Sandwiches and radioactivity

Last night a friend of mine shared a Henry Rollins meme and encouraged us to “Channel your inner punk/apocalypse warrior/metal/level 57 paladin and let’s DO the thing.” Being the eternal pessimist I am, I wondered what to do if I wasn’t a level 57 paladin but merely cannon fodder. See, there are people that don’t live past the first act of any apocalypse story. When people ask me how I’ll survive some catastrophe, I’ll reply, “Sandwiches.” That is, I expect to be made into sandwiches at the first possible moment.

I’m not a resilient person. I’m not the person you want on your team. I’m a liability. I’m the final iteration of a failed genetic experiment. I require too much upkeep to be cost-effective in the long or short run; it’s a quirk of cosmic circumstance that I wasn’t thrown into a bog decades ago.

This is all true, but it’s not all the truth there is. Thinking a while, I remembered the rest.

See, I’m surrounded by people who tend to have fairly obvious types. I know a lot of healers and a lot of war witches. They seemed to know early on what they were; they came along with the basic package of types, as it were. You had a healer, you had a fighter, you had a diviner, etc. etc. I’m not one of the basic types. I come in the deluxe packages. I’m not more special, just not quite so easily described.

**

I have a reputation as a coven breaker – to which I will reply, “They weren’t a coven, and they didn’t need my help.” They were actually a kindred and they were beset by internal bickering long before I showed up. I came to a few events, I taught a few classes, a led a ritual, then I left because I got angry. Next thing I knew they had imploded. It had nothing to do with me.

There was another kindred whose Yule event I attended who later dissolved amid accusations of child porn usage and partner swapping. Yet another kindred fell apart in the face of felony charges. Again, nothing to do with me.

There are other examples of groups I’m marginally associated with coming near to dissolving; they’ve been way more organized than kindreds and this time edged weapons weren’t involved.

I have this radioactive effect that I’ve learned to warn other people about. I can’t ethically join groups without giving a caveat that, hey shit’s gonna get weird. I warned the leader of a group a couple years ago about this and then watched as they had a near total psychological breakdown not long after. A group with a history going back to the 1990s nearly fell apart. It’s not something I do deliberately; it’s something I tend to catalyze. All I can do is warn – and apologize.

Yes, I’ve tried to think about how I can use this radioactivity for good. I’ve tried to think about which groups need a good destroying. I’ve tried to think about which people need a good psychological breakdown or felony charge. I can’t bring a lot to the struggle we’re currently engaged in (the struggle that some of us have been engaged in for generations), but I can stand around being radioactive.

Different devotions

For some of us, the devotional path is the label we place on the thing we’re doing anyway. We fall in love, cultivate relationship, and see the bonds between beings as a primary language, so to speak. It’s a natural way of being. Placing a name on this way of being can feel like a significant homecoming to some, a less noteworthy instance to others. Some people feel motivated to discover what it means to have long walked the devotional path while others are content to allow relational dynamics to unfold as they will, without lots of input from outside commentary.

People who find that relational dynamics are an entirely natural way of organizing the seen and unseen worlds sometimes make the argument that this is a great way of doing things – and it is. It’s one path among many, and it has its distinctive advantages as well as its own potential drawbacks. Some people come to this path because they made a deliberate choice based on these advantages and drawbacks; they felt that organizing the seen and unseen worlds in a relational way was beneficial in some way, or at least beneficial enough to give it a shot.

These two groups aren’t terribly distinct in my mind, and certainly there’s no reason to worry which group you fall into unless you’re really inclined to play along at home. I started thinking about things this way because there’s a slight difference when between these groups when it comes to the practice of devotion. When it comes to refining the techniques of organizing the seen and unseen worlds into relational models, some people choose to fall back on innate patterns while others are willing to experiment; some are willing to commit to a deliberate practice while others are comfortable where they’re at.

It’s probably no secret that I tend to be pretty comfortable where I’m at. I resist change even as I hope for better things; I halt at making difficult choices even as I wish that my life was different. Fortunately(?) I’m surrounded by some very tricky Powers. They’ve helped me develop a bit of a backbone even as I struggle to dissolve it into lethargy. I’m trying some sadhana right now and not doing intensely great at it but I’m doing OK.

