the nature of reiki “healing”

what do people mean when they talk about “energy” and “healing” in something like Reiki?

Wolves and Roses

Healing is something which interest me, not so much in the medicalized sense (which is of course an entire scientific discipline of verifiable treatments and outcomes), but in the colloquial sense of how we gain wholeness in our lives, reconnect with our vitality and inner resources, heal psychological wounds and oppressions, gain inner strength, coherence, integrity, and come to flourish as the people we really are.

This of course does have a bearing on physical health as well, as everything from stress and worry, to feeling loved and like we belong and have value, all can affect us, including the working of our bodies. That’s before we get onto the consequences of our coping behaviours, like smoking, drug and alcohol consumption, or poor diet.

I’m not much interested in model, “healthy” people, but I am interested in people coming into their own and finding their own choices again. Living their…

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draining the dam

I think I have spent a great deal of my life in a state of fear, or allayed panic, or dread, or being overwhelmed. And I’ve spent a good deal of it avoiding those states, and situations that might induce them. “Normality”, as I think someone might have once observed, is a near record-breaking act of acrobatic, high wire balance, when you see what is going on underneath.

I’ve been going through a fair amount just recently, one way and another, and I found myself with that frozen out, panicked, unable to cope with what I know, but unable to escape, or really even explain kinda feeling, which is somehow very familiar to me.

I did magic and I asked for help, the way I know how, and help I did get.

Suddenly, obliquely, while watching TV, I remembered the first time I had felt like this (though buried in biographical detail), when I was 10 years old. It was the day I remember my childhood as ending, and it occurred around this time of year, during the Summer holidays in 1969, before my birthday.

Looking back, I realized that of course this was the time in subsequent years, during my teens and twenties, when I would most commonly get this feeling developing. I even came to recognize that fact, that it was around mid-Summer, when the Sun was in the sign of Cancer. But I never made the connection with that first event.

And suddenly, something was released. Not quite like magic (though it was indeed magic), all totally at once, but in principle, like a tap, or a dam, had been opened down stream.

That has kept going over these last few days, and I understand, something is over, but it is like an entire history of emergency, emotional and mental reactions has got unplugged, deactivated, neutralized. As the water level sinks, my flooded life comes into view, and breathes again, almost as if 46 years hadn’t quite happened like that. It can all always have been different now, inwardly, and my islands join up, to make my landscape.

It is funny that this kind of healing should come at the time that I become a Satanist, but not so surprising. About 18 months ago I wrote:

I could see as well, that you need to come down here to do it, to the wasteland, to find the spring, the unsullied brook. That’s why demons are important, because they guard our innocence when the world has taken it away.

Of course that was not quite the sense of demons that I mean now, but it did say something, and intuit something. Healing that is deep and personal enough might not be done by the gentle hand entirely. The part of us that keeps both the wound and the cure is just not like that. The strong hand may be better. That’s why sometimes the soldier understands parts of the heart that the nurse cannot, and why sometimes the beast will love us best. Sometimes our healer must be fierce, otherwise it is no use at all.  Sometimes we need to visit the wasteland and see who has been keeping our innocence for us, and how untouched our brilliant, original hearts are.

So many Summers, never lost again.

Tackleway looking south-west – geograph.org.uk by Terry Head [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Capricorn Full Moon

When I did a delineation of the New Moon which occurred only four days ago, I noted this could be a time for rest and just unplugging. For me I know I really underestimated the stresses I would need to be unplugging from, but yeah, maximizing rest and disengagement at this time has proved very necessary.

I’m now going to look at the coming Full Moon, as that can maybe tell me more about this process. Between the New Moon that seeds things, and the Full Moon which shows a culmination and acts as a kind of “attractor“, we might get a better picture of the quality of a time.

Here is the chart for the Full Moon:

Capricorn Full Moon

First of all, it’s not till the 2nd July. Secondly, when I first saw this I thought “everyone just keep your heads down and ignore it”. But there are always silver linings. The restful potential of the New Moon came from a harmonious pattern made by Jupiter, Uranus and a Sun-Moon-Mars conjunction, but there was also a potential for undermining trouble from Neptune and Chiron. At the Full Moon everything has slipped round. The same kind of harmonious pattern is there, but this time it is Mercury that is harmoniously combined with the expansiveness and faith of Jupiter, and the freedom and independence of Uranus in Aries. Moreover, Jupiter is joined closely with a gracious but queenly Venus in Leo. There is some good self esteem that can be drawn from this, some solid values of self-worth that back up our independence and orignal insights, our individual positions. There is still a square from Chiron in Pisces to Mercury here, so there are wounds to be aware of, things we shouldn’t mentally re-wound ourselves over, but it’s not the Mars-Chiron square of the New Moon, nothing like as inflamed. Also to note here, Jupiter-Venus is squared by Saturn retrograde in Scorpio. That’s not nice for the regal pair in Leo, but it could be that some emotional perspective and forgiveness is in order. Water signs, feeling, is providing the challenges to the peace of mind and spirit of the chart, so how we handle feelings is key to how much good we do ourselves here.

