Pagan Studies


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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Possession in the Pillar Crypt

Up to now my blog posts here have been mostly about research I've done - information about Minoan deities and spiritual practices, with a few notes from my own practice thrown in for good measure. Today I'm sharing something very different with you. Something very personal.

I've spent a lot of time meditating and doing shamanic journeywork to piece together what I can of Minoan religious practice. Usually I get a few glimpses of something they might have done in the big temples or at the little shrines in their homes. A few days ago I got something I hadn't bargained for - a full-blown vision of an oracular priestess doing her thing. It has taken me some time to process this experience and reach the point that I can comfortably share it with you.

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    I am walking across the field toward the lane, the morning lit with the kiss of bright autumnal sunshine. Blue skies above and the busy chatter of birdsong to accompany me and my heart sings. Leaves tumble before me as they are whipped into a frenzy by the wind, twisting and twirling they weave their acrobatic dance and I am caught in their swirling vortex.  I pull my coat tightly around me and hang on to my scarf as I push my way into the shelter of the woods beyond.
    The trees continue their whispering above me as they bend and sway. Leaves cascade to the ground like confetti and crackle beneath my feet. I stop to admire the richness of the autumnal palette and the warmth in the hues of golden browns and orange, dotted with the ruby jewels of crab apples. My mind and body bathe in the delicious, sumptuous comfort of this autumnal offering, like slipping into a warm vat of honeyed treacle.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Seasonal sexy time

I know we traditionally associate Beltane with sexuality, but autumn is a lively time of year for many life forms. There are nuts dropping all over the place, the deer will be rutting soon, and the fungi are waving their genitals.

No, really.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Blood Mysteries

The blood mysteries, they have called to me for years. The calling felt distant, an eery echo in an old worn in cave that lived deep within my wombspace, the house of my ancestors. 

I remember watching the movie "The Passion of the Christ" when it was first released in the theatre. Never mind that Mary Magdalene was portrayed as a prostitute, despite the inaccuracy of the connection between her and the prostitue in the New Testament I was glued to the two women in the film, the characters of Mother Mary and Mary the Magdalene. There were two scenes in particular that stood out to me. Watching Mother Mary run towards a falling Jesus during His long walk with His cross while the camera in slow motion flashed back to Mary running to catch a young child Jesus that was tripping and falling is one of the two scenes that has always stuck with me. The other scene that stood out to me included both Mary's and the wife of Pilot, the man who washed his hands of Jesus' fate. In this scene Jesus' bloody and torn body has been dragged away after being viscously flogged publicly leaving behind pools of blood. Pilot's wife approaches the Mary's with a handful of white cloths, silently both Mary's get down on their knees and begin to mop up the blood, when the cloth is used up they take the shawls from atop their heads and begin to soak up His blood with that. I was young in my journey when this movie came out and fresh to my 20's, as I watched alongside an avid born again Christian roommate I knew that I was witnessing something profound, something sacred. 
 
I watched the movie a second time with my Mom.
 
"Why do they mop up His blood?" I asked her. I knew that the Christian faith was big on the 'blood of Christ' and the power that it held, I felt moved watching the reverence that was used in collecting and honouring His blood, but I couldn't consciously connect to what it was that was sacred about the blood. All that my Mother could tell me was that metaphysically the blood was powerful.
 
A few years later my mystical path would expand and merge into Feminine mysticism, I would begin to collect my Moon blood and offer it back to the Earth, I would learn about my Moon cycle, about Moon lodges and about the potency of the molecular make~up of my bloodline that connects me to the ancestry of Mothers and Grandmothers, Fathers and Grandfathers that walked this Earth~plane before me. However, in that moment I had a very Christian movie visually depicting a very ancient and Feminine practice of blood reverence and something within my womb stirred, my ancestors nudged me, whispering "follow this inspiration, this is Divinely and wholly connected to your walk." 
 
My relationship and connection to my blood has depend and expanded, it is one of my most sacred connections to self and the Divine, as a Priestess my blood is the tangible link between this realm and the one that came before incarnation. I feel such infinite gratitude for the blood that I shed and the blood that courses through my veins, and most importantly, for the opportunity to be awakened to the potency of my blood, something that for the first 21 years of my life I had forgotten.
 
