Sunday, 30 August 2015

Journalling the Zodiac: Taurus

Well the Sun is in Virgo, and back I go to the last earth sign of Taurus to review the journalling I did. Here are my journal prompts for Taurus:
  • What do I need to feel stable, rooted and secure?
  • What do I most value?
  • What is my most treasured possession and why?
  • Where am I reluctant to change?
  • How well do I connect with body wisdom and physical sensations?

It's interesting how I always start writing based on one of the prompts, but end up covering at least one or two others. Writing about my treasured possessions, I started writing determined that I didn't have one. No one thing that I would save, in a fire, once everyone living was safe. And that's true, there isn't any one particular thing I would be anxious to save. But then I thought about my books, and my tarot cards, and even my tablet computer, all of which give me access to so many different worlds. And then my sewing machine, and my lovely overlocker, and all my sewing and crafting supplies, which allow me to make things and that makes me happy. All of these possessions, they don't make me feel secure because they exist or even because they are mine, but because they are resources. And aren't all the earth signs about resources, and how we use them, in the end? My most valued resources, physical or otherwise, are the ones that help me to connect ot spirit, to create, because connecting to spirit and creativity are two of the things I value most highly. The possessions, or resources, that I value most, are the ones that enable (another good earthy word!) me to feed my soul, that teach me and help me to grow.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Journalling the Zodiac: Leo shining

I've missed several signs I know, and I'll write them up soon, but with just a few hours to go before the Sun moves from Leo to Virgo, I'm feeling the need to seize the last of that shining summer energy. So here are my journalling prompts for Leo:
  • How do I express my creative energy?
  • Where do I create drama?
  • How do I play, and how do I connect to my inner child?
  • Where do I shine, and how do I help others to shine?
  • Where do I demand recognition?
 One of the things that has been bothering me about my journalling lately is how self-focussed it can make me - always analysing and working on myself, rather than putting what I've learned into action or looking at the wider picture. Leo is the sign of individual self expression, of our unique self, but has its opposite in the collective self of Aquarius. With Moon in Leo and Sun in Aquarius, this is a dynamic I am constantly working with. But we always slip into our lunar comfort zone, so for my Leo journalling, I tried to get out of my own way, and got this...

Leo is the sun, shining. Leo is you, shining, so bright you make others shine too. Each shining is unique. we are all creators - we are creating ourselves and our lives, anew and afresh, moment by moment. What happens when you let yourself play? What magic unfolds? We are all a process of becoming, creating our deepest, most authentic self. We are all radiant, vital, alive. Leo is life as drama, as theatre, as myth. Leo is us, larger than life, shining so brightly that while planets are set in motion around us, Our Leo self can give and give and give, our fires burning so bright that we light the spark of the divine in anyone who comes close. and they will come close, our Leo self demands it, not ashamed of our pride or our urge to be noticed. Leo self is all heart, standing strong and shining bright in the spotlight of our own personal theatre.

My Leo Moon is opposite the personal gateway of the Ascendant, so I have a habit, aka another lunar comfort zone, of giving that energy away. Writing the above reminds me to take ownership of it, Leo as a part of myself as well as something I see in others.

And in just an hour or two, the Sun will move into Virgo, and we begin the process of refining what Leo has helped us to create. So here are my journalling prompts for Virgo:
  • Where and how do I give service? 
  • How can I best us my powers of discrimination?
  • Where can I be of practical help?
  • How can I use my ideas to make a tangible difference?
  • What am I in the process of perfecting?

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Letting our spirits shine

Jupiter, transiting through bright shining Leo, has been opposing my natal Sun, and then my natal Jupiter. So my spiritual practice, and the things that give my self and my life meaning, have been illuminated, and, I hope, expanding. I have Sun conjunct Jupiter in Aquarius in the first house, ruled by Uranus in the ninth house, so finding my own path to meaning and a philosophy of life are central to who I am. I see meaning in everything, which is likely why I an astrologer and tarot reader. And a pagan - realising how my Sun / Jupiter/ Uranus placement translated into "unusual spiritual beliefs central to my identity" was a big lightbulb moment for me in my early days studying astrology.

So. We had a fabulous day at the Pagan Federation London conference a couple of Saturdays ago, crafting up a storm under a beautiful birch tree. Birch is the tree of new beginnings, very appropriate for re-launching my pagan family events. We caught up with old friends and made some new ones, and, with a little help from big old Jupiter, I found myself trying to get a handle on how my paganism influences my family, and the way my partner and I bring up our children.

We don't do ritual as a family, we don't always even explicitly celebrate the pagan festivals. My children are still young (two and five), and my partner is not pagan, so when we do celebrate, we keep it simple. A special meal, lighting a new candle in the relevant colour, some seasonal crafts, a walk in the woods looking for signs of the changing season.

