Posted on Leave a comment

Old Ways in the New Age

I was born in the new age. But I have definitely been born with an old soul and a knowing of the old ways. As result I am a bit of a mash up of both the old and new, both spiritually and now come to think about it, literally too (like every one my age, we enjoyed the bliss of the analogue childhood and adolescence with the convenience and connectivity of the digital adulthood).

But what were the old ways? What does “New Age” mean?

When I think of the Old Ways, I think of the pre-christian times, in the matriarchal goddess worshiping times. Nature ruled. A simple time in terms of what was required to be done, how people went about their lives, meeting their needs individually and collectively for the family/community. A small yet hard life, living off the land and at the mercy of the elements and their understanding/observations of the natural world for which they were a part of. Honouring the changing seasons by observing the seasons rather than by a fixed calendar. Honouring revered deities or the Mother Goddess with love rather than fear. The village mentality and way of life, living in sync with the cycles of nature speaks to me of the old ways. The people were of their land. This is merely my interpretation, yours may be completely different.

Contrast this with the New Age and my inner feeling changes from slow, steady and at peace, to a buzz of energy and a feeling of “whoosh”, psychedelic madness and woowoo. What comes immediately to my mind upon hearing New Age is a plethora of images and labels : new-age-hippie-dippy-claptrap, crystals, The West, burning sage bundles, cultural appropriation, ancestry – e.g. 1% Viking/Native American/Irish Celt! The universe, energy, chakras, Cacoa Ceremony, Bali, retreats, coconut oil, essential oil, meditation, yoga, homeopathy, love’n’light, spiritual bypass, the moon, light workers, peace man, tarot cards, a goddess for everything from all parts of the globe, free spirit, earthing, grounding, vegetarian/vegan, the list goes on, feel free to insert your own interpretations . Some of it makes me uncomfortable, some of it is given a cursory eye-roll and other bits I really connect with and practice.

So why do I think I have an old soul and a knowing of the old ways? And how do I marry that remembering with the new fangled New Age?

I feel a very real connection to history, domestic history of the island inwhich I live. For instance, I have an unexplained physical reaction to the city of Edinburgh when I am there. I have never lived there but when I used to work in Wales, my train home would have me arrive at Haymarket Station, Edinburgh, to then get my connection for the last 30 miles home. Standing in Haymarket, breathing in the smell of hops on a cold Autumnal evening, I always felt “I’m home” plus, any night out in Edinburgh over the years always felt like home – I feel safe in this city yet never have the same feelings or notions in Glasgow or any other city I’ve visited. I have always been fascinated with herbs and herbal healing (not really done anything with this fascination but its always been there), my curiosity around the moon, the changing seasons, and witchcraft. Once I started tracing my family tree ( went back to my 4th Great Grandmother in my Mother’s line) much of what I discovered about my family makes so much sense to the person I am and the interests I have long held. Much of the reading, research and practice I have been actively seeking and learning from over the years felt more like “YES” moments and an awakening of things I already knew, deep down, coupled with an insatiable thirst for more knowledge. And yes, I know how crazy and loopy that sounds. That’ll be why I have never shared that before!

Combining these base feelings and knowings/rememberings with the modern world has been for the most part fairly straight forward with a few stumbles along the way. I have real issues around cultural appropriation and people claiming indigenous ritual or ceremony for their own when they have no connection to that culture, save for an ancestry test that identified 1% popular ethnicity – I truly believe that our own cultures where we live/ have grown etc are rich in their own history, traditions, folklore and language that cherry picking the cool bits from another’s is not OK. Here’s the sore point, I have been using Native American tarot cards (which are beautiful in their design) for the past 23 years, yet I have no connection to that culture at all other than studying it in my 6th yer of high school and finding their history appalling and their culture fascinating. In using these cards, is that appropriation or appreciation? I don’t know! ( I have however, bought a new deck, the Green Witch cards which are also beautiful but are more connected to my Pagan path and personal journey).

I’m nosy and am curious as to how other people merge the two ways, if indeed they do – it certainly isn’t necessary or a requirement. People who follow their version of a New Age spiritual practice or path may only be familiar with modern day practices or not feel the need to look back to go forward. Similarly some people may shudder at all things New Age and prefer to keep the fires of the Old Ways burning. Tell me – I’d love to know!

