the old man, the alligator, and the river

IMG_6677

The old man flew around me in a rush of spirit, looking almost as if locked in a silent scream.. his face starting to change rapidly as I neared the end of the moss covered bridge. I expected to see Baba as I stepped into the coolness of the burrow but all I saw were tunnels in the dim light. I realized that the white one was absent as well.. curiouser and curiouser.

I had the impression of a woman outside of my body, seen but not seen. I settled down. The burrow dissipated as the night sky took me.. inky black and dotted with stars. The alligator was swimming in its darkness. We kept company for awhile.. too long it seemed, and thought passed by to impart the hope that Lola would bring me out if necessary.

Eventually though, I heard the call and began to try to pull myself away. Coming back was like fighting an ocean current, I could feel the pull but I am strong. I told them no, that I could not stay.. I have much to do. My eyes snapped open and I knew instantly who the old man was.. after all, I had been seeing him off and on all weekend.

We left for New Orleans not far past our Lugh with the others. I had finally released the red cord binding and the timing was perfect. Lola and I said our goodbyes with promises of detailed notes.. we were looking out to this trip in hopes it would bring us something, and it did not disappoint.

We explored the city’s heartbeat and wound our way down the Mississippi during our first days there. I met a beautiful bearded man who introduced me to someone of great influence and quite possibly may have set my spirit onto a shift in movement.. it remains to be seen (or unseen?), and maybe there will be a story for another day.  I do so wish I’d given him (said bearded man) my contact information, I miss him already.

We did get to spend some time later in conversation.. but I remember only a sense of place and the river. This sense of place filtered once again through me later during one of his classes. We ran into his friend many times over that weekend and Lola remarked on the sense of kindred. I realized later that sense of solitude in his presence.

One night I saw the old man in a reader on the street and we ventured out to hear him tell.. cards for me and Lola’s palm. One night La Bella Luna Dae and I texted until we fell asleep all things spirit. One night we drifted down the Mississippi making new. On the last night, Lola and I spent our time together by the pool having our traditional post spiritual grocery store feast. We found so much to carry back.. so much, but for me it was the sharing of this with those that I love, the new friendships forged, the old man, the alligator, and the river.

Advertisements

a quiet stabbing

quietstabbing

..something was being put to my direction, like a quiet stabbing..

I woke up after a day spent in anger still angry. I just could not find my Zen. The old reading popped into my head.. yes, there was a quiet stabbing and now I had a smarting back.

five of arrows, frustration – a goat with long curving horns and a wildly tangled coat leaps upward into the sky.. around it are four arrows, none of which strike it.. unfocused energy leads to the archer releasing inaccurate arrows or lashing out in an uncontrolled manner..

As it was, it turned out that I was indeed both the goat and the archer (see – sometimes I do follow up on my writings).. the arrows of my words sent out and also being fired back. Thankfully, I spoke my truths long ago and I stand by their original context.

..take a deep breath and steady your mind.. see the futility of games played against you and go about your business.. cocoon yourself away from outside influences.. the trees act as a reminder to follow your path..

Nothing had changed really, except that I now held more knowledge and a clearer perspective. If you walk your path with integrity and truth, there should be no need for these things.. that was my first response.. pre-Zen. However, thought reminded me, we are but human and can only do our best.

My truths for today (before they escape me) – We don’t have to agree, but we can learn from our differences. Our diversity should be a strength. Your fellow is not a tool to be used, or worse.. persecuted. Yes, I will stand up for them. You should too. Learn from one another. Strive to be kind. Extend that kindness to yourself. Do your best. I will do mine. Be true. Speak those truths when necessary. Breathe.

I lit the candles and steadied my thoughts. “And now?” This I asked, knowing the question was not very specific. I shuffled the threes..

eight of bows, hearthfire – on the edge of a sparse winter forest camp, lit with the warm dancing flames of a large log fire, we see eight figures gathered around a roaring hearthfire.. the merry band raise goblets, shake hands and laugh, bathing in the shared bonds of fellowship and harmony created by the true loyalty of lifelong friends..

