Friday, October 21, 2016

September 11, 2016: A Painful Anniversary

Today is a day that brings back horrible memories for most Americans and in fact, for many around the world.  I started the day in a very good mood, driving to work after a week’s vacation on Long Beach Island with friends.  The sky was clear and blue, the air was warm with little humidity, and I was relaxed.  Then I turned on the news.

By the time I had parked my car and turned off the radio an explanation had not yet been found for the plane that had hit the side of one ow the World Trade Towers, but just the short amount of time it took for me to get in the elevator and walk to my desk, the whole world changed.  By then, the other plane had hit.  This was not some weird accident, a pilot having a massive heart attack or something horrendous like that.  This was deliberate, an attack on America. 

It took quite some time for me to feel normal again.  For days, driving east presented me with the view of billowing clouds as the Pile burned.  For weeks, the television was filled with horrifying experiences, and with loved ones wandering, searching, hoping their husband or daughter or cousin was unconscious in the hospital.  Finally, hoping a body could be delivered.  Or a part of a body.  Heartache!

Over the past 15 years we have evolved through our grief, moving through disbelief to heartache, to anger and to revenge.  I am hoping that just perhaps, we can come to understand why this happened.  Perhaps not to forgive, but to understand.  I believe it is only through coming to this kind of peace that we as a country can move forward, move forward in a way that made the many deaths that happened 15 years ago worth something good.

My Dreams of Gaia card for today echoes this thought.  I threw the Six of Air reversed.  Again, a lush and beautiful image!  The keywords for the upright card are solutions, comparisons, compromise, open-mindedness, mindfulness, illumination, epiphany, and personal power.  The Six of Air tells of a solution that is reached through the creation of a compromise that lies somewhere between the extremes of black and white.  The card reminds me that while on the surface, an either/or choice may seem the only option available, there are always, always other resources that can be brought into play. Taking a rigid stance and refusing to hear the other side just might not be a productive plan.  My card is reversed, and the energies of this card may not be available.  That might mean my tendencies could be to **not** take into account the differences of others.  I need to remember that while I may be uncomfortable with the actions or beliefs of some around me, those actions and beliefs are created by their life experiences, and thus deserve some consideration. 

This really has a connection to my feelings and experiences regarding this day.  I do feel as if I have emerged from the darkness of heartache and I am attempting to find some compromise that will bring inner peace. 

Putting things back together in a new way. 


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

September 10, 2016: On to Conjunction

What is next?  Conjunction, that’s what.  In fact, I’ve moved seamlessly from Distillation through Separation and into Conjunction, without consciously realizing it.  The cool thing is that while I may not be able to pinpoint the exact moment I moved from one stage to another, I am definitely feeling changes in the way I approach events that in the past would have dragged me down or made me angry.  Progress?  I hope so. 

Conjunction is the second part of the alchemic stage known as the Albedo or the White Phase.  In the Albedo, whatever survived the Negredo and its difficult and uncomfortable phases is now washed, cleansed or purified.  This is an important step (not that any steps of the Great Work are unimportant), because any impurities that make it into the final stage of the Great Work can derail the whole process, necessitating a return to the beginning.  The difficult thing about the Albedo is that these purified essences have not been cleansed of their tendency to reunite with the dross that was culled during the Negredo.  Backsliding, in other words, is a huge danger here so I can’t get complacent just yet.  Especially because if I have indeed slipped into Conjunction, the time has come to begin the process of rebuilding.  In terms of the four elements, Conjunction requires the reuniting of Fire, Water and Air in order to produce a purified Earth.  Hmmm . . . am I truly ready for this?

To make things even more complicated, just commingling the essences or energies together is not enough.  The joining needs to produce a new compound or alloy, a “Child of the Conjunction.”  Here is the beginning of the “new me,” at least in theory.  The problem is that if something new is not created during this stage, I can’t go forward.  If things don’t start happening here, I’ve missed some important impurity, and I need to start over again. 

Sounds like this is a kind of tipping point.  The Watchers and my Guides are all nodding. 

