The Tower and the Virus

My first guest column at The Wild Hunt.

I have been anxious for months, years even. I have watched with growing horror the rise of right-wing populism, the melting of the icecaps, the burning of Australia, the beginnings of wars over water and resources, the seemingly inexorable destruction wrought by climate change. The protests of Fridays for Future and Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion gave me some cause for optimism, but it is also obvious that governments have not been doing enough to turn the economy around to stop the production of carbon emissions. So when everyone suddenly swung into action to deal with the coronavirus crisis, it gave me some hope that perhaps now the needful actions to deal with climate change (many of which, it turns out, are quite similar to the actions needed to flatten the curve of coronavirus transmission) would seem doable. It also feels like now everyone else is as anxious as me.

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If you enjoyed this post, you might like my new book, Dark Mirror: the Inner Work of Witchcraft.

Dark Mirror: the Inner Work of Witchcraft

What we have in common

I dreamed that I was in an Anglican or Episcopalian Church in North America and had been invited by the vicar to introduce a hymn. She handed me the order of service which already had a hymn picked out, and it had been annotated to change “him” to “her”, so I introduced it and encouraged people to sing “her” where appropriate if they wanted to. One of the congregation said they didn’t really know the tune for that hymn. So then I suggested we sang Morning has broken and changed “him” to “her” in the second verse, and “God’s” to “Her” in the third verse. Then I woke up.

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Notable and quotable: coronavirus (1)

  • There have been some great posts on the coronavirus in the Pagan community.
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    Avoiding spiritual burn-out

    Ask Grace: What are the symptoms of spiritual burnout and how to avoid psychic burnout

    Spiritual burn-out is a real risk for spiritual leaders, counsellors, caregivers, healers and psychics. Grace, a psychic, gives advice on how to avoid it (and she should know because she has suffered from it). I have suffered from this myself (in 2011), and have found in the past that if I was getting nurtured by others, and receiving energy from the universe, it didn’t happen, whereas if you fail to do these things, you will get burn-out, and the symptoms can be quite nasty.

    She first identifies the symptoms of spiritual burn-out, and then identifies how to avoid it, or how to recover from it if you already have it.

    The symptoms of spiritual burnout or psychic burnout can include exhaustion, depression, dread before or after working, feelings of unbearable responsibility, feeling overwhelmed, crying for no reason, crying often, being overtired, insomnia, difficulty getting out of bed, restlessness, procrastination, avoidance, constant illness, problems with the heart, difficulty breathing, anxiety and panic attacks, extreme weight loss or weight gain, hair loss, irritability, and a desire to avoid people.

    Grace’s advice can be summed up in six key points:

    • Take a break and rest – Grace says “take a sabbatical from everyone and everything, and really nurture yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually”.
    • Make sure your needs are met – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Breathe properly.
    • Draw your energy from the universe – don’t use up all your personal energy; make sure to be replenished from the source.
    • Charge for your services – either in money or in kind – Grace says “there always has to be an exchange of energy, which is what money is – it is the energy of worth and value given in exchange for the service received.”

    See my article on Pagans and money for a discussion of when charging for spiritual services is appropriate and when it’s not. Most Wiccans agree that it’s inappropriate to charge for training because you received your training for free, it’s a continuing relationship, and you get as much out of it as your coveners. But it’s okay to charge for services where you don’t receive energy in return, like Tarot readings.

    • Maintain strong boundaries – visualise yourself surrounded by white light; set aside a special room for your clients; set fixed working hours. If there’s an emergency, calm the client down first. Have a website which answers all the obvious questions about what you do.
    • Only work when you can give 100% – don’t deplete yourself by working when you are ill, distracted, etc.

    It’s well worth reading the whole article, which gives more examples and some excellent techniques and advice.

    If you think you are suffering spiritual burn-out, get help – don’t leave it until you are absolutely exhausted.

    (This article was originally published on UK Spirituality)


    Related articles

    Self care for activists

    Pagans and money

     


    If you enjoyed this post, you might like my new book, Dark Mirror: the Inner Work of Witchcraft.

    Dark Mirror: the Inner Work of Witchcraft

    Reblog: Where do your stones come from?

    Where do your stones come from?

    There is a deep irony in this. Pagan-y type folk often use stones and crystals to connect with the earth, to honour the spiritus mundi, the world-soul. Yet, frequently these stones themselves have been industrially yanked out of the earth without any consideration of the spirit of the place where they were mined, and often without any consideration of the humanity of the exploited workers toiling in hellish conditions.

    Read on at wrycrow.com

    Please read this very important post from Ryan Cronin, on sourcing your crystals ethically.

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    The Overton Window

    I’m finding the concept of the Overton Window increasingly useful right now, as various sociopolitical ideas gain or lose ground, and debates change and morph.

    The Overton window, also known as the window of discourse, describes the range of ideas tolerated in public discourse. The term is derived from its originator, Joseph P. Overton, a former vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, who, in his description of his window, claimed that an idea’s political viability depends mainly on whether it falls within the window, rather than on politicians’ individual preferences.

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    What are ethics based on?

    I often see Pagans, polytheists, and Christians talking about ethics and morality as if they were mandated by a deity, and as if that deity was the ultimate arbiter of what is good.

    I mention Christians because it’s all too easy to pretend that Pagans are so much cleverer than Christians — but only because we don’t yet have the Pagan equivalent of a “What would Jesus do?” bracelet (as far as I know).

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