Sunday, 21 December 2014

Yule New Moon Tonglen Spread

This week has been a tough one!  My elder son was in screaming agony for 24 hours, and we're still not totally sure why, though there are a number of possible reasons.  His pain was so bad that he literally tore his hair out - he now has a bald patch about 5cms in diameter.  It makes my heart bleed to see him like that!

And the younger one is teething - he now has two teeth, where last week he had none.  He's not doing too badly with it, but has been a lot more restless at night, which doesn't help me cope better with the first one's more serious issues.  What has helped, though, is practising tonglen, after reading about it on Bev's Lojong for the Layperson site.

Today is Yule, the longest night, and a new moon to boot.  So, definitely a time of darkness.  Rather than my normal release-embrace spread, I decided to try something based around tonglen.  I drew from the Chrysalis Tarot (US Games, 2014):

1) What will help me sit with the darkness right now?  - Five of Spirals (Wands)
2) What will help me transform it into light? - Kali - XVI The Tower

1) What will help me sit with the darkness right now is the willingness to face it down with fierceness, to cast balls of light into that dark abyss!  I need to take action, to feel that I am doing something to counter the dark, even if it is something as metaphorical as tonglen.

It's true, too, that with my elder son I took literal action: making phone calls to various doctors and their secretaries, to our dental practice, taking him to an emergency dental service (he has two sets of teeth in places, as his baby teeth haven't fallen out, but his adult teeth are growing in regardless), organising a prescription for a new, stronger pain killer, and getting him seen by the community nurse (all this in about six hours on Friday).

Still, even with all this action, there is no "solution".  I still have to accept that sometimes all I can do is hold his hands and gaze into his eyes while he cries in pain, unable to tell me why.  That's really hard!  Knowing I've done all I can is one of my fireballs, and being willing to hold him and hug him and tell him that I'm there with him in his suffering is another.

2)  Irony, thy name is Kali.  Before my elder son was born, the Tower came up for me a lot.  And it's true, he shattered my sense of security, of understanding what the world is about, of trusting that I was, to an extent, "safe".  Now, though, what can help me transform this darkness is precisely embracing Kali's power to cut through old beliefs, her ability to scare away the demons with her fierceness, her willingness to shatter the old.

Of course, it makes sense that transformation requires a radical letting go.  Perhaps I need to do another Kali sadhana…  Or simply remember that I really have no power to control some things.  All I can do is face my fears with courage, and call on the Goddess for her support.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Supporting Friends

Today, I wanted to draw some cards, and pulled out a Lenormand deck.  Cards shown here from the Mystical Lenormand (Königsfurt-Urania, 2004):

Birds, Dog, Stork
What I read here is a message of talking with friends about progress, or to help bring progress.  And it rings true for my day, I've already spoken with three different friends, one of whom specifically asked about my plans for next year.  With another, I talked about no longer eating sweet stuff, as she is trying to improve her diet.  And with the third, we talked about ways to bring a positive change for my elder son, who is currently rather poorly.

Now, that might all sound very everyday, but to be honest there are some days when I don't leave the house (yesterday, for instance), and hardly talk to anyone other than my DH.  A lot of my friendships are largely online, and with the baby not liking me looking at the computer, it can be tough.  If these were traditional friendships, we'd meet up in person and he'd come along and probably be quite happy playing while we chat.  Anyhow, today I did actually get out, and saw two of these friends in person, while the third was online.

Another thing it made me think about, though, is about proactively talking with a friend who has been feeling anxious (another interpretation of the Birds).  I'd like to help her move to a better place, mentally and physically.  So, I'll do a bit of research, and see if I can't send her some helpful suggestions…

I also just realised that the first two cards, in the exact same position, came up in last week's reading.  Interesting how different the interpretation is with a third card in the mix, and the difference in context!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Loyalty and Community

There's so much going on at the moment, a lot of it connected with cards, that I've barely taken time to actually draw cards for myself.  However, a German forum I'm a part of sent me a reminder that I hadn't visited in a while, which triggered me to pull some cards.  Just a quick line of three, shown here from the Mystical Lenormand (Königsfurt-Urania, 2004). 

Birds (talk/anxiety),  Dog (loyalty), Coffin (ending)
At a basic level, I read that talking about loyalty brings an ending, which makes sense in that I'm thinking of changing bank after many years, and due to go in to talk to someone about it today. 

At a deeper level, bringing in the Houses gives me:
1) Birds (12) - Child (13), new
2) Dog (18) - Garden (20), community/social
3) Coffin (8) - Whips (11), arguments

Anxiety over a new project that has me thinking about community loyalty and may require working to end old arguments.  It's true, I'm really excited about a new project, yet also worried.  I'm not sure I have the patience to deal with some of the arguments, nor the skill to put them to bed.  Perhaps I need to face that some arguments will never go away entirely, dragging on like a prolonged illness (another meaning of the Coffin).  We'll see.  For the moment, though, I'll just focus on the community side of things, and that loyalty...

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Buddhhism, Feminism, and the Space-Time Continuum

Yesterday, I received a set of Beverly's Lojong Cards (2014) - beautiful!  Several jumped out at me flicking through, but I decided to do a random draw for my first reading.  I pulled slogan 14: The ultimate protection is emptiness.  Beverly explains this as being about opening our minds, rather than getting stuck in particular thoughts.

To illustrate this, we have a pine cone, a pine stump, and a little sapling - the cycle of life.  As I see it, we are all of those: if we get stuck in thinking we're a pine cone, we cannot enjoy becoming the sapling.  And some would argue that all of those are inherent in us at all times.  We have already been all of them, and focusing on where we are "now" is a position of stuckness and confusion, rather than the openness and emptiness that is recommended by the Lojong slogan.

On the one hand, I can see this.  For example, when we pathwork or alter our state of consciousness with hypnotherapy, we can access previous states, and some would also say future states.  There is still something of accessing the previous me from the current me in that.  I doubt that I truly return to being that previous incarnation, even for an instant, though I may connect with it more than I can in an everyday state.  Yet, it does show that those other parts are still there in some form, so I am not rigidly stuck in the current me.

