Feelings & Reality, Life & Death & the Samhain Gate

There are two parts to this that need each other — the first is science (or opinion) and the other is magic (or science) (or religion). First, the science —

I read something in Second Life (a virtual world) yesterday on someone’s profile page. She (or possibly he) wrote, “The only things that are real in Second Life are feelings.” I suspect she assumes that the feelings are firmly attached to “real” people outside the computers.

So, feelings are real and everything else in Second life is pixels, and pixels ultimately are just excited dots of energy on a computer screen. Ideas are what we manifest there — ideas of objects or people or whatever we fancy. They appear to have three dimensions, but that’s just an illusion on a flat two-dimensional screen. Wait… they also have the dimension of linear time — or appear to do so. If I think too much about this, it may give me a headache.

In our current version of our so-called “real” world, there seems to be a huge muddle about the differences between truth and opinion and reality and belief and experience and fact. I think this may be important — this idea that only feelings are real. I do know this “feeling thing” was only being said about a “virtual world” that only exists inside a computer.

But I’m not so sure about the “reality” of our world where a lot of people seem to feel that only free range opinions matter — certainly more than science or facts, which according to them are only opinions too. In that view, no one’s opinions matter more than another (except mine, of course, and that’s sort of a secret until there is conflict). This seems to soon turn into a sort of “my way or the highway” kind of thinking, where the biggest gun matters the most.

Think about it. Physicists believe that everything is composed of sub-atomic pixels sorry, particles. These are said to be tiny bits of energy in a whole lot of nothing. They even have names in the Standard Model that include: Six “flavors” of quarks: up, down, bottom, top, strange, and charm; and six types of leptons: electron, electron neutrino, muon, muon neutrino, tau, tau neutrino.

(I think perhaps I love physicists more than I knew — anyone who thinks up names like this has to be delightfully whimsical at least some of the time. The same is true of the philosophers who come up with an elaborate notion called the Raven Paradox, which is, in part: The raven paradox, also known as Hempel’s paradox or Hempel’s ravens, is a paradox arising from the question of what constitutes evidence for a statement. Observing objects that are neither black nor ravens may formally increase the likelihood that all ravens are black even though, intuitively, these observations are unrelated.)

This problem was proposed by the logician Carl Gustav Hempel in the 1940s to illustrate a contradiction between inductive logic and intuition.

It goes on from there quite extensively and even dizzyingly. But the whole thing is based on the concept that “all ravens are black.” Any one real, actual white raven (not an albino) brings the whole structure down. And we now know there are actual white ravens</a>. They may not have existed in Hempel’s time. But they do now, and it’s no longer factual to say “all ravens are black” even though it may be an opinion still strongly held by many, who may choose to say that a white raven is a “fake”.

Or, perhaps the physicists and the philosophers who come up with these knackerty knotions are, like the white raven, so rare as to be virtually non-existent. If you find one, perhaps you should record it carefully as proof that whimsical scientists do exist. Or perhaps these bursts of whimsicality happen as rarely as white ravens, promptly dissolving into vapor like brief whistles of steam from an overheated boiler. Forgive me, I get… Ooo! Shiny! Ahem. So…

All of those wee bits of energy/matter would crumple into nearly nothing at all but empty space if their excitement didn’t keep them spinning or whatever they really do. Now that I think about it, this sounds a lot like pixels on a screen. To understand why I say this, you can find more than I wanted to know about pixels here.

Back when I first went into Second Life, I was doing a lot of thinking about Buddha and Buddhism, and I had an interesting experience. Flying along (you can do that in Second Life) I got distracted and fell. My avatar fell ungracefully to the ground and splatted right on my belly. Then, without me doing a thing, she/I scrambled up onto my feet and brushed the (imaginary?) dust off.

I was shocked.

I hadn’t told her to do that!

Then I wondered (also involuntarily, with what felt like the back of my mind looking over my shoulder) if there was someone behind me, watching me as I was watching my avatar, and if I sometimes did things that surprised it, things I hadn’t been told to do. And it felt like this someone was nodding and being amused.

