Your Path… In Fiction

So, my Friday paganism posts have sort of become a rare once in a while thing.  Which, is fine. But, I really enjoyed a question posted last night on one of the Discord servers I am a member of. I thought I’d share my response to it here.

Question for September 10th: How would you describe your practice if it belonged to the main character of a story?

RainforestPath

The man knows so much of the natural world and was friends with the forest and the things hidden there in the shadows between the trees and the dark hollows of nurse logs.

He is bonded to the world through earth and soil, crystals and sand, leaves and bark and clinging moss. Their energy is his energy, and his is theirs in turn, and with every day that passed his roots entangled more and more with those of the trees and green things within the damp forest soil.

Through this connection, the world speaks to him and he takes that knowledge and carries it forward, offering it to others that might seek to listen and learn. Using it to benefit those that reside in his heart, protect those that he holds near and dear, and to encourage those around him to do better… and be better.

What is Centering and Grounding?

Although a lot of people look upon the terms “grounding” and “centering” as one in the same, in truth they are two very different things that are often used in conjunction together.

Centering, which is usually done first (although not always), is about drawing in your chaotic energy. Imagine your energy as a sphere that surrounds you. When you are feeling chaotic, distracted, scattered, etc, the particles of energy in this sphere are agitated and disorganized.

In centering, you are taking these particles of your energy and drawing them from the sphere and in closer to yourself, even into yourself. Drawing these energies in, they condense and calm, ceasing their agitation and disorganized behavior. This is called Centering. It is bringing your energy “to center” in order to “piece yourself together” and calm your energy into a state of solid stability.

Grounding is usually done after centering, although some people do them simultaneously (or only do one or another depending on what works for them). Grounding is taking that stability within you and connecting it to “an anchor”. There are lots of things you can use as an anchor, but in my case it is always very literally… the ground.

Grounding helps preserve the centering that has been done, giving the stability found in the centering a more solid and long-lasting quality. It can also be used to help release excess energy that can build up when one is dealing with things like nervousness or anxiety, or otherwise balance out one’s energies.

My go-to way of grounding is through rooting. This is when you allow yourself to connect through your feet (or other part of your body touching the ground) and imagine your energy creating roots that dig down into the earth and spread beneath you. These energy roots create an anchor that helps cement stability in place, and allows a give-and-take of energy with the earth to level out any excess or depletion taking place.

I center and ground many, many times a day. It is a habit that takes a few second at a time, or can take a few minutes if done consciously and with intention for a stronger effect.

In spellcraft, these techniques are especially important as they are used to help condense and prepare your energy for use and direction. Casting a spell without centering and grounding would be like shooting an arrow out of a bow with the feathers loose. The energy (arrow) may get where its going, but it sheds a good deal of energy along the way (the feathers) making the spell less effective,

By centering and grounding first, you are essentially securing those feathers to the arrow (creating fletching) so that when the arrow flies, there is no loss of energy along the way and the arrow’s accuracy is greatly increased. Thus, your intention and energy in the spell is not wasted and flies true as well.

This is why you will find in the large majority of witchcrafting communities, when people ask why a spell didn’t work or why it went awry, the first question usually posed by those with experience is “Did you center and ground first?”

Breaking Down the Tarot

Learning tarot is something that a lot of people are intrigued about at one point or another in their life. For some, it’s a phase that they dabble in and then move on from. For others it is an opportunity to exploit others. For some it is a lifetime fascination. For still others, it is a part of who they are… or a part of their spirituality.

There are plenty of assumptions about the tarot and plenty of abusers that use the decks for their own purposes. That use the tarot to manipulate people, or to hurt people… or as a game, unintentionally hurting others simply by not understanding or being unwilling to grasp the power that the tarot can possess.

The sad thing is that this type of harmful behavior is going to be the case for no matter what you are talking about. There will be some that respect these different things, and others that won’t. Just as there are those that will appreciate a public garden, and others that will only pause to piss on the flowers.

The thing is that most of those who are truly invested in tarot in some way, whether that is through helping others or helping themselves, acknowledge that tarot is more than just a handful of cards. They aren’t out to hurt people, manipulate people, or use tarot as a game or a weapon. They are seeking to use the tarot to help themselves or others, seek out guidance for themselves or others, to delve into their psyche in order to heal themselves or others.

