A Ham with a Heart. . .
. . . this is how many describe me.
The short-story is the simple truth, I come from a long line of Preachers, Healers, Seers, Dowsers, and Midwives so I had no real choice; "God" has a thing about his chosen few, it would seem. Then again, a pagan friend of mine pointed out the that...
"The Goddess will allow you to have your free will . . .
. . . she'll likewise make your life a living hell until you freely submit to her will for your life."
So regardless the path, I'm pretty much destined to walk amongst the spirits.
Technically speaking, I was born an Army-Brat in the wee morning hours September 23, 1959 on the Aberdeen Proving Grounds (Aberdeen, MD) -- a perfectly cusped Virgo-Libra. . . and I can assure you, that has more than contributed to my personal sense of insanity.
Then again, we are each handed that particular bag of Karma the instant we're conceived and later, take that first big breath in life. My karma coming with a centuries old family tradition of religious servitude; the Dutch element insuring that very "right way" of looking at things "conservatively" and of course, "As God Ordains it to be. . ." A fact that I'd soon prove the contradiction of; taking after that side of the family gene-pool that simply can't accept dogma, regardless the flavor in question.
The "Metaphysical" way of looking at life and spirituality wasn't understood as such to most of my kin; my maternal grandfather was probably the only exception to that rule given his deliberately dealings in the Occult; Ritual Magick, Spiritualism, Voodoo and the Kabalah. It is even rumored that he had corresponded with the legendary Aleister Crowley, one of the more notorious "Wizards" of the early 20th century. Then again, this is the man that gave the name of the Goddess Astarte to my mother; the physical incarnation of the traditional Celtic Witch -- Green Eyes and thick Reddened locks. Sadly, he was run down off the mountain and ultimately, the state of West Virginia itself, becoming somewhat an enigma that moved in and out of the flow of things.
"The Work" was never discussed within family circles; for the most part, those that practiced weren't made very welcome, even when they toed the line and acted like the proper go'n to meet'n Christian just as the other hypocrites did.
I bring out this brief glimpse into my family life not to air dirty laundry or to validate the who & what of me. Rather, to demonstrate how, even when these gifts are a known constant within a family group, they are frequently suppressed; the one's that possess the abilities, ostracized. In some instances, especially when the abilities were seen forming within children, physical beating proved the constant -- a "Laying on of Hands" that was a bit more damning and humiliating than the good books probably intended. Yet, such actions seemed the standard way of "fixing" any and all things that were "wrong" with the young'ns back in the day. My father not only pounding deep into my mind that I was not to "Read" people when I was young (or any of the other things I was known to do. . . that frightened he and my mother) but he did his best to knock the fag right out of me as well; no self-respecting Redneck from the south wanted to have a boy that swished when he walked and lisped when he talked.
Craig the Rebel. . .the Student. . . the Guide
Obviously I've got "issues" -- issues I openly share so that you can understand that I'm human and have complications in my life and my make-up, just as you do. Far too many that cliam the mantel of being "Psychic" try to project themselves as being perfect little glimers of light filled with a divine spark. I'd encourage you to take a look at the heroes of the Old Testament or even Greek folklore; the majority of "God's Messengers" and prophets were quite blemished and "colorful". . . even angry. Then again, some of history's more renown sages have been horrid drunks or addicts of some form.
It's important to me that you see me for who I really am rather than my acting like something I'm not. When I do Readings I strive to be as honest as I can with folks and sometimes that can seem harsh. The harshness and blunt course of things has to do with you and your need to address and heal key issues in your life that you've been avoiding. I don't issue such things to be mean or because I'm bitter (as some folks assume). It's because I care and I care enough to not pull punches.
Many years ago I penned a very controversial article for The Inner Circle News in Las Vegas, in which I shared a few anthropological curiosities over sexual roles within the spiritual paths of life. While one of the key influences to this treatise came from Bro. Anthony Penera's explanation about Karma and Reincarnation, most came from tangible evidence as well -- the fact that most all great teachers, gurus, mystics, prophets, et al, were "androgynous". That is to say that those born male came across as being effeminate while the females seem more masculine; something we can even observe today in many spiritual and religious societies.
Many traditions around the globe set-aside those children that showed signs of, for lack of a better term, homosexuality and/or transgendered; most of whom would be taken in by the village shaman and taught in the ways of mysticism, healing and the related arts & sciences.
