Spiritual abuse is real

Spiritual abuse is real, it’s a real thing in pretty much every spiritual movement or religious community. Why? Because in these places there’s a real intersection of vulnerability and power. People are drawn to seeking when they need help, and those who are willing exploit that vulnerability for their own gain will, very sadly, do so.

One spiritual seeker to another, I’m putting this out there for anyone who needs to see this and hear this, the fruits and lessons of personal experience.

*Anyone can call themselves a priest, a healer, a shaman. Literally anyone. I know when you’re seeking, vulnerable, newly called the array of these folk can be dazzling. It’s so tempting to take up that offer healing, of sanctuary, of soul or power work when you’re feeling confused or vulnerable. I cannot stress enough how important it is to take your time and to be discerning. Kind of like a first date. Do your research. It may sound obvious, but if you can’t find a history for this person, or they have a history of lying, thieving, or exploitation, treat that as a big red flag. Glamour and power can over a lot, don’t fall for it. Hang round the edges for a while. Check in with your own gut and guidance. Trust yourself if you’re hearing a ‘no’.

*The capacity to move energy doesn’t make someone a healer. Unless this capacity is coupled with some serious integrity and grounded experience, what it makes that person is potentially seriously dangerous. Shamanism, tantra, any advanced energy practice can harm as deeply as they heal—the harm doesn’t even have to be intentional. Think toddler running through a crowd with a big knife. Got the picture?

*Be highly suspicious of people (men in particular) who want to access your power for their own gain. These people generally have few to no peers, but possibly some (or many) followers. They love people who support their visions of themselves and their power. They don’t take criticism or conflict well. The classic lines like “The Goddess told me we would work together” or “She told me I can heal you.” I know it sounds cheesy when I say it here, but too many fall for it! Maybe you do want to work with this person, but don’t let these kinds of lines be the only reason you do.

Finally, if you have fallen for it, don’t despair. Betrayal is a classic and common part of spiritual awakening. It can make you or break you. Don’t let it break you, friends.

Here a few places where you can find safe and reliable connection

Coru Cathubodua Priesthood

John Beckett

Morgan Daimler

Lora O’Brien

 

(c) Rebecca Wright – August 2017

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Free Will

When we make a vow, a promise, some kind of commitment to deity, it matters.


Sometimes these moments of dedication – beautiful, profound, awe-inspiring, frightening as they may be – can feel so distant from our ordinary, everyday reality. Big or small, these dedications, these promises, these commitments count. Even (especially) when we return to ordinary reality.  So often, it’s here, in our every day lives, that this dedication, this commitment, will be tested. 


And you know what? We always have a choice. However urgent, or even inevitable, certain commitments feel, we always have a choice. We have the choice to make the commitment. We have the choice to bring that commitment to fulfillment. We have the choice to take action – or to refuse to take action. 


Sometimes what’s presented to us will be testing a promise or commitment we’ve already made. Very likely, for any significant promise, this will be the case many times over. How far are you willing to go to bring your promise to fulfillment? Will you play at fulfilling your obligations, or will you take it seriously? What are you willing to sacrifice to make it real? Will you dare to keep saying ‘yes’? Or when will you hit that point where you say ‘no’?


Some requests come on powerfully strong. You still have a choice, and indeed, you have an obligation to honor your capacity for choice. 


One thing I know for sure is that when the Morrigan asks something, what She asks is very likely to bring deep and profound change.  She may ask of us things that stretch the boundaries of what we believe ourselves capable of. She may ask of us things that challenge us to act or to be other than what we have been before. She may ask us to do things we’d very much rather not do, in fact. But She never asks of us that we become less than what we are or are capable of becoming. 


And we always have a choice, not only in that moment of making the promise, but also in it’s enactment and fulfilment. This is the beauty and danger of free will: it is actually possible to get it wrong, to fuck it up in small or large ways that change the trajectory or the outcome of even the most binding commitment, causing harm to ourselves and others. 


We all have this gift of free will. It holds us under obligation to take full responsibility for our actions, even  when we are acting under guidance, in accordance with our vows or commitments. Free will demands that we take the risk and our full share of responsibility for our part in how things go forward, regardless of the outcome. 


It’s an uncomfortable place to be, when things go wrong, as they sometimes do. 


