THE EIGHTFOLD PATH Part Five: ISOLATION

FireHeart 6 Cover for EarthSpiritTHE EIGHTFOLD PATH
Part Five: ISOLATION
by Inanna Arthen ©1991

A shaman walks for days through the forest, emerging at last to greet the sunrise from a craggy mountainside. A ceremonial magician works by candlelight in his library, spending day after day without speaking to another being. A priestess secludes herself in silence during the dark of the moon to await a vision from the Goddess. A Witch lives, in a smile hut on the edge of the woods, tending her garden and weaving her Earth magick in the sole company of her animals.

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THE EIGHTFOLD PATH Part Three: FASTING

FireHeart 4 Cover for EarthSpiritTHE EIGHTFOLD PATH
Part Three: FASTING
by Inanna Arthen ©1989

Vernal Equinox. I walk slowly through a stand of woods in central Massachusetts, avoiding patches of soft snow, my boots soaked with icy water. I have not eaten food or drunk anything but water for almost ten days, and I have walked for several miles so far this day, up and down hill, over brook and stone. It is cold and cloudy, and from time to time a light drizzle falls. Around me Spirit is immanent, and I am keenly aware of it. Everything I see takes my breath away with wonder, and the sound of water, dripping, trickling, bubbling, rushing, fills the air with a constant song. I stop to rest near a stand of trees and they greet me with interest; I chat casually with them, unconscious of any incongruity. Later, I discuss my life problems with a moss-covered rock. Voices call to me from the distance “Come see! Come see!” but I am reluctant to walk too far down hill. Everything around me seems eager to show me marvels, and all that I see is marvelous. Yet my body holds me firmly to the ground. Despite my increasingly slow step and the aches and twinges of my depleted muscles, my spirit soars. By the simple act of fasting for a few days, I have entered a profoundly altered state of consciousness.

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The Story of Real Vampires

FireHeart 2 Cover for EarthSpiritThe Story of
Real Vampires
by Inanna Arthen ©1988

“Real Vampires”-how can this be anything but a contradiction in terms? We all know about vampires. Stock characters of fiction, guaranteed box-office draws, the media vampire has been familiar to us since childhood. Generally speaking, our blood-suckers appear with a tongue planted firmly in one toothy cheek-from Bela Lugosi hamming it up in the 1950’s, to last summer’s teenage “vamp” movies, to Count Chocula breakfast cereal, the media seldom treat the vampire as truly fearsome. The stereotyped vampire traits are familiar to any child: vampires have big fangs, sleep in coffins, are instantly incinerated by sunlight, and are best dispatched by a stake through the heart. But the most important “fact” that we all know of course is that there are no such things.

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