Monthly Archives: April 2016

Spiritual Advice Column: Can you go too Far (down the Rabbit Hole)?

There is a look to someone who has been too far, who has seen too much… at times this is an intent stare, other times an otherworldly gaze. Both seem as if they are looking through you, to the depths of you. Or perhaps they are not even noticing you, so lost in another dimension, timeline, or spiritual reality that most cannot notice.

glass-271151_1280It has been a while since I have done a Spiritual Advice column. I received an email from someone recently that I will not post (a lot of identifying info) but as this is a common theme I hear time and again, I thought that I would pose my thoughts on the subject.

The real sort of question here is one of fear. It is of going to some depth or broaching some understanding that would cause insanity, death, or some type of shattering, either in some real or imagined way.

For some spirituality is a sort of self-help, a way to feel momentarily better about oneself, perhaps finding tools and ways to lead a better life, a life filled with more peace and harmony… a filling of that void within that calls out for more that is momentarily satiated, or perhaps becomes smaller due to spiritual pursuits.

For others spirituality, the occult, shamanism, and so forth is about finding “truth”. It is about the realization that most of the world is asleep, numb, on auto-pilot, and a realization that there must be more beneath that.

This quest, to find out what lies beneath, has taken plenty of people beyond the sort of surface-level spirituality that caters to the self-help crowd. It is an entirely different quest, in fact. One quest is to feel better– to quiet the inner storm, that inner divide that whispers in the night to the person that they are not good enough.. that there must be something out there to make them feel less alone, more connected, and overall better about their lives.

The other quest is one of truth. It is to find personal truth. Collective truth. To know what really lurks beneath. There is healing here– this is no band-aid for the soul. It is brave, true, and warrior-like work. It is taking one step forward into all of that material that we have collected, that has made us who we are.. and bravely tearing off the packaging that makes us believe that we are one thing– one dominant personality, one incarnation– rather than a grouping of energies come together. It is a release of the stories and beliefs that we have considered to be “truth”… a release of them, and a realization that those stories have made us part of the collective that thinks, eats, and believes without questioning.

So the real question is if there is danger here. The answer is yes, of course there is.


Most of the world operates at such a superficial level that the idea of any truth– personal or collective– or of going beyond what is thought to be true, personally or collectively, emerges you in the proverbial rabbit hole. At the beginning of this rabbit hole is what we know to be true about ourselves. We can find a lot of companions here– others who wish to peek beneath the surface of things… explorers, warriors, and more.

This group at the surface of the rabbit hole, at the beginning of its depths, are warriors in their own right. They are searching for something more, for something larger than themselves. They are willing to do work, to look within, and to consider different forms of spirituality and how those can make a difference in their lives. The people here find tribes, companions, and others to help them in their quest.

But as you go deeper beyond the surface you must face truths about yourself and the world that are frightening. We are programmed to believe certain things about ourselves and the world. That first time that someone discovers that magic(k) is real, that spirits are not parts of the psyche, that your will can construct the universe, or that releasing a long-held belief and understanding about yourself can create radical transformation and change physically, mentally, and emotionally it is frightening.

It always is, quite simply. Because with each depth we traverse, the further we go, the more our outer world changes. In many cases this is in exceptional ways– we truly know who we are, we have more freedom from releasing long-standing patterns and beliefs. As we go deeper we find that we truly can shape our world, that our intent and focus and ability to exert our will can allow us to do so.

But each time that we release, that we learn something new, or there is a new spirit-led initiation, we need to integrate. Our entire world changes. Who we were may be gone in an instant, or may take several days (or weeks) to emerge.

And there is a danger about traversing your own depths. Most of us have really no idea about what is truly within ourselves– the amount of self-hatred, primal instincts (violence, lust, etc), and different aspects of self there are within. Some of these may be wonderful, aspects of our personality that we delight in embracing. We may find past lives, ancestors, and spirits that truly allow for us to feel power, safety, and delight in our travels.

