Monday, May 30, 2016

Changes to my Personal Path

With my chronic illness issues, what I'd LIKE to do doesn't always mesh with what I'm actually ABLE to do, physically and mentally. So I've been doing some thinking about what's REALLY important to me in my spiritual path. I've read a LOT and have found some things that I'm really drawn to. Shamanism, Druidry, Tarot and Oracles, Crystals and Stones, candles, the Elements, Nature (of course!), etc.

I was exploring on the internet, or getting lost in InternetLand as my husband calls it, and I was reminded of the technique of "3 Most Important Tasks" for to-do lists. This led me to think more about simplifying and using the idea of "3 Most Important..." for helping me to clarify what's really important to me, on a variety of topics. Since my spiritual path was on my mind I decided to start there. I asked myself "What are the 3 most important things to me with my Spiritual path?" I wrote down the first three things that came to my head, without thinking about it too much. They were Tarot and Oracles (divination), Crystals and Stones, and Nature. Also, candles, the Four Elements, and reading/learning. I know, technically six things, but the way I thought of them was three and three.

I was quite surprised that shamanic journeying and Ritual weren't even a passing thought while I was doing this process. Shamanic journeying was a very important part of my spiritual practice for several years. Lately I've been having difficulty journeying... I've been really drawn to the ADF Druidry style of ritual lately. I have been wanting to incorporate this ritual style into my practices but hadn't really had the energy to do it. I've also been very drawn to the AODA Druidry Three Paths idea. The Earth Path is about spending time out in nature, at least 15 minutes or more a week in direct contact with nature. For me, Paganism is about Nature. Understanding the world around me seems to be an important aspect of that. I feel very drawn to understanding bio-regional and local (to me) aspects of ecology and Nature. The Sun Path is about celebrating a cycle of Holy days, like the Wheel of the Year. I've always felt drawn to the Solstices and Equinoxes, Halloween, and the Full and New Moons. The Moon Path is about practicing some form of meditation regularly, working up to a daily practice. Lately I've been having a lot of difficulty with journeying, meditation, and visualization. However Mindfulness has been a topic that has come up several times recently, leading me to consider its usefulness to me.

I feel like the AODA Three Paths is a decent structure for working a personal spiritual path for me. Plus, it's a "three" and that seems to be a significant theme for me right now. I decided to journal a bit, taking into consideration these themes of "three" that seem important right now. Doing this has REALLY helped me to clarify both what I truly want to do with my spiritual path as well as what I'm likely able to do, both physically and mentally, with my chronic illness limitations. I've decided to narrow my focus to what's working best for me right now. For me, this means:

  • A daily/weekly practice that includes: 
    • personal healing work with my crystals and stones, candles, colors, and the Elements
    • personal Tarot and Oracle readings using whatever methods I'm drawn to that day
    • divination practice and learning (for my upcoming Tarot business)
  • A seasonal practice that includes:
    • Seasonal observations and nature journaling on the Solstices and Equinoxes (chronicling the "Wheel of the Year")
    • Seasonal Tarot reading on the Solstices and Equinoxes (a way to celebrate/honor "Holy" days)
    • Full/New Moons nature journaling
    • Full/New Moons check in with the seasonal Tarot reading
I'll also be incorporating aspects of mindfulness including the Five Senses, the Four Elements, Breath, and Feelings/Emotions.

These practices incorporate and tie in to the AODA Three Paths as well as my Three Most Important Things in ways that are doable and interesting for me. I'm already doing a daily (at least most days) personal Tarot practice. I'm also working with my crystals and stones fairly consistently through the week for personal healing. I've already been working with doing seasonal Tarot readings using two spreads I found in Barbara Moore's Tarot Spreads book. Nature journaling would include aspects of the Earth Path in a way that's interesting to me, including aspects of mindfulness which is a part of the Moon Path.

These practices are all interconnected with each other, as well as being an interconnected way of utilizing the Three Paths. This gives me a focus and helps me to not be "distracted" by other interesting things that might not work so well for me. I can continue to explore and read/learn about other topics and practices. But I don't have to feel an "obligation" (my personal issue...) to try to incorporate them into my personal spiritual practice, at least right now.

What new spiritual practices are you working with lately? Please feel free to share in the comments.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Using Multiple Divination Tools With My Full Moon Spread

I LOVE using multiple divination tools! I find it absolutely fascinating to compare the messages I get using different tools. I just did my Fool Moon reading that I do for myself. I thought I already posted about it, but I can't see where I did. So, here's a spread that I came up with that I do on the Full Moons. It can be done any time, but I wanted something to use at the Full Moons for myself.
  • What is fading away?
  • What is present?
  • What is coming to be?
  • How can I most effectively let go/release what is fading away?
  • How can I most effectively work with what is present?
  • How can I most effectively prepare for and embrace what is coming to be?
This month I did this spread with Tarot cards. I got some excellent and very applicable answers. Sorry, it's personal, so I'm not sharing the actual reading. Then I decided to try doing the same reading with Oracle cards. It was SO interesting to see how the answers correlated. They were similar, basically like different perspectives of the same answers.

