Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Fear and Time

Another draw from the amazing creative team of Lucy Cavendish and Jasmine Becket-Griffith, this time from the Oracle of Shadows and Light (Blue Angel, 2010).   I meditated with this card and learnt a lot about fear.  I had somehow not realised just how afraid of change I am at the moment, but path working and meeting the Witch at the End of the World, I was able to hear by proxy my own terrors.

Although she sits in a bleak landscape, with a storm crashing around her and a timer in her hand, she told me she'd rather be there than face the change that would come when the sands ran out.  In this, I can acknowledge my own fear of the unknown.  Things in life aren't great, but I realise that I fear they could easily get worse rather than better.

In the guidebook, Lucy Cavendish states that change is coming, but all will be well.  I'm not sure I really believe that.  Life isn't always happy, and though I agree that ultimately we come to see the learning potential in all that we face, that doesn't necessarily mean that all is well.  Or maybe it's the fact that, at the end of the day, whatever happens we must accept and find the good in it one way or another.  Still, while we can cling to what is, we often do!

It made me wonder, what would help me to move forward with grace, rather than being pulled into new situations kicking and screaming?  Perhaps one answer lies in the guidebook: the belief that change will be for the good.  It's a tough one, though.  After all, in yoga they also talk about releasing attachment, and that includes attachment to situations and habits just as much as to material possessions, so it's not a new issue :)

Hopefully, just realising how much fear there is in me is already a first step in dealing with it...

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Wolves In the Broom Closet

©Lucy Cavendish & Jasmine Becket-Griffith
For my morning meditation, I pulled this card from the Oracle of the Shapeshifters (Blue Angel, 2011).  It really brought home to me some things about being in the broom closet, or just hiding your self in general.

What I see here is a woman in a beautiful evening gown, holding a red face mask.  However, she has let the mask drop, and although she is in the elegant civilisation of Venice, she is also surrounded by a pair of wolves.  It makes me think of the masks and costumes we assume in different areas of our lives - not just those who wear a uniform are "dressing up"!

On the one hand, the key phrase says, "You are far, far away from home."  Seeing the woman and her wolves, I have the sense that they should be off somewhere, running free, chasing rabbits, breathing in fresh air and following their bliss.  Instead, they are in a city, trying to fit in and pretend they are comfortable while the wolves' paws are scraped by hard asphalt and the woman must mask her true feelings.

On the other hand, though, there are advantages to being in the city.  For one thing, she's got a gorgeous dress ;)  Seriously, though, there are plenty of advantages to fitting in: earning a good living, being in community, mental stimulation, the internet...  And what also came to me during my meditation was, "There isn't that much empty countryside left."  I felt that more as a sense of having to accept what is.

Still, what I was left with was the questions: how can I make space for my wilder instincts, for my bliss, as well as for fitting in?  What would happen if I dropped my mask?

The latter is something someone asked me over on Youtube: what would happen if I came out of the broom closet?  My mother, despite having introduced me to witchcraft, and despite actually working in alternative health, still says she's frightened at the thought of my "coming out" in public.  Where I work is so rigid and narrow-minded, so traditional and provincial, so scientific and male-dominated!

Yet, what of following my bliss, or just being my self?  Those wolves need to run free every now and again!  Perhaps this blog is, in itself, a way for them to come out and play.  And maybe I need to find other places where I can be a bit more me.

When we hide our true self from others, we also hide it from ourselves.  We need to come home to that self, to honour it and allow it to shine.  I imagine the woman in the card ripping off that lovely dress and shifting into her four-pawed form. She'd lift her head to howl a welcome to the night, and run til there was nothing but the beat of blood in her veins and the scent of her fellow wolves in her nose!  How good would that feel?  I think I need to give it a try...

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Fairy Ring Oracle Interview

©Anna Franklin & Paul Mason
Something I like to do with new decks is "interview" them, to get a feel for how we may best work together. Having recently received the Fairy Ring Oracle (Llewellyn, 2002), I decided to ask it some questions. Rather than a fixed set of questions for every deck, I personalised these questions based on the Fairy Ring's own suits (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter) and cards (Fairy Festivals/Sabbats).

Because this deck has a completely different system to a tarot deck, the learning curve is a fair bit steeper. For each card, I wrote my first, intuitive reading (I), and then what I gleaned from the book (B) - interesting to note where these are similar or different:

Spring - what new beginning do you offer me? 8 of Spring - Billy Winkler 

(I) I will help you bring new understanding to your dreams and path working.
(B) I offer you a renewed sense of peace and relaxation, the ability to sleep.

