Not All Heathens Are Racist

I wish I didn’t have to write this.  I wish that those that hold so much hate in their hearts would recognize what a poison it is.  I wish they would know that everything they touch in hate becomes distorted and twisted to the point that it no longer represents anything of value.  But hate does exist in this world.  And it has reared its ugly head once again at racist demonstrations that cause pain and destruction.

So, while I continue to send out prayers and meditations for peace, I know that still more must be done.  Especially now, when those with hate have started to publicly twist and change what I hold dear and force it to speak of segregation, superiority and other such nonsense.

As many of my oaths are to Norse Gods, I identify the most as a Heathen Woman.  And as I said I would when I took those oaths, I strive everyday to be a better person not only for my own personal benefit, but also to better my community as a whole.  Heathens stand strong and do our best to live in accordance with our personal truths.  And while these personal truths vary at times, the outcome is still the same:  we learn about and work on our own shortcomings, we recognize when we have wronged another and do what we can to make it right and we strive to be stronger so that we can aid those who are not as strong as we are.

With these values in my heart and in my mind each day, I cannot tell you how angry and hurt I felt watching those with hate in their hearts take symbols of my religion and pervert their meanings.  But that is exactly what happened in Charlottesville, and is what continues to happen now that a platform exists that emboldens these people to come out into the public eye.

The perversion of symbols is not a new thing.  Of course Christianity has been battling it for years here in the United States with the burning of the cross.  But since Christianity is more mainstream; it is much easier to recognize when the symbol is perverted and when it is utilized for love and inclusion.  But now that Heathen symbols are getting the same treatment, we find ourselves in a situation where anyone who wears any symbol related to Norse history or the Heathen religion is suspect.  Heathens like me are now ‘guilty until proven innocent’ of the racist crimes of our so-called brothers and sisters.

Personally, I have struggled with this new reality.  I’m not sure if there is much more of a response that I can give except to pray, do what work I can on a metaphysical level, and to donate money toward causes of unity and aid for the victims of violence.  But as these racist groups strive for more and bigger platforms to spew their hate, more needs to be done to counter their effects.

The Heathen community as a whole is working on a multifaceted approach to combat this hate.  Many of us have pledged our support in the form of a declaration (Declaration 127), which names one of the heathen organizations that spews such hate.  Other organizations as well as prominent Heathen authors have also come out publicly denouncing any attempt at dividing Heathens by race, sexuality or belief.

IMG_4699-1
Me, ready for work, with my Valknut necklace on

While these are great and wonderful starts, the work will not be as valuable as it can be if we don’t also reach out to the general public and educate them about how these racist groups are truly the minority.  And that is one reason why I am writing and publishing this post.  It is also why I continue to wear my Valknut, a symbol of the Heathen religion and one trying to be taken over by racist groups as a symbol of hate.  I know the day will come when someone at work, or someone on the street looks at the symbol and recognizes it from a racist demonstration or from the media.  And hopefully when that day comes, my demeanor will allow that person to be comfortable enough with me to ask me why I wear it.  And I will gladly explain why it is a symbol of my religion, and more importantly, that we aren’t all racist.

I also encourage anyone who has a question or is concerned to come forward and ask.  At the very least, you can do an internet search using the key terms “heathens against racism” and you will see countless numbers of articles that will give you a short summary of the work Heathens across the United States and beyond are doing in order to combat the racism in our own community.

In the meantime, I continue to do what I can on a personal level to combat hate.  And I pray that someday we will no longer have to worry about these divisions in our society as we will finally have learned to come together as an integrated whole.

Meditation for Peace

Since Friday night it feels like the United States has been in turmoil.  Foes that we had hoped were long dead, or at least not able to congregate in numbers showed up at our doorstep and the wrath this evil has caused people to be injured and lose their lives.  I don’t want to speak gloom and doom and say that this is just the beginning.  But with the current regime in place, it very well could be.  Other events have already been planned in other major cities this coming weekend.

I’m not going to tell everyone that can to jump on trains, planes and buses to try to counter the protests.  I’m not saying it is the right thing to do.  For some people, perhaps being there is the right thing for them.  But for others who cannot get out there or others like me who would probably be more of a detriment to the counter protests because of my chronic illnesses, we have to think of other ways to help the situation. So, this morning I did a meditation for peace, and I’d like to share that here.

I will be doing these meditations as much as possible throughout the coming days and months.  Meditation is a part of my daily practice, and if I can devote some of that time to sending peace out into a world that desperately needs it, then I believe that is very worthy of my time.

The meditation also provides healing and strength to the person meditating.  This is also very important.  Being bombarded with tragic events and the commentary that goes on for days afterward is painful, and it takes its toll.  Therefore, caring for yourself first is an absolute necessity.  The person that takes care of themselves will be more able to care for more of the people that need it and for a longer time frame than the person who pours out everything they have for another.

