Friday, April 22, 2016

Going with grace: How to leave a spiritual group

I once wrote a post about how to leave a spiritual teacher, but how does one leave a spiritual group? When a group has met for many years, sharing experiences alternately profound and mundane.what are skillful ways to come apart without breaking apart? A spiritual group is a family of shared joys and frustrations, so how to say farewell with grace?   In thinking about a mentor group that is now disbanding after 16 years, to which I have belonged and in which I have taught, I decided to do a Journey Oracle reading for advice.


This oracle  card is an image of the situation from my perspective, since I am the one who is doing the reading.  Although it is possible to receive advice about a group from the Journey Oracle, the answers always reflect the experience of the person doing the asking.  Card #36 represents Muin or Vine.  Its qualities are generosity, vision, altered states. The card's image to me certainly emphasizes seeing more than speaking, and has a suggestion of being exposed.  The time of year associated with this Oracle card is September 2 to 29, a time of increasing quiet as nature withdraws vitality in preparation for rest. The Oracle card has this message: expect delays.  What potent advice.  Be willing to wait, to expect shift and change to occur.  

This oracle card shows my experience in this situation.  The card of  high midsummer: Summer Solstice.  The mentor group began by making drums together, and here is that drum still, raised to radiance. This oracle card represents Fire, South, birthing.   The message of this Oracle is go here to be healed and for me this means that an ending is always also a beginning.


The oracle card of change is the Sun.  This card represents opening to higher self, entering the sacred circle.  My first impression of this image is "not much speaking, much more witnessing".  This Oracle brings a question, How is this a gift?  What a beautiful thought to bring to every complicated, emotionally charged situation!

This oracle card is an image of resolution in my situation: the May full moon.  This card represents constant growth, earth magic, positive magic.  I feel like the old woman in this shamanic painting; holding a drum. The question from this Oracle is, Do you want to go home?  Perhaps this is the way to go with grace, to leave this spiritual group--by finding a home for the drum we have been collectively holding for so long.