I am in the midst of a transition within my practice in several areas, including in emphasizing a different approach or model for what I already provide.
I am honestly trying to offer a unique and enjoyable perspective to those aspects and bits of information which I consider an important supplement to or even a complement for the support I provide.
Foundationally, I approach helping others in a very Rogerian way, emphasizing empathy through understanding, and I make use of Jungian ideas and principles for how the mind works, which I usually feel led to share. This includes relating how the unconscious acts as a storehouse of information for what to work on, this material coming up as part of a natural process meant to inform us.
Dovetailing or building on Jungian principles of the unconscious, combined with or maybe even supplanted by spiritual understandings I know and have experienced over a lifetime, approaching half a century now, I am all into offering the esoteric knowledge I feel essential to living a fulfilling life.
(Esoteric knowledge being that which may not necessarily be readily available to know--knowledge that is hidden even.)
This is what it comes down to, I feel.
I can provide support and help others transition through difficult experiences and experiencing in life, but I feel like I have a storehouse of knowledge and understandings just waiting to be shared, for me to provide.
If this is the best that I offer, how can I not share it?
This information may actually be more informative in a curative and healing way than any conventional approach to helping can provide.
An attempt at summary of the esoteric knowledge here:
1) We are all driven by the desire to know ourselves completely, which ends up being as an individual expression of the universe as a whole.
2) Between any two in this world, whether this be between a person and a place, an object and another object (or thing), or between any combination of these three, the natural tendency is towards union and wholeness, relating rather than distinguishing and distancing.
3) Personal power means our ability to experience and do what we want.
Conclusions to be drawn from the above:
1) We are not ultimately in control of what we do if we are all being pulled towards knowing ourselves as an individual expression of the universe.
2) We can assist in this process more gracefully by using our personal power to go towards this understanding with awareness.
3) Some level of surrendering to the mystery behind this pull towards knowing ourselves completely seems inevitable.
Concepts which support the above:
Magic describes the dynamic pull towards union we experience when we surrender to this process and experience the wonder of it.
Alchemy models the transformation of ourselves into this ultimate expression of ourselves.
Divination becomes an act of surrender to the mystery pulling us towards knowing ourselves in this complete way.
The sacred feminine, finally, represents the ultimate love of the universe, bridging the gap between us and this understanding of who we are, pulling us towards this understanding.
Now, I feel I am ready to share more openly this information that I know, and I am happy to provide this as part of what I do.
I look forward to being able to share this with you, for you to enjoyably benefit from it.
After nearly eleven years of counseling and recently working on incorporating new discoveries into what I offer, the latest of what I have been trying to provide has come to a place of form and substance for its expression finally.
I consider what I am sharing here the first expression of it.
I have always been aligned with the sacred feminine and similar ways of being since the beginning days of my practice. It came to a point in my working with these understandings that I felt like there should be a way to actively be and exist in the world in alignment with them.
In other words, how does one be active from this place?
How do you live in alignment with sacred feminine understandings by actually doing things in the world, not just by feeling a presence or a love from them?
Sacred feminine understandings as opposed to worldly ones might be contrasted like this, to give an idea of what I mean by the sacred feminine: the world might advocate that you work, earn, control, or manipulate more in life, while the sacred feminine might suggest that you allow, surrender, enjoy, or embrace more.
(Other sacred feminine understandings are found in its namesake menu at the top of this website, or within the posts of the blog category "Sacred Feminine" on the right side of this page, or at the bottom of it, depending on if you are seeing the mobile device version of it.)
Magic came to be the next iteration in understanding of the sacred feminine, as a way to more actively work from this place. Mystery and symbols holding power identified magic as a way to let go into another way of knowing and awareness, a way to not only let love in but to experience inspiration and guidance on how to proceed from a shifting of one's awareness into these other areas.
Now I am putting forth the idea of personal power, in service and in alignment with what I have just shared.
