Taking and Sending

An Introduction to Tonglen~ The Buddhist Practice of Taking and Sending

I use a lot of Buddhist techniques in my magic, as a matter of fact, if it weren’t for spirits and ancestors, I’d simply be Buddhist. I appreciate the real world applications of lay Buddhism, the “Do it anywhere, with or without tools.” aspects of it. I’d like to introduce you to Tonglen, or “Taking and Sending” practice, today if you haven’t tried it.

I love the alchemy of it. I feel as if I’m actually offering my energy in a real, visceral way. It makes me feel as if something is actually happening, which I appreciate.

The Dalai Lama encourages everyone to embrace Buddhists practices, and there’s no need for initiations, dissolving your alignment with your current faith, or anything other than learning and trying the technique.

5 Minute Tonglen Intro


This energetic practice helps us to transfigure suffering, of ourselves, others, and the world. Begin in a comfortable meditative posture. Pay attention to the heart, I often see a fire in my heart, as a hearth, where things can be transformed, you can also see the world in your heart, or nothing~whatever works for you.


Spend a few minutes on each section of focus:

Breathe in the suffering of the world. Just the general suffering, transform it with your loving heart, and breathe out compassion and love, peace, relief, in all directions.

Breathe in pain and suffering, breathe out relief.

If it helps, add a visualization~ heavy energy in, light energy out. If it helps, add a chant:

I breathe in the world’s suffering, transmute it, and breathe out compassion.

For You~

Think of painful aspects of your life, chronic pain, trauma, financial trouble…and breathe in your pain, breathe out compassion, love, forgiveness, mercy for you. Spend a few minutes Taking and Sending for yourself.

“I breathe in my own pain and suffering, and transmute it, I breathe out compassion for myself.”

For Loved Ones~

Now spend a few moments breathing in the pain of your loved ones, and breathing out compassion for them. The neighbor with cancer, the unemployed father, the drug addicted cousin~ whomever. Breathe in their pain, and breathe out love.

“I breathe in the pain of ______________, and breathe out love and healing for them.”

For Those You Don’t Love~

Strangers or enemies~ You can breathe in the suffering of “Humanity”, breathe out love and merciful compassion for “Humanity”. You can probably accept that your enemies are suffering from delusions or traumas that make them your enemies. (My enemies, for instance, suffer from greed, delusions of superiority, among other things. If I can donate my time and breath to their healing, that’s beneficial for me and many others who suffer because of their actions.)

“I breathe in the pain of humanity, I breathe out love and compassion for it.”
If you get distracted by rage, or despair or anything else, that’s fine, sit with that and make the more generic aim towards “Humanity”.

All Forms of Life~

Now breathe in the suffering of All Creatures, yes, even the ones you don’t care for. You don’t need to focus on creatures you don’t love, but you shouldn’t exclude them, either. Breathe in the pain and suffering of all living beings and breathe out love and compassion for all of them.

“I breathe in the pain and suffering of all living things, and I breathe out love and mercy for them all.”


Not traditionally taught, I often do a round for my ancestral spirits.  I will sometimes do a session of Tonglen simply for them as part of my Ancestral Work.

“I breathe in the pain and suffering of my departed relations, and I breathe out love and healing compassion for them.”

Give gratitude to yourself. You may want to do a cleansing or a grounding.




It took me years to warm up to this practice, it gave me nightmares, I didn’t like it, I got headaches, and so on. Eventually, I understood the benefits that could be obtained from the practice, and it still isn’t a practice I do often~ I tend to work with Metta or the Brahmaviharas more often, but I do use it and recognize it’s value.


I do it on the spot at signs of trouble, if I read tragic news or hear from a friend or co-worker who is having a hard time, I can breathe in their pain and breathe out a bit of comfort for them. It makes me feel less powerless in the face of overwhelming tragedy or sadness. I encourage you to give it a try, let me know how it goes, if you do.


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Plans for 2019~ Ancestral Connections

During 2019, I hope you will join me as I rediscover the magic of New England and read my way through a selection of New England authors and stories set here. I’ve been back in my homeland, but haven’t written much about my excursions, travels, and attempts to reconnect with my ancestors and the land here.


Storytelling is a sacred tradition, and stories set in place often teach and help you engage with that land in a deep way. Some of the books and authors I will explore are:

Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, Theodora Goss, Alice Hoffman, Jhumpa Lahiri, Zadie Smith, John Updike, and Junot Diaz.

Steller's Jay, Seward, Alaska.

In addition, I’ll be cooking my way through my ancestry, exploring the terroirs, histories, and tradition of my ancestors through the foods of their lands, whenever I can. My goal is to make my way through all sixteen regions from my DNA test results. I’m mostly Portuguese and African, with lots of bits of Europe. It will be a fun and educational project, I hope.

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Tools to Persevere

We are having a time. Prepping for your own future among collapse, ruin, and conspiracy, is exhausting and seems futile at worst, optimistic at best.

What’s a witch to do?

