Battle Fury, or Fear Bound?

•May 8, 2013 • 1 Comment

rage_and_gentleness_by_lolita_art by DanielaUhlig

Learn this from me. Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.” ― Mitch Albom

It’s not being angry that is unhealthy – it’s holding on to it, like grief or sorrow, which is damaging and harmful.

All anger stems from fear. Fear was biologically designed for our survival. It helps keep us alive – alerts us to danger, and then keeps us alive to the best of its ability by releasing chemicals, sharpening senses, and providing accentuated physical abilities for the short-term.

Anger is the component of fear when we are in danger of losing the mortal battle that pushes us to overcome our own doubt and drives us to victory. It is why the term “battle fury” exists and why in dangerous situations anger is a truly useful emotion.

In western society where most of us have moved out of a “kill or be killed” life, fear and anger still exist, but now react to situations that are not life-threatening. These emotions can now warp our minds and physical reactions to act upon irrelevant issues and concepts that are not of consequence to our existence. It is these “non-lethal” circumstances that most often inspire anger in today’s “civilised” society.

When you really drill down on what is underneath your anger, you will find fear. Usually one must push past a bruised pride, and wounded feelings (no easy task) to get to the core issue of your anger, but it is possible.

ExampleFriend betrays your trust and tells others secrets about things you have done (that you are not proud of).  You are angry – want revenge, want to tell everyone that this “friend” was with you the whole time, they encouraged you. You want them exposed and held accountable for betraying your trust. You want to use social media to drag them through the mud – make them feel worse than you.

But stop. Take a moment to breathe. Where is this truly coming from? Is vengeance necessary for such a trivial matter?

Start by brutally examining the reason for the anger:

Feelings:

>Hurt that you were betrayed. OK, what else? Guilt at being exposed doing wrong.
>Why should you worry about being exposed? Because people may not like you
> Why do you care what people think of you? Because they validate that you are a “good person”
> Why do you need them to validate you? Because you don’t believe it yourself. You are scared if people think badly of you, you will have to accept that they are right and believe you are a “bad person”. (Even though logically we all know there is no such thing.)
>Why does that matter? Because we are social animals and a core need of our species is to be part of a society.

So in the above scenario, anger translates to a base fear – being shunned.

Being really honest and digging past one or two levels of questioning is very confronting. It means we have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable – even if only in our own thought process – and that is scary in itself.
But – if you start questioning where your anger comes from, you will find that it often diffuses, and then allows for clearer thinking and therefore reaction. No “Knee-jerk” responses that are later regretted.
Suppressing anger is just as damaging as holding onto it. Either way, it doesn’t get processed, and so the physical effects – though dampened – remain. Heart pounding, that feeling in your gut, higher blood pressure, and even lack of sleep or concentration as your mind is not able to move on past the situation. It needs to be processed, and let out.

In the Pagan (well, mainly neo-pagan and Wiccan) communities the concept of living with “Love and Light” breeds a seething undertow of repressed or unprocessed anger that warps into resentment, competition, power struggles, one-upmanship, and backstabbing. Why is it so common in these communities? Because many who seek enlightenment are doing so to fill a void in their lives. As with religion, there are those whose self-hate and insecurity is so ingrained that these people don’t see that they are desperately unhappy, scared, and isolated.

The irony is that travelling the Path of the Mysteries allows us to become capable of seeking – and finding – insight, self-love and comfort if we are willing to give ourselves to the process of true self-discovery and enlightenment. When this can be achieved (even if just for moments at a time) we experience not only the loss of fear and anger, but true feelings of compassion, love, and contentment.

Still, for now I will continue to try and find the true source (trigger) of any anger that comes my way….and hopefully I won’t be too busy throwing chairs, hexes and sharp objects around to be able to follow my own advice! (yes yes…I’m kidding about the throwing of stuff. maybe.)

Niamh

“Anger … it’s a paralyzing emotion … you can’t get anything done. People sort of think it’s an interesting, passionate, and igniting feeling —- I don’t think it’s any of that —- it’s helpless … it’s absence of control —- and I need all of my skills, all of the control, all of my powers … and anger doesn’t provide any of that —- I have no use for it whatsoever.”
Toni Morrison

~ Art – “Rage and Gentleness” by DanielaUhlig

Are you a Victim, or Hero?

