Honoring Brigid, My Patron Deity

Honoring Brigid, My Patron Deity

This week I wanted to honor my best friend, Brigid, or Brid (“Breed”), as I usually call her. Brigid is a goddess. Now, what kind of a crazy person has a goddess as their best friend? Me! Brigid is one of my two patron deities. I’ll honor the other one, Osun, in a future post.

Brigid inspires my art and my writing. She is a disciplined, honorable, and strong feminine force for good that I deeply admire. Although she is a Celtic goddesss, I still feel a strong connection to her. For some reason, I have always been drawn to Celtic culture. This is why I avoid typical arguments about cultural appropriation.

We don’t fully understand everything about how the soul re-incarnates. The soul does not reincarnate based on race or culture. The soul is drawn to energetic forces. Energy does not respect man-made geographic or cultural dividing lines, or petty prejudices. It is attracted to like-energy. I have reason to believe that I do actually have ancestry from that region, but that’s not important to me. What’s important is honoring and nurturing the spiritual connection that was birthed in me during a meditative vision.

Brigid first appeared to me during meditation – before I knew anything about her – as a young woman. I didn’t yet understand the Crone, Mother, Maiden aspects of the Goddess. I just saw her as a beautiful red-haired young woman. I knew she wanted me to create artistically – this was before I had taken any art classes or pursued any artistic endeavors. In fact, I couldn’t even draw at this time. I didn’t know what the vision meant, but I remembered it over the years.

Fast-forward to eight years later. I have an Associate’s Degree in Studio art and a Master’s in Creative Writing. Writing, painting, and poetry are now integral parts of my life. So far, I’ve never run out of ideas or had any kind of creative blocks. As if making up for lost time, Brigid sends the ideas liberally and generously. My only limitation is time. I am grateful to Brigid for this. I honor her every single day.

For those who are unfamiliar with Brigid, I will give you a quick summary. However, the only way to really know a patron deity is to spend time with him or her in meditation, visualization, soul walks, etc. But, as an introduction, here’s what I know about my Brid:

Brigid is a maiden goddess. She is the daughter of Dagda, the “father-god” of Ireland. Her season is spring, and her color is red. She is associated with fire, light, knowledge, inspiration, and vitality. Her name means “exalted one.”  In addition to creativity and the arts – especially poetry – she is the goddess of fertility, healing, and abundance. She has a whole pagan holiday devoted to her – Imbolc, February 1, which marks the pagan start of spring.

There is more to her, of course, but it’s the personal relationship you develop with your patron deity that matters the most. A patron deity is simply one aspect of the one Power, one Intelligence, that governs and permeates the Universe. That Universal Power (which we call God, or the Goddess) is so grand as to be remote and difficult for us to grasp. So, the patron deity allows us to tap into the portion of deity that relates to our gifts, talents, and mission on the planet. Connecting to this patron on a daily basis keeps us in touch with our Higher Self and our spiritual purpose.

Regardless of the culture the deity comes from, his or her qualities are Universal. They do not belong to any particular country, race, or ethnicity.

Do you have a patron deity? Who is he or her? How did you connect to them? How do you honor them? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Contact me if you want help or guidance on your spiritual path.

Also, please check out Rain Tree Spirit for metaphysical gifts and products. Here is one of the items for sale:

Vintage Moon Necklace

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Peace and richest blessings on your journey,

Raven

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How Can You Stay Spiritual When You’re Surrounded By Jerks?

How Can You Stay Spiritual When You’re Surrounded By Jerks?

Energy is transferable. We often refer to this as “vibes,” but the meaning is the same. We pick up on each other’s “energy,” which is really just the coagulation of thoughts into a tangible expression of multiplied energy.

It all begins with thought. Every thought is a unit of energy. Depending upon its nature, an individual thought can have a large or a small amount of energy. But, in general, a single thought, by itself, tends to have only a tiny amount energy.

But thoughts do not travel alone. They travel in packs, and they follow one another closely, like groupies behind a rock star. The parade of random thoughts that fly through our heads may be fairly weak individually, but, together, they form a mob.

