Monday, 23 March 2015

Deeper into the Shadow Bag: Fear of Failure

A long time ago, when I was just a little girl someone told me my way was wrong, and it has affected me ever since. Last night I had a dream, a shadow dream. This dream represented my biggest fear, it spoke softly but it's words dripped with venom, I got caught up in the drama and I ended up on my knees afraid saying along the lines of "I'm a coward, it's all my fault". From a surface level it appears to be true but underneath, deep down I have been fighting tooth and nail for myself from myself. Self doubt is a most vile poison especially when you gladly swallow it and don't think twice. For a very long time I would second guess myself and always take someone else's word over my own "They obviously know better then me" and this is what I did, for the most part, with everyone. My self-trust was practically non-existent.
This has affected me as a witch as well. When I first stumbled into witchcraft (I was introduced like many via Neo-Wicca) I remembered that, for the first time in my life I had something, a one up on my depression. I cried with utter relief and sure enough it was one of the factors that helped me out of that black pit.
Recently I have started on a new path in witchcraft, that of the hedge rider. Much as I loved green witchcraft something was missing, and I found myself on the path of hedgecraft. This isn't the first time hedgecraft has appeared in myself, it has emerged a handful of time, and each time previously I was dismiss it with remarks such as "This isn't me" "I'm not doing that" "That looks scary" but when hedgecraft come around again I took a step forward. It hasn't been easy, deer lord no. In the space of about 4-5 months I have accidentally astral traveled, almost been devoured by demons, been prey of faery trickery, had dreams and visions more vivid then anything I have experienced so far, met more plant spirits, manifested my familiar spirit, conquered the mystery of my tidal wave dream, and most recently I became an oracle.
Pretty bloody intense huh? I feel that all this is only the beginning. hedgecraft has been a challenging and rewarding path. I have changed so much I almost don't recognise myself, but I love the person I am becoming. But this is not what this article is not about my new found path as a hedge rider.
The shadow dream made me realise something, I am utterly afraid of failure. Now, I'm not really how or why I fear failure, logically I know it is a part of life and how we learn and yet the anxiety that grips my heart is undeniable. This is connected to my self doubt because I simply don't trust in my own power.
I rarely do spells, the ones I do are simple one driving by a need at that time and intuition, but they're not life alternating. Why? Because I'm scared because I believe that it will fail.
Currently I am reading a wonderful book called 'Kissing the Hag: The Dark Goddess and the Unacceptable Nature of Women'  by the Emma Restall Orr. In her book Emma goes over the difference aspects (archetypes) of a woman's nature from childhood to elder. The chapter I read last night was about the Witch, and after I read it, I realised that this is the witch I want to be. At the heart of it, being a Witch is about taking control and getting what you. Emma says there are two keys the Witch is through her emotions and the forces of nature, and she is in control of both, with complete confidence. That is what I want, that complete trust in myself and my power, that is what a Witch is to me and what I will now work for to become.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Opening the Bag of Shadow: Facing my Fear of Rejection

This isn't going to be an easy post for me to write, as I type the anxiety is swelling in my chest and my ego is yelling me to stop in my track, but I must go on. I must write. Who ever said shadow work was easy?

But before I get down and dirty, I'm going to explore rejection.

I think for alot of people, rejection is seen as a negative thing, it makes us think that the because we have been rejected we are somehow unworthy of it, and of course deep down we know it not to be true, but if we have not done the work to confront this, well, we do ourselves alot of damage.
I think for most of us this fear of rejection is sparked when we're children. As child we pretty much are who we are in the purest sense of the word, we care little for what other think of us and we do simply what makes us happy, but at some point that changes, someone makes a comment about us 'you're too loud' 'you ask too many questions' 'you're doing it wrong', and that is the birth of our bag of shadow. The shadow I speak of is the one from Jungian psychology, it is the parts of ourselves that we reject and are ashamed of. Now these things aren't necessarily bad, for alot of us they are things that have been deemed 'unacceptable' by other people so we put them in out bag of shadow in hope that we will be accepted. Acceptance from other is something that is drilled into us, one must be accepted by their fellow peers and society otherwise  no-one will love us, and this is where the fear of rejection is born.

