Monthly Archives: July 2016

The Importance of Physical Teachers

So I will state a couple of things here before we begin… Many of my spiritual guides and teachers have taught me way beyond what any human, living teacher could. I have had knowledge about myself, healing, as well as learning that has been… well… transcendental to sum it up.

I appreciate the ongoing spiritual relationships that I have. They are important, really vital, to my path, and I wouldn’t be where I am without them.

But physical, living, breathing, in the flesh (just to be clear on all levels) teachers are incredibly important on the spiritual path.

So just to clear another thing up, I teach at a distance. In most cases this works splendidly, and counts in the “living teacher” category. In some cases, such as with beginners, I tell them to go take a workshop from a living in-person teacher, because early on you often need that sort of touchpoint.

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So why a physical teacher?

What I see a lot of out there is people who have never had a living spiritual teacher. In a few rare cases (probably out of the thousand or two people I have worked with at this point, a handful) this is all that is necessary. The student is grounded, balanced, and in touch with something that is able to provide the experience of a living teacher.

But in most cases, this does not happen. I will talk a bit below about the difficulties of only having a “spiritual” (i.e. non-living) teacher:

  1. You won’t notice your blind spots– we all have blind spots, no matter who we are. These may be glaringly obvious to a teacher, or a teacher may just have a different perspective for you to consider
  2. There is a tendency to not learn any foundational material– when you are self-taught, or only work with “spirits”, it is rare for someone to learn the building blocks of what they need to know. It is natural, human tendency to want to go for advanced “higher level” material. The sort of running before walking thing. And what happens is that the student never really gets anywhere, or much of anywhere, unless they have a solid basis, unless they have someone living to teach them the fundamentals. In many cases with the self-taught, the student will have no idea what the fundamentals are, and will simply spin their wheels, never really learning the basics of any sort of spiritual path
  3. There is a tendency towards illusion (and delusion)- without a physical teacher people often get really locked in their heads. They may be creating entire universes that are simply coming from unhealed patterns (that could be healed), self-creating spiritual experiences, or outright delusional. A living teacher will gently (or fiercely) guide you to reconsider and release illusions. This is a big part of their job, in fact, if you have a good spiritual teacher.
  4. Someone might need a different path- I have now been doing spiritual work for a (fairly) long time professionally (a decade-ish). When you do this work professionally, you see that a certain percentage of people drawn to spiritual work really could use therapy instead. A lot of people who are severely traumatized are attracted to spiritual work, and while I have worked with people with all sort of “diagnoses” and “mental illness” and such, there are some people that are looking to spiritual work because they are nonfunctional or delusional to the extent that they really should receive a different kind of care. At the very least, if they are in a place to handle it, a teacher will again function to have the person question some of the illusions/delusions they have created.
  5. There is a tendency to not know where you are on your path- all of this list, now that I think about it, is about having someone really solid around to teach you the basics (and not-so-basics) and to dispel illusions, but I see a lot of people extolling their wisdom that is (how do I say this kindly) not terribly profound. When you do not have a spiritual teacher to emulate where you can be, people have a tendency to think that they are much further on their path than they are. This will go with #7, but people will think they are enlightened, shamans, have kundalini, psychic abilities, and so forth, without even considering that they may not, or that there are many out there having the same experiences… or that their experiences are on the lower end of what they could be experiencing/know.
  6. There is nobody to teach you how to filter– a lot of spiritual experiences that people have are self-created. So are a lot of spiritual teachers. A lot of this world and its teachings (not just spiritual) are surface level, false, or illusory. We live in a world where information is given without much thought, and a lot of misinformation is presented as fact, further confusing people. Any sort of spiritual path is about personal, direct experience. Without a teacher, there is nobody to teach you how to filter– how to really look at your experiences with open eyes at to see what is coming from what you may need to be true, what you psychologically need or want to believe, or what may be important to focus on. A good teacher will teach you how to look within, how to filter, and not just teach you a bunch of rules and beliefs to follow.
  7. There is a tendency to believe romanticized or false knowledge (and titles)- I was talking the other day about a comment I made in my last blog that I have only met a handful of actual shamans, or people that were called to be spiritual workers (my preferred term). I also got a few comments (mostly of agreement) that a lot of people these days call themselves all sorts of things, from “kundalini awakened” to “empath” (this is a big one), “starseed” (maybe this one has gone out of style), “shaman”, “enlightened”, “vampire”, “intuitive”, and so forth. I will say, as I always do, that there are people that firmly fit into these categories. But without a living teacher people will often want to believe they are a shaman or an empath (etc) because it takes them out of their lives. They don’t want to focus on something in their lives (typically trauma) and so the title or spiritual knowledge they have is centered around illusions to take away their focus from their physical lives and physical bodies. Any spiritual path begins with embodiment, with healing trauma, with self cultivation. A proper teacher will know this.
  8. There is a tendency to skip over self-cultivation- Cultivating the self, looking at your life and your spiritual path continually, and working for many years on self-cultivation is necessary for any spiritual path. People who are self-taught often either don’t know this, or don’t want to know this. Again, this is the sort of “want to be advanced yesterday” sort of mentality, but even if you are incredibly, naturally, a psychic starseed shaman bodhisattva with secret extraterrestrial origins from a parallel universe with witchcraft running through their family line and many past lives of being a priestess… you need to cultivate yourself in this lifetime, in this body, in this world. People who are naturals can actually be a bit harder to teach– it is often like the smart kid in class who gets bored a bit. I was like this for a long time, and it wasn’t until I buckled down (and got yelled at by a physical teacher) that I actually really started cultivating, and learning how to cultivate myself correctly, to the point where I was balanced and of use to others as a teacher/healer.
  9. We tend to move towards our imbalances rather than our health- Much of what we need to learn is actually what we may not be really interested in. We tend to want to exacerbate our imbalances and illusions (like an overactive person tends to want to jump out of a plane on weekends and an inactive, mentally oriented person will tend to watch tv or meditate on weekends). A teacher will fill in the gaps in our knowledge, and point us to what we need to actually learn.
  10. You never learn how to connect with spiritual teachers that have power and merit- real spiritual teachers (non-embodied) will serve to dispel illusions, move you through initiations, and connect you to wisdom, teachings, and power. While I realize that this is confusing, most people never really form a significant (developed) relationship with a spiritual teacher. A non-embodied spiritual teacher will disagree with you, will tell you things you do not want to hear, and will not tell you that you are the most amazing human ever. A real spiritual teacher will have power that is palpable, and will be noticed by any sensitive. This development typically takes cultivation that a living human teacher will need to teach you.

