One might imagine that in terms of Icons, most of them would be something akin to some sort of strange and ethereal “thing” that a whole bunch of people would choose to one day call their “Deity.” In actuality, the way that Icons can be interpreted is via our own understanding, not only of the piece itself, but more, of the power it holds for the person using it.
Let us get one thing perfectly clear – this post is NOT about how we can worship these silly little “things” that we in the ways of the Weirdness choose to use as tools for our daily ritual and practice. An Icon is something that is representative of something bigger than one’s own self. The dictionary’s explanation of this thing is that it is a religious symbol made out of wood, but, I am not a dictionary. I am a teacher of things strange and of things spiritual and of things mystical and otherworldly.
How an Icon, in terms of the Weirdness, can be interpreted.
I have a rule – whatever is your practice, make sure that it is ENTIRELY yours, this includes the tools of ritual and magick that you employ within your practice. I am Kahuna, meaning that the same tools for ritual and practice that my ‘Aumakua (Ancestors, both in body and in spirit) guide me to use are the very ones which mean the most to me. We all have things we call “keepsakes,” and in a sense, this is what an icon, at least in this writing, is. The things that we call our own ‘keepsakes’ tend to have for us a power of its own. They are able to help us feel certain emotions, and they can tend to bring to us a memory that, at any time, a practitioner will need in order to bring about a certain energy in ritual or ceremony. Bear in mind that, in terms of spiritual practice, RITUALS are more a FEMALE thing, and CEREMONIES are more a MALE thing. Think in terms of a “birthing ritual” and an “opening ceremony” and you will know what the energy is that I am using with those two words. For the sake of this writing, I will refer to certain things as “Rituals” because yeah…I’m a chick…please – keep reading…
Icons, as I know them to be, can be worn. At this moment, and hanging from a chain on my neck, I am wearing two guitar picks, both of which were acquired at significant times in my life and gifted to me by my other half. Alongside those two guitar picks are symbols of the each of us. I wear a Yin-Yang (he is a Cancerian) as well as a little Pineapple charm (that is what he calls me -”Pineapple”- and has called me for a long time). All of these four charms “live” near to my heart (literally) on a stainless steel chain that one of the picks came with. On a choker, I wear a brass Triquetra (Symbolizing the Triple Goddess – Maiden, Mother and Crone, as well as the Ancient Wiccans of old, and the idea of the Holy Trinity).
On my left wrist (left= the side of the body where the heart is) I wear a bracelet made of black jute twine and adorned with peace symbols (symbolizing the sisterhood energy I have with my very close friend Amber…I Love You, girlie!…for me, it also symbolizes, since it was given to me by a Soul-Sister, the energy inherent within the part of my Tribe that is myself and ALL my Soul-Sisters, all of which KNOW I love them so very much.), as well as a Jade bangle bracelet (given to me by my mother, another water sign in Scorpio, and symbolizes water, which I am in Pisces, as well as my Spirit Mother, who is a Cancerian), and also, of course, a dove-tail shell lei that has been on my wrist for YEARS and symbolizes my roots as a Kanaka Maoli – a Native Person of Hawai’ian Ancestry (and of course, it also symbolizes WATER…which is my birth element. It also reminds me of my own ‘Medicine Dance’ – Hula, as with Hula, the Dove Tail shell lei is a staple in terms of Hula adornments).
The way that we have been taught and made to believe any icon is remains to be too very closed off in that, an icon is something of a religious symbol, but, not all icons are religious. (Think about Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin, and George Harrison, and Cliff Burton, and BB King, and David Bowie….all of them iconic musicians…all of them gone from this consciousness) We have been taught that icons are to be respected, and in terms of the way that the western world has been cajoled to believe and to think, an icon is meant to be revered but never to be used as a tool which would give the person using it as such a sort of iconoclastic sort of energy through means of something that is intensely personally important for them.
The only power that anything at all possess is what power we will choose to give to it.
In my case, because of the things that I choose to wear as my own tools for the Weirdness are so very close to my heart, I chose things that would remind me, through seeing them, of what is so important to me, and what gives me strength, what (and who) honors me as much as I honor and Love them, what is important to me in terms of the gifts that I have been granted and am capable of doing almost effortlessly. The things that I wear are things that I, myself, through the thoughts that are produced by those things when I look at them, even for a short glance, have assigned a certain level of my own soul’s energy. The things that I chose as my ‘wearable tools” for my shamanic practices are things which symbolize that which is most important to me, to the things that I do, and all of them are connected by the surreal energy that is Love between people, the sort of love that is partnership, that is family and the Tribal ways that we each employ with and for one another. The things that I use are the very things which symbolize the pureness of who I am, of who those closest to me are and their place and purpose in my life. And it all is about the intention for good, not for only learning and balancing, but for the grander purpose of healing, through learning and through higher thought (Mana’o) that we all and each are very well capable of.
The Energy Behind the Icon is all about the Soul’s Power
We humans, namely here in the western world, are all about Power, just not of the sort of the Soul. We all and also know that power corrupts. When thinking in terms of power and amulets and those things that your God Fearing mother told you would send you straight to hell in a hand basket is what I am talking about here today. The “fear of God” is a power and a symbol that does EXACTLY what the words tell us it does – makes us afraid. When I was told, as a kid, that I was having the fear of God instilled in me, and when I think back to those days, I can recall the fear that I would also experience, and I can see my mom pointing out in her Bible where it says that if I chose to do certain things, and if I chose to go ahead and quell my curiosities of the things that I have been able to do since I was a kid, that I would come short of the favor of her personal God (the one who she painted for me, a word picture of this abusive scary old man with a beard, sitting on a huge gold throne, judging people and destroying them for not being perfect…anyhow…) and that he would, without a doubt, send me to a fiery pit which was waiting for people like me – devil worshiping crazy people who ‘knew’ things before they were told.
