Take A Rest…

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If you have been following, you will have noticed that I’ve been doing a significant amount of shadow work lately.  It’s all things that I have been working on for a long time, and it seemed like all at once everything started fitting in place, helping me realize what I need to deal with.

So each day, on top of pushing through my daily mundane duties, I’ve given a lot of time to that shadow work, that self reflection and that necessary journeying and spell work.

And it’s been exhausting.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining.  This is stuff I’ve been trying to work through for a heck of a long time.  And seeing it finally moving is something I am quite happy about.  But now I feel like the Gods are giving me another order that I’m having an even harder time trying to obey.

It’s time to rest.

Wait…What?

I’m not done yet!  There is still a lot of ground to cover!  I’ve only figured out a small fraction of what I want to figure out!  There is a lot more for me to learn yet!  I don’t think I have things in a position to allow me to rest yet!  I’m afraid I’ll forget something, or pick that habit back up!  I haven’t made enough progress!

What is funny about all of this is that I get a lot of my pagan friends that laugh when they hear I’m working with Odin, The Medicine Pipe and Loki, and joke about all of the work and things that they are going to make me face.  And the thing is, I don’t understand the joke sometimes.  I want to face these things.  I want to go into the place that that I fear, because I know I will be a better person on the other side.  I want to fight those demons lurking in the darkness, because I will gain strength for doing so.

It’s the resting that I’m not so good at.

So for me, the joke is perhaps the opposite.

This weekend is my birthday weekend, and although it’s not a rounded number (that was last year)  I am going to do my best to get some rest in.  there will be 8 hours in the car, but there will also be an extra day off work.

Something tells me I’m not the only one to do this.  Something tells me someone else out there needs to rest more often than they do now.  So if I can do this, I expect those needing some rest to do it as well.

And I think I can do this.  Maybe.

 

Asking for Forgiveness

I reconnected with an old boyfriend on Facebook a couple weeks ago.  This is a guy I dated about 20 years ago.  Normally, I wouldn’t do that, but for this particular relationship, it meant something for me to reconnect to him.

Anyways, 20 years pass, and he goes his own way,  different than I expected him to take.  But it was his way, and that is all that matters.  Now, although he has had significant struggles, he’s much wiser, much stronger and more sure of himself than I have ever seen him to be.

He messaged me today to thank me for introducing him to paganism.  I said he was welcome, and then I apologized to him.

I apologized to him because I recognized that even though I was established in my local pagan community at the time, I was still very much a child and didn’t know what I was really doing on an emotional level.

I apologized to him because of things that I now know are hurts I was dealt as a child were things that were significantly clouding my judgement.

I apologized to him for any hurt that I caused him while we were together, because of my childish nature, and because I just didn’t know any better.

I am thankful for his response.  It was, “Forgiven, forgotten, friendship extends it’s hand once again.  We both had to grow a bit more.”

One down.  Maybe a significant number of people more to go.

I didn’t  recognize until about 14 years ago that my actions and reactions had anything to do with the fact that I had suffered abuses as a child, that I had not been fully safe and allowed to grow up, or that my view of the world was significantly skewed.  And I also didn’t recognize that the skewed views I had affected me from a spiritual perspective.

Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot about Wicca and was (and still am) pretty proud of what I had accomplished.  I still formed and ran my own coven for awhile, until I recognized that it was time for me to let it fly on its own.  I still helped to develop a pagan study group at a local college. And I still published a pagan article  here and there.  And I am proud of the work that I accomplished despite my emotional shortcomings.

I however, know there was collateral damage along the way.  I damaged friendships, I acted in ways that I didn’t fully understand.  And even though there was no malice, it caused hard feelings.

Looking back, I can’t even begin to start figuring out each and every individual action.  I can’t begin to understand who it was that I hurt, when I hurt them, how many people I hurt, or how many times.  But it is important for me to acknowledge what has been done.

I don’t believe that the actions and reactions from that time fully under my control, so while I did the action, much of it was not purposeful.  I was pretty damaged, and I fully admit that.  And today, I still have some more of that damage to heal from.  But as situations come up, like with my ex, I will do my best to understand, accept, apologize, heal and move on.

