Monthly Archives: January 2016

Chaos, Entropy, and Emotions: A Spiritual Look

hurricane-1049612_640There was a point in time that I suddenly looked out at the world and I could see a sort of hurricane surrounding people. This was a new development for me, and for quite a while I didn’t realize what it was that I was sensing.

As I began exploring this, I realized that people who tended to be more chaotic, more dramatic, or more unbalanced had a larger and more rapidly moving “hurricane” around them than those who were balanced, at peace, or not chaotic.

And conversely, people who were relatively peaceful and drama free (in both their actions as well as their words/outer self) had just streams of energy like wind around them, slowly moving.

Over the years since I have first sensed this I realized a few things about this phenomena:

  • That people generally had the same level of hurricane, no matter what was going on in their lives. It was rare that I would see this change, and when I would, what would happen would be interesting…
  • Generally what would happen for most people is that they on some base level would sense that they did not have as much chaos in their lives– as much anger, drama, fear, negativity, or whatever was the genesis of their individual hurricane and they would react…
  • They would be then react by creating situations in which they could bring back the same level of energy they were used to… so that their “hurricane” could go back to the levels they were used to.

This is so incredibly common…

We are used to a certain amount of chaos in our lives (chaos a general word for the amount of individual fear, anger, rage, grief, despair, negativity, jealousy, and just general drama) that when it is missing we sense something is wrong and react. 

This is, of course, a subconscious thing. It is not like people are walking around saying that they would like to be incredibly negative, or to self-sabotage their healing processes, or to do exactly the opposite thing of what would bring them some peace in their lives.

Our powers of creation are incredible. There is obviously more than the mental layer of things (which is why I have issues with the Law of Attraction, but that is another subject), but it is a powerful layer, a powerful “body” that surrounds us.

If we look at our “bodies” (in the system that I use) we have the outermost body as the “spiritual”– meaning our connection to something greater than ourselves, our cosmic selves, who we truly are and so forth…

Then we have just inside of that the “mental” body, meaning our thought processes, basically (yes, I am greatly simplifying this).

Then we have the astral, or emotional “body”, where our emotions are.

Then we have the etheric, or our body double– basically a template of our physical body and its processes.

And then we have the physical body, which is the densest and makes up what we consider to be our “concrete” or mutually agreed upon reality.

As a side note, this is why I have difficulty with modern “shamanism” is because all it does is work with the mental layer… which is important, but they are missing out on a whole, higher level. But I digress…

The point here is that most of what we create is based on the mental and emotional layers. Why is this? It is because we have true spiritual energy, spiritual force, true cosmic consciousness (whatever you want to call it) but as long as we have beliefs, traumas, and thoughts/restricted mental “stuff” blocking its flow from the outer “body” (the spiritual) to the physical, we are not going to feel or even notice those flows.

Hence, the hurricane.tornado-303208_640

By the way, this is why some people have incredible healing work done within a short period of time while others take a few steps. Because they are in contact with the spiritual layer, and they are open enough mentally/emotionally that they can allow for spiritual energies to filter through. Most people are not this way, and will heal only as much as they mentally/emotionally are able to. Basically, if you have a slow-moving hurricane with small currents you will be more in contact with outer layers, and more in touch with spirit.

If you have a whole swiftly moving chaotic hurricane filled with your thoughts, fears, and self-sabotaging ways, you will not heal. Or more likely, you will do the sort of taking a few steps forward and having a realization and then taking a few steps back (almost to your original point) which is what most people do.

So why do I even mention this?

It is because it is possible to transcend this, to not feed into your personal hurricane.

It is possible to assess your hurricane, to see how much chaos you personally have in those mental/emotional layers. To do so honestly, from where you currently are.

You do this by seeing yourself as at the eye of the hurricane. Because this is true. We are all healed, we are all whole, we are all home. We just have a lot of material blocking this fact.

You then look outward and see the hurricane around you. See how much chaos is there, how much pain, how much fear, how much self-sabotage. What thoughts are there swirling around that are blocking you from interfacing with something real, or are causing you to not have what you need in this world, or are causing you to not really show who you are in this world… 

Or more importantly, are causing you to subconsciously have a reaction of creating this same hurricane again and again because you are used to it. 

That is causing you to create more chaos in your life when you don’t really need it.

On a more “advanced” level, what material is in that hurricane that is causing you to constantly “loop”– recreating scenarios and traumas again and again in your life without you consciously realizing it.

When we consciously realize that we are creating this hurricane we can let it go. We can realize that we want peace. We can let go of the loops, the chaos, the drama. We can stop re-creating it again and again. We can be okay with not having the same level of chaos– of anger, of fear, of grief, and those same chaotic self-sabotaging thoughts that cycle through us, creating our world.

It is not as if things will not happen if we let go of our chaos. Our “hurricane” will occasionally be amped up by life. It happens. But we can make a conscious choice to set our “hurricane” at a different base level, and our outer lives will get much clearer. And more peaceful. And we will simply react differently, because we will see that most people around us are simply creating out of their own personal hurricane, and they are always at that level of anger, or false positivity, or fear, or self-sabotage, and we learn to not take this energy on and not to take it personally. Because it doesn’t actually have much to do with us. 

