Earth, Hermetic, Magick

Let’s be Clear about the Objectives, Shall We?

Going to an event tomorrow to promote my business. Been focused on that and haven’t had a lot of time for writing or study, but I did catch the latest episode from my virtual temple. The topic: scrying, though their definition of scrying is not what I typically think of. Typically, I think of “spying remotely” but here they mean astral traveling to a specific location.

The speaker was good, but as usual he left out the fundamentals. At least, I think of them as the fundamentals. By this, I mean: Why study this? Why practice this? What is its purpose?

Now I’m a teacher at heart and often find myself in that role regardless of the situation. So here in the class is the instructor leaving out something which is so basic – as least, I think so. I ask that question. I pretty much have a good idea of what the answer is, but I want it stated. No assumptions. I want to know what YOUR take on why this particular practice is included in your curriculum of hermetic studies.

The answer I get? Paraphrased: it’s waking you up the existence of the inner planes. …. solar body … lunar body … more levels of reality than we can see …

By now, my eyebrow is raised and I’m thinking: Really? You’re going with this abstract, high-level, non-specific answer and honestly think you’ve addressed the question?

Suddenly I understand my husband’s frustration when he asks me “but WHY do you want to be a whole and complete human? What does that MEAN?” I’ve always answered in very abstract, remote concepts which were so high-level and so removed from everyday, practical, applicable reality that they were useless. Huh. Interesting.

While I understood the teacher’s answer, I imagine how I’d receive that if I’m a complete newbie. It would mean nothing to me but gobbledygook – it’s too high level and ‘out there’. Here’s what I was looking for, but whether it is correct or not is unknown.

  1. You’re learning this so that you can have the practice of focusing your will, your visualization process in a directed and intentionally specific way. It’s building mental stamina.
  2. You’re learning this so that you can begin to discern the difference between pure flights of fancy and actual travel to the inner planes. I can explain it until the cows come home, but this is a mystery that you have to experience for yourself to truly comprehend. Once comprehension starts, we’ll expand on that.
  3. You’re learning this so that you get a working knowledge of the inner planes. More specifically, that you gain the experience to go where you intend to go. Deliberately going to specific destinations when you intend to do so.

See. Those are real answers, solid and grounded right here in everyday life. Not sure if any of these actually apply to this particular topic, but that is more along the lines of what I was expecting. I’ve mentioned this before in one of my posts on the importance of Earth first and the danger of getting too in-your-head (ie air), and one of those dangers is being unable to connect the idea with the ground on which you want to build. Both the teacher and the moderator of this class are far more learned than I am on this topic, but perhaps that’s where my “give me the whys and the underpinnings” approach can really help solidify things. Right now I look around and see a bunch of beautiful castles … floating.


About the featured image: Ignacio Font’s “A Season in Hell” drawing. It’s abstract art that had me saying “what the hell is this supposed to mean?” despite what could be construed as a fairly clear  title.


Earth, Hermetic, Personal Growth

Fleshing Out Earth First

I reviewed the audio notes on Earth that I took when I was driving to San Francisco. Wow. I was totally in the zone. Heh. I haven’t touched on a fraction of what I rambled on. So let me revisit the question: Why Earth first?

I touched a wee smidge on it during this post here, but I think the bigger reasons are these three:


Those are the big three which must really be understood and mastered before moving on EFFECTIVELY. Sure you can get the gist of it and move on, but until these three are actually mastered then effectiveness is lacking. And I know a boat ton of magicians who are entirely ineffective.

Click here to listen to the 8 min audio where I originally talked through these concepts. I’m really sorry but the trial version of the audio editing software added a really annoying voice over every few seconds and I am WAY too cheap to pay $60 for the non-trial version just to get rid of it for this post.

