All posts by shionflame

About shionflame

Shion Flame is located in southeast Missouri. When she isn’t writing, networking or teaching, she can be found gardening with her partner and her little girl in the back yard, doing yoga, or reading. She shares a home with two energetic dogs and a sleek grey cat named Sheena.

Magic and Integrity

Years ago, when I aided in teaching young children martial arts, we would attempt to teach children vocabulary relevant to their lessons.  One lesson was integrity.  It was defined as “Doing what is right even when no one is looking.”  The questions that rise to the surface are; What do you stand for?  What code do you live by? As a Wiccan hedge witch, I sometimes find it difficult to completely take in the concept of “harm none.”  Is that truly possible?  Do we not destroy life as we walk upon the land, deprive someone when we choose to take?  Talk about opening a Pandora’s box of philosophical questions that will make your head and heart ache!

This work tells a little about how I’ve managed to find a personal understanding of “harm none.” At some point in my contemplation came the realization that it is intention that is left out of that statement.   I’ve personally interpreted it as; do not intentionally seek to destroy another and do not use the power against your brothers and sisters in a way that brings ruin.  Let me clarify however that I do not mean that energies cannot be directed to bring balance to a situation, to uncover and dispel lies and illusions and to make someone responsible for their actions.  The best spells honestly are the ones that bring powerful, personal revelations to all parties involved.

Often, I have received requests to do magic for others.  This is a rare act on my part.  I’ve heard this said:  People that use magic are selfish, it shouldn’t be used for personal gain.  Ever dancing between the wondrous greys, I try to look beyond the black and white extremes (I do keep them in mind though.)   I use magic for my own ends ultimately as well as in a broader sense.  Let me explain.  When something terrible happens in the world, I work for peace, understanding, love and to dispel ignorance and confusions that pit people against one another.  Of course, that does not mean I won’t work for myself!

I deeply feel that in the endeavor to heal ourselves, to make ourselves more whole in each moment (yes even with the power of magic) is to begin to heal aspects of the world.  When we come from a place of love and healing we can begin to approach problems much larger than those on an individual scale. I have used magic to reveal the source of my anxiety, to face and dispel fear, to negate harmful energies (both intentionally and unintentionally directed.)  To clear space, to find courage and confidence, to bring me to resolution and so much more.  The greatest part?  Magic has taught me more about myself than I could have imagined.  While I can think of an array of examples, one stand out.

In 2012, I became quite aware that something wasn’t right in my marriage.  I’d no proof at all but suddenly a wonderfully detailed spell popped right into my head involving securing fidelity in my relationship.  I was supposed to do it right! I mean, it did pop into my head.  I chose not to.  Instead, I decided to follow the deep seeded feeling that something was wrong.  Animals came to visit me in my dreams, Lynx with her secrets and vulture begging to peck out the dead parts…and you know, it was painful as any hell I could describe.  I lost nearly everything I’d come to know during that phase of my life.  The real point is; I needed to lose it.  While I don’t have all the answers about personal integrity and the use of magic, I have learned that it isn’t always the answer.  Sometimes, you must put it down, tap into your deeper self and just listen.  You may not like what you hear, but most of the time it is well worth it -even if it sends your life reeling; you’ll find yourself on the road back home to your own heart each time.

St. Louis Pagan Picnic 2017

This year’s Pagan Picnic was an absolute blast!  I started the day by repeating something I’d done two years ago, coming in  on the wrong side of the park.  It took me about half and hour to realize the farmers market (which was awesome too) was not what I was looking for.  I merely assumed a lot could change during a year.  Note to self, the large, beautiful gazebo’s mark the wrong spot.

Luckily, with a little guidance and a bit of a walk I found my way to the right side of the park where all the adventures awaited. My daughter was very pleased with the walk and enjoyed spending time lazing beneath a gum ball tree (which we always seem to be pulled to.)

 On our walk we were joined by others who also managed to wonder to the wrong side. Nothing like finding your way by getting a little lost!  Note to self -and anyone else with a befuddled sense of direction, Magnolia and Grand St.  (helps with the parking.) Next year, just in case, I’m taking a map with me -remember “Grand” (click here for map.)

