Of course, there are obvious signs such as seeing an apparition, or getting a premonition about something which hasn’t happened yet, but a lot of the time psychic ability is more subtle and doesn’t give you lots of great confirmation to go on.
So how do you tell if you’re crazy, or just perceiving things outside of the “normal” range?
Most psychic senses are tied to the physical ones and in a way they can be easier to deal with because they’re more obvious and undeniable, like visions, sounds, smells and tastes. Then there’s the sense of touch which can be somewhat liminal in nature as it straddles the physical senses and the intuitive senses through material portals.
What do I mean by material portals? It’s when an object either holds a lot of psychic energy in and of itself, or when it acts as a conduit for someone who has psychic senses to tap into the energy of another person.
I think I’m skipping ahead too far, so lets wind it back and start with the physical senses…
People with psychic abilities usually have a dominant ability which is their strongest “muscle” and it’s usually how they tap into other energies to start with. It’ll be the key which unlocks the door to everything else and figuring out what your dominant ability is can help if you’re wanting to develop all of the psychic senses.
This is the one everyone knows and is familiar with, but it can also be one of the last senses to get developed. This is the sense of vision and being able to visualise.
Sometimes it will manifest in a full 3D apparition, and sometimes this can be witnessed by more than one person, but the majority of the time it is more like getting something in your mind’s eye. In order for an entity or ghost to be perceived by more than one person at the same time in the physical world, that spirit has to be very power in itself. Otherwise, it requires the observer to be the powerful one.
Some vision can be out of the corner of your eye, some of it can be right in front of you for a split second and some can be purely in your mind’s eye.
To develop this sense it is important to engage the imagination and use visualisation. This can be done through reading books, meditations, shamanic journeying, or writing stories. You can also explore exercises in spacial awareness, or start doing visual art.
Just like clairvoyance, this gift can manifest in full-blown auditory experiences like hearing your name yelled out when there is no one around, or perhaps hearing whispers.
In the more subtle form it can be times when you get a random song stuck in your head, even though you haven’t heard it lately, or it could be a phrase of words popping into your head.
Because this one can be so subtle at times, one of the best indications that you can develop this gift is if you have a natural musical inclination, or if you are particularly good at picking accents. On the downside, you might be someone who has trouble separating ambient noise, but can pick up whispered conversations which others wouldn’t normally be able to hear.
Developing the sense can be as easy as listening to music, particularly music tuned to the sacred geometry of the golden ratio such as 432hz, 528hz, 639hz, and 963hz. Shamanic drumming can also alter states of consciousness with a rhythm known as sonic driving. There’s been some research into how these sound frequencies affect brain patterns and can put someone into a hypnagogic state.
Knowing that a deceased loved-one is nearby because you can smell their perfume is more common than we sometimes think. Scent is closely tied to memory and is the sense which can access those memories the fastest. For this reason it can be a signature used by visiting ghosts to indicate that they’re nearby.
People who have this gift in spades tend to be overly sensitive to perfumes and often notice smells before other people do. They can also dissect layers within a fragrance and might be good at identifying a species of plant from the smell rather than the appearance.
Some people can taste things which aren’t actually present when they encounter spirit activity, or do mediumship. This can be affirming for people if a deceased loved one had a penchant for certain foods.
Our sense of taste can also encompass other areas such as if we taste blood, or seawater, or something like dirt. Forensic mediums find this useful when tracing the movements of a missing person or deceased person.
If this is a gift you have, you might be someone who vividly recalls specific meals and might find it the easiest way to associate places in your mind.
Developing this sense can be a very pleasurable pursuit, but you’ll have to watch your waistline…
This one isn’t so much a sense as it is to do with objects. If you pick up energy from antiques, family heirlooms, or second-hand junk, this might be something which comes naturally to you.
Objects absorb energy from the environment and from close personal interaction. The stronger the energy, the stronger the imprint so an object which was used in a murder will have a very intense connection to that event, but an object which sat in a kitchen cupboard inside a very ordinary house probably won’t. Not unless that object happened to be someone’s favourite frying pan.
You can develop this sense by browsing thrift shops and exploring museums. There are some crazy items inside slick display cases.
One of the most interesting things I have seen was at Port Arthur in Tasmania and it’s a display case full of innocuous little objects which people found lying on the ground at the site, took home with them and then returned by post because they got relentlessly haunted.
This is where we start getting into fuzzier territory because knowledge can be subjective if the truth has been concealed and no one can verify the information for you. This psychic knowing can hit you from nowhere and you’ll know what it is by the complete certainty of truth without a story of explanation surrounding it.
