The Animist Hack Everyone Should Know

animist hack

Creating sovereignty and connection isn’t second nature. In fact, it can be downright impossible if you aren’t aware of this animist hack that everyone should know. To make it easy from the get go, I’m going to give it to you right here.

We Are Set Up To Fail

The first thing you should know is that our society sets us up to fail. So, if you are following the mainstream path, you’re never going to break free. The system is based on competition and fear so that people in power keep power. This creates a system of master and servant.

This permeates every aspect of our society – churches, businesses, families, politics, romantic relationships – everything. The key to sovereignty is to see this dynamic and stop playing the game.

The Hero, Victim, Oppressor Triangle

In this system, everyone has a role. They are either Hero, Victim, or Oppressor. These roles are not static. They can change based on circumstances. For example, I might be the victim of my parents’ heavy handed rules, but I might be the hero of the family when I excel in school. As long as we’re playing our parts, the triangle is maintained and we stay in a master/servant relationship.

Meet the Victim

The Victim is the one who relinquishes power. It’s the “poor me” position. She sees herself as a victimized, powerless, oppressed, hopeless, helpless, and without responsibility for the situation.

Meet the Hero

The Hero is the one who takes responsibility for the Victim. He feels good, strong, and powerful by saving others. He may even feel guilty if he’s not helping, so this is compulsive behavior. Another term for this guy is the Enabler.

Meet the Oppressor

This may sound like a match made in Heaven for he Hero and Victim because they both get their needs met. Unfortunately, being a Victim can create low self esteem. So the Victim can push back against an attitude of “You can’t do it. You’re helpless.”

Being a Hero can feel like a burden too. He can feel unappreciated, overworked, and doesn’t have time to take care of his own needs. So he eventually melts down or blows up. When either of these things happen, that person moves to the Oppressor position. (The Oppressor may also be an outside third party – like a parent or political party – that the Victim and Hero take a stand against).

The Oppressor is the one who takes the “This is your fault!” position. He blames, yells, and criticizes, but doesn’t actually take any action to solve problems. The Oppressor uses guilt, manipulation, shame, confusion, and insults to maintain his power.

A Hero can’t be a Hero without an oppressor. A Victim can’t be a Victim without an oppressor. So all roles have to be established for the triangle to continue.

The Triangle in Motion

To make this more clear, let’s walk through an example to see how this works.

“Sheila” and “Guy” are “the perfect couple.” She is a princess (Victim) that Guy (Hero) loves to spoil. He works hard and keeps her in comfort all day. This makes her feel very special.

One day Guy comes home from work. There is no food in the house. Guy says, “Do you think that you could just once go to the grocery store? I cook every night. I don’t ask you to clean up or make dinner, but is it too much to ask to not have to do everything?” (Oppressor)

Sheila responds, “You’ve got some nerve! You act like I contribute nothing. What about all the times that I sit here with your mother. Do you think I like doing that? I could be spending my time in so many other ways than hanging out with her. You have no idea how much time I spend doing things for you!” (Oppressor)

After a few minutes of this, Sheila breaks down and starts to cry. (Victim) Guy responds, “Oh, baby! No, no, no! I am sorry! It’s not that serious. We can just order out. I don’t want you to cry. It’s fine. It’s fine. Let me just get some take out. (Hero)

And each person goes back to their most comfortable role and the Hero, Victim, Oppressor triangle is intact.

Other Examples

Other examples that may be more relatable to your life are:

  • One parent who is very strict (Oppressor). The other (Hero) who goes behind her back to soothe the child (Victim).
  • A demanding, disorganized, difficult boss (Oppressor). The overworked secretary is the Victim when she is working hard to keep up with the boss’s demands. She’s the Hero when she saves the boss from his poor planning.
  • The alcoholic (Victim and Oppressor). The supportive partner plays the Victim when he’s complaining about how the alcoholic is hurting her. When she’s rescuing him from his mistakes or making it easy for him to drink, she takes on the Hero role.

The Animist Hack

There is a way out of this. The animist hack is to practice Sovereignty and Connection at the same time. One without the other doesn’t cut it.

Sovereignty is about knowing who you are. Sticking to your values. Taking responsibility for what is yours without blaming or condemning. It’s stepping into your power and using it while maintaining healthy boundaries. It’s also about not allowing others to make something your responsibility when it’s not.

In victory, we allow others to maintain their dignity so that we can stay cordial and connected. In defeat, we admit our wrongs, apologize, and make it right without either going too far overboard or holding a grudge.