Consequences. In the post I cited, I talked about response times and that earth has comparatively slow response times when compared with the other elements. What working with slower response times affords the opportunity to master is consequences of actions taken. Earth does not give a rip WHY something is done, just that it WAS gone. In architecture, the building either stands or it falls. Excuses won’t prop it up.  With the victim mentality we’ve totally got going on right now, everything is being excused as if this somehow negates the consequences. Wrong. I think this is why Earth is likewise disliked by spiritualists — results matter (matter, heh), intention means nothing. In the analogy I was spoke about, skipping this part in favor of the “cooler” stuff is like teaching someone to launch nuclear weapons without teaching them the consequences of their actions. When it comes to earth, it is the king of consequences. You get pretty much exactly what you deserve based on what you chose to act on.

Boundaries. Egad, the importance of this cannot be understated. Without boundaries, effectiveness is non-existent. It’s like trying to sculpt with water – an exercise in futility if ever there was one. In order to sculpt with it, it has hold it’s shape and that’s where boundaries come in. My own boundaries are shit, so my own effectiveness is severely limited due to this. Knowing this, it’s what I’m most actively working on.

Capacity. By going through the work of this dense element, I am learning how to handle the higher voltage that I’m reaching for. Imagine we are born in the range of 20 to 40 watt light bulbs, but what we are striving to work with is 60 to 120 watt levels of energy. If you’ve ever run 120 watts through a 20 watt bulb, you know exactly what the consequences are!

So these three are the big triumvirate which should result from working with Earth if you’re on one of the typical Western Mystery Tradition paths.

Caveat: I’m not yet an initiate. This all comes from years of self-guided study, more reading sources than I can name and intuition.

Astrology, Earth, Personal Growth

Earth School and Communication

I tend to have a different perspective on things. I have no idea why, but I do know that perhaps the only person who has easily come to similar types of conclusions that I do is actually the spiritual guide Robert Ohotto – whom I adore and can’t say enough good things about. The number of times he’s said something that I responded to with a “thank GOD someone else sees that” or “oh, yeah, I forgot, thanks for the reminder” is actually too numerous to count. That said, there’s plenty of times he’s come out with something that has me reeling because I hadn’t thought of it that way, or at all.

Every now and again, he’ll say something that I feel slightly differently than. This post is going to be the explanation of one such thing. Oh yes, and everything I mention will be wildly generalized with regards to timeline.

The scenario: Listening to Ohotto’s “Saturn in Sagittarius” series. Brilliant, by the way. Go get it if you’re serious about any sort of spiritual or personal growth. Task 3, I think, is getting rid of the distractions. Specifically, he’s targeting social media as a source of distraction which we use to deflect attention away from what we should be working on.

Social media as a distraction. Hell, yes, it is. But guess what? It’s a seriously stepped up training ground, is what it is. Being a student of human history, I see things that most don’t. I look at timelines that are hundreds and sometimes even thousands of years long. As a society, “western culture” has been marching slowly toward the very real fact that “all is one”. Not like a Borg “all is one, resistance is futile” but more of a cohesive unit made up many different parts … like a body.

The internet as a whole is the latest incarnation of speeding up communication to more closely mimic the speed of thought. This process began with the introduction of the printing press. Suddenly now books could be produced at speeds before unheard of. Flash forward a few centuries and newspapers slowly began to develop. Another century, now add a more reliable mail system. Each of these steps is about evolving the ability to communicate over more distance with greater speed and reliability. Well now we need public schools, because how can you join in this without knowing how to read/write?? Then comes the telegraph, the telephone, radio, TV … The internet. Blogging, which gave birth to social media.

Now anyone can write whatever they want and put it out there. Immediately. No filters. No oversight. Just … BAM. There it is. Each of the steps listed above has made the world just a hair smaller, until the internet means I can communicate real time with someone on the other side of the world. That’s staggering.

Ohotto has a phrase that I love – Earth School. Perfect. I’m so swiping that.

