Coming Back!


Hey everyone!

Thank you so much to those who sent me messages of support and encouragement since last July! I appreciated those so, so much, so thank you.

I’ve made the decision to come back to the blog. I’m still undergoing a spiritual search and journey, but I don’t see any reason why I need to let the blog lie fallow anymore. So for now, I’m planning on one post a week. That’s my goal for the next few months, as my day job is extremely hectic right now due to a deadline in March. But I am confident I can manage one post a week about something Pagan-y.

I do have a question for you all, though: What has your spiritual journey been like? When did you first realize that the religion you were raised with didn’t work for you, or when did you undergo a spiritual crisis? I’m really curious about other peoples’ experiences and would love to hear from you!

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A Low Point


I have recently come to accept that I’ve reached a low point in my spirituality.  I’m sure I’m not the first, nor will I be the last, to realize that sometimes a spiritual crisis doesn’t necessarily mean something has to happen to you, but rather nothing can happen to you.  (Did that make sense?  That may have made more sense in my head than on screen . . . )

I don’t know what to call this period in my spirituality.  A low point?  A slow period?  A fallow time?  Whatever it is, it’s the reason I haven’t been around on the blog lately.  I’ve felt burned out.  The beliefs I held before are still there (well, the majority of them), but the practices that made me a practicing Pagan now feel hollow and shallow.  It’s because there’s no emotion behind the practice.  There’s no feeling, no oomph to drive things forward and create a real connection.  Even the thought of practice makes me cringe right now, because I just don’t feel like I have the energy, or like I could muster the energy.  It would feel hollow and fake, and that’s no way to approach magical (or spiritual) practice.

This is why I haven’t been around on here, my beloved blog, very much in the past few months.  I’ve found myself wondering what to write about.  Since I chose to leave the coven classes, I’ve found myself faced with the questions of what to do next, where to go next, what to write about next.  If I’m not involved in spiritual practice, how then could I write about it without feel like some kind of awful pretender?  This is what I have found myself facing, and I don’t have any other answer except rather than trying to find the next activity, next destination on my spiritual path, next article idea . . . I just take this slow time to discover who I am and what the hell I really want for myself and my life.  No better time than now to consider those questions.  Rather than try to force through something that does not feel right anymore, rather than try to keep busy and move forward spiritually . . . just let it be.  Allow the slow period to happen and then pull myself up when the time is right.

I am not shutting down the blog.  I will be back, I promise.  I don’t know when, but I will.  I will create posts as inspiration strikes.  Eventually, I’ll get back into blogging here more regularly and I look forward to reading all of your comments and insights when I do!

Have any of you experienced something like this?  What did you do or how did you get through it?

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A Personal Dilemma


A personal dilemma has come up for me in the last 24 hours.  And since it concerns religion, I figure the blog might be the perfect place to explain and ask for advice.  (Since this concerns family, no names or identifying characteristics have been used.)

I got a letter yesterday from my family.  The letter turned out to be from my younger brother (allegedly from him–I’m thinking it’s probably my very religious, evangelical stepmother who really wrote it) asking for money for a trip to Peru this summer.

Normally, I’m all for supporting travel.  I think it’s important to travel around the world and see different cultures and places.  It’s a very eye-opening experience.  However, this trip my brother is planning is not a fun lets-learn-about-culture kind of trip.  No no, this trip is a missionary trip organized, I assume, through their church.

Here’s my problem: I want to support my brother.  If it weren’t a missionary trip, I would have forked over money without hesitation.  But it is a missionary trip, and spreading the word of God is the main focus.  He says in the letter that the group will take part in serving a needy community and reaching out to children in need by providing children’s programs the kids can attend.  But he also says that they will organize and fund a group of local students to travel through the mountains to spread the word of God with them.  “I’m very excited to be able to help children far less privileged than me by spreading the word of God.”

And that is the crux of my problem. How can I support something I very much disagree with, even when it’s my own brother?  I don’t agree with missionary organizations or people, and I cannot agree with or support their goals of spreading the word of God, especially when they do so while ostensibly giving aid to others.  In my opinion/belief, aid to these communities should be offered freely and from all for all, without any strings attached.  I believe it is the duty of all to help those in need, not for ulterior financial or religious motives, but from the goodness of our hearts and because it is the right thing to do.  It shouldn’t be a requirement or hurdle that in order to receive aid, you also have to put up with preaching and proselytizing.  And to proselytize to children strikes me as reprehensible and shudder-worthy.

I admit that not all missionaries are bad.  Some are very good people who genuinely want to help others.  They can bring much needed aid, supplies, and so forth to poorer communities, and not all of them inject extraordinary amounts of religion into their interactions with the communities.  But others are rather despicable and withhold aid unless the people convert or otherwise express a religious affiliation with the missionary.  Some missionaries take pains to turn a community against the non-believers in their midst in order to gain more followers.

It is possible that I’m being too close-minded about this.  I don’t have a very good opinion of missionaries, and I freely acknowledge that.  The idea that my brother might be turning into that type of person makes me cringe.  But I don’t think my brother is really into this.  I think he just wants to go to Peru, and is doing the church trip because it makes his mother happy and gives him the opportunity to travel.  Still, I have a serious personal conflict with giving money in support of such a trip with the goals that it has.

And I don’t know what to do about it.  Not contributing something means likely causing a family uproar once my stepmother finds out I didn’t send something. She will hold it against me and use it against me at some point.  She is that vindictive (some Christian she is).  I thought about writing to my brother and explaining why I won’t contribute toward the trip, but I don’t have his number or email, and he doesn’t have Facebook–so my only option is mail, and I don’t want his mother to open the letter, which she might very well do.  But saying nothing seems wrong; I don’t want him to think I don’t care or something like that.

And now I’m doing that Virgo thing where I over think things and look at all the different possibilities…

What do you all think?  What would you do in a situation like this?

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Question of the Week: Questions About Paganism


I’m a bit late in posting the question this week, but I hadn’t come up with a good one until this morning after I read yesterday’s Wild Hunt article on the Pagan bubble. (It’s a very interesting and thought-provoking read, I suggest checking it out.)  So this week’s question is geared for those people who have questions about Paganism in general.  You don’t have to be Pagan, or a certain subset of Pagan, to ask questions and receive an answer here.  Although my blog is written primarily for those who are involved with some kind of Pagan or metaphysical path, I encourage interfaith involvement and activity here as well.

Do you have any questions about Paganism?  What about a subset of Paganism, such as Wicca or Asatru? 

Post your questions in the comments section below!

(Or, if you’re shy and would rather ask a question privately, email awitchylife@gmail.com)

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Pathways Natural Living Expo


Today, I spent most of the day at the Pathways Magazine Natural Living Expo in Bethesda, MD.  It’s not a Pagan expo by any means, but since it’s New Age/metaphysical, I thought some of my lovely readers would be interested in hearing about it.

This was my first time attending the expo, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I don’t attend many conferences/fairs/expos, etc., though I plan on changing that in future (I’m going to Karmafest in May, for example).  What I found was a lot of booths offering metaphysical services, natural products, jewelry by the bucketload, gemstones, clothes, and aura photography.  There were also 80-something workshops throughout the day.  I chose not to attend most of the workshops so I could roam the tables more, but I did attend a 1:00 meditation.  More on that later.

The aura photography was one of my favorites.  I was literally the first customer for it, I was so excited.  The last time I’d had my aura photographed was in Sedona, AZ in 2011, so I was curious to see how it had changed.  I was rather surprised by the result.  It’s very red now, when before it had been red with a mass of yellow.  This seems like a huge change to me, and I’m not entirely certain of what it means.  Because of the large line that had already formed behind me, the photographers couldn’t offer very much insight beyond a quick look at the picture and a few words of their initial impressions.  That’s fine, I understand that at an event like this, everything is going to be more abbreviated than a normal session.  If you’ve never seen what an aura photo looks like, here are two of mine:

My aura photos. The one on the left was taken at The New Age Center in Sedona, AZ in 2011. The one on the right is from today at the Pathways Expo. I've covered my face for privacy purposes.

My aura photos. The one on the left was taken at The New Age Center in Sedona, AZ in 2011. The one on the right is from today at the Pathways Expo. I’ve covered my face for privacy purposes.

