Monday, 30 December 2019

What it feels like to let Jesus into your heart: An esoteric observation...

Though I now question my adherence to Christianity from time to time, I do not question my relationship with Jesus.  As I have mentioned many times, I see him as a sacred power, an avatar, who works with many, not just followers of the Christian faith.  For me, Jesus has been a power that has opened doors of possibility in my life for progress as a developing soul, for recovery from evil, and He has healed me from illness.  He also acts as an influencing guide in my channeling, and has made it slightly easier to see.  He is a friend who works with me, but I see many influences I work with, so am I Christian?  I am not sure if I can identify as that specifically anymore.  I see no problem in having many gods to turn to.

When I first received Jesus into my heart, it was during a period of ongoing darkness, where I felt a despair, as though I was a ticking time bomb waiting to go off and die.  The sensation, upon the invocation, of my heart centre opening up to something gentle, was what I felt, followed by tingling in my limbs, similar to what I had felt in Sedona, Arizona.  Then, my finger began to draw a heart with a cross in it, which I now think simply is a reminder of His presence in me.  The sensation of glowing love encompassed the heart, almost like a loving warmth, and that creeping anxiety I had lived with from childhood of my beating heart and the fear of it suddenly stopping its pulse, forcing me to consider how to lie in bed while trying to sleep, was taken away, and replaced with a comforting security that all would be fine, no matter what.  This was a knowing of God's presence that was a kind of sight I had never felt before, a knowing that I can only compare to the kind of knowing in the heart one has when they fall in love - one knows when they are in love, and one knows when Christ is in the heart.  Both are love, yet this is a different kind of love.  Suddenly, I kind of got why Jesus freaks act like they do.

I don't consider myself one of these types at all - I see Christ as a power that works with anyone who needs Him, not just "good Christians", and for many reasons, and I don't see Christians as understanding their own god very well.  But I get the obsession, having been saved from certain sufferings with His aid.  Various prayers have helped me to align and grow with Him, and free my soul from despair, and He made sure I would overcome my pain with the demon.  So He is a saviour to me, though I don't believe I was destined for Hell or anything if I had not found Him... just that I needed Him for certain tasks to be completed successfully.

I have trouble seeing some I am estranged from as being compassionate towards me, for a spirit of hatred had filled my soul for many years, warping my mind, my heart, and my understanding of why humanity is as it is, and why things happened as they did with others.  Please understand that when I discuss this demon, it is NOT a psychotic delusion as one would assume... it was a real spiritual presence, and it sought to destroy me.  Demons are real, whatever they are, and the modern age does not interpret them well when they happen to hurt people, which is not that often.  The lore exists for a reason in horror films, and other societies other than Western nations understand them better than we do.  Spirits are real, and some are not pleasant.  This spirit of hate destroyed a trust I had in humanity, and when things went sour between me and others, I ceased to trust I was cared about by certain people.  Not being able to remedy certain connections right now, be it due to fear or other factors, I simply cannot know as a worldly mind how some people feel about me.  I have phenomena of the soul, through channel, urging me to trust in the kindness of others, but without conversation, and knowing my channel isn't always perfect, it is hard to trust this phenomena alone.  My mind wrestles with my soul on a daily basis over this.

I am certain Christ has a hand in urging me to reconsider my understanding of how others perceive me, yet it is hard to trust even God right now.  The demon simply was that vicious, and in me for so long, that I am still trying to rebuild a trust that others are kinder than I came to understand them.  All I can do now is pray, channel, and hope to have a psychological breakthrough in how I interpret the meaning behind events of the past that I have yet to let go of.  It's very hard, coming out of this kind of abuse... an abuse that most don't even believe was real.  I have displacement issues with my anger, not knowing how to overcome it fully, not knowing where to put it and what to do with it, so it's projected onto many things and people while I try to shed it entirely, which is very hard, having been through many terrible events. 

Maybe one day I can know the truth in a more mental, worldly sense, trusting the soul is being honest with me.

-Saraƒin

Saturday, 28 December 2019

My spiritual goals...

I have been asked what my personal goals are for myself spiritually, ultimately.  There are many, but perhaps the main one is reaching as high a level of "enlightenment" or spiritual growth as possible, that's obvious.  I want to reach a place where life is effortless, everything rolls off my back, and things happen with ease.  I also want to see where I can go with my spiritual abilities - I guess I will bypass some after a certain level and become something more, if that's to happen, so for now I just play with what I have to see where it takes me.  Ever since experimenting with the prayer pipe, a new chapter opened up and things cooled down a bit for me, so I think that recently I turned a major initiatory corner.

A large part of me wants to be a spirituality writer, but of what I'm not even sure.  This blog I guess kind of achieves that, but is more exploratory than it is any real authority to pay attention to, I would say.  If I was to be a prominent spiritual thinker and writer, I would want to come at it at a relaxed, artistic angle, and also be a humorist, for that is my style - I am bored with the pretentiousness and the conservatism of guru culture.  I think there is still an artist in me, and I want to explore my spirituality with that, but in what way I do not know yet.  Probably more painting, at least.  I have no desire to make a tarot deck or anything like that... it seems like every art chick does that eventually, we don't need another deck out there.  I guess when the art bug bites again, I'll come up with some other major project.

If I were to become some relevant spiritual authority, I would never want a stupid cult - no Costa Rica compound for me.  I find that gross as all hell.  To have followers of my work is one thing, to be some tacky grand poobah is ludicrous.  When I think of these types I think of weirdos like Osho and his awful cult - it amazes me how he was able to repackage himself and move on, with the scandal that erupted.  So, no guru cults.  Yuck.

I joke that I fantasize about being canonized (haha), and that joke helped me to create the ending of Asylum Squad - it's mostly because of the idea of having a line of merchandise, and being rendered an icon in such a powerful institution.  I think a lot of Catholics salivate over that idea - the saints are cool.  But in reality, the church wouldn't like me, I am too rebellious, and even though most, upon talking to me, would realize that I am indeed a quality woman, they would see my presentation as the kind of woman they frown upon, and they wouldn't like many of my ideas.  So yeah, the Catholic saint thing is a joke that I like to play up with Sister Penance, don't take that part of me too seriously, sinners.  (Being a "folk saint" in the art world might be fun, though.)

I am not sure where all of this is headed, but I got off to a good start with my spiritual growth when it all began in my 20s, so at 37 I am doing quite well in that regard.  I can see in how others treat me as of late that I have turned a corner - now, even random strangers make more chit chat with me, saying "hey - you look like a cool chick", which wasn't always the way before.  So that's a sign that I am in a positive place, when humanity acts that way with me.  I may write again later about further goals as I come to understand them.  Right now a large part of me is still trying to figure myself out.  I am learning I am not even the nicest person... I am a very good person, but I am more about justice and what's important than being sugary sweet all the time.  But I still want to be as kind as possible, where it's relevant, and I don't like having enemies.

-Saraƒin

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Seasons Beatings, sinners!



Happy holidays from my convent to yours!  I had some good spanky pics with Santa here, but they included black PVC panty shots and I don't need that kind of imagery of me out there on the web.

From not putting money in the collection plate to taking Catholic communion as a mere Anglican, I have been a terrible sinner this year... how about you?

All the best for 2020!

-Saraƒin

Sunday, 22 December 2019

My brief out of body experience...

One thing that happened back in 2007 that was very strange was something I forgot about until yesterday, but I think it was the real deal.  I had a very brief out of body experience, but I was so freaked by it that it didn't last, and I wasn't sure about what to make of it.  So I'll discuss that now:

I was lodging in a friend's house at the time, dealing with my problems with the demon, and at one point, I was waking from what felt like a nap, only that when I sat up in bed, part of me was still lying down.  I didn't turn to see my body or anything, only that I sensed that the part of me that was truly real was the part of me that was sitting up, while something that felt more like a shell was lying in the bed.  I was addled mentally at the time, and I couldn't truly understand what was going on, but as I pondered it yesterday during some downtime at work, I concluded that it was the real deal - I had a legitimate out of body experience, and it was Spirit showing me that I am not my body, my body is an illusion.

I wondered, sort of, when it happened, if I was literally "scared out of my skin" from the demon, but now I think it was initiatory, so I could fear death less.  I will say, it was like shedding something, or leaving something behind, and it was rather ethereal feeling.  So if this is what people experience when they die, I can tell you, death is nothing - it's sitting up and realizing your body wasn't really you.  It's rad and bizarre, but not terribly disturbing... it wasn't awful for me, at least.

