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 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 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.

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.

Apr 252016
 

A seasonal or soul-need ritual to flow with the essential energies of the summer sun: growth, movement, sensuality, creativity, delight.

From May 1 to beginning of August, I will be Walking the Ways of the Summer Light with Wisdom Wanders, Pilgrimage Prompts, blog posts, and special offerings from my Tarot practice.  You can join in by following along on my blog, purchasing the overview guide, or joining me in some of the seasonal activities.

seeker spread horizontal

Why This Focus? (From the Overview Guide)

The sun rules the summer season and like the plants we humans respond to its exuberant invitations: reach for the light; grow to new heights; express your self and your delight; sing, dance, travel, paint (or what ever form your creativity takes); let your body love another or the earth upon which we walk. The explosive sun also invites us to release our anger, rise up against injustice, and shake off our constraints.

If we take up the summer sun’s invitations, we can move beyond our current boundaries of body, mind, and spirit. While winter is the season for change through inner work, the summer gets us out and walking the ways for growth.

In the Celtic calendar, summer begins with the festival of Beltane at the start of May in the Northern Hemisphere and November in the Southern. Celtic teacher Caitlín Matthews introduces us to the season in her Celtic Book of Days:

Beltane celebrates the bright half of the year and was warmly welcomed for it was the official beginning of summer when the over-wintered animals could be driven out into wider pasturing, and when scattered households would meet together and travel forth.  …  The festival, whose name means the ‘the fires of Bel’ is named after the Beli or Belenus, the shinning one, an archaic god for whom no legend remains.  Several inscriptions remain to the Romano-Celtic Apollo Belenus, testifying to the solar and healing qualities of the original god.

Everything is in movement. You, too, are invited to move as we flow from spring into summer. Walking the Ways of the Summer Light, aligns with this energy of movement and offers you ways to cultivate the sun’s invitations of growth, movement, sensuality, creativity, and delight.

Flow of the Seasonal Ritual

The hinge of this ritual observance is the Summer Solstice on Monday, June 20. To move toward this time of greatest light in the Northern Hemisphere, we will be walking weekly guided by elemental themes of first earth, then air, water, and, finally fire. I call these walks, Wisdom Wandersand they are designed to loosen us from our usual modes and roles so we can listen, see, and feel in news ways.  We will be seeking the questions that ignite our desires, serve our growth, inspire transformation (rather than the answers).  There will be weekly blog posts and those local to the Connecticut River Valley can join for weekly Wisdom Wanders at a wildlife sancutary.

We will move out from the Solstice focused on a central question. This question will guide our travel through the month of July. We are invited to make a pilgrimage to a sacred place to seek the answer to our questions. Weekly blog posts will support pilgrimage themes and there will be a circle sharing session at the start of August.

Ritual Tools

Our own bodies will be our greatest ritual tools as we move through the summer landscape.

We will, of course, be aided by our favorite Tarot decks and oracles. The Gaian, Minoan, and Shining Tribe Tarots along with the Oracle of Initiation will be my main inspirations for prompts and blog posts.

You will be invited to create a memento or document in some way your Wisdom Wanders and Pilgrimage. Your favorite creativity tools (pens, paints, cameras, ect.) can be part of your traveling ritual tool kit.  

Schedule

Wisdom Wander Posts:

  • May 23rd – Earth
  • May 30th – Air
  • June 6th – Water
  • June 13th – Fire (to prepare for the Solstice!)

Urban Wisdom Wander in NYC – POSTPONED

Wisdom Wander for Writers on Sunday, June 12th.

Pilgrimage Posts:

 

 

Apr 232016
 

The June 4th Wander is postponed due to family (of a feline variety) needs. When I reschedule, I will repost.

Join a small group of fellow seekers (about 10) on an urban Wisdom Wander to seek symbols in the city and find nature’s wisdom even amidst tall buildings.

As part of my Walking the Ways of the Summer Light season long ritual, this Wisdom Wander will help you tune into your intuitive self, receive wisdom from the season, identify the questions that you most need to ask yourself right now, and prepare for the illumination of the Summer Solstice on June 20th.

