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A little help, please?

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I was recently talking to a friend about hallucinogenics: Peyote, Ayahuasca, LSD, etc. and it occurred to me that the difference between a life changing experience with the Divine and a “bad trip” was often simply whether your mental journey was being monitored by an experienced spirit worker.

In the modern world we have a view that we should be self sufficient, and do everything on our own. When a child learns almost any new skill, from taking their first steps to riding a bicycle, we understand that we first explain it, show them how, help them do it the first few times, then wean ourselves away as they learn to do it on their own. Yet somehow, adults seem to think we can google a bit of instruction then immediately do whatever it is from medical diagnosis to the Law of Attraction. This is likely to lead to failure and discouragement.

Back to the example of a spirit voyage: Can you travel without luggage? Without a passport? What would you do if you reach a country where you don’t speak the language? Alternately, would you head out into the jungle without a guide? Wouldn’t you take others with you who had been there before and know what they are doing? In most projects, wouldn’t you build a team with complimentary skills? To brave the inner jungle you need a shaman or someone with similar skills who can advise you and follow your progress when you go into the sub- (or super-) conscious landscape. There is nothing wrong with working with others to sure success and rewards for everyone involved.

Sometimes we need help, and the smartest thing we can do is to find the people who are best able to help us.

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Perceived Need

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Advertising in the modern world, is often meant to create the feeling of need where none actually exists. The need is that of the craftsman who must sell what she has made in order to buy more materials, as well as support herself and her family. This tends to make us a bit leery of advertising, but it need not.

Some needs are real, and yet we are unaware of them. When some “ad” lets you know about a product that will make your life much better, when you had no idea it existed, it serves you as well as the one providing it.

It’s easy to recognize physical needs: We need water and food, we need warmth, we need air. But there are other things we need and, like air, we sometimes forget that we need it because it’s usually around. Sometimes we need peace and quite, other times we need stimulation. Sometimes we need hugs. Sometimes we need encouragement, other times what we need is for someone to talk us out of doing something really stupid. When these are part of your normal life, you may not realize how much you need them… until they aren’t there any more.

One thing we often need is to be able to talk about what’s going on in our lives without having to EXPLAIN everything. Old friends are precious because they have all the backstory, you don’t need to fill them in on anything but new developments. Similarly, when you see ghosts, or dowse, use energy healing, or divination, it’s so wonderful to not have to stop and justify your belief in something that you know is real. The relief of not needing to “feel out” the people around you to see if they’re going to start thinking that you’re ignorent or stupid if you admit yor experiences is so wonderful! It’s like taking off tight shoes or confining underclothes at the end of the day. Just to be able not to have to live “on guard” is a joy.

This may be a need you didn’t even consider, that you had. Once a year, come and relax with others who may not approach everything the way you do, but who do know that believing in what’s real (even when that belief isn’t popular) isn’t stupid or ignorant, it’s just human. Come “breathe” with us.

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A little Crack

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“A crack lets in the light” is an expression reminding us that when we create a solid barrier in our manner of thinking, it becomes difficult to introduce new concepts into our world view. What we, the CTCW community, are doing, is opening our minds to the possibilities. This is required in order to change.

For centuries the paranormal and supernatural have been called “Occult” which means hidden. Why hidden? Because despite the awareness when we are children that this is perfectly normal and natural, as we grow we are told to not talk about it. If it is natural and normal for us to see ghosts, to speak to animals, to find things, to heal others, to perceive the feelings and thoughts of others, and influence the world around us by our inner abilities, we are told to hide it, and to pretend that like “everyone else” we don’t believe in it. Some people buy into the story, for others, who use these abilities, we are taught that we need to hide our abilities and perceptions and not let others know about them. If our family or community practice, we are taught to preserve a “normal” appearance to everyone else. This preserves the illusion that our abilities don’t exist.

Why do we do this? There is history of persecution, certainly. If it became accepted that telepathy exists, many would worry that their secrets would be discovered. If energy healing works most of the time, it raises the question that when it doesn’t work, it could be a fault of the practitioner who didn’t do it correctly, or who withheld their healing? These are problems for doctors, but they defend themselves from charges of malpractice by working within established norms. We couldn’t do that with supernatural techniques as long as we don’t understand the mechanisms for how these things work. We see even now the issue of empowerment being twisted into victim-blaming. If everyone “can” manifest whatever they want, it can be seen that any problems they have are their own choice. Their own fault. Sadly, awareness of our abilities should come hand in hand with compassion and awareness of larger forces in the universe, and that seems to lag behind.

The truth will out, of course. Sooner or later, the modern world will figure out that these abilities are real, and may develop technologies to measure them, or even enhance them. Perhaps, like the GBLT community, we have to start by “coming out of the closet” and letting those who worry about us know that we’ve been among them in our millions without doing and evil things to them, and the only thing we want to do to “subvert the dominant paradigm” is too be accepted.