Right now I am trying to realize more and more that my brain, my body... they do not exist - I am not my brain, I am a soul and my brain is the idea that allows me to experience this world with the mind, that's it.  Too bad psychiatry hasn't caught up to what the ancients already knew, to what other sciences are suggesting.  Believing you are a brain and nothing more is a bad idea for mental health, and keeps people neurotic.  I am also trying to see myself as already enlightened, but barriers in the mind prevent me from being realized in my awareness to move past that right now.  I guess I need to just keep praying away these barriers as I come to understand them.  I know for sure I have really transformed as a mind, and with every breakthrough there is a shift in my way of perceiving and my personality, as I grow closer and closer to being the real me.

It'll be interesting to see where this goes in my life, considering I am only 37 years old right now.

-Saraƒin

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir...

So I decided to make the trek out to BAPS today, to check out the mandir.  It was quite a long TTC ride, but I'm glad that I went.

There isn't as much to browse in the available spaces to the public as I had hoped for, but the intricate marble carvings are so magnificent in the area of worship that it is very worth the journey.  It's like stepping into a space in ancient India - it's absolutely breathtaking in the mandir.

Also, there is a gift shop with books and bhakti items, a small cafeteria for food (though no place to sit and eat indoors, sadly - I had to take my lassi and pastry puff outside to eat, and it was COLD!) and a small museum which cost $5 for an adult to browse.  The museum isn't much, but it was nice to go about it and learn a bit more about Hinduism.

Once inside, there is a place to store your shoes and hang your coats - being sock footed is mandatory in the mandir.  The staff were quite friendly, and though it was a quiet day there, other visitors were browsing as well.  I had felt the urge to go to this place today, so I decided I would finally venture out there, this having been on my Toronto bucket list of places I keep meaning to visit.

I am not sure when I will be back again, but perhaps if there is some important spiritual event, I will return for that.  I am glad I did go - it was worth it to see that marble work in person.

-Saraƒin


Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Christ minus Christianity: Re-exploring my ideas...

I have stated on here many times that I identify as a "folk Catholic", but I have also had days where I wonder strongly about that, and today is one of those days.  I understand it is true for many seekers to try many things along the path to self-actualization, and once again I am exploring the possibility that I am not truly Christian after all.  Here we go:

I know that Christ is a power I work with, but I just can't shake the idea that I see him more as an avatar, like Krishna or Rama, rather than seeing him through the Christian lens as the one and only "Son of God".  I just like Indian spiritual ideas better... always have.  I also like the idea that the real Jesus was the prophet Isa, there was no ascension, and that he was buried in Kashmir, India.  Knowing what I know the church would want me to believe, I am questioning my ability to conform to a Christian set of beliefs, because my ideas aren't on board with many of theirs.  So why was I falling in love with Catholicism in the first place, especially considering my politics, and my rebellious nature?

I love the Christian saints, many anyway, and I have had several accounts of powerful Christian mystical experiences, such as the levitating rosary, the transmuted rosary, religious ecstasy, and successes with using Catholic objects in fighting my demon.  Also, because there was a sinister demon inside of me, and I think many others would think this as well, what else to do but turn to Christianity - Roman Catholicism to the rescue, right?  Because of how powerful these things were to me, this became a strong draw to devote attention to this faith, at least on some level, because it seemed to be calling to me.  I love cathedrals, not just because of the art, but some feelings I get being in them.  Coming from a Christian upbringing, what's a white girl to do but assume I have a calling?  Yet, I can't shake that I prefer eastern religious ideas in some ways, and I know that indigenous spirituality has also really helped - the Four Sacred Medicines were important to my growth and healing.  So, I guess I just have a calling in spirituality, not necessarily religion... that is my conclusion today.

I think I needed a religious phase to get to a certain level, but beyond this, I don't see religion serving me much further.  My fear was that if I said "I am spiritual, not religious" I will look like just another boring white person with flakey ideas.  I thought, in my mind, that calling myself religious implied a higher level of devotion and commitment, and that calling myself "merely spiritual" seemed to shy away from this.  But now, I want to branch out again, and become spiritually exploratory, taking what I learned from religious practice and using it in a more experimental way than perhaps religion would want me to.  So, I think religion served me well to learn things, but now I am probably good to graduate beyond it.  Sort of like training wheels, to get me going... they might be coming off now.

So yes, I am a friend of Jesus, I will still pray to Him, but to others as well... I love many aspects of the Divine, I can't just love one.  I will still go to churches, I will still practice religious ceremonies, but I want to keep exploring... religion may restrict me if I conform too much.

I might head to BAPS tomorrow, which is the big Hindu temple near the airport.  I want to re-examine Indian spirituality again. I have never been to this temple, it is absolutely breathtaking, and I need to go at least once.  Not going to try Hinduism on again, but it's worth exploring practice from it, and knowledge is always good.

-Saraƒin

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Relating to the world around me: Signs of progress...

Lately, I have taken to studying my interactions with the world and its inhabitants, taking note of the tone and relationships I have formed, and how they may be suggesting to me my progress as a soul.  This article will go into detail about my feelings about this:

When I was first under spiritual assault, it was as though my world was crumbling.  The most foul, lecherous men would pursue me, I was assaulted.  Everyone, even friends, began to act weird or turn on me - the world showed me no mercy, and it was up to me to fend for myself, without help, and navigate that reality in the hopes that something would turn around one day.  Whatever my demon was, he had a means to turn things against me, and anything that could go wrong did go wrong.

Once I invoked St. Jude and assistance that followed, there was still a tone of horror to everything, but also a glimmer of hope, and soon I was able to reestablish friendships and move ahead in life, after the bumps along the way.  Divinity was more active in my life to guide me through the storm.

Now that I am free of the demon, there is a kind of peace upon me, a stillness I have never known, a love and appreciation of simplicity, and a desire for a quiet life... not much is needed for me to feel satisfaction.  Though certain wounds have yet to heal, I have more friends now than ever, quality people in my life, few problems surface - and when they inevitably do, they seem pretty small time and easy to solve.  At the very least, I find it in me to proceed without too much worry, while in the past I might have fallen to my knees.

It has been suggested that misery can be self generated, if one concentrates too heavily on it - hence why I am wary of pathologizing mental distress, finding that "mental illness" became more of a problem when I gave it a name and believed it to be something I just had to live with forever.  I notice some of the most negative minds in my life seem to draw the most problems to themselves, sometimes out of nowhere.  While it's true that bad things happen to good people as well, I have noticed that it's even worse for someone who complains about things all the time.  That's the way it was for me when I was negative.  When things are right between the Spirit and a person, the world often can turn around in many ways.  Of course, this also comes down to one's karma - maybe certain things are bound to happen, but one can ease the pain enough with the right conduct and the right attitude.  Here is where I am a fan of some Buddhist ideas, and I put them to practice where I can.

Most days I have are lovely, even if not much happens, because I have (mostly) tamed that part of the mind that would complicate things.  My mind is transitioning from one stage to the next, I have had odd phenomena, but that monkey mind we all live with at times has calmed down, which means greater patience and a way of perceiving the world that is much healthier.  I am trying to work on heartbreak issues, but I feel that this is not exactly the same area of psychology as the part of me that simply wasn't still.  Hopefully, in time, those heart issues will be resolved as well.

A nice little thing that happened at the cathedral today - I was listening to the organist, and as he paused in between songs, I wished he'd play Widor's Toccata.  Sure enough, that was the next song he played!  How lovely.

-Saraƒin

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Fucked up Vishuddhi?

I might have come to an understanding today as to why so much of my psychic input is strange, conflicting, and requires that I (temporarily) take antipsychotic medication.  It might also explain my weak thyroid and strange chest problems that doctors can't seem to find the cause of, and why I had an understanding of there being a "field".  My Vishuddhi, or throat chakra, is messed up from the spiritual assault.

I had some understanding of there being Ajna (brow chakra) problems, but I wasn't sure about the throat.  At one point, many years ago, it was so hard to speak that people assumed I had intellectual problems, and everyone treated me like shit.  Seeing as this is the centre of speech and communication, among other things, it would make sense that there might still be issues there, especially considering other medical issues.  There was also a surreal incident in 2007 where I felt an orb of heat rise up into my mouth, and then go back down into my throat, and many months later, the sensation of what felt like a balloon expelling air happening in me.  Very strange things have happened to me in this region.

Today, while in contemplation, I called upon Metatron with my sweetgrass braid and asked that he enter into me to heal this chakra, as well as the brow chakra, if it needed further healing.  I also used the prayer pipe again, hoping that it could add to it.  I shall have to see if communication improves with the spirit world, and if my readings get cleaner and more consistent.  Vishuddhi is a major psychic chakra for insight and communication so if this is off, chances are it doesn't matter how healthy the higher centres are - I am still going to be a wonky channel.  Good to know, if this turns around due to work I did today.

