Archive for the Meditation Category

Thoughts on the afterlife (Part One in a possible series)

Posted in afterlife, Animals, Dreams, Legba, Meditation, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2016 by cheshirecatman

(This is an informal discussion between myself and one of my sosyete sisters.

I’ve been thinking a lot about death and the afterlife since I saw John Edward.  As my sister has had similar topics on her mind, we decided to discuss publicly. Plus it’s a nice way to close out November, when we honor the dead.)

afterlife

©Arbi Babakhanaians, Dreamstime Stock Photos

Cheshirecatman (CCM): My interest in death started at an early age–probably from fear of losing my mother, then later continued when i became suicidal and wondered what would happen if I did it. It’s since grown beyond both into an interest in what comes after this. I don’t consider it morbid. It’s more fascination and interest in a little-studied aspect of reality.

Shibamistress (SM): My mother would say I have always been interested in the trappings of death: I have always been a collector of bones and skulls and skull imagery. Then, it was just something that appealed to me. But I also began to think of it more when I was suicidal, wondering what it would be like. Since my mother has been suicidal most of her life, I had to deal the idea of death for a long time, and I did not believe, like she seems to, that it was just like “going to sleep.” I started getting interested in other people’s ideas of afterlife, though admittedly, I haven’t read as much as I could (I’m sure you’ve read a lot more than me about it). But I started thinking about it a lot, and like you, not in a morbid way, but with real interest.

CCM: My long interest really piqued when I lost Puck. I was working with a skilled animal communicator both before and after he passed, and he continued to talk to me after he passed, and knew things that happened around me. As regular readers will know, the first time Legba appeared to me he was with Puck.

SM: That is amazing! So how do you envision an afterlife? (I’m so curious about this!)

CCM: Having read or listened to various accounts, it seems somewhat subjective.
I believe the reason for this is because, on that side, it’s much easier to manifest things by thought and energy, so you kind of manifest to some degree what you want. Sylvia Browne saw it as a beautiful place with all Greco Roman architecture. Mine most frequently is some sort of alternate reality Seattle. It’s my city but things aren’t quite the same and landmarks are messed up.

SM: Oh, that’s so interesting! This is sort of a side note, (or perhaps not), but I often have reoccurring dreams that take place in alternate reality cities. Meaning, I have many San Francisco dreams that are not in real SF, but are consistent from dream to dream.

CCM: I have dreams in other cities as well. Browne wrote that a version of everything on this earth exists over there. Maybe. I do think that we might easily manifest places similar to what we are used to, especially when visiting from here.

SM: And I very much agree that it is subjective. I also believe we manifest things in that other world.

CCM: Yes. Browne talked about how you could manifest a home to live in, which makes sense.

SM: Yes! I have done this, based on more reading/discussion about building things on the astral plane rather than looking at it as necessarily the afterlife. But my feeling is that building on the astral plane IS (perhaps) building for the afterlife. So I have constructed a small space that is the same space I use for meditation (as much as I do that) astral journeying, feelings of safety, etc.

CCM: I would agree with that. Death seems like a transition to another plane, and astral travel is about other planes.

SM: I was working on a novel in which the main character dies in the opening chapter, and the rest is about her navigating the afterlife (and also helping her sister who is still alive). I don’t know if I will ever finish the novel, but it really helped me think about the afterlife and how I imagine it. Her first task is to learn how to manifest what she wants, to create a home, even create a world. One of the big points I thought of (not an original thought, but something that intrigues me) is that everyone gets the afterlife they expect, because to some level or another, they are manifesting it. Now if they become adept at that, they can change and reshape things there. If they don’t believe they can do that, though, they may be stuck for a very long time indeed.

CCM: That makes total sense to me. It might also explain why some people experience hell. I’ve been a lucid dreamer since early childhood, and one thing I’ve noticed is that in a dream, when you succumb to fear, the dream literally goes to hell. Or, if I become lucid, I can change the dream from a nightmare to something peaceful. It is about mindset and control though.
I think the dream state teaches us some things about the other side, although I think we have more control there than in dreams. And I don’t think all dreams are necessarily visits to the other side. I do think some are just the brain working stuff out, and some are a mixture.

