Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What to do when one cat drives other cats away

My two female cats are not fighting so much as the new one is trying to drive the other one away.  I decided I would do a Journey Oracle card reading to help stress and bring guidance, for me more than to help the cats work through their power struggle.

This first card shows the situation.  I see the new gold and brown cat's face made from what appears to be stone...a hard place.  She looks vigilant, staring out with intense focus.  This card represents the Day of the Unhewn Stone, from Robert Graves' The White Goddess.  Its meaning to me is shamanic initiation, all knowledge. This Oracle has this question for me, "How safe is this repair?"
I am immediately thinking of the larger situation--we agreed to take in this cat to help a friend who had to move.  Now the repair for her doesn't seem so safe for the cats already here.

This next Oracle card shows the experience I am having in this situation.  I certainly feel turned on my head trying to figure out what to do.  I associate the color yellow with my personal power, yet I seem quite powerless to help this. Yet in the image a person is looking out to the light from the dark tangle.  I need to understand how to "become upright in my experience."  This card represents the tree month Hawthorn whose magical aspects are cleansing, purity and sovereignty. The message of this card is "inner truth."  I feel the truth of this experience is that I cannot really change the cat dynamic, just be loving to the insecure one while making sure food is accessible to the one staying away.

The third Journey Oracle card shows change.  This appears to me to be a caterpillar on feet.  Since caterpillars are all about food, it could be that the issue is about food.   The cats have all been fed together until this started happening, so this might be an insight worth pondering. This card represents Path: the realm of journey, and its Oracle also has a question for me, "Are you keeping track of all the parts?" This feels like important advice.  If I can keep the aggressive cat in during the evening when the timid one comes to eat then at least I would know both were OK.

This last Oracle card in the reading is about the resolution.  I see a face made of strong colors and complicated shapes.  A hand appears in front of a mouth in the lower right saying shhh. The right eye can see but the left eye is blind. This is the Oracle of the full moon in August and represents a gift of trust, warmth of the sun, spirit work.  This sound and these phrases help my stress.  It is warm this time of year with lots of sun in the forecast and the timid cat prefers to be outside.  This image shows I am not seeing the spirit work happening because my eye is blind to this side of things.  The message from this Oracle is "a safe place."  My task is this: see a safe place for all four cats that live here.  The Journey Oracle is telling me to trust this.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Where is the Underworld?

Where is the Underworld?  It is not beneath the ground; not deep in the earth but in a fathomless depth not of this earth.

James Hillman, in his masterwork about dreaming, The Dream and the Underworld, locates this home territory of the dream anywhere we see through into the darkness; into images, resemblances, correspondences.

The Underworld is Hades' realm.  Not literal, physical death, not the decay and decomposition which is the only death ego can imagine, but Death as shifting image, as flickering shadow; as metaphor.

We enter by means of reflection--pausing, pondering, a change of pace, a voice or glance dropping levels.  Our movement there is Hermetic, a cocked ear, a sideways look, a suspicious fish eye, intuitional feelings and thoughts that appear in the midst of life and twist life into psyche. Into soul.  The underworld is soul's home.

The Journey Oracle cards are a chariot pulled by black horses watched for by Soul.  She is waiting on the sound of their approach.  The Journey Oracle will carry her across the barriers erected by our culture's neglect of the Underworld, which in our time is called the Unconscious.  To go there, C.G. Jung said, is to go to "the all embracing vision of the myth."

Watch for the new Journey Oracle card deck and book on this website near the full moon in June.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Naming a painted drum

This new painted drum from Journey Oracle will not tell me its name, although certainly someone is always watching.  James Hillman said that "'naming' is not a nominalistic activity, but realistic indeed, because the name takes us into its reality."  Naming it makes it so.

In The Three Lives of Ino Moxo, Maestro Ino Moxo says, "The [white people] accept that our river is not the only one.  They say there are many other rivers.  As if rivers were all that existed, and as if all rivers were made of water, and all have only two shores that eventually led to the sea.

They cannot conceive that a river could have one, or three, or five shores.  Neither can they conceive of a river with still waters, or with waters that run upstream.