I keep getting a premonition that Christmas is supposed to be really good for me spiritually.  If this proves to be true, I shall have to report what happened.

-Saraƒin

PS: I am seeing my psychiatrist for the first time in many months, at her new office.  I am going to chat about going down to 40 mg, since I believe I can handle it... it was a dose I was able to handle before, and I only had to go up, in the past, because of the spiritual assault, which is now over.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

"The Two Popes": A papacy buddy movie...


Today I saw this in the theatre with a friend of mine - it was one I had been looking forward to for quite some time.  Though I quite enjoyed it, the tone was not what I expected at all.  I thought from the trailer that this was going to be a serious period piece, but it in fact turned out to be a bit of a dramedy.  That in mind, I still felt it (mostly) worked.

Though a great deal of artistic license was taken in the story, this is based on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and his relationship to Jorge Bergoglio, the cardinal that would be Pope Francis.  Beautifully shot and expertly cast, the look does not disappoint.  It starts to get really quirky, however, when a rendition of "Dancing Queen" by ABBA plays while the cardinals are entering their chambers to cast ballots for the new Pope - and that's just the tip of the iceberg.  If you can't handle quirkiness in a historical religious movie, you will not like this film.  Sometimes the choices raised even my eyebrows, but in a way I liked how the tone could be rather silly - it was not without a sense of humour, and usually the humour worked.

This is kind of a story about a conservative curmudgeon and a progressive freethinker initially being at odds with one another, ultimately coming to be good friends - so yes, I think of this as a buddy movie.  There are some powerful scenes, though, including flashbacks to Bergoglio's youth, so not all of it is comedy.  It could also be very moving.

I can't for the life of me figure out what the church is going to think of this one - they may like the relaxed tone here because it makes the papacy look slightly friendlier in some ways, or they may find it annoying.  I had to warn my mother, who also wants to see it, to be prepared for the feel not being what the trailer presents, but I think she will still enjoy it.

If anything else, it's something different, and quite entertaining.  Recommended.

-Saraƒin

Friday, 6 December 2019

Let's talk about: Toxic Femininity...

The Sixth Sense - Videotape scene

With all the talk about "toxic masculinity" that is popular right now, I find it frustrating that no one seems to be discussing the feminine equivalent.  As someone who has been harmed by men, I understand the need for the discussion of how toxic masculinity must be stamped out - however, bad feminine traits also exist, and I want to discuss those a bit, as this is a conversation I have had a couple of times with others, where we tried to figure out qualities that could be filed under the negative feminine.

The most classic example of this that I can think of (and probably one of the worst) is the Munchausen syndrome by proxy person, which is demonstrated well in this scene from "The Sixth Sense" by N. Night Shyamalan (back when he could make a film I could stomach).  The Munchausen syndrome by proxy means a parent or caregiver, often a mother, hurts their child or patient to keep them ill, often to promote the need for medical attention, or to simply cause harm - it's a strange kind of poisonous motherly quality that often is seen in old age homes and hospices, especially.  I file this under "toxic femininity" because of the role of being in charge of someone's care being of the more feminine qualities, and it is not restricted to just women, of course... only that it seems women engage in it more than men.  Not as common as most examples of toxic masculinity, but definitely worth discussing.

A more common example of the toxic feminine would be the partner who presents with a gentle facade of sweetness, but underneath this, uses manipulative emotional tactics to get their spouse to do exactly what they want, controlling the situation and hiding behind excuses like, for example, common mental health disorders or addictions, things that would not hold up as an excuse in court if there was a trial for something serious.  Mental disorders such as schizophrenia and sometimes an acute bipolar manic episode mean people who have committed crimes while not well have been legally freed of doing jail time (though not necessarily mental hospital time), and can be excused for certain behaviours, the person not being of a sound enough mind to be criminally responsible.  However, things like certain personality disorders and most mood and anxiety disorders mean the person has enough wherewithal as a mind to control themselves enough not to cross the line, and most never will.  It is a person's responsibility to better oneself mental health wise, despite a diagnosis, and I am tired of the idea of people identifying heavily with psychiatric labelling - not everyone does this of course, but some use mental illness labels as excuses for poor behaviour.  I consider this, also, a form of toxic femininity that any gender can be responsible for, and it seems to be growing in the populous.

These are just two examples, one severe, and one milder and more common, that I can think of when I think of toxic femininity.  I wonder if this subject has or will be discussed at large... I have endured a bit of this sort of energy in my life myself, so I wanted to discuss it here.

-Saraƒin

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Focusing on Native American spiritual practice, and why I am not so keen on certain cultural appropriation arguments...

So now that I have worked extensively on my growth with the more esoteric Catholic kind of devotion, I am exploring tobacco and other plant medicines, as I have discussed recently.  My spirituality is a bit of a hodge podge, and though I do have a tendency to want to label myself (as is human nature) I sometimes need to focus on components of other paths that have worked for me as well.

This book, "Dancing with the Wheel" by Sun Bear, is a wonderful guide on how to pursue practice in Indigenous based spirituality.  I had a copy, but lost it, and had to get another copy a couple years back.  Now that things are moving forward with usage of tobacco for prayer, I am once again turning to this book for ceremonial use of this plant.  There is quite a bit of information about plant medicine and other methods of practice and tools, and I have not read this cover to cover, but I refer to it on and off, more so as of late.  Using tobacco, I am focusing on opening more to the Creator, and in working with the spirit keepers of the Four Directions, because of their attributes and how they might aid me in healing and growth.  Eagle was showing up a lot as a vision, I came to assume it indicated a need to work with the Eastern spirit keeper, so I began with that, and today I started to consider the other directions.  I used tobacco as an offering on a burning charcoal and made requests based on the attributes these keepers might be able to help me with.  Now I wait to see how things move forward.  Just an update.

I wanted to briefly discuss the concept of cultural appropriation on here, something I assume I am bound to be accused of again and again because of my interest and workings with this branch of spirituality.  First off, I want to mention that every elder I have talked to encourages my exploration of indigenous spiritual practice, and none have deemed me using smudge or tobacco the way I have offensive or appropriative.  Maybe I was appropriating tobacco when I was smoking it recreationally, but not anymore.  Secondly, this medicine has made a significant change in my health (sweetgrass and tobacco, mainly), I know it has worked, so this is not for some angry "activist" to decide whether or not I should use it, this is something the gods want me to use.  I do have a bit of ancestry that is native on my Mom's side (I think it's Cree), not strong enough for me to be considered Metis, but that's really not the point.  If this kind of spirituality is not some fad for me, if it serves a purpose and fulfills a need, is this truly worth criticizing simply because I am (mostly) white?  I kind of feel that cultural appropriation becomes a problem when it does harm, and when there is ill intent involved, but if something is done in a positive manner, I don't see it as particularly offensive.  Perhaps there are other components to consider, and I can't speak on a native person's behalf, only that the First Nations people I talk to see no problem with my approach when they understand it.  I don't even see the German obsession with native culture as harmful, even if they look funny about it.  They love it so much they want to experience it, and though they don't get it quite right, I have heard that a lot of elders have smiled at how they want to explore it, and often fall short.  (BTW, Germans are often to Native American spirituality as the Japanese are to "Anne of Green Gables", if you want some idea of this obsession.)

So I get that it's a touchy subject, but I also, as a person with an intense call to explore several components of spirituality (and a need to do so), feel I should be allowed to practice without criticism, and it shouldn't ever come down to race, no matter what race it is.  I hope to one day meet an elder / medicine person who might be a close guide... I know some, but I don't have a regular teacher in that regard as of yet.

-Saraƒin

UPDATE: I am gathering that I am meant to focus on the Eastern spirit keeper, that the others won't necessarily work with me.  So Eagle shall be my focus from this point on in this respect.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

My desire to be Holy -or- "It's not a PHASE, Mom and Dad!"...

Since developing spiritually after what came of me with my religious problems, after reaching a certain level of growth, I have a driving urge to pursue the holy life, but perhaps in a way that works for my character, the personality of an alternative art chick.  As I have mentioned before, I am likely not suited for the monastic life, though I like to stay in convents from time to time to take in the atmosphere... I still desire to see the world through the eyes of a saint.  I am not calling myself a saint right now, only that I aspire to be one, or to get as close to saintliness as possible.  I want their joys, their religious highs, their insights, their power... I want to see goodness where others can't, I want to be at peace with the way things are, no matter how hard things get.