Now I'm going to take you back to my childhood:
As my mother tells me, when I reached the age to start nursery school I was alot brighter then my fellow classmates. My mother had taught me my shapes, colours, how to count to 10, how to write my name and the alphabet. I was excited to start school, I was full of questions and hungry for knowledge. I wanted to be front and centre, and to learn about everything. But for whatever reason this enthusiasm was seen as a bad thing. My inquisitive nature was met is was met with exasperation, my intense brightness was pushed to the back, and I was told my way was wrong  and that I had to do it the 'proper' way. So from that very young age I was taught that I was unacceptable, and so was the beginning of my self censorship, where I cut off, burn off, covered up, masked myself for the acceptance of other. What has it gotten me? Isolation from myself and an instilled fear of being unloveable, which I have carried with me all this time since childhood. How has this fear affected me, well, I have pretty much isolated myself from other people, I have no friends outside of the internet (though those I consider friend online are every bit as real and importable to me), I'm actually scared of people to be honest, scared of what they'll think of me, scared of them mistreating me, scared of being rejected. I make decisions that aren't necessarily good for my growth, I tend to make them based on not making waves and not upsetting other people. I keep my opinions to myself, I keep how I feel to myself, I hide from the world.

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So now I am going to tell you who is reading this all the things I hide about myself:
Hello, my name is Emma, I'm 28, I'm unemployed and still live at home. I have struggle with for years what I suspect is undiagnosed depression and social anxiety. I sleep most of the day away because I don't want to be wake and when I wake up I'm sat in front of my computer attempting to somewhat redeem myself by helping other people. I am in a long distance relationship with the most wonderful man I have ever know, he lives in California and I live in England, the beginning of April will mark 6 blessed years with him (I love you Ryan). I hide my body because I pick my skin, I believe I have undiagnosed Compulsive Skin Picking, it's a form of OCD. When for 5 years from the age of 16 I was in a relationship with a guy, same age as me, who used to molester me when it believed I was asleep, and sex with him was always painful and greatly uncomfortable, as a result I have a fear of sexually expressing myself and for alot long time I had a fear of men, because I believed that if a man found me sexually desirable they would no long regard me as a person and see me other as an instrument to satisfy their desire. I'm am not happy with my life, there are only a handful of things that bring me joy and I not long what to live this way. My dream is to marry Ryan and be a housewife, I want to cook and clean, and make out home feel warm and welcoming. I want to be a healer, I want heal the body, mind and spirit with herbs and their spirits, with the love in my heart and with these two hands. I want to be a village witch, crafting charms for love and good health, blessed newborn babies and guide the dying to the Otherworld.

So here I am, all of me and not just the part I want you to see. I won't appologise for shattering any illusions you had about me because I am done hiding, I am done living in fear of rejection, I am done you hear me DONE. So if you don't like what you see unfriend me, unfollow me because I don't care anymore, I don't care if you like me, I don't care if you approve of me. I DON'T FUCKING CARE

Because as my mother told me from a school report so very long ago "Emma doesn't relate to her peers" and you know what, good, I'm tired of censoring myself for others comfortable. So from this day on the mask is gone

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Too much Positive?

Too much positive? What do you mean?

