Tuesday, May 30, 2017

April 21, 2017: I'm back, and with a new focus


So here I am, returning from the void of moving.  I am mostly unpacked, the dust is settling, and I am crawling out of the Dark Night of the Soul that is the result of the complete chaos and upheaval of a physical world move.  

Spring is in the air (although Winter clings stubbornly, still bringing chill in the air), and the early and brave flowers are in bloom.  My head is finally learning, and I am being drawn back into the Work.  

The final stage of the Great Work is called Coagulation.  Coagulations occurs when all of the other stages have been experienced, digested and understood (and that might take more than one trip through a particular stage).  According to a Llewellyn newsletter article on the Great Work, not many Seekers reach this final level of complete integration.  Have I successfully completed Coagulation?  I don’t know.  But I think it is time to move on and step away from the Great Work, at least for now.  I’m sure that when it is needed, I will be drawn back once again.  

Because I am moving on to a new focus, I am changing the way I work with the Dreams of Gaia Tarot.  I will now shuffle all cards together.  I will attempt to draw cards for Esbats and Sabbats, and ion other days as well.  I will be keeping my Significator for this deck, the Faith card, number XXIV.

And what will I be doing next?  I was writing the monthly submission for my column, Tarot Talk, in PaganPages, working on The Hierophant, and got snagged down the rabbit hole of Pathworking.  I’ve done this before but I believe I did not make it through all 22 of the Paths.  The time has come to begin again.  

In honor of this new endeavor, I threw a Dreams of Gaia card and got the Four of Air reversed.  What a perfect description of the state of my mind these past months!  The keywords for this card are structure, routine, order, patterns, discipline, organization, understanding, and productivity.  And I have had none of these, due to my move.  This card in an upright position explains the need for order and structure, especially if there are tasks to be accomplished (and when are there ever **not** tasks to be accomplished?) and the need for routine, ritual and consistency if we want to be productive.  

The Four of Air in a reversed position is a bit of a warning for me; it tells me that setting this intention today is all well and good, but if I don’t reestablish my routines and rituals, all will be for naught.  I need to impose the same work ethic on this endeavor that I imposed on the move (as I am almost completely unpacked).  I also need to continue my purge of clutter, getting rid of the habits or belongings that might distract me from this next important step.  

It feels good to be back!!


Friday, May 26, 2017

January 3, 2017: A brief pause while I pack and move

My Dreams of Gaia card for today is the Ten of Earth.  I’ve had this one numerous times since beginning to work with this deck, both upright and reversed.  The image on this one is serene, filled with bounty; I am particularly drawn to the Mona Lisa smile on the girl in the image; just the tiniest uplift of the corner of her mouth is the only evidence of the serenity, peace and confidence within..  The keywords for this one are synthesis, harmony, reward, inner peace, grace, highest good, and authenticity.  The message is clear: after making it successfully through all of the Earth cards thus far, we have achieved balance in all aspects of life – career, home, family, self – and they are all coming together as an integrated whole, reflecting the well-being and connectiveness within.  This card also tells me that at least for now, I’ve created a balance between home, career, and family, a balance that is sourced from some hard work on my part.  

This balance will be my foundation over the next three or four months, as I prepare to move.  After all, the best way too deal with a huge change in life is with confidence and a strong foundation.  

I will return once my move is completed and I am ready to complete the Great Work.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

January 1, 2017: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Okay the time has come to get used to typing a new year, 2017 instead of 2016.

My New Year’s Day Minor Arcana card is the Nine of Water.  Oh, this one is perfect for a new day, a new month and a new year.  The image on this card shows a woman surrounded by darkness, looking upward toward the beams of silvery light that are shining on her from above.  Such powerful symbolism: moving out of the darkness that is the past, emotional stress, or even physical-world challenge, and into some new way of being.  We don’t know just yet what that new way of being is, but it is bright and attractive.  The keywords for this card are illumination, acceptance, openness, emotional enlightenment, strength, courage, fear, and ignorance.  This card talks about light being borne into the Void, and the ways that emotional light can open our hearts and break the cycle of heavy emotions.  The Nine of Waters also reminds us that we need to shine that light into the darkest of corners, for denying pain is not healthy.  Better that we examine our memories, accept them all, and then (once we know them intimately) release those that no longer serve us. 