Sometimes they go wrong through no fault of our own, through no lack of commitment on our part, but simply because there are other people involved, each equally endowed with free will. We rarely stand alone in our choices. Rather we remain part of a complex web of interactions, and others equally have the capacity to choose – their choice may be other than what we would wish, perhaps other than what they have promised, and sometimes this tips the balance. (But the future is generally malleable and we have incredible capacity  for creation and recovery even when things do go wrong – and commitment, it always counts for something – new pathways can and will be forged from loss.)


It’s not ever just the promise that matters. The promise – the moment of commitment – is a kind of conscious binding, a strengthening of our ties to a chosen course of action or quality we want to cultivate within ourselves. It is a powerful articulation of intention and commitment that carries consequences. If we fail to honour the commitment there is likely a price that will be paid. 


Ultimately, what makes it real? The action. The manifestation. The living and breathing it into being. We can choose to do it, embrace it fully, or we can choose to live it superficially, or to abandon it. What we choose changes things.


Free will, commitment, responsibility, action. Our choices matter, our actions matter. 


by Rebecca Wright 2014

11220130_10205174634701604_7207325183716550703_n(1)Rebecca Wright is a mother, doula, healer and teacher, and one of the founders of the Call of the Morrigan FB Community and UK retreats. You can find her on FB in the Call of the Morrigan Community group or at http://www.rebalancingwoman.com.

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Shame

I don’t think we ever know quite what it is going to mean for us when we make a promise to the gods. Certainly, that’s been true for me. And the dedication of one’s body, well, that’s something it’s obvious should not be undertaken lightly.

I’ve been reading Brene Brown lately.  In her book Rising Strong she talks about shame connected with religion as being one of the top three hardest things to come back from. This makes a lot of sense to me. I also suspect that I’m not alone in the experience of facing shame as a dedicatee of the Morrigan.

One of the patterns I’ve noticed in my experiencing of Her and with Her is that She will draw out every place of darkness or secretly harboured weakness within the self…and if resisted, it won’t be in a way that feels easy or comfortable. Shame, our own, and that of others, is of course one of those patterns to be faced as we are stripped down to the bones and rebuilt from within.

There are some experiences I’ve had in ordinary life where I would definitely say Her hand is upon them, sometimes just lightly resting, enough to draw out to the surface the things that the people involved would most like to keep covered. There’s an edge to the experience or the exchange. A fierceness that is characteristic and unmistakeable, to the point that I can see, even while it is happening, She is there, in me or in them, or in the exchange. (This happens increasingly as I myself become clearer and stronger in Her service – my presence reflects increasingly the tough things people don’t want to see within themselves, and this doesn’t always lead to happy endings).

The Morrigan works through conflict. Well, it is a fast track to clearing out the bullshit, that’s for sure. If you don’t have the stomach for it, you’ll learn fast or you won’t last long.

So, I offered my body. She tested that claim in ways that were uncomfortable. I expected a certain kind of hard work, perhaps physical training (you know, warrior, battle goddess, all that). She asked instead for softness, and a different sort of challenge. Not what I had anticipated or expected.

These things were challenging not only for me, but also deeply challenging for those around me.

They made me less ‘nice’, less pliable…most certainly, less palatable and less acceptable. They shattered and transformed who I thought that I was or could be. They challenged me – and still challenge me – to power, to stand in power, to live in power in ways that are not entirely acceptable or easy.

In the first round, She challenged me, and I accepted. I did the work, but I didn’t like it.

This stupidly (but humanly) as the work itself was so beautiful and such a gift – a way of connecting within the body and the self, and to the goddess and the land, opened for me, and I am so grateful.

But it didn’t look like I had expected it to look. It was hard, and lonely, and I was overwhelmed and afraid.  I didn’t want it. What I wanted was for other people to do it. I wanted to be less, and to be loved and accepted, and stay invisible. And the truth was that I couldn’t be accepted or loved, until I loved and accepted the patterns and requirements of this work within myself even though it wasn’t what I wanted it to be or thought it should be.

It is my work, a deep part of who I am and my purpose. , Answering the call to it was a clearest impulse of love (devotion) and desire to serve within me.

Once the first pieces were done, I hid myself away for a while, and was given a time of rest (illness requiring retreat). The illness and the processing was a gift, but when it was time to emerge, She was not gentle. I was challenged and accused by a person I had a lot of respect for, challenged that I wasn’t doing what I had done for anything other than my own personal whim. Even though this was not even remotely the case, I was ashamed. This spiraled in various ways to a massive shake up and clearing out of anything that was not in alignment in my life around the work she has for me.

