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Death, from the 1911 Tarot deck by Pamela Colm...

Key XIII | Image via Wikipedia

In the middle of meditation on this weeks Tarot spread, contemplating Death, I received nine calls to ask for distance healing. A friend has been in an accident, her car is totaled, and tho she is OK, I think we’re all shaken.

My lesson seems to be to listen to my quiet voice. During my meditation I kept receiving an image of female, and feeling death. I didn’t want to pull other cards, for a minute I had to focus in on that image.

While I was meditating there was a faint buzzing. Below on the street was parked a truck, humming a long but the quiet voice kept saying “answer the phone.”

I didn’t hear my phone.

Dogs start barking. SHHH! Something outside the door.

OKAY OKAY! I’m getting out of meditation I’m going to the phone!

I must seem like a brat to the spirits, hard-headed, and hard of hearing. I did get the call. I did learn about the accident. I did spend the rest of my morning sending Reiki-Earth-Healing energy.

Anyway, that made me look critically at the cards. As is the usual I opened myself to the message, may it be revealed safely, clearly, and with ease…

Tarot Weekly

October 25th – 31st.

A few things to consider this week as we look at the cards. It is Samhain, a time of looking to the future, parting the veil, honoring our ancestors and guardian spirits. A time of endings, insights, communion, and bonds with our spirit allies, families and history.

A good read to go along with the weekly is the Temple Bell, Samhain 2010, Temple of Witchcraft. Among the many interesting things in this issue is an article, Honoring the Ancestors. Steve Kenson (Minister, Temple of Gemini) talks about spirits like the Hidden Company, our ancestors of Blood, and Kindred Spirits, or cultural ancestors.

You can download a copy of the Temple Bell, here.

As I said, this week’s card is Key XIII, Death. The theme is then surrounded by four cards, made up mostly of swords: Queen of Swords; Four of Swords (R); Knight of Swords (R); Page of Wands.

Animal Spirit: Raven.

Death | Old Hood

Fortunately for us there are no opposing or reinforcing cards for Key XIII this week. That leaves us with the Energy of Transition / Transformation / Initiation. One part dies, another awakens. This process is inevitable and so you can approach it with a sense of magick and spirit… or be tugged down the path kicking and screaming. Either way you enter the portal and make your way from one life to another.

And that’s the thing about death isn’t it? “This to shall pass” and  so we shall go through the gate. Do you approach it as an Initiate, or do you return to it like a child, as you came in, screaming and crying?

Though this isn’t an actual death, I believe in the message of dignity, mystery, and reverence.

The Raven

I summon up the animal spirit because, where there be death, there be ravens! The Raven personifies the powers of the underworld, the ability to take the passage into the mysteries and return from the darkest depths with new knowledge and power.

Symbol of protection, healing, and initiation, and often death itself usually with many negative, cultural, connotations.

Raven creates the world

“A raven story from the Puget Sound region describes the “Raven” as having originally lived in the land of spirits (literally bird land) that existed before the world of humans. One day the Raven became so bored with bird land that he flew away, carrying a stone in his beak. When the Raven became tired of carrying the stone and dropped it, the stone fell into the ocean and expanded until it formed the firmament on which humans now live.”


Minor Arcana

Queen of Swords, she faces the truth, logically, direct and the point, she asks us to be clear and to see.

Her mind is sharp, honed over many years, like a sword it cuts through the bullshit to reach the heart of the matter. The truth. Righted she is in power, with a keen and agile mind. She IS the power of the owl in this instance. Her power can take you directly to the heart of the truth.

What perception does she wield. Is this you and your penetrating mind, or a woman of authority in your life who is showing you the way to see through to the mysteries? She sits in the Northern Quarter of the spread, representing Earth.

Four of Swords (R), lies in unrest, placed in the Eastern Quarter of the spread, place of Fire. These four swords council rest, to take a moment and breathe. The power of fire should be kindled and used to review, like a torch, let the light be your guide into deeper parts of self, exploration, or inquiry into your journey at this time.

Investigate your drive, re-fuel, then get back to moving with focus and direction. Watch for isolation tendencies, you may need company / help along the way.

Knight of Swords (R), charges through in the South, place of air, where we would expect to find harmony in the element and card, reenforcing the message.

What are you so impassioned to change? What is the reason? Has passion carried away logic? Where is discernment? Alternatively, are you being a slug, so overtaken by the power of something (your idea of it) that you just don’t wish to take up the sword and carry forward because of the work it will entail?