Ironic, that was my first thought.. but then if not for this situation, this card would have spoken to me of another. Soon after, I heard from said other.

four of stones, protection – the newly risen sun brings hope and renewed vitality to the vulnerable..shelter and protection for the weak or the spiritually wounded is the responsibility of us all.. for those who have weathered adversity and known loss, the light of life and love will always burn brightly within them.. by building on a foundation of ethical beliefs, boundaries and skills, we can be assured that when the test comes we are secure in our self-knowledge and confidence.. the human ability to recognize and feel compassion for those who need help is just as important..

To the lost, may you know my hut is ever open.. even if you choose to burn me in the hearthfire..

 

the healer, the witch, and the devil

  • gyoff

The temple was quiet and dark in my mind as his hands moved over me. There is something in the way he touches me as he is healing my body. I try to focus. If I can somehow alter this effect on me, even just a bit.. but I get distracted. Mind over matter, I breathe in.. I am the master of my domain, I breathe out. I will channel this one day. Today is not that day and my mind wanders.

He has questions on my path. I am not surprised when he speaks of his energy work.. I can feel it in his hands. Conversation slides around perceptions of witchcraft and of the devil. Funny, how the devil keeps popping up. I am wishing there was more time to talk, but that is neither here nor there. The thought found it’s way in – the devil’s not so bad, he is the wild embodiment of nature. I find that I don’t mind the comparison at all.. in fact, I kind of like it.

Earlier I was at the old graveyard leaving an offering. I was headed out from my grave to follow Walking Bear along the path when my body came alive as if filled with a thousand bees. I instinctively stepped out of the spot.. an action I still regret. Walking Bear was just turning around to say that he had felt something too, although a bit differently. Apparently the spirits had something to say.. but what? We headed out, continuing our trek.

I found my cards particularly confusing from that day and the question remains whether they were for me or not. They certainly didn’t seem to have anything to do with the posed question. I sent my thoughts later to Walking Bear and, much like our walk, our interpretations were different.

 

smoker’s cough

image

It was a strange dream, full of symbolism – oppression, crossing the liminal, a need for sustenance, and a calling from other. There was a tightening of my chest from inhaling the cigarette smoke and the cough stayed with me long after the dream departed. There are truths being hidden and responsibilities that need to be tended to.. but also a warning of danger. I shared this dream with a few people, not knowing who.. and one did respond. She thought that maybe she had invaded it somehow. I thought, maybe.. but as much as she may have slipped into the dream, others may have slipped into the reading.

I pulled the cards out with the feeling one gets of visiting an old friend.. hello loves, I have missed you. The smell of incense that had permeated their wrapping over the years covered me in familiar welcome. I had waited some time before doing the reading and much had been brought to me in that time.. curiouser and curiouser, but down the rabbit hole I go. The question is not really what to do so much as it is what will be the price.. the price that lies snuggled, hiding within those hidden truths.

(from the wildwood)..

king of vessels, heron – greeting the dawn, often alone.. the guardian of many esoteric secrets, it is said to stand at the gateway between life and death.. the mentor.. the catalyst.. a network.. honesty.. integrity.. who is depending on your support? The profound depths of your character, once spurred into action, carry all before it..

four of vessels, boredom – the sickness of the soul.. lethargy, laziness.. locking an individual in a cycle of wasted energy.. there are many reasons for feeling disenchanted or trapped in life.. in the end it is from ourselves that the first sparks of momentum must emanate.. emotionally frozen or disconnected people become black holes of despair.. if you question the universe, the universe will answer.. nature abhors  a vacuum.

sixteen, the blasted oak – just as the universe has the power to create, so it also has the power to destroy.. on the human level we build our seemingly indestructible edifices of theory, technical endeavor, and civilization believing they are immovable and eternal.. we wrap ourselves in the trappings of power and position but in the end we own nothing.. all we truly have is what we have learned.. here the great forest oak is shattered by the power of the storm.. for those who have climbed the tree, the fall may be long.. just as the hanged man is caught in a state of divine sacrifice and linked to the threefold death, here in the blasted oak the tree is shaken and scarred.. likewise, the tower is shattered by the storm and believing in the illusion of material power can only end in spiritual isolation, stagnation, and collapse.. but even as we fall, the power that floods our senses with pain also cleanses and burns away the illusions and falsehoods. The essence of true strength and enduring spirit cannot be bought with gold or position or grandiose esoteric theory.