And, in an untrained mind, they do not sachet slowly through the brain, sniffing the roses as they go. They race and rush along at break-neck speeds, tripping over one another. They also march insanely in circles, stomping their feet, mumbling as they stumble along, hoping to attract attention and validation.

These packs of thoughts eventually gather enough steam to procreate. Their energy spreads, first into habitual patterns of thoughts. Then words. Then patterns of words. Then actions and behavior. Then patterns of actions, called habits. Habits create results in the world. These results create our lives as we know them.

So, whenever we interact with another human being, we are interacting with a storehouse of various cliques of thoughts. Think of high school cliques: you have the druggies, and the jocks. You have high achievers, artists, nerds, and dropouts. You have teacher’s pets, loners, abused kids, popular kids, special needs kids, and new kids.

When we encounter an individual whom we call a “jerk,” what we are dealing with someone whose storehouse is full of trouble-making cliques. The cliques in their mind are the dangerous kids, the ones who are negative and aggressive. They don’t listen to authority, and they have no higher aspiration than dominating the weaker cliques.

So, if you are someone who is actively trying to graduate the various cliques in your own mind from high schoolers to adulthood, how do you stay on track when the people around you are “jerks?”

  • First of all, stay aware and awake. Visualize what is happening and why. Bullies will always want to take over the school. Vigilant adults are the only ones who can stop them. But they can’t do it by getting into fist fights with the students. They have to enact policies that identify the problem kids and render them powerless in various ways. They can do this because they are smarter, older, more experienced – and they have the authority to do so!
  • Secondly, have a “mantram” in your mind that you use “in  case of emergency.” A mantram is a short, simple, positive phrase that you mentally repeat over and over. The purpose is to maintain control of your own thoughts. Whenever your thoughts want to race along like fools, the mantram pulls them into a conga line of positivity – distracting them long enough to get them back on track. My first mantram was “Rama” which invokes “joy.” Whenever “jerks” threatened to make me angry and frowny, “joy” reminded me of Who (and Whose) I really am.
  • Speak leanly to jerks. Jerks tend to talk and talk and talk. Their aggressive, frantic thoughts carry anxious energy, which they try to expel by dominating others with their nasty words. Counter this with as few words as possible. The words you do use will be full of wisdom and confidence. This renders their babble powerless over you, and usually makes them look and feel pretty silly. But the goal is not revenge. The goal is to neutralize negative energy.
  • If you slip up and join the jerk in their stupidity, forgive yourself then do the repair work. It takes time and practice to learn how to deal with jerks effectively. Most of your time should be spent with people who uplift your life and positively affect your practice. So you might be caught off guard when you have to deal with a jerk. Don’t beat yourself up. When you get back home or to a quiet space, write about the incident in your journal, congratulate yourself on the things you did “right” (in alignment with your highest ideals) and make suggestions to yourself on what you could do better next time. Meditate on it, pray for yourself, thank the Goddess, then forget about it and move on.
  • Lastly, never regret not getting revenge on a jerk. It’s natural for the ego – after an encounter with a jerk – to suggest all the ugly things you should have said to the person to “put them in their place.” Don’t waste time on this. The jerk may look powerful, but he is miserable. There is nothing to envy there. He did not “win” over you, no matter what happened. He lives in an inner world of anger, insecurity, competition, restlessness, jealousy, and fear. He goes to bed with that, and he wakes up with that. Pray for him and let him be. Your life, as an awakened spiritual being, has endless possibilities. Don’t waste a minute of time wishing you could beat a jerk at his own game. That game is not for you. You could never “win” it, even if you tried, and you wouldn’t want to. Let him go his own way, knowing that karma is real (not revenge karma, but cause-and-effect-karma). Whatever we sow, that we will also reap.

Peace and love,

Raven

Happy Samhain!

Happy Samhain!

On this day of recognizing the thin veil between the Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead, it’s a good time to take stock of our lives.

In America, we generally live lives that completely ignore death. This is beginning to change as life here grows more and more violent. However, for many people, death is still just something we see on the news, or experience occasionally with the death of an aged relative or random accident.