Be on guard, review sources of information, check yourself. Carry on.

Page of Wands, In the Western Quarter stands the Page of Wands. There is inspiration in how you feel, or better yet, creative energy in inspiration via an emotional outlet or connection.

Feel for the juice! The Passion for life. A new approach, wonder, or someone who invites you to play, to lighten up, to have some fun.

Bringing it together and what do you get?


Here’s hoping you have a wonderful holiday! I’ll be out and about, dressed in bones. Be safe. Be merry. Get wild!

– –
Be well,

Scott K Smith

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These are my thoughts, sketchy they may be, but I’ve stripped myself of the journal and I’m doing my best to post my thoughts to The Journey. If you are joining me now at this point this may sound like gobbly-guck but I’ve been working at these things for over three years now, dedicated to reclaiming my magickal path. Follow along, chirp in as you feel, please don’t hesitate to contribute. (I will douse “flames” and kick trolls in a heartbeat. 🙂 )

As I’ve been told, so I am thinking, that I know this work: Shamanism for the self, for the work I do.

I’ve read through the Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft off an on, between the book review, art, and work. I have to say that I have found a lot of useful information, knowledge that fills in the gaps in what I know. I’ve had great conversation here on The Journey, at and with friends and a few fellow magickal folk.

Today as I read through much of the book, I realized that I do know this material, in part by practice (interpreted) and in part by… well I don’t know but I know it. Thinking this brings me back to my first Re-dedication ritual where I met much of what shaped my path today. In that first re-dedication I experienced the following:

After a ritual cleansing and consecration of my self, body, mind, and spirit, in the Inner Temple, I found a doorway just beyond the temple. A passage to a hill marked with stones, much like Stonehenge, and there by a fire in the center sat two deities: an Earth Mother (Gaia-like) and a horned God.

I spoke my intentions to them to re-dedicate myself to my path. I spoke my intention aloud and waited for their answer amidst the stones. There under the moon, within my sacred space, the God brought forward a host of voices. Spirits. It is hard to describe this moment… It was as if the cry of a thousand healers, witches, medicine people and folk passed through me. I cannot say how long  I was in this place but I felt the memory pass knowledge and history to me. There is no time or space to detail it all to you now. I don’t know that I could, but I had a grounded sense of all that passed into me, settled into the blood and bone of myself.

There was anger, hurt, torture and death. There was also a gathered sense of purpose, as if I gifted with something important, the role and title of Witch. In that moment I was both humbled and honored. I wrote in my journal that it was a lot like a massive download of information and feeling, compacted into moments.

When I came out of this Initiation it was as if my brow was alight with a flaming pentagram that wreathed my head in light and fire. My arms emblazoned with bracers, etched in knots and more pentacles, aflame. Ah but so were my legs in old world bracers as well, adorned the same.

I was alight!

Since that time so much has changed (significantly) and often “information” just pops in. Remembering what I have not recalled in some time, or before in this lifetime.

It’s an honest journal entry and I feel I have to spell it out. I’m about to complete my Shamanic initiation / re-dedication. For me it is an attument to water but other elements come into play, ideas, images, and notations that I have to scribble down for myself so that I gather what I need before I pass through the vortex of this door.

Some of these ideas are tools.

I don’t have a cauldron. Yes, smack me. “What sort of Witch are you???” But really I have used cups, vessels, “lota’s” and pottery. Until now the use of this elemental tool has seemed strange, or replaceable with substitutes. At this point I cannot see how I can continue with this underworld symbol.

Other things have popped in as well, things to do, things to find, and this is my laundry list of items and tasks to bring together before I do the next re-dedication:

  1. Cauldron: as I said this seems (now) vital in its purpose, use, and significance. No more kitchen bowls. Yes, my dear cooking pots, you will be spared the flames of rights, I will now seek out a cauldron.
  2. Spirit Relationships: I felt that I was covering this pretty well. I’m a daily ritual person in the morning where I say hello to the four directions and my guardians, guides, and the avatar’s of the directions. Including the guides that are with me beyond the four corners. I am drawn to strengthen these ties, this family of spirits around me. I’m thinking the following:
    1. Journey work to each guardian for insight. I will detail as I can.
    2. A symbolic tool associated with each totem, tether, or object that represents each force, gathered together in a bag and ritually blessed. There is memory niggling at me. I gave away a bag like this a long time ago, when I had no boundary, when I was young. It’s time to reclaim that power and strengthen these ties.
    3. Shield: Highlighted at the end of the book is the instructions to build a shield, detailed with representations of your spiritual allies. Artist aside, I’m drawn towards the making of this spirit shield. (To be made after I do the journey work).
  3. I need to connect with a group. That’s a bit of a challenge for me at this phase because I’m following the course of my path and I’m not a traditionalist in any sense of the word… tho  I have deep reservations about a lot of the “eclectic” groups out there, mostly because I’m a solitary Witch. Yet the call is there.

