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Mental Health/ Pagan/ Opinions


Guest straw-berry-blonde
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Hey there!

 

I have been reading 'Wicca: a guide for the solitary practitioner' (Cunningham) and the whole 'harm none' bit got me thinking.

 

I have to admit I have been on another (UNNAMED) pagan website. Due to this guideline, they took a very dim view of my mental illness and the way in which I cope with the overwhelming feelings I have to live every day with. They believed I was making excuses. I have morals and I know that by cutting myself I will have alot of guilt, but I know that withholding this punishment would cause a bigger problem in the near future. I know the god and goddess will still love me despite my flaws. Because I am part of them, they are part of me and they are also flawed. I am fighting and I have been for all the years I should have been forming an adult identity. And I am not sorry for continuing to survive in this way. Perhaps this is my path, but as much as we want to, when it comes to illness, other people's actions, these outside influences, they are not in our control. We shouldn't try to control everything, it's how we deal with such events that shape us.

 

Am I a bad person for knowing in my self that, in spite of free will, there are other forces at work? No one is entirely in control and no one is entirely swept along. That is how I feel. I respect the earth and am trying to be more in tune with her and the spirits here with us. I consider myself a student in such matters. I live and I learn and I try to treat others the way I would like to be.

 

Is this pagan, or do I not qualify due to my experiences? The other board seem to think I do not. I have left there and I need to know that not everyone feels the same! Any thoughts? xx

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Hi :o_bolt:

 

There are a few things here.

 

Mental illness is that. It is an illness. It is not something you wish upon yourself or you asked for. It is a condition which you have and for which you need treatment in the same way that someone with diabetes needs treatment or someone with a broken leg. It's no different from that. So criticising you for being ill is just nonsensical. Would anyone criticise anyone with cancer?

 

Another point is that having any illness does not make you any more, or any less, Pagan. You are Pagan because of your beliefs, because of the way your heart feels when you encounter certain things, because of the feeling in your gut when you are in certain situations.

 

Harm none is something which gets debated often, here and elsewhere. There are different interpretations of it. Not everyone believes in it. Not everyone believes that they have to stick to it. It's not part of everyone's path. But it sounds as though it's part of yours. So, looking at that, I think the key statement is the one you made where you said that withholding this punishment (cutting) would cause a bigger problem in the future. Leaving aside the illness and necessity for treatment aspect, you've made the point that unless you cut yourself, you sincerely anticipate that there would be greater punishments to come. Which, to me, would indicate that you are seeking to minimise the harm. Which would, for me, tie in to some degree with the "harm none". Okay, it could be argued to streching the point, but you're not cutting others, and you're hoping that by cutting yourself you're avoiding far greater repercussions.

 

Everyone's different hon, you don't need anyone to validate whether you're a Pagan or not.

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I can't put it any better than Pomona, so just adding my tuppence worth! Paganism is a spiritual path, it's what you believe, how you guide your life. That applies to you, just as you are now. It's you that's following your path, and you know in your heart how you feel about your path, it's not defined by whether you have "problems" or not. No-one has the right to make you feel you're not pagan enough or whatever because of something like this.

 

Take care,

Celestine

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Thanks guys. I know it sounds silly, but I guess I do need some sort of validation occasionally. That's something I need to work on, other people are important but my views shouldn't waver with or without their approval.

 

I felt like I wanted to share my situation for a guiding nudge in the right direction on the other board, and instead I felt somewhat persecuted. Just needed to know that it wasn't me, you know?!

 

Sorry, and thank you for understanding. I know I'm on the right site now!!

 

Blessings to you all xx

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Sorry, and thank you for understanding.  I know I'm on the right site now!!

 

Blessings to you all xx

155122[/snapback]

 

 

No need to apologise! May you be blessed,

 

Celestine

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I have worked in mental institutions both in Canada and Germany. The unfortunate thing about these, is that they are often the closet in which society stashes away what doesn't fit their ideals. Often in society, anyone who does not fit the criteria of what is socially acceptable or status quo, is subject to such rejection and abuse, that it is most certain to inflict some form of psychological damage. Those who have congenital disorders are even worse off under the circumstances, simply because of blatant public ignorance to the problem. Those who have it too good, simply don't want to deal with it, feel they shouldn't have to deal with it because they feel themselves superior...that is, until some unfortunate disaster takes all that is dear to them, and they suddenly find themselves in the realm of the degraded and demoralized. This can happen to anyone, there are no exceptions. This is why I am inclined to regard the mentally ill with the same compassion as I would any human. I grew up with a mother who's been mentally handicapped for the last 53 years (from injury to her medulla). I know the dark side of social attitudes only too well. :o_wave:

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Whilst there are no problems with someone who has mental health issues choosing to follow a religion, some concerns might be raised if you decided to pursue a path that involved magical workings.

