Writing & Other Simple Things

At the end of 2013, I did an inner journey for Yule. In it I really needed to take a look at some things from a different angle — with the help of the fae and Gran’ma Maple.

Some of what I wrote then was: Under my feet the path feels rough, irregular — not a well-worn path, but one that is not often used or has fallen into disuse. I have an impulse to stop and clear some of the clutter — the slippery leaves, the tumbled stones — and to rake it smooth. It will be much more use in the future if I take care of it now. Sometimes these impulses are just distractions but this one feels valid and a good beginning, so I spend a bit of time tending the path itself. There’s no point in having things be more difficult than they need to be.

The path winds between the great trees of an ancient forest, and I’m surprised to notice that clearing a bit of the path affects the whole — the clearness spreads so the entire way is easier to walk. That was easier than expected — sometimes intention is almost all we need. Intention followed by just enough action to fulfill it.

The now-smooth path leads me to a natural clearing in the forest. In the center, there is one ancient maple tree. I recognize her from my worldly life — Gran’ma Maple. How lovely! I lean against her trunk, comforted by her presence. I’m surprised by the amount of tension that drains out of me as I lean against her. And I suddenly realize that one of the things I need to release is the underlying tension caused by feeling that I have to do everything for myself. I don’t. I have help. Why do I feel that I must do “it” all by myself? And can I let that old habit go?

Intention and action… I have the intention, clarity is needed on the action. But first, I want to know more about what I need to release, and I ask Gran’ma Maple what else I need to do. I feel the movement of her silent chuckle. “You don’t think that is enough for now? You think that breaking a life-long pattern and replacing it with a healthy attitude is easy? You don’t think that way for other people — why do you not be as gentle with yourself as you are with them?”

I think about the big difference I felt when I let go of that tension and wonder how much of my energy usually goes into maintaining that “I can do it myself” attitude and self image — not into actually doing things but just into believing my old lie to myself? And then the doing things is even harder sometimes. But doing things for myself when I can is appropriate, while telling myself that I can do everything for myself is not only unnecessary and untrue, but apparently is stressful in many ways.

I get that. Now… I ask Gran’ma Maple about right action. And again, that silent chuckle happens with a rustling of leaves. “Dear! By now you surely have all the tools you need, and if you don’t, you’re perfectly capable of inventing them as the need arises. Blessings on the path!”

Here I am two and a half years later, approaching Midsummer and feeling overwhelmed by all the thing I want to do. I recognize the feeling and know I’ve been here before, but still haven’t quite let go of creating so very much to do and worrying about how little time there is to do it in even if I live to be a hundred years old. I am much better at letting people help me. Not perfect — I still feel guilty and “lazy” when I ask for help. (It would be so much easier if people could magically know what I need and, if they feel like it, just do it, and then I could simply say “Thank you!” but I do realize that this would still give me that uncomfortable feeling of not doing everything for myself.) Lesson not learned! So once more I decide to stop trying to figure this out in my head and see what my heart and soul have to say on an inner journey.

I bow to the Lady and Lord and ask for their guidance (that’s easy — I have gotten some of this asking business right!) and I light the candle symbolizing their presence. I ask them, “What do I need to do at this time to prevent or cope with my tendency to put myself into overwhelm?”

First, I draw a card from the Faeries’ Oracle to give myself a starting place. The card I get is …

She of the Cruach, the Great Yin polarity of the Universe is the many-named Mother of all. She is nurturer and protectress, and in her hands we are safe, secure, and grounded.

This gives us a secure base to work from so that we in turn may offer her nurturing, patience, and creativity to others through our own attitudes and actions.

It is very important for you to focus on that at this time.

Remember to balance that nurturing with the strength of He of the Fiery Sword and to channel their energy instead of using your own personal energy.

Faery blessings on the being!

Well, DOH!

What I love about asking questions of the fae is that they often fairly clout me over the head with the answer!

Of course I need to ask and allow them to energize these projects instead of Trying To Do It All Myself! It isn’t only humans who are willing to help. I could be channeling the energy of God/dess for the things I’m doing. This would be entirely appropriate as these things are my attempts to work in their service!