No Tarot experience required but it would be a good idea to have some kind of deck (I’m happy to help you think about a deck that would be best for you and the wanders). Pre-registration, however, is required (see below).

The flow of the wanders includes:

  • Group gathering to greet each other, name our seeking selves, and get an orientation to the idea of urban wisdom wandering.
  • Selecting Tarot or oracles cards to serve as guides for what to pay attention to as we wander the city.
  • Time to wander on your own.
  • Reflection time on your own.
  • A closing sharing circle.

We will gather at the Paley Pocket Park on East 53rd (with the communal table of Le Pain Quotidian as a rain back up) and this area of the city close to Central Park, Museum of Modern Art, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and so much more will our place of wandering. We’ll re-gather at 1:30pm. Full details upon registration.

paley park waterfall by JohnPhoto by John Laux

To hold a space for yourself and and receive the 16 page full-color PDF that gives an overview of the Wisdom Wanders and the whole Walking the Ways of the Summer Light is only $19

I’ll suggest that you wander on your own, but we will start and end in circle with each other. I have these basic guidelines I like to follow for the group work that I lead:

LISTENING: Listening will be the greatest gift we can offer to each other.

SHARING: We will share our stories with each other.  We will offer each other insights from our own experience – and each one of us gets to choose which of the offerings will be useful to use, follow, or discard.  Each one of us owns our own experience.

OFFERING: We can offer the wisdom we know from our various traditions.  In our diverse group, to make and view the offerings as prompts for inspiration rather than absolute truths might be the most beneficial perspective to carry.

BEING PRESENT: You are invited to leave the outside world behind as much as possible as a gift to yourself and others.

SEEKING: We recognizing that we are each on a path and doing the best that we can.  Sometimes making mistakes and sometimes tapping into deep wisdom.  Our perfectly imperfect selves are welcomed into the group.

CONFIDENTIALITY: We’ll be discussing practice, seasonal insights and the Tarot that can be shared, but individual stories will not be shared beyond the day.

 

Jun 152015
 

This is the third Wisdom Wander of the Walking the Ways of the Summer Lightseries. The focus is on the element of Fire. In these weekly posts, I offer inspirations for your walks as well as examples from my own Wanders. They 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 FIRE EXPLORATION

Milkweed in fire evidencePrepare 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.

Actual fire is an obvious form for elemental Fire, and on my Water Wisdom Wander I passed by the place I knew I would return to for this Fire Wisdom Wander: the site of the Winter Solstice bonfire at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary now grown over with wildflowers. I was amazed to see that milkweed plants had grown right through the large burnt ash remnants of the fire in that cold time.

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.

When I started the Wisdom Wanders I thought I might vary my selection process, but I’ve found a pattern that works for me so I’ve been repeating it.  But you should be sure to follow your instinctual inspirations – especially in a Fire week! – perhaps with a twist any usual process. Before heading to the spot I’d already identified last week, I pulled three cards from the Oracle of Initiation as guides for my Fire exploration; Unconscious, Sanctified, and Wonder. To match the three Oracle cards I pulled three cards from a mix of the Shining Tribe Tarot’s Major Arcana and the suit of Trees (this deck’s suit connected to the element of Fire) to point me toward Fire’s lessons for me: The Chariot, The Hermit, and 9 of Trees.

fire guides and lessons

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 …

  • 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?

REPORT FROM MY WANDER

This Wander I was struck by the value of having a special place in nature to return to again and again. Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary has been my nature home base for quite awhile and this past year I’ve focused my attention on a small part of the sanctuary: the field where the Winter Solstice bonfire takes place. The transformations of nature are rich in this small plot of land and it is the site of my ritual to release grief and unproductive patterns into the last December’s bonfire. This combination of natural process and personal ritual weave together into a net of insight that is still coming into focus for me but clearly include how life and death are intertwined, seeming opposites are really part of the Whole, and my magic making may be as simple as the perception of the extraordinary in the ordinary.