 

These concerns are very legitimate as working magical practices, such as daily LBRP can affect your mental state, and if it's delicate to begin with, there is a real danger that you might make your condition worse. Some groups wont work with those with uncontrolled mental illness due to the risk involved.

 

However, as I said in the first paragraph, there is nothing to stop you worshipping whatever Gods you choose.

 

bb

Rhiannon

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Like the others have said basically. theyre a good bunch on here, thats why I keep coming back anyhows! I have/do and probably will again suffer with depressive states of mind. And Im pretty damned sure im not the only one, even on here!

So im the last to throw stones!

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Hi Straw-berry-blonde,

 

Just wanted to say a special hello to you since I also have a mental illness - paranoid schizophrenia and depression. Thankfully, both are well under control at the moment.

 

Suzanne

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Quasizoid- I completely agree, the double standards in society is ludicrous, but the unknown scares people. For example, because I harm myself, there is a common misconception that I would turn this destructive force towards other people. But you have taken the skills you developed to help others in a darker place and I think that is fantastic. People like you are helping to break down barriers. :)

 

Although I am looking to learn all aspects of paganism, magick practice is not something I am approaching just yet. I had anticipated that spiritual well being would affect some of the more delicate rituals. So I am focusing on finding some sort of balance before I even consider taking that step.

 

Thank you all for the positive replies. :D xx

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Is this pagan, or do I not qualify due to my experiences? The other board seem to think I do not. I have left there and I need to know that not everyone feels the same! Any thoughts

 

How dare they! :)

 

My "faith" helps me through my illness, its one thing I know I can count on.

Im sure as you get further onto your path you will be fine doing healings for yourself.

 

I had anticipated that spiritual well being would affect some of the more delicate rituals. So I am focusing on finding some sort of balance before I even consider

This is a good idea, but you will know yourself when you can move on. I did some wonderful spiritual ritual that helped me to move on to the next step of my own healing, but again that was my own experience.

 

((((hugs))))

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The best way I can think of to explain my thoughts are, if you had a bad back or had hurt your leg, you would not think of doing more than gentle exercise, so when it comes to the mind and magic, one should do the same. This doesn't just apply to mental illness, it's not a good idea to be working mojo when drunk either.

 

bb

Rhiannon

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For example, because I harm myself, there is a common misconception that I would turn this destructive force towards other people. 

 

Ah but strange though it is, that devout Catholics are allowed to thrash themselves or willfully be nailed to a cross, without so much as a question of their desire for pennance?

 

Indeed an example of double standards.

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Hey there!

 

I have been reading 'Wicca: a guide for the solitary practitioner' (Cunningham) and the whole 'harm none' bit got me thinking.

 

I have to admit I have been on another (UNNAMED) pagan website.  Due to this guideline, they took a very dim view of my mental illness and the way in which I cope with the overwhelming feelings I have to live every day with.  They believed I was making excuses.  I have morals and I know that by cutting myself I will have alot of guilt, but I know that withholding this punishment would cause a bigger problem in the near future.  I know the god and goddess will still love me despite my flaws.  Because I am part of them, they are part of me and they are also flawed.  I am fighting and I have been for all the years I should have been forming an adult identity.  And I am not sorry for continuing to survive in this way.  Perhaps this is my path, but as much as we want to, when it comes to illness, other people's actions, these outside influences, they are not in our control.  We shouldn't try to control everything, it's how we deal with such events that shape us.

 

Am I a bad person  for knowing in my self that, in spite of free will, there are other forces at work?  No one is entirely in control and no one is entirely swept along.  That is how I feel.  I respect the earth and am trying to be more in tune with her and the spirits here with us.  I consider myself a student in such matters.  I live and I learn and I try  to treat others the way I would like to be. 

 

Is this pagan, or do I not qualify due to my experiences?  The other board seem to think I do not.  I have left there and I need to know that not everyone feels the same!  Any thoughts? xx

155036[/snapback]

I think everyone cuts them selves at least a little. Its just on the inside.

We all just need to have patience and keep loving ourselves and each other.

