The Rowdy Goddess

An Ecstatic Vision of the Goddess, dancing in harmony with the Universe.

Archive for the category “shamanism”

The Gifts of Durga

A little more than a week ago, I wrote a post on the Goddess Durga and finding fierce compassion for myself.  I must admit that one of the people I find hardest to treat with compassion is myself.  I seem to be especially harsh on myself.  I also noted that Durga holds items in each of her hands and each of these might become tools for me to use in finding compassion within and using it in a loving and supportive manner.  I think, also, that this cold and brutal winter has a lot to do with the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness I feel on this first day of spring.

Sorry to be such a buzzkill!  I’ve always been called a “Little Miss Fix-it” and I certainly have that in my personality.  I haven’t fixed this.  But I am making a start by finding what the gifts Durga holds out to us.  A little bit of rather cursory research nets me a wealth of information to think about, journey on, meditate on, and to breathe in.

Durga has three eyes!  The left is desire or the moon, accessing the vision of the sacred feminine; and the right is action or the sun, accessing the vision of the sacred masculine.  The third and center eye is knowledge and fire.  I think the third eye takes these two opposites and melds them together in an alchemical blend of power and love.

She sits on a lion or tiger, both of which mean power, will, determination and ferocity.  Like my favorite Major Arcana card, Strength, Durga acts according to her nature and respects the nature of the powerful animal she rides.  They have formed a partnership of mutual respect and determination.  They ride forward in unison and harmony fulfilling their mutual purpose as well as their individual desires.

In her hands she holds a number of items, important in symbolic ways;  the conch shell is assigned the sound “om” and Durga is holding onto god in the form of sound;  the bow and arrow is control over both forms of energy, the kinetic and potential; the thunderbolt is about firmness of convictions and firmness in general; The lotus is not fully in bloom and talks of the certainty of success but not the final outcome; the discus spins above her index finger without touching, indicating that the entire world bows to her will; the sword if freedom from doubt; and  the trident indicates three qualities of action, inactivity, non-activity, activity and the remover of the three miseries, physical, mental and spiritual.

This is what my research tells me.  Over the next few weeks I will be journeying to Durga to ask her what wisdom she has for me about each of these tools.  Her stance tells us “fear not,” and already I feel more hopeful than I did when I started writing.  Perhaps like the lotus not fully in bloom, the turning of the wheel is opening up a little window of hope and happiness.  lotus 08 001 (Small)

Howling at the Moon Tarot Spread

Last week I wrote about Howling in Winter and the power of the Wolf.  Today, by tapping into that power, I’m posting a Tarot spread based on the Wolf’s Howl.  A-Whhhhooooooooo!

This spread can  be used to help clarify situations; to help you see things that you are not seeing and to provide guidance for avoiding pitfalls as well as what is needed to move forward.

Tarot spread

 

 Card One:       The Heart of the Matter

Card Two:      How does the situation express itself?

Card Three:    Inner wisdom needed

Card Four:     Fears or what is to be avoided.

Card Five:      What are the next steps to move forward?

  May your journey follow your voice of freedom and release!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Praise of Creepy Crawlies

I have been complaining interminably about the cold, bleak weather of winter.  Just for today, I decided to turn my thoughts in the direction of spring.  It is only a couple of weeks away and I think this year, it’s more eagerly anticipated than ever.  March full moon, in some of the indigenous traditions of the Americas, is called, “Earthworm Moon.”  I think that’s pretty cool so I pulled some of the things I’ve written about earthworms to share.  Another version of this blog post appeared in Pagan Pages.earthworm

The March moon is called Full Worm Moon in some Native American lore, according to The Farmers’ Almanac.  It was so named because the warming weather and the warmer rains caused the worms to rise to the top of the soil, where they sometimes drowned.  For my college roommate, walking across campus after a rain caused a lot of screaming terror because she hated that particular sign of spring, wriggling or dead worms on the sidewalks.  For someone raised with a multitude of male relatives, this behavior was almost incomprehensible.  I learned early not to be repulsed by insects, worms, and other creepy animals, living or dead, that might been left out for an unsuspecting girl, tossed down her shirt, or held out for her inspection.

