shamanic temple

Seasonal Journeying

Journeying to meet with the spirits of a sacred time or season makes us more attuned to the energies of time. My journeying was a little late in the cycle of classes and I went to work on the journey not in spring, but summer. I tried doing a combined journey to the spirits of midsummer and then to the spirit of summer. In retrospect, I feel like having more then one intention for the meditation through me off a bit.

The part to journey to the spirits of midsummer brought me to the eternal fire circle. That is my way of saying the eternal sabbat or where one might see the Hidden Company. In many of my sabbat meditations it seems like the journey really isn’t about me and is more about the energy of the sacred time. The lesson of the journey is usually so universal it seems beyond my “little pond”.  This one echoed one of my journeys in the past, where it starts as the bonfire and expands to be the solar system and then the galaxy,  all circulating around a central focus. The lesson for me is “as above, so below”. We find so much comfort in dancing around the central fire because it attunes us to the great cosmic dance around its central point. The turning of the wheel.

The summer season part of my journey took me to the beach. There on the surf with the gulls calling in the background, I began to feel a presence all around me. The heat became too strong and the sand burned my feet. It is hard to explain, but the whole environment of this summer beach scene began to speak with me. I would have to say it was telepathic, but more from every direction instead of having one point of origin. The spirit of summer seemed to be this place and I was inside it.

The spirit of summer showed me images of my past summers. Showing me how at peace I was with the sumer season when I was younger. How I would go out on bike rides, go to the beach, go camping, or just play outside. The images as I got older seemed more out of balance with summer. The boys joke that I am “not a hot house flower” meaning I wilt and get cranky when I have had too much heat.

Summer advised me to find a way to become at peace with the energies of the season. Others seem to love summer where I think of it more as a bother: It is hot and my day job pays less, making any fun we have a financial trial. The spirit didn’t really give me a clue on how to make peace with summer. Perhaps my future journeys will enlighten me further.

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Journey for another

I’ve been a part of a gay mens Group that explores Magick and mysticism for many years now. We are all pretty versed in our individual craft and we come together to learn from each other. Our last group was a great experience that I think other covens or groups who are versed in shamanic technique could do for each other for bonding and healing. Since it is a gay mens group we focus at times on what we call the Queer Spirit. Since we are men we usually connect to it from the male side of the Queer spirit.  Our facilitators of the night explained that we as gay men have a very special community that is able to aid other gay men. Some times it is detrimental but in its highest form can really bring a great support.

One example is that one of our members was asked to help out a younger gay male by his parents if he had any questions his parents couldn’t answer. In light of the blessings of support that we can give to each other we talked about how we as gay witches can support each other. One of the lessons we talked about is that we as witches can be very self contained and not ask others to help us with their talents. We rarely seek out another to journey for us, do a reading, or cast a spell. We talked about how this opened us up to vulnerability and exposure to have to ask for something from another. How opening up to others like this is also a sign of inner strength.

So our facilitators called on us to do a journey for a partner in the group. We wrote out on a piece of paper our issue that we wanted aid on. Keeping in mind that we were a gay mens group some of us chose issues that gay men have: e.g. body image, self image, disconnection, identity, family,  internalized homophobia, and so on. Since drawing from a hat would not give us pairs, we drew match sticks from a cauldron because one of our members had just watched the film “Clue”. Strangely we ended up getting similar issues to journey on in the pairs we ended up in. We also had couples end up in pairs. A majority of the group found that when we journeyed for another their symbolism was more represented then our own. Their guides, their Gods, and their way of looking at life seemed to show up in the journeys.

We all came away from the group feeling like we had gotten what we needed to know. It is interesting to get perspective from another on an issue because it may not be the way you see it from your own perspective. We also got some “assignments” for future work to aid us with our issues. Overall a successful night that could spark other groups to do the same for their own support network.

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Rite of discipline

I have been thinking about discipline a great deal lately. One of the insights that I gleamed from one of my meditations on the effects of a spagyric tincture I am making to work with saturn, told me that disciplined practice without purpose was futile. This all was in reference to the part of my self that craves disciplined practice and usually spurs me with guilt when I am not doing anything. The practices that I was doing diligently were bringing results but not bringing me closer to the goal of this year which was to embrace more of the shamanic craft and obtain a better grasp on spirit work. I had done two different Mantra practices in the last six months both lasting forty days. Though the results from this practice was amazing I didn’t feel it brought me closer to the goal stated above. Something else I realized was all my spiritual practice was happening in my car. Mantra is a simple practice for me to do while driving to work, and when I finished that I would send light or reiki to people who I knew needed it.