The Peeling of the Onion

onion_by_scheinbar.jpgAnyone who has ever cooked in their life has (most likely) peeled and cut an onion.  And if they are like me and don’t cook that much, they’ve peeled some pretty old onions.  You know the type I’m talking about.  It’s the, ‘It’s-my-time-to-make-dinner-and-oh-crap-the-only-onion-we-have-is growing’ type.  You don’t want to go run out to the store and buy new onions.  So you make due, and cut into it, and recognize very quickly that it is an onion..

a very STRONG SMELLING onion.  And there are lots of nasty bits in the onion.  But you peel back the layers anyway, eyes watering, feeling like you are going to sneeze any moment, and get out of it what you can.

This week, my spiritual work has been a lot like that onion.  It isn’t because I neglected it.  Nor did I forget about it.  But instead, being on the hot seat was key for me to find the damn onion in the first place.  And even then all it did was provide the road map to where the onion was at; it didn’t even present me the onion to start my work.

But once you have found it, I think the harder work begins.  What are the layers?  Are they had habits that you are recognizing are causing more harm than good?  Are they things you have to heal from?  Or in my case, are they realizations about your life that you have been trying to deal with for years, and are just now able to acknowledge with words?

Each issue is a layer of that onion.  For me, the layers sort of look like this –
– I was never allowed to have any opinions of my own growing up (Peel it back)
– I was forced to conform to the way my family thought and felt (peel…)
– I had roles I had to conform to – Mary’s daughter, Margaret’s granddaughter, A member of THE Christian extended family known well in the area I lived, the sisters who sing so well together…(peel, peel and more peeling…)
– I never felt safe having my own opinion (peel…)
– Because I never felt safe, I never learned to voice those opinions (peel…)
– At forty years old I’m finally learning what it feels like to put words together to say how I really feel (peel)..

Every one of those realizations pull more off of your own identity and who you think you really are.  Your fears are realized to the point where they can start falling away on their own.  Your roles are identified and cataloged in order to determine whether or not they are still needed.  You realize your shortcomings, and your strengths.

By the end, there is nothing left but you.  And you feel more naked than you have ever felt in your life.  You have no shields, nothing to protect you, and that thought is liberating and downright scary all at the same time.

I feel like in some ways I have nothing left.  I am broken down, only to be built back up.  That building back up process cannot come fast enough for me, but I know it is not going to be very fast at all.  I need to understand these layers.  I need to understand why they are there, to grieve and heal, to get angry and to fully let go of what it is I don’t need anymore.  But then comes the biggest fear – the fear of failing, not learning what you need and having to do this all over again.

I supposed in a way it’s my very own spring cleaning.   But where I would usually work like heck to get it over with, this time I am going at the speed of my Gods.

I’d say let the examination begin, but it already has.  I’d say hopefully I won’t cry at this onion this time, but that already happened as well.  And it was all meant to be that way.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that when you reach for your Gods and want their attention that it is an easy process.  They will accept your service, and they will pull you apart, layer by layer, in order to make you into a truer image of yourself.

If you chose this, I pray your onion doesn’t stink as much as mine.

Photo from deviant art

Being on the Hot Seat

A good friend came over yesterday.  He’s a Neolithic Shaman that has significant dealings with Odin, whom I also have sworn oaths to.  What is very interesting about this is that I knew of his dealings with Odin, but I wasn’t planning on getting his input about the workings I’m doing on my own; I wanted my workings with Odin to not be influenced by what others think.  I’ve had enough about that in the Native American work I do (if you don’t have the papers you are not Native, etc.) and I wanted the work with Odin to be my own.

Odin didn’t see it that way.  So before I realized what I was doing, I invited him over.  Yesterday he came for the visit, a bottle of home made mead was opened, and before I knew it, I’m sitting in the hot seat answering Odin’s questions through his ‘horsed’ servant.  (I think the husband enjoyed the encounter, because he ensured my friend’s glass continually stayed full of mead, which kept Odin around for quite awhile.)