Summer - how will you help me blossom? 7 of Autumn - The Lake Maiden 

(I) I will remind you of your strength and ability to inspire others.
(B) I will equip you with the tools you need to succeed, as well as helping with your healing.

Autumn - what will I harvest with you? Fairy Festival - Samhain 

(I) I will show you how to commune with spirits that have passed beyond the veil, and light your way into the Otherworld.
(B) With me, you will harvest an appreciation of endings, and the importance of the cycle of life and death.

Winter - what will you teach me about letting go? Queen of Winter - Mab 

(I)  I will teach you of the beauty of death, and how it serves for new beginnings. Like my clothes, which are made of dead leaves, that which loses one purpose can gain another, and it is only through releasing that we allow this new potential to manifest.
(B) Through dreams and pathworking, I can usher in an acceptance of endings. I bring insight into past present and future, and initiation. Dare to dream and to live the dream. Through letting go, new creativity blossoms.

Festival - what is your overarching message to me? Lady of Spring - The White Lady 

(I) I bring you the potential for cleansing, for purification through communing with spirits and fairies beyond your ken.
(B) I will help you connect with your local nature spirits. Also, through working with us, great changes will come about in you like oaks from acorns.

My intuitive readings were quite different from the book-based readings, but definitely still interesting and relevant.  I can see that I will gain a lot from using the book, as it gives lots of historical information about different fairy creatures.  It is clearly well-researched, and has already led me to a completely new understanding of the Wee Folk!  Although I agree with owlmoon513's opinion about the artwork, I also agree with her assessment that this deck is a valuable tool when working with the Hidden Folk.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Faerie Star Spread

Recently, one of the tarot blogs I follow (Songs from the Wishing Tree) posted a spread for working with Faerie energies.  I'm in the process of putting together a faerie altar, so this sounded like an excellent idea!

I used my favourite Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011), and the positions are:

1) What do I take to the Otherworld?  Maker King

I take to the Otherworld the ability to create, to manifest, and also a groundedness which will always help bring me back.  I have the ability to learn new skills, and then apply them in the real world.

2) Who am I meeting in the Otherworld?  VIII Justice

I will meet beings who balance between Dark and Light.  They do not fulfill our human notions of good and bad, they just are.  They are connected to cold and heat, water and air, dark and light, balancing all the polarities as if they were not different points on a scale, but the single beating heart of the cosmos.

©Emily Carding
3) What would be the most constructive way for me to work with my companions?  Warrior Six

I need to trust that this is the work I should be doing, and that I am capable of doing it.  My companions promise that they will always be there to support me, but I have to take responsibility for actually doing the work, making the effort, exploring this Otherworld.

4) What do my companions bring to me?  XVI The Tower

My companions will help shatter the rigidity of my everyday perspective, opening me to finding my deeper self.  This may not be a comfortable process, but it will allow for growth and let me fly beyond my expectations.

5) What do I bring to my companions?  Dreamer Eight

I bring to the faeries a somewhat fragmented person, trapped in my own self-criticism and negative behaviours, afraid to see who I truly am at a deep level.

6) What do my companions want me to do?  Dreamer Four

My companions want me to allow myself to be reborn, to take the fragments, shatter the structure that has been holding them together, and recreate myself completely afresh.

7) What do I bring back to my world?  Warrior Eight

I will bring back to the world renewed energy and dynamism, the ability to fly high and see far and burn with an inner passion that will warm me for years to come.

Quintessence - X The Wheel & I The Magician

The Quintessence of the reading is calculated by adding up the number of all the cards, and distilling it down to a number from the Majors.  In this case, the cards add up to 64, distilled to 10 and 1, the Wheel and the Magician.  This suggests that there is a great potential for growth and change from this work, which while not always easy offers the potential for abundant spiritual lessons.  These will allow me to manifest my will in new and powerful ways.

This was a remarkably consistent reading, with lovely flow through the Tower, Dreamer Eight and into the more upbeat Dreamer Four and Warrior Eight.  I shall continue to meditate on it, and look forward to entering the Faerie Ring!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Being a Tree

Recently, I have been working with the combined set of the Well Worn Path and the Hidden Path cards (Llewellyn, 2005 & 2007).  I also reviewed them, showing all the images from the decks, which you can see here and here.  This reading feels very relevant to me, but I'm not sure how to implement it.
Well Worn Path and Hidden Path cards (Llewellyn, 2005&2007)
©Raven Grimassi, Stephanie Taylor, Mickie Mueller

What I see here is that currently I'm in a pretty good place, spiritually speaking.  I am able to harvest the fruits of my hard work and dedication (Mabon).  What I must avoid, though, is to focus so much on doing, on manifesting and creating (Pentagram).  Instead, I need to foster an attitude of just being, rooted in the present (Tree in Summer).

