Telling Your Family About Your Alternative Lifestyle Part Three: The Aftermath

So, you’ve bared your soul, and explained your life to your family.

If the gods are kind, your family will respond positively. They will have a new respect for your honesty and integrity in telling them. They will accept and understand this new-to-them you. They will incorporate the information you have given them into the family dynamic with joy and great gladness, and there are more group hugs.

But, that’s not the typical response.

There is a range of negative response, from “Well, we’ll just ignore this, pretend it didn’t happen/you didn’t tell us, and we’ll go on the way we’ve always gone on” to “There is no possible way we will put up with this kind of thing from you, so you’re out of the family.”

What do you do now?

If your family’s response is toward the ignore end, are you willing to let them ignore what you have told them? If not, how will you respond when they attempt to put the genie back in the bottle? Will you fight them? Or will you let them? Which means you have to weigh out how important your alternative lifestyle is to you compared to how important your family’s love/respect is to you. That’s a hard choice.

If your family’s response is toward the disowning end, are you willing to walk away from them? If not, how will you negotiate when they give you ultimatums about how you live your life? Will you acquiesce to their attempts to change you? Which means you have to weigh out how important your alternative lifestyle is to you compared to how important your family’s love/respect is to you. Again, hard choice.

There is a common third reaction. The “I don’t understand, so I don’t want to make a decision until I know more about _____,” response. That will  turn into a positive or negative response later. But for right now, how much time are you willing to give them to understand? Dan Savage suggests a year. I suggest nine months, the gestation period for a human seems perfect to me as a gestation period for a new life. But only you can determine how much time feels right to you to wait for the fallout.

A great help through the negative or lets wait and see responses is a support group. It can be a formal therapist, formal group therapy, informal group therapy, a group of friends, or a meet up group. It helps to talk through your aftermath, especially if you are losing something important to you. Don’t try to go it alone.

As always, your mileage will most certainly vary.

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Telling Your Family about Your Alternative Lifestyle Part Two: The Talking Plan

Note: I’m not really fond of “alternative lifestyle”. It implies choice where there may not be any. It also sounds frivolous and trivial. And I don’t believe either of those things. But I don’t really have a better term for something so vast, varied, and life transforming. So I’m using shorthand.

If you decide to tell y0ur family about your alternative lifestyle, you should have a talking plan. The talking plan is basically an outline of points you want to make about your alternative life.

When you first broach the subject of your difference, you are trying to do a lot of complicated things all at the same time. You are trying to inform, foster understanding and/or soothe distressed or angry feelings.

It’s best to keep that as clear (without complications or asides), positive (you are probably bucking negative perception, so the more positive you can be, the better) and concise (because this is usually a lot for your family to absorb, and you want to leave time/energy for questions).

The talking plan covers both the biologically directed difference, like sexual preference or gender identity, and the chosen difference, like BDSM, polyamory, or religion.

An argument can be made that the last three are not chosen either, rather, they choose you.  I agree with that assessment. However, the common perception frames them in the choice category. And you will get asked, “Why did you choose _____?”

For the talking plan, you will need to do research. What is the common perception of your alternative lifestyle? What research has been done to contradict that perception? If there isn’t any research, what about anecdotal evidence?

Once you’ve done your research, fit it into the clear, positive, concise model. Then take a look at it from your personal perspective. How do you feel about your alternative lifestyle? Are you buying into societal misunderstanding or prejudice yourself? If so, why?

Then add that new information to your talking plan. Not to express doubt when discussing it with your family, rather to resolve any issues YOU may have with your alternative lifestyle.

Then, find a place where everyone will feel safe and a time when you have ample time to explain/discuss/clarify anything they may want to know.

And see what happens.

If you are outed,a talking plan is still important. But realize you are starting from a disadvantage. Because you have been outed, your family is probably either confused or frightened. And here’s why.

Outing happens primarily two ways, divorce/breakup or children.

In a divorce or breakup, especially if it is acrimonious and/or the other person is blaming the divorce or breakup on your alternative lifestyle in whole or in part, then their account will be negative.

Now, there are some families out there that will listen to your ex’s account and say, “You are divorcing/breaking up with my son/daughter, therefore you are angry, and we can not take what you are saying at face value. So we will talk to our son/daughter in a loving, nonjudgmental way and discover for ourselves what is happening.”

