Poetry: Jasper

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Stone
formed from drops
of Christ’s blood,
the martyr’s gem
from legends of old –
jasper
stained with red flecks,
forever falling
from the foot of the cross.

(Written by Maranda Russell, marandarussell.com)

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Reincarnation: Remembering Past Lives?

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I want to start this post by saying I am not implying that the experiences I will reveal prove that past lives are a thing or that these were definitely my past lives, however, they were interesting experiences and I thought you guys might enjoy reading about them. I do not ascribe to any particular religion or ideology, although I do tend to favor new age spirituality concepts over religious dogma. Reincarnation makes sense to me in many ways, so I do consider it a possibility and enjoy reading about it.

I have had two very emotional, realistic dreams that made me wonder if they may be tied to my past lives. In both dreams, I think the strangest thing was that I was in an entirely different time and place, surrounded by people I do not recognize from this life, but I felt that I intimately knew these people and places, just like I do my own family and home now.

In the first dream, I was in a Celtic land, it felt medieval or earlier to me, although I don’t know the exact era. I was in a wealthy family, maybe even connected to royalty somehow. The dream wasn’t particularly exciting that I remember, just kind of mundane day to day life as a wealthy young lady, but what stood out to me was how emotionally connected I felt to the dream and how deeply I felt connected to people I do not recognize at all from this lifetime. I do have Celtic family roots and have always felt drawn to that culture, but perhaps there is even more to my love for that era than I thought…

In the second dream, I was a young man (really weird for me to dream that!) and I was fighting on a battlefield. I’m not a war historian by any means, but it felt like it was around WW1 from the uniforms and what I saw on the battlefield (I’m not sure what country I was from, but it felt like I was on the side of the allies). I ended up dying in the dream, which is always an interesting experience. I remember most the feeling of camaraderie and deep love I felt towards my “brothers” in uniform. I was almost glad to die if it meant maybe my friends could live. It was a sad and somewhat scary dream, but also full of love and friendship.

I also had one other experience that wasn’t a dream but was very curious. I was meditating, definitely not asleep, when I was suddenly in a foreign but very familiar place. I was in the desert, in what looked and felt to me like ancient Egypt. I saw a young girl climbing a large sand dune and instantly knew that I was that girl, and yet, I was watching events from a distance, outside of her body.

Suddenly, a gang of what I felt were robbers and criminals appeared. This group assaulted the girl and did horrible things to her (I’m sure you can imagine). The odd thing was that even though I felt that girl had been me, I wasn’t emotionally reactive to what I was seeing, at least not in the way you would expect. I didn’t feel fear, anger, trauma, or anything like that, I just felt deep sadness for all involved, both the poor, innocent girl and the deeply misguided men. I actually felt compassion towards these men who had abused me.

I want to say that this meditative experience was only the second time I have ever had something like that happen while meditating. The other time that I suddenly found myself somewhere else, it was simply a field of wildflowers I found myself transported to. I don’t know what the heck that was about lol, but it was a beautiful place.

I hope you enjoyed reading about these odd dreams and visions. If you enjoy this type of stuff, let me know. There are plenty of other odd “woo woo” type of experiences I can share if you are interested!

Adult Coloring Book Art – Coffee Break and Winter Witch

I’m still on an adult coloring book kick. Here are a couple recent finished pieces. First, we have a coffee/snack inspired picture:

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This second image was actually one that I cut out of a paper from my House of Rituals pagan subscription box. Personally, I think the star and the reindeer antlers make her look like a winter witch, although the flowers point more to a springtime feeling, so who knows?

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Both of these are currently up for sale on my Ebay store, so if you like them, check it out!

October 2018 House of Rituals Pagan Subscription Box

I received my October Mini House of Rituals subscription box a few weeks ago and have already used the stuff from it, but I wanted to show you all what I got anyhow. Here is what came in the box:

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The theme this month was Samhain & Diving with Spirits. The package included a 3-card spread tarot reading cloth, 3 tarot cards chosen individually for each subscriber (I got The Lovers, The High Priestess, and the 3 of Wands cards), a tarot card reading guide, a book about various kinds of spirits and how to work with them, 2 silver candles, full moon incense, an old-fashioned pocketwatch, an antique photo, a sun/moon decorative tile, a chunk of rose quartz, and instructions.

When I do rituals I tend to kind of disregard the instructions and just do what feels right, so I used the materials to do a small altar spread honoring the spirit of Samhain and The Day of the Dead. I did keep the theme of past, present, and future and did feel that the 3 cards they sent me fit well! Here is an image of my finished altar spread:

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My personal interpretation of the 3 cards is as follows:

Past – The Lovers: Duality in my past spills over into my present.

Present – The High Priestess: A need for my subconscious to heal from the pain of the past so I can move on.

Future – 3 of Wands: Harmonious prosperity (hopefully a good result to my upcoming SSDI hearing?)

I mostly consider the Tarot a system that is fun and helps you get in touch with your own inner thoughts, feelings, desires, and needs through meditation, so I don’t necessarily try to use it to “predict the future”, but if it wants to tell me the future looks good, I will accept that!