With all this distraction, I almost forgot to throw my Dreams of Gaia card for the day.  I shuffled and cut as usual, and threw . . . wait for it . . . the Four of Fire in an upright position!  Wow.  Looks like I did what needed to be done in order to turn that card upright, eh?  Look out, my aim is true today, and I will claim what is in my focus!  Things will get accomplished today, for sure.

Child of the Conjunction?  Okay, let’s get started.


Monday, October 17, 2016

September 9, 2016: The end of Distillation?

My lovely Dreams of Gaia card today is the Ten of Earth, and it seems she wants to be a regular part of my life.  The image on this one is serene, filled with bounty.  The keywords for this one are synthesis, harmony, reward, inner peace, grace, highest good, and authenticity.  The message is clear: after making it successfully through all of the Earth cards thus far, we have achieved balance in all aspects of life – career, home, family, self – and they are all coming together as an integrated whole, reflecting the well-being and connectiveness within. 

I do know that I have been made stronger by my past experiences.  This time through the Great Work, I seem to be able to let go of many things that aren’t serving me.  That is one of the purposes of the entire process, after all.  And Distillation is about keeping that which has remained valuable while leaving behind what is no longer useful.  Sounds like a wrap; what is next?


Thursday, October 13, 2016

September 8, 2016: the Four of Fire

My Dreams of Gaia Minor card today is the Four of Fire reversed.  The image on this one is cool, an archer, dressed in fiery reds and oranges, with most of her face (except for her eyes) covered by a scarf and with a hood resembling a bird of prey.  The archer’s bow is drawn taunt and her arrow is poised for flight, and her aim is very intense and focused.  The keywords for this card are action, concentration, focused energy, practice, increased skill, application, impetus and work ethic.  The card tells of a deliberate action that is accomplished by having a mind sharply focused and having skills honed to perfection.  And the story of this card is not just about the mind, it is also about physical manifestations of these disciplines.  My Four of Fire is reversed; this is hinting to me that some release of energy might fall short of its target, or might be swayed away from straight-and-true either by something I can control and fix, or by something out of my control.  I am being told that vigilance is even more important now; if I pay attention, I just might be able to nudge things back in the direction that is required. 

Okay, I think I get the message for this one.  The laser aim and concentrated focus (without the distraction of peripheral vision) is sometimes very useful, but not in this situation.  If I focus my intensity through a pinhole, I might miss the influence of other forces or effects.  If I believe my aim is true but in reality it is not, I will miss the intended target, and maybe end up losing the day.  This message has personal significance to me, particularly because the situation involves anger and hurt.  I need to remember that the situation might not be as it appears, and if I let loose some arrows in the heat of anger, they might hit the wrong target.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

September 7, 2016: comparing Earth meridians

September 7, 2016:

I will now be drawing Dreams of Gaia cards, mostly from the Minor Arcana.  Today I threw the Six of Earth, and the cool thing is that the image of the being on this card looks a lot like Haftorang!  Okay, I get it; one day off to enjoy my new Tarot deck is enough.  Back to work.

The keywords for the Six of Earth card from the lovely LWB are family, community, responsibility, duty, service, self-sacrifice, protection, dependability, and martyrdom.  This card reminds us of duty, duty to ourselves, duty to our families and loved ones, and duty to those who depend on us in some way for attention and care.  Part of that duty involves being a role model and a good example, and part of it involves being a teacher.  This card also reminds us that we have a more wide-reaching duty to nature, to our environment, and to Deity.  These efforts need to be done in a caring way, with the right reasons and with the expectation of a positive outcome that will benefit all, that will be for the highest good of everyone.  The Six of Earth also can act as a nudge, by reminding us that there is some task that might need attention right now, and delay is not an option. 

Let’s compare the two Earth meridians:

Both the stomach and the spleen are associated with the element of Earth, the season of Winter, stillness, damp, worry, overthinking, transition and balance, and the subconscious and conscious mind.  It makes sense that their correspondences are identical; it is the actions of each organ that are different.

The spleen is connected to digestion and fermentation, the reproductive system, and rhythms of all kinds.  The spleen clots blood and creates tissues of all kinds, and is said to turn food into energy.  The stomach is associated with the food digestion process, but it is actually one of the processes that prepares food to be digested.  Thus it lays the foundation for digestion, while the spleen takes a more active part in the process.  The stomach is also connected to the reproductive cycle, but we add in the lactation process.  , and it helps control the appetite.

