Posts Tagged ‘healing’

I don’t know exactly why I keep reaching for the Halloween Oracle during the summer – perhaps my subconscious hopes it will help usher in the cool fall weather. I could only hope.

Regardless of WHY I picked this deck, it delivered a set of cards that exemplifies a process of healing. We had one like this last week, but this is in a different direction. Often, this work is done close to Samhain, but perhaps some of us need an early start.

This set brought to mind the need to come to terms (and peace) with things that have happened in our family’s past. Generational wounds can damage people for decades (or longer), and there’s no need to keep carrying that damage with you. Remember whatever it is you need to let go of, and perhaps try to remember some good things from that same time as well. Move on to considering your ancestors, whether they be great great grandparents that committed and hid a damaging secret or a parent who did not know how to love.

The final card is Forgiveness – and this can be so very hard to do, especially when you cannot safely (or practically) deal with the wounder face to face. But forgiveness doesn’t mean letting them off the hook – it’s really more for you. Letting go of those hurtful acts gives you more room for love and growth. Again, it’s hard, and that’s no lie. I’ve been working on this with one relative for about a decade. But do try.

Blessings of Avalon!

THE LAMP – Remembrance

I light a single candle
Within a lamp for you
A single flame in the darkness
That reflects my heart so true.
While it is a tradition to carve a jack-o-lantern to scare away the spirits, it was an older tradition still to light a candle or a lamp on Halloween night and leave it at the window as a loving guide for those who have passed.

Both as a symbol of remembrance and also as a kind of “leaving the lights on” for those who may wish to come home, the lamp was left on to illuminate the night and perhaps even the sadness that was felt because of the passing.

This card reminds us that it is a positive thing to remember those who have passed by celebrating their life rather than mourning their death. For those with whom we did not have an easy relationship or even those we did not like, leave us with valuable lessons. Sometimes, we learn more from our nemesis than we do from our friends and so the darkness can illuminate our strengths and our true values so that we can live them ore clearly and fully.


ANCESTORS – The love and legacy of our DNA

I walk in their footsteps
Their wisdom inside me remains
I am unique, yet carry a legacy
Their blood runs in my veins

Whether or not we know our ancestors, we are the product of those who have lived before us, DNA-wise. Externally, we may have the body type of our father, our mother’s eyes, our grandmother’s nose, our great-grandfather’s skin tone.

On the inside, it gets even more interesting. We know now that we can “inherit” the way our body works, blood types, genetic disorders, even propensities for aspects of brain function like introversion, musicality, and mathematics.

Many Pagan paths associated with Halloween believe that we are born perfectly imperfect to be exactly what we are meant to be. What does this mean? It means that the gifts our ancestors left us and the unique synergy of the combination of the physical, mental, and physical that is created within us, sets us up perfectly to achieve our ultimate purpose.

Should the Ancestor card bring itself to your attention, know that you are ready and able to action your birthright of power. You have the support of those who came before you. There may be challenges or struggles but you have everything you need to overcome them. You will prevail!


FORGIVENESS – Reducing burden

A wrong is done
Consequences you cannot deny
But to hold a grudge is to drink poison
and think that the other person will die.

Being a cold-season festival, Halloween is the perfect time to pause and think about how things actually are in our lives and what heavy burdens we do not wish to carry through these harder, leaner times. Some of this heavy-heartedness may relate to old relationships or grievances. Some may relate to negative feelings we hold onto tightly about others and even a lack of compassion for the “mistakes” we have ourselves made.

It is said that it takes a “big person to apologize” but in many ways it takes an even bigger person to forgive. When we hold grudges, the negative energy is incredibly toxic. It is like drinking a poison and expecting the “other” unforgiven person to die! Whilst we may even harbor feelings of revenge (and to be honest, that does feel good for a while), it is important that we move those feelings along to forgiveness and release as soon as possible for our own health and wellbeing.

If you have chosen this card, think about who it is that you could be forgiving – and that includes yourself.

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton


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Healing is often talked about in Pagan or New Age communities but often any purposeful action behind the words is missing. Sometimes, we all need a little extra help in becoming healthy – whether it’s physical, mental, or spiritual health in need. This ritual is an excellent tool to give the participants some extra healing energy while also helping to refocus their minds on what they need to heal.

