Tag Archives: white light

The Good Witch of the South Eastern Suburbs

So today is Halloween, and it has prompted me to write about a topic that is currently holding my interest: witches.

I’ve never been a big fan of Halloween, nor have I really gotten into the spirit of it, apart from the one year when, as kids, my brothers and I naïvely decided to carve a jack-o-lantern out of a rock hard pumpkin, and spent hours trying to scoop out the raw flesh and carve a face without stabbing ourselves in the process (pumpkins suited to carving weren’t readily available from the local supermarket here in the early nineties). We were never allowed to go trick-or-treating (I’ve held on to that tradition with my kids – mean mum alert!), and the only time I can think that I would have dressed up would have been if a friend happened to have a themed birthday party at this time of year. I actually don’t remember or know a great deal about the origins of Halloween, other than the fact that here in Australia, it’s really only gained in popularity in recent times thanks to commercial reasons.  Retailers saw a gaping hole in the market that represented millions of dollars in potential revenue. Get Aussies on board with Halloween, and you can sell a truck load of Halloween stuff to them.

When I do think of Halloween, the standard images come to mind: pumpkins, ghosts, skeletons, vampires, and witches. Scary witches.

I used to joke years ago that if I’d been born a few hundred years earlier, I would have been burnt at the stake for supposedly being a witch; I’ve got red hair, green eyes, I’m left handed, and I have knobbly knees and a boney nose. I look the part. It was a throw-away joke, and it was funny to me – it certainly didn’t upset me that I looked that way. I didn’t really think a lot about what I was referring to – the fact that in times past, innocent human beings actually were killed for being believed to be witches.

I’ve learnt recently that the history of witch trials, which hunts and witch burnings is taught in school curriculums in other parts of the world as a part of history education. It’s a significant piece of human history that I’ve been largely ignorant of.

This topic has landed more frequently on my radar since I began studying energy medicine. Many of my classmates bring up the topic of witches, given the subject matter of what we’re studying. Initially, I had quite an aversion to the topic. I certainly didn’t want to identify as a witch – witches were scary and freaky and horrible in my naïve experience. And yet, here were my friends and teachers and soul-tribe, speaking so passionately about this topic, and many speaking as if that’s what they are: a witch.

My aversion to something that was so openly and commonly discussed amongst my tribe perplexed me. This home that I’d found amongst friends felt so right, and yet this subject matter worried me, because it didn’t bring me the joy that I found in every other aspect of this environment. After some time, I came up with a solution that suited me just fine, even if it turned out to be temporary: I could identify to some degree with being a GOOD witch. Yes! If being a witch was a part of this new world, then perhaps I could be just like Glinda the Good Witch of the North, from The Wizard of Oz. She was all pink and sparkles and love. What made this idea feel all the more pre-destined was that in high school, my graduating class produced a special year book, which included a fictional story in which many students featured as special characters. I had been depicted in this story as none other than Glinda.

As time has passed, and I’ve progressed on my journey, I’ve found this subject matter cropping up more and more frequently, and things have begun to shift. Whilst I certainly wouldn’t describe myself in a bio as being a witch, or when introducing myself to a new acquaintance, I can’t deny that there is an aspect of who I am at a soul level, and what I love, that certainly would have had me burnt at the stake in another time and place. I am devoted to my daily energy medicine practice, and it informs every aspect of my life. I use the White Light to heal. I have a fascination with all things metaphysical. I have a tendency towards using alternative and complementary medicine. I have an open-mindedness towards shamanic practices. I have a penchant for crystals which I cleanse under the light of the full moon, and I wear a treasured necklace with a citrine crystal that has been infused with prayers and White Light.  I have a fascination with psychic abilities, and I’ve undertaken education and training to better understand and to strengthen and further develop my abilities. I have undertaken spiritual journeys on different planes of existence. I’ve developed a surprisingly thrilling fascination with hunting for “fairy toadstools”! I’m a student and active community member of the “School of the Modern Mystic” for goodness sake!