So looking at my goal of embracing shamanic witchcraft and obtaining a better grasp on spirit work I thought that my next rite of discipline would be forty days of meditation. You might ask “why forty days?” my answer is that it is an alchemical month. It is also the prescribed amount of time to use a mantra to manifest something. I find it interesting that it also is the same as the  forty days of lent in the christian faith where they give something they love up for the forty days to honor christ. I will be adding something to my life for forty just in honor of my self and my spiritual evolution. I think that is a more appropriate practice for a witch.  I started on Ostara  and will continue until I have done a consecutive forty days. That means if I skip a day I will just start over until it is done. These are the “rules” of the mantra magick I was doing only applied to meditation. The mantra magick had you choose an intention to work for a mantra aligned with that purpose and then do a mala of 108 repetitions every day until you reached forty. Usually on the 38th day something to screw you up will appear but if you work through it and do the practice It works. I think the same applies to the rite of discipline.

To any one who reads this who feels like they need to kick there practice up a couple of notches I suggest revisiting the Rite of discipline for themselves finding something that will bring you to your goal or intention and do it for a cycle of time. You may pick a more witchy number like 28 days of a moon cycle or  the time between two Sabbats . It doesn’t have to be long to get you going it could just be a week of practice.  Just make sure your not doing the practice without a purpose in mind.

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Animal Wisdom

Our under world journey for class was to get us in contact with an animal guide. In stead of getting in contact with my guide of owl who is my most likely companion I decided to set my intention to meet with the animal guide that is most important for me to meet at this time. I have been experimenting with my drum to see if I can play it while meditating. I have had some really great success with it. So for this journey that is what I did.

The world tree appeared as a gigantic pine today. Which was my tree I found in the local park if you have read my past blogs. Its roots seemed to pull back making a tunnel for me to go into the underworld. I didn’t really have to walk down the tunnel long before I came to a sandy beach. I love how in shamanic work how you can feel things almost as if you were physically there. I could feel the sand on my toes and the spray from the ocean. I looked up and saw a hawk. I latter looked to see if my image matched the image of a hawk and found it was more of a Peregrine falcon.

We spoke with each other not in words but in pictures and knowings. I saw images of what he wanted me to see and seemed to just know what he wanted me to know about them. I saw the world from his view. Up high where you  can see the whole landscape and the big picture of where all things fit. From here you have the distance to really see what is going on and have the detachment to really see it with out a filter.

Then he showed me what it was like to focus that sight on something you wanted or needed to change. To swoop down grabbing what you want or making a change then soaring back up to the level where you can see it all again. I knew that this was what the falcon was trying to teach me. That most of the time you should stay in that state of seeing the big picture and when you have to make a change focus on it quickly. Then when it is done bring your focus back to the big picture. It seemed like advice from falcon about not getting so focused on details that I loose the big picture. In this meditation I realized sometimes when I am feeling down is because I am focused on things that I don’t return to the detached big picture.

We communicated about how in high school hawk and falcon were guides for me for a time until I had a dream where I was a falcon and then shape shifted into an owl in response to the change of day into night. We spoke of how this was his message then and he was returning now to remind me of it. I laughed thinking I didn’t get the message then.  I spoke my thanks and returned to normal consciousness.


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Spirits of place

I grew up in Vermont. It has always been “home” to me. I have lived in Hartford, Connecticut and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Each place has its own unique energy and spirit. I can’t say that I meditated on the spirit of place for both of those cities but being intuitive I did have to read there energy. Hartford has a very busy energy  and  has the taste of fire but not as much as say New york city. Minneapolis is all water and air energy. Perhaps because of the amount of lakes and the windy planes around it. I thought since the class is at chapter about the middle world I would do a journey to meet the spirits of my home now in New Hampshire and my home from my childhood Vermont.

I did this meditation when I up visiting my mom to celebrate the holiday. I was surprised when I opened up my crochet bag that I had my witch bag with me and my cord since I didn’t remember packing them.  So I incorporated them to get me into the right frame of mind to go journeying. Placing my cord over my shoulders like a stole and opening up my witch bag and creating a mini altar with the objects found within.

I went to the world tree in my meditation and asked to meet the spirit of Vermont. I found a path to a field that I had cross country skied through that morning. There in the middle of the field full of snow was a Green woman in a white dress that seemed to change when I looked at her. From native american dress to victorian wool to greek toga  and so on. All of the clothes were white. Perhaps to show that Vermont was cloaked in snow? She greeted me and we sat at a table that was placed in the middle of the field. She spoke with me about my family. About the qualities that we all had grown up with because of living in Vermont. We spoke of other family matters.

At the time I was snowed in with my mother in Vermont and I asked if there was someway that she could effect the weather so I could go home the next day. She was happy to arrange it for me. We then said our farewells and I thanked her. She told me that even though I lived in New Hampshire I could return to the field to talk to her again.

