Wednesday, March 31, 2010
My Thoth card is the Princess of Cups. Soft, dreamy awareness for today. I may appear lazy to others, but that is not a true perception of me today. I am not lazy, I am simply enjoying every moment.
My Legacy card is the Page of Swords reversed. Earth (cold/binds and dry/shapes) of Air (hot/separates and wet/adapts), and the season of Winter (Capricorn (“I build”), Aquarius (“I know”) and Pisces (“I believe”)), and the concept of being a student and learning are all brought to me by this Page today. I need to see the events of the day, even the difficult or challenging ones, as lessons.
I have a little bit of everything today, Air, Fire, Earth and Water. But I don’t sense that the day will be harmonious; more like “churning.”
My 6-digit date number is 8, the response to the beginning of degeneration of the 7. The energies of the number 8 move toward resuming the balance of the number 6, but because all life is in motion, that balance will not return within this cycle, and the 8 will fall short.
So much upheaval of late. I just found out that my neighbor, Marie Senior (Marie’s daughter also lives very near our house, and her name is Marie also), who had a massive stroke on Sunday night, passed away last night. I have been thinking of Marie Senior since last evening, and I sent her Reiki both yesterday morning and this morning. I feel Marie Senior’s energy field quite clearly today. Could that be because she has left her broken body behind?
I also had a lot of trouble booting up my computer this morning; LOL, some update must have been loading. Norfolk Botanical Gardens staff members were banding the three eaglets at 9 am, and of course I missed most of the procedure because I could not get onto the internet for almost an hour. But I did see the eaglets get put back into the nest; they are napping now. Mom and dad have not returned yet, but they were seen flying overhead during the banding process, and since the babies are old enough to be left alone for several hours, the people at NBG are not concerned with their absence.
There have also been some sudden changes within the Student Council again. I think that this will be the last sudden adjustment the Council will be making for a while. We certainly are “lean and mean” at this point, but as of our last Meeting, we seem to be pulling together as a group and lovingly and compassionately supporting each other as we all work towards keeping Sacred Mists the awesome spiritual sanctuary that it is.
I have learned several important lessons out of today’s changes within the Council. First, no matter how difficult someone can be to deal with, I am only responsible for my own actions and responses. Second (and this ties directly in with the previous statement), sooner or later the truth will find a way to be told, and if I have trouble coming up with another reason to take the high road, this one works well. To me, my spiritual path rests on a tripod, the legs of which are Knowledge, Wisdom and Compassion/Love. My Goddess expects that I live through these three tenets, equally, and She in turn judges me, my life and my choices through their essences. I try always to associate myself with people who feel the same way. I am very lucky that I have been successful in this regard. Love and hugs to you, and you know who you are. *wink*
I actually feel pretty good today at this point, despite the influences of The Tower upon my day, and the hurt and anger that were experienced by those who I love and respect. I am optimistic that I will be able to make the transitions needed to continue meeting my responsibilities at Sacred Mists, now being shared with a different Council Member, and I even did some work on the ritual Mystery and I are creating, and I have about 1300 words written of my next submission to Luna Station Quarterly. Now, all I have to do is get my Runes burned, and I will be happy. Even despite The Tower, or maybe because of it.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
My Thoth card is the Ten of Wands. “Oppression” Fire has done its work too well, and there is no fuel remaining to offer new ideas. Government has turned to tyranny because there is no Balance.
My Legacy card is the Seven of Coins. LOL, I guess even my day of lethargy is to have a purpose. I am being told that this pause is important for two reasons. First, I need to determine if the harvest is ripe. If I begin to take the fruits of my labors too early, they will not be complete; if I wait too long, they will begin to rot and decay. Second, I need to acknowledge the need for patience. I cannot hurry the ripening process, I can only enable it to happen.
My 6-digit number for today is 7. This number tells of the beginning of movement away from the vertical and horizontal balance of the number 6 and the early stages of the degeneration of that balance. I need to remember that this degeneration is not necessarily a bad thing. Challenges bring growth, after all.
Well, my Tarot cards yesterday were mostly water, and guess what? It has been raining, hard, since last night. LOL, I always forget to look for the literal meanings of the cards.
I have done some initial research on the four stages of alchemic psychology (and most of what I have read so far acknowledges “citrinatis” as a stage on its own), nigredo, albedo, citrinitas or citrinatis, and rubedo. While together they represent a complete cycle, I need to look at them individually, first. And so, I will first tackle the nigredo, since I think this is the phase I am dealing with right now. The following two paragraphs are harvested from several separate Wikipedia pages.
Nigredo, or blackness, in alchemy means putrefaction or decomposition. The alchemists believed that as a first step in the pathway to the philosopher's stone, all alchemical ingredients had to be cleansed and cooked extensively to a uniform black matter. In psychology, Carl Jung interpreted nigredo as a moment of maximum despair, that is a prerequisite to personal development. Further steps of the alchemical opus are albedo (whiteness), citrinitas (yellowness) and rubedo (redness).
The shadow is an unconscious complex defined as the repressed, suppressed or disowned qualities of the conscious self. According to Jung, the human being deals with the reality of the shadow in four ways: denial, projection, integration and/or transmutation. According to analytical psychology, a person's shadow may have both constructive and destructive aspects. In its more destructive aspects, the shadow can represent those things which people do not accept about themselves. For instance, the shadow of someone who identifies as being kind may be harsh or unkind. Conversely, the shadow of a person who is brutal may be gentle. In its more constructive aspects, a person's shadow may represent hidden positive qualities. This has been referred to as the “gold in the shadow.” Jung emphasized the importance of being aware of shadow material and incorporating it into conscious awareness in order to avoid projecting shadow qualities on others. The shadow in dreams is often represented by dark figures of the same gender as the dreamer.
After reading these two paragraphs and allowing them to digest a bit, I realized two things. First, no matter how intensely uncomfortable and tortuous a Dark Night becomes, unless we consciously experience the suffering and understand its source as well as its sensations, we will not glean the benefits from that suffering. This means that unless we sooner or later pick apart the scabs and probe the infection completely, we will never find the splinter that is its cause. Yep, we can get rid of the infection on the surface, but it will surely return, and possibly worse than before because we have become accustomed to the discomfort associated with the infection, and so won’t notice its return until it has entrenched itself and become more difficult to dislodge. Everything must be examined and purged, not just the “usual suspects,” and using the metaphor presented, this means that we can’t just dig out the splinter, but we must also address the path the splinter took to arrive at its deep resting place.
