Sunday, 29 December 2013

GT on Tricky Work Situation

I've been stressing a lot about a difficult work situation for about a week now.  Things really came to a head on Friday, in an unpleasant way.  On the up side, it encouraged me to get back to meditating, as I was having bad worry insomnia.  So, I've meditated 5 times this week, and practised yoga at the same time on 4 of those occasions.  I felt like Kali was still a good goddess to call on for this, as it's about facing the situation and my fear of conflict, and breaking the bad habit of worrying at times when I can do nothing anyway.

In the early hours of this morning, when I found myself going over and over what to say in a telephone conversation I expect to have tomorrow, I got up to practise and chant.  Although my meditations have still been based on the Kali sadhana I did, I've let them flow where they will a little more.  This morning, I practised for 21 minutes, ended with a silent yet resounding Jai Kali Ma, and then decided to chant Jai Kali Ma in a whisper, but still out loud.  Ended up doing three rounds on my mala, and it felt good.  I knew it was quiet enough not to wake anyone, but I still felt some of the vibration through my body.

I also decided to draw some cards on this matter.  At first, I was going to draw three tarot cards, freestyle.  Then I thought about my post last week on the Lenormand and thought: "A grand tableau is good for looking at situations with several people."  So, that's what I did, using the Mystical Lenormand (Königsfurt-Urania, 2004).

I'm not going to go into a detailed analysis of the whole thing, as that would take ages.  Still, I found it very helpful.  I almost stopped after drawing the first line of 9, as that already said so much!

The issue is with a company employee (female) who has been caught in some small lies.  One of the managers (male) believes these have been more far-reaching than has been uncovered, but there is no direct evidence.  She claims he's blowing things out of proportion.  A decision was made to terminate her contract with four weeks notice, rather than firing her on the spot.  I had to draft the letter of termination, giving grounds and working out holiday pay due etc.  As I'm kind of the middle man in all this, she's been emailing me with requests and justifications, which is tough as I like her, but am being pressured by the manager to take a firm line.

Looking at the corners, we have Bouquet, Key, Coffin, Dog.  The loyalty of this woman has ended, as has my loyalty to her, and that is the key to this whole reading.

I see her as the Bouquet - a pretty, somewhat vain, but charming woman.  The manager I see as the Man, and myself as the Woman.  He sees himself as defending the company from the encroachments of a betrayer (Man/Rider).  She is a bit of a chancer (Bouquet/Clover).  And they have gotten into murky territory around questions of money and contractual/managerial duties and responsibilities (Clouds/Fish:Letter/Bear).

It's interesting, I had wondered if I should assign her the Snake card, but I tend to read that as a woman more generally, and I also wanted to see where a potential card of betrayal would come up.  It appears in the House of the Coffin - betrayal must end, the manager is right in that regard.  And where is the Coffin?  In the column of the Bouquet, just below the Book and the Clover: keeping secrets is a kind of sickness with her right now, that she gambles on getting away with.

The Man is above the Rider, the Anchor and the Scythe - he seems harsh, but he sees it as his responsibility to defend the company.  His diagonal going forward holds the Letter, the Stars and the Lily: clarity in contractual communications brings him peace of mind.

And what of me?  The Woman lies above the Moon, the Child and the Tower - I can't be emotionally naive when it comes to institutional requirements.  Also, there is a question of reputation on the line (Moon is between Garden and Ring).

As for the phone call tomorrow, the Woman is followed by the Birds, the Snake and the Key - although I'm anxious about it, communication about the lies that have to end, and clear boundaries, are key to this situation with the employee (the Key is in the House of the Bouquet, and they mirror one another).

There's a lot more there, including another employee who got enmeshed in the situation: Dog, surrounded by Tree, Cross and Ship.  And my repetitive thought patterns bringing insomnia (Whips), resolving (Key above) through clear boundaries and choices (Snake and Paths).  Definitely a helpful reading to clarify what the issues are for me, and what I can best do to resolve them.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Lenormand Reading on Reading Lenormand

Yesterday, I read a couple of things that upset me.  The first was an article on the Petit Lenormand in an Ezine I subscribe to.  That was the one that bothered me most, I think, because I work in the field.  This is a person whose work I normally avoid, not because it's bad, but because I find it so narrow-minded.  My way or the high way!

Later, I read a post about someone else's approach to Yule.  That worried me, too, because I don't subscribe to the "traditional" approach of seeing the Winter Solstice as the rebirth of the sun.  To me, it is the longest night, and I see the rebirth of the sun more at the spring equinox, when daylight hours start to exceed nighttime hours, at least in my part of the world.

Both were instances of someone claiming "tradition" is on their side, and that therefore my way of seeing the world is wrong.  Although at least the Yule post didn't put it that bluntly, while the Lenormand post did!

It's funny, because my approach to these things is far more live-and-let-live.  I follow fairly traditional ways of reading the Lenormand, for the most part, but I love reading when people take it their own way, as By the Sycamore Tree did yesterday, or as Sharyn did over on Quirkeries in November :)

I haven't been drawing Lenormand cards recently, I think in part because of just this sort of thing - being told that I/others read them the wrong way, for the wrong reasons, using the wrong decks.  I am part of a Lenormand forum, as well, where a sudden bought of bitchiness came up, accusing Caitlín Matthews' Enchanted Lenormand of not being a "real" Lenormand, and her of being a fake cartomant!  How much more will they hate me, when in fact there is more than 30 years of tradition behind how I read the cards, and well thought out reasons why I don't do predictions.  Why do people even care how others read the cards?

Anyhow, I decided to draw some cards from my favourite Lenormand, to look at what is going on for me with the Lenormand right now.  A little bit of me was wondering whether I should just give up on these cards, but what I drew, shown here from the Mystical Lenormand (Königsfurt-Urania, 2004), made me smile and sigh.  The cards don't let me down, it's just some of the other card readers that do…

I almost stopped at the first card which dropped out, the Birds, which I took as the theme for the reading.  The problem is with my anxiety over what others say, other people's gossipy talk and ideas.  Even as I was shuffling, I thought "The Cross, this is about burdens and beliefs", and up it popped: Ship, Cross, Stars.  So, I am burdened by other people's ideas about which direction I should follow on my spiritual journey with the cards.  Yet, the answer is in the same cards: I just need to have faith in my path, to follow my own guiding star, to accept and believe in this adventure I'm on and trust my own vision.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Of Chanting, Yoga and Hermits

On Saturday, I sat and chanted without doing any yoga first.  Just calling the circle, then a mala of Om Krim Kalikaye Namaha, and two malas of Jai Kali Ma.  I found my thoughts wandering a lot.  Not sure if that was because I was out of my home environment, away from my sacred space.  Could also have been because I was meditating just before dinner time! :D

On Sunday, I practised yoga while silently chanting, for a total of 41 minutes.  It's interesting, my mind wandered a lot less, and I'm not sure if it's because of the focus on the body and breath that is more enveloping than just the chanting.  Could also have been because I was back to a morning practice, which I generally feel suits me better.

