What’s My Motivation Part Two: The Revenge!

In the previous part of this article, we covered how motivation needs to always be a factor in both ritual and in daily life and practice, and that’s important because sometimes, our motivations can be coming from a darker place.  Let’s look at darker emotions and how they can have a dangerous effect on our health as well as our practice.

Revenge Is Not That Sweet

Seeking vengeance on someone for a real or perceived slight is an unfortunate part of being human.  Someone wrongs us, we seek retribution.  Look at conflicts all over the world.  A religious or ethnic group commits an atrocity or transgression and it is remembered and passed on for generations.  On a more personal level, look at our daily lives.

Someone cuts us off in traffic.  So we lay on the horn.  Maybe get into some road rage, and yell something about their parentage and learning how to drive.  And why?  Because they cut us off of course.
However, getting angry and seeking revenge have a toxic effect on our emotional well being as well as physical health.  According to Vanessa Van Edwards on her site The Science of People:

“A group of Swiss researchers wanted to know what happens in the brain when someone reaps revenge.

They scanned the brains of people who had just been wronged during a game in the lab.
The researchers then gave the wronged participant a chance to punish the other person, and for a full minute as the victim’s contemplated revenge, the activity in their brain was recorded.
Immediately, researchers noticed a rush of neural activity in the caudate nucleus. This is the part of the brain known to process rewards.
Big Idea: This study found that revenge, in the moment, is quite rewarding.

However, they wanted to know one more thing: Does revenge keep rewarding?

The Long-Term Effects of Revenge:
We often believe that exacting revenge is a form of emotional release and that getting retribution will help us feel better. Movies often portray the act of revenge as a way of gaining closure after a wrong. But in fact, revenge has the opposite effect.

Even though the first few moments feel rewarding in the brain, psychological scientists have found that instead of quenching hostility, revenge prolongs the unpleasantness of the original offense.

Instead of delivering justice, revenge often creates only a cycle of retaliation.

“A man that studieth revenge, keeps his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal.” –Francis Bacon”  [VIEW SOURCE]

But what does that have to do with magick and ritual?

Revenge is a Dangerous Thing to Bring Into Ritual

There are many different entry rituals that say that you should enter into a circle with perfect love and perfect trust.  Nowhere is revenge mentioned.

What’s your motivation for doing a love spell?  Are you trying to get that person to be with you, or are you trying to avenge yourself because they turned you down?  A friend of my late partner Mike, we’ll call him Idjit for convenience, was seeing a guy who abruptly broke it off.  Idjit wasn’t very good at magick, so he asked Mike for a spell to help him win back the heart of his estranged boyfriend.  Mike helped out of concern for his friend, so he cast a spell to draw them back together.     What he didn’t know is that Idjit had ulterior motives.

The guy he was interested in couldn’t figure out why he kept coming back.  Idjit treated this guy horribly, keeping him around to constantly remind him of how he had hurt him.  Reconciliation was never part of the agenda it was all about revenge.  Both Mike and I had to intervene.  We undid the spell together, and the estranged boyfriend went his way and found someone better.  As for Idjit, Mike and him parted ways.

Someone breaks your heart.  After you go through the ice cream and talk ad nauseum about it to your friends, family, and anyone who listen, the best thing you can do is rebuild your life and go on.  However, a lot of us don’t do that.  Some people want to make their former love suffer as they have.  Look at some popular music for inspiration.

I Wanna Be Around
Tony Bennett

“I want to be around to pick up the pieces
When somebody breaks your heart
Some somebody twice as smart as I
A somebody who will swear to be true
As you used to do with me
Who’ll leave you to learn
That misery loves company, wait and see”

Cry Me A River
Diana Krall, Julie London, others

“Now you say you’re lonely
You cry the whole night through
Well, you can cry me a river, cry me a river
I cried a river over you
Now you say you’re sorry
For being so untrue
Well, you can cry me a river, cry me a river
I cried a river over you.”

Revenge and retaliation aren’t just confined to romantic endeavors.  They’re part of office politics, international affairs, and even among groups of people who you think would be above such things, revenge often rears it’s ugly head.  Should you seek revenge?  Absolutely, but here is how you do it.

You get up every day, and get out of your rut as soon and as often as you can.
You assess your life and consider ways to make it happier, healthier, and at the same time, you strive to improve yourself.

You give yourself the best life you can.  Don’t give your detractor or attacker any more power.  Soon a miraculous thing will happen.  Not only will retaliation be the furthest thing from your mind, and they will be irrelevant.  That’s the best revenge you can take.  Try to be happy. That’s the best revenge to take.