In former times, death was more frequent. Babies often died of diseases. Women were more likely to die in childbirth. People in general were more subject to infectious disease. And the human life span was shorter.

In other words, death was a part of life. It was something that had to be acknowledged and dealt with. Now that we have eliminated so many diseases and improved medical care, life is longer and healthier. This is a wonderful thing. However, death is still a reality – only one we are often unprepared for.

Death, and its handmaiden, old age, are realities that no one wants to talk about. People do their very best to remain in their twenties. They don’t care how many bizarre, painful, or expensive procedures they have to endure to mask the arrival of old age and death.  The focus here is always on Youth. Older people are often ignored, forgotten, hidden away from society’s camera lens. We want to forget all about the fact that this ride called life eventually stops – or, rather, changes.

And that’s the point. There is no actual “end” to life. But it does change. We will one day interact with existence in a new and different way. We will not breathe in air or take in food. We will not have bodies that get sick or damaged, or that need to be fed or cleansed. Our spirits will take over, leaving the body behind. There will be no separation – real or perceived – between God consciousness and human spiritual consciousness.

The only catch is that we do not instantly become enlightened at the moment of physical death. The level of consciousness one has now is the level of consciousness that carries over into the next plane. So, you may or may not be ready to join forever with the One Presence. You may have to return to the planet in a different form in hopes of perfecting your connection to Divinity through new lessons learned in a new life. Each time you get a little closer, ideally. The people you affect on earth – in positive and negative ways – carry a part of you with them as they continue their own lives, now and forever.

So, let’s use today, Hallow’s Eve, to remind ourselves that:

  • Life is precious and never-ending
  • Each day is a new start.
  • Death is merely a transition
  • Life is meant to be a learning and training ground; let’s not waste time on worthless things
  • The legacy we leave behind – the people we’ve affected, the difference we’ve made, the connection we’ve made with Spirit – is all we really get to keep. But it’s also the only thing that really matters.

Peace and love.

And Happy Halloween!

Raven

How to Train as a Spiritual Soldier

How to Train as a Spiritual Soldier

Being a true spiritual warrior in the world today is a serious and challenging prospect. Some people view spirituality as simply going to yoga class, eating organic fruit, and referencing “the Universe” in conversation.

All of those things are fine and wonderful. And, in a broad sense, we are all spiritual beings living in mortal bodies. So, it is legitimate for virtually anyone to call themselves “spiritual.”

However, a spiritual warrior is something different. How do you know if you are a spiritual warrior?

In my opinion, to qualify as a spiritual warrior, you need two things: 1) An awareness of your innate gifts, talents, and capacities – or at least an awareness that you probably have some. And, (2) The conviction that your life on earth is not just about acquiring things to make yourself happy, but it’s about service to humanity, even at personal cost to your own comfort and convenience.

If you have these two qualities, then, congratulations (or, my condolences, which I will explain later), you are not just spiritual – you are a spiritual warrior.

I say “my condolences” because there is fine print. The fine print is this: spiritual warriors will have more difficulties than those who simply use the Law of Attraction to make their earthly lives more plush and comfortable. The reason for this is Resistance.

There are two forms of Resistance. I’ve spoken about human Resistance in past blogs. This is the innate laziness that we all feel when confronted with things that require a lot of energy and effort, especially those things which will cause us to stretch and grow in positive ways. That’s why the easiest path to success is just to do more than other people. Most people will not fight Resistance; they will do the very least they can get by with. This is garden-variety Resistance.

But the other form of Resistance is spiritual Resistance. The Bible says this: “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). So, in other words, we’re not really fighting  other people. It may look like that. But, in reality, there are structures of dark energetic power in the unseen realms that influence what people do on this planet.

