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!  :-)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Oracle of Shadows and Light deck interview spread

I've decided that I really want to use my Tarot and Oracle decks more regularly. To that end, I'm going to post some deck interview spreads here with my various decks. I decided to do this instead of deck reviews. There's lots of deck reviews available for just about every deck out there, on blogs, YouTube, etc. I think this will be a fun way to show a few cards from the deck while giving some insight into the "personality" of the deck. I researched deck interview spreads and decided on creating a personal one from what I think are important things to know about any deck. I do believe that decks have their own unique personalities that come from the theme and the author.

This week I've been using the Oracle of Shadows and Light as my daily draw oracle deck. I figured this deck would be a good place to start with my deck interview spreads. :-) This deck is by Lucy Cavendish, artwork by Jasmine Becket-Griffith. The deck box describes this deck as "quirky, haunting, and shadowy-sweet." I'd say that is a spot on description. The messengers in this deck include "grumpy fairies, sassy witches, cheeky ghosts, and brazen beings." This oracle deck is one of my favorites and I find myself returning to it again and again.

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?

Here's a picture of the deck interview spread I did with the Oracle of Shadows and Light.

What should I know about your personality?
Card 5 Out Trick-Or-Treating; We're heee-eeere!
     I have to admit, I laughed out loud when I saw this card come up to answer this question. This is the personality of this deck to a tee. We're here! This deck answers what you need to hear and how you need to hear it. It speaks, loud and clear.

What are your strengths as a deck?
Card 41 Nautilus Princess; Powerful personal growth
     Can't get much clearer than that. This deck is one that has helped me so much, especially lately, with my personal growth.

What are your weaknesses as a deck?
Card 37 Candy Cane Angel; It's time for a treat!
     I had to take some time to think about this one a bit. I read the card description in the accompanying book several times. The meaning of this finally came clear. This deck's weakness is "indulgence." This deck tends a bit towards indulging the questioner. It says what needs to be said, but sometimes tells us what we want to hear. Maybe a better way of saying that is it tells us what we need to know, but in a way we want to hear it.

What types of readings do you prefer to do/answer?
Card 31 Lady with a Bosch Egg; Ancient wisdom
     This deck seems to like to do readings that help address the past or past issues that are currently affecting us, deeper issues. I've found this to be true. I'm often drawn to this deck when my deeper issues are coming up. These aren't the only readings this deck is good for, just maybe what it's best at.

I hope you've enjoyed this deck interview spread with the Oracle of Shadows and Light. Please join me for more deck interview spreads in the future!  :-)

Friday, May 22, 2015

I am Sensitive... or psychic, intuitive, or whatever you want to call it

I am Sensitive... I publicly admitted that last night for the very first time. My husband and I went on a Ghost tour of the Queen Mary ship for the third time last night. As with the two previous visits, I experienced things, things that weren't there. I've never before specifically outed myself as sensitive before. Last night, when the tour guide asked if anyone in the group was sensitive, I raised my hand. I just couldn't not, not with what I've experienced there. The trouble is that my experiences have been completely personal and unique to me and not been specifically experienced by anyone else. Let me say this now, I am a spiritual person, but I am also an evidence person as well. I accept that my personal experiences are just that, personal, and are evidence for me, but not necessarily anyone else. I also like more science based evidence forms to help back up my personal experiences.

The best way for me to describe my experiences is gut feelings, some physical sensations like goosebumps or static like sensations, as well as mental impressions. The mental impressions are the hardest to describe. I am not seeing anything visually, but I am getting something like a visual impression in my head. They aren't always clear or particularly vivid. Sometimes I just get a sense of knowing. But there have been a couple places now where I have gotten specific mental impressions that have been corroborated by the experiences of others or finding out the history of a place that I didn't know before I had my personal experiences.

I had experiences and impressions at my childhood home while growing up and into adulthood. We never talked about them amongst the family. But I had an unmistakable experience one night while I was back home visiting that I just couldn't not talk about. I spoke to my brother, though we'd never talked about our experiences before. He told me that not only did he have experiences growing up and in the same room I did, but his best friend had several experiences in the house while we were growing up. He also told me our mom had experiences too, though she didn't want to talk about them, so I didn't bring them up to her.