Ritual Premise

I’ve recently mentioned the Irish goddess of herbalism, Airmid. The idea is to invoke the spirits of Airmid and her brother Miach to help send healing energies to ritual participants. I considered writing a short post just about Airmid for anyone unfamiliar with the goddess/faery healer, but I decided that it would be difficult to beat the classic essay by Erynn Rowan Laurie from Issue 25 of Sagewoman. Click here to read it.

An herbal healer as shown in the Druid Plant Oracle deck. Image copyright – Will Worthington.

An herbal healer as shown in the Druid Plant Oracle deck. Image copyright – Will Worthington.

Attendees bring a sprig of fresh herb or small sachet of dried herb, taking turns explaining what the herb’s use is spiritually and physically, and then sews it onto the cloak that is on the center table. When the herbs have been sewn on and the cloak blessed, the cloak is used to direct healing energies to the participants.

After this, you can add a seasonal celebration before the cakes and ale if doing this at a sabbat. I often do this at Midsummer and honor the Sun with a game of roll-the-hoop or something similar within the ritual circle.

A Note About Scripted Rituals

I’m not fond of scripted rituals. I prefer that participants know the outline and concepts behind the ritual and simply deliver the words that feel right at the moment. The following ritual does provide wording for different things, but feel free to just read it, learn the gist of it, and present it in a way you enjoy and makes you comfortable. 


Set up a ritual table in the center of the circle that is clear of all objects except a needle, thread, and snips or small scissors. You can place the cloak on the ground and sew the herbs on that way, but a table makes it easier, especially if your knees aren’t what they used to be. Another table should be set up on the edge of the circle for a chalice or small cauldron with whatever you use as holy water, smudge, god & goddess or elemental items/offering plate, and cakes and ale.

Cleanse the space with your preferred method. I typically sain the area by sprinkling what I consider holy water: moon-charged water with 9 drops of Chalice Well water added in.

The ritual leader can conduct the entire ritual by his or herself, or split into two parts for a high priest and priestess. You can assign parts to others as desired, particularly the quarter calls. If you have a great storyteller in your group, you may assign them the task of learning and telling the story. Another possibility for a group with at least four people comfortable with acting out sacred drama is to act out the story of the physicians, with roles for Airmid, Miach, Dian Cecht, and Nuada. As I’ve discussed before, sacred drama can make a ritual amazing.

The Ritual

Smudge participants and enter into the circle as normal. Use these simple quarter calls or whatever ones you prefer – depending on who is in the ritual, I will sometimes substitute quarter calls with honoring the Realms of Land, Sea, and Sky from the Celtic cosmology.

Air (east): I call to the spirit of Air, breath from the east.

Fire (south): I call to the spirit of Fire, energy from the south.

Water (west): I call to the spirit of Water, blood from the west.

Earth (north): I call to the spirit of Earth, flesh from the north.

If you wish, you can add the common chant, “Earth my body,” at this time, doing it multiple times to build the energy.

Now, tell the story of the Physicians of the Tuatha de Danann:

The Physicians’ Story

Here the facilitator summarizes the story of the physicians as desired. See the last blog post to learn the story.

After the story is finished, call Miach and Airmid:

Ritual Facilitator: I ask that the spirit of Miach join us in our circle. May his selflessness and desire to heal and be healed be reflected those here today. May his wisdom and skill be infused into this world for the healing of all. So mote it be.

Ritual Facilitator: I ask that the spirit of Airmid join us in our circle. May her desire to harvest and to sow healing wisdom be shared among those here today. May we continue to learn her healing secrets so her tears are not wasted. So mote it be.

Ritual Facilitator: Now, we will take turns stepping forward to share our own herbal knowledge and to imbue this cloak with healing power.

Participants take turns stepping forward, explaining their herb’s powers, and sewing it on. It is a good idea for one of the ritual organizers to start this off to help others be more comfortable in knowing what to do. An example is,“I bring plantain, a wild-growing herb good for healing the skin and small wounds.” After all the herbs are sewn onto the cloak, dedicate the cloak.

