Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Greenman's Door

©Cavendish & Fenech
Drawing this card from the Wild Wisdom of the Faery Oracle (Blue Angel, 2009) as a meditation focus today led me through the looking glass ;)  A very surreal pathworking ensued, with the faery saying she didn't feel like getting off the handle so I could open the door, and the Greenman saying he wasn't sure what was on the other side, as he was facing this way.   Given that the text on the card mentions the Wheel of the Year, and that we are approaching Lughnasadh, I asked him what he could tell me about this feast.  He stated that he was a tree Greenman, not a corn one, and had no idea about Lughnasadh or when oats ripened or whether they look similar to corn before they have been milled.

Afterwards, I turned to the companion book (by Lucy Cavendish) to see if that would give me some insight.  Almost the first thing she said was that these guardians of the Greenman's Door might look like they're just hanging out, but that they are very picky about when and whom they allow to pass!  She then discussed sabbats, which she divides into Gaian (the cross quarter days) and Galactic (solstices and equinoxes).  So, I shall try again on Lughnasadh itself and see if I have better luck :)

In the meantime, here is a picture of oats in the field, and yes, they look a lot like corn.  And they are part of the early harvest, just like corn.  In fact, US stats suggest oats can be harvested anywhere from mid-June to end of September, depending on local climatic conditions.  So, as I try to avoid bread, I shall bake oat cookies for my Lammas feast!

Monday, 30 July 2012

Fertility?

I will admit, I was a little nervous of this week exploring the Empress.  As the epitome of motherhood, fertility and creativity, I wondered what would come up for me in my meditations with her, given my DH and I have our first appointment at a fertility clinic next week.  The meditations I did with her, though, went fairly smoothly.  So, as I did with the Magician, I decided to shuffle the Empress back into the deck and then look for her, asking what I need to know about fertility and creativity in my life right now.

I shuffled and shuffled, focusing my intent, and then started looking through the deck to find the Empress.   As I got closer and closer to the bottom of the pack I thought: "What if she's the very bottom card?  Then I'll only have one other card to read with her.  And what does it say: that she's the furthest thing from my awareness, what I can see least clearly?"

©Emily Carding
Imagine my delight *super-sarcastic-face* when not only was the Empress the bottom card, but the card next to her was Death!

That bit about being unable to see the Empress clearly certainly chimes true: I'm a little too close to this to read it with any kind of confidence.  I came up with three different readings:


1)  "I need to mourn and let go of past pains before I will be ready to have another child."  Probably true. Doesn't mean I'll be able to have a child once I'm ready, I just mean ready on an emotional level.

2)  "I need to let go of the hope that I can have another child, that part of me is dead.  Instead, I should focus on different avenues of creativity."  Not an idea that delights me, but one which time will tell the merit of.

3)  "I need to let go of one of the projects I'm working on at the moment before I will once again feel creative."  Also possible.  I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed of late, not exactly conducive to imaginative work.

I guess I should act as though 1 and 3 are true, as they both hold suggestions of what I can do to help myself move to a more creative, open place.  And 2 I'll just have to live with.  Maybe I'll know next week, maybe I'll know next year :/

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Meet the Sidhe - Part 4

©Emily Carding
As we approach Lughnasadh or Lammas, time of the first harvest, what better member of the Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011) to explore than the Empress?  


As with all Empresses, she has a real feeling of abundance and ripeness to her, highlighted by her round, pregnant belly.  Upon it, we see the Great Glyph of the Sidhe, portal to the Otherworld.  As well as being a meditation focus, it reminds us that creativity is a way to connect with spirit, to access other states of awareness.  The Sidhe delight in beauty and creativity in all forms; art, music, poetry, dance, and anything else our imaginations can create.  


I see that, too, in her green and yellow dress, perfect for dancing.  Though she is pregnant, she is still beautiful and graceful, swaying to the rhythm of life that is around and within her.  She holds a pink flower in one hand, suggesting beauty and love, and more flowers bloom in the meadow that grows at the hem of her dress.  