Where we spend our time and energy, there we channel our personal power, which I define as our ability to experience and do what we want.
Those things which help us in our ability to experience and do what we want, I say that they have power, which covers everything from time and money to the inspiration and guidance received from the mystery and symbols just shared.
Regardless of where we turn for helping us maintain, and gain, in our personal power, it makes sense to assess where we are first with it.
Simply shifting our awareness to a thorough understanding of where we are utilizing it currently, and understanding what rewards we might be gaining from it, this provides a costs-benefits analysis for one of the most essential components in our being able to be who we are--our personal power.
Just seeing the results of this analysis has a powerful effect.
We are more able to make the adjustments we need or want to, so that we might refocus and replenish, even gain, in our personal power.
Now, I feel like I must pause in this talking about personal power. There are particular vantage points and viewpoints that are a part of my talking about it.
I feel like we are all being pulled, whether consciously or not, to a greater understanding of ourselves than we might currently know.
This knowledge goes to the source of power, not as a way to actively manipulate it, but as a surrendering to it.
We are the universe itself, and an individual expression of it.
When we non-volitionally operate in the world, or do what we do but are not lost in thought or even self-conscious about it, this best describes this mode of being and doing in the world. It is more akin to an individual expression of the universe than anything else.
What I have consciously incorporated into a personal power assessment prompts us to check in and identify those moments which best emulate this ultimate understanding of ourselves.
They are moments of joy and freedom of which we are aware.
I feel this balances out and provides direction for the assessment.
If we are all going towards this ultimate understanding, whether we know it or not, why not consciously align with this, without resistance, bringing to mind those moments when we have tasted who we are in the ultimate sense of ourselves?
This helps accentuate and accelerate the healing process, which I define as remembering who we are.
We are reaching for wholeness, as we remember, the assessment helping us in going towards this.
Mystery of Alchemy
For a summary of the overall knowledge I draw upon and make use of in my practice, the lens of alchemy helps highlight key areas. Through honoring the esoterica I know, which includes alchemy, I share ways of knowing associated more with darkness, obtained by going off the beaten path to be safely away and protected from the world. Under the processes of healing, I highlight more conventional counseling ideas, where we reach for and maintain ourselves operating in the world, or at least whatever our own particular version of the world may be. Within understandings of the sacred feminine, I share transcendent ideas, no less true, where love becomes the truth of what we know and experience.
All three of these areas can be seen as emblematic of alchemy's three processes, coded black, white, and red, respectively. (See the post Alchemy: A Journey of Discovery for more information on this.)
When I say Mystery of alchemy, I am purposely using a capitalized version. For mystery, in general, I mean that which we do not know. Almost all of the work I do and how I try and live have become more and more informed by my relationship to mystery or what I do not know.
I sometimes feel inclined to share a bit of reasoning or logic behind why I share and say what I do, but, in honor of mystery, I will leave a bit of that for now as I continue.
Without not knowing, how can we know or claim to know or come into knowledge of any kind? How can we explore, find truth, experience and enjoy what is new? More importantly, for the map of living and life which I find to be valid for experiencing one's own happiness and evolution: how can you experience any wonder in life or living without a sense of mystery, of enjoying not knowing how or why something occurs, which may include a sense of awe at times?
I might say that mystery involves itself quite intricately with the enjoyment of life and leads to its enchantment.
When I say Mystery, versus mystery, I am not using that designation lightly. I feel we are all a unique, and at times not a unique, expression of this ultimate mystery as Mystery, or, you may say, God or Goddess, the universe, Truth, whatever personal representation of Mystery speaks to you.
To say or even think we will come into the knowledge of all someday while still living on this earth, as we know ourselves to be living right now, this becomes an incessant drive and a fruitless quest in terms of the desired goal of knowing all.
The secret of Mystery: you must surrender to it. You live your life, knowing what you know, not knowing what you do not know, and you come across important experiences of wonder where you have enjoyed being who you are, while at the same time enjoying what you do not know in a way which gives a nod to and honors Mystery.
