Nothing is Epic…

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Well, not in the way you expect. We live in a world where we have all read Harry Potter, watched the Lord of the Rings, heard an musician play their instruments in a way that simply makes our hearts weep.

We live in a world where the next film coming to the big screen wasn’t worth the money unless it somehow out-epics the last. We have moved our values so strongly to the giant, that the small are so undervalued as to be unnoticed.

Are you, by chance, aware that this allows us to be victims to that success? If we undervalue the subtle, we cover up the infinite world of subtlety that we have access to. And this is the network from within which we really hold power.

I have been in the martial arts since I was 7. And the best part of every action film is when the hero defies the odds and defeats an army alone to save his/her people. We all wish we could be that. But in reality, that epic moment, doesn’t exist. In fact, believing it exists, makes you not understand the subtle and accessible things you can do to prevent such an occurence.

You could train to wait for your big moment, or, you could spend time every day considering the possibilities, and putting small plans into motion here or there, to ensure such an epic fight never has to happen. It is subtle, and is with less ego, but the outcome can be even better. Instead of beating an army in an epic battle, you have shaped the world around you so there is little to no possibility of this epic battle never needing to happen. Although no one will ever see the effort you have put into it, the work of planning ahead and preventing the need for such a battle, IS EPIC.

A while ago, I posted about how the most complex magic is often the simplest. This is exactly what I mean.

Let’s say you are in charge of a building, instead of training for that epic battle, build a relationship with the local police force. Create security policies that ensure the best safety you can afford, teach your people how to handle a situation, and teach them to trust each other so they might work together. Still train for that epic battle, but hope it is a fall back. All of the effort and planning that goes into the logistical side of safety, also weaves a security blanket of will, intention, and you guessed it, magic.

Define what you want, and think of the subtle ways to achieve it, don’t spend your life waiting for something Epic.

How would you classify your religion?

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This is a question I have had put to me several times lately, and the more I think about it, the further I get from an answer.

I can tell you how I have come to the place I am. I can tell you so much about my faith, but when you ask about my religion, it asks me to classify my complex faith into a simple title. And Oh My Gods! I suck at naming things.

In fact, I nominated that I have that right taken away years ago. Of the millions of different umbrellas under which I could throw my hat, NONE are right. So, when I am asked this question, even though I am more than willing to answer, I have no answer.

How do you quantify infinite? How can you count the planets in the heavens? And then create an elevator pitch for it?

If I were to explain my religion, I would say MultiReligiousity. As the Unitarian Universalists put it, “It is like interfaith; however, doesn’t give the illusion of hard boundaries.”

As I learn more, I can see the efforts of each congregation/faith as being the efforts they need to do to appease their god. And even if the actions are offensive to me, it is still a divine act. Even if their actions are mis-guided within their own faith, they are still putting it forward thinking they assist their gods.

Who am I to question devotion, or faith, in something I might not be able to see. I can only act from within the knowledge I have, and honor your efforts at divinity. In a way, I have begun to appreciate the complexity of MultiReligiousity, and have begun to appreciate that naming a religion, is setting a boundary. It is creating a hurdle that will then have to be crossed.

When you step out of yourself, to see those around you, you act to them as if they are yourself. What was that golden rule? Treat others as you would wish to be treated? This is deeper than you may realize. It allows you to see the other as yourself, it allows you to appreciate that others have the same feelings, emotions, concerns, frustrations and ailments, that you do, it allows you to erase othering. We are the same. So making boundaries, only makes hurdles.

I think I would like to create a new religion, I call it: Oneness. It is a religion based on the fact that we are all one, and we act and treat people as they are us. Now, how do I start evangelizing this?

Awakening Part 2

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I remembered the other part of the message from Diana. “Become the biggest Brujo You can be.”

I contacted my good friends who I knew were Wiccan and we had spoken before of the Fay.  (Aine and Robb, I love you guys) Knowing the Brujo is Spanish for “male witch”, I thought of Robb. I always trust their opinions, and I know they will tell me the truth even if I don’t want to hear it.

