Villian Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII
Hall of Mirrors, Personal Growth, Rant, Spirituality

It’s All About Me…

I’ve read a variety of authors in the various spiritual fields that I have dabbled. I recall very clearly reading “Songs of the Arcturians” – a channeled work – and being increasingly unsettled as they got more in-depth with their description of the Earth moving into the 4th Dimension and what they called the Harvest. Finally, it hit me. I literally blurted out loud “Are you talking about the Rapture??! Where those ‘enlightened’ and ‘chosen’ souls are transformed into energy and taken into wherever while all the rest of the poor slobs are left behind? That’s your Harvest??” Knowing the history of the idea for the Rapture, I now knew exactly who was talking to the preacher and how they’ve restyled themselves for this audience – using aliens instead of angels to gain an audience for their fear mongering. What a load of shit.

So yes, I read all kinds of things but I do so with a combination of an open mind and a yard stick to measure just how much sense is being made. I am a very critical thinker, and the first test is “does this make sense?” followed by “does this empower or disempower?” By and large, most channeled entities are not particularly worth the read. Neale Donald Walsch is one of the good ones. Ramtha? Not so much. Ruth Montgomery? Ok. Seth? Holy shit, that rocked my world and still does every time I re-read it.

I’m rereading it now, but I’m doing so aloud and recording it. I’m not the best reader, so I stumble and yawn but I’m doing it so I can play back the chapters while I sleep. I shared them with a friend, but really, I’m a crappy reader so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if I got a “yeaaaaah, you can stop sharing them now”. Tonight’s chapter was 6 – The Soul and the Nature of Its Perception.

Now I’ve long held the idea that I am my soul, and my soul is me, but the soul is much larger than the me. Like my liver is part of me but the liver is not the sum of me. The idea that we can “lose” or “barter away” our souls, even as a kid, had me raising my eyebrows. “What, is your soul a sock?” Even so, I was even more of a social pariah by rejecting the notion that my soul needed to be ‘saved’ or ‘redeemed’. It’s not a poker chip! Cashing it in for some reward is utterly ludicrous to me. For the life of me, I simply fail to grasp the concepts associated with the thinking that supports these ideas — and this is my freakin’ family. I just … I don’t get it. It makes no sense, and yet I understand that folks are where they are. *sigh* But I digress.

Tonight’s reading had me running across a phrase which immediately led me down a rabbit hole – even if it was a review. It’s a good review. Here’s the quote:

…the thought creates the reality. Then the creator of the thought (me) perceives the object (created), and (I) do not understand the connection between (me) and this seemingly separate thing.

Bam! Here is the first three sephiroth, the yin yang, the Word. I view reality as being quite essentially simple:

The Me.
The Not-Me.
The Relationship Between Them.

That’s it. That what reality distills down in to for me. That which I-Am interacts with that which I PERCEIVE as being I-Am-Not, and how do I feel about that, do with that, not do with that, etc.

In ultimate reality, there is only I-Am, but in order to experience myself there MUST be something that I am not – and so artificial division begins. I have attempted many times to express this, but usually get blank stares or “do you have to get your hair cut in heaven” level of “I am clueless” questions.

I see the world tearing itself apart over false divisions and on one level, I do not understand. If I’m in the headspace where the yin-yang is indeed manifestation, then I am flummoxed. All I see is the right hand trying to chop off the left – lunacy. But if I’m in the everyday world headspace where the Not-Me far outweighs the Me, then I understand very well but I am sad. It means that too few understand, truly “get it”, and we are carving out necessary organs while screaming “evil” at our livers, hearts, lungs… believing in our own righteousness.

 

About the Featured Image: It’s from a video game called Final Fantasy VII, this image being created by I believe Darkskyx and shared on MobaSkins.com (link is in the alt-tag). I chose this because (1) I love villains and (2) it’s a freakin’ ass cool image but also because of the imagery of the dark winged angel and the use of Sephiroth as his name. It ties a lot of individual themes together for me and relates to the content of this post in that way.

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Archetypes, Emotions, Hall of Mirrors, Personal Growth

What the Child-Mind Decides…

Have you ever had a moment which changed everything?

Sometimes those moments are good, sometimes not. Sometimes, things just change – not good or bad, just … different.

I had one of those moments last summer. It shattered an idea that I had which I would have sworn up and down was complete idiocy – and yet, the moment it shattered is the moment I knew that it had been so deeply imbedded that it had colored everything I saw of the world.

