A year ago, I was in a serious financial and spiritual rut and my good friend and spirit brother, Nick, helped me out. He thought it would be good for me to get out of my house in Colorado and visit him in Pasadena for a change of pace. So, I did and it was awesome and healing and everything I needed when I needed it. We took a long walk down Venice beach, rode down Sunset strip, jeered at the Scientology building, visited some awesome museums, bought Day of the Dead souvenirs on Olvera Street, picked up all the minerals and crystals in the metaphysical bookshops, and binge watched Rick & Morty and the Twin Peaks reboot while in altered states. He bought or made me dinner every night and boy did we drink!
We also engaged in a night of ceremony and I had a fascinating experience that has taken me some time to unpack. The experience gave me great insight into my own mind and even now I find at times I come to new realizations about myself and my perceptions.
Nick was the perfect host. I have great gratitude for all that he did for me last summer. It was certainly what I needed and when I got back to Colorado (we road tripped it back), I was refreshed and able to start everything over. I started working on my magickal practices and getting my shit in gear. I started working with Venus again (I was working with her prior to my vacation) and she provided! By the end of September, I had a new job interview that came out of the blue in a field I never would have applied for on my own. By the end of October, I was working as a contractor making decent money after two years of bad adjunct teaching jobs.
The job unexpectedly took me to Memphis in January for a week, which was quite awesome. I had a chance to visit Beale Street, eat fabulous Memphis BBQ, visit the Civil Rights Museum, and learned how to conduct a 5-day training event for a group of middle-aged men than really just wanted to be at the bars.
Then a few weeks after getting back, coronavirus hit. I’m currently working in one of the very few industries not rocked by the virus. I was still on the books to teach online classes in the summer and fall – all of those courses vanished. While things were drying up elsewhere, I was asked if I wanted to move from a contractor position to a full-time position with the company. Um, YES! I received a raise and a much better benefits package.
This journey is by no means over. I have so much more to do. This job I have now is nice. It pays my bills and keeps food on the table. I find it far more enjoyable than the endless grading of an adjunct. But I also know it’s not my life’s work. It’s what I have to keep my family and I afloat until I’m ready to move on to my life’s purpose work. I think it is coming in this next phase. It’s what I’m working toward now with my research and writing.
But for right now in this moment, I am so grateful for everything! For my beautiful partner, Lisa, my brother Nick, and my family and friends who do so much to support me. I have so much when so many do not. I know this. I’m giving back what I can to my community in as many ways as I can think of to help.
It’s been a while since I last posted a blog entry. A lot has happened. I haven’t so much as cocooned this time around as I’ve been processing the results of some powerful magick in my life. The results have forced me to hit the ground running and have given me time for little else in my life right now. It began in August with a trip to Pasadena to visit my dear friend Nick. The intention was to figure out where we were heading with our new business, but it turned into something a bit deeper than that. I can only speak for myself, but it became a trip of self-realization. I figured out more things about myself and why I was so stuck in my life.
This was probably the most difficult part of the transformative process that I’ve gone through, because I realized that there was a lot of self-hatred that I had never understood before. I brushed it off because I didn’t understand it for what it was. How often have I taken the time to write “Know Thyself” in this blog? It’s one of the reasons I was so stuck and unable to move forward. I annoy the hell out of myself and I often project that annoyance on to others. So, stuck I was and I wasn’t budging until I dealt with it.
One of the important aspects of the transmutation
process is learning to love all the things about yourself, even the things you
hate. It’s an oxymoron. How can you love the things you hate? But it is
possible. One method is to see it in others. When you can see it in them and
you can love them for it, you can look within and turn that expression of hate
into the same type of love you have for the other person. We’re so much harder
on ourselves than we our with other people in our lives. We don’t cut ourselves
the same sort of slack we would for them. But if you’re like me, sometimes I
don’t recognize how pissed off I’m getting at such minor things that I do. I
build this list and it turns into a giant pile of “God damnit! Did it again!”
Each little thing turns into a litany of failure to change that annoying thing
I do. Then I see it in a friend or that others do it so often it’s been turned
into an online meme and I think, maybe it isn’t so big after all. Maybe most of
us are just goofballs and it’s nothing to get so upset about. Maybe I ought to
Or maybe we actually are we’re blowing up at others and becoming screaming Gila monsters, but we don’t immediately see that because deep inside we know it’s something we do ourselves and it pisses us off. Our relationship with others is a mirror reflection of the relationship we have with ourselves. When we work to repair the relationship with the other person or when we work to repair the relationship within ourselves, we repair the whole of it.
