New Age Bashing

Several weeks ago, an article entitled “New Age Bullshit Part 1” popped up in “A Parliament of Owls – Spiritual & Metaphysical Chat for Wandering Owl Fans” discussion group on Facebook. Since then, It’s been on my mind quite a bit.  It’s been on my mind because I agree with some of the author’s points, but I also very much disagree about his stance on the new age movement.

In the article, the author speaks immediately about the jargon people in the new age movement use. (He calls them ‘lightworkers’ in the article).  Specifically, he speaks to how most lightworkers only talk about love and light, Further down in the article he speaks to how some of these people refuse to even consider the darker sides of the soul, speaking to how most lightworkers believe that if they don’t give any energy to that side of them, the dark side can’t hurt them, or basically, it won’t exist.   This is where I do agree with him.  Yes, there are people out there that have been in the new age movement for quite some time and don’t think about anything but ‘the light’ and preach how staying in ‘the light’ allows this and that and allows you to develop <insert touchy-feely statement here>.

I further agree with the author that many of these lightworkers are stuck in their own personal development because they only focus on the light.  But just like the minority of any religious or spiritual discipline that ruin it for the rest of the population, the same thing has happened in the new age movement, and these lightworkers he speaks of are the culprits.  Yes, we are going to get the people that are that are stuck but they claim they are not.  We are also going to get the people in the New Age movement that specifically speak to only certain practices are ‘true’ and only using certain tools are ‘right’ and so on and so forth.  And we should deal with them like we do when we find them in any other aspect under this great big umbrella called paganism:  We need to ignore them and continue our path.  Because if the lightworkers are true to form, anything we say to them is only going to get us angrier.

The author basically leaves his article there, which makes it feel more like a rant to me than being anything informative.  (In all fairness, he did say this was part one, but I could not find anywhere where he had a part two.)  Again, I see his point and can understand why he would rant.  People like the lightworkers he describes can be very frustrating to deal with.  But there are other facets to the new age movement he doesn’t even consider covering in his article, and that’s a shame.

As most of you already know, I do intuitive tarot readings.  Many of the clients that come in to see me for readings are searchers.  Some of these people are clearly out of their comfort zone, they come to me even though they have no idea how a reading works or what to ask.  Some don’t even know how a tarot deck works.  Still, they come because they are searching for something that they cannot name.  Still others come speaking of ‘talents’ or ‘gifts’ their recent ancestors had; and their visit to me is them grasping at straws trying to connect with that talent that might be innate in themselves.

In these cases, I do my best to be the gracious host of the metaphysical realms.  I speak to them and give them ideas on reaching out to their ancestors; or other ways they can start ‘testing’ the waters so to speak.  But I don’t give them too much.  Going straight into how to cast a circle, gathering spell components for a spell or talking about some of the more specific areas of the metaphysical realms are just too much for these clients.

So in short, I give them what some people would call New Age practices to start with.

If you look at some of the practices of the new age belief you will see immediately that they are very basic.  They are easy to comprehend and they can be communicated and understood in a very short period of time.  That makes them the perfect building block for me to present to my clients so they can start building their own foundations for metaphysical practice.  Also, the so called ‘light’ exercises are perfect to help teach protection and grounding; which most newbies desperately need.

The practices I speak about aren’t any that need deep oversight.  I’m also not designating myself as their ‘teacher’ by giving them suggested practices, nor do I say they MUST do them.  I simply suggest them and allow the client to make up their own mind as to whether or not the practice is right for them.  And if they choose to go deeper and want more information, then I can suggest a specific person from the list of people I have that I know to be very reputable and that can give them further information about a specific subject.

Another reason I start with new age practices is because of the terminology of the movement is so common.  Reaching for a common language to communicate to someone is the same thing I do in my day job.  As a technical writer, I constantly have to think about my audience; Is my writing going to someone with technical knowledge so I can let lose more technical terms, or is the audience a group who doesn’t know the difference between Kaizen and a Kanban?

In order to communicate anything, we must first make certain we have a common language.  New age terminology easily bridges that gap.  It also allows me to bypass terms that might scare my clients.  Sure there are things that I still must explain in more detail, but overall I have a common language that I can use to start connecting with my client and help them work through whatever problem they have come to me to get more information on.

