Gideon’s Challenge

NatureNature is…

Kind and loving
Harsh and cruel
She nurtures
She punishes
She embraces
She grieves
Nature feeds the snake
the precious eggs of the unwary
And stands guard
over the helpless
as they nap in the grass

The vastness of nature and the myriad of its facets is breathtaking and awe inspiring.  It encompasses not just the earth or the trees that I connect to so strongly, not just the oceans and rivers and seas, not just the sky and clouds.   She is not merely the sunsets and sunrises, not merely the storms and quakes.

She is all of these things.  She is vicious and she is sweet, beautiful and horrible. Nor is she only a “she”… or a “he”.

Nature is vast… immeasurable… and ineffable.

Everything… and so much more.

Photo © ZenStatePhotography

#31DaysofWitchcraft Prompt 4&6 (non)VR to Heather Carter

Heather Carter on YouTube put together a series of prompts titled #31DaysofWitchcraft that she’s been working her way through since the beginning of May. I really like this idea, but I can’t handle the responsibility of any more daily posts!  This is my Part 2 of answering her list of questions.

forest

4. What is your favourite element to work with? How do you work with it?

It’s probably not at all surprising to hear that my favorite element to work with is the earth and the green that grows from it.   This is very much based on the soil and the green and the cycles of life and decay that these go through together.  It is especially true of damp soil, such as that found here in the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest.

It is very common for me to incorporate soil and plant matter into my spellcraft.  Not just in the use of herbs as incense, but in the actual mixtures and crafting of my spells.  I connect very strongly with plants and their energies help to amplify my own in spellcraft, so this only makes sense.   Some plants I grow on my balcony for this purpose, others I forage from the forests and other natural places near where I live.

I also often use the act of planting, as well as established live plants in my rituals.

6. Do you incorporate environmental consciousness and sustainability into your craft?

Absolutely.  Especially because I incorporate the earth and those things that grow from it so heavily in my craft, it’s extremely important to me that I don’t cause harm in my actions.  As I have an education in botany and horticulture, I’m more than a little knowledgeable in plant care and how to forage what I need without harming the earth and environment in doing so, and how to provide offerings that both protect and assist the earth in staying healthy and thriving.

I do not use items in my craft that are endangered, and I grow many of the plants I use most heavily myself rather than buying from an outside source that may (or may not) have good foraging/growing/gathering practices.

I feel that, especially if someone is practicing an earth-based religion, it’s important to consider your effect upon the earth and do those things in your power to foster the health and well-being of the earth and environment you have influence over, rather than taking it for granted.

 

Constant Healing and Growth

Today’s meditation hasn’t taken place yet, because when I laid down to do it, I ended up accidentally falling asleep rather than meditating.  SO…. I’ll be trying again tonight before bed.  As it is, I did get a decent nap in, but I also earned myself a kink in my neck and shoulder.

Herbal Tarot - Sage - The High Priest - HierophantToday’s draw is the High Priest (aka The Hierophant) which is traditionally read as a representation of tradition and institution, a guiding energy or figure in relation to religious knowledge and spiritual beliefs, and in some cases can also represent conformity to social norms.

There are a few aspects of this card that stand out to me today.  There is the man’s white turban, which (I had to look this up) is an indication of a saintly person leading an exemplary life. 

There is also the two pillars, which are the same two pillars as in the High Priestess card and represent the gateway to the spiritual realm. That he stands before these pillars instead of between them or behind them speaks to me of his energy being based in reality and the physical even as he guides those along their spiritual paths.

The third aspect is the sage plant. Salvia officinalis is essentially a healing antiseptic that is used not just for the body but also one’s spiritual health and the energies that surround them.   It is a cleansing herb that can be used to wash away negative energies just as it can be used to help heal bruises on the skin and promote healing. Whether sage is used internally or externally, it’s presence here in the card speaks of the Hierophant’s ability and responsibility to guide himself and others upon a path of healing and growth.

The message in today’s card is about following one’s inner moral compass.  Sometimes this isn’t easy.  Decisions get made and when you think about things you realize you were wrong and have to back-step, maybe even apologize, or eat crow.   It’s important that in these moments we learn from our mistakes and take on their responsibility with grace.

