VIDEO: Do I Have a Soul Mate?

do I have a soul mate
By far the most common question that I’m asked is “Do I have a soul mate?” You will get a different answer depending upon who you ask. My response is based on my experience as a past life regressionist and animist.
 
 
In my work, about 50% of people come in because they have questions about their soul mates. This idea of soul mates started with Plato. He said that initially when people were created, they had both male and female parts. Then people angered the gods. The gods punished them by splitting them in two. From that time on, we roam about the world looking for our other half. It’s a romantic story that has never gone away.
 
 
My professional observation is that we actually have tons of soul mates.
A soul mate is not your one true love. It’s not your other half. It is someone that you have contracted with in the spirit realm to come here to be with you again to help you learn and grow.
 
 
Everybody has things to accomplish and learn in life. Our soul mates are here to help with the significant ones. They have a stake in it too, and they are here to learn something as well.
 
 
Our soul mates can be a lover, friend, mother, next-door neighbor, or a teacher. It could be anybody because these people come in and out of our lives. So it’s not necessarily somebody this you’re going to spend your life with.
 
So let’s think about this. Let’s say you really need to learn forgiveness, for example. So in the life planning stage you and I make a pact to do that together. Now we know that this means someone is going to get hurt because how else would forgiveness come into play except through pain?
 

Yet, we agree to do this because we love each other. Who else but a soul mate would do this for us?
 
 
If you think about all the greatest things we learn in life, they don’t usually come easily or through great experiences, do they? They usually happen through horrible, painful experiences.
 
 
On the flip side of that, the person who does the hurtful thing also benefits in some way. Maybe that person needs to find his backbone. Maybe he didn’t have the best boundaries or didn’t speak up for himself. Maybe he felt backed in a corner. Going through this experience could be the thing that helps him to see that he’s got some growing to do too.
 
 
There are no victims in life. Everyone has choices. Everyone is a player in everyone else’s life. Nobody gets out without hurting others or experiencing pain. Those who love us tend to be the ones who hurt us the most. It doesn’t mean there is no love.
 
 
Now some people do have instant attraction. This is seen as a hallmark of the soul mate relationship. But did you know that soul mates can also have an instant revulsion? Any strong emotion without cause can be related to soul memories.
 
 
Soul mates are not destined to be together forever. They could be in your life for five minutes! They stay as long as they need to stay for both of you to have a chance to heal the wounds of the past. You can choose to stay longer, but it’s not guaranteed.
 
 
Perhaps it’s even healthiest if you break the bond. For example, let’s say that a soul mate pair has a destructive habit of harming each other. This time around one of them decides to leave rather than engage in that hurt. Isn’t that the healthier choice?
 
 
So the next time you catch yourself in a relationship that wring the emotion out of you, pause and ask yourself, “What am I meant to learn from this?” This person could be your soul mate.

VIDEO: Calling to the Ancestors Song

calling to the ancestors
If you’re new to animism you might be wondering what to do at your ancestor altar. Maybe you wonder what you’re going to do for this upcoming Ancestor Day.
Today I have a song for you for calling to the ancestors. You can use it on Ancestor Day, at your altar in the mornings, when somebody has died, or just when you want to reach out to the other side.

The Beat

The beat is a polka, so one, two, three, one, two three. It’s designed to be sung anywhere and any time. You don’t need an instrument. As long as you can clap and stomp, you have your rhythm. You stomp on the one and clap on two and three.
If you want to use an instrument, a drum is great. You can also use finger cymbals, a tambourine, sticks, shakers or anything at all.

