Preparing for the New Moon in Sagittarius

Preparing for the New Moon in Sagittarius

I always feel a little excited by the New Moon. Although the Full Moon is the showstopper – beautiful and full of meaning – the New Moon has its own magic. I feel like it is a pivotal moment every month where you get to assess where you are. The waning moon has fully waned, and you’ve agreed to let go of old mental thought patterns and habits which no longer serve you. Now it’s time to figure out what you DO want.

The fact that the new moon is in Sagittarius is extra exciting for me. Between Aries and Sagittarius, those two signs have composed the lion’s share of my former romantic partners. Who doesn’t love a Sagittarian? They are fun, adventurous, they love to learn, they’re always up to something new, and they don’t take themselves too seriously.

So, along those lines, my plans involve a lot of fun new adventures. I already have a full list of goals for 2019 (like a good little nerd), but this month is kind of the kick-off. This month sets the tone for the new year. Here are a few of my goals so far:

  • Finish my first novel (I didn’t say it would be good, I said I would finish it! Lol!)
  • Complete my 2nd Degree Priestess level
  • Get muscular and lean enough to compete in a figure competition (even if I don’t actually compete)
  • Growing my business, Rain Tree Spirit

What does the New Moon mean to you?

Good luck on setting your intentions for this month!

Peace and joy,

Raven

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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

Sign up for my newsletter to receive 20% off through November 30, 2018.

Peace and richest blessings on your journey,

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

Why Being Too Nice is Unspiritual, Deceptive, and a Hindrance to Others

When most people come into any particular religion or spiritual discipline, they tend to have a mental image and perception of what it means to be “spiritual.” For example, what comes to mind when you hear the term “spiritual?” What do you think of?

If you’re like most people, you picture a thin person wearing flowy clothes and a dreamy smile, perhaps sitting still in meditation or walking around saying “Namaste” and reeking of patchouli. They probably have long, messy hair, or locs, or a bald head, wear no make-up, and speak softly in quiet, measured tones. They utter long, confusing sentences filled with New Age jargon. And they never, ever – ever – get angry.

This is a fictitious character. A stereotype. Like any stereotype, there is some truth to it. You will find “spiritual” people who fit this image. But it’s dangerous to purposely adopt this stereotype in an attempt to be “holy.” Why?

Because spirituality does not have a uniform. And there is nothing noble about being “nice.” When I use the term nice here, I am NOT referring to being a good and decent human being. You don’t even have to be “spiritual” to be a good and decent human being. What I’m referring to is the stereotype of “nice” that many “spiritual” people aspire to.

There is also nothing good about never getting angry. If injustice doesn’t make you angry, you are not spiritual. By angry, I do not mean screaming, cursing, or hitting. That is an undisciplined, out-of-control fear-response to the emotion of anger. Anger is a visceral response to something we don’t want to be happening. The anger itself is neither good nor bad. Like any emotion, it is just information. The anger is informing us that something is wrong, according to our own value system.

For example, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was angry about racism, bigotry, and segregation. He saw the grave injustice of racism, and he knew it was wrong. Everyone knew it was wrong, but the power structure benefited from this unjust system.  King did not look upon racism and simply tell people they should “think positively.”  He did not say things like “Racism isn’t a part of my reality. I live in love.” No, he saw an injustice and, while LIVING in love, he absolutely used his anger to motivate himself and thousands of others to DO something about it. The Bible does NOT say “Anger is a sin.” It says “Be angry and sin NOT.”

When so-called spiritual people adopt the stereotype, and pretend to feel nothing other than love and joy, they do themselves and others a grave disservice. Not only do they practice deception (and, more importantly, self-deception), they render themselves unfit to help people who may genuinely be suffering. People who are suffering need authenticity from the people trying to help them. I can’t count how many times I’ve either experienced or seen someone try to share something painful in their lives, only to be turned away and rejected by some spiritual person who can’t sully their pristine ears with anything “negative.” The uncomfortable expression on their “spiritual” face, along with their quick exit, informs the hurting person that they cannot be helped, and that no one really cares.

The result is fake people with fake smiles, hiding their true feelings from one another. It leads to inauthentic communication, lying, secret or double-lives, and self-deception. It causes people to downplay their real problems because they don’t want to be rejected by all the “positive” people around them.  Instead of being of real service to hurting people who need spiritual help, the “spiritual, too-nice” person can only spout pious platitudes, and hide from any reality that bums them out.

This inauthentic behavior often backfires, leaving the “too nice” person vulnerable to abuse by unscrupulous people who understand the deceptive game they are playing, but know how to play the game better.

Narcissists, sociopaths, con-artists, etc. prey on the “too nice” folks. These predators understand that the Too Nicers are just fearful people who care more about what other people think than about their own authentic experience. The predators understand that the Too Nicers get an ego boost from their “spiritual” personas. The Too Nicers talk a good game, but their lives, attitudes, emotions, and behavior do not reflect a deep knowledge of spiritual principles. The predators can then use a fake spiritual message to lure them in.

This is how many people get sucked into cults, predatory religions, and even abusive personal relationships. The “spiritual” victim falls for the superficial words of the con artist – because both of them are playing a similar deceptive game! The predator makes the “too nice” victim feel “more spiritual,” by appealing to their ego, making them feel elevated and special, separate from the rest of the negative world. Two fake facades interact, but only the predator is aware of what’s really going on. The Too Nicer ends up being exploited, abused and discarded. Sadly, in abusive relationships, some Too Nicers even conclude that God Himself WANTS them to suffer!  It’s their “cross to bear.” Suffering, then, gets elevated to the status of spiritual practice, rather than the red flag that it really is.

