Spirituality in a Bullet Journal

I am a true Ravenclaw organizational nut.  Office supply stores are my candy stores.  The hubby hates it when I go to one because I can’t help but look at everything and we end up being there much longer than anticipated.

In an effort to become even more organized, this year I’ve tried out three different organizational planning systems, and finally settled into a bullet journal system this week.  And I love it.  For those who are not aware what a bullet system is, it’s basically a simple journal that has pages that are dot gridded instead of lined.  This allows you to  do whatever you need on each page.  Follow a set of rules to organize, and you have one bullet journal.  This is the article that got me started.

As I was putting my mundane things into my new journal, I was reminded of a witch friend of mine who unfortunately had a short stint in jail about 20 years ago.  As he was there before there was any allowance of paganism in local and state penitentiaries, he made his magical tools out of paper, which worked very well for him.  If paper could work for tools, why couldn’t a bullet journal also be utilized?  So here is my brainstorm of what types of things could be done in bullet journal format.  Some of these things I’ve already put in my book, while others may take longer to vet out the concept for my personal practices.

 

Prayer Cards/Altars
This one sounds like a given.  There are many different types of prayer cards from many different religions that could easily be placed in a journal and opened when you want a moment of silence with your deity.  However, this idea could be taken further.  I have an ancestor altar at home that contains many of the funeral cards of passed family and friends.  Why not take a scan of those cards, print them out and set up a specific page just for them?  This will allow you to keep the original card safe at home, yet you will be able to pray to or send an offering whenever needed.  Simply open up the journal to your ancestor altar, say your prayer and put the offering before the page.  Then dispose of the offering as necessary after your ceremony is over.

If the book could be utilized for an ancestor altar, it means it could also translate over very well to be an altar to a God or Goddess.  It would also allow the owner of the journal to collect whatever they wish to put together the page, or to draw whatever they feel is right for their particular deity.  You then have a beautiful way to connect with your spirituality, and people around you won’t notice anything out of the ordinary.

 

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Reiki pages in my Bullet Journal

Reiki and Spell Pages
There is a concept I teach in my Reiki classes that allows someone to receive Reiki 24/7.  It’s called a Reiki box.  The basic idea is to decorate the inside of a small box with Reiki symbols.  Then you write people’s names on a slip of paper and add it into the box, finally charging and setting the intentions.  This allows the Reiki to be sent to whomever’s name is within the box.

This could easily be modified into a bullet journal.  Fill two pages facing each other with Reiki symbols.  Then names can be discreetly added by use of a small piece of paper, by post it note and a small amount of tape.  I prefer to utilize post it notes to write names as I include specific symbols on the post it note itself based on the need of the person.  The sticky part of the note then becomes a ‘seal’ to help solidify the work.

Of course, you don’t have to do this with just Reiki symbols.  Any system of symbols would work. I have also used RunValdur and rune staves with post it notes and it works just fine.  Using this concept, I’ve done healing spells, blessings and even prosperity and protection work. This is only limited by your imagination.

To ease any concerns about the energy ‘bleeding over’ into other areas of the journal or for more in depth work, the pages could be separated from other lists by additional blank pages.  Bind runes or other symbols could be used on the separating pages to keep the energy contained, much like how it is done on many types of altars in use today.  For in depth work, I would suggest setting up the boundaries first before setting up the working space.

 

Divination
Using a book for divination practice is very common.  And a bullet journal can easily be utilized for this practice.  And again, you are only limited by your imagination.  I currently have the Elder Futhark set of rune staves in my journal for this purpose, and plan to also add Welsh Triads and quotes dear to me in the future.   Passages from holy books could also be used.  The divination area could even be used for automatic writing or drawing.  Again, if you are concerned about energy bleeding over into other lists and calendars, separate the pages and create boundaries as necessary.

 

Learning and Exploring New Concepts
I learn best by hand writing the concepts that I am trying to learn.  It’s one reason why the Elder Futhark runes already exist in my bullet journal.  The more I write, the more I understand the concepts and how they relate to me.

Another option to use the journal is for exploring spiritual ideas or projects.  Brainstorming tools and creativity concepts are excellent when you feel stuck or want to do some internal spiritual work.  I frequently use mind maps to help work with spirits, draft potential spell work or to put together ceremonies and holiday celebrations.

 

Don’t Lose the Journal
The more dependent you become on something, the more afraid you are to lose it.  And if you are planning on putting that many aspects of your life into a journal like I do, it means the book becomes very important.  That is why I also put a prayer in each book that speaks to the book only falling in the hands of whom it is in intended for, and to ensure it doesn’t get lost.  The prayer that I use comes from Marion Weinstein’s book “Earth Magic: A Dianic Book of Shadows” but anything that fits your particular practice or spirituality could be easily substituted.