People with this gift get constantly frustrated because they know things which they can’t prove and others will deny until they’re blue in the face rather than own up to it.
Usually time wins out, but in the interim you can be branded paranoid, delusional, or a trouble-maker.
There’s not a lot you can do about this gift, except learn the art of letting it go and not needing to satisfy your own curiosity. At the same time, you can stop feeling the need to apologise to people when you get a hunch and act upon it.
Trust your intuition, don’t allow others to shame you into denying what you know, and leave others to their denial if that’s where they choose to be.
Again, this one is a little subjective and woolly, relying on external confirmation in order to know whether you’re correct or not. Feeling all the feels of other people can make you averse to crowds and subject to intense mood-swings which actually aren’t your own.
Again, its a case of listening to your intuition, but not forcing other’s to acknowledge things they’re uncomfortable talking about.
In a lot of ways, you need to work on separating yourself from this gift and working on your boundaries, rather than plunging further into it.
The interesting thing about the psychic senses is that the objective ones help you to ground into your physical experience and to practice mindfulness, while the more vague senses can overwhelm your sense of self and put you in a situation where you become lost.
Finding the balance between using all of them is crucial to remaining grounded and in touch with reality.
If you can master that, you’ll find greater control over the psychic senses and become able to use them more precisely.
If you have been searching for your purpose in life, you’re not alone. Many people, especially those with unique gifts and special life-paths have this problem.
So what is the key which will unlock this path for you?
In my experience the key is to have a rich inner world and a spiritual / creative passion. That sounds pretty simple, right? There you go. That’s literally the answer.
So why is it so damn hard to walk the path of purpose? Well, first, we need to discuss what is holding you back, then we can delve into how you open up your potential.
The first step into understanding how you get undermined or blocked from your purpose is to know how the inner-world works. The space within all of us which houses the soul and the imagination is how we tap into collective consciousness and access eternal love. Basically, it’s how we love ourselves.
This inner well of unconditional love keeps us in our integrity, our passions, curiosity, ability to learn and also a sense of inner-strength which allows us to make bold moves in life independent of other people. When external relationships let us down, this inner love does not.
We all need to establish that relationship with ourselves, nurture it and value it. When we can do that, we find the strength to stand up to people who don’t have our best interests at heart and we’re able to continue nurturing ourselves when the world can’t.
Tapping into the heart-space is where you will find this, and undertaking heart chakra meditations is a great way to practice that, but for people who have been through a lot of difficulty with relationships, this will also be a painful process. You have to spend time unpacking the trauma, forgiving yourself and others, then being able to truly let it go and start moving forward.
A lot of that pain stems from a process which we are all subjected to by toxic people in our environment, and this is the important thing to understand: Toxic people like to take whatever is nearest and dearest to your heart, and shit all over it.
There’s some very crucial reasons for this.
Firstly, it’s part of the process of isolating a victim from support networks and gaslighting them into a situation where the toxic person creates the reality construct, exerts power and control over the other person, strips them of all hope, and then hands them the only reality and “truth” they’re allowed to have: an inherently negative one.
Secondly, toxic people have no joy or creativity of their own and they begrudge everyone else the ability to have this in life.
and… Thirdly, it helps the toxic person to feel superior is some way by presenting cynicism as either the intellectual or moral high ground. The toxic viewpoint is “street smart” or “enlightened” or “backed by science” or “backed by doctrine” when the reality is that they’re stunted and limited, or have cherry-picked their information to support a negative viewpoint.
The telling thing is that it’s all negativity, despite whatever package it’s presented in. Cynicism for its own sake is completely useless.
Often you will be told it’s for your own good, but the litmus test for whether criticism is constructive or not is whether it can give you insight to solve a problem, or if it just creates a problem and then says that it’s insurmountable. Helpful critiques are all about problem-solving and moving around obstacles, not placing more of them in your path.
Lets examine the first point in a bit more detail…
As I said earlier, a rich inner world which brings you joy and is a source of personal power, creativity, discernment, love and integrity. It will give you a back-bone when you really need it.
Toxic influences; whether that’s people, systems and structures of power, or lower-astral entities (yes, I categorise that bunch of dicks in this too) need you to believe that you have no support. If they can convince of this, you will capitulate your personal power to them and not question the ways in which they use and abuse you.
