Sep 192016
 

In March, before the Equinox, and as the moon opened to fullness, I had an experience that is basically inexpressible because of its power and because of its commonness. I sensed the moment the seasons shifted as the moon rose over a river filling with spring’s ice floes.

To convey a glimpse into the mystery of that moment, I’ll say I encountered Persephone, the Goddess of Greek myth who is kidnapped by Hades to serve as the Queen of the Underworld, welcoming the dead, and mourned by her mother Demeter, whose grief brings winter. Persephone’s seasonal visit to her mother awakens Demeter’s joy and brings the bounty of spring and summer. Most often Persephone is depicted as a beautiful maiden either being kidnapped by her husband or returning to her mother.

But the Persephone I encountered was a weathered woman climbing and clawing her way out of the Underworld through the dirt of earth. She used her Underworld crown as a plough and carried in her pockets letters from the Dead to their beloveds still living. (You can read more in my March newsletter.)

Persephone’s secret story is the story of her as Traveler and Messenger, the one who twice yearly, millennia after millennia, makes a journey between the worlds when the night and day stand in balance.

persephone-mandala

Fall Mandala with Persephone from the Dark Goddess Tarot

In each world, she has loves and responsibilities. She must prepare for both departure and arrival at this time of year. She sadly says goodbye to some while anticipating reunion with others.

What calls Persephone from one world to the next? How does she know when to begin her preparations? Last Friday as I stood under the September harvest moon in an orchard watching Goddesses Descending, it came to me. Of course. The moon is Persephone’s signal and guide.

In spring, the days of the growing moon from new to full closest to the Equinox set her on her journey back to earth. The days of harvest moon’s descent invite her to depart.

We are in the days of Persephone Descending. As the moon moves from full, through the Equinox, and into the dark moon days at September’s end, Persephone prepares, Persephone descends.

Perhaps you feel the weight of this time as she grows heavy. And if you feel it, too,you might consider your heaviness in another light, a lunar light. This heavy time brings a dark gift of attuning to the Divine, to the eternal cycles. The trees know this as they let down their leaves in fluttering surrender. Perhaps you may take the tree as your spiritual director.  

And as our perspective on this descent time shifts, we can open to opportunity, have a more expansive view. Recognize that our loss of Persephone brings a boon for the Dead. She is their Queen and comfort who loves them. She is the Traveler who has been away but now returns with new stories and gifts.

You can help Persephone make her reunion with the Dead. You can send gifts and stories along with Her. You can write letters to the Dead.

It may seem strange. You may doubt your letter can travel such a long distance. But just the act of writing and sending the letter might heal your heart.

I am writing letters in these days and offer these ideas to spark your own letter writing rituals. You might consider:

  • Who do you want to write to? Joining in conversation with the boundaryless there is no limited to the possibility. You can write to those you knew in life and those you didn’t. Your beloved dead. The ancestors. A long-dead writer who inspired you. Your departed pets. Make a list.
  • How will you send the message? An aerogram. A drug-store card. Leaves of petals to send without words but infused with love. You might match your form to speak most deeply to the one with which you want to communicate.
  • When will you send it? You can send your letters along as you write them or wait for the dark moon days of September 28 and 29. Any of these days as the moon moves from full to dark are the times of Persephone Descending.
  • How will you send your letters? Burying your messages in the earth is appropriate. Persephone can gather them up as she makes to the Underworld. But follow your inspiration. Maybe there is another story of life’s cycles that inspires you so you use a method that aligns with that wisdom. If water beckons you, send your notes on streams down to the sea. Light your letter on fire and watch the spark rise to heaven. Let leaves lift it into the all surrounding air. You can’t do this incorrectly.
  • How will you thank your messenger? Don’t forget to express your gratitude to Persephone or the One who helps you deliver your letter. You might say a prayer of praise, make an offering, or dedicate a positive action to their name.  