But what about justice?  What if you need to sue someone for damages to your home or property?  You have a right to seek damages when justified.  But this is the trick with justice.  You have to know when to stop.  Because somewhere in the middle of your quest for justice you could find yourself on a path to revenge.

So as we said before, look at your situation with the perspective of the ultimate observer.  Ask why you’re doing something.  That way you will know what it is that motivates you: seeking justice or invoking your right to vengeance.  What’s your motivation?

“The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.”
-Marcus Aurelius

MORE READING

http://www.scienceofpeople.com/2015/06/the-psychology-of-revenge/

What’s My Motivation? Or Avoiding Bad Method Acting in Ritual and Daily Life

What’s my motivation?  That is the plaintive question of every method actor.  A method actor can figure out a role based on that question, but if they don’t empathize well with the character they’re portraying,  then it leads to what is called the “ham factor.”  Don’t know what a ham actor is?  Watch Charlton Heston in the 10 Commandments, Planet of the Apes, or well, just about anything that he’s in really.

Knowing what motivates you to do something is a good thing, with that said, however, sometimes, it’s not such a bad thing to question our true motivations, and to not let method acting seep into our lives.  Here’s an example:

“I hate going to work.”
“Then why go?”
“Because I have to.”

So you’ve answered the question “what’s my motivation?”  But perhaps the answer isn’t as simple as you might think.  You do not have to go to work.  You choose to go to work.  If you don’t work, it’s unlikely that you will be able to:

  • Pay your rent or your house payment
  • Pay your car payment and insurance
  • Buy food
  • Pay the electric bill
  • Pay the water bill
  • Pay all of your other expenses

You Always Have a Choice, Don’t Surrender Your Power Over Yourself

You can stop working at any time, but you want to be able to do all the things above, plus have a little money for yourself and those you love.  It’s important to remember that you are choosing to work and say that aloud.   “I choose to work, so that I can pay my expenses and have money to live.”  When we choose something we feel better about it then when we think we have to do something.  That’s the difference between empowerment and being a victim.  But why is victimhood so prevalent? First off, it’s encouraged by our society.  Take a look at consumerism.

Advertisers target an illusory need, and aim for our subconscious.  Don’t have the latest IPhone or Samsung Galaxy?  You need it! Go! Go now! Supplies are running out!  So you go to the mall, and sit down in line, maybe even camp out, so you can get the latest IPhone from the Apple store.   You’ll shell out a lot of money and buy the phone, and for a while it is great.  It’s way better than your last phone.  It’s faster, more stylish, and you think you’re the envy of all your friends and family.  And that’s why you really did it isn’t it?  What’s my motivation?  Why to impress others with how awesome you are.   If you don’t have the latest gadget, then why you’re nothing.  You’ll always have one friend who will smugly show off the fact that their phone does one thing that yours can’t, because it’s an IPhone, or a high level Android.

To add to your awesomeness, you spend time feeding the homeless down at a shelter, not because you want to truly help.  You’re doing it for a bit of esteem currency.  Later on you’ll get a lot of status by dropping an offhand remark, “I helped feed the homeless the other day.”  You’ll get the oohs and ahhs you crave and hunger for.    You can feel better about yourself.  See, you’re not selfish at all.  Yes, you spent a lot of money on yourself buying a new phone, but you fed the homeless.  The problem with this sort of thinking is that after awhile your spiritual balance starts to crumble.

The Four Primary Goals

Sun-Tzu wrote that everyone is guided by four primary goals that all other goals spring from, these are:

  • Power
  • Pleasure
  • Avoidance of Responsibility
  • Love (Respect)

You get into a fight with your significant other.  If your goal is power, then you don’t care about resolving the dispute.  You just want to win the fight.  This is purely a power goal.  To someone motivated by pleasure, they will pursue their pleasure at whatever cost.  Avoidance of responsibility is pure undiluted victimhood.  “It’s not my fault because of ______.”  However, going for a goal of love and respect starts with yourself.  Think about your actions.  Are you doing it for self-love?  Are you doing it because you love someone else, or out of respect for them?

Understanding why you do something always carries over into our ritual practice as well.  You cast a spell for money with a motivation of greed.  You might get what you want only to find that no matter what you never have enough money.   Or you could cast a money spell to get enough money to get out of debt as well as take care of your daily expenses.

You want to find the love of your life.  Again, what’s your motivation?  Do you want this someone to be nothing more than an accessory?  A bit of eye candy or arm candy to show off?  Or do you want to find someone because you are lonely and want a live a happier more fulfilling life?

