A sharpish breeze skims your cheek. The air shifts around you with a snap, a slice. Overhead your eyes catch Eagle in full flight--wings spread drawing a clean line across the open sky. You become keenly aware of your eyes, the focused point of your gaze. You observe a sense of levitation, a lift from your feet to the crown of your head, your spine lengthens. You feel three inches taller and in that, a new perspective. The three inches might be three feet, how vastly changed the view becomes!
You have been lifted from habitual thinking, from mental imprisonment: those worn down grooves of inherited beliefs and of fixed mindset. Queen of Swords is stepping with a light footfall to the front of the pack. As a breath of fresh air, her aptitude for employing tools of intellect and logic can lift her swordarm effortlessly and cut smartly through blindfolds and the ties binding your hands and heart.
In her enlightened aspect, the snares of emotional enmeshment, tired obligation, cloudy judgement are non existent. She takes a deep breath, shoulders back, brow smooth, sword singing and simply recognizes “what is”. No problem making decisions when the way is silvery, inspired, light as a feather. But in Shadow, her judgment has none of the warm glow of soulfire engaged. Her intellect dominates the wisdom of her flesh and blood. Chilly, indeed. That cool clarity turns icy and isolating.
Her Direction: East
Her Element: Air
Medicine Totem: Eagle Vision allows a long view from a lofty vantage point at great distance to identify working systems and relationships down at ground level. Raptor talons and beak dissect, slice to the core truths.
Astrological correspondences: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Key Aspects: Perception- Communication- Reason and Logic- Intellect- Holding Sacred Vision- Cutting through illusion/confusion/disillusion- Clean boundaries through razor strokes of language, wit- Freedom of thought and action
In Shadow, cold, clinical, heartless, mind over matter, sorrowful
What do you believe? What do you perceive?
Can you see the long vision?
What are you tools for battle with mind-fuckery? From outside and inside
To Be Her: Sharpen your sword and use your powers of unfettered perception to dissect issue at hand, lifting clarity of vision on high.
Click here to eTo date I have created/co created many thousands of altars. For new moon, full moon, birth, death. To plants, animals, planets, goddesses, wishes, fears. An altar to say “please”, to say “thank you”. Altars made for and with strangers. Altars with other women, spread across the globe, in sisterhood lighting flames together at just the same moment. Unlikely altars, the best of all.
An altar is a place to make offerings and sacrifices. It is a point of worship, ritual, ceremony. Altars make fast, powerful magic in an instant.
Again and again my body serves as an altar. An altar in the crook of my arm while nursing an infant, an altar with feline curled asleep behind my knees, an altar with my back pressed against the wall legs wrapped around a lover’s waist. And always, when dancing, when the music alone places invisible hands, lips, spine against me. ..melody makes an offering, demands a sacrifice.
In a galaxy, far, far away, my ex-husband would see me clearing clutter to build some small space of beauty in the chaos and equate it with “straightening deck chairs on the Titanic”. (P.S. Witches and Atheists maybe not quite same vibe level?)
As a practice, altar building and altar observing are essential to my work on the Medicine Wheel. That Medicine Wheel itself is a living altar with directions filled by the Stone People, Star Nations, Green World. We all know the feeling of walking through the woods or the wide world and finding those altars, perfectly made by wind, wit, or whimsy. We know the medicine when we see it.
A Gentleman Friend and I had a clever way to refer to the ecstatic trance where found ourselves meeting in body and soul. We added the magic we co-created to joke about our “altar-ed state”. Really, an intentional space, where meaning is layered over what we see with our eyes, where offerings are made, where a stone fucking cold miracle takes over.
Living in an altar-ed state is my instinct and my imperative.
Tarot’s Queen of Wands inhabits a space of light, heat, and glory. Her inner flame fuels untold numbers of creative endeavors. She is a woman in motion. Driven by her manifest need to express and take action she is a rockstar of multitasking and you can nearly see the sparks fly from her fingertips. Her words leave her lips quickly, with purpose, with a glow: game on. She is director, connector, initiator: in one fell swoop.
Queen of Wands strikes the match, drops it, and watches the flames rise. Yes, we did that project. Yes, we made that event happen. Yes, we rose from the ashes times a hundredfold.
At home, work, in relationship, on her own two feet, she DOES. Her guiding principle is action. When her actions are an extension of her inner flame, her desires, her soul... beauty crackles around her. When her considerable powers are used only in abstracted service to others, in the name of obligation or disconnected/deadened models, structures, or promises: beware, Lady.