On the other hand, there is also a bit of me that thinks about Jean Shinoda Bolen's work on archetypes: Goddesses in Everywoman.  I don't think our getting stuck in holding onto particular thoughts is just about our mind.  I think it is connected to our life situations, and more than that, it is influenced by our very hormones.  Now, this may be something that is more relevant to women, and perhaps this is part of the reason why women were long seen as less appropriate for these kinds of spiritual practices (according to ancient Eastern philosophies, both of Buddhism and Yogic thought).

For instance, Shinoda Bolen says that when we become mothers, the Demeter archetype within us is strengthened.  Hormonally, I know that my libido, for example (an aspect of my Aphrodite archetype, you could say) drops, while my desire to breastfeed my baby (pure Demeter) increases.  This is hormonal, not just situational.

Now, I'm definitely not saying that women are less spiritual!  Rather, that some of these principles from traditionally very male spiritual practices do not chime with me so much.  There is something in me that says we can find spirit right here within our everyday life, without having to let go of all attachments.  I cannot be unattached to my children, it's just not in me, even though I am not a particularly maternal woman, tending more to Artemis and Athena overall.

And while I might like the idea of not jumping to assumptions based on my perceptions, of being empty and open to possibility, I also recognise that this is, to an extent, a survival-based response.  Having to do everything as if for the first time is not effective or practical in real life.  Interestingly, one of the main aims of hypnotherapy is to deprogramme negative patterns that have been established and become stuckHyp.  So, for me, it is not about absolute emptiness, but perhaps about being able to pause before jumping into that set way of thinking, to have it available without being trapped by it.  It is about balance and awareness, rather than about emptiness.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

New Skills

Following on from yesterday's reading, I did some research which showed a collaboration or legally buying outside input might be a lot more costly than the projects warrant.  Therefore, I have been thinking about which aspects of these projects I could possibly do myself.  For one aspect, my DH actually said, "Couldn't you do that yourself?", which given with one project a couple of years ago he said "But you can't…" (and I did) I take as a good sign that I do have the capacity to do this.

Anyhow, I decided to see what light the cards might shed.  I drew a Lenormand line, shown here from the Esmeralda Lenormand (Sensoriall).

Child (new/childhood), Storks (progress), Key (solution)

At first glance, the cards seem pretty positive.  Applying the Houses technique I like gives:
1) Child (13) - 14 Fox (skills)
2) Storks (17) - 19 Tower (corporate)
3) Key (33) - 36 Cross (ethical burdens)

Doing this myself would take new skills, or reactivating ones from childhood, but would bring corporate progress as the solution to some ethical dilemmas.  The only real downside is that this will take some work to even get started on, delaying the projects.  Still, I don't have a real deadline here...


Saturday, 22 November 2014

November New Moon

It's been a while since I've followed the moons on this blog, and today I felt inspired to do a release-embrace draw again for this dark moon.  I like Les Vampires (Blue Angel, 2014) for this - then I keep the cards on my altar for the lunation.

Bit confused by this reading at first.  Release is "Call For Help" with the subtitle "Reach out, Need for back-up, Admit your needs".  So, I need to let go of needing others?  Need to stop talking to people?

Perhaps this is about not focusing on looking outward - now is a good time for a more internal focus.  That fits with the time of year, and also with the Embrace card: Natural: Authentic, Real, Organic.  I will find my real self, what feels authentic for me now, by looking inward rather than in communication with others.

It's interesting, because I've been thinking of ways of collaborating with others on a couple of projects.  However, I see this suggesting that I clarify my own part more, before approaching anyone else.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

What to focus on next week?

I haven't had much time for cards this week, between work, kids, and some stuff that came up on an association I volunteer for.  Today, though, I wanted to draw a few cards to look at the energies for next week.  In particular, I asked about getting some Christmas shopping done, and working on the project that is closest to my heart.


Drawing from the Esmeralda Lenormand, for Christmas shopping I got Mountain, Storks and Ship.  This suggests that obstacles can be overcome by tapping into memories from the past.  That sounds like a good suggestion.  I've been worrying about gifts for my more distant family.  I normally send them chocolates, but worried about doing that, given I'm not currently eating chocolate.  Still, it's become a tradition, and it also harks back to my grandparents, who always gave everyone chocolate.  For other friends, too, perhaps some gifts that remind us of when our friendships began...


As for my favourite project, the cards could hardly be nicer: Rider, Bouquet, Heart.  Creative messages come from the heart!  If I take the time to listen to my emotions, I will find the creative inspiration I need.

Monday, 10 November 2014

The Sword In The Stone

Chrysalis Tarot (US Games, 2014)
There's an important meeting at work this week, so I decided to draw a few cards for it.  This is a Situation/Don't/Do spread, using the Chrysalis Tarot (US Games, 2014).

It's interesting that both the Fool/Hero (Merlin) and the Five of Scrolls seem to reference King Arthur.  That's a myth I have always been interested in, as it was my father's given name.

Anyhow, Situation, Merlin.  There is something new afoot here, and I would do well to stay open to possibility, without forgetting lessons learned from the past.  A delicate balancing act, that…

Don't is the Six of Scrolls: don't give up or try to move on too quickly, otherwise it's something I'll remember with regret.

Do: the Five of Scrolls.  Do stand up for what I believe in, do be willing to take up the sword: to state my ideas and position.  And perhaps a reminder here, too, that after Arthur drew the sword from the stone, he established the Round Table.  It's not just about my ideas, but about making sure that everyone feels included and heard.  And then, once they've been heard, to get those scrolls signed! :)

Friday, 7 November 2014

Finishing Up

My cards for today are from a lovely little Lenormand called the Esmeralda (self-published, but also available through amazon.com) by Karla Souza:

Coffin, Snake, Sun
At a base level, I see this saying there is a winding ending that brings happiness.  Applying the Houses technique gives me:

1) Coffin (8) = 9 Bouquet
2) Snake (7) = 9 Bouquet
3) Sun (31) = 34 Fish

Rather interesting that we get both the Coffin and the Snake in the House of the Bouquet using this technique!

