My eclectic spiritual path

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What is eclectic? The definition is ‘deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources’, i.e. my spiritual path is shaping up to be a collection of ideas, theories, philosophies and ways of practicing my connection with the spirit.

I started out many years ago on a path of Witchcraft. It is still strongly present in my work with the elements, herbalism, connecting with the Goddess and flowing with the moon cycles, although my spell crafting practice have reduced dramatically. I have always been an intuitive witch, followed by a kitchen and hedge orientation. This particular journey began when I first connected to a part of myself asleep for a long time. I experienced awakening within myself when someone on outside pointed out some qualities and abilities I had no name for. I was gifted a book of shadows, an athame and a deck of Tarot cards and when exploring the meaning of it all I came back to my own deep alignment to the path of witchcraft. It did feel like coming home, calm, peaceful and deeply knowing. Things began to open up for me, transform and manifest at a fast speed.

All my paths’ directions came to me through intuitive and meaningful coincidences, i.e. I was directed towards a particular way of exploring my relationship to spirit be it through personal encounters with people, programmes I watched, images that came to me or groups I connected with. All these events felt very natural and noticeably meaningful to my development on my own unique spiritual path.

Since last year Druidry started show itself in various forms inviting me to explore it further. I began to read a lot and experienced many feelings, positive and negative, making me unpick various meanings. In particular I began my work with ancestors of blood, place and spirit. My deep connection to Celtic lands was clear and I felt a need to bring my skills and experiences into the open, out into the community. At that point I felt my life purpose became to clarify more and more. I recently attended a Druid Grove’s Lammas ceremony and although it felt deeply familiar and holding it strikingly highlighted for me how solitary I am and how my preference is strongly for intuitive practice rather than an organised ritualistic practice. I seemed to have taken a step back, which then made me think more about my initial direction as a solitary witch. I am not sure at this point that the call to join a community is currently working. Perhaps, it was a way to test and adjust, for which I am grateful.

Buddhism has been strongly present for me in the last year or so and just as I felt my Transpersonal/spiritual 5th plane of consciousness self very deeply, the Buddha within me aligned with that vibration. The vibration of peace and serenity, by far, the most precious vibration for me. For as long as I lived all I have ever wanted was inner peace and saw it as something elusive and unattainable until a few years ago when my spiritual awakening happened and I saw and experienced my Buddha self. I am in love with the vibration and it comes to me in the most natural way when I work with my clients. In my day-to-day life, however, connecting to that energy has always been a challenge. I have struggled to connect spiritual and earthly and experienced the split, or rather a challenge to bring one into another and vice versa, but this is the biggest challenge for us all, they say and a life-long work. I have a deep understanding of what that means and continue working with various aspects of myself through psycho-spiritual and therapeutic practices. Buddhist ways of being away of the present moment, middle way and mindfulness are practices I don’t see abandoning any time soon, however, some elements of the path remind me too much of Christian commandments and that word alone puts me off. In fact I stopped reading a book recently as soon as the author made a comparison with that and rules and conditions. Who know I might go back to the back one day and see how I feel. Meditation also remains a challenge and I am still exploring a way that sits the best with me. Actually the way Druids describe it resonates better, they call it an active participation in the process rather than abandoning all thoughts. I am an engagement sort of person and journeying techniques, e.g. are the ones I am used to the most.

Nature reverence and worship, as well as, the Wheel of the year strongly remains at the centre of my spiritual path. This has been one constant and beautiful way of my connection to myself and spirit. It has been a confirmation of the wholeness and connectivity of all things. I continue working with the Elements, trees and spirit animals, as well as maintaining my very strong connection to the land. My relationship to sacred sites, stone circles and Celtic ancient lands remains continuous. Scotland is and will always be my spiritual home, but I am also deeply connected to the land of Wales and Ireland. Magic, enchantment and wonder of all things nature is in my heart daily and have been my saviour, sacred connection to love and gratitude.

I think I have always been an eclectic sort of person. I could never see myself following one way completely and utterly, as my mind is curious and constantly questioning and evolving. I remain in curiosity and wonder and for things to settle within me they must align and resonate with my deep experience of spirit. It needs to make my heart sing and produce ringing in my ears and a sweet song on my lips for me to call it my way. This reminds me, as an example, that when I work with herbs either in my kitchen or recently by a Scottish Loch, I suddenly started to sing in the voice I hardly ever hear within me. It felt flowing and natural and I went to a place that is my spiritual retreat, my soul connected with the energy of spirit in a way that could not be broken. I experience joy and complete balance in moments like that. It feels right, it feels like home and very familiar.

