mindfulness, Review, Spirituality

Guided Meditation with Ariana August

Last week I found myself in a free guidance and meditation session with Ariana August. The impact of the session was too good to not share with my readers.

I met Ariana several months ago on Facebook, through one of my spiritual communities (Facebook groups). On Facebook she describes herself as a mystic, which is probably the fastest way of suggesting she does a number of things or has a number of mystical abilities, such as psychic ability and the ability to work with energy.

At the time of meeting, I was looking into Ariana’s past life regression sessions as it was something we had been discussing in the group. At least one of my shocking experiences in the ReWilding for Women workshop had left me deeply curious about past lives. Issues with both my laptop and computer meant that I had to put that idea on the back-burner for now, but we’ve remained in each other’s networks and I’ve been watching Ariana’s businesses develop and expand rapidly over the last few months.

It almost seems like Ariana is always working. You can’t help but notice that as well doing paid work, when she has the time there’s also a number of things she offers to her followers absolutely free, like card readings and on the spot distance energy clearings. I found myself joining her new private group Divine Counterpart Guidance, where she shares free guidance and the insights she receives from Spirit on the subject daily.

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Ariana August (image from Facebook)

Divine Counterpart Guidance is essentially Twin Flame guidance, but Ariana has stated that she has been instructed by Spirit to no longer use the term ‘Twin Flame’. I’m not generally a fan of Twin Flame concepts circulating the internet, but her decision to use a different term caught my eye.

The term Divine Counterparts is a lot less offensive to me, as I’m not immediately reminded of all the negativity I associate with Twin Flames. And I believe I truly do have a masculine counterpart. Whether you are man, woman or non-binary, the energy inside of us is both masculine and feminine.

My masculine counterpart is the masculine part of me. He is me! I have been referring to this ‘masculine counterpart’ for a while and can rely on my masculine and feminine energies for different things – different strengths, different weaknesses.  

Whereas I’m not sure that my soul was split between two humans, I am sure of a masculine energy or counterpart and he is, I suppose you could say, the twin of my feminine essence. I am able to differentiate between the two energies and in more recent times it’s been comforting to understand this wholeness within me on a new, deeper level.

One evening, I was in agony

I’m a Nutritional Therapist and I have my own personalised healthy diet plan, suitable for my personal health needs. My meat intake is massively reduced. My fruit and vegetable intake is higher than the 5 a day recommendation.

I joyfully experience a total lack of nagging negative symptoms when I follow the plan. However, there’s been a bit of deviation from that plan recently, with a fair amount of unhealthy food or rather, foods that might otherwise be healthy, but aren’t suitable for me.

I chose to eat a delicious beef steak, when I usually wouldn’t allow myself to do so and the contents of the entire meal had an almost immediate negative reaction on my body.

I was in so much agony so soon after finishing my meal that I’m now concerned of an underlying health issue I wasn’t aware of before. This pain was bad enough that I soon went to bed. Standing and sitting was unbearable. I had hoped I would be able to meditate, but after several attempts I gave up as the pain was so great I found myself unable to relax into it.

I laid face down in bed, with a pillow under my stomach, trying to alleviate the pain through pressure. Mindfulness techniques enabled me to alleviate the stress and frustration about experiencing the pain, but I couldn’t relieve the pain. I realised I wasn’t going to be getting any sleep while I felt so terrible.

Eventually I picked up my phone and began scrolling through Facebook. That’s when I realised that for the first time since meeting Ariana online, I was actually able to catch one of her live broadcasts. I usually end up watching them hours later. I joined the live broadcast, then dropped my phone and pressed my face against the mattress, listening intently.

Divine Guidance and The Meditation

I may not have been able to meditate when I tried alone, but turning my attention to Ariana talking was easy. Soon enough, the pain became background noise.

After a short introduction, the meditation began. I followed instructions to take deep breaths and continued listening.

I’m not in a relationship, not dating and I haven’t met anybody in the physical that I believe is my Divine Counterpart. However, I don’t particularly have to desire or believe in a Twin Flame to have found the guidance relevant in it’s own way. Like a lot of people who are even vaguely interested in romantic relationships, I would rather meet ‘The One’ (or one of the ones). If I am to be in a relationship again, let it be with the perfect, right partner for me.

I feel there were certain parts of the guidance that would fit any relationship and friendship. For example, there were suggestions that you shouldn’t be afraid to be yourself in front of your counterpart out of fear he wont love you. I felt no good friendship of mine was built by pretending to be somebody I’m not, and I can’t imagine anyone’s romantic relationships  surviving very long if, after the initial stages of getting to know each other, you have not relaxed into being yourself.

I don’t remember why but when I was a child I was asked to pick my favourite quote from a list of quotes and I chose Shakespeare’s “to thine own self be true”. It continued to be a mantra of mine all this time and I would say it’s something I was often doing rather well in terms of being true to my thoughts, feelings and beliefs, except at times when anxiety prevents me from being the April I would be without it.

However, the last five years of much deeper introspection, diving deeper again into spirituality and becoming a mindfulness practitioner has brought a whole new meaning to the word ‘self’. I don’t particularly always want to be true to my senseless anxieties when I feel them, I want to be true to the self underneath those emotions.

“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.”

~ Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

The meditation and guidance progressed for about twenty minutes in total. It was around halfway through when I noticed the stomach pain finally easing off and how incredibly relaxed I felt. I realised that whereas I’d been wide awake and was sure to be awake for much of the night 15 minutes earlier, I was now most certainly teetering on the edge of sleep.

“I feel like one of you has a question.” Ariana said suddenly during the meditation.

I breathed a muffled laugh into my mattress. I did have a question, but I couldn’t get myself up to type on my phone and now I don’t remember what it was that had crossed my mind.

I actually usually have trouble following a guided meditation of around twenty minutes, especially late at night, when I suddenly find myself tired. Yet I made it all the way through the meditation, which included practices to clear, destroy or dissolve blocks in my energy or on my path.

I felt really good. Too good, actually, to stop to write a message to Ariana at the time to thank her and let her know I was actually present. The second the live stream ended, I fell straight to sleep and woke up in the morning to find my phone still open on the Facebook page.