The backbone of this Full Moon though is Sun conjunct Mars in Cancer, opposed by Pluto conjunct Moon in Capricorn. From my past experience, I’d say that when Pluto opposes something personal, it’s game over in terms of struggle. These are battles that can’t be won, power that can’t be challenged, perceived “injustices” that aren’t even acknowledged. These are circumstances where surrender and letting go are not only crucial, but unavoidable. And when we do surrender, we get deep healing, revitalization, a kind of rebirth. It can happen. The harder the conflict, struggle and dilemma, the more immense is the potential for connecting with your own real source of life and inner power, once you let go.

Mars here (maligned, demonized, indispensable Mars) is almost in an exact T square with the Moon’s Nodes, which means that it squares both the North and the South Nodes. The Nodes are in Aries and Libra here, and the growth potential is at the North Node (Libra), in the area of relationship, others, balance. Note: there’s nothing inherently “good” about these things as compared to the selfhood, spontaneity and independence of Aries, it’s just that the Node polarity is that way round at the moment. The South Node is where we have our “inherent” patterns stored in a sense (if this were a personal birth chart), our already achieved capacities, potentials played out, jobs done. The North Node is where the growth, the new, the potential to come is located. The relation between the two is important for growth and development. In this chart, Mars (which rules the South Node position) is square both ends of this. So how we handle everything that Mars comes down to: fight and flight, struggle, survival, drive, personal will, raw desire, the will to actively live, has what seems like disproportionate consequences loaded on it here, more especially as it is both conjunct our very life  the Sun, and opposed to Pluto.

If such struggles are activated in us during the time of the Full Moon’s influence (which could be taken to be this whole lunation cycle in fact), then these struggles could feel very primal, threatening, and even hopeless. Being faced with these feelings is important though, because how we respond to the spectre of defeat; real, personal, utterly humiliating defeat (I am laying it on thick here) that strikes to the core of us is one of our fundamental life lessons (or skills). Whether this affects you a little or a lot, the answer is surrender, letting go. There are battles you just can’t win, and the ones you notice aren’t the ones that aren’t crucially important to you. The benefits of surrender can be just as crucial. As if to underline this, the soothing aspects to the central oppositions of the chart are provided by Neptune in Pisces, which is practically the archetype of surrender.

So this chart seems to really say that we have to recognize the battles we can’t win (and they will be battles that are genuinely painful for us), and surrender, let go, and also forgive (remember that Scorpio Saturn square). If we do that we can heal some things very deeply, and connect with our inner life and true power.

And doing that, we can go our own way, the real kings and queens of our own freedom.

 detail of photo depicting scene of

detail of photo depicting “the Burghers of Calais” by Julia Margaret Cameron [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Cropped and digitally solarized

broken hearted

I can seem very down on religion at times, and indeed I do have very serious criticisms of organized religions, their teachings and their apparent effects. However, I feel a lot of understanding for people’s attachment to their religions, and their need for it. I know that religion has historically been the repository of values both admirable and appalling, and of identities bound up with people’s shared sense of being human (an association I think is inevitably problematic). Religion is virtually the design on the nursery wall of humanity, but unfortunately it too often keeps us as children. It’s true that there are problems with religion, but also true that the  problems are not just with religion, but with all kinds of human society, at least as far as I can see. We work with imperfect materials, and we make progress like hallucinating builders, trying to discern reality from fantasy, benefit from harm, in the consequences of our creations, as everything constantly morphs, albeit sometimes slowly enough for us to hope for a subsisting progress.

I believe in the individual, and I am a Satanist myself, but I know that people are driven by pain and fear, and I know exactly what that does, and what the offer of shelter does. It’s the same process used in brainwashing, and what happens (however happily, you can hope) in every family on the planet. Human beings are malleable, vulnerable creatures. It can’t be my concern if the world is going to change; I have to be concerned with my world practically. But if there is a possibility of the world changing, and being less subject to fear of the individual, demonized source of all our talents and creativity, then understanding the people caught in religion is I think relevant. It’s honestly not that difficult, when you look into the eyes of common human pain. It doesn’t matter what I am, I am always going to feel closer to them than to some elitist plonker, because I know what it feels like.