For me, paganism doesn't just happen at festivals, it's not just for high days and holidays. It's a way of life, and my spirituality informs everything that I do. When  it comes to my children, that means minimising screen time and maximising the time we spend out of doors. It means that even my two year old is aware of the moon and her changing cycles, the shifts in the seasons. It means that with my five year old, I'm beginning to discuss the underlying symbolism - summer as the time when we let ourselves shine and our creative projects reach their fullness, winter as a time when we withdraw and reflect. If my daughter sees me pulling a tarot card, she always asks to pull one too. So far she mostly sees it as a game, but the seeds are being sowed. When she struggles to sleep, I do basic relaxation and meditation exercises with her, asking her to watch her breath,to visualise warm golden energy surrounding her. One of my favourite things at the recent PFL Conference was taking her to the Goddess Temple, beautifully set up by Goddess in London. It was her first taste of temple space, and she loved making a wish and looking at all the fairies. Once again, sowing seeds.

Sometimes I think that my religion is just this - sunlight on water
All these seemingly random things add up, very simply, to me bringing up my children by my own values, just as every parent does. I don't want to impose my beliefs on my children, but I want them to have a language for the numinous, a sense of a world beyond the material, of the unseen as well as the seen. Precisely because mainstream society dismisses such things, I want them to believe in magic, whatever that ends up meaning to them.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Solstice family fun

 The sun is shining, we practically live in the park, there are fox cubs visiting my garden. My two year old is even more obsessed with sticks than usual and my five year old is obsessed with her half birthday. Must be nearly Summer Solstice.

The Pagan Federation London Conference is the week after Solstice, I will be there running the family corner with Solstice crafts and fun - tickets are available now. Hoping to meet lots of pagans, little and big, and friends old and new.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Journalling the Zodiac: retrograde edition

Oh, this poor neglected blog. I have several posts half written, and lots of astro journalling in my notebook but nothing written up on here. But yesterday Mercury went retrograde, in his native sign of Gemini, so this is the perfect time to review my writings and re-visit the work I've done in the last few months.

I had only got as far as Pisces, a whole new zodiac cycle has started since then. Completing the last cycle, ths Sun in Pisces had me writing about soul yearnings, and about healing. I wrote about needing to surrender - always a challenge for my strong Saturn - and about how my soul is most often set free not through the abstract thought and ideals of my Aquarius Sun, but through the physical stimulation and connection to nature of my Mars in Taurus. Running through the woods, wild swimming, these are the ways my soul finds that ecstatic connection to spirit, to the oneness of the universe. As ever, the energies of our charts ebb and flow, Pisces to Mars, Taurus to Aquarius, planets and signs dancing their unique energies within us and without.

So then I moved on to Aries - here are my journalling prompts for Aries:
  • Where can I be a leader? A pioneer?
  • How do I assert myself?
  • Where and how do I take direct action?
  • What is my identity, as an individual?
  • Where and how do I seek new experiences?
I struggled with these - in common with the rest of my generation, I have Chiron in Aries. Chiron is well known as the wounded healer of the planets, showing us where we carry deep hurt. On some level, many of my generation carry deep wounds to our individuality, feeling alienated from ourselves. Not everyone experiences these transpersonal energies consciously, but in my chart Chiron is exactly sextile my Sun, making that wound very personal. Thankfully a sextile is a helpful and constructive connection between planets, so with a little work I can access the shamanic healing of Chiron. And thats exactly what I've been doing in my journalling, realising first just how much I struggle with, or am totally alienated from, those Aries concerns. Its only now as I get older that I am learning to assert myself better, for example, and to grow in self confidence. Chiron's presence there in my natal chart has made journalling the sign of Aries especially healing for me - in that typical blunt no hiding from the truth here Aries manner. It's all good, got to work through the painful stuff to grow.

But let's hope Taurus is a little calmer for me! I'm still working on my Taurus journalling, and toddler nap time is over, so that one will have to wait for another day.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Journalling the Zodiac: Aquarius and Pisces

Working on my journalling prompts for Aquarius showed me the different ways that we move towards our Sun sign energy throughout our lives, and of course that it's all a work in progress. When I wrote about what I need to feel free, I found myself reflecting on both inner and outer freedom. For me, freedom is being able to decide how I spend my days, working to my own schedule instead of someone else's, but I didn't realise that consciously until my first period of maternity leave (five years ago now, eek!). And it doesn't matter how free your life is outwardly, if you are still a prisoner of your own fears and expectations, you are not truly free.

Journalling the signs of the zodiac is showing me the layers of these archetypes, and helping me to peel back how they are manifesting for me right now and how I would like them to manifest. I wrote about rebellion, about my quiet rebellion of choosing to give up an income and stay at home with my children, focusing on family and nest instead of conforming to society's expectations that working outside the home is the only way for a woman to feel fulfilled. Strange how that has changed in just a generation or so. My rebellion is simply to follow my bliss, and I do appreciate that I am very lucky to be able to do this. But following our bliss shouldn't be a luxury - if everyone just followed their dream and ignored the demands of conventional society, how soon would conventional society be forced to change? It's easy to hide behind consensus reality, to use "that's just the way it is" as an excuse - but not for an Aquarian.