 

My Personal Practice – Always More to Learn
As an organizational nut, the bullet journal has made me realize there are many other things that I need to learn from a spiritual perspective that don’t have anything to do with writing anything magic-related into it’s pages.  I can’t just rip out a page if I write something wrong (well, I could, but then that would leave it very messy).  White out also only goes so far.  This means taking my time writing what you want in your journal is key to keeping it neat and organized.  And when you do make mistakes, I don’t have to beat myself up for them.    So I’m being given another lesson in patience and mindfulness as I fill out the pages.  I am certain that anyone else who picks up this method of organization will also have mindful and spiritual concepts and lessons they learn along the way as they use it, even if they don’t realize what it is they are learning.

My spirituality is intertwined with my everyday life.  It just makes sense to me then that common tools that you use in everyday tasks could also be used for spiritual development as well.  As I think of more, I’ll write about them here.  Or please feel free to tell me how you might be using these tools for your own spiritual growth!

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Required Self Care for Today’s Environment

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One of my favorite places to ground and escape the worries, even for a few minutes.

After the 2016 elections, I realized the next four years were going to be a ride up and down the emotional spectrum.  But I never expected that not even two years into this we would be so far up to our eyeballs in scandals, heart breaking images and downright deceitful mismanagement of our government.  These are scarier times than I could ever imagine happening, and I am concerned they are going to just simply get worse before they get better.

Everywhere you turn, there are calls and please for activism and help.  From articles on how you can help to calls for donations to marches being planned, almost everyone can find something to do to resist if they wish.  But if you are a hypersensitive empath like me, you are probably also getting significantly overwhelmed by the amount of anger, sadness and downright panic in the air.  Here in Michigan, it’s as thick as the clouds in the sky.

So for sanity’s sake, I want to remind everyone that you need to take care of yoursselves and provide suggestions to do so.  Perhaps many of the things here are self explanatory, and are simply ‘no-brainer’ suggestions.  But if you are as overwhelmed as I am at the current on-goings, even those simple ideas can slip your mind as you try desperately to keep some sort of sanity after being bombarded with pain, hurt and despair all day.

 

You do not have to do all the things in order to be involved.
I love the signs during the previous resistance marches that spoke to how even introverts are protesting.  And those signs are the truth!  There are too many things going on to not be upset and want to get involved.  But many of us lack the strength and stamina to fight everything.  We have jobs, homes and families to take care of, and those take significant resources and time.  And if you are like my husband and I, you are also trying to prepare for whatever economical backlash is going to occur thanks to this craziness.  That means trying to save money even though you would rather spend it on a protest trip to D.C.

You do not have to push yourself to do everything in order to be effective.  Yes, there is a lot of ‘asks’ out there right now.  But you don’t have to feel guilty for saying ‘no’.  Humans only have a finite number of resources, and many of us have been pushing resistance now for almost two years.  We are tired, and many of us are depleted so badly that it is becoming natural to be more negative about the world.  Some can’t even see any good in this world anymore.  Instead we are simply existing, taking notes about the next bad decision the government has made in order to figure out the next thing we have to write a letter about, or protest we have to attend.  It’s time we start taking more time to recharge and focus on our own personal needs so that when we have the energy and are grounded enough to help again, we can be the most effective.

Only do the things you can.  This goes hand in hand with picking and choosing what we do to resist.  We have to be selective.  If that means you can only donate $5 to the ACLU, a refugee organization or a local community not-for-profit, then that is all you can do.  You are still doing something.  I know ‘thoughts and prayers’ are getting a seriously bad rap right now thanks to the gun control issues, but doing an active prayer is still something.  Have friends over for a prayer service and share dinner.  Charge and light candles for peace.  The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids ask their members to meditate and pray for peace each full moon, and would love to have you join them.  You can get some ideas for your own peaceful prayers at the OBOD website or from the Peace Mantra Foundation.  If prayer is done with a heartfelt intent, it will still help.

 

Take a break from the media, and unfollow those you need to.
I know trying to turn off the news is like trying to tear your eyes off a horrible train wreck.  Tuning into social media is also a hard habit to break right now.  But if your news feeds are like mine they are full of outraged people on both sides throwing memes that may or may not have any basis of fact up on their timelines.   So by tuning in to these sources, all you are doing is inundating yourself with more negativity.  If you truly must get on social media, consider trimming your friends list, or unfollowing those who decide to post things that get you upset the most.  Yes, that may mean that you are unfollowing your extended family.  THIS IS OK.  Your own mental health is more important than seeing things that upset you.  And that family member is not going to know you even unfollowed them in the first place.  Better yet, take a total hiatus from Facebook for a week or two.  It might be hard at first, but it will help you feel better and help you replenish your reserves faster.

For those of you on Twitter, I would highly recommend that you follow fun and happy things like Thoughts of Dog or We Rate Dogs to get an unexpected smile in your twitter feed.  Or do like I do and get notifications for these two feeds and only get on twitter to see what they posted.

 

For your own sake, DO NOT READ PUBLIC COMMENTS!
As we all know, there are such things as trolls; people who just love to get others riled up on a social media website.  It doesn’t matter how many facts you send their way, it doesn’t matter how reasonable you try to be.  Their total purpose is to get other people upset.  They are not worth speaking to.  The only way you can be reasonable with with someone like that is to not participate in the discussion.

