The dilemma of spirituality

I truly believe that the reason people choose fundamentalist religion over more flexible belief structures is because they are easy. There is little, if any, self examination required, no experimentation to see how a concept feels or fits into your framework. You’re not expected to create or maintain a relationship with your spirituality beyond following the rules. Your entire plan of action is laid out for you, and the only struggle is trying to stay within your guidelines.

Carl Jung posited that the decline in the influence of traditional religions was the reason for the rise in debilitating feelings of insignificance, inadequacy, and hopelessness; in his eyes, this led to the destabilization of society and created political and social unrest. The challenge is that organized religions are, essentially, political animals – they seek to amass and consolidate power. The easiest way for them to do this is to disempower and dehumanize their adherents. By setting up a system that requires the “faithful” to follow the rules and give their power over to the political body, the religion is able to accumulate more and more power.

My core values are empowerment, community, and equality. These are, to me, spiritual values. I deeply believe that one can be spiritual and be empowered. That spirituality can exist within a religion, only if the religion is worn like a loose cloak, and the follower is willing to ask questions and perform the required self-examination to forge a personal belief system within the framework of the larger religion. More importantly, spirituality doesn’t *have* to reside within a religious structure.

How then do we define spirituality? Does it have to be tied to an idea of a Divine power? How open-ended can spirituality be?

If one has an experiential sense of being part of a larger whole, of being able to create, and being able to effect change, even if that is in the bounds of a small community, is that not spiritual? Does that not cause one to exhibit the behaviors one would attribute to spirituality? Does that not counter the effects Jung described as symptoms of leaving the church?

If you are struggling to find your spirituality, or even to find your place in the world, here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • Who is my immediate community? Who do I identify with? With whom do I share values, interests, and/or a feeling of kinship?

  • Is this close community part of a larger community or grouping? How far out can those connections be seen?

  • How do I give back to that community?

  • How do I put my creative impulses to use? (Hint: it doesn’t have to be art)

  • How do I touch people on a daily basis? If this one is hard for you to see, ask your community for input. When they give it, don’t argue, just listen.
  • Believe me, you are the light of the world!

    Posted in Community, empowerment, Equality, Healing, Musings, Mysticism, Personal growth, Practice

    Effective affirmations

    Ever tried doing affirmations? How did they work for you?

    There’s a trick to them, a secret key, if you will, beyond the stuff everyone tells you, like writing in present tense and avoiding negatives. See, if all your aspects (higher mind, lower mind, and emotions) are not on the same page, you can’t be effective, because you are fighting yourself.

    And what is the first thing that happens when you say an affirmation like “I am healthy, happy, and whole”?

    A voice your head says “yeah, but…”

    The trick is to get your head to stop arguing with you. Which means rewiring neural pathways. Any time you’re trying to change your programming, do it in writing (not typing, not printing, handwriting) – it accesses a different part of the brain.

    Write down your affirmation.

    And then write down the objection.

    Write a new affirmation to counter the objection.

    Write down the new objection.

    Write a new affirmation.

    Rinse, lather, repeat. At some point, your mind will stop objecting.

    Write the original affirmation again (or rewrite it, if you’ve gotten more perspective). If there are more objections, write it twice more (for a total of 3), and walk away.

    When you go to write your affirmation tomorrow, if there are no mental objections, write it three times and walk away. If your mind coughs up an objection, go through the whole process again. Do this as many days in a row as you can manage. Eventually you will have a few days without objections, at which point you can rest assured that you have rewritten that groove in your brain.

    Ta da!

    Go forth, be the light of the world!

    Posted in Healing, magic, Mysticism, Personal growth, Practice, Tools

    Changing Jobs – A Tarot Workshop Question

    On the first Wednesday of the month, I offer a tarot playshop/workshop. We play with our intuitive sides, using various exercises. The idea is to become a better reader (even if you don’t even think of yourself as a reader) by developing a visual language with your cards. One of the exercises we do is answer a question, usually from a previous student. Since they are all submitted to me anonymously, I have no idea what class they even came from. I am trying to remember to post the readings, so that, if someone still needs an answer to the question, they will see it. Plus it’s fun looking at the different readings. Please note that the focus is more about what comes to mind when the individual reader sees the cards, rather than on traditional interpretations of tarot cards.

    What should I consider if I want to change my job to find something with less stress?
    This month’s question

    We were practicing a specific spread I call the Astrological Spread. At the center is clarification on the querant, and then it goes through the flavor of the zodiac to develop a clear picture of the answer. I like patterns, so I may point out some of the patterns in the cards, but the readings belong to the readers.

    Tarot reading #1
    The first tarot reading had a lot of reversed cards (and was the only reader to do reversed cards this month), which the reader felt indicated blockages or someone working at cross purposes. Ultimately the reader saw that the querant didn’t believe they could have better circumstances.

    You can see that the querant is represented by two reversed cards, both Major Arcana. The Scorpio position, here represented by the 6 of Cups reversed, was of particular interest to most of the readers across the board.

    Seeker: Magician(r) & Justice(r) | Aries: AceW | Taurus: 9P | Gemini: 6W(r) | Cancer: 7P(r) | Leo: kP | Virgo: 5P | Libra: Chariot(r) | Scorpio: 6C(r) | Sagittarius: Star(r) | Capricorn: 10S(r) | Aquarius: 9C(r) | Pisces: 4W(r)

    Tarot reading #2
    The second reader felt strongly that this was more of a question of homelife and family, and that the querant should look to those spaces first, and that the querant was seeking transformation.

    Notice that there are 4 Major Arcana cards in this reading, two Queens, and two face cards in the suit of Swords, one of which is in the Scorpio position.

    Seeker: 2C | Aries: Judgment | Taurus: 5S | Gemini: 5C | Cancer: 10P | Leo: Emperor | Virgo: kP | Libra: QS | Scorpio: pS | Sagittarius: Death | Capricorn: QC | Aquarius: 6P | Pisces: Sun

    Tarot reading #3
    This reader felt that image and status may be more important to the querant than they were willing to admit, and that this was costing them. The 3 of Swords in the Scorpio position led the reader to believe that the querant may have an addiction to drama or martyrdom.

    I love this deck, by the way. It has fascinating imagery. If you’re looking for a deck to use, always make sure that the visual language speaks to you, otherwise you will have problems working with it.

    The Chariot, which made an appearance (reversed) in the Libra position in Reading #1, shows up here as well, in the Gemini position.

    Seeker: 7C | Aries: 8C | Taurus: 4P | Gemini: Chariot | Cancer: 3C | Leo: 7P | Virgo: Temperance | Libra: 10S | Scorpio: 3S | Sagittarius: 10P | Capricorn: 3P | Aquarius: 5S | Pisces: kS

    Tarot reading #4
    The final reader said that the querant needed to shift their perspective; the core issue here was holding on to the past. The most strengthening course of action would be for the querant to stay at their current job and work through the issues that were causing them stress.

    Notice that, in a tarot reading about a job, there are no pentacles.
    The Fool sits in the Scorpio position.

    Seeker: 5W | Aries: 9W | Taurus: Wheel of Fortune | Gemini: 6C | Cancer: 9S | Leo: 2S | Virgo: kC | Libra: 5C | Scorpio: Fool | Sagittarius: 4W | Capricorn: AceS | Aquarius: Heirophant | Pisces: AceC

    Posted in Channeling, Classes, Kabbalah, Spirit Guidance, Tarot, Tools

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