Self Care Saturday (on Sunday)

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Week five of accountability.  This is definitely working out for me, and I will continue it past the end of August.  Today, I would not have gotten my journaling done on this spread at all without the accountability of needing to post it here.  I’m well aware of that and that the reason I did it is because it needed to get put up here on the blog.

As I mentioned before, these readings are (not usually) bearing in on any one thing or event in my life, as the question used is asking for a more general outlook. This is a self care exercise, and are not meant as a predictive reading.

The question is… What do I need to focus on in the week ahead?

BodyFour of Candles – Now is a time to focus on the progress made.  Do not let what is predictably a slow two weeks each year drag you down.  Celebrate how far you’ve come instead.

MindFive of Tomes – Don’t let worries and anxieties about finances and stability overrun me and blind me to options and methods that are there to assist when needed.

EmotionsExplorer of Bells – As the Five of Tomes speaks of keeping the mind open to possibilities and options, this one speaks of keeping oneself open to lessons of the “heart”.  Do not close yourself off, just make good choices.

Inner SparkNine of Bells – Do not let the cacophony of self doubt over the next week stunt your progress, no matter how distracting it may be.

Moving Away From – Subdrop… and thank god for that.  The feeling of being swallowed whole bhy the drop will soon pass.

Heading Toward – Self doubt and overly critical thinking directed at the self, especially in relation to my business and finances.

Moral of the Story – Relax and Breathe… It’s going to be okay.

Untitled-1Side note on last week’s Self Care Saturday:

You see this card from last week?  You see that devil there, invisible but on the leash?   I know what that is now.

That is the motherf’king subdrop… walking so nicely beside me, hidden but there. But it’s not on a leash at all. Just when I thought I had it under control, it jumped up and bit me on the ass.

Just sayin’.

Decks Used: Numinous Tarot, Dixit Quest Expansion Pack #2

Root First… then Sway

Today’s meditation was ten minutes and thirty seconds long, and focused on taking your mindfulness practice from your meditation and into your daily life.

By this, I mean that you take moments in your day to just pause and connect with the moment.  With the smells and the sounds and your inner self, as opposed to letting the day run away with you.

I do this quite often throughout most days, as it helps me keep my anxiety levels in check.

Today’s draw is another double without a jumper, because as seems to be the norm for this deck, they came out together.  The cards in today’s draw are the King of Pentacles (the Silverback Gorilla) and the Fool (the Ccara Llama) from the Major Arcana.

Intuitively speaking, today’s cards speak to me about rest and enthusiasm. They speak about how when one takes the time to be well seated, rested and comfortable and secure in their environment, and it then leaves room for enthusiasm to flourish, and new things and ideas to enter into your life without upsetting the balance.

It’s a good reminder to stay grounded, even when you’re feeling inspired and enthusiastic, like a tree whose branches want to dance in the breeze must first dig deep roots. This is especially true with my creativity, I often have that urge to leap first and work it out as I go, but that’s not always the best option.  Sometimes you have to plant your feet first, so that when you leap you land where you want to land.

On to the traditional meanings and the guidebook….

In the guidebook for this deck, the Silverback Gorilla’s key words are wisdom, leadership, authority, generosity, protection, and loyalty.   The Ccara Llama’s keywords are tenacity, curiosity, fortitude, steadfastness, impulsiveness, and joy.

Traditionally, the King of Pentacles represents a strong, projective alpha energy in the area of finances, resources, manifestation, and the physical world.   The Fool card, which is the very first card in the Major Arcana and often considered the protagonist of the tarot as a whole, represents new beginnings, free spirited-ness, innocence, spontaneity, and naiveté.

Deck Used: The Animism Tarot

Choosing Your Moment

Today’s meditation was eleven minutes long, and focused on how to deescalate conflict by taking a moment of pause to allow the emotions and bodies to calm down.  During the guided meditation, I learned that it takes 20 minutes for adrenaline and other stress reactions to leave the body, which was something I didn’t know.