This isn't about doing reading after reading trying to get the answer(s) I'm hoping for or wanting. It's about using two different tools in the same way and seeing how the readings correlate and correspond. It doesn't matter what tools you use either. I chose Tarot and an Oracle deck. I could just as easily have chosen an Oracle deck and the Runes, etc. I write down the readings done with each tool and then compare them to each other. It's so fascinating to see how they correspond to each other. I also feel this is a form of validation. If you're using two different tools and getting similar or even the same messages with both when asking the same questions, it really validates the message you're getting and the fact that it really applies to you. On the flip side, if you use two different tools and get completely different answers, perhaps in at least one of the tools you're only seeing what you want to see. I feel doing this can help us stay honest with ourselves and be as unbiased as possible when reading for ourselves.

Have you ever done a reading using multiple divination tools? Which tools did you use? How did the readings go? Please feel free to share in the comments.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle Deck Interview Spread

The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle deck just came out. I literally ordered it the day it was released. I really love The Wild Unknown Tarot deck, so I KNEW I wanted this Oracle deck when I heard about it. I ordered the deck and book set and I'm glad I did. The deck comes in a very sturdy two piece box that fits the 63 card deck snugly. Also included with the deck is single sheet of card meaning keywords. The accompanying book is about twice the size of the deck. It includes an introduction with some information about the deck itself, using the deck, and a few spreads. For the listing for each card there is a full sized illustration, keywords, paragraph expanded meaning, listing for when in balance, when out of balance, and how to bring back in balance. This deck is divided into four "suits" associated with the elements, Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit. Each element has 14 animals in it, with the exception of Spirit which has 7 (associated with the Chakras).

As a person with a passion for animals, I really enjoy animal Oracle decks. This deck is no exception. Here is the picture of my deck interview spread for The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle deck.

Deck interview spread with TWU Animal Spirit Oracle

Tell me about your personality and characteristics as a deck.
Earthworm-shy, hesitant, intimidated, reluctant to share inner vision
     I found this card to be so interesting for this deck. This deck is quite literally brand new. It just came out a week or two ago. This card talks about being new and trying to establish confidence. I thought it was so interesting for a deck to describe itself as new and not feeling confident but working on it. Quite fitting, I think.

What are your strengths as a deck?
Bear-- waking up, beginning anew
     This card indicates that this deck excels at helping us with new beginnings, when we are working with new directions and personal transformation. It can help us work to overcome obstacles.

What are your weaknesses as a deck?
Butterfly-growing pains, transformation
     When reading the accompanying book, the thing that jumped out to me is relationships. This isn't a deck to turn to when you're needing to ask about relationships.

What types of readings do you prefer to be used for?
Vulture-purifier, essential re-balance
    This deck seems to be best for helping us move back into balance. It works well for clarification and doing the work that people prefer to avoid.

Anything else I need to know about working with you as a deck?
Panther-annihilation of the unnecessary, purging
     This deck won't stand by and see us stagnate. Though uncomfortable, it will help us move from disorder back into balance, basically whether we like it or not.

I'm looking forward to seeing if and how this deck might work in combination with The Wild Unknown Tarot deck.

I hope you've enjoyed this deck interview spread with The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle deck. Please join me in the future for more deck interview spreads.

Do you enjoy working with animal Oracle decks? Please feel free to share why or why not in the comments...  :-)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Don't Be Afraid to Use the Book

I woke up this morning feeling fairly discouraged. The weather is shifting here, so the past few days have been a bit rough for me physically. It is incredibly frustrating to have a bunch of relatively good days and then crash and have several bad days in a row. It frustrates me that the weather affects me so much physically. However I can't change that, so I do my best to work on acceptance.

Over the past couple of weeks, life has gotten in the way, so I haven't done much with my personal Tarot practice. I woke up today feeling quite discouraged. I decided that even though I was brain foggy and feeling yucky, I was going to do a reading for myself. I decided to do my favorite combo reading of drawing an Oracle card, three Tarot cards, and a Rune. I used the Oracle of the Shapeshifters and the Animal Wisdom Tarot.

The message I got was so uplifting it brought tears to my eyes. It confirmed that I need to keep things simple and do what's right for me and not worry what all the "experts" say. In doing so, I will be successful and happy. The Rune I drew, Laguz, reminded me that I need to go with the flow and for now, follow the easy path. I was getting so bogged down in the advice of others, trying to do things "right."

I'm so glad I did the reading, even though I was feeling crummy. It was just the encouragement I needed for today. Living with the ups and downs of chronic illness can be very difficult. It's nice to have tools to help me improve my outlook and move forward.