I do believe the Mystery of the universe will reach down and assist and help, in perhaps unpredictable ways at times, if we just follow our own path but make room for and allow ourselves to let go into, surrender into not knowing, not ever knowing all we would like to know.
The stages of life as seen through alchemy reach milestones of wonder, and without Mystery being honored, these become less likely to occur. Certainly, it makes sense to ask, why not consciously allow a place for Mystery in life if we will never know all, but we can at least honor this not knowing by having a place for Mystery in life?
For me, this allows wholeness, allows it to occur more easily.
The Mystery of alchemy becomes a process of allowing ourselves to remember who we are.
Tat tvam asi.
Alchemy: Destination Red
I feel like I have finally come to a place where I can share openly, if not completely so, the knowledge I have that has meant so much to me throughout my life.
This knowledge I can share will be on a path unique to each person, but it translates into freedom for everyone, a loving sense of being, a peaceful sense of existence; it is dynamic and powerful, loving and human.
It accepts no authority, but your own.
In the ultimate sense, it is authority for everyone.
When looking at the basic processes of alchemy, in which a material becomes purified to a point of perfection, reaching its own innate essence or self, the final destination becomes colored red.
This may symbolize the material's own innate perfection achieved. It may also signify its ability to change other materials into their own perfected states.
This, I am so happy to have discovered, perhaps urged on silently by the work of Carl Jung, who himself found in alchemy so much rich meaning for his own discovered understandings of how we reach for wholeness.
I will say I have come across this perfected material before, sometimes called a stone, throughout my life.
A most recent encounter with it shaped myself and the beginnings of my practice, introducing the sacred feminine to me in a way I had not known. The importance of self-love was pointed out, not in a distorted way, but in a way which had me feeling more whole.
Reading books on the subject, I found in the sacred feminine a suppressed understanding, lineages or potential lineages of women who incorporated everyday living into their daily practice.
If a path of truth were to be walked, discarding everyday life and love did not seem healthy based on the recent experiences I had had at the time.
I encountered the red thread designation of Meggan Watterson, which harkened back to the women of the past I was discovering.
Completely separate from her, I found out there was a Red Thread Zen practice, incorporating everyday living into its unique form of Buddhism.
There are other encounters with this color, and I will come to another of them in a moment, but when I discovered in alchemy just recently the path of making this treasured material, perfected in itself and which could transform others as well, I was shown how I could incorporate all of my path in a way which could be communicated to others, the symbolism of alchemy and its processes having paved the way with their precedents.
Repeated from a previous post, here are the sequences of changes when transforming a material into its perfected state, signified by color change and including my own interpretation of what each stage means. Transforming oneself, as well as other materials, has been a goal of alchemy historically.
Black - a distillation of ourselves past the everyday world and mind talk.
White - insights and information gained from the experience as we return.
Red - living our lives changed from the knowledge of our experience.
While I had very deeply and clearly encountered my own personal experiences of the first two stages of alchemy, not until I encountered the need of the sacred feminine in such a fundamental way could I have found meaning in the third stage, even though I had experienced it in my own way, if not highlighted or talked about in the traditions I had followed.
Without elaborating on this, I will simply say that any tradition that advises practice and discipline away from others or from even basic human sexual understanding, without honoring either of them, or without honoring the connecting human link we have to all, this potentially complicates the path, sometimes to an alarming degree.
You may reach a state of understanding without consciously honoring our humanity or sexuality, but depending on the degree of neglect, this will return at some point to challenge you.
A religion, for instance, may honor a removal of oneself from the world to gain insights and understanding, as in the first two stages of alchemy, but it may not have much to say on how to be a human and work with these. This represents a feminine addition to the knowledge, to my mind, and to my heart, for a more complete understanding, for how to humanly work with this knowledge and any insight gained.