•April 16, 2013 • 5 Comments

When I was 24 I lost both my mother and grandmother (whom I lived with) within 3 months.

What ensued was ten years of me making excuses for my life because I felt hard done by – as well as some horrid experiences no child should go through, my father was taken from me before I was born, a stepfather lost to heart disease, now this.

I used my life circumstances to see myself as a victim. And I felt it gave me free range to be a bitch to those around me who “hadn’t suffered” as I had (of course, I didn’t see myself as a bitch, this is 20/20 vision…hindsight and all that…). I was sick. And I refused treatment.

I denied my path and all spirituality, I ate to numb my pain, and I hid. I should have spent my 20’s thriving, but wasted them in a pit of anger, self-denial and pain. A pit I chose to sit in. Waiting for “someone” to come pull me out of it. I writhed with jealousy as I watched friends go on with their lives without me, going overseas, getting married, having children. I lashed out at anyone who tried to hold me accountable for my actions.

Is it any wonder I ended up in a house that was filthy with no friends and a job I hated? Of course not – it was typical, right? Just perfect that this is what life would hand me after all the other crap….

WRONG.

This was all my doing. It took a monumental kick up the arse to wake me up to what I had done to my life.

So, I gave up being a victim, and started being a hero. My hero. I reconnected with spiritual people. I changed my job. I cleaned my house (a monumental task akin to those Hoarders TV shows) and I decided to get some self-respect. I went to finance and personal counselling, and put together a plan of what success looked like for me (very different to Western expectations) and how I would get there.

Three years later, I am thriving. It hasn’t been easy, there have been dramas and tears, self-doubt and I still have to address my eating issues. But I have cleared all debt, sold and moved my home to be in the country which I love, I have work-life balance, wonderful friends, and magic permeates every aspect of what I do and who I am. I even have a steady relationship for the first time in my life.

Sure, there are people who are caught in their own “victimization pit” that keep trying to pull me back into their world of fear and doubt, continue to try to goad me into fighting with them on Facebook or whatever forum they choose – but I stand clear and free of them and their twisted fears. I mean them no harm – in fact, I see them as helpful – they are reminders of what not to go back to in my life.

It’s important to grieve the ones we lose in life – that is for sure. But never, NEVER use someone’s death as an excuse for below the line behavior.  In the end it only makes you the loser – because not only are you without your loved one, when you behave that way you also lose your dignity, pride and self-respect. And let’s face it – your loved one would want you happy, not wallowing in a pit of vicious nastiness and lashing out at people you barely even know.

So. Are you going to decide to be a victim, or your own hero?

Trust me – the latter feels so much better……

Blessings in Shadow and Light
Niamh

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Raven and the Mouse

•April 5, 2013 • 3 Comments

This was a tale devised to warn those who behave badly in life that the Goddess always holds you accountable for what you do. In the story, lil Mousey has treated the writer badly, and the writer seemingly lets them “get away” with their naughtiness…but the Goddess, in guise of the Raven exacts justice once the mouse believes all is done and they have won.

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~The Raven and the Mouse~

I see you little Mousey
I see you hiding there
peeking out behind the vale
concerned with my affairs

I see you little Mousey
I care not what you do
Your scratching is just trivial
Entertaining ONLY to you

Dress in the guise of others
Natter and squeak your fears
Pretend you are a brave one
Just don’t expect my tears

For you were treated lightly
Forgiven for stealing grain
For making a mess all over the place
And trying to hurt and maim

After all that dear Mousey
I left you to run free
I chided you but let you go
Despite knowing you’d never see

The damage that you do
Is to noone but yourself
Twisting your brain in little knots
Compromising your mental health

I hear they say ,O Mousey
When Cat’s gone Mouse will play
But Mousey forgets the Raven
And Raven always has Her way

She patiently waits for you to forget
The fear of your messing about
Once you’re in the field – Raven swoops for Her meal
Justice now has come about

So now I return to my wanderings
And know this much is true
That silly little mousey
I really did see you


NB/ the artwork in this post can be purchased here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/MIDNIGHT-MAGIC-Art-Wall-Print-Mouse-Mice-Witch-Halloween-Cauldron-Raven-Crow-/121043999148

♫♪♦Treasures♦♪♫

•April 1, 2013 • Leave a Comment

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Look at me –
I’m such a “witch”
I have “This Book” –
Cauldron’s black as pitch

Tarot cards here,
Just for me
All new in boxes
Displayed so you see

The treasures I have
To make me smile;
The trinkets, the statues
The “Pagan Style”

Magick Tools 
From shops abound
Not one item missing
Cost a pretty £ pound!

