I have come to this point in my practice after nine years, to reveal more of my knowledge and offer it as part of my vocation. Esoterica means that which deals with what is hidden, implied to be of interest or understood by only a smaller portion of people as opposed to the many or general whole. If I am to live my life by example, being myself, however I may be showing up, then the esoterica I know and understand and actively learn, in relation to what may be more common knowledge, will at some point be revealed in my practice, if it has a bearing on it and I want to share it. It does, and I do.
I have set aside a somewhat hidden menu for this purpose on the site, and I would like to share a little bit more about this perspective of esoterica here, understanding this may not speak to everyone.
A shift in perspective of reality where mystery and symbols hold power and the key to providing answers and knowledge which can alter reality.
I have defined magick this way, incidentally with a "k" to distinguish it from stage magic. I include all that may be found as helpful and esoteric for my practice under this definition or heading of magick. These esoteric understandings either lead to this shift in perspective or come as a result of it.
Reality becomes altered.
You become changed as a result of such knowledge.
You approach closer to what I call truth.
Whether through healing, to arrive at a better place of integration and wholeness, or through curiosity, to discover more about life and the universe, our drive to know truth takes many forms, and I feel this drive above all others, or within them, is the esoteric meaning of life.
All I do and care to pass on and know comes from this drive, this place. Not all want to know as this or want to know so much of what may be considered hidden and difficult knowledge.
The ego does not survive such knowledge, nor should it by definition. At least, there is less and less of this sense of "I" in this understanding. How could one shift a perspective of reality if one clings to ordinary notions, filtered through one's regular sense of self?
Meditation helps shift our perspective. A belief in any meaning behind coincidence does as well.
These are just two such examples of shifting our perspective.
Healing comes from a return to wholeness, a clinical definition of which implies less and less of this sense of self one clings to and more of an identity of fluid perspective of simply experiencing in the moment.
Because this destination and the hidden reality, drive of life arrive at the same place, I am opening a doorway to this knowledge, however much tentatively and obscured it is.
We are there, are already going there, having already arrived.
I will meet you there--however much you are wanting to go.
May the mystery honor such intention.
Peace, and be. May you know.
During this changing of the seasons, I thought it appropriate to share a letter from long ago, from a sannyasin or monk of the Ramakrishna Order to a student in California.
Letter excerpted from the book, Spiritual Treasures: Letters of Swami Turiyananda (edited by Swami Chetanananda).
I hope you enjoy, and enjoy the season.
17 February 1914
The life of renunciation is the only life that can make us truly happy. No other life can ever do so. It is certain that one day we shall have to give up everything whether we want to or not. It is much better to give it up gladly and freely before we are compelled to do so. But if one cannot do that, the next best course is to turn everything over to Mother and abide by her decree. Know her to be the only guide in life under all conditions. Pleasure and pain pass away. They do not last long. We gather knowledge through experience; and by not identifying ourselves with pain or pleasure we gain freedom. Be always content with what Mother ordains. She knows what is best for us. Such a life also brings peace and consolation; and then the world can do us no harm.
You are Mother's children; you need not be afraid of the world. Be devoted to her and she will take care of you. She alone is Real. All else is vanity and vexation. Did not Jesus say, 'What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose is own soul?' Mother is the Soul of our souls. If we have her we no longer care much for the things of this world.
The world goes on its way and will continue to do so for all eternity. But he who sees Mother in everything and knows for certain that it is all her play will have rest for his soul and peace within. May we see her hand and guidance in everything. May she bless us.
Yours in the Mother,
The subject of this post, I find this to be so important for living, to not try, to not try as we might normally do, to be able to surrender to these moments, for it is in them we find renewal from the efforts we would normally expend, from whatever we have set out trying to do, to spend perhaps wasted energy on moments better spent in this mystery.
We are renewed and made whole in these moments.
We may find answers we were not expecting or awaiting.
We cannot carry on in life without this mystery or what it represents.
Why not honor that which we do not know, or partially know, as if hidden in veils, rather than struggle with the shock of ignorance or cluelessness that continues and always surfaces as a part of life?
Surrender, and honor this mystery.
We may give it names, but the mystery remains, and so shall we, in more peace, in more alignment with our path as we give mystery its proper place and due.
