Friday, February 15, 2013

Chris Benoit

My husband and I follow professional wrestling, for those not "in the know" it is basically a male soap opera. The men and women are both actors and athletes (albeit some better than others!) who operate under a grueling schedule in a business where injuries can and do happen regularly but it doesn't stop them from performing. Often one doesn't find out until later that a wrestler managed to effectively hide the fact they were working with situations like broken bones, even necks; these aren't the injuries touted as part of the script, if you will.

On June 24, 2007, instead of the usual Monday Night Raw, WWE aired live a tribute to Chris Benoit when the first news of his death came out. At the time they had no knowledge of anything about the circumstances and so celebrated the man he had been. I still feel this was an appropriate thing, as the Chris Benoit of that final weekend was not the Chris they knew and cared for. He is now most known for the murder of his wife and child then committing suicide. There are many, many questions and speculations why such a tragedy occurred. A plausible concern is the amount of brain damage he had that was discovered during the autopsy: "Benoit's brain was so severely damaged it resembled the brain of an 85-year-old Alzheimer's patient." Understandably (if not exactly ethically) the WWE quickly distanced itself from any possible accusations that the injuries wrestlers suffer could have that effect and in the process have removed Chris's name and likeness as much as feasible from association with the company.

One sunny afternoon two weeks later I was outside in the beautiful Maine countryside and pondering on those questions when I was snatched away from the here-and-now to witness the following. I have no memory of the physical world during those long minutes. In this case I was strictly an observer; there was nothing for me to do at that time. My task was to relate this though I've been very hesitant to do so over the years. However, the excision of Chris and the banning of his name from the other wrestlers I believe may have left an unhealed wound among those who would otherwise want to talk about their memories of him.


There was a sound of harsh weeping, as if it had been going on for some time. From the darkness the image of a man collapsed over his knees and sobbing formed. "What have I done? How could I have done this?" the litany continued over and over. I knew who this was then and my mind went to Nancy and Daniel, whom suddenly and briefly appeared to me. They were each wrapped in Love and Joy, completely safe and free from pain, from even the memory of it. Though he did not know it, he already had their forgiveness. That image faded and returned to the broken man and the terrible weeping.
From my left a glow of Radiance began to coalesce. She stepped forward, every line and motion speaking of elegance and grace. Her gown flowed about Her in perfect opalescent folds. She sat as if upon an invisible chair, the Light shining in the darkness. Chris crawled blindly to Her, curled up against Her leg and rested his head against Her, a son seeking comfort from his Mother. "Send me to Hell," he begged, "Please, I deserve it!"
"No." Her musical voice was tinged with sorrow. Her hand gently stroked his head and he began to calm as She continued, "That is not for you. You will return and serve (I received a quick view of a place of abject poverty and casual violence) where you will see some of the worst of humanity. All your life you will serve to heal these people and receive neither fame nor glory for it. This is not to punish you; this is to strengthen you against all that can happen and you will learn never to break again."
I sensed his acceptance, his need that justice must and will be served by this. His relief and touch of joy that he would get to do good works and it didn't matter that he would not receive money or accolade. The Light grew brighter, overwhelming my sight, and I knew he was going to his next incarnation. 


I was abruptly released from the vision and remembered to breathe again. Chris is not a "bad" man. His actions were those of someone who had lost their grip on reality. It does not excuse them or release the pain, but know that he will both suffer and experience compassion in his journey to raise his soul and atone for the past.



photo credit: Sosuaonline.net2 via photopin cc

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Do Daemons Exist?

 In a word: Yes. However, this it not quite as black and white as it may seem. 

The following is a message sent to me which I asked and received permission to discuss here.