I immediately shut Second Life down, turned the computer right off, and unplugged it, which was not something I usually did. Then, I went outside where I dug holes and planted bulbs until I felt like one simple, ordinary, real person again. But I remembered (and have never forgotten) that feeling of someone (me) sitting behind this me (this one that is typing), almost laughing, certainly amused at the confused typing-me and my surprise and shock — and thoughts. Then I thought how amused the Buddha might have been if he’d seen Second Life. It so beautifully demonstrates so many of his concepts.

This brings me to what I really wanted to talk about here. I’ve always meant to write this down and here in the liminal space-time of Samhain (All Hallows’ Eve) seems like an appropriate time to consider Life and Death and What Comes After, especially just after reading Michael Tomlinson’s story, Two Men and a Dog this morning. I quote a bit from the middle: One of the men spoke of a friend of theirs who had died this year. A rich and robust character of a man, impossible to not like the instant you spotted him. “I heard him today, no shit. It was real. He was right there with me and laughing. I asked him aloud if he’d seen my mom and he just laughed really loudly in that way of his and said, ‘It’s not at all —ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, — nothing at all like you think it is,’ and then he just laughed louder and more happily until I didn’t hear him any more. I’ve been thinking about that all day.”

You know, dear reader, I’ve had very similar messages from a few people. I used to do a lot of counseling and healing with people in hospice or terminally ill, and some of them came back briefly after they’d gone on. It usually happened when I was half-asleep or in deep meditation. In one instance, Vera came back to tell me, “It isn’t anything like I thought it would be.” She paused and laughed. “But it isn’t like you thought it would be either!” And she chuckled again and faded away.

There was always that sense of wonderment and laughter — a kind of mellow, companionable chuckle or delighted laughter — and when there were words, they were always something like that — except…

One time was different from the others. No words were involved — only scents and touches and feelings. Well, there may have been words, but not words I understood. It was about four in the morning, and one of our weeks-old kittens was dying. In my lap, Mamacat Samantha washed and cuddled the baby as it went down and down, weaker every moment. At last it gave a tiny shudder as its soul shook loose from the body.

The space we were in suddenly seemed to be much larger, and in front of us stars and nebula formed an opening — rather like a tunnel made of light, with a brilliant light at the far end. Hidden in that star-filled glory I could hear a mother cat calling a kitten, and a warm, milky scent drifted through to us. Something in my lap (not the little dead body) stood up with a wobble and set off into the light on tiny skaky legs, calling back to the Voice we heard. As Samantha and I watched, the babe grew stronger and faster, scampering toward that Voice. Then it was gone, and Samantha and I were alone in an ordinary bedroom, silent.

Samantha leaned against me as she washed the tiny body one last time, then she pressed her face against my tear-wet face, and we both sighed. Slowly, she went to sit in the window and watch for the dawn. But we both knew.

From this and other experiences, I have hopefully concluded, that when you die, there is someone who loves you there to meet and care for you. But I could be wrong about this — we are not all as adorable and innocent as kittens. When I once spent 10 days sitting at Death’s door, there was no one waiting, no light to guide me, just a wonderfully peaceful and restful place to sit and wait for whatever happened next — and I hadn’t a clue what that might be and knew only that I just didn’t know.

Recently someone asked one of those Facebook questions — if you could live forever, would you want to? I was surprised by the number of people who virtually shouted NO! Several others said “for a while” and no one said “yes” — which says pretty terrible things about the society we have created. My own answer was, “I don’t know how long I would like to live. I still have a lot more that I want to do. BUT I shall know when I’m ready to go.”

At 80, it is nice to be clear about that. And there! I finished this before the witching hour, even if WordPress thinks I didn’t!

Midsummer Journey 2016

These are my notes from doing the Midsummer Meditation yesterday. The card I drew before starting the journey is:

The Faery Who Was Kissed by the Pixies, Morna, who says, “The answer to your question is, put simply, love — love given with wisdom and compassion, love without selfishness or possessiveness.”