 

Mucho Love and Light to you

Lizard

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Hi Strawberry

Just wanted to add my bit though I don't know if it will help. I have suffered from depression all my life and from cancer for the past 3 years. Everyone acknowledges the cancer but no one is comfortable with the depression. That doesn't make it less real or less difficult to live with but I guess that is what we do. We live with it as best we can and accept it as part of what we are. I am a pagan who has good days and bad ones. On the bad days I work no magic. Just be who you are and accept yourself as you are. There isn't another like you in the whole universe and that makes you very special. Try to treat yourself kindly but don't beat yourself up when you can't. Much love to you

Kate xx :rolleyes:

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I'm reassured by the replies on here (I'm glad I came here first, not the "Other Site"). I've had chronic depression most of my life and although it's pretty much under control with drugs and time I still get bad days.

I try to be as up front as I can about my illness but many people still find it upsetting and embarrassing. Maybe I should tell people I have syphillis instead which makes me mad... :)

No religion/belief system/call it what you will is proof against depression but it can help you to deal with it.

Keep fighting strawberry, and take time to love yourself too.

Badger's Moon

xx

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Welcome Straw-berry-blonde.

 

I am so sorry you had to deal with such narrow-mindedness on the "other" site. I am shocked that people,especially Pagans would judge you in that way, as I find Pagans more "switched on" than most.

"Harm none" is great but in reality harming yourself due to a mental illness can not be tied in with this...it's not something you look forward to doing is it? Sheesh some people amaze me.

 

I work with physically and mentally disabled people everyday (I am a specialized gym instructor) I have done this job for years and exercise has worked for many people as an outlet for self abuse. I'm not suggesting anything other than a friendly ear if you want one. Pm me anytime if you feel you'd like to.

 

Oh just wanted to add that I too suffer with anxiety/depression issues which are under control atm. You are so not alone.

 

Blessings

 

Orchid

X

Edited by orchid
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I have, in the past harmed myself as a result of stresses I felt I could not cope with in any other manner. I was well aware at the time, and am still firmly of this belief, that my self harmimg was done for ONE REASON, and one reason only.

I believed that if I hurt myself, I was pre- empting others (namely my mother/spouse) doing so. By hurting myself, I managed to retain some small crazy measure of control over my own life - despite the fact that they had robbed me of all self esteem/will to live etc.

So it was my way of mainaining control over my own body/life. Basically, no one (i.e.them) could hurt me as badly as I could hurt myself! Sound snuts to anyone who hasn't been there, but it was a way of keeping my grip on my sense of self and self worth. i.e. MY body, MY choice, MY doing - NOT theirs.

This is an aspect often overlooked, and worth thinking about.

I wish you well.

PS> I finally got sorted by taking the leap of faith to get rid of those who were using me to prop up their own failing egos. Best move I EVER made! I am now successful, fulfilled,in a stable and lovong relationship, can pay the bills, have all my friends etc. (The ones no longer in my life were never true friends to begin with!) :lol:

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  • 2 weeks later...

I went through alot of mental pain/suffering etc during my early twenties strawberry, and one thing that kept me going was my faith that I was protected by something/someone. So its quite disappointing to hear that you have had this experience.

 

I don't practice much magick either. This more to do with choice at the moment - although I am thinking about taking a few tentative steps towards it - I've noticed an improvement in my physical self lately (I am physically disabled also) and so may be I think I might give it a go. Probably start with something simple (although not sure what - guess that will come when the time is right).

 

One thing I do when I feel upset is I take myself somewhere so I can be close to nature (In my neck of the woods this is no easy task - I live in a heavily industrialised area) sometimes I even take my family with me. I think its sort of like grounding but without any of the ceremony. I meditate too.

 

Take care of yourself - a big hug from me

 

:rolleyes:

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  • 3 weeks later...

Please remember that the majority of people in the world suffer from some sort of mental health problems at sometime in their lives, whether that is minor stresses or mild depression, we all suffer from it.

 

I get very angry when people think that just because someone has a mental health problem they should not be allowed to control their own lives.

 

You have a right to follow whatever religion you want to, but, paganism in any of it's forms is, strangely, probably a safer bet than most forms of christianity............. LOL!!!

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Please remember that the majority of people in the world suffer from some sort of mental health problems at  sometime in their lives, whether that is minor stresses or mild depression, we all suffer from it.

 

I get very angry when people think that just because someone has a mental health problem they should not be allowed to  control their own lives.

 

You have a right to follow whatever religion you want to, but, paganism in any of it's forms is, strangely, probably a safer bet than most forms of christianity............. LOL!!!

