Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Fun Combination Reading Technique

Last week I decided to go back to a temporarily forgotten but much enjoyed reading technique for my "daily" (though sometimes not every day) readings. I have a moderate collection of Tarot and Oracle decks and I want to use them. This technique allows me to use both my Tarot and Oracle card decks a bit more often.

For this technique, I choose a Tarot and an Oracle deck for the week. I tend to choose decks that have similar themes that seem to go well together. This week I chose the Oracle of the Shapeshifters by Lucy Cavendish and Jasmine Becket-Griffith and the Tarot of the Magical Forest. To begin, I shuffle the Oracle deck and draw a card. I tend to shuffle and then count out the cards until I reach the card that corresponds to the date, i.e. today is the 16th so I chose the 16th card. I use the Oracle card as a topic for a 3 card Tarot reading. I read about the Oracle card's meaning in the accompanying book. Then I shuffle the Tarot deck and draw 3 cards while thinking about the meaning of the Oracle card. I round out the reading with the drawing of a single Rune. I interpret all of these together to do the reading. It's a fun technique that helps me to use my Tarot and Oracle decks as well as the Runes. I really enjoy these readings.

Here's an example...

Here's my interpretation of the reading...

Guidance will come to you, though it may not be in the form you expect. In order to have stability and structure in your daily life, you must leave behind some ways of thinking. Though this may be challenging, it is time to turn inward to seek clarity and wait for what is to come.

Combination readings can be a fun way to work with your divination tools. This technique can work with a wide variety of divinatory tools. Give it a try and let me know how it goes in the comments below. Have fun!  (one of my sources for Runes meanings)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Catching Up... and Working with Stabilizing Crystals and Stones

Well, it's been a month since my last post. Sorry about that... I've had some health flare ups that started with a horrendous food reaction that I'm still not sure of the cause. Plus the weather has been all over the place, which doesn't help me either. I'm hoping things will be stabilizing a bit. I started taking my vitamin D supplement again and it's making a HUGE difference. I had no idea just how much it helped, but now I do. Still dealing with some ongoing stomach issues. Hopefully that will settle soon too.

My most recent brainstorm has been about working with crystals and stones. I realized that the stones work as oscillators and so influence our energies. But if the energies are really out of balance it will take a lot more shifting and time to rebalance them. Throwing in energies that are really different might cause more instability or feeling worse for a while before feeling better. So maybe working with stabilizing and balancing crystals and stones first might be best, before working on shifting energies the way we want to. I think this might be especially important in cases of long-term and/or chronic illness.

I started working with some jaspers lately, which I've never really been drawn to working with before. As usual for me, I read about them in my crystal books and such, my typical way of researching before and while I'm working with something. With my own health issues, I've been fluctuating SO much over the past few months. This lead me to thinking about stability and stabilizing, which jaspers are great at. I realized that I've been trying to do some pretty dramatic energetic shifts with the crystals and stones I'm working with for my chronic health issues. With chronic fatigue and low energy issues being my primary and HUGE issues for me, I've been focusing on fairly high energy stones to try to compensate for that. While they have helped me, I think the dramatic difference in energy levels between my body and the stones I was trying to use was leading to big fluctuations, hence my ups and downs physically. I think what I needed to do was stabilize my energies, maybe re-balance them, and then work on shifting them with the higher energy stones.

I've started working with more jaspers and agates lately. They are what I've been drawn to a lot lately. I find that the stones I'm drawn to tend to be the ones I need at the time. I'm working with Rainforest Jasper and Leopardskin Jasper as well as Moss Agate, Tree Agate, and Blue Lace Agate. I've also been working a lot with Ametrine, Fluorite, Charoite, Lepidolite, and my KGM combo stone (Kyanite, Garnet, Mica). This combo seems to be making a difference with the Jaspers added in. I feel like things are stabilizing and my baseline of health is stabilizing and maybe even improving a bit.

I'll be looking at including a stabilizing stone in with my crystal healing work in the future. I feel like this was an important breakthrough in understanding and working with crystal healing for me.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

New Directions and Change...

This past week or so has been eventful for me. I've had two migraines, which stinks. I was able to get over them fairly quickly, which is excellent. I think I've figured out the regimen that works for me to get rid of my migraines when they happen. Hopefully they won't happen that often. Two in a week is fairly unusual for me since I know and can generally avoid my primary triggers (certain foods, hormonal changes, some bug bites). I think these were triggered by bug bites.

Anyway... Personally and spiritually this has been a big week for me. I had a brainstorm that is pretty momentous for me. I have been struggling for a long time with how to work with my two seemingly disparate passions, dog training/animals and Tarot/spirituality stuff. I had an idea this week that brings things together in a way I'd never thought of before. I'm actually quite excited about this, more so than I've been in a long time. I had the idea to do Tarot and healing work for our pets and animal companions, including shamanic communication and healing and healing with crystals and stones. Many years ago, I had planned on going to veterinary school. I was, and still am, very passionate about animals. My life took a different turn when I had chronic illness issues come up. No vet school for me. Since then I have become very frustrated with conventional veterinary and human medicine. Oh, it has it's place, absolutely. But there's so much that it doesn't do, so many perspectives that just don't make sense. Since becoming sick and since having pets on my own, I have been lead in directions I might not ever have been lead if I wasn't dealing with chronic illness. I have become very aware of holistic and alternative healing modalities. I've changed and grown into new spiritual perspectives. What if this is part of the purpose of my chronic illness? What if I would have gone to vet school and been dissatisfied? With my experiences with veterinary technician training, horseback riding, dog training, as well as owning a wide variety of critters over the years and working with many others, I feel that I could be a great help with utilizing alternative healing for pets.

So I am looking into working with Tarot, shamanic communication and healing, and energetic healing with crystals and stones for helping pets and animal companions. I truly believe in these modalities, though they are not a substitute for conventional medicine. I believe they can be of great use alongside conventional medicine in healing. I'm an evidence based person with a degree in Biology. The science based, rational side of me is rolling its eyes at the spiritual side of me right now. But I have personal experience with these modalities helping people and pets. I know others who have experience with these modalities helping their pets and animal companions. I've had personal experiences that serve as evidence for me that these modalities are valid and work. While the placebo affect can be argued for their effectiveness in humans, there is no placebo affect in animals. Something either works or doesn't with our pets and animal companions.

I saw our failing guinea pig revitalize and gain back lost weight with Reiki. I watched this guinea pig who was absolutely terrified of being handled come from the far back corner of her cage to sit under the Reiki practitioner's hand placed on the top of the cage to receive treatment. I watched as this sweet piggie regained vitality for several weeks after the Reiki treatment before deteriorating again. We went through this 3 times with Reiki helping her each time before she finally passed away due to old age.

A friend had an animal communicator pinpoint the exact spot on her horse's hoof under which was the cause of an intermittent and recurring lameness that the farrier and vet had failed to pinpoint. This allowed for direct veterinary and farrier treatment which eliminated the issue and the lameness.

And quite a few other stories all similar... While some may still discount these stories, they have validated my personal experiences and belief in alternative healing modalities.

So this is the direction I'll be pursuing. I'm not sure how to go about this or how to talk about these services without sounding like a nut. I'm just trusting that this is the path I'm supposed to follow for now. I'm trusting that I'll be lead to the resources I need for doing this.

If you have stories about how holistic/alternative treatments helped your pets and animal companions, please share them in the comments below. If you'd like to learn more about how these modalities might help your animal companions, please email me. Please understand that these modalities are NOT a substitute for qualified veterinary care. I will NOT give diagnoses and I STRONGLY recommend first seeing a qualified veterinarian to have your pet's health issue diagnosed and treated by appropriate medical means before and while pursuing alternative treatment modalities.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Deck Interview Spread with The Halloween Tarot

In the spirit of the upcoming Halloween holiday, this post I interview The Halloween Tarot. It's a quirky, Halloween themed Tarot deck, as implied by the name. Though it uses whimsical Halloween imagery, make no mistake, this is a nice and functional deck. This deck is a standard 78 card Tarot deck, with the "traditional" Major and Minor Arcana. In the theme of Halloween, the images are all related through Halloween characters. The Minor Arcana has been altered in that Pentacles becomes Pumpkins, Cups become Ghosts, Swords become Bats, and Wands become Imps. The imagery does tend to follow the "traditional" imagery, with a Halloween twist. It comes with a little white book, though a more expanded full book is available. The full book has expanded descriptions and meanings for the cards and a more in depth section in the introduction on the history of Halloween. The LWB (little white book) does a more than adequate job of explaining the cards. I also just found out that this deck comes in a slightly smaller version packaged in a tin. I have the standard version.