Ritual Facilitator: Now that we have brought forward all the healing herbs available to us, we will now dedicate this cloak to healing. Though we do not have their healing well, we will sprinkle holy waters from this sacred chalice onto the cloak.

Facilitator takes the chalice and sprinkles water from it onto the cloak.

Ritual Facilitator: We will now use the healing charm of the physicians of the Tuatha de Danann:


Bone to bone

Vein to vein

Balm to Balm


Sap to Sap

Skin to skin

Tissue to tissue


Blood to blood

Flesh to flesh

Sinew to sinew


Marrow to marrow

Pith to pith

Fat to fat


Membrane to membrane

Fibre to fibre

Moisture to moisture

Ritual Facilitator: May this simple cloak be imbued with the healing power of Airmid and Miach so that it may facilitate healing for us all. Now, I will bring the cloak to each of you and place it around your shoulders. When you are done receiving the energies, remove the cloak and return it to me.

Go around the circle and put cloak on attendees one at a time, keeping your focus on the healing for each individual. Sometimes it will be physical healing they desire, but other times a spiritual or mental healing – try to be grounded and supportive in your energies as you take the cloak around the circle.

After you’ve gone all around the circle, you can add a chant or toning that you feel focuses on healing – or use sound vibrations like that from singing bowls or gongs, which are becoming better known for healing work. I was trained to use a toning that goes: E-A, E-A, E-O. Each vowel is toned individually and held for a long as possible. You can use anything you wish.

At this time if you want to do a seasonal observance, do so.  

To help reground the circle, distribute the cakes and ale with the traditional blessings of “May you never hunger” and “May you never thirst.” Start to close the circle by thanking Miach and Airmed:

Ritual Facilitator: We thank the spirit of Miach for joining us. May his story continue to inspire us on our healing journey. Blessed be!

Ritual Facilitator: We thank the spirit of Airmid for joining us. May her wisdom and dedication to healing continue in us. Blessed be!

Air (east): We thank the spirit of Air, for breathing new life into us. Blessed be!

Fire (south): We thank the spirit of Fire, for re-energizing us. Blessed be!

Water (west): We thank the spirit of Water, for cleansing us. Blessed be!

Earth (north): We thank the spirit of Earth, for regrounding us. Blessed be!


“May the Circle be Open” chant to close


Well, that’s it. If I’ve left out anything or if you have questions, feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll answer a soon as possible. As we are between the Vernal Equinox and Beltaine, we are heading into prime time for this ritual, though it could easily be done through early fall in most regions.

Until next time, blessings!


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Mistakes are a part of life, yet we can be really hard on ourselves when we make them. This subject has been on my mind a lot lately, and I know a lot of folks who berate themselves for past missteps. Many of these are people I care for quite a lot, and seeing them tear themselves apart over water that’s under the bridge is rather heartbreaking.

And let’s be clear – I’ve made plenty of my own missteps. With family, friends, significant others, job choices, and so on. But with a couple exceptions, I prefer not to look at my mistakes as setbacks. I view them a little differently. Below are five reasons why.

plot twist


5. Yes, you are spirit, but you are also human.

There’s a quote from Pierre Teilbard de Chardin that makes the rounds quite a bit: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” If you believe this line of thought, you should definitely cut yourself a break because, quite frankly, the human experience is messy.

The constant struggle balancing our physical needs and desires, our logical thinking and ego, and our spiritual center can be difficult. Most of us go through periods in our life when we are either angry, sad, confused, or one of the many other feelings that can cause us to less than ideal action or to just plain feel bad.

But whatever happens in our lives, we are just humans. Yes, we have amazing abilities, but we also have stunning flaws and desires. Not all of this is bad – it’s just part of the human experience. Sometimes physical or emotional pain is part of the human experience, especially if you subscribe to the idea of soul agreements. That leads us to No. 4:


4. It could be part of the plan. Yes, your plan.

“I planned to make mistakes and for crap to happen to me?” you ask dubiously.

Well, maybe. Some folks subscribe to the concept of soul agreements, or relationships and challenges that could be part of your spirit’s plan for this lifetime. Most agree that soul agreements are made between you and other spirits – prior to this human incarnation – to be part of the same family or to have some other relationship. Sometimes these agreements have a very positive spin (for example, soul mates or soul friends), but other times they are intended to give the soul something difficult to experience and overcome.

