Thursday, December 29, 2016

October 26, 2016: First day in California, walking the labyrinth

I arrived yesterday in California, had lunch in Sausolito with Ellen, my sister-in-law, and then went to an interesting presentation at Mills College, created by an artist friend of Ellen’s.  I crashed and burned by about 9 pm local time (midnight my time zone), which is usual and customary for me when I fly west.

Today, we hiked in the hills of Oakland at Sibley Park on a beautiful sunny afternoon, and even walked a labyrinth.  The labyrinth was located in a small canyon that was positively magickal.  I felt the presence of some Earth elementals for sure, and a hint of something else.

My Dreams of Gaia card for my first full day in California is the Nine of Water reversed. The Dreams of Gaia Nine of Waters is a beautiful card, beautiful in its darkness and severity.  The card shows the image of a woman surrounded by the darkness of night, looking upward towards a glimmering silver light.  Colors are absent (almost the way that moonlight bleaches out or changes color), and shadows are everywhere.  The keywords for this card are illumination, acceptance, openness, emotional enlightenment, strength, courage, fear and ignorance.  This card in an upright position reminds us that emotions of all kinds leave imprints on our hearts, minds, and even our physical bodies, and thus they can have long-lasting impacts.  These impacts can be either subconscious or conscious in nature, and it is often the subconscious imprints that cause the most problems.  The solution is to look to the light and allow love to heal.  This is not a pleasant process, but because my Nine of Water is reversed, I need to be aware that I just might not want to deal with all this stuff now; after all I’m on vacation.  Yeah, I can hear Satevis laughing.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

October 22, 2016: California trip and summing up the Watchers

October 22, 2016:

Time to get my brain clear again.  I am leaving early Tuesday morning for my yearly trip to California.  I will be spending a few days with my sister-in-law, then a few days with my sister-of-the-heart.  I will get to see once again some other fellow Misties, plus meet face-to-face with one more.  I’m trying to devote time this weekend to cleaning out stuff in preparation for The Big Move.  The Hubs and I have a lot of work to get squared away, too, before I leave.  Busy, busy, busy!

I did carve out a bit of time to throw a Dreams of Gaia card, and got the Twelve of Air, also called The Scribe.  The keywords for this card are record-keeper, information, knowledge, tradition, history, personal history, preservation, and censorship.  The Scribe is described as “a priestly man, although not necessarily a religious one,” and I get that.  The Scribe values knowledge and wisdom, and he does not want them tainted by personal belief.  He reveres books as they are repositories of knowledge, and he feels that all cultures and all information should be documented in the name of the highest good of all.  Accuracy is important to him, so much that he is willing to document several perspectives of an issue in order to record an accurate big picture.  He loves reading, but he also loves writing, and he encourages me to continue documenting my own experiences.  The image on The Scribe is another example of the brilliance of Ravynne Phelan. The Scribe is chock-full of powerful symbolism.  The Scribe has gray hair and a gray beard; he looks older but not infirm, rather he appears healthy and confident.  He has antlers adorned with feathers, beads, and ribbons inscribed with letters and symbols; there are two ribbons inscribed with letters and symbols coming from his eyes, and another ribbon coming out of his mouth.  Below him are two Australian white ibis (fitting, as the artist is Australian) and a bee; above him is a scarab and a set of wings.  I love this card!

In keeping with the “cleaning up” theme of the day, here is more summing up of Watcher information.  This time, the Archangels; I’ve gathered what I learned, and then created keywords.  I must offer one condition to all this information: Archangels, and all Angels for that matter, are not human.  This means they have their own agendas, and those agendas may not be in line with what we as humans perceive as our own highest good.

Haftorang and Fomalhaut are associated with Archangel Gabriel.  Archangel Raphael and Venant/Regulus were considered to be the leaders of the four Watchers or Guardians or Royal Stars for millennia, but with the advent of the “age of man,” the leadership has fallen to the more human of the Archangels, Gabriel.  Remember that in the New Testament of Christianity, it is Archangel Gabriel who announces the birth of Christ.  Archangel Gabriel is responsible for communication, new beginnings, and strength; Archangel Gabriel assists us to connect with Divine Love, and to tune into the “frequency” or “vibration” of this love so our subtle body can be attuned to that love.  He also assists us in identifying what we are **not** so these parts of us and our invalid beliefs may be released, enabling us to become the best we can be.  My keywords for Archangel Gabriel are love and inspiration.

