New Year, Fresh Start!

Happy New Year! So much has happened in 2017. It feels like it is still December. I feel like I’ve changed a great deal over the past year. I’ve decided to explore my spirituality again and focus on my mental health as well. I started going to a support group and took up a job at a preschool during the summer. I’m so happy that I began really looking into my spirituality and mental health. I’ve learned so much about myself during the few months that I began seriously doing self-exploration.

I realized that I am an animist and panentheist Druid. I realized that I still have so much left to do in terms of self-love, self-worth, etc. I realized how much I was either dwelling on the past or obsessing over the future, which led to both depression and anxiety. That is why, when I composed my list of resolutions that I decided to choose things that would allow spiritual, emotional and physical growth.

Breathe.

So often I forget to do something that is so basic. Breathing is the most basic human action and yet it is overlooked so much. It’s automatic so I take it for granted. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to take time to focus on my breathing. That could be anytime or place. I just want to be able to centre myself.

Live in the present.

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but I would like to give some context on what it means to me. How will this look like in action in my life? I will, instead of thinking about other things, appreciate things in the moment. I will engage myself with the environment around me. Activities on campus, crafting clubs and events that go on nearby, and anything that comes my way that I want to try, I want to take advantage of those things. This also means paying attention to the natural world, which is really just saying the world around me.

Meditate.

I want to commit to a daily meditation, which will incorporate the two former goals. Breathing plus living in the present equal a greater awareness of the self and the surrounding world. I want to be able to get to the point where I can do inner path work. For that, I need patience, commitment, and faith.

Work with nature.

Gardening, meditating outside, using objects from outside in spellwork and crafting (artwork), etc. I want to utilize the things around me in my spiritual and emotional path. I live in my head most of the time. I’m truly an air sign (I’m a Libra). The earth grounds me and brings me into the present. I need the earth to heal and grow. So this year I want to begin doing things that will allow for that to happen.

Learn more about yourself.

I’m planning on working on a book dedicated to shadow work. I want to dig into things that I have not dealt with, partially dealt will or have dealt with but want to explore more. This means really exploring trauma, depression, destructive habits and maladaptive thoughts, actions that I have regretted, relationships that I had and have. I know this will lead to a lot of tears shed and pain being resurrected which leads me to my next goal.

Allow yourself to feel.

I am a master at internalization. I have buried so many things deep down inside of me that I have become numb to things. That are times where I cry and have no idea why. I feel out of touch with my own emotions. When I feel something I want to feel that emotion and not bury it. I need that to heal because if I continue the way that I am, I know that I will end up where I was in the past.

Be kind to yourself.

My knee-jerk reaction is to insult myself, to degrade myself, and to hate myself. I want to work on being kinder to myself over the next year. I want to stop calling myself stupid, and worthless. I want to acknowledge my strengths and be happy for myself when I do something right. I want to learn to forgive myself when I do something wrong. I want to learn to love myself and accept me for me. I deserve that.

I kept these goals broad because there is a lot that I want to do with them and I feel that keeping them broad will allow room for adjustment should I feel the need to change or add something. I hope that you have enjoyed your New Years.

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Animism and Panentheism: How I see deity

It’s been a long journey for me to figure out just who I am spiritually. I realized that I do not see deity as being any set pantheon of god and goddess. I knew a long time that I did not believe in the Christian god. I simply did not feel anything, even when I tried. Later on, as a tried to find who I was, nothing seemed to work. I stumbled upon the pantheism, which means that a person sees everything as a having a spark of divinity. That divinity is all a part of one spiritual source. They do not see deity as being a literal god or goddess or a literal pantheon of gods and goddesses.

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Idols of Lord Ganesha

I knew that I was not a pantheist, but that opened my eyes to something that I didn’t realize before. I do not see deity as being a literal god, goddess or pantheon of gods and goddesses. I see deity from the perspective of an animist and a panentheist. As an animist, I see deity as being individual spirits that dwell in everything. That is not just exclusive to things in the forest like trees and flowers and non-human animals. I see deity as being present in humans, towns, buildings, the elements, stuffed animals, rocks, music boxes. Everything has spiritual energy in it. In addition to this, I believe, from a panentheist’s perspective that, while everything has an individual spirit, it is all connected. It is like people–we are all individual’s but we are also all connected in some way. I do not believe that we are one being. I believe that part of us comes from one source that connects us all.

Kamichu!
A screenshot from the anime, Kamichu!, which showcases spirits. There is a pencil spirit, a microphone spirit, a journal spirit, etc.