Honestly, I once had a huge problem with this concept. Who would choose a debilitating disease? Who would want a life of poverty? Who would opt for an abusive parent or spouse? The idea that I would choose a miserable father, a miscarriage, and a failed marriage as things to deal with in life infuriated me. As time passed, however, I began to see how these different people and events lead me to other things that I needed to learn or just needed in my life.

How we deal with challenges – whether we continue to respond like impudent children and with anger instead of with understanding and compassion (yes, compassion for ourselves) – may be part of the bigger picture for your soul. Life lessons aren’t always obvious when they are happening. So if you screw up and have to deal with the fallout, deal with it and move on – your ability to do so may well be the goal of the lesson plan that you yourself wrote.

worst pasts


3. Every mistake can be a learning experience – if you let it.

Who learns anything by always being perfect? If we never fail, we don’t learn perseverance. If we never tempt an exploration, it’s difficult to make a discovery.

Sometimes, all we really need to learn is to relax and see our mistake from a different perspective. Richard James, the developer of the Slinky toy, was a mechanical engineering trying to develop a specialized spring for ships. His mistake for ships turned out to be a huge success in the toy market – but only because he could see the potential in his booboo.

In other cases, our mistakes and the resulting pain is a cue to slow down and look at what we’re doing and adjust our path. If you keep falling for the wrong kind of person in relationships, maybe you need to examine what it is about that type of person that draws you even though you should know it won’t work. If people take advantage of you, perhaps it’s time to balance your kindness and generosity with the strength to stand up for yourself when needed.

No mistake need be a waste of time – there is something to learn from them all if we look close enough.


2. It develops character.

No, seriously! Anyone who’s delved into creative writing can tell you that if nothing bad ever happens to a main character, there’s no story. Well, the same is pretty much true of real people. Those who come through many mistakes and struggles are often those with great insights and the ability to help others see that they can overcome their own mistakes.

Besides, when all is said and done and folks are gathered at our funerals, do we want them to just say, “Oh, she was so nice”? Or do we want there to be some stories they can share and laugh and commiserate over? A life of good stories is not a wasted life.

fit in meme


And because I’m an eternal smarty pants, the number one reason NOT to beat yourself up over mistakes is:


1. Mistakes in your past give you double the memes to share on Facebook!

This one should be self-explanatory to anyone with a Facebook account!

Until next time, bright blessings.



Note: To the best of my knowledge, the memes in this post are free to use.

© 2014 PJ Graham

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Winter holidays have come and gone, and many of us are left feeling like the months of January and February must simply be gotten through until the warmth of spring returns.

As an introvert and someone who enjoys curling up with a good book, I’ve never really felt this way. But a lot of people have a difficult time once the hubbub of the holidays is past. Regardless of one’s personality, this time of year shouldn’t be overlooked or simply gotten through – it’s a key time for introspection, spiritual work, and clearing the way for future action.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Years ago, I researched Yule traditions for a study focused on the wheel of the year. Along the way, I found that I’m not the only one that finds this season so potent. In the liner notes of his luminous album If on a Winter’s Night, artist Sting says:

“. . . there is something of the Winter that is primal, mysterious and utterly irreplaceable, something both bleak and profoundly beautiful, something essential to the myth of ourselves, the story of our humanity, as if we somehow need the darkness of the winter months to replenish our inner spirits as much as we need the light, energy, and warmth of the summer.”

Waverly Fitzgerald of the School of the Seasons adds that while we often represent the cycle of dark and light as a battle, we do understand that both sides of the battle are important. She recommends taking time in this season to just sit in the dark and quiet.

“Honor the dark before calling in the light. This is the season when animals hibernate and nature sleeps and we can turn inward too . . . . This is a natural time for letting go and saying farewell. Release your resentments and regrets into the darkness, knowing they will be transformed.

Fitzgerald’s advice really hits home, as it is difficult to be introspective and to eventually move forward when we hold on to anger, guilt, and old wounds. This is hard stuff, to be sure. Sometimes we use these things to energize our actions or, worse, we start to build our identity around them. It is easy to resist this process of letting go when you feel like it’s taking away a part of you.

