Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Rune Study Post #12: Isa

Happy Wednesday! Today's focus will be on Isa, the eleventh rune of the Elder Futhark, and third in the second aett.

Isa translates to "ice," and connects to themes of stillness, inertia, cold or cooling, focus, the ego and will, and control.

An Anglo Saxon rune poem reads:

Ice is very cold and immeasurably slippery;
it glistens as clear as glass and most like to gems;
it is a floor wrought by the frost, fair to look upon.
Power of the Runes deck by Voenix
An Old Icelandic rune poem reads:

Ice is bark of rivers
and roof of the wave
and destruction of the doomed.

I particularly like the Icelandic poem, as that first bit reminds me of the ice that can cover rivers during the heart of winter. Ice gives the illusion of stasis, but under the "bark of rivers" there is so much movement taking place.

Questions:

1) What other meanings do you attribute to Isa?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Isa has presented itself in your rune work or castings, how have you seen its energy manifested, or experienced its impact?

Monday, April 24, 2017

How Way Leads on to Way

Every once in a while I become mesmerized by the interconnectedness of things, and feel compelled to talk about it: this is one of those moments.

Last Friday I attended a psychometry meeting with a group of (mostly) women. It was the first time in many months that I was able to go, and it was lovely to reconnect with familiar faces. Each meeting begins with a meditation - different each time - meant to calm the mind and open us to the energies of the people and environment around us.

This time our meditation facilitator guided us through the opening of each chakra, and then to the expansion of those energies outward into the earth, the town, the world, and cosmos. Two things were very evident to me during this experience:

  • As I expanded outward into the depths of space, I felt Odin's presence, and I was very happy. Being there brought me back to a dream I'd had nearly a year ago (May 2016) about being in outer space, not seeing but clearly feeling Odin, and seeing concentric circles surrounding the planet. I won't go into detail here, but if you're curious, feel free to click here to read my post about it.
  • I felt a deep calling to connect more deeply to the Earth, and to mother energy. 
Shortly thereafter we began to "read" our objects (click here to read about how psychometry works), and the elderly woman who had my silver bracelet told me (among other things) that she felt I was on earth to teach peace. This is a theme that has been relatively consistent throughout my life. In fact, my tutelary Orisha is Obatalá, who is known for wisdom, patience, and peace. As I was listening to her read the notes she had written, I wondered about that, and about how over the past few years I feel like I've been developing my warrior qualities - how do the two connect when they seem so contrary? 

Yesterday I was feeling a bit glum and in need of "something" unidentifiable. In the evening my husband, son, and I drove downtown to my favorite metaphysical shop. I wandered. I had no clear purpose. I reviewed cards, but none called to me. I wandered through the crystal room, looked, and browsed, and then I saw a small basket filled with green stones - Green Aragonite. I am not normally attracted to green stones (which is a little funny, since green is one of my favorite colors!), but this felt good to me. I sorted through the basket and found a beautiful piece, striated with rusty lines reminiscent of lightning bolts. I was unsure of its characteristics, but it felt calming and nurturing, and right, so I kept it in my hand. 
Then I went to the book room, and let my eyes run over the titles. I thought I caught a glimpse of the word "trees" so I went back over the same shelf more slowly, and found a new book there called, "Be More Tree," by Alice Peck. Hmmm...... I pulled it out and started to flip through it, and I fell in love. The book reviews the qualities of a large array of trees from around the world - their characteristics, their cultural associations and mythologies. There are excerpts from well-known authors that capture the essence or teaching of a particular tree. There are suggestions for ways to "be more tree." 
Over the past month or two I quite suddenly started being utterly moved by the beauty of trees that I'd walked by hundreds of times before. I have always loved trees, and one of my favorite things about the nightly strolls that my husband and I take is the opportunity to simply see and appreciate them (and the birds, and flowers). And yet it was like I was observing them with a whole new set of eyes. I would stop mid-stride, mouth hanging open, ogling the elegance of an oak tree. Once I was so transfixed by the movement of the branches overhead dancing in the evening breeze, the last tendrils of sunlight weaving through their leaves, that my husband had to remind me that a car was coming, and that I should probably move! 

I pondered the Norse creation story, which tells that the first humans were created out of trees. When we went to a local Easter egg hunt, I saw groups of people waiting for the event to start, and next to them there were stands of cypress and oak trees. All I could think of was Ask (Ash) and Embla (Elm), and how closely we are related, somehow.

Indeed, in Germanic cosmology, the multiverse is contained within Yggdrasill, the World Tree. 

This tree book felt just as right as the stone I was carrying, so I purchased both and left the shop. Later I researched Green Aragonite, and found that it connects to Earth goddess energy, and helps calm the nerves. Hm! That was so timely in light of my meditation experience a couple of days before, and an unsurprising-but-affirming reminder that intuition is the best tool for selecting stones. 

Before bed I flipped the book open and it landed "randomly" on Olive - my namesake! Olive is associated with peace, which got me thinking about the psychometry reading, and about my earlier musing on the dichotomy between peace and warrior energy. 
And I realized that they are entirely complementary. We tend to think of them as opposites, but without the courage of the warrior spirit, can there ever be true peace? When I was young (and even into my young adulthood) conflict was deeply challenging for me. I avoided it at all cost, I worked hard to promote harmony and mutual understanding. I thought of myself as a "peace-loving" person, and while that was true, it was also true that I often avoided conflict out of fear. It is one thing to have the courage to be confrontational if necessary, but to prefer the route of thoughtfulness, diplomacy, and peace. It is quite another thing when the preference for peace stems from a place of fear and self-doubt. Obatalá is the Orisha of peace and wisdom, but he was also a great warrior who went to battle countless times. I don't believe he would have been able to be such a valuable force for cool-headed thinking and a calm demeanor without first having learned what it means to fight. 

In that sense, I see how the development of my warrior energy has been a sort of healing process (especially under the tutelage of Odin, though Obatalá's offerings are present here as well), and ultimately serves to make my preference for peace all the more meaningful. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Rune Study Post #11: Nauthiz

Happy Wednesday! Today's focus will be on Nauthiz, the tenth rune of the Elder Futhark, and second in the second aett.

Nauthiz translates to "need," or "need-fire," and connects to themes of self-reliance, hard work, resistance, the effort expended toward the realization of achievements, drudgery, and working one's örlög and wyrd. In Nauthiz, the discomfort of friction kindles the fire of the will. This is also a rune utilized in romantic endeavors/magic.

A small anecdote: last week I was feeling pressure to finally sit down and complete a writing project that I had been putting off for a few weeks; I knew I had to sit down and push it out (there is some quality of "birthing pains" to this rune, I find). I didn't want to, wasn't in the mood, but I hunkered down and focused and got it done anyway. Later I recalled that I'd pulled Nauthiz that morning, and it was such a perfect fit for that central focus of my day.
Power of the Runes - Voenix
An Old Norwegian rune rhyme* reads:

Need makes for a difficult situation;
the naked freeze in the frost.

