The Gift of Yule

“Shed your fears so that you may shed your skin,” so said the serpent.

It is a blessing to be able to sit down with my partner to burn and release our fears to Cernunnos, the Crone, and the Maiden. In a sense, it is the best gift we could have received… to be able to heal old wounds, release the negative energy to transformation, and carry it with us into the new year.

Something we can use to build a new and better foundation.

With our relationship built around distance, there has been a lot of travel, a lot of phone time, and a lot of missing one another. Both through joy and hardship. Dash in some incredible shadow work and a lot of physical change and you have a long, hard year brimming with all sorts of emotional highs and lows… (financial struggles, familial discord, job loss, health scares…)

Though I can’t say I’m ecstatic about this year’s events, I can say that the greatest blessing and the greatest gift is my partner, her endurance through everything, and the teamwork we’ve put in to seeing past the shadows. (Shout out to her goddess pits.)

And boy were there a lot of things to burn.

The Gift of Yule is a symbolic death where you can release fears and obstacles. It’s transformation, gratitude, and relenting oneself to address and heal the shadows within. Do it on a full moon and add some serious SHAZAM to any magic you work.

It’s also a time of renewal, rebirth, and intention-setting for the next turn of the wheel.

The New Year’s Resolution isn’t a coincidence.

Though I can’t say I have any real resolutions, my goal for the new year is to kick off my new-found occupational independence by fulfilling my path to my soul-purpose and life’s mission.

It is with incredible hope and determination that I also strive to bring my partner and I together again from across the proverbial sea (Or… two-hour plane ride; po-tay-to/po-tah-to) so that we can once again experience life together as a unit.

I am thankful to my guardians and spirits for helping me through this year, and most especially, to my partner. I am thankful for all the opportunities I’ve been given to discover and expand beyond myself, and I am thankful for all the time I’ve had with my friends and family.

I’m also thankful for the people that have contributed to my life in some way, no matter how large or small.

For the free cookie, for the positive energy, for the barista lady remembering me when I go into Barnes and Noble, for the 25 cents the cashier spot me because I lost my change in my pocket (punk rock-on, gal), and for the other small moments that really made me realize how awesome life can be.

(Shout out to Metatron, Ashtar, and Adronis too. Thanks bois.)

I would also like to shout out to you and your loved ones. We’ve all gone through some serious sh*t (pardon my bad English) this year and I think it has to do with more than just the turning of the Winter Solstice.

Everyone will be in my mind as I meditate tonight while we face our shadows and I’ll make it a point to send some positive energy your way. I might be a perfect stranger but know that you’re not alone and that I’m on-board for some serious A+ success.

Release those fears, transform those b*tches, take a bite out of some raw meat, and conquer the f*ck out of the new year.

You’ve got this.

#Man Enough

#MeToo #ManEnough

Justin’s project was brought to my attention when my fiancee and I were discussing the strengths and weaknesses of masculine and feminine energy and how many societies are built around these inherited beliefs.

Take religion, for instance (not to put the spotlight on a hot topic…).

It is rigid and authoritarian in nature, built on the foundation of hierarchy, much like government and corporation, and can be regarded as a stream of energy that is masculine, patriarchal, and authoritarian.

Ideally, religion can be associated with patriarchy (but only for sake of my post.)

I believe that many of us can refer to our own experiences with men and realized that masculinity is often associated with stoicism and the inability to be vulnerable around anyone, especially those we love.

It is endurance, sacrifice, and expectation; not to mention emotional oppression…

My fiancee and I also discussed father-son/father-daughter relationships and how the relationships (both balanced/imbalanced) influence a child’s growth and their ability to create stability, prosperity, and abundance.

Coming from a past stigmatized by negative male interactions, it was insightful to discuss this topic with my fiancee because it made me realize that much of my outlook on life, as well as my prior treatment of others, stemmed from these “daddy issues”.

It was strange to think that I, as conscientious as I am, could be subject to it!

But there I was, rolling through a list of items he’d programmed for me.

  • The inability to accept that I was wrong
  • The inability to freely express my emotions
  • The fear of getting my hopes up “because you’ll only be disappointed
  • And running when I couldn’t handle or commit to a relationship

It was a lot of baggage that made it difficult to commit to jobs and relationships and it made it difficult to stay in one place for too long. He taught me that the only way to preserve myself was to escape and that is what I did when life became too hard to cope with.

Upon reflecting on a lot of what I endured, it took little effort to realize that my masculinity was broken because of the example before me.

Talk about ancestral inheritance!

When watching this first episode, I gradually found a weight lifting off my shoulders when I realized that I was not alone in the struggle of masculinity and the way that society plays in a role in its image and evolution.

It was like someone had finally addressed the elephant in the room.

In retrospect, masculine energy is much like earth in that it is associated with strength and stability whereas feminine energy is like water in that it is emotional and creative freedom.