This has been a thought I have been turning over in my head the pass couple days. With this New Age movement of self-help, love and light, I can't help but feel that it has come with some, unintentional draw backs. For me personally, I am often scared to feel my "dark" emotion out of fear that I'll attract move of this feeling. I've even had people say this to me. "Don't be negative or that's all you're gonna get". This stems from the "You attract what you are", and the "Thoughts create your reality". Now, tell that some someone who suffers from mental health issues, we are left thinking "Oh, well, fuck". Now I know this "You attract what you are" isn't meant to come off that way, no-one is to be blamed for their mental health issues, but this love-and-light, positivity cure everything mentality is really fucking wearing sometimes. I understand that being positive about things it helpful, but sometime we really don't need it, it can make me feel worse, because I feel like I am failing somehow, because I am not being positive.
So even at time when I am fully justified to have these feelings, I find that I am at war with myself, and I have to keep on top of it because it will spiral out of control, and I will engage in an OCD mindset where I will create a domino effect of events in mind resulting in my worst fears being realised. Luckily this doesn't happen often, and for the most part I keep on top of my mental processes, but recently, with my spiritual crisis, I am struggling again.
I think shadow work get pushed to the side in terms of self-healing, and I can understand why, with the world we live in we expect cure-all and quick fixes on demand, so when it comes to something like shadow work that it messy and scary, most people will probably opt for some yoga or drumming. We still live in fear of the darkness, and we sill believe that this is where evil lurks, but evil walks with the face of man and it's plans are much more sublet then fire and brimstone.

I'm not really sure where I am going with this post, I'm not a talker, a sharer of my feelings, and doing this like this is uncomfortable, because I feel like I am rambling and wasting everyone's time. I have always been the listener, but sometimes even the listener needs someone who will listen to them. Mebbe this is therapy for me, who knows, I'm lead to believe that "getting it out" is a good thing. Can't keep everything to myself now can I?

Saturday, 1 November 2014

In a Veil of Darkness: Witch Way?

Spiritually, I am not in a great place nowadays. I am almost completely out-of-touch with it. It started some months ago, I began to notice that it became harder and harder to enter my inner sacred space, which is the place from which I launch all spiritual journeys and vision quests, and if you have ever read any of my previous posts you would see that my inner life is very colourful and vibrant, but now I am met with a wall and the things I did that where second nature to me I can no long do not matter how much a will it. This isn't a nice feeling, I feel like a tree that has been uprooted and tossed by a tornado miles away not knowing where or even who I am. It's cold and grey, it's almost how I felt during my depression (aside from the feeling of complete worthlessness, hopelessness, terror, and utter bleakness I felt back then), and it was that thought that made me pause, and an important question arose "Why did I become a witch?", and the answer is to heal. Now I call myself a druid and a witch, and there is one major difference for me between the two, I chose to become a witch. See, I had always been a druid it was only a matter of acknowledging, accepting and embracing it, but with being a witch, it was a choice I made, and it was a life changing one, and the funny this is my druidry lead me to it.

Metaphor - Man dragging an uprooted tree by Shana James

It was about 5 years ago during the worse of my depression. I don't really remember how but I was researching in the Triquetra (it is a symbol I have always loved and is the symbol I associate with Druidry) and through that search I came across Neo-Wicca. I think alot of people come into witchcraft via Neo-Wicca. It caught my attention because the beliefs and views were the same as mine at that time, and that is where it started, and like most witchy newbs who don't have anyone to ask or how to research I went straight to Silver Ravenwolf. I can already here the audible teeth sucking of "oh man, rookie mistake" but bare with me. I actually have Silver to thank, for it was a quote from her book Solitary Witch that changed my life for the better. The quote goes as followed:

Being a witch has nothing to do with spells, rituals and unusual clothes - they are the fun stuff.
To be a witch is to desire personal transformation.
Being a witch means to want to work everyday to be a better person.
To be a witch, you must be brave enough to face everything inside of yourself
and have the courage to change the things you don't like.

And it was after reading that quote I broke down and cried tears of relief, because for the first time I had found something that I could use to fight, and I made the decision to become a witch so that I could heal myself for my other half and my family, and I did. So what does this mean for me now that I have lost my way? The reason why I am a witch still remains the same, and that is the light in this darkness. Darkness is the place of great transformation, or unlimited potential and from which all things are born, and so I must descend into darkness with my tiny little and find my roots once more so that I may be reborn in the spring.