Trolls can be everywhere, even in the news feeds of your friends or people you follow.  If you see someone belittling someone else or posting memes in a comment feed, chances are you found one.  Don’t bother trying to convince someone actively trying to upset someone else on a social media site.  You will only end up getting upset yourself.

 

If you see a headline that is distressing, look for the sensationalism.
The media’s job is to get clicks to their websites and get people to read their stories.  But in their effort to do so, bias will ultimately make it’s way in.  For example, recently there was a Quinnipiac Poll that the media took to mean that a majority of Republicans agree with Trump on separating children at the border.  But look at the poll itself – only 905 voters were surveyed nationwide.  So out of the millions of people in the United States, can we trust a poll whose sample size was significantly less than 1%?  Although the media may make it sound like our current state of society is ‘hurt or be hurt’, there is inherent good in the world, and not everyone is out to get someone else,

Realize that both sides are using ‘gotcha’ bites to garner support.  Yes, I said BOTH sides.  And most of the time all these memes are doing is getting people more and more upset. Consider that before sharing or posting one, and also consider that before responding to one you see.

Memes are basically the new chain letters.  They don’t provide any plausible points toward or against something, and many times are made by people distorting the facts.  If something looks incorrect about a picture or a statement on a meme, research it!  You will most likely find it’s sensationalized or all out false.

 

DO NOT FEEL GUILTY for not doing more!
I said it above, and I’m stressing it again here.  This is one that has hit me hard recently, and is one of the main reasons for this post.  We are all worn down from the day to day goings on.  We are continuing to try to comprehend issues during this heightened awareness state we live in.  Therefore we are all already do not have sufficient amounts of energy to deal with their own thoughts and feelings.  Our minds can easily get away from us and cause us to fret over each and every thought that flows into our head.  If this was a more ‘normal’ environment, we wouldn’t have this problem and could dismiss thoughts that aren’t rational.  But this situation isn’t normal.

Since the situation isn’t normal, and we aren’t able to more calmly rationalize with ourselves, we could easily get guilted into doing more than we can or spending more than we can on ‘righteous’ goods or causes and volunteering for more than we can handle.  It’s the ‘helium hand’ on steroids.  And it’s not good on our psyche.

One of the ways to avoid this guilt is to give yourself a spending limit or time limit on how much you are going to do per week or per month.  Once that limit is met, you don’t do anything until your next budget cycle rolls around.  If you feel guilty, you think about the things you did do that week or month, and remind yourself you did contribute to the cause.  You may think, “but what if another crisis arises?!”  The thing is, and I’m very sorry to say it, there will always be another crisis in this presidency.  It’s the nature of the madman at the helm and the network of crewmen he’s put around him.  But that crisis will continue to be around until your next budgeted amount of time, money and energy is available and you can do something about it then.

 

Keep grounded and centered.
Doing things like mindfulness, meditation or grounding and centering exercises are excellent ways to stop every small issue from becoming larger in your mind.  Mindful magazine is an excellent resource for those interested in mindfulness techniques.  And apps like Calm, Insight Timer and Buddhify are great for first time and seasoned meditators.  Many pagan stores will hold general grounding and centering classes you can attend to learn about how to proactively protect yourself.  Stones like Labradorite, Hematite and Obsidian are great to have around to help balance energies during the day.  Smelling essential oils like Lavender, or drinking chamomile tea can also help ground and center you.  Even taking a walk in a local park or working in your garden will help balance your energy.

 

The only way we are going to be able to get through this precarious time with some semblance of health is to work on taking care of your self as vigilantly and as passionately as you take care of your family and the causes you hold dear.  Self care should be a daily effort.

This is not the only time in our history that things have felt precarious.  It most certainly won’t be the last.  I am happy to see how many are engaged in the efforts to secure equal rights and protections, and I will also continue to help where I can.  However, even when things seem the darkest, I don’t believe we should put these causes in front of our own health and well being.   I have hope that things will change for the better, and we can get through this.  Let’s just take care of ourselves while we work toward that better future.

 

Why I Do Divination for Others

A lady is at her wit’s end and seeking answers from wherever she can.  A couple come to see if they can get more guidance about their relationship.  A group wants to have a fun day out.  A gentleman seeks information about a possible business deal.  Two brothers decide they want to see what this divination stuff is all about.

These are all reasons I’ve heard from my clients over the years about why they are coming to get a reading.  And there are many others I’ve heard too.  But no matter the reason, I am thankful they came to me to receive a reading.  For me it’s not just a parlor game; doing readings is a serious business and a service for others.

 

A Little Reading History
The first time I did readings for others was around 1993.  Friends of mine wanted some more information on something, so I volunteered since I was the one of the group who had been studying the tarot.  And while I wasn’t able to provide much information back then, the idea of being able to help others with divination stuck.  From that point on I would occasionally pull out my deck when friends had the occasional question.  I’d do my best to plod along through the reading.  I was learning as I go, and each reading got a little better.