I felt it was important to share my experience with Ariana’s guided meditation, because it sheds light on a few things. The first, is the power of meditation. It has been scientifically proven to relieve stress, reduce pain and help you sleep. This evening in particular, I achieved all three benefits.

The second thing to note is, if you fail at your attempts of meditation through pain in silence or with music, it might be worth seeking out an engaging guided meditation to listen to. In this instance I think it was focusing on what Ariana had to say and really listening that helped me to maintain my focus on the practice, instead of being distracted by the pain.

Finally, for all my frequent disregard of Twin Flame talk because of the potential negative impacts of such a  belief, there is a lot of guidance for Twin Flames that could generally be suitable for absolutely anybody in any relationship or anybody seeking one. At least, in this case, I felt the guidance was good and could only hope it would help prevent all listeners from suffering the negative consequences of Twin Flame belief.

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The Twin Flame belief is at risk of making people feel incomplete without their special someone, but some of the guidance is geared towards reminding you that you are complete on your own. That’s something everybody needs to know, but perhaps someone who believes they are a Twin Flame especially needs to know it.

At worst, I’ve seen Twin Flame belief leave people emotionally attached to relationships that have ended or ones that never even began in the first place. They explain their lost love as a ‘runner’ and sometimes, almost disturbingly, themselves as the ‘chaser’. It often looks like unhealthy obsession, preventing a person from moving on properly from a closed chapter of their life.

I’m going to have to agree with popular dating and relationship coach Matthew Hussey on the subject of ‘runners’. If someone has left you, or doesn’t want to date you, they are not the one for you!

Opinion, Personal, Spirituality

Forgiving the Unforgivable

Maybe we shouldn’t be thinking of forgiveness as a permanent act. Maybe we recognise forgiving as a potentially impermanent state of being.

Some people may have noticed I hadn’t kept my promise of posting at least once a month. I didn’t contribute anything to this blog during March and tonight’s contribution may be something that’s forced, rather than flowing freely.

March might be the biggest month of any year for me. It’s an exciting time because of the spring equinox, which usually falls on my birthday. The equinox feels like the real beginning of the New Year. My brothers birthday also falls in March, though I don’t see a lot of him these days. My son’s birthday is just a few days before mine.

March also brings plenty of sad reminders. It marks the anniversary of the first death that ever affected me on a deep level, the death of “Auntie” Sarah, a close friend of my Aunt and mother.

March marks the anniversary of my wedding to my childhood sweetheart, the date of his disappearance a year later (which falls on my brother’s birthday), the date of his death and the date of his funeral (which was also the date of our first wedding anniversary). I didn’t attend the funeral, though I was the one to begin arranging it.

Yep, March is a big month and sometimes I wince when I notice the date and remember the significance of it.

So far, since his death in 2015, March has been that month where I feel like I’m most likely to be contacted by ex-in-laws. One year, my ex-sister-in-law appeared on my doorstep. This year it appears a friend of hers, “Kazza Evans”, had been sent to leave comments for me on my public Facebook posts instead. The sister-in-law currently has me blocked having already visited my profile to pester me last November.

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A comment left on my wall on the 4th March 2019

I’ll try to cut a very long story short.

My relationship with my son’s father was toxic, damaging, included abuse and yet I stayed in it for almost six years, marrying him right towards the end of the relationship.

I don’t need to explain or justify things. Anybody who knows how abusive relationships work, or how even non-abusive, but completely wrong-for-you relationships work completely understand how easily you can step into a marriage unconsciously, go through life on auto-pilot and ignore everything wrong with your life until you suddenly can’t ignore it any more.

It happens. It could happen to you. It’s happened to lots of people.

When I began to deconstruct and end my marriage, I was open and honest about my reasons why. My ex-husband was well aware that I had a long list of complaints and issues with his behaviour, but that sex abuse topped the list. I’d said that now his behaviour was affecting our son negatively, I could no longer use the excuse that staying with him and continuing to suffer myself was best for our son.

In short, my ex knew all the reasons the relationship was ending and he knew that I did not under any circumstances consent to him touching me. Yet the time between me first speaking my truth and him finally leaving our home spanned five months, forcing me to spend another Christmas with him and giving him plenty more chances to change his ways or do something to fix things.

He had more chances than he deserved. And he assaulted me twice more in those five months, as well as continuing other behaviours on my list of complaints.

I was as benevolent as I could be, for as long as I could be, because I cared about him despite everything. I never even saw him as a horrible, vindictive man until the weeks leading up to his death, when I decided perhaps I’d been looking at him through rose-tinted glasses for most of my life.

That man was a rapist and I didn’t even get mad or hate him until the very end, after I’d kicked him out and he started doing things like making false reports against me to child protection services and coming into my home uninvited, going through my things, tearing up my clothes and reading my private conversations with people on my computer.

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A comment from my ex-sister-in-law left under one of my blog shares on Facebook, in November 2018

So, he abused me. He then began tormenting me after he left my home. Then he, I suppose after his mental health really declined, rather selfishly took his own life.

As a Mental Health First Aider and someone interested in supporting people with their mental health, I’m not supposed to say suicide is selfish. The subject came up during training. We discussed suicide and the psychologist leading the training sympathetically addressed all people who have committed suicide as “victims”.

I was triggered, of course, and had to remind the psychologist and the rest of the class that infamous serial killer Fred West took his own life in prison. In fact, lots of abusers, rapists and killers have taken their own lives once they no longer have the control they are used to (consider it one final act of taking control) and thanks to my personal experience with my own abusers suicide, I can safely say some (if not all) suicides are fucking selfish.

The psychologist had tears in her eyes, as she quietly agreed that I made a very good point.

My ex took his own life, but before his body had even been found I was being accused of murdering him. According to ex-in-laws, I either killed him through the method of “covert psychological murder”, suggesting that I’m the one that abused him, or I killed him with voodoo dolls and witchcraft.