In terms of the elements, earth is very apparent here.  We see it in the rolling hills that flow from the Empress, in the flowers and green grass, and in her ripe body.  She reminds me of Gaia - she is the earth, teeming with life.  While the Magician focuses his will to manifest his desires, the Empress is about solid and tangible creativity.  This is apparent with creating a child, a picture, a garden, a meal.  Even a dance, though ephemeral, can be seen, recorded, learned and shared.  More than that, we feel it in our body and it changes us at a physical level: elevating our heart rate; exercising our muscles; bringing a blush to our cheeks.  It is tangible and embodied, and that's what I associate with the Empress. 


Looking for the other elements, air is seen in the leaves that flutter in the yellow sky of her dress, and in the swirls of light in the night sky around her.  Water is more subtle, hinted at in the blue beneath her, and in the moon that shines from behind her.  The moon reminds us, too, that all creativity is mysterious, coming from a place of emotion, and governed by the cycles and rhythm of life.  Fire is also more hinted at than explicit - I see it in the yellow "sun" of her ripe belly that shines down on the landscape that is the skirt of her dress.


I love this Empress, so full of promise.  She offers us a sense of aliveness, a delight in the world and our own inventiveness.  She guides us and inspires us: dance, move, flow, create!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Hindu Deities

©Gods & Goddesses Oracle
Earlier in the week, I wrote about Poseidon and my difficulties with the male deities of the Greek Pantheon.  I thought it would be good to add, it's not all male deities that affect me that way, and against whose authority I struggle.

During my circle casting, I do call on the God, but in Hindu aspects.  At the moment I tend to call on four animal and avatar reflections of deity, to honour the four quarters.

In the East, I call on Garuda.  This eagle god is far-sighted, flying high and getting a perspective on the world.  He is known as "eater of serpents", and protects from poison.  He is the mount for Lord Vishnu, transporting him quickly wherever he needs to go.  It is also said that he can create hurricanes when he flaps his wings.  So, he seems a good match for the element of air.

©Gods & Goddesses Oracle
In the South, I call on Hanuman.  This monkey god was the faithful companion of Rama in his search for his wife Sita, who had been abducted by the demon king Ravana.  Hanuman was loyal and true, standing by his friend and by his principles despite hardships and challenges.  He had such energy that he could leap over an ocean, and make his way through various tests.  One of his feats is to control the sunrise, and I think he represents well the fiery energy of the South.

©Gods & Goddesses Oracle
In the West, I call on Krishna.  He is the deity most often associated with Bhakti yoga - the devotional, ecstatic aspect of hinduism.  As such, he is seen as a god of love, of ecstasy, of connection with the divine.  He is also considered a god of more mundane love having had 16,108 wives!  He rescued 16,100 women from a cruel king who had kept them in his harem, and so they all requested that he marry them, to cleanse them of "worldly blemish".  As an act of kindness and love, he did so.  He seems an appropriate god to call on for the element of water.

©Gods & Goddesses Oracle
In the North, I call on Ganesha. This elephant-headed god is known as the remover of obstacles and lord of beginnings.  However, he was also the scribe for Vyasa.  He is strong and practically minded, but also studious, putting in the hard work to write down the whole Mahabharata, armed only with one of his own tusks as a stylus.  He is associated with the serpent, another creature of the earth, as well as himself having an elephant's head.  In many depictions, Ganesha is seen riding a mouse, which symbolises the wish to overcome selfishness.  He is associated with prosperity, and a statue of Ganesha is considered vital to any new business venture.  For all these reasons, I associate him with the element of earth.

For me, these aspects of deity, although they are male, are not rigid or full of a sense of their own power and status.  They show insight and loyalty, a willingness to be tender, to help others, and to work hard.  They are honourable and generous, strong and courageous, sometimes playful, sometimes wise.  These are traits I am glad to call upon, to try to draw into myself.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Poseidon

©Mellado & Phellan
Today, I drew a card from the Mythic Oracle (Blue Angel, 2009) to meditate on.  What I received was "Poseidon - the unknown" (there are two versions of several of the Gods in this oracle, including Poseidon).

I was struck by the similarities between this card and the High Priestess, whom I wrote about on Saturday.   He also wears robes which flow and which are both clothing and water, in this case the sea.  A full moon shines behind him, too, haloing his head.  What I gained from my meditation on Poseidon was seeing a moonlit path across the surface of the water.  This path led to instinctual knowing and an exploration of my deeper emotions and unconscious drives.

