This site is going to be a mix of study in
- folk music
- personal beliefs
- hypnosis using music/chanting over various cultures
- personal life
- anything else I find interesting
Things to take in point about paganism- everyone is different. Everyone believes, perceives, interprets and responds differently to everything. Paganism by default is a solitary method, usually tailored to what the person is drawn to spiritually.
A lot of things are going to be talked about that can be extremely confusing, and make no sense, even sound downright insane. Along with things that make lots of sense and are practical. Religion is all involved in mythos, in stories. Each has reasons for why things are. I’m not going to sit here and try to tell anyone ‘this is what I believe and you must too.’ I expect that same tolerance in return. I am an adult, I do my research, I am more than capable of making my own decisions and dealing with those consequences spiritually. I am NOT going to respond to things or people telling me what I should believe. That is not the point of this blog. This blog is to put together various things that I am learning, to be able to aid others.
Be sure to read the page after this, it is VITAL
Culture and Beliefs
- Sitting in a church, listening to the soothing voice of the pastor reading from the bible. You’re seated in a hard chair, the smell of Frankincense and Myrrh around you. You feel warmth, you feel safe. You may even feel that there is something greater than you, watching you, even somehow interacting with you.
- In deep meditation by a stream, your mind is on another level of consciousness. You hear the birds, the water flowing. It brings you a sense of calmness. Thoughts, images, and movement fly through your mind. Images flash by that you could swear are real. You may even be traveling, flying through the sky.
- Using movement and music to hypnotize your body, you go deeper and deeper into meditative trance. Your mind flows with the music to the point it blanks. Everything is still, there is no you, but there is something there, something you feel yourself reaching out and connecting to. As you connect to said being, you continue movement. Eventually you fall over in exhaustion. As you slowly come back to your senses, you feel changed, until you have a good night’s sleep, effected by whatever it was you reached out to.
- A woman swears at you for no reason, glaring fiercely at you. You run off, yet your day turns bad very quickly. You begin to wonder if you’ve been cursed.
- A basement of a friend’s house, just has this feeling. Something watching you, something is there. Something making you very afraid and uncomfortable. You refuse to go there alone.
- In a dream, you meet with a relative. Someone you love, someone you lost. Maybe you never got to say goodbye to them. In their presence or being held, you feel them. The essence of them. You feel like you’re really with that person and being comforted by them. You wake up, and while upset, you feel like a piece of you has healed, and like that person is watching over you, just like they did in life.
All of these things have something in common. Either the belief that we are reaching out to the divine, whatever that may be, interacting with it, or the possibility that our minds are making everything up. Possibly it’s all of them. This is what I mean by we all interpret things differently. Our raising, our culture, our beliefs, our senses, we all are different.
For those who don’t mind doing some long reading. I still suggest reading all of the discernment list in full. It is a lot to read, but I can’t understate the value of it all. So many people are ignorant or just don’t know better.
GLE on manipulation tactics
I don’t channel or horse gods for people over the internet. I feel that it’s unethical to do so in the majority of cases, which is why I turn people down when they come to me asking me to channel for them. There are a couple of reasons for this, but the main one is that the practice is vulnerable for abuse by manipulative people and I don’t feel comfortable in encouraging people to rely on and trust internet channeling. I also don’t “pass notes” from gods and generally speaking, the other elders don’t either. That’s open to abuse from people who want to get people to do things via intimidation or arguing from divine authority.
Predatory people exist in every social group. Nobody wants to believe it. People would much rather pretend, especially in spiritual or religious communities, that everyone is awesome and enlightened, or at least has good intentions at heart. This is bullshit. Sucky people exist everywhere, in every group, and no religion or spiritual group is exempt from this. There will be people who like being the center of attention. There will be people who like having power over others. There will be people who thrive on drama, or fuck with other people just to see if they can, or who enjoy seeing others in distress – perhaps so they can ride in, “save the day”, and bask in praise and validation.
People who blindly accept that people are exactly as they advertise themselves to be, without keeping a measure of skepticism and watching for manipulation tactics, are opening themselves up to be victims. I’ve seen everything from people getting conned out of money or material goods to people attempting suicide or having mental breakdowns from mental and emotional trauma. Some people even made major life-changing decisions based on bad data supposedly given to them by a deity, only to later find out it was a dire mistake.
Educate yourself on manipulation tactics. There are a lot of techniques out there. Gaslighting is very common. People write and publish books on the art of influencing and manipulating people for all sorts of purposes. Social engineering and mindhacks are very real. The more educated you are on the techniques used, the more you’ll know what to watch for, and the more likely it is that you’ll avoid toxic people or groups.
Another issue with the perceived commonplace practice of horsing, aspecting, and “passing notes” is that not everyone has the wiring for it. This is going to upset people who like the egalitarian ideal passed around in the Pagan community that everyone can do everything and be everything. In my experience, this is false. Not everyone has a godphone. Not everyone is capable of channeling or horsing. Just as with more mundane skills, there are some things that you can learn by applying yourself and practicing, and other things that you need to have an innate skill at in order to learn them. Not everyone has the capacity to become a brain surgeon. Equally, if you flip through a couple of medical textbooks, you are not suddenly qualified to claim that you’re a brain surgeon and try to practice on people in need of help. You will damage people. Perhaps unintentionally, but good intentions won’t nullify the damage.