I know how to do this — it is just like healing. Each time I start to do the work, I can begin by earthing, centering, allowing the energy to flow freely into the writing. While working, I simply need to continue to stay earthed in their hands, their energy — and not to fall out of it into worrying or hurrying or criticizing myself. And when I find myself falling out of the flow and pushing myself, I can simply stop and rest or stop and reground as appropriate. I can even ask them to nudge me when it’s time to stop for a break — another thing I’m not good at remembering yet.

This is so obvious. I’d feel silly if I didn’t already know how silly I am. I’ve only been doing healing most of my life. This uses the same principles exactly. Now one more card, in case they have anything to add.

From Gran’ma’s Faery Wisdom and Gnomic Utterances: the Oracle:

The Unconditional Elf is one of Santa’s Special Task Force elves. This is the one that makes gifts for people whether they deserve them or not. He also delivers them out of season, so they might happen at any time at all. These gifts are not lumps of coal, unless the people are very, very cold and have empty fireplaces.

The only question about the Unconditional Elf is: is he giving you an unconditional gift or wanting you to help him give one to someone else? Or both? Hmm? What do you think?

There are many Unconditional Elves, and this one is named Fred. “Fred” means “peace”.

Faery blessings on those who give and those who receive! May they often be one and the same!

Quite likely the answer to the question above about giving or receiving’ is simply ‘giving and receiving’. I’m receiving to give, and giving to receive. Marzipan’s Adventures, Gran’ma’s Faery Wisdom & Gnomic Utterances, this blog, the web pages, the prospective e-books are all just energy flowing both ways at the same time.

Filled with enthusiasm (but knowing it is well past bedtime), I bow again to God/dess and thank them for their helpful insights. The candle is blown out with gratitude, releasing the energy to work in O Universe, including me, and I saunter gently off to bed, hoping this will help you, just as it is helping me. Good dreams!

P.S. I was so excited about this that I woke up before 6 AM (after going to sleep just past 2 AM) and I thought, “I’ve got to try it!” And what happened? Nada. Zilch. Nothing. Would you believe that it took two hours of frustration to realize that it was working — just as I’d asked. I was being given first a gentle and then a strong nudge that it was time for something else — time to rest, time to sleep, time to dream. That’s the necessary other side of Getting It Done. Sheesh. Am I slow or what? Yes, I’m slow. I really am. But they are patient and will try to help me, even at my most daft. I’m so grateful.

© Copyright 2016 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.

Foundations of the Universe, Part II. The Mystic, the Witch, and Weird Things that Happen

This is what the mystics say (and it makes sense to me):

There is an experience many humans have had called the mystical experience. It cannot be described but only experienced. If you can describe it, that ain’t it. In a clumsy attempt to talk about it, people say things like “All Is One” and “Love Is All There Is.” But it remains indescribable, ineffable, inexpressible. A dictionary defines “mystical” as meaning “having a divine meaning that transcends human understanding”, which isn’t really much of a definition at all. The interesting thing is that, while we cannot apprehend it intellectually, humans can experience it as a feeling perception.

Almost every culture and most religions have a name for the mystical experience, and there are records of people experiencing it from early recorded times to the present. Some talk of it as emptiness, some as fullness, the void or the god-who-cannot-be-named (and that doesn’t fit into a book). The Hindus, as I understand it, have the concept of an indescribable and infinite Presence in the universe, and they regard all of humanity’s gods and goddesses as faces (or facets) of that infinite being. The faces exist so that we humans may more easily relate to the god-being, but they are just small aspect-faces of something infinitely more vast and unknowable by our conscious minds.

What if god/dess is in a stranger’s smile? What if god/dess is in your hand when you touch a sorrowing friend? What if god/dess is in the blue bell — bell, leaf, stem, and root? What if god/dess — the real thing — isn’t an old man with a flowing beard or a curvy woman with fabulous hair or a hairy creature with horns? But… what if god/dess is them as well? What if god/dess has no location in space, no one moment in time, no limits or boundaries? Are you big enough to be yourself and god/dess? To allow everyone and everything to be itself and god/dess? What if all of O Universe is just… faces of god/dess, the unknowable?