They say it is impossible for a river to flow without water, to advance between two landscapes without moving, that it is impossible for the landscapes themselves to move toward the sea.

They do not see the worlds that create this world...."

This one drum face has three faces all gathering musics that live in the air, repeating songs without moving lips or even having any, singing in silence the name of the heart.

Do you know the name of this drum?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Meeting the Goddess of Purposefulness

I have a story to tell about meeting the Goddess of Purposefulness.  A former student wrote to me asking how she could release in respectful ceremony some art work we had done together but had not finished, and so I asked in a dream, "Which God or Goddess has power in this situation?"  This question has been a revelation from reading James Hillman's book Kinds of Power.  In the past I have asked "What should I do now?" which makes the focus about me and not about the Gods and Goddesses who are the root and fullness of all things. According to Hillman, as long as I don't believe the myths are real, they cannot have any power.  When I think everything is about me and has to be fixed by me, I have no awareness that "something has [me] always in mind."

 I received a dream during which I said, "the answer is the Goddess of Purposefulness."  Since I had never heard of this Goddess I went on an Internet search and discovered the Obscure Goddess Online Directory. Um Phl (possibly pronounced Um Pachal), is a Canaanite Goddess whose name translates to mean "the purposeful one."  What an excellent fit.  And even more so when I read she is associated with Healing, Serpent, and Horses, and is the wife of Choron, a God of the Underworld.  These are immediate connections for me.  The Serpent is the power of the Journey Oracle cards, my most recent shamanic painting in progress is titled, "How do you like the Underworld?" I felt that as soon as I asked for the Gods and Goddesses, and not for me, I could see in a different way.

The next day I went into meditation with the intention of meeting the Goddess of Purposefulness.  I only wanted to be present to what might happen, and not try and ask for or influence whatever was coming.
The sensations in my hands were intense and my mind stayed focused, and then a dark form shimmered through darkness in my mind--and a snake head appeared.

Although the sensations continued for some time, no other message or image appeared.   Trying not to feel disappointed or self-critical, I went outside to leave a gift for 'Um Phl.  Because I understand that the Gods' help must be paid in the "coin" of their realm of influence, I left food that might attract food for a snake.  

As I stepped outside, I stumbled on a stone, dislodging it from its location on the path to the garden.  At that moment a strong thought entered my awareness: dig a shallow hole in the earth and bury the art work...just deep enough, just wide enough.  Fill back in and lay stones over the top so they fit.  My shamanic practice over the years has taught me that this is the way the Gods, the Spirits, speak back--in bumps and jolts and little sparks of sudden knowing. 

This is how one builds a snake house!  A platform of stones over which are piled flatish stones in a loose dome arrangement with lots of openings and crevices. The snakes go inside for heat retention at night and sun on the warm stones outside during the day. I have built these on the edges of my garden because snakes are a natural check against slugs and other sprout chewing creatures. 

The art work had a purpose, a teaching, built into every knot, number and material when it was originally made. I learned from this story that it must be let go within a purpose: that of becoming the magically charged foundation for a Serpent house dedicated to Um Phl, the purposeful one.  

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The history of Oracle

I have been recently reading James Hillman's Kinds of Power: A Guide to Its Intelligent Use.  I was delighted to find that he delves deeply into the etymology of words, as this is also a passion of mine.
Since I have been working on bringing out a new boxed set of the Journey Oracle cards in early June, I decided to explore the meaning of "Oracle" and of "Journey."

An oracle is part of a small family of English words that go back to the Latin verb orare: to speak, as in orator, oration, oratory. Even more interesting to me, there is a subset of words that extend the meaning to the word pray: to adore.  What a beautiful history of the word Oracle:  speech that adores.

The word Journey, etymologically, means "a days travel."  The word comes via Old French  jornee from the Latin diurnum: the daily allowance or ration, which in turn is based on dies: day. By the 16th century the specific notion of a "day's travel" had died out, leaving only the more general "travel."

So the Journey Oracle will take you on a day's travel into the wisdom of the unconscious, empowering your speech as prayer to the Mystery. What a wonderful way to spend the day.