The Maniacal Rantings of the Urban Crone

Bear witness to the rantings of the Urban Crone as she emparts her wisdom in her own rather quirky way.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Protective Practices Part Two: Diagnostics and Damage Control

Seeing the Signs
Now that we have some understanding of what dangers are out there, you may be feeling a little paranoid. That is completely understandable. But, where is that line between being paranoid and there really being something going on? How do we tell? The following are signs that you may be dealing with some kind of psychic hazard:
&  That creepy, crawly kind of feel that leave you feeling just little unnerved, a little on edge, like someone stepped on your grave or is watching you or even close to you, only you can’t quite see them or pin point it. It can be that cold chill and over all feeling that something is way wrong. The key to this is that no matter what you try, you can’t seem to shake that feeling.
&  Spirits, undeparted souls and other celestial critters can cause environmental changes in your space. There may be cold or warm “spots” in a room, or a place that feels oppressive or just wrong somehow.  It may even be a place that small children or animals react to in a peculiar manner.
&  A long chain of chaos in your life, going above and beyond the normal string of bad luck, that seems to just all of the sudden start and continues in a random sort of way. These can be physical accidents, financial and transportational issues, issues with personal relationships, losing personally significant and important items, and other forms of bad luck. The main theme for this chain of events is that these are very random problems that arise where there were none to begin with.
&  Sudden physical illness, that spring up out of no where, without any discernable cause. This can include insomnia, as well as a deep feeling of melancholy and depression, even a feeling of emotional heaviness that can center in the Heart or Root Chakra. A mysterious and sudden onset of a headache at the third eye, or pain located around the chakra centers, can also be a sign. This is especially true in cases where the attack is aimed at one’s spiritual core and sense of being.
&  Reoccurring nightmares or night terrors can be a sign. Brief but disturbing visions or clairaudient episodes that pop up almost on the edge of your consciousness are signs as well, something you just barely hear or see but you know there was something. Sudden sleep walking or losses of periods of time are also signs.
Please note that if any or all of these suddenly manifest right after you receive an item from someone, like a gift or package, immediately deal with the item by either destroying it, or if you really want to keep the item, doing some serious cleansing to the item. One of the easiest ways to psychically attack someone is to attach a curse or hex to any item.
Direct physical contact is another way a curse or hex can be passed on. If any of this begins directly after your contact with one specific person, examine what is going on between the two of you. Make sure you are looking at things from a logical stand point and that you have a legitimate reason to suspect this person may have actually hexed you. Just because someone is angry at you, or a person is knowledgeable about hexes, curses and other forms of magic or seems like the type to cast a hex or a curse, does not necessarily mean that is what they did. Make sure if you choose to confront someone, you have solid, legitimate proof that person has actually done something, or you will be creating a lot of needless drama and chaos for nothing, and looking a little nuts and paranoid to boot.
Also, if you are around someone who may be experiencing these issues, take a moment and ask them if they are ok. A few outward signs to look for are sudden changes in appearance and demeanor, separating from a group and hibernating when they are normally social and active. People do change and go through issues, but if it seems radical, random and very all of the sudden, it isn’t going to hurt to ask if there may be something going on, or at least touch base and say “hey, I am here if you need me”.
We are hard pressed to be able to tell whether we are experiencing a psychic hazard or not. For some, their first instinct is to blow off incidents as part of normal life; others see curses and hexes at every turn. Even when we see all the signs, we sometimes need something outside of ourselves or our experience to show us that something is really wrong.
Divinatory Diagnostics:
If you have not received a gift or item from anyone, or can legitimately tie events to one specific person, and you are still dealing with any or all of these symptoms, the next step is to figure out what is going on using divination. Diagnostic divination is the best way to figure out if what is going on and how to deal with it.
I strongly advise having somebody who does not know much about the situation, or about what is going on in your life, to perform the divination. It is always best to involve someone you trust that you know will give you a clearer perspective on things than you may have yourself. We can also, sometimes, perceive things as much bigger or much worse than they actually are. An impartial reader can guide you in the right direction to solve whatever issue you have going on.
Most divinatory mediums such as Tarot, pendulums, Runes and scrying are great for diagnosing psychic hazards. Pendulums are especially usefully for checking your chakras, and for checking specific items or your actual space for negative energy that may be lingering. Pendulums and spirit boards can be utilized to help narrow down who may be sending you harmful energy as well.