I love the image on this card, and its meaning is particularly relevant to me today.  The holiday season will be over by the end of the day, and now my focus is on getting ready to move.  These moving preparations are varied, from purging things I no longer use, to donating things that are still usable, to finishing my RYT-500 training, and of course, to finishing the Great Work.

To me, this pause during the holiday season gives me a chance to solidify what I’ve already discovered about myself, and it gives me a chance to put into practice new habits.  See?  Perfect timing!


Saturday, May 20, 2017

December 29, 2016: New Moon in Capricorn, dark days of Yuletide, and moving forward

December 29, 2016:

I am deep into the dark days of Yuletide, spending much of my free time looking inward, examining my subtle body and my emotions and feelings, so I can determine what I have accomplished, what I need to let go of, and where I should focus as this calendar year comes to an end.  I have done okay, doing less than I wanted in some areas, and yet accomplishing more in unexpected ways.  I’ve not journaled or posted for a few days because I felt that I needed to let things simmer for a bit.

I did not expect that this time working through the Great Work would affect me the way it has.  I am still dealing with the effects of Saturn, first within my Second Saturn Return, and now because Saturn is in my sun sigh, Sagittarius, causing lethargy and times of being very foggy-brained.  I think my efforts to function and evolve despite the fog have made me stronger.  

Going through the Watchers, working even deeper with my Elemental Guides, and including chakra and Reiki work almost daily, have deepened and broadened my own personal practice.  These connections are open in a low-grade way through most of the day, and it is now very easy for me to actively intensify the connection.  I’ve created a strong conduit to the non-physical entities in my life, and a strong conduit to Deity.  

Today is the New Moon in Capricorn, the last New Moon of this calendar year.  My Dreams of Gais Major Arcana card for this New Moon is Love, reversed. I can’t understand why I am getting so many reversed cards lately; what message am I missing?  Anyway, Capricorn, the tenth sign of the zodiac, is a Cardinal earth sign, ruled by Saturn.  Capricorn people are stable, hard-working, practical, methodical, and ambitious, never losing sight of goals regardless of how many obstacles or distractions are in the way.  Capricorn people are a bit stoic and rigid, and they will stick to their beliefs despite convincing evidence to the contrary.  More than anything else they enjoy power, respect, and authority, and they are willing to toe the line for as long as it takes to achieve those goals.  The Capricorn personality is one that is firmly grounded in reality; here is the voice of reason in a chaotic world.  A Capricorn person may seem unfriendly, arrogant, or without humor to outsiders, but remember the image of this astrological sign has a fish’s tail.  The emotions are there, just hidden within that inhibited exterior.  As far as material wealth is concerned, Capricorn approaches finances with prudence, planning, and discipline, and thus, there are not many Capricorns who are lacking in physical-world resources.

This New Moon is perhaps warning me that right now I need to control my emotions and not allow visions to distract me from the day-to-day tasks of the day.  The interesting little wild card here is that Mercury is also in Capricorn, and it is retrograde.  Eeeep!  Expect the unexpected, I guess!

Love is the XII card of the Majors; its keywords are love, infatuation, love for self, confidence, love for life, and expansion.  The image on this card shows a young woman with dark hair, a flowered crown, large white wings, and a heart shining with brilliant golden rays.  Behind her is a beautiful Celtic knot, and on either side of her are golden butterflies.  A beautiful yellow flower with verdant green leaves is at her feet.  The sky behind her is a rainbow of colors, from white, yellow, pink and purple toward the horizon up past fluffy and filmy clouds to a dark star-studded sky at the top of the card.  Love and the experiencing of love is the fourth reason for being within this deck (the others are Knowledge, Wisdom, Healing, Union, Self, Abundance and Destiny); this card encourages me to experience all kinds of love. The companion book describes this as experiencing love “. . . in all of its forms — from co-dependent and need-based love,  to big, unconditional Universal Love —and to understand that love comes in many different forms and guises.”  Perhaps I might understand why this card is reversed today; after all, Love is huge and manifests in many, many ways.  Love can make us amazingly compassionate and giving beings, and love can destroy a person and break him or her into tiny pieces.  

I wonder if this card is reminding me today that for many reasons, now is the time for me to begin a huge change.  Yes there are things and people that I love and don’t want to release, but if events are pushing me in a different way, then release them I must.  If I fight this, things might get uncomfortable.  