Here is a picture of the deck interview spread with The Halloween Tarot.

My deck interview spread is fairly simple. I ask four questions. What should I know about your personality and characteristics as a deck? What are your strengths as a deck? What are your weaknesses as a deck? What types of readings do you prefer to do/answer?  I also recently added a fifth question. What else should I know about working with you as a deck?

What should I know about your personality and characteristics as a deck?
Hanged Man, Chariot, Queen of Bats
     This is a deck that likes to look at things from a different perspective. It emphasizes movement and taking control as you nurture thoughts, perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs.

What are your strengths as a deck?
2 of Bats, 10 of Imps, 4 of Pumpkins
     This deck excels at taking indecisiveness and feeling overburdened and turning it into planting seeds for future stability and prosperity.

What are your weaknesses as a deck?
The Moon, 8 of Bats, 10 of Ghosts
     This deck has limitations with not seeing things for what they are and indecision with emotions and relationships

What types of readings do you prefer?
5 of Bats, 7 of Bats, High Priestess
      This deck prefers readings that help in leaving behind conflicting thoughts, perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs and helping you to use and trust your intuition.

What else should I know about working with you as a deck?
The Emperor, 8 of Ghosts, 9 of Pumpkins
     Working with this deck can be about taking control and stabilizing your life by leaving behind, walking away from, and not focusing on your emotions as much so you can have appreciation for a good life or the good in your life.

Also available is an adorable Halloween Playing Cards deck that has similar imagery. This is a full playing card deck with Ace-King of each of the 4 suits of hearts, diamonds, spades, and clubs, and two jokers. In the center of each card is a small image that can be seen in an expanded version in The Halloween Tarot. This playing card deck can be used for divination (if you use playing cards for divination) or as a simple Oracle deck using the small central image on each card, in addition to being used as a regular playing card deck.

Left-The back of the cards of The Halloween Tarot
Right-The Halloween Playing Card deck

I hope you've enjoyed this deck interview spread with The Halloween Tarot. Please join me for more deck interview spreads in the future.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Deck Interview Spread for The Halloween Oracle

This week is my first time using The Halloween Oracle. I was saving it for October, as we draw nearer to Halloween. This deck has 36 cards that are based on aspects of the Halloween tradition. It includes themes of "black cats, vampires, zombies, witches, werewolves, jack-o-lanterns, skeletons, mummies, and characters from the Mexican Day of the Dead tradition." After working with this deck this week, I have found it to be very subtle and introspective. I got relatively immediate intuitive hits, but needed to read the book descriptions to fully understand what the cards meant. It sometimes took a little while for me to fully understand a reading. I do think the messages were very applicable to me.

Here is the picture of the deck interview spread for The Halloween Oracle.

My deck interview spread is fairly simple. I ask four questions. What should I know about your personality and characteristics as a deck? What are your strengths as a deck? What are your weaknesses as a deck? What types of readings do you prefer to do/answer?

What should I know about your personallity and characteristics as a deck?
Eternal love-Love is love is love and it transcends physical death
         This deck is about love, reminding us what we love about ourselves. It also wants to work with us to help us open up to new experiences.

What are your strengths as a deck?
Midnight-The most magical hour of all
     Helping us through transitions and transformations. Helping us to maintain hope during difficult and dark times. Helping us to acknoweldge, accept, and balance both the darkness and light within ourselves.

What are your weaknesses as a deck?
Spider-Community and web-weaving
     Discernment between the internal and the external. How we balance between self and others. Discerning the support of others vs. others controlling us. How we communicate with others.

What types of readings do you prefer?
     Helping us to let go of regret and the past. Helping us to take actions to free ourselves from old burdens, so that we may live again more fully. Helping us to let go of what was and step into new possibilities.

I hope you enjoyed this deck interview spread with The Halloween Oracle. Please join me for more deck interview spreads in the future.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Bittersweet Changes...

I'm working through some changes in my life right now. I realized that my current favorite working Tarot deck just isn't right for helping me to work through these necessary changes. So I'm changing my focus and my primary working deck for now. It feels a bit bittersweet. The Sun and Moon Tarot has been my primary working deck for several years now. It is the very first deck that I was ever able to read intuitively. It was the deck that I learned to read the Tarot with. It was the first deck I used in reading Tarot for others. For some reason I feel like I'm moving away from an old friend. For now, I've come to realize that this deck tends to reflect back the situation or how I'm feeling about the situation. I need to work with a deck that is good at helping me see new perspectives and how to move forward.

I was drawn to three decks from my collection. The Wild Unknown, the Joie de Vivre, and The Tarot of the Magical Forest. I was having a hard time trying to decide which to use. I started by doing a 5 card reading from each deck on what I need to know right now. Then I asked each deck how it might best help me move forward and drew 6 cards. I ended up choosing 2 decks, the Joie de Vivre and the Tarot of the Magical Forest. I'm looking forward to working with these two decks, though it's a bit bittersweet.

I've placed these two decks in my "working deck" bag. My beloved Sun and Moon Tarot will be moved into the storage ottoman at the foot of the bed, with all the rest of the decks in my collection. I couldn't help but say a few kind words to this wonderful deck that has been with me every step of the way on my Tarot journey so far. I know it's an inanimate object, but this deck has helped me learn and guided me for several years. I've developed a relationship with it that can never be replaced. Rest well beloved deck. I look forward to working with you again in the future.

I've already done a deck interview spread for the Joie de Vivre deck. I will do a deck interview spread for the Tarot of the Magical Forest here shortly. My attention feels divided with this change and moving into the Halloween season and wanting to do deck interview spreads for my Halloween type decks. I'll get around to doing all of them. I'm really looking forward to this next month as we draw closer to Halloween.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Full Moon Eclipse and New Sparklies

Last night was a Full Moon Eclipse. I think it was also a Super moon and a Blood moon. I was incredibly lucky to be able to see it. For many places clouds blocked the view. It was so interesting to watch the moon rise over the distant mountains, be eclipsed, and see it return back to full light. It always amazes me how bright the Full Moon really is, especially considering it's a reflection of our Sun.

Interestingly enough I had absolutely no desire to do a ritual or anything last night. Often on the Full Moon I feel drawn to doing something. Last night I didn't feel drawn to do anything. I'm wondering if that had to do with the energy of the Eclipse.

I still need to do my Fall Equinox ritual and seasonal Tarot reading. I'm working on getting over a cold and now some weird stomach bug thing. Getting "regular" sick on top of having chronic illness tends to complicate things. I'm VERY grateful that I seem to be recovering from the cold without a chronic illness flare up. The last cold I got made my chronic stuff flare up for months.

This week has been a week of new sparklies! Eliud of Brazil made his semi-annual visit to Mystic Moon of Norfolk. Eliud and his family own several stone mines in Brazil. He visits the USA several times a year and makes a point to stop in at Mystic Moon whenever he can. He has AMAZING stones at excellent prices due to his family owning the mines. As I no longer live in the area, my friend Shaman graciously helped me choose stones to purchase and shipped them to me. Thanks Shaman for choosing such excellent stones for me!  :-)

This time I chose to purchase 2 Vogel wands in addition to a few other stones. I haven't felt drawn to Vogels before now. What was excellent was that when I was given the choice between the two Vogels and priced it out, both together, with the other stones, was just $0.11 over my total budget limit. I took that as a sign that I was supposed to get both. Shaman picked out two incredible Vogels for me. One is a lovely Smokey Quartz wand with a rich brown-gray color that fades to almost clear at the smaller point. The other is an incredible amethyst Vogel. It has a wonderful, rich lilac color with subtle undertones of smokey quartz brown-gray and rose quartz pink, depending on the light. Pictures just simply do not do the colors of these wands justice, though I really tried. I also got a lovely piece of black tourmaline. Unfortunately one end crumbled a bit during shipping. I will absolutely be able to use the crumbled pieces, so no big deal. I also got a piece of ametrine, aquamarine, green tourmaline, red tourmaline, and 4 small pieces of brown zircon. I had been hoping to get more tourmaline this time, but there wasn't much selection. It's all luck of the draw for what is mined and available at the time.

