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The latest Anthology has been released!

Pagan Leadership AnthologyThe Pagan Leadership Anthology edited by Shauna Aura Knight and Taylor Ellwood published by Immanion Press.

This book is filled with essays written by authors from the Pagan community.  Many of them I know and respect both as writers and leaders.

This may seem like a “niche” market book, but I think it has a lot to offer outside the Pagan community as well.

The leadership models in Paganism tend to be more collaborative than hierarchical.  The community as a whole is already “outside the norm” and so its members are practiced at stepping away from systems they don’t like.  We often tease that leading Pagans is like herding cats!

We demand a great deal from our leadership and vote with our feet.  Sure there is hierarchy and there are occasionally cults of personality.  Sometimes personal issues and interpersonal dynamics interfere with the effectiveness of a leader in a larger group.  But these kinds of issues also play out in corporate and other community settings.

I am proud to be a contributor to this anthology.  Although the examples are clearly Pagan, the principles are applicable in any leadership situation.

 

Grateful

paganiconLast week was an uphill week.  The time change kicked me in the ass.  Monday I missed yoga because the clock I was looking at was the one I hadn’t remembered to change over.  Tuesday  I was so tired I could barely get Orion out the door.  I slept through my Dr. appointment. (Literally, I went back to bed.) Wednesday the alarm didn’t go off.  I woke up spontaneously at 730 am, which would have been great the week before when it would have been right on time at 630!  By Thursday I realized the week was almost gone and I hadn’t done anything to prepare for Paganicon.  Friday started the convention, which of course threw what was left of my sleep schedule entirely out the window.

In the course of my sleep deprived daze I heard someone say, “What if instead of being angry at the weather I was grateful instead.”  I actually think they said it to me weeks before when it was so cold but it finally sunk in.   My women’s group is working with Hanuman this month.  He helps us with our lessons by sending both good and bad energy.  Then I saw Peg-o-leg’s blog about her struggle with her own pity party.  When the universe sends the same message three times I start to pay attention.

I spent the weekend working at being grateful for everything that came across my path, good and bad.  I’m trying to be grateful for all the time I’m spending in health care hell.  I’m considering gratitude towards my physical limitations.  Instead of grumbling about how many extra things I have to do making arrangements for Orion this week, I’m grateful his Dad is taking him so I can go to Paganicon unaccompanied.

The attitude adjustment made all the difference in the world.  I still hurt, couldn’t do as much as I wanted, and didn’t get anywhere near enough sleep but it didn’t matter the same way.    I got to spend time with my publisher Taylor Ellwood and his wife.   When we were told there was a 40 minute wait for a table at dinner we took the opportunity to sneak over to the hotel and get them checked in.  When we got back we were at the top of the list.  My workshop was scheduled first thing Saturday morning.  That meant only the people who really wanted to be there showed up, and it was a good-sized group.  For a first time presentation it went really well and much of the feedback I got was that even after 90 min. at 9am they could have stayed and talked another hour or two.

Thrilled with the cover of the new book!

Thrilled with the cover of the new book!

I had a book signing with Taylor scheduled in the afternoon.  My new book When Gods Come Knocking: An Exploration of Mysticism from a Deity-Based Perspective was released in time for the event!  Because I was with Taylor I was introduced to a few other Immanion Press authors.   The friend who came to help me was miserable with allergies, but her presence also brought folks over to say hi who may not have noticed us otherwise.  I was debating going home for dinner when my friends hosting the Standing Stones hospitality suite realized they didn’t have trays to put cheese and crackers on.  I volunteered to dash home for trays (this con is VERY close to my house) and came back just in time to get an invitation to dinner with my students.

I had a great time at Paganicon and felt really good about the marketing and presentation that I did.  I was grateful to have the time with friends, old and new, to really sit and talk.  I always enjoy the opportunity to learn new things and was delighted by the art featured in the Sacred Gallery space.  I really do understand that sometimes the bad things really are a lot better than they look.

Signing books at Paganicon

Signing books at Paganicon

All that “understanding” doesn’t make it easy or automatic.  I find pushing at gratitude an exercise in futility.  Gratitude is something that requires opening up and accepting unconditionally.  It is making room for the bounty of life to fill that open space.  When facing frustration, practicing gratitude is a step back, taking time to breathe, letting go and allowing.  When I achieve gratitude I know that anything is possible and that I will have all the support I need for whatever dreams may come.

So I continue to remind myself to be grateful, for everything.  I remind myself to be grateful for the irritants, the frustrations, the stumbling blocks.  I remind myself to be grateful for the pain and the heartache.  I remind myself to be open to the possibility that it’s all for the best.

Maybe with enough practice I’ll be better at gratitude.