ten of bows, responsibility – the challenge of dealing with responsibility brings a need for inner fortitude, stamina, and determination.. the weight of the burden may be heavy and cumbersome but the task that has been handed to you may be vital for the greater good.. whether you volunteered for the task or it is thrust upon you, it is a time to accept responsibility.

seven of vessels, mourning – this is a time to honor what is dead and mourn for what has gone.. learn the lessons of letting go by offering thanks for cherished memories and being at peace with the past.. mourning begins the process of recovery after failure or bereavement.. the celebration of a completed journey and the beginning of a new one.

thirteen, the journey – the solitary horned skull of a reindeer lies in the forest, picked clean to the bone by a circling flock of ravens.. the tattered remains of fur and flesh cling to the bright bone and here and there traces of the living blood of life reminds us that all flesh returns to the earth from whence it came.. one great Raven sits beside it, the flesh of the reindeer in its beak.. as both guardian and guide, its unblinking eye is all-seeing and unafraid.. on one level, death does translate to a simple expression of change but however profound, extreme and cleansing that change may be, that simply does not deal with the core experience and meaning of this card.. death acts as a reminder to us of the transient nature of life.. as a metaphor for cyclic change, the journey is a required experience on the passage around the wheel.. it is a time to face the inevitable, to let the bones be laid bare and acknowledge the deepest aspects of your fears and desires. Let the threads of old slip from your fingers. 

seven of stones, healing (shadow card) – after physical or emotional sickness or injury, a time of inner rest and rejuvenation is required.. patient and peaceful healing comes from a spiritual source.. one of the deepest stages of healing and recovery after any emotional trauma or physical injury is forgiveness.. if the healing is from a relationship issue, we often hold onto the pain, mistakenly be leaving that it keeps us close to the source of that pain.. if you have acted with integrity and sincerity, there is no need for regret.. it is a waste of energy and healing focus.

 

of the lost (part 1, the consult)

batelevr

**as a note, I wrote part 2 before part 1, but part 1 seemed like it needed to be first

Question: Why was I chosen for the lost?

The cards say:

The Lovers, The Wheel Of Fortune, The Magician: You were chosen by blind chance and you went along with it. The ultimate choice is yours, but there is a pull that you haven’t been able to resist; as the wheel spins, you get lost in the ride. And then there is the fact that you are just so damn alluring that seekers can’t seem to help but be drawn to you and your magic. But remember you are the magician and you can do whatever you damn well please. Do you see which side the handle of the wheel is on? It’s on the side of the magician…which means the magician controls it.

“Blind chance” came from the angel hovering above your head in the lovers. The divine winged being wears a blindfold while shooting arrows. How does he know what he aims at? It’s all chance.

The Lovers is the crossroad. People think it’s about romance and true, passionate love. It’s not…at all. It’s about choice…to stay or go, to choose this or that, etc. Do I go this way or that way? The crossroad.

Such was my consult from Batelevr (henceforth to be known the Keeper of Batelevr, or “B” for short.. she has turned in her path, my fellow hedger, much like the wheel.. her path moving through the mists she now peers through and the provider of the above photo). It brought forth a great many thoughts.. foremost of Fortuna, the Fates, and that pledge I made at the crossroads summers ago.

The wheel belongs to her, Fortuna, to spin at random. It is said that she is insane and blind.. and wherever that wheel lands is where fortune falls. She will never still because to do so she would cease to be fortune. The wheel is cosmic law, nothing remains static.. from chaos turns order turns chaos.. the cycle of all things.

“The wheel of fortune is an ancient image, depicting man bound to the wheel of destiny, helpless before blind chance or the impartial hands of the Fates; who spin, measure, and then finally cut the threads of his life. Even then, as we attain the quiet centre, we understand that before too long it will be time to move on to the next cycle.” – The Intuitive Tarot by Cilla Conway.

Oh the fates (or as I refer to them, those twisted bitches).. in Greek mythology they were the Moirai, white robed incarnations of destiny. Their number became fixed at three (I so love threes) – the spinner, the drawer of lots, and the unturnable.. or so I read. They watched over the fate assigned by eternal laws to be sure it took the proper course. I tend to prefer the Norns and the mythology of Yggdrasil..