How a toxic person cuts you off from supportive external relationships like family and friends, is the same way they cut you off from your inner world. It is all about isolating you, confusing you, and making you feel rejected by the very thing or people who love you the most.
In terms of spiritual beliefs, you can see this a lot with different religious leaders who put themselves into a position of authority and then proceed to make a mockery of the very thing they’re supposed to represent.
In creative endeavours it could be someone who belittles your music, or artworks, or writing. They might have zero talent of their own, but they’ll happily tear down everything you attempt and make you believe that even thinking you’re good enough is pure stupidity.
These people don’t want you to have that internal support systems in the same way that they don’t want you to have an external support system. They know that if you’re strong enough, you’ll never put up with their bullshit.
The real danger of these people often comes after you see through their lies and understand what they tried to do to you: they essentially tried to rob you of meaning and purpose. This usually leads to anger, or even rage.
If you’re still in the angry phase, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s ok to be mad. Just be careful that you’re not demolishing all of the good along with the bad, and remember that at some point you have to move past the anger because if you stay there, it turns into bitterness and that’s the point where you can become the very thing that you despise.
I’ve seen this with friends who are atheist. They swing too far in the opposite direction from toxic religion and start rejecting all spirituality as bogus and delusional. Then they usually start brow-beating anyone who still has beliefs and that pushes people away because there’s no tolerance for differing ideas or questions. They’re as closed to questioning and dogmatic as fundamentalist Christians.
When I joined the Druids and then later joined a Witchcraft Coven, I was told that paganism is not there as a way of giving other religions the middle-finger. They have to tell people this because some people seek this path because they still feel rejected or abandoned by their religion of origin.
It’s a wound which needs to be addressed before you can properly engage with a new spiritual path. You can see what happens if it isn’t dealt with all the time.
A prime example of this is Doreen Virtue. She started out Christian, felt rejected by the church, got heavily into Spiritualism and then rejected that and went back to extreme Jesus worship. There’s nothing really wrong with changing your mind, and it can be a very healthy sign, but she totally denounced people she had worked with as the devil and branded everyone who practices the new-age as delusional.
That’s not kind at all.
This behaviour would suggest that there are deep wounds to do with her spiritual path that she hasn’t healed and might be avoiding in some way.
Witchcraft, druidry and paganism are not there to be used as a “fuck-you” to other religions. That’s like a rebound relationship where you deliberately choose someone who is the antithesis of your ex, or perhaps is “better” in some way to prove that they were wrong to reject you. It doesn’t prove anything except that you’re clearly not over it. Like Doreen, those wounds can lead us back into an abusive relationship because we never resolved the trauma within ourselves and released it.
If you have those triggers, you need to deal with the original wounds so that you can either embrace your first religion in a healthier way, or choose a new path with a lightness of spirit.
Just because you were hurt by a particular spiritual practice, doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with the religion, it might just mean that the people interpreting that religion are a bunch of assholes. Sometimes you have to venture out on your own and wander the spiritual wilderness in order to re-set your inner-compass. That compass may lead back to your starting point, in which case, don’t let another person’s crap colour your relationship with divinity.
You need to find that careful balance between remaining open to new ideas and curious about life, while also practicing discernment. The real work in life, your true purpose and destiny, is to forge ahead with the things that bring you joy in spite of the people and things which try to drag you down.
The thing is, if you possess an inner light which shines brightly in dark places, you will make people who wallow in their own crap very uncomfortable. They will go out of their way to put that light out because it shows them up in unflattering ways.
They’re shells of human-beings, like a burnt out car in the desert. You don’t want to be anything like them, or even acceptable to anyone like that.
You need to become the anti-cynic:
Keep your child-like sense of wonder.
Find joy and gratitude in the small things that we take for granted.
Don’t let other people’s issues become yours.
Create something on a regular basis, even if it isn’t great. That’s nobody else’s business except your own. Just work on making things which make you happy. It doesn’t have to sell. It doesn’t have to go viral, but if it touches one other person or gives them a little ray of hope, it has done it’s job.
We never get to know how we impact other people. That’s not something we’re usually privy to, but we have to trust that what we do with our lives has some kind of meaning somewhere in the world and just keep putting it out there.
If you’re in need to coaching in this area of life, you can find my services Here.
In your witchcraft journey, never underestimate the importance of recording the things that you’re learning. Does this mean that it has to be fancy or perfectly curated? Not necessarily…
You can watch a video of how I do my journals and create a grimoire below…
What I recommend for people starting out, is to have a variety of journals and use all of them in different ways:
Never underestimate how a diary of the year can help to facilitate journal-keeping. It’s already got a layout which helps to prompt keeping records and is especially great for mapping out astrological events for the year ahead. You can plan your moon-phase rituals, make notes of what you have planted at different times, and see if predictions have come true or not.
