Thoughts on Energy, Empathy, Shamanism, and my future in the Pagan Community

I’m just finished reading Sophie Reicher’s “Spiritual Protection: A Safety Manual for Energy Workers, Healers, and Psychics“. When I wasn’t working I had the luxury of just ignoring my empathic gifts and simply centering, saging and saying a quick prayer before going into public. Now I have repeatedly been put into situations that have basically made me energetically-sick afterwards. A few weeks ago after my shift was over I held a crying, near-suicidal co-worker for 20 minutes …. It was an emergency situation and I had no choice but to let my shields down in order to give her energy and I know that I took some of her pain. She seemed a little happier, or a least better, when I left, but I definitely suffered for it. When I got home I felt heavy and tired when I hadn’t been at the end of shift, in fact I had been quite upbeat. I slept for 2 hours. I should have showered to cleanse her depression off of me, but I simply didn’t have the energy, I only saged and took a nap. I don’t want to be a shaman or a healer but I don’t seem to have been given a choice. Being in the world again has meant that I am in situations where I am constantly being bombarded by other people’s emotions and it’s exhausting.

Reading the book has also made me realize that I’m not as good at “basic” stuff like grounding as I thought. I am also working my way through “Neolithic Shamanism: Spirit Work in the Northern Tradition” by Galina Krasskova and Raven Kaldera. I actually started this book early last year, but I got spooked and stopped. There’s no way for this work to not change you, and I don’t want the responsibility that comes with my gifts. I wasn’t ready then. I’m not sure I’m ready now. But I didn’t have a job then, and I wasn’t driving. Getting a job has forced me to develop my gift a least a little, at least enough to properly protect myself.

I feel strongly that my purpose is to teach, and I’m comfortable sharing my knowledge through my writing and in similar ways. But I also have this draw to other more mystical ways to serve the Gods and to seek knowledge, and I keep having these thoughts, and then censoring myself, saying things like “No, that’s arrogant. You can’t possibly be a shaman, you know what comes of hubris. Don’t self-aggrandize like that. Be humble.”

I don’t know if it’s because I think I CAN’T, or if it’s just that the weight of the responsibility to so many Gods and spirits scares the shit out of me.

I’m still working on the Earth chapter exercises in Neolithic Shamanism. I’ve read ahead a little into the Sun chapter, but I don’t feel like I’ve mastered grounding enough to move on. I’ve been visualizing mountains as my shields, and I switched from hematite to smoky quartz for my grounding, and so far that has had far better results, less panic attacks at work and such. But more practice and experimentation is needed.

I’m going slowly. I don’t know right now if I will finish the entire book. I know I need to ground in this world like crazy to figure a lot of things out and I guess we will go from there. I also know that I do not take good enough care of my body, and that is something that is absolutely essential for any kind of diviner, engeryworker, or what have you. It’s part of the reason that I am temporarily stalled on the Earth chapter. I’m working on that. I have a regular prayer practice but not a regular exercise practice. I haven’t even been eating regularly. I haven’t had the motivation the last few months, I don’t know why. But disrespecting our bodies is disrespecting our souls, I need to work on that more. I’m trying.

I don’t know if this is relevant to the topic at hand, but I have noticed that I seem to have almost an “awakening” or “Paganizing” effect on people around me that consider themselves nonspiritual or even atheist. My Dungeon Master (from my DnD tabletop game group, you pervs) doesn’t consider herself Pagan, but has constructed an altar to Freyja and Bast and tells me she is exploring her spirituality directly because of my influence and my passion for my religion.

My boyfriend considers himself nonspiritual but open. I sense a yearning in him, a hunger, and it’s almost like he wants to believe but his logical Westernized mind won’t let him. He asks questions and is nothing but respectful, even when it’s something completely forgein to him. The longer we are together, the more “Paganish” he becomes. He took a test to see which of his chakras were the most active, and he was surprised how accurate it was, even commenting that several co-workers had said the exact same thing that the test result did. ( it was Stargirl the Practical Witch’s Chakra personality test on YouTube). He’s even started carrying crystals. Although I’m sure he’d laugh it off as a favor to me or something.

He recently asked me to read his runes, but I told him I’m not sure if that’s a good idea. The messages that come through can be harsh and I’m not sure if he wants that message to come through me. If he asks again, then maybe he’s actually serious. I’m going to wait and see.

Even at work, where no one knows I’m Pagan, but I have self described myself as a “big hippie weirdo”, I attract people asking me questions about crystals and essential oils. I end up supporting people who are in crisis in their lives. Without any of the traditional terms, I end up guiding people in their spiritual lives. I’m glad to stand as something of an example (I hope) of someone at least trying to live in Right Relationship with the God’s, spirits, and the land. But I don’t know how much I want to serve the Pagan community vs the Gods and spirits. I’ve had many experiences where the Pagan community ended up being ungrateful and self-centered, and I burnt myself out trying to run a public Temple that was donation-only. Newsflash: rituals, classes, divination, and energy work are ALL WORK, hard work, and all cost money and all deserve compensation.

I don’t know. I’m at a weird place right now in figuring out my future.

Btw, if you are local, I will be reading runes on Sunday June 2nd from 1-5pm at Mystic Beads and EarthWear in Niles, Michigan. You are welcome to drop by and see what the runes might have to say about your wyrd.

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2 Responses to Thoughts on Energy, Empathy, Shamanism, and my future in the Pagan Community

  1. Keith McCormic says:

    Thank you for sharing!

    Yeah, it can get very hard to keep a foot in the preternatural when mundanity demands so much of our energy. For me, the last several years have seemed like one long tour in the trenches with occasional peeks over the top.

    Regarding the Runes, if you’re feeling hesitant, I’d respect that. They don’t like everyone. They have on multiple occasions gotten positively snarky when asked (by a very competent and respectful reader) for answers on my behalf.

  2. I’m not hesitant about the runes at all, strangely. I like that they are blunter and harsher than tarot can be. I actually tried to teach myself runes when I was a teenager, but I wasn’t ready for them then. They were too wild and primal. I had too much life to live and lessons to learn before I was ready. Also, as a teen, I didn’t respect them as LIVING SPIRITS, I thought of them as a cool divinatory system. I don’t know, it’s odd how things have come full circle. At the time, tarot was a much better system for me; now, I barely resonate with it, although I can and do read tarot, and it was the first divinatory system I got good at, if you aren’t counting Chinese astrology, which was what my first public readings I was paid for was in.

    No, there are other things that I keep getting drawn to, that I don’t even want to verbalize yet, but there is this weird push-pull that is happening, where I am drawn in and then repelled. I’m not sure if it’s making sense when as I’m writing it.

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