The Lyrics

The lyrics are as follows. You start the call with:
Ancestor, ancestor calling to you
Ancestor, ancestor hear me true
After that you can say whatever is on your heart. In my culture, the mourning songs are all improvised. There’s not a set thing to say. I know most people don’t like winging it -especially if it’s something new. They want a template. So you can use this:
Ancestor, ancestor calling to you
Ancestor, ancestor hear me true
Thank you thank you for all you do
Sending gratitude.
Most of us can honestly say that. So you can use that to get you started until the feeling gets flowing and you can find your own way to express your truth.
Just be sure to also match the tempo, pitch, and mood to the words. So if you are feeling joyous, it might be fast and happy. If you are feeling mournful, it might be slow and sad.
Group Version
This song can be used for a group too. To start, designate someone to be the group leader. The leader taps out the rhythm. The rhythm is going to be the
same in the entire time.
Then the leader is going to create the melody or tune. This will also be the same the whole time. If you are soloing, you can change it all you like. It doesn’t matter, but with a group, the only way you can improvise and keep everyone together is to keep the same melody all the way through.
So the leader calls in the ancestors singing the words listed above. Everyone else is humming along in the background and clapping and stomping.
The leader then sings her own words until she’s expressed her sentiments. When she’s done, she joins the group in humming and the singer passes to the next person in the circle.
Be sure to give everyone a chance to get over their shyness, get in touch with their feelings, and find the words to sing. It may take a while. The whole process can induce trance, which is great for reaching a space of catharsis, so make sure you give yourselves time for things to unfold.
Don’t worry about your singing voice! This is not a competition. Nobody is judging you. It’s not about how beautifully you sing, but calling to the ancestors and speaking your truth.

Celebrating the Balance of the Equinox

equinox

Many of us say that we look forward to the balance of the equinox. We imagine that being balanced feels whole and right. It could actually feel pretty confusing.

When we are mindfully present in equinox energy, it can be easier to see our many faces. Reality varies depending upon where we are standing. Sometimes our motivations are hidden, subtle, multi-faceted, and inconsistent. This doesn’t actually mean we are crazy. It means we’re complicated, deep, and whole.

Here are some ideas to explore during the upcoming balance of day and night to help you embody the equinox energy.

  • Pick something that you intellectually know and explore it from your intuitive side.
  • Find something that you believe to be true, like your beliefs about gender, politics, or spirituality. Look deeply at the other side for ways that others see it as not true. If possible, have a respectful conversation with someone to hear their version of the truth.
  • Use meditation to explore the intelligence of the unconscious.
  • Just for one day, focus on the moment that you are in. Not tomorrow, an hour later, or five minutes later. Just this moment, now, all day long.
  • Set aside your goals for who you want to be and love who you are now.
  • If you are a go getter, slow things way down. If you are leisurely, be more productive.
  • Spend time with a person of the opposite gender.
  • Act as if there were no right or wrong. This doesn’t mean that you go around hurting people! Sovereignty, connection, and Oneness are still in place. It’s just a suggestion to let go of judgment for one day.
  • Imagine that it’s okay for the whole world to live in this paradoxical space. Let go of perfectionism and idealism. Be messy.
  • Do something without an agenda. Play.
  • Explore your relationship with the animal, plant, human, mineral, or spiritual realms. Is it a balanced relationship?

If you are a very orderly person, you’re probably feeling really uncomfortable right now. The list may seem like I am suggesting you run amok. Not at all. Just suggesting that we see what balance might look like.

The modern world is logical, linear, goal directed, and judgmental. What would it look like if we were intuitive, circular, curious, and accepting? The equinox is inviting you to try that out. Will you accept the challenge?

This doesn’t mean that you have to be someone else or let go of your values. It might just help you to actually be more of who you really are. Try it.

Why Modern Animism is Not For Everybody

modern animism

It seems that we are undergoing a shift towards spirituality vs. religion. In that shift, many are looking towards magic, ritual, and a Harry Potter type of spirituality with no rules. That may seem to be what Pan Society offers. We don’t have dogma. There is no Ten Commandments. You can do what you like. This can seem perfect, but let me tell you why modern animism is not for everybody.

What is Modern Animism?

First let me lay the groundwork. We call Pan Society “modern animism” to differentiate it from the contemporary tribal animism that has existed in an uninterrupted state for millennia. If they are the country mice, we are the city mice. We are most likely urban dwellers, consumers of technology, cut off from our ancestors, and living in isolated communities. We don’t have community traditions or networks. Our roots connecting us to Nature aren’t dead, but they need nurturing. We are united by the shared the belief that everything is alive, sacred, and One.

