Archive for August, 2010

Learn How to Read Tarot This Fall!

IMAGINE being able to call upon your inner wisdom with the turn of a card. You CAN! Read on to learn how.

THE ESSENTIALS OF TAROT READING a six-session course with James Wells at Grey Heron, home of the Earthsong Mysteries School (Maple, ON)

The 78-card tarot deck is a tool for personal empowerment and clarifying issues. A grounding in essential tarot skills and concepts helps you to use the cards in such a conscious manner. This six-session course blends imagination and information so you can establish a relationship with your deck’s imagery and learn practical means for interpretation.

Topics include connecting with your ideal tarot deck, the art of constructive questions, the Minor Arcana, the Major Arcana, designing tarot spreads, and pulling it all together to read for yourself and others. In-class peer interaction, helpful handouts, and at-home activities will keep your tarot skills sharp!

Please bring a tarot deck of your choice (NOT another type of oracle deck), a notebook, and a willingness to explore.

Dates and Times: Six Tuesday evenings, 7 — 9:30 p.m. October 12, 26; November 9, 23; December 7, 14th.

Cost: $250 for the full course.

NOTE: This course will not be offered again until late next year, so it’s best to sign up now if you want to take it in 2010.

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Come Away, O Human Child


I’ve been haunted of late by a poem by William Butler Yeats entitled The Stolen Child.  It tells the story of faeries who are enticing a young human to leave behind a world of sorrow and go to a place where life is more magical.  Here’s the refrain:

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

At the end of the poem, the human child accepts the invitation:

For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery hand in hand,
From a world more full of weeping than he can understand.

This morning, I looked through my face-up Morgan-Greer tarot deck (because it was at hand) to find any images that remind me of Willie Yeats’s words.  The 8 of Cups and 6 of Swords (see above) stood out for me.  In both cards, there is an air of mystery.  The figures are moving away from us into deep, watery territory.  Another place, whether oceanside rocks or another shore, awaits them.  The central character in the 8 of Cups seems to be beckoned by the pull of the moon; one of the 6 of Cups characters is being ferried (faeried?) by someone else.  Where they’ve been has been okay, but there’s something wondrous, fresh, and possibly exciting that lies in the new territory.  It’s scary to move there, but perhaps necessary.

Yeats’s text and these two tarot cards make me ask the following questions:

  • In what ways might I perceive this to be a world that’s full of weeping?
  • What magical voice calls out to me?
  • To what does this magical voice invite me?
  • What is the most healthy way for me to say “yes” to the invitation?
  • What might await me in that new territory?
  • What scares me most about the journey?
  • How can I face the fear and go there anyway?
  • Who or what supports me and/or ferries me there?

All good food for reflection.  What about YOU, friends?  What words or images haunt you?  To what deeper questions do they invite you?  To what journey do your questions invite you?  Please feel free to share here.


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Chicken Dinner Council

Last night, I enjoyed a great visit with a person who’s important to me.  The conversaton ranged from silly to sublime.  C. cooked a wonderful chicken dinner and we talked about things in a manner that was respectful and honest.  When I heard myself say things like, “I know that you…”, I caught myself and then said, “What I really meant to say is that I perceive that you…”  He did the same when addressing me.

A couple of topics might have made many people squeamish, defensive, or uncomfortable.  C. and I were both clear that these topics were simply topics.  They were in the room, we both acknowledged them, then heard each other’s thoughts and feelings about each of them.  Then we got on with dinner and visiting. 

This, my friends, was circle mind at work in the real world.  For this, I’m grateful.  Circle process is a practice in imperfection.  Last night, C. and I did a pretty good job.  We know more about one another.  This includes how each of us chooses to communicate with one another and with others we know.

When have such moments of honest, circle-like communication graced your life recently?  What happened as a result?  How do you feel about it?  How might you build upon it?