A beautiful ending is circuitous but creative, and leads to feeling the flow of happiness, and perhaps the joy of a little money.  What I see here is a creative project that I've been collaborating on.  It started over a year and a half ago, and has been all but inactive for about a year.  Out of the blue this week, I was contacted about it again.  These cards encourage me to try to get it finished today, getting into the flow of the process.  It's been a long, winding road to get to the closure of this project, but I'm happy it has finally come :)

Monday, 3 November 2014

The Emerald Fountain

Twice in the last week, since I did my releasing fears meditation, this card has come up.  It is Drink From The Emerald Fountain from the Kuan Yin Oracle (Blue Angel, 2012).  The description is just perfect: the fountain is Kuan Yin's heart chakra, which overflows with love!  The card recommends taking support and sustenance from the abundant well of the Goddess, in times of need.

And these have been tricky times.  My mother's operation went well at the outset, but already some of her symptoms are recurring, a bad sign.  On top of that, my elder son has been having some recurring symptoms after his operation in August that we were not expecting.  So, lots of medical concerns, and I have been so grateful to have this spiritual practice to act as a support, helping me stay calm and feel connected.

My mother is looking into alternate ways to deal with some of her symptoms, and as for my son, I just spoke with a registrar who said these symptoms aren't as bad a sign as we had feared.  Still, there may be more hospital visits in the works :(

I am grateful for the nurturing presence of the Goddess in my life.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Samhain Reading

Release: Transgression, Embrace: Thirst
Today is Samhain, or Halloween.  People often say this is the time when the veils between this world and the next are at their thinnest.  I'm not sure I believe in different 'worlds' as such.  Still, this time of year with its colder days and longer nights does seem appropriate for reflection on the past, and on our ancestors.  This time is also considered by many to be the pagan New Year.

While I'm not sure I see it quite that way, it feels like a good time to think about what I should release in my life, and what to embrace.  And I also decided to ask for a message from the ancestors.  For all three, I drew cards from Les Vampires (Blue Angel, 2014), an appropriately dark deck ;)

At first glance, these cards to release, Transgression, and embrace, Thirst, seem confusingly similar: transgression and obsession.  Looking deeper, though, I see the message to let go of mistakes I may have made, perceived flaws, and the feeling that I have done things wrong.  There is no help in worrying over what is done, as I cannot go back to do it differently.

Instead, I should embrace my addictions and obsessions.  That might seem like the road to further mistakes and regrets, but I think this means embracing with loving acceptance, rather than just giving into them.

 This time of year can be full of challenges, with the overt materialism of Christmas shopping and the encouragement of overindulgence in food and drink which starts long before Christmas itself.  Relapse is seen as a natural part of giving up bad habits.  It is hard to be 'perfect' and far better to have a plan in place that allows for the occasional slip.  So, while I have steered clear of chocolate, biscuits and cake for seven weeks now, I would do well to embrace the idea that the temptation of all those Christmas-themed goodies may lure me in.  If I accept and plan for that, I'm less likely to think 'I've blown it now, so I may as well give up!', which is what happened to me at Christmas a few years ago after I'd given up on sweet things for eleven months!

And perhaps Christmas shopping is not so bad a way to express my materialism: at least it is focused on others, on thinking about what might bring them some joy :)

I love the message from the ancestors: Hope.  Though this may be a time of darkness and challenges, it is also a time to focus on the future, to light a candle to illuminate the dark.  A time to believe that we don't have to repeat the same mistakes over and over if we can accept and forgive them, and plan a different way to respond to them...

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Learning From My Fears

The Yin Empress from the Kuan Yin Oracle cards (Blue Angel, 2012) has come up for me three times in the last seven days.  The book talks about healing, and about living according to feminine principles rather than getting caught up in having to do things the "traditional" Western way.

At first, I associated this to working in a more heart-centred way, as Little Red talked about in one of her recent posts.  Then, yesterday, I associated it with my mother, undergoing her operation and needing some of that healing, and perhaps a feminine approach to recuperation - I sent her lots of pics of the baby, a reminder of some of the things she has to live for :D

Today, I was doing another of the hypnosis meditations in my favourite weight-loss package, and the exercise was about releasing fears, starting with your very first memory of fear.  What came up for me were two different memories, both very early.  In one, my mum went away on holiday, and I dreamed every night that she'd been eaten by a tiger or died of a swamp disease (okay, didn't really get that she had only gone to France, lol!)  In the other, I went to visit some of my German relatives on my own, and was afraid of the shadows in the bedroom at my aunt's house overnight.  I realised that both of these memories involved my mother not being there, perhaps unsurprising given she's currently in hospital.  Although I know it's a fairly routine procedure, the fear of losing her is still there.

However, after the exercise to render the fears powerless, the last part of that meditation included going to a safe place and meeting an aspect of Spirit, learning from them, and absorbing their loving energy.  And there I met the Yin Empress.  She reminded me that Spirit is always with me, a loving, feminine presence, even if my mother is not there in the moment.  It felt powerful and reassuring.  So, not just a superficial stop-eating-so-much-junk message from this package, it has some real emotional depth!

I am grateful for my mother: her beautiful, loving presence; her wisdom; her sense of humour; her belief in intuition and divination; her work as a healer; her willingness to question and explore; her kindness.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

What Are My Blessings?

Yesterday, my thoughts turned a little dark.  This question from Carla at Rowan Tarot felt beautiful, and so I decided to draw for it, focusing on the present moment.  I used the Chrysalis Tarot (US Games, 2014), and received the Five of Mirrors (Cups), the Phoenix (Judgement) and the Four of Scrolls (Swords).

Chrysalis Tarot
My first thought with the Five of Mirrors was that, instead of focusing on sorrow, it suggests a way to deal with this: looking for the spiritual growth potential in the mud of existence.  And certainly I consider having found meditation, and practising it daily, to be a great blessing in my life.  Interestingly, the LWB associates this card to Kuan Yin, from whose Oracle I have been drawing cards for the last two weeks or so.  Focusing daily on compassion has also been a blessing.

As for the Phoenix, I do feel I've been rising from the ashes recently.  For a while, I felt very unsure of my direction in life.  I have a friend who always liked to ask "What are your plans for the next year/five years/ten years?"  And if you'd asked me five years ago, I had a clear idea of my path, and it was nothing like where I am now!  It didn't include having another baby, and it had me working as a psychotherapist and preparing to teach that subject.  Instead, I seem set on a far less "standard" path, teaching and writing about strange esoteric subjects.  I see the connections between this path and the one I thought I'd be on, but not everyone else will.  Yet, I feel excited and happy about where the flow is taking me at this time, and that is definitely a blessing.

