Random Musings

Big Changes Can Be Hard

This is more of a personal post.

I’ve had a lot going on lately. Sometimes life throws  the whole book at you. My absence has not been due to negligence. I find blogging very relaxing. It allows me to connect with others with shared interests. I just haven’t had the time to sit down and do a lot of anything lately that I love doing. My husband and I have been doing a top to bottom remodel of a house we bought with the intention of flipping. Ideally we want to knock this out in a few months because we are planning to make a big relocation to Portland.

Why Portland?

There are a number of reasons. My husband is from Oregon. I’ve been out there a few times and I love it. We have been thinking about moving to that area of the country for while now. I’ve lived in Dallas my whole life. Dallas is so metro centric and hot. Its a concrete jungle. Everything is man made, including most of the parks. I crave the ability to get to go out into the wild and meditate and connect with the gods. I’ve been at my job for about 5 years and I’ve gone as far as I can go in my position and there is no room for growth in my department. We have also gone through several staff changes that have been less than ideal. I make pretty good money but I need more than that. I’ve grown tired of the corporate grind. Working in commercial real state is a hard business and working in the legal portion of it is exhausting. I want more time to devout to my spirituality and ritual. I’ve gotten restless. I have the deep desire to start fresh. I don’t really have any family and my mother passed away two years ago in October so I don’t have any anchors here. If you were given the opportunity to start fresh somewhere, to completely pay off all of your debts and start new would you take it? Who wouldn’t? I’m ready for the next chapter in life. New places, new experiences, new people.

With all of the hustle and bustle my practice in itself has been uprooted. Most of my altar items and books at this point are in boxes. I closed my Etsy shop temporarily until I get settled. I even have much of my tarot collection in boxes. I’ve kept out those decks and books that I go for on a daily basis. In my BOTA lessons I’m focusing on the Wheel of Fortune. There is an ebb and flow. I’ve just got to go with the flow. My intentions are set and are being executed. I do a visualization meditation on my goals and am using Tarot as my guide to listening to my inner voice.

So if you see me posting less in the next coming months that is why! I’m going through some major life changes. I hope for the better. Its all very exciting and nerve racking. I have my fears. What if this is a bad idea? What if this doesn’t work? I’m keeping going like the fool filled with dreams and fancies. Isn’t that what makes life exciting though? The unknown. At the end of the day we live in a world of unknowns just creating constructs to make us feel that we have a grasp on reality.

Here I go plunging  into the wild unknown (tarot reference there!) . I hope you all stay with me on my journey.

 

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Random Musings

Finding the Will Within

Life is filled with forks in the road. That is undeniable. Everyday we are faced with decisions – from the most mundane to life changing. How can we know that we are making the right choices? How do we know that our intuition is leading us in the right direction? I suppose ultimately we can’t know. We may have an absolute certainty that we are making the right choices, but what if that is the wrong decision? Perhaps it was the right decision. Maybe you had to make the wrong decision in order to learn a certain lesson.

The will and purpose of each person can be a funny thing. If you just go online to various message boards and google the will there is heated debate on what that exactly means and how a person finds and follows it.

For me the will in magical terms is the desire or destiny of a person. Its your drive.  Its at its very essence your mission, what you want to do with your life. By looking inside ourselves we can find our true will. We are not born knowing. We come into this world kicking and screaming concerned of only our most basic needs. As we age and become older and wiser the will reveals itself to us. Sometimes it may be hard to face. There is a struggle between the spirit and the flesh. What we know we need to do or want to do at the very core of our soul can be hindered by human emotion. Fear can be a great motivator or a hindrance. It is a survival instinct that can stifle us.

How can we combat this? I don’t think there is an easy answer. We must dig in deep and examine ourselves and our demons. We must face them and look into the abyss head on. Magic can not only help us discover our will but face our fears. Each persons approach will be different. Remember, no one can tell you your will or how to get there. Its a personal path unique to the individual.