The largest difference for me, though, was all the baggage that I have around male authority figures.  I don't think this is just me, there's also a cultural aspect to it.  For example, less ancient tellings of the myth of Orestes have him being put on trial for killing his mother, but being freed because he did it to avenge his father's death.  In these more "modern" (for lack of a better word to differentiate between primeval, ancient, and just old) versions, the patriarch is valued more highly than the matriarch, and it is a man's duty to impose order on the women of his household!

Interestingly, Robert Graves suggests that originally, the killing of Orestes' father (Agamemnon) by his mother (Clytemnestra) was a "ritual" killing of the old God to make way for the new, as in the Holly/Oak King dynamic.  However, as Greek patriarchy came to the fore, the tale was altered so that even a female Goddess, Athena, supported Orestes' matricide.  In the same way, Zeus, as King of the Gods, was a rapist, Hades an abductor, and the first tale told of Poseidon is of him sending a tidal wave against the Athenians to punish them for choosing Athena as their patron in his place.  Petty and tyrannical, anyone?

I find it incredibly hard to connect with the male deities of the Ancient Greek Pantheon.  The females, by comparison, do call to me; Artemis in particular, but each has an aspect I can respect.  When I meditated with Poseidon, however, I kept seeing flashes of images from TV shows and films, showing him as vengeful, spiteful, violent, punishing, and altogether unpleasant.

My first impulse was to say this deck will be one I use more for readings than for meditations.  However, that moonlit path from my meditation on Poseidon suggests it would probably do me good to try to connect more with some of these male deities.  Perhaps I will be able to find the aspects of them that are accessible or useful, to balance the more negative views that I currently have.

I'd love to hear other people's feelings and experiences with Greek Gods and Goddesses...

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Meet the Sidhe - Part 3

©Emily Carding
This week, after the Fool and the Magician, it must be time for the High Priestess from Emily Carding's beautiful, powerful Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011).

Meditating on this lady, she didn't speak to me at all.  But then, that is often her way.  Yet her wisdom came to me in other ways: in the flow of water that lapped around me; in the dark, starry sky under which I floated; in the warmth of the flame that glows in her belly, and my own; in the strange, silvery light that illuminates her; and in the hopeful tinge of dawn as the sun begins to rise.  All is not clear, yet there is a sense of knowing, of understanding, which cannot truly be expressed in words.

This card reminded me strongly of what Starhawk, in her beautiful book "The Spiral Dance" (HarperSanFrancisco, 1999) calls "starlight vision".  As she says, "Starlight vision, the "other way of knowing," is the mode of perception of the unconscious, rather than the conscious mind.  The depths of our own beings are not all sunlit; to see clearly, we must be willing to dive into the dark, inner abyss and acknowledge the creatures we may find there." (p. 43)  This mode of perception "sees patterns and relationships rather than fixed objects." (ibid, p. 42)  It "sees the universe as a dance of swirling energies".  That's definitely how I feel this High Priestess understands life, in tune with the dancing pulse of the stars, the whorls of the water, and everything in between!

She is supported by learning and esoteric knowledge, shown by the way she sits within the pages of a book.  Yet those words seem irrelevant in the moment: a support that merely forms a background to her understanding of the "now", her starlight awareness of all that is happening around and within her.

I was especially struck by the flame in her belly.  It is at the point of her third chakra, the solar plexus or manipura chakra.  This chakra is associated with digestion, and with "etheric-psychic intuition".  It is the place where we process our emotions, as opposed to our thoughts.  This is where we get the phrase "gut feeling" from, as well as "belly laugh".  There is a flame there, to balance the flow of watery emotions - to process them.  Perhaps it is the combination of these two elements at that point which creates the rainbow which shines between her hands...

That rainbow speaks, too, of the fact that the High Priestess is a bridge between this world and the Otherworld.  We can cross the rainbow bridge, or dive deep into the pool beneath her, through the Great Glyph of the Sidhe.  Both are portals to the land of faery, though we may come out in entirely different places, depending on which we pass through.  Will you step through and join the dance?

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Gossamer Relationship Reading

©Lucy Cavendish & Selina Fenech
My card for today's meditation, from the Wild Wisdom of the Faery Oracle (Blue Angel, 2009) was the Gossamer Princess, who speaks of communication, and relationship work needing doing.  I enjoyed my meditation, but didn't feel anything especially insightful came out of it, though plenty of reinforcement of what I know.