The meditation was soothing, with a focus on the breath, and concluded with an encouragement that when life becomes filled with moments of discord, stress, or anxiety, to step away for a moment, and take that moment to pause and calm before you return to deal with whatever has wound you up.

This is often what I use the balcony of my place for.  It always has something that needs done, year round, whether it is tending to living plants, checking on those in hibernation, cleaning up dead leaves, or just a bit of TLC.   By going out there when I have become overwrought, I am giving myself space to process and ease.  I never noticed this before, but my visits in this capacity are usually… just about 20 minutes long.

Today’s draw is the Knight of Pentacles (the Black Rhinoceros) which is a representation of an active beta type energy, personality, or person in the area of manifestations, resources, finances, and the physical world.

The key words for the Black Rhinoceros in the deck’s guidebook are determination, wisdom, strength, stability, awareness, and endurance.

What I feel when I see this card in today’s draw is…. patience. Not in the way of languid moments or lengthy waiting, but more in how one is patient in order to find that precise moment to strike.    It is Z when she needs to bring something up to someone, but you ask her about it and she says “I’m choosing my moment”.

That is what this is.   Choosing your moment, poised to act and yet not -quite- there.

I see this as a good and positive message because this is a reminder that you can’t always go leaping ahead right out of the gate, and neither can you always just sit back and let everything pass by.   The lesson, and also the benefit, of ‘choosing your moment’ is that in that moment and only that moment, a window of opportunity has opened that you will not have at any other time.

Deck Used: The Animism Tarot

 

My Kisses are Balloons – A Little Whimsy

kissWhen I was very little and I was trying very, very hard to learn how to draw hearts, it was frustrating to me that I couldn’t make a nicely shaped heart and have a perfect tip at the bottom. The lines always crossed.

My mother assured me not to worry about this. She said that a heart that is finished with the crossed lines at the bottom is sealed with a kiss.

Thinking back on this now, that was really sweet of her. And, for the longest time, that’s how I saw it.  But somewhere along the line, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to see it in a different way.

I don’t know how, or when, or why… but somewhere along the way those crossed lines at the bottom of a hand drawn heart transformed for me. It now no longer looks like an X, but instead they’ve started to look like the beginning of something new…

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(Drawings done by Twist the Leaf… obviously.)

 

Cooperation and Balance

Today’s meditation was ten minutes and thirty seconds, and focused on savoring the moments and the little things. It delved into how it is not the big accomplishments and flashy moments that define our lives and bring meaning, but the little things in life, the small kindnesses, the moments in which we stop to appreciate what we have and what surrounds us.

For me, photography has always been this.  With my camera in my hands, I tune into the things that mostly get passed by.  The wondrous world of lichen, the synchronicity of nature, the beauty of colors that one wouldn’t think might go together, and yet in nature there is proof that they do.  With the camera in my hands, I am attuned to all of this and so much more.  And then, when I put the camera down?  It carries forward with me into my day to day.

Today’s meditation was a beautiful reminder that although I don’t -need- my camera to pick up on all these things… I need to pick up my camera more often.

Today’s draw is another double without a jumper, as they both came out together. The cards in today’s draw are the Six of Pentacles (the Alligator and the Plover), and the 11th card in the Major Arcana, the Justice card (chimpanzees).

I will put the guidebook’s keywords for each animal at the end, but first I want to get out what I see in the cards today, which is cooperation and balance.  Harmony through collaboration and partnership.  Yes, the Justice card is here again today, but there is no warning there as there had been last time.  Instead, this is all about creating balance and helping each other.

It is a fitting card for today, as today is my driving day and I will once again be traveling with J.  Aside from that, though, I also see this in the relationship I have with you.  We are both very different, and yet very the same.  We approach things differently to come to the same ideas or conclusions.  We work together to the betterment of both of our lives in so many aspects.

Today’s draw is a celebration of that balance, and a reminder that it is there.  The cards have appeared to draw up my conscious awareness, appreciation, and gratitude.

