A Faerie Haven: Living in Myth, Being Magic

For some people, magic isn't something they do, it is what they are. This blog focuses less on theory and more on lyrical mysticism, applied spellcrafting, experiential awareness of Divinity, and related topics. A haven for you who long to become your myth and live your poem. Faerie tales do come true.

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The Illusion of Perfect Control

The expectation of perfect control over self or circumstances ruins spiritual health and blocks one’s most precious goals. Finding power and peace in the uncontrollable nature of life is my shamanic ideal and the magical road toward achieving my heartfelt dreams.


A common response to someone considered a spiritual master is placing them on a pedestal from which they can only fall. This attitude enforces unhealthy hierarchy and is based on the idea that some people are better than others.


Another typical response to the concept of spiritual masters is embodied in the phrase "If you see Buddha on the road, kill him." This seems to refute hierarchy and false superiority by creating egalitarianism. But the metaphor of killing Buddha misses the boat as a remedy because I can't imagine a spiritual master buying into hierarchy and superiority in the first place. I believe an advanced being would teach that all humans, themselves included, are spiritually frail and limited. A spiritual master would not put her or himself above others.


Thomas Merton said God does not take away His saints' flaws because they need something to sharpen their sainthood against. Whether you believe in saints or not, Merton implies something relevant here: we are on a journey toward our ideals, and we will not reach them in this lifetime.


Striving toward "spiritual mastery" is one of the things we are born for. But in that striving, my focus has to be less on overcoming all my faults and more on doing the work that the Goddess requests. Both efforts are vital to me (and overlap), but my emphasis needs to be on the latter. 


Otherwise, I'm easily derailed by a manic, fearful, self-damaging preoccupation with self-improvement. Here's what that looks like:


I become obsessed, till I'm scrambling to overcome my inner obstacles in hopes I can dominate them and hence be powerful enough to also control circumstances enough to attain all my dreams. I keep forgetting I can never control life. It is joyously uncontrollable. Thinking I need to be in charge of it can only leave me constantly terrified by enormous forces—both societal and natural—that conspire to hurt me and keep me from my dreams. In this situation, self-improvement becomes self-obsession. (I'm so glad this insanity doesn't happen to me near as much anymore.)


Instead, the only way to reach my goals and have joy is to do my best to do what God asks of me moment to moment. Then I start to understand life's uncontrollable forces are actually bringing me toward my dreams, even if I can't see how so in the moment. 


I become part of that beneficent wild flow, as I am carried rapidly along. My spirit is calm yet ebullient, so my magical and mundane powers emerge. Solutions to my problems pop into my mind because it is no longer blocked with worry. No longer obsessed with feeling powerless (in other words, feeling I cannot control circumstances), my thoughts turn to what power I do have, like my ability to perform powerful spells for what I want.


We can—and I believe should—strive hard toward the ideal of always doing God's work. We will fail lots. We will not always be willing to do what we think She asks of us. Again, perfect control is an ideal.


I'm not suggesting we stop trying to eradicate our faults. Our Gods want us trying to strive vigorously and diligently toward our highest moral ideals, including eradicating all our faults. (And, as we strive toward that ideal, we will fail lots.) My point is that only through my attempts at obedience to Divinity is self-improvement put in healthy context and does not become an obstacle in itself. The expectation of perfect control is ruinous to spiritual health.


We cannot always know what our Gods want. Sometimes They want me doing the dishes, preparing for the class I'm going to teach tomorrow, or having great sex. 


We're all aware of mainstream spiritual systems shaming their adherents for their inevitable human feelings, as a way to create hierarchy. This is sadly common in the Pagan community, too. Many a Pagan teacher has a recognizable, chilling, high-handed tone in their voice as they expound on the correct way to act as moral beings. Ick!


As a spiritual teacher, I do discuss ethics and morals. Avoiding them is as irresponsible and harmful as beating someone over the head with them. But my students are my fellow seekers, as we all try to evolve toward our ideals together.


What does spiritual mastery mean to you? How do you try to control yourself and circumstances in ways that hurt you? What can you do about releasing control?

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Francesca De Grandis aka Outlaw Bunny is the bestselling author of "Be a Goddess!" Founder of The Third Road, a Faerie Shamanism tradition that she teaches through both text and oral tradition, De Grandis says, "I'm a trickster working for benevolent chaos Gods, so I don't play mean tricks." Bard, painter, mystical innovator, and busy elf who works part-time for Santa Claus, she blogs here and on her own sites, www.stardrenched.com and www.outlawbunny.com


  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert Wednesday, 21 June 2017

    What can I do? About releasing control, (shakes head) what control? Blessed Be, Tasha

  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis Wednesday, 21 June 2017

    Well said, Tasha! Thanks. Blessed be.

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