I had some pretty intense experiences when we lived in North Carolina. Our more rural neighborhood was quite active. I had some very vivid experiences on the property where we lived as well as in our neighborhood. My husband was able to corroborate several of these experiences, so I feel just a bit less crazy. He's not particularly psychic or sensitive. I also had two actual visual experiences that were unusual and unique. One was also seen by my husband.

I've had experiences and impressions during and after the shamanic journeys I've participated in as well during and after meditation.

Another place where I had specific experiences was at the Ferry Plantation House in Virginia Beach, VA. I got several very vivid mental impressions. One was corroborated by the history of the house, which I found out after my experience. Another was corroborated by the experiences of others when a table jumped after I got the impression of a young boy playing with a choo choo train playing past my feet and going under the table with jumped immediately after I "saw" him go under there. I then "saw" him go past and behind a couch where a live couple was sitting. They kept turning to look behind them, behind the couch, but obviously couldn't see anything but sensed something behind them.

Back to the Queen Mary... During this latest visit to the Queen Mary I got the impressions of former staff and crew going about their duties on the now permanently moored ship. We had several interesting experiences with the tour guide using a flashlight to interact with entities that are assumed to be on the ship. Quite a few times we saw the flashlight turn on and off at the request of the tour guide when there were no people anywhere close to it. My husband and I both experienced seeing shadow play on several occasions. But I had a repeat of an experience that is quite interesting. On all three of our visits to the Queen Mary, in the engine room area of the ship, I have gotten a very specific impression of an entity that appears to be interacting with me. I get the impression of a middle aged man that I can best describe as a person in a position of authority. His bearing, carriage, and what I can tell of his clothes seem to me that he was someone of authority and leadership on the ship. I have seen him in the same place all three times. All three times he seems to have noticed that I am noticing him and has acknowledged me in some fashion all three times. He does not meet the description of two other entities thought to be present in that area of the ship. I don't want to give too many details as someone else may experience this entity as well. This time I mentioned my experience to the tour guide after we were done. As I was describing my impression the tour guide mentioned a physical detail that I was just about to tell him. I was stunned. The tour guide suggested a possible person this entity may be that would make sense with the impression I received. I even got a name from the tour guide of who this might be, which again, I won't share at this time in case someone else might have a similar experience. I had never heard of this person before nor have I ever researched into the ship's history beyond the one historical tour of the ship we took. It was incredible to have my experience at least partially validated by historical information available.

Here's a few a few pictures that my husband took, that are quite interesting. We believe we've captured some orbs in these photos. We believe orbs are energy manifesting. Is it supernatural? We're not sure. Here they are anyway...

In this photo you'll see a tiny dot of light near the bottom of the pool. Note that the focus of the picture is clear.

In this same view, we see three dots, what appear to be orbs, larger and more clearly. You'll also notice that this picture is blurry, like the camera was trying to focus on the orbs. We did not see the orbs with our eyes.

In this photo, you'll see two orbs on the upper catwalk, with a third further up in the air above them.

In this photo, you'll see those two upper catwalk orbs have raised and changed position. An orange orb has formed along the floor in the doorway. Two other orbs have formed in line above that orb, towards the left ceiling. Very interesting...

We had a great evening and tour on the Queen Mary ship in Long Beach, CA. We look forward to going back again.

Monday, May 18, 2015

New Moon, New Beginnings

I had planned on a slightly different post today. However my morning daily Oracle and Tarot card draws for today were such that I need to share them here.

Today is the New Moon. The New Moon is generally associated with new beginnings. I have been struggling with some serious health setbacks with issues with my chronic illness. We made a major cross country move last summer that was a months long process and was incredibly stressful. We're now really starting to feel settled in, finally. We ended up finding a beautiful rental with a gorgeous view. It was exactly what we needed and wanted. It just took time for us to find it. My health has been a struggle since then. Stress can cause major flare ups for those of us with chronic illness and that moving process was one of the most stressful we've had yet. So my health has been very difficult for quite some time. Lately though I've been FINALLY starting to have some improvements, some settling down of the massive flare ups that I've been having. I've tweaked some supplements and eliminated some new triggers and that has helped me with the exhausting fatigue that I deal with every single day, one of the worst symptoms of my chronic illness. It's not gone by any stretch of the imagination. However even some easing to the constant dragging fatigue is an improvement that I'm more than willing to accept. I've been feeling more settled here. Things feel like they're getting on track. I've found a spirituality group here that I've started attending. This is something I had where we lived before. I have missed my former group tremendously since the move. It's hard to find a Pagan or spiritual group that you mesh really well with. I'm hoping this one will work out. So far, so good. My husband is happy with his job and our relationship is going very well. So things have recently felt very much on the upswing.

