kokopelle: Black Cat (cat black)
“Mourning’s Bed” was written against the prompt “the color black”.


Mourning’s Bed

One of four
polar of white
shelter turned
to mourning’s bed
in ancient caves
bulls foretold
Latin’s lingo
towards present day.

In the rich soil
fertility
protection granted
against the dead
turned to hex
cruelty
brutality
with evil’s stain.

The Romans foretold
our future affairs
by business men
with money’s spore
mourning loss
witches’ spell
profit’s magic
buys elegance.

This devil’s shade
assumed by those
seeking power
of their own
on clothe of clergy
executives
less prestigious
than crimson tints.

These frame the words
on paper’s face
red letter phrases
are so blessed
mere mortals scribe
ancestor’s ash
the writer’s shelter
on mourning’s bed.

© 2017. Sean Green. All Rights Reserved. 20170518.
kokopelle: Horse Totem (Default)
The poem "To Live Again" was prompted by the All Poetry contest "2017 Winter Park Paint Out" (https://allpoetry.com/contest/2683165-THIS-WEEK--2017-Winter-Park-Paint-Out-Poetr). The inspiring painting, "Station of the Cross", was painted in oil by Charles Dickinson.


To Live Again

I found my Savior when he died
passed from life, yet to rise
surrounded by the ones who cared
ready to move him to a tomb.

Nature was the frame without
asking me to look within
where I've given up my sins
with knowledge that he'd rise again.

The garden held the station's crest
put upon a bright green wall
proceeded by twelve milestones
with best as last, praise the Lord.

Acceptance of the longest walk
a day that saved this humble soul
the stone showed the sacrifice
while spring's rebirth foretold more.

I'll stand here to declare his gift
the covenant of God to men
before I leave this gladed place
to live again as Jesus did.

© 2017. Sean Green. All Rights Reserved. 20170426.
kokopelle: Frank n Furter (frank_n_furter)
The poem “Snowflakes” is a play on the four directions, a path walked during the lifetime’s spiritual journey.


Snowflakes

Snowflakes each from God’s fair hands
cast to fall when they might land
in a tempest from fate’s four winds

in the east the journey starts
the whole of self is sum of the past
turned aside when the steps begin

in the south the rivers flow
highways of the early years
ask the dreams why tears must go

in the west the sleeper wakes
through the fires the dross is burned
treasures found when all seems lost

in the north the gold is dug
wisdom shown in the past twice found
once in the heart and then in the mind

the winds turn round to the start
what came before will come again
the pilgrim white from the journey’s breadth

each snowflake has a different way
none may arrive before they leave
in place of ice is bright diamond.

2016, Sean Green. All Rights Reserved, 20161025.
kokopelle: Frank n Furter (frank_n_furter)
I am coming up on a decade anniversary. This is a bitter sweet one, one that marks my leaving a promising spiritual path. My energies turned in another direction, and now I walk the artistic path. I still pursue that path in a quiet way while I seek to reveal the fullness of life in all its many ways. I also want those who walk on the fringes to know that they are OK and normal in incredibly special ways.


Tradition – Part One

The path is set
curriculum drawn
books in rows
pencils sharp
time to study
says teacher
with unsteady hands
good intentions
two clay feet
soothing words
wounded allies
comfort given
as spirits trembled
syllabus discarded
books torn
pencils broken
teacher gone
tradition failed
or did I?

© 2016, Sean Green. All Rights Reserved, 20160719.
kokopelle: Horse Totem (Shaman Horse)
The poem “Spiritual Man” is an autobiographical poem.


Spiritual Man

I used to be a spiritual man,
before most knew of me
a decade in time's past
I was on another path.
The teacher's was the hat I wore
in monthly classes at Barnes and Noble.
Several topics I taught each turn,
about the moon was such one.

A path I walked with assurance
with learning taught by the elders.
To share was my fervent wish,
to learn more was my heart's desire.
The special time did arrive,
to move beyond the initiate.
Eager was my heart at hand,
worried that I would not stand.

Then the earth shifted there,
deity stood in my way.
I did not pass, I stayed in place,
trajectory made to spin away.
Nearly ten years have gone by
when I stepped from that path.
Full decade since that trail began
arrested in its infancy.