But there are parts of all of us that are vile, evil, disgusting, and brutal. Working with these is quite different, and the discovery of them is something that is difficult to deal with. Because we, especially if we have been on a spiritual path, especially if we have been amassing light and energy and can feel the flows of the universe, find ourselves mid-rabbit hole suspended by these energies.

On more surface levels they are called “shadow” and the mainstream popularized way to deal with anything is to forcibly transmute it to light. But that doesn’t work here. What these elements want is not to be reviled, but to be understood. They are simply currents of energy that will not cede to forcibly being changed into something we deem more suitable, more light, more in line with our puritanical tastes.

And there is a danger in having experiences that few do. Realizing different worlds, timelines, and energies sounds wonderful to the aspirant until you discover that there is need for integration– there is a need to go to the grocery store while realizing that you are simultaneously living other lives. That you must feed the cats, brush your teeth, and go to work while an aspect of you is meandering in the Abyss.

And these realizations change your life. Once you realize that spirits are real (for example) there is no going back. There is no sitting around talking on a message board about if they are psychological or not. The reality of the spirit world has been experienced directly by you, and there is no going back from that. There are certain thresholds, certain doorways, that once traversed your understanding of the world, the cosmos, and of human society change irreparably.

So does this mean that these things mean that you have gone too far? Perhaps the answer is yes to this. I have seen this gaze too often, even though it is fairly rare. You can tell when someone has plunged into the depths of that rabbit hole. Many of them, when broached this question, understand that there is no going back to previous understandings. But there is no desire to go back to previous understandings, either. Once awake, once in the depths, the desire to go back to sleep is minimalized.

But what is more painful, more difficult is when you are mid-rabbit hole. When you have had some initations, experiences, and insights that separate you from others just enough that it can be painful. You are moving in a world that is asleep, and you are no longer that way. The desire for sleep, to go back to surface levels, to meaningless chatter, and to less of a warrior-like path is strong here.

And so is the resistance. Despite awakening, despite a solid spiritual path, despite initiations, those mid-rabbit hole still have not surrendered. Those deeper in know that they are too deep, and they go through the doorways because it is time. Those that are teaching, walking around, and functioning in this world are doing so at a high level, and they have left behind many of the stories, aspects of personality, and fears that the mind creates to try to keep those in that quest for truth in the same place.

Healing is a brave act. To go beyond means healing enough, letting go of enough of our beliefs, constructs, and reality to be able to truly find ourselves. The proposition of that is scary. Walking through every threshold, meeting every rebirth, allowing ourselves to move forward and beyond despite our wounds and constructs telling us that we should remain where we are, because at least that where we are is known, is a decision that all of us, no matter where we are in said proverbial rabbit hole face every day.

And some people are not strong enough, or go about things in the wrong way. I try my best to be authentic here, and it is true. Some people find magical, spiritual, and other workings that cause for them to shift suddenly and violently, way past where there current personality, who and what they currently are can handle. They cannot integrate walking through a large threshold, or going from the surface to the depths of the Abyss in one jump.

Any spiritual or magical path should first focus on the Self. Because unless you are stable and reasonably integrated you do not go through those thresholds well. I do not teach, for example, about advanced spiritual work to someone who needs to process their past lives, or focus on their self healing because that is important. That must come first.

Once you work your way through your own stuff, enough that you are balanced and able to hold power and exert your will, moving through thresholds is frightening, but typically manageable. But traversing the depths of yourself is brave, and most prefer the surface for good reason.

So the simple question I am asked in various forms here is Can you go too far? or What happens if stuff starts to happen that is frightening? or What happens when you have spiritual realizations and direct experiences that not many do?

The answer to most of this, for most people, has to do with personal healing and personal power. If we are able to heal ourselves, and the extensions of ourselves (past life, ancestry, sub-personalities, and so forth) are reasonably integrated, we are able to access more of our inherent power. And this is what most people deeply fear about themselves. They really do not fear the pain, or the suffering… they fear the release… what will happen when they actually experience more freedom, when they are who they really are in this world, and are able to stand in their own power and exert their own will into this world?