Then one day, in the throes of being someone else’s victim, I cried out to my mother’s god, and her god failed me. I continued to be abused, continued to spiral evermore downward in to a hell that was not of my creation. This is when, by the very grace of the Goddess, my Auntie Kalei began to spiritually teach me how to use what was going on in my life to that point to strengthen and educate me about the realities, NOT of being a victim, but, of using what was my experience in this body and in this lifetime at that time in my life, as Medicine for my soul. It was as though she were the doctor and I her intern, being taught about how it is that, just like a flu shot, we could better understand ourselves if we faced the fear, and faced the pain, and learned to get from those things what we could later use to help others be all who they are for real. She taught me that the best Medicine Women were NOT trained in the halls of academia ( at least not at first), but that we have been trained, through karmic lessons and the like, by the University of the Goddess, from the time that we are born into these bodies. She taught me that we never stop learning, and that when it was time for another teacher to come into my life, I would know that what I was meant, at least to that point in my learning, to learn from her, I would have learned. The proof would be that other teachers would materialize and that I would know which one I was meant to learn from.
Enter the one to whom I and many others have referred lovingly to simply as “Mama No.” She is a woman from the north who now hails from the south, is a true living Druid ancestor, as well as a Celtic Crone and a woman of Irish origins whose leanings in that Tribal energy are true. The reason we call her ‘Mama No’ is no one’s business but ours. The thing that she taught me, that she teaches us all, is that it is up to us to figure out what, exactly, we will use as our tools. When she told me, years ago, about “Icons,” she explained that they technically are rooted in religion, but that we are meant to discern for ourselves what that word actually means. That I am Hawaiian is one thing, but, that we wear on our person, things of a spiritual nature, things that are intensely personal in terms of that spiritual nature, and things which point to us what and who we are and what is the most important to us, and most of all, what it is that we are teaching others in this lifetime, is completely and totally another thing all together. I have already explained what each of these things that I wear mean to me, and why they are so meaningful. I have told you all why they are important and more, without saying so, told you what they symbolize and what is left up to the world to figure out, on its own, what they mean to anyone else. The power is not in the wearing of them. The power is knowing what they symbolize and how that energy will be utilized by the person not only wearing them, but also, the outside world and what these things that are mine that anyone else will discern them to mean to them.
This brings to my personal icons a different kind of power that is produced by outside means, typically other people. This is the truth about these things that all people who work in the weirdness use or wear or embrace as our own. My symbols mean a whole lot to me, and, in fact, when I think about what each thing means and why those things are so important to me, to who I am and what I am, and how it is that the world will perceive anything that I do, I realize that in a far away kind of manner, I also sort of know that it is up to the person who is not me, who might not even know me, to take in the entire “picture” of who I am and to take from that energy whatever it is that they will perceive as being the Mana of my Soul (My Soul’s Power – essentially the heebie-jeebie thing about me that people are usually spot on about)
This is what my Icons, the very ones which I wear, all the time, no matter what, have brought to me, hold for me and empower me with. In your own lives and in your own spiritual thing you have goin’ on, I am sure that now there are things that you can think of that hold these sorts of energies for you. I am not stating at all that these things technically hold any kind of power. What I am saying is that we are who give these things these powers, and these powers are nothing that we do not all have. They are all gathered under one “heading” called “focus.” These icons help us to focus on the energies at hand that are delivered to us via the thought behind what we are physically seeing.
When I see the yin-yang, or the guitar picks, and of course, the tiny little pineapple, I am immediately given a sense of peace and well-being in terms of who my time is well spent with, always, and no matter what. I am reminded that at the end of the day, I am no longer just me. I am part of something bigger than me, and that it calls from me a certain kind of attention and the kind of attention that I am pleased to give.
When I see the Triquetra, I am reminded of the universal groove thing about women, period, and how it is that we are amazingly powerful, how it is that we are magical in the sense that is bringing forth life, and how primal we truly are. I think about how it is that we hold this ethereal magic that is only inherent in those who can call ourselves “Human and Female,” and it is a beautiful thing, indeed.
When I look at my peace signs, I am reminded of the solace that I am given, the understanding and the sisterhood type love that I have, that I teach to my daughter, to my soul-sisters’ daughters, to anyone’s daughters, about the magic that is being female and being those who can replicate life. I am also reminded of my Tribe of Soul-Sisters, the women in my life who make my being me and female much better than I was ever taught it could be. These women make my life a joy to be part of. No…really.
When I look at my jade, I reminded of who brought me here, of what my position in this lifetime as Kahuna Wahine is, and how important it is that I follow and be guided by the things that both of my mothers have taught me and continue to teach me to this point in my very storied life thus far.
When I see my dove tail shells, I am reminded of the thing that we are all meant to have in our lives, which is healing and love, joy and bliss and the endlessness that is the soul as it dances in the light of the Universe.
Our Icons…the only way that they are religious is that we love them religiously, use them carefully, respect them and and in no other way use them for any reason that is not connected to the Universal healing Light of Love.