Monday, 20 January 2014

Meditations

A few days ago, I did the "release your fears" guided meditation again.  This time round, when I gave my fears up to the divine, it was Brigid I saw.  And she forged a staff for me, to lean on and use to defend myself.  So, a shield from Kali and a staff from Brigid.  I wonder if they will both accompany me for a while…

Another hypnobirthing meditation I tried is a Chakra Balancing For Expectant Mothers.  There was one thing in the meditation I didn't like: they said that both the root chakra (muladhara) and sacral chakra (svaddhistana) rotate clockwise.  However, in hindu philosophy the chakras rotate in alternate directions, so two chakras next to each other should rotate in opposite directions.  Given they didn't state a direction for the other chakras, it seemed a bit pointless to give directions for these two, especially ones that I have heard no justification for.  Although I know it's a very small point, it was enough to jar me a little, so I took longer to drop back into a deeper relaxation.

The other thing that was striking for me with that meditation was that when we came to the third chakra, the Manipura at the solar plexus, I cried.  They described it as being the chakra of personal power, and looking elsewhere it is also connected to fear.  Given how out of my control many things have felt and been recently, and that I'm very conscious of the fears I am trying to face, it should be no surprise that this chakra felt so unbalanced.

It was also interesting to note that the painting I did for my word of the year is predominantly orange, colour of the svaddhistana chakra, associated with the sexual system.  It also has a bit of yellow (that tricky solar plexus) and rather more green, associated with the heart chakra.  Definitely all lower chakra colours, and fairly appropriate to pregnancy and having another child to love :)

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Uplifting Reading

Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to get a Skype reading from James Ricklef - a Christmas present from a dear friend.  I almost missed the reading: I hadn't had time/remembered to go on Facebook to check the appointment, as we'd had no help with my son for over 48 hours straight - the first time in years that's happened!

Anyway, fortunately I had already thought of a question before contacting James, so I wasn't suddenly there on-line with him thinking "Crap, now what do I ask?"

My question was about why the Tower has been stalking me for nearly seven years now.  I understand why it first came up, but felt like a failure that it's still doing so, like I haven't learned what I needed to learn.

So, talking it over with James, he started to draw some cards.  The first was:

What do I need to know about the Tower appearing:  Knight of Wands.

When he first described the meaning of the card, I just wasn't connecting with it.  The Tower, for me, is largely about my son, and about what my expectations of motherhood had been, as well as the constant shake-ups to the routines we try to establish for him.  Talk of charging into things didn't sound right.

Then, James lifted the card to the camera, and I saw it straight away: this Knight is charging forward, but still looking back!  I am still so lost in what happened six years ago that I can't see where I'm headed now, or even where I am.  I still have some letting go and accepting to do around this whole topic, so that I can put my energy to more productive and forward-looking use.

What can I do to move forward:  Eight of Cups.

Hmm, I think this counts as the tarot's sense of irony!  Just let go of all those old emotions already :)  Seriously, though, James talked about seeking the higher spiritual view of this situation, of what is to be learned from it.  That brought me to the fact that I feel a failure for not "getting" the lesson.  However, he said that I'm clearly walking the path, even if I've not yet reached the top of the mountain :)

Interestingly, James also suggested that there might be some past-life issues being worked out here.  It's something I feel unsure about, not certain what I believe in that sense.  I certainly don't see why a human soul should keep being reincarnated as a human, as though we have some privileged vantage on life.  There's also the bit of me that doesn't get why any soul would agree to be born into a life where they suffer pain daily, where they barely struggle to survive, and wouldn't without modern technology.

Still, the suggestion that spiritual seeking will help me move forward does sound right to me.  After all, that's what meditating, chanting, and seeking to understand life through tarot readings is about :)

What is this moving towards:  The Star.

Well, at least that's a wonderfully positive card to be moving towards!  And, obviously, it is the direct follow-on in the Majors series from the Tower.  So, hopefully, I really am moving on from the Tower, finally.
 
It's nice, too, that this echoes the card for me to embrace this lunation.  It's time for me to hope again, and to trust in the universe, and perhaps to seek guidance and support in that…

Altogether, this was a really uplifting, interesting and beautiful reading, and I would highly recommend James as a compassionate and inspiring tarotist.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Return To The Goddess

My yoga and meditation practice has continued daily, I just haven't had much time to write anything up recently.  I've mainly focused on hypnobirthing meditations, and continued to chant to Kali as I practised yoga.  