The people that come to see me and people like them are some of the biggest reasons why the new age movement is still thriving.  These are people who could be just becoming aware of the energies within and around them and have no idea how to work with that energy.  They might be scared shitless of something they saw, felt or heard and have no idea what to do about it.  Or they are like me when I found new age practices – they are the people that feel deep in their heart and soul that something is missing, and are reaching for the piece of them they cannot define.

I am a Reiki Master, and that, to many people, is a new age practice.  Yet it was my training in Reiki that ultimately led to my being able to control my intuitive gifts and become the adept reader I am today.  It also led to me being able to use healing abilities and helped to teach me not to send out my own energy and deplete my own personal energy sources.  Reiki became my teacher in other ways too.  It was what I reached for as protection when I started doing my own deeper journey work and it has helped deepen my understanding of the Gods as I know them now.  In fact, Reiki still is a very important piece of my spiritual discipline.

When I found Reiki, it was the only thing that I could find in the pagan community that made any sense regarding my healing and intuitive abilities.  I was already pagan; I’d been practicing rituals at that point for roughly 10ish years and no matter how much I searched, I could find no one who could help me with my intuitive and healing gifts.  Reiki was the only thing that helped me understand what I was doing wrong in my practice, and it was the only thing that helped me correct my mistakes properly.

Now had this article been written back then, and had I seen it prior to my decision to be attuned to a new age thing such as Reiki, perhaps I would have reconsidered my decision to become attuned.  And I would not be following the wonderful soul fulfilling path that I currently follow.  I would not be the strong person that I am today.  I would not be devoted to Loki and Odin. I would not be a member of OBOD.  And I would not be a keeper of the Sacred Pipe of my ancestors.  That’s one reason why I’m a bit upset about this article; who is going to read it and step away from possibly the very start of a very fulfilling spiritual path because of what others think about the practices they do?

The whole ‘new age bashing’ in articles like this one also makes me wonder if there is a deeper reason why it happens.  Was there a time where we, in our newbie ignorance, were like those lightworkers perhaps?  Did we condemn practices that weren’t exactly like our own? Or, are we condemning new age practices that are so simple that we in our current knowledge base would now assume that ‘ANY’ newbie should automatically know them as common sense?

Or are we embarrassed at our own beginnings, and that is why the new age movement gets the brunt of the bashing, much like pagan publishers that publish lots of beginner books like Llewellyn publishing (or bash the so called ‘Llewellyn babies’ who read said books), authors that write lots of beginning practice books (Silver RavenWolf) or why books that we once held in high esteem get joked about (Uncle Bucky’s Big Blue anyone?).

Perhaps that is the crux of it.  We all DO have to start somewhere.  Let’s stop bashing those starting points.  And while we are at it, let’s not worry about the lightworkers or other people that choose to stay stuck and help the ones who truly want to reach deeper.  Let’s help them realize that the tools they received and the skills that they learned in the new age movement can help them learn that there is much more to these paths than what they know.  And in the meantime, let’s recognize the new age movement as the stepping block that it can be into a much bigger world.

 

Photo from Deviant Art

Speechless

It’s been almost a month since my last post, and almost two months since the world turned upside down here in the United States.

Since then, so many things have gone through  my mind; things I want to write about, things I need to figure out on my own, things I’d love to get other opinions on.

It isn’t because I haven’t TRIED to write, it’s just that the words right now aren’t coming. And I think there is a reason for that.  I don’t think that the changes that we have seen so far in the world are finished.  And this especially goes for myself.

In the next week, I want to do a reading for 2017 and present it here.  The more information we can get about what we are facing this next year I think the better.  For me and may others, 2016 was the year of work; the year of action.  Something tells me that 2017 is going to be the year of facing that which we have hidden; the year of the cleaning out the proverbial skeletons in the closet.  All 2016 did was get us ready for what we must face in 2017.

But that is only speculation at this point.

So I know what my next post will be, we will see if I’m still speechless after that, or if I finally find words to speak about that which I need to get out.

Everyone have a wonderful and safe holiday.

