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As metaphysical discussions become commonplace, I hear certain terms used interchangeably and the same words used to explain different things. This is a natural progression as we talk about the inexplicable. We are charting new territory. We are going to try out labels and see how they fit.
I adore the courage of so many people who are coming out of their shells and sharing what they once feared to admit. We are meeting each other in beautiful ways, having mind opening dialogues, and making much progress in understanding how the worlds beyond the five senses operate. We have an appreciation for energy. The presence of helping spirits is accepted....
There's this ugly little thought in the pagan community. It's an insidious thing--this thought. It says that if you can't still your mind, you can't work magic. It has a bit of shame connected to it. Like pieces of tissue with bits of the brown stuff stuck to your shoe, it flutters about just waiting for someone more knowing, more "silent of mind" to notice.
As you may have guessed I have really struggled with meditation. My walk on the path of the Craft began in the early 80's. My teacher did guided meditations. My mind did what I like to think of as solo explorations of the story possibilities of those guided meditations.
Continuing my story of my personal journey on my heathen path, in 1995 I moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. I finally came home to the desert. Flying into Las Vegas, I passed through a layer of dark emotion, like a cloud over the city, which was being blown away by the wind. As I descended I saw that the negative emotions of the whole valley were being collected by a giant black pyramid and projected out from the city on a bright beam of light. On the valley floor, the city does not press on my mind like other big cities do. The pyramid bleeds off all the excess psychic energy, leaving the valley as clear as farmland. The Vegas valley is a spiritually comfortable place for me.
I opened an independent bookstore, The Science Fiction Store, which is no longer in business. A couple came to place merchandise in my store. A very pregnant woman held the door for her husband while he rolled in. When I shook her hand, I knew she was going to be my best friend. She still is. The little being who was inside her is now a stage manager. (Those who have been reading my life story on this blog and are wondering how I went from planning a career in intelligence to opening a bookstore, the short answer: the fall of the Soviet Union.) I sometimes get strong psychic impressions from touching things or people, including when I shake hands. That is a side effect of learning to read runes, because I trained myself to pick up impressions from my rune set by touching the individual stones.
Trying to make extra money, I briefly worked as a phone psychic. I did rune readings, and developed some charts that I later published in Idunna Magazine that made the readings easier to perform. Sometimes the callers were budding psychics, telepaths, and empaths who had no training, no access to advice, and nowhere else to turn. They were getting the same kinds of headaches and disorientation I got when I had tried to thin my shields to get my telepathy back when I was a teenager. I taught them how to shield. That was as much as I could do in the half hour before the calls self-terminated. I had to stop doing the phone readings because reading for people I couldn’t see, hundreds or thousands of miles away, exhausted my powers. They took a long time to recharge.
A local woman planned to lead tours to haunted spots and the UFO viewing at Area 51. I went with her on her scouting trip for the tours, and visited the haunted hotel in Goldfield.
A quote from my memoir, Greater Than the Sum of My Parts:
“The haunted hotel looked like it could have been the set for a Western. Everything was in simple, worn woods, except for red velvet carpeting and patterned velvet wallpaper. The hotel’s manager took us up to the ghost room. Renee knew I was sensitive psychically, and asked me if I could feel the ghost.
I shook my head while I set up my tripod to take a shot of the ghost room. “I don’t sense anything, but then I wouldn’t really expect to, with all these other people here. There’s a half a dozen of us in this room. The psychic emanations of the living are a hundred times more powerful than a spirit’s, unless it’s a naturally powerful spirit which was never human in the first place. I would need to be alone here to detect anything.”
I love Nevada, but one thing I missed about living in California was having large pagan and heathen festivals within driving distance that I could go to just by buying a ticket. I heard a rumor that there was a heathen group in the area, but I didn't meet anyone who was in one. I was not really looking very hard, though. After the experience in which I learned the lessons I wrote about in the Good Knowledge, Bad Teacher posts, I did not really want to join another kindred, I just wanted to go to public ritual as a member of the public. I sometimes wished that I could just look up a conveniently located public ritual place in the phone book to go to, just like my Christian relatives could look up a convenient church in the phone book when they came to town. Instead, I started keeping the holidays as a solitary, or if the holiday I wanted to celebrate was an American holiday like Yule celebrated by non-heathens as well, I might have a holiday dinner party with my closest friends regardless of religious affiliation. I was not yet calling that American Celebration, as I titled it in my latest book, but that was the origin of it.
About the image that accompanies this post: This is a sunprint I made titled Las Vegas Skyline with UFO. The original is in the permanent collection of the Hammargren Home of Nevada History, a private museum.
The Pagan News Beagle is back after a brief vacation, and today we have a wonderful set of articles on news of our many Pagan communities! Common Yuletide myths debunked; Peter Dybing's 2014 list of influential Pagans; rediscovering the artist of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot; avoiding fake psychics; Satanists teach Pagans about PR?
Jason Mankey brings (as always!) his trademark wit to the question of common Pagan Yuletide myths. Sorry, folks, Santa did NOT get high from eating shamanic mushrooms. (And druids didn't invent Christmas trees, either.)...
I loved reading the tarot so much I carried six decks with me at all times. I gave readings in restaurants, in class, outside Starbucks, at parties, in the park, over the phone, even by instant messenger. Reading tarot connected me with Spirit. It was sacred to me, even if most of the people I read simply found it entertaining.
How could I charge for readings when giving them brought me so much pleasure? Could I really refuse someone a reading because they didn’t have the $20 I felt bad about charging? Should I read some people for free even while charging others? Were free readings worth less than paid ones?...
I'm taking a break from my Jungian Pagan practice series to talk a little about Jungian terminology. Jung is one of the most used and abused thinkers in Pagan discourse. His concepts are frequently misunderstood, both by those who love him and those who hate him. Part of the confusion surrounding Jung is due to his choice of terminology. At times Jung could be very specific about what certain terms did and did not mean, and at other times he seemed to use terms in precisely the way that he said they should not be used. To make matters worse, Jung chose terms that -- at least when translated into English -- are commonly used to mean something very different than what he intended. I want to discuss five Jungian terms which are easily and commonly misunderstood: psychic, energy, self, individuation, symbol, and archetype. In this post, I will address the first two terms: "psychic" and "energy".