Jewels Caves photo from Scenic Dakotas

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Celebration, Sabbats & Seasons

Currently I', send through Wild Witchcraft by Marian Green for a second, I'm on the last chapter "Season, Cycles and Feasts" . In the chapter Green talks about, the season, the celebration that mark them & ancient feats. She also goes on to talk about how our holy days are now fixed day that marked on a calendar when they used to flow & change as Nature did, and this got my thinking. I didn't celebrate Imbolc or Ostara this year, why you might ask, because I didn't feel like it. I find it silly to celebrate the coming & arrival of spring when I am being pelted with icy cold rain & blow with gale force winds. How I feel is my motivation, I am either full blown passionate or meh, and if I'm meh about something I ain't doing it because it isn't meaningful &/or worth my time and energy. So I made a decision, I'm not longer going to celebrate the 8 Sabbats, instead I am going to celebrate each of the four season when I personally feel they are here. I don't know yet how I am going to celebrate that is going to be the fun challenge before, and I will have to sit and think about "What is Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter to me?". Being a Green Witch, my path is highly individual & is molded to suit me, and I like it that way, so this is a perfect way to exercise my knowledge & expression of my path. =)

Green Blessings

Raven Dreamer

Raining Flowers by LoveSoup on deviantART

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Up a mountain to meet a goddess: How I spent my New Year

Happy New Year Everyone =) I know it's been awhile since I posted but I am here to share with you a wonderful experience I had last night!

But first a little back story:

For a very long time I knew I was a healer, I just did not know what kind of healer I was. My mother has a healer's touch, she has the gift of soothing people just by laying her hand(s) on them. I have a passion for herbs & their uses, both magically & medicinally. I'm an aspiring wort-cunner & I find so much joy in wondering the fields near my house & studying the flora I come across (as well as the local fae & nature spirits). Some time during the year I came across this image:

Eir by Meredyth on deviantART
This image stuck home to me, and from then on I was pursuit of a form of energy healing that was for me.
I tried Reiki, I had no trouble with channeling energy, but then energy never came from the heavens, but from the Earth it's self. So I focused on that & practiced when ever I could. I later identified this energy as Nwyfre. Nwyfre is the druid word for life force/chi/ki/prana. When I felt confident in my ability I started doing long-distance healing rituals (from my inner realm) when the need arose. I'd gather the nwyfre into my heart-centre then send in down into my palms & give it to my spirit raven, Eir (you'd think I would of figured out the connection there, but nope!) Then Eir my raven would take the nwyfre in her claws & we'd fly to the person in need of healing & like the picture above apply the nwyfre to the ailment. 