In her Shadow over-expression she is burned to a crisp, annihilating the landscape of her Self with no reference to the cooling springs of feeling or lofty winged breezes of communication. She is the Woman Who Does Too Much. Ain’t no fun to be her or be with her. We can talk at length about our cultural expectations, pace of modern world, the cache of busy-ness.We can recognize our disharmony of expectation, perception.
Medicine, please? Yes.... Slow down.
In front of a bonfire, time slows. Your gaze shifts and softens and you have great care for how you navigate the flame. You add fuel and it rises, how beautiful! You may consciously watch the heat dwindle... let it sit, get quiet... then toss in enough to rebirth the heat and steadily glow.
Have such a care for your inner flame. Junky fuel means smoky fire. Where’s your nice clean birch bark for a fast ignition? Now what do you add to build endurance of that soul-light?
In my work, I help steward that inner flame. If it burns too hot and fast, destructive rather than creative we gently and with tenderness scale the flame down slowly and peek in at the structure of that fire. What causes it to burn the way it does? Are parts raging while other fuel lays untouched and damp? Alternately, is that fire o-u-t? No idea what fuels you? That we can tend as well.
With a sense of play (favorite tool of Queen of Wands) we can help you to harmonize that flame and revel in the beauty of your life as it is in this moment…. then we get hot, drop the match, and party starts
Journey is big medicine. When practiced with reverence, devotion, presence: inner worlds, Otherworlds, world beyond worlds are accessed by riding the drumbeat.
And when you get to be an old hand-- you can journey quick and dirty. Drumsong is in your body. Flick of the fingers, blink your eyes and you travel right beside yourself as enlightened witness/you- but-more-than-less-than-you even as you experience everything as freshy-fresh, raw, in the moment. By then, you are always journeying. On the bus, making supper, stacking wood.
Let’s slow down.... After over twenty years of practicing magic/medicine I can cut to the chase. But for a seeker who has never journeyed- how does this work? What is this all about?!
Drumbeat is a vehicle. As sound, as a vibration it creates interplay with the human animals who hear and feel its power. Throughout time and cultures, people have received the music: the drum beat of their mama’s heart before birth, the range of voices humming around us, sounds of wind/storm/tides/ fire. Drums create entrainment, a beautiful group mind flow, sync-up of cosmic consciousness. Drums call you home, drive you to new places, magnetize bodies. This humble friend, keeping a steady rhythm allows you to drop your baggage at the door and take that tunnel down, down to the dark.
Journey accepts you exactly as you are: requires no specific dogma/belief system, no giant investment of cash in exchange for your enlightenment, no relinquishing of your voice, no power- over hierarchy. In some cultures it is believed that only the Shaman can intervene on your behalf with the Holies. You wanna ask something? I say, lie down here. I will start this beat, I will hold space, watch and tend you, pray alongside for your safe journey and return but YOU go ask, babe. Go ahead.
Life being life-- some journeys are spectacular, beyond words. Others, softer, simpler moments of knowing. With every journey you build fluency, you forge relationship with the Holies. They don’t want you knocking at their door when you just WANT things! Go say hello, sit and the table and talk. Yeah, I was just in the neighborhood. Brought you a little something.
My first conscious/intentional shamanic journey was over twenty five years ago. Of course, I had been journeying plenty before then, just had no language for what was happening and surely wasn’t about to tell anyone about it! Building a solid practice many years later, no sooner did I hear that drum speak I went into orgasm state. Everytime. Hey, how am I supposed to get to the..??? OH!? I will just go right along my way and trust it.
Journey evokes all of the joy, sorrow, beauty, fear you have the capacity to feel. My experience is that it allows access to a deep wellspring of compassion and connectedness...One of my most intense journeys found me running down a narrow and dark alleyway, in a very old city, sliding my hands along the stone walls. I could hear a violin resounding through the empty space. And I said aloud. Exile, this is what exile feels like. Friend, I felt the grief of all who have been driven from their Paradise.
That was a sneak peek. In my life I was about to be found and welcomed after the pain of exile and then, too quickly turned out again to wander.
Then there’s the fun of scaling a cliff face with no handholds, barefoot in a buttery yellow, silk gown, loaded in gilt bangles and a diadem. A ladder gets thrown down. Thank You, Golden Eagle! I will come to the Upper World and dance.
To journey is to be restored, revived, have your conscious mind blown, practice expansive curiosity as sacred. Journey is ecstatic, fluent: an invitation and gracious r.s.v.p.
Want to feel deeper connection in your life? With self? Spirit? Let's go.
Reflecting over the year winding to a close, we can’t help but take the measure of Fortuna’s ever playful hand at work.