The picture above isn’t very good, since I took it with my crappy cell phone, but you can clearly see that my aura today was very red with a hint of pink at the top. And it’s much smaller than it was in 2011 (pic on the left).

I’ve always believed in the existence of auras, but the aura photography has seemed a little more sketchy at times.  I’m a skeptic by nature, so it’s a bit of a habit to doubt things.  However, this being the third time I’ve had my aura photographed, my skepticism has (mostly) been laid to rest.  Especially since the first two times were done by the same reader in Sedona, but nearly ten years apart, so there was no way she could remember me.  She gave me a lot of the same information the second time as the first, but more than that, what she saw confirmed a number of things about my personal life and helped me get clear on a direction to follow.  Anyway, while I know there are frauds out there (as there are in just about everything), I think aura photography is a fun thing to do and share.  I don’t necessarily think that if a photographer tells you they see disease or something like that in your aura that you should take their word for it, but perhaps consider going to the doctor if you’ve had any symptoms, etc.

[By the way, I apologize if this is a bit rambling.  I’m rather tired from spending the day in a crowd of mostly unshielded people.  It’s always draining for me, and the meditation I attended didn’t help in that respect.  So I’m a bit tired!]

After the photography, there was a table of polished, raw, and geode stones.  I was in heaven. I adore stones.  I’m always happy to go through stones and feel their differences and just appreciate these natural beauties.  This particular merchant, Mahalo Minerals, had a lot of different stones on display, and very reasonable prices.  I found a table of celestite geodes for very decent prices, and I ended up buying one.  It’s so happy to be home with me, and I’m so happy to have it!  Celestite is one of my favorite stones, for both its beauty and its properties.  Mahalo also had a number of beautiful stone spheres, some very clear.  They had spheres of selenite, which I had never seen before, and I ended up buying one of those as well.

Luckily that was the only money I spent!

After that, it was one booth after another.  My particular favorites were Sranrom Urban Wellness and Melissa Feick’s table.  At Sranrom Urban Wellness, they make natural products such as hand lotions, body cream, room mists, candles, etc.  They don’t use animal ingredients, parabens, glycol, petroleum derivatives, or synthetic colors or fragrances.  I tried the hand lotion and wanted to buy some on the spot.  It left my hands feeling so moisturized and soft without the oilyness that usually happens with other products I’ve tried.  And it lasts a long time–it’s been seven hours since I tried the hand lotion, and my hands still feel super soft!  Sadly, by that time, the representative had already sold out of the lotion, so I didn’t get to buy any, but I am definitely wanting to get my hands on some of their products.  They also have a men’s line, if any male readers are interested.

Melissa Feick is an excellent reader, and I was so happy to meet her in person today.  I’ve had two readings with her in which she connects to my guides and passes to me the information they have (and answer my questions, of course).  Both readings I’ve had with her have been spot on, and I would definitely go back to her in future.  She teaches a number of classes and workshops, and also runs a webinar about ascension.  I had never met her in person–my readings had been done over the phone for convenience, but she is such a warm and loving person, I felt immediately comfortable in her presence (and that doesn’t happen easily for me!) and just felt so welcomed by her.  She’s a lovely person and I have great respect for her work.  If you’re looking to go to an intuitive reader for a reading, I can suggest no one better and encourage anyone interested to explore her website. As I said before, I attended a meditation workshop this afternoon that she led, and the meditation she guided the class through was excellent.  It’s difficult to do in that sort of setting because people want to come in and out, and I have to say, there were a number of rude and inconsiderate (and pushy!) people at the expo today, who thought it was acceptable to try to come into a meditation workshop more than halfway through the hour.  I don’t understand people like that.  Anyway, I’m glad I went, because I felt clearer and better at the end than I had been feeling when I went into it.

I should’ve taken more pictures through the day, but I was too busy looking at everything.  The amount of jewelry was phenomenal, and I nearly spent more money than I had budgeted for the event because of the jewelry alone!  Clothes too, but I just stayed away from those booths.

I can’t wait for next year’s expo!  This was fun and exciting, and it was lovely to be surrounded by so many like-minded people who just want to live a better life, reach their individual potential, and share their experiences and learning with others.

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