by Dianna Hardy
First written 7th October, 2019 for Of Angels & Stars
Between May 2001 and May 2003, I immersed myself in shamanic training and magical ways of seeing the world, which turned out were not 'magical' at all, but normal for me - in essence, I had found a small piece of home in shamanism.
These were the days before I owned a computer and the internet as we know it did not exist. I found my shamanic course in a Pagan magazine in a small corner shop that sold hemp pipes and tarot cards, down a quiet side road, and was amazed to find there was a man offering workshops in exactly what I was looking for, just an hour from where I lived.
We camped out under stars, in the sunshine, in the snow, we built a temporary home from the flexible trunks and branches of young hazel trees, and we talked about things the 'real' world thought of as magic, but what we all knew was simply another reality because we had experienced it as such in various ways.
In those two years, I learnt a lot, re-membered a lot, and not all of it was pleasant. But there were four fundamental lessons that sunk in deep with me and altered my way of thinking and living forever:
This was before the original 'Law of Attraction' book was published and became mainstream - this was (is) part of shamanic philosophy.
These four philosophies meant something to me. They made sense. I could see how they worked even in the darkest times. I could see how I might be able to utilise them in moments of deep despair to better myself.
The seed of realisation grew from that point. I stopped feeling like things had been "done" to me in life (no matter what happened) and I started to focus on what I could and should take responsibility for: my actions, my reactions, my hopes, my fears.... I started to see life a different way and understood how energy and thought worked - I started to see my influence using energy and thought in my immediate surroundings and I understood how powerful I really was - how empowered we could all be.
By taking responsibility for my life, I was letting no one else rule it but me. No matter any bad thing that happened, I still had the power to change the outcome to what I wanted it to be.
Of course, sometimes this was excruciatingly hard. Sometimes, it took years to change a way of thinking about a particular thing because I could not let go of my attachment to it; because I did not like that I was actually responsible for feeling the way I did about it. And sometimes, your issues involve other people that are hard to physically detach from. But in the end, I stuck with those four point, and even if it took years, I overcame.
I don't claim that this way of thinking is for everyone. But if people ask me, "how can I manifest the life I want?", this is how I began to do it. It was hard. It took (and still takes) WORK. EFFORT. MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL TRAINING. It has to come from within - there is no other way. You have the little epiphany moment and you grow from there; little sparks of realisation that fuel the next.
But I have found it works. I have manifested the life I want and continue to do so. Many will tell you it's luck; good fortune; not you at all. Detach from that rhetoric - they have no idea what's inside and the hard work you put in. They are projecting their own vision, that's all. Opportunities have never been propelled by "luck" in my world - they are a manifestation of my energies and joint energies with others.
I still have some ways to go, and the political and social climate is testing strength and clarity of emotion and mind for many people, myself included - I have my down days. The above four philosophies are my tools for living and forms a process that never really ends until you do actually ascend or become 'enlightened' (in which case, you don't really need to be here in this incarnation any more).
If you spend time with people who do not think in a like-minded way, you will find yourself slipping back into negative patterns and personality traits you just don't want or need - try to avoid this. It is an unfortunate fact that in order to really live the life you want, you have to detach from those who hold you back and pull you down (much of the time they do this unintentionally) unless you can actually master your emotional detachment and strength of thought around them. Aim for the latter, but be aware you may have to take time out and do the former every now and then.
Lastly, remember to laugh - at life and at yourself (this does not mean be cruel to yourself - avoid cruel people, please - some people hide jealous and bitter streaks in the guise of sarcasm and joking, poking fun at you and then saying it's just teasing, etc). Find humour in dark places. Find fun in boredom. So much easier said than done, but the one thing that good-intentioned laughter does is lifts you - it send your vibrations soaring higher, and then you find it easier to change your frame of mind into what you need it to be.
You can manifest anything so much easier when your vibration is high and you feel light 😊
(Photos: shamanic camp, UK, circa Nov, 2002)
by Dianna Hardy
First written 10th March, 2019 for Between Fire & Ice
You may also want to read: Shamanic Witchcraft
Witch is a loaded word - the oppressive (and patriarchal) history of different cultures all have their part to play in that. Witch means different things in different countries, and in some, it still means torture and death for the one who holds that namesake (or the scapegoat who's labelled with it against their will). Therefore, "witch" still means to put yourself in the path of persecution by those who would benefit from your downfall.
It is not legal to be a witch in all countries. In the UK it is legal, but only since the repeal of The Witchcraft Act in 1951, before which time you could still be fined and imprisoned for displaying any type of connection with Spirit, whether healing, or divination.
So, first of all, this is what "witch" means to me:
Let's not forget how far we've come and how many (mainly women) have suffered at the hands of patriarchy, and let's not forget that in our forward-thinking, 21st Century world, the tide can turn in an instant. Anyone who thinks that's not possible only needs to look at what's going on in western society right now. Laws can be changed in the blink of eye on the tide of (often instigated) public opinion, leaving far too many people thinking it's all right for children - babies and toddlers - to be taken from their families (as just one example).
In 2019. Not 1951.
So, I use the word witch when I refer to myself, in part because we need to be mindful of the changes in society that seep in when we're not looking, trying to oppress us in the guise of "protection". It's a reminder to myself. And it's a reminder to anyone who finds my use of the word jarring. Good. Work on that. The witch has been in that place of oppression before. Let's do everything we can to make sure we don't go there again.
In terms of origins, there doesn't seem to be a set one for the word "witch". Look at the Online Etymology Dictionary for a reference; check out Power in the Name: The Origin and Meaning of the Word "Witch", by Michael Dilts for another.
To me, a witch is a: