Guides

Here is my first Pagan Blog Project post for “G.” I am so shamefully behind. This parenting-a-two-year-old thing plus running-own-business is like walking through a sand pit, sometimes, for how unproductive I’m feeling. So, this is one of those Paganism 101 articles.

People I meet who are just getting into paganism often ask me: “Does everybody have Guides? How do I find out who they are?”

Here are five simple and effective ways in which to get in touch with your guides. I have collected these through talking to many pagans over the years and asking various people I know, “How do you know your Guides are your Guides?”

  1. Observe nature.

Nature is vibrant and alive, and no matter what region you live, your guides can contact you through your habitat. Take any note of animals you see or hear. Mind what plants you feel drawn to. An attraction is a strong indication of affinity. If you are in an urban area, even visiting the smallest park can lead to sacred experiences.

  1. Remember when…?

Did you have a fascination with learning about or imitating a certain animal as a child? HC, my daughter who is two, was born under the Native American sign of the Wolf. Since infancy, she has communicated by howling. When I was a child, I was drawn to foxes. I had a dream where I turned into one, when I was in college, and ever since then, Fox medicine has served me well. From talking to many people, another common means of discovering guides comes from affinity to a certain period in history or a certain culture.

  1. Dream.

A simple and easy ritual to invoke a dream is to cut a small square of cloth and wrap up some lavender and mugwort, and ask your Spirit to send you dreams of your guides.

  1. Study.

Read lots. Take classes. As I mentioned earlier, affinity indicates a connection. I recommend D.J. Conway’s books as a broad survey of deities (Maiden, Mother, Crone and Lord of Light and Shadow). Go where you feel led. If you don’t know where to start, think of your childhood as step 2 advises.

  1. Invite.

Design your own ritual where you invite your Guides to contact you in the easiest way you can understand. Pay attention to synchronicities, books that you come across, conversations you overhear. Your Guides will surprise you.

What if I do something to call my Guides, but they scare me, or I just don’t like them?

If you feel frightened or overwhelmed by your Guides in any way, or have a hard time getting in touch with Them, then you are experiencing a block between you and your Power. Some of your Guides have been with you since before your birth. They can be Animal Spirits, Deities, Ancestors, Archangels, Fairies, or just about anything you could imagine.

I’ve searched the world over and haven’t found any Guides connected to me. Is there something wrong?

One possibility is that your Spirit chose to incarnate without any “outside help” so to speak, cutting all energetic contracts before birth. If this seems to be the case, then you can ask your former Guides to return to your presence, and make themselves known. If you suspect that you have chosen a new path altogether, then you can choose energies to invite into your life. If they don’t accept your invitation, accept this experience and move on. If you don’t get an answer, wait for that energy to get back to you, and ask another energy to get in touch with you. Do not under any circumstances attempt to force an energy to respond to you.

How do I know that this entity is my Guide, and not some evil spirit trying to take advantage of me?

See this article for some good rules of thumb. Reading the article, I felt extremely lucky to have been spared any hard core attempts to fool me into giving something of my own away. I work with dark spirits, some would call them demons, but I have found that not all demons are evil. Some of them are working off karma so they can ascend. Some abide in their own nature, and work to equalize the balance (the angels can be bastards, too, and not all ascended beings have the best interest of humanity at heart – some are cruising for a fall). I have always asked an unknown spirit to identify themselves, and I use the rule of recognition – if I have to ask their name, they aren’t who they appear to be. I have always been able to recognize an entity’s energy signature in dreaming.

Fathering

This is my second F post for the Pagan Blog Project.

I wanted to write about fornication, but I think that to say it’s too loaded would be understating it. Then again, since I finally got time to actually read my email (life with a two year old and helping to form a new spiritual group, wow) I got an email about a sex seminar:

http://www.sexywitchy.com/sexy-witchy-seminars.php

I think the Powers are trying to tell me something. Instead, however, I’m going to talk about fathers, which is related.

I have a very close relationship with only one Father God: Odin is the most prominent. I was raised Christian, but visibly descend from Teutonic stock. I know others, but am not close to any particular one of them the way that I am with Odin. My other major patron is Gwyn ap Nydd, King of the Realm of Faery, and I think of him as a father, but he’s not classified as a paternal deity, as far as archetypes go.

With YHWH, I feel as though that entity is a raw life force, relatively unpersonified, but concentrated, like the square root of All Fathering. When I think of encounters with the Elohim, I come up with memories of engulfing yawning distance and severity, an Across the Universe kind of far, and not very personal experiences. Father deities who I might develop a closer relationship with are the Dagda and Obatala, but they feel more like guardians than parents. When I look at Odin, I see my Father. I know that He has been there, throughout my life, as the one who comforted me when I fell; the one who let me cry on my shoulder when I was sent to my room for crying in front of my (step)dad. I only have just translated the signs that were there my whole life. I was born on a Wednesday. Corvids have always spoken to me (and according to one source, it’s my Native American birth totem).

When I was 10, I played the part of a valkyrie in an abridged coreographed depiction of Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung for this drama program (yes, that one); I was also cast as a river nymph. Then, a personal crisis occurred and I lost my connection to that theatre program and my familiarity with Odin. I was not afforded an opportunity to spend as much time in libraries as I would have liked to, for research into his stories. Somewhere along the way I lost the connection, only to have it restored about ten years later.

Sacrifice, redemption, strong boundaries, and wisdom attained at a price have all been themes for me, this incarnation. I know that Odin has my highest and best in His consideration, and my pledge to him is only dangerous if I break it. I have found that even then, the consequences could always be worse. He has shown me mercy.

I held a personal dedication to him, in 2003. I had just read The Wolf and the Raven by Diana Paxson and felt that some kind of pledge was called for. I had only my intuition to go on. I kept it completely to myself because I was afraid that others might think me careless or uninformed and naive. A friend’s words of caution about Odin went unheeded. My mother already thought I was going to Hell, so I figured, I may as well dedicate to whom I felt the most comfortable.

My work with Odin is not such that I need to hold elaborate rituals for Him to please Him. He works with familiarity that I’m not certain people experience frequently. I’m not saying he’s all laughter and rainbows, it’s more like the relationship Terry Pratchett wrote about with the characters Death and Susan – I have been reluctant at times to have the God of Wisdom and War as my Father. I call, He listens. Sometimes He shows up when I don’t call, but when I need Him and don’t know it – sometimes He makes a request  from me, and other time he urges me. I have not found that he uses me merely for selfish ends, but that when I perform something for Him, that He makes sure I am taken care of.

I believe His most significant work with me so far has been to help me to find the myriad Goddess within myself. My childhood, like many women in this culture, did not teach me to honor my female-ness. I had to learn that, and Odin guided the way back to Erda, Gaia, the root Mother of All.

This is a bunch of UPG, but that’s the best I have. Diana Paxson can speak more eloquently about his lore, which she does in Drumming With the Witches

The Fathers of the World are going to be taking on a new level of responsibility, this year. The next generation, I’m talking about our children, are not going to take any crap. I can see it already, in my daughter and her peers, and she’s only had two years out in the open!

Hail the All-Father,

Hail the Steadying Hand,

Hail the Speaker of Wisdom who reaches out

When the Womb of Earth remains silent.

Thank You for keeping me close to Cosmic Mother

Thank You for Your Poetry: wind blowing through rocks,

River running over mossy stones.

Thank You for Your Wisdom: the scars of war healing into compassion.

Guard my dreams, lend me Your sight,

for I show You my best Honor.

All Hail, Father!

Finding

This is my first “F” post for the Pagan Blog Project.

