• Aphra

Guest Blog - Lissa Corra, Spiritual Practice : The Unravelling

This post has be ruminating for quite some time and is one of those, will I or won’t I share it, numbers. Due to its persistence and repeated nudges I am going to share, but with both trepidation and this caveat : this is my path, my interpretation of how I walk this path and is in no way a reflection of anyone else’s choices or beliefs. In other words, You do you and I’ll do me. Savvy?

The path upon which I walk has become congested, crowded and polluted. No longer can I see the beauty, hear the call or feel the truth of what I’m doing or where I’m going. I feel suffocated, stifled and thoroughly exhausted. Where am I? I am being swallowed up by the ravenous appetite of the collective, seasoned to suit the common and popular taste. I am a diluted version of myself and my truth. Do I continue along this muddy, mobbed and potholed way or veer off here and navigate my own way; reclaim my own journey and reconnect with my north star?

This was how I was feeling earlier this year and took the big step to eliminate one of the major contributors to this heavy, spiritually oppressive load and shut down my social media. My feed whether on Facebook or Instagram was chock full of new age, neopagan, spiritual, witchy information. And as interest and popularity in all things witchy or spiritual soars, so too does the dogma. Yet this is not a dogmatic path!! Not only was I feeling bombarded by the constant info overload and the saccharine infused frilly adjectives of the spiritual lexicon, but I was also contributing to the noise with my own words. I had become fairly fluent in the floofiness of this tongue with its distinct air of being otherwordly, serene and/or mystical, but always “of the light”. In the cold light of day however, this is a style of language which now sounds, to my ear, insincere, pretentious and not how folk talk in regular conversation. In the end all I wanted to say was SHUT UP! It’s too much!!

I have spent so much of this year, particularly since my birthday in June, following on from my experience of my dark night of the soul earlier in the year, reconnecting to my own practice, faith (as in my pagan beliefs) and knowing, casting off all the excess I had accumulated; the spiritual excess is incredibly dense and so much of it is irrelevant to me. I read through my old notebooks and journals going back to around 2007 and saw both how much I had grown and how much I had absorbed that just didn’t align with my beliefs and practices, then and now.

Being in global lockdown provided me with the gift of space and time to sort myself out and to re-establish my connection to myself. So that is exactly what I have been doing whilst not on IG and not sitting in circle. I stripped everything back, right back to its bones and started again. And what have I unraveled? A practice that finds me happier, more content, a way of being and practicing that is meaningful, is important and sacred to me, one that brings joy and comfort and honours my sovereignty.

So, what didn’t make the cut; my Spiritual Chaff:

** Mind the caveat at the top of post **

  • First off, this is not for me but for anyone wondering, (and I do get asked) I am not Wiccan, never have been. I am Pagan, yes, but Wiccan, no.

  • Crystals. I have a very small collection of crystals, most of which were gifted to me. They are beautiful but I don’t use them for anything other than decoration or jewellery (I wear moonstones in my necklace). Crystals have always tugged at me ethically, but so pretty…every spiritual person worth her salt has more crystals than Imelda Marcos has shoes but they are simply not sustainable. The blood diamonds of the spiritual world. Crystals have to be mined (more often than not in countries with questionable human rights laws) and mining is not environmentally friendly in any way. So in protecting and revering The Great Mother, I no longer purchase crystals no matter how ethical the supplier claims to be. The crystals I do have I will keep (there are 3 I will never part with, 2 of which were given to me for my 30th by an old friend that were hers to begin with, and a labradorite pebble that just feels good in my hand, I can’t explain it, but I love it) or gift onwards to someone who will appreciate and use them.

