Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The other Halloween is Samhain: the spiritual new year

Samhain (pronounced saah-win), Summer's End, the Day of the Dead.   The time when killing frosts complete the harvest and Earth energy pulls back into death before rebirth.  The time when the veils between the worlds are thin. A time of contact and communication with the other side. A spirit-filled series of days for honouring the turning of Nature's cycles that coincides with Halloween, but is not the same as the secular holiday.

Here is a free reading from the Journey Oracle with a twist of Samhain energy: the messages in the four cards of the reading are arranged to create a journey into reflection and action regarding this beginning of your spiritual new year.  The first oracle card represents reflection--oracle messages about the challenges and accomplishments of the past year, the second oracle card represents integration--messages about your experiences when receiving this learning from the year.   The third card contains messages of release: about what is no longer useful, about creating new patterns that renew and transform.  The fourth oracle card presents a story containing messages of guidance, and suggestions for ways to act to bring this guidance alive in your spiritual new year.

Thanks to Selena Fox and the Circle Sanctuary for inspiring this renaming of the 4 cards in a Journey Oracle reading.

reflecting on the past year

Describe the challenges and accomplishments
of 2019 as shown in this image using simple phrases.  
Do not analyze, doubt or discard what your inner voice is saying.  
When you feel inner quiet, consider the Oracle’s identity. 
 Identity of Oracle: East 
Why is this the Oracle of reflection? 

Message from the Oracle about your challenges and accomplishments: 
more wisdom

Why are you receiving this message? 

pronouncements from the Oracle about your year

An Oracle reveals the forces that are moving beneath your year.    
These sentences are not statements of logic or reason.  
 If a statement draws a blank from your unconscious, 
move on to the next sentence.

This year began by reconnecting.
The prevailing energy of this year was 
dramatically unexpected.
The core energy pattern of this year was a soft covering.
The Mother of this year was inventive.
The Father of this year was burnt.

Your relationship to the prevailing energy was 
ready for flight.           
Your perception of the year was obsessive

The impact of your perception was flamboyant.
The connection between the core energy pattern 
and the year was felt as diffident.
The momentum of this year was fed by 
tightening up a few phrases.

integrating what you have learned

Describe your first impressions of this image representing 
how you have integrated what you have learned.  
Do not analyze, doubt or discard what your inner voice is saying.  
When you feel inner quiet, consider the Oracle’s identity.

Identity of Oracle:  Ice  Moon (Full Moon in January)
Why this is the Oracle of your integration? 

Question from the Oracle about your integration:  
Will the rim hold if the centre falls out?

Why are you receiving this question?

Your integration named: 
Mother inside looking out

Your integration experienced:

anxiety, lighten up
the planet, mother inside looking out, consternation
no judgement
detachment, eye tightness

no judgement, consternation
angst, mother inside looking out
reflecting back feelings, anxiety
hello, you look like you’re in pain, 
desperate for nourishment
lighten up, the planet
Exterior support for integration:
an exterior or support system for integration is odors.

releasing what is no longer useful

The Journey Oracle’s answers change the way you see things. 
Your anxieties, fears and desires emerge to be recognized and resolved, 
and hidden transformative energies are released. 

Describe your first impressions of this image representing 
the releasing of what is no longer useful.  
Do not analyze, doubt or discard what your inner voice is saying.  
When you feel inner quiet, consider the Oracle’s identity.

Identity of Oracle: Nion (Ash tree)
 Why this is the Oracle of release? 

Message from the Oracle about release:  
Endless dancing

Why are you receiving this message?

creating new patterns of transformation 

These statements bring an in-depth recognition of change 
that you feel coming.  
These indicate new patterns that are asking to happen.  
If a statement draws a blank from your unconscious, 
move on to the next sentence.

The power needed to transform will be a sound of contentment.
Transformation will come by starting a war.
Your relationship to these new patterns is frigid.
The moment of letting go into transformation will smell of sex.
The concern to be avoided within this transformation 
will taste of famine.
Divine Will
The wisdom of life still going on will empower the transformation.
Completed transformation will be felt as a quality of 
drifting in and out.
Dream on this question:

 Are you willing to trade places?

How is this an answer?


guidance for the new year

Describe your first impressions of this image 
of guidance for the new year. 
 Do not analyze, doubt or discard what your inner voice is saying.  
When you feel inner quiet, reflect on the Oracle’s identity.

Identity of Oracle: Mystery 
Why this is the Oracle of your guidance? 

A guidance question from the Oracle: 
Are you happy here?

Why are you receiving this question?

 a Fairy Tale from the Oracle to guide your new year

The dense weave of meaning in a fairy tale provides insight into 
the hidden forces within your new year. 
In this fairy tale, your unconscious wisdom knows 
the names of all the characters, 
all the actions needed, and what is the happy ending.