Yeah, back to reality.  Already. 


Thursday, May 18, 2017

December 21, 2016: Yule Blessings!

Today is the Winter Solstice, Yule.  It is the longest night and shortest day, the time when the Oak King and the Holly King battle once more, but this time the Oak King wins the battle, and the Waxing Year begins.  However, the renewal of light is not apparent at the beginning of the Waxing Year.  Twilight comes early still, and dawn is still slow to arrive.  I found this beautiful writing online; it really sums up this quiet, dark time of me:

"When winter comes to a woman’s soul, she withdraws into her inner self, her deepest spaces. She refuses all connection, refutes all arguments that she should engage in the world. She may say she is resting, but she is more than resting: She is creating a new universe within herself, examining and breaking old patterns, destroying what should not be revived, feeding in secret what needs to thrive.

Winter women are those who bring into the next cycle what should be saved. They are the deep conservators of knowledge and power. Not for nothing did ancient peoples honor the grandmother. In her calm deliberateness, she winters over our truth, she freezes out false-heartedness.

Look into her eyes, this winter woman. In their gray spaciousness you can see the future. Look out of your own winter eyes. You too can see the future."

By Patricia Monaghan

My Yule Sabbat Dreams of Gaia Major Arcana card is Thought, the number XVIII card, in a reversed position.  The keywords for this card are thought, reality, power, attention, focus, attraction, positivity, negativity, and Universal Law.  I have a huge connection to this card, because it is telling me that if I think, then I exist.  I’ve been through this, been through that moment when I realize that all of reality, everything around me, might just be created by my mind.  I had to find peace with this, and come to understand that even if the world is a creation of my mind, it has validity to me.  My thoughts have power; after all, they’ve created this reality, created it so that I can perceive everything around me with my physical senses.  That is the reason this card has such powerful influences on our lives; Thought creates reality.  The cool thing is that scientists don’t quite know why we think just yet.  They don’t know how the whole thinking process works.  Thought is not just a mental activity; it can also influence the way we live and the way we perceive all parts of life, both on the conscious and the unconscious levels.  Power!


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

December 14, 2016: Distillation and A Sore Back


Things have been busy!  I attended the PBT Solstice Salon this past Saturday evening.  As always, being with this extended group is a healing experience.  I love the fact that the group consists of many varieties of people with various and inspiring lives; we all get together with open minds and open hearts, and we create and strengthen valuable and permanent connections.  

I’ve also been suffering from a sore back, since last weekend.  We had our family holiday party, a formal sit-down dinner for 17, and somehow, this year I threw my lower back out.  Yes, me, “Miss Yoga,” threw her back out.  It has taken a bit of time to finally improve, but after a week caution (and moments of forgetting that my back is tender, and setting myself back a bit), I will finally attempt some very gentle stretches today.  I’m crossing my fingers that I will be able to do this.

I began today to read a bit about the next step in the Great Work, Distillation.  Distillation is defined as the process of purifying a liquid through heating and then cooling.  This process can actually extract volatile components of a mixture.  The process involves heating a liquid, and then collecting the vapors or steam that arise and the cooling the vapors until they become liquid.  A “distillate” is considered a concentrated essence. 

This process is also defined in a less literal sense, as the extraction of essential meaning or most important aspects of something.  Also, the process can be refined to extrude elements with different boiling points.  This means a chemist can extract different ingredients from one mixture, assuming those ingredients have different boiling points.

Alcohol can be produced by distillation, and if alcohol is seen as “spirits” and thus as a correspondence to Spirit, then we could say that Spirit is created by this process.  