"A friend of mine is apprenticing to a practiced (atheist) blood sorceress - much of their work revolves around invoking daemons (with an "a") and their energies in lieu of deities. I would be fascinated to read how your (theistic) experiences differ/compare.
 My understanding of the daemon energies, as she's explained it to me, are that the daemons are conglomerations of intense group experiences. An example given was a village was raided and desecrated, with the residents slaughtered, and as the last man lay dying he viewed the destruction of his home and neighbors and screamed with rage and agony - the release of angry energy became a daemon, no longer a reflection of the man but of the collective experiences of pain and tragedy of the village. These daemons will choose names from themselves and some will freely work with those who invoke them and perform the desired offerings/sacrifices (which can range anywhere from food to broken glass to the completion of a project). Some daemons are considered wholly malicious and a practitioner should avoid working with them.
Her experiences with the daemons indicate that there is some sort of afterlife, but she has not explored Underworld journeys and is, as I mentioned before, atheistic in her practices. She also does not believe in the existence of a soul, and so in her experiences and terminology the daemon are conscious energies.
...so long as respect is shown for my friend's personal path - many I've encountered on theistic paths have difficulty understanding her attraction to the work and I don't want to be the catalyst for a negative religious debate. I look forward to your thoughts."

I was absolutely fascinated by this information. Though I can well be considered a "hard" polytheist, I certainly do not insist that others have the same world view. It is also appropriate in my mind, that a follower of The Morrigan or similar energies of the Dark Gods and Goddesses (not that dark is bad, mind you, but we'll get to that point later) may have a... different... perspective than immediately rejecting what was described.

Some may have instantly recoiled at the idea of "blood" practice. I suspect as a culture our horror movies and stories have influenced the general perception of what blood practice can be, quite similar to the effect that The Malleus Maleficarum has perpetuated. Paganism in general has been striving to show its harmlessness to the greater population, at least here in the US. Therefore anything smacking of "blood" is often to be shunned. Let's break that down a little more though and clarify some practices. In this excellent post The Shield Maiden (another Priestess of The Morrigan) discusses historical concepts of blood sacrifices and brings "what counts" to the modern era, in particular the value of donating blood. From this we begin to see that there are difference approaches; known among some Norse practitioners there is the shedding of blood that seals an oath, whether that oath be to a deity or a person. Is this then, so different? We, not being in her place, do not know for sure so let's look at what energy might be called.

Concepts of daemon creation: what I See is a little different- that an entity may take the opportunity provided by the opening of the Veil and massive release of energies to cross to this plane. In my experience and those I have talked to regarding this, there is indeed a "soul" factor to the deamons which can be removed from the negative energies, in essence they can be "killed" and the soul sent on. There is also the concept that they are all not the same; that some of the entities evoked by tragedies are not hateful in nature. I do not have personal experience of this, but She does.

Those of vengeance and retribution may cross and some are more discriminate that others. Places where people have rebuilt after destruction are often inhabited by Spirits who would protect those there, but who do not remove the lingering pain.

I sense that what this woman may actually be calling on is aspects of the energies which we often see embodied by Kali, Odin, Badb, in the form of smaller beings. Many may mistake the power they do not personally resonate with as being "bad." I do not *know* this except for what I Hear from Her. This also fits in with my view that there are many, many methods and angles to See, such as mentioned in the proverbial blind men and the elephant.  Whether a particular entity is a "daemon" may depend, at least in part, on one's own point of view.

The so-called Dark energy, referring to that of death and the Dieties who manage it, is often fearful in aspect. The darkness also refers to those events in our lives where we cannot See the way, the fog of pain mental or physical. While these Deities may not "light" the way (which creates shadows), They can teach us how to find the path, to use all of our faculties, to overcome with our own Will.  Does one need to "believe" in the gods to learn this? Of course not. Whatever means one may employ to achieve a given goal, the keys to success are knowledge and awareness.  One does not necessarily beget the other so strive for both. Ever expanding Self-awareness is how one can begin to See more of the elephant. Don't settle for the tail.


photo credit: ~jjjohn~ via photopin cc
photo credit: Gilderic Photography via photopin cc

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Crossing Souls: Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

A few months ago I did a meditation originally planned to seek some answers of my own regarding ancestors, but it turned out that The Morrigan had other ideas. Brief description of how I experience many of these more profound journeys. The "personality me" is the face of this incarnation and current life experience, and the Higher Self/soul "I" is far more aware with a larger perspective and knowledge base. To reach a place where I can become aware of the Higher Self is one of the many altered states of consciousness. The personality me takes a back seat and becomes an observer of the Higher Self. Altered states will be discussed in another post (or several, writing it now but it keeps growing!)

