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HeierophantImage

Image: Rider-Waite Tarot 

What do you hold sacred and
Who are your Gods?

You stand before me and
Hope that I will show you
The way of return.

I am wisdom and the hidden knowledge
Gained from effort and sacrifice.

I have achieved the balance
Of foundation and
Now may be the
Disruption that
Spawns new
Direction.

I sit within the
Place of anchor
And all that flows from
My discourse will
Take root.

The mystery is how
To initiate that seed of
Root and the form it may take
For that is your path
Only to reveal.

The halls of knowledge are
Ever open.

Where will you find
The courage to
Pass through?

Keywords:

WISDOM
SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP
SKILL
DISCERNMENT
SELF KNOWLEDGE

The Hierophant sits upon a throne of sorts, the Pillars of Polarity to his right and left. He is the Middle Pillar of balance, union of polarities and guardian of the Supernal wisdom. This card is one of my favorite cards in the Major Arcana. Looking at the card gives a sense of peace, as well as a call to action of the highest aspiration. I see this card as a call to “service”. What form and who that service impacts are exerted by the choice of free will and where you have chosen to give your attention and focus.

The Hierophant appears as the quintessential spiritual advisor, bestower of Divine blessing, master of ageless wisdom and beneficent authority. Saying all that often brings a feeling of security in the knowledge that a higher authority – other than our human selves – exists and to whom we may placidly entrust the guiding of our spiritual growth.

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Image: The Alchemical Tarot (Rosemary Guiley)

I particularly like the image of the Hierophant represented in the Alchemical Tarot Deck. The balance of lunar and solar, feminine and masculine energies seen through the arch of window. When we think of a window we imagine a space to see out from and a haven of sanctuary to stand as observer and perhaps go unobserved. I think of this depiction as the natural tendency we have to see these energies of the Moon and the Sun as something apart from ourselves and that we look at longingly through whatever safe haven we have ensconced ourselves within. The Hierophant being the bridge or point of interface between the two, holding open the book of knowledge that will enable us to recognize our place within these two states of being.

The statues of male and female at the left and right hand of the Hierophant are smaller in size and are reminder that our physical form is only a small piece of the greater mystery. That we too may sit in the place of the Hierophant as we draw into our core (the middle pillar) all aspects of our true nature, moon, sun and cosmos; male, female and manifestation and rise as guardian of our Higher Self as the Hierophant looms large in the place of center.

All of the aforementioned is true; but another part of the Mystery (definition of: a spiritual reality that transcends normal reasoning) lies in the Key number of the card – #5- the number of rebellion, change and disruption of the status quo to move us beyond the false security of an earthly foundation. Five is the occurrence of the stability of equilateral Four opening up and reaching out towards the unknown. The foundations laid in the structure and order of a four-sided figure (square) are now being tested and stretched to their limits. This is the primary principle of nature abhorring a vacuum or inertia. If we remain too long in the comfort of everything being the same, we become stagnant and dis-eased. Nature steps in and causes illness and discontent (the number Five) stirring the call to action that will ultimately bring us to a place of transformation.

If we combine this information with the other attributes of the card, we realize that the lesson of this card is that with every embracing of and opening to higher levels of understanding and spirituality there will also be the necessary resultant disruption of the security felt by simply remaining where we are. By seeking the strength contained within the Emperor- who appears more than a man- but, still a man grounded in the physical reality- we can experience the Self-Knowledge and spiritual security of the Hierophant.

Wherever this card falls in a spread, expect, changes and the need to take a closer look at those things we consider the foundation and pillars of our Spiritual Path. The number Five is also the number of sides on a shield – four sides of the square and the point of a triangle. With the Wisdom of the Hierophant, we may deflect from ourselves what would harm, gather the energy into its space of security and then turn the focus of that shield’s point of light and Divine Wisdom to illuminate our way along the Path.

The Shield of Focus Spread (rcf)

I seek the highest Spiritual Truth
For my guidance and inspiration.

I seek to unify the inner world of Spiritual Illumination
And the outer world of personal experience.

I seek to walk in the Light

Remove The Hierophant Card from the Deck and place it centrally in the position of the anchor, face up. Focus your query and intent in a meditative way directed towards The Hierophant key. Lay 4 more cards face down in a semi circle in the order presented below:

This spread takes on the form of a shield. Four sides create the foundation upon which we hold and direct the energies we wish to direct in a focused and refined manner through a singular tip of expression. The Hierophant sits in the center as hidden anchor. His energy is felt at a deep level of internalization rather than in an overt and obvious manner. There are many cross paths contained within this spread that await your revealing.

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Lower Row:
1. Action- This is the place of first steps. What is indicated here shows where movement needs to be made.

2. Restraint- This is the place of what needs holding back, and where there is needed a pause and taking a breath before moving forward.

Middle Row:
3. Information- Information about the situation that is not on the surface. This is what needs to be retrieved so that the action required may hold greater choice and potential for outcome.

4. Protection- This is the place of safeguarding and may give indication of those things not quite ready to be revealed or acted upon.

5. The Point of Focus:
This card indicates the place of releasing the appropriate course of combined action and information having been processed through the filters of restraint and protection. This is the synthesis of those cards that form the base or foundation. This is the point where those efforts and indicators for change and action may now be released in a synthesized stream for the most effective use.