I was consciously awakened and taught about the blood mysteries in depth in this lifetime through a four week series of teachings from my Mentress, Priestess Aquarius. She taught about the cycles of the Moon and how it connects to our bodies as women. During the week that we studied the dark phase of the Moon and the Crone energies that pull at our bodies during this time, we practiced an exercise that consisted of us journeying into our wombs to connect to our ancestors. I began to squirm as the two women beside me settled comfortably into their seats, eyes closed, prepared to journey.
 
"I'm not really keen to connect to the, ahem wisdom, of my ancestors," I ventured. This opened up a lengthy discussion between Aquarius and I, she doled out information about ancestors, the wisdom that they all held and I debated (which  is par for course in our relationship) about why my particular brand of ancestors were not wise, rather, I insisted they were dysfunctional and wounded.
 
"Well Candise, what do you think would happen to a witch or a powerfully spiritual woman or man during the rise of the patriarchy? Do you think that they might need to hide their magic and not speak their truth, do you think that this pain could lead to dysfunction? What if you come from a very powerful lineage that has not adjusted well to the patriarchal overtaking of this world?"
 
Well I couldn't debate logic, that made absolute sense and since I had first hand experience with strongly metaphysical ties on my maternal side and artistic leanings on my paternal side I opened up to the possibility that the misfit blood coursing through my veins just might have originated from a deeply powerful group of people, regardless of how distant it may seem to me. That is what opened me.
 
What I've come to realize is that whether the romantic notion that I come from past witches and wise women is true or not doesn't change that my bloodline is mine, that I chose to incarnate into it and regardless of the origins, the fact is that my ancestors and the blood that they shared with me has a deep energetic affect on me and my life's journey. 
 
When the book the Celestine Prophecy came out I refused to read it. At the time that I refused to read this book I was living in Southern Ontario in the early 00's and spiritual literature wasn't very mainstream. My interests made me a bit of a fringe dweller and this very popular book made my non~conformist self bristle. I would not read a popularized book that was based in spirituality, (in actuality my ego was deeply effected as I had dreamed, and still do, for years of being able to do what that book did which is to tell an interesting story through the teaching of spiritual truths). As it is I was young and immature and threatened, yet the day came when visiting my parents in their sleepy rural city that sheer boredom and curiosity got the best of me and I grabbed the turquoise book from their shelf and opened it up. Much to my chagrin I was captivated and inspired, I loved it as so many others had. There are two paragraphs in that book that really inspired me, these paragraphs simply outlined how we are an energetic make~up of the evolved and unresolved qualities of our parents, and they in turn are of their parents and so on and so on. I remember taking out a piece of paper at the time and drawing a line down the middle of it, listing what I believed were my Mothers' best qualities and her worst, I did the same for my Father. These tidbits were with me when I agreed to go within, to my womb and do the ancestor meditation that Aquarius wanted to lead us through.
 
From this circle with Aquarius I journeyed into my Priestess training shortly thereafter. I don't remember being 'taught' about my ancestors, rather I felt them close, my connection to my own blood mysteries deepened with each circle I sat in beside my Priestess sisters. As my relationship with the elements became more conscious so did the lineage that I come from. Each time I grounded down into the Earth, deep into Her core I could feel the footpaths that had been laid before me, each drop of blood that I returned to the Earth at Moon time opened my ears up to whispers from the wombs that had gone before me.
 
I've begun to be easier about my challenges, I have found a vast amount of forgiveness surrounding my past as well as I've sunk deeper into the energetic lessons within my blood. Without a knowledge of the blood I had a psychological understanding of wounding that my parents had incurred, reasons why that wounding had been spilt onto me, a keen awareness of spaces where I was still wounded and a fear about how that would spill out onto my daughter. I felt resentful that more healing hadn't been done before I was born and infinitely overwhelmed with the amount of work I felt I had to do before birthing my daughter (who is happily one now). It was easy to know that I should forgive and yet I felt bogged down by the shit that seemed to come through the years of my family tree, wounded parents, even more wounded grandparents and so on and so on.
 
