Healing the Micro and Macro

Happy Litha, witches! Today we honor the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Litha is one of the four major Sabbats in the Celtic Wheel of the Year, and an opportunity to set energetic patterns in motion for healing and abudance. In the mythology of the reproductive cycle of the Wheel of the Year, the Goddess is pregnant from her encounter with the God at Beltane, and the God is at the peak of his youthful form.  

The contradiction of Litha lies in that while it is the longest day of the year, summer has not truly peaked. The days will start shortening after today, foreshadowing the inevitable arrival of winter. However, the heat has not reached its apex, as the summer days will still get hotter and more intense, bringing us to Lammas in August. Litha is often considered one of the fire festivals, being celebrated with bonfires and feasts. We celebrate the abundance spring brought us, with lavender and rose infused pastries. 

As you gather to honor the energies of the solstice, whether in a group or in solitary practice, I want to ask you to consider the state of the world and offer healing on a macro scale. One of the most important teachings of shamanic work is the understand that our bodies function as a microcosm of the earth. By healing the earth, we heal ourselves, and vice versa. One of our goals as shamanic practitioners is to foster harmony between ourselves, the earth, and the spirit realm.

We are at a time of crisis in the world. The earth and humanity are unquestionably hurting right now. As much as we may feel powerless, we must remember we are far from it. There are many ways you can take action and make a difference through political process, activism, volunteering, and so forth. But we must also remember that our ritual space is also a vehicle for change on a larger scale. 

Litha.jpg

If you are unsure where to start, I hope you find this quick tarot spread helpful. Asking our helping spirits for guidance is always a good place to start. Using a two-card spread, asking the following questions:

  1. How can I be a vehicle for healing in my community?
  2. What is my first or next step?

As I gather with my wonderful coven, we will be setting intentions to heal both ourselves and our community. While we rejoice in our celebratory Sabbat dinner, we will not forget those who are far less fortunate. Let's use our magic to reach beyond ourselves. 

 

New Moon, Dark Moon, Creatrix, Reaper

Hello moon children, and happy New and Dark Moons! We are at the end of a lunar cycle, coming out of a New Moon in Gemini. At the Gemini New Moon, we find double Gemini energy, as it comes together with the Gemini Sun. This is a time to explore the dualities in ourselves, and how these play out - including questions of how accurate or valid dualities are, and the reality of spectrums. Wren McMurdo has a great post on Gemini and the exploration of duality and the gender spectrum (and how wonderful is it that Pride month coincides with Gemini season?).

But back to the Dark and New Moons. I've been seeing a lot of discussion about these moon phases and their definitions. In truth, there is no absolute consensus. Rather than providing an astronomical or astrological interpretation, I am going to focus on the ritual significance and let you discern the timing that makes most sense for you.  

So how do the energetic vibrations of these two moon phases differ? The New Moon is about beginnings, birthing new projects, starting new directions, and the overall initial creative spark. On the New Moon, we perform rituals of attraction and invocation. We plant the seed for new energies we want to attract to our lives, so they can grow and mature as the moon waxes. 

Within tarot, I see the energies of both the High Priestess and the Empress as connected to the New Moon. When working with single card associations, I connect the High Priestess to the waxing moon (Maiden), the Empress to the Full Moon (Mother), and to the waning moon (Crone). But as always, there are many levels and layers of interpretation. The High Priestess is connected to the New Moon as the Maiden, and as the keeper of the portals to the Spirit realm. She asks us to step into something new. The Empress is usually considered the Mother of tarot, but I like to think of the Mother archetype in a more expansive way. Rather than Mother, I have come to embrace the Creatrix archetype. 

The Creatrix archetype is an expansive view of the Mother archetype. The Mother archetype can feel a bit restrictive, as it tends to refer to genetic motherhood and giving birth. In present day society, many people choose not to have children. As such, many women are excluded from this archetype, and it doesn't address the various, multi-faceted ways that we can birth new things into the world: projects, ideas, manifestations of all sorts. A woman who does not bare children but spends her life manifesting creative project is still a Mother, just not in the traditional sense. Here we find the Creatrix. 

New Moon.jpg

The Dark Moon, on the other hand, is about shadow work. The Dark Moon vibrates along the same frequencies as the Crone archetype. She asks us to confront our shadow selves and the power of death. In mythology, the Dark Moon energy is seen in Goddesses such as Kali, the Morrigan, Baba Yaga, Lilith, and Hekate. In the Dark Moon, we see the Reaper Goddesses. 