So in looking over this, I realize again that the central point of a teacher is to teach #1 fundamentals, and #2 to dispel illusions. When we talk about fundamentals, people often think that fundamentals are just for beginners, but they are not. If we are to use a somewhat tired analogy of the rabbit hole, each inch down or so is a new world for us. It is a spiritual doorway that we go through (just to mix metaphors a bit). Each time we inch our way down the rabbit hole there are new things to learn, new fundamentals to learn.

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If we do not have a physical teacher to get us mid-way down the rabbit hole, we will not have the solid basis or practices to get there in the first place (we will typically get lost in our own heads and “armchair” meaning not do much in the way of practices or cultivation), we will often be unstable and ungrounded (because it is hard to learn balanced teachings being self-taught), and we will often just be self-creating a bunch of stuff based off of our trauma and illusions rather than going through the practices of dispelling illusions.

We will often think that we are more powerful, titled, mythic, and realized than we actually are. I realize that this is one of those blogs that people will get grouchy with me for, but there is a basic teaching that I learned, that is whoever we are, we have further to go. It is the tendency of people at the beginning of their path (especially those who are self-taught) to think that they can do shamanic work, or are shamans. A proper teacher will tell the person when they are ready to practice, or to help others. This is a really unfortunate pattern, as I work with a lot of people who have been really damaged by people, both who were self-taught energy workers/spiritual workers, or who have gone through the “workshop circuit” and from that assume that they have the skill and personal readiness to work with others.

I have also worked with a lot of “self-taught” energy workers and spiritual workers who found out at some point that they were creating a lot of damage to themselves (because they didn’t have the skills/learn how to actually be a medium, or did some spiritual work that was above their paygrade, so to speak), or have freaked themselves out because they thought everything was psychological until they came across an energy that couldn’t be wished away.

And while many people who have not delved deeply into spiritual work think that spiritual realms, or spiritual work, is just another form of self-help, or that spirits aren’t real (or are just psychological), or haven’t been around the block enough to know that spiritual energies, magic, and so forth are real, and aren’t something we can simply control or state we have dominion over and call it a day, real physical teachers who have cultivated themselves can help the student reach these understandings instead of the constantly looping around the surface of the rabbit hole.

I will say that some people are perfectly happy at the surface– that they want the illusion and surface level stuff. Not everyone is ready to cultivate themselves. I get email inquiries all the time from people who want the fastest, laziest, ways to go about spiritual work without putting in much of any effort themselves.

I do also realize that a good teacher is difficult to find. As I mentioned, I have only met a handful of actual “shamans” (spiritual practitioners called to the work), or magical/occult practitioners who aren’t delusional or armchair (discussing without doing) or who aren’t engaged in the endless “bro-down” that occultism engenders (lots of males getting together telling each other how wonderful they are and about how they all found the Sorcerer’s stone and how they all have done the most complex rituals to get in touch with their Holy Guardian Angel), but there are decent foundational teachers all around. If you are at the beginning of your path, they are everywhere. You can literally go get some “spiritual technology” over a weekend class. Is it going to be from someone who is going to be your teacher for the long haul, or is doing anything much beyond just teaching you what they have been taught? Probably not, but at least it will get you some basics to work from, a start of an actual foundation.

I will say that there is a trite saying of “if the student is ready, the teacher will come” and I do find that to be true. I didn’t go beyond certain teachings or find people that were actually engaged in spiritual practices to the depths that I admired until I was ready to. I didn’t find the spiritual paths that I was on until I was ready to. We move on from the surface when we are ready, and if we are not ready, we will likely disregard anything deeper. We meet people of a certain depth when we are ready to. And actual spiritual practitioners and teachers worth their salt are most likely not spending all of their time on internet chatrooms… they are busy with their practices and their path.

Once you get to a certain point in your path, spiritual teachers may make up the large part of your practices. They may teach you way beyond what you have been taught by living, breathing teachers. But too many skip over learning a foundation and working with someone who can dispel their illusions. And you will only go so far on a spiritual path until those steps have been realized.

The Two Spiritual Paths

I have been thinking quite a bit about my path lately as it has been rapidly shifting, opening, and changing. A lot of my path as of recent has been about education. This has not, nor will it, change.

I do think that there is a place for non-fluffy spirituality out there, devoid of the sort of illusions (and delusions) that are so commonplace… despite hearing again and again that most spiritual books in order to sell need to be at a fifth grade reading level, I do know that there are others who are willing to look beyond the crass sort of commercialization, simplistic answers to complex questions, and romanticization of spiritual topics that fill bookshelves and message boards.