We humans try for control and find it very difficult to accept that we really don’t have a lot of control in this universe. Largely, the universe goes on with or without our approval, and the most we usually manage is a modicum of self-control in the present moment. As I write these words, I’m very aware that my own life is, at this moment, insufficiently trusting of the process — and that the trust needed isn’t about people or control but simply in the ability of O Universe to unroll the future properly, whether it suits my fancy or not. I’ve been getting lessons about this, and now I need to apply them. (And I wouldn’t have recognized any of that if I hadn’t been trying to explain all this — I thank you for being present so that I was moved to write this “for you”!)

So. What if our radiant, rainbowed, soap-bubble Universe is self-aware? If you do a search on “non-local consciousness” or “nonlocal consciousness” or “non local consciousness” (different sets of results!), a plethora of astonishing things comes up, ranging from modern more-or-less scientific thinking to the most ancient mystics and magicians — and in non-local consciousness there is room for it all. People who have had a full-blown mystical experience of infinite Oneness don’t feel a need to believe in it. It’s there, like the sun rising in the morning everyday. People who haven’t experienced it tend to range from denial to disbelief to “don’t know” to belief without full understanding.

Unfortunately, the experience strikes like lightning, wherever and whenever it will, sometimes triggered by a small or large event but as often as not just out of the wild blue. Fortunately, again like lightning, it strikes where there is the least resistance. So it’s about surrender — and you cannot force surrender. But meditation can help openness. Letting go of adamant opinions and self-imposed rules can help us to let go into just being present. Trust in the process is what it is all about. This is not easy — which may be why more people don’t have the experience.

All I can personally add to this is that the mystical experience feels (to me) a lot like love, but love without limits, bounds, or conditions, without pain or sorrow or transient happiness, without subject or object. It has no I-thou, not even an I but it only and infinitely IS. You can see that trying to explain it by describing what it is not is not very satisfactory either. And yet no one knows any more if I say, “It is an ultimate experience of empathy with the Universe, wrapt in unconditional, unbounded love.” In fact, I’m not satisfied with that definition either. It is both more and different from that. It’s a feeling, and you have to feel it to know. Indescribable.

Okay, most of what I wanted to say was about the mystic’s perception of the universe, which fits so well with the concept of non-local consciousness, but I do want to add a bit about mediums, channels, witches, magicians, tarot readers, healers, and others of that ilk. These things all work, to varying degrees (which depend on things we don’t understand very well at all). Weird stuff happens. It happens often, and whether you call it co-incidence or synchronicity or serendipity or something else, it has probably happened to you. In recent times most scientists have been in total denial about these happenings. There are always a few, even in the Western World, who have begun to catch up. The process is well on the way, and in the next blog here, we’ll talk about the awakening of the scientific mind. It should be fun.

There will be two more of my bletherings on this non-local consciousness subject after this — I hope. I thought it was just one, but another has turned up:
III. The Physicist, the Neurologist, and the Argument
IV. The Storytelling Universe.

Photo © Copyright 2013 by Tara Larsen Chang. All rights reserved.
Text © Copyright 2013 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.

Simplicity & Complexity — Three True Tales

First a story from a friend, which reminded me of several things in a way that drew them together and helped me join the dots.

Chris Zydel’s Conversation with a student from her last night’s intuitive painting class:

Me: So how’s your painting going?
Student: Well, I decided that I wanted to paint this guy with a bald head.
Me: Yes?
Student: And so I painted him.
Me: So how did it feel?
Student: It felt great. But I don’t understand why I wanted to paint him.
Me: So you’re feeling confused.
Student: Well, not exactly. I mean it’s OK with me that I don’t know why I painted him.
Me: So what’s the problem?
Student: It all seems too easy.
Me: What do you mean?
Student: Well, I decide to paint this guy for no reason.
Me: Yes?
Student: And so I paint him.
Me: Yes?
Student: And I enjoy it.
Me: Uh-huh?
Student: Well, it just seems too simple somehow. Shouldn’t this be a lot more complicated?
Me: Why do you think that?
Student: Well, because LIFE is a lot more complicated. And you’re always saying that painting is like your life. I mean, you can’t just decide to do something in your life for no good reason and then just go ahead and ACTUALLY do it simply because you want to!
Me: (Laughing so hard that I can’t talk.)
Student: Can you????*

Chris’s story made me remember something that happened in one of my classes long ago. After about a year of attending my classes, a student asked me, “When are we going to start doing real magic?”