My focus is now on other loves,
none I teach to the masses.
Instead I art with photo and word
shared in the social with the world.
I still am a spiritual man,
now you see what has become
of a path walk this past decade
with you by my side this day.

© 2016, Sean Green. All Rights Reserved, 20160405.
kokopelle: Frank n Furter (frank_n_furter)
The religions and spiritual paths of the world offer the remedial path for the human condition. The poem “My Humanity” is an examination of these paths.


My Humanity
Poem for Day 306 – 20151103

Pardon me while I trip,
sway under the weight of the world,
making the cardinal mistake
of revealing my humanity.

I look to the spiritual paths,
the search for something larger,
a place I can find retreat
from the place I find myself.

The holy book duly states
that mistakes are human based,
salvation is found in groveling,
admitting this lowly condition.

The enlightened ones project
that faults are the steps
towards an ascension fully shared,
when will the rest of us spiral up?

The eastern mystics sincerely state
that attachment is suffering,
stepping off the wheel is the path,
denial is the solution to earthly pain.

I wonder if there is a fit,
a modality that is my salve.
In my search I turn to these teachers,
the architects of the salvation prospective.

There I find lofty leaders with feet of clay,
signposts offering an unvisited destination,
bent by the weight of the world,
with their humanity fully revealed.

My trips are now seen as the natural
outcome to my inhabitation of earthly realm.
They are no longer mistakes that I make,
instead they are God's face on my humanity.

© 2015, Sean Green. All Rights Reserved.
kokopelle: Black Cat (Cat - Black)
One of the themes in my 100 theme challenge is “Cat”. The timing of tackling this corresponded with learning about Bill Nye's comments regarding our being the stuff of exploding stars. The end result is the poem “Children of Stardust”.


Children of Stardust
Poem for Day 266 – 20150924

My cats are made of stardust,
destination of exploding suns.
Ambassadors of the big bang,
children of God's space soup,
A place to be, stellar debris,
felines of the macrocosm,
I'd have no other truth be told,
companions on the blue marble.

Show me how to best relate,
with all colors living as one.
Black and white, tan and brown,
each an equal in its own right.
There are queens in the mix,
still yet equals in God's face
with different furs on each,
and no need to put on more

Consider odds that would bring
astronomical creations
of the long past big bang
as residents now in my lap.
I love these furry aliens,
my lovely children of stardust.
Teach me the similar in this place,
traced back to our starry origins.

© 2015, Sean Green. All Rights Reserved.
kokopelle: Black Cat (cat black)
A poem about a spiritual path that few attempt. It does not seeking "enlightenment" as a religious or spiritual goal the way Buddhists and Hindus do, as his focus is on serving others. Enlightenment comes with time, with the scars proving attainment.

Separate Reality
Poem for Day 81 – 20141213

See the sacred world:
the physical and spiritual combined.
No barrier between
the worlds of dream and reality.
Reach out to the beyond:
underworld, upperworld.
Each integrated
to the inner realm, master of all.

Live the unity,
embracing the whole of the world.
Serve the unity,
servant to all of the community.
Walk the middle road,
share the vision with the people.
Perform the vision
in forms of art, music, and dance.

At the end of the day,
retreat to that separate reality.
Dreaming of a world
that spans God's totality.

© 2014. Sean Green. All Rights Reserved.
kokopelle: (Cthulu Hello)
FROM 2007!  Spiritual leadership is important stuff to me. I believe spiritual development to be one of the greatest tasks in our lifetimes. I am frustrated when those in places of spiritual leadership attack others' attempts to spiritually grow and thrive. The sabotage of others' lives saddens me and is a frequent topic of my posts. While I grieve when leaders fall short in a larger sense, I acknowledge that they do serve somebody. I honor them for this. Today I wish to specifically about the expectations and trials of spiritual leadership.

Spiritual leadership does not come easy. The positions of priest(ess), teacher and mentor are gained through a combination of calling and very hard work. The taking on of spiritual leadership is sometimes involuntary. Even if spiritual leadership is unexpected, the continuing of the leadership requires work in the form of blood, sweat and tears. The dichotomy between charge of leadership and the ever present human factor is the spiritual leader's challenge.

The range and depth of duties of spiritual leadership can vary. On one end of the spectrum are those who are part time leaders, stepping in when called and moving away after their job is done. On the other end of the spectrum are those who dedicate their lives to spiritual leadership, living most every moment in expression of their place. Service to others is a function of the role that leadership plays in the person's life.