Writing out these thoughts is helpful but also important. I’ve challenged myself to come out as much as possible here at The Journey, to bring you along on my quest. I hope to detail each of these experiences and my eventual re-dedication before moving onto the next three attunements.

In the bigger picture I feel that this work brings more to my goal, the purpose of the site and my work, to serve, to create, to make.

Thoughts, ideas, advise? I know I have some good loving connections out there, wise and chatty. Hit me up.

Be well,


If you are just joining me in these posts you can catch up on the chapter-by-chapter book review of Awakening to the spirit world through these posts:

Experiential Work With Death & Dying | All Change Involves a Death

First the technical and then the personal. I put these two chapters together. As an after thought, I feel that I should have put all three chapters on Death together, but maybe the acceptance and understanding I have of the passage is a bit more “accepting” than others. I’m doing my best not to condense down the subject and breeze through it.

These two chapters contain a lot of personal experience, and sections about:

  • There are No Unfinished Conversations
  • Soul Stealing (about forgiveness)
    • Exercise: Creating Closure
  • Saying Goodbye
  • Recapitulation
  • Granting Permission to Die
  • All God’s Creatures Grieve
  • All Change involves Death
  • Dismemberment as an Initiatory Journey
    • A Journey for Dismemberment
    • Erasing Personal History

In and throughout the stories and exercises in these two chapters are guidelines for helping others to cope with Death. For the self, the parent, and those in need. The second chapter covers more initiatory processes and how we, encountering life or visionary happenings can potentially be transformative from a shamanic or mythological sense.

I think that the authors have done well in this.

As I said I have tried not to gloss over the subject, and not for any reason other than my personal experience in the last 4 or so years has been heavily washed with the passage of family, and a psychological erosion of a youth’s belief in physical immortality by the nature of life’s entropic (physical) journey.

We die. All of us. You will die. I have to say it because I need to remind myself that in time I will. It’s not a constant awareness, but it is there, hovering near, when I heal, hurt, wake, eat, and go about doing. It is something we can or cannot accept, true ,but eventually we end up there whether we accept it or not.

That’s why it is important to know it, say it, accept it. I’m not advocating running around depressed, or in fear, actually I find that by living in a process of accepting Death, there is liberation from a lot of psychological snags. Tho I do believe that my essential self (soul, what have you) may continue on is some form, and I believe that meditation and self-discovery help you to connect with that true being, it doesn’t mean I don’t feel some natural instinct to keep, continue, and create. I am not sitting around planning my funeral, bemoaning my fate, but I am also blessed with health, job, home, and love. I could be much “worse off” compared to many millions of people, and I count that as a blessing.

What does strike me is that many people do not accept this fate. It is a destination yet not a goal, it’s as if Death is a demise, or punishment. Tormented with sorrow, anguish, fear, anger, and so many other mind-traps that throughout history we have needed those who know Death near us when it too becomes our time for passage into that otherness, whatever it ultimately my be. And because it Death perceived is a punishment, we have states in our own country where you forced into dying, in accordance to the law.

Death has become reviled. It’s so terrible, it is the greatest punishment… Where did we go wrong in our understanding?

It’s thoughts like these that drive me to the point that (I think) Sandra & Hank are making: There needs to be a personal re-address of the dying process and Death. A look at first realistic and then metaphysical in the sense of our relationship to ourself and those that have/are passing, and then the greater relationship to the bigger circle of living that we are part of.

Spiritual systems abound, throughout our history from small tribes to the great ethnic groups of human kind, that express an after to what we are living now. There are many similarities in myth, legend, story, and personal experience that tell us we are part of something greater and into the greatness we go when we expire. It is fundamental to most of us (some people believe we live and die, and once dead nothing more) to prove a link at some point in our life with that other world in whatever shape that takes hold of us.

When my grandfather passed away I knew, almost to the minute, even though I was hundreds of miles away. I felt a presence. There was a whiff of Old Spice and a splash of motor oil. I was sitting at my office desk, the door was closed. His memory, smell, and spirit was there in the light before me. Saying goodbye.