Fortuna, ancient Roman Goddess of Luck, Fate, and Fortune inspires the tenth card in tarot’s Major Arcana. Chance, the luck of the draw, the spinning wheel are guided by her sovereign pleasure. Where will your path unexpectedly twist? Was she winding you toward that possibility all along? Will you reach out and dare to spin next?
Fortuna’s symbology includes the cornucopia, abundant in riches. As the steering power of fate, she is also pictured with (or in a striking interpretation of the Wheel card, she is embodied AS…) a ship’s rudder. Navigation, direction, next step is directed by her. She may be depicted as riding a wheel or on a throne carved with that cyclical wonder. Pictured as blind, she reminds us that sometimes her bounty falls blindly -- seemingly in disarray with elements of justice, karma, and truth.
Bid farewell to 2015 with gratitude for blessings as well as the blessings in disguise. Send that wheel spinning with the power of your intention for “good” fortune but be ever ready to sweep up the shattered glass, mourn the passing of a friend gone too soon, to fight back and to fight hard.
Wheel of Fortune illustrates dynamism, mechanics of fate underpinning our mundane world.
In my work the Medicine Wheel is the map, compass, journey, and destination. And as a living force it is ever changing. And in my heart because it is vital and evolving, I can trust it deeply.
Mid December in Vermont.
We should be plunged into deep cold that matches the depth of this darkness...perhaps I ought to write about the Hermit Card in anticipation of this retreat we take, this pull to our interior worlds, accessing wisdom on our solitary path - solitary, while befriended by ice and deep, white drifts of powder…
Not this blog entry. Not this December.
Just ahead of Solstice, as twilight settles around us at 3:30 in the afternoon, the air is mild and ground is bare. Making a snow cave and ice lanterns aren’t on the menu for this year’s celebration of longest night.
At this moment, resonating so powerfully-- is the Hanged Man card.
Inverted, world turned on its head. Tightly bound and suspended in a liminal space.... the waiting, oh, the waiting. The Hanged Man experiences a wounding, this wound a portal for the entrance of Spirit. Hours pass, then days. Hanged Man doesn’t fight his way back, doesn’t chase his breath as it escapes him. Surrender becomes a path to enlightenment.
Before enlightenment, making a sacrifice is essential. We are ready to lay our burdens down in the North of the wheel. Our bodies prepare for the snow to drift down, the snap of cold to kiss our lips. To make a “sacrifice” means giving up to Great Spirit that which we held as holy. The sacrifice has worth, value, weight. Our hands should quiver a bit as we lay it down on stone, our sense of longing to snatch it back should well up. Time will tell you it is time to release.
So, on the altar of stone we released the Summer heat, the harvest, the hopes. By now we have even released the grief of loss, as leaves tumbled down and returned to earth. We have released the release!
We know that darkness has us captivated. But this year, instead of the surety of cold wind coming to meet us, we might feel a sense of extended sacrifice as we hang swaying in the unseasonably mild breezes.
Force of willpower. Drive. Expansion. Potency….. The Chariot card is speaking my language....
Chariot in Tarot is classic Horse Totem energy: unity of power and purpose. Unbridled.
You are Going Places with Chariot. And, yes you may be literally travelling or moving to a new home but you are on the Path of Journey without doubt. Risk it. Dare to. No standing still.
Variations of Chariot depict a driver harnessing two beasts (horses, lions, sphinxes, wolves, seahorses) and with the power and fluency of the reins (and of course the flow of energy from heart to hands to reins) the course is set. Directed, channeled, victorious.
Somatically, Chariot in the soles of your feet, rising higher along the backs of your legs. Your hands let out golden sparking light and heat.
To what end do we use this power, this energy?
If, in balance we serve self, other, community, planet, the infinite, how does that look?
How does that feel?
In a time when we can see so clearly, the damage, the denigration and denial of the sacred by a“power-over” status quo, we must saddle up everyday. We must catch the reins in hand. We must value and acknowledge these beasts under our power: our mind, body, soul, spirit...then raise eyes to the horizon and Ride. So. Fucking. Hard.
Courting Your Inner Emperor
My tarot passion/specialty is exploration of Sacred Feminine through my Permission Granted: Empress curriculum and my Elemental Queenship work (elementalqueenship.com). However, we all have both the Emperor and Empress and the Kings and Queens at play within us. (Candidly, beware my Inner King of Swords as he is a bit of a bastard.) Thus, bring on the Emperor card!
Empress creates the raw content of life and love- sensuous and sovereign. That vision swirling lusciously in a rich inner world must find translation- external expression via a structure that serves. Emperor, as consort, provides the external mechanisms (and perhaps machinations!) to manifest that vision. Emperor builds steadily, step by logical step with an appraising external gaze.