Tarot is a way to reach into the minds and souls of the self and others, and to find depth… to find answers. Whether a secular or spiritual reader, I think that it’s important to respect and own the responsibility that using something that can do this inherently holds. I find that I sometimes struggle with fresh, brand new beginners because of this. Because they aren’t ready yet to grasp the responsibility behind what they’re seeking to learn. They don’t realize that it’s not a toy or a game, but rather a tool to help that can also harm if we aren’t careful.

For this reason, I try to remind beginners (and even some that have dabbled for quite some time but don’t seem able to grasp the gravity of the tool in their hands) that reading tarot is not just about getting answers. It’s about how you present those answers, either to yourself or to others. It’s about acknowledging that anything that you say can have a huge impact on another person and their life, etc. And therefore, when reading the cards, it’s important to present things in a way they understand and that is empathetic to another person and their journey.

Without empathy, understanding, and a sense of empowerment in the message… the cards can easily become something that can do a great deal of harm instead of good. When people speak of “respecting the tarot” it is this influence… this responsibility… that they are referring to. A responsibility that I feel is absolutely essential, especially in reading for others… but also in reading for yourself.

Bugs and Symbolism in Spellcraft

Today’s prompt is brought to you by one of the Discord servers that I am a member of.  Just as a side note that I usually include with these discord questions… The reason I do not link these Discord servers is because each server has their own rules about if you’re allowed to share them publicly and how, and it’s a pain in the ass to look it up for each one so I just don’t share them.

On to the question… “What bug associations do you hold?

caterpillar

Like the use of crystals, and the use of herbs and plants, there are often times when bugs are used in magic.  Not just in predictions and omens, but also occasionally in spellwork and the like. This is not something that I personally do all that often, as I feel much the same about using bugs in my spellcraft as I do about using animals.  That is to say… they cannot give their consent to be used in this manner, which means it’s unfair use and disrespectful of me to do so.  That said, I do have certain associations with different bugs.  I’ve listed those below…

Ants – hard work, strength, community
Aphids – sneaky, hidden, persistence
Bees – collaborative work, success, the sun
Butterflies – rebirth, hope, renewal
Caterpillars – growth, slow organic change (usually positive)
Cicadas – deeply personal transformation, vocalization, inner truth
Cockroach – sloth, resilience, hardiness
Cricket – good luck, happiness
Dragonflies – sudden or abrupt change (not always positive)
Firefly – inner light shining bright, authenticity
Flies – filth, decay, guilt
Gnats – hunger, annoyance, persistence
Ladybugs – wishes, good luck
Locust – deceit, greed, bad luck
Mosquito – blood, medical field, usury, vampirism (energy or otherwise)
Moth – addictions, temptations, the moon, the subconscious
Praying Mantis – independence, betrayal
Pill Bugs – passive defense, being guarded
Silverfish – greed, gluttony
Spiders (most) – meticulousness, organization
Termites – perniciousness
Ticks – tenaciousness, burrowing energy
Wasps – anger, backbiting, over the top protection, warning

Keep in mind that these are my personal associations with each of the bugs listed above.  I have no idea what the “official” metaphysical associations and symbolism is for each of them, although I would imagine that I’m on the right track with most.

With that said, obviously these are not all of the uses, associations, and symbolism that these bugs can possess.  I tried to wrack my brain for as many different types of bugs as I could think of without doing an internet search for bugs, which would be sure to set off my arachnophobia like nobody’s business.

Fairy Rings and Liminal Spaces

Today’s prompt comes from one of my Discord servers. It was really interesting to me that when I tried to answer this question, I found myself almost at a loss for words and I decided to dig a little deeper and see if I could more fully express myself on this topic.

Prompt: Has anyone seen or had any experiences with fairy rings? I’ve always been really curious about them. Any experiences would be interesting to me! I’ve never found one myself, but I’ve always wondered what the energy around them feels like? Is there something in particular you do when you see one?

So first, I should explain what a Fairy Ring is. Essentially, it is a naturally formed ring of mushrooms, as seen above. They are most often found in fields and forests, sometimes in gardens and people’s lawns, etc. There is a huge amount of folklore involving Fairy Rings which describe then as everything from good fortune to bad fortune, something to be excited in seeing to something to be avoided at all costs.