It may feel like simply meditating toward peace is not enough.   In response to tragedies, many people say, “I will pray for you.” They then say a silent prayer to whomever needs it.  Their duty done with the single prayer, they may feel they have helped the situation.  And while prayers are an effective vehicle to send petitions to spirit, the meditation that I propose is something that can be done repeatedly.  The more often it is done, the stronger the petition and the stronger the energy that comes into the world.

When you meditate for peace, you will also be joining countless others who are doing the same thing.  As a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD), every ceremony that I do includes a call to peace for the world.  The order also holds monthly peace mediations on the day of the full moon.  You can find more information about this on the OBOD’s website.  OBOD also works with The Peace Foundation to help cultivate peace through meditation, silence and prayer.

Below is the meditation that I practice.  The meditation can go as long as you wish, I strive for a minimum of 15 minutes a day, but if you only have five to work with, that is very acceptable as well. It is better that the meditation is done in the time you have than not done at all.

 

Find a comfortable place to sit; either in a chair, on a pillow or simply on the ground.  When you are in your comfortable position, take three slow, deep breaths to center yourself for what is ahead.  When you are ready, close your eyes. 

Visualize a white light starting to glow at the soles of your feet.  As the white light touches your feet, you feel it’s gentle, peaceful energy. Let the white light come into your feet, relaxing them.  Now feel the light start to rise up into your ankles and into your knees.  Feel your muscles relax as the relaxing and gentle light nourishes every cell as it pours into your body.  The light is now rising into your legs, your hips and torso.  You feel the gentle relaxation it brings even stronger now as it fills your chest, nourishing your heart with gentleness and peace.     Feel the white light climb up to your shoulders and spill down your back and your arms.  Gently, it starts moving up your neck into your head. 

Take a moment and let the gentleness of the white light settle into your body.  Let it relax your muscles and bring peace to your spirit. 

Realize that the white light that surrounds you is infinite; and can easily be shared with the world.  And as you realize this, feel the light start to pool within your hands. 

Say to yourself ‘May there be peace in the east.”  Then send the light from your hands into that direction, covering all that live within the east with peace.  Send the light for as long as you feel is appropriate.

Take a breath and focus your attention to the south.  Feel the light again pool into your hands.  Say to yourself ‘May there be peace in the South’ and send the light from your hands into that direction, covering all that live within the south with peace.  Send the light for as long as you feel is appropriate.

Take a breath and focus your attention to the West.  Feel the light pool into your hands.  Say to yourself ‘May there be peace in the West’ and send the light from your hands into that direction, covering all that lives within the west with peace.  Send the light for as long as you feel is appropriate.

Take a breath and focus your attention to the North.  Feel the light pool into your hands.  Say to yourself, ‘May there be peace in the North’ and send the light from you hands into that direction, covering all that lives within the north with peace.    Send the light for as long as you feel is appropriate.

Feel all the light that you sent covering the entire globe.  Say to yourself ‘May the entire world know peace.’.  Stay with this moment for as long as you wish.  When you are ready, thank the Great spirit/Divinity by whatever name you choose and come out of your meditation.

 

Some people may think meditation is not enough.  But I believe it is something.  Life is not going to stop for all of us to take a stand at a counter protest and deal with this hate.  But that doesn’t mean we all don’t have a part to play.  In contemplating this, a quote by Helen Keller came into my email this morning that sums things up beautifully:

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.”

~ Helen Keller

If you have additional resources, perhaps donating money to the cause might be something you want to do.  Here is an article about where to donate if you wish to donate directly to those hurt in the tragedy.  Also, the Southern Poverty Law Center does excellent work to expose these hate groups in the nation.  They can always use more donations.

Consider too donating to charities in the town of Charlottesvile itself.  Sooner or later the media will be leaving, and the local charities will need to take their place to help rebuild after the hate.

Finally, please take care of yourself.  We are being bombarded by media telling us all about the problems in this country.  We regularly see arguments take off on message boards and on social media outlets like Facebook, and right now it looks like there is no end in sight.  Whether you believe it or not, all of this takes a toll on your mind, body and spirit.  If you feel like it’s too much, consider turning off your TV, taking a break from social media or reaching out to someone to find healthy ways of dealing with the barrage of news that plays nonstop.  Taking care of yourself is always a key factor when healing others

 

 

Photo from Deviant Art

Limiting Beliefs

I suck at math. Seriously.  I am BAD at it.

Or at least I thought I was….

When I was in junior high and had to pick my classes for the first time, I picked the lowest level math class I could just because I felt like I was THAT bad.  From then on, I took only the required math classes.  And the feeling of just being bad stayed with me, even when I received high marks in all those classes.

