Thursday, October 31, 2013

Samhain Blog Hop 2013 - What I Love

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Welcome to the Samhain Blog-Hop of 2013!  Please click on the labels at the top or bottom of this page in order to visit the other amazing blogs in this circle!

Our wrangler for this hop, Alison Cross, decided to get wild and crazy and pull away from more traditional Samhain themes in favor of something more universal: Love.  A very nice topic!  So as I was pondering what I love, in tandem with the time of year we're currently in, I realized that there is a durable connection between Love and Holidays for me, and a few other things (like Tarot!) that I'll discuss in this post!

I was born the day after Christmas, and so that particular holiday was always deeply special for me.  I loved the sense of celebration that permeates the air that time of year and the seemingly endless parties. One of the most important aspects of this holiday for me was the tradition.  My mother cultivated a beautiful set of holiday traditions that I came to adore, and to count on.  The environment was imbued with mystery and sacredness, and the activities during this time helped support those feelings - the connection to the past that has always been dear to me.  Tree hunting, the smell of pine needles, the first snowfall... hot chocolate and mulled cider, and spicy pfeffernusse cookies.  Decorating with my mother's mother's ornaments, and my own ornaments from my first few years on the planet.  Christmas Eve with a cozy dinner in front of the fire.  And Christmas morning was always a flurry of excitement.  My sister and I would wake up early, and always obeyed the rule we were given that we must not go downstairs...BUT we could stay on the stairs and *look.*  My parents grumbled and fumbled with the coffee maker.  First, presents (youngest goes first), then much later, after we'd almost forgotten them, the stockings.  Then dinner (the traditional pesto lasagna) and then..... I'd remember that the next day was my birthday.  Yesssss........

So now, my oldest daughter's birthday is December 27th; it just got better and better.

Now let me back up a bit.... Halloween/Samhain, Thanskgiving, and Christmas/Yule are my Big Three favorite holidays of all time.  Yes, it's true, I LOVE them.  I love the fact that every month from October to December (and even January if you want to count New Year's) there is a big, wonderful holiday steeped in tradition.

Samhain has always felt to me like a wonderful mix of sacred, haunting spirit with fun creepiness, and some excitement on top.  There's something wild about the night, about the fact that we dress up in disguise, and just at the time when we'd normally be eating dinner and settling in for the evening, we're venturing out into the world in pursuit of adventure, and, of course, candy.  When we would come back from trick-or-treating my mom always had a pot of chicken-and-dumplings on the stove. We'd separate our candy into piles, compare the goods, and warm ourselves within with a big steaming bowl of stew.

Halloween a few years ago...

Thanksgiving carries the same blessed weight of tradition, and one of my favorite memories as a child was watching my mom prepare her special Super Apple Pie and the pumpkin pies the night before.  The next morning I'd sit in the kitchen from morning to afternoon making cranberry sauce, checking the turkey, stewing the onions, peeling the potatoes.  The windows would steam up.  We'd sit around the table for a feast, and later stroll around the neighborhood.  Then on to pie and coffee, and days to come of leftovers.

And then we arrive back at Christmas!

So now's the time to mention how much I love my children three: Isabella, Lourdes, and Gabriel.  It has been a great joy for me to raise them with the traditions that I so adored as a child, and to watch their eyes light up each holiday in anticipation of what's to come.  I'm passing down to them the traditions that I inherited, and perhaps adding a few of my own touches along the way.

So to recap so far, let's review what I love:

-I love holidays.
-I love tradition.
-I love my kids.
-I love passing holiday traditions on to my kids.

And now..... for divination!

I love the connection I feel to spirit, and I love the ability to find guidance and confirmation and advice through the tool of Tarot.  In fact Tarot itself is a tradition which started with my mother, and was a beautiful element of my life growing up.  The first cards I ever used were my mother's Medicine Cards (Jamie Sams), though she herself had the strongest relationship to her Mythic Tarot (Juliet Sharman-Burke, Liz Greene, Tricia Newell).  And now I am passing the art down to my girls (and when my son grows, perhaps to him as well).  They love Tarot, and I must say that my 6-year-old is quite the intuitive reader!

