Since mid-March, when we all began spinning our cocoons, I’ve had to reconcile the woman I became in the last few years with the woman I used to be when my family was home more. I needed to readjust to an earlier version of myself just when I was really happy with who I had become. I struggled with boundaries and resentments, with hurt and fear, and yet, I loved being together and the light and joy that returned to our home. I struggled with equitable work distribution and the desire to nurture. I struggled with loneliness and togetherness all at the same time. I have had to reconcile life without friends, then life with friends (virtually), then the realization that it’s all really the same.
It’s been difficult and I haven’t done the best job of it. I want to find the meaning in it all. I want to do the deep inner work and discover new truths about myself and my life. And yet...I don’t. I’m exhausted and empty most of the time. I’m uncomfortable in my own skin (the 9 extra pounds don’t help). I’m doing my best and some part of me keeps saying it’s not enough.
Tarot has a way of getting under your skin. It feels mysterious and magical. There is something about tarot that speaks to an older version of ourselves. It evokes a memory of a time when you could climb up into the intricately carved vardo wagon of the local traveling fortune-teller. There might be a crystal ball on a velvet cloth-covered table and a deck of tarot cards waiting for you to ask your questions. By the time you left her, you knew if it was time to walk away from something or someone; or if it was all going to work out for you.
If you are thinking about learning tarot, you will step into that magical world and your life will be changed. Here are 7 ways that learning tarot will change your life.
My thoughts re: the shamanic three worlds and Dr. Sue's take on there is only one world.
In an October workshop workshop with Dr. Sue Morter, author of The Energy Codes, she talked about how there are no other worlds. We are all here at the same time. Light and physical being all part of a continuum, a spectrum on the same plane. This idea is very much how I see the traditional three worlds of the shaman. Understanding that there is only one world and relating to it from the shamanic perspective only requires the ability to slide your perspective. It is how I have come to know the shamanic practice of having one foot in both worlds.
When you travel to one of the traditional shamanic three worlds, you are not going anywhere. You are simply moving into a lighter consciousness perspective. This helps you to go there at any time. Just move the meter to the lighter vibration. Move your awareness away from your physical plane toward your energetic plane. You are both at the same time.
For me, the shamanic perspective is one of sliding the ruler in order to bring healing, wisdom, clarity, all manner of things, from the light into the physical. The earthiness of shamanic tools and their deep connection to nature, ground the wisdom from the light plane into our physical plane. When I work with flowers, drums or rattles, I am allowing the energetic qualities of nature and the physical world to ground the healing into this plane. It is both at the same time. The physicality of the drum (sound vibration hitting my ears, the skin of the animal and the tree from which it was formed) can be used as a way to slide the perspective to the lighter plane while staying in the physical plane. You are in both at the same time.
We humans have been trained and we've become accustomed to perceive our physical being mostly, but our light being is here too. You can slide your awareness, back and forth between the physical and the light. Sometimes it's beneficial to be more in the physical plane - having sex, driving the car. Sometimes it's beneficial be more in the light plane - searching for truth, making life decisions. Sometimes you want to be in the middle of both - making love, parenting, healing with your hands. Neither is better or worse and it isn't an either-or proposition. The path of the Sacred Ordinary is about living with a sliding perspective.
An interesting related take-away from that workshop offers a perspective slide regrading the things you have been told are not real, e.g. fairies, Lemuria, giants, etc. Dr. Sue said, "What if you could allow both to be present?" I like that. What if there were two or more perspectives? What if your perspective was broader than where you are right now? It's about being able to slide your perspective. Sometimes from the physical to the light and sometimes from the fixed and known to the wider field of allowing and not knowing. Sometimes the slide isn't left or right as much as it is both--opening you to a broader perspective.
Prayer is our way of connecting with God, Great Spirit, Goddess. Our way of connecting with the depths of our gratitude and the heights of our dreams. I typically work with blessing prayers, love prayers and action prayers. The last one is the one most of us are familiar with. These are prayers for something: help, healing, intercession. They include prayers for protection, direction and courage. All of these require an action to come to us and they often assume a posture of helplessness or inability to do something. Perhaps of surrendering to a greater force.
With blessing prayers we simply step into a feeling of receiving blessings and connect with God on that. We feel our gratitude for all that we are blessed with in this moment and send it out to Great Spirit as if blowing a bubble skyward. Love prayers are also more "felt" prayers. Moments in your life where you are so filled with a feeling of being loved or love of some other that you simply can't help but send that love out to the world around you. For me, the "other" is often a beautiful sunset or a glistening ocean surface, love prayers wash over me often when I am in nature.
In my early years, I was taught to pray for something with my words and my brain. The best pastors, Sunday school teachers, and adults I had mentioned praying for it with all my heart. I have since learned a different way to pray. When a shaman prays, they become the action they are praying. The American author, Gregg Braden, describes going out into nature to pray for rain with an indigenous shaman. They arrive at the perfect prayer spot and the shaman prays rain. He doesn't pray for rain. He prays rain. The whole thing takes only a few minutes. Later the shaman would explain to Gregg that he saw the rain, he felt the rain falling around him and on him, he smelled the rain in the air, he heard the rain hitting the ground... He prayed rain as if it were truly happening in that moment. In a way, he brought it into this plane of existence, this reality. He made it possible by making it possible. By feeling the experience fully and completely, he brought it out of the field of possibilities where it was just waiting to be realized.