In fact, I've been feeling that my DH and I are doing fairly well in the relationship stakes at the moment.  Respecting one another's needs, making space for quality time together, being playful and honest, sharing interests and also allowing the other to have their own friends and hobbies.

Still, no relationship is ever perfect, or static.  We have to stay aware of what is going on, and make changes as required.  So, I decided to design a relationship spread based on this card.  I thought of the strength of gossamer, and also its delicate fragility, and noted the butterflies around the Gossamer Princess.  Then I asked the Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011):
Cards ©Emily Carding

1)  What makes our relationship strong?  Dancer Five - Where Loss Resides


Our relationship has been strengthened by the loss and heartache we have been through together.  This really chimes with me.  There are two ways that relationships can go when there's a big problem: they get stronger or they fall apart.  We've faced some really tough times, and supported one another through them.  Our relationship would not be what it is without the losses we have dealt with together.

2)  In what way is our relationship delicate?  Dancer Six - Born of Joy


This card really resonates with me, as well.  It came up in my reading on eating, and made me think about our son, and our current decision to have fertility treatments to try and have another child.  I didn't mention that part of my interpretation at the time, as it is a subject that feels really personal.  Still, it's what I see here, so I'm not going to sidestep it any more.

My husband and I have very different feelings about this.  Not that he is pro and I am against, it's not that simple.  More that he is very certain that it's the right path, whereas I am very uncertain.  I have a lot of worries and concerns about how it will affect our son, and myself, as well as being rather scared of all the prodding and poking this kind of medical intervention implies.  This has been the major source of disagreement and lack of communication between us in recent months.


3)  What needs to change?  Warrior King - Gift of Glory


What I see here is that we need to stop feeling like this Warrior King.  Neither of us can get on our high horse about this, nor be convinced of our absolute rightness.  There is no right or wrong here, no forcing our view on the other.  We have to learn to accept each other's perspective and once again support each other, as we did with our previous big heartache.  Even when we don't agree, we need to try to see the other's point of view and maintain some emotional closeness, finding a compromise, a way forward that is nurturing to both.

I've been feeling like I'm being pushed into this decision, and maybe I need to take back a bit of my own power.  Not that I should force my choice on him, either, but make a claim for a bit of give and take, and the need to at least be heard.

This is something we've been working on, but we clearly still have a way to go...

Monday, 16 July 2012

Manifestation

Continuing my work with the Magician from the Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011), I decided to use him as the significator in a reading.  So, I shuffled the card back into the pack, thinking about what energies are around manifestation in my life.  Then, I looked through the deck until I came to the Magician, and read the cards to either side of him.  In that way, I got the reading below:


Bringing what I want into reality will be supported by friends, to make the journey more joy than sorrow, more entertainment than hard work.  I need to find the fun in creativity, treading lightly through the emotional difficulties, dancing jubilantly through the good times.

Before I can manifest, I need the Star's guiding light to show me what my focus should be.  I need to trust that I can manifest, and that what I do will be for the best.  I need to connect with the faery at a spiritual level, to receive their guidance, and to light the flame of hope in my heart :)

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Meet the Sidhe - Part 2

©Emily Carding
This week, it's time to meet the Magician from the Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011).

He's pretty different to traditional images, a strange creature with wings and a mer-tail, fireballs in his hands and a tree growing from his head.  He floats above a bucolic landscape, with green hills rising up to either side and a river running between them, out into the sea.  Behind him, the sun shines red, while the Great Glyph of the Sidhe glows in blue at his throat, a portal through to the faery realm.

I love the way this Magician feels truly elemental: it's not that he can use all the elements, all the suit tools of the traditional tarot versions of the card.  No, he IS the elements and they are him.  The landscape around him echoes this truth, with a balanced mix of all the elements in the fiery sun, the clear air of the sky, the fertile earth, and the flowing water of both river and sea.

This Magician incorporates the elements in his very being.  He doesn't wield a sword, symbol of the intellect.  Instead, he has wings so that he can get perspective on any situation to help him choose strategically.  Getting an overview, he can make better decisions about how to act, how to implement his will.

He doesn't brandish a wand, symbol of action guided by will.  Instead, fireballs sit on the palms of his hands, ready to use.  They are a quick response to whatever comes his way.  With them, he can burn away what is no longer of use, warm a child, cook food for nourishment, or light the dark to continue doing what he's doing.