The other part of this is that yes, things get weird. They just do. Thinking and being in a world that is asleep is simply an odd thing to do. Having spiritual experiences, initations, and understandings that are far down that rabbit hole do separate you in a superficial way. But they also give you the ability to connect, more deeply and with more truth. Our human connections are tenuous, we have love and need connection to one another. But connecting directly to source allows that deep sort of connection that is hard to put into words. The search for spirituality is the search to not feel alone, and going further down the rabbit hole allows for you to feel that connection and fill that “hole” in a way that many are really engaging in this quest to find.

So yes, you can go too far… You can go too far to properly be able to integrate, too far for your current personality and belief system and mind to be able to handle. But if you do your own work and heal and integrate with depth, you will continue to go deeper with (relative) grace.

Navigating Spiritual Traditions with Respect

So anyone who is acquainted with my work knows that I talk a fair amount about cultural and spiritual appropriation. I do find it an important topic to speak about, even if only a slim majority of people are willing to listen.

Since I have been a child I have been fascinated by other cultures– specifically their mythology and fairy tales. When I got a bit older I started studying the spiritual traditions of other cultures. What I found was odd, to say the least. Generally what has happened is that the proverbial “other”– basically and most often a white anthropologist or similar “explorer” type goes to visit a culture and study their spiritual traditions and then will write a book about them, mixing in new-age and pop-psychology ideologies to make it palatable for a widestream audience.

I will say in many ways I understand. Most people have a lot of dissonance when it comes to ideas and thoughts that are not their own. They tend to view them as “wrong” or experience the sort of dissonance where they simply would not pick up a book that didn’t have to do with some sort of stream of energy/idea that they were already familiar with. So I do understand the necessity of such surface-level books, even if I don’t personally resonate with them.

But the real difficulty here is in keeping that culture and its traditions as that “other.” What that means is that if you are not a part of that culture, if you did not grow up with those spiritual traditions, there is a tendency to not only explore the topic through your own filters (the ideas, religious beliefs, etc. that you have, whether you are cognizant of them is a totally different manner)… but also to not respect the culture, to treat it as other, and more simply, to not write about it properly.

Basically, it is ludicrous to think that someone based on one visit, or even ten, can have a full understanding of Haiti, for example. Even if someone has lived there for many years (and I am just using Haiti as an example) there are still matters of culture and viewing that culture as an “other” that are frequently not attended to.

The main question is what to do about this. Well, there can be a realization that studying other cultures and their spiritual traditions, for any spiritual worker, is incredibly important. I work with people from all sorts of different cultures and it is because I have the respect and openness for them… but it is also because I have developed neutrality.

So what is neutrality? It is an understanding that we have somewhat fixed ideas, personal ethics and morals, and spiritual stances that are likely from a specific background. Even if we consider ourselves “spiritual but not religious” many of those sorts state Judeo-Christian beliefs without realizing how heavily they have been influenced by them.

It is also educating yourself to understand that other people believe differently, act differently, and know differently, and that is not something to judge.

This is perhaps most important. I have educated myself on other spiritual traditions. This means that (I am going to use this example further because it is such a clear example) I work with curses quite a bit, and so I have educated myself about curses from many different spiritual traditions– everything from how they are formed, the motivation of someone who might want to curse someone, to different spiritual paths who use them heavily. I read a lot to educate myself, as well as know practitioners from many different faiths and paths who I can turn to in case something comes my way that I have not heard of before or don’t understand. I deeply respect spiritual workers who are willing to do so– but unfortunately this does not happen as often as it should.

Recently I read a blog by a “magician” who decided, amongst other things, to talk about what might happen if you were a “witch” in certain cultures currently, as well as describe some of the “dark magic” of some cultures. There is not much to be expected out of thousand word blog, but this blog was inherently problematic because he was speaking about things that he simply didn’t have much knowledge about, and while some of the things he was speaking on were simply incorrect, what was more offensive was how ethnocentric the article was, with other cultures being simply pale caricatures filled with evil plotting magicians out to put death curses on you.

