In my Practice and my Teaching, I start with a focus on Self-Knowledge, Self-Healing and Self-Possession; Self-Knowledge is the Primary Power of the Witch.
We begin this way because we are sacred beings, holy as the ground we walk on, and we deserve the best of the World. “I am a molecule of the universe and of the Great Spirit, of whom we are all a part. And I demand my rights” (Thus spake the Patriarch of Feri Tradition, Victor Anderson).
And the World deserves the best of us! We are needed here in this time and place. The Universe called us into the circle, invoked us, to wear the mantle of our True Selves. No one else can do that; it is not transferable! So we get to understand our own stories, our mythic adventures and act as if we are the Hero/a of our lives, because that is exactly what we are.
This world is confusing and chaotic. It is hard to remember what our purpose is, but we have one great Clue: Our Purpose will call to us in ways our hearts will recognize. There is an element of Joy and Grace and Beauty in it, but sometimes those qualities are buried way down deep. We see that tiny light and realize that we need to uncover it. This becomes our sacred Charge.
But it’s not always an easy task, with all the demands and respites along the way, to recognize our own Purpose, and anyway, it may be changing all the time, for indeed we are not static entities, but shifting, changing, growing beings. So how do we become more attuned to our own depths?
We commit to seeking Self-Knowledge.
This action, like all commitments, sets things in motion within us and we find ourselves receiving opportunities to see ourselves more clearly. Sometimes this is very unpleasant, but I believe it was Crowley who talked about the idea that our ability to perceive our own failings comes ahead of our ability to manage them. So sometimes this looks like working hard at spiritual practice and then finding ourselves to be crueler or more greedy or more racist. We think: Hey! Spiritual practice isn’t making me a better person! It’s making me worse! But guess what…all that stuff was already in there, waiting for your eyes to clear so you could see yourself better.
So, we go within, in sitting or walking or writing meditation, we look and listen very hard, and we accept what we find. We watch our own reactions to events and situations and, through rigorous self-examination, we become familiar with our own depths and heights. We know ourselves and claim ourselves, in all our Parts, glorious and ugly, atrocious and brilliant. And to claim ourselves, we must accept ourselves.
Why is this piece so important? Because we cannot start where we are not. We have to start where we are and for each person, that starting place will be different. Each person has a unique set of experiences to draw from, some easy, some hard. It doesn’t matter. We are each perfect where we are. And from this place of perfection, we move out toward what we want for ourselves and the world: self-love, more money, a new lover, peace and justice for all.
Eminem as a Spiritual Teacher?
One of my favorite illustrations of the principle of Self-Acceptance is in the movie ‘8 Mile’. There’s an amazing scene wherein the main character, a destitute punk who lives with his drunken junkie mom in a trailer park, is in a rap battle with a rich, rival gang-banger. Our man goes first and immediately disarms his opponent by owning all the things that might be said against him. He raps that yeah, his mom is a drug addict and that he got fired from his job and that his daddy left him and that it’s all just made him stronger and more determined in the end. The crowd is left with their mouths hanging open in surprise at his courage. It’s a great example of how owning all your parts, even the ugly ones that might keep you in shame, can provide you with a solid foundation.
Let’s not be surprised by what the Universe is able to dredge up out of us; let’s get in there ourselves and see what there is to see and let our self-knowledge and our Work be what protects and empowers us.
This is the opening of the first section of the Shapeshifter Feri teaching. I am currently putting together an interest list for upcoming training in this lineage. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.