Tishtya and Aldebaron are associated with Archangel Michael.  Archangel Michael's main characteristics are exceptional strength and courage.  He fights so that good prevails over evil, he protects and defends people who love Deity, and he empowers believers to set their religious or spiritual faith on fire with passion. Archangel Michael is often pictured wielding a sword or a spear, symbolizing his role as a leader in spiritual battles.  People sometimes ask him for help to gather the courage needed to face and overcome their fears, to find the strength to resist temptations, and to stay safe in dangerous situations.  Archangel Michael is also considered a key angel of death; his job is weighing people’s souls on scales.  Archangel Michael can assist us in learning to release fear or worry.  My keywords for Archangel Michael are courage and fortitude.

Venant and Regulus are associated with Archangel Raphael.  Raphael is the Archangel of Healing, full of compassion for people who are struggling physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. Archangel Raphael was given the assignment to preside over every suffering and affliction of humans, and he was given the power to heal the Earth and the beings who reside there of the maladies of mankind.  He is associated with compassion, joy and laughter.  Archangel Raphael can offer assistance in overcoming addictions, in finding love, and for safe and healthy travels.  The symbol most associated with Raphael is the caduceus, and he is a patron to those in the medical professions, counselors, pharmacists, and patients, as well as to travelers, young people, and those in love.  Archangel Raphael also offers healing through guidance, through nudging us in the direction that will allow us to learn to heal ourselves. Archangel Raphael appears in the Book of Enoch once the Fallen Angels are removed from the population, and tasked with restoring and healing the Earth.  Islam sees Raphael as the angel who will announce judgment day.  Archangel Raphael is also seen as a master of music who is able to sing praises to God in many languages.  My keywords for Archangel Raphael are healing and empathy.

Satevis and Antares are associated with Archangel Uriel.  Archangel Uriel has communicated with me in the past and I have worked with him.  Archangel Uriel is the Angel of wisdom who shines light into the darkness of confusion, and who helps us to tap into our inner wisdom, into the knowledge and information coded into our physical DNA and into the knowledge and information stored in the “akashic records.”  Archangel Uriel offers mental and emotional understanding.  Like The High Priestess of the Tarot, Archangel Uriel is usually depicted holding a book or a scroll in one hand, and a flame (representing Divine Truth) in the other hand.  It was Archangel Uriel who warned Noah of the Flood, and it was Archangel Uriel who checked the doorways of homes throughout Egypt for lambs blood on the night the plague striking the first-born was activated.  Legend has it that Archangel Uriel rescued John the Baptist when King Herod ordered the massacre of young boys when he learned of the birth of Jesus.  My keywords for Archangel Uriel are wisdom and truth.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

October 19, 2016: Head cold and Fermentation

I’ve been fighting a head cold for a few days, and I think I might be finally getting better.  I felt more myself today, brain is a bit less foggy.  Perhaps it is time to think more about the Fermentation stage of the Great Work.

Fermentation is kind of the first hint that dawn is coming soon.  So far I've broken down and destroyed all the old barriers and counterproductive habits I've formed (at least I hope I have). I've examined my own deficiencies without judgment of any kind; this process of identifying deficiencies has not been fun.  The thing is, once I realize how damaging something is, I kind of have a responsibility to act, either to embrace the habit wholly (no matter how damaging) or to actively strive to move away from it.  I can't stick my head in the sand or pretend I have no control.  Because I do have control.

In order to perform Fermentation in the lab, the solution must be transferred to another container and then a catalyst is added in order to encourage Fermentation.  For me, this transfer happens as I examine without judgment the parts of my Self that I most want to hide or deny.  Only then can I heal the wounds caused by these hidden parts of my Self, only then can I truly move past them.