I believe that people put their spiritual energy into things that they own such as jewellery, clothing and stuffed animals. I believe that places such as towns and cities have an individual spiritual energy. One of the things that have helped me shape my spirituality is, and please don’t laugh at me, the anime Kamichu! Kamichu is about a girl who realizes that she is a god and is about her coming into her godhood as well as her adventures growing up and being a school girl. I love that anime so much despite not having seen it in a long time. Anime has really opened my eyes to a lot of things, but those are things for another day. One of the things that stuck with me was a conversation that Yurie, the main character, has with a god in the spirit world. That is there are millions of gods. I do not believe in literal gods, but it made me think about what I have been taught as a child–there is only one god. I believe that the spirits that dwell in everything around me are divine. I respect them. That is not to say that I do not have respect for the gods and goddesses of other religions. I see a lot of beauty in them and I want to learn more about spirituality around the world. My focus is mainly on non-Abrahamic religions and spiritualities (i.e. Vodou, Shamanism, Yoruba, Shintoism, Heathenry, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Jainism, etc.) I have interest in ancient religions and spirituality. I have respect for ancient wisdom and knowledge. That is why I have such a deep interest in ancient history. I seek to learn from indigenous people before they were they were colonized and had their culture altered, or destroyed completely. This is such a huge part of my spirituality and lends itself to how I see the divine.

I do not see the divine as having any obligation to me. I do not see the divine as being perfect, omnipresent and all powerful. I see the divine as being as varied and multifaceted as humans. I see humans as being a part of nature–animals, rather than being a race created for the purpose of worship and devotion to a single god. I do not follow any dogma or set of strict rules. I believe in the beauty of chaos and burning my own path. I have been figuring myself out for a long time, but that has always been something that I knew about myself.

I took a course last semester called “Nature and Ecology in French Literature”. That just opened my eyes completely about my spirituality and how I saw myself in this world. I can make an entire post about that. I think that I will do that. I realized just how much I care about the environment and how much I want to improve my way of life. So many of the things that I have done in school have lent themselves to my spirituality. My horticulture class made me realize my love of gardening. I garden before with my mother and I loved that, but that class made me realize just how much that I love gardening. I got a book a little while ago about spiritual gardening and about creating sacred space. I took history courses that furthered my interest in ancient history. Again that was not the beginning. When I was little I watched documentaries like mad. I loved mummies and ancient Egypt. So I knew already that I loved history, but those courses cemented that.

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Scene in a garden

All of this lends itself to how I see deity. I see deity as something that has always existed and will always exist. It does not die it simply changes form. The spiritual energy that is in me will not die, it will simply take on a new form. The knowledge of the elders of the past have not died off, it has lived on in the energy that exists within the earth and beyond. I believe in reincarnation in the sense that my spiritual energy will take on a new form be it spiritual or corporeal. (I am actually interested in doing past-life work. I used to think reincarnation was a bunch of hooey when I saw documentaries about it, but the more that I thought about it, and after looking at reincarnation within the context of Hinduism, I came to the realization that I do believe in it.)

The more that I have come into myself, the more that I have felt at peace and the more that I could see the beauty in the world around me. I want to do a post later dedicated to the not-so-good things such as deforestation, human trafficking, and abuse and how that is reflected in my spiritual beliefs because I have a lot to say about that.

Recently I have set up what I intend to be my altar. I still have to work on cleansing everything and concentrating the tools, but that point that I want to make is that I have not put any imagery of any gods or goddesses on it yet. Part of that is because I lived with my father right now and he is a Christian and also because I do not know what I would put there. There are many things that I have a connection with and that have helped my spirituality. I have seen so many altar setups. I cannot stand being told how to conduct my spirituality and what include in my sacred space. I only use altar guides as a guide rather than as a rule. So I’m thinking of adding some things from my youth that have helped me through some of the hardest parts of my life. I will go into that in another post as well. Sailor Moon has been a lifesaver for me as well as Studio Ghibli. They both have been a major part of my recovery. There is a lot of anime, Bollywood movies, music from all around the world, books and manga that have cultivated that person that I am and I want to honour those things in my spiritual practice. Again, I’ll dedicate all the pop culture things later on.

I have come to the conclusion that my practice, my beliefs, and my path will be constantly evolving and changing. There will be constants, but so much of me will be growing and learning from the world around me. I am looking forward to those things. Learning is the central part of my practice as I am forever a student and am eager to become wiser, more understanding, more patient and loving each day. There is no conclusion to that. There is no end to my journey because even beyond this life I will have much to learn but in a much different way.

 

Nosce te Ipsum

Nosce te Ipsum

Know thyself

We are often asked the question, “Who are you?” The usual answer to this question is our name. My name is Shalvia. However, there is so much more to this question that what people think. Who a person is consists of more than just his or her name. A person’s identity consists of likes, dislikes, family, strongly held beliefs, hope and fears, gender, sexuality, political views, and so much more. Then there is the phrase, “Nosce te Ipsum” which, in English, means “know thyself”. This phrase extends to every aspect of our lives. This phrase has been very important to me recently.

I have been neglecting my spiritual path for a little while. A while ago I was doing some thinking about it, but recently I have begun seriously thinking about it. Druidry, since the time that I have begun exploring different spiritual paths, has always popped up. It feels right to me. I sense that the path is calling me in a way. I was raised in a Christian household. Ever since I was little before I could understand why I knew that Christianity was not the path for me.

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