Newsletter # 4 (1940)

Interesting title, no? The title is the way it is because this is an excerpt from the recently released “The Collected Letters of Alan Watts”. This is a little bit of history because this is from an actual newsletter Watts wrote in 1940! Well I think it’s cool.

Newsletter #4

Once upon a time there was a lunatic who used to pass the time by sitting in a corner and beating himself on the head with a brick. When asked the reason for this interesting behavior he replied, “Well, it feels so pleasant when I stop.” Very often the lunatic is nothing more than a caricature of people supposed to be sane; we call him a lunatic only because he expresses fundamental traits of human nature in the most obvious and concrete manner, whereas sane people carry on the same processes in more veiled and mysterious ways. And the performance of beating oneself on the head with a brick is an exact caricature of man’s chief spiritual problem, for we have to realize that our apparent lack of what Oriental sages call Enlightenment (bodhi) or spiritual freedom (kaivalya) is due to our not having ceased to knock ourselves on the head with a brick. Naturally, the realization of Enlightenment is accompanied by an enormous sense of relief — not because we have acquired something new, but because we have got rid of something old. Enlightenment, wisdom, or a sense of harmony with life and the universe is present within us all the time; it becomes apparent when we cease to use the brick just as the moon becomes visible when the clouds are blown away. But we appreciate the light of the moon more keenly when it emerges from the clouds; if it had been shining openly all the time we should never have experienced the sudden ecstasy of light breaking in upon darkness. And for this sudden ecstasy we have to be thankful for the darkness as much as for the light.

At the same time, our lack of Enlightenment or freedom is only apparent, for in a special sense “the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” In this sense the darkness is also a manifestation of the light but does not understand it. Therefore as soon as we understand that our very lack of realization is itself an aspect of Enlightenment, our ignorance turns into wisdom. Thus a Buddhist text says, “If the accumulation of false imaginations is cleared away, Enlightenment will appear. But the strange thing is that when people gain Enlightenment they realize that without false imaginations there could be no Enlightenment.” In Vedanta philosophy and Buddhism alike Enlightenment is the nature of the universe; all possible forms and aspects of life are manifestations of Brahman or “Buddha nature” because there is only one ultimate Reality. Thus maya, which in one sense is darkness or illusion, in another sense is the creative power of Brahman. Now Enlightenment is the condition of union with that power, and we realize its freedom in understanding that not even in ignorance or darkness can we be deprived of that union.

There is a Buddhist story of a disciple who asked his teacher, “How can I find liberation?”

The teacher replied, “Who is putting you in bondage?” “Nobody.” “If so, why should you seek liberation?” And for this reason it is often said that Enlightenment cannot be found by doing something about it, for it is always a question of being rather than doing. Hence the saying, “Seek and you will find not; become and you will be.” Become what? Become what you are. Thus the Orient has always sought wisdom in meditation rather than action, but from this it should not be supposed that meditation is a passive way as distinct from an active way. Both activity and passivity are forms of doing; the latter is indirectly doing by not doing. Therefore the West has found it difficult to understand what is really meant by meditation. Meditation is not only sitting still like a Buddha-figure, nor is it thinking about something, for the Upanishads say that the stars, the trees, the rivers, and the mountains are meditating — unconsciously. Conscious meditation is a knack, and as an exercise it is a way of learning that Enlightenment comes to pass in us as much when we are doing nothing to produce it as when we are in the midst of activity. Thus the “sitting-still” meditation of the Orient is so much valued as a way of enlightenment because in it we are able to realize that our spiritual freedom consists not in our manner of doing and thinking, but in the fact of our being.

Enlightenment and realization is the main theme of our informal lectures and discussions at my apartment during the first few months of this year, and future letters will keep those who cannot come acquainted with the course of our work. We shall be studying first the Hindu and Chinese views of Enlightenment and the technique of its realization on the basis of readings from original sources and also from that famous allegory of the “Oxherding Pictures.” We shall then go on to consider the expression of Enlightenment in Chinese art and in the mental and physical culture of the Far East as a whole. Finally we shall compare our findings with Western equivalents of the way to Enlightenment — in particular with Christian mysticism and analytical psychology. This letter is a cordial invitation to those of you who do not already come to join us. Groups are now meeting on Mondays at 8:30, on Wednesdays at 8:30, and on Thursdays at 8:30. The last of these is generally speaking reserved for those who have already some knowledge of these matters and who do not feel the need of any introduction to basic principles. The group which meets on Thursdays at 3:15 has not yet been started again, but will begin as soon as arrangements can be made, and those who would like to come on Thursday afternoons would assist me by letting me know as soon as possible. And may I say again that comments on these letters will always be welcome and will always be answered.

Alan W. Watts, New York City, January 1940

About Alan Watts:
Alan Watts (January 6, 1915 – November 16, 1973) was a British-born American philosopher, writer, speaker, and counterculture hero, best known as an interpreter of Asian philosophies for a Western audience. He wrote over 25 books and numerous articles applying the teachings of Eastern and Western religion and philosophy to our everyday lives.