As the Full Moon is the plenitude, the Dark Moon is the void. To steal part of Nietsche's quote, "when you gave long into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you." This is the energy of the Dark Moon. By presenting us with the void, it reflects ourselves back to us. At Beltane, I briefly discussed the medicine of Death as ultimate transformation of self. There is medicine in every phase of the moon, but the Dark Moon is where we find the biggest opportunity for deep shifts.

At first it might seem that the energies of the New and Dark Moons are at odds with each other, but it's quite the contrary. There is no ultimate ending, as the end of every cycle leads to a new beginning. Conversely, every beginning leads to an end. Therefore, the end of the cycle holds within it the seed for the next beginning, and every beginning carries the seed of death. 

Don't miss any blog posts and stay in the loop about workshops by joining my newsletter!

 

 

 

Tarot Spread - The Situational Mirror

Gemini season is in full swing, and the energies of Gemini are still permeating our lives, calling us to reflect both on our relationships with ourselves and with others. There's been a theme in the conversations I've been having with those around me:  difficult situations are bubbling up, and we are wondering how to address them. There's an old piece of advice, that while sometimes annoying to receive, contains a universal truth: We can only control ourselves, and how we choose to act and react. From these discussions came this new tarot spread, to help us navigate complicated situations in a way that keeps us aligned with our highest and best truths. This spread seeks not only to provide actionable guidance, but to give a mirror so we can evaluate what we are bringing to the situation. 

Mirror spread.jpg
  1. The situation where I am feeling stuck
  2. Where the energy is blocked
  3. What energy I think I should bring to the situation
  4. The energy I should actually bring to the situation for the highest and best outcome
  5. Self care: How I can take care of myself as I navigate the situation

Be gentle with yourselves, and have a great weekend!

PS - Take a look at my workshop page to see where you can catch me this month!

The Lovers Card - Expansive Partnership and Self-Reflection

Earlier this week, we had our monthly Full Moon Meditation, where we go through a guided meditation to explore our deepest selves and open up our creativity. This month's full Moon was in Sagittarius, with the Sun in Gemini, so we delved into the Gemini-Sagitarrius axis. 

Sagittarius is linked to the Temperance card in the Major Arcana, which I discussed briefly in a previous post. Today I'm focusing on the Lovers, which is admittedly one of the cards I have struggled with the most in the tarot. 

In the Smith-Rider-Waite decks, we see imagery that is undeniably heavily based on Christian mythology. There are two nude figures, male and female, standing in the foreground. Behind them them we see a tree with a serpent on the left, and a flaming tree on the right. It speaks of temptation and lust. Above them, an archangel manifests from the clouds. This is often assumed to be the Archangel Raphael, whose name means "God's Healing." In the Apocryphal books, he saves a young woman from Asmodeus, a demon of lust. This imagery invites a rather obvious interpretation: romantic involvement. 

Lovers1.jpg

But like any card in the tarot, there are more layers to peel back. When we look at the Lovers card in the Wild Unknown Deck, we get a better view of the other meanings of this card. Rather than seeing two archetypal human figures in a suggestive arrangement, we see two Canadian geese flying in harmony, almost like carbon copies of each other but not quite. They are surrounded by radiant rays of light, suggesting an expansive force emanating from this partnership.

There are two specific interpretations I want to discuss today, as it pertains to the energy of Gemini. Gemini is linked to the twins Castor and Pollux. This is not a romantic connection, but a familial one, and arguably the closest one can have, with twins. When we think of people with their Sun in Gemini, we think of people who can have two very different sides to themselves. Here we see the two deeper meanings of the Lovers: expansive partnership, and a mirror of the self. 

I see meaningful connection and mental expansion in the Lovers card. The medicine of this card is about a balanced duality that strives for the higher good. It's about a force outside of ourselves, a partnership, that supports us in our expansion and evolution. When it comes up in a reading and suggests partnership, it doesn't necessarily refer to a romantic partnership -  but to any partnership where you can be an equal participant, and grow from.

Beyond that, the Lovers card doesn't always refer to an external force. It often does, suggesting an external factor that prepares us for the motion of the Chariot in the next card. But sometimes the Lovers card is a call for self-reflection. It's about holding up a mirror to ourselves, and really seeing ourselves, free of preconceptions and judgements. It can be about learning to look at ourselves objectively, so we can discern our next steps. 

The Magician - Strength - Devil Triad: Embracing Our Shadow

Hello friends, here we are a couple of days late from my usual Monday. I spent last weekend in the woods, away from cell phone reception, and participating in ceremony with beautiful souls who are very dear to me. It always takes me a little while to shift gears from ceremony back to the "real world."

Today I want to discuss the Magician-Strength-Devil triad in the tarot. This axis assumes a Rider-Waite based Major Arcana, with Strength as the 8th card. In some decks, we do see Justice as 8, but in all honesty that wouldn't change the analysis of this triad dramatically.