A pair of robins built a nest outside a woman’s kitchen window. Back and forth the sleek, strong parents flew, and yet she did not much attend to the new life’s manifestation that might be curling inside that twiggy bowl. Then one day she saw a wee curving form and a flash of translucent orange greet an adult bird’s arrival. The gaping mouths wavering on rubbery stalks counted three, and from that moment the woman’s attention often rested on the little family.
The hatchlings grew until their jostling with each other for the offered morsels threatened to send one over the edge. The woman began to wonder what she would do if a chick fell out, or if the nest itself came down. She plotted how to keep the birds safe, but always stopped short of action because it seemed this is how they are, even when the chicks were so big that they would teeter on the edge of the nest, buzzing their wings like whirligigs, reaching out always to say there is not enough food.
One morning the woman saw a chick sitting on a branch near the nest, receiving a morsel from its skinny overworked parent. It was weaving a bit on its untrained feet and rebalancing frequently with wild flutterings. “How can this be?” The woman thought in alarm. “Surely it’s not time yet for the survival of the species story.” But she resisted trying to help and just kept watching. And then, as if someone said “one of you has to go”—all the birds were gone. No chicks were left in the nest, the one on the branch could not be seen, and the parents no longer came.
         The woman went outside, and saw a robin a distance away in the garden. Then another flew past in the yard. A third dropped to the ground at the edge of the forest. “Is that you, my friend,” she wondered, “or maybe your child?” Suddenly the woman was seeing what she loved everywhere. 

Who are you in this story?  

What guidance is in the story for your new year?

Based on who you are in the story, 
now what are you now going to do
to begin your new year? 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Make little rituals for nature

We are all persons of ceremony. This is a quality of being human traced back through our most ancient ways.  I do not mean religious ceremonies, or large community celebrations, but rather repeated daily acts that bring mindfulness and order to our lives. If you are Canadian, you probably take your shoes off when you enter your home.  And you probably do not leave them in a heap to be stumbled over, but rather, arrange them in some order.  It is this kind of small ceremony I am talking about.

These small acts of daily ritual appear in our relationship with the elements of nature.  Do you deadhead flowers in the containers on your deck, finding yourself quietly appreciating their beauty while grooming them?  A little ritual for praising the earth.

Have you ever made a tiny boat of twigs and leaves to set upon a flowing stream, just to see how long it would last, and then realized that its distance traveled was a mirror of something moving in your life?  Did you thank the water with a smile born from synchronicity? A little ritual for joining with water. 

Do you sometimes find yourself in a moment so awe-filled that your spontaneous response is to inhale deeply and stand as still as you can while you exhale slowly, gradually becoming aware that everything is breathing with you?  A little ritual for acknowledging air.

Have you ever asked a fire to do a special task of baking or clearing, and found yourself unexpectedly offering a gift of song or words to the flames?  A little ritual for feeding fire.

Craig Childs writes about such gestures, that they are each "the remembering of a code, a single word of an ancient language. These become like a map of trails through hazardous territory."

Sometimes the hazardous territory is our mind--our fearing for our future.  When we notice these small acts of honouring, when we attend to them, make much of them, we discover that ceremony is communication, and that these little rituals for nature are an Oracle that can guide us to balance.  With balance comes equanimity--a quality of mental and emotional equilibrium with all that is. And from equilibrium comes true even-mindedness, rather than worry or indifference, with regard to the future.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Spiritual authority in Shamanism

A few days ago I had a conversation with a monk about my ability to talk to stones.  The conversation ranged widely--is it a spirit in the stone, or the stone itself?  Do all stones talk, or just some of them?  What is the difference between a stone and a rock, and does one talk more or rather than the other? 

I did not do very well with my words.  I felt like a small child trying to share something that cannot be explained, but only known.  And who really takes a child's knowing very seriously? The monk was very kindly and supportive, but still, I felt inarticulate of spiritual authority.

What is spiritual authority in Shamanism?  This authority does not come from an outside power, nor is it bestowed due to a set of beliefs or customs.  Spiritual authority in shamanism grows from one's own actions and experiences in the physical world.  The power that is generated comes through a connection that is at the same time both ordinary and spiritual.  It is not possible to obtain this authority through reading, or watching, or thinking, but only through doing.

Here are some ways of encouraging the connection that opens into spiritual authority.

Experience sets itself in whatever the landscape allows.

Arrange to be in landscapes where deep experience is possible.  This does not mean you must hike through a desert or scale mountains, but rather, be willing to sit in the rain, walk without a flashlight,
climb a tree, crawl beneath a hedge. 

Have a love of setting out on journeys.

Learn from the strongest beings what it means to  journey into the unknown.  This begonia top broke from its tuberous root during a strong wind, and yet stays alive by growing roots from its stem.  

Discover the terrain of an inner journey by visiting an Oracle, or journey into change just by taking a walk across rough ground that requires being awake to where your feet go.

Be rooted in nature's orderliness.

We all move within and without.  Keep track of your cycles of gain and cease, and how these fit in the widening circles of  the tides, the seasons, the cycles of moon rise and sunset. 

Honour your goodness of fit within nature's orderliness with a song, a gesture, a moment of beauty.

Understand there are no coincidences,
only omens.

Once you feel the connection, what appears ordinary becomes spiritual, and you realize that everything is always speaking, even through its apparent silence.   

This feeling is spiritual authority.