College just confirmed my suspicions at how crappy my math skills were.  I wasn’t prepared for college level math, so everything was twice as hard for me.  I worked very hard just to squeak by those classes.

Now, because my day job means I work with engineers and all their lab studies and technical reports regularly, I have no choice but to immerse myself in those scary numbers.  The math comes with the territory and the job description; I must do it.  So, undaunted, I started working through the reports.  And something surprising happened.  I’m not as bad at them as I thought.

How can someone who was bad at math all through school start understanding some of the concepts now so many years later?  I think it has to do with my perception.  Back in school, I hated math, thus, I also felt like I was ‘bad’ at it.  And that perception stayed with me.  Sure, I tried to be better, but since my belief about myself was “I am bad at this” I didn’t get very far without a lot of hard work.  It’s a great example of how your beliefs can be so limiting.

Had I decided I was better at math back in junior high, perhaps I would have picked a different class; perhaps one that wasn’t so remedial, and then I would have been able to learn more concepts, which would have allowed my college classes to go much smoother.

When I realized that it was my own personal belief that held me back, I knew I could have done one of two things.  The first was that I could have been mad at myself by thinking about ‘what could have been’.  The second was that I could take this as something to learn about myself and see what I could do to change the belief.  I’ve chosen the latter.  At least I’m TRYING to choose the latter.

Identifying the limiting belief is only part of the problem.  There is a second piece to getting rid of the limiting belief, and that is working toward changing the habits and patterns that reinforce the belief in the first place.  For my limiting math belief; it means I’m doing my best to not shriek and run for the nearest calculator when I’m faced with numbers that need to be crunched.  Instead, I’m doing my best to give it a shot in my head, and then if I don’t feel confident in the solution, then I pull out the calculator.

And to my amazement, 90% of the time I don’t need that calculator.

There have been many times on my spiritual journey through this life that I have encountered people that had limiting beliefs like I do.  Perhaps they don’t feel like they can follow their dream career path, feel they are a horrible parent or simply don’t have the skills or talent to follow what they feel in their heart.  I hurt for these people; especially when they speak so passionately about their dreams or how they want to overcome something in their life, yet they feel stuck; chained to a specific spot in their life that they cannot escape.  Realizing that the belief they hold is limiting will allow someone to break that chain.  Having the courage to start actions to erase that belief from your brain ensures that the chain isn’t there again to catch you.

The process isn’t easy.  Habits and beliefs don’t get formed quickly, and they don’t go away very quickly.  But the process of doing the work can be as spiritually rewarding as you want it to be; a personal victory that reminds you that your life is your own, and it is what you make of it.

For me, I’ll probably always have a calculator around.  But at least I know now that I am not as bad at math as I kept telling myself I was.

The Ethics of Divination

I am honored when someone seeks me out for an intuitive tarot reading.  This person is asking for me to give them insight into their life, and that is serious business.  Even the clients that come in occasionally for the fun of it realize that divination can bring good insight and information.  Therefore it is my job (and my honor) to give them the most accurate reading I can.

When I first started giving readings almost 25 years ago, there wasn’t a set of ethical guidelines that I knew of for Tarot Readers. Over the years I realized one was necessary, so I came up with my own set of guidelines that I follow for each and every reading.

I take this stuff very seriously, and I hope other readers do the same.

  1. Readings shall be confidential
    A lot of the readings I have done over the years involved very personal circumstances.  While the reading itself may not pick out specifics, the client many times will volunteer further information when they realize what it is I am talking about. Once the client starts to recognize the reader understands the situation, they relax.  Many times, that means the lines of “reader/client” relationships starts to blur into to one of two friends are discussing a problem.  The Reader becomes a become trusted adviser and sometimes a counselor.  It is for this very reason that I keep all readings confidential.  This is also why I try to speak in a lower tone while doing readings in public.  One disclaimer here – Should a client openly speak about committing actions that are clearly against the law, the reader should report these actions to the authorities.  In most states, rules of confidentially only apply to licensed clergy, doctor/patient privilege, spousal privilege and attorney/client privilege.  Should the reader keep serious crimes they are aware of their clients committing (or considering committing) to themselves, it could be considered bad karma, and in rare cases, the reader could be subject to prosecution.  For those of us with legal clergy licenses, it is also something that you could be bound to do, depending on the oaths you took regarding your specific clergy designation.
  2. Readings shall not be biased
    In smaller communities it is very common to read the same person multiple times. It might be hard, but it is very important to go into readings with repeat clients in a non-biased manner.  If the reader comes into the reading remembering the previous month’s reading with the client, they may miss something new and important that is happening now.  Circumstances change frequently and unless the reader is aware of every moment of the client’s life between readings, it is very hard to connect one reading with another. In smaller communities it is also easy to overhear gossip about other people.  We are human, and whether or not we participate in that gossip, having it in the back of your mind when you do a reading for someone whose issues are well known can also cause bias.  It is very important that should the reader be aware of possible situations that they try to be as unbiased as possible.  This may mean that the reader has to excuse themselves instead of possibly giving a biased reading.  I would much rather do that than to try and push it with someone I have strong feelings toward, or if I know something about a question than to deal with the karma (or the client’s patrons, guardians and spirit friends!) that a biased reading would cause.