The utmost goal of the magician is to work magic in order to make the reality confirm with the will. It is also important to remember that by magic alone you can’t achieve what you want. It works in harmony with your actions and drive. I won’t go into the ethics of achieving the will. That can be a sticky subject in and of itself.

The bottom line is life is short and you only get one shot in this incarnation. Get out there and do your will. Follow your dreams and your passion. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and say fuck it lets do this universe.

 

 

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Random Musings

Finding Time for Magic

I have returned from my business trip. It feels so good to be back home. I hate traveling for business. I was in San Diego and did not have a single opportunity to see anything other than the hotel I was staying in. My whole routine gets disturbed. I’m a homebody and creature of habit. I packed my travel kit for ritual and did not get to pull it out once.

Modern day living can leave little room for magic. If your married, have children and work a full time job then there is very little if any room for solitary time. I do not have children but I am married with a full time job. I have two large dogs and my mother and law lives with me. I have to keep my time for ritual very structured. Sometimes this requires me getting up before anyone else very early in the morning just to have some quiet time undisturbed for meditation. Even though it can take a little juggling and sometimes almost inconvenient for me to find time for my practice I can tell a definite difference if I don’t stay close to my spirituality. It keeps me grounded and centered. I am able to handle challenges better and keep a level head. Below are some tips from personal experience on keeping a practice going in our busy world today.

You can center yourself anywhere I am very fortunate to have a separate room for my practice. I can go and lock myself up in it whenever I want. Sometimes it may not be the quietest of locations depending on who is home. Many people don’t have a designated space for meditation and magic. Centering oneself and meditation are mental activities which means they can be done really anywhere. If your in the car on the way to work and stuck in traffic instead of being angry about sitting on the freeway take advantage of that time to meditate and set your intention for the day. The point is to get creative! Ive used my lunch break at work to go to my car and meditate, pray or center myself. I’m actually a big fan of using the car as sometimes its the only place where we can achieve privacy.

Meditation is about quality not quantityIve written about meditation before. It isn’t about spending an hour trying to remain totally motionless with a blank mind. Certainly you can do that if that’s your form but you do not need to. If all you have time for is a quick ten minute session and your getting benefit from it, that’s great! Form a meditative practice around your wants and needs – and availability. Even five minutes a day can be beneficial than nothing at all. In the long run your sanity will thank you. Even when I was on my business trip I would wake up a little before my meetings started and did a quick meditation and mainly focused on my breath and daily intention. Even that small amount of time helped me stay calm and focused about 4 hours in my marathon meetings.

Vocal declaration may be necessary Sometimes in my home I’ll have to tell my husband I need some time alone. If you have the ability to tell everyone to scram do it! Have open communication with the people in your household. Ask your husband to take the kids out for a couple hours (which he should be doing for mom anyway). I am open with my husband about my practice and I feel that this has given me more ability to do it freely. I think this is especially important if you have a spouse that is not pagan or spiritual in any way.

Money is not an obstacle for spiritual success I love online window shopping for new tarot decks and supplies. I think its important to remember these are wants not needs. You need essentially nothing to have a flourishing spiritual practice. All of your shiny bits and bobs are tools for the mind. I am currently renovating my home to sell and sometimes have to take a step back and ask “do I really need this?”. The needs of the family come before my wants. I believe in our modern world where we are all so connected via internet there can be pressure to have the best altar space or largest tarot collection. Live within your means. Remember, one aspect of your spiritual practice (at least for me) is to try to live with less. Your power lies within your mind, not in the amount of material things you accumulate.

Above all I am guilty of my last point. I inherited the shopping gene from my grandmother. This applies to tarot as well. I love to receive new decks in the mail. Its so exciting opening one for the first time. I’m still working through this one myself.

Do you have any creative tactics for your spiritual practice?