 

You have to plan a ritual.  Why do you?  Are you doing it because you want to observe the passage of time in your own way, and give yourself a memory to carry forever, or are you doing it because you feel obligated to do it?

Sometimes, our motivations are based not on our open desires, but on habits.  That’s one reason why people sometimes get threatened by change.  Change disrupts our habits, and the patterns we build around them.

Don’t second guess yourself, however.  Sometimes your motivation is fairly simple, other times, you have to think about it.  When in doubt, a good way to examine your motivation  is to keep asking why you are doing something.  When you come up with an answer that you can’t argue, then you will know why you should take action, or choose another option.  If the answer to your question is “I don’t know,” then it is a good time to pause and think things over.

When you examine your motives and motivation,  and realize that you always have a choice,  it is then that you start to grow spiritually.  And, you’ll often stand amazed at how free you feel.

“So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key.”

Already Gone-The Eagles, Written by Jack Tempchin, Robb Strandlund

EXTERNAL LINKS:

http://www.puppetpress.com/classics/ArtofWarbySunTzu.pdf

Litha 2017 Circle

Litha 2017 Circle
Saturday, June 24, 2017 7pm Kiwanis Park Ramada TBD

Burn your Bane;
Cleanse with Rain;
Claim your Reign!

You are invited to AZ Reclaiming’s 2017 Litha ritual! We will be working with the magical arts of trance, transformation, and sacred witnessing as we crown ourselves Queen of the Realm that is our lives.

Gathering time & open drum circle: 7:00pm
Ritual Conspiracy (pre-ritual important talky part): 7:30pm
Kiwanis Park: 5500 S Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ 85283
Ramada #: TBD

This is YOUR Coronation – feel free to bring your “Royal Vestments” (Crowns/Tiaras, scepters/staffs/swords, etc)

***It is going to be H O T!! We are providing plenty of drinking water and ice, however, PLEASE PLEASE bring your own cup/drinking vessel!***

We will be honoring the Arizona Summer with monsoon-styled music; please bring rain-sticks, drums, rattles if possible

Please also bring the following if possible:
*a potluck dish to share (potluck feast immediately following ritual)
*Spritzers/Misters/Fans for keeping cool
*a folding chair
*cash for our donation baskets
*your own potluck blissware – plate/bowl/cup/utensils (we strive for a green potluck aftermath)

Please note: All Reclaiming events are dry; alcohol and drug free. Let us know if you have any questions at all… thank you!

Your Litha Ritual Muses;
Autumn (Jessica), Amanda, Amiée, Andrea, Craig, Kathleen, Jared