So I want to bring in my favorite deck, which is the Wildwood (Mary Ryan, John Matthews, Will Worthington).  This is a deck that is steeped in a tradition of sorts...spiritual, shamanic tradition of the sort that resonates deeply with my soul.  (To translate: I love Wildwood Tarot).

Wildwood Tarot
Mark Ryan, John Matthews, Will Worthington
Sterling Ethos, 2011

The card in the Wildwood that represents tradition is the Ancestor, commonly known as the Hierophant in other decks. Not unlike the Hierophant, she makes spiritual traditions accessible and pass-onable.  But to me the Ancestor offers some additional, crucial elements.  The Ancestor is primal;  she represents the core of who we are - our spirit connection that goes back before the beginning of time.  She reminds us that we're never truly alone, for the ages of humanity that came before accompany us always.  When I look at her image I hear the words "Remember who you are."  Remember who you really are, which goes far beyond, and yet also embraces, the traditions that we choose to practice.

So, here's to what we love, and here's to Samhain! May the Blog-Hop forces be with you!

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Samhain: A Spread for the New Year

I know it's a little  bit early to do my New Year spread for Samhain, seeing as the 31st is still about five days away, but I have family coming to visit for a whole week, and who knows how much time I'll find !  So I decided to do it today, a lovely Saturday night.  The littlest kid is in bed, the older kids are on their way there, and Jorge is outside taking pictures of the moon.  A rare quiet moment!

I've settled down here with my cup of tea to type out the reading I did about an hour ago.  I wasn't sure which spread I wanted to use, and *almost* created my own…but I wasn't feeling quite that inspired.  So I found one on a great website, Furious Horde, called "Hallows: A Samhain Spread." The site also offers an Ancestor Spread as a companion to this one, however I'll save that for another moment! I've slightly altered the Samhain spread to add a couple of extra cards, but it goes something like this:

            2     3     4
      5        6     7      8
                9    10

1: The Moon - Major influences accompanying you into the New Year
2: The Path - A glimpse into the very near future 
3: The Lantern - What is currently engaging your attention and drawing you forward
4: The Mask - What illusions you are maintaining for yourself or others (could be for positive reasons)
5: The Bones - A reflection of ancestry, family, culture, heritage, etc. What relics do you keep as symbols, and what purpose do they serve?
6: The Bonfire - What needs to be cleansed and offered to the fire in order to move into the New Year?
7: The Veil - What is being revealed about your deep self?
8: The Ancient Ones - Guidance offered from Spirit/Guides/Ancestors.
9: Bottom card of the deck - Additional influences
10: Top card of the deck - Additional influences

I used my Wildwood Tarot deck (Mark Ryan, John Matthews, Will Worthington; Sterling Ethos 2011). With the addition of the two extra cards, the shape is rather like an arrow head!


Card 1, the Moon: 5 of Bows ("Empowerment").  I do believe that I've been in the process of "finding my power" for a while now.  I feel empowered by having reconnected this year (after 6 or 7 years) with what feels like my purpose in many ways, or at least involves nurturing the gifts I came to this life with (specifically spirit-related things). It has presented a series of "challenges" that I've been diving head-first into, and ultimately enjoying and learning a lot from.  The energy created from all of this has been propelling me forward.

Card 2, the Path: 9 of Bows ("Respect"). The Woodwose sits front and center on this card, asking me if I have what it takes to battle onwards.  Only time will tell (this is, after all, the "near future" card) but I already know that I do.  Challenges are not for the weak-hearted or weak-minded.  In order to progress, you must demonstrate the ability to trust in the path, even when you can't see very far ahead, and to respect the experiences you have, and the guides that teach you (in whatever form they may take). I must respect myself, and in turn give respect to others.  I think this card is also about not letting myself feel "walked on" by situations or by people.  If you pack up and go home at the first sign of struggle, you aren't ready for the journey.

Card 3, the Lantern: Ace of Bows ("Spark of Life"). A door has opened before me, and I've been drawn over the threshold.  Bows represent creativity and energy, and in a lot of ways I feel like I'm dealing with harnessing my own energy, and considering the potential that's available when I learn to focus and direct it.  Last week I had a dream that I was full of energy, but I needed to learn how to manipulate it so that it could be used for healing.  I do feel rather like a baby, so the Ace is fitting.  I'm just becoming aware of how much energy I have at my disposal, and how to work with it…which is a whole new path that is leading me on.

