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.

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

The Powers of a Witch

Prior to discussing this subject, I want to express that “The powers of a witch” are not for witches alone.  Many people may manifest spiritual abilities without identifying as a witch -or anything at all for that matter. Out with the labels or embrace them -whatever works. Now, on to business! New seekers have a lot of questions.  One I hear often is “What are my powers or gifts, can you tell me?” More frequently,  I hear questions that often indicate that way too much T.V. is to blame.  Questions of that variety sound more like this: “Can you shoot fireballs from your hands?”   “Can you float things across the room or turn yourself into a cat?”  Hey, I’ll be the first one to say that if I could fly on a broom I’d give up the idea of car payments forever and kick the dust from my brooms invisible transmission!  It is a nice thought.

It isn’t unusual for beginners to be interested in what their talents may be.  Answering this question isn’t easy.  While it is possible a person may be able to discern a special talent that you have, it is more likely that you will have to develop patience and practice to determine what gifts you already have.

I deeply believe that all people are capable of what is sometimes perceived as “supernatural” ability.  What should be remembered is that as we move closer to nature and reconnect, it isn’t unusual for us to suddenly recognize such things. Animals are very keen. We have been disconnected for so long that most of these abilities have been buried. Seekers are archeologists of the soul and the digging uncovers the self that we are at the core. Of course, I speak only for myself in regard to that belief.

I first encountered the “Thirteen Powers of the Witch” when reading a book by Silver Raven Wolf.  The excerpt goes like this:

Thirteen powers do the Witches claim
their right of lineage by Goddess’s* name.
Tie a knot and say the words
or hand on head – the blessing conferred.
A Witch can give success in love
curse or bless through God/dess above.
Speak to beasts and spirits alike
command the weather, cast out a blight.
Read the heavens and stars of the night
divine the future and give good advice.
Conjure treasure and bring fortune to bear
heal the sick and kill despair.
I list the gifts slightly different as can be seen below.  Some of the gifts will be more like skills -you’ll have to really work at them.  Others will really be more of a talent, maybe you could always do it and didn’t realize it had a name?  Often, it is the case that more than one gift is present.
  1. The Eyes: My mother talked to me about “special eyes” To have the eyes simply means that you have the ability to visually see the spiritual world.  That vision may come from dreaming or while a person is awake.  Often, clairvoyance (clear sight) many manifest through dreams. People with the eyes may be precognitive (seeing before something happens) or post cognitive (seeing events that have happened in the past.)
  2. Speaking with and listening to spirits/animals: By spirits, I mean all kinds: worldly and otherworldly, animals and plants, elemental and otherwise.
  3. The Gift of Projection: Those who discover this ability may be able to leave their bodies to astral travel, bi-locate, remote-view, dream-walking.  Though these talents can be used in conjunction with dreaming, I separate them because they can be utilized otherwise as well. I’ve also seen this manifest using the voice.
  4. The Gift of The Hands (Transference) and (Drawing):  witches of all kinds can learn to project, direct and absorb energy but witches with the gift of transference/drawing are often healers. They often become adept at moving energy inside the body (not just the physical body but often the etheric one as well.) Witches with this gift are often Psychometric.  They have the ability to touch objects and receive (draw) information from what they encounter.   This ability may include a gift to sever and connect energy lines (with or without physical touch).
  5. The gift of Divination:  Most witches use some form of divination.  Most commonly used are cards of some kind (cartomancy).  Others might read natural signs, use dowsing pendulums, black mirrors for scrying, runes and more.  The tool is just that and nothing more but it aids a witch in channeling information. If divination is your “gift” it may come very easy and you may discover an uncanny ability to discern explicit details when you look beyond or “through” the tool itself.
  6. The gift of “Wish” This was described to me from the time I was very young.  The gift of wish is exactly what it sounds like, it is the ability to make a wish, point and watch it happen. The manifestation happens quickly and appears to be almost immediate. I feel this wish falls into the bless and curse category.  Meaning that if you can bless you can also curse. The old adage “Be careful what you wish for” is taken very seriously with a person who is gifted with the “wishing.”
  7. Medium: Mediums are vessels, they themselves become the physical channels for spirits to communicate through.  Instead of needing a tool, the medium is the tool.  I’ve heard mediums describe sudden anxiety, cold sweats, intense pressures on their bodies. However, I feel this may be an early manifestation of this ability and is best guided by a well-experienced mentor who shares a similar gift.
  8. Discernment: (Clear Judgement) Discernment is an ability that often travels through the channel of clairsentience (clear feeling) as well as “The knowing.”  Often it is difficult to put into distinct words.  My mother referred to it as “gut feelings.” When a person discerns they are able to “tell the difference.”  They may know when a person is lying or immediately know if something is not in their best interests or the interest of others.
  9. The Gift of Empathy: Empathy is the ability to tune into the feelings of others.  Often, in the beginning, empaths may find it difficult to tell the difference between their own feelings and the feelings of those around them.  They are much like water spilled on a counter.  The water needs a container, empaths need time to retreat and firm emotional boundaries.