This posting is a Sneak Peek at:
The Inner Chamber: Volume Four
A Walk Through the Major Arcana
By Robin Fennelly
Release Date: Fall 2014

 

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How deep will you allow yourself to go in seeking the truth? How much will you lay bare to realize your full potential? How much will you offer up to the Divine to see the radiant image of your own divinity? What pearls are you hoping to find?

As I have gotten older, in place of fear at revealing what may be hidden behind the various masks I wear, there has been a certain type of comfort that has come from purposefully and intentionally diving deeper into the murky waters of what makes me tick. I am not only talking about the deep work of embracing the Shadow, but also the journey of realizing what my strengths and weaknesses are, how I respond or react in certain situations, what personal barriers I set for myself in achieving goals and most importantly, how all of these states effect my spiritual growth.

Whether we are consciously aware of it or not we all wear different masks throughout the day, showing these varied aspects in accord with what we perceive to be the energy that is surrounding. Some serve to hide the lack of confidence we have, others serve to quiet and calm the anger that is raging beneath, and others allow us to communicate more easily and comfortably setting a tone of collaborative spirit and concerned effort. Beyond these we wear the masks of our place in relationships, the friend, lover, mother, wife, husband, child, father, teacher and the list goes on and on. Each fitting neatly and layering one upon the other until there are times when we are not sure which is the dominant.

And, with each additional layer we are also modifying and making adaptions to our spiritual nature. Each becomes another drop in the vast ocean that holds the space of our adaptability and the flow of our emotional self. From these depths and vast expanse are formed the truths we call upon as we seek to know our true nature. From each flowing seamlessly into the other becomes the surface that gently supports us as we face upwards towards the light of the Sun, the sky of our breath and the greater cosmos that is our lineage. But, before we can truly know the mysteries of these realms we must first come to trust and explore the depths of those waters that hold us in their embrace as we flow trough our lifetime’s experience.

As we turn to face these waters we have built up and informed by our strivings to project the correct images and facades choice is offered to dive deeply into the reality of imaginings or to remain comfortably floating on an ever rising sea that accumulates with each new experience and each new mask created.

The first diving is the most terrifying; although we may tell ourselves differently. Moving into the buoyant space of that first mask of who we are and gently peeling away the years of what we have thought to be true of ourselves is unnerving. But, seeing the glow of what lay beneath it and the beauty of spiritual gifts and knowledge of the power held in that acceptance open new inlets of healing water’s flow and opens our acceptance of other’s now that we are able to see the reflection of their spiritual nature.

We breathe into this information and come to the surface renewed and with a sense of curiosity about what other revelations may be held in these waters. We dive a little deeper on the next journey. Seeking the many masks of the places we hold within the network of relationship. We marvel at the sheer weight of each and the smaller bits and pieces that comprise the larger whole follow like schools of minnow safe and secure in their numbers. We take up each and inspect it for the life that may be hidden within the ornate shell of its exterior. We allow to gently float away those that no longer serve us and gather together those that are viable, strong and worth the price of their effort in maintaining, knowing that the catch of the day will be in the wearing of the most prized one. We rise to the surface bringing with us a new perspective and more informed way of expressing ourselves in the roles we fulfill in the mundane. These expressions spill over into the many ways we interface and interact with the Divine; the gentle or demanding nature we bring to ritual and the passion or calm we use to infuse our magickal workings. Each of these roles eventually lead us to our most prized statement of being, that of a Divine Being fully engaged in the experience of humanity.

And, as we continue to move deeply into these waters of support and each journey brings back another piece of our individual truth we come to a place of the pearl of great price. The depth of the waters no longer a concern, the pressure of expanding outward in understanding no longer constricting and the vision clouded by the churning of waters being reformed and refilled now clear with purpose and intent. This pearl has been formed by the irritation of layer upon layer of the many masks you have worn and what you thought to be true of yourself. This pearl is the coalescing of all that you are, magickally and mundanely and in the bringing of its orb of iridescent light to the surface you have finally gone deep enough to unmask the real you.
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Photo: Natalia Avseenko

I dove into waters
Deep and foreboding
In hopes of finding
The wealth I desired.

I told not a soul
And hid well behind
A mask that proclaimed
Great fear in diving so
Deeply into waters unknown.

I went about my daily business
As mother, lover, friend and wife
Still not quite content with these
Masks I had crafted and
Claimed as my life.

By day I engaged in each
Task presented me in
Rote and routine style
But at night I would
Sit by deep dark waters
And contemplate what
Lay hidden under watery miles.

Images of gold and silver
Vast treasures and reclaiming
Of what had been discarded
Spoke of great wealth to uncover
Great wealth ripe for the taking.

I dove into these great waters and
Many nights they seemed to rise
As by day I donned new masks of
Deception wanting to claim the great prize.

On each I began retrieving a
Piece of my effort’s great worth
The waters began to lower and
My may masks to disburse.

Until one starlit night as all knowing
Moon shone brightly above
I dove seeking nothing
No treasure
No silver or gold.

I claimed on that night
A single pearl of great beauty
From the deep waters that
Flow within me calling me to
Dive deeply and claim the
Revealing of my True Self.