Just call me "The Toadstool Hunter"! 😂🍄

Just call me “The Toadstool Hunter”! 😂🍄

Interestingly, I received an energy reading last week, which included a reading of the energy that  I am currently emitting which originated in past lives – energy that came about as a result of events that took place during past lifetimes, which has stayed with me and is affecting me in this present lifetime.  In one of these past lives, I was a healer. My healing work was my passion and purpose – it lit me up and made me feel brilliantly alive.  The circumstances I was living in at that time meant that I had to practice healing in secret – the stereotypical, almost corny image of the woman meeting with her patient under the cover of night in the safety of a darkened forest.  This need to hide my true nature angered me, but didn’t stop me – I was brave in my actions, and my passion fuelled my courage. This lifetime did not end well – I was eventually betrayed, and killed for being a witch.

So I’ve begun to research, and learn more about what this word “witch” actually means. I’m very early in my research journey, but I’ve already discovered some things that put my mind at ease, that reassure me that I’m not a freak, I’m not crazy, and that it’s perfectly acceptable for me to embrace this part of who I am.

A preliminary web-surf of Wikipedia has shed a surprising amount of light on the subject. The following except from the entry on “witchcraft” sums things up rather succinctly:

Witchcraft (also called witchery or spellcraft) broadly means the practice of, and belief in, magical skills and abilities that are able to be exercised by individuals and certain social groups. Witchcraft is a complex concept that varies culturally and societally; therefore, it is difficult to define with precision and cross-cultural assumptions about the meaning or significance of the term should be applied with caution. Witchcraft often occupies a religious, divinatory or medicinal role, and is often present within societies and groups whose cultural framework includes a magical world view. Although witchcraft can often share common ground with related concepts such as sorcery, the paranormal, magic, superstition, necromancy, possession, shamanism, healing, spiritualism, nature worship and the occult, it is usually seen as distinct from these when examined by sociologists and anthropologists.

This says a lot for me: witchcraft means different things to different people, particularly across different cultures and societies though out human history. There is no one singular definition that encompasses all the practices, beliefs and nuances that fall under the umbrella of witchery.

What I have discovered is that there have been numerous periods throughout history in which a terrorising fear of witchcraft has led to mass hysteria, resulting in witch hunts, witch trials, and witch killings. Ignorance and religious influence have played key roles. Men, women and children believed to be witches have been subjected to assault, abuse, torture, and killing. Wikipedia states:

The period of witch trials in Early Modern Europe were a widespread moral panic suggesting that malevolent Satanic witches were operating as an organized threat to Christendom during the 15th to 18th centuries. Those accused of witchcraft were portrayed as being worshippers of the Devil, who engaged in such acts as malevolent sorcery at meetings known as Witches’ Sabbaths. Many people were subsequently accused of being witches, and were put on trial for the crime, with varying punishments being applicable in different regions and at different times.

A painting in the Rila Monastery in Bulgaria, condemning witchcraft and traditional folk magic. The inscription is translated as: “Magicians and healers are servants of the devil. That’s why the devil rejoices greatly, jumps around, and dances in front of people who come to them. And what they [the healers] give them to drink and eat is devils’ filth. Those who abandon God, the laws, and the church, and go to the healers, are servants not of God, but of the devil.” Source: original photo by Nenko Lazarov 06/12/2005; adjusted by Martha Forsyth 4 April 2008, via https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rila_Monastery_wall_painting.jpg#mw-jump-to-license

Punishments for those found guilty of witchcraft have included imprisonment, exile, fines, and capital punishment by hanging, beheading, or burning at the stake. Methods for determining guilt throughout these periods included such bizarre practices as tying the suspect up and throwing them into a body of water. If they floated, they were deemed guilty and sentenced to death. If they sunk, they were deemed innocent, but many drowned in the process. The estimates of how many people died as a result of these witch trials varies greatly, but the “scholarly consensus” according to Wikipedia seems to be in the region of 40,000-60,000.

1533 account of the execution of a witch charged with burning the German town of Schiltach in 1531.

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Execution of alleged witches in Central Europe, 1587

Burning of three witches in Baden, Switzerland (1585), by Johann Jakob Wick.

Burning of three witches in Baden, Switzerland (1585), by Johann Jakob Wick.

I’ve begun reading a book* about the “Salem Witch Trials”, in which two dozen innocent men and women were hung from the town gallows in 1692 in newly colonised America (New England). This horrific injustice came about for many complex and startling reasons, but was largely influenced by ignorance, religious and spiritual beliefs, a profoundly deep-seated fear of God’s wrath, and a religiously motivated desperation to build a colony that upheld the morals of Puritan Christianity, in addition to a shockingly inept justice system.