When you have too much of either element, it only leads to dysfunction and discordance and a whole lot of noise..

Since then, I’ve gone out of my way to transform the negative patriarchy. So far, it’s been a hard road but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that…

Men just need to learn to love their inner women and children.

Greeting the Day (Blessings)

One of the hearts of shamanic practice is the practice of blessing all things.

To understand that all things are Sacred is the key to understanding that we are Sacred and that our lives, and everything in it, is sacred as well. Sacredness deserves gratitude and respect, and in a sense, love and preservation. It is like Osho when he said,

If you love a flower, don’t pick it up.

Because if you pick it up it dies and ceases to be what you love.

So if you love a flower, let it be.

Love is not about possession.

Love is about appreciation.

The beauty about Shamanism is that it comes from the heart center and what I fondly refer to as the Heart Gate. Shamanism is a practice which we can comfortably assimilate into our lives regardless of the origin of our beliefs. It’s a practice of love, of spirit, and of weaving; creation and manifestation.

Greeting your day with blessings is one way to pay tribute to your life, everything in it, and especially, to yourself.

And it’s no more difficult than taking time in the morning to do so.

Open your arms to your world, take a deep breath, and tune into your world.

It’s easy to say ‘let the sun and the nature fill your being’ but the reality is, that many of us live in the suburbs or the city which may not be as pleasant as a backyard forest. So, take in the reality of your life, even if it’s in the smoggy sects of downtown New York. No matter where you are, there is always something to love.

To have true content in your world, is to love it as it is. 

Look at people, the way that the skyscrapers look in the evening sun or at night when all the lights are on, or the way that the skies turn gray before it storms. Maybe its a rundown ball court, a skate park covered in graffiti, a particular painting, or flower stand, coffee shop, or bookstore.

Send blessings to the first thing that comes into your mind, no matter how positive or negative it might be.

Once you truly bless that first thing, then bless your home, all of the people around you (friends, colleagues, family, distant acquaintances, perfect strangers), and move outward until you’ve blessed not just your town or city, but all the world and all the events that need our love, attention, and healing.

Then, bless yourself.

Because you are beautiful and deserve just as much gratitude as everything else.

No matter who you are, what you do, or where you’ve come from.

You deserve love too.

After you’ve made your round, close the moment by exhaling, lowering in your arms, and basking in the wind-down.

Personally, I would bring my hands together over my heart, tip my head down, and would simply say “Thank you”.

Every day is a new day that deserves starting off in gratitude.

When we each begin to greet our day with gratitude, only then (I believe) can we begin mending and making the changes that we need right now.

Read this article too, to understand my own gratitude-awakening:


When Others Are Wrong I am in the Wrong

When others are wrong I am in the wrong. When I have transgressed I alone am to blame.

Sixth Patriarch Huineng

Philip Kapleau says, ” With the spiritually developed it is otherwise. It would be hard, I think, to find a higher ethical principle than that enunciated by the sixth patriarch of Zen, who said, ‘When others are wrong I am in the wrong. When I have transgressed I alone am to blame.’ Such a deep sense of personal responsibility could come only from one who truly understood the law of causation at a profound level. Such a person would know that the network of interrelationships between all forms of life is so vast and complex that we cannot, in a cosmic sense, disavow responsibility for whatever happens anywhere–least of all for the repercussions, on our own and others’ lives, of our thoughts, speech, and actions.

Someone once came to me for help in resolving the angry feelings he had for a former girlfriend. I asked him what he had been doing to this end and he replied that he had been directing loving thoughts toward her. I suggested he start reciting a repentance verse and begin directing feelings of contrition toward her. He was taken aback. ‘Why should I apologize to her?’ he insisted. ‘She was the one who hurt me.’ ‘But,’ I told him, ‘the fact that you felt pain means you did something to earn it; no doubt you caused her pain as well. You equally share responsibility for this situation.'”

Professor Garma C.C. Chang

Karma is essentially a doctrine of the intricate reciprocation between forces and actions that push forward the turning wheel of samsara. When expressed on a cosmological scale this force-action complex is a stupendous power that propels the universe and life; when expressed in the ethical sense, it is an unfailing, impersonal law that effectuates the moral order, “dispensing” natural rewards and retributions. Metaphysically, karma is a creative energy brought forth by the collective actions of certain groups; it sustains the order and function of a particular universe in which those groups reside…

We Die As We Have Lived

For the way we die reflects the way we have lived. A good death puts the stamp on a good life. “Just as a well spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well used brings happy death.” But if we have lived a life of emotional turmoil and conflict, or a selfish and inane existence, our dying will be troubled and painful. Instead of seeking ways to prolong our lives through medical technology, we would better serve ourselves and society by dedicating ourselves to improving the spiritual and moral quality of what life we have.

The Wheel of Life and Death by Philip Kapleau