The spleen meridian begins at the big toe and travels up the inside of the ankle, and continues up the inside of the calf, knee and thigh and into the body, passing through the stomach, heart and spleen, and ends up at the root of the tongue.  The stomach meridian begins just under the eyes, circles the nose and the mouth, goes through the lower jaw to the sternum, and continues down the front of the torso through the nipple and down to the hop, along the front of the leg and the top of the foot, ending at the tip of the second toe.

An imbalance or blockage in the spleen meridian can cause general stiffness, weakness or sluggishness, loss of appetite, or a distended abdomen.  Imbalances or blockages in the stomach meridian can cause us to brood or go over a particular issue in our mind again and again (kind of like the churning of food in the stomach).  Other symptoms of imbalance include stomach problem, edema, vomiting, a sore throat, toothaches, or facial paralysis. 

These two are closely connected!


Monday, October 10, 2016

September 6, 2016: Dreams of Gaia Tarot has arrived!!

September 6, 2016:

I came home from a great Labor Day Weekend to find that my Dreams of Gaia Tarot has been delivered, all the way from Australia, where the talented artist and creator of this gorgeous deck, Ravynne Phelan, lives.  This is the deck that I wanted to use throughout this time with the Great Work, but the deck was not available when I began.  I don’t think Haftorang would have allowed me to wait.  But now I’ve got the deck, so I will take a bit of a pause, just to get situated.

This deck is just a little bit different from the traditional Tarot, but it is similar enough that I am going to call it a Tarot rather than an Oracle.   There is a “purpose” offered by the creator of the deck: To See, To Feel, To Grow, To Heal.  That alone made this the perfect companion deck for the Great Work.  It is split into Major Arcana and Minor Arcana (the Minors are further split to numbered cards and Court Cards).  There are 24 Majors instead of the traditional 22, and while many of the archetypal meanings are similar, the focus is a bit different.  The Majors are broken up into four categories: The Choice Card (the basic focus of the entire deck, actually), Stages of Life, Reasons for Being, and Influences.  The Minor suits are elemental (Earth, Water, Air and Fire), with ten numbered cards, one balance or alignment card, and three Court cards.  The traditional King and Queen are a part of the Court; there is also a Balance or Alignment card, and a “figure that stands beside the throne,” each corresponding to the suit. 

The artwork is glorious!  The colors are vibrant and alive, the human figures are believable, the symbolism is powerful, and the use of mythological creatures is perfectly done.  The card backs are simple black, with a “frame” consisting of a thin gold line; the edges of the card are also gilded.  The LWB is bound, and has 307 pages.  There is way more text than image; just the way I like ‘em!

I decided to do something different with this deck: I began working with the deck by thoroughly shuffling just the Major Arcana, and then choosing my own Significator card, to be used by me when I am using this deck.  Going forward, I will be throwing Minor Arcana cards, unless I feel the need to throw a Major.

The Major Arcana card I threw is Faith, the number XXIV, last of the Majors.  The keywords offered for this card are faith, self-belief, confidence, Divine connection, trust, serenity, and surrender.  Those are a potent combination!  This card is not just about Faith, as in religious faith, it is also about personal faith, about having the self-confidence to endure, and to even overcome life’s challenges.  This card is an Influence card, and indeed having faith in oneself can create miracles.  Faith also tells me that I am not alone; I have the support of other loved ones, and of Deity; I am part of something larger, and those connections are valuable. 

Isn’t this one of the important goals of life and living?  Isn’t this what I hope to obtain through the processes and challenges of the Great Work?  Nice start to working with this deck, eh?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

August 30, 2016: Geburah, Chesed and Fire

I cannot believe that August is almost over; this summer flew by. 

The element of Fire has powerful energies.  There is not a particular sephira that corresponds with this element but to me, the pair of Gebura or Might and Chesed or Mercy make a nice correspondence.  After all, unless tempered with Mercy, Might can overcome all else, just as fire can consume all.  Perhaps a bit of comparison is in order.