I descended through my own mind into a place of relaxation and detachment from everyday concerns. Since my initial intention was to seek the ancestors, I went to an Underworld entrance, a cave in the farther recesses of this in-between place. The robed and towering Gatekeeper asked, "Who are you?"
The response, not understood by the me at the time, but known by the I, stated, "I am the Greatest and the Least and all in between. I am you and you are me." The hood nodded and I had the impression of a smile then he stepped aside. I entered the absolute darkness of the tunnel and began to walk. Suddenly I felt Her presence and I was transformed into a raven, flying along. I understood then that there was something else for me to do this day.

Exiting the tunnel I found myself in the skies over a swath of destruction. The personality me realized that this was the shores of the eastern coast, decimated by Hurricane Sandy a few days earlier. In this raven form I landed on the body of a deer and pulled a piece of flesh with my beak. The personality found herself a bit grossed out, as it were, but accompanied by the understanding that this is an exchange of energy, of feeding to live. I looked up then and saw the spirit of the deer, waiting. I opened the Veil and it passed through to the monad, the group soul of "deer," that energy which shamans call upon. I closed the doorway and lifted off, going to the next destination. I saw the spirits of a girl and a boy looking bewildered, they had been killed by a falling tree and were confused. I immediately returned to human form and gathered them in my arms. The personality nearly broke into tears but "I" reminded her: don't take this personally. Yes, you may feel a mother's grief but you cannot keep it. This work will destroy you if you do. Upon opening the portal, there was an immediate explosion of love and joy from the other side, many loved ones welcoming those two spirits home who went with gladness. Sorrow eased from seeing this, I continued.

Returning to flight I found myself going through the window of a bedroom. It had a feeling of almost sterile, a lack of personality so I suspect it was a hospice or similar. The very elderly woman passed out of the body as I came to her side, still decrepit and huddled upon herself. "Remember who you are," I told her. The spirit straightened, years dropped away, becoming the beautiful woman she knew herself to be. The portal showed 1930's Boston (I later went looking for a picture to approximate what I saw, so here you are). I knew she was going to the astral side of the happiest time of her physical life. She stepped through without a backward glance.

The final trip for the day took me to a flooded home and the body of a man floating face down. His spirit was afraid and did not want to cross over. I simply informed him that this is the best thing, to move on. However when I opened the door I went through with him... and found myself in Hell. The darkness was lit only by sullen red light and feeling of pain. I turned to him in surprise. "You don't deserve this." His face showed calm acceptance that the worst had come to pass. "Yes, I do." I reached up and grabbed his head, putting his forehead against my own. Images, memories of his flashed before me and I understood that he had succumbed to temptations of a horrible sort: pedophilia. I released his head and watched him for a moment. I could feel that he was not inherently "evil," though the choices he had made could certainly be considered so. We both knew that he felt he deserved to be in Hell, that he had karma to pay. I nodded but said, "When you know you no longer need to be here, you can leave." He simply looked at me then turned away.

I left then and flew back through my tunnel to home. I was very weary and the personality struggled with processing all that had passed. This intense experience has given me some insight into the nature of the "other" side and how people create their reality. Since this I have had more travels and continue to develop my own understanding of spirits and greater reality. This is part of what I do for my Goddess, out of sight but not out of mind. I realize too that these are real people and that their relatives could become aware of this post. I only hope that if they do that it brings them closure.


photo credit: Vermin Inc via photopin cc
photo credit: Boston Public Library via photopin cc

Monday, February 4, 2013

Imbolc

Imbolc hasn't been a spoke on the Wheel of the Year that I typically resonate with much. Snow is still on the ground here in the Northwest and temps are staying fairly steady, so the "spring is coming" aspect of Imbolc isn't happening yet. However, recently I was chatting with my dear friend Annwyn Avalon about a health issue of mine and she suggested a ritual to the Celtic goddess Brigid for assistance. Imbolc was a week and half away; how fortuitous! My husband works with Brigid so I am familiar with Her energy though She is not one I talk to often.