What am I? I am Pagan and I am Intuitive, for sure. I am a nature spirit, seer and a Crone at heart. My spiritual name is White Hart Rose.

If you are on a spiritual path and, perhaps, finding it challenging to pinpoint what your path is, I suggest you relax. Remain open, patient and take it as a life-long commitment to finding your way while connecting to the elements of whatever spiritual paths come your way, those elements that make your soul sing whether it is collecting herbs or meditating. You are not lost, you are collecting parts of yourself that might have been lost or hidden and resurrecting your own experience of spirit the way it has always been within you.

Much love and many blessings!

The Land of dreaming

Caingorms National park, Scotland
Upland spring by Loch Etchachan, Cairngorm National Park, Grampian Area. ©Lorne Gill/SNH

Am I asleep or am I dreaming? What is this feeling of all consuming something my heart struggles to hold yet wants so deeply? I am overjoyed yet bereft at the same time. I cry and laugh all in one moment of sheer madness when I lay my hands on the land. My feet touch the green softness moist with the promise of morning dew. I live, I die, I am in haven yet in pain.

My love affair with the land began a few years ago when I first experienced this strange merging with something. I came upon a place that had a certain smell, vibration where I felt I died and gone to heaven, where my body struggled to adjust to all that air, space and majestic wilderness. Did it touch upon my own sleepy wild heart? It made me cry mad words into the air and at others surrounding me. It made no sense to myself or anyone else yet I couldn’t stop screaming, crying and falling breathless on the grass of the earth seemingly sacred to my soul. It felt like reawakening of love of some kind, familiar yet new, scary yet exciting. Ever since the first step upon the land this dance of confusion carried on summer after summer.

Ambivalent, powerful pull like a voice that screams terrible words one minute and sings a soft lullaby the next. I hear it always yet the message is unclear. Come, go, stay, leave, dance, sit, scream, be quiet. Whatever it all means I find the unfolding of this relationship fascinating.

I am still searching for a settlement. It is alive in my mind, but reality is quite scary. Whenever I am in the land of my dreaming I feel hugely overwhelmed, bitter-sweet, can’t breathe it is too much air type of situation, total intoxication, grief at the thought of separation, yet a relief somewhat when away, but not for long, as the yearning of the heart returns just as strong to merge with it again and it continues like this year after year. I find myself quite confused about it all by now…

I love it so much it hurts

I love it so much it hurts. The land welcomes me this time with open arms and I feel nothing but warmth and nurture. I feel at home and I instantly recognise that familiar smell of the land, which I know well. It is raining and I am in my element of gentle water standing on a lake shore watching gentle giants mountains hugging the shore. I touch the water, it is clear and crispy cold and through my body pure joy spreads. It is a dance of recognition, which I feel a lot stronger this time round. While my husband looks nostalgic for hot weather and home, I am home. I tell him that most of my happiest memories took place either in rain or snow and I acknowledge that link and it makes sense.

Isle of Mull – lush and green with landscape showing off its mountains, valleys, lochs, forests and sea. It is such a mixture of the elements that makes it so rich. It is incredibly peaceful here like nowhere else I had felt in Scotland so far; well, perhaps, only the first time in Perthshire where my love for the land first stuck me. We are staying in the middle of nowhere and it feels so safe to me here. It feels like no one and nothing would find me here and if I was to stay I would be happy for the rest of my days. My heart begins to ache along with joy I cry inside for wanting to merge with the land forever. It hurts in my chest and with each breath I can’t seem to get enough. That feeling of safety is a new one, as previously while in Scotland I have always felt conflicted and often anxious, even scared. Not this time. Here I have come into myself somehow and the land here is so gentle in comparison with Northern Highlands or the Isle of Skye, e.g. Those places activated my shadow material and threw me into an emotional turmoil amidst some deeply spiritual experiences. The land there is fierce, wild, unforgiving and untouchable in its stunning beauty. It is majestic and independent. Here I am held, firmly and I can hear the land speaking to me. It is gentle and soothing. Vibration is of softness and it touches on places within me much lighter and happier. This reflects in our relational dynamics between the boys and me. Our trip was very different this time round like we all tapped into a gentler way of being with one another, there is less conflict and more recognition and acknowledgment of needs all around.

Standing in the garden I witness deer coming in closer grazing on lush green vegetation surrounding the house. It is a beautiful sight and they stop and stare at me in silent pause. God it is so peaceful here! Even deer is different here compared to imposing huge stags of the Highlands. These deer are gentler and smaller and devoid of antler crowns. My response to them is also strikingly different, less of knee shaking awe and worship-like way of witnessing them, it is quieter, softer and more ‘homely’ somewhat. As I lie in bed looking out of the window with views to die for I feel my heart beating with such love. It is intense and aching, as I already know how hard it will be leaving this land in a few days.