Finally, the Four of Scrolls.  The blessing of getting enough sleep is not something I feel I have right now, I must say!  Still, what I also see here is hypnotherapy - you look as though you're sleeping, when in fact you are working on the script that is guiding you through your trance state.  And that is definitely something I feel very blessed by.  Not only has hypnotherapy helped me give up chocolate, cake and biscuits (over six weeks now), but it is part of what I see as being my path forward.  A double blessing!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Prayer For My Mother

On Monday, my mother goes into hospital again.  It felt like a good time to focus on her and sending healing love her way.  For this prayer, I chose cards from the Pagan Lenormand (Lo Scarabeo, 2014).  They are especially big, good for seeing clearly even at a distance.  And I liked the fact that the Tree card shows people working healing magic and the Bear shows a Bear in spirit.  I won't be with my mother in person, but she will be in my thoughts!

I chose Rider (sending a message, quick), Tree (health), Bear (mother, strength) and Heart (heart, love), and read them two ways:

I pray for the health of my mother's heart.
I pray for her quick recovery, sending her strength and love.

Drawing from the Kuan Yin Oracle (Blue Angel, 2012), I received Spin The Silken Thread Divine.  This card talks of the need to let go of old emotional baggage and to honour your best skills and abilities moving forward.  This is likened to the process of separating out the pure strands of silk from the silk worm's rough cocoon.  Good advice with someone going into hospital, I think: let go of past fears and troubles, focus on the joy and beauty of coming out the other side.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Mountain Stalker and Fierce Flute

This morning, I drew some more Lenormand cards, shown here from the Mystical Lenormand (Königsfurt-Urania, 2004).

Moon, Mountain, Key
It's interesting that the Mountain, with its feeling of delays and obstacles, has come up in the last three readings.  Clearly, it's not just tarot cards that can stalk us!

My first interpretation of this is that blocked emotions can bring insight: noticing those blocks is always a good first step to overcoming them. 

Going deeper, I applied the Houses technique:
1) Moon (32) = 33 Key
2) Mountain (21) = 23 Mice
3) Key (33) = 36 Cross

Insight into emotions (Moon/Key) reduces the blocks (Mountain is eaten away by the Mice) allowing spiritual solutions to present themselves (Key/Cross).  Interesting how this suggests working on emotional blocks can lead to far deeper insights...

Another thing this reading got me thinking about is concerns around my reputation.  The main reason I drew cards at all was because I got a reminder from one of the German Lenormand forums I'm on saying I hadn't visited in a while.  So, I thought I'd post a practice reading there, and try to stay open to other people's interpretations, not worrying about being seen as an oddball with my psychological approach to the cards.  Here, the insight into reputation is to reduce the weight I put on other people's ideas: they are their problem, not mine.  Of course, I know that, but living it is so often different…

And today's Kuan Yin Oracle card (Blue Angel, 2012) supports that.  Sound the Fierce Flute talks about listening to the clarion call of our discernment, rather than to judgement (our own or other people's).  So, time to trust my intuition and understanding, and dig into my emotional blocks around feeling judged, perhaps :)

Monday, 20 October 2014

Bamboo Moon

Kuan Yin Oracle
I've been drawing a card every day from the Kuan Yin Oracle (Blue Angel, 2012), but have had little time to post.  Today's card is one that has come up twice this week, and talks of everything happening according to divine timing.  Whether we perceive it as such is a very different question, though!

I feel everything is going far slower than I'd like, though the book also says things could seem to happen before we feel ready.  And I guess there's an element of that, too.  While my work projects are taking more time than I'd prefer, my baby is developing fast.  He's just starting to crawl, and so I have to re-think what is 'safe' for him.  It's exciting, but also challenging...

I thought I'd draw some Lenormand cards, too.  My first impression from this line of three from the Mystical Lenormand (Königsfurt-Urania, 2004) was: writer's block on a project!

Mystical Lenormand
  However, that is far from true.  Not only did I write more for my project last week than I had for a while, I also re-thought and re-structured it.    More to the point, perhaps, it indicates the long road that this writing project is taking.  That re-structuring has led me to do some more research in a slightly different direction, which is interesting, but once again takes time.  Still, like last week's draw, it reminds me that the only way across the Mountain is with dedication, one step at a time… :)

Monday, 13 October 2014

Moon Chant and Kuan Yin

Last week, over the three nights of the full moon, when the baby got me up, I swayed and chanted in the living room, singing to him and to the moon.  Doing so, I used the Full Moon Chant I wrote a few years ago, and was inspired to add some more verses to it:

Goddess Oracle and Goddess Inspiration Cards
Feeling sorrow for the world,
With her rabbit she sits curled
This is how such tales begin
Chang-O, Tara and Kuan Yin

Banished to the lonely moon
A friendly rabbit is her boon
Compassion please help to grow
Tara, Kuan Yin and Chang-O

Sitting on a lotus bloom
Gentleness of heart makes room
For breath that comes from hara
Kuan Yin, Chang-O and Tara

Kuan Yin Oracle
I've been humming and haa-ing over the Kuan Yin Oracle cards (Blue Angel, 2012) for over a year, and with this push, decided to get them.  They arrived this morning, and my first pull was perfect: Empress of the Pearl.  The only problem with these cards is that I don't find enough in the picture and name alone to connect to their message intuitively.  Yet, I have the sense that I need to work with these cards at this time, and the message of this one was certainly spot on for me.  

Empress of the Pearl talks about how pearls are formed through the irritation of a grain of sand within the oyster's shell.  In the same way, our light and spiritual beauty can grow through how we respond to irritations, discomfort, negativity and fear.  I've been having a disagreement with someone online about card reading - my fuzzy Lenormand post was in part triggered by this.  This person, and he's not the only one, attacks me for not reading Lenormand cards "properly", for not seeing life as clear cut, black-and-white, with a single correct answer.  

