Friday, July 27, 2012

Psychic Self-Care

One of the things I try to emphasize with students is the absolute essentials of psychic self-care.  Whether we walk around shielded or open, because we interact with people we see and hear things that affect our energy selves, and that needs to be cared for just as much as our physical bodies do.  Starhawk's book "Spiral Dance" has some excellent exercises for learning to visualize, ground, center, and a plethora of other useful exercises.  What I'm providing here works for me, without copying anything from anyone else. 

The simplest forms of psychic self-care to me are:

1.  Ground
2.  Center
3.  Meditate

Centering is essentially pulling your head out of the past or future and focusing your thoughts on the present moment.  You know that state of mind when you're driving alone, not listening to the radio or thinking of anything but driving where you are right then?  That's an example of a centered state of mind.  Or sitting on the toilet, concentrating on nothing but the business at hand - again, centered.  Crude, but it does effectively communicate the point.  Over the years I have trained myself to respond to a trigger word to center myself, picturing a ghost image of myself on the left (for the past) and the right (for worrying about the future) with the solid image of myself in the center with eyes closed.  When I focus on it and say the word "integrate" in my head, I am literally pulling myself into the present moment by having the two ghost images merge into my solid physical presence and open my eyes.  Takes me about a second or three these days, I think when I was figuring out how to do it it took about 10-30 seconds of concentration.

Because meditation is covered so well in so many places, I'm not going to cover it here.  But think of the following Grounding exercise as being just as essential and daily a practice as brushing your teeth.

Grounding basically entails connecting yourself to the center of the Earth and letting go of any negativity down the connecting cord, and allowing the Earth's energy to well up through you to cleanse and refill the hole the negativity may have left behind.  So here's a very simple way to do that:

Stand or sit somewhere comfortable, this really doesn't take very long at all and it's definitely easy.

Take a few deep breaths and let your mind relax, and let your muscles relax a bit (not enough to fall down if you chose to stand, let's be practical).

Now imagine a warm golden light at the base of your spine, say about the color of honey with the sun shining through it.  See the golden ball of light relax into a cord flowing down into the Earth beneath your feet, through the floor, the dirt, the bedrock, just as easy as breathing with complete comfort.  That cord of golden light reaches the molten center of the planet, connecting you to it with total comfort and safety.  Allow yourself to remember any stress or negativity that you're aware of, and just as easy as exhaling let it flow down the cord into the molten Earth where the energy can be purified and transmuted into something useful.  Feel the relief as you let each bit of tension, frustration, or even physical pain just fall away from you down into the Earth.  As you inhale, start to feel the warmth and comfort of the Earth beneath your feet rising up through the cord into you, to fill you up.  Feel it in your feet, your legs, your lungs, your spine, your hands and arms, your back, chest, neck and your head out to the tips of your hair.

When you feel free of negativity and refreshed, imagine your grounding cord drawing back up through the earth into you as comfortable and easy as inhaling and deeply filling your lungs.

Optionally, you can focus on the chakras and clearing your energy channels as well if you're an extremely detail-oriented person and if grounding just doesn't feel sufficient.

For folks who like having something to say during this exercise, I wrote this years ago and you may find it useful.  This should be done standing in a relaxed position in a quiet space if possible.
Picture energy centers irising open like a camera lens and breathing freely through them, letting negativity disperse like incense smoke on the wind.  Your mental imagery for the size of the light circles representing your chakras is important in that you should keep them about the same size.  If you see tennis balls, then they should all be tennis balls.  If you see golf balls, ditto.  If you see dinner plates or beach balls you may want to dial it down a little bit.

While most systems only cover the 7 major chakras, I include feet, and hands, eyes and ears as well, since those are the primary way we get input from the world around us and potentially get “polluted” input stuck in our auras.

Rooted through my feet
To the Earth’s central heat
The chaff flows down
The strength flows in
The cleansing
Now begins

Ruby red the root fire
Vitality and passion’s heat
Healthy, strong and balanced,
Connected to my feet.

Orange is the navel,
Emotion’s power seat
Flowing strong like water,
Safe, secure, complete.

Flaming yellow solar,
The will and egos power
Strong and balanced pulsing,
Yet open like a flower.

Glowing green the heartlight,
The source of love and health.
Breathing free and easy,
With Love the spirit’s wealth.

Down from heart to hands,
With which we touch the world.
Expressions of our power,
Like leaves that are unfurled.

Singing blue the throat,
Communication’s eased.
Expressions of our heart and soul
It flows with Ether’s breeze.

Indigo the brow,
That psychic midnight blue
It sees through all illusion
To the form that’s true.

Violet white the crown,
Connection to the all.
Open to the cosmos
And every spirit’s call.

Eyes and ears are open,
Healthy, strong and clean.
Free from any negative
Things they’ve heard and seen.

Integrated, healthy
The parts become the whole.
With no breaks in all the aura,
Balanced is my soul.