The more information you can gather about what is going on, the better prepared you will be to fix it. Knowledge really is power. Sometimes, just knowing what the issue specifically is starts the process of correcting it on its own. We begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel and start generating positive energy of our own to counteract the harmful energy that has been plaguing your life.
Problem Solving and Damage Control
    Once you have figured out what the issue is, the next step is to deal with it. I have two philosophies on dealing with psychic hazards. My first philosophy is that if you are not sure what to do, ask someone you trust for help. Psychic hazards can wear you down physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually to the point where it is hard enough to just stay functional, let alone figure out how you can fix things. A clear perspective and mind can often see a clear solution, or at least help with finding one.
My second philosophy is to keep your solutions simple. Do not just throw everything that isn’t nailed down at the issue and hope something will work. Not only does this often not work out right, but this can even make the issue bigger than it was to begin with. It is also a huge expenditure and scattering of energy, something you cannot afford to waste when dealing with psychic hazards.
When you are dealing with any sort of psychic hazard, your first response is really damage control, figure out what you can do as quickly as possible to potentially stop things from getting worse and maybe even solve the issue completely. By the time we realize that something is really going on, things have escalated to a serious point, or there is already a pretty sizable, logistical mess. Your way of dealing with these psychic hazards needs to be a simple, well thought-out piece of magic.
One of the simplest solutions to a number of psychic hazards that can sometimes take care of the issue quickly is cleansing your space. We are not talking about just waving some incense around but some serious cleansing of your space. Extreme cleansing should be the absolute first thing you do. Often, the act of extreme cleansing itself can take care of most issues, the effects being felt almost immediately. Extreme cleansing has two steps:
 Reiving: this is defined as physical cleaning with the intent of also removing any and all negative energy, as well as clearing clutter and making sure there is no place for this harmful energy to collect and pool. 
Smudging: this is not just walking around waving incense. Smudging your space involves serious intent, visualizing the removal of any residual harmful energy. Make sure that you are burning herbs or incense that has cleansing properties for this, like frankincense & myrrh or sage. Work in a counter-clockwise motion, moving through the space in such a way to where you can push this negative energy you are gathering out of an outside door or window. Make sure that the smoke reaches the floor, the ceiling and every corner of the space you are working on so nothing is missed.
If, for some reason, you cannot burn incense, there are other options for removing negative energy from a space. The easiest is to obtain an egg and a Ziploc bag. Wash the egg in salt water to purify the egg, and then walk counter clockwise with the egg, visualizing the negative energy being drawn into it. When you are finished, place the egg in the Ziploc. Take it outside and dig a reasonably deep hole, then take the egg out of the bag and place it in the hole. Gently, place all the dirt back into the hole, then you can pat it down with your foot. The idea is that you do not want the egg to break at all until it is surrounded by the earth energy. You can also use small jar of salt to collect the negative energy in, place the lid on the jar and then bury the jar. Earth energy will neutralize the negative energy.
Extreme cleansing will almost always take care of lingering spirits, remove most forms of negative energy, and anything else that may be going on. It should always be immediately followed up with warding the space, which we will discuss in the next section. Keep in mind that you have just emptied the space of all the energy that was in there, creating a void into which anything can nest. Once your warding is set, you can use another round of smudging, using the appropriate incense, in a clockwise direction to fill the space with positive, prosperous energy. 
Undeparted spirits can usually withstand cleansing and smudging unless you specifically say “if there are any lingering uninvited spirits about, please see your way out” or something along those lines. Phrases such as this act as a simple banishing for any undeparted spirit that does not hold a grudge or is rooted to the location.
For more fixed undeparted spirits, there are rituals available that can release them and allow them to move on. Christopher Penzak, in the Witch’s Shield, has a fantastic process for removing the spirits that does work well in a pinch. Mediums and channels can also be ideal as they can communicate directly with the undeparted and help them to transition. Some of these practitioners will sometimes offer this as part of their services.
Thoughtforms are not undeparted spirits, and really require personal responsibility and emotional healing as much as cleansing to remove. Gaining control of your emotional and mental states will prevent these from forming. Ridding yourself of these pests involves not only cleansing of space, but of rechannelling these thoughtforms into positive things like protective entities, positive affirming entities or even entities of prosperity and abundance. This takes time, a great deal work and accepting your role in their creation.
The things that are not of our creation, psychic attacks, are a little tougher to deal with. Doing your homework and trying to figure out where these come from are always a very good start. You may find that someone is unconsciously attacking you because of a misunderstanding or hurt feelings. An honest conversation and sincere apology can be the strongest attack-stopper out there, in some instances. Once the hurt feelings go away, the attacks will usually cease.