The claims about witchcraft didn’t come out of nowhere. I make no secret of the fact I’ve always been called a witch my whole life, but one of the lesser known facts of this whole sorry story is that actually, in the weeks leading up to my exes death, when he was causing me a lot of trouble and I began to really feel the effects of the trauma I’d been going through, I’d been confiding in my friend Nate on Skype about the whole ordeal.

Nate is a practising witch and shaman from the US, and he was so horrified by my story, he suggested I try to tackle my issues with my ex through magical methods. He was so angered that I had been abused, he said that my ex should and could be killed, with magic. He began suggesting various Gods and demons that could be summoned. I wasn’t sure what to think, and told Nate that I couldn’t kill anybody.

Not only was I not even convinced or sure that what Nate was suggesting is even possible, but I just did not feel that it was morally right to go around killing people, by any methods.

This was a private conversation on my private home laptop, that my ex-husband (or someone else coming into my home on his behalf) had read. Whether they read the whole conversation or not, I don’t know, but for all those whom ever wondered why these bizarre claims are being made, this is it. Someone genuinely suggested killing my ex with witchcraft, and it wasn’t even me! And my ex had to come into my house uninvited and go through my stuff to even know about it.

I’m amazed my ex-in-laws and anybody else involved feel like the good guys in this story. I spent weeks clutching police alarms, refusing to sleep, terrified because even after his death, people were still using his key to come into my house until the locks were changed. One of my neighbours, who was fond of my ex and his brothers, was trying to convince me I was actually being haunted by my ex, so I had obviously strong reasons to suspect that even he was involved in this campaign of torment.

How did these people convince themselves I am the bad guy in this story?

THAT PHOTO - PROOF
This screenshot is essentially proof that people were coming into my home using my exes spare key following my exes death. The photo mentioned, which was in Trudi’s possession, was left in my kitchen one afternoon in April 2015.

I had to continue to live in my ex-marital home for three years, with that suspicious neighbour always just across the street. I spent most of that time terrified and not knowing who I could trust, because people right on my doorstep seemed to believe my ex-in-laws instead of me.

It didn’t matter that I’d had all the proof in the world and my ex had been having to manipulate situations and evidence to try to make me look bad. Didn’t matter that I was given Legal Aid to fight him in court the exact same week the BBC ran a story explaining domestic abuse victims weren’t being granted Legal Aid because most of them couldn’t provide sufficient evidence they were victims.

I want to add that as well as very publicly being accused of abusing and murdering my abuser, repeatedly, I’ve also been accused of having affairs and “posting my tits all over the Internet”. I was accused of having Antisocial Personality Disorder, and being a criminal, drug addict and alcoholic too!

My ex-husband cheated on me several times, including on my 23rd birthday with my brothers long-term girlfriend and childhood sweetheart whereas I’ve never cheated on anybody.  I very rarely drink, am most certainly not a drug addict and do not have Antisocial Personality Disorder, and thanks to the claims made about me in 2015, had to prove all of these things in court a little later that year.

Leaving the ex was the hardest thing I ever did. It should’ve meant the end of my torment and troubles, but instead it carried on or began popping back up here and there out of nowhere, every time I thought I closed that horrible chapter of my life and moved on.

Yes, just when I think I’ve came to terms with it all, forgiven and tried to see things from everyone else’s point of view, I’m called a murderer and an adulterer whose naked all over the Internet again and I feel a mixture of rage and sickness so deep in my core that in the past it’s made me physically and emotionally ill for a prolonged period.

I suppose I didn’t forgive yet, even though I keep on trying. I don’t know if I ever can.

My ex and his siblings had a negligent, abusive childhood. My ex-sister-in-law is one of the most unstable, unwell people I’ve ever met, thanks to her unstable upbringing and I try to remind myself they are or were the way they are or were, because they hadn’t had very good lives. I try to remember my ex lied to everybody about our split and relationship and it’s just easier for some people to portray me as evil than it is to accept the truth.

It’s easier for my ex-sister-in-law to blame me for his suicide, than consider the fact that the day he ran away, he was begging me to take him back while she bombarded him with something like 50 text messages. The messages came one after the other, despite his lack of response and included a threat to falsely report him to the Department of Work and Pensions for benefit fraud.

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Our last conversation is not a pleasant read, but at no point does he deny the abuse and instead apologises a number of times for “doing wrong”. He deleted the conversation from his own phone before taking his life.

One of the last things my ex screamed down the phone to me was “I can’t go back to Trudi’s, she doesn’t want me there. Please let me come home.”

I said no. I was not responsible for the life or death of the man I had given chance after chance. I spent years spineless, so I could bend as far over backwards for him as possible. He dominated and controlled every aspect of my life.

I can’t be sorry for taking my life back, and a lot of people should feel sorry and ashamed for their behaviour towards me.

I’m supposed to forgive everyone that’s ever wronged me, or hurt me, because that’s what Jesus or Buddha would do. That’s the suggestion made in just about every spiritual circle and what every spiritual healer or life coach will tell you. I wont be able to be happy, have a good life or attract the right things into my life if I hold onto anger over the past and towards people.

Apparently.

But am I really “holding onto anger” though, or do I keep letting go of it repeatedly? Isn’t it only stirred up again whenever I have to recall these events I really don’t want to talk about any more? Aren’t I simply feeling completely justifiable feelings when I have to read another post about me being a murderer on the Internet?

Am I just not reacting as if a bullet has hit me, when someone has pulled the trigger? Is this not completely normal and human?

Am I really failing to forgive all of the time, or do I succeed in my attempts at forgiveness sometimes? Aren’t I only unforgiving sometimes, but forgiving at all other times? Why is that not good enough?

Am I not absolutely fine, in the here and now, until somebody makes my past the now, again? Do I not accept everything? Have I not used these events as an opportunity for amazing personal growth? Don’t I even find myself able to empathise with those causing me hurt? Don’t I only sometimes suffer with bad feelings that make me feel bad?

Aren’t thoughts and feelings transient things?

Isn’t it enough that I am spending time mastering awareness and observation of my feelings, instead of allowing myself to become my feelings?

We cannot insist that a patient forgives someone who has deeply, and forever, harmed them. And, we certainly do not want to make our patients feel guilty because they cannot do something superhuman (forgive the unforgivable).