My Dreams of Gaia card for today is the Three of Water.  The keywords for this card are satisfaction, pleasure,. Joy, hopefulness, anticipation, attachment, expectation, and disappointment.  This card is seen as a positive affirmation, an assurance that things are going well and success is on its way.  It’s okay to take a moment to look back at what has been already accomplished in order to verify and assure that hard-won foundation is still in place, but I should not look back for too long.  Instead, my eyes should be forward, and I should allow myself to anticipate good things.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

December 13, 2016: Full Moon In Gemini

Today is the Full Moon in Gemini, and my Dreams of Gaia Major Arcana card is the Self card, number XIV, in a reversed position.  The keywords for this card are I am, identity, elf-realization, self-manifestation, center, peace, and acceptance.  The Self card represents one of the reasons for being, and it celebrates the individual.  We are each a unique work of art, different in some ways than any other person who ever is now, ever was, or ever will be.  This idea of individuality does not always mesh well with the needs of the group, but it is important.  Without this uniqueness, new ideas would not exist.  While we do need to act with the highest good of all, and not just our own needs, we all should not condemn or repress the ways that we are different or unique.  We need to love who we are first, and accept and even highly value the ways that we don’t fit in, or we won’t thrive.  Because my Self card is reversed today, I need to take special care to think for myself, to make decisions and choices based on what I believe is right and correct, and not only on what others are deciding or choosing to say or do.  If I can manage to respect myself exactly as I am, I will continue to draw to myself those who are like me.  That, after all, is the message the Eight of Water gave me a few days ago.

The Moon is an interesting celestial body.  It revolves around our Earth and not the Sun, like other planets in our solar system, and that orbit is synchronous so we always see the same face of the Moon.    Our Moon has effects on our Earth; it is the Moon’s gravity that causes the tides of our oceans.  The Moon’s influence actually stabilizes the Earth’s orbit around the Sun!  The Moon is associated with a person’s emotional make-up, unconscious habits, rhythms, memories, moods, and a person’s ability to react and adapt to his or her environment. It is also associated with Yin energy, the receptive feminine life principal, the mother, maternal instincts or the urge to nurture, the home, the need for security and the past, especially early experiences and childhood.  Gemini is about communication of all kinds, and about collecting information and stimulating the mind.  Geminis are a mix of yin and yang, and they can easily see both sides of an issue; they are very practical.  They are adaptable and flexible but they can also tend toward being wishy-washy, and they are not always good at following through to the end of a project.  Gemini is all about the intellect, the mind, and the thinking process.  They think clearly and make use of logic, and they can be real good at seeing the big picture.  Gemini rules the nervous system, and calmness is a quality they need to cultivate.  They love to play, love to share their fun and their ideas with others, and they love adventures that stimulate the mind.

There is a message here: look in all directions, north, south, east, west, up, down, in, and out.  All messages are valid, and communication is needed in order for me to adapt to the situations that present themselves.  I should not think that my opinion is not important if it goes against the accepted way of doing things.  

Hmmm . . .


Sunday, May 14, 2017

December 9, 2016: What would Deity do?

My Dreams of Gaia card for today is the King of Fire!  Nice progression, eh?  The keywords for the King of Fire are proactive, dauntless, inspirational, vital, powerful, passionate, charismatic, and involved.  This card reminds me that passion is a vital part of any creative endeavor, but so is the ability to ground and focus.  By combining these three things, passion, grounding and focus, I can accomplish miracles.  Nothing worth doing is easy, and the King of Fire is the perfect person to help me to achieve the impossible.  He also reminds me that I can’t accomplish wonders on my own.  I need to have a team, but I need to do my part as well.  

The majority of my interactions, particularly those interactions that happen with adversarial parties, are being accomplished with the concept of Fermentation in one corner of my brain.  It is interesting that if I do my best to keep Deity involved in the process (a kind of “what would Deity do?” before speaking or acting), it is easier and easier for me to remember to attempt to walk in the other side’s shoes before choosing a response. My basic methods of perception are actually changing.  I am allowing myself, no encouraging myself, to be inspired by Deity.  In the end, this is exactly what Fermentation is.  

This change feels tenuous and fragile.  I am nervous with stating that I have mastered the Fermentation process in this round of the Great Work.  We never truly master these kinds of processes; one entire life is not enough time to do that.  But we need to wring everything possible from the process before moving onward.  That is what I am doing now.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

December 6, 2016: Choices, Discomfort and Change

I saw a bald eagle yesterday at mile marker 49, when driving back from Cape May.  This was the first one I’ve seen in a long time!