We Are Not Looking Back

Some animists look to reconnect by going back to the past. They want the religion of their ancestors. Sometimes it’s to reclaim what was stolen from them. Sometimes it’s to feel more authentic, special, or powerful. There is nothing wrong with any of that. Pan Society recognizes that the river only flows in one direction. It doesn’t go back. As modern animists, we live in the present moment with modern beliefs, lifestyles, politics, and problems. We accept that the past happened and are living in the now. This is not to say that the past doesn’t matter. It’s most holistic. The past, present, and future matter, and we’re looking ahead.

We Believe in Sovereignty

Many people are attracted to animism for the freedom. They want to be able to take what they want, do what they want, and have no borders or boundaries. That’s more Wild Child or Rebel energy. Pan Society is a bit different. We do believe in freedom, but it’s bounded by responsibility. So, you can choose your own path, but it’s contained by the right use of power. We don’t take from others (including plant, animal, human, mineral, or spiritual “people”) to have what we want. They are sovereign, and we respect their sovereignty as we express our own.

We Believe in Connection

Intimacy is hard! It requires vulnerability and honesty. Quite often, it requires forgiveness. Nobody wants to risk being hurt, so it’s often easier to be superficial, hang back, and withhold your truth. Unfortunately, you can’t engage much from there. So modern animism is risky. The reward is that we live in relationship with the world around us. By letting our roots spread out into the many realms (plant, animal, human, spirit, and mineral), we have a much stronger foundation. We’re bend more easily during the tough times and feel less alone.

We Clean Up Our Mess

I can’t say that this is universally true of modern animists, but when you are aware of your connections, you’re more likely to clean up after yourself. I am mostly talking about emotional baggage, but also the physical space around you. If I am tweaked by something, that shows me where I still need healing. That’s a sovereignty issue. That’s for me to deal with. So, I clean it up. If it’s intergenerational, my family benefits too. My community benefits. Everyone benefits! So, we leave the world a better place than when we found it.

We Take Our Time

Being authentic means looking at hard, deep stuff. Most people want what’s easy, quick, and fun. Modern animism is a lifestyle. It takes a long time to reprogram ourselves out of the commercial, me-me-me, image driven values of modern society. It takes a long time to develop a relationship with the land, animals, ourselves, our people, and the rest of creation. Healing is a process. So, it’s not about immediate gratification or goals. It’s about the experience.

We Are Holistic

Some spiritual not religious folks focus on the wow factor of crystals, tarot cards, or meditation. They like the flash and tricks of being able to do something unique. That becomes the focus of their spirituality.

Or some like to keep their spirituality more philosophical or intellectual. It’s not something that they do. It’s something that they think.

That’s cool, but at Pan Society, we’re in it for the big picture. There is more to animism than rituals or talking to the dead. In fact, your version of it may not include any of that. It’s more about removing the barriers between mind, body, and spirit. It’s about showing the sacredness of life in your speech, relationships, eating, play – everything. Spirit isn’t in one thing. It’s in everything.

The bottom line is modern animism might look like too much work for some people. It could be too hard. If so, it’s okay if it’s not for you. Your path is the right path. It may lead here some day, and it may not. However you choose to lead your life is just fine. Be you.

Cultivating Cultural Competency in Spirituality

cultural competency

On September 13, 2007, the The United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It says in part

Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.

If this is something that you believe in, it’s time to talk about cultivating cultural competency in spirituality.

Many pagans and animists look to their indigenous past for guidelines on how to practice their spirituality. And we all have animist roots if we look back far enough. However, when we superimpose modern, western ideals on top of indigenous practices and ideas, they can become distorted. We can even end up destroying what we claim to love. Here are some examples.

Misuse of Language

Christopher Columbus came to the new world in search of a shorter route to India. He called the people he found Indians. They already had names. Despite this huge error and living in an age where we say we are enlightened, we still call them Indians. I think we can all see how disrespectful that is.