(In the spirit of mystery, I have simplified this site once again, hiding a few menu items, but keeping their references, or at least the elements of their spirit, in these posts.)
I think wherever we are in life, we are on the right path, because it is ours. However, I do feel like more guidance can be given, more help can come our way. With this post and its accompanying link and resource, I am happy and perhaps more than a little excited to share this guiding help with you.
(Please feel free to skip four paragraphs down to get right to the information on the resource.)
I have recently embraced the idea, understanding, concept, and reality of magick, whatever that may or may not mean to you.
Along with the intricacies of the term itself comes its connection with the sacred feminine. I think of it as a way to actively be with and work with the all-embracing nature of the sacred feminine. There is a reverence and an active agency, both at play, when working with magick, to my understanding.
Along with this comes the idea of divination, again, a surrendering to the mystery of the sacred feminine, but also an element of understanding or suggestion of wisdom for active implementation of the knowledge gained.
Here is where the resource comes in which I am truly happy about. I have developed an online approximation of a divination tool. It pulls from a story archetype which I have been using to inform my practice since its beginning. The archetype can be arguably found in the stories of all cultures of all time periods, and you may call it a way of living which honors the sacred feminine and ourselves.
Time and again I have seen how my own life follows this mapped out way of living, this pattern that author Kim Hudson identified in her own life and in the stories of cultures across time.
When I work with anyone, this universal story, this timeless way to go about being truly happy and fulfilled in life, guides me in the background, for all I do, because it resonates in a way a universal piece of wisdom should. It seems to continue to speak to those who encounter it and take the time to investigate it.
Without further explanation, please enjoy reading about and comparing your own life to this archetypal story, this guiding pattern which I feel helps us on the way to a fulfilling life.
The Virgin's Promise: A Path for Life
(Click on the words to divine the path.)
[Update: I have come back from vacation since first posting this.]
I wanted to share what you may have already come across before, but I am just about to head on vacation and want to share this here.
Many of the lines and lyrics speak to me personally, and I hope they do for you.
Thankful this is out there to share.
Please enjoy . . .
Music video by Katy Perry performing Daisies.
(c) 2020 Capitol Records, LLC
Although I had originally intended this blog post to be a recurring one which I would update as the global virus continued to make its impact on the world, I have decided I do not want to continue updating it like that, which would make it always be the entry on top of all others.
I realize in addition to what I've shared below that the fear generated by the virus has had some impact on my life and approach to living it.
In the spirit of enjoying the spring more now, being informed about the goings-on of the world, but not letting specific information about it influence me as it has, I am just going to share my thoughts below as a single blog post, complete unto itself.
Without updating it further, here are my initial thoughts.
I see what is happening as a doorway to true knowledge.
What do I mean by true knowledge? I mean that by which we know all other knowledge. I mean that by which the world shimmers and shines in a way which does not posses us, with craving, with need, with lack, with desire, with anything that grabs hold and becomes a tyrant of need in itself, needing to be fed, or nurtured, or placated, or given energy to, other than just allowing it to be itself, seen as the background of all we experience, seen as the other side of the doorway which has been opened, and continues to be open wider for us, for the time being.
The virus and its fears, which we find hard not to feed, become an opportunity to let go, as we try and cling to previous notions and ways of being, which may ultimately have not been serving us. We find, with perhaps not much effort at all, a way to glimpse what it is like to not have so many complications or created ideas, of what to do, of what we need to do, of what we think we need to do, so many notions.
The doorway becomes a relief from modern life, a relief from the struggles and efforts that may have ultimately been in vain, or perhaps truly are when seen in the light of how life unfolds and ultimately ends.
What really becomes important to you? What do you see as the doorway opens and ways and thoughts of being and living come to an end, if mostly only temporarily now?
What opportunity do you have which may not be so open again, to tap into a more clear and less troubled way, of peace, within peace, dipped in peace, the stillness of this night, from hustle and bustle, of busyness and all its ways.
What opportunity just waits there, coolly waiting, warmly waiting, to touch your face, reach your hand, perhaps embrace your soul, and let you feel a different way of living?
The doorway awaits you right there.
Truly living life.
Step in, and you'll see.