Tarot1.jpg

What do I mean by triad? When we look at the Major Arcana, specifically at the narrative of the Fool's/Hero's Journey, we often split the cards into sets of three. The Fool stands apart as the protagonist, and the remaining cards are arranged numerically into three levels: cards 1-7, 8-14, and 15-21. Each of these levels has a narrative, but my focus today is on the vertical triads that emerge from this layout. More specifically, the Magician-Strength-Devil triad. When we arrange the cards as described here, we end up with triad subsets: 1-8-15, 2-9-16, 3-10-17, and so forth. 

The first triad, 1-8-15, shows a relationship between the Magician, Strength, and the Devil. The Magician is the initial spark of consciousness and ego the Fool experiences. He learns to want and to manifest, thinking outside of himself and projecting his will. Strength is the first card of the second level of the Major Arcana. The Fool has concluced his journey in the physical world, departing in the Chariot to explore the next level. In Strength, he acknowledges his animal instinct and learns to tame it. But there is a piece missing in this process that doesn't come full circle until we reach the Devil. Acknowledgement is not the same as true confrontation and acceptance. 

Tarot2.jpg

It is one thing to acknowledge the untamed part of ourselves - it is quite another to give into it, dance with it, and come out on the other side. Only by immersing ourselves and truly stripping away our egos can we dispell fear and find growth. Light always casts a shadow, and the brighter the light, the darker the shadow. The Devil asks us to go beyond simply acknowledging our shadow selves and actually spend time with our shadows. 

Beyond that, if we look at the cards immediately following this first triad, we get the High Priestess, Hermit, and the Tower. This tells us that after dealing with the very projective and instinctual energies of the first triad, the next step is a turn inwards, seen in the High Priestess and the Hermit. In the tower, we are asked to surrender to a complete foundational shift. Once we have surrendered to the medicine of the Devil, we are ready to tear down our existing structures and build new, stronger foundations for ourselves. 

The Devil is the conclusion of the Magician, because we cannot truly come into our power without a full exploration of ourselves. 

The Mother Wound, The Feminine Divine, and Tarot

This past weekend, I hosted a workshop at Hauswitch in Salem called Maiden, Mother, Crone where we talked about archetypes of the Divine Feminine, associated expectations, and how these play out in our lives. We did meditations with each archetype and shared personal, vulnerable stories. It's truly amazing how much we can unpack when we allow ourselves to be open in safe, sacred space. I'm still finding myself very immersed in thought from all those conversations. 

This workshop was admittedly timed to align with Mother's Day weekend, as this can be such a complicated day for many. One concept we were able to touch on was the Mother Wound. I've seen the Mother Wound defined mainly in two ways, both of which I find extremely important.

Fem-Archetypes.jpg

The Mother Wound has been defined as an emotional/psychological burden that is passed down along generations of women. Much of it derives from patriarchal devaluations of women, and it gets passed down in subconscious behaviors and thought patterns. As women learn how to cope with societies that don't make room for women to be strong and blossom, they develop coping mechanisms. These are then picked up by the following generations, creating an inter-generational wound. 

The second definition of the Mother Wound is more personal in scope. It acknowledges the special connection between parent and child, and furthermore, acknowledges the lifelong wounds we can carry from this relationship. This isn't about blame - it's not about whether the parent failed, or the child was difficult - because the wound happens independent of being able to objectively analyze and place blame. Whether we grew up feeling unsupported, judged, unheard, criticized, or any myriad of wounds that can surface in a mother-child relationship, we grow up carrying these wounds in one form or another into adulthood. 

There is so much to be said about this topic (and perhaps this will percolate into another workshop), but I wanted to develop a couple of tarot spreads to help you start your inner dialog about this, should it be something you feel called to start healing in your life. Both of these spreads are framed from a perspective of personal responsibility. I did this intentionally - whether or not these wounds came from previous generations or unhealthy relationships we have experienced, it is important that we have agency. We are empowered to take control of our own wounds and start healing them - this does not depend on the involvement of anyone else. 

  1. In what area of my life am I using unhealthy learned coping mechanisms?
  2. How can I bring these into my consciousness so I can begin to change them?
  3. What energy should I bring to this process to help me heal?
Spread.jpg

 

  1. Where in my life am I carrying childhood wounds?
  2. How are these wounds affecting my emotional wellbeing?
  3. What is my first step in bringing healing for myself?

I hope you find use in these spreads, and if you want to share your thoughts, please email me! Whether you came to my workshop, just happen to know me, or don't know me at all, I find this to be such an important conversation. 