DECK USED:  HERBAL TAROT

#TarotForGrowthJune Challenge Prompt
Question
: How can I attract more abundance into my life?

Tarot of Passing Showers

Reading Summary: Don’t forget that you still have a lot to learn (Page of Pentacles) and a part of learning is the mistakes you make along the way (Three of Swords). Keep hope alive (The Star), and you’ll be able to move through moments of defeat quickly and come out the other side still in control (Six of Swords beneath The Chariot).

Take Away:  It’s so easy to get too confident in something you feel you’re doing well at then end up knocked on your ass as you realize you aren’t the be-all end-all of it all. It’s easy, as well, to lose hope when you’re sitting on your ass in the mud absorbing that blow.

The cards here indicate that to attract more abundance into my life, it’s important to not lose hope in those moments, but to learn from them and pick yourself up out of the mud, evaluate what needs to change, then try again.

DECK USED:  TAROT OF PASSING SHOWERS

#DiscordTarotholicsJun2020 Challenge Prompt
Question
: What can I do to help my inner child feel less neglected?

The Brady Tarot 2nd EditionReading Summary:  Make the conscious choice (Lovers) to create a solid base (Father of Roots).  Your inner child needs a careful balance between firm guidance (Eight of Roots) and a gentle touch (Temperance).

Take Away:  The cards here are indicating that I’m not giving my inner child the structure and stability that it needs.  This isn’t about money, but about finding a place of inner grounding that allows for a solid foundation on the inside, so that my inner child has the solid footing it needs to express itself with more confidence and not fear the repercussions of backlash that a lack of temperance from my inner critic would contribute to the situation.

Thus, the answer here in the cards is to take my inner critic in hand and make the conscious and willful demand that it treat both myself and my inner child with a level and moderate voice.

DECK USED:  BRADY TAROT 2ND EDITION

#TheJuneTarot Challenge by Lionhart
Question
: If you could leave one worry behind, what would it be?

Grimalkin Tarot

Reading Summary: Always needing to be the adult (Grimalkin) whenever things that involve my enthusiasm arise (Ace of Wands) or decisions need to be made concerning the paths my enthusiasm might take (Five of Wands).

Take Away:  You know, I had a whole laundry list of possible answers that might have come up from the cards when asking this question, some of them selfish and some of them not… but this one wasn’t on it.  Not that it isn’t true, just that it wasn’t on the list.

The cards here speak of my need to always be responsible and in control, no matter what I’m doing or what interests or passions are driving me or have struck my interest.  In other words… It’d be nice to be a little more carefree.  It’s not really in my nature, mind you… but it would still be nice.

DECK USED:  GRIMALKIN TAROT

#ConnectWithYourDeckChallenge by E Roebuck-Jones
Question: What is my biggest win?

Happy Tarot

Reading Summary: Learning to release some of my burden (Ten of Wands) by sharing it with others (imagery on the Two of Cups) so that I can ride that wheel with less centripetal force trying to make me stumble (Wheel of Fortune Rx).

Take Away:  So we are speaking here of the wheel not as a vertical wheel, but as a horizontal one, where I can stand upon its center and spin, or step off center and be pulled by centripetal force into stumbling.   By handing out some of my work and responsibilities to others, it makes it easier to stay in the center of the wheel, and easier to handle the responsibilities and obligations I carry instead of becoming overwhelmed by them.

My biggest win is in the realization of this…. and the actual absorption of this rather than simply acknowledging it and saying it’s right.  Instead I’ve taken this to heart and am truly making the effort to change how I do things, which includes allowing others to step in and help me… and asking them for help sometimes even when they don’t step in voluntarily without prompting.

DECK USED:  HAPPY TAROT

 

Gideon’s Challenge

buttercupsButtercups…

are like delicate
dollops of sunlight
bobbing in the breeze.
They greet you
with a sunny smile
alongside paths
among the trees.

Buttercups remind me of childhood and walks to and from the bus stop.  In the spring and summer months, they were always there along the side of the road, greeting us not with the brash enthusiasm of the dandelions or the muted hello of blackberry blossoms, but with a cheery bright smile and delicate reach.

They still greet me in the same way now that I’m grown and encounter them more often along forest trails than in overgrown ditches, and still lighten and brighten my soul even on the darkest of days.

Photo © ZenStatePhotography