160609[/snapback]

 

 

it sure is hon. From my own perspective, its about the most open, accepting faith I've ever come across. There are few rules, we can explore and question with fear of ..damnation, rejection...etc. because its so personal. I think it also allows us to learn to trust ourselves to make our own judgements on things without someone in control.

 

:o_drink: fizzy.

Edited by fizzyclare1
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All the crazy xians out there can take heart - the Church will save them, and their rattly feral marbles.

 

At the first sign of incipient madness, the Priest will come in and excorcise all the nasty evull spirits (a.k.a. nameless creatures from the seventh level of Hell) that are causing the victim to be deluded, in pain, anguish, twitching, talking in tongues etcetera.

 

Ooh, did I forget to mention? Lots of people display these worrying phenomena most Sundays, in places of worship up and down our fair land. People get together to talk to someone they can't see. Some of these poor deluded souls even talk in tongues. In America there is even a sect who handle snakes (nasty evull Satanic things).

 

But don't worry. NONE of these people are in any way, shape or form, mad. No. They are blessed. Touched by the Holy Spirit, doncha know? As opposed to being merely "touched".

 

It takes a man of the cloth to know the difference. They have the necessary experience. :huh:

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Strawberry & Badgermoon you're not alone!!

 

I'm not trying to poach members, but if the mods feel that I am feel free to delete this.

 

I'm a mod at a mental health support site called Journey Towards Freedom that you guys, or anyone else that needs support can join.

There are alot of Christian members, but rarely does religion come up & when it does no-one shuns anybody else for their faith.

They're a lovely bunch of people & very supportive, so if you're interested I've put a link below or if you want to PM me, I can introduce you to the group.

 

Journey Towards Freedom

 

I had a very similar experience to you Strawberry. Mental Health is a physical problem with your brain & you can't prevent how you feel, so why feel guilty about something you have no control over??

 

If you ever need a shoulder, I've always got one ready & waiting! :o_weeping:

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I've met people who, even in the domain of the so called mentally healthy, despise those who would turn to others for help. I've seen one of these hard liners put in a situation where she was unable to help herself and her opinions changed radically. She not only sought help but now has a voluntary job helping others in the same way she was helped.

 

For a lot of people it's that sort of ignorance - they mistake their own lack of current need as (a) some sort of moral strength (and therefore those without it lack moral fibre), and (:o_rainbow: something that will always be so. Some never find the strengths to face their own weakness by being able to admit that they, too, have needs and dependencies. This is a form of emotional weakness, not a strength - whether emotional, mental or moral.

 

And pagans are people as well - why shouldn't our own communities include those who cannot cope with things they fear, such as people very different from themselves? Yeah, it's sure depressing to meet such prejudice, especially when it's aimed at yourself, but it's just a matter of finding other pagans who are more understanding. Such as this forum. :)

 

In the UK the government doesn't seem to be able to figure out how the break down the social prejudice surrounding mental health. Back in the 80s we used to lock people away in institutions. The then PM, Mrs Thatcher, seemed to think if we closed all the institutions and put the people in them back 'in the community' it would do the trick. Nope. To do that required proper financing of nursing and other support, which didn't happen. So there were a few high profile deaths that the media sprang on and published with shrill cries of alarm, which made a lot of folk even more prejudiced and fearful than before. Ho hum.

 

There still isn't the support, though it's marginally better. One of my staff has a grown son with severe autism. He lives at home. His PCT reduced his medication a couple of months ago, which, as his mother says, is fine - but not when combined with moving the community nurses from a system of each patient having one nurse dedicated to them, to a rota system, where the patient is expected to tell each different nurse, once a week, their whole medical history and diagnosis. This particular lad can't cope with it. There are days when his mother (who suffers severe arthritis) and father can't get him out of bed because of this double whammy. Which means she picks up every cold going through sheer exhaustion and then she's ill - but still has to help her son.

 

Aaarrgh! I'll go before this rant becomes extended....

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The then PM, Mrs Thatcher, seemed to think if we closed all the institutions and put the people in them back 'in the community' it would do the trick. Nope. To do that required proper financing of nursing and other support, which didn't happen. So there were a few high profile deaths that the media sprang on and published with shrill cries of alarm, which made a lot of folk even more prejudiced and fearful than before. Ho hum.

 

Brace yourself for the same!

 

In 2 years I know of 4 separate mental health day hospitals that have closed in my area & they also tried to close the center I'm currently attending, luckily we found a loop hole so it should stay open for another 2 years. (fingers crossed) The "support" & alternative we were offered was pathetic. :o_angry:

 

Also the ward my Mum used to work on (she's a mental health nurse) recently closed, even tho it had been full since it opened in the 60's & always had a 6/12 month waiting list. Patients now have to travel 50/60 miles to the nearest hospital.