See, the very first aspect of ourselves who first faces this world is the Child Self. An infant, a toddler, a kid must learn very quickly How The World Works so that they attempt to survive. Caroline Myss calls the Child archetype one of the 4 core survival archetypes, but my take is a little to the side. While still a major survival archetype,  I view the Child as our “Guardian of Faith.” By this I mean that a child figures out How The World Works because those are the rules they managed to live by, and I mean literally ‘survive because of’. Those stories a child has, makes up, decides rule everything of how we see the world going forward. Not only see, but interact with, expect.

Rarely, very rarely, do those stories, those rules, that Faith in How The World Works gets challenged. How many ideas do you have are because a 2-year-old, a 4-year-old, a 6-year-old version of you decided it was so? I’m learning that I have thousands of them, thousands of core ideas which are hiding so deep in the psyche that until they get challenged I don’t have much hope of finding them myself.

I’m at work one day, and my co-worker is a young man, mid- to late-twenties. A real “guns and cars” kind of guy who gets a kick out of his mutton chops or that weird thin-beard-but-shaved-chin kind of stuff. His phone rings and in that moment he learns that a long-time friend has just been killed in a car accident not more than a few miles from where we were standing. He had plans to go hang with this friend on the weekend. He’s devastated. He actually starts crying. Like real tears. Not a messy sobby kind of cry, but the kind of cry where ‘this hurts so deep I can’t stop it’.

That was the moment. I had never seen so much obvious, undeniable emotion from a man before. Not even from my father at his own dad’s funeral. I’d never seen a man cry before.

*shattering glass*

Men do have emotions.

Whoa. WTF? Where did that thought come from??? Of COURSE they have emotions….

Right?

Apparently, my Child self had decided at some point early on that males didn’t really feel anything deeply. Not really. Obviously they had emotions, but only on the surface.

By now, I’m freaking the fuck out because where the hell did this idea get into my head and just how much has it been affecting me and my interactions with others?? Honestly, I have no idea when but it doesn’t take a genius to quickly remember that a Real Man is “strong” because he doesn’t show his emotions, and to a child that gets translated as “he doesn’t have emotions”. I mean, what a child can’t see…

Peek-A-Boo!!

Since then, I’ve been looking around, watching specifically men interacting with emotion. I watch them playing with dogs, kids, friends, etc. It’s like suddenly having a filter taken off, to reveal that the green grass is actually quite a strikingly vivid hue when it never really registered before.

I also feel quite a bit of shame that this thought was in there, in me. Part of me, part of my concept of How The World Works. But it’s wrong. It doesn’t work that way.

I can’t be the only child-mind who ever reached this conclusion. It is, after all, an ideal of the Patriarchy. And it took a guy so comfortable with his own emotions that he could cry openly after learning a cherished friend had died in order for me to see it clearly.

Damn.

I told him all this later, and thanked him for helping me learn something about myself I didn’t know. He was quite humbled, I think. Now? I absolutely LOVE watching guys being all emotional, most especially when they are expressing caring. Heh. Making up for lost time?

 

About the Featured Image: It’s from WWII I think, based on the helmet and uniform. I don’t know who to give the credit to, but it’s a famous picture. A soldier in a bunker/fox hole patiently bottle feeding a tiny kitten. A perfect demonstration of masculine humanity.

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Astrology, Dreaming, Magick, Personal Growth

Personal Dream Lexicons

With regard to western mystery traditions, someone asked the group: why do we start by studying symbols?

I answered “because it trains your brain to think differently.” In truth, learning how to speak the language of symbols trains your consciousness to think differently. All other parts of the brain (and body!!) ALREADY communicate symbolically. Words are a learned construct, but symbolic thought is native.

In that metaphysics class I took in 1991, in response to a query I relayed that thought without words is entirely possible – but after a lifetime of learning to communicate with words, that we then have to re-learn how to think without words. My exercise was to watch the sunset and think specific ideas without using words. That was a much harder exercise than I expected, but when it was finally mastered … oh, boy. The world opened up!

So when going into a Western Hermetic practice, learning about the elements, astrology, the Tree of Life, etc, is all about learning to master the symbolic language. Unfortunately, for most people it stays here, at the surface level with words in our brains. When a symbolic language has “sunk in” and you can say something like “she’s so earth” and that statement has a visceral feeling and set of concepts attached to it, that’s when the language has gone deeper.