~ Mark Banschick M.D.
Psychology Today

I think maybe I do forgive, when I’m in a forgiving state, or perhaps not thinking about any of this at all. And I think maybe I don’t forgive when I’ve been triggered and am clearly in an unforgiving state. Seems pretty fucking straightforward to me. Seems like all that stuff I read about needing to forgive is just a load of unreasonable crap that doesn’t really take real life and how it works into account. But maybe I’m wrong.

Maybe the spiritual pressure to forgive is not at all unreasonable and the human mission genuinely is to become superhuman and stop feeling pain when somebody hits you.

Personal, Review

Safely Navigating Your Shamanic Calling with Andrew Camargo

If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts, you might be aware I have a tendency to sign up to (often free) online workshops and courses that fall into my path as I try to navigate my way through healing trauma and spiritual growth independently.

The last two courses I’d reviewed on this site were both spiritual in nature. I had little success with the Energy Alignment Method (EAM) course that promised to help me heal my life, yet had interesting experiences with another course that promised to empower me.

Though I’ve still yet to revisit and properly review, as promised, my experiences with the very first workshop I signed up to in December 2017, as well as other courses in 2018, I’d like to dive straight into discussing my latest journey with Andrew Camargo’s course, Safely Navigating Your Shamanic Calling. I was able to take the workshop for free, having stumbled across the course in a Facebook advert.

If you follow my Instagram, you’ll have seen that recently, I’ve quoted Camargo on the subject of reality and imagination. Not only should this be indication I quickly gained an amount of respect for what Camargo was teaching, but also that I’m deeply concerned about separating reality and illusion or truth and lies.

I encounter so many issues in my spiritual communities online, it’s hard to keep track of them all, but I felt that Camargo’s warnings in the earlier lessons of the workshop, highlighted a couple of the most common problems, such as people being unable to discern imagination from spiritual experiences.

In my communities there are issues with people failing to understand what spiritual growth is and how to achieve it, assuming that burning sage and behaving as if they are spiritual achieves (and indicates) advancement; there are a great deal of vulnerable people out there, unable to discern truth from lies; vulnerable people turning to Twin Flame legends to help them cope with their troubled relationships, when they should perhaps be seeking a counsellor; there are a lot of people displaying serious mental health issues; many are convinced, after a spiritual experience or taking interest in spiritual growth that their life purpose is to take on a professional role in the ‘spiritual sector’; and finally, we are inundated with frauds and cold readers, “psychics” who are either knowingly being dishonest and making things up as they go along, or people who have a very inflated sense of their own abilities, failing to realise they still have much more work to do in terms of spiritual advancement.

The latter issue may explain why every day on Facebook, when I see someone ask ‘what colour is my aura?’ they receive anything from 10 to 100 responses, saying different things. Or, you may simply argue the responses are different, because there’s no such thing as aura’s or being able to see one!

For some reason, most people within the community aren’t talking about the reality that things are obviously going so very wrong, for so many people, and if you try to address it, there’s a high chance of hostile response from these so-called enlightened people.

‘Well, that’s your belief, not mine.’ you might read.

Somewhat worrying and frustrating when you know a person willingly opts to believe in a lie!

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Photo by Nizam Abdul Latheef on Pexels.com

Allow me now to just explain to readers why a course like Camargo’s would appeal in the first place, and why I remain open to the possibility that not every psychic or person who claimed to have special abilities was a liar or crazy.

First of all, I’ve visited psychics in person a number of times. I’d say 9 out of 10 times, they absolutely were very skilled, professional cold readers. I am discerning enough to be able to spot when someone is being as vague as possible and actually trying to draw information out of me which they can then use to their advantage. However, although that’s a whopping 9 out of 10 times that I feel I was dealing with a fraud, it’s not 10 out of 10.

I’ve dealt with a psychic that forewarned me before we began that he was ‘very accurate’ and he said this almost as if he was saying ‘you can still cancel this appointment, if you don’t think you can handle it.’

‘What an arrogant jerk!’ I’d thought.

And then this “arrogant jerk” told me to keep my mouth shut and let him do his thing. He had no interest in fishing information out of me. He just meant to sit there, holding my ring in his hands with his eyes closed and tell me everything he claimed spirit was showing him in images. The result of our appointment was us falling into an argument, and him leaving in anger refusing to take my money, calling me ‘arrogant’ for refusing to accept what he was saying.

It was my worst meeting with a psychic ever, because I’d finally stumbled across one that seemed to know everything about everything – a whole bunch of things he couldn’t and shouldn’t possibly know – and he was, as he warned, very accurate.

Now, as if this incredible man wasn’t enough to make me remain open to the possibility that some people out there are genuine, I myself have had a lifetime of experiences that suggest that spirits, energy work and manifesting, and psychic abilities are real things that people can experience, no matter where we’re at with our scientific understanding of such things.

I’ve had recurring dreams that I eventually realised were prophetic in nature, when the events of said dreams came to pass. I’ve had visions, knowings and heard things of prophetic nature that came to pass. I’ve seen people in front of me appear and then vanish and I’ve even shared some of these experiences with other people, with some of them blaming me for attracting the vanishing people.

My experiences date back to as far back as I can remember. I always thought it was as if I was simply born a witch, as I’m often described. I began meditating and casting spells, without instruction from a teacher or book from a very young age, but I was also very young when I actively tried to shut myself down and stop seeing people that weren’t there.

I learned my name, April, means “to open” and it was an ‘AHA!’ moment for me, like suddenly I’d been given explanation for my inherent openness, honesty and interest in seeing what’s behind every door I come across.

In one of my old homes, both I and two of my ex boyfriends kept feeling something grabbing us by the throat, or punching the pillows in front of our faces in the night. Once, in that home, I loudly proclaimed ‘there’s no such thing as ghosts’ when a young girl was on the news claiming her house was haunted, and then my sunglasses that had been placed on a shelf, immediately came flying off the shelf across the room towards me, leaving my ex-boyfriend and I jumping up and down screaming, with him insisting I apologise to the ghost I’d just pissed off.