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Random Musings

Tarot and the Spirit

Dictionary.com lists 25 definitions of the spirit, here are just a few:

  1. the principle of conscious life; the vital principle in humans, animating the body or mediating between body and soul.
  2. the incorporeal part of humans: present in spirit though absent in body.
  3. an attitude or principle that inspires, animates, or pervades thought, feeling, or action: the spirit of reform.
  4. the soul or heart as the seat of feelings or sentiments, or as prompting to action: a man of broken spirit.

I would like you to take a moment and think about what the spirit means to you. Can you identify with any of the above?

Let me just start on my ramble and try to explain myself…

Tarot consists of four elements, these elements are fire, water, air and earth. In addition to these four elements there is a fifth – the spirit. To me, the elements are encompassed by the spirit. The spirit relies on these more material elements just like the elements rely on the spirit to be imbued with the life force or aether. If we take this into consideration we can see how the entirety of the Tarot relates to the spirit. Some people only associate the Major Arcana with more spiritual matters and the Minor Arcana with more mundane day to day matters. I feel like every part of the Tarot can be related to the spirit and soul. Through each card we can learn a life lesson to better our spirit on its journey in this lifetime. Matter and spirit are not totally separate forces, they are closely intertwined. There is a symbioses between the two. The mistake I think many people make is seeing these at two totally separate things.  Let me break down each suite and explain further.

Wands – Fire: This suite represents the fire that ignites your spirit. It relates to intuition and that creative spark. Have you ever heard of someone having a creative spirit or a fiery spirit? The spirit houses this drive. Its important to nurture your souls creativity and passion. If we look across the suite of wands we see all of these characters poised to take off on some passionate endeavor, we see the wands themselves shooting across an open landscape with such force behind them. The spirit is being driven and directed in the material realm to feed upon the fire within. Likewise our material body and soul is being fed by the spirit.

Cups – Water: The Cups represent the whole range of human emotions. We can look through this suite and see the full spectrum. Emotion by default is closely and mostly related to the Ego.  Even though most of our emotion is rooted in this there is a higher spiritual emotion or exaltation we experience. Have you ever been so moved during ritual or spell work you could feel it in your core? I do believe that your spirit can be moved in the presence of god to an emotional state we as human beings cannot comprehend, it is the closest thing to being one with god that we can feel. To me this s most closely pictured in the ten of cups, the pentacle of emotional completion.

Swords – Air: Reason, justice, logic, the intellectual realm is the sphere of Hod – these are all of the things we see represented in the Swords. The swords deal with our minds, whether is be mental anguish or happiness. The realm of Fire is greatly dependent on Air to see it through. Once we birth a creative idea or endeavor we need our intellect and reason to see us through to make the best outcome. It helps govern the spirits creativity and direct it to an appropriate end.

Pentacles – Earth: Malkuth – or the material realm is a direct manifestation of the subconscious and the spirit. The spirit uses the human body and earthly realm to manifest into form. If we look throughout the journey of the Pentacles we can see the trials and tribulations the spirit faces manifesting in the material. The spirit uses the human body and material realm as a vessel in order to expand and grow. Each experience we face in this realm has a direct impact on the spirit and what we will face in the next incarnation.

You may have a totally different viewpoint and disagree with me entirely and that is totally okay! A trap I think many people get in is seeing things only one way based on one particular source. My opinions change over time like everyone else based on my experiences. Do you see things differently? Is there any suite that you feel is more related to the spiritual experience?

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Random Musings

My Ancestral Altar

Above is my ancestral altar. The majority of it is dedicated to my grandmother. She brought me home from the hospital when I was born and raised me as her own. I did not know my mother or father until later in my teens. My father did come around more as my grandmother was his father, however, my mother was nowhere to be found. Now we are slowly starting to get to know each other, but I still do not equate her with my “mom”. I was very blessed to be raised by my grandparents. My grandfather passed right before my high school graduation. My grandmother passed about a year and a half ago. It was devastating. After that I decided to set up an altar to her memory as well as my grandfathers.
I do believe that it is very important to remember those that came before you. They laid the groundwork for who you are and where you are today. I do not know what exactly happens when you die. Nobody really knows because nobody can come back to tell us. That adds to the great mystery. When can theorize and postulate. Everyone has their different beliefs. I do believe spirits are a very real thing and it is possible to contact the dead, or something on the other side. The most disturbing thing about my grandmother dying is I did not feel her presence after she passed. Some people claim they can feel their loved ones around. She always swore that she could feel my grandpa sit on the edge of the bed and he also left her pennies. I felt none of that. I tried to, I even tried to make contact and there was nothing. Maybe she moved on or experienced reincarnation, I do not know.

