Archive for October, 2008

Journeying Inward and Alignment

As we approach the feast and season of Samhain, I’m aware of the desire to go within, the natural human and non-human response to the lengthening nights and cooling air.  This morning, a few snowflakes touched down, the clouds were grey, and the green of the maples was (and still is) counterpointed by brown and yellow.  Though the call within is getting stronger, there is still ritual to do as I enter season of the profound — Samhain circle in my home on Friday afternoon, Wende’s sound gathering at WonderWorks on Saturday evening, and Daré on Sunday.  Alignment.  Carrying out the rituals aligns us with Life’s rhythms and with the pulse of our own souls.

A short tarot reading for myself, using the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot:

1)  What place within myself am I called to enter this Samhain?

   10 of Wands, upright.  The place of service where I step out of my own way in order to carry what Life needs me to carry, even if the end result isn’t apparent to me.

2)  What does Life need me to carry at this time?

   Devil, reversed.  My own shadow.  Perhaps even pieces of the collective shadow. 

3)  How can I carry it gracefully for the best good of all?

   Queen of Cups, reversed.  Do mature inner emotional work.  Allow my deepest-held emotional “stuff” around any well-practised co-dependence to be examined in a grown-up, healthy manner.  Remember my long-standing relationship with Spirit and how it holds me.

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Silence Was Her Praise

Last night’s Vespers of the Black Madonna went well.  I expected that maybe 12 to 16 people would attend.  Wrong!  Rochelle kept bringing in more chairs and the people just kept coming in.  There were about 30 or so people there (I didn’t actually have time to count).  Folks were touched deeply.  How do I know?  Because after the final choir notes sounded and the concluding phrase was spoken, nobody moved.  They were still in body and in mind and remained in that state for several minutes.  One woman said that the central altar was, for her, a deep portal into the core of the Earth.  One man told me that he’s happy to find another male in Toronto who honours Goddess.  Another woman who was present at Vespers came for a tarot consultation today and incorporated the Black Madonna into her question of exploration.

What is your assocation with “dark”?

What is your association with “feminine”?

When you braid these into “dark feminine”, what emerges for you?

Where, for you, is the healing gift in these associations?

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She’s On This Evening

Last night, we held another rehearsal of the music for the Vespers of the Black Madonna.  The event itself will take place this evening at 7:00 at WonderWorks, 79A Harbord Street, here in Toronto.  Looking forward to offering this.  She’s come to me in dreams, visions, and synchronous events over the past three years and prompted me to create this reflective liturgy/ritual.  Tonight, it comes to life.  Thank you to all who are helping with the event!

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Here are a couple of images from our time in Ancaster.  Photos courtesy of Sister Phoenix.  Thank you, sister!

The wonderful group of people at the practicum:

083 by Sister Phoenix2008.

Our circle space:

074 by Sister Phoenix2008

Dear readers, what is your ideal vision of community?  What is its greatest purpose?  How might you be a catalyst in creating that community?

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This is our final night here.  A council of appreciation has been held to honour the gifts, strengths, and beauty of each participant.  Now enjoying a cup of tea before bed.

The day was a rich harvest of brainstormed wisdom as we stated our intent for using circle tools in the world, asked for and received questions related to that intent, narrowed those questions down the the essential ones, and worked in dyads to invite responses to those questions.  Wow! 

My intent is to make each professional consultation, mentoring session, and group activity an experience of council; to carry council mind into each of these in order to invite accountability for choices, guidance, and life from each client and student.  As far as I’m concerned, tarot is a council between the readee, me, the cards, the questions, and Wisdom.  Classes and workshops are councils of learning and teaching.  Journal writing is a council between self, book, pen, and Self.

So, dear friends, I’m curious:

How would entering council mind in your sessions with me be of benefit to you?

What ways of consciously entering and leaving these councils of wisdom, insight, and healing would be of value to you?

What would need to be in place for you to go deeper, deeper, and deeper?

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It’s after midnight and it’s been a long, rich, and wondrous day for our PeerSpirit group.  This evening, we held a three-round story-telling council also known as the “long council”.  Such a variety of stories arose.  The specifics are confidential, but our stories compassionately brought universal themes of birth, sex, relating, conflict, resolution, and death into our midst with human faces.

This morning’s role-playing session was immensely helpful.  Three scenarios were played out and commented upon, allowing all of us to learn deeply via many senses.  The scenario in which I played a part became a sort of healing ritual as the sharing went to a real heart level.  No applause after that one, simply a deep bow.

Yet again, I had the honour to offer reiki and tarot to some people in the group.  Then Bev and I went to Tiffany Falls to enjoy the rocks, moss, trees, coloured leaves, and running water.  I’ve been there once before.  It’s as gorgeous as (more gorgeous than?) I remember it.  This time I stood by the foot of the falls and revelled in their visual and sonorous beauty.  Refreshing to the core.