My Dreams of Gaia card for today is another upright Six card, the Six of Air.  The keywords for this card are solutions, comparisons, compromise, open-mindedness, mindfulness, illumination, epiphany, and personal power.  This card tells me that now is the time to create a powerful and effective compromise that is created not as an either/or or black/white kind of situation, but rather through interviews and research, through considering many possibilities and their many possible manifestations and consequences.  I am being reminded that every choice I make today will have a tangible effect going forward.  This means I have immense power at my fingertips, and just the awareness of the potential of this power I have can change my future.  The down side (and there is always a down side) is that I am responsible, and I can’t blame anyone but myself if I am not happy with the results.  

The image on the Six of Air is somewhat similar to the image on the Two of Air.  Both cards are half dark and half white and they both represent the idea of choices.  The difference between them is that the Two of Air has no other color; it presents duality (which separates) and polarity (which joins), and the Six of Air infuses color to the image.  The Six also infuses the idea of the written word, and the idea of compassion; it infuses the idea of the effects of the chakras, and the effects of input of Deity.  More choices, more sources of information are available here.  

My horoscope this week presented by Chani Nicholas offers the following: "Break with the personal traditions that bind you to limited ideas about yourself, but reinvent the traditions that you need to keep. This is an extremely creative period you are entering. Do what you can to support its visions and follow its leads.”  I love the idea that I am entering a creative period!  Choices, many powerful choices, are available to me, and if my card throws are any indication, I am doing the work to access the best of these choices.  And isn’t this just what Fermentation offers me?  Perhaps I am ready to accept the discomfort that is a part of these positive changes.  Yes, I do tend to cling to comfortable situations, and I do need to have confidence in my understanding of a concept or task or belief.  But sticking only to what I know brings stagnation.  

Time to allow Fermentation to churn and bubble!


Friday, May 12, 2017

December 4, 2016: Meditation

Since meditation is one practice that encourages the process of Fermentation, here is a bit if information I found on the internet regarding meditation:

"It is know that during meditation exalted feelings and unusual observations can happen. In essence there are two kinds of observations. The first one is wanting to escape the discipline of meditation, which Zen practitioners call makyo. Makyo are illusions we project onto reality in order to escape the guidelines of meditation. For example, the object of meditation is starting to radiate with a wonderful light or color, or it expands and contracts rhythmically. One starts to feel lighter or heavier, or one feels pleasant energies going through the body. All kinds of sensations can happen. Many meditators are readily distracted by these phenomena, and even take great interest in them, thereby neglecting the real purpose of their meditation. One needs to be aware of this.

A second cause of distraction is a change in consciousness whereby we look at the world in a different way than we did in the past. It can be quite a shock reverberating on the psychic or bodily level. The accompanying feelings can be quite wonderful. But the advice is: enjoy it, do not take it seriously, and continue with the meditation.

Visions are also distracting. Many wise men and mystics have pointed to this kind of danger. 'We should not long for or expect visions. With all our power we should refrain from them and look at them with suspicion.' (Ignatius of Loyola). They always stress that visions of lights, of angels, yes even of the great masters, should be neglected, because they block inner progress.”

Okay, it seems that I am to accept whatever comes up, but not allow any ideas, visions or sensations to derail or distract.  Easier said than done, in some circumstances.  

My Dreams of Gaia Tarot card for today is the Eight of Fire reversed.  The keywords for this card are action, change, transformation, transmutation, rebirth, freedom, renewal, purpose, and joy.  Basically, this card represents the transformation that comes to us through taking action.  Oh, I understand this one!  Thinking about bringing about change, planning and itemizing a list of steps to take, can be exciting, but it is only once we choose to start doing things, to take actions so we can cross items off that plan that we actually feel as if we are accomplishing something.  In an upright position, this card tells us to get up off the couch and get to work so we can be empowered.  However, my card is reversed today, which means it is reminding me that doing nothing is a choice, too, and in this instance change is going to hammer no matter what.  If I want skins in the game, I can’t allow fear or lethargy to hold me back or I will have to live with an outcome over which I have no input.    Another possible interpretation for a reversed Eight of Fire could be to look carefully before I leap.  Sometimes impulse brings a thinking-out-of-the-box result, but occasionally a look before leaping prevents an injury.  

It is interesting to me that on a day during which I am focusing on inner, meditative work my Dreams of Gaia gives me a card about taking physical action, but in a reversed position.  Could my reversed Eight of Fire be encouraging me to take action in a non-physical manner?? 


Thursday, May 11, 2017

December 3, 2016: The Peacock's Tail?