Sometimes people know their place in this spectrum of service. The expectation of service is a formal part of the leader's development. Other times a spiritual leader has service called unto them. Their expression of service cannot be defined or cataloged. What must be done is done. In practice, the level of service to others is based on the foundation of training/calling and then increased by divine direction. Sometimes the spiritual leader will be called to great service. Other times the divine will ask for others to serve the spiritual leader.

People are asked to serve a spiritual leader. A position can demand and receive respect from others. This form of deferment, called positional respect, is rooted in belief of the spiritual structure and heritage. While powerful in its wide application, affecting as many people who hold a place of spiritual leadership, positional respect ends where the duties of position end.

The spiritual leader determines what respect and service they will receive beyond their mantle of position. Will they be loved or feared? Will people react to them with disdain or admiration? These expressions stand outside of position. The key to the reactions of others is the degree that a teacher matches their own service expectations, and then how much they exceed them.

We are all human. Nobody is expected to put their life completely on hold while being in leadership. Leaders can be angry, cuss, dance, lust, love and have their own moments of need. It can be said that a spiritual leader is not connected to their charges if these human qualities were not felt. The challenge is to live UP to the charges of the existing spiritual leadership while living DOWN to human pulls. Factoring in the human equation, a leader should be equal to the tasks of their spiritual position. Spiritual leaders are asked to rise to their positions even as their own human needs are given their due.

I've painted an ideal picture of spiritual leadership. In the picture I've presented, positions are given respect and then the spiritual leader determines how much respect is further given. The spiritual leader is served by their charges. The spiritual leaders further serve themselves by nurturing the human needs that stand outside whatever selfless expectations the spiritual leadership dictates. However, at the end of the day, the spiritual leader is judged by how they handled both themselves and the very important duties of their spiritual leadership.
kokopelle: Frank n Furter (frank_n_furter)
Several online discussions got me thinking about why some people are treated unfairly by groups, and even have to lie or suffer to remain at peace with the group. The concept of outliers came to mind, and that is what I want to explore here.

What is an outlier? The dictionary says that an outlier is something that lies outside the main body or group that it is a part of, someone who stands apart from others of his or her group, as by differing actions, beliefs, religious practices. Synonyms are outsider, nonconformist, maverick; original, eccentric, bohemian; dissident, dissenter, iconoclast, and heretic.

The synonyms are very telling. Groups do not treat nonconformists, dissenters, and heretics well. The challenge is that the main group does not know how to handle an outlier, a person who has differing actions, beliefs, or religious practices. A group has its normal standards of social interaction. However, in relating to the outlier, the group’s normal standards of relating do not apply, and friction results from the interaction. The outcome is unfair to the outlier person, but the group is incapable of addressing the disconnect because of their underlying social dynamics. The group legitimately cannot deal with the outlier.

I am a privileged person by some standards: White, upper middle class, and over forty. This would seem to squarely make me part of the social groups I interact with. This is not the case, and in fact I am also an outlier in most of my social groups. Why? The answer is my spirituality and world outlook. As a shamanist and psychic, and pretty opened minded guy on some really controversial topics, I would easily be labeled as dissenter, outsider, bohemian, and heretic by my contemporaries.

What can I, and other outliers, do when faced with the very incredibly uncomfortable position of being an outlier? The options seem to be: leave, languish, or lie. I could walk away from the groups, but in my case I enjoy my job and don’t want to leave it just because I am spiritually the very odd man out. I could like revel in my outlier status, trumpeting my differences to my peers, but I would have a miserable experience as my peer’s quiet derision was the 1000 pound gorilla in the middle of the room. I instead lie, hiding behind a mask that shields my outlier status from the group’s attention.

Are the options of leave, languish, or lie fair? NO. Are they reality in the social web we call life? Yes. Can I legitimately protest and fight the situation? Sure, but the wisdom of the decision, and to be frank, the relative sanity of it, seems to lay in the degree of my choice. Did I choose to be part of the group, or is it something I am stuck with? If I am stuck with it, for example, if I am born into a society in which I am naturally an outsider by gender, race, or creed, than I should protest in an effort to educate others and better my situation. It may not help, but I can at least try. If I voluntarily interact with the group, and my being in the corporate workplace is an example of this, than I am going to have to choose my option and then suck it up.