In blinding and chance woven into the threads of destiny, I thought of the Justice card in the Wildwood deck.. the image of her blindfolded before the scales. I also thought of an old convo with Walking Bear on caring for the fallen or the fallout. That is neither here nor there and I am rambling again.. but then the magician is the equivalent of the Shaman in the Wildwood deck and in it the bringer of insight. He also brings understanding of your true place in the world. The Lovers in this Wildwood are in part representative of balance, an exchange of respect and the burning away of the waste of greed.

Choice and balance.  Chance and the weavers of fate. Control and insight. And an old pledge that still seems to be bringing me the lost.

 

 

what to do

y

I was constantly running a little late or a little early this season. The season itself just didn’t feel like the season and I seem to be completely thrown off. I made it to the altar quite past the Yuletide but then again, as you know, I never seem to be good at keeping schedules. I finally just snuck off to sit in some quiet one off day of no particular consequence amongst all the goings on. My brain was full and I’d had a sense of being under fire but no sense of where it was coming from.. I just wanted to take a breath.

Hello my lovelies.. yes, I know it has been awhile and I find myself heavy of mind..

I lit the room full of candles, making my amends for the long absence, and then I laid out my many offerings – whiskey, herbs, Florida water. Then I just sat in the silence for a bit.. what to do, what to do. I needed to sort out my thoughts and this odd unexplained feeling of the impending before I formed the question. I idly stroked Mother Bear, blowing the incense smoke in her direction. I had the random thought that owl had slipped me again.

Something is being put to my direction, I can feel it.. like a quiet stabbing. I just don’t know,  or maybe I’d just had enough festivities and was too tired to sort it. I felt a stirring, and so I lay the cards..

From the Wildwood Tarot..

Five of arrows, frustration..a goat with long curving horns and a wildly tangled coat leaps upward into the sky.. around it are four arrows, none of which strike it.. unfocused energy leads to the archer releasing inaccurate arrows or lashing out in an uncontrolled manner and missing the target.. if others are attempting to cause distractions, you will only feed their ego and help their cause by reacting and acknowledging their efforts.. take a deep breath and steady your mind.. see the futility of games played against you and go about your business.. frustration is ungrounded energy..

Am I the goat or the archer.. or maybe I am both??

King of stones, wolf.. comfortable in the dark and cold of winter, it was seen as the guardian of the dead on their journey through the night to the otherworld.. love of the natural world guides much of what you do.. security brings pleasure.. cocoon yourself away from outside influences..

I was getting distracted again.. falsely greener grass and somethings shiny.. but they are not true, or not my true I should say..

The Ancestor, placed at the nexus point between the passing winter and the coming spring.. the mornng is clear and frosty with the first glimmer of dawn shimmering on the horizon where the new moon hangs with the morning star, representing a new day and a reawakened soul.. the trees act as a reminder to follow the path..

I know what I need to do.. Bear has been whispering it all this time..

And in shadow, the Ace of Stones.. the labyrinth..

This card reminds me so much of a specific person that it is hard to keep it separate in my mind.. is it representative of them or am I just making that association from a snapshot in time.. the spirits seen that day and what potential could be or could be lost.. I am not the one to say.. that path is not mine to choose..

 

boffo

“when it came to odd, Miss Treason didn’t just take the cake, but a packet of biscuits too, with sprinkle on top, and also a candle..”

“.. change the story, even if you don’t mean to, and the story changes you..”

— Terry Pratchett, Wintersmith

After she left I settled down to read more of The Wintersmith, when it jumped out at me – boffo! Boffo.. the strength one gains by behaving exactly as one expects you to.. of course, I thought. Miss Treason uses props to affect how she is perceived by the villagers.. this eases her task and she is taken much more seriously. Tiffany, having discovered her secret, calls Miss Treason out on it.. this is where we learn all about perceptions. There is no polite way around it, peoples’ perceptions of us (and us of them, to be fair) color our interactions. We fear how people perceive us. Do we soften how we wish to be seen? Do we adjust ourselves for the comfort of others? Do we tuck away parts of ourselves that we aren’t quite comfortable with? And to what extent are we willing to give up these pieces of ourselves? Or, do we own who we are in our path? How much will we allow fear to hold us back? Is there a middle ground and at what point is this compromise for the sake of better acceptance helpful and when does it become a hindrance to our path? I can only answer that for myself.. and you for yourself.. and so on it goes. For me personally, I strive to own it. Yeah, to say the least, Miss Treason had me on the fence.