He doesn't have a pentacle on the table before him.  Instead, from his head a tree grows, symbolising the growth potential of his thoughts, the fact that he can manifest in the real world the ideas in his mind.  This makes me think of visualising in order to work the law of attraction, or the fact that until we make a conscious decision, we are unlikely to get much done.

He doesn't look down at a cup sitting before him.  Instead, he has a tail like a mer-man, symbolising that he is as comfortable in water as he is in the air.  He can swim through the deep waters of emotion without drowning.  Rather, he brings forth the wisdom of the depths and speaks it: hence the echo of blue at his throat chakra.

The Sidhe Magician reminds me that I should keep things simple - in order to manifest my will what I need is first to decide what my will is.  The rest will follow naturally.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Whole Self Spread on Eating

©Emily Carding
I used to be bulimic.  It's not something I talk about much, or think about too often these days, but there was a time when I would regularly binge on food, normally sweets, and then make myself throw up.  I haven't done that now for over eight years, but I do sometimes binge still, and after a bad one the thought crosses my mind, "I could throw this all up, get rid of this feeling.  Get rid of the guilt of having overeaten, the feeling of shame that I am disgusting and out of control, and the physical feeling of being overfull."  So far, I've always managed to resist the temptation.

This happened last night, and my eating hasn't been great for the whole of this year - not dreadful, but not good.  Last year, for the first time in my life, I went 11 months without eating chocolate or cookies or cakes or biscuits!  This year, though, is a different story.

A couple weeks back I was eating badly, but realised that it was connected to my DH and I having an on-going row.  For the last 5 days, though, I don't know what is wrong, but I figure something must be, or I wouldn't be eating so poorly that I thought about purging.

I decided to do a tarot spread to try to clarify what's going on with me to cause this negative behaviour. Drawing from my favourite Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011), I chose to use Emily Carding's Whole Self Spread, which comes in the companion book.

©Emily Carding

1)  Sun: That which is seen - Warrior Queen - Gift of Charm


At an obvious level, I seem to be fine.  I do work I enjoy and that pays okay, I have a DH who is kind and funny.  I generally feel quite creative, and am not overwhelmed by turbulent emotions, despite having some rocky situations in my life.

Yet, looking deeper at this card, it seems like quite a precarious balance - most people may just see that I'm doing fine, and not notice that actually I'm balanced on a rock, with waves crashing around me, and feeling pulled in lots of different directions.

©Emily Carding

2) Moon: That which is hidden - I - The Magician


What I don't see, though, is that I do have everything I need to cope with these situations.  Perhaps I don't trust myself enough, though.

In this Magician I see a balance of all the elements, an ability to fly or swim, to create and destroy.  From his head a tree sprouts, suggesting being creative in a practical and grounded way - after all, he manifests his will in reality.  His wings lift him up, connecting him with spirit and with the lofty realms of the intellect and higher truths. The flames over his palms, and the sun that blazes behind him, speak of his creativity, passion and drive.  His tail, and the river that flows beneath him, suggest he is also comfortable diving into more emotional realms.

I know that I have a lot of tools at my disposal to help with this issue, I just have to remember that and actually put them to use!

©Emily Carding

3) Stars: That which is truth - Dancer Six - Born of Joy


At first glance, this seems to say that I need to remember that I have a right to be happy, to seek joy, to experience and express my emotions in a positive way.  It suggests that I have support in this, from friends and family.

I also see the more traditional interpretation of this card: memories and emotions from the past re-emerging.  This has both positive and negative aspects: the past includes a number of years where I was deeply unhappy, and so bulimic that I stopped menstruating.  It also includes the last eight years where I have been much happier, where I have learnt to manage my emotions better, and to be healthier.  So, while it's true that I may be influenced by negative patterns established in the past, it's also true that I have the experience to deal with them.

©Emily Carding

4) Earth: The Physical - Dreamer Eight - Web of Mirrors


On a physical level, I get the sense I am not seeing things holistically enough.  I just see this symptom or that, not the bigger picture.  There may also be assumptions underlying some of my physical issues which I am not aware of.

There's also the fact that she looks pretty depressed, surrounded by negative, attacking thoughts.  Physical symptoms and manifestations can certainly be caused by this kind of situation.  So, I think I need to try to look into those mirrors, to figure out what the negative thoughts are in particular right now, because they are what are leading to my physical sensations and behaviours.