They heard me, and when they heard 2-spirits, they said, “Shaman”.  You need to speak with a Shaman. They told me they would get back to me after they had spoken to some people about who I should speak with.  Knowing my love of Japan, and my love of the martial arts, they were thinking some of their friends that were both Shaman, and loved the martial arts.

I started researching Shamans, and shamanism.  Prior to this, I had only ever heard of Shaman in some of my favorite fantasy novels.  I learned that there were Shamans all over the world. I focused on Japan… downfall there, all Japanese Shamans were women.  While I have a lot of feminine energy, I am very distinctly male.  And I associate as male, so that was just not going to work.  So, I started to review Shamans from all of the different countries.  I learned of those from Mongolia, Ireland, Denmark, Poland, Russia, Africa, and all of the Americas.

And my eyes stuck on Peru.  The history of Shamanism in South America tells the tail of how the Spanish conquered, and as they came, they labeled the Shamans “Witches” (Brujos).  This struck me SO clearly, and I saw the density of the messages that Diana passed on.

I called Robb and Aine back.  And they said, “Two Snakes”.  You need to speak with our friend Jim.  I reached out to Jim, he and his wife were two of the most kind and welcoming people I have met, and they were so generous with their time and knowledge.  We scheduled a time to meet.

And the next time I was in the area, I ventured over to their shop: The Wandering Owl.

James Stovall, Jim, Two Snakes, Shaman Jim, and his wife Ange Stovall
Shamans/Store Owners/Teachers (several other roles)
The Wandering Owl
139 N. Jackson Street
Jackson, MI 49201
(517) 782-2780

And while I am giving a plug for them, Jim also has an amazing podcast

I feel no shame for adding this plug.  Giving them business, if I can, is the least I can do, as they have worked so hard to help me to get where I am.

I know my path, I know the direction, I know what it takes, and I have someone to ask questions of.

I am on the path of becoming a Shaman of the Peruvian lineage (The Q’ero, or Inca Shamans).  It is probably time to take off the training badge and accept what I am, but I am always learning.  I will always be a student.

And after hearing a path from spirit, and having it so quickly solidified into reality, tells me a bit about faith.

My eyes are open, am I looking, and I am seeing.

The simplest magics can be the most complicated

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You could make a million dollars, if you just do this one thing!

Sounds like it would have to be magic. And honestly, it is. But not the kind you think. Most things happen in a very practical way, and Magic can happen because your intention, your willpower, makes it happen. And while this can be, requesting/forcing energy to move at your will, but it can also be, setting a plan, finding options, and doing something.

If your goal is to make a million dollars, what do you think the first steps could be. Perhaps, going to take a shower, going downtown, and start putting in Applications to a few places. And if you got a few jobs, and worked hard for 10 or 15 years, that would indeed earn you a million dollars. Not what you had in mind, but quite practical.

Let’s think a little less grand. What if you wanted to make sure that your children would get to school safely on their bikes. Here is some simply practical things you can do to make that happen, that works like magic, but involves no magic wands or super powers.

You teach your children to be careful. You teach your children to watch out for cars, be respectful of others, build friendships, allow them to learn their neighborhood, and trust them.

Is it really magic? By definition, no, because by taking a practical route, you have taken the mystery out of it. Magic, by definition, is anything we do not understand.

But you have taken an aspect of your life, a fear that you have, thought forward and acted on it, and in a round about way, you have guaranteed the outcome you wanted. How is this NOT Magic?

You are using your willpower to control your surroundings.

I think we will discuss the kind of Magic you were thinking of a bit more later, but for now, know that your willpower, and enacting that willpower on your surroundings is one of the most complicated magics you can work, and it is tangible, and available to you right now.

Define what you want, think about how to make it happen, and take the first step.

Breaking down my bias

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While no one is shocked, as so many pagans have experienced this, I have a strong bias against Christianity.  We all know why, so, I do not want this post to be about the issues that led me to this point, but I would like to discuss why this has become an issue for me.