Things are happening within me.  The “breakdown of cohesion” that is Putrefaction is causing a sloughing-off of the unnecessary.  This is happening in my physical world (as I prepare to move on April 1) and in my spiritual world (as I decide what is worth keeping within my personal Practice and what is no longer serving me.  The cool thing is that for the most part, the empty spaces being created as I unload the unnecessary are being filled with a renewed awareness of energy, a renewed awareness of entities not of the physical world, and a renewed awareness of my Guides and of the Sacred Essence that is Goddess and God.  

This morning I woke up, started the coffee, and went for a walk.  It is December 3rd, and yet there are flowers in bloom, mostly roses.  Before heading out, I walked my garden, and to my amazement I found two different rose bushes in bloom (a pink rose with a delicious fragrance, and a flower and another bud on my yellow hybrid), and a bright orange Gerber daisy.  I left to walk toward the beach, and was amazed to find that my flowers are not the only ones in bloom; there are rose bushes covered with blossoms all over the place!

The sky is a brilliant blue, flowers are blooming, the air is crisp and clean.  My mind became clear as well, and for the first time in weeks I connected with Ailm, one of my Guides.  Coincidentally, she had mentioned to me earlier in the Fall that she and Bear were not making the journey into the mountains this year, and they were instead choosing to spend the winter at the ocean community.  I realized that she and Bear had made the decision to relocate right before The Hubs and I made that decision.  The message was there all the time; I just missed it!

Colors.  All the colors around me seem brighter, more vibrant . . . alive.  Is this the Peacock’s Tail??

My Dreams of Gaia card for today is the Six of Earth.  The keywords for the Six of Earth card are family, community, responsibility, duty, service, self-sacrifice, protection, dependability, and martyrdom.  This card reminds us of duty, duty to ourselves, duty to our families and loved ones, and duty to those who depend on us in some way for attention and care; this duty includes a more wide-reaching duty to nature, to our environment, and to Deity.  I need to become the best person I can be, because who I am has an effect on my immediate environment.  I share this world with many, many other life forms and because I have an effect on the environment just by existing, I have a huge responsibility to manifest myself with awareness, with compassion, with the intent to cause no harm and for the highest good of all.  The Six of Earth reminds me that while these intentions should always be a part of my day, right now they are personally important, and I need to pay attention.  

The interesting thing about the image on this card (which reminds me of Haftorang), is that the being is chained to a yoke by cuffs on his wrists, with the yoke on his massive shoulders.  Around his neck is a torc held in place by a padlock, and below that a chain on which is strung the key for that lock.  He holds a bowl of fruit and grains in one hand, and a hand scythe in the other.  The symbolism here is simple and quite powerful: we are bound to the Earth whether we like it or not, but if we embrace that bond, take responsibility for it, and agree to do the work necessary to maintain that which we are responsible for, we will have access to the harvest that will come, to the fruits of our labors.  



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

November 29, 2016: Fermentation and Putrefaction

My Dreams of Gaia Minor Arcana card for today is the Four of Fire.  The keywords for this card are action, concentration, focused energy, practice, increased skill, application, impetus, and work ethic.  The card tells of a deliberate action that is accomplished by having a mind sharply focused and having skills honed to perfection.  And the story of this card is not just about the mind, it is also about physical manifestations of these disciplines.   Human beings are not born with the instinctive knowledge needed to survive; instead we learn, slowly but surely, how to prosper both physically and energetically.  This learning involves practice and dedication, but eventually the skills are manifested without much forethought.  I have to be committed to this learning process for the long term, as these skills are not easily or quickly obtained.

I am still moving back and forth between the Yellow Phase and Fermentation.  Each time I feel that I am ready to move forward, I am drawn to once again go back and make certain the Putrefaction has completed and I’ve released what needs to be let go.  Perhaps I need to look at these two stages in a different way.

Wikipedia describes Putrefaction as “one of seven stages in the decomposition of the body of a dead animal. It can be viewed, in broad terms, as the decomposition of proteins in a process that results in the eventual breakdown of cohesion between tissues and the liquefaction of most organs. It is caused by bacterial or fungal decomposition of organic matter and results in production of noxious odors.”  Putrefaction is the fifth stage of death, following pallor mortis (post mortem paleness), algor mortis (change in body temperature until ambient temperature is matched), rigor mortis (chemical changes in the muscles post mortem which cause the limbs to stiffen), and livor mortis (settling of the blood in the lower portion of the body post mortem, causing a purple/red discoloration), and is followed by decomposition (metabolic breakdown of materials into simpler components by living organisms) and skeletonization (last vestiges of soft tissues have decayed and been eliminated, leaving only bones).