As a young person who was a little weird and then as a pagan, I learned to have a fondness and even a love for creatures with bad reputations or a less than normal appearance.  Bats, spiders, snakes, vultures and more are interesting.  Later, I learned they were sacred to various deities as guardians of the darkness, of death, and of those borderlands most preferred not to travel.  I look at it this way, life brings us to the edge of those borderlands and sometimes pushes us in.  If we already know and understand its creatures, we then have allies and friends as we move into uncharted territories.

So what of the lowly earthworm?  Without earthworms, we would not have the fertile soil we need to plant our crops.  Even their tiny feces, called casts, provide an abundance of fertilizer to nurture seeds.  The worm crawls through the soil like tiny plows, bringing more air and nutrients to the soil.  The earthworm is essential to an abundant and productive ground.  They consume the organic matter from the fields and the resulting residue is an indication of high quality, fertile soil.

It takes some doing to regard the earthworm as a friend an ally.  The can teach us a lot, as a totem and spirit guide.  They teach us to seek moisture, to balance our lives with an appropriate amount of water; water that symbol of emotions and matters of the soul.  The worm teaches us to look to inward to tend the soil of our heart and to grow a strong, healthy soul.

The earthworm also teaches us of our bodies and helps us understand our ability to stay strong in our bodies.  The flexibility of the worm body teaches us to move in and out of barriers, to be flexible and go around things when it does not serve us to break them down, and to work persistently to knock down barriers when it serves us to do so.

The earthworm is a sure sign that spring is on its way.  In March, in the cold regions of the central New York, it’s hard to believe that spring will come.  We are still shivering in below freezing temperature and looking to the skies for snow.  And yet deep within the awakening earth, the earthworms are working their magic and will soon rise to the top to create the new and ever-renewing fertility of the earth, of springtime.

To move in harmony with this creepy crawly, settle yourself comfortably for the following meditation:

Take a long cleansing breath, filling yourself with breath from the tip of your toes, to the tip of your fingers to the top of your head.  Exhale and let go of cares and concerns.  Take a second long deep breath and close your eyes, letting go of inhibitions. Continue to breathe deeply and connect with Mother Earth as she begins to awaken from her slumbers.

As you breathe deeply, you find yourself standing in the middle of a field in the early morning in that betwixt and between time of night and day.  The memory of the full moon’s rays is in your being and sunlight is only just beginning to peep out at you.  The field has been farmed in the past and it seems very familiar to you.  As you walk along, you recognize various things that you see, reveling in the familiarity of it.  You have been here before, in your dreams, in your journeys and perhaps in your life.

In the distance you see a woman standing in the field, looking down at the ground.  As you get closer, she looks up at you and grins.  She points to the ground and you see a mass of earth worms squirming on the ground.  The two of you watch as they dig in and out of the ground.

She looks at you and says, “Do you know why this was so familiar to you?  It’s because this earth is your body.  These worms tell us the story of you as you live in your body.  She then tells you of the things you need to know about your body and your life.  She picks up an earthworm and holds it gently in her hand before letting it go back into the earth; she whispers one word that means something to you about your body.  Remember, she says, this word and the wisdom of the earthworm for your health and physical well being.

She looks at you and says, “The earthworm speaks to you of your heart and what you need for understanding your emotions and the matters of your heart.  Watch.”  As you watch, words form in your head as the earthworms give you the wisdom you need to grow a fertile and productive emotional life.  Your heart opens to receive this wisdom.

A third and last time, she looks at you and says, “The earthworm speaks of your soul and what you need for your spiritual path.”  In your sou you form a knowing of what needs to be understood or done.  You hold this knowledge as she speaks of your soul as revealed by the worms working the ground.

Finally she looks at you and you understand the things you have felt, known and heard in this field.  Some of the things are a welcome surprise and still others have the sting of truth.  At the end, she hugs you and says “And most of all, you are a loveable and loving.”  She places her hand over your heart and you feel healing energy move through your body like the earthworm moving through the soil.  You thank her and she says goodbye.  She disappears. With a long deep breath, you are back in the here and now.  With a second deep breath, you open your eyes. With a third deep breath, you reconnect with your centeredness and reconnect with Mother Earth.

As you return to your everyday place and time, record your journey in your journal or find some other way to record the wisdom you have learned.  Make a promise to yourself to work this wisdom into your life.

May your life be blessed with vision to see the beauty in everything, including the creepy crawlies!