My altar consists of many of her favorite possessions. She collected cookie jars and beanie babies. I also have a lock of her hair from her passing. I leave out offerings and flowers. She loved tomatoes so I frequently leave them out with some fresh herbs. I have other items from her lineage such as her fathers pocket watch and her mothers perfume. Sometimes I smell it to feel close to them. I’ll say a small prayer for protection over it and light candles. The act of this also sets the mood in my sacred space for my meditations and tarot readings. Its a nudge to say “hey if anyone is out there and wants to give me some guidance I’m open!” Many people who regularly work with spirits believe they are aided by opening the channels and asking for their loved ones assistance.

Even if she is not being “appeased” by my offerings it offers comfort to me. In a way it makes me feel close to her still. If she is out there actually watching over me then her presence should be acknowledged.

Below are a few of my tips for keeping an ancestral altar

You do no have to keep an altar for every single relative –  You cannot obviously have an altar for every single person that passed. It should be kept restricted to those who touched your lives the most. That is where the connection is going to be the strongest, and if you are doing spirit work the biggest chance of success is going to be with the deceased you were closest to, not your 3rd cousin Bill who you may have only seen once.

You do no have to keep an altar for those relatives you did not get along with – If my father passed today I would not add him to my altar. He is an alcoholic and meth addict who was verbally and mentally abusive to me throughout life. Why would I honor someone who treated me so cruelly? Your altar should be something you want to do for your loved one, not because you feel obligated. Also I would not want my fathers negative energy in my sacred space. If you calling down the spirits and you believe this energy is tangible you only want to bring positive energy down.

Add offerings regularly – Having an ancestral altar is an interactive process. Consider it the place where you keep conversation with your loved ones. Would you invite your mother to sit at a table covered with dust and cobwebs? Most people would spruce up and at least dust before inviting relatives over. Tending to the altar can be a ritual itself. Keep it clean and tidy. Leave out offering regularly. I leave out food and make sure to throw it away when its gets spoiled. You wouldn’t feel your mother a rotten tomato. The act of leaving offerings should be treated with respect. It has become such a habit for me to keep it tended that I actually feel bad if I don’t.

Your altar doesn’t have to be huge and elaborate – I’ve seen some elaborate and gorgeous altars on pinterest and throughout the web. There are no rules to how big your altar needs to be. It is very personal. Every person will be different based upon their family and traditions. Do not feel like you have to go big or go home. You might have limited space or not very many family possessions. The altar is not about the size or how many things you put on it but the meaning that goes into it itself. If you even have just one picture and candle that is alright because it was constructed by you to create that link. The bottom line is that it is yours, nobody else’s.

If you have any pictures of your altars please share them. Is there any special way you honor your dead?

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Random Musings

Meditation – Everyone’s Least Favorite Chore

I want to take time to discuss meditation. I feel like whenever you bring it up people get grumpy. We live in a society where there is constant stimulation. People can’t sit still or go for five minutes without checking their phones or tablets. This presents a huge problem for those seriously wanting to undertake a magical path. Meditation is an essential first step in being able to control the self. If your not able to sit and focus for five minutes how can one possibly be able to sit for ritual or to cast a spell which requires such an intense amount of mental concentration?

One common misconception is that meditation requires the blanking of the mind. It does not. That is one form of meditation, and it is a very important skill to learn, however, there is so much more. You can meditate on a certain image, concept, breath, such a number of things. It is something that starts out slow to learn. At first one may be only able to sit for a few minutes without fidgeting. Over time this will grow.

