Skryclad: Clothed In Visions

Observations of the light and the dark of what is, was, and might be in the Pagan community's expansion and evolution.

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Patience & Fury, Part 1

 

This is the first of a series of blog posts on how to move more gracefully through the turbulence caused by the pain and strife that is besetting so many parts and so many levels of the world at this time and for some time yet to come. I am pointedly and intentionally not naming the myriad of issues because I do not want to call out or inadvertently suggest a hierarchy or prioritization of troubles or oppressions. If you need to do that take a moment now and think about your own concerns.

 

I am calling this series “patience and fury” though I could just as well call it “empathy and apathy”, “mercy and punishment”, or “hope and despair”. It is a familiar refrain to hear that people, communities, and nations are polarized or have become more polarized. I believe that this is true, and that this division and opposition is not just external, between parties, but internal as well. What we do externally, in the tangible world, is mirrored within. What we hold within ourselves is mirrored and translated into external actions. Most of the people I know, myself included, are facing multiple issues at once that range in scale from the interpersonal to the global.  These internalized polarizations, these dichotomies in our psyches, are like unruly horses. Sometimes they drag the chariot of our lives off course or off the road. Sometimes we are thrown from the chariot and  trampled in the tangle of competing principles and urges. Sometimes all we can do is to be stuck in a full stop.

 

I have no quick and ready answers to solve the tangle of interlaced problems of the world. I certainly have my own thoughts and best guesses at some solutions, but even if I’m partially right they would neither be quick nor easy to implement. Moreover, an online forum is not the best way to discuss truly complicated and difficult matters. What I do feel, think, and believe is that the best possible outcomes for this troubled passage through time are more likely if we as individuals are listening to and acting from our better natures. When we act from the core of our better natures, even the errors we make lead to solutions. This series of blog posts will be focused on ways to nurture and to enliven our better natures.

 

 

The Divine Spark Is Hard To See

 

I have been told time and again that within each person there is a spark of the Divine. As a Witch, I believe that every person, and for that matter every living being, is a child of the Goddess and the God. It is a widely held position that all life on Earth arose from the same biological and/or spiritual source. Some variation on these themes exist in many magickal and spiritual communities. I find that accepting these ideas and all that they imply about our interconnectedness is relatively easy. The part that is challenging is to perceive it as the truth regularly in our day to day lives. On any given day it is fairly likely that someone will cut you off in traffic, treat you poorly at work, post something in social media that you find outstandingly bad, or do something that seems to disprove the assertion that they too have a Divine spark. This in turn often leads to more inner polarizations and dissonance. This also alters our perceptions and our default perceptual filters which then alters our actions.

 

Expressing higher love, compassion and acting with equanimity is easy when you see the Divine in others. Unfortunately, unless you are living and moving in a state of constant enlightened awareness, it is easier to notice everything but their Divine spark. I strive for the day that I can see and truly know more of the factors at play in any given situation, and understand what led to that moment, and what future outcomes are at stake in the decisions at hand. I want to look at the world with love. Not romantic love, or idealized love, or ethereal float into space love, but gritty sees the whole deal and still commits to the work love. I know it is unlikely that I will achieve this in this life, or the next several, so I until I get there I have a work-around solution. I try to develop affection and fondness for as many people and things as I can, especially the ones that I don’t like or love.

 

 Affection Work

 

Developing fondness and affection for friends and loved ones arises naturally out of shared life experiences viewed through the lens of positive emotion. To develop affection for a broader circle of people requires an act of will. I have found that almost everyone has admirable qualities, interesting quirks, positive expressions of a passion for life, and other forms of good behavior. As an example, I read a large number of blogs and follow news sources whose politics and perspectives are far from my home base or comfort zone. I try to make a special note of when the writers make side comments and mentions of their garden, their pets, their loved ones, a gleeful moment related to their preferred geekiness, music that moved them, kindness they’ve shown, real tears, and so on. I take a moment to envision them expressing these and imagine them acting from their better nature. The gentle emotions that come from contemplating them in this way changes the image and the description that I hold for them in my mind. 

 

Then, the next time that they write, say, or do something that I find infuriating, it is harder to dehumanize them, it is easier to see it as disagreement rather than villainy, and I don’t write them off. This is not a theoretical construct that I am sharing, this is what I have been doing for a few years and it has been effective for me. When I can’t move into a state of being where I can see the polarized other with the eyes of higher love, I can often use this reservoir of affection and fondness to prevent the pendulum’s swing to hate and hate’s lesser forms. In some cases, this practice has taken me a step further and people with whom I have substantial disagreements experience me as a friend or at least in friendly terms. This allows us to keep open a real dialogue and to make common cause on those things where we agree.

 

I have done this affection and fondness work with co-workers, members of covens, clients, customers, and pretty much anyone with whom I have a recurring contact. It has helped me and it may help you. It is a remarkably powerful practice. We all hold an image, a construct, of the world within ourselves and it shapes how we view and how we interact with others. When we amend this inner schematic of the world, our world changes, and people act differently towards us because our words and deeds towards them have changed as well. Like a bee, gather up each grain of pollen and each minuscule droplet of nectar and over time you’ll find that honeyed spark of the Divine in each person.

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Ivo Domínguez, Jr. is a visionary, and a practitioner of a variety of esoteric disciplines who has been active in Wicca and the Pagan community since 1978. He serves as one of the Elders of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, a Wiccan syncretic tradition that draws inspiration from Astrology, Qabala, the Western Magickal Tradition and the folk religions of Europe. He is the author of Keys to Perception: A Practical Guide to Psychic Development, Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans, Casting Sacred Space: The Core Of All Magickal Work; Spirit Speak: Knowing and Understanding Spirit Guides, Ancestors, Ghosts, Angels, and the Divine; Beneath the Skins with other books in the pipeline as well.
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