The Devil Inside

“Gods suppressed become devils, and often it is these devils whom we first encounter when we turn inward.”

Joseph Campbell, Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor
The Devil, from Aleister Crowley’s Thoth deck

Today for my daily tarot card I pulled The Devil. I’ve learned to love this card because it’s a great reminder that we’re not just all connected through love and light, but also through shadow and darkness. One of my great lessons last year was that all the things that really irk and irritate me with others, are the things I do myself. I project my shadow all over others when I see the things, I hate in myself in their actions. It allows me to Otherize the shit out of it and distance myself from all the nasty cognitive dissonance I push deep down in my psyche. I don’t do that, they do that! They may or may not do that, but so do I. It’s how I’m able to recognize it outside of myself.

But that’s okay. We’re not creatures of pure love and light. We human beings are complex buggers. We’ve got a whole array of traits that range between delights and horrors. Sure, we all have angel light waiting to burst out of our hearts, but there’s a little demon in all of us too which also unites us. And I think therein lies the key for us to truly understand each other.

I this happens to you, see a doctor immediately

We’re all hung up on the light, but fail to understand the shadow. But lo and behold, that’s where all the shit flinging is located. The devil in me sees the devil in you. Because we refuse to acknowledge that it’s the devil inside of each of us that sees the devil in others, we persecute each other. In our own minds it’s, the superior Godbeing in me condemns the devil in you! The condemnation begins when we are divorced from our shadow, because we see ourselves as morally superior. The reality is, we’re being hypocrites.

When we are aware of our own shadow, we become aware of the shadow of others and how it came into being. We understand that the same pain, hardships and environmental forces that shaped us, shaped everyone one else. We all take on a different shape, but we all still have the bruises and scares made by those forces. Knowledge of this leads us to compassion and empathy, rather than condemnation.

We cannot embrace our Divine selves unless we embrace all opposites. A divine being is a whole being and contains both light and dark elements. Refusing to acknowledge the shadow and work with it, makes devils of us all.

“He’s going to lead you down the path of righteousness. I’m going to lead you down the path that rocks!”

Gardens & Dreams

This is the one I purchased because it was on sale.

Today, to prepare for the fall and winter, I decided to get a larger aerogarden (9 pods) so I can grow more stuff and have fresh tomatoes and lettuce all winter. I also want to have more herbs to dry as the holiday seasons roll around. If this works well, I think I’ll use this system in the summer too so I can use the space out doors for other things. I’m thinking the Lettuce Coop might make a better Strawberry Coop. I’m getting so many ideas for next year already!

Mugwort in the wild.

I also bought some mugwort tea today. I’m having a difficult time remembering my dreams in the morning as of late. This never used to be a problem for me. Writing down my dreams in the morning helps me to see what’s truly important to me or where my focus/energy is going. If I need to redirect or explore something further, my dreams will tell me. If I can remember them! I know mugwort and wormwood are both considered good aids for remembering dreams and even creating more lucid dreams. I will blog about my results with the mugwort tea after I’ve tried it for a few weeks.

If anyone else has any suggestions for remembering dreams, I’d like to hear them!

Kitchen Witch

The early days of the Lettuce Coop. Not a single lettuce escaped!

I’m trying my hand at gardening and growing herbs, but alas this year I did nearly everything wrong. Somethings, like my lettuce and zucchini turned out great, but not so much my tomatoes, peppers and strawberries. Part of it is that I started it during the early days of the lockdown, but then as I had to go onto the office again I didn’t have the time. I also lacked some tools and know-how. So this winter I’m going to take my time to read up on how to plant a garden and manage the up-keep. I’m also going to use my aerogarden to learn more about growing healthy herbs and tomatoes.

My nipped cat

I have big aspirations to be a hedge witch, knowledgeable in herbs and how to make essential oil and medicinal tinctures and herbal tea. I also want to keep a garden to make meals from scratch. Three herbs that did well for me were chamomile, mint, and catnip. I plan to make some tea blends with them and, of course, drug my cats with the nip. The addicts!

A Kitchen Witch book I bought makes the claim that our food carries the energy of the people and conditions it was made in, so it’s best for us to grow and make as much of our food ourselves as possible. I believe this to be true and basic logic. Whether or not one believes in the metaphysical properties of energy transference, it doesn’t take a genius to feel the inherent difference between something out of a box and fresh food out of a garden. And to take that further, pulling it out of the garden is so much better than buying it in the produce department of a grocery store.

Is the food you grow and harvest yourself really spiritually and nutritionally better for you? I’d say yes. From the ground to the table it keeps more of it’s nutrients since it doesn’t have to travel far only to sit on a shelf and wait to be picked up by a shopper. And when you put your heart and soul into growing something, you can’t help but be enriched by that. I felt good every time I made a salad with my lettuce and tomatoes (do not ask about the poor, sad cucumber plant). Yesterday I made chicken fried rice with my wife’s garden carrots and I was beaming with pride at how good they tasted! Today I made a spaghetti sauce with my basil and oregano that was amazing!