We both caught a glimpse of what we believed to be the entity bothering us one evening, when my ex was – no judgement please – taking a hit from a bong and then turned to me, said ‘watch this’ and blew a thin stream of smoke across the room. The smoke appeared to gather into a big fog, right next to the same spot where my sunglasses had been launched across the room and the smoke took the shape of person, marching on the spot. Once again, we were both screaming.

Most doctors would put me on pills for discussing this, especially now that my ex is no longer alive to verify our experiences (even if he was, they’d probably put us both on pills). I, however, don’t think I need pills. I think I need answers and quite frankly, nobody has even been able to explain why things fly off shelves, why I and my friends have shared experiences and why sometimes, I just know stuff because it’s like someone opened a door in my head, walked in and dropped the information there.

Laura Berry - support
A message from a friend some months after my ex-husband’s suicide

I always get nervous talking about these experiences and blogging about it for all to see is a scary thing to do. It doesn’t matter how discerning or reasonable I am about things, I will always meet people that will call me a liar and suggest I’ve made it all up. People will always insist I’m crazy. On the flip-side, there are also people adamant I killed my ex-husband with witchcraft, and insist I was the ‘evil abuser’ in that relationship.

I will also always encounter people that will attempt to explain some of my experiences as something other than spiritual or paranormal in nature, without actually successfully explaining them. Yet, I’m fully prepared to accept an explanation that isn’t paranormal or spiritual in nature, when there is one.

It doesn’t matter that I don’t claim to have the answers and am simply remaining open-minded, a closed-mind that thinks it knows for sure the in’s and out’s of this universe and what’s beyond it will dismiss what I have to say. I’m full of wonder and questions, whereas some people, especially those that never experienced anything extraordinary, are full of answers and fixed beliefs.

I’m most certainly not a shaman and until working my way through Camargo’s workshop, had no conscious idea that any events or experiences in my life could’ve indicated shamanic calling. I took the course out of little more than curiosity, hoping to understand a little more about what shamanism is all about. I’d say I have a pretty vague understanding, what with not being a shaman myself and never meeting anybody who described themselves as such.

I didn’t feel a shamanic calling, but after completing the workshop, I wonder if I have simply been ignoring it, sometimes out of terror and often because of stereotypical views about who a shaman is and where they must come from. See, much like I accuse people in my spiritual communities of often being confused or misled, I wrongly assumed that shamanism means giving up life as I know it, buying some robes and living out the rest of my days in a cave, where I would drink weird potions and spend most of my time either in the spirit realm, or in the perilous throes of psychosis. I also couldn’t imagine a genuine shaman being a white person from the west.

As it happens, I’m as guilty as I charge others, at least in terms of shamanism and what I thought of the subject. I ended the workshop wishing I had the time and money to commit to diving deeper into Camargo’s world, in his much more extensive and more expensive course.

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The man himself, Andrew Camargo

The six lessons I sat through obviously only scratched the surface of the things Camargo means to teach people, and there’s various reasons why, despite still not knowing truth from lies, I’d be interested in learning more from Camargo.  And here are those reasons:

1. Camargo actually acknowledges people’s inability to discern reality from imagination.

In his short course, Camargo describes how initiation into shamanism can often lead people to very quickly have an inflated sense of their own abilities. All it takes sometimes is just one experience with spirits, the spirit realm or psychic ability for people to believe they are now awakened and the level of an Elder.

The result of trying to run before you can walk, or an inflated sense of one’s abilities leads to people being unable to separate truth from their own imagination. In other words, bunches of these psychics I refer to as frauds, genuinely might not be able to tell they are simply operating from imagination, rather than communicating with spirits.

Camargo refers to having struggled with this issue in the past himself. Surprisingly, at least for me, it’s been rare to come across somebody holding spiritual-based workshops or teaching spiritual sciences that is prepared to acknowledge the b***s*** in the community.

2. Camargo acknowledges that the spirit realm is not all “love and light”.

Is anybody else tired of hearing about love and light from the droves of people that you’re pretty sure haven’t bothered with a minute of shadow work, because of their inflated sense of how enlightened they are?

If anything indicated to me that the spirit realm may be full of tricksters or dangerous entities, it was feeling hands wrapping around my throat trying to choke me and having exes screaming about experiencing the same thing. It’s being woken up in the night by a boyfriend, screaming, because he thought I, who had been asleep, had just tried to punch him in the face, and then experiencing the same thing myself. It’s breaking up with that boyfriend, wondering if it was him punching my pillow in the night all along, only to repeat the experiences with the next boyfriend to move in.

Camargo suggests that as well as struggling to discern imagination from reality, those who have an inflated sense of their own abilities will also be unable to recognise darker spirits, like tricksters, who purposefully deliver messages of half-truths, cloaked in lies.

Surprisingly, many people I stumble across at the moment seem to be so wrapped up in the “love and light” idea, they’re completely dismissive of the possibility of darker spirits, low-vibrational entities and even lower realms that could perhaps be described as sort of Hell realms, where you’re more likely to experience bad things, rather than good. And when they do acknowledge a person who thinks they are being tormented by a dark or negative energy or entity, their solution is always “love and light”. That’s it!

I remember one evening at a friends house when my brother, for reasons I wont get into, became concerned we may be in the presence of a dark energy. His response, though hilarious to me, struck me as likely more effective than “sending love and light”. He jumped from his seat, terrified, screaming and swearing, and ran straight to the kitchen, where he found a bottle of salt and amusingly began spraying it all over my friends house, still swearing at the likely imagined entity and actively trying to banish it.

Why do I think love and light might not be an effective method of dealing with the kind of entity Camargo describes as a Trickster?

Well, it’s just a theory, but I figure if you’re talking to a Trickster and you trust it, chances are you’re going to be rather friendly and perhaps even (conditionally) loving and compassionate towards it. If the conditional love and light of most people was genuinely effective, why are Tricksters sticking around, giving people prepared to listen to them the time of day?

Though I may be wrong about my brother’s solution being more effective, the “love and light” gang strike me as lacking some serious substance. I agree we’re beings of love and light, but I also agree that we all cast a shadow and something about people parroting the words “love and light” pisses me off. I’m clearly not an enlightened being, see! But neither are most of these people.