By and large, I’m not really a fan of channeled works (yes, this relates. bear with me) with the notable exception of Seth. That one blew me away. Literally. While reading that set of books I had THE most profound, amazing, awe inspiring, humbling dreams ever. From having multi-dimensional beings composed of light and dark giving me one-on-one lessons to having a download about the story behind Genesis. Holy crap! I still adore Seth, but he’s definitely not for the faint of heart or even the average spiritualist. 99% of the people I hear trying to pull from Seth sound like that song by Crash Test Dummies. Where the people are sitting down to a picnic with God, GOD, and ask if they need to get their hair cut in heaven. *doh!* Not saying I get every thing he talks about, but still. So anyway, one of the statements that Seth made which really resonated as Truth to me is that part of the lesson of Earth School is to learn how to manage the power of our thoughts.

Imagine if everything single thing you thought, no matter how silly, dangerous, innocuous or fun, happened immediately … if there was no barrier with thought and reality. In short, Earth School is like a set of training wheels when it comes to learning how to manage this ability. The density is a requirement, slowing down the chain of manifestation to that which is actually intentionally acted on and worked toward – thank you Saturn!

So back to social media. We’ve had about 6 centuries of speeding up communication to the point of now instantaneous, globe encompassing capacity to speak to each other, thoughts are now being traded at a phenomenally rapid rate. But right now, it’s largely just communication. While our ability to travel has also increased rapidly since horses became common (they weren’t common to the average farmer class until about 3 centuries ago, give or take), we still have the lag required to get on a plane and travel somewhere. Granted, some people have access to buttons which can “send a message” of an explosive sort immediately, but not the average person. I can’t hear something someone said, teleport to them to punch them in the face or give them a hug. Nope, there’s still some lag there. Thank god! *shudders at the thought of teleportation right now*

So we have all this in the mish-mash of what I see. I also see that humans are actually telepathic by nature, and that Earth School is doing a mighty fine job of putting a nicely dense layer of insulation between me and the rest of the world. But if I’m here to learn how to manage my own thoughts and the power related thereto, then I also need to learn to deal with you and your thoughts. Human history has hundreds of thousands of years of that particular aspect to pull from, so it’s time to step it up.

And this is where social media comes into play. I now have the training opportunity to learn how to manage what flows in to my psychic field. Again, Earth School style – where the denser element of this reality means that I’m fortunately NOT simultaneous bombarded by every one’s reality in addition pictures of their dinner. So I get to manage not only what I post, to whom and how often, I also have to learn to filter that which is flowing through my various feeds. It’s literally telepathy with training wheels! Brilliant!!!

Do I think social media is a distraction? Oh heck yes. I spend far too many hours playing around on FaceBook, if for no other reason then to feel a little less alone in this crowded, noisy world. Of course, I also reach for FaceBook and literally think “entertain me”, so yes, it’s a distraction. But like all forms of play, it’s a distraction that serves the greater purpose. And that greater purpose is something that  has been unfolding for centuries, eons even, in a slow, Earth School march that we all agreed to partake in.

Earth, Hermetic, Magick

Earth First & Response Times

In most every magical system I’m aware of that uses the elements, earth is usually the first one in the line up that the student is expected to understand. Granted, the majority of the magical systems I’m aware of come from the Golden Dawn framework so I don’t know about Enochian or Chaos or others.

Why? Why is earth the first one? Remember my post on Earth Shadow Dancing, in which I address the precept that HUGELY impacts any spiritual journey? Namely that anything earthy or material or bodily is “bad”. Complete horse shit, but still an ancient and pervading idea. So why earth first? Especially if the material world in any form is so anathema to spiritual pursuits. I’ve heard it said that it’s first in order to get it out of the way so you can move on to the doing the real work.

Pardon me here, but *smack*. No.

It’s first because it’s literally the first element that you encounter. Are you breathing? Is your heart beating? Guess what, that’s earth. You are a living manifestation of Earth. Your body IS Earth. It’s the vehicle which you are driving throughout this lifetime, and the countryside and the road are all EARTH. We are surrounded by earth. We eat – earth. We eliminate waste – earth. We reproduce – earth. We fear for our survival – earth. We want things – earth.