And now the Sun moves into Pisces, where I have my Mercury, so I hope that my journalling will help me to understand how my mind works a little better. Here are the journal prompts for Pisces:
  • What does my soul yearn for?
  • How can I show compassion to myself and others?
  • Where and how do I need to heal?
  • How do I connect to spirit?
  • Where and how do I lose myself?

Monday, 2 February 2015

Hopping blogs and anomalous animals

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I'm taking part in the Tarot Blog Hop for the first time, in which many wonderful tarot bloggers post their take on a set topic. Karen from Pure and Blessed Tarot has set the topic this time, that of oracular anomalies. Apart from being a fabulous phrase which is fun to say, oracular anomalies are cards that twist your brain, that challenge your expectations, that pull you up short and make you wonder....unusual card designs, out of place cards.

As soon as I read the topic I knew what I wanted to write about, because there's a set of anomalous cards I've been wanting to investigate a little more deeply for a long time. They are the court cards of the Wildwood tarot. Like the Greenwood tarot from which the Wildwood takes its inspiration, the court cards are all animals, and for me some of the animals in the Wildwood courts just don't fit. I'm not sure if its because I have had the Greenwood tarot for a good few years now - I use it regularly, and its one of the decks I resonate with most deeply. I was lucky to score a Greenwood deck on ebay before they got really expensive, and I was pleased when the Wildwood came out, thinking it would have similar energies without being so rare and difficult to obtain. And there is much that I love about the Wildwood, I have several decks drawn by Will Worthington and his artwork is always beautiful. But maybe I've always seen it as a kind of second best, and there are certain cards which just don't fit for me, especially among the courts.

Part of the problem is that animals familiar from the Greenwood court are present in the Wildwood court, but as a different card. The Wolf is King of Stones in the Wildwood, but Knight of Stones in the Greenwood. The Heron is King of Vessels in the Wildwood, and Queen of Cups in the Greenwood. In both cases the Greenwood attributions make the most sense to me, intuitively speaking - but is this simply familiarity or something deeper? The one that sticks out the most though, is the Lynx - King of Arrows in the Greenwood, but Page of Stones in the Wildwood. Which seems like an awfully big shift for me, one that I couldn't get my head around at all. So for this post I've delved a little deeper, meditated on the Wildwood Lynx, to see if I can finally make a connection with this card.

When I meditate on a card I use it as a doorway, stepping into the image as a kind of pathworking. Stepping into the Wildwood Page of Stones, I found myself high in the branches of a tree, in fact I had to leap across a gap to get to them. It took a few minutes to find my footing, and only then did I become aware of the whole of the tree, of the ground far below. The tree was the World Tree of the Wildwood, and as I became aware of the lynx moving around, behind, above and below me the phrase "I am a prowler in the World Tree" came into my mind. This was a confident energy, sure of itself, and as I finally came face to face with the lynx it leapt over me, drawing blood as it went - definitely more King of Arrows than Page of Stones (while I was meeting lynx in meditation, my ever demanding tabby was clawing at my lap in the mundane world, reminding me of the sharp claws of the feline). I shifted my perspective to focus on the lynx as the Page of Stones, and met a female lynx, curled with her family in a spiral around the trunk of the tree. The female lynx used her extra acute senses both for hunting and for protecting her family, and I think those keen senses are truly Page of Stones energy.

And so this card does seem less anomalous for me now, I have a way into interpreting it and understanding why the lynx is the Page of Stones, with her extra acute hearing, sight and sense of smell. But this still feels like too confident an energy to be a Page, which I have tended to consider as having young, childlike energies. Perhaps I am being too limited in my interpretation of the Pages this way - these animal court cards are messengers between matter and spirit, having a kind of liminal awareness. The lynx makes more sense to me in this context, with those acute senses picking up all kinds of detail from the spiritual realm as well as the material.

Ultimately, oracular anomalies are perhaps cards which don't fit, at least initially, with our intuitive sense of the cards meaning. Tarot meanings are not fixed and can be strongly subjective - when giving readings, I often find myself interpreting a card in a way which doesn't necessarily fit with the "book" meaning, and these are often the interpretations that the querent resonates with most strongly. In looking more deeply into the Wildwood Page of Stones, I've come to a new understanding of the Page of Pentacles, and explored an animal energy which is also new to me. Perhaps for this deck especially, I needed a few cards which just didn't "feel" right, so that I could move my connection to the Wildwood out of the shadow of my connection to the Greenwood. When I get a chance I'm going to do similar meditations for the other Wildwood cards which feel anomalous to me, because as with most things in life, when something pushes your buttons, it usually has something important to teach you.

Big thanks to fellow blog hoppers and readers, I've really enjoyed my first hop and hope there will be lots more in the future. Onwards you go to;

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