But I had a thought while listening to this. It’s great and wonderful to adopt a set of symbols which have been in active use for thousands of years, but what about the internally meaningful symbolic language that we already speak? Why learn a second language without recognizing that we already speak a language? By this, I mean dreams. My brain has a rather rich set of symbols that it uses to attempt to communicate with me. As soon as I’ve finally figured out one symbol, it’s like the subconscious breaths a sigh of relief and starts upping the details.

I likened this process to the subconscious playing a game of charades with the conscious mind. “3 words, first word….” I got it! “next word” …. Oh.

In this beginner level, so far I’m seeing nothing about learning your own symbolic language, about learning how to listen first. Instead I hear a lot of words which translate to “control the outcome by stuffing the conscious agenda down the subconscious’ throat until we get what we want.” … Of course that is NOT how it’s stated, at all. But in order to be a fully conscious person I first have to listen to my own symbol set and learn to read them. For example, I’ve studied astrology for decades and speak the language quite fluently. So much so that it does speak to me when I look at charts. But my subconscious has never once used that symbol set to communicate with me in dreams… Ok. I take that back. I had a dream about a kitten being backed into a corner and harassed by a crab and scorpion — which knowing that cats are me, I was able to realize the crab and scorpion were my Cancer and Scorpio ex-in-laws. But that’s it. Just one dream, and the symbols were used to convey identity.

So what is your personal symbolic language? I’ve learned that mine is very animal centric. Not particularly surprising since I love animals so. What was surprising is that different animals are used to represent different levels of myself.

PotI’s Truncated Dream Lexicon:

Cat or kittens are my waking self, more specifically my concept of myself. Until I figured this out, all the cats in my dreams were sick, dying, mangy or otherwise unhealthy. Once I realized what was being shown to me, I was able to address it. The representation then immediately changed to healthy cats, but now they are adults or babies in varying degrees.

Dragons are often my spiritual self. The most dramatic dream was of an earth dragon trapped half-in half-out of the ground. It caught my attention, then scooped up a cat and deliberately crushed the cat to death in front of my face. The message was clear – if my spiritual self remained stuck in a half-birthed condition, the waking self will suffer. Well I addressed that one and now the dragons fly free in the sky in my dreams, present but not an actor.

Horses are very, very common in my dreams and when I finally realized that they represented my raw emotional self, that was a major turning point. They stopped being left to die in train cars to being willing to carry me to safety when I needed it. One even tried repeatedly to kill me by running at me, so I had to learn to deal with him in a constructive rather than combative way. He is now my ally when I need rage to see me through something.

Hamsters and rats are the other common dream animals, and I haven’t yet figured out what they mean but I know that they too represent some aspect of myself. I used to raise hamsters and think rats are awesome, so I know it’s positive. … It suddenly occurred to me that hamsters are solitary and rats are communal. Perhaps they are different aspects of my social self?

Here’s a non-animal one. Houses change their meaning depending on the circumstance. If I dream of a house that is being broken into or I have to defend, that’s literally a warning from my immune system that the body is under attack. I’ve successfully used this warning system to minimize or bypass many health issues. I’ve even used these dreams to track down and destroy issues, waking up on the mend. Sweet! But houses under construction usually mean something in my psyche is changing. Where the construction is and the scope of it can tell me what is happening to my internal landscape. Lastly, when I go to attics or basements in dreams, this is an attempt to call my attention to hidden aspects of myself which haven’t yet come to light but I’m ready or need to find them.

PotI’s Interpretation Approach:

Robert Moss loves the phrase “if it were my dream, I’d interpret it as…”. I’ve tried that. Doesn’t really work for me. I tend to say something like “have you thought about X interpretation?” or “do you think it might mean Y?”. I try to never say “Oh clearly it means L” because your dream lexicon is YOURS. That said, if I hear something come up repeatedly, that means something. I’ll call that out, and then try rephrasing the dream without specifics. One recent example: So an underground conduit needed repair and that’s when you discovered it was full of coyote puppies?

Once it’s rephrased like that, essentially distilled, often a meaning will just leap out at me. While it can be much easier to do that with other people’s dreams, every now and then I can do with my own and it’s very much a forehead smack moment. Duh!

So yes, study symbolism. It’s the language of the mind and the spirit. But in the study, include your own symbol set. I maintain that your subconscious will be far more likely to work with you (conscious self) if it sees that you’re willing to work with it too. Indeed, that’s what opens the doorway to random flashes of insight!