This is hard work, especially if it is done in a solitary fashion. We don’t want to face our shadow because in the end, we will find the worst parts of ourselves hidden in our shadows, and we don’t want to acknowledge those traits, so we avoid even thinking about them. But we will not be able to move on to the next step until each segment of our psyche is examined in detail, tested harshly, and the judged as worthy of continuing, or needing to be burned away. Bug, we talked about this last night, and I believe it is the most important thing to remember about the nigredo.
The second thing I realized is that our shadow does not have to consist of only dangerous traits. The key is to remember the concept of Balance. Offering a periodic escape valve to, say, an addiction to those plastic tubs of prepared cake icing (LOL, moi? Addicted to cake icing??), might make it easier to resist their lure on most occasions. If I have trouble standing up for myself, I don’t need to do a 100% turnaround and become a despot; I just need to choose my moments to make my stand. This will allow my Younger Self to feel important instead of neglected, and then next time she might be more amenable to standing down.
*sigh* Well, now I know why it is called a Great Work. This is not a quick and easy task.
Monday, March 29, 2010
My Thoth card is the Two of Cups. Crowley’s “Love” card, and typical of Uncle Al, he does not have much to say about this happy card. Crowley sees the Ace as representing the Holy Grail, so the love that is just beginning to be manifested in this Two is of a spiritual nature. More Water, too.
My Legacy card is the Nine of Cups. Emotional fulfillment and sensual pleasures today, but this card, with its presentation of the possibility of having wishes fulfilled, also presents a warning: don’t allow the senses to fully rule the day. Water always seeks the lowest ground, and while it makes a good ballast, too much and I will drown. Lots of Water in my cards today, so I need to remember this.
My Pearls of Wisdom Full Moon card is Death. More Water!! Death corresponds with the element of Water, with Scorpio, a Fixed Water sign, and with the Hebrew letter Nun, the fish head, representing liberation. This card specifically focuses on the cycles of life, specifically references the presentation of a doorway, and encourages me to walk through that doorway. It also verifies that I am more alive without my physical body, which is an interesting interpretation to me. I have often wondered of my awareness will become so much more than my physical self that my awareness will break away from my physical body and rise into the astral realms, the way an air bubble in a glass of soda breaks away from the side of the glass and floats upward.
My 6-digit date number is 6, the number of vertical and horizontal balance.
My horoscope: “You may receive some upsetting news from a family member today, Sagittarius. It could have you reeling for a moment, but when you take the time to think about it some more you'll realize that things aren't as troubling as they first seemed. Be sure to get all the facts before taking any action. You want to be sure to do what's right in this situation.”
This horoscope is interesting, because in Cape May on Saturday night, actually very early Sunday morning, as I was going to bed I saw the lights of an ambulance and thought of our next door neighbor, Marie. For some reason, I felt that the ambulance was coming for her, although it did not end up coming onto our block. I received an email from her daughter this morning, advising that Marie had a stroke last night, Sunday, at about 8 pm, and is in the hospital. That was very much a precognitive event, even though it was vague the effect was strong; as soon as I saw the flashing red lights pass by on the street behind ours, the very first person I thought of with concern was Marie.
Well, according to my cards, today’s potential is so filled with Water that I may feel like I am attempting to walk upstream against the current. Maybe this is why I had so much trouble getting up this morning. I will be thinking of the image on that Pearls of Wisdom card all day and the concept of stepping through a doorway; my instincts tell me that it is important.
In an effort to understand the Nigredo and to help Mystery with the Shadow Craft Extension Class she asked me to help her with, I purchased a used copy of Raven Digitalis’s book, Shadow Magick Compendium. The book came this morning, and I spent about 20 minutes looking it over at lunchtime. LOL, I need to have a pencil handy, because there appears to be lots of useful information in this book. I am pleasantly surprised! This book seems to be more mainstream (if Wiccans and Pagans can be considered mainstream) than I expected; shame on me for prejudging!
Sunday, March 28, 2010
The Chariot reversed/The Empress. Oooooh, nice! The Chariot corresponds with Water (cold/binds and wet/adapts), Cancer (“I feel”), and Cheth (fence); The Empress corresponds with Earth (cold/binds and dry/shapes), Venus (beauty and allure), and Daleth (door or womb). This is pretty simple to interpret: The Chariot in a reversed position actually supports The Empress. I am being told that today is a day to enjoy my emotions, my feelings and my senses. Let ‘em go!
My Thoth card is the Prince of Cups. This card tells of appearing serene on the outside, but that veneer hides churning and sometimes violent emotions. I need to be careful though, because others may have trouble understanding me because of this duality.
My Legacy card is Judgement reversed. Fire (hot/separates and dry/shapes), Pluto (cycles of becoming), and Shin (fang or tooth); in an upright position, this card foretells that the time has come for the last steps. The awakening foretold by this card is not a part of my day, but it is there, in the neighborhood so to speak. It will not come to me; I must go out and find it.
My 6-digit date number is 5. Oh boy, the number of movement and the shake-up of stability to prevent stagnation. **grabs hold of the arms of her chair**
My horoscope: “You could make a trip to the library today, Sagittarius, as you may need to track down some intellectual, spiritual, or practical information required for a task or project you're working on. You may find yourself spending more time there than you'd originally planned, as you might discover facts or ideas that open up fascinating new trains of thought. If your time is limited, keep track of the hour. If not, have fun!”
Mystery and I did our first ritual together last night, a cleansing ritual that we wrote together and performed simultaneously, but at a distance from each other physically (she lives in another state). The results were powerful. I expected this to work (after all, distance Reiki is effective, and our rituals at Sacred Mists are effective), and the working went better than I thought it would, despite me having a few obstacles in the beginning as I made my final preparations.
My Patroness is pleased with my next choice of investigation and attempt at evolution. When I told Her that it would have been easier if She just told me this was what She wanted me to do, She laughed with delight. “My dear daughter, I did tell you. You already purchased a book that explains alchemy; it is in your hands. Yet it took struggle and a Dark Night for you to need the knowledge in that book. Most times the easy way has no worth.” **facepalm** She did tell me; I just was not listening, was I?!
It is psychological alchemy upon which I will focus, but of course to understand the psychological correspondences, I need to have at least some basic understanding of physical alchemy and magickal alchemy. LOL, why do I have a feeling that I am going to need more books? I have already seen some reference to the Shadow of the human psyche, so this information may relate to the class that Mystery and I plan on writing, if approved.
