Articles/Essays From Pagans
January 10th. 2017 ...
The Gray of 'Tween
Becoming a Sacred Dancer
Little Dog, Big Love
December 9th. 2016 ...
A Child's First Yule
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)
October 10th. 2016 ...
Witchcraft from the Outside
September 11th. 2016 ...
How Did I Get Here? (My Pagan Journey)
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
September 3rd. 2016 ...
Rethinking Heaven: What Happens When We Die?
What is Happening in My Psychic Reading?
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
An Open Mind and Heart
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
June 13th. 2016 ...
Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
How to Bond with the Elements through Magick
Magical Household Cleaning
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity
Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected
The Fear of Witchcraft
Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele
Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess
Magic in Sentences
The Evolution of Thought Forms
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion
Spring Has Sprung!
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Energy and Karma
Community and Perception
December 20th. 2015 ...
Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
Native American Spirituality Myopia
A Dream Message
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?
Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism
I Claim Cronehood
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
The Gods of My Heart
January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
Pagans All Around Us
Broomstick to the Emerald City
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
What Guardian Spirit?
Article ID: 13156
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,888
Times Read: 2,629
RSS Views: 57,424
Author: Janice Van Cleve
Posted: February 22nd. 2009
Times Viewed: 2,629
David Spangler – noted author, lecturer, theosophist, and thinker – spoke recently about what he called the “Second Ecology.” By this he meant the spirit world that together with our physical world makes up the total being we call Gaia. He said that this second ecology is inhabited by species of spirits, which are interactive and collaborative states of consciousness.
Our human language cannot really define them, yet they reflect the energies projected onto them. It’s like the Goethe quote about making a commitment and the universe seems to respond to it. Spangler’s goal is to create harmonious mindfulness between the two ecologies. Interesting stuff, until he said he had achieved interaction with one of these spirits and he calls him “John.”
That’s where I decided to get off the train.
Lots of people talk about guardian angels, totem animals, benevolent spirit guides and the like and I am sure they are quite sincere. It’s none of my business to question their beliefs but the notion of spirits with personalities just doesn’t fly for me. If I ever did have a guardian angel, she sped off in leather chaps on her Harley a long time ago.
I have not had much luck with totem animals, either. I remember once at a Hecate Sickle festival sponsored by the Aquarian Tabernacle Church, we were assigned to clan families. Each family had a totem animal. I was assigned to salamander clan. I really tried to get into salamander. I wondered what a salamander thought about or if it had feelings. I even made “squiggle, squiggle, squiggle” noises with the rest of my clan. It didn’t work. I knew then that salamander was not my guardian spirit.
Butterflies offered a possibility. I am a Gemini and I do flit and flutter from one thing to another. I like pretty flowers and I can leave a very light footprint when I want. I am also a warrior type and in the legends of the Maya and the Aztecs, the souls of warriors who died in battle returned as butterflies. But I am much more solid and permanent than a butterfly and I like the gray and cold. So butterflies didn’t work either.
Some folks look to ancestors for their guardian spirits. Ancestors have the advantage of blood relationship and past experience. They have lived life and they have the t-shirt to prove it. This was no help to me, though, because I broke with my FOO (Family Of Origin) a thousand years ago, or so it seems. I have no connections with that past nor am I attached to ideas of ghosts, reincarnation, or an afterlife. So much for ancestors.
Many of my witch friends have a familiar, usually a cat. I don’t have any pets. All I’ve got are these geraniums. They seem happy enough, as geraniums go, but I can’t say I have any spiritual connection to them and I certainly don’t think I could count on them to help me in a pinch. So where’s a girl to turn for a guardian spirit?
I went to a women’s conference where a series of workshops was being offered. One workshop was a trance journey into the Other World to find our guardian spirits. I wasn’t having much luck finding one in this world, so I decided to give it a try. Maybe on a non-intellectual level I could find a guardian spirit to whom I could feel a genuine connection. This is what happened, exactly as I wrote it right after the experience:
There I sat on the carpet, my back up against the concrete block wall. It was too warm in the art room but it is always too warm in the art room. To my left was a woman I had met before, although exactly where I could not recall. To my right was a young woman who seemed very into this trance stuff and who talked in husky whispers. There were other women in the room, maybe twenty in all, sitting up or lying on the floor. The trance leader had asked us to get comfortable and there were few inhibitions in this crowd about doing just that.
The leader started a slow, rhythmic drumbeat. The drum was a djembe, an hourglass shaped form with a taut membrane over one end and a hole in the other end. It hung by a strap from her shoulder. She walked around the room, telling us to breathe in and breath out, keeping time on the djembe. We closed our eyes and I took the hand of the woman to my right.