Arizona Reclaiming Witches: One Perspective

Submitted by Darrell

This has been a year of years for our group. Some of the community has become strengthened by coming together to overcome struggles, claim our successes, fight our demons, and claim our power. Hearing the many stories throughout the year, the themes that have risen to the surface are oddly aligned, like iron filings with a magnet underneath: “Principles before personalities”, “vulnerability is not weakness”, saying “yes” and saying “no”, “fuckit”, acceptance, and “I see you in me”.
This list of challenges will be with us as the new year carries over and introduces its unknowns. We will adapt, for that is what we do. As we chanted at California WitchCamp this past year: “We Are Witches, and There Is Work for Us To Do”.
Our group has crossed the threshold from fledgling group to established group, now passing through our fourth anniversary year. Our gatherings have varied in size from 3 to 73, celebrating the sabbats, both the established Celtic Wheel of the Year™ and a wheel that, if drawn, would look more like a doodle on the back of someone’s notebook who’s trying to get their pen to write.
There are few initiated Reclaiming and Feri in attendance, but a surprising number of initiates from other traditions who are broadening their perspective. There are covens who join us for the sabbats. There are also Episcopalians, Benedictines, Catholics, AA’s, Chaos Magickians, Druids, Asatruar, Agnostics, husband/wife attaché’s, a whole bunch of “I don’t know’s” and another bunch of label-free folks. There are children and grandparents, teachers, PHD’s MD’s LNP’s RN’s LNP’s and other multi-lettered folks, all varieties of sexual orientations and those who identify at various places along the gender spectrum. There are even those who often change their mind about some of the above on any given day depending upon mood, weather, or astrological influence.
Many our ritual participants, perhaps more than half, come to attend the ritual only and that’s all we’ll see of them till the next ritual. And that’s great. That’s one of the reasons we offer our rituals publicly. Reclaiming magic is potent magic. We believe it should be shared. The more love we give, the more love we have.
We have offered a lite version of Elements of Magic, the Iron Pentacle, have had book studies, independent classes on herbalism, drumming, chanting, energy work, Feri, and just good old fashioned conversational chit chats. We’ve done some volunteering – not much, but some – however individually, there is an overwhelming sensibility of caring and altruism to our group that is unparalleled.
These things are not offered in hopes of proselytizing new Reclaiming Witches. It is of our perspective that if you have stepped forward in one of our circles – in fact if you have stepped into your own power by any means – then you are already priestess or priest of God Herself in your own right. You are your own spiritual authority. If we do our job right, you step away from our gatherings with a stronger sense of empowerment, a community connection, a sense of direction, or at the very least, a few belly laughs.
The path of the Priestess and Priest is not an easy path. It is a two way conversation between Powers that Be and your Self. And it is a two way conversation between your self and everyone and everything around you. And everyone and everything around you has its own conversation with the Powers that Be. Power Within harnesses that inner conversation, between your Self and God Herself. Power With harnesses that outward conversation, between your Self and your fellow Souls. And although words are potent forms of conversation, Service, Gratitude, Empathy, Compassion, and Appreciation when combined with action can move mountains. Prayer is not helping; prayer strengthens your inner connection. Action activates the outer connection. Prayer is praying; only helping is helping. Prayer plus helping is also helping with a little extra. Many paths stop at the thinking, praying, and energy work parts. As we practice, we don’t stop there. We act, we enact, we create, we make it happen.
Many of you have expressed interest in moving past the introductory levels of your practice.
Many of you have expressed interest in moving past a rut in your practice.
Many of you have expressed that you really don’t even know where to start.
We have enough people gathered together in our group to make a lot of things happen. We’ve discussed recurring naming rituals, rites of passage for our many diverse members, the creation of a community liturgical cycle, a book of shadows, bringing the local flora and fauna into our lore along with the Sonoran Desert Wheel of the Year, a musical guild (vocal, instrumental, drum) women’s circle, men’s group, LGBT group, ASU Campus events, bringing teachers in from other groups for weekend retreats, group hiking trips, camping trips, wilderness survival classes, self defense classes, mediation and mantra work, yoga, group fitness goals and coaching, crafting guild, Feri and Reclaiming initiatory paths, lore of the various pantheons, divination classes, continued volunteerism, local governmental participation…
But in community, in groups of three, of five, of ten, we could go far with any of the items in this list. That’s power with.
If you want to help, or contribute to any of these, contact one of the steering comittee members. If you dont know who they are, just say STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBER contact us via the contact us form and one of us will message you.
With risk of sounding grim, I’ll say that we have some very unpredictable and strange times ahead of us. Some of the ground that we have gained towards equality seems like it is at risk. We cannot let this shock us into inaction, into being frozen by fear. Nor can we let it distract us from what lies before us, which is this: “We are witches: and there is work for us to do.”

With Love, Darrell

Celebrating the Divine Mother on Mother’s Day

This morning I woke up feeling the slight pull of depression for no apparent reason. My life is going well, I love my job, my daughters are with me this weekend and it’s been a good one, and I’m feeling good health wise. So why the depression? Then I remembered that tomorrow is Mother’s Day.

If your mother is wonderful and you have great memories to celebrate, Mother’s Day is a fine day to do that. If you have this kind of Mother’s Day, I am happy for you.

If your mother was less than wonderful, or has passed and you miss her greatly, or you are wanting to be a mother but you can’t be, it can be a terribly painful holiday. The greeting cards, advertisements, and hearing about everyone else’s wonderful Mother’s Day plans don’t help.

In the true Reclaiming Tradition, I am going to re-create this holiday to serve my needs. May I present Mother’s (Mother with an extra-big capital “M”) Day. As in the Divine Mother, the Goddess.

And here’s why I need to do this:

When I was nine, my family experienced a tragedy that cost me my both my brother and mother. My brother was dead. My mother was still alive, but I was no longer allowed to see her. I remember that first year, when I was fourth grade. I lost my mother in September. In May, my teacher asked us to write a poem about Mother’s Day and how painful that was. It opened a barely-healed wound.

Because I was the only surviving child of a very busy and somewhat “tough guy” father, I spent a lot of time alone. I often took long walks in my neighborhood’s green belt, or even just sat under the giant ash tree in our back yard. And one day as I was sitting there, I became conscious of the Great Connection. I felt the pull of nature. I saw the Web. I felt held by the Web, and by the Mother. I did not know Her name back then, but I felt Her love, Her holding of me, and my place in Her family. She saved my life. Many times, She saved me. She saves me still.

