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September Workshop!

Beginnings: Awareness, Inner Work, and Meditation will be given on September 23 at 10AM, 1PM, 4PM, and 8PM. I hope these times will work better with those of you on the west coast.

In this workshop we will be discussing how to become aware both spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. We will discuss ways to heal your inner self and emotions. We will also have an open discussion on meditation. This workshop costs $10 and will be given online. You can message me at walkingthepathreadings@gmail.com for payment.

The class will be given in a Facebook group chatroom. When I receive your payment I will add you to the group and you can decide at what time you will join in. We will be watching videos, discussing via chat, and I will provide you with handouts and reading material.

I look forward to all of you joining me on September 23!

Jason

I’ve been nominated y’all!!! πŸ™‚

The wonderfully fantastic Seba O’KileyΒ has nominated me for the Deep Fried Blog award sponsored by The Pagans of the Deep South. The rules for the nomination can be found hereΒ with a pic to tag. πŸ™‚

The rules state I must post seven things that are not often known about, as Seba puts it, my audacious self. So here goes.

  1. I am a photographer in my day job. I run a small business in my hometown and really enjoy capturing personalities in photographs.
  2. I am a night owl and do most of my work after dark. It is a habit for me to have on the desk, usually after midnight, a plate of green olives, cheddar cheese, crackers, and pickles. πŸ™‚
  3. At one time in my life I was addicted to crystal meth and went to rehab twice.
  4. I am not fond of snakes or spiders. Actually I freak out. Do not ever try to put one in my face or put one near me. I might hurt the animal. And if I hurt the animal I will hurt you next. πŸ™‚
  5. If you know anything about Tarot you will understand the next statement: I am the Hermit card mixed with the Knight of Cups and the Moon.
  6. I have absolutely nothing for folks who try to impress me with big words or name dropping. If you do that you won’t get into my circle. I look for authenticity. Be who you are and be honest. I adore those people.
  7. If I have my way I will never live in a house without a fireplace. I absolutely must have it in the winter time. πŸ™‚
Thanks so much for the nomination! I am honored and full of southern love!
Here are a list of blogs to peruse:
Blessings to you all! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
“Life seemed so simple at the beginning – a straight and simple path that society had laid out for us, that our parents expected from us, and that we ourselves, anticipated. Go to school, do well, get a good job, be well paid, well married, well taken care of. Conform and be well rewarded. Until you hit the wall, at thirty, forty, or fifty, when the stock market crashes, or your spouse seems like a stranger, or the company downsizes, or there just isn’t enough money, or the things that money can buy, to fill the gaping hole that swallows you at midnight. And the straight way is lost. But that, I began to understand, was when the real magic of life began.”
Phyllis Curott, Book of Shadows

I recently had a friend challenge me with a series of questions. We each asked the other differing degrees of questions and the other had to answer honestly. It was fun. Until he hit me with the following question – 
What are your dreams and what is your goal for life? 
Hmmmmm. What upset me and frightened me? I couldn’t think of anything. 
Later that night and the whole next day I thought about it. I remembered when I had dreams. Back when I was a kid I wanted to be superman. πŸ™‚ As a teen contemplating college I wanted to be a lawyer. Yeah, that DID NOT happen. Then when I became a minister I lost sight of my goals and dreams. I conformed. I settled. 
When I left Christianity and came OUT it was like starting all over. After years and years of hiding I was learning how to live as myself for the first time. It was scary and exhilarating all at once. I had spent a good portion of my life trying to fit in and to conform. Now I was allowing myself to be me but I really didn’t know who I was. (Yeah, I’m a Pisces. We are so freaking adaptable.)
When I think back to my early 20s and the things I had planned, I laugh. Its amazing how many twists and turns I’ve taken. It blows my mind at the things I know now and the way my mind has expanded. Life is not a straight road. Far from it to be exact. 
Go for a walk in nature and try to find something that is straight. If you find it let me know. The only straight things are truly man-made. Because we like that. We like to control. We like to box things in. We like that because it makes us feel safe. But in truth, nothing is safe. Everything can change in a split second. 
I remember on Yule of 2006, I headed to the woods. I made my way to the spot that would eventually become my sacred grove and sat under the trees. I thought of everything I had been through, all my shattered dreams, all the things I had done to myself, all the hurt I was carrying. I called out to the Divine. I opened myself and released it. All the pain. All the regret. All the fear. All the self-hatred. All the anger. All of it. And then I wept. 
I wept for myself. 