Near the end of the 90s, I was asked by the local Junior Chamber of Commerce to do some talks on the tarot and provide readings during a local chapter meeting.  They liked what I did so much that they invited me to their state convention to also do readings as a fundraiser for a local charity.  My circle of clients widened, and from then on I’d do the occasional tarot party or readings for family and friends.  It wasn’t until my local pagan store,  The Wandering Owl put out a call for readers that I decided to widen my circle of clients even further and match my intuitive gifts with my Tarot reading.  And I am very glad that I did!

 

Meeting with Clients
Readings for others can take the client and reader through the entire spectrum of emotions. Like I previously described, clients can come to me for many reasons, and I appreciate each and every one of them.  It doesn’t matter the reason for the reading.  To me, the opportunity to read for someone means that I am going to connect with that person on a very personal level.  My client will leave with more information than when they came to me.  It’s important to me to be able to have that information as correct as possible, and that I give the best reading I can.

Readings are  not just for the client.  I get something out of each and every reading as well.  It could be that I made someone smile, that I made their day just a little brighter or that we shared a laugh.  For other clients, I am comforted in the knowledge that I have been open and honest about their situation and given them all of the information that divinity wants me to provide.  Each reading makes me better.  I become a better mirror for my client that allows them to see their situations more clearly than they had before.  I recognize faults in myself that I need to work on in order to understand something better the next time it comes up.  And a little more direct guidance is brought into a world that needs it.

I also feel that because I have these gifts, it is an obligation for me to use them to serve others.  I will never forget the meetings with clients who are distraught, depressed and upset about things that are going on in their life.  Those are the most critical times that I must be at my best.  I may not be able to give them the answers they want to hear, but I allow divinity to work through me to give the answers that they need to hear.  That is very important to me.  And 90% of the time they leave our meeting feeling better.  How could I not share something that helps others like that?

 

Not just for psychic fairs anymore
Readings can take place almost anywhere, and that is some of the fun for me.  While many readings do happen at psychic fairs and spiritual bookstores, I’ve also done readings at parties, coffee shops, my home, various conventions and other events,  This weekend I am VERY excited to do readings at a high school graduation shut in as well as meeting some clients for coffee.  I’ve also been asked to do readings as a wedding reception, which is another venue I’m very much looking forward to!

It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter the venue.  I love being able to connect with people at a level that really allows my client to help receive whatever it is they are looking for.

 

Serving the Community
This gift allows me to represent and serve the pagan community at large as well.  I do my best to be approachable during readings, and consider it a great honor to do someone’s first reading.

Sometimes too, clients are interested in a spiritual aspect or have had something happen that they can’t explain, but need more knowledge on.  If I cannot help them, I’m more than happy to send them someone I know in the pagan community who can.

After doing readings all these years, I recognize what I have is a gift, and a blessing.  And although at times I’m stretched, I’m very thankful for the opportunity and want to just keep getting better at my craft for as long as I can.

Treating Illness Without the Blame

There is nothing that gets me more angry than when something is published that even suggests the concept of someone’s major illness being their fault.  Being diagnosed with an illness turns someone’s life upside down and puts them in a weakened mental state to begin with.  Telling them it’s their fault they got sick makes it even worse.  It can devastate even the strongest person’s self worth and cause years of damage on top of the stuff the illness causes.

The article that got my hackles up this time came from Natural Awakenings magazine, a ‘freebie’ magazine that has displays in local establishments around my area. It was an article called “Healing the Hard Stuff: Natural Approaches Resolve Major Illnesses,” The quote that did it was when the author suggested how people should focus on more natural approaches because, “prescription drugs…can’t claim to permanently cure anything and can have many harmful side effects.”  She went further later into the article suggesting the patient is to blame by talking about how it was hard for one patient  to heal because she wouldn’t fully accept that her illness could be caused by stress and suppressed emotions.

As a sufferer of IBS, chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety and fibromyalgia, it is rare that I don’t hear something about the illnesses I face being ‘in my head’, or that I somehow caused them to occur through suppressed emotions, high levels of stress or the current root cause du jour.  I’ve been dealing with these illnesses long enough that usually those suggestions do more to anger me than anything, but there are still times my head space isn’t the best, and reading an article like the one I mentioned above is still something that could devastate me, even for a little while.  It makes me worry a lot about newly diagnosed people, desperate to find anything that will give them any relief, reading an article like this and falling into a deep depression that makes their illnesses even worse.

Don’t get me wrong, There is some excellent alternative methods that are available to help ease the symptoms of diseases like the ones I face.  But you don’t have to believe that the illness is your fault to make those methods work.

Holistic medicine itself is good as it considers the whole person when discussing treatment.  In theory, it is an excellent concept.  But where it gets concerning is in the principle that someone is ultimately responsible for their own health and well being.  Taken literally, it means you are responsible for every cold, cough, allergy, bruise and anything else that might happen to you while you are here on this earth.