Card 4, the Mask: 4 of Stones ("Protection").  This is an interesting card to appear.  It took me some time to ponder it, but when I started focusing more intently on the details of the images in the card, things started to click into place.  I thought of how much I don't voice my thoughts and feelings - in a sense the fawn represents my inner workings, while everyone else just sees the stony exterior. Jorge always asks me what I'm thinking because I often don't realize how much I don't share with others. Is it a form of protection?  It could be sometimes, when I don't want to upset others with my own concerns or worries, or because I think that by managing my concerns on my own they'll somehow be easier to deal with than if I include someone else. And that definitely qualifies as a mask.  In fact that is something that my Mom used to always do.  She'd say "If I don't ask, I'd never know what's really going on inside you!"  Really I'm often unaware of how much I ponder in silence. So I am making an effort to be more conscious of this tendency.    

Card 5, the Bones: The World Tree. Hm. Another interesting card to appear.  Yggdrasil, the World Tree, has been a recurring theme this past year.  And does it get any more ancestral than that??  Several months ago I had a dream: there was an impending sense of doom, like the world was ending. Everyone was taking cover, and rather anxious. As people were leaving the town center, I was walking toward it, and I ended up face-to-trunk with a great, pale tree.  I sensed it was very old, and dying. I knew I had to knock on the trunk, though when I did so, the world might end.  But I had to knock, and so I did.  When I knocked on the trunk, it was simply like the sun rising. Nothing ended, nothing died. The tree was simply reborn.  For the rest of the night the name "Yggdrasil" wove its way through my mind. Yggdrasil is a common place for shamans to visit, no matter the culture, though the term is specifically from Norse mythology.  That brings in another important element. Part of my ancestry is from German and Nordic Europe, though I'd never really felt connected to that part of my family history.  In fact having been raised around the native American community, American indigenous culture was probably most important to me growing up (and still is). But I had another dream several weeks after the Yggdrasil dream: I was sitting (at night) at a gathering, wondering who I might connect with, or if anyone would like me.  Then I saw a guy, blonde, kind of Vikingy, with a necklace. I held the necklace in my hand, and it was very native American, beaded in various colors, almost in a sharp horseshoe shape. As I went to the guy it changed to metal/chain, but in the same form.  I felt very connected to this, like I was remembering part of my identity.  I felt the fierceness of a warrior, and knew that I would be the person running toward the battle rather than away from it.  As a woman.  I felt the connection to the norse/Viking people, my ancestry.  I thought that it's interesting how the native bead necklace, also representing a big part of who I am, turned into the metal necklace.  Like it was showing a connection, transmutation.  It felt very right. So again this Nordic connection popped up in my dream, and this time there was a flow from one spiritual tradition (not ancestral) to another (that is ancestral). I read a bit about Odin, and felt very connected to that grandfather, wanderer, shaman, warrior combination. Odin also hung from Yggdrasil for 9 days, a sacrifice in order to receive the wisdom of the runes. So there is some great circle involved in this series of stories and events. Another aspect that relates to this card and position is my mother, who is clairvoyant and intuitive, and a counselor by trade. It was she that introduced me to Tarot at a young age. The maze on the card leads to the heart of the World Tree. There is something related to a spiritual heritage involved here. As a final note, this is a card that came up for me as I was doing a reading about my potential with mediumship, which also seems to relate to the Ace of Bows, for me.

Card 6, the Bonfire: 5 of Arrows reversed ("Frustration"). I use reversals with this deck, though in the context of this spread the only two reversals (this being one of them) don't differ greatly from their upright meaning.  First of all, I'm a Capricorn, which is symbolized by the goat, so right away I see myself flying down a hill against a wave of arrows whipping my way. On one hand I feel this card is calling me to release my frustrations, many of which are mental.  Attitude is everything, right? What purpose does internalizing frustrations serve?  It serves none, other than to eat away at me, creating sleepless nights, and stressful days. That is certainly worth doing away with.  This card also relates back to the 5 of Bows (Empowerment). I can't please everyone, so I shouldn't try. I don't always need to be the peacemaker (related to the 4 of Stones).  And if I'm grounded, determined, balanced and focused, the arrows coming my way will somehow miss their mark.  