That, unfortunately, is not the common response.

So if you are getting a divorce or breaking up with someone, make a talking plan. If the gods are kind, you will never have to use it. But it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

There is also the occasional unpleasant person that will try to blackmail you into making agreements about your divorce or breakup based in the threat that they will tell your family about your alternative lifestyle. Don’t let them. They can’t blackmail you if you are willing to share yourself.

The other most common outing mechanism is your children. Children see us do things that they don’t understand, so they ask us for an explanation. Even if you keep your children totally separate from your alternative lifestyle, they can still stumble upon something that is confusing for them.

If we give them an honest, age appropriate answer, they will share that information. If we don’t explain it, they will go ask someone else. So, if you have children, you should have a talking plan. Again, you may never need it.

Since you’ve been outed and are at a disadvantage, there are a couple things that you should try to avoid.

Don’t be angry with your family (how you choose to deal with the person that outed you is another story). It’s not your families’ fault that they are frightened or confused. They love you and want what is best for you, and have just heard this strange/odd/disturbing/disgusting thing about you.

Be patient. They are working through their feelings about what they have heard. Your alternative lifestyle may be the death of a dream for them. Your alternative lifestyle may run counter to everything they believe is good and right in the world.

Be firm. They may come at you with a desire to change you back to the person they want. Don’t do it. You are the person you are for a reason. And despite what you think, if you renounced your alternative lifestyle and went back to the behavior they find acceptable, they will still always look at you and treat you differently.

As always, your mileage will most certainly vary.

Next time, I’ll talk about the aftermath.

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Telling Your Family about Your Alternative Lifestyle Part One: Why?

Note: I’m not really fond of “alternative lifestyle”. It implies choice where there may not be any. It also sounds frivolous and trivial. And I don’t believe either of those things. But I don’t really have a better term for something so vast, varied, and life transforming. So I’m using shorthand.

In the last few days, several people I know have gotten flak for their alternative lifestyle, be it bisexual, transgendered, BDSM or pagan, from their families.

I never told my family I was pagan. I was outed by my soon to be ex-husband. The resulting fall out was ugly and heartbreaking and vicious. I had to rebuild relationships with my siblings. They were never as strong or close. I never did build a good relationship with my mother. I don’t speak to her at all now.

My relationship with my father suffered the least. At the time, he believed religion was all BS, so mine wasn’t any worse than anyone else’s. However, that is changing, he’s found the Christian god in a new way and has become very devout.

My relationship with my mother was always horrible. So putting it aside for my mental health was painful but not devastating.

Losing my father will be. He is the person that taught me to be prepared and responsible for the consequences of my choices; to understand the cycles of nature; to live in mindfulness; to know that nature was not tame but dangerous for the unwary; to love the trees and rocks and mountains and animals of my home here in the West. He taught me to revere the land and all that lived on it, not in an idealistic “don’t eat Bambi and Babe” sort of way, but in a practical, good steward of the land and the things that live there way.

I have several friends and colleagues that have chosen not to tell their families about being pagan. Their reasons are reasonable and logical. They don’t want to frighten their families. They don’t want to stopped being loved. They don’t want to cause their families pain. They don’t think their religion is their families’ business.

Given a choice, I might have made that decision myself.

When we embrace something new, something transformative, we want to share that with the people we love. We want them to understand the amazing clarity we have achieved, and we want them to love and accept us anyway.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.

Many families are very accepting of difference. We all hear coming out stories with happy endings, where everyone expresses approval and you have group hugs. They happen more often now that cultural awareness includes some alternative lifestyles. But they don’t always happen.

I am not advocating NOT telling your family.

I believe honesty is good and powerful thing, as well as a lot less work.

I also believe that there are some families that you need to walk away from, for your own health and well-being.

You just have to be prepared for the consequences. And those consequences could very well be never seeing or speaking to or of your family again.

Self check number one: Why are you telling them?

For those of us that have childhoods full of pain and anger and abuse, telling our family about our alternative lifestyle can be the ultimate F*** Y**! But you have to ask yourself, do you want to start your new life that way? Are you prepared to deal with the rejection, the anger, the viciousness? Do you have an support system that will help you through the grief?