2016:  A Year of Work

This past weekend I kept some walk in hours at my local pagan shop giving Intuitive readings.  It was a busy day, and I found many of the readings I gave were very intense.  Intense readings meant my clients were getting some good information.  However, throughout the day I noticed that there was an underlying theme of the readings.  The theme was that this year is going to be a year of getting things done.  I am not talking things coming into fruition, I am talking that this is the year of getting your hands dirty – of learning new skills, changing habits and of learning to step out of the comfort of what we know and move into the unknown.

Usually when I get an underlying theme like this, it isn’t just coincidence.  Instead, it is a message for anyone willing to heed it.  Right now is a time for work,  And for all of the work that is put into this current cycle there will be many benefits and rewards that will make all of the effort worth it.

Of course work is hard.  But there are ways to make it easier.  Approaching it with a positive attitude goes a long way toward making work easier.  Not overdoing the load and giving yourself time to get comfortable with new patterns is another thing.

In my own personal life I have already started to see rewards manifest from the work I have put into this year.  I feel better, more connected to the spirits around me and am all around happier in my life.  I feel more like myself than I have in a long time; like I am welcoming an old friend back that I have not seen in many years.   I don’t know if these feelings will continue as I work, but I am thankful for them now.

My plan is to work on different things each month,  this month it is getting a habit of regular offerings to my ancestors and to the Gods and Goddesses that I currently am working with.  I am not certain what next month’s goals will bring.  Perhaps I may start writing more detailed posts about my magical work,  I don’t know.

But for now, I recognize I am doing my work and I am very happy about it.

Moving Forward, maybe.


The next few weeks are going to see some big changes.  I can already feel the energy starting to build.  Normally, I am not one for making New Year resolutions, but I think this year I might.  If there is already energy building, why not take advantage of it?

That is, if I can figure out how.

Above is the reading I decided to do to try to get some idea of where and how to do some changes.  I did it with my most relaxed deck, the Paulina Tarot (US Game Systems, author Paulina Cassidy).  I just wanted a snapshot, so I used a Celtic Coss spread.  The cards are as follows:

  1. Eight of swords, usually the significator position.  I don’t use the significator much because I feel this position talks to the energy of the client at this very moment.  All I got out of this card is that I am stuck, not by my own choosing, but at the same time it is.  What’s funny is that I am reminded of Skye/Daisy’s transformation on Agents of Shield.  The organic growth that this card is showing the woman stuck in.  Perhaps that is the transformation starting?
  2. Crossing me, the Hermit.  I am bidding on a position at work that would put me into a position of sort of a consultant.  There is only one person for an entire side of our development process, and that would be this role.  So I see work and the bid is crossing me right now.
  3. The past, the Tower.  I feel like this goes back two years, when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  My whole life came crashing down.  But perhaps that was part of this entire plan.
  4. The future, six of wands.  To be honest, I have no idea what to make of this card being there.  Ideas taking flight, images of plans moving forward? I don’t know.
  5. My fears, the seven of pentacles reversed.  I don’t normally read reversed, but this time it feels like I should.  I have done a significant amount of work to get me where I am, and I am afraid of it all wilting quickly.
  6. My hopes and dreams, three of swords.  This one I have no idea again.  It showed up reversed, but it doesn’t feel right.
  7. How others see me, Queen of Wands.  This is a big thing, as my normal identified significator is the Queen of Pentacles.  Perhaps this is a sign of a significant change in my identity?
  8. How I see myself, four of swords.  This is definitely different than the Queen in the previous card.  Perhaps I still have self image and perception work to do.
  9. Environment, six of swords.  Again, I have no idea what to make of this card.
  10. Final outcome, Death.  Well, I guess no matter what is going on and what changes are going to be coming, they are inevitable.

This reading bugs me.  First, because I can read cards so much better than this, and second, because I hate not knowing where it is I am moving toward.  I like plans, I like processes that are spelled out.  I don’t like  unknowns.  But perhaps that is what I am supposed to get used to, the unknown.  How do you prepare for that?  I know that is the point, you don’t prepare, but how do you prepare for that again?

Can’t tell I am a Taurus, can you?

The Ethics of Divination

IMG_0039-0When someone asks me for an intuitive or tarot reading, I feel honored.  Someone is asking for me to give them insight into their life, and that is serious business.  Even the ones that come in for the fun of it realize that divination can bring good insight and information.  Therefore it is my job (and my honor) to give them the most accurate reading I can.

