Opinion, Spirituality

What is “lightworking”?

Let’s talk about the role of the Lightworker. If they exist, what exactly do they do?

I believe the notion of the existence of people who were placed on the planet to serve as Lightworkers is an irrelevant topic not worth my consideration for too long at present. I have my concerns that labelling oneself “Lightworker”, “Starseed” or “Twin Flame” is an attachment to a story or identity whereby individuals place some sort of idea of extraordinary importance or “specialness” on themselves and my gut-feeling is that attachment to stories and perceived identities is probably the mother-of-all-spiritual-fuck-ups.

It smells like separation illusion or grandiose illusion to me.

But, Jesus was supposed to have been real and there are many stories like the story of Jesus where we are told that some people really are special and important and here to serve some great spiritual purpose. They are to do greater and bigger things than the rest of us!

I’ll keep an open mind towards it, but mainly I’m here today to assert that if Lightworkers exist, people may be mistaken about the role Lightworkers are supposed to play.

I’m also going to openly suppose that they may not exist in the way people suggest and in fact, anybody is capable of lightworking and may do it at times.

So, what could be the real role of a Lightworker?

Shining a light on shadows is lightworking.

Shining a light on lies and exposing them as a lie is lightworking.

Shining a light, so that the truth is exposed, however uncomfortable it may be for people is true lightworking.

The sharing of truth, true knowledge and wisdom is lightworking that makes true healing for every individual and the planet possible.

And the truth is, the truth is not always welcome or a comfortable thing to be exposed to.

You know this stuff. You’ve probably experienced it before. Maybe you found out your spouse or partner was cheating on you. That’s a classic example where sudden knowledge of the truth probably hurt like Hell.

You may have been warned of the truth as sometimes being a painful thing as a young child, learning about creation through the Christian Bible.

Adam and Eve, once they had consumed the fruit of The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, committed the original sin and immediately became uncomfortable and covered their naked bodies, hiding in shame.

Adam and Eves story might as well be as good as an explanation as any that knowledge can hurt and bring about catastrophic or tragic consequences. The more we know, the more uncomfortable we may be, at least for a while.

The truth is, exposure to a Lightworker, if that is what some people are (or if lightworking is what some people do on occasion), wont always make you feel good.

Some people don’t want to be exposed to truths. They want the illusions they’ve grown attached to be reinforced by the people around them. They prefer to sit in an echo chamber. Illusions are sometimes nicer than reality.

Some people will almost certainly respond with anger and aggression upon exposure to a Lightworker.

Simply spreading “love and light” i.e the spreading of positive vibes is not the real, complete work of the Lightworker and not a lasting, viable way to raise the vibrations of the planet to the highest point, because it is not enough to highlight shadows.

In fact, sometimes precedence over spreading positive vibes instead of doing the truth-work is an attempt to bypass light and shadow work. This cannot be done and so it serves only the smallest and most temporary amount of good purpose.

Being positive or kind is a wonderful thing to be and has an impact on your surroundings, raising vibrations to a degree, but the role of the Lightworker has to be light exposure on a permanent and much deeper level. Do not confuse lightworking with day to day acts of kindness.

Shining a light on the false stories that keep us enslaved would be the true work of Lightworkers. That is sometimes the impact of The Sun in the tarot deck.

You can look to the metaphors and explanations of the Major Arcana in tarot to help you to understand.*

The Major Arcana is 22 cards that are metaphors for stages of life, archetypes, and processes of, or triggers of, enlightenment.

The Sun is arguably metaphorically the Lightworkers card. It is a truth card, coming right towards the end of the deck, before Judgement and The World. It is an enlightenment card.

For many The Sun is simply a “happiness” card and you will find it’s nature as a truth exposing card overlooked, much like what it probably means to be a Lightworker is often overlooked.

In Buddhist philosophy there is understanding that ignorance is at the root of suffering. The inability to see the truth and what really is, is directly in the way of inner peace and happiness and so for The Sun to result in happiness, there must be an enlightening truth-bomb dropping with it.

The cards that follow this period of enlightenment can be looked at in various ways.

Judgement could be that moment you are stood at the gates of Heaven, waiting to find out if you’re in or out or the resulting higher state of consciousness that followed the enlightening Sun. The World is completion. It’s the end of a cycle. That could be Heaven or Heaven on Earth.

I reiterate, that the last three cards show a process of truth and enlightenment that signals the end of suffering, the resulting higher state of consciousness or gateway to Heaven and then the moment of completion where you go to Heaven or bring it down to Earth. It is stages of enlightenment or transcendence that begin by knowing truth.

We know from just about every story ever, The Devil is and always will be humankinds adversary. He’s the bad guy. The Devil is all about being chained to enslaving illusions. It’s materialism, it’s the 7 Deadly Sins, it’s the stories and lies you’ve became attached to. It’s addiction. It’s anything that keeps you attached to him and the truth out-of-reach.