Frankly, I have no sage advice for accomplishing this. In my experience, I had to simply decide that anger was no longer going to rule and come to peace with the past hurts. Spiritual work came much easier after this point, though I admit to having to revisit this lesson from time to time. It helps if we can realize that when we let go of the things holding us back, other things will eventually take their place – and often more wonderful things than what we could have imagined.

After achieving this, it helps to maintain a centered and calm state of mind and to try to understand why things have happened in the past (to avoid a repeat performance). Meditation and journaling are good tools for this and often seem more fruitful during this dark season. And, as luck would have it, there are many ways to do both of these. Meditation can be difficult if you are new to it, but there are many recorded meditations available and some of you may even have an alternative healing practitioner or center that offers guidance with this. Of course, there are more traditional forms of meditation, such as mindfulness or serenity meditations. However, guided imagery or relaxation meditations can be easier to start with for many people.

As for journaling, a lot of people are turned off by traditional pen and paper journaling. But there is no reason not to use a laptop or ever an audio recorder. Some people even make their journal into a blog, choosing to make a more public statement with their thoughts and searching.

Whatever methods you use to look within and prepare for a spiritual spring emergence (and I would love to hear how any of you go about this), I hope we all take some time to look within during the remaining weeks of winter. After all, clarity, understanding, and peace are valuable things that seem more readily found within the stillness of winter. And perhaps the point of being in winter’s dark and cold is finding the light and warmth within ourselves.

Bright blessings,



© 2014 PJ Graham

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(This is the last of a series of posts focused on healing the self. The first three are here and here and here.)

Well, we’ve finally arrived at the last of the healing trifecta! Yes, we’re discussing spiritual or soul healing. Again, I’m no minister and have no pastoral counseling training. What follows are things I’ve learned over the years – either from personal experience or from those I know, especially my Hearth Sisters in the Daughters of the Sacred Grail.

Experience Beauty

These trees make a beautiful sight with the sunset in the background.

This seems so basic, but many of us run from one task to another without appreciating the beauty of our world. Watching a glowing sunset or clouds drift across a full moon, taking a walk in a woods, viewing an art exhibit, listening to gorgeous music, tasting fine chocolate (or whatever you prefer) are all ways of experiencing beauty.

Sometimes watching something ordinary and seeing it with an open mind and heart helps us appreciate the extraordinary gifts we have. Frankly, nothing takes my breath away more than watching my dog Zoe running in a field, free of inhibitions and full of joy. Whatever captures your fancy, having images and memories of experienced beauty is helpful when we face ugliness in the world or within ourselves.

Get Ecstatic

And I don’t mean just to get exited. I mean to stop worrying about what people think and experience an ecstatic state. This is a hard one for those of us raised in a more restrained culture where this might be considered immoral or a waste of time

Yet the ecstatic experience is really part of the human experience. Sadly, some people turn to drugs to achieve an ecstatic state, though modern versions of it include dance clubs and rock concerts. A drum and fire circle in a safe environment where people feel comfortable to drum, sing, and dance is a great way to cut loose and connect with that primal side.

This can help balance our lives and spirits by allowing us to feel the wild yin to our cultured side’s yang.


Walking a labyrinth is a meditative experience.

Well, you just knew this was going to be included, didn’t you? The ability to clear the mind and focus on one thing or nothing) can help you deal with stress and develop better focus. Whether you prefer the more traditional Buddhist style of meditation, guided imagery (what I call journey meditations), or another technique, being able to still your mind and body and calm the soul has tremendous value.

A physical method of meditation is walking a labyrinth. Walking the candlelight labyrinth at the Pagan Spirit Gathering a couple years ago was a tremendous experience of going within my soul. However, we can’t always set up a labyrinth in our yards or homes, but you can achieve some of the same goals using a finger labyrinth. There are labyrinth patterns to download here:

Trance Out

OK, trance has connections to both the ecstatic state and meditation. But it can be a great alternative to traditional meditation. It still helps you to disconnect and rest the conscious mind and tap into the subconscious.