RECOGNIZING AND NURTURING OUR GIFTS

Now, how do these gifts manifest?  What can we expect and how can we recognize the development of these various gifts.   Can a witch have more than one gift?  More questions abound.  Lets’ address a few of them.  First, a witch could possibly have all of them but some will be stronger than others.  The strongest are often considered the “gifts.” I won’t dish out a name but years ago I was very close to a young man with the amazing talent to travel out of his body.  He described the sensations and had absolutely no clue exactly what was happening to him.  When he became frightened he often shifted out of his body.  He would describe seeing himself from above or be able to details scenes when he appeared to be unconscious.  During a doctors’ visit, he discovered he needed a shot. Being extremely fearful of needles, he attempted to distract himself with magazines or by humming.  A nurse and a doctor had him seated in a chair with an armrest and they pulled out the syringe.  The moment the cool metal touched his skin his color drained from his cheeks.  I’d been attempting to keep him calm when I realized he had blacked out. After the appointment, I discovered he was rather upset.  He was convinced that I was going to allow the medical team to hold him down.  He convincingly recounted his version of the events and reiterated that I should have left with him instead of choosing to ignore him.  I was profusely confused.  He continued to explain:  “They were going to put that needle in me and I jumped up and yelled no.  I told you to come on that we were leaving and you just kept your back to me the whole time.  You were ignoring me.” Suddenly, I felt an overwhelming compassion and at the same time, suppressed the urge to giggle just a little. I pointed out to him that he should look at his arm.  If he had jumped up and left how was their evidence of a shot?  I then retold him the story and explained that the reason I did not turn around was because I was attending to his physical body.  I explained that I didn’t hear him yelling at me.  It took him quite a while to recover from the shock.

Recognition should lead to a pursuit of knowledge.  Learn about the gift, research it and honor it by trusting it.  Of course, gifts should be used to serve in a way that is healing and helpful.  Each person has to discover how he or she may use their gift in compassion, wisdom and great love.

IDENTIFYING YOUR STRONGEST CHANNEL

They may manifest through various channels.  Some of these channels I have mentioned above. It is not unusual for one to be stronger than the rest.  A primary channel is the one that is utilized most often for information to be received through. What do I mean by channel?  In this case, I mean a pathway by which the gifts can unfold.  Here are some that you may encounter:

Clairaudience: The ability to hear clearly.

Clairvoyance: To see clearly.

Claircognizance: Clear Knowing

Clairsentience:  Clear feeling (sensation) that does not necessarily involve the hands.

Clairtangency: The ability to touch objects and retrieve information previously unknown.

Clairscent: Smelling the unseen -meaning there isn’t a logical reason to smell roses suddenly when there are no roses present or recently present.

 

In this post, I have not mentioned many things such as telekinesis, teleportation, telepathy -and so on.  My general attitude is that all things are possible.  Initially, I felt these needed a new category but in the end found myself undecided at where to place them. I list them as the nine gifts, of course, there may be more of these as they are broken down.  The Green Gift are people who have an amazing talent to grow plants and speak with them. Due to the nature of it, I lump it together with working and speaking with spirits. I find that most gifts are subtle in nature. Developing them is in part, a matter of not forcing it to happen.  Stay open, receptive and wonder at the world and all the things in it.  All gifts are revealed in time -and some quite a bit more mundane than you would expect.