On the one hand, I think these constant challenges are helping me to define myself as a reader.  I do not want to do predictive readings, I do not want to see the world as being black and white.  I do not want there to be an answer that does not involve the person being read for taking responsibility for their life and their actions.

On the other hand, I get really upset by these attacks.  Admittedly, this person is saying quite directly "Your ideas are ridiculous and you are wrong!"  Nevertheless, I'm trying to understand why I even care what this person, who I don't know, says.  

What this card suggests to me is that it doesn't matter why that grain of sand has entered my shell, nor why it irritates me.  What matters is what I do with that irritation.  I have tried to stay polite and diplomatic, saying "We'll have to agree to disagree, this is my philosophy, and if your way works for you, that's great, too."  Now, I think I need to back away from the discussion, and focus on growing my own spiritual understanding of what it means to be a reader.  And perhaps pray to Kuan Yin for help in accepting the irritations that life will always throw at us.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Tattva Reading

On Saturday, I was introduced to this interesting spread.  It is based on the tattvas, the Sanskrit take on the elements.  They define these as Akasha/Spirit, Tejas/Fire, Vayu/Air, Apas/Water, and Prithvi/Earth.  For this spread, you draw from the Majors for the spirit question, from Wands for the Fire question and so on.  I used the Mini Rider Waite (U.S. Games) to look at my work situation:


1) Akasha/Spirit - what lesson am I being offered?  The Wheel of Fortune
I need to learn to flow with change.  For this, it helps to find and hold to my own centre, to the core of what I believe in.

2) Tejas/Fire - what is growing?  Page of Wands
My ability to take a playful approach and to follow my passion is on the increase.  I want to explore, to learn, to try things out and be creative.

3) Vayu/Air - what is hanging in the air?  Six of Swords
To do this, I will have to move on from where I've been and what I've been doing.  Letting go of the past and of what has felt safe and known is not easy.  Still, it is a journey worth taking, part of the Wheel's lesson.

4) Apas/Water - what is receding?  Six of Cups
At first I saw this as saying my children's need of me is becoming less.  And that is partly true and will hopefully start allowing me to do more work outside the home next year.  However, I think it is also saying something deeper about letting go of the ideas and expectations around work that I was raised with.  Perhaps I don't have to just have a 'proper job'...

5) Prithvi/Earth - what is stable?  Queen of Pentacles
Once again, my first thought concerned my children, seeming to contradict the last card.  Then, I thought, if it isn't about nurturing my family, then perhaps it's about growing my own sense of independence, my own business.  And suddenly it reminded me of a spell I performed a couple of years ago, the basis of which I uploaded to YouTube.  I wanted to grow a soulful business, based on sharing, learning, abundance and creativity.  Already, I feel some of what I've created in the last couple of years grew from this spell, and this reading encourages me to continue on this path.

6) Akasha/Spirit - if I learn this lesson, what comes next?  The Hermit
The Hermit is predominantly about learning through self-study, of books and experientially.  Yet, there also comes a time when the Hermit raises his lamp to shine the light of his experience on that path, for others to explore it too.  Teaching, in one form or another, is a big part of where I want to go!

Overall, this reading reinforces the message that although the changes I'm contemplating may be a bit scary, fundamentally, this feels right for me.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Winding Road

This morning, I drew some cards asking about a project I've been working on intermittently for a couple of years now.  I have a networking opportunity coming up, and wondered if it would be a good time to put a little energy there.  The cards I drew are shown here with the Mystical Lenormand (Königsfurt-Urania, 2004):

Sun, Snake, Mountain
Success takes a circuitous path through obstacles and delays.  This is certainly true of things so far.  Yet, despite two not-so-great cards, overall I see this in a positive light.  While it may be a winding road up a steep mountain, I have already travelled a long way on this path.  So, this reading encourages me to not give up, to keep going :)  It also had a Sheryl Crow song popping into my head: Every Day Is A Winding Road.  Every day... I get a little bit closer to feeling fine!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Fuzzy Lenormand

There are those who say that Lenormand readings are very precise.  For myself, I believe that most things humans do are fuzzy.  More than that, it is in the fuzziness that creativity lies.  If there is only one possibility, there is no room for free will, for intuition, or for innovation.  

Anyhow, philosophy aside, this morning I drew a line of three from the Mystical Lenormand (Königsfurt-Urania, 2004):

Bear (Strength/Management/Mothering), Bouquet (Creative/Graceful), Scythe (Break/Make the Cut/Shock)
The first thing I saw here was creative management needs to take a break.  Not having a nine to five job, it's easy for work to leech into the weekend and there are a couple of things I was considering doing today.  However, taking a break sounds like a good idea, too...

Then, I thought about creative mothering making the cut.  A reminder that I can be a good enough mother even when I don't give my children 100% of my attention.  And the more creative I can be, the better I can mother them and have a bit of a break for myself :)

Finally, I saw the suggestion to do something that combines gracefulness and strength, with no shocks.  This is based on the direction of the Scythe, whose blade tip faces into the emptiness beyond the reading, so that the sharp shockingness of it does not touch the two previous cards.  No aerobics, then, with its shocks to the joints; and no lumbering around with heavy weights.  Rather, a mellow cardio-pilates workout with light weights :D

Some good suggestions there for an enjoyable Sunday.  Hope you all have a good one, too!

Monday, 29 September 2014

Hello Autumn! Spread

Really liked the look of this spread which Carla shared on her Rowan Tarot blog on Sunday.  So, decided to try again with the Nicoletta Ceccoli Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2014) as it's beautiful, but sometimes takes a bit of extra work to interpret.

1) What is coming to an end?  - Two of Pentacles.

My need to juggle ten million things?  Can't believe this will ever end, it is surely part of the job description of a mother! :D  Eegads, I hope it's not my ability to juggle these, as that is totally necessary!

I notice that all the things she's juggling, despite their different shapes and colours, are buttons.  Perhaps she could find another way of keeping them all suspended.  Stringing them together might make a lovely necklace, and give her something to connect her head to her body!  Perhaps the message for me here is that I might let go of the sense that I am juggling different things, and instead see how all of these things are part of something greater.
2) What stirs within? - Ace of Pentacles

A new beginning in the physical or material realm, something for me to gestate over the winter.  The birds make me think of getting a different perspective, an overview on material projects.