I am again bringing over sensibilities from another website I started, sharing the spirit of it here. This comes from a band I used to listen to when I was quite a bit younger. I will say this song, the title of the post, captures the opportunities presented to us in troubled times. I have mentioned doorways recently in posts, as places and opportunities for deeper discovery. I am posting the lyrics here before the song itself, which may not be to everyone's taste, of a heavier nature. But, I stand by the lyrics and am happy to share them here.
Long Since Dark
It's been long since dark
Sitting here bathed in the moonshade
Underneath a willow tree
To stare above, the sky is burning
The diamonds dance in nocturnal symphony
What does it mean? How do I fit into the scheme?
Why is there dark sky above, what does it veil?
Is there a purpose to the point
Beyond the norm we hail?
Reflecting on my future to come
Underneath the crescent moon
Long since dark, and my thoughts are flowing
And deeper still, beyond the cloak of unknown
Relentless drone, why was I put here, left alone?
Why do I hunger to know what will I gain?
Is there true wisdom without end
Or will I find just pain?
How many times do we take for granted
Simple things that make life sweet
Enraptured by material longings
We miss the point, we need to know, to see
Beyond our being, and in the void lies the meaning
Just as the dark sky above had spoke to me
The answers came so clear, then vanished
For a moment I was free
I am free
Songwriters: Warrel Dane / Lenny Rutledge
Long Since Dark lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group
Long Since Dark (Song) by Sanctuary
Into the Mirror Black (Album)
℗ 1990 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment
[I have taken this post from another blog I started, in an effort to bridge the sensibilities there with the ones I have here. I am happy to incorporate this under the blog post category I have of Magick.]
I began considering this blog post by thinking of the importance of sacrifice in my life and its connection to the kind of power that means anything to me in a real sense. I realized that unless a mystical framework or theory becomes presented as behind these ideas, as informing what I have to say about them, my speaking of sacrifice and power would fall short or not be as fully realized here as I would like them to be.
When I speak of mysticism, I am referring to what I am becoming more and more comfortable with as my own approach to living and what informs what I am doing and value most in life: leaving the world behind. From an early age, I found more comfort in religion and spirituality, the reality this seemed to uncover, rather than anything the world might offer. For whatever reasons or circumstances helped shape my fondness for this way of living or this natural desire to more and more openly go towards these understandings, they have brought me to where I am now, and to me sharing here, and I am richer in life experience because of it.
What mysticism means is a way to discover what is outside the world, or ultimately informs the world, its origins, its reasons or ways it has existence. A mystic, which I am also becoming more and more comfortable identifying myself as, is someone who naturally and interestedly, perhaps I'll even say passionately, goes towards that experiential understanding of what lies behind all of this, the world, existence, any idea, concept, or reality that can be conceived of or that exists. A mystic then is someone who wants to merge with God, experience the oneness of the universe, or who simply wants to be real and live life from such an authentic place.
To be clear, when I say sacrifice, besides knowingly conjuring images of the dark practices of other times (which I am not endorsing here), I am specifically referring to our sacrificing a conscious sense of self, of our ideas of who we are, of our ideas of reality, of what we think we know and have established as real and solid and permanent in our lives and ways of living them. From my experience, of almost half a century now, as we start to lose our sense of self, we start to open the door into this understanding, of what lies behind it all. We are entering into the dark womb of creation, the strangely disturbing void, from our egoic perspective anyway, of an experience of absence, not presence. We are going into the place we can arrive at in meditation, a place for which I have found the practice of meditation invaluable over the years.
Addressing the idea of power now, gained from this sacrifice, we experientially know so much more, and I am not talking about faith, belief, or assumptions made. I am talking about the real experience of knowledge, and this knowledge becomes life changing, if that even captures the experience of ever having received this knowledge.
Buddhist ideas of emptiness come to mind, certainly came to mind after I had had this experience myself, which set me on another course of life. It so profoundly affected me that I am still incorporating or unpacking what I seemed to experience back then. I use the word "seemed" to describe the experience, because it is one characterized by my above definition of sacrifice, where our sense of self keeps vanishing and thinning out, to the point at which it almost does not exist--so how can we be sure of what exactly occurred, if there was no sense of self as we know it, hardly being substantially there to begin with, to reference and to make a reference back to what may have been experienced?