This is usually a nice book which you will hopefully keep for a long time and use it to record concise and important facts about esoteric subjects so that you can use it later like a reference book.
Literally, this can be a recipe book for cooking. A lot of witches include kitchen-witchery in their practice and having a nice collection of your most successful recipes is such a great thing. It can also teach you the practice of creating spell journals.
Very similar to a recipe book, this one can be used to record your ingredients and methodology for various spells as you either learn them or develop them yourself.
This is a journal which you might throw out at a later date when you no longer need that information, or if you have transcribed it into your fancy grimoire in a more cohesive fashion. I use these a lot when it comes to writing my blog and making YouTube videos because I can keep one in my bag at all times and just scribble notes for myself while I’m out and about.
There’s probably also an app for that, but I find physical writing is faster so I don’t lose the information.
Post-its and blank notepads are great for dot-point lists and short notes which will be expanded upon at a later date. Keep them all over the house so you’re never far from one when inspiration strikes and especially keep one of these or one of the shit-kicker journals next to your bed for those times when you get an information dump while you’re trying to sleep.
For anyone who prefers to express themselves through drawings rather than words, this is especially great. There’s a lot of symbolism in esoteric studies and being able to refer to that is especially important so that you can learn more about astrology, alchemy and various types of Gnosticism.
There are no fixed “rules” about what your book of shadows or grimoire should be and everybody’s practice and journey are different. Don’t feel like you have to do what someone else is doing. Take the bits which work for you and ditch the bits which don’t.
When it comes to numerology, there are a couple of schools of thought; one says that there are 9 life path numbers, and the other says that there are 9 basic life paths and 3 or even 4 master numbers.
You need to use all of the digits from your date of birth to calculate it down to a single digit and there is a particular “correct” way to calculate which will ensure you get the true number and not a false-positive (although I personally think that might still count).
Correct way to calculate:
(D+D) + (M+M) + (Y+Y+Y+Y) = Life Path #
(0+6) + (0+3) + (1+9+8+2)
6 + 3 + 2 = 11
You can just double-check the result by adding each number to the other to see if it gets to the same result:
6+3+1+9+8+2 = 29
2 + 9 = 11
In numerology your name, date of birth and other key features of your identity can be broken down into single-digit numbers. To do this you have to add together individual digits until it reduces down to a single one. However, some birthdays or names end up in double-digit numbers which are referred to as masters. These are 11, 22, 33 and sometimes 44.
For some numerologists, that number should still become a single digit and there is no such thing as a master. However, if you have ever met a master number, or are one, there is something undeniably different about them. In particular, they usually have a harder time than most on this planet.
If your birthday has reduced to a single digit, don’t worry, this is perfectly normal and can be just as challenging and rewarding as the masters. All souls have to go through the various life paths, sometimes in sequential order, but not usually. Some of us have to re-take a life path if we didn’t accomplish what we set out do to during a previous incarnation so it can be key to your success to know what your soul’s objective is so that you can work towards it.
If you find that your life path is challenging for you, past life regression can help to unlock some of the issues previously encountered in order to move past those same stumbling blocks.
Being a life-path 1 is not the same as being a basic bitch. Instead, you’re considered to be an instigator, a rebel and a creator. You’re the lone wolf and the wanderer, even if you enjoy being social.
Learning to be autonomous, independent and not let other people’s negativity hold you back is your main challenge.
A number 2 life path seeks to work in partnerships and to connect people. They’re brilliant at creating new things (which is connected to the archetype of partnering up) and they know how to draw people out of themselves to get the best from people.
Your challenge in life is not to resort to people-pleasing or losing yourself in relationships.
This life path has the gift of the gab and are excellent public speakers, singers and mediators. Your gift is to impart knowledge through language.
Your challenge will be to know when silence is more strategic than speaking.
A life path 4 is someone who can solve almost any problem they’re presented with. Fours seek solutions as well as stability. They like things to be on an even-keel and they can be a bit of a stick in the mud, or potentially stubborn about doing things a certain way because they know it’s the right way. You’re very pragmatic and know how to get something done in the real world.
You big challenge is to realise that people aren’t problems and you aren’t responsibly for fixing everything.