Tarot Spread for Expansion

Merlinite.jpg

This weekend, I found myself some new crystal companions. Having grown up in Brazil, I've always felt an affinity for the quartz family. Quartzes have always felt like home, in that they often are literally pieces of my homeland. Lately, though, I've been feeling drawn to agates, and just got my first pieces of Dendritic or Tree Agate, also known as Merlinite. 

Dendritic Agate is a stone of ritual, shamanism, and magic. It can help part the veils between the worlds. 

It's also a stone of plenitude, abundance, and expansion. By working with or carrying Dendritic Agate, we are inviting these energies into our lives. So I developed a three-card tarot spread with this in mind:

  1. What area of my life is ready for expansion?
  2. What is my first step in allowing or welcoming in this expansion?
  3. What is holding me back?

On April 18th, Chiron moved into Aries, after having entered Pisces in 2011. Chiron in our astrological charts represents our deepest, primal wounds, and our work to fix them. When Chiron was in Pisces, this work was mainly internal. In Aries we move into projective, external energy where we are being called to heal our sense of Self. We are entering a phase of expansion through projection. With this in mind, we can use this simple tarot spread to gain insight on where the energies in our life are shifting with Chiron's sign change. 

From Contraction to Expansion: Coming out of Mercury Retrograde

We are finally coming out of Mercury Retrograde, after what has felt like a very long three weeks (culminating with a broken fridge in our home, but I digress). We generally move from contraction to expansion with the coming of Ostara, the spring equinox, but Mercury Retrograde both prolonged and intensified our period of contraction this spring. This came with the challenges of being confronted with turning inwards, but also the benefit of longer incubation. Now, as we move into expansion and projection, we can do so from a place of more preparation and intensity. 

5 of wands.jpg

The medicine of Mercury Retrograde was Temperance. I pulled a card for coming into expansion, with the question "What medicine should we embrace as we move towards manifesting the projects we have been incubating?" It's a bit unusual to see the 5 of Wands as medicine, as it's usually portrayed as a card of warning. But we need to remember that there is medicine for us in each and every card, and see beyond the surface interpretation. So what is the medicine of 5 of Wands?

Pictured are three decks: Smith Waite, Motherpeace, and Circo Tarot. We can see that across the board, this card is about group dynamics and group energy. Generally this is seen as a struggle within group dynamics, with posturing and competition. But with this comes advice: stand firm for what is important to you, but acknowledge other perspectives and reap the benefits of having your viewpoint challenged. These moments are opportunities to make sure our perspectives are thought through carefully, rather than resting on the comfort of long-held assumptions.

Fires are meant to be stoked. With the intense incubation of Mercury Retrograde, we have been immersed in shadow work. Now is the time to bring this medicine out into the more public realm, and test our growth beyond the confines of the private realm.  We should also remember the medicine of Temperance, and bring that into this next step. We can always build on the medicine of the previous season. The balance and ability to bring harmony to multiple elements will give us tools for working through the 5 of Wands. 

Temperance, Mercury Retrograde, The Magician, and The High Priestess

We are in the midst of Mercury Retrograde, which combined with the Aries sun, has turned out to be a moment of significant intensity. We entered Mercury Retrograde on March 23, and will remain here until April 15. We will be immersed in these energies for three full weeks. In the discussions I've been having with those around me, the theme of this transit is pretty clear: withdrawal and balance.

Temperance.jpg

When I pulled a medicine card for this week, I was not surprised to see Temperance. Temperance is both balance and alchemy. She has one foot on the ground and one foot on water, urging us to integrate the conscious and subconscious. She uses golden chalices to mix her potion, balancing the ingredients carefully. She reminds us of the importance of bringing the right amount of each element into the mix. Medicine is not a single thing, but the alchemical combination of many. 

Magician-HP.jpg

The Magician card is ruled by Mercury, and Mercury Retrograde is inevitably linked to the Magician's Trickster energy. The usual outward-manifesting energy of the Magician gets turned around, forcing us to pause. To find the medicine in this, we can consider the Magician within the greater context of the Major Arcana. The Magician is the great manifester, but he does not stand alone. His mirror is the High Priestess. Where he is the creation of will, she is the creation of soul.

Mercury Retrograde urges us to consider the medicine of the High Priestess, and turn inwards. This is the time to recognize and honor our knowledge, to remember that the true answers come from within. The ultimate medicine of Mercury Retrograde in Aries is in pausing, and connecting with our inner realm. In the last journal entry, right before Mercury Retrograde started, I spoke of March as a time of contraction. In this Mercury Retrograde period, that contraction is intensified, to the point of unavoidance.  This is the time for Temperance, the time to integrate our outward projections with our inner knowledge, as we prepare to set manifestation into motion once Mercury goes direct again.