 

About the Featured Image: It’s a scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, where Richard Dreyfus’ character uses potatoes to try to unlock a subconscious hidden message.

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Personal Growth

Touch Hunger

I am an AVID reader. AVID. Voracious. Mainly these days it’s paranormal romance. I read it like others eat candy. Some of it is actually really good. One of my favorite series is the Psy/Changeling series by Nalini Singh. She explores a lot of the same themes in her stuff that I do in mine, so bonus! But one concept she has that I absolutely fell in love with is something she terms “touch hunger”.

The idea is that her changelings are very tactile, and pack/social bonds are constantly being strengthened and augmented through physical touch. Kisses, hugs, casual drapes, even sex is fairly typical. Without that constant physical input, however, these characters start to get unbalanced.

I never really thought of myself as a particularly affectionate person. I’m not one hug or drape while watching TV or hold hands or stroke hair per se … or at least I didn’t think so. But now that it’s many way too long without any kind of contact other than a few hugs when I visited home recently, I’m starting to wonder if I have some form of Touch Hunger. I’m actually somewhat toying with starting a “snuggle group” — no sexual stuff, just plain old “you’re alive and I’m glad you’re here” kind of touching. Maybe a pile of people while watching TV, or sitting in a circle while we just brush each other’s hair (very primate of me there). I’m not interested in hitting on anyone, but this kind of touching is what I prefer. I think I cut that touchy part of me off when I was very young and declared myself “not affectionate” because too often it got taken the wrong way.

“Dude, I’m just leaning against you while watching TV. That is not a declaration that I want to have your babies.”

Now I’m old(er). Nobody gives a shit, so … cool. *steeples fingers and taps chin* I’ll think I’ll take advantage of this.

That’s yet another reason I like animals, I think. I can cuddle and snuggle and pet and run my fingers through their wonderful fur for as long as they can stand it and that’s that. “Until next time, ciao baby” says my cat as he saunters off, fur all mussed.

I also think it’s why tactile sensation is so important to me. If it doesn’t feel good to my hands, don’t even think about offering for me to wear it. Or sleep on it. Or sit on it. Nope. I actually literally shop by putting my hand out and walking down the aisles. When something feels really nice, I’ll stop and look at it. This method works REALLY well for thrift store or sale rack shopping, by the way. It’s like my clothes become the surrogate physical human contact my soul craves. I’m now working to fix this in a small way by being a lot more forthright about hugging people. It’s like a tiny one-hug-at-a-time FU to societal touch-phobia.

Touch hunger. What a wonderful concept! And all together way too tragically common.

Of course, if you want to get all scientific or psychology-y, the term is more commonly called skin hunger. A lot of great articles about it. I was just musing on the relationship between touch-hunger and repressed affection due to society or interpersonal miscommunications.

 

About the featured image: I can literally feel the pull toward this picture! I have no idea where it came from, but I found it on an article appropriately titled “Skin Hunger: How important is the human touch?

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Dreaming, Spirituality

Friends: Spirit and In-The-Flesh

Interesting question tonight on dream friends.

Most folks have dreams in which their real life friends play a part to some degree or other. At least, I assume so since those dreamers I know also report the same phenomena and I figure we’re all fairly typical for humans. Then a friend idly wondered if we had friends in the dream realms.

My immediate off-the-cuff answer – yes, of course.

*blink* Really?

Then I thought about it for a moment, and it made total sense. Just because I happen to be corporeal at the moment does not mean that my soul-existence has been suspended. Quite the contrary. My take is that the soul-self is massive, with many layers, one of which happens to be PotI and is writing this blog. Other parts include all my ‘past’ and ‘future’ lives as well. Actually I really love the metaphor of an author when it comes to the soul.

As an author, at any one time I have dozens of characters ruminating in my head, each with their own world, history, story, agenda, friends, enemies, etc. Some of those characters happen to be writers, with their own characters. When I write about one, the others don’t “vanish” or cease to exist — they just aren’t the focus. I kinda imagine that me as the ego running around Earth right now am the focus of the soul/author, working to craft the story which I call my life. Sometimes the story is set, and sometimes I as the character do something that surprises the author, etc. What’s really cool is that this life story has billions of other authors, all working collaboratively to tell a collective story centered around their own character of choice.