I’ll describe some of these Wanders happenings but I’m sure the words will fall short of the experience.  I can tell you that an orange bird flew at top speed so close to my ear that I felt the whoose of its flight and said a “Wow” in my heart, but the words only scratch the surface of the experience.  That the card that emerged from my pocket after this bird encounter was Wonder says both everything and nothing at the same time.

After my bird encounter and three ritual circlings of the field, I walked right into the remains of the bonfire. Most of the field is filled with grasses, milkweed, clover, and other wild things. This green life is encroaching on burnt remains, but there is still a dark circle at field’s center. Here I created a mandala of cards between the burnt and milkweed’s bursting.

fire site mandala horizontal

The dark blue card of Unconscious lay down on the burnt log. In the Oracle of Initiation companion, book Mellissae Lucia writes that this card shows the shadow that were once suppressed but when released becomes the key to shining your light in the world. What I placed into this winter’s fire to be burnt away is becoming the light, energy, or illumination I can offer to the world. The Chariot as the lesson card here reinforces the idea of transforming my dark depths as the way forward.

Closer to the green life, the two cards of illumination, Sanctified and Wonder, emerged. Sanctified is the card of the union of masculine and feminine in the embrace of Love. The disturbance of the 9 of Trees as the lesson card connected to Sanctifying points the way to seeing grief as an act of love – and going all the way through its pain as a way of sanctifying a death. Wonder danced with the Hermit here, and showed how stepping away from human company for a while connects us to the wonder and teachings of nature.

Not all the messages were about the solitary life, however, The orange beetles who appeared in the first flowering of milkweed were clearly copulating! Yes, sex is certainly a part of the gift of fire.

beetle sex

And, yes, there was a dragonfly (see Earth, Air, and Water Wanders for the full story)… of sorts.  Actually it was a damselfly and strangely, though it stayed still for me for a long time and let me come quite close I could never get a clear picture.  Perhaps not all messages are meant to be clear upon first receiving them. Perhaps more pondering is needed to gain the sweetest gifts. And for this Wander’s report, I will leave you with that mystery to ponder.

closer blurry damzelfly

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 from me:

  • 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 the Walking the Ways of the Summer Light series. Later in the week I will post some inspirations for marking the Summer Solstice, which arrives for us here in North America on Sunday. There will be a brief pause in Walking the Ways posting so I can bask in the Solsticetide. On July 6th, four weekly posts on Pilgrimage as a place to bring our questions for answers will begin.

 

Jun 012015
 

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 offer inspirations for your walks as well as examples from my own Wanders. They 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 ENCONTER

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 I 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.

To gather my guides and translators, I pulled 3 cards from the Oracle of Initiation as guides for my Air exploring:  Collaboration, Sustainability, and Embarking To match the 3 Oracle cards I pulled 3 cards from the Shining Tribe Tarot’s Major Arcana and the suit of Birds (this deck’s suit connected to the element of Air) to point me toward Air’s lessons for me: Two of Birds, The Emperor, and The Magician.

guides and lessons 5.30.15

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 this Air Wisdom Wander, 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?

On my Earth Wisdom Walk, I received a message that seemed as if it was for the collective as much as for me about paying attention to the stresses on the bee population. This week I had an even stronger sense of receiving two different messages: one more personal and the other more collective.

The cards and inspirations that came to me on the personal level were a continuation of last week’s message about communication between the seen and unseen realms and the continued connection I have to my late partner John. Once again there was a dragonfly, cards that I in some way associate with John, and if I’d been too dense to catch those things hidden all around me, the word LOVE was spelled out in stones at the bottom of the Mill River.

love in water

Though this appearance of Love emerged in the thread of my personal message, there is certainly a collective dimension to it. The earth loves and provides us with renewing gifts. The unseen ancestors love us and send their messages of support our way.  And partnered or unpartnered, there are still streams of love from others that run through your life. Direct your attention there, nurture these connections, and our awareness of Love can only grow.

Just as the personal contained a collective dimension, my collective message became clear because of a personal connection.