An Old Icelandic rune poem* reads:

Need is the grief of the bondmaid
and a hard condition to be in,
and toilsome work.

Questions:

1) What other meanings do you attribute to Nauthiz?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Nauthiz has presented itself in your rune work or castings, how have you seen its energy manifested, or experienced its impact?


*translation from Runecaster's Handbook by Edred Thorsson

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Rune Study Post #10: Hagalaz

Happy Wednesday! Today's focus will be on Hagalaz, the ninth rune of the Elder Futhark, and first in the second aett.

Hagalaz translates to "hail stone," and connects to themes of disruption, bad weather, unexpected change, unpleasant (but ultimately positive) transformation, and the discomfort that accompanies growth and becoming. The hail falls, cold and harsh and even damaging at times, but when it melts the water nourishes the earth and encourages new seeds to grow. In its alternate form, Hagalaz appears a bit like a snowflake (as depicted in the card illustration shown below), and is said to contain the seeds of all other runes.
Power of the Runes deck by Voenix (US Games Systems)
An Old English rune poem* reads:

Hail is the whitest of grains,
it comes from high in heaven,
showers of wind hurl it,
then it turns to water.

An Old Icelandic rune poem* reads:

Hail is a cold grain,
and a shower of sleet,
and the destroyer of snakes.

Questions:

1) What other meanings do you attribute to Hagalaz?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Hagalaz has presented itself in your rune work or castings, how have you seen its energy manifested, or experienced its impact?



*translation from Runecaster's Handbook by Edred Thorsson

Monday, April 10, 2017

Book Review: Going Beyond the Little White Book

Learning to read the tarot can be a daunting task. A traditional deck contains 78 cards, each one with incredible depth and breadth of meaning - where do you even begin? There are numerous theories regarding the "best" approach, and ultimately each seeker must find her or his own way. What is often indispensable (however one chooses to dive in to the universe of tarot) is a good reference text that goes beyond what any "little white book" could ever provide...something both esoteric and practical; something that offers a clear framework while encouraging intuitive development; something that provides a substantial launch pad of sorts, and yet leaves space for unique growth and exploration to occur.

Liz Worth's book,* Going Beyond the Little White Book: A Contemporary Guide to Tarot, successfully manages to deliver that alchemical combination in a thorough, easy-to-read, and very relatable package.

Following a brief introduction, the book is divided into three central sections:

  • a short but fundamental "How to Use This Book" prologue, 
  • the Major Arcana, and 
  • the Minor Arcana (broken down into suits)
I highly appreciate the manner in which Ms. Worth sets the stage for the reader: learning the tarot is a  long-term process that requires patience, commitment, and an open heart. No matter how long you have been reading, there is always more to uncover; we are all eternal students. And while on one hand she has created a profound and beautifully structured guide for use with any deck, she is very clear that the content she has developed is far from exhaustive: this book provides a (very comprehensive!) home base as each reader develops a unique and personal relationship with the cards. With her work Ms. Worth is offering up the sort of resource that she would have wanted as a new tarot student, and yet her holistic and detailed approach offers wisdom, insights, and food-for-thought even for established readers.

An average of four pages of text is awarded to every card in the deck, and each entry features the following sub-sections:

  • An "intention" that matches the energy of the card
  • A card-appropriate mantra that can serve as a focal point for study or meditation
  • A thorough overview of the card's energy and meaning
  • Suggestions for how to understand the card as a "challenge"
  • Examples of the card's connections to the two most popular areas of life: career and romance (both "light" and "shadow" aspects)
  • A list of questions to consider (I am a huge fan of using guiding questions to connect a card's meaning to personal experience, so I particularly love this element)
If you enjoy reading reversals, or if you are interested in exploring them, you will be quite satisfied with what you find here. While Ms. Worth mentions in her prologue that due to space constraints she has chosen not to include the meanings of reversed cards, she discusses how to understand cards when they fall in "challenged positions," which is the essence of a reversal. However by discussing them as "challenged" as opposed to "reversed," Ms. Worth offers the full scope of a card's potential meaning without showing preference for a particular reading style: some people don't use reversals, but all readers consider the shadow aspects of cards. Whether intentional or not, this approach is quite effective.

I do want to mention that while Ms. Worth has created a valuable resource that supports the use of any deck a reader prefers to work with (no card images are included in the book in order to encourage this), the card meanings do favor the Rider-Waite-Smith system as opposed to, say, the traditional Marseille (that said, there are some who apply the RWS method of reading to Marseille decks, and if you are one of those, then have at it!).

When all is said and done, the practical approach and natural voice that Ms. Worth weaves so fluidly together with her substantial experience in card reading makes for a very engaging and worthwhile read, no matter how many years you've been shuffling.

The down-n-dirty details of Going Beyond the Little White Book:

  • Author: Liz Worth
  • Author's website: LizWorth.com
  • Format: ebook ($8.28) and paperback versions ($24.95) are available 
  • Page count: 354
  • ISBN: 9781483458557
  • To purchase, click here.




*I received Going Beyond the Little White Book from the author for review. That said, the content in this post accurately reflects my true thoughts and opinions on the title.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Lovers: What Do You Stand For?

(I am sharing this from my Instagram account because I feel it merits being cross-posted)

I have been deeply upset by the gassing of towns in Syria 🇸🇾 and the images of the toll this has taken particularly on the most innocent of creatures: the children. It's a devastation (yet another, piled on top of all that the Syrian people have had to endure) that moves far beyond any hope of expression.

This morning I wished forcefully that a divine hand would descend and wash from the earth all of the perpetrators of these horrible acts; and that the same hand would provide safe haven and healing to all of these disastrously affected, innocent people. But that's not going to happen. The divine hand, in the end, must be our own. We wait and wait for something to change, but it doesn't. And at times, when we thought it unlikely to worsen in scope and impact, it does just that.

Syria is not too far away, it is not full of unknown people, and the horrors happening there are not disconnected from any of us. These energetic ties that permeate the universe touch us all, and each act of violence is a breach in the web.
Pagan Otherworlds Tarot - Uusi
I asked the cards: What can we do? The Lovers was the response.

We can demonstrate our love for one another. We can be a beacon. We can support our fellow humans when they are in pain. We can decide what we truly believe in, and if we are willing to act on those beliefs. I keep hearing DMX in my head: "It's about gettin down for what you stand for."

What do you stand for? What can you do about it?

  • Donate to humanitarian efforts like NuDay Syria, Islamic Relief, and many others who are working to aid victims of these most recent gas attacks, and refugee resettlement
  • Talk about what's happening
  • Stay on top of the news
  • Pray
  • Be willing to learn more about the conflict and its impact on civilians
  • Urge (through calls and letters) your government representatives and senators to oppose any ban on acceptance of Syrian refugees

What do you care about? What do you believe in? How will you show it?