At a much younger age when one of my dogs died, we lived apart at that point, I had a dream she was across a vast chasm from me. Kahlua, my dog, was on one peak and I on another. She was barking and wagging her tail at me. I called her name over and over.

The next day, my mother called to let me know she passed away.

When my boyfriend Sean took is own life, I woke to see a light in my room and someone standing in it, waving. I woke. Smiled and waved. I honestly thought it was a Guide. The next day I began to receive calls…

My great-aunt and her funeral. The spirits in our various houses. “Ghost stories”, near death experiences, encounters. We go somewhere. We become something else. We meet that greatness.

“There is nothing to fear”, as they say, “but fear itself” and when we release that fear we enter a new life. It is part of living to know this. A shamanic perspective is but one way in which we can find the Sacredness and Grace that is helpful to meet it, to complete the circle. We can aid that sacred moment through paths as described in these chapters: Conversation. Forgiveness. Acceptance. Understanding. Connecting. It is one of our task while living.

We can find it in our spirituality, yes, but ultimately we make these graces within ourself.

I hope that this finds you well.

– – –
Be well,

Scott K Smith

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Mid-click I hit a block in journaling… last week. I think I needed a  break from blogging and writing. One can only output so many thoughts into page. My brain may be a lightening storm of thoughts in which I fully enjoy getting wet and shocked in, but I have to seek some shelter every now and then.

Personally I think it’s good to live from the neck down every now and then. It is a return to the joy of childhood and ecstatic experience that get us out of our own heads and into the bigger mind, the minds of others, the shared laughter.

Last week, post re-dedication, I had a few psychedelic days where it appeared that I was behind and beneath everything that I was seeing. Sort of like Neo at the end of the movie Matrix, except I wasn’t jumping through computerized cyber men or flying through the air. It was a rich moment of disconnected realization that my thoughts and our shared thoughts were really Maya or Holographic. Yep, pretty neat. I really challenged myself to remember my magickal tools. I can see how some people could go a little crazy in these open spaces of reality.

I had to ask, “Am I loosing it?”

I really questioned everything in this wide lens perspective because even in my most lucid moments I don’t think I had ever felt this awake before. I emailed a few people in my inner circle about the experience and sent another to a teacher/brother/friend about the actual events leading up to the “Am I loosing my mind” bit.

Followed with, “If found please call…”

Much like any passage there are a few days of intense high and then one comes back to the reality as presented and I would hope, changed. Still “self”, but with a twist. *wink*

Life and all things in it are colored differently and there are only so many rites of passage that can really dilate our minds so open that we are forever changed by the bigger picture. I think to myself, must be something akin to childbirth. You see it in the face. That once friend, now a mother, and she knows it. Transformational.

What happens after is part intuitive and we say oh I do know this and the rest (to over simplify) if the passage was without any error drops us through a door. The Fool, in the same place but everything is different because he or she is different. And that’s “the Journey.”

So… questioning reality, sanity, me. And then I come down, relatively speaking. I’m still a bit loose up there. *thunk head, listen for rattle.* Then I start to get some relay. Information that had been received not only proved to be correct but dam accurate. Did I get better at this or just clearer?


Sentiments like, “the Truth is apparent if you open your eyes” had new meaning. They were not just words or regurgitated info that I had picked up in all this mess. No it was like being a kid again and telling my mom what people were REALLY saying.

No, better.

It was me standing in my work space, which has a great crystal grid by the way, and really seeing how everyone interacts. Who they portray and / or versus / who they are. To make these lucid moments even more interesting? LOL yeah… It was like a great big mirror as well.

In that situation, and being in that situation more often then not (now), I am becoming more comfortable.

I don’t know how it is for some of the people around me and I’m afraid to ask, fearing it might be one of those United States of Tara “Family Meetings” where everyone sits down and recounts my creepy moments. Ha. Ha. Ha. Regardless, I’m prepared. I have a camera and notepad with me and I’m ready to snap or scribble. Documentation is my friend. *Smile*

I’m kidding around, for the most part because the perspective is coming from a new place and I’m learning my way through. Keep that in mind if you see me staring strangely in the next few weeks.

Scott K Smith

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“We all have a special responsibility to help create a better world, because material progress alone is clearly insufficient for a happier human society. No one loses, and everyone gains by a shared universal sense of responsibility to this planet and all living things on it.”

-His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet.