This morning, though, I sat at my altar to call sacred space, just intending to practise a few asanas.  Suddenly, I was inspired to return to my general goddess chant.  However, I changed which goddesses I called upon: Oya, Brigid, Cerridwen, Hekate, Kali, Isis, Tara, Hathor and Heqet.  The last two are the only new additions/replacements since I last chanted to the Goddess in this way: Heqet for help in childbirth, and Hathor because she is also a mother figure, with the milk from her breasts so abundant that it created the Milky-Way :)

This was probably inspired by a meditation I did a couple of days ago.  It was a guided hypnobirthing meditation from Well Rounded Mama, which talks about giving over your fears to what you consider divine, and having them returned to you transformed into gifts.  I've followed this meditation a few times now, but this go round I pictured Kali taking my fears and transforming them into a pentacle-etched shield, imbued with the energy of the Goddess.  It feels like there is so much going on right now, that having the support of different aspects of the Goddess just felt right...

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Altar to Heket

After Ellen's comment on my last post, I looked into the Egyptian Goddes Heket a little.  The connection between frogs and fertility, given the hundreds of eggs they lay, isn't really surprising.  It is also said that her priestesses were trained midwives, which is pretty cool.  I love the idea of childbirth being seen as a sacred moment, to be helped by spiritual and trained women who are honoured for their role.

The idea of a frog-headed goddess of childbirth fits well with the Egyptian approach to deity, though I'll admit it's quite tricky to paint a beautiful frog goddess :D  I'm thinking of taking on the challenge, as part of my art-therapy.  Anyhow, I found one image I like a lot, from Sarah Cuypers and printed out and laminated it to put on my altar.  Seemed like a good time to do an altar overhaul, changing the colours, stones and so forth.

I now have my Heket image between two Kali images.  I decided to keep Kali on there, as she is very good for releasing fears, which is something included in every hypnobirthing book and meditation I've found!  My goddess figurine is turned to show the labyrinth in her belly, which also feels appropriate.

In terms of stones, I chose green, like a frog's skin, but also the colour of new life.  I have a gorgeous green egg, and three, varied green stones, one mixed with red - a bloodstone, appropriately enough.  My altar cloth is a scarf I was given last Christmas: I like the watery blue for the environment of a frog, and a baby in the womb; the pink for the lifeblood that flows to the baby; the green that echoes Heket's colouring; the purple for spiritual support...

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Releasing Fear

Quite pleased with how I've been doing, having followed guided hypnobirthing meditations the last 4 days in a row.  I hope this will help with my birthing experience.  Last go around, I wasn't meditating much, and didn't practice these birthing specific meditations at all.  This time, I've already been meditating far more regularly, so I hope that by adding in the particular practices, especially the fear release ones, it will help a lot *fingers crossed*

On Saturday, I listened to a nice fear release meditation on Youtube, on Sunday I listened to one from a CD I bought last go round, and yesterday I listened to the relaxation track from the same CD.  Today, I went back to the fear release one, as I think that's where I need most help.

For today, I decided to draw a card from a deck I just received (a late Christmas present to myself): Jody Bergsma's Magical Times Empowerment Cards (U.S. Games, 2013).  Looking at the title, the card didn't make much sense.  However, both the image and the caption really spoke to me.  The caption says: Focus on the positive and more good will come.  Give thanks for blessings and they will multiply.  Prosperity begins in the mind.

Both the bit about focusing on the positive and prosperity beginning in the mind certainly echo the ideas of hypnobirthing: of hypnotically anchoring positive, happy, relaxed states of mind so that you can attain them more easily during trying situations.

As for the image, I remember Rachel Pollack writing about frogs being related to fertility because of the hundreds of eggs that they lay, so that works, too :D

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Feel The Fear

As I've been thinking about my fears around giving birth, and how to allow myself to feel them and deal with them, I decided to draw some cards on the subject.  I was tempted into the Mah Jonng Oracle (Thunder Bay Press, 2012) by Magic Mentha, so I did my first draw on this subject.  According to the companion book, normally a reading is done with 13 cards from the full 144 cards (4 sets of 34 identical cards, with an additional 8 guardians).  However, that sounded like rather a lot to start with.  So, I used the basic design of the traditional reading - East, South, West, North and Centre - with just one card in each position, taken from the base 42 cards.