Excerpted from the book “The Collected Letters of Alan Watts”. Copyright ©2018 by Joan Watts and Anne Watts. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

Witchcraft and Sovereignty

By Christopher Orapello, and Tara-Love Maguire

Witchcraft ties deeply into matters of personal governance and individual control. It addresses, with blood and sweat, the ills of life and society. In the hands of those who won’t sit idle as life just happens to them, it’s a tool for change. It’s about magick and spells, herbs and spirits, flying and divining. It’s about living in the world, for better or worse. It is raw. It is dirty. It is a skillset, a discipline. It is an art. Witchcraft is dwelling in the woods where people rarely go. It can be found right in your yard, in a nearby park, or in an undefiled and wild land. It is resting in forgotten caves and beneath silent trees. It even dwells in the endless bowels of the city, a living entity all its own. It is basking under the moon at night, breathing slowly beneath the silent stars. Witchcraft is all of these things and it has always been there, waiting to be rediscovered. It is a response to the fears lurking in the darkness and a means to deal with them. It is a weapon. It is a talent. It is an instinct.

Witchcraft is not simply about magick; that is why there are sorcerers. Witchcraft is not just about herbs; that is why there are herbalists. Witchcraft is not only about divination or contacting spirits; that is why there are psychics and mediums. Witchcraft is something wholly, entirely different. It is a lifestyle, a vocation, a liminal space defined by experience. It is a virtual crossroads where several paths meet and create their own space by virtue of their intersection.

Witchcraft is a methodology. It is a multifaceted practice that combines several skills and avenues of knowledge. The paths that comprise it sit squarely upon the landscape of history and folklore, individually distinguishable as magick, divination, and herbalism.

Magick leads to spells and exerting your will upon the cosmos to influence desired changes and effects. Divination is the act and process of divine seeing or foretelling the future. Herbalism is the knowledge and application of herbs for medicinal, culinary, and ritual use. The combination and interplay of these three streams of knowledge enable other practices like seership, soul flight, and necromancy to take shape. It is only when these various practices are blended together that witchcraft emerges as a distinct practice that uniquely combines history and folklore, magick, divination, herbalism, hedgewitchery, and necromancy into a unifying system that we refer to collectively as the Six-Fold Path.

Magick, divining, working with and growing herbs, having visions, flying out of the body, and consorting with ghosts of the dead. Witchcraft is all of these things. It consists of no religion or dogma. It has no need for clergy. It worships no deities. It celebrates no intrinsically holy days. Witchcraft is a practice that is focused on successful function, rather than being beholden to the aesthetics, symbols, and affectations of 19th-century occultism.

Witchcraft is secular and filthy—dirty, figuratively and literally. There will be times when you walk through your everyday life bearing the stains of some working you’ve performed. The evidence may be anything—the faint scent of scrying incense in your hair, a smudge of charcoal on your cheek, dirt under your fingernails. You will look at these traces of your craft and only you will know what they represent. And that knowledge will give you strength, a secret shield. You will look at them and think to yourself: I did that. And your face will flush briefly from the power of that knowledge. Your power.

About the Authors:
Christopher Orapello is an artist, witch, and animist with a background in Western occultism, ceremonial magick, and Freemasonry and has been on his journey for over 20 years. He cohosts the podcast Down at the Crossroads with his partner, Tara Maguire, and is a signature artist with Sacred Source, a leading producer and distributor of ancient deity images in North America. After a growing desire for a more locally based form of witchcraft, he and Tara founded the Blacktree Coven in 2014 and set out to forge a modern approach to traditional witchcraft for a new era of praxis.

Tara-Love Maguire has been a practicing witch for over 30 years. Her path has been crookedly influenced by Isobel Gowdie, Marie Laveau, and William S. Burroughs (among others). Growing up in and around the New Jersey Pine Barrens, she found witchcraft within the tales and shadows of that folkloric landscape. She cohosts the podcast Down at the Crossroads with Christopher Orapello and is one of the founders of the Blacktree Coven, which exists in the heart of southern New Jersey.

Adapted, and reprinted with permission from Weiser Books, an imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser, BESOM, STANG & SWORD by Christopher Orapello and Tara-Love Maguire is available wherever books and ebooks are sold or directly from the publisher at www.redwheelweiser.com or 800-423-7087.

The Gifts of Bum-Bum-Biting Moments

By Alexia Vernon

Resilience is defined both as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties” and as “the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape.” While I know through firsthand and client experience that you can be resilient even if you don’t “recover quickly”— and actually, from a moxie perspective, I would measure success more by your ability to heal and expand in the face of difficulties than by the speed with which you can again pass as your normal self — I’m particularly fond of the second definition. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t default to thinking about tough times as an inherent springboard back to my best self. Yet opportunities that cultivate our resilience can be such springboards for us — for you.

