Tag: shamanism

On Being Feral

I’ve said and have been saying that my spirituality isn’t up for public consumption.  As much as I enjoy writing, I’m a highly inconsistent person.  I don’t blog regularly, and getting a simple essay written takes an inordinate amount of time for me.  Truth be told, I’m easily distracted.  But there is a reasoning behind all of that. My spirituality is very intimate and personal.  I’m a spiritworker, scavenger and bone hoarder. Dirt and blood and bone are the primary mediums with which I work.  I talk to dead people.  I dig in the dirt.  I create art from rotting corpses.  I shed blood.  It’s not pretty, or clean, or glamorous.  It’s not made for display, but it’s not supposed to be.  I am Feral.  What is Feral isn’t easily categorized, it can’t be boxed or caged or classified.  It goes counter to manicured domesticity, its very presence unnerves.  It is for this very reason that I find it so hard to write about aspects of my spirituality, even when I have the time and the desire to do so.  This concept doesn’t easily filter down into blog posts or books or essays.  Putting a thing to words is hard when that very thing defies words or labels.

Harpocrates has me by the balls.  Casting light on these things causes them to shimmer and fade, or retreat into the shadows, beyond where I’m able to follow or reach.  So I don’t.  I prefer to walk in the shadows with them.  My altars and shrines and sacred objects are just that.  They’re not for public edification, they’re not for display.  They aren’t tools to use as a prop for my ego, or a megaphone by which cries for attention may be broadcast.  I see and hear stories of people posting their “sacred” objects (I must use scare quotes, if they were that sacred, why display them like that?) on Twitter or FaceBook, or blogging posts.  I can’t grasp at why.  Luceros, prendas, altars and sacred spaces.  No detail left unwritten.  Look at me.  Look at what I have.  Look what I am.  Read my blog, read my books.  I ask, what time do you have for Spirit, when all you do is snap selfies, holler on social networking sites, write and write and write.  What happens off the computer?  Where’s your spirituality when no one’s looking?  Who are you without the audience?

I love writing, and I love reaching out to others of like-mind.  But I need to be free, unshackled by social networking and long hours spent writing.  I’m restless and my attention span doesn’t hold very long.  My sanity begins to pace like a caged leopard.  I need to be free.  I need to be Doing.  I will write about the hows and the whys, but only so far.  The finer, more intimate details are for me alone, and those whom I work with and for.  If you need me, you’ll figure out how to find me.  If you claim to run with me, then try to catch up.  I don’t linger.  My spirits won’t allow me to.  They keep my soul restless and moving.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Originally posted on: http://ift.tt/1Ay34st

So spring is finally here…

So spring is finally here, which means it’s time to get to work in the yard.  What here looks like a pile of bricks, railroad spikes and buckets is actually sacred space.  The buckets are where I’ll be macerating animal skulls, and behind those buckets is a cairn, lovingly named The Pit, a portal and workspace for interfacing with the land’s basimbi (land-spirits, put simply).  This here is a work in progress, and will actually be expanding outward as time goes on, and more animal skulls and bone get processed and transformed into important tools for ritual and ceremonial use.

As an animist and Palero, I see all life as being sacred.  Which is why, for me, absolutely nothing goes to waste.  Everything has value, from the blood that’s shed, to the meat that’s eaten, to the skulls and bones that’re left behind.  The processes of death, decay and rot are just as sacred, and just as infused with life and potential.  Witnessing and working with these processes is deeply influential to understanding the workings of life itself, and is far from what most people would see as “morbid” or “depressing”.

Originally posted on: http://alchemicallion.tumblr.com/post/119705030111/so-spring-is-finally-here-which-means-its-time

Relics, Artifacts, Dead Things, and the ATRs

(Note: Part of this is a bit of personal history, so I can get across a general idea of the progression of events that led me to where I am now, and why.)

As soon as I was old enough to walk, my parents would take me to the museums in Washington, DC.  I was lucky that I had parents who valued knowledge above other things.  There were no visits to Chuck-E-Cheese, and amusement park trips were rare.  By the time I was in middle school I was reading and comprehending college level books, and taking out my own interlibrary loans.  But I had begun to comprehend something else, and at a much younger age.  It was within these museum halls that I first became aware of a seemingly subtle current that flowed around and through what most people perceived as “reality”.  Animals long dead came alive before my very eyes.  Spirits in old coffins and canopic jars rose to tell me stories of ancient times beyond the reaches of memory or comprehension.  These experiences firmly crossed the line between ecstasy and terror, and my young mind grappled desperately with the changing flows of reality all around me.  I remember when I would go into the Sant Ocean Hall in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.  All around me I would see the sea creatures come to life, telling me their stories through sound and movement, color and pulse and vibration.  I was immersed in their world, a kaleidoscope of wonder.

It was these experiences that would form the skeletal frame of what would become my spirituality.  I spent a very large part of my time as a child rambling in the woods, or lost in a book.  I had much preferred the company of animals and spirits to those of other children.  I knew, even if I did not fully comprehend at the time, what these spiritual entities were, but I didn’t discuss them with the adults around me.  I bore enough of a stigma from struggling with a severe learning disability and behavioral challenges.  I didn’t want to compound this with stories of spirits, “imaginary friends”, talking trees and so on and so forth.  Not that people never suspected anything.  A mummified turkey foot in the toy chest.  A weathered fox skull found on the railroad tracks and hidden under the bed, directly beneath my pillow, “So he can talk to me better in my sleep”.  By the mid-90s I started actively exploring the occult.  Like most people I cut my teeth on Wicca first, and ended up firmly rooted in Hermetics (alchemy) and closely bonding with the deities of the Greco-Egyptian pantheons (particularly Dionysos, Hermes and Wepwawet).  Fast forward to the present, I’m initiated into the ATRs.  I’m still very new, having only been initiated for a about nine months or so.  In truth I never expected this to be the end result.  How exactly I stumbled into the ATRs is an interesting adventure.

For years I’d maintained an online presence under the moniker “Shin Cynikos”, though most people simply called me “Solo”.  I was an active presence in various occult and metaphysical circles, as well as the “scavenging” and “vulture culture” communities (primarily on LiveJournal, a format I no longer use).  I also kept an active blog, Cynanthropy.net, which I may or may not go back to using.  Tumblr seems to allow for more on-the-go posting, since I rarely sit down long enough to write detailed posts like this one.  But I digress.  Gradually I began to withdraw my online presence, mainly because I seemed more preoccupied with actually living my spirituality instead of typing about it like so many others do (and there is much in that department I simply keep a secret–Harpocrates and yadda yadda), and I tend to care very little about attention-seeking and what others think about me and what I do.  I’d also by that point amassed quite an impressive collection, and had a penchant for finding the oddest things, which garnered me a reputation amongst the local and semi-local occultist friends and acquaintances who’d come around looking for stuff for their rituals and projects and so on.

Eventually I’d attracted the attention of a Palo house a few years back, though contacts with some mutual friends, and started working with them on finding various things, as well as talking shop about everything from spirit-work, necromancy and the ritual use of animal parts to animal husbandry.  It was funny at first, because–although I had an awareness and understanding of the ATR/DTRs, they never registered much on my radar at first, and I honestly could not understand why someone would want to, say, take a museum-grade, fully articulated wolf skull and stick it in a pot of dirt.  “A skull is not a root bulb!” I remember saying at one point.  But I ended up fostering some truly valuable friendships as a result, and ultimately ended up “going native” and getting initiated myself.  It’s been a crazy ride, but ultimately I’ve no regrets.

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