Intentional acts of attack in the forms of Hexes, Curses and Folk Magic need to be dealt with in a swift and complete manner. This is where it is important to try and gather as much information as you can, and ask someone you absolutely trust for assistance if you do not feel you can deal with it yourself.
Folk magic can be the toughest to deal with. My advice is to research it and to ask for help from a practitioner of that particular brand of magic. These forms of magic come from time out of mind, and run deep. The same remedies we use for standard hexes and curses can work to dispel folk magic, but cultural remedies will be far more effective in removing the attack completely. This also will usually act as a deterrent for future attacks as counter-curses for folk magic usually have a nasty bite to them.
 Banishings and mirror spells are probably the most effective when dealing with curses and hexes. Banishing severs the connection between you and the person attacking you. Once this person loses the energy connection between you, there is no longer a psychic pathway for them to send their harmful energy through and the release should be immediate. These can also remove the offending person from your life permanently, so it is important that you try as hard as you can to figure out who it is and whether or not this is the right course of action. Banishings are tough to undo once they have been properly done, so some serious forethought is important here.
Mirror spells are just as they sound, reflecting the negative energy back to the sender. This is especially useful when you cannot discern who is attacking you or what has been done. Some witches will include a caveat that the returning energy be multiplied by three. I always thought that getting a face full of your own crap is enough of a wake up call to get the offending witch’s attention and hopefully change their mind in trying anything again (this spell should always be followed up by protective practice that will be discussed later). I have also heard of people using mirror spells to not just reflect the energy back to the offending witch, but to transform it into a positive form and send it back that way, hoping the person who cast the curse will have some magical transforming change of heart. 
Banishing and mirroring will almost always do the trick but they can be seen as harmful magic in their own right. Both of these types of spells send energy in someone else’s direction that may potentially cause that person harm. Because of this, there are people who take issue with their use. It is really a personal choice. My belief is that anyone who makes a conscious decision to use harmful energies against myself and my loved ones are going to get what they deserve. Harm none does not mean that you cannot or should not defend yourself when you are attacked. It means that you should not intentionally go around harming people out of the clear blue. Additionally,  just like any physical attacker, a psychic attacker will often not stop until they have destroyed your life or been stopped in some way. It is your decision how you choose to deal with these people.
There are a number of other ways to deal with psychic attacks, most of which are actually not harmful in any way, either to the person who may be attacking you, or even to yourself if you happen to be the unconscious cause of your problems.
Other methods of dealing with attacks/hazards are:
Swifting: this is the practice of collecting the negative energy being directed towards you and turning it into positive energy towards something you want. This is kind of fun, in a mean way, because the person hexing you is expecting your life to go to hell but, instead, it seems to be improving. Talk about a buzz kill!! Dorothy Morrison has one of the absolute best Swifting rituals in her book, Utterly Wicked.
Poppets and Effigies: you can create your own likeness, complete with DNA matter and as much of yourself as you can put in it, and then it is buried far away from you. The negative energy will follow it away from you and neutralize it through grounding it in the earth. These are often temporary solutions to psychic attacks that can buy you some time to cleanse your space, set your wards and figure out a permanent solution.
Uncrossings: uncrossings unblock energy pathways that may have been blocked intentionally or unintentionally by harmful energy. Our lives progress forward by sending energy out along pathways, attracting those things to us that we need to move from step to step in our life. Being stuck in a rut and not being able to move forward, or even being caught in an endless loop of misfortune and unhappiness, can also be viewed as symptomatic of psychic attacks. A number of great uncrossing oils and rituals can be on the internet and in books. Several local shops may carry uncrossing oils. It never hurts to ask.
These are really all damage control, when you think about it, because they are measures taken after things have already started going all sideways. The next and final installment, Preventative Protective Practices, will cover how to keep these things from possibly occurring in the first place.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Protective Practices Part One: Psychic Dangers

This was the presentation I gave on February 23, 2012 for the Kansas CIty Northland Wiccan monthly event. I have actually split it up into three parts as it is incredibly lengthy. I have also expanded on a number of the things we discussed that I really did not have time to get deeper into. I also have added things through out all three sections that I would have liked to present but was pressed for time. This is a topic I could spend an entire day discussing as it is a deeply significant as well as controversial subject.