SM: Yes, that makes sense to me. I am not able to lucid dream (or at least my attempts have not been successful) but I do believe that it is the same skill set, so to speak. And I do also believe this is why some people experience hell. They expect to. In my novel-in-progress, the narrator is able to visit some of other people’s afterlives, and some seem to be living in a classic “heaven” with angels and pearly gates and all that crap, and some are in a traditional hell. some are in their private hells. All would be able to move out of those if they chose to and were aware enough. (The visiting part made sense in a novel and the idea of creating what one expects makes sense to me, but I don’t know what I think about actually visiting other people’s afterlives)

CCM: I am hoping you finish that novel now. I do believe in what I will loosely call the angelic realm, but what I think of as different levels of beings including angels, the lwa, and different deities. One thing I did gather from reading various books is that once you cross over into the next realm, you have more understanding of things but you still don’t know all there is to know.

SM:  It may not be a real novel. It may be just me thinking about the afterlife!

CCM: But you could turn it into novelic form.

SM: Oh yes, on the other side you still don’t know all there is to know! My thought is death is a beginning…and the afterlife, which may or may not end in another incarnation for some, is just the beginning! There is much to learn there too!

CCM: Murry Hope talks about it in terms of time and center points. The “godhead” or what people think of as the one God is at the center, the rest of us are navigating inward to that center. So as we get closer (through transitions to closer dimensions) we gain more of the larger picture.

SM: Oh I like that! That makes a lot of sense!

CCM: So if you have wise guides, they are not God but are closer than you to the center.

SM: There was a writer whose name I can’t recall now who I read a while back. I think he may be Australian. Anyway, he talked about there even being “universities” in the afterlife, where people can learn many many things, and I loved that idea! I also very much agree with the lwa and others closer to god than us and can guide us.

CCM: I think the universities are very possible.

SM:  I’ll have to see if I can dig up my reference too. I believe I wrote it down somewhere.

CCM: Sylvia Browne talked about that a bit too. On the other side, she did not see you as sitting around singing praises to god. People could work in areas they were passionate about, to help people on earth (or other similar worlds). There were vast libraries of knowledge you could visit too.

SM: Yes! I think so too!
I also believe we can take any form we choose there, once we learn how to do it. That is so appealing to me.

CCM: Yes, the physical form would be part of the energy manifestation thing. You could take on a form that matched a former life, or something else. I am often very much a shapeshifter in my dreams.

SM: In my writing, I had a scene where my narrator goes to a school to learn and encounters a black jaguar, and asks how the jaguar learned to take animal form, and the jaguar says rather huffily that he has never incarnated as a human! *lol*

CCM: Smart cat, lol.

SM: And the shapeshifter dreams are the best! I don’t think they are entirely dreams…perhaps memories….

CCM: Yes, memories. I am probably dumping human form after this, but who knows how I will feel when I get there. You also have the opportunity to be an incarnated person’s spirit guide, which i think could be rewarding and aggravating. So I could see briefly adopting human form if working with a human. They freak out kinda easily lol.

SM: Oh yes! That makes sense! I was thinking that perhaps my character might work herself up to doing that kind of work or working as a psychopomp, so I was thinking something similar.

CCM: You seriously need to write that book. I probably am gonna bother you about it now.

SM:   Here’s something relatively new. I’ve been thinking on this topic, but it is not all clear to me yet. See what you think. So often I feel as if I am separated from something so close to me, so important, it is stronger than any human bond. And I miss it. And I thought about how when I die, perhaps there is a sort of soulmate I will finally meet in that world. Then I started thinking about Vodou and our two souls. What if we somehow are just meeting another part of ourselves there? A part that did not incarnate with us? And that is the longing that some of us feel?
Or perhaps it’s like Freda, longing for a closer connection with the divine? Who knows. But the two souls things started me thinking.