We did see a quite astonishing documentary on TV about British jihadis, which was actually very emotional. There were quite a few people interviewed, some who had been really active in establishing the beginnings of the British jihadi movement back in the 80s and 90s. These were people who recanted their former extreme beliefs, and in some cases regretted the path they had taken with a kind of remorse that I don’t really have a sufficient word for. In almost all cases these youngsters (as they were at the time) had been driven by pain and deep problems, and had found shelter and solace and meaning, acceptance and a place, in a confluence of religion, distorted mentorship and the bad opportunity of foreign political conflicts. I don’t think the religious blue print was guiltless (to say the least), but it wasn’t so long ago that large swathes of young westerners believed that progressive change would only come ultimately through violent revolution or the use of force, and anything less was a bourgeoise naivety. But they were hippies and punks and students, and most of them weren’t actually going to do something. I remember that time. These muslim kids just had worse luck.

I think the situation has become somewhat different now, and I doubt that it all bears a resemblance to the people interviewed in the documentary. The horrors get worse and the recruiting has got crazy and chilling. The results are appalling. But I know people who grew up in the 70s and 80s with horrible racism directed at them and their children. Of course they will freakin’ well withdraw and stick together. I feel safer living in an area with a large Bangladeshi population (no “freak” or “queer” abuse from them, ever), so what the hell must they feel like? And then we have supposed left-leaning liberals who think they are being “progressive” by bowing down to religion and ethnicity. These are people that the mainstream society (at different levels) have applied both a carrot and a stick strategy towards, saying both “you’re hated” and “you’re welcome”, but only as something other, defined by traditional forms. I think there is a big place for secularism in our society, and we should not be giving religion of any sort political or legal power or privilege. But if you can break the spell, you are left with the people who needed the spell, just to live somehow. You will still have to look into the eyes of that need.

People don’t do deathly things because they want to die. They do them because it seems like life to them, compared to what they are getting away from*. That’s why they are a small minority within a minority. Religion is a factor, obviously a crucial factor, but it really isn’t the root cause of this. It honestly goes deeper.

Every psychopathology is attempting to articulate a resolution. If we want to solve that, someone needs to listen. Not accommodate the illness, not collude with the problem, but find out what is actually coming out of the throat of a situation. Because if you can’t understand hurt, you can’t understand anything about human beings.

documentary film maker Deeyah Khan with a British former jihadi – photo at http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/deeyah-khan/jihad-deeyah-khan_b_7583258.html

* I know this isn’t always so, people can be psychopaths and sociopaths, but those are more isolated instances

trouble in the head

If there were a place in human life to identify where our “trouble” is situated, it would surely be the mind. And if there were a place to identify where our talents and creativities and so many of our potentials arise, it would surely be the mind. Our Pandora, our Prometheus, our Lucifer; our Teslas and Einsteins, our Leonardos and our serial killers, it’s all in the electrical theatre of the mind.

Someone I once knew referred to psychedelics as spiritual laxatives, and while I have never taken powerful psychedelics myself, I have done holotropic breathwork, and had experiences that could be described as “psychedelic”, and I would entirely concur. It gets things moving.

Magically speaking, the area that I would find most interestingly relevant here is evocation, as described by Israel Regardie in “The Tree of Life”. Whether or not you use a “triangle of art”, the fact is we are all right in it, with our personal demons, that just might be our daemon, or its preliminary accompaniment.

The mind of course includes many things. In the East the mind is much wider and deeper than it has generally been taken to be in the West (until at least the advent of psychology, and more particularly trans-personal psychology, and even then I’d be cautious to claim too much). In traditions such as Buddhism the mind goes all the way down, and right to the centre. In the West, the profound area of the mind has generally be termed the heart, while what we think of as “mental” has tended to be termed the head. Whether we are talking about the “essence of Mind” in the eastern sense, or “the heart” in the western terminology, it is characterized by peace, bliss, and a resplendent, luminous quality. This is where we experience Oneness of Being, and love in the sense that mystics talk of it. This is where we are who we truly are.

But what then of the “mind”, the “head”? In truth this is surely the whole question, for there is no problem in “the heart”, and indeed no separation.

The heart is in fact the key to the head, but the head must be clear to allow it. Thus the Sufi’s talk of “polishing the heart”, because our thoughts and judgements obscure it. But the head is a wonder, and it reveals to us a distorted mirror show of our own divinity, a blessed freak show which we should honour. Sometimes reversed, sometimes twisted, sometimes heartbreakingly longed for, sometimes feared. It is a wonder, and all we take to be art and science and genius and poetry and vision, if it has any language at all, then it is the child of our head. Demons indeed, illumined by our daemon.

