Major Arcana II: The High Priestess

The High Priestess from Pagan Otherworlds deck by Uusi Design Studio

 

Gatekeepers, guardians, travelers between realms: unbind the stones from your feet and sing your life into the deepest part of the river. Listen, listen, listen, as Spirit speaks. You are not separate from any of it.
Your beauty moves in all the changing ways, without knowing who you will be on some other side, which is really always just right here, a black-winged moment, and you, inside it. Your will can’t hold transformation the way it wishes it could. You can only let it take you. If you trust nothing else, trust this. You and your beauty, changing, here and in every in-between.

 

 

The High Priestess is a gatekeeper to Mystery, who calls for us to access our intuition and innate wisdom from the depths of our psyche. She is the keeper of ancient knowledge passed down through the ages, who reminds us that surrender is sacred. She sees all as a wise observer, all-knowing yet neutral, a cosmic queen who walks the earth, moving like water between realms. She is visible when she wishes to be, and cloaks herself in the same breath if her intuition calls for it. The High Priestess honors the liminal, the ephemeral, and the empty spaces yet to be filled. She speaks to us of our ever-burning inner flame, kept safe within a temple whose walls hold the records of all that is, was, and will be. She calls us to settle into the unknowing, and let there be space to open into. The High Priestess is an archetype that portrays one aspect of the Divine Feminine, a term that I relate to as the yin essence, the fertile void, the unknown, and the connectivity of all things. Varying expressions of the Divine Feminine blossom and wither from one source of wholeness, as she is a container vast enough for all to exist within her.

 

A powerful way to explore different expressions of feminine energy and the complex layers of yourself is to dive into archetypes, which is why I love tarot and its connection to mythology. Persephone is a goddess I connect with whose myth tells the story of a maiden (Innocent archetype) torn from her life in the sun with Demeter (Great Mother archetype) and taken against her will to the underworld. But Persephone is also the High Priestess, as expressed through the Dark Goddess archetype. Her story through the patriarchal lens emphasizes her victimhood, diminishing her power as a realm traveling goddess of the unconscious, bravely traversing the shadow realms. What isn’t so widely shared is that she chose to stay in the underworld, and brought back gifts to the light when she was ready to share them, reflected in the changing seasons. She honors our countless initiations and threshold crossings, and our own timing through which we move. She reminds us to move at our own pace, to stand sovereign in our own energy, to own our choices and our power completely. Artemis is another goddess whose energy speaks to both the Wild Woman and Dark Goddess archetypes. She is the one of the woods– embodied, emotive, unapologetic, intuitive, creative, brave, and unto herself, belonging to the moon, the earth and the wild things. Exploring these expressions of the feminine connects me to my soul’s yearning to embody the fullness of me, to arrive here and claim my voice as the witch. The wild one. The deeply feeling healer. The empathic and psychic one. The writer. The creator. The shadow dweller. The light worker. Guardian and guide between worlds.

 

 

Ideas for Journaling and Self Exploration

What happens when I full on surrender to the present moment? How does accepting myself where I am allow me to actually begin changing? How do my own internal shifts effect change in the world around me?

What happens when I start to get more into my body? How does it feel to find stillness? How does it feel to move my body from that point of stillness? Note the sensations, emotions, and thoughts present.

Who will I be on the other side of another transformation? What will I have to leave behind?

What happens when I show up in the world with all the shadows and light that I know I am? What do I need on a physical and emotional level in order to feel grounded and safe? How am I meeting my own needs in these ways? How am I honoring my own growth and tending to my needs at this point in the process?

How does staying with myself and loving myself through my entire growing process strengthen me? What does trusting myself feel like physically? Does it feel calm, even if I don’t exactly “like” the information I am getting? How can I get myself to a place of calm in order to intuit from a more observational viewpoint? How does observing and witnessing my own experience help me respond, rather than react?

How can I cope with my own insecurities around being truly seen? In what ways do I choose to be in alignment with my true needs, rather than in resentment because I am not honoring myself or listening to my intuition?

Will I be able to show up in my fullness without the fear of being “too much?” or  “enough?” What does the cultural programming of “enoughness” look like? How does it affect the choices I make? I willing to disappoint others, rock the boat, and be uncomfortable in order to stay true to myself?

Can I identify when a wounded aspect of me is operating and clouding my judgement? What aspects of me still remain as fragments awaiting full acceptance, unconditional love, and forgiveness? Can I acknowledge them, hold them, and release them with deep love so I can more fully occupy my own body and energy? Can I begin to notice when I am grasping outside of myself for validation to quell inner discomfort? In what ways can I validate myself? How does validating my own experience create more grace and ease in my life?

 

 

Affirmations

I belong on this wild, breathing earth. I am capable of holding this great responsibility. I am brave. I am powerful. I call all of my power back to me now. I am safe. I am grounded. I am connected. I am fully resourced and operate from my wholeness. I trust myself fully. I validate my own humanity. I feel my own divinity. I am loving. I am patient, gentle, and honest with myself through the journey, accepting my wholeness as I change. I honor my interconnectedness with all things. I practice responding rather than reacting by slowing down and asking myself what I truly need. I take time to feel what is present for me and I listen. I practice receptivity and openness when my protective pieces urge me to shut down, trusting and loving all facets as sacred. All I need to do is be here, and pay attention to what moves me. I am deprogramming every belief and pattern of energy that does not belong to me, and that is no longer needed. I am allowing myself to receive new information about all the ways of being that reflect my true essence and soul’s purpose.

 

 

 

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I am continually diving into the way these archetypes are reflections of my being, feeling how they hold and nurture each other, how they are part of a greater cycle, and how they cycle through me in my own phases. Below is some more writing that came exploring these faces of the Divine Feminine.