I saw in 2006 a damned world approaching, or at least a troubled one, and I knew that at the level I was at during that time, I would not survive as a mind.  Pursuing the typical western capitalist thing just didn't seem as appealing a lifestyle as it might have at one time... my old pursuits seemed hollow and dissatisfying, and any art I could create wouldn't mean much in the grand scheme of things without the self awareness I would need to make it strong.  Clearly, I needed to grow, and this became extremely evident as soon as I was spiritually attacked.  So, it wasn't mere desire, but also the necessity that I commit to a kind of holy life, where I could put my relationship with Divinity at the forefront of my pursuits, making the strengthening of that my main goal.

Most, I don't think, understand this kind of drive - some may be curious, but they don't give it enough attention, others try to force it but feel nothing in the process.  The drive has led to me almost obsessing, but I feel this is an example of good obsession.  My analyst often says obsession that is positive is actually a good thing - a surgeon who obsesses about details is infinitely better than one who skirts them during a procedure, for example.  I take great pleasure in my work with Spirit, it is a joy and a simple & inexpensive pastime that leads to healthy results in my character building and personal strength.  I now suffer extremely well in life, so as a result, I suffer much less when I must face suffering.  Complaining about pain does not take it away, it may be validating for a while, but it does nothing to remove it.  So, I choose to find ways to adapt and grow from the suffrage, so I don't experience it the same way anymore.

This is not to say I don't have weak moments, only that I have learned when to have them, and I do so behind closed doors, away from others.  I feel that sharing these moments alone with the Spirit means I don't regret the outbursts as much as I would among my peers, plus I can receive guidance out of my negativity from the Spirit.  I am not slamming others for sharing their pains online or in public, only that I have come to learn that in myself I no longer wish to do this... I feel more comfortable expressing these pains alone, or perhaps with my therapist, or maybe a close family member once in a while.  I do sometimes discuss issues with a close friend, but I always try to be constructive in the conversation, and lessen negativity where I can.  Better conduct in my relations lessens my anxiety and frustrations, and it really dropped after I refused to give online arguments my attention.

I have come to learn to hold my tongue where I might not have in the past, especially when it comes to opinions about certain things, even if I have some kind of authority based on my experiences.  Many things are for people to come to understand on their own, and that is up to them to figure out in a way that suits them.  So, it is best that I be supportive, not preachy - if someone desires my opinion, I may suggest things, but I do not have the right to force ideas on others, and I find some attitudes that are common on the web rather frustrating when this sort of thing happens.  I can set a good example and focus on being a positive presence in the world... if I move people in the process, that's wonderful, but my journey is not their journey, and they, ultimately, are their own journey's authority.

I suppose that after a certain point, in any seeker's life, this kind of drive comes with ease.  It's rather like how making graphic novels became easier after a certain page count - it becomes sort of second nature.  Like anything in life, it just takes devotion.

-Saraƒin

Monday, 2 December 2019

Reasons I am still finding it hard to make art...

Finishing "Asylum Squad" was a bit of a struggle for me.  It shouldn't have been, once I was in the homestretch I was amazed at how hard it was to complete the damn thing.  But I finally did - actually, I just reread the entire plot the other day, and I think it reads well straight through.  I am satisfied I made this comic, but I am not sure I can do another series yet... any art at all seems a struggle.  I made that Hallowe'en costume, but that was for a special occasion, and Hallowe'en always gets me excited about costuming.  Yet even painting has been something I haven't been able to get back into, even though I want to paint Tommy Wiseau as a patron saint.  So why the dry spell?

One reason is because, after a project of the size that "Asylum Squad" was, I need a hiatus, even if it's going to last indefinitely.  I just don't have any projects inspiring enough to start anything new, and I don't even want to do commissions for anyone.  Going to the Toronto Comic Jam has been less desirable, and I barely pick up a pen except to make note of something, or do spirit writing.  If I have any career in art at all, it's on hold, and I am focusing more on the possibility of becoming a professional psychic.  Some have suggested I design my own deck of tarot cards, but that seems like such an art school student cliche... plus, I am graduating from using tarot and oracle decks when I read.  So no... I doubt I will do that.  It's been done to death, my deck would just get lost in a sea of other decks.

The other reason, perhaps the main (and more tragic) reason is because of the impact of my father's death.  My Dad had some rather unfortunate "words of wisdom" about quitting comics for me back when I was working on "The Psychosis Diaries" - he saw that book as "self indulgent" and told me to quit this form of art because he said I had yet to succeed in what I was doing, so it was bound to fail.  He was a man who only liked cartoons in "The New Yorker", but hated all other cartoons, and would often, though not always, talk down to the idea of me being a cartoonist.  I am not so much miffed that he said these things as I am affected by his words, and now I don't find cartooning fun anymore.  Kind of like a "you were right, Dad" kind of thing... I just don't get the same level of joy from drawing and cartooning that I once did, which set in around the time he was in palliative care.  I kind of think the only thing that could bring my lost love of art back would be a major career opportunity... otherwise, I might be a hobbyist who does this sort of thing once in a while from now on, and nothing more.  It's possible a renewed love could come, but it's been two and a half years since Dad died, and I am still completely bankrupt in this respect.

Though I don't feel like I can do much in the way of art right now, I do have a drive to write - hence this blog.  I want to tell my real story, I want to explore who I am and what I am becoming.  I may take this writing down one day when I am done, but for now I want to see how things develop, and explore that.  I am not sure what people think of this page, but I feel the need to keep working on it regardless.

I keep getting a premonition (that I hope isn't just psychic nonsense) of a golden, 10 of Pentacles opportunity on the horizon.  Not sure what to make of it, only that it has come through quite a few times.  In the meantime, I shall aspire to think like St. Francis of Assisi and try to love lady poverty... it seems easier than making it as an artist in the big leagues in this city.

Speaking of St. Francis, seeing as Christmas is approaching, here's a fun fact: he invented the Nativity Scene, which makes perfect sense considering the animals surrounding the manger, St. Francis being a mighty animal lover.  I didn't know this until recent times.

-Saraƒin

Sunday, 1 December 2019

"In Solidarity" inks...

So here are the inks for the next cover - the collected book is to be called "Asylum Squad: (The Complete!) In Solidarity", or perhaps I will just call it "Asylum Squad: In Solidarity", as there will only be one book of this portion of the story.  I am going to likely get around to colouring this cover on my computer soon, and I will then proceed with all the inner workings for the graphic design before putting the files together to get to my printers.  They graciously do all the In Design work for me, as I don't know how to do that, so it takes time for that to get done.  So I expect a spring release book launch for this novel.

For this cover, I decided on a montage of characters from this part of the story.  Trish Adams and Josh Lyon made the cut, as did our protagonist Liz Madder (of course), the other members of Squad, and Armananstantanu.  I did not include Anaya Gupta on here because she's kind of a spoiler - the Squad isn't, because it's presumed that they get back together anyway, because of how the story is structured.  The tower of St. Dymphna's Psychiatric Hospital is also here, to suggest a return.  I think I will have a kind of evening lighting to this cover, and I want the moon visible at the top, which I will add later.

Often my comic is compared to that Zach Snyder film, "Sucker Punch", which makes my eyes roll back in my head so far I can see my brain stem.  That movie was basically a music video trying to be a video game, and I was stunned that something so over the top and pretty could be so dull.  Yes, there are some mild similarities, but I actually think that parts of my comic in some ways are more like "Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors", a much more fun piece of camp.  Also, those elements of the comic came before "Sucker Punch", so it's not ripping that movie off, and I must have unconsciously included like elements of the latter film because I didn't even see that until after "The Jung Ones" arc was completed.  I like to think of it as its own thing - certainly it has elements that are similar to other pieces in it, but it's like those elements were mixed in a blender to create a new flavour.  There are enough mental health related comics out there, but very few talk back to the status quo of how we frame what we call mental illness, and about how messed up the psychiatric system is right now.

Maybe "Asylum Squad" came out at a time when people were not ready for these kinds of ideas... maybe I am ahead of my time, I am not sure.  It would be cool if it had been a bigger hit... then again, I shy away from promoting myself, I feel arrogant in doing so.  Fame is also rather daunting when it goes sour.

-Saraƒin

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Why I am so hard on myself...

