Monday, December 14, 2015

Personal Catharsis and the sins of my forefathers...

It's the middle of the night, and of course, nothing new for me to be going through a personal catharsis. The one I'm currently going through isn't even new, and is a continuation of mental and spiritual torment that I've been going through for over almost two decades.

And the more I'm driven to explore and learn, the more barriers I butt up against, perpetuating each cathartic moment.

To give you a little bit of mixed up background... born in Jan of 86, depending on who you ask, I'd be considered a "bihort", neither directly belonging to Generation X or Millennial's, but fitting in with both cohorts and exhibiting most of the traits and traumas of both generational groupings. It's strange, as neither group will claim and I, likewise cannot truly claim either identity cleanly. Sadly, this type of pattern stretches on through my life. Culturally, I can't cleanly claim any specific origin and none would claim me, as I don't fit into any of the tight lines carved across each land. By blood, I'm told I'm Irish, Scottish, Germanic, French and questionably a small portion of one unidentified Snohomish indigenous tribe. Familially, I was adopted into a family that can be traced back to Ireland and Wales specifically, and then intertwines into Scotland, France and Poland -- so that doesn't help much, even if it was directly in my blood. In either case, I'm a mutt. Good or bad, I can think of no other word for it. I cannot directly tie any of my ancestral blood to any current lifetime links to any of those cultures, adopted or otherwise.

socioeconomically I'm just as left out. Technically I'm a minority, but only because of my lack of penis. Otherwise I'm lumped in with those who check the "Caucasian, not Hispanic" box on the census. Though I don't make any reasonable amount of money, so even if I felt called to join up with one of the myriad of predominately white American culture cults, I couldn't afford it.

When it comes to community, I really can't claim any specific and appropriate identity, as I never grew up in any specific community outside of the highly miseducated predominately white Seattle school system I attended. I've briefly been a part of a number of groups, most of which I quickly got out of as fast as I got into them, in an attempt to find a community I can call "home" and appropriately belong to. A maddening process which has gone on since my youth. From bible camps to brownies to Masonic youth groups to diverse drum groups to writing groups to neo pagan communities to activist troops to neo shamanic circles to even some spiritually-culturally mixed ceremonial groups and more. Some might be amazed at how many things a person can get themselves into, even without money, for others it's not surprising at all. I wouldn't claim any of those communities or experiences as bad or negative, and each were amazing in their own ways, though neither have I ever really been able to comfortably sit among any of those groups and felt like I really truly belonged amongst them. I'm generally an easy going person whose fairly easy to get along with, and I'm as respectful as my knowledge and experience allows me to be, so I'm often tolerated and welcome amongst any group I seek to participate in, but being tolerated and allowed to participate, is not always or even usually the same thing as truly belonging to a community.

Spiritually, the catharsis gets no better, as there are no real places in Washington state, for a non-abrahamic, categorically "white" female who doesn't even have two pennies to rub together, to belong to unless you want to knowingly and/or negligently participate in culturally inappropriate practices. I've generally found that most of those groups are innocently enough trying to recreate some semblance of spiritual structure, balance and growth that is so lacking in our in numbing industrialized western nation, and due to such a large amount of rebuff and lack of authentic, open and factual information, are judged to be muddying other spiritual and cultural traditions, innocently or not. The other groups, while in their minority, are encountered often enough and usually are much more highly publicized and horrid in their crimes, that a respectful knowledge seeking person has to be careful not to get entrapped in their enchanting frauds, aimed at profitizing a sort of "McSpiritual Experience" full of random mcnuggets of stolen spiritual truths plumped up with westernized metaphorical versions of growth hormones that make them seem like bigger, better, more filling versions of the originals, when in fact, they are drier than red ochre clay and not nearly as nutritional, especially for all the hype they receive as some sort of uber exotic spiritual miracle experience that you can get in 1/16th of the original time for 300% of the original price.

