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Archive for April, 2011

A Good Earth Day Circle Game

Today, seven of us gathered in my space to play the Earth Day tarot circle game that I created.  I placed a gerbera and a beeswax candle in the centre along with four lush-looking cards from the Greenwood Tarot.  As people arrived, they placed objects — a stone, some sage, a tarot deck, an oracle deck, a bracelet — to represent them in the middle.

Using the lovely Gaian Tarot, we engaged in three rounds of council-style conversation.  Certain details are private, but some of the themes in general and from my own statements, include:

  • the importance and sacredness of water in the body of Earth and in our own bodies
  • simple actions, such as spending 5 to 20 minutes picking up garbage in places that are special to us, can make a difference
  • use only what we require
  • our world and universe, still unfolding and being created from the Primal Flaring Forth, are living examples of healthy, natural ritual; by paying attention to Nature’s cycles, we can generate appropriate life-affirming rituals in our own lives and communities
  • there is no such thing as a “natural disaster”; there are events in Nature which we like and those which we find inconvenient

Afterwards, we shared a pot-luck meal and more meaningful conversation.  Those who knew one another before felt closer.  Those who had never met before made new connections.

I hope that YOU get a chance to spend time with good people and beautiful cards to come up with new insights, or even be reminded of older insights, into your role in Earth’s wellness.  Blessed Earth Day to you!

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Earth Day Tarot Circle Game

A.  Gather in a circle, whether around a table, on the floor, or wherever.  Place a beeswax candle in the middle.  Remove any card(s) from your tarot deck that reminds you of Earth Day and what it represents, then place this card(s) in the centre beside the candle.  You can also add plants, stones, twigs, shells, or other ambassadors of Nature to the middle arrangement.  If you’re outside, you can gather under a tree and let the trunk be your sacred centre.

B.  Read a quote/poem about Nature to set the tone.  Or sing an Earth-honouring song.

C.  One at a time, each person receives the tarot deck as it’s passed clockwise.  Each person, when s/he receives the pack, says one word or one phrase that lets the group know how s/he is as s/he enters this game(e.g. “I’m feeling grateful for X this evening.” or “Tired, but happy to be with you all today.” or “Curious about what we’re about to do.”).  Then s/he mixes the deck and picks three cards at random before passing the pack to the person on hir left.  This continues until everyone has checked in and has three cards in their hands.

D.  Three rounds are played clockwise (each round’s topic is below).  During each, every player gets a turn to lay a card on the surface in front of hir and use its image to inspire a continuation of the open sentence provided.  This can be done by consciously selecting a card from your face-up hand or by keeping your three cards face-down and intuitively picking which one will be your sentence-completion image.  Each player can expand on the sentence as much as s/he chooses.

  • FIRST ROUND: “What I find difficult to hear about the Earth at this time is _________.”
  • SECOND ROUND: “What I love and appreciate about the Earth is _________.”
  • THIRD ROUND: “The meaningful Earth-healing assignment to which I feel called is _________.”

E.  After everyone’s cards have been played, allow a fruitful, respectful conversation to unfold, continuing until it reaches a natural conclusion.

F.  For the final round, the tarot deck is passed around counterclockwise.   One at a time, people receive it, express gratitude for one thing they’ve heard or said during the game, mix their three cards back into the pack, and pass it to the person on their right.

G.  After everyone’s cards have been returned to the deck, the central card is shuffled back into the pack.  Read a closing poem/quote or sing another Earth-honouring song.  Extinguish the candle.

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A Grail Dream

Last night, I had this dream:

I’m in an ancient grey stone building that appears to be part castle, part church.  There are people here who are custodians of the Grail.  These people, both male and female, are preparing for an important event or celebration.  One of the stone walls opens up.  Behind it is a soft glow.  As I reach into the opening, a dark-haired woman tells me that the Hierophant in the tarot contains teachings about the Grail mysteries.

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Give the Image Incarnation

I remember reading something several years ago by radical creation-centred theologian Matthew Fox.  He said that (I’m paraphrasing here) contemplation without action is useless.  We’re to be mystics (doing our inner work) and prophets (taking our insights into the world to create helpful change).  Priestess and activist Starhawk echoed Fox’s sentiment in one of her books when she said that if our spiritual practice turns into escapism, we might as well just watch TV.

