Jun 082015

This is the third Wisdom Wander of the Walking the Ways of the Summer Light series. The focus is on the element of Water. In these weekly posts, I 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.


Enter Water’s Flow: Water moves if not contained so you might just flow out of one moment and into the next paying attention as you go to being your Wisdom Wander. I did grab my two decks, camera, notebook, and hat, but left my house without a real plan. As I stepped from my porch, one of the garter snakes that have taken up residence underneath slithered across the walkway in full S curves. I felt a tingle at the base of my spine of both fear and delight. Then I started toward Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary on the Connecticut River’s Oxbow, but when inspiration struck detoured to a small conservation area running along the Manhan River.  I started down the path and soon encountered another garter snake. This one did not move at all, except for a flick of the tongue, but let me walk by within inches. I found my way to the edge of a very low, very slow moving river.

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

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

Guides and lessons 6.7.15


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

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

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


Flow and pattern, connection and mirror, clarity and mystery mixed to open me to the power of being with Water and what comes from making a relationship with the elemental world.

As I mentioned, my Wander began with a two-snake encounter, and, The Minoan Wheel of Life has two intertwined snakes at its center. A lovely synchronicity to begin the Wander.

From the conservation area, I did move to Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary where I and many participants on the retreats I offer there have had powerful encounters with the land and its creatures.

hawk 6.7.15I spent most of my time on a nice Wander along the still waters of Arcadia. I was on the main path, nearly done with my walk, when I felt a drop of water fall on arm. The sky was clear and we’d had no rain in days so I paused to look up at the trees overhead. In the next moment, a hawk flew silently overhead to land on a branch above me. A jay followed, harrying the hawk that was now just feet away from me. I stood there with my mouth open. I started to reach for my camera without taking my eyes off the hawk. The jay grew bolder and the hawk lifted off, showing me its extending red-brown, stripped wings, flying toward the water beyond. I didn’t follow.

I was wishing I’d gotten a picture to share when from the other side of the path I heard another jay and turned to see the glide of wings through the trees. This new hawk landed on a distant but visible branch. I stepped from the path moving slowly toward the hawk’s tree. The jay jibbed and the hawk opened its lower beak and let out a screech. I kept moving toward the bird leaving the path behind.

This hawk, too, grew weary of the jay and flew off. I found myself between paths and looking at a Lady Slipper. Ecstasy came out for dance with this delicate wildflower. I found my way back to a new path and returned to the nature center.

ecstasy ladyslipper 6.7.15

I don’t read about the cards before I go out on my Wanders, but afterwards look forward to reading the deck creators’ wisdom and connecting it to my impressions of the cards and where they appeared on the Wander. All of the Oracle of Initiation cards are associated with a Deity, and as I read about these guides was struck by how the Oracle and Minoan cards were mirrors to each other.

Minoan WheelClarity is associated with the Anasazi who as great creators of poetry stir our imagination to see the patterns of our lives and make of ourselves a vessel for living out our purpose. The Minoan Wheel presents a visual pattern that with its intertwined snakes invites us to see transformation in the pattern of our lives.

Refining is associated with the Goddess Shakti and Mellissae Lucia writes of this card: “The invitation of all your aspects becomes the vibrational attunement that allows the ecstatic embodiments of you unique gifts.” Yes, this is the card connected with the Minoan’s Ecstasy. Ecstasy came out to visit with the Lady Slipper so I can’t help but think of the saying: “If the shoe fits, wear it”!

minoan-14-flowRecognition is associated with the Aztec flying serpent God Quetzalcoatl. As I was looking at Recognition and the Minoan’s Flow together my eye traveled to the two birds at the top of the labrrys-top pillars. Here were my two hawks.

I had begun my Wander with two snakes and I ended it with two birds. In between I had let water – even its smallest drop – direct my attention; strayed from my established path; and let myself be carried by the ecstatic flow. My snake self – the me that is ready for transformation – soared. I dared to look in the Quetzalcoatl mirror.

There is a lot more I could say really, but I think I’ll just leave the words to float in the mystery.

A dragonfly postscript …

I saw a dragonfly in the distance but had no special encounters with these insects at Arcadia as I had in the Earth and Air Wanders. But when I stopped for tea and journaling at the Cup and Top coffee shop, I sat at the counter that faced the art display wall and this is what I saw (te, he):

dragonfly sign 6.7.15


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

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

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

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


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

Wisdom Wanders continue next week with a Fire post on Monday as we prepare for the arrival of the Solstice.


Apr 142014

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

GaianwheelLargePATH:  Use Pile 1 / Majors and Aces to pull a card for the question:  What sacred path would best serve the group this week?  THE WHEEL invites us to walk this week on pathways of  …

  • The change that comes with the turning of the year in its solar and lunar cycles.
  • Movement aligned with the natural cycle.
  • Awareness of the eternal, the time beyond time, and the vast cosmos that holds us.