Traditional Tantra represents such a complete path as I have outlined, as alchemy has put forth. I have been excited and heartened to discover we have had a Western approach, in alchemy, to a complete path to realizing the truth of who we are, which we are all going towards, whether we know it or not.
Traditional Tantra has been the most complete path I have ever encountered, predating religion as we know it, captured and intimated somehow in the stages of process outlined in alchemy for reaching perfection.
Traditional Tantra has come from India, followed closely by, perhaps around the same time and around the same region, the teachings of Vedanta. Whereas Vedanta follows more closely the first two stages of alchemy, traditional Tantra, which I will refer to as simply Tantra now--Tantra emphatically emphasizes the third stage of alchemy, incorporating red most vividly in some of its esoteric practices.
The practice of helping others in my life has come to this point of my journey, to be able to follow a Western set of guidelines for Eastern practices, which incorporate the entirety of a path to wholeness, to realizing the truth of who we are.
I will have more to say about the degrees of subtlety found in the three stages of process, the three ways or pathways of alchemy, which capture the full journey of anyone who honors being human as part of it.
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 find myself thinking of this more, magick, as an idea, an addition, one of value, in my practice.
Continuing to be happy with this definition of it, my understanding and ways of wanting to make use of and work with it continue to evolve.
Helping to define it further may be a part of this.
Unpacking the definition, or looking at it in more detail, may serve this purpose.
When I mention a shift in perspective of reality, what kind of perspective am I talking about? If we substitute the word "viewpoint" instead of "perspective," the definition starts out by saying that magick is a change in viewpoint of reality.
I know I wanted my definition to capture all iterations of magick I could think of, magick with a "k" so as to distinguish it from stage magic.
If we do not believe in magick, cannot shift our viewpoint to accommodate it, it becomes hard to see it or view it, and we just dismiss what may be signs of it actually occurring when they occur, again assuming we believe in it or any of its possibilities at all to begin with.
I connect magick with the sacred feminine, the understanding that the universe always has a love for us, not bound by any requirements or conditions other than us just being.
Magick represents the agency we can implement as we feel, and therefore believe in, this love present for us from the universe.
I focus on where power comes from in the definition, by omission and implication that it does not come from brute force or amassing monetary wealth.
Summarily speaking, magick first and foremost empowers us through symbols and mystery, actually through not knowing, not through the power of might or financial gain.
Linking it with us having an untraceable memory of truth within us, where each of us are trying to remember and follow this truth, whether consciously or not--the truth that we are the universe itself, as well as an individual expression of it--magick shifts us closer to this reality, away from the material world, and in definition intentionally focuses us, and assigns power, here.
When we shift into a different viewpoint of reality as mentioned above, or begin to entertain this as a possibility, we are opening a door into an older perspective of the world, moving back the veil of mundane reality; we see into greater possibilities and options than we might have imagined before; and we align ourselves more genuinely with ourselves, doing what was once a natural act, that of honoring the mystery of life.
Without mystery there can be no life as we know it. Without not knowing, how can we know? That is impossible. Our relation to not knowing, or mystery, needs to be looked at, for if we are not having a conscious relationship with what we do not know, symbolized and designated as mystery, then this relationship will evolve on its own and in some ways summon the demons of ignorance to come out and play and wreak havoc on our refusal to acknowledge their source: we can never know ultimately as human beings without honoring mystery, and by sacrificing our belief that we can know all, we honor it.
When we ultimately shift our perspective or viewpoint of reality, we are sacrificing the desire to know with the fact that we do not know, and this opens the door to other ways of knowing, perhaps ironically. When we surrender to the mystery, that we do not know, accept this as a reality, that we will never know everything as human beings, then doorways open into the unconscious and other possibilities of knowing.
When we consciously honor the mystery, we allow the universe to provide answers and knowledge in the form of inspiration, symbols, insights, and synchronicities.
Our unconscious opens to us, and the mystery of life honors us honoring it, providing us with guiding signs.
