Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ostara Blog Hop - Rebirth

This Ostara we're celebrating the cycle of life, and in particular that part of the cycle that speaks of rebirth. Our wrangler this time around is the lovely Joanne Sprott from Cosmic Whispers Tarot. Please see the links at the top or bottom of this post to access the other posts in this circle!

This blog hop I want to share some aspects of rebirth that have been living most vibrantly in my mind recently. The first comes from my work, of late, with the New Orleans Voodoo Tarot (and if you want to see my review of the deck, click here) which has been a deeply rewarding and meaningful experience. "Rebirth" (also called Judgment) - both the card and the concept - is a beautiful and integral part of who we are as human beings, and as spiritual beings stumbling and dancing through life. It's often the first card I look at in a new deck. The New Orleans Voodoo Tarot is the first deck I've worked with where absorbing the eloquence of the accompanying book made me feel like I was receiving sacred knowledge and wisdom that nourished me and opened my eyes a little wider at the same time (not unlike the impact of reading an excellent poem, but hold that thought for just a moment!). I want to share the first paragraph in this book, in the entry regarding card XX - Ancestors:

"The voices of thousands of souls cry out within us. The hands of the ancestors weave our destiny with threads whose beginnings are dipped into the waters of creation. To hear the cry of these souls, to feel the twistings of this thread, is to know our Name in its most pregnant fullness. We are heir to a largeness that knows no end and is touched by no beginning (1992, Martinié; pg. 82)."

New Orleans Voodoo Tarot

The great circle constantly expands, folds back onto itself, and reaches out again into the universe. I love the essence of this particular version of XX - that we are fundamentally connected to those who came before us, (their realities and experiences as much as our own), that everything we do falls in the context of a great Cycle that our actions indeed impact. We move forward insofar as we recognize and respect where we've come from. There are many layers to that concept!

Rebirth, choices and actions. Sometimes transformation happens to us unbidden, and sometimes we invite it in. In both circumstances a decision is involved - we choose to put our full awareness to the newness coming into our lives…or not. We choose to back-pedal, or go with the flow. We choose how deeply we will accept the transformation into our lives, what we learn from it, how it changes us, and how we integrate that into our hearts, minds and spirits. In this light, as a second offering I want to share an excellent poem (a favorite of mine since I was a child, and perhaps a favorite of many people), The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost (1920), that also reads like sacred and wise text:

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;        5

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,        10

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.        15

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

To close, I'd like to offer a very simple exercise you can do with your cards (or runes, if you like).

Consider these questions: What are you being called to at this moment in your life? In what way are you experiencing rebirth at this time? 

Take your favorite deck, and with this thought in your mind, select a single card. What does it tell you? Do you recognize the message, or is it a surprise? How does it resonate with you? What does it underscore for you? How does it make you more aware of the transformation flowing through you?

I drew Congo 3 - Manman Brigitte. She is a loa (spirit) of feminine power, wisdom and death, married to Baron Samedi, her male counterpart. This card is about right judgement and balance. We can only be truly free to enjoy life's pleasures when we accept the inevitability of death, and the endless cycle of change that moves through the universe. This loa shares some similarities to Kali's intense power - she brings change - sweeping, deep change, so it's better to go with the flow rather than resist!

This card is inherently about change, so it fits very well with the topic of the question that I posed. I've been working through a period of significant change for the past year, or a little over a year - a slow and powerful unfolding of a new phase of being that has touched many aspects of my life in very positive ways. I often do feel like I'm in the process of being reborn, with all its discomfort, excitement and mix of shadow and light.  Manman Brigitte affirms for me this transition, and its inevitable and significant nature.

Even looking at this card as the 3 of Cups (its sort-of counterpart), there is meaning here for me. Recently I've been undergoing a process of growing new friendships and connections with people who share interests and understandings that are similar to my own. It feels like a bright and welcoming new phase, after having been quite secluded within family life for many years, so it does have a sense of metamorphosis. I like being private, but I've realized that some of my privacy has been due to not feeling able to speak openly about my experiences (especially in regards to spirituality and divination) with almost anyone except my close family members. Becoming aware of those invisible restraints was good for me, and I'm enjoying the feeling of being able to really share with and learn from others. There is something rich and sustaining in community, and it's not lost on me that this blogging community is just another meaningful and nourishing layer.

Happy Ostara, Happy Easter Season, and Happy Hopping!


  1. You rock!!!! I love your writing style. As always eloquent, insightful and straight from the heart.

  2. Lovely post! I don't know this deck but you've certainly piqued my interest. I shall pose those questions with my favourite deck in a quiet moment, thank you! Happy Hopping x

  3. Again a beautiful written post. I am going to draw that one card tomorrow. It is a great question to ask the cards.

  4. I've been wanting this deck and this post did not help my ever-growing wishlist shrink to a manageable level! It seems like you have to have some knowledge of voodoo culture to use it though- does it come with a good LWB or guide to know about what the figures represent?

    1. It's a wonderful deck! :-) Yes it comes with a full sized companion book which is great, but it does help to understand aspects of Voodoo and Santeria, or at least be open to learning. The artist is a Voodoo priest and has written another book called Vodou Visions, which goes in to deeper elements of the religion and gives even more detail on each card in the deck, which can be used in ritual as well.

  5. Love, love, love this post. So rich with things to think about! I am so intrigued by the description of the card you shared...and I too love that Frost poem. Happy Ostara!

    1. Thank you so much, Louise! Happy Ostara to you! <3

  6. Fascinating, Olivia, thank you. I love that poem too.

    1. Thanks, Alison! Even after many years this poem still manages to give me goose bumps :-)

  7. Amazing question you pose. It goes very deep. :D

  8. Olivia, I always love your writing. So profoundly thought-provoking. You know, Robert Frost is also one of my favourite poets. In fact, inspired by you, I am going to put this poem up my Sun Goddess Tarot FB post.

    1. <3 Thanks for the kind comments, Joanna! This poem always makes me shiver, there's something magical about it :)

  9. Well played, indeed. Your clear and calm writing rhythm is quite welcoming, as always. Got the 3 of Pentacles (Robin Wood deck) for my inspiration. So, time to acknowledge and show my mastery of certain things. Will do!

    1. Thanks for the kind words! I wish you well as you delve into that great 3 Pentacles energy! :)

  10. So glad you're finally getting to open up around your spirituality - it's good to connect with others :)
    I've had this deck for ages, but never used it. Your post proves the reason I've been holding off - it deserves to have some quality time spent on it! Lovely post :)

    1. Thanks, Chloe! Yes, it's a deck that definitely has a lot of deep, rich wisdom to share, no doubt :)