Spiritually, I was baptized Lutheran, not because my family belonged to the congregation, but in fact, because it was the only church within a reasonable distance from my parents home, that would baptize a baby for a family that didn't want to join the congregation afterward. And for that matter, I was only baptized, mostly as a precaution from two minutely superstitious parents who were lucky to have been able to adopt any child. They claim a sort of agnosticism, but pretty much practice atheism unless someone is getting married or has died. From what few and horrid experiences I wondered through as a kid who only had access to predominately Christian youth groups, I knew before I was a preteen, that I didn't belong in any abrahamic traditions either. Being an avid reader and constant knowledge seeker, even as a youth, I quickly found my way into the easily accessible wiccan information and groups that began to spread like wildfire across the internet, and was easily digestible for youths like myself, who both wanted to escape the suffocating hold of the church and to find more magick and authentic acceptance amidst like-minded individuals.

Like most things that seem too good to be true, or that turn out to be the comforting myths of our youth, Wicca too, became a part of my past. A place of beginning that I'm grateful to have found at the time, but that as a more experienced and educated adult, I can't neatly fit into, nor do I wish to anymore. From that starting point, I was at least able to begin to cleanse my brain, body and spirit of some of the whitewashing and brainwashing I'd grown up swimming in, though it still took some time get most of the gunk out, and I'm still working on that process even now. Maybe even more so these days.

From Wicca, I was introduced to the umbrella term of paganism and quickly found myself fond of Celtic spiritually, neo shamanism and Native American spiritual traditions. All of these spiritual cultures are vast, diverse and have large portions of them that feel "right" and true. Energetically, I attribute this feeling to the mixture of ancestry in my distant past. Psychologically, I associate it with a burning desire to belong to an authentic and earnest community where I too, have a greater purpose than just being a white American schmuck doomed to work until I'm dead or paid off in debt, and we both know which is likely to come first.

When I first came across these spiritual paths, and started to find what I could personally experience and verify as "truth", I lovingly incorporated those truths and practices into my daily life. I was "eclectic", a label in pagan communities for someone who incorporates many traditions, ceremonies, myths, beliefs and practices into their personal lives. I still like that term, and I hope one day it will be more widely accepted and even encouraged, since most of all the people across the world will all be mixed together culturally, in our not too distant future. Though until then, being eclectic is mostly a choice from lack of local and authentic guidance that isn't misguided or misappropriated, or both. There are a few out there, in my experience, who have truly received authentic teachings through long hard years of travel, voluntary servitude and sheer tenacity, though they are few and far between. It's much more common to find eclectic folks who are just as lost as I am, or those whom paid their way through workshops, seminars and "retreats", who pretend to appear comfortable in their "earned" spiritual educations and community connections, but whom often continue to try and fill a void they can't explain the existence of if they were really so fulfilled.
It wasn't until my mid twenties, not very long ago, that I started to realize most of which I'd devoted my time to learning and practicing as well as I could with the resources I had -- which wasn't much -- that none of the spiritual cultures I felt connected to, would ever accept me as a one of their own, even if I could choose just one. If I attempted to go to Ireland and connect with authentic druids or witches with verifiable ancestry (who wouldn't charge me an arm and a leg), I'd be laughed out of the group as an Irish Paddy, since I'd have to go back at least 4 generations to find my nearest Irish ancestors and have no authentic modern connections to the culture. The same is even more so highlighted within any potential Salish tribal community I might seek to integrate into, as even if I could get one of those fancy DNA tests to prove I actually have any Native American blood in me, there were no good records kept of marriages between poor Irish descendant women and Native men in the 1800's, as such a thing was likely to get both parties beheaded, and even if it wouldn't, the record keeping sucked anyways. When it comes to shamanism, the only locally available opportunities to learn and train that are available to me, cost more money than I'll probably ever have and are so muddied and mixed up, that it's hard to even really call it "neoshamanism", as it's far removed from any authentic communal healing cultures that could truly be considered shamanic. And even if I had enough money to go off into the world and find an authentic shaman of any specific type, I have young children and aging parents whom I can't and won't abandon any time soon, for the likely decades of time I'd need to devote to learning all the right procedures, ceremonies, rites, redes and initiations to truly follow the paths of my souls desires.
Sure, if there were some true spiritual healer from a long tradition of anything resembling what we dream of as true shamanic, who was hidden away in this state somewhere and he or she were willing to take me on without requiring money in exchange, I would jump on the opportunity like a starved panther and stay in it for as long as necessary. Though if such a person really exists here, I'm certainly not any where near finding them and I'm not sure how much longer I can pretend that I might be able to find them...

