Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for:

  1. laughter and loving friends whom I trust to know the real me.
  2. the cooler weather
  3. finding out I am closer to finishing my degree than I thought
  4. my fears - which challenge me and force me to push forward.
  5. my life - while there are parts I'm not happy with right now I am truly blessed.
Have a Blessed Day All!

Daily Draw

Message: You are changing, this is a time for courage.  You are safe and being guided.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wellness Wednesday

The message today - it is ever so important to laugh, relax and let go.

In the past couple of weeks I have probably embraced the whole idea of laughing and letting myself be myself with friends and family more than I have in a long time.  I've eased up a little on the school thing and focused a little more on the whole having fun and living thing.   There are two things that happened recently that made me stop and realize the importance of this.  First, for the first time in a very long time I had a photo taken of myself that I liked.  It was with some dear friends on the girls day out over lunch with much fun and laughter - and all that came through in the photo.  Secondly, Last night, for the first time in a while the hubby and I got to spend time just being silly with each other (there has been a lot of stress lately but some big decisions were made that have eased the burden a little) and it made me realize just how important laughter is.

Daily Draw

Message: Things are changing, you are transforming.  Something you thought was dead is rekindling.  Embrace and emerge renewed.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

O = Open Dialogue

I can't put enough value on the importance of open dialogue.  Not just with others but with yourself, not just within your pagan group but within your everyday life.  But I have to wonder how many people actually practice this art.

As a concept this has been floating around in my head for awhile for a couple of reasons.  1) because I am amazed that I have the kind of relationship with my husband that means we can have open dialogue without the other blowing a gasket over something.  2) because I am studying a History of Religion class and the lack of open dialogue happening within is driving me nuts.  3) because I have had some pretty serious questions running around inside my head regarding my spiritual beliefs and practices.

Now 1 I'm going to leave alone - private matters not for public consumption but 2 and 3 are fair game.

2.  The lack of talk in my class.  To set the scene.  I'm doing my Masters in History online.  One of my electives is History of Religion - sounds like an awesome class with lots of potential right?  Sadly, my beliefs that this would eventuate have been shattered.  Logistically I understand that with only 6 students dialogue is possibly going to be somewhat less, but the amazing lack of dialogue is just depressing.  Throughout the course we are reading up on the various religions of the world (and thankfully they give equal tread to most of them) as well as looking at the Anatomy of the Sacred (an amazing book I highly recommend).  We have three discussion papers to do that explore ideas of: what we believe and whether it is possible to be critical about religion, sacred rituals and their purpose, and the murky grounds of ethics, evil and right and wrong.  All great areas of exploration that I could see resulting in some really interesting dialogue - yeah well, not so much.

The demographics of the group (4 Christians of various denominations, an Atheist and myself - a pagan).  Sadly, the Christians are all sticking together and failing to interact with myself and the Atheist, what is worse is that they are failing to look at any of their beliefs and practices in a critical or even analytical way (I'm not biased on this, the professor has actually called them out on it).  So while I'm getting some great dialogue from the Athiest I'm struggling to engage with anyone else.  I don't care if they want to sit there and tell me that they don't understand, think I'm nuts or challenge everything I believe - I just want them to actually think about it.  I have tried asking more probing questions about their own experiences and gained no response.  Overall, it is frustrating and disappointing and it has me wondering how many people really don't interact with their faith beyond following, by route almost, its doctrines and practices.

On the upside, it has answered that first question we were asked - can you be critical about religion?  Seems for a lot of people the answer is no, they can't be critical about their own religion.  And I guess maybe some of that comes from fear.  If you start thinking critically are you challenging your own beliefs and therefore proving that you don't believe?  Fear that you might find something you don't like and have to re-evaluate?  Or just fear, because your belief system says you shouldn't challenge.  Don't get me wrong, I am not saying what I believe it perfect, there is definitely a need to think critically, but it is the little things I really like about it - for example the fact that many practices emphasize the practice of  looking back and reflecting on our selves, our path and how we can improve it.

