraft, I became aware that I was being given tools with which to wield my power in the mundane world.  As I’ve honed my skills with these tools and as I’ve crafted more efficient and powerful tools, I’ve come to understand that line from Spiderman.   With great power comes great responsibility.

As witches we believe that everything is connected (else magick wouldn’t work!).  And therefor, everything we do affects everything (and everyone) else.  So we take responsibility for that.  Hence the edict to “Harm None”.  And hence one of the reasons I love witchcraft as a lifestyle.  You are required to THINK before you act.  That goes for whether or not recycle and what kind of spellcraft you work with.

But there’s more to my little Words of Wisdom meme today.  As thinking, powerful beings with finely honed tools, we are responsible to become our best selves.

As Doreen Valiente said, “Keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever towards it.  Let naught stop you or turn you aside.”

What this means to me is that we must continually seek out our own enlightenment.  We must continually be looking for improvement, of ourselves and the world around us.  And in order to do that to the glory of all that there is… we have to realize that that glory begins inside of us.

So Realize your Awesomeness.  And then go out and show it to the world.  That’s how you save it.

The Philosopher’s Stone

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Alchemy.  The science of transmutation.  Turning lead into gold.  We all want it.  Everyone wants to find that element, that elusive and pivotal essence that will create the desired change.  Where is that magical Philosopher’s Stone?  One sliver dissolved in liquid and quaffed is a panacea for all ills.  Taken regularly it is the Elixir of Life, bestower of immortality.  It’s powerful stuff.

You must realize, of course, that I’m speaking in metaphor here.  It is my belief (and that of many others) that the “science” of Alchemy is allegorical to the quest of the human soul towards enlightenment.

Is it unrealistic to believe that there is one ingredient that can transmute our heavy leaden existences into the soaring, golden bliss of enlightenment?  I think not.

I’ve noticed a theme running through my life. This theme has to do with “True Statements”.   I’m talking about that experience when you hear a phrase or a quote or a teaching and the deep, undeniable Truth of it hits you in the face like a chocolate cream pie thrown by a major league pitcher.

Here are some of the True Statements that have pie-whacked me:

“Follow your bliss.”  Joseph Campbell

“Do what thou Wilt be the whole of the law.” ~ Aleister Crowley

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”  ~ Rumi

“Do what you love. Know your own bone; Gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it and gnaw it still.” ~
Henry David Thoreau

“Keep pure your highest ideal.  Strive ever towards it.  Let naught stop you or turn you aside.” ~ Doreen Valiente

“Your Heart’s Desire is the Voice of God, and that Voice must be obeyed sooner or later.” ~ Emmett Fox

Do you see the theme?

There’s nothing high-minded about it.  It’s not about intellect or wisdom. It’s not about finding the right guru. And it’s not, in the end, even about prayer or meditation.  It’s about DOING.

I do believe that we are spiritual beings, at our core.  But we were put on this earth, in this mundane existence for a reason.  It is to experience things and experience Doing things.

Without exception, when humans occupy that space of “the zone”, they are creating.  And creation is the realm of the gods.

In those moments you are connecting your heart and your soul to the Soul of the World, the Anima Mundi.  At those times when you are doing what you truly love, you are at peak intuition, highest wisdom and you are changing the world.  And not just your world, THE world.  You are collaborating with the Anima Mundi to bring about that which is in your heart.  In those moments you can feel the presence of the divine.

And this, my dear readers, is the Philosopher’s Stone.

Let’s take a closer look at some of those quotes.

Joseph Campbell said “Follow Your Bliss”.  And I said, above, that you’re changing the world by being in that zone of joy.  Here’s a little excerpt from Bill Moyers’ interview with Joseph Campbell in the PBS series “The Power of Myth”. They were discussing the idea of “Following Your Bliss”.

“-Moyers:  In this sense, unlike heroes such as Prometheus or Jesus, we’re not going on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves.

–Campbell: But in doing that, you save the world.  The influence of a vital person vitalizes, there’s no doubt about it. The world without spirit is a wasteland. People have the notion of saving the world by shifting things around, changing the rules, and who’s on top, and so forth. No, no! Any world is a valid world if it’s alive. The thing to do is to bring life to it, and the only way to do that is to find in your own case where the life is and to become alive yourself.”

