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.