Spells

100_4243I was on Pagan’s Tonight Blog Talk Radio, The Priestess Show last Friday and we were talking about spells.  Somewhere doing the interview I promised to write more about spell work on my Monday blog.  So here goes.

One of the most interesting things that I got out of talking with Stephanie Neal was the idea that we are the spell.  That everything we do has an effect, an impact.  That all of our words, our thoughts and our actions move out into the world and interact with it for good or ill.  This idea is not new to me, but thinking of it as a spell is.

We are the spell we put into the world.  What we send out grows like a seed.  What comes back are the fruits of our spell.  We are the spell we put into the world. – It ought to be some kind of a chant, don’t you think?100_3605

That reminder, that focus of our intention is the core of spell work for me.  I know that when I focus my intention and truly put my desires out I have seen miracles.  I also know that the thing most likely to interfere with that process is me.  I am extraordinarily talented at getting in my own way, I think most of us are on occasion.

I talked about that in the interview as well.  That I find spells useful, as a recipe to get out of my own way.  Doing a spell sort of bypasses that whole debate about whether or not I’m worthy of what I ask for.  Following a recipe avoids that annoying little judgmental voice in my head.  “You’re just  being greedy.”   “What would you do with that if you got it anyway?”  “Don’t you think you’re getting ahead of yourself?”  “Why should you get that?  You don’t deserve it.  You haven’t worked enough for it.”

If my core belief is that love is pure energy; That it is abundant and ever renewing;  That love is something that grows when it is used; there is no call for that kind of judgment.  There is so much out there bigger than I am.  There is so much out there with a wider vision, a broader perspective on the arc of my life that I have.  What do I know about what I might and might not be able to achieve if I plant that seed of desire?  We are the spell we put into the world…..

We touched a little bit in the interview on timing.  We talked about the people who consult the astrology charts and have to do their workings in the proper timeframe with the exact ingredients with all the right associations.  Not to dismiss that process because all those things do help.  The more meaning built into what we are doing the more likely we are to succeed.  Doesn’t that apply to everything?

What we didn’t talk about is that space before taking an action.  That space where we do a divination or sit in meditation to find if doing a spell is what we really need.  When I said sometimes the best spell is a shot of scotch and stepping up to the plate I really did mean sometimes just sucking it up and taking direct action is better that crafting a spell.  Think about it this way.  If you are looking for a job you can do a spell to make a job fall into your lap.   Or you can get your resume together and start stopping in at businesses and making phone calls.   Which is more effective?  Asking the Universe for a job or asking a potential employer?

But sometimes we need both.  Sometimes doing the spell is what we need to step into that interview process with the confidence that you deserve a job.  Sometimes doing the spell is what allows us to look “outside the box”, potentially applying in a different field or asking for the promotion to a different department.  But it doesn’t work the other way around.  Just doing the spell and not doing the legwork isn’t getting us anywhere.  The best spell is sometimes BEING the spell we put out into the world.

tnI want to be a successful author.  I want to promote and sell my book, Manifest Divinity.  So when I crafted the prosperity spell I performed on the air I took a look at all of those things.  How do I get in my own way?   I need to allow my passion to be seen rather than “hiding my light under a bushel.”   I need to take the opportunities I’m given to speak about my work.  I want to make sure that what I am putting into the world is growing energy, benefiting others as it benefits me.  I looked at what would it take for me to believe in that kind of abundance as it applied to my own prosperity.

Here is the text of the spell I did on the air:

Spirits of the North I call to you and ask your aid in increasing my prosperity.  May there be increase in sales of my book as a symbol of increased prosperity.

Spirits of the East I call to you and ask your aid in increasing my prosperity.  May there be increase in my ability to promote myself and my work, especially my book.

Spirits of the South I call to you and ask your aid in increasing my prosperity.  May there be increase in my efforts to share my passion for the book I’ve written.

Spirits of the West I call to you and ask your aid in increasing my prosperity.  May there be increase in the flow and exchange that what prospers me prospers others.

Spirits of the North I call to you and ask your aid in increasing my prosperity.  May there be increase in sales of my book as a symbol of increased prosperity.

I place this dime within the circle of elements.  As like attracts like so may I see more money coming into my accounts.

I light this candle to charge this spell.  While it burns may the gifts of the elements work within me.  May this spell flourish and bring bounteous fruition by the time the flame burns out.100_4237

I ask the blessing of the Lord and Lady upon my work and upon this working.

As I will

So Mote It Be

We did the show on Friday night.  Sunday I got an email from my publisher (Immanion Press) with the contract for a poem I wrote to be included in an upcoming anthology on Pagans and Disability.  This is a piece I submitted almost a year ago.  Go figure.

We are the spell we put into the world.

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