CCM: There are theories that we live simultaneously in different dimensions or time zones, even though we are only aware of one during our waking hours or during normal consciousness. So part of you (some might say your higher self or possibly your future self) is literally missing from normal conscious life.
I have gone through various beliefs about soul mates and/or twin souls and have not exactly come to a conclusion. I will say that soul mates of that sort do not always incarnate with us. so that is entirely possible.

SM: That’s one way I thought of it too.

CCM: I am thinking mine is Puck, as his loss affected me like no other in this life. The main thing I want when I leave this life is to reunite with him. I know some will poo poo me feeling that way about someone who isn’t human, but I poo poo that sort of limited thinking. I am not sure Puck is “just a cat” even though that is what he incarnated as.

SM: Makes total sense to me. Puck’s soul wanted to be with you, even if it was in the shorter life as a cat. And you will meet again, and have no doubt been with each other for a very very long time indeed in one form or another.

(This is part of a planned ongoing series about death and the afterlife. To be continued.)

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Exercising the spirit

Posted in Meditation, Psychic with tags , , , on May 14, 2012 by cheshirecatman

Last night I tried the first two segments of Shannon Knight’s “Manifest Your Bliss” recorded workshop.

In the first meditation, I was guided to listen to my body to reveal my heart’s desire. At first I had trouble focusing, but when the images started to come it was a big blurred jumbled mess. Which reminds me of last year, when my friend Angel fused my multiple conduits for me to help clarify my psychic reception.  (Curious readers can check out that post here.) Now I am wondering if the conduits are fraying again. Or perhaps the information had just built up over time since I’ve been neglecting that aspect of my spiritual work.

I kept seeing images of plants and things in the shape of sprouting plants or exploding fireworks, along with human figures and faces. It was not making a lot of sense. Then I began to suspect that this jumble somehow represented my spirituality and as I thought that the images calmed down a little.

I guess I was kind of expecting that my heart’s desire would be producing art, but apparently my spirituality is more important to me. And when I thought about it, I realized this is true. I think I just misunderstood the question—I assumed that the meditation would be focusing more on mundane desires.

Yeah, yeah, I know what they say about assumptions.

I dozed off during the second meditation (dang your soothing voice, Shannon!), but am looking forward to trying it again to see where it leads me.

Saturday spirit work: Sekhmet and the Ghede

Posted in Baron Samedi, Divination, Ghede, Maman Brigitte, Meditation, Psychic, Religion, Sekhmet, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2011 by cheshirecatman

For the past week and a half I’ve had problems with my left eye, possibly due to worsening allergies. My eye was so dry that it’s been causing problems with my contact lens to where I could only wear them for a few hours a day. It was getting so bad that a couple of days ago I asked Sekhmet for healing assistance. I also asked Baron Samedi and Maman Brigitte for their assistance as well, and used Shannon Knight’s healing meditation that I learned from her Intuitive Bootcamp workshop.

Yesterday there was a marked improvement with the eye. I was able to wear the lens without any problems all day at work, and today I’ve been wearing it all day without incident. I feel almost normal. And very blessed.

I thanked the goddess Sekhmet, and today did the first exercise from the book that my friend Angel recommended to me, “The Goddess Sekhmet: Psycho-Spiritual Exercises of the Fifth Way” by Robert Masters. I had to focus on images of the goddess in order to internalize her and make it easier to call up her image later without having to use external props. I found this exercise very pleasurable (I enjoy looking at her). It was also not difficult, as she has already popped into my mind a few times without any assistance from me.

When I work with Sekhmet, I like to draw a card from the Cartouche deck. Today I got Hathor, which was fitting, as she is an aspect of Sekhmet. The card emphasized fortitude, which I need right now to implement various changes in my life. I then lit some incense for her.

Drawing the Hathor card makes me think back on my last session with my animal communicator/medium friend, Tracy Ann. In my notes from that session, I wrote:

“[You] have that wild magic. Wild magic running through veins. You understand that. Are able to call it as well. Start practicing that. If it starts to feels too heavy, call on feminine energy.”