Today’s Ace of Cups, reversed (from the Vision Quest Tarot) was truly reflected in new emotional depth, in planting the seeds for relating to the deep heart, and in my private immersion in the wonder of the waterfall.

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The hosting provided by Christina and Ann is just as spacious and exquisite as I remember, perhaps even more so.  They hold space so deeply, respectfully, and with just a dash of humour. 

All of the participants are getting along very well.  At the moment, some are out for a walk on the wooded trails, some are chatting, one is receiving a massage from Sister J., and others are singing to a guitar around the fireplace.  Aahh…the joys of the free evening of the practicum. 

It took very little time to set agreements for our few days together — we trust each other.  Today, we combined council with World Café process to brainstorm ways to bring circle practice to situations/groups in which shadow and/or sabotage have entered or been present.  Wonderful!  Tomorrow, we get to employ our harvested wisdom in role-plays.  Nothing like doing it by doing it. 

It’s been lovely to offer reiki and tarot sessions to some of the participants.  Energy and insight from all angles. 

The grounds here at Canterbury Hills are so pleasant and the food is yummy.  Visits from white-tailed deer, just like when I arrived up north to be in council with Deena et al a few weeks ago.  All in all, things are running smoothly and contentment reigns.  Blessed be!

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Packed my bags last night at home.  After sessions with two lovely tarot clients this morning, I took a bus from Toronto to Lakeside Retreats in Beamsville.  Packed Bev’s car with items needed for the upcoming PeerSpirit circle practicum.  We’ll arrive at Canterbury Hills Conference Centre tomorrow morning, set up, meet with Ann and Christina, then greet the participants as they arrive.  It promises to be a deep and enjoyable few days of being in community, learning, and being in a state of council mind. 

I did a casting of the I Ching earlier this evening about what I most need to know as I enter this circle practicum.  Hexagram # 25 is called DisentanglingIt reminds me to disentangle myself from attachment to specifics; to allow for spontaneous, unplanned moments; to restore and maintain a state of neutrality in order to deal with the unexpected in a centred manner; and to engage in the rituals and practices of circle in order to “exorcise” or purify myself of projection, shadow stuff, and the like.  Very interesting, considering that one of the sessions will be about working through shadow and projection in group settings.

In what ideas, feelings, or behaviours are you entangled?  How might you extricate yourself from them?

To what surprises have you needed to surrender?  What did this teach you about life?

What past trauma needs to be “exorcised” from your life and being?  What’s your first step to doing so?

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Lovely weekend and some prep

This Thanksgiving weekend was scrumptious!  The weather was beautiful, a friend from London, ON stayed with us, I enjoyed Jeannette’s Becoming the Medicine circle, had lunch and a roam about the Danforth with sweet friends, and Thanksgiving dinner at Buffy’s house.  Today, I’m putting finishing touches on music for Vespers of the Black Madonna.  Our first rehearsal takes place this evening.  The event itself will be on the 24th.  Can’t wait.  And only three more days until a group of us will be starting the circle practicum in
Ancaster with Christina and Ann.  Does a week get any better?  Thank you, Life!

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Tarot and Other Modalities

At last night’s monthly tarot gathering we explored some correspondences between tarot, astrology, I Ching, and runes.  We began by doing short, three-card readings for partners.  Then I handed everyone a booklet I created based on researching several books so they could find deeper or different layers of meaning in the cards they drew.  Common threads were found and richer stories were woven as a result.  It was enjoyable too!  Here’s a one-card example of my own.

My question:  Whom am I called to serve at this time through tarot, reiki, journalling, and circle?

The card:  TEMPERANCE, reversedInner healing and creativity.  Bringing parts of self together.  Spiritual and psychological healing, wholeness, and creativity.

Astrological correspondence:  SAGITTARIUSThe Truth.  The Big Picture.  A map of the territory.

Runic correspondence (according to Peter D. Cowen):  SOWELO  .  The Life Force.  Wholeness.

I Ching Correspondence (according to Akron & Hajo Banzhaf):  HEXAGRAM # 15 (Humbling / The Grey One)Balance.  Humility.  The process of activating liminal processes.

Gathering all of this information together, I can say that:

  1. I’m called to serve Greater Wholeness.
  2. I’m called to serve my own journey to spiritual and psychological wholeness, the Life Force, and the process of humbly activating my own liminal processes in a balanced manner.
  3. I’m called to serve all beings who seek spiritual and psychological wholeness through maps of Life’s Big Picture, humbly employing those maps in conjunction with the Life Force to activate their liminal processes in a balanced manner.

I love it when all of these signs come together in a meaningful way!

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