Monday, January 7, 2019

Oracle advice for troubled times in my community

I think my community is broken.  What used to feel like amused tolerance for our differences now feels like a willingness to hurt each other because we think differently. Like a community-generated climate change is affecting our ability to function together toward a greater good, or even to decide what a greater good might look like.  

So I decided to do a Journey Oracle reading for myself, not asking anything so presumptive as "what to do?"  More just sitting in the feelings of  confusion about our disharmony.  Here are the four Oracle cards I drew, plus my impressions of their advice in blue text.  I am including each entire page of Oracle pronouncements, just in case some other part of the writing is insightful for you, if you have your own situation of seeking advice for troubled times in your community. 


At first I see confusion, and then I see a bare brown hill or rock shape floating in a sea. of blue green.  Old timers often call Cortes Island "the rock," and so this image feels like a significant beginning. 

I am drawn to the upper center of the Oracle card, to what looks like a bare tree--no leaves, no growth, no shade from the glare of white.  A good metaphor for this troubled situation. 


This situation began by getting affairs in order.
The prevailing energy of this situation is buffeting.
The core energy pattern of this situation is awash in uncertainty.
The three statements above have the most potency for me.  I need to not trust gossip and rumor but go to my neighbors, as best as I can, and learn why some are so dissatisfied. 
The Mother of this situation is yellow strength.
The Father of this situation is opening from the center.

Your relationship to the prevailing energy is eyes straight ahead.
I like the above statement--don't be distracted into assumptions and projections, as apparently, according to the next statement, I have been.  
Your perception of the situation is distracted.
The impact of your perception is filled with damage.
The connection between the core energy pattern and the situation is felt as delicate
The momentum of this situation is fed by hearing the cries of the world.
This statement has such a ring of truth for me.  It seems like this climate change of ill will and intolerance is everywhere.

This Oracle card shows my experience in this situation of community troubles.  Wow.  Is this me? Am I speaking in circles? Looking detached and at the same time afire with jagged thoughts and feelings?

Or is this image corresponding to the name the Oracle gives my experience: remembered song.  Red is the colour of deep belonging, of being rooted,  as well as a colour of aggression.  Can I remember another song, one in which we speak kindness instead of hate about each other?  



threatening danger
be careful what you say

unexpected nourishment
not speaking the truth, the maze
agitation, strength to resist weakness
be careful what you say

If the above list of phrases is a map of my experience in these troubled times, where am I on the map?  I think I am in the space between being careful what I say, and unexpected nourishment. This Journey Oracle reading is one way of identifying that nourishment.  


An exterior or support system for the situation is majesty.

This Oracle card is about change.  The woman is looking up and seems quite reverent, righteous even, while holding inside a frighteningly dark creature.  Is this a picture of the energy that is doing so much damage in my community?  Is this the energy that needs to change?


 The power needed to shift this situation will be a sound of gentle calling.
Change will come by not being able to step on shore.
Your relationship to the change in this situation is seeing in the depth.
The moment of letting go into the change will smell ripe.
The concern to be avoided within this change will taste same as before.

The wisdom of floating away will empower the transformation.
Completed transformation will be felt as a quality of active mind.


Are you comfortable?
Do you want to go home?

Yes I do.  I want to go home again.  To a community where I could knock on any door to say my car died, and could I borrow some gloves to walk home, and know I would be met with a smile, and the offer of tea, and probably a ride.  


This is the Oracle card showing the resolution of these troubled times in my community.  

The central elements feel very significant to me.  A young woman holding a heart and a snake with eyes made from a volute spiral.  An image of transformation, keeping the heart visible, being flexible like the young who are the inheritors of  however we shape this community.