So, when you set out to do Good, you will attract the attention of those beings who want nothing to do with what’s best for humanity. The greater your potential, the more Resistance you will have to deal with. I’ve come up with the following ways to take care of yourself so that you can continue to grow and make a mighty difference on this planet:

  1. Take care of the physical. Make sure to shower, sleep eight hours per night (or however much you need), eat balanced meals, drink plenty of water, and get regular check-ups. The physical, the emotional, and the spiritual all interact. What affects one will affect the others.
  2. As much as is possible, do one thing at a time. Divided attention scatters the consciousness and reduces spiritual power. The current trend towards severe multi-tasking works against serenity, competence, and even mental/emotional stability.
  3. Prioritize your spiritual practice. If you are a spiritual warrior, prayer and meditation can not be emergency procedures. They are not things to squeeze in, if you have the time. They are your armor. You probably lock your front door and/or your car door when you leave, right? Not praying or meditating before you go out into the world is like leaving your doors open. Don’t let it happen. Even two or three minutes is better than no minutes.
  4. Spend time with other spiritual warriors. If you don’t know any, set your intention to find some. You will find your tribe. In the meantime, get comfortable with spending time alone. Solitude is not deadly. On the contrary, spending too much time with negative people (and, let’s face it, a LOT of people wallow in negativity) is spiritually deadly.
  5. Saturate your mind, your thoughts, your surroundings, your music, your life with beautiful, positive, high-vibrational things. If you meditate for an hour, but then forget about the Goddess completely until the following day, you will not make much progress. Training the mind is a 24-hour-a-day proposition.

In short, begin to view spiritual warfare the same way we do physical warfare. Soldiers do not just show up on the battlefield scratching their heads. They have spent weeks, months, and years training and preparing for every eventuality. Their bodies are finely-tuned instruments. Their wits are sharp and their teamwork is strong.

How much more important is spiritual warfare?! In fact, once spiritual warfare is taken more seriously by our society, physical warfare may one day be obsolete.

Let’s call this world to a higher standard!

Peace and love,

Raven

What the Hell is a “Balanced” Chakra?

When you receive a Reiki session, the practitioner’s goal is to “balance your chakras.” But what does this mean?

Chakras are centers of energy in the body. This energy is the Life Force that animates all living things. It is the difference between being alive and being dead.  The second a person dies, their body is still warm, but the Life Force has separated from the body; it has begun its transition towards a new and different realm of existence.

But, while we are alive, the Life Force within us has several central energy points, called chakras. There are many, many chakras. However, seven are commonly recognized: The root chakra, the sacral chakra, the solar plexus, the heart chakra, the throat chakra, the third eye, and the Crown chakra. Ideally, these energy centers are in perfect balance with one another. No one chakra is more important than any other. All are interdependent and necessary for life on the planet.

However, internal and external forces can affect our body’s Life Force. When we are sick or injured – physically, mentally, or emotionally – this can distort the flow of life energy in the body. Trauma – physical, emotional, and mental –  can cause areas of stagnation, or stuck energy. This stagnant energy can register as actual pain, or as something more subtle. Subtle, stuck energy can proceed to quietly damage the area of stagnation until, eventually, it manifests as a chronic emotional problem, or an area of limitation in one’s life.

For example, the root chakra controls our connection to the earth. It affects our ability to use the earth’s resources and our own inborn talents to make a living. It is most associated with ego, the survival instinct. If the root chakra is damaged and weak, a person’s life may be very out of balance.

The person with a weak root chakra may be highly spiritual and very sweet. But they may be unable to hold down a job, make a living, or thrive independently. An unhealthy root chakra can make someone incompetent at the skill of daily living. They might even become physically unhealthy, as their connection to the planet is often weak or dualistic. They subtly disdain the things of the earth in lieu of “heavenly” things. They embody that saying “He’s so spiritually minded, he’s no earthly good.”

On the other hand, a balanced root chakra is one in which the ego is healthy and strong. There is no perceived separation between spiritual matters and earthly matters. Making money is viewed neither as an obsession, nor as something to fear or push away. Money is, therefore, used for the benefit of the person’s physical and spiritual well-being. And, because they are healthy and balanced, they can turn around and help others. They can be a beneficial presence on the planet, and not a burden.

People are negatively affected when the chakras are out of alignment. Each of the chakras has a pathology if they are not all balanced and integrated with one another. There is no “good” and “bad” in the natural order. The “higher” chakras (heart, throat, third eye, and crown chakras) are not better than the “lower” chakras (root, sacral, and solar plexus). All are one. All are necessary. All must be in flow and communication with one another.

