Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A critical divination reading

I recently conducted a divination reading that was more about how we see than about what we are seeing. A young woman drew this card in this orientation.

I told her that she was welcome to reposition the card and as she rotated the image she suddenly caught her breath at the power of this orientation.

The woman said the calm aspect and inward turning eye of the face lying horizontal was what she was seeking in her presently stormy relationship, and the intense glare of the face seen vertically was her more usual response to the thunder often heard in her home situation. The “wrong turn” became advice whose understanding was clarified in the literal turning of the card.

How we see the events and relationships in our lives has everything to do with what we name our experiences, and how we participate with them. Is there a situation in your life right now to which these two orientations apply? Describe what you see in each face to discover which orientation is the wrong turn for you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Beginning a spiritual practice

This week when I gave divination readings with my Journey Oracle deck at the Friday Market on Cortes Island, and asked my second client for a question to begin the session, she said, “How do I begin a spiritual practice?” We talked about the lines of stress she saw in this card, and the eyes that were watching her from what might be a plant form, and about what the phrase enter at your own risk might mean.

When I returned home I remembered that some years ago I wanted to build a fountain in my garden. I thought lots about this, planning where it might go and how to begin. Nothing really happened until one day I told a friend about my intentions. The very next morning he arrived with a pick ax and said, “Show me where to start.” While I stood there struck dumb, he swung a mighty arc, thudded into soil, and said, “This looks like a good place.” Four years later, filled with many lessons about stones and water, the process of making the fountain arrived at its completion, which became the next beginning: the process of becoming the fountain.

I realized that for me the experience of building the fountain gave good answers to what was seen in the card. The stress felt about being in relationship with spirit is often in our head, dispersed like the sun melting through fog when we take a first action. The sensation that spirit is watching us from within every more-than-human form means that we can make that first gesture of spiritual attention toward anything and everything. The risk is that we do not know where the process will take us, or how we will be transformed by becoming the practice we begin. What I do know is that to begin, we have to act.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Learning from inner wisdom

How do we ever know the truth about ourselves, and what is next coming to be the mirror? I drew this card when I asked “Who is my next teacher?”

I see an old woman in a long skirt and high collar. She looks old fashioned and a bit plump—like someone else’s grandmother. She is looking up with red-rimmed eyes and an open mouth. The word for me that fits her expression is beseeching. She is holding what appears to me to be a snake whose body makes a large circle, or maybe makes a drum. Immediately I think this figure is me. Many times over the years my spirit guides and dreams have named me “Old Woman.” And many times I have asked to be shown what is my next step. It is the snake that especially calls to me. When I drummed a shamanic journey to the Oracle of my Journey Oracle card deck, I met the Cobra.

This card asks “Do I want to go home?” This is a hard question for me. I know home is supposed to be nurturing and welcoming: sometimes it is but often it isn’t. I think we hope teachers are going to be supportive and helpful; maybe they are but often they are not. Sometimes my most deeply altering lessons come to me from the teachers named Grief and Struggle, Perseverance and Patience. The Journey Oracle is this kind of teacher. An old woman who looks like me—and also looks like the magical Other.

Who is your next teacher? Will you seek her or him in places that feel like home, or in those landscapes that you cannot gain by grace, but can earn through hard work?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Interpreting spiritual cards

Although the Journey Oracle creates a journey into our life’s decisions and situations using symbols and analogies, we still must decide what the specific connections between the card images and our situation mean to us. Imagine you ask the Oracle to show what you need to know to bring a project or skill out into the world, and you draw this card.

You might first see a bear’s head in vibrant turquoise, or notice the three feather shapes that seem to float on the surface of the picture. As you look closer you see many other eyes, but the faces they belong to are obscured by flowing purple shapes. In order to understand these images as symbols or analogies you must find similarities between these visual qualities and your situation.

What in your project or skill has the strength and power of a bear? Or does this animal refer to something to know when you market your work? How do you decide? Perhaps the turquoise is a hint since this color is very changeable. It shifts from green to blue depending on other colors next to it. This animal face is also beneath the 3 feathers, as if it were submerged. Are these qualities of being powerful yet changeable, shifting, and submerged a better symbol of your project or skill, or of a strategy for bringing your work to the attention of others?

As you find more similarities between other colors, shapes and images in the picture, and the situation you are asking about, earlier questions resolve themselves. If the feathers are three ways that your work is seen on the surface (that is, out in the world), then the bear may indeed be a symbol of the project or skill beneath this strategy. And what marketing strategy would be like three green-edged feathers? Whose eyes are seeing you, and what does purple mean in your situation?

Each time you invest time and attention in finding the truth that is uniquely yours, the insights from your reading become more powerfully and authentically useful.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Creating a life reading

When I do a life reading with the Journey Oracle divination deck, I let the cards choose the question for me.  I look slowly through the cards, not focusing on the writing, until one of the images holds my attention.  Imagine this image has chosen you.

First look deeply into the image and ask yourself: What situation in my life right now looks like this picture?  Notice the colors and their shapes, the opening into water created by the three stones, the snake moving downward to the right.  What do the spiraling brown, gold and yellow colors mean to you?  Water is a life-sustaining essential.  What does it represent at the center of this spiraling journey?  What in your life right now is going toward water? Are there three stones in your life right now?  Maybe these are large projects, or kinds of support you can stand on, or perhaps obstacles in the way of your ability to reach what is essential. Remember what you answered to the first question to help you understand the meaning of the stones in this spiritual reading.

Snakes come out of their winter nests to warm in the sunshine of early summer during this time of year. Snakes are often associated with transformation—with shedding what is no longer a good fit.  These creatures also have a long history as companions to the Oracle in her guise as a Snake Goddess. What message is the snake bringing to you in its downward movement?  The snake is touching only two of the three stones.  Does this mean that two of the three projects, or supports, or obstacles are in a time of transformation? Take a moment to summarize the life situation represented in the picture, and what you have learned from the card image.

Questions received as answers create a profound shift in our awareness. We might be ready for a statement that will help us move further along the path we are already taking, and then we suddenly hear a question.  This causes something completely unexpected to enter our perspective. Imagine you have just summarized what you learned, and I said back to you, “Are you letting nature take its course?”