“Tell me,” I asked in return, “a year ago would you have thought reading tarot and doing healing and seeing auras were ‘real magic’?”

“Yes, but now I know how to do it.”

I just looked at her, smiling.

“You mean it’s all like that?” she wailed. “You mean all of it is just knowing how to do it?

I shrugged and let her stew for a few moments, then said, “There’s another way to look at it.” And I left her to think about that.

I don’t know if she ever really got it that everything is magic if only we open our eyes to see. Either it is all magic or nothing is. But that kind of confusion is what comes of people thinking they are not naturally magical people, when in fact we all are.

Simplicity. Complications. We are all born “simple” — basic, uncomplicated — eat, defecate, sleep, interact, love. When in pain, cry — but only when in pain in the present moment. Otherwise be happy and observe. Unfortunately, the more we observe, the more we tend to complicate things. Love and good feelings start to have rules — and a price. The infant’s first and built-in instinct/rule is “demand satisfaction loudly” and the second one is something like “please my mommy so she will do what I need” — and if mommy cannot be pleased, life quickly becomes truly difficult and complicated.

Every small child can learn the basics of hands-on healing very quickly and easily — at least, all the ones who are interested, providing they are taught very simply. Children trust their intuition about all sorts of things, and sometimes they are right and sometimes it all goes wrong. Children are innocent and ignorant, but humans have astonishing minds capable of great leaps of logic (and illogic, but we often don’t know the difference). As we grow and learn and conclude, we accumulate an incredible muddle of fact, fancy, and fallacy, all in an effort to make sense of the world around us and to see that our needs and desires are met.

As we get older we complicate our lives with the conclusions we have jumped to and the stories we tell ourselves why the world is as it is. Most of those stories are either wrong or incomplete. Eventually, we realize that something is amiss, and at that point, we either blame others or our circumstances or ourselves and we begin looking for a way to make our lives work better.

Some try to get rich, some develop such cognitive dissonance that they break down, some try psychology, some try religion, and some look at spiritual paths. The latter three all have some things in common and important differences. Here I just want to consider the spiritual paths.

Many spiritual paths ask that you begin questioning your assumptions, the stories you’ve told yourself about getting along in the world, the stories you’ve told yourself about you. They give you exercises and practices, and in doing them you discover new ways of functioning that break your old rules — and oddly enough, these new knackerty knotions work. They reduce inner conflict. They enable you to see the world more clearly.

Much of the spiritual path is about breaking down and letting go of our misconceptions and assumptions. Our opinions and beliefs get in our way, yet we find it frightening to let go of them and the behavior patterns that go with them. That is how we get stuck on our paths. We are very attached to our own opinions and ideas, and deep down, we believe that we simply need to follow our own rules better and we’ll be secure, safe, and happy. We believe this even when it is quite clear that what we have been doing isn’t actually producing those results. At this stage, we are like the pupa in the chrysalis, breaking down, dissolving, transforming. I don’t know how it feels to the pupa, but for humans this isn’t comfortable. Fortunately, we do get glimpses of the rewards as some of the old ideas fall away and life progressively becomes simpler and more joyful.

We learn that some things happen that we cannot control, no matter how hard we try or how good we are. We learn that no one person can meet all of our needs and desires. Sometimes what we think we want or need turns out to be less important than giving that up for a greater need — and we get a better understanding of what those greater needs may be. We find that judging the goodness or badness of others — and ourselves — is a waste of time.

In time, we learn that inner peace is more about being comfortable with not knowing than it is about thinking we have all the answers. In a way, we return to the innocence of the child — but where the child’s innocence comes from ignorance, this new innocence comes from wisdom. It is an acceptance that life is what it is. Sometimes we can change it; sometimes we cannot. Always we have the choice of learning from it or not, of accepting it or not, of being serene or not.

Eventually we learn that it isn’t all about “me”. And around the same time, we learn that all is one, and therefore it is all about ‘me’, but a me that we hadn’t guessed we were.

And the third tale — the tail of these true tales?

My students and I had just finished a series of healing classes, and were having our final exam. (Yes, I do that to my students, just to make them realize that they have learned something.) The question they each had to answer verbally was, “What have I learned in this course that, at this moment, seems the most important to me?”