I guess I sound a bit harsh towards myself sometimes on here - I try to be wise about things, but I guess there's an odd edge to me once in a while that makes it sound like I am extremely melancholic.  There's reasons for that, so I shall go into it in this article:

Having come out of the events of the past, I feel many of my sorrows have not been resolved, in part due to the fact that I have yet to make peace with certain individuals.  There's one person in particular that I fear might summon legal action against me if I were to do as little as to reach out in an email to discuss things, others are former friends who seemed to think I was psychologically gone and probably still have assumptions about me.  (There would be no hard feelings from me if I could talk to certain people, I just want to make peace at this point.)  Without the resolution that I need, I hold onto trauma a bit more than I should, so I have a tendency to see life as bleak in some respects, though I also try to think a bit like a martyr about it in some ways, as extreme as that sounds, to see goodness in bleakness.  Life is mostly peaceful right now, and I do my best to remember that, but without the conversations I need, there are issues that lurk in my mind.  Hence my desire to distance myself from pursuing romance and certain wants... I feel that rising above these things could be the road I need to take to move on.  It's like I have to be austere now to find joy.

Sometimes I see myself as similar to Miss Havisham from "Great Expectations", holding onto the past, not able to move forward entirely.  Although I think we all suffer a bit from this kind of thing to some extent, I see myself as someone who can't be respected because of where I was, and who I used to be.  I try on certain female archetypes because I know the world did not appreciate the woman I was, I don't like who I was either, and I am trying to find the "right" kind of woman to be after I failed as the "wrong" kind of woman.  Society made it very clear that I wasn't shaping up as the old version of myself, so I work extremely hard on myself at all times to refine the person that I am, in the hopes that I am forgiven for being the old me.  I spend at least 6 hours every single day in contemplation and prayer, trying to shape myself, to be the most pristine version of Saraƒin that I can amount to.  Never again do I want to be that creature, I see her as weak in character and a failure in other respects.  Perhaps this is harsh, but that's where I am with my past right now.

I guess I am simply going through a phase where I feel like I have to give myself tough love to be a better person - after years of being in torment, it's hard to come out of it without some form of challenge in me remaining.  I never want to fall out of society again, I never want to repeat being the topic of the day in the rumour mill as I was.  The idea of fame frightens me a bit right now, because I was considered infamous for a time, and it was horrible.  I suppose I could move on from this mindset if something great were to happen career wise, but right now I just feel vulnerable thinking about that.  I don't expect to be loved, but I appreciate it if it comes my way.

So yeah... I am pretty hard of myself, I always have been, but I am trying to be constructive about it now.  I am a happier person than I was, perhaps I am even happier than most, but the problems I have with unfinished business in relations to others leave a hole in my heart that I am not sure how to heal from.

-Saraƒin

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

The 10 year photo comparison challenge...

This is a thing going around on Facebook, a 10 year difference photo comparison, then and now (except I'm not using pics of myself in this case).  Here we go:

2009

What a fucking disaster.  Just getting out of CAMH by that summer, daily "highs" included doing my own dishes and laundry, and longing for a better future.  I hear ya, Stargate man - what a nightmare.  My housing situation was shit, I wouldn't find work until 2010 (when I would also give art school a try... later leaving because I can't stand school), but at least I was on the outside again.  My mind was weary and I lived in fear of dying in youth.

2019

Having found my footing several years back, I am now doing very well in many respects, even though I tread at working class levels of income, though without dependents so it's not so bad.  I have many friends, a stronger psyche than ever before in some ways, and confidence.  I defeated my demon, have found my inner queen, doing mental gymnastics with these growing psychic abilities.  I am losing weight and looking good physically again.  CAMH's prognosis of me can go fuck its mother... I am going to be fine.

I knew I never should have listened to those inpatient psychiatrists... I'm glad I finally decided to block any opinion they had of my mind, even on a subconscious level.

-Saraƒin

PS: Just completed the inks for the cover of my final Asylum Squad graphic novel - should have those up soon to show.

Monday, 25 November 2019

What the Akashic Records are, and how I read them...

The Akashic Records, based on my understanding of them, are a kind of "recording" of all that is.  I actually bought a book on how to read them, but have yet to crack it, because I have several books in my library that I haven't read yet - I am notorious for doing this.  What I am going to focus on in this article, moreso than what the Records are, is how I opened to them, and how the information is retrieved, because I feel that at this point I do not have the finest understanding of the Records themselves.

I have had the mechanism of channel and some visionary experiences throughout my initiation and spiritual struggles since 2006, but for the longest time, it didn't feel like I was getting anywhere with them.  The demon made it especially hard to see, and for a very long time I was "third eye blind", at its worst, and had to rely on the will to survive to figure out how to proceed.  Then something interesting happened last year, in the month of September.

Having had a lot of spirit drawings come through, I kept getting the Infinity symbol.  Not knowing what to make of the message, I tried "invoking" it with a source I work with (possibly Metatron, possibly Jesus), and it seemed to open up something.  Through that, I went on to invoke the Akashic Records, leading to a stream of information that was loosely accessible through channel, that had never been available before.  Before this time, when I had tried doing divination, I felt I was going nowhere with it, and would barely touch tarot cards.  But suddenly, some pressing messages from the Spirit began to come through... though the demon muddled them while it was still active.

So I began to practice my own technique with the cards to train in reading them, asking various questions about various things.  First, I might draw a card that would represent an archetype to describe the answer, but was too timid to channel anything... in time, this changed to a channeled message to match the card.  Later, I practiced with others, when I had more confidence, and often they would say I read things accurately, if I read something about them that I couldn't know - so I became less worried about being deceived by this.

Now, I will often read for others, though it looks like I am graduating from tarot cards completely, as things seem to be different since the prayer pipe ritual.  Tobacco offerings make the information come through stronger and finer, but I can do it without this as well, though I have room to grow and refine in that respect.

It seems I can do something with this source that others can't necessarily do, and that is read pieces of information about virtually anything, not just my own soul's journey.  I might read about the future of the planet, about a species of animal, a person from history... and it will say something.  It comes through channel via the Spirit, it is accessible at all times, I need no preparation to tune in.  I am not sure how others go about doing this, but that is my method, it seems to flow with ease.

At this point, I am still growing with intense practice, so I will be fascinated to see how far things go with this in the future.

-Saraƒin

Friday, 22 November 2019

New psychic toy!

I bought this new glass ball in a store near Kensington Market recently - I figured that glass would work just as well as crystal for the method I use with channel, so to save money I got this one instead of a pricey crystal ball.  A modestly priced item, just over $20.00 with tax, and I bought a little stand to go with it.

While I am not sure how most psychics work with crystal balls, what I am using this one for is as a tool of concentration to ground while I interpret the Spirit.  The tobacco is sprinkled over the charcoal, I pause to wait for the channel to open up, then I gaze into the orb to ground as the channel commences.  I am going to see what comes of using this method - perhaps it might help for clairvoyance as I keep practising with it.

Also pictured here is the prayer pipe I used for the ceremonial tobacco - this was, as I said before, gifted to me by my mother, many years ago, and I have finally a found proper use for it.  I think the negative "field" is almost gone now, it seems so much better since I used the pipe.  I think my mind is now in a period of adjustment from the state it was in under that field's influence, and that now it's levelling out again to even healthier levels.  I get the sense it's probably best for my mind to avoid entheogens indefinitely - time will tell, but I will stick to tobacco as the main medicine to use for healing, with prayer.  I found another place to buy tobacco that could work, should my current source stop carrying it.  This is a plant I need to stock up on for my purposes, which are channeling, prayer, and healing.

-Saraƒin

Power Animals: What they are, and what they are not...

I know, I know, I know... the idea of a white woman in Toronto calling herself a Cobra sounds a bit iffy... it's like I'm a New Age edgelord or something.  But hear me out - I know the difference between what legitimate power animals are, and what most people in the west think they are.  Let me delve into that for you:

Often western seekers experimenting with their path will come to identify with the qualities of a particular animal, one that resonates with them in a certain way.  Maybe they are drawn to the animal because they have personality traits they feel match those of the lore of the creature, they have seen them randomly here and there... or they just really like them.  There are oodles of books out there that suggest everyone has a power animal, there are Buzzfeed quizzes to "find your spirit animal"... it's kind of a western obsession in spirituality.  But this is in fact not understood very well... only real medicine people have power animals, everyone else is simply identifying with an animal's qualities as a personal symbol.  Power animals are not even common - a lot of people think they have them, but this is a myth.  So what is a legitimate medicine person, then?

