Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Creating a Journey Oracle reading online

When I create an oracle reading online for a client using the Journey Oracle cards, I separate the reading into three parts. After drawing the card, according to my client's instructions, my first step is to describe the card in everyday language, as if the person was sitting next to me. I say whatever ordinary expressions occur to me, without trying to be eloquent or dramatic. This is important because often a common turn of phrase, for example, saying "the head is to the right" takes on new meaning when the client ponders this in the context of the situation. I also try not to give my interpretation of a color, gesture or expression, because often this choice of meaning points to the heart of the dilemma; for example, is the hand reaching or blocking?

The second part of the reading is composed of my notes of interpretation, often given in the form of questions. For example, only the client can connect the way the figure is dressed to personal insight about "lack of covering" so I may ask, "In this situation what is the lack of covering?" In this way everything is allowed be become a symbol of something else. In this second step I also focus on the card's statement or question. Now my questions and thoughts begin to reflect my interpretation, built on the descriptions from the first step, and the feeling created by the questions that begin this second step. However, I never tell a client what something means or says ; I have too much respect for the inner wisdom and intuitive skills we all have, which sometimes just need a little coax to come to the surface of our awareness.

I conclude a reading by commenting on the colored rim of the card, as these represent the four suits of the Journey Oracle. This card is #10, which is the tree month Ash, from February 18 to March 17. I share thoughts about the meaning of Ash, usually from one of my favorite tree books, especially The Witch's Book of Days by Kozocari et al, or Tree Wisdom by Paterson. I speculate about what is happening in nature during this time, as this might reflect a feeling or energy that is surrounding the situation. I conclude by sharing the large themes that are part of the tree month suit: connection, exchange, intuition, and power, and ask how these might be some of the deep forces that are shaping the client's situation.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ways to read Oracle cards

Sometimes when I do a reading with the Journey Oracle cards, I don't read the images or the messages--I read the colored rims which relate to the four suits of the Oracle.
I drew these three oracle cards to receive advice about how to help a shamanic student of mine who is struggling with a large homework assignment. I understand I am not to contact her until she takes the initiative to contact me, but what if she looses heart and gives up the work?

All three of these Journey Oracle cards are in the full moon suit, which tells me that this situation has to do with discipline and trust. This feels just right as I seek a balance between helping my student but trying not to meddle in her process. Oracle card # 2 represents the January full moon, which I call the ice moon. Perhaps my lack of contact with my student feels cold and uncaring to her, but I must trust that this is the discipline called for, so she is able to make decisions without my influence. Card #18 is the May full moon, which I know is a time of struggle for life in nature's calendar. Many creatures and plants die in the spring, when life is new and fragile. This message seems to say that for my student to actually succeed, she must have a real opportunity to fail. Oracle card # 47 represents the Blue Moon, a rare and little understood occurrence. If my student succeeds in completing her homework, her shamanic abilities and wisdom will become like the blue moon, and this is worth waiting for.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How to live a shamanic life

I recently began reading a new book by Paulo Coelho titled The Winner Stands Alone. Right at the beginning I discovered this quote from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass:

Whoever you are holding me now in hand,
Without one thing all will be useless,
I give you fair warning before you attempt me further,
I am not what you supposed, but far different.

Who is he that would become my follower?
Who would sign himself a candidate for my affections?
The way is suspicious, the result uncertain, perhaps destructive,

You would have to give up all else, I alone would expect
to be your sole and exclusive standard,
Your novitiate would even then be long and exhausting,
The whole past theory of your life and all conformity to the lives
around you would have to be abandon'd,
Therefore release me now before troubling yourself any further,
let go your hand from my shoulders,
Put me down and depart on your way.

Although the quote illustrates Mr. Coelho's story, I felt a profound resonance in the words to my experience of living a shamanic life. Every line is a refection of my lessons. In these 35 years of asking to be taught by the Spiritworld, the way has always been suspicious, the results uncertain and the procedure often dangerous. I have understood to give up all other loyalties, paths and teachers. Even so, the more the years pass, the more I realize the modesty of my knowledge. I understand the isolation that comes from my never being able to truly share my direct experience, nor receive a clear sense of any one else's journey on the other side.

And yet I have not released my hands, I have not put down this remarkable contract. Just like the starlets in Mr. Coelho's story, I am still willing to "agree to anything" in order to stay in this shamanic life.