3. Camargo stresses the necessity of shadow work and agrees it’s a lifelong process.

Do I really keep meeting people that think they have completed their shadow work? Yes.

Maybe one of the reasons I failed to get on with EAM,  is because EAM essentially claims that you can heal your life, clear your energy and begin vibrating at higher frequencies without really doing any of the necessary inner work and self-reflection required to heal. It’s all about “finding blocks in your energy” and repeating affirmations to release the blocks.

The process of finding and releasing said blocks should require some amount of self-reflection, but with all focus primarily being on waving your woes away like a Fairy Godmother, I would assume you’re of course not dealing with things properly.

Camargo stresses that shadow work never ends. He suggests the more light you begin to cast, the bigger that shadow you cast becomes! I like Camargo.

4. Camargo has really done his homework and comes across as having experience.

My name is Andrew Camargo. I have been studying Archetypal Shamanism, Entheogenic Spirituality, Alchemy, Jungian Psychology, Modern Mythology and Visionary Art for the past 17 years.

~ Andrew Camargo

He allegedly went to Yale. He’s done some travelling. I believe he mentioned working with genuine shaman’s at some point. He’s claiming he’s experienced having a self-inflated ego and sense of his own abilities and then eventually realised his mistake. As a result, he’s genuinely grown. He now has the ability to be discerning. He is now, unlike so many other teachers who are surprisingly failing to do so, actively warning all students that come to him of the extreme likelihood that the initiatory call results in the exact same mistakes for a lot of people.

5. Camargo repeatedly refers to Carl G. Jung.

I don’t remember when I discovered Jung, myself, and I by no means am as familiar with his work as Camargo obviously is, but I do know that as soon as I began to discover Jung, I began to learn very important things. Just by reading a small quote of Jung’s, or a few paragraphs on his discoveries and theories, I’ve learned so much about myself and people, that I’m prepared to name him as one of my greatest teachers.

Jung has repeatedly triggered me to have a heightened understanding of the nature of the psyche. He, perhaps, has taught me more about what I want or need to know in a few minutes than some teachers who tried to teach me for entire years at school did.

I quickly gained respect for what Camargo was doing, despite not knowing whether there is such a thing as a genuine shaman, because I at least know there is such a thing as not being genuine. His references to Jung only make me more inclined to pay attention to what he has to say. At the very least, isn’t Camargo’s interest in Jung indicative of a person deeply interested in seeking greater understanding of himself, of humanity on the whole and of life itself?

6. Camargo alludes to shamans having ordinary jobs.

Back once again to my concerns that spiritualism leads to people misunderstanding what they should be doing with their lives, thanks to stereotyping and “teachers” and teaching all the wrong stuff, Camargo, like a breath of fresh air, describes in his lessons people with “ordinary” jobs that can be assisted in expression by formative and empowering facets of the Shamanic Archetype.

I expressed that it would be a disaster if everybody who felt they had a spiritual calling decided to become a Reiki therapist, because actually, the world still needs people working in other professions. When you enter a spiritual community on social media, there’s very little talk of people in ordinary professions and a lot of discussion about people having left, or trying to leave their corporate or ordinary jobs, because they feel they’re lightworkers and should take on some stereotypically appropriate role. And that’s without the 17 years of experience Camargo has had studying various relevant subjects, or like my almost 31 years now of experiences that have gone unexplained by conventional science.

In the short course, Camargo refers to midwives, funeral directors and DJs, whose professions are guided and empowered by shamanic abilities. So, I’ve finally stumbled upon a teacher who essentially acknowledges that people with psychic abilities or other special abilities, aren’t necessarily supposed to be Tarot readers and Crystal Therapists. I consider this an important lesson that more people need to learn.

7. Camargo got me painting.

Throughout the learning process, Camargo invites us to write, as this will help us in the learning process. At the end of course, after having tried to identify one shamanic facet that is dominant in me, and then six facets that either form or empower the dominant facet, Camargo instructs us to draw our personal constellation, creating a ‘Sacred Soul Artefact’ to keep for inspiration. Again, this last piece of homework supports the learning process and would perhaps even trigger the activation of dormant or latent energies.

I think it was early last year I said to my mum I’d love to start painting with her and she handed me paper and encouraged me to get on with it. I’ve been saying for a long time that I want to get painting and drawing, not because I’m good at it at all, but because art classes were one of my favourites at school and I missed doing it.

And yet, all I did for months was just think about painting from time to time, never actually allowing my interest in painting to manifest into reality. That’s something I’m prone to do, especially when it comes to my creative interests. I’ll think about the story I want to write, or the picture I want to paint, but I wont actually do it.

It’s almost outrageous I haven’t bothered to paint until now, considering last year, on another blog I wrote about the importance of creative expression for good health and how at times, such expression can even be linked to shadow work, and the acknowledgement or expression of parts of our psyche we have tried to reject. I sat and thought a lot about the need to be creative and all I’ve done since, (this blog not included), is write roughly three poems and 20 pages of a story I might never finish. And I wrote all of that in the same three-week period.

If Camargo’s course triggered anything at all, it was at the very least, getting me off my backside to finally enjoy painting something. Though I largely wasn’t sure at all what exactly I was taking away from the course when I began the work, I at least knew I wanted to put effort into this project and place a little trust in the workshop as having something useful to offer me.

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My Sacred Soul Artefact

My amateurish piece of work has brought to life the personal shamanic constellation I devised as I worked through Camargo’s course.

At the centre of my constellation, is symbolism for the Visionary Artist or Writer facet of the Shamanic Archetype. It was difficult, at first, to pinpoint my main facet as the descriptions given for each facet seem to describe them how they would be expressed by a skilled or experienced shaman. For that reason, I almost considered the Psychic or Wounded Healer facets as my main facet, as the description for Visionary Artist details an artist that “records humanity’s ongoing, ever-evolving relationship to the supersensible, archetypal, mythical, imaginal, magical, spiritual realms.” I felt that only a fraction of my poetry or stories reflected this.