A legitimate medicine person is called by the gods to become one... everyone else is a shamanic practitioner at best.  Shamanic practitioners may have some skill in some ways, but are always less powerful than medicine people who have been called.  Though it might sound arrogant of me to identify as a real medicine person, I was called by dreams, visions, and experiences that demanded that I commit to the Divine to grow - so, I identify as the real deal, because of both this and my ability to heal myself, only that I am someone who has not completed her development.  So, I don't always get everything right, and I am still a student in this.  I often assume things I have witnessed in my soul mean something specifically, where they may mean something else, or are even irrelevant.  Hence why I constantly say on this blog, bear with me, sinners... I am still trying to discover who I am.

There was a post a while back where I assumed I had 3 power animals.  Two, I now think, were more relevant than one, and only one is likely a power animal.  The Owl might have simply been a vision I saw to indicate psychic awareness opening up, I am not entirely sure yet.  Seeing as I haven't experienced this animal for a while, I am guessing it was a sign, but not a power animal.  Eagle, I think, is a guide in the Spirit, not a power animal, but there was some confusion over that.  Cobra is my real animal - this represents my soul's ability to kill, and other skills such as psychic awareness, channel, and keen intellect... I get that I am also discovering more that is to come.  It's not just something I adopted because hey - that looks neat, I want it!  It's more complex than that, and is still blossoming.  As I said, when it presented, I could feel its form inside of me, I took on its stance in posture, this happened repeatedly.  I have come to realize, due to events and also these encounters, this must be a real power animal, not just a symbol representing something else.  I am still observing how this is unfolding.

So take it or leave it... I have a power animal, and it is the Cobra.  I don't expect everyone to believe this, I know it sounds absurd considering who I am... a white girl cartoonist.  I am very self aware about that.  But medicine people can happen anywhere in the world, maybe I am meant to be one in Toronto.  Maybe Toronto was safe enough for what I was to go through, so it happened here.  Antipsychotics were needed to get through possession, and insane asylums, though not fantastic, are better here than in other nations, so maybe that is why I am who I am, where I am.  Another society might have murdered me at certain stages.

-Saraƒin


Wednesday, 20 November 2019

The aesthetics of "Asylum Squad"...

Thought I'd follow up from the post about why I chose to make comics with one about why "Asylum Squad" has the pop "manga" aesthetic I went with, instead of something perhaps a bit more serious:

The most obvious reason for this is that the aesthetic is a remnant of what little actually worked from the original prototype version that I wish didn't exist.  The idea of lunatic superheroes was something I played around with during my anime obsession days, when I was on antidepressants, not sure of who I was, exactly.  After the almighty shitstorm of what came of me, I simply couldn't follow through with the original concept, because there was a second version I was working on that basically was the original version, but amped up visually.  Something in that narrative couldn't serve as a message anymore, with what I had come to learn of the system I was in, and of the experiences in my mind.  But I still wanted to hold onto that campy, fetishistic, superhero, loony bin vibe that made the original rather fun.  But, after "The Psychosis Diaries", how was I to achieve that?  It took some writing classes and strong consideration of what the mythology of my comic's world had become, to figure out that the only way the surreal superhero kitsch thing could work was in dream sequences.  Hence, the warped Jungian drug trial, the Ajna Project, came about.

As I said before, psych wards are often romanticized... people love a good asylum flick, I have some idea of the kind of stuff that sells.  When I log onto my DeviantArt account, I notice my stuff often gets liked by a lot of insane asylum bondage connoisseurs, which I don't disprove of, as long as the conversation is respectful if they engage me about my art... I don't frown upon that kind of thing at all, I understand it well.  In fact, along with medical professionals, people in spiritual crisis, and psychiatric survivors, this is a target audience of mine.  (And, with the ending, perhaps even Roman Catholics would like it. )  Part of what I was going for with the new version was the old 70s "women in prison" exploitation vibe, it suggests an ode to smut, but is smarter than that, and of course is subtle about it.  It's "bubblegum satire".  It's revelling in the aesthetic of psychiatry as it has been presented in film, while simultaneously knocking the problems with it as a practice.  It's a great way of getting people's attention about an important message I have about the way the system is, and what we might not be getting about the mind... and, it's more fun to create it this way than something more serious.  The Ajna Project arc is also so ridiculous that it's suggesting how absurd practises and ideas in psychiatry can be, often enough.  And, because of how absurd that arc is, an over-the-top ending seemed to be required to tie things together so as to satisfy the reader enough, because of how real world and dry Liz Madder's life becomes for a while, after the Ajna Project.

It's still a bit of a wet dream of mine to see it animated... not sure if this would ever happen, but I imagine if it did, it would work better in that format than as a comic, with the right studio.  I'm still satisfied enough with what I made that I am glad it was created, even if nothing else moves forward with it.  The satisfaction of crafting a completed series means enough, in some ways, at least at this point.  I developed a bit of a cult following, so that's cool.  Sometimes I thought I'd never get it done, but in the end, I completed it, and for that I'm glad.

Now I just need to get that last book out, once I've completed the inner content, cover, and after I have saved up for the printing.

-Saraƒin


What it's like to live in an insane asylum...

Here's another sort of Mad Pride related article, to follow up on others I have made about how the year long stay panned out.  This one focuses on the tone of the experience, and the impact it has had on my life, and my self worth:

I think a lot of people (I was one myself in the past) think staying in one of these places could be kind of fun, a surreal adventure, a step away from the ordinary, something to share with others later as an odd story.  Things like the movie "Girl, Interrupted" and even my comic, in some ways, make it look like it could be strange but in some ways entertaining, possibly even enlightening.  But the truth of the matter is it is among the more soul crushing experiences one could possibly have in society.

There is a kind of bleakness to staying long term in an asylum that is hard to describe, unless you have been through it yourself.  In my experience, there was an air of hopelessness to the environment, a sadness and despair that permeates everything.  The food was terrible, so I ended up constipated, thus needing yet another medication just to defecate.  Often I just skipped meals altogether and relied on snacks because the food was so gross I couldn't bring myself to consume it.  If anyone visited me (and most people didn't want to) I would beg them for take out meals because of how vile the food was.  The rumour mill on the outside lit up about me, and people decided I was not ever necessarily going to be the same person ever again... I was probably also the butt of a few jokes here and there.  I certainly found out who my real friends were.

The impact of this place meant that, even now, 11 years later, I am still affected by having been subjected to this environment long term, I don't even feel like people see me as a relevant human being anymore.  I know this is all in my head, but I don't feel like a normal citizen sometimes... if I think too much about it, I feel like I'm just an ex-inmate, and that this is how others secretly see me, no matter what they are like with me in person.  I assume there are special files on me somewhere because of events that unfolded, and I am worried about these files, if they exist, being used against me in some manner in the future.  Although I am mostly a relatively mindful individual, the effect institutionalization had on me remains as a kind of quasi-flashback thing, and part of me has yet to fully move on, where I can leave all things I felt in the past, where they belong.  Perhaps that is why I still feel compelled to write about this kind of thing from time to time, even now.

Institutionalization has affected my art career - it's in a sense my fault for this, because of the nature of my original graphic novel, but it's as though no matter what I say to explain what my "condition" actually was about, phrases like "schizophrenic artist" will still be worked into any article about me, even now, thus making me wish to not promote myself anymore.  Any time any person refers to this time in my life again, it brings me back, and is a mild humiliation... I have to cut them off in conversation and ask that it not be discussed further.

In the asylum, I saw many humiliations of others.  These weren't morbidly fascinating to behold, like perhaps a flaming car on the side of the road, they were more like the awkwardness you feel when a dishevelled person on the subway rants and raves.  I also lived severe humiliations, and milder ones as well, such as when a male nurse wouldn't pour me a cup of hot tea, assuming that I was likely to throw it in his face, when I had never acted out on any ward in such a way before... he made that assumption based on me just being in there, not based on behaviours I had exhibited.  This tone was common, there was this kind of condescending infantilization that suggested I lacked coherence, intelligence, or even any kind of value.  Some nurses were nice, but even then, most didn't seem to recognize me as anything more than a sweet girl with a "broken brain".  And psychiatrists were impossible... their task was to drug me and convince me that I was ill, they had no therapeutic value whatsoever as doctors.

Cliques were formed as people came and went - it became almost like a weird John Hughes movie, and parts of "Asylum Squad: Monster Hospital" are based on this.  We'd sneak alcohol in and hang out in our rooms, knocking it back, finding a kind of naughty inner teenager in us, to cope with how absurd the place was, and how insulting the staff were.  When I'd get a day pass, I'd sometimes go to art openings along Queen west, mingle, grab some free wine, say something about the art as though I knew the artist who made it, and then head back to the hospital, sloshed on the alcohol, straight to bed, so no one could smell it on me.  So, it was kind of like some weird college experience in that regard, maybe that part was kind of fun when it happened... but ultimately, as they say, if you are the most popular person at the table in the mental hospital, it's still just a mental hospital.