My name is pretty simple name, yet it’s frequently mispronounced. When that happens, I always correct the speaker. Calling things by their right names is honoring what they are. Venus is not Aphrodite. Lammas is not Lughnasadh. One is Anglo-Saxon and Christian. One is Celtic and pagan. There are many similarities, but the time and culture matter! If we want to communicate clearly, we have to use the right words and pronounce them correctly.

Some LGBTQ use the Native American term “two spirit” to describe their sexuality. This is a Native American term that is not synonymous with LGBTQ. “Two spirit” is role within a cultural. If you are not in that culture, you can’t fulfill that role.

This isn’t something that used to happen. It’s still happening. “Shamanism” is a hugely popular business these days. The term is usually used to refer to the animist spiritual practices of tribal people, but there is only one tribe who practices shamanism – the Evenk people. Q’eros are called paqos. In Mongolia it’s called Tengerism. The Zulu call their spirit walker sangoma. Each community has a different name and practice.

If I said, “All ______ people look alike” I think most people would see how offensive that is. Yet when we call all spirit walkers “shamans,” we negate their uniqueness and destroy reality. The lie becomes the truth. You can’t just pick up words, take them out of their context, and communicate clearly.

Adopting Customs For Which We Have No Ancestral Basis

Many of us are cut off from our ancestors. Heck, we don’t even like the living family that we have. So we can go from culture to culture saying, “Are you my mommy?” as we look for a place to belong. We all need to belong somewhere. Fostering is a legitimate spiritual tradition. However, when you pick up someone else’s traditions without having roots to that tradition, you could be pretending. You could be destroying what you say you love.

For example, the awareness of spirit animals is rising in popularity now. There is nothing wrong with that. Everyone has spirit helpers that come in the form of humans, animals, angels, extraterrestrials, entities, and/or mythological creatures. However, some people are also using the term “totem” to mean the same thing. They are not the same thing.

A totem belongs to a clan. If you don’t have a clan, you can’t have a totem. Period. Spirituality belongs to everyone. All traditions and practices do not. They are bounded by beliefs and practices that are steeped in community. Taking things in isolation distorts them. While everything evolves, it is the right of those who practice these things to influence their evolution. When outsiders do it through ignorance, it’s becomes modern day colonialism. Instead of destroying the people by war and violence, we do it through commerce and distortion of traditions.

“I’m Saving the Culture”

I have heard many people defend these types of practices by saying, “I’m saving the culture.” These cultures survived the encroachment of the west through isolation. Encroaching on them, buying their goods, and commercializing their spiritual ceremonies is not “saving them.” We are not entitled to someone else’s life. Making ourselves feel better by giving them money doesn’t make us “even.”

And what about the destruction of ancient spiritual places? These places also withstood the ravages of time only to be invaded by hoards seeking healing. They were never designed for buses or the trash and footsteps of thousands. Because of our craving for salvation and the money to pay for it, we may destroy a culture’s treasures.

Creating Cultural Competency

If you want a deep, meaningful, personal spiritual practice that includes cultural competency, here are some suggestions:

  • Get to know your ancestors. Go back before those whose names you remember. Having a relationship with them is creating a foundation for your life and your spiritual practice. Everything needs a foundation. I also think that once you truly know them, you won’t need to look outside of your tribe. We all have fascinating people behind us.
  • Be a student. Go deep. Don’t be content with a superficial understanding of something. If you aren’t getting complete information that includes enough context for you to see how it fits within the web of life, you probably don’t understand it well enough to use it yet. Keep learning. Learn holistically. See how a thing smells, tastes, feels, looks, and sounds. Ask why. Learn from competent teachers. How do they know what they are telling you?
  • Be in community. This creates context and gives meaning to your spiritual practice. You can’t be in the web of life without connection. Use this community to celebrate, support, reflect, give, receive, ask questions, and live. If you don’t have one, join ours or create your own.
  • Be a visitor. When you are learning from others who are outside your culture, be a visitor. Don’t act as an ambassador for them. Let them tell their own stories. Don’t teach their traditions. Don’t sell them. Use them. Learn from them. Discuss them with others, but don’t act as if they are yours. Know that you are an outsider. This is an act of respect and shows healthy boundaries. “Leave no trace” is a good guideline when visiting landscapes and cultures.
  • If you are speaking about something, use the correct terminology. When you want to be general, generic terms are okay. If you are speaking specifically, be specific. Do you mean “Nights are long, winter nights are long, or Monday nights are long?” Honor the differences. If you have blended something, call it by a different name.
  • It’s not easy to separate ourselves from our culture. When visiting someone else’s do your best to view things through their eyes. Don’t impose western entitlement or commercialism onto others. Think in terms of “how can I further this relationship” and “how can I be in this experience” vs. “what’s in it for me” or “how can I exploit this for my personal or financial gain” and things will be fine.
  • Remember that just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Money and privilege buys access. Some are willing to sell sacred experiences and wisdom that you have not earned. Act responsibly.