I was ashamed that this was how I would or could be seen. I felt the shame that was being aimed at me in the whispered gossip and the attempts at exclusion. It was petty, ridiculous, and childish. But the edge – how far it would go? Where it would end?

In the end, it went only as far as I let it go (not far).  Quite frankly, the people involved have and had no power over me. They were not living up to what was required of them, and I was (perhaps I still am) a mirror for that. They’d rather throw mud at the mirror, cover it over, push it away, try to break it, than allow themselves to see what it was reflecting…because, well, ouch! We’re all only human, and the vulnerability and shame is a common experience. I’ve seen the weakness and the vulnerability they don’t want to see let alone be shown.

But I’ve faced my own shame, you know?  I’ve looked it squarely in the eyes, and welcomed it in. There’s no breaking me that way any longer.

The underlying message in this experience for me was this:

Who do you stand for? Will you fulfil the promise, no matter the cost? will you fulifil it even if it causes those you hold most dear to turn on you, to speak against you, to challenge your place, your work, and your right to be there?

Can you dare to see your own vulnerability and shame? The places where weakness and fear hold you back from truth, and power? Will you acknowledge and hold that vulnerability and that strength within you?

The answer is yes. Screenshot 2015-10-23 10.52.01

‘Have you a story to tell?’

What will you see? Whose story, what story, will you tell?

Hers and yours, or someone else’s, the one that fear, theirs or yours, is writing?

It only goes as far as you let it. I say, allow something different.

About: Rebecca Wright is a mother of four, a birth doula, and a shamanic healer and teacher. Daughter and Priestess of the Morrigan, she is one of the founders of the Call of the Morrigan Facebook group, and this blog.

It’s the last call for the 2015 Call of the Morrigan UK Retreat: Sex, Sovereignty, Power – are you coming?

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Sovereignty requires courage

Sovereignty requires courage, this is my first thought as I sit down to write this for you. Sovereignty requires courage.

Too often I’ve heard people define sovereignty as relating to ‘rule’ or ‘the land’ with a casual wave of the hand and a knowing nod that excludes any real meaning or purpose. The Morrigan is a goddess of sovereignty, of the land, of battle, and more. What does that mean exactly for us in these days, in this day, where we find ourselves now.

I’m not an historian, but I know enough about history to know that the ways that people would have understood these concepts, and themselves in relation to these concepts, is very different to how we will see them and see ourselves now. This even with the best will and intention. We can be grateful to scholars for pointing us in the direction of understanding, but our understanding will never be the same, as we occupy a different space and perspective in time and place.

And this is as and how it should and must be.

The gods – for those of us who believe in or who have experienced them – are living and transforming, not static. Yes, we need to know and appreciate their stories and histories, how people worshiped them and connected with them in the past. But to me, this is as we would like to understand and appreciate a mother or a father or a friend or a teacher or a lover, by understanding over time who they have been and where they come from, learning their likes and dislikes, how to appreciate and love and work with them more fully. This knowledge informs us, and deepens our practice. It can warn us as well of the personality or characteristics behind this god-force. But it in no way limits Them or us in our relationship to Them.

And so sovereignty requires courage.

The biggest question of sovereignty in these times, for most of us who will be reading this, is the question of personal sovereignty, and of courage.

Personal sovereignty in the rule of the self. Personal sovereignty in our connection to the land. So I challenge you to answer, what do these things mean to you? How do you work with them in your personal practice (ritually or practically)? How will you work with them? Commit. Now. If you haven’t already.

If I’ve learned nothing else about sovereignty, I’ve learned this: it isn’t about making excuses or stepping back and letting other people do it. It’s not about using the gods as excuses for our own weaknesses either. Worshipping a battle goddess is not an excuse for sowing dissent or hatred or confirming prejudice. It’s not an excuse. It’s a challenge.

The battles begin within ourselves, and She will show us where we are lacking. So that anger you feel against the other, that hatred, that fear, look at that in yourself as well. There is undoubtedly a message there.

Personal sovereignty is a challenge to awareness of these forces working within and around us – forces we so often don’t see or acknowledge because they feed the forces that hold us prisoner.

True sovereignty? It requires of us the courage to see clearly. To speak truth, yes, but also to see truth within ourselves. To see our own weakness clearly and to root it out. To stand firm in truth and power (that is, the capacity to hold or to bring change).

It’s where we don’t make excuses for the maltreatment of ourselves or others.

Instead we stand up, stand firm, provide sanctuary and refuge for the weak, the wounded, the damaged – not because we look down on them, or think they are less. They are not. Nor are we or have we been less in our vulnerability than we are in our power.