I am now at a place where I don't even believe that brief hospital stays may be necessary with my mind... I am cautious as hell, but I also know I have made tremendous spiritual progress with my healing and development.  These places can't do me any good now... they might have been necessary for safety at the time, but they hold no redeeming value therapeutically.  I see many people romanticize asylums and mental illness... the truth is, there is nothing romantic about either one of them.  Asylums are bleak, boring, annoying, and controlling, and the one I spent my year in is still affecting me, years later, post discharge.

Hopefully, one day, psychologically, I will leave the institution fully.

-Saraƒin

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Why I chose the comic format for "Asylum Squad"...

I have been asked about why I chose to write "Asylum Squad" as a comic.  The simplest answer is that I grew up reading comics, and had a desire to create my own series one day.  (There's a more complicated answer coming, but I'll get to that later.)

Growing up as a child, I read "Archie" (haha), "Garfield" (heh?) and stuff like that... I really enjoyed Japanese anime and manga after I discovered "Samurai Pizza Cats", and later "Sailor Moon", the latter being an obvious influence in my work, as "The Jung Ones" books demonstrate.  I would also experiment with my own comics and little animated films, which I began to create around the age of 8.  Nothing terribly high brow about some of my choices in the comic and anime world, but other more intelligent works influenced me as well later, as I got older.  I also wanted a kind of "Tank Girl" vibe in some ways with "Asylum Squad", Jamie Hewlett is sort of an influence to some degree, as is Jhonen Vasquez, but maybe only slightly.  I like Vertigo titles too, stuff by Neil Gaiman, and some Alan Moore.  I also love independent graphic novel memoirs, like "Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi, and I had a phase where I collected a lot of mental health related comics.  I have to admit, I barely read any comics right now - I kind of feel odd doing so since I am not even sure if I will make another series ever again, but I do love and respect the medium.

I wanted to do "The Psychosis Diaries" as a kind of indy pseudo-comic project, because my mind was not in a state to be sophisticated enough for a cinematic experience on the page, so I did an experiment to use as a template as I retrained my mind to think that way.  Eventually, as I got my footing again with the process, the format of that book proved to be limiting, and so I prepared the next body of work after taking some Ty Templeton comic classes to improve on things I had already understood long before my mind went odd.  This aided the plot piece in being more cinematic, and helped me craft a plot that was functional.  Obviously, "The Psychosis Diaries" is not really a plot, it's kind of a stream of consciousness thing - both content and presentation mean I don't wish to present it as something that represents my current work at this point, but I don't disown that I created it, it feels important and it's something a lot of people enjoyed, even though I also hear people say it's a painful read to get through.

I chose the comic format over, say, the novel format, because I wanted to create pictures as much as I wanted to tell a story, so comics seemed like the best option for that.  I seem to have a knack for cinematic storytelling, something a couple of teachers have told me, including a storyboarding one at a course I took at OCAD, when I took a continuing education class in that subject.  I don't even do thumbnail sketches to prepare a page in the process - I have the script, and I plot the page as I pencil it.  Maybe this method is not super professional, but unless a page has a complex layout, I tend to just skip that part, figuring out the action in my head as I go along.  I can visualize the way the action must play out on the page, deciding on the beats needed to carry the story forward, without overdoing it.  The trick, I have learned, is to draw it in such a way that if someone didn't speak English, they could still piece together loosely what is going on in the story with the art alone.  I am not really cut out to work for Marvel or DC at my level, but I have no desire to do so anyway, and what I have going seemed to serve this as an indy piece well enough.  It's not super slick, I know that structurally the art has room to improve, but at this point, it's not dreadfully amateur anymore either.

Part of me also wanted to get into film, but because of the limits of what I could make on a budget of virtually nothing, comics is a close enough cousin that I can almost create the same experience in book format.  Storyboarding is not exactly the same in some ways, but is very close to comics, so there is a similar method involved in their creation.  If I were to work in film, I would choose storyboarding as the department I'd pursue a career in, but personally, I am so worn out I don't think I could bring myself to consider even that as a job at this point.  Animation, especially, is a cutthroat industry that sounds so toxic I can't imagine being involved in it.  No wonder so many animation studios have bars in them... animators are notorious alcoholics.

I wonder on and off if I will make another comic... it's possible, but I do need to take a break right now.  Sometimes I go to the Toronto Comic Jam and make mini comics with the others there, but I have no major plans at this point.  The idea of a comic based on my journey is a possibility for one day, but I feel the journey is still unfolding, and I want to feel in my gut that it would be right to proceed with something like that.  In the meantime, I might make a costume or painting here and there, but visual arts is not my top priority.  I will, however, keep writing, and this blog serves to present those works.

-Saraƒin

Sunday, 17 November 2019

What it's like in my mind when I channel...

Someone wanted to know what it feels like mentally when I am in channel.  The answer is rather abstract, so bear with me while I try to articulate this correctly... it's rather hard to explain if you've never experienced it yourself:

It's not exactly like a trance, because I am conscious while it is happening.  It's a slight shift in focus in the conscious, where I direct my attention to the question I am posing, allowing Spirit to answer through my body vocally, or with a pen in hand, on paper.  Then it flows automatically, like a kinetic kind of reaction, it feels rather robotic.  When it first began many years ago, it was so eerie I nearly panicked, yet due to my fascination with the spiritual, it didn't frighten me for long.  It has taken years of refinement to get far with it, and I am still growing, but it is like another means of seeing, only that I see with an unconscious means of perceiving.  I can do it at will at any point, in any place, but some tools help it to ground and/or be more clear.  The channel is not from some discarnate entity, it is of the Spirit of the Creator.

When I read the Akashic Records, I simply focus on the question, I wait to see what the records have to say to me, and the Spirit relays it to me through channel.  It's hilarious what kinds of things I can discover, it's rather like having a metaphysical Google search engine built into me.  One time, just the other day after writing my Jungian analysis article, I asked what Dr. Jung would have thought of me - the answer included that he would have observed that I have a tendency to present as unsophisticated, to play with people who think that they are more sophisticated, so that they realize that I am indeed quite sophisticated, to make them think twice about what sophistication actually is.  I laughed, not realizing until then that I unconsciously do have a tendency to do that.  So, I can read events - past, present, and future... but also hypothetic outcomes.  Again, this is something I keep trying to refine with work, so I don't claim mastery of this, only that it is shaping up to be this with practice.

I can also kind of multitask while doing this, but it will hurt the quality of the channel a bit when I do so.  Often, at work, I channel under my breath to develop it ... work shifts are an excellent time for contemplation, as well.  So, the simple answer is: the mind is still in a similar enough state to the everyday, it's just that my concentration has shifted to focus on the skill of channel, rather like how it would shift from one kind of state when doing something like a piece of art, to the kind of concentration I would require for mathematics.  It's simply another way of thinking.

-Saraƒin


New tobacco findings...

Tobacco is looking to be one of the best tools for me spiritually in several regards.  Though I am wary of using the prayer pipe too much, due to the risk of addiction again (so I will only use it for certain needs, and rarely), praying with it over a charcoal in my burner has some powerful reactions.

I am concluding at this point that my guide is Wabun (the Eagle spirit keeper of the East), who speaks to me through channel.  The channel is imperfect right now due to flaws in my aura, recovering from spiritual assault, but also because of shifting states, so I can't always read specifically every detail, or even completely accurately sometimes.  Wabun is affiliated with tobacco, and it was a beautiful vision of an eagle that came to my mind's eye when I first began smoking ceremonial tobacco with inhale, way back when.  The eagle, I suspect now, is not a power animal of mine, but a symbol representing this guide.  The cobra is my power animal, the owl was a symbol that kept popping up, and I am still seeking to understand that particular component.

I have just discovered that using tobacco leaf over the burner as an offering to Wabun while praying to have a question answered means profoundly finer results in channel, and better psychic sight.  The results are like night and day from when I just open channel, without tobacco, cards or no cards.  This means if I become a professional, I will likely require a steady supply of fine tobacco to do accurate, meaningful readings.  Kinda sucks that I can't obtain the finer stuff as easily as a First Nations person can, but there are ways around this, and I know of at least one source where it is easily purchased.  I know enough connections to elders that if it was understood how I use it, and that I actually require it, I am sure I could obtain more if this one source were to stop carrying it.