So, here are my general focuses. The Great Work can be broken down into three levels. Of course, whatever is presented as psychological alchemy has its roots in physical and magickal alchemy, so I will be attempting to understand the physical processes and effects that support the psychological correspondences.
The first step is called the Black Phase. The Nigredo is the longest and most difficult phase; it makes the other two seem like child’s play. The Nigredo is accomplished through torture. Yes, I said torture. Actually, the process involves the surrender of superfluous and unnecessary characteristics, which happens through the tool of suffering.
The second step is called the White Phase. Basically, the Albedo is the process which purifies whatever survived the Nigredo. This “cooking” or “purification” process is very important, for it culls out any impurities; these impurities, if left into the process, would have very harmful effects on the end result, so they need to be removed. Interestingly enough, the Albedo begins at the darkest moment of the Nigredo.
The third step is called the Red Phase. The Rubedo is the logical next step, the step that allows the release and manifestation of the energies that were completely transformed by the Nigredo and the Albedo. Interestingly enough, there is a sort of “mini-Dark Night” within the processes of the Rubedo, just before the final result, usually called “putrefaction.” This step provides a last chance to remove any remaining contaminants or remainder of ego.
More to come. As you can see, I will be busy! But for now, I am going to walk on the beach!
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Temperance reversed/Eight of Swords reversed. Hmmmm . . . is this a new pattern? Major Arcana card having a connection to Archangel Uriel reversed, and the Eight of Swords reversed. Temperance is the card of synthesis, of the alchemic process of coagula (which follows solve, represented by The Lovers, another card pointing to Uriel). Interestingly enough, Crowley saw the Temperance card as the Tarot representation of his definition of magick ( the Science and Art of causing change to occur in conformity with Will). Another card that focuses on Balance and synthesis, in a reversed dignity, combined with the Eight of Swords, also reversed. Okay, then. The Eight of Swords in an upright position represents the Dark Night of the Soul, and I am most assuredly smack dab in the middle of a Dark Night. However, the card is reversed once again, and I am seeing this as telling me that I may be turning away from this Dark Night instead of embracing it as a harbinger of good change. Temperance corresponds with my sun sign, Sagittarius (“I seek”), which is a mutable Fire sign (Fire being hot/separates and dry/shapes), in a mutable or flexible way, seeking change and renewal), and with Samekh, the tent post. I also see this card as pointing to the presence of Archangel Uriel, along with Justice and The Lovers. Interestingly enough, this is the number 14 card of the Majors, which reduces numerologically to the number 5, the number of movement and upsetting of stability before it turns to stagnation. Yep, I am being reminded that while Dark Nights may be frightening because they must be dealt with in a solitary fashion and in order to pass through a Dark Night I must release fear of the unknown, this is always worth the work. The realizations that occur during a Dark Night act as supports to the foundation that I will build upon once the Dawn reappears.
My Thoth card for today is the Six of Pentacles. Continuing the pattern from yesterday, a Pentacles card from the Thoth Tarot. Crowley calls this card “Success,” and sees it as a momentary pause through an awareness of what I have and don’t have, and an accompanying enjoyment of that awareness, for things are clear for the moment. But of course, this awareness is temporary, a brief halt on the Path of Labour.
My Legacy card for today is the Three of Wands. Again, continuing the pattern, a Wands card from the Legacy Tarot. Marchetti describes this card in this way: “The various balances and choices represented by the twos are now over. Three does not divide equally. There are no decisions to be made here, only results and conclusions. The man waits with optimism and anticipation.” [my emphasis added.]
My 6-digit date number is 4. This is a number of stability, depth, solidity, and of course the possibility of straying into stagnation.
My horoscope: “Are you feeling a little under the weather, Sagittarius? You may have been burning the candle at both ends. The obvious tip would be to slow down, but you might feel it isn't possible now. Get as much rest as you can and be sure to eat right. Ask for help if urgent work needs to be done. That way it will get done quickly even if your energy level isn't up to snuff.”
Okay, I think the aha! moment is almost upon me.
Our Student Council Meeting last night was very much needed. We did not accomplish anything as far as the ongoing business of maintaining the health and vitality of our Community. Instead, Lady Raven led us to focus on maintaining the health and vitality of our Council by reopening the lines of communication between the Council Members, and strengthening and tightening the “entity” that is the Council, effectively eliminating the gaping holes left by the departing Members. All of this was done with honor to those who have left the Council, and we acknowledged the value and the contributions of each person who is not gone. But in the end, we reaffirmed our own value and effectiveness, and we each attempted to heal our own wounds and those of our fellow Council Members. I think we did a pretty good job with this.
At one point we talked a bit about our upcoming Samhain in Orlando (yes, I know; it is only the end of March, but October will be here before we know it, and reservations need to be made). Because Lilyth is on my mind this morning, I went back to her Blog and re-read her entry on the Great Work. The funny thing is that as I read her entry, sitting next to me was my book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Alchemy, given back to me by Lorraine, my fellow Pagan Brain Trust-er, this past Thursday night at our meeting.
As I re-read Lilyth’s entry, these words seemed to become backlit, and they raised up from the page: "citrinatis, yellowing: spiritualisation, enlightenment." Spiritualization?? Spiritualization!!!
Frantically, I grabbed my Idiot’s Guide To Alchemy, and thumbed through the pages. Words swirled in my mind . . . “the White Phase . . . Albedo . . . begins at the darkest moment of the Black Phase . . .” I paged back. “The Black Phase that involves dissolving . . . personal calcination involves burning up artificial psychic structures . . . ego complexes . . . personal dissolution frees subconscious energy trapped in mental habits, . . . rigid beliefs.” I sat back, and thought for a moment; then I paged forward again. “Separation . . . removing surviving components from contaminated and impure environment . . . conjunction . . . recombine purified essences into a new compound or higher manifestation . . . personal separation . . . personal conjunction . . . essences of the true self . . . uniting them in a new level of consciousness and spiritual awareness.”
Oh boy, I feel dizzy. I am sitting here with another one of those “holy shit, that is it; it was right in front of me all along” moments. This is the focus. This is what I need to learn in order to manifest and live my next step. I looked back at my Tarot cards of today and yesterday, and even they are pointing me in this direction, pointing with subtlety, but pointing just the same.