 The more you can cultivate those moments of following your bliss, the more often and the longer you dwell there, the more miraculous your life will be.

How about Crowley?  “Do what thou wilt be the whole of the law.  Love is the law; love under Will.”   Crowley expanded on this edict from his seminal work Liber Legis or “The Book of the Law” in a further interpretive work, “Liber II, The Message of the Master Therion”.  He discusses the meaning of Will (with a capital W).  This Will is akin to Purpose (with a capital P).

“It is Nirvana, only dynamic instead of static–and this comes to the same thing in the end.

The obvious practical task of the magician is then to [(1)] discover what his will really is … (2) Do that Will with a) one-pointedness, (b) detachment, (c) peace.

Then, and then only, art thou in harmony with the Movement of Things, thy will part of, and therefore equal to, the Will of God. And since the will is but the dynamic aspect of the self, and since two different selves could not possess identical wills; then, if thy will be God’s will, Thou art That.”

And Doreen Valiente’s beautiful poem, “The Charge of the Goddess” furthers this notion.  The quote, expanded, reads:

“Keep pure your highest ideal. Strive ever towards it.  Let naught stop you or turn you aside.  For mine is the secret door which opens upon the land of youth. And mine is the cup of the wine of life and the cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the Holy Grail of immortality.”

So don’t seek enlightenment. Seek the joy of creativity that makes you forget that you’re not enlightened yet.  Don’t pursue self-development. Pursue those moments of pure bliss that put you in the role of creator.  No self-judgments or doubts can creep in at those times.  You’re already there.

That’s your Alchemy.  That is your pivot-point of transformation.  That’s your Pholosopher’s Stone.

Contemplate what that is for you.

I will leave you, dear reader, with these quotes from “The Alchemist” by Paolo Coelho to move you along your journey.

“I learned that the world has a soul, and that whoever understands that soul can also understand the language of things. I learned that many alchemists realized their Personal Legends, and wound up discovering the Soul of the World, the Philosopher’s Stone, and the Elixir of Life. But, above all, I learned that these things are all so simple that they could be written on the surface of an emerald.”

“This is why alchemy exists,” the boy said. “So that everyone will search for his treasure, find it, and then want to be better than he was in his former life. Lead will play its role until the world has no further need for lead; and then lead will have to turn itself into gold. That’s what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”

Brightest Blessings

In the Company of Yin

cover yin yang

There was a time in my life (in that maiden to mother phase) when I naturally fell into a routine of caring for my mate and child, spending more of my time on them than on anything else.  It’s easy to do and I think many American women can identify.

Your girlfriends are in the same stage and it’s easy to let those friendships fall by the wayside.  It’s easy to allow yourself the joys of family and immerse yourself in your relationship with a significant other.  With the exception of lesbian couples, this is almost always a male dominated time in one’s life.

Family

And there’s nothing wrong with that.  I know, for me, it was a time to explore the Animus side of my own psyche.  I spent a tremendous amount of time trying to put myself in my husband’s shoes, in order to better understand him.  It was part of my endeavor to be a good wife/partner in our relationship.  And much of this time in my life was worthwhile and valuable and enjoyable.

But something was still missing.  I realized, one day, that so much of my life revolved around Husband and Family that I no longer had strong bonds with women.  In fact, I wasn’t sure I ever had.  I seemed to hold a belief in the back of my mind that I’d always identified more with men anyway.  In hindsight, this might have been a “sour grapes” sort of attitude.  I felt obligated to that life… even though, when I got honest with myself, I had to admit that I chose it.  But there was, at that time, a bit of a feeling of being trapped in that.

In my marriage, our friends were HIS friends.  My women friends were the wives of his friends.  So I thought I’d try to cultivate some real bonds in that pool of choices.  I decided to have a party just for the women in our social group.