A shift in perspective of reality where mystery and symbols hold power ... this means honoring the mystery of not knowing, allowing the unconscious knowledge we hold or the need for meaning we have to emerge symbolically.
These unconscious symbols, which can emerge from within and without, are a closer representation and representative of that ultimate truth we are trying to remember and are ultimately guided by, that we are the universe itself and an expression of it.
As we allow another way of knowing to emerge, through honoring mystery and surrendering our belief that we can know all, we are gifted with the reminder of who we are, as powerful means of knowledge unfold, as we ultimately feel the embrace of the universe itself, gifting us the knowledge: the means of knowing through other ways comes from us, more natural and whole.
Ten years of counseling
I wanted to commemorate ten years of counseling as of tomorrow (December 1, 2021), this comprised of leading groups for adults with severe and persistent illnesses for three years, one year combined of helping others in internship and practicum at universities, as well as six years now of private practice work, helping adults of all identities with their concerns.
What do I do, are my specialties, where am I at in terms of my evolution as a counselor?
I sometimes in fun say I follow the theory of the two Carls: Carl Rogers and Carl Jung.
I am first and foremost an empathetic counselor, putting my energy into understanding whomever I am helping in a way that simply desires the best for that person, however that may look, whatever that may be, knowing this may change over time and take different pathways to arrive there.
For Carl Jung, the above being the cornerstone of Carl Rogers' approach, called Rogerian counseling--Carl Jung believed in the healing ability of the psyche, as do I, as it helps us to know what we need to for being more whole as a person, bringing to our attention those areas we have neglected, allowing them to come to the surface of our awareness when we least expect them, so we can work on this material, however unpleasant the process or these areas may be at times.
For helping others with trauma I make use of the very Rogerian Narrative Exposure Therapy. Making a more complete memory of what happened through this approach helps us to make sense of what transpired, providing more understanding and peace as well, in the context of our entire life. This approach becomes an intense but powerful experience of reliving memories in a more understanding way, with more peace resulting as well.
It just works.
I enjoy leading others in meditation also, giving them access to that place underneath any moment, which becomes an experience of peace and well-being, available more and more as we continue to go there and do this on a regular basis.
That sums up my main and what could be considered more traditional approaches to helping others. Adding to this now I would say are the evolutionary extensions of these approaches.
When I speak about the sacred feminine in person or on this site, I am in some ways talking about the cultural material and area and related areas I feel we all are needing to or do finally look at, what the collective sense of ourselves needs to be aware of to be more whole, the balance to the learned and ingrained ways of production and success and goals, the driving treadmill of life that never seems to stop or allow ourselves our humanity.
When I first expressed the sacred feminine on the site, the emphasis was and still is in some ways on the just being with this love, this love within, the love of the universe, which I truly feel awaits us all, past our conditioning and our concerns.
To actively be with this love, this sense of a universe that loves, as a fundamental way of being, this became the next area to evolve into--how does one live and still abide in this love?
Downtime away from it all, these are moments to find inspiration and guidance in, an opportunity to be with the sacred feminine, the energy represented there.
To do past this, however, once the inspiration is found, this I never want to fall back into the treadmill of life, into any imprisoning ways of being. As a result, magick, magick becomes an active way of knowing, of gaining the answers, and perhaps, as implied in my approach and messages on here, this becomes a way of actively changing and shaping reality, for our better selves, or in whichever ways one feels led.
Magick, if in no other way, represents the sacred feminine as a more balanced and empowered way of actively living, of actively being and doing in the world, one which does not forsake the wisdom of intuition, that does not forgo our humanity, or lessen ourselves for anyone.
These are the recent additions to my practice, as I continue to enjoy evolving and helping others.
We are the dream, dreaming the dream, and I simply want to help you enjoy yours.
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.)
On the right path?
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.)
Dream your dream
[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
Mark Newlon, feeling the embrace of the sacred feminine daily!
Sites of Interest