The final connection came when I had the opportunity to aspect Earth at one of our community rituals about a year and a half ago. When I opened myself up, what filled me was pure love, the Mother’s love. And when people came to me and I held their hands, and that love passed into them, most of them audibly gasped. They could feel it, too. The Mother’s Love is real. And it is within us and all around us.

I became a mother myself without my mother being there for me. When the kids were older and repeating the Mother’s Day school crafts (some things never change) and came home with paper flowers and cards for me, I was both moved with joy, and I felt sadness at remembering my childhood self who never got to do this.

When my tiny firstborn daughter was set on top of my now-empty womb for the first time, I looked her over. She is of mixed heritage and has taken on more of her father’s darker features than my light, green-eyed ones. But there! Her toes! She has my toes, the same curves, the same shape. She has my barely-there little toenails. And though it has now been 16 years since that moment, I still sometimes smile at recognizing my own self in part of her when I see her toes.

And my second daughter– she has the hands and feet and body type of her father’s side. But she has the same brain structure as me, in the way she often struggles to learn differently in the exact same way as me, and my mother before me. And she has my heart. Love is her super power. She loves deeply and hurts deeply. She is an empath like me.

I think of the Divine Mother, and what She must see in me, as Her daughter. Not only the flesh and bones that are made of the Earth, or the fire in the energy-houses in every cell in my body, or the air that rushes into and out of the caverns of my lungs, and is dispersed throughout my body as carried by the rivers within, or the electric sparks of nervous synapses. But also my heart. My growth.

And just as I often watch my children experiencing something for the first time—their first time splashing in puddles after a rain, their faces light up at their first live concert, their first time broken-hearted after having a fight with their best friend– I imagine that the Mother watches me. She lives through me. She sees the world through my eyes. My life individual life experiences add to the Whole.

As a mother, I have to know when to rescue, and when to stand back and let life teach my daughters by experience. They are now at that transitional stage, or rather, we are. They are walking ahead of me and I am holding back. It is hard, but it needs to happen for them to grow. They know I am there when they need me, and that gives them the confidence to walk ahead. I love it when my daughters have a moment of joy and they smile and then they turn to me and say, “Mom, look!” and they want to share that with me.

And when I have joy, I am sharing that with the Mother, and I am enhancing the whole Web. I take the time (or try to) to celebrate the gift of being alive. The smell of coffee in the morning. The deep sincere embrace between friends. The pleasure of playing my favorite music in the car while driving to work. The divine act of making love.

And like I do with my own daughters, sometimes She stands back and lets me walk my own path. It often hurts, the process of growing. But in moments of pain, if I remember to allow myself to trust, the Holy Web is there to catch me when I fall. Even in my suffering when I often feel I am alone, I am not. All I have to do is look around me, sit with Nature, start to see the Web.

Motherhood is a sacred thing. The bringing forth of new life. The breast that nourishes us. The soil that holds the roots of growth so that we may spread ourselves upward. We are our Mother. She is Us. Let us celebrate Her on Mother’s Day.

Event: Exploring the Reclaiming and Feri Traditions

Reclaiming Discussion Group: Exploring Reclaiming and Feri Witchcraft

2nd Thursday of the month from May to July
Pyle Recreation Center, 655 E Southern Ave, Tempe, AZ 85282
Thursday 5/11 6:00 – 8:30 pm (discussion begins promtly at 6:30)
Thursday 6/8  6:00 – 8:30 pm (discussion begins promptly at 6:30)
Thursday 7/13 6:00 – 8:30 pm (discussion begins promptly at 6:30)
The Reclaiming Tradition of Witchcraft is an ecstatic tradition which is heavily rooted in eco-feminism and activism.  Although we share the concepts of female and male deity, we also recognize that gender is a continuum.  We honor all races, sexual orientations, and gender identities. In the same way that no two Witches are a like, so too are no two relationships with deity alike.  We believe that the divine power is immanent, permeating everything in every place, not “beyond” or “after” this realm, but within it, all around it.  Our relationship to politics, advocacy and service is rooted in seeking justice for our planet and all who dwell upon and within it.
The Feri Tradition of Witchcraft can be traced to Victor and Cora Anderson and is one of the contributing streams into Reclaiming.  Feri Tradition also is an ecstatic tradition (as opposed to fertility based) with a deeply artistic aesthetic rife with paradox and shamanic teachings.  It is an initiatory tradition, though those who practice as uninitiated are growing in numbers.
These three sessions will be dedicated to exploring these traditions in discussion format with plenty of time for question and answers and a few group-practices to demonstrate some of the perspectives. The sessions are not sequential and not cumulative.  Feel free to come to all or some of them.
Donations accepted for the payment of the room rental (approximately $30 per night), however are not required to attend.  

