Monday, January 26, 2015

How to maintain a courageous attitude

I really enjoyed reading about how to maintain attitude in An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield,  Apparently maintaining attitude to an Astronaut means keeping your space craft in its proper orientation to the sun during orbit.  When I consider my life as my space craft, I understand the importance of maintaining a good orientation to the light, and not turning toward the dark.  So what if I have recently been turned toward doubt and self-criticism?  How to I reorient?  I decided to conduct a Journey Oracle reading and drew 4 cards.

This first card is an image of my situation right now.  Hum.  Lying down with my hair on fire and my mouth full and spinning.  Looking washed out of color.  This is the Oracle of high summer, of inspiration and divination.  Yet I seem to be seeing this intense energy as exhaustion.  Looks like my attitude is definitely going upside down.

This is a picture of my experience in my situation.  This is the Oracle of the Sun, of connection to one's higher self.  Yet I appear to be making a dismissive gesture as the small figure in front, and am sad and worried in the face behind.  So this attitude of not being open, of being uncertain, is coloring how I feel the truth.  I have a sudden insight.  Maintaining attitude is a matter of feeling the truth of one's current position.  These postures and expressions do not feel true.

This is the change that is calling me.  Looks like I need to turn my head upside down.  This is the Oracle of adaptation, of hardiness and endurance.  Even though this face is "in a whirl" it is maintaining this a serene attitude.  I realize that my much of my current doubt and uncertainty in my situation is because I am trying to help other people have MY experience, instead of letting others tell their story in their own way.

This is a picture of my resolution.  I see a fawn behind bushes in the sunrise.  This is the Oracle of prophesy and clear sightedness. This Oracle card asks me, "Do you have first aid?"  In my situation of doubt and self-criticism, I feel that letting go of worry and trusting in the rising light is the antidote.  I read the Journey Oracle fairy tale of the man who climbs the mountain with only a small amount of water, and then pours this out at the top to give a gift to the song he receives.  I realize the water is courage, the willingness that supports the effort to gain the goal.  Hope is not an answer, but even a small amount of courage is a gift.  It takes courage to be calm and trusting like the fawn. And right now the truth I feel is the calm and trust filled courage that maintains my orientation to the rising light.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

My training to become an Oracle

I consider myself trained by Nature.

 Sometimes I mistake my experience for lofty wisdom. Then I truly meet a mountain and I recognize the modest scale of the foothills I inhabit.

I once stood on the edge of a great cliff that fell away into endless space, and flinging my arms wide, I called, “Let me be your student. Come and teach me!”

I felt told to sit still, pay attention, and listen. This is still my relationship with my Nature teachers.

My training shifted to another level when I became a frame drummaker.  From the drums I learned to trust the wisdom of direct experience; the subtlety of tension, the discipline of perseverance, and the knowing in the hands more than in the mind.

One evening I sat with a newly dried drum, its naturally patterned surface illuminated with candlelight. I gazed into the surface as one might do with clouds on a summer’s afternoon. Gradually shapes took on form and startlingly began to move.  A story unfolded—one image transforming into or leading to the next: bears emerging from caves, skinny men falling down holes, bodies disassembling to reconfigure as something other.

This has ever since been my relationship with visions from spirit. I watch a surface, and images emerge like the contour of a landscape does when the sun melts through fog. Creatures move, lights appear, stones speak.

These lessons of attention, valuing, discipline and the training of vision without judgment became the shamanic mentoring that led me to the creation of the Journey Oracle cards.

Friday, January 9, 2015

A shamanic frame drum for an Oracle

This new drum from the Journey Oracle has a story of unexpected shifts and changes of direction.  When it was first drying I noticed the frame had a slight “lift” on two sides which is a technical disappointment to me because it means that I put too much tension along the backbone when I was making the drum.  This does not affect the sound of the drum, it is rather like a small chip in an otherwise beautiful carving.  But when the drum was fully dried, the lift, which usually gets worse instead of better, was almost entirely gone.

The cedar ring holding the back of the drum started out round, 

but as the drum dried it became more egg shaped, which caused the 9 pointed Star of the Muse interlacement pattern to “move” as if flowing to the right, instead of stay stationary in the center of the circle.

The original name of this drum was Smoke and Hope, because just as I was beginning the painting Master and Commander was on TV in the background, and I heard Russell Crowe tell his First Mate to “run like smoke and hope” to escape the pursuing French ship.  I was looking at the drum and suddenly saw the lighter areas as smoke. 

And then I saw the figure.  

And her hand appeared.

And I knew this was an Oracle.  Her expression is too mysterious for me to decipher.  Just as in the making of this drum, the understanding of who is speaking shifts and flows like the fire.

You can listen to this drum being played with a felt covered drumstick by clicking on this link:

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Give a gift of eloquence to the New Year

When I was attending Bolad's Kitchen, the school of Martin Prechtel, he taught us that the Holy in all things wants us to give it the gift of eloquence as a way of feeding its spirit. Here is a way I have learned to give this gift.

First I let my attention rest on something that catches my attention. Just the first thing that comes without my analyzing or trying to control what I see.  For this blog I closed my eyes and I drew a card from the Journey Oracle deck to be the source of my eloquence.  This Oracle card represents Path. What a beautiful beginning for a gift to the New Year.

Next I describe what I see using simple, direct language without trying to be "eloquent". Instead I try to both really see what is before me, and free-associate from my close attention without awkwardness or editing. When I begin, I always start with the phrase, "when I see you...".  This makes me speak directly to what I am seeing.

When I see you, I see you are a beautiful spiral partially buried in dark and partially emerging into light.  I see your buried face is tattooed with a delicate mystery of meandering pathways. 

When I see you, I see your emerging face is made of shiny gold steps and soft turquoise water, not yet marked with traces and trails. 

 I pass back and forth along your buried and your emerging faces to come to the center of you. When I see you, I see your center is an embryo, a seed, a curled beginning. 

Although this sounds very beautiful to me, but it is not yet giving the gift.  Now I find a presence of the Holy in the elements, the forces, the Nature around me.  On this dark rainy evening, the Holy that is already at my back is Fire. I speak my eloquence to Fire without changing any of the words...and I am struck by the beauty of the good fit of my gift of eloquence, and by the mystery of Fire having gold steps and soft water.  And yet I see Fire in these words, and everything I see is true.

Try it.  Give a gift of eloquence to the Holy in this New Year.  The beauty of your good effort will be food to the other-than-human-world.