We mediums, telepaths, magickians, dowsers and others often have little problem with this. Sometimes we need reminding not to have “a mind so open that your brain falls out”. It’s sometimes easy, once you discover that the “normal” world has gotten so many things wrong, to run around trying every new thing, and telling everyone about the new things you’ve learned. This enthusiasm is natural, everyone does it, although they may be enthusing about a new diet, or recipe for chocolate cake, or gadget, but that won’t get them “burned at the stake” or prosecuted as a con artist.

As we change the world to a better place, we on the leading edge of the opening must remember to protect ourselves from the push-back of those who we are making uncomfortable. We must not deny what we know to be real, but at the same time, we need to maintain our credibility with those who haven’t had the direct experience we have had, and have been trained by the the modern world to be hyper skeptical. We need to do it, and I believe we can.

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Life and Loss

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Raven Grimassi

Edain McCoy
Ralph Metzner

The Pagan Community is dealing with a string of losses this month. Raven Grimassi, occultist, strega,and author died March 10, Ralph Metzner, founder of the Green Earth Foundation the 14th, and author and witch Edain McCoy died the twenty-first.

Some of us got to meet them, others have had our lives changed by reading their wisdom. I will probably remember Raven as the young strega on the back of his book cover Italian Witchcraft in the 90s, although I didn’t get to meet him until 2009 when they moved to New England. We tried for years to get Raven and Stephanie, his wife, to come to CTCW, but they were so popular they were always busy. I am reminded that we must never presume that “there’s always next year”, and sometime we have to remember to do as much as we can while we’re still around. Deaths remind us of the preciousness of the lives around us, and our own, and to not waste the time we have together.

I never got a chance to meet either Edain McCoy or Ralph Meltzer, although I think sitting down and chatting with folks is the best part of CTCW- give and take, discovering that both have come to the same place by different ways, learning something new… I’d have loved to talk to him about his “Six pathways to destiny” , or even listen to him talk with some of the other speakers about it. (At least he’s left us the book to spur our own thoughts.) If you’ve not read it yet, here’s a bit from the description on Amazon: “Each of us, as a human soul, incarnates by choice with a purpose, an intention or vision for this life – what we came here to do and to be. The soul chooses one or more of six great archetypal pathways in which to develop its talents and realize its vision – Healer/Peacemaker, Explorer/Scientist, Warrior/Guardian, Artist/Musician, Teacher/Historian, Builder/Organizer.”

As most of us are confident about the survival of the soul after bodily death, we may not see death as a total loss, however we do experience it as all humans do, as a separation that prevents easy contact with the one who has died. Since McCoy was younger than I, I am left wondering if she fulfilled her goals before she moved on, whereas since Meltzer was older than I, I tend to feel that he did. (although at 67, 83 looks a lot younger to me than it did when I was 47!) We are grateful for what they’ve left us, but we’d rather they were still here so we could ask them the questions we feel they could answer.

Between Imbolc and Ostara we may speak of death and rebirth, but when we have to personally deal with the “breaking down” in order to build or “create new life”, we can be as reluctant to deal with that reality as anyone else. So we indulge in a little self pity that we didn’t get to say “I’m sorry”, or “thank you”, to enjoy the energy and work of their lives, but only then wish them “Hail and Farewell” on the next part of their journeys.

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Thoughts on this year’s theme :

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“Feeding our Fires in a Time of Need”

Fire is an analogy of course, it’s a symbol. A great symbol for many things. This year we are calling on this powerful symbol as we explore our times of need. At the most basic, Fire gives man warmth and light. Fire keeps us from suffering from cold, and helps our fear of the dark. It scares away predators, and cooks our food, boils water to purify it, and makes a soothing cup of tea (helps release qualities into water). Warmth can also help our muscles release tension, and I could go on….

Fire has needs as well, it needs air and heat and fuel. We need to support it, “feed it” to get the benefits we want from it. As I said, it’s a marvelous symbol for many things, and this year we’ll probably use many.
We are also going to be looking closely at the word need. I’ll admit my first connection when I thought of Need was from the Rolling Stones song “You can’t always get what you want…” which reminds us that what we need and want are not the same thing. I then moved on to Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs, which is a reminder that we can easily forget what we need, and which needs are more important. Often it is the things we take most for granted which we need the most such as air, safety, love, or esteem; it’s often the lack of what we need that shows us that we need it.
This year we’ll be opening ourselves to learn what we truly need and how we can support ourselves and others before needs become acute. This is why we feed our fires.

Not everyone camps, but if you do, you know the frustration of when the campfire goes out, and you have to start it all over again. The same is true of a fire in a woodstove, (or keeping a furnace fed). It’s better to maintain a balance in health, in finances, in almost every aspect of life rather than to have to start over. Another analogy might teach us that no amount of watering a plant will bring it back once it’s dead. We must feed all our fires: physical, emotional, spiritual. If we are in a time of need, if imbalance has reached the point that we are aware that something we took for granted needs help,
Whether you need information you can’t get through normal channels, whether you need healing, whether you need connection to the gods or to community, we will be exploring ways for all of us to feed our inner fires, and satisfy all of our needs.

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