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

  •  A heart-opening meditation.  You can find many guided meditations on the web.  I’ve enjoyed the meditations at Fragrant Heart; the Heart Centered Guided Meditation fits particularly well with this week’s images.
  • Take a companion animal for your teacher.  Spend this week letting them teach you about gratitude, delight, and love.
  • Especially if you live in an area where spring thaw is happening, go out to a stream, waterfall, or river and listen deeply to the sounds of its movement.  What does it show you about how to be in the flow?

gaian guardian-airPOSTURE:  Use Pile 3 / People cards for a question such as:  What attitudes and behaviors will be most helpful to me in undertaking this practice?  GUARDIAN OF AIR  invites you to follow your path and practices with attitudes of ….

  •  Daring to look at and name the truth of what she sees.
  • Having a cosmic awareness that takes her from seeing the everyday tasks to the first flaring forth of time. She is unconcerned that she is passing through on this earth for just a small spec of time.
  •   Being unconcerned about the constrictions of mainstream society.

OVERALL MUSINGS:  Blue!  I am struck by the blue that carries through these cards: the cosmic blue sky, the blue robe draped, the blue wrappings of the barefoot woman.  What is your association with the color blue?  Pondering these cards, I am called to its infinite quality connected to sky and its compassionate quality connected to the medieval blue of the Virgin Mary’s cloak (feel free to see her as the Goddess).  The mixing of these qualities is a bit beyond words, but I am moved by this quote and offer it as a closing here: “One of his tears fell in my mouth, where it became a blue sapphire, source of strength, source of strength and eternal hope.” ― Anita Diamant, The Red Tent



Jun 212012

Welcome to the Summer Solstice Tarot Blog Hop!

 Perhaps you are joining me from Christiana Gaudet’s blog (or make sure to back up to her) on this hop around the internet to celebrate the Solstice.  Be sure to continue the hop by moving from this blog to Matt Williams’

This hop’s theme of Celebrate the Sunrisecomes from Chloë McCracken:  “I am inspired in this title by the yearly practice of celebrating the dawn held atStonehenge in celebration of the Summer solstice. This is the dawn of the longest day of the year, and the sun peeks through the heel stones and the outer stone circle to reach into the heart of the stone circle, to the altar stone. For me, the fact of this stone circle connects us with millennia of celebration of this special time of year.”

Our collective posting time is also set to the rising of the sun at Stonehenge.  So though I will be heading to bed as the magic of the modern technology brings this post to you, I, too, will be connected to this celebration grounded in stone, lit by the sun, and unbounded by clock time.

My offering for this hop is a guided visualization meditation that starts at sunrise and brings you into an encounter in a circle.  Not a circle of stone, but of trees.  This is one of my Journey into the Tarot meditations inspired by the 22 cards of the Major Arcana.  The Gaian Wheel with its trees of different seasons is the direct inspiration and The Sun offers its light and wisdom as well.

Gaian Wheel Meditation for the Summer Solstice.

The meditation includes suggestions for Solstice activities, breath work, chakra balancing, and the guided visualization.  The full running time is about 45 minutes.

More meditations can be found at Journey into the Tarot.

Now continue your hop by visiting Matt Williams.

For a full list of all participating blogs (and in case you stumble across a broken link) visit Inner Whispers.

Jan 212012

One of the grand metaphors of Tarot – though it is a fairly recent innovation – is the that that Major Arcana is The Fool’s Journey with three levels or kinds of work for our Hero Fool to do:  Cards 1 – 7 represent the development of self and the ego; Cards 8 – 14 represent a turning inward to seek a new kind of wisdom; and Cards 15-21 represent fulfillment of the Fool’s seeking and spiritual attainment.  In 78 Degrees of Wisdom, Rachel Pollack names the levels as Consciousness, Subconsciousness, and Superconsciousness.

The Fool’s Journey has guided me for a long time but now it’s sparked a new metaphor as I’ve worked through the Journey into the Tarot.  I’ve been playing with a vision of the Major Arcana as three circles of healing with three points of transition.  This post spins out that thread of thought and continues the play.

Both the nature and the shape of the journey changed with the shift in metaphor to circles of healing rather than a progressive journey.

The first spark for this new view of the Major Arcana came from working with and re-assessing the relationships between the male and female wisdom figures of the first six cards of the Major Arcana (which I blogged about in more detail here).  I saw the obvious dance between the Emperor and the Empress, but also how the Hierophant needs the High Priestess’ inner / lunar wisdom to refresh the outer / solar traditions he upholds.  They danced between the Magician and the Lovers.

Using the circle of healing metaphor, The Magician represents the circles highest potential and what exists before a split of masculine and feminine.  He exuberantly uses the male elements of fire and air and the female elements of water and earth to make his magic.  The Lovers shows the joyful connection of masculine and feminine and is the main healing work of this circle of integration.  The connection is possible both within a person and through greater cooperation of men and women in the world.

The Charioteer moves forward from this triumph of integration led by a team of dark and light creatures into the next circle of healing.

Using the attributions of the English School, Strength opens the second circle of healing seeming to continue a theme of triumph and most commonly the image of a woman taming a lion.  But the gentleness of the woman is so different from the boldness of the Charioteer.   Some kind of transformation has taken place.