 

 

I went to the water with my heaviness today. This is my secret spot I always go to alone. This water hasn’t flowed here in a very long time. The first water in a drought will conjure up all that has laid dormant, it will run muddy and carry with it tangled branches, and it is not conventionally beautiful or pristine. The first water will bring to your attention all that you wish you didn’t have to see. It will tell you stories you wish you didn’t have to hear. Chasing the light is easier than communing with the shadows. After a little while the clarity comes, the peace comes, if you submerge and surrender for long enough. After a little while you understand that the light doesn’t care to be chased, just respected as an integral piece of the spectrum, a warming ray of what is possible, of who you are at your core. I prayed into the water, washing my hands clean, asking for guidance. She told me to listen, and to trust what I hear. She reminded me that there isn’t a savior beyond our own understanding that we are part of an eternal river’s ebb and flow. There are layers to healing. There is no easy answer or endpoint, just the willingness to pay attention, to feel, and to trust the wisdom of our experience. The more powerful we become, the more we are asked to kneel closer to the earth, and let go, deeper and deeper. The more we allow energy to move through us without resistance, the more we get to experience moments of radiant fullness, connected to our place in the web, strong in our clear presence, humbled by all that is beyond our control. In this state of surrender, we feel empowered to choose our next step. Our hearts will not stop their work of breaking, but we will stop hoping for that anyway. Often the most we can do is honor the water’s wise path, sometimes bone dry, sometimes teeming with life. Listening, trusting, listening, trusting. I trust my body as an extension of the earth, my vision as an extension of her knowing. I trust her cycles and I trust my own. I listen to what calls me further in. I trust presence, the movement that spirals out from stillness. I listen to what I don’t understand. I become the river who always meets the sea.

We are not initiated once, but thousands of times. Many of our leavings and arrivals are barely noticeable, but we notice, and we are changed. We are led, continually, over thresholds we cannot plan for. Divine order changes its tune as we sing along. And the chords we strike, just by being, create cosmic waves. Barely perceptible or earth-shaking, our energetic signatures exist here as an essential part of our collective experience. As we empty the vessel of striving, we make space for what forces desire to come alive through us. It is simply a welcoming. An opening. A walking through. We are merging worlds, grooving gracefully and tumbling foolishly between the accepted and the unacceptable, learning to tone in resonance with Mystery, breaking contracts with which we no longer agree, weaving our stories one revelation and one question at a time. One toe always in the water, inviting the ceremony of entering. The soul is not static. Spirit shifts. Bodies soften and harden with the rivers and tides of time and emotion. The mind is as pliable as it is powerful. We are called to crack open wide, not for ultimate bliss but for ultimate presence, as we leave behind the comfort of knowing and enter the realm of soul that begins at the edge of the woods, at the precipice of comprehension. Transformation asks of us full devotion. It can be terrifying, to let go, yet it is the only thing that ever really happens, awakening in the center of silence. Even stillness changes shapes. But your hands know the heartbeat of everything. You will remember. And it will be beautiful.

 

Major Arcana I: The Magician

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The Magician from The Enchanted Tarot deck by Amy Zerner and Monte Farber

 

“Everything changes when you start to emit your own frequency rather than absorbing the frequencies around you, when you start imprinting your intent on the universe rather than receiving an imprint from existence.” Barbara Marciniak

 

 

The Magician is the second card in the Major Arcana, arriving on the scene after The Fool embarks on his journey. He is an alchemist, who is all about personal power, imagination, and manifestation. You have probably heard the phrase, “As above, so below,” but, what does that mean? The Magician acknowledges that the outer world is a reflection of the inner world. As a bridge, or conduit, of universal energy, he recognizes that being in balance on all levels is the key to creating experiences that serve the highest good of all. He knows he is not separate from the great expanse of all that exists, ebbing and flowing with the cycles of the earth and the cosmos. The journey with this archetype is about a commitment to knowing ourselves and creating what we desire within the natural unfolding, by focusing on working with our own life force. The Magician honors our vision and individual expression as a vital piece in our collective evolution.

 

A master of the process of manifestation, The Magician reminds us that things can change and come to fruition when we shift internally, aligning our innermost beliefs with clear intentions, and taking action in a state of trust. Healing deep layers of beliefs around lack of worthiness and capability will be a part of this process. This happens in the body and psyche in a feeling (energetic) state, not a thinking state. Positive thinking alone doesn’t change reality if inner work hasn’t taken place. If you can acknowledge where you have tender spots — such as those aspects of yourself that are fearful, resist receiving love, or have the compulsion to lay blame — you can hold them in gentleness, respect them as parts of yourself that serve as protectors, and set them free with unconditional love and compassion, so fresh energy that is in resonance with the experience you desire can exist.

 

Inner work is alchemy in action—the continual movement and transformation of energy from one form to another. This process is an exploration of where you need to call your power back and focus on your own energy. You will begin to know your wholeness through feeling, loving and integrating all aspects of yourself. Profound shifts can occur very quickly sometimes, but healing takes time, and you will revisit different layers of the same patterns so you can continue to grow, love what is hard to love, and clear stagnant energy to nurture creativity and a deeper sense of aliveness and connection to your own soul.

 

The Magician knows that embodying change comes down to knowing how to interpret and move energy using his own awareness. A little chakra talk — the Magician activates the will at the center of the belly (the solar plexus) to manifest his soul’s visions in this world.  This requires the root and sacral chakras be grounded in order to create from stability and well being — rather than by trying to control outer circumstances to quell inner turmoil. He knows the magic of a loving heart, and his throat chakra is open, trusting, and communicates clearly, claiming space as a creative being and an essential part of the whole. As the crown chakra receives higher wisdom and frequencies, the third eye must be clear and neutral, giving him the ability to see things for what they are, so change can truly happen. The empowered Magician believes imagination is not a frivolity, but a necessity; he takes full responsibility for the energy he brings to any space, and trusts that when he is in alignment, things fall away and into place without forcefulness. Learning and practicing energy management is essential to his self mastery. Understanding his motivation behind why he wants to create something is essential. (Notes: Links below for further exploration on the chakra system, meditation, and the philosophy of magic; Also I use the pronoun “he” for the sake of ease; The Magician represents a masculine expression, but all archetypes are representations that exist beyond gender.)

 

It takes immense courage and devotion to meet the self, in all its facets, and it often takes much more time to create something than we would like it to. It takes focus just as much as surrender. It also requires remembering that you are whole just as you are, and nothing “out there” will fill you up without this knowing. There is also nothing within you that is not deserving of your full love. With heartfelt, mindful presence, you can feel gratitude for that which is here already. 

