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The Facts of Life on a Tantric Path

In Tantra, there is a famous dictum that guides, “Yair eva patanam dravyaih siddhis tair eva.” It offers us instruction on the facts of life: “that by which one falls is also that by which one rises.” On first glance, it might appear as though this is no different than the adage, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” But the lynchpin of Tantra here is not the resilience we might cultivate while withstanding the blows of living. Rather, it is the paradox that one’s own unique psycho-spiritual mechanism of failure is not merely the impetus toward enlightenment; but it is actually the only thing that has the power to let us finally reach it.

The first step on a path toward self-realization is likely obvious. We must let go of our egos enough to embrace failure as a teacher. While this does allow us to gain resilience from the lessons built right into the fabric of our everyday lives, we must still come to learn the ways in which the beautiful secrets of our soul lie hidden below the residue of failures brought on by the oppressions we carry within us. Most concretely, these are the consciously or unconsciously inflicted slights (and our internalization of them) of our upbringing at the hands of those in various social, religious, and cultural institutions, including our family. Less graspable are the residues of our karma from prior incarnations. Either way, getting to and beneath those layers is an essential step in deepening our progress on the spiritual path. And this work is what makes us capable of understanding our own particular variety of a spiritual homeopathic cure—like curing like—in service to the unveiling of our soul.

Embracing Tantra as a way of life, we set ourselves up for a complete reconstitution of self, from the physical to the psycho-spiritual, in order to find the authentic essence we carry within us.  That essence is our soul, a spark of the boundless Divine that exists beyond the confines of spacetime limitations. In choosing involution toward incarnation, that spark sacrifices its infinite self in order to experience another one of the infinite number of selves expressing themselves through life. Hence, as souls encapsulated, the stuff of failure is inevitable. Just as there exists suffering as a necessary condition of creation (the sacrifice required of the Divine to become manifest), so too must we experience failure as a necessary condition of our evolution.

The encouraging news is that we therefore all have the potential within us to achieve freedom. Certainly, some may choose to impose additional layers of binding residue upon the in-dwelling Divine, choosing to be defended, emotionally wrapped up or otherwise in denial of the way toward health and wholeness. But we all have the capacity for release should we desire it. The challenge is the work and dedication we must put into our own liberation.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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    I'll go with you, I told my friend Lola over dinner when she mentioned her desire to do El Camino.  Struggling with recurring cancer, Lola was courageous and confident about taking on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. My hometown priest used to talk about El Camino during Catechism class. Your sins will be pardoned when you arrive at the Santiago Cathedral, he used to say. As a child, I questioned whatever the clergy said, earning their accusations of being a Doubting Thomas.  Even though I did not believe the sin absolution story, the idea of walking El Camino intrigued me.  But I did not know why.  Did I have a secret sin that needed forgiveness?

    Years before my dinner with Lola, my best childhood friend Nayda invited me to do El Camino.  The pilgrimage was to be in honor of our sisterhood. I loved the idea--spending time with my sister-friend always brought me joy.  But, as life happened, Nayda became home-bound taking care of her ill mother. I can't do El Camino right now, she said.  So, when Lola mentioned her wish to do the Way of St. James, I jumped at the idea.

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  • Lillian Comas
    Lillian Comas says #
    Photo by Frederick Jacobsen

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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A few weeks ago, in a conversation on Facebook with several of my customers about negative Spirit activity, one of them asked me which process I used for cleansing and protecting my own home. Since I am a professional Spiritist (professional as in making my living out of it), I get this kind of question almost very day – and I think my answer always disappoints them.

I spiritually cleanse my house weekly, using seasonal but simple elements like Salt, Sage, Resin Incense and Blessed Water, always caring that they are of the best quality possible. I go from the front of the house to the back, and then from the back to the front, saying a simple prayer that banishes negativity and encourages peace, protection and abundance – not more than two or three lines, that I can learn by memory quickly. If I feel a particularly negative energy I will choose a prayer from any of the prayer books I use, but that is very rare.

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One of the questions I get asked more often from our customers is “I want to have a Spiritual Path – how do I start?” - well, the answer couldn't be simpler: Living It Every Single Day. Entwining your everyday life with a set of regular devotional practises will gradually increase and empower your energy, connect you with the energies and entities around you, ground you, and build the Personal Power you will need to have efficient results on more demanding practises like Spell Work.

There is something I would like to explain before we go on with the practises – while I am practising my path every single moment of the day, I do not live surrounded by Pagans and I do not speak of my path unless someone asks me. While clearly I am not in the broom closet, I am a very private person, and the Canary Islands is a place where 99% of the population are Roman Catholics – not extremely devoted Catholics, but certainly people who still cringe at the word Witch. The social stigma of what I do has caused rejection, misunderstandings, prejudice, ridicule and fear in my life.

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  • John Halstead
    John Halstead says #
    Absolutely, I'll send you a draft in advance. John
  • Carolina Gonzalez
    Carolina Gonzalez says #
    Thanks so much! You can email me at magickshop (at) gmail (dot) com .
  • John Halstead
    John Halstead says #
    Carolina, I'd like to republish this on HumanisticPaganism.com in late spring with you permission. Is that okay?

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

When my daughter recently told me she no longer felt drawn to witchcraft, I'll admit, my heart broke a little. This was the girl who at three proclaimed herself a witch, and at five, added "Buddhist" to her identity as well. Now, at thirteen, after a rite of passage ceremony and the opportunity to finally join in with the pagan and shaman groups as a woman, with wise women ready to give advice and guidance, she wants no part in it.

At first, crushed, I forgot my own basic tenets. Though I believe everyone finds their own path toward enlightenment, and proselytization is abhorrent, I found myself nudging and needling my own daughter. It took a few days and some quiet reflection with my spirit guides to address why I was disappointed.

For years I'd been holding on to the anticipation of having my wee witch be able to handle more than deep breathing and candle wishing. Also, a friend who has been a shamanic guide for my daughter most of her life had been looking forward to my daughter becoming more grounded so that she could join the monthly study group if she chose. I wanted to share in these experiences with her.

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