There are two distinct paths when it comes to spirituality. There are two basic reasons why people are interested in spiritual subjects, basically. For a long time this confused me, as like many people on the second path, I didn’t have much of a choice about being “spiritual” in this lifetime, and simply didn’t understand until I did a lot of healing work how/why people were guided to spirituality and spiritual paths that have much different aims. I have long made my peace with the difference between the paths, but hopefully writing about them will ease confusion and/or pain for others who need to reconcile this, as I once did.

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The First Path
This is what most people look for out of spirituality. If you want a number, I would say 97 percent of people interested in spiritual topics, religion, shamanism, and so forth, are on this first path.

This is the path of easy answers. This is the path of comfort. Information is geared towards quelling the fears of death by giving simplistic answers for what happens after we die. There are easy, one-for-one answers about everything from disease, dying, what spiritual experiences mean, what certain animals mean, and so forth. We love answers, our brains love dictionaries, and the people on this path rarely move beyond the one-for-one ratio and mental/intellectual spiritual path.

This is the path of being special. A lot of spirituality is geared towards making people feel special, unique, and heard. This is the whole “be your own shaman” thing, and has unfortunately engendered a lot of people to believe that they are truly called to be a “shaman” or that being an “indigo”, “empath” or whatever the terms are these days makes someone separate.

This is unfortunate because once someone sort of globs on to these terms, they will ultimately blame all of (or most of) their issues on these terms. They are in pain because they are an empath, for example. And while being empathic can certainly create some difficulties, mostly what I see people doing in this category is labeling themselves so they don’t have to look internally at what is going on, or take any sort of personal responsibility for their lives. And most people who are “psychic” or sensitive simply need some skills that they have not learned yet.

There is also the added factor that most people who state that they are a “shaman” or “psychic” or “empath” and so forth in this category curiously do not really know what those terms mean. The amount of people who have announced to me that they have had a kundalini awakening, or are a shaman, without having any sort of idea of the very specific signs, symptoms, and experiences that have been related for decades (if not longer) in books that can be checked out of the public library (you just have to look for non new-age books) is still occasionally curious to me. The fact that people don’t bother to get a reading done, or to ask the opinion of anyone else, before labeling themselves with such terms (and by this I mean living, breathing teachers) always tells me a lot.

I will likely write another blog about this, but I can count on both hands the amount of actual shamans I have interacted with. I can count on both hands and toes the amount of people going through a full kundalini awakening (as opposed to feeling some energy once or something, which is relatively common) I have interacted with. People who really and truly have these experiences have power. They have a very specific energy to them which is quite noticeable.

And most people on Path #1 want the illusion of having an experience they consider “profound” rather than the reality of it. For example, if someone who calls themselves a “shaman” were to actually find themselves cursed, or see a full apparition of a spirit, they likely would fear for their lives. If someone who considers themselves “kundalini awakened” were to suddenly feel volcanic heat surge through them, their body to moving into painful yogic contortions on a regular basis, near-death experience(s), and sudden shifts in consciousness that are so rapid that everything you knew to be true five minutes ago is no longer valid five minutes later… you can understand why the illusion of such things would be preferable to the actual path.

Generally this path is about creating illusions. It is about creating stories or mythology about the self or the world in order to feel more comfortable, positive, and special in a world, in a daily existence that may not be showing the person that at all.

Life is difficult, and the creation of illusion to get through is understandable.

On the reverse end of this path are people who get so locked in to their illusions that they actively create pain and difficulty for themselves. This can also be a part of this path. They may think that they are being persecuted by karma, or that their path is more horrible or difficult than anyone else, or that they are an extraterrestrial, or that they cannot heal or move forward in their lives. Often this type of person will find one sentence from a guru (or a paragraph) to prove that their illusions (or delusions) are valid. They will create a bad guy (or girl, or group) that have caused all of the pain in their lives.

By the way, I am of full realization of the fact that people come from odd places, they experience odd spiritual things, and I work with that sort of thing all the time. But if it is creating pain, and the person is fixated on something so they don’t have to pay attention to their own lives, there is a reason for that. And it can be worked with if the person is ready to.

Much of this is a result of trauma that could be healed. I am no longer under the illusion that everyone can be healed, by the way. I am also no longer under the illusion that people will let go of anything, even if it is creating harm, until they are ready to. People tell me all the time how uniquely awful and horrible their lives, paths, and so forth are, and how they are destined for hell, or nobody can help them. And until they are in a place to see outside of their illusions they have created, they will continue to live them.

But basically, path #1 is filled with illusion, easy answers, and spiritual bypass. The person will often look to the spiritual to not take responsibility for their own lives and their own pain. They will not want to look at the world, or understand the pain of others. If violence or difficulty arises in the world, there will be talks of “looking within” and at the shadow, but this is another form of bypass. This allows for the person to look away from the world and the pain of others, and to feel okay with being selfish, with inaction, with only considering their own needs. Ultimately, for Path #1, spirituality is all about the person and what they need to get through. It is a way to escape out of every-day life that is viewed as difficult.

I will say, of course, in making neat categories like Path #1 and Path #2, that it is possible to be on both paths at the same time, or switch back and forth a bit. But most people want very different things out of their spirituality and spiritual path.

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Because Path #2 is about finding the Truth. This truth is rarely comfortable. It strips you down, it makes you realize that you are not special. It makes your realize that everyone is special. That no matter what you have gone through, the odd and fantastic experiences that you have, that in the grand scheme of things, that they are not that big of a deal.

Path #2 is about authenticity. That is a bit of a buzzword these days, but this path is really about stripping down anything that is not “you”– a process of moving through all of the illusions you have created for yourself, a path of healing the trauma and wounds that influence and create your life and your world.