A Journey Oracle fairy tale
There were three children who loved their father. All thought “aren’t we special” as they received his attention at games, or on drives in the dusk to watch the deer, or during late night conversations while eating fried egg sandwiches.
Perhaps he told each one, “you have the help you need,” and each one felt they were holding treasure—but none of the children talked to each other about how they felt, or shared their stories.
The children’s father died an old man, well loved by many people that he helped to succeed at dancing the fire of their dreams and hopes. And so the community decided to make a celebration of honoring, and invited the old man’s three grown children to attend. But one child could not be found, and so the other two were asked “where is that child?”
It was not because of mischievousness that one child told the community “She will not come.” It was not about just honoring ourselves that the other child understood this statement to be a truth when it was an opinion. And the child who could not be found was not told and so did not come to honor her father.
Many years later the three children were gathered with their children to celebrate their families, and the tangled story of not being found and not being told came out.

         Later the child who did not attend the honouring of her father felt his presence and said “the witness is here.” She understood the value of seeing all sides, and heard “you in balance comfortably, you have the help you need.”

This is a true story.  I was that child who was not told and did not come.  And the meaning to me of this story as the Oracle's resolution for my broken community is not in feeling hurt and angry at being left out.  It is in the second paragraph:

but none of the children talked to each other about how they felt, or shared their stories.

We have to talk to each other.  We have to understand the value of seeing all sides. 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

A Journey Oracle reading for 2019

Before I begin a Journey Oracle reading, I decide who is the reading for: myself, an acquaintance or client, a place, the planet?  This Oracle reading seems to be for me, but if you follow along with the oracle card images and messages, it might be for you also. All text in bold and italics are quotes directly from the Journey Oracle book of pronouncements by the Oracle.


Oracle card 45 shows my situation this year, and represents the energy of the West.  This is the way of dreams, visions, feelings, mysticism and sexuality.  The message for my situation in 2019 is dream is still around me.  This feels very appropriate since I am continuing a massive art project of 47 paintings based on dreams received when creating the Journey Oracle

Although to me the image looks confusing--a jumble of squiggles and smudges, the little figure at the bottom looks sheltered rather than crushed. The Oracle says that for me this year, the momentum of this situation is fed by taking care of business. 

Oracle card 10, Nion or the Ash tree in the Celtic tree calendar, represents my experience in this situation.  Although this oracle image is one of my favorite when upright, when turned in this direction it appears the figure in the lower portion of the card, wearing the staring spirit face mask, is going underwater due to the weight of the headdress. 

The message from this Oracle card is endless dancing, and I need to be careful not to let my many projects pull me under.  The year will bring lots of trauma, magic in places I can only imagine, and awareness of spirit skills and limits.  Sounds like quite a ride! 

The oracle card says that sensuousness will be a support for the situation this year, and rising from the water to emerge at the top of the card I see a flower and leaf shape on a stem. I see to attend to the sensuousness of nature in all its steady pace and beauty. 

Oracle card 13 is an image of the change trying to find me.  This oracle card represents the full moon in April, a time of rapid growth, change, emergence.  So do not get stuck underneath the confusion or swamped by the endless effort.  The message from this oracle card is predator gaze.  Stay focused on the immediate present moment, rather than get lost in anticipation or resistance. 


I like that the small central motif looks like a tiny opening, a way through. This card says that the wisdom of letting go into growth will empower the transformation.  Also that the power needed to shift this situation will be a sound of stones being fitted together.  I like that.  Build a solid structure but leave a small opening to grow through. 

The fourth card in my 2019 Journey Oracle reading is the resolution of this situation. The Oracle representing Mystery; my finding truth, wisdom. The image is very vague, indeterminate.  And then I notice what seems like a trace, a trail flickering through the foggy surface.  

This oracle card's message is a glimmering.  I am just beginning the book, On Trails, by Robert Moor.  All about paths and trails and tracks and traces.  How we recognize them, when we make them, where they take us.  

The summarizing message of this Journey Oracle reading is coming clear to me.  Don't get too comfortable and become crushed under the weight of work; receive support this year from the sensuousness of nature while experiencing my skills and limits; let go into growth rather than resist change, and follow the glimmering trail, however faint at times, that leads to truth and wisdom.  