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Some Tips for Interactive Tarot Sessions

On Thursday evening, a group of us gathered to work with tarot and I presented some ideas on how to work interactively over the cards.  Our time together began with a quote by Mary Greer:

“A reading is interactive when all those involved act together and have a dynamic effect on each other.  This includes the reader, querent, the cards, and the figures on the cards.”     (21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card, page xii)

Participants offered short consultations to one other while working in a more conversational style rather than a “talking at you” style.  Here are the Tips for Interactive Tarot Sessions that I shared with the group:

  • Make sure that you and readee/querent are in agreement about the intent or focus of the session.
  • Listen with attention and without judgement.
  • Speak with intention and without judgement.
  • Invite the readee to remember that this is a dialogue, to join you in speaking with intention and listening with attention.
  • Let the readee know that the details of the tarot conversation will remain confidential.
  • Be curious.  Keep the flow going by asking honest, open-ended questions.
  • Balance your knowledge of the cards with fresh observations about them in the moment.
  • Come back to the cards.  It’s easy to stray from the focus, so remember that the cards and the characters/symbols on them are also partners in the conversation.
  • Summarise or synthesise the tarot conversation and/or ask the readee to do so.
  • Remember that the readee is the ultimate authority on hir life.

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Fifth (final) Reiki Precept

The fifth and final precept that Mikao Usui encourages us to live translates in these (and other) ways:

  • Be compassionate to yourself and others
  • Be compassionate to all beings
  • Be kind
  • Demonstrate kindness to everyone

Compassion means “to suffer with” or “to feel with”.  We’re invited to really feel what someone (human or more-than-human) is feeling here and now and to act with kindness based on that.  That someone includes ourselves.  If I’m really experiencing myself in this moment, I can do what is best for myself in this moment.  As we do so, we remember to “be honest in our work”; that is, we do or say what we’re honestly capable of doing or saying.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Sometimes being kind is very gentle and sweet.  I send a card to someone to let them know I’m thinking of them,  take some pasta to a neighbour who doesn’t feel up to cooking, or offer a backrub to a friend.  At other times, compassion/kindness is more of a tough love experience.  I hang up the ‘phone so that the person ranting on the other end doesn’t embarrass hirself or tick me off, tell the person who wants to become a clergyperson that s/he needs to work on hir people skills before even considering this option, or firmly request that the TV be turned off so that I can work on my tarot deck.

Whether sweet kindness or tougher kindness, it helps if the actions or words come from the heart and soul.  It’s simply about what is right and good in the moment, not about ego-tripping.

How might we be kind to one another today?  Let me know.

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New Drums Are Born

It’s been a good day here at Lakeside Retreats.  Sixteen of us participated in a drum-making workshop and a ceremony to awaken the drums.  Jackie and Bill, the workshop facilitators, were patient, approachable, and helpful.  We sanded down the frames for our drums, cut deerhide into long pieces to act as tying material, then used it to lace the round pieces of skin to the frames.  We did a quick round of sharing about the day’s experience, then Bill drummed and sang songs to the Grandfathers, Grandmothers, and Great Spirit as well as to the four directions.  The drums were awakened.  We laid out food for the ancestors, then partook of a yummy pot-luck meal and friendly conversation. 
Seven of Fire
I pulled a card from the Gaian Tarot to respond to the question, “What would my drum like to do in/for our world?”  I received the 7 of Fire (see above), which suggested these possibilities:
  • Like Brigid, this drum would like to support creativity, healing, poetry, music, and the forging of strong things in the world.
  • This drum would like to work in partnership with the Thunderbeings.
  • This drum would like to support the strong Feminine.
  • This drum would like to expand people’s sense of self and help them experience their expanded spirit.
  • This drum would like to help us stay focused on the task at hand.
  • This drum would like to assist us to reshape identities and situations that have become hardened, softening them so that Spirit can mold them in a good way.

I expect that the drum will teach me more about itself.  Blessed be!

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The Fourth Reiki Precept

The fourth of the reiki precepts has several translations.  Some of these include:

  • Be honest in your work
  • Work diligently
  • Do your duty
  • Work with honesty

This particular principle reminds me of four things.  The first of these is to be honest in my interactions with people every day.  Things like not ripping off the cashier at the grocery store, offering value in the skills and services that I provide, and being up front about all transactions whether they’re monetary, emotional, relational, or other.  Then I can go to bed with a clear conscience and my body gets the healthy rest that it requires.

The second thing that comes to mind from Be honest in your work is to be a valuable contributor to my community and society.  This is to share my abilities for the best good of all of us, human and more-than-human.  It’s to take responsibility for my piece of the web of life.

The third idea that comes out of this principle for me is to work on myself as honestly and diligently as I can today.  If I have 15 minutes for meditation, do 15 minutes then get on with life rather than berating myself for not sitting for 30 minutes.  If I’m able to spend half of the morning journalling deeply, and I feel so inclined, then I’ll do so.  In other words, our personal maturation/growth process is part of our work and we do what we’re able to do.  No more, no less.