Every person can make an impact. 🔥

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Death as a Source of Power

As part of my participation in an April Instagram challenge, I drew a card from the Major Arcana meant to represent the archetype from which I draw power. As I started to shuffle, my mind began to wander...what card would appear? I can say that of all of the images that passed through my thoughts, I was not expecting the one that I finally pulled - and it is in those moments that the most interesting and unexpected insights emerge....

I draw power from Death.
Druid Craft Tarot - Art by Will Worthington
I see the tale of Ceridwen, Gwion, and Taliesen here in the cauldron's crest, and it has special significance for me at the moment, another iteration of a common theme of inspiration and transformation.

In Death I see the story of our ancestors. How many people have contributed to our bloodline, have died without their names or stories ever being recorded? And yet they influence us still, in our blood and bones, in our örlog and our hamingja, the substance of our very souls. We are their legacy. Death - even our own mortal one - is not the end of our tale, nor that of those who will draw on our guidance far in the future when we are in turn ancestors, when perhaps even our own names and stories have been forgotten. No matter what, our essence is an indelible thread in the fabric of existence.

I draw my power from my ancestral past, and from the mythologies that still serve to teach timeless lessons to us after thousands of years.

I draw my power from the cycle of death and birth, or creation, and change; death and life are indivisible lovers.

Yesterday's Hanged Man, drawn as the "source of my skills," brought to mind, as always, Odin's story of self-sacrifice. Today's Death furthers that line of connection: to greet its presence every day, even in its smallest measures - the death of a thought, a feeling, an assumption, a limitation, of an expectation or desire - to allow something new to be born in its place: that is life and growth.

Rune Study Post #9: Wunjo

Happy Wednesday! Today's focus will be on Wunjo, the eighth and final rune of the first aett.

Wunjo translates to "joy," and connects to themes of harmony, happiness, joy in community and family, and hope.

Given the state of horror in the world at present, I am particularly happy to arrive at this rune: may its energy reach into the hearts of all those who are suffering deep and unimaginable sorrow, and transform the hate and power-centric mindsets of those perpetrating terrible acts against the innocent.
An Anglo Saxon rune poem* reads:

Joy is had by the one who knows 
few troubles, pains and sorrows,
and to him who himself has
power and blessedness,
and a good enough house.

Questions:

1) What other meanings do you attribute to Wunjo?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Wunjo has presented itself in your rune castings, how have you seen its energy manifested?

*translation from Runecaster's Handbook by Edred Thorsson

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Marseille and the Devil on April Fool's Day

Today is the first day of April, also known widely as April Fool's Day. Many years ago when I was a kid, I used to thoroughly enjoy playing tricks on people (to be honest, my antics weren't relegated to one day per year, but it's nice to have a day dedicated to trickery!). I remember once when I pretended to have a lengthy conversation with my friend on the telephone (back when landlines were a thing), discussing all sorts of outlandish topics much to my older sister's entertainment and surprise....until the phone actually rang and my ruse was up. My sister was certainly my preferred target (insert devil emoticon).

While I left pranks behind long ago, I ended up giving birth to a new generation of trickster: my daughter Lourdes. She so embodies the energy of "playful naughtiness" that we dubbed her the "Devil," and her favorite depiction in the Tarot is from the Deviant Moon by Patrick Valenza:
This Devil not only features her famous grin, but he is doing her hallmark prance as well. And though I didn't witness it myself, I'm pretty certain that this is how she looked this morning as she was creeping around the house setting up various traps for us to fall into!

This was slipped under my door this morning:
To be fair, last night Lourdes consulted me about the best way to create fake poo: peanut butter and Hershey's syrup, she asked? No, I said - use cocoa powder instead of syrup - less drippy. So I suppose in some way I'm complicit. And my cards seem to agree:
Claude Burdel 1751 Tarot de Marseille 
I recently delved into the world of Marseille (I'm just so completely rapturous about the beauty of these cards!) and am still figuring out how I want to approach reading them. Some people apply RWS meanings to the minor cards, others take a more cartomantic approach, and still others absorb the shapes, colors, and movement in the illustrations and allow that to inform their readings. The funny thing is, all reading styles seem to reach similar conclusions with this trio:

In RWS, the 6 of Wands is about success and recognition, and the 6 of Cups is about childhood, memory, reminiscing, innocent joy. So in that sense I see myself (as the Queen of Cups) remembering my own prankster days (6 of Cups), and supporting my daughter in her endeavors (also 6 of Cups), giving her helpful advice so that her work is a success (6 of Wands) and is appreciated by everyone (also 6 of Wands).

According to Yoav Ben Dov's Marseille meanings, the 6 of Wands represents an alliance of two people working toward perhaps different end-goals, but who share a common interest (very true), and the 6 of Cups not only also relates to a personal alliance, but more importantly "repetition between different generations in the family." Hm. Yep!

This morning I stumbled into the kitchen to start a pot of coffee, and as I went to the sink to fill the carafe, I was showered in water from the sink sprayer, which had been rigged into the "on" position with rubber bands. I'm pretty sure I shrieked in surprise and with the sudden coldness seeping through my shirt. In that light, this arrangement of cards took on a very literal meaning: those six cups are dousing the Queen as she approaches them with her coffee pot, and the 6 of Wands now looks like a great big "X" warning me to beware.

So there you have it!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Ceridwen, Fylgja, and the Golden Horse

Last weekend I had one of those dreams that feels more like a visitation than a true dream:

I was standing in what appeared to be the back yard area of my parents' house (though it was nothing like their home in real life), and I was alone. The back edge of the yard was lined with forest, and suddenly out of the trees came a golden horse. He walked down into the yard, right up to me. I stood there (probably gawking a bit) and thought, "How did you get here?" And the horse said (our communication was entirely telepathic, so these were thought-forms as opposed to actual words): 

"You summoned me." 

He seemed to ask me to climb onto his back which made me feel slightly awkward - the idea of riding a talking horse felt wrong somehow. But he encouraged me, and so I did. Once I was there I felt a bit self-conscious, and worried that I was too heavy for him, but he "told" me that he was perfectly able to carry me. We rode around a bit, and I recall that at one point we went into the house. I remember thinking that my parents would be quite shocked to see me riding a horse inside! We departed again. And that was it. 