©Emily Carding

5)  Air: The Mental - Maker Four - The Greedy Tree


This is definitely how I think of myself right now: greedy, fat, gross! :(

There's something more here, though.  When someone is hoarding physical resources, or in my case overeating, it means that there isn't room for anything else to grow.  What am I stopping from developing by focusing on eating?  As I write this, I realise that this is connected to the row my DH and I were having, after all.

We have an appointment with a fertility clinic next month, and I feel very ambivalent about having another child.  If I sink into an eating disorder, then I may once again stop being able to have a child, and that may seem, at a subconscious level, an easy way out - it wouldn't be me refusing to have the child, it would be something physically stopping me.  I'm not saying it makes sense, but I believe that's how the subconscious sometimes works - creating a bad situation to prevent one that feels worse, or maybe just scarier...

©Emily Carding

6)  Fire: The Spirit - Dreamer Seven - A Coward Betrays


At one level, this card seems to support my analysis of the last card.  I am finding a sneaky way to get out of doing something that scares me, without having to face my emotions, or those of my DH.  I am betraying him by not talking openly about the issues, and instead hiding behind my eating.  It's tough, though, as he doesn't like talking about this stuff, either.  He just wants to get on with it, and doesn't get why I'm ambivalent.  It's not him that has to have the baby, though!

There's something here, too, about feeling that having another child would be a betrayal of my own creativity and spirituality, and a betrayal of my son.  Certainly, the first trimester of my last pregnancy I didn't have energy for anything above the absolutely necessary.  And having a young infant doesn't leave much time and energy for playing with a toddler, or for creative pursuits, for meditating and circle work.  I know that disruption won't last forever, but it is another thing that puts me off, and leads back to the bit where I feel ambivalent.

©Emily Carding

7)  Water: The Emotional - XVIII - The Moon


Doing this spread, and especially writing it up, I have realised some of the hidden emotions and thoughts that have been weighing on me, causing me to overeat.  The emotional realm is the one I find it hardest to deal with, hardest to navigate.  The Moon card reminds me of how much goes on under the surface, at a subconscious level.  I need to dredge these things up, bring them into the light of day, so that I can deal with them more productively.

©Emily Carding

8)  The Core: The Central Issue - Dancer Eight - Escaping Stagnation

At the core of all this is the fact that I need to deal with all the negative emotions that are pulling me down, trying to suck me into a black fug where all I do is eat so I don't have to feel or act, or have a baby.  I need to find something to reach for, something positive, that will help me escape this darkness of my own making.  I wonder whether it is something that I can create, or whether I need help from outside - a kick up the butt to get me moving...


©Emily Carding

9)  Bottom card - what is furthest from my consciousness


I don't always look at the card at the bottom of the stack, but I felt called to do so today.  Interestingly, this card reminds me of the Magician in the "what is hidden"  position.  Although I am not aware of it, I do have the strength of spirit to walk through fire if need be. 

I see this being both about talking to my DH, and about having the wherewithal to deal with another pregnancy, if it comes.


This was really helpful.  It clarified that it is stuff around having a baby that is bothering me, suggested that I need to root around in my emotions for those dark thoughts that most stress me out, and bring them into the light of day.  I may need a bit of help with that, but I do have all the tools I need, and the strength of spirit, to manage this.



Tuesday, 10 July 2012

A Glimpse of Truth

©Cavendish & Fenech
A while back, I watched a video by Charming Pixie Flora where she talked about how we know that something is right.  She said that, when something is true for us, we know it at a deep level, it echoes through us like a bell.  I guess what she was saying matches the expression: that rings true for me.  She suggested that we try to listen for this inner bell, to trust and honour it.

Yesterday evening, I had that kind of experience in my meditation on this card from the Wild Wisdom of the Faerie Oracle (Blue Angel, 2009).  At one point in my pathworking I said, "I will do everything that I can."  That sentence, though out of context, reverberated through me and I started to cry.

As a mother, it's said that we don't have to be perfect, just "good enough".  Although I "know" that, this was the first time that I really BELIEVED it.  In that moment, I understood that, though I may not do everything that could possibly be done, I do everything that I am physically and emotionally capable of!  It isn't perfect, but it really is all that I can do.

