Spirit Taught?

A spirit worker whom I respect referred to me as being spirit taught recently. They weren’t saying that I was completely spirit taught. I’m not. They simply mentioned how they see a sizeable portion of my practice (and how I practice) as being spirit led or spirit taught. I will define ‘spirit taught’ here as learning something (ie a skill, a spell, an offering practice) directly from one or more spirits as opposed to learning it from a book, a human teacher, a tradition, or elsewhere. Sometimes a person will learn something from a spirit and then find that others do or teach the same thing.

This person casually stating that they viewed me as being spirit taught in much of what I do caused me to do a double take. I considered this person to be much more spirit taught (and in tune, to be honest). I have and have had friends who do regular journey work to regularly meet up with certain spirits who teach them new skills. I definitely have learned things from spirits during journey work, but it is not usually as planned or structured as I imagined it would be for someone ‘spirit taught.’ 10 years into my polytheist practice, and I’m still assuming that others are getting things in a clearer and more structured way. I thought I had already released this fallacy.

For some who are spirit taught, it does involve regular trance work to meet up with one’s spirits and work on skills and knowledge. Sometimes there are bits of this in my own journey work. However, I find that some of what I find myself doing comes from what I refer to as an intuitive push or nudge. Many people might be able to relate to this on the level of offerings. When you just know that one of your spirits wants a specific offering. You don’t necessarily hear words or see an image of the thing, but you know T/they want it. These intuitive nudges play a part in my offering practice, my spell work, and energy work, to name a few areas.

When the nudge leads to a specific result, I can store that information in my conscious mind and access of my own accord later. A result of this might be starting to offer a new type of food to a spirit that you hadn’t considered offering to T/them before the nudge. If you feel or use divination to confirm a positive response, that food might become a regular offering.

These nudges can also happen with certain skills. I find myself around a number of people who are extra sensitive and aware of different energies, energetic effects, and spiritual bodies a lot more often these days then in my past. This is partially due to my schedule and probably just that I’m more aware when they notice or react to things. This means that when I follow a nudge about how to do a thing, I can get feedback from someone nearby or involved about what they saw or felt. Sometimes they can better or more precisely explain what took place than I can. At times I feel like a baby who is just learning that they have hands. First you discover your hands. Then you discover you can hold things. Finally you learn to grab at what you want to hold. That’s a bit of a clumsy metaphor, but I often feel clumsy and fumbling in parts of my spiritual work. I’ll know what I want to achieve, feel a nudge about what to do, but I won’t know the why behind the action or everything that it is affecting. I fumble through it and observe any results. Then I can consciously try to do the same thing again in similar future situations, honing the action or method as I do.

I never really thought of this part of my practice as spirit taught. I thought of it as an illustration of how little I knew or how much of a beginner I was. I am realizing that I can do more than I thought, but I don’t necessarily know the why or how behind it. I’m hoping to learn more about the why and how of things through working with others in addition to my solo practice. My spiritual practice does incorporate a lot that I’ve learned from my mentors, my traditions and groups, my peers, and books. I’m learning that this internal nudges are also a legitimate part of how I form my practice. I am starting to accept that it’s one of the ways in which I am spirit taught.

Crown of Service

This last Thursday was I went to a death tent, an event occurring on or near the half moons, offered by Cris Ashburn. Those attending meet in over Zoom. The focus of a death tent is to connect to our ancestors, though any of my gods and spirits can and will make an appearance. We went into this journey with the themes of worthiness, truth, and risk, determined through the pre-journey divination performed by Cris. She started the drumming, and the trance journey started.

This time I started in a clearing. There were only Hades and myself. Hades held a crown for me. He placed it on my head, but something was not quite right. I had to put it on myself. I had to accept it. When looking closely at the crown, I saw that it had been created from my different acts of service and my relationships with my spirits. My work with and for my gods, ancestors, and vaettir contributed to its construction. Giving offerings, listening to a friend, volunteering in the community, all of these acts were woven into the crown.