That’s my $.02 on being an outlier. Summary: do what you can if you are involuntarily an outlier. On the other hand, don’t act the innocent victim if you choose to be an outlier. Life is not fair, especially when it comes to social groups and you are the outlier.
kokopelle: (Sinfest - Fear the Pussy)

Spirituality and sexuality are intertwined in the human experience. I've indulged in some. I've danced around the others. This blog entry is about a root commonality of seeming incongruent spiritual path: the sexual narrative.


I recently read a blog that started with the paragraph:

Witches (along with many other denominations of Paganism) view sex as sacred. The Charge of the Goddess says that all acts of love and pleasure are rituals of the Goddess, and not only do I believe that to be true, it's one of the things that drew me to this religion. In many ways, we're more open about sex (some of us say that we're more "sex positive") than the members of many/most other religions. Similarly, we're more likely to be quite accepting of QLTBG, etc. sex/sexuality/identity, polyamory, public nudity, and various less-than-mainstream forms of sexual expression than the members of many other religions. Our on-line discussions and our festivals and conferences often reflect this reality.

This got me thinking about expressions of sexuality and the shadow sides of religions. I found the first sentence to be especially interesting. A quick search on Google revealed a tantric oriented article that said:

Why is sex sacred? The dictionary defines sacred as "made or declared holy, dedicated or devoted exclusively to a use, purpose, or person worthy of reverence or respect." The word itself comes from the Latin, sacra meaning "sacred, holy, consecrated," that is, blessed or revered. The noun (singular) is sacrum, meaning a holy thing or place.

Another Google plunge found a Christian oriented page that said:

Sacred sex should be "rooted in a sacrificial dying to yourself in such a way that means laying your will, pride and needs on the altar while considering the other as more important than yourself. ...The two partners share much more than some moments of passion. They share their secrets, their hearts' DNA, their fears, their hopes, their failures and even so much as their 'treasures of darkness and hidden wealth of secret places.'"

The long of the short of it is that pagan's don't have the market cornered on believing sexuality is sacred. There are many spiritual paths that feature their stand on sexuality front and center. The reasoning seems simple enough. People think about sex. Sex is a motivational driver. Any spiritual path worth anything will address the topic, and do so in a way that satisfies those who will embrace the path.

This gets really interesting when you consider the message of each spiritual path, and then consider where it seeks to connect with the follower. We are all wired a little differently, with varying fears, desires and convictions.  Every spiritual path has a narrative that hooks and feeds the adherents. Does your spiritual path have a sexual narrative that you connect with?
kokopelle: Horse Totem (Shaman Horse)

I was poking around an old external drive and found this article that I wrote back in 1998.  It is good stuff about psychotropic substances and their place in a spiritual life. 

There are three obligations that life asks of us. They are:

1) Show compassion to ourselves and others.

2) Find joy/contentment in the moment

3) Seek the mystical

The first, showing compassion to ourselves and others, is a recipe that covers any number of commandments or redes that one may embrace in life. During the true exercise of compassion, one "knows" when the path is strayed from. The key here is that compassion is not something we reserve for the holidays, fund drives, or special occasions. Compassion is the focus of every moment, every action. When compassion is pursued, there are no winners or losers. There are only full participants in this game called life.

The second point, finding joy/contentment in the moment, grounds us in a point that feels no obligation to the past or future. The state of our life just IS. Joy is not the same word as happiness. Joy is the middle ground. When one defines their satisfaction life in terms of happiness, there will be non-satisfaction when happiness decreases, and becomes sorrow. The two must exist if one is assumed to exist. When one says "I am happy today", a recipe for manic cycles is insured. The cycles feed each other, and a sense of non-control is established. When one says "I find joy today", the cycles still exist, but one lives separate from them. As one practices the first obligation of life: compassion to ourselves and others, the cycles are less extreme. Ideally, one sees no cycles in their life, and only fully appreciates what each moment brings.

At this point the Western mind says: "that is nice, but this means that I can sit and contemplate my belly-button, and practice the first two obligations". This is where the somewhat paradoxical third obligation becomes important. When one seeks the mystical, contemplating the belly-button is not enough. That is, unless the belly-button is the center of our mystic exploration at the moment. When I speak of the "mystical", I do not mean those things that we deem to be unusual or potentially unobtainable. The mystical is not the out of body experience, or the visit by a spirit guide. Well, it is these, but it is also your boss asking for the report ahead of schedule, the fender bender one is in, the butterfly that one sees, your antagonist voicing yet another irritable e-mail message, and our morning coffee.