And this is where those psychedelic processes come in, and healing processes too. Between healing, and manifestation, and the tumbling cyphers of questions that we already have the answer for, the language we reach for, that articulates us.

So we can see, with clarity, and with cleansing, with what I call the dispensation of the heart, that all becomes simply mind, or simply heart, according to how it may appear to you. And all in relationship.

All love, or truth, or bliss.

spirit paths

Yesterday was Solstice, and the Sun went into Capricorn. Now we wait for the Sun to start growing stronger again (in the North, and the opposite in the Southern Hemisphere), which it will do by about 25th December, the old celebration of Sol Invictus as well as Christmas. Today Uranus goes direct, which means that it is no longer appearing to go backwards in the sky, though it will take a little while to get going.

I did say previously that I have had an increasing sense of “spirit” this year, the influence and presence of the unconditioned, and that continues. I also associate that sense of spirit with healing (in the holistic sense), surrender, the truer realization of being, the nature of consciousness in itself. And unsurprisingly, I associate it with a functional and operative spirituality.

The last four years or so were ones which brought hardships, hurts, battles, as well as challenges and real successes. But I had rather lost my faith in “the Universe” (for want of a better term), in any sense of justice or karma etc. I would still be very circumspect about anthropomorphizing any kind of “justice” out there, but nevertheless, some sense of faith is returning (and I don’t mean faith in our gods, as the experience of them has never diminished, if I was paying attention), something broad and deep and unconditional. Even our family seems to be coming together again, on a new basis.

I had felt very far from the heyday of free spiritual experience which sustained me in the years before I really had much of a life. I was also aware that I just had to get some things nailed down in order to protect my loved ones, and that does take a certain amount of “unfree consciousness”, even if I will never regret that.

Now though, as I am approaching my second Saturn return, with Saturn about to go into Sagittarius, I am finding a sense of the same unconditional answer, of relief, of something being over, in the good sense, like when you realize that the nightmare was actually just a dream, but without denying whatever you went through, and what you learnt from it. I can remember and recognize now, that my life has had a “spirit path”. Without that path, so much of my past life makes no sense, and indeed the world makes little sense. With it, there is such a greater capacity for ease, choice, letting go, and responding helpfully or creatively. It’s as if you breathe out, and find a freer sense of meaning is already there, beyond conventions or expectations. Spirituality is indeed not just our great adventure, but our great game, our play, our craft, our art of love making.

Let the healing flow on, out, back, like water.

“Sâdhu sur une rive du Gange à Varanasi en Inde” by Voyage Way (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

messages

I am at present going through that bargain basement psychedelic experience known as illness. Nothing to really complain about, but 16 hours of largely horizontal feverishness, followed by present recuperation is mildly mind altering. I spent a good deal of my childhood with high fevers, and my only memories before the age of 4 are of my father carrying me in from the garden on his shoulder, my brother coming into our kitchen and putting a paper down on the table, and (again) my father trying to teach me to walk in the garden, with my sister in front of me encouraging (it felt like being on roller skates, and I did not like it). I think being ill and out of it so much in early childhood probably did affect me, and I don’t regret that, it probably goes with having Moon in the 12th house. By all accounts, when not ill, I was a placid child, and I would sleep under the sycamore tree that overhung the back yard for hours in my pram. To this day I love trees inordinately, though I know many other people do too, and I would find it hard to understand not loving trees.

Minor illnesses have always seemed like messages to me, especially ones that involve fever and periods of relative seclusion (I also have Mars in the 12th house, which could link to fevers). 12th house of course has a connection with illness (opposed to the 6th house of health, and also associated with hospitals), and with Neptunian mind expansion and seclusion (association with drugs, hypnotism, monasteries and asylums). When something needs to talk to us from the 12th house, it can “get through” in the language of the 6th house, disrupted health and daily routine. Sometimes when we want to listen to the 12th house, a holiday or a retreat is what we need. And there is always sleep of course.

Personally I’m just very grateful for many things. The messages aren’t always processed rationally, and they don’t have to be, so long as we get the message. I might have to make a few little changes, remember what’s important to me, and not waste my energy on what isn’t right for us. The importance of kindness always comes through, kindness and love, and those beneficent influences that accompany our lives from the unseen, and also the importance of selectivity, what you let into your life, your sacred enclosure.

Much to be thankful for, as the season changes to the clear chill of Autumn.

Here’s to sleeping under trees, and writing on water.

1801-11-03-Farina-Brief by Johann Maria Farina (Farina Archiv) [Public domain or CC-BY-3.0-de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

1801-11-03-Farina-Brief by Johann Maria Farina (Farina Archiv) [Public domain or CC-BY-3.0-de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/de/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons – digitally solarized