Absolutely does NOT do the lovely colors justice...

Clockwise starting at 12 o'clock: Brown Zircon, Red Touraline, Smokey Quartz Vogel, Black Tourmaline, Amethyst Vogel, Green Tourmaline
Center: Aquamarine, Ametrine
Same as above but out in sunlight
The Black Tourmaline and how the end crumbled in shipping. Those pieces will be put to good use, eventually.
I also got some lovely stones from my husband. He had a work trip to Traverse City, MI. He found some great local stones. One is a Petoskey Stone. It's a variety of calcite formed by the fossilization of an ancient coral called Hexagonaria. These stones are found on the beaches of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron and in regional rock quarries in Michigan. Another stone he got me that is unique to the region is called Leland Blue. It's antique foundry glass, circa 1875-1900. It's a byproduct of smelting iron ore in Northwestern Michigan. He also brought me a fossilized clamshell and fossilized mudcrack.

Top, left to right: Petoskey Stone, Leland Blue Antique Foundry Glass
Bottom, left to right: fossilized mudcrack, fossilized clamshell
I found it interesting that my husband chose me several water based stones and one fire based stone. This makes me think of water and fire, energetic balance, balancing emotional energies, energetic dichotomy.

So that was my sparklies filled week. :-)  I'm looking forward to the start of October in just a few days. I consider October 1 to be the start of Halloween season for me. I'll be pulling out my Halloween themed decks to work with and interview here. I hope you'll join me for this fun season!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I'm a "squishy" polytheist...

I just read a great blog post by Ian Corrigan about polytheism. In it he talks about "squishy" polytheism. Squishy polytheism takes a varied perspective on polytheism, sticking neither to hard or soft polytheism exclusively. You can read this excellent post here:

I have been considering my perspective on polytheism recently. I find myself resonating with this "squishy" polytheism perspective. I recognize that many, if not most, deities are individual unto themselves. But I also recognize the validity of archetypal energies as well. I believe that deities can and do change as the times change. While it may sound funny, I think there's something to the perspective of the Gods laid out in Neil Gaiman's book American Gods. I think there is something to the belief that the Gods need us, to a point, as much as we need them. They can benefit from the energies put forth by our worship, attention, offerings, and rituals. I think that they may fade or perhaps even disappear as their followers disappear. I think they can change as cultures and times change. It may seem silly to utilize a perspective from a work of fiction, but I find this perspective resonates very strongly with me.

I also recognize archetypal energies. Take for example the archetype of the Warrior, an energy that can be called upon, I believe. How exactly that's going to manifest is going to vary from culture to culture, pantheon to pantheon, perhaps even individual to individual. But energetically Warrior can assist with strength and courage, etc. So you don't necessarily have to call on a specific deity, but the energy of the Warrior to assist you.

The debate (argument) over the differing perspectives of which type of polytheism is the "right" one and how to worship the Gods in the "right" way has become fairly intense, at least online. I don't think there is only one "right" way to worship or work with the Gods, spirits, energies, etc. I think we all find our own way and that way is right for us as individuals. We may come together as groups also, but our private practice is our own.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Chronic Illness and Balance vs. Distortion

This week has been a challenging week both physically and emotionally. I have been having some chronic illness flares caused by several different factors. The past few days have been very eye opening in a series of "coincidences" that aren't really coincidences. I went to my second meeting of the meditation group I'm going to on Wednesday nights. It was a very nice meditation and the lady who facilitates it is very nice. We talked for quite a while after the meditation, chit chatting. I was talking about wanting to get going with my Tarot business and my dog training business but am having some mental blocks about getting going. She suggested making up some simple fliers and business cards to have on hand, available to pass out should the opportunity arise. One thing she said really stuck with me. She talked about how having those simple things sets out the energy of intention for getting started and meeting people who we are supposed to meet. That really resonated with me, basically reaffirming my thoughts on what you focus your energy on is what will likely be the type of energy you attract. This is very much NOT any sort of victim blaming for bad circumstances or anything like that. But where you put your focus is where your energies will be drawn and what types of energies that you will likely draw in. I want to get started with my businesses. Having a few simple tools to facilitate that will be sending out the intention of getting started, which is what I want. So that's the first "ping" for the week.

Then, I started re-reading the book "I'm Spiritual, dammit" by Jenniffer Weigel. It's an excellent book about her journey through spiritual seeking. One of the subjects that came up was gratitude in advance. She talks about giving thanks in advance for the things we want and need. Her big example is parking spots. As she is driving she thanks the Universe for an excellent parking spot just where she needs it. It works and she stopped counting her successes after over 200 in a row. So this pinged with me too. This resonated with the energetic focus I'd already been thinking of.

I have been deteriorating physically and emotionally for several weeks now. I realized that I have been incredibly focused on my difficulties with my physical energy and lack of energy. My Tarot card of the day yesterday was the 5 of cups. This card made me realize that I was focusing so much on what I lost, what I don't have, that I wasn't focusing on what I actually do have, which was some improvement, at least before all this. So I was focusing on LACK, so that's the type of energy that was continuing to surround me, LACK. Lack of energy, lack of motivation, lack, lack, lack. I'd become so paranoid about doing anything that might use up too much of my precious energy that I became basically paralyzed about doing ANYTHING. This is completely out of balance and is completely distorted thinking. Yes, with my chronic illness I do have limitations and I should do my best to respect those. But in all actuality, it doesn't matter that much! If I do too much and crash, what's the big deal? I'm so incredibly lucky that I don't have a job to worry about or anything like that. My husband works and provides well for us both. So if I overdo it a bit and crash for a day or two, WHO CARES?!?!?! I do too much, crash, learn my lesson, and try to be more careful next time.

from the Sun and Moon Tarot

My Tarot card today was the 4 of Pentacles. This is a card about miserliness and hoarding and lack of generosity. Pentacles is about our daily life and many take this card to be about money and not being generous. But for me, this card was about my daily life in general, my hoarding my "precious" energy and not "bestowing" it upon anything I didn't think worthy of such a valuable and limited resource. Yet in doing that, I was blocking off the benefits of utilizing my energy, leading to stagnation and LACK of energy. Specifically in the Sun and Moon Tarot this card is often about limitation and boundaries, in this case self imposed. And I have to admit that I haven't before noticed the 4 glowing pentacles the figure is holding. This card today serves as a reinforcement and reminder of the valuable lessons I'm learning and working on this week. It's about balance, a balance between appropriate conservation and generosity in utilizing ALL of my resources, including my physical energy.

from the Sun and Moon Tarot
So I decided to try to work on changing my focus, in part by using gratitude in advance. I'm doing a little gratitude in advance for restful and rejuvenating sleep and feeling better tomorrow than I did today. So far, it's helping. I emotionally feel better and I also feel a bit better physically. This is helped by my increasing my supplements temporarily. I realized that part of this crash was likely due to my inadvertently running out of my lysine supplement last week, for a few days. I now know just how much the lysine is helping me and will be making every effort to NOT run out of it again in the future. But my frame of mind was also crippling me both physically and emotionally. I'm grateful I realized that was going on so I could work on resolving it.

I'm also realizing that I'm limiting myself by trying to plan things out too much. I get too stuck on the big picture and it overwhelms me. I need to work on small steps and everything doesn't need to be perfect. If it doesn't work I can change it or do it differently. Nothing needs to be set in stone.