If it isn’t a book or an article like the one above that sprouts this blaming nonsense, it’s a well meaning (or out of touch) energy healer or practitioner doing it in person.  During healing sessions or consultations they explain that disease is solely caused by some sort of energetic negativity coming  into your body or your aura.  So in an effort to help them heal, they may immediately start doing audits with a client, trying to find that one root cause of sickness in their body.  What emotions are they suppressing?  What traumatic events have they not healed from? What negativity did they have to endure?  Or the most dramatic question, who do they think energetically attacked them so strongly that they couldn’t defend themselves?

The Physical Source of Illness
For common illnesses like the flu or bacterial infections, we know where the illness comes from.  We understand that an organism invades the body and causes havoc.  We also know that we do not choose to get sick with these common illnesses.  Being at the wrong place at the wrong time is usually enough to cause us to become sick.

With chronic illnesses like cancers or other illnesses at a cellular level, the scientific community is recognizing that genetics plays a large role in whether or not we will be getting these illnesses.  And while I wouldn’t suggest severe preventative measures like how actress Angelina Jolie chose to get a double mastectomy, I agree with doctors that are using genetic testing to help their patients learn how to prevent or at least manage possible illnesses that run in their genes.  I am lucky (or unlucky) in that I know my own illnesses are congenital; my father also has Fibromyalgia as well as several cousins.  I also have mental and digestive illnesses  in my family line.

Let’s face it; we’ve screwed up this Earth so bad in the past 100+ years with industrialization that many of the illnesses we are facing today have root causes from that.  We aren’t the first generation to have to deal with chemicals.  In fact many of the generations before us had to deal with many chemicals that now are banned.  Those chemicals could have altered the DNA of an ancestor.  And perhaps we are now dealing with the genetics caused by that altering.

If that wasn’t enough, we still cannot go through the day today without running into even more chemicals that we consume in our food, absorb on our skin or breathe in our air.  There is potential for those chemicals to continue to be factors for illnesses such as fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s diseases, Graves disease and a myriad of other illnesses.    This means that if your illness is caused by chemicals, the only way to become fully healed from it is to take away the source.  In other words, move to an untouched wilderness, build a new home with only natural building materials that aren’t manufacturered in some manner, get rid of all electronics and gas powered equipment and only purchase clothing that is 100% natural materials and hasn’t been treated with anything.  Oh, and make your own food while you are at it.

Natural Medicine has it’s place
Alternative therapies can and do work wonders for chronic and major illnesses.  But I don’t believe that they alone can be a cure.  Instead we need to consider both alternative and conventional therapies in a proper holistic approach in order to get the most effective treatments.  Conventional medicine has it’s place, but we have way too many possible root causes of disease to be able to pinpoint just one and treat it like conventional medicine would do.  And we also don’t have enough information about natural medicine to know if it will work 100% of the time on a specific diagnosis.  (And no, the government is NOT trying to hide ‘cures’ from you.  Instead most treatments just simply don’t have enough specific and measurable results from patient studies to make them a standardized alternative to treatment.)

Natural medicine works by looking at the specifics of a person.  But this regularly means that what would work for one person won’t be the same treatment for another.  Let’s take peppermint oil as an example.  It is helpful for some people to settle a stomach ache caused by too much acid production.  In others it helps with migraines.  Still others it promotes the production of stomach acid.  Because it works in so many different ways with so many people, no specific and measurable test can be performed to show one specific outcome.

Then let’s say we try to break that peppermint oil down to find the sub-component of that oil that soothes stomachs.  Again, there is no way to find that specific element because it’s different for different people.  subcomponent A could work to soothe a stomach ache for one person, subcomponent B could cause relief for another, while subcomponent A and B work for a third.  That is the nature of essential oil and why there are no real tests to prove their effectiveness.

Reiki is another treatment that cannot be measured in a lab, as we currently don’t have any standardized way to monitor that particular type of energy and its effects in a human being.  We KNOW it works, we just can’t document the ‘how’.

The Real Spiritual Side of Illnesses
In my belief, there are spiritual aspects that could be the cause of these chronic illness, although this is nothing I can state as fact, and it’s certainly not anyone’s fault if they get sick from a spiritual cause.  It just seems to me that those of us who are empaths and do significant work with the energies around us could also be picking up on some of this energy from the earth itself.  If the Earth can cause earthquakes to occur and volcanoes to erupt because of pressure within the planet needs to be released, then it isn’t a far jump to say that those of us who are sensitive to Earth energy could also be working as some sort of ‘pressure valve’ for the metaphysical pressure that is also forming from the pollution on and around this planet.

And that pollution may not all come from just the earth.  How much negativity do we wade through each day?  How much of that negativity leaches onto us?  Sure, some days could be easier to wade through it than others, but on bad days it’s like wading through the equivalent of a toxic metaphysical mud bath.  And even with the best cleaning exercises, baths and smudging, we may still not get everything clean.   I envision cleaning up from those bad toxic soup days is probably like trying to clean up after running a color run (For those that don’t know what that is, a color run is an event where you run a distance – usually five kilometers – and allow people to throw colors of powder at you).   The last time I did one,  I was sneezing color for about a week afterwards.   And don’t forget trying to clean up your shoes and clothes, your car and your bathroom after you get clean!