Cultural competency is really just about being mindful and meeting people where they are. It’s about checking your neediness, judgment, and entrepreneur hat at the door and letting yourself connect.

Author’s note: Sorry about the divisive language in the linked article. I don’t support that type of thinking. However, the ideas about how spiritual tourism destroys the environment and culture are sound.

It’s Not About the Rituals

Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

I get a lot of requests for rituals. That’s awesome. I am glad people are interested in this. I am happy to share rituals, but I’ve got to tell you something. Animism is not about the rituals.

Did you know that one third of all lottery winners declare bankruptcy? Do you know why? I think it’s for the same reason that spirituality is not about the rituals. Because you can’t change in inside by changing the outside, and any method that skyrockets you beyond a growth point is likely to end in disillusion. Why? Because we didn’t create the foundation to support it.

This is the same thing with manifestation. Some people are great at manifesting. They can manifest all sorts of things really quickly, but if you look closely, they don’t seem to manifest a way of sustaining their gains. Again it’s because there is no foundation.

Let’s take a look at this. If you can’t find a partner, ask yourself why. What is going on in your life that is creating conditions where love that is likely. Do you have walls so high and thick that no one can get in? Is your life too full with other things that there is no space for someone? Do you give your time to unavailable people? Do you give your time to people who aren’t healthy enough to love you back? There is always a reason why things are the way they are.

So to bring it back to spirituality, if you are looking for spiritual meaning through doing rituals, chanting, learning healing, or learning how to speak with the dead, you’re focusing on the what shows up on the outside. If there is nothing inside to support it, it’s eventually going to feel empty because it is. Going through the process of learning and connecting creates the change on the inside. It grounds your practice.

So here is my advice. Read pagan mythology. Learn about pagan symbols so that you can understand the stories and the natural world. Talk to your elders. Get to know your ancestry. Watch. Participate. Ask questions.

Learn about what each step of rituals mean. Create your own rituals so that they are meaningful to you. Be a student. Find a community. Get a mentor. In other words, grow some roots. Whatever you put on top of them will flourish if you give it a strong foundation.

That said, I will get cracking on those ritual requests! Thanks for asking. It’s our pleasure.

Working With the Element of Fire

working with the element of fire

With summer coming to a close and the wildfires burning in Siberia, the Amazon, and 1255 wildfires burning in the USA, I thought it was a good time to talk about working with the element of Fire. We all know that Fire is about power, transformation, will, and action. Most westerners do that part very well. In fact, we are called the Fire People.

But everything has a yin and a yang. The other side of fire is responsibility. If you look at the wildfire situation, I am sure at least some of those fires could have been avoided had someone exercised more responsibility. Without balance, Fire can take on very destructive qualities. Anything out of balance can be damaging.

Working with the element of Fire means allowing your ideas (Air element) to come to life. Put some effort and diligence (Earth) behind them to manifest them. Without the Earth, they are just wishes (Air). Add your love/emotion (Water) and you’ve created something holistic.

Yet our dreams have to be grounded in responsibility. Power run amok leads to violations of Sovereignty. We all have a responsibility to consider the impact of our actions on our fellow human beings and our brothers in the plant, animal, mineral, and Spirit kingdoms. We are not alone. Animism sees us in the web of life. What we do ripples out into the world in ways that are unseen. When our actions are grounded in love and responsibility, those unintended consequences tend to be positive and life giving.