Disturbingly, this isn’t a topic confined to the past. In various parts of the world today, men, women and children are still accused of witchcraft and subjected to assault, abuse, torture and killing. According to Wikipedia, approximately 750 people were killed for witchery in India between 2003 and 2008, 1000 children over the past decade have been murdered in the name of witchcraft in Nigeria, Saudi Arabia continues to issue the death penalty for sorcery and witchcraft, and in Britain there is an ongoing problem with (particularly immigrant) children being accused of witchcraft and subsequently being abused and tortured, including money making scams in which a pastor accuses a child of witchcraft and the family subsequently pays for an exorcism.

I’ve also read a little about Paganism and Wicca, sub-categories which are certainly worthy of further exploration, but that I don’t feel are especially relevant to my particular interests.  Presumably, further research would also expose evidence of people who did (or are) indeed practice malevolent forms of witchcraft, justifying accusations and promoting the fear-inducing archetype we’re used to associating with witchcraft in popular culture.  This convoluted narrative of history isn’t only about innocent victims.

As already outlined, it’s evident that the concept of witchcraft and witches is complex and variable. The witches that we associate with Halloween in modern Western culture are largely a product of folklore, story-telling and Hollywood’s characterisation of this multifaceted and mercurial archetype. I have a long way to go in my research (Wikipedia doesn’t really cut it for a thorough and in-depth education!), before coming anywhere close to fully grasping the intricacies of this topic, and this brief overview barely skims the surface of this broad subject.  Nevertheless, my preliminary reading has brought me to a place where I can drop the fear associated with witches.  What does being a witch mean for me in my personal experience? Well to be honest, the word itself still doesn’t quite sit comfortably with me, but it represents the wise woman, the healer, the seer, the psychic, the magician, the shadow-hunter, the light-worker, and the holy, the regal woman who knows her power as the individualised expression of God.

For me tonight, Halloween presents an opportunity to do something different and somewhat unexpected: to light a candle and say a prayer for the souls of the men, women and children accused of witchcraft, who have suffered assault, abuse, torture and murder across the ages.


* Francis, Richard (2006) Judge Sewell’s Apology, The Salem Witch Trials and the Forming of a Conscience, Harper Pernial, London.

Main image credit: by gliss.gliss, used under license.

Message from a Tree-Hugging Hippy

I’ve been pretty occupied lately.

Being a mummy.  Preparing food.  Washing clothes…

Practicing yoga.  Meditating.  Resting…

Studying.  Reading.  Learning…

There has been a part of me just itching to share more about what’s been occupying a large chunk of my time over the past eight months, because it has been freaking awesome.  Amazing.  Eye opening.  Life changing.  But … There has also been a part of me that has been hesitant to share, fearing negative judgement.  To be completely honest, I’ve thought way to much about what every single person I know will think of me if I share this part of my life.  I’ve learnt this lesson before – worrying about the opinions that other people have of you is futile.  However … I tend to be a slow learner!  I’ve been scared that people will think I’m a “tree-hugging hippy”, a bit weird, a fruit loop, a naive and silly little girl with my head in the clouds and a loose grip on reality.  But something subtle is starting to shift within me, and I can feel a mask slowly peeling away from me, leaving me feeling more and more ready to express without fear.  With abandon.  Because the people who don’t get me, aren’t the ones I’m supposed to be talking to.  My truth is that I’ve recently experienced some of the most profound and significant lessons of my life to date, and I feel moved and obligated to share with people who are interested, open, and perhaps searching.  For the people who think that I’m weird, that’s none of my business.  Thanks for coming, have a nice day.  Being free of the idea that I have to hide a part of me, is truly liberating.  Let’s get to it.

Find your voice quote

I’ve spoken a little here and here about my studies with Belinda Davidson’s School of the Modern Mystic (SoMM).  I’ve just completed Level 1, and to say it’s been a game changer for my life is, quite frankly, an understatement.  I feel like my entire approach to life has shifted.  Actually, it has.  The way I go about my day, my every waking moment, is informed and influenced by what I have been learning.  Let me tell you a bit about exactly what I’ve learnt.

