I have made a change to my website today, supplying more practical esoteric material, while hiding others I still believe in but which did not have a place in the change as of this day.
Briefly, to comment on the day, I think a day of foolishness might be just a wonderful thing, a fool's delight. A fool delights in not knowing, in not giving a care. The revelry, the joy, the freedom in this, this supplies perhaps a wonderful way to help us shift out of any daily drudgery or routine or haze.
I always think honoring the mystery of life brings rewards which we can experience if not always express, and I think the image of the fool, and what comes to mind with this, in some ways shows an ideal of how to embrace and live from what we do not know.
So, in keeping this post brief, a happy April Fool's Day to you!
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.
Perhaps in honor of the full moon tomorrow, I would like to share with you a couple of songs from Tom Petty's first solo album, Full Moon Fever.
Each of them capture an important part of the work I do, and I end up either talking about what they represent with those I help or certainly letting what they represent influence my work.
When we need to speak up and honor ourselves, along with trying to respect any others involved, being assertive becomes important, and I invariably seem to mention the topic in my practice.
I think this first song greatly establishes the firm boundary of how much one should honor oneself when faced with any difficulty involving others.
Music video by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers performing I Won't Back Down. (C) 1989 Geffen Records
[I do think the official copyright above may not be entirely accurate, since I believe only some of The Heartbreakers assisted with this album, with just one performing in the video, to my knowledge.]
This next song captures a more intangible aspect of the work I do, which I may not always mention or perhaps ever directly talk about, although I do mention it on this blog.
When we embrace more the mystery of life, there comes more of a stillness, a peacefulness, a pure potential for what may be next, what may be an answer, what may be nothing more, or less, than healthy truth and guidance.
When he sings about working on a mystery and going wherever it leads, this captures the essence of this.
I hope you enjoy these.
Music video by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers performing Runnin' Down A Dream. (C) 1989 Geffen Records
[Again, I think the official copyright may not be fully accurate for this video. Some of The Heartbreakers assisted with the album. In the video, perhaps they all do appear though midway through.]
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
What I See
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.
Fall has arrived again, although the leaves have yet to change. Rather than focusing solely on this season this time of year, I would like to share how each season may lend itself to a skill, a wisdom, which I find helpful in providing to everyone, which I try and do myself and will be reminding myself of in this post
Take time out for yourself.
This element of living, this necessary way to be healthy and happy in life, I do not think can be underestimated.
Culturally, it is positive and healthy to disconnect, from obligations, responsibilities, pulls towards others, pulls towards any needs one is feeling for oneself.
In short, without escaping from it all, the requisite downtime we all come to miss does not happen.
So, how does this look for each season? How does each season lend itself to this requisite downtime?
In winter, I think it may happen more naturally and be easier than most for finding this time. The weather gets bad and the roads are impassable, the snow plows have yet to make their way through our travel lanes, our thoroughfares, for getting where we normally go.
Not only that, but when the weather gets colder, when the temperatures plummet and drop, we naturally have less motivation to be active and perhaps be so actively around others.
Take these nudges and times to oneself. I think we are naturally made to adapt to the seasons, and winter lends itself certainly to this time away from our regular lives.
What about spring? How does spring lend itself to time away from others and spent with just our own company?
I think wherever you may find nature, I think wherever you may be inspired to see the life of the earth returning to its more colored and vibrant shades and splendors, this is where to go and be alone to enjoy this time, without other distractions from people or life in its regular routines and obligations.
Summer. Summer has many distractions, but it also can let us know the wisdom of staying in, lounging around, whether by pools or other bodies of water, or away from it all, perhaps to get away from the heat, the less than natural flow of our life routines, a time when vacations are to be taken, when perhaps we know culturally about this being the time to get away. But how about for the next time it rolls around, take a day trip or two, or plan a getaway for oneself, to oneself, so one can enjoy the variations of the season unique to summer? A time to be creative and get away for oneself.
Finally fall. Fall almost upon us now in its change of colors for the season.
We cannot help but start to slow down from the summer having just past. We feel the cold coming in, and we feel the adjustment, within our bodies, as our clocks are likely to change, setting time back as we approach this time of year.
The first nudgings and inklings of winter that come when the air first starts to get cold, this may be one of the best times of the season to stop and honor this feeling of slowing down, this change from the summer just past.
Slowing down, this begins the season of fall, and provides an opportunity for us.
Nature comes to present itself in its changing colors, perhaps a time to just walk in this transitioning season of russet splendor.
The dark seems to come in, the night comes up to greet us more readily.
Welcoming the gifts of this slowing, darkening, crispening time of year, this presents a self-gifting way to meet the fall.
Perhaps chilling in more ways than one, we can each come up with ways to be thrilled by the season, in solace or more enlivening ways.
Slowing down, let us be in mind to greet the season.
Wishing you all, in that time to yourself, a happy and self-nurturing fall.
Mark Newlon, feeling the embrace of the sacred feminine daily!
Sites of Interest