Ultimately we are an organism made up of two distinct parts: a big flesh-wrapped suit of meat and organs and a spiritual entity.  These two things are connected by many different spiritual centers within the body.  And while these two parts connect and allow us to live, learn and exist on this planet, the spirit that exists within these corporeal forms will never have ultimate control over every cell to tell it to grow differently so that we don’t get cancer.  We will never have ultimate control over our nerves to tell them to stop hurting.  Sure, we can work on spiritually training our body to relax to ease our pain, or to help suggest to it to grow good cells, but our mind alone will not undo the damage that comes at us from so many different areas.  And I question if anyone who says differently is actually hurting more people than doing any good.

So let’s stop this nonsense that is actually hindering healing and try to look at things from a more holistic, logical manner instead of causing frustration, pain and drama in an already stressful situation.

 

 

Works Consulted

Corey, Michelle. The Thyroid Cure: The Functional Mind-Body Approach to Reversing Your Autoimmune Condition and Reclaiming Your Health!

Simon, Julie M.. When Food Is Comfort: Nurture Yourself Mindfully, Rewire Your Brain, and End Emotional Eating (Kindle Locations 1095-1097). New World Library.

Young, Gary. Essential Oils Pocket Reference, 6th edition,  Life Science Publishing

Article, Angelina Jolie Reveals Having Double Mastectomy to Prevent Breast Cancer. E News Online.  https://www.eonline.com/news/418466/angelina-jolie-reveals-having-double-mastectomy-to-prevent-breast-cancer

Article, Healing The Hard Stuff: Natural Approaches Resolve Major Illnesses. Ann Arbor Natural Awakenings Magazine.  https://www.mydigitalpublication.com/publication/?i=493396#{%22issue_id%22:493396,%22page%22:16}

Article, What Is Holistic Medicine, Web MD. https://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/what-is-holistic-medicine#1

Faith Doesn’t Need a Label

I just got back from the worst 5K run I have ever done in my tenure of running.

This was only my second run back on the pavement and trails near my home. The Michigan cold chases me onto the treadmill and indoor track, and now that the weather is finally nicer I can transition my runs outside in preparation for the races I’ve signed up for this summer.

My first run outside last week was pretty good. It was still chilly, but layered up I was fine. My miles were consistent and my technique was pretty good for tackling hills and different terrains. And I didn’t stop running once, which is a pretty damn good feeling.

Today’s run was exactly the opposite. I guess it started out as well as it could have. There was a bit of wind, and it was much warmer than last week. But I could immediately tell it was a ‘push’ run. Last week’s run left me with muscle soreness that I healed from during the week. And any time you push your muscles like that and exercise the same ones again, your muscles are going to be tight from healing all of those little tears that occur during exercise. I call it a ‘push’ run because you literally have to push through it. Add the fibromyalgia that plagues me to that and runs like this can get to mental breaking status really quickly.

I do listen to music when I run, and that helps. But today it helped for a much different reason.

After the first mile I truly was considering calling it and walking back home. Then the song “I Am The Fire” from Halestorm started blasting from my headphones, and I knew that I had no choice but to keep going.

In my personal religion I focus a lot on self relflection and personal growth. I do it for two reasons. First, because as a diviner I don’t want my personal crap splattering all over my client’s readings and skewing the results. Second, I feel that having the faith that the Gods are on my side when I get into situations where I have to push myself gives me courage and strength to get through those situations. It also allows me to honor them by completing the difficult task. The run became a perfect example of that situation.

I swore to my Gods that I would do the best I could in all endeavors. And that song, with all of it’s empowering lyrics, told me that my Gods were looking down on me and expected me to keep that promise. It’s like they were saying, “OK, you’ve set yourself a task here. It’s not a fun task, but you knew what you were in for when you started. Now let’s see you finish it. Show us what you got.”

They were right.   It wasn’t fun. And it wasn’t the fastest run I have ever done either. But I did push and I did finish.  I finished because I had faith that my Gods were telling me I could do it, and they expected me to.

Now someone else not of a pagan faith might look at this differently. Perhaps an atheist might have just used the empowering lyrics of the song as motivation that they could get the 5K done, thinking it was pure coincidence that the song came on in the first place. In that scenario, the faith they had in their own training and spirit would have gotten them through.

A Christian might have prayed for strength through that first mile and thought the song a sign that their Lord was with them, giving them that strength they asked for.

Other pagans might have simply said an incantation and thought the song was part of the results of the spell.

Whatever the interpretation, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the commonality that each runner had some sort of faith. That faith transcends the difference of what that faith was based on. And it was that faith that helped comfort them or push them through the ordeal that they set before themselves.

And that is basically what a good religion boils down to – having a faith that pushes you, comforts you, and makes you feel like you can handle what this world throws at you.