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I wrote last week about the challenges of a spiritual practice. Continuing that thought, this week’s post explores the inevitable detours we find ourselves encountering on our chosen path.

Daily mundane life is ripe with detours.  We decide to go one route to work in favor of another, which takes us further out of our way because of construction and find ourselves on yet a third route.  We plan to have a nice quiet evening at home and forget about the promise we made to volunteer for the schools bake sale.  We tell ourselves we will go to the gym faithfully every other day after work, you know, just “do it for me time” and the car needs unexpected repair, the dog has to go to the vet, work needs an extra hour and before you know it the week has come to an end and exhaustion wins out.   Now before this post takes on the tone of Debbie Downer, let me wholeheartedly tell you that detours, distractions and otherwise annoying events that keep you from doing what you had planned are a positive step towards keeping yourself honest in your spiritual work!

A healthy path to growth involves disruption.  In fact that is how we physically grow. Shedding old skin cells, replacing with new; limbs stretching, muscles growing, healing and renewing.  Expansion and contraction of flesh and bone and settling in to what a matured human being looks like.  We take these as a given and don’t give much thought to how this movement in all directions is vital for healthy growth.  As children, we constantly took detours and the less beaten paths.  This was how we learned what was safe, what caused harm and what was risky but well worth the risk. These little forays into and off of the structured course formulated many of our preferences and who we became as adults.

As teens we constantly tested the boundaries, detouring from what our parents wanted in search of pure and unfettered joy in existence and being unstoppable and indestructible.  We didn’t think of these excursions as detours, but each was in its own way self-imposed roadblocks that led us down the path that struck our fancy at the time.  These side trips helped to set the course for what we thought our life could be and the grand visions and dreams we crafted for our adult experience.

Now, all of these examples may seem purely mundane and you may question how these relate to our spiritual practice/path.  We strive on these paths to interweave the mundane and the magickal.  We proclaim the fact that we live our spiritual truths 24/7 365-days per year.  So in essence, everything that takes us off the main course we expected and all of the delays and roadblocks encountered at a mundane level are the products of the work accomplished on the paths of our spiritual course. Conversely every spiritual detour we take offers new wisdom and lessons learned that directly relate to how we move through our physical affairs and world and what we seek from the mundane to feed the spiritual.

I have been High Priestess of Oak and Willow for 13 years and during that time there have been many members who have joined and many who have left.  Most departures have been amiable and most often the result of spiritual growth that has set that member in a new direction.  Some may consider it a detour taken from the pagan path they began; particularly for those who left the Wiccan path and began the steps of Eastern practice or return to Christianity.  Although saddened by each departure I have also honored the truth that any productive spiritual seeking will involve becoming more aware of what the choices of expression are and the many roads that may be taken.  The challenges encountered in defining what our spiritual path and practice look like become the opportunities to detour from what is expected and explore a road less travelled.  New experiences, new community and new beliefs come to light.  Some may give deeper perspective and knowing as we continue on this detour and eventually return to the original road we began the journey on.  Others may completely take us in a different direction, having the wisdom brought forward from where we began and refining it in accord with the new road taken and stayed upon.

Embrace these detours, roadblocks, set-backs and more.  They strengthen your resolve in what you truly believe and wish to pursue in devotion.  They allow time for pause and reflection in a world that often moves too quickly and leaves us hungering for what we would never have known or been able to use. They bend and mold and change who we are and who we will become.  So, the next time you are driving and come to a detour, set off down a new road and grand adventure and an opportunity to perhaps appreciate the direct route you are normally able to take.

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Stop, pause
Ready, set- Go!
Damn, another roadblock!

Try the other route
Not quite right but
Maybe I’ll get through.

Yellow sign ahead
Another detour on the path
Ok, just breathe
Maybe this route won’t be too bad.

Stop, pause
Ready, set- Go!
Lots to keep your
Interest on this new route.

Stop, pause
Let’s give it a try
Detours are so bad after all!

Never would have tried
Something new that
Became my new passion and
Answered my heart’s call!

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???????????????????????????????Image:  Lux by Caitlin Fennelly

The arts have run through my veins like life giving blood from the earliest time I can remember.  My grandmother danced me to sleep as a baby and I was surrounded by music, art, dance, writing and a mother and grandmother who knew the value of their mystical worth. That spiritually artistic environment helped me to create my own way of moving through the physical world, and although I did not completely realize the intrinsic connection to a path of magick, I saw beauty, energy and form in the places that most do not realize it. I believe the fabric of the human soul and consciousness is fed by the stream of artistic endeavors and creative actions that surround and permeate our every moment, whether consciously or at the subtle levels of our responses.  In retrospect, this belief and the foundation from which it was created has been the singular thread that has punctuated all of my life’s experiences both magickally and mundane.

I am a visual kinesthetic learner; meaning that I learn best when visually engaged and am able to act out or move in accord with what is being taught. Most magickal workers are visual kinesthetic in their basic learning style.  This mode of learning and processing is also the underpinning of most artistic experience.  The Arts stimulate the senses and open and awaken the neural pathways to respond in a more dynamic way. This stimulation in turn causes a tactile response; integrating and responding to the experience through the process of doing.  Add the visual component and you have the key ingredients of magickal practice.  Learning through doing and visualizing intent-fully what is sought to be brought into manifestation.