You can literally do anything you set your mind to. Fives have an endless supply of talent, creativity and an ability to chip away at things. They have a lot of enthusiasm which can sometimes be tactless and overbearing for others.
You can become paralysed by perfectionism and end up doing nothing.
The number 6 is all about love, beauty and aesthetics. They bring joy to a lot of people by creating beautiful spaces, making themselves attractive and highlighting the beauty in others. They can see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower and this sense of wonder can remind others that there is much to appreciate about the world.
Remembering to be practical and realistic is your main challenge.
Sevens can break down a complex issue into logical components and help others to understand the inner-workings. Nothing is too convoluted for them which is why they can be amazing philosophers, scientists or spiritual gurus.
Over-analysis is your potential downfall, a bit like Chidi in The Good Place. Sometimes things are actually really simple.
Like the numeral 8 would suggest, this life path is all about unlocking the secrets of the infinite. Sometimes, eights will do this without even realising they’re doing it. Manifesting comes easily, as does pattern recognition which is why you can find it easy to slip into a state of flow by figuring out when the right time is to catch the wave.
Your challenge is not to become too complacent or flippant because it’ll alienate the people around you.
Nines take humanitarian efforts very seriously and see it as their mission to help others up. Championing causes, pitching in to help during a disaster, or just figuring out what an underlying problem is so it can be fixed are all strengths at your disposal.
Over-giving to the point where it becomes detrimental to you is a big challenge for this life path. You’re not responsible for everyone else and you also matter.
Some souls have volunteered for the master program, which is why their life path numbers will equal 11, 22, 33 or 44. These souls have to have already gone through the previous life paths in order to be allowed to undertake this task. They’re old souls. Most of them are star-seeds as well, purely because they’ve been doing this for so long they’re really well-traveled.
It’s not for the faint-hearted because it serves a dual purpose; undertake massive soul development and raise the vibration of humanity.
In fact, duality is kind of a theme for the masters. It’s implied in the numbers, being double-digits. Their dual purpose for themselves and the collective is a big responsibility but their dual life paths make this task even harder.
Their life path isn’t just the 11 or 22 or 33, but also the single-digit life path at the same time. For example, an 11 will be required to undertake a double 1 path (the 1 path multiplied by two) plus the 2 life path. The 33 will be required to undertake a double 3 life path plus the 6 life path. The aim is to fuse both life paths into a master path.
On top of this, a lot of them might be sent their twin-flame to act as a catalyst for the master path and force them into it. If their twin is another master number they might be meant to work together, but it could be that only one of them has volunteered for this in this lifetime and holding onto the twin will prevent them from surging forward on their life path.
It’s no wonder they start cracking under the pressure.
When a master starts to become scared, or overwhelmed they generally try to hide in the single-digit life path. So a 22 will try to be a basic 4 and they’ll only deal in the material world and try to find stability in careers and family. An 11 might try to be a housewife who gives everything to her partner and neglects herself.
The single-digit life path tends to be the shadow aspect but shadow can also be found in the master number if the ego starts to be pursued instead of the higher self.
Masters cannot self-serve, or they will self-destruct. This isn’t the same as taking care of yourself or putting your needs first, but it is about needing to grasp at possessions and people in order to avoid doing the work.
When you avoid the path, the universe will send you course-corrections. These can be subtle, or they can be absolute destruction, depending on how soon you pick up on them and act accordingly.
If you’re a master number, you will be challenged to move out of your comfort zone on a regular basis. When you start clinging to a security blanket the universe will start prying your fingers off to make you let go. The art of Detachment is a key to the process of undertaking your life path.
You will not be able to play it safe in this life without encountering major obstacles. For you, playing it safe is actually the unsafe option. Because of this, you will probably scare the shit out of people in your life who look at your maneuvers and decisions as truly reckless. You might get labelled as a loose canon, or people will find you odd, even if they like you.
Struggling in love, despite being the most loving people is a common theme and settling down to have a family is difficult unless it is combined with their soul’s purpose. The earlier they can find flow, the better, but it is common for masters to be late bloomers as they often resist the process and try to be normal for a long time.
Serious life challenges are part of the growth process for masters. As one life path 11 master, Chris Martin, wrote;
Under this pressure, under this weight,
We are diamonds taking shape.
It’s important to note that everyone has intuitive abilities, but somehow for an 11 it’ll be off the chain. An 11 can have psychic abilities which others only dream about, but because it’s such an integral part of their being it can be difficult to switch it off in order to have peace and quiet.