Zucchini Parmesan, much better than eggplant! Plus I need to figure out what to do with the billions of zucchini this plant is producing…

When I can’t grow my own food, I at least try to cook my own food. It’s not always easy when I work a 9-5 job and I want to write, research, and relax a little. I admit it, I use Grubhub a lot. Waaaay to much. And I have to say I can totally tell when the chef at whatever restaurant was having a bad day. It telegraphs in the food. Cooking is an art. If someone is depressed or angry, it messes with the mojo and it ends up in the taste of the food.

This fall and winter I’ll get to work on learning how to build a better garden. Even though I messed up a lot on my Coronavirus Impromptu Victory Garden, I still found it quite fulfilling! I hope a lot of you out there have tried growing your own garden or are thinking about trying it too. If anyone out there has some good tips on gardening or knows of a good book or youtube channel – drop me a line! I’d love to hear from you.

Written in the Stars

I’m an Aries sun, Taurus rising, and Scorpio moon, thanks for asking!

A friend of mine went off again on how astrology is bogus and how people need to join the 21st century. The stars and planets cannot influence our reality, after all! I agreed with her, they don’t. And that’s the thing astrology downer types don’t get because they have no idea how astrology works. They get their knowledge from people who only have a passing knowledge of it themselves or from media. It’s sounds stupid to them (because it is) so they don’t research it any further. I understand this, I used to think astrology was bogus too for the same reason.

But this is like asking a random person to explain their religion to you. Most people know a couple of basics about it, but would score about 15% if you handed them a test. Many people think they know their religion, but really, they don’t. Some of the stuff they will tell you is way out in left field. I know this because I taught comparative religion for thirteen years and I had students do a research paper on their own religion to learn about it from an academic perspective. WAY too many didn’t bother to do the research part and handed me testimonials which reflected little knowledge of their faith (history, beliefs, rituals, holidays). Those who did the research were often surprised by what they learned.

This is to say, get you knowledge on a topic from and expert in the field who knows what they are talking about. And it’s also important to keep in mind that one source is not going to do it. Go to several sources, get a few opinions. Dig into a few books.

That said, I’m not an astrologer, so don’t take my words as expert knowledge. But my understanding is, no astrologer worth their salt thinks that the planets actually influence anything. They can’t. They’re just astrological bodies in space that barely affect us with their gravity, let alone control our fate.

Astrology works because the constellations and planets reflect human constructed archetypes on Earth. These archetypes are deeply rooted in the human psyche. Most humans share a connection to them. Through our history, the constellations and planets have taken on these representations encoded in our myths and stories. As the planets pass through the zodiac, they tell a story, teach lessons, hand out warnings, and so forth. Astrology is human psychology playing out. What happens in the stars isn’t their influence on us, it’s synchronicity.

Tarot works in the same way, though perhaps more personal.

I started following astrology about five years ago, but it’s only in the past three years that I started to take it more seriously. The people I pay attention to nailed 2020.  

Alchemical Love

I was listening to a video from Carolyn Elliott the other day regarding the topic of love. In it she talks about how many of us miss the love around us because we are seeking to find ourselves worthy of it. Am I worthy of love? What must I do to be worthy of love?

But this is the wrong way of looking at love. It’s not about making the grade or getting to the final cut where we’ll finally grasp the golden ring and be found worthy!

Nope.

The most humbling aspect of love, she says, is that worthiness has nothing to do with it. Alas, love just is for no reason at all.

This is the truth about love. It’s unconditional or it’s not love at all. One loves everything; the ugly, scary, awkward, weird bits alongside of the ordinary, milquetoast, mediocre bits, and the beautiful, fabulous, glorious bits.

When it comes to ourselves, I think it’s difficult and often even terrifying to love the whole of ourselves. I know it is for me. I can be mean, nasty and petty sometimes.  I can also be quite awesome and a cool person to be around too. I’m both of these people. It’s been hard for me to love my dark side. But I’ve learned to over the last few years. My shadow is part of me and she’s gotten me through some tough spots. I’ve learned to stop shunning her so that we can become better partners and work through the rough patches with greater ease and less drama.

The one I still have trouble with is Awkward-me. The one who has ADD, poor coordination, brain fog, and freezes at the thought of small talk. She’s the introvert that trips me up and makes my life extraordinarily difficult. She’s why I suck at job interviews and have such a hard time in front of cameras. She’s a big reason why Shadow-me can be such a monster. I feel like I’m always paying a huge price for Awkward-me, so loving her has been so very difficult. It’s a hell of a lot easier for me to love my shadow!

This awkward part of me is why I’ve had worthiness issues in the past. When I get frustrated with myself, I still scream, “Why can’t I do this?! What’s wrong with me?!” But the simple answer is, this is the body I have. These are the chemicals in my brain. I have these challenges and they shape me into who I am. I would likely not be on my current path had it not been for these challenges. As frustrating as my challenges can be – I love my path, I love how I think.  What I really don’t like are the bumps in the road. Welcome to the human condition.

I’m may be the fire breathing unicorn, but she’s the gun toting cat!

Love is not about being worthy. Love is about embracing the whole, even the stuff you hate. Maybe especially the stuff you hate. That’s the stuff that carves us into the magical creatures we become.

I know I’m a unicorn. My beloved told me I was this morning and she never lies.