Since then, I haven't managed to do yoga or chant, until this morning.  Waking early, and having trouble sleeping, I got up and did both at around 5am.  It felt really good, and got me thinking about why I haven't been doing so all week.  The main thing is time - between preparing for Christmas and my son being in hospital for 2 days, my time really was limited.  I didn't exercise at all one day, and ate a lot of food from sandwich shops  (breakfast, lunch and dinner one day) so even what I'd consider the basics weren't really being covered.

It's strange, when I don't follow my path, I also don't tend to write on here.  And so, I thought about the connection between feeling like a Hermit in the positive and negative senses.  For me, the Hermit is about an inner seeking, and something I enjoy and aspire to.  Yet, there is also the (potentially) negative sense of cutting oneself off from other people.  And bizarrely, it is when I am Hermit-like that I actually connect with like-minded others here on the interwebs.   Real life, though, with its demands, gets in the way of both of those.  I hope I'll find more time for myself, and for my path, after the craziness of Christmas.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Time Out and I'm Back :)

Courtesy of Love To Know
Well, Tuesday I took a day off from both yoga and meditating.  I'd have liked to meditate, but got stuck into a lot of other things instead.  And in some ways it was good to take a break after 21 days in a row, following a set pattern.

Wednesday, though, I was up at a ridiculous hour again (before 3am), and decided to do just a short practice and meditation - 18 minutes of yoga and about 13 of chanting/meditating.  It felt good to do without the pressure of it being a sadhana, a discipline I felt duty-bound to :)

I think that's part of what I need to find - the motivation to be consistent, without feeling it's a duty.  As Ellen has said, it can be easy to let other things take precedence over a meditation practice.

Then this morning, I was once again up from about 2.15am - my DH woke me when he came to bed after a night out with the boys :(  So, another early morning yoga practice and silent chant/meditation.  At least this insomnia is encouraging me to stick to my meditations, though I feel a bit like the woman in this picture :o

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Kali Sadhana Day 21

And so, I come to the last day of this sadhana to Kali.  In fact, I got to it very early today, as I was awake in the small hours and having trouble getting back to sleep.  I ended up at my altar space at 4.10am, called the circle, prayed for assistance in accomplishing my affirmations, and practised for 32 minutes.  It was nice to practice in the relative dark, lit only by the city lights outside, and I noticed my breathing and pace was slower than it had been in my late afternoon practice yesterday.  Then, I sat and chanted a silent mala of Om Krim Kalikaye Namaha: I figured my DH and son wouldn't appreciate loud chanting before 5am ;)

After closing the circle again, I went back to bed and slept quickly.  Later on, I went back up to my altar and drew a card from the Oracle of the Shapeshifters (Beyond Words, 2013), asking what I can take from this 21-day sadhana.  At first, I was a little non-plussed by Snow White and Her Animal Friends.  Then, I thought a little about the actual fairytale.

What I can take from this sadhana is an increased trust in myself and the Universe to be able to deal with difficult situations.  Those could be both things that I am afraid of and my own destructive habits.  It is also a reminder that even if I slip, there are people around to help lift me up again.  And that it's okay to ask for help, be it from friends or from the Universe more generally :)

Monday, 9 December 2013

Kali Sadhana Day 20

It was quite late in the day by the time I got up to my altar space.  Once again, I called a circle including Air, Fire, Water, Earth and the Void that is all and nothing.  I prayed to Kali for help with achieving my affirmations, and practised yoga while silently chanting to her for 28 minutes.  After, I sat and meditated, chanting a full mala of Om Krim Kalikaye Namaha.

My thoughts today went to my affirmations, and how I feel these areas of my life have developed over these last 20 days.

1) I am changing my life for the better - I have chanted, meditated and practised yoga every day, which I think are good things.  However, I'm not sure if I want to carry on with the daily yoga, as it takes time away from other exercise, and I like a mix of exercise.  Still, I've been grateful for the renewed enthusiasm for chanting and meditating, which I do feel improves my life.  I also think that fulfilling the next two affirmations, even to a small degree, changes my life for the better.

2) I am breaking free from destructive habits - My eating has been somewhat better over the course of this sadhana.  Not sure if I have improved any other destructive habits.

3) I am facing my fears - Well, I don't think I've necessarily overcome any fears, but I have at least looked at and challenged some of them.  For instance, I finally got my acrylic paints out.  Not something I'll be doing every day, but it was good to at least make a start.  I looked at some of my fears around having another baby, both in terms of how the labour/delivery will be, and in terms of how it will affect our family life and the child's life.  I have also been thinking about my broom closet mentality.  Haven't made any definite decisions on that one, but at least I've been looking at this fear of being seen for the pagan I am :)

Kali Sadhana Day 19

I didn't sleep well Saturday night, in large part because my son woke me with a jolt at about 1am, and I really struggled to get back to sleep after.  I was still up, making up milk for his breakfast, at 3.30am.  Another part of it was that I had a sudden idea, and couldn't stop thinking about the ramifications.  I eventually went downstairs to write down the "plan", to get it out of my head.

When I went up to my altar space later in the day to practice yoga and meditate, I noticed my new moon reading, still sitting on my altar.  Release the Warrior Prince (Knight of Wands), and embrace the World.  My first thought was that I'm not doing too well on that front - being up at all hours enthused about an idea is very Warrior Prince-like!  Then, I realised that actually, this was an idea that I've had percolating for a year - it was one of the "goals" that I wrote into my 2013 Incredible Year planner, but never managed to do anything about because I couldn't figure out what my action steps should be, couldn't see how to make it work.  Now, I have seen that.  So, it's a kind of completion, a World moment of ending the "planning" cycle, and allowing space for the next, hopefully "action", cycle!

I did a slightly longer practice: 34 minutes of yoga while silently chanting Om Krim Kalikaye Namaha.  After sitting, I only chanted a half mala out loud, as I was running late.  Felt no need to draw cards, given I'd revisited my new moon reading :)

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Kali Sadhana Day 18

Image by Kaian
Didn't manage to get to my altar and my yoga mat until this afternoon.  Still, it felt good to call a circle and practice (only 25 minutes, this time).  And chanting filled me with energy again :)

I shuffled my Oracle of the Shapeshifters (Beyond Words, 2013) very thoroughly, until a card fell out.  Once again, it was Artemis of the Forest!  Today, instead of thinking about freedom, it brought to mind the question of independence.

In many ways, I feel I have long been quite independent.  Preferring to find my own way than to follow "authority", whatever that may be.  Living in various countries, sometimes on my own, sometimes with a partner.  Often following my own ideas and desires in terms of projects.

And yet, fundamentally, like Artemis in the forest with the woodland creatures, we are all interconnected.  We need all kinds of people to help us live, from the people who drive the trucks to fill our supermarket shelves, to those who create art that inspires us and our imagination.  The notion of independence is, in many ways, an illusory one.

So, while I think it is good to be independent - honouring myself and my choices - it also feels important to honour my connection to the rest of the world, to the people, plants and animals in it :)

Friday, 6 December 2013

Kali Sadhana Day 17

Once again, I thought I might just do a very short practice and sitting meditation, as I wanted to go back to bed for a nap.  However, after invoking my circle and stating my affirmations, I ended up practising yoga for 28 minutes (the sun salutes only took 13, and I'd given myself permission to finish there).  I also chanted a full mala of Om Krim Kalikaye Namaha, and took the time to draw a card from the Oracle of the Shapeshifters (Beyond Words, 2013).