Living With Regret

By Archelon

I am human.  I make mistakes.  As my mom used to say: “If people didn’t make mistakes, there wouldn’t be erasers on the ends of pencils.”  Regretting what I’ve done can at best be only a temporary part of my story.  If I face regret and have true remorse, then maybe I can use it as a springboard for myself. I regret some of the things I’ve said and done.  I’ve messed up.  I have a few years ahead of me still, maybe even a decade or so.  I live with my regrets.  They were lessons.  And I choose to learn from them. And I forgive myself.  There is power in self-forgiveness, and sometimes it can be hard to forgive ourselves.   I say it again.  I forgive myself.

I can can live with regret.  And guess what?  You can live with regret. There, it’s been said.  A lot of people bravely say that they want to live life with no regrets.  However, there is a lot that needs to be said regarding regret, and you might want to think about living life without regret. But is having regrets healthy?  And what is regret?

What is the Real Meaning of Regret?

According to Psychology Today:

“Regret is a negative cognitive/emotional state that involves blaming ourselves for a bad outcome, feeling a sense of loss or sorrow at what might have been or wishing we could undo a previous choice that we made.” [VIEW SOURCE]

Is It Possible to Live Without Regret?

There are only a few people who have no regrets, however, the only people that truly have no regrets are sociopaths.  A sociopath will have their own agenda and will leave behind their victims while constantly pursuing that agenda.  Regret involves pausing to consider their course of action, which is not something a sociopath can do comfortably.  So having regrets is fairly normal. The key to them is not to let regrets dominate your thoughts, nor allow them to be used against you.  Instead use them to your advantage.

If you have regrets for something that you’ve done, come to terms with it.  Own it.  Admit that you made a mistake and consciously choose to learn from that mistake.  So many people regret something that they did long ago, and use it to polish the wood on the cross that they carry around.  It’s an easy trap to fall into.  I’ve fallen into it a few times.  I also kept buying that crap about “Live life without regret.” However, without regret, without facing myself and all of my imperfections, I will never able to really learn and grow.   And not facing regret makes your soul and spirit sicken, trust me I know. Why?

Holding onto regrets  is the absolutely worst thing you can do.  Why?  Well for one, regrets are always part of your past.  Whatever you regret could be just a few seconds ago, or years or even decades past, but they are all in your rear view mirror. There are no regrets in the future, nor the present.  And look at it this way.  If someone in your life constantly reminded you of some mistake you made in the past, after a while, you’d sever ties with that person.  It is crucial to forgive yourself; and if you hold onto your regrets you haven’t truly forgiven yourself. And as Jack Kornfield once said: “If your compassion doesn’t include yourself, it is incomplete.”

So maybe that is what they mean by living without regrets.  Maybe, just maybe, it’s all in how you perceive regrets.  Regrets can be weights that you carry with you, constantly weighing you down, and making you doubt who you are.  Or they can be mileposts that you look back at and see how far you’ve come.

Other Resources

Questioning Forgiveness by Djourney April 26, 2017 https://azreclaiming.com/2017/04/26/questioning-forgiveness/

The Psychology of Regret, Melanie Greenberg Ph.D, Pyschology Today May 6 2012. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201205/the-psychology-regret

20 Quotes to Inspire Self-Compassion Habits for Well Being http://www.habitsforwellbeing.com/20-quotes-to-inspire-self-compassion/

How to Love Your Authentic Self By Lori Deschene Tiny Buddha http://tinybuddha.com/blog/how-to-love-your-authentic-self/

Why I Stopped Apologizing for Being Me By Jacky Exton http://tinybuddha.com/blog/why-i-stopped-apologizing-for-being-me/

 

Questioning Forgiveness

I am in my 40’s now, firmly in middle age somewhere between the “mother” and “crone” stages of life. One would think I would be wiser, more practiced at the processing of grief and pain and anger and forgiveness. I am a witch, after all. That implies wisdom. And people who have heard my story often state that I have lived several lifetimes in this one. But I struggle still with forgiveness. Oh, I struggle! I am an expert at holding grudges.

I think back to all the times I was hurt. Intentionally, unintentionally, selfishly. And all the times I’ve had to rebuild my life and move on. The last incident, the one that has prompted this deep exploration into the idea of forgiveness, is still too fresh to elaborate upon. Let’s just say it shattered me to my core. Again. And I know it won’t be the last time I will be hurt or wronged.

