Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why I Don't Fuck With Ouija Boards

I have a confession to make. I'm really not a very good witchy woman by a lot of people's definition. Yes, I am an astrologer and a damned good one. Yes, I read tarot, runes and I-Ching. I certainly believe in watching for and paying attention to signs. They're always around, you know. The universe, God, or whatever term you want to use to refer to the powers that be are always around and watching out for you. They speak to you constantly, too. All you need to do is listen... and look at me digressing already.

My original point is that while there are lots of things I do as far as my personal approach to spiritual communion goes, there is one thing I don't do and that is attempt to summon, speak to, or contact any sort of spirit or entity in any way. I firmly believe that that is asking for a whole mess of trouble and I have been outspoken about that belief in a number of ways in the past.

One thing that I believe with my whole heart is that the Holy Spirit (or the Universal Life Force) is present within you from the day you are born. No special ritual or belief system is required to get in touch with it no matter what anyone tells you. I also believe that this pure spirit within is the only place you want to look to for spiritual guidance. This can be accomplished in many ways, including prayer, meditation, and divination. Attempting to summon or communicate with outside spirits though -- especially if you are inexperienced -- is just asking for the biggest heap of trouble. You have no real way of knowing for a fact that who or what you are talking to is positive or being honest with you about where it comes from.

Spirits and disembodied entities (whether they were alive once or not) are not automatically honest just because they're dead or lacking in a corporeal body that you can see or touch. They are honestly just as capable of deception as people are and they are capable of lying about anything. I often hear people saying that they don't believe demons or negative spirit entities can lie about being "from God", but I personally believe that they can and do lie about that, as well as many other things. Don't assume that if you're talking to a spirit and it says it's an angel or a positive being that it's telling you the truth, because you're only setting yourself up for a mess of trouble. Not going there in the first place is a much safer option.

In the end, you really don't need to. You are already born an amazing part of this incredible spiritual collective we're all a part of. Everything you need to get in touch with the universe and commune with God is already within you. There is really no need to wear a specific religious label, seek outside counsel, or become a member of an existing group to accomplish this unless you want to. There is certainly no need to summon any sort of outside entity whatsoever.

While you are, of course, welcome to your own opinion and free to do as you will, my personal advice is that you don't open that door at all. Don't play with Ouija boards, attempt to channel, or offer to act as a medium through which outside entities can communicate. It's too much like opening up the front door to your house and leaving it standing open at all times from there on out. It's open to anyone and anything that wants to come through... and one should think about the sort of entity that is most likely to wander into someone else's territory "just because".

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Must Be the Season of the Witch

I'm a writer. I'm also a curious individual who enjoys thinking for its own sake and always goes out of her way to ask questions, have new experiences, and learn as much as she possibly can about anything and everything. Writing has also been a huge part of my self expression and self exploration processes since I was a child.

That being the case, I've written extensively about every one of my interests and also quite a lot about my personal life at one point or another over the years. People who follow my writings online know all about my upbringing, along with all its positives and negatives. They know my hopes, dreams, and aspirations. They know how much I love food, classic Victorian fiction, animals, and surrealist art. They know how much I hate parties, gossip, and chatty cashiers.

However, people really know little if anything about my spiritual beliefs. It's something I've never talked about much before and I suppose there are a couple of different reasons why. Part of it has to do with the fact that I'm simply a private person and I consider spiritual beliefs to be private things that aren't necessarily meant to be shared with others. Another part of it just has to do with the way beliefs like mine have been received by others on the rare occasion I've felt like discussing them.

Officially, I don't consider myself to be a follower of any specific faith, but many of my beliefs are in line with modern day neo-paganism. I didn't start to explore what I now know as paganism because I was looking to piss off my parents or "escape" from the influence of a family church. No one "got me into this" or converted me from a previously held set of beliefs. Actually, I never decided on paganism as a choice for myself at all.

I've always simply believed what I believed for reasons that made sense only to me and was surprised to eventually find out that there were already other people out there that believed as I did. I've believed in spirits, an earth-based concept of divinity, and much more along those lines ever since I was a child. This isn't something that I picked up in order to be trendy and it's not a recent choice by any means. I've had this type of relationship with my spirituality for as long as I can remember. I've only learned that it has a name in recent years.

My decision to talk about this more often, on the other hand, is a recent choice. Part of the reason for that might be the fact that I'm finally at a place in my life where I can truly be myself if I choose to be. Anyone who hasn't been supportive of my choices in the past is really no longer part of my life. I certainly no longer share a living situation with anyone who thinks they should be able to dictate my belief systems and lifestyle to me.

I am happily working for myself on a freelance basis, so I have no co-workers or boss to worry about either. My spirituality has also begun to become a part of my professional life, as I have a regular writing gig creating horoscopes for one of my clients. I've written a lot for still other clients on how to read tarot, on astrology, and on metaphysics. I draw up the very occasional birth chart, compatibility report, or tarot spread for other people these days as well and do charge a fee for it. At the point where something I once considered private begins to trickle into my professional life, I tend to begin to feel the need to be less private about it.

Then there's just the fact that I want to discuss it. Other people I know proudly discuss their beliefs. Why should I have to be any different? I desperately want to begin chronicling my own personal spiritual journey and it's hard for me to do that without writing about it. I also just feel like it's time, especially considering the fact that pagan studies, astrology, and tarot are major areas of expertise as far as my professional writing goes. Yes, I could write about it privately in a locked journal for my eyes only, but why? I've grown to love sharing my thoughts and insights with other people. I'd love to share this with people who are interested in these subjects as well.