For those of us who have positive relationships with your families, telling our family about our alternative lifestyle can be the ultimate in sharing why we have become a happier/more peaceful/more aware person. But you have to ask yourself, will they see it that way? You know your family better than anyone else. Will they react positively? Do you have a plan on what to tell them to minimize confusion or fear? Do you have a backup plan if they reject what you are telling them? Do you have a support system that will help you through the grief?

Self check number two: What do you expect their reaction to be?

Do you want them to understand your lifestyle? Do you want them to accept it? Do you want them to leave you alone about it?

To understand takes time. It doesn’t happen with one talk or five or ten. You have to give them time. So if they do something or say something incredibly insensitive or bigoted or painful, you have to confront them on the behavior, and have the “talk” with them as many times as it takes. But if after much time and energy they still don’t seem to be understanding, that’s when you have to reevaluate if the relationship is worth keeping.

To accept and love you anyway takes even more time. And it’s much harder, because once they understand your lifestyle, they still may not be able to accept it. Again, this is when you have to reevaluate if the relationship is worth keeping.

To leave you alone about it takes less time, but fosters more misunderstandings. If this is what you want, you may be better off not telling them at all.

Your mileage will most certainly vary.

Next time I’ll talk about after you’ve told them, or if you’ve been outed.

Dan Savage on how to come out to your evangelical parents

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A Helping Hand to Japan

I know many pagans that are sending energy in solidarity with the people of Japan after the devastating earthquake/tsunami/nuclear reactor problems triple threat. Here is a charity I really believe in, for its work worldwide.

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) is an international independent medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural and man-made disasters, and exclusion from health care in more than 70 countries.(Thank you Renna Shesso)

Doctors Without Borders takes doctors and nurses who volunteer to provide urgent medical care in countries to victims of war and disaster regardless of race, religion, or politics.

They’ve stepped up and pitched in Haiti, Chile and now Japan. My father worked with some of them in Haiti when he volunteered there, and said they were both compassionate and professional.

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Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief

By now everyone has heard about the massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan yesterday (our time).

Charities that are mobilizing to help:

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Lady Gaga is selling We Pray for Japan Wristbands where the proceeds go to Japan relief efforts. You can also make a purchase of 38 songs by different artists where the proceeds will go to the Japanese Red Cross. For World of Warcraft players, you can purchase an in-game pet for $10 where all $10 will be donated to the Red Cross.

In the text messaging front:

  • Salvation Army: Text JAPAN or QUAKE to 80888 to make a $10 donation.
  • Though it cannot be designated, you can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross. You can also donate through the iTunes store.
  • Forbes has a list of other charities that are accepting cell phone text donations.

Avoid charity scams or those who are setting up a charity for the first time. Your best bet is to donate to an organization (or through someone to an organization) that has experience with charity work. You can check Charity Navigator’s Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: How To Help page for information on additional specific charities.

If you are attempting to find information on a loved one in Japan and can’t directly get in touch with them, the Google Person Finder is a good place to start.

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Their Practices and Beliefs Do Not Matter

In Jack Kornfield’s Living Dharma–a collection of teachings of various Theravada masters–one of the recurring themes that you see again and again is that in the matter of spiritual enlightenment, do not worry yourself about what others are doing, simply focus on what you are doing and observe your reactions. That judging others is, ultimately, a distraction and that 90% of your focus should be inward anyways.

There are two components to this. The first is maintaining a healthy sense of boundaries, defining the line between yourself and other people. It is not my responsibility to ensure that someone acts on a divine message, and it certainly is not my responsibility to make sure that they act on it in a particular way. Their beliefs regarding the reality or lack thereof of the gods, their beliefs about the nature of existence, neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

The second is that you don’t, ultimately, know the reasons for someone’s practice or the details of their personal path. You don’t, ultimately, know their relationship with their gods or where they are in their spiritual development, and you cannot objectively measure their level of devotion. That is between them and the gods, and too often we get caught up in outer form without paying attention to the inner reality of what is taking place.

What this amounts to is that it is difficult to know who is holding the best hand until the end of the game. I should not suffer because someone else is acting or believing in a way that is contrary to how I think they should be acting or believe to be true. If I feel hurt by it or judge it harshly and without understanding then my feelings on their actions may ultimately hamper my own spiritual growth.