We’re only Victims by our own permission. You are not inadequate. You may be unskilled, unsupported, or not confident, but nobody who takes a stand is a Victim. If you don’t have skills, learn them. If you don’t feel supported, cultivate connections.

A humble Hero is no hero at all. When he cares for someone, he doesn’t do it to feel worthy. He knows he’s already worthy. When he helps, does it because he cares and is connected to his family and community. And it’s help. He doesn’t rescue. His self esteem is such that he doesn’t need outside validation to know he’s worthy.

When someone is ugly or mean, we let that be about them, not us. When we do that, they are not oppressing us. They are harming themselves. This doesn’t mean that their actions don’t negatively impact us. Negativity impacts all of us – especially the creator of it – because we are One. So have a care what you put out, circulate, and allow into your energy bubble.

Connection is about allowing others the space to be sovereign. It’s sometimes about agreeing to disagree. Sometimes it’s about teamwork and solidarity. It’s always about remembering the big picture – that is that we are all One. We don’t have to be the same. We allow our differences to enrich us, not make us insecure or detract from us.

A Tip From Nature

In animism we look to Nature to guide us. So to take a tip from nature, let’s look at horses that pull carriages or dogs that pull a sleigh. Did you see Ben Hur? It’s not natural for animals to work together in a coordinated way. They’re wild. They are sovereign. They have to be trained to do this.

While tribal humans have figured out how to do this, “civilized” ones have not. If we want to be masters of our own fate while being a part of a tribe, we have to learn how to do this too. Otherwise we’re always at the mercy of our roles, and we can’t truly, honestly, or deeply engage with other people or Nature. So let’s pull together.

Why Teamwork is the Key to Getting Through the Contagion and Life

teamwork

Have you heard of the “Red or Black” game? It’s perfect for showing why teamwork is the key to getting through the corona virus contagion and life. It’s very simple. The objective is to finish the game with the most points. There are two teams and five rounds. All each team has to do is choose red or black.

Points are awarded as follows:

  • If Team A and Team B choose red, both teams lose 5 points.
  • If Team A chooses red and Team B chooses black, Team A gains 10 points, and Team B loses 10 points.
  • When Team A chooses black and Team B chooses red, Team B gains 10 points, and team A loses 10 points.
  • If Team A and Team B choose black, both teams gain 3 points.

In the game of life, red is a vote for me, black is a vote for we.

We are all playing this game every day whether we know it or not, only with a multitude of players. Let’s walk through it to show you what I mean.

Round One

A goes into the store and buys a truckload of toilet paper that sits in a closet. He’s reserving the option to sell it for $5 a roll. He is effectively choosing red.

B either doesn’t have any because A bought it all or takes one pack so that others can have some. She’s choosing black.

Score at the end of round one. A: 10, B: -10.

Round Two

A and B are both stir crazy. They can’t go to the gym because it’s closed. They have both heard that sunshine is good for the immune system.

A takes the family to a crowded park, let’s the kids play on the swing set, then stops off at the grocery store on the way home to save time. He is effectively choosing red again.

B goes into her backyard with a chair and a book and sits in the sun. She’s effectively choosing black again.

Score at the end of round two. A: 20, B -20.

Round Three

A and B are feeling isolated and alone.

A calls a couple friends over to drink beer and watch a movie. After all it’s just three people. A is choosing red again.

B hosts a virtual watch party with friends. B is choosing black again.

Score at the end of round three. A: 30, B -30.

Round Four

It’s been two weeks now of social distancing. They both having mild symptoms, yet both live paycheck to paycheck and need their jobs to continue paying rent and eating. A didn’t contemplate calling a doctor. B did but was told that she wasn’t sick enough to get tested. Both continued to go to work, effectively choosing red.

Score at the end of round four. A: 25, B -35

Round Five

Both A and B have elderly neighbors. A has a stockpile of food and supplies, but doesn’t share. He also doesn’t offer to go to the store for them or help them in any way. Once again, A chooses red. B doesn’t have a lot to share, but checks on them and helps them out when she can. Once again B chooses black.

Score at the end of round five. A: 35, B-45.

Winning the Game

Now, it may seem like A won the game. He did what he wanted to do and has the most points. However, the objective of the game isn’t to see which team ends the game with the most points. It is to end the game with the most points. That takes teamwork. A gained 35, but B lost 45, so the net total is -10.

If all it takes to “win” is +1, A lost the game for everyone each time he made a play because he consistently ignored the big picture. He chose “me” over “we” every time.

Sovereignty is about me. It’s about carrying my weight, making myself happy, stepping into my power and truth, and being the best I can be. Connection is about living in relationship with everyone and everything else.