On the one hand, this is something I have been focusing on a lot, meditating daily and doing plenty of body/mind exercise such as yoga and Pilates.  On the other hand, it's also true that I often go off in my thoughts to things I want to do, new ideas and plans, as a way of escaping some of the more difficult aspects of my everyday life.  It's not daydreaming, as I often put these plans into effect, but it's also not really living in the present.

I did a path working into the cards to help me explore what is blocking me, and realised that I'm terrified of putting down roots, of being locked in place with no escape.  It's weird because, overall, I love my life, and I wouldn't change even the really hard bits, most of the time.  Yet I still feel like I need that mental escape when times are tough, though sometimes my creativity and planning actually make the tough times harder in that I don't sleep because I'm thinking about things (even if they are good things).

So, I cast a spell to help me become more tree-like, and will reinforce it regularly :)

Friday, 11 May 2012

Pendulum Uses

Pendulums are incredibly easy to make, given that all you really need is some kind of string that is slightly weighted at one end.  From a regular pendant to a ring on a chain, right down to a paperclip on a piece of thread or yarn, almost anything will work.  As for what to do with a pendulum, my three favourite practices are using the pendulum to give affirmations an extra boost, for decision-making, and for assessing and balancing the chakras.  I also love the fact that a pendulum doesn't take up any extra space, like a tarot deck would, as you can wear it as a necklace or charm bracelet.  Though, these days with tarot apps for smartphones, decks don't have to take up any space, either, but that's a different story...

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

XIV - Temperance/Alchemy

Mythical Goddess Tarot
©Holloway & Skaggs
While people may find Death or the Tower frightening when they come up in a reading, Temperance is also a card which evokes a lot of sighs and rolled eyes.  The message that we need to be balanced, to avoid extremes, to moderate our behaviour and be self-disciplined, strikes many as boring and hard-work.

I have generally seen this card in a more favourable, if still somewhat annoying light.  It asks of us to find the right mix of ingredients, to wait for the best moment.  For example, in a question about moving house it might suggest that getting all your ducks in a row will take hard work and patience. Finding a buyer who wants a family home rather than a development opportunity; waiting for the offer on your house, and to find a place you like that fits what you want, what your OH insists on, and what the kids can't live without; delaying to get all the necessary bits of paper and the okay from the various banks and other institutions involved.  Tedium can definitely be involved!

Still, meditating on this card today brought me a different insight.  It also says that the path we walk is our path: not one we can hurry, not one where we can get all the answers from a self-help book, but one which we must walk one step at a time.  Learning at a deep level comes from doing - practice makes perfect - and so we will find that balance, that correct mix of variables, through trying things out. It doesn't have to be a passive waiting, nor a boring slog, if we see it instead as a series of experiments, with no right or wrong, each just a learning experience. 

The only way we can fail is not to ask, not to try, not to live.  If we go too far, life will push us back, and we will have to try a different route.  So, going to extremes may well end in frustration, hence Temperance's caution to moderate ourselves.  Ultimately, though, everything we try adds to the rich stew that is our existence. 

Today, then,  remember that we create ourselves with everything we do, so let's try to see every challenge as an experiment in being ourselves.  Who do we want to be?  What actions will best lead us in that direction?  Now, let's get going!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Chakra Healing Spread

Last night was the Scorpio Full Moon, which is especially good for healing - the poison of the scorpion can kill, but in small doses it can also be a medicine. So, I decided to do a Chakra Healing Spread to see which of my chakras most needed healing at this propitious time.
For this spread, I used the Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011) and also Carole Herzer's Chakra Energy Cards. I doused with my pendulum over the seven chakra cards to see which one was most in need of some attention, and then did the reading based on that.

What this shows is that my third (stomach) chakra (Svadhistana) is currently unbalanced. This is the chakra which deals with how we digest life and our emotions. Given I've been feeling overly emotional lately, this really hit the nail on the head.

The situation with this chakra (Warrior Five - 5 of Wands) shows how I feel powerless, angry, afraid, and trapped. What weakens my chakra (Dreamer King - King of Swords) is all the self-judgement I do, and also the way I feel judged by others, which has definitely been an issue, as I've felt that authority figures didn't believe what I was telling them about the situation which caused me to feel powerless and afraid! What can strengthen this chakra (Dancer Eight - 8 of Cups) is to let go of the voices I hear (whether my own or others') telling me that I'm doing things wrong or not good enough, and to walk a spiritual path that can take me to a place of more confidence and happiness.