We can sit in that eye of the hurricane and work with this material until we find peace, until we find ourselves. Until we realize that we have a choice to be at the same level of chaos, or to consciously do something about it. Until we realize that other people do not need to feed our hurricanes, and we can consciously choose peace.

When we do this our hurricane clears up and we are able to interface with spiritual flows directly. They no longer are filtered by our own restrictions, by our own loops. We can have a clear pathway from the spiritual body into our physical body, and into our physical lives. And that is a thing of beauty.


Spiritual Advice Column: Our Relationship with Spirits

Dear Mary-

I love your website it is very informative and not BS like other websites that I have been on. My question would be, and I do not know if you have addressed this before so forgive me, but what was/is the relationship of Shamans and Spirits? The reason I ask is because what I get from most practitioner’s relationships with spirit is romance, jobs, money, court cases, etc. Why do Shamans work with Spirits and vice versa? This applies to all types of spirits.

Thanks Mary and keep up the good work.



Hi Nicky-

Thank you for submitting this question. It is an important one, and one that is often overlooked for various reasons.

There are a few sub-questions here that I will bring up– such as why do spirits work with us? and what is working with actual spirits like? along with your excellent question of what is the relationship of Spiritual Workers (I use that word instead of Shaman for a lot of reasons people are pretty tired of me talking about by now) to Spirits?


So first things first. Most people do not work with spirits, or more accurately, they likely do not know what or who they are working with… or they have not achieved any depth in their spiritual relationships. 

What does this mean? It means that a lot of people self-create spirits and energies to work with. They are a part of themselves. I harp on this a bit because if you are working with something that you self-created it can only have so much power. Meaning it can only have up to and including how much power you personally have. If you are working with an actual spirit, you are working with not only your own power but theirs as well. This is a really important distinction.

So if we self-create spirits they can be our indentured servants, or slaves. They are typically one-dimensional, without much personality, show up whenever you want them to, and will do whatever you want. They also tend to agree with whatever you say, or will only say things to you that come from either your conscious awareness or from one of the more surface layers of your subconscious.

I will say that working with parts of yourself, specifically integrating them, is really important work. But it is different than working with actual spirits.

Also, a lot of people have no idea what or who they are working with. They may be working with a spirit but the spirit is not showing their true form either because you are not ready for them to (a very common reason), you have been taught that spirits are intended to be these indentured servants and are supposed to act in particular ways (hello upper and lower world cosmology) and so your own mind and belief systems (basically your issues) are stopping them from completely coming through. Or coming through in their true form.

Another reason is that a spirit (for example a former human) may say that they are your guide, or an Archangel, or whatever, so they can attach to you. It happens more than people might think. People aren’t really taught discernment and practicality when it comes to the spirit world, so they will accept anything that comes their way at face value. If someone were to come up to you in a bar and tell you that they were a multi-millionaire film producer who wants you to be in a starring role in their next movie, you would likely have the common sense to realize they were full of it. But if a similar thing happens in the spiritual realms, people don’t question it. Odd, isn’t it?

The other question here is one of depth. Most people do not have the skills, or more likely, the patience to develop significant spiritual relationships. It takes time. I have worked with spirits for years who have put me through trials, or wouldn’t even tell me their name for a period of time. They were checking to see if I was worthy of working with them. This happens, especially if you are working with more powerful energies/spirits/beings.


So back to your question…

Why do Spiritual Workers work with Spirits? In simplicity, if you are an actual spiritual worker (and don’t just play one on tv or in weekend workshops) it is dangerous to work by yourself. You need to have working relationships with Spirits, basically.

Spiritual workers do work with spirits because spirits can more easily travel and understand the spiritual realms than humans in their meat suits can. They can be intermediaries, bringing through messages from other spirits and energies that may not be able to talk directly to you for whatever reason. Also, a spirit or energy that I am working with that is attached to someone may not want to talk to me, but they often are willing to talk to one of my spirits that I work with.

We also need to talk about power here. A Spiritual Worker is as powerful as their network of spirits. If you have developed deep, significant working relationships to your spirits, they will not only do work for you, but they will bring their power and protection to the session.

More simply put, if you are not connected to spirits and you are doing work only through yourself (with self-created spirits or you just don’t have the skill or depth yet to work with actual spirits or have working relationships with them) and try to do moderate to difficult spiritual work you will get sick, you will be attacked, and you will walk around tired most of the time. This is because a single human isn’t that filled with power, no matter who they are. They are only so protected. So what happens is that if you do not have a “network” of spirits working with you, you burn out, and are more open to be harmed.

The above is incredibly common, by the way. I have heard about so many “shamans” getting sick, being tired, or being attacked all the time, and it just doesn’t have to happen. Not saying some work will not be tiring some days (like all work is) but if you develop proper spiritual relationships (as well as know what you are doing. Sigh…) it just doesn’t really happen.

So in my work my spirits do most of my work. I am there to direct them (sometimes, most of the time they can do better work and in different ways than I can), but mainly my job these days is to talk to the client and take them through the mental-emotional aspect of things so that they can consciously accept the work that I, and my spirits, are doing.