Throughout the rest of that night, throughout all of the other dreamscapes, I kept repeating to myself, "The golden horse." And when I woke up, I was still feeling deeply moved by the experience. As with dreams of other messengers that I've had - particularly ravens - I felt like the golden horse was a palpable consciousness dwelling within me. I looked up horse symbolism online but nothing felt quite right. The rune Ehwaz came to my mind, as it literally translates to "horse," and represents a harmonious bond between two beings (horse and rider, married couple, etc.) as well as movement and progress. A resource I consulted also mentioned the connection that Ehwaz has to the fylgja, a Norse concept of the fetch, or a sort of animal manifestation/aspect of the soul. This immediately resonated in that though the horse in my dream was obviously separate from me physically, I "felt" him within me. I was mesmerized by his telling me that I had called him. 
This morning's draw from the Celtic Shaman's deck (John Matthews and Chesca Potter)
Later that afternoon we packed our things and headed to the coast to spend the afternoon at the beach. As I was searching for a sack to put my relatively new Celtic Shaman's Oracle in, I saw my Magical Menagerie deck that I rarely work with. Since it is full of animals I decided to bring it along. Later, while lounging by the ocean waves, I took the Magical Menagerie deck out and began to shuffle it, while thinking about the identity of the golden horse. A card flipped out and landed face down in the sand. I picked it up and blew the sand off, and when I saw what it was I laughed aloud: Fetch. Hmm! 

In the week or so leading up to my dream I had done a few readings with the Celtic Shaman's oracle, and the Lady of the Cauldron (Ceridwen) had appeared for me numerous times. I knew she carried an important message for me, but I was struggling to dig into what it meant beyond themes of "inspiration, wisdom, transformation, magic." I haven't studied Celtic or Welsh mythology much, and don't have a firm or profound grasp on this powerful goddess. The morning after my dream I pulled some cards about it and there was Ceridwen again. 

I've done a couple of Tarot readings on this topic as well, but I still feel like I'm groping around in the dark for the answer. The cards made some sense, and yet I can't shake the sensation of skirting around the heart of the matter. And so I've been "sitting in it" for days. 

This morning I chose to pull a couple of "cards of the day" from the Celtic Shaman's deck, and nearly choked when I flipped over Ceridwen and the Horse. "The golden horse!" I practically shouted out in surprise. My daughter looked at me questioningly, and I explained my little saga. 

I'm clearly not "done" with Ceridwen or my golden horse just yet. I wish I could end this post with a dose of deep and insightful wisdom about the significance of my experience, but I don't have the answer. What I can say is that I have a lot more work to do!

Do you have any thoughts about it? If so, please feel free to share them in the comments!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Rune Study Post #8: Gebo

Happy Wednesday! Today's focus will be on Gebo, the seventh rune of the first aett.

Gebo translates to "gift," and connects to themes of gift giving, generosity, reciprocity, and exchange of sexual energy.
An Anglo Saxon rune poem (translated by Marijane Osborn) reads:

Giving is a grace that gains respect 
and honor for the giver; those owning nothing
find it a help when perhaps there's no other.

Questions:

1) What other meanings do you attribute to Gebo?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Gebo has presented itself in your rune castings, how have you seen its energy manifested?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Tarot Thursday Three: Card Readers Aren't Mind Readers

I'm jumping in for another round of Tarot Thursday Three, hosted by Julia from Spiral Sea Tarot! As usual, feel free to answer these questions for yourself and share your answers in the comments (or create a blog post of your own!). Here we go:

1. Scenario: You're reading for another, but your mind goes blank. None of the cards seem to "match" the inquiry and you're having a hard time interpreting what you're seeing - tips or strategies to overcome the situation?

I don't typically have this problem (the feeling that the cards don't "match" the question). That's not to say that there aren't times when I need a moment or two to reflect and consider, because that certainly happens. But this question reminds me of the faulty assumption that somehow a love question must involve Cups, or money queries have to relate to Coins, etc. Tarot is far too nuanced to be that compartmentalized. That said, if you ever feel at a loss for how to correlate a card to a specific circumstance, be willing to explore the card's facets and to create a dialogue with the client. Tarot readers aren't mind readers - we can (and should) ask questions.

Also, if blanking out during a reading is something that a reader struggles with, or worries about, a simple practice would be to take time out to sit quietly and pull a random card from the deck. How would you apply this to a romantic relationship? What if the question was related to employment? What might you say if this same card appeared in response to a query about a vacation?
Pagan Otherworlds Tarot - Uusi 
2. If you were going to get a Tarot inspired tattoo, what would it be? Bonus points if you know where you'd get it!

Hmm.... interestingly, my husband has a Tarot card tattooed on his forearm: the Lovers from the Mary-El deck by Marie White! Does that count? Maybe not. Um.... since I prefer symbols to pictures, I could imagine getting runes or Hebrew letters that have been correlated to particular cards (for example in the Haindl Tarot). I am already planning a rune tattoo, albeit not connected to Tarot, for my left forearm!

3. What are your thoughts on PIPs or scene-less suit cards? Love them, hate them - I want to know what and why!

My thoughts are that they are just fine. I learned Tarot on a Marseille-style deck, and my all-time favorite go-to deck is the Pagan Otherworlds, which features very lightly illustrated minor cards that many people categorize as "pips" (it's debatable, really, but I would say that while they tend not to be "peopled," they are definitely scenic). I'm currently craving Le Tarot Noir, a beautiful and OOP Marseille deck that would be a total pleasure to read with.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Rune Study Post #7: Kenaz

Happy Wednesday! Today's focus will be on Kenaz, the sixth rune of the first aett.

Kenaz translates to "torch," and connects to themes of craftsmanship, skill development, illumination, and the quest for knowledge.

An Anglo Saxon rune poem reads:

The torch is known to every living man
by its pale, bright flame; it always burns
where princes sit within.
Kenaz is one of several runes that I felt called to work with when my children were quite ill with a stomach flu earlier in the winter. The element of fire as a way to burn away sickness felt very appropriate and ultimately was very effective as well.

Questions:

1) What other meanings do you attribute to Kenaz?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Kenaz has presented itself in your rune castings, how have you seen its energy manifested?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

8 of Cups: Go to the Doctor!

I am slowly recovering from a bad cold that led me directly into a flare-up of asthma. Getting myself back out of the "hole" is taking just about as long as it did to reach the depths of the valley, but I am definitely seeing progress each day, and I'm grateful for that. Last Thursday I tried to secure an appointment with my doctor, but unfortunately the receptionist informed me that the last open spot had just been taken, and if I needed any medical care prior to the following Monday I'd have to go to the urgent care center. I spent some time muttering to myself about the U.S. health care system (what's the point of having a primary care doc if you can't get in to see them when you're unwell?). Between long wait times and a higher co-pay, I was feeling reluctant to go to urgent care, and yet I knew that "something" was brewing.

Still, couldn't I swing it with herbal tea? Maybe I could get some eucalyptus and have a nice steam! I decided to consult my Tarot app: "Should I stay home and do homeopathic treatments, or should I go to the doctor?" Tarot app said:
Dammit! It doesn't get much clearer than this in Tarot World. The 8 of Cups was telling me to suck it up and go to urgent care. Still, I hesitated. I put it off. I waited until later in the afternoon, and when my husband returned from work, he started in on me: health is far more important than anything else - get going! So I went.