 

Remember that the Law of Attraction is worth understanding at its deeper levels, and it gets really whitewashed and glamorized in the “new age” biz; from this shallow and often harmful depiction, the reality of systemic oppression of people of color, women, those who are non able-bodied, neuro-diverse, gay, transgender, etc, is denied, and the experiences of people who are shamed in our society remain unacknowledged. I will be honest and say I am at an advantage as a white woman, and because of this I choose to use that privilege to be a voice for those whose voices are not heard and whose lives are endangered or encumbered. I am still learning how I can best serve from this place. To understand creating your own reality from a deeper perspective, it requires taking into account that the structures our world has functioned upon do not offer an even playing field, and not everyone has equal access to tools that will support their healing and thriving. If someone is continually traumatized by violence, racism, sexism, hatred or poverty, and has little access to support and healing, their ability to “vibrate higher” is limited, and the system can continue to incarcerate, criminalize, and silence them. When society tells you what your worth is based on who you are or what are able to do, and systems are in place to keep you down and make you unsafe, there is a host of problems that are difficult to “manifest” your way out of.  Other details seldom explained are that sometimes you manifest just what you wanted, but it no longer fits with where you are in life. Be honest with yourself. Sometimes what you manifest doesn’t look like how you thought it would, but if you trust the feeling of it, roll with it. And sometimes you manifest things that you desire, but are neither prepared to contain nor sustain them. Going slowly, and respecting your own rhythm and divine timing, will ensure that you manifest in a way that truly nurtures you and sets you free in all the ways you want to feel free, along with the collective.  Our consciousness can shift very quickly, but changes within the body and societal structures take awhile. Avoid getting into shame or thoughts of “something must be wrong with me” when life gets hard, and no amount of inner work seems to be changing the outer experience. Sometimes it is NOT you at all, it is the world you live in and those who are running oppressive energy and beliefs. The perspective of your higher self reminds you that there is always evolution occurring, often beyond the comprehension of your earthly self. Blaming and shaming yourself or others for not being “right” or “in alignment” only causes further harm. Allow yourself  to have your experience, and others to have theirs, even when it is challenging and there are no easy answers or quick fixes. Notice how miracles show up that you could never have expected, as you direct your focus to the now and practice acceptance and non judgment. Let the energy move through self expression. Stay with, and love through. Be a light for the world and listen to those who have been oppressed, and all those pieces of within that have been silenced. 

 

My favorite way to enter into a state of altered awareness in which I can work with my energy to release and “call in” is through meditation. It could be a moving meditation like walking silently in nature, dancing, qi gong, breath work; getting into a creative zone; receiving bodywork and energy work; doing a sound meditation like drumming or singing; or laying down listening to a guided meditation with visualizations, or just simply being with the present moment— anything that allows me to be fully with myself and in my own energy. Find what works for you, as that is where true magic happens. The marvelous thing is that you get to adjust your own vibration to create change in the environment. Shifting your perception, and thus your experience, is always possible.

 

Once you feel clear, spacious, and balanced, get still, and allow yourself to feel your desire in your body; expand on this feeling, let it flow through, and let it settle in. Your experience is sculpted from here. In addition to the above practices, I call upon my higher self, and ask my guides and angels to help me clear away anything that is hindering the flow of my life-force across time and space. I ask any pieces of myself that I have given away to come home. I ask that anything less than love and truth be dissolved, and that the clear light of love heal me and all beings. I ask that universal life-force energy move freely through me, anchoring light, so I can be a channel of goodness in the world.

 

Then, I let it all go. It is all a beautiful experiment, and mostly a practice in love and trust. Stay in awe. Stay grounded, neutral, and trust the timing and the process. Go make magic!

 

 

 

Ideas for Journaling and Self Exploration


  • If the core of reality and who you are is formless awareness, and all the stuff of your daily human experience “accessories,” then you can imagine that magic is not unlike redecorating the set of the movie that is your life. Center into your energy. Visualize what is. Clear your energy. Feel into your dreams. Visualize them. Write about what you would like to create in this current act of your life. Write about how you would love to see your life in 2, 5, or 10 years. You can also create imagery through collage, painting, or drawing on a vision board. Have fun with it. Your dreams don’t have to be grand to be meaningful to you and the world. What you are pulled towards means something. What interests you means something. Envision. Explore. Shift. Actualize.

 

  • Example: I believe I am a creature of unbridled joy in every cell of my being. I intend to create joy from the inside out and experience joy wherever I find myself. I will engage in activities that bring me joy. I will move this energy to shift any perceptions, which helps me make changes where I feel a lack of joy in my everyday life. I trust in my capacity for joy. I trust in the divine to support me. I let go of expectations and receive miracles, feeling my way through. I am grateful for the joy that is here now. I follow signs and synchronicity and revel in the joy that brings. I get curious about joy.

 

  • Once you begin to write, draw, or collage your visions, do you notice if any resistance is coming up? What needs identifying, accepting, loving, and releasing so you can shift into a wider field of possibility? Can you notice how the resistance is showing you something important about what you may need to explore more? Do you notice how exploring these sticky places creates space for new visions and ideas to come in? 

 

  • How deeply can you surrender to the natural unfolding of your life, beyond your own expectations? What does it mean to be a co-creator, bridging human and divine will? Write about what destiny means to you.  

 

  • In what ways can you engage with your experience as a piece of living art? What adjustments do you want to make to your moving masterpiece?

 

  • How does engaging in creative pursuits open you to more energy and inspiration to work with? How do you deal with a lack of inspiration, and get those creative juices flowing again? Do you notice how “doing nothing” increases receptivity to inspiration?

 

  • My creative practice is simple: make space, pay attention, and go for it. I get into the moment to quiet the over-thinking mind who wonders whether the expression “is good enough,” or “makes sense,” instead letting what wants to be, just be– what I call releasing our winged things from their cages. Create now, refine later. Even just gently noticing, or scribbling notes, can be like planting seeds that will grow in their own time. Follow inspiration over judgment (you simply cannot get creativity wrong, what a relief!)