My books are unread
My Altar clean
But I don’t know why
I am not seen

By Her and He
God and Goddess Both
I bought all the stuff
Even took an oath

So why, pray tell
Does my magick not work?
I’ve all the possessions
I’m beginning to irk

“The problem Dear Child,”
Says Her voice from above
“Is you’ve lost the idea – 
Power comes from Love”

“Not from things and bits
And how your home looks,
Not from candles or trinkets
Or if you home cook”

“To be a Witch, 
A Pagan, Wise,
You need only yourself
Look within for the Prize”

“You can talk, all you do is moan….!”

•March 25, 2013 • 2 Comments

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During my mental wanderings on this site, I prefer to stay on the positive aspects of live and my own journey.  Of course, having said that, life has its ups and downs, and so there are always going to be challenges to talk about and discuss.

So, if you’re not in the mood for a brain dump questioning people’s behaviours, best you wait for my next post, which I promise will be filled with…words ;P

As part of my blogging epiphany, I decided to create a Facebook Page so I could share all of the fun stuff I read, pop thoughts up that are too short to blog, etc etc. 

For me, seeking any kind of spiritual, emotional or mental peace is about walking together on a journey. As a community. Separate paths, same neighbourhood, you know? Each the right to think and act as they wish, meet people, move on from people, wander my path enjoying other people’s journeys, seeing them plant trees of enlightenment along the way to line my path.

 The dang problem is I keep tripping on other people’s egos that are set on my path like squirming tree roots!

I’m not naive – I know my own ego presents problems in my life –  but seriously, the “Pagan” community online and locally is getting almost out of control with accusations of attacks, stalking, hate and undignified behaviour. Tirades of accusations and bullying are followed by messages of love and “I am moving on” quotes.  For legal reasons (and the fact that these people seem very touchy) I am not going to name names here.  But really – pick a page, you will have a chance of people banging on about someone or other who is “in their face”, trolls, theft of material (this one was actually posted on my page…a quote from a website was claimed by another FB pager as theirs who then accused me of theft) or extreme reactions to opposing points of view in conversation.

The irony is, that there are never names mentioned, and many of the people on these pages claim to actually teach spiritual concepts and paths.  I mean, I am “just” me – spewing out my thoughts online like many others in cyber space. I don’t recommend anyone come along with me, I don’t preach answers, sell books, do workshops or make money off this blog or my page. I don’t want to – it’s not my style. I have a nice muggle job to keep my bills paid, and I occasionally read tarot. Under a different name. So as to separate “here” from Real Life (RL). I do not claim to be a healer or counsellor on my page. But the people with the loudest complaints appear to be doing a cracking business selling books, holding workshops, running covens, and all manner of other money-making activities.

So what’s the deal? Why is there such competition, negativity and hostility towards each other? Why does one person have the answer, is right, and all others are “languishing in their own ignorance”?  To sound cliché – why can’t we all just get along?

I don’t personally agree with the personal philosophies of quite a few people out there. I have had rather intense disagreements with people. And even worse, there are some who if on fire in the street, I would simply walk on by (yes yes, how terrible of me).

But still – on my page on FB I am not going to bore thousands of people with my whining in an attempt to “gather supporters” for my cause, tell me how badly done by I am and how wonderfully I cope with evil nasties out there. I leave that ego stroking for my RL friends (who will only humour me so long before I am told – with my thanks – to pull my head in).

Honestly – it’s embarrassing. Embarrassing for the Pagan community. It makes us look like a bunch of whiney, self obsessed, back-stabbing moaners.