We stand because we know the wound, we know the strength of the power that runs through it, and we are not afraid of it any longer. And when we can do this fearlessly and wholeheartedly, for ourselves and for others, not shrinking from the wound or the pain, but carrying within us and extending outward that which is needed most, that is sovereignty, and that is courage.

About: Rebecca Wright is a shamanic healer and teacher, and a daughter and priestess of the Morrigan. She is one of the founders of the Call of the Morrigan Facebook group, and this blog. Come and meet and work with her at the Call of the Morrigan UK retreat.

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Cord Cutting, Web Weaving, and the Morrigan

One of my first experiences of the Morrigan was when She came to put right a pattern in my soul tapestry, one that I’d been working with for some time, but was stuck on – a strong pattern of mother-daughter violence that ran painfully through my personal life experience, and my ancestral lines. It was given to me to hold a point of healing for these – and, quite honestly, I was really struggling with it.

I am a healer. I work with the Morrigan frequently in my healing work for others as well as my healing for myself. She is a guide for me (or it might be more accurate to say She works through me), in many parts of this, including soul weaving and soul healing.

Here’s the thing: this stuff works. It works in a big way. It can heal things within us that we never imagined could be healed.

But also, for precisely this reason, this work needs to be treated with respect. It can harm as well as heal, through carelessness or inexperience even when there is no intention to cause harm.

I don’t want to put anyone off from working with cord cutting or any other technique. What I  would say is that if it is something you want to work with – especially if you want to work with it powerfully – take the time to learn about it, and treat it, and yourself, and the cords you are working with, with due respect.

If we have a pain in our bodies, we don’t typically grab a knife and hack away at it (or at least I don’t). Our soul stuff – and the energy lines that run between us and other people and situations – deserve equal care and awareness. Yes, you can grab that knife and hack, but why would you? And even if you did take a knife and cut away a pain in your body, you very well could be causing more trouble for yourself, right? It’s also possible for this to happen with soul and power work.12027276_10204876113278755_9120665887598788752_o

In terms of cord cutting and web-weaving, I’m always learning new pieces. I work with a number of guides, and the subtley and ruthlessness of the work fascinates me. It is an art. Like any art, we can grow into it and come to excel at it over time, with patience and practice.

You can certainly get help with this, (see your trusted local priest, healer, or shamanic practioner), or you can also do it yourself. For all of us, there are times when one or the other option will be most appropriate. If you are brand new to it, it is a good idea to begin with some help or teaching – whether this is from your guides or from another person who is experienced in these techniques (ideally over time you’d have both).

In all cases, here are some things it is worth knowing before you begin:

(1) It is possible to cut ‘negative’ cords or attachments to a person or situation without cutting away all attachment or connection to that person or thing. Often indeed this is exactly what is needed.

(2) Cord cutting works best when it is done under guidance – ideally with a guide who knows about weaving and working in soul tapestries and the web.

(3) If/when you cut cords, do it with the clear intention of working for the highest good of all concerned – send love, blessing, forgiveness, healing energy through that cord before you cut, and cut only in the moment when the balance is right. This is not new-age-y ‘all is love and light’, but clean practice and good sense if you are a healer working with intention (not a dabbler).

(4) You can ask your guides to cut or re-weave for you – sometimes they will. Thank them if they do, and follow up with any further instructions they offer.

(5) Cord cutting is not necessarily the first, the best, or the only way to work with a relationship or situation. (My early experience with the Morrigan was not a cutting, but a restoration of power into threads that sent a shockwave through the tapestry, transforming patterns and resonance). It can however be fabulously effective when used wisely and well.

For me, working with the Morrigan, and serving Her, is a living practice. The idea of personal sovereignty underlies and runs through everything in terms of my life and work with Her. Working consciously and consistently within my own soul tapestry and the web – sometimes under Her guidance, sometimes with others, for myself – are a part of this living practice, and a part of the blessing of working from a space of sovereignty.

This time of year is a great one for cord cutting, weaving and re-weaving, righting the balance of things as we move a step closer towards our winter dreaming. Blessings on your autumn cuttings, weavings, and re-weavings.

 

About the author: Rebecca Wright is a shamanic healer and teacher, and a daughter and priestess of the Morrigan. She is one of the founders of the Call of the Morrigan Facebook group, and this blog. Come and meet and work with her at the Call of the Morrigan UK retreat.

 

 

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