The Rubedo is separated into two short stages, the first of which is the Citrinatis, the sign that the golden stage of transformation is coming. And what is one of the symbols of this process? The Phoenix. **takes several deep breaths** The Phoenix is also on my mind today, as Mystery and I perform the first foundational working that will eventually lead to our magickal partner ritual.
Sometimes synchronicity and its workings can be minor, but sometimes they can be incredibly powerful. This moment is one of those powerful ones, a moment that causes me to sit back and look with new and more aware eyes at the events of the recent past, for through the awareness of the guidance of synchronicity and that lovely **palmface** that is an aha! moment of awareness, even the simplest of events from the recent past are now filled with new meaning.
I need to digest this a bit, as I perform my mundane tasks of the day. I will be carving out some time to pick up The Idiot’s Guide To Alchemy, probably before I head to the beach for sundown. Connections, oh my. . . .
What an awesome day this is turning out to be!!!
Friday, March 26, 2010
My Thoth card is the Queen of Pentacles. Interesting card to throw today. Crowley sees this Queen (Water of Earth), as possessing the finest of the quieter qualities. She is filled with compassion and affection for those around her, and relies more upon the messages of her instincts and Inner Voice than she does on the recommendations of her intellect. The image on this card is interesting, for the Queen of Pentacles is facing away from us, looking back upon the desert valley below and the river threading through it (Water and Earth). She is quiet and contemplative as she looks back, but this image that appears so serene is actually pretty powerful. The Queen holds a staff that is topped with symbols of both herself and her King, and there are other representations of masculine creative energies surrounding her in the foreground. Interestingly enough, though, is the fact that while she knows these representations of the catalyst that is the masculine sacred are there with her, she is looking back at her own symbols, Water and Earth. The entire image has a melancholy about it that resonates for me today, and like the Queen, I may need to use outside sources in order to find serenity.
My Legacy card is the Nine of Wands. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” LOL, didn’t I just think about this yesterday? This card is less about being “in your face defensive” and more about acting with integrity, and knowing that there is an untapped well of reserve to be found within, ready to aid and support all endeavors.
Water, Earth and Fire, with Air blocked. And lots of validation!! Time to listen to my Inner Voice, connect with my Core Value Anchor, and embrace Change, without worrying too much about the end result.
My 6-digit date number is 3, the number of “surface” and of the creation of something new within the knowledge of “position” and “distance between.”
My horoscope: “The study of psychology might be especially appealing today, Sagittarius. Some new discoveries that you may have heard about in the media could have piqued your interest and might propel you to the library to find books on the subject. This is a good time to pursue this. Your mind “
Last night, the Pagan Brain Trust met, and this meeting was about sharing laughter. LOL, a healing session, fer sher! Every one of us is dealing with some kind of major challenge, from marital problems to spiritual challenges to physiological focuses to career choices, but we were able to forget all of those for a few hours, and focus instead on our evolution as an individual and as a group, and on laughter. We broke records as far as lateness of stay, but I felt very awake as I drove home because of the laughter and humorous events that we shared.
When I was almost home, suddenly He appeared again. Archangel Uriel, with the piercing golden eyes. Again He stared, as if He was patiently waiting for me to do something. I nodded, and to my surprise, He came closer to me, and then handed me something. It was the Justice card of the Tarot, showing the typical blindfolded angel holding scales and a sword. I looked at the card for a few long minutes, and then raised my eyes back to His. He then stepped forward again, this time to blindfold me with a white strip of cloth. I can still feel that tug of the cloth being tied at the back of my head, and I imagined that I looked a lot like I belonged in one of those photos of the Iranian hostages. The big difference is that I opened myself to this blindness. Interestingly enough, Justice did appear in my cards for today, but reversed, or blocked (or blindfolded??). I cannot help but remember those traumatic meditations of the recent past when Uriel blinded me in more, shall we say, dramatic ways.
Since last night, the background noise of energy that is always there has become more noticeable. I feel Danu with me, but what is more important (and unusual) is that I feel Cernunnos as well. I keep getting those teasing, fleeting threads of sensation and awareness that usually surround aha! moments, and I am opening myself to them, fondling and probing them, hoping that I will make the connection, whatever it is. And I can still feel that blindfold.
I am beginning to think that all of humanity is experiencing the last painful parts of a collective Dark Night of the Soul; is what I am experiencing now a part of that, or am I travelling through my own Darkness? Somehow I think the answer is both. A Dark Night begins gradually; the tendrils of Fog that is a Dark Night creep up on us and gradually muffle the effects of the world without us even realizing it. Slowly but surely, this disconnect continues, and it becomes more and more of a narrowly focused effort to function in the most basic fashion. The Dark Night continues until one of two things occurs: either the Seeker gives up entirely on trying to see through the Fog and lives the rest of his or her days within a physical/logical world existence only, or the Seeker fights the “big battle” and uses every tool available to blast that Fog away. True, there will be collateral damage done within this effort, but the end result will be that the Fog is pushed way back and for a time, vision will be clear.
The sides are gradually being drawn. Hurtful things are being committed, from the person uncaringly cutting me off on the highway to the ugly words and deeds of world leaders. In my opinion, the final battle will be between those who cling to the physical and the logical and what has been known to them in the past, and those who understand that life is more than a chance to accumulate a nice car and that expensive handbag and that cool iPhone because three-quarters of what life is all about happens **within** us and not **around** us. There is a battle coming between the “my way or the highway” forces and the “your way is good for you and my way is good for me, and we are both right” forces, and the big question is will humanity evolve, or will it attempt the fruitless task of keeping things as they are? LOL, of course, I think in Tarot analogies, and I keep seeing The Tower in my mind. And The Tower always makes me think of Stuie Wilde’s book, The Art of Redemption. By the way, Stuie also feels that some big shift is coming.
Part of me is excited that I am alive right now, and that I get to experience this turbulence within the psyche of humanity. LOL, I hope that statement doesn’t come back to bite me in the ass, but I feel as if I want to learn more about the final moments of the “dark moon” of humanity as we move into the “new moon” stage, and are presented with the opportunity of doing the work that will enable us to evolve, as individuals and as a species.