That is why embracing (versus taking cover from or bearing down on) your bum-bum-biting moments is one of your most direct pathways to stepping into your moxie. Because moxie is choosing to be brave, speaking up, and disrupting the status quo, I believe you actually need your bum-bum-biting moments to automatically (or at least, more frequently) choose moxie in the pedestrian moments that define your day-to-day. That bears repeating, so I’ll say it again. You actually need bum-bum-biting moments in order to step into the fullest expression of your moxie. Here are some of the specific gifts you unwrap when you choose moxie during these episodes in your life.

Creativity
One of the top ways that resilience strengthens your moxie is by forcing you to tap into your creativity. For whatever has gotten you through similar episodes in your past is often not what gets you through your current situation. And that is precisely why the situation has shown up — for your evolution. Navigating through a bum-bum-biting moment can be a creative process, if you let it. Creativity can be finding that new, renegade way to solve your crisis, or it can be patching together resources when, at first glance, you deem them in short supply. You can also cultivate creativity by choosing to narrate your experience as a chapter about your highest learning and growth — rather than one about loss or failure.

Empathy
When you choose resilience and, as a by-product, moxie, you are also by default growing your capacity to empathize, which is a superpower when it comes to connecting with others, positioning yourself as someone who is relatable and trustworthy, and empowering other people to heal from their pain and be their best selves. When I read testimonials from my coaching program participants, I’m grateful to discover that many have commented on my ability to really see and be in their experiences with them. Now, if you are a therapist, undoubtedly that makes you want to cringe. And I assure you, I do not take on anybody else’s “stuff” as my own — at least, not anymore. (Okay, sometimes I still do, but so much less than I used to.) For when you’ve lived through your own fair share of bum-bum-biting moments, it does grow your ability to empathize with others through their painful episodes and to more adeptly hold space for them as a result.

Transparency
Some people choose to be private about their bum-bum-biting moments, a practice that unfortunately usually breeds both secrecy and additional suffering for the bite-ee. However, those on the moxie path allow setbacks (irrespective of their magnitude) to heighten their truth telling — to themselves, first and foremost, and to others — professionally and personally. You cultivate transparency when you are honest about where and how you are hurting (especially when you aren’t asking people to fix you and want them simply to hold space for your experience). And when you admit that you aren’t perfect, that you don’t have it all together, you also fortify yourself against perfectionism — and perfectionism must be slayed in order for moxie to thrive.

Receiving
When you unapologetically own that you cannot and therefore won’t attempt to power through difficult times alone, you open yourself up to receive support — something that is hard for a lot of women to do (including the one who is typing this out for you). While many women may feel, and at times complain, that nobody takes care of us, the truth is that most of us aren’t asking for the support we need on a regular basis. As a consequence, we are getting in the way of attracting, and when it’s offered, accepting, other people’s help. (Remember our discussion in the last chapter on articulating and upholding boundaries?) Bum-bum-biting moments are fertile ground for strengthening your capacity to ask for and receive support from the people in your life — mates, children, extended family, friends, colleagues, community members. And, when you practice asking the question, “What am I supposed to learn?” without secretly wishing for a quick answer, you also enhance your ability to receive divine guidance, which is, in my humble opinion, the greatest gift we can invite and accept into our lives.

Self-Awareness
Self-awareness is the ability to see the truth of ourselves — the good, the bad, and the truly baffling — with compassionate clarity. When you are self-aware, you squelch any and all desire to critique yourself for who you are (and who you are not…yet) and instead, you simply observe and appreciate who you are in the present moment. Resilience does this to you, for you. Because at its core, resilience, like forgiveness, is about making peace with what is rather than holding on to the hope of who you, others, or a situation could have been. As a by-product of resilience, self-awareness activates the fullest expression of your moxie. For when you learn to speak to yourself and others as you/they are, from a feeling of enoughness, your communication will flow clearly, easily, and compassionately.

Over the years some of my greatest discoveries about how to navigate through tough times have come from my clients — people, usually women, who find me because they want to turn their heartbreak into a harrowing, tour-de-force keynote or inspirational talk for others. Often these are women who have lost
children or partners, or have suffered unspeakable abuse (often at the hands of those closest to them).

A huge part of resilience for these women was realizing that their survival and the lessons they have learned must be shared. This is a discovery I suspect you may have had as well — that what you have survived can provide inspiration, insight, and healing for others.

About Alexia Vernon:
Alexia Vernon is the author of Step into Your Moxie. Branded a “Moxie Maven” by President Obama’s White House Office of Public Engagement, she is a sought-after speaking and leadership coach who delivers transformational keynotes and corporate trainings for Fortune 500 companies and other professional groups and organizations, including the United Nations and TEDx. Visit her online at www.alexiavernon.com.