I’m not going to lie: when I see the number of people claiming pristine godphones and channeling abilities, running around parceling out orders and advice and writing down effortless conversations they had with various spirits during the past week, I’m honest-to-gods flinching and side-eying the lot. I’ll be polite, but I maintain skepticism until people prove to me that they’re not full of shit. Hell, I didn’t feel qualified to give any sort of spiritual or magical advice, or do divination for other people, until I had about 6 years of experience under my belt. I did not feel qualified because I didn’t have enough knowledge yet to feel confident in what I was giving other people. I still feel a bit boggled sometimes that I’m considered “an elder”. You can call me a damned elitist if you want, but I am side-eying the number of people who’ve popped up who are promoting themselves as experts when they have less than two years worth of experience of dedicated, hardcore study and practice. Even if you’re spirit-taught, this stuff takestime to learn and get right.
This brings us to the third point of my long, circuitous rant: overkill and entitlement. People seem to be having kneejerk reactions to go for the “big guns” for every problem that comes up, with the expectation that deities are just waiting on the sidelines to swoop down, be channeled on demand, and tell you which set of runes you should study next week. An expectation has been generated that horsing and channeling is super common, totally appropriate to do for every little issue that pops up, and that gods are some sort of divine equivalent to a vending machine. Even if you have the wiring for it, you can’t make a deity horse you whenever you feel like it. Horsing doesn’t work like that. Equally, there are lots of situations where you don’t need to have a god speaking through a meatsuit.
To return to surgeon analogy, we’ve got a lot of people running around with the equivalent of stomachaches, splinters, and common colds who are demanding to see a surgeon, because everyone knows that surgeons are the bestest of the best. It doesn’t matter that they could figure out what’s wrong with them and take some OTC medication to help themselves, or go see a general practitioner; no, they need to see a surgeon, now. Not only is this massive overkill, but surgeons are rare, so in the meantime people are hearing the cries for surgeons and are popping up to offer their services, regardless of whether they’d qualify to be a surgeon. Some of them are honestly trying to do the best they can to fill a perceived need in the community, some of them are snake oil salesmen, but neither of them are someone you really want cutting open your head without knowing what the hell they’re doing.
“Well, what the hell do we do, then?” I hear you say. “How do we get answers, if not from channelers and horses? If we don’t all have godphones, what do we do?”
Learn to work with what you have. Just because you might not have a godphone, or seeing ability, or channeling ability, doesn’t mean that you don’t have other skills that you can find and develop. Most everyone can learn to be at least moderately good at some form of divination. Try to learn several different types of divination and figure out a network of diviners you can contact who aren’t going to cold read bullshit you or just backpat you and tell you what you want to hear. Folk magic (sometimes snobbily called “low magic”) works for everyone, in my experience, even if you don’t always know what the hell you’re doing and aren’t “charging things with intent”. Learn to ask for omens, keeping in mind that statistics and confirmation bias and apophenia are all legit things. Use common sense. Have patience. Know that sometimes you don’t need all the answers, or that some problems will get solved with a little time. Know that you don’t need gods and spirits to micromanage ever little portion of your life. Religion and spirituality should never mean that you give over your brain and Will, drifting along and letting another being make all of your life decisions for you.
Discernment: A forest door
I read a lot from people who appear to be having constant conversations with the gods as if They were simply invisible friends, always near and always interested in everything we think or do. You get the impression that gods have nothing better to do than comment on one’s choice of breakfast cereal, or snark on a tv show, or tell you what to wear every day. These gods seem somewhat more like simple story characters – more personality than archetypes, but similarly limited and predictable in how They will act or react – than the awesome, complex, spiritual Powers that They are.
Now, this level of engagement isn’t without its usefulness. Any way one reaches out to the gods can be good – it keeps you focused on Them, and lays the foundation for deeper levels of communication at other times. Interacting with Them as a “character” can function to keep you at least lightly connected on a more constant basis than you could manage with true, direct contact (which would be hard to keep up while still working, driving, interacting with other people, or anything else that requires a lot of attention). It’s not all in your imagination, it just means that you’re mostly connecting with a surface layer of that deity, one which doesn’t require Them to be particularly (or at least, continually) active in the exchange. But doing this makes you more receptive when the god does fully manifest, which might happen at any time (yes, even while driving – I didn’t claim to be consistent).
Provided, of course, that you recognize the manifestation for the notable and exceptional occurrence that it is. The problem comes when you fail to distinguish between that sort of light contact and the type of intense communion with deity that marks a more substantial communication. Traditional shamans, mystics and witches – around the world and throughout the ages – wouldn’t have developed so many ways of altering consciousness and ritually approaching the gods if it were as simple as talking to Them in your head all day.
The gods are not just people who happen to be invisible and inaudible to most (despite our tendency toward anthropomorphism), and They are not limited to our ideas about Them. If the god you’re hearing never seems to stray (in appearance, tone, message, etc.) from what one would expect based on other people’s experiences, if They never surprise or even shock you, never challenge you, and if They are always there whenever you happen to turn your attention toward Them, then you are probably not touching the true nature of that god. To reiterate, you don’t always need to be doing so. But if you never go further, if you fail to recognize the limits of this everyday chit-chat sort of approach and thus fail to push yourself to access a deeper level of communication, then you will never really know the god you love as thoroughly as you could, and that is a shame, especially for one who aspires to that sort of mystic relationship.