Mystery and I are working on an Extension Class Proposal that I feel is an important part of my striving to bring on this latest aha! moment that is hiding in the dark corners of my awareness. I will be working with Mystery on this proposal this weekend, and I am pretty excited about it. And I also noticed that Sacred Mists offers within the Advanced Training Courses a potential course on the Dark Goddess and the Dark God. Could this be the direction I need to think about and focus upon? Could the creation and presentation of an advanced class focusing on the Shadow and the Dark as they relate to Deity be my next step? Part of me says that I can’t even begin to think about looking into this right now, but then I remember Uriel’s blindfold; maybe I am not supposed to “see” but rather to “feel.”
I plan on doing a lot of “inner housecleaning” this weekend, for I will be alone in Cape May. I have a Student Council Meeting this evening, and I look forward to interacting with my fellow Council Members. And I have other responsibilities to attend to, such as Tarot homework and First Degree Homeworks, and two new Second Degree Lessons to review. But all of that can be done on a schedule that I can make up as I go along. And perhaps the result of my introspection will be that I will see up ahead that cool, clear pool of healing water that Lady Raven described, just waiting for me. Maybe Lilyth will already be there, with a pitcher of pomegranate raspberry martinis.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
My Thoth card is the Eight of Disks. “Prudence,” today, and I am being told that sometimes the best action is no action at all. This card tells of being easy-going yet stable, and while no action is required, it also tells of the importance of putting away for a rainy day.
My Legacy card is the King of Pentacles reversed. In an upright position, Air (hot/separates and wet/adapts) of Earth, and the ability to easily and skillfully deal with the outer and active aspects of the physical realms. Because this King is reversed and because his Queen has also appeared in my thrown cards today, I am seeing this card as pointing at his Queen, deferring to his Queen. Instead of boldly and confidently taking charge of the issues within the physical realm, I should be striving to understand them.
My 6-digit date number for today is 11 (Archangel Uriel), which reduces to the number 2, Balance, and the beginnings of manifestation.
My horoscope: “A lot of paperwork, perhaps involving contracts, could lead to financial gain on the job, Sagittarius. You could make or save some money for your employer, which could prove important. Expect some sort of acknowledgement or recognition for your efforts from superiors, which could lead to advancement or a possible raise. However, there may be some delay with regard to the latter. Don't expect it right away.”
What's up with the big typeface on my last post? LOL!
Well, my Patroness and Patron are right, these have been challenging times. Work is absolutely insanely busy, and I have been putting in some overtime (and the extra $$ will go toward my BOS and my Thai Massage mat). My Sacred Mists responsibilities are ramped up a bit, temporarily. And I have been questioning my ability to respond to certain challenges with continued compassion and calm. Through the upheavals and resulting discomforts, I keep telling myself my son Brian’s tenet of life: “If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.” LOL, no pain, no gain.
I feel as if I am floating in a river, wearing a life vest. The river, which started years ago as a mere trickle of clear, cool water, twisting and dancing between water-smooth rocks, sometimes gathering into a pond before overflowing and moving on, and sometimes dropping quickly down a cliff, has gradually become a steadily moving force, with all the water pretty much moving in unison. Smooth and powerful trip! But suddenly, this force of Nature that is moving water joins with another river of equal force yet moving in a different direction! The result is vortexes and eddies and whirlpools, some of which slingshot anything floating in the water suddenly forward in the right direction, offering impetus through energy release, but others of which grab hold of anything floating in the water and pull it downward to the dark depths, washing away any hope of escape like a churning washing machine washes away soil and stains.
While it is frustrating and tiring to be met with challenges and blockages at every turn, it is interesting that I am making it through all of this without spending much time on the “pity potty.” I do feel the presence of my Patroness, Danu, almost constantly, and I cannot forget the words of Cernunnos, “You belong to Us . . . We are with you.” Yes, Archangel Uriel has taken up quietly lurking in the corners again, watching me with His golden eyes, which means that the challenges and struggles are probably going to ramp up before they ebb away, but my Core Value Anchor is holding, holding strong.
I don’t know what will remain after the storms and floods of change and growth and evolution subside, and I don’t know what will be torn loose and washed away by those upheavals. But I do know this: every single bit of it, from the exhilaration of having done just the right thing at just the right moment, to the tears of anger and hurt and frustration that are the natural byproduct of interacting with strong-minded people, are gifts from the Goddess, manifestations and effects of life and living. Of living full tilt, willingly and openly experiencing all that life has to offer, whether pleasant or uncomfortable, and learning from each extreme and everything in between.
Hopefully, life will slow down just a bit, The Fog will dissipate, and I will be able to take inventory of what survived the storm, soon enough. Until then, I am hanging on to my life vest and keeping my head above water. And getting together with my much-loved Pagan Brain Trust, which will certainly recharge my batteries.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Two of Swords reversed/Queen of Pentacles. In an upright position, that Two represents chosen stalemate, but since it is reversed, today may be a day of releasing of boundaries and road blocks. The Queen of Coins is Water (cold/binds and wet/adapts) of Earth (cold/binds and dry/shapes) and both of those elements are passive and tend to pull or contract inward. She is an expert at experiencing and sensing the physical world, and she wants to share the joy of her experiences with everyone she meets. The image on my Welsh Queen is one of a royal woman seated on a throne beneath a tree bearing blossoms but not leaves; sounds like Spring. Today I may find that I am experiencing the events and effects of the day in a very inner, experiential fashion, even though the many events and effects are very much of the physical world.
My Thoth card is the Five of Wands reversed. “Strife” reversed, so perhaps the challenges that do appear today will not make me uncomfortable. I need to remember that every phenomenon is a sacrament and every sensation is proof of life, and I need to remember that sometimes, while I may prefer that Strife **not** be apparent, I benefit more from being challenged a bit.
My Legacy card is the Three of Wands reversed. I am not quite ready to leave behind the balances of the Two of Wands. The Three of Wands to Marchetti seems to almost have a wistful yearning about its energies; yes it is looking to the future with optimism, confidence, and an awareness of the work it has taken in order to get this far, but the goal is still ahead and not quite reachable. Today I am being told to not spend too much time thinking about what is to come. Today, I need to enjoy the pleasures of the “now” to be found within my own energy field, rather than the pleasures of anticipation.
I am going to begin a new method today; on every Sabbat and Esbat, I will also pull one Pearls of Wisdom Tarot, and interpret the card directly relating to the energies of the day. My Pearls of Wisdom Ostara card is the Two of Swords reversed!! The Pearls of Wisdom Two of Swords in an upright position tells of the need for action and the need to find answers within, but the inability to achieve both. Because the card is reversed, I am a bit more optimistic that by the end of the day I will be pleased, both by the things I have accomplished in my physical world and the things I have accomplished within the universes of my mind.