I can’t have connection if my sovereignty comes at the cost of the team. I have to give as much as I take and support as much as a lean on them. Every time I choose me over we, we all lose. If I give it all away and take nothing, that’s a loss, too. It has to be me and we. We are in this life together. We need a balance of sovereignty and connection, not one or the other.

Life is teamwork. As children we are dependent. The adults carry our weight. When we are adults, we carry the children and pay it forward so that when we are elderly, we can lean on others without being a burden. We’ve already provided those behind us with the guidance and resources to help them help us. That’s teamwork. Everyone is cared for.

Another way to look at it is trust vs. fear. Making a black move is living in trust. Red is living in fear. Fear is infectious. Fear makes people move into their protective, taker space. It contracts our hearts and spreads mistrust. Trust opens, inspires, connects, and encourages growth and happiness. Where do you want to live? Who do you want to be? Think about that the next time you make a move. It matters.

Practicing Connection During the Outbreak

practicing connection

When fear breaks out, people can respond by lashing out, becoming emotional and irrational, and hiding from the world. Don’t forget your humanity. Humans are social creatures. We need each other. Together we can get through anything. So here are some ideas for practicing connection during the outbreak.

Spread Hope

I saw a video that was shot on balconies in northern Italy. The people were singing to each other. Italy is suffering a horrible medical catastrophe and people are singing to each other. Things like this keep hope alive. Laughter, smiles, love, and song keep the immune system strong. It keeps our connections strong. No matter what, love each other. We all have a choice whether we are going to be Badluck Shleprock or a beacon of hope. Spread hope.

Check on Your People

How are your people doing? Do you have elderly neighbors who need food, medication, or their grass cut? Can you help? What about your distant family? Do they need something? You know, sometimes something as simple as a phone call can brighten someone’s day. Is there a senior center nearby that needs something? What about a homeless shelter? If you don’t know of anyone personally who needs help, check out Pine Ridge. The needs there are always desperate and grow even moreso in times like these.

Do Your Part

We each have a mission in life. Doing your part helps to keep the wheel of life spinning. If you opt out, someone else will have to do their part and yours. Participate. I know it’s tempting to give up, but we need everyone to show up.

Share

I’ve been paying attention to social media posts and comparing it to what I see in my local area. It seems that there are great disparities from place to place. I am not 100% sure about what’s going on, but it seems that low income areas have higher incidents of shortages and panic. If you have resources, skills, or knowledge that you can share with people who have less, share. It’s really that simple. There is enough to go around if we share.

Practice Kindness

While grocery shopping recently, the store was more crowded than I’ve ever seen it. The shelves were more bare, and yet people seemed to be going out of their way to be kind. Cashiers were cheerful. Customers were patient. Some held the door open to others. No one was hoarding or grabbing for anything. There was plenty for everyone.

One brusque person can set off a storm of ugliness that infects the whole bunch. Fortunately, a single act of kindness can do the same thing. Practice random acts of kindness. It helps us to stay connected.

Believe

Jim Butcher said, “Magic comes from what’s inside you. It’s part of you. You can’t weave together a spell you don’t believe in.”

It’s easy to descend into negativity when under stress. Darkness can test your faith. Believe. Darkness is the womb that births new things. If you go dark now, what is birthed will be more darkness. Believe. Believe in a brighter day, connection, love, health, life, hope, kindness, and renewal. The sun always returns. We all create tomorrow together. Staying connected in a loving way births lovely things.

Practicing connection is always part of the modern animist lifestyle. Practicing connection when the chips are down defines us. It’s easy to do anything when it asks nothing of you and when you are doing well. It’s not so easy when there are reasons not to. Connect because it’s what you believe in. It’s who you are.

I Am That

I am that

Have you ever had your DNA analyzed? If so, you know that it can be a great way to realize “I am that.” “That”, of course, is everything. So, it can help you realize the Oneness that you already are. How?

Recent Ancestral Story

The first thing it does is illuminate your recent ancestral story. If you get your DNA run by ancestry sites, they really focus on the last two to three hundred years. The accuracy depends on the amount of data that scientists have to compare your DNA to. For example, if you are light skinned, they are going to have lots more data to compare than if you have more melanin. Still, many people can only go back two generations, so this provides a lot of new illuminating information.

For example, a friend’s mother told her that her father was Middle Eastern. Her DNA revealed that her recent ancestors were 100% from the British Isles. Another friend’s family lore said that they were Native American. Nope! She actually got her tawny huge from the Middle East. Many white supremacists are surprised to find that they actually have pigment in their family tree.