Summer and exposure

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As summer energy begins to spread through the land in its blooming attire we have an opportunity to come out, lay bare, expose.

Summer is a time for outer expression, exploring potential and examining inner and outer in its full spectrum. As nature steps into its blooming coat, so do we seek opening up and exploring. This is a ‘Full Moon time’ in its energetic signature, if you like, where things have built up within and without and it is time to show ourselves to the world and to ourselves, warts and all.

My trip to the island of Skomer on the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales made me see parallels between how nature comes into its full potential and how it is an opportunity for us to expose all that had been hidden, open up to a more authentic way of being. The insight came through my own experience of fully exposing parts of myself that might not seem favourable, ugly even, yet while in nature I felt it almost necessary to go with whatever was manifesting within and it felt safe. This experience was new and I suspect there will now be more chances for me to ‘show myself’ fully. I have been in ‘hiding’ during summer months for as long as I remember, yet, perhaps, the time has come to make changes in ways of expression and authenticity.

With exposure comes acceptance and an integration follows, which is an important part to bringing us back to whole, back to ourselves. Was I scared I won’t be accepted or be judged? In the moment I didn’t think, I simply was in a state I was in. I did and didn’t enjoy it, as one would expect, but with exposure and real experience comes such clarity and awareness, which is so useful. On reflection when an opportunity comes for an exposure so does fear for not being accepted for who we are. As a society certain traits and behaviours might be looked down on, but there is also a chance that people that you surround yourself with will sit through that ‘exposure’ with you and become curious about sides of you they might not have seen before. If they manage to hold the experience and still feel the same those are the people that are meant to be around you, furthermore it gives others an opportunity to do the same, i.e. becoming more ‘exposing’ of themselves, accepting of others and freer as a result. We are all dark and light, beautiful and less so, hard and soft and the ability to be present with it all makes us stronger in knowing ourselves and connecting even deeper with others. We often fear alienating others and seek to conform, hide and comply, but we all know what that feels like. Sooner or later all of our inner pieces that are yearning to be exposed will spill into an ugly mess.

I felt inspired watching nature in its most open state, in its full blooming capacity. Nature doesn’t think or waits to be exposed it just does it regardless every year. Summer is the culmination of that energy manifesting everywhere. With exposure comes danger, as beauty can be just as threatening as ugliness. On some level we are threatened not just by others’ beauty, but by our own. We often do not see or realise our own beauty and potential, so we remain hidden and silent. ‘Be brave’, summer would say, bloom anyway even when someone might step on our blooming heart or cut us down mindlessly without a second thought. The song we sing might be our last, as we take flight into the summer air, but sing anyway, the more beautiful the better. Exposure of the body, mind and spirit is so necessary and summer is a powerful time to explore ourselves in our most vulnerable, naked state. There is a potential to be fully empowered.

I learnt the only way to be authentic is just that – expose. Summer allows that space and a perfect opportunity to seek acceptance from within. If we can stand our own shadow energies, watch it unfold, manage to contain it post-exposure and still be ok, we become more whole. This process is of freeing ourselves from the thinking that is harsh and judgemental, often coming from within. Take inspiration from blooming flowers and singing birds, vulnerable, but free in knowing they are blooming even if just for a short time. Nature is accepting of itself, it is not critical, shy or seeking approval. It just is. What greater example is there of authenticity of being.

 

How a ‘no’ can be a ‘yes’ in disguise

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What are your reactions when you hear a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ from people in various life situations. It is interesting to observe how our bodies vibrate when we receive something that we ‘think’ we want to hear and how our reactions are when we are refused something.

We all seek feeling good potentially and would like to go in the direction of having a positive feedback from others. It makes us feel good. And that is just fine for as long as there is awareness of what our intentions, motivations, desires are in that moment when we ask for a ‘yes’ or we expect a ‘yes’. WE also need to be aware of what our potentially reaction might be should a ‘no’ come in. Can we handle it? Can we see the ‘gold’ in receiving a message we might not have expected. Can we decipher a message from within that ‘no’ and ultimately turn it into a ‘yes’ for ourselves without anyone or anything being attached to that decision.