I share all this because of the cards I pulled today. I've recently been working on some personal growth and changes for myself. I've been utilizing Tarot and Oracle cards and meditation to help me with this process. As part of that I've been working on changing some of my old habits that just weren't serving me well. One of those habits I've been working on changing is how I start my day. For a while now I've started my day by grabbing my phone and checking Facebook. I'd get lost in Facebook land for long periods of time. This wasn't productive and really drained my energy, which is limited enough to begin with. I decided I wanted a more productive and positive start to my day. I decided that each week I would choose an Oracle deck to work with that I would draw a card from each morning. I would also utilize the Tarot apps (from The Fool's Dog) that I have and do a daily Tarot card draw from my Tarot apps. I would use the "Today's Card" function to choose a card and then view that card in each app, comparing the same card among several decks. I would also choose some crystals or stones to work with that day and do a short meditation with them. I've been able to be fairly consistent with doing this each morning before I get out of bed for the past several weeks.

As I mentioned before, today is the New Moon, often associated with new beginnings. All of the cards I drew today have to do with new beginnings. There's far too much correlation for it to be just coincidence, in my opinion. I even decided to draw a rune and that too was about new beginnings and growth. Here's a picture of what I drew today.

The Oracle deck I chose for this week is the Oracle of Shadows and Light by Lucy Cavendish, artwork by Jasmine Becket-Griffith. The card I drew today is number 23, Violet Angel, with a meaning of Breaking dawn. Reading in the book that accompanies the deck, this card is about new beginnings, health improvements, and optimism. Very much in line with the energies of the New Moon.

My Tarot card of the day is Judgement, here shown from the Sun and Moon Tarot by Vanessa Decort (US Games), my absolute favorite working deck. For me, the Judgement card is about letting the past go and moving forward. For me, the Major Arcana in Tarot address the big picture and major energies involved in a situation, as opposed to the nitty gritty details that the Minor Arcana talks about. So for me, this seems to mean a major energetic shift towards moving forward and new things. I feel that drawing this card on the day of the New Moon is pretty significant.

I also drew a rune for today, pictured by a rune from an absolutely lovely Rune set my husband gifted me from Mother Moon's Makings on Etsy. The Rune I drew today is Ingwaz. This Rune is about new potentials, new possibilities, and positive energies (thank you Shaman for your Rune interpretations you've shared with me). Very much in line with the energies of the New Moon.

I find it highly significant that on the day of the New Moon, EVERY divination tool I used today had meanings of new beginnings, new potentials, and new energies. I feel like the major energetic shift I've been starting to feel lately is really taking hold. For me, this is such a positive thing as it's something I've definitely needed and been working towards. Later today I'll be working on a crystals and stones layout to foster and support these new beginnings. I'm feeling very optimistic that I'm starting a new cycle now, one with new beginnings which I've been hoping for and improved health. I'm looking forward to seeing what the next few months brings.     (I purchased my apps through the Samsung Playstore)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

How to work with crystals and stones

A Facebook post I saw today led me to write this post. A person was asking about using crystals and stones. They were troubled that they didn't "feel" anything while they were holding stones. I'm assuming they were talking about feeling an actual physical sensation while holding the stones. When I work with the stones, I often will feel a physical sensation, often a tingling in my hands while I'm holding a stone. This doesn't always happen though. Sometimes I don't feel a physical sensation in my hands, but I get a sense of an energetic shift. Sometimes I feel a shift in my emotions, like a calming. But I've been working with crystals and stones for several years now. I've learned a lot about them and with many of my pieces I've developed a working relationship.

Here's some suggestions for if you're just starting to work with crystals and stones, or if you've been working with them for a while but still just aren't quite sure about how to use them. I'll also add that working with crystals and stones is very personal. Everyone experiences and works with them differently. There's no right or wrong way to work with them.

You might not consciously feel anything. But if you're drawn to them you're connecting on a subconscious level. Try not to worry about trying to "feel" them. Collect the ones you're drawn to, research them and their geological and metaphysical properties (through books, websites, etc), use them as you feel drawn to (maybe magick or layouts/grids, etc). You can do this even without "feeling" them but by learning about them. Maybe you'll feel them, maybe you won't. But if you're drawn to them then use them however feels appropriate to you.