Card 7, the Veil: the Blasted Oak reversed. The second of the two reversals in this spread. The position of the card indicates that this reversal refers to my inner workings. I'm experiencing "big change" on an interior level.  I've had the burst of insight (the lightening bolt) which has brought me a whole new world of possibility that I'd never considered before, or explored. There's a certain freedom in that, like being reborn, in a way. The traditional RWS card features a crown which relates to the crown chakra. Mine has been open and tingling with activity for a while now, which relates to the Ace of Bows. The insights themselves have been spiritual in nature. This year I've delved back into working with the cards, experienced the awakening of my 6th and 7th chakras, developed my clairsentience to the point of being able to begin exploring psychic readings (without the use of cards), and have begun to experience mediumship, which has been really cool, interesting, eye-opening, humbling, and sort of exciting, in a muted sort of way. Who knew?

Card 8, the Ancient Ones: Knight of Arrows ("Hawk"). In the Wildwood, this Knight is represented by the Hawk.  The Hawk card in the Druid Animal Oracle (Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, Will Worthington; Fireside 1994) has made repeat appearances for me all summer long, and now into the fall, so it was interesting to see it show up here and in this form. The Hawk is about seeing the big picture.  In the Druid Animal Oracle book, it says that the Hawk has the "ability to see life in perspective, free yourself from unnecessary baggage, connect to ancestral roots….Once you know where you've come from and where you're going, your life will be filled with inspiration and enthusiasm. You will sense a new day dawning and will be able to make decisions with confidence (pg 42-43)."  It also mentions, "Ancestral wisdom lives deep in our psyches (pg 44)." So to me it speaks of a new beginning whose roots go much further back than the present, which fits so well with everything I've been experiencing this past year. Another interesting bit of information about the Hawk is that they were used by Druids to explore the spirit world.  Why is the Hawk a Knight? Apparently in Arthurian legend, Gawain's name means "Hawk of May" and Galahad's name means "Hawk of Summer." The Druid Animal Oracle book states that "because of its ability to soar high in the air, the hawk is considered a solar bird and therefore provides a fitting name for these knights who typify the best qualities of courtliness and nobility - they are male solar heroes in quest of the feminine grail (pg 44)." So journeys and quests, perspective on the breadth of one's life/lives, the spirit-world, letting go of what wasn't working, new beginnings, connecting to my ancestral roots…yes. It makes sense and forms another beautiful circle of meaning. 

Card 9, Bottom of the deck: 4 of Bows ("Celebration"). Contentment, balance, and most importantly the idea of "coming home" which has significance for me both in the past year, and in this spread.

Card 10, Top of the deck: the Wanderer. This card pretty much speaks for itself. I'm embarking on a new journey….well, it feels new, and yet in some way it's ancient. And in that way it relates closely to the Blasted Oak, the Ace of Bows, and the Knight of Arrows. 

Whew!!!  If you're still reading, you have earned a special place in my heart! That was quite a post. I would conclude with a numerological analysis of the spread….but I'm not sure I'm up for that much additional typing!  So it was a great spread, and I'm so happy to have found it.  It's given me a lot of food for thought, and I'll be coming back to it frequently during the week (and possibly months) ahead as I continue to ponder it.  I hope you haven't fallen asleep yet, though I wouldn't blame you if you did, as it's quite late, and definitely past my own bedtime. So off I go, sweet dreams, and Happy Halloween!

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Autumn Descends

Today we had our first cool day in Central Florida.  It was mostly cloudy, and the temperature didn't surpass about 70 degrees.  That sounds warm, but down here, after a long, hot, humid summer, 70 degrees feels like pure autumn, and I love it!  The trees here tend to drop leaves all year round, but the sycamores actually go through a yearly cycle not unlike the more temperate north.  Starting about now their great, broad leaves start to dry and brown, and slowly drift to the ground, and by late December they're entirely bare and stark. I feel fortunate to have some sort of sycamore-like shrub next to the house which even turn colors before they drop - bright reds and oranges, mostly - which gives me a small and deeply appreciated taste of a northern fall.