3. My own questioning.  If there is one thing I have taken from my History of Religion class it is the final recognition that I will never be Wiccan (its just too structured), in fact I described myself to the class as eclectic Pagan. I borrow from a bunch of pagan faiths, practices and pantheons.  Lets face it, most modern pagan practices do.  So now that I've sorted out where I put myself I started assessing my actual participation.  How much am I doing?  You talk to people who are out there on the full and new moons working their stuff, who go all out for the celebrations of the wheel, who do regular tarot and divination and reiki and mediation and on and on and you start to wonder if you're really dedicated to your own path.

Of course this is all just self doubt - and one should never judge by the standards of others, you just don't know what the whole situation is.  But I do have to acknowledge that sadly if something has to give in my life to the pressures of the moment it is my spiritual practice.  Why is that?  I think it comes down to the sad reality that while it helps fulfill me and make me happy it doesn't help pay the bills and it doesn't cost me money that is wasted if I don't do it and so it is the easiest thing to push aside.  And while I acknowledge that really is not the best way to live life, I acknowledge that it is also the realities of living in society.  Does it mean I value my path less?  Does it mean I am not dedicated to it?  These are the questions I'm dialoguing with myself at the moment.

Tarot Tuesday

And for something a little different today I present "The Tarot Game"

I found out about this on Aeclectic Tarot  and decided to purchase it for an upcoming Tea and Tarot night tomorrow.  There will be a range of people from those who know the tarot well and those who are in the various stages of learning it and so rather than making it perhaps a little intimidating by getting those who aren't secure in their knowledge to do readings for others I thought it would be fun to get this game and allow everyone to do readings for themselves based on their own level of expertise.  I think it will offer a great way to get to know people better also (assuming you have a group that is willing to get a little personal). It can also be used as a personal meditation tool as well which I will play with at a later date when I have more time (laughs)

So I will be 'test driving' this tomorrow night, I'll come back here and update how it all went.


After having had the pleasure of playing this now with a group of four other lovely women I have to say I definitely recommend it as an alternative to a typical tarot reading and a way to get the know the cards.  So here are some notes/opinions:

  • The instructions are a little vague on the whole use of real decks...but you can figure it out pretty quickly.
  • The descriptors of the 3 levels is a little misleading (really I take it as pick a level from 1-3 based on how deep a reading you want/are capable of doing).
  • Play this with people you know and trust - some of those questions can take you to deep, dark, and just damn personal places so you want to be able to feel comfortable voicing your answers and having others question and prompt.
  • As a meditative tool/way to learn to do your own readings it looks like it has a lot of potential.
  • The activity cards are interesting, though sometimes perhaps a little odd/irrelevant.
Overall, I'll play it again - both with a group and by myself.  I think you get as much out of it as you put into it.

Daily Draw

Message: Keep Silent - keep your news or new adventure to yourself, stay silent and under the radar and allow it to manifest.  To speak is to diminish its power.  You are capable and intelligent enough to ride this momentary withdrawal and will emerge stronger and more radiant.

Monday, October 1, 2012

O = Oracle Cards

Okay, so anyone familiar with this blog knows that I use oracle cards (yes I know, I've been slack on those posts lately too) :)

I know some people don't like to use Oracle cards - they find them a little too restrictive in meaning, that they don't draw on common symbols and imagery to convey the message but rather use words.  Or they simply prefer to use other methods.  For myself, however, I find that they are a great tool.  The fact that I can simply draw a card each day for guidance is something I enjoy.  Yes, I acknowledge that you could also do this with Tarot - but for me I find that and understanding of the tarot becomes easier when you can do a spread to get more detailed guidance.  Even my runes I often end up drawing several of to get the complete message.