The questions were uncomfortable.  The entire situation was uncomfortable.  I felt like a little kid answering questions for a test that I didn’t study for.  But I recognize that it was something I had to do.  And even after my friend left, the work was still not done for me, having promised to send prayers of smoke for another friend, and then journeying to finish the conversation with Odin.

I’m still not sure what or why the Gods are so focused on us humans, and I’ll probably never know the true reason why.  Perhaps here is something there that it seems to me we can express for them.  Perhaps it is just their infatuation with us because we are such volatile and inexplicable creatures whose moods and actions cannot be predicted.   But if we choose to become tools of the Gods, we have to be ready to go through and deal with our own shortcomings.  And that is painful.

I recognize this morning that my being on the ‘hot seat’ yesterday was such a trial.  For another blogger, going to see a doctor about her mental health and the repercussions of that for her life is a trial.  My husband found himself dealing with his own shadows that popped out of nowhere this morning.  Those almost derailed him from his mundane tasks, but he pushed through and is still moving forward.  But here again is another example of a trial.

Being on the ‘hot seat’ may not mean talking to a God for a couple hours on a Sunday.  When we choose to be active participants in our religion, everything we do and everything we go through is connected to our work with the Gods.   The type of religion or belief doesn’t matter.  All that matters is that we do our best to move forward in whatever situation we find ourselves in.  By doing so we prove to ourselves we are stronger than we think, and the Gods smile on us.  Even if we do not get the outcome that we expect, we are still moving forward in our evolution and doing what they wish of us.

Today, may everyone that needs strength receive it, and may we all recognize we are worthy and capable enough to go through the trials that have been set before us.

 

Thoughts for today

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As a lot of my posts start, John Beckett put up another post about polytheism, what it is, and what it isn’t.  And I finally chimed in on it through comments on Facebook.  I  basically spoke to the lack of empathy in the whole argument, and how perhaps that might be part of the problem.  (for those of you who are Facebook friends with him, I used my mundane name, Amy Brown, to post).

What response I got was actually positive.  Like I’ve said many times, and posted last week, my stance is a bit different.

Like I said in the post, it’s going to take many more minds than mine to come up with a solution.  However, things don’t have to agree to be beautiful.  I offer what I am listening to today at work, a symphonic suite called “The Prayer Cycle“for thought and to support this.

The symphonic suite was composed in 12 languages including Hebrew, Latin, Swahili and Urdu, French and many others.  Each movement in itself is a unified prayer that lifts beyond religion or spirituality.  It simply allows the listener to feel the prayer within their heart.

Perhaps you don’t agree with me, and that’s OK.  Then instead of showing what can be done even when things don’t agree, I offer this on this Monday morning to hopefully bring a little peace, hope and grace to your day.

Here is the You Tube link.  The album is available on iTunes and Amazon.

Spirituality and Chronic Illness

 

It was a very cold day in January when it happened.  I was sitting at my desk at work, trying to warm up from walking between buildings on my company’s campus when the full onset kicked in.  At first, I simply felt tingling on my arms, but within a matter of moments it felt like I had just been hit by a car.  Pain overtook every inch of my skin and started working its way down deeper into my body.  Every bone ached.  Every joint stiffened up.  The once comfortable office chair now felt like I was sitting on a bunch of spikes.  My clothes felt like sandpaper.

I was experiencing my first full fibromyalgia flare up.

Fibromyalgia is a disease where the sufferer experiences chronic pain.  The pain can be excruciating at times, like I found out on that cold January morning.  But it can also be intermittent.  It is a very rare day when a fibromyalgia sufferer doesn’t feel some sort of chronic pain.  And many of them also suffer from other chronic illnesses, like chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and numerous other issues.

Millions of people suffer from chronic illnesses like I do.  And like me, I am absolutely certain that many tears have been shed over the years about why this is happening to them, why no one understands their pain, and worst of all, why no one can diagnose or properly treat them.