My first reaction was to see someone who is happy out in the wild, willing to be naked and vulnerable in the woods.  Made me think about going out on the Heath for a walk, which my DH and I haven't done for a couple of weeks.  He'd actually suggested it yesterday, and this afternoon we did, and it was lovely!  Though I have to say that I struggle with hills at the moment…

When I looked at the caption: "Now you are independent and free" it didn't really say much to me.  Thinking about it more, though, I find it curious that my first reaction was to say: "No, I've always been independent and free!"  My second reaction was to think about how I feel tied to our current location, as it's about the best place in the world for my son, with amazing provision for disabilities, and great hospitals.  How, too, I feel bound to my family: I love my son far too much to leave him.  So, I don't feel free to take on a job which might conflict with my caring for him, nor to move to a city or country that wouldn't be as hospitable to him.  Yet, I am free.  I could choose those things, but I don't, and that is still a choice, even if it feels like I couldn't make a different one.  It's interesting, too, as I didn't choose to include the affirmation which Eowyn suggested: I am opening the way for true freedom...

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Kali Sadhana Day 16

Today, I struggled a little to work up the enthusiasm to get changed and go up to my altar space.  Partly, I think it was due to the cold: the idea of working up a cardio sweat was far more appealing.  In the end, I told myself I could just do a few sun salutes and chant a mala of Jai Kali Ma instead of Om Krim Kalikaye Namaha, then go do some "proper" exercise.  As so often, though, once I'd started I got into it, and practised for 30 minutes before chanting the longer set.

After the moving meditation and before closing my eyes to sit, I drew a card from the Oracle of the Shapeshifters (Beyond Words, 2013). In the past, I've always seen this card in a positive light, saying I have the ability to protect myself when needed.  While I still see that, I also wondered if it can be a bad thing sometimes.  It could suggest being overly defensive, quick to see attacks where there perhaps are none. 

I think this came up because I'd just been to visit a regular nursery.  It feels difficult to me sometimes, being around parents of regular kids and their conversations and expectations.  "Oh, eleven months, is she walking yet?", "What was her first word?", "Does he still believe in Father Christmas?"  To others, these seem such ordinary questions. 

In some ways, today was easier than it might have been as, when asked, I said my first child was six, well out of the nursery bracket, and they could tell at a glance that the next one is on its way.  Still, I felt uncomfortable with the other parents.  And I also wondered what it'll be like for this second child, with a brother that kids on the street often stop and stare at.

So, maybe I am feeling overly defensive, different and out of place.  Maybe, too, it's good to think about how it will be for each of my sons, having the other as a brother.  Some of it will be taken for granted, this is their family.  Other bits may not be as simple.  And hopefully, I can be sensitive to both their sets of needs, and help them cope with having such a different brother.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Kali Sadhana Day 15

Wallpaper from
Well, it's taken me a while, but I finally finished my red hibiscus for Kali.  This first image is what I based my watercolour pencil sketch on.  And the second image is my completed flower :)

It took me a lot longer to finish than I expected.  For one thing, adding the water took about as long as the initial sketch, which I hadn't really anticipated.  Still, it was fun in itself, and definitely a "flow" activity, or meditation in motion.

I tried to silently chant to Kali while doing it, somewhat put off by the music my DH was playing, and enjoyed both creating the image and the very delicate strokes of the brush as I added the water.  Then, I felt it needed the edges tidying up, which is what I finished up last night.  Even now, I wonder whether I should give it a green background…

My son if off school again today, so I went to my altar space early, invoked a circle, stated my affirmations, practised yoga for 31 minutes, and did a brief seated meditation and chant.  It was interesting, I chanted a bit faster than I have the last few days, and noticed I felt more energised than calmed.  I don't know how much of that was my mind set before I started, but it's worth keeping in mind.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Kali Sadhana Day 14

When I went up to my altar space, I intended to just do a short yoga practice, nothing more than the sun salutes, and meditate.  However, after calling my circle and stating my affirmations, I started practising, and got drawn into the flow.  4 A's, 4 dancing warriors, 2 C's (standard 12-part sun salutes), standing poses, backbends, seated and supine poses - totalling 30 minutes.  Still not a long practice, but certainly enough to feel fully warmed through, and balanced :)

Then, I sat and drew two cards from the Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011) for my New Moon reading.  I placed them at the centre of my altar while I chanted to Kali, allowed the energy to flow through me, and then closed the circle again.

As for the cards, the Warrior Prince (Knight of Wands) tells me to Release the need or desire to be constantly doing, constantly in action.  Meanwhile, the World's message is to embrace the fullness of life's experience - the dark and light, the movement of the seasons, the cycles of life.  I see here less a cycle ending than just the perpetual movement of life.  Not a movement created intentionally by us, but that which flows from everything that occurs: the metacycles, as opposed to the movement and change created the Warrior Prince and his actions.

Once again, it seems to me to be a message to accept the rhythm set down by life, and by this pregnancy, rather than trying to push and pull and prod things into doing what I think I want them to :)

Monday, 2 December 2013

Kali Sadhana Day 13

It felt good to call my circle, state my affirmations and practice yoga today (41 minutes - 4 A's, 4 dancing warriors, 2 C's, then standing, balance, seated and supine poses).  My son is off sick again, so making that bit of space for me felt really great: honouring my needs, too :)

After the yoga, before sitting and chanting Om Krim Kalikaye Namaha, I drew a card from the Oracle of Shapeshifters (Beyond Words, 2013).  I was a bit miffed with this card: it reads rather predictively: a change you did not see coming.   However, as I sat and meditated, some of the thoughts that drifted through my mind included how I respond to the unexpected.

My DH is excellent in a crisis, but I'll admit I'm not so good.  In the first instant, I tend to freeze.  I think it's because I have so many things going through my head - too many possibilities and options. Perhaps this is one of my fears: that I won't be able to cope with the crises that life sends my way.  At least I have someone who is good with them by my side.  And perhaps meditating will help me to stay calm while I work my way through those options...

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Kali Sadhana Day 12

Having had a very restless night with my son, who's a bit under the weather, I didn't have much time to spare after a catch-up nap.  Still, before my MIL arrived for a visit, I managed to call a circle, practice yoga for 36 minutes silently chanting to Kali, and sit a little after, though without chanting.  In the evening, once my son was in bed, I squeezed in a 10 minute chanting meditation, which felt helpful - it had been a stressful day.

I also drew a card for the day from the Oracle of the Shapeshifters (Beyond Words, 2013 - US Edition): Dragonling Garden - A new world is born.  One thing I see in this is the need to nurture my son today.  At a different level, though, I see it referring to a new project.

After yesterday's session with the acrylics, I realise that they will take quite a bit of practice, experimentation and learning.  They also require some time for prep and clean-up.  So, I'll carry on with that painting when I have larger chunks of time available.