I have a lot of devoutly religious acquaintances whom I'm afraid will think less of me for a lot of the things that will probably show up in this blog sooner or later. However, I no longer think of that as a real deterrent to my being myself. If they do think less of me, suddenly see me as someone who deserves less than total respect because of something I've literally always been, or decide they don't want to know me anymore because I don't approach my relationship with God the same way they do, then I suppose they never really cared about me in the first place and I am better off.

I have an inkling none of these things will truly surprise anyone though. Considering how I look, dress, and conduct myself, I feel like it would be hard for someone else not to realize I'm a bit more witchy or new age-y than they might otherwise suspect. While it's true that I've never been outspoken about any of this, I've never really lied about it or gone out of my way to hide it either.

There's so much more I'd like to talk about in regards to this subject, but I don't want to write you a novel. I'm trying to get better about splitting subjects I want to chew on through writing into bite-sized chunks that are a bit easier for my readers to digest, so I'll simply leave you with a question at this point. For those of you who believe in anything other than the religion you were raised to follow, how did you come by your current set of beliefs? Did you always have them or did something (or someone) change your mind about what you believed at some point?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Venus Retrograde 2010 -- What to Expect

Even people who are only marginally into astrology have heard of "Mercury retrograde". However, it's important to note that the other planets go into retrograde periods from time to time as well and each brings with it its own unique collection of challenges.

Venus -- the ruler of beauty, love, and humanity -- is no exception to this rule. She'll be going into her next retrograde period starting October 8 and won't be turning direct until the middle of next month (November 18). It only happens once every eighteen months or so, but this Venus retrograde period will be a powerful one.

What does Venus retrograde mean to me?

Many people tend to think of a planet's retrograde period as a time during which said planet is going berserk and causing all kinds of havoc as a result. Actually, it would be closer to the truth to say that when a planet is in retrograde, the influences it normally has on the areas it governs simply aren't there to help you to the degree they usually do. It's a bit like not knowing what you've got until it's gone, for lack of a better analogy.

So what does this mean when Venus in particular goes retrograde? Well, Venus covers everything to do with physical sensibilities, for one thing. Many people find that during a Venus retrograde, things like fashion flair, home decor, or beauty routines mean less to them and don't seem to carry the weight they normally do. Our natural instincts will also be compromised when it comes to areas like this, which is the reason astrologers will often advise against radically changing your appearance or redecorating your home during these periods. You're more likely than usual to make a decision you regret.

Venus also governs human relationships of all types, including one's relationship with the self. The natural pace a relationship tends to take will be much slower now and one's decision-making ability will also be compromised in this area of life. This is not a good time to get married, get engaged, decide to add to your family, or anything else along those lines. In the business world, delays and obstacles to fluid communication and progress also occur. Save your big business decisions for after the retrograde period ends. Self doubt, artist's block, writer's block, or the second guessing of all kinds of personal feelings are additional occurrences that should be prepared for.

Last, but definitely not least, a retrograde Venus challenges us to backtrack and tie up loose ends in regards to any and all of the areas she watches over. You may be asked to deal with feelings about a past relationship or and old family issue you thought was resolved. At work, you might need to retrace your steps and make corrections to projects you thought were over and done with.

What can I expect from this particular Venus retrograde period?

Venus will be turning retrograde in Scorpio this time around and this will color the events that occur, of course. Scorpio is a rather intense sign and it is also very introspective. Many people will be looking within for answers or reevaluation right now, especially those who have prominent Scorpio influences anywhere in their chart. Events related to jealousy, religious differences, or the reemergence of situations and people from the past are also more likely during this period. Any emotions that surge to the surface are likely to be intense and just about impossible to ignore. One must also be careful to avoid making impulsive decisions during this Venus retrograde 2010 period, because you'll probably feel moved to, especially during the month of October and the first week of November.

However, once November 8 arrives, Venus will be moving into Libra to finish her retrograde period and the name of the game is likely to change a bit. This is a much more comfortable placement for this planet, so a lot of the tension that you may have felt before will dissipate at this point. Jealousy and vindictive feelings will be greatly reduced. Relationships of all sorts will still be in a state of stasis for sure, but intellectual objectivity will be more of a theme now than suspicion, jealousy, or tough-to-face feelings. Beware of resorting to manipulative means to get what you want out of others though. It's not the way to go about things regardless of how things may seem at the time.

Venus Retrograde Dos and Don'ts

  • Don't make drastic changes to your appearance. Plastic surgery, radical new hair colors, and makeovers that are a complete 180 as far as what you're used to are out. Do fine tune an existing skin care, health, or beauty routine and make improvements.
  • Don't initiate any major home improvement projects. Put off renovations or redecorating projects until after November 18. Do get your financial affairs in order and focus on tying up loose ends that may make a major overhaul a smoother process in the future.
  • Don't get married, get engaged, start planning a baby, or actively seek to start a new relationship right now. Do get in touch with old friends and family you haven't talked to in ages or tackle arranging all your memorabilia and photographs in a scrapbook as you've been meaning to do.
  • Don't change jobs or start a business right now if you can help it and don't make any extravagant purchases. Do fine-tune your savings plan or look for loose ends you can tie up in regards to existing work projects.
  • Don't start a major creative endeavor based on a brand new idea. Do edit existing projects, revisit existing ideas, or brainstorm in regards to your next creative adventure.