As I have mentioned in the past, I work heavily with my ancestors with an Ancestry Alter. I ran into a problem in the past year where my ancestors that are Catholic no longer wished to be at my alter. This was a really painful thing for me, as I knew that they didn’t want to be there because I was pagan, and this was not what they wanted to support.  But I was also grateful to them as they were there for me through the toughest part, when I was learning to start, and despite the prejudice, they helped me.

Now, It is important to mention at this point that so much of my recent work has brought me to see my privilege, and the decisions I make based on only the information I can see, which is not necessarily all the information that is presented.

But them leaving my alter really made me heart sick.  And it took months of doing my own personal work, that while listening to the podcast “The Jaguar and the Owl” that it suddenly came to me, my ancestors did not leave my alter because they were against me, or my faith, or my work… They asked to leave because of the hatred I had for Christianity.  Because through that, there is no way I could truly love them, as their religion is as much of them, as mine is of me.

Heart sick did not even begin to describe the way I felt at that moment in time.  They left because I allowed the wrongs I experienced turn something beautiful into a subtle hatred that was so pervasive that I have a hard time allowing friendship with self-identified Christians.  How does this suite my needs or my faith?  I let those Christians of my youth win, by letting them seed this hatred in me.  I often question how I could have let this happen.  And I realized that the answer is: It truly doesn’t matter.

As with all mistakes, the important part is how you move forward with your new realization, and although learn from the past, don’t waste time lamenting what cannot be changed.

So the question came: How do I heal such a deep and dark rift within myself?  I think this is the most difficult question I have ever posed, and I couldn’t hear any answers came through.  (It is amazing how we can be so blocked, you can’t hear good advise sometimes)

I asked a friend, Sarenth Odinson, while out to dinner.  He asked a few basic questions, and then he mentioned the idea of contacting Jesus himself.


I pause a moment only to give visual affect to the way this statement affected me.  As a shaman, I guess I do have the capacity to reach out to the dead.  Wow, no pressure there at all.

Anyway, we continued our conversation, and he mentioned something else that really helped me in this thought process.  Sarenth also teaches a living traditions type of class where he teaches people to live his tribal religion.  I asked him how it was going.  And he said, wonderfully, slower than I anticipated, but wonderfully.  He commented on how he took for granted how to pray, as he learned it in his own Christian background.  Some people are matriculated with no formal religion or prayer at all.

Much like when I learned the value in a martial art I trained in and no longer had use for, I realized that my pagan faith, is built on the shoulders of my Catholic upbringing.  Because I grew up Catholic, I learned to connect to spirit, and how to pray.  How can I hate something that is such an integral part of who I am?

This conversation was particularly helpful due to what I could hear from it.  And it always makes me question, what valuable pieces am I not hearing.  I guess that is why I am determined to stay a perpetual student, so much to learn, so many subtleties.

That night, while pondering how I would go about contacting someone as powerful and well known as Jesus.

And he was there, Rabbi Jesus.

And an interesting conversation we had.  I feel as if it would be in appropriate to outline it here, but it moved me in remarkable ways.

I would like to tell you some of the things I have learned, and that I hope from every one.  Note, these are my words, not his.

I honestly feel we should all be more like Rabbi Jesus.  All of us. Of all of the deities I have worked with, he was the first powerful figure with whom I have spoken that I didn’t feel the need to have even a little bit of guard up.  I felt perfectly safe in his presence.  He was more compassionate than I could have ever imagined, and being in that presence was a gift onto itself.

For those who are Christian, I simply ask you choose your actions based on love.  For those of you who act and protest, and feel the need for your passionate faith be heard, I ask that you think about how Rabbi Jesus himself would act in that situation, not how your leader or book tell you.  I have read many of the existing versions of the bible, and the actions of the Rabbi I met, are not what are held true in the text. If your faith is true, you may still question everything, and still learn the truths of your faith.

For those of you who are not Christian, I simply ask you to choose your actions based on love.  When it comes to others, think how you would like them to treat you.  Notice that I didn’t say, act as your God(desse)s would act? I am hip to the fact that not all of our God(desse)s are peaceful. If your faith is true, you may still question everything, and still learn the truths of your faith.

I would like more Christ, and less Christianity.