Seers know people at a level which is almost invasive. They can see through another person’s soul, usually within ten seconds of meeting them. Because of this, two things usually happen; first of all they get conditioned by society to give people the benefit of the doubt and neglect their instincts, even though eventually they’ll prove correct; and they will hold back in relationships / friendships because if they told people what they really know it would freak them out.
11s tend to hide quite a bit because they’re too intense in their true form for most people to handle. They see too much about others, they see things which aren’t there, and they see the truth behind the facade. You can imagine this a bit like Neo in The Matrix when he starts seeing the world in code.
One of the things an 11 does is seeing other’s potential and how to unlock it. However, that person would have to put in the actual work if they really want to bring that insight into reality. They have the collaborative pull from the 2 life path as well as an ability to strike out on their own and be autonomous if they have to. They don’t need others, but they understand that success is only meaningful if it can be shared.
11s make amazing counselors because they see all angles of the situation and how they interplay with each other. When people appreciate their honesty a lot can be achieved, but many people prefer the sugar-coated version and an 11 will hold them accountable instead which they find very confronting.
Barack and Michelle Obama are both life path 11 alumni, as are a number of other politicians, plus Chris Martin from Coldplay and Michael Jordan. They’re people who know how to lead by example and make everyone around them braver as a result. They’re also loyal to their teams and make their success collective rather than individual.
Anyone can develop the skill of alchemy, but a 22 is the master of it. This master can transmute the esoteric into the material world and essentially alter reality. They can create things which don’t even exist yet and their true potential is only limited by their imagination.
This group is the most grounded of the masters and are able to make that connection between the higher realms of consciousness/spirit, and the earthly 3D reality we currently experience. They can use practical things to be transcendent and they can bring transcendence into practical use.
22s are the most likely to have health family units which are examples for others to follow, or to become environmental activists. Science and psychology appeal to them equally and they’re great at applying one discipline to the other.
Famous alumni for this group include Will Smith, The Dalai Lama and David Attenborough, who’re all enlightened visionaries in their own ways, but also very down-to-earth.
Spiritual enlightenment is a path we all need to take at some point in the soul journey, but a 33 is the designated leader. They forge the path through the jungle so that others can follow more easily and they make it look effortless, although behind the scenes they can be going through a pretty traumatic life (like all masters). Creative and inventive, they can hack the universe and then teach others how it is done.
True to the 6 life path they enjoy beauty in all things, often appearing almost goddess-like (or god-like) and producing transcendent art such as music, design or photography. Their star quality will shine bright, even in the darkest of times.
For a 33, creativity can be a vehicle for their teachings. They use art to convey their insights in order to make it more palatable for mass-consumption, even if some people are unconscious about what they’re really saying. Hidden meanings in song lyrics, or subliminal messages in a painting can plant a seed in people’s minds which takes root and eventually blooms into a deeper understanding at a later date.
Some 33 alumni are John Lennon, Stargirl the Practical Witch and Delta Goodrem, who’re all singer/songwriters as well as spiritually insightful after battling huge odds in life. A lot of their music can teach us eternal truths about life and love. Also in the 33’s are Einstein and Edison who cracked many scientific discoveries and have left a legacy of learning decades after their deaths.
If you’re a master number and in need of advice, or just someone to talk to, you can find my Services page for coaching sessions. I’m a life path 11 so I have been through a lot of the challenges already.
A long time ago there was a legend about wise men turning lead into gold and discovering the secret to eternal life. This school of mysticism was known as Alchemy and created the foundation of modern chemistry, but while it had it’s practical uses, there was an element of spirituality to the Order which was hidden from everyone except the initiates.
Roughly two years ago I joined the druid society of OBOD: The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. They’re a school of pagan mysticism and I highly recommend their courses if you would like to join them. At that time I was already well and truly on my path of awakening, having studied with a group of mediums for a year.
OBOD teaches many philosophies as well as the art of Celtic Shamanism, but the thing I found most intriguing was the idea that alchemy is not just a material-world practice, but something much deeper.
Using symbolism, alchemy teaches us about transmuting pain into growth.
Combined with the schools of astronomy and astrology, alchemy provides insight into how energy flows from one state to another and is never designed to stay still or to stagnate. A lot of the symbols used in astrology actually come from alchemy.
In our modern world of trying to eliminate risk, we’re increasing taught that life is supposed to be safe and certain. We’re taught to fear uncertainty, to avoid pain, and to avoid responsibility for ourselves by placing blame. This mindset is that of the “victim” narrative and it keeps us stuck in disappointment and trauma. We let our set-backs define us instead of transcending them.
