What Being a Witch Means To Me

Until my next phase of education begins in June, I have extra free time, which I’ve been using to the fullest. My painting and writing are flourishing and I have added self-hypnosis to my meditation time, which has been wonderful.

The beauty of time well-spent is that, in addition to getting a lot of things done, you get a sense of clarity. I have had time to think about a lot of things, one of which is my spiritual path.

Being a witch means different things to different people. To some people it will always be some caricature of an old lady on a broom, or something scary and evil. So, I can only talk about what it means to me.

For me, being a witch means that I reject the static and inflexible notions of deity found in mainstream religion. I embrace the beauty and mystery of the natural world and believe that it has lessons to teach us. I reject old-school patriarchy and all of its dysfunction. Rather, I believe that Male and Female are the essential building blocks of Creation and that these two energies are essential counterparts to one another.

I believe that Energy is the creative force behind all visible forms and that this Energy can be manipulated by trained human minds.  I believe that true morality can only be self-imposed and must serve both common sense and the common good.

I believe that there is unbelievable power in collective unity, but that each individual is a complete manifestation of Deity.

While I believe that there are many expressions of Deity, there is really only one Intelligent Force that governs the evolution of the universe.  The practice of paganism is a humble recognition of both the One Force and its many manifestations.  It is a grateful acknowledgment that we already have everything that we need to establish heaven on earth.  To look outside one’s self to a fantasy super-hero god to “save” and “fix” things is both lazy and irresponsible.

So, for better or for worse, this is what I believe.  But I’m still learning and growing, trialing and erroring.  I’m proud of where I am right now and look forward to my own continued evolution. The most important part of any spiritual practice, though, is the practice part, so this is how I try to live my life: “An it harm none, do what ye will.”

As far as my artistic life goes, I am still working on my belated Beltane painting. This is what I have so far. I hope to finish it this week.

work in progress

work in progress

Until next time, peace and blessings on the path towards your most authentic self.

Love and Light,

Raven

Participating In Your Own Evolution

I heard someone today make a very interesting comment about evolution.  He said that the history of evolution has been an external progression – something that happened TO us to get us this far – but that the future of evolution will be participatory.  In other words, we are co-creators with the evolutionary process.  I agree.  We can already see evidence of this with climate change, our various lists of extinct and near-extinct creatures, and our almost dogged pursuit of our own destruction.

While it is fascinating to think of such things on a grand scale, the details of our daily lives seem much more pressing.  Fortunately, the same idea applies on the micro-level.  We co-create the progression of our own lives – our own personal evolution – through our interaction with life’s circumstances and events.

For instance, in my last blog I spoke offhand about the mistreatment and cruelty I experienced last week and my struggle to maintain my inner peace.  I knew that my response to this event was critical not only to the health of my spirit but also to my future circumstances and Karmic influences.  I have learned through experience that instead of fighting negative circumstances, the key is to stop resisting at once.  That doesn’t mean to get cozy with negativity or to tell yourself that it’s O.K.  No, ceasing resistance means asking yourself questions like “What must I do to get through this event with dignity, poise, and self-love” or “If this situation were to remain unchanged, how must I adapt?”  “How can I respond with grace to this situation?”.

These questions allow us to counter our natural, emotional, ego-based reactions with Goddess-like thoughts.  These thoughts provide the space needed to develop our highest and best responses to tense, difficult situations.   Also, on a practical level, the sooner we stop resisting negativity, the sooner it goes away.

This, at least, has been my experience.  The difficult people and circumstances I was dealing with disappeared so quickly that it was shocking.  The situation was still unjust, unethical, unbecoming, and many other things – but I am now free of them.  That situation is no longer a problem and, in fact, seems as if it happened a long time ago.

So, my point is that we are not passive pawns in some cosmic game of chess.  We are not simply victims of happenstance cowering before the whims of fate.  Yes, life is unpredictable and even heart-rending at times.  But when we sit down to the card game of life, it is the skillful playing of the hand we’ve been dealt that ultimately determines our happiness – and whether or not we make a positive impact on this planet.

So, we co-create our destiny through our spiritual practice.  But we do not do it alone.  I can say, without question, that the gods and goddesses in human flesh –also known as my friends – have been instrumental to my success in dealing with negative situations.  To them I send a special blessing of Love, Peace, and Harmonizing Prosperity.

May you have a great week co-writing your destiny by standing up to life with grace and peaceful determination.  Love and blessings!  Now, please, go follow your bliss…

Below is my progression of work this week.  I’ve got a long way to go, but things are coming along…  🙂

Are You Really More Evolved Than A Chimpanzee??

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Ethics seems to be a theme in my life today.  I saw a special on students and cheating on CNBC.  Apparently, the incidence of cheating in school – among and teachers – is alarmingly high.  Later, I saw an episode of American Greed where a hedge fund manager bilked millions of dollars out of his customers and was then, ironically, swindled himself by another con artist and then staged a phony suicide.  Right after that, 60 Minutes ran a special episode on the Bernie Madoff affair and various financial schemes in general.

On the flip side, I just read an article on the website of Scientific American Mind  that challenged the largely accepted interpretation of Darwin’s theory of evolution.  Darwin’s intention with the phrase “survival of the fittest” was that the species that survive and evolve are those that are best suited to their changing environments.  Unfortunately this has evolved into an excuse for social Darwinism. This belief system claims that “survival of the fittest” proves that the people on the top are the ones who, in fact, deserve to be on top, no matter how they got there.  Overlooking, for the moment, the self-serving nature of this belief, it has been proven scientifically that this actually isn’t true.  Societies – human and animal – that cooperate with and look out for one another tend to be stronger and more likely to survive.

The article described a scientific study involving chimpanzees that tested their reaction to unfairness.  The chimpanzees reacted to the unfairness (in the form of different food rewards to different chimps) with tantrum-like behavior.  However, the “privileged” chimps went the extra mile of refusing to accept the unjust reward while their compatriots suffered.

The bottom line is that we as humans can do better.  We do not have to settle for the dog-eat-dog society we are so often presented with.  Through the timeless qualities of love, support, cooperation, and basic common-sense fairness we can create a world that is satisfying and safe to live in.

And as artists we have the added privilege of making the world a very BEAUTIFUL place to live in!

Have a great week and follow your bliss…