That is to say, the mundane and supernatural experiences of the mystical are one in the same. We should seek and embrace all of them for what they are: spice and change in our lives. To seek all things as the same, a different sense of "reality" must be embraced. It is a reality in which we do not place expectations on things, but instead welcome the unexpected. The first and second obligations are the lodestone of the mystical is compassion, and the ground of the mystical is joy.

So what does this have to do with psychotropic substances? I've read several comments that I would like to apply the above thoughts to. I do not claim that I am at all correct in what I say, I only present these to create some mysticism in your life.


1) Psychotropic substances remove control from the spiritual/mystical experience.

The three obligations offer an answer to this. Compassion for ourselves and others asks that we protect ourselves and others. Somebody to watch over us, and others, is a valid fulfillment of this obligation. If a substance is truly dangerous, compassion for ourselves should keep us from partaking in it Once this is done, the obligation of finding joy in the moment then removes the need for control. If a substance fulfills the third obligation, revelation of the mystical, the finding of joy in the moment asks us to put control aside. Control assumes obligation to the past or future, and neither are present in the present. Psychotropic substances aside, loss of "control" in the mystical experience, be it astral travel or dealing with the police at a traffic accident, does not remove our ability to find joy in the present.


2) Those under the "influence" should not participate in ritual.

Some have said that the exception to this is those on a "maintenance of influence". That is, one that must take a substance that alters their state of mind to be different from the "average", and this must be done to function "normally". Do you see the irony in this? How are they different from a person who drops acid, eats peyote, or smokes a joint before or during ritual? Is the difference in the frequency or level of effect? Does this rule apply to those who are under the influence of 'negative feelings'? If someone is depressed, should they not participate? Common sense says 'yes'. What if it is known that the person is constantly mildly depressed. Do we say this is their 'normal' frame of mind, and allow them to participate when the person having a bad day cannot? The answer may be that one is showing compassion to another by not allowing them to participate. Be very sure that you are being integritous in your application of compassion.


3) If I ask "why should substances not be part of ritual?", and the answer is "because".

The answer of "because" is very common today. It is normally expressed as "because we have always done it this way", "because the results are unpredictable", or "because I said so". Does strict structure in ritual/worship leave us open to the third obligation, the seeking of the mystical? If one knows that ritual will involve opening the Circle, praise for the God and Goddess, and closing of the Circle, where is the quest for the mystical? Is the statement "I'm all ritualled out" a sign that a spark, the influence of the mystical, is missing? If limited use of psychotropic substances could offer some a spark of the mystical, why do we banish them from possibility?


4) The unspoken words "I'm afraid what will happen. Psychotropic substances will open doors I am not ready for".

This is an unspoken statement that people have for all types of mystical experiences. I know of too many people who do not wish to read tarot because it will reveal more than they wish to see. Knowledge of the "future" and "hidden" scares the paints off of many people. Mystical experiences shine lights in dark corners, and opens previously closed doors. One is very correct in assuming that once the corner is lit, and the door open, it cannot be made dark or closed again. This is understandable. Our persistence in maintaining a "personal history" of control and self importance also puts blinders on our eyes. When these blinders spill over to your search for the mystical, ritual and dogma stop becoming vehicles of exploration, and instead become a the cage of our own self creation.

I do not promote the use of psychotropic substances. Compassionate, joy, mystical exploration can be obtained without them. I offer the thoughts above not as any amount of truth. Take them as you will.

kokopelle: Black Cat (cat black)
I seem to be suffering from age elitism. Why? A FB friend pointed us to a blog entry entitled "What SEXY-CONSCIOUSLY AWAKE Women NEED and DON’T WANT from MEN". It is a long blog entry written by a twenty-three year old woman. Insightful and sharing? Yes, absolutely. BUT... yeah, there is the but. It has that ring that I am associating with people who are wise before their time, and their wisdom smells of spiritual one-up-manship. Sadly this is just be the three fingers pointing back at me.