So…now that I’ve added to the moaning and groaning too, I’m off to spread Love and Light, and pack my grumbles away for my next tantrum.  Yup – I’m a hypocrite. Still – at least I can have a giggle about it.  If you are a page owner reading this and you get a little hot under the collar about issues, stop it. Just stop. have a laugh, come joint me in Hypocritacia (my newly named city of Pagan Bliss) and we can move on down the yellow brick road with a truck load of root-killer for the journey 😉

Blessings in Shadow and Light

Niamh

…calling the rains…

•March 13, 2013 • Leave a Comment

…calling the rains….

Welcome!

•March 13, 2013 • 3 Comments

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~ Photo by Entish1 @ Deviantart

Welcome to Niamh’s Labyrinth: Wandering the Crooked Path!
 

 

Hello! I am Niamh.  As part of my journey through this world, I have decided to share my thoughts, dreams, stories, and all manner of weird and wonderful concoctions my brain feels the need to exorcise.
 
First – a short introduction to myself. I am a 30-something practising Witch living in rural Australia in the Central Highlands of Victoria. I am not Wiccan (we will get into this at a later date if you are curious about the differences).  I live alone, in the traditional manner of the Hedge Rider, with animal companions and regular visitors. My space is sacred and as such needs to be mine alone. This works for me and the people in my life.
 
I am curious, caring, contentious, contradictory, comedic, controlling,  conscientious, chubby, cautious, charismatic, clairvoyant, conjuring, a creature of comfort, cerebral, candied, cheeky, consecrated, challenging,  congenial, convivial,  cacophonous, crass, and just a little bit crazy. (Note the absence of “crafty”. Working on that one.)
 
 
So – Why a Labyrinth?

Before I get into my personal reasons for labelling this journey a Labyrinth, I thought you may find it useful to grab a paragraph or two from sources of reference:

“In medieval times, the labyrinth symbolized a hard path to God with a clearly defined center (God) and one entrance (birth). In their cross-cultural study of signs and symbols, Patterns that Connect, Carl Schuster and Edmund Carpenter present various forms of the labyrinth and suggest various possible meanings, including not only a sacred path to the home of a sacred ancestor, but also, perhaps, a representation of the ancestor him/herself: 

…Labyrinths can be thought of as symbolic forms of pilgrimage; people can walk the path, ascending toward salvation or enlightenment.” ~ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labyrinth

“It is clear that the earliest reliably datable labyrinths are found in Southern Europe, and based on the current understanding of the evidence, labyrinths first appeared in this region some four thousand years ago.”~http://www.labyrinthos.net/firstlabs.html

Here, the greater goal of this blog, Facebook page and general connection with “you” out there is to share as I go within, find what treasure lies at the centre of My Labyrinth. 
 
Where a maze takes one through a puzzle (one side to another) and twists and turns may look similar to a labyrinth, you may never need to get to the centre – the heart – of the puzzle to reach your destination.  Labyrinths, however, may look simple from the outset, but are all about reaching the central point of the puzzle.  There can be traps and pitfalls along the way, or cozy nooks you can rest in, or stay in evermore.  Added to that is the anticipation – the unknowing of what you will find at the centre of the Labyrinth – will you find the Minotaur ready to slay you, the Hero, or will you discover your ultimate power such as Sarah finds against the Goblin King in the classic family flick Labyrinth (1986)?
 
Labyrinths have long been used to symbolise a journey within, a quest for knowledge and connection, a challenge to find one’s true self.  As a Witch, I also travel the Crooked Path – always twisting and turning, with the same goal in mind – knowledge of self.  The combination therefore, of the Crooked Path and the Labyrinth is – for me – an easy one. And finally, there is no timetable for me to reach certain points or destinations at any given time – it is wandering through life (instead of striding) that allows one to take in all of the lessons that come our way, and appreciate all of the magic and beauty that is.
 
So there you have it. A little about me, and why I’m here (in grand ol’ cyber space).  Over the coming days, weeks, months, I intend to share:
 
– random thoughts and quotes (through Facebook),
– information on Deities, and all manner of topics

– recipes,

– rituals,
– theology,
– musings,
– stories,
– poetry and
– pictures.
 
With any luck, you will be able to find use in at least some of what I share to help you along your own adventure towards your own Quest of Centre.
 
Please – share as you can, comment when you like, and remember you came across this blog for a reason.
 
Blesssings in Shadow and Light
Niamh
 
 
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