The Pink Elephant in the Room
Protective Magic is an odd topic. Some people want to discuss it in one breath, while passing it off as pointless and saying that there is no need for it in the next. There are those who genuinely want to believe that “Harm None” is enough to keep the most enraged Witch from whipping out her wand, or that fear of the Threefold Law might at least somehow stay their hand. The wiccan Rede is sometimes viewed in the same light and carrying the same weight as Judeo-Christian doctrine. And there are those who would like to believe that Wicca is all light and love, and that no Wiccan would ever dare to do anything to the contrary.
The reality is that while we would like to believe that all of us are spiritually evolved to find understanding and forgiveness for those who have grieveously wronged us, we are human. We have moments of fears, rage or envy, and we may manifest, either consciously or unconsciously, harmful intent and energies towards another person(s).
Also, understand that Wiccans do not own, did not invent nor has the market cornered on Witchcraft. Witchcraft is far older than Wicca and spans every culture, each having its own type of sympathetic magic and ethical code. With enough time, access to information and determination, anyone can learn Witchcraft. Not all Witches are Wiccan. And, not all Wiccans are nice.
Psychic Hazards
In order to protect yourself, you need to know what is out there. It isn’t pretty and can sometimes leave you feeling a little unnerved at the ways in which things can go sideways. But, being forewarned is forearmed, and knowledge can truly be power, especially in a magically charged community.  Understanding what psychic hazzards are out there can help you protect against and prevent many of them from occuring. Psychic hazzards are, simply put, dangers posed by harmful energies. There are really two types of psychic hazzards.
The first is the psychic attack, the manifestation and directing of harmful intent and energy, whether consciously or unconsciously, towards another person, group, etc. These types of attacks can be divided into two catagories, the intentional and the unintentional.
Unintentional Psychic Attack
In my opinion, about 70% of all psychic attacks are unintentional, unconscious attacks by people who are afraid of someone or something they represent, angry or hurt about an incident, or envious of something someone else has. These heavily-charged, energy-rich emotions are forms of negative energy that, if left unresolved, will build themselves a head of serious steam. If someone happens to have a good visualization skills and the ability to project energy, the subject of these emotions can actually experience a psychic attack of some sort. These are actually some of the hardest to deal with as they are chaotic in nature and require you to not only deal with the attack itself but all the emotions of the person sending the unconscious attack.
Unintentional psychic attacks can also take the form of gossip, criticisms and harsh judgments from other people, especially if these are unwarranted and untrue. Many people do not realize when they take part in these negative behaviors, they are also building and creating harmful energy towards the subject of the attack. These behaviors can create a web of negative energy that can cause the target of the unintentional attack physical illness and other manifestations.
Another curious form of psychic attacks are things like uninvited prayers, Reiki, and other forms of “healing and energy”. It is strange to see these as such, because these are sent with the best of intentions. However, if a person is feeling under the weather or a bit off kilter, they may take the time to diagnose the situation and take the appropriate steps to set things right. These steps may include mundane measures as well as very complicated pieces of magic or energy work. Then, all of a sudden, there is some foreign energy being flung at them that can perhaps complicate the issue even further. Also, keep in mind that you may not know the entire story or know what is actually wrong with this person. What they are going through may be something they are meant to go through as part of a life lesson or some higher purpose.
Here’s the thing, there is nothing wrong with prayer, reiki, etc when it is asked for. Then, the person expects this in flux of energy and can deal with it accordingly. Again, you never really know the whole story and what measures they are taking to resolve the issue, so it never hurts to ask first. You can’t go wrong with a little courtesy, especially when doing something that may change someone’s life.
Psychic Vampires
Psychic Vampires fall in between intentional and unintentional psychic attackers. They are individuals who draw upon the emotions and the energies of others so that they can feel better, getting a high from it. These people will bounce from person to person, group to group, until they either tire of the energy they are pulling or it becomes obvious of what they are doing and are shunned. Most of these individuals do not realize they are doing this, just that they like the high they experience when around their target.
I place spell/divination/reiki beggars within this category as they are unintentional psychic vampires. There are those who need help, but these people always need help, or healing or the answers to some life or death question. They blow up your phone, facebook and email with their energy sucking pleas of neediness. You help them once, and then it just never seems to end. These are unconscious vampires of your time and energy.
There are people who are fully conscious of being psychic vampires. Whether they attend every single gathering and fawn all over everyone or stir up drama so they can feed off the energy, they are always in the middle of it all, licking their fingers as they stir the pot, and cozying up to the most energy-rich and unsuspecting targets in the room. It is actually easier to fall prey to these psychic vampires than you think as they usually employ another form of intentional psychic attack called Mesmerism.
