Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Why give flowers?

I always have a dilemma when I have an reason to give flowers. Although I too love their spectacular color and form, years ago I made a commitment to the spirits of place here on my property on Cortes Island. Because I made a mistake and allowed a special place to damaged, I said I would only give the flowers of this place to make beautiful the wound I had caused. I even wrote a story about my unwillingness to give flowers for other occasions as one of the oracle stories that correspond to each oracle card in my Journey Oracle card deck.

Yet now I am preparing for a series of rituals I am conducting at a shamanic retreat I have been planning, and I need flowers for the offerings. What to do? It doesn't seem right to go buy flowers, and of course I cannot pick the last ones still blooming in my early autumn garden because of my promise. I asked my spirit guidance to bring me a solution and a few days later, into our island cabin walked a friend carrying these!

We had been helping her through a difficult time, and she brought a perfectly spirit-directed thank you. But the ritual is still a week away and this extravagant beauty will not last until then. Again I am pondering what to do while another friend is helping me dismantle an old filing cabinet, and her solution for creating a drying rack feels equally spirit-directed.

The drying flowers are now like colored tissue paper, and the helpful effort of my friends will become delicious food for spirit in my bundles. So thanks to all you who do give flowers, you never know but that gesture may be the answer to a prayer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How to read an Oracle card

I have just finished conducting an oracle reading on line using this Journey Oracle card. When I first drew the card, according to my client's choice of # 41, I wrote:

I see a bird shape—lightly outlined in black with lost and found edges; its entire form is not visible. One leg and the lower part of the wing are not seen. This is a flightless bird, perhaps a turkey. The form is showered from above with yellow and cornflower blue. Also a sap green color and a deep teal blue are flowing down. The colors are most dense over the bird’s head and chest, and least present over the tail area. The colors are fainter in hue as they begin in the upper center of the card, and gain intensity and saturation as they reach the lower rim. In the upper portion, the brush strokes applying the color are laid on with considerable water to form a wash, while the strokes along the lower rim are applied with a dry brush.

I decided to share this description of an oracle card because I hope you will find something significant about it. There are no judgments or assumptions or statements of meaning in it. Although there are descriptive words that create an image--flightless, showered, considerable--these words describe a physical quality and not an interpretation. I believe writing a physical description with no personal meaning is a necessary first step when creating a successful oracle reading. This allows the reading to grow toward meaning, instead of beginning, perhaps unconsciously, with the assumptions we already have about the situation for which we want advice.

These unconsidered assumptions of meaning can cause us lots of confusion and difficulty. I recently found a copy of Iron John, by Robert Bly, at the Cortes Island free store and had a revelation when I read this passage:

Many women today say, "The earth is female." A man told me that when he hears that, he feels he has lost the right to breathe. And when a man says, "God is male," women have said that they feel they have no right to pray....Today when a man or woman dreams of a lake, the therapist assumes that the water refers to the feminine....For those who know Latin, mare (the sea) associates with Mary, and pretty soon the sea is female, and since the sea is the unconscious, the unconscious is female as well, and so on.

This describes exactly a great risk in doing Oracle readings for yourself or others. When we include value and feeling statements in our initial description, our unconsidered assumptions become embedded in the reading, and the Oracle cannot reach beyond our unconscious judgments to show us the revelation we are asking to receive.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How to release anger

Most of us have moments when we need to release anger. I have just come home, late and tired from doing a Journey Oracle reading, to find our wwoofer watching Japanese comics on the internet and my partner meditating, apparently leaving me to begin preparing dinner at a time when we are usually sitting down to eat it. So how to release the anger of feeling unsupported? I decided since I was still thinking about the Journey Oracle cards I had just been working with, I would conduct my own oracle reading for insight.

I drew this card; one of my least favorite images in the entire deck. I guess anger feels like that, something we don't want to identify with, yet a thing that keeps us in its thrall. I see an anxious and distracted face, made unpleasant by a running nose and pinched features, surrounded by fractured lines of ice blue. Colorless, tight, self-absorbed. My perfect description of anger. So how to release this? I am drawn to the phrase, "Mother inside looking out." and immediately I remember my own mother. I think she felt oppressed by three children and all the usual family duties, at the same time that she was working full time as a high school literature and English teacher. I think my anger is my Mother inside looking out. This card is the full moon in January, and certainly I relate to the deep cold of that moon in this oracle card image.

I turned the card over and received a revelation. Again, the phrase from the Oracle sounded a truth: "Will the rim hold if the center falls out?" It is easier for me to pull together a meal in quick time that it is for our wwoofer from Japan, who is unfamiliar with our Canadian food. And of course my partner didn't just come home from the oyster farm to lie about, but had begun replacing the skylight panels before taking a moment to himself.

Anger is all a matter of perspective, and the Journey Oracle gives me a different view of my situation. This reading helped me shift my perspective to one containing more common sense and kindness. I hope it helped you too.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Shamanic lessons from a new painted drum

I have been writing about this new shaman drum on a previous blog for my Journey Oracle website. I described this new direction for my drum back fastenings: interlacement patterns that form webs of protection because of the single flowing line of the thong. I wrote about how I was looking into the drum's surface to see what spirit would emerge. And this remarkable painting is what came.
I received many shamanic lessons gazing into this new painted drum. I now call it Estrella and understand that this is an image of a spirit guide, just like the shamanic frame drum is a guide to the alternate realities. The human and the animal share one eye: hers the left and the Other the right. This contains an important lesson for me. When I look through the eye of my spirit or 'mother' side, I see through the eye of my guide's action or 'father' side. So my intuitive non-linear vision in this reality is my active, communicating vision in the spirit realms.

The most significant feature for me of this painted drum is the woman's hand. This was the last feature of the painting to appear; before I found her gesture the drum felt potent but somehow incomplete. I notice that the woman's right hand is holding a finger to her lips in the global gesture that means, "Shhh. be quiet." This means to me to be quiet about our relationships with the Others in the spirit world. I feel it is important not to talk casually about who comes to visit us from that world, or how we are together in this world. I believe we create great consequence when we show off with words, and great alliance when we keep silence.