I thought it would fun to do something different this month and pull 3 cards, a kind of “Holy Trinity” spread.
This can be a rather stressful time of year for many people in deciding what to do over the holidays, who to spend time with. Some people may want to get away or do something different but can’t. There may be familial tension, competing interests or a conflict over activities. The group is very much highlighted and could be the source of much stress or enjoyment depending on how you look and deal with it.
One of the best Christmas presents I could ask for this Christmas isn’t a new Ipad or the latest Gucci bag. Certainly these things could give me a certain amount of instant gratification and perhaps even some style! But no product or item, no matter how expensive or nifty, can ever measure up to the priceless nature of having healthy and loving relationships. Memories of cool clothes and gifts fade, but can you ever forget that Christmas where the family had a huge fight, or the first Christmas without a cherished loved one, after they passed away.
In Latin, Solstice means “Sun Stands Still”. It was called this because for a few days on Dec 21st, the Sun appears to stand still in the sky, reaching the same height in the sky each day. To the ancients who marked celestial events, to make sense of their world, this was a special time. The Sun stood still, and we can celebrate that it will return to us, and that there will be light coming back into the world. We understand more about our world today in terms of science and knowledge, but nevertheless, these ancient traditions can be a thread that we can weave into our lives today, individually, with friends or family. Rituals can be used to make us feel better, and bring continuity into our lives. Even if you are not a pagan, or shaman, you can tune into the solstice, and do a small, private ritual for yourself. Yule is another term used for Solstice celebrations.
There is a Scottish Gaelic word that describes the depths of winter: an dubhach, “the gloom”. However, the majesty of winter can be considered far from gloomy. There is a time for activity and there is a time for quietness. Try this meditation on or around the solstice - observe the silent earth, the sleeping seed, and marvel at the lengthening of days. Be inspired by the earth around you, and plant seeds of your own. This meditation will help to put you in tune to the energies of the season: the need for reflection and the power of awakening...
Basically Shaman’s (or Shamanka if you are female) are people who can go into alternate realities (called journeying), the spirit world, different dimensions, to bring healing or insight for people. Each culture has its own word for this type of work, but Shaman (a Siberian word) has become a universal word to describe this type of work. This is an ancient technique and every civilization around the world has it’s own shamanic practices, and it is becoming more popular again!
Right from my first encounters with the Tarot, I’ve found it to be an incredibly rich and mysterious tool. Whilst it can be used for a myriad of purposes, I find its most powerful use is as a way to engage in a dialogue with our own inner world. This is, of course, especially so at this time of the year - a time which calls to us to be still and quiet, to turn inwards, to nourish and heal and replenish our own personal resources.
There is one card in the Tarot which, in itself, embodies the archetype we need to call upon for this process, to confidently navigate our inner world - the being who brings a light to guide the way inwards - the Hermit, or in the Wildwood Tarot, the Hooded Man.
Don’t be fooled into associating popular 21st century cultural images with this archetype - this is no smelly old person with cats! He, or she, is wisdom personified!
Quieten your mind; slow your breathing; notice how straight away some of the tension you’re probably carrying begins to ebb away. Imaging that you, too, are rugged up - cloaked against the cold of your own anxieties and doubts; you, too are carrying a light which cannot ever be extinguished, even when you’re asleep, or, just like now, as you slip into a different state of consciousness.
I find myself moving forwards in my imagination, as I gaze at the image. There is a softer light coming from the door in the tree, and it casts a soft glow on the snow before my feet. It does seem to be quite inviting - so I take my lantern and walk towards the haven of the tree.
There is indeed a fire within this space; it’s warm, and still, and completely safe. There are rugs on the floor, and a cosy chair. I feel completely at ease in this space. Its definitely still got the feeling of a tree, but unlike any tree I have encountered before. There is every shade of green, from rich moss colours to an almost steel grey- green; and there are golden browns, rich russet tones - every possible colour of autumn. It’s as if the life force of the tree itself is spread out before me, sharing itself, seeping into my very marrow.
As I relax more and more, I feel myself sinking into my chair. I’m certainly not asleep, but I am very, very relaxed, and moving into yet another layer of consciousness.
I’ve been in Hawaii for a number of months now but as warm as it is here, I cannot help but fantasise about a cold autumnal November in the UK, full of fireworks and firelight. Woody, spicy scents, roasted chestnuts, warmth of a bonfire, exploding colours against the night-sky, the whizz and whee of a catherine wheel.
In the Tarot, I not only work with cards but I also work with the elements. The above visualisation captures the essence of fire. Fire symbolises our inner spiritual light and our passion. It represents our ability to activate, our drive to create and the power of transformation. Fire is our life force - our sexual energy. It burns, produces heat, energises. Think of the act of burning a log, throwing it in the fire and watching it crack and sizzle before finally being reduced to ashes. Fire changes its form. We can use the element of fire literally or metaphorically, to help us change or activate something. It is what moves us in our lives.
I’ve re-visited the Wildwood Tarot again this month, with a view to sharing the wisdom of ‘The Ancestor’. This card is John Matthews and Mark Ryan’s expression of ‘The Heirophant‘ - the archetype of spiritual authority and learned wisdom in traditional decks. But I’ve chosen The Ancestor because of the feelings she stirs in me at this time of the year.
Love throughout the ages and in modern history has been romanticized, there’s no doubt about it. Even though love has a universal meaning, the concept of love between romantic partners takes on a whole new perspective. Love occurs when two people connect in mind, body, and soul and develop the desire to form a bond. Bonds can be developed between friends and family, and with, and between, animals. Love is something we all know exists, because we feel it for our families and friends and yes, even our pets. But for love to be maintained between two entities over a period of time, certain elements must be contributed by those who participate in the act of love.
I just love hearing from my clients that they have overcome a barrier in their personal life, whether it is deciding to go for that new job they didn’t think they could do, start a relationship or leave one, or just change the way they live their lives. Breaking through the limitations we have set ourselves is always empowering, allowing us to realize we can do something we previously thought was impossible. This is a return of power to the individual, and starts us on the path of opening and exploring our world, until we reach the next barrier. Barriers are everywhere in our life, and of course, some are needed for safety’s sake, and are reasonable for living in this world. Other barriers are there that we have put in place, whether told to us by our parents, teachers, peers, or some that are simply self-imposed.