 

  1. Each client gets 100% of the attention, 100% of the time
    At least once every other month I get a request from a client that wants to “test” me. This person may not believe in divination, or was ‘put up’ to getting one from their friends as a joke.  Or someone might be testing my ability before they recommend me to a friend.  In every one of these cases it is very important that the reader treats the clients with the same respect as they would treat any other client.  There have been many times I have turned skeptics into believers because of my professional attitude and accuracy. Does this mean that all readings must be done with the utmost seriousness?  Not really.  Humor has its place in readings too.  However, being humorous should not also mean being disrespectful to the client, their guides, your guides or divinity in general.

 

  1. Readers shall not diagnose health issues unless they are properly trained and certified to do so
    This is BIG TIME important. As a medical intuitive, I have on occasion gotten information about medical issues my clients are having.  But I fully recognize I am not a trained nurse or doctor.  In those cases, I might ask if they have spoken to their doctor regarding a specific system of the body.  If they have not spoken to their doctor, I tell them the indicator that I am seeing and suggest it might be something to ask their doctor.  I NEVER, EVER try to diagnose something.  This is the same guidelines I follow should a mental health issue come up in a reading.  Another disclaimer,  if someone is threatening to hurt someone else or themselves, take it seriously and report it.  You don’t have to let the client know you are doing it.  Just get as much information as you can, and report it to the proper authorities after the reading is completed.

 

  1. Readers shall not internalize the client’s reading and/or the client’s issues 
    This was SO HARD for me to learn.  Most readers have an empathic nature, if they are not a full blown empath themselves.  So when serious issues come up during readings, it’s hard not to internalize problems.  We want the best for our clients.  Therefore it’s hard not to get upset when something comes up.  But the reader has to do everything that they can to release that energy.  This has serious consequences for the reader, especially if it is allowed to build.  Regular spiritual cleansings, taking breaks between readings and letting go all of the information about the reading after it is over are all good ways to release that energy.  The reader should also recognize their own endurance here.  If I am constantly giving readings for several hours, I know I am going to need significant time the next day to rest and recharge.

 

  1. Readers shall forgive themselves for readings that appear inaccurate
    I have seen this come up a couple of different ways. First, I’ve had clients whose energy reads like a black hole – there ain’t NOTHING coming out of the cards, nor is there any energy coming from the client.  A second way is that I feel like I didn’t properly communicate the information or a concern that I was trying to explain to the client.  In both of those cases, I need to trust my guides and my gifts to do the reading and accept what is happening.  It’s happening that way for a reason.  I have to pull my feelings out of it and do my absolute best.  That is all I can do.
    Finally, I might be reading for a child, a person who speaks broken English or a client that does not have much understanding of energy or spiritual work..  In those cases I do my best to use terminology that I know the client understands.  I know I need patience, and I also may need to explain the same information in multiple ways using different terminology.

 

As well as adhering to those guidelines, I also try to present myself in a professional manner.  I dress comfortably, but I still dress as I would for a day at the office.  I also try to wear clothes that are lighter in color to help reflect some of the energies that can come from a reading.

So that’s my list!  It has changed just a little bit over time.   I’m happy to know that there are tarot organizations out there that have guidelines similar now, but I still think these fit for the experiences I have had over the years.

If you have additional guidelines or ethics that you follow, or have any questions about these guidelines, feel free to share!

A New Beginning

So, why a website and blog?

This isn’t my first attempt at a blog.  When I first started doing intuitive readings I decided to try my hand at one.  It failed miserably because the intent was wrong.  I was doing it with the intention of marketing my ‘product’ of the intuitive readings.  Marketing spiritual stuff never goes right.  It doesn’t matter how good the ‘product’ is.  if you are constantly thinking about your ‘brand’, what people will like, and what you think you can do to engage people, you aren’t going to get anywhere.

20604381_488843514841643_2544165614029317918_n.jpgSo, I tried a different name and did it again.  And this time, it went over better, but it still wasn’t great.  Again, it started to become more about what I wanted people to see, and not enough about what I wanted to write about. I was changing who I was in order to get more page likes.

So I guess the third time is the charm, right?

I guess it’s a lesson that I have to relearn from time to time.   Never, ever put yourself out there spiritually unless you absolutely believe in what it is you are doing and if it feels right.

And this time, it actually does.