But knowledge of The Devil exposes that shadow to the light and thereby you are given opportunity to break free of the enslavement.

Exposure to The Sun could bring about almost catastrophic consequences such as The Tower upon revealing the truth (for the greater good), change like Death, or the forced introspection and seclusion of The Hermit. The Sun doesn’t always make you feel immediately good, but true happiness and healing will be the eventual result according to Tarot.

The Devil can influence you to forever remain The Fool, or to be suspended like The Hanged Man, but can certainly evoke false feelings of The World and completion. The beast will, by any means necessary, try to keep you enslaved by illusion for as long as possible.

I would say that during my time in large “Lightworker” social media communities I’ve learned that the Lightworker is in trouble! A huge portion of so-called Lightworkers are LIEworkers and people who fancy themselves a Lightworker and are trying to learn about it are being exposed to the LIEworkers more than genuine lightwork.

A huge portion of people have the inability to discern truth from lies, and so are being misled. They are in desperate need for The Sun to shine down on them.

We can’t forget the con-man. The con-men are out there, knowingly and deliberately lieworking in the false name of lightworking for profit and personal gain.

People crave enlightenment. They want to be awake and many talk about their “Awakening” as if it is done and they are complete and awake now. But you can’t wake up telling yourself a bedtime story designed to see you off to sleep. You can’t wake up the rest of world with bedtime stories.

The Lightworker is to open the curtains, point out that it’s daytime and tell you to save your stories for later. The Lightworker will turn on the bedroom light and ask why, at 41 years old, you are still reading fairytales. The Lightworker might even drag you out of your bedroom and force you into the cotton fields where you’re going to be forced to work harder than you ever have in your life.

Quite frankly, from what I’ve seen, the Lightworker is probably the person a lot of people in these communities quickly become furious with.

*Note: I have been using The Enchanted Tarot deck by Amy Zerner and Monte Farber since I was about 8 years old and I draw on the description and interpretations of the cards in this deck for my article.

mental health

Coping with Severe Mental Health Issues: Part 1

Nobody wants to be defined by their mental illness. I certainly don’t! But when a persons psychological well-being has dropped to the lowest states and a person remains mentally and emotionally unwell for prolonged periods, affecting every moment of every day, sometimes it’s as if your illness or disorder is all that you are.

I can relate.

Helping others manage their mental health is my primary interest and purpose for creating this website. It’s the reason I sought education and training in nutrition, counselling, mindfulness and energy healing and the reason I study psychology. It’s the reason I sign up to workshops that are supposed to change your life and read spiritual, philosophical and psychology orientated books.

And mental illness is the reason I don’t always manage to create a blog post twice a month and why – though I was very keen to begin working in complementary therapies – I have been unable to start properly launching a complementary therapies business. Instead I just help out friends and family when I can with whatever issue my training and knowledge allows me to assist with.

I’ve noticed that people seem to trust me and come to me for guidance. They always have ever since I was young and it’s why I’ve wondered, if there’s such a thing as a life purpose, that mine may have something to do with taking my role as a guide seriously.

At school, when I was selected to take counselling training, the deputy head explained that I was being selected because I had a lot of problems and I understand what it’s like. I was just 12 years old, but what she meant was I understand suffering. I completely get suffering, because right from a young age I’d started to experience it at tremendous levels and yet my worst problems back then were feeling rejected by my peers and starting to pick out everything I hated about the way society works.

I like that people trust me enough to come to me with their issues, asking for advice or taking the opportunity to vent. Much of this occurs online, messages landing in one of my inboxes unexpectedly and every single time, as soon as I am ready to face the inbox, I draw in the persons words and my brain begins to work on overdrive, determined to deliver some sort of support that actually works!

It’s a relief for me to feel like there is at least one thing that I do sometimes that seems to be meaningful enough that I can’t consider my existence entirely useless!

There used to be a time I expressed how much I was struggling and what kind of life I lived day to day on social media. Every time it was a desperate plea for support and for people to understand just how badly I need their understanding and support before I get to my lowest states, where I’d be so unwell I’m beyond help because I can’t even face or talk to people.

Now I try to pretend that I’m normal and not still bang smack on the bottom rungs of the ladder of recovery, failing to pull myself up to the next rungs because it appears the rungs have fallen off somewhere along the way. It’s like there’s this huge hole in my ladder, stretching twenty feet high, and I’m not going to make my way up to the next available rung unless I strengthen all the right muscles and learn to shimmy my way up.

Pretending to be normal is risky business when your only hope of putting food on the table is applying for welfare because you couldn’t possibly hold down a normal job and there are people out there who most certainly want to ruin your life. You can’t be seen to be normal for even a minute in front of the wrong person.

Admitting that I’m not normal and not okay doesn’t seem like a smart move for my blog. I’m sure I’m supposed to be selling myself as someone who used to be at rock bottom, but then who figured out all the lifesaving tricks and secrets required to become a success story. I see those ads on Facebook all of the time.