As for the title of this post, I was reminded of something else today. Don't be afraid to use the book for doing your readings. I have quite a few Oracle decks and Tarot decks. With most of the Oracle decks and a few of the Tarot decks, I still need to use the accompanying book to help me interpret the cards. There's nothing wrong with that. Oracle decks especially are so varied in their systems and meanings, it can be difficult to truly master each and every one. Working with the Animal Wisdom Tarot is new for me. The author has done an EXCELLENT job with choosing animals that support the more "traditional" meanings of the cards. But these are not immediately understandable to me. I utilized the book (also excellent) that came with the deck to help me interpret my reading. I'm so glad I did! Using the book helped me really understand the connection of the chosen animal to the more traditional/conventional meaning of the cards.

I've felt somewhat guilty about using the accompanying books with Tarot decks in readings for myself. I've felt that as an aspiring Tarot professional I shouldn't need to use the book to do readings. I have studied Tarot for a number of years now and have a handful of decks that I feel quite confident in using for readings without needing to utilize a book for interpretation. However, there are SO many different Tarot decks. There really isn't anything wrong with using the book that comes with these decks, especially for personal readings. The books give you insight into the nuances and unique interpretations of each deck's theme that the deck author has come up with.

I definitely believe in working on learning the "basics" of Tarot, especially if you'd eventually like to become a professional reader. It is my opinion that intuition is great, but can be even greater when it has more information to work with. Learning Tarot as a system helps give our intuition more information to work with and draw on to help guide our readings. So there's nothing wrong with adding to that well of information by using the accompanying deck books when you read, especially in the beginning.

Far too often I see the advice given to people new to divination "Throw the book away! Use your intuition!" Well, I tried that in the beginning and my brain just doesn't work like that. I ended up sitting there looking blankly at the cards and getting frustrated. It was only after reading some books that I began to have intuitive insights when reading the cards.

I also realized that with my brain fog from my chronic illness issues, there's days when I just can't process. My brain just literally doesn't work correctly. Some days that means I can't even attempt a reading. Other days it means I can do a reading, but I need some help in order to put all the pieces together. A quick look at the book or my collection of card meanings can be just what I need to gain insight and put things together. It's not about regurgitating stock meanings and cobbling them together. It's about reminding me of what I already know but my brain just isn't quite putting together because it's not up to par that day.

So don't worry about using the book. It's there, so use it! After a time, if you feel comfortable, set the book aside and try reading without referring to it. If that doesn't work, go back to using the book. There's nothing wrong with using the book for readings for yourself.

Are there any decks that you use the book with? Do you feel comfortable setting aside the book, at least some of the time? Please feel free to share in the comments.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Finding Balance and Simplicity and New Sparklies

Sorry it's been a while again. I was working on some stuff for getting my Tarot business going and got a bit bogged down in the planning. That's an ongoing issue I have, getting caught up in planning and not actually DOING. So I'm working on that. It's hard to find a balance between adequate planning so you can be successful and not using planning as procrastination due to fear of failure. I'm finding that that's an ongoing issue for me. I'm doing my best to work through it, though it's not easy. I'll get there though.  I'm working on starting, doing, and keeping things simple. I've been looking at some business resources and they're very helpful. A key message I keep seeing, that's particularly applicable to me, is to start and don't worry about having it all planned out. You'll make mistakes, fail even, and that's ok. But you can't ever succeed if you don't start. My goal is to start doing readings on Fiverr, to actually DO something to get started. Then I'm going to work on providing readings as my own business.

I'm getting a bit bogged down in creating my niche. I know how Tarot has helped me in getting unstuck and helping me cope with chronic illness. So maybe that's where I need to start. I keep seeing how you should create a narrow services niche for the most success. I'm just not quite sure what that should be yet. I'm doing some work to try to figure that out.

On a more fun note, I have a BUNCH of new crystals and stones! My husband brought most of them for me from a work trip he went on. I'm just LOVING them!

Here's what they all are, from top to bottom, left to right...

Top: Selenite wand

Row 2: Rough and tumbled carnelian, kunzite, moldavite, blue topaz, jet, fire Opal, fish fossil, fossil horse tooth

Row 3: Iceland spar/optical calcite, blue calcite, red calcite, orange calcite, green calcite, honey calcite

Row 4: Fuschite, green Opal, raw emerald, indigo gabbor/Mystic merlinite (a new find, never heard of it before), desert jasper, bumblebee jasper, yellow jasper, brecciated jasper

Row 5: Picasso jasper, red jasper, leopardskin jasper, hematite, desert rose selenite, fulgurite (created when lightning hits sand)

The Selenite wand is HUGE! It was only $10!!! The pen in the picture is a regular sized pen. The wand is 12-14 inches long!

Selenite wand size

All the pretty sparklies!!!  :-) Many of the pieces were on a list I gave my husband, but he chose some himself. He always makes great choices for me. He's not really into crystals and stones, but inevitably he chooses ones that are very applicable to my life. Now I just need to find space for these new additions on my already VERY crowded dresser top reserved for my crystals and stones.  :-) This just gives me the kick in the pants I've needed to dust and organize my stones.

So I'm back, and I plan to post regularly. I'm going to keep things simple and not get bogged down in planning procrastination. I'm going to DO!

Do any of you struggle with procrastination? Please share in the comments.