It is a path of service. This is a distinct difference to me between path #1 and path #2. You are not of service to others by “looking within”, you are of service to others by actually serving them. By volunteering, by becoming a healer or teacher, by doing your part to help others become whole. This can be done in a variety of ways, but if you are on path #2, you will want to be of service to others.

I will say that the path of the “wounded healer” can be in Path #1. A lot of people become spiritual teachers because they believe they are special, or become healers because although a part of them is considering Path #2, it really allows for them to work through their own issues. And while this a part of any path, the healer, teacher, therapist, etc. should be beyond enough of their stuff that the session can be totally about the client. One of the ways to tell if this is a factor is if all of your patients/clients are you. If they are all past you, if they all are dealing with similar issues that you have dealt with or are dealing with, that would signify that your healing work is still about you. Again, this if fine, as it is extremely rare to find a healer of any type that is on Path #2, but they are well worth seeking out.

It is a path of total responsibility. Anything that happens can be looked at to see how you contributed, what can be learned from the situation.

It is often an uncomfortable and difficult path. To strip away illusions is difficult. To realize that the Universe isn’t centered around you is often a fairly rude wake-up call. To realize that no matter who you are, what you can see or sense or what spiritual experiences you have had, that it is only one very small corner of the Universe and of the spiritual realms, is difficult to reconcile.

Our brains love logic and order. True spirituality is different. It cannot be confined to our brains. Letting go of our brains (not in a sanitized, intellectual way, but fully and totally) to feel the flows of spirit is a beautiful, blissful, thing, but it requires regularly questioning what is causing you to not be in “flow”, or to not perceive that you are in that state. Your brain cannot process spirit, it just doesn’t have the capacity.

It is a path of critical thinking, of moving beyond what has been given to you. Of being able (and willing) to look critically at your spiritual path, your life, and the world, in order to heal what needs to be healed, and to let go of what no longer serves you in an effort to recognize further Truth.

This path is all about allowing and letting go of the illusion and control that your brain has over you, that want for you to intellectualize and categorize and control everything… that want everything to be in your control. We fear being out of control, and most of Path #1 is about control– about illusions and ways of thinking you are in control of even the greatest divine flows and presences.

To realize that you are only in so much control, that Path #2 is a continual process of surrender and realization of much greater and more powerful forces than the Self, and to be okay with not having that control, is a part of Path #2. 

It also causes you to be separate and one at the same time. This is one of those “opposites” that people do not understand until they are fully on Path #2; when you intellectualize oneness, it is everything is “one”. And it is, but it is also very separate at the same time. And you can very much be isolated by spiritual experiences, realize that most people have not been where you are, or realize what you realize, and still realize that in the grand scheme of things you are not that big of a deal at the same time.

It is humbling, Path #2. It is a path of continual discovery, continual unfolding. Path #1 is all about you, all about what you need, what you can take, how special you can be and what you need from the world. In Path #2 you realize who you authentically and powerfully are… and at the same time you realize that you are but a small drop in the ocean of divinity. Each step forward humbles you, and helps you to remove more and more of your illusions. Healing on a deep level is often an uncompromising process of taking responsibility for what comes up. This process is beautiful and transcendent, but requires a lot of the participant.

I realize every day that people are on Path #2, that despite the illusory books and silliness and fluffiness that abounds that there are people looking for authenticity, for depth, for Truth. It is a hard thing to ask ourselves to do, for it is a path of beauty and of pain… but seeing the world and the universe for what it really is, knowing who you authentically are, and becoming more whole are things that anyone who is willing to traverse Path #2 will find.

Ancestral Trauma and Current Events

To those of us who are able and willing to see it, we are in the midst of a new civil rights movement.

I will start this off by saying a lot of things that I typically say. I am quite white, so I do not speak for anyone, or claim to speak for anyone, other than myself. I will also state that blogs like this can cause for some uncomfortable thoughts to arise. If your spirituality is in such a state that you need that comfort, I understand, but this blog may not be for you this week. It is sad that I have to state such caveats, but I digress…

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I work with ancestral healing quite a bit. I find it is one of the most profound shifts that someone can make in their lives. Our ancestors struggled, and fought, and endured trauma and heartbreak and loss and death, some in ways that are having a huge impact on us today… whether we recognize this or are in a place to recognize this is another thing entirely, of course.

And this is the response that I have seen by some: we have all endured trauma. As someone who comes from a bunch of countries that no longer exist (I am Yugoslavian, Serbian-Croatian, Ashkanazi, and Irish according to my genetic testing) I have had ancestors that fought in battles that made no sense, ancestors that endured and suffered in ways that I cannot even fathom.

Healing the ancestral energies and emotions that were passed down through my ancestry resulted in huge steps in my personal healing process. It is so important that I now teach how to communicate and connect with ancestors, and a big part of my healing work with others is to do ancestral healing.

In case you are not aware, ancestral trauma is the understanding that the traumas, pain, and unresolved issues and emotions that our family and ancestors dealt with is passed down to us. We often live out these themes, experience these emotions, and relive these patterns and belief systems again and again without realizing why.

As an aside, there are some different thoughts about ancestral work out there that have emerged out of modern psychological methods, so I will state for clarity that spiritual ancestral work is much different. Spiritual ancestral healing actually works directly with the ancestors. They are communicated with, they are healed, they are given what they need to work through their trauma to resolution. This is different from modern psychotherapeutic ancestral work in which the person utilizes mental imagery to create a story about an ancestor.

But here is the thing. In order for us to process trauma we need some space from it. 