 

  • If you are divinity or consciousness experiencing itself through the lens of your particular human embodiment, how will you use this awareness to create a variety of experiences that bring you and the world around you more beauty, joy, truth, freedom for all?

 

 

For further discovery and experiencing

 

Tara Brach Guided Meditations
Anodea Judith, Understanding Your Chakras 
The Wheels of Life by Anodea Judith
The Kybalion, a guide to Hermetic philosophy
The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall
The Emerald Tablet: Alchemy of Personal Transformation by Dennis William Hauck
Bringers of the Dawn, Teachings of the Pleiadians by Barbara Marciniak

 

 

 

“Each time you meet an old emotional pattern with presence, your awakening to truth can deepen. There’s less identification with the self in the story and more ability to rest in the awareness that is witnessing what’s happening. You become more able to abide in compassion, to remember and trust your true home. Rather than cycling repetitively through old conditioning, you are actually spiraling toward freedom.” Tara Brach

 

“As above, so below; as below so above.”  The Kybalion, Principle of Correspondence

Major Arcana XVII: The Star

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The Star from The Enchanted Tarot deck by Amy Zerner and Monte Farber

 

 

“Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” Leonard Cohen

 

 

The Major Arcana in the Tarot is a series of 22 cards that follows The Fool’s Journey, or as Joseph Campbell called it, The Hero’s Journey. Each of the cards in The Major Arcana depicts a symbolic expression of the human experience, called an archetype. Engaging with the energy of each archetype helps us connect to soul and be present in our own evolution.

 

The Star is the 17th card in the Major Arcana, coming to us as the soothing light and transcendent energy after a passage of darkness — illumination in a time of far-reaching transformation. The Star pours celestial medicine down upon our tired souls. We drink deeply of her generous offerings, bathed in blessings that purify, cleanse, and soothe — a peaceful salve on our wounds as we kneel by the riverbank, dawn breaking on the horizon after a dark night of the soul. There is a sigh of relief, as we open our eyes and see that nothing is as it once was; we have been transformed and thus the world sparkles a little differently around us.

 

Like a newborn child with ancient memories, our skin is new but we are tender, our inner scars echoing stories of the difficult journey. Wobbly-legged and bright eyed, we are given a chance to begin again, to wake up to the wonder of a new beginning. Our task is to stay open and receptive to the abundant gifts and blessings offered to us now. The Star tells us we have known the groundlessness of profound change– what it means to doubt ourselves, to feel lost in caverns of uncertainty, to not know what it feels like to trust ourselves or others. When we have lost faith in the unfolding of our lives, and wondered what the purpose is in the struggle, the Star reminds us that we have been forged in the fires and are being offered reprieve on the other side. The light has returned.

 

Through these trials we have encountered the divine spark within that remains no matter what has been stripped away. Here we know the truth of our basic goodness, our light, and our beauty; we have touched the essence of who we are, that can never be taken from us. We carry a renewed sense of intuitive awareness, and a sense of calm that tells us all is meaningful. There is a richness in this place, an opportunity to open to a greater sense of connection to our true selves, to each other, an awareness of our integral role in the web that we weave together. The Star brings us into alignment with self-trust, self-esteem, and purpose. It carries a visionary energy that attunes us to otherworldly wisdom, ideas, and creative energy, the kind that pours through us like a fountain of inspiration. The Star encourages us to understand our worth, and to share generously our gifts with others, without fear of how we will be received. We are encouraged to stay open to miracles, and to know our divinity, shining from the innermost vaults of our being; we are empowered to trust in our highest hearts, to have faith in the magic that we are, and in the visions that call us and the collective into deep healing and renewal.

 

Ideas for Journaling and Self Exploration

 

  • Unhealed parts of ourselves will hinder the clarity of our intuition. Our intuition is in its optimal state when we have lovingly called home our wounded fragments and are standing inside our wholeness. Can you explore what your intuition feels like in your body, when you are coming from a place of wholeness? What does it feel like when you are acting from a wound or a fragment? Can you identify your protective pieces? Offer compassion to yourself here, before reacting from here. Can you identify the neutral space of intuitive awareness? Act from here. Note that making snap judgments is not your intuition at play; judging others is a key to where you can go in and work on healing a wound; intuition feels like a calm, and neutral awareness.

 

  • As you continue to heal, and trust yourself more and more, your intuitive abilities will get stronger and more clear. How does self-nurturing and healing bring you into a deeper state of self trust?

 

  • How are you receiving the blessings that are being offered to you? Clearing and reprogramming old beliefs and patterns, held on subconscious, physical, and energetic levels, is important so you can fully show up and receive the beauty of a new beginning. After a time of profound change, it can be difficult to accept the peace, beauty, and love that is being offered. First of all, know that it is a process and one that takes time. Healing is about integration of all aspects of our experience, not banishing any part of it.

 

  • One tool for receptivity is asking your higher self what affirmations or shifts in thinking and feeling would help reframe your experience. (For example: I am safe, I am whole, I am loved, I am powerful, I belong, I am free, I am receptive, I trust myself, I love myself, I am excited for this newness unfolding, I surrender to the flow of life, I gracefully accept the love and blessings being offered, absorbing them graciously and lovingly into every cell of my being, etc.) Write your own affirmations and practice them daily along with committed self-care, as you let the new information settle into your system as fresh beliefs and perceptions. The light you consistently bring in and embody will illuminate and flush out old and unnecessary patterns as you grow and come into your new way of being. Bodywork, breathwork, energy work, rest, creativity, exercise, time in nature, time with friends, time alone, laughter, and tears can all be forms of self-care. Slow down and ask yourself what you need right now, and trust the answer. Ask your guides and angels for healing and support if that resonates with you. Also, reach out for professional help if you need it; healing needs a safe container and there are healers, therapists, and teachers with extensive experience and training who can assist you. Find those who are in integrity, well-trained, and who fit well with you. Cherish yourself as you would a small child, practice compassion and gentleness. Start where you are. We are dancing through new territory all the time, riding the waves. Sometimes it is slow, soft, sometimes it is intense and feral. It is all vital, and it is all ok. Your experience is valid. Take your time.