I spent most of my life in a northern climate, with all four seasons.  When I was a child the winter was my favorite - the colder the better.  I even tapped our front yard maple tree one year in March and managed to produce about an ounce of maple syrup.  I dreamed of being a dog-sled racer, wearing snow-shoes regularly (and in fact my parents bought me a pair for Christmas one year), and enjoying the sun twinkling on the new fallen snow.

As I grew older I began to appreciate the summer more, and found the long months of winter a bit burdensome.  The early winter is always lovely, especially the first snow, but by late January I started to yearn for spring....and yet still had 2-3 months left of ice, slush, and gray skies.

Fall was always a fun time, and it was a season I began to deeply love more than all other seasons, and I suppose it still is my favorite season.  The leaves change colors slowly, and fall foliage in late September is quite breathtaking.  I love the fall activities of apple picking, and cider-drinking.  I enjoyed preparing for Halloween, which then led into the series of holidays I adore (which I'll focus on in an up-coming Samhain post!).  I savored the breath of fresh, crisp air after a warm summer.

So moving to Florida was both exciting and also a bit sad for me, when I considered the seasons I'd be leaving behind.  Well, okay, I wasn't going to miss much of winter...but fall?  Definitely.  And indeed our first fall here was quite bittersweet.  The local Starbucks and other shops would ironically tape paper cut-outs of autumn leaves in their display windows.  I'd been under the impression that Florida would be warm and humid year round, and was pleasantly surprised that first year to learn that Florida does indeed have its own seasons, that perhaps are best described as wet/dry, or summer/fall.  There is no true winter here, but a Central Florida "winter" is like the most pristine fall one could imagine.  The air is very dry and cool (so dry that we even have wildfire warnings).  It hardly ever rains.  Sometimes in January it gets cold enough to create a brief glaze of ice on the windshields, though it never snows. I'm grateful for that hint of season, and thoroughly enjoy every day from late October to early April.

Today was our first truly cool day, and during my evening stroll with my husband I could even smell the beloved scent of woodsmoke in the air.  Brown leaves were strewn across the grass and sidewalks, and it felt like autumn had finally arrived.

So I wanted to share a few of my favorite autumn cards - the ones that remind me most keenly of what I love most about this we go:

DruidCraft Tarot/Will Worthington
Llewellyn Tarot, The Wheel of Fortune
Anna Marie Ferguson 
Wildwood Tarot/Will Worthington

So with that I will conclude this post so that I can go watch the sun finish setting, and the stars come out!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wildwood 8 of Vessels: Rebirth and the Cycle of Life

The Wildwood 8 of Vessels is the counterpart of the more traditional 8 of Cups in the Rider-Waite deck.  The traditional meaning usually suggests the pain in realizing that what you’ve worked to build may not be what will ultimately satisfy you.  It relates to feelings of disillusionment, and the desire for "something" more. Thus it speaks of moving on, leaving something behind (a relationship, an emotional attachment, a special project) and starting a journey.  The journey doesn’t necessarily have a clear destination or end-point.  In fact in many more traditional cards, the moon shines above, illuminating a path that leads through mountainous terrain; the journey is full of mystery and perhaps the traveler will stumble along the way…..and yet the journey is necessary.  There is a touch of mourning that comes with realizing that it’s time to move along, so the card is not without some sadness.