Excerpted from the book Step into Your Moxie: Amplify Your Voice, Visibility, and Influence in the World. Copyright ©2018 by Alexia Vernon. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

5 Ways to Clear Communication with Guides

By Brad Wallis

Do you look with awe and maybe even a touch of envy at the ‘chosen’ ones who seem to be able to connect with their guides easily and clearly? It just seems a tad bit unfair that others are pros at heavy-duty communication with higher wisdom while you’re still struggling to be a ‘good person’ and become more deserving. Whatever that means and whenever that happens.

In a recent teaching, Julius said,

“Your soul is not an individual. It is part of a mass collaboration that is Source.”

Part of that mass collaboration is the guides that help us, whether we are aware of it or not, just as we contribute to their expansion through such exchanges. It’s an ongoing process and all you need to do is tune in. So what’s going to clear that channel of communication?

1. Remove beliefs. The very first thing to remove from the equation is the belief that you have to be a special way or gifted or deserving. You are deserving. Period. Irrespective of whether you are very high in consciousness or lower. How do we get out of those low, low frequencies if not for this help? The second belief to remove is that you are inferior in any way because even if you have a limited perspective compared to your guides, all souls are equal. There is humility, gratitude and love in this exchange of giving and receiving guidance.

2. Invite. Send out an invitation to your guides to communicate with you during your dream state. Then set the intention that you remember your dreams when you awaken. That is the time when you are most open to receiving such contact and are not distracted by the goings on around you. Keep a notepad and pen on your bedside table or a recorder and quickly note all your dreams before falling back to sleep or before you fully awaken. You will begin to perceive the guidance as you get more adept at understanding your dreams. Or you might just wake up with an idea to solve the current problem!

3. Be aware. There’s no such thing as chance or coincidence. Be aware of all that is happening that is usually called ‘coincidence’. If you start noticing certain numbers appearing repetitively, coins, feathers around you, something you lost magically appears, they are sending you messages. Or they may communicate in ways you are not expecting. They like to be creative as all light beings are. As you gain more assurance in this process, you will perceive these too.

4. Another common way they communicate with you is through inspiring thoughts. You’re in a state of gloom or frustration when suddenly a memory flashes by or an uplifting thought pops up. Who do you think is doing that? Not you while you’re sunk in gloom and doom. A stranger says something to you, a sentence on a radio show, billboard or book. It’s a finely tuned arrangement, isn’t it? These are the little waves of the hand and loving assistance that increase as we become more aware of them.

5. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, raise your consciousness and frequency because not only will you be astonished by the increasing clarity and depth of communication but also because it is the one thing that is guaranteed to resolve anything that has ever troubled you in life.

Your life is yours to create as a magnificent light being. If you get to the point of asking which pair of shoes to wear to an important meeting with a client, high frequency guides may just start withdrawing. They are there to empower, not disempower you. It is loving collaboration in its highest vibration.

About Brad and Kasey Wallis:
Kasey and Brad Wallis are renowned speakers, global workshop leaders, and facilitators of consciousness and why we are here. For over 10 years now, the Wallis’ have been inviting people worldwide to embrace their true limitlessness. Originally Kasey was trained as an award-winning platform stylist and hairdresser of 35 years, and Brad was drafted to play for a professional baseball team. They came together because of a car accident in 2007. Now they have a completely different approach to teaching by facilitating people to heal all limitations and fear and instead release their creative flow. For over a decade they have been transforming thousands of lives.

Today Brad is the author of several books, while he and Kasey travel the country speaking, leading workshops and being interviewed. Through their programs, retreats, online courses, and personal readings, they guide and support people in eliminating judgement, resistances and lack in their life. This high wisdom and practical guidance aids people in their journey to becoming aligned with their inner wisdom, clarity and profound creation.

Before Brad worked as an inspirational teacher, he owned his own construction business, was once emerged in the Mormon religion, and had 4 near death experiences. Kasey was a master colorist and educator for companies such as Sebastian, Redken, Joico, Wella Scrupples, and worked in Hollywood in hair and makeup. They both came from hard working business ownership that was not related to spirituality. Then the phenomenon of Julius altered the trajectory of both their lives after Brad’s car accident.

Visit them at https://expandwithjulius.com and http://www.kaseyandbrad.com/

Mindfulness and Mobile Devices

By Sunny Chayes

Often what comes to mind when I think of my iPhone is how mindful it really isn’t. I think of the many times the person with whom I am sharing a meal has picked up their phone to make a call or look something up on the internet or to return a TEXT. Sadly, I also must consider the times I have done it to others.

As our minds are being sucked ever more deeply into the electronic never world, is it possible that these same little mobile instigators could possibly help us recover some of the precious mindfulness that is lost to them? A slew of mobile app developers thinks so.

Here are some suggestions. If we are going to spend some time, and potentially some money, on mindfulness apps, you might consider these.