Power comes from understanding how nothing really has the substance you once thought it did. This knowledge as power can be recalled and be realized whenever the world may be encroaching upon you again and again. This does not become a practice of not facing reality or not dealing with what becomes presented in everyday life. Very personally for me this becomes a way to find the root of all reality again, to not only see and experience the absence of self in going there, but also the oncoming bliss that can be uncovered from that absence. It is almost as if while the experience of that peace of annihilation is ongoing, in which we are released from the bondage of having to perpetuate again and again our attachments and obligations and responsibilities in everyday life, love certainly does rush in, constituting the bliss often mentioned and referenced in spiritual practices. As maybe the most precious taste I could ever reference, as perhaps the very reason I call myself a mystic, the best way to describe this experience is to encourage and point out such self-removing practices as meditation. When you return over and over again to the knowledge and power that enemies and obstacles in your world ultimately have no existence, no substance like you had originally thought, that you are out beyond them, actually at the root of it all, what made them to begin with, you have released yourself into the bliss-peace-lovingness of ultimate existence, and upon any return to the world, after such a self-sacrificing experience, I have found that answers do become clearer, and the remedies for the world do become easier to implement. The insubstantiality of this place and your experienced sense of a loss of self, of your sacrificing of ego in going to this place to begin with, provide you with a new experience of the world: it has a less substantial reality than you remembered.
The continued practice of this sacrifice of ego and the knowledge which this brings, together these constitute the mystical path to the power I am referencing.
I am venturing quite a bit beyond perhaps the conventional blog post one might find on a therapist website. However, I feel like I am leading by example in doing this, sharing what I feel matches up honestly with me, and does also represent now a part of the work I do.
Let me tell you a story.
I used to be enchanted with all things fantastic and otherworldly, what one might find in a fantasy novel such as The Lord of the Rings or in similar genre tellings.
There used to be a fantasy series of books, gathering the tales from many world cultures, called The Enchanted World, which fascinated me greatly, to no end it would seem, since I am still recalling it fondly, particularly a few books in the series. It was put forth by Time-Life Books, and the complete set was ordered through the mail, one each month, if I remember correctly.
I have now, it would seem, come full circle in my interests, but with truer wisdom, and experiences harkening back to what I had read about in some of those otherworldly tales from different cultures.
Doorways do exist to other places; there are ways to thin the veil between this world and another.
I cannot claim to have experienced what these stories relate or say, or even what some claim to be the truth of these other worlds, but I do know that this reality we all seemingly experience can shift more into the quality of another one, or the truer or more vibrant form of this one, which can emerge from the encrustations of culture which glom over our eyes and prevent us from seeing.
I have been reading books lately on portals or doorways, from at least three different authors, one of whom writes from her actual experiences of such experiences, she claims.
I think my intention in this post is to more completely and satisfyingly present who I am, as a person helping others--even by sharing this, perhaps I am helping through connecting with you or another who resonates similarly with what I am telling.
We may talk about doorways and portals to other places, or realities, as metaphors in works of fiction, but I think that what makes more sense to me now is that the words themselves have power. Yes, there is a spelling going on of a different sorts. A way to transport oneself, shift one's mind and reality, if perhaps just through language. But, how fundamental is language to our experiencing and reality?
I just want to share here that I have stepped through a doorway myself, a long time ago now it seems, and I have not been the same since, because the substantiality of this reality has not been the same; it has not been as present, in a serious or cumbersome or even burdensome way, since then.
What does magickal living mean then? It means the truth of those tales, whether they be of fairies or of other such similar places, because language has power and it does transport us.
We can and are able to shift our awareness, to experience life more in alignment with who we are, and what is real, in all its variations.
I am not putting forth the claims of flesh-and-blood other worlds here.
I am putting forth the power of words and imagination, and actual shifts in understanding and comprehension that can fundamentally alter the reality in which we live.
I do feel I walk in one world and the other familiar one we all might first come into contact with and be aware of in our lives.
I think magickal living for me personally is to honor the spirit of this shift in awareness and reality in reading again about such places, however an author may portray them, and to continue in the spirit of this knowing in the world we all seemingly inhabit every day.
I may also be bringing over blog posts from another website which I began, wanting to blend the magickal sensibilities there with what I have been posting mostly here.
I consider myself a mystic as well, coming to accept this term myself, after another first identified me this way.
It means someone experiencing a fundamental urge or need to connect with that greater understanding, whether you call it God, the universe, or however you might express it.
I think behind, beyond, and beneath, around and among, all portals or doorways, or otherworldly passages to other places, you will find this, what is to me, a precious understanding of this greater universe or God.
Or Goddess! (which is more in alignment with how I feel and experience this connection).
I just want to, and do, live life in appreciation of all the variations this vaster and unnameable magickal reality puts forth.
I think this serves in the enjoyment and fulfillment of life, as it is lived, wherever and to whichever places our own journeys, when we honor them, take us.
I have been counseling in one form or another since 2009, and if you count up the total of number of years, excluding time off from doing it, that counts for eight years as of this month, in December 2019. I thought it was worth acknowledging here, and to myself, and, plus, I like the number eight and its associations. In looking at what are some of the highlights of this time of practice, what I feel I do well at and am good at in helping others, you might consider this a relevant extended biography for what I offer should you decide to reach out for help and guidance.
I began by leading groups for adults with severe and persistent mental illnesses, and I did this for about three of the eight years. What I soon learned and was told in doing these groups, in speaking in front of others, which I never thought I would do past requirements for class assignments, these individuals who have been through a lot in their lives and did not really have room for anyone not to be genuine or real, the honesty and genuineness I showed them, and the natural consideration I had in speaking to a group of people, let alone one person, to whom I had never spoken before, who had been diagnosed with mental illness, this seemed to be a genuine beginning in being myself and also being able to help others. Staff where I started said that the people who attended the groups appreciated this quality of genuineness, and they also said that these individuals, many of whom would most likely never be able to be off medications in their lifetimes, could spot a phony, if you will, and did not tolerate someone not being real with them.
So, I am glad whatever natural consideration and honesty that I value came forth for them, because I learned so much working with these individuals, perhaps some of the most real and genuine people you could ever meet, and it changed my view and any trepidation I might have had when it came to the topic of mental health and approaching those who might be truly struggling with it.
During my master's degree program, in helping individuals without pay during my practicum and internship, together lasting about a year, I learned the value of the genuineness I continued to bring, now having formally learned about its value in counseling, and I was able to bring a more focused and intentional appreciation of and approach to the methods and methodology Carl Jung used when helping others, how in helping those he and his supervising physician did at the time when Carl Jung's own career first began, helping those diagnosed with schizophrenia, this seemed to uncover many of the understandings of the deeper workings of our minds which Jung discovered, of our psyches within us, of the unconscious, principles that help guide and provide helping material for me in my practice to this day.
Leading up to the present day now, where I have been seeing individuals in private practice, I will say that what I have learned includes the following, although I certainly cannot say this names everything, which certainly would create a longer list than would be considered appropriate in the blog post here.
Boundaries, which I cover with anyone I am working with, includes how to address them, how to work with them, especially when it comes to respecting others. I learned approaches to this back when first starting out helping those diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illnesses. Without self-advocating for your own boundaries, it becomes hard for any of the work which follows to gain foothold and make a difference.
Feminine principles, and by that I mean those which the culture does not honor or even dishonors, which include taking time out for yourself, being able to be a human being, fully, by being in touch with and expressing feelings and emotions, because as Jung showed in his understandings of the unconscious, those thoughts and feelings which we resist, persist, and then they come out when we least expect them, full of force and built up strength, and in the worse case scenarios, they come out with little or no control on our part, us being unable to stop them or express them in any way we would like then. Another principle one may call feminine includes any understanding or knowledge gained through not thinking about what is of concern, not working hard to come up with an answer. This may simply be called being intuitive, having inspiration, or intervention by divine grace even, or simply another way of knowing which we all have experienced, requiring again the act of letting go or surrendering to not knowing first.
What you are seeing here as well, my words, certainly can be said to be a part of my practice, the way I am able to share most often what I would like to share, to channel the best of what I offer in the spirit of my words: a quality of peace-full-ness, an ability of attentiveness, a trueness in consideration, and a genuineness in being.
Words matter a lot to me, and likewise, I am informed by my beliefs, which are more extensively explored in the blog posts under the category of "Spiritual," which can be found on the right side of the page or at the bottom if viewing the mobile version of this page.
I enjoy doing what I am doing when I am helping others, and I am glad to share, as I am doing now, in this helping process with you.
Mark Newlon, feeling the embrace of the sacred feminine daily!
Sites of Interest