Taking Advice From the Dead

A previous version of this post appeared on my Patreon blog.

I’ve mentioned before in other venues that I maintain an ancestor altar, that it’s a big part of my practice (including my first line of defense), and that among other things I keep a Tarot of the Dead on it which I use to communicate with said ancestors.  In a crisis they are full of practical advice; other times they lean to the snarky.  (They are my relatives, after all…)  One of my yearly Samhain readings basically said, “You don’t call us enough…”

A while ago, I sought advice on why I felt stuck, spiritually speaking.  I am an initiate of Amderson Faery which I taught for ten years.  I have published academic papers on Southern folk magic, and taught workshops all over the Southeastern US and in Scotland. I have been a professional psychic for many years. But I felt blocked and I felt blah and the fun had gone out of a lot of it.  What should I do?

The reading said in essence that I had become lazy and complacent, that I was too comfortable in the areas where I felt knowledgeable, and that I should learn something new.  (One of the ways you know a communication is for real is when it’s abundantly clear that your ego is NOT doing the talking…)

It so happens that I have…a LOT of books, especially Pagany books on various subjects.  Many books.  Many, many books.  So many books that they are the biggest pain in the ass when I move, EVEN THOUGH I have heavy inherited antiques.  Like every other academically inclined nerd, I’ve bought books on various topics for reference or because I was interested in them but never really read them; quite a few are on ceremonial magic and the grimoire tradition, those being subjects I know something about but don’t practice or know much about in depth.  Would those do?  Yes…

So I started working my way though Donald Michael Kraig’s Modern Magick.  And got kind of bored, but stuck it out.  Then I started reading Jake Stratton-Kent’s Encyclopedia Goetia….and that’s how I wound up with more books, some of which I checked out from the UGA Library, and puzzling my way through some spells in the Greek Papyri which feel strangely familiar.

The moral of this story is mostly that books lead to more books, at least if you’re me.  And, importantly, that it worked.  I don’t feel stuck any more.  Things are shifting for me in interesting ways.  What am I going to do next?  I guess we’ll find out….

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