Headspace and Calm: (https://www.headspace.com), (https://www.calm.com/)
We are lumping them together because they are both wonderful apps that offer very similar things. While there are subtle differences between what they offer, both are lovely. Many reviewers say that it comes down to the meditation guide’s voice that one prefers. Headspace uses the Buddhist trained, proper English voice of Andy Puddicombe while Calm uses the well-regarded female voice of Tamara Lovett. Both have free/trial versions of the app, so it may be great to try them both for a week at a time. Both apps are beautifully designed, yet very far apart in graphical taste. If you are visually driven person, you might find your preference of aesthetics to be your main decision driver.

The Goodness: For guided meditations, they’re beautifully effective for a combination of ease-of-use and quality.

The Drawbacks: Pricey compared to other options.

Perfect for you If: You are looking for a meditation app which provides a curated, high-quality guided meditations for adults or children, and you are not particularly price conscious. Price for full version – $12.95/mo for Calm, $12.99/mo For Headspace.

Insight Timer: (https://insighttimer.com/)
If you are a fan of guided meditations, but don’t enjoy paying the premium price, Insight Timer is your app. The trade off here is that Insight Timer is an open platform for seemingly anyone to post a meditation. It is up to you to choose wisely. The brilliance of the open platform is that there are literally thousands of meditations to choose from and many of those are extremely high-quality. A premium version of Insight Timer allows you to download your favorites for offline use and the app also offers premium 10-day courses ranging from “Learn to Mindfully Manage Stress and Anxiety” to “Heal Through the Power of Sound.”

The Goodness: The best app around for a large selection of guided meditations without the premium design and hand holding.

The Drawbacks: Requires a bit more investment of time to get what you are looking for.

Perfect for you If: You are looking for high quality guided meditations and don’t mind spending some time searching for teachers or meditation guides that suit your tastes and needs. Insight Timer is entirely free for the basic version. Premium — $4.99/mo and 10-day courses are $4.99 each.

Vibe: (https://vibe.me/)
The Vibe app takes a different approach to mindfully enabling your device. This app focuses on providing daily guidance in addition to meditation. The company has recruited a fairly impressive group of ‘thought leaders’ in mindfulness and spirituality who guide users with “light touch messaging” throughout the day. The messaging includes a daily post, short meditations and periodic reminders of the daily post called “Vibes,” which pop up a few times during the day. According to the app’s website, this method of integrating a single mindfulness principle into your life each day can have profound effects on happiness, well being, even quality of sleep with minimal time commitment from the user. The app also includes a basic meditation timer for those who already know the basics of meditation.

The Goodness: Perspective-changing daily guidance from thought leaders in mindfulness and spirituality.

The Drawbacks: It would be great to see a solid library of guided meditations with this app. I understand the guided meditations will be coming soon. In the meantime, perhaps combine with Insight Timer for guided meditations.

Perfect for you If: You are a busy person and want to advance your mindfulness with less time per day. Free 7-day trial and then $2.99/mo.

Muse: (https://choosemuse.com)

If you struggle with meditation (Inside secret – most of us do. It’s part of the process) and feel that you just can’t quiet your mind enough to find your inner peace, then you might want to check out Muse. Muse is not primarily an app — the centerpiece of this technology is the biofeedback headband which doubles as a headset (for sound). The headband works with the Muse app which effectively runs the device. When you meditate with the headband, Muse plays meditative sounds such as birds chirping, as well as listens to the activity in your brain. If your brain is too active (sometimes called “monkey brain”), the built-in headset provides an audible change in the sounds to something less calming, such as traffic or loud waves crashing. As you return your mind to a meditative state, the app provides the positive feedback to the brain in by returning to the gentler, more meditative sounds.

The Good: Tests have shown that the Muse actually works in helping people relax more quickly into a meditative state.

The Drawbacks: If you are serious about learning to meditate, learning to coexist with your thoughts is largely the point. Depending on a crutch might be counterproductive.

Perfect for you if: You are beginning to meditate and struggle more than most with monkey brain, this might be the shortcut you are looking for. $200 on Amazon.

How lovely it is that these creative companies used what is so ubiquitous in our culture to connect us deeply within ourselves. How cool is that?

About Sunny Chayes:
Sunny Chayes is an Author, a Sacred Social Activist, Host of The Sunny Chayes Show enjoyed on IHeartRadio, ITunes, ABC Talk/News, Mindalia TV and UBN Radio and Chief Strategic Partner and Feature Writer for Whole Life Times. http://www.YouTube/sunnychayes

Rise Up, Heathen Priestess: She Lives in the Wilds

By Danielle Dulsky

Our human divinity is bone-deep, lit by the red light of our souls’ truth and sourced straight from the cosmic womb. I have an insatiable hunger for Her fierce mother-love, as I believe all members of our global collective do, and I am calling out and calling on all wild Priestesses of our world to join me in Her resurrection. I am howling from the dark depths of every forest, and I am crooning a siren’s song from every body of water I can find. I am seeking you out, the wild woman who is through making apologies for her own divinity, the Witch who is handcrafting her own religion stitched from her own truth, and the blessed incarnation of every human being who can still feel Her. I will speak to you directly, for you are a Wolf-Woman of my bloodline and we share the same language, the heathen Mother Tongue of the wild word.