So that happened for me.
While I still have moments where I get angry with
myself, I’m also much quicker to forgive myself. As a result, I’ve found my
relationships with friends and family have improved. I’m far less likely to
explode or act out in anger or frustration. When I do, I move quickly to
resolve the problem. Mostly, I’ve learned to let things go. If I make a
mistake, I learn how to correct the problem, let go of the anxiety and move on
to bigger and better things.
I have much gratitude to Nick for giving me the time and space to sort that out for myself. We had a lot of fun and got into all sorts of shenanigans. I also learned that Nick was my true soul brother, so this trip was priceless. It took me about six weeks to unpack everything I learned on it. That’s how you know it’s good, it takes a while to process all of it.
In September, I had a revelation about how poorly I treat my body by not taking care of it in terms of what I eat and ignoring health care. This relates back to that self-hatred. This came through my work with Venus one Friday in mid-September when I was feeling great self-pity because I hated my work, I wasn’t feeling well and nothing good seemed to be happening. Venus took me by the scruff and basically told me that I was killing myself! I had to get off of my ass, stop eating sugar, get myself to the doctor and start making the changes I wanted to see in my life. Otherwise, I could just walk out into traffic and die already because that is where I was headed! And she was right. Venus takes no shit and definitely has no time for self-pitying bullshit. It came through intuitively, but the feeling was quite palpable. I can feel it now as I type the words. She was angry with me and rightly so.
That Saturday I made a few appointments to visit some doctors. I started eating better and threw out all of the sugar in the house. I began treating myself better, exercising more, drinking lots of water, getting my work done on time, working out a daily schedule and just basically getting my shit together. Next Friday, out of the shear blue, I received a job interview from a third party I never heard of before. One month later I had a job that I liked that paid well with benefits. Along the way there were a number of other moments of magick and synchronicities that I won’t write about here, but it’s made the experience quite spectacular and beautiful. I put in the work, made a few sacrifices, and Venus had my back.
It’s also been exhausting and, in some cases, frustrating,
but I’d rather have it this way than what went before. Change isn’t supposed to
be comfortable, that’s why so many people resist it. I can’t say I welcome
change with wide open arms yet, but I do see it as an opportunity rather than a
sentence. That is worlds apart that what I would have said just a year ago.
What continues to amaze me is how much I am learning along the way. In terms of magick and my work life, I’ve come a long way baby! I couldn’t have imagined I’d be here now when I started this journey back in April 2018. The changes have been felt in body, mind and spirit, and I am so grateful that the Universe kickstarted this transformation. Now I am planning to work on a deeper spiritual transformation for 2020. I want to hone my witchy skills in plant medicine, but also dive deeper in to the mystical knowledge of Hermeticism, Gnosticism, and Sophia and the Divine Feminine. I have a feeling as we head into 2020 and beyond, we will need more healers and lightworkers in the world to help with the rifts that have developed over the past few years. I feel more ready for it now that I ever have before!
One of the major discoveries I made about myself on my
journey over the past year, is that I’ve always been drawn to the mystical. This
may seem like a no-brainer, but I never thought about it deeply before. I am
aware of my interests while growing up, but I never bothered to follow all of
the crumbs to see where they could lead me. In retrospect, more self-awareness
at a younger age could have saved me a lot of heartache and pain, but I also
wouldn’t be where I am at today if I had made the connections then. The destination
is only a small part of the journey. The fun is in the road trip.
As a kid, I was first fascinated by the religion I was born into, Roman Catholicism. I was the kid who knew all of the holy days of obligation, collected prayer cards like baseball cards, knew all of the mysteries of the rosary and prayed them obsessively, and I got into Marian apparitions. I even took a trip to Medjugorje, Yugoslavia when I was seventeen years old. The Virgin Mary is alleged to appear there to this day.
When I went to college I started to shift away from Catholicism, though I clung to it for a while. Much of the beliefs and dogma didn’t add up for me anymore. It was a difficult time as I was introduced to so many different religions and philosophies. I felt like I kept having the rug pulled out from under me. I found something that would make a little sense, but in the end, it would always leave me cold. You could say I became a temporary atheist then, though I’m not sure that is entirely accurate. I even called myself a non-practicing atheist because I didn’t know what else to call it. I had no idea what I really believed; I just knew what I didn’t believe any longer. But my spiritual life dwindled to occasionally playing Magic: The Gathering with friends. This mostly consisted of me creating my own decks and watching others play. I was more concerned with certain colors and spells that appealed to me than creating a competitive deck, so I lost a lot when I bothered to play.