Breaking down this old stuff and allowing it to fall away is actually making room for new wisdom, and it is allowing me to really look at my Self, in all her glory and embarrassments, as she really and truly is, because the illusions have all been burned or rotted away.  Healing is offered, healing produced by acceptance of what is, and accompanied by the responsibility to not backslide.  Yep, once I know something, I can't un-know it.

My Dreams of Gaia card for today is the Three of Water.  I haven’t had too many Water cards lately; these cards are about our loves, passions, desires and attractions.  The keywords for the Three of Water are satisfaction, pleasure, joy, hopefulness, anticipation, attachment, expectation, and disappointment.  This card is encouraging me to look to the future with excitement, and with hope for a rewarding outcome.  It is letting me know that having expectations is not a bad thing, as long as I don’t make those expectations into a heavy burden.

I think this card is fitting today.  The Hubs and I have work now, after a bit of a dry spell, enough work that I will need to adjust my weekend plans a bit.  I’m okay with that!  I get nervous whenever we run out of work; I can’t help it.  I always feel way more optimistic once the dry spell is over, and today is one of those optimistic days.


Sunday, December 18, 2016

October 15, 2016: Death, Rebirth and the Big Move

October 15, 2016:

Today was an interesting day; today The Hubs told me that we are ready to make our plans to make the move to Cape May, full time.  We have spent most weekends in Cape May since we bought our house in 2004, and our plan was always to relocate there.  We rent here in North Jersey specifically so we could make that move happen (we are not lucky enough to own two houses, so we bought a house in the place we most want to live.

I was surprised at my initial reaction: I was afraid.  I was afraid that the move would be uncomfortable.  Really??  I love Cape May and have been looking forward to the day that I can move there for good.  Now, I can understand dreading the actual move; after all, moving from a three bedroom rental with an attic and a basement.  Attics and basements tend to get full, and mine are most definitely full.  But I’m not afraid of hard work, and I realized that I need to think about this more.

I realized that my biggest fear is that I will not be able to replicate the Yoga community I have become immersed in here in North Jersey.  I have found the perfect studio, I have many opportunities to continue my training, I teach wonderful classes that truly fulfill me.  I also have a regular Thai Massage client, and I’m truly enjoying deepening my experience with that modality.

I am reminded of the fear I experienced when my job of over 16 years disappeared, and I started working for The Hubs.  I remember being afraid that working for him would be uncomfortable, and that there would not be enough work to justify keeping me as an employee.  In the end, I am serving a valuable purpose, and I enjoy the work.  It is because this opportunity with The Hubs has worked so well that I was able to train to be a Yoga teacher in the first place.

Did I just say a few days ago that Fermentation did not seem to be uncomfortable to me?  Remind me to never say that again.  This situation is a perfect example of the Fermentation process.

My Full Moon Dreams of Gaia Major Arcana card is offering interesting advice that is quite focused on this very issue.  Death/Rebirth reversed is my card.  Death/Rebirth is **the** change card; the keywords for this card are endings, beginnings, cycles, transformation, transmutation, change and growth.  Upright, this one tells of the death of the things that no longer serve me and the birth of the new and exciting things that will replace the things that died.  The process is not reversible; once we pass through Death and into Rebirth, there is no re-do.

My card is reversed, and the LWB offers me pointed advice: “. . . it is time to take a long, hard look at your life, and understand that it is time to let go.”  Yes, this change brings the unknown and uncertainty, and they will leave me feeling vulnerable, exposed to the harsh weather.  But clinging to what is, only because “what is” is safe and familiar, is like clinging to a rock as a life preserver in a stormy sea.  Yes, the future is unknown; yes, I will need to work hard.  But I need to see this Death of the life I have known for years and this Rebirth of a new and exciting time as necessary.  As exciting.  As beneficial to me.

Okay.  I will take the leap of faith and embrace the unknown.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

October 13, 2016: Discomfort with social media and politics

My Dreams of Gaia card today is the lovely Six of Air. 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, as is so effectively presented within the lovely image on this card.  Ravynne Phelan is a genius.  The card and its image remind me that while things may appear cut and dry and choices may appear to be only black or white, there are always other important shades of meaning that need to be considered.  Every experience and every choice I have made (and indeed, the experiences and choices of others, too) comes into play today.  I am also reminded by the words in the LWB for this deck that “every choice [I] make in the present will shape [my] future.”