I'd still like to do something, and expand my skill set, though.  Someone suggested watercolour pencils, a medium I've never used but which, in being pencil, seems like it might be a bit more within my comfort zone.  And it can also be done in short bursts.  I'm hoping that this will open up a new world of possibilities…

My first project is a red hibiscus flower, dedicated to Kali.  I started drawing it this evening, but don't have time to finish it off.  Still, it was fun, and I hope it'll look quite nice at the end - I hear watercolour is a little more forgiving than acrylics ;)

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Kali Sadhana Day 11

Pencil sketch of Kali
After letting my breakfast settle, I went up, called my circle, said my affirmations, and practised yoga for 32 minutes.  I threw in some traditional 12 part sun salutes, as my thighs felt quite tight after yesterday, and crescent is a nice leg stretch.  I also put in some tree poses for balance, and some seated and supine poses.  Then, I chanted out loud.

For some reason, my mind felt very busy this morning, perhaps because I was determined to get my acrylics out today.  Also, I'd just watched a couple of painting tutorials.  I also thought about a comment Ellen made a little while back about drawing or painting in a journal, so she can't just throw things out.  It's funny, I think my feelings are the opposite.  I see a journal as being just for myself, and have one where I have some very rough pages - just experimenting with colours or pencil strokes or the play of light and shadow.  Whereas, painting or drawing on a loose piece of paper feels more scary, as that could actually be displayed on my altar, rather than hidden away in the closed pages of a journal.  Isn't it strange how our minds play with us in this way.

So, I tried to remember that I am doing this painting for fun, and that dedicating it to Kali is about facing my fears about the crapness of my artistic ability, and about doing something new.  It's also about focusing on Kali and her energy while I am creating the image, rather than about the actual outcome/painting.  I got out my acrylics, and chanted Om Krim Kalikaye Namaha while I painted.  That image is going to need rather a few more layers and colours, so I'll not show it yet.  However, here is the pencil image I started on Thursday.  Should have used cartridge paper instead of watercolour, I think, and I really need to work on the subtleties of shading (soft core pencils would probably be better).  Still, it is what it is...

Friday, 29 November 2013

Kali Sadhana Day 10

Last night, my DH was out, so I took the time to do a little reading asking what I needed to know about this sadhana to Kali:

The cards are from the Isis Marseille, created by Tadahiro Onuma and based on the 1760 Conver tarot deck.  I decided, as I was using an old-fashioned deck, to go with a no-layout spread.

Ha, Alison of This Game of Thrones would love this reading: 3 Court cards!  So, what do they say to me about this Kali sadhana?  The Knight of Pentacles reminds me that this is a 21-day "disciplined and dedicated practice".  It will take a bit of stick-to-it-ness.  The Page of Cups says that it is also a way of exploring emotions, particularly fears.  After all, the Page, as opposed to the Queen, isn't really very aware of his emotions yet, nor able to deal with them, so he represents especially emotions we aren't as used to dealing with.  And the Knight of Swords is all charging in with sword swinging, good for slaying those demons of destructive habits.  In that sense, these cards represent well what I hope for from this practice.

Looking at their positioning, the Knight of Pentacles rides calmly towards the other two, and to the right, direction of the future.  The dedicated practice must continue steadily onward, no matter what it comes up against.  Meanwhile, the other two Courts are facing to the left, towards the past.  These are past emotions, demons from the past, which the sadhana is designed to help with.  And if I stick with it, hopefully the Knight of Pentacles will eventually get by these two, and continue onward.

With that perseverance in mind, I went up and called my circle.  After practising yoga for over 35 minutes, I sat to chant and meditate.   This time, the fears that came up were around not being a good enough mother.  My son is severely disabled, and I get a lot of help with him.  Sometimes, though, I feel guilty for not taking care of him myself all the time.  Partly, it's a financial question - two salaries are normally necessary to pay the bills here in London.  Partly, too, there is a part where I am afraid I might come to hate him if I had to care for him all the time.  That part makes me cry.

These are fears I need to come to terms with, too.  And being pregnant again brings these questions of motherhood to the fore.  I hope that I get the balance more or less right - like yoga, it is a dynamic equilibrium, different every day.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Kali Sadhana Day 9

This morning, I went to my altar space before breakfast.  After calling my circle, I said my affirmations out loud, and practised yoga for 28 minutes to a silent breath chant of Om Krim Kalikaye Namaha.  Afterwards, I chanted while seated, and meditated on the fears I've been facing, and the changes I've been making.

Later, I was on a long (2 hours long!), hands-free phone call.  Although I needed to pay attention to what was being said, I find that it actually helps to keep my hands busy so I don't get fidgety.  I finished sewing up a tarot bag that I have been knitting (often during previous phone calls, these happen once a month).  Then, I used the opportunity to do a pencil sketch of Kali.  This is not to replace the painting I intend to do, but I couldn't get my paints out in the office, whereas a little sketch-pad and pencils are fairly subtle :)

Anyhow, the sketch isn't finished yet, but it felt good to do it.  And at least I got my tarot bag finished, this one has been hanging around since April!  The yarn is nice and soft, and though you can't really see it in the photo, it's black with sparkly bits :)

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Kali Sadhana Day 8

Almost didn't think I'd get to meditating and practising yoga today, what with one thing and another.  Eventually, though, I did.  Once again, I called my circle, then stood at the top of my yoga mat and proclaimed my affirmations.  I practiced for nearly 40 minutes, and then sat and chanted Om Krim Kalikayei Namaha.

I'm really enjoying using my rudrakasha mala.  There's something about the rough texture of the seeds that is kind of tingly :D  The texture helps keep me more mindful.  They don't just smoothly flow through my fingers, but have a little bite that is renewed each time I move onto the next bead, reminding me of what my hands are doing and why :)

Today, one of the things that came to my mind was the question of fears.  Bizarrely enough, turns out I'm afraid of starting to use the acrylics I bought back before the summer!  I keep finding reasons not to open them and start painting.  Partly, it's the fear of the unknown - how will they work, will I be able to mix them correctly, will they dry out too quickly, will they make a terrible mess?  Partly, I think it's the fear that I won't be able to achieve what I want with them, which of course will take practice.  I was even thinking of doing a second sketch of Kali in a smaller pad so that I could colour it with pencils, which I feel more comfortable with.  Anyhow, I vow to stop wussing about this and actually paint something, anything, by the end of this week!

As for the drawing part of my sadhana, I also realised today that the sketch I thought was ready for painting is actually missing eyebrows - small, incidental detail *doh*  So, tonight I shall add in the eyebrows, then this sketch will be ready for painting...

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Kali Sadhana Day 7

When calling my circle, I called to the East, the South, the West, the North, and the Space In Between; by Air, by Fire, by Water, by Earth, and by the Void; by Oya, by Brigid, by Cerridwen, by Hekate and by Kali.  I was also inspired to add Kali's name before each of my affirmations for change (Kali, I am changing my life for the better), and to add, "With the help of your strength, determination and compassion" at the end.  It feels like this calling is becoming clearer and more powerful…

I practised yoga for 25 minutes - 5 A's, 4 dancing warriors, and some standing and seated poses.  Then, I sat and chanted a mala of Om Krim Kalikayei Namaha.  Finally, I closed the circle in reverse, and prayed for the Goddess in all her aspects to accompany me through the day.