So many people want to be chief. They want power. They want to be able to call the shots and not be subject to anyone else’s will because they are afraid of vulnerability. So they may grab or utilize power in ways that are not healthy or in ways that they are not yet ready for. Here are some examples:

  • parentified children
  • nepotism
  • unearned privilege (maleness, being part of the majority culture)
  • buying titles, positions, or experiences that they did not earn
  • deliberately keeping others out or down
  • holding positions of authority like judge, policeman, politician,

Here are some examples of how power (Fire) is abused:

Cyclists speed along a path designed for hikers expecting the hikers to hear them and make way even though the hikers have the right of way.

A driver cruises in the left hand lane preventing others from using it as a passing lane.

A college applicant with lower grades gets into prestigious school over one with higher grades because his parent went to that school.

A professor makes Buddhist and Asian jokes and dismisses it by saying “You know I don’t mean it.”

The drunk driver kills someone and gets off with a suspended sentence because he has a fabulous lawyer.

A workplace has a culture where men expect women to clean up after them, get them coffee, tolerate sexual innuendo and being touched.

A boss suddenly extends his vacation leaving his subordinate to work late to cover his duties.

A teacher asks his student for a hug. The student doesn’t want to, but doesn’t feel like she can refuse.

Someone offers a spiritual ritual for sale that is normally closed to outsiders and even some people in that culture, but they have the money, so they can participate.

The person that you’re dating wants sex. It’s too uncomfortable to say no so you go along with it even though you don’t want to.

Power works both ways. It’s up to both people to stand in their power and use their Fire well. However, when the power is unequal, it’s up to the person with more power to look out for the interests of those with less power. That’s what leadership is all about. That’s what the right use of power and healthy boundaries are about.

So, while summer is still here and the fires are raging around the world, use that energy to check in with how you are using your power. Be honest. You may think that you’re in good relationship with others. Look at your behavior to be sure. Look at the way people respond to you for clues. It is not about words or feelings. We are blind to our own stuff. If you want to know how you are using your power, look at your behavior.

Ask for feedback. If you need to make changes, do that. We’re near the Fall Equinox. It’s time for change. The force is with you.

Whom Do You Serve?

whom do you serve

Mahatma Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others.” Service also a great way to practice animism. It helps you to share your gifts (sovereignty) and connect with others. So, whom do you serve?

In the old days, service was the hallmark of a lady. Rich women would check on the welfare of the poor, take them baskets of food, or tend to the sick. Today it’s rare to find someone who doesn’t have food or medicine. So, everyone in the west has resources and time to serve others. This act could be in the service of the human, plant, animal, or mineral kingdoms. Here are some ideas.

Serving the Human Kingdom

Humans have all sorts of needs that might also suit your interests, skills, and talents. Donating money  is obvious and requires minimal effort. Lots of charities do great work and need funding, so it’s not a bad idea. If you want to get more personal, you could volunteer to teach people how to read. There are lots of organizations that lead trips to under developed communities to help with housing, medical care, and other basic needs. Some of these trips are domestic. Others are overseas.

If you are a musician, storyteller, or dancer, you could consider entertaining at an assisted living facility. I’ve participated in healing circles at assisted living facilities so you could even do that. If direct giving is more your cup of tea, you can help support some of the poorest families in this country. You can buy clothing, food, heating, school supplies, or diapers and give it directly to the recipient.

Serving the Plant Kingdom

Most of us don’t think of serving the plant kingdom. If you are a gardener or landscaper, you’re probably already doing that when you condition the soil, clean up trash, and use conservation policies when you are out in Nature. Other ways to help are to compost garbage, minimize your consumption, plant trees, conserve water, use biodegradable products, minimize chemical use, and learn about how the plants contribute to the circle of life. The more you know, the more you appreciate and protect. If you’d like to donate to a charity whose purpose is to protect habitat, plant trees, or engage in other plant loving goals, check out Charity Watch. They rate charities so that you know your money is going to the work, not the organization.