 

Apparently 1 mental health ward/center has closed a week since Labour came into power, even tho mental illness is on the increase & by, I believe it's, 2025 it will be the 2nd largest cause of illness in the UK, behind heart disease!!

 

Scarey stuff I think! :angry2:

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Mental Health is a physical problem with your brain & you can't prevent how you feel, so why feel guilty about something you have no control over??

 

162483[/snapback]

I beleive this is mostly the case, but I also believe that things you experience in life can trigger that physical problem.

Some people (and I'm sure you don't Sootica :o ) rely so heavily on the "it's only a chemical imbalance" idea, that they can absolve themselves from any responsibility for their own health.

Before anyone smacks me over the head with a blunt object, I am only too aware that when one is in the thrall of the Black Dog there is nothing to help oneself with, no light at the end of the tunnel, no way out until it lifts of its own accord. However, I think that any efforts at self-help we put in while on the upswing of the cycle, can only be of benefit, and may help future episodes clear more quickly and easily of their own accord.

People on the outside can also use the physical thing to hide behind. My mother steadfastly refuses to discuss the fact that she has a husband who's had depressive episodes and 4 out of 4 children who suffer to a greater or lesser degree, and refuses to admit that we might also need help and support, because "it's only a chemical imbalance in the brain. There's nothing to talk about"

(She also said depressives were boring :) ) My not-so-dearly-beloved-husband has said similar things.

This is a bit rambly and not sure I've said what I meant to say. Guess I'll find out when the flames comes in... :D

Badger's Moon

xx

Not, of course, that anyone should feel guilty about their illness

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  • 11 years later...
On 2/4/2007 at 8:37 PM, Pomona said:

Mental illness is that. It is an illness. It is not something you wish upon yourself or you asked for. It is a condition which you have and for which you need treatment in the same way that someone with diabetes needs treatment or someone with a broken leg. It's no different from that. So criticising you for being ill is just nonsensical. Would anyone criticise anyone with cancer?

 

Another point is that having any illness does not make you any more, or any less, Pagan. You are Pagan because of your beliefs, because of the way your heart feels when you encounter certain things, because of the feeling in your gut when you are in certain situations.

I just wanted to quote this again for any newbies/oldies who hadn't seen it. 12 years since the original query was posted, and yet I still see it debated within some of the Facebook groups I'm a part of.

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  • 2 years later...

hi  i have mental health issues including an eating disorder  and self harm , i have done it since i was 13 years old  am now 44  and sometimes i still do , i am going to get help for it as i feel i cant move on with my life until i can stop fully , my partner also self harms as well  we met in a self harm forum that was closing down  when i was 29 he was  19 .if it wasnt for him pm ing me and sending me his number we wouldnt have met each other .  he came up to scotland from oxford for a week and never left , we fell in love .

my partner isnt as bad as i am with it , he has depression  and isnt medcated   I have Borderline Personality Disorder , OCD , c-pstd , i hear voices and see things , a tic disorder , eating disorder and self harm , self esteam issues  i have my medication locked away , i get them  weekly as i cant have too much in the house at the one time  due to Overdoesing  and i can be suicidal and i lost a friend to this illness ( bpd ) and my dad comited suicide  10 years ago and i have trauma issues

i struggle nearly everyday , i cant be left on my own , my partner is my fulltime carer  24/7  i also have a support worker twice a week  and i cant have money ( i have a costa / starbucks gift card  for when am with my support worker  and i go for a coffee  she keeps an eye on me as well .

 

i am pagan and i dont see  being mentally ill as a problem to do with what ever  religion / spirtiuality

 

 

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WM

No advice.

No judgement.

 Just a (socially distanced) virtual hug.

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All the best.  When you say you are going to get help - that seems an excellent idea. 

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      I have several. Stone rabbit is one of my guides. He is a stone around the size of a medium sized hand, that is in the shape of a rabbits head (in profile) that I found many years ago and kept. On one side he has a mark that looks like an open eye, on the other side it looks as if he has lost that eye. Stone rabbit is master at navigating mazes/webways. When I want him to see something within the mundane I turn his head so his eye can observe. If I am going on a journey I have his lost eye side observing. He comes on my walks with me and I carry him in a bag around my neck.
    • Roundtuit
      Thank you.  Yes, I'm starting to think it's the journey that matters.   What a gorgeous image!  I'd love to get back to the fells, there's something new around very corner there.    
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