Okay…. Guidebook interpretations for the animals are as follows…

Alligator – adaptation, patience, power, and opportunity

Plover – unity, insight, tranquility, reflection, creativity, and resourcefulness

Chimpanzee – adaptation, objectiveness, awareness, compassion, and honor

Traditional meanings of the cards for today’s draw….

The Six of Pentacles is generally a representation of cooperation, vitality, and the “give and receive” aspects of harmony in the area of resources, finances, manifestation, and the physical world.

The Justice card is a Major Arcana card, which means it deals with more of a “big picture” perspective than one aspect of the human experience.  It generally deals with ideas and themes to do with balance and the “righting” (or tipping) of the scales of life, cause and effect situations, and the ideals of fairness and truth.

Deck Used: The Animism Tarot

 

Owls and Hermits and Bears (non)VR to The Hermit’s Cave

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Becca Tarot Night Owl, Simon at The Hermit’s Cave, and KelllyBear got together during the UK meet-up and did a Q&A.  With permission from Simon, I’ve snagged the questions to use as a quiz I can answer here on my blog.

1. Have you ever considered doing deck mods for hire?
I have, actually. But I feel like there would be a lot of liability involved, and I’m not sure that even with disclaimers there would be a way around that. There’s just to many chances you could ruin something that someone considers precious (or, if an out of print deck, something irreplaceable).

2. What is the moment you remember as “This Tarot thing is for me”?
Tarot specifically, as in the RWS system? That would be once I’d gotten my hands on an actual RWS deck (the 1971 Rider Tarot). I’d flirted with the cards a bit with the Sacred Circle Tarot and hadn’t connected. It was after I got my hands on “the real deal” that things suddenly clicked into place.

3. What got you into tarot?
I was raised around Lenormand, so that part was just a natural progression. For the RWS, though, it was 100% curiosity induced. I’d seen an image of the Hanged Man and it struck my curiosity to find out more.

4. Are you an intuitive reader, or a logical reader?
Both. It depends on the system in some cases. For example, playing cards and Marseilles decks, I read primarily by numerology which is logic, with just a little intuition in the mix. For tarot, oracle, and Lenormand, it’s a balance of both with a heavy leaning toward intuition 98% of the time.

5. What is your spiritual path, if any?
I’ve answered this before, but it’s Buddhist Pagan. Buddhist as an adjective, Pagan as the noun.   I don’t worship or work with deity, for me it’s all about the natural world and energy.

6. What does your tarot practice look like?
To be honest, it’s all over the place. I use tarot (and other card divination) in so many different ways from self care check-ins to divination, conversations with the subconscious, and everything else in between. At the heart of it all, I’m essentially “speaking to myself”, though, in one way or another. The cards are simply a way to pull out what I need. I also do daily draws for mental health.

7. What things do you incorporate into your tarot practice?
Like my practice itself, this is varied. There are times I grab a deck of cards, take a couple of centering breaths, and just throw cards. There are times when things are very involved which includes ritual bathing, incense, candles, crystals, oracles and other cards, drawing, writing poetry, pendulums, journaling, ritual and spellcraft, herbs and plants…. the list is pretty endless. It depends on what I need, what my intentions are, and what feels right in the moment.

8. Before doing a reading for someone, do you prepare? or just give it a go?
I think I covered that in my previous answer. It depends on the situation, the reading’s intentions, how connected I feel to the person’s energy, and whatever feels right at the moment. The only thing I do dependably every time I do a reading, whether that reading is for myself or someone else, is take a moment to ground myself with a couple of deep breaths and an internal check of where I’m at with my energy and emotions.

9. Are your readings just online? Or do you do it in person?
I used to give in person readings, both for free and for hire. That changed after the circumstances that cut off my ability to communicate verbally.

