Jul 112016
 

This is the third of four weeks of posts on pilgrimage as part of the seasonal ritual Walking the Ways of the Summer Light. The pilgrimage posts began with Departure from the Threshold and continued with Journey.

snail as jpegPilgrimage is a spiral practice. Within pilgrimage’s ample container are many practices and rituals that circle together to form the whole of your experience. The work of one phase repeats but deepens or expands as you continue on your Way.

Then you reach the Center.  

The practices and rituals from the journey have been your teacher, but as you approach the Center, you must let go of the teacher and embrace the call of the moment. On your final approach to the Center, you improvise, are present to the Now, and allow yourself to sense Presence.

The Center is hard to express; it is Wholeness in a fragmented world and any words to describe it are just little slices shaved away from that completeness.

No Center is the same because no journey is the same, and the Center may show itself at any moment or perhaps hide in plain sight. .

I can not tell you about the Center because it will be yours alone to experience. I will instead share my story of a trip to a Center. Read this story not as instructions, but as an offering to your imagination as it guides you on your Way.

I prepared. I was spontaneous. Though my annual August trip to Maine is what I think of as my pilgrimage time when the inspiration to go the Wisdom Rocks on the Mill River came to me on a quiet Sunday, I set off with cards, notebook and camera.

I followed my inspirations of the moment. As I walked the path, I let myself be drawn into the water. I listened to the message I heard inside: “Approach by water.” To walk in water on a hot summer day is no penance, but there was resistance as I walked upstream and I had to be careful in my footing on the rocky river bed. The flow of the water and my extra attentiveness heightened my senses and my feeling of connection to all that surrounded me.

mill river path in water

Bring nothing into the Center. The Wisdom Rocks are in slight bend and drop of the river so the current is stronger there. There was a chance I would fall into the water so I left behind my pouch with cards and camera. It was a practical precaution, but it also felt right to take nothing with me, to have not possibility of documenting the moment other than in my memory. I moved very slowly here where the water was fastest and rocks slickest. Then I stepped into the center of what is like an open circle of rocks, and the current calmed.

Be in the Center. I had no ritual tools. I had no specific plans. I even forgot to think specifically about my question. I just spread my arms wide.  I stood there for a while. I moved in a circle.

Take nothing from the Center. As I prepared to leave, I reached down into the water for a small rock, what I thought would be a memento. But there were living things attached to this rock and a black, centipede-like creature almost crawled up my arm. I returned the rock quickly to its dark home.

Return as attentively as you entered. I had to leave with the same attention with which I entered. The current’s power returned as I stepped from the ring of rocks. I moved carefully and attentively until I returned to the river’s edge.

Take time for integration at the Center’s edge.  Between the intensity of the Center and the return to commonplace is the space between, an ecotone where Spirit and Earth mix. Linger here letting the lessons and messages sink in, come into focus, or just implant themselves for a time of later emergence.  I sat on a log feeling the cold aliveness of my legs for a long while. Then I played with thread and rock and cards. I shall leave you with that image as a rest from words.

rock thread cards by mill river

You can look for the final pilgrimage post early next week on the theme of Return.

Jul 062016
 

This is the second of four weeks of posts on pilgrimage as part of the seasonal ritual Walking the Ways of the Summer Light. The pilgrimage posts began last week with Departure from the Threshold

On a pilgrimage, we seek the Center, but it is the journey that shapes up.

Rachel Pollack’s Six of Trees from the Shining Tribe shows us a particular and rather whimsical journey. Rachel describes how the woman in the image is walking through a forest of Tree Spirits, in whose bark can be seen eyes suggestive of owls. Below the woman are symbols of the underworld. In this rather wild and mysterious landscape the woman walks forward energetically followed by her dog.  There is no cliff, but she could be The Fool who journeys with a confidence carved from a heart that remains light through both delight and difficulty.

ST 6 of treesThe Six of Trees has a special journey meaning from its association with one of Rachel’s Wisdom Reading, in which she asks the Tarot questions on not personal matters but spiritual and philosophical topics. Rachel’s first such question to the Tarot was: What is the soul? The answer came in the form of the deep-eyed owl shown on the Ace of Birds.  When Rachel asked What is the Tarot?, the Six of Trees with its owl-filled forest appeared. The Tarot describes itself as a journey through the forest of souls. This could also be a definition for pilgrimage.

Each card of the Tarot then might suggest a precept, rule, or guideline for how to journey on pilgrimage. This kind of guidance is often given to pilgrims as they begin their journey. In The Art of Pilgrimage, Phil Cousineau tells us that medieval pilgrims had 27 such articles to guide them as they traveled through foreign lands. I won’t go through all the cards (though it might be a worthwhile pilgrimage activity for someone to take on) but instead consult the cards in a Wisdom Reading on how to make our pilgrimage journeys.

To create this Wisdom Reading for Pilgrimage, I used two central oppositions that I found in pilgrimage writings:

  • As we journey, we must remain alert, but also detached.
  • The journey is made in the external world (our bodies walking the landscape), but the vital action is interior (it is our souls that make the journey).

To lay out the reading, I set the Six of Trees in the middle of four cards.  The card to the left of the Six of Trees guides us in how to stay alert while the card to the right shows us what we can detach from. The card above guides us in living the exterior reality while the card below shows us how to tend the interior. Of course, I used the Shining Tribe.

ST speaker of stonesThe Speaker of Stones guides us in to how to be alert. Rachel describes this figure as inspired by European pre-historic carvings and cave paintings that suggest conceptual symbolism despite the simple, natural forms. Rachel writes: “Through the silent voices of such paintings and carvings on rock and bone, these vastly old cultures still Speak to us, telling us of the power of the earth and the mysteries of the human intellect.” As we travel, we listen and look below the loudest sounds and most apparent images to direct our attention to the earthy and the natural. In these quieter and less obvious offerings are the symbols from nature that point us to the deeper mysteries and what we most need to know.

ST ace of riversThe Ace of Rivers shows us an image of what we would do well to detach from. A river of emotion rushes from the mouth of the cave. We can detach from the emotions that arise as we journey. Pilgrimage takes us through new terrain and out of our comfort zone. Here we are vulnerable, and emotions – both the familiar and the unusual – arise in us. I do not believe the counsel here is to block these emotions, but rather to let them flow, don’t hold on to them. Let their release be a kind of purification. We grow stronger when we let the emotions flow through us as we make the journey.

ST hermitThe Hermit shows us how to live and walk in the exterior world.  The figure here holds the pilgrim’s staff and stands before both a tree cradling the sun and the suggestion of a doorway leading to a lantern. The tree could be anywhere and the doorway is not attached to any specific place, but both are connected to sources of light. This reminds us that the source of the pilgrim’s enlightenment could be anywhere along the journey route, not just at the Center. Each moment contains the potential for enlightenment. The turtle below the figure certainly counsels, “Take your time. Don’t rush. Give yourself fully to the journey.”

ST 7 of treesThe Seven of Trees guides us in how to tend our interior experience. This image of a spine connects us to both the physical realities of our bodies and symbolic systems such as the Chakras that chart the energetics within. The circle on the spine locates the place of the heart and invites us listen to the heart as we tend our interior movements through pilgrimage. Rachel writes: The heart is the seat of love, and it is love that connects the sensory and the spiritual. And so we find on the spinal tree a radiant sun at the place of the heart. There is no head in the picture. The openness of the card takes us beyond the separateness of ego”.  Heart messages nurture us within and from this place of interior focus, we paradoxically come to know our connection to the Whole. Separateness and divisions fall away on the journey when as we follow the heart’s guidance.

From these musings emerge pilgrimage precepts for Walking the Ways of the Summer Light:

  • Open to earth’s mysteries. The smallest creature or movement might carry the wisdom that speaks to your pilgrimage seeking.
  • Let your emotions flow as you make your journey. Don’t hold on to them.
  • Be awake to each moment’s potential for enlightenment.
  • Be guided by Love. Let Love open you to your own soul and the soul of the Whole.

Your journey may be challenging or fun, signs may be abundant or scarce, your plans may be realized or not, but know you are touching into something sacred just in the making of the journey. You are entering into the great tradition of pilgrimage.  The Art of Pilgrimage includes a quote from mythologist Joseph Campbell about the hero’s journey. I’ve changed the word “hero” to “pilgrim” to offer this quote as a blessing for the journey.

We have only to follow the thread of the [pilgrim] path,

and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god[dess].

And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves.

Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the center of our own existence.

And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world. 

Look for a post early next week on The Center.

Jul 022016
 

As the last new moon reached the end of its cycle, I post these readings as a prompt for contemplative practice and noticing the more cosmic patterns of life as you attend to the lunar energy in a solar world.

July New Moon – Monday, July 4, 2016 at 7:01am ET in the USA

Releasing the last air moon & Welcoming the new water moon

“Let the Strawberry Teach” Reading 

What if we took the strawberry, this abundant fruit of the season, as our teacher over the next few weeks?  What if we dared to show our passion and fullness of being?  I invite you to commune with a strawberry (or melon or mulberry … pick your own pleasure) and see what messages arise to guide you. 

CALL: What calls to be expressed – passionately, abundantly, playfully – in the next few weeks to walk your true path?

FLOW:
 How can you express this?

FULLNESS:  What will come into fullness when you express it?

You can order this as an e-reading for $22. Here is a sample of how I do these readings in a collaborative intuitive format. I have slots open after the new moon / starting July 9th

Jun 272016
 

This is the first of four weeks of posts on pilgrimage as part of the seasonal ritual Walking the Ways of the Summer Light. The ritual began with four weeks of elemental Wisdom Wanders before the Solstice. You don’t have to have done the Wisdom Wanders to join in on the sacred travel at the center of this ritual time. 

Three pilgrimage principles guide the sacred travel that leads us out from the Solstice and walking the ways of the summer light:

seeker spread full verticleThe Pilgrim is a Stranger. The pilgrim leaves behind not only the place that she knows, but the place where she is known. Her usual status, roles, responsibilities, and most relationships are left behind. This removal from the every day allows her to walk in the eternal flow. Since we are temporal beings, the eternal is strange to us, and it is this strangeness that demands we break our heart, soul, senses, and awareness out of their usual patterns and dip them into something unusual. To be strange is to be renewed.

The Pilgrim seeks a Center.  Pilgrimages are journeys made with intention. The symbol of the intention is the destination that we seek. We make a shrine, well, stone, or house the center of our travels, but these are the outer manifestations of Center sought to find perhaps wisdom, healing, clarity, or soul purpose. Unlike the Wisdom Wanders before the Solstice where we journeyed without a specific aim gathering questions rather than answers, the pilgrim walks with a question or concern to bring to the Center for enlightenment.

The Pilgrim walks for herself, but also for the Greater Whole. The journey may begin out of personal need, but ultimately serves the Greater beyond the individual. This Greater might have one of the names of the Divine (Aphrodite, Jesus, Spider Woman), serve a value or cause (Peace, Justice, Reconciliation), or even honor the Earth on which the journey is made. The pilgrimage is the encounter with the Greater Than that enters into the one who travels. Then the pilgrim becomes the hands, the voice, the heart of this Whole held in physical form.

Departing for Pilgrimage – The Work of Week One

What to Leave Behind?

You probably know about the physical realities and every day work that you’ll leave behind, but consulting cards to identify deeper issues and strategy support helps the process of departure.  You might ask questions like:

  • What responsibilities of my outer life do I most need to pay attention to as I prepare to leave the every day behind? How do I do this leaving behind?
  • What patterns of my inner life can I leave behind? How do I do this leaving behind?

What to Bring?

A Focus Question

If you have done Wisdom Wanders with their collecting of questions, you probably have quite a few. Here is a suggested process for finding the one to take on pilgrimage:

  • Gather all the questions in one place. You might write them all on a piece of paper or write individual questions on note cards.
  • Look for questions that are similar or connected. You can draw lines between questions on one sheet of paper or cluster note cards. You might see words that keep coming up or variations on what is really one question. Get a fresh piece of paper or note card and tinker with the words/common questions to craft that into one question that speaks to your soul.
  • A question might jump off the page or cards and demand your attention.  Did you give one question more space or write it in larger letters? If so, that is the one to take.
  • If you have more than one compelling questions, pull a Tarot card and see if it reflects more one question than another. If you truly can’t decide, take more than one question on pilgrimage.

If you have not done any Wisdom Wanders, you can use cards to support the question development process.

  • Longer version: Sort your deck into suits and pull a card from each suit. Brainstorm questions that each of these cards inspire. Let yourself generate lots of questions and don’t judge the ideas that arise. Then do the process above to find the one question to take on pilgrimage.
  •  Shorter version: Pull one card from a deck and let it suggest the question to take. You might even imagine the figure on the card asking a question of you.

Gifts to Offer

You will be a stranger dependant on the hospitality of the seen and unseen beings you meet on your journey. Before you leave, you might want to prepare to offer gifts of gratitude. These could be items that would help you to do a gratitude or honoring ritual, small natural gifts such as pebbles and ribbons, or a gift representative of the place where you live to give to people hosting you.

Inspirations

A ritual object, devotional book, a piece of jewelry, or a poem can be a touchstone to tune you into your deepest purpose for making this journey.

Who Accompanies You on the Way?

We do not travel alone (even if there are no other people traveling with us). You may know your Guide and just need to make an invitation to travel with you. Or you may need a process to connect with the Guide for the pilgrimage time. Pulling a card(s) from any Major Arcana or a deck like the Dark Goddess or Oracle of Initiation can connect you with a Divine Wisdom Guide. (I looked at all the Guides who had traveled with me on Wisdom Wanders and three of them stepped forward to continue traveling with me through the Pilgrimage time.)

How to Step Over the Threshold?

The preparation ends and the journey begins. For a moment, you’ll stand at the threshold between the worlds of the every day known and the beckoning strange. Here you are invited to mark the moment with a simple ritual or perhaps a prayer.

Crafting a prayer that is unique to your journey is a rich practice. You can say it for the first time at the Threshold and also as you start each day or phase of your journey. You might weave together a prayer by completing these prompts:

I thank/praise …..- name your Guide(s) and their beautiful powers – … for gifts already given and accompanying me on this sacred journey.

As I walk forward into this pilgrimage / day, I watch for / I seek ….

Release in me / Open my heart to / Free me from ….

Please protect me from ….

May I be / May all beings be ….

Blessed Be / Amen / Ho

Yes, blessings on you as the journey begins.

Next week’s post on the theme of Journey will be up by Tuesday. 

 

 

 

 

Jun 152016
 

This is the fourth Wisdom Wander of the Walking the Ways of the Summer Light series. The focus is on the element of Water. In these weekly posts, I expand on my general suggestions that you may want to review for orientation. The first Earth Wisdom Wander also contains more detail on the process of preparing for and beginning the Wanders. These are only prompts for your own creating and modification.

This Fire Wisdom Wander would be especially appropriate to do on the Solstice, June 20th. This moonth’s e-reading, Dance with the Sun, is also a good resource for finding the illumination at this time of year. I have three slots to do e-readings on Saturday, June 18th. Sign up quick if you want one.

PREPARE FOR AND BEGIN YOUR FIRE EXPLORATION

Prepare to Explore Fire: Take a moment to ponder the element of Fire as you’ve experienced it manifested in your life. How often are you aware of Fire? What forms does Fire take? Where do you experience Fire in these various forms? What role does Fire play in your life? Let the ideas emerge like sparks and when one really grabs your attention follow that idea toward the location for your Fire Wisdom Wander.

Invite your Way Showers / Guides / Inquisitors / Translators for the Day:  If working with a Tarot deck, you may want to pull your cards from just the suit of Fire / Wands or some combination of the Fire suit and the Major Arcana. As I see each Major Arcana as an image of Wholeness, I work with the idea that each individual Major card contains the power of all the elements.

fire guides and lessonsThere was an interesting contrast of shadow and illumination in my 2015 Wisdom Wander cards from  The Oracle of Initiation and The Shining Tribe

EXPLORE WITH THE ELEMENT OF FIRE

What belongs to Fire? Where does it show itself? Where is it hidden or blocked? What belongs to other elements? You won’t need to and won’t be able to ignore the presence of Earth, Air, and Water. All the elements mix to make our dynamic world. But you are invited to tune into Fire’s energy and the unique ways that it shows itself, including within …

fire site mandala horizontal

  • The Sun: Life on the planet is made possible because of the star, our Sun, that the Earth circles. Plants and trees use the sun to make their food and we creatures eat them to gain the energy we need to live. In The Earth Path, Starhawk describes our relationship to the sun with playful metaphor, writing: “In four or five steps at most, we go back to the sun. All life is, in a sense, a transformation of energy into form. We are sunlight at a vast costume party, dressing itself up in one form after another, discarding one outfit to pick up a different one.” The sun’s continual abundance is a great gift of the cosmos to sustain our lives.
  • The Moon: The changing light of the moon is an indirect form of the sun’s light. Sometimes the moon offers a full reflection of sun and the night landscape is almost as clear as in the day. But at other times, the night is dark and the moon in shadow. This reminds us we can not always live in the sun, at full energy, in clarity. There is darkness for rest and as a place where things are hidden and less apparent, which can be both gift and lesson.
  • Spark, flame, blaze, ember, and burnt remains: Actual fire is a direct and obvious way to explore the element. Along with observing fire’s actions, checking in on what happens to what remains once the flame is extinguished can take you into the depths of Fire. Fire in the natural world is both destructive and regenerative. Wild fires destroy what ever lies in its path, but afterwards soil has new nutrients and the clearing away of obstacles to sun reaching the forest floor invites new growth. Fire moves quickly but has a long term impact.
  • Embodied and Subtle Energy: Fire is the energy that exists within the forms of cells that act together to become plants, trees, animals, and our own bodies. The convergence of cells to form a whole is a mirror to how individual beings come together to contribute to a larger habitat or energy system. Finding the right balance of predator and prey, complementary plants and insects as well as inputs of fire, water, earth, and air (in this case literally rather than elementally) are what make a healthy landscape. In such a landscape we sense good energy or spirit of place. In a landscape that has been depleted, the spirit can be low or heavy, and is experienced as negative. This sense beyond the physical is the subtle energy that exists apart from science’s measurement but that spiritual practitioners have named and communed with as ch’i, prana, or auras. Impacting inputs in the subtle can be formless qualities such as love, anger, fear, compassion.
  • Exchange: Energy is constantly in movement and being exchanged: when we flip a light switch (energy comes from plant to lamp), as we eat (energy of the plant or creature being eaten is transferred to the one doing the eating), and during sex (it’s a high energy act from everyone from insects to humans and the exchange of cells starts the race toward a new being of embodied energy).

And as you are exploring – and you’ll certainly have to use your imaginal senses to do this – tune into the cells in your body. Can you feel the tingle of their fires at a specific spot? What is happening to the whole energy flow of your body? Where inside of you do you feel positive flow? Where do you feel blockages of flow?

REFLECTION AND QUESTION MAKING

Fire questions are the questions that might lead to sudden illumination. They might seem to come out of nowhere.  Just let ‘em come.  Give them some attention and they’ll expand from the energy you offer them.

Here are a few that have come to me on Fire Wisdom Wanders:

  • How can my fears move me toward my greatest achievements?
  • What if I dared to be flame?
  • What fills me with wonder? How can I do some of that right now?

SHARING

As you wander you may receive messages, either for you as an individual or for the collective. You may receive images that speak louder than words. You may experience a sensation that isn’t easily explained. You may feel called to share what you receive. Perhaps the Fire will share a message through you. Please do that sharing in what ever way feels right; tell a story to a friend, post on Facebook, write something for your blog, whisper some to the moon. Social media mavens, you may want to use hash tags of #wisdomwander #fire for tracking. Your comments here on the blog are welcome as well.

This is the last Wisdom Wanders post for this years Walking the Ways of the Summer Light series. There will be a brief pause in Walking the Ways posting so I can bask in the Solsticetide. On June 27th , four weekly posts on Pilgrimage as a place to find insight into the questions we have gathered on our Wisdom Wanders will begin.

Jun 062016
 

This is the third Wisdom Wander of the Walking the Ways of the Summer Light series. The focus is on the element of Water. In these weekly posts, I expand on my general suggestions that you may want to review for orientation. The first Earth Wisdom Wander also contains more detail on the process of preparing for and beginning the Wanders. These are only prompts for your own creating and modification.

PREPARE FOR AND BEGIN YOUR WATER FLOW

Enter Water’s Flow: Water moves if not contained so you might just flow out of one moment and into the next paying attention as you go to being your Wisdom Wander. You may leave your house without a plan and just follow your inspiration.

Invite your Way Showers / Guides / Inquisitors / Translators for the Day:  If working with a Tarot deck, you may want to pull your cards from just the suit of Water / Cups or some combination of the Water suit and the Major Arcana. As I see each Major Arcana as an image of Wholeness, I work with the idea that each individual Major card contains the power of all the elements.

Before gathering my guides and translators, I walked for a while along the river and then at a curve I stood for a while looking into the water, listening to it, and smelling the scent of water, sand, and fallen tree. I then pulled three cards from the Oracle of Initiation as guides for my Water flow; Clarity, Refining, and Recognition. To match the three Oracle cards I pulled three cards from a mix of the Minoan Tarot’s Major Arcana and the suit of Sea (this deck’s suit connected to the element of Water) to point me toward Water’s lessons for me. All Majors emerged: The Wheel of Life, Ecstasy (which takes the place of the Devil card in this deck), and Flow. (Yes, Flow!)

Guides and lessons 6.7.15

For my 2015 Water Wisdom Wander before gathering my guides and translators, I walked for a while along a river  smelling the scent of water, sand, and fallen tree. I then pulled three cards from the Oracle of Initiation as guides for my Water flow; Clarity, Refining, and Recognition. To match the three Oracle cards I pulled three cards from a mix of the Minoan Tarot’s Major Arcana and the suit of Sea (this deck’s suit connected to the element of Water) to point me toward Water’s lessons for me. All Majors emerged: The Wheel of Life, Ecstasy (which takes the place of the Devil card in this deck), and Flow. (Yes, Flow!)

FLOW WITH THE ELEMENT OF WATER

What belongs to Water? What belongs to other elements? You won’t need to and won’t be able to ignore the presence of Earth, Air, and Fire. All the elements mix to make our dynamic world. But you are invited to tune into Water’s flow and its special gifts. You might try out being with Water as …

  • Source of life. Creation stories from many different cultures begin with water. Our food comes to us because of water. We humans are mostly water. As I stood at the edge of slow moving waters, I was moved to whisper to the water: “Thank you for my life.”
  • A conduit of connection and wholeness.  In The Earth Path, Starkawk says that in meditation, she heard water say, “All water is one – one whole, one awareness. All water is continuously aware of all the other waters in the world.” So when you stand at the edge of the ocean, a river, or puddle you might feel the connection to all the other waters in the world. When you take a sip from the tap, you might imagine that you are drinking in the flow of all the oceans on the earth.
  • Trickster of cycles.  The sun and moon have regular cycles, but water shows us an irregular flow from deluge to drought, or sometimes just enough. During my 2015 Wander, I walked by my low river, Texas flooded but there are places in California that would be feel blessed by what I perceive as unusual lack. This cyclical imbalance offers another kind of reminder of how we are connected by water. While I may not be in California, the food produced there feeds the whole country. I have a local farm share so the impact this summer will be lessened for me individually, but the current food system will struggle to absorb the impact and real problems will emerge as the drought continues. This trickster side of water is offering us a lesson in connection and a prompt to think about solutions like localized food production.
  • Mirror. Serenity, turbulence, peace. The movement of water can help to let our feelings flow. Cascades of water can loosen our tears. A calm stretch of water can give us rest. We can mirror the water and find a new rhythm. This experience goes beyond words. Just be with water and see.
  • Voice. The sound of water is hypnotic, can shift your state. Let the water relax you into an altered state and then listen for its messages.
  • Mystery and play. Below the surface, water can be dark and murky, impenetrable. We know we can’t see everything. On my 2015 Wisdom Wander, I visited the large vernal pool that a few weeks ago had been filled with frog life, but now was dark with decay of leaves and fallen branches most apparent. How does this darkness descent so quickly? I ponder that question for a while, but later in the day came upon the water park where children squealed in delight as the cold water hit their shoulders. For many of us, water is the element we play in the most. We take vacations to be near water, swim in pools, dance in its spray. So water shows me that seriousness of mystery and the delight of play exist together, like Yin and Yang contain each other.

And as you are exploring – and you might have to use your imaginal senses to do this – see if you can feel your blood flowing. What tunes you into your inner movement? What softens in your body? Where inside do you know you are liquid and water and flow?

ecstasy ladyslipper 6.7.15

During my 2015 Water Wisdom Wander,  a rain drop had me looking up to see a hawk I followed off the trail to a lady slipper that invited me to ponder Ecstasy.

REFLECTION AND QUESTION MAKING

Water questions are the questions that just flow out of you as you wander and upon further reflection. Their source might be from any of the ideas outlined above or from some deep well. Just let the questions that enliven you and stir your heart surface. Here are some of mine from 2015:

  • What is my part to play in shedding the illusion of separation, of supporting the embrace of connection … and of Love?
  • How to embrace my cracks? How to let the healing water flow through them?  How to let the light shine through?
  • How to show my gratitude to my divine and otherworldly companions and guardians who are always showing up for me even as I doubt them?
  • How to keep releasing skepticism?
  • How to embrace the ecstatic embodiment of my unique gifts? What form / vessel can I create to share this?

I wrote more questions. I won’t use them all, but no need to stop the flow of their emergence in the moment. I’m not trying to answer the questions at this point. I’m just gathering them to see which ones I will want to bring on July’s pilgrimage.

Wisdom Wanders, after all, are not about finding the answers but become more fluid with welcoming our questions.  I love what Mellissae Lucia writes in the Oracle of Initiation companion book:  “Divination is truly about becoming a “question carrier.’ A question carrier is one who is able to be with uncertainty, mystery, and paradox within their lives … they do not need to rush toward concrete qualifications for things – they allow the story to unfold over time.”

SHARING

As you wander you may receive messages, either for you as an individual or for the collective. You may receive images that speak louder than words. You may experience a sensation that isn’t easily explained. You may feel called to share what you receive. Perhaps the Water will share a message through you. Please do that sharing in what ever way feels right; tell a story to a friend, post on Facebook, write something for your blog, whisper some to the moon. Social media mavens, you may want to use hash tags of #wisdomwander #water for tracking. Your comments here on the blog are welcome as well.

Wisdom Wanders continue next week with a Fire post – to prepare for Solstice!. For all you Writers, there is a special Wisdom Wander just for you on June 12th.

May 302016
 

June New Moon – Saturday, June 4, 2016 at 8:28am ET in the USA

Releasing the earth moon & Welcoming the new air moon – Looking forward to the Solstice on June 20th

Dance with the Sun Reading

The days are long but our shadows are short around the Summer Solstice.  With the light permeating and accepting all things, it may be time for a part of you that you’ve kept in the dark to emerge. Then you can blend the light and dark parts of yourself to express your full Self, to live from your Soul’s depths.

Gaian Tarot 19 the Sun

The Sun card from The Gaian Tarot where the woman dances on her shadow in the sun.

We are in the longest days here in North America where the Summer Solstice arrives on June 20th. The Sun makes all life on this planet possible so these long days invite rituals of gratitude for our system’s bright star. The Celts had many ways and words to praise both natural elements such as the sun and their Deities. This is a Scottish prayer to the sun recorded in the 19th century.

Welcome, Sun of the seasons, as you travel high in the skies;
Your steps are strong on the wing of the heights,
You are the glorious mother of the stars.

You lie down in the unending ocean
Without loss and  without fear. Your rise up on the peaceful wave
Like a young queen in the bloom of beauty.

Glory to you, sun of good fortune.
Glory to you, sun, countenance of the God of Elements.

Perhaps you have your own prayer for the sun or you will praise the sun with your body and commune with the ecstatic wild of the natural world made lush by the sun’s light.

SHADOW ILLUMINATION: What shadow part of yourself can be the key to your illumination?

CALLED TO SHINE: What bright part of you is called to shine forth?

THE DANCE:
 What can happen when these parts of you dance together?

You can order this as an e-reading for $22. Here is a sample of how I do these readings in a collaborative intuitive format. The next slots I have available are my special pre-Solstice slots on Saturday, June 18th

May 302016
 

This is the second Wisdom Wander of the Walking the Ways of the Summer Light series. The focus is on the element of Air. In these weekly posts, I expand on my general suggestions that you may want to review for orientation. The first Earth Wisdom Wander also contains more detail on the process of preparing for and beginning the Wanders. These are only prompts for your own creating and modification.

PREPARE FOR AND BEGIN YOUR AIR ENCOUNTER

Take a moment to ponder your connection to and understanding of the element of Air. What do you know about the air? How have you encountered air before in your life? What lessons might the air offer you? What might you receive from some time spent with air? What gifts can you offer to air?  Just let ideas float through your head. No need to be comprehensive, but your insights here can inspire your choice of location for your air wisdom wander.

Connect to Air. My back yard is surrounded by trees which I often watch sway in the wind so on my first Air Wisdom Wander just stepped out my back door and stood there for a while. I’d stopped on the walk right before a large leafed hosta plant and could see its leaves quiver in the slight breeze. I saw how it received and moved with the wind. I closed my eyes and felt the wind on my skin, ever so slightly lifting my hair. The breeze stopped, and the hosta and I stood still. The wind returned in a bit from a slightly different direction. I closed my eyes to feel air again on my skin in new places. I couldn’t see anything of this element so touch and feel became the sense bridge connecting me to Air This day the air was soothing, but I have also watched the tree branches in my yard whip and break during storms. The direction and intensity of Air changes and so our encounters with it, too, are changeable.

Invite your Way Showers / Guides / Inquisitors / Translators for the Day:  If working with a Tarot deck, you may want to pull your cards from just the suit of Air / Swords or some combination of the Air suit and the Major Arcana. As I see each Major Arcana as an image of Wholeness, I work with the idea that each individual Major card contains the power of all the elements.

guides and lessons 5.30.15

In 2015, I traveled with the Oracle of Initiation and The Shining Tribe

ENCOUNTER THE ELEMENT OF AIR

What belongs to the air? What belongs to other elements? You won’t need to and won’t be able to ignore the presence of Earth, Water, and Fire. All the elements mix to make our dynamic world. But you are invited to tune into what seems to you to be most elementally Air while out for the Wander (and maybe continuing through the week. From my preparing, I found my way toward paying particular attention to:

Directionality. The air can come from any direction, but your place on the planet might determine the more usual direction of its winds toward you.  Then when the wind shifts into unusual directions, the trees and plants, the place where you live, your body experience the unexpected. Winds can also come in from different directions at the same time. You then become the meeting point and are ruffled by the intersection of winds.

Flow.  What facilitates the flow of air and what inhibits it? I live in the shadow and protection of Mt. Tom, a small but old mountain that often takes the brunt of storms. Recent climate chaos activity (a hurricane in New England) have spared my home town, and last year a micro burst traveled the ridge of the mountain taking down a wide swath of trees, but it dissipated before entering too much of our populated areas. Starthawk in The Earth Path suggests that city dwellers go to their financial district to be amidst tall buildings and feel the wind channeled with intensity through its narrow space and then contrast that with more open parts of the city, a park perhaps, to learn about the flow of wind.

Intensity. The slight breeze and the edge of the storm are obviously different. As the intensity of the wind changes, what happens to the relationship between the physical world/your body and the air?

Creatures of the Air. Birds and flying insects have an intimate relationship with Air. They fly in and with the wind, must adjust and work with the changing nature of this element. They have their own behavior that inspires. In the still dark morning, the birds begin their calling in my back yard. They fill the sky with sound and the light returns. Their sounds later in the day are more subdued. Their relationship to daybreak is special and invites you to attend this time of transition as well.

The Invisible and Hidden. We are such visual creatures, but we can not see the air. We see birds, but often they are hidden behind leaves. Morning song seems to come from an invisible source.  As I started my first Air Wisdom Wander in 2015, this phrase rang in my mind: the hidden all around me. I carried it with me in the wind.

And as you are exploring, pay attention to your skin and your breath. How does it feel when walking into the wind and then out of the wind? What changes when you no longer feel the movement of air?

REFLECTION AND QUESTION MAKING

In keeping with the Tarot’s idea of the element of Air relating to the mind, and, also then to traditions that pass on spiritual and philosophical ideas, this week’s suggestions for gathering in your questions turns you toward the wisdom and writings of the deck(s) you took with you on your Wander. Deck creators share their interpretations of the meaning of cards and sometimes offer questions to ponder. You can borrow their questions and also look to turn statements into questions for diving deeper.

Here are my examples from the 3 Oracle of Initiation cards that I drew for my 2015 walk:

  • The introduction to Collaboration offers a juicy question:  Who are you called into sacred collaboration with now?
  • Embarking’s write up includes: “You are guided and protected by wise allies as you set out to discover your greatest gift yourself.” This invites questions like:  How can I open to these wise allies? What will I discover when I connect with these allies?
  • Sustainability’s admonition of what to investigate is easily transformed into a question: What is essential for me to live sustainably?

As we are in the realm of Air (and this is the week the new moon arrives in Airy Gemini), you are invited to do some research about the natural elements that you have encountered to learn more about them. You might want to do some writing to share what you have learned. Here is what I wrote out of my 2015 Air Wisdom Wander:

sustainability dandelion 5.30.15I came upon a gathering of silvered dandelions and from my small pile of traveling cards pulled Sustainability. While arranging my photo I noticed how similar the look of the figure’s and the dandelion’s head were. Dandelion, scorned as a weed but containing healing properties, had a message of sustainability to offer. Perhaps through the profusion of its seeds and the way they are carried on the wind to reach the next place of their growth.

To further ponder dandelion’s message I thought I would turn to science and Googled dandelion seed dispersal. One of the first sites to pop up was Ask Nature, which contains strategies from nature to help humans design in collaboration with the direction and flow of nature. Ask Nature says of the dandelion: “The seeds of dandelions are efficiently dispersed on the wind thanks to tiny discs of radiating threads that act as parachutes.” Dandelion can help humans learn from nature how to maintain community and health ecosystems through effective seed dispersal. The application for this strategy suggests mimicking the parachute-like attachments to seed to agricultural amendments (like fertilizer) without the use of toxic inert ingredients.

There is an earthy message from these ideas about the dandelion. Seeds that travel find new and fertile territory in which to grow. They diversify and enhance the places where they land. Healthy ecosystems are diverse ecosystems.

As we are in the element of Air which in the Tarot is connected to the mind, I can see the seeds as ideas. We might think of them as simple like the dandelion or as coming from unexpected and humble sources like a lowly weed. Perhaps it is not the experts in specialized fields but those living simple lives attuned to the needs of their community and the earth around them that can offer common sense solutions to the lack of sustainability in our current systems.

We may just need to pay attention to the natural processes hidden all around us and take them as our teachers to create more sustainability in our communities and, ultimately, for the planet. If we start doing this without waiting for a leader to save us, we won’t stop things like climate chaos that is already in motion and needs a globally coordinated effort, but we might slow its progression and make a softer landing (like one supported with a parachute) for ourselves. We’ll also be putting into practice the necessary solutions so when those “in charge” realized they don’t have the answer there in the center, they will turn to the edges for the needed innovation. 

In The Earth Path, Starhawk explores how systems – natural and human – want to maintain themselves. Change doesn’t come from within, but when a system’s equilibrium is disturbed, the system does respond to try and right itself.  The corrective to system is often at the edges. In nature this is the ecotone where two different systems touch: the field and the forest, the shore and the rocky coast. In the human world, this can be where people have stepped out of institutional systems and into alternative ones, including, to name just a few examples, Goddess spirituality, crowd funding, #blacklivesmatter and Twitter as news source, and the Tarot community. The seeds from these places can travel between systems and movements to bring new diversity.

So if you think you are not doing enough with your own sustainability efforts – whatever they might be – think again. The small and the humble are the seed of the change waiting to take hold.

SHARING

As you wander you may receive messages, either for you as an individual or for the collective. You may receive images that speak louder than words. You may experience a sensation that isn’t easily explained. You may feel called to share what you receive. Perhaps the Air will share a message through you. Please do that sharing in what ever way feels right; tell a story to a friend, post on Facebook, write something for your blog, whisper some to the moon. Social media mavens, you may want to use hash tags of #wisdomwander #air for tracking. Your comments here on the blog are welcome as well.

Wisdom Wanders continue next week with a Water post. This Saturday / June 4th, we’ll explore the air of the city on an Urban Wisdom Wander. For all you Airy Writers, there is a special Wisdom Wander just for you on June 12th

 

May 232016
 

This is the first Wisdom Wander of the Walking the Ways of the Summer Light series. The focus is on the element of earth. Join me for the first of the four mini-retreat Wisdom Wanders on Sunday May 29th at my local wildlife sanctuary. 

To focus on the earth element, I offer these inspirations that expand on my general suggestions and are specific to the earth element. These are only prompts for your own creating and modification.

Of course, it’s great to be able to set aside a day in nature for exploring, but, if you don’t have the time or can’t get away, a walk to work in the city or taking out the garbage at night could become an Earth Wisdom Wander with a set intention and perhaps a few extra steps.

PREPARE FOR AN EARTH ENCOUNTER

Take a moment to ponder your connection and understanding of the element of earth. What do you know about the earth? What do you feel about the earth? What lessons might the earth offer you? What might you receive from some time spent with earth? What gifts can you offer to earth?

Select the spot that will help you connect with the earth element.  The elements are all around us so this doesn’t have to be a new place for you. Nature awareness training programs often suggest that you find a special spot that you return to over and over again as a stable home base, as a place you can observe change. But going to a new place is also an option. The newness can invite an opening of the senses as you explore the unfamiliar.

Invite your Way Showers / Guides / Inquisitors / Translators for the Day:  If working with a Tarot deck, you may want to pull your cards from just the suit of Earth / Pentacles or some combination of the Earth suit and the Major Arcana. As I see each Major Arcana as an image of Wholeness, I work with the idea that each individual Major card contains the power of all the elements.

guides and lessons 5.24.15

For my 2015 Earth Wisdom Wander, I worked with the Oracle of Initiation and The Minoan Tarot by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince. I had sorted out the Majors and Earth suit cards, and only Majors appeared. Yes, it felt like major wisdom was being offered to me.

BEGIN

in motion on spiral 5.24.15Grounding and centering is a good start to any elemental wander and particularly vital for an earth-focused wander. Starhawk’s ideas for Open-Eyed Grounding in The Earth Path are appropriate for wandering in nature. She defines grounding as “being relaxed but alert, energetically connected to earth but able to move, present and aware, in a state in which we can take in information and make conscious choices about what we do” (P.53). Here is my summary of her suggested steps:

  • Stand with eyes open and feet about shoulder-width apart and knees bent. Breathe and feel the breath circulating. Tune into your feet and feel how they are supported by the ground.
  • Imagine that you have roots coming from your feet and going down into the ground. Feel the energy of earth come up your roots and move through your body. Enjoy the support. Enjoy the flow of energy that you are actually feeling or imagining flowing through you.
  • If thoughts distract you from being present to earth arise as you wander, you can send them down through the roots that connect you earth. The earth loves to compost no longer needed garbage.
  • You will need to move your feet to wander, but you can hold on to the sensation or imagine that the roots are moving with you. They are flexible and movable, adding spring to your step.
  • Start moving slowly. Let each rise and return of your foot connect to the earth. How does your connection to earth feel the same or different from your normal walking? 

OBSERVE THE EARTH ELEMENT

What belongs to the earth? What belongs to other elements? You won’t need to and won’t be able to ignore the presence of fire, water, and air. All the elements mix to make our dynamic world. You can tune your attention to what seems to you to be most elementally earth. Starhawk’s The Earth Path, again, offers guidance. Pay particular attention to:

  • purple conviction orange mushroomsGround and what you are walking on whether it be the duff of the forest floor or the cement of a city side walk.
  • Rocks. These most solid of nature’s offerings perhaps come quickly to mind around the element of earth. How big is the rock you are seeing: boulder, pebble, sand? What has been happening with slow changing rocks in your area?
  • Soil. Our food comes from dirt. What is going on with the dirt that you discover?
  • Growth. What is growing and how much of it?
  • Decay. What is passing away? How is this decay treated or greeted?
  • Seeds. Do you see them or evidence of their existence?
  • Fungi. So much of what we call mushrooms grows below the surface in an interconnected web. What can you glimpse of that web?
  • Bones. What bones are present? Can you see them? Maybe only your own will be out and moving around.
  • Plants and Trees. What is growing around you? And how do they grow together in communities of support?

And as you exploring pay attention to your whole body. How does it feel to move in the environment? As you connect with what you are paying attention to, where do you feel this in your body?

REFLECTION AND QUESTION MAKING

I appreciate Starhawk’s guidance on seeking earth wisdom because, while she clearly is in love with the natural world, she tells us that she didn’t come to this connection naturally. She grew up in an apartment and didn’t garden or study ecology. She’s not the fittest person in the world. But she suggest that these “weaknesses” can be strengths because it helps her – and we who would emulate her – to be curious and wonder about what is happening instead of knowing and coming to a quick answer. The first of her nine ways of observing nature come from this place of not knowing and instead wondering. You might wonder why particular plants grow close together or how anything can grow on rock.

These wonderings, perhaps recorded as you are out on your wander, can be prompts from some research into the workings of nature. You can also use your wonderings in a way similar to how you might use a Tarot or oracle image by looking at what it says about you, your curiosities and longings, and what you are open to exploring. The questions you craft might be the ones that you take on your pilgrimage on the other side of the Solstice.

dragonfly on boob 5.24.15

My encounters with bees and dragonflies in 2015 had me wondering:

What is the link between the seen and unseen realms?

How does communication flow between these realms?

What is my role in facilitating communication between these realms?

SHARING

As you wander you may receive messages, either for you as an individual or for the collective. You may receive images that speak louder than words. You may experience a sensation that isn’t easily explained. You may feel called to share what you receive. Perhaps the earth will share a message through you. Please do that sharing in what ever way feels right; tell a story to a friend, post on Facebook, write something for your blog, whisper some to the moon. Social media mavens, you may want to use hash tags of #wisdomwander #earth for tracking. Your comments here on the blog are welcome as well.

Join me next week here on the blog when prompts and suggestions for connecting with the air element while wandering will be offered. Or check out my guided Wisdom Wanders in Western MA and NYC.

May 022016
 

As the last new moon reached the end of its cycle, I post these readings as a prompt for contemplative practice and noticing the more cosmic patterns of life as you attend to the lunar energy in a solar world.

May New Moon – Friday, May 6, 2016 at 3:39pm ET in the USA

Releasing the last fire moon & Welcoming the new earth moon – Amidst the first days of the Celtic season of Beltane that renews our wellspring of Love

In the Celtic calendar, the start of May is the start of summer, a season to stir up our energy, our longings, and our desire so I have given this moonth’s reading over the special kind of Love that is constantly renewing itself. As I write in the post below: “Our loves are not constant in their expression. But this is what makes them dynamic, keeps them alive. And, yes, I will tell you: Love does not die. Love survives – thrives -by changing.”

Renewing Love Reading 

heart shaped oreganoHOW: How do I cultivate renewing love?

FORM: What form can my renewing love most powerfully take at this time?

CHANGE:
  How will I be changed by embracing my renewing love?

You can order this as an e-reading for $22. Here is a sample of how I do these readings in a collaborative intuitive format. I have slots open after the new moon / (May 10th – 16th)