My Wander ran through my whole day. I did my preparation in the morning and then went off to some regular schedule activities that included time at the Forbes Library. The library art gallery included a show called Airborn (what kind of synchronicity is that!) in which the artist made pieces using the fabric of a parachute brought home from World War II. Sustainability made her first appearance of the day under the artist’s clouds created from parachute fabric. There were even tacks included in the piece to support Sustainability for a quick clandestine picture.

sustainable and parachute cloud 5.30.15

Sustainability waited until toward the end of the walk to appear again. I came upon a gathering of silvered dandelions and by chance pulled the card from my pocket. 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.

sustainability dandelion 5.30.15

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, and yes, is the last project that John worked on. 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.

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 Oracle of Initiation.

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?

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 on Monday.

May 182015
 

The freedom in walking lies not in being anyone; for the walking body has no history;  it is just an eddy in the stream of immemorial time. Frederic Gros

seeker spread full verticle

The Wisdom Wander focus of Walking the Ways of the Summer Light begins next Monday, May 25, 2015. Suggestions for your carrying out your own weekly Wisdom Wanders follow, and if you are interested in joining a tele-circle for sharing and deepening your experience with fellow seekers those being on June 1. 

The purpose of the these Wisdom Wanders in the whole Walking the Ways seasonal ritual is to gather the questions that matter most deeply to you now. There are no rules for a Wisdom Wander, but this flow is offered as a jumping off point for your own designs. But remember to follow your feet, your heart, and where ever your senses lead you.

Selecting Your Place: You don’t have to go anywhere special for a Wisdom Wander. Your backyard might provide all the wonder you need.  But to vary your views, you might seek out places that put you in touch the weekly elemental focus. A place where you can touch bare ground or stone for Earth. A hill or mountain top to feel the Air and be close to birds, and a windy urban avenue could do the same. If you can, traveling to a large body of water or the ocean in the Water week would be appropriate, or just wander on a rainy day. The Fire week comes during the period of longest days so anywhere on a sunny day will do, or build a bonfire to contemplate its flame.

Separating From the Everyday: You may want to enact a small ritual of leaving behind all your responsibilities, worries, and cares. You could visualize putting them into a box. If any critical voices start to speak, just assure them you’ll be back; you are only going for a walk.  Can you leave your cell behind? Or at least put it into airplane mode.

Travel Light But Bring What You Need: Remember to take care of you body: water? sun screen? good shoes?. Remember any ritual or creativity needs: tiny notebook and pen? drawing materials? camera? And, of course, cards from your Tarot or oracle deck.  Bring it all on one Wander. Bring nothing on another.

Set an Intention: An overall intention of these Wisdom Wanders is to seek out and be open to the questions that speak to our souls, that will focus the more directed pilgrimage journey that is part of July’s Walking the Ways of the Summer Light.

Invite / Select / Welcome your Way Showers / Inquisitors / Guides for the Day’s Wandering:  Because the language of nature and the elements is not immediately apparent to us humans, we can ask for help from the Tarot or oracles.  You may have a relationship with a wisdom figure(s) represented on a card and want to select it.  You may let who ever needs to come emerge from a face-down draw. Spend some time meeting the one(s) who emerge to travel with you. I often work with 4 or so guides / cards in a wander.

Wander:

  • Be open to whatever draws your attention and spend time there. Pause. Look. Listen.
  • If you would like to engage with an area or a plant, greet it, ask its permission to approach and receive its response. If allowed to approach, do so respectfully; engage your sense to receive the messages and questions offered.
  • You might select one of your guides – by chance or choice – to come and be with you in the places of pause and contemplation. Consider how the place and the guide fit together.
  • When you have finished, don’t forget to offer gratitude before you move on.  You might leave a strand of your hair as a gift. Or perhaps you have planned ahead and brought a small natural object to leave as a sign of gratitude.

Be Open to Creative Urges: The earth is busy creating in cooperation with the summer sun.  How might you mimic this creativity to learn its magic? Bring out your notebook or artists tools. Gather loose elements of the earth (rocks, fallen petals, twigs, feathers) and arrange them into an earth altar. Your guides might like to be placed within your creation. You might want to document with a photo that becomes your memento… and then let all the elements return to lie on the earth as they were.

