On Personal Power

Personal power has been something I’ve always wanted to develop ever since I was in high school. I grew up in an environment where my thoughts, emotions, and personally my sexuality have been challenged.

To this day I still have a problem with getting past emotions about my private Christian education as a child. It wasn’t until I was older that I started thinking, like REALLY thinking about why I believe what I believe and why I even follow what I believe.

I’ve had a brief stint as an agnostic in college. Seeing other so-called Christians out there acting the complete opposite of what they preach was a major turn off and essentially a big  reason why I started drawing away from church and associating with other supposed Christians. It left a bad aftertaste in my mouth and my visceral reaction to getting invited to church is just pure discomfort.

Perhaps my parents wanted me and my siblings to be in a “safe environment.” We were sent on a Sunday school bus full of other kids from different neighborhoods in the city and we got to experience firsthand how “lost souls are lead to Christ.”

I was grouped with mostly people of color: African-Americans, Asians, Latinos.. the white church was the private Christian school I attended. Ironically, I felt more comfortable with the other non-white kids than the white churchy kids.

I learned about segregation very quickly and how different it felt between ethnic minorities and the white majority. I’m not going to turn this into a post on social justice issues, but it is a big part of my identity that I’m still struggling to accept.

My point being in explaining all of the above: discomfort in a place where you know deep inside you feel like you don’t belong can give you seeds to build upon your personal power.

But, you have to act on planting those seeds and watering them so you can grow into the best version that you can be.

Other people may have ways of attaining personal power. For me that experience was being in an environment that made me question the world instead of blindly following instructions by people whose actions were the complete opposite of Christian.

I admit that I still have a grudge against my private Christian education. I have nightmares of going back to that school and facing people who made me feel worth less than what I am today. It’s a raw feeling, a deep place of pain and anxiety for me.

But as I grow older and see more of the world subjectively through my own eyes, I begin to feel more comfortable breaking past chains each and every day to find my ultimate happiness in living my life.

That happiness is finding my personal power in not letting any sort of institution religious or otherwise define me.

My spiritual path is my own. I build it. I create it. I experience it. No one else is experiencing anything else in my life but me. I think it’s okay to be a little bit selfish and retreat back into yourself so you can deal with things later with the right energy and mindset.

For years I’ve been told that I was never good enough and that I was never going to amount to anything. The damage has been done, but I’m making that pain into the power I want for my life.

Fortifying my defenses, gaining the personal power I need to fulfill my life however I see it.

O How I Burn The Midnight Witching Oil

As the Holidays are coming to a close, I’m in my room pondering about the past year and what transpired. Perhaps its a subjective feeling, but 2016 I think has been a year of turmoil and stress for almost everyone. Granted, the fact that we now have a questionable man in office as President of the United States and that things in the world aren’t seemingly right makes me wonder where humanity is headed. But political discourse and world problems aren’t my focus right now.

The new moon is tomorrow and I’m already preparing for a small rite that would help me transition into 2017 smoothly. Prayers, petitions, or whatever you call them, they are most powerful when you take into account extra boosts of power concerning the usage of herbs, crystals, or certain incense that would put you in the mood. Maybe its been a developing habit for the past year since I started practicing but midnight always seems to be the time that I am at my peak researching witchcraft, occult practices, and other metaphysical ponderings. I’m essentially a night owl. I can never bring myself to even read a book in the morning or afternoon since mornings and afternoons I usually spend people watching, tending to my personal care, and others. Or mostly traveling. And the gym.

I guess you can say that its stereotypical for someone to be practicing witchcraft from 12 am – 3am. The only thing I don’t do is dance naked around a bonfire or astral traveling to far off places to meet with other witches (yet, haha).

I guess at night I’m more comfortable with myself. The darkness. The light coming from the moon and stars. If I had the option of practicing outside in my backyard maybe in the countryside away from prying eyes, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Being outside at night and learning about the darkness with nature has always been a strange fascination of mine as a child.

I would dream up being in the woods conjuring, naked, raw, and unbridled with passion in my practice. To this day, I still haven’t lost that dream and passion of mine. To be free.

Midnight is a time of transition. The line between yesterday and today. Night and morning. A liminal space.

One such goddess comes into mind and I’ve felt her following me for the past few years or so. Hekate has revealed herself in my dreams, in my daily walkings and thoughts, and despite of her having a subdued presence currently in my life, she’s still there in the shadows watching and guiding despite of my not actively practicing with her.

At this moment in time, I’m not obligated to worship or devote myself fully to any deity. That’s something I’m still personally going through until the time is comfortable for me and whatever deity I so choose alone.