After four and a half years, I was finally able to accept that, and to forgive myself for what I perceive as my failings.  It was such a stark example of how we can understand something at a rational level, but it takes something more for us to truly feel it, for it to echo through us and be accepted rather than just being words we spout.  I feel so blessed for the ability to finally forgive myself, to honour and accept that I really am "good enough".

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Meet the Sidhe - Part 1

©Emily Carding
I intend to explore all the cards of Emily Carding's wonderful Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011), and where better to start that with the Fool?

Unlike some traditional versions of this card, where our Fool pootles along a cliff edge insouciantly, held back from falling by his little dog, this chap is charging out into the unknown, full of self-confidence.  I notice his flaming red hair, which echoes the sun rising behind him.  It shows his sunny nature, his innocent trust in the world and enthusiasm to explore it.  He is totally open-hearted, arms reaching to the sides, embracing whatever will come.  However, he's not just all ego and fire, jumping into things foolhardily.  We talk about putting your best foot forward, and he has his left leg forward, while his right leg is twisted off to the side in what looks like a rather uncomfortable position.  So, he moves forward from a place that is also intuitive and creative, rather than simply focused on doing and achieving.

As I meditated on this card, I became aware of the interplay of elements in it.  The sun is obvious as a source of heat, and likewise his flaming hair symbolises the element of fire.  The mountains in the distance, the sunny field with waving red flowers, and the Fool's body, which he feels as his arms spread wide and his legs propel him forward, are all aspects of the element of earth.  He jumps out into a chasm, with clouds floating around in it, and from his back stream red ribbons, moving in the breeze, all representing the element of air.  Where, though, is the water?

At first I thought it just wasn't there, and wondered what that said about our friend the Fool.  Then I flashed on an image of the Grand Canyon, carved over the millennia by the passage of water!  The abyss he so blithely plunges into represents water, in an indirect way.  He is jumping into life, into all its highs and lows created by the emotions that flow or swirl within and between us, shaping us as we act and react, exploring our inner and outer worlds.  He is taking the plunge, diving into a world of emotion that connects every creature in it.  The ultimate adventure is in finding ourselves in connection, rather than alone.


Friday, 6 July 2012

Dress of Alchemy

©Lucy Cavendish & Jasmine Becket-Griffith
I love the way that cards can open up in different ways each time that we look at them, or meditate on them.  I've seen this card from the Oracle of Shadows and Light (Blue Angel, 2010) many a time before now (it's even on the cover of the Australian first edition!)  This time, though, I experienced it very differently.

Normally, I see this as being about actively transforming ourselves, choosing where we want to go and making it so.  About unleashing our power on the world the way the Magician in the tarot does - manifesting our will.  After all, just look at her: sassy and full of attitude, hands on hips, and clutching her magic bottle with determination, staring out at us very directly.

Yet in a recent meditation on this card, what I saw was instead the similarities between this card and the Empress.  In Thoth based decks, for example, the Empress has a double-headed eagle on a shield.  A swan echoes the wings of the angel in the Dress of Alchemy, and there are growing plants around the Empress, connecting with the branches we can see in the background.  A dress covered in strange symbols, too, is common to both.

©Aleister Crowely & Frieda Harris
What does this insight suggest?  To me, it speaks of our power to transform ourselves and others from a place that is more feminine, less directive, and yet still powerful.

We can use our insight, our deep inner knowing, to see what needs to change.  We can write that change upon our own bodies, as well as upon the world around us.  We can bring light to our lives, to our minds and souls. We can be the change we want to see, and we can bring that change to others, too.  We can nourish those around us, and help them to transform themselves.

All this from a place of nurturing and growth, rather than domination or force.  As Starhawk puts it in The Spiral Dance (HarperSanFrancisco, 1999), this is power for, not power over!

I shall try to put this power to use, to bring transformation and growth to myself and those around me, to empower and enlighten :)

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Capricorn Gifts

©Lucy Cavendish & Selina Fenech
Last night was the full moon in Capricorn, and as with any full moon, a good time to connect with the Goddess.  In particular, with the moon at her brightest, it's a good time for gaining emotional insight, and for drawing on the power of the moon to fuel our will.

After casting my circle and calling on the Goddess, I drew a card to meditate on, with the question: what do I need to be grow in the month to come?  The answer I received, from the Wild Wisdom of the Faery Oracle (Blue Angel, 2009) was a card I've meditated on before - The Gift.