I waited for two hours, and yes, I paid a really annoying fee to see the doctor, but my hunch was right: my lungs were a hot mess, I needed a nebulizer treatment and a round of prednisone, and I really needed it in that moment - waiting would have been a poor choice. As reluctant as I was to heed the advice of the 8 of Cups, I'm glad I finally did!

Rune Study Post #6: Raidho

This post is part of an ongoing rune study series that invites discussion around the runes and personal experiences that relate to working with this system.

Today's focus will be on Raidho, the fifth rune of the first aett.
Raidho translates to "wagon," and in a basic sense represents travel, movement, transportation, and journeying.

The Anglo Saxon rune poem (translated by Tom Wulf) reads:

Riding is to the warrior in the hall easy,
But very strenuous for one who sits on top,
Of a powerful horse over the long miles.

In a very mundane example, this is a rune I often pull on days that I end up doing a lot of driving around town for leisure activities or various errands (usually the nice sort!).

Questions:

1) What other meanings do you attribute to Raidho?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Raidho has presented itself in your rune castings, how have you seen its energy manifested?

This catches us up to the current course flow! Tomorrow I will post on Kenaz, and I will only be posting every Wednesday from then onward.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Rune Study Post #5: Ansuz

This post is part of an ongoing rune study series that invites discussion around the runes and personal experiences that relate to working with this system.

Today's focus will be on Ansuz, the fourth rune of the first aett.
Artwork by Grace Palmer
Ansuz is connected to Odin, the ancestral god, the breath of life. It governs words and communication of all types, wisdom, advice given and received, knowledge, the naming of things that leads to deeper understanding and order.

When I made the conscious decision to embark on the path of Heathenry I pulled a single rune around the topic, and Ansuz was what I drew. It was incredibly apt for so many reasons (it felt like a blessing, of sorts).

Questions:

1) What other meanings do you attribute to Ansuz?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Ansuz has presented itself in your rune castings, how have you seen its energy manifested in the tangible world?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Rune Study Post #4: Thurisaz

This post is part of an ongoing rune study series that invites discussion around the runes and personal experiences that relate to working with this system.

Today's focus will be on Thurisaz, the third rune of the first aett.
Power of the Runes deck by Voenix
Thurisaz is connected to Thor and his hammer, and the rune's root stems from an Old Norse term for "Giants." Very simplistically, Thurisaz represents energies associated with protection, defense, chaos, and at times the wisdom born from conflict. It's quite a fierce rune!

Questions:

1) What other meanings do you attribute to Thurisaz?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Thurisaz has presented itself in your rune castings, how have you seen its energy manifested in the tangible world?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Rune Study Post #3: Uruz

This post is part of an ongoing rune study series that invites discussion around the runes and personal experiences that relate to working with this system.

Today's focus will be on Uruz, the second rune of the first aett.

Whereas Fehu represents domesticated cattle, the word "Uruz" translates to "Aurochs," the wild ox of Europe and other regions. Uruz connects to health, strength, and courage. Interestingly, I've often drawn this rune on mornings where doctor visits or other health-related activities have been the theme of the day! This is also a rune I have utilized with galdr (along with some others) when my kids have been ill.

Questions:

1) What other meanings do you attribute to Uruz?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Uruz has presented itself in your rune castings, how have you seen its energy manifested in the tangible world?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Rune Study Post #2: Fehu

This is a continuation of the rune study series that started with a brief overview of the three aetts (click here to read that post). I will be posting these rather close together until I catch up to where we are in the current course, and then I'll slow down and begin to post only every Wednesday.

Today's focus will be on Fehu, the first rune of the first aett.

The word "Fehu" translates to "cattle," and this rune connects to moveable wealth and resources. In the distant past your wealth was apparent in the size of your herd. Nowadays this often equates to money, but it does encompass more than that, such as goods that we acquire, personal assets, and even our hamingja.

Questions:

1) What other meanings do you attribute to Fehu?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Fehu has presented itself in your rune castings, how have you seen its energy manifested in the tangible world?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Rune Study Post #1: Three Aettir

I have been facilitating a rune study "course" of sorts for a group of Heathen women, and have decided to post here as well in case the content is helpful for the broader community. The goal is to create discussion around the runes, to share knowledge and experience. In that light, please share your own relevant experience with runes for each post! I begin with a broad overview of the three aetts, and then continue on to discuss each rune in the Elder Futhark.
Image: ChaoseVIIn
Rune Post #1: Three Aettir

To start us off, I thought it would be helpful to take a step back and consider the entire runic alphabet and its structure. In the Elder Futhark, the 24 runes are divided into three families - aettir - of eight runes. Assigned to each family is a common title: the 1st is often called "Freyr/Freyja's aett," the 2nd "Heimdall's or Hagal's aett," and the 3rd "Tyr's aett." Each aett is considered to govern a particular process, and there is some variety in terms of definitions for each, including: creation/production (Aett 1); transformation/initiation/change (Aett 2); order/divinity (Aett 3). (Runic alphabets are referred to as "Futhark" due to the order of the first six runes in the 1st aett: fehu, uruz, thurisaz, ansuz, raidho, and kenaz).

For the sake of structure I'll be following the aettir when creating the rune posts, moving next to Fehu, and ending ultimately with Othala. (Incidentally, for those new to runes, dividing them into their respective families may help with learning and retention!)

Questions for consideration: 

1) Do you recognize/find value in the attire?

2) Does your understanding of them differ from what is included in this post, and if so, in what ways?

3) How do you incorporate them into your practice?

4) If you don't use them, why don't you?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Tarot Thursday Three: Spellwork and Ritual

Here's another round of Tarot Thursday Three, hosted by Julia from Spiral Sea Tarot. Feel free to participate on your own blog, or answer the questions in the comments below!

1. Does spell work have a place in your practice and if so, how?

Sort of. I don't necessarily connect Tarot with it, and I don't do it as often as I used to, but it is something that I practice from time to time. In fact when I was first starting to read for others years ago I didn't know how to market myself (I still don't like it!), so for a handful of months as a new reader I didn't see any movement at all in terms of reading requests. One day I decided to do a candle spell to invite fresh business, and within the next few days I suddenly had three new clients! I was pretty surprised (happily so).

I have a bóveda, or ancestor/spiritist altar, which has become my central focus/tool for setting intentions on, or doing workings around, particular areas of my life, or to support people who are struggling.

When my kids were very sick a month or so ago I used galdr and traced runes onto their backs and tummies, and over their tea, to help support their healing. I found it startlingly helpful.

So perhaps I use "spell work" more than I thought ;)
Celtic Tree Oracle
2. What is the element you most identify with and/or enjoy working with and why?