 

Caribou: The Winter Traveler

On cold days like today, I’m never sure that having a car with a temperature gauge is a good idea.  When the temperature reads at negativecaribou 5 degrees, all I can think is that I’m sliding my (well-padded) bottom on to a freezing seat.  Yikes.  My car transports me over the miles, to work and to home and anywhere I want or am compelled to go.  In winter, traveling is a journey, even routine trips.  A totem to help us travel the winter terrains is the caribou, or reindeer.

Caribou, or reindeer, are a nomadic animal, traveling up to 300 miles per year over long distances in a cold, inhospitable winter terrain..  They can run as fast as 80 miles an hour, as one of my circle sisters put it, “no wonder people thought they could fly!  Both male and female have antlers, unlike other species of deer, and the antlers are used for protection and for dominance.  Males use antlers in rutting, an often dangerous display, although the males are rarely hurt.  A male can have a harem of up to 40 females.  When calves are born, the mothers split up into nursing bands, rejoining the whole herd when they reach their summer destinations.

Caribou are hunted by wolf, bear, lynx, and humans but the real threat is mosquitoes.  The insects can take half a pint of blood at a time.  Caribou will submerge in water and even stampede when there are too many mosquitoes.  According to stories, caribou were the last animal to come into the world and the most important for people to hunt.

Caribou as a totem is concerned with perseverance, endurance in the dark times.  Caribou has the power of adaptability, strength in social skills and communication.  Adaptation and strong ties to the homeland are also evident in this totem.  Caribou is concerned with equality, family/herd orientation as well as protection, caution, and alertness.  Caribou has the urge to travel to the point of wanderlust and ultimately finding inner peace as you walk through life.

 Travel with me into wintry realms,

Landscapes of cold, dark, and danger

Find strength, power, and endurance

In our journeys together.

We become courageous in the lands of winter,

Persevering through storms, scarcity, and bleakness.

We find the warmth of home and family,

Banding together in love, need, and protection.


We discover the mystery of beauty

In the lands of winter

And the warmth of love

As we walk through the land to peace.

May your journeys be filled with magic, delights, endurance, warmth and peace!  B*B

 

Celebrating the Hag! Baba Yaga, the Hag of Winter

Baba Yaga 2

Baba Yaga by Kinuko Y. Craft

This eternal winter, dubbed the Polar Express by the press, has turned into a polar depression for many people.  The persistent cold and sudden snow squall is peppered by blizzards, traffic accidents, and cruel, teasing almost-thaws.  It can lay siege to our hearts and our nerves.  How do we melt our frozen wills?  By celebrating.

Our circle celebrates the hag.  We laugh, we kvetch, we keen, and we laugh some more.  Two of our witches have decided to bypass the wisdom of the crone and, as they say, “go straight to hag,” because the hag doesn’t care.  She wears what she likes, she says what’s on her mind, and she does as she pleases.  If children cross the street to avoid the hag’s house?  So what, the hag views that with glee!  And that is what the hag has become for us:  a woman of a certain age who stands in her power and acts as she wills.

Each quarter this year, we are identifying a Witch of legend and lore to celebrate and explore.  In the grip of a cold, harsh winter, we celebrate the Hag, Baba Yaga.

There is no character in folk-tales or mythology who is so irredeemable and wicked as Baba Yaga. She is a fearsome, ugly old hag who lives on the edge of the forest. Her house is surrounded by a fence of bones and topped with skulls whose eyes glow red in the dark. The house itself is set on chicken legs and can move around with great noise and frightening disruption.

The hag herself is not a pretty sight. Her nose is so large, it is said that it touches the ceiling when she sleeps. She has iron teeth and is frequently called, Baba Yaga Boney Legs. While she is said to have no control over the pure in heart, she does have a reputation for baking young children in her huge oven and crunching on their bones.

She rides around in a mortar using a pestle to propel her and when she arrives a great winds begins and stirs up the world around her. When she leaves, she removes all traces of herself with a broom made of silver birch. Sometimes her conveyance is a huge kettle. Other times, she appears as a kindly old crone, assisting people in distress.

Like so many legends and stories of the mythic creatures and the gods, there is great power underneath. Who was she before these stories; and who will she become as we work with her. The author Deborah Blake describes her journey of creating a modern-day story with Baba Yaga in it. You can read it at her blog. I am very much looking forward to reading her first novel published by a major house–it now has a cover.