 

  • How can you commit to a practice of gratitude? What are you grateful for right now? What are you grateful for in the morning? Before bed? Can you be present with your struggles and be grateful for how they break you open, expanding your capacity to receive? How can you stay grateful for the simple things, even throughout the toughest trials? How does celebrating the little moments of love and beauty awaken you to your true self? How does a daily gratitude practice shift your perception of your reality?

 

  • Write about your experience with miracles. What miracles have restored your faith in a higher power, in your higher self, or in some divine orchestration? Or, do you see miracles in a different way? Do you witness the cycles of the earth and your own body as some miraculous and mysterious unfolding? How can you live so as to believe yourself to be a miracle, and every breath another opportunity to create and experience more miracles? How can you appreciate other people as miracles? How can you shift your daily routine or beliefs so as to expect miracles on a daily basis?

 

  • In what ways do you care for your body? Your mind? Your spirit? Your heart? What does a daily commitment to self-care and self-love look like? How do you cherish yourself? How are you devoted to you?

 

  • Have any insights, ideas, or visions been coming to you? Are you noticing synchronicities, messages or patterns that keep showing up? Is there any resistance to trusting the intuitive messages you are receiving? What emotions or pieces of yourself need to be acknowledged, felt, loved, and integrated, so you can be an open channel of light, wisdom, and love? What you notice is important. What you feel is important. What comes up for you matters. Write down anything that comes to you that feels meaningful, without any care as to whether it makes sense. Or dance, sing, paint, cook, make love, make an altar, do free form yoga, garden, etc, to get into the flow. Let the insights, ideas and inspiration come through you, as if you are a vessel of magic (because you are!) See what happens when you let your creative energy move without judgement. See how trusting your intuition sharpens it.  Stay curious and open to beauty and joy. Shine just as you are.

 

 

Recommended Reading

 

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron
Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times by Pema Chodron

 

Creating A Home Inside

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Home

 

You don’t have to understand it to feel it. It’s enough to pause when the air changes direction just to touch your face, to simmer in the heat that brews in your belly and rises to meet wet cheeks, wrapped in the warmth of being, cooled by the chill of the question. Oak speaks with wind and sunlight, and you hear them say, beauty isn’t reserved for the palatable, the acceptable, the understandable. Every tangled twig, sharp edge, and determined arch bears a reminder of the bending and the reaching, toward water or light or earth, somewhere to belong between roots and sky, somewhere to set your arms down, somehow to know self in other. You must hold yourself close first in order to offer anything, anywhere. You might begin with the spilling of your heart on the hearth of an old, old friend, living or in ether, who offers no answers, just the space to be. Between the words that won’t come are the eyes with a saltwater shine, who dive straight inside the empty spaces to say, “I know how deep this all goes, straight back to the beginning, before everything, back to the love we come from, to where the ache comes from too, back to the place we will rest now, wordless, resolution-less, wonder-filled.”

And then we celebrate this pulse that carries us, the force that holds us close in even in the leaving, in between the laughing and the crying, over meals with flowers and candles who flicker like we do, ever in motion, burning, alive and fading. Gratitude is too small a word for the chance to have known the beauty of us being here, together. Then there is a postcard from a faraway friend that shows up just in time, because if you ever forget this bottomless spring of forever love we are made of, you will remember now that you never had to search it out. It was here, it has always been here, and when we are gone, it will be still.

This is it—your being here, your experiencing this, now, not as you had imagined it, but the raw reality of what-is-really-happening, moving through a moment that pulses with the colors of every moment, felt as only you can feel it, lived as only you can live it. And there, there’s that stillness to settle into, the stillness that is never truly still, the miracle of creating a home inside your own vision, a place to thrive on this wild earth, the awareness of the gift of this flesh deepening wherever you land. The only thing between your inner wise one and your inner wounded one are your loving hands, extended forth, introducing one to the other. They will recognize themselves in each other, and it will feel like coming home. Don’t deny either one the remembering, of where the other came from, and where from now on, they can go together, hand in hand, wisdom guiding pain into deeper acceptance, pain guiding wisdom into deeper waters. Your living light is expanding at your center, into the space and softness where you and the mystery breathe each other. And now all of creation is singing into the bottoms of your feet, the sound vibrating through the ends of your hair, about the radiance of becoming, about the purpose you set out for, and the purpose whose layers will unfold in their own time, in this continual coming home, this ever-opening state of revelation.

Wholly-Holy-Ways

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New Moon in Taurus altar made in Belize in the late spring…feels so very fitting here, now, at his New Moon in Capricorn in the early winter; Pictured is the Rider Waite Smith deck, and Goddess Knowledge Cards with art by Susan Seddon Boulet

 

 

 

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Ixchel from Goddess Knowledge cards, art by Susan Seddon Boulet; Queen of Wands from The Fountain Tarot

 

 

A message from Inanna, The Sphinx, Ix Chel, Justice, and the Queen of Wands

 

You belong in your becoming, you belong in your blooming, you belong in your dying. In the shadows, your clarity of purpose will be visible through light-filled eyes. Open to faith in the materializing and surrender to disintegration. The breaking down breaks you open in service of awareness and integration, obliterating outdated patterns and easing you into equilibrium. Your response to your experience in every moment becomes your life. Stay gentle inside your soft center, with all those pieces that don’t know yet how they will let go, or where they will go when they do. Maybe there is nowhere else to get to that isn’t here already. Maybe grace comes alive in the un-knowing. Remember when your knees buckled and you fell to the earth? That was when you called it in, arms open wide, because there was only one way to go at that point: the way of the miracle. Imagine you are a vessel of spirit, and that magic lives not only in those heavenly moments of wings-widespread, but in the messiness of loss, the reluctance to release, and the moment of freedom, as you offer yourself to the call, following the current that pulls you deeper and deeper in.