Most people who know me know that I first began studying “core” shamanism. It simply was what was available at the time to me. A whole different can of worms, what I find helpful vs. what I find irresponsible or not helpful about that subject, but that is not the point here. I was once in a group that was intended to study “Middle World” work, work in which discussion of working with earth energies, curses, and so forth. While there were lovely people in this group, what I found fascinating is that most of them had absolutely no knowledge of curses. They had no understanding of curses beyond the fact that a curse was a “ball of energy” with some emotions or something in it. Their version of someone who would curse would be an evil, vindictive person, or the sort of imagery of an “evil” sort of person that you would get out of a James Bond movie.

It is entirely too easy to move from this evil vs. good, lightworker vs. “dark” sort of imagery when you do not understand anything about the cultures in which curses arise. In fact, most “core” shamans do not actually believe in curses, or believe them to simply be psychological mechanisms that if the person doesn’t believe in them, they go away. This is again because most people have not studied any cultures that actually could curse. This also has to do with personal fear, of course, because if you believe someone can curse you despite you putting up a shield of purple light or whatever is popular these days, well… that is something most people are not willing or ready to believe until they have to. So I understand how most people simply would not want to entertain the reality that there are people out there who can.

But also it is easier to stay in this mindset than to realize that people are multi-faceted. In a different introductory training I once took, I remember the teacher saying that anyone who used spiritual work for personal purposes or against anyone else was a “sorcerer.” Which was, of course, a bad thing. But “lightworkers” use spiritual work for personal purposes all the time. What is even funnier is that people who refuse to see their own darkness, or to even know anything about their own darkness, are frequently the ones to send out the most intense thoughtforms– filled with jealousy and unprocessed emotions– to others while maintaining a facade of “light”.

Quite simply, I have had to deal with more shit from people who consider themselves “lightworkers” or “core shamans” than any folk magician, spiritualist, spiritist, or any other spiritual path (including ones like Traditional Witchcraft, Vodou, Palo, Hoodoo, and so forth) because those people are the most likely to put their emotions, energies, and other difficulties inwardly to not deal with them, and they often do not have the training to realize that the more spiritual work you do, the more consolidated things like thoughts and emotional energies become, especially if you have a whole storehouse of them.

Think about this for a moment… I have had felt more difficult and negative energy from “lightworkers” than from people who work with, say, Solomonic magic and grimoires that deal with demonic energies. If you are able to process this last sentence, it might say a lot to you.

It was a fairly interesting “awakening” for me when I actually began to study with some people who had vastly different traditions than myself. I found that a lot of people do spiritual work not based on personal ethics but on the concept of divine justice. This is a difficult concept to explain, but basically many traditions have the spiritual foundations to be much more than psychological, to have physical and spiritual elders as well as divine energies (including God) that would be checked in with before doing any spiritual work, whether it be something for health and well-being, or something for destruction or cursing.

In fact, and somewhat ironically I suppose, the idea that someone would turn to spirituality as a sort of self-help thing, or for personal purposes, rather than to inspire, assist, and communicate with ancestors and be a support to the community is astonishing to most spiritual workers who are not aware of what more mainstream shamanic/spiritual paths are like.

I will say that in studying traditions other than my own, that I am extremely aware that I am an outsider. Many of the traditions I am interested in are initiatory, which means that I can only gain so much knowledge from people in those circles unless it is my time and calling to become a part of that tradition.

I am not particularly talking about one spiritual tradition, although the active interest these days in the more mainstream is on the ATR’s (African-based) or Peru, because this situation is endemic, and a new fad will ultimately arise.

But what will remain is this viewing of specific traditions as “evil” or “dark” because we do not have the knowledge to understand them. Books about other traditions will be written by yet more “explorers” who have this outsider view of the tradition, complete with their biases, often without the realization or understanding that the tradition is being misrepresented or even re-written for outsiders to make it more palatable. We will continue to have people interested in the newest fad, removing anything seemingly “dark” from it for their own selfish purposes, without understanding it. And we will continue to have people think that specific cultures and specific people are either “magical” because we have no concept of their daily reality, or “evil” because all we are reading about and hearing about is the crassest understandings that are meant to arouse fear in us.