Regarding the feminine energy, Tracy sees letters. A name?

H E R M O T PH E

(You can read about the full session here.) It is sometimes difficult for mediums to decipher words and names clearly, and I am now wondering if the name that Tracy was receiving was Hathor. A possibility.

After working with Sekhmet, I went over to my Ghede/ancestor altar and lit candles for the Baron, Maman Brigitte and the ancestors, thanking them for their healing assistance. I also presented the Baron and Brigitte with a gift: a small metal African sculpture depicting a man and woman in the act. It’s stylized and artistic, but I figured they would appreciate the ribald nature of the piece.

In closing, I’d like to share this cool Sekhmet video I found on YouTube.

Legba for writers

Posted in Dreams, Legba, lwas, Meditation, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , on June 14, 2011 by cheshirecatman

For the past three weeks I’ve been putting off starting a short story for an online class. It’s due this week. I wasn’t sure what the problem was—I had a well-defined main character in mind, based on someone I used to work with. I had a good original story concept and some idea of where I wanted the story to go. What I didn’t have were clearly defined scenes and conversations or a strong ending.

Yesterday was Monday, Papa Legba’s day. I lit a candle on his altar and gave him some hot freshly brewed coffee, Then I did a meditation exercise with him, followed by a request. I asked him to help me flesh out my story. Legba is, among other things, the lwa of communications, and he loves languages. And books. I’d been reading a conversation on the Spellmaker.com Facebook page, and many people give Legba books as offerings. I’d never thought of doing that, but it does make sense why he would be with me. My home is crammed with books.

After working with Legba, I went to bed, and had busy dreams with vague “Wizard of Oz” themes. I should have written notes when I woke up at 3 a.m., but at 3 a.m. all I wanted to do was use the bathroom and go back to sleep. I am left with dim memories of wandering around some abandoned warehouse with my girlfriend, searching for a vehicle.

I woke up a couple of hours later to get ready for work. Then my usual bus ride, while reading a couple of short stories.

I exited at my usual stop, and then started my 10-minute walk from there to my workplace. And then, eureka.

Inspiration, in a rich flowing stream. Not only did a strong ending come to me, but two other characters who were not in my original story plan. And snippets of dialog.

When I got to work, I sat down with a cup of coffee and some scrap paper and furiously jotted down notes. I am ready to write it out after work.

I will be going downtown on Thursday and plan to pick up a bottle of Barbancourt Rum, all for Legba. I’ve been meaning to anyway, but this time he outdid himself.

Ayibobo!

More altar upgrades and interdimensional conversations

Posted in Animals, Divination, Dreams, Erzulie, Legba, lwas, Meditation, Ogoun, Psychic, Religion, Ritual, Sekhmet, Spirit Guides, Spirits, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2011 by cheshirecatman

Last Thursday I stopped in at Gargoyles Statuary to pick up my new Sekhmet statue. On Friday, a Sekhmet pendant I ordered off of Amazon (at a very reasonable price I might add) arrived in the mail. This morning I purified both of them and placed them on Sekhmet’s shrine, infusing them with the intention of aligning my energies with hers.

Sekhmet altar

Sekhmet's new statue from Gargoyles Statuary

Sekhmet closeup

A closeup of the wonderful detailing. A droplet of water is visible on her solar disk from the purification ritual.

(Note: If anyone wants one of these, there was another statue in stock at Gargoyles as of Thursday.)

Needless to say, I LOVE this new statue. The sculpt of her face and the texturing of her clothing and throne are quite beautiful.

This morning was also my last session of the Intuitive Bootcamp with Shannon Knight. I am sad the classes are over, but at the same time I am looking forward to working with these new tools and strengthening my skills. This session was all about communicating with guides and the angelic realm.