We all have a particular portion of Male & Female within us, no one and nothing can escape this truth. Just as some people reveal a heightened sensitivity to their environment that makes them more "Psychic" than others, so we have cases in which certain forms of "gender imbalance" seem to manifest at both, natural and what may be best described as 'evolutionary' levels; the latter referring to how one's spiritual disciplines and progress seem to naturally move the person into a kind of gender-median when it comes to physical and emotional quirks.
Understand, this does not mean that all effeminate men are "gay" or all masculine seeming women are "lesbian" and conversely, it does not mean that one changes their gender preferences when living a spiritual path; only that they become more attune to the masculine-feminine self.
Yes, through this process some do awaken to their "true" sexuality or proper sense of gender assignment. For most this is a realization that's been known to them since their earliest memories that social influences and family fears frequently suppress. I can assure you however, it's never a "choice" as some would have you believe. If that were so there wouldn't be over 1,800 known species of animal on the planet in which same-sex partnering isn't just common, but runs within similar population ratios as seen with human beings. Primates (that includes us) are unique in two ways however; issues of gender identity (gender dysphoria) and bi-sexuality, the latter, in debates tied to the karmic factor and sexuality, is suggestive of a higher spiritual sense of self -- an expressed sense of completion in which balance has been achieved. But please don't think that means you're "superior", only that you have come into a graduation cycle spiritually and will be moving on to the next level of awareness (See; Blogs & Articles - still pending publication)
I do not make mention of these details as a means of setting myself aside in some special way but rather as a mean by which to help persons dealing with their sexuality and sexual identity, to realize that "God" hasn't cursed or condemned them but in truth, has blessed them. Historically, the harsh bias towards persons juggling these issues didn't surface until around the 3rd to 5th centuries of our current era. A look at global history and a side by side study as to when this bias became established in countries world wide, quickly reveals a man-made contention that stems primarily out from two Abrahamic traditions; while the third leg of these groups has some expressed bias, it is not a universal view, many Rabbi offer a far more accepting perspective to such things and have done so for centuries.
And to clarify. . . I'm not saying that Christianity and Islam alone are the sole architects to said bigotry, there are other cultures that have long held views that are similar. However, it was the global conquests of these two sects that created the greatest impact and sense of betrayal towards nature itself and it is still these sources that are promoting division and discourse within society; including the suppression of women. It's up to us to change things and restore the harmony in this world that was once common.
Can you imagine an existence in which you endure near constant cycles of extreme fatigue, unexplained loss of strength, horrendous muscle spasms that lasted for days and even the inability to control what your legs or hands may do?
From age 7 to 44 this was the reality faced by Craig Browning, the diagnosis of Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis in the fall of 2003 was a relief -- an answer to a mysterious series of ailments that lead to his being seen as "unreliable", a hypochondriac, "Drama Queen" and so many other mis-label. Unfortunately he's not the first, nor will he be the last human being to endure such unfair judgments or the unintended bridge-burnings such things can cause -- powerlessness is a reality at times.
By the time Craig was in his Mid-20's he was already dependent on a cane but two-decades later he found himself relying on powerchair more and more, even though he does retain limited mobility.
I can, as every person out there, look back on my life and see just how tortured, abused, and damned my existence has been. I can likewise look back and see the blessings, triumphs and goodness which, ironically, seems the much longer list most of the time.
One of my greatest passions in life has been Show Business; a world that has certainly been hellish, a dream that was thoroughly shattered after forty long years of effort and getting nowhere. Yet, it taught me many lessons and more importantly, allowed me a special sense of contrast -- the ability to realize that my most fulfilling points in life have always been when I'd sat the dream-career to the side and embraced my inner-nature -- that side of me that is spiritual, sensitive and love oriented. In other words, when I was fulfilling my "calling" -- that same intuitive obligation I'd known in my youth when contemplating the ministry, and the very same sensation I met and was overwhelmed by when facing death in a most fantastic way.
In looking at the lives of those I've admired most in history I've seen my life over and over again -- men and women that seemed in perpetual torment until they finally stopped long enough to listen to their soul and move in life upon that path, for the sake of the path -- the healing and placation it grants us so long as we stay true.
The Buddha taught that we are not through learning or bringing our karma into balance so long as we breathe, eat and continue to return in this world either creating karma anew, or ignoring that which we arrived with. I've found a great truth to this wisdom and pray that like me, you will be able to overcome your own blindness so that bliss has the opportunity to participate with you in the life ahead.