Author Archives: Summerland

Suicide

Hardly a week goes by with out a report in the local, and sometime national press, of somebody taking their life or attempting to

It goes without saying that each of these events represents a person who felt there was no alternative and leaves behind others deeply hurt by their loss.

Those that decide to end their lives wil have many and personal reasons for doing so, and each one represents a failure of the mental health provision in this country And or society as a whole. We are all guilty in failing that person.

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Unintentional Path-working

For most practitioners path-working requires quite a bit of setting up, creating the conditions where you can move your consciousness to another place, or allow it to be moved. When working with a partner this can require a period of alignment or synchronising, but in either case it almost always isn’t something that just happens.

But recent experience has shown me that this isn’t always the case.

To set the scene a little as a Pagan I have used and practiced path-working for quite a few years both singly and with a working partner, so I sort of know what’s required to get into the right state and more importantly how it feels when you begin to move from this experience to the Otherland.

I also like to take baths rather than showers, they are so much more relaxing J, and on occasion I have been known to add a little something to the bath.

Recently I added some Himalayan salt to a bath and proceeded to lie there and try to relax not something I find easy in the last 5 or 6 years. As I was starting to ‘Zone out’ I heard a voice calling I couldn’t make it out but it was definitely calling me and from some distance. I also started t feel that slightly unworldly feeling of both being separate from the ‘normal’ world but also aware of it fully.

Now I hadn’t planned this, and wasn’t in any sort of mood to undertake a path-working, in fact I had avoided it as, as anybody who has experienced it will know, they can be rather challenging. Sometimes the message the Goddess has isn’t one you want to hear!

I felt pulled into that Otherworld place, a hyper-reality, where we share experience with beings long gone from the ‘normal’ world. The details of the experience isn’t important here, though it involved re-evaluating something I thought had been forever denied me because of things that have happened in the past, what’s interesting is the fact that this wasn’t something I was looking for. Indeed it was, is, something I feel a difficult prospect.

Path-working is usually seen as a way for us to make contact with that otherworld when and as we wish. This experience has shown me that sometimes that Otherworld will take the initiative and reach out to us whether or not we are ready for it.

A thing to remember perhaps, The powers in that Otherworld are not simply there for our bidding

Forgiveness?

For a number of reasons, linked to the same underlying issue – that of historic abuse it has to be said, I have been asked to think about what forgiveness means to me.

It has been suggested that part of recovering from the harm that was caused to me as a child, and has blighted my adult life, would be to forgive the person who abused me.

The whole concept of forgiveness seems to be rather stretched our of shape in this context, it isnt  for example suggested that forgiving actually has anything much to do with saying what was done was OK or that the abuser doesn’t bare the responsibility. It seems more about accepting that focusing on the abuser rather than on your own needs is counter productive.

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Imbolc: A time to grow!

Imbolc

The first of February sees the celebration of Imbolc, a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of spring. It is seen as a positive time with thoughts turning towards the return of the sun to the land after its long sleep during the winter. We see the days becoming longer and the long nights, slowly at first, starting to shorten.
We look out for the first signs of spring, the snow drops in the woods, the shoots of the daffodils fighting their way through the soil to break into the pale morning spring light
Traditionally it is a time when new initiates were welcomed into a coven, again in a symbolic reference to the new life they are starting.
It is also the traditional time for us to celebrate new beginnings, to see the first indications of growth and development from the seeds and hard work of the previous year.
But sometimes we are confronted with the fact that not all of the seeds we planted, either actual real seeds, or more likely metaphorical seeds, have germinated. We look to the last year, all the hard work we have put in to change our situations, our lives for the better. Or Look at the foundations we have put in place and yet there seems no sign of growth, no sign that the desired outcome is beginning to take shape.
So why is it that all the work, the decisions we took and the sacrifices we made in the last year, seem to have come to nothing? Why are we as unhappy with our life as we were this time last year despite making commitments?

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Thoughts on Midwinter solstice

Mid winter is a difficult time for many, for many different reasons. For me if I put aside the never-ending reminders that it has become a time for families to be together, something impossible for me in the circumstances, I think the difficulty is in what the midwinter solstice represents, how it allows us to interpret the shortest day and longest night and of course the change in direction towards more light and warmer days.

The two solstices have a feeling about them, a sort of stillness where the universe, having come to the end of range, holds it breath, hesitates before moving back in the opposing direction. Now yes, I know at the solstice is a local phenomenon, earth bound and experienced differently in the two hemispheres but we are not considering cosmology here but how this local turning of the wheel expresses its self to our limited senses and intuition. And remember everything is connected, everything impacts and guides the path of everything else, so a local phenomenon, a local point of inflection can, and does have universal impacts.
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An Interview with an ‘Almost’ Survivor

I recently did an interview with some of the local press as part of the publicity for the Wall of Silence exhibition that came to Burnham-on-Sea.

It was difficult to talk about it but thought I might share some of the conversation with you.

First of all, if you could tell me a bit about what you went through

When I was about 13 I was sexually abused by a ‘family member’. Subsequent to the abuse there was a need for that person to control me, to make sure that I didn’t talk about what had happened. Tis was basically done by emotional control / threats. I remember for example being told, “Do as you are told or THEY will come and take you away”

The result of this was that I almost totally suppressed the memories, denied them even to my self.

The result was, naturally, that this had a major impact on my emotional development and ability to form and manage relationships for example.

There is a quote that sums it up well, I think

“Many remain fixed at that child level of emotional development, as though the trauma put a stop on time. Adult information and knowledge are added as they grow up, but the underlying guilt, fear and inadequacy remain and govern much of their decision-making. The governing power of these feelings is seen in the compulsion to sabotage such happiness as comes their way. Relationships are strained to breaking-point by constant demands for proof of love (which can never be believed), by chronic jealousy (which cannot be comforted), by endless emotional tests (programmed for failure) and by sexual dysfunction (since pleasure is not allowed to the guilty).”

― from “Rescuing the Inner Child: Therapy for Adults Sexually Abused as Children (Human Horizons)”

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Samhain: Memories and Thoughts of my Fathers Death

Just over 18 months ago my father died. I was fortunate that I was able to spend time with his in his last few months and we were able to talk, not just about his illness and what he wanted at the end, or didn’t want to be more accurate, but about memories, both good and bad, times spent together and apart. Some things he said didn’t make too much sense at the time, but now I can see and understand what he was trying to say to me.

In his last few weeks I would sit beside his bed, and talk. I’m not sure he heard me, or if he did was able to understand but my presence seemed to calm his somewhat. In his last few days he seemed to become more agitated and while I wouldn’t say distressed certainly confused about where, or indeed who, he was.

This wasn’t a simple not knowing that he was in a hospice, or exhibiting the memory loss associated with dementia. No this seemed to be something more than that. Almost as if the world he was experiencing was very very different to the one we live in and he was struggling to make sense of it. Struggling to adapt to the new environment where all the learnt skills and expectations were of no use.

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Memories from a boy trapped in my soul

Imprisoned in time, a boy, a young teen
Stuck in a moment, an event, a trauma
No door to exit, no windows to gaze out of
Silently Screaming as memories swirl and constrain

Betrayal by one who should have gave love
Innocence taken by one who should defend it
Trust destroyed by one most trusted
Memory too hard, too dangerous to keep.

Shackles of the mind, self-imposed on by the boy
Memories denied, hidden and rejected
To change the past, undo what was done
Something that couldn’t, mustn’t, have happened
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