As Blake points out, John and Caitlin Matthews in The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures have researched the story behind the story of Baba Yaga, pointing that although she is portrayed as an “archetypal bogey-woman, she is actually a primal goddess. The mortar and pestle are symbols of creation and destruction, and her broom cleanses and cleans.

She inhabits the borderlands, those places between life and death, the places between this world and other worlds. She gave Koshei the Deathless, a dragon with human shape, his mortality. She also controls another fire-breathing dragon, Chudo-Yudo who guards the Water of Life and death.  She has fierce companions and friends.  She befriends the friendless and empowers the powerless.  She is one of those teachers you strive to meet her standards, because she hold the bar high and demands your achievement.

It’s obvious she’s a great witch of power.  I met her during a healing journey.  She was fierce, strong, and in good fighting shape.  She gave me strong words of wisdom for my protection and healing.  I’m working through a lot of uncertainty and sorrow at this point in my life, and she made it clear that she was at my back.  She joked about the chicken legged house, saying a lot of disruption and noise is not a bad thing.  She changed her visage from kindly old crone, to girl, to hot chick and back to fearsome hag before me; and then told me people see what they need to see where she is concerned.  She gave me some advice about some of my struggles and then said “I leave that with you to do or not do.”  Then she gave me a very fierce hug and was off again.

Baba Yaga

I am the wild, untamed nature of the world
I am the whirling music of nature
And the strange heartbeat
Of life and death.

I fly the world in my vessel of change
Propelled by creation and destruction.
I sweep from this world to the others
Clearing and cleansing the way.

I am in love with the unusual
Finding beauty and interest in the odd.
Wonder and curiosity move me
From marvel to marvel.
Shift your vision and you will see it too!

My the paralysis you feel about certain things be melted in glee, delight, and fierce determination.

The Year of the Green Horse

2014HappyNewYearHorseThe Chinese New Year of 2014 begins January 31st at the new moon. This is the Year of the Horse.  In Chinese astrology, each set of twelve signs cycles through the five elements: Air, Fire, Water, Metal, and Wood. This year, the element is Wood. Because wood is associated with plants, the color is green. This is the Year of the Green Horse.

The Horse as Totem

Often, shamanic practitioners refer to their drums as their horse, the spirit that conveys them to the realms of magic and mystery. The horse as a totem is considered a Spirit Messenger, a Be-ing of great sensitivity and intuition. The Horse as totem has similar energies of service, nobility, movement, and freedom.

Horse is also a Creature of between and boundaries, since Horse is notable for its strong sensual and physical nature as well as its magical spiritual one. Horse is about wildness, and about being tamed, harnessed, and bridled. Horse is about carrying burdens, and about being free as the wind. Horse is known for its strong instinctual nature with strong passionate drives, emotions and desires. Horse is about discipline, success, and achievement.

Come run with me
As we race, wild and free,
With the wind.
Come with me as we express our desires
And find our bliss.
Run, trot, and gallop
In pursuit of Joy and Happiness
Be still and calm with me in realizing our dreams.

Come ride with me
As we work to accomplish our desires
We hold the saddle and bridle
Lightly in service to Wonder
We speak Mystery
In Messages from Spirit
We cross the borders
To find our magic.
Blessed Be.

The Year of the Horse

Horse people are cheerful, witty, talented, and good with their hands. Full of Yang energy, they are energetic, active both mentally and spiritually and have great charm and sex appeal. Generally they are very gifted. They are both able to conform while at the same time very rebellious. There are lots of contradictions in their nature with their great humanitarianism and then their wild adventurous side. They are wonderfully warm hearted and have fantastic communication skills.

The predictions for the Year of the Horse are for happiness, luck, and good wishes. It’s generally a thrilling year with lots of opportunities. It will be up to the person’s sense of adventure whether you grab those opportunities or not. Thrilling does not particularly mean easy. Most predictions are made in the context of the individual’s zodiac sign.

Since the astrology designation tends to be predictive in nature, why not cast your favorite divination method. Some questions might be:

• What opportunities will come my way during the Year of the Horse?

• What will thrill me about the Year of the Horse, and what will not?

• How can I explore the adventurous side of my nature.

• What must I change about myself to become the person I want to be during the Year of the Horse?

• What kinds of things can I do for the greater good of humans and other beings?