10. Is tarot or oracle an everyday thing? Or just on occasion?
Every day.

11. How do you work with a deck? Do you have a process or rituals beyond just pulling a spread?
When I first receive a new deck, I cleanse it with sage, and then do an interview spread. I do this for every deck when it first enters my home, as it wipes out the energies of whatever travels the cards have gone through prior to getting into my hands. Sometimes, if I’m really enamored with a deck, I may also do a depth study on it, which involves journaling on each card in the deck to go in-depth into my perceptions on the artwork and what my intuition is picking up concerning each card. (I’m about to start a brand new one of these with the Everyday Enchantment Tarot by Poppy Palin.) At the end of this study, I will then often do a variety of different tarot spreads with the deck as a comparison to how the study has assisted me in my understanding of how the deck communicates with my psyche now vs before I did the study.

12. In an average week, how often do you read for yourself?
Well, I do a daily draw, but I don’t consider those really to be readings usually, as that’s not their purpose. Excluding the daily draws…. At least once on Saturday, but usually 2-3 times a week depending on where holidays and the moon cycles line up, or if I need assistance in working through something.

13. How does what you get in a reading influence your behavior?
I often use tarot as a psychological tool, and so it assists me in understanding myself and the world around me in ways I wouldn’t normally reach without their assistance. This creates a deeper understanding of myself, and can help me in staying balanced and receptive to others. That aside? Sometimes predictive shit pops up in a reading, and I always take heed. I may or may not change my plans, but I will definitely be paying attention.

14. What’s the most profound reading, for yourself or another, that’s played out as the cards indicated it?
I go into detail about this topic here in this post. Most recent predictive reading, though, was last Tuesday and the warning about the cops and getting pulled over.  That was one of those daily pulls for positivity that ran away into something predictive.

15. What really interests you when you’re not reading cards and other metaphysical stuff, excluding your day job is there anything else that equally grabs your attention?
Oh geez… excluding my day job(s)?? Ok so… reading, hiking, rainy days (love the rain), human anatomy and physiology, creative writing, alternative medicine, trying out new crafting methods, sooooo many things.

16. What do you do for your day job?
I am a nail tech in a Vietnamese salon, a farm worker, a landscaping laborer, a botany and horticulture advisor for a local nursery, an occasional gas station attendant, nature photographer, and a jewelry designer and entrepreneur.

17. How important are your spiritual practices to your tarot devotion? or do you keep them separate?
They are completely integrated with each other to the point that I can’t even imagine what it would be like to keep them separate (or how that would possibly work).

18. What is your best tips for new readers?
When learning RWS, start with a basic RWS deck or clone thereof. DO NOT start with a pip deck or a deck that has imagery that doesn’t follow the RWS system. Aside from that? No matter what divinatory system you’re learning, don’t overthink it. That is to say, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the system (such as card meanings, etc), you’re studying too hard and need to do more listening to your intuition instead.

19.  Do you treat reading oracle cards the same way? or are they each their own beast?
I treat them the same only in that when I get a strong intuitive hit, no matter what system I’m using, the “logical” definition of the card is tossed out the window in place of whatever my intuition is saying. Otherwise, they are each their own beast.

20. What beliefs do you hold when asked what is it that makes the tarot work?  Psychology, magic, luck, doesn’t work…?
My belief is that the cards are a way to speak with yourself. What you get from them is a reflection of inner knowledge and the subconscious, instinct, intuition, and information provided by latent abilities you possess that are both acknowledged and not acknowledged (ie: psychic abilities, etc). The cards are simply drawing these things out into the open so that they can be seen and/or felt, and thus expressed.

21. How do your reading styles differ from other people you know?
Most of the people I have known who read tarot use a very “book definition” approach to their reading. Although I often will “quote” the definition of a card as a kind of “review” of what it’s supposed to mean, I find that my interpretations come not from “the book” at all usually, but from somewhere in my gut. Some purist believe this is the “wrong” way to read, as sometimes this means my interpretation of the cards has absolutely nothing to do with their “intended meaning” in whatever system I’m using.