Finding: Discovery walking hand in hand with Attainment. It’s the joy of the Eostre Egg, the surprise of a child jumping out of a Hide-and-Seek hidey-hole. It can even be the satisfaction of redeeming coffee-beer-fun-money from the abyss of couch cushions. On a larger scale, it’s waking up into a life and realizing you began manifesting your current apartment ten years ago with simply a longing look at how people’s existences in this neighborhood appeared to be simple, yet expansive and pleasant. The “if-only” thoughts we entertain do affect our reality, because thoughts become things. If we spend enough time focusing on something to the exclusion of something else, that thing will come about whether we’re hoping for it, or dreading it.

I have been viewing my work with manifestation magick more through a lens of “finding” lately, and I just realized this through a comment I felt led to post about manifestation work. A couple of previous comments brought up a tendency in Divine Beings to look for loopholes in our magick to send us “be careful what you wish for” lessons. I just had to say:

At the risk of sounding like a know-it-all, I would just like to point out something from personal experience that has helped me in manifestation goof-ups: I have noticed over time that as soon as I realize a spell might backfire, I can divine for and design another spell to counteract the effects of the first spell to perform some damage control. Even if I do this when the spell is already in action, it still lessens the negative impact. Everything that we could desire already exists, and all we have to do is move toward it, or draw it to us. The easiest gesture I could tell anyone is making the rune Nauthiz with your fingers, like old ppl used to do to scold naughty children, as taught by Thunder-Wizard in this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImWUaaKEY3Y). 
I feel that the most important aspect of counter-spelling is to acknowledge that I screwed up, the lesson I’m taking away from the early realization that the spell might not be working out the way I intended, a vow to myself that I release the root cause of my mistake (such as fear, jealousy, tunnel vision, etc), and also a clear and sincere expression of my own willingness to release the undesirable outcome from my reality to embrace the more desirable thing (yes, I am talking about repentance and atonement, here). 
The penultimate key is, of course, Knowing What You Truly Desire.

As a further note, I would add – Knowing What You Truly Desire is subject to change, and there are a plethora of ways in which to determine what this is, which is also a form of finding. I have found that something can be right for me in the moment of asking, but midway through the manifestation work, I find something better. This is actually a sign that the magick is working! It was hard for me to learn that. For the longest time, I thought it simply meant that I didn’t know what was really good for myself, which is a false concept I have now deprogrammed. Changing and shifting of what is best occurs as we move through time and make progressive choices. Change is not inherently good or bad – it is relative to your own desires.

I would like to share an effective visualization/spell that I do, when I want something.

1) Determine whether it would be a really be a good thing to have. I recommend pendulum readings for this kind of discernment.

2) Affirm that the Universe is Full of Love and Wants me to be Happy. I repeat the phrase “The Universe is full of Love and Wants me to be Happy” until I believe it. I return my focus to my breathing, and consider why I don’t feel the Truth of that statement. I turn my listlessness into a chance to do inner work with myself. Usually, the feeling stems from feelings of undeserving, and underappreciation, for which I use the Emotional Freedom Technique (aka “Tapping” – Deana Troy used this technique in an episode of NextGen, and yes, it works!). If I just can’t get there, because some days are like that, I simply release the work for a later day, asking my Guides for direction. However, when I am secure in Knowing that the Universe is Full of Love and Wants me to be Happy, I proceed to:

3) Spend some time with the object of my desire. If I want something concrete, I imagine holding the thing, using the thing; if it is an event or a trip I imagine a day in my life within that reality. I ask my Higher Self and Guides to help me map out some practical steps to attaining the thing I want, if applicable. I list the details of why it would be good for me to have my desire fulfilled, including benefits to the world around me. Sometimes, the thing is something where I have no idea of the hows or whys in its manifestation, so I move on to the last step.

4) Release attachment to the outcome. If it’s for my highest and best, my Higher Self will have received the message and will be working on bringing favorable circumstances. I continue with mundane planning where applicable, and check in when it feels appropriate to review my choices and desires.

Happy Finding!