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Archive for December, 2008

A Balanced 2009 to Us!

It’s the afternoon leading into New Year’s Eve.  I’m preparing food for this evening’s small gathering chez nous.  A bean and tuna salad; another salad of roasted peppers, capers, and pomegranate seeds; muttachar (spiced eggs) with rice; and some romaine with cucumber.  Of course, there’ll be champagne!  I’m looking forward to crossing the threshold into 2009 with some of my close ones.

2 + 0 + 0 + 9 = 11.  For me, the eleventh Major Arcanum is Justice.  So, 2009 invites us to lead a life of balance, equilibrium, fairness, equal give and take, peace, harmony, and objectivity.  In the Komyo Reiki Kai, we say, “Go placidly in the midst of praise or blame.”  The motto is all about remaining in our centres even amidst the extremes that we perceive all around us.  This feels very Justice card-like to me.  What might that feel like for you?  How might each of us contribute to a society of harmony?  Where do you need more balance?  What would it look like to be objective enough to experience things as they are rather than as we think they should be?  With whom do you need to be more fair?  Where in your life could reciprocity be improved? 

Some of you will think of 11 as Strength.  If so, what questions about 2009 emerge for you?

A very happy and balanced new year to you all!

Love,

James

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Blessed Winter Solstice

It’s been a lovely Soltice so far.  On our snowy Toronto Friday, I stayed in and journalled about questions from the Winter chapter of Janell Moon’s The Wise Earth Speaks to Your Spirit.  Wrapped in council shawl, tea at my side, journal on my lap, I shook a ceramic rattle to take me into deeper inner space, rang tingsha to indicate the beginning of council with myself through the journal, then wrote.  Post-writing, I rang the tingsha again and rattled to indicate that I was leaving the ritual experience of the write.  I also spent time listening to my favourite Winter Solstice CD, Firedance by Jaiya, an eco-friendly musical group on the West Coast.  The cheery cheekiness of “Bring Us in Good Ale” contrasted with the bittersweet tenderness of “Gaia’s Lullaby” really speaks to me.  Such a  cozy day with Self.

Yesterday, my friend Renato came over and we enjoyed dinner, champagne cocktails, and a viewing of the DVD of Stardust, a very magickal story.  Then Steven came home and the three of us chatted for a while before retiring for the night.

Today, Renato and I each did a two-card Winter Solstice reading with the William Blake Tarot of the Creative Imagination to answer these questions:

1.  What light am I called to birth into existence at this time?
2.  How can I birth it?
The sharing we experienced over this simple layout was a pleasant way to celebrate the Solstice.  Obviously, his cards and insights are not for me to talk about here, but my own cards were the Moon for the first question and the Angel of Poetry for the second question.  Life is inviting me to work with the realm of depth and dream in ways that are visionary and intuitive, for myself, other people (clients, students, and friends), all of humanity, and the planet.  Could be dream-singing circles, dream council (one-on-one or in groups), dream journalling, or something like letting the dream “speak” though us powerfully.  The guidance and feedback from these processes reward us with inner peace and spiritual communion.  I can do this by merging with the Dream Muse and allowing it to express itself through me and others in a prophetic manner (noteFor me, prophecy is not about prediction, but rather about having insights that shake up the status quo.  Abraham Heschel said that a prophet is “one who interferes in history.”).  Have direct union with the dream, vision, or deep place.  Both card images contain figures who are embracing one another and reminded us of a scene in Stardust when the hero and heroine embrace and a great light shines from both of them.  This light destroyed the evil adversary who was attempting to do them harm.  Our remembrance of this movie scene  inspired an insight that my loving embrace of people and process will be enough to dissolve any possible impediments.  I also need only look for the elements of this evolutionary dream immersion that are already in place in my life and work.
I hope that you’ll try this two-card layout for yourself, either alone or with a trusted loved one, and that you will be richly blessed at this time of the Rebirth of the Light.
Here’s a piece on YouTube by my friends Joanna Powell Colbert and Craig Olsen that expresses it all beautifully:

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Daphne Odjig exhibit

Yesterday, Jeannette, Karin, Bonnie, and I went to the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg, ON to see the retrospective of the art of Daphne Odjig, First Nations artist extraordinaire.  Bonnie happens to be the curator of the show and knows Odjig personally, so I felt privileged to hear personal anecdotes and cultural stories that brought the visual works to life.  The pieces that really “rang” for me were Thunderbird Woman, Shaking Tent, Medicine Man in the Shaking Tent, and From Mother Earth Flows the River of Life (see image below).  To walk through this exhibit is to immerse oneself in beauty, terror, power, and glory.  It’s art that comes from the soul and Spirit and that lands viscerally in one’s consciousness.  Do see it!