These archetypes/cards are at work as the Divine Consorts of mythology in the pairing of Isis/Osiris, Inanna/Dumuzi, Cybele/Attis, Radha/Krishna, Magdalene/Jesus, Yin/Yang. Inner Marriage of these elements (a loving union of your Emperor and Empress) is Big Medicine. You can feel It, see It, and make It so.
As a single mother I have my Emperor onside all day long. Blending Logos/Emperor and Eros/Empress means dancing hard, until the questions spill out, then taking a up the pen and writing the answers longhand. Tell me what you want, let me make it happen. Proclamation, benediction.
Emperor drafts the plans according to his Empress’s wild design. Clarity, measurable benchmarks, sturdy foundations, an unbeatable campaign of impeccable actions set down to realize Her dream.
Beyond notions of gender: can your inner wild generate the tiny seed that --tended loyally-- bears fruit? Can you steward --with tools of language, intellect, perception-- the boundless hum of desperate, undomesticated beauty?
Hearing owl’s call or catching a glimpse of Her feathered flight are show-stoppers. Time slows, veils part. Secrets are revealed. Did that really happen?
The Otherworld runs alongside us in every moment. But, on this side we don’t always use our silent flight feathers to consciously cross back and forth-- to snap wisdom up in our talons and beat a path “home”. Some never peek behind that shimmery, alluring edge for fear of what is beyond.
On the West of the Medicine Wheel, in strong affinity to the lunar feminine energy of our nature: Owl is a messenger, a queen of traversing liminal space. She bridges waking and dreaming life. She bridges life and death. She dips into the range of space and time we (innocently, having divided them Ourselves) call Past, Present, and Future. Owl lifts off and sails into the dark with the power to return.
She isn’t a boots/paws-on-the ground explorer of dark like Black Panther who works the tooth and claw ferocity of personal shadow in a tangle in the damp earth. Owl lifts higher, ascends to Upper World for Her understanding. She just plain Crosses Over and comes back eyes keen, feathers smooth, coolly appraising and ready to deliver the goods. (I sometimes think Panther shifts to Owl when She’s feeling generous. Enough carnage for one day…)
Owl comes to you when you are ready for The Reveal. This is not just an info download, this is your invitation to travel liminal space alongside Her. Using the cover of dark as your ally, elevating your powers of intuition and psychic discernment, you are entering a temple of evergreen boughs and cold, silvery light.
Ancestral healing, self- knowing, shadow- play, dream communion. Velvet-soft wings gesturing to slow down, step closer, close your eyes, and dare to lean into the darkness. Lean in and see smoky quartz, snowflake obsidian, howlite, and hematite stones. Lean in so far, you fall right off the side-- and take flight.
Bear Medicine is the ideal still point, deep and resonant.
Over the last two years of service, I have led more seekers in totem work with Bear than with any other critter. With each session my relationship with this energy grows in Beauty.
In circle, I have led women into the cave to meet Grandmother Bear. Entry into the darkness is not without its risks. Often the firelight doesn’t reveal all of Bear’s face or her wisdom and you’ve got to sit and stay awhile. Drink from that soup bowl. Watch the osharoot and sage crackle on the flames. See garnets and glowing chrysoprase along the cave walls. You have to stay and Be Loved Unconditionally. And that can be hard work.
In private session, a woman with a brilliant mind, truly a dynamo- had to admit: she was tired. Worn-down. Adrenal fatigue. Drum comes out and Bear comes around.
With a man (a poet) of considerable strength and rising personal power, Grey Bear had already made himself known. He had taken this student by the paw and brought him to me in such a state of readiness to work through legacy and connection to sacred masculine that the restorative medicine had an energizing impact. This was this seeker's first connection to totem work. Bear’s power as teacher and elder were on display here.
An older woman, who has struggled a lifetime to feel loved and welcomed in this world, at this time….I thought Mother Bear and Grandmother Bear were about to tumble out of my kitchen cupboards as I listened to her speak, examined her turn of phrase, and body language! Mugwort oil will join in. Berries, honey, the sweetest things in life. Things our Mother Planet gifts us everyday. Every single day.
Bear Medicine carried me, twice through almost unspeakable darkness with courage and assurance. When I am for sure going to lose my mind, I start four rounds of Bear Chant. By the third round, I can feel myself landing in the arms of Love. Fierce, rooted, larger than life, sharp clawed. Bear’s power translates as a welcome home, a true north in my heart.
Bear is wonderful medicine to prepare for the coming of a child, to mourn the loss of a loved one, to with grace and finality-- accept yourself just as you are.
If you want to come home to yourself, to your life, to your gifts, to your wisdom: come find me. Today, I’ll be with Bear. xx