If you find yourself feeling superior to others because you are just “sooo nice” and other people are not, it’s time to rethink that. Whenever you can be nice and authentic at the same time, you are doing great! Wonderful! But there will always be times when, to do the right thing, you must stand your ground and oppose what someone wants to do – or what they want YOU to do.  They might not “like” you when you refuse. But, to say “yes” in that moment would be a violation of your own standards and boundaries, an act of self-abandonment and low self-worth. If you discover that someone is using or abusing you, and you go along with it just to “be nice,” you are co-responsible for the abuse. You are not to blame, but you are responsible.

The world does not need any more “nice” people. The world needs principled, strong, moral, disciplined, and courageous people who are willing to hold the world to a higher standard. Spirituality is reflected in the overall progress of our own lives. It is not a fictitious character that we play on Sunday.

In order to become spiritual, you do NOT have to:

  • Shave your head (or grow locs)
  • Wear flowing robes
  • Speak in a soft, affected voice
  • Allow people to abuse you
  • Get people to like you
  • Go along with what others want you to do
  • Eat any special diet
  • Avoid wearing shoes
  • Stop wearing make-up
  • Or pretend you don’t have the normal range of human emotions

And, it is PERFECTLY OKAY to:

  • Get angry
  • Cry
  • Feel bored sometimes
  • Not smile 24/7
  • Have occasional financial trouble
  • End a toxic or unfulfilling relationship
  • Not be skinny
  • Not do yoga
  • Laugh loudly
  • Be friends with those who are not “spiritual”

As long as you have a daily spiritual practice, and are seeing genuine progress in your own life from month to month and year to year, you are spiritual. Don’t pretend that you have no problems. Find safe people to talk to – people who will actually listen to you – people who will not slap you down with pithy sayings, or tell you to “stop being negative.”

If you get angry about something, that’s okay. Figure out why you’re feeling angry. Is it really just a bruised ego, or are you noticing a true injustice? If the anger is justified, learn to transmute the anger into effective action. Go ahead and sit in meditation, but then get up, and see if you can do something to help the situation.

All of our emotions – positive and negative – are valuable. They provide information. They allow us to participate in the full human experience. Our struggles teach us valuable lessons and make us stronger. If you try to share the burden on your heart with someone, and they blow you off with a condemning “Oh, wow, how did you manage to manifest THAT??” Ignore that person. There are many reasons why you may be experiencing a particular problem. Maybe you did “manifest” it through a series of negative thoughts and habits. Or maybe not. Maybe that experience is a blessing and a gift, which you will only understand in hindsight.

Real spirituality is not for the simple-minded. It is not a dress-up game or something to impress others. It is challenging, life-altering work, and it requires our full, honest, authentic participation. Being too nice is a way of hiding from that. It’s a coping mechanism that may have protected you from abusive adults as a child, or gotten you friends in school. But, now that you are an adult, you can choose to let go of coping mechanisms and step into a more authentic expression of YOU.

Peace and love,

Raven

Why Meditation is So Important

Meditation has become fairly mainstream. And, while it’s good that no one looks at you funny anymore if you say you meditate, the mainstream-ness can water down its true power. If you’re serious about spiritual growth on any path, but particularly on the Wiccan path, then I strongly recommend implementing a daily meditation practice.

Yes, daily. Like anything we do daily, meditation becomes a way of life, not just something we do when we “feel” like it, which is usually when the pain of doing things the world’s way has caused so much pain and stress that we’re not sure what else to do!

There are many, many, many ways to meditate. One of the simplest ways to get started is to light a candle and stare at the dancing flame for 1-5 minutes. Let all thoughts go and just train your eyes on the beauty of the flame. No need to comment on it or judge it in any way in your mind. Just look at it, keeping your breath steady and regular.

But this article isn’t about HOW to meditate. It’s about WHY meditation is important. Meditation is important for several reasons.

  • It teaches you to train your mind. An increasing number of people are self-diagnosing as having “ADD.” Attention Deficit Disorder is a genuine disorder. Many people who claim to have it, however, simply have untrained, undisciplined minds.
  • A trained mind is necessary during all the hours we spend not meditating. We are often surrounded by stress and negativity. Meditation trains us to bring our thoughts back, again and again, to that which really matters in life.
  • Meditation teaches you to know – from experience – what deep peace feels like. Eventually you’ll become so accustomed to this feeling of peace, you won’t settle for anything less in your daily life. You’ll make different choices in friends, companions, jobs, etc. Anything (or anyone) that makes peace impossible will gradually fall out of your life, or you will be able to approach the situation in a new and peaceful way.
  • It allows space for the Goddess to send direct messages to you because you are open and receptive during meditation.
  • It allows space to integrate everything you have learned, studied, and read. It turns head knowledge into A.W.O.L. (a way of life).
  • It allows you to tap into your intuition, which is essential to: witchcraft, healing practices, counseling, relationships, and life in general. I’ve gotten many ideas during meditation, and had countless revelations. Even though – or perhaps because – you’re not thinking, wisdom from the Higher Self gently enters your consciousness.
  • Meditation allows you to start the day from the highest point of view possible. You can then respond to life, rather than reacting to whatever is thrown your way. You can even set the tone for your environment at work or home by bringing your peace with you, rather than being sucked into the negativity around you.
  • It teaches you patience. The benefits of meditation come over time. When I was a new meditator I did have some immediate positive benefits. I saw colors and lights, and I grew a lot. But then there were dry spells, where all I had was the routine. Nevertheless, the breakthroughs happen when they happen. In order for them to happen, you have to have a regular practice. Haphazard attempts at anything – including meditation – are unlikely to bring many rewards.

I hope you will embark on a meditation practice as soon as possible and share your results here or on my YouTube channel. Much love to all!

Blessed Be,

Raven