Running – the risk of dying

Same thing for “New Drug Saves Lives”; no it doesn’t. “New safety regulations will reduce death toll by 60%”; no they won’t. “Eating Asparagus reduces chance of death…”; nope…

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Death: Paul Kidby

“Running just a few minutes a day reduces risk of dying”

Really??

Such was the headline on the news item that morning.

Now, I don’t run. There is a certain top-heaviness in the curves department that has always made running feel ungraceful for me. It holds few attractions unless it is barefoot through heather or snow when I don’t actually give the proverbial monkey’s about being graceful. I have huge admiration, and a certain amount of jealousy for those who can and do run, but personally, I’ve always preferred to get my exercise in other ways. But hey, if it is going to ‘reduce the risk of dying’…

Except, it isn’t… and the journalist who wrote that wants to be given some fundamental lessons in the mechanics of life. Because the one thing that is absolutely, unquestionably, unarguably certain is that dying is not a risk… it…

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‘You’ll only be good enough…’

A powerful reminder from Ali regarding the power of words, and the importance of choosing them wisely…

Chronicles of an Orange-Haired Woman!

‘…if you are exactly, and do exactly, and say exactly, what I want…’

‘You MUSTN’T  do this…’

‘You SHOULDN’T let that happen…’

‘You OUGHT to follow MY advice…’

This is not about those kindly and loving souls who give us advice to help us; it is about those who condemn us, and bully us, if we do not shape up the way they want!

Anyone out there ever felt this kind of pressure being bought to bear upon them? I have. Countless times. I still do. I am very easy to bully, to persuade, to frighten, to render wobbly and uncertain. You may have noticed. Noticed, for example, how rarely I give vicious ‘tongue’ to vicious, uncalled-for or sanctimonious comments on here. Believe me when I say that I am equally, if not more so, reticent – afraid – when it comes to sticking up for myself through the medium…

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Everything you could wish for is on the other side of fear.

Nick, with a big lesson, wrapped up in a big adventure:

It all started when I contacted a friend about meeting for a catch up. She replied telling me that she couldn’t as she was in Hong Kong. I replied telling her how jealous I was and left it at that. The next day, a very helpful receptionist had pointed me towards some travel blogs. There was one post where somebody had visited Hong Kong. I imagined how the thought of going alone scared me.

Source: Year of the Fire Rooster – a call to action and adventure!

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I am an atheist when the wind is north-northwest.

No words, really. Simple, yet exquisite will need to suffice.

The Allergic Pagan

I am an atheist north by northwest.

But when the wind is southerly, I know a deity from a deist.

If you were to tell me your god is a person like you, I would tell you I am an atheist.

But if you tell me you believe in no god, I will testify the world is full of them.

If you were to tell me there is only one true god, I would tell you I contain multitudes.

But if you tell me your gods are many, I will tell you I have faith in an unseen unity.

If you were to tell me my gods are just in my head, I would point to the earth and say, “Praise!”

But if you tell me your gods are real, I will point to your head and say, “Behold!”

If you were to tell me your god is good, I…

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the train to the north

Touching and insightful in equal measure. Wonderful piece of writing, observation, and reflection.

dhamma footsteps

POSTCARD #267: Newcastle-Inverness journey: Head spinning with ear-popping air pressures and momentum of the great storm that brought me here. The travel industry is the largest network in the world. Miles of corridors, two planes, Delhi/ Amsterdam/ Newcastle and the train to the North. Everything is linked with everything else – absolutely everything… who runs it all? (is there a God?) Inappropriate question; taxis, escalators, the spinning flow of it just moving along by itself. I jump on a train to Scotland and join the others already there. Get my seat, and we’re all swept away by these huge mountain scenes passing through the train, opening up in the windows, then changing to the next picture.

Train arrives at my stop, a small town I visited when I was a kid, long ago and far away. I feel like a stranger now, my whole reason for being here is to…

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A Gift for the Seer

“Inner Oracle”
Copyright: Carlos-Quevedo (on DeviantArt)

The Clan has gathered. The Seer has returned. Mother to many, yet mother to none. She appears tired. A lifetime of mundane query has taken a toll.

The Lights process, following a sacred path to the Seeing Stone.

The Guide stands, Portal Guardian, as the Seer prepares; awakening the stones, one by one; calling the Sentinels, and opening the Portals of Hope, Strength, and Truth.

The Ancestors gather.

The Guide collects each Light in turn, “Do you have a question, for the Seer?”

The question, heard only by the Guide, is carried, with the Light, into the Sanctuary. The Seer awaits.

The Temple falls away. Infinite circle of darkness. A star. The Seer awaits.

The Eye in the open Heart. Stone upon stone. The Seer awaits.

Sinking into the light. Ancestors whisper.

Gems of Truth cast into the void. Ancestors whisper.

The Seer gathers the lots. Ancestors whisper.

The Seer speaks.

My gift? Is not nearly enough…

(Part of “The Feathered Seer” series)

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The Feathered Seer – Part 3 (No. Really. The Feathered Seer!)