So perhaps we should consider looking at religion and faith differently. Instead of looking at the dogma associated with it, perhaps we just look at the person claiming to be such and such religion. Does their faith give them a foundation to get through the hard times? Does it help community as a whole, and not belittle or restrict others rights? If it does, perhaps it doesn’t matter what the dogma is. Maybe we simply need to look at the actions others complete due to faith than consider the other religious labels. Maybe then we might learn to tolerate differences just a little bit more.

Reiki: Sharing My Story & An Introduction

  • A fellow blogger has been having a bit of a hard time lately.  So I asked if he would be OK if I sent him Reiki.  He wasn’t sure what that was.
  • There is a new pagan store in my local community.  A Reiki practitioner just asked if she could do Reiki treatments there, and another customer asked what Reiki was.  The store owner said it was a healing, but had no idea how the healing was done.

If you do an internet search for the term “Reiki”, you get about 66 million hits, give or take a couple hundred.  It’s a common term that gets thrown around a lot, yet many are not really sure of what traditional Reiki is and where it came from.  And because of those misunderstandings, many who are introduced to it think it’s either new age baloney or something that is considered religiously out of bounds due to the religious doctrine they believe in.  To me, that is deeply disappointing.

My Reiki Story
My own personal journey with Reiki started in 2006, when I was attuned for the first time during an all day Reiki class.  I didn’t know much about Reiki at the time, but I became interested when the teacher talked about how it could be used for healing.  Immediately after the attunment and class I incorporated the techniques I had learned into my own spiritual work and received excellent results.   Not only did I benefit from having the Reiki in my body, but it also helped me learn how to become a better transmitter of my own energy, how to ground others better and even also how to see and work with another person’s energy.

In 2008 I received my second and third attunements, which opened me up even further to additional skills.  I was able to see medical issues within a client’s body that they could then discuss with their doctor to fix.  I was able to do healing work at a distance, and even set up a system where someone would receive healing 24/7 for as long as they needed.  I also recognized that the Reiki was working within me as well.  The more I used Reiki on myself, the healthier I felt.

in 2014 I was lucky enough to meet a woman who would attune me to my master/teacher Reiki attunement.  There was a reason why I had to find a new Reiki master to learn from.  While my previous Reiki Master was the owner of a pagan store, this lady was a nurse, running attunements through a hospice center.  The first attunements I had were given to me from a pagan perspective.  But this last attunement was significantly different.  The class was filled with other nurses, caregivers and counselors, and everyone was looking at Reiki from a clinical perspective; something I had never done before.

Reiki has been used in hospitals as early as 1995.  Some hospitals specifically seek out Reiki practitioners to have on their staff.  (The nurses that were in my master class even received continuing education credits towards their nursing certifications for attending!)  While Reiki treatments don’t substitute for traditional medicine, they are considered Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) and can be given in medical settings to help calm and relax patients and to help the patient heal more quickly.

A quick history of Reiki
The term Reiki is made of two Japanese words – “Rei”, which means Higher power, and “Ki” which means life force.  Together, the words describe a life force that is directed by a higher power.  By becoming a Reiki practitioner, you become a channel for this life force and are able to manipulate it; directing it to clear issues within your own body, someone else’s body or help with many other issues.

Reiki was discovered in Japan in the 1920s by Mikao Usui.  Usui Sensei, as he was called by his students, was a successful businessman who was searching for his life’s purpose.  In doing so, he decided to fast and meditate at a place called Kurama yama, a sacred mountain near Kyoto.  It was here, 21 days into his meditation that he felt Reiki come into his body.

Many legends have sprung up around Usui Sensei’s receiving of Reiki.  There are tales of angels, of Usui Sensei being a Christian and Reiki being the same energy that Jesus used to heal the sick, and even tales of his healing others immediately after he came down from the mountain.   Unfortunately none of those stories were ever documented, and I believe that many of them have formed to try to create excitement and mystery around this already great event.

In 1922, Usui Sensei moved to Tokyo and opened up a clinic to give treatments and to teach classes.  In 1925 he outgrew that clinic so he proceeded to build another.  His reputation had also grown significantly, so he began to travel all over Japan to teach and treat other people.  After Usui Sensei’s death, one of his Reiki students treated and taught a woman by the name of Hawayo Takata, who brought Reiki to Hawaii, and then to the mainland.

Reiki Uses & Lineages
Because we can easily trace the origin of Reiki, a traditional Reiki practitioner should be able to give you information regarding their lineage.  My first lineage goes from my first Reiki Master, Ms. Rita Sacco, to a gentleman named William Lee Rand, whose lineage goes back to Mrs. Takata.  My second lineage goes from Ms. Rachel Berry to a woman by the name of Iris Ishikura, who also learned from Mrs. Takata.  To me, it is very important to have a lineage of Reiki, as it shows not only a clean ancestral line for the energy to flow through, but also it is one way to see that the practitioner you are learning from takes great care to know what it is they are teaching and that the methods they are using and teaching are effective.