I have found that getting outside as often as possible to walk the local woods or to sit in my garden, letting my bare feet touch the earth or grass has been the most simple and effective way to connect. My calendar follows the lunar cycle, I follow the seasons of the environment and my own cycle. I am of this land, of this place, in the modern “new age” whilst reconnecting to, remembering and honouring the old ways. The best of both? I think so, but as with all things learning , growing and evolving, nothing is certain, including my opinion.

L xx

Posted on Leave a comment

Magic Rewilding

Magic Rewilding

Do you believe in magic?

You don’t have to; its all around you. YOU are magic.

Do you believe me? I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t. All around us we are told we need to do this or have that inorder to “make magic” (whatever that means to you). The internet and some chain stores have caught on to the current trend for all things witchcraft, paganism, spirituality, and a hotch potch of all things appropriated from oppressed cultures and you can buy all manner of accoutrements and paraphernalia to “do it right”.

When did it all get so complicated and prescribed?

In the capitalist age, the next big thing is always on the horizon. Some fads come and go with their 1 minute of fame while others have the longevity. Right now, the New Age is in vogue. And there is a money to be made. Money is magic, right? Nope!

Shop bought magic isn’t YOUR magic.

In my humble opinion, we need to simplify spirituality and rewild magic not commercialise it.

I invite you to question and be honest with yourself. Figure out what you believe [in] and why. Are your beliefs something you’ve been told or something you’ve been drawn or called to? Did you connect with something because you read about it were told about it or were informed that this is the right way?

How often do you go outside? To be barefoot and touch the earth, taste fresh produce, dance in the rain, talk to the wind, smell the flowers and hug a tree? When was the last time you moon bathed, star gazed or howled into the night? Rose with the sun and slept with the moon, disregarded the Gregorian calendar to live by the lunar cycle, new moon to dark moon? Were still or ran free along the beach at the waters edge, or through the woods, open hillside or city parkland?

We are nature; we are a part of nature not apart from nature!

Do we need to buy that particular stone because it holds a particular energy, or do we see a stone on the ground and appreciate its beauty and how it feels in our hand, so take it home instead? Do we need to buy that bunch of flowers with the right colour of petals or candle in that certain colour? Or would using what we have found in nature or what we already have in the home work just as well? Does that spell kit with the candle and the “smudge stick” (stolen from Native American heritage) and the prescribed “spell” have more power than the words spelled, written or spoken, by the person setting those intentions, which are imbued with their energy and feelings? Which leads me on to correspondences.

There are prescribed correspondences for EVERYTHING! Certain colours, crystals, essential oils, incense, candles, ribbons, herbs, flowers, foods, animals, times of the day, days of the week, seasons, numbers, weather conditions, elements, trees, astrological placement of the planets, etc et that NEED to be adhered to for “magic” to work, to do it right. Bollocks to that! Why? Because like with nearly everything else in life, magic has been caught and caged for capitalism. To need most of this stuff means to buy it. But do you know what you can’t buy? Intuition. You cannot buy intuition because, that, my friend is not for sale! And nothing is more potent that trusting personal intuition; it’s the most valuable tool you have at your disposal. It needs to be worked and exercised and above all, trusted and listened to. Everything else is fluff and fun.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a bit of fluff and fun – of course I have a cauldron! Yes, I divine using tarot and oracle decks. All I am saying is that we don’t need it .

Do I think our ancestors needed to have the right correspondences to work? Nope, I believe they used what they had, a cauldron was an actual cooking receptacle and followed intuition. No need to over complicate for what is essentially the essence of the New Age; Social Media and our audience. That is not real.

People new or exploring a different path may find what others have done, a useful insight to what may work for them, and I will always recommend reading books, books and more books, but above all, I would tell everyone to trust themselves, question everything and keep it simple. And it shouldn’t cost you a small fortune either!

My word for 2019 is Depth, and part of the work I’ve been doing has been around questioning why I do what I do, including my spiritual practice. Over the many years I have been walking this path I have tried various ways of doing and shoe-horning other people’s way into my way, its very much been trial and error. I resisted the Divine Feminine for a number of years as had been atheist since about 12 years years old. What I have come to realise and appreciate is that if something is presented to me and it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t get to stay, equally, as I grow and learn and explore, if something no longer fits, it is released to leave space. William Morris’ famous quote:

“Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

is very relevant here and therefore my cauldron stays, it being both beautiful and useful – and fun! I prefer to go with my feelings and mood at any particular time rather than what someone else has decreed as the right way or right “correspondence”. Symbolism is personal too, how I interpret the meaning or feeling attached to whatever I am working with or on.