All organic tissues are composed of chemical energy; when we die, the constant biochemical maintenance of the living organism ceases, and the tissues begin to chemically break down. The breakdown of the proteins of a decomposing body is a spontaneous process, and it is accelerated as the bacteria of the digestive tract consume, digest, and excrete the cellular proteins of the body. The bacterial digestion of the cellular proteins weakens the tissues of the body. As the proteins are consumed, the bacteria excrete gases and organic compounds. Initially, the gases of putrefaction are held within the body cavities, but eventually they diffuse through adjacent tissues and then into the circulatory system and the rest of the body.  The body bloats as the internal pressure of the continually rising volume of gas stresses, weakens, and separates the tissues holding the gas. In the course of putrefaction, the skin tissues of the body eventually rupture and release the bacterial gas.  Ugh.

Fermentation is a metabolic process that converts sugar to acids, gases or alcohol. It occurs in yeast and bacteria.  To many people, fermentation simply means the production of alcohol: grains and fruits are fermented to produce beer and wine. If a food has soured, we might say it was “off” or fermented.  Fermentation is a common way of preserving things, and often creates flavors that people enjoy.

So basically, fermentation involves the microbial breakdown of sugars, which creates alcohol or acids.  Putrefaction involves the microbial breakdown of proteins, which cause the putrid smells associated with cadavers, and are generally NOT something people enjoy. Sugar and starch-rich foods tend to undergo fermentation, while protein rich foods (especially meat) will putrefy. The limited putrefaction that can happen during the aging/fermentation of certain meats MIGHT lead to desirable flavors and tenderness if allowed in very small amounts, but any significant amount of putrefaction is generally considered bad because of the terrible smell.

Hmmm . . .  So Fermentation is living inspiration created by the infusion of something totally beyond us, of Godhead or Deity.  Fermentation is the rousing of living energy (chi or kundalini) in the body to heal and vivify. It is the evolution of life to produce higher consciousness. Putrefaction can be seen as a sort of “tenderizer,” the same way that putrefaction tenderizes beef.  The decomposition creates an environment that is open to the infusion of Deity or the Essence of Deity. From what I’ve found, Fermentation can be achieved through various activities such as intense prayer, a strong desire for mystical union, a breakdown of the personality, psychedelic drugs, and deep meditation.  Psychedelic drugs are out, but there are plenty of alternatives.

I think I don’t have anything to worry about despite the jumping back to Putrefaction and forward to Fermentation.  Sooner or later, the tenderizing process will be completed enough so that the Essence of the Divine can enter.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

November 28, 2016: Nature, Experience and Balance

My Dreams of Gaia Major Arcana card for today is card number XXIV, Faith, in a reversed position.  The keywords for this card are faith, self-belief, confidence, Divine connection, trust, serenity, and surrender.  This card is not just about Faith, as in religious faith, it is also about personal faith, about having the self-confidence to endure, and to even overcome life’s challenges.  This card is an Influence card and thus its energies influence me today.  Faith is powerful although it is intangible or invisible, and indeed having faith in oneself can create miracles.  Faith also tells me that I am not alone; I have the support of other loved ones, and of Deity; I am part of something larger, and those connections are valuable.  Because my card is reversed today, there is some disconnect to the concept of Faith, perhaps an inability to understand that I am valuable, or an inability to see others with kindness, or even a difficulty with letting go of past mistakes (either my own or the mistakes of others).  I guess I need to remind myself today that the process of surviving discomfort can offer valuable learning experiences.