Morna tells us that giving and receiving love and intimacy in a wide variety of relationships is important at this time. She gives you notice that this is a time to open and heal your heart.

Different aspects of life may well be flowing happily together, healing separations and hurts from the past. Bonding may take place and deep feelings emerge. Changes for the better may occur in all aspects of life, but especially in relationships which are deepening and becoming richer.

You are experiencing love therapy for your heart.

Faery blessings on the loving!

I am right here, sitting at home. When I tried to “go” to the Otherworld, the guardian informed me that this is the Otherworld. Everywhere is the Otherworld — nowhere is left out. Not everywhere is Earth, not everywhere is my house, but everywhere is Otherword if I just let myself be Awake and Aware.

I knew this, but I’d forgotten. I’m glad to be reminded. So I’ll sit right here with my cats, knowing that we are all in the Otherworld, and sensing it’s magic around me. As soon as I remembered that Marzipan came, gave me a kitty kiss, and laid down to be my guide. She is purring. Okay.

The God and Goddess want me to practice loving — to do it, feel it, dream it, learn it. It’s very important for me to be learning love just now — love for everyone, everything, including myself. Love is what keeps us alive — and I need to stay alive a lot longer to get the things done that are mine to do.

They have handed me a list: write books (especially Marzipan’s and Gran’ma’s Oracle and the Green Woman’s Book of Healing — maybe others too, they say, but those for starters), do healing (myself, family, everyone I meet to whatever degree is acceptable), and learn to dance more, play more, create more, plant more, breathe more.

I can see why they think I need to practice love in order to live longer if they want me to do all that! There are five books planned just for Marzipan alone!

I’ve been working on this, realizing that it was timely, and I do feel ready to agree to do it. I can do it much better now than in the past. Having my sisters here helped me a lot about that. “Love is patient and kind.” Easier said than done, but all the same, doable.

I hold out my hands with my eyes shut. They put something in my hands — very light, very small. It feels fragile and feathery. It’s a baby wren. No, it’s three baby wrens. They are tiny! They eat, the god tells me, bugs and love. They will help me remember to practice. Goddess says they are also very charming and enchanting and will improve my magic. (O, punny!)

Marzipan says wistfully that she will look after the birds for me, if I like. I agree that we can share them. She takes them one by one off to her “safe place” (her enclosed bed where she doesn’t allow the other cats) and purrs them to sleep. These wrenlings may grow up very confused but well loved.

I am so grateful…. The God and Goddess ask me to draw another card from Gran’ma’s Oracle. I do, and it says:

What to do? Which way to go?

“Weeeelllll, it all depends,” says the Really Good Faery. “To decide your course, ask yourself, please, is this is going to do any unnecessary harm to other people or any harm to you? Be careful – that isn’t a simple question.

“But, If no harm, then why not go ahead with what you want?”

She would like you to remember that being really good does not always mean keeping everyone else happy to your own disadvantage. There is a difference between what people want from you and what they need from you. To be really good, it is important to take care of the needs, when you can do so without harm to yourself, but their wishes are not your responsibility at all — although you may like to fulfil them for the fun of it for you both, just for love, not for need.

Faery blessings on the giving, the giver, and the receiver!

The God and Goddess look at each other and nod. I guess that’s okay then. I probably needed to be reminded of that too.

© Copyright 2016 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved

Midsummer Inner Journey

midsummer sunrise

Midsummer Meditation

This is the Midsummer Inner Journey/Ritual I generally use for myself and when I’m leading a group. It’s part of my Sun Magic, Moon Magic project. The format below is written so it can be used for a group, but obviously you can just use it for yourself. I hope you enjoy it and it helps you along your Path!

Copyright information is at the bottom.

Things Needed If You Are Leading a Group:

Ask the group not to talk to each other during the process, not even during the writing times. Conversation brings them too far from the inner journey state of mind. If they have questions or comments, they should make a note of them and discuss them at the end.

One thing — “sidhe” is pronounced “shee”.