My altar for the ritual was very simple. (I do have a larger permanent altar to The Morrigan.) The table is just a laptop table I use for my computer when I'm lounging in bed. There are hand-dipped candles by yours truly under the supervision of The Water Witch, 3 for the Triple Aspect; gorgeous altar cloth by the talented Brigid Ashwood and in particular, my etheric healing tool- the sage root wand in the center- was part of my training by Gretchen Smith-Thermer, originally of the 12 Ray Spiritual Mystery School. The crystal wands were there to be charged with healing energy and the bone athame in recognition that occasionally healing means to cut away the diseased part. This is also true for emotional healing and the release of negative energies.

During my meditation I received the directions and information for the process of healing that I needed. I also pulled a single Tarot card for additional insight. The facet of Her energy I called upon is very gentle and soothing. At the end of the ritual the apple pieces went to the deer that frequent our yard and a cup of the juice (I didn't have milk on hand) to a tree.

Pleased with the results I relaxed for the rest of the evening. Now is the "fun" part- following the directions! Typically I'm the type who wants to get things done when it comes to my health but I had been dragging my feet. However, I am aware that this is part of my journey this time around and that the more I experience, the better I am able to relate to others. I am grateful to Brigid for being clear and concise which is certainly not a common circumstance from the Gods.

Reach out, whether to a deity or a friend, for the encouragement and empowerment to manifest a stronger life for yourself. Be aware that sometimes it is necessary to remove something that holds you back. Just for today, each time you take a sip of water, tea, or milk, imagine Her healing energy being absorbed into you and see how it feels at the end of the day.


Friday, February 1, 2013

The Parrot and the Girl: an experience with spirits and animals

A couple months ago I became friends with a wonderful woman who happens to be a Sensitive. During the course of one of our conversations (a long, meandering course it was) she spoke of feeling a presence in her bedroom. The house she owned only had this presence, that of a young girl, in that particular room which was a fully finished attic they had made into a very cozy and private bedroom. It was not a malicious presence in any way, but frequently waking up to the feeling of being watched was straining her nerves.

Later I meditated on this situation and was given instructions, which were simple for this case. When I went to her house to visit I brought few tools: tealight candles, athame, blessed herbal spray in lieu of incense. My friend has several parrots and while they have their own room, I didn't wish to bring anything to create smoke. We drank tea, visited with the birds and chatted for several hours until her husband mentioned he was going to bed soon, so we jumped up to accomplish the task. It was about midnight when we prepared the tiny ritual. She was unfamiliar with such things, another reason to keep it simple. I lit the five black candles, cleansed the room and cast a circle from within myself, using the expanding energy bubble technique. I had very little physical space to work in, so for the most part I simply sat on the floor surrounded by the small candles. Having cast the circle, the girl's presence was immediately clear. I relayed what I saw of her appearance to my friend, who concurred with her own prior observations. Then I spoke silently with this girl of about 8 or so, who told me that she hadn't meant to scare my friend, she was curious. After a few moments I cut the doorway with my athame; the girl shrank back nervously from the portal.  Suddenly the girl's mother appeared on the other side, kneeling on one knee with outstretched arms. The spirit rushed past me and disappeared in a burst of joy. I closed the opening and spent several more minutes working on the energies of the rest of the house.

I left feeling good but nervous, as this was the first crossing I had assisted where someone was present that didn't already know the process behind it. Essentially my doubts kept floating up, wondering if I had really "done" it. Knowing that if I hadn't, my friend would likely continue having unpleasant experiences. Several days later, I received a text from my friend:

"I think my chattering lory is repeating the conversation you had with the little ghost girl. All my hair is standing on end."

I spoke to her on the phone then, as she described the situation:

She had been in the birds' room cleaning a cage and not really paying any attention to their constant chatter when something one of them said caught her ear. She stopped and listened, and the parrot began to repeat it again as if on a recording loop. This particular parrot has several "voices" that he uses and for this he was using one that sounds like a little girl,

"No. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare her. No, I don't want to go. No, I'm scared. Oh my god, Mom! Hi Mom!"

We wondered then, how much some creatures are able to sense and be an active part of other realms of existence. Do you have a familiar, or have experienced an animal companion connecting with other beings?