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)