This is going to take about an hour so make certain that everyone has done whatever they need to do to be able to sit quietly and comfortably for that time. It may take even longer if people have a lot of questions or comments at the end.

Each person should have at least three sheets of paper and something to write with — pen or pencil, colored or plain. They also need something to rest the paper on as they write — a clipboard, a notebook, a piece of stiff cardboard — whatever works. This should be ready to use easily so everyone can write from time to time on their journey.

You will need at least one, preferably more, Oracle or Tarot decks. Have each person in the group draw one card from the deck of their choice, which will be used at a certain point in the meditation. Actually, you can do without one, but then you must remember to leave that part out of the journey.

Once they have the card and sit in their place in the circle, they are ready to begin. Starting with the induction, read the inner journey aloud in a calm, gentle voice, allowing ample time for people to process each thing and for a few breaths between.

Induction (The part that relaxes people and helps them into a mental state conducive to making the journey)

You need a comfortable place to sit, a place where you will be able to close your eyes and relax, yet also a place where you can write on your paper. As you sit, close your eyes for a bit and just breathe. Take three slow, deep, natural breaths down into your belly, releasing each one slowly but naturally. No strain, just relaxed deep breaths.

Lift your shoulders up high, then gently let them drop. Do this three times. Softly flex your hands and relax them three times.

As you breathe, notice that your forehead is relaxed… your cheeks, your mouth, your entire face is relaxed. Your eyes may be closed or half open, whichever is most comfortable for them. If your eyes are open, let them rest on your hands or your lap so that they are not busy with the outer world and you can let your mind focus on your rich inner world.

The Journey

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago (or perhaps it was just yesterday or perhaps tomorrow) everyone gathered together at midsummer, the summer solstice, the longest days and the shortest nights. No one got much sleep… but they did do a lot of other things. One of the things that is often forgotten nowadays is that they made journeys into the Otherworld, the land of Faery, the world of the ever-young and the eternal gods and goddesses, the shining ones, the sithe. There they consulted the ancient wise ones to discover three things.

First, they considered what they had. We all have happy things, things that please us, and we all have unhappy things, the things we don’t want, and we all have the things we fail to notice because we are so used to them that we don’t see them anymore — and yet, were we to lose them, our lives would be immeasurably poorer, or in some cases, much richer.

Once people had considered what they have, what is filling their lives now, and then they went on to consult their gods and goddesses to find out what was appropriate for them to be doing at this season, this time of their lives and they asked the gods and goddesses for suggestions about how best to do this.

And then, because all the best gods and goddesses are loving and generous, the people received gifts from them, gifts to come in the future, perhaps quite soon, or perhaps a little further down the line in accordance with when and how they did the things they needed to do that had just been discussed.

Today, we shall follow this ancient observance of this midsummer season. Are you ready? If not, take a final three deep breaths, rest your eyes another moment.

Now, imagine that you are standing up. There is a gate or a door in front of you. In a bit we will enter those doors, but first, notice where you are standing.

What does the earth feel like under your feet? What is your first impression of the ground you are standing on? Is it hard or soft, grassy, rocky, or some other surface? This isn’t a big thing, just an impression of where you are at this moment.

How does the air around you feel? Moving or still? Warm or cool? Dry or damp? Just notice it for a bit. You may allow the feeling of the air to help you to relax if you want to.

Notice how the light is around you — does it seem bright or dim? Where is it coming from? Is it light from a candle or lamp or fire or something like the sun or moon or stars? What is your first impression of the light? How easy is it for you to see?

Now, again notice the gate or the door in front of you — which is it? What is it made of? Is it closed or open or in between? Give it a gentle push to see what happens. If it is locked, you’ll find a key hanging on a nail close to the lock — take it and open the gate or the door. Then go through the opening into the Otherworld and notice any difference you find there.

Is the ground the same or different? Has the air changed in any way? What is the light like now? Do you notice any scents?

At this moment, you are in both the Otherworld and your own inner world, a liminal place, a threshold between times and spaces. It is a safe place for you and, if you wish, you can relax into it, taking a few deep breaths to become more familiar with it as you begin to consider what you have in your life at this time.