I need to find a better path of recovery for next time. Because there’s always a next time.

But let’s start at the beginning.

The first time I was severely hurt was when a man who was a friend of the family murdered my six year old handicapped brother. I was nine. The world as I knew it, the proverbial rug I was standing on so securely, was in one motion ripped out from under me. Child Protective Services was involved. I never again saw my friends, my home, my neighborhood, and even lost my beloved little dog. Not to mention my only sibling at the time. In addition, I was removed from the closed religious community of my mother and placed into the secular world of my father. Culture shock in every way possible.

How does one survive this and go on? Being a child, I had no choice but to go on. I was enrolled in a new school. I was given new clothes to wear (pants for the first time!). I grew into a woman without my mother around. My father was harsh and militaristic. Although he had the best of intentions and I know he loved me, he had a funny way of showing it.

Later, after I was a mother myself, my dad made amends with me. He truly apologized and meant it. We healed and had a close relationship until he died suddenly at the age of 59. I am so glad we were in a good place when he died. If there’s an example in my life of true forgiveness, it was between me and my dad.

My mom and I have both tried to repair our relationship as adults. She is not the person she used to be. I had to set boundaries, including a ten-year period where we did not speak at all. Although I love her, I still keep her at arm’s length. Is this true forgiveness? Not really. It is tolerance for the sake of love and doing the right thing.

Next was a twenty-year marriage that ended in divorce. The marriage started well enough, with love and hope and promises of a good life together. And then I became a stay at home mom of two kids (one with medical challenges). I don’t think he could adjust well to this. He coped by going back to how he was raised. He became rigid, controlling, and emotional abusive. I found myself a woman in my early 40’s with two kids, starting over. Again.

And then there is this most recent thing that happened. I entered into a situation with pure love, great trust, hope, and the best of intentions. Then a problem emerged that took on a life of its own. I thought love would be enough to overcome it, but it was not. This one hit me hard. I was caught off guard, emotionally open to all the love and pain. I loved fully. I grieved fully.

Just when I would think I was over it, it would hit me again and I’d spend more time being heartbroken and angry. I wondered when the pain would end.I would be angry at myself, that I “should” be over this by now. That I “should” forgive.

As I was having another depressive episode triggered by this situation, I remembered years ago when a friend pointed her finger at me and commanded, “Witch, heal thyself!” Indeed, I am not helpless in this situation. I don’t have to carry the victim’s burden and pain forever. I walk the Witches Path. It is a path of shadow work, finding truths, and then casting those truths into the bright sun. Step by step, I make a new path.

Step 1: Examine the meaning of “forgiveness”

As a child, I was taught that in order to be a good person, I was required to forgive, even embrace and love, my enemies. I was taught: Colossians 3:13: “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” And Matthew 6:15 “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Merriam-Webster says forgiveness is “the act of forgiving.” It’s something that is done actively. It’s a conscious effort. It’s hard work (damned hard work!). To forgive is to “to cease to feel resentment.”

The main problem I have with “forgiveness” in the definitions above is that it requires the victim and perpetrator both be involved in the process of healing, even if only in the mind of the victim. The victim must forgive (let go of resentment towards) the one who caused so much pain. Maybe they just want to focus on healing their wounds instead of thinking of the one who caused them.

There is guilt factor here, too.If the victim continues to have occasional thoughts of resentment, it makes the victim feel they have failed in the act of forgiving. It also denies them permission and room to be angry.

Step 2: Allow anger to happen.

Anger can be a good thing. It validates feelings and allows me to express them. I am still learning to be comfortable with anger. A good fire has a purpose. It should be allowed to blast up to the heavens, and then burn down to glowing coals. I think those coals are those of resentment, and it’s okay to let them glow a bit. They are living reminders of the lessons learned, the wisdom earned.

It is hard for me to let anger die down once its ignited. Sometimes compassion towards the wrong-doer tempers resentment: they had good intentions that went poorly, they were not being mindful of my feelings, they were immersed in their own problems. But big infernos are directed towards the person who hurts me with intent: who knowingly manipulates me, lies to me, abuses me! This burns my heart! Especially if this person is someone who supposedly loved me, who hurt me when my heart was open to them. This shatters me.

Step 3: Seek the support of friends and community to witness the pain

In the rebuilding of my life, I embraced– and was embraced back by– a beautiful community of friends and spiritual companions. And I did a difficult thing. I reached out to them as I felt myself retreating into the darkness of grief. I suffer from depression, always trying to put it in its place on my good days. On my bad days, it takes over and pulls me down into a dark spiral.