When I first started giving readings roughly 20 years ago, there weren’t many people that had a set of ethical guidelines that they followed.  But over the years I realized one was necessary, so I came up with my own set of guidelines that I follow for each and every reading.  I take this stuff very seriously, and I hope other readers do the same.

  1. Readings shall be confidential
    A lot of the readings I have done over the years involved very personal circumstances.  While the reading itself may not pick out specifics, the client many times will volunteer further information when they realize what it is I am talking about. Once the client starts to recognize the reader understands the situation, they relax.  Many times, that means the lines of “reader/client” relationships starts to blur into to one where two friends are discussing a problem.  In those cases, we become trusted advisers and counselors.  It is for this very reason that I keep all readings confidential.This is also why I try to speak in a lower tone while doing readings in public.  It may mean that I have to respectfully ask another potential client to wait deeper in the store or somewhere away from the area I am reading.  It also means I have to respectfully bypass any questions by anyone else other than the client.  In those cases, keeping business cards available or asking a friend to keep your appointments during public reading sessions is a good idea.    Any prospective clients eyeing you will recognize the level of professionalism you bring to your work, and that you truly care about your clients.One disclaimer here – Should the client openly speak about committing actions that are clearly against the law, the reader should report these actions to the authorities.  In most states, rules of confidentially only apply to licensed clergy, doctor/patient privilege, spousal privilege and attorney/client privilege.  Should the reader keep serious crimes they are aware of their clients committing (or considering committing) to themselves, it could be considered bad karma, and in rare cases, the reader could be subject to prosecution.  For those of us with legal clergy licenses, it is something that you also could be bound to do, depending on the oaths you took regarding your specific clergy designation.

 

  1. Readings shall not be biased
    In smaller communities it is very common to read the same person multiple times. It might be hard, but it is very important to go into readings with repeat clients in a non-biased manner.  If the reader comes into the reading remembering the previous month’s reading with the client, they may miss something new and important that is happening now.  Circumstances change frequently and unless the reader is aware of every moment of the client’s life between readings, it is very hard to connect one reading with another.In smaller communities it is also easy to overhear gossip about other people.  We are human, and whether or not we participate in that gossip, having it in the back of your mind when you do a reading for someone whose issues are well known can also cause bias.  It is very important that should the reader be aware of possible situations that they try to be as unbiased as possible.  This may mean that the reader has to excuse themselves instead of possibly giving a biased reading.  I would much rather do that than to try and push it with someone I have strong feelings toward, or if I know something about a question than to deal with the karma (or the client’s patrons/guardians/spirit friends!) that a biased reading would cause.

 

  1. Each client gets 100% of the attention, 100% of the time
    At least once every other month I get a request from a client that wants to “test” me. This person may not believe in divination, or was ‘put up’ to getting one from their friends as a joke.  Or, someone might be testing my ability before they recommend me to a friend.  In every one of these cases it is very important that the reader treats the clients with the same respect as they would treat someone that is taking the reading very seriously.  There have been many times I have turned skeptics into believers because of my professional attitude and accuracy.Does this mean that all readings must be done with the utmost seriousness?  Not really.  Humor has its place in readings too.  However, being humorous should not also mean being disrespectful to the client, their guides, your guides, the tools and gifts you have and the Gods and Goddesses in a reading.

 

  1. Readers shall not diagnose health issues unless they are properly trained and certified to do so
    This is BIG TIME important. As a medical intuitive, I have on occasion gotten information about medical issues my clients are having.  But I fully recognize I am not a trained nurse or doctor.  Therefore if I am seeing someone having a medical issue, I will phrase it as “have you talked to your doctor about….?”  If they have not spoken to their doctor, I tell them the indicator that I am seeing, the level of intensity that I see it at, and suggest that it might be something they look into.  I NEVER, EVER try to diagnose something.  It’s not my place, and I don’t want to be liable.If a mental health indicator comes up repeatedly, or if I recognize a possible mental health issue (a field where I do have training), I might GENTLY suggest to the client discussion with a licensed mental health professional.  This is an area where you have to be very careful.  No one is going to be happy with you if you tell them that they are crazy and need professional help!  Instead, you could mention that speaking to a professional might alleviate some stress or pent up energy that they have regarding a specific issue.Another disclaimer – if someone is threatening to hurt someone else or themselves, take it seriously and report it.  You don’t have to let the client know you are doing it.  Just get as much information as you can, and report it to the proper authorities after the reading is completed.