I have several things already on the go (see above), and am not sure I can manage another new project.  Still, maybe if it's an off-shoot of one of those, or better yet something that helps me tie them all together, as suggested by the overview...

3) What is coming next? - Judgement

Oh, this is another strange card!  The girl grows from a rose that is hidden inside a maze, behind a closed door, the key to which seems to be held by an Alice-esque white rabbit.  I rather like the suggestion of being freed by following my intuition, of letting that guide me into the next stage of my life.

So what is coming is a new calling, something that will free me to feel more whole.  Guided by my intuition, I can find the way to let myself shine, no longer hidden behind walls and distractions.  This seems to tie the other two cards together: a new start that ends that sense of being pulled in lots of directions, as I become less guarded and more whole :)

I've written in the past about coming out of the broom closet more, and everything I take up recently seems to be heading in that direction.  Maybe now there will be no denying it any more!

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Poisoned Apples

Last night, we tried a new medicine for my elder son, which a doctor had prescribed.  We were a bit nervous about it, and so I decided to draw some cards.  I pulled from the Nicoletta Ceccoli Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2014).  It works quite nicely for a draw regarding a child, as the images have a fairytale quality to them.

Situation - Four of Wands

My first thought here was: what big lollies for a tiny child. And there's certainly an element of that here, in that I worry this medication is too big, too strong, too dangerous to give my child.

Perhaps strangely, my second impression was: like a kid in a candy store. There is also an excitement and hopefulness in giving him this medicine.  For over a year now, we've had nothing we could give him besides regular, over-the-counter analgesics.  So, the chance that we now have something that might help when things are really bad feels exciting.

Avoid - Ten of Wands
Avoid... being crushed by giant vegetables?!?  Okay, how about avoid being overwhelmed by that feeling of bigness. The doctor did not prescribe this medicine lightly, and there is a chance it may really help.  While I wouldn't want to give it to him regularly, doing so now and again when things get bad may work out.

Embrace - Death
Yikes, never a card I like to see in relation to health questions.  And yet, isn't this a beautiful version?  I see Snow White laying in the snow, the poisoned apple by her side, and dwarves standing around her.

As the card to embrace, it makes me think of embracing the possibility of a profound change which could lead my son to sleep much better.  And while the apple was poisoned (and I see this medicine as dangerous) a little didn't kill her, just as many medicines, when dosed right, help rather than hurt.

Now, the morning after, although he was restless for a patch in the middle, he then slept later than he ever has done before when not ill.  And although he still looks tired, he's been sleeping badly for years.  I guess we'll just have to see how his pain is today, and how he sleeps tonight...

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Creative Autumn Equinox Draw

For this Autumn Equinox, I drew another card from Les Vampires (Blue Angel, 2014).  I think this is one of the most beautiful cards in the deck.  I love the green leaves in her hair, and the beautiful deer in her bottle!  The colour of her hair is gorgeous, too, that little bit of red that speaks of passion, the fire of inspiration, and the warm flow of lifeblood that we pour into our projects.  The keywords, too, speak to me: Catalyst, Maker, Mother, Father.

This card reminds me that my most important job right now is to be a mother to my two boys.  Although I sometimes find it frustrating, they need me. Plus I love them, and no-one else can do what I can do for them.

My altar, very simple
It also speaks to being a maker, a creator.  I believe we always co-create our reality - it becomes through our choices and how we interact with those around us.  More than that, though, we can influence reality by our mind set.  So, another reminder to work on my mindset, and I have set up another Lenormand spell to work on that.

Finally, the reminder that being creative fills a special spot in my heart.  So, over the next turn of the wheel, I shall make sure to find some time for my creative projects, too.  While my boys may come first, I can squeeze in a bit of inspiration in even the smallest gaps, if I have focus and will...

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Yoga On The Cards

Last night, I drew a Lennie line of three for today from the Mystical Lenormand (Königsfurt-Urania, 2014).  I struggled to interpret them (well, I'm really not a night owl, for one thing) - peaceful news of choices, meditation brings information and choices?

Rider, Lily, Paths
This morning, though, it was much clearer to me.  Yesterday, I did a weights workout dvd without much stretching on it.  I even added in my own stretch at the end, but I still feel stiff today.  At a basic level, then, peaceful movement is a good choice.  Adding in the houses layer:

1) Rider (1) gives 2 - Clover - exercise of short duration.
2) Lily (30) gives 32 - Moon - emotional peace.
3) Paths (22) gives 25 - Ring - commitment to a choice.

Emotionally peaceful exercise of short duration is the choice to commit to.  So, a short yoga practice is called for today :)

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Free Will

Last night, I took my Conscious Spirit Oracle (U.S. Games, 2013) and popped the Integration card back in it.  Then, I riffle shuffled a few times, hand-over-hand shuffled a few times, fanned the cards, and picked one.  Yep, you guessed it: Integration again!

Clearly, either this is a message I still need, or I haven't understood it properly yet.  Perhaps, what it's speaking to is this second card, from Les Vampires (Blue Angel, 2014).  In order to be fully integrated, fully myself, perhaps I need a somewhat stronger sense of independence.  It's true I can be quite easily influenced by others, in some ways.  I don't feel I'm very good at interviewing people, for instance.  I tend to always see their good points, and understand their weaknesses.  Which is good as a counsellor, not so good if I'm supposed to make HR decisions.  Feeling someone must be good enough, if they've been picked and sent to me, is not exercising my own discernment.

So, I'll take any opportunities offered this weekend to stand up for myself, my beliefs, and what I feel is right...

Friday, 19 September 2014

Knowledge

For today, I decided to go back to Les Vampires (Blue Angel, 2014).  I've seen that Jasmine Beckett-Griffith has a new, mermaid oracle coming out soon, and I will certainly be getting that, too.  Despite the somewhat dead eyes of these Vampires, I do love her artwork!