High Tea

I devised a beautiful, pampering “High Tea” sort of soiree.  I called it my Sereni-Tea Party, during which each woman would receive massages, manicures, a soak in the Hot-Tub and all sorts of pampering.  I also devised a small ritual, where each woman was crowned as a Goddess.

The idea was to remind each of us that we are sovereign in our lives, that we may choose, daily, how (and for whom) to live.  It was a big hit.  Everyone loved it.  No one loved it more than I did.  It sparked some changes in my life that are still in the works, I think.

aphrodite

I’m not sure if anyone else at that party “got” what I was trying to convey… but I did.  I claimed myself that day, and again and again on many days that followed it, I claimed my own sovereignty.

The experience sparked a new way of thinking for me.  I had one close female friend and I forged deeper into that bond.  She supported me and cared about my outcomes.  It was a really good start.

friends

I began to embody the Queen archetype.  And that sovereign queen of her own life was not the woman my husband married.  So in some ways, I could call that the beginning of the end of my marriage.  It’s okay.  It was a marriage that needed to end. And when it did, those women (the wives of his friends) shunned me like an Amish photographer. And that’s okay too. They were not “my tribe” anyway.

After the divorce I began to create more and more relationships with women.  I came honestly and openly into groups of females sharing my experiences and my ideas, and offering my empathy for the things that they may have experienced as well.  And that’s when the magick started to happen in my life.

I joined a witch’s grove of learning.  We met each week to discuss books, teach and learn and challenge each other toward excellence.  In the process we also loved, nurtured, supported and cheered each other on.  The grove developed into a coven.  I served as one of the leaders of that coven for quite a few years.

circle of women

I learned and grew more in those years than any other time in my life that I can recall.  I increased my personal power exponentially during that time, because of the company of other powerful women, all striving for their own excellence and the collective excellence of the group.  It created such momentum.  We were all swept along in it.

My leadership role in that group led me to more leadership.  I formed a non-profit spiritual center in my own home.  We offered worship services of an inclusive nature. We provided workshops, support groups, had festivals.  And I gained all of the experiences of facilitating that. And I could not have done it without the blessing of a number of breath-taking feminine souls who were regular members at the center.  They enriched me and the others in our group tremendously.

Life changed, as it does, and eventually I closed the center and moved clear across the country.  In my new home town, I volunteer and teach at a non-profit which supports women in ALL their endeavors to improve their own lives. It’s called Fresh Start Women’s Foundation.

And now, I also facilitate women’s spiritual retreats.  The latest installment of that happened in Sedona, AZ last month.

(There’s a new one coming up in November – Click here for more info!)

Six women from different backgrounds, understandings, beliefs and challenges came together.  We discussed and explored our hopes and fears. We worked towards our dreams.  We shared laughter and shed tears.  We moved forward in our lives, powerfully and magickally.

Above is photographic evidence of the goddess power we generated around us.  (Watch the orb at the foot of each goddess.  This showed up on 3 different cameras!)

owl yin yang

Yin in Taoism is the Feminine Principle.  The feminine aspect of this dualistic reality in which we live occupies the “dark side” of the yin yang symbol.

In Wiccan circles the Goddess is represented by the Moon, the night, while the God is represented by the Sun and the day.

This, in no way should be interpreted as meaning that the feminine principle is “bad” or “wrong”, although that is the way that much of our patriarchal society defines it.

But the divine feminine is a mystery.  The High Priestess card in Tarot holds a scroll, which is half hidden and sits before a curtain, beyond which are mysteries and wisdom untold.  There are even popular jokes about how women are complete mysteries to men.

High Priestess

There’s a reason for that.  And I think it’s our power.  This kind of power cannot simply be offered to everyone.  The power of the Feminine Divine is hidden for a reason.  The right to exist in its web must be earned.

And the women whose power is blatant and obvious to the world have been called everything under the sun, from demon, harlot, bitch to witch, activist, boss and Goddess.

The fact is that all women possess this power.  The degrees may vary or the power may be more or less suppressed by this patriarchal jailhouse, but, make no mistake, it is there.  It is present and can be awakened to greater strengths to greater missions and to the greatness of all things touched by such power.

I’ve found that when women come together in any kind of group, there is a magickal phenomenon that takes place.  There is a heightened power, an increase in intensity, like a spiritual battery being turned on.

A woman is powerful.

A couple of women, or a group, aligned in their Will, connected at their hearts and clear in their intentions, are UNSTOPPABLE, and deeply magickal.

Goddess Group

I’m not talking about excluding men from your life, by any means!  Today, I am in a committed and happy relationship with a loving, wonderful man. In fact, I believe that the time I’ve spent loving and nurturing other women (and myself) is a direct contributor to my finding him and to my being worthy of him.  Our relationship is very strong.  We believe in each other. We encourage each other. We acknowledge each other’s sovereignty.  And I adore spending time with him.

But these days, as the sovereign queen/goddess that I am, I choose to also spend a lot of quality time in the company of Yin.

Goddess Divine Empowerment!

How I went from Playing Way Too Small to Being an Empowered Goddess and So Can You!

oppressed-women  My last blog post ended with me in the depths of addiction and and suffering the pain and humiliation of a terrible marriage.  So, how did all of this turn around?  I’ll tell you!

A few years into that marriage I finally decided to get a handle on my addictive, self-destructive practices. That makes it sound like it was easy, like I made a decision one day and then got clean. That’s not what happened. There was a LOT of “Facing my Shadow”, and “embracing my darkness” at that time. I was introduced to the concepts put forth by the noted psychologist, Carl Jung and began to study the practice of uncovering and accepting our “Shadow” aspects, those parts of ourselves that we would rather deny. I had a lot of that. Also, during that journey, in my twenties, I was introduced to the concept of spirituality as opposed to religion. Cultivating a connection with some “unknowable force” helped me greatly in my recovery from alcohol and drug abuse, and I became a seeker. Learning about spiritual practice became my new drug of choice, I believe, because it touched on that true nature and those gifts I was denying. Some part of me recognized that something here might actually have an effect on the root cause of my destructive behavior. I wasn’t consciously aware of this, of course, but I believe it was there.

So I read everything I could. I spent many years investigating different spiritual practices. I studied, and continue to study, world religions, and philosophies like Catholicism and Christianity in general, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, and so on. And while I can’t say that I felt a deep connection to any one religious view, what I did find was the practice of meditation. Meditation was the single most important component in my recovery and my journey to here. And it remains the staple of my current practice. I cannot over-state its importance in my evolution from frightened little girl to empowered Goddess. It saved my life.

I’m going to repeat that here because it’s REALLY IMPORTANT!

Meditation was the single most important component in my recovery and my journey to here. And it remains the staple of my current practice. I cannot over-state its importance in my evolution from frightened little girl to empowered Goddess. It saved my life.

empowered goddess   My studies continued and began to include more philosophy, psychology and mythology. I read some classics by great scholars such as Marcus Aurelius, Socrates, Plato and added in some more modern works by the likes of Eckhart Tolle and Joseph Campbell. My views continued to expand as I continued to grow in every way that I could manage. During all of this, I became the mother to a beautiful old soul, a daughter. Witnessing the miracles of her birth and growth and my regular meditation practice were putting me in connection with the divine on a daily basis. Everything changes then. You see, when you meditate it puts you in touch with that ineffable ground of spirit that permeates all that there is. It verifies the unbreakable connection between these bodies we are currently inhabiting and that limitless “other” which we discover is not “other” at all. It’s like plugging in to a vast switchboard where everything is accessible. The miraculous is occurring all around us at every moment in time. I began to notice, is all.

All the while, I was still married to that overbearing, narcissistic man. And during most of our marriage, because there was still that part of me aiming to please and eager to be seen as “the good wife”, we got along fine. But then I began to grow a spine. I began to understand that I had to set an example for my daughter. And I began to disagree with some of the decisions he was making for us and for me. And that was when it got bumpy. I won’t go into the details here of the ultimate awakening that brought me out of that marriage, but know that I did break free and I did so in a meaningful and mindful way, understanding my part in all of it and understanding what I would no longer accept for myself or for my child.