When the session began, I told Shannon about an inspiration I’d had earlier in the week. I’ve been wanting to work more closely with the lwa (and now, Sekhmet as well) and I know that I need a lot more practice with some of the techniques I’ve learned during the bootcamp. So I thought that I could involve the lwa and Sekhmet as I hone my skills with these techniques. For example, since Sekhmet appears frequently when I clear my 6th chakra (corresponding to the third eye), then I can work with her when I practice divination techniques. When balancing my male and female energies, I can work with Ogoun and Freda. When focusing on past lives, I can work with the Gede and the ancestors. Legba can help me communicate with my guides. And so on. As I explained this to Shannon, she said that the spirits around me became excited, as if saying, “We’re here and we’re ready!” This made me happy.

After a brief opening prayer and some basic grounding and energy clearing, Shannon guided me to connect to what she calls “the God of your heart,” or the supreme being. I was able to ask any question I wanted, so I asked for clarification on the sci-fi disguised dream I’d had recently. I still felt that the dream held spiritual significance in spite of its fanciful imagery. So I presented this question and waited, and almost immediately some pretty wild images began playing across my mind.

I saw a pyramid with the eye of Horus design (this seemed like it was a key to something), and then saw a ship floating through space, but it wasn’t your usual science fiction ship. This ship had ancient designs all over it. Like old seafaring vessels, this ship had a masthead–the face of a regal lion, possibly Sekhmet herself, in shining gold and black. (Comparisons to “Stargate” crossed my mind, but let me say here I am not a fan of the movie and cannot get into the series.) The ship was massive.

My view switched to the interior of the ship, which had spacious triangular corridors with many people walking around inside. Some of these people did not appear to be human, but had animal heads instead, much like the depictions of ancient gods you see in old Egyptian art. It was not clear whether these were costumes they were wearing or their actual bodies. During the entire time that I was viewing this ship, I was aware of a very powerful energy weighing down on me. It had an almost audible hum and reminded me of the feeling I’ve had when I’ve been inside electrical plants and stood near large generators.

All of my spiritual mentors keep telling me to accept what I see, and it’s this acceptance that enables me to move past the psychic block I’ve had for years. However, I know these images seem strange and I do not claim to fully understand them. Are they symbolic or literal? Personally, I suspect a bit of both, as can be the case with spiritual visions. More on this later.

Next I got to call upon the archangels, who are a group of beings I’ve never worked with before. These are not the angels of holiday cards, but powerful beings capable of both help and destruction, like the lwa. It’s not too surprising that some Vodou practitioners use images of the archangels to represent various lwa. This was an interesting experience and I found their energy to be very protective and strong. The archangels do not seem to require much from you in return, other than acknowledgement and gratitude, which is different from the lwa. However, serving the lwa in the physical realm (giving them offerings, performing rituals, etc.) is part of what I love in Vodou. I find the physical actions function as constant reminders of our connection with them. I don’t necessarily prefer one way or the other, and plan to work again with the archangels and of course to continue serving the lwa.

We moved on to the ascended masters, and Shannon asked me if there was any particular master that I felt drawn to. I decided to talk with my Zimbate healing guide, a spirit I’ll refer to as “A.” When I first learned his name, I did a Google search and found that it might be Hawaiian in origin, but I wasn’t sure. Today I wanted to know more about him, and as I thought that I saw images of what might be pre-Columbian art and then a spotted cat which could have been a jaguar or leopard. Then I got other, vaguer images of him wearing outfits that could be either Hawaiian or Central American in origin; I wasn’t sure. Shannon thought he felt more Hawaiian, but then there aren’t any jaguars in Hawaii. Then again, perhaps the cat was a leopard and he showed me that just to indicate that he was talking to me.  He also showed me a metal bell and I heard a ringing sound that made me think of Tibetan singing bowls. Tracy Ann had mentioned to me before that I should be working with sound. Another area to explore.

Lastly, Shannon helped me connect to my spirit guide. She asked me if I’d had contact with my guide before, and I did not think so (at least not consciously). I asked her if she thought we had one guide or many, and her beliefs were similar to those of Sylvia Browne: We each have a main spirit guide assigned to work with us before we are incarnated. We can have other guides as well that work with us at various times (such as healing guides, creative muses and such), but our main guide is with us always. So naturally I was very interested in meeting this person.