 

  1. Readers shall not internalize the client’s reading and/or the client’s issues 
    This was SO HARD for me to learn.  Most readers have an empathic nature, if they are not a full blown empath themselves.  So when serious issues come up during readings, it’s hard not to internalize problems.  We want the best for our clients.  Therefore it’s hard not to get upset when something comes up.  But the reader has to do everything that they can to release that energy.  This has serious consequences for the reader, especially if it is allowed to build.  Regular spiritual cleansings, taking breaks between readings and letting go all of the information about the reading after it is over are all good ways to release that energy.  The reader should also recognize their own endurance here.  If I am constantly giving readings for several hours, I know I am going to need significant time the next day to rest and recharge.

 

  1. Readers shall forgive themselves for readings that appear inaccurate
    I have seen this come up a couple of different ways. First, I’ve had clients whose energy reads like a black hole – there ain’t NOTHING coming out of the cards, nor is there any energy coming from the client.  A second way is that I feel like I didn’t properly communicate the information or a concern that I was trying to explain to the client.  In both of those cases, I need to trust my guides and my gifts to do the reading and accept what is happening.  It’s happening that way for a reason.  I have to pull my feelings out of it and do my absolute best.  That is all I can do.
    Finally, I might be reading for a child, a person who speaks broken English or an older client that only accepts Christianity as their true religion.  In those cases I do my best to use terminology that I know the client understands.  I know I need patience, and I also may need to explain the same information in multiple ways using different terminology.

 

As well as adhering to those guidelines, I also try to present myself in a professional manner.  I dress comfortably, but in a more formal manner, as I would for a day at the office.  I also try to wear clothes that are lighter in color.

So that’s my list!  It has changed just a little bit over time.   I’m happy to know that there are tarot organizations out there that have guidelines similar now, but I still think these fit for the experiences I have had over the years.

Be careful what you ask about…

 Every month I spend a couple hours giving readings at a local pagan shop.  This is something that is very enjoyable for me.  Not only do I feel I help others, I feel like with each reading I also learn something new about myself.

I am always amazed at some of the people that come in for readings.  Of course I get many of the general questions from clients; relationship stuff, finding mister/miss right, when they are going to come into money, stuff like that.  But there are also many times I get someone that has something going on in their life and are trying to hear a different answer than what they are getting.

One mundane example was when a woman came to me who was trying to decide whether or not to leave her husband.  The husband had been sleeping with the woman’s best friend for several years, and he and the best friend had been open about it.  This continued to occur even though the marriage was supposed to be monogamous.  The cards told me this woman was being stepped on and put through hell, and I told her so.  But even though she confirmed what the cards said and shared stories of things she had gone through with me, by the end of the reading she was of the mindset that she just didn’t have enough information to make the decision, and thus was going to consult with other readers.

Basically, she didn’t like what she was hearing.

This happens a lot.  One tarot deck I have has a very ‘no holds barred’ style to it.  I had a client ask specifically for that deck to be used in her reading.  By the end of the session she was so mad that she could barely speak.  I don’t know if it was at me or at the friend sitting next to her saying “I told you so!” throughout the reading.  Yet again, the client was getting the answers she needed to hear and act on, but since they were not the ones she wanted, she got mad instead of listening.

There could be many reasons for this.  Many times a reading will pull out details that make people uncomfortable, or the answers to the questions that are asked will push the querent into a situation that is outside of their comfort zone.  But what the querent has to realize is that the answers and information is there for a reason.  The Gods are asking you to grow, or else you wouldn’t be in the situation in the first place.  It is our nature on this planet to deal with these scenarios over and over again in order to transcend the problem.  We must grow and push ourselves through these issues, for if we do not, we become stagnant and wither.

I know acting on things isn’t easy.  And at least for me, sometimes I have to be put in the situation several times before I fully grasp what it is I have to learn.  That is ok.  We wouldn’t be human if we got things right 100% of the time. And it’s OK to be upset about answers that aren’t what you want them to be.  Just don’t get mad at the messenger.