I've been thinking some more about what I want to include in my image of Kali, as well as worrying about how it'll turn out.  Last night, I worked on the sketch some more, rubbing out 3/4 of what I'd first drawn and then re-drawing it using guidelines and a ruler to clarify proportions and neaten it up.  So, after about an hour spent on it, it still looks like something that could be done in about 5 minutes *doh*  Ah well, this too is part of the sadhana.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Kali Sadhana Day 6

I was feeling really tired this morning after an extremely restless night's sleep.  Still, I stood at the end of my yoga mat, proclaimed my affirmations for change, and started practising, thinking "Well, I can always just do a few sun salutes."  I ended up doing 4 A's, 4 dancing warriors, and a few standing and seated poses - total 25 minutes.  Then, I sat, called a circle, and chanted out loud, a full mala.

One of the thoughts that drifted into my mind was about what I like in an image of Kali.  There are lots that show her in a macabre dance, which I quite like as it emphasises the sense of movement and change that I get from her.  However, at the moment my favourite is actually this one from Doreen Virtue's Goddess Guidance Oracle.  I love how direct and challenging her gaze is, like she won't let me look away, won't let me off without facing up to things.  She challenges me to face the darkness, but says that she will be there, too...

I have started sketching an image of Kali.  I've little practice at such things, so it may well not live up to what I want to express.  Still, one thing I will certainly do is try to give her this direct gaze :)

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Kali Sadhana Day 5

The Goddess Oracle
This morning I was pretty exhausted, having only had 5 hours sleep.  So, I didn't do a yoga practice, but just called my circle, stated my affirmations for change, chanted a mala of Om Krim Kalikaye Namaha with my new rudrakasha mala - you are such an enabler, Eowyn ;) - and sat for a bit meditating on my fears.  What came up for me were some of my fears about having another baby.

With my son, everything seemed fine until the labour, and then lots of things went wrong.  The doctor who gave us his (dire) prognosis, put the blame on all sorts of things, from me having drunk too much water during labour, to an infection my son caught from me on the way out (not something they'd tested for, despite a barrage of blood samples).  Of course, it's also possible that he was already not all that strong, as he was born very small (2.66 kilos - 5.8 pounds).  Anyhow, I pulled a card from the Oracle of the Shapeshifters (2013 U.S. Edition, not that you can tell from this card).  My question was, "What should I know about facing my fears today?"

Certainly, my first impression of "Bats in the Belfry: You can achieve great things" is pretty positive: I can make strides in conquering my fears.  Looking a little deeper, I see a couple of useful messages.

The first is to get some perspective, an overview, on these fears.  I see in this a suggestion to ask my current gynaecologist about some of these anxieties, and what he would recommend in various circumstances.  I've already got a lot more information now than when my son was born, from various doctors and other parents of special needs children.  However, getting the opinion of the person I've chosen to help me through this labour seems sensible.  I think I haven't asked some of these things as I hadn't really thought about such specifics.

Secondly, the bats make me think about steering a course using different senses.  That says to me that, when it comes down to it, the best source of information is myself and my intuition.  I am the only one who will be actually giving birth.  This is very relevant, as for example with the question of having drunk too much water during labour, both my midwife and my DH kept on telling me to drink.  I didn't stop to check in whether I actually wanted to, I just assumed that they knew best.  Hopefully, regular meditation will have helped me become more mindful since then...

UPDATE:  After a nap, I went back to my altar and practised yoga while silently chanting to Kali.  4 A's, 4 dancing warriors, and some standing and seated poses.  Total 23 minutes.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Kali Sadhana Day 4

This morning, I called a circle, then proclaimed my affirmations for change from the front of my yoga mat.  I practised for half an hour - 4 A's, 2 B's, 4 dancing warriors, and then rounded out the practice with standing, seated and reclining poses.  While I practised, I silently chanted Om Krim Kalikaye Namaha, except for a few bits where I was doing Pilates-type exercises, and chanted Jai Kali Ma to match the faster breathing pace :)  Afterwards, I chanted out loud, then sat for a while in silence feeling the energy within me.  Finally, I devoted my circle and gave thanks.

I've been thinking a lot about Kali, and about my approach to deity more generally.  Partially inspired by this sadhana, partially by an email I received yesterday from someone I respect a great deal.  She asked if I was sure I should be working with such a terrifying, destructive Goddess.

One thing this brought up for me was a recognition that I don't believe in Gods and Goddesses as real beings.  Lon Milo DuQuette, in one of his books (The Key to Solomon's Key, I think), talks about demons being aspects of ourselves that we can call up and project outward to better deal with them.  I feel a little the same about deity.  I recognise deity as being beyond and outside of mere human minds and souls, but the aspects of deity which we create and call upon are, for me, more the externalisation of our own inner divinity.  Calling these energies, I am trying to tap into those aspects of divine energy that are within me.

As for Kali being destructive, she has long been associated with death and fear.  However, I see her more as about ending that which needs ending, and coping with fear, facing it with courage.  Some might say this is a fluffy bunny approach to a frightening Goddess often depicted with a necklace of skulls, and sometimes dismembered arms as a belt, with a bloody knife in hand.

Another perspective is to recognise that death is no longer such a terrifying concept in our day as it was in the past when infant mortality was a lot higher and the average age people lived to was much lower.  Yes, death is still one of the great existentials of life, but it isn't as terrifying and all present as it used to be.  And I feel that change is echoed in how we perceive a Goddess like Kali.  She is no longer so much to be feared.  Rather, the positives of her fierceness and fearlessness can be applied to help us destroy bad habits and face fears, which is my intent in this sadhana.

When I call on Kali, I call a sacred circle first, and close it after.  I ground and centre, and focus my intent.  I do not fear her qualities welling up and overwhelming me, as I feel I have put appropriate safeguards in place, and set my will in this practice clearly.  For me, this is magic, not superstition, and I embrace Kali's help.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Kali Sadhana Day 3

Image titled "The Void is Full Not Empty" 
Once again this morning, I called my expanded circle - East, South, West, North and the Void.  I then stood at the top of my yoga mat, facing my altar, and said out loud my affirmations of change.  I enjoyed a 22 minute yoga practice - 4 sun salute A's, 4 dancing warriors, some standing poses, back bends, hip openers and seated poses for lateral bends, rotations and forward bends.

I was going to draw a single card from the Wicca Pack, but changed my mind at the last minute and drew a line of three from my favourite Lennie, asking: "How can I change my life for the better today?"  I drew Cross, Bouquet, and Tower, shown here from the Mystical Lenormand (Königsfurt-Uranis, 2004):

I read these as saying that I need to get creative with how I manage institutional burdens - ie. paperwork.  This has been an on-going theme this week, something I need to do but haven't.  So, it would change my life for the better to stop procrastinating on this one, get it done, and maybe in a more imaginative way than I would normally try...

After that, I chanted just a half mala of Om Krim Kalikaye Namaha, as I could hear my DH getting up and I hadn't yet made his breakfast (or my own).

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Kali Sadhana Day 2

My Goddess Circle
This morning, I called the quarters and added in the Void - the space above, below, nowhere and everywhere - with Kali to represent it.  Then, I practised 4 sun salute A's, 1 sun salute B, and 4 dancing warriors, followed by some backbends, forward bends, lateral bends, and rotations (total 17 minutes).  Throughout, I just focused on my breath and on silently chanting Om Krim Kalikaye Namaha.  After that, I sat and chanted 108 repetitions out loud, devoked my circle, and ended with a resounding "Ja Kali Ma!"