Centre - The Question - Insect:  Keywords here are industry and skill.  This is the industry of the ant, or of the silkworm.  It speaks of  continued effort over time, and of community.  So, at the heart of the question is the idea that overcoming my fears will take some work, and some support.

East - The Querent - Earth:  I need to be grounded and practical, stable.  Whatever helps with that will help me deal with this fear.

South - The Near Future - Phoenix:  This is a card of joy, especially when found in the South.  There can be joy in this experience, if I face my fears with determination.  I see it also as rising from the ashes of my previous birthing experience.  I can allow that to strengthen me, rather than weaken me.  Use the knowledge gained from that to have a very different experience this time around.

West - The Objective - Scholar:  This is one of the Guardian cards, and represents learning and wisdom.  So, I need to learn from the past, but also research and study now, based on what is happening with this pregnancy.  Yesterday, I wrote up a birth plan, then saw my obstetrician.  That visit made me rethink what I'd just written.  My plan had included something fear-based.  And this pregnancy seems to be going very well.  It might be worth putting in the fear-thought as a contingency, but not letting it rule this birth experience, especially as I now have more information about different forms of "best practice", which I wasn't aware of before.

This card also reminds me that I bought some hypnobirthing CD's last time around, and haven't yet listened to them this time.  Also, I booked some antenatal classes yesterday.  All these are good, practical things to do, to make me as well-prepared as I can be for the 'test' of this birth.

North - The Outcome - Duck:  The keywords for this card are fidelity and partnership :)  This is a reminder, firstly, that I should include my DH in these preparations as much as possible.  Going through this experience together can help unite us all the more, if we let it.  Secondly, it reminds me that this is about the start of a relationship with this new child.  Keeping that in mind will help motivate me to do the work that needs to be done - that's what you do for someone you love!

Altogether, I found this reading helpful, and the cards are quite lovely.  It'll definitely take some learning, but I like this deck...

Friday, 3 January 2014

Word For The Year

One thing I thought about with yesterday's cards, and then forgot to write about, was needing the hope of the Star because I am still so full of fear.  That, and the reminder to meditate, had me practising yoga while silently chanting Om Krim Kalikaye Namaha this morning, and then sitting to chant out loud.  I also practised kegels while chanting, as one of my biggest fears right now is around the birth of my second child, due in 10 weeks time.  However, I am not just going to hope that Kali will help slash through my fears, I am also going to be proactive and sort out birthing classes, a birth plan, and a hospital bag!

In amongst all this, I have also been working on an art-therapy-type project - my second go round with acrylics.  I have Leonie Dawson's  2014 Create Your Amazing Year Workbook + Planner (that's an affiliate link for Arwen, who introduced me to these).  I didn't go for the biz one this time, as my focus is less on work this year with number two due.  Anyhow, one thing Leonie suggests is to come up with a word for the year.  She also says you could create something to represent that word, as well as just writing it in the planner.

So, I thought about my word, and about what it represents to me, and how I would show that in colour, and you can see the result for yourself :)  It took me four sessions to complete this, so I was very glad of my "stay-wet" palette.  And I enjoyed creating it, even though it won't win any artistic prizes.

This year, I want to nurture myself, nurture my son and my new baby, nurture the projects that inspire me and my own creativity...

Thursday, 2 January 2014

New Moon in Capricorn

Yesterday around noon was the centre point of the New Moon, which some call the Wolf Moon, others the New Moon in Capricorn, and which Eowyn has given the delightful title of Quiet Moon.  I decided to once again ask, at this fulcrum point, what I need to release and what I should embrace over the coming lunation.


Drawing from the Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011), my answer was that I need to release the Maker Queen (Queen of Pentacles) and embrace the Star.

This feels like a variation on the theme I've been receiving for a while now, which makes sense as I'm still pregnant (in fact more so every day).  The Maker Queen came up in the same position just two new moon's ago.  So, I need to let go of pouring myself out for others, and perhaps nurture and heal myself rather than focusing outward on those around me.  I see, too, the suggestion not to take on too much work - the Maker Queen can be quite entrepreneurial, creating abundance.

Instead, I should embrace the Star: meditation, looking inward, and accepting guidance and help.  This card says it's okay to admit my vulnerabilities, and to accept assistance from others.  It suggests, in particular, seeking spiritual guidance.  That's an interesting one: firstly, a reminder to meditate more regularly, but secondly perhaps to look for guidance in other quarters.  A friend gave me a Skype reading with James Ricklef for Christmas, and he is certainly a spiritual guide I respect...