   Anywho, back to the journey. Eir has be nudging me for the pass month. She kept popping up everywhere, showing an interest in me (Cernunnos has too, but that's for another post!). She even giving me a glimpse of herself. She wore a green norse style dress (like this one) She has waist long strawberry-blonde hair, which she wore partly up & she has the kindest and warmest smile I have ever seen. So I began doing research, and the more I read the more amazed at what I found. There were so many connections to her, (you can read more about her here) Copper, wort-cunning, energy healing, herb magic, healing with rune, even one of her sacred animal is a raven. So I knew I had to go see her & I decided that the Dark Moon that fell on the New Year would be the best time to do it. On New Year's Eve I place on my altar the Cow from my Druid Animal Oracle, cow is her most sacred animal (I always have the raven card on my altar because Raven is my power animal) and I added the Comfrey card from my Druid Plant Oracle, comfrey, as well as marshmallow, is her sacred herb. In a small pot caved from stone & decorated with a pretty flower on it's lid, I placed a marshmallow flower & some chamomile (it was a plant used by the Norse for healing so I thought it was an appropriate offering) I also put out 3 of my healing runes which are connected to her, Berkano, Uruz & Laguz. My choice of meditation music was Wardruna's Runaljod-Gap Var Ginnunga 
And so I began my journey...
   Once in my inner realm & in my cabin (my inner sacred space) I prep for the journey, I packed my bag with gifts for her; a bread cow, a drinking horn full of milk, a sphere of Gaia stone (Helenite), a clear quart toward, in white cloth I wrapped fresh comfrey, chamomile & marshmallow, securing them with green ribbon. I wore my green robe & placed around my necklace a pendant with the rune 'Berkano' on (I felt compelled to do so) I put on my tool belt & adorn my forest green cloak. Having injured myself in the outer world (I twisted my ankle) the pain of it penetrated my alter mind state, so I took up my blackthorn stang to help me walk. With Eir my raven as always perched on my left shoulder & Erma my she-lynx pressed against my left side, we set off into the fading evening light (my inner world it always one of 3 'betwixt' times, dusk, midnight or dawn). We walked down the hillside to the bottom of the valley where the Old Willow River runs, this is the river I cross to enter the Shaman Lower World. I follow the river East, and walk for a long time, at one point I stopped & collected some river water in a small glass vial. The river become thinner & thinner until it was no more then a trickling creek, I could hear crickets chirping loudly which made me look up across the creek to find Lyfja-Berg, the mountain in which Eir resides. We crossed the creek & made our way to the foot of the mountain & our ascension. I have no idea how long I was climbing, I remember the feel of shape rock cutting & slicing the soles of my bare feet, on top of the constant ache in my twisted ankle. What made me stop was a light in the distance which turned out to be a campfire, I made my up & decided to rest once I reached the fire. Once beside the fire I ate dumpling & drank grape juice, I also took a sip of river water I had collected earlier & felt revitalized by it's freshness. Then I set about treating the wounds on my feet. From one of the pouches on my tool belt I produced a salve made from comfrey, yarrow & plantain, and rubbed the soothing balm into my soles. I rested by the fire for a long while, I hadn't released that it was midnight until I looked around at the darkness that surrounded us, I could still hear crickets chirping. All of a sudden I felt a surge of nwyfre (both in the inner & outer realm) my hands felt suddenly felt very hot, as if I had held them in a fire; in the inner realm I examined my palms, on my left palm was the rune Algiz and on my right palm was the rune Laguz. In the outer world my palms of their own accord began to slowly rise off my chest. When finally stop I place them together in pray postions & I could "feel" the rune Berkano inbetween & around my palm. Then when it felt right, I placed my hand by my sides. 

In the inner realm the campfire sudden when out & we (myself, Erma the lynx & Eir the raven) were plunged into darkness, part of my knew I had to continue on with no aid of light. So we rose and continued our climb up the mountain. After a time the wind started up violently out of nowhere, nearing blowing my poor raven Eir away, I managed to snagged her from the air in time & held her tightly to my chest, Erma took up refuge behind me. I planted my stang into the earth & stood my ground. Part of my wanted to turn back, the darkness had become eerie & unnerving, like something was lurking in the night, I could hear angry crows in the nearby trees. Then out of the darkness came Roe my spirit fox he trotted up the hill & some feet away looked back at me with a look saying "well come on then, what are you waiting for?" Then Airmid & Isis my spirit wolves were by my sides, and Rohan my spirit stag was stood behind me. I was filled with a rush of strength & confident which I knew was from Cernunnos, and so together we continued the climb to the mountain's peak. After a while the wind died down & was gone like it had never been. Fireflies appeared & made a trail up the mountain side, we followed, and I began to hear the song of birds at dawn. Looking up I saw a huge Viking Hall and sure enough morning was streaking across the sky behind the building. I paused in awe of the structure, I was hesitant to move and was flooded with sudden doubt. "What if Eir wasn't there?" "What if this whole journey was for nothing?" I took a deep breath & exhaled heavily, pushing the doubt out with it. Then from out of the hall emerged a figure, wearing a green norse dress, carrying a basket at her hip & her strawberry-blond hair hung in a braid over one shoulder, and there is she was, Eir. Upon noticing me standing there she flashed me a welcoming smile, and I hobbled my way up the rest of the way to her. I fell on my knees in front of her. "Oh Eir, I've come all this way to see you" I managed to say, I was completely overwhelmed with that fact that she was actually there. "I've bought you gift", my hand went to my back but was stopped by Eir landing her hand over mind & she looked at me with a warm smile as if saying "lets get you inside". She helped me rise to my feet & walked me into the hall. The interior was simple yet magnificent in it's seer size, the ceiling must of been at least 30 or 40 feet high. She sat me in one of the high-back chair around a huge long table & she walked out of the room. My animals had all piled in front of the large fire and I climb out of the chair & sat with them. They all crowded close, Rohan sat at my back, Eir (raven) on my shoulder, Airmid & Isis had their heads in my lap, Erma was stretched out in front of my & Roe was curled up asleep. When Eir (the goddess) return she was carrying a drinking horn which she handed to me with a smile, I drank the liquid rather quickly, it was warm milk sweeten with honey & a touch of mead (it warmed me up for sure!) I handed her the empty horn & then proceed to give her all the gift I had brought her. She received each with a a genuine smile and when I had emptied my bag she knelt beside me & hugged me as if we were sisters. I then expressed my thanks and gratitude to her, explaining to her how the image of her had helped me to discover my healing gift. I showed her my palms, still bearing the runes from earlier, she took my hands in her's and held him, instant cause a stir of nwyfre in me. Then I looked up at her & asked the question I had been working up to ask, would she teach me the healing art? Her eyes light up & she beamed her most brilliant smile yet, nodding eagerly...