We are only weeks away from our election, and I am very, very disgusted with the entire process.  My beautiful country is being destroyed by politics and by the unconquerable desire to win at any cost.  I am a fact checker; if I see something that interests me (or lately, that horrifies me), I do a bit of research so that I know what is being presented is actually accurate.  These days, the truth is apparently no longer a highly-valued commodity.

As I stated a few days ago, it is so difficult for me to not respond to things I see on social media, to attempt to offer a saner version of what is flying around out there.  But the message of this card is valid and valuable today.  Things are not black or white, and people are not either with me or against me.  Everyone perceives the current news cycle in a personal way.  I firmly believe that whatever emotions or feelings or visions that are circling around and bouncing around in my mind are what I attract to me.  I need, more now than ever, to choose what will come to me by controlling my “now.”


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

October 11, 2016: Fermentation continues

The Seneschal reversed is my Dreams of Gaia card for today, and the keywords for The Seneschal are servant, administrator, mediator, justice, law, organized, trustworthy and loyal.  When upright this card tells us that we have authority in this life (either perceived authority or actual authority), and we need to use our authority wisely because in the end, we also answer to “someone.” Because my card is reversed, I am being warned.  Perhaps I am giving loyalty to the wrong person today, or I could be falling prey to mob mentality.  I should remember that even if I respect my leader, if he or she asks me to do something wrong, I need to say no.  I am not willing to sacrifice the tough lessons I’ve learned in this life unless the sacrifice is very worthy.  My goal is to Harm None, to create the highest good for all, including me.

I feel as if the massage I had over the weekend has released more than my shoulders.  The Fermentation process is definitely beginning.  As I described, alcohol is the result of a process of Fermentation, and alcohol is often seen as representing Spirit and Spiritual ecstasy (heck, booze is known as “spirits”), and I am feeling spiritual ecstasy on a regular basis these days.  As soon as I begin my personal Yoga practice, energy fills me, beautiful and potent energy, and this energy stays with me.  I wake up filled with this lovely, comfortable stuff, and go to bed still surrounded by it.  I was a bit apprehensive about the process of Fermentation, but so far it is not uncomfortable at all.


Sunday, December 4, 2016

October 9, 2016: Deep Tissue!

Today I treated myself to a massage, the first full-body massage I have received in literally decades.  I did not plan on my two hour massage being deep tissues, but apparently that is what I needed.  I asked the bodyworker, a young man named Nicholas, to follow his instincts, and once he started working on my shoulders, he could tell I needed some deep work.

Ouch.  That hurts!  But even on the way home from the spa, I could feel that my shoulders had opened up a lot.  I know the theory behind deep tissue massage; I work with fascia all the time.  I know that it hurts.  I just did not know that the results would be so amazing, and so immediate.  And I guess I’m a glutton for punishment, because I purchased three more hour massages.

My Dreams of Gaia card today is the King of Earth, the ruler of the suit.  The keywords for this card are virile, successful, industrious, devoted, steadfast, authoritative, reliable, and dedicated.  The King of Earth is surrounded by a kingdom that is secure, comfortable and wealthy, and people that are content, healthy and happy.  Outsiders might think that this King is sitting pretty because he is lucky, because circumstances have fallen into place with little effort on his part, but that is because he makes ruling this kingdom look easy.  In the end, all this good stuff happens because he did his homework, because he has been dedicated, focused, and not afraid of hard work.  He shares his success without hesitation, and he does not worry that others will take credit for what he has accomplished.  Hmmm . . . might be a message here for me.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

October 8, 2016; The beginning of discomforts of Fermentation

Happy Friday!  My Dreams of Gaia card today is the Ace of Earth, and I am being brought back to the beginning of my understanding of this suit.  The keywords for my Ace are new beginnings, goals, motivation, desire, preparations, opportunity, education, security, potential reward, and potential consequences.  Aces represent new beginnings, new manifestations of the correspondences of the suit, and this Ace is no exception.  The Ace of Earth also tells of change (which is often the catalyst that requires new beginnings), change that is connected to a career or to the home front.  This change could have something to do with finances, or with security, and preparing for the coming change might enable me to lessen any associated stresses.  I do need to be practical and realistic, however; perhaps doing a bit of research before jumping into a situation head-first might be well-advised.