However, after much deliberation, I realised that if I considered where I’ve had the most success in my life, it’s through writing. I realised that I tend to hear “you should be a writer” more than I’ve heard anything else. I also realised that just days before beginning the course I’d resolved that I was perhaps, at least for now, being guided away from fixating on the Wounded Healer facet, without realising it in those terms, of course, until completing the course.

Finally, I understood my potential psychic abilities to not be anywhere near strong enough to select it as my main facet. I absolutely do not for one second believe my skills there are stronger than my skills as a writer. Writing has, as well as got me into small amounts of trouble over the years, saved my skin more than once. As well as winning various writing competitions over the years, something as simple as writing letters has gotten me out of trouble many times or essentially resulted in me getting exactly what I want in life.

As a result of this realisation, The Wounded Healer became a formative facet in my constellation, and the Psychic became an empowering facet. The other two formative facets, which shape how the Writer facet manifests, and are symbolised in the ring closely orbiting the centre are the Trickster and Storyteller facets. For a better understanding of what all of this means, I strongly suggest signing up Camargo’s course if you’re interested.

However, my reasons choosing the Storyteller as a formative facet should perhaps be rather obvious when I have chosen Writer as my main. I selected the Trickster, also known as the Sacred Clown or Holy Fool for a number of reasons, not just limited to the description I was given of the facet.

First of all, whereas my name means ‘to open’ and often conjures up thoughts of springtime in a lot of people’s minds, it also greatly reminds people of April Fool’s Day. I personally always feel like The Fool in the tarot deck, always at the beginning of my spiritual journey and also, always at the end of something too, which is what the card numbered zero tends to imply. It also reminds me how springtime is also very much a beginning and an end of a cycle and my birthday actually falls on the Equinox.

Second,  the term trickster conjures up a million memories of my tendency to be mischievous and rebellious, or a bit of a prankster, whereas the word clown resonates deeply because a lot of the time, much of it was clowning around and an attempt to entertain myself or others. So, I’ve always described myself as a clown and so, was obviously immediately drawn to the facet.

Camargo’s shamanic-based description of the Trickster is that they reveal the subconscious, like your repressed shadows and because of this, tend to trigger healing. Upon reading that, my mind automatically flashed to times where I, through my actions or words that may have initially been upsetting for people, actually triggered an individual to heal or better themselves. A Trickster allegedly tends to “expose inconvenient truths” and is “creatively destructive and destructively creative”.

Again, those ideas about a Trickster resonated, but I also realised I was remembering a number of events I felt guilty about. I also recently got kicked out of a spiritual community on Facebook, for trying to expose the kinds of “inconvenient truths” about the ego I’ve discussed here, that Camargo also describes.

Finally, I knew the Sacred Clown would be in my constellation somewhere, because if you walked into my home, you wouldn’t have to look too hard to find a clown. I have always loved clowns. They may scare some people, but as I’ve suggested already, I identify with clowns.

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That’s me, showing off Clarence, a one-of-a-kind Shadow Doll made by a witch in Gloucester.

The last two facets, which are symbolised in the outer circle of my constellation along with the Psychic facet, supposedly empower and inspire my main facet. These facets are Tender of Dreams and Occult Scientist.

I have, over the last year, had an increased interest in dream interpretation and helping others in interpreting their own. My dreams have also directly influenced my writing, poetry, stories and even decisions. I couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps The Wounded Healer and Tender of Dreams should have been placed the other way around.

Are my own wounds really forming much of how I express myself in my writing, or did they just inspire me to study psychology and take training in some complementary therapies?

The Occult Scientist facet is essentially what I think of as the witches facet. Whereas I could’ve chosen the Energy Worker facet, as much of witchcraft does simply involve energy work in some form and led me to taking Reiki training, The Occult Scientist facet recognises there is a little more to it and implies that one understands on a deeper level exactly how to use energy. And of course I feel empowered and inspired by my knowledge and abilities as a so-called witch.

Whether I made a mistake in creating my personal constellation or not, I feel confident that I chose the 7 facets out of Camargo’s 25 that are most suitable for me. And though I didn’t know when I began to write this exactly what I’d gotten from the course so far, as I end this post it’s starting to become a little more clear. Not only have I learned more about shamanism, and the various ways in which shamanism is expressed, but I’ve once again looked at little deeper at myself, my path and my progress and abilities.

Camargo’s workshop triggered interesting self-reflection and inspired me to write what is possibly the longest blog post I’ve written here so far. I have created a painting that I’m actually rather proud to have completed and genuinely will keep close-by, just in case it does have the power to inspire and empower me, or trigger me to take the next step in spiritual growth. Though I may never become a shaman, I consider this time well spent!

mindfulness, Spirituality

The Ego by Robert Adams

In the Western psychology, we’re told that you never give up. We are taught to keep on fighting. But I’m telling you there is nothing to fight, and the only thing you’re giving up is your ego.

Western psychology has never gone beyond this. Therefore they do not know of life beyond this.

Western psychology works in the presumption that you are a body and a mind, so naturally they tell you never give up, fight to the end. Stick up for your rights. But in the highest teachings of the truth we learn that you have no rights.

You’re giving up your body, your ego, your mind, and when this happens, you go beyond psychology.
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Something happens that psychiatry, psychology are not aware of whatsoever. And that is you rise to a higher dimension, where there is happiness, and peace, and compassion, and love, joy, that is naturally yours. You begin to feel these things instead of the things you felt before.

Prior to this, when you were fighting life, when you were sticking up for your rights, when you were trying to get even, when you were working as an ego, you were never able to feel happiness or joy or peace.

Only sometimes, when you won, when you got your point across, when you won an argument, when you won a fight, when you sued someone and won, you felt happy for a while, but it didn’t last long, and you have to go through it again and again. But this is as far as the world goes. It doesn’t know anything else but this.

What I’m saying to you, let go of everything. Do not hold on. Stand naked before God, without any crutches, without anything to hold on to. When you can do this, from this moment on you will begin to rise.

~ Robert Adams

Source: Art of the Rebellion on Facebook.