“We are going on a journey, ” she said. Yeah, right, I said silently to myself. I’d been to sessions like this before. The only journeys I go on are through the Internet or out to meetings. “We are crossing the street to enter the park. We come to a large, old gnarled tree with an ancient wound in its side. The wound is now grown over by bark to create two vertical lips, not unlike a yoni.” My mental conversation continued. I said I’d give this a try, so I guess I can stay here until the featured speaker comes in tonight.
The woman I am holding hands with is really very attractive. Maybe we can go out for coffee together afterwards. “We hug the tree and send it our love. The tree groans and opens its lips. We step inside and climb down the ladder to a large room in the tree’s base. It opens to a dirt path through a sunlit forest.” I say to myself that I hope nobody saw me hugging that tree in the park. They’d think I’m nuts. This ladder is muddy with footprints, too. I reach the chamber at the bottom and see the others are already starting down the path.
“Hey, wait for me!”, I cry out, and suddenly some brain cell in my head tells me that I must have entered the trance a couple of drumbeats back there. Sun flows easily through the alder canopy to the rhododendrons that line the path. We come to a grassy clearing through which twines a bubbling brook.
“As you stand on the bank, ” the trance leader’s voice murmurs far off but yet in steady rhythm with the djembe, “you see guardian spirits emerge from the forest beyond. Some are animals and some are ancestors. When yours comes for you, take its hand and step over the brook. They will guide you and protect you on your journey.”
One by one I see mountain lions, bears, snakes, owls, grandmothers, fairies, and crones emerge from the dark woods beyond the clearing and find the woman for whom they had come. One by one I see my sisters from the art room take the helping hands, or paws, step over the brook, and go together with their guardians into the dark woods. I wait.
No guardian comes for me. I wait some more. Finally I am the only one left.
I realize then, with a bit of sadness, that no one would ever come for me. So I jump across the brook and walk into the forbidding woods alone.
The trees here are black and bare. What few leaves cling to their ragged branches are a cold gray-green metallic shade and the only light that penetrates at all is a pale olive color which casts a pallid hue over everything. The trail twists over and around gnarly roots and muddy puddles. More than once I think of Bilbo and the dwarves creeping through the matted tangles of Mirkwood. I try to catch up with the others, but always I trip and fall or, frightened, hesitate before pushing on. “You have come to the lair of Spider Woman, ” intones the trance leader. Obviously she is talking to those ahead of me but already I begin to see silky filaments stringing from tree to tree.
I round a corner and fall backward in shock. There before my eyes is the hungry maw of the Spider Woman’s whorl. A huge nest of densely woven gauze gobbles up the trail in its funnel. The sticky tunnel is anything but inanimate. It pulses and sucks. Its cold breath chills me even as its magnetic attraction draws me in. I am scared and totally alone, but I surrender. I let go my fears and allow myself to be pulled into the black void.
It seems to have no end, yet, just as I get to the part where the passage is so tight that I have to stoop to pass through, it opens to a chamber – and there she is! Spider Woman. Arachnid Queen. Before I can squeal or run, she freezes me to the spot with her multi-eyed gaze. How long I remain transfixed there I cannot say. What I can say is that I felt an overwhelming warmth and love coming from her. Not only does it come from her, but it is directed solely to me and is meant for me. Whatever emptiness I felt alone on the trail outside is more than filled by the pure, fully satisfying love that is pouring into me in that dark queen’s nest.
When or how I emerged from that place I do not know, but I do know it is not by the route I took to get in. The first thing I recognize is the field with the brook running through it and I hear the trance leader tell us to bid our guardian spirits farewell. The other women are hugging their guardians and waving goodbye. I am in a magical fog all my own and I notice them only peripherally.
I slog through the water by myself and march my way back to the rhododendrons. The ladder inside the old tree’s trunk is still muddy. I am the last one up and the groaning tree seals its opening behind us as we cross the street. “Breathe in, ” coaches the trance leader, “and breathe out. You may open your eyes when you are ready.”
We came back into our bodies with tears rolling down our cheeks. First the woman on the left hugged me and then the one whose hand was still in mine. Obviously all of us had been very much moved by this experience. Even now as I recall it many years later it is as vivid as if it had just happened.
I’ve often seen that old tree in the park and patted its scabby trunk. It does indeed have a large yoni shaped wound on one side. I thank it for being part of that subliminal exercise so long ago. If that was a spiritual experience – if I did walk in the second ecology for a time – so be it. Yet I walked there alone with no guardian spirit to assist me and I found no personality to which I could attach a name.
Janice Van Cleve is a writer who walks alone. Spider Woman loves her just the way she is. Copyright 2009.
Janice Van Cleve
Location: Seattle, Washington
Author's Profile: To learn more about Janice Van Cleve - Click HERE
Other Articles: Janice Van Cleve has posted 29 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Janice Van Cleve... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2017 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).