• What areas of my life do I need to tame?

• Where in my life do I need more freedom?

Year of the Green Horse
A Tarot Spread
Use this spread when you feel deflated and lost, when you aren’t sure how to achieve your dreams, or you feel pulled by conflicting desires/needs. This explores the energy and burdens you need or don’t need so you can move forward
once again!

hORSE TAROT

Position One: What are the messages from Spirit?
Position Two: What are you saddled with?
Position Three: What do you need to brush away?
Position Four: Where do you need to kick up your heels?
Position Five: Where are you unbridled?
Position 6: What helps you move?
Position 7: What leads you on and what inspires you?

Tchotchke Oracle: Rocking the Magic of Everyday Things

contents of tchotchke oracle

Tchotchke Oracle

As we enter the path of Wicca, Paganism, or adopt a new divination system, we enter a new world of exploration, and of shiny objects and alluring collections of really neat things.  Garb, cloaks, fantastic objects, athames, wands, and so much more.  We can be lead to believe that we need the perfect cloak, the ideal chalice, and all the other accoutrements available.  I once quipped (and have never lived down) that this is the shopping religion.  The same was true, I might add, of mainstream religions.  When I was a Christian, I spent a great deal of meager salary on the perfect leather-bound Bible with gold-edge pages in exactly the right translation.  Then I accumulated more translations and commentaries.  None of these things deepened my walk with Deity; study, communication, fellowship, and prayer did that.  The same is true of the Pagan path.  It is our actions and connections that bring us closer to Spirit. Deborah Blake writes about this online and in her book, Witchcraft on a Shoestring.    She presents practical and frugal ways to practice our Craft along with ways to be authentic and magical.
I once heard Ted Andrews speak and he said that nature is speaking to us all the time and that we need to turn our minds and our ears to hear a new language.  I think the same is true with objects.  The objects we have in our lives accumulate meaning and symbolism that mean something to us personally.  We can read that meaning and let the objects talk to us, help us solve or problems, or lead us to new insights.   This idea was further verified when a friend on Facebook, Morewenna, posted a picture of her Magpie Oracle.
Her posting spurred a lot of conversation and discussion and I realized I could do this too.  I would name mine Tchotchke Oracle for several reasons.  Tchotcke is fun to say, my father used to pepper his talk with Yiddish phrases picked up from people he met in his gregarious ways, and I grew up in an area rich in Jewish lore, customs, and humor.  One woman told me her fiance defined the word tchotchke as “cute little things” and he referred to his balls as tchotchkes.
Kristen Madden in her book, Magick, Mystery, and Medicine has an activity she calls a junk walk.  Go outdoors and with your spiritual mind notice things for your junk bag.  Ask permission to take it with you, and then add it to your bag.  This bag and the contents can guide you and the nature spirits will talk with you through the contents.
I went around my house cleaning out draws, crannies, and other hidden places for little things to put in my oracle.  These things reflect my eccentric interests, hobbies, spiritual path and family life.  There are charms, shells, buttons, and all sorts of items.  I am proud of the fact that I didn’t have to buy a things, not even the bag.  It is large.  Plastic, manufactured, useful, and not useful were all part of the oracle.  I did a little ceremony in front of my altar to welcome the wisdom of the oracle into my life.
I’ve used it in several ways.  I had the members of a shamanic class I was leading put together their own oracle bag.  We were exploring a particular question so each of us drew objects from our own bag and talked about what it said in relationship to the question.  Since the amalgam of our insights were not clear, we drew a map to represent the question since it was centered on a place.  We then closed our eyes and tossed (gently) our objects onto the picture.  I then drummed and we journeyed to the place and explored our question.  Our journeys and the objects intertwined and overlapped, giving us all deeper insights into the complex question we were exploring.
I’ve drawn objects at random moments when I’ve needed a lift, at a time of reflection, or just fooling around.  I have laid out objects in a pattern used for Tarot so each object serves a role or poses a question.  I then read the objects in relationship to their position and then as a collective message.  Sometimes the oracle speaks clearly, sometimes eloquently, sometimes mysteriously, and at other times, just kicks my butt.  I’ve used it in tandem with Tarot, my divination tool of choice to augment a reading.
Others, such as Carrie Paris , have developed oracles according to other systems such as Lenormand.  On her website, she provides a free sheet that you can download.  You then place your charms, objects, and tchotckes and read it in relationship to whatever you are exploring.
This time of year is one of two where the veil between the worlds are the thinnest.  The messages and omens from the other realms are more easily accessed.  It is a time of ancestors, death, harvest, waning times, and preparation for hibernation (retreat).  Every time is a good time to reach out, this may be an easier time.
Wishing you an open heart, ears to hear, and eyes to see.  May the Spirits speak their love and blessings to you!

