It has been suggested to me recently that the title and cover of my book ‘Web of Life’ published as part of Moon Books Shamanic Pathways series doesn’t really explain what the book is about so I thought I’d try and redress that here in the hope that it will help.
I actually wrote the book as a result of my own struggle to work with a Medicine Wheel, a struggle that led me to realise that the problems I was having were because Medicine Wheels do not belong to either my culture or my belief system. It was a bit like ‘square peg into round hole’ and no matter what I did it wasn’t working.
So I began to explore other cultures and wheels including the variations between Native American tribes and in doing so discovered both the similarities and differences. This exploration led me to the realisation that in order for many of us to work with the power of a medicine wheel we needed a way to create our own, one that could be adapted to fit us and so the idea for my book was born.
The title of my book is actually down to my guides, who showed me the web, the matrix, or network that connects each and every one of us to everything that exists and through which we all have the power to communicate. Alongside this they showed me the spider at the centre of the web, the spider that represents ourselves, spinning our own web and weaving in the connections within it that can support and guide us as our paths unfold. They also taught me how we can consciously weave our own paths within the web either for projects or our lives in general. The book passes on all that I learnt so that you can do the same. Basically it gives you a modern day, culture and belief free way of working with power of the Medicine Wheel in a way that fits YOU.
Example of a created path
Example of an extended path
The images here show my own connections or teachers within the web and examples of the way in which I create my own path and then have the freedom to extend it, or I can start again. Your connections or teachers will be different to mine as will the paths you create.
If you are looking for a way to create your own Medicine Wheel or Shamanic Web of Life using then you might be interested to read A Bad Witch’s blog which is about my book “Shaman Pathways Web of Life”
As some of you reading this may already realise, I my first, and so far only, book, ‘Web of Life’ was published by Moon Books as part of their Shaman Pathway series but did you know there are lots of other books in the Pagan Portals and Shaman Pathways series too?
These series consist of lots of small books, packed with information and in many cases, exercises to help you, so why not click and have a look. If you like the page then its easy to stay on touch with what is being published in the series too.
The fourth question posed in the pagan challenge is to write about your take on the wheel of the year so this is mine and it follows on nicely from my last post about my book Web of Life for it was writing this book that helped me get my own wheel of the year in place.
As I was writing the book, so my own web of life was developing and as it did so I learnt, as do others who work with the book, about what was important to me. At first I tried to fit in all the pagan festivals of the wheel of the year in the way they are usually placed in connection with the seasons they are associated with, but I soon realised that it didn’t sit well with me at all. I then realised that at this point in time I really had no connection with many of the festivals. I also realised that it was only Summer and Winter Solstice, Samhain and Bealtaine that were part of my life and resonated with me so these became my wheel of the year within my web of life and I let everything else go.
These points in the wheel of the year fitted me as they are still very much part of the culture I live in. Here these festivals are named and marked, the Winter Solstice is looked forward to as a marker of longer days ahead and was at that time shown live from Newgrange. Bealtaine is a time of festivals, Summer Solstice a time for gatherings and Samhain often brings drumming and dance.
Other than this, as a shamanic pagan I didn’t have a belief system that involves a wheel of the year but in the time between writing my book and now I have been studying with the OBOD (Ovates, Bards and Druids), initially as a Bard and currently as an Ovate. Working with the festivals of the year, performing ritual and celebration at the time of each festival and really getting a feel for the purpose of them was very much part of my path as a Bard. For that time in my life they were all recognised and firmly marked. My own web of life, which takes the place of a wheel for me, shifted to incorporate all eight festivals.
Now though as an Ovate I have again experienced a shift in the way I connect with the wheel of the year and how it fits into my web of life. Whereas whilst training as a Bard it felt right to follow the ritual and celebration of each turn of the wheel now it no longer does. This shift happened with no conscious thought or planning on my part but rather by osmosis. I now find that I have a much closer connection with and awareness of the changes in the seasons, the time of the year and hence the festivals of the wheel. I no longer see the need to practice ritual for the sake of it and only do so when it feels right for me. Instead I find myself living the wheel of the year through my awareness. I find I am recognising the turns of the wheel because they are becoming part of me rather than something outside of me. At times now it seems I instinctively know when for example it is Imbolc rather than having to look it up in my diary or because the ritual is next in the pile of things I have to work though.
White Buffalo Calf Woman is a sacred woman of supernatural origin central to the beliefs of the Lakota of North America. There is a beautiful legend attached to her which can easily be found online so I won’t go into it here rather I will share the message that she has given us today.
‘When times are hard and you feel like giving in reach out, for there is always something greater, stronger, more powerful than yourself in your human form that will be of assistance. Sometimes this help is found outside of yourself, sometimes it is within you but it is always there waiting for you’.
As I sat with the connection or teacher that is Beauty I had one phrase pop into my head ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. Having had this thought I stopped and looked around at all the beauty that surrounds me, beauty that I take for granted until that is I am reminded to stop and look.
The message I was given from Beauty though was this:
‘Stop what you are doing and have a good look, not at your surroundings but at yourself. See what an amazing creature you really are. Open your awareness to the healing powers of your body and marvel at its abilities. Take time to sit and connet with your soul. These are what is really beautiful not the outer wrapping that this gift comes in’.
This week when drawing the connections cards to find the conection or teacher that had a message for us I drew two cards. They were back to back and firmly stuck together. The first one I saw was Growth and the second Serpent but even just looking at them I was getting a firm message that they belonged together here.
Often when I draw two cards I will listen to them separately and post their individual messages but because of the sense of them being together this message is from both of them.
‘Just as the Serpent sheds its skin so must you in order to grow. The Serpent does not spend its days trying to hold onto what is dead or dying but rather struggles to move out of it and to leave it behind and so must you. There is no Growth, there can be no Growth without leaving behind the old part of yourself, the part that is no longer alive’.
This morning when I sat down to draw a card for everyone for the week the card that I found in my hand was Sexuality. This is not a connection I know well for it does not appear in my own web of life.
Sometimes unusual connections are easier to listen to for there are no presumptions to be made about the message it is bringing. Sometimes though it is the opposite and they need to be listened to more closely which was the case with Sexuality.
‘Do not shy away from your own sexuality, nor use it as a tool or even a weapon to get what you want. Rather connect with it and see it for what it is, an intrinsic part of who you are and something that is very beautiful’.