On your first piece of paper, write down the first things that come to your mind. You don’t need to list everything, not even all of the “important” things, just the things that come to your mind. They will be the things that matter right at this moment. You will have fifteen minutes for this — plenty of time.

If you run out of thoughts, just breathe gently. As you do that, more things to write may come to you — or they may not. It doesn’t matter. Just write what comes to mind no matter how small or how big it is in your life. Simply write — and when you’re not writing, just breathe gently and naturally. Allow your mind to rest between noticing what you have in your life at present.

***

Now the time is up for writing about what you have, so put your paper and pen down. Get comfortable again and take a couple of deep breaths, close your eyes, and relax into the next part of your journey.

You have already come to the liminal place inside the gate to the part of the Otherword that is also part of you. Now it’s time to move beyond your own personal inner world and on into the timeless world of the Powers.

In the distance ahead of you there is a group of trees. These trees are very tall and their branches spread widely. The leaves shimmer in the soft light, and as they shimmer you may be able to see that they are many, many shades of green — and even that some are more blue and others are golden. Even more rarely, these trees also have leaves of all colors of the rainbow — and many that aren’t in the rainbow at all. These are the ancient trees of Faery and they guard the entrance to the Otherworld of the Sidhe (shee), the people of peace, the elder race.

To help you to enter the guardian tree grove, an animal is coming to guide you. This might be an earth animal or a faery animal or a mixture of both. It may be an animal that is familiar to you or one you’ve never seen, perhaps never imagined before.

As the animal comes closer and you can see it more clearly, what color or colors do you see or sense? How big is it? Does it walk on two legs or four or less or more?

By now it is close enough for you to look into its eyes. What color are they? How are they different from your own eyes? What feeling does it give you to look into them deeply?

When the creature reaches you, hold out your hand. Does it sniff the scent of your hand? Does it touch your hand? If the creature indicates that it would like to be stroked, and if you would like to do that, go ahead and touch it.

When you are ready, ask the creature to guide you on into Faery, and follow it. The animal may lead you toward the trees or in some other direction. There may be another gate along the way or nothing at all to show that you are going deeper into the Realm. The animal know the way. Trust your guide and follow where you are led. When it stops, you are there. You will find that both the God and the Goddess of Midsummer are there to meet you or are very near by and coming to you.

I cannot tell you which aspects of the God and Goddess you may see. They may be familiar to you or faces you have never seen before. If they are unknown, this indicates that you have been growing since you last connected with them, and they believe that you are ready to know them more deeply.

Now you may hold out both hands to them, and they will each take one of your hands. How does their touch feel to you? And how do you feel inside yourself as they touch you?

Does the touch of the God’s hand feel different from the Goddess’s? How do they differ and how are they the same? What physical or emotional sensations do you notice? There are no right answers, no wrong answers — there is just what there is and that is what you feel, what you hear, what you see and smell. Sometimes you may even just know something is there without seeing or hearing it.

Let yourself rest for a moment holding the hands of the Goddess and the God — just feeling, just being.

Now I’d like you to ask them, “What do they need or want from you at this moment, for this season?”

First, one of them will answer. It may be something very simple or something more complex. Breathe slowly in a relaxed way and let your mind simply relax and listen. If you don’t get it right away, just let yourself be patient and listen. Listen with your ears, your mind, your body. Are there feelings in your body that may help you to understand? Are there images in your mind?

If you’re not quite certain, ask the other one of the pair to clarify this for you: What do they want or need from you? Your animal guide may also offer you some help with understanding this. The oracle or tarot you drew before the beginning may help.

When you feel that you understand the request, write it down on the second page of your papers.

Then relax back into the calm restful state you were in before and take three slow, deep breaths — not straining in any way, just peaceful and easy. Then think again about the request the god and goddess made of you. What did they ask you to do?

Is this something you think you can do? Are you willing to try to do it?

If it is, tell them exactly what you are agreeing to do.

Now, write that down on your paper.