We hone these skills through access, albeit at times unconsciously to the themes of artistic expression that surrounds us daily.  The term “Circle of Art” gives some indication of the potency of artistic expression that is called upon when crafting the work of magick.  It is within this circle of continuum that we use sound, movement, dramatic intent and create the painting of vision of what we desire.

It is scientific fact that the brain responds in accord with the and signature of rhythm that is provided it.  If we look at this response using the definition of art it is clear why so many of these forms of creative beauty are used to access the deeper response of the soul and elevate conscious awareness to a place of inspiration.  Music is used as therapy to heal, calm and stimulate function because of this innate resonance of the neural pathways to specific electrical patterns.  Visual Art evokes emotion through use of color, tone and hue; again creating specific patterns of vibratory resonance and the geometric or non-linear method of structure produces its own set of stimuli for the brain to respond or react to.  Movement or Dance catches us in the wave of energy produced by the fluctuation, ebb and flow of carving out shapes within the fabric of space and the auditory response to the music accompanying this pattern of vibration creates a new set of rhythmic response.  Theater and Drama allow us to step into the roles of fantasy and myth, try on different personas or live through the experiences being portrayed giving us respite from the routine experience.

Dance:

My first magickal experience occurred as a dancer performing at the age of 10 or so.  I did not at the time realize I was setting up the gateway and intent for magick to move through me.  My only intent was to connect so fully and deeply that I would become the persona of the role I was portraying and lose my human nature in the process. The desire was to transcend human form and become something more.  The intent was powerful enough and the music and rhythm acted as the keys that opened the gates to the other realms through movement and motion.  I became the swan flying high above the earth. I was the beautiful being that was shot through the heart and gracefully fell to earth, wounded and in the throes of death.  A final arch and curve o beautiful elongated neck, breath of white feathery wing and the final lifting upwards towards eternal ascending flight as death welcomed me into its soft sleep.  The music stopped and I once again returned to the land of human and living; applause awaking me from this deep connection forged as the gates of magickal working closed until called forth again.

When we dance, we embrace the flow of energy as a kinesthetic quality.  We engage the breath inhaling the prana of life and exhale out offering up our consciousness to ecstasy and joy. This practice has been used since the dawn of humanity as devotion, celebration and more. The movement of the Whirling Dervishes is used as a tool of meditative connection.  The Dances of Universal Peace of the Sufi’s is used to set a tone and rhythm of gentle flow into the aethers; setting the cycle of cause and effect into motion. The classical dance of India, in particular the Kathak engages the art of storytelling.  Those artists who performed this style of sacred dance incorporate music and mime as they brought to life the myths and great sags of the Indian pantheons and sacred Texts.

Drama:

One of my first workshops was entitled: Ritual Drama. We began with discussion of how adding a dramatic (or theatrical) approach to the myths, celebrations and stories of the Sabbats.  These stories enacted were not only the vehicles for enlivening our own inner creative nature but served to draw out these same qualities within those who were witnessing these plays.   We enacted the celebration of Yule and the battle of the Holly and Oak kings.  Emphasis was on projecting the voice and calling up the energy of the role and story you were portraying from the center of the solar plexus and the throat chakra centers.  We had no costumes, just imagination and the desire to embody what was to be portrayed.  Each word, each gesture had its own meaning of significance and each imparted its own wisdom etched into the consciousness.

Music:

Music soothes the soul, quiets the mind and sets the listener in a space of tranquility and peace. Music unleashes the prime instinctual nature and rouses the passions, spirit and emotions of the listener to a place of alertness and action.  Music inspires what will become art or a piece f great writing.  Music links the atoms and cells of its vehicle in grace and fluid motion, or syncopated frenzy.  Music beats out the rhythm of the heart and carries the journeyer to realms hidden and remote holding treasures of deeper mystery.  Music carves its way through the energetic fields surrounding and like the ephemeral flutter of butterfly wings, lightly etches its feathery strokes;  forever changing all in its path.

Art:

One of my daughters is an artist.  Her work is inspired y the spiritual nature of humanity.  She is often lost in the work she produces as slender hand sketches, paints and adds life to what she creates.  The visual image is a powerful tool in magickal work.  We use statues, magickal tools, candles, amulets, altars and more to bring our intent into a place of manifestation.  We empower sigils and glyphs to hold the energy they have been created to embody and we garb ourselves in the dress and style of the magick we work as form of identification.  Underlying all of these actions is the universal principle of attraction and the resonation of like with like to produce a synthesized and cohesive newly created product.

When you read her artist’ statement below, you have a sense of what is the intent for the work to be viewed. The interesting thing about this is that this statement will vary as the artist finds new routes and methods of expression each having been formulated from the foundation of the other.

My work is centered on the relationship between the human body and his/her psychological environment. The paintings store an energy and imprint of the moments in which it was made, a physical manifestation of the urge to create. The images serve as a mirror for the psyche of the viewer. Art as a viewing and making process can raise awareness and restore the unconscious struggle for internal/external union. In understanding our inner components that give way to the whole of ourselves, the better we can empathize, accept, and co-exist with our fellow man… Caitlin Fennelly, M.F.A.

