Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Full moon meanings

The three days of the full moon are each filled with a special energy, and any one of the three is appropriate for gathering--depending on what a group might want to do. Some practitioners of the Old Religion say the waxing first day of the full moon is for increase, the full second day is for reckoning (accounting) and the waning third day of the full moon is for clearing, and/or for sending wishes to manifest within the month of the next full moon...which would then be welcomed on the day of increase and "reckoned" on the full moon day and on and on.

Each of the four card suits in the Journey Oracle is associated with themes of meaning. The full moon cards carry the themes of Discipline and Trust. It takes discipline to honestly reckon the way in which our intentions and wishes have manifested across our month of daily experience, and certainly it takes trust to cast our desires like a shimmering net out to the next moon, hopefully to catch what we need more than what we want.

Discipline and trust are best not treated as conditional. Discipline lives at the core of responsibility. It means feeling what is required, and doing it, more than negotiating or interpreting what is known of that responsibility. Trust lives in the rarest atmosphere of all. The one that surrounds us when we feel that someone or something is depending on our actions. Trust relies on discipline like the tides need the full moon. Ultimately, the only question that really matters is this one that came in a dream for the Blue Moon card in the Journey Oracle.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New shamanic art

I have just finished a new shamanic art piece and now see that the lesson in this work is about “painting what is not there.” Water is a very strange substance to render visually. The surface is always shifting and only visible at all because of what it is reflecting in each moment. This is also how I understand the experience of the alternate realities, whether these be the dream worlds, the subtle ah ha we feel when we catch the significance of a synchronicity in time and place, or the way that metaphor and analogy can shimmer on the edge of our awareness in the moment when we grasp their larger correspondences.

Often our response to this shifting water experience of seeing and not seeing is doubt. In my shamanic mentoring practice I counsel so many people who know what they have seen, and just as quickly doubt that anything was there to be seen. I often have clients experience a shiver of insight during a Journey Oracle card reading, only to doubt that such an awakening will make any real difference in their situation.

Richard Wagamese writes so beautifully in Keeper’n Me about how we all have to search out our own truth and find our own life. How do we find what is true for ourselves when mostly what we see is a reflection? For myself, I am learning to stop asking so many questions and just watch. Watch the day, watch the weather, watch the seasons always transforming in each moment. In this painting, titled Reckoning, I watch my truth emerge in a bear skull and water and the shifting of life and death back to life.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dream Counseling

Like most people, I resist change when it first comes into my awareness. But sometimes that moment of awakening is so compelling and complete that the change happens in the turn of my head, or in my pause between breaths. I have recently been reading The History of Last Night’s Dream by Rodger Kamenetz. His bold advice to stop translating my dreams felt like being told to “Wake up!” and my sleep hasn’t been the same since.

Following his guidance I have been able to enter my dreams at a completely different level of meaning, derived from visuals and feelings rather than symbols and words. I went to bed last night thinking about what the Journey Oracle cards could show me about this new way of being with dreams and thought of this card.

During the night I had this dream: I’m going with First Nation women to what appears to be a restaurant. Inside I see many babies in rows on several beds. Each is in an open CD cello storage envelope. None are crying or fussy; all seem to be either quietly waiting or sleeping. I touch one child like I am going to pick her up but she turns away from me several times, each time seeming to grow older and larger but still not showing me her face.

I associate First Nations women with emerging potential and enduring strength; especially I feel this of the Klahoose first nations women I know here on Cortes Island. Yet the “hole in the dream” that Kamenetz refers to suddenly became the question, “What are all these children doing in CD wrappers?” I store my divination decks of cards in these cello envelopes, and often display the individual cards in rows. I realized that these babies are the Journey Oracle card decks, waiting for me to go more deeply, but to what?

I have always thought of understanding each card, and especially of understanding the story that corresponds to each card, in a way parallel to translating a dream. Perhaps translation is not what is called for. Perhaps they are waiting for me to “return to the source” and receive meaning from visuals and feelings. Perhaps the dream work is not to be kept in the night, but brought as a counselor into the day, teaching me a new way of finding revelation in the Oracle’s spirit-directed art.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Building a Shamanic Rattle

Building a shamanic rattle is like putting together a puzzle without a picture showing the final image. The process of constructing the hollow rawhide shapes is quite simple: wet pieces of hide are sewn together and filled with sand and sound-making materials. When dry the sand is shaken out and the rattle’s voice is heard in each hollow shell for the first time. But what creature or element wants to have such a form in this reality? And what materials will make its voice? And how will you know the quality and volume of voice is accurate if you cannot hear it, before it is too late to change it?

The answer for me is in creating correspondences, or associations, with the materials that intuitively feel like they are coming to be in and on the rattle. This is much like discovering associations when doing dream interpretation. I might be drawn to include small cowry shells and so I ask, “In my own story, with what do I associate their smooth porcelain surface, their use as currency among many traditional peoples, and their symbolic association with womanhood, fertility, birth and wealth?” The answers will guide me to the location and number of shells that I attach to or include in the voice of the rattle. Over time, as each material is explored for its associations to my present spiritual experiences, the meaning and use of the rattle emerges.

Reading the Journey Oracle cards also unfolds like a puzzle. After I think of a situation for which I need clarity, I choose a card and describe its colors, shapes and images as simply and directly as I can. I then go back and ask of each description, “What do I associate with this? These associations shift each description to my inner knowing, and give me insight about the situation that caused me to draw the card.