What is ripening now, just below your glassy surface, or just below the crackling surface of your beloved Mother Earth, nurturer of creation and conductor of destruction? If you are her wise seed pulsing with potential in the dark of the moon, how potently are you experiencing each sensation? What twinges and aches call your breath to deepen and your pace to slow? How free are the butterflies in your belly, and how warm is the fire in your chest? Are you allowing goosebumps and uncontrollable, inappropriate laughter, dancing, and tears? Are you welcoming stillness, quiet, and dreaming into nothingness? What are you letting yourself feel in the caves of your inner being? If you get quiet enough, can you feel what you have been denying? Can you feel your longing? The Sphinx, Egyptian guardian of Mystery, tells us there is no riddle to be solved that is separate from the self. Let the mind rest, allowing tendrils of emotion and vision to expand in your core, which is the core of the earth, and the roots that grow through your feet are the ancient roots. Let it die, let it grow. Decay enriches the soil of dreams.

You will be revealed here in beauty. Inanna, Sumerian goddess, tells you that each garment stripped in your descent into darkness has shown you the glimmering, groaning underbelly-self, whose tenderness expresses itself in all-the-ways, the-fearful-ways, the-angry-ways, the-beauty-torn-weeping-ways, the-love-worn-wise-ways, the-essential-ways. Ix Chel, Mayan deity, moon goddess of becoming, honors all phases as vital. She is the jaguar who sees past nightfall, sleek, piercing, knowing and silent until it is time. She is medicine woman, midwife, creatrix, and weaver. And the Queen of Wands comes again, another passionate, creative, confident, feline one, free and bursting forth with the radiant sun. They call for you to celebrate the return of the light, earth tilting just so, moon reflecting sun, each integral piece welcomed home. Thank your ancestors’ wisdom, all that has brought you here. Thank your shadows and receive your gifts from the depths. Thank your not-knowings. Thank your certainty. Thank your cycles. Set down what cannot be carried past this point. You will not abandon yourself or your beloveds, but you will respect your capacity, and bring only what is needed for the next leg of the journey.

As the scales find stillpoint, true inner power is understood and fully claimed. Drink the sweet, dark moonsugar. Feel the shifting structure of memory. Pyramids and treasure, star roots, scars, new skin, and the light of hope that blooms from blood and fear. Lightbeam eyes and puddle-jumping hearts. Communion across time and space. Past life convergence and relentless miracles. What can’t be explained. What mustn’t be repeated. Origins. Healing. Transience. Connection. Belonging. Longing. Need. Desire. Loving you. Loving me. Loving this fucking insane, suffering world, shadows lit up. Filling, emptying. Staying close to feeling. Admitting it. Accepting it. Breathing. Loving what can’t be unfelt or unseen. Somehow. Finding your way. Illumination is not for the faint of heart. But remember this: you are creating the pathway forward, dreaming in the brave-and-true, wholly-holy-ways, holding your humanness, holes and all.

To Let Love Exist

 

To let love exist. To let it live out its earthly life in the field where horses lay down, where tiny greens come up after a night of rain, gingerly greeting the belly of a beast who has come to its end. The light will dance on its mottled coat, muscles still soft, and we swear we can hear a heartbeat, but it is our own. Following the pulse through darkness, we stoke fires and sing songs, burning all night for the sailors who left in the storm. Ashes and decay enrich the soil of dreams, who grow like tangled vines towards the myth of the sun, whose warmth is now becoming real. We don’t know how we will change in the unfolding, we only know that we will. To let the earthquake of unfathomable beauty bring us to the ground, sculpting our flesh into something magic, into something we can finally love. To let love exist, to let our strange shapes grow into theiy own, abandoning understanding and blaming and comparing and falling into the trap of certainty. We are more alive than that. The gift is allowing ourselves the rise and fall of our chest, the squeezing between ribs, the warmth and the glow of a heart set free to the world, with no promise of hands who will truly hold it, except our own. Belonging to mystery, we learn to trust the roses that fall at our feet, a path merging into a light so true, we will come to remember it as ourselves. But even then, when these hearts overflow and spill onto the floor, we’ll let them stay there awhile, because the miraculous mess matches the drapes, and a little creature comfort is welcomed in times like these. To let love exist in its natural habitat, the boundless field. To hold the jewel in the wound. To hold it lightly. To hold it sacred.

Nurture The Spark: Active Imagination

 

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Madge Bellamy in a still from the 1922 film Lorna Doone

 

One of my favorite tools for unblocking the flow of creativity and releasing pent up energy is active imagination. Active imagination is a technique developed by Carl Jung, used to bridge the subconscious and conscious mind in order to integrate, understand, and heal all layers of the self. At its core, I see it as a shamanic practice of healing. If we can immerse ourselves in that nebulous space between dreaming and waking, we can process emotions and energy that we may not be consciously aware of, yet still experience in our bodies and minds, below the surface of conscious awareness. One way to do this is through stream of consciousness writing, or free writing, which opens the inner chambers and unleashes that which lies within, waiting to rise to the surface. The act of pen to paper, foot to dance floor, or brush to canvas, without the involvement of the ego’s cries of “What does this mean? Am I doing it right? Am I wrong for feeling or thinking this? Does this make any sense?” is a way of activating those deeper aspects of the self that yearn to be acknowledged and set free. I wrote the poem below during a time when I was processing  a heartbreak that shook me to my core. One day I was perusing old photos of my Grandfather’s cousin, Madge Bellamy, a beautiful and talented silent film and stage actress. I found myself sinking in to her experience, entering a sort of meditation, envisioning her life through my own lens: a woman, an artist, whose life was imbued with a certain wild glow, as otherworldly as she was human, traversing light and shadow, beauty and struggle. I started writing without thinking, simply letting the words spill onto the page. I imagined that she was addressing me in a letter, speaking of her own heartbreak, and the spark and grace she embodied that carried her through. What unfolded revealed a well of bottled up energy within my own psyche, and what was at first a puddle of words and images and emotions became this poem: an imagining, a healing.

And in honor of the real woman, Madge herself, without my own romantic projections, her words at age 87,  “I’ve avoided all my life the romantic stuff which novels and movies are about. Never went in for that mush. Of course, I’ve missed what most people would call the ultimate human experience. But then, I’ve remained my own person, which at my age is a very satisfying state.”