Paradox now makes its appearance as the trickster teacher because the triumph of the first line is following by the seeming contradiction of dissolution and surrender as the achievements of second line of cards.

The work of this line starts with The Hermit who leaves behind the everyday world for the lonely mountaintop.  He goes inward removing himself from the attention and praise of the world.  This allows him to come to know his inner wisdom.  Rather than being isolating, the work here connects to the Hermit to ever changing movement of the Wheel.  From his wide perspective on the mountain top, he comes to a deep understanding of change internally, in the everyday world, and even in the unseen realms and the widest cosmos.  He no longer fights change but aligns himself with its energies.

This alignment with change brings a greater understanding of the patterns of cause and effect embodied in Justice.  Reaching Justice brings us half way round this circle of healing with Strength and Justice across from each other.  The connection is apt as it takes strength to look at our lives and take responsibility for how we’ve triumphed and failed and to pluck the lessons of self knowledge from its roses and thorns.

The deep self knowledge gained from this encounter with Justice may spark a re-assessment that can be quite destabilizing.  And in this second circle of healing the destabilization needs to be embraced.  The Hanged One meets the challenge by turning every thing upside down and being with the uncertainty created by this new perspective.  Action seems impossible.  A new understanding of what is important is in process of being formed.

The old self faces Death and this is the great work of this circle of healing.  The transition into a new way of being requires releasing what is known, both the negative and the positive aspects.  We are called to let them go without knowing what will next emerge.  There is the phase of the Death process where we enter the void.  If we have prepared well enough in the work of the Hanged One, we may even welcome this place of absence.

We are called forth from the void by the rising of the sun.  The new invites us.  We emerge as stronger because of a greater connection to the whole of creation that is in a constant cycle of birth, death, and re-birth.  The boundaries between self and other have worn away.  We have the skills to commune with our lions (who represent both our fears and our power).  While we appear to have control over these beasts, those who have traveled the healing circle of dissolution know that it is through surrender and death that this deeper kind of power flows.

We’ll need that power when we face the Devil, but that’s a subject for another post.

[Notes:  Images from the Gaian Tarot are used with permission.  It’s interesting to note that some people see the Gaian Magician as a man while others see the figure as a woman.  The ability to be both speaks to the Magician as an already perfect balance of male and female.]

Dec 292011

I’m appreciating how the cards of our Journey into the Tarot sessions are aligning with the energies of this season.

We journeyed to meet the Hermit on December 14th on one of the longest nights of the year, the nights still descending into lengthening darkness.  The glow of his lantern was most welcome and reminded us that even as we take time out to be in stillness and the dark, we will be called to return and share with others the light found there.

On Solstice eve, the 21st, the Wheel was a most appropriate theme for the turning of the sun back to lengthening days.  Although most of the guided visualizations for Journey into the Tarot are inspired by Marcia Macino’s Rider-Waite-Smith focused meditations, the image of the Gaian Wheel opened a way for a visit to the Sacred Grove that Exists in Time Out of Time.  The old was released and new visions invited.

Now we have arrived at the last week of the year to find Justice waiting for us.  Although the central imagery focuses our immediate attention on balance, the law, and cause and effect, there is an invitation below these foreground themes to seek greater self-knowledge and step into greater responsibility for the course of our lives.

At the end of the year, I undertake an annual review, looking back through my Sacred Journey Journal to identify patterns, goals achieved and left undone, and the surprise gifts of the unexpected.  I’ve blogged about my experiences here before and in the past few years I’ve been adding things to my process inspired by Joanna Powell Colbert and Chris Guillebeau.

This year I am recognizing this as the work of Justice in that foundational sense of increasing my self-knowledge and taking responsibility for what I am creating.  This is the underpinning for creating an ever more balanced and integrated life in 2012.

As is quite usual for me, it is Rachel Pollack who is a source for this deeper thinking about the cards.  In Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, she writes:

“The Wheel of Fortune represents a vision of a person’s life: the events, who you are, what you are made of yourself.  Justice indicates an understanding of that vision.  The way to understanding lies in responsibility. …  [W]hen we accept that every event in our lives has helped to form our characters, and that in the future we will continue to create ourselves through our actions, then the sword of wisdom cuts through the mystery. 

Further by accepting responsibility for ourselves we paradoxically free ourselves from the past.  Like Buddha remembering all his lives, we can only get loose from the past by becoming conscious of it.  Otherwise we repeat past behaviors.  This is why Justice belongs at the center of our lives.”

I began my year with visions and goals.  In these days of my annual review, I seek the assistance of the sword of truth to assess my progress, to learn about myself through the successes and challenges of the year; and prepare the way for what will come in the new year.

May Justice provide for you, too, guidance and insight at the end of the year.  What does she invite you to do or reflect on in these last days of 2011?

[Note:  The Hermit and Justice are from the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot and the Wheel is from the Gaian Tarot.  Used with permission.]