I cried so hard the blood vessels under my eyes burst from the strain. For a few days I looked like someone had punched me a few times. I finally released it all and allowed the Divine to flood my soul in a way that I had longed for but thought could never happen. See I was taught that the Divine would never be that close to me because I was sinful and an abomination. So that day was a turning point. That day was when I found my path. The twisting, turning path that I walk now. 
So… goals? To live and love as honest as I possibly can. To give of myself and pour out what I’ve learned. Dreams? Fall in love. Again. Create a spiritual retreat for those who are searching for their path. Write a book or two or three. 
And to WALK THE PATH. As curvy and crooked as it is, I still want to walk it and live it and breathe it. For its in the curves and crooks of life that true magic is born within us. 
Be who you are my friends. Live hard and Love HARDER.

PRIMAL


“The air was thick with power. Ragged breath tore at my lungs. My legs were aching but I was not stopping. I was running for a reason. The crescent moon shining through the trees cast shadows about me. But I ran – bare feet swift through the grass, sweat running down my naked back chilling me in the night air, and hands catapulting me from tree to tree. Then I saw them. Sleek bodies running alongside. Feathers ruffling overhead. They heard my call. The guardians of those I hold dear. Gray, black, and white Wolves running with abandon beside me. Ravens and Owls overhead. Mountain Lion hollerin’ in the distance. Stag and Horse with hooves pounding the earth. Moth and Butterfly fluttering around. Even Dragon in the field ahead. They came. They knew we had work to do. Those we loved were in need and we raised our heads to the moon and we howled…”


Crazy? Nah. There comes a time when you have to get primal. Were those animals really there or just in your head? Well of course they were in my head. Does that make them less real? When those I love are threatened, hurt, afraid, or in despair I get all native. But isn’t that a little excessive, Jason? Honey, you have never felt power until you run with the wolves. When all hell is breaking loose and people need help? You can bet I’m gonna do what I know needs to be done. I’m gonna get primal. I’m gonna take on those problems for my loved ones and I’m going to call on the ancient power that floods my soul and my blood. 
Tonight? I ran. Cernunnos overshadowing me, I ran. The Morrigan flying overhead and I ran. We raised the power and we sent it to do the work. 
And it’ll be done.
I think sometimes we try to tame it. We try to make that primal thump, as my sister Seba calls it, fit inside some small box. That, my friends, is why the majority of people are disillusioned with religion and spirituality today. We have boxed it in. We like to control things. We like to name it. We feel if it has a name and we control it then there is no need to fear it. And that is why we are so far behind spiritually. Our ancestors knew, saw, and felt things that we will never see because we have become tame. We are the lions afraid of the whip. We are the dogs who turn a flip and get a treat. (I can’t use a cat metaphor here because honestly, they do whatever they hell they want anyway. Treat or not.)

But WE are TAMED. Plain and simple.
Power is not safe. Don’t get me wrong I’m all for love and light but honey everything in nature ain’t safe. There ain’t a day if there ain’t a night. There ain’t summer without winter. There ain’t life if there ain’t death. True power is neither safe nor boxed in. Gotta learn to flow with it. Gotta learn to FLOW WITH IT.
The longer I walk this path the more I realize that I just don’t know. And honestly I’m not ashamed to admit it. Yes I’m a teacher, a tarot reader, a shamanic witch who can “see” but when you reach out and touch that ancient lifeblood of divine power you realize there is a whole mess of stuff you don’t know. And so I don’t box it in. I don’t name it. I don’t categorize it in a tradition or denomination. I let it flow and I let it be and I reach out and grab hold when I need to.
Once you do that, reach out there and step on faith and grab hold, you won’t ever be the same. Divine Discontent. Once you see, you can’t un-see. Once you feel, you can’t un-feel. Once you know, you can’t un-know. It’s there. It’s in your soul. You can’t walk away and go back to how you used to be. (There is a whole ‘nother blog here folks. I”ll get around to it.)
“Well, that sounds kinda scary. I don’t know if I want all that.”
Then honey, you ain’t ready. 
You can’t be King of Camelot if you don’t run with the King Stag. 
Run my friends… Run…

“With the work done, I collapsed in the grass. The animals knew the work was done and began moving back into the darkness. I looked up and saw the black Wolf trotting away. She turned around and seemed to smile. It was then I noticed the white patch of fur on her head. I laughed out loud. Then I picked myself up and walked back home with the knowledge that it’s all gonna be alright.”