The final point that Be honest in your work inspires is to do what I came here to do.  There’s a core image or quality that is in me.  It’s my sacred duty to myself and Life to live that core image/quality to the fullest.  It’s my duty and delight to express my soul purpose and to offer it in service to the world.  To do otherwise would be a compromise.  I often say that there’s no healthy alternative to being oneself, and I feel that the fourth precept reminds us of that.

When YOU feel your way into this precept, what comes to mind for you?  How are you honest in your work?  What grows out of that?

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The Tarot’s Teachings?

When I lay out an entire tarot deck, no matter which one, the card images seem to contrast or balance opposites — female and male, dark and light, night and day, low and high, etc.  There’s also a noticeable juxtaposition of limitation and freedom.  So, I wonder if one of the tarot’s potential purposes is to teach us about unity (balancing perceived opposites) and liberation.  Perhaps it’s hinting to us that our liberation comes from seeing the wholeness in all that is.

What are your thoughts on this, friends?  What lessons do YOU see in the tarot?  Please leave comments.  Let’s learn from one another.

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A Meeting Between Rumi and the Gaian Tarot

This quote by Rumi recently came to my attention:

Do not worry if our harp breaks
thousands more will appear.
We have fallen in the arms of love where all is music.
If all the harps in the world were burned down,
still inside the heart
there will be hidden music playing.
Do not worry if all the candles in the world flicker and die
we have the spark that starts the fire.
The songs we sing
are like foam on the surface of the sea of being
while the precious gems lie deep beneath.
But the tenderness in our songs
is a reflection of what is hidden in the depths.
Stop the flow of your words,
open the window of your heart and
let the spirit speak.
Here’s a short tarot reading, using the Gaian Tarot, about some of the key ideas.
1. What is the hidden music of the heart?     Elder of Fire.     The power to heal.
2. What is the spark that starts the fire?     Child of Earth.     Appreciation of life’s simple moments of goodness.
3.  What are the precious gems that lie deep beneath the surface?     8 of Water.     The abilities to be ourselves completely and to swim against what our culture tells us is the “right” way.
4.  When we open the window of our hearts, what does the spirit want to say?     The Teacher.     Everything we need to learn is right in front of us and Nature is constantly teaching and supporting us if we stay still enough to pay attention.
5.  What is the key message that this poem by Rumi wants to convey to us?     6 of Water.     The love and support that so many of us seek is within us and around us already.

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Truth In Story

A story has great power to convey truth and insight and to open us up to richer questions about our lives.  Sometimes telling a story takes us out of a situation for a few moments so that we can hear and speak truth in a less-charged manner. 

If I’m sitting in council circle and one of my peers regales us with Goldilocks and the Three Bears, I might be inspired to reflect on questions such as:

  • In what “woods” do I feel lost?
  • Where is my temporary shelter?
  • What resources are there for the taking?
  • Where in my life is there “too much”?
  • Where in my life is there “not enough”?
  • What in my life is “just right”?

Ten of Earth  Child of Fire

Telling a once-upon-a-time story based on tarot card images (or photographs or a collage or…) often helps me get out of my own way, say things I wouldn’t normally say aloud, then bring me to realisations and/or questions for further exploration.  For example, I pulled the 10 of Earth and the Child of Fire (see above) from the Gaian Tarot.  My story might be along the lines of:

Once upon a time, an old man dwelt in the woods near a village.  His life was pretty smooth, but he was a bit lonely and had a lot of time to think about his loneliness.  One night, as he lit the kindling in his fireplace, a magical cat slid in over the windowsill.  When the old man lay down to sleep, the magical cat curled up on the bed beside him and both basked in the warmth of the fire.  The next morning, the old man’s loneliness had disappeared.  He knelt down to the magical kitty, stroked his fur, and thanked him profusely.

This story might inspire me to ask:

  • In what ways have I felt lonely lately?
  • What aspects of my life are running smoothly?
  • What’s missing?
  • What fire do I need to kindle in my life?
  • Who or what has slid into my life to help me?
  • Who is my “magical cat”?
  • How does loneliness get dispelled from my life?
  • How can I best express my gratitude to my “magical cat”?

You get the idea.  Please try it and let us know what happens.

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