 

 

 

I’ve Got You In My Power

polar bear hugsI’ve got you in my power” is a running family joke.  It started when my sister’s two oldest children were about three and four.  I would envelop them in a big hug and say, “I’ve got you in my power.”  They would squirm, wiggle, and whine, “I don’t want to be in your power.”  The only way to get out of my power was to give me a kiss.  One day after a visit, my niece hugged her father (my brother-in-law) and said, “I’ve got you in my power.”  To which my brother-in-law said, “I see you’ve been spending time with Aunt Gail.”  And thus another Gailism is born.

Since then (my niece and nephew are in their twenties and *gulp* early thirties), my sister has always announced, when visiting my mother, “I’ve got my mother in my power.”  And on it goes.

I had a good conversation with my mother this weekend.  She has taught me many things and most recently not to be afraid of words like cancer, psychosis, confusion, dementia, and cancer [I’m still afraid of the d-word].  She’s a strong woman and sometimes the ravages of time and chronic disease robs her of her usual acuity and abilities.  This all has its ups and downs and riding these waves is a big challenge, particularly since I live 400 miles away.

When I spoke to her I said, “I hear you have [my brother] Frank in your power.”  She answered yes and we talked of many things.  Later on, I asked, “Are you having a good visit with Frank?” She replied, “Yes, it’s always good to have someone new in my power.”  That made me feel delighted, light, and happy.  It was a good conversation to have.

Power has been written about a lot to the point where it gets tiresome.  It does seem to be a lesson that we learn over and over again.  How to use power appropriately, how to recognize when power is being abused, and how to recognize different kinds of power.  For awhile in the Pagan community, it was became a bad word.  One to shy away from.  At the same time, in shamanic terms, the practitioner journeys to non-ordinary reality to gain power.  The key is how you use the power.  If you use it for good and not for ill, or if you use it for the good of your community or others, then the accumulation and use of power is a good one.  If you use power for your own advancement to the detriment of other beings, well then the use of power is a poor one.   I believe power is another word to not fear.

When looking at power and how we gain it and use it, we must use discernment.  I think we need to see what lens we are using to look at power.  Are you looking through the lens of love?  Revenge?  Entitlement?  The way you look at power is important.  If we fear it and shy away from it, then power becomes something bad.

Look at it like a hug.  Hugging is a communication between two beings.  Are you expressing love, can each of you move out of the hug as you need or wish to.  Or is the hug a vise holding you close in ways you do not wish.  If you hug with open arms and allow everyone the choice of leaving or staying, then “I’ve got you in my power,” is a phrase of love, affection, family, and community.

Getting to Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall is the pinnacle venue for a performing artists:  to play at Carnegie Hall is to know that you have “arrived.”   The first time I heard that joke was probably from my father who said it in Brooklyn accents, a man asks a taxi driver how to get to carnegie hallCarnegie Hall?  And the taxi driver said, “Practice, practice, practice.”  My father liked to exaggerate when he told a joke, he was a good storyteller and joker.

How many of us took an instrument or learned a skill and found out that to get really good at it, you had to do it over and over again.  Practice.  It could be piano, drawing, violin, or even mowing the lawn.  To get it right and to get so whatever it is expresses what you want, you have to practice the basics again and again.  To reach the pinnacle of achievement (to arrive, so to speak), you have many hours, months, and years of practice and learning.

A few years ago at work, a group of us met with some architects to discuss building design.  Each group of architects talked about their practice of architecture and what it meant for their business and their creativity.  And that is the other part of practice, it’s the underpinning of your creative expression; this expression of who you are.  I can talk to you about the practice of my profession, librarianship, in lofty terms, and how it fulfills the ideals of a democratic society and how it is about getting to the heart of a question.  It is a practice.

That practice is a myriad of skills, basic and advanced, along with knowledge that spans both breadth and depth.  How I got here was to practice those skills and apply that knowledge every minute of each day I was working.  And a lot of time outside of my job too.  I am a librarian in my heart as well as something I do to earn my paycheck.