I've always been an earthy woman - the kind to smear mud on my face, and sit for long hours watching the tree branches bend and sway in the wind. But then there is something deeply healing and soothing about water, and while I've always loved lakes and rivers, this past year I've become much more attached to the sea. I wrote this after a recent beachside stay:

I spent a lot of time visualizing, 
last weekend at the sea. 
As I gazed, 
I leapt into not the waves 
but the deep green depths, 
far beyond the fisherman's pier. 
I felt the water wash over me, 
I dove and soared and leapt and breathed. 
Then, in the early hours of morning, 
a quiet in and out of tides, 
a bird call, 
a hush, 
a dance of sunrise. 
Peace, it was.

And I've also been thoroughly enjoying working with fire. I love lighting candles, and do so almost daily, but last month's celebration of Biakendai/Biikebrennen was particularly beautiful and cathartic. 

3. Besides the cards, what are you favourite tools for divination and/or ritual?

I work with the runes daily, though I rarely post about it. I'm currently facilitating a slow-paced study of the Elder Futhark for a group of Heathen women on Facebook. I read Lenormand for almost two years, and studied it voraciously. I still enjoy it but find myself rarely pulling out a Lennie deck of late.

As for ritual: candles, altar space, cards, incense, and my thoughts.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tarot Thursday Three: Worst Deck Ever

Here is another round of questions for Tarot Thursday Three, hosted by Julia from Spiral Sea Tarot!

1. If you could have your likeness immortalized on any one of the 78 cards, which would it be and why?

Hmm...... I suppose I'd like to be the Hermit. I like to be alone, enjoy reading and studying and thinking and contemplating, and the number 9 is pretty awesome! Plus, so many Hermit cards feature men, which can be rather limiting!

2. When reading for yourself, are you able to remain unbiased and if so, what tips can you share for others?

Yes, I think that generally speaking I'm able to be unbiased in my own readings, and I'm sure that I do a much better job at that than I used to. One tip is to consider how you would read that same spread for someone else. Pretend the layout is for a dear friend. What would you tell her or him? How would you phrase things?
3. What is your least favourite deck in your collection and why?

I have the Pirate Tarot by Schiffer, and it's just awful. It's meant to look like images carved onto wood, and perhaps wouldn't be quite as bad if it didn't have grotesque and totally unnecessary borders that extend unevenly out behind the main image. The sole purpose of those borders is to allow for the word PIRATE to be typed along the left side of the cards. It almost looks like a prototype deck...except that it's not. It's really tacky. And since the border itself is uneven, if you were to trim the cards, the design on the backs would be off-center. So yeah.

The Empress and a Paleo-esque Approach to Food

Yesterday morning I drew the Empress from the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot just prior to leaving the house. It's always a pleasure to see her, and I felt her quietly asking the question: How are you taking care of yourself?

The answer of late is: not as well as I might! I haven't been sleeping as well as I would like, and for quite a while now I've been contemplating a change in food patterns - I just hadn't really made an effort to implement anything. I don't eat poorly by any means, but I am sure I consume more sugar than I probably should, and I often don't have a proper meal until dinner time on weekdays because I don't take the time to prepare a nutritious breakfast or lunch for myself. I'm busy, but that's not really an excuse. I hadn't found the right mindset.
I've heard so much about the Paleo style of eating over the past few years, where grains, dairy, legumes, and starch-heavy foods are eliminated in favor of a diet high in animal proteins, nuts/seeds, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats (such as olive/avocado/coconut oils). It's true that protein helps curb hunger and cravings (as well as helping the body's metabolism and energy levels), and high levels of carbs do lead to weight gain and energy spikes/crashes. So yesterday I decided to investigate the Paleo diet in more depth, and ended up printing out a long list of recommended and discouraged foods to pore over. Turns out we already eat quite a lot of the foods on the list, so adopting a Paleo-style diet wouldn't be a drastic change, in most respects. But we do consume a lot of carbs and dairy! Rather than assume a full Paleo diet, I wanted to let these nutritional concepts influence and guide our way of eating. I won't eliminate all grains from the house, but if we have rice or pasta as a part of our dinner, I will simply choose not to eat it, or I'll only take a tiny portion in favor of larger servings of vegetables and proteins. We can also shift to brown rice, quinoa, barley, buckwheat, etc, which offer so much more in terms of vitamins and minerals. I won't get rid of dairy altogether, but I can reduce the quantity of cheese I eat, for example. So while it won't be a true Paleo diet, it will be "Paleo-esque"! Ultimately it's about being more mindful about food and nutrition.
Roasted vegetables and lamb
Last night I spent some time cutting up broccoli, beets, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, onion, and red bell pepper. I added them to a glass baking pan with avocado oil, salt, and a little black pepper, and let them roast for a while. Instead of rice or regular potatoes, we had this veggie hash as the primary component of our dinner, along with lamb. It was delicious, filling, and satisfying, and I felt "light" afterwards. Today I carved out space in my morning routine to prepare a turkey and avocado sandwich with a very small amount of a good cheddar cheese. I washed strawberries and put them in a plastic Tupperware, and packaged up sliced apples in a sandwich bag. This sounds pretty standard as far as lunches go, but it was a pretty big deal for me. So here is to embracing Empress-energy, and taking better care of my body!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Biakendai/Biikebrennen: Let It Burn

For the blog hop earlier this month I discussed the February 21st Biikebrennen celebration in North Frisia and South Jutland (Denmark) (click here to read more about it). This is a bonfire ritual specific to this region, and since my paternal great-grandparents were from Amrum (a North Frisian island) and South Jutland respectively, I wanted to celebrate it with my family for the first time this year.

Mind you it's not possible for us to have a bonfire at all, let alone one as vast as those on the islands, so we crafted our own version to honor the day...
Njörd statue
To preface it I want to mention a cool synchronicity that occurred in conjunction with yesterday's event. Over a month ago I had ordered a Njörd statue from a British Etsy shop (SJChilton). I knew it would likely take about two weeks to arrive to me after it shipped, but three weeks later I was starting to worry that it was lost. I messaged the shop owner yesterday morning to ask if she had any specific shipping information, and she kindly suggested I give it another couple of weeks to arrive. A few hours later I went out to the mailbox and there was one item inside: a small box from England. Interestingly, it had in fact been delivered to the wrong house, and the person had opened it up. Upon realizing that it was not intended for them, they put it back in the box, wrote an apologetic note, and hand-delivered it to our box. Needless to say, I was both happy and relieved. And the statue is pretty wonderful!