Since that January morning, I have learned a lot about why this has happened to me, and what I could do to help myself feel better.  I am thankful for the resources out there and for the people I have reached out to for more information.  But I still believe that there is one facet of support that is sorely lacking for indiciduals with chronic illnesses, and that is spiritual support.  I don’t think it’s for lack of trying, there are plenty of spiritual leaders out there that are willing to do what they can to soothe the suffering of those dealing with issues like mine.  However, they will never fully understand the pain.  They will never fully understand the fatigue, the mental stress and the hundreds of other symptoms that people with chronic illness have to fight every day.

For those of us following pagan or alternative spiritual paths, there is even less information out there.  And the information and tools that are out there don’t really help.  In fact, many of those tools can cause more pain and suffering.

For example, there are times that even the the simplest energy work hurts.   These are times when even the well wishes of others double the pain you feel.  You know they mean well, but the healing energy they send feels like a sandstorm against and inside your body.  They don’t understand that those of us with these types of illnesses have enough energy from nerves going haywire as it is.  To send additional energy at that time is like adding fuel to the blazing fire that is a flare up.

Another example is the total body wellness model in spirituality.  Many books, health gurus and even doctors talk about how an illness starts as negative energy in your aura.  Left alone, this negativity goes deep into your chakras and causes disease (usually spelled out as ‘dis-ease’).  While this view has some merit, most people with chronic illness will go through a period where they start to blame themselves for getting sick.   This couldn’t be further from the truth.  However, when you are in the middle of a flare up of fatigue or pain, you can’t think straight.  That’s when the thought that you have done this to yourself grows to the point that your self worth diminishes, you start to take care of yourself less and less, and the disease gets worse.  This horrible cycle continues until you can either find the courage to stop it or until the disease gets so out of control you end up disabled and bedridden.

I highly doubt I am the only pagan living with diseases like fibromyalgia.  And I also don’t think that I am alone in using energy work, spells, meditation and journeying to help fight this disease.  These things are just more tools in the arsenal, and if you are like me, you want as many tools as you can get.

In the coming weeks I want to explore this topic further.  I have been using energy work on myself to alleviate the symptoms of my own chronic illness, and I believe that these tools can be used by others for the same benefit.  And while I believe these tools won’t fully heal these illnesses, they can make life better for many people.

I will be putting out posts about this as often as I can.  First however, I must put how I am doing some of these things into words to the point that they are understandable.  When I first got the idea for this series of blog posts I must admit that so many ideas and thoughts were coming to me that it was hard to write everything down.  I truly hope that these ideas will help to make others lives better.  And even if it just helps one other person, I will be very happy.

For now, if you are fighting what feels like a loosing battle with any chronic illness, please remember that you are not alone.  Recognize the fact that you are a powerful and strong person that deals with more on a daily basis than many people will ever realize.  That fact means you are stronger than you give yourself credit for.  We are in this together, and we can see this fight through.

Photo from Deviant Art

Finding Pagan Music

One of the things that I have noticed over the years is that Pagan music seems to be hard to find.  However, there are many artists out there whose music has pagan overtones, and with ITunes, Amazon’s music service and many other music services out there, new and old music is finding its way back into rituals, prayer work, and just to listen to when you need some extra energy.

Here is a list of artists you might not have heard of, or perhaps had never thought about  in a pagan light before.

 

Serpentine (Serpentine Arborvitae) – Rock the Goddess

I found this album in the late 90’s.  The song “Rock the Goddess” was I think her best work.  I have also found many of the other songs on the album to be compelling, although they have a significantly different feel to them.  Her music is what I put on when I want to feel inspired and powerful.  .

I was happy to find out that this was only one of the many albums produced by Serpentine.  Many more songs are available on ITunes.  I’m still finding new gems for my collection as I go through them.

 

Gypsy – Enchantress

This album is much older.  I remember listening to it in 1992-3.  I had it on cassette back then, but in 2001 it was put onto ITunes.  I think this album has a solid place in pagan music, just for the fact that it was groundbreaking – no one had published anything like it before.  Gypsy’s music is soothing, but I find I can only listen to it so long.  Then it goes away in my collection to be pulled out another time.

