Yoga Wicca Buddha

Exploring a personal, eclectic path by looking at the intersection of three great traditions.

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Archer

Archer

 
Archer has been trying to make sense of religion since her parents first abandoned her at Sunday School in the 60s. She’s a mom, yoga teacher and repository of useless bits of information on ancient religion, spiritual practices and English grammar. Check out her column “Connections” in Witches and Pagans.
 

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Hide and Seek

“It’s a joy to be hidden, but a disaster not to be found.” —D.W. Winnicott

As children, we are vulnerable and know it. We hide from bullies, from punishment, from mockery and scorn. No matter how loving our parents, our lives are not in our control, and so we hide to stay safe. But we also hide in order to have our hiddenness acknowledged and respected. I remember running up to my room after some perceived slight, hoping that my mother would notice and worry over my disappearance, but not necessarily that she would find me and force me to talk about my feelings.

 

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Touching the Earth

Pre-dawn yoga. As we flowed from pose to pose, the teacher’s words emerged from the rhythm of her own movement:  “Since we were in the womb…the universe has never stopped… supporting us. That’s why…we are still…alive.”

I knew in my bones it was true. Looking at the moon, wandering the woods, touching the earth, I find that truth again. When I disappoint myself, I know the trees and the sky do not judge. Good or bad, I am held in the web of life and known by an awareness that goes beyond my own. 

The other truth I know is that “surrender rules the gods.” Not in the literal sense of compelling the deities, but in the sense of finding power within through ceding outward control. I think of Shiva lying down on the battlefield where his lover Kali raged, trusting that when she came to attack, she would recognize him and drop her weapons. I think of Odin, pierced by his own spear, hanging on the World Tree to gain the runes.

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  • Archer
    Archer says #
    Thanks, Ted. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    This is great, Archer; it really speaks to me! OM Mani Padme Hum.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Five Days of Silence

Five days of silence…my friends laughed in astonishment. I’d signed up for a retreat at a Buddhist centre in the woods: no reading, no writing, no talking, no eye contact. My friends were amused (amazed?) because they were familiar with just how much I could talk. But maybe not with why.

 

I talk in self-defense. Or at least that’s how it feels. I talk to seek reassurance and attention, to fill the silence, to make myself real. My words are a thicket, a fence flung up to keep threats out. It takes a lot of work—a lot of words—to keep this little ship of ego afloat. 

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Crush

“I don’t have crushes.”

 

I accepted long ago that my friend has achieved a higher level of consciousness than I. But, seriously? No crushes?

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  • James  Tomlinson
    James Tomlinson says #
    Another brilliant piece, Archer!

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A Bowl of Milk

I picked up the letter with a smile. Inside, I knew, would be a note of support from a yoga school friend. We’d written each other small appreciations during our training, planning to send them a few weeks after we got home. By then we might need something to encourage us as we returned to “normal life”. Hopefully, she’d said something nice.

 

I opened the envelope, unfolded the paper. One sentence leapt out: “I see how hard you push yourself.”

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  • Kari
    Kari says #
    Thank you, Archer. I will try to remember to accept. Why in the world would either of us be not worthy?

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Leaving the Castle

Everything’s perfect. But something’s wrong. 

And something has to change.

We’ve all had that feeling. At various times in my own life it’s led me to drop out of school, become a Pagan, or hit the ashram. Recently, I ran into it again when my coven read the traditional tale of “The Twelve Wild Swans” (as retold by Starhawk). I was struck by how the story of its heroine, Rose, echoed the Buddha’s story—and mine. 

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  • Kari
    Kari says #
    I love your courage and humanity, my friend. I have been struggling with similar issues.

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Spiritual Scavenger

I’ve always wanted to be consistent. Walk one path with loyal dedication. But it was not to be.

Born with a perverse need to be both sceptical and spiritual, I have a checkered religious history. I’ve been a Jehovah Witness, Anglican altar girl, and agnostic (a few times). Twenty years ago though, I found Paganism. Instead of dogma and moralizing, it offered me a celebration of life and a treasure trove of symbols and traditions to explore.

In my darkest hours however, I was still plagued by a nostalgia for something I’d never really had. This was a deeper consolation of the kind promised by more mainstream faiths. I secretly longed to be saved, forgiven, healed, and taken care of completely. But I could never give in to “accepting a saviour”—even the soft-eyed Jesus I remembered from childhood—because that came at too high a price: obsession with sin and guilt, denial of the “the flesh”, and the requirement of literal belief.

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  • James  Tomlinson
    James Tomlinson says #
    Wonderfully and brilliantly shared. Thank you Archer.
  • Kari
    Kari says #
    Brilliant as always, Archer. I look forward to more of your musings...
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Archer, Thanks for sharing this! It gives me a better understanding of why so many Pagans have embraced Buddhist teachings and Yo

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