I am feeling more and more of my energy field as I do my Yin Yoga, such lovely energy that urges me onward and deeper into my practice.  I’ve been wondering if it is time to move on to the next phase of the Alchemic Great Work.  Perhaps I will listen to my Earth card of potential, and start talking about the next phase, Fermentation.

In chemical terms, Fermentation means the transformation of organic compounds into something new by the introduction of fermenting bacteria.  Of course, the most well-known process of Fermentation is that used to create alcohol.  The Putrefaction of the Yellow Phase is an important first step for the Fermentation process, because the organic matter needs to begin to decay in order for Fermentation to happen naturally.  In many cases, a chemist, vintner or brewer can add yeast in order to jump start the process.

When true Fermentation begins, the dead and decomposing matter seems to come magickally back to life again!  Things begin churning and bubbling, and all kinds of things boil up.  Ugh, I didn’t remember that this phase offered such discomfort.

A more benign metaphor for this phase is the incubation of a bird’s eggs.  Heat is applied and the embryos develop, until there is no more room in the eggs and the baby birds burst forth.  Okay, there is discomfort in this symbol, too.  Sounds like the next couple of weeks are going to be interesting.


Friday, December 2, 2016

October 5, 2016: Back to reality

My Dreams of Gaia card for today is the Four of Air reversed.  The keywords for the upright card are structure, routine, order, patterns, discipline, organization, understanding, and productivity.  This card in an upright position describes the benefits of being organized, of getting rid of clutter, and following a plan or routine.  If my Four of Air was upright, this would be a good time to implement new habits, but since my card is reversed, distractions may be pulling me away from what needs to be accomplished.  These distractions could be events, or they could be people.  Boundaries and work ethic are both very important to me, and if someone is pulling me away from them I need to be certain they have a real good reason for their efforts.

We are moving away from the effects of the recent Black Moon and my time in the Yellow Phase seems to be ending.  I am feeling more myself; I’ve been doing my daily Yoga practice and I am back to attending regular classes.  I am drinking lots of infused waters, using consumable essential oils, and really trying to detox myself as much as possible.  Of course, this works well during the week but weekends are difficult.  No matter, I am doing my personal Yoga practice every day, an hour (minimum) of Yin and a half hour of Sun Salutations and Warrior flows.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

October 3, 2016: Summing up the Watchers

October 3, 2016:

My Dreams of Gaia card is another Earth card, the Three of Earth.  The keywords for this card are ambition, sowing seeds, groundwork, energy investment, fertility, outcomes, and sacrifice.  The Three of Earth represents preparation within the correspondences of the element of Earth, and also the sacrifices we make in order for our preparations to be the best they can be.  The LWB for this deck reminds me that “the outcome can only be equal to the investment you are willing to make in the here and now.”  Important advice, eh?  Foundation is important, but so is fortitude, the willingness to hang in there to the end.  Sounds like yesterday’s advice. 

Now that I’ve made it through all four Watchers, it might be time to begin to sum up what I’ve learned about each of them.  I happen to find keywords quite valuable, and so I will begin with two keywords for each Watcher, one a positive focus and one a warning. 

Haftorang, Watcher of the North, is about the Earthly effects of the four elements taken to the next level.  My keywords that will act as a focus for Haftorang are “magick/alchemy” and “bad choices/selections.”  I love working with the elements of our world and I love learning about the way those elements support or conflict with each other, and I love experiencing the manifestations that happen through interactions of the elements.  That is my positive focus.  Magickal or alchemical workings depend mightily on the ingredients chosen by the magician or alchemist for the working; bad choices (my warning) can end the working without achieving the desired results.