Happy New Year from the Journey Oracle

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Winter Solstice make a shaman drum

My winter solstice celebrations are full of traditions in nature, and sometimes there is also a celebration indoors when I make a frame drum to honour the sun's birthday.

My solstice celebrations begin the night before when John and I make "bird cookies" of suet and seeds.

These become ornaments to decorate a solstice tree at the location in nature where we have our shortest day feast.

My drum preparations begin months before these cold days and nights.  I prepare a Cortes Island deer hide while the weather is still kindly toward working outside with almost bare hands.

This may be the last year my winter solstice drum will have an ash wood hoop.  My planks have come from the east coast, and I only have enough ash for three more frames.  However, there is an exciting possibility of working with yellow cedar in the new year--making drums with a truly west coast spirit.


Winter solstice morning finds me first in the garden making a ceremony of greeting the sun and asking that all my human and other-than-human family be well and happy.

The shortest day finds me then out at the beach or in the forest with whatever weather is happening, creating a feast of thank you to all the creatures that keep us well and happy, both in this and in the alternate realities.

My solstice drum will be made in the gathering darkness of mid-afternoon, near the woodstove, and lit by glowing green lights.

Even though we will not have snow yet this year, I will remember the peace and comfort of  its deep silence, as I reflect on the gifts I have received: the blessings from friends, the  kindness from students, the love from this place.

Happy Solstice from the Journey Oracle

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

What makes a good spiritual mentor

A good spiritual mentor does not have answers so much as 
she is willing to share her own difficult questions.

A good mentor recognizes that like the fastening on the back of a frame drum, it is the strength of her inner work, and its ability to hold steady, that enables her outer voice to be heard as a guide.

Mentoring is not the same as teaching.  There is a requirement of shared action on a parallel level, rather than someone who is giving to others who are receiving in an uneven dynamic.

This interlacement pattern of a double 7 is a good visual example.  Between the outer pattern of 7 and the ring is where the drummer puts her fingers, but what makes the star have good space is the inner pattern of 7. So both are different and yet each needs the other to do the work.

In a mentoring relationship that has a shamanic dimension, there is of course a third participant: the spirit world itself.  The wise, old Lady Nature who wraps around something fixed, which is our identity--with something stretchy, which is her reaching toward us in all her many guises.

A good spiritual mentor is like a shelter that allows our uncertainty, 
our halting gestures to the Mystery find the quiet to be visible. 

This shelter is just enough to keep the streamers of snow 
from making cold and inflexible
 our hopeful attempts at contact with the Divine, 
however we may understand this word.

But a shelter not so enveloping that we are prevented from seeing with our own eyes, 
and through our own experiences, 
how joy and pain can wound and heal us.  

Sunday, December 2, 2018

How to critique art: especially your own

Begin with these questions about the your inspirations and 
willingness to take risks:

Because art is a language of evolving new meanings from old ones—
individually as well as culturally:  
Am I repeating what has already been said?

Because we do not create information so much as it creates us:  
Am I dealing with more than what I know?

Because the first requirement of taking a risk is being willing to fail:  
Do I see what is before me—
not what I think I see or want to see?

Next ask these questions about your technique.

Because material is the work’s first identity and mastering technique 
protects the content, or meaning, of your work: 
Do I choose a material to match the form of my meaning?

Because the vocabulary of sight is composition, harmony, 
proportion, light, color, line, texture, mass, motion: 
Is my doing the work a conversation, or a monologue?

Because physical presence is a form of power: 
Does my body read my art as metaphoric space 
or actual space? 

Then, ask these questions about the consequences of  making art.

Because the viewer activates the thing perceived: 
Do I complicate the image and therefore slow the revelation?

Because all visual art is a form of abstraction and interpretation,
and is therefore political: 
Are my art choices describing a world that I, as the maker, promote?

Because you will not be available to explain 
or defend your work out in the world:  
Do I allow the work the succeed or fail on its own merits 
in the eyes of others?

The images illustrating these questions are oracle cards from my Journey Oracle deck.  Enjoy the story of how they were painted by reading about "the journey of the Oracle."