It felt really good, and I didn't feel at all short tempered afterwards.  In fact, I went straight to bed for a nap, very peacefully :)

This five layered expression of the Goddess is still on my mind.  Yesterday, I read an old post from Lisa Frideborg Lloyd on peri-menopause.  The bit that stayed with me (given I'm not at the peri-menopause yet), was that she looked at 4 aspects of a woman's life, 4 aspects of the Goddess: Maiden, Mother, Queen, Crone.  As I said yesterday, I'm not very convinced by Marie Brennan's "Bride" aspect.  To me, that's not really about a woman's life phase, as much as about joining with another - a choice, but not an aspect of self, maybe?  So, if I were to create a five-tiered structure, following the pentagram notion, I might prefer to amalgamate these two into: Maiden, Warrior, Mother, Queen, Crone.

I'll think about this a bit more.  If I were to use that structure for a Goddess Pentagram, I think I would use different Goddesses to those in my circle...

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Kali Sadhana

Inspired by Eowyn's post, I have decided to join her in a 21 day sadhana dedicated to Kali.  To reflect this, I made some altar-ations, choosing my favourite three Kali cards from various decks (the Goddess Guidance Oracle from Doreen Virtue, the Goddess Oracle from Marashinsky and Janto, and the Oracle of Shadows and Light by Cavendish and Beckett-Griffith - US version).  I also chose black hematite and black tiger eye stones for the earth section of my altar, my black 54 bead mala, and left the orange altar cloth to provide contrast.

In terms of my practice, I wanted to keep things fairly simple.  I set up my altar, lit a candle, and created a list of changes I want to bring into my life.  I decided to phrase these as happening, rather than simply desired, as I think this speaks more directly to the unconscious.  I decided on just four phrases:

After doing the set-up, I practiced 4 sun salute A's and 4 sun salute B's (including some dancing warriors, which seemed appropriate for Kali), while silently chanting Om Krim Kalikaye Namaha with each breath (inhale and exhale combined).  I tried to focus on each one of my changes with one sun salute of each type.  Then, I sat and chanted 108 repetitions of the mantra out loud.

It's interesting, I just finished a fantasy novel yesterday (Doppelgänger by Marie Brennan), which made me think about the aspects of the Goddess.  While there are many triple Goddess variants, she proposed five aspects: Maiden, Bride, Warrior, Mother, Crone.  I like the addition of the Warrior, though I'm less sure about the Bride.  In the novel, it was so that there could be an aspect for each of the four elements, and for the Void/Spirit.  I think I will incorporate this into my calling of the quarters: adding Kali for the Void after calling Oya (Air), Brigid (Fire), Cerridwen (Water) and Hekate (Earth).

Saturday, 16 November 2013


This morning, I sat at my altar for the first time since Monday.  I had meditated a couple of other days, but on the move.  I chanted Om Gum Ganapataye Namaha - a chant to my favourite God: Ganesha.  And I chose a card from the Way of the Horse (New World Library, 2007).

As soon as I'd drawn it I rolled my eyes and thought: "Oh, no!" - a sure fire sign that it's a message that is relevant to me ;)  The card's title (I wrote them on the cards, at Eowyn's suggestion), is Vigilance.  And you can certainly see that in this horse, with ears pricked and nostrils flared, eyes wide open, trying to pick up as much information as possible.

The idea of vigilance, though, just makes me feel tired.   One of my problems sleeping is that I've spent years now startling awake with my son, worried he's in pain, throwing up, or unable to breathe.  The adrenaline rush then makes it hard to get back to sleep.  More recently, regular respite nights and taking 5-HTP have helped with that.

Then, there's the fact of having to be vigilant when with my son.  He has no save reflex, so when running around or even just sitting, there is a level of attention that always needs to be there.  Just this morning, before going up to meditate, he'd been sitting on my lap and tried to turn too quickly.  I caught him part way down, but not before he'd struck his head a glancing blow on the coffee table.  It wasn't a bad knock, but did get my adrenaline flowing again.  Not just worrying about his pain in the moment, but also whether it would be enough to trigger painful spasms (which it doesn't seem to have).  This constant vigilance in his presence is wearing, and one reason I'm so grateful he goes to school and loves it there.

And so this card reminds me that a degree of vigilance is necessary for survival, but that over vigilance leads to problems.  I guess this is a balance I still need to work on...

Friday, 8 November 2013

Messages About Motherhood

This morning, I sat to meditate for the first time all week.  I chanted to the Goddess in her many aspects (Isis, Tara, Oya, Brigid, Cerridwen, Hekate, Kali, Durga, Yemaya).  I thought about drawing a single card from a Lucy Cavendish oracle deck, longing for a simple message.  In the end, though, I shuffled my favourite Lenormand, and when six cards fell out all together, decided to take them as my reading.

(As a side note, drawing six cards made me think about the tradition of drawing uneven lines.  Yet, in the Grand Tableau, the "most traditional" version is the 8x4+4 method, giving an even line.  And many traditionalists argue that you should never consider a Lenormand card individually, and yet they do just that with the middle card as theme!  There's no reason you can't consider the centre two cards as the theme, so that's what I've done here.)

These are the cards, shown here with the Mystical Lenormand (Königsfurt-Urania, 2004):

Heart, Dog, Bear, Rider, Clover, Owls
The theme is about messages around motherhood (Bear/Rider), and I read this as saying that I need to be faithful to my emotions (Heart/Dog), and look for a little wisdom (Clover/Owls).  I haven't been paying much attention to my feelings of late, too busy with other things (witness not having meditated all week).  Yet, there are definitely emotional anxieties there (mirroring Heart/Owls), to which I have offered little of my attention (Dog/Clover).  I have faith, though, that connecting with my emotions will help me find a little wisdom about the whole subject.  There are synchronous messages (Rider/Clover) available, perhaps from a friend who is also a mother (Dog/Bear), perhaps from honouring the strength of my loyalty as a mother.

I have been feeling almost angry, and certainly anxious, about my emotionality (such as crying when trying to shop on amazon for a dvd for my own mother for Christmas).  Yet, that is also a resource to tap, if I choose to see it that way.  My emotions are far closer to the surface, far stronger, so I can hopefully learn from them more easily than if they were buried deep.

There are a lot of emotions in me around pregnancy and motherhood: it hasn't been an easy path for me so far.  Yet, I want this time to be different.  I see here, too, a message that small changes can make a huge difference.  This isn't a spread full of big, obvious cards - Ring, Child, Storks, Coffin, or Tree, for instance.  It is about staying loyal in the day-to-day, accepting small joys when they come, feeling my anxiety and learning from it, looking for subtle messages from my body and in my life.

I appreciate the reminder that I need to listen inwardly, pay attention to small signs, and give time to both my children - the one who more obviously needs it, and the one who is not yet able to ask for what is needed.  That I should show a loyal love to this pregnancy, to myself as being pregnant, even if in small and subtle ways like taking aspirin daily and making sure I snooze if I need to.  I shall certainly do my best to heed the cards's wisdom :)

Monday, 4 November 2013

November New Moon Reading

Another moon has gone by, and so for the New Moon I drew two cards from the Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011).