Waking Up

“The times we live in and the days to come require that we pay attention to what is going on. It might not seem like it, but paying attention is a radical and subversive act. It always has been, and it is even more so now. We are conditioned in our culture to not pay attention. We are told what to think, how we should act or dress, and what we should consider to be important.  We are even told what to fear and what to love. We are told everything we need to know. And what we are told is designed to influence and manipulate us.” – Collen Deatsman and Paul Bowersox, Seeing in the Dark

Have you really looked around lately? I mean really paid attention to the world around you? Have you ever truly analyzed why you believe what you do? I spent many years of my life going through what the above paragraph details so eloquently. I let someone else dictate to me my beliefs. Now understand they didn’t come right out and say, “This is what you should be doing and saying, Jason. ” No, they manipulated me in other ways. Every day we are manipulated by media, by friends, by family, by all sorts of things around us. And most of the time we don’t even realize what is happening. 
The importance of paying attention or bare awareness is one of the first things I try to teach my students. Becoming aware pulls us out of the comatose sleepwalking that the majority of the world is involved in. I am continually amazed at the people who really aren’t awake. I meet these people all the time and have come to think of it as my calling to help them wake up. That is if they even want to. Some people are comfortable where they are. Waking up is NOT easy. Breaking out of the habit of being told what to do and what to think is NOT a walk in the park. 
I remember when I first started “waking up”. I was still a licensed minister and was having a conversation with a group of men discussing the need for the church to open up to help drug addicts, prostitutes, etc. One gentleman said he didn’t mind them coming as long as they eventually got saved and turned from their wicked ways. I listened to them discuss this for a moment and then said, “I think it is God’s job to help them turn from their wicked ways. It has nothing to do with us. If they want to come in high as a kite I don’t care. We just need to help them.” 
I think I heard a pin drop at that moment.



Actually it wasn’t a pin. It was me waking up. I began to realize, at that moment, I wasn’t like them. There was MORE. I began truly analyzing everything I was taught to believe. I found that my head and my heart didn’t agree on most of it. It was many years after that incident before I finally “broke the mold” and started living life AWAKE. But it did happen. Slowly, but surely. 
“Waking up”, “becoming aware”, “truly seeing” these are all terms for the same thing. Seeing with the eyes of your heart. Seeing things completely unfiltered. Not an easy thing to see but worth seeing nonetheless. How do I go about waking up you may ask? There are a number of ways. Some people wake up after a brush with death. Others wake up when they go through a traumatic experience. Some of us just choose to wake up. πŸ™‚
Start by going back to the source: your soul. That is what makes you who you are. The true you. What better place to find yourself than in nature? Trust me you aren’t going to connect to yourself and to Spirit by hiding in a building your whole life. Get out there and put your fingers in the dirt, walk in the stream, stand in a rainstorm, feel the wind blow through your hair. Start paying attention to little things – the moon rising at night, the birds flying, the way the leaves move when the wind blows, which direction the wind is blowing and how that wind feels. All of these things start opening your consciousness to the natural world. We have been disconnected from it from so long that we have forgotten we are part of it.

Life is more than just existing. Life is meant to be lived to the fullest. Wake up. Life is OUT THERE. πŸ™‚ 
“We cannot separate the physical from the spiritual, the visible form the invisible.”
Ted Andrews, Animal-Speak


There are quite a few different views on what totem animals are. There are actually as many different names as there are views. Some call them totems, some spirit guides, power animals, and spirit helpers. And they aren’t always just animals but the animals are what this blog will focus on. The following is my personal view that I have learned through my practice. This is not everyone’s view but simply my own. I do not claim to know everything about the spirit world and honestly I usually don’t pay much attention to those who do. 


An animal totem is a spirit ally. They can protect, teach, guide, and even heal us. An animal totem is different than just seeing an animal in the woods or having one cross your path. You must be able to discern the difference. I know many people who read something about a spirit animal or familiar and just pick one. That doesn’t work for me. And most of the time it doesn’t work for them either. More times than not the animal PICKS YOU. πŸ™‚ 


The totem that has been with me the longest has been Owl. She has been with me since I was a child. I can remember as a kid seeing owls all the time. I would see them in the woods, flying above the car as we rode down the highway, darting into the field behind the house at sunset. But sometime during my “growing up” I stopped seeing them. I think a lot of us go through this. We are taught that the Otherworld doesn’t exist, that all of that is child’s play. That is how we lose our innocence. It took a long time and a lot of training and healing to get that back. 




During my first Samhain celebration (that I actually celebrated as Witch) Owl made herself known to me. I was doing a deep meditation preparing for a ritual to honor my ancestors and heard something above me. I looked up into the tree and there sat a barn owl. She watched me the whole time. Now, I had read a few things about power animals and familiars so this stuck in my mind. I began to see owls again everywhere. They popped up in pictures on the internet. They were characters in books I read. I began seeing the barn owl in the woods almost every day or night. I knew this was important. So I did a ritual with the intent of “finding my power animal”. During the meditation (which is more like a trance) I did what shamans call journeying. But at that time I had no idea what it was. Owl came to me in that journey/meditation and spoke to me. She’s been with me ever since. 