Will you receive a reply?  Well, the universe is full of echoes and all kinds of communication. I have received messages from the Dead and I’m not the only one. Your letter is unlikely to be returned as a letter so you might tend your openness to different kinds of communication in ways such as these:

  • Take time away from the demands of the living. It’s noisy here in the living world so just as you would step with your cell phone out of a crowded room to better hear the person on the other end, step out of the daily. Dedicate some time to ritual, communing with the dark, walking in nature. Sometimes go alone This gives you a better chance of hearing. But remember to walk in balance along this path; you do still belong in the land of the living.
  • Honor the communal celebrations of the Dead. The first half of November brings sacred and secular remembrances of the dead: Samhain, All Souls and Saints Day, the Day of the Dead, Veterans Day. The shortest days of the year as the Solstice approaches invite us to Wait with the Dark and in the quiet hear the numinous. Or perhaps you have to wait until Persephone Rises again in spring, bringing letters from the dead in her pockets.
  • Remove this waiting for a response from the work of the rational. What you are going to do is not rational and is outside the bounds of all we can assert with certainty here in the earthly world. Don’t try to make your listening fit inside these walls. You don’t have to give up the rational as you live your daily life- we need it – but you don’t apply it to your waiting for a response to your letter.
  • Listen slant. The poet Emily Dickinson said “tell it slant,” counseled that messages of Truth if too bright can blinds us. The Dead no longer speak as we do, perhaps are even forgetting the way of language with all its limits. They will reach out to you in unusual ways, in slant ways. Through a song that plays on the radio when you are thinking of them. Through the things they left behind found just at a moment that gives meaning. Through a revelation of hawk or cat or rainbow. From a rational world perspective you can never be sure from where the message comes, but when inspiration moves your heart, always take the gift it brings.  

 

If you are looking for support for your listening, my Winter Solstice-hinged seasonal ritual begins with Waiting with the Dark at the end of November. Be sure to sign up for my list to receive the latest news about how this ritual can support your seeking.  

Jan 242016
 

The Descent and Return of the Light seasonal ritual concludes with this final week of Tending the Returning Light. You can jump right into this week’s theme or catch up with last week’s theme of Emergence

And now the seed begins its journey of growth in the outer world, where the longer days kindle our anticipation of spring’s return. From the underworld of winter, the seed emerged and now the greater light of the sun and the inner light of your heart will nurture its growth. We celebrate what has been birthed. We prepare to tend the next unfolding.

The greater light of the sun and the seasons have their own rhythm, but you are the keeper of the heart’s light, shaper of its direction, cultivator of its flow. 

Flow, card XIV of the Minoan Tarot, shows a priestess at her sacred task of pouring libations. Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s companion book describes this rite:

The ritual is an offering to the great ones, expressing gratitude for the gift of life in a magical world. … The pouring of libations is both offering and petition, both giving and receiving. It is life and power flowing from divinity to humanity, with love and respect flowing from human hearts in return.

detail minoan-14-flow

Ellen offers this message from the image: Your heart is the crossroads of the power of the flow.

Your double-chambered heart flows both with giving and receiving, beats both because of earth taking form in muscle and because of a mysterious spirit animating the life force. Where these opposites touch is the center of your heart, is the crossroads of your interior being. It is an imaginal space – a soul place – rather than a physical spot you can find, but you are called to visit here when you want to grow.

Your seed will want to grow as it moves from winter to spring and onward through each season. The seed will return time and again to the crossroads and you with it. This will sometimes be a place of challenge where old patterns of shame, self-criticism, or fear may tug at you again. This will sometimes be a place of failure because not all seeds grow. This will sometimes be a place of success where the unfolding of the seed aligns with the rhythms of the wider world and your own longings and visions.

And because we are in the place of the heart, all can be received with Love. For Love, protected by and flowing from the center of your heart, receives all things, pours out its endless light, is generous with its hospitality.

At the crossroads, you are invited to offer this loving hospitality of the heart to all that enters. When fear enters, offer it comfort and send it down the path of release. When failure enters, sit with your own disappointment; don’t try to change the feeling, just hold it close to your heart until the Love’s light there shines on the path that leads to healing. When success comes, celebrate its delights and send it down the path of humility or greater challenge.

Ritual and Tarot Play

In this final week of Tending the Returning Light, we have come to a crossroads in our ritual time together. The seed birthed at Solstice calls to be celebrated. The next phase of life calls for new growth. This ritual of winter calls to be concluded so we can prepare for springtime’s path.

During this week, you are invited to light four candles and array around them cards that respond to these questions balancing celebration and preparation:

  • What have I achieved in birthing the seed?
  • How to celebrate this achievement?
  • What waits for me at the crossroads of winter and spring, of birth and growth?
  • How to move forward held in the flow of the heart’s light and Love?