And even if I could do such a thing, it would be near impossible to live in the way that we consider a communal healer to do so. The government, with loving support from droves of mullified sheeple, doesn't allow for anyone to live outside of their governance and that means through one process or another, they'll want money from me. My personal opinion and fervent belief, is that knowledge and especially healing of any sort, should be free of charge. Contributions are certainly not turned away and could even be encouraged, but are never required, openly or manipulatively.

So not only would I be at odds with myself for asking for any amount of money or even highly valuable trades only asked for to keep my own debts in check, but the minute word gets out, I'd go from bring a respectful outsider who practices sacred ways, to immediately being labeled another "plastic shaman" trying to make a buck off of needy new agers in search of authentic spiritual experiences or knowledge. That's the last thing I would want, especially considering that even authentically earned information and rites, which are hard to come by for a white outsider, would still be considered cultural appropriation. And it really wouldn't have anything to do with a wealth or lack of community, respect or authentic training. It all comes down to one thing: skin color. It's not even my ancestry, which if correct, means my ancestors were likely starving but widely peaceful Irish men and women who played very few roles in the wars of their European cousins, especially since they were largely ostracized almost as heavily as any other race of the time. Many even came over as slaves and indentured servants. Lineage doesn't really matter when you look like the enemy and reap even a few of the stolen benefits they've decided they deserve.

Which finally brings me back to the title of this post, and opens up even more catharsis...

Because of the greedy, judgemental, war mongering, misogynistic European bastards who built Rome on the blood of those they deemed less superior, and then eventually came to turtle island to do the same exact thing -- because of them, I now have no place where I can truly belong to. Yet, the most paradoxical and maddening part, is that because of their bloody sins that still permeate every corner of this continent, I can't even truly scream with all the rage it invokes in my very soul. I'm not allowed to claim it's unfair to be an outcast, to be ostracized or to be excluded from even creating my own mixture of spiritual paths, because my skin color earns me the perverse curse of "white privilege", which is absolutely more than a cargo truck full ancestral baggage that will stain my grandchildren's grandchildren with the blood stolen away inside them. To make it even more paradoxical, while it's completely unfair to me as an individual (and those like me), it's a completely understandable karmic retribution. Until a true balance has been achieved, and the world is not ruled by the descendants of the most violent and destructive race of humans still known throughout history, nothing will change. People like me will still continue to be lost in a sea of tears and blood, stained with the blood of those who were railroaded by our ancestors through no choice of our own. Even the many things we can to do begin to repair and repay some of the rifts of the past that still pervade the present, are not likely to have any meaningful significance in our lifetimes...

I might not be able to consciously register current events if I live to be 99, but it's my sincerest hope that I'll live to see the day when all peoples and all cultures welcome and accept each other openly and without fear, and not under some ridiculous globalized government frock. When no particular race, socioeconomic class, culture, orientation or spiritual path is more abundant or dominate in the world than any other. When each breed of human is finally done repaying the sins of their forefathers and no living being has to ever again worry about death, desecration, dehumanization or devastation through the hands of any others. The days when peace, compassion, acceptance and contentment are the encouraged norm. When no one, for any reason, holds "privilege" over any other.

Is this all a big phat pipe dream wrapped up in a rant?

Still, at the bottom of Pandora's box, hope holds on...

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Navigating in the Other Realms

During a recent shamanic gathering I'm attending, it was suggested to me that I have a certain talent for navigating in the "other" realms, which tickled my plumicorn and inspired me to write about that very topic, which some of you might find illuminating.

It really didn't dawn on me until that moment, that others might not find it so obvious how to travel around in other realms, but it does make sense, as it's vastly different from what we're used to on this particularly dense plane we spend most of our time in.

For me, it was never really too hard, as my Gemini side is very much a thinker and a creator, which are two very important skills in other realms. You really need to be able to use the energy known as "thought" to be able to will yourself to go where you want to go. In this realm, you don't have to stop and think about how to walk when you want to go somewhere, you just decide you want to go to the store and get up and go. It works the same for most other things we do, cooking, cleaning, studying, etc..

Most of this is possible through muscle memories that you've been developing since you were born. When you want to pick something up, you just do it because your hands and arms already know what to do.