But yes, Hekate, a goddess of the night, witches, magic, and the crossroads which coincide with transitional or liminal spaces as well. I’ve dealt with many crossroads in my life, mostly metaphorical. My decisions in my undergraduate years of college, my decisions for a course of action for my future, and most importantly my decisions concerning my personal relationships with both family and friends. Who I let in and who I keep out has been a recurring theme in my life for the last three years.

I think Hekate has had to do something with those thought processes and decisions. Guiding from the shadows and pointing me to a potential road I could take.

As the new year approaches, I am looking forward to definitely leaving 2016 behind and welcoming 2017 with new ideas, thoughts, and approaches. Hopefully being a fruitful and prosperous year with how I make of it.

 

Illusionary Reality and Deified Flaws

I am currently sitting in a coffee bar in Silverlake and it is a pretty trendy establishment with some intriguing clientele and I’m trying to not act like I’m a newb here. I usually get giddy exploring new places and being in new places. Intelligentsia located at 3922 W Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90029 for anyone who wants to visit one day. They have a delicious array of coffee and tea and some baked goods.

Exploring the city and being among the people feels exhilarating and at the same time exhausting both mentally and physically. You have to have a constant state of self-awareness and outer awareness of everything here if you don’t want to get too caught up in LA’s hedonism and heathenism.

Maybe it’s just the way how I see things. Maybe it’s just the way how things really are. Reality is strangely subjective yet objective pertaining to the laws of thermodynamics and physics. I’m not trying to get all metaphysical woo-woo on here, but my point is that reality should be seen as a constant flow of information and events. Everything can be both objective and subjective; however, personally I believe that objectivity at the end of the day is the winner.

As humans we can rationalize all we want about our situations, lives, and whatever happens to us; but we can’t (however we do) deny the fact that life and reality the way as we see it is inevitable. Water will be water. Air will give life. Fire will burn. The Earth will regenerate and constantly shift for thousands or even millions of more years.

Life goes on.

We try to deny and escape the negativity in this world by escaping through frivolous entertainment, drugs, sex, loveless pursuits, vain pursuits…. we tell ourselves that life will be okay because I see it how it is and not for how it really is. 

Humanity is strange. We have varying interpretations about cosmogony. Christianity stating that everything was created in seven days from a void. Other beliefs stating that all-powerful yet flawed gods had a part to play in forming both above and below. From the depths of the ocean to the highest of heavens.

It’s funny how we try to humanize deities and spirits. The thing with the occult, metaphysics, and anything beyond is that it eventually starts becoming an incomprehensible headache that we’d rather push under the rug instead of thinking about how things are…. the way they are. I think the term I was trying to reach for was anthropomorphizing celestial bodies, gods, spirits, demons, whatever.

We like to deify things and worship them because of some inner desire to believe in something other than ourselves. Or maybe, we want to deify things because we in turn can try to appeal to them and gain some sort of supernatural power or benefit by living a certain way in this current lifetime.

One major pantheon I have a slight gripe with would be the Hellenistic gods and goddesses. The way how I see it, they were essentially high school drama on godly steroids. Zeus took fuck, marry, kill literally. Everyone else was related by one degree of separation and gods and mortals did whatever they wanted to each other either out of benevolence or malevolence.

While… on the other hand, we have a perfect God, a Holy Trinity with Christianity that is without flaw and without blemish. The Almighty and All-Creator of the Universe.

So which is the truth? We can go in circles all we like. Morality, philosophy, religious beliefs, spiritual practices, etc. There are so many in the world from different cultures and they have evolved so much in the span of history that we consciously know of.

Okay, I’m giving myself a headache writing all this stuff out. Been sitting on my chest for awhile so I’m glad that I finally got to write it out. Perhaps in a future post I’ll polish up some of this stuff more.

Goodbye for now.

The Spirit of the Land and Identity

Have you ever felt truly at home where you live?

You may or may not realize it in the beginning but you never really truly miss a place until you go away for some time and reminisce about hanging out at your old haunts, revisiting old places where you had memories, and maybe seeing important, meaningful people from your past.

I’m explicitly talking about my growing up in North Carolina. It’s a beautiful state with a lot of green and many places to take in sightseeing opportunities to sightsee and let yourself go with nature. Being out in the wild helps me think. It puts me in a meditative state and it helps me connect and ground with myself.