To put this simply, if we have previously been mauled by a bear, and are currently being mauled by a bear, it is not time to pause, reflect, and process that first time we were mauled.

This is the difference. In this country I do not endure any hardship because I am Yugoslavian. I do not get regularly stopped by police in my car because I am Irish. I do not witness women clutch their purses and move to the other side of the street because I am walking down the street.

One of the difficulties of being lower consciousness is that we cannot see any other experience than our own in this world. While spirituality is certainly not a competition of any sort, we all should aspire to being able to see through the eyes of other people. People different than ourselves.

We fear the “other”, whatever that might be. We get so locked into our own viewpoint and our own experiences of this world that we cannot even fathom the sort of fear that is present in another culture or race that we do not personally identify with.

In spiritual communities, we stick our head in the sand. This is privilege. It is entitlement. I see so many people stating that “we are all one” or looking towards taking the spirituality of others when it suits them, but when it comes to the every day reality and difficulties.. the sort of enduring trauma and legacy that is left in the American Indian, Black, and other communities there is largely silence, or a call for peace so that the individual can feel comfortable and not have to hear about difficult things on the radio… The fact that clean drinking water is not available, the amount of fear and fatigue and weariness that arises, and then the subsequent romanticization and spiritual tourism that happens under the guise of “we are all one”… and then the admonitions and lack of understanding about why these cultures may not want to teach you because you are entitled to take and take without understanding.

I see a lot of “I didn’t do anything to these communities”. And you, personally, may not have. But your ancestors did. And you may have recovered from your ancestors having slaves, or wiping out Native American communities, but those communities continue to endure hardships and difficulties along with fear and trauma.

It never ended for them. It isn’t in the past. It was never fixed, or healed. It never had the opportunity to do so, the space to do so.

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This all makes me sad, but I understand that until people are ready to take personal responsibility and look beyond their own experiences of this world, they will not be able to care for anyone beyond themselves and their own immediate needs. Much of spirituality is hyperfixated on illusions in order to make the individual feel special and safe. I realize how harsh that seems, and I realize I will get flak for that sentence (and likely this blog in general), but it is rare for someone to not want to shut down pain, violence, or chaos simply because it makes them feel uncomfortable, and they are not in a place of willingness to understand the necessity of it.

As we become more spiritually aware we are able to care for more than ourselves. This first starts with people exactly like us, and then if we are willing, to causes that personally affect us, to communities that we are a part of. As we awaken, we are able to see and sit with even those with totally different experiences of this world than us and be open and willing to hear what they have to say… and to be of service to them

One of the hardest things for me was to work with ways in which I was culturally an oppressor. To admit to the subtle racism, classism, and other privileges that I hold. To realize the ways in which I wanted to just shut off or shut down because the energy of things was too much for me, the stories were too much for me. That is didn’t personally affect me other than feeling the currents of the world. That I was largely safe and could simply turn off Facebook or the news and shut down when others don’t have that option.

If we are actually looking at cultures, or cultural experiences, they come in currents. In flows of energy. In many cases the wave will crash on the shore and some of that built up energy can dissipate. The culture, the ancestors, and the descendants can breathe, they can release. They can feel some of the pressure release.

This is the time for healing. When there is space, breath, and reprieve from the pressure and the trauma and the heightened energies. When that wave has reached the shore and has fizzled out.

But what happens if that wave never reaches the shore? If there is just more and more trauma, more and more examples of how this world isn’t safe for you, for your children? There is never that reprieve.

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Beyond sitting back and really questioning our privilege, or actually making friends and interacting with people from different cultures than your own (many people meet and befriend others that are exactly like them– the same race, culture, socioeconomic class, consciousness level, etc) and really actually inviting someone to tell you their experiences of this world… and actually being open to hearing what they have to say without shutting them down… if we consider the energetics of trauma we need to understand that we heal with time and space.

This is how we heal as individuals. This is how we heal culturally, ancestrally, and as a world. And if we don’t have that time and space, we don’t get to heal. We don’t have the opportunity. We just continue to add on stress and pain and fear and trauma until it bubbles over, until it escapes in schisms and seismic shifts.

To put this simply, picture working a twelve hour shift. You would need time to recover. Now picture working twelve hour shifts seven days a week for thousands of years. I realize that this is a trite example, but culturally and ancestrally if we never have that time to decompress we become exhausted. We become fearful. We become angry. And all of that energy will eventually release when it reaches a peak. It needs to.

One of the things that is a tell-tale sign for me when someone is actually working with the spiritual realms (rather than creating romantic illusions of Native American teachers and such) is that they come across spirits that dislike them. That won’t work with them. I have come across spirits that have hated me because I am a woman, because I am not from a specific culture, and because I am not initiated in a specific spiritual tradition.

I can frequently find ways around this, or refer to someone from that culture or spiritual tradition if I can find them, but it happens. I mention this because this only started happening when I became more open. I started my spiritual work with people who were either former versions of myself or were battling the same proverbial demons I was.

As I worked actually opened to more than myself and realized I was really not the center of the world (and that in the grand scheme of things I am not important.. another huge shift that is wonderful when I see as it is an important spiritual initiation that not many people are willing to move into and beyond) I started attracting different clients with totally different life experiences than my own. When I was actually open to understanding and hearing more beyond my own experiences and preconceived notions of this world I began to interact with people, and with spirits, quite differently.

We tend to shut down what we haven’t personally experienced. And when we shut down, we are shutting down people who are actively expressing their fear, their grief, their trauma, into a world that really needs to hear it. I realize that I am yet another white person talking, but the end point of this is that spiritually we have a choice. We can listen to others. We can hear others. We can realize that the current energies of the world come from grief, from pain, from trauma that never got a chance to heal… or we can shut down. We can romanticize and state that “we are all one” because the situation doesn’t personally affect us.