OK... let's explore this. This seems to be an exhaustive reflection on awakening women not needing weak men. She defines awakened women as:

we (awakened women) have evolved through enormous effort and courage to confront the tumultuous waters of our own emotional landscape and social conditioning. Women like us are not entitled or self righteous, we are confident and love ourselves. Don’t mistake self-love and self-care for selfish. Women like us are not selfish, we just have boundaries, and we trust our intuition.

I can buy that! This would be my definition of any spiritually awakened person. Cool.

What is the polar opposite of the awakened woman? Emotionally crippled men are. The blog states:

Emotionally stunted MEN are an epidemic in our culture. A lot of these emotionally stunted guys have awesome personalities, cause they’re cool in every other way than how they choose to deal with their emotions.

Ok. I can buy that too. The author further states the danger signs of emotionally stunted men and gives them ways that they can improve. Her final words are pretty powerful:

Right now, I’m pioneering a path to empower a new breed of women. Women who can stand in their power and be enough for themselves, so that they stop hurting themselves unintentionally. Men will always be a problem, they’re men, but I think that the heart of a woman’s issues is her own worth. If you stop looking outside of yourself and start looking at how you create your reality you have to ask yourself what you are and aren’t willing to put up with?

No man on this planet is worth half the heart ache you feel. The right ones take care of you and don’t fuck with you and you need to gravitate toward those kinds of men with all your heart. If you don’t know when to trust yourself or how to trust yourself and love yourself to choose better, ask yourself these 3 things:

1). Do I feel good about myself around this person?

2). Does this person serve my highest good?

3). Does this person treat me with respect and compassion?

If you answer NO to any of these questions: GET THE FUCK OUT!

Wow... I can respect that. OK. Time for me to man up. I do seem to be suffering from elitism. Kelly Marceau hit some nails on the head and I respect her for that. I am fortunate that I've found an awakened woman who puts up with me and my struggle to become less emotionally stunted!  I also have some fabo women friends online and in person (or both!) who kick spiritual butt so I am blessed for sure. Lucky me!
kokopelle: Horse Totem (Shaman - Horse)
Spiritual leadership is important stuff to me. I believe spiritual development to be one of the greatest tasks in our lifetimes. I am frustrated when those in places of spiritual leadership attack others' attempts to spiritually grow and thrive. The sabotage of others' lives saddens me and is a frequent topic of my posts. While I grieve when leaders fall short in a larger sense, I acknowledge that they do serve somebody. I honor them for this. Today I wish to specifically about the expectations and trials of spiritual leadership.

Spiritual leadership does not come easy. The positions of priest(ess), teacher and mentor are gained through a combination of calling and very hard work. The taking on of spiritual leadership is sometimes involuntary. Even if spiritual leadership is unexpected, the continuing of the leadership requires work in the form of blood, sweat and tears. The dichotomy between charge of leadership and the ever present human factor is the spiritual leader's challenge.

Read more... )

I've painted an ideal picture of spiritual leadership. In the picture I've presented, positions are given respect and then the spiritual leader determines how much respect is further given. The spiritual leader is served by their charges. The spiritual leaders further serve themselves by nurturing the human needs that stand outside whatever selfless expectations the spiritual leadership dictates. However, at the end of the day, the spiritual leader is judged by how they handled both themselves and the very important duties of their spiritual leadership.
kokopelle: (Cat - Felix Pace)
I feel truly sad when I observe the behavior of those who act for groups. The irony is that the individuals are doing nothing wrong themselves. Their intentions are pure (enough). Somehow the good intentions are subverted and end up harming others as little evils are perpetrated by a larger group dynamic. I can expect this from groups as a whole. My heart is pained when I see people in spiritual groups acting the same way.

Read more... )

Once upon a time I hoped that spiritual groups could do something to keep the shadows at bay. Maybe some quality of personal or group character could be attained that other groups don't have. Sadly, I see spiritual groups as much at risk for succumbing to the shadows of the group dynamic.

I ask my LJ friends these questions... do the spiritual groups have any moral/character advantage over other groups, or are they merely an imperfect but serviceable vehicle for discovering the divine? If you are or were a member of a spiritual group, what drew you to membership? How did the spiritual group improve your life?
kokopelle: (Gay Boys in Bondage)
This is a list of books that very much shaped my life a few years back.

