Addiction is a way of holding on

autumn and addiction

We are in autumn, a season perfectly aligned with the energies of taking stock, harvesting our gifts, desires, throwing away what is no longer needed and releasing through letting things go. It is reflected through trees unrobing their delicate bodies off foliage and exposing to the elements for better or for worse. It is a state of surrender and an act of acceptance in nature that always touches me deeply. What a perfect example of vulnerability and strength – a combination I admire so much.

Addiction, as a condition, is a way of holding on, keeping ourselves safe and hidden, partaking in activities that fill the void we feel inside, but scared to expose. It is a safe place and a defensive position against overwhelming feelings, life, connection to ourselves and others. It is an escape into seemingly blissful abyss, yet temporary. The pay-off is often high for that hiding that we adapt as a way to survive, a way to cope with what otherwise would feel unbearable. The price we pay for this way of trying to keep ourselves safe is always high and we pay with our bodies, minds and lives. Recovery requires tremendous courage. It asks us to wake up not just to becoming aware of our patterns of behaviour, but to our wounds that we are protecting with an addiction of our choice.

When is that time to wake up?

This year’s signature, as a goal for our growth, includes facing and dealing with our addictions. The year began with a clear sense that old ways no longer work. Our comfort zone is no longer comfortable, things don’t fit as they used to and patterns that we adopted started to show cracks in how we executed them. On one hand, one could panic and despair and begin searching for new replacements. On the other hand, it felt like an opportunity, a ‘no choice, but’ to start thinking of a potential change. What would that look like and feel like? The year progressed with addictions’ patterns and behaviour manifesting not just within us, but around us through people we care about, our loved ones. It began to open old wounds. Those behaviours that we had been in denial of in ourselves and others came in and slapped many into a full view of not just how ugly and unconscious it had become, but a fear of a potential outcome also hit hard.

Now, as autumn is at our door, I feel there is a chance to look at it again and become curious and open to the opportunity of release. I find vibrations of early autumn is similar to those in early spring, as with the new planting there is hope for potential, with dropping the old there is also a potential for something new coming. Purification (another signature for this year) is deeper in autumn though, because as we throw off our protective layers, surrender to the elements in our own way we are challenged to go through the ‘cold’ of winter and the bare state of the earth. We are challenged to withstand hardships to come out stronger on the other side.

Addiction recovery is no easy matter and very often a life-long process. What we are faced with this season is an opportunity to begin and this year’s signature for dropping the old, as something that no longer works. To give an example of that manifestation I would like to use the body. With addiction often it is the body that would have taken on years of abuse. The sign that addiction is, perhaps, has gone into dangerous territory and it is time to wake up would be body not coping with it, e.g. with smoking lungs become affected in a way of developing severe difficulties with breathing and your cough becoming chronic with discharge. The body begins to bark at us literary to stop. With food addiction a point to wake up would be when there is a degree of awareness that one can no longer ‘eat themselves better’, as the body has grown so much in size it is no longer functioning. We become hidden under flesh so much we no longer feel in touch with ourselves. We might as well be dead.

I feel deeply saddened writing about this, but I feel it is necessary to make that call to be brave, to be present and conscious and I understand that it is no easy task to ‘stand in the cold of winter with no clothes on’, just as we no longer rely on drugs or food for comfort. Exposing, painful and a lonely place to be, yet one must not forget that there is a fire that burns within each of us. That fire is called spirit. We are stronger than we think most of the time and trying to save yourself is an honourable task. Loving ourselves the way that we are, broken, is an act of heroism and immense growth. Imagine if you can do this, you can do anything. Imagine the potential life you can have if only we decide to stop hiding, escaping and facing that wintery wind with your bare skin, vulnerable yet so heroic.

What lies on the other side is freedom and it is always worth fighting for.

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Autumn’s breath

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Air fills with chilling promise of glorious explosion of moist spider webs in the morning and vibrant colours of the land. Its breath is fresh, slightly biting to the skin, similar to that in early spring, the time my soul also adores. Autumn is an Earth element season for me. It is the time when I feel profoundly grateful for all the bounty and abundance the earth provided us with. Its delicious produce carries a reminiscent flavour of hot summer days, in which fruit, berries and vegetables busked in ripening to their fullest. It reminds me that we sowed and we reaped, we sorted through the waste and abundance and took stock of what we are to carry forward with us into the darker part of the year. I feel autumn is the beginning of an introspection journey, incubation and cooking in the cauldron of psychic material and shadow work. I look forward to darkness, to me it is comforting. Cold air is not just refreshing to my senses it puts me in touch with my body and how freely and much more easily it can breathe with less sun.

I begin to burn oils carrying scents of cinnamon, frankincense and orange. It is woody, smoky and rich scents that take my preference at this time of the year. Candles are lit more frequently and my time at my altar increases, as my enthusiasm for life returns to my soul and body.

My Buddhist monastery visit

Today I visited a Buddhist monastery and took part in a two-hour meditation session led by a monk. What a find and it never amazes me the signs, connections and synchronicities that lead me to places, people and practices most needed for me at any given time. I always feel like these things are planned and all that is required of me is an open heart and mind and a willingness to trust and follow. I never question these things and follow as I am led to experiences most soothing for my soul.

The day before my beautiful friend reached out to me. Let’s call her Love because to me she’s love personified and it touched me deeply, exactly what I needed, as during this summer I disconnected from love again and dropped into depression. This is not an unfamiliar territory for me, but these days I am more open to trusting that things will work out. They always do. We talked about Buddhism and how she became interested in it as well as I did this summer, in particular.