As we managed our way through the entrance my daughter found the closest stands selling soaps and bath bombs while I stopped for a fantastic divination reading.  I usually stop at a few readers during my stay.  My card reading was a real joy (thank you Michael). Not only were well needed messages revealed but I also discovered a kindred spirit.  I do love the dragon folk.  My favorite vendors to visit were Michelle Streetman’s Link Leather Scale and Feather, Alinore Rose’s Beyond the Hedge and Donna and Michael Cramer’s Ancient Stone Inspirations

Tossing my blanket to the ground, my daughter and I had a small snack and decided to explore a little more.  I was pleased to discover that Country Hill Creations had returned once again to the picnic.  I saved my purchases from this vendor last for the day because I knew I’d make several and they would be a little heavy. If you are looking for a way to create a journal that is flexible and long lasting, check out their wonderful wooden binders. This year, I picked up a book stand (perfect for that binder) and a pendulum board. There were other goodies to purchase on vendors row too that I

couldn’t resist such as the frozen lemon-aid, some vendors selling special stones, garments and a magical tools. After snapping a picture with Selena Fox and catching up,  My daughter and I picked up a few gifts, ate a scrumptious lunch and had apples to top it off.  We finished the day by listening some music  by Spiral Rhythm with friends.

If you didn’t happen to make it this year, set the date for June of next year and come and join everyone.  Bring a few friends, explore the sights enjoy yourself among a community of like minds and open hearts.

Festival and Celebration Time

Feeling the itch for something new or a need to reach out to others?  This is the perfect time of year for it! As a solitary, it is vital to reach out to others, make an effort to connect and find a few like-minded individuals to share understanding smiles with.  The month of June is a time for many Pagan festivals across the United States.  Take some time out -even if it is just a day or two and weave some wonderful connections -or at least enjoy yourself!  That is exactly what I plan to do.

In 2010 I attended my first Pagan festival PSG (Pagan Spirit Gathering). Although a week long event, I attended only for the weekend.  It left an awesome, memorable impact that inspired me for years to come.  I found myself basking with friends in the river, watching the fire spinners with fascination and dancing to the drums around the fire until dawn.  How wonderful it was to feel so deeply connected to my tribe and others of like-mind.

In 2015, I discovered the Pagan Picnic in St. Louis.  This event came packed with many different vendors.  I was fortunate to come across one vendor who sold wood burned binders -perfect for the shadow book that grows with you.  H. Byron Ballard, writer of Staubs and Ditchwater, was one among many authors who visited and I cannot leave out the wonderful music by S.J. Tucker and Omnia.  As if that isn’t the cherry on top of the cake? The event is completely free save for a some fuel and a picnic basket!

I’ve recruited a friend and we are headed up to St. Louis.  Of course, I’ll be staying Friday night in ole St. Louie in order to get a good head start to the gate.  I’ll hit day number two for this three day event and enjoy the time looking around for old friends, new vendors and yummy food. So load up your little ones (if you have them), pack up the car and head out to this year’s Pagan Picnic at Tower Grove Park in St. Louis Missouri and I’ll see you there!

 

 

 

 

Building your own Protective Construct and Connecting

When we begin to approach spiritual practice and the idea of protective constructs it can often leave us quite baffled. For beginners, terminology might seem confusing. Attempting to wrap your mind around energetic concepts without having any experiences to relate to is one major obstacle. Over the past few days I’ve been contemplating how to explain it in a way that allows someone to personally relate and connect to these ideas -hopefully, without sounding too complicated. Here, I will discuss energetic constructs of protection    -essentially our psychological sense and over-all feeling of safety. I will discuss how we can tap into them and use them in our daily lives as a tool to begin to feel better.