Spirits are also my teachers, guides, and elders. I have deep respect for them. Most spirits that I have developed working relationships with have more power than I could possibly ever have… but also they have much more wisdom than I do. They are my teachers, my guides, and my elders. This is only because I trust them and know who they are, though. I don’t go to spiritual workshops any more because the spirits I work with have a lot more wisdom and guidance than any human source could. This happens to most actual Spiritual Workers over time– they are taught directly by spirits and it is much deeper, much more wisdom and power than any book or workshop or whatever. But again, this is only if they are not self-created and quoting law of attraction type stuff (which most self-created spirits tend to do, it seems).

So now let us explore the other half of this… We have talked about how spirits can bring us power, they can protect us, they can work for us. They are important teachers, elders, and guides. This is only if we are in a working relationship with them, however. Just like you wouldn’t ask a random person at a bar to loan you a thousand dollars (well, most of us wouldn’t) you wouldn’t ask a random spirit to do work for you.

If we do not have a working relationship to spirits, to power external from ourselves, we burn out. We are intended to be in a network, to have power other than our own support us, guide us, and so forth. We either burn out or we are doing just life coach style psychological shamanism with no real power. And without power, we can only do so much work. Again, it just doesn’t happen. But I have seen this happen so much with people– they are doing spiritual work and are constantly talking about being attacked, sick all the time, or their work simply doesn’t do much (or all three). While there is a psychological component to the whole “shaman sickness” thing in some of these cases, it is mostly because the “shaman” hasn’t developed either their own power or external/network of power.

Those people that you refer to that are just asking for money or want things from spirits without giving anything back are not in a real relationship with spirits, by the way. It just isn’t how it works. Especially if you haven’t developed a relationship. Nothing drives me up the wall than random people calling on some archangel or saint or some random goetic something or other without developing a relationship with them. Because best case scenario it won’t do much. Worst case scenario they can really piss something off.

It is not like you can’t petition a spirit for money, or help in a relationship, but again, it takes time and effort to build a strong relationship with a spirit where they are willing to do something like this for you. And then, you typically don’t need the type of help that most people self-creating spirits and asking random spirits for things are looking for. If you do find a spirit willing to bring you money, or whatever, without knowing them, I suggest deeply questioning why they are doing so. If some random dude at the bar wouldn’t give you money, why would a “spirit guide”.

There is trust that is necessary, there is time and patience that is required to build relationships (especially a working relationship). Like all relationships, working with spirits requires respect, time, patience, and depth.

So why do Spirits work with us?

In a real working relationship, spirits work with us for a variety of reasons. It might be their job, quite frankly. Certain spirits enjoy working with humanity, and to do so lets them help aid humanity.

Some spirits may enjoy bestowing their wisdom on people, and acting like elders.

As mentioned before, some spirits are specifically meant to be ambassadors to the spirit world, to be a link between the physically dense world and other realms. It is their job, basically

But in a lot of spirit relationships, spiritual workers learn how to give proper offerings. This is a whole blog in and of itself, but many spirits do not work for nothing. They want specific offerings from the spiritual worker as payment. This is the most common reason spirits (as in actual spirits) work with humans.

Other spirits who are more powerful may want to claim a spiritual worker. Although this sounds odd, basically what happens in a spiritual relationship (well, some of them) is that you have a hierarchy of spirits. Some spirits wish to be the most important spirit in your life, and will only form a bond or work with you if you agree to terms like this (and/or other terms that work for the spirit).

As mentioned, some spirits test Spiritual Workers over the course of months, or years (or decades… Sigh) to develop a deepening relationship with the Spiritual Worker. Each test that you pass that shows your worth allows for you to work with the Spirit on a deeper level, and to access and be able to be in a “network” with more of their power.

It is worth mentioning that some spirits just like to screw with humans, to cause them harm, or to essentially make fun of “shamans” who don’t know what they are doing by attaching to them and draining their energy, or finding some sort of inlet inward to form a contract or agreement with the “shaman” without them being conscious of it to not only drain energy but also disrupt their life, attach to their clients, and so forth. This happens a fair amount, especially because there is a lack of discernment and practicality in learning how to be a “shaman” and it is treated like something that anyone can do for fun on the weekends these days.

And finally, some spirits work to elevate themselves. There is a hierarchy to the spiritual realms, and some spirits work with accomplished spiritual workers because the work itself (doing spiritual work) as well as aligning to a spiritual worker allows for them to become more elevated, or basically, go up a few spots (or a lot of spots) in the hierarchy of the spirit world.

I hope that answers your questions, Nicky, and again, great question!


If you would like to submit a question for my spiritual advice column, you can contact me here. Please note, I do not answer all questions, and am not an allopathic physician (meaning go to your doctor if you are concerned about something, and take my opinions/thoughts with the proverbial grain of salt).

Living in a World of Ignorance Part Two

taijitu-161352_640So in the last blog I talked about how difficult it can be to be “awake” or “awakening” in a world that largely is not.

This world is constructed for people who are, in fact, not awakening and unable to really critically think or question at any depth. Our spiritual communities and groups are similarly constructed– they are mostly comprised of beginners on their path (even though we are in the age of the internet “expert” who believes they are anything but a beginner), and of people who have intellectual understandings of spiritual topics without any sort of direct experience or revelation.