In real oneness, we are willing and able to see differences. We are open to them. And we are willing to be of service, to listen and to hear, to more than ourselves.

Book Suggestions

So I used to have a list of book suggestions that was nicely formatted and embedded through the Amazon site. Something happened, and I never really had the time or inclination to fix it. Since the last few months I have had quite a few emails asking where it went, I have decided to do a blog on the subject, along with a bit of commentary on some of the books.

I will say a few caveats for this blog. Yes, I will recommend my own books. No, I am not a “whitelighter” or “core shaman”. I do not any sort of grouchiness at those communities (well, most of the time), but most of my book suggestions will not be new-age-y. It is just not who I am or what I am interested in. And in general I think that people, if they are interested in spiritual work or spiritual enlightenment (or spiritual “whatever”, should read about many different cultures and ideas, not just ones that consolidate their own already formed beliefs.

Many of these books may have ideas or thoughts I don’t personally agree with. But they have changed me, inspired me, or stretched me at some point in my path, and for that I am thankful. Some of these books show a bit of wear, meaning that I love William Baldwin, but do not agree that rock music lets in evil spirits.

I also have a tendency to not like recently published books. This is my bias, of course, and sometimes I read something that changes this, but for the most part nothing gets me grouchier than wasting my time buying a book about a spiritual technique or something that doesn’t actually talk about how to do the technique… or the endless books that just regurgitate the same surface-level material.

My last caveat… most of these books will not be for the beginner. Most books out there are intended for beginners who don’t need a list like this, as most books out there are intended for a fifth grade reading level (fun fact). I also will likely edit this blog as I remember things that I have read, or read more things that I want to put on the list.

I also did not put on some of the books that I am recently studying because they are likely too much for most people (I tend to like really odd stuff these days which may not be easily found… and if you read the books I have below you will find them anyway at some point), but all of the books below I have read and have at some point resonated with me, in full or in part, due to their depth and/or interesting ideas/concepts.