Nobody is “ethnically pure.” There is no such thing. In fact, the last two hundred years of our family history is often very different from what our oral history and imagination tells us. Knowing the facts can help to erase misconceptions, broaden your view of identity, and anchor you in your bones.

Get the Stories

Once you have some hard facts, you can research the stories. If your ancestors were a part of literate empires (versus pre-literate tribal cultures), there are often great records that can be uncovered.

I am fortunate that my father has uncovered thousands of family connections stretching back a thousand years in one line. If you are lucky, you can connect to someone who has done the same and save yourself a ton of work. Check out ancestry.com or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 

As I look at my family tree, I see criminals, incest, philanthrope, genius, slaves, slave owners, people who successfully resisted colonialism, soldiers, generals, poverty, wealth, business owners, unwed parents, alcoholics, musicians, and religious zealots. I see strength, beauty, and challenges. The rainbow of stories that suggests I am everything. I am that.

Archaic DNA

If you pop your raw DNA results into Gedmatch, you can analyze your archaic DNA. This story goes where the paper trail dies. It can provide a fascinating look at human migration as well as your ancestral story. For example, as I look at my archaic DNA, I see that I have Denisovan ancestry. Denisovan people lived in a cave in Siberia between 55,000 and 287,000 years ago! That’s a long way from where their descendant’s footsteps lead.

I also share DNA with the Kennewick man! Kennewick man is the remains of the oldest Native American DNA in North America. He lived in what is now Washington state 8,500 years ago. That goes back way before oral family history or recorded records. This type of data can give you such a broader picture of who your people were and who you are.

For me, it’s humbling. Although I deeply connect to my culture and recent dead, this stretches my roots much deeper into the soil, my bones, and eternity. It brings to mind a quote from Caligula.

I have existed from the morning of the world and I shall exist until the last star falls from the night.

Wow! I am that. …and you are too.

If you look at your family tree and all you can see is nuts, look beyond that. There is much more to you than your recent dead. There are apples, oaks, cedars, yews, mimosas, redwoods, pines, hawthorns, cherries, and everything imaginable.

The next time you have a bad moment, remember that within you is the DNA of people who traveled widely, escaped misery, loved, died, and conquered fear. Within you is the love of thousands who came together to create you. Before that, we were all stardust. So imagine what adventures lie ahead!

For me, remembering my ancestors is about remembering who I am. Staying connected to who I am keeps me grounded, humble, and compassionate towards those who are suffering with ignorance, want, greed, and fear. I am that. Sometimes I forget and live there too. Many generations within me did too. All it takes for me to change things up is to remember that I am light and dark. I can then choose where I want to stand today.

Note: Scientists took DNA from Havasupai tribal members for a diabetes study, then used it for other purposes. FamilyTreeDNA secretly used information in its database to catch criminals. Be sure that you are fully aware of how your DNA can be used before signing consent for any DNA test.

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.

If a Tree Falls and No One Hears It, Does It Make a Sound?

if a tree falls

“I hope you have your hiking shoes on,” he said.

I looked at him quizzically and responded, “Why, do I need them?”

He replied, “There is a downed tree ahead. You can shimmy over it if you are adventurous, but I’d turn back.” Curious, I strode on.

I could smell it before I saw it. The strong scent of freshly torn wood and leaves indicated that it was massive and the damage was thorough. One look confirmed that that was true. The leaves hadn’t even begun to wilt in the hot sun yet. This just happened.

A thin, wrinkled man stood by gazing up at what remained of the trunk as if in disbelief. Then a chatty couple came by and carefully made their way over and through the wreckage. “Hm! Love that smell”, the man said as they walked by.

I searched around for whatever Nature could provide to fashion an altar. After a quick but sincere prayer of gratitude to the oak for it’s shade, shelter, and life, I began to clear the path of debris. Thankfully the tree was hollow and it hit the ground hard. When it landed, it shattered into many manageable pieces.

The man who was standing nearby said, “Maybe I could get my chain saw tomorrow. Someone ought to do something about this. I wouldn’t want anyone to impale themselves. People ride bikes through here.” I just kept moving the huge limbs. Then, after a while, he stopped looking around for “somebody” and joined me.

A guy I passed earlier on the path caught up to me and pitched in. When we’d removed all that we could lift without the aid of a chainsaw and more people, we parted ways.

I didn’t know that tree, but I marveled at how people could just see it laying there in pieces and think about how it was impeding their way, it was a cool diversion to their exercise routine, or just go on by without thinking about it at all.