My 6-digit date number is 6, the number of Balance. How appropriate is that??!!
My horoscope for today: “A new business opportunity may come your way, Sagittarius. You aren't likely to want to commit to a permanent involvement, but you might take it on temporarily simply for the sake of the money. Perhaps you want to make some changes in your home, such as new furniture or paint. Whatever comes your way, you'll probably put a lot of energy into it and accomplish it all. Go for it!"
I am sitting in my living room at Cape May, and I just opened the windows even though I am still in my pajamas. Hey, it's Saturday! I get to be a slug for a bit!! I am very much feeling the energies of Spring today, especially after the lovely and powerful Ostara ritual which I shared with my fellow students last night.
Ostara and Mabon are traditionally for me Sabbats of pause. They are Lesser Sabbats, not "less" in the sense that the Greater Sabbats are more powerful, but instead "less" because they are a time of changeover, of transforming the energies of Winter into the energies of Summer. And like The Hanged Man of the Tarot (LOL, sorry, but I always think in Tarot symbols), I am suspended at this Equinox between the deeply inner focus of the Winter darkness and the mostly physical and very active focus of the Summer light.
I think about my blessings at both of these Sabbats as well, but I perceive these blessings from a different perspective at Mabon than I do at Ostara, for Springtime is a time of anticipation of things to come, rather than the review of Mabon.
And so, as I breathe in the warm air, tinged just a bit with damp, fertile soil bursting with fertility and the sweet/sour tang of ocean air, I think about my dear friends, my fellow students at Sacred Mists, my much-loved Pagan Brain Trust, and I think of my family, both of blood and of the heart, and the strong and rich connections that have been forged by love. I feel a deep and overwhelming gratitude that each of you is in my life, whether you are someone I have helped or someone who has helped me, whether you are someone who was born to my family or chose to connect with me through your heart. I see you each as a Spring flower, bud tightly closed because it is still cold at night and the tender petals need to be protected for a little bit longer, but filled with the potential to bring glorious pleasure and beauty.
Last night I felt very connected to Cernunnos. He came to me in a meditation, as the younger version so I knew that He had an important message for me. He led me through a woodland path at dusk; all the trees were still bare and the ground cover was lifeless. We came to a steep, rocky hill; Cernunnos climbed easily but I struggled a bit; finally I reached the top and stood next to Him. Below was a salt marsh, and the setting Sun on the horizon. We both stood there silently and watched the glory of that sunset, and then Cernunnos turned to me and said very simple words that truly resonated to my core. He said, “You belong to Us, Daughter of Danu. Know this in every fiber of your being, for it is true. The Path ahead of you is not an easy one, but the seemingly insurmountable challenges will be Balanced by joys and ecstasies the likes of which you cannot imagine. Through it all, We will be with you.”
This morning, I am very aware of the presence of my Lady Danu. I feel Her, I feel Her renewed energy, and I feel the warmth of the catalyst that is the love of the Goddess and God for each other. I am Balanced because I feel the Sacred Masculine and His focus upon experiencing life through living in the physical realms, and because I feel the Sacred Feminine and Her focus on feeling, and on experiencing the Divine.
Ostara Blessings!! May the warmth of the Spring sun and the serenity of Balance fill the day!!
Winter's barrenness has subsided,
From the death of Winter
Springs new life.
Spring is coming to the land,
The days grow longer,
Warm breezes begin to stir.
All around us we see signs -
The growing things are beginning anew.
It's the resurrection of the dance of life.
The dance of the stems and stalks
As they push forth from the Earth.
It is the season of creation.
Growth has turned outward,
The land has become fertile again.
The Earth is caressed by
The loving touch of the Mother,
Where her hand passes.
Atoms twine together to create growth.
Buds burst open.
Leaves and vines unfurl.
She creates a vision of the green beauty.
Beauty so breath-taking after
The dark solitude of Winter.
It is this vision that we celebrate
On Her day of Ostara
The world recreating itself--
Returning from the death of Winter,
Into the new life of Spring
Through the love of the Goddess.
Friday, March 19, 2010
My Thoth card is The Universe. Synthesis, balance, and endings that lead to new beginnings further up the ladder of evolution. Oh-kay!! The World corresponds with the element of Earth, the planet Saturn (discipline, responsibility, law and order) and the Hebrew letter Resh (mark or sign), and yep, those are all very much a part of my day today.
My Legacy card is the Six of Wands. Lasting victory and achievements in the fields of art, science and work, with payoffs for taking risks. Wow!!
My 6-digit number for today is 5, the number of motion and ending of pause.
My horoscope: “It's a good thing you have a flexible attitude, Sagittarius, especially today. Your adaptive powers could be put to the test as you find yourself surrounded by fickle emotions and stubborn attitudes. Don't get too hung up on getting straight answers from people today, for they're apt to be just as confused as you about certain issues. Play it cool for now and ride the waves easily to shore.”
LOL, holy crow has it been a craaaaazy two weeks. Last week was busy at work, and this week is busy everywhere!! The power failure of early this week put me behind in quite a few things. I finally got caught up with First Degree homework submissions, and it is a good thing I have done this because Lady Raven has asked that I temporarily take on all the First Degree homeworks until the new grader gets on board and up to speed. Wheeeee!! Another crazy week ahead!!
I cannot believe that it is Ostara already! I am feeling an occasional tug from Cernunnos as the natural world awakens. I wish I could take three or four days and just meditate, but that is not going to happen. However, I do have some time alone in Cape May this weekend, and next weekend, so I will be taking advantage of that.
The Pagan Brain Trust had their first Reiki Share, and it was awesome. I am really looking forward to making this a once-a-week thing, but we will start with once between each meeting until we are all up to speed. Luna Station Quarterly is open for submissions for the next issue, and I need to get my story done, plus there are the drabbles!! LOL, can we add about 5 hours to each day, please?
So many truly exciting and awesome things are happening in Sacred Mists. Lilyth gave me a glimpse of the new First Degree Lessons, and oh my, they are incredible!! Once they go live, and the Second Degree Lessons go live (and the new Third Degree Lessons as well!!), Sacred Mists is going to be the premier Wiccan education venue out there. I cannot express how excited and proud I am to be a part of the creation and editing and formatting process for this huge part of what the Sacred Mists Community is all about. Plus, my Divination Co-Director and I are revamping the entire Divination Department of Sacred Mists, including the “best of the best,” the Sacred Mists Psychic and Divinatory Alliance. This is being done in part to facilitate the “going live” of the upcoming Shoppe Reader Program, wherein Tarot readings will be offered to the public.