For clarity, anyone on a spiritual path who has gone past the “beginner” stage is going to realize that the world is largely asleep. But for even more clarity, there are specific points in the spiritual path in which someone looks out at the world and realizes that they have gone beyond a certain threshold (for a discussion of thresholds and gateways and doors and such on the spiritual path, read here) and they feel a sense of despair in the fact that the world is asleep and they no longer are.

For those who have not been to this place, it is easy to think of this place as being one of feeling superior, or a place of “ego” (whatever misguided evolution of the concept people ascribe to typically) but for those of us who have been at these thresholds, we know it is a place of despair. It is a place of deep grief, of questioning if we want to be in the world, of questioning if we want to interact with the world…

A place of looking out at the world and seeing the chaos, seeing the societal and personal loops (the traumas people keep on replaying over and over, the beliefs people construct their own individual universes out of). A place of seeing that most people believe what they have been given, that most people are replaying past traumas and subsequent beliefs without realizing it.

It is a looking out at the world and realizing that it is an illusion. Not as an intellectualism, by the way. But the profound realization that it actually is.

Looking at the falsehood(s) of the world, the lies and ignorance and sleep that the world is under, the personal and collective illusions causes a specific emotional response, a specific spiritual response. 

There are of course different places that we might reach this threshold. The first time that we realize that people are reliving their traumas and are largely asleep is much different than down the road when we may see not only their personal but their karmic, past lives, ancestral woundings, and the collective beliefs and traumas that have caused for them to be the way they are in the world.

And waking up to the fact that people are largely “lying”– putting on a mask to make their way through the world– because if they were to express their pain it wouldn’t be societally appropriate, and they need to get through their days… is a much different experience to waking up to the world as a whole, or society as a whole, being essentially a blank space or a void in which millions of sleeping people have co-created a surface level reality of the Kardashians and bad spiritual books written for a fifth grade intellect (seriously, this is standard in the publishing business and I once had a book rejected because I wouldn’t write at a “fifth grade level” which that major publishing house requires their authors to write at) that all say the same comfortable illusions.

But there is a question when we reach these thresholds of what to do about them.

Again, these types of realizations can create despair. They often cause the person to retract from society, to question their spiritual path. To question how they could have personally been so sleep before. To stop being a part of groups filled with beginners.

By the way, this realization can happen at any time. Depth is not a suggestion of timing. As I mentioned in the last blog, I know of people who can achieve depth immediately, and others who have been on a spiritual path for decades (or lifetimes) and still be in beginner stage(s).

An important thing to realize is that this is, generally, a stage (if we allow for it to be). What does this mean? It means that, like any good existential crisis, it is a period of time that allows for us to question. To learn. To realize something from the experience. To recalibrate who we are, what we know now, who we are now, and re-enter into society at large.

A break from certain friends, or groups, is actually fairly natural on the spiritual path. We simply outgrow them. I have never known a group that has all members growing at the same rate, and it is naturally for some of the members to outgrow others, or to simply change. This is also true of friendships, relationships, and so forth. So it is natural to have periods of breaking off contact, or solitude, so that we can rediscover who we are and what we want from perhaps our next friendships, or next groups we enter into. 

One of the unfortunate things on a deep (or even intermediate) place on any spiritual path is that you have a more difficult time finding friends, groups, and colleagues. If we go back to the percentages in the last blog, you will see why this happens. If you are in the 3 percent (or the 5 percent, or even the 15, or the .01 percent) there are simply going to be less people that are at the same place as you. There will also be far fewer people who are ahead of you (in physical form, at least) to guide you. It just happens. And it is often very difficult for people to reconcile that the groups they once were a part of, or the typical “spiritual groups” online are largely composed of people they have moved far beyond. It can also be difficult to see our former teachers, group leaders, gurus, and so forth for who they really are and realize that we have moved beyond their teachings.

But it happens…

We tend to hang on to things because we have fond memories of them. Our old books, our teachers, our gurus, the people around us. While some of this is natural (and I encourage people to stay friends with people even if they are not on a “spiritual” path like you are, or to the same depth) we go through many spiritual cycles in our lives. Yin changing over to yang changing over to yin and then yang again (look at a yin/yang symbol if you don’t get this)… but basically we are intended to have many “deaths” in our lives, changes in who we are and how we see the world. If we stop this, or hang on to things that we are full aware we should let go of, we generally do not move on to the next phase of our existence with as much energy as we could (if we transition to that next phase at all and don’t get stuck).

But let us get to the more practical issue… How do we live in a world of sleep? 

So the answer to this is simple and complex at the same time. I often suggest to people that if they are in a phase of seeing all of the faults of the world, and the people in them, that they cultivate the ability to look past those faults. Each of us, no matter our masks and lies and illusions and loops we are repeating ad nauseum have an inner light. If we look at this light, we can move past the lies and illusions and traumas and chaos of the person and see their divinity (even if they are unable to see this themselves). 

We can then have compassion for how much they must struggle and how much pain they must be in… how difficult it must be to be a struggling beginner on a spiritual path (even if they deem themselves an “expert), how difficult it must be to always be a victim in the world, how hard it must be to recreate the chaos of their youth again and again.

