Talking to the Spirits: Personal Gnosis in Pagan Religion

Talking to the Spirits: Personal Gnosis in Pagan Religion

by Kenaz Filan, Raven Kaldera


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A guide to direct communication with the spirits and the Gods

• Offers practices for seekers and groups to learn to hear and respond to the spirits and the Gods as well as what to do (and not do) if you receive a message

• Explains how to authenticate spiritual messages with divination

• Discusses how to avoid theological conflicts when someone’s personal gnosis differs from that of their Pagan group

For our ancestors the whole world was alive with spirits. The Gods bubbled forth from rivers and springs and whispered in the breezes that rustled through cities and farms. The ground underfoot, the stones, the fire that cooked the food and drove off the darkness, these all had spirits—not just spirits in some other dimension, but spirits in them who could be spoken to and allied with. In today’s world we are led to believe that the spirits long ago went silent and that spiritual wisdom can only be gained through established religious doctrine.

Providing a guide for opening two-way conversation with the spirits of daily life as well as direct communication with the Gods, Kenaz Filan and Raven Kaldera explore how to enrich your spiritual path with personal gnosis—asking your Guides for assistance or teachings and receiving a response. They explain how to develop your sensitivity to the voices of the Divine, discern genuine spiritual messages from the projection of internal psychodrama, and what to do (and not do) with the messages you receive. Confirming their own personal gnosis with Northern Tradition Pagan beliefs and Greco-Roman, Celtic, Egyptian, and indigenous hunter-gatherer lore, the authors discuss how to avoid theological conflicts when someone’s personal gnosis differs from that of their Pagan group as well as how to authenticate messages with individual and group divination. Offering practices and principles for seekers and groups, they reveal that the spirits never went silent, we simply forgot how to hear them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620550830
Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
Publication date: 02/23/2013
Edition description: Original
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 982,308
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Kenaz Filan (Houngan Coquille du Mer) was initiated in Société la Belle Venus in March 2003 after 10 years of solitary service to the lwa. Filan is the author of several books, including The New Orleans Voodoo Handbook, and coauthor with Raven Kaldera of Drawing Down the Spirits. Filan lives in Short Hills, New Jersey. Raven Kaldera is a Northern Tradition Pagan shaman who has been a practicing astrologer since 1984 and a Pagan since 1986. The author of many books, including Moon Phase Astrology, and coauthor of Neolithic Shamanism, Kaldera lives in Hubbardston, Massachusetts.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 7
Judging the Message by Yourself
The Process of Discernment Part 1

There are two parts to successful personal gnosis: discernment and signal clarity. In this chapter we’ll focus on the process of discernment. Let’s say that you have been working on listening to the Gods or spirits, and you think that you have something. A message came, whether in a waking vision or a dream or a voice or just a strong feeling. Perhaps an omen fell in front of you. How do you know if it’s real? Here are the steps to take, one at a time, to discern whether it’s real or your own internal voice, or some combination of the two.

1. Is it consistent with external reality as we know it? Deciding this part could range from “Is it really possible for me to levitate my actual body with my own will, as this spirit tells me I can?” to “Is that person really doing what that spirit says they’re doing, and is that consistent with what I know or can find out about them?” Be extremely skeptical if it does not pass this point. At the very least, check with other sources multiple times.

Mental shapeshifting does not contradict well-supported scientific findings, but full physical shapeshifting from a human into a wolf contradicts known biological possibility. Now, just because something isn’t consistent with known science does not mean I discard it outright—what is scientifically “ known” has been known to change, after all, and could be inaccurate or misleading—but it does mean I am more skeptical and will subject the phenomenon to a harsher scrutiny.
Djeriwepwawet, U.S. Kemetic Pagan

2. Is it consistent with what is already written about that God or spirit? If it’s completely off from all written accounts, that’s another strike against it. By “off” we don’t mean “not written about,” because certainly we don’t know everything about all the Gods and spirits, and they might be telling you something that is not in the sources you can find. We mean that there is explicit writing saying the exact opposite of what you have; for example, saying that a deity had no children when multiple written accounts say otherwise. Be careful to look at multiple sources; Gods were often worshipped differently from one place and time to another, and your gnosis may be congruent with a different tradition of that deity.