Earth is the first element we are introduced to and asked to master because it’s, as I’ve said multiple times, the FOUNDATION. Everything comes from earth. Dissing it does me no good. NO GOOD. But learning to work with it… Aaaah. Now we’re getting somewhere. Until I can master earth, trying to work with air is just plain stupid.

I’ve long has this idea that physical manifestation here is a spiritual training ground where we learn the power of our thoughts and resulting manifestation. What we think is what we experience. How we perceive the world is how we interpret events. Is your foundational concept of life is that it’s evil and out to get you? Well then events will be interpreted in that light. Floods are punishments, that sort of thing. From our perceptions, our preconceptions, come what is possible and what is not. Were you born into the place/time/family you were and that’s that, or do you have permission to reach for more? Or less. These beliefs affect your material world in terms of the actions you will or will not take, the possibilities that may or may not see.

To me, a big part of the lesson of Earth is recognizing the impact that my emotions and thoughts have on my capacity to influence my earthly existence. Fortunately, earth is dense — that means there’s a buffer zone between “thought” and “action” and “reaction”. Sometimes it’s a very short buffer zone, sometimes it’s very long. But for 99.9% of humanity thinking something does not immediately make it manifest. It’s earth, the buffer zone requires action on our part. Earth is place of DOING.

I can imagine the greatest, grandest, most gorgeous building ever conceived of – but I have to build it. That is the lesson of earth. You get what you build. There is no short-circuiting this. You get what you build. Either build it conscious or unconsciously, but every action, every decision is building something.

What’s really awesome about earth is that it doesn’t give a shit what my justification is. If I take an action, this is the outcome. Period. Change the action, change the outcome. Period. Why I did it has no bearing at all. Action –> Outcome. Done. I am getting what I am building. Am I building without being aware of what I’m doing? Hell yes, most people are. The magician seeks to build intentionally, just as the practitioner of conscious awareness seeks the same. Only a fool thinks every action they take is a conscious one.

Until I know viscerally that link between result and action, I have not mastered earth. Moving on to any of the other elements without this foundation means … ungrounded! Without a solid grounding, I can’t hold my center. I can’t handle the energy that I’m trying to work with. I’ll get swept away or lost. The actions that I take when I’m ungrounded do not build what I want them to build. They cannot, because I can’t see clearly the link between the two. That’s what ungrounded is.

Making earth the first element of the system means it’s core. You don’t ever “move past it”! Egad! Moving past earth means “now I’m ungrounded” which is pretty much saying “now I’m ineffective.”

Back to the buffer zone concept. This is what I call the response time differential. In an earthly existence, there is a slow response time between conception and manifestation. Consider pregnancy the perfect analogy. When a soul wants to manifest into this world, there must be a facilitator which enables this to happen – and it takes time, building the body from two half cells into a single entity capable of moving independently through this world. Same deal. No soul suddenly pops into existence here. Ditto with thought forms. They remain incorporeal until action is taken to enable manifestation in some form or other.

But when we start moving through the elements, especially fire, the response time is shorter and shorter. Fire constructs on an abstract level are immediate. If I’m working in fire and I don’t have the slower response time as practice to handle what I’m working with, then I can easily be overwhelmed. Imagine playing a game like Tetris, which drops shaped blocks. I have to learn how to stack them just so when they are falling slowly. The game continues to pick up speed until I literally cannot handle it any more and I’m tossing blocks down wrong and the screen fills up and EEEEEH game over. That’s exactly the same progression. Working with earth is the slow moving game, allowing me to practice moving things here and there until I understand how they work. Then the game picks up speed, and again and again. Imagine if I tried to start playing at the higher levels without that foundation? Yuck.

