Come with me while I journey as an Initiate through the Feri Tradition of Witchcraft - a shamanic path of fey sorcery; a martial tradition of magic.

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Friday, 30 August 2013

An Honourable Spiritual Practice

I am currently re-reading the outstanding book After the Ecstasy, The Laundry by Jack Kornfield. This book examines what a spiritual life is like once you have glimpsed ultimate reality or reached enlightenment. What, for example, happens when the enlightened Buddhist needs to buy food from the supermarket? What about the Witch who, ecstatic from celebrating Beltane, needs to change his daughter's diaper? Sometimes after a blissful spiritual experience, we are brought back down again. How do we deal with that?

Part of my Feri practice is the cultivation and courting of the ecstatic. That gorgeous, sublime union with the sacred, when I feel the Goddess' breath flow through mine, and the very air on the breeze caresses my skin as if to entice me into an erotic encounter. I'm sure we have all had experiences of this kind. Yet they are fleeting and impossible to sustain indefinitely. As joyful and important as they are, they are merely the inspiration and impetus that keep us at our practice. 

I don't believe these ecstatic states are the "end goal", if indeed there is such thing. I liken the ecstatic to having sex within a loving relationship: sex affirms a bond between people and makes a relationship more secure, but sex is not the relationship. A relationship founded on sex alone is doomed to fail. There has to be a greater desire to be with that person through the arguments and fights, as well as the sex and moments of connection. Sex is part of the fuel that keeps the relationship vital. Just so with ecstasy.

So...what does this have to do with an "honourable practice"? To practice with honour is to practice when it doesn't feel good. To practice when you actively don't want to sit at the altar. To recognise that there is a larger arc of your life, fed by the daily grind of meditation, prayer, and energy work. To practice with honour is to commit to a spiritual path knowing that sometimes you are going to feel like shit because you bump up against a part of yourself you thought died when you were thirteen. Walking a spiritual path is not supposed to be easy, although Goddess knows sometimes I wish it were. Instead, a spiritual path allows you the opportunity to walk with integrity, awareness, and yes, sometimes feeling amazing. 

And to practice with honour is to recognise how challenged you may feel, and you still CARRY ON ANYWAY. 

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