22. What purpose does the tarot hold in your life?
Guidance, and assistance with mental health.

23. What would be a reason for refusing to read cards for others or yourself?
If I am not in the right headspace, or my energy or emotions feel disrupted in some way. If the person is under 18 years old. If I feel that the person is in a state where they will not practice good common sense after a reading (ie: don’t ask me to tell you what to do). If it doesn’t feel right (no reason needed beyond that, really).

 

Acceptance and Appreciation

Today’s meditation was eleven minutes and thirty seconds long, and focused on emotions, and how they are transitory. It spoke on the topic of challenging emotions such as grief, anxiety, and depression and about how it is our instinct to push these emotions away.

The meditation was focused on how these feelings, and all emotions, are temporary and will pass.

This is the method that I take with most of my negative emotions, but especially the depression. In fact, it was one of the things that helped me before I found a medication to assist in relieving me of my suicidal urges. Accepting the fact that the depression is temporary, and that if you wait, it will pass? It keeps the mind on the fact that no matter how -forever- the depression feels, it WILL come to an end. It will move on and you WILL move past it.

That mindset has saved my life many, many times. I can’t say that I haven’t made attempts to end my life. I can’t say that I haven’t become so swallowed up in that dark place that I believed it would never end, unable to see the past happy times and unable to imagine a future with any of them in it. But since taking up that mantra of “it will pass”, that endless time is not quite so endless.

Today’s draw is the Three of Pentacles (with the Hazel Dormouse), which is a representation of collaboration, inspiration, and expansion in the area of finance, work, manifestation, resources, and the physical world.

In the guidebook, the Dormouse holds the keywords of discovery, devotion, commitments, resourcefulness, and vigilance.

The artwork depicted on today’s card stirs in me the familiar thoughts of family and working together with family to accomplish a goal. It reminds me of working on Ms B and Mr R’s property, where they are so on in years but still work so hard to keep their home and property beautiful and well-kept.

Working with them on their property is an experience in familial harmony that I don’t get with my own parents. They accept me in with open arms, and helping them makes me feel good. Working -with- them doesn’t just make me feel good, but is educational as they have taught me over the years about life, responsibility, working in harmony with other’s differences, how a multitude of different things work, and the value of doing things the -right- way instead of the easy way (because Ms B loves the right way, and Mr R prefers the easy way… and he always has to do it over cuz in the end the right way wins out every time, even when she lets him fuck it up first).

It reminds me, as well, in how well L and I work together and how in sync we are with each other on projects and even just everyday tasks. I may have built a life for myself, but -together- we have built something more than that. A life with depth and meaning and comforts and… We have, in essence, built what neither of us had in our home life growing up. A life of harmony and acceptance.

And that is where today’s card steps in. A reminder of these these connections in my life and how wonderful and valuable they are. Not just those connections with my sister and Z’s parents, but with Z, and with you, and with so many others. Today’s card is a reminder to be appreciative, and grateful.

Deck Used: The Animism Tarot

 

Matrons and Patrons

This week’s question from the Pagan Perspective YouTube channel is about the the pantheons one uses in their practice.

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Topic for the Week of 8/19: What is your perspective on matrons and patrons from different paths?”

Okay, so first I feel that I need to explain what “matrons and patrons” are. This is essentially the gods and goddesses (or other personalities and energies) you worship and work with in your faith and practice. For example, if you have a strictly Wiccan path, you have the god and the goddess. On a Nordic path, you would worship Nordic gods and goddesses. Helenic paths would worship/serve Helenic deities. Same with Dianic, or many other paths. There are certain gods and goddesses for each “venue” someone can choose to worship.

What this question is asking is, how do you feel about people that perhaps worship along one path, but choose to incorporate other outside gods and goddesses into their worship and path.  Or, at least that is how I understand the question.

In this, I feel… to each their own. If you connect with a certain deity or matron or patron, then does it really matter that it’s not in your personal faith’s pantheon? I don’t think it does. I think as you are being respectful (and educating yourself) to the culture that these other deity come from, it’s okay.

