Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Crow Mother: Initiation (and a Tarot Spread)

I had to make a leadership decision at work recently that was as necessary as it was troubling. It threw me off balance for several days preceding and following the main event. And as supportive as everyone was about it, I still felt rather alone in the aftermath of the experience, when all was said and done. I didn't know how to process the residual moodiness I was experiencing, and I ended up designing a spread to help get my head and spirit around it all:

(In Case of Emergency) Spread:

1) How I'm feeling

2) Nurture this

3) Express this

Dark Goddess Tarot; Ellen Lorenzi-Prince
I decided to use the Dark Goddess Tarot, which had been calling my name for a few days. The cards were:

1) How I'm feeling: 2 of Air (inverted)

2) Nurture this: 8 of Air

3) Express this: 2 of Water (inverted)

The first thing that stood out to me was Crow Mother in the central position of the line of three cards. Crows have caught my attention quite a bit lately; everywhere I go I see them flying, hear them cawing, watch them calmly perched in treetops or on power lines. They have come to feel like patient and ever-present friends, and I find them comforting. Seeing the Crow Mother as the anchor card hit home the sense that the crow is passing through my life as a sort of "spirit bird," serving as an usher through a challenging time of change and uncertainty.

To move back to the first card, the 2 of Air in an inverted position (and especially with Athena ruling here) reflected my feeling of being at war with myself. I had a very divided mind, and rather than finding peace with it, I was feeling quite at odds with my own choice. Should I have done it? Did I act too soon? When I passed the previous month or so through my mind, recounting all of the contributing circumstances, I knew I'd made the right decision. And yet I found little comfort in that.

Crow Mother represents initiation, and in the position of "Embrace This," she encourages me to understand and accept the choice I made as an initiatory process, a necessary aspect of my new leadership role. Initiations are not supposed to be comfortable; they are often jarring, full of mystery, of the unknown. By living through them the initiate achieves new levels of understanding, is able - perhaps "invited" is the better word - to integrate new knowledge and perspectives. I hadn't previously thought of this as a rite of passage, but indeed it was, and there was some comfort in understanding it in that light.

Interestingly, as I was flipping through one of my gem and mineral books in search of an "initiation stone," another stone listing caught my eye: pallasite. This immediately connected me to Athena (Pallas Athena), and to the 2 of Air. Upon reading the entry for this meteorite, it turns out that one of its principal functions is that of helping to calm the emotional body. Very fitting, I'd say.

Unfortunately I didn't have any pallasite on hand, but I decided to pull out a new piece of one of my favorite stones - black tourmaline - that I'd just acquired the week before (you can never really have too much of this one!). Black tourmaline has a soothing, relieving energy that feels very good to me. And I realized, as I was gazing down at it in my hand, that it looked quite a bit like a crow's head.
Crow's head Black Tourmaline
The final card in the reading was Lorelei, the 2 of Water, and it had appeared inverted as the 2 of Air had. In the position of "Express This," it urged me to release the sorrow I was holding onto regarding the decision I'd had to make; to talk about it; to call on the ever present and all-abiding pool of universal love to help heal from its painful after-effects. A close friend to whom I've spoken about this has commented several times that it's very much like breaking up with someone. It's an astute observation. Lorelei was a siren whose beauty and hypnotic song was said to lure entranced sailors to their deaths against the jagged rocks. In a way, I could relate. I want to always help, honor, and nurture people, so coming to terms with having to make a decision that I knew would inevitably cause someone pain was (and still is) quite difficult to manage.

The sum of this line of three is 12, associated with the Hanged Man, a card that has appeared for me on a couple of occasions of late. Sacrifice, evolution, release, surrender.

In addition, I find the layout of numbers in this spread to be intriguing - 2 - 8 - 2. Twos relate to duality and choice, while eights correspond to change, strength, and personal power. The willingness to embrace difficult choices for the heart and mind provides great fertilizer for transformation.

Onward and upward.


  1. Very in depth and clarifying reading. I can understand how much responsibility comes with your new job and how difficult it must have been to make some decisions, especially when they involve other people. Black tourmaline is a beautiful protective and nurturing stone. I wish you well on your journey my friend.

    1. Thanks for the kind word, Ellen <3 There is indeed such a lovely protective and rejuvenating energy to black tourmaline - I often think it would be lovely to settle into a bathtub full of it! :)