I’ve also chucked the need to follow set rituals including my own. At the last full moon I went dancing instead of doing what I would normally with meditation and tarot and journal. Mixing it up and going with what I’m feeling and called to do instead of self imposed rituals has been a form of rewilding my own magic and simplifying my spirituality.

I don’t live my path to only pick it up to perform rituals at New and Full Moon time with all sorts of paraphernalia. I just need myself, my intuition and calling it in and living it daily. Magic is already in me, in you, in us; in all our uniqueness. No rules are needed to be told how to use it or for why, it just needs to be allowed to be felt, to be released, to be rewilded.

Posted on Leave a comment

Spirituality: What does it mean?

Spirituality

Spirituality. What does it mean? Seriously! What does it mean to be ‘spiritual’?

What do you think it means? I’m not being sarcastic, but really asking, what do you genuinely think, when you hear the words Spiritual and Spirituality?

I think it means different things to different people.

Spirituality has become one of those terms used and, at times, over used and not always with clarity, but rather an air of mystique or pretension; there is an element of wankery attached to the word as it is banded about to express ones enlightened state of being (see what I mean about the wankery?).  But it also a sincere description of what some people experience or believe whether instead of or alongside their religion.

Is that any clearer? I’m not actually convinced that it is.

I had a friend tell me years ago that neither she nor her husband were religious people, but they were spiritual; I remember at the time thinking “what the fuck does that mean?” but not wanting to look ignorant, I just accepted the statement.

Only recently have I given the word any pause for thought. It hasn’t ever been  part of my consciousness when considering my path and beliefs, until I started hearing and seeing it used more and more on social media.

From a personal perspective, I do not consider myself ‘religious’ (I was christened as a baby into the Church Of Scotland, but at 8 weeks old, that choice was not mine to make. I have never felt any affinity with the church and haven’t attended a service other than for weddings or funerals since I left school). I don’t believe in God. I can accept that Jesus was a real man but that his miracles were more symbolic rather than literal. I don’t believe in heaven and hell other than that they were man-made constructs created to instil fear, compliance and obedience.  I do however believe that we are all part of something greater than just this existence on this one planet. There has to be life elsewhere, space is MAHOOSIVE!  We cannot possibly be the only creatures. I also believe in the Law of Attraction, energy, ghosts, reincarnation and that we are souls inhabiting a human body. Oh and I celebrate Christmas as it is a time with and for family.

Since high school I have identified as atheist, although at a guess I would say that that 2001 census has me down as CoS as I lived with my parents and they completed the form. However in the 2011 census I listed my religious beliefs as Pagan.

Pagan Wheel Of The Year

For 9 of the last 10 years, if I had to attach a religious label to myself, it would have been as Atheist Pagan. I follow the Wheel of the Year, the cycles of nature and the moon. I listen to my intuition and use divination tools and meditation for guidance.

I have had a life long love of witches and astrology, have visited various mediums (spooky wives) during my 20’s, but I never called myself, or considered myself to be spiritual.  

The past couple of years has seen my journey take a turn down the path of self development and exploration. This has lead me this year, to the Divine Feminine and Goddess / Priestess culture; Herstory if you will.  It’s fascinating and I can’t quench that thirst for more knowledge. Once I have read one book am ready to dive into the next and the next. The Goddesses or the Divine Feminine resonate with me, not as a woman up in the sky like the Big Man with the white beard, but as an energy that lives within each of us. She is always present, we just need to find her.  The use of Goddess Archetypes is helpful in doing this, to assist channelling the energy required.

This may read like utter bullshit and that’s perfectly fine. Not everyone will be on board with this line of thinking or belief. Each path or journey is as unique as the individual travelling it.

So, in answer to my question : Spirituality, what does it mean? I think it means whatever you understand it to be, in relation to your personal belief set.

Is it just semantics? Am I a spiritual person? Are you? Does it even matter? Probably not in all honesty, it’s just another label, but surely it’s down to personal opinion and what feels right?

I would love to know your thoughts on the subject if this is something you have an opinion on.

Lx