Jul 182016
 

This is the fourth and final post on pilgrimage as part of the seasonal ritual Walking the Ways of the Summer Light. The pilgrimage posts began with Departure from the Threshold , continued with Journey, and reached The Center last week. 

The final practice of pilgrimage calls you to wait for a while in the place where you are no longer at Center but not yet home. You are still returning. Here you reflect on what has happened and start to name how you have been changed. You consciously accept the gifts and the challenges of pilgrimage. You invite transformation to take hold; you plant the change in a place where it can continue to grow. Then you return home.

In the Tarot, each of the elemental suits progresses through the single numbers. The ninth card is most often recognized as the culmination or achievement of the elemental journey while the tenth card is considered to be one of transition. The Tarot’s 10s guide you in your returning.  Any deck can serve, but the images of Rachel Pollack’s Shining Tribe Tarot struck me as telling a particularly relevant story about the pilgrimage return.


10 of stonesTen of Stones – Memory and Meaning:
What always captivates me about this image is that human footprints go into the stones laid on the path while the bird prints come out. The journey changed us. Remembering what happened on the journey is the first step in meeting and integrating that change. As we recount and order the pieces, a whole picture emerges that helps you find the greater meaning – and sometimes remaining mystery – of the pilgrimage time.

To tend memory and meaning, you might answer through journaling, working with Tarot cards, or creating of art questions such as:

  • What are the moments that shine in your memory? How did they open your eyes? How did they blind you?
  • What the moments that are dark in your memory? How did they make you stumble What gestated there?
  • What are the encounters with others you will never forget? What did they teach you about humanity and community? What did they teach you about yourself?
  • What were the surprises? What amazed you? When did you touch mystery?
  • How did you come to know the Greater Than that journeyed with you? What Face were you shown? What invitations did you receive?
  • What insight did you gain into your focus question? What remains to be discovered?
  • How were you changed? How did you become more yourself?

10 of birdsTen of Birds – Final Challenge: Change, even when we seek it, is scary. We wanted to emerge as the bird, transcendent, but now that we are in flight, the view is not what we imagined.  In the Ten of Birds, a woman stands with back to us and ominous birds in the sky above her. We can’t tell if she is looking at the birds or shielding her eyes. (If she is not looking, might we be seeing her imagination creating scarier creatures than are even there?)

One of the bird figures is actually a winged snake that Rachel identifies as the Aztec God Quetzalcoatl  and describes as “an instinctive energy, a force we cannot name or rationally identify has taken wing, has risen into consciousness, or a kind of pseudo-consciousness, where we sense a fear or mystery we cannot really explain.”

We are standing before something greater than we could have imaged when we began our journey. We can’t explain it or control it, and this is perhaps what we fear the most. And our final test is to accept this force as now existing in our lives. When we realize that we don’t have to overcome it or even be friendly with it, we move out from the final testing of pilgrimage and on to the path that leads us home.

The woman’s dress is green and the door of the house in the distance is green. Green is the color of the heart and of new life. Through this color, the woman and the home are linked. And the birds do not actually block her path. She can walk below them. She can make her return.

To complete your final challenge of pilgrimage, reflection on your fears and final challenges is helpful. Then you might want to step from the logical and intellectual to the magical. You may want to do something like create a fith-fath, the Gaelic practice of creating a shape shifting spell for times of danger or vulnerability. I heard about this practice from Celtic teacher and songstress Caitlín Matthews, and was inspired to write one of my own:

I ask to resound with the life thrum of cicadas,

their surface-sound sureness of life.

I ask to move with the elegance of egret,

who slides over pond’s murky silk undarkened.

I ask to feel what the mushroom feels,

the deep down of dirt holding me steady,

reminding me always

I belong to the earth.

10 of treesTen of Trees – Echo of the Call: This card shows a most unusual Tree of Life.  The branches are green joyful figures. In the Ten of Birds, you chose to wear the green dress and go through the green door despite the unknown and feared forces. By these actions both the challenges and the gifts of pilgrimage are accepted and integrated into who you re now. A whole new world opens up both within you and in your view of the wider world. You are not only enlarged but your understanding of and connection to the Whole is now more expansive and inclusive.

Here we might return to reflect on the original call that brought us to the pilgrims’ trail. What was its personal dimension? What did you hope for yourself? You can take a look at that call an hear now how echoes in the expanded universe within. How has the call changed? How will you share it with the wider world? How do you answer the call to serve the Whole?

10 of riversTen of Rivers – Home: Then you go home. You return to the house in which you dwell and greet those you left behind.  But there is a trick to this image. As much as they could be waving in greeting, the figures could also be waving good-bye. Once home you say good-bye to the pilgrimage journey even as you say hello to the home that awaits you.

As we once stood on the threshold of departure, now we stand at the threshold of return. This is the place for gratitude. Offers your praises and prayers to all who made the pilgrimage possible and guided you along the way. This gratitude will remind you that these helpers and guides have now become part of who you are and will not leave you. Offer your praises and prayers for all that has remained for you to return to. Speak your gratitude for this steady support.

The figures stand in a river and as Starkhawk reminded us in the week of the Water Wisdom Wander: “All water is one – one whole, one awareness. All water is continuously aware of all the other waters in the world.” So all our journeys are one. The pilgrimage and the homecoming. The seeking and the discovery. It is all part of the vast ocean of our being where we meet the glimmer of the surface and are surprised some times by the pull of the depths. And we flow on. The pilgrimage ends. It has just begun.

This concludes the seasonal ritual of Walking the Ways of the Summer Sun. In November I will begin the Winter Solstice focused ritual of Descent and Return of the Light. Subscribe to my e-newsletter to be notified of those happenings and receiving nature- and Tarot-inspired offerings to tend your soul all year long. 

 

 

 

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.

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. 

 

 

 

 

Jul 132015
 

Each week I pull Tarot cards to inspire practice that cultivates soul wisdom for readers of the blog as a group using the Gaian Tarot.  (If you want to read more about the process, check out Sacred Practices of the Gaian Tarot: The 3 P’s).You are invited to use the cards below to inspire your practice, and, if you like, share your reflections in the comments.  You are also free to draw your own cards and share them in the comments.

gaian 12-treePATH:  Use Pile 1 / Majors and Aces to pull a card for the question:  What path would it best serve us to walk this week? THE TREE  invites us to walk this week on pathways of  …

  • Inaction on the external level but deep movement on the inner level.
  • Sacrifice that opens us to our deep soul purpose.
  • Surrendering to what is.
  • Holding on to what offers essential support.
  • Seeing with new eyes.

gaian four-waterPRACTICE:  Use Pile 2 / numbered cards for this question:  What practice(s) will best serve us to move along this path this week?  FOUR OF WATER  invites us to practices such as …

  • Meditating / engaging in visio divina on this card’s well cover symbol, called the Vesica Pisces, with its overlapping circles that represent the physical world and the spirit world and their connection. Contemplate how these circle overlap in your own life
  • Sitting in silence and imagining your mind is like a still, deep blue pool. Let your thoughts come but float away as you re-direct your attention to the blue depths of the pool. Be open to whatever—or the nothing—that comes.
  • Making a pilgrimage to a place of sacred waters. You can spend time with a stream near your house or dream about a trip to Chalice Well in Glastonbury, England (the place depicted in the card). Recognize all water is holy.

Gaian explorer-waterPOSTURE:  Use Pile 3 / People cards for a question such as:  What attitudes and behaviors will be most helpful to undertake this practice and walk with path?  EXPLORER OF WATER  invites you to follow your path and practices with attitudes of …

  • Being in the flow.
  • Letting your emotions flow through your body, acknowledging them, feeling them, using them for guidance, and letting them keep moving.
  • Balancing effort or technique with effortlessness or improvisation; there is a wonderful phrase of the poet Rilke, “no forcing, no holding back”.
  • Embracing the mystical possibility in everyday movement.

OVERALL MUSINGS:  We start the week in a dark moon time as we release the last new moon’s air energy (from its arrival last June 16th in the sign of Gemini) and move mid-week into this new moon’s water energy (as it comes during the sign of Cancer). In today’s Dark Moon Circle letter, I sent out a suggestion for dark moon ritual use of feathers to brush away ideas you no longer need so you can flow into the invitations of water on Wednesday: love, the wisdom of the emotions, mysticism, intuition, daring to look into the depths.  And the images above mirror this story.  The Tree and the woman blowing in the breeze, floating amidst clouds surrender to the Water pooling in the 4 of Cups. This pause at pool’s edge prepares us to set forth on a Water adventure for the rest of the week. May you be blessed with water’s nurturing flow this week!

May 042015
 

Each week I pull Tarot cards to inspire practice that cultivates soul wisdom for readers of the blog as a group using the Gaian Tarot.  (If you want to read more about the process, check out Sacred Practices of the Gaian Tarot: The 3 P’s).You are invited to use the cards below to inspire your practice, and, if you like, share your reflections in the comments.  You are also free to draw your own cards and share them in the comments.

Gaian 11-justicePATH:  Use Pile 1 / Majors and Aces to pull a card for the question:  What path would it best serve us to walk this week? JUSTICE  invites us to walk this week on pathways of  …

  • Awareness of the interconnection of all things.
  • A heart made light because you know you have considered the Whole, the Earth, your community and are living in a right balance between their needs and your own.
  • Honoring and learning lessons from the movements for justice that have made this a better world for the many, not just a few.
  • Balancing and giving equal weight to your heart and your mind as you make important decisions.

gaian four-waterPRACTICE:  Use Pile 2 / numbered cards for this question:  What practice(s) will best serve us to move along this path this week?  FOUR OF WATER  invites us to practices such as …

  • Meditating / engaging in visio divina on the well cover symbol, called the Vesica Pisces, with its overlapping circles that represent the physical world and the spirit world and their connection. Contemplate how these circle overlap in your own life
  • Sitting in silence and imagining your mind is like a still, deep blue pool. Let your thoughts come but float away as you re-direct your attention to the blue depths of the pool. Be open to whatever—or the nothing—that comes.
  • Making a pilgrimage or going on a wisdom wander to a place of sacred waters. You can spend time with a stream near your house or dream about a trip to Chalice Well in Glastonbury, England (the place depicted in the card). Recognize all water is holy.

childofearthPOSTURE:  Use Pile 3 / People cards for a question such as:  What attitudes and behaviors will be most helpful to undertake this practice and walk with path?  CHILD OF EARTH  invites you to follow your path and practices with attitudes of …

  • Attentiveness to what is front of you.
  • Fascination.
  • Finding the opportunity to learn something new in any situation.
  • Focused attention.

OVERALL MUSINGS: Bring your heart and your mind into alignment for a week of peaceful contemplation. Then the season will reveal its deepest delights to you in everything large and small – the gentian petal and the heron’s broad wing – that comes before you eyes.

 

 

Oct 202014
 

Each week I pull Tarot cards to inspire practice that cultivates soul wisdom for readers of the blog as a group using the Gaian Tarot.  (If you want to read more about the process, check out Sacred Practices of the Gaian Tarot: The 3 P’s).You are invited to use the cards below to inspire your practice, and, if you like, share your reflections in the comments.  You are also free to draw your own cards and share them in the comments.

gaian 20-awakeningPATH:  Use Pile 1 / Majors and Aces to pull a card for the question:  What path would it best serve us to walk this week? AWAKENING invites us to walk this week on pathways of  …

  • Expanding our consciousness to live in more meaningful ways
  • Opening ourselves completely to Spirit/The Divine/The Greater Than/Goddess/God
  • Being aware of and grateful for the community that surrounds you, those who are living and near you as well as the ancestors who have passed on but are still connected to you

gaian-ten-airPRACTICE:  Use Pile 2 / numbered cards for this question:  What practice(s) will best serve us to move along this path this week?  TEN OF AIR  invites us to practices such as …

  • Migrate to somewhere that will provide you nurture. Unlike the birds in the card, this might just be a one-day trip to the ocean or a museum to fill your creative well or it might he a call to go on or plan a longer pilgrimage.
  • Sit, close you eyes, and tune into your body and your thoughts (i.e. meditate). Let each thought that comes be like a migrating goose; see it, acknowledge it, let it fly out of your vision. Maybe you want to offer each thought a blessing or a prayer for healing as it goes by.
  • Reflecting on and naming the beliefs that you hold and that guide your life. Then you might journal on these questions: Are they all still relevant guides? Are there any beliefs that you sense you have moved beyond? Are there any to let go of in a conscious way?

child-waterPOSTURE:  Use Pile 3 / People cards for a question such as:  What attitudes and behaviors will be most helpful to undertake this practice and walk with path? CHILD OF WATER   invites you to follow your path and practices with attitudes of ….

  • Grace and ease.
  • Daring to stand at the edge of vast mystery – because you don’t know you should fear such places – because you know you are always protected.
  • Moving from a place of open-heartedness to encounter the world

OVERALL MUSINGS:  As I gazed upon the cards, I was struck by how the magentas and purples of the sky in Awakening and the 10 of Air became the dress the Child of Water.  When we let our beliefs be renewed in the cauldron of change or the circle of community or in answering a call to new ways of being, we emerge fresh like the child who is lead by her heart into the vast beauty of the new day.

 

Sep 032014
 

When the one whose life is intertwined with yours dies, the tides take you. Carry you out to sea, send you shifting into the Bay of Fundy.

This trough at the crumbling end of a mountain chain funnels first the sea to fill and fill in a 50 foot rise of water. This is your inundation. Shore leaves you – and perspective. Then even water leaves you. Tides have their own give and take; every basin, its own rhythm.

Now you are in the flow of mud, the heaviness of it, red-tinged, slows fingers and feet. After a time, you rouge your lips and breasts with the bottom of the ocean.  Streak it into your hair.

You don’t call water back but it comes, following the moon. Yes, the moon is its necessity and greater than you.

Floated to a further shore and still the tide is turning. Deposits you among sculptures made from erosion of water and surrender of sandstone. They remind you of nothing human.  You feel less alone.

Hopewell Rocks

Hopewell Rocks. Photo of a photo by John Laux.

Learn More: The Sierra Club’s Naturalists Guides introduce the ecology of a region.  Reading from their The North Atlantic Coast: Cape Cod to Newfoundland (Sierra Club Books, 1981) by Michael and Deborah Berrill informed this piece.

Reflection Questions:

  • What are the gifts of the grief of water?
  • What can observing the ocean teach me about how to be with my own grief?  How can it help me to support others in grief?
  • Contemplate how the water changes the land at its edges.  How might you let yourself be changed by your own flow and the tides of your life?  What cost might there be? What beauty might be revealed?

Contemplative Practice:  Plan a pilgrimage to the water.  The Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park  in New Brunswick on the Bay of Fundy is a most worthy place for a special pilgrimage. But you don’t have to go farm from your where you live. Joanna Powell Colbert is an ocean lover who offers you guidance for turning any journey into a pilgrimage.

 

Apr 212014
 

Each week I pull cards to inspire contemplative / personal development practice for readers of the blog as a group using the Gaian Tarot.  (If you want to read more about the process, check out Sacred Practices of the Gaian Tarot: The 3 P’s).You are invited to use the cards below to inspire your practice, and, if you like, share your reflections in the comments.  You are also free to draw your own cards.

Gaian 4-builderPATH:  Use Pile 1 / Majors and Aces to pull a card for the question:  What path would best serve the good of the group this week?  THE BUILDER invites us to walk this week on pathways of  …

  • Giving a clear form to what inspires and served the good of the Whole.
  • Being responsible and persistent in completing the work that needs to be done.
  • Embracing the ways in which you serve as a leader for your community.

gaian six-waterPRACTICE:  Use Pile 2 / numbered cards for this question:  What contemplative practice will best serve us to move along this pathway this week?  SIX OF WATER  invites us to practices such as …

  • Gather with a group of people for a ritual or a meditation that connects you with the flow of intuition, liminal space, the Mystery.
  • Watch the sunset – from its first blossoming to its last light – for one night or the whole week.
  • Make a pilgrimage to water.  Yes, it could be a trip of some distance or to a water feature close to your house.  Any journey can be a pilgrimage as Joanna Powell Colbert says.

child-waterPOSTURE:  Use Pile 3 / People cards for a question such as:  What attitudes and behaviors will be most helpful to undertake this practice?  CHILD OF WATER  invites you to follow your path and practices with attitudes of ….

  • Open-hearted  delight, especially in the offerings of the natural world.
  • Looking closely at the place where different world meet (the shore and the sea, the field and the forest, for instance)
  • Acceptance of whatever emotions are flowing through her

OVERALL MUSINGS: This cards can be woven together to make a message of:  Your delight is the source of your leadership ability.  When you share this gift, you build a house for ritual, for magic, for dancing between the worlds.  Delight is power.