I hereby vow to validate your experience, your spiritual autonomy, and your magickal agency as we walk this misty and uncertain path together, and I will not ask you to sacrifice anything you know to be sacred. I do not assume that your life matches mine, and it is the uniqueness of our lived experiences of Her that will truly nourish the divine feminine in us all, rather than the bland and bleached homogenization of the Goddess experience.

As women of the wild, we deserve our own holy books, our own teaching tales, and our own venerable verses of validation. The spiritual wisdom of the feminine has always been born of lived experience, and the hooded Crone in all of us knows that her truth, her cyclical ways, are unique to her and her alone. The her-stories I offer here have merit only in their meeting with your own life; they do not stand alone as immutable truths or a step-by-step path toward any lofty and permanent healing goal, nor do they assert any secret mysteries that I alone am privileged to know. Without their soul-specific relationship with your memories, passions, woundings, and core values, Priestess, these verses are only words. Without your willful exploration of how the feminine archetypes I discuss in this heathens’ bible live and breathe within your own psyche, their names remain merely the default teaching tools used by outmoded traditions that have long required feminine shame to survive.

The women who have been locked inside the books they called good deserve liberation from their externally imposed immorality. We must unlock the cages in which they have been contained for so long, trapped behind the iron bars of judgment and dismissal. We women of this evolving world are tasked with their redemption, for they are we. We share the scars of every woman who has been condemned to ever be spiritually imprisoned, and, in these pages, I offer all the primal feminine technology this Witch has in her toolbox to dismantle the indoctrinated beliefs that continue to limit our spiritual autonomy; divorce our bodies from our spirits; and fence in what is, by nature, untamed, heathen, and wild.

The roots of the word heathen run far deeper than its derogatory, godless connotation; it is believed to come from the Germanic word meaning “dweller on the heath, one inhabiting uncultivated land.” To be heathen means to belong to the wild, to take our lessons from the natural world, and to be nourished by what we fundamentally are rather than what we are told we must be. Let me distinguish here between Heathenry, a polytheistic neo-Pagan religion for which I have much reverence but to which I do not belong, and the eclectic pre-Christian landscape of our ancestors. To be heathen is to remember the rawestessence of our worth, what is most authentically human about this flesh-and-blood body we find ourselves in, and what is left when our most carefully constructed psychic temples, those long-held belief systems that once served us so well, crumble into dust. Every one of our bloodlines is rooted in an Earth-based tradition if we only follow our lineage back far enough, and every one of our souls longs to come home to the wilds.

About Danielle Dulsky:
Danielle Dulsky is the author of “The Holy Wild” and “Woman Most Wild”. She is an artist, yoga teacher, energy worker, and founder of Living Mandala Yoga teacher training programs. She leads women’s circles, witchcraft workshops, and energy healing trainings and lives in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Find out more about her online at www.DanielleDulsky.com.

Excerpted from the book “The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible for the Untamed Woman”. Copyright ©2018 by Danielle Dulsky. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com

Fat Man Blues

Review by James Garside

Would you sell your soul to the Devil? At what price? How about if you knew you were dying and didn’t have long to live? It’s not like the dead have anything left to lose. But if the Devil’s so interested in your immortal soul that he’s willing to offer you anything in return then maybe, just maybe, someone’s getting fucked on the deal.

Hobo John is a terminally-ill English guy, with a troubled past, whose bucket list is all about the blues. He’s a blues aficionado on a journey across Mississippi to see what is considered by many to be the birth place of the blues. Delta Blues came from the Mississippi Delta and is one of the earliest styles of blues music.

On a drunken night in Clarksdale Hobo John enters into a Faustian pact with a devilish character, called Fat Man, who makes him an offer that he can’t refuse. In exchange for his life, which is at its end anyway, he must cross over to the afterlife of the Mississippi Delta to record blues artists both famous and unknown from the 1930s.

It’s a real ‘devil at the crossroads’ moment but, unlike Vegas, what happens at the crossroads doesn’t stay there. To begin with Hobo John has a blast hanging out with the souls of dead musicians but working for Fat Man is dirty business, with untold consequences, and there’s always a price to be paid.

There’s much more to the story, including twists and turns that I don’t want to spoil here, but the plot isn’t really the point. It’s all about the music. You don’t have to be a blues fan to enjoy the story but you’ll sure as hell learn a lot about the blues along the way.