Safe from all intrusion
Yet open, flowing, free
My system’s clean and healthy
As I will so shall it be.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Gardening with the Goddess

Now that I’m unemployed, I have more time and energy for yard work, so I’ve been doing some every day.  It’s really been fantastic for me, and has helped me realize how much I’ve lost touch with the Earth by being too exhausted to properly care for my yards while I was working.  It’s also given me a “heads-up” about my lack of proper stress management.

I have tomatoes and peppers planted in the one of the beds around the border of the yard, and like the typical American a big expanse of grass that doesn’t really do anything but sit there and grow so I can walk on it.  I’m considering changing it at least in the back yard where no one sees it to criticize it or illegally seize it.  I also want to put some more beds in the front and raise edible flowers and herbs for both ritual and culinary use.

I have been working on getting the beds weed-free, but I’m plagued with Bermuda grass as well as Dallisgrass (, both of which are VERY hard to get rid of.  Poisons which are bad for the environment may kill the surface, but these hardy buggers just grow back.  I consulted with a botanist about the Dallisgrass, and he said that unfortunately the most effective way to get rid of it is to rip it out by the roots.  The big, thick, ropy roots.

One thing I’ve discovered (your mileage may vary) is that if I’m focusing on spiritual matters while doing yard work the time seems to fly by.

Dallisgrass is TOUGH, and I was listening to pagan music (Welcome to Annwfn, while pulling weeds and the following conversation took place in my head:

Alan:      Goddess, WHY did you make these things so bloody tough!
Goddess:             The same reason I made you strong, so who’s stronger you or the weed?
A:            I’m pulling this stuff out and it doesn’t want to budge, could you get the Earth to let it go?
G:           It builds character to do it yourself.  I already helped you with this before you were born, what did I give you?
A:            Well, I can’t telekinetically get it out by the root, my shoulder hurts, my back hurts, and the sweat is dripping into my eyes.
G:           What do you do when brute force doesn’t work?
A:            Think of another way… oh… think..
G:           Keep going..
A:            I have tools for this, don’t I?  Like about 15 feet away.
G:           Yep, try this one  (image of the long one with the fork at the end)
A:            Duh… cut the roots into smaller pieces.  What if I slice a worm with it?
G:           Then it’s meant to be, don’t fret over what you can’t see.
A:            You’re pretty awesome, you know that?
G:           You’re sweet, stop lollygagging and get back to work  (thwacks me in the third eye, conversation ends)

I love those moments of conversation with the gods, but a lot of people think having a conversation with deity should be some complicated, difficult-to-attain long involved ritual where you sit still and contemplate your navel in a hand mirror or something.  It’s not that hard, the gods are within us and in the world around us, it’s not a long-distance call.  And frankly, if you talk to them AND listen, they might help you out.  So there you have it, one example of my personal relationship with deity.

For the record, I was addressing a particular goddess by name, but in the interest of keeping SOME things private, I replaced her name with “Goddess”. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Dealing with the Aftermath in Aurora

By now, I’m sure most of you have heard of the shooting at the Colorado movie theater and the appalling number of dead and injured. If you haven’t, here’s a link to the CNN story, but you may want to grab a tissue first:

And, I’m guessing you probably also heard of the idiot politician from Texas and his asinine response to the shooting:

Not only did Rachel Maddow do a good job of handling a response to him, but my friend Kallan Kennedy also responded and vented a lot of my feelings as well, here:

Having dealt with some of our horror and our anger at the situation, it occurs to me there’s more the magical community can do.

I know a lot of people are already lighting candles, saying prayers for the victims, and I applaud them for their considerate acts.  I’m also thinking the larger community of Aurora Colorado needs healing from the shock, the employees of the movie theater, the uninjured witnesses, and the theater itself could use a good spiritual cleansing before any otherworldly nasty takes up residence there and feeds off of the energy saturating the place and perpetuates it.

You will, of course, have to find whatever words and actions work best for your own spiritual path, but here is what I have been saying today, to shape the energy I send to Aurora Colorado..

I call the Light to banish the shadows of fear and terror.
I call the quiet Dark to take away the terror of the place and draw the memories into the void.
I call the Air to blow clean all traces of madness and terror.
By the power of our joined tears, we wash away the blood and sorrow.
We call on the Earth to cleanse and neutralize the energies again, and allow the spirits of the place to heal and make it safe to laugh, cry, and be entertained once more.
May the community’s sorrow be finite and end at the appropriate time.
May the anger be channeled into positive change.
May the survivors be blessed with healing, and may their trauma be short-lived.
And may Justice be served.
So May It Be Done.

I'm burning a mixture of sage, rosemary, and lavender on charcoal, with white, black, and pale blue candles burning, and focusing my eyes on a map of Aurora Colorado to send the energy there.

May they find peace, and may harmony be restored.