I have said it many times, but most people are doing the best they can… or the best they think they can. When we look at people and see their inner light, and then look outward at the pain and chaos they have within themselves (or surrounding themselves) we can feel compassion for them. People, despite the lying, cheating, racism, sexism, xenophobia… are just doing the best they can with the material they have been given. They are asleep, and we can have compassion for them by realizing that they are just cycling through “loops” they have been given by their parents, by society, through their education, by whatever spiritual book Oprah picked out (does she still do this?). 

The other part of this is letting go of control. Once we realize the above and begin to realize where people are and how hard it must be to struggle with whatever chaos and/or trauma they are replaying, we need to let go of wanting them to be different. 

This means that we accept them, both their “inner light” as well as whatever outer manifestations of chaos, ignorance, fear, and trauma they are showing. 

This means that we do not want to change them. 

It is difficult to not go into an “ego” (again, this is a meaningless word nowadays, but it actually fits here), superiority type complex here. If we are studying (or teach) calculus and someone wants to teach us addition, it is easy for us to go to a place of judgement (and sometimes admittedly laughter) about the person. It is much harder to realize who they are, where they are, and to let go of wanting to explain that you are a calculus teacher… or more practically… not want to tell them about calculus… or not want for them to be more advanced, different, better, or more our version of what we think people should be like.

If we let go of wanting people to change, we begin to have compassion for them. world-549425_640

We begin to see people simply for who they are, and what they are struggling with… which means that we can let go of investing any energy into them, wanting them to be different, or in any way wanting to control people.

It is a difficult world out there, filled with people who are in pain, filled with people who are scrambling in spiritual communities after the latest thing, and with the internet… filled with people who have very little or no experience calling themselves “experts”. The world has people in it that drive badly, hurt puppies, kill and rob and rape and relive their chaos, and the chaos and beliefs they have been given without thinking about them.

This will not change even if you change yourself, by the way. No matter how enlightened you are someone can back into your car and leave without writing you a note, or you can get mugged. This is not how oneness works… Again, perhaps another blog, but simply because we are one does not mean that we are also not separate. People with intellectualized oneness ideas don’t realize this. It is only in the experience of oneness that you realize that both are true at the same time… In fact, if you are on a significant spiritual path and you realize oneness (or are near that stage) chances are more stuff will begin happening to you because you will be balancing a lot of karmic debts… but I digress.

If we are able to recognize our own inner light, that of the people around us, and that of the world… and let go of wanting to control or change things, we can move through this phase of despair.

We can also, with seeing that inner light, realize that despite us being “awake” and others being “asleep” that we are all aspects of divinity, and engender a heart-centered space of them. It is all too common on a spiritual path to be stuck because we believe ourselves to be “spiritual” or “superior”. What we can actually realize is that all of us are divine, but only some of us are in recognition of it.

We can again participate in the world, and want to participate in the world. It is a funny thing, but people who are “awake” or truly “awakening” find one another. It can be difficult to go into groups and realize that you are far beyond that knowledge, or to look out at the world and see pain… but there are a lot of good people out there, people with depth. And one of the beautiful things about the internet is that even if you are in the .0001 percent (or 5 percent, or whatever) a lot of people in that same percentage who are living can be accessed if you are ready to do so.

There are a lot of teachers and gurus and people who can teach you, you just need to be ready for them. They are not going to be more difficult to find, but they are out there. It is important for us to have community, to have people that surround us. As we go deeper on our path some of these may not be living, breathing physical teachers, but it is always helpful to have an anchor and other people who know what the heck you are talking about (which again, can be tough but not impossible to find for people who have gone beyond certain thresholds).

So to sum up, my basic advice to people is that this phase is simply that. It is a phase. It is a phase you may go through more than once at different stages of your spiritual path in slightly different ways. But if we can totally and truly accept people, if we can let go of wanting to control other people, and the world itself with our beliefs and views, we can move through it. Truly allowing people to be themselves, and the world to be itself, without us wanting to change it based on personal gnosis or dogma is one of the greatest spiritual tests.


Living in a World of Ignorance and Sleep Part One

In one of the old groups that I was in, there was an elder who was a member. She didn’t reply much, but when she did, most people knew enough to listen. For a bit of background, this is a woman who literally wrote one of the books that brought the type of spiritual knowledge the group was about to the general public, and had been a well-respected teacher for decades. Basically, anyone who was interested in the subject should have known her name.

However, one day a woman who was a very beginner in her path stated her credo, not realizing that her statement was that of a beginner who did not understand the subject, and most of the people in that group had long gone past that type of knowledge and understanding on their path. The elder simply and gently suggested to her that there was more knowledge out there, and the other woman started quoting Wikipedia entries and her own beginning spiritual logic, thinking that she knew everything there was to know about the subject at hand. She ended up suggesting that the elder didn’t know what they were talking about.

This happens all the time in spiritual groups and in the world at large.

With my last blog on protection, for example, I got several emails from people who wanted to offer me “helpful hints” or “their advice” or “perspective” on things and while I love intelligent discourse, these were all people who were similar to the woman I talked about above. It was just painfully obvious that none of them had actually done any sort of spiritual work, and were all beginners in their spiritual journey.