I like to take whatever knowledge, wisdom, or insight that I gather from the tarot, a dream, or a council circle out into the world in some way.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that I need to march on the front lines of an anti-war protest (although one never knows), but it means that doing something about what I’ve learned incarnates the energy of the wisdom.

Here’s a simple process.  I’m using a tarot card, but feel free to use a dream symbol, a rune, a goddess stone, a phrase or sketch from your journal, or a juicy sentence from a deep conversation as the basis for this process.

  1. I select a card.  In today’s case, it’s the 5 of Stones that I pulled at random from Carol Bridges’ Medicine Woman Tarot.
  2. I write down key words and phrases that come to mind as I contemplate the image.  For the 5 of Stones, I’ve jotted down: changing something in the tangible world, tweaking something work-related, remembering what I have even if it seems like not as much as I think I should have, giving away the first fruits of my work, tithing.
  3. I turn these ideas into open-ended questions to ask myself.  What change would I like to see in the tangible world?  What work-related item needs tweaking today?  For what bounty am I grateful today?  What have I created that I would lovingly give away?  How can I begin to tithe to people and groups that nourish me?
  4. I respond to the questions, or as many of them as I choose.  I’d like to see a good representation of Green Party MPs in the Canadian Parliament.  I need to tweak my idea for my April 19 teleseminar for the Gaian Tarot Circle.  I’m grateful for a fridge filled with varied and nurturing foods.  I’ve created an Earth Day tarot circle game that I’ll gladly share with people online and in person next week (it’s meant to be used by as many people as possible!).  I can begin to tithe to helpful people and meaningful groups by setting aside 10% of what I earn and give it away once per season.
  5. I create doable actions.  I’ll be away on Election Day, so I’ll mark an advance poll date in my appointment book and vote for the Green Party on that day.  I’ll spend 15 to 20 minutes refining the teleseminar in my notebook.  I’ll create simple and yummy meals using what I have at hand.  I’ll remind myself to publish the Earth Day tarot circle game by noting it on a specific day in my app’t book.  I’ll designate a box as my tithing box and decorate it with a copy of the 5 of Stones.
  6. I do the actions!

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What is Reiki?

For the next two days, I’ll be offering a First Level Reiki class.  One of the first things people want to know is, “What is Reiki?”  Many people who’ve heard of it think of it as a hands-on energy therapy.  That’s only part of the picture.  Here’s a version of the kanji (traditional Japanese writing) for Reiki:

The top section, REI, can mean something sacred, miraculous, or myterious.  It connotes a soul, a divine being, mercy, or a blessing from the universe.

The bottom part of the kanji, KI, refers to a radiation of energy, the energy of the universe, life-force, nourishment, something unseen, or an atmosphere.

So, one could say that the practice of Reiki is about remembering the alignment of the Universal Spirit (rei) with our personal life energy (ki).  Not only does it make us feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally, it also has the goal (if one can say that it has a goal) of ultimate inner peace, complete stillness, the state of total peace of mind, satori, enlightenment, awakening, or individuation. 

To me, this sounds like more than what one reads in the classified ads of health magazines!

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Card as Question-Generator

One of my favourite things to do with tarot cards (or any other symbolic tool/process) is to allow my interaction with them to inspire questions.  Some of these questions can be answered immediately.  Others require days, weeks, or months of contemplation, exploration, and rewording to take me deeper into the mystery of what a card/image/dream suggests.

My Card of the Day today is the 3 of Wands from the Motherpeace Tarot.

When I spend time with this picture, these questions are called forth:

  • What am I learning from the next generation that carries meaning and value?
  • What am I teaching to the next generation that carries meaning and value?
  • What imaginative and luminous legacy might emerge when the generations mingle and learn from one another’s creative activities and expressive processes?
  • What mark would I like to leave for those who come after me?
  • How can I ensure that a legacy of beauty and meaning will live on after me?
  • What can we/I learn from women and children about communication, artistry, and community?
  • What ancestral creative impulses do I carry, and how can I express them in a healthy manner?
  • What archetypal forces are imprinted on the cave walls of my unconscious, and how can I excavate them safely and easily?
  • What fun artistic activities did I enjoy as a child?  In what form might I revive them as an adult? 
  • How might graffiti be a message-bearer of cultural wisdom?

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