The first module of the course is all about chakras.  Prior to this course, the only things I knew about chakras were that they are within the body, they are related to energy, they are the colours of the rainbow, and my yoga teachers often refer to them during class.  Belinda has taught me so much more.  In a nutshell, the chakras are a part of our energy system, which affect every aspect of our life.  Let’s go back a bit first, to explain how this works.  My (very limited) understanding is that according to quantum physics, all physical matter in the universe is essentially made of energy – that is, the smallest “part” of all physical matter is energy.  For example, a solid piece of metal, is not actually solid at all – it is made up of miniscule “bits” of vibrating energy, all squished so closely together that they appear solid (can you tell I’m using my best scientific terminology?!).  As such, the body is made up of energy.  The chakras are an energy system of our body.  These chakras generate, distribute, and absorb energy.  Our energy field is made up of 12 chakras – 6 in our physical body, and 6 above our head, and each one relates to different aspects of our physical body, health, and life circumstances.  Belinda teaches, in the School of the Modern Mystic, that we can positively influence the chakras, via our subconscious, during meditation (i.e. focused energy), in order to change our energy field, and thus change our life.  We do this by practicing a chakra cleanse meditation.  Belinda’s motto is “change your energy, change your life … get your chakras rocking, and life becomes magic”.

The chakra module of the course is very in-depth.  Level 1 covers chakras 1-7.  We spent two weeks on each chakra, learning the theory (i.e. it’s location, attributes, areas of the body it governs, how it impacts our life), as well as activating, balancing and strengthening our chakra, and reflecting on the state of it, and how our practices are impacting it.  In this sense, the course is extremely practical.  As Belinda explains, you can know all the theory in the world, but unless you are actually doing your spiritual practices, you are not treading the spiritual path.

This module of the course on its own, has been mind-blowing.  I have been interested in the benefits of meditation for a long time, but never committed to a regular practice, and frankly, found it boring (ha!), which made it difficult to stick with.  Like many others, for a long time I was mistakenly under the impression that meditating required me to stop thinking for lengthy periods of time.  Have you ever tried to stop thinking?  If you’ve never tried, I’d be willing to be that you won’t make it to a minute.  The guided chakra cleanse meditation that we use in the course made meditation so easy for me.  A 35 minute audio, guiding me through the meditation, during which I focus on each of my chakras.  No striving to stop my thoughts.  Simply focusing on each chakra as guided by the audio.  Six months ago, I could not have predicted that I would now be guiding myself through the meditation without the audio prompts, actually feeling and experiencing the energy of my chakras, feeling energy course through my body, and observing the effects that the chakra cleansing is having on my life.  Whilst I’ve always been interested in hearing about energy medicine and modalities like Reiki and polarity therapy, I could never understand or relate when people could feel or see or sense energy.  Now, I’m experiencing it for myself.

Early on in the course, I knew I had imbalances, weaknesses, and blockages in pretty much all of my chakras, simply by learning the theory, and analysing how it fitted in with my health and life circumstances.  As the course progressed, and I meditated more, and focused more on my chakras every day, I learned to feel the state of my chakras – to feel their energy.  Aspects of my life have certainly shifted and improved as I’ve worked on my chakric health, and when I’m having problems or difficulties in certain areas of my life, I now intuitively look to my chakras, and work on the issue from there.  Interestingly, sometimes I recognise an issue in my chakras before I notice its manifestation in my body or life circumstances.

Module two is all about the White Light – a healing spiritual energy.  I feel a LOT of resistance in talking about this module, as its sounds kind of “woo woo” to use Belinda’s words, however it was surprisingly fascinating, heart warming, enlightening, very practical and thrilling!  We learnt how to use the White Light, to strengthen our ability to cleanse our chakras, clear energetic blockages, and manifest our desires.  It’s given me a certain power to supercharge my creative action taking, and it’s filled me with unconditional love.  This module was the most surprising for me, as it cemented my true belief in this work.  I have been able to physically experience the energy of the White Light, which was initially startling (but beautiful), and I see the effects it’s having on my life – proof that it’s real and it works!

