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

Take Nothing Personally

As I mentioned last week, I am re-reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.  The chapter I read this week was on the Second Agreement:  Don’t Take Anything Personally.

I must admit this agreement is even tougher for me than the first one. If you travel through the world optimistically, with an open heart, as I do – but don’t learn to practice this agreement – you will experience some real suffering.

Nevertheless, I have been making a concerted effort to remind myself of this agreement when I find myself reacting to the perceived negativity of others.  Rather than paraphrase, I will include the quote from the chapter that I am holding in my heart:

“As you make a habit of not taking anything personally, you won’t need to place your trust in what others do or say.  You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices.  You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you.  When you truly understand this, and refuse to take things personally, you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others.

“If you keep this agreement, you can travel around the world with your heart completely open and no one can hurt you.  You can say ‘I love you,’ without fear of being ridiculed or rejected.  You can ask for what you need.  You can say yes, or you can say no – whatever you choose – without guilt or self-judgment.  You can choose to follow your heart always.  Then you can be in the middle of hell and still experience inner peace and happiness.  You can stay in your state of bliss, and hell will not affect you at all.” (P. 60-61 of The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz).

Mr. Ruiz said all that needs to be said on the subject.  Join me this week in not taking anything personally.

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

Love and Light,

Raven

Two sketches, one more realistic, one cartoon

Two sketches, one more realistic, one cartoon

My art this week has mainly consisted in working on my next painting in the Wicca series on the Wheel of the Year.  I was hoping to be done by Imbolc but it may not happen.  The above is just some sketching I was doing to keep up my drawing.

What Does It Mean To Be Impeccable With Your Word?

I am currently rereading Don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements.  I try to reread certain key books periodically in order to keep their concepts fresh in my mind. The book is about how to live a life of peace and power by examining your mental agreements.

Any culture’s “agreements” are its set of assumptions, cultural rules and practices.  They are the prejudices we inherent from our families, friends, media, etc.  They are called agreements because although they are forced upon us as children, at some point we become domesticated and accept them for ourselves.  As adults we have the right and the capacity to accept these agreements, or reject them and establish new ones.

The first new agreement suggested by Ruiz is to “Be Impeccable With Your Word.” Impeccable literally means “without sin”. Ruiz is not talking about sin in a religious context.   He means we must use our words as instruments of love, period – not as gossip, complaints, revenge, or speaking poorly about ourselves or others.  What comes out of our mouths should bring healing, upliftment, and honor towards ourselves and others.

One way we dishonor ourselves is that we make up negative, ugly stories about our lives and our circumstances.  How we describe ourselves  – to ourselves and to others  – is of dire importance.  If we use our words as instruments of love, we will describe ourselves in honoring and uplifting terms that respect our natural gifts, talents, capacities, and our unique path.  Our words will be generous and loving.  If we use our words improperly, we will reside in a hell of our own making and encourage others to treat us poorly.

For example, if a woman is a single mother, she can describe herself as having a failed marriage. She can tell others that her life is hard and one of struggle and pain.  She can see herself as a loser, desperate for help and destined for misery.  Or, she can see herself as an incarnation of the Divine Mother, charged with the responsibility of loving and shaping young minds.  She can know that she is fully supported by the Goddess and by loving friends and family.

Or, if a man, for example, has financial trouble, or debt, or is between jobs, he can describe his life as pathetic and useless. He can see himself as less of a man, and can therefore justify doing nothing, becoming nothing, and blaming others for his sorry fate.  Or he can see himself as a unique and special creation of the Divine which is seeking expression in the physical world through his life.  He can tell himself that he is allowing his life to be used as an instrument of Creation.  He can know that money will come to him as needed as he submits to his calling and makes himself available to be of service to the world around him.  His financial life is a part of his life; it is not the whole thing.

This is not mind games or self-deception.  If you tell yourself you are a failure, if you gossip about others and believe the worst about the world around you – you are right.  You will live in a world that reflects your deepest held beliefs.  You will live in hell and will try to get others to join you.  On the other hand, if you are impeccable with your word, you will change your own mind and your body chemistry.  You will attract support and encouragement from unseen sources and your life will begin an upward spiral.  You will reside in heaven and will be a beneficial presence on the planet.

This does not mean we are irresponsible.  Surely, we must take responsibility for our own actions.  Our life circumstances are the result of a series of choices we made in the past.  But once a choice has been made, we have the ability to shape the consequences of that choice.  Our attitudes, our behavior ,and our actions are influenced by what we think about most of the time – and by the quality of our words.

Join me this week as I work on being impeccable with my word.  Tell me how it goes and what challenges you run into.

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

Love and Light,

Raven

sketchbook drawing, colored pencil

sketchbook drawing, colored pencil