It is also true of spiritual practices, the real point of this post.  The only difference is, I think that the pinnacle (“to arrive) is not the point.  It’s all about the practice.  It is in the practice that we find our inner wisdom and our gnosis, our knowing.   At a recent work retreat, we had a philosophy professor come and talk to us about stress and stress reduction.  He explained to us that philosophy asks the questions:  How shall we live?  Why is there something and not nothing?  Why is there beauty?  And philosophy asks ethical questions as well:  How shall we live?  How do we make meaning?  what is a good life?

He spoke of well-being not in terms of health but in the tersm so fthe Greek idea of a balanced life.  To be well in our Be-ing.  To seek the middle way.  It sounds a lot like a Pagan spirituality, doesn’t it.  I suspect that underneath the layers of misunderstanding, most religions seek that kind of balance as well.

He went on to speak of practice; that by following a daily practice every day you find that well being.  He defined the daily practice as a set of mundane habits that you follow every day.  He spoke of conscious belly breathing and Qi Gong as the way to follow a practice.  I would add mindfulness to the daily habits.  For instance, each morning as I go about my morning wake up and shower, I stand before my altar located outside the bathroom and say a short devotion.  And then I take my vitamins.  The vitamins are part of the devotion and are in a basket on my altar which is devoted to self-care and well Be-ing.  Short, simple, and incorporated, mindfully, into my routine habits.

On my needlework blog I talked today about Tom Cowan’s statement in his book, Shamanism as a Spiritual Practice for Daily Life, that a daily spiritual practice of shamanism gives rise to an art practice.  I think mindful practice births other practices, allowing us to expresss ourselves and our wisdom in myriad ways.  I have a professional practice, a spiritual practice, and a creative one (or two, or more).  What is creative to me might be drudgery to you, and the reverse will be true as well.  So together, our practices create diversity and shows us the infinite ways the Universe expresses life, beauty, and wisdom.

May you find the heart of your daily practice and the well BE-ing of your soul.

Majors Monday: The Magician

I am continuing to look at the majors for inspiration and for designing spreads. My desire is to make spreads as simple and clear as possible. Sometimes I feel that a lot of cards confuses the querent and the reader. Readers know the cards better and can probably absorb a lot of information, but sometimes the querent will shut down before they hear all the cards read because there’s just too much information.
The Magician is good at sorting out information and presenting it in a coherent and cohesive format. It’s not that he or she is simplistic in the power of thought, it’s just that the Magician can develop focus.
The arm pointed above and the arm pointed below indicates a firm grounding in earthly matters while understanding there is a celestial connection to things. He becomes a channel or conduit. Shamanic teaching tells us below or underworld is the source of information for earthly, bodily, and health matters while the above teaches us the wisdom of teachers and celestial energies. Neither above nor below is better than the other.
It can sometimes be a heady experiences to channel all that information and arrogance in his own opinion can be a danger for the magician. He has the tools on the table before him and he can use them anyway he chooses. The infinity symbol above his head helps him keep things in the perspective that he is a finite being working with huge infinite energies.
In shamanic thinking, the shaman is one who journeys between the worlds to gain wisdom and power to benefit the community; it is an act of service. A sorcerer may do the same journeywork and discover the same power and wisdom. The difference is the sorcerer uses that information in service only to himself or herself. The sorcerer’s hands are not connected to above and below in the stance of the magician, but rather directs it into his/her own being.
With this anchoring and the greater perspective, he can use his tools to gain wisdom and power to benefit himself in the service of others.
Wisdom and Knowledge
Use this spread to understand the purpose behind the querent’s quests and questions and to determine a future plan

Card One: Your view of the infinite, the long view, long-term idea
Card Two: Where your head is at, what your thinking, imagining, or dreaming
Card Three: Information from the infinite, your teachers, or celestial wisdom
Card Four: Information from the underworld about body, health, earthly matters
Card Five: What are you channeling, accessing; are there blockages?
Card Six, Seven, Eight and Nine can be read together as the tools you have access to; or seperately as Cups, Pentacles, Swords, and Wands.
Let me know how this works for you since it’s brand new!
May the wisdom of all your teachers from all the worlds be clear and delightful to you.

Post Navigation