I care about deepening my relationships and about going further in my practice; I’m greedy and I want more experiences, which means that I have to commit to doing something different than I’ve done. I can’t just relax into the status quo even though I want to. Sometimes it’s very hard to keep my highest ideals in mind, but They’re always right there, ready for me to remember Them.

Three more days in divination sale – ends May 25th

The clock’s running down on my first divination services sale. I’ve never offered a discount on readings before, and until March 25th you can take advantage of 25% off the normal rate of $40. (Sale ends March 25th at midnight.)

To schedule a reading, visit my divination services page and fill out the request form. I’ll get back to you promptly, and schedule the reading once payment is received. Thanks for all the support you’ve shown to this sale. I won’t be offering these very frequently, so this is a great chance to get a reading done.

Identifying obstacles

I’ve been reading through Six Ways by A. Wachter (a very helpful book), and he’s talking about how important it is to identify the thinking that arrests our magic. After some years of feeling at a serious low tide point magically speaking, I finally feel like I’ve turned a corner; the current is flowing again, just a little, and I’m feeling a bit like my old self. Still, there’s lots of work to be done. So I got to thinking, what kind of mental obstacles am I putting in the way of my magic?

To start with, I have deep-seated ideas about my own capabilities. I don’t think I’m capable of success. With regards to art, I don’t think I’m capable of making things that people like. With regards to my life, I don’t think I’m capable of crafting the kind of life I want to have. I expect that I must always settle for less because the systems of power that mete out resources are flawed and unfair. I expect that I will always have less than I need, or want, or desire, or deserve. I expect no satisfaction or fulfillment in life. I expect that I will always wrestle with these desires and never really experience peace because desire is a problem with no lasting solution. Basically, I expect failure in every aspect of my life, in some way, eventually.

Laying it out like this, this is a pretty bleak perspective on the world and embodied existence, but it’s one that many people are no doubt familiar with. Life has not given us the experiences upon which we can base a hopeful outlook. Even though I draw strength from spiritual traditions that teach that hopefulness is an essentially necessary trait, I have never cultivated that kind of optimism for very long. I look around me at people who have as little as or even less than I have and wonder why I should expect my life to be any different than theirs – or any different than my life has been thus far. What evidence is there to base hope upon?

Needless to say, none of this is a very good foundation for building magical success on – or success of any variety. Wachter says that a change in thinking is required for magical success, and that magic can help accomplish this change. Now that I’m feeling like I have some numinous potency happening again, perhaps I can actually do some of this work.

But of course, all this thinking is highly recursive and the first thing that comes to mind when considering making this change is, “why should I? why should things be different? shouldn’t I simply adjust my expectations to something matching the current evidence?”

I’m not a believer in abundant thinking or whatever the hell it’s being called now. The one time I managed to get it to work for me I got what I wanted – and was then ripped off for several hundred dollars’ worth of my labor. I can perhaps be forgiven for feeling that the whole business is a big of a monkey’s paw situation.

Still, I’m not satisfied with things as they are now. Since losing one of my part time jobs I’m earning less than half of what I need to really support myself; although there are opportunities on the horizon, they are far enough away that the day-to-day grind really pinches. Even if the practical pieces of this puzzle remain as they are, my thinking needs to change, if only for the sake of my mental well-being.

So I’ll try working some magic and see if I can’t get a few things to fall into place. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to expanding my divination skills to include crystal gazing. I’m pretty decent at scrying already but never thought about trying the traditional crystal ball. That is, not until I finished a massive half-yard embroidery project that is the perfect tablecloth for a crystal ball. Now it seems that will be the next major tool I invest in. A friend is passing along an obsidian sphere that she no longer needs, so I’m anticipating giving that a happy new home. I’m also hoping to find what I want at an upcoming rock and gem fair taking place near me next month. I’m also drinking loads of tea lately in an effort to reduce and eventually eliminate caffeine consumption for the next few months (we’ll see how well that goes!). I’m enjoying lots of great tisanes that I might have never gotten around to otherwise, so that’s actually pretty cool.

Just a reminder, I’ve got a divination sale happening right now to help me raise funds to go on pilgrimage to India later this year. Readings are usually $40 for a 45 minute reading, and are 25% off right now – just $30! Send me a message if you’d like to schedule a reading. My turn-around time right now is less than 24 hours.