Also, you may not get a physical sensation, like on your hand. But if you sit with them for a while see how they affect you in other ways. My friend Shaman taught me a method that has been quite helpful. Before you start take a moment to see how you feel, get a baseline for how you feel at that moment. It doesn't matter how you feel, just get a sense. Are you happy, mad, stressed, calm, etc.? Then hold the stone for a bit and if you need to focus on your breathing or even just look at the stone. Notice its shape, color, how it feels in your hand, texture, etc. Then check in with yourself again and see how you feel. How has that changed from your baseline when you started? Again, it doesn't matter how you felt when you started or how you feel now, per se. You want to see how you feel now, how it differs from your baseline when you started. That will give you some idea how the stone may be working for you. It can be quite personal. Not all the stones work the same for everyone. But compare how you feel after holding a stone for a while to how your baseline felt.

I also find that sometimes combining a higher energy stone with a lower energy one helps me to physically feel the lower energy one. For example, a citrine (higher energy) with a jasper (lower energy).

I mentioned in my last post how I work with crystals and stones. How I work with the stones is pretty simple. I choose a stone or multiple stones that supports what I'm doing or needing that day. This is often done intuitively based on stones that I'm drawn to. I also choose stones by looking them up in my Crystal Bible by Judy Hall. I choose one or a few stones that suit my purpose. I often do some meditation with them, which for me means sitting quietly with my eyes closed while I hold the stones and focus on my breathing or the stones themselves for a while. I allow whatever thoughts that come to come. I might set the stones on my altar or place them in a small bowl I have on my nightstand. Nothing too difficult...

If you look into working with crystals and stones you'll likely see mention of using them in "grids." A crystal grid is a layout set up for a specific purpose or intention. These often include multiple stones and multiples of a specific type of stone. There's lots of resources for grids and layouts in books and websites. You'll likely find all sorts of diagrams and geometric patterns to use. I personally tend to keep things a bit simpler. I often don't have multiples of specific stones which are often recommended for the grids. I tend to use more simplified layouts.

First, I think about my intention or purpose for a layout. It could be healing, calming, abundance, anything I might need at the time. I look over my stones and choose any I feel drawn to include. I might also look up certain stones or my intent/purpose in The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall for suggestions for what stones might suit that purpose/intent. Then I make intuitive choices from those suggestions. I have a beautiful wooden bowl that my husband gave me on my altar that I place the stones in. I arrange them in a way that is pleasing to me, but not necessarily in any specific pattern or form. I spend a few minutes thinking about my intention/purpose and what I'd like to achieve. I activate the layout by lighting a candle or playing one of my singing bowls near the stones as I think about my intent/purpose. Then I let them do their work. I put the stones away or do a new layout when it feels appropriate to do so or when my purpose has been achieved.

A quick word on cleansing stones. I believe that all stones have an energetic baseline based on the type of stone they are and the individual stone itself. The energies of the crystals and stones interacts with the energies around it and they influence each other. I believe that cleansing resets a stone back to their baseline energy. This can be important so that other energies don't interact with or interfere with the current purpose/intent you're using the stone for. Cleansing can be done in a variety of ways including, sunlight, moonlight, water, salt, smudging, breath, sound, etc. The different properties of the crystals and stones can determine which methods of cleansing are most appropriate. For example, softer stones like selenite, will dissolve with contact with water, so soaking them is inappropriate. Some stones like amethyst and citrine will fade with lots of exposure to direct sunlight.

For myself, I have a couple of preferred cleansing methods. I keep a dish of sea salt with a little bit of sage mixed in. I have a cloth or paper towel on top of the sea salt and I'll place stones on top of that. I use indirect contact with the sea salt to cleanse the stones as salt can mar the surface of some stones. I will also use my singing bowls to cleanse stones by placing the stone in the singing bowl and then playing it or playing the singing bowl next to or over the crystals and stones needing cleansing. I'll use sunlight and/or moonlight (usually the full moon) on occasion, but only for short times. It's also important to note that certain crystals and stones can act like a magnifying glass when placed in direct sunlight, potentially starting fires. So please be careful how you place your stones.

Working with crystals and stones can be very fulfilling. I use them as a regular part of my personal spiritual path.