Chanting, dance, breath work, hand drumming (or listening to) certain rhythms, or spinning wool with an old-fashioned drop spindle can well known ways to achieve a trance state. Yoga is another tool. Some people trance very easily by doing repetitive tasks such as crocheting or knitting. And don’t laugh, but I’m pretty sure I tranced once while snapping a wheelbarrow load of green beans!

Face the Shadow Self

You thought this was going to be a long section, didn’t you? Well, I’m just including it in the list because it is important, but I’m not going to delve into right now. Shadow work can be heavy stuff, so it will get a couple posts all to itself later.

Bright blessings!


(Photos courtesy of


© 2012 PJ Graham

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(This is a continuation of posts focused on healing the self – sorry for the delay!)

Thank the gods February is over.

February tends to be the month I could really live without – by the time we’ve made it through the activity of the fall and hubbub of the holidays, my introverted soul feels as if it’s been rode rough and put up wet, as they say in Westerns.

So January and February are usually my recuperation months. I limit my social outings and just veg out at home. Read a lot, write some, make brewing a pot of tea a habit, and so forth. This helps me to recharge for the upcoming activity of the spring. But this year, far too many events were vying for my time in January and early February. So this introvert stretched herself a little too thin.

Which brings me to my next topic: healing the mind.

This is a tricky subject. After all, I’m no psychologist or therapist – just an average person. But one thing I’ve learned over the years is that understanding your nature and then learning how to nurture it is important to becoming happy and whole. So forgive me, but I’m using a couple personal experiences to help muddle through this topic.

For years, I felt the urge to keep myself away from noisy, crowded elements of society. Yet, people expected me to attend parties and events with them – and looked at me oddly if I expressed a desire to avoid them. It wasn’t until my late 20s that I understood my dilemma: I’m an introvert. Introverts make up about 25 percent of the population and we recharge by being alone or in a peaceful environment. The rest of the population falls into the category of extrovert (though there are varying degrees of each) and these souls recharge by being in groups and high-energy environments. A self-help book called The Introvert Advantage helped me learn how to get the most out of life and stay energized without becoming a recluse year round.

Following this book’s tips, I’ve done pretty well. It’s when disregarding my nature that I struggle with a lack of energy and a downward spiraling attitude. So the past couple weekends were set aside for me to recharge. In short, I went back to nurturing my nature.

We can make goals for ourselves and try to do whatever it is we find in a Google search to improve our lives. But you could be going in circles if you don’t understand yourself first. Are you an introvert or extrovert? Control freak or a free spirit? Independent, codependent, or somewhere in between? Do you carry old wounds that direct your decision making?

Identifying these things can help you see where you trap yourself into habits that aren’t good for your nature – and when you do things because of other people’s expectations. Yes, we need to let friends and loved ones know we care about them, but a healthy relationship allows flexibility so both sides of the equation balance. A friendship where only one person gets what they need emotionally is not a true friendship (a lesson I learned the hard way).

Standing up for yourself and your needs isn’t selfish – it can help improve overall behavior and stress level and to avoid relationship-rattling mood swings. A better you can make things better for those around you.

So how do you begin to determine your own nature? With all the distractions we have, it can be hard. Numerous tests are available online to help you determine your personality type – Jungian and the Myers-Briggs personality tests are well known. Just Google one of them and several options should pop up. Just please avoid the quizzes in Cosmo!

Sometimes a simple examination of the self can help.

Clutter like this can drive some people up the walls.

Do you have to do things in an exact manner or place items in an exact order? Perhaps you suffer from obsessive-compulsive personalitydisorder (I’ve recently heard there’s also a obsessive-compulsive pervasive disorder, but my research doesn’t shed any light on this so I don’t know if they are similar). If it is to the point of disrupting your life, this can be approached with therapy or by self-examination accompanied by journaling and an effort to let loose a bit. However, do not confuse these with obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is an anxiety and usually requires a doctor’s attention. (I have to admit to having some of the symptoms listed for OCPD, but am fortunate that they don’t negatively affect my life. Frankly, they help me with my job.)

Are there tasks you do that you do not accept help on because no one else “does is right”? Maybe you should examine why you have to have such control over things.