On my arm I have a tattoo of planetary alignments with a bow and an arrow nocked ready to go in the centre and another arrow further ahead.
I got this etched into my skin so that I would see it every day and remind myself that in times when it feels like life is pulling me back, its actually the bow drawing back the arrow, ready to launch it into a new phase of my life. It’s up to me which direction the arrow is pointing and when the time is right to release it. My logo is also based on the symbol of the arrow.
In true spiritual alchemy, the lead symbolises the set-backs in life. Those situations that weigh us down and make us feel dull and hopeless. Transmuting it into gold symbolises the art of taking disappointment and being grateful for the lessons it provides, then using it to create growth and wealth within the soul.
In my work I have seen people who survived horrific circumstances and who bear massive scars for life. People who are literally missing limbs and yet they still have their humanity in tact and they still have a sense of humour and joy about them. I don’t pity those people at all. I admire them.
The people I truly pity are the ones who have told themselves in life that they cannot do it. They don’t have what it takes to do x, y or z in order to overcome obstacles. So now they’re stuck and helpless. Perpetual victims. Those are the same people who will blame you for their problems, squander every opportunity you give them to fix their circumstances, and repeatedly tell the same story of woe for the rest of their lives.
Their entire identity is build around the worst things that have ever happened to them. Without that narrative they don’t know who they are or what they’re capable of.
We can create victims of circumstance in our own children if we never let them handle their own adversity. We can enable victimhood in others if we continually take over the responsibility for action from another person. This stunts their personal growth and is very disempowering. There’s nothing wrong with helping someone, but it should always be a collaborative effort.
Using pain and difficulty as a means of growth is like burying a seed in cow manure. It can seem like the worst possible circumstance to be in, but without all that crap the seed wouldn’t have the material it needs to transform into a plant. That’s why we need to be grateful for adversity; because it is a catalyst for growth. If we’re too comfortable in life, we never move. Discomfort is always your friend. Make sure you’re using it.
As for the secret to eternal life…
The soul is pure conscious energy and it cannot be destroyed. It merely changes states of being and so death is never the end of the story, merely the start of a new chapter.
What is it about female sexuality and independent women which our Christian Western society has always found so threatening?
In Paganism the feminine is given as much reverence and gratitude as the masculine, unlike Judeo-Christian-Muslim religions which generally suppress the feminine aspect. So much of Western culture is based around the idea that masculine energy is “correct” energy and that the feminine is inherently flawed in some way.
A prime example of this is the Apostle Paul’s blatant misogyny in his letters to various churches. These instructions about not letting women speak in church and what-not from him are based on the idea that Eve caused Adam to sin and therefore all women are fundamentally evil, which completely ignores the fact that Adam knew the rules, had free will in his decision making and has blamed Eve for his own actions ever since.
You might not put much stock in the bible, but you cannot deny the fact that it has shaped our culture since Constantine made it the mainstream Roman religion in the 4th century. 1700 years of feminine oppression doesn’t get undone overnight.
When I talk about feminine oppression, I’m not just referring to women. I’m including the LGBTQI+ community in this as well as any man who would like to be allowed to express his emotions and be recognised as a caring, feeling human being.
That being said, what is the “wild feminine” and why was it considered so threatening to structures of power?
I’ll use my own background to give you an example:
Typically, as a straight woman, the men I have been in relationships with have tried to control me and whatever is mine in some way. Perhaps it was my body, or my money, or my time, or my energy and space. Whatever it was, they were entitled to complete access, control and use of it (or at least they thought they were).
If I objected to this they would either ignore me completely or engage in abusive behaviour to exert dominance and force submission.
Now, there was no need for anything like that to happen. I was never the sort of person to cheat or be polyamorous so the paranoia was unwarranted and the behaviour completely unprovoked. That being said, there’s nothing inherently wrong with polyamory as long as the situation is understood and honesty is foremost.
The underlying issue was that these men believed at a fundamentally cultural level that I was incapable of self-control and good judgement if left to my own devices and given the space for autonomy. They believed me to be a faithless person based on no other evidence than my gender. At their very core, they thought they were doing me a favour because I would make horrible mistakes if I didn’t have a man telling me what to do and controlling the situation.
That’s one aspect of the belief that the feminine is flawed.
The other aspect is much more complex in nature. It has to do with the dark power of the wild feminine.