When I began to tap into my blood a shift happened. It seems subtle when trying to put it into words, because the life circumstances that my lineage has experienced remains exactly as it always has (or does it? read on for my Butterfly Effect pondering) , but what is underneath it now, for me, are much deeper, more profound lessons as I witness honourable Warrioresses and Warriors that live in my bloodline. What I understand to be the truth now, is that these people in my bloodline are not people that didn't do enough work and therefore passed on wounding to me, they are brave souls that jumped into our pool of blood one or two lifetimes before me and raised the vibration of our life source, our blueprint and took me a few steps closer to conscious awareness and Oneness with Source, the ultimate Home Base at the end of our spiral journey through incarnations, through their personal journey.
 
What if I wasn't conditioned to have an anxious disposition with a short temper from my Father, perhaps my Father just jumped in ahead of me and helped to clear away some of the residual anger in the bloodline. I read a story a long time ago, if I could remember the book's title I would reference it right now, if this sounds familiar to you and you know the book please message me. This is a true story about a judge who was quiet and nice to those around him, he didn't cause conflict or upset and yet throughout his life he failed to find any intimate relationships with others, he had few friends and the acquaintances that he did have didn't feel close to him at all. The only thing that stood out about this man in comparison to others is that in his work as a judge he meted out stronger sentences than other judges would in his position. Yet he always wondered why it was that others seemed to steer clear of him. One day he found out that his aunt had died and though he didn't feel particularly close to her he thought it only right that he should attend the funeral. At the funeral wake he struck up a conversation with a cousin of his that he didn't know too well, she told him that she was a psychic and he asked her in a hushed tone if she could tell him why people seemed to avoid him. I will paraphrase the conversation below.
 
"Oh, you have a darkness in you," she told him. "A meanness, there is cruelty in you."
 
"That can't be so," the man replied. "I grew up with the meanest most cruel father imaginable, I swore that I would never be like him and I've never treated anyone like he treated me."
 
"That's true," his cousin replied. "But that doesn't change what is inside. You chose the Father that you had so that you could learn what it was like to be treated cruelly, knowing the pain of receiving this cruelty you've learnt not to act out and harm others with it, but it hasn't eradicated the cruelty within."
 
The story continues on after this, but the message that I took from this was that our lives are evolutions, not only of our own experiences but of the experiences of those that came before us. It is as if we are large holograms, that image of Darwin's evolution from ape to man pops into my mind's eye, except that it is our ancestors that continue to morph into newer, more awakened versions of who they once were. Wherever it is that I left off in my past lifetime it is obvious that I was ready to learn about patience and trust in this one and so I dove in, at the right spot in line in the bloodline that I have joined this time around. Right between uncontrollable rage and what I hope will be calm, peaceful reasoning. I'm aiming to be the middle of the see saw, the tipping point, but perhaps I will be but one step closer to the pool of calm and my daughter will simply be a bit fiery in her approach to life, or perhaps she is continuing on the parts of my lineage that are studious, still and observant as I've observed her exemplifying already, likely she will be a bit of a mix, and then there will be the lessons and gifts that she receives from her Father's blood, lifetimes live within her already.
 
When I look behind me I observe the evolution of a bloodline, when I look ahead I see the hope of where it is that we are going. When I go within, meditate, breathe and raise in vibration, the frequency of my entire bloodline rises, this means that not only are the next seven generations going to benefit, as the prophecy goes, but so do those that have gone before me. My path, my work has a thirteenth monkey effect and ripples into the energy field of everyone in my bloodline. Time is relative, past present and future all happen at once, thus the past is changed with the work that I do. I wonder if there aren't mornings that I wake up and the reality that I awaken into that seems linear to me hasn't drastically shifted and morphed without me knowing that the storyline was changed as I slept, a sort of Butterfly Effect that my third dimensional brain isn't able to grasp at this point. 
 