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Image: Bodhissatva by Caitlin Fennelly

Art can convey the line and flow of the alchemical elements.  Color and the vibration emitted from each create imprints upon minds and are translated into our emotional stores to be accessed on mundane and spiritual work.  We are surrounded by color in varied hue and tone and the simple act of walking into a room painted in one color versus another can stir the memories of associated emotions stored as response to that particular color’s vibration.  The painting below is one I used for the cover of my book, The Elemental Year.  I had asked my daughter to paint something evocative of the four elements that would conjure the necessary connections at a subtle level. This is the power of the visual arts and their subtle yet profound impact on the way in which you in turn visualize the world around you.  This is the magick of creation pouring from one vessel into the next and available to quench the thirst of all who desire its sweet nectar.

AT10zb97Sb7Vh0jaImage: Triad by Caitlin Fennelly

Literature:

The tactile sensation of typing or putting pen to paper transfers the energy of the writer to whatever is receiving his/her imprint.  We are often told to read between the lines and in magickal terms this is more accurate than may seem.  There is contained within each letter put upon the page, a holographic image of its creator   Within that writer are the points of cellular light that have flowed through every individual and all matter from the beginning of time and creation.  We are accessing the core essence of what was the intent at the first inception of its creation.  We not only connect to the writer but we connect to the pure essence of the origin of concept. These are some of the great mysteries spoken of.  Not simply the material we see, but what is “hidden in plain sight”.

The Arts reach into the depths of our being and extract the essence of our true beauty and creative potential.  And, once acknowledged forever change how we perceive our world and our place within it. 

Resource:

To view more of Caitlin’s art:  click here 

This is the beginning of a series of articles about each of the Arts and their application and effects on Magick and spiritual practice.

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“Zenith means the high point––it comes from astronomy, where it describes the highest point in an arc traveled by a star or a planet or another celestial body. The sun reaches its zenith when it is as high in the sky as it is going to go on that day.”

Reach higher
Stretch further
It is all within your grasp.

Look upward
Flow downward
The sun’s light
Spirals in to central core.

Crown opens
Sight awakens
Throat sings in pure joy.

Heart opens
Power awakens
Creation of life
Gently begins.

How I would define the Zenith of my personal growth.  Is it held in those moments when magick and the Divine work seamlessly and harmoniously with what my intent calls to?  Is it held in the quiet space of interaction with my Gods and Goddesses?  Is it found in the joy of revealing another mystery in the process of self-knowledge? Is it seen in the smile in return for the one I offer freely and widely?  Is it found in my continued striving toward honoring my Divine nature?

I believe all of these moments are points of an apex that continues to reach ever higher.  I believe the Zenith is found in all efforts that bring us closer to acknowledging our spiritual nature. And, I believe that what we call the zenith of our effort now is just the stepping stone towards the highest points we can reach in our journey back to the limitless All.

 

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Yearning

I wrote a post in April called “The Hunger”  about how spiritual hunger fuels your desire and aspirations towards spiritual growth. When we yearn for something, this feeling often begins as a hunger. This hunger soon becomes a need and the fires of will begin the process of catalyzing your intent.  When I think of the word yearning, an all consuming desire for something is what I imagine this feeling to be.  Hunger has now transformed itself into a deeper place of having experienced the satisfying of that hunger and now having experienced the state of fullness you are more aware of what it is to be filled by what your desire has attracted to itself.

Yearning comes from the depths of re-membering what quenched your thirst, filled your empty hunger and fed your soul.

What is it you yearn for in the deepest recesses of your being? 

Opening

We go through much of our lives feeling that we have to shut ourselves off in order to remain safe, secure and intact.  Even when we think we have loosened up a bit, there is still a certain amount of guarding that remains, much like the progressive relaxation exercises that still find the place where tension is held.  I attribute this largely to our conditioning.  As a child there are no guards set up and we are open to each and every experience that comes our way.  And at some point this natural state of being begins to grow its own filters as we take in the words, fears, concerns and mistrusting energies of those around us.

When we eventually come to a spiritual path and begin the work of transforming and growing, we find there is much “undoing” that is necessary in order to move forward successfully.  We find that we must loosen our filters and preconceived ideas that shut us down just as we near that precipice of true transformation. We are reminded to breathe into our workings and to allow the grace of Deity, God and Goddess to flow through us informing and enlivening our work. We sit in the space of meditation and expand our awareness allowing ourselves to gently re-open to the spaciousness of our inner landscape.

How do you allow yourself to open to the gifts of your own space of being?

Understanding

You’ve read all the books and done your homework, dotting all the “i”s and crossing all the “t”s.  You  consciously try to walk the walk and talk the talk. You think you understand who you really are.  You don’t!

You offer up devotions, offerings and service to your Gods and honor the monthly cycles of the moon. Carefully and tenderly you call out the names of your beloved Deities and in frustration and desperation you bellow forth calls for help. You think you understand what is needed to connect with the Divine. You haven’t!