I also don't NEED to have a set or fixed schedule or routine. I think I've been banging my head against a brick wall with trying to set a fixed schedule/routine. I don't NEED to do the same thing every day. Maybe trying to do so just goes against my self and I'm trying to force myself into something that just isn't me. So I'm trying to go with the flow more, do things as and when I feel drawn to do them, not just because it's time that I feel like I "should" do them. If I feel like reading, great, I'll pick up a book. If I feel like meditating or working with my crystals/stones then I'll do that. Doesn't matter what time it is or whatever. I feel much freer and less stressed already...

On a side note, I've been feeling drawn towards possibly doing some creative writing. I'm looking at trying using Tarot to give me some ideas/prompts for doing some simple creative writing. Again, trying to go with the flow. We'll see what happens with that...

I'm also still exploring Druidry. I'm still working my way through several books. I also joined a few Druidry books and groups on Facebook. I didn't end up having the energy to do the ADF style ritual on the Full Moon (yeah, that whole LACK issue...). I'm looking forward to giving it a try in the future.

Thanks for reading as my journey continues...  :-)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

My first personal ritual, sort of...

This my seem kinda strange and it's a bit embarassing. I have been learning about, studying, and practing Paganism for nearly 7 years now and I haven't really done any rituals myself. I've participated in a few over the years with varying degrees of success. I have just never felt very comfortable with the eclectic Wicca types of rituals. The ones I have participated in felt strange and awkward for me. I felt a lot like when I was nearing the end of going to Church. It felt awkward and strange and like I was going through the motions in a fake sort of way. I just didn't feel a spiritual connection. I did enjoy the few shamanic rituals that I participated in with my shamanic journeying group. Those felt really meaningful and spiritually connected for me. But they aren't quiet right for me for a regular practice.

I have long felt a yearning, a pull towards doing something more with my personal practice. I've spent a LOT of time studying and learning and not a lot of time DOING. But that's me though, a big part of my spiritual practice is the learning and studying and reading. But I've felt a strong pull towards a more active personal practice, especially lately. I just wasn't finding stuff that felt right. The eclectic Wicca type rituals just haven't felt right. The Full Moon and New Moon ritual stuff I've found just hasn't seemed quite right either. I know it doesn't have to be perfect, but I have to feel SOME kind of connection with what I'm doing or it just makes no sense to do it, especially if it feels weird and awkward.

Lately I've been looking into Druidry. I've looked at what seems to be the three main Druid organizations that I can find, ADF, OBOD, and AODA. I'm sure there's others, but those seem to be the largest and most well known. Each has varying perspectives on Druidry and their own takes on it. There's a LOT of excellent information available through each organization. However, I have found that I really seem to resonate with the ADF style rituals. I've read a bunch online at their website and I have also read a few books that had information based on the ADF, written by current or former members. I really feel a connection to their ritual format.

Today I decided to kinda give a ritual a try, loosely based on the ADF format. It was more just kinda pulling things together for setup to see how I'd arrange the altar setup and how the flow might go, to see if it's something I might actually feel comfortable doing. I didn't quite do the ritual, though I did light a candle once the setup was all done. It felt very nice. I think with a little adaptation for my own personal practice it will be a nice ritual format for me to use. I'm actually looking forward to giving a full ritual a try.

For now, here's a couple pictures of how I had some things set up to try today. There are representations of Earth, Sea, and Sky as well as the Sacred Well, Sacred Tree, Sacred Fire. There's a circle created by 4 Citrines to represent the Solstices and Equinoxes and Quartz points to represent the 12-13 Full Moons of a year. There's also stones for grounding and shielding (black tourmaline, smokey quartz, amazonite, fluorite, selenite) as well as stones to support me energetically as I usually get very fatigued after rituals (ametrine and red apophylite).

Portable Version

Full Altar Version
The portable version isn't quite complete, but I was just trying some things while resting in bed. I decided to give a full altar setup a try after working with the portable setup for a while, just to see what would work. I still have a little adapting to do, but I'm looking forward to giving this ritual format a try on the Full Moon on Friday. I'll be sure to post about how it goes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I had it all backwards...

Well, I'm trying something new this week. It seems to be working out well so far, though it's the opposite of what I've been doing up until now. I had been choosing an Oracle deck to work with for the week. I was drawing a daily Oracle card and then using my Tarot apps to draw a daily Tarot card to relate to the message of the Oracle card. That was working okay, but sometimes there just wasn't a correlation that made sense. This week I decided to do the daily Tarot card on my Tarot apps FIRST, then do a 1-3 card Oracle card draw in regards to what I need to know about the Tarot card. It's working REALLY well that way. So I'm thinking I'll stick with doing that for a while and seeing how it goes.

I also got two new Tarot apps by The Fool's Dog, The Animals Divine Tarot and the Revelations Tarot. That brings my Tarot apps total to 18, plus two Oracle apps, a Runes app, and one Lenormand app. I'm really enjoying working with the apps. There's no substitute for real, printed decks though. I'm really liking the apps for ease of comparison. I like to draw a daily card and then compare that same card amongst the different apps. I feel it helps give a more detailed and well rounded study of the individual cards.

I've been working with the Oracle of Visions by Ciro Marchetti for the past 2 weeks. I'm really enjoying working with this deck. I'm able to use it relatively intuitively, though I still refer to the book after my initial impressions. I'm hoping to be able to offer Oracle deck readings in the future, in addition to Tarot readings. Some people aren't as comfortable with Tarot, so I'd like to be able to offer them an option. As of right now, I'm thinking I'll be able to offer Oracle readings from two decks, The Oracle of Visions and the Nature Speak Oracle. Those are the two Oracle decks I feel most comfortable working with at the moment. So many Oracle decks have such unique meanings that you need to utilize the accompanying books frequently in order to get the full meanings from the cards. With the Oracle of Visions and the Nature Speak Oracle, I feel relatively comfortable using those decks intuitively and not having to rely so heavily on their books for interpretation.

The past 2 weeks have been hectic with having out of town visitors. My best friend and her cousin came to visit for a week. We had a great time,  but I did a LOT while they were here. I seem to be coping ok with that though, which is excellent. It means I'm having some improvements. Then after they left we had a heat wave that caused my chronic illness issues to flare. Boy am I grateful we bought the air conditioning units. I would have been in serious trouble without them with this latest heat wave. We don't need to use them often, but when we do need them they're worth their weight in gold. I'm finally trying to get back to my normal routine, and it's a bit of a struggle. I'm still looking into Druidry, though I haven't felt up to reading any of my Druidry books lately. The brain fog that's a part of my illness has trashed my comprehension and retention when it comes to reading and it's very frustrating. Some days I'm just not able to read at all, which is quite devastating to me. I LOVE reading, so to not be able to read some days just frustrates me. I'm also still working on incorporating daily movement (incredibly light exercise), but it's a struggle. Though I know it likely won't, I still worry about the exertion triggering a flare/crash. But I'll never know if I don't try... I'm trying to figure out a good time of day for me to do it. The day to day fluctuations of my chronic illness symptoms makes creating habits and changes very difficult. I had found a meditation class at a community center not too far from me. When I went to go see about registering it was no longer on the website, so it appears to no longer be available. I'm incredibly disappointed as it was so close to the house. I'm hoping I can find something similar nearby and soon. I'd like to figure out something that will get me out of the house a bit more often. So kinda a lot and nothing going on all at the same time. Hopefully I can get settled back into my daily routine soon.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Oracle of Visions Deck Interview Spread

The Oracle of Visions was created by Ciro Marchetti. He decided to create an Oracle deck after creating several Tarot decks. While he appreciated the structure of Tarot, he wanted to create something that didn't have to stick to a rigid structure, where the images would speak for themselves and not require a supporting text that had to be read in order to interpret the images, as so many other Oracle decks require. This deck includes an accompanying book with suggestions for possible card readings. However, the images are such that you don't NEED to read the book in order to interpret and understand the cards. The images of the Oracle of Visions are loosely broken into the categories of Situations, Emotions, Actions, and Behavior, while still allowing each card to serve in many roles. Keywords and titles are specifically omitted from the cards so that the cards can be interpreted in a wide variety of ways. The images are also generally "neutral" so as not to portray only positive happy outcomes that may be unrealistic and give false hope, since not everything can be resolved with just positive thinking. I personally really appreciate these perspectives. Not everything can be solved with a positive attitude or "thinking positive." I've seen victim blaming occur when people take that perspective too far and blame a person's difficulties on them, saying they must not be thinking positive, that you get what you put out so they must be putting out too much negativity. Such a perspective is unrealistic and harmful and I appreciate a divination tool created to help prevent that.