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Celtic Shaman’s Pack arrives

For a long time, I’ve admired my friend Jeannette’s copy of the out-of-print Celtic Shaman’s Pack, a deck of cards and book by John Matthews and Chesca Potter.  Potter’s pictures are astoundingly beautiful and Matthews’ writing is precisely clear.  My friend Renato, splendid soul that he is, found me a copy of the CSP on the internet and presented it to me as a gift before Thursday’s tarot gathering.  What a treat!  I’ve been creating relationship with the pasteboards by using them for my daily card,  journalling with them, breathing in the scrumptious imagery, using them for storytelling, and simply sitting and shuffling them.  These 40 cards make my Celtic blood sing!  Thank you, Life, for this terrific gift and for the agent of friendship that made it possible.  Blessed Be.

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Design a Fine 2009

On Thursday evening, a group of 16 people came to my place and I led them through a process to focus and shape a path to a significant goal for the upcoming year.  Combining the tarot with an enjoyable and enlightening question-harvesting technique really took them to the heart of what they desired, why they desire it, and how to begin to make it happen.  Here it is in a nutshell:

1.  Select one important goal for yourself for 2009.  Write it down.
 
2.  Look through face-up tarot deck and find ONE card that most looks/feels like your accomplished goal.  Write down its name and any positive/evolved qualities you see/feel in it.
 
3.  In writing, complete this intent statement:
“By living the qualities of [evolved qualities from tarot card], I, [Name], manifest [name of your goal] or something better.  It is so.”
 
4.  In writing, brainstorm a list of ten questions about your intent/goal.
 
5.  Go around the room and meet with at least three (or more) people.  Read each person your intent statement as written in Step # 3.  Allow them to suggest five questions to you.  Write them down without editing or discussing them.  Listen to each person’s intent statement and suggest five questions to them.  Move on the the next person as soon as you and one person have exchanged questions.  [Note: If not in a workshop/group setting, simply take a few days or weeks to harvest questions from trusted friends, colleagues, and family members before moving on to the next step].
 
6.  Go through your list of questions and narrow them down to three or four that carry energy and importance for you in connection with your intent.
 
7.  Use your three or four questions as the basis for a tarot reading.  Pull a card for each question and dialogue about the card responses with a partner.  Then switch roles.
 
8.  Use your tarot insights to come up with a tangible action(s).  Write it down in this form:
“I, [Name], leave here ready to [name your action/s here].”
 
9.  One at a time, each person reads aloud:
 
     a)  hir statement from Step 3, and
     b)  hir statment from Step 8.
 
[If alone, read it aloud anyway.  These declarations give your goal and actions power.]
 
10.  Go out and do it!  Check in with the cards from this process from time to time to inspire you and to generate new ideas.

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Yesterday, I rode the train up to Maple, ON and spent time at Grey Heron, the home and workplace of Andrea Mathieson, creatrix of Raven Essences (see my links), intuitive, and hostess extraordinaire.  We had a splendid lamb dinner crowned with apple-cranberry crisp.  Then Andrea worked with me through questioning, intuition, and great discernment to create a Black Madonna essence for me.  It was amazing to witness her process, and I highly recommend that people contact her for the support and care that she offers.  Afterwards, we played a couple of tarot games — Gifts & Secrets and Wishing Well, both from Tarot Games by Cait Johnson and Maura D. Shaw — in front of the fireplace and learned lots more about each other through the dialogue that these inspired.  The guest room, open to retreatants, is comfortable and peaceful.  The entire space is womb-like and serene, a sort of council mind in house form.  I purchased a couple of 08/09 Essence kits from Andrea to support moving into a new time.  Thank you to Andrea Mathieson for such a wondrous visit, both deep and fun.

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Quality, Not Quantity

I’ve never understood the idea of charging for a reading by the number of cards laid out.  People pay me for my time and expertise, not for consultation content or number of cards.  Whether my readee and I lay out three cards or twenty cards doesn’t matter.  My preference is to do more with less.  Today, a client and I spent one hour working with only four cards.  Each card plus its layout position generated questions and conversation that took us deeper into this person’s experience and thus into more insight.  For me, it was far more powerful than doing some fancy 30-card spread just to show off.  There are moments when quick feedback on many questions is desired and required, so I don’t mind offering several quicker bursts of information.  In general, however, I prefer to let a smaller number of tarot cards take us into deep council with each other and with Life.

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