I'm very excited that I just got a new place to display my crystals and stones. I had been using a nice but inexpensive writing desk. Unfortunately, during our move, all of the screws for the table went missing. Instead of replacing the table I opted to get a dresser. This would allow me the top to house and display my crystals and stones as well as drawers to store some of my other spirituality books and paraphernalia. Here's a picture of it all set up. Many thanks to my wonderful hubby who assembled it today.  :-)

I mentioned to my husband that the space is a bit smaller than the two TV trays I'd been using, that there wasn't much room left. His answer was "Well, then just stop buying rocks..." He wasn't surprised when I laughed in his face.  :-)  Like that's gonna happen...

Friday, May 15, 2015

Resting today...

I'm resting again today. The day before yesterday was a long and activity filled day. For someone like me, with chronic illness, busy days take a lot out of me. It was a good day spent with my hubby, but a long day. I also had an big food reaction that evening that made me feel awful, develop a migraine, and has left me feeling weak and shaky yesterday and  today. I'm still not sure what caused it, but it happened. I have some meds and supplements that I can take when that happens and they help, but it takes time and doesn't necessarily fully eliminate the reaction or its after effects.

How I'm feeling helps determine which crystals and stones I choose to work and meditate with that day. With waking up feeling weak, shaky, and exhausted yesterday I chose some stones to help support me and hopefully gently shift away how I'm feeling physically. I chose Charoite, Selenite, and a combination stone I call KGGM for what it's made of, Blue Kyanite, Galena, Garnet, and Mica. I have found that the KGGM is excellent for my post-exertional relapse/debility days when I'm feeling awful after a busy day. The combination seems to foster rest as well as gentle support for the exhaustion. I recently acquired a piece of Charoite, which is a lovely purple and black swirly looking stone. Charoite is supposed to help with exhaustion, among other things. It also feels gently supportive. On these types of days I need energy and supportive energy, but higher energy stones can be a little overwhelming with how I'm feeling. I also worked with a lovely selenite wand I have. I included the selenite because this specific piece has a drawing off type of feel to it. It seems to help draw off some of the low energy and exhaustion that I'm feeling. It seems to promote some energetic movement, which seems to help combat the stagnation of the post-exertional exhaustion.

How I work with the stones is pretty simple. I choose a stone or multiple stones that supports what I'm doing or needing that day. This is often done intuitively based on stones that I'm drawn to. I also choose stones by looking them up in my Crystal Bible by Judy Hall. I choose one or a few stones that suit my purpose. I often do some meditation with them, which for me means sitting quietly with my eyes closed while I hold the stones and focus on my breathing for a while. I allow whatever thoughts that come to come. I might set the stones on my altar or place them in a small bowl I have on my nightstand. Nothing too difficult...

Today I'm feeling a little bit better, albeit still a bit shaky and weak. I chose to use my small Tourmalines, Peridot, Citrine, and Rutilated Quartz. I have several small Tourmalines in red, pink, green, blue, purple, and black. They help with energy movement and cleansing. The Peridot helps with detoxification and energy. The Citrine and Rutilated Quartz are higher energy stones that boost energy.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Welcome to my very eclectic Pagan path...

  Welcome to Renara's Sacred Space!
Here I'll be talking about my personal Pagan path and various related topics.

Paganism encompasses many different paths. At its most basic, my path could be described as "eclectic." Even "eclectic" can include so many different things. So here's some things that I would consider as descriptive of my personal path:

Pagan-practicing an earth-based or nature-based religion/spirituality

Shamanic practices- Wikipedia describes shamanism as a "practitioner [that reaches] altered states of consciousness in order to encounter and interact with the Spirit world." I'd say that's a pretty good start for defining shamanism and shamanic practices. These altered states are reached through a variety of means including drumming, rattling, and breathwork.

-I live in the city. Far too many people think that you have to live out in the middle of nowhere and be off the grid and totally self-sufficient to be a "true" Pagan. Not so! There's plenty of nature right here in our cities and just outside of them, if we just look for it.

Bio-regional-"A bio-region (also known as an ecoregion) is an area marked by natural phenomena [as opposed to arbitrary manmade borders], such as watersheds, mountain ranges, and other geographic formations. More detail is added when the flora, fauna, and weather and climactic patterns are taken into account." (Lupa, Plant and Fungus Totems, 2014) It's a way of looking at the relationships between the land and all who live there including animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, insects, etc, including humans.