You are filled with all manner of knowledge and have transformed it into deep wisdom as the milestones of your spiritual path and practice have been met and achieved. You stand in a place of service to humanity and love and honor, justice and mercy flow easily through all of your interactions.  You understand the meaning of the Great Work and would willingly step into the lace of sacrifice for the greater good of all. You know that you understand the work of this lifetime. You can’t even begin to understand!

Understanding is what remains when all that you think you knew is stripped away.

Understanding is born of experience and the sacrifice is that of surrendering your will to create your own vision to that of the Higher Will whose vision is already realized.

Understanding is standing naked and vulnerable and cloaked only in a trust and gnosis that is unable to be articulated for it is pure essence itself.

Understanding is the integration of all that you are, all that you were and all that you will be for it is all one in the same.

Understanding is a deep yearning that primes  us to reach towards the highest expression of the beauty of our humanity as we open to the awe of our Divinity.

May you be cloaked in the exquisite mantle of  Y.O.U.

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The post this week is going to be a brief foray into things that go bump in the night. Now when I talk about the night, this is a  metaphor for things we hold onto in our sub or unconscious mind that rear their nasty heads at the most inopportune times.  These are the demons that we carry with us; integrated, parasitic and reluctant to leave.  Now, when I say demons, I am not referring to those things we don’t like about ourselves or consider our shadow nature. I’m talking about those characteristics  within ourselves that are downright scary, hard to control and if left to their own devices would completely take over. When I say that your personal demons may be scary, I mean this in the sense of fear holding us back and overwhelming us in ways we become so accustomed to that they are transparent to us in their design and insidiousness.  These are the emotions and thoughts that torment (spooling in an endless loop) us and distract us from our true purpose.

By definition the word Vanquish means:

  1. to overcome in battle : subdue completely
  2. to gain mastery over (an emotion, passion, or temptation)

These definitions give some insight into the intensity of approach that is needed to completely and totally remove something negative and destructive from your life.  We hear of the reference to battling demons frequently when reading about an individual’s battle with addiction, disorders and disease.  These are not the natural state of being that we are inheritors of.  And, the torment, fear and pain that is felt is difficult to control. Their conquering  must take the form of mastery over the negative behaviors or cells at war with their physical form. However, gaining mastery is not enough.  There is a needed release and level of dominance that must be achieved to drive out the thoughts, emotions or damaged cells that hold you prisoner.

Take these analogies and now apply them to our spiritual practices and growth. For the most part, we are continually striving for return to the natural state of being that is our spiritual birthright.  We work and we strive towards control of our surroundings so we may craft the supports and foundations we need to grow.  We ward and shield and protect our lands, homes, loved ones and ourselves.  And, yet we still fall prey to the fear and false truths that are our inner demons.  As you move through your week, take some time to think more deeply on what holds you in a place of fear and torment that obscures an image of a healthy and whole individual.

What are those demons that hold you from fully embracing the truth of your own Divinity? Are they the stories you’ve been conditioned to retell and relive about yourself? Are they the excuses you cling to for not sitting in meditation, and showing up fully present for your personal spiritual work for the day?  Is fear holding you back from stepping into your own power?

Drive them away
Take action
Full speed ahead
And stay the course.

They hide and linger
Whilst all about you
None would guess
The heavy burden you carry.

Rise up to challenge
Release and disburse
Whatever holds you in
Its grip of fear.

Their form is not natural
And their intent is to
Lay to waste your
Yearning to step
Full and strong into
Your place of power.

Drive them away
Call each by its name
Vanquish the demons
That bind you and
Emerge whole and free.

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In most instances, if you are on a spiritual path that works with personal alchemy and the natural laws that govern its work and resultant product, you will come across seven basic principles. These seven are identified by many names, depending on the philosophy they are defining and have been reworded to adapt accordingly. Their fundamental properties outline the basic concepts that align with science with metaphysics and everything being driven by the natural order (or chaos) of our Universe.

I first came across these principles in a book called The Kybalion, whose authorship is simply stated as The Three Initiates. Who these initiates were has been the subject of much speculation and the publication of the material in 1912 by the Yogi Publication Society Masonic Temple has posed even further queries. Nonetheless, these seven tools are at the core of Western Hermetics and form the Universal Laws governing all magickal and alchemical working.

The Kybalion is subtitled a Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece, and is dedicated to Hermes Trimegistus and his teachings that were offered and upheld as staples in the training of initiates of hermetic studies.

“To Hermes Trismegistus
Known by the Ancient Egyptians as
“The Great Great” and “Master Of Masters”
This little volume of hermetic teaching is reverently dedicated”

The time honored concept that when the student is ready the teacher shall appear and the doors shall be opened is affirmed in Chapter One:

“Where fall the footsteps of the Master, the ears of those
ready for his Teaching open wide
and
“When the ears of the student are ready to hear, then cometh
the lips to fill them with Wisdom.”

So, in that spirit and assuming all are ready to broaden their perspectives or deepen what is already known, I’d like to share these principles with you, offer my understanding of them and hopefully whet your appetite to read more of this fascinating and essential book.

The Seven Principles of Hermeticism which form the Universal (Cosmic) Laws are:

The Principle of Mentalism
THE ALL is MIND; The Universe is Mental.