Now, I don't like fatalistic spreads that just tell you what the issue is, so I also put in a position for what I can do. The Dancer card (Ace of Cups) tells me that I can seek joy, and allow love and playfulness to support me. I may need to find a balance between different aspects of my life, but a little laughter and happiness will certainly help. There is also a message that I need to find a way to release the negative emotions, to make room for the positive - I think I've been doing that by talking the whole thing through with various friends. Hopefully, then, I'm on the right path.

I'd love to hear if you try this spread out. You don't need a deck that has chakra cards in it to do it (though there are several, for example the Psychic Tarot Oracle, and Doreen Virtue's Angel Therapy Oracle cards), as you can just use a pendulum and ask it in turn about each of your chakras, or douse over stones (or pieces of paper) of the colour of each chakra. And if you'd like me to do this reading for you, just go to my Readings page and click on Medium Readings → Chakra Healing Spread :)

Friday, 4 May 2012

Another Beltane Inspired Spread & Reading

©Emily Carding
Inspired by one of the cards in my Post-Beltane Reading - the Dreamer Queen from Emily Carding's Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2012) - I created this Mask Spread.  It's also very appropriate to Beltane and the Goddess Freya, as masks and masked balls are traditionally associated with them.  It  can be applied to any situation, but in this case I'm using a reading I did for a friend (with permission, of course!)

She wrote: "My son was in a motorbike accident a while ago, but he's fine. We all got on with life, and I've been very productive at work (people commented on it), but a couple days ago I just started crying when someone asked me what I was doing for the weekend.  I'm not sure why I started crying, and if there's something I should be doing?"

Her reading (intro etc snipped), with feedback in colour at the end:

While I was shuffling the cards for you, X, the Dreamer Queen fell out.  So, I decided to use a spread I recently designed based around this card to look at your question.

Tarot of the Sidhe ©Emily Carding
1)  What face do I show to others? - Dancer Ten (Ten of Cups)

On the surface, people probably see you as a happy family, with everything you need.  You seem emotionally secure and happy.  I also get the sense that you have a lot of support from friends and family, that people think you are lucky because you have loving people around you.

2)  What do I look like underneath? - Warrior Five (Five of Wands)

Underneath, I get the sense that you feel very powerless.  Although you have support, it may sometimes make you angry when people say you are lucky, or that you have it all.  That support can feel restricting - how can you be angry or sad if you have so many people around caring for you?  I also get the feeling that you may have felt angry with the medical professionals who treated your son - that they weren't giving you information, that you were locked out from knowing exactly what was going on.  I wonder whether you felt that you should be doing something, but you just didn't know what?  A feeling of being at cross-purposes with those around you, and of being blocked, come through strongly here.

3) What do I need to learn from this situation?  Maker Princess - Gift of (Page of Pentacles)

I see several things here, X.  Firstly, there is the fact that, no matter what age our child, they are still our baby, and there is something very primal about that.  Take the time to acknowledge that, as a mother, you want to protect and shield your child, no matter that the problem may be something beyond your abilities to fix.

Secondly, as advice I see the suggestion to do something to express that mothering instinct.  Can you make him his favourite meal, or spend some time together doing something you both enjoy?  Having that time to nurture him and be with him may help give you the physical sense of being able to reach out and touch him, to reassure yourself that he's really there and really okay, and that you are taking care of him the best you can.

Finally, I wonder if there's some way that you can nurture yourself?  Often, mothers are so busy taking care of others that they forget they need some care, too.  Something like getting yourself a massage, or a manicure, something physical that will get you into your body while giving you a bit of a time out, might be helpful.  A yoga or pilates class would also be great, if that's something you enjoy or would be willing to try.

I notice that it was an Air card that first jumped out at me (the Dreamer Queen), suggesting this spread.  It also made me wonder, though, whether you tend to be quite rational: "Just have to get on with things."  "Of course it makes sense to focus on work," that kind of thing?  The cards that came up in the reading suggest that there may be a lot of emotion still inside you, both sadness and anger, and that dealing with them may take something physical - living it, rather than just intellectualising it.

I hope this reading feels helpful to you, X.

Thank you so much for this reading, N!  It really touched on a few things that I've been feeling, but didn't really know what they were about.  The sense of "I should think myself lucky because of the support around me" is something I've felt, for sure.  Everyone was so good, I felt bad that I still felt ungrateful and angry.  As for the doctors and that, I don't think I felt they were excluding me from information.  Maybe more, it made me angry that they were so nice, but without actually being able to do much.  Like this one doctor actually patted me on the hand because I was upset, and it made me cry more, and I just wanted her to not be so nice, so I could stay strong.  I wanted to do something, not just cry.  So, yeah, powerlessness.  