3. Is it consistent with what other devotees of that deity say about them? While we’ve stated that every God or Goddess treats every worshipper differently, if you interview a number of people who are devoted to or have worked closely with that deity and they all say, “That really doesn’t sound anything like Him (or Her)—actually, very much the opposite,” then that’s another strike against it. If the reviews are mixed—if some people say that it sounds familiar while others don’t—then you may be dealing with a different aspect of that deity, or more than one of you may be wrong. Ask the deity or spirit in question for more clarification.

4. Does it contradict your own experience of that deity or spirit?
If, up until now, you’ve experienced Deity X as wanting this and valuing that, and now you have something that is entirely different, be suspicious. It may just be that you’re experiencing another aspect of them—deities and spirits are not one-dimensional—or, in some cases, that your former experiences of them were your own mental sock puppets, and this is the real thing. But be careful anyway until you have better corroboration.

If I normally experience Bast as a bright warmth, and then suddenly one day some entity pokes at me saying she’s Bast but feels like prickling saltwater, I’m going to be suspicious, because it doesn’t fit my past experiences of Bast. That doesn’t mean there isn’t an alternate explanation (i.e., a different spirit or one of Her messengers), but I’m nonetheless going to be very careful in my interaction with it.
Djeriwepwawet, U.S. Kemetic Pagan

5. Is the tone and nature of the message consistent with itself and with the worldview of the cosmology it claims to be from? Watch for internal inconsistencies to both the message and the nature of the creature. If a spirit claims to be the soul of a piece of wild natural land and then asks you to sacrifice a chemical-filled Twinkie to it, that’s a problem.

6. If this message came from another person but is specifically about me, do I trust the source? How well do you know and trust the individual from whom it came? If you know them well, you might know that they are solid and don’t go around throwing their unconscious opinions out in the form of messages to others; or, you might know them well enough to remember that they tend to be melodramatic. If you don’t know them well, what do other people who know them better say about them?

7. Intuitively, does the message feel right on every level? Does it “ping”? If not, put it aside and look at it again in a few days. If it still just doesn’t feel right, discard it. If much of it doesn’t feel right but something in it somehow pings, then it might have a kernel of truth underneath the baggage. See if you can uncover that kernel, either by a twenty questions form of divination, or by meditating on each part of it to see what does feel right. It’s fine to say, “I think there’s some truth in it, but I haven’t figured out how much yet.”

8. Is it too gratifying? One of the hallmarks of one’s internal sock monkeys is that the message always props your ego in some way. This doesn’t mean that every real message is guaranteed to make you miserable, but if it’s too close to what you already hoped it would be, be suspicious.

Table of Contents

Reclaiming Our Gods, Reconstructing Our Faith

1 Why Personal Gnosis?

2 Definitions

3 Divine Downloads

What Personal Gnosis Feels Like

4 Legends, Lore, and Living Faith
On Primary Sources and Holy Writ

5 Delusions, Lies, and Skepticism

6 So Who Can Be a Mystic?

7 Judging the Message by Yourself
The Process of Discernment, Part 1

8 Mad Wisdom
Mental Illness and Personal Gnosis

9 Signal Clarity
Hearing the Divine Voice

10 Solo Divination
The Process of Discernment, Part 2

11 Silence and Faith

12 Neo-Paganism and Its Attitudes

13 Historical Precedents
Gnosis in Ancient Times

14 Responsibilities
Sorting Out the Tangled Mass

15 Community Divination
The Process of Discernment, Part 3

16 Groups and Gnosis

17 Judging the Message in Groups

The Process of Discernment, Part

18 The Rocky Road to Intrafaith Dialogue

The Future of Peer-Corroborated Personal Gnosis



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Talking to the Spirits: Personal Gnosis in Pagan Religion 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first volume in Jones' series is funny, exciting, and filled with wonderful characters. Charley is snarky and sassy without being annoying or mean. love the relationships Charley has with her best friend/receptionist Cookie and her Uncle Bob, and various ghosts who have refused to cross over. Reyes' true identity came as something of a surprise, and I will be interested in seeing how it effects the rest of the books. Highly recommended to fans of Gail Carriger, Devon Monk, and Thea Harrison. -- lyradora