In other realms, it's not completely different. You'll need to develop the muscles memory in your ethereal body, just like you did with your normal body (I say "normal" for lack of a better word. I'm sure there is one, it's just not in my vocabulary yet). If you've never done lucid dreaming, astral travel or shamanic journeying before, these muscles might be especially weak. You could also just have a natural ability to know what to do, or you might have inadvertently built your muscles through dreams you might or might not remember. Most of us though, need to build up our astral muscles and get used to the way things work for you.

I want to emphasize that last part, as there are plenty of different experiences. Most folks will find theirs pretty similar to anyone else's, but there are many different ways to navigate and travel in other realms and yours could end up blossoming into a whole new way.

Now, as I said before, traveling in other realms comes to me quite easily, but that doesn't mean I haven't had my own trials and troubles. When I first tried to astral project, one thing or another keep pulling me back into my physical body. Sometimes it was fear, other times it was over analyzation, other times it was lack of proper surroundings. One thing or another keep me from getting out into the ethereal realms.

When it comes to lucid dreaming, I have those since I was about 7 years old, before I even knew what lucid dreaming or shamanism or any of this stuff was, but I remember quite clearly, how hard it was to move or will myself to do something I wanted to do. I often find myself stuck in one place in one position, observing events unfold in front of me, unable to do anything about any of it. I can remember several dreams where I'd wake up screaming because I couldn't move or go anywhere and it was scary in a very real way. In those lucid dreams I couldn't even get anything to come out of my mouth, not even the tiniest whisper. But the more the dream came, the more I was able to say or move, even if it was only the tiniest bit.

I remember after a very vivid lucid dream I had as a preteen, where I got stabbed right in the belly button and woke up feeling like the knife was still there, I began my search into learning more about dreams like that. This is when I learned about the idea of lucid dreaming and shamanic journeying, and began to try new things to be able to attempt to move and navigate in these real dreams. It was about this same time that I learned to look at my physical hands and then learn to do the same in the dreams, as a way of knowing I was fully aware in the dream and as a way of developing some semblance of control over my dreaming body.

Before long, moving around became easier and then the lucid flying dreams began, which were a whole new ballgame for me. Some of those experiences were more frightening than not being able to move at all. If you can imagine yourself learning to fly unassisted, imagine that the first time you get a decent levitation going, you don't know how to go back down and end up floating up and out into space and beyond. Panic is an understatement. It takes a minute to even wake up in your physical body, and there were a few times I couldn't even do that until I came back down. Even with all the terror, the thrill of really flying and going anywhere I wanted was such an ecstatic feeling that even my physical body would orgasm in response (which is a topic for another time).

Honestly, it was the flying that triggered the realization of how movement worked in the other realms. It was a matter of Will. I had to will myself up off the ground, and will myself to go up or down or forward or back. I couldn't just think about flying and have it happen, I had to put intention into it. The same had become true for me in any journey, whether it be a dreaming journey, a meditation journey, a long distance healing journey or shamanic journey. All the same principals applied: will + intention = movement.

It's important to remember that "movement" and "navigation" can mean more than just walking, flying, falling, etc.. Some folks are easily able to walk, but they find themselves stuck in an empty room with brick walls and no doors or windows. What then? You might be able to move in the room you're in, but how to you move out of this room? This is another type of movement issue, but the same principals apply. Many folks will find themselves stuck in there because all they can think about is that there's no way out. That's the catch though, isn't it. It's like meeting your power animal. If your intention is to search for your power animal, you'll spend most of your time looking for them but not finding them. Alternatively, if your intention is to find or meet your power animal, then you will find them. It's the same with the room. If you're only think about finding a way out you might stay stuck in there until the end of your journey. Alternatively, if you were to look for a way through the room, you might suddenly find that the walls are more of a membrane than actual solid brick, meaning that you could walk through the walls and then you'd hand no need of doors or windows.

Another example might be that you find yourself in a situation where you can't see anything. Maybe you're in a dark cave or place where there's just no light. Who knows? But if all you think about is that you can't see and that you want to see, your going to stay blind for a while longer. Instead, if you thought about what was blocking your vision, you might be able to overcome the issue. Maybe you've got a blindfold on? Maybe you need a flashlight or candle or another source of light? Or maybe you simply need to leave the area your in and find another place. You could walk around to find an exit, fly up to see if there's an exit, walk through the walls or borrow down into the earth and find another place.