You don’t have to sit for hours like a stoic Tibetan monk. I typically take about ten minutes most days. I would say a total of fifteen because it usually takes me about five minutes to sit and get into the proper state. It isn’t about the length of time you meditate, but the quality.  Consistency is key. I try to meditate at the same time every day. I find it easier, my body gets into a routine. I always burn some essential oils and begin by focusing on my breath and let my mind wander. It decompresses the day. I roll back through everything that happened and let my mind be a neutral observer. After I get into a light trance state I reel my mind back in and see where it goes. Sometimes I may focus on a goal or if I am studying a particular tarot card I will focus on that and the symbolism behind it.

I think in the next month or so I am going to put together some free material on my tips and suggestions on how to meditate. Ive become such a believer that it is a cornerstone of any magical practice that I can’t see any other way to practice magic without it being integrated. If anyone has anything that they have found helpful in developing a meditation routine let me know. I love finding new things to incorporate.

 

 

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personal business, Random Musings

Current Concepts

I want to briefly outline my beliefs and current concepts I’m working with. This blog will be a combination of tarot and my various occult interest. With that being said I think its  it’s important to outline a little more my beliefs at the moment. I emphasize at the moment because that’s subject to change. I’m a firm believer in staying fluid, being able to change your views and system of thought based on new information. In studying the occult I think people too often get tied up with one system of the magic or the other. While I do think that systems of magic should stay separate to a certain extent I do think it’s important to realize over the course of your magical career that ten or twenty years from now you might find yourself identifying with a totally different belief system.

At the moment I’m totally engrossed in:

  • The Qabalah – I grew up in a very religious southern Baptist home. We went to church every Sunday and Wednesday for family activities. I find the Qabalah comforting. I can get down on the Bible and the Zohar. These are concepts I’m familiar with and make the most sense to me. I have found it the easiest for me to understand and learn. My magical practice is heavily influenced by the Golden Dawn and Qabalistic Magic. I love to study the correlations between the Bible and Tarot. I think that it can really enrich your magical practice and give greater meaning to your tarot readings.
  • Lucid Dreaming – I’m currently experimenting with lucid dreaming and astral projection. I have lucid dreamed on occasion. My end goal is to be able to lucid dream on possibly a nightly basis and move into astral projection. Currently I’m reading Astral Dynamics by Robert Bruce. This is a very long term goal. I will be happy if I can just lucid dream on an even more regular basis. Dream are such an important window into the unconscious. I record my dreams daily and even if I can’t remember them to see if there is any pattern. One thing I have learned is that lucid dreaming is hard, at least for me anyway. For some people it seems to come so easily! It requires a lot of mental training. With working as much as I do this has been a struggle for me, by the time I get home from work sometimes I really don’t want to do anything and I just can’t seem to get motivated to meditate or do any kind of mental exercises dealing with concentration or visualizations. I really just want to “veg” out and become one with my couch and dogs.
  • Builders of the Adytum – I recently became an associate of Builders of the Adytum (BOTA). I have to say that the lessons have been fantastic. For $18.00 a month they send you a group of lessons dealing primarily with the Tarot and Qabalah. They have monthly meet ups in various cities. I do want to point out that I have seen a lot of complaints on the internet about the material quality of the lessons. They come no frills. Don’t expect any big glossy pamphlets or high color lessons. They keep their printing costs low because its not about the paper it comes printed on, its about the material within. For a little background this organization was started by Paul Foster Case who was a member of the Golden Dawn. He broke off and started the Builders of the Adytum – a mystery school in Los Angeles. Though I do incorporate Golden Dawn Rituals into my practice I think at the moment BOTA is the best mystery school around. The Golden Dawn is a little too showy for my taste, though I do think there is tremendous value to their teachings. BOTA is just a little more low key.

Of course there is always more. This post serves as just a random ramble of some things on my mind.

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