A huge life is over. It deserved to be acknowledged, honored, and seen. Surely the forest noticed. The animals that sheltered in his branches noticed. I noticed. Suddenly I recalled the thought, “If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Am I, the forest, and the animals enough to give this fallen tree a sound?

At the end of our lives, we all want to have mattered. We all need to be seen. Will you be that witness?

Connecting to the Ancestors on May Day

photographer: Faris Munandar

May Day (May 1) is upon us. That means it’s a great time for connecting to the ancestors. How do we do that? Let’s take a look.

Clean the Graves

If you know who your dead people are and where they are, May Day is a great day to visit and clean the graves. Modern people are very disconnected from death now. We send our dying to a hospital where they are cared for by strangers. They are prepared for burial by professionals. After death, their graves are dug and cared for by others.

One way to get reacquainted with the circle of life and those who have gone before us is to tend the graves of the dead. This very personal act is a very loving gesture that sends energy across the veil and let’s your dead know they still matter. They still belong to you. While you are there, if it’s permitted you can decorate the grave, sing songs, and tell stories. Treat it like a visit.

Make an Altar

We generally erect altars for temporary use in rituals and holy days. Creating an ancestor altar for May Day requires some thought and can put you in spiritual contact with your dead. Start with a table top or any flat place. Cover it with a pretty cloth. Arrange items that represent your family and can make them feel welcome. This could be photographs, flowers, foods that they used to like, trinkets that belonged to them, or statues or figurines that represent them.

Get creative. Do what feels best for you. If you feel death is another birthday and cause for celebration (as I do), you could make it very festive. Bright, happy colors and items are a way to welcome them back to visit. You might choose to burn incense or use an essential oil diffuser to give them a way to find you. Some like to offer alcohol or other drinks to help celebrate.

Interact With Them

Singing, dancing, praying, and talking with your ancestors is another way to get to know them. Call them in. If you know their names, speak them. (May Day and Ancestor Day are the only days I’d recommend doing this if you aren’t sure if they are well in spirit). Call to the ones whose names you don’t remember. Even if you don’t know them, rest assured that they know you! They want an opportunity to be recognized again and will welcome the contact.

Ask those who are well in spirit to help guide your life. They want to help. Ask them to make themselves known to you. Listen and look for evidence of that contact and trust it when it comes. They are here. They’ve always been here. May Day is one of the times when it’s easiest for both sides to communicate. So take advantage and learn how to hear them.

Feast on Traditional Foods

If you don’t eat the food of your ancestors regularly, this can be a treat for you and them. Find recipes and make food the way they made it. Savor the exotic tastes and smells. Through this experience you can invite the past to visit the present in a most delicious way. Once I had a past life regression where I experienced some medieval food. While preparing for a family medieval theme party, I happened across a very similar recipe and had some interesting de ja vu experiences. Who knows what memories might be awakened through food? But even if this doesn’t happen, food is love. What better way to honor the dead than through their food?

Get a DNA Test

If you are really curious about your ancestors, get a DNA test. This will provide you with a lot of information that may create some mysteries and clear up some old wives tales. It’s important that we don’t lose our people’s stories. If we have, it may be possible to regain them. We carry their strengths and trials within us. If we don’t know what they are, we can’t heal the wounds and can’t profit from their power and talents. Knowing our ancestors helps us to know ourselves.

Talk to Your Elders

Your elders hold valuable information about your family traditions and histories. Talk to them! Most are glad to share memories that are long forgotten. You may think you know it all, but I continue to be surprised by all that I don’t know. I’m sure your family is no different. Elders are a treasure trove of information.

Seek Information In Your Inner World

You can always have an inner reunion. If it feels right, do some sort of purification and grounding practice. Go into meditation. Create a sacred meeting place in your mind’s eye. Call to your ancestors and have a party in your inner world. Ask them questions the same way you would of your living relatives. Share what’s going on with you. Ask what you can do for them or their other descendants.

When you come out of meditation, apply discernment to the information that you get. Don’t act on anything you hear until you have proven it to be true. Sometimes we tell ourselves stories that we want to hear. It takes a while to learn discernment. Test everything until you develop an ability to trust what you receive and know how to tell the difference between delusion and a true message.

May Day is primarily a fertility holy day, but we got a request for information on how to connect with ancestors, so this article focuses on that aspect of May Day. Whatever you are doing to honor this day, we hope it is fabulous. Let us know in the comments below.

Solo Ritual to Reconnect with the Earth Element

earth element ritual

There are times when our root is not strong. Or perhaps our birth chart or constitution never had a strong connection to the Earth element. Sometimes we just want to connect to the Earth element when the season changes to winter. Earth is also the element of business, sensuality, sexuality, fertility, money, and physical health. We can call on her when we have questions or need support in those areas. Here is a solo ritual you can use for that purpose.

