Tarot Tuesday

                                       the TOWER

“After a great blow, or crisis, after the first shock and then after the nerves have stopped screaming and twitching, you settle down to the new condition of things and feel that all possibility of change has been used up. You adjust yourself, and are sure that the new equilibrium is for eternity. . . But if anything is certain it is that no story is ever over.”
― Robert Penn WarrenAll the King’s Men

Tower Tarot Card

celticT he Tower-change is a coming-blessed or be damned.  The Tower is a difficult card representing turmoil in our lives, there are no two ways about it.  We are trucking along thinking everything is going okay and ‘bam’ the Tower shows up, usually at the most inopportune times.  The Tower is generally known to mean danger or crisis is on its way as well as unforeseen change.  The Tower arrives to challenge the narrow structure that defines our lives or our security based on false beliefs about ourselves and our world.  It is a situation or occurrence sent to wake us up because up to this point nothing else has worked.

The major arcana cards are always an indication that our spirit is trying to speak with us…..the Tower is telling us that Spirits knocking has gone unheeded and will be ignored no more.

The Tower has always brought to mind the old stories of alchemists in the tower working furiously at magic, attempting to challenge currently held beliefs regarding the scientific order of things in the Universe as well as dabbling with otherworld energies for the wrong reasons.  The overstepping due to ignorance or ignoring the warning signs cause the Tower to explode sending everyone overboard.  Inner and outer realities collide with real-world consequences……what inner red flags have you been ignoring regarding what is right for your soul?

 

 

 

Beltane Blessings

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celticT

he wheel turns once again and we find ourselves at Beltane.  Beltane, also known as May Day falls on May 1st.  Though really what we are saying is May Day kicks off the Season of Beltane, with the thinning of the veil most prominent around May 5th.  There is a quickening of spring energy that pushes animals and people to pair up, bees have awoken and are starting to pollinate the spring flowers and trees.  We look for the sign of burgeoning spring in the apple blossoms to know when to plant our carrots, beans, peas and cabbages. There is so much creative energy spurring a frenzy of activity and we are holding hopes of creative and fertile abundance to manifest in our lives.  This is still also a liminal period where a profusion of starting buds and blooms can be killed off by late frosts and still need to be safeguarded.  The Sacred Marriage is the focus of Beltane where we celebrate the fiery and passionate union of the God and Goddess that energize the earth and put the fertile fire of creativity into our bellies.

April’s showers continue into May, though gentler and a bit warmer.  This winter has seen a lot of snow in the mountains and the colder temperatures have kept snow longer in the foothills surrounding our home. However the grass grows lush, rich and green for the horses, sheep, deer and elk.  The surge of new life can  be seen in the prevailing apple blossoms and spring bulbs while the rabbits chase each other around our stone circle in their frenzied mating dance.

Beltane is a rite that takes as much preparation as Samhain and has a special importance as it is the brightening of life when the veil is the thinnest.  We honor deity by adorning our altars with pink and green candles, early rose buds, honeysuckle, apple blossoms, hawthorn, lilacs and ivy.  Stones of malachite and rose quartz along with a drinking horn bring the beauty and frequency we are aligning ourselves with for the season.  Ivy wreaths have been wrapped with pink, purple and green ribbons.  The bonfires have been laid ready for lighting and the ribbons have been attached to the oiled maypole awaiting the dance.  Offerings of milk, honey, cinnamon and woodruff have been left out in a beautiful bowl on our sun dial.

Sacred woods of apple, willow, birch, hawthorn, oak, ash, elder, holly & hazel have been gathered and bundled for the ritual need fire.  Each and every wood has a purpose and frequency that when combined have a power all its own to bestow great blessings upon its maker.  This wood is of course all chosen with specific intent and gathered in a sacred way with many offerings.  As pagans we work diligently to listen and read the signs around us, not taking what has not been offered and always giving something back.