Conclusion of the Series and the Season

At week’s end, you may want to pause to reflect on the ritual as a whole and offer your gratitude to winter for gestating the seed. Celtic teacher and writer Caitlín Matthews suggests the practice of saying a prayer or poem of gratitude to winter at your back door or window on January 31st. You might want to write your own or use her Farewell to the Season of Samhain from The Celtic Devotional:

Go with thanks and go with blessing
Season of deep memory.
Souls with joy are deeply freighted.
Hearts are charged with heritage.
As ancestors you have traveled,
You have come to Winter’s home.
Father Counsel you have cheered us.
Mother wisdom who has smiled.
Touch the hidden seed with us.
May we grow as Spring’s own child.

May you travel well as spring pours its light deeper and deeper into the night. I look forward to the next crossing of our paths here in world of bone and flesh or in the deep heart place that is both at our centers and everywhere – and from which flows an always embracing Love.

***

What to do next to tend your soul? 

  • If you are arriving late to this ritual or your inner season still feels like it is gestating the new, you can purchase the inexpensive overview booklet and do the ritual at any time / at your own pace.
  • You can join in Joanna Powell Colbert’s 30 Days of Brigid (in progress) to be inspired by the patroness of healers, smiths, and poets. (That’s what I am doing!)
  • Mark your calendar for Monday, May 23rd when we will begin walking our way toward the full illumination of the Summer Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere.
Nov 302015
 

This is the second week of a the season-long ritual, Descent and Return of the Light, that takes the Winter Solstice as its hinge. The ritual continues next week with the theme of Dark Power.

The cry of the geese as they migrate leaves a melancholy echo. Then silence. Most other birds have gone before and many creatures of the land are in their dens. Leaves have fallen from trees; the bare and quiet branches stand against sky.

The emptiness can seem bleak, but opportunity flows into its openness. A view to distant mountains opens up without leaves. And while nature withdraws at this time of year, the presence of the ancestors grows stronger. We tell stories of the recent dead at our holiday gatherings, passing on their memory and gifts to a new generation. We enact small rituals, cook holiday foods, and gather in ways that ancestors from generations in the past began. We celebrate traditions and wisdom inherited from spiritual and religious paths nurtured by the ancestors of ancient times.

The ancestors are our biological family, of course, but also those connected to us through choice, place, ideas, and traditions. Like the living, they are a mix of wise ones and trouble makers; sometimes all mixed in the same person. [If you’d like more inspiration for thinking about the different types of ancestors, you can purchase the inexpensive overview booklet for the whole Descent and Return of the Light ritual.]

These ancestors come with gifts to offer and as the days grow darker the way opens for rituals, meditations, and reflections that connect us to their wisdom. Celtic teacher Caitlín Matthews offers this counsel for connecting with the ancestors in her book The Celtic Spirit:

“[The ancestors] who were the wisdom-bearers and way-showers in their lives have not ceased from these roles. By asking our spiritual allies in meditation to take us to meet one or more of our wise ancestors, the living ancestors, we can travel to the timeless otherworld and visit them. We can discover spiritual allies in our living ancestors, consulting them about matters to do with our family, our way of live, and ways of respecting the spiritual core of all things.”

Tarot Preparation

The Tarot can offer us images to help us connect to the ancestors and receive their messages more clearly. The Court Cards can be seen as standing between the activities of daily life seen in the Minors and the archetypes and Divine figures shown in the Major Arcana. Before you begin this week’s ritual, sort your deck into three piles: the 16 court cards, 22 Major Arcana cards, and the 40 numbered cards. You can put the numbered cards aside.

You may wish to form a question to take to the ancestors and receive their wisdom.
Ritual

three candlesIn this third week in our movement toward the Solstice, we light four candles, but then blow one out to create a doorway through the ancestors can pass to join us in the circle of light. We sit with them, receptive to the gifts they have to share.

As you sit in the open circle of light, you can draw up to three court cards that represent messages the ancestors are sending to (perhaps in response to your question). Place each card by a candle and spend time contemplating its possible message(s) for you. Finally contemplate them as a group.

After sitting a while and receiving your ancestor message, you may want to draw a Major Arcana card to connect with the Divinity that can guide you following the guidance of your ancestors.

Closing

You may wish to have your closing offer thanks to the ancestors for responding to your call. This prayer is slightly modified from its third century Christian origins and taken from the prayer book, god has no religion:

With thankfulness in our hearts for the wise ancestors of all ages;
For those who in times of darkness kept
The lamp of wisdom burning;
For the great souls who saw visions of
Larger truth and dared to declare it;
For the multitude of quiet and gracious souls
Whose presence has been one with the world’s sacredness;
And for those known and loved by us,
Who have passed from this early fellowship
Into the realms beyond.

 

Aug 312015
 

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.
  • Consideration of the impact of our actions.
  • 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.
  • Balancing and giving equal weight to your heart and your mind as you make important decisions.

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

  • Create the circle depicted in the image with Tarot cards as I have in this Four of Fire ritual.
  • Creating a circle of protection, inspiration, healing, or power and standing within it to truly receive these gifts. Use ritual objects that evoke the qualities that you are seeking such as candles for power, water for healing, feathers for inspiration, or rocks for protection.
  • Communing with the moon when it is full to open to its special qualities of light.
  • Keep a night vigil to honor or bring light to personal or societal darkness.
  • Acknowledging and communing with those people and things that ground and support us.

gaian elder-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?  ELDER OF WATER  invites you to follow your path and practices with attitudes of …

  • Trusting the flow of life.
  • Allowing ourselves to pause and pay attention to what is arriving in our lives – especially our emotions – at any given time.
  • Seeing with awe the things that you have seen a thousand times before.
  • Being attentive to the magic and beauty that comes from the outer natural world (especially the ocean as it follows the moon) and/or the inner world of dreams.
  • Friendship with and compassion for all the emotions that well up in you and in others as you travel your days.

OVERALL MUSINGS:  Feather, fire, and flow mix in the heart this week. How will the heart receive these offerings of mind, passion, emotion? This seems an unruly combination, but the heart aligned with Justice’s awareness of the interconnection of all can hold them and mix them in its chambers. And at the end of the week, with careful tending, something more powerful than each of these elements alone can emerge.  Which of your projects, relationships, explorations would most benefit from such balancing this week?

 

 

May 112015
 

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 ace-firePATH:  Use Pile 1 / Majors and Aces to pull a card for the question:  What path would it best serve us to walk this week? ACE OF FIRE  invites us to walk this week on pathways of  …

  • Emergence.
  • Inspiration.
  • Recognizing the spark of the new.
  • Embracing the positive potential of a new beginning in your creative, sensual, and/or energetic life.

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

  • Build a bonfire and watch its flames dance. Imagine being the flame.
  • Create a ritual to release that which is keeping you in the dark, holding back your energy, or inhibiting your stepping into the next cycle of your life’s unfolding.
  • Let the wild energy in your body direct your creative action, e.g. throw paint on paper or canvas and then just mush it around with your hands, write without stopping and wild strokes for five minutes, throw clay and/or slap it around to see what emerges.

gaian-guardian-firePOSTURE:  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?  GUARDIAN OF FIRE  invites you to follow your path and practices with attitudes of …

  • Taking action in a graceful and unhurried way.
  • Taking time to nurture your own inner fire.
  • Coaxing the gifts that might be hidden more deeply to emerge
  • Compassion for others and for yourself
  • Courage to stand in the dark and call forth the light.

OVERALL MUSINGS:  These cards of spark and fire against the backgrounds of the night are perfect for this week in which the moon diminished and turns to dark over the weekend. Then Sunday late or Monday early, depending on your time zone, the new moon emerges. In this dark time, we are invited to release that which no longer serves us or any unfulfilled wishes from the last Aries (fire!) moon on April 18th. What we release leaves an opening for the next sparks of inspiration to emerge and be tended.

If you are interested in suggestions and supports for moon-thly releasing rituals, check out my Dark Moon Circle. If you are ready to cultivate new energy as we in the Northern Hemisphere emerge into the light half of the year, check out the offerings of my season-long ritual, Walking the Ways of the Summer Light.  

 

 

 

Mar 162015
 

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 2-priestessPATH:  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 PRIESTESS (returning)  invites us to walk this week on pathways of  …

  • Going Within to the connect to the Mystery of the Whole
  • Accepting and integrating duality so you can see that death is part of life, light is part of darkness.
  • Offering the gift of yourself by doing nothing, just being.
  • Perceiving the pattern that exists below, beyond, above the everyday, and dwelling for a while in its power and possibility.

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

  • Simple ritual: Once you make a commitment to move forward on an important decision, toast to this decision and drink from the cup as a sign of your commitment.
  • More complex ritual: Here you might pre-plan and gather supports for a ritual to really attach yourself to your commitment. You can personalize a ritual that builds on this structure of ritual flow: 1.) Preparation – Show your commitment by planning and preparing. Take time to wash away the old to enter the new. 2.) Entry – Ask to enter the experience of the ordinary extraordinary. Prayer is an effective entry key. Your prayer might consist of only “please” or be one drawn from a tradition. 3.) Encounter – Imagine your living your commitment. Perhaps you draw a Tarot card to gain insight into what it would be like. Be open here to receive even what is beyond your expectation or imagining. 4.) Gratitude – Always give thanks for what is received. It’s only polite! 5.) Re-entry – Take some time to transition.
  • Join me in the Dark Moon Circle that starts on March 17th and participate in the ritual for release that will prepare you to embrace the new/make your commitments on Friday, the 20th, which is both the Equinox and the New Moon.

Gaian guardian-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? GUARDIAN OF WATER   invites you to follow your path and practices with attitudes of …

  • Being in the flow of life; “no forcing, no holding back” (Rilke)
  • Being open to your emotions and intuition
  • Offering compassion to others and yourself.
  • Embracing Mystery and all that life offers, from its fullness to its ordinariness.

OVERALL MUSINGS: This is the 5th week in which either Justice or the Priestess have appeared. These cards are connected numerolgically – 1+1 of Justice = 2 of the Priestess – and imagistically – they both stand between – in the Gaian between the veils of the human and more-than-human worlds and in the RiderWaiterSmith between pillars representing power, portal, and integration of opposites. The Pattern is calling our attention. The Divine is making an offer. What commitment will you make to receiving these Divine gifts? Friday is the Equinox and new moon and also the 20th day of March. The number 20 is the card of Awakening, and, of course, is connected to the Priestess by reducing to 2. This would seem to be a super-charged week for making commitments and walking the path of your own awakening.

gaian 20-awakening

 

Nov 242014
 

gaian-0-seeker1This week we prepare to journey into the dark. All journeys require preparation, even the inner journey. But we need a different kind of gear to travel on these paths. What we carry can not weigh us down; it must be light but powerful. Must fit into a bag no larger than the Seeker’s bundle and provide what we need to move through any challenge.

Our gratitude is the gear to help us travel in the dark. In this first week of the Descent and Return of the Light series, we pause to gather in our gratitude by reflecting on gifts given during the passing season of harvest and the whole of the year. (And here in the United States, we are fortunate to have the whole country joining us in that gathering in on Thanksgiving Day.)

Gratitude is a powerful gift that can be sparked from the smallest things and support us in even the most challenging times.  Jean Shinoda Bolen writes of its nature:

Gratitude is something we have inside us that rises to the surface when something in particular invites it out.  Gratitude is a wonderful spiritual practice, actually.  Every time you breathe an “ahhhh” or savor a moment, a thank-you for being alive is rising from your soul to fill your heart.  Yes, it’s about the beauty of seeing the geese flying overhead, but it’s more:  it’s a thank-you to the geese, to nature…And even more than this, it’s a thank-you that I am here, and that I have a place in the universe.

Gratitude wells up spontaneously in us at times, and we can also invite gratitude to come meet us.  We can create rituals that deepen our connection to gratitude. This week we light four candles that can be related to the elements of fire, water, air, and earth.  Each candle can serve as a prompt for reflection and remembrance.  You may want to have the Aces from the Dark Goddess Tarot or your favorite deck out to inspire your reflection. You could ponder and speak prayers in respond to questions such as:

  • Fire: Where did you shine most brightly this year? Be grateful for your own light, risks, and power.  Who helped you in this? Offer gratitude for all the assistance the flowed to you from your community, the ancestors, the natural world, the realm of Spirit.
  • Water:  What emotions flowed through you this year? Remember one or two emotions or moments from the season or year that were especially powerful, where you were cleansed, opened up, felt the flow, or moved in joy, and offer words of thanks for the gifts that came from this deep well.
  • Air: Where did you grow in wisdom this year? What new directions did it open up for you? Name your new knowledge or direction, and offer it thanks for coming into being. Who were your special teachers this year?  Offer gratitude for all your teachers.
  • Earth: How did the earth nurture you this season, this year? What were some fabulous meals that you ate?  Offer gratitude to the earth, her plants and her creatures without which we could not live.  Offer gratitude to all your fellow humans involved in the work of bringing food to your table.

Strengthened and equipped with our gratitude, we approach the threshold of deep dark knowing we can pass through. We stand at the threshold, daring to return to where we began: the womb filled with the dark that nurtured us into being.

“Dare to come back to where you began” are the words that Ellen Lorenzi-Prince gives to the Dark Goddess Fool, Sheela Na Gig, a mysterious and paradoxical figure carved in stone on Celtic Christian churches.  She is old, has made friends with death. But her womb is fertile; she still births new life.

dgfool_med_hr

Last week at the Awen Tree workshop on Descent and Return of the Light, we encountered our Dark Goddess Guides by taking the stance they showed on their cards, the wise Winifred Tannetta Costello drew the Sheela and came up from her crouching saying: “You have to be flexible both to be born and to die.”

We cultivate flexibility in our body with exercise of our limbs. We cultivate flexibility in our souls with exercise that stimulates the whole self; it may start with the body, but continues on to include the emotions, the intellect, and the spirit. Gratitude looses us up; we can’t stay stuck when we are in the flow of gratitude. Thus, the elemental gratitude of this week’s descent stimulates the flexibility we need to start this journey of letting go into the dark so that we can be re-born into the light.

Jun 302014
 

Each week I pull Tarot cards to inspire personal development / spiritual 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 18-moonPATH:  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 MOON  invites us to walk this week on pathways of  …

  • Honoring natural cycles, particularly those which the moon shows us of dark to new, from waxing to full, from waning to back again to dark.  (MoonCircles is a favorite site of mine for moon cycle information. Today we are in a new phase of the moon.)
  • Welcoming mystery and its messages that arise from dreams, intuition, and creative leaps.
  • Recognizing that not everything is in your control. Like the waves responding to the moon’s pull, what is happening around you, the emotions that rise up within you, the messages that suddenly come to from the realm beyond are not subject to your individual control or desires.  You may need to go with the flow for awhile.

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 …

  •  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.
  • Doing a ritual to release a no-longer needed idea you’ve held about yourself or an unmet goal that is no longer needed or achievable. This could be done by writing about you want to give up, then tearing the paper into confetti-sized pieces and throwing them out into the wind from a high place. Then make a wish for the new you’d like to enter your life.
  • Observe what the birds are doing in your area right now.  What are they teaching you?

gaian child-airPOSTURE:  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 AIR  invites you to follow your path and practices with attitudes of …

  • Able to observe the flow of change with detached curiosity.
  • Delight in the beauty that surrounds you at this time of year.
  • Recognizing that transformation is happening all around you in the natural world and that this can be your guide to your own transformations.

 OVERALL MUSINGS: The mechanistic world view still holds sway in the institutions of the West and their influence is global.  Even those of us who seek a more balanced, earth-aligned approach can be caught up in the expectations of this world view.  So when our plans don’t come to fruition or are thrown off track, we are frustrated, perhaps even blame ourselves.  But the moon this week reminds us that we live in a larger, more powerful, and even  more mysterious flow.  No need to judge ourselves for falling into old traps – they are big and have been around a long time – but we can observe and let go what no longer serves.  The release can be messy – just like the dissolution of the caterpillar is messy – but the natural world each day shows us the practice and the possibility of transformation.

 

Jun 242014
 

The sun shines in the sky with a long light in this northern-hemisphere, solstice time, but the moon is dissolving in her quicker, universal cycle.  On Friday, she’ll be new again.

These few days leading up to the new moon are a time for release.  Dana Gerhardt of MoonCircles.com says of this time:

This is one of the most potent times in the entire lunar cycle, when you prepare by dissolving, detoxing, letting go.

To aid you in that process, I am bringing my healing bowl to cyber-space.  The bowl made its first appearance at this year’s Readers Studio in a ritual I designed with Ellen Lorenzi-Prince and Nancy Antenucci inspired by the Dark Goddess Tarot, and then traveled to a Mass Tarot meeting.  Last weekend, the bowl came out for Open Studios here in Easthampton, and has stayed waiting, open, and receptive.

Perhaps the bowl has been waiting to receive what you need to have dissolved to walk under the coming new moon with a light heart and clear mind.

The water-blue bowl is filled with dirt.  Those who visit during Open Studios have been writing what they are ready to have healed, to be dissolved on slips of paper and placing them in the bowl.

DGT Healing Station 6.24.14

You are invited to do any or all of these invitations to participate in this on-line communal ritual or inspire a private ritual:

  • Draw a card from a Tarot or oracle deck to receive a message about what is most up for dissolving, letting go, detoxing in this dark moon time.  The Dark Goddess Tarot, of course, suits this step well, but any deck can speak to you.
  • Sit with the card.  You may want to engage in Visio Divina.
  • When you are ready, write out a statement of what you are ready to have dissolved.
  • If you would like to participate in the communal aspect of the ritual, you can post what you would like dissolved below in the comments or send me a private message via e-mail or Facebook.  I will transfer what is posted and sent to me onto slips of paper and bury them in the dirt.  On the new moon, I’ll be planting pansies in the dirt.  About the time of the next full moon, everything will be planted in my yard, joining the pansies from the Readers Studio ritual.

Suggested time for completing this ritual is Friday, June 27th at 4am ET in the USA as that is when the moon turns new.  But the healing bowl doesn’t close; it is always open to receive. 

Apr 072011
 

Over on my Art of Change Tarot Facebook page I’ve been pulling a Card of the Week for Inspiration in Body, Mind, and spirit for me and for readers, and then exploring different aspects of the card each day.  I use Tarot in my own ritual and meditations so a posting on the card as an inspiration for spiritual / contemplative practice usually works it way into the week.

This week I’ve been exploring the 4 of Fire from the Gaian Tarot and the practice inspired by this card deserves a bit of a longer post than the 420 characters allowed on Facebook.

Like so many of the cards in the Gaian Tarot, the guide to practice is right there in the image.  A woman stands tall under the full moon in a circle of candles.  She knows her own power and communes with the power of the Greater Than that guides her.  She herself is dressed in bright orange representing her own inner fire emerging.  Just looking at the image my spine grows taller!

I’ve spent a few mornings sitting in contemplation with the card, studying its details.  I love the circle of candles.  There are 4 tall or pillar candles and 4 sets of 3 smaller candles. I began to think of them as each representing some aspect of the divine or prayer intention.  The larger pillar candles represent spirit guides or faces of the divine.  The smaller candles represent our own prayers and supplications.  And, as you can imagine, I began to think about replacing the candles with Tarot cards to create a ritual for myself.

I’ll share my process that you may want to replicate, but let this just be a template for inspiring your own 4 of Fire ritual.

 Step One:  Prepare yourself to be in ritual space / to be open to the Greater Than (by whatever name you call This).  I actually was in the process of doing my morning meditations using Caitlin Matthew’s Celtic Devotional.

 Step Two:  Set your intention for the whole of the ritual.  I set an intention to move forward in my work to be of service to the healing of people and the planet.

 Step Three:  Identify your pillars.  I decided to use just the Major Arcana cards from the Gaian Tarot.  I separated them out and then consciously choose 4 Majors by looking at them face up.  I put them out in the 4 corners around me.

 Step Four:  Identify your prayer and supplication cards.  As elemental energies inspire me (and fit so wonderfully with the elementally named suits of the Gaian Tarot), I divided the Minor Arcana into its 4 suits of numbered and people cards.  I then consciously choose from each suit a card to represent a gratitude (something that I already had in my life and wanted to acknowledge); a challenge (either an on-going struggle or something anticipated), and a final one to represent a vision of me fully living out the intention.

 Step Five:  Let the acknowledgements, prayers, and supplications flow.  I started by acknowledging the energies of the Major Arcana cards as guides to be with me in the process.  I then moved through each element looking at the images to guide the words of my heart in offering gratitude, requesting help, and naming the vision.

 Step Six:  Close the ritual with gratitude for what you have received and final acknowledgements.

You may also want to write down / document your layout.  I work with The Sacred Journey:  Daily Journal for Your Soul and there are lots of pages with circular images so I wrote my cards down in different color pens to have as something to go back to … when I need some more spine tingling ritual.

I hope this might inspire your own ritual life or be of support to your deep intentions.  Feel free to ask questions and I’d love to know how it goes.  Be well!