My meditation to talk to New Hampshires spirit was in january after I got home. I did the same process of going to the world tree but this time my owl showed up and I followed her north into a snowy path. As I slogged through the snow I became aware that there was a presence all around me. I looked up to see that theMountain cliff in front of me started to shape a face and speak. The face seemed male and it’s energy spoke to me of the very male projective powers.

We spoke of how the spirit of NH was affected by the white mountains. We spoke of the strong and Granite like people of NH, how they seemed to project out energy more to go get things they wanted where as Vermont didn’t seemed more into being. We spoke of an old friend from college and how the spirit of place had affected her own personality. I could feel her presence in the aura of Nh.  He encouraged me to do more elemental journey work on my own.

Looking back on the two journeys I can’t say that I am surprised that either state showed up in the way that it did. Perhaps the journey was effected by my own preconceptions about the energies of these states. It is not lost on me that NH appeared to me as “ the old man in the mountain” or that Vermont took on the look of Ceres goddess of agriculture. Both of which are state symbols. The man on the mountain is gone now but it’s spirit seems to live on. The Vermont state house has Ceres on top of it.

Whether my own preconceptions tainted the journey or my journey showed how my preconceptions were right I guess I will never know. I believe though that the spirits take the form that you can relate to them in.

All in all an interesting experiment. Oh and by the way the weather did clear up for me for my drive home.

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yule lunar eclipse

lunar eclipse

This year we had a lunar eclipse during Yule.  I heard that this was the first one to fall on yule in four hundred years. So I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do for a circle or working. I chose to do a journey. The lunar eclipse is when the moon in the north node of the moon, which means that the energy of the time is about your karma. Any working should be to either understand or heal karma. I chose to do my meditation on what I need to know.

The journey took me to my inner temple, where my guide and totem met me. They directed me to a silvery translucent staircase. I climbed up and up until I got to the moon and through it to a dark garden filled with strange plants. There the goddess came to me in a very artistic representation. Instead of being like a human she looked as if she had been drawn on scratchboard with white outlines detailing her shape. I reiterated my purpose to know that which I needed to know. She showed me and image of a seed growing into a plant. She spoke of the fact that whether or not the plant grew or died it was still the plant it was born as. Factors from the outside may shape it, effect it, nourish it, wither it, or kill it but they would never change it’s nature or virtue.

I asked whether it could be breed it to make its offspring better. She said “Yes but The new plant would be in the same boat. The seed will always be the plant it was born. “ She advised that I embrace my nature and strength, to work through my weaknesses from a place of my own nature. Don’t worry about that which one can’t control because it cant change the internal nature of whom one is.

She gave me some more advice about some personal things and told me to hone my focus and not waste energy.

I thanked her for these messages and returned to my inner temple. Where my guide showed me someone from my past. This old friend, and  sometimes enemy and I spoke of forgiveness. How forgiveness does not mean that I will forget what was done or stop it from repeating. Then I sent forgiveness to this person. It came out watermelon colored. Both a deep pink and a green. I heard a message about a crystal that would help me with forgiveness that had watermelon in its name.  I asked christopher after the meditation and he said it was perhaps watermelon tourmaline.

During the holidays after this meditation, my mother and I were talking about how it is still hard for me to talk to our other relatives about the way that my life has come out. I joked how explaining my self and who I am seem to be my lot in life. She replied” but didn’t you choose all of it?” I thought for a moment and was reminded of this meditation. I replied:”No some of it was just my nature and to choose otherwise would have been detrimental. One has to embrace there nature.” Though it definitely brought up more thoughts on the nature of self, choice, and the things we can’t control. I recognize my mom was right in a way. I didn’t choose to be gay but I do choose to embrace that side of my life. Much like I choose to breath and live as my nature as a human. To do otherwise would be to choose to wither.

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fighting attachments in dream time.

After eating some great cajun chicken Alfredo  I had some very startling dreams that I think may have been a attempted spirit attachment. My dream was of a pagan gathering in the park where the police where asking us to leave. I was talking to one of the officers and asking the reasons for wanting us to move. We went to one of the shelters that were in the park. In the shelter was my sleeping bag. The policeman said he would show me not why they wanted us to get out of the area. He started to drum his feet against the ground. The rhythm was repeated by something moving in my sleeping bag. What at first looked like a centipede came out of the bag dancing to the same rhythm that the policeman was drumming. I started up drumming the same beat and the strange animal started to come toward me in the same rhythm but moving much faster. Its mouth open looked like the mouth of a land-prey with a round sucker and teeth that are layered like a shark.

It started toward me. The Policeman told me something about it stealing energy and youth from those it touched. It got closer and mysteriously a dagger materialized in my hand and I Stabbed it. Which is when I woke up screaming. I could feel a difference in the energy in my root chakra. I called up the violet fire I use to clear a space of dense energies and beings.