If we think in terms of consciousness and creation, the primal formless state of the Limitless All (or creator) is that of AM (existence). When observation and awareness is directed towards that AM, the I comes into being which stimulates the creation of something more than itself. This creative process begins with informed awareness, the mental aspect being the primary building block. Pure thought forms the concept which then can be acted upon by emotion and will. It is from this principle that the subsequent six emanate.

The Principle of Correspondence
As above, so below; as below, so above.

And in recent times the addition of “as within, so without”. The quintessential axiom that gives definition to the macrocosm and the microcosm being connected by similarities of dynamic and basic nature. It is this principle that inspires us to connect with our higher nature because of the reflection we see of it in the lower and physical realms. It is this principle that gives us pause to reflect on the impact we have at a larger scale based upon the inner workings of our own systems. To correspond is to affirm the “sameness” of a thing that will call to itself that of a similar nature.

The Principle of Vibration
Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.

This principle states that all of form is in a constant state of movement. Inertia is the non-movement vibration that is vibration of a sort, nonetheless. Resonating with similar patterns of vibration attunes us to the subtleties held in each increment of dynamic. Vibration produces sound. Sound permeates our worlds. And it is the vibration of a sound that we respond to physically, energetically and etherically. Our breath and the subtlest of our movements disrupts the waves of vibration surrounding us and sets into motion its own pattern of vibration.

The Principle of Polarity
Everything is Dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.

The Law of Polarity is the Universe filling what would be the void. It is the recognition of one state of being because of the acknowledgement of its polarized or opposite state of being. Each of these states being one in the same except for minute and un-observable differences which become more overt as the scale between each widens. Emptiness is the absence of fullness just as fullness is the absence of emptiness. They are both lacking in what the other has abundance of. Similar to the Principle of Correspondence (or resonance) like attracts un-like that is alike defined by the degree of its difference.

The Principle of Rhythm
Everything flows, out and in; everything has its tides; all things rise and fall; the pendulum-swing manifests in everything; the measure of the swing to the right is the measure of the swing to the left; rhythm compensates.

I see this as the companion to vibration and to some degree a subset of the Principle of Correspondence. Rhythm provides the container or boundaries (or the lacking there of) and vibration provides the quantifier or needed disruption to produce the resultant cyclical rhythm. Expansion requires a state of contraction (as the necessary point of tension) to enable it to expand anew. Either state if held too long, would result in over compensation of the other, causing a new cycle of rhythm to be established. Stillness or inertness is simply an illusion; which relates back to the connection to the Principle of Vibration once again. The illusion is that of non-movement, which although it may appear unable to be measured is a lower and longer wave of motion or rhythm that may not be perceptible unless we are in resonance with its rate of vibration.

The Principle of Cause and Effect
Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause; everything happens according to Law; Chance is but a name for Law not recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the Law.

For every action there is a reaction. This is a basic principle that we drill into our children so they will be responsible adults. There is no discrimination between good or bad, just simply response which becomes the cause that has an effect which becomes the cause, ad infinitum. This is the principle that causes us to hesitate, pause and think before we react so that we can respond instead. This is the premise that we are not insignificant in the larger scale of the Universe, be-cause if we did not exist the overall result of what we consider to be the Universe would not be the same definition we have of it because we are part of it. This is the principle that keeps us up at night trying to problem solve the best resolution to the difficult choice we must make. Each action creating a different chain of reactions in response to what issued forth catalyzing the cause.

The Principle of Gender
Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes.

Gender and polarity are often points of confusion. Although gender is an aspect of polarity it is a dynamic point of differentiation in its own right. Gender spans more than the physical dissimilarities that separate a man from a woman. It’s energetic principle is one of expansion and contraction moving in a rhythmic force of release and receipt.

On the Qabalistic Tree of Life the Pillar that provides Form is the Feminine Gender. This is the gender of receipt, contraction and boundary. The Pillar that provides Force is that of the Masculine. This is the gender of release, expansion and expulsion of formlessness. Both working rhythmically are the necessary actions for the eventual manifestation in Malkuth, the physical world. It is the container of the feminine egg that receives the insemination of the masculine sperm; the two quickening into the first stirrings of human life.

We don’t have to look too far to see these concepts running through every level of our existence. Recognizing them is just the first step. As we explore their deeper meanings, formulate our own definitions and begin to apply the dynamics of their energies, the magick and mysteries of our place in the mind of the All will begin to reveal itself affirming that we are co-creators in the Great Work.

Resource:

The Sacred Texts (on-Line)
The Kybalion
By The Three Initiates
The Yogi Publication Society Masonic Temple
Chicago, Illinois. 1912

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I am currently at the third week of a five part series I am teaching called Self-Possession.  I love teaching and as is always the case, I unravel my own complexities and truths around anything that I teach.  So, with this thought in mind, I wanted to write about the Truths and the Dares that arise in exploration of those aspects of our nature identified as Lower-Middle and Higher Self.

A few basics about the points of reference before the interesting part begins.  Most spiritual traditions acknowledge that we are more than the flesh, bone and other physical matter that our bodies are constructed from.  Depending on what that tradition’s beliefs may be there are three to five parts of definition of what constitutes our soul or life force. Broadly at a psychological/spiritual level these relate to:

The Lower Self- A primal or animal self driven by instinct, survival and compelling urge.