Divine feminine energy is the Yin to the Yang, the darkness to the light and the chaos to the order. It is the primordial void which birthed the light and is almost unfathomable and incomprehensible in its vastness. Where the masculine can be symbolised by the sun, the feminine is represented by the moon.
She sees everything which lurks in the shadows. She sees all of your flaws and mistakes. She knows what you do when no one else is looking.
The feminine is dangerous and powerful, partly because she can perceive the shadow aspect of a person, but also because the feminine is not direct.
The U2 song said it perfectly back in the early ’90’s; she moves in mysterious ways.
The feminine doesn’t usually spell it out for you because it uses intuition rather than logic, so it cannot be explained, it can only be felt and known.
The feminine only gives subtle hints that you’re treading close to the edge before destruction rains down on you from angering the goddess.
She is not going to tell you what to do or try to control you. You’re supposed to do that for yourself.
A wild creature does not move in straight lines or behave in predictable ways. They adapt and flow to the situation, keep their options open and refuse to be caged.
Masculine energy is tame, orderly, precise and predictable.
As you can imagine, we’re supposed to be a mixture of both energies in order to find that optimal “sweet spot” for our lives. However, systems of power and control won’t allow unpredictable and mutable energy to exist in a state of free-will. It seeks to control, manipulate, undermine and extinguish anything which might be capable of calling out its shadow side.
This is why goddess worship has been forbidden in the past. Both men and women have been denied their inner world and taught that the darkness is evil, corrupt and flawed. Emotions have been suppressed, intuition has been denied and free-will has been stolen away from it’s rightful owners.
We each own our intuition, emotions and the right to choose for ourselves.
Women need to reclaim this. Men need to reclaim this.
This is the true seat of power; not over other people, but over ourselves.
Halloween is a popular holiday around the world and lots of people engage in trick-or-treating with their kids, but where does the tradition come from?
In Gaelic history it was originally called Samhain (pronounced sow-win) and it is one of the fire festivals on the pagan Wheel of the Year. The wheel consists of 8 festivals around the solar year: 2 solstices, 2 equinoxes and 4 fire festivals in-between them.
It marked the end of harvest season and is a mid-point between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. One of the reasons a pumpkin is synonymous with modern Halloween is because of the harvest. Most societies until the last hundred or so years centred around agriculture and the pagan wheel of the year is reflective of that. It helped them to know when to sow seeds, when to slaughter animals and when to harvest the crops. It also broke up the daily grind with something to look forward to after all the hard work.
Because everyone had to pitch in for the harvest, hearth fires would go out. Harvested fields were piled high with dead branches and set alight. At the end of the communal feast and bonfire, everyone took a portion of the fire home to re-light the hearth. It was generally considered their “new year” and an opportunity to reflect on the past year and set intentions for the new one.
On the more serious side, Samhain also represented the declining daylight hours and a descent towards the winter solstice. It’s synonymous with death and decay as the autumn leaves decompose beneath the frost.
The period of the 31st of October to roughly the 5th of November isn’t just the end of the harvest: it is said to be the domain of spirits. The veil between physical reality and the realm of dead ancestors, sprites, ghouls and fae “thins” so they can cross over into our reality… and us into theirs.
Pagans would set lanterns around the village to both guide themselves home after celebration and also ward away evil spirits. For their deceased loved ones they would set a candle in a westerly window to guide them home from the realm beyond the setting sun. To further confuse the spirits people would dress up to blend in with them.
Strangely enough, the Gaels are not the only people with a belief and tradition like this at the same time of year. On the other side of the world, South American cultures had their own ancestor worship, referred to as the Day of the Dead, or in Spanish; Dia De Los Meurtos.
On the 2nd of November the indigenous Mexicans observe a day of remembrance for their passed loved ones and ancestors. They too feel a thinning of the veil between physical and spirit realms. The tradition of sugar skulls evolved from a practice of actually digging up real skulls and looking upon their actual ancestors.
In terms of an appropriate ritual for this celebration, it traditionally centres on community and family. You might want to plan yourself a big party or collaborate on one with your friends.
For a solo ritual you’ll want to create an altar and populate it with photographs of loved ones who have passed on. Offerings of food and wine can be made and candles lit while you spend time in remembrance.
Whatever scale you’re operating on you can include themes of late-autumn harvest like pumpkins, a fire, and lanterns. Dress up as one of the spectres of the night. Tell stories about people who have passed to keep their memories alive, enjoy a delicious feast and set your intentions for the coming year.
However you mark this auspicious time, make sure you enjoy it.