This reading says to me that I need to release my over-thinking side, and also the idea that I can connect with spirit through purely mental means.  Instead, I need to embrace an earthier spirituality, and a more physical connection with the world.  This makes perfect sense to me.  As I move further into my pregnancy, my body changes more, and my connection with my baby comes to the fore.  This is a very physical experience, and trying to narrow things to a more mental outlook just isn't going to work, even though it is one I normally feel more comfortable with.

This reading also reminds me that I need to prioritise.  Making sure there is a warm, welcoming home for my baby to come into, and that I take care of myself and it, are top priority.  Other things, no matter how fun or stimulating, may need to take a back seat.  I can't go drifting off on an airy bubble of thoughts and dreams, I need to stay practical.

Sunday, 3 November 2013


I've  been doing much better on the meditation front the last week or so.  This morning, too, I sat and drew some cards, then chanted Om Mani Padme Hum.  At first, the cards, shown here from the Mystical Lenormand (Königsfurt-Urania, 2004), didn't make much sense to me.  However, I know from experience that staying with the cards they always have something to tell us.

Man, Clover, Stars
It was only after my meditation that I went back to the cards and figured them out.  What I see these cards saying is that a little leadership will bring greater clarity.  My childcare fell through on Friday, so I didn't have time to do a lot of the work that came in that day.  Then, yesterday, I was travelling and had no internet connection.  So, this morning, despite it being a Sunday, I had some catching up to do.

One thing was something that I worked on during the train rides yesterday, but which I hadn't been able to email my colleague about.  I don't like sending emails when I'm really tired - just in case I express myself poorly.  So, I emailed this morning instead.   I hope that my work and the email I sent about it will help bring greater clarity to the project, as so far I don't feel she's quite "getting" it.  I'd hate to have to fire her and find someone else...

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Samhain Blog Prompt

Image from Pagan Space
Ellen over at Greylady's Hearth has been offering us translations of blog prompts from Berthe van Soest for this autumn season.  I was moved by the prompt for Samhain, and decided I would have to write about it, so here goes:

October 31st: Today it is Samhain.  A day to celebrate and remember our beloved ones who have passed away.  Name somebody you want to remember and pull a card on how you want to keep his/her memory alive.

The person I want to remember is my maternal grandmother.  She died on the 30th of October, so this time of year is doubly relevant - for her actual death, as well as for Samhain and the thinning of the veil.  She was an amazing woman, who trained as a doctor, and who kept on serving even after she retired, teaching sexual education classes in schools to help keep teenagers safe and informed.  She was strong and loving, she baked wonderful biscuits, and she was vain (keeping her false teeth a secret even from her husband of four decades).  At the end, she used her medical knowledge to end her own life, rather than stay chained to a hospital bed with no dignity and no quality of life, taking the time to say a proper goodbye to all her loved ones first.  I find her an inspiration still.

So, how do I want to keep her memory alive at this time?  My answer, from the Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011) is the Warrior Prince.  Having a Warrior (Wands) card come up for my Grandma is not much of a surprise.  She was definitely a passionate and outgoing person, even though she also knew how to keep her own counsel.  Still, having the Prince (Knight) come up was a little more surprising.

Thinking about it, though, I see this saying that I can honour my Grandma's spirit by following where my passions lead me.  Even if, in the moment, that seems a little chaotic or unplanned.  I've been thinking today about my life choices.  In some ways I'm exactly where I want to be, and am doing things my family and society expect of me: having a baby.  In other ways, I worry that I've gone way off-course from what my plans were seven or even two years ago.  Yet, I love what I'm doing right now, even if it is unconventional.

I love, too, that this card is titled the Gift of Spirit.  This openness to living in the moment and following my passion is the gift I dedicate to my Grandma's spirit.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Seeking Guidance

After yesterday's meditation and reading, today I was also inspired to sit.  I chanted Om Mane Padme Hum, and felt it resonate through me - lovely!  I also drew some Lenormand cards again, shown here from the Mystical Lenormand (Königsfurt-Urania, 2004).

The Bouquet fell out as I was shuffling, and I took it once again as a theme, then drew the Stars, the Key and the Moon.

The theme is seeking a feeling of grace, a connection with spirit.  And the message is that the key to this is to find guidance in connecting with my own emotion and intuition.  It's funny, because, in regular cards, this actually echoes yesterday's reading to an extent.  Once again, I'm being told to seek out guides, be they spiritual or more practical.

It's interesting, too, as just before I went up to meditate I'd seen an artist I like offering a workshop for healing through art.  She uses affirmations while creating the piece, which you then remember whenever you see the artwork.  I like that idea!  It feels like a practical way of bringing a more spiritual awareness into something everyday...  So, while I'm probably not going to take that workshop right now, it has inspired me with something I'd like to do over the coming months :)

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


Image of Rama
This morning, I chanted (Sri Ram Jai Ram) and meditated for the first time in nearly two weeks - far too long!  I also asked the cards, in the form of the Mystical Lenormand (Königsfurt-Urania, 2004) for some words of wisdom.

Now, I'm one of those people who tends to leave extra cards in my decks.  However, I'm still not quite sure about the extra cards that are available for the Mystical Lenormand (though they don't actually come with it).  My problem with them is that they are so purely spiritual/mystical: an ancestors card, a spirit guides card, a power animals card and an angels card.  Although I often ask for spiritual messages, my idea of the spiritual is quite a practical one.  Being advised to chant or go for a walk in nature are spiritual messages I can get behind.  Being asked to connect with my spirit guides is a bit trickier, especially if I ask a practical, rather than spiritual question.  Writing this, I feel a bit daft, after all, I'm sure it's always a good idea to connect with your spiritual side, even if you're just going shopping.  Still, these cards, especially the spirit guides and power animals cards, sometimes stump me.

So, in typical fashion, the cards decided to press my buttons today, after so long without seeking their guidance or focusing on my spiritual practice.  The two I find hardest BOTH appeared in my reading!

The Owls card fell out of the deck while I was shuffling (though I didn't know what it was at the time), so I placed it at the top as a theme card.  Then, I drew three more cards: Fish, Spirit Guides, Power Animals.

This time round, I had asked for a spiritual message for the day, and I had on my mind the fact that I haven't meditated in quite a while.  So, these cards made a lot of sense.  The Owls can indicate wisdom and messages, and I've also had it showing chanting: all relevant here.  As for the line of three, it says to me that I need to get back into the flow of connecting with my spirit guides and animal guide.  Connecting, too, with my innate, animal nature - look at that wolf howling, calling its fellows to it.

Even then, I felt some resistance: just how am I supposed to connect with my spirit guides?  I've done a few meditations designed for you to meet your spirit guide, but haven't found any of them particularly helpful (as opposed to an animal guide one, which I adore).  Then I actually looked at the card.