I also teach many of my students how to do spiritual work via distance. For anyone who is reasonably competent, distance spiritual work is easy, safe, and can be more comfortable and preferable to working in person for both the spiritual practitioner and their client. If anyone understands energy, or the spiritual realms, and actually knows how to work with them, it really doesn’t matter if someone is there in person with you. But it is a common teaching that spiritual work should be done in person, so I have had students encounter people who loudly voice their opinions based off of the teachings they were given, which were either simply wrong, or may have been a decent teaching that anyone with experience can simply leave behind (as many teachings tend to be).

A famous author (much, much more famous than me) who writes about magic and spiritual work frequently gets emails from people who read a bit of Crowley and now want to educate her on magic, or expect her to teach them what magic is. She seriously will get emails asking “what is magic” when she has something like fifteen books out on the subject.

And we were all beginners. But most of us realized it, and moved beyond it, and were respectful of those who knew more than us. The world has changed, and anyone who has read a Wikipedia entry about a subject now feels they know as much as a respected elder. It is wonderful we have so much information at our fingertips, but it has engendered a huge amount of people to think they are special and entitled and have achieved depth without doing much, if anything, of a spiritual nature.

It is never people with actual experience, actual depth that act like this. I cannot imagine randomly emailing someone my “helpful suggestions” or “insights” or berating someone because they want to do spiritual work differently than I do. I could never imagine emailing someone expecting them to answer questions for me just because of a delusion that I was in some way special, or was more special than the thousands of other people emailing someone like the famous author I described above. None of the people that I respect or admire would either. We are too busy, and what spiritual work does when you get past the beginner stage is that it humbles you. You realize you aren’t that important, basically. You let go of the “special snowflake” syndrome that so many beginners get stuck in.

What is interesting is that people who are beginners, people who know a little something but are still beginners… often get stuck. They know a little something, and so they will email random people they don’t know, they will go into groups as “experts” and they will espouse their knowledge as something that can be of benefit. They have their intellectualization, their quotes from their teachers, and that is their reality. And they rarely go beyond it.

Every single competent spiritual worker that I know understands this. That no matter who you are, you are not that special, and that if your knowledge base is really so great, or what you have to offer is so wonderful, people will come to you. Knowledge and power– meaning real knowledge and power– are not free. I am not talking about money, by the way… I am saying that anyone worth their salt isn’t spending much time commenting online generally, or randomly emailing strangers their perspective, or offering free advice on Facebook groups.


I have met people who I later see ten years down the road and they are at exactly the same point spiritually. They have not achieved any depth or real knowledge. This is because if you know everything, there is nothing more for you to learn. 

But most of us who have been on a spiritual path have encountered more than our fair share of these types. The real question is what to do about them.

It is really common when “waking up” to be faced with many of these types of people. Not only in spiritual communities, but the world. There comes a certain stage in the awakening process when you realize that most people are not awake, or even awakening.There comes a point that you wake up to the fact that most of the people in the world are fairly ignorant, and that most people on a spiritual path are on an extremely surface level one.

I do realize that this sounds harsh. I really do. But the reality is that most people do not want to deeply question, to deeply know, and to move beyond sleep. Spiritual growth is difficult, and most people prefer comfort. Most people prefer comfortable illusions, and the sort of escapism that modern spiritual paths offer than the path of healing, awakening, questioning, and changing in sometimes uncomfortable ways. Most people come to spirituality to feel “special” and to have their empty places filled up. While spirituality does this, the result of being on a deep spiritual path allows for you to see with humility that you are quite small and not that special. It is humbling. Although this is likely another blog, there is sort of a bell curve when it comes to spiritual experiences, and when you are “waking up” and move beyond that curve, you begin to have experiences and understandings that not many people do, and that not many people talk about.

Although I am sort of arbitrary in this statistic, if we basically think of sixty percent of the world as fully asleep (has no deeper questioning, no faith in anything larger than themselves, goes about their days repeating patterns that were given to them without questioning or insight) and another twenty five percent of the world as somewhat awake (understands some of their patterns, may have intellectualized faith, interest in surface spirituality like Oprah and Hay House and such), and then another twelve percent or so who is also somewhat awake, but steeped in more illusion (considers themselves awakened, takes a lot of spiritual workshops, quote their teachers, have only intellectual and self-created knowledge, are having an ego awakening, basically) that leaves a small percentage of people who really achieve any sort of depth or insight in this world. 

I do realize that some people will react to that sort of percentage system as being egotistical, but at a certain point you just kind of realize that things kind of are the way they are in the world. If you are waking up, you realize that it is, in fact, not something that makes you feel superior in any way. It is a difficult thing to reconcile, actually. 

And the real point is not the people who are beginners, it is those of us who are not. When we wake up, when we move beyond common knowledge, when we really understand oneness and the fact that the world is an illusion (and don’t just intellectualize about it)… when we look out at the world and realize that most people are sleeping it is not an egotistical thing.

It is heartbreaking.

This is one of the hardest things that people have to deal with at the sort of mid-point of awakening. To realize that awakening is beautiful, it is joyous, you get a greater sense of who you are, you heal things and beliefs you never thought possible… but that most of the world is play-acting, most of the world is steeped in ignorance, and you have moved beyond that point.

It is typical at this point to berate yourself, to question how you could have been so asleep for so long, and to realize how much further you have to go, and what you still need to work on.