I had an experience a few days ago when what I thought I wanted wasn’t in my best interest. I didn’t know that until I received a ‘no’ when my unconscious needs definitely wanted a ‘yes’. It is very useful to self-reflect post a situation, interaction or a turn of event and come to some sort of grounding within to ensure we are ok with what occurred and, if possible, to see alternative ways of looking at things, be fluid with our interpretations. I felt I couldn’t make a certain decision. My heart was saying one thing and my head another and I was stuck for some time, which was an uncomfortable position to be in. After weeks of holding the ongoing debate between my head and my heart I decided to ask for guidance from someone else. Another great tool I am discovering about asking for help and trusting others to lend a helping hand. As I was waiting for messages to come in and still trying to work it out for myself I went with my heart on impulse, or what transpired later, an intuitive leep in order to push things and get them moving and see what happens. I received a ‘no’ to my request, which I ‘thought’ I wanted to get a ‘yes’ to. The interesting shift that happened in my feeling body was a very pleasant relief for the first time in weeks when I heard that ‘no’. In that moment my decision was made. It was a ‘yes’ in disguise, a guiding voice of what was needed, not what I thought I wanted. My fear and anxiety subsided and for the first time in week I felt grounded and fully present in my body.

I thought of parallels of how this can present itself in nature. It is fundamentally about a contrast in energies and vibrations. It can’t be sunny all the time, right? Neither we wouldn’t want it to be, well, I wouldn’t. It is that push and pull between need and want. Nature needs sunshine and warmth just as much as it needs rainfall, frost, decay and snow cover. When I experience nature I am in the vibration of both, what we perceive positive and negative, dark and light and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I would neither avoid going for a walk if I am called if it rains. That, to me, means that there is something for me to learn from being in the rain in that moment, on that day. It might not be what I want, but it most certainly always what I need, as I often find out after my commune with nature. ‘Yes’ and ‘no’ work in a similar way and it is up to us to be able to receive it with wisdom and acceptance that it is exactly what we need in any given moment.

What I really want to zoom in on with this example is encourage an experiment with what it might be like to hear a ‘no’? Can you hold it objectively without being thrown into a space where it feels like a personal attack or rejection? Hearing a ‘no’ can tell us a lot about our thoughts, scripts and unconscious wounds we might be carrying that need a light thrown on them. We all like a ‘yes’ and there is nothing wrong with that, but a ‘yes’ can also be a trap if we are not careful. It is all in the vibration of how it is given and the felt sense when we receive it. What does it do to us? Does it feel like it lands in the right place or does it carry an unwelcome vibration? Drilling down into how it feels is helpful going from the initial impact to how energy lands, spreads and surrounds our senses and whether it goes away or stays in a way that feels good or bad.

My ‘no’ was a very strong, assertive and clear ‘no’, a ‘no’ I couldn’t argue with and it felt definite and contained. I felt so much better, as I could finally say ‘yes’ to myself after hearing a ‘no’ from outside. I turned inwards for reassurance and it was there, clear and grounded in the knowledge that a ‘no’ meant I could commit to the right path for me for now.

 

The night before Easter Sunday

The night I felt like praying was the night before Easter Sunday 2017. We are in North Wales, Snowdonia.

I am feeling out of sorts with flare ups of anger and that moaning voice talking harshly to me and all those around me. It feels unpleasant and I find myself unable to control it coming out. This is not unfamiliar to me and I often feel at a loss when this happens. I have experienced this voice over and over again for many years and it comes as quickly as it leaves. I am yet to work through whether this is something within me that continues to manifest as unhealed or is this a past-life memory, vibration or personality trait mine or someone else’s.  I might say it feels like a possession of some sort when something from within is desperate to be heard and the voice of pain, bitter disappointment and cruel criticism would not be silent. It feels slightly ‘out of body’ when I can hear and see myself yet I am unable to have any say over what happens or gets said. Post-episode I always feel deep sadness and yesterday I also felt incredible guilt. What happened and what was expressed felt wrong and hurtful and I knew it wasn’t my intention. I felt shame, wanting to atone, a deep sense of feeling sorry for those around me. It was a real genuine sense of wanting to say ‘I am sorry’. It had a mixture of love in it, deep love and compassion.  I saw myself going on my knees at the edge of my bed wanting to pray, ask for forgiveness and release and the idea of God was very present. As a pagan this puzzled me but I remained opened to whatever was coming up. Pagan, of course, pray too in various ways, but this felt different to me. It was God I wanted. Something strong and new was being born in order to aid me with my troubles. I realised something within was uncontainable and I needed to be contained, held and understood. I felt confused and alone. I suggested to my husband I went to church the following day and I felt even more confused as if another part of me, the lost, loving one was seeking resolution and release of the pain caused by a cruel, angry side. I fell into mini-despair about it all and almost froze into a sleep, which was restless and broken.