That’s my take anyway. The grounded magicians are the effective magicians. The grounded visionaries are the people who can see the links or steps it takes to make their vision manifest into reality. Bill Gates without the grounding would NEVER have built Microsoft, no matter how good the vision was. It’s having the capacity to bring a vision down into the earth realm and take the steps needed to birth it into reality that make an effective magician. Thus, Earth is first. And you never move “past” it. It’s at the core.


Tree Talker

I don’t remember where I heard this story, but I was told that the trees carry the memory of the land. There are some people who have the ability to “talk” to the trees, to access this memory. When I first heard this at the ripe old age of 21, I was intrigued. I’ve always loved trees, in fact used to “reach out” to them energetically when I was a distance runner, asking their help by lending me the power of their endurance so that I could run farther. I did this starting at about 15 because it just ‘felt right’ to ask them, and at that point had not heard the story of being able to talk to trees. I always imagined that they responded to my requests for help, and I always ran strong and finished every race — even on a strained tendon. Don’t recommend that one, by the way.

So several years later I learn of the Tree Talkers and decide I’d give it a go. This was a time when I was doing a LOT of active energetic experimentation. In rather short order, I could indeed feel the energy of the trees. I learned that the older the tree, the more readily I could access this. Since I was on the East Coast, that meant Oak trees and Maple trees were particularly good. One day, I was down by the river with my friends and touched a trunk of a massive, centuries old Oak. Immediately the modern world disappeared, and I saw a rapid review of the history of the river basin over the course of centuries – far older than just this tree but instead the memory of the forest itself. The vision ended with a pack of wolves leaping over a fallen log. One other member of my experimentation group immediately spun around to me and said “what did you just do?!” I asked what she felt, and she said it felt like a wave of energy just rolled out and through the area. It made her dizzy enough she had to sit down. I told her of the vision that the tree shared with me.

This was by far the most dramatic personal Tree Talker incident. The day I drove by a set of 3 ancient maple trees being cut down to make room for a road expansion and felt the horror of it from the tree’s perspective, that’s the day I began to shut it down. Trees have a very definite awareness, of which we in general are utterly oblivious. Seeing and feeling trees being cut down is a painful experience for me, and I don’t mean pain as in physical. It’s deeper than that. Imagine someone reached into your mind and began to remove your most cherished memory. It doesn’t hurt, not physically, but as the bits and pieces go you feel a sense of loss, a sense that you are no longer whole, and are missing something important. Your heart aches because it remembers, but the mind no longer has the memory. In this case, the land aches because it remembers, but the tree is no longer there. And the world is no longer whole, missing something important and yet utterly unaware of exactly what.

Now I live on the West coast. Nothing is the same. Instead of a temperate forest, I’m in chaparral country. I don’t like chaparral country – I don’t like the plants. Their energy is all ‘wrong’ – there is a desert mentality here I don’t care for. But today I was out for a short hike, and we stopped at several of the beautiful live oaks. These are nothing like the oaks of the east coast, but they are a type of oak and their name is “live oak”. I was looking out over the land, leaning against this chaparral live oak, and I’m remembering the Tree Talker story, remembering that I AM a Tree Talker, though long out of practice. Then I realized I could continue to reject the plants here, or I could accept that I chose to move here and learn how to attune myself to this land, to these plants. To become a Tree Talker again. I’m very good at attunement, if I try. With that mind, when we stopped at some sort of pine tree, I reached out to touch it and for the first time in almost a decade, I felt something. I never really worked with conifers all that much, but what I felt was … the best description I have is ‘flowing sticky sap’. I felt the energy flow of the tree, and it felt sticky, indeed like pine sap. That was the moment when I decided, yes, I’d learn the plants here. Learn to hear them, feel them. Help carry the memory of this land which is now my home.

To do this, I decided that I’d learn one new native species of plant per week, perhaps a month. Armed with information, I’d then go on a hike with my camera and look each target species. The goal is to learn the area, and what plants are here. Learn them, visually recognize them, and then learn their energetic signature – what I can pick up of it. The more I do this, the more I will begin to be attuned to this land.