So I the soul self/author have friends outside of this tableau. Those who decided not to come into this particular chapter of the World Story, or who are indeed in it just remote from me the character. See physicality isn’t a limiting factor to the soul self, it’s just another element of the story which has to be factored in. And when I the character/ego go to sleep, I am free from many of the limits that my waking ego requires in order to navigate the physical world. I can dream.

There I visit others, and others visit me. Sometimes I recognize them, other times I don’t. For me, usually I don’t. I do have dream guides which look different from dream to dream, but I recognize the energy. I know that sometimes I’m the student, other times I’m the teacher. Sometimes I’m the visitor, sometimes I’m the visited. That said, I think the vast majority (like 97% +/-) are props that my subconscious is using to convey messages.

So that’s my take anyway, that just because we decided to come to Earth School doesn’t mean that we’ve cut the lines of the communication with our incorporeal and even corporeal but distant friends.

 

About the featured image: A really awesome image showing what I interpret to be a group of friends. Done by >RiverSpirit456 over on DeviantArt. Good stuff!

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Reincarnation, Spirituality

Irrelevant Relevancies …

Long ago, I had a metaphysics discussion with a friend who had a very different foundation from me. We were talking about reincarnation and he said something or other to the effect of “that doesn’t take into account the rise in population.”

Completely and utterly baffled by this statement, I replied “No, improvements in sanitation and medicine do.” And we went on with the conversation.

His statement so dumbfounded me that it played in the back back back corners of my mind as I chewed through “what the hell did he mean by this?? how is the rise in population relevant to a discussion about reincarnation????”

Then one day, years later, it dawned on me: he thought that the pool of human souls was a static and finite one, and that by “recycling” to come back and live again eventually we’d run out and there just wouldn’t be enough souls to do that with. Since our population is now above whatever finite number he had in mind, then obviously reincarnation is impossible.

*slow blink* OMG. Clearly, that concept was beyond foreign because it literally took me over a decade to understand where he was coming from.

 

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Astrology, Spirituality

When Tarot Readings Are Good…

Last year I signed up for a Tarot class at the newly established local occult bookstore. I did it more to support the store than because I had a burning desire to revisit tarot. I went to a few classes and then life happened, so we decided to “bank” the remaining classes. A year later, I cashed in a class credit for a reading. Never had a tarot reading from a professional before.

Overall, I got the reply to “stay the course” and all of the cards were either major arcana or aces, just a single numerical card! Cool. Definitely not a “this is a routine, run-of-the-mill question we’re answering” type of spread. One of the cards was the Magician reversed, and within the reading she said something to effect of this aspect of my character was cut off in the past. We revisited that later on and she ended up saying that she saw me as a transformation facilitator – specifically through the realms of death and loss.

Considering that my “go to” god of choice is Anubis, I had to laugh at that one.

If I had a small animal sanctuary, it would be dedicated to the elderly and dying. It would be an animal hospice. My husband was horrified by this idea, thinking it was emotional cruelty to love something only to watch it die. I rather figure “isn’t that life?” If I were to have a therapy dog, which I plan to have, I will focus on the hospices, especially those people without family. No one should have to face their own mortality alone. Just the thought of it makes me cry.

I was home alone one Saturday when I got up, picked up my keys and walked out the door. Halfway down the stairs, I asked myself ‘where am I going?’ and was told ‘We’re going to McDonalds to get an ice cream cone.’ ‘But I don’t want a cone…’ I replied but my feet took me resolutely to the car. ‘Ok, I could use a cone.’ When I got there, it was just starting to drizzle. In the middle of the drive-up was this tiny calico kitten sitting all sphinx-like, sleeping. I got out and picked this little gal up by the scruff of the neck, at which point she awoke hissing and spitting. It concerned me that this feral kitten didn’t wake up sooner when being approached in the open. I tried to feed her when I got home, but noticed that it appeared food literally went straight through her system. This baby kitten, less than 9 weeks old, died the next day due to a birth defect which bypassed all the digestive tract. But she died warm, loved and purring, rather than cold, wet and alone. While saddened by the loss, I also know I did exactly what I was asked to do, challenged to do. And that act felt very right to me.

So maybe I am a gatekeeper of sorts between life and death, the Sun and Pluto? Astrologically, my Sun does opposition my Pluto almost to the second and I have yet to figure out how to make this work for me. Transition gatekeeper? Who knows?

 

About the featured image: I have no freakin’ idea what this anime is, but I plan to find it and watch it! Apparently, this is a character from Death Parade.

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