I was not sure at first whether it was a man or a woman, but then the image clarified into a slim, slightly androgynous young man, seemingly of Indian origin (this is Indian as from India, not Native American). This made me smile, as I love the music, art, dance, food, mythology and spirituality of India. As I got a better look at him, I saw that he had long black hair in a braid down his back and possibly a mustache. I asked him his name and got something that was similar to “Alan” but wasn’t Alan. At one point he changed briefly into Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu god, and then back into himself again. Remember earlier when I mentioned that spiritual seeing can be both literal and symbolic? Shannon thought that perhaps his changing into Ganesha was to validate that yes, he was indeed from India. This made sense to me, rather than thinking he actually was Ganesha.

I asked him to show me my life’s purpose, and he showed me an aerial view of a lush beautiful rainforest. When I asked for clarification, the view remained the same. I think this is because part of me consciously knew the answer to the question.

I’ve been feeling a pull to do more for ecological preservation. This pull originates in my desire to save the big cats from extinction, and was intensified by reading Linda Tucker’s “Mystery of the White Lions: Children of the Sun God.” However, saving any part of nature is part of a larger picture of saving the planet and ourselves. Mainstream industrial culture seems to be suffering from a sort of self-destructive mental illness that will be terminal unless more people wake up and stop allowing such wide scale destruction to continue.

I am not sure yet how I can help, but for now I will take baby steps, beginning with awareness in where my money goes and where my votes go. The rest I will have to figure out as I go along, with the help of the lwa, the spirits and the deities.

Illness, intuitive bootcamp and interconnectiveness

Posted in Dreams, Meditation, Psychic with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2011 by cheshirecatman

I am a bit behind on writing about my intuitive bootcamp progress (an over-the-phone workshop with Shannon Knight, see link on the homepage of this blog) due to some health problems, which seem to be connected with spiritual growth and an overall “self-makeover” of sorts.

Early in May I decided to go on a 3-week, somewhat extreme diet to shed some unwanted pounds that have piled up since I entered my 40s. While the diet is highly effective, it also exhausted me and left me open to other health problems. I sometimes grind my teeth when I sleep and, during the second week of the diet, woke up with nasty pain on the left side of my jaw.

The worst of the pain lifted after about three days, but then my allergies hit full force and, between the inflamed nerves and my exhaustion, a very nasty sinus infection developed. Thanks to some healing work from Angel (her blog is also linked on the homepage, “Walking by the Light of the Moon”) and techniques learned from Shannon and my Zimbate teacher, I am now close to fully recovered. I mainly note this process here because the diet and the bootcamp began around the same time, and both seem to be ending around the same time. And this seems right somehow. It really does help spiritual development if one’s body is in good shape.

Last Sunday Shannon taught me how to read auras. Of all the exercises I’ve done so far in the bootcamp, this one proved to be the most difficult for me. We went through each chakra to see what images or colors came up. Some were straightforward. For instance, when reading my heart chakra I saw a very tall forest tree, which for me means good health and grounding in nature. Others, however, were very confusing. When I read my throat chakra, I saw this weird jumble of images, black on red, that resembled woodblock prints of historical characters or playing cards. I am not sure what that meant. I need a lot more practice in this area.

Today she taught me how to balance my energies, which I knew would be an important one for me. I remember Mambo C telling me that my male and female energies were unbalanced. Shannon explained what this meant very clearly to me today. Basically, male energies are about receiving and female energies are about giving, and having some empathic ability I am more of a giver than receiver, to the point that I have made myself into a martyr in the past. I’ve mostly recovered from this in the last 10 or 15 years, but there is still room for improvement. Shannon said this is not uncommon for introverted people. After running through the balancing exercise with Shannon, I felt more balanced and it motivated me to make a phone call I’ve been putting off (I hate making phone calls, unless it’s someone I really want to talk to).