Mesmerism is a type of glamor, using a combination of charm, flattery and manipulation of energy to suppress another persons will. They are persuasive, convincing and sometimes seductive, making their target do their bidding without the target really realizing what is happening. For some people, this can be an unintentional, unconscious act. Others, know exacty what they are doing, people that can be seen as web spinners, slowly wrapping the strings around you until you lose yourself. Some leaders and collectors of psychically gifted people are like this, gathering people about them as they feed off of the rush from controlling others. Some will also attempt to separate their target out from the rest of the group, especially when others see them for what they are. Most of the time, the targets have no clue they have been mesmerized until sometime later when they are able to look back on their relationship with this person.
Intentional Psychic Attacks
These are the most sinister, and in skilled hands, can be deadly. These are curses, hexes, and folk magics, like soul bindings and the evil eye. These are intentional psychic attacks that while people do not like to discuss them, they need to be aware that they exist and understand something about them in order to be able to protect and combat against them.
A Hex is usually specific, being tied to a specific event, a specific time frame, or some lesson the target must learn for the hex to be dispelled. For example, Karmic Hexes are set up so that if the target changes their ways and learns their lesson, the hex dissipates. All hexes are have a built in expiration, dispelling when whatever the caveat of the hex is fulfilled. It also means that should the target die, the hex will die with him. Curses, on the other hand, can sometimes be passed from generation to generation.
Curses are malevolent spells intentionally done to continuously inflict harm upon another, which is what makes them different from hexes. Curses can have a very long shelf-life, sometimes not only affecting the intended target but their entire bloodline for generations to come, like a rather unsavory inheritance. Curses do not have an expiration date, but must actually removed by the caster, the target or an agent of the target.
Ancestral curses are the hardest to break because there may be no information regarding what the original issue was or even how long ago the curse was cast. As decades and centuries pass, ancestral curses often become bad runs of luck for a particular bloodline, often also following the gender line (male or female) as well. If you can, do your research and trace the run of bad luck as far back as you can to try and discern when the curse occurred, even the geographical location. These can sometime give you clues as to the type of curse it was, as curses do run in fads, as well as the culture that may have shaped by the curse itself. If you cannot find any information, you are going to have to figuring out how to transform the harmful energy into something positive and break the cycle, or find a curse breaker that may be able to assist you.
These ancestral curses are usually forms of folk magic, sympathetic spell work that encompasses local customs and religious practices. One of the most common of these is the evil eye. Some form of the evil eye can actually be found in many cultures, including Indian and Italian. It is believed that the evil eye is the directing of harmful energies from one’s eyes to another, or even their third eye, disrupting the spiritual body of a person, or even chakra column, causing illness and other things. This person can appear to be lethargic and disconnected from their own consciousness.
Soul bindings (the blanket term I use to describe something that has many names in many different cultures) are the taking and holding, for some sort of compensation, a piece of or a whole soul. These are another form of folk magic, especially prevalent in places where spirituality and magic are part of everyday life, like Haiti, some parts of Louisiana, and Africa. There is a belief that when one is ill, it is because part of their soul has been separated from their body. Certain practitioners of folk magic can take and keep this part of a person’s soul, usually holding it until they receive what it is they were after. If one is a deep sleeper known to astral travel, the spirit body can also be at risk for a soul binding.
Another form of soul binding is the taking of a deceased person’s whole soul. This is more prevalent in cultures where there are very serious and specific funeral rites that are performed in order for the person’s spirit to pass on. This can happen to someone before the spiritual rites have been completed, the whole soul being kept from the family until they give the taker what they want, sometimes a blood debt or ransom. This is not generally talked of in the United States, but is slightly more common in cultures where the funeral rites can span over a long period of time before the soul is considered at rest.
A final word on Folk Magic: if you choose to travel to another country, take as much time to learn the local folk customs as you do the language. There are things that we often ignore every day in American culture that are seen as insults or worse in other cultures. This does not make these people ignorant or savages in any way, but people who honor the folkways and mores that are probably far older than our own and should be shown respect.
All of these curses, hexes and folk magics are intentional psychic attacks, things that other people consciously do to someone else. There are other things that one should protect their selves from as well, what I call psychic dangers.