Set Your Intention

Before you begin, get clear on your intention for this practice. Do you want to be more stable, follow through, experience the love of the Great Mother, be nurtured, feel whole? The more clear you are, the better your results. Perhaps you don’t really know what you need. If that is the case, let your journey to the Earth guide you.

Assemble Your Tools

Read through the ritual and decide what “tools” you want to use. Make a list beforehand so that you have everything handy before you start. This is especially important so that you don’t tear a hole in your sacred space to go retrieve something once you’ve started. Your tools will be things like soil, wine, seeds, water, and anything else used for the ritual.

Create Your Altar

The altar is the focal point of your ritual. They are often crafted for just one ritual. Sometimes they are left up longer, for example an altar dedicated to the Spring Equinox may be left up for days. An altar dedicated to a season may be left up for the entire season. Some people have four altars for the four cardinal directions that are always up.

Here is a simple altar idea for this ritual. Drape a small table with a green (for plants that grow on the earth), brown (for the color of earth), or red cloth (root chakra). Artfully arrange items on it that symbolize Earth, such as flowers, twigs, pine cones, pine needles, bark, soil, salt, resin, and spices. You may wish to also use incense. The smoke will help to raise any heavy energy generated into the air. Candles can help to illuminate what is unseen. Darkness and silence are the realm of Earth, so if that feels more right, you can keep it dark. If you like scent, some essential oils that have Earth resonance are patchouli, vertiver, and oak moss.

Purification

We always want to enter into ritual in a state of purification. We don’t want to bring distractions, negativity, or baggage into sacred space with us. First clean the space you intend to use for this ritual. Then purify yourself with smoke, water (bathing or spritzing), or a calming meditation. You may also wish to purify your tools with smoke or flame. Once the purification is done, you can don ritual clothing, remove all clothing, or wear what you had on before. Some people like to use special clothes to separate the mundane world from the sacred. Some like to do rituals nude to symbolize the pure state. Since all ritual and magic is personal, do what feels right and authentic to you.

Create Your Sacred Space

You can do this in one of two ways. In your mind’s eye, imagine that you are creating a safe bubble of energy in the area that you intend to work. Use your finger to create a circle inside of which you will work. Alternatively, you can walk the perimeter of the space three times knowing that as you walk, you create a border between the mundane and sacred worlds. You are creating a container for your work, so once you are inside the bubble, stay inside.

Invocation

Call in the element of Earth saying something like, “I call to the element of Earth, our Mother, my home. I welcome you to this space and ask that you be with me.” Your call should be heartfelt and a pure expression of your wish. You may also wish to call in your helping spirits/guardian angels, helping ancestors, spirits of the place, gods and goddesses, or the other elements to support you. This strengthens the boundary, provides you with a witness to your work, and lends energy to your ritual. If you do this step, don’t move on until you feel that they have responded and are with you.  If you are new to ritual, you may wish to wait to call in energies until you have developed a relationship with these energies.

Welcome Your Guests

You are the host of a party. Welcome your guests. Do you want to offer a song? A dance? A prayer? As a show of reciprocity and gratitude for the support to the energies you have called in, make an offering. This can be water, wine, food, flowers, or whatever feels good and right for you. For Earth, put soil or sand in a large bowl. Place your hands in the bowl and feel the soil. Smell it. Let your hands be surrounded by it, feeling the fertile, life supporting nature of it. Feel the solid nature of it, just like your body. Let yourself be one with it. Give yourself time to notice what you can about this element.

Speak to the Earth

Now that you have acquainted yourself with Earth, speak to her. Tell her what inspired you to call on her. Ask her your questions. Ask for help if that is why you called on her. Listen to her wisdom. Experience what she has to teach. If you are in pain, release your pain into her huge, filtering body. Like the roots of a tree, she can support all that you have to release and transmute it into harmless energy. Let the process connect you firmly into her body, into your body. If you need to cry into her or even wail into her, give yourself that freedom.

Manifest the Magic Into the Material Realm

With your intention complete, we now want to bring the results into the material world. Place soil into a small pot. Plant a seed and water it. As you do this, know that this seed is the seed of the new reality that you wish to create. As you nurture it and watch it grow, know that the Earth is also nourishing you and growing within you. Although all plants belong to the Earth element, some of the stronger Earth element ones are herbs. I recommend planting an herb like oregano, chives, cilantro, basil or something that you would eat and can nourish you.