I like you suggestion of spending some more time with Y, if I can get him to myself :/  And that last card made me smile, too, cos he just told me on Tuesday that his girlfriend is pregnant.  I think that'll be really great, giving us a new little life to love and fuss over.  So, I'll make sure and do plenty of (grand)mothering  :)

Thanks again, X.

Hope you enjoyed this spread!  If you try it out, do let me know what you think in the comments :)  And if you'd like me to do this reading for you, go to my readings page and choose Short Readings → Customised Spread.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

A Beltane Inspired Spread

Gaian Tarot ©Joanna Powell-Colbert
Thinking back over my experiences at Beltane, I was inspired to design a spread.  As I mentioned in one of my videos, I was really struck by the fact that Beltane has two main parts: the fiery bonfire and masculine maypole, followed by the watery dew washing.  Then I thought about the colours associated with those elements - red for fire and blue for earth - and how combining them we get the colour purple, associated with wisdom.
So, the spread is a triangle, pointing upward, which is the symbol for fire (as Beltane is mainly associated with that element).   The spread positions are:

1) Fire - what do you need to get passionate about?  What do you need to move towards?

2) Water - what do you need to purify?  What do you need to let go of?

3) Wisdom - What is the higher learning from this?

What I take from this reading is that I need to get passionate about my spiritual path, getting more in tune with nature, and connecting with the Horned God (Explorer of Earth).

I need to let go of my need to try to be in control of everything, and always be strong.  Perhaps, also, to let go of my absolute devotion to the Goddess alone (Strength).

Finally, the Wisdom for me here is that to do these things will take a lot of emotional exploring, a willingness to take some risks and just go with the flow of what happens (Explorer of Water).  Tough for someone who associates herself with the Queen of Swords!

Hope you try it out, and let me know what you think.  If you'd like me to do this reading for you, go to my readings page and choose Short Readings → Customised Spread :)

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Post-Beltane Reading

After yesterday's and this morning's rituals (check out my vlog for details), I wanted to do another reading to see where I should be headed, spiritually.  Having performed my first ever ritual with my husband, where are we going and where am I going?
©Emily Carding
After yesterday's and this morning's rituals (check out my vlog for details), I wanted to do another reading to see where I should be headed, spiritually.  Having performed my first ever ritual with my husband, where are we going and where am I going?

I drew three cards from the vibrant Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011) to look at this.  I decided to use a method I saw demonstrated by Corinne Kenner at a Tarot Conference a couple of years back.  She suggested that the same reading be interpreted for different perspectives, to see what nuances came out of the cards that way, and it's a technique I enjoy.

With regards to the path ahead spiritually with my DH, what I see is the suggestion that at the moment I need to keep things on quite a rational level for him (Dreamer Queen - the Gift of Reason).  I tried to find psychological, or other logical explanations for him to explain the reasoning behind various elements of the ritual we did.  I think that made it feel a bit less intimidating for him.

Moving forward though, I mustn't take responsibility for his spiritual path, or his choice whether or not to continue (Warrior Ten).  I can't take on the task of joining him to the path, but must let him make his own way.  What I can do, though, is express my own truth, without fear or hesitation (Warrior Seven), and ask for what I want, he can always say no :)

In terms of my own path, I think I need to take some time to do some reading (Dreamer Queen) and research a few things.  That way I can decide what rituals I want to do next, and spend some time thinking about my path.  I have just started re-reading Starhawk's Spiral Dance, and am enjoying it just as much as the first time.  I notice different things this time round, and I think there are a number of subjects I would do well to revisit.  I am also researching something I've never done before: making a wand! It's an exciting project, and I'll put up a vlog post about it when it's done :)

What I must avoid is making any of this feel like a responsibility I have to take on, rather than choosing (Warrior Ten).  For instance, I see this blog and vlog as giving me the opportunity to explore and share my path.  However, I have decided not to commit to a fixed schedule of posts, that would be taking on an unnecessary feeling of responsibility, whereas I want this to be an inspiration and joy for myself.

What I will do, though, is be willing to stand up for what feels important to me, for my soul's truth (Warrior Seven).  I won't let anything stand in my way in this exploration of my spiritual path.

This feels like a very helpful reading, clarifying what I can best do and avoid so as to move forward both on my personal path and with my husband.

Blessed Be!