Psychic Dangers
The difference between a psychic attack and a psychic danger is that attacks come from other people where dangers just come from everything else. These things include:
Things evoked that were never dismissed: We cast a circle and call upon things for ritual and magical workings. We sometimes forget to release them, or close a gate we have opened. The rule here is to observe good magical hygiene. This means that if you open it, close it. And, really, do not open a door if you cannot close it. There are gates, veils and doors between each level of the astral plane for a very good reason and they are not to be played with. Good magical hygiene also means that if you call it, let it go. Gods, Goddesses, elementals and spirits of all types and dimensions find it very disrespectful to be called upon and then not graciously released because you forgot, and will express this in a number of unsettling ways.
Lingering spirits attracted to magical energy: when we do what we do, it is like we light a flare of energy that attracts all manner of celestial critters, some good or otherwise. I do consider Fairies, pixies, brownies and the like to be these. There are those who can coexist with these beings without issue, and some who cannot, especially when they are uninvited.  Sometimes, these spirits will leave when the excitement is over, and sometimes not. To combat this, it is good to be in the habit of practicing another piece of magical hygiene, if you create it, clean it up. All energy work of every kind will leave residual energy behind so it is critical that you cleanse your space often, especially after working magic or performing a ritual. A good rule of thumb is at least once every lunar cycle, and more if you are doing a lot of energy work.
Thought forms that have taken on an essence and life of their own: I have always said we create our own demons, and I am literal about this. We obsess over negative ideas, feeding them a ton of negative energy until they take on a life of their own. Left unchecked, they can manifest into entities that can wreak havoc on your life. Thoughtforms are actually common and usually mistaken for undeparted souls. They usually are manifestations of a person’s anxiety about a personal issue or the safety of one’s self or loved one. I also consider being such as house wights to be thoughtforms, as they often have a basis in unresolved, highly charged emotions attached to a location by someone, even if the person no longer lives there. Cleansing your person and your space regularly can prevent these from being able to taking hold. Also, things like journaling, meditation, and anything that can help you maintain a healthy emotional view of things, or be able to see and acknowledge when an issue may be growing into an obsession. Reconciling obsessions by looking at their cause and how they may be resolved, or getting help when needed, can often prevent thoughtforms from forming in the first place.
I consider past-life energy dangers to be thoughtforms created by the unconscious mind.  These are thoughtforms that we carry with us from one life to the next usually stemming from significant unfinished business in our past life. The thoughtform usually tries to move the unsuspecting person towards finishing the work, which is often not apparent and may manifest as an OCD act we cannot explain. Divination can be useful in pin pointing what the unresolved issue from the past life was so that it can be somehow resolved. Practitioners of past life regression and readers of Akashic records can be invaluable in this instance.
Souls that refuse to depart: I am not going to get into huge detail about these for a few reasons. One of these reasons is that when I am approached by people thinking they have an issue with an undeparted spirit, it, most of the time, ends up being a thoughtform created by the person’s anxiety. It is often far easier to blame a ghost than to deal with one’s own issues, especially when if comes to serious traumas and instances of abuse or neglect. These a few of the most common forms of thoughtforms and can linger in a location long after the person has left as a menacing house wight.
The other reason that I will not go into huge detail about undeparted souls is that they are reasonably uncommon forms of psychic danger. On the rare occasion that this is the case, these can take several forms including souls that are attached to a location because of incidents that led to their death, recently deceased souls that have not yet transitioned, and souls refuse to pass on due to unresolved issues. Divination by a skilled practitioner should be used to determine if this is the case as actual hauntings are not as all together common as people think they are. If this is the case, some research should also be done regarding the soul, location and any other pertinent information and then measures taken to release the soul from that space so that they can move on. There are some very good rituals available for this, and it is advisable to find a reputable person that can do this.
The next section will discuss the signs that you may be experiencing a psychic hazard of some sort, either intentional or otherwise.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Bits and Pieces to Find the Whole

Our assignment for class tonight was to write about a God or Goddess. Just a page on who they are and what not. I was going to do it on Innana. I really wanted to. But, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I did the assignment on another Goddess, but I can’t get Innana out of my head. I also noticed today that one of Innana’s symbols is the eight pointed star. If you look through my sketches from the past few months that I have posted on Facebook, guess what you will see? Yea, well, quite frankly, it is a little annoying. So, I am just going to write it out and see what happens.
Innana is Sumerian Goddess, dating back to at least 3000 BC, if not earlier. She is not a Goddess that I call upon very often. “Queen of the Heavens”, Innana is a Goddess of sexual love, independence, war and strong feminist qualities, which I get and respect a lot. I can see those things in myself, which does make an easy connection between us. But, the aspect of her that I really connect with is the story of Innana’s Descent into the Underworld.