Gift

When you have finished writing, relax back into the journey, taking a few deep breaths until you are back standing with the god and the goddess.

Then, imagine holding your hands in front of you, palms up, and imagine that your eyes are shut. They are about to give you a gift.

One or both of them places something in your hands. With your inner eyes still closed, see what you can learn about the gift in your hands. Is it heavy or light or in between? Is it moving or still? What does the texture feel like? Soft or hard, smooth or rough? Does it feel alive or inert? How do you feel in yourself as you hold this gift in your two hands?

Now look at the gift — what colors do you notice? Does it have a scent? If it’s alive, is it looking at you or doing something else?

What is it? How would you describe it to someone else?

Ask the Goddess and the God what this gift symbolizes — what will it mean to have this in your life? If you don’t understand right away, you can ask your animal guide to help explain. Take your time, breathing slowly, and just waiting and listening as they give you this information — it may be in words or in feelings or in some other way — or possibly you’ll just know in a flash of insight.

Let yourself continue to breathe slowly and gently while you receive this gift and the information about it.

When you understand, tell them whether or not you accept this gift. If you don’t want it, just set it down on the ground gently, leave it there, and ignore the rest of this. If you do want the gift, hand the it back to the God and Goddess, and ask them to put it in you or on you or around you — wherever it belongs.

What do they do with gift? Where do they put it? How do you feel with the gift there? Do you feel any differently than you did? Just breathe quietly for a couple of minutes and let the gift settle in.

Is there anything else the God or the Goddess or your Guide wish to tell you about using or living with the gift?

When you are done, you may wish to express your gratitude to goddess and god for the gift and for helping you to understand it.

Now write down both what the gift was and what it symbolized.

And now, it is time to write one more thing — what stood out most for you in the journey? It may or may not have been the most “important” thing, but what was the most vivid or perhaps the most surprising thing?

Return Journey

Again, breathe gently for a moment. Now it is time to come back with the help of your animal guide. You may want to tell the Goddess and the God goodbye for now — though they are always with you, their presence may feel different when you are in your ordinary state of consciousness.

Your guide is ready to bring you back. It may retrace the path you took in or you might come out another way. It might even want to show you something on the way. The Guide may choose give you it’s name — or it might not — they can be tricky or shy about names.

You have a few minutes, about five, to come back through the gate or doorway you first entered.

***

When you are back through the gate, take several deep breaths. Wiggle your feet and toes. Wiggle your fingers. Stretch as much as you’d like to.

Now stretch one more time, as far up as you can reach. Then open your eyes and move around a bit.

Questions and Things to Discuss

What was the thing you were asked to do? Did you agree to do it? How do you feel about that? Is it something you are confident that you can do? Remembering the oracle you drew before we began, does it cast any further light upon the thing you were asked to do?

What was the gift you were given? What did the gift symbolize? Did you accept the gift? If you did where the God or Goddess put it in you, on you, or around you? How did you feel when the gift settled into place? Do you feel any differently now than you did before beginning the journey? If you would like, you could draw another Oracle now to tell you more about the gift. If you do, what does it say?

What do you remember about your animal guide? And can you see any reason now why that creature may have chosen or have been chosen to guide you on your journey?

What questions to you still have? Let the others in the group see if they can help you find answers to them. Also, feel free to draw an Oracle or Tarot card for each question you have and write down the responses on your paper.

Bless you on your life journey. May what you discovered on this inner journey help you on your way.

***
Remember — miracles happen. Faery blessings to you and your miracles.
© Copyright 2016 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved. You may record the journey for your own personal use but not to share the recording with others. I will be making a recording available quite soon and will let people know it is ready on Facebook ( Jessica Macbeth or jessica@jesamac.com ) and also on this  blog (jesalog.com) which you can freely subscribe to, and also it will be on my webpages (jessica@jesamac.com).

You may also like to know that I have a book, Sun Over Mountain, that has many inner journeys. In fact, it’s a complete course on creating and using inner journeys for personal and spiritual growth and spiritual contact. I hope you’ve enjoyed this!