Reiki is very versatile.  Not only can it be utilized for healing, it can aid, bless, protect and do many other things.  It’s uses are only limited by your imagination.  These are only some of the things I’ve used reiki on:

– help heal animals
– settle upset stomachs
– bless food and water
– stop bruises from forming
– settle anxiety attacks
– bless first responders going to an emergency
– bless police pulling someone over (and bless the person they’ve pulled over!)
– help calm anxious people waiting in an emergency room
– cleanse space
– ward space
– overcome mental blockages
– bless animals who have been hit by vehicles
– promote healing after surgery
– protect my method of transportation while traveling
– stop animals from crossing in front of my vehicle while driving at night
– protect someone going into a volatile situation
– help get over sickness
And many, many other things.

If you are interested in learning more about Reiki, I’d be happy to share my experiences and answer whatever questions you might have.  if you are interested in receiving an attunement or a Reiki treatment, I would love to work with you.  Or,  I would recommend that you look for a lineaged Usui Reiki practitioner. There are many Reiki associations around the world that provide lists of Reiki masters.  Although some people do give distance attunements for Reiki, I don’t believe that having one is as effective as doing it face to face.  At the very least, doing a face to face attunement will allow the student to understand and feel the Reiki better as well as provide ample opportunity for the student to ask questions.

I am of the firm belief that Reiki is very much needed in this world.  One belief many Reiki masters have is that Reiki will help heal the earth and all of the beings living on it, and the more people that are attuned to Reiki, the more Reiki will be within the world helping to heal and change it for the better.  This sounds like a new age concept, I agree, yet with my experiences with Reiki, I believe it.

For more information, visit:
The International Center for Reiki Training
Article: “Reiki: Ancient Healing Art for Today’s New Healthcare Vision” – American Nurse Today
Reiki at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute
Reiki treatments at the Cleveland Clinic Hospital
University of Minnesota Article on Reiki Research
Mayo Clinic – 9 Facts about Reiki

Photo from Deviant Art

Stepping back to Step Forward

Hi there!  Long time no hear from!  Let me explain a little bit why!

When I started this blog, the intent in my mind was to not only have a space to discuss my intuitive tarot reading, but also to discuss facets of my spirituality and my religion.  I wanted a place that I could share some of the specifics about my personal religion that might help others on a similar path.  I also wanted a space where people who came to me for readings would get to know a little more about me.

However, little did I know that when I started this blog I would immediately go into a bit of a ‘metaphysical growth spurt’.

Growth spurts happen from time to time.   Think of when a child starts to get taller.  They eat a bit more, they might complain of the occasional pain in spots (what parents could sometimes call ‘growing pains.’) They may be tired more often, get a bit crabby, or sleep longer.  Before you know it, you need to get new clothes because they have grown out of their old ones very quickly.

Now consider that from a metaphysical perspective, and you will better understand what type of things I have been going through.  But with any growth, you have to give yourself time to work through things.  A child has to deal with how they are feeling for a little while, and that is exactly what I had to do.  That meant projects and activities that I planned go by the wayside for awhile.  So here I started this lovely blog, and those that started following me from the beginning also watched me disappear for months on end.

This growth spurt was of my own doing.  I firmly believe that if you stop learning, you stop growing.  This isn’t only true in the perspective of learning about the world around us, about our career choices and about topics we are interested in, but also true when it comes to spirituality.  The spiritual world is a wonderful place.  And as you learn more about the spirits and energy around you, the more you learn about the things that you keep inside.  And as that knowledge grows, you learn more about how to overcome issues and ways of thinking that have held you back.  So when you finally encounter a specific issue holding you back, you gain new tools and strengths that help you diffuse and overcome the issue.

In short, you grow as a person and dissolve the issue.  Hence my using the term ‘growth spurt’.

These types of growth spurts don’t happen overnight, but they always take a bit longer than you expect.  And that was the case here.  While I was working on topics of spirituality and creativity, I found a blockage within myself; a sealed door if you will. So I, eager to get moving, unlocked it, and opened up a great deal more than I expected.   It was a place where I locked some of my creativity, interlaced with bits of anger and even a traumatic incident or two.

That is what I have spent the last months doing.  I have carefully and cautiously been airing out that which was behind that mental door.  Some of it had gotten really moldy.  Other pieces were simply packed away, ready to come out when I finally had the courage to embrace them again.  And there were still other things that were scary.  Those took me many days of soul searching before I could determine what to do with it.

Overall the process took a long time.  And even though I feel shaky at times, I’m moving forward.  I’m thankful for the journey so far, and expect that even though there may be one or two more challenges hanging out in that mental room, I’m not doing too shabby.

Hey, at least there was no old used litter box.

So that is where I have been these past months.  And now it’s time for me to get back into the things that I attempted to start months ago.  I’m doing my best to step forward, no matter the pace.  Forward IS a pace.  So that may mean I have blog posts that I write each and every day, it may mean as few as 1 a month.  But it’s something.

I still feel like I have a unique pagan voice that I can share.  And there will always be new ideas to ponder and things to learn about, and that in a nutshell is what this blog is to me.

So stay tuned!  😀