The Faith card is also my significator card for this deck.  A significator is a card consciously chosen via a specific method to represent the seeker.  There are all kinds of methods for choosing a significator, including appearance, age, gender, or astrological sign.  Some people choose a Court Card or a Minor Arcana card, others choose a Major Arcana based on the situation being addressed by the reading (for instance, if the issue involves parents, The Child, The Youth, The Mother, or The Father in this deck would be appropriate).  I chose to use a Major Arcana card for this deck, and threw my significator before beginning to work with the Majors.  The Faith card is so right for me at this time in my life.  I am gradually becoming The Crone in every way; I’ve been in menopause for years now, I don’t work full-time out of the house any more, and we are preparing to move into our home in Cape May, which will probably be the last home we have.  My spiritual life has become hugely important to me, and I try to allow my Wiccan practices to infuse every bit of my daily living.  Having Faith show up reversed does not disturb me today, because my focus has recently been on the physical world.

I am at the end of another great Thanksgiving weekend in South Carolina, visiting friends.  We ate waaaaay too much all weekend, and tomorrow I will be getting back to a healthy plan of eating and yoga.  But all of our meals involved interactions with much-loved friends.  It is this sense of connection that is very soothing to me right now, and I will be remembering the meals and conversations of this weekend with fondness.

More and more, I am reconnecting with my inner peace by doing two things, by refraining from judging others harshly, and by connecting to the energies of nature around me.  No matter where I am, whether I am in a city or a suburb, whether I am in a car or a plane, or I’m sitting in front of my computer, taking a moment to connect with the energies of nature around me seems to be grounding me, feeding me, and allowing me to let go of things that don’t serve me in a positive way.  Just taking a moment to look at a pretty picture on FaceBook has a healing effect.  This connection with nature and the workings of my environment leads me back to Deity, and this is appropriate because nature IS Deity.  More and more, physical possessions are not that important.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy having a comfy place to live, having a delicious meal, reading and interacting with friends and family on social media.  But my goals are less and less about what I want to obtain, and more and more about what I want to learn, to experience, to share with like-minded individuals, with the Entities and Guides who are assisting me, and with Deity.

I still feel as if I am teetering between the Yellow Phase and Fermentation, see-sawing back and forth, but at this point I am just allowing that to happen.  I will know when it is time to fully commit to moving forward.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

November 24, 2016: My Solar Return and the eternal presence of Deity

Today is my 62nd birthday.  I had a wonderful day; we are visiting dear friends in Murrell’s Inlet, SC   We have spent the last eight Thanksgiving weekends with them, and this is weekend number nine.  These Thanksgiving days are everything a Thanksgiving day should be: lots of loving people, all working together to create a feast, while children play.  As always, we gathered at the table and before diving into the delicious food, we all talked about what we are thankful for.

As I have lived my life and gotten older, I have found that what I value most is loving interaction.  I don’t care so much any more about what I wear or what model car I drive; I like being around people who accept me for who I am, and who are open to being themselves without the need to convert me to any ideal or point of view.  I have family and friends across every political, financial, religious and social beliefs.  I enjoy interacting with each and every one, whether I agree with them or disagree with them, as long as they are also open to who I am and what I believe.  In other words, we need to sometimes agree to disagree, and then continue on with a caring relationship despite that disagreement.  These are the kinds of people that I want around me, and I understand that through the workings of magick, if I put myself out into the world in a loving and ethical and accepting way, that is exactly what I will attract to myself.  We are all spiritual essences living within a physical vehicle, and if I can seek that “sameness” in everyone I meet, I will be able to love and accept everyone.  That is a tall order, but in the end it is part of the Fermentation process.

My Dreams of Gaia card for today is the reversed Queen of Water.  The keywords for this card are loving, compassionate, empathetic, sensitive, vulnerable, romantic, intuitive, and emotional honesty. Upright, this Queen represents someone who cares for those around her, who has an ability to sense just what people need.  She never is deliberately cruel, and she does her best to support those around her.  Her main fault is that she has trouble with boundaries, and often gives too much.  Because my Queen of Water is reversed, I need to be careful that I don’t follow my heart blindly.  I need to allow myself to be wrong, to be vulnerable, even at my own expense, even if I believe someone is not the same as I am.

The words of the Goddess:
 “My daughter,” The Goddess said. “Though many ages have past and lives you have lived, the flow of Priestess still moves within you, and the crescent still glows upon your brow whether you see it or not. This deep inner knowing that moves within you is calling you back home to yourself to resonate with your authentic truth. You have a warrior’s heart and healer’s hands, and a wild, ancient spirit. Never believe you are anything but divine magic.” ~Ara

Deity is within us all; this is my message for today.