Although, I feel once you do this, if you are someone that is wanting to strictly -label- your path, I don’t think it really fits to continue calling yourself just as whatever that primary path is. At that point the label then needs to include the word “eclectic” or something to indicate that you have diverged a bit beyond the “box” of that primary faith.

I personally do not do labels, or deity. That is why I use the very broad umbrella term “Pagan” to name my faith. It allows for that eclecticism, as well as the fact that deities are not a part of my faith and practice.

 

The Triumphant Elephant

Today’s meditation was ten minutes and thirty seconds long, and focused on the intrusion of thoughts into meditation.

A lot of people think meditation is a time for clearing the mind of everything and sitting in the complete silence of a blank slate.   What I find, though, is that isn’t the case at all.   In meditation, the mindfulness approach involves not pushing away or burying  thoughts, but rather developing an awareness of thoughts that visit without letting them carry you away.

That is to say, thoughts come and you acknowledge that they came to visit and then move on, rather than falling down into the rabbit hole trap of focusing upon them and letting them drag you in.   It’s the difference between allowing a thought to flit in and back out again, or grabbing hold of it (or letting it grab hold of you) and allowing it drag you into deeper contemplation.

By letting these flitting thoughts go rather than being pulled in, you return again and again to the mindfulness of the moment at hand, rather than getting wrapped up in the cyclical thoughts of the past and future.

Today’s draw is the Nine of Wands (the Asian Elephant) which is a representation of fulfillment, fruition, culmination, and consequences in the area of one’s passions, drive, willpower, and ambitions.  This card often deals with themes regarding one’s resilience and courage in the face of adversity and challenges.

In the guidebook for this deck, the Asian Elephant’s key words are endurance, strength, dedication, remembrance, and protection.

I see…. triumph.   I see breaking free of the chains that bind you.  In the imagery of this card, I see freedom.  The elephant has torn down the tent and it rests in shambles around and behind him, while he stands proud and free, trampling the remnants at his feet.

That is what I see in today’s Nine of Wands.

I’ve been revisiting the memories of my ex lately, and this card is a reminder that I am the elephant.  I may have feel as if I’ve torn a good deal of my life asunder in the process of healing from everything that’s happened, but in the end, I am on top.  I am strong, and I am triumphant.

Deck Used: The Animism Tarot

 

The Impending Spring

Today’s meditation was ten minutes long, and focused on how it is important to take small pauses within your day to center yourself and just breathe.

This is a sort of reset, and it is something that I do on the regular.  Stoplights and moments in parking lots are my friends, as they give me these pauses in which to just take a deep breath and -be- for a moment.  To set aside everything and stretch my inner soul.   Rainy days are also wonderful for this, as I often work outside and I can take a moment just to stand in the rain, my face to the sky, and soak in the scent and feel of the world when it is being washed clean and nourished.

These times give the tight clench of anxiety and awareness a moment to ease throughout my day, letting a touch of stress and concerns slough off briefly.   I also find when I am super stressed or dealing with my depression, these times are something lacking from my days.

Today’s draw is the Seven of Pentacles (the Peacock) which is a representation of progress and the unknown, as well as the entrance of spirituality and looking outside the self in the area of resources, the physical world, finance, and manifestation.

In the guidebook for this deck, the Peacock has been assigned the keywords of rebirth, confidence, victory, patience, resilience, and devotion.

Today, I see the Seven of Pentacles as perseverance.  If you look closely at the card, you see that behind and around the peacock the world is covered in snow and ice, with hints of the green sprouting up to break free into the sunlight.

It is a message of holding on.  Of leaning into the hard times in life and the times when life feels barren and wanting, because spring is coming.   Relief and release is coming. To me, the imagery in this card represents the cusp of that change, and offers hope for the times when I am stressed and worried, reminding me to always keep in mind that such situations and mindsets are temporary.

Deck Used: The Animism Tarot