Here is a picture of the deck interview spread for the Oracle of Visions.

My deck interview spread is fairly simple. I ask four questions. What should I know about your personality and characteristics as a deck? What are your strengths as a deck? What are your weaknesses as a deck? What types of readings do you prefer to do/answer?

What should I know about your personality and characteristics as a deck?
22-Reflections, Looking Back, Hindsight
     This is a deck that helps us reflect on the past as it projects into our present and future. It helps us to assess the past and how it is currently influencing.

What are your strengths as a deck?
27-Attraction, Magnetism, Infatuation
     I had to laugh out loud a little when this card came up for this question. This deck is pretty! :-) The artwork draws you in and makes you pay attention and want to work with this deck. The artwork is such that we can develop our own interpretations and not have to rely on "book meanings."

What are your weaknesses as a deck?
48-Choices, Risks, Consequences
     This deck often shows you the "what if's", opening up a can of worms metaphorically speaking. We may not always want to know, even if we think we do. Once we know, we can't un-know...

What types of readings do you prefer to do/answer?
51-Messages, Deadlines, Anticipation
     This deck likes to give you the message you've been searching for, needing, and anxiously awaiting.

I hope you enjoyed this deck interview spread with the Oracle of Visions. Please join me for more deck interview spreads in the future.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Wheel of the Year?

I read this blog post this morning and almost yelled "EXACTLY!!!!" Ever since I started studying Paganism, the Wheel of the Year has been an interesting concept, but one I just couldn't get with the program with. It made absolutely NO sense to me to celebrate themes at a certain time when they didn't even come close to reflecting what was happening in the real world of my local area. Take for example, my hometown in the Midwest, Chicago. Imbolc in Chicago is likely still having snow and sometimes even sub-zero temperatures. NOTHING around that time makes me think of the coming of spring. Or how about when we lived in Kodiak, Alaska? Yeah, around Beltane we were lucky if the thaws were in process and it was just starting to feel like spring.

For several years now I have been pretty adamant about celebrating a LOCAL Wheel of the Year based on the local climate and local seasonal observations. I also, for the most part, focus on the solstices and equinoxes as those are actual astronomical occurrences. On those days I go out into nature and see what's happening where I'm at. With a husband in the military, where we live changes fairly frequently. So it's important for me to check in with nature to find out what's going on where I'm actually living.

I read a very interesting article in the 2014 Witches Companion book related to this subject. In essence it talked about ritual and celebrations and how we shouldn't try to lie to ourselves in ritual. Our brains know when we're lying and automatically reject it and it throws things out of whack for participating in the ritual. So if you're doing a Solstice ritual the Saturday before the actual Solstice, don't say "Tonight we celebrate this eve of the Solstice." Your brain knows it's not the Solstice. Same for all these Wheel of the Year themes. If it doesn't match what's locally happening, you're not going to get the full effect of your ritual or celebration because your brain knows it. Makes me wonder about the whole thing with affirmations...

Anyway, use the Wheel of the Year as you see fit. I use the Solstices and Equinoxes to check in with what Nature is doing where I'm actually living. I try to be aware of local planting and harvests and any local and regional observances or significant events and celebrate accordingly.

Lipp, Deborah. Everybody's Working for the Weekend. 109-120. Llewellyn's 2014 Witches' Companion.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Joie de Vivre Tarot deck interview spread

I've been using the Joie de Vivre Tarot deck as the deck for choosing my daily Tarot card draw. This deck was written and illustrated by Paulina Cassidy. I actually use the deck app from The Fool's Dog, which has a "card of the day" function. The deck booklet describes this deck as one that helps to "access child-like energy in each one of us to help stimulate, enhance, and inspire joy in our own lives."

For my deck interview spread I ask four questions. What should I know about your personality and characteristics as a deck? What are your strengths as a deck? What are your weaknesses as a deck? What types of readings do you prefer to do/answer?

Here is a picture of the deck interview spread I did with the Joie de Vivre Tarot.

What should I know about your personality and characteristics as a deck?
3 of Cups, 10 of Cups, 4 of Swords
     Working with this deck is like chatting with your friends. It's supportive and relational. This deck helps you see balanced perspectives and shows things in a positive light.

What are your strengths as a deck?
King of Pentacles, Six of Cups, The Tower
      This deck's strengths include helping you take control of your daily life, looking at the bright side of difficult topics, helping you to see big changes that are coming, and helping you to make big changes.

What are your weaknesses as a deck?
Ace of Pentacles, Page of Swords, Two of Cups
     This deck is lacking in helping with acceptance, thinking of things in a new way/alternative perspectives, and relationship questions.

What types of readings do you prefer?
The Star, Four of Cups, Knight of Wands
     This deck prefers readings for guidance and hope, showing people what their options are, and how to move into action.

I hope you enjoyed this deck interview with the Joie de Vivre Tarot by Paulina Cassidy. Please join me for more deck interview spreads in the future.  :-)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Having a set and scheduled daily spiritual practice... or not.

I just read the blog post above. This really speaks to me. With chronic illness, I have a VERY hard time with a set daily schedule or routine. My symptoms vary in severity from day to day, hour to hour, even sometimes minute to minute. For some reason I've gotten very hard on myself about not having a set daily routine of a spiritual practice. But it's just not always realistic for myself. However, most days I DO actually do something related to my spiritual path. I read books or websites related to my spiritual path. I spend a few minutes outside checking in with what's going on out there, looking to see if the Red tailed hawk pair are around, noticing the birds and bugs flying around as the dogs race around and play in the backyard. I think about my spiritual practice and what I'd like to do, even if I'm not up to doing it that day. I think about my personal spirit guides, pray, and make offerings. I work with my crystals, or even just tend to them by dusting them and rearranging them. I draw a daily Oracle card from one of my various decks and look at a daily Tarot card on my multitude of Tarot apps I have on my tablet. All of these things "count" towards a daily spiritual practice. So why am I so hard on myself for not having a set schedule or doing exactly the same "spiritual" stuff at the same time every day? Who knows... I'm rereading all I've just written and that's a LOT of different things that I do on different days that are related to my spiritual path. I'm not "slacking" at all. Guess I need to stop being so hard on myself and let go these preconceived ideas of what my spiritual path should look like.

I started this post early yesterday. While I was surfing around in Facebookland, a FB friend shared this blog post.

Seeing this blog post made my day!! It gave me hope and a new method to try for moving forward. It's not related to a set schedule, but to examining the decisions we make and trying to make better ones. Each day you decide what better decision you want to make that's different from one you're used to making. It can be different every day, but can't be something you already do on a regular basis. I feel like this is SO doable, even with how my physical (and mental) condition fluctuates so much. I have a phrase on the lock screen of my phone and tablet. This usually reflects something I want to focus on, kinda like an affirmation or reminder. I've already changed my phrase to "One better decision" as my focus for the time being. This really seems like a doable way for me to start making some of the changes I want to make, without it being too overwhelming.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Myths & Mermaids Oracle of the Water Deck Interview Spread

The Myths & Mermaids Oracle of the Water is another Oracle deck illustrated by Jasmine Beckett-Griffith. With this deck, she collaborates with her two sisters, Amber Logan and Kachina Mickeletto. The focus of this Oracle deck is the Water Fae, spirits of the water, mermaids, sprites, nymphs, etc. I've actually been working with this Oracle deck for the past few weeks, even though I generally try to work with a different Oracle each week. While I'm not typically drawn to mermaids, this Oracle has been quite soothing to work with over the past few weeks with how hectic and frustrating things have been (weather changes and such that have flared my health issues). I found the messages to be spot on and helpful.