I stand by this: I am not in the business of laying charges of heresy. The matter of devotion is between an individual and the gods, and the gods are completely capable of delivering a cosmic clue-by-four if they feel the need to do so without my assistance. In the meantime, I am not so boastful about my relationships with the gods that I need others to accept my views.

As Hávamál cautions us:

Let no man glory in the greatness of his mind,
but rather keep watch o’er his wits.
Cautious and silent let him enter a dwelling;
to the heedful comes seldom harm,
for none can find a more faithful friend
than the wealth of mother wit. (Hávamál, 6)

So to do I believe that no one should glory in the greatness of their own particular divine connection or revelation. This doesn’t mean that there is no value in discussion–quite the opposite–or that someone can’t be wrong, but rather that it is not my responsibility to press that divine relationship on others or otherwise decide what shows true devotion to the gods.

How to React

That having been said: Observing my reactions to their practice can be very valuable and can help me form my own identity and understanding, and opening up a consensual dialogue can be valuable for both of our spiritual developments. If they are doing something that actually impacts me or is actually harmful, I should also take the necessary steps to address it. There are also true situations of abuse that absolutely should be spoken out against.

However, the trouble is a matter of discernment: determining that the action is actually harmful, versus an action that would be very harmful to me if I were to practice and that I would never consent to. Whether it is actually disrespectful, or merely something that would be inappropriate for me given my relationship to the gods.

For determining whether a practice is unnecessarily dangerous or abusive, I tend to use the same metric that is widely used in the kink community: Is it Risk-Aware and is it Consensual? Essentially, are all participating parties aware of the risks to the degree to which such is feasible, and are all parties engaged of their own free will. There are certainly some qualifiers around my ability to ascertain these things (long story short: I can’t with perfect accuracy) and over what precisely constitutes risk-aware or (especially) consensual, but attaining an accurate, informed, and to the degree possible unbiased view of this is key to discernment.

For determining whether a practice is disrespectful, the first key question I ask is: does it look like the person believes they are being disrespectful. If they are deliberately being disrespectful, then it is disrespectful even if it is as simple as standing when they should be sitting in a ritual space. On the other hand, if what they are doing does not directly impact me and merely what I might think of as disrespectful to the gods then we might have a reasonable conversation about it, we might agree to disagree, but if the gods need this person smited they have the ability to do it without my help. I am not a member of the Heathen Orthodoxy Police.

In general the best route after seeing a different belief is to observe your own reaction to it, and open a dialogue about it. To not believe outright rumors about others or even your own initial perceptions of another’s practice, but to confirm them yourself to the degree which is possible.

This doesn’t mean you can’t–or shouldn’t–talk about those differences. But there is a subtle but important difference in the tone in saying I feel that doing X is disrespectful and saying Your practice is disrespectful or even X is disrespectful The former opens a dialogue, the latter two place the person immediately on the defensive. They set a negative tone to start, and from there very little dialogue can take place. Even if you are in the right.

In short, I believe there is a lot of wisdom in the Bible passage:

Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:4-5, KJV)

Spirituality is–ultimately–personal, and if worrying about someone else’s spiritual path is interfering with my own, then there is a problem, but it is not their problem to overcome.

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Review: Travels Through Middle Earth

There should be more books like this.

Alaric Albertsson in Travels Through Middle Earth walks a fine line between the scholarship heavy but soulless historical descriptions of practice and the practical UPG inspired but rootless descriptions of practice that are on every bookshelf in every metaphysical book store. And he does a fantastic job.

It is a deceptively small book, only 11 chapters and 217 pages(I read it in a couple of days), but that small space is packed full of history, literary analysis and practical tips on how to practice as a Saxon pagan.

Chapter 1, Who Were the Anglo Saxons? has an interesting discussion of history and Tolkien, with the simple yet revolutionary statement, “If English is your primary language, much of the fyrn sidu(which he defines as the old ways) is already familiar to you.”

And the old ways are familiar, embedded in the language we speak.

Chapter 2,  The Old Gods, takes us through the familiar Norse gods with slightly different names, Woden/Odin, Thunor/Thor, Freya/Freo, Frey/Ing Frea with a more peaceful aspect than we are used to seeing from a Norse perspective.