Today’s plant is the Manzanita – an evergreen shrub with distinctive red bark. This particular specimen featured peeling bark, and I took a picture of it with the sun in the background. The light is shining through the red bark, making it look as if the branches are being licked with flame. They most definitely were not, just a trick of the light, but very breathtaking. I call this picture Fire Bark.

Manzanita bark in the sunlight

Manzanita bark in the sunlight

Earth, Hermetic, Magick

Earth Based Duality

I am a student of history. My degree is in it, and I’ve always loved understanding as many of the nuances as possible that got us to where we are today. Back “in my day” in college, this study of how ideas moved through history was dubbed historiography and that is what I loved the most.

I know that our modern very pervasive concept of “duality” as the very foundation for how earth works is completely that — a “modern” concept which has more to do with monotheism than any particular culture. Go back and read any of the polytheistic myths and there’s no clear-cut good/evil or up/down dichotomy that you get with monotheism. I guess that is by necessity — by removing the whole range of human potential by removing all the gods but one, the ugly has to somewhere and it can’t really go into the Exalted One.

Dualism – the idea that something is conceptually divided into two opposed or contrasted aspects.

I could say that I’m not particularly “into” the dual aspected nature of the material world due to my history perspective, but that’s not true. It’s much more fundamental than that. In fact, I was so completely unplugged from the very concept of dualism that I was 5/6 of the way through a philosophy class devoted to “The Mind/Body Problem” before I suddenly understood what they thought the ‘problem’ was. Until then, I’m sitting in this class, brow furrowed, wondering “what the hell are you even TALKING about?” because my underlying world view was so radically different that our foundational, unspoken precepts didn’t come close to reaching the same conclusion on this particular topic. I remember sitting in class when it literally crystalized and I blurted out “wait a minute! Are you saying…” and they were all staring at me like “well, of course, we’ve spent 2 months discussing this. where have you been?”

But anyway, suffice to say, dualism doesn’t really speak to me and it doesn’t really work in my cosmology. In reviewing some of the foundational texts in Hermeticism and modern magick in general, I am far and away in the minority on this. Dualism is the order of the day, and very few people have actually stopped to ask “is it? is it really how things work?” I’ve noticed that foundations rarely get challenged, and I for one assume that my foundations are your foundations — though in that philosophy class, clearly that was not true!

One of the big pieces in Hermeticism is the gender division — the dual nature of gender. Masculine or feminine. The very concept of dualism will demand that these be opposed or contrasting aspects — rather than complimentary!  It spirals out from there, where all kinds of contrasting qualities are then categorized according to gender – active/passive, strong/weak, destructive/creative, positive/negative, good/bad, black/white.

Dualistic views are by their very nature divisionary, not inclusive. It invites a simplistic black/white view of the world in which something is EITHER one OR the other. Choose. Whichever one I pick, I have to let go of the other. But another piece of Hermeticism is polarity – though polarity and dualism are very closely related. Both views divide something in half, but polarity brings with it an intrinsic sliding scale while dualism is focused on the extremes. Granted my understanding, not being natively dualistic, sees the full spectrum the moment polarity is mentioned. On the sliding scale of black and white, how polarized to the extreme is this item? Or, “how grey is this?” When talking about duality, that is not the perspective – is this black or white?

The yin/yang is actually a pretty decent symbol when it comes to reminding me that dualism is a lie — in everything good lies some bad, and in everything bad lies some good. But purely dualistic systems can’t handle that. My favorite book quote comes from Piers Anthony’s series “Incarnations of Immortality.” In that series, the devil is a character. In one scene, he taunts another character:

“Didn’t you know? God is the Devil seen through the eyes of the ignorant.”

I read that line and my intuition did a full body shudder and shouted TRUTH. In polytheistic religions, there is no supreme good or evil force. All the good guys have tarnished armour, and the bad guys wear whitish hats. Yet our language and societal perspectives are all geared toward a limited, and inaccurate view of manifestation. That said, a model does not need to be “accurate” to be useful! As long as one is aware of the uses and limitations of said model.