I wouldn’t normally dedicate a whole blog post to a quote, but I found this incredibly powerful.

On one hand, it’s important to me be an advocate of particular rights and what I consider to be positive social change, but on the other, I find myself particularly drained when engaging with people on the subject, whether they’re advocates fighting for the same cause or my opponents.

I have dismayed over the fact that often, it is a fight and anger and frustration seem to be requirements or a symptom for the role of activist or social justice advocate.

It leaves one with a moral dilemma, when happiness and peace is that person’s own personal goals for themselves. There is so much inequality and suffering in the world, fighting often feels like the right thing to do.

Is there a way to both fight for what Adam’s suggests is the imagined rights of people and to let go of the fight too? If you can you separate fighting for yourself and fighting for others and only fight for the latter, is achieving peace still impossible? Is it possible to serve others without the ego playing a role?

If you can detach yourself from the wanted outcomes and, to a degree, the process of fighting, as it unfolds, practising non-judgemental awareness moment by moment, can you fight for the kind of change you want to see and  achieve true inner peace?

Opinion, Spirituality

Are We Blocking Spiritualists From Their True Purpose?

What do terms like lightworker and healer mean to you? Are lightworkers and healers restricted to roles such as Reiki practitioners, mediums and so on?

Supposing now, everyone does have a ‘life purpose’ and a path they are supposed to follow. The first people to believe this are usually spiritualists and religious people. But are we blocking spiritualists from their true purpose by perpetuating stereotypical ideas about ‘raising vibrations’?

In the spiritual community, especially a large online one, like a large Facebook group, we can see thousands of people that feel it is their life purpose to raise the vibrations of the planet.

Lot’s of people feel they’re lightworkers and empaths. These ideas come up repeatedly in the community and these individuals seem to tend to make the decision to devote their life to things such as energy healing, after taking a couple of days training a few times.

I repeatedly see the idea that now they are spiritual and awakening, they must do what everyone else seems to be doing and that’s either building a career in the “spiritual sector” or building rapport as a hobbyist medium or preconceived spiritually approved profession or activity. Even I am using those relevant skills more often, or gaining new ones.

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Why am I, personally, continuing to gain experience with various healing or therapy modalities and studying psychology?

Because helping and healing and a natural understanding of people has dominated my life since I was a child. As a witch, I’ve been working with energy as far back as I can remember and I first took counselling training aged 12, because my teachers at school thought I’d be good at it.

Do I think it’s what I’m supposed to do, really, with my whole life?

Actually, no, and I’ll explain why in a minute.

Do you not wonder if stereotypical ideas about lightworking and how to raise the vibrations of the planet are limiting people?

I do.

You see, people who heal, who share light, who guide and who teach are not actually limited to a few professions or activities. These guides and healers can come in the form of the slightly more obvious charity worker, or the less obvious musician. They can be lawyers. They can be unemployed. They can have seemingly no “special” abilities at all, but their actions and choices in life serve to raise vibrations, heal and spread light.

It’s suggested your life purpose is tied to the things that truly make your soul sing. For some people that’s rock climbing or parachuting! I think, among the spiritual community people can be inclined to disregard the things that bring them the most joy if it’s an activity that doesn’t fit the preconceived ideas about being a spiritual person.

My entire life may have seemed to be pulling me in the direction of therapist and spiritual truth seeker, but a role as a psychologist, a therapist or healer actually seems to be secondary when I consider what truly makes my heart sing. My biggest passions are with creative and performance arts and always have been. If your purpose lies in your biggest passions, my primary purpose is to write and create.

I have a therapist of my own and she very quickly picked up on the things that make my heart and soul sing, because of the way my demeanour changed when I began to talk about it. When I spoke of writing poetry and my latest ideas for a fiction story, I began to “light up” and this in turn lifted my therapist.

And all my life, all I have been hearing is “you should write a book” as well as “you’d make a great counsellor”. I had so many small successes in writing and creative arts growing up, everyone was pretty sure that’s what I’d do with my life. When I was younger I used to hear a lot of people say “you should be an actress or comedian” too, as I very much enjoyed stage performance and entertaining the people around me.

When I talk about music, watching bands play live and how I used to write my own music, I “light up”. When I think about painting, I get excited. It’s probably not too unusual, as I think we all probably have an inherent (but possibly dormant) desire to make like a God and create, but creativity becomes secondary or completely forgotten in life because of the necessity to devote much of our lives to earning money to survive.

In the spiritual community, cold readers are rife. People lacking in the abilities necessary for the things they claim to be able to do are rife. It leaves me feeling that stereotypical ideas about spirituality and purpose are blocking people from going out and discovering the things they really should be doing. I’m talking about the things that make your heart sing so loud, you can hear it ringing in your ears and everybody around you can see that you’re glowing.

Yes, trying to help others to heal feels nice and like a perfectly purposeful thing to do, but many might be better off using their free time to try things like rock climbing, joining a choir or knitting club. Honestly, it might sound silly, but it’s easier to raise the vibrations of yourself and everyone around you when you’re so happy you’re lit up like a Christmas tree than it is to try to wedge yourself into the shoes (or sandals) of healers like Jesus Christ.

Yes, there’s more than just a few ways to help and heal people. There’s more than a few ways to light up this world.

It may be some people are missing out on their true purpose, or what would really make them and others around them happy, because they have been misguided by the common idea in the community that everyone’s life purpose is to be an energy healer or professional spiritualist of some sort. It’s time to get real and recognise if it’s your primary purpose, secondary purpose or not really meant for you at all.

You might be working a “normal” day job, and using your free time to give people tarot readings on the Internet, when you’re supposed to be playing for your local football team. Some people have found what I’m saying to be upsetting, but I ask them to consider why they are really upset about this.

Think of all the things we’d lose, if everybody on the planet quit their jobs to become a Reiki practitioner tomorrow because that sounds like the right thing for a spiritually woke person to do. I dread to think!

If everyone does have a purpose in life and a path they are supposed to follow – if everyone has things that they are supposed to do – don’t you think it’s a little bizarre that in the spiritual communities, everybody has decided their purpose and strengths are exactly the same things?