Module three covered a topic that is getting a lot of coverage these days, and rightly so: mindfulness.  We studied two texts as part of this module: The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle, and The Happiness Trap, by Russ Harris.  I view both of these texts as handbooks for life.  Tolle’s writing isn’t particularly easy to read, but it is full of profound wisdom.  Harris’s book is extremely practical and simple to read.  Both help us learn and understand how the mind works – that we are composed of two “selves” – the thinking self (the ego), and the observing self.  Our aim is to learn to disassociate from the thinking self, and learn to associate with the observing self, through practices of mindfulness and presence.  I can’t recommend these texts highly enough.  This module has taught us to recognise when our ego is taking over, so that we can align with our observing self – our “higher self” or “light-filled self”.  In this way, we can continue on our spiritual path, without getting sidetracked or high-jacked by our ego, which can only lead us back to pain and suffering.  I practice mindfulness every single day.  It is especially helpful when I’m dealing with screaming children, trying to get the kids ready for school on time, or lamenting the fact that I can’t seem to achieve all the things on my “to do” list every day!

So, put it all together, and these three modules give us the pillar practices for creating healthy energy, and thus being able to create the life of our dreams.

Where I’m at right now, at the conclusion of this Level 1 course, is a place of calmness and positivity.  That may not sound astounding, but it is.  I feel confident that I have the ongoing ability to deal with whatever life throws at me, as well as to create and live a life of my choosing, as opposed to drifting with the current.  This course has given me a foundation, I believe, to ensure that I never again find myself wallowing in self-pity and using “I can’t cope” as an excuse to opt out of life.  In a practical sense, this translates into an ability to keep my cool (mostly!) with my kids, no matter how severe the tantrum.  To experience contentment and peace in the present moment.  To trust that there is a path in front of me, leading me on the journey I am destined to travel, filled with so much joy and love.  To have eliminated the sense of despair and dread of a ho-hum existence or worse, as well as the incessant worrying that I’m a terrible parent, stuffing-up at every turn and ruining my kids for life.

As a gratifying extra, my husband has told me he’s noticed a difference in me.  He thinks I’m coping better with daily life as a mummy.  I’m happier.  I’m less stressed.  I’m more easy-going.

In the interests of transparency, I’m not suggesting that life is suddenly perfection and that there is no room for improvement, or that I don’t have times of struggle or pain.  There are ongoing issues that I’m still working on, and my manifesting technique requires much practice, but – THAT’S FINE.  I’m in a place where SoMM has given me the ability to recognise, on a moment to moment basis, that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and that wherever that is, IS perfect.  Instead of stressing about why I haven’t manifested something-or-other, I know that I am on my path, and that it will manifest when it is meant to, if it is in my best interests.  When I notice myself feeling upset, or angry, or frustrated, I’m able to observe those thoughts or feelings, and recognise them as separate to who I am.  This doesn’t necessarily solve all my problems, but it helps me to move on from them more quickly than what I otherwise would have, or to find solutions instead of wallowing in pain.

In the aftermath of completing Level 1 of SoMM, I am now preparing for Level 2, which is all about learning how to discover and live your soul purpose. Completing Level 1 has prepared me and my energy field to embark on this new journey.  I have yearned for what seems like forever, to know what it is that I was put on this earth to do.  I am thrilled to have found a path to discovering what it is that my soul intends for me.

As I’ve progressed through SoMM, I’ve felt like I’m becoming better able to connect with the things that bring me joy.  I’m drawn to them, and I’m recognising the feelings they incite.  As I plan to begin Level 2 in July, the Universe is giving me little insights.  I’m learning that whatever feels awesome, lights me up, sparks an interest, is worth pursuing.  That my soul purpose is something that will make my heart sing with joy, not something that I will become begrudgingly obligated to follow.  That my spiritual practices will take me there.  That there is an abundance of guidance and help available to me, if I simply ask.

My spiritual practices, which have become part of my daily routine, are having the most beautiful impact on my life.  I’m astonished by the power of a simple daily chakra cleanse meditation.  I feel my chakras spin.  I channel White Light. It’s truly magical.

So I’m firing up.  Following the sparks.  Expressing what I can.  I still have no idea where it will lead me, apart from where I am destined to be.  And that, my lovely, is THRILLING!

xoxo


To learn more about Belinda Davidson’s School of the Modern Mystic, or to purchase the Guided Chakra Cleanse for Busy People, click on the images below.

Belinda Davidson's School of the Modern Mystic starts September 29th!

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Main image credit: crazy flare, by Yutaka Seki.  Under licence.