And the card today is Knowledge: Study, Learning, Education.  I read this as encouragement to do a bit of flicking through reference books this morning, then took part in a study group I signed up for, but hadn't yet written anything in :)

After that, as part of my ongoing study of Lenormand, I decided to draw three cards from the Mystical Lenormand (Königsfurt-Urania, 2004):


What I see here is the suggestion to stop trying to be purely scientific and clear, and instead allow more of that knowing from the heart :)  It's not all about calculating houses and digging into comparative meanings, it's also about using the cards intuitively, building a knowledge base from everyday experience.  'Nuff said!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Integration

Today's card is from the Conscious Spirit Oracle (U.S. Games, 2013).  It is titled Integration, and says "I combine body, mind and soul to lift all of humanity into a new dimension."   My first thought was that I can barely drag myself around today (very disturbed night between baby and DH coming home late), never mind lifting all of humanity into a new dimension! 

Yet, it's true I'd asked for a focus for the day.  And they say if we improve ourselves, that spreads out in ripples.  So, today I shall work on feeling more integrated, more connected with spirit and my self. Which I really hope includes having a nap at some point!

Anyhow, I also decided to draw a little Lennie line, with the Mystical Lenormand (Königsfurt-Urania, 2004):


1) Tower (19) equals 20 - Garden - social isolation/public institution.
2) Man (28) equals 30 - Lily - harmonious rationality/peaceful man.
3) Scythe (10) equals 13 - Child - new way to cut/shock about a child.

I've been seeing lots of "traditional" style Lenormand readings on the German forums, and following that this would say that a peaceful man connected to a public institution will give me a shock about my child today.  Which is quite possible as I'm expecting a call from our doctor, and while I hope he'll say we've got a referral to a clinic for my eldest later today, he could well say something quite different.

From a more empowering perspective I read this as my needing to look rationally yet peacefully at the social isolation I've been feeling around some issues with my younger son, so as to find a new way to cut through it.  Getting het up about it, or making a leap without doing any research will not serve me well.  It's nothing very serious, but at the moment the only way he sleeps is with me.  Which rather crimps my being able to leave the house or do anything much.  He's six months old now, and I want to foster some independence in him.  However, having had such an unusual experience with my first child, I'm a bit at a loss as to what to do with a "normal" child.  Ok, some research and perhaps finding someone appropriate to ask...

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Lennie Advice on a Doctor's Appointment

Today, my son has a follow-up appointment after his operation.  So, I decided to draw just three cards from the Mystical Lenormand (Königsfurt-Urania, 2004).  Once again, I applied the Houses system for small spreads that I talked about earlier in the week, adding the card number to the position number to give a House number.


1) Mountain (21) equals 22 - Garden - blocked choices, possible delays.
2) Woman (29) equals 31 - Sun - energetic/motivated/illuminating woman.
3) Book (26) equals 29 - caring approach to a project, intuitive approach to secrets.

To me, this suggests there may be delays at the hospital (always very possible), and so, as I am energetic, I may need to turn my energy to something else to stop myself getting annoyed.  I checked out where I am in one of my projects, carefully looking through to see what I can best do on my phone, as opposed to on the computer with everything available.  I also wonder if I can ferret out information from one of the doctors, to shine some light on what choices we have moving forward...

Monday, 15 September 2014

Mummy

This is a pretty creepy card, isn't it?  Still, I guess that's the point of a Halloween Oracle (Blue Angel, 2014)!

The Mummy stares out at us from under those bandages with spookily alive eyes.  The keyword is Change, and the image makes me think of someone who has had plastic surgery and is waiting for the bandages to come off.  In many ways, that's probably pretty similar to the idea of mummification: a time of preparation and waiting before being reborn into the afterlife/a better life.

This is a good reminder for me.  Yesterday, I again listened to a hypnotherapy induction, and didn't eat any chocolate or biscuits.  However, two days of good habits don't defeat a year of poor eating choices.  So, like the Mummy, I must wait patiently, knowing things are changing on the inside, even if nothing is visible yet. 

This is a tough one for a lot of folks, I know.  You start doing all the right things, but there is no progress right away, so it can be tempting to feel like it's not working, or that it is too long and arduous a path.  This card is a bit like the Hanged Man, and reminds me that big changes can take time.  Yeah, cos patience is my strongest suit, not!  Ah well, one day at a time...

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Black Cat

This was the card I drew last night, and as Bev asked about this deck, I thought I'd post it.  From the Halloween Oracle (Blue Angel, 2014), it is the Black Cat.  The guide book is quite nice, with scans and a page or a bit more of text for each card.

For this card, the book explains that black cats have been seen as both harbingers of good and bad luck over time and space: they used to be given to brides in old times in Britain, a fact I never knew!  And in the Inquisition times they were nearly exterminated, for their presumed role as witch's familiars.  Stacey de Marco suggests this might have been one reason that bubonic plague, carried by rats, ran so rampant after that: what a thought!

Anyhow, this oracle associated the Black Cat with fortune and opportunity, advising us to seize opportunities that come.  I would also see it as reminding us to give thanks for the good fortune in our lives, and perhaps beware of unforeseen consequences.

As for me, yesterday I followed the advice of the Lenormand cards, and ended up listening to three different "eat healthy/weight loss/craving buster" hypnotherapy inductions (I listen to them while trying to get the baby to sleep, and he was a tough nut yesterday, very jumpy).  After that, for the first time in over a year, I didn't eat any chocolate or biscuits at all!  Yay!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Houses In Small Spreads?

Last night, I was looking around on a German Lenormand forum and found an interesting suggestion for a different approach to reading houses in smaller spreads.  I've never liked the idea that if you just draw three cards then they must always be in the houses of the Rider, Clover and Ship. It means you would never get variety in your combinations.  Donnaleigh's suggestion of using two decks works well, but takes more time and effort.

With this technique, you add the spread's position number to the number of the card you drew, to come up with the house number.  I decided to give it a try, asking the Mystical Lenormand (Königsfurt-Urania, 2004) for advice for this weekend:

Mice, Fox, Cross, Coffin, Ring
At first glance, this reading doesn't offer anything very positive.  Four of the cards would generally be considered negative, and the last is seen as neutral.  However, the question and focus are determining - I asked for advice for the weekend.

This can be read as saying that skilful undermining of self-deceptive burdens brings an end to sorrow if I commit to that end.   This fits with the hypnotherapy work I've been doing to improve my eating patterns.