Philosophy of science and 20th century existentialism
where far more interesting to me than religion during my undergrad years. I
studied philosophy, cultural anthropology, archaeology, geology and paleontology.
These things resonated with me and they still do today. But something was
missing. Even then, I felt a soul-sucking hole in my life and it ached.
I would occasionally try to go back to Catholicism,
but I didn’t feel moved by it anymore and I felt guilty engaging it it. I
stopped going to church completely, which still upsets my mother. But if it’s
not there, it can’t be forced. I didn’t feel any connection with any other denomination
in Christianity either. And it felt like cheating. I didn’t have a beef with Catholicism
in terms of a bad experience, I just couldn’t connect with it anymore. I felt
nothing at all for Protestant Christianity or non-traditional forms of it. It
was the mysticism I felt an attachment for, and outside of Catholicism and
Orthodox Christianity, there’s not a lot of it in the other branches.
When I decided to go back for graduate school, I opted
for a religious studies program that focused on the academic study of religion
rather than a theological approach. It is during my tenure at grad school that
I began to slowly find my way back to a spiritual pursuit. I remember being
asked what I believed and I couldn’t answer the question. I pulled out the ole
non-practicing atheist spiel, which made people laugh, but left me feeling
I also noticed that I’d drift back and discuss my
Catholic upbringing when I would be asked about my religion. I had nothing to
offer in terms of what I believed, so I mined my past. But it said nothing of
what my current beliefs were.
Time went on, I graduated with a masters in religious studies and I procured a few jobs in academia. I still felt no real connection to any belief systems. I felt adrift. Students would occasionally ask me what I believed, and I still couldn’t tell what it was. I knew by then it wasn’t atheism. I started to embrace a form of pantheism, but I wouldn’t classify it as Hinduism or Buddhism. It was more of a scientific pantheism in which there was no real difference between God and the Universe. But for that matter, it might as well be atheism.
About two years ago or so, I woke up in the morning when a desire to find out about the Egyptian god Thoth. I’ve always been fascinated with mythology, particularly Celtic, Nordic and Greek mythology. As a child I was interested in Egyptology (I had a great love for Indiana Jones, I wanted to be an archaeologist), but not so much in the gods of Egypt. I knew them in passing only. So, it was out of the blue that I felt this urge one morning to look up the Egyptian deity of communications, magic, wisdom, the moon and invention. I did what most of us do, I looked up the Wikifile on him.
Which led me to Hermeticism and all of the mythic stories surrounding Thoth, Hermes Trismegistus, the Emerald Tablet and the Kybalion and… here I am today. I quickly started to obsess over the hermetic tradition. I searched the internet for information, bought every book I could afford, bought tarot decks, took classes, and fell in love with everything I learned. Since I’ve been on this road, I’ve experienced magic through a series of synchronicities that I would never have believed if I hadn’t experienced it myself.
Hermeticism gave God back to me in a way I could understand and follow. All of the paradoxes I could never resolve were resolved under this ancient philosophical tradition. I could even reclaim bits of Christianity through the lenses of Gnosticism and alchemy. Divinity wasn’t outside of us, but within us. All religions, understood through the hermetic lens, blossomed with a new comprehension. The ancient symbols of the gods and goddesses, both east and west, revealed their power. The myths and legends from antiquity were — and remain — the magical alchemy that help people, then and now, to understand the divinity within the soul. These symbols, internalized, empower us if we are able to turn them from ideas into action.
It’s been quite the road trip to get to this point. I
don’t think I would have gotten to this place right here, right now, had I not
gone through the badlands of confusion, and the climbed a few mountains to nowhere.
Most of us learn our lessons the hard way on a road paved with blood, sweat and
tears. I’ve stopped beating myself up for not understanding it all earlier. We
start to understand when we’re able to and not a moment before. The point is to
be open to that understanding when we are able to grasp it and act on it.
Thoth came to me in a dream and put me on this path. Here I am.