But we can wake up. We can move beyond this. We can realize, for example, that Vodou (Voodoo, Vodoun, etc) is a beautiful system of ancestor worship. I choose this because it is the most feared by people. We can wake up to the reality that we cannot take the spirituality of another without attending to and understanding their daily reality. If you are interested in Peru, or in American Indians, what are you doing to support their daily reality, what are you doing to understand their daily reality? These are living, breathing cultures, ones that can be shown respect. We can emerge out of our bubbles and realize that people even doing “evil” are not James Bond villains– they are most often living breathing individuals who have gone about things in the best way they know how. By understanding how others think, what they believe, and just simply educating ourselves to be neutral, compassionate, and most of all educated with whatever path we wish to follow, we can move beyond this. We can move beyond our own judgments, our own way of thinking, our own beliefs. It is just a matter of if we are willing to do so.

Advanced Aspects of Past Life Healing

In the past I have talked about one of the basic services that I offer– resolving past life issues.

You can read the blog about past lives and why they may need to be healed here

Basically, in a Spiritual Healing session, someone may come to me with an idea that they have a past life issue or trauma that they would like to resolve, or they may have no idea what is going on with themselves. Typically people come to spiritual healing work when they have kind of been through the gamut of counselors and associated health providers, both allopathic and holistic, and their issue remains unresolved; the person is then more likely to want to look at things in another way (through a spiritual lens) or they may have simply exhausted their other options… or they may realize that whatever they are experiencing that there is no reason for them to experience that type of fear, pain, or difficulty due to their own experiences of this world.

It is important to realize that when someone comes to me they don’t have to know that they are having past life issues (or ancestral issues, or be in need of spirit release, and so forth). Sometimes people do, and that is wonderful. But even those people may be surprised at what comes up in a session. I will say that personally I don’t care if the energy that emerges in the session is past life, ancestral, cultural, from another person, or from your own lifetime: the focus of my sessions is always on working with whatever energies emerge with compassion and clarity so you can resolve them. All I need from you during a Spiritual Healing session is to be willing and able to look at patterns that may emerge, wherever they may come from, so you can get the best healing session possible, and heal as much as you are ready to.

I will say that some Past Life work I find a bit melodramatic and sensationalistic. I have no interest in telling you that you were Cleopatra in a past life. The focus of all of my spiritual healing work is to allow for you to clear, heal, and resolve imbalances (emotions and energies) in a spiritual manner…. and for you to move forward in a freer, healthier, and more functional manner in your life.

All of that being said, I would like to talk about some more complex past life issues that I work with.

As the more basic blog states, sometimes past life resolution is somewhat simple. Someone didn’t die well, or had trauma or difficulties or a disease process that was not energetically or emotionally resolved at the time of death, so that energy lingers. By resolving whatever happened to this individual, the energy and emotions from that past incarnation can clear.

I have seen some profound results from doing this type of simple past life work– heavy emotions and even physical pains lessening or even releasing completely.

However, in complex past life issues there may be more than one inter-related linking issue. By this sometimes when a past incarnation doesn’t heal, this energy is passed down, and passed down, and passed down again. Think of this as a series of those old paper dolls that would be cut out of paper with their hands joining– with the original creator on one end (the person who an original trauma happened to) and you on the other. There may be one, two, ten, or fifty “paper dolls” in between you.

Or you can think of this as a long rope– on one end is the knot that was originally formed due to difficult emotions, trauma, and so forth… with a series of knots in the rope going all the way to you.

These are obviously difficult things to talk about, and to get across clearly, so I will use a (somewhat) simple example. Say in a past life you lived in a country in which war broke out and you were starving. The emotions of fear and anger built up inside you. These energies were never healed, and were passed down to the next past life. This person was wealthy, but they hoarded their money and never enjoyed it because of this fear passed down from the original past life. Then in the next life this person had difficulty feeding their family and had a lot of scarcity and felt a lot of anger about their situation because they were well educated but could never seem to get ahead (partially if not fully because of this original energy).