North Carolina is a lot of things. Good, bad, and ugly. But that’s everywhere. The special meaning that NC holds for me is the people and the places where I met them. They are the memories and energies that ground me in my mind whenever I am in the toughest of life’s ruts and whenever I need to meditate on something. I throw my mind’s eye back into the places that gave me a feeling of belonging and empowerment. Whether it be a small café with a couple close friends, a solitary venture out into the woods to commune with the spirits, or the river where my element runs wild.

What describes the atmosphere of a region or place?

Well, the term  I know of is genius loci or the atmospheric spirit of a region or place.

I’ve been out in the mountainous Western parts of North Carolina during my teenage years and college years. The natural beauty of North Carolina is captivating and it reels you in with the vastness of a forest or the feeling of empowerment standing on top of a hill or mountain looking down on everything with peace. It was nice to get away on those weekend day trips after a grueling week of studying and examinations.

When I started practicing my craft, I relied heavily on connecting with the land.

Exploring a forest or nature trail or even visiting a river helped me develop my connection and crafting my practice. Even exploring around the city helped (Greensboro was where I went to college and it was a smaller city but had some hidden gems and places to just get lost in and be one with yourself, and maybe find a few unexpected friends along the way).

The atmosphere of home in NC helped me grow as a person and be at peace with myself.

However,  moving to California after graduation disconnected me from the land I grew up in and in turn has had me in a rollercoaster of emotions and thoughts. I miss home.

California is nice; however, as much as I’ve tried to find my place here it just isn’t the same. Who knows? Maybe I have yet to find a tribe or group of people to truly connect with.

The only people I know here in California is family and unfortunately they’re not inclined toward Paganism or any alternative form of spirituality.

I’m holding on to hope that I find good people to be with here in California.

Graduating college seven months ago was just the beginning of my journey in life. Maybe California has its own charms to show me along the way in the next year or so? I’m trying to keep myself open to opportunities and people.

If I want to keep growing and moving forward, I have to find a way to connect with California as well whether it be through interacting with people, visiting landmarks, finding places unknown to me.

Venturing out is one more step to finding that independence and personal spirituality that I fiercely pursue.

On La Madrina and the LA Metaphysical Scene

I’ve been exploring much more of LA lately after I’ve settled in town for quite some time. I can’t say that I’m fully accepting of where I live right now, but I’m trying to feel at home here. The city itself is alive with so much energy and it was a little jarring at first seeing the sights, being around the people, and learning the streets and the freeways (which I am not entirely of the 605 and 405).

But yeah, yesterday when I was with family we were on our way for lunch on Melrose and we passed by this little sanctuary for La Santa Muerte. It was the Templo Santa Muerte and it is one of LA’s many dedicated shrines to the Holy Mother of Death. Santa Muerte isn’t a spirit to be trifled with and not a spirit to take lightly. Her dedicated followers leave cigarettes, alcohol, and other prescribed items on her altar and they pray for a remission of problems, a spurned lover, safety of travel, personal safety, and so on.

She is a spirit of the disenfranchised and the people living on the fringes of society. They turn to her for help when no one else seems to offer any other solutions.

I came across La Santa Muerte for the first time in Greensboro, NC when I was perusing through the local metaphysical shop that wasn’t too far from my college. There was a white novena candle with La Santa Muerte inscribed on the glass and an oración or prayer to her. I was intrigued and a little intimidated by the thought of praying to Death of all things in the world. I did some research on La Santa Muerte after and found a lot of things about her resonating with me and intriguing me even more. My experience with La Santa Muerte doesn’t stop there.

On another occasion when I was in an occult shop in Raleigh, NC, I saw a book (look up Tomás Prower’s La Santa Muerte: Unearthing the Magic & Mysticism of Death) on the shelf and decided to pick it up and read a couple of pages. I was intrigued and felt a call toward her at that moment. There have been spirits that have been popping up left and right ever since I put myself on the occult path and studying the mysteries. La Santa Muerte just happened to be one of the spirits that I drew toward to.

Why did I draw toward La Santa Muerte? Well, for one, she accepts anyone who is viewed by society as a pariah or “outcast.” She is a mother for outcasts. Gay people being one of them. Even to this day, LGBT people unfortunately still have some ways to go in terms of possessing equality and prejudice. I’ve felt like an outcast most of my entire life, not always fitting in wherever I am but I did manage to find a small glimmer of light with the few friends I have had. I guess feeling different and set apart from everyone else makes you look for something in other places that most people wouldn’t dare tread and let alone looking for consolation in a spirit of death that can grant any wish to anyone regardless of sexual orientation, gender, and motives whether benevolent or malevolent.