Satevis, Watcher of the West, is about the element of Water and its correspondences, and the ways that Water manifest and affect my entire life.  These manifestations can be connected to feelings, emotions, visions, divination, or purity, as well as heaviness, flexibility, and even shapeshifting (because water assumes the shape of its container).  I will use the word “feelings” to represent all of these correspondences.  My positive focus for Satevis is “strong feelings.”  That is what she brings to me.  The warning is “obstinacy,” an ever-present danger when working with strong feelings.

Venant, Watcher of the South, is about the element of Fire and its correspondences.  Power, leadership, passion, courage and violence are all manifestations of the correspondences of Fire within the human experience, and Venant offers all of these and more to me.  My positive focus here is “alertness,” a necessary skill for dealing with Fire and all of its correspondences and manifestations.  My warning is “revenge”; when we feel passionate about something and it is taken away for us, that passion can often turn negative and harmful. 

Tishtya, Watcher of the East, is about the element of Air and its correspondences, and about the workings of the mind and the intellect.  Tishtya often is said to predict success, usually achieved through the passing of some kind of test.  That means ethics, learning, focus, practice, discipline, and dealing in a positive way with loss are all important here; after all, Tishtya is said to be the origin of the phrase “hitting the bull’s eye.”  My positive focus for the Watcher of the East is “integrity”; my warning is “test.” 


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

October 2, 2016: The Peacock's Tail

One alchemic symbol for the Yellow Phase state is the peacock’s tail.  The peacock’s tail was chosen because of the many iridescent colors that shimmer within the long, graceful feathers, and because of the brilliant blue, green, gold and red “eyes” on those feathers, eyes that see past the distraction of the shimmering colors in order to perceive that which is hidden.  The "eyes" on the peacock's tail are also thought to represent all universes and the iridescence of its colors the entire spectrum of light that reflects the infinite dimensions of consciousness.

My job now is to begin the process of becoming aware of the many facets or colors of my soul, and then integrating them permanently into my conscious self.  I’ve read that sometimes this stage is not entirely pleasant at first; I need to persevere through the discomfort in order to perceive the full display of the marvelous colors of the peacock's tail.

The Dreams of Gaia Ten of Earth has returned yet again. The image on the Ten of Earth has quiet feel, a pause perhaps to accept that I have fulfilled the promise of the Earth cards.  This is not vanity, but rather an acknowledgement that my hard work is paying off and I am integrating what I have learned into my day-to-day life. The keywords for this card, synthesis, harmony, reward, inner peace, grace, highest good, and authenticity, validate that.  There is another important message to be found here, hinted at within the image.  The woman, who is so immersed in the many beings and varied experiences of the physical world that her skin is turning green in places, holds a mask in her hands.  That mask almost looks animal in nature.  She is telling me two things: be myself and celebrate who I am, and know that my work is allowing me to “become” another being in order to experience empathy and to know first-hand that we are all connected.

Perhaps this time the Ten of Earth is telling me to continue hanging in there through the discomfort, because soon enough it will all come together.


Monday, November 28, 2016

October 1, 2016: Yellow Phase and manifestation

October 1, 2016: 

The King of Water!  Finally, a non-Earth card, but another repeat. The keywords for the King of Water are calm, contemplative, insightful, fluid, balanced, protective, and nurturing, as well as jealousy and possessiveness.  This King is sensitive and thoughtful, but not weak or soft.  He is strong, and confident enough to be both mother and father to those he loves.  Because he can unite critical thinking with emotional logic, he is also good at looking within his own self, with compassion and without judgment.  He can make a sound decision based on logic, but also taking into account the emotions and feelings surrounding an issue.  He also understands that emotions and gender are two entirely separate issues.

The King of Water also tells of a time of calm and peace, and a place where I can just be me and exist on my own timetable.  I don’t get to do that very often, so I will gladly create this kind of pause for myself.  Since I am alone this weekend, I should be able to make this happen.

I read a bit more about the Citrinitas (Yellow) Phase.  We can consider the Black Phase as ignorance, the White Phase as reflection (the thought process, not the mirror image) and idealization; the Yellow Phase is the process of manifesting those ideals, and the approaching Red Phase represents those moments of fulfillment when those ideals shine through the dark cloak of the material world.  Glimpses of the Machinery of the Universe?  Perhaps; I’m hoping.  But first I must get past Putrefaction. 

