Some of the following commentary and excerpts from various essays have been posted before, here or there, can’t remember all where. Some of them may have made their way into a newsletter or two, others are reposted from my Myspace blog. All of the following work is original, from Lady Amythyst, direct from Hedgewytch Hollow and The Witch’s Corner.
© 2006 Amythyst Raine, The Witch’s Corner
Are you empathic?
Most people have a certain amount of empathy (sympathetic feelings) for other human beings and even animals. It is this natural empathy that stirs compassion and in turn sets in motion good deeds, well-wishes, prayers, assistance, and mercy. But being empathic goes one step further. An empath can ‘feel’ or ‘sense’ the emotions of those people around them. When someone is talking face to face with an empath, the substance of their words will shine in bright contrast to their true feelings. An empath will know when you are lying to them. They will actually feel your dislike or approval, acutely. An empath will pick up the smallest of nuances in the expression of the eyes, the twitch of a facial muscle, an almost unnoticeable inflection in the voice.
But aside from keen awareness to these physical cues that most people are oblivious to, an empath will be able to feel someone else’s emotions as though they were their own. This phenomenon is amplified in large crowds and can become overwhelming and uncomfortable, as well as physically draining; which is why many empaths learn, over the years, how to block and shield themselves from other people’s emotions. It’s a necessary survival mechanism for many super-sensitive empaths. It’s also why some avoid circumstances involving large crowds of people.
Being empathic brings a different dimension to how you view the world, how you feel about specific people and circumstances, and decisions that you make. Would you want to know how certain people in your life really feel about you? About decisions and choices you have made? Would you like to feel other people’s approval, admiration, dislike, envy, disapproval— all without a word spoken? This is not always the blessing many people think it would be. It often sends you on an emotional rollercoaster. The phenomenon of this quirky psychic overload certainly reveals your true friends, but it also reveals adversaries that may wear the cloak of friendship, ulterior motives, as well as other shocking revelations.
(The following is an excerpt from a longer work…)
About being grounded and at peace…for me that’s something that has come with time and age. I’ve been through three divorces in my life, uncertainty, fluctuations– financial, spiritual, mental, a variety of paths, faced a number of irritating obstacles, etc. I finally *arrived*…that’s what it feels like to turn 50. I don’t know why people dread aging and especially dread middle-age. This has been the best time of my life. I know who I am, what I believe, what I want out of life, the path I desire. I like myself, my world, my choices, and the energy around me. It’s a hoot!
About men and commitment…This is the one thing I would change about my life if I could go back and make different decisions. I would choose to find myself first, to be a whole person on my own. I would strive for financial independence, spiritual freedom, dreams and goals that were mine alone. Only then would I choose to take on a partner and become one of a pair– and even then, I’m sure I would insist on maintaining that unique mental independence that makes me who I am.
Commitment is a strange thing. It means different things to different people. I have one lady who is absolutely tormented at the fact that her lover, who recently went through a devastating divorce, won’t marry her. At the other end of the spectrum, my Aunt has been with her man for almost 40 years. They were never legally married, but they are more committed to each other than many people I’ve seen who are. Commitment doesn’t necessarily come with a slip of paper from our judicial system– it comes from the heart.
Christianity has warped our sense of humanity with it’s myriad rules and policies that try to dehumanize us. Not every relationship is meant to be ‘forever’. It’s a rare thing, as a matter of fact. I’ve only seen two couples in my life who were true soul mates and were in love and happy with their relationship until the end of their lives. I’ve seen many more who lived out a miserable existence, barely tolerating each other, because they believed it was expected of them.
Anyone lucky enough to find love should enjoy it while it lasts, whether it’s for a season, a life time, or a fleeting miraculous minute.
(The following is an excerpt from a longer work…)
About ‘being out’…I’m so used to being Pagan that I really don’t think anything about it, no more than if I were Lutheran or Jewish or whatever.
My mother is a witch. She has never tried to hide what she is and yet she has never deliberately flaunted it. But anyone walking into her home would know immediately that she is not Donna Reed.
My dad is a shaman, the ‘ole gray wizard’ he calls himself. They live in Loveland, Colorado, and he hikes the trails in the Rocky Mountains as if it were his own backyard. He climbs up above the treeline to perform solitary rituals. He says there’s nothing like it.
My grandmother was a women fascinated by the occult. I grew up surrounded by books and conversation on astrology, numerology, and a wide assortment of paranormal topics. She was forever checking her astrological charts before any major decisions or doctor’s appointments. She had her own little ‘rituals’ and odd things she did, but she never would have thought to fit herself with the title of witch. I think that’s funny.
My youngest sister practices witchcraft, as well as two of my cousins, and three of my own daughters.
I guess, growing up with paganism, I didn’t always realize how ‘different’ it would seem to people. I know that sometimes I get some strange looks from someone here or there, and I know that when people meet me, some will like me and others won’t– but that’s the way it goes. And those that don’t like me may not have liked me if I were pagan or not, or they may not be worth the effort it would take to get them to like me…insidious little circle, isn’t it?