In the PNW, May is an extremely beautiful but contrary month for us in regards to weather. For that reason we always start our rituals indoors and set our sacred ring. We move outdoors to leave an offering to the Outsiders as well as a libation to our Maypole, the symbolic phallus of the Lord of the Rite. We circle the pole and dance the ring, reveling in the bawdy joy and sensuality of the season. With ribbons unfurled and wrapped around the pole in song and dance the ritual hieros gamos plays out and the piercing of the veil commences with the drifting down of the virginal ivy crown. The doorway has been ritually and energetically opened so that the welcome presence of the Lord and Lady is made manifest in our earthly realm. The energy by now is running very high and there is a tangible quality of connection and vibrancy among covenors, especially among mated pairs.  Some of the energies are kept under wraps until festivities later in the evening, since we have children who are in attendance. After we have danced the Maypole and planted our fairy charmed tree (all between the raindrops on many occasions) we light our three ritual needfires and head back in to expand upon our rite of celebrating the magical union of polarities both externally and internally. We call forth fertility, passion, joy, a new birth, good-fortune and creativity as we jump through the purifying and blessed powers of the balefire (remember to be careful what you wish for). Sometimes we might have a lovely handfasting ceremony to add to the festivities.  Once our rite is closed and the feast is had, children are put to bed or head home. Couples depart and participate in the Great Rite among the gardens or orchard or possibly on a spicy ride home. There is nothing like riding high on the energy that has been raised in circle and grounding it in the promise of future manifestations for our family, kin, Mother Earth and our fellow beings.

Another small project we like to do during the season of Beltane is to place the red eggs that have been planted on Ostara with nasturtium sees calling forth blessings for our beloved kin and tribe as well as those whom there is no love lost and those who are searching seed.
balefirejump We do this on the first family ritual of the month along with a mini Maypole that has been kissed by all the ladies is planted in the pot.  It is later watered with holy water and the blessed alchemy of the Great Rite. We then set the pot out of doors to enjoy the light of the sun & moon and await the growth of each of the blessings we have called upon.

How do you celebrate the Season of Bel?

Blessed be in this season of Beltane!

mini maypole

Mini Maypole wand & Ostara Eggs @ Rosethorn Manor

Dark Time….in like a Lion out like a Lamb. 

Dark Time-by Holly King

March 2000

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irthdays are among the most sacred of personal holidays and more often than not greeted with mixed emotions.  Some people await the day with bittersweet anticipation, while others look upon the day with dread.  For many there is the apathetic acceptance that it is just another day full of yet more wrinkles with a foot in the grave.  Unfortunately, the lack of proper understanding around this sacred day means a missed opportunity for deeply quiet rest and self-reflection.

History has shown that birthday ceremonies of past potentially began as a form of protection.  It was believed that people were more susceptible to the influence of evil spirits and demons as the veil is thought to be thinnest for people close to the time of their birth.  It is plausible given the vulnerable place that people find themselves in the weeks preceding a birthday.  I would also entertain the possibility that it offered an explanation of peoples out of character actions.

As pagans, we live our lives attuned to both the nature around us as well as the sun, moon and stars above us.  The more attuned we are the more we feel the impact of the movement of the planets that went into our creation and also affect our daily lives.  In our natal charts and daily horoscopes, primary attention focuses on what role the sun plays in our lives with less acknowledgment of the other planets.  In this instance it is to the stars we can look to help us understand the science of what we experience as we listen to our intuition to help us navigate this sacred liminal time.

Each year, approximately six weeks before our birthday’s changes start occurring as the transiting sun progresses towards the natal sun in its solar return.  The activating presence of the sun normally stimulates us into action and provides the outward expression of our moon personality. It is also an important aspect in foretelling the conditions and activities of the coming year.  As it heads toward the same position it held at birth, it slows the stimulation and physical activity as it transitions to a new cycle.

This slowing of the suns stimulation makes way for a period known as the Dark Time. This period is associated with the Moon as well as Saturn.   The Moon represents the continuing cycles of ebb and flow and governs our internal dialog. Saturn is the planet of obstacles and self-undoing, destroying false ideals. The two together draw our center of attention inward and perpetuates a need for spiritual and physical hibernation.   It is very similar to what occurs during a woman’s menstrual time or the 2-3 day period when our birth moon occurs in the month, though on a much grander scale.  When one pays close attention, the very real sensation of the inward spiral can be felt as the protective veil of the birthing womb is drawn around us and the outer senses become numbed.  We struggle as we buck the demands of others to engage our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual selves and do what or essence is intuitively inclined to do.