The following images are from my re-dedication ceremony / initiation back to my path.

“The Flame of Gods”

My Altar at the Time of my dedication… I love how the light came out in this capture. The way that mobile phones can undo a photo is just lovely sometimes. Somehow more interesting.

“Intentions to the Gods (1)”

As part of my re-dedication, I gave my intentions up to the Universe… It burned, neatly, into this pillar of ash. The flames burned slow, lightly, the fire did not rage…. it was like a ring of fire that crept down the year old piece of parchment and into the salt and blessed oils.

“Intentions to the Gods (2)”

With a final burst the fire erupted and the pillar of ash, the remnants of the intention parchment fell to dust, WILL becomes energy, winged on flames.

The whole 3 hour event was tremendous. I had been preparing for this initiation for a week, and meditating in preparation for two days. That morning I cleansed the house, bathed and cleansed myself. Journeyed inward, set myself into center and followed through with the re-dedication. It was “magickal” to say the least… And most was for my eyes only as I was guided through the inward path. 🙂

I feel like my crown is wreathed in flame, my wrists in bracers of gold and my fear of spiders has dissolved. I am a creator, a builder, a weaver, a homemaker, a lover… A Witch and healer.

With a happy heart,

Scott K Smith

Blessings and beginnings…

A year of blossoms, a year of fulfillment. That is the tone I feel for the year, a bit late in the coming but I guess that everything has it’s time.

Last year I started as study, a re-introduction to Magick, which was really a path to a big ol’ hug and kiss with the earth, my divinities, and my path. It has been a great reunion. I’m a little over my Year and a Day but I feel the timing is right… I am gathering myself and planning my re-dedication to the path. A journey, of many, that has taken me back to center and from my center to all things; most importantly, living authentically the life that I create. That I have purpose, and it is more than my self. More even! Yes, because I realize that my gifts are not “gifts” unless they are given. 🙂

One can forget that but there are always opportunities to get back into the giving place.

So I gear up for my initiation and reflect about the last 360-something days. Those that have passed and those still to come. I ask myself, “Am I ready?” and I answer back, “I have always been.” It’s a funny knowing.

The year to come seems “different” for me in many ways. I can feel another flavor. I consider influences: energetic, social, political, and the earth. It (all of it) feels like things are coming into harmony, conjunction, for myself. Of course this is my perspective and as the co-creating demonstrates, that is then the reality that I enter.

The Principle embodies the truth that ‘All is Mind.

“It explains that The All (which is the Substantial Reality underlying all the outward manifestations and appearances which we know under the terms of ‘The Material Universe’; the ‘Phenomena of Life’, ‘Matter’, ‘Energy’, and in short, all that is apparent to our material senses) is spirit which in itself is knowable and undefinable, but which may be considered and thought of as an universal, infinite, living mind.”

(Ref you can download, Kybalion, “All is Mind”).

The new year, this year, feels to me to be fragrant and opening, thus the name a year of blossoms. A year of fulfillment. When that which I have worked so hard on, pressed for, given some due diligence is given some form, made real. When all that I… that WE have sought to nurture from seed and root, through greening times, finally come to bud and opens up. For us this is the year of smelling the sweet fragrance of success in our personal growth projects.

For us.

I can feel it vibrating, resonating with the vernal energies awakening around the hemisphere. Gods and Goddesses, wheels of life, archetypes of growth. Splendor in the grass.

Here me Asasa Ya. Saraswati. Eostre. Pan. Priapus. Osiris! *laughing* I feel the blooming, the rising tides, the opening, and the gateway. I feel the revelry, maturing wealth and this we call bounty in stability. Fecund! This is going to be a year of reaping and I hope you join me in my celebration of gratitude.

I know more than a few of you creatives, who have been busting your butt on a long term project. I hear you. I know. Like me. I know some of you have been seeking that resolution, a path in our out, and I think that if you spend the time to get in touch with Nature. YOUR nature. Through that inner feeling (path), the metaphysical universe that is speaking back to us and you can hear it. I think, yes, you will wills see things resolved. It’s within you. Like me, yes you will too.

Maybe you could even celebrate the blooms before they bud. You know, a ritual of thanks giving. Giving gratitude for life and living puts us in a place of “have”. Abundance. It brings the blessing of gratitude into your circle and acknowledges the fulfillment of that manifestation by responding to the reality with, “that which you with to manifest, can and IS manifest. Here and Now.”

Maybe it is jsut time to feel that joy for what you have.

Scott K Smith


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