It is funny to me, how far down the rabbit hole the blood mysteries can take me, while simultaneously, they can simplify and ground me into the present. Suddenly the stories of my Mother, Grandmother and Aunties come alive for me, they are not just stories about another person's life, they are stories about me, my energetic make~up, they hold keys to my future and my learning . They have learnt and grown and sorrowed for me as my learning and growing and sorrowing clears up space for my daughter and any other children that I am blessed to have extend from me and the rest of my lineage.
 
This blood, this thick, dark, red, deeply feminine flowing substance is everything, it is my lifeblood, my anchor, my energetic blueprint, it is the wisdom of the past and the hope for the future. All of us walking around as extensions of bloodlines hold the hope of the future, no wonder we are told that world peace starts at home, imagine the ripple that each lineage puts into the world as we rise up in consciousness, imagine how quickly each bloodline can be traced back to originate to the first, one bloodline. As you and I raise our blood's vibration up we raise up the past and the future, life becomes a hopeful mystery, a kaleidoscope of evolution.
 
Yes the blood is sacred, so much more sacred then I knew. Of course they mopped up His sacred blood. If only we all treated our blood as Sacred as we would the blood of the Masters.
 
Today I wait, completely enveloped in the mystery, wondering when my next Moon blood will be, breastfeeding has made it erratic and inconsistent. I look forward to the release, to the magic and the mystery that occurs in the honouring of the blood that I shed. Tonight as I go into meditation, I will sense, as I have for many nights now, the presence of my ancestry, close, strong, wise and oh so forgiving of my past ignorance. I will feel into the energetic space of potential that lies ahead of me in my bloodline and as I connect within to the Divine Mother I will be at peace knowing that what I receive is feeding, nourishing and evolving an entire bloodline. And as I observe a random act of kindness, listen to a spiritual teacher teach, see a friend soften and open I will give up a prayer of thanks that lifetimes are evolving in the everyday occurrences that I am blessed to witness as the blood within each person ripples and bubbles with change.
 
Grace Be With You,
Priestess of Grace
Candise Soaring Butterfly
 
 
 
 
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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Two Seasons

Rating: PI (Contains Politically Incorrect Language)

There's a whole genre of Minnesota jokes that begin: “Minnesota has two seasons: Winter and....” Winter and Road Repair. Winter and Winter-is-Coming. Occasionally there are variations: “...two seasons: Shovel and Swat.” Whatever one calls its partner, though, Winter is the central fact of existence here in Lake Country. Spring and Fall aren't really seasons in the North; they're occasional delightful visitors, all the more beloved for their poignantly brief stay. Our year really is a bi-seasonal one.

This would have been utterly familiar to the ancestors. The ancient Germanic speakers knew a two-season, Winter-Summer year: etymologically, the “windy” and “sunny” seasons respectively. The great holidays of Proto-Germanic culture were apparently Midwinter and Midsummer, associated even then—between 3000 and 4000 years ago—with the winter and summer sunsteads (solstices). We know that this goes back to the time before the Germanic languages branched off from one another because the terms are preserved in all surviving daughter languages.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Vegan Pagan: Your Health

Note: If you haven't yet read The Vegan Pagan: Introduction, The Vegan Pagan: Interstice the First and The Vegan Pagan: Interstice the Second, I encourage you to do so before moving on to this entry.

This is the least intersectional and least spiritual of the entries I'll be writing on veganism and Paganism. The reason is simple. If a vegan diet is bad for your body, this conversation is over, and that's the way it should be. Conversely, if a vegan diet is good for your body, any spiritual work you undertake is enhanced by the benefit your diet brings you. I'll also be discussing relationships between the vegan diet and disease and the problem of antibiotic resistance as it relates to animal agriculture, since it also relates to food choices and public health.

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This post is a continuation of my Steps on the Healing Path series. You can read the first and second installments first if you wish.

A few months after my first Reiki Attunement, my lover and I moved from New Orleans to Salem, Oregon. A year later, we split up. I moved--first into a questionable apartment complex in downtown Portland, then into a house with my new lover--and his two young children. Transition, work and motherhood kept my head spinning for the next few years. But in early 2007 I looked around and realized I had settled into a kind of rhythm, and I wanted to continue my training as a healer. I met with two different reiki masters who I found by searching on-line. By early March I had chosen a teacher, and at the end of March I took my second class.

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