This is one of those points in time that people tend to isolate themselves. They no longer want to be part of the world, drop friends, relationships. Everyone seems ignorant, chaotic, asleep…

But we can move beyond that. Not into a sort of intellectualized oneness (the oneness we have read about and not experienced) but to let go of the emotions (like anger and rage and despair and grief) that always come up in this stage, to realize the inner divinity of everyone (even if they might not realize it themselves), and to realize how we can be of service to others who are beginning to actually awaken (rather than falsely awaken). We can let go of the beginners, those steeped in ignorance and realize that we have no responsibility to them, and that we can be who we can be in the world and just simply realize that those people exist, and act like they do because they don’t know any better. We can have compassion for them– because despite their loud proclamations on some level they realize they are ignorant, or beginners, because otherwise they wouldn’t act like they do. We can look beyond the walls and illusions that people put up, that the world puts up, and see its inner core. We can see our inner core. And we can move past this stage.

Part Two will talk more pragmatically about how to move past this stage…


Spiritual Advice Column: Protection

Hi Mary-

chainlink-690503_640So a former teacher of mine (who I won’t name) used to tell me that nobody needed protection really during spiritual work. Or that all we needed was a power animal. She even said at one point that people who feel like they need protection, or people who run across “dark things” have something psychologically wrong with them. Like if you meet a dark spirit it is all your fault, especially if you run across them a lot. She also used to basically make fun of people who felt like they needed protection too, like she was somehow better than them because she didn’t need protection and those people who did feel like they needed so much protection were wrong and didn’t know what they were talking about.

I have grown a lot since her (she was my first teacher) but I still don’t know how I should feel about this. Can you give me your thoughts on the subject?

– Sylvie

Hi Sylvie-

Thank you for writing in! So my thoughts on the subject of protection are somewhat two sided.

  1. I think that some people over-protect themselves; or more clearly, they have learned protections like shielding that are from their own thought forms that are either not effective or are in fact detrimental to them (more on this later).
  2.  I think that a lot of people are really naive about protection. They have no idea about what is around them because they aren’t particularly sensitive, and they haven’t actually learned how to protect themselves in any real way. So they try the “dartboard” approach– where they read about surface level things like sage or salt or creating a shield out of their thoughts (basically trying anything and everything to see what sticks)– and mostly don’t know the first thing about real protection, as in protection methods that would actually help them if they actually needed protection.

So as far as your teacher, thank you for not naming her, and I do my best to not go after individuals, because most people are caring, they just may be ignorant or stuck in their ways. A lot of teachers, especially “core” shamanic ones, tend to learn things a specific way, or have a specific ideology or cosmology, and they get stuck. They never grow past it. And a lot of “shamanism” these days is just self-help psychotherapeutic techniques. So in the therapeutic model, of course if someone has fear it goes back to early childhood, of course if someone wants to protect themselves it is psychological wounding of some sort. If someone says something like this it is just telling you that they are not interfacing with the spiritual world much, quite frankly. They are squarely in the self-help arena of psychotherapeutic shamanism.

I realize the above is a bit rough, but it is true. Plus the psychological self-help core shamanic type stuff still annoys me a bit. I should probably get over that, because I have full knowledge that most people want the psychological self-help type shamanism because it makes them feel better about themselves, and can be done on weekends, etc. with no repercussions to their daily lives, and it is rough to go beyond a certain point on the spiritual path, and most people simply realize this. But back to your question…

Protection is a vital part of any spiritual worker’s eduction. It is important to know how to protect yourself, and protect yourself well. It is important to know how to protect your family, your house, your business, your pets, and so forth.

This sort of education is missing from most modern day spiritual worker’s tool kit. Tools such as really knowing how to cleanse (step one), and then really learning how to protect, ward, reverse, and so forth should be in any moderate to advanced spiritual worker’s toolkit.

This is because if you are on the surface level of things, where you are play-acting basically, you really don’t need protection. You may need some clearing, but not really protection. You aren’t interfacing with much. You are basically interfacing with disassociated aspects of yourself and of your own power.

It is when you go beyond the point of recognizing that there is more than you out there (no, you are not the center of the Universe and everything was not creating from you or your wounds, believe it or not) that you really need protection practices. It is when you start to accumulate power and relationships with things outside of yourself that you need protection. 

So for your teacher, and many others like her out there (of which there are hoards) she likely does not believe that anyone needs protection because she has never met anything outside of herself, and is still of the belief that her thoughts and emotions create the Universe. I always think that this view is incredibly narcissistic, but that is just me.

Some people in the surface category really do have emotional wounds, by the way. They protect themselves with anything and everything they can find because they are deeply afraid of the spiritual realms. They end up harming themselves by shielding. Most people shield by thoughts– basically they create a visual image of a shield (or a bubble, or whatever) and place it in or around them. This uses energy. The energy of the person creating it. So the person becomes really depleted of energy, because they are not only using their energy for their daily functions but often to create elaborate shielding mechanisms.

