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 (K√∂nigsfurt-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 (K√∂nigsfurt-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...