This time I started to reach out to my community in my desire to heal and be pulled out of the spiral. Sometimes I told them I was having a dark day. Other times I just started a chat with them about neutral topics, or checked in with them on their problems.

At one point when I was in the deepest throes of my anger and pain, I reached out to my inner circle for help. I needed to be heard. Many were shocked by the intensity. I even shocked myself! I allowed my tears to flow freely. My friends, my tribe, they lovingly witnessed those tears. They held me, and protected me, and offered healings. They helped me bank the fire.

What was left after the healing was a strange kind of indifferent nothingness. This created space for wisdom and joy to return. It created space for me to breathe.

Step 4: Let go of the expectation of an apology.

This one is so hard for me. Probably the most difficult step of all. I was raised that people who hurt others should apologize and make amends. That’s what good, decent people do.

In childhood the teacher would make the perpetrator say “I’m sorry” and then the victim would have to say “It’s okay” when neither of them really meant it. The best part of this for me as the childhood victim was knowing that my perpetrator was caught and people saw what they did. In real life the perpetrator often gets away with it and even continues to hurt others with no regrets.

I realize now I would rather have no apology than an insincere one. And that expecting one stops me in my path of healing, and makes me dependent on the actions of the person who hurt me. I need to stop giving them power over me.

There is power in letting go, walking forward.

Step 5: “Walk forward, always forward”

What came out of the most recent heart-breaking situation was the ability to truly express my full anger for the first time in my life, and being truly held by my community and friends.

In exploring this topic of forgiveness and healing, I asked several people in my life what worked for them, and what it meant to them. One friend’s words became my mantra when I started to look back and feel pain again: “Walk forward, always forward.”

I know my journey is not done. The answers I have found are not wrapped up nicely with a bow. They are messy answers, uncertain, not fully or satisfactorily defined, imperfect. As is life.

As a Witch who walks the Path with all its shadows and light, I accept this truth. And I keep walking.

Beltane Circle April 29 2017

Submitted by Thalia

*****Pulsate with Fey,
*****Sate your Dragon,
*****Ignite your Phoenix!

A ritual of FIRE awaits your magical spark. Join us Saturday April, 29th, for Arizona Reclaiming’s 2017 Beltane ritual.

You may see fairies… you may feed dragons… you may rise through the flames of desire to transformation…

Please wear clothing that is FIREY with colors of red, yellow, orange and passion. We need drummers! Please bring your drums and your willingness to make any type of rhythm in support of community magick. We need firewood! Please bring a bundle of wood if possible, we are feeding multiple Beltane FIRES and they’re hungry this time of year.

Gathering time, open drum circle & labyrinth walk: 7:00pm
Ritual Conspiracy (pre-ritual important talky part): 7:30pm

Please bring the following if possible (all optional):
*drums, rattles, and other music makers, bring extras to share!
*a non-dessert potluck dish to share- (see Dawn’s potluck post)
*a folding chair
*cash for our Az Reclaiming donation baskets
*firewood (lots)
*your own potluck blissware – plate/bowl/cup/utensils (we strive for a green potluck aftermath)

The specific address will be sent in a separate message–we’re off of Crismon and Southern in Mesa.

Two Important Notes:

    1. All Reclaiming events are dry- alcohol and drug free.

 

  1. Possible nakedness warning– while nudity is not planned specifically in this ritual, we are committed to unraveling the overculture’s shame and degradation of our bodies and reclaim our godselves as beautiful, sexual creatures. The Ritual Muses strive to create magical space where expressions of liberation and freedom are possible, accepted and honored. For some of us, that may involve less clothing than others. If you would like to process what this means, have any questions, would like to ask for special support around this trigger area or are considering bringing children, please message me (Thalia, aka Deborah) or Dawn Spiraling Leaf (aka Victoria)

We look forward to seeing everyone!!!

Addendum
Submitted by
Dawn Spiraling Leaf

Attention Beltane ritual goers: As potluck priestess I would like to announce… Dessert for the ritual will be covered. Fresh fruit salad, cheese cake, and 2 kinds of wedding cake. Mike and I are recreating our reception deserts from our handfasting in honor of our 10 year anniversary.
Please plan on bringing main dishes and side dishes or munchie foods….and please no desserts.
Also don’t forget your blissware!

Your Beltane Ritual Muses Are:

Journey, Rhys, Fyn, Jane, Calypso, Wendy, Brian, Elizabeth, Dawn, Mike, Amanda, Andrea, Amy, Thalia