Book List

  • The Spiritual Awakening Guide- yes, this is my book. This is the book that I wish I read 15 years ago. Most other books about spiritual awakenings are really fluffy, and didn’t go over things I needed them to…This is why I write, and continue to write.
  • The Complete Cord Course- yes, this is also my book. Most cord work talks about “cutting” or “clearing” and I discovered that that is only 1/40th of what you can do with cords.
  • Managing Psychic Abilities- my most recent book (for now, comes out later in 2016). Most books are about how to become psychic. This book teaches about where psychic abilities come from and how to work with them. Again, this is the material I wish I had ten years ago or so
  • Initiation into Hermetics by Franz Bardon- if anyone wants to learn about magic, or how to progress spiritually, I suggest this book. I wish this was the first book I read (or one of the first books I read) and I still find it insightful
  • The Spirits’ Book by Allan Kardec- I wish that I had found Kardec’s work and Spiritism a long time ago. His ability to transcribe profound thoughts about the spiritual realms, as well as his other books about how to manage and work with mediumship and similar abilities is wonderful
  • Living with Kundalini by Gopi Krishna- if there is one book you read about kundalini, this is it (besides for mine). I read so much information about kundalini (books, websites, etc) and I finally found this book. This book is one of the few that has really and truly shown what having a full, active kundalini awakening is like
  • Shamans, Healers, and Medicine Men by Holger Kalweit- in a sea of fluffy core shamanism, Holger Kalweit is a breath of fresh air. Learn what a shaman actually goes through in order to be called, and what the role of the shaman actually entails. His other book is a bit dryer but worth a read as well
  • Daughter of Fire by Irina Tweedie- this book is LONG…but if you have experienced an intense spiritual awakening, this book will be profound for you
  • Aghora Trilogy by Robert Svoboda- I really loved these books, and am still fond of them. Again, if you are sick of the “fluffy” sort of material out there about kundalini, karma, and spiritual subjects, these books you will find revolutionary
  • The Awakening of Intelligence by Krishnamurti- I am always biased about Krishnamurti, as his words always speak to me on such a deep level, but I find that this book is a good intro to his thoughts
  • Play of Consciousness by Swami Muktananda- I found this book as I was going through my existential “everything is an illusion” phase. It explains spiritual awakening and the illusory nature of the world in a way that most cannot
  • Oasis of Stillness by Aughar Harihar Ram- another profound book that was important on my path
  • Spirit Releasement Therapy by William Baldwin- this is a whopper of a book but it is an important read. Most books on “shamanic” subjects are filled with fluff and case studies, with no meat or techniques to speak of. This is the opposite, and goes way beyond other books on the subject
  • Magic White and Black by Franz Hartmann- again, this would be one of those books for anyone willing to look really deeply at the world. I read this again recently and found insights that were incredibly relevant to my path. Excuse the stupid title, and realize that this is a book that will allow for you to look at the world in a different way
  • Life on Other Worlds by Emanuel Swedenborg- Swedenborg is really heady stuff, and suffers from being written in the 1700’s, but it will definitely cause for you to think about your life differently
  • How to Know Higher Worlds by Rudolf Steiner- this is a good intro book, as it will introduce you to some key concepts of Theosophy
  • Magical Knowledge Book 1 by Josephine McCarthy- if you want to learn magic, especially visual magic, start here. Much of magic is a proverbial boys’ club with a lot of fluff, by McCarthy is blunt and pragmatic about how to learn magic
  • Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila- if you are interested (and I mean really interested) in where much of the info on spiritual awakenings came from, read this book
  • The Personal Aura by Dora Kuna- I literally had my mouth drop open when I found this book. Most books about clairvoyance repeat the same regurgitated crap (pardon my language) and it is clear that the person who wrote it does not have any sort of sight. This book is exactly how I see (and others who I have talked to who have this ability) and sense auras
  • Working the Root by Starr Casas- this book is sorely in need of an editor, but I consistently get asked for books on Hoodoo/Rootwork, and I suggest starting here
  • Feeding your Demons by Tsultrim Allione- introduces the practice of Chod (can’t find umlauts on my computer right now) which is real shadow work
  • Divine Horsemen by Maya Deren- if you want to start understanding Vodoun (Voodoo) from an outsider perspective, start here
  • Mastering Witchcraft by Paul Huson- still in print since the 70’s for a reason. This is for someone who is seriously looking into starting an occult practice
  • The Sacred and the Profane by Mircea Eliade- Eliade can be a bit difficult to muddle through, but his thoughts about religion, initiation, and shamanism are always interesting
  • Polarity Therapy (2 volume book) by Randolph Stone- another one that anyone who doesn’t have some serious energy work under their belt will have difficulty muddling through, but Stone’s ability to see the body and its energetic circuits is beyond any form of energy work out there
  • The Art and Practice of Astral Projection by Ophiel- I love all of Ophiel’s books.. he has a sort of homespun, down-to-earth nature about occult topics that I really resonate with. I learned how to etherically and astrally project using this book, and have taught others through this work (as well as a few other resources and my own direct experiences)
  • Liberation by Francisco Candido Xavier- another book about Spiritism that is well worth reading
  • Amazing Secrets of New Avatar Power by Geof Gray-Cobb- I will probably catch a bit of flak for this one, but long before the law of attraction was this book. Hard to get but an interesting read
  • Textbook of Theosophy by C.W. Leadbeater- anyone who knows me knows that I went through a distinct Theosophy “phase”. Whether I am still in that phase is an interesting question, but anyone who is interested in spirituality or energy work should read some
  • Ozark Magic and Folklore- a fun book for folk magic practitioners or folklore enthusiasts out there
  • The Magus by Francis Barrett- there are some issues with this book as I get older (and hopefully wiser) but anyone who wants to become a fairly hard-core esoteric, magic, or spiritual studies student should likely read it at some point
  • The Middle Pillar by Israel Regardie- the Middle Pillar was a practice that I did for over ten years. I encourage many of my students to practice it who are ready to do so
  • Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio- I love this book, it is fun and just filled with strange tales
  • Magia Sexualis by Paschal Randolph- another “hardcore” book for the serious esotericist, but some people ask me for sexual practices, and I am partial to this book
  • Grimoire Sympathia by Charubel- impossible to find (sorry) but will teach you to communicate with plant spirits and how to work with the spiritual essence of plants, minerals and stones. I learned a lot from this book, and it is rare I go back to a book and read it more than twice. I have with this book
  • The Serpent Power by Sir John Woodroffe- wonder where all of the information on kundalini and chakras came from? This is one of the books. Interestingly, I had some jerk yell at me for suggesting this book as it is “dated”, but if you want to really learn anything, you need to know where it came from. And it came from here
  • Chakras by Harish Johari- want a slightly less difficult book about chakras? Harish Johari is clear and a good starting point for learning about chakras or tantra in an easily accessible yet non-fluffy way
  • Communing with the Spirits by Martin Coleman- this book will stretch you, and is only for those who are ready for it
  • Visual Magick: A Guide to Freestyle Shamanism by Jan Fries- this book is unique and well worth a read
  • Uncle Ramsey’s Little Book of Demons by Ramsey Dukes- how to look at personal demons as well as difficulties in life in a new way. Unique and well worth a read (or two)
  • Psychic Self Defense by Dion Fortune- a lot of Dion Fortune’s books were really important to me at a specific point on my path. She talks in an authentic way based on many years of experience. I like this book in general to introduce people to her writing.

So I might add more later, as some of my books are packed away and I likely cannot think of them right now, but this is more than enough for most people I would imagine. I would also say that I didn’t include some books that were really helpful to me just because they are common (like Tibetan Book of the Dead, Egyptian Book of the Dead, books on fairy tales/folk tales etc). Happy Reading!

Healing the Perpetrator

In our healing journeys, we often tend to fixate on times and experiences in which we were victimized. There is reason for this, as trauma creates beliefs, emotions, and energies that are in dire need of healing.

But we also have aspects of ourselves that are the perpetrator– that have caused harm to ourselves and others. These parts of ourselves are often neglected, and in dire need of healing and compassion.

It is easier to see ourselves as the victim, to see how we have been wronged in this world. To see how others have wronged us, and the sort of damage they have created. It is admirable for any of us to release the anger, the pain, and the fear that these experiences have caused. Spiritual healing can also offer reconciliation with those parts of ourselves that have disassociated due to trauma, and release the beliefs about ourselves and the world that were created due to overwhelming circumstances and trauma as a result of being victimized.

But those aspects of ourselves that have created harm for ourselves and others require healing as well if we are really and truly going to be whole.

It is a brave act to consider the ways in which we have created harm for others. In smaller and larger ways we have created difficulty for others in this world, micro or major traumas that they have had to deal with. We have victimized others, whether we have realized it or not.

There is a certain point in time in which be come to this sort of awareness– of not only the aspects of ourselves that have been wronged, but the aspects of ourselves that have done the “wronging”. When I began to realize these circumstances I began to feel a lot of sorrow for the pain that I created for others, for the major and minor times that I have gossiped, actively caused pain, been jealous, or sent energies of hatred to another.