During this session,  I told Shannon about my recent spiritual dream in sci fi guise, and she mentioned that, since working with me, she’d had a number of galactic-oriented dreams (not common for her) and kept running into information about human-animal consciousness. I always find it fascinating when people reach a connection that goes beyond a conscious level. Just one of those times when you know you’ve found a teacher who is right for you.

Next week is my last bootcamp session. I will miss these when they’re gone. I hope to take another workshop with her in the future, but likely it won’t be this year, mainly because I need to save my money for the lave tet this summer. But that’s okay, Shannon has given me some new tools and techniques to work with, and it would be a good idea for me to master these before taking the next step.

More thoughts on Sekhmet

Posted in African culture, Agassou, Animals, Art, Legba, lwas, Meditation, Ogoun, Psychic, Religion, Sekhmet, Spirits, Therianthropy, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2011 by cheshirecatman
Sekhmet shrine

My small bookshelf shrine for Sekhmet. The print is by artist Jeffrey I. Shaw.

I am amazed at how good of a “fit” Sekhmet is for me, and also incredulous that I never saw that before. I’m guessing the reasons were that I was too spiritually closed due to energy blockages and past depression, and also that my tendency to over-intellectualize everything got in the way. As a Wiccan, I felt free to pick and choose my deities, and I was enamored of Bastet and Anubis (and more recently Agassou), and for some strange reason did not feel compelled to serve Sekhmet. Although that is in some ways regrettable and embarrassing at this moment, it is also validating. It makes me less likely to dismiss her recent appearance as wishful thinking.

Sekhmet is associated with healing, creativity, destruction and blood. She is known as an avenger of wrongs. I am an artist whose work sometimes portrays “dark” characters and blood. I am an avid horror movie fan, obsessed with exploring our fears and the darker regions of the human soul. Some people have told me I have a very spiteful streak. I’ve toned this down over the years, but I don’t forget past wrongs, whether the wrongs were committed against me, those I love, or the innocent and helpless (no, Michael Vick, your public remorse is not convincing). I have an equally strong compassionate streak and am interested in various areas of the healing arts. In some ways Sekhmet reminds me of Ogoun Balindjo, whom I have in my Rada shrine–another entity who can be fiercely destructive or healing.

Thinking about Sekhmet and reading Linda Tucker’s book about the white lions is helping me to attune to her energy, which I believe I can feel coursing through me, particularly in my spine (which is where I tend to feel Ogoun as well).

Even though it was not my intent to diversify my faith at this time, perhaps the division between the entities is, to some degree, an artificial and intellectual construct in my own mind. I still feel that Legba had a hand in this, opening my head to Sekhmet. And, like Legba, Sekhmet’s roots are in Africa so, although they belong to different belief systems, they both are tied to the homeland of my theriotype (the leopard).

And on the topic of therians, I had to smile when I ran across the word “therianthropic” on page 20 of Tucker’s book. The author was discussing cave paintings and how therianthropic half-human, half-animal images represented shamans who were deeply connected with the land and its non-human residents. She thought the depictions might symbolize a shaman’s part human, part animal consciousness (as good a definition of therianthropy as any, I think). Mambo C has told me I likely have shamanic ancestors, and Shannon told me my energy is deeply rooted in the earth. One of the beliefs of the Shangaan people of Africa is that if you kill the white lions you kill the earth. I’ve long felt that I would lose the will to live if the day came when most of the wild creatures are gone (especially the big cats) and the world’s sole inhabitants are humans.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to start donating regularly to big cat causes (and I’ve mostly kept to this, save for a month and a half when I was barely keeping afloat financially). I’d planned to petition the lwa Agassou for his help with this cause, even though I have little information on him compared to many of the other lwa. I suspect that Sekhmet is offering her help in this area, for which I am very grateful. I plan to postpone setting up Agassou’s shrine for now, and focus on Sekhmet along with the lwa who currently have shrines in my home and the ancestors.

Back in March Puck told me that things would start moving much faster soon, and that there were surprises in store. The lesson? Always listen to Puck.