Also, perhaps I drew to La Santa Muerte specifically in that my Roman Catholic background and Hispanic heritage may have something to do with it. I grew up learning about Roman Catholicism before converting to Southern Baptist (yikes) after moving to the Bible belt when I was 3 years old. La Santa Muerte was a “saint” that I guess I drew toward to naturally because of the veneration and appealing to saints that came with Roman Catholicism.

If I have anymore experiences with her, I’ll be sure to write another post in detail.

As for LA’s metaphysical scene, it’s something I’m still looking into. I’m trying to find likeminded people however in a city as big as LA, it shouldn’t be impossible but I’m very selective with who I hang out with. A lot of the metaphysical and spiritual wellness scenes can be a lot of crock and “woo-woo” to the point of being absurdedly out of the realm of reality and personal empowerment. There are some things in the metaphysical scene I don’t agree with which I will not go into too much detail on here, but the fact that some people spend over $200 on large chunks of crystals and thinking that it will give them wealth and success WITHOUT the work involved, is just……. offensive I think.

It may be because I’m more of a logical thinker and that (well no brainer!) putting in work into the physical realm along with spiritual help is more effective than just lighting a candle and praying over a crystal without physical effort involved. I may believe in magic and the supernatural but I am also for sure going to put in my work with the added bonus of a spell or candle prayer. It’s like doing a job spell and not sending out resumés to employers and you just expect something to come out of nothing. I’d rather not wait for an employer to contact me. The spell is an added boost to draw chances of finding a job for you higher than maybe without the spell. Who knows, do what you want to do and do what you feel works for you. But that’s just my personal take on it.

The only occult shops I’ve been to here in LA so far have been House of Intuition (of which they have 3 known locations so far in Highland Park, Sunset Boulevard, and Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood). The other occult I went to was Panpipes’ Magickal Marketplace on N. Cahuenga Boulevard, being LA’s oldest occult shop from 1970 starting out as a museum and then to what it is now. Vicky (the current shopkeeper) at Panpipes’ was really nice and helpful on my first visit. The shop was smaller than I expected but it had a plethora of herbs and oils on one wall that looks like a medieval apothecary.

I’ll document more of my LA occult findings throughout the course of this blog.

But yeaah, that’s it for now.

In The Dying Of The Light

Ever since I was a child, I’ve always been fascinated with the supernatural. Always against the natural order of things and never one to bow down to authority at a moment’s notice. I’ve had a rebellious streak in me since I was a kid and I still sorta do albeit in a more demure and controlled manner. If it weren’t for my fundamentalist upbringing, I’d probably be insane and out doing crazy shit.

My parents grew up as Catholics and when they transferred to the Bible Belt of the United States, they converted to Southern Baptist. My life was a shit show. Thirteen years of my life I went every day to a school that taught Christ-centered curriculum when the faculty themselves lacked any sort of Christ-centeredness about them. Hypocrisy in the Christian church is what turned me off to religion and going to Sunday morning services.

Call it apostasy. Call it whatever. I’m calling it as I have observed and seen from all the crap that I’ve experienced. I’m tired of it all. I’m tired of having to feel guilty all the time and shunned and put down because of the how I see life differently than the rest of everyone else. I believe in the magical not only because of an overactive and unquenched imagination but also the desire to be in control of my life and not letting it be dictated by others.

I feel much more welcome out in nature than a church that judges the fuck out of you. 

I couldn’t wait for the day that I’d be done with Sunday school services and having to take the bus every morning to church. It felt routine, uncomfortable, and fake. I didn’t want to be there and no one really cared what happened to you so long as you were present and somehow managed to act like you were one of the Christians.

Funny how I noticed that a lot of the “Sunday school bus kids” were a lot of the lower household income kids that were segregated from the “White-privileged preacher kids” that sat in the shiny, new church auditorium. I could tell how the White preacher kids looked at the mixed ethnicities of Sunday school bus kids. It was disheartening.

I realize now as an adult that the environment I grew up in was damaging to my psyche and my mental health. In the middle of college I developed depression and I’m struggling with it as we speak. I’m not seeing a counselor (though I did when I was still in college) and I’m not on any meds.

It’s difficult dealing with this sort of thing when you can’t vocalize your opinions or concerns to your own parents who would just tell you to “deal with it.”

I’ve heard my parents say before that they would listen to me, but all they could say was “pray, forget about it, and deal with it.” LMAO what the fuck?

Maybe my choice in following an alternative spiritual path comes from the backlash I felt from being in a judgmental, unloving environment. Maybe I want to satiate my inner rebelliousness. Everything about that church-school messed me up and I’m still trying to break away from the chains that bind me.