How I treated my parents as a teenager, the time that I wouldn’t let someone into my group, even though I knew what it was like to be an outcast, the energies of hatred and gossip that I sent towards someone that I was jealous of, the times I sent angry thoughts towards those who were so wrapped up in their own “stuff” and I couldn’t recognize their pain– I only saw their limited vision, their trauma, their stupidity, their unwillingness to learn.

Part of the way we are a perpetrator is through our own selfishness.

I frequently interact with people who are passive-aggressive, competitive, or so fixated on me (or others) considering them “enlightened” or “superior” in some fashion. If I were myself of even a year or two ago I would be angry at these people and the sort of illusions that they create for themselves. But now I realize that they simply cannot see beyond themselves, they haven’t gotten to the point where they can take that look at themselves and see beyond their own small experiences of this universe.

There comes a point in the spiritual path in which we start to recognize oneness, in which we start to recognize that whoever or whatever we are, that we are not that big of a deal… and that whatever we are going through, it is an aspect of the human condition. That there are millions of others who feel unloved, isolated, unhappy, and are struggling in many ways.

Likewise, if we have not reached this point we believe that our sensitivities, our spiritual path, or whatever we are going through is so totally unique and worthy of admiration that we may not realize that we have simply graduated from spiritual kindergarten to spiritual first grade.

Until we reach this point we are unable to see beyond our own pain and illusions. When we are in pain it is difficult to rise above our own selfishness, it is difficult to understand that many others may understand and may be experiencing what we are experiencing in the current moment, and that whomever we are, there are always others more enlightened, aware, and knowledgeable than we are.

Expressing forgiveness for those who cannot rise above their own selfishness is a part of healing the perpetrator. Those who cannot see beyond themselves cannot experience love, grace, or the healing that comes from feeling a part of the world. It is indicative of things within needing to be healed… it is indicative of a lack of self-love, and the worst form of this perpetrator instinct.

We can forgive those who are selfish, because they are locked within a world view that they cannot rise above. We can forgive those that have perpetrated even the worst acts, or forgive ourselves for perpetrating those acts, because we did not understand our wholeness. Giving ourselves compassion for the times we have been perpetrated against, or have been the perpetrator, allows for wholeness.

Doing this does not mean that what we did was okay, or what someone else did against us was okay. There are things in this world that are horrible, and there is evil in this world. There is a lot of trauma and fracturing in this world, and the people who experience this trauma and fracturing will continue to repeat it, again and again, in a misguided effort to find healing. We can forgive someone for their brokenness, for their pain, and still realize that what they did, or what we did to another, was not okay, but it can be moved beyond in an effort to find wholeness.

The worst form of violence we do is against ourselves. The thoughts, ideas, illusions, and fears that create and color our world create fracturing, the create violence. They cause for us to perpetrate against ourselves in a way that is, at time, astonishingly horrific.

We think awful things about ourselves that come from our lack of wholeness. We disassociate, we reach for varying addictions to quell the pain. We hurt, so we cause others to hurt. We feel divided, or in pain, or have experienced something difficult that we wrapped beliefs and understandings about ourselves and the world around. We have been given illusions and patterns and beliefs and traumas from the sources around us– from our family and our culture and our varying pasts.

The most healing aspect of doing past life and ancestral work has been when I have healed these perpetrators– when I have gotten over myself enough to sit down with them and understand them with compassion.

The most healing aspect of doing my own inner work has been sitting with the aspects of myself that have caused harm to myself and others and understanding and having compassion for this part of myself.

We all have self-destructive instincts, wildness, violence, and a perpetrator within us. Although this could neatly be called “shadow” work, it really is about understanding balance, about understanding our instinctual, primal, and often predatory natures.

This aspect is always surprising when it emerges for people, as most people who have gotten to the point where they can even consider that they may have perpetrated, or have gone beyond the “forcing the shadow into light” sort of work, realize that at the base of ourselves are these violent, instinctual, and self-harming aspects of ourselves. In my book, The Spiritual Awakening Guide, I call this part of ourselves “The Destroyer”, and it is something that can be sat with for understanding, in a way to understand it. This is much different than trying to change it into “light”– this would be like trying to change a wild jaguar into a house cat. It simply isn’t, and shouldn’t be done.

By having compassion for even the “negative” aspects for ourselves, by sitting with them and asking if they are okay, offering them compassion and love like any other aspect of ourselves, we can come to a state of understanding and communion with this aspect of ourselves.

But much of the negative self-talk, the creations of the mind, the beliefs we hold about ourselves to be true about how ugly, fat, isolated, unloveable, and broken we are, come not from these instinctual levels but from aspects of ourselves that can be healed.

We can have peace. We can bring love and compassion to every single energy within ourselves, every single emotion. Anger does not need to become joy, grief does not need to become bliss, darkness does not need to become light. These thoughts are illusory, a result of a hyperfixated spiritual culture who doesn’t understand balance in spiritual pursuits and is only seeking “the light”.

The most powerful lightbringers that I know in this world are comfortable with their darkness. They do not chase it away, or change it. The truly healed (or healing) people I have met can sit with the parts of themselves that have been perpetrated against, and were perpetrators, and offer equal healing and compassion towards both.

I realize that some may not be ready for this, and it is typically a long journey to work with the broken, victimized aspects of ourselves. Having compassion for ourselves and understanding that wherever we are in our spiritual journey is exactly where we need to be is how to begin fostering compassion for ourselves, and will allow for us to let go of the competitiveness, the selfishness, and the illusory aspects of ourselves that would like to be anywhere or anything other than who we are or where we are.