Since I home school, I’ve never run into the grade school and high school ‘Mean Girls’ with my children– thank Goddess, I had enough of those when I was in school…needless to say I never fit in, I was always a little odd, but they couldn’t put their finger on exactly why. lol!!
I find that the older I get the less I care about other people’s opinions. I also find that Pagan Rights is becoming a more and more important issue for me. I hope I don’t offend anyone– but I think that Christianity is one of the worst things to have happened to the world. It’s such a do or die, my way or the highway, unforgiving institution. It’s a bully.
I must say that the worst case of disrespect and bigotry I’ve experienced has come from my husband’s family. They are an ultra-conservative Iowa farm family who has nothing to do with us because I am a “Witch”– I figure good for them, that’s one less holiday meal I’ll be responsible for. I don’t have to listen to my husband’s sisters-in-law whine, I don’t have to put up with his brothers’ moods and life goes on here in our little household with a peaceful grace.
I guess I’m comfortable with my path and with who I am, so much so that I don’t think about it all that much. I imagine, being raised in this house, that my children will be the same way.
To Whom It May Concern:
Publicly, you say all the right things; you display all the right images. You nurture a magickal persona, a nuance. You portray yourself as an authority on everything, and you have tricked other people into believing that you are just that. You act as an authority of steel that smacks down free thought for everyone but yourself…”My way is the only way.”…How many religions and cults and egotists have spouted those words?
At first I was charmed and awed by you, just as everyone else. But then I began to notice little chinks in the public persona, just little things at first, but enough to put a spark of doubt about you in my mind.
Then Jerry Falwell died and you posted a blog about his death.
As a pagan, he was about as far removed from my world and the spectrum of my spirituality as he could get. I didn’t pay any attention at all to this man—until he died and you posted that blog.
I was shocked.
The viciousness of your words, the complete lack of humanity was appalling. It was the epitome of bad taste and poor judgment and showed a complete lack of compassion for a fellow human being. It was vicious and mean. This blog grated against all the other quiet authoritarian, “wise woman”, sage words that you had posted before…and, as I rightly suspected, this was your real voice.
You slipped up here, exposing your real personality, if only briefly. But I knew it was only a matter of time until the artificial veneer that you nurture so carefully would crack, exposing the genuine ugliness that lay below.
Jerry Falwell? I didn’t know him, didn’t follow him, and probably would not have given his death a second thought—but then I read your blog.
Regardless of his religious beliefs or his politics…he was merely another human being among the millions on earth. He was a man slogging through life as we all are– rising to an alarm clock, driving through traffic, paying his taxes, brushing his teeth.
And then he died.
Now he was a man who would never hold his wife again, never dance at a grandchild’s wedding, never offer a comforting hug to his children, never watch a sunset, have coffee with a friend, or pet a dog. Strip away from him all the labels society placed upon him, and it simplifies things tremendously…
He was a man who died.
It’s Name is Fear
I can feel something lurking near me, something insidious and full of guile and malice. It’s a sheer white mist that has its origins deep within human minds, curling and twisting its way from eyes to arms to fingertips, to computer keys. It creeps like a fog, swirling around desks and keyboards, creeping around still bodies caught in rapt concentration, their faces illuminated by the screens before them.
And it speaks…”you can’t”, “you must”, “thou shalt”, “thou shalt not”, “you will be punished”, “you will be sorry”, “tremble before me”…
It is the ghost of Christianity wearing a cloak of narrow-mindedness. And slinking along close behind it is a twisted, ugly creature, its predatory eyes darting here and there, searching for prey. Its name is Fear.
Its eyes suddenly open wide in shock and recognition—there is a being too elusive for Fear to touch. It senses her very near now and a shiver runs through its crippled frame. He sees her then. She steps from the shadows of the trees, tall and proud, the soft breeze gently lifting her hair. A flicker of emotion changes Fear’s eyes for the briefest moment.
This being raises her arms, slowly spreading her hands, her fingertips. She empties her lungs and takes a deep breath and can instantly feel the tingling on the souls of her bare feet as the energy of the earth is drawn upward, into her body. It rises swiftly, coming faster and getting stronger until it makes the skin on her legs rise in goose flesh. It begins to rush upward, through her thighs and her pelvis, her torso. Her arms begin to tremble, her hands to shake—the energy overtakes her and she turns the palms of her hands toward Fear.
For a brief instant his grotesque, deformed face reflects his own persona…and then he disappears in a shattering of colored particles, dispersed in time and place.
The witch drops to her knees, overcome yet with the energy still coursing through her body. She gently places the palms of her hands flat on the ground and feels the release and rush as the energy returns from whence it came. Her shoulders slump and she sighs in relief.
It is done.