My connection with this story is not about her reasoning for going. There are some who say that she was mad with power and wanted to steal the rule of the Underworld from her sister, Ereshkigal. There is another version that says she was trying to visit her sister to console her over the loss of her consort. Neither really matter to me. It is the Descent that is what really gets to me.
Innana dresses elaborately for the visit, with a turban, a wig, a lapis lazuli necklace, beads upon her breast, the 'pala dress' (the ladyship garment), mascara, pectoral, a golden ring on her hand, and carries with her a lapis lazuli measuring rod. These garments are perhaps each representations of how she is percieved or even how she may percieve herself. I equate each item as visible tokens of power, or even masks that are worn to appear as something we do not feel we are, even though it may be expected of us. These things, for her, were her Goddess Mask, a veil of Earthly power that perhaps hid something else, or even compensated for a lack of self. “I am these shiny things, not self.”
Whatever her reasoning, Innana’s rather fine and gaudy appearance starts to make Ereshkigal suspicious. So, she instructs the guards at each gate to require Innana to remove one thing, one token before she can pass. As she approaches each of seven gates, Innana is ordered to remove a token and give it to the guard until, after the seventh gate, she is brought naked before her sister, “Queen of the Underworld”.
Again, I am not as interested in the motivations behind all of this. The overlying story, whether it was jealously or sibling rivalry or whatever, is just a trapping, a token over what I see as the true story. And there are numerous interpretations of this story. Now, you get mine, well both of them.
The first is that Innana must shed all of her superficial tokens of shininess so that, in her nakedness, she can see who she truly is. Also, in letting each of these tokens go, she is letting go of the concept that these tokens help to define her in some way, letting go of their significance in her life, and seeing what is real and important. Removing them also removes that expectations that she allows others to place upon her. Naked, she can see what really lies beneath and figure out who she really is. Naked, she finds self.
 The first lesson is two-fold. First, we take on tokens every day from people who want to, and we allow to, define us, be they words, titles, jewelry, hats or whatever we wish to call them. They are all superficial tokens that only build a veneer of what we think others want us to be, not our true selves. In Innana’s case, she had to shed all of her fine and shiny tokens to see her true self. Allow yourself to let go of the token and stand naked before the universe (figuratively. Not saying run amuk naked). See your real self, the one you hide away under the tokens of how we allow others to define us. Who are you?
My other theory is that the real story is the descent from light to darkness, and another aspect in the quest to find true self. Innana as Queen of the Heavens in all her shiny finery is a symbol of light and superficiality, something that is so consumed with its own awesome brightness that it loses who it really is. She covers herself with fine tokens because she thinks that this is what defines her, this is who she is, and even this is what makes her powerful and shine the brightest.
The other character is her sister, Ereshkigal, a dark goddess condemned to rule the Underworld as a working Queen who is never allowed to leave. There are some myths who have her as Innana’s twin sister, a mirror image of darkness to Innana’s light.
If we take this into consideration, it also becomes about accepting and embracing one’s mirror image, one’s darker self, so that we can become a fully integrated person. Darkness is just as much a necessity as light, as Death is to Life. It is part of who we truly are, all we do and if we choose to ignore it and refuse to allow it as part of our self, we live our lives out of balance. We cannot also know our true self unless we know and accept all of its parts, including our inner darkness. I am not saying that you have to allow it to run amuk. When we embrace both aspects of self, light and dark, we exist with our whole self in check. The light keeps the darkness from swallowing us and all of our goodness. The Dark keeps that light from blinding us to who our true self is.
The actual myth of Innana’s descent ends with her sister turning her into a rotting corpse, being rescued with by a God who took pity on her, and then her sending her boyfriend to the underworld for six months each year to suffer for not mourning her loss. Not a pretty story really, but Innana tends to be sort of a young, selfish Goddess, much like a teenager, so a lot of her stories sound like this.
Again, this part doesn’t matter to me either. The external story was not where I found the messages I needed. It was really the lessons I saw in the descent and how I viewed the two women as two halves of self.
So, when I call upon Innana, I call for clarity and balance of Self. Am I allowing myself to slip too far into the darkness? Am I being who I know my true self to be, or am I allowing others to define me and tag me with their tokens? Sometimes, it isn’t the whole myth we find what we need in but in the bits and pieces that really resonnate with what we are truly seeking.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rumor has it......

“So rumor has it….”
“Did you know that….”
“Well, I heard that…”

The interesting thing is that when people don’t necessarily know the truth, or at least the whole truth, they tend to fill in the blanks themselves. Some people think they know all. Some people like to assume the worst about people.