What’s this got to do with Earth as an element in the magickal system? Well, as the densest and foundational element, how manifestation is viewed is rather key. Do I as the magician use “either or” language … or “both and” language. *LOL* Either this or that. The answer is, I use both. It depends entirely on what I’m doing and why, but even when I say “either or” my mind’s eye is giving me a spectrum rather than two points. By invoking the spectrum, I’m giving myself permission to slide along the scale until I find what I’m looking for — I’m keeping the options open while still narrowing the field to a few polarized potentials. Likewise, have a broader perspective on how manifestation works means I can see things others often overlook. Notice the language there — overlook. How we choose to see the world will quite literally determine what see of the world.

There’s numerous studies being on this now, where some languages for example don’t have a word for ‘blue’ and so in color swatch tests those speakers literally cannot pick out a blue swatch. It’s not ‘blue’ to them. So no, the blue I see is NOT necessarily the blue you see. But this language/limit is hardly confined to colors. There are other studies with other topics, but colors are easy to quantify.

When I started actively using more “both and” language constructs, it was because I was working on a shift in my perspective. Shifting this then opened what Earth could bring to me. Now there are other levels of this when dealing with Air, Water and Fire, but in terms of Earth — the manifested world around us — then the results of any changes we make are likewise physical results. A simple example for me: shifting from “either artist or business owner” to “both artist and business owner” means I kicked the starving artistic to the curb, and now I can feed myself with my art. Change the perspective, change what is possible to manifest. Now, being EARTH, work is involved. There’s no ‘click your heels and wish real hard’ as many would like to believe. Earth will laugh and laugh and laugh at those who do this. You so funny! Wishing does dick on the Earth realm. But wishing and then planning following by implementation… Well then. That’s a recipe for something real there.

Whatever the foundation who how the material world operates, I urge primarily to question it. Just because you were raised hearing it or were told such and such by your trusted authority figures doesn’t mean it’s what really speaks to you. Try to use more “both and” thinking. See what happens. Afterall, I think that right there is the hallmark of the best magi — a willingness to experiment.

Earth, Hall of Mirrors, Hermetic, Magick

Earth Shadow Dancing

Two things: (1) I speak symbolically a lot of the time, particularly when speaking about elements and planets. Those are almost always symbolic. (2) … I can’t remember two.

Shadow. The psychologists (as far as I a layman knows) coined the usage of the term “projection” to refer to those disowned aspects of ourselves that we project onto others. In modern pop psychology and New Age realms, the term of choice is Shadow. Same thing, different words. Projection/Shadow is a subject near and dear to my heart — just look at the Hall of Mirrors posts to see some of my work in this realm.

“I thought this was an earth post?”

Hold your horses! Groundwork, baby. hehehe. Ground … earth. *elbow* Get it? Ha!

What goes into the Shadow? Pretty much anything which has been judged as “bad”. That’s it. That’s all it takes — because when we judge something as bad we try to shove it away from us. “Ew! This milk is bad … yum!” Not gonna happen. Bad = rejected/trash.

For the majority of people, Shadow Work remains in the personal sphere. But Robert Ohotto is the one who pointed out that shadows exist at every level of the human strata. By this I mean that any and every type of human social construct has its own shadow. If you are in any way plugged into that social group, you are by default plugged into that shadow. Why does every social group have its own shadow? Because every social group has a form of a psyche – a group identity. The stronger that identity is, the stronger the shadow.

The group identity which kids immediately plug into is that of the family. Every family group has a shadow, and the moment a baby is born and plugs into the family group identity is the moment that shadow becomes theirs as well. Robert calls his concept of family shadow “inherited psychic DNA” – meaning that unresolved emotional family issues get passed down until someone has the emotional fortitude to process these unfinished emotions.