Adding the extra layer suggested in the Lenormand forum would go like this:

1) Mice (23) = 24 (Heart) - so Mice in the house of Heart - emotional undermining.
2) Fox (14) = 16 (Stars) - Fox in the house of Stars - technological skilfulness, guidance regarding self-deception.
3) Cross (36) = 3 (Ship) - Cross in the house of Ship - burdens connected to nostalgia or our life's journey.
4) Coffin (8) = 12 (Birds) - Coffin in the house of Birds - anxiety around an ending, talking that creates an ending.
5) Ring (25) = 30 (Lily) - Ring in the house of Lily - commitment to peace, harmonious commitment.

So, skilfully using technology to undermine emotions that are part of self-deception on how to move through burdens that have long been part of my life's path can bring an end to the anxiety around those burdens, if I find a place of peace from which to commit to that ending.  This added layer fits remarkably well with the first - I am using technology (hypnotherapy apps) and this is an emotional issue that undermines me, and that has been with me most of my life.  In hypnotherapy, one central idea is that it is from a meditative place of relaxation or peace that we can make these big changes, by listening to someone's voice.  Colour me impressed!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

A New Dawn

Reconciliation, Faith, Dawn
All this week, I've been taking time to draw a card in the morning and one at night.  The morning card comes from the Magical Times Empowerment Cards (U.S. Games, 2014), while the evening card comes from the Halloween Oracle (Blue Angel, 2014).  I've found them helpful every day, though I didn't have time to post them.

Today, though, I wanted to make the time.  I've been listening to a couple of hypnotherapy apps on my phone, and last night, just before I drew "Dawn" from the Halloween Oracle, something finally seemed to click.  For the first time in over a year, I knitted while watching TV, rather than eating chocolate and biscuits!

So, I am re-finding my faith in my ability to make healthy choices, as well as in the divine.  And clarifying my future path, too, as I look into training as a hypnotherapist.  That'll be down the line a while, as the kids come first.  Still, it's nice to have a sense of direction.

As for the "Reconciliation" card, I see in it both a message regarding a work situation, and also something about forgiving myself for my unhealthy choices over the last few months.  In that, it's like the Gaian Tarot Strength card, a reminder to show myself loving acceptance and forgiveness.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Faith

Today, I wanted to draw some cards.  Part of it was reading a conversation between Ellen and Carla about drawing daily affirmation cards, and realising how long it's been since I did that.  It made me realise that sometimes I only draw cards when I think they'll "help" one or other of the projects I'm currently working on, and I don't want my draws to become "work".  Though one reason for that is also because I feel like I have so little time for these things, that I'd better make the most of it when I do have it…

Anyhow, I decided to draw from Les Vampires (Blue Angel, 2014).  When I pulled down the box it was in, though, I saw three packs of Gypsy Fortune Telling Cards, which I have hardly used.  So, I pulled out the Lo Scarabeo Gypsy Oracle Cards, shuffled and drew three cards: Faithfulness, Hope, Scholar.

Straight away, I saw the project I wrote about yesterday:  I need to stay faithful to it, despite the setbacks and delays.  Partly, because I have faith in what it represents, and partly because I hope that it will help with some of my longer term, big-picture goals.  It's funny, too, because I've had the Lenormand Dog come up several times in readings around these longer term goals, and here is the dog again in Faithfulness :)

Still wanting to draw from Les Vampires, I gave them a shuffle, and was delighted anew by the synchronicity when I pulled: Faith.  This reminds me that my faith is not just about being loyal to this project, but also about trusting that this is the right thing for me, and having confidence that it will be a worthwhile thing to pour my energy into.

So, while I also intend to follow Ellen's suggestion and create a Lenormand spell to get me back on track, for today I have just put Faith at the centre of my altar!

And although this wasn't intended as a work-focused reading, it ended up being about work, and yet was playful enough to re-inspire me: today I wrote something for my book for the first time in about three weeks :)

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Lennie Work Readings

I made some time last night to do a couple of readings on my work situation, shown here with the Burning Serpent Oracle (Pollack & Place, 2014).  For the first, I asked what would help me moving forward with my book:


Whips (repetition), Tree (duration, body-mind-spirit), Man (logic, active):  Firstly, I see this saying that I have to accept that repeated delays are only logical at the moment.  If I don't stress about that, I am more likely to be able to be productive when I do get the chance to work on this.  I like the way the different seasons shown on the Flaming Tree highlight the "duration" reading of the tree :)  Secondly, it suggests actively doing something repetitive to link body, mind and spirit - so, another ritual or daily meditation seems to be in order for this…

The second pull was asking about how to approach someone who said they might have a workshop opportunity for me next Spring:


Garden (public), Child (open, new), Heart (emotion, care):  This suggests being open about my feelings about this opportunity.  I really want to do this, it's something I care about, so I should publicly and openly say so.  It also intimates that this could open up a new audience for me, who share my love of this subject :)

Finally, I asked about running my own workshops next year:


Clover (synchronicity, luck, small), Garden, Sun (success):  Looks like it's a propitious time to try these.  It also suggests that even small audiences should be considered a success.  I've always felt that way, in any case.  Touching just one person is worthwhile, and looking to the bigger picture, word of mouth spreads little by little…

I like how the Garden came up in both readings about workshops, as these are public events.  A reminder of the joys of getting out amongst others, given how much time I spend at home with the kids at the moment!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Gratitude Journal

Following on from my post about gratitude, we had a few tough days.  My elder son ended up in A&E (Accidents and Emergencies at the hospital) in the middle of the night, unable to breathe.  After three nights of this happening, we know the antihistamines work to control it, and we figured out it might be a "new" detergent (it was a variation on the one we always buy, but might be enough of a difference).  Still, it was an added stress to him having just had major surgery.  There are a couple of other complications to the surgery that are also troubling us, but not being able to breathe is always a big problem!

Anyhow, I wasn't feeling very grateful yesterday, but then read Ellen's post on it.  A reminder that there are always reasons to feel grateful, and that this practice is perhaps most important precisely when it feels hardest.  So, following her advice, I have started a Gratitude Journal, so I can make quick notes every day :)

I am grateful for friends who remind me that there is always joy in this life!