The morning didn’t seem to bring much relief yet I felt stronger and more intent on understanding what was happening. It also felt joyful and light somewhat and I delighted in beautiful pictures that my parents sent me of Easter eggs and their celebratory table full of traditional food of the season. It felt warm, contained, simple and knowing. It felt like another ‘home’, my mother. The theme of Home was coming through in the mix of it all. I realised that even though I grew up in a non-religious family one holiday that was always celebrated in a traditional way was Easter. I glanced back into my past and remembered gatherings around a table full of pies and baked deliciousness with colourful eggs (real ones) prepared by my mother with the whole family partaking in a celebration I never really understood. No one ever explained its meaning or told me things I needed to do, I simply followed what others did like knocking eggs together to see whose would break first. It was like a game. We did that with each member of the family and ate a lot of eggs that day, we all loved eggs. I always felt there was something quite complete and versatile about eggs.

We decided to go to the forest for some fresh air. Magnificent old pines looked inviting bowing in their knowledge and welcome as I stepped on the path. It felt homely, fresh yet wild and still uncontained. I realised how nature can overwhelm me often and I don’t always feel safe in the space in a way I need necessarily. The idea of a church hadn’t left me still this morning. After spending a few hours wondering through the beautiful forest breathing in fresh spring air we ended up in a village and sat outside next to a church. I was drawn to it instantly and realised this Easter Sunday I must go in, I am being called into a church of a different making to stand at the altar, which is not a forest floor or the altar in my home. I went through the old door decorated in spring flowers and it hit me. I began vibrating all over with shivering sensations spreading throughout my body. I was all alone in this beautiful old church facing the altar. God is Risen! I smiled as this felt like my spirit or the spirit that I know well recognised the spirit present in this place. I knew it is one spirit, it is all the same thing, something spiritual that we all possess and know deep down and that alignment felt instantly soothing and the church felt welcoming. Another feeling I did receive was of that containment. I truly know and understand the meaning of a church being a refuge for so many, it is such a container of people’s troubles, prayers and joys. I get it. I felt contained and held, something I needed more than anything since last night. I lit a candle in honour of everyone that had passed and asked for health and happiness for all my loved ones. I walked away from it lighter, much lighter.

Altar, container, church are all various forms of sitting with the Divine whether it is one God, Goddess, Nature, Spirit or the Source, whatever it might be it is all off the same root, off the same home and it doesn’t have to have a name, face, physical form or a particular way of being. It is a feeling, an emotion, an experience.  It is recognisable when it is present in the atmosphere around whether it is in a forest or in an old village church. Spirit is present everywhere and more potent in places of worship, energy is simply more concentrated, as many desires, wishes and prayers are shared in these places and potent rituals had been performed there for centuries. Places hold that vibration. It occurred to me that whatever is being called force in any given moment, following it with curiosity and an open heart can lead to discoveries not so new, perhaps, yet surprising may be. I felt in union with all and asked for peace within myself and religions around the world whether you are pagan, Christian, Muslin or Hindu. That Spirit that unites all spiritual paths has the same message of love, the same feeling of peace and sacredness whatever religious variations in how worshipping is done. It can be in a church, in a corner of your bedroom, in the sea, on the forest floor or on top of the mountain. It is all about working with energies unseen, but deeply felt and allowing it to touch us in ways that are healing and soothing. It is about asking for guidance and seeking answers when we are at a loss and knowing we are not alone. We all come from spirit and to spirit we will return just like seasons come and go, the wheel of the year keeps on turning we continue on our journey through cycles of life and today is the day of renewal, light coming back and celebrating spring.

I remain curious to exploring my connection to Easter, some Christian elements and what it all means for my spiritual path. I remain open and allowing. It is valid and important to give it space and consideration and allow experiences touch me. This year, as I go through the cycles in nature I am even more intent to explore what each season, cycle, festival mean to me and  I am already beginning to see some elements, that will be included in my future, which hadn’t been considered before. I am creating my own version of the wheel of the year, if you like, and it feels exciting and very personal. I am also grateful for these spiritual experiences and new insights that happen when I am travelling away from home in lands steeped in history and stunning landscape. I love how the Land never fails to facilitate my growth.

Will I be praying again and asking for forgiveness and restoration of peace within? I am pretty sure I will. This experience felt deeply important on the night before Easter, divine timing, one might say, and the feeling afterwards was even more profound. Who will I be praying to and in what form? Will it be in the forest, my bedroom or the church, who knows, but whatever I am called I will follow. It is a fascinating journey of piecing things together, it seems. Another thing to remember, of course, is that there is a constant change, an evolution that occurs. I found nothing is completely static in a spiritual practice and that is what is wonderful about this personal journey. It is like reading a book, which offers more and more possibilities with a promise of always adding mystery and wonderment to my experience.