One day you will tell your story of how you’ve overcome what you are going through now and it will become part of someone else’s survival guide.
~ buildbrotherhood

Honesty seems to be serving me well so far throughout my life and maybe I can see why some people come to me, instead of the success story. I don’t want to talk to one of those shiny, polished success stories right now either. They may remember what it’s like to struggle and they may empathise to a degree but they can’t always meet me where I’m at which is largely unsuccessful.

Honesty is important because remembering lies and keeping a false story straight is a lot more effort than I am mentally able to commit to. And I would agree with Dr. Jordan Peterson (12 Rules For Life: An Antidote for Chaos) that dishonesty makes you feel bad.

Honestly, I can’t believe people are even stopping to read these blogs. Nobody knows who I am and yet here you are. And you are absolutely amazing as far as I’m concerned. Thank you for reading.

And honestly, I’m an absolute mess at the best of times, trying to figure out how to make up for my lost late teens and twenties and not continue to drift through life aimlessly. I’m 31 years old and deeply concerned for the fact I don’t have it all together and convinced it means I can kiss goodbye to any idea of a career, soul-enriching relationships and repairing my family unit to include a man, some more dogs and more kids.

I’m such a mess at the best of times that I find myself unable to do the things I need to do to put myself in a healthier state where I may have some sort of miraculous breakthrough moment. I’m such a mess that I don’t show up to best friends birthday parties and skip half my aunts wedding. I’m the one who will plan a weekend break, paying for travel, a room and tickets to see a band and then stay at home. Music is one my biggest passions and even tickets to see one of my heroes playing live cannot magically defeat anxiety, depression, agoraphobia and the effects of trauma.

What the hell do you do when illness is kicking your ass that much, but you don’t really want to give up? What do you do when deep down you don’t really want to die or to continue to suffer and you’re  actually hoping for things to turn around and get better one day?

coping-with-severe-mental-health-issues-part-1

I think some of us are completely unresponsive to the messages from polished self-help coaches and “how to” guides, because that’s not at all what we need. We’re not stupid! And if we’ve already engulfed masses of self-help guides and information on how to be happy and healthy, or how to be successful, or how to cope with serious mental illness the issue is not really always that we don’t know what to do. We just simply can’t do it for whatever reason.

Sometimes what we really need and what is often running on short supply for most of us is an active listener. Counselling and psychotherapies aren’t advice-giving professions for good reason. We actually don’t often need coaches and guides telling us what to do, trying to solve our problems for us and giving us a sense of direction because part of being a successful, functional adult is doing these things for yourself.

We often just need someone we can bounce our thoughts and feelings off. We need a listener, so we can hear ourselves talk and maybe hear ourselves foolishly rationalising the irrational, or making mountains out of molehills, or being our own worst enemies. We need to express ourselves so we can realise ourselves.

And so, when you don’t have that person – the supportive friend or family member, the counsellor or the psychologist – the only thing you can do is become that person for yourself.

If nobody is going to listen to you, you need to listen to yourself. In fact, it might even be unrealistic to expect others to listen to you if you’re not already doing so.

It’s said that many of the most successful people in the world keep a journal. A journal is a safe space for an individual to pour their thoughts and feelings out onto paper without the patronising or well-meaning interruptions of somebody trying to help and thus getting in the way of your process of problem solving for yourself.

As long as you can think, you are perfectly able to hold an entire dialogue with yourself completely in your mind, and as long as you can talk, you are able to talk to yourself. Maybe you’d prefer to do it in a mirror. It might sound completely crazy, the notion of airing your complaints and pain to yourself as you’re obviously doing a lot of that already, but are you really listening when you do so, or are you getting so carried away in complaint that you’re not pausing to reflect?

Mindfulness of thought and emotion, as in observing your thoughts and emotions as they arise is a good technique to use to help you trace each negative thought and it’s resulting emotion back to the unhelpful belief that you have. Hearing yourself (or reading back to yourself) explaining a problem that you have can help you identify solutions and the real deeper issues behind something.

To refer back to Jordan Peterson again and his book 12 Rules for Life, we must treat ourselves as someone we are responsible for helping. Whether you respect Peterson and his book or not, and whether you fully understand this fundamental truth or not, unless we have completely diminished capacity for responsibility, we are ultimately responsible for ourselves no matter who we have around us in our lives.

I may be the human embodiment of the tremendously unsuccessful, defeated lobster, but I haven’t forgotten that management of my illness and lies with me first. I am responsible for being my own friend and my own caretaker especially where there is nobody else to do it, but even when there is support around. I am responsible for seeking help, accepting help and taking action.

I am responsible for listening to myself, non-critically and non-judgmentally and sitting with my problems until I figure out how I’m going to solve them. As long as I dare to wait for someone else or something outside of myself to fix the turmoil within, I risk being a state of waiting to be rescued forever.

 

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.

guided-meditation-with-ariana-august

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.

03cropped
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.

06.11.18
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!