Serving the Animal Kingdom

There are lots of animal issues that need to be addressed: cruelty, pet abandonment, breeding, loss of habitat, extinction, and pollution to name a few. Every community has an SPCA that needs volunteers to walk dogs, socialize them, and clean kennels. You could create a wildlife sanctuary in your yard. (Educate yourself first on how your plans may impact the balance of Nature to avoid unintended consequences). You could create a butterfly or bee garden to give them food.

Be a good pet owner. Adopt if you can. Only have as many as you can care for. Some communities have a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program for feral cats. You could volunteer to help with that. I’ve done this several times. We neutered or spayed at least one hundred cats each day. That makes a huge difference in the stray cat population. If you find a wild animal who appears to be hurt, call your local animal rescue hotline. Well meaning people have taken perfectly fine babies away from their mothers, so educate yourself before you remove an animal from its home.

Serving the Mineral Kingdom

I know most people don’t think of the mineral kingdom as being alive. So, they don’t have strategies for serving. For the most part, the mineral kingdom can take care of itself. It just needs us to not interfere. Some things you can do to help are:

  • remove your trash from parks, beaches, or any outdoor areas.
  • don’t take sand, rocks or anything as souvenirs. Leave everything where you found it.
  • think about where earth based products, like precious metals, crystals, coal, natural gas, and precious stones, come from. Consider that when purchasing or using them. Conserve. Source responsibly.
  • volunteer as part of a trash clean up crew or a crew that removes invasive, non-native plant species from parks or public areas
  • avoid the use of chemicals on the land and near waterways
  • limit motorized water sports
  • educate yourself about the creation and life cycle of soil, planets, rocks, stars, air, and water. This will help to build an appreciate of how they contribute to and impact your life. We protect what we care for.

Reciprocity is missing in a lot of spiritual practices, yet it’s a necessary component for flourishing. So many people are lonely and isolated. They are afraid to give. Or maybe they fear there is not enough. Look around. The Earth is abundant. You have so much. The plant, animal, and mineral kingdoms give freely. They serve us. Whom do you serve? What will you give back?

Bee Lore and Spirituality

bee lore

About ten years ago, I stopped by the beekeepers area at the state fair. They didn’t tell me about bee lore. Instead they blew my mind with all the interesting stories about colony collapse disorder, the importance of bees to the planet, and most of all honey flavors. I decided then and there to become a beekeeper. I wanted to be a part of saving the honey bees. The next spring, I got my first two hives.

Colony Collapse Disorder

In 2006, lots of beekeepers reported bees abandoning their queen. That year, beekeepers lost 30 to 90% of their hives. This just doesn’t happen. The queen is everything. She is the future of the hive. Why would bees suddenly leave lots of honey, pollen, and brood with few workers to care for them? This means death! Pesticides, varroa mite infestation, and poor nutrition (due to monocrop cultivation) are blamed for the problem.

Bees as Pollinators

As honey bees gather pollen and nectar, they go from plant to plant. Some plants, like almonds, depend almost entirely on bees to stay alive and produce food. Blueberries and cherries are 90% dependent upon bees for pollination. Seventy out of the top one hundred food crops rely on bees for pollination. Honey bees produce about $20 billion in crop production annually. No bees, no food. So beekeeping is an incredibly important business or hobby.

Varietal Honeys

Farmers rent bees for the time that their plants are in bloom to ensure a good crop. When the bees collect pollen from only one type of plant, their honey picks up the colors and flavors of that plant. This is how we get thyme, blueberry, orange, clover, buckwheat, locust, and tupelo honeys. These are natural flavors, not flavors that are added afterwards like mint. When the honey is produced naturally with whatever is growing within the two miles around the hive, it’s called wildflower honey. It’s a mix.

Bee Lore

If you’re not a beekeeper or honey enthusiast, you might not know those things. If you don’t have bees, you probably don’t know that there is all sorts of spiritual lore associated with them too. See? Life’s holistic! It’s not just practical, but spiritual too. Here is some of the bee lore from around the world.

