The following is adapted from my new book A Sacred Marketplace: Sell without Selling Out or Burning Out. Mysticism + Marketing = Sales.
The marketplace is sacred. It is where community gathers.
I love the world of spirit. I am happy in it. I am also incredibly happy in the marketplace. It is where I get to share from my heart and soul. It is where I get to connect with other humans.
The marketplace is sacred. I am almost in tears as I write this because I am so deeply moved when I work with my students: When we are working together, we are in the real. We are discussing our actual lives, true feelings, soulful dreams, honest needs, terrible doubts, night-sweating terrors, dizzying triumphs, and more.
Recently I was asked a question that gave me pause. It was a simple question that opened up whole worlds of inquiry which have echoed through many hundreds of years. The question was, “Do birds have souls?” This is not such an unusual question. For a very long time in history, we have been told that only humans have souls. As God gave mankind dominion over the animals (Genesis 1:26), this seems to imply that, though animals have the ‘breath of life’ to animate them, they are not connected with the Divine in the same sense as mankind. They do not have souls nor do they go to heaven. We have come a long way in appreciating that animals have thoughts and feelings. Anyone who owns a pet (and this implication of ‘ownership’ becomes interesting language itself) can attest to the different, particular personalities that come through. Many of you reading this likely have already answered the question of animal’s souls in your own minds. For me it was an invitation to a more expansive question, “What exactly is a Soul and does it differ from Spirit?”
So, let's start with the very basics, beginning with how to sense spirits. After all, if I'm going to be helping my readership work with spirits and totems and the like, I should make sure that you have a way of doing so. You might already have figured out a good option for yourself, but keep reading anyway if you like--maybe there's something in here you haven't considered yet.
I'm going to sidestep the issue of the exact nature of spirits, whether they're independent beings in a nonphysical reality that parallels our own, or unseen denizens of our world, or elements of our psyche that we project outward. Not that it isn't important, but I'll leave it up to you to decide exactly what they are; the how-tos I'm going to put in this blog should work regardless of your answer.
Anyone who has ever read one of my books (or articles, or talked to me for more than five minutes) knows that I believe that spirituality isn’t something that should be limited to a few special days of the year. Like most witches, I celebrate the full moons and the Sabbats (the eight holidays of the Pagan Wheel of the Year). But I also try to find ways to turn days not usually used for religious practice into an excuse for stretching my spiritual muscles. This kind of thing doesn’t just work for witches, either. Anyone can do it.
This is part two of a two-part blog that tries to move beyond the binary distinction of life and death. Please read the first part if you have not as you will get more out of this post if you do. To break out of the dichotomy of life and death we need to introduce identity as another measure of the attributes of existence. In order to explore how identity helps us to expand our understanding of life and death, let's start with the very large and then move down into the very small.