Aside from receiving a Reiki attunement by a practitioner, you can balance your own chakras through meditation. If there are areas in your life you recognize as being “stuck,” you owe it to yourself to give those areas the love and attention they deserve.

You’ll be glad you did!

Peace and love,

Raven

Spiritual Detox – My Story

I had a Reiki attunement on Monday of this week. I’ve actually been attuned before, but it has been a few years, so the classes I’m taking now are refresher courses.

Because I’ve been attuned before I knew what to expect. I’ve been attuned in person and I’ve had a Distance Attunement, in which the practitioner doing the attunement is not in the same location. In each case I felt a light, wonderful feeling. I was conscious of the feeling of being “blessed.”

This attunement, however, was different. This was a cigar-smoking, tattooed, f-bomb-dropping attunement. What I mean by that is that the after-effects were not sweet, syrupy, nor lovely.

On the contrary, my deepest failures came to mind. It was gut-wrenching and painful. And that was just during the attunement.

For the rest of the day I felt like I was going to cry. I felt fragile,  and I had zero confidence. I had a run-in with my toxic roommate, and my landlord gave exactly zero fucks about my problem. I still had to work, so I had to lie to each student who asked me “How are you today?” “Oh, fine,” I said. Pure bullshit. I was not fine. I was sad, depressed, insecure, and shaky inside.

But, eventually it passed. By the end of the day I felt my insides sorting themselves out and going back to normal. I was left feeling a sense of awe at the spiritual journey.

I believe that the reason for the spiritual detox is similar to a physical detox. If you have ever fasted or done some type of cleanse, or simply improved your diet radically in a short period of time, you may have experienced physical symptoms. If you were accustomed to eating whenever and however you wanted before the change, you likely ingested many toxins along the way. When you either stop eating temporarily, or bombard your body with good stuff, the body goes into a type of shock.

The body is pleased that it’s getting good nourishment, or being given a break from digestion during a fast, but it’s used to dealing with whatever crap you give it. So, as your body happily excretes all the toxins you’ve ingested over the past weeks, months, or years, it’s a lot to deal with all at once. Even though you’re healthier, you feel worse than ever.

It’s a passing phase. As you get rid of all that doesn’t serve you, and continue giving your body the good stuff, your system will normalize. You will recover from the tough period and eventually feel better than ever. But you have to go through the detox to get there.

Similarly, when you – and a practitioner  – infuse your soul with positive energy (I was meditating deeply during the Reiki attunement), it’s a lot of Goodness all at once. The soul is pleased, but it’s shedding all the thought-forms that are unlike the new positive energy.

I know this applies in my case. I have been making a lot of transitions in my life lately. I’ve been shedding negative people left and right. I’ve been diving deeper into my spiritual practice and focusing on the things that matter most to me.

With no negativity to block the energy flow, and a bombardment of positive energy from both myself and the healer, I was at the top of what I could handle energetically. All that was unlike that positive energy was forced to the surface. It came up so that I could look it square in the face, and release it to the Goddess to be healed.

Today, after having gone through that experience, I am in a better place. My circumstances have not changed, but that’s not what it’s about. I’ve been cleansed on an energetic level. I am on a new plateau that is higher than my previous level.

But just like with a physical detox, the work is not done. If you do a physical cleanse, or a fast, and then go right back to your old, crappy diet, the positive effects will be lost. On the other hand, if, after wiping the slate clean, you begin a new program of healthy eating and physical activity, the effects of the cleanse will last, and you will continue to see progress.

So, for me, this is only the beginning. The attunement – and the spiritual detox – were confirmation for me that I’m on the right track. Now I must maintain this higher level of awareness by continuing my spiritual practices and allowing the insights to go deeper. I am being called out of complacency and mediocrity and urged to be of service to those around me.

I am honored and humbled to have a closer relationship with the Goddess than I’ve ever had. I am blessed to be able to share my experiences with open-minded, mature people like my readers.

I wish for all of you the life of your dreams!

Peace and love,

Raven