 

 

New tarot review/walkthrough – The Numinous Tarot

I received my copy of the Numinous Tarot this week! This colorful deck was a Kickstarter project; it was created with diverse and inclusive artwork.

 

I’m happy to have backed this campaign, and I hope the artist’s work reaches many people. I’m looking forward to reading for clients and for myself with this deck. If you’re interested in buying it, visit the artist’s website; once Kickstarter rewards are mailed out, additional decks and sets will be available for purchase.

If you’d like a reading with this deck – or any of my other great decks – visit my Divination Services page and send me a request. Remember, I’m offering a 25% off special right now to help me raise money to go on pilgrimage to India. Readings are normally $40 but until May 25th they’re just $30.

Specialty books for sale!

It’s time to weed my book collection! I have a handful of specialty witchcraft, pagan, and pagan-adjacent books to offer. I’m happy to answer questions about any of them.

Payment through PayPal only. Shipping cost based on weight of item and class of mail, and is calculated prior to purchase; international shipping is available but likely to be quite pricey (sorry, I have no control over this). Buyer is responsible for any subsequent fees, including customs. Comment to express interest. (Crossposted to local sales groups and my public FB page.)

 

  • Witchcraft and Sorcery of the Balkans (HC; like new) $80 + shipping
  • Culture-Bound Syndromes, Ethnopsychiatry, and Alternative Therapies (interesting reference for shamanism and related subjects. HC; excellent condition) $17 + shipping
  • Memento Mori (PB; excellent condition) $25 + shipping – HELD
  • Sabat Magazine: The Maiden Issue (PB; like new) $15 + shipping
  • Ancient Faiths Embodied in Ancient Names (HC, vol II only, first printing; 1,000 pages, pub. 1869. Marbled end papers, embossed metallic designs on cover and spine. Interesting reference volume) $80 + shipping
  • Tantraraja Tantra (HC, 2 vols; like new) $30 + shipping
  • The Language of the Corpse (HC; like new) $35 + shipping – HELD

All books have been carefully stored in the home of a collector away from excessive light and heat. I live with cats and occasionally burn incense; the books have no abnormal odor I can detect, only normal booky smell.

Divination Special!

I have the enormous opportunity to travel to India on pilgrimage later this year. This is very exciting and it’s taken several weeks for the whole concept to sink in. To support this once-in-a-lifetime experience, I’m working hard to earn the necessary funds. (If you want to donate directly to my fundraising efforts, you can visit my GoFundMe page.)

To that end, I want to offer a special rate on divination for one month. Instead of the usual $40, readings are just $30 until May 25! Readings take approximately 45 minutes to complete, so this is a great rate.

I’ve been reading professionally since I was 18 – nearly 20 years! I love helping people discover solutions to spiritual problems, uncovering aspects of their personal development, and discerning greater clarity in emotional matters. Let me know if I can help you with questions regarding spirit work, personal development, decision-making, spirit communication, and other specialized concerns. Just fill out the form on the Divination Services page and I’ll take it from there.

 

Back from SpiritCon

The last weekend of March was UT’s first convention-style pagan event. It took place is Layton, just a few minutes north of downtown Salt Lake City. I was graciously invited to present, so I prepared my Beginning Devotional Practice session for sharing.

The event had just over 100 attendees, which seems pretty good for a first-time event. The planning committee is already planning next year’s event; I’m looking forward to being a part of 2019’s SpiritCon in one way or another.

I spent several months preparing my vending table; I had so much stuff to sell that I couldn’t fit it all on the tables allotted to me. I sold tarot wraps, tarot pouches, altar cloths, shrine boxes, linocut prints, wraps, skirts, and my books. I didn’t sell as many things as I hoped to but this just means that I have a substantial Etsy shop update that I can make.

 

New shop listings!

It’s been a long time coming, but I finally made a shop update. You can find new tarot wraps and pouches; more things are being added throughout the week, so check back to see what’s new.

damask cloth

I have several new tarot wraps for sale. These are great because they unfold to become and spread cloth, then wrap up securely to protect your deck. They’re useful when you need to travel light and don’t want to mess with lots of boxes and bags. I’ve made several for myself and use them often.

black bag

If you prefer a more traditional way of storing your cards and divination tools, you can choose from the many drawstring bags I have for sale. This one is made with high quality pure black velveteen; all pull closed with a satin ribbon and several are trimmed with braid and other details.