 

For Emily, Love, Madge

Arouse them, my darling
Arouse them, but don’t please them.
One day a star will collapse at its core
after billions of years of trying,
and you’ll see that sometimes, love,
it’s wiser to blow up,
and then slink quietly out the back
before they notice what’s missing.
I long begged the sky
for a warm reprieve,
but diamonds are colder in space, my dear
than anyone ever told you.
The summer roses are dead,
and there’s no preciousness left anymore
to water my mouth.
The truth is as smokey as whiskey
and as smooth as the dust
on his letters,
the ones he wrote me like a ghost
through ether
for years,
long after I had stopped waiting by the window,
shining those pennies at dusk.

I took a fondness to the key
that opened the basement door,
where under the floorboards
I kept the stash of primal laughter,
the kind that felt so good
it turned my guts inside out,
the kind so sweet and slow,
it felt like the first bit of sun
warming early morning lace.
Late at night,
I still walk down the steps into darkness
and pull up the floorboards,
digging for hours,
giving myself a pretty little dirt manicure.
Oh honey I don’t have time anymore
for the nonsense of red polish,
and my lips are stained with stories I never told,
so I scratch and I claw and I howl
and I play my favorite records,
love notes burning
and embers crackling towards the ceiling,
like lovers tumbling together
into perfect illusion.
And on special occasions,
like remembering,
I pull that box of laughter out,
adorning myself in the jewels
of everything I can’t change
but can only cackle about.

I watch myself
as a little girl,
walking along old dirt paths
in thick Texas air,
fireflies dancing like nothing
had ever ripped out their wings.
Toes reach stagnant water,
a whirlpool erupts underfoot.
I go in with wings and prayers,
singing songs at the river
at the top of my lungs,
dirty white dress and ecstatic delusions:
A child just believes what she’s told.
I wanted to leave,
to shine,
and I did, as much as I could,
angel of the stage and silent screen,
singing silly demons back to sleep.

Truth in her crown,
drunk and dancing,
came and rushed me away.
What ridiculous lines we try to walk.
Arouse them, my darling
Arouse them, but never please them.
Nothing will satisfy the vultures.
They have a job to do,
just give it to them.
We all have a role to perform,
and roadkill makes delicious fodder for
mad dogs and foolish, foolish girls.

I hung my feathers up in the doorway
and reveled in my power
on a stage I built myself,
where no lights
would ever be bright enough
and no man could ever be warm enough
(but oh, my face could sure light up a room!)
I was no foolish, foolish girl.
Stop crying, darling,
start laughing,
spill your emeralds on the ground,
bathe in the poison that rolls off
the false Queen’s wicked tongue,
it’s the antidote to sinking.
Pull yourself together.
The roses are dead,
and everything’s fine.
Everything’s fine.
You said what you needed to say,
even if it was never enough,
you said it.

Sweet girl, you are wiser than you think.
You are stranger and you are stronger
than you let yourself believe.
Be joyful in the wild wood
at the edge of glory:
unchained, ugly,
beautiful and breaking.
Wholeness is a story they tell you
so you keep on trying.
I never wanted to tame
the eager effervescence,
because love meant passion
and passion is a cousin of war.
Walk the tightrope honey,
that funny line that separates
the mad from the sane.
Anyway, what sane person
needs to prove themselves so badly,
they’ll up and steal my key
to the basement door?
It’s not theirs to take.
Some things are yours,
sweet child,
don’t forget it.

They’ll fool you into thinking they know
what you’ve got stored there,
under the floorboards.
But they will never really know.
Take that stash of frenzied laughter
with you.
Use every last breath,
bellow every guffaw
like a spitfire pixie,
Untamable,
Unnamable.

Like the sullen organist
who played on Sundays,
whose wife left him for the grocery boy,
I just kept on playing.
I kept coming,
going,
raising hell
with boisterous music
and
I laughed
I dreamed
I wept,
the kind of tears that burn
like heaven.
No one can use my key
to open their door,
skeletons like their own closets best.
Say what you need to say, baby,
and go.

Let Me Be Tidal

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Let me be tidal,
you will remember it this way.

As my fleeting name
slips off your silver tongue,
breath escapes heavy lungs
and we are crystalline-
down dirty alleyways
where fishbones and petals
stick to our shoes,
caked in the mud
of forgetting-
that you were always here,
that both faces reflected
in your grand chandelier
belonged to us,
shattered and laughing,
remembering
what it feels like
to reach beyond skin.

Sparks set fire
to the icy ocean inside,
sacred heart of the feminine
unfolding in an explosion
of roses and flames.
We find water in dry wells,
mirages we can drink from,
where I swear I see seedlings
bursting forth from desolation:
Mother of God, fire breathing nurturer,
offering us a dance
in the riptide.
I promise I’ll be pulled away
without getting pulled under,
or maybe I am the moth
whose wings fry on the porch light,
lost on her way to the moon.

And for each piece of myself
I willingly relinquish,
I hold closer the little wounded me
who is still afraid of what will happen
when I dive in again,
to those same depths
I will always crave,
a sweetness so stormy and true,
a sudden re-imagining
of a world
I have so carefully created.
(Still,
nothing ever felt as good
as vanishing
in those fearful waves,
or pretending
to be impenetrable,
even for just a second,
imagined relief from
rawness.)

Let me wear the skeleton key
around my neck,
rusted and hanging
from a cord worn bare
by the redwood’s pleas
for softness,
where I can hear
the old ones communing,
and bones growing,
molecule by molecule.
And oh how they break,
life blooming continually
toward death,
where we set sail too soon
on forbidden waters,
or maybe it was never soon enough,
how the surface
will deceive the depth,
how you will let me go
when it is my time
to taste the quiet
in saltwater hair.

Let me be tidal,
you will remember it this way.