This time, though, the message I received from it was very different.  I felt almost anger at the pretty faery, so sure of her charms, her desirability, her right to be offered gifts.  Which of course begs the question: do I not feel worthy of receiving?

I also thought about the little gnome, a small and not very attractive package.  Could she truly love him, this pretty faery?  Suddenly, I saw her rejecting him, destroying him, and saw a parallel to the tale of the Princess and the Frog.  In the original version of this tale, the Princess doesn't happily kiss the frog.  Instead, when he has pushed her just that bit too far with his demands to be taken into her life, her home, her bed, she grabs him up and hurls him against the wall!

©Emily Carding
Now, never fear, this is actually exactly what the ensorcelled Prince needed to be able to break free of his frog curse.  And reading Kenny Klein's excellent book, Fairy Tale Rituals (Llewellyn, 2011), he talks about this in terms of God figures needing to be reborn through the Goddess, a painful and often messy process.  I straight away thought of Tower-like shocks, beautifully depicted in the Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011) - we need to break free of our old way of being for a new self to emerge, beautiful and strong.

Still, for me in this esbat meditation, it was not the gnome's or prince's perspective I took, but that of the faery/princess.  She may or may not know that this creature needs her help to break his curse and be reborn as a handsome prince.  What she knows is that she is not willing to be pushed around anymore.  She is marking a line in the sand: this far and no further.  She is honouring her own boundaries, and being willing to say no.

Two phrases or affirmations emerged for me from this meditation, to be given the power to grow in this coming month: "I allow myself to receive the gifts of the universe" and "I honour my right to be clear about what I want and need".

Blessed Be!


Monday, 2 July 2012

Prince of Light Spread

Following on from yesterday's post, I was inspired to create a spread based on the Prince of Light card from the Heart of Faerie Oracle (Abrams Books, 2010).

©Brian & Wendy Froud


1) What dance moves you?  What is currently inspiring you to act?

18 - The Thief - I want to leave behind my current job, to move silently away from a situation that doesn't feel fully true to myself.  It's not that I don't like what I do, just that something else is calling me in this moment.  I feel like I always have to "steal" the time for my passion, for what now feels important, because of the demands of my work.  Time to end that.

2) What end does it herald?

58 - The Shadow of the Past - This card says to me that I am ready to leave behind past pains that have been preventing me from making this change.  Having had a bad experience before in the arena that is calling me, I have hesitated to return.  Recent work on myself, though, has allowed me to face these shadows, so that I can now move forward without their taint.

3) What seed will it sow?

10 - The Captive Man - Yikes, this is a rather scary card!  Overall, though, the message I get from it is like that of the Hanged Man in the tarot - a time of patience and waiting that will lead to the birth of something new.  We often have to struggle in a place of in between, like the seed in the earth waiting through the winter before it can put up new shoots and become what it is meant to be.  This change will not be a fast one, it will not happen overnight.  Yet it has the potential to bring new growth and a total change in perspective, a new way of life.

If you'd like me to do this reading for you, why not choose "Customised Reading" from the Short Readings button on my Tarot Readings page, and say in the notes that you'd like the Prince of Light Spread :)

Sunday, 1 July 2012

The Prince of Light

©Brian & Wendy Froud
Pathworking with this card from the Heart of Faerie Oracle (Abrams Books, 2010), I was drawn into a wild dance.  As we whirled and spun, I felt the Prince's dynamic energy and optimistic outlook on life.  I also noticed his link to creation - that glowing egg he holds high.

It reminds me of a section in Starhawk's Spiral Dance (HarperSanFrancisco, 1999), talking about Litha (the summer solstice): "The Sun King grown embraces the Queen of Summer in the love that is death because it is so complete that it dissolves into the single song of ecstasy that moves the worlds.  So the Lord of Light dies to Himself, and sets sail across the dark seas of time, searching for the isle of light that is rebirth." (p. 205)

Here, the Prince of Light holds an egg, symbol of birth, that is himself.  Like tales of John Barleycorn, who is the seed that is plowed into the ground, the Prince must die to be reborn.  Yet his message is not one of sadness at ending, but rather of absolute joy in the moment we are living.

Whatever endings may come, dance with the pleasure of being, right here and right now!