Then I went deeper. I was in my thrown room. I held a scepter made from the thorny wood of a mature rosebush. Lynx and Hades were nearby, and the crown was on my head. I sat erect, waiting to receive guests.

Then I went deeper. I was in Sekhmet’s underground/underworld temple. It was dark. She stood in front of me. The Morrigan was to my right. Hekate was to my left. Eventually Freyja appeared behind me. They each took a piece of my heart and ate it. Then they each gave me a piece of theirs to eat. Sekhmet breathed into me and the heart became whole inside me. They reminded me that taking the queen or leader role does not mean relinquishing the student role. It means relinquishing the self-depreciating/self-depricating role.

Then Hel was there. Off to the side, watching as I was bathed first in fire and then in blood, she oversaw the purification. I was reminded by the goddesses that I have already paid for the crown. Accepting it comes with ongoing responsibilities. Refusing to accept it while still doing the work has led to an imbalance in my life. Accepting it does not mean less work, less learning, or fewer responsibilities. It doesn’t signify power over others. It signifies power within oneself. It was a crown formed from service and a crown to be worn in service.

I was also reminded to shed the trap of perfection. As a human, my basic existence is imperfect. My body, like every body, deteriorates with age. It is a waste of my energy to attempt perfection as it will always be unattainable. It is a useless distraction away from meaningful and serviceable work.

That is a synopsis of my recent trance journey. My death tent experiences are not always so flashy, though they are always meaningful. Thank you for reading.

Retesting and Retrying: My Practice During Mercury Retrograde

We are currently in the midst in the third of the 4 annual Mercury retrogrades. Or should I say in the middle of the 3rd of the quarterly Mercury retrogrades? It is an event that happens so regularly is doesn’t really seem abnormal. Even most businesses have a quarterly review built into their schedules. I really enjoy the Mercury retrograde energy of life review, restructure, and rebirth when I am aware that it’s coming.

I have been taught that the energy of a Mercury retrograde is most useful when employing any of the re-words. Redoing, reorganizing, restarting, reexamining and any other re-word you can think to add are the foundation of these times of the year. This particular retrograde has me picking back up some unfinished studies and techniques that I dropped from my practice a while back. I think I was too busy or overwhelmed at the time to continue them. It’s been akin to opening a storage box of forgotten treasures long after a move. So many intriguing things are inside.

Some of what I’m hoping to relearn and reincorporate has poked me occasionally since I laid it aside. I don’t know how much of it will stick in my practice this time around. Whether I’ll incorporate techniques as long term habits or whether they’ll be short-lived yet-again is currently unknown. I do know that it will have a positive effect either way. Even if all of the practices don’t stick, I have a strong belief spending time retrying them and relearning the concepts will still shift my mindset and worldview in ways that I think will be helpful. There were positive benefits from my first go-around with them.

Restarting these unfinished magical studies, including a specific meditation practice, is the most notable current shift in my personal practice (at least to me). Other people might experience certain gods or spirits reconnecting with them after a long time. There has definitely been a bit of a shift in which of my spirits are louder at the moment, but I can’t think of any who have been very quiet for long.

I’ve had a bit of a soft spot in my heart for Mercury retrogrades ever since I learned about the energy of the re-words. Perhaps it’s because I like to the time to be thoughtful and reexamine my life, my choices, and my thought processes. Perhaps it’s the chance to retry what might not have worked the first time. Perhaps it’s my love of new beginnings, even when the new beginning is simply a tweaked rebirth. I tend to be wary about former partners who pop up during Mercury retrograde. I find it both fun and useful to focus on retesting and revamping old projects and ideas. It feels like I’m putting on a pair of inventor goggles and getting into the nitty-gritty of detailed schematics. Whether it’s restructuring my routine, renovating a methodology, or reworking a ritual, it often feels to me like a bit of a treat as well as a challenge.

I hope your Mercury retrograde is full of unexpectedly joyful rediscoveries. As always, thank you for reading.

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