Totemic/animistic-Having to do with the belief that everything has a spirit or a soul, including animals, plants, places (including things like rivers and streams, mountains, forests, etc), and things (rocks, inanimate objects, etc)

Ecology and Geology- The study of organisms and their interactions with their environment and other organisms; the study of the solid Earth and how it changes (Wikipedia)

Humanism-"The philosophy or life stance of secular humanism (alternatively known by some adherents as Humanism, specifically with a capital H to distinguish it from other forms of humanism) embraces human reason, ethics, and philosophical naturalism while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience, and superstition as the basis of morality and decision making." (Wikipedia)

Tarot and Oracle cards- I LOVE working with Tarot and Oracle cards! They are a VERY important part of my personal path. I will be discussing these often and will describe them more and their differences in future posts.

Divination-My friend Shaman describes divination as "asking questions and seeking answers." For me, divination is about using any of a variety of tools to seek insight into the flow of energy, experiences, and potentials of the Cosmic Web (for lack of a better term) so that we can try to make the best choices that are in line with our interests and goals. We can also use these tools to seek personal insight into the depths of ourselves for personal growth.

Crystals and stones- I adore working with crystals and stones! Going along with my perspective on animism, I believe that all stones have and resonate with an energy that varies with the individual properties of the different types of stones and individual stones themselves. This energy can and does interact with the energies around it, including our own personal energy. These energetic interactions can work to influence and change the energies involved.

Energy working and healing-For me, this includes using a variety of different alternative methods to assist with healing and wellbeing. These can include Reiki, healing touch, crystals and stones, color, sound therapies, music, etc. I personally believe in using alternative therapies in addition to and to complement a variety of, but not necessarily in place of, conventional medicine therapies.

Ritual and ceremony-These for me are ways to celebrate and honor various aspects of life and rites of passage, deity and religious/spiritual beliefs, the self, the seasonal cycles of the sun and moon, commemorative events, etc.

Altar-For me, altars and shrines are collections and arrangements of objects you hold sacred or are important to you. They are a place/space for connecting with your beliefs and doing any spiritual or religious work you feel called to do. They can take many shapes and forms and are unique for each person.

Candles-I just love working with candles. My favorites, and what I primarily use, are beeswax candles. I really enjoy the light, smell, and energy of working with candles.

Polytheism- There are two types of polytheism that are generally recognized. Hard polytheism is about the belief that the various deities are unique and individual unto themselves. They have their own unique and distinct identities, personalities, cultures, etc. Soft polytheism generally follows the belief that deities are all aspects or facets of a single (or two) ultimate being. Archetypes are also a part of soft polytheism. There is great debate over which type, hard or soft, is correct and right. I personally believe in hard polytheism (that deities are unique and distinct individuals unto themselves) but I also see validity in the role of archetypes as well. As with many things, everyone has their own personal opinion and perspective on this. My perspective is based on my personal experiences, which are likely very different from another person's.

Meditation and visualization-Techniques I utilize for relaxation and personal growth

Reading-I personally consider reading to be an essential part of my path. I LOVE reading and learning. Reading for me has been integral in exploring my spirituality, personal growth, and becoming who I am today.

Solitary-I tend to be a solitary practitioner. I prefer to practice my path on my own, for the most part. I do enjoy participating in some group rituals and classes on occasion. However my path is generally personal and solitary.

Solar (Sun), Lunar (Moon), Solstices/Equinoxes and the Four Seasons-Generally referred to by many Pagans as The Wheel of the Year, the yearly cycle of seasons and the cycle of the moon are important parts of my path. I don't celebrate a "traditional" 8 holiday version of the Wheel of the Year, however. I personally prefer to honor the solstices and equinoxes since those are "observable" phenomenon and incorporate local observances of the changes associated with the cycle of the seasons. These will vary from place to place as different locations experience differences in climate as well as local agricultural cycles.

Halloween-For me, Halloween is both a secular and a religious/spiritual holiday. I enjoy the typical secular observances of dressing up, giving out and receiving candy, the scary aspects traditionally associated with Halloween, etc. I also celebrate this holiday in a more spiritual day with using it as a day to honor and remember those who have passed on before, especially those within the past year.

Whew... That was more than I originally thought it would be. :-) While it may not be everything, it covers a lot of what I consider parts of my personal Pagan path. Everyone's path is different. In future posts I'll be exploring and sharing parts of my personal path....