“What exactly are you practicing?”
Buddhists might answer, “liberation from suffering.” Mystics might answer, “union with the Divine.” Hermeticists might answer, “revelation of Mystery.” Artists, writers, and musicians might answer, “expression of Truth.”
My personal practice incorporates all of these and more. I am inspired by the post-modern tantric Buddhism of Lama Rod Owens and others. I am inspired by Robert Brezsny’s pronoiad free will astrology. I am inspired by the work of T. Susan Chang & Mel Meleen using tarot to connect to everyday life. I am inspired by Neil Gaiman and Kate Bush for drawing living mythology from a weary world bereft of magic. I am inspired by Rumi, Basho, and St. John of the Cross. I am inspired by Alan Watts, Joseph Campbell, and Edith Hamilton. Mostly, though, I’m inspired by our harrowing, gorgeous, beautiful, cruel, and hopelessly interconnected human journey.
My personal practice has a few simple yet elusive intentions:
- to connect deeply with the tremendous energy of Life in all its impermanent expressions
- to extinguish habitual responses and reactivity that create suffering for myself and others
- to enter Mystery fearlessly from a place of authenticity and wonder
- to hold others with deep compassion, honoring our interconnectedness and human struggle
- to create and destroy, in rhythm with life, making art & ritual from the mythic & mundane
- to offer any wisdom, insight, or skills I may have to help others find their own way
Tools of My Practice
Meditation: From mindfulness meditation to open awareness to chanting, writing, and moving, meditation is the core foundation of my practice. It is essential to be able to arrive fully in your own body and experience–to be with life just as it is–before moving on to other things.
Myth & Story: The true nature of reality is impossible to put into words, but it can be reflected in myths, stories, poetry, and song. In them, we find ourselves. We better understand the causes and conditions of our existence. We gain an understanding of how human experiences are universal and yet specifically shaped by our own lived experiences.
Devotion: Contemplating the “force that through the green fuse drives the flower.” Reflecting on the great Mystery as it reveals itself in life, the planet, and the cosmos. Communing with various archetypical expressions of that tremendous Life energy.
Astrology: Much-maligned, astrology is an ancient science and art. It has perennially captured our imagination throughout millennia of human development. Astrology exists in every culture around the globe. It is a shared human fascination. I am a formally trained astrologer in the western tradition, but these days my approach to the stars has an eastern frame. Whatever influence the planets may have over our lives–even if their dance above is simply reflected below–I do not try to rationally explain it. Astrology is celestial poetry. It speaks in metaphors and correspondences, aspects, angles, and degrees. I do not believe that astrology is based on causality, but rather a mutual interconnection. As we understand the constantly changing movements of the heavens, we gain insight into the constantly changing causes and conditions in our lives. Astrology is a massive, magnificent black mirror, in which we can catch our own spirits reflected.
Tarot: The tarot, as practiced today, is a result of the culmination of centuries of hermetic tradition. Christian mysticism, neo-Platonism, hermetic Qabbalah, Hindu tantric practices, American Spiritualism, and classical metaphysics came together in late 19th-century lodges and coalesced into a comprehensive system of Tarot. While there may exist technical discrepancies between the Marseille, Continental, Golden Dawn, and Thoth systems, they all underpin a Tarot that is a model of the universe. As a savvy and talented reader once told me, “A Tarot deck in order is a model of the universe. A Tarot deck shuffled is a model of your universe.” Like astrology, I view the Tarot as a mirror. A mirror of the causes and conditions currently at play in any given situation. Many pooh-pooh the Tarot as a street-corner fortuneteller’s tool. They proclaim free will. They skeptically sneer that folks can read “anything they want” in the cards. Through meditation, I have learned how little most of us act with free will, even when we think we are. We’re driven by confusion and conflicting habits, core beliefs, world views, and momentary distractions. The cards are symbols. They suggest. They imply. They challenge. Anything can be read in the cards. People can see what they want. That’s why it’s important to have a trusted reader guide the interpretation. Again like astrology, the Tarot speaks in the language of poetry. It is an oracle, not an algorithm. It is a tool to illuminate, not forecast. Divination is the art of seeing a situation through ‘divine eyes.’ The tarot is a mythological beast with 78 such divine eyes. All the better to help us see what is working under the surface and in the shadows of our own experience.