Buddha’s peace signature is the most beautiful thing and that comforting place that really makes me reach a state of inner stillness like nothing else does. I often just need to image a face of a Buddha and I am connected. For as long as I remember all I have ever wanted was inner peace. I could never find it until recent years when I reconnected to nature again. There was hope for my finding some place of contentment and peace.
Peace, in nature, however, is different and not always ‘peaceful’ really. Nature activates all my senses to the extreme sometimes and in recent years I find I can get intoxicated/overdosed on it. I have worked out when to go and when to leave with nature and I always know the exact purpose for me to be in nature. I am also mostly called to go so I follow. It is not just a healing place for me, but also a triggering agent and I often find that it is most healing when I am in a shadow space/distressed. It shakes me up and then roots me down again to clear it all out. I wrote previously about nature being a healer and a trigger. It is both light and dark, always.

With Buddha peace it is very different. It is not like in nature. It is very still, serene and as if my whole body melts into something very light. I sat in meditation today for the longest time I had ever done before. I forgot about my body but at the same time I was very aware of my whole body, I felt no discomfort even though sitting on a floor had always been uncomfortable. I can’t describe it. My senses were all so fresh and alert yet it was as if nothing but my body existed in that room full of people in that time. For the first time nothing and nobody bothered me while I was in meditation. My mind didn’t come into it.

I find it hard to meditate in nature as everything around me is so part of me it activates all within me. In nature it is more of an involvement, a dance, a connection with the elements, deities, trees hence I love doing magic and rituals in nature. Everything is living and breathing in nature and instead of switching off I can’t help but plug into everything. There is no stillness there like it was today, a different kind of peace. I surprised myself and my experience was wonderful. I could not stop smiling during and long after the event. I was floating but at the same time felt very grounded and mindful. I was present and content.

It wasn’t without lessons and messages either. When I stepped on the grounds of the monastery the first energy that hit me was of non-judgement. It was so clear. I felt not just belonging but being able to stay there forever should I needed to. I knew I would be accepted. I felt myself completely! I felt allowed to be myself. There was no resistance or anxiety. This is something I have not felt for a long time. It also pointed towards my own state of judging myself and others. Yes, I am judgemental I heard myself say and it was very releasing to say it. Such a valuable message.

During the meditation, as I became aware of my body so acutely I found out that I hold my anger in my thighs. There’s quite a war going on there. My feet are very activated in a way of being connected to the earth, that felt very grounding and it is a signature I can hold well. The top of my body is also very ‘together’, it seemed. I found focusing on the torso/middle body while meditating an extremely useful technique. It is indeed a place where most emotions are held. It was confirmed that I prefer and enjoy guided meditations to get me going at least before I sit in my own silence. I also enjoy walking mindful meditations, it is that ‘feet thing’ for me that connects me to the earth I find very reassuring and pleasurable.
Some other insights included:

– Buddha makes me smile on the inside. There’s such warmth and peace about the whole experience of Buddha
– There is beauty in simplicity and emptiness
– Monks’ voices are the most soothing thing I have experienced in ages
– Effecta lasted longer than anything else for sometime. It only compares to my time in nature, which can be very releasing and balancing, but again the effect is not always there depending on what I am doing in nature
– In this setting I am ok with people. It feels like I am alone even with many around me. This is new and refreshing!
– Walking bare feet is a simple pleasure
– I learnt some new sitting postures and persevering through what seems like a
discomfor, but not, is worth it (something the monk said)
– Meditation is observing what goes on underneath thoughts. Emotions. What we focus on magnifies and what we resist persists. If we focus on discomfort it will irritate and wake our mind up, which is not what we want. Let go, surrender and observe without involvement or seeking to change anything
– Focus on torso, centre of the body
– Experience the whole

Time flew by today and I didn’t want to leave the place. Such a welcome and wonderful experience and I will be back again for sure.

Many blessings!

Past lives reading

past lives

The mystery of my emotions holds me tight in its grip. It feels like it will drown and overpower me any minute I will run out of air. I am walking on the edge of an experience bigger than myself. It is present in my lungs and chest in particular and tears break out of me in uncontrollable sobs. It is grief. After years of wondering I am in great need to seek answers to my experience of the land I call spiritual home. So far no explanation offer itself to me and I continue to be tormented by some energy I can’t contain without losing myself.

Past lives is an idea that had been coming into my reality again and again yet I have always dismissed it. I do seem to understand the idea behind it yet I would say I haven’t experienced it, but how would one know, I wonder… Answers are not easily in front of us when we need them and with this, in particular, things that happen to us in our present are hard to explain. Are some of the things that we feel and experience now connected to lives we had lived before? This time I allowed a possibility of it strongly being an experience from my past life or several of them.

I reached out to my trusted Highland Witch I go to at least once a year seeking answers. What she came back with not only touched me deeply, but like nothing else ever did before provided a big relief and a welcome release. As I was reading my story from the past I was thrown into a life of hardship, love, loss, grief and violence. It was dark and felt very real. I could see that young woman with a child unborn inside of her, who had to endure immeasurable pain losing her young husband and being killed herself with the child inside of her. Her blood was spilt on the land itself and never in my spiritual experience had I felt something so strongly. I could smell the air on that murky damp day in the Highlands of Scotland and saw the blood running onto the soft moss and rock beneath my feet. It explains not only the feelings I have been experiencing for years while on the land, but also my responses to trauma and most of all my character. This reading I must say enriched my life and reaffirmed things I have struggled to place into context.

I am to take a specially designed ritual to the land of my sorrow to release the grip of my past and cleanse my soul in order to merge with the land in joy. Everything is finally clear and calm within me just like death was to that young woman. I feel peaceful for the first time in years and getting ready to take that emotional pilgrimage to the place of my calling.

Past lives readings and guidance, or regression, can provide many answers. I see it as one way to access material that needs healing and processing just like many other psycho-spiritual therapeutic techniques. land

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…