First, let me begin by saying that my personal ideas and techniques are by far my own. They may or may not work well for you. As was once said to me “everything with a grain of salt.” Meaning, consider it, work with it and if it isn’t right for you, you’ll know. First, a construct is something that an idea is built from. Each person experiences life in varied ways. Essentially, what makes me feel safe may not be the same thing that elicits feeling safe for you. To begin you may have to introspect and ask yourself some of the following questions:
• What makes me feel safe?
• What made me feel safe when I was younger?
• How do I imagine that I would protect myself?
• Do I work with any symbols or idea that evoke the idea of protection and safety? Do I feel connected deeply to these ideas?

When I was a little girl, I thought the closet was a safe place. I found them comfortable. After-all, nothing could sneak up on me if my back was to a wall, right? To boot, I loved my silky blanket. According to stories, my parents confessed, I loved my blanket enough for “silky” to be my second word. So, what in the world does all of this have do with protective magic? Really, everything but specifically the way that we connect.

Often we read that to protect yourself you can start by visualizing a bubble of light. The idea is to shield you from usually unseen energy that bombards us. The energy may be emotional (from other people projecting it), mental and more. Don’t get me wrong, the basic sphere or egg shaped visualization works alright. However, in many situations, I discovered that the white-light construct would cut me off from useful energies that I was attempting to work with. It blocked too much out. The idea of using an image to bounce energy back (such as the mirror shield) was ok except I didn’t feel comforted with the knowledge that the energy could take on the function of the actual stuff I was imagining (mirrors reflect). I didn’t want that stuff “reflecting” back and forth or all over the place -I mean, who knows where that energy is going or who might slam into right?  I wanted to feel the connection -personalize it beyond its mere mental functioning.
Personal introspection led me to the idea that we can first build our own constructs by considering places and situations and events that have occurred that have evoked a sense of love, protection and safety in our own lives. When we imagine those situations, it can trigger memories and hopefully the safe feelings that went with them. Then, we can tie those into the visualization we are using.
To do this try the following. Limit distractions (T.V, phone, pets etc) and settle into a quiet spot. After contemplating your personal ideas and experiences of “safe” and hopefully writing it down, take three to five deep breaths. Breathe until the feeling of “safe” washes over you. Once you have a good hold on the feeling then visualize something that makes you feel safe. Maybe it is rushing water swirling around you in a sphere, maybe it is a ball of fire or that big ball of light. Consider for a moment what you would like to keep in, let in and keep out. One method is to literally tell it what its job is. In a sense, you are programming a projected idea around you. This idea and the energy you put into it becomes your personal construct. It follows you wherever you go. The more energy you put into it (like sitting and visualizing it every day) the more stable it becomes. Go out and try it for a while. I’d love to have your personal feedback regarding experiences.

Preventative Aides for Spiritual Attack

It is a given fact that if you practice magic or engage with spiritual energy on a daily basis that at some point, something not quite human or that was once human might find its way to your home or start following you. Part of this is energetic frequency and the other part, I feel is just a matter of being the metaphorical light in the dark. Think of…moths looking for light. This was a description my mother expressed to me in my early years. Now, don’t drop everything and run screaming witchlings that is the nature of energy in general…attracting and repelling etc. Also, there a number of things that you can do initially that will help avoid the likelihood that this may occur, as well as, prepare you to handle situations you feel intimidate you.

It is important to note, that as Wiccans (and other practitioners of magical crafts), encounters with spiritual energies of this kind can also indicate an imbalance.  There may be something important you are learning on your spiritual path that this experience can offer you such as the need to protect yourself, the need to set spiritual boundaries, expansion of energetic awareness, or acknowledgment of a spiritual gift that you are being called to use for the community.  A case in point is that Shamans who resist their spiritual gifts are often plagued by physical and spiritual events that are often initially perceived as attacks.  When the individual surrenders to their spiritual gifts the negative experiences often subside as the individual obtains a new sense of balance. Sometimes, to find your balance, the spirits knock you over, you teeter-totter back and forth until you discover a new equilibrium. Below, I cover three points that I feel all beginners should become exceedingly comfortable with early in their practice.  Despite specific religious, non-religious or spiritual affiliations and labels, these three items are, in my opinion, vital aspects of a healthy practice and contribute to the overall holistic health of the practitioner.