Return:  Notice when and where you are passing from your place of wandering into the more human world. You might pause, offer some gratitude, or say a prayer at this point.

Reflect: You may want to just sit or to journal or draw.  Let the experience seep into you.  Let some insights emerge.  Connect with your guide; have a chat about what you experienced together.

Gathering Questions: While on the Wander or just afterward, you might just blurt out or free writing all the questions that surface.  Spend some time with your guides listening with your imagination to the questions they would ask you if they could speak aloud. Contemplate your memento as if it were a Tarot card and let it offering you questions. Sometime later in the week, you might want to hone and shift through your questions.  This can be like the process of creating questions to take to a Tarot reading. Here are the prompts I send to people ahead of my Tarot consultations to get their questions percolating:

  • Questions that yield the most freedom and possibility most often include HOW and WHAT. For example:  How can I ….?  How have I ….?  In what ways ….?  What do I most need to pay attention to now?  What will support me to …?
  • Questions that can be fruitful in specific circumstances often include WHY, WHERE, and WHO. For example:  Where in my life have I ….?  Who can best support me in doing …?  Who is challenging me ….? [Be open to the answer not being a human that you know!]  Why am I really doing this (i.e. what is underneath the surface)?
  • WHICH limits you to particular options already determined. If you are still in an early stage of decision making, it is probably too early for a WHICH question.  If you have been working seeking an answer for a long time and feel clear that a decision rests between a set number of options, then WHICH may be fruitful.
  • YES / NO questions are not generative. But if you are burnt out on generating ideas and are ready to trust the message that comes through the cards, this just might be the kind of question that you need.

Cultivate Patience: Each Wisdom Wander is an invitation to step out of the demands of time, and the whole flow toward the Solstice extends an invitation to be free of knowing the answers but instead opening to the questions. The words of the poet Rilke cheer us in this work:

Be patient toward all that is unsolved

in your heart and try to love the questions themselves

like locked rooms and like books that are written

in a very foreign tongue.

Acknowledgements:  This process is most directly influenced by my work with Joanna Powell Colbert and her Gaian Tarot and Mellissae Lucia and her Oracle of Initiation. James Wells’ wisdom on question generation inspired the question asking prompts.

Apr 182015
 

Join a small group of fellow seekers (no more than 6) to share your stories of what you are experiencing as you Walk the Ways of the Summer Light and deepen your exploration with meditation and special Tarot process. You will receive the overview booklet for this season of ritual when you sign up.

Sessions will be held Mondays, June 1, 8, 15, and 22 at 6:15pm ET in the United States.

seeker spread focused verticleThe content of each call will be inspired by the elemental focus of each week and will follow this order:

These sharing circles are a container for pondering, musing, and exploring aloud what surfaces as you walk the ways. As you share and listen to others, your connection to the season, the light, Divinity, and the elemental themes can deepen or shift into new and necessary places.

I have these basic guidelines I like to follow for my tele-Circles:

LISTENING:  Listening will be the greatest gift we can offer to each other.

SHARING:  We will share our stories with each other.  We will offer each other insights from our own experience – and each one of us gets to choose which of the offerings will be useful to use, follow, or discard.  Each one of us owns our own experience.

BEING PRESENT:  Is your schedule currently clear to make the 4 sessions?  If not, this might not be the time to the series. (You can follow along with my weekly blog posts.)

SEEKING:  We recognizing that we are each on a path and doing the best that we can.  Sometimes making mistakes and sometimes tapping into deep wisdom.  Our perfectly imperfect selves are welcomed into the group.

CONFIDENTIALITY:  We’ll be discussing practice and Tarot insights that can be shared, but individual stories will not be shared beyond the call.

Session will have elements of:

  • Check ins
  • Grounding and focusing / Meditation
  • Talking circles (where each person has a chance to speak uninterrupted) related to the themes being explored
  • Discussion and sharing
  • Tarot spread/process/play

In all the contexts of my life (activism, fundraising, and Tarot work), people say I run the best telephone sessions they have ever experienced and report feeling like they are sitting in circle together.  Tele-hospitality is one of my gifts.

Cost for tele-series and overview booklet is $100