People were answering very thoughtfully and fairly extensively about what new understandings they felt were actually making the most significant change in their lives and the present. We got around the circle to Warren Wise, who had been quite silent and was deeply buried in thought.

Realizing it was his turn, and looking just a bit stunned, he said, “I’ve learned that healing isn’t something you do — it’s something you are.”

I bow to my students for their teachings. I am so grateful for their wisdom.

*The first story here is © Copyright 2013 by Chris Zydel. All rights reserved. Reprinted here by permission of the author. You can find her at Chris Zydel’s Facebook page

The rest of this post is © Copyright 2013 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.

Gateway to Avalon

I know where the gateway to Avalon lies
hidden in the mists.
You can’t get there from here… unless
you are guarded, unless
you are guided, blind through the mists,
by Those Who keep the Way.

Their touch is so gentle,
their whispers so faint—you have to be watching,
you have to be listening,
you must be awake and aware.

You can only go blindly, journey in darkness,
beset by shades that chitter and slither,
touching you here, touching you there. Surrounded
by memories like blood-hungry dragons, we travel.
And yet, all the while, a sure hand guides us—
if we trust it.

I know where the gateway to Avalon lies,
hidden in the mist—in the curl of a leaf,
or the touch of the thorn,
the pattern of stone,
the arch of the hill—you have to be watching,
you have to be listening,
you must be awake and aware.

I have to keep watching,
I have to be listening,
I must stay awake and aware.

© 2006 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.

Do You Believe?

Brian Froud asks disbelievers, “What do you think would make life more fun—believing or disbelieving in faeries?” I know the answer to that one for me! Do you know it for you?

But… how to believe? Chances are that, as a child, you believed that everything was alive. The idea of Faery did not boggle your mind at all. Perfectly reasonable. But chances also are that your parents did not include Faery in their belief system. Even people who do believe in something out there are embarrassed to even think of believing in faeries. It’s not only unscientific, but it’s childish! It’s socially okay for adults to believe in gods—perhaps—but it certainly is not acceptable for them to believe in sparkly faeries. The Victorians converted the fae from powerful and often-frightening figures into little twinkly things at the bottom of the garden. They made them cute. The Victorians were magnificent at denial, and their shadow still influences our world.

So, the chances are that you’ve been brought up to be certain that Faery is illogical and unreal and, worst of all, childish. (Notice, please, that this, too, is just a belief because you cannot scientifically prove that they do not exist.)

I think this is where people tear themselves up. We can believe something on the conscious level and disbelieve it on the unconscious level, or vice versa.

Let me give an example: I knew a man who did not believe in ghosts. Period. “When you’re dead, you’re dead.” Yet… at least three times I witnessed that man startled and frightened momentarily because he thought he’d seen a ghost. A better word might be “terrified.” First time he jumped over a wall and fell in the ditch behind it; second time he jumped behind a person with us, and the third time he literally shrieked and dove under a bed.

Each time, there were witnesses who saw his reaction. Did he believe in ghosts? Even after those experiences, he still denied the existence of ghosts vehemently. Yes, there is a thing called “denial” which means you deny the truth of something that you have reason to believe is true. He denied his belief, because he didn’t want to believe—it was too frightening—but really he did. The funny thing about this example is that on each occasion the “ghost” was simply another person who happened to be wearing white in a very dark place.

So, did he believe or disbelieve? Yes. Both. We are not whole. We are each a committee of warring voices. Some parts believe and some don’t. And yet, that is not all we are. There is a part of us that experiences truth. That part, unfortunately, is usually hidden under all the contrary opinions we have. We are so full of opinions/beliefs that a lot of the time we don’t even notice that we are fighting ourselves. In fact, we may become quite angry if someone suggests that we are being illogical and conflicted—as if humans were logical beings anyway.

What healing is largely about is reconciling these differences, these inner conflicts. So, yes, we are what we believe, but that isn’t all we are. We are also what is true—whether we believe in it or not. Like Faery.

The curious thing is, if you pretend to believe in them, it opens your mind and heart, and you start to notice that quite astonishing things do happen…

Feel free to visit FaeryWisdom.com if the idea tickles your fancy…