Can Abusers Ever Be Reformed?

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This is a question I struggle with myself on a regular basis. Can abusers really ever change or is it just theater to try to pull you back in so they can mistreat you again? Should you ever let a prior abuser back into your life if they seem to have changed for the good?

None of these are easy questions and there are certainly many contributing factors that should be considered as well. Perhaps abusers who once had drug or alcohol addictions and have now gotten clean for a significant period of time will have changed enough to give them a second chance.

What about those who lived for years with undiagnosed, untreated mental illness and finally get the help they need? How much of the abuse was who they truly were and how much was the influence of the untreated mental illness? This scenario is one I personally have experienced to some extent with my own family. How much responsibility should they hold for the abuse, especially any times they may have actually dipped into psychosis?

I know many abusers find religion at some point in their lives and claim to have been completely changed. I must admit I am suspicious of this claim. Perhaps religion truly does change the hearts of some, but much of my personal experience has taught me that if someone is a bad person before they find religion, they will likely be a bad person after they find it. Superficialities may change, but does their behavior/attitude/actions?

Unfortunately, I have no real answers to the question of whether abusers can ever change, but I hope that they can. I would warn everyone to be cautious in extending an olive branch to anyone who has deliberately hurt you again and again, but I do understand the desire to believe in the power of change.

 

Dream Analysis: Fear of Death

 

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My Spyder

Last night I had an interesting dream. In the dream, there was a big snake loose in our house and I was trying to stay as far away from it as I could because I feared getting bit. Every time I would see it somewhere, I would run to another room. Then, the dream took an unexpected turn when the snake attacked my cat, Spyder. Spyder has been my baby since the day he came home to us and has been with us almost 12 years.

When I realized the snake was attacking Spyder in the dream, I was suddenly like “HELL NO!!!” and I ran into the room with a small sword (that suddenly appeared out of nowhere) and I cut that snake’s head clean off! I was suddenly as brave as an Amazon warrior, or like a mother bear defending her cubs.

When I woke up today, I was trying to decode this dream a bit, and I think what I was actually dreaming about was the fear of death. Just last night I was talking to someone about the short spans our pets live and about how my last two cats died around the same age Spyder is now. I think the snake symbolized death coming to take a loved one from me, and while I clearly have a self-preservation instinct and a healthy fear of my own death, that fear pales in comparison to the terror I feel at losing a loved one.

What is Your Great Work?

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Recently I was reading a book about glamour magic. I read a lot of books about paganism and mystical spiritual paths, because even though I consider myself an agnostic, I also believe there are many, many things we don’t understand and I enjoy delving into the mysteries and deeper meanings found in spirituality and mythology.

Overall, the book was a bit of a letdown, it seemed fairly shallow in some ways, but I guess I should have guessed that since glamour magic itself is generally about surface level changes. However, there was one meditative exercise in the book that I did find meaningful. This part of the book emphasized the importance of figuring out what your great work will be.

As the book went on to explain, in order to get anywhere in life, you have to know what you are aiming for. You have to know what is most important to you in terms of achievement and meaning. You have to figure out where your energy, passion, and hard work should be directed. So, I meditated on this subject for a while and here are the three things I came up with that I currently would consider my own “great work” in this life:

  1. My writing/blog. Guess what? You guys are all a BIG part of my great work! I write because my soul cries out to share my experiences, feelings, hopes, and dreams. Having people who actually want to read about those things is truly a magical gift in itself!
  2. My art. I often feel insecure in my artistic abilities. I feel like there are so many artists out there that are far more talented and definitely better trained than myself, but I LOVE art and sometimes I genuinely love the stuff I make. My art may not be top of the line, but I do think many of my creations are unique artworks that only I could make.
  3. Advocating for others like me. This kind of ties into #1 and #2, since I often use my art and my writing to advocate for others who have autism, mental illness, or chronic pain/illness. People like me are often marginalized, ignored, looked down upon, and mistreated. I want to help stop that. I want to help the world to become a kinder, more empathetic place for those who struggle.

Now that I have shared my own great works in life, why don’t you spend a little time figuring out your own? You can pick just one, or you can have several like I did. Think deeply about it and question your purpose in life. If you would like to share what you come up with in the comments on this post, I would love to hear it!

New ACEO Artwork Series: Ancient Symbols

Recently I decided to combine my love for art and ancient symbology into a new series of ACEO art trading cards. I have several books about signs, symbols, and sigils and plan to make a variety of artworks celebrating my love for these mysterious and intriguing ancient forms of wisdom.

So far, I have made four of these cards, two of them inspired by Shinto symbols and two inspired by ancient Egyptian cartouches (a series of symbols that represents deities or royalty).

The first Shinto symbol is a version of the Good Luck Crane:

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I also did a version of the Shinto Tortoise of Longevity:

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As for the Egyptian cartouches, the first represents Thothmes III:

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And the 2nd represents Hatshepset:

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Please let me know what you guys think of this new series. I hope you like it. You can find these artworks and more for sale on my Ebay store, so check it out!