Ready are you? Guides, Mentors, Friends and Fellowship – Helping hands along the way.

After a lovely weekend with a dear friend, I’m reflecting on how valuable a group of people or an individual is for the development of creative and spiritual endeavours. 

During this past week, I’ve had valuable conversations with friends. I’ve sat in conversation with another dear one who apprentices me in ways of magic and life learning. And, as I work on my chapter outline for ‘Spirit Talk’, I was gifted a weekend with a dear friend who has just published her first book. We spent the time discussing ideas, growth points, vulnerabilities, dreams and enjoyments. It was a wealth of sharing, peer-support, friendship and mutual guidance. 

When I consider the richness of company I enjoy – a fellowship, if you like – I realise how fortunate I am to have people in my life who nurture, reflect and guide me in my personal, spiritual and creative life. And I feel the gift it is for me to participate in that role for others.

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The Fellowship of the Ring – a band of companions for a significant journey.

But this connection and guidance wasn’t always there. When I first entered into magical study and the Western Mysteries in Australia, I was quite isolated in these endeavours. And as these studies opened me up to Spirit and the inner planes, I had little support in understanding my experiences.

When Spirit and those Otherworld contacts began speaking with me, communicating teachings and intentions, well, that was outright unsettling. How could I be in relationship with the unseen, devote my time, energy, interest and indeed, my foreseeable future to the visions and directions Their communications were leading me when convention said that was wrong?

Convention said I must be mad. Fear said that path is too hard. Fear said that demands too much of me. I was yearning for it all to be true and yet terrified my experiences were real – because I would be called to act; then I would have to face what that meant; I would have a responsibility, a duty to follow through and to be guided, and I knew, ultimately, I would have to make visible the invisible and known the unknown, revealing myself as one who communed with the Otherworlds.

And yes, that terrified me.

Then, I couldn’t tell you why it scared me so, but it did. I know now that a fear of persecution, of ridicule, betrayal, torture and death was the hidden force behind my reluctance to BE one who mediates the physical and non physical worlds. One who is both bridge and seer.

But that is what I am, and to deny it is to deny my Self. To shun it is to love a lie and decay in unfulfilled potential; to make mockery of the soul plan I entered this life to live.

And so here I am today… dropping the mask, revealing my truth. It is what I hope for you too. It is all I hope for you. Drop the mask, and live your truth.

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Dropping the mask, revealing your truth.

I did not come to this state of acceptance alone – this living truth overnight. Ever, always, constant and never failing me, was Spirit and those of the Otherworlds and Inner Planes. And just as the inner realm is reflected in the outer, the physical world sent me people who taught me, helped me to understand my unfolding, guided me through healing, assisted me in very practical ways, until I was able to integrate, accept and then offer what I had learnt.

What I know now is that it is difficult to navigate creative, healing, spiritual and personal development alone. There are times when a person needs to share, to seek guidance, to have an affirming word spoken, to gain direction, to see familiarity in the other, to know she is not alone – or crazy!

It is in relationship with a mentor and guide or a friend who is able to hold space for you, reflect and advise when required that you are freer to simply allow and encourage your spiritual and personal progress.

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Calypso meets the young Telemachus while Athena, disguised as his older friend, Mentor, looks on.

‘Mentor’ comes from Homer’s Odyssey, wherein the Goddess Athena takes on the guise of Mentor, the trusted friend of Telemachus. As Mentor, Athena encourages Telemachus in his pursuits and plans. It is this guidance and the journey that Telemachus subsequently undertakes that gave ‘mentor’ it’s meaning today. 

Unlike in the Odyssey, today’s mentor is not a goddess or god. They are not better than you – often revealing their own frailties and flaws along the way – but they do have experience that qualifies them as teacher and guide. In this way, your progress is directed and nurtured until your readiness to take the lead changes the need for the mentor.

Of course, this relationship is not one-way. The guide or mentor learns through the process and this often informs the ongoing development of the their interests and path.

The guide and mentor will listen to where you want to go, outline a path of training, framework or guidance in order to reach your goal, and hold you in support as you journey the ofttimes challenging adventure of your development. And when you are ready, that person will ‘let go’ the reigns of teaching, stepping aside that you may walk confident in your understanding and unfoldment, having attained the desired outcome. And perhaps you too will go on to guide others. 

These days, my ‘fellowship’ of significant friends and individual mentors helps me to know myself better, and to gain knowledge in areas I’ve little gleaned. They help me to stay on track, to create frameworks to assist in my creative pursuits, to give feedback on my ideas, to critically assess my work, to listen to my concerns, my pains, to hold me in my changing and healing, to consistently stand steadfast all the while I grow into myself and reveal that Self in the world.