Sometime later I set the cards on the altar. I lit all the candles I had about and set my spirit incense to smoking. I settled into the flame to contemplate what the cards were saying. There was something buried a bit.. I could feel it. It was almost like a physical thing, like I could almost reach in and yank it out.. but at what cost? This happens from time to time and I must always ask.. at what cost? Then of course one has to deal with the knowing, and sometimes the pretending that you don’t once you do.. its all very tiring. Still, there was something dwelling in there that needed an out and that is why I gave her the cards to shuffle. I asked the spirits to show me the truth of it.. Show me, show me.. I needed that heart of things, that truth which was dwelling deep. See.. we all have our truths, just like we have our decisions.. all of which shape our pathways. Some of these are conscious and some are not so much.. some need the light, and some are best left in shadow. There was fear.. that fear of perception.. this I knew, we had just had that conversation. Show me, I said a bit more firmly. A seedling of doubt emerged.. Is this what I am? How do I know? How will I be viewed? Do I want to be seen? Is this all that I am? Will there be more? I want it now.. but I don’t. Do I want this? I don’t know.. you must decide for yourself.. which path.. and then you must decide of it how much you want to own it.. assuming they give you a choice. There are no rights or wrongs here. There are just your truths to do with what you see fit.

 

 

 

the whisperings of time passing

time

I kept cycling back to the dream of the exploding bombs.. this dream I had before all the momentum of what was to be became realized. So much had passed now during those following months.. loves lost and loves found, the ripping apart of hearts, and the constant change that chaos brings once the shadows are revealed.. the whisperings of time passing.

I rarely read the cards for others, all except for the fiery one.. hers I’ve read quite regularly over the years. Hers are always so clear due to the unnatural bond.. the upside to years upon years. Also, she is better able to withstand my brutal death blow.. I am not always the gentle reader. My girls would be the first to tell you that I am great at asking the difficult questions.

We never made it to that big goodbye but I did sit down on the day of her leaving to do what may be the final read.. there are whisperings, you see. I set the incense to smoke, lit a candle, and shuffled three times three.. out came boredom and the wheel. Well, no surprises there my love.. blessed journey and he will understand in time.

cleansing winds

 

image

Earlier in my day of sojourn, I laid to rest my bundle at the graveyard. Walking Bear and I had to sneak in and therefore had the place all to ourselves for a bit. I tried to be quick, speaking briefly at my grave and collecting some dirt for later use before rejoining him. We had many good talks but foremost in my mind was sitting beside him that day under the grave trees. He told me of the prayer flag that he had left there for me during my dad’s time. It touched my heart. I can only hope that I bring to him a fraction of what he brings into my life. He is a good friend.. strong in spirit and kind.

Several cards were brought to me there, although I was really only trying to pull one.. instruction, healing, ecstasy, and the Knight of Vessels – eel in shadow. When I saw this last one, I had the thought “hard swim”. It was a card that I had never pulled before. In the wildwood deck it states “..the eel is a great purveyor of wisdom and has a reputation as a protector.. the eel swims through water where weed and cresses drift.. embarking on a quest of personal revelation, your vision leads you onward.. a coming together, seduction, conquest, compliance..” Past that we visited the place of the breathing trees, a new adventure for me and then went on to do some beachcombing. Walking Bear asked if I wanted to stick my feet in the water and I told him no. I would have wanted to jump in and besides, the wind from our walkabout earlier had already provided my cleansing.

**This is a belated posting, as I have been busy with life and catching up with what of my girls that I can. The equinox was spent with my lovely fellow hedger and chocolate bunnies, but more on that later.. and I promise some gratuitous cute baby animal shots..

the long and rambly – fate, free will, and destiny

read

Three factors shape our lives: fate, destiny, and free will. Fate is that which we cannot altar. Destiny is the unique gift that lies potentially within each of us. Free will is about the choices we make for ourselves. –pulled in bits from The Wildwood Tarot Book

Puzzling pieces.. this is how I’ve felt about my workings and such this past year-ish. It has been sometimes confusing, sometimes ill fitting, sometimes falling perfect, and sometimes just a bit of wtf is this supposed to be? A few days past setting the altar I did a long reading, choosing a new layout – Fate, Free Will, and Destiny, found in the Wildwood book. I put forth one single word which I choose not to share. In the first instant of looking at this reading, I had the feeling of things falling into place.. some of which I instantly recognized, some reassuring, and one that made me a bit hesitant. All together they gave me a feeling of place and the next morning I woke up feeling I was finally over some things and ready to move on. The healing had started.