Part and parcel with the enthusiastic expectations are the challenges. The Tarot Class Board needs attention, administrative attention, and it will get that from me this weekend. I am still unofficially handling the Second Degree Mentor Program, and while it does not need much attention right now, I do have one Mentee in need of a Mentor. That will get taken care of this weekend as well.
And still, I feel the tug of the “inner world,” and will be also working on the ritual that Mystery and I have planned.
*smiles with enthusiasm* Ain’t life grand??!!
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Ace of Pentacles/Ten of Cups. Not bad. Today is a day that will be filled with potential for the initiation of beneficial projects in the physical realms. But they won’t happen on their own; the soil may be fertile, but I am the one who needs to plant the seeds and then nurture them until they bloom. Today may not be the day for actual tilling of the soil, but I certainly will be very able to visualize a rewarding end, and visualizations have powers of their own.
My Thoth card is The Universe. Aaahhhhhh, I have been waiting for this card in an upright position! Synthesis is happening for me, finally, and ideas are integrating and manifesting. Nice validation of that Ten of Cups.
My Legacy card is The Fool reversed. In an upright position, this card represents the element of Air (hot/separates and wet/adapts), the planet Uranus (technology, radical change, innovation) and Aleph (open minded learning), but since it is reversed, I am being told that I need to hold back a bit on manifesting and making use of new and untried ideas. Looking at all the cards, it seems that I have made some good achievements, but it is not yet time to leave the big pond (in which I am a big fish) and move up to the next, larger pond and become a small fish.
My 6-digit number is 8, which is a slightly weaker echo of the Balance of the number 6.
My horoscope for today: “Whether or not you willingly participate, you'll certainly play a key role in the action, Sagittarius. At times you'll feel like the pivotal player whose actions decide the fate of the game. Now you must close your eyes, take a deep breath, and find the answer from your heart. Don't look to others for support, because they'll have their own agendas and ideas about what you should do. Only you know what is best.”
Well, it has been a while since I have posted here, but this is one of the busiest weeks of the year for me. At work, our big project is out of my hands finally, except for the last moments before submission, which will be on Monday afternoon. I did two very in-depth Tarot readings this week, one for my niece and one for a friend of Elizabeth’s, which was live. Most of my readings are either via email or chatrooms, so this was a much appreciated opportunity to do a reading for someone face-to-face. I needed that reminder of how powerful a Tarot reading can be when two different energy fields are joined together like that.
The Norfolk Botanical Gardens bald eagles have two eaglets!! The second one hatched this morning, and I am so excited. I watched this pair of eagles lay and then raise three young last year; what an amazing experience. Here is the link for the cam, if anyone wants to watch these eagles raise their young: http://www.wvec.com/marketplace/microsite-content/eagle-cam.html.
Well, we are in the midst of another nor’easter, but thankfully it is too warm for snow, or we would be experiencing another 2 foot weekend, with high winds. I think we are going to have a beautiful Spring this year because of all the rain we had both last year and just recently. Looks like I will be spending lots of time in my garden!! I also vowed to create a corner somewhere that will be maintained in honor of my Patroness, Danu. I have two possible locations in mind, but I will wait until further into Spring to decide.
Miss Pauline woke me up last night for the first time in several weeks. She sat on the bed, and I could feel her leaning against me.
This afternoon I will be working with Helen on our possible new business. I will be missing the SMPDA Meeting, but this is a great chance for Rowan to stretch her wings a bit as Co-Director. And whew!! Crossing that off my list makes me feel better. Everything else I need to do today does not need to be done at one particular time, so I will be able to be flexible now.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Two of Swords reversed/The Fool. The Two of Swords in an upright position represents the Balance that is presented through stagnation or a temporary impasse; in no way is this a permanent situation. The number 2 represents the concept of “distance between” and the suit of Swords represents the mind and the thinking process; since the card is reversed, I am being told that whatever happens within my mind today, there may not be the kind of pause that brings balance. The Fool represents the element of Air (hot/separates and wet/adapts), the planet Uranus (science, innovation, radical change), and the Hebrew letter Aleph (the head, to learn), and is the archetype of the Sacred Child. This card and the Two of Swords reversed validate and support each other, for they tell of a fresh new breeze coming through, stirring things up and bringing excitement.
My Thoth card is the Ace of Swords reversed. Crowley sees the element of Air as having a “noble passivity,” for it has no self-generated impulse, but if set in motion by its Father (Fire) and Mother (Earth), its power is manifestly terrible. The sword shown in the image on this card is the sword of the Magician, and LOL it is reversed, as The Magician seems to be of late for me. When seen as representing the intellect, the Ace of Swords is the first card of a suit that is apprehended and consciously shaped by the mind, rather than occurring naturally. Wow! I think I am having an aha! moment here. LOL, even though the card is reversed. I need to know that the energies of this card could have a negative impact today.
Knight of Wands reversed. Fire of Fire (hot/separates and dry/shapes) and the cusp of Scorpio (“I desire”) and Sagittarius (“I seek”), this Knight is the center of the inferno that is the world’s Fire. No task is too big or too difficult for him, or at least so he feels. But it remains for me to determine if this confidence and this enthusiasm bring positive results or negative results.
My 6-digit date number is 11 (the number of Archangel Uriel), which reduces to 2. The number 2 is about the beginning of manifestation, and it brings the concept of “distance between” or “separation” or “Balance.”