And now you are you… in this current lifetime… and no matter what you do you cannot save money. You have a full pantry with any type of food you want and you still fear running out. You have a lot of anger and fear about “lack”, and while you do not technically “lack”– you and your children have enough (maybe not enough for extras, but you have food in your bellies), there is still this sense of fear here.

So I will give my typical caveat when talking about money, since I used it as an example. A fair amount of people who are looking for spiritual answers for things such as money need to look at the “mundane”– either first, or even instead of the spiritual. By this I mean that if you do not know how to properly balance a budget, that is the place to start. If you are having physical or mental issues that are causing you to not be able to find work, those need to be looked at either in conjunction with or instead of more esoteric spiritual causes.

By this I also mean that we can heal the past life energy (energies) which will have an impact, but if someone is not willing to take personal responsibility in this world for their experiences of that energy, they are still going to have blockages energetically and emotionally.

I will explain this further because it is an important point…

So I will return to the “originator”– the person whose experiences in their lifetime created this energy. When the next person experienced it, they had that energy plus their own experiences and emotions with that energy. I know I am mixing analogies, but think of this as a small snowball rolling down a hill– each lifetime it will pick up more “snow”: snow that may have different qualities (different energies and emotions based on the experiencer and their lifetime).

To get even more complex, the snowball may completely switch course, and start rolling down a different hill. By this I mean that the energy started by being about fear and lack and anger, but one of the lifetimes added on grief, as well as perhaps the energy of a robbery because they felt like they needed to steal from others… so now we have violence added on to this “snowball”, and a feeling of needing to take from others.

So to heal this the “originator” needs to be healed through spiritual work, as well as all of the other knots (or paper dolls, or layers of snowball). Those other knots/dolls/snowball layers are best healed through working as far back and going as far back the chain as possible. This is because a lot more energy and emotions can be released if there is understanding and healing with how it started. If we start in the middle of a story, there will be more confusion, and you are likely to walk away with some or a lot of that energy remaining.

So I do realize all of this sounds a bit complicated, and I could introduce topics like karma (non new-age concept of karma, I mean), karmic connections, or even more complications into this… as these energies can twist and change. But these energies can also untwist and heal and resolve.

The start and end of a past life healing session always has to do with you (you, in your current incarnation, just for clarity). With your body, with what you are experiencing (what emotions, what sensations in your body). That is how we start our exploration. If a past life energy comes up, we work with it, however much you are ready for and however far back you are ready to go. Sometimes we just need to explore one lifetime, and sometimes there are twists and turns and a giant snowball to take care of. Either way I am a patient guide who simply wants for people to experience more freedom in their lives, and to experience less chaos, and more peace.

To end past life work we also end with the body. It is easy to sort of go into a mode of “blaming” past life energies for everything. But you have taken on that energy and have had your own experiences of it. By providing healing and releasing energies from you, and your current body, it will allow for you to understand how you have reacted to an energy being passed down to you like this, as well as can provide you some insight, or “homework” as I like to call it, for you to take action in your world to fully resolve this energy. This taking action in your own world, once this energy begins clearing (integration and healing of this type of work can take quite a bit of time, but is generally gentle, especially after the first few days after the session), allows for you to “reformulate your world”– or basically, to integrate this energy and learn how to operate in the world without it.

As a side note, I occasionally get asked what sort of healing is best, or what I have found most effective in my personal path… basically I think this question is something like “what has allowed for me to transcend the most amount of ‘stuff’ that has been blocking me” (not like I don’t still have stuff to work on, by the way), but my answer would be past life healing, ancestral healing, and inner child (including in utero) work. These three, both individually and together, have made drastic changes in my world and allowed for healing on a level that I never thought possible.

As a last side note, I will say that when someone schedules with me although they may have an interest in a specific “technique” such as past life healing, I prefer to keep things open. By this I mean I ask that you come to me with a specific topic in mind, such as working with fear, or digestive issues, or feelings of being stuck, but that you remain open enough to explore whatever comes up– which provides the best and most effective healing for you during the session.

If you had interest in scheduling, or wanted to see if we would be a good fit to work together, you can contact me here, or read about spiritual healing session basic info here