  • Smoke Cleansing. Specifically white sage and Palo Santo. I have used both in the past but personally haven’t used for a couple of years. Why? I actually hate the smell of white sage and Palo Santo gives me a head ache. But more importantly, both of these tools are unsustainable and are on the the endangered lists. Again, no matter if the supplier states that they come from sustainable/ethical sources, it is a fallacy as doesn’t exist. I have taken part in rituals and ceremony where white sage has been used and, because I’m polite and have a lifetime of people pleasing tendencies, I have tolerated it but have decided to honour myself and started to say no. I do not want to be included in the cleansing. (Do not get me started on improper use of the the word smudge!!!!). Instead I prefer to use incense for smoke cleaning (saining) of myself or of a space or the smoke from a fire. There are so many ways to cleanse a person or space without white sage or Palo Santo, such as fresh air or water or salt or sound etc.

  • Set dates and meanings for the Wheel of the Year. We all know the 8 Sabbats and corresponding dates, but in days of old, pre calendars, the seasonal shifts and the moon were the indicators of the passage of time. Take Samhain for instance, 31st October, when we as a family celebrate and enjoy the festivities of apple dooking and carving of lanterns. But Samhuinn for me is all about the ancestors and is honoured under the dark moon which falls around the mid point between the equinox and solstice. The first harvest at Lammas/Lughnasadh, or as I call it, Lunastal, is not about physical harvesting of crops or the Irish God Lugh, but instead time to reconnect to the land where I live and to myself (getting outside barefoot), releasing and freeing what needs to go and appreciate what I have grown and how I have grown, my abundance, and hold it in gratitude, taking time to reflect on who I was and where I was at Imbolg and see (witness) that growth and journey. It is looking forward to the full harvest moon to release the gratitude and appreciate the abundance of all I have. And the Celtic New Year, is it really at Samhain or is it a Yule? There are reasons and arguments to be had (and have been had) that the old New Year was in the days following Spring Equinox (now known as 25th March) or possibly even at Beltane.

  • Ascension to enlightenment. There is a lot of talk about ascension from 3D to 5D and 12D. I’ll be honest I don’t really understand it, not at all. More importantly I don’t need to understand it. I don’t feel any reverence or connection or need to explore it. My path in this life time (yes I do believe in reincarnation) is here in the now, on this earth. My hands and feet are in and on the ground. And that is enough. Once I take my last breath, should I ascend to greatness, fab, if I come back for another cycle to learn what I have not yet, then grand. I’ll do what I need to do, go where I need to go, and in the mean time I will live here in this realm, in this time, learning, growing and evolving as I live and breathe.

  • Altars. I used to have a little altar set in my room and change it up as needed. But I don’t need it! I am the altar, a living breathing altar. When I have any ritual for myself, for example for a lunar celebration or seasonal festival, all I need or want is a candle. When in circle or a gathering for ritual then yes, I create an altar as a central and focal point for all, but not for myself in solitary practice. It became a faff and something else to dust!

  • Seeking acceptance, knowledge, wisdom and acknowledgement and approval from external sources. Nope, done. It’s all within. The need is unhealthy and unnecessary. Of course I learn from books or people I respect or just from life itself, but the validation or the guidance for what is right for me comes from me. (And sometimes a double check from the Tarot, but that is still from within as it is me who is interpreting the cards).

And with that, I feel an enormous weight has been lifted from me, I am lighter and have rediscovered the simple joys that led me to this path in the first place. A renewed and revitalised love and reverence for what is important to me and how I go about honouring that and myself. I can once again breathe deeply without any niggles or discomfort. While I have picked up habits along the way that are were not beneficial to me for whatever reason, I believe that they had to be experienced to fully appreciate them and to be able to understand why they weren’t right for me. Part of the continuous cycle of life that we are living; waxing and waning, receiving and relieving, letting go. It’s all just phases of varying length. A cycle.

At this point in life, not gathering with others has me in a calmer state. I am happiest when out in the woods or walking the canal tow-path foraging, or at home kitchen-witchin and stitchin-witchin; am a crafter, a maker, a bringer together of the elements of the fabric of life, especially as we head into winter and yuletide. Coorying into my hearth is my sanctuary and my solitary practice is my true joy.

As I said at the start, this has been my experience. Maybe your experience is the polar opposite, and that is as it ought to be; our individual journeys are as unique as our fingerprints. There is no right way wrong way or only way, just your way.

With blessings and deepest gratitude

Lissa x

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