The way it works is that I utter the prayer, make the offering over the charcoal, and after the tobacco leaf turns to ash, the answer is delivered through vocal channeling.  It's pretty fascinating to feel it come through.  Thinking back, this only makes sense since the channeling began from smoking tobacco - even cigarettes did something in this regard.  But inhale, in my case, is a foolish thing to do, and the pipe isn't even needed for this specific thing, so use of the plant over a charcoal is how it should be done.

It has been the limitations of my life and the frustrations of the unknowable, both in the world around me and in worlds beyond, that drove me to seek psychic insight.  Questions I can't have answered in the conventional sense, I tune in to find the answers for, this way.  This is a compelling means of training the mind to expand.  Tobacco offerings, not entheogens, look to be the better way of working with this.

(Sorry, hippies.)

-Saraƒin

Friday, 15 November 2019

In defence of the existence of Hell and the devil...

A lot of people who criticize the church will often use the argument that it created the idea of Hell and Satan to scare Christians into behaving themselves.  While I would agree ideas of these two things have been used to do so, and that there are plenty of fucked up ideas that go with them (like that gay people go to Hell, for example), the concept of there being such a place is something that I am convinced must be true, at least in some way.  But while many see Hell as a place of punishment, I also want to add that it has been known to be a training grounds for medicine people, saints, and other gifted spiritual types, and that many cultures have some version of it.  So to dismiss the Christian versions of Hell and the devil means you must also dismiss the versions of them from all other cultures and religions, which is certainly absurd if you consider how many have some variation of them.

The Greeks had Tartarus, for example, medicine people often discuss an Underworld of sorts... and I can safely say that for many years, my life seemed heavily influenced by what literally felt like the gates of Hell opening up before me.  Everything that could possibly go wrong did go wrong, and no matter how hard I tried to fight it, I kept getting punished severely, even after I gained more control of myself.  But, as I have discussed previously in articles on suffering, it was the suffering I endured of the Underworld influencing my life that refined my character and helped me to discover my strength and true nature.  The mystics of Christianity, including St. Teresa of Avila, had experiences with Hell, but it was not to punish them, but rather, to refine them.  Even Jesus descended into Hell.  Medicine people have encounters with the Underworld to develop themselves, meet spirit guides and power animals, and to find their personal power.  Remember the classic mythos of the Hero's Journey, and it makes sense why Hell is not just to punish the wicked, but also to refine the hero.  Hell is a place of learning.  And yet, it is also not so much a place as it is a condition in the spirit.  It does not have the power to control you with the presence of the Divine.

Part of why I find the Left Hand Path "religions" so unbelievably absurd is the idea that an occultist who is committing to this decides that they desire to dedicate their souls to what amounts to the training grounds, without graduating from them.  While it is true that darkness is a fantastic kind of teacher, it is meant to be temporary, and something one takes lessons from, only to grow and work through, ultimately, to be with the Spirit.  Seeking power for its own sake does nothing to impress the gods, and any power one receives from darkness isn't even true power.  One may feel strength and some kind of "power" in youth from this stuff, but there are enough famous examples of LHP people who found that as they grew older, things got strange for them, including one of my "favourite" examples, Aleister Crowley.  And be warned - once you embark on a satanic path, if you decide to turn your life around, the darkness might fight this... it is already hard enough for someone who innocently opened an occult door, with good intentions, to overcome this as they grow in the Spirit, so imagine how much harder it is for a soul who is lost to evil forces.  One of the stupidest things a mind could possibly do to its own soul is to attempt to work with demons, devils, and things of this sort for the sake of acquiring power.  Mostly, the power acquired is peppered with illusion, and never does it serve the greater good of creation.  As I have said elsewhere, Satan attacks brilliant souls, he "rewards" fools.  So consider yourself a fool if you think Satan is your friend.  It's also laughable when a satanist says that the saints, who have their own line of merchandise, know less about the devil than they do.  <_<

More insights to come as I grow... these are some thoughts on this, based on my relations to having been affected directly by the Underworld, surviving it, and learning from it.

-Saraƒin


Jungian analysis...

Arrrgh - I got sidetracked yesterday and missed my analysis appointment!  This is the second time in 5 years of seeing my analyst that I have done this, and it's not only bad form as an analysand, but a real disappointment because I so enjoy the process... much better for my kind of psyche than conventional therapy, and more fun, too.  Here's an article on Jungian analysis, based on my years of being in it:

I have one of the funniest, quirkiest, most interesting thinkers as an analyst.  Having worked with him for the time we have, he and I have become friends from the process, although due to the law we can only be friends in his office, not outside of it.  Supportive, clever, a person who breaks the rules, he was one of the first to tell me I'm not mentally ill because of what I am going through, and acts more as a guide to help me reach conclusions and breakthroughs in therapy.  This process can't lead to powerful results in the short term... analysis takes years of commitment, and anyone who wants to be a Jungian analyst must be in analysis for 5 years or more as part of their training... a sort of healing process, one needs to understand themselves to heal others.  Also, one of course needs Jungian training, and as far as I know, a degree in something relating to the field, such as psychology or religious studies, considering how spiritual Jungian psychology can be.  I don't know everything about the process due to not investigating becoming an analyst myself, but I believe that's what I was told at one point.

While Freudian psychology emphasizes a dynamic where the analyst has the upper hand in some ways (including the use of a chaise lounge sofa, often enough), in Jungian psychology, the analyst acts as a kind of guide, sitting directly across from the analysand, both client and therapist are equals in this regard.  Freud decided man was driven by sex, Jung thought man's pursuits were higher, and had to do with relating to understanding one's Self, among other things.  So, being asexual and in a spiritual malaise as I was, it only made sense that I would prefer Jung to Freud.

I am no expert on Jung - I kind of used that lack of expertise to an advantage when I wrote "The Jung Ones" to hint that the Ajna Project didn't get what it was doing, so in a way my imperfect knowledge of Jung wasn't even a true handicap.  I did get my analyst to look over the comics as a kind of Jungian consultant, to make sure any glaring errors were corrected, and there were a couple I had to go back and fix here and there.  He bought all my comics from me, which is cool - I have never had a doctor or therapist do that before.  I still need to, of course, get the final book out, but I am taking a much needed break from art again, and am saving up money for printing.  Some suggest I do crowdfunding, but I don't want to bother, knowing it would mean giving backers books as rewards that I would need for sales at my launch.  Also, failure to make quota could be embarrassing, so screw it.  I'll just save my pennies.

I once asked my analyst about the controversy with Jung being a "nazi sympathizer" - he had a good answer to this.  It was only early when the nazis first formed that Jung saw it could be a positive, due to something he saw in them strengthening the German identity.  But after it became clear what they were actually about, he had a horrible nightmare about bloodshed over Europe, it changed his mind about the nazis, and it began a stage of his life that would later lead to him creating "The Red Book", his strangest body of work, and one that the Jung grandchildren were at first hesitant to release.  I have a copy of the reader's edition, but not the illuminated manuscript version, which is over $200.00 sometimes.  It's a challenging read, but interesting, I have to try tackling it again.

I know Jungian analysis has helped me where conventional psychiatry has failed.  Having an ear to listen to me without telling me I am sick and hopeless helped bigtime, and I like that there's almost an element of play to the approach, this makes therapy fun and creative.  I get a great rate due to my financial circumstances, thank god because analysis can be pricey.  I notice that in the long term, I have grown to get a knack for analyzing circumstances better, and see that both myself and others have had a tendency to overanalyze things, leading to anxiety and frustration.  My assumption with politics online is that a lot of disputes erupt from overanalyzing what people are about when they speak their mind, leading to unnecessary bickering.  Without the human connection of a face to face discussion, it's even worse online when it happens than in person.  There are a lot of bad armchair psychologists out there, both on the right and on the left.  Being an analysand has also helped me to understand why people act as they do, and thus be more empathetic to difficult individuals.

A good Jungian breaks it down to the bare minimum, not obsessing about every single detail... one must trim the lily in dream analysis, for example.  I have learned how to do this from my therapist.  I can easily spot a counsellor who might have work to do on themselves, based on how they respond to my discussion, and the look in their eyes as they do so.  It's almost as though they're following this by-the-book method I have seen over and over again as to what to say to a client, they do not speak from the heart.  My guy sometimes will just say "Oh, don't think that - you're full of shit... you know better than that" and tells me what he sees, his eyes full of confidence while he's doing it, and he's often right.  I prefer a blunt response that is honest and cuts through nonsense to what most counsellors peddle - clearly my analyst has healed himself, knows himself, so he is qualified to help me.  If a therapist doesn't even know who they are, how on earth can they heal their client?  That's likely a common reason therapy can fail.

-Saraƒin