In the following years I was inspired to study the many connections between science and spirituality and became very interested in (um, ok, obsessed with) quantum physics and the philosophies of mind over matter, what some call the Law of Attraction (what I call witchcraft). There was a wonderful feeling of being carried along on a wave of new information and discovery. One insight led to another. One book led to a dozen more. With a broader understanding of myself and the concepts of energy, I renewed my interest in divination and I studied the Tarot, with all of its wonderful Archetypes and insight into the human journey. I also began again to experiment with Skrying. All of this brought me to the study of Nature-based religions like Wicca and Heathenry and paganism in general. And a new wave of discovery launched me into practice with others and the structure and benefits of ritual, shared energy and sisterhood. I delved deeply into the study of mythology, especially the Goddesses which re-energized my desire to facilitate women’s empowerment. I was given the opportunity to expand my leadership skills as a founding member of a coven, often presiding over Ritual as Priestess. And, finally I put that into practice in my own spiritual Meetup Group and opened an inclusive spiritual center from my own home where I hosted many, many workshops, ceremonies, rituals and festivals before moving to Phoenix, AZ.

Aphrodite2   So here I am today, wanting to share some of this learning and insight with you, the seeker with the Goddess hidden inside. I can help you find your inner Goddess because I worked so hard to find my own. And I’ve distilled all of the seeking and struggles and mistakes and successes into some very essential lessons to set you on your personal journey to Goddesshood. Join me and a number of your sisters on this amazing, life-changing adventure. Simply email me at AffordableSedonaRetreat@gmail.com for all the details.  There is absolutely NO obligation, NO spam, NO sharing of your email address and a free gift!  This retreat will fill up, so don’t hesitate!  

With Love and Sisterhood,

Renée

Blessed Be

… How I went from Natural Psychic to Natural Disaster…

This series of blogs is dedicated to  Goddess Divine -A Spiritual Retreat for Women which will be taking place in Sedona, AZ in May.  Email me at AffordableSedonaRetreat@gmail.com for all the details! When last we connected, dear reader, I had given you a brief overview of my “qualifications” to help you bring forth your inner […]

Goddess Divine Women’s Retreat – Why You Need It!

Sedona

So there’s this amazing event coming up!  The Goddess Divine Retreat for Women in Sedona, AZ on May 20, 21 and 22, 2016 will bring you into deep connectedness with your Sacred Self.  In this way you will discover and form a truly rewarding relationship with your inner Goddess and be excited to share her outrageous beauty and light with the whole world!  If you’re even the tiniest bit curious, do yourself a favor and e-mail AffordableSedonaRetreat@gmail.com right NOW!   There is no obligation and you will receive a valuable FREE GIFT – and even MORE valuable information about how you can be a participant in this wonderful weekend of Sacred Sisterhood! 

In a previous post, I promised you more details about ME Renee Damoiselle of Divining Damoiselle, your retreat facilitator.  So, What qualifies me to prepare you for Goddesshood?

Well, to begin, I will tell you that, as a much younger woman, I was very focused on being perceived as “good” and on not being too noticeable (all the while fearful that my “freak-flag” would be uncovered at any moment!) In other words, I was very much NOT living like the Goddess that I am!  Today, however, I enjoy referring to myself as a Badass Witch Priestess of Warrior Deities, with a divine mission to save the world, one woman at a time.  In other words, I successfully grew a spine and stepped into my Goddesshood, after a time of hiding my light.  It was not easy.  It took work and desire and commitment, but because I’ve been there, I can show you the way.

Shine

That’s me now.   Along my journey, I’ve met many other women whose light has also been kept hidden.  The reasons may be varied (patriarchal society, misogyny, trauma) but the result is actually tragic, for the individual woman and for the world.  The divine feminine light that glows within every woman is meant to be anchored in this world and to shine brightly.  What a woman can achieve once she embraces her true divine nature is limitless.  The healing ripple effects of her efforts will be felt universally.  This is my mission because I know, intimately, what it feels like to break free in this way, and that joy must be shared.

Looking for a juicier story?  Stay tuned for the next blog, where we’ll get down and dirty with the details of that amazing journey!

… to be continued…