At the time this idea entered into my sphere of awareness, I was seriously wrestling with worth/gender issues and prior to that with some pretty heinous religion issues. Because of this concept, I was suddenly able to plug in my family’s history into both of these issues and gained an immediate perspective that was lacking. That perspective allowed me to then work my way through these issues.

So some of the Shadows that we are personally dancing with are actually our family’s shadow. Others are shadows from our work place, or from a social group, or a nation, etc. I’m Southern, and there’s a massive cultural shadow there which has been unrecognized and yet is reeking havoc now because it’s being triggered but no one seems to be seeing the source! That’s a whole other post, but you get the idea. Shadows are everywhere, not just personal. In fact, in order to actually GET to your personal shadows, you first have to wade through the others! Learning how to recognize “My Personal Shadow” from “Inherited Group Shadow” is a HUGE bonus skill to have in your emotional intelligence skill deck!! Work on that. My Hall of Mirrors training helped me with this.

So Earth Shadow. In my last post, I stated:

“Indeed, I am coming to believe that those who feel and think this way are acting largely on the impulses from a shadow they don’t even recognize is there. A shadow which is thousands of years old, reinforced by the minds, hearts and actions of billions of people. While I’m upset by the mistake, I also recognize its power. That’s a whoooooole lot of psychic weight for the average person to even consider disengaging from.”

If the material, earthly world has been judged “bad” … guess where the entire thing gets dumped? SHADOW! I have never once heard anyone call out that the earth element has been tossed into the Shadow, so it doesn’t seem to be a commonly recognized issue which brings with it a unique set of challenges in addition to trying to work with the element itself. I have heard dozens of different ways of dumping on Earth though. See what you can add to the mix:

  • Rich people can’t be spiritual. It’s impossible.
  • Celibacy is the only viable path to spirituality.
  • Sex/Physical pleasure is a sin.
  • Fasting/Self-flagellation is a good way to purge the body of weaknesses.

I have to stop here. These are such ridiculous statements that I’m giving myself an aneurism, but I hear them frequently. And with 100% sincerity! Wow. *sad panda* No wonder we have so many issues around this aspect of being alive.

Interestingly, it’s not just one culture, or religion which has this thought process. You can literally find it in every corner of the world in some form or other. Every culture that I’m aware of, every major religion. Granted, modern medicine and life in the First World does dramatically tend to alter one’s relationship with the physical world — I’m not wasting away from some random illness, or buried my 10th child, or starving. I can definitely see the appeal and even logic of saying this material world is a horrible thing and what awaits us is happiness and rainbows. Being a genealogist, I’ve encountered my own ancestors who buried more children than lived to adulthood. If this was the case for me, I’d be screamingly upset with the material world which murdered my babies so callously. So I get it. I really do. But as long as the Earth is in the Shadow, I can’t really work with it as effectively as I’d like. Until I can own it, dark side and all, the full power of that element will forever elude me. I can’t reject a tool and then hope to use it effectively.

But in this case, I’ve inherited a Shadow which has literally thousands of years of weight behind it, and one which is constantly referenced in some form or other from all quarters — most especially in the spiritual seeker circles that I frequent. As I mentioned, that’s a lot of power to attempt to unplug from. It takes quite a bit of active, conscious effort to unplug from any social group’s accepted shadow. Attempting to do so often gets people kicked out of social groups!! “You’re no longer one of us…” *boot*

So I have to figure out how to own a Shadow so large that it literally is the ground that I’m standing on. *blinks* That’s big. I think the first step is seeing it. If you’ve read this post, perhaps you are ready to see it. If this post literally makes no sense to you, you’re not ready. If it does, you’re ready. And if you’re ready, like I am, what will you choose to do with the information?

This series of posts will not only be about Earth as the densest, “lowest” element, but also about exploring the Shadow of it. Seeing all the faces which get reflected back at me in my Hall of Mirrors when I engage the Earth element in my magickal studies.

Next on deck is looking at duality as a concept, especially as it relates to earth and the material world.