Road Trippin – Red Hot Chili Peppers
“These smiling eyes are just a mirror for the Sun…”
For a while now I’ve been contemplating the reality that so many of us deny our own magic. Why is it that those of us who seek to recognize the magic in our soul, must go through years of intense shadow therapy to scratch the surface of our nature’s true core so that we can create a united will that will let us shine in our magical brilliance? One would expect that this shadow work needs to be done for anyone wishing to embrace the magic within, but it seems that we run into what I would term as excessive muck. Even once the outer layers of filth are removed, one must apply the proverbial scrapers and picks to skin off the tar, plaque and barnacles that have accumulated over years of systematic abuse and societal programming. The work, it seems, is never truly done.
A good friend of mine, Nick Mather of Dreaming Green, sent me a video from the movie, Samsara, that perfectly nails the visualization of how our psyches are attacked and taken over in a constant barrage of promises of wealth, happiness and beauty that give the illusion that we have some control over our lives. But this is a demonic spell we are under. The message, it turns out, is nothing more than layer upon layer of fear and crippling self-doubt, which keeps us working for the machine. We believe that if we work hard enough, keep our noses clean and don’t make too much noise, we will be rewarded. Except the reward never comes.
Office Man, from the film Samsara
So here we are. Just a handful of shamans and witches in a world full of demonic forces in which most of the people have been scooped up into the behemoth industrial structure. I imagine some mechanical monstrosity held together now mostly with duct tape, rust and wads of chewed gum. And as insanely terrifying as it is, people believe in it and serve it. They can’t get out of its demonic thrall. My friend Nick likened our modern fascination with ourselves to the myth of Narcissus, who wasted away in the thrall of his own image in the water. But today it’s not even our own image, it’s an artificially constructed image. I think the key is there and why it is so worse now in the digital age than ever before. It’s the deception of a false image being made to appear as our own. We’re not looking at ourselves, we’re looking at simulacrum, which is distorted with false ideals of beauty and success. If we stripped off the veneer, we’d be left with something that more accurately depicts the portrait of Dorian Gray; something terrifying and wrought with its own corrupt, corrosive forces. Basically, we’ve each been lured into the trap with our own shadow, which is why it works so well.
So, how did we come to this and what can be done about
I’ve discovered that much of the spiritual work I’ve done through my whole life has left out the physical world and concentrates on the spiritual realms. That’s really been the main problem all along. Spiritually, most of us have been taught to value the higher realm of God. We ignore the physical world around us at a great cost. The feminine, worldly aspects of spirituality have been stripped away in so many belief systems because it is viewed as lesser rather than the equal partner of the masculine, mystical aspects. This has left our world with a severe hormonal imbalance that is life threatening to the entire planet.
In Alchemy, we often hear the principle of correspondence translated to “as above, so below, as below, so above.” However, this is not how it’s written in the translations we have of the Emerald Tablet, which is reputed to have been written by Hermes Trismegistus (the tablet has never been found, but many translations of it exist). The Emerald Tablet words this carefully because it is an alchemical formula for us to follow. It states, “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing.” 1 We too often forget that we need to start with the Below if we’re going to work up to the Above. We exist in the physical world and it is here where we begin the whole process. Acting as though we are already lofty entities of great spiritual power is not only hubris, it’s psychotic. The act of world-creating demands that we unite the Below and the Above; these two worlds reflect each other. So, valuing only the Above and treating the Below as though it is trash, leads us into the scenario we are living out today.
Embracing the Divine Feminine and witch within has
allowed me to pull the physical world into my spiritual practice. Witches,
warlocks, shaman, medicine men and women, spiritual gurus, light workers and
warriors, all know that we start in the physical world. We begin with Gaia and
connect to the Anima Mundi, the World Spirit. It is from there that we can
connect to the spiritual world of the Above to create our world Below in its
What I’ve learned from this process is to do away with ideas of sin and shame, which are completely unproductive and only work to sabotage us. Sin and shame, these two twins of destruction, keep us immobilized and trapped in the demonic snare of our current system. This is the muck that covers us unless we commit to the work of freeing ourselves from them. It’s taken me nearly my entire life to learn this lesson so that I can just begin the process of shadow therapy. I’ve already cleared so much of it; I feel lighter and happier. But there is more to do. I have so much gratitude for witches like Carolyn Elliott and Lisa Lister for helping me to see how to embrace my inner witch — that lushes, gorgeous, powerful. magician within — and bring her forward. They taught me that the physical world is necessary, beautiful, and magical, but we also must remember to be a fully immersed part of it.