Picking the Decks:
I pick my oracle decks much like I do my tarot - they need to call to me.  There needs to be something in the imagery that draws me.  I don't look at the words on the cards, I look at the visuals and whether for me they tell a story, or that they tug on that inner core where intuition and gut feeling lies.  I have tried it other ways.  I've purchased decks before because I thought they sounded cool, they were cheap or I've liked some of the artists work and each time I've quickly ended up passing the deck on or selling it again.

Getting to know your decks:
Obviously with messages written on the cards it is easy to take the words as the only way to understand the message coming through but there is more to it than that.  If you're lucky you'll find your deck accompanied by a great book that offers further depth without being prescriptive.  ( I know some people just cringed at the idea of using 'the book' but lets face it, if you're a novice, getting to know the deck or a little unsure its a great way to start.  And sometimes I've been amazed at how accurate it all is).  Of course as with all card readings take the time to analyse the pictures first and see what you get from them.  In fact do this before you consult the book.  Just try and find the story and symbols in the work, how does it make you feel, can you see some of yourself in it?  Then link it to the words on the card.  And Finally, read the book if you wish.

Record your readings:
I think this is invaluable.  You will begin to find patterns.  Are you pulling a certain card on a regular basis?  If so, perhaps there is something you're failing to address.  Is there a pattern or connection between the cards you are pulling?  I know there have been weeks when I've felt like my cards are a 2x4 to the head from the universe to let me know that I'm simply not paying enough attention or that I really need to listen to their advice.

And of course, my decks


N = Nurturing our Creative Selves.

I have a few friends who claim to have no artistic ability, I have a few friends who have an amazing talent and can produce sketches that would rival any photograph and other amazingly crafty/artistic items.  Myself, I sit possibly somewhere in the middle.  Many years ago I began working on my sketching skills, but I let it slide - I let the creative side of me fall by the wayside to the demands of University and then work.  I'd try tapping into it every so often but I'd quickly loose interest.  It didn't help that, as stated above, I had some friends with amazing talent that made anything I did look like a 2 year olds finger painting.  I was incredibly insecure about what I produced, and being a perfectionist, I didn't want to produce something that was less than perfect.

It was only in 2007/8 that I really came to understand the nature of art and the importance of nurturing our creative side.  More importantly, I learned that by creating I was tapping into that spiritual core of myself, the inner child, the subconscious and that the work I produced didn't need to be worthy of the Louvre, it just had to come from the core.

Art is a great way to tap into our own inner selves, it is a way to express those parts of ourselves we don't consciously recognize (there is a reason its used in therapy).  Through art we can channel the divine and the divine within ourselves.  So what if your work is abstract, or it doesn't live up to another's standards?  If you can look at it and see yourself, see how you felt, see the divine, see the magic within it then you have achieved something truly great.

There are numerous mediums you can choose - art is a broad field.  I personally like to play with photography, sketching, painting, polymer clay and collage.  I have just started to delve into the world of watercolor.  I'm not a master at any of these, but every piece I produce holds a special place in my heart.  It talks of my journey, my feelings and emotions.  It helps me to look back and connect with myself. 

So let yourself go, embrace your inner creative selves, and work in an artistic medium - you'll probably be surprised by the results.

Meditative Monday

Maybe what I should be meditating on today is why I have this inability to keep up with my blog :)  Once again it appears I have taken on too much in my life and that sleep is most definitely taking the brunt of the damage.  Of course this begets a cycle of lack of sleep --> tiredness so can't concentrate --> causing lack of school work --> resulting in crammed deadlines and the complete ignoring of anything non-school related --> resulting in a very unbalanced life and lots of stress  --> which of course leads right back to lack of sleep.

I know people who have kids, go to school, work full time, and somehow still manage to find time to play sports, get crafty, go to church/practice a spiritual path etc.  How the heck do they get it all done?

Struggling to find the key to managing it all.  Maybe the key is that you can't manage it all and I have to realize that things need to be dropped...but that's a whole other set of issues.