Here's a picture of the deck interview spread for the Myths & Mermaids Oracle of the Water.

My deck interview spread is fairly simple. I ask four questions. What should I know about your personality and characteristics as a deck? What are your strengths as a deck? What are your weaknesses as a deck? What types of readings do you prefer to do/answer?

What should I know about your personality and characteristics as a deck?
23-Golden Mermaid
     This is a deck that stirs us up from complacency. It helps us to get out of a rut, set goals, and push ourselves.

What are your strengths as a deck?
31-Autumn Mermaid
     This deck excels at helping us to prepare for and work through change.

What are your weaknesses as a deck?
32- Hamadryad Lake (reversed)
     The short answer is this deck isn't great for relationship questions. It also can be lacking in dealing with things below the surface, which can create a false sense of security.

What types of readings do you prefer?
28-A Certain Slant of Light
      This deck prefers readings that give divine insight and illumination. It likes to help us see new perspectives. It prefers readings of enlightenment, that is bringing things to light.

I hope you enjoyed this deck interview spread with the Myths & Mermaids Oracle of the Water. Please join me for more deck interview spreads in the future.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

New Sparklies

Just realized it's been two weeks since I last posted. Ah, the "joys" of the ups and downs of chronic illness... So, here's what's happened since I last posted. I went to the Full Moon ritual at Sage Goddess. It was good. I also talked to a very nice lady and her daughter about stones. I have to figure out something for those rituals though as by the end I was so physically uncomfortable I could barely concentrate on the ritual meditation. I'm thinking I may need to try laying down instead of sitting.

I got two new crystal books. I love my Crystal Bible 1 and 2, but I wanted to take a look into some different perspectives on crystals and stones. I got The Crystal Healer by Phillip Permutt. It's decent. I like that it has the stones according to color. Makes it a bit easier to find a stone if you don't know the name of one. I also got The Essential Guide to Crystals, Minerals, and Stones by Margaret Ann Lembo. I really like the glossy pages for some reason. This book has quite a lot of information for each stone. It has keywords, colors, several associations including chakra, planet, number, element, astrological sign, mohs scale, emotional uses, physical uses, spiritual uses, mental uses, and divine guidance (kinda like some questions to think or journal on), along with some very basic geological information.

I have started exploring Druidry/Druidism. I have been looking for something to give me a bit more structure in my path. Wicca just isn't for me. I've looked at some of the Northern Tradition/Asatru stuff and that's just not quite right either. I decided to take a look at some stuff on Druidry since I really haven't explored that very much. I found a few things that really resonated with me. So I'm going to keep exploring. I also remembered that a friend of mine is a member of a Druid Grove, so I'm talking to her about some of this as well.

I really need to get back into a regular meditation practice daily. I've still not started back up with my shamanic journeying like I've been wanting to do either. I've been allowing myself to get distracted. So my goal is to refocus on daily spiritual practice (and blogging here). I also need to try to be doing something physically. My mom got me a low impact, low energy isometric dance video for people with chronic health problems. I've yet to even try it. I also found a seated tai chi video on youtube. So my goal is to try those with a slow and careful start. With my chronic health issues I'm incredibly sensitive to physical exertion. Even the simplest things can trigger a flare. So I plan to start with some seated movement work and see how that goes. I am doing a little better and eating some fruits and a small salad daily as a positive change with my eating habits.

My husband just got back from a work trip to New Orleans. While there, he picked out several stones for me from a store he went to.

Not the greatest picture... The largest is an Elestial Quartz. Then clockwise starting with the pink one is a Pink Lemurian, 3 forms of Prehnite, Lemon Citrine, Moonstone, Bronzite, and Howlite (center)
I just got them, so I'll update you in the future on how they feel and working with them.

That's all for now. I'll be trying to be more consistent with posting here. Hope to see you again soon.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

To be open about your path or not...

Hi all! I ended up taking a little break as the past 2 weeks have been pretty busy. My husband has been in and out of town for work and my parents came to visit. I had a wonderful visit with my parents. However, their visits are always slightly problematic. My parents are conservative Christians. They know I'm no longer Christian, but do not know about my Pagan beliefs or that I use Tarot and such. I'm pretty sure they'd be freaked out if they knew more about my personal path. The initial conversation I had with my mom after she realized I wasn't going to church anymore wasn't very great. She refused to read any of the books I suggested so that she could learn more about my beliefs. We basically agreed to disagree. She believes I'm in a battle for my soul with the Devil. I do not believe this. So we let the subject drop. But, when my parents come to visit, I choose to put away my more obvious Pagan stuff like my books and altar. I leave my crystals out because I have far too many to put them away and I can pass off my interest as an interest in Geology.

There are many people who say we should not hide our beliefs. I agree to a point. For me, letting my parents see my Pagan stuff would be incredibly stressful and would likely cause an argument. I don't want to deal with that and prefer to keep the peace, especially since I only see them a few times a year. For me, the negatives of being completely open and honest with them far outweighs the benefits. I believe everyone needs to decide what is best for them when it comes to sharing their beliefs. I don't see anything wrong with keeping things private, especially if sharing creates family strife or could put your job in jeopardy. I'm very lucky to have a spouse who supports me fully even though my path is not his.

I also got some new stones while I was out with my parents. We went into a shop down in Long Beach, CA. It was a Native American type store. Those types of stores tend to rub me the wrong way, cultural appropriation and all, but I was with my parents. The people working in the shop appeared to possibly be Native American, so who knows... Anyway, I was looking at their worry stones and saw a VERY nice blue stone that I just had to have. I wasn't quite sure what it was at the time. I also found a moss agate and tree agate worry stones as well. They were only $5 each, so I bought them. You don't see those as worry stones very often, so I didn't want to pass them up. After consulting with a friend of mine, we determined the blue stone is an aquamarine. I'm really glad I bought it now because I've never seen an aquamarine worry stone before and it only cost me $5. :-)

Left to right: Moss Agate, Aquamarine, Tree Agate worry stones
Saturday, I brought my Pagan stuff back out and re-set up my altar. I was looking at making some changes anyway, and this was a good time to do that. Lately, I have been feeling called by 3 different pantheons of deities. I have always been drawn to the Greco-Roman mythologies, particulary the Roman side of it. Recently I have also been very drawn to the Gallic-Celtic (ancient Gaul, as opposed to the British Isles Celtic) and Norse/Germanic pantheons as well. I have been seeing "coincidences" and signs that are pointing me towards these three pantheons. I believe this is in part due to my heritage, which is German, French, and Spanish (Spain) on my mother's side. On my father's side I'm a Polish mutt. :-) I'm still relatively new to this whole polytheism thing, so I'm still trying to figure this all out. I'm a book learning type person, so I've been exploring stuff on ancient Rome, the Northern Traditions (Norse/Germanic), and now Ancient Gaul around the time of ancient Rome. I've had some meditations that have lead me to exploring these.

There isn't as much information on ancient Gaul as there is for ancient Rome and the Northern Traditions. A lot of the information on Gaul and the Northern Traditions comes from historical sources of the conquerers (Rome and Christianity), so it is biased. However it gives some interesting information. There is interesting information from Celtic and Northern Tradition reconstruction groups, though I don't think I necessarily want to go that formal in my practice at this point. I also just found a website that might be helpful, I'm exploring this website and I think it will be quite interesting. I'm still reading and searching so I can try to figure out how I'm supposed to incorporate this all into my path. For now, I'm giving offerings (mixtures of dry teas that smell really nice) to the three pantheons on my altar. It's a start and you gotta start somewhere. I plan on doing some more meditations and journeys to explore this.