 

Emerald Rose

This is a traditional Celtic group that has written a lot of pagan themed music.  One of my favorites is ‘Never Underestimate (A woman with the Goddess in her Eyes)’.  I love their music around this time of the year – it feels like their music just screams springtime and growth.

 

Inkubus Sukkubus

While I love Emerald Rose in the spring, I ADORE listening to Inkubus Sukkubus in the fall.  Their songs scream Pagan, Magick, Power and all things Gothic.  This is the type of music that I use when I’m having just too much mundanity in a day.  There have been many times that I would get in my Jeep and just blast this music for a bit of a ‘change in the scenery’ so to speak.  They have many albums with many different and hauntingly beautiful songs on them, and I think there is something for everyone here.

 

Todd Alan

This is another singer that I think has a significant place in Pagan music.  I still on occasion listen to some of his music, and every time I do, I feel the power in his words.  That is one thing that Todd is very good at doing – his songs engage you in a way that fills your spirit with song.

 

Type O Negative – October Rust

This was my favorite album from this band, and the one that started getting them some big attention in the rock music scene.  It’s actually a lot softer than their other albums, and contains two songs with significant pagan influence – ‘Be my Druidess’, which is about the Great Rite in Wiccan Tradition, and ‘Green Man’.  Unfortunately this is a band that burned out pretty quickly for many reasons, the biggest of which being Peter Steele, the Band’s lead singer and bass player, died of a heart attack six years ago.

 

Halestorm – Into the Wild Life

I just started getting into this group.  The first song I heard of theirs was ‘I am the Fire’ off their new album ‘Into the Wild Life’.  As I was already working with Loki significantly when I heard it, it’s no wonder this song grabbed me.  Since then I’ve explored more of their new album and found songs full of empowerment.  These are what I listen to when I’m on a run and don’t think I can give anymore – I let the energy of the music just flow into me and it always helps to carry me over the finish line.  I also find that one of Halestorm’s songs pop up when I’m just feeling down, depressed about something, or are just getting too fixated on a mundane issue in my life.  It’s sorta like Loki is poking at me saying ‘hey, there is more to life than this’, and I sincerely appreciate the poke.

 

Disturbed – Immortalized

This is another recent album.  And while the band doesn’t have directly pagan undertones in their music (well, they might on older albums, I just became aware of this band recently), I have found Songs like ‘The Light’ and ‘The Vengeful One’ and ‘The Brave and the Bold’ off of their album Immortalized fit a pagan tone quite nicely.  Again, these are songs I listen to for empowerment, something I don’t think we get enough of in this day and age.

Another note about this album, the song ‘Who Taught You How to Hate’ seems to fit in with the current US Presidential race very well.

 

For Ritual music, I am a fan of R. Carlos Nakai’s gorgeous flute music.  I also have songs by artists Gandalf, Deuter, George Winston and David Lanz in my ritual playlist.  These I find work well for meditation too.

Finally, I highly recommend an album called “The Prayer Cycle” by Jonathan Elias.  This is a nine part choral symphony in 12 languages.  Each movement in itself is a prayer that is powerful, strong and yet beautifully delicate in its composition.  There have been many times the album has moved me to tears with its beauty and intricacy.  If ever you feel you have lost hope, this gorgeous symphony might help to bring that back to you.

So that’s what I’m listening to right now.  I’m certain there is much more out there.  I’d love to hear what other music people are listening to as well.

Po-TAA-to, Po-tot-o… Is it time to stop caring about it yet?

I am beginning to think that there are many more pagan bloggers out there that are writing for the shock value than they are for the actual content.  Perhaps some of them are trying to make a splash in some form or fashion in order to get their voices heard, or perhaps some of them are just trying to put their own stamp on the shaping of any piece of the pagan community for the next generation.  No matter what they think they are doing, it seems the only result is in more arguments.

