Spiritual Tools and Forging Your Own Meaning
Not everyone keeps a Book of Shadows in the “traditional” way. You know, the hardback tome of paper, perhaps even wrapped in some kind of animal hide or decorated with all sorts of magickal symbols.
In my guest room, affectionately known as “Brian’s Room” because of his extended summer stays, I have a huge library of esoteric books. Actually, these are the books I have left after giving away more than half of the books in the room because I didn’t have enough shelves to store them. The books that remain are rare books from over 100 years ago, metaphysical books, scholarly books on psychology and history, and some things that can’t possibly be categorized. There’s also a small collection of blank books I filled in over the years when I carried a journal with me in my job as my “CYA book.”
I was asked if my Book of Shadows was kept somewhere hidden in that room. Well, no. I don’t have the traditional BOS to record my spiritual insights. A BOS might make perfect sense to someone who rarely sets pen to paper, but for me, as a writer, I’d easily have at least 30 of the traditional BOS-type volumes by now.
My solution is different. I blog my BOS, essentially. It’s here (and previously in the Supergirl@40 blog) that I plumb the depths of Life’s lessons, good and bad, and describe the epiphanies. I share them because it’s part of my life purpose to share my experiences, and because so often, I receive many, many emails telling me how Spirit was certainly working overtime that day because my blog had exactly the spiritual answer the reader was looking for. I write about my family and my life openly, because I insist on walking in truth, with nothing to hide. I write about my friends, my circle, my coworkers, my neighbors–though I use nicknames like Luna, Aquarius Girl, Ten of Pents, ObiWan, Yoda, etc, to hide their identities, which only those closest to me or who are in my home on a regular basis would recognize—and they usually already know first-hand the story I’m telling.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned through sharing my BOS-slash-journal is how much we are all alike underneath. Readers frequently tell me that they’re living the same situation and joke that I must be writing about them because they’re so amazed at the commonality. If nothing else proves to you the Law of One, the universality of the human experience should.
But there’s something more I had not realized: my blog is often used as a spiritual tool, just as surely as Tarot cards, deep inquiry of prayer, meditation, and various forms of divination. Some people see my posts as cryptic, applying to some mystery in my own life that makes no sense to them, but the majority interpret my words through the lens of their own situation, giving them meaning where there was none or meaning that has nothing to do with my reality at all. They’re looking for confirmation of what they believe or want to believe and my words can be shaped into that for them, just as reading Tarot cards and looking for confirmation of a particular path or future will often find it there. Sometimes a second read of my post would contradict their interpretation, or there are contradictions blatantly on the same page, but it doesn’t matter.
For example, with the photo to the right (click on it for larger version), it’s been interpretted in lots of different ways–everything from the chains of oppression we carry to BDSM to Initiation to the 8 of Swords card to the current state of the economy. Readers will look at it and, based on what they want to see (if they’re looking for something) or what’s in their experience (if they aren’t), they’ll swear they understand its meaning. And for their purposes, they do and that’s all they need. Though it can be interpretted in many ways, the fact of the photo is that it was one of a set of photos taken in an artistic project for an article I wrote, and those chains are really just a plant hanger draped over the subject’s wrists. Yet, in a way, any interpretation can be valid if it strikes a chord with the seeker.
Spiritual tools are simply a way of getting in touch with our inner desires and intentions, and in themselves are only physical objects. It’s the knowledge they evoke—of self, of others, of situations—that gives them power. And that includes my blog.