The issue – the journey, placed at Samhain, associated with the waning moon and the elements of Water and Earth. It is the time of the dead.

..hello there stag who insisted to be moved to my altar, even though I wasn’t ready to work with you yet.. this card felt like a big thing.. a big thing that’s niggling me.. I know where I want to start, I know it’s tied to many things.. the path chosen, the feeling of being stripped down, the ancestors.. but still.. niggling.. in the “roots and branches” of the  book’s description it lists “the washer at the ford and the dark mother”.. one day when WB was over and while pulling bits out, I had two misplaced cards found – the lady of shadows and the crone.. I immediately thought of these.

The solitary horned skull of a reindeer lies in the forest, picked clean to the bone by a circling flock of ravens.. one great raven sits beside it, the flesh of the reindeer in its beak. As both guardian and guide, it’s unblinking eye is all-seeing and unafraid.. on one level, death does translate a simple expression of change but, however profound, extreme and cleansing that change may be, that reading simply does not deal with the core experience and meaning.. once the dead were not feared. They were seen as guardians.. holders of wisdom.. as a metaphor for cyclic change, the Journey is a required experience on the passage around the Wheel..

Reaction – the Shaman, at the hub of the wheel, opposite the seer, located in the quarter representing Air and embodies aspects of magic, protection, and insight

The Shaman looks from the card with eyes that are both clear and open and yet there is something ancient and profound within his steady gaze. He is wrapped in bearskin that is adorned with Paleolithic paintings of animal spirits.. on the ground before him are laid objects that represent the four elements of the world.. representing energies and levels of consciousness that defy human rationalization.. this is a gateway card.. a new spiritual chapter emerges.

What is inescapable – seven of vessels, mourning

..I saw the lines in the mirror long ago.. what I saw there prompted my pledge that summer.. letting go and being at peace with that past.. I am working on it..

A human skull painted with an array of designs including spirals, zigzags, and wavy lines, lies at the foot of a tree. Around it are scattered typical grave goods.. this is a time to honor what is dead and mourn for what has gone. Learn the lesson of letting go by offering thanks for cherished memories and being at peace with the past..

The changes – the sun of life, connected to the green man and green woman, associated with the element of fire, the period of noon, and the gateway of the mind

..for some reason this felt very halfway point, and then I read..

Viewed as if from the center of the summer Wildwood, the Sun of Life is surrounded by fecundity and growth.. the promise of the sun’s return after its sojourn below the horizon during the winter months.. the next step in the awareness of the universal mind.. beckons you to see beyond the noise and clatter of human reality and become aware of the vastness..

The choice – the pole star, placed at Imbolc, associated with the new moon and universal lore and stands between the elements of Earth and Air

..this sung for me because of the airy altar which I had planned to take down at Imbolc, although it fell earlier, just one of those funny things I guess considering this Imbolc fell around the new moon and the new altar reads of Earth..

The blessing of the Pole Star radiates to the Earth across the abyss and reminds us that the same stuff of creation that fuels and binds these mighty sentinels of the night sky burns within us.. symbolizes universal law, higher spiritual knowledge, and power.. the power of universal lore is at work here, either within the individual or permeating a web of circumstance that will bring profound change and a new spiritual hope.. of prophetic guidance and inspirational knowledge has rising and will guide you on your forthcoming journey through the forest..

Wildcard – queen of stones, bear, approaching midwinter

.. bear feels very feminine to me, maybe because the one called that rests on my altar now feels very feminine.. like a great mother/elder presence.. so much of this one speaks..

The ancient ancestor of the modern bear, the cave bear hibernated in caves during the cold northern winter. Neanderthals buried their skulls here and even shared their caves during some periods.. learning to manage things wisely, putting the family first, refusing to nurture.. if you practice a craft or design, be expansive and liberal..

.. and so there, the long and wordy.. all of those which moved about me and of those who came to rest on my altar made their way to speak through the cards.. the niggling of the journey awaits but quite frankly, I am just ready to get to the warmth of that halfway point waiting right around the bend.