Being renewed and prepared for birth is an exercise in trust and letting go.  There is not a choice given as to whether it will happen. Rest assured, whether it is by grace or force, it will.  The only choice is how we engage this sacred period proceeding rebirth.  Engaged properly we are provided with a period of purging, cleansing, healing and renewal on all levels.  It is a time to dream, rest, reflect, meditate and follow the meandering path where intuition often takes us.  It is a time to process the old year and listen to what your essence is telling you about what does or does not work in the progression of your spiritual journey.  It is at its simplest, the time to just be and allow the natural unfolding of yourself so that recovery of your soul may take place.  It is a time to be gentle with yourself. This is not a time to enter in and out of relationships, bind yourself in contracts and agreements, take risks or make big life-altering decisions.

Realistically, in our busy world, it sneaks upon us unaware as we fight what we don’t understand. When this happens we invite chaos, apprehension, anxiety, and feelings of impending doom into our lives.  People get divorced, depressed, commit suicide, get into accidents, become clumsy and make bad decisions on a whim-only to find the hole of despair a deeper place than remembered.  The Dark Time, no matter how one chalks it up, is frustrating.  The very strengths that we rely on are gone.

What does this look like in the real world?  I am sure if you look back over the time preceding your birthday a pattern will emerge.

I am both cursed and blessed to experience my Dark Time in the fall.  My birthday falls on or near Mabon and this time is extremely busy making the most of the harvest season.  My ‘burning daylight, need to keep going till it’s done’ mentality that usually works for me causes me to be slapped upside the head as my hibernation period descends and I’m left wondering what the hex and hades is going on.  I move forward in action like everything is normal, unaware that I am losing pieces of myself little by little.  Over the years this has expressed itself in many ways as it seems all of the very things I excel at, all of my strengths I take for granted, are gone.  I am left feeling defenseless.  My ability to organize-gone, ability to cope-gone, language, spelling, communication skill-not happening, my easy going nature:-(limited as it is) not there.  I get along with most everyone because I’m only half functioning.  Oh, but it doesn’t stop there.  The amazing thing is that if you don’t consciously turn inward your body will do it for you.  I found myself half functioning like a zombie while my body did the turning inward for me.  It’s like walking in a thick fog with droplets of water here and there working like a telescope magnifying the outside world.  One also learns that when stripped of the very skills we take for granted we are forced to find and discover one(s) we weren’t aware of.  Even while we go within we are still being taught awareness. I have experienced an inability to communicate, I couldn’t write what I was thinking, I couldn’t spell, and my flow of thoughts was garbled.  It has resulted in stupid actions such as backing over a bucket of newly dug potatoes in my jeep.  It was one of those things where I put them in the way so as to remember to put them away.  Needless to say, I didn’t see them as I stepped around them to get to the jeep, them remembered them just before the potatoes went flying and the bucket shot out from under the tire….obviously too late. I have proceeded to blow a small hole in the roof corner of my porch with my 22.  in my angry haste to scare the horses off the fence because I didn’t stand out far enough on the porch.  Those are just a few highlights.

When I finally started recognizing the signs of my impending dark time and wanting to take that time for myself, it seemed as if there never was any available.   In reality, one must make the time.  This is not an act of selfish need, but one of necessity. If not, you’re turned in by force.  Our bodies will do the work even if we won’t.  This ancient call goes beyond any calendar. In retrospect, I always come out on the other side with a burst of energy and a new appreciation for my life.  I’ve been burnt and stripped of everything, only to arise from the ashes like the Phoenix, though the beautiful feathers apparently were not included in the packed deal.

Blessed be!

DToilsblog

Dark Time Oils

Remember….

The quieter you become,                                                                                 the more you can hear.                                                                                            ~ Ram Dass

Mysteries of the Dark Moon, by Demetra George

Moon Watching, by Dana Gerhardt

Parkers Astrology, by Julia & Derek Parker

Myth, Ritual & Religion, by Andrew Lang

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