Wildwood Tarot
John Matthews, Mark Ryan, Will Worthington
Sterling Ethos, 2011

In the Wildwood 8 of Vessels we see a scene that is quite different from the traditional: a great vessel overflowing with water hangs suspended above a pond, with three smaller vessels pouring into it.  Below, four more small vessels sit along the edges of the water, receiving the overflow from the suspended vessels above, and in turn releasing their own excess into the stream that flows out from the pond.  The keyword on the card is “rebirth.”  This scene embodies many of the same understandings as the traditional 8 of Cups, but the message is encapsulated by the natural cycle of water.  In this image, the pond is simply a temporary pooling place for water heading from its past into its future.  It gathers for a while, but it can’t stay.  Once movement is extracted from the water cycle, it begins to stagnate (which in fact is the core meaning of the Thoth 8 of Cups “indolence”).  Stagnation means that growth ceases, the water becomes tainted.  And this is precisely what happens when we overstay our time in a relationship, in a particular phase of life, in a job we’ve spent time and energy nurturing and are afraid to let go of (and the list goes on). Release is necessary for rebirth, and rebirth is necessary for our spiritual and emotional health.  Rebirth is not supposed to be comfortable, but it always carries us forward to experience new things, to help us continue to bloom as human beings.  Rebirth is a never-ending part of the cycle of life, what ultimately gives depth and richness to each year that goes by.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Tarot Told Me So

I do casual readings often, for myself or for my loved ones, on many evenings during my "down time." The other night I decided to do a short reading on whether or not I could look forward to a promotion in my "day job" any time soon.  To give some back story, I have a great teaching position, the work is interesting, I enjoy helping my students improve their language proficiency, and I enjoy being involved in the wider campus community working on events or collaborating with other departments.  My department manager has given me great reviews, and has told me that she'd love to be able to give me a more senior position at some point... the thing is, "some point" is pretty vague.  I know that the economy isn't great, and last year the school placed a temporary hold on new hires for that reason. In addition, the recent government shut-down meant that a lot of students didn't have access to their financial aid, and the number of newly enrolled students for last semester decreased dramatically.  So I haven't been overly optimistic about the possibility of "movin' on up," despite the energy I'm investing, and the projects I'm involved with.  Nevertheless...why not take a look and see what the cards have to say?

I used my Halloween deck (Karin Lee, Kipling West; U.S. Games), and this is what I received:

The summary of the message: "  Ain't gonna happen, sorry!"

The 7 of Imps acknowledges that I've been putting in a lot of effort to improve my department, expand and develop projects, get involved cross-departmentally, etc.  I also get the sense from this card of my colleagues all standing in a line, trudging along.  I'm going with them, fumbling our way towards some imprecise goal (the house in the distance).  But I'm trying to go beyond that, to see the big vision for what we're trying to do, and sometimes I kind of feel like I don't "fit in" in various ways. Also, intra-departmental communication has been a challenge over the past year, and I often feel that I'm swimming against the current.

The 8 of Pumpkins reversed.....yeah, so basically I'm putting a lot of dedication and time into something that may not provide the ultimate rewards and benefits that I hope to see.  I do enjoy the work I'm doing, but there may not be the ability for forward movement in the near future.  I've spent a lot of energy creating new levels of our tiered program, developing new courses, improving my own understanding of my field along the way...and all of that is good, but it may not imply that all of that will bear the fruit I'd like to see.  One example is that a colleague and I were accepted to present at an international conference, very high-profile in our field.  It would be a wonderful way to show others what we're doing, and to get some attention for our department's projects, but our school doesn't support its faculty in attending and presenting at any conferences...which does seem counterproductive...and yet there's nothing that I can really do to change that, as it's very institutionalized.

The 6 of Imps reversed is the anti-money card.  In its upright position this is often the "You will get a promotion or raise" card.  So it's extremely fitting that I should see it in this spread, and receive the news that it's not likely to occur any time soon! :)

So it's nice to have the confirmation that what I've felt to be the likely path of things is probably going to indeed head in that direction.  The benefit is that it encourages me to consider my current position, and what my future goals are.  Where do I want to be in a few years' time?  Will this particular job continue to fulfill me over the long-term?  Will the lack of upward movement end up being a detriment, or will I be able to work with it?  All good food for thought :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Those Perfect Little Readings

My oldest child is starting high school next fall, and in our county the school system is organized "magnet-style," allowing any student in the county to attend any school that has a program or focus that they're interested in.  Each school has their own emphasis, whether it's engineering, computer science, health care, or even culinary arts.  So she has been going back and forth between two options that she's attracted to, and keeps coming home with more and more paperwork and handouts and literature about each school.  Last night I told her we could do a little spread to see if the cards encourage one over the other.  I first decided that one school would be represented by Air, and the other by Fire (I used the Vision Quest Tarot by Gayan Silvie Winter and Joe Dose - U.S. Games).  I thought I'd just see if there was a majority of one or the other in a three-card draw.  This is what I pulled:

If you can't see well, that's the 4 of Fire (Completion), the Lovers, and the 2 of Air (Inner Peace).  Sigh.  One school sits on either side of the big decision.  4 + 2 = 6 = the Lovers.  It's like a perfect circle, a rounded out message saying "the choice is yours!"  When these perfect little readings manifest, sometimes I just want to laugh at the magic of it all.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Tuning in to Spirit Energy

This past Tuesday was my second-to-last Intuitive Tarot class, and it’s been wonderful.  It’s really been far more than anything I could have expected or hoped for. This particular class presented some unique elements.  I thought several times about posting it here on my blog, but ultimately decided to go for it. Crossing my fingers, now...!

Tuesday night we did a phone reading for Suzanne’s (the instructor) friend in another state.  It went well.  One card that popped up for her was the King of Vessels, and as we were chatting about who that was, she asked me if I could tell her what his occupation was.  She then apologized because she knew it might be too challenging of a question (not based on the cards, but more of a psychic reading). I told her it was okay, and I calmed my mind and I had impressions of business, and of something related to architecture.  It was kind of hard to pick apart so I went with “business.”  Turns out that this guy owned his own business doing roofing!  So at the end of the reading Suzanne asked her friend to go ahead and ask me (and the other student) any questions she might have, and the three of us (teacher and two students) tuned in and explained what we felt.  She asked us to tell us about her son, and without going into specific detail, I will say that I had both mental impressions and physical sensations that came through, and were validated.  She asked a question about her daughter, and about some property, and the same process occurred – I received pretty clear feelings and impressions about what was going on, and my instructor and her friend were able to confirm and validate those things (as well as the other student!).  It was truly interesting, and enlightening.  I had never tried to do this kind of thing before, and really have never considered it – the focus has always been the cards, though I know there are readers who do mainly psychic readings, supported by cards (rather than vice-versa).

Halloween Tarot
Karin Lee, Kipling West
U.S. Games, 1996
So after the call we were chatting, and I asked about how one develops mediumship or channeling (my instructor is a psychic-medium). I told her that several nights before, I had tapped into my husband’s brother who had passed on quite a few years ago, and had done a reading/message for Jorge.  I was surprised by the sadness I felt as I was doing it, the sense of regret that I got while I was reading – his brother was devastated that he didn’t have the chance to say goodbye.  She said, “Well if you successfully tapped into a passed person’s energy and were able to pass on a message, you’re a medium!”  And I sort of sat there, mouth agape.  I had simply figured that since our energies don’t disappear when we die, tapping into anyone’s energy, whether living or not, should be possible – and I found that it was.  I did not consider that to be a medium experience, because my image of a medium is someone openly communicating – “chatting” if you will – with someone who has departed.

So I asked her how to further develop those skills, if it’s even possible.  She said that you can take classes, but those are usually for helping people develop the ability to open the channel.  If you are already open, then it’s all about practice.  She said that if I ask willing people to help tap into their loved ones, I could practice that way.  Then suddenly she said, “Tap into my mother,” and gave me her mother’s name.  It was very on-the-spot, but I tried.  I thought of her mother and her name, and I opened up to her.  I slowly started to get an image of a lady…but I had no idea what to do with the energy, and I just sat there.  So Suzanne said “Tell me about her personality.”  So I started to tell her what I was seeing and feeling, including a strong impression of her mother’s feelings about her own life, and Suzanne said, “YES.”  She asked me to tell her how her mother died, so I focused again and had some impressions, and I passed those on to her, and she confirmed that. It was kind of wild.  Suzanne said, “See? You did it, and you can do it!”  Then she gave me some advice on how to approach working with mediumship, and I just sat there with all of that – the experience and the information – and just….sat.