Robert Johnson fans will especially get a kick out of it as they catch references to songs like “Crossroad Blues,” “Me and the Devil Blues,” and “Hellhound on My Trail.” Legend has it that in the Deep South in the 1930s Robert Johnson met the Devil at the crossroads and sold his soul to become the greatest Delta Blues artist that ever lived.

The author may spit at me for saying this but, at least structurally, the book has much in common with Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder. In that book the story is used as a way to give you a history of philosophy whereas here a similar conceit is used to give you a taste of the blues. Just enough to wet your whistle — like drinking whisky straight from the bottle.

Richard Wall writes like a motherfucker. I mean that in a good way. He’s clearly passionate about the blues and has a deep knowledge of music history and blues lore. I’d love for the novel to be released as a dramatised audiobook with an accompanying soundtrack featuring Delta Blues songs hand-picked by the author.

Fat Man Blues is a wild ride. It’s violent and bloody in parts but the writing is tight and visceral and remains faithful to, and worthy of, the music that inspired it.

You can buy the book here ( or here in the U.S.) and check out his other work at richardwall.org

About James Garside:
James Garside is an independent journalist and writer. You can find him at his website jamesgarside.net and chat with him on Twitter.

The Instrument of Freedom

An excerpt from The Meaning of Happiness by Alan Watts

We have examined something of the meaning of unhappiness, of the war between the opposites in the human soul, of the fear of fear, of man’s consequent isolation from nature, and of the way in which this isolation has been intensified in the growth of civilization. We have also shown how man is intimately and inseparably connected with the material and mental universe, and that if he tries to cut himself off from it he must perish. In fact, however, he can only cut himself off in imagination, otherwise he would cease to exist, but we have yet to decide whether this elusive thing called happiness would result from acceptance of the fact of man’s union with the rest of life. But if this is true we have to discover how such an acceptance may be made, whether it is possible for man to turn in his flight into isolation and overcome the panic which makes him try to swim against the current instead of with it. In the psychological realm this swimming against the current is called repression, the reaction of proud, conscious reason to the fears and desires of nature in man. This raises the further question of whether acceptance of nature involves just a return to the amorality of the beast, being simply a matter of throwing up all responsibility, following one’s whims, and drifting about on the tide of life like a fallen leaf. To return to our analogy: life is the current into which man is thrown, and though he struggles against it, it carries him along despite all his efforts, with the result that his efforts achieve nothing but his own unhappiness. Should he then just turn about and drift? But nature gave him the faculties of reason and conscious individuality, and if he is to drift he might as well have been without them. It is more likely that he has them to give expression to immeasurably greater possibilities of nature than the animal can express by instinct, for while the animal is nature’s whistle, man is its organ.

Even so, man does not like to be put down to the place of an instrument, however grand that instrument may be, for an instrument is an instrument, and an organ does what it is made to do as subserviently and blindly as a whistle. But this is not the only consideration. It may be that man has a wrong idea of what his self is. In the words of the Hindu sage Patanjali, “Ignorance is the identification of the Seer with the instruments of seeing.” Certainly man as instrument is an obedient tool whether he likes it or not, but it may be that there is something in man which is more than the instrument, more than his reason and individuality which are part of that instrument and which he mistakenly believes to be his true self. And while as an instrument he is bound, as this he is free, and his problem is to become aware of it. Finding it, he will understand that in fleeing from death, fear, and sorrow he is making himself a slave, for he will realize the mysterious truth that in fact he is free both to live and to die, to love and to fear, to rejoice and to be sad, and that in none of these things is there any shame. But man rejects his freedom to do them, imagining that death, fear, and sorrow are the causes of his unhappiness. The real cause is that he does not let himself be free to accept them, for he does not understand that he who is free to love is not really free unless he is also free to fear, and this is the freedom of happiness.

About Alan Watts:
Alan Watts (January 6, 1915 – November 16, 1973) was a British-born American philosopher, writer, speaker, and counterculture hero, best known as an interpreter of Asian philosophies for a Western audience. He wrote over 25 books and numerous articles applying the teachings of Eastern and Western religion and philosophy to our everyday lives.

Excerpted from the book “The Meaning of Happiness: The Quest for Freedom of the Spirit in Modern Psychology and the Wisdom of the East”. Copyright ©2018 by Joan Watts and Anne Watts. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

The Life You Were Born to Live

By Dan Millman

Author Jack London once proposed that “It takes hard writing to make easy reading.” The Life You Were Born to Live took some hard writing. It was born from twenty small pages of handwritten notes, taken from several lectures given by an unusual mentor in 1985. Eight years passed, bringing experiences and insights from hundreds of personal life readings — eight years before I began teaching the system to small groups of helping professionals — eight years before those twenty handwritten pages expanded into a 500 page book to clarify and focus earlier work of many esoteric traditions.