I think by now you get what I'm saying. When it comes to moment in the other realms, you need to be creative and not get yourself stuck on thinking about what isn't working. Then once you've figured out what you want to do, you will yourself to do take that action.

Let's summarize this for those of you who don't read the prologues.

1. If you can't move your body in any direction and nothing is impeding your movement, think about what you want to do (walk, jump, fly, twitch your toes, etc) and then will yourself to do it.

2. If you can't move because something is blocking or impeding your movement (like a wall), think about other intentions you could use to find another way out, through or simply beyond where you are.

3. If you're still having troubles beyond these, get creative. What would happen if you just closed your eyes and willed yourself to be somewhere else?

Share your experiences below in the comments! The more we share, the more we know collectively =)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Adventures in Juicing - Log 2: Peaches are not your friends...

I didn't want to believe it at first, and then I went into absolute denial about it. How could peaches of all things, not be super good for you? They're sweet, delicious and packed full of mother natures juiciest flavor. How could it be possible that they are also one of the worst fruits to add to your juicing recipes?

Sadly, after many many juices with peaches as the primary fruit, I've just had to give in. They have so much fructose naturally, that when they are consumed in juice form, they send so much sugar ricocheting through your blood stream that it's enough to leave anyone dizzy and frazzled. Even just one peach can do this. Trust me, I've tried every possible combination. While peaches make for a fantastic flavor, they don't make for a fantastic and healthy juice.

That being said, while I've had to allow my favorite fruit to rest in peace, that doesn't mean I've given up on creating ultra yummy juices. Like most, I've found that apples are a great base for sweet flavor in your juices, though there are others that have worked out fairly well so far. Fruits like grapes, kiwi's and banana's also make healthy bases.

What fruits have you found to be just right for your juices?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Adventures in Juicing: Log 1 -That's not yummy in my mouth!

I've always wanted to write a blog that chronicles some new adventure I embark on in my life, but I usually get so far past the beginning of said adventures, that I don't want to have to go back and write up  blogs explaining the back story, so that it'll make sense. Yes, I know I could just start in the middle and not care about the back story, but the writer in me just won't allow that to happen.

So! Being that I have newly acquired a juicer as a gift to help be recreate better health in my life, now seemed like the perfect time to start a new series of blog posts featuring this latest adventure.

So... just last week I managed to get enough ingredients to attempt to make some delicious and healthy juices. Apples, grapes, kiwis, pineapple, peaches, butternut squash, carrots, bok choy, celery, romaine hearts, spinach, tomatoes and bananas.

I admit, even though I totally want the health benefits of all those veggies, I was still afraid of what they might taste like. My inner adult knew they probably wouldn't be that bad, but my inner child was scared they would taste super gross!

So I started with mostly fruity drinks. Apple-grape-carrot, peach-pineapple-butternut squash and apple-pineapple-banana-carrot. Everyone tried some and the group consensus was that all of these were yummy, even though the carrot fibers made things a little thicker than preferred.

After a week of those, some sugar rushes, lots of water and some more research, I got brave enough to try adding more green veggies.

My youngest son decided to join me. He's gotten excited about juicing with me since the first set of super yummy juices. He even helped decide that we would use carrots and grapes in this recipe. My contribution was celery, apples, lettuce and spinach. Heavy on the apples and grapes.

So we juiced up our produce and I poured a small glass to taste. It wasn't bad at all, but there was a clear celery and spinach taste that I knew no one else but be would consume, so I put in more apples to sweeten it up and over power the veggie taste. After that, it was much better, so I poured out some small glasses for everyone else to try.

My partner tried it, paused for a moment and said, "There's almost enough apple in there..."

My oldest son (who is 10) said, "It's not bad, tastes a bit like celery. Can't we make more apple-grape?"

My youngest (who is 4) tired it and immediately said, "Yuck! That is not yummy in my mouth!!" and then refused to try any further versions of it.

I'm hoping our next adventure might yield a juice that is both extremely healthy and tasty enough for the four year old taste test. Only time and experimentation will tell.

Leave a comment below and tell me about your juicing adventures and any positive recommendations you might have =)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Dreams of Flying

I had a short dream this morning that reminded me what I love so much about dreaming, especially lucid dreaming.

This particular dream was simple enough. I was sitting at a desk, and in front of me was a small piece of paper with a crease down the center. The task before me: to levitate the piece of paper. In my dreamtime mind this was a simple task. I'd already done so many similar things before, of a much greater complexity. Ironically, instead of going straight to task, I found myself reliving memories of other dreams, right in this dreams.

I remember a few of my first flying dreams, where I had trouble taking off, going to high and losing control and the dreams where I finally was able to gain control and adventure through dreamtime enjoying my ability to fly through obstacles, overcome various villainous beings and go beyond my wildest dreams to create even wilder ones.

Dreams like these are hallmark dreams for shamans, not that I am one, but they certainly fill me with a sense of pride and power. Something that I obtained more accidentally than anything, but something that I worked hard at whenever the opportunity arose. These flying dreams weren't things I ever called to myself, and always come to me at random, and I never stopped to practice bring lucid in them. It just sort of happened. One night I realized I was aware of what was happening in a dream while I was flying, and of course, nearly fell out of the dreamtime sky. Once that happened, it was hard not to become lucid during the rest of the flying dreams that came my way.

In fact, it was dreams like these that drew me more into learning about lucid dreaming and brought me more dreams in which I could actively participate in. That's a thought for another day though.

For today, I was thinking more to talk about what flying dreams mean, especially for those of you, who like me, get geeky when it comes to dream meanings.

Now, before we go further, I want to make it clear that I'm going to cover this from a personal point of view, rather than one of intense research. Firstly b/c most of the information out there is so easily repeatable and who needs more of the same? Secondly, because this is my blog and I can do that sort of thing ;)

So let's get down to the nitty gritty. Dreams about flying, in the general sense, as in a non lucid dreams about flying, for me, are about freedom, escape and power. Can you imagine if you had the real life ability to fly unassisted? What if you could just jump up, hold out your arms and go anywhere you pleased? That's true freedom, and if your dreaming of flying like this, it's probably because you have a serious need for less restriction in your life. Think about it. When's the last time you went on vacation? Or a random road trip? Or just tried something new because you spontaneously wanted to?

Symbioticly, dreams about flying are also about escape, which is not quite the same thing as freedom, but because escaping often means you're feeling trapped or restrained, it goes hand in hand with freedom. The liberty to make like a tree and leave, especially when you're feeling confined in your life, is an important feeling, and one that most of us try to ignore in our waking lives. This is often why the subconscious will bring your need for escape to your attention through such miraculous acts as flying, and when this happens, you really shouldn't ignore it. No, I'm not saying you should drop the kids off at their uncle's house, quit your job and change your name to Captain Jack. What I am saying, is that when it gets to the point that your dreaming mind is sending you these images of your need for escape, it means you're not taking care of that need in the muggle realm.

Escapism can often start to manifest itself in other ways than just bizarre dreams when left to fester. Don't let it go that far. Sit down and think about what you really need to escape from and how badly. Are you just in need of a little getaway? Or is it time to reconsider your career ops?

Whatever it is, listen to your dreams and take care of it before it becomes a bigger problem.

Lastly, but not at the least, flying dreams are often dreamt by the powerless, or rather, by people who feel powerless. Being able to fly unassisted would be super powerful, and it's often your minds way of showing you just how amazing and powerful you can be. Believe in your dreams, because you rock and even if your in a not so powerful position in your life right, that doesn't mean your powerless. It just means that your learning something new that will only add to your power.

So, after you've thought about it. If you need more freedom, get it. If you need to escape, do it. If you're feeling powerless, stop it.

Now, on the other end of the spectrum, if you're having lucid dreams about flying, there are a few additional things to think about. These are things that I consider when these dreams come up:

1. What power am I gaining and why?

2. Am I flying in a new direction or continuing an old one?

3. Am I centering to much attention on my spiritual path?

Now, just to be contrary, I'm not going explain any of these considerations. When you get to the place in your path where your flying through dreamtime, these prompts will be all you will need and more importantly, they will always have different and personal meanings.

It's also important to remember that one can easily become trapped in the second attention and powerful lucid dreaming like this can easily become so enchanting that they'll keep you coming back for more, which inevitably begins to drain your power rather than bringing you more of it. Go in for what you need, nothing more, nothing less.