I have always connected Njörd with my dad's side of the family, primarily island and sea people from Northern Germany and coastal Denmark. So I found it particularly lovely that he showed up on February 21st, just in time for Biikebrennen!
My Njörd altar space
In Europe, islanders craft cloth-and-grass effigies called "Peter" which are thrown into the large fires, symbolic of the banishing of bad spirits and outdated energies. After dinner we all made paper "Peter" dolls out of a brown bag. The kids decorated their dolls however they liked, and then we wrote down any behaviors, thoughts, or feelings that we wanted to be rid of in our lives. Lourdes helped Gabriel with his. She said, "Gabe, what do you not want any more of?" He paused thoughtfully for a moment and said, "Your pickiness!" We all laughed. I told her that we could translate that to "sibling arguments."
Isabella decided to make her doll a girl - Petra - and added quite a bit of detail!
Lourdes wanted her Peter to wear a tuxedo:
Mine was a faceless vessel of intention:
When we were all ready, we went out to the back porch with a candle to burn our Peters.


It was a beautiful experience that everyone enjoyed, and we look forward to repeating it again next year!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Be Your Own Warrior (Not Worrier)

It has taken me a long time to recognize that I am a worrier. I've always been very laid back, flexible, calm, relaxed. Those aren't characteristics that I tend to associate with neurosis! And yet under the surface I would indeed be very anxious - always analyzing (and over-analyzing) conversations and events, worrying about people and responsibilities. During the day it was relatively easy to push it all back in the shadows, but it would inevitably rear its head in the darkest hours of the night. I would wake up at 2am and instead of turning over and falling back to sleep, I would wrap myself in a blanket of all of those fears. In most cases I was blowing things far out of proportion; during the day my rational mind helped mitigate the anxiety, but at night that balance disappeared, and reality felt as dark as the sky. I would lay awake for hours until close to dawn when it felt safe to sleep again.

This is a perfect description of the 9 of Swords.
Golden Tarot - Kat Black
For nearly a year I've held a stanza of the Hávamál like a mantra in my mind:
Jackson Crawford translation
This is extremely sensible, of course, and yet I was having a hard time putting it into practice. I know it's useless to lie awake worrying about concerns both real and imagined, only to have to trudge through the next day exhausted from lack of sleep, the same concerns yet to be solved. Isn't it easier to approach challenges with a clear, rested mind?

A while ago I decided to pull a couple of cards for myself about how to help myself and drew the 7 of Wands as the source, and the reversed waxing crescent as the solution.
Pagan Otherworlds Tarot - Uusi
The 7 of Wands made a lot of sense to me: it evokes a feeling of "me against the world." While I always manage to sort things out and stay on top of it all, I was tending to focus on the dread associated with the need to solve various matters, rather than trusting myself. I felt like I was giving my power away. The Luna card was an interesting and yet very fitting response. Upright this would be a waxing crescent, but reversed it becomes a waning moon. What this told me was that as my fears began to grow, I needed to let them go. This seemed like obvious advice, and I still didn't know if I would be able to implement it. Just "let it go"? Is it really that easy, though?

The funny thing is that I found that it was. That same night I woke up in the early hours. My body was drowsy, and I knew that this was the magical point at which I could either allow my worries to take over, or I could go back to sleep. I wanted to go back to sleep. With some amount of irritation, I thought something along the lines of: "Not now, worry, not tonight." And I turned over and went back to sleep. Yes, just like that. I refused to permit my irrational fears to ruin my rest. I banished them. And every other time since then that I've awoken in the middle of the night and found myself in similar circumstances, I've just said, "Nope," and have settled back into sleep.

Last night I decided to make space to write my first "Post It Note Poem" (this is something happening on Instagram) as I was sipping hot tea, nestled into the couch to watch the nightly news. I actually produced quite a few poems, but this is the one that struck me most:
I didn't intend to describe those late night fear sessions, but I did. The funny thing is, the 7 of Wands was both the source of my worry, and part of the solution. In order to release those fears I had to take my power back and become an advocate for my own well-being. I am in the dark, and there are no stars, no light to ease my mind. There is only me. So it is my responsibility to be my own warrior.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Tarot Thursday Three: to Reverse, or Not to Reverse?

Here is another round of #tarotthursdaythree, hosted by Julia at Spiral Sea Tarot. Feel free to answer these on your own blog, and let me know so I can read your responses!

1) Reversals or nah?

Reversals (usually). I started to use them at the same time that I started doing email readings for strangers years ago. I found the added nuances that reversals provide to be indispensable.
Wild Unknown Tarot
2. If you could go back in time and give your novice self one piece of wisdom to fast track your tarot learning, what would it be?

I'm not sure that I believe in "fast tracking" the learning process. It's a process for a reason - the trips and stumbles are valuable teachers. The biggest hurdle for me was to come to trust the messages that I was seeing in the cards, without second-guessing myself or overthinking things. The root of that is fear, and that takes time, practice, and experience to overcome.

3. What is your go-to spread?

I don't actually have one! I like to keep readings small (1-3 cards), and when reading for myself I typically draw a single card. Three card reading positions are often: Issue/Do This/Don't Do This; Challenge/Advice/Outcome. Whether reading for myself or for others, I tend to craft spread positions to fit the situation and query, so it varies quite a bit.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Imbolc Blog Hop: Biakendai


Welcome to the 2017 Imbolc Tarot Blog Hop! Please navigate to the other wonderful blogs in the circle by using the directional links at the top or bottom of this page. Our wrangler is Arwen Lynch Poe from Tarot by Arwen, and the theme she chose for us all is posed in the form of a question: 

How can I best foster the energy of the Aces in my life?

In northern climates, the month of February is a liminal space. Winter still embraces the land, but the sun is becoming ever brighter, and stays longer in the skies each day. Though the ground is still frosty, spring is on the way, and there is a restless energy in the air: a readiness to dig in to the fields, to prepare the ships for sailing. There are many festivals to welcome in the spring, and most include fire in some capacity, as a dispeller of the cold and ice. 

One little-known February festival called Biakendai (Biikebrennen in German) is held on the island of Amrum each year on February 21st. Amrum is a small island in the North Sea, just off the coast of the borderlands between Denmark and Germany. It is part of the North Frisian islands, home to a branch of the Frisian ethnic minority, and speakers of the Frisian dialect Öömrang. It was on this island that my great-grandfather, Gerret, was born into a rich community of family and close friends, and it was from this island that he emigrated in order to establish a new life in New York City. He and his family would have celebrated Biakendai by lighting a massive fire near the sea, and by blackening their faces with the soot of its ashes. It is said that the intention of the bonfire has shifted over time - that long ago it was meant as an offering to the ancient gods and goddesses, and with the coming of Christianity its significance focused more specifically on the more secular celebration of winter's departure.

Here is a newscast about the festival. Even if you don't understand German, you may enjoy the images:


For families of immigrants, reconnecting to lineage and ancestry can be a deeply rewarding experience of becoming "rooted." There is profound Ace energy in that, and this is one way I have been fostering that energy in my life.