Does the idea of doing anything on your own – without a significant other or your best friend – freak you out? Perhaps there is a codependence or confidence issue buried there.

Aside from answering questions like these, journaling about your feelings and your days can help you to discover things you could be doing differently to reduce stress for yourself or to make yourself happier. And once you understand your nature, it’s much easier to discover ways to nurture it.

For serious issues I would always recommend seeking out professional help. Whether  choosing a spiritual counselor or professional therapist, doesn’t our happiness and healthy minds deserve the time (and yes, sometimes the cost) to work through problems? I think so!

Well, that’s all for now – and I should that’s plenty. Here’s hoping everyone’s March is starting off wonderfully!

Bright blessings,



© 2012 PJ Graham

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As mentioned a month or so ago, I consider healing the self to be the first step in a continuum of healing, followed by healing others and the land. The biblical quote from Matthew is to “first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cast out the speck out of your brother’s eye.” And while I’m not big on quoting the Bible, this one clearly applies to just about anyone

But even this first step is a massive subject. Healing the self can mean healing yourself physically, mentally, or spiritually. Today, we’ll focus mainly on physical healing, though separating these is not very realistic.

In Western culture, healing tends to be uneven. Some people are good at staying physically fit, maintaining a healthy diet, and attending to physical ailments – but often ignore or react poorly to emotional or spiritual issues. Others excel at healing (or preventing) soul wounds or can sort out mental and emotional issues – but have allowed their bodies to become weak, unfortified, and/or addicted.

Our society seems to support a driven, all-or-nothing approach. Paid programs on television hawk diet plans and shoddy exercise equipment, rail-thin models and actors are everywhere we look, fast food restaurants litter every corner, and prepackaged and over processed foods are taking over the grocery store aisles. All together, these can cause a pendulum swing in physical health

And many of us who follow an alternative spirituality so often have to work very hard to find or create a spiritual path or home. Sometimes we can get so wound up in this search and work that we forget to take care of the more physical side of our existence. But this part is just as important.

My local group’s Hearth Mother is fond of paraphrasing Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s quote:

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

When you look at it, the biggest difference between the two is the human is contained within its physical body and must live off of its physical environment. We are here to experience this physical existence – and to care for it. Our body is our temple, as they say.

Healthful eating, exercise, and rest are as important as meditation, learning or teaching, and ritual or prayer. For one, having good physical health makes it easier to do the things you want to do in life – including helping heal others or the world. It helps you to focus beyond having one ailment after another and onto bigger and better things. And many keys to healthy living can also reduce stress. I don’t know about you, but I can always use to have less stress!

Of course, some of us are dealt a better hand in regard to physical health than others, and I’m well aware that some people simply cannot have the level of health as the majority of us. That being said, I have a friend with a serious and debilitating disease who can walk circles around many perfectly capable people. While I cannot speak for her, it’s as if having her physical body under attack makes her more determined to get the most out of it and to experience the world as fully as possible. She’s a fighter, and oftentimes thinking of her inspires me to get off my tush and do something. That, and my dogs staring at me with that “Walk now!” look in their eyes. Finding an inspiration can help keep you on a healthier track too – and it doesn’t matter if it’s your dog, fitting into an old favorite pair of jeans, or setting an example for your kids.

And the new year is upon us, so this is a time when folks often do try to be healthier. This month will see many people exercising almost daily, eating salads, and drinking lots of water and protein shakes. But many of those go-getters will peter out by March.

So instead, why not identify realistic things you can do to improve your health? If you never exercise, maybe add a short walk a few times a week? If you eat mostly takeout, try to cook a few times a week and pack yourself some healthy snacks (really, an apple a day isn’t a bad way to go – I’m not saying that just because I’m an Avalonian). Add more whole grains (it’s easier to do than ever) or gradually cut back on the amount of sugar you use. If your sleep suffers because of your schedule, try to chisel out an extra half hour to hour a night to rest your body and mind. Small but maintainable changes are probably going to do more for you in the long run than a couple months of extreme diet and exercise.

So here’s to our physical bodies! Let’s not forget to honor them – and our physical human experience – as much as we do our spirits.

Bright blessings,



© 2012 PJ Graham

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