Geburah (Might) is the fifth sephira on the Tree, the second on the Pillar of Form/Restriction, and also known as Judgment, and Fear.  The manifestations of this sephira can indeed be difficult, but they are not evil.  To some, an easy life is an ideal situation, but to Pagans, an easy life lacks opportunity for growth and evolution, and they are the purpose of living.  The effects of Geburah and just as necessary for balance and health as are those of Chesed.

Geburah also tells of the sacrifice that is necessary to keep the Wheel turning.  It tells of the sacrifice, the physical death, which releases energy back into the system.  This balance is absolutely necessary, for the serenity of Chesed occurs through the supportive workings of Geburah.

My correspondence list for Geburah is:

Magickal Image: Warrior in Chariot
Planetary: Mars
Vice: Cruelty, Wanton Destruction
Virtue: Energy, Courage
Deity: Warrior, Avenger
Spiritual Experience: Vision of Power
Briatic Correspondence: Power
Illusion: Invincibility
Obligation: Courage
Path: Path 5, the number of motion imposed on stability to test validity.

Chesed (Mercy) is the fourth sephira on the Tree, the second on the Pillar of Force/Expansion, and the first to represent actuality.  It is seen as the Hall of Masters and the Sphere of the Adepts, for it is within the energies of Chesed that the Ascended Masters or Ancient Ones reside.  Chesed brings to us the understanding of perfect love, for love cannot happen without understanding.

Chesed is a relatively pleasant or positive sephira, bringing expansion and growth and stabilization; its opposite, Geburah, is not always pleasant.  Yet there are times when the two change places, so we should not see only the pleasant experiences of Chesed as being preferred.

My correspondence list for Chesed is:

Magickal Image: Ruler on Throne
Planetary: Jupiter
Vice: Bigotry, Tyranny, Hypocrisy, Gluttony
Virtue: Obedience
Deity: Benevolent Ruler
Spiritual Experience: Vision of Love
Briatic Correspondence: Authority
Illusion: Self-Righteousness
Obligation: Humility
Path: Path 4, the number of depth and stability.

The Path that connects Gebura and Chesed is Path 19, one of the Paths that explore higher spirituality.  This Path is a horizontal one and it connects the Pillar of Form and the Pillar of Force, balancing the two.  Path 19 represents the balance between strength and severity, and affection and gentleness; it tells of enduring the tests and challenges that give us the strength and skill to wield Perfect Love and Trust.  The Tarot Major Arcana card that corresponds with this Path is Strength.  The Strength card is not about physical or muscular strength, instead it tells of the self-discipline necessary for balancing instincts and the dark side of our nature with the intellect and logic and analysis. 

The Wild Unknown Tarot Strength card shows the face of a lion with a large and fluffy mane (a sign of authority and dominance in male lions), as if he has just appeared from behind tall grasses and is ready to pounce on his prey, but instead of a growl, he carries a white rose in his mouth, not a sharp, pointy tooth to be seen.  This lion is strong, without a doubt, and patient and courageous; he is a leader who leads through applying what he’s learned in his life.  He is more than able to succeed as a predator, but instead he is controlling his instincts and choosing peace and serenity.  He even has the symbol for infinity, a lemniscate (similar meaning to the ouroboros), on his brow, telling us that the strength represented by this card is not dependent upon a strong body, but rather a strong Will, and thus it is eternal. Interestingly enough, the lemniscate also represents the circuit through which spirit can dissolve into matter, and matter can dissolve into spirit.

I can feel Venant, my fiery wyvern Watcher of the South, nodding. 

My Wild Unknown Tarot card for today is The Star.  The image on this Major Arcana card is simple: a rainbow colored five-pointed star, set in a dark sky sprinkled with other, less unusual yet still beautiful stars.  The colors on this Star are lovely and pure, and they make me feel as if this Star is an omen predicting the possibility of good things to come.  A silent omen, silent as the night sky, dark and velvety.  Subtle and silent, yet powerful still.  What message does this rainbow colored Star bring? It brings that first glimpse of hope.  Believe in beauty, The Star says as she glistens with the colors of a rainbow, believe in purity, believe in goodness.  And those are the things you shall receive.

I believe.