Chapter 3, The Weofod, dives into the practicalities and beauties of Saxon practice, starting with the household altar. He also discusses how to build relationships between people and the gods.

Chapter 4, Honor and Wyrd, discusses the concepts of the differences between honor and morals, and the intricacies of wyrd that are tricky for the modern person to understand, but Albertsson makes them very accessible and understandable.

Chapter 5, The Elves, discusses the elves as different kinds of wights. He describes ways to build relationships with these spiritual beings.

Chapter 6, Those Who Have Gone Before, is a great chapter on how to honor not only your genetic bloodline, but the people that have touched you life in important ways.

Chapter 7, The Magic of Middle Earth, discusses the different kinds of magic known to and practiced by the Anglo-Saxons.

Chapter 8, Mead Made Simple, is a practical chapter on how to make mead and the purpose of mead in Saxon practice.

Chapter 9, Gathering at the Hearth, is a great chapter on the organization of groups of like minded people.

Chapter 10, Holy Tides, discusses the different holy days in the Saxon tradition, and explains the links that some of them have to Wiccan holy days. The important part of this chapter is that it builds a bridge between Wicca and Saxon practice. In most books on Heathenry, there is a rejection of anything that smacks of Wicca. Albertsson doesn’t condemn Wiccans, instead he outlines how Gardner took pieces of Saxon practice and integrated into his new/old religion. Albertsson takes them back and returns them to their rightful place, but with gentle humor.

Chapter 11, Rites of Passage, discusses and gives rituals for naming, marriage and funerals from a Saxon perspective.

My overwhelming reaction to this book is positive. Albertsson emphasizes again and again that Saxon practice is a living, changing, organic, flexible belief system. He is egalitarian in his definition of hierarchy, whether it is between people or between gods, wights and us.  It is a simple book, a Ph.D. in history is not necessary to understand what he writes, but it is powerful in its simplicity and practical in its presentation.

There were a few things that were jarring for me.

Some of them were cosmological differences, seven worlds instead of nine, no real mention of Loki or his kin other than Hel, to whom Albertsson is very respectful but distant.

Some of them were interpretation, Albertsson sees elves as wights, which is not a view I am opposed to, I’ve just never thought of it that way, and dwarves as another name for dark elves, when in my travels I’ve experienced them as distinctly different.

But none of those jarring things made me like the book any less.

This is a beginner’s book. I would recommend it for anyone that is coming at the Nordic worldview from a Wiccan background, anyone who is just starting out and is not attracted to the “warrior” paradigm of  much of modern Asatru, or someone who has tried the modern Asatru way, and it just doesn’t work for them.

I will be reading his next book, Wyrdcraft, which pertains specifically to magic. I’ll let you know what I think.

Travels Through Middle Earth: The Path of the Saxon Pagan

Alaric Albertsson

Llewellyn Publishing

ISBN 978-0-7387-1536-0

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When Freedom of Speech Is Hard to Swallow

We belong to an alternative, minority faith. Many in the majority would like nothing better if we didn’t have the legal right to speak and practice.

The gods and our forefathers are kind, we have the right to speak and practice, guaranteed in the 1st amendment of the Bill of Rights, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

So when questions of the right to abridge that freedom come up, I am on the side of the most freedom for the most people.

Then, the Supreme Court of the US ruled that in the case of Snyder v the Westboro Baptist Church, that the church had the right to protest at funerals.

Westboro believes that America is morally flawed; many Americans might feel the same about Westboro. Westboro’s funeral picketing is certainly hurtful and its contribution to public discourse may be negligible. But Westboro addressed matters of public import on public property, in a peaceful manner, in full compliance with the guidance of local officials. The speech was indeed planned to coincide with Matthew Snyder’s funeral, but did not itself disrupt that funeral, and Westboro’s choice to conduct its picketing at that time and place did not alter the nature of its speech.

For those of you that have never heard of this organization, the Kansas-based church has made the news here in the US for picketing at the funerals of veterans, with their message of God Hates Fags.

The Anti-Defamation League describes them as, is a small virulently homophobic, anti-Semitic hate group that regularly stages protests around the country, often several times a week. The group pickets institutions and individuals they think support homosexuality or otherwise subvert what they believe is God’s law.

From the viciousness of their rhetoric and the calculated malice, they are the lowest common denominator in religious and civic discourse in the US.