Close the Sacred Space

Once you are finished with bringing your intention into the physical world, thank and release whomever/whatever you called in just as you would thank guests who have come to your party. Now we are going to undo the separation between the mundane and spirit world. If you used your finger to draw a circle around it, reverse the circle with your finger. If you walked a circle, reverse that. Whatever you did, reverse it. Then touch the earth or floor to ground down any excess energy. Say something like, “This ritual is now closed in the real and apparent worlds” or “My rite is now ended.”

Do not skip this step! You opened a doorway into the Otherworld. It must be closed. Lots of people are drawn to paganism and magic who practice ritual without discipline. The veil between worlds exists for a reason. It’s for our protection. Only open it intentionally. Only open it while in sacred space, and always make sure you close it behind you.

The time within ritual is distorted. You may forget what you learned, so it’s a good idea to have a ritual journal where you write down the insights you received. Focus on the meaning of the content versus the content itself. Continue to add more insights as it is gained so that you grow from the experience.

One last tip. It helps to have a set way that you open and close sacred space. Repetition will give it more power and meaning. For that reason, you may wish to memorize the words you wish to say or write them down. Use the same words and format each time until you get a Pavlovian response of beginning and noticing the feeling immediately of being in ritual time and space. Good luck!

The Many Benefits of Ritual

The Many Benefits of Ritual

There are many benefits of rituals. You just have to engage in them with an open heart to see for yourself. There is nothing superstitious or evil about it. It’s just a way to get in touch with yourself, your ancestors, and the universe.

Rituals Help You Get Acquainted With Your World

When you do rituals, you invoke the energy of people, deities, and things to help you. This helps you to get to know the energy of things. Which plants are good for throat ailments? How can trees take your emotional pain away? What element (air, earth, fire, or water) is best for increasing energy? What is good for taking things away?

When you realize that things have energy, it may get you curious about how you are using your own energy. It may help you to be more mindful of the life in things you may currently see as lifeless, like rocks or stars. When you realize the world is alive, it’s harder to abuse things.

Rituals Help You to Feel More Connected

When you talk to your ancestors and understand that they care about you, it’s hard to feel lost, lonely or unimportant. You start to realize how important to your entire ancestral line your life is. They want you to be happy and well. They support you on that journey. You can call on them to help you. No matter what society says or what the people around you feel, you have a long line of spirit helpers who are on your side. It’s hard to lose hope when you connect to that.

Rituals Help You to Feel Safe

I see a lot of people who are scared to death. I suppose there is a lot to be afraid of… unless you put it in perspective. The wheel of life is always turning. When you accept that nothing stays the same, it seems silly to try to grasp at something and keep it the same. Seasons change. People age. Trends change. Babies are born. Life is always changing.

When you engage in ritual, you make this part of your reality. You engage in that change. You celebrate the coming of spring and mourn the passing of people. It’s all just part of life. When you aren’t fighting against it, you lose a lot of fear. Then it’s just okay to be where you are.

Ritual Deepens Your Connection to the Spirit World

Wayne Dyer said that we’re spirits having a human experience. I believe that is true. When you engage in ritual, the time you spend connecting to the energies and listening to your inner wisdom transforms your understanding of spirit. You learn things, ancient things, that you know you were never taught. It’s not easy to explain to one who hasn’t yet experienced it.

Ritual Makes You Grateful

I think many people first come to ritual to see what they can get from it. It’s a way to manifest things. After  while, you realize there isn’t anything to want. So, you just spend your prayer time in gratitude. You think more about how you can serve. Life isn’t about what you can get or how far you can go. It becomes about just being here and enjoying the ride. It’s far more peaceful than striving and wanting all the time.

When I think about the world without ritual, I can see why people feel so lonely and disconnected. Our medicine comes from chemically identical compounds, not real plants. Our food is grown in huge strips of plowed land and sprayed with pesticides. We don’t give thanks except on Thanksgiving. We go through the motions of church without knowing the meaning behind our gestures. Those gestures have no heart in them. We live our whole lives without heart.

I think engaging in ritual is an easy way to transform your life and all of society. With so many benefits of ritual, won’t you give it a try?

Spirituality and Giving Too Much

Spirituality and Giving Too Much

There are a lot of religious teachings that support martyrdom. Giving up your life, sacrificing comfort, living in poverty in service to others are all seen as ways to sainthood – literally and figuratively. Many spiritual traditions teach that spirituality is free and services are to be shared with the community. So, is there a line where you are giving too much? I say yes!

Even good things can become bad things if they get out of balance. Just think of Goldilocks. Some porridge is too hot. Some is too cold, and some is just right. The same applies to giving. A person with healthy boundaries gives, and stops when it begins to interfere with his own well-being or values. Let’s look at some examples to put this into perspective.