"Putrefaction is so effective that it destroys the old nature and form of the rotting bodies; it transmutes them into a new state of being to give them a totally new fruit. Everything that has life, dies; everything that is dead putrefies and finds a new life." (Pernety, 1758)


Friday, November 25, 2016

September 30, 2016: Fermentation

My Dreams of Gaia card is another Earth card, the Two of Earth reversed.  I threw this one in an upright position about ten days ago. The keywords for this card are equilibrium, flexibility, adaptability, balance, harmony, compromise, confidence, procrastination and freedom.  This card reminds us of the importance of balancing our personal responsibilities regarding work, home, family, and pleasure, while remaining flexible so we can adapt to the circumstances of the day and meet our responsibilities.  I am being told by my reversed Two of Earth that I may need to prioritize my responsibilities before I am overwhelmed.  If I don’t decide what to focus on, things may fall through the cracks, and that won’t make me happy.  I might end up creating discomforts for others, too, which also won’t make me happy. 

From now on, I will pull a Major Arcana card from this deck for Full and New Moons, and for Sabbats.  My New Black Moon card is The Crone; how appropriate is that?  This card is full of symbolism that is relevant to me.  There is a raven sitting in the gnarled, old tree behind the Crone, and indeed the Crone’s dark robes studded with glistening stars (guidance, look to a higher source for direction) appears to be a part of that tree.  There is a serpent (renewal, rebirth, shedding of the old) wrapped around the Crone’s arm and the spear-like wand she carries, and there is a beautiful, glowing crystal at the tip of the wand.  There are mushrooms (male energy, eccentricity, immortality) growing out from between the roots of the tree, and there appears to be a gateway behind the tree; visible in the gateway is a dark, starry sky and a waning crescent moon (cycles, time, moving from one phase to another).  That is a lot of symbolism for one card!

The Crone is the number VI of the Major Arcana.  The keywords for this card are feminine power, fearlessness, authenticity, individuality, independence, new purpose, freedom and shadow self.  As hinted at by the keywords, The Crone represents a proud and independent woman who is no longer influenced by the need to reproduce or the responsibilities of parenting.  The Crone is not afraid to walk her Path alone, she is not afraid to look to her own needs in whatever manner feels right to her.  She is comfortable in her own skin, she is honest (sometimes brutally), wise, and unafraid to deliver tough love if she feels it is needed.  She is telling me to reject stereotypes or expectations, be brave and determined, and take the direct approach when making choices.  Finally, she is reminding me that I am who I believe I am.  Powerful message!

These two cards together offer an important reading.  I need to continue to strive for balance, but I also need to remember that evolution not only requires the acceptance of change, but it also requires the release of what no longer serves me.  I need to be happy with who I am right now, and understand that as long as I make choices through both the mind and the heart, I should not judge myself harshly if things don’t turn out the way I intended.  By shedding the old and being flexible, I can make use of the power that is right there in my hands.  I am, after all, grasping that power right now.

For the first time in many months, I performed my own new moon Esbat.  It was wonderful to return to my own ritual; re-experiencing those familiar words has had an energizing effect.  I do feel as if I have reached the tipping point in all my work since I began this round of the Great Work back in the end of June.  Going forward from here, I expect to be tested.  After all, there is no better way to determine if I have done good work than to be tested by Deity.  I’m just hoping the test won’t be too painful. 

According to The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Alchemy, there is a mini-step between Conjunction and Fermentation called “Putrefaction.”  Putrefaction is the final cleansing of impurities or remnants of ego, and it is a necessary step that prepares for a rebirth into a more perfect level of existence.  This step is often named Citrinitas; if Nigredo represents the darkness of the unconscious, home to the negative and fearful aspects of the self, and Albedo is the first white light of the awakening soul, shining into the darkness like the moon illuminates the night, then Citrinitas is that moment when the first rays of the sun (still below the horizon) begin to bring golden light that chases away the darkness.