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 ;)