My personal experience with these rings is primarily in the forests. And, at least for me, they have a very similar feeling to the liminal spaces in the forests and I would not be surprised at all to find out that they were also a form of liminal space for the Fae to pass through from their realm into ours and back again.

It is generally considered a bad idea to stand in the center of one of these rings, as it is considered to be trespassing. I personally have done this, and I can confirm that there is definitely a very liminal-like energy within the ring. In my case, though, liminal spaces that belong to the Fae are often a draw for me. They pull upon my energy, seeking to entwine with it, and it is through that pull that I find them in the first place.

Because the rings feel so very similar to how the liminal spaces of the forest Fae feel to me in general, I treat them in much the same way. That is to say that I usually greet and acknowledge Fae rings and those liminal spaces by allowing that pull I feel to draw my energy towards it, and connect my energy to the energy of that space.

That connection threads my energy with that of the ring/liminal space in much the same way a rope is made by the twining of multiple strands of string. It both energizing and pleasurable for me, almost like the joy of a warm and welcoming homecoming.

When I am connected to these spaces in that way, I then often begin to get a stronger sense of the Fae in the area including being able to more strongly feel their energy and often hear them whispering, tittering, and giggling in an effort to draw me into their games. Sometimes I give in and play with them for a bit, and other times I move on after sending some warmth of love their way. Regardless of if I linger or not, I come away feeling more contented and usually also happier and lighter after that energy connection has been made.

Where connecting my energy to the earth is very calming and grounding, creating a centering peace and solid core of energy within me… connecting to the energy of the liminal spaces of the Fae is energizing, crystallizing in how it can create clarity and lighten the heart and lift the senses. When I go into the forests, I may seek one or the other… but ultimately? I usually end up with both, which is perhaps why I find my time in the forests far more beneficial than simply connecting to the earth through farming or gardening.

Timing In The Tarot

Abundant Life Tarot did a video in September of last year about timing in the tarot and how she works with timing in relation to doing a reading.  I found her methods really interesting, and ended up doing a bunch of research on this.  I find it fascinating all the different ways that people deal with the timing issue in their readings and I thought I would share mine here.

clock02

First and foremost, in my day to day readings with no intention of seeking beyond this time period, the majority of my predictive readings lie within a three month span.  So in day to day readings, I can dependably expect anything predictive in my cards is going to be within that span.  I can then sometimes use intuition to narrow that down even further.

lm

Aside from that understanding, my main method of working with timing in tarot readings is through “landmark cards”.  It’s not about having prior warning that “three months from now this will happen” so much as it’s about identifying when you have arrived at the time when the reading is relevant.

How this works is that you pull a “timing card” and that card indicates a “landmark” of sorts.  ie: “Start looking for what’s going on in this reading when this (the timing card) happens.” or “Start looking for what’s going on in this reading when you find yourself feeling like this (the timing card).”

This is my most common method of establishing when something will happen.  It allows for timing adjustments due to the choices of others and the fluidity of the future, as instead of the querent stuck focusing on a specific week or month or date, they are looking for the “landmark” that has been established, providing flexibility for timing shifts and outside influences.

bi

The second way in which I use timing is by specifying timing in the reading itself.  This is how Year Ahead spreads are done and can be used for any type of predictive reading.

In this method, you specify as you do the reading that “next week” (any time period can be used) is what the reading is about. Alternately, you can specify that each card is for a different time period such as… Card 1 Next Week, Card 2 Next Month, Card 3 Next Year, etc.

So for example if doing a Year Ahead reading, you would pull one or two cards for each month in the year ahead, and those cards apply specifically to the month they were pulled for.

co

The third way in that I have worked with timing in tarot (and sometimes still do, although far less often than the other two methods already mentioned), is through the suits and their corresponding seasons.

Earth – North – Autumn – Touch

Air – East – Winter – Scent

Fire – South – Summer – Sight

Water – West – Spring – Taste

In this method, like the “landmark” method, you specifically pull cards with the intention of timing, and the cards indicate to you the upcoming season that the reading is for.  I rarely use this method as I find that the others mentioned above work better for me personally.

There are methods that can be used to chart days, weeks, months, and even specific dates through the cards that come up, but they are not methods I use.  Because the future is fluid and ever-changing, getting down to the brass tacks of hours and days can sometimes be tricky, as there are so many variables that can cause timing (or even the reading’s results itself) to shift.