“Sheila” and “Guy” are romantic partners. Sheila is a delightful, responsible companion until she goes into her drug binges. When that happens, she can engage in self-destructive, financially ruinous, and abusive behavior. Guy sees her good side and believes she will change. Although Guy has risked his job and health to do so, he takes care of her during these times and has paid lots of money for her treatment and care. 

If a situation harms you, you may be giving too much. When you’re working harder at “saving” a person than they are to save themselves, your chances of success are very low. People have to be invested in their own recovery. You can’t pull them up hill if they are determined to stay down. Insisting that they change, or even just giving them the opportunity to change, doesn’t prove you are a good person with a good heart.

If you want to love them, love them. But love yourself too. Don’t let them pull you down with them.

“Guy” is a minister who believes that spirituality is free. He doesn’t charge for his services and donates space for meetings as well as materials. He accepts donations, but these only cover a tenth of his costs. Guy isn’t independently wealthy. He has to work and budget to make this work with his household and family. Guy believes in his work and believes that people would be “saved” if they only saw the light. He wants to bring it to them.

I happen to also agree that spirituality is free. However, things like meeting space and materials cost money. If the people who benefit from them don’t cover the cost, how much value does it have for them? We pay for what we value. If we’d rather get our nails done than pay for an energy healing, perhaps we don’t really want that energy healing. If we don’t invest in the healing, it’s not likely to have as much efficacy either.

Healing comes from the Creator and the afflicted. The “healer” is just the conduit. If the afflicted isn’t invested, the healing isn’t likely to be all that effective. When you don’t allow the patient to be part of the process, the glory goes to the healer. And perhaps that is why some healers don’t charge. They want to be saviors.

Another thing to think about is, some people just don’t think about these things at all. Have you ever discounted your service to someone who is “poor” then later found out that this person just went on a cruise, bought a new car, or made some other expensive purchase? Some people will say, “I can’t afford X” because they see it as a luxury and don’t value it. Some people value a Coach purse more highly than they value health. Does your discount make them value you or your service more? Does it enhance their life as much as that cruise or purse?

Sheila asks her angels for help. When they don’t answer, she gets frustrated. She sometimes feels like this is her only hope, but it’s a lonely, one way street.

Sheila is just doing what she was taught, but even spirits require reciprocity. When you ask for something, you have to also offer something of value in return. While your angels want to help you, they are not a wishing tree. They are your helpers. Helpers are more likely to help if you have a relationship with them. Offer them gratitude. Cultivate a relationship with them. Treat them like valued energies.

If you are a church goer, donate to the church so that you have a place to meet them. Place a statue of your saint somewhere that you can see it. If you meet them in nature, give to nature in some way. Create a garden to meet them. Give seeds to the birds. Advocate for clean air and water. If you are a praying person, create an altar or shrine to light a candle or place photos of your loved ones so that you have a connection to them.

Spirituality is a relationship. It’s not a one way street. If you refuse to give, you’re not engaging in a relationship. You’re imposing an obligation. If you are not receiving, you’re refusing gratitude and sustenance. When you give too much, you’re not allowing the person to take responsibility for his part of the relationship. You’re creating dependence.

Here are some tips to help with creating healthy balance.

  1. If someone is working for donations, give them a reasonable donation. How much would you pay for a professional service? What is YOUR time worth? What would these materials cost? Paying for things (with time, money, services, gratitude. etc.) shows your appreciation for them and what you received.
  2. Live in a state of gratitude. When you are grateful for all that comes into your life, it helps you to see the value for what you give and receive.
  3. Ask for what you’re worth. What you bring to the word has value. If you want to discount it or give it away to some, do that. For the rest, ask for what you are worth. If you don’t value you, why should others?
  4. Say yes to what you want. Self denial is not a sign of spirituality. We are not meant to suffer or live in poverty. The universe is abundant. Enjoy the abundance.
  5. Say no to what you don’t want. Blaming, victimization, self-denial don’t make a happy life. We’re meant to be happy.
  6. Don’t let someone obligate or guilt trip you into doing things that you don’t want to do. Some people will take advantage. They can’t if you don’t allow it. This goes for taking too much time or energy. Only give what you can happily give with an open hand. It’s okay to not answer the phone, refuse an invitation, or just say no.

The best guideline to how much to give is your heart. If you can give with an open heart and hand, and without judgment, give. If you can give without causing irreparable damage to yourself or self esteem, give. Allow yourself to receive. It helps you to stand in strength.