1 Hauck, D. W. (1999). The Emerald Tablet: Alchemy for Personal Transformation. New York, NY: Penguin Compass.
One of the most difficult skills for me to develop as
I work on increasing my magical abilities is detachment from the results of
spells. It’s a skill one must master to receive the desired results, and with
good reason. If one is constantly worried that a spell will not work, it sets
up a resistance to it and the synchronicities required to deliver the results
fail. It makes a lot of sense. Doing magic requires a faith in the deity or
entities invoked, a faith in one’s own ability, and the knowledge that the
universe is looking out for us because the universe is awesome like that. The
worry does nothing to help that along and it causes suffering.
Unfortunately, I have a learning disability that
causes me to overthink everything and it sets my mind in a feedback loop
similar to obsessive compulsive disorder. I needed a little help with this
issue and found it quite by accident with the planetary deity, Venus.
I started working with Venus in April to help me with
issues of lack. A lack of prosperity, a lack of self-confidence, a lack of deep
understanding of myself, a lack of all the good things in life that are causing
hardship. She’s been a brilliant and supportive ally in my quest and I am
grateful for all of her guidance and help! Last week, during our Friday chat session,
she offered me tremendous insight into the art of detachment.
I’ve studied detachment – or non-attachment as it is also called – for years as applied to Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Jainism. Annnnd what I actually found out is that I only thought I understood it. Intellectually, I understood it as best I could and I taught it in my Comparative Religion classes. But what I discovered, was that an intellectual understanding of it and the practice of it are not the same thing. Not. Even. Close. In fact, I now believe that detachment can’t be truly understood unless one practices it and lives it daily.
For the purpose of this blog post, I’ll give a brief definition. Detachment is the release of all desires from this world. One ceases to cling to people, objects, and ideas. The clinging attachment to things of the world creates suffering in a person as their focus is on having what is always in the process of changing. Consider falling in love with an idea you have of someone. What happens if they change and no longer meet that idea? What happens if they decide to leave you or if they die? By remaining detached, you are able to experience the wholeness of that person rather than the small idea you may have built up around that person. All things in this world are ephemeral. A detached person desires nothing and lives entirely in the moment. They don’t concern themselves with the past or the future. They achieve a heightened state of awareness which allows them to live a more complete and fulfilling life.
Easy enough, right?
I couldn’t get my brain to release the whole living in
poverty thing. So, I found that every time I even read about the need to become
detached from the results of my spell, my mind would enter a feedback loop on
how desperate I need it to work. I’ve
done powerful magic before that worked. It worked because I wasn’t in a
desperate situation, so my mind was able to release its hold on the
consequences and I had beautiful results.
Venus, the Goddess of Love, Beauty, Sexuality, Art, Prosperity and Desire itself — and the last deity I would think to invoke for learning detachment — gave me an up-close, personal, direct, ineffable understanding of what it is to release all desires.
Perhaps she knows a few things about the destructive nature of clinging to what we want and desire. She can offer a far more constructive way for us to experience the fullness of life, when we let go of the choke-hold we have over the little things we’re able to cobble together and cling to for dear life.
When a gardener loves a flower, do they pluck it from
the ground, or grow and nurture it in a garden? Do they weep bitter tears when
it dies when the season is over or when it’s destroyed by bad weather or do
they simply wait for it to rise from the ground again next year? What is gained by obsessing over the dead
flower? Isn’t there more gained by embracing a love of all plants and flowers?
By doing so, doesn’t the gardener learn better ways to nurture what they dearly
Remember the rose from the Little Prince and all the
fretting, drama and suffering that occurred around her?
No? Then what a delight!
You get to read it for the first time!
It is difficult to put into words the experience of
immediate, undeniable understanding of detachment. These experiences are called
for a reason. But I can say that I understood that I had a choice with the
thoughts and emotions I had on the issue of my intention for prosperity. I
could see my thoughts and emotions laid out before me. I could choose to be
sad, upset, and filled with anxiety over something I didn’t have much control
over, or I could feel a sense of serenity that Venus and the Universe had my
back. Whatever would come my way was good, because I needed it.
Even with this experience, it’s not something I’ve
internalized quite yet. I’m getting there. And I understand it in a way I never
have before. I am grateful for what the Goddess granted me and I work at
growing that understanding every day. It’s not easy, but I no longer think it’s