Read more... )

Are there any spiritually minded books that are on the top of summer reading list?
kokopelle: (Cat - Felix Face)
I need feedback from people on the visceral power of color. I am speaking of strong emotional, spiritual or intellectual reactions to a particular color or colors.

Read more... )
kokopelle: Horse Totem (Feel Fine)
A LJ friend of mine commented on an article that compared the Shaman and the Witch. Judging the article, my friend said, "The (article's) difference is that shamans are distinguished only by their ability to astral project and lead a completely solitary existence!" and a commenter said, "Most of the pagans I know are shamans by his definition!".

The hubris of the original article was that it spoke in tones of authoritarian surety about the very large topic of shamanism. To this, I commented (slightly edited):
My feedback of "true enough" acknowledges that there are always exceptions. There are no absolutes. This is so especially true in the embrace of Shamanism. When I teach I give a little speech that goes something like this:

"The world of Shamanism is very rich and diverse. Each indigenous culture has it's own rich beliefs and practices. There are many differences between these local derivations. That said, there is also a core of general beliefs that are shared across the multitude. It is to these shared beliefs that I teach from. The result is a form of "modern" shamanism that informs and enriches the nonindigenous person.

Anything that I can share is only a broad overview of the shamanic path. There are many exceptions to what I have to share. In fact, there are exceptions to the exceptions. The only “pure” shamanic teachings would be indigenously specific. I don’t have the qualification to teach from this place. Very few people do. We in the Western world stand outside of those teachings. It is only in glimpses that we see the nuts-n-bolts of the indigenous. This is OK. What we have is enough to find our own shamanic connections to the world around us. We have enough to allowing the healing of ourselves, and in turn, we can reach out to facilitate the healing and embrace of the world around us."
I then put in my $.02 (slightly edited) about the Witch and the Shaman.
There is (almost) no difference if you look at the total breadth of each. Both paths are self-realized journeys of exploration and connection between oneself and the world as a whole. I say this as a person who has walked in the world of the Craft without committing to it.

The catch to statement of "no difference" is that there is no one-size-fits-all mold for either being a Witch or a Shaman. IMO the decision to be a Witch or a Shaman is a personal statement of intention (i.e. "I am a Witch" or "I am a Shaman") and the subsequent recognition of that role, Witch or Shaman, by those around you. A person can be called on not being a Shaman or Witch if they stray too far from the big generalities, but the landscape for those generalities is vast.

On a personal note, Shamanism, by the way I practice it, does have the wrinkle that other people recognize the person to be a shaman with a capital "S". A person can say, "I am on the shamanic path", but it is only others that can say, "That person is a Shaman". There are exceptions to this too, but this is my reality. In contrast (with BIG exceptions also!), the Witch can self-initiate,subsequently stating, "I am a Witch" with no affirming acknowledgement from others.
kokopelle: (I Want to Believe)
I recently posed a question about the juxtaposition of human teachers and their teachings. I’ve considered my own response. The result has been a line of thought that sees a combination of separateness and togetherness between the teacher, the teaching, and the student. The bond of these elements determines the outcome of infusion of human frailty into the mix.

The answer to these questions starts with the definition and delineation of its parts. I believe that the teaching, teacher and student each can have tremendous truth in themselves. The human frailty of the teacher is assumed. The feedback to my original question showed a belief that people are people, with the result being the amazing variety of human expressions – good, bad and ugly. (IMO) This condition, a state that Christians may call Sin, is not inherently evil. It is just a state of imperfection, requiring growth in ourselves. A perfect world would require no teachers and no teaching. There would be no students in a perfect world. We do not live in that world, so hence we have the dynamics of teaching, teacher and student.

As my thoughts expanded, it became clear that the teaching, the teacher, and the student were to be examined separately and then together. This article explores teaching, with the path as an analogy.

Read more... )

Does any teaching’s path truly have a map? I believe that at some point every teaching has a person off the mapped route. This is the paradox of a teaching’s journey. We can never truly arrive if we stick to the designated route. At some point we must create our own path. Anticipated landmarks discarded, it is the destination that is the heart of the teaching journey. This is not entirely true. I don’t believe that we ever truly reach a teaching’s destination. We instead reach mile markers along a teaching’s path. There we judge our state, tend to our wounds, rejoice in our victories, affirm our companions, and ready ourselves for the continued journey.

(x-posted on personal log)

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