This way of praying takes a quantum leap on your part. It first positions it as a possibility, acknowledging that all things are possible. Second it lets you experience what that realized possibility feels like right now in this moment, removing all doubt because you can experience it. Third it speaks to the multiverse in a vibration that comes from belief that everything is possible and you are tuned-in and ready to co-create that reality with the help of the Goddess. That level of connection to Source is what is needed to pray.
So the next time you are praying for healing, don't just say "God please heal my broken ankle." Instead, sit quietly, connect with Great Spirit and feel your ankle healed. See yourself at the next doctor visit looking at an X-Ray that shows a perfectly healed bone. Feel yourself out for a run, the wind in your hair, the blood coursing through your veins as that ankle supports your every step.
There is a quantum leap between praying for healing and praying healed. Reach out into the Field and pull that which you know you can have into this reality. Become what you are praying. Co-create with Great Spirit from a place of divine fullness and possibility rather than a place of defeat and helplessness. Pray rain don't pray for rain.
There is often still an aspect of surrender in this type of prayer. You have to surrender to the action completely. Surrender your doubts, your fears, your feelings of not actually deserving it. You have to surrender the timeframe that you are trying to put on it, it won't happen in a week or in a month, it has happened and is happening in this moment. Surrender waiting for it and become it.
Sometimes there is a larger plan at work and our desire to control things blocks us from flowing with that. If you lost an arm or a leg in an accident and you pray healed thinking that it means you will regrow your lost limb, you are trying to control the process. Your limb probably won't grow back, maybe it will, but you will be healed. Pray yourself as whole and you will be whole. It might come in a way that surprises you, but it will come. Give it a try!
When I was a child, I was afraid of bridges. My family camped a lot and often we would hike hills and trails in far away places in deep forests with rivers and ravines. Inevitably there would be a bridge across a gap that we would need to cross. They always, always looked unsafe to me. They looked rickety or creaky or just plain dangerous. I never liked the idea of being suspended in the air and I was terribly afraid I would slip through cracks or open sides and fall to my death. Funny thing is, now bridges are all I build. So how did that happen? How did I go from “big as you can imagine” fear to “this is what I love?”
I recently caught myself thinking that I live the shamanic way every day. And I paused there and I asked myself, so what does that mean? To me, it is centered in walking two worlds simultaneously. I’ve always got one foot in this world, this very physical "real" world. And I have another foot in the spirit realm in the world of potential and of complete connection and oneness with all things. So I started to explore what that means and how I might possibly explain that to people. I recognized that I am often hiding that part of me, afraid people will think I'm crazy.
I'm starting a series of video chats or podcasts, I'm calling "Truth About Me." Things I wouldn't talk about in the grocery store line. Truths that are personal and intimate, honest and raw, unedited and real. I'll talk about parts of me that are beautiful and challenging. It's all part of my work to be more visible and more vulnerable, to open to this community authentically. In doing this, I hope to encourage you to look into some of your own truths.
In this first one, I share how I was loved for what I did as a child and not necessarily for who I was. It motivated me to get straight A's in school and throughout my whole life, so it isn't all bad, it's just a Truth About Me.
I was going to compose a professional letter about growth and transition. I was composing it in my head for days and it sounded pretty good. I planned on giving rational explanations for why I am doing what I'm doing--something that made sound business sense and thanked all the right people for their help and support. It had a professional tone and used professional impersonal language.
Then I picked up the journal that sits next to my bead, a beautiful notebook with a sleeping tree and bright full moon, a gift from a woman I met while facilitating a workshop in Canada. That dreaming tree in the night and hauntingly beautiful moon just wouldn't let me play it safe. I flipped through the total of four entries--that's all just four. Each and every one of them is connected to why I am doing this.
I see meditation less as an emptying out of myself and more as a filling up with Self and the present moment. Becoming so engrossed in Now that thoughts of other things just slide away. Thoughts will always come, that’s how the mind works. The practice is getting comfortable with allowing them to come and letting them float away without getting transfixed or hooked. Isn't that the practice for so many things in life?
For the past 17 years my family has been going away for the holiday season. This trip has evolved into one of my sacred times. It’s here that I escape the holiday frenzy and recharge for the new year. No matter what you are celebrating, December is a difficult time. High anxiety is matched by high expectations for happiness and joy. You may feel closer to your loved ones as they gather around the home or you may feel even further removed and alone. The stores are filled with people buying just to buy. I wonder at the wastefulness of plastic shopping bags, miles of wrapping paper, and holiday cards that will likely end up in a landfill. Everyone seems to be trying to fit in more frivolity as they schedule back-to-back parties and dinners.