Chop Wood, Carry Water
Yes, I know you don't normally focus on the images in Lenormand readings, but I was struggling here, and had already taken what I could from the keywords.  I noticed the samurai in the background, and the little Chinese guy mixing herbs.  They reminded me of karma yoga - spirituality put into action in the everyday.  There's a lot going on in my life right now, and I haven't been making the time for a separate spiritual practice as much as I would like.  However, that shouldn't stop me from being aware, from chanting in my head as I walk around or do the dishes or the laundry.  It shouldn't stop me thinking about my connection with the universe, even as I chop vegetables or write emails.

The point is, I need to bring spirituality into my everyday life more, seeing as I'm not making as much space for it separately.  I also need to remember that my connection with others is part of my connection with spirit, and to remember to honour the divine in all those I interact with.

While I'm still not convinced about these extra cards, I do appreciate their message today :)

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Work Choices Reading

My mind maps: the shorter one had less cons.
I'm involved in a new project at work, and had to make a decision about someone to collaborate with on it.  It's nice that, for this, I get to choose who I work with.  However, it's also an added pressure:  like hiring and firing people, which I've never much liked.  Having to tell people when they haven't gotten the job isn't quite like firing them, but I still find it tough.

Anyhow, having placed the job ad, received and looked through about 40 applications for the role, and narrowed it down to a short-list of 8, then having interviewed two, I had a choice to make, and someone to disappoint.  I slept on the choice, and then got up and made mind-maps on the pros and cons of the two candidates.  By that point, I was pretty clear on who I was going to choose.  Still, I decided to see what the cards (or my subconscious) would have to say on the subject...

The person I won't work with.
I drew two cards for each person from the Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011), to represent a pro and a con of working with each of them.  For the person I'd decided against, I got Dreamer Three (Three of Swords) as the pro.  Working with them would mean I don't have to hurt their feelings...

For the con, I got Warrior Seven: it would feel like a bit of a battle, constantly having to check up on them and maybe fight with them over what they think is right (this person admitted to sometimes trying to get their own way even when it went against their brief!).  So, working with them might make my job harder in a number of ways.

Let's hope we can get the balance right.
For the person who I had decided to go with, I got the Warrior Queen (Queen of Wands) as a pro.  She's definitely incredibly creative and inspiring, with quite strong ideas, but also an openness to others.  In many ways, I also see in this that we will be two peas-in-a-pod working on this project together.  

As for cons, the High Priestess suggests that, like me, she may sometimes be headstrong, following her own intuition.  However, it also says that I'll have to trust my intuition in how to deal with her, remembering our similarities.  I also read it as saying that I should fall back on my intuition, step back into a place of quiet and calm to assess what is going on if she's overwhelming me a little with her Warrior Queen traits. 

I hope it all works out, and I'm also looking forward to the process...

Saturday, 5 October 2013

New Moon Reading for October

As part of following the lunar calendar, I again drew two cards from the Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011) to represent what I should release and what I should embrace over the coming lunation.

To me, the message feels quite clear.  Perhaps that's just me, as it's almost the same message as I read in the cards at the last new moon.  Or perhaps it's just that, while I'm pregnant, this is one of the most important messages I can hear.

I need to release the Maker Queen (Queen of Pentacles).  Although this is a beautiful card, right now I can't just pour myself out and try to be abundant and giving to all.  Rather, I need to focus on the responsibility I have to this life growing inside of me, as suggested by the Maker Two.

This is quite a tricky one for me.  I feel I have a lot of material responsibilities, to my son, my partner, our home, our livelihood.  And I sometimes feel guilty at the idea of saying, "Well, as I'm pregnant..."  And yet, it's also true that I'm feeling far more drained and tired with this pregnancy than I remember from back with my son.  Which may be because I'm older, or may be because this pregnancy is thriving more, or may be because I have a sleep debt going back 6 years and more responsibilities than I did back then.  Whatever the case, perhaps I will have to pull the pregnancy card a bit more often, for the sake of this child, as well as myself...

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Choices Reading

Over the last week, I have met with two obstetricians who were recommended to me by my gynaecologist.  After meeting the first lady, I thought I'd definitely choose her, but after meeting the second guy, I thought I'd choose him.  So, I slept on the decision, and woke feeling fairly certain.  Still, I wanted to see what the cards had to say.

As this is about giving birth, a very female-centric activity, I decided to use my Mythical Goddess Tarot, which I was reminded of when I posted earlier this week about Brigid.  I drew three cards for each consultant, to represent pros, cons and a summary.  My readings are more intuitive than traditional, and admittedly show the choice I felt I'd already come to.  Still, they brought up some interesting points and thoughts, so I'll share them.

For the first obstetrician, I drew the Crone of the Seas (Resurrection) as the pros card.  In this, I see that she is very experienced, and understands the flow of this process.  However, the card gave me a bad feeling.  Firstly, because I worry about being too old to be a mother, and a Crone card is a reminder of that, as I think that this consultant is younger than me.  Secondly, because it feels like she is perhaps very clear about her own strengths, and may overwhelm me.

For her cons card, I drew the Mother of Earth, and this spoke to me straight away.  She said a couple of things in our meeting which I didn't like, basically being negative towards independent midwives, and mocking 'tree huggers who hum'.  Well, I'm a humming tree-hugger!  I know I'll have to have quite a medical birth, given my age and the problems when my son was born.  Still, I haven't given up on it being as natural as possible, active and honouring of my body.

In summary, the Three of Seas seems very positive, subtitled Compassion.  Yet, it makes me wonder about her compassion, and also about her dedication.  She seemed a bit bellicose, talking about arguing against certain midwife practices and against the NICE guidelines (standardised hospital practice).  She may be more into her ideas than into being compassionate towards me as an older mother with a lot of fear.  Looking at the image itself, it shows three dragons swirling about, and I have a sense of her focus being divided.  Her secretary had already told me she might not be able to be there for my actual birth, as she is scheduled to speak as an expert witness at a trial around that time.  And the way she talked likewise makes me think she's focused on proving something generally, rather than being focused on me, my baby, and my birth.

For the second obstetrician, I drew the Ten of Seas as the pros card.  It is subtitled Purity, and I love the image of a memaid, surrounded by water and stars.  There is a feeling of going with the flow, of a beautiful, emotional focus, and a purity of intent.  This represents to me that he is truly focused on me and on the baby.  Though he is a man, he is deeply connected to the feminine, and understands the flow of pregnancy and birth.  Already, at our first meeting, I liked that he wanted to do a scan.  Not to charge me for it (which he didn't), but just to take a look for himself, and "meet" the little one already :)

In the cons position, I drew the Maiden of Earth, subtitled Beauty.  I was talking just yesterday with a friend who'd been to a women's only spa with her sister at the weekend.  I mentioned how I also loved women only gyms, as it's just such a different vibe.  This card reminds me that I may not feel 100% comfortable having a man seeing me in labour.  However, I remember being concerned about that last time round with my DH.  When it came to it, I was just glad to have him there, supporting me, and it certainly hasn't put him off sex (which a couple of our male friends had suggested).

The summary card rounds this up for me: the Ten of Wind.  If there is an issue, it will be in my own worries and concerns, not in the actual situation nor in this man.  So, if I want to go with this consultant (which I do), then I simply have to be aware that my own thoughts could get in my way, and remember that he is pure of intent, focused on the process.  Based on my experience with my DH, I think that when push comes to shove, none of that mental chatter will matter!