I have crazy dreams all the time but usually I can figure out what they mean with some reflection. This one screamed to me about a spirit trying to attach itself to me. With some of the things going on in our lives at the moment I could see how this could be a side effect of dramas or its cause. Talking with Christopher he agreed.

My mentor gave me a great suggestion of taking Homeopathy remedy Stramonium which would help fend off spirit attachments and violent dreams. Homeopathy is one way of working with the spirit of a plant to help one make changes in your life. It is very safe and can be used to heal physical diseases as well. Seeing a Homeopath can accelerate your healing path.

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starting the quest

I have been working my way through the degree system of the temple of witchcraft for the last two years. Some may wonder why since I am one of the founders of the temple, Lead minister and ordained through the Temple why I would bother. My own craft training was self taught, through the guidance of books, spirits, and experimentation. Living in a magickal way brought on many of the initiatory experiences and challenges of the craft without me having to find a teacher or ritually experience them.  When we started the process of creating the Temple of Witchcraft I recognized that out of the three founders I was the only one who had not gone through the linear process of the classes. My experiences were vastly different from those who had gone through the process of the classes. This both gives me a unique voice to point out different ways of doing things and put me in a position where I felt honor bound to do the classes to be able to empathize with those in the temple.

Some of the lead ministers had this experience as well and Had the honorary title of witchcraft five given to them in honor of the work that they had done in other systems and for the Temple. Most of the people who have this honor have started to go back and take the classes to better serve the temple.

So from this place of honor I set out on the Quest of Shamanic Witchcraft. Every level starts with setting the intention for the year and a day of experience through a simple ritual. In witchcraft one it is learning meditation and opening up to psychic skill. In witchcraft two it is learning the rituals of the priest and the ways of spell-craft.  In Witchcraft three it is to seek out the shadow, acknowledge it, heal it, and partner with it. While working toward that intention you learn shamanic methods and build a team of spirits to help you in the quest.  Tonight I am going to do my Shadow Promise Ritual and begin the Quest.

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A walk to find my Tree.

This morning I decided to go to the park to perform the exercise finding your world tree. The Shamans world view is vertical instead of horizontal. They believe there are three (or more) worlds: The upper world, middle world(where we live) and the underworld. The axis that moves through these three worlds is the world tree. Some Shamans have used other images to represent this axis like a mountain, fairy mound, or some modern city shamans use a skyscraper.  The point of this exercise is to form a bond with a physical tree that would represent your world tree and be a sacred spot to be the “center of the world”.

I brought with me some cider to offer to the fey of the park and to my new tree friend. As I walked into the park I crossed my fingers to activate my trigger of instant alpha state and even counted myself down to alpha. In this altered state of consciousness I followed my instinct and intuition on where to walk. On the path down to the river bank I stopped to offer some cider to the spirits of the park and the fey there in to ask them to guide me to my world tree. I looked up and down the path and all around to make sure no one was watching and then I said a prayer to the spirits and poured out my offering at the base of the tree. Immediately after I finished my offering I felt the feeling that I was not alone and that some one was watching me. The feeling of fear and shame flooded my senses, thoughts about how I would explain my actions to a passer by. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a dark silhouette of a man standing to my left on the path watching me. Thinking it was a person I turned putting my cider bottle in my pocket and choosing a path away from the person to avoid any questions. Once down the path I looked back to find no one there.

I was still filled with a unsettled feeling of fear. My mind shot back in time to a sleep over  with my friends and circle mates in my teen years. That night I first experienced my shadow psychically. Thank the gods my friends were used to an amount of psychic experiences  as I faced a spirit only I could see. My friends could only feel me all around them. Where I was looking at what I called the dark man. The same fear flowed through me, the feeling of being watched  and the fight for control was all there as it was in the park in the current day.

To combat the feeling of fear I used the Emotional body Training exercise and immediately it subsided. My mind felt more clear and I could marvel at something I haven’t experienced in years. The night of the sleep over brought on many more contacts with my shadow until we were more integrated and it didn’t appear to me in the physical only in meditation. Why now would it appear again? My only answer is the focus of the year long quest of shamanic witchcraft is to meet with the shadow and partner with it. My shadow seems to hear my intent loud and clear.

I wandered the park some more picking up some white pine needles for a couple of smudging bundles. I wandered the park and ended up where I have done rituals in the past. I could feel the tree calling me. The tree was white pine. I slipped deeper into meditation and conversed with the tree. I offered the rest of the cider. The tree told me of its powers to purify and protect.  It also told me of how its roots grow out more the other trees, and how its Branches spreads out at the top to gather the suns light. It told me of its strong trunk that gets longer and longer. It also reminded me that it is so easy to topple over if you don’t have strong and deep roots.

I took pictures of my tree, both to connect with it from far away and just incase I got turned about in the park and needed help finding it. We said our farewells and I counted myself up to return to normal consciousness. I have a feeling this will be an interesting year.