 

Inspired by a journey through beloved Big Sur, California

Offering

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An offering: a dedication to continually breaking open, pausing at the reflection found at the end of a road, any road, spiraling into other, into sameness, into the unfolding of an uncertain map–the palm, the spark, the ether and the soil. Leave something behind in this ritual of burning. We will leave everything behind. Become the leaving and the returning, moving through the pathless wood, knowing lightness and burden, the giving up and the eternal longing. Swim blindly in fear and laugh until nothing is left, rising into your own unseen hands, the ones that hold the stars, with eyes for the invisible. Pull out your heart and let it rest on a sunlit stone, warm and beating, poised for the next reckoning. It was always here, the question in the waxing moon, who asks you only to be. Breathe the tidal seething under glassy surfaces, the intricate architecture of desire, knowing it always comes to this: Hold it tightly, and then relinquish everything. An offering.

Creating Spaciousness With Wonder

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My affirmation for wonder: I embrace my truth and respect myself as a tidal creature who knows that my dedication to feeling deeply, with wonder and curiosity, is a key to liberation. When I witness and experience myself as love, awakening beyond all shadows, I feel that love as boundless, and I am free. 

 

 

We hear a lot about hope, but is hoping helpful? What if there is nothing safe about being alive, at least in how we have come to understand “being safe.” In what ways do we keep ourselves entrained in patterns of belief and behavior that dim our light, out of alignment with our truth, because disappointing others or failing to “get it right” feels like too much of a risk? Like Terence Mckenna said, what if the real magic is “hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed.” What if feeling safe is more about feeling held, a sensation we can nourish within ourselves, which then nurtures our receptivity to others, and to life. Those moments of constriction, where we feel stuck, where we wish it could be different, are opportunities to choose wonder and curiosity as ways to create (luscious!) spaciousness in our experience.

What would it feel like to become swept away in wonder, rather than pulled under by fear? How much more deeply could we explore the roots of our motivations, if we took a step back to slowly respond rather than quickly react? What if we courageously embraced all of ourselves, and each other, not just the lovely bits? What if we really listened to our bodies, to our hearts, when they communicated with us? What if we could be ok with finding balance and then losing it- returning again and again to that sweet, strange ebb and flow? What if we respected our pain as a teacher? What if we honored difficult relationships and situations as our teachers? What would happen if we could just be there for it. Breathe. Lean into it. Play around with it. Forget everything we think we know, feel into it, and connect with the inherent wisdom within. To be embodied is to be in awe, of the brokenness as much as the beauty, to nestle into the underbelly, a dynamic sort of surrendering—a dance—eye to eye with the movements of the unknowable, wholeheartedly present, creating a gorgeous openness that is unchained from mere hopefulness, anchored in truth.

Maybe our higher selves know something about the broader picture that isn’t initially clear to the monkey mind, but if we keep our fingers on the pulse long enough, we become it- the hawk’s eye view of life’s tidal surges and withdrawals, the frenzy and the stillness, the ever-flowing energy that moves through all. Slowing down to witness this current as it courses through us cultivates a deeper understanding of the rhythmic nature of the universe. We know that the muck will always come to the surface, and instead of frantically trying to pretend its not there, or despairing that things aren’t clear in the moment, we can just observe, without “hoping” that it could be any different than what it is. Ironically, that is where a shift can actually happen! We are fully capable of being with ourselves, feeling where the anger grips the stomach, or where the sadness consumes the chest. If we can understand just one thing, we must understand that it is ok to be exactly where we are; where we find ourselves is where we start from, and it is valuable because it is our experience. When these waves rise up, we can simply become curious about them. Curiosity with a dash of loving compassion quells judgment, both of self and others, opening us to the wonder and possibility in our sticky, sparkling humanness. Pema Chodron’s incredible work has taught me this, and reminded me of the wisdom we always carry within. Her books “The Places That Scare You” and “When Things Fall Apart” are essential reading, in my opinion, and have helped me through some very dark times. Tara Brach’s “Radical Acceptance” is also a goldmine for the tender soul.

If you forget everything else, remember this: You are your own source. It has always been enough. You deserve to know that love you long for, the one you’ve searched everywhere for, except maybe in the shadows of your furthest corners, where those fragments “that can’t possibly be loved” live under white sheets like abandoned ghosts gathering dust. Reveal to yourself what you have hidden. Hold every aching piece who believed staying in darkness could shield them from rejection. Offer yourself to the honey dripping, blossoming, luminous, true blue love, the kind that survives every season, moving through the mess of decay and the promise of tiny greens who push up earnestly through the dark, growing towards the myth of the sun whose warmth is now becoming real. It is safe to wake up from the dream that somebody’s coming to save you, to bust out of the illusion that there’s something to be saved from, or some elusive love, approval, or validation “out there” that’s going to fill the holes that can only be nurtured from the inside. Don’t trip on the untied shoelaces. Untangle yourself. Peel off the roles that have fit you like an old dirty sweater, hanging on by the thread of your agreement to remain attached to an identity that you now know is as mutable as water. Make the choice that is true for you now, not the choice you wish was true, or the one expected of you, but the one you have to make because damn that old sweater and tangled laces have really had their run, haven’t they? Your power thrives in your choice to release what’s been worn, and move forward, however slowly, in the direction of what feels true now. Its ok to be scared, but you can open the curtains and let the light in, it’s been waiting for you to believe in it.

I imagine that I’ve opened my palm to find a sweet yellow bird laying there, wet and worried and wondering.  I look down, unaware that it had been there the whole time, and through my resistance to feeling “what is,” my tight grip had cracked its protective barrier. With kindness and compassion, I open my hand, relaxing my muscles with my breath, giving room for blood to flow, for energy to circulate, allowing this tiny being to wiggle around and ruffle its feathers. When I release my hold, I allow space for flight, or rest, or just being- tension soothed by gentleness, love, presence, honesty and some good humor about it all. Maybe hope looks more like that—knowing our ability to shift how we respond to our experience, as an integral part of the tides, moving out and in, with a willingness to allow space, to accept the call into the unknown. Nothing will ever be what we expect it to be, and that just may be the relief we have hoped for. Lightness of being that comes from being fucking real. Yeah, that feels more like freedom. And freedom loves when we do what hasn’t been done. I trust myself the most when I surrender to now and fly heart first into the feeling, however uncomfortable, because that is real, real like a river who is always in flux, who just keeps moving, because it is compelled to, because knows it will somehow reach the sea.