Nine Ladies Stone Circle, Stanton Moor
Copyright: Graham Dunn

During the exploration session on Spirit Animals, presented during The Silent Eye (a modern mystery school) “Leaf and Flame: the Foliate Man” weekend in 2016, one of the companions enquired about “Shape-shifting”. Since this was outside the scope of the discussion, the concept was briefly addressed without going into any real detail. It was, therefore, with some surprise, that I found myself agreeing to present an exploration session on the topic during “The Feathered Seer” weekend in 2017.

As April approached, the usual buzz of anticipation built towards the day that the work-book was released, and roles revealed. Most surprised, therefore, when an email arrived indicating the “costume” arrangements for the weekend. Other than the, at this stage, mysterious “Weaver” and “Spinner”, only I would be required to be costumed: in the role of Shaman. This made it easy, as I probably had a few things lying around which would foot the bill.

As it turned out, this was a double blessing, as neither Robe, nor Shell were to be found. Ironically, both would make a reappearance, pretty much where they were always believed to reside, before the weekend was out!

The work-book, when it arrived, proved to be a masterful crafting of ritual movement, wrapped in a touching storyline; at once intimately personal, and, ultimately, Universal. I wasn’t entirely sure that I was fully “ready” to experience the Temple energies that the unfolding of such a story was likely to unleash, particularly when viewed from the perspective of the Shaman of the Raven Clan.

Did I mention synchronicity?

The exploration session I’d outlined focussed on the reasons why shape-shifting appears so difficult. It isn’t that we cannot do it, indeed we do a form of shape-shifting on a daily basis, without ever really thinking about it. It is only when we come to consider shifting into a form other than human that we become stuck: in a variety of fears, ultimately centred on the persistent illusion which we fear most. The weekend, unknown to me, would approach an inspection of the root, and illusory nature, of these very same fears.

Ghost Dance, Mary Wright.
(Source and story here)

It took much longer than usual to find a motel, and it was with some relief that I managed to secure a room around midnight. In hindsight, it was probably just as well; allowing regalia to be “smuggled” from car to room (and back, in the morning) with few observers. By the time I finally lay down, I expected to be out like a light… that’s when the “itch” started. Something wasn’t right. It wasn’t till around 3am that I finally caught on… and with no idea how I was to explain this odd “change to the plan” to the Directors of the School, I promptly fell asleep.

Wandering into the Queen Anne, Friday lunchtime, of a Silent Eye weekend pretty much guarantees finding “the usual suspects”. Hugs, helloes, and “Oh, by the way, I might be about to completely mess up everything, but I need to make a change to the script…” They accepted this news much more readily than I could have imagined possible.

What had come the night before was the realisation that the Clan would not rely on a single individual, the Shaman, to Cense the Sacred Space. Indeed, opening and cleansing the Space would have been, very much, a community activity. Prior to Ritual 1, then, I found myself teaching the basic steps required for the Companions to perform a round dance. Not only that, but directing them to be aware of the possibility of “recollecting the Song of the Raven Clan” seemed rather fantastical, even as I was saying it.

Weaver and Spinner

With some trepidation, I then explained their new role to the “Weaver” and the “Spinner”. Handing over your most sacred object, in complete trust, is a big ask. I shouldn’t have worried. Both executed their new duties with such reverence for the Drum, that it was only a matter of time before a snippet of the Song would be revealed in all its unexpected glory.

The Shaman was to “stand, off” for the first three rituals. Thankfully, one of the Companions would be unable to arrive until Ritual 3. I say thankfully, as only in Ritual 3 was I required to “stand, off”, playing the missing Companion’s part in the first two. I say thankfully, as  the energies raised in the round dancing, to the Mother’s Heartbeat, filled the Space so completely that they were all but palpable. As the Companions passed the Light, and themselves, along the ritual pathways of the Hexaflow, it became all but impossible to maintain any sense of equilibrium as “Watcher”.

It was only to get worse, of course, in Ritual 4. It seemed simple enough on paper. Take the assembled Companions on a guided meditation, preparing to take them on a physical journey to “face their fears”. What transpired, was most unexpected, as I found myself walking: first the circuit of the Temple, the triangle, another circuit, then the Hexaflow, followed by a final circuit, at the end of which I found myself, Staff now in hand, completely shaken, disassembled and brought together in a new Octave

Raven Landing
Found online. Copyright Unknown.

How my fading, ever-shifting voice affected the Companions, I can only guess. That the text was such perfect length to allow that journey, depositing me in the exact place required, and prepared, in full regalia, to accompany the first of the Companions on their own journey through the Veil, remains a mystery. If I tried it now, out of the Space, and the combined Energies thereof, I really don’t believe it entirely possible.

Nor do I believe that it is possible to attend such a weekend and return unchanged. It usually takes several weeks to fully recover a sense of equilibrium in the “everyday”, and for the “lessons” to merge, and become “part” of the “re-newed” you. Those to whom we return, in the “real” world, may even look on us with a different eye, trying to figure out what is “different”, what has “changed”. Yet, ironically, it is not us, but they, who have been changed by our experience of it…

The exploration? Ah. Yes. That went… well(?) Or as well as might have been expected when you get lost in “What it is to be human…” [Coming soon…]

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