Their value to me cannot be measured. 

If you want change in your life, to pursue a creative idea, work towards the realisation of your goals or dreams, heal or you simply need short-term guidance, I encourage you to seek out a mentor or peer support.

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Reach for support.

You likely already have a few support people in your life. Often, there is one among those people, someone who plays a particular role in your life and who could easily slip into being a regular mentor. Sometimes, a friend or group of friends or peers can fulfil the purpose. You’ll know what is right for you.

I am convinced that if we want to drop our masks of convention, complacency and existence to embrace the vibration of our centre and soul’s evolution, we cannot do that alone. We need to be in relationship with mentors and guides – whatever form they take, the single Yoda or the Fellowship – to advance our intentions and to unfold our spirit.

It is with much heart gratitude that I give thanks for those in my life – physical and non-physical – who guide and nurture me. 

 

Taking off the Mask

This week has seen the turning of Beltane, the rich, wild, illuminating fires of seasonal shift in the planetary cycle of our beautiful hemisphere.

At this time, Edinburgh has a vibrant celebration at the top of Calton Hill. A few thousand people witness the Celtic carnival of summer’s emergence in a fire festival with the Green Man and May Queen. The bon fire at the end is exceptional, and to dance around it as the night gives way to the new morning, is a pulsing, trance-like experience of connection – with earth, elements, nature’s creatures, fey, people and self. 

Copyright Martin McCarthy for Beltane Fire Society.

This year, my own celebration took place with a group of 8 companions in the Scottish Borders. The theme of our gathering was Beltane Masks.

During the Saturday we contemplated what a mask is, what it serves, when do we wear them, and what would it be like to cast off our masks? 

Each of us decorated papier-mâché masks, having decided upon that aspect of our personality or habit we would like to change.

We had taken a journey on the inner through a maze of internal corridors to come face to face with our personal mirror. What we saw in the mirror ostensibly would reveal to us that which we wished to de-mask. 

I saw fear. And I felt courage. 

It wasn’t a general sort of fear, but fear linked to spiritual truth. And the feeling of courage, yearned to come out from behind the mask of silence and fear. 

Recently, it has occurred to me that my spiritual truths have changed or have been urging me to change and I have been resisting them. Like one of those pictures that you look at and see one thing, then shift perception and see another thing, I have been attempting to hold my perception in place so as to only acknowledge particular aspects. The others, which have crept up on me, relating to inner plane teachings and personal experiences, I have not wanted to acknowledge or integrate. 

How could I be a credible therapist while also speaking with Spirit, channelling teachings from the inner planes or using my advancing psychism, particularly when some of those teachings and experiences seem so ‘way out’ there? 

Even as I write, I smile to myself because of course, if I am not comfortable with my spiritual truths, how can I expect to help others come to understand and develop their own spiritual experiences?  

And you might say, yes, but Karolyne, I’ve had sessions with you, and all of this has been part of our time together, and I’ve been able to express my own ‘way out’ beliefs too. And of course, that is all true.

I guess, I am thinking specifically about my writing, and more specifically about a book I am writing – Spirit Talk. A friend asked me the other day – what is it that is served by me stalling my writing? It came to me that by putting off writing, I am protecting myself from being judged. If I’m not judged, I won’t look ‘crazy’ or strange or incompetent.

Fear.

IMG_5207So after I had painted my mask – with Eyes of Horus, for my inner plane contact, with a division down the middle for being torn in two, with a closed mouth for silence and a pretty look for hiding – I took such great delight to dance around the Beltane fire with my companions and to throw that mask into the flames!

Of course, it’s not enough, just to recognise the mask and to cast it off in such a ritual; the next step is likely the most important, and that is to move in the direction that the mask was inhibiting.

So my work now is to write every day – to get that book written – and more, to increasingly incorporate my spiritual truths in my language, conversations, behaviours and work, where applicable.

I wonder if you can think of a mask that you wear? Like most of us, probably more than one. Maybe it is a mask worn through fear or for safety, to fit in, to please, to hide, to mirror another, perform a behaviour that you’d rather not or any other reason…

What would it be like to remove that mask?

And what needs to change in your life to help you remove that mask? I’m interested to know. If this blogs prompts some thought, drop me a line. 

What would your life be like free of that mask?

‘Tear off the mask, your face is glorious’ – Rumi

Beltane Fire Festival Photo by Martin McCarthy.