The Middle Self- A self formed by conditioned responses, thoughts and emotions that seeks to balance the individual needs and the collective and societal patterns of what you “should” want.

The Higher Self- A SELF guided by the interface and acknowledgement of Divinity as an immanent presence within and without their being.

The goal being to bring into alignment and communication these varied aspects of ourselves and creation of a whole and enlivened individual.  In seeking this integration there are many perceived truths that are firmly clung to as being the real and true nature of that aspect of being.  This line of cause then produces the reactant effect of challenging those truths and daring to recalculate, refocus and reassess the ideology and emotions that empower something that may be unworthy of holding on to.

I thought it would be a good exercise to excavate some of these things I believe to be true and challenge their validity.  Although, this could become the basis of some shadow work, that is not my intent for this exercise.  It is, however a way for me to identify those areas of instinct, emotion and mind that need reformatting to make them more useable in personal spiritual work.

Truths and Dares:

Lower Self: The Animal, primal and instinctual self. The Unconscious

Truth– I fear failure, so I wear the mask of composure and success, especially when I have failed.

Dare– Accepting that failure is the partner of success.  At some point and in some time failure will be the winner, and the lesson that emerges from that failure is what will ultimately become the success.  I dare you to inspect your feelings about failure and what mask you cloak them in.

Truth- I am at war with my physical nature and needs. So, I ignore what I want and suppress those urges that would remove me from a space of control.

Dare- Structure and order are part of the refining process. So is chaos and abandon.  These are the testing grounds of what makes us truly human. I dare you to surrender to a primal impulse and allow the natural flow to loosen the boundaries you limit yourself by.

Middle Self: The Conditioned self by culture, collective consciousness, values and society expectations;conformity. Conscious Awareness

Truth- I question that I am fully capable of what others believe to be true of me.  This stems from feelings of inadequacy and not truly believing that I am as smart and knowledgeable as I should be.

Dare- We are conditioned by society to behave and act a certain way.  We are groomed by our parents that successful people are this way or another. We, as a culture venerate the educated and the higher the degree the more we aspire to be and act as these repositories of great thought and deed characterize. The challenge is in realizing that each of us has their own unique set of gifts, expertise and knowledge.  The truth of the matter is that the energy and time I spend in self-deprecation is wasted energy and time.  When I belittle or undervalue myself I am no longer acknowledging the expansive and flexible nature of my real self. This form of contraction cuts off the flow and exchange of ideas and information that are the supports of being knowledgeable and sharing that knowledge. By seeking out what I don’t know, I will learn more.  By fulfilling my own expectations and giving the best that I can there is nothing more that I can do.  By looking to hone my strengths and and using them as the building blocks of what I truly feel needs deeper understanding and clarity I also build a healthier sense of what I know myself to be capable of.  I dare you to objectively evaluate your strengths and weaknesses.  I dare you to step into the power of those strengths and those weaknesses and lay claim to both as a way of stepping into your full potential with the correct tools of self-knowledge.

Higher SELF: Connection to the Limitless All, Divine Spark. Higher or Expanded Consciousness

Truth- I try to follow a path of Service, but often question if I am serving only myself and my ego or working in accord with my Higher SELF.

Dare- Sometimes the lines blur between what is ego and what is EGO.  When I use the small “e” for ego I am referring to those actions that are guided by self-interest purely for the sake of personal reward. The uppercase “E” is the Ego that acknowledges itself as having a higher spiritual nature and accepts the responsibilities and the joys of that place in the larger cosmos.  I am coming to learn that there is more ego is thinking that every spiritual act must be self-sacrificing, instead of affirming that each has its place in spiritual work and at times what begins as one form may actually be better served by the other.  I dare you to fully accept your place of Divine Kingship.

Truth- I choose to ignore my physical nature and am often only concerned with my spiritual nature.  I could easily become a “spiritual junkie”.

Dare- There is the constant reminder that this is a lifetime of physical corporeal form that keeps me in my body.  When I was younger I loved the feeling of moving, leaping and defying gravity as a classically trained dancer.  I was euphoric in losing myself in the music and becoming part of a vibrational stream having no shape or form other than what the music dictated and the story portrayed.  There was freedom to shed the mundane and become something more; something different.  This is the joy that I feel in spiritual work. This is the same losing of myself in meditation or ritual that reminds me that I am so much more than what the limitations of physical form allow.  And, this is my greatest challenge. Seeing this physical form as limiting.  There is a need for balance in all things and the lesson of this experience is in union of the manifest and the formless essence that is co-creator of the experience I have in this life’s journey.  Ignoring or giving more weight to one or the other is a form of avoidance and resistance, neither of which serve the purpose of spiritual growth. I dare you to find that sweet spot of realization of your spiritual nature using a physical vehicle for its expression and finding your place of balance (not, necessarily equibalance) in feeding both.

I invite you to put some of your own truths to the test and be daring enough to challenge the way in which they serve or hinder your personal growth.  At first glance it may seem like an easy enough thing to do since we all have the same rhetoric we return to as response when asked what we don’t like about ourselves or would like to change.  Abandon that planned response and dig a little deeper into those areas that are just below the surface, waiting for your recognition and assimilation into the process of self-discovery.

Blessings on the journey of a lifetime!

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