One key element of this book is the section on spiritual laws specific to each life path for individuals born between 1750 and the year 2000. These laws, expressed as guiding principles, can help anyone overcome the hurdles on their own life path. So it is not only a book providing insight, but also action. Most people who read about their life path are astonished at the accuracy of the material. Especially when it makes no scientific sense how the date of one’s birth can provide a doorway to accurate, reliable insight into the core drives and qualities of one’s life.

As I explain in the Preface of the new 25th Anniversary Edition: We all share an innate desire for meaning, direction, and purpose — a desire as important to our psychological growth as eating is to our biological survival.

Yet few of us consciously recognize that we even have a specific life path or purpose. Meanwhile, our potential and destiny call out to us, sending messages through dreams, intuitions, and our innermost longings — hidden drives that define our personality, shape our careers and relationships, and influence the quality and direction of our life.

Until we recognize and live in accord with our underlying purpose, life may feel like a puzzle with missing pieces, as if there’s something we’re here to do but we can’t quite grasp it. As actress Lily Tomlin once quipped, “I always wanted to be somebody, but maybe I should have been more specific.” Lacking these specifics, we work and rest, eat and sleep, make money and spend it, and experience our share of pleasures and difficulties, even as clarity about our life purpose eludes us.

Over the years, I’ve written a number of books about the peaceful warrior’s approach to life — facing our inner battles with courage, compassion, and higher wisdom. The Life You Were Born to Live, one element of my work, presents the Life-Purpose System, a tool for insight and a map that reveals your life path up the mountain you’re here to climb and the most direct route to reach the summit.

The Life-Purpose System enables you to expand your awareness of not only your path but the paths of friends, loved ones, clients, colleagues, and others. The insights and guidance provided can help psychotherapists, physicians, physical therapists, bodyworkers, social workers, managers, teachers, coaches, and other helping professionals enhance the effectiveness of their ongoing work, adding a measure of compassion and insight.

Beginning in 1985, I applied, tested, and refined this system by working with thousands of people. The system’s strength lies in its relative simplicity and directness, and its demonstrated effectiveness over time. The enthusiastic responses I’ve received inspired me to write this book and to expand and revise it.

Many systems of personality typing exist in both psychological and spiritual traditions. While self-analysis can generate the impulse to change, the Life-Purpose System provides the means — namely, specific spiritual laws keyed to each life path to help us transform our health, our relationships, our work, and every other facet of our life.

For the 25th Anniversary Edition — the first major revision since the original publication — I’ve added new life-path information to include all those born in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. While the original edition addressed the thirty-seven life paths of those born in the twentieth century, this edition includes all forty-five life paths now possible. I’ve also added new insights about those working single-digit birth numbers, which only began appearing in the new millennium, and I reveal more about the origins of this particular system and how I came to share it with you. Other refinements reflect the added knowledge of twenty-five more years of real-life experience of many thousands of individuals working with the system. Even those familiar with earlier editions of the book can gain new insights.

The Life-Purpose System has illumined my life and the lives of many others, bringing new levels of clarity and compassion. I trust that this book will bring fresh appreciation and empathy, generating an impulse to make a positive difference for friends, family, and maybe even our planet. In the meantime, may this book guide you toward the fulfillment of your personal destiny — the life you were born to live.

I am gratified that my publisher, New World Library, encouraged me to make significant revisions and updates to the new, 25th Anniversary Edition of The Life You Were Born to Live. The number of life paths has increased from thirty-seven (for those born before 2000), to forty-five life paths, including relatively rare one-digit birth numbers for some children born after the year 2000. I’ve also written sections about what makes these single-digit numbers unusual, and how that relates to so-called “master numbers.”

If you are new to this work, and have healthy skepticism, I only ask that you keep an open mind. I also refer you to my website — www.peacefulwarrior.com — and to the free Life Purpose Calculator, which will reveal your birth number (and the birth numbers of friends and loved ones), and provides a few words about your life path — the beginning of greater insight and compassion as you discover the life you were born to live.

About Dan Millman:
Dan Millman, former world-champion gymnast, coach, martial arts teacher, and college professor, is the author of seventeen books published in twenty-nine languages and shared across generations to millions of readers. His internationally bestselling book “Way of the Peaceful Warrior” was adapted to film in 2006. Dan speaks worldwide to people from all walks of life. He lives in New York City. www.PeacefulWarrior.com.

From the book, “The Life You Were Born to Live — Revised 25th Anniversary Edition”. Copyright © 1993, 2018 by Dan Millman. Reprinted with permission from New World Library. NewWorldLibrary.com

Astrology in Different Cultures

Do you guys remember when I shared “Astrologically Inspired Cocktails”? Well it turns out an astrology website in Australia did and reached out to me. They were like, hey, that’s a fun little infographic you shared. We’ve got one about astrology in different cultures, are you interested? Duh, of course I was and here we are.

So a big thank you to the folks at Astrology.com.au for the cool looking infographic to share! You should check out the full article on their site!

Astrology in Different Cultures