After that my music skipped & the song that came on jerked me out of mind state. But I was so happy, I have been accepted by a goddess of healing, something I have wanted since I started my path, and I cannot wait to see what Eir has to teach me

Eir - goddess of healing by Nicole Cadet on deviantART

Green Blessings /|\

Raven Dreamer

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

I'm not Buddha and I don't ever want to be

I feel like I've been getting wrapped up in spiritual idea of who I should be. Everyday I read all these quote & comments about "enlightenment" how one should be, and act and say etc to be a "spiritually enlightenment person". But instead of inspiring me, I have developed a complex over how I should be in order to be "spiritual enlightened". I've been feeling like I'm a bad spiritual person because I have not done, x, y & z. I've been creating faults in things that how none, questioning from a place of ego fearing (if that's even a term), 

So I stopped and asked "Who am I"? and those silence answered. It stripped away all I thought I was & thought I should be and left only with what I am. Then I remembered my path, Druidry...why am I on this path? Why I am a Druidess? My path came to me from my patron goddess Cerridwen, she came to me on that night and gave me those gifts and I have been changed ever since. 
When I came into my spirituality about 4 year ago, never wanted to be "enlightened" I just wanted to be happy, with life & who I am. I've realized that I've lost sight of that with this obsession with being this perfectly spiritual person. I know most of you think straight away of a Buddhist monk or an Indian Guru when you see the word "enlighten" and I think with the way we've been conditioned by society & such, that everyone must fight this mold in order to be that kind of person. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing it really is, most of what you see out there is only the tip of the iceberg, if you're not willing to to the leg work in finding & creating your own spiritual life, you'll fall into the trap into thinking you must, walk, talk, think & act in a certain way to be a "spiritual person".
So back to my previous question, why am I Druidess? Well, upon that discovery it was one of the most wonderful days of my life, every time I read about Druidry my heart swells with a feeling I can't lay my finger on, next to my love of my partner & family, Nature is second in my heart, I have always been in awe of her, and herbalism is something that I love researching & hopefully one day practice  Druidry moves me & heals me, it inspires me,and empowers me. 
I've been punishing myself for not fitting this false mold I have created, I am not a guru or a monk and frankly I don't want to be. I am a short purple haired girl from England, who drinks way too much tea, who dreams of marrying her man and live in a hobbit hole with 2 pugs, become a mother and housewife, and do spiritual healing & charms when needed. I'm not going to lead the revolution, I'm going to lead my family to be eco-friendly, to eat healthier.I'm teach my children to love the earth just as much as I do, and show them the magick that lays there..

That is my dream, that is all I want and if that make me "wrong" in a spiritual sense, then frankly I don't give a damn, I want to be happy, not the Buddha