Also, when you create a shield it doesn’t allow energy in, either. That “bad energy” you are cutting yourself off of? It is also cutting you off from “good” energy as well. Ideally we will have flow through our bodies and through our energy fields so that any type of energy… in fact the whole universe… flows through us. This can be a hard state to get to, however. Most people have so much baggage and trauma and beliefs in the way (that go way deeper than early childhood by the way) that getting clear flow through their bodies is hard, plus they do not know the tools to do so.

And by the way….shield-33957_640

I meet “bad” or negative spirits all the time. It doesn’t mean anything other than the fact that I meet a lot of spirits, and think that being willing to be of service to your community as a spiritual worker means that you are willing to listen to and work with a wide variety of spirits. The spiritual realms are a lot like the physical realms in a lot of ways. Even if you are completely “healed” or new-aged up with the appropriate colored lights and memes, you are going to meet a few jerks. No matter how enlightened you are, someone is going to cut you off in traffic.

In fact, the categorization of spirits into neat piles– this one is “bad” and this one is “good”– always indicates to me that someone hasn’t progressed very far on their spiritual path, and has not really interacting with anyone outside of themselves. Think of your friends, your family, your co-workers. Chances are they are a mix of “good” and “bad”, a mix of ethics, ideas, personalities. This same thing happens in the spirit world.

There are so many different types of spirits and beings out there, and they just do not singularly fit into neat categories or “upper world” vs. “lower world” vs. “middle world” categorization. I realize our brains like this sort of stuff, but it simply is untrue.

So if you are meeting a lot of bad, difficult, or negative spirits there are a wide variety of reasons:

  1. You are psychologically having issues and parts of your psyche are attempting to make themselves known through being difficult or harmful
  2. You simply have an awareness level that includes many different types of spirits
  3. You have progressed past a certain point spiritually where you realize that “good” and “bad” spirits are not so neatly divided when they are not self-created and are actually interacting with actual spirits
  4. You are called to psychopomp work, or “dark” work where you are healing or ministering to spirits that are of the not-so “love and light” variety
  5. You are living somewhere that for whatever reason has a bunch of difficult spirits around

By the way, I should mention that the “lighter” and “higher vibration” you get on a spiritual path, the more you notice darkness. The more you notice your own darkness, that of the world, that of the spiritual world. Spiritual Workers who are really light are also really dark. This is because everything has the opportunity to be worked with spiritually, and an actual spiritual worker will interface with a lot of it… and a compassionate spiritual worker will have just as much compassion towards a being that is amoral, or difficult, as one that is angelic (and ironically also may be immoral, but that is a matter for a different day).

So why learn protection?

Because if you are doing spiritual work, or progress on your spiritual path past a certain point, you are like a nightlight. 

This means that you can see the spirit world(s) and the spirit world(s) can see you (in simple terms). This means that if you do not protect yourself and set boundaries you will never get any sleep. This means that if you do not protect yourself good, bad, difficult, happy, curious spirits (and everything in between) will interfere with your work, just drop in, attach to you in order to heal (or for other purposes), or just basically be excited to interact with someone who has a lit nightlight.

If you do not protect yourself after you progress past a certain point you will have active, non-restorative dreams (because you will be doing things all not in the dream realms or will be interfered with in your sleep), and if you are really sensitive you will constantly have health issues, fatigue, and serious overload issues.

Being really sensitive and aware in this world is like watching twenty, or fifty, or three thousand televisions at once. It can be difficult, it can be really difficult. And although a much different topic, parts of you can be in many different timelines or worlds or universes at once, which can get a bit confusing, and quite frankly, dizzying.

So if you do not know how to protect yourself, and protect yourself effectively (beyond destructive shielding and waving around some sage) you will be in a lot of trouble. But this is true only if your nightlight is turned “on” and is fairly bright. 

Otherwise you really can stay with your psychological constructs, as you likely won’t be noticed by much, and don’t really need much, if any, protection.

I very much think that anyone who is beyond the “beginner” stage (and this stage doesn’t mean a short period of time, I meet people who have been on a “shamanic” path for forty years who are still in this stage, as well as people who have been on a spiritual path for a very short time– well, consciously– who are way beyond this stage) should learn protection. Proper protection. Protection that allows for them to have guides, ancestors, and spirits that form a network for them. Protection with herbs, minerals, and other objects so you don’t have to use your own energy. Protection from using Universal energy (and how to properly access it) instead of your own. Protection that is for mild, moderate, and severe situations. You may never need the “severe” protections, but knowledge truly is power, and even knowing information on how to properly protect yourself in all situations can be of assistance to you. This is because when you have certain aspects of embodied knowledge, that gets transmitted outward. When you are interacting with spirits, many will know if you are a beginner, or if you know enough to properly clear, banish, or deflect them.

So yes, Sylvie, a lot of people over-protect or utilize ineffective protection when they don’t need to. A lot of people who are in the beginner stage don’t need to protect… evidently since they are still in a stage of creating everything in the Universe they can just get over their Daddy issues and they will be okay. But for the rest of us, we should learn protection. Not because we will need it all the time (or the severe forms of it all the time) but because we might need it, and it is a foundational tool for anyone on a serious spiritual path to learn.

If you would like to submit a question for my spiritual advice column, you can contact me here. Please note, I do not answer all questions, and am not an allopathic physician (meaning go to your doctor if you are concerned about something, and take my opinions/thoughts with the proverbial grain of salt).