  • Understanding of the energetic foundations such as grounding, centering
  • Clearing, Boundaries, and Purifications
  • Forming strong connections

Energetic Foundations

People have often expressed to me that their beginnings flared after their first energetic experiences.  These events may have occurred during meditation work, after years of intense dreams, or may have taken any of the myriad forms of experience including but not limited to: receiving relevant spiritual guidance, hearing helpful spiritual forces, feeling awakened or quickened to new spiritual concepts and realities, seeing ghosts, being spiritually attacked, precognitive visions, successful first spell work –the list goes on.

While I’m not completely against throwing yourself into something new and just “going at” a practice, choosing that course of action may result in many hard-earned lessons that could’ve been more gently learned. The foundation of many spiritual practices involves the need to be aware of energy both within and around yourself.  Grounding, centering and breathing lays the initial foundation for beginning to physically and mentally sense the way that this force naturally flows. Long term practice results in an increased sensitivity to personal energy as well as the energy that exists around you.  This means you may be able to more easily tell when something is “Off” meaning “out of balance or unusual.”  It also aides you in recognizing when you need restoration and cleansing.  The routine practice will lead to lower stress levels (coping skill), clearer decision-making and aid in helping you maintain your over-all equilibrium.

 

Rituals of Clearing, Purification and the act of setting boundaries

There are many ways to perform such rituals.  Here, I use the word “clearing” as the act of ritually removing energy from a space.  This is often done by utilizing herbs such as sage and rosemary, purified water, or the sounds of bells, clapping or even voice work.  The premise behind a clearing rests in the act of raising the energetic frequency of an area.  By doing so, other energies essentially vacate.  That is putting it plainly.

Purification (Cleansing) is the act of removing energy of various kinds (usually harmful, stagnant or blocked) from the physical and energetic body.  Again, the idea is to raise the energetic frequency as well as to remove specific energetic/spiritual influences.  Cleansing rituals take various forms such as baths, smudgings, the use of plants to (very gently) strike a person on their body and may or may not include the ingestion of infusions (teas) or other substances.  In some cases, purification may require removal from social community and solitude as well as fasting rituals, increased consumption of water or other diets.

Take a cup and fill it with water.  Knock that cup over and watch the water spill out over the counter.  Boundaries.  Our energy flows much like water, the spiritual work performed often sets up well-needed boundaries that affect our overall psychology.  Here I speak of boundaries as they pertain to shielding, holding on to our own energy and not letting it over-pour into others to the extent that we may lose our sense of personal identity.  This sometimes happens when we constantly give and forget to honor our need to receive and reconnect as well as honor our inner sources. It may also happen that our boundaries are shaken up by traumatic events which may leave us vulnerable to similar events over and over again.  To begin, you may research learning how to shield (a mental projection around your energy body that grounds out, reflects, filters or otherwise prevents specific energies from entering into the body’s field.) The construct of the shield (what we imagine it to be) will affect its function.  Much of this has to do with the material we imagine it is made of and the mental associations we have with the construct we are creating.  Like meditation, working with a shield may increase personal sensitivity to what may be around or near your own energy fields. There are many more things to say about energy work where it comes to boundaries.  These practices may also include:  warding, sealing, barrier workings, learning to say no, setting personal limits to accomplish goals and more.

Forming Strong Connections

This particular work I cannot stress enough.  This can be a real challenge for those of us who work as solitaries or those that for one reason or another are rather isolated from the larger community. Community takes many shapes and forms.  We may discover online connections and communities.  Through networking, it is possible to make positive, healing, uplifting friendships that we feel support us.  Another source could be a local Unitarian Universalist Church.  However if you are located in a rural community and the closest Unitarian church is three hours away, as it is in my own case, the feeling might be more frustrating.  For those who happen to be rather isolated from community, I encourage you to become very closely acquainted with your online community.  Witchvox.com may offer the location of ministers that are close to rural areas (or maybe you will choose to become one to serve that need like I did!).  In times of spiritual crisis, these connections will serve to support you –even if only from a distance, many practitioners are willing to offer advice or energy to help.   If you’ve enjoyed this article, join me next week for:  Dealing with Spiritual Attack