We ended class by doing readings for each other, and my classmate pondered her 4 of Ghosts from the Halloween Tarot, and said, “You have a lot of people (spirits) waiting to talk to you once you start paying attention!”  Thank you, intuitive reading, for that interesting take on this card.  And yet it felt right.  And yet (again), above it all, I’m still kind of gently blown away by it all, still pondering, curious, and at the same time....kinda ready for this journey…

Monday, October 7, 2013

Going Tarot-Crazy

At some point it becomes impossible not to see card meanings in everything perfectly mundane.  Nothing is exempt.  The mind has been saturated, and everything is viewed with Tarot-Sight!

A couple of months ago my younger daughter was arguing with her 2-year-old brother over toys (he loves her LaLaLoopsies just as much as she does!).  She finally decided that if she couldn't get her point across clearly enough ("LEAVE MY TOYS ALONE!"), she had no other choice than to drop down in a curved huddle over her pile of toys.  Each arm and leg was draped over the items that leaked out from under her, and my first thought was: "4 of Pentacles!"

We have a lot of storms down here in Florida during the summer, which is really what makes living here during those hot months bearable.  One evening in late-August a particularly large storm rolled through with an unusually high amount of lightening.  It was high-energy and quite exciting, mainly because of the note of danger.  I was in the kitchen preparing dinner when suddenly a resounding CRRRAAACCCKKK pealed through the house, scaring us all out of our socks.  When I went to the front window I saw that the neighbor's new utility pole had been struck neatly in two.  My thought: "The Tower!"

My husband and I have three kids, so we build activities for them into each week.  One day we go out to breakfast....another day to an arcade.....then the Science Center......then a trek out to the beach (and on and on).  It's become common custom for me to silently ponder what Tarot decks I could have purchased with the money we spend on each outing.  Now don't get me wrong, I love doing things with my kids and wouldn't trade it for any deck.  Nevertheless the thought always crosses my mind..."Hmm... $20.... that would be one deck...maybe two if I chose the less expensive ones on my list..."  I was relieved to find that I am far from the only Tarotist that experiences this when I happened across a post on a Facebook Tarot group that reflected this same phenomena.

And once I had an entirely Tarot-coded conversation with another reader, that was hilarious and also borderline crazy.  It went something like this:

A: "I like to balance out my Queens, and right now I'm working on developing my Queen of Swords."
B: "Oh really?  I need to work on my Queen of Pentacles.  You have any Pentacles to throw at me?"
A: "Hah, you know I'm kind of 4 of Pentacles right now, but in the future I would be happy to go 6 of Pentacles on you."
B: "Oh nice, thank you!  And I'd be very 2 of Cups in return!"

So yeah.  Tarot is not just a practice, it's a way of life.  And it's truly beautiful to find meaning every where I turn, and it's also a great way to digest card meanings - finding the essence of the cards in every day life.  But I find it's important to balance out the seriousness of the Tarot with the ability to find humor in the journey as well.. you know.... 2 of Pentacles... or maybe Temperance.... ;-)

The Fferyllt (aka Temperance)
DruidCraft Tarot
Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm/Will Worthington
St. Martin's Press, 2005

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

30-Day Tarot Challenge, Question #30: Divination

(30) Do you practice any other forms of divination?

Aside from cards, not really.  I remember trying the pendulum for a while when I was quite young (like 11 or 12).  I've considered trying that again at some point.  I'm also interested in learning to work with runes - sure wish I could find that Runic Tarot deck now!!.  The Ogham is something I want to learn, but Tarot is my principle focus at this time.

If dream interpretation counts as divination, then I suppose I do that, to some extent.  And of course I do pay attention to astrology, but am definitely no astrologist.

This topic brings to mind the "cootie catchers" we used to create as children (who ever came up with that name???) - those little paper fortune telling devices we would create on the playground and use to determine what our future spouses would look like, what kind of car we would drive, how much money we would have (you know, all those terribly important details...;-)  Divination is something people engage in from a young age, though of course those cootie catchers were a game more than anything else.

Yesterday my younger daughter took a piece of paper and wrote "yes" on one side, and "no" on the other.  She meditated on a question, then let the paper drop, and whatever answer was visible was the right answer.  (I am surprised to report that this was actually accurate about 75% of the time.)  And whenever she didn't get the answer she wanted, or when the answer was actually wrong, she dropped the paper several more times until it told her what she wanted to hear.  Hah. Sigh.