Ace of Fire: Biakendai is primarily a bonfire festival for dispelling winter (and any lurking bad spirits!) and inviting in the springtime. The festival is held on neighboring islands and in the adjacent south of Denmark, where it is called Pers Awten/Pers Aften (Gerret's wife, my great-grandmother, Emilie, was a Dane from the ancient South Jutland trading town of Ribe, and probably celebrated that). Islanders gather their combustible refuse (tree branches, cardboard, etc.) and contribute it all to a mountain that will be lit on the 21st. Effigies named "Peter" are thrown on the fire to symbolize the burning away of the dark (both literal and metaphorical), the flashpoint where winter dies and the spring is born. The bonfire festival also served as a time to see off sailors and whalers as they began dangerous ocean voyages. This will be the first year that I celebrate this holiday in honor of my ancestors, and so this is my Ace of Fire.

Ace of Earth: In the Tarot, the 10 of Pentacles is a beautiful symbol of traditions that are passed on from generation to generation. But when traditions are lost due to immigration, an effort must be made to reclaim them. Thus a seed of "new" tradition is planted. I hope that the honoring of this festival will become something that my children look forward to in coming years, and if nourished and sustained, that it may even pass on to their own children. This is my Ace of Earth.
Pagan Otherworlds Tarot - Uusi
Ace of Air: Radio Öömrang is a shortwave radio station on Amrum that holds a very special broadcast each year:

Radio Öömrang broadcasts once a year on the occasion of the Biakendai to the descendants of immigrants from the island of Amrum. Öömrang is a North Frisian dialect and is still spoken on Amrum. Biakendai is an annual celebration where a great bonfire is lit to dispel winter. (from the website)

They are reaching out over the airwaves on this traditional holiday in order to bridge the great space between Amrum and its diaspora. The broadcast lasts for one hour only: my Ace of Air. 

Ace of Water: Quite some time ago as I began to explore more in depth my Danish, North Frisian, and German heritage, I pulled a card about what the process would be like. It was the Ace of Cups. Indeed it has been like drinking from a hidden well, refreshing a parched aspect of my soul. Embracing my family history has been an act of love, not only for my ancestors, but for myself, and for my own children as well. This is my Ace of Water.
My great-grandfather Gerret (lower left) with family - Nebel, Amrum
Here is a festival song for Pers Aften. The video shows images of Biakendai/Biikebrennen/Pers Aften celebrations, including some from Amrum (look for the red/white lighthouse):


"And immediately about the fire were people in the crowd,
they danced and partied and went wild.
I asked a girl who approached me
'What are you doing, and what is it about?'
She smiled at me and she said:
'We celebrate the light, it's what we believe.
We sacrifice to Odin and Freya and Thor
and cry to heaven, where the gods live:
Weadke tar, Weadke tar,
Weadke tar, Weadke tar, Weadke tar,
Weadke tar, Weadke tar,
Weadke tar, Weadke tar, Weadke tar.'"


Thank you for reading, and Happy Hopping!



Saturday, January 28, 2017

A New Moon Reading

Alaina, from Exploringly Yours, has once again crafted a lovely spread for use at the New Moon, which just so happened to have occurred yesterday. I enjoy these readings and find that they provide interesting insights into my current state of being - this one was no exception.
My reading layout was as follows:

1) What is my wild side saying to me this New Moon? 4 of Swords
2) What must I release to honor my highest self? 2 of Wands
3) What must I embrace to honor my highest self? Hanged Man
4) What can I contribute to the collective at this time? Page of Swords
Pagan Otherworlds Tarot
The first three cards mirror a message I've been hearing lately in some other small self-readings (in fact the 4 of Swords was yesterday's card of the day): pause, peace, and reflection are the requirements of this moment. It is not a time for action just yet, and even if I'm raring to leave the starting gates, it's better to have a course in mind first. I have only vague shadows of thought around what this is referring to, which means that I will certainly benefit from some mindful quiet time.

I love this Page of Swords. How can I contribute to the collective? The Page asks questions, seeks truth, and doesn't let uncomfortable lines of inquiry prevent the exploration of ideas that need to be considered. I've been asking a lot of questions lately, especially in my January blog posts. Most connect to how we can progress as a nation in light of the current political climate. Here is a recap:

  • How are we supposed to move forward as a nation if we can't find a way to overcome the divisiveness?
  • If facts don't seem to matter, then what does?
  • How can we establish meaningful dialogue? 
  • What happens if we never manage to see eye-to-eye, or learn to hold rich, fruitful, meaningful, and considerate discussions about our points of disagreement?
  • How can we combat ignorance? 
  • How can we protect the environment, and human rights, and healthcare, in the face of this new administration?
  • What can I do? 
  • How can I help?

Answers aren't always clear, simple, or readily apparent; the important thing is to keep the conversation going.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Mannaz and the Ace of Fire

A few days ago I pulled the Ace of Fire from the Dreams of Gaia Tarot as my morning draw. I didn't have a particular question in mind, but I've been trying to breathe my way through the current political climate, and the card immediately felt relevant. The Ace of Fire is a card of action - of manifestation of the creative impulse. Interestingly, in Spanish "manifestación" is the word for political demonstrations or protests. It is the voice of the people made manifest through the gathering of many into one.
I like the image on this card. The fire dragon reminds us of our own inner power to influence change in the world. The spider and her web is a symbol of interconnectedness - what affects one, affects all, in some way or another. We are not isolated individuals, but a community of unique essences that are ultimately woven together into a common tapestry. The spider web encases an egg, the potential for new life. The spider guards it carefully. What will be born from this possibility?

The other day I heard someone say that this deep upheaval is serving to wake us up out of complacency. We are now feeling spurred into action to protect and uphold liberties and equalities that perhaps were taken for granted for too long. There is a move to hold hands with each other, to forge bridges, and break the long-standing and outdated socio-cultural divides between communities who largely share the same values and core principles.

There is a call to learn, to understand, to advocate, to volunteer, to be heard.

As I pondered all of this, I recalled that the previous morning's rune draw (which was still sitting on my altar) was Mannaz. Unlike my card-of-the-day, I had indeed asked a question prior to drawing this rune. I said, "How? How can we combat ignorance? How can we protect the environment, and human rights, and healthcare, in the face of this new administration?" I can't imagine a more appropriate response than Mannaz.
A well-worn, nearly unreadable rune: Mannaz.
Mannaz represents humankind, our unique place in the landscape of community. I have drawn this rune before, particularly on days where issues of racism and inequality have weighed heavily on my mind. This rune calls us to identify and name our values, and to consider how they compare, contrast, or interact with those of other people: of our city, state, country, and world. Mannaz calls us to community mindfulness and mindedness. It calls us to high-level thinking, and to common action. The rune itself looks almost like two people standing side by side, an arm extended down to touch one another's waist; an open embrace. Mannaz says that each person does have a voice, and can make a difference. Moreover, it reminds us that each of us is charged with the responsibility of holding our community - local, national, and beyond - to a higher standard of action, behavior, and principle. None of us is off the hook; we all have a part to play.