There are other power animals that come into your life but do not stay. They are there only to teach a lesson and then move on. Fox was one of those for me. I began to see this beautiful red fox in the woods behind my house. One day he was standing on the path I was walking and watched me. He then ran into the field. I kept seeing his head pop up. He would then run back onto the path and go back and forth. He was playing with me! More importantly he was teaching me there is a time to “be seen” and a time “NOT to be seen”. I knew this was something important because if a fox doesn’t want you to see him or her then rest assured you are not going to see them. πŸ™‚




When I began my shamanic training I learned about the power of the journey. Many witches call the journey a guided meditation or pathworking. They are similar but are not the same, in my opinion. The journey is one of the shaman’s main spiritual tools. It is how they connect with the Otherworld and do healing and spiritual work with the help of their animal totems and spirit guides. I recommend Seeing in the Dark by Colleen Deatsman and Paul Bowersox, Shamanic Journeying: A Beginner’s Guide by Sandra Ingerman, and The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner for further information on shamanic practices. 


How do you find your animal totem? First step: become aware. This simply means start paying attention to what you are seeing, feeling, hearing, etc. If you hear a hawk calling in the sky and it stands out to you while you are walking in a crowded parking lot then you can bet that Hawk is trying to get your attention. If you see crows everywhere and they are even landing on your car then Crow has a message for you. Start researching the animal – the way they hunt, the way they gather food, the way they communicate, etc. All of these things can carry a message for you. Step two: Do some type of ritual to “find you animal totem”. It doesn’t have to be some big dramatic ceremony. Something simple like finding a quiet place, lighting a candle, getting quiet, and saying, “I intend to find my animal totem through this meditation, ceremony, ritual, etc.” Meditate on the animal you think may have a message for you. See yourself going through the place where this animal usually lives and finding it. Ask if it has a message for you. You can also visualize yourself just walking through the woods and your animal totem may cross your path. Do not be surprised if the animal is not what you thought it would be. I have friends who thought they would find Bear or Wolf and they find Mouse or Lizard. No matter the size or stature they are as equally important and have the same spiritual power. 




Now these examples and instructions are basic. They are not in depth journeying directions but they are a start and can help you determine what spirit helpers may be assisting you. Once you do find out your animal totem then you are responsible for the relationship with them. They CAN leave you and you WILL feel it. You will become depressed, even physically sick. They are a relationship just like any other. I must say that my relationship with my animal totems are extremely important to me and I think of them as family. 


The relationship will not be built over night either. We live in such a microwave, quick-fix, give-it-to-me-now society that we think all things are that quick and easy. Cultivating a relationship with animal totems or spirit allies takes time and energy. You will eventaully learn how to receive messages from them, how to discern when they are speaking to you or if it is just a regular animal you are seeing, and how to co-create and work magic with them. 


Animal totems, power animals, familiars, whatever name you call them, are highly important and are definitely a help on my spiritual path. It is my prayer that you may find an animal that can lead, guide, and direct you as you walk your path! Blessings to you all! 


Needless to say I was very excited when I heard this book was being published. When it became available I had to put it on the back burner and was unable to purchase. Perusing Facebook one day I see a post by Barbara Moore stating that she had a few extra copies of Tarot Spreads that were available for anyone who would do a review. I jumped and was ecstatic that she chose me to review. 

I assumed it would be a book with a listing of spreads and how to read them. Boy, was I wrong. Barbara takes  us on a wonderful journey through the basics, the reasons behind certain spreads, how to modify spreads to fit a question, techniques to add to a spread, and even how to create your own spread. 
I have been creating my own spreads for years now but her chapter on the subject brought new insight and totally turned the thought on its head. But I have to say my favorite chapter has to be Techniques to Add to Any Spread. For example, I have a spread I created that shows the seeker in the present and situations around them. I can have the seeker choose one of those situations and add one of the techniques in this book to find out more information concerning the situation. Brilliant!
Barbara does an excellent job of describing why the spread is important, why placement of cards is important, and how spreads have benefits and weaknesses. No spread is the “end-all, be-all” as she says. And this is true. The Celtic Cross has weaknesses just like any other spread. It takes time and practice to find out the spreads that will work for each seeker and you, as the reader. 
This is not an encyclopedia of spreads but there are over 60 types of spreads in this book. There is also a 72-card spread that I’m pretty sure I will never use but it is incredible to read about. 
I highly recommend taking a look at this book if you are interested in the Tarot in any way. If you do not read the Tarot it will still help you to understand how spreads are laid out and will bring new understanding to you as the seeker during a reading. If you have been reading for years, trust me, this book can help make you a better reader. 
Tarot has been a part of Barbara Moore’s life for over twenty years. Right from the start, tarot intrigued her with its marvelous blending of mythology, psychology, art, history, mystery, and magic, as well as its eminently practical applications. In addition to providing professional readings, Barbara consults for both Llewellyn Worldwide and Lo Scarabeo and is one of the founders of the Minnesota Area Tarot Symposium (http://minnesotatarot.com/). You can visit her website, Practical Tarot Readings, for more information.
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