Since there are blanks in the story, and questions out there, and because it is starting to become public information, I should probably come out and do some explaining.
I have stepped down from organizing the KC Metaphysical Fair. This was a mutual decision, done amicably and with a great deal of thought and discussion between the three of us. There are people who will assume that it was because of the nonsense that went on last summer, but it wasn’t. The other two organizers are two of my best friends and continue to be. In fact, if I did not respect and trust them completely, I would not have felt comfortable stepping down and leaving a fair that I helped create in their hands. People can assume what they would like, but here is the whole really boring story:
Last fall, I started looking at what things I considered to be priorities in my life, that really needed my time, and what wasn’t. I do not have an unlimited amount of time in my universe. And, I ran myself pretty ragged last year. I knew that I could not continue with this pattern, that everything would start to suffer from my lack of attention if I did not become more focused with how I allotted my time and attention. There are certain things I am responsible for that are non-negotiable, like my family, schooling and work.
I have to pay my bills, and I have a 40hrs-a-week job that does this quite well. My work schedule is set and not one that I can swap shifts with someone or decide what my days off are. I can take some personal and vacation time, if needs be, but I can’t do it all the time. I only get so much paid time off, and taking a day without pay just isn’t something I prefer to do. This is how I pay my bills, and if I have to pick between work and something else, I have to pick work.
I will also pick my family as well. I have two daughters with children of their own, an aging mother that does need some of my time, brothers and a father who count as well, and a boyfriend who does try to understand about the things I do, considering he is not Pagan. So, when I have to pick between time with family and a different event, my family will usually win. I also make sure that I give my boyfriend equal time as that is only right.
I am also working towards my bachelors in Philosophy. I am not in an all-fired hurry to get it done. It is something I want to do for me, not to get rich or anything. The spring before the first fair, I had to drop all my classes. I couldn’t do both. There kept being scheduling conflicts that I just couldn’t work around. That should have told me that maybe this wasn’t something I should be doing, but I was excited about doing it. I thought I would be fine, that the time thing would sort of shake itself out and it would all work. I was also slowly putting together my own business, Urban Crone. This was also something I was not in a rush to do. I wasn't even sure what direction I was planning on taking it. I just figured I would try this or that and see what worked. Then, I took over as organizer of the Kansas City Northland Wiccan group. My plate officially became overfull.
I took on a lot more than I even realized at the time. The group was getting ready to be disbanded and disappear, and I just couldn’t see letting that happen in the Northland, who does deserve a group of their own. There are just some things you really don’t understand until you are knee deep in it. This is a large group that is growing daily. There is a website and Facebook page to maintain, relationships with other groups to maintain and events to arrange on a week by week basis, trying to work around all the other events, find locations, guest speakers and all the other stuff that comes with it. I am not complaining. I love the Kansas City Pagan and Wiccan community, and everything it has to offer. I am willing to do whatever I can to keep it thriving. This meant that I had to take something off of my plate. As I was scrambling last year to balance everything in my universe, someone decided to add a side of nonsense on to my plate.
Last summer was unfortunate. There were several people in the community who were going through some dark issues and chose to try and drag other people into their misery. It was unfortunate that the fair was swept up in it, but since it was something that meant a lot to the three of us, these people saw it as a perfect target. These people were striving to create discord in our friendship and with the fair, and they really crossed the line. We sorted out these issues after last summer’s fair, compared notes and saw these people’s issues for what they were. But, it had absolutely no bearing what so ever on my decision to step down.
Deciding to step down as one of the organizers of the KC Metaphysical Fair was not an easy decision at all. I really loved working with my friends and being part of such a fantastic event. But, I knew that it would be in good hands, that it would go on and continue to thrive in a positive manner. Sylvia and Gigi are incredibly capable organizers who can give the fair the attention and time it deserves. I will very much miss being an organizer of the KC Metaphysical Fair.
So, what now?
My focus is now on the Kansas City Pagan community and what I can do as the Northland organizer. I also love being a grandma and chasing my grandkids, working on my personal relationships and getting ready to start my education back up. I am slowly working on getting my business on track as well as solidifying my spiritual path even more.
My goal is to become more focus with what I am doing and hoping that I do it well. I felt like I wasn’t doing my best because I was just trying to do too much. I am also learning to budget my time so that I take time for myself, which has been a really nice change. Hopefully, all of this will put me in a better position to do my best at the things I choose to do.
Urban Crone aka Laurie Sherman Mcclain