There are a couple posts out this week that have people up in arms.  I’m not going to even post them here, personally, I don’t think they deserve any more airtime.  In general I will say one of them talked about how certain God(s) of the Norse Pantheon don’t exist, and another one talked about how loyalty to one’s country is dead.  And there were a few others.  The only thing these posts did was to further solidify in my mind that all of these labels that we talk about in the pagan community are dividing us more than they are doing anything else.

So in response:

I believe in many different Gods.  I believe they exist differently to different people. They could be considered constructs of people’s imagination, but they also could be individual entities that exist on their own.  Or, they could be one source deity that decides to appear differently to others.

Overall does it really matter, so long as they provide comfort to people in some form or fashion, or  help people feel like they belong to something?   

I believe everything around us has it’s own energy.  That energy could be an existing entity or  spirit, or that energy could even be just from the mitochondria in each living cell.  And when that thing is deconstructed and made into something else, some of the energy stays with it, and thus the new thing has it’s own energy.

Does whether or not I’m an animist really matter if it works for me?

I believe that the historical texts of any religion are a great tool to start out with when you are trying to learn the morals of any one religion, but other than providing that starting point, perhaps they should not all be looked at as deeply as they are right now.  Too many people use them for crutches in their faith instead of looking within, and they are getting too caught up in the semantics.  Instead, perhaps simple conversations about what they feel is right and wrong is without someone pulling out a book might bring about more understanding than trying to figure it out from words written by humans with flaws.

Does that make me less of a religious person?

The answers to these questions are NO!  This stuff doesn’t really matter, and no it doesn’t make me any less religious!  And no one has a right to judge whether or not I am religious enough, if I follow too much UPG or if I’m too reconstructionist, or put any other label on me.  Period.

I have a right to my own beliefs, I have a right to express my beliefs, and I have a right to be heard.  I also have the responsibility to understand where someone else is coming from, and respectfully disagree when I disagree.  However, in this case, respectfully disagreeing is just going to mean I stop getting roped into the crap.  I don’t deserve to get angry when someone else tries to discredit others opinions on their blog.

No, I’m not taking the sensationalist, dramatic road here.  I’m taking the road that isn’t popular.  But perhaps if more people took the unpopular road we would have less discord in pagan communities.  This sensationalism and drama is only furthering anger, hurt and division.  And I for one am very tired of seeing it.

 

 

Being Authentic and Healing the Spirit

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I realized when I was replying to comments on my last post that I was getting into a need to express something deeper.  In fact, many of my posts have to me been hinting at this deeper belief now that I realize what it is I am talking about.  It just took me this long to get the clue-by-four.

When I talk about how we need to have a foot in both worlds, hearing words about the personal flame, reclaiming my ancestry, or talking about the issues with the Pagan community, what I am superficially saying is that we need to be more authentic to our own spirits.

Let me explain by speaking about my own history.

I, like most of the people on the planet, have suffered from bullying, abuse, and hurt in my lifetime.  And also like most of the people on the planet, a lot of this abuse happened in my childhood, which is a very important time in anyone’s life.  It is what we learn in childhood that molds and shapes our values, beliefs and thinking.  And while there is a great deal on what happens physically and mentally when abuse happens to us, there isn’t a lot of literature on what happens to us spiritually.  But I believe that something does happen to us spiritually, and it is just as important to deal with that spiritual hurt as well as it is to deal with the emotional, mental and physical hurt.

In the book “The Mist Filled Path” by Frank MacEowen, Mr. MacEowen talks about soul shards; pieces of the soul that are separated and left in areas that cannot be further harmed.  This happens in response to trauma that the body is feeling.  The more trauma, the more shards are made, the less you feel like yourself and the less mental and emotional strength you have to be true to who it is you are meant to be.  It’s a precarious issue I think, and one of the underlying issues that can cause problems in other aspects of your life.

Our current medical profession speaks to healing the physical hurts of trauma, and the mental health profession speaks to the mental and emotional, but we really don’t have anything that speaks to heal the soul.  This means that the soul shards are left behind and permanently separated from us.  Further, we don’t even realize we are still suffering from those traumas because the profession tells us “we are well”, even though we still feel a deep longing, or feel incomplete.