The Third Lunation: Contraction and Energy Healing

We are now in the midst of the third lunation of 2018. In preparation for our last Full Moon meditation circle, I drew a tarot card for guidance on what medicine to bring to the meditation. This exercise was a reminder of the many levels of meaning in the tarot, and of how important context is.

I had been thinking a lot about energy - both our personal energies and universal energies, and how these interact and flow. Energy flows in the same way as water, following the path of least resistance. It carves out familiar paths, and keeps flowing along these paths unless we redirect it. We also lose energy on a regular basis, and unless we become aware of where we are losing energy and protect ourselves, we will continue pouring it out no matter how much energy we take in. 

Tarot-Hand.jpg

The traditional meaning of the Star card is one of hope - the renewed, calm hope that follows the foundational shifts of the Tower. The traditional reversal means hopelessness, perhaps even despair.

But there is so much more beyond this surface reading. The Star card shows a nude figure kneeling in front of a body of water, pouring jugs of water both on the ground and into the body of water. Above her are seven stars, with a larger shining star in the middle. She has one foot in the water, and one knee on the ground. I came into this reading already thinking of the flows of energy, and looking for medicine for the current lunation. The Star reversed showed me that this lunation is indeed the time for energy medicine - more specifically, for tending to our personal energy and identifying where we are losing energy. 

The seven stars in the card represent our seven chakras, which are the centers of energy in our bodies. The larger star in the middle reminds us to balance and cleanse our chakras. The figure in this card is pouring out energy in the form of water. She is nourishing the land, but as she does this, she is giving of herself. This is not inherently bad, but we need to know when to turn inwards and nourish ourselves. 

The month of March is a time for contractions, of harnessing energy in preparation for the thaw. There is so much significance in the imagery of tarot cards, and I often find it beneficial to look beyond textbook meanings and study the images. When the Star card is reversed, we now see a reversal in the flow of water. The water is now pouring into her containers, filling them. She is no longer pouring out her energy, she is replenishing herself. This is the medicine of our current lunation: to heal and balance our chakras, to learn where we are losing energy and heal those losses. 

PS - If you want to catch me in person, take a look at my upcoming workshop schedule

 

 

Ostara, the Cosmic Egg, and the Fool

Today is the vernal equinox, welcoming the beginning of spring. The mythology surrounding Ostara and the goddess Eostre involve rabbits and eggs, elements which were absorbed into Easter. The Hare is considered a totem animal for Eostre, and a symbol for the moon. The earth is starting to awaken from winter's slumber, and the possibility of new life is peeking out. 

Ostara.jpg

Today I find myself thinking about the eggs, or more specifically, the Cosmic or World Egg. The egg is a symbol of fertility and new life. It is sometimes seen as a symbol for the entire universe. The Cosmic Egg is seen in many mythologies, and the distilled concept is the same: The egg as a container for all potential, that which brings forth the new. 

As I deepen my connection to the tarot, the connection between The Fool card and the Cosmic Egg resonates more and more. The Fool is pure, innocent, creative energy. It's the beginning, the very first step in any journey, brimming with potential. In the Rider Waite deck, we see a carefree character, joyfully about to step off a cliff. Rather than a warning, perhaps this is a metaphor for the leap of faith - the willingness to jump into the unknown. Without this leap of faith, many things would never spring forth. 

In the Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck, which is an oracle deck rather than a tarot deck, the egg motif features heavily. It even includes three cards that are lone eggs unto themselves: the Golden Egg, the Black Egg, and of course, the Cosmic Egg. The Golden Egg is the message of one's Core, a heart message. The Black Egg is one's essential truth and true voice. The Cosmic Egg connection with the cosmic consciousness, perhaps an opening of the Crown Chakra. 

MoreEggs.jpg

In the Nomad Tarot, I see a merging of the traditional Rider-Waite Fool with the Cosmic Egg. The character is no longer upright, wandering off the edge of a cliff. We now see the character laying down, arms and legs tucked in close, surrounded by budding greenergy. If we were to trace a shape around this figure, it would be an egg. This character is restful, potential energy waiting to awaken. They have become the Cosmic Egg. 

There is so much that could be said about this Fool-Egg connection, but I am going to refocus on the energy of Ostara and how to bring these ideas into honoring the Equinox. Today, I will be, shall we say, tending my eggs. This is a time to look at the projects we've been percolating during the winter months, the seeds we have been planting. Now is the time to nurture them and push them out into the world, to move beyond potential energy to kinetic energy. Happy Ostara!