  • Bees are messengers of the Otherworld. They can travel back and forth, bringing messages from the gods and the dead.
  • If a bee flies into your house, it’s good luck.
  • If a bee lands on a baby’s mouth, he will be  great speaker or storyteller.
  • Scottish Highlanders believed that the soul left the body when sleeping in the form of a bee.
  • Bees are family members. They need to be informed of special events like births, weddings, and deaths. This is especially true if it is the beekeeper’s death. To fail to do so invites bad luck. The bees carry these messages to the Otherworld.
  • Bees don’t like harsh words. Never quarrel in front of a beehive. When tending the hive, use low, soothing tones.
  • If bees rest on your roof, good luck is coming. The 180,000 bees who lived in the roof of Notre Dame slept during the recent fire and survived!
  • Never sell a hive. You can barter or give it away. It’s bad luck to sell them. They don’t like this.
  • Many cultures consider the bee holy by many because of its service. Worker bees spend their lives working for the survival of the hive.
  • Bees are symbols of wisdom, discernment, service, creative imagination, desire, fine character, and royalty.
  • Ancient Egyptians believed bees came from the tears of the sun god, Ra.
  • Bees reflect reciprocity. They sting to defend their queen and honey. They pay for this with their lives.
  • If a bee lands on your hand, money is coming.
  • Mead (made from honey) and honey are medicinal. People all over the world use honey for healing and have for centuries.
  • In ancient Egypt, people often left honey as a gift for the dead.
  • Ancient Mycenaens buried kings and queens in beehive shaped tombs.

Bees also reflect the Pan Society path of sovereignty, connection, and Oneness. There are three roles for bees: workers, drones, and queens. Each is true to itself. Drones fertilize queens. The queen lays eggs. Workers clean the hive, gather nectar and pollen, feed the queen, drones, and larvae, and make wax. In this way, they all contribute to the survival of the hive. Unlike humans who all want to be queens, they don’t try to be who they are not.

Workers are 75% related to each other, so perhaps this is why they are so dedicated to the collective. Whatever the reason, by being who they were born to be, they cement their connection and leave the path open to Oneness. It’s animism in motion! If you want to know how to be, just look at Nature. As within, so without.

Are you a beekeeper? What stories have you heard? What have you seen? Share so we can all learn together!

Are You a Spiritual Expert or Student?

spiritual student

I’ve traveled all over the world and had some amazing, uplifting spiritual experiences. Yet the one that has probably made the biggest impact was when I visited an animist community.  I grew up animist, but lived in a modern, western community. Having people all around me who lived their beliefs and all believed in the same thing was life changing.

Here I learned the value of community. Not just my family, ancestors, and neighbors, but the people, plants, animals, and minerals who share the planet with me. The Sun, Moon, and stars are sacred. Everything is sacred. Experiencing this expanded my whole being.

There they don’t talk about respecting Mother Earth because it’s  redundant. Everyone knows this. So, they just do it. 

They don’t have to discuss the wheel of life or how it works because they know it. They are deeply connected to the seasons. The seasons live within them. The Water, Air, Earth, and Fire are conscious forces that shape their lives. When they are out of balance, they adjust the elements. If they can’t, they appeal to their ancestors or gods to help.

It’s a place where values and wisdom trump education. They live with humility, gratitude, reciprocity, respect, and honesty. A person who doesn’t display these values could never lead despite how many degrees they have or how much money they have. No amount of advertising could ever give them a following. They don’t fall prey to slick talk because they are deeply rooted and are not lost.

In the west, information is king. We sell workshops on how to get rich quick, how to make money from home in your pajamas, and how to be a rich, spiritual guru. The “spiritual expert” thinks he can just walk in, buy this education, bypass the experience, and sell it or teach it to hoards of the  hungry. A holistic spiritual path is a path of mind, body, and spirit, not just doing some techniques and memorizing some words. Without the values to back it up, it’s not really animism. It’s consumer spirituality. 

Your life path is your choice. No path is wrong, but if what you’ve been doing doesn’t work, try something new. Try the path of the spiritual student. Hold on to that beginner’s mind even as you gain in wisdom. Be open to learning something new and being proven wrong. Humility, open mindedness, and open heartedness are gifts of the spiritual student. Try it. Let me know how it goes.