What a great, busy and exciting few days it has been. Thursday night my much-loved Pagan Brain Trust met. I really am amazed at the maturity, wisdom, depth, and capacity to love unconditionally, that is found within each member of this awesome group. It is a privilege and a pleasure to watch each of them as they are stopped in their tracks by a challenge. No matter how hard they are knocked down, each one of them will take a short moment to gasp for air, and then claw themselves back up to their feet. Not only do they each pull themselves back up to a standing position, but they each then begin to walk again, hesitant and shaky steps at first, but soon enough they get their sea legs and are cruising along. Each of them has a unique energy field. Lorraine is the most amazing combination of confidence stemming from knowledge and experience, and uncertainty; she is the perfect Hierophant because not only does she act as a repository of knowledge, but she is equally the teacher and the student. Elizabeth is The Empress. She is soothing and supportive, yet amazingly connected to all of the Natural world and every entity alive within it. She is a lovely combination of heavy sensuality and mischievous innocence. Jen is The Magician, but instead of an altar containing the representations of the elements, she has before her a computer table holding the most updated and cutting edge tools with which she connects to the effects and manifestations of the Universe. Tara is to me the Temperance card. I love Marchetti’s descriptions of this card: the image “. . . draws the fire of heaven down from above and . . . earthly energy up from below . . . being prepared for an alchemical wedding which will empower and transform . . . forever.” The act of “tempering” means “to make adjustments by counterbalancing or by mixing in new ingredients” and “to make something stronger by its passage through a test or hardship.” LOL, Tarot metaphors, but I can’t help it.
Last night, we went to my mother-in-law’s 90th birthday party, and how fitting that we had just about 90 people in attendance. My brother-in-law and his wife hosted the party in their lovely home, and a good time was surely had by all, including my mother-in-law, who was still sitting with us at 12:30 am, drinking brandy.
I think today will be a slow day as I am feeling a bit tired physically, but my mind is working, teasing some concepts in the attempt to break them open and achieve understanding!
Thursday, March 4, 2010
My Thoth card is the Two of Swords reversed. The Moon (feelings, illusion and imagination) in Libra (“we are”), Crowley calls this card “Peace,” but it is a peace that happens because all are vigilant. Because it is reversed, this vigilance in order to maintain peace and harmony may not be evident in my day. However, the card is there, so I should be aware of the possibility of the subtlety having a negative impact.
My Legacy card is The Magician reversed. Hmmmm . . . he showed up reversed in yesterday’s card throw too, from my Welsh Tarot. He represents the element of Air (hot/separates and wet/adapts), the planet Mercury (reason, skill, communication), and the Hebrew letter Beth (house). He is well-versed in the hows and whys of magick, and I wonder if he keeps showing up as a reversed card to remind me that I must never be complacent, must never think that I know everything there is to know about my world and my place in it.
My 6-digit date number today is 8, which represents an echo of the balance of the number 6, and a response to the beginning of degradation of the number 7. Looks like my efforts of yesterday to keep the momentum up are working.
My horoscope: “Sagittarius, one or more of your co-workers could appear to be rather upset or depressed on the job today, and this is likely to affect your own efficiency. Your colleagues in question aren’t going to be very much into communicating, so it's best just to turn a blind eye and keep on working in spite of the situation. It's going to be tougher than usual, but it's nothing you can't handle.”
It has been another one of those incredibly busy weeks. I can’t believe it is Thursday already!! We have a Pagan Brain Trust get together tonight, and as always, I am looking forward to it. We have several items to be addressed tonight, some celebratory and some supportive, but I have every confidence in our combined ability to deal with anything! It is interesting how this group has matured and evolved, both each of the individuals that make up the PBT, and the PBT itself. I don’t know if it is because we have already dealt with several challenges as a group, or because of the Reiki shares, or maybe because of the many physical manifestations of the solidarity and cohesion and value of the group, not the least of which is this blog **wink**; but for whatever reason or combination of reasons, it seems as if the PBT has always been a part of my life. This very fact proves to me that it is supposed to be a part of my life.
I finally had a chance to look at the emails that Lisa sent me to review, regarding my BOS. Oh, this is fun and exciting!! Looking at endpapers and thinking about which sigils should be included are helping to begin the visualization process, and I am thrilled that my book is beginning to come alive in my mind.
We had a great Tarot Chat last night. I taught another of my “One of These Things Is Not Like The Other” chats, this one talking about Justice and Judgement, two cards that give me a bit of difficulty, especially when they both appear in a reading, because on the surface they are similar. I really had fun researching these cards, and I think I can finally tell them apart.
I have a busy weekend ahead of me. My mother-in-law turns 90 this weekend, and we have a huge party planned. We are doing our best to get as much of the extended family together as possible for this milestone, and I am looking forward to being with people who I have not seen in a while.
Happy Birthday, Ellen!!
Monday, March 1, 2010
The High Priestess/The Hanged Man reversed. The High Priestess is the “source,” the keeper of hidden knowledge and the wielder of the Inner Voice, and she is telling me that what is below the surface is important today. In an upright position, The Hanged Man represents a balance of opposites that happens through surrender, but because the card is reversed, I am being told that it is more important that I strive to end the pause that is balance.
My Thoth card is the Prince of Cups reversed. Back to Court Cards. In an upright position, Crowley sees this card as indicating a person who appears calm, but that calm exterior hides volatile emotions and a personality that is easily distracted, to the point of being unethical.
My Legacy card is Judgement reversed. Judgement corresponds with the element of Fire (hot/separates and dry/shapes), the planet Pluto (metamorphosis, the cycle of birth and death), and the Hebrew letter Shin (teeth or fangs), and in an upright position, it tells of redemption, atonement and forgiveness. Because the card is reversed, I am missing some important consequence or possibility of the manifestation of a consequence of my actions. It could be that my day of reckoning has not yet arrived.
My 6-digit date number is 5. The energies of the number 5 bring movement into the equation, which upsets the stability created by the number 4. This movement may not be comfortable, but the end result could be good.
My horoscope: “You have an active mind and an even more active imagination, Sagittarius. Today you risk short-circuiting your brain as you struggle to keep up with all the ideas and information swirling inside your head. Take a few minutes to do a mental inventory. Write down everything you’re thinking right now so you can free some space in your brain for other issues. A long walk or jog would help soothe your mind.”
Luna Station Quarterly has gone live!! And I am now officially a published writer. How cool is that?? Check out my story, The Dream, on the website, www.lunastationquarterly.com.
Ailm (my Spirit Guide) and her group are about two weeks into their journey from their winter quarters toward the sea. They got a late start because the weather has been so snowy, and they have been sometimes spending a few days in one campsite if that site is sheltered. This is the eighth year that I am experiencing this journey with Ailm, and I am amazed at how much I have grown since I first met her, only a few weeks after I performed a personal dedication to the Wiccan Path, before Finding Sacred Mists. Like last year, the group includes a few young men and women who are eager to experience the world and old enough to be challenged by and learn from the journey. Ailm herself has a few grey hairs, and Bear, her mate, has many, although his light brown coloring seems to hide the grey better than Ailm’s long dark hair. We are all getting older.