Wisdom Within: Aligning the Heart with the Mind

Discovering how we walk Immanent, at the crossroads of where wisdom is found and practical experience begins.

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Erick DuPree

Erick DuPree

Erick DuPree is a writer, teacher, and wisdom seeker. A Zen Buddhist in the Soto lineage, he weaves traditional Buddhist precepts with rich Goddess based practices, that are decidedly Pagan. Co-Founder of the Dharma Pagan movement with Yeshe Rabbit Matthrews, he teaches meditation and mantra nationally, studies tantra with Dr. Douglas Brooks and maintains a rigorous sitting practice with his sangha.

Erick writes extensively, his titles include Alone In Her Presence: Meditations on the Goddess, Weaving Moonlight: Lunar Mysteries, Moving Towards Stillness: Zen Meditation and Daily Practice, as well as the forthcoming anthology Finding the Masculine in Goddess' Spiral. Learn more at erickdupree.com
Letting Go: The Practice from Hostage to Hopeful

My daily tarot card had been a series of reversals. The Lovers in reverse, the Death card in reverse, everything pointing to letting go of a past that seems to hold me hostage. Hostage to the doubt of not being good enough. Hostage to a body I did not wish to have. Hostage to a heartache that never seemed to abate. Hostage to past mistakes where the universe had let go, and yet I still lived in a vortex of fear, subterfuge, and suffering.

How many of us are living our lives like this?  Were we are a captive hostage attached to suffering!  Why is letting go, and moving on so hard? And how can we develop that into a stillness of heart and mind to lead us from suffering and into sweetness?

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b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_9228.JPGDaily Practice helps me from going crazy. No, seriously, in a world where so little is in our control, seemingly less filled with compassion and more filled with injustice, my daily practice allows me to sink into the safety of the only thing constant in my life, the breath.

I encounter people everyday, whether direct or in passing, and wonder… are they breathing? I mean, really breathing? With faces intently locked onto phones, harnessed at the computer, walking briskly, or rapidly talking, I wonder are these people breathing? What might it look like for them to simply acknowledge the breath within their body. The simple, yet realchemizing breath that fills our lungs to energize our blood and move toxins, like stress, out of the body.

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  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Oh Erick, This is just what I needed to read this morning. I am drawing a bath right now. I will tend to my outside altar and then

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Unknown_20140831-155038_1.pngRecently, my good friend and Daughter's of Evecolumnist, Crystal Blanton wrote a powerful piece for the Wild Hunt about Ferguson, the shooting death of Mike Brown, the riots, and the wider implication this type of systemic racism. She solicited thoughts from Pagans in the public eye about where and how we can confront, heal, and grow community when events of power, oppression, and racism plague our world. There among the many voices were my friends, New York City activist and witch, Courtney Weber and teacher and New Jim Crow activist, T. Thorn Coyle. For the piece I offered this opinion, which Crystal used to sum up the article:

"I really am struggling with this because I want to believe that love is still the law. I want to believe that humankind is better than this savagery that is power, oppression, privilege, and racism. I want to believe that love is stronger than fear, but I can’t help but know that every mother of a brown child lives in fear that her child will be the next Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin or Mike Brown. In times like this I ask how do we as Pagans lead and be vessels for change? How do we become the Goddess’ conduit?

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Finding the Masculine in Goddess Spiral: Anthology Update

"The moon shone brightly, and I knew that She was watching over me. I knew Her to be more than anything and everything, and I felt Her upon my face, my body, and my heart." - Entry from Finding the Masculine in Goddess Spiral, a soon to be published anthology by Immanion Press.

July 30th came faster than I could imagine. Now, with deadline passed, over 30 submissions sit before me, the task at hand: to curate and edit, Finding the Masculine in Goddess'  Spiral: Men in Ritual, Community, and Service to the Goddess

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An Open Heart and A Naked Soul

Twenty years ago today, I self dedicated to the Goddess. Not any one Goddess, or tradition, but simply just The Goddess. The only guild I had was The Spiral Dance by Starhawk. At 16 years old, steeped in the evangelical movement of Christianity, I took a deep breath and inhaled the Goddess' warm embrace of hope and exhaled the patriarchy, shame, and sorrow brought about by the God of Abraham.  Even though I had no formal connection to Reclaiming at the time, and knew even less about 'witchcraft' what Starhawk wrote about in The Spiral Dance resonated with light inside my most darkest spaces. There would still be years filled with nights of terror and dread, there would be more fear, more shame, and yes more suffering. Unlike the faith of my childhood, The Spiral Dance and this Goddess never promised deliverance from suffering in exchange for servitude, rather instead simply offered space. 

Twenty Years after that first reading of The Spiral Dance, my spiritual path has matured and my toolbox is far more expansive. Yet, in a sea of labels, unverified personal gnosis, rhetoric and opinion, I still have no real name for space I share with the the Goddess. I just have the path. My mentor, Rev. Kim Crawford Harvie once said, "there is misperception that arose that if I committed myself to a spiritual path, that I would rise above suffering.  I have come to learn the opposite is true:  If I commit myself to a spiritual path, I will suffer with an open heart and a naked soul. "

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I am excited to have been invited to participate at Coph Nia this summer, at the invitation of Julian Hill. Held in rural Pennsylvania, at the stunningly beautiful Four Quarters retreat center, I confess this adventure at first left me a bit apprehensive and yet deeply honored at the same time. I have never been to a large Pagan festival before, let alone served as a featured presenter. Generally I shy away from anything exclusively "gay male" oriented having had unsavory experiences in the past, or too public, I am despite my verbose and possibly loquacious blogging, terribly introverted by way of Meyer's INFJ personality typing. 

Yet in talking with Julian, I came to understand that Coph Nia was the ideal place to talk about the Goddess, to teach about Ecstatic Monism; the Goddess as immanent and transcendent, to explore Eastern Tantra, and most importantly lead men on the quest in this ever expanding dialogue on masculinity in a way that affirms ourselves as sovereign and still honor women as sacred. This is why I am editing Finding the Masculine in Goddess' Spiral: Men in Ritual, Service and Community to the Goddess

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Veritas is boldly tattooed on my left forearm. In time it evolved to be surrounded by acanthus leaves and three pomegranates, creating a half sleeve down to wrist. In shades of grey, it is only augmented by single red thread.

Often, I am asked what it all means. Both the tattoo and the thread?  Many mistakenly assume I came to Qabalah through Madonna and that veritas refers to being a wino, in vino veritas or Harvard alumni whose motto is veritas. All are false. I am not a big fan of the Material Girl, or wine, and I did not go to Harvard.

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