Today I'm heading to Sage Goddess for the July Full Moon Ritual. It's going to be a kundalini ritual, which I haven't experienced before. We'll see how it goes.  :-)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Animal Wise Tarot Deck Interview Spread

The Animal Wise Tarot is a unique tarot deck focused on animals. It's a unique take on the 78 card structure of the Tarot. The Major Arcana retains most of the typical structure. The deck varies in its structure of the Minor Arcana. The suit of Wands is called The Ancients and is represented by reptiles and amphibians. The suit of Cups is called The Shapeshifters and is represented by insects and arachnids. I originally thought this was strange. The explanation given in the book is that water takes the shape of its container and insects and arachnids go through metamorphosis, making changes in shape and form through their lives. The suit of Swords is called The Winged Ones and is represented by birds. The suit of Pentacles is called The Four-Leggeds and is represented by mammals. The cards show a picture of the animal, the title of the card, the name of the animal, in the case of the Minor Arcana, the suit and elemental correspondences, and keyword meanings phrase. The book includes detailed card meanings associated with the animals as well as information on using the deck and several possible spreads.

My personal use of this deck tends more towards using it more like an Oracle deck rather than a Tarot deck. I have difficulty reconciling the correspondences and attributions of this deck to what is generally thought of as the traditional correspondences I know of the Rider-Waite Tarot. I tend to focus more on the animal meanings, rather than the Tarot correspondences. I have also had positive experiences utilizing this deck in conjuction with the Nature-Speak Oracle, also by Ted Andrews. I find they work fairly well together.

Here's a picture of the deck interview spread for the Animal Wise Tarot.

My deck interview spread is fairly simple. I ask four questions. What should I know about your personality and characteristics as a deck? What are your strengths as a deck? What are your weaknesses as a deck? What types of readings do you prefer to do/answer?

What should I know about your personality and characteristics as a deck?
4 of Shapeshifters-Stick Bug; Activity beneath the surface
     This deck helps us to prepare quietly and thoroughly for what we seek to accomplish so we can find ultimate success. It helps make known the proper course of action.

What are your strengths as a deck?
10 of Winged Ones-Peacock; Cucle of death and resurrection
     This deck excels in helping us understand cycles and that endings imply new beginning are coming.

What are your weaknesses as a deck?
Queen of Winged Ones (reversed)-Scarlet Macaw; Vision and Spiritual perception
     This deck has difficulties in working with emotional issues, especially when they block spiritual matters.

What types of readings do you prefer?
Knight of Ancients-Komodo Dragon; Survival instincts and impulses
     This deck prefers readings focused on forward movement and taking action. It prefers to work with quick decisions, actions, and changes, taking into account intuition and gut feelings.

I hope you've enjoyed this deck interview spread with The Animal-Wise Tarot. Please join me for more deck interview spreads in the future.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Nature Speak Oracle Deck Interview Spread

This week I've been using the Nature-Speak Oracle by Ted Andrews. This little gem was the first Oracle deck I ever owned. I enjoy working with it as I can connect with this deck on an intuitive level. While helpful, I don't have to read the accompanying book to interpret my readings with this deck. The Nature Speak Oracle is meant to help us learn to understand messages from Nature. The deck of 60 cards is divided into four categories: season and climate oracles, landscape oracles, flower oracles, and tree oracles. The accompanying book gives an introduction to the deck and using the cards, several sample spreads, and includes upright and reversed meanings for each card. This deck was created as an accompaniment to Ted Andrews' Nature Speak book.

Here's a picture of the deck interview spread for the Nature-Speak Oracle. Interestingly enough, all the cards drawn came up reversed.

My deck interview spread is fairly simple. I ask four questions. What should I know about your personality and characteristics as a deck? What are your strengths as a deck? What are your weaknesses as a deck? What types of readings do you prefer to do/answer?

What should I know about your personality and characteristics as a deck?
Forest (reversed)-Awaken your magic
     This deck is about facing your fears, acknowledging and expressing and freeing your creativity, and awakening your magic.

What are your strengths as a deck?
Daffodil (reversed)-Trust in your power
     This deck excels at helping us to use our creativity, trust in ourselves, and recognize the power and beauty that lives within us. It helps us to develop leadership and confidence within ourselves through acknowledging our own talents and abilities.

What are your weaknesses as a deck?
Palm (reversed)-Apply past lessons
     This deck lacks in working with the past and addressing old patterns. This deck does best with working with and addressing the present.

What types of readings do you prefer to do/answer?
Sunshine (reversed)-Shine Forth
     This deck prefers readings about spiritual lessons, ones that are uplifting and foster discernment.

Since all of the cards in the reading were reversed, I've included a picture below of those cards upright, so you can get a better view.

I hope you enjoyed this deck interview spread with the Nature-Speak Oracle. Please join me for more deck interview spreads in the future.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

New Directions for my Practice and Shamanic Work

When we moved last October I left behind my new spiritual home. In the four years we lived in NC, I had really explored my spirituality and landed firmly on the Pagan path. Helping me with this was the community at Mystic Moon of Norfolk, VA. At that metaphysical shop I found a spiritual home, a community. I took classes, gained friends, and participated in rituals for almost 4 years and participated in a shamanic practices work group for two years. Since moving I have missed participating in that community more than I ever thought that I would. I have felt a bit adrift, spiritually speaking. I wasn't lost, just unsettled. It didn't help that since moving things have been quite up and down and difficult for me physically with flares and issues with my chronic illness. Since moving and getting settled in CA, I have been doing a lot of personal growth type work. I was spending most of my time at home, working on trying to let my body heal from the stresses of a complicated cross country move and working on myself mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Lately, things seem to be settling down and I've felt restless to really pull things together for myself spiritually. Quite on accident, I found that a page I was following on Facebook was located not too far from my house. I took a chance and decided to go to a Full Moon ritual at Sage Goddess, in Torrance, CA. I really enjoyed the ritual and decided to try to participate on a regular basis. The ritual last night for this month's Full Moon was very good. I really enjoyed attending and participating. But once a month just isn't quite enough. I've been working with my crystals and stones, Tarot and Oracle decks more and more, but that too isn't quite enough for me. I have been missing my shamanic work. I LOVE doing shamanic work, but it can be energetically draining. Dealing with all the chronic illness crap I've been up against since last Fall, I just haven't had the additional energy to devote to shamanic work. With the general upswing I've felt lately I've felt restless to begin my shamanic work again. I just didn't know where to start.

With shamanic work it is really important to journey with a purpose. Connecting and spending time with your guides is a perfectly adequate journey purpose. But I'd been doing that more often than not and felt I just wasn't getting anywhere. I felt this need to do more, but didn't know what. Well, I've figured out a start to that WHAT, for now. I'm a book learning and reading type person. I decided to skim through some of my books I have on shamanic type work to see what might come up. Doing so has led to some great ideas for me to begin my shamanic work again. 

Here are some of the things I plan on journeying about:
  • Exploring the chakras and beneficial personal guides/correspondences for them including animals, plants, crystals and stones, colors, etc.
  • Interacting with the local nature spirits of this place
  • Interacting with some of the animals and plants I see most often
  • Learning more about and interacting with the elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water)
  • Learning more about working with color
  • Working with plants that are personally associated with my health, including Olive and Willow
  • Working with plants associated with my animal totems/guides
  • Exploring more about the Wheel of the Year and cycle of the seasons
I think this is a fairly good start. I feel a lot better about having at least a basic idea of some things I'd like to explore and work with through shamanic journeying. I still plan on regularly working with my crystals and stones, and my Tarot and Oracle decks. I feel like I'm working towards a more complete path and practice for me personally. I'm really looking forward to getting started.