Because there is no established healing mechanism in place to retrieve those shards of the soul, those thirsting to be healed started to receive ideas to do it their own way.  And as the ideas started to merge with snippets of wisdom that came from different shaman beliefs, with doctors and intuitives that recognized that something else was going on, and thus the New Age movement was born.

I already know I am losing some of you here.  But think about it –  Louise Hay, Deepak Chopra, Caroline Myss, heck even Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Dyer all have talked about needing to spiritually heal from trauma at some point.  In fact, many of them have written books about it that blend snippets of ancient wisdom in with modern practices to do just that.  They may not explicitly use the term soul shard, but much of what they speak about has the same benefit.

However, in the more rigid Pagan community, most pagans are scared to attempt something regarding soul retrieval.   They are afraid of not having enough strength, or the fact that there isn’t a  traditional holy person/shaman/healer in the area that can help them do what they believe is dangerous work.  I’m not going to argue that if you don’t know what you are doing when it comes to magic that you aren’t going to get bitten. Often novice magic users get into situations where they try to dive in too deeply and end up causing more trauma to themselves.  However, I don’t see this happening very much in the new age community, at least when you do your best to follow what it is that some of the leading voices of the community talk about.

In my opinion, this is where  we as a pagan community can learn.  I believe that soul retrieval is much more possible than some are lead to believe.  Of course there is work involved; soul retrieval also includes a great deal of physical and mental work.  And for severely traumatic situations, a counselor is of great benefit, but it is possible. It also means however, that we need to utilize more modern techniques, as some of this work may not be available in a re-constructionist sense.  This is another issue the Pagan community as a whole needs to think about.

So what does the work of soul retrieval have to do with being more authentic?

When someone does the work of retrieving a piece of the soul, something wonderful happens.  Your beliefs start to change, you become more settled within your body, and your energy frequently starts to change.  All of these changes within yourself are then reflected in your environment.  You might change the friends you have, leave a romantic relationship, find a romantic relationship or even lose weight.  I have also seen physical and financial opportunities open up thanks to soul retrieval work.  Simply put, by retrieving the piece of soul that was missing, you are becoming more authentic by putting yourself on a path of growth and becoming more of the individual that you were meant to be in this lifetime.

If this sounds too much like someone who has taken too many new age philosophy classes and is on something, I understand.  I think I am one of the few pagans who look in many different areas of religion and philosophy for tools and tips (I know some people think I have fully lost my marbles when I bring Oprah’s name up!).  But in almost every culture there is a myth of death and rebirth, and the rebirth tends to be a transformation.  This death/rebirth fits directly into soul retrieval, the death being the loss, and the rebirth being the soul made more hole.

Gong further, perhaps some of the reason we see so much conflict in paganism today is because too many people are carrying their spiritual scars from lost pieces of soul that are left over from their stint with organized religions.  Perhaps some of the reason we cannot walk with ‘a foot in both worlds’ is also because of how we have learned to protect ourselves from further hurt and soul splitting by being afraid to succeed.  And perhaps we do not fully accept our ancestry because of the deep rooted pain that still exists from years of our ancestors not being able to fully heal their soul before they cross over.

I don’t have the black and white answers here, but I feel like I am onto something.  I have seen this truth in my own spiritual work and how I have transformed myself over the years.  I have also seen remarkable things happen when someone takes the first step in soul retrieval.  The transformation is unlike anything you have ever seen-you literally are reborn in the process.

Of course, being human, we will never be finished with this work.  I find myself doing the work again over and over, sometimes the same lesson, sometimes large lessons, and sometimes small ones.  I like to think that I know how to heal now from trauma, but then things throw me for a loop and I find I am back to square one again.  But that is what is meant to happen.  We wouldn’t be on this Earth if we didn’t have lessons to learn.  And perhaps one of the tools to learn those lessons includes becoming more authentic by healing the soul.

 

Photo from Deviant Art