But…

And this is what makes me grind my teeth in frustration. Because any ruling that affirms the right of free speech is a good thing.

Even if I wish Westboro had no platform to spew hate from. Even if I wish their god would come take them home, so the rest of us could go about our business in peace.

So I raise a horn to freedom. Because freedom for one is freedom for all. Even if the one is a hate-mongering, grith-breaking, intolerant group.

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In Memory: Frank Buckles

The last American World War I veteran died yesterday, he was one of the three remaining survivors of World War I anywhere in the world. In order to enlist he lied about his age–saying he was 21 when he was really 16 back in 1917. He turned 110 on 1 February 2011, and has said that the secret to his long life is Hope.

May he rest in peace.

Hat tip Galina Krasskova.

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Tangling with Metal Tigers: Energy Work in the Concrete Jungle

Last Friday I was invited to a birthday celebration at the VIP section of a popular downtown nightclub. I do not go to nightclubs as a rule, mainly because I do not find much stimulation in going to hang out with people in a location that largely prohibits conversation. I did decide to take this invitation up, for the two main goals of moving out of my comfort zone socially, as well as energetically. That night, I would put my energy work, empathy, glamour awareness and trancework to the test.

Rationale Before the Plunge

There are many reasons why energy and spirit workers should endeavor to go to a foreign environment to test out their skills. The first and foremost is getting out of the sterile environment that we usually practice our skills. Nine times out of ten, the place where I’m doing my energy work is either at a place that I’ve personally warded and protected (home or work) or a friend’s place that has done the same amount of warding and protections, if not more. This creates a safe place to work and learn new techniques, but the environment itself is very sterile, free of many entities and influences that we would normally see in the wild.

The second reason is to become aware and used to physical distractions, such as unfamiliar sensory information (sight, smell, sounds) or abrupt interaction between you and another physical entity, such as a friend, stranger, or animal. The reasoning behind this is that you might be called to do energy work with any and all of the above distractions, and you need to safely initiate, perform, and ground yourself properly in this environment.

Dangers of the Unclean Waters

Note that while this type of practice will push you out of your comfort zone, there are some risks and necessary precautions to keep in mind at all times before doing spirit work out and about.

  • Under no circumstances should you leave yourself without a shield. Any practice with shield work should apply the shields in layers, do not drop one shield and then apply the second.
  • Do not underestimate the power of location. Always leave yourself an out for if you get uncomfortable, such as a good place to ground, an outside area, or a less crowded section of the establishment. If things do not improve with a standard self-check and a ground/center, contact a friend and/or leave immediately.
  • Bring a friend or group to do the work with, these should be people who also do energy work. You can keep tabs on each other, help ground if necessary, and be each other’s sounding boards if the objective is energy sensing.

Sensing the Swimming Tigers

Energy work out in the field can be an exhilarating experience, since you can try out many techniques and get different results than you normally would in a sterile bubble. The club excursion in itself allowed me to sense/practice the following skills:

  • Basic grounding/centering/shielding, both in a non-protected and protected space.
  • Effects of alcohol on maintaining personal and empathic shields. This one was an overwhelming success, as I was of an even keel energetically through the night.
  • Detecting and deflecting glamour effects. I did have glamour directly used on me, and while I was able to have a very intriguing conversation, I also kept an even keel and was able to deflect the effects.
  • Sensing energy dynamics within small and large groups. I could sense dynamics between people in small groups, as well as look across a sea of people and sense where the energy was flowing.
  • Trance music and its effect on easily entering a trance state. I was in a trance state for the majority of the evening, but the trance state was more of a programming/logical nature since the music is also what I work to. This allowed me to be in a light trance, still in control of my actions and cognizant of my surroundings, but more attuned energetically. I did not attempt to journey in such a space, since I would rather do such with at least one spirit worker in the party to pull me back or protect me in case something happened. There were many others there that were in a deep trance state, which was very interesting to watch.

A Refreshing Dip

The amount of practice, experience, and feedback that I got in one night of experimenting in a foreign environment  is the equivalent of many nights practicing alone or in a sterile environment. I strongly encourage energy and spirit workers of any experience level to go out there and try their techniques in new environments. This experience is invaluable, since you will never know where and when you will be called to put your tools to the ultimate test.

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