Art & Ritual: The lines between art and magic have long been blurred. Many art forms evolved from prehistoric rituals. The common thread? Making the inner world real in the outer. Using the outer world to instruct the inner. The shamanic impulse to carry the message from shadow to light and back again is present in every tribe and tradition in the world. It’s something humans instinctively do. So many rituals remaining in our present world are hollow and brittle. Dead ritual becomes rote, habit. The connection between inner and outer mysteries is lost. Bringing artistic skill and fresh intuition to ritual helps re-establish that connection. Helps us plug in. Helps break the illusion of separateness and alienation. Art & ritual create sacred spaces that let us step outside of time and into the eternal.
Service: No matter our beliefs, we all run up against the hard edges of life. We experience pain. We age. We get sick. We die. We lose people and things we love. We don’t get things we want, and we get stuck with things we don’t want. Then we create suffering for ourselves by making value judgments about reality. We may wish some hurtful thing hadn’t happened. We may move quickly and decisively to change painful circumstances. But if we get caught up in resentment–this shouldn’t have happened, this is wrong, life shouldn’t be like this–impermanent pain gets locked in as suffering. Understanding this habit brings freedom and healing. Once we’ve tasted that freedom, we instinctively want to lend a hand to others. Help them step out of the prisons they’ve created for themselves. We understand keenly that “until we are all free, no one is free.” We understand the importance of service to Life.
Services of a Makeshift Mystic
We live in apocalyptic times. Apocalyptic literally means ‘to pull the lid off.’ It refers to revelation, breakdown of the established order, transformative change. In these times, many of us feel a deep instinct to connect with the Mystery that underlies all things.
Unfortunately, most religions in the modern world have become hopelessly lost in culture wars, sex scandals, and politics. Folks who once found comfort in their faith traditions now feel adrift, confused. Folks who are marginalized by society find themselves the subject of religious debate. Random talking heads discuss their worthiness, their humanity, the state of their souls. The experience is surreal and isolating.
My calling is to serve damaged spiritual seekers: People who have been wounded by their faith traditions. People who are angry at how religion has been weaponized. People who have always instinctively felt there’s more going on than meets the eye, but haven’t found a way in.
I am no guru or priest. I’m not a mentor or guide. I have no interest in converting, ‘saving,’ or judging anyone. I have found some freedom and peace in my own life. I offer my experience and my practice to other folks who want to do the same.
In the Indian spirit of dāna, I gratefully share what has been so generously shared with me. My formal services are offered on a donation basis. That said, I have limited time and limited capacity. My services are intended for serious seekers.
As a word of caution, I am not a chaplain, coach, counselor, therapist, or any other type of licensed professional. In fact, I encourage folks to seek the licensed professional help of doctors, counselors, accountants, and lawyers – depending on their specific needs. For legal and liability purposes, my services should be considered ‘spiritual entertainment.’
What I Have to Offer
- Meditation Instruction
- Basic instruction on how to build a meditation practice. Including an introduction to various kinds of meditation; foundations of mindfulness meditation practice; and an explanation of the philisophical underpinings of different schools and traditions of meditation.
- Ritual Design
- Assitance crafting customized rituals for your personal practice. Informed by western and eastern traditions, drawing on shamanic, hermetic, tantric, and artistic approaches.
- Natal astrology, analytic astrology, and in-depth personal horoscopes (transits, progressions, etc.)
- Assisted insight into the current causes and conditions at work in your life through the use of the Tarot and other means of divination.
- Contemplative artworks created for your specific situation or need. Including sigils, talismans, mandalas, icons, illustrations, and photographs.
- I am a card-carryin’, marryin’, buryin’ fully ordained reverend of the Univeral Life Church. I can officiate and/or create ceremonies to mark milestones of your life.
Get in Touch
If you are intrigued by anything on this site and want to learn more. Please reach out to me using the form below. I’ll respond to you at my earliest opportunity. Thank you, and safe travels.