Resist much, obey very little~ Walt Whitman

Stay Clean: We are privy to trauma from around the world, 24/7. Add in the everyday violences and aggressions we encounter from irate drivers, hostile coworkers, and politicians, and we are in some deep trouble. Cleanse always. When you wake, after you read problematic and troublesome news, after a friend opens up about their suicidal thoughts, after You have them. At least do it upon waking and upon going to bed. This will help you begin at a neutral space. However, you may want to do a cleansing when you return home, in order to bring fewer problematic energies to your environment.

You can do Florida water in a spray bottle, a white light visioning practice, run a crystal along your body. The ways are as endless and varied as practitioners.

Coyle 2

Protect: You can use a sigil, a piece of jewelry, a scent, or a visualization or prayer, but a protective shield of some sort is advisable. Perhaps you can avoid upsetting yourself beyond repair by weeding out what gets to you in the first place. Protect your psyche. Fill it with music, art, and energies that fulfill and revive you, even if that means watching “Love, Actually” once a week or playing  Marvin Gaye endlessly.

Prayer: Pray for us. Collectively. We all need help. Those who damage us need help to wake up and repent and repair. Those damaged need repair and justice. The animals, plants, land, and water, are all suffering. Pray for those who are with us. Pray for the actions of those against us to turn to ash. Pray for the apathetic to shake it off and join us.


Image courtesy T. Thorn Coyle

Forgive: Forgive what you can. It’s a hard world out there and we will not be able to attend to it 24/7. We will let others down and we will be let down. We will turn to coping mechanisms, both healthy and unhealthy. Forgive what you can.

Check In: When you’re having a good day and have some energy to spare, check in on a friend. When you’re not, contact a friend and tell them what’s going on with you. Humans are social creatures.

Journal: Journaling has many mental health benefits. Getting feelings out on paper/computer screen means they take up less space in your mind. Gratitude journals are great reminders that there are still good things in abundance.

more details here

Have Some Fun: Admittedly, sometimes fun these days feels like playing the violin while the Titanic sinks, but we have to live now. Hike, garden, see concerts, whatever makes you happy. Make a list of things that make you happy from the simple to the complex. A good cup of Earl Grey, the smell of baking apples, the purr of your cat, sunrise, birdsong…When things get bad, turn to those.

Support What You Can: Sign petitions, mail letters, make phone calls. Give whatever cash you can and volunteer whenever possible. Share art, fundraisers, tip well. Make gift bags for the homeless person you pass on your commute with clean underwear, baby wipes, toothpastes, toothbrush, and a serving of your meal with real silverware, and a cloth napkin and soap.

Embrace every joy you run across.


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Fundraiser for Puerto Rico

Three Card Reading, $5.00

The entire amount is donated to Unidos Por Puerto Rico, a charity recommended by PBS and started by the First Lady of Puerto Rico. I have already managed to send them $80.00. With your help, I can send more. Please reblog, send your friends. Fundraiser ends 11/1/17.


I have been reading tarot since I was 16. Family lore tells that my mom went to a tarot reader because she was having a hard time choosing between my dad and another man. The tarot reader said that the cards chose my father, and my parents had a wonderful 40 year marriage together, until my father died. So we take our tarot seriously.

PM me for details at venusiangold@gmail.com

Thank you for your consideration. Here’s a link to the charity I have chosen:

Concert Telethon:


10 Things You can do to Help via Fast Company:


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Freyja, Fairest


images (5)

Laura Daligan


Cunning woman, Burning Heart

Joy arrive and harm depart

Flowers blossom, lovers swoon

Amber Necklace Honeymoon

Prowling cats with Golden Fur

Let’s all praise and welcome Her

Lady Freyja, hear us sing

This song of praise and offering

Magic rise and Blessings flow

Teach us what we don’t yet know


This is a ridiculous piece of writing, but I’m ok with that.


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Defiance by Faery Tale 

An interesting article on Faery tales and resisting tyrants. 

Faery Tale Resistance

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Nin to Ponder


Anais Nin; difficult, more than a little mad, and enduringly inspiring. It upsets me when my friends, who calmly accept the madness of Poe, Degas, Miller, or Hemingway- lash out at Nin as if she should have somehow been different- or not herself. As if they can only blindly accept brilliance coupled with trouble from a man. Such a double standard.

She’s a part of my soul, and I will always adore her.


“The only abnormality is the incapacity to love.

“There are two ways to reach me: by way of kisses or by way of imagination. But there is a hierarchy: the kisses alone don’t work.”

“It’s all right for a woman to be, above all, human. I am a woman first of all.”


Portrait of Madame X,
John Singer Sergeant, 1884

“There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.”

“I do not want to be the leader. I refuse to be the leader. I want to live darkly and richly in my femaleness. I want a man lying over me, always over me. His will, his pleasure, his desire, his life, his work, his sexuality the touchstone, the command, my pivot. I don’t mind working, holding my ground intellectually, artistically; but as a woman, oh, God, as a woman I want to be dominated. I don’t mind being told to stand on my own feet, not to cling, be all that I am capable of doing, but I am going to be pursued, fucked, possessed by the will of a male at his time, his bidding.” 

For more Nin:

The Diaries of Anais Nin
House of Incest
Little Birds-which is less famous than Delta of Venus, though I like LB far more.

For Nin with a Dash of Henry Miller:

A Literate Passion: Letters of Anais Nin and Henry Miller


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