Here's a list of books I've found personally helpful for this aspect of my personal path:
  • New Paths to Animal Totems: Three Alternative Approaches to Creating Your Own Totemism by Lupa (2012)
  • Plant and Fungus Totems: Connect with Spirits of Field, Forest, and Garden by Lupa (2014)
  • Seeing in the Dark: Claim Your Own Shamanic Power Now and in the Coming Age by Colleen Deatsman and Paul Bowersox (2009)
  • DIY Totemism: Your Personal Guide to Animal Totems by Lupa (2008)
  • The Earth Path by Starhawk (2004)

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Oracle of the Shapeshifters deck interview spread

This week I've been using the Oracle of the Shapeshifters for my daily oracle card draw. This deck is also by Lucy Cavendish with the artwork by Jasmine Becket-Griffith. The deck box describes this deck as one of "mystical familiars for times of transformation and change." The messengers within this deck are described as "shapeshifters and familiars, the skinturners and were-ones." The animals you'll encounter within this deck include: deer, cats, wolves, dragonflies, butterflies, beetles, wild bees, bats, owls, ravens, rabbits, hares, foxes, and whales. There are two versions of this deck available, one published in Australia and one published in the USA. The USA version has a few different cards than the Australian version. I have both, though for this deck interview I have used the Australian publication. This oracle deck is also one of my favorites that I return to again and again.

For my deck interview spread I ask four questions. What should I know about your personality and characteristics as a deck? What are your strengths as a deck? What are your weaknesses as a deck? What types of readings do you prefer to do/answer?

Here is a picture of the deck interview spread I did with the Oracle of the Shapeshifters.

Tell me about your personality and characteristics as a deck.
Card 18 Little Wolf Girl; It's alright to be alone
     This is a deck that fosters independence and standing on your own two feet. This deck encourages change, defying boundaries and expectations and labels. It is a deck of awakening.

What are your strengths as a deck?
Card 44 The Mermaid of Immersion; Complete commitment
     The strengths of this deck include deeper readings focused on change, looking at what's below the surface. It also excels at helping to move beyond self-imposed limitations and breaking free of toxins and old thoughts and patterns.

What are your weaknesses as a deck?
Card 38 Sacred Beetle Armour; You have a mighty shield
     This deck filters and dissolves anything that would harm you or impede your journey. This isn't always necessarily the best thing. Sometimes we need to experience the hardships and difficulties in order to learn the best lessons.

What types of readings do you prefer?
Card 36 The Unending Sadness of Looking Back; Endless regret, obsessive grief, replaying the past, negative nostalgia
     This deck prefers readings that assist you in letting go of the past. What is past is done. Holding on to the past only serves to limit.

I hope you enjoyed this deck interview spread with the Oracle of the Shapeshifters. Please join me for more deck interview spreads in the future.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Crystals and Stones for Shielding

Hi all... Sorry it's been a few days since my last post. I had a flare up of my chronic illness stuff over the long weekend. I'm finally starting to feel a bit better. Today though, I'm feeling fatigued, weak, and brain foggy. I wasn't sure why until I checked the weather and saw that the barometric pressure is dropping. I tend to be pretty sensitive to barometric pressure changes. I can feel changes as small as 1/100 of an inch. Right now the pressure is down about 2/10 of an inch, so I'm definitely feeling it. So I thought I'd share some stones I used for shielding work, which can be helpful for dealing with barometric pressure changes.

Here are the stones I typically use for shielding and dealing with barometric pressure changes.

Top row, left to right: fluorite, amazonite, citrine, smoky quartz
Middle row, left to right: blue lace agate, black tourmaline, moss agate
Bottom: lepidolite wand

Fluorite and amazonite are great shielding stones. Amazonite is particularly good at filtering out other people's issues and preventing them from affecting you. Smoky quartz and black tourmaline and excellent ground and protective stones. Moss agate is good for weather issues. Lepidolite, which contains lithium, is excellent for stress, mood, and depression (all of which flare up for me with the pressure changes). Citrine is great for positive energy and blue lace agate for calming. The combination of citrine and blue lace agate really helps me with brain fog.

The crystals and stones aren't a magical cure by any means. But they seem to help, especially considering that barometric pressure isn't something that I have control over how it affects me.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Sun and Moon Tarot deck interview

My absolute favorite Tarot deck is the Sun and Moon Tarot by Vanessa Decort. This deck is my primary working deck, though I enjoy working with other decks as well. When I first started trying to learn Tarot I purchased a different deck that I absolutely LOVE the artwork on, Ciro Marchetti's Gilded Tarot. I absolutely adore Ciro's artwork and have all of his decks. Unfortunately I just didn't connect with the deck at all. I tried for several months to use that deck with several workbooks I'd bought and I just couldn't get anywhere. I had a complete roadblock and was incredibly frustrated. I decided to set Tarot aside for a while and come back to it later. A few months later I was in a metaphysical shop and browsed their Tarot deck selection. I saw the Sun and Moon Tarot and was intrigued. The store had an open sample copy that you could look through. I started to thumb through the deck and was stunned. As I looked through the deck words and impressions jumped to mind the instant I looked at a new card. I remember thinking to myself "so this must be what people are talking about when they say intuitive reading." I was ecstatic! I bought the deck and took it home and started working with it right away. Everything just started clicking! Meanings and keywords popped into my head when I looked at the cards. I was making progress with the workbooks I had struggled with. I was so happy! My Tarot journey had begun.

One thing I didn't prefer about the Sun and Moon Tarot is the borders on the cards. The cards are designed with a white border on all four sides. For the Major Arcana, the bottom border has the card title written on it and the card number at the top. For the Minor Arcana, the cards have the title at the bottom and a keyword at the top. I don't like decks with keywords on them. Many times the keywords didn't correlate with my personal interpretation of the card. I had seen a technique about trimming the borders off Tarot cards. I decided to give that a try. My first go I trimmed all 4 borders off and rounded the corners with a corner rounder. It looked lovely, but I found that I missed having the card titles on the bottom of the cards. So I purchased two new copies of the deck, one to trim and one to leave whole and in its original packaging, just in case. I trimmed off three sides of the borders, leaving the bottom border with the card title on, and rounded the corners. The result was gorgeous and I LOVED it! I will say that trimming a deck is a LOT of work. I used a paper trimmer and a corner rounder. It took several days and a numb hand at the end to get it all done. This deck has a thicker cardstock. Trimming 3 sides and 4 corners off 78 cards (twice, in this instance) was a LOT of work. It was worth it in the end though, at least for me. I know there's some out there that feel it is sacrilegious to cut or modify a Tarot card. I don't feel that way. I believe that if it works for you then it's fine. There's a lot of supposed rules for using and working with Tarot and I just haven't found most of them to be hard and fast. But that's another post...

Here's a picture of my deck interview spread for the Sun and Moon Tarot. You'll notice that for each spread position I actually have 3 cards, not just one. For me, I have found that I do best with three cards in each spread position as opposed to just one. A single card wasn't giving me enough information. Most people use a single card for each spread position. To each their own. You have to find what works for you.

My deck interview spread is fairly simple. I ask four questions. What should I know about your personality and characteristics as a deck? What are your strengths as a deck? What are your weaknesses as a deck? What types of readings do you prefer to do/answer?

What should I know about your personality and characteristics as a deck?
7 of Wands, Ace of Swords, The Magician
     This deck shows what's coming. It's great for gaining new perspectives, thinking about things in a new way. It's also a great deck for self-empowerment and focusing your energies for manifestation of goals.

What are your strengths as a deck?
Temperance, High Priestess, King of Pentacles
     This deck is great at giving balanced perspectives. It works very well with intuition. It's also very good for practical applications, taking charge of your daily life.

What are your weaknesses as a deck?
Prince of Swords, King of Swords, Prince of Cups
     This one gave me a bit of trouble. I had to think for a while to interpret this. This deck has difficulties with helping to turn thoughts into actions, facing an issue head on, telling people with direction they need to go. It often tells you what you already know, kinda "DUH!" type moments, though these are great for confirmation of the situation. It often tells you how you feel about a situation but isn't great at doing deeper emotional work.

What types of readings do you prefer to do/answer?
Universe (The World), Empress, King of Cups
     This deck likes big picture readings. It's great for getting information on the whole story, the big picture. It's also very good for caring, nurturing, and supportive readings, especially for the self. It's also good at relationship and emotional readings, how to take charge when it comes to your relationships and your emotions.

I hope you've enjoyed this deck interview spread with the Sun and Moon Tarot. Please join me for more deck interview spreads in the future!  :-)