Event, Ritual

Sacred Space, Day 3

After my late night with Bast on Friday, I did not make it to the morning session I had planned to attend, “Dark Goddess Tarot” by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince.  I heard it was great, though, and I did look through her tarot deck of the same name.

 

Braucherei (and Hexerei) in the Urglaawe Context, by Robert Schreiwer

The “Urglaawe context” refers to the Heathenry revival within the Deitsch (Pennsylvania Dutch) community, and braucherei and hexerei are both Deitsch words for witchcraft, though the exact meaning of the terms varies according to local custom.  In general, where the two words refer to different things (in some places, one of the words refers to everything under the witchcraft umbrella), “braucherei” refers to things like energy healing, herbalism, fertility charms, and protective magic, whereas “hexerei” refers to less savory things, like hexes and curses.

Robert started off with a brief history of braucherei, and of the Deitsch people in general, including their immigration to the US.  Braucherei post-dates the conversion to Christianity, and the Deitsch came to the US after the 30 years war, so much of the practice has Christian and Gnostic influences, though Robert has managed to trace a lot of the roots back to pre-Christian traditions.  (For instance, Frigga and the Gnostic Sophia seem to be heavily conflated in Deitsch traditions).  After they came to the US, the Deitsch had a lot of contact with the Lenape, and they shared a lot of knowledge back and forth.  One of the things the Deitsch learned from them was the medicinal use of local plants, many of which are very different from the plants in Central Europe.

Robert is a Braucher, and currently has several students.  A lot of the practice is Verbots, or forbidden/taboo to discuss with those outside the practice, but as an insider Robert is in an excellent position to discuss braucherei with other practitioners.  He has been travelling to visit older practitioners, and hear their stories, and discuss the practice, so that he can record as much as possible, to help with the revival.  He’s trying to find practices in common across various geographic regions in the US, and follow threads of Heathenry back to their origins.  He’s found some use of runes, and the names of Germanic gods, and he and others are hard at work reconstructing more following the threads they’ve uncovered.

It was a fascinating presentation, and his handout listed a lot of places to follow his work and find more resources:

 

Sisters in Shadow and Light: A Ritual for Nephthys and Isis, by Helena Domenic

I was hoping for a Kemetic ritual, but this was more a Wiccan ritual to Kemetic gods with a little local flavour, if that makes sense.  Still, I enjoyed it and I was glad I attended.  The premise of the ritual was that each participant would choose from whom they wished to receive healing: Isis, with healing light, or Nephthys, with healing darkness.  Each participant then annointed themselves, and went to speak with the priestess channeling the goddess they had chosen, to ask for what they wished to heal, and to receive a message.  I chose Nephthys because I wished to be rid of something, and I received a message in turn that was so powerful and personal that I have no doubt the channel was truly possessed by the goddess she represented.  I will not, however, recount that message here.  I hope you understand.

Once each participant had finished their moment with the channel they had chosen, the attendees chanted to raise Osiris, as the sisters do in the myths, and his rebirth, as performed by another channel, became our transmutation.  It was a powerful rite, and it left many in tears.

 

Hellenic Oracles, by Gwendolyn Reece

The first part of Gwendolyn’s presentation was on the history and locations of various oracles in the ancient Hellenic world.  This is information that was not new to me, and I did not take very many notes – it’s important background information, to be sure, but fairly accessible thanks to the many written records left behind.  (She quoted Plutarch more than a few times.)  Her basic definition of oracle (mantike in Greek), is a cult, located in a particular place, in which a god (usually Apollon) possesses a vehicle (usually human).  Gwendolyn herself has been preparing to be that vehicle (a mantis in Greek) for Apollon for a temple she is founding in DC.  The temple is called Theophania, named after the festival that welcomed Apollon back to the Oracle at Delphi at its reopening in the spring.  I knew about the temple, but I had not known about her oracular work, and I have to say I was equal parts astounded and elated.  Bast and I have been working towards an oracular-possessory relationship, and while I attended Diana Paxson’s workshop last year on Oracular Seidh and bought her book, a traveling Norse seeress is not exactly the same sort of thing as a priestess at a grand state temple in Egypt.  A Hellenic mantis would be much, much closer.  Needless to say, I listened to the rest of the presentation on the edge of my seat, took pages of notes, and had a question for afterwards on the tip of my tongue.

Gwendolyn explained that she is a hard polytheist, and that this means that she believes the gods are individual persons with agendas, and so she thought it was worth explaining to us what she thought Apollon’s agenda was.  As she understands it, he is a law giver, he is very fond of humanity, and he wants to give us advice.  She explained a bit more about how he is kind, and a deity of civilization, and I summed this up as an alignment: Lawful Good.  Giving oracular counsel is an extension of his Light and Healer aspects, illumination of the Truth and using the Truth to set us on our right course.  He is trying to help us avoid our hamartia, a tragic mistake that can define us in negative ways.  Apollon wants us to find the clearest path through our fate, and mitigate as much damage as possible.  As Gwendolyn said, not everything can be mitigated completely, but nothing is entirely predestined.  A choice must always be made, somewhere.

Gwendolyn understands oracular revelations as part of a spectrum of divine responses to human attempts at conversation.  Prayer, sacrifices, and offerings are all ways to speak to the gods; omens, divination, dream/trance theophany, oracles, and full theophany are all ways of hearing what they say back.  The spectrum goes from omens, which require the least energy and are the most frequently misunderstood, to full theophany (where the gods appear in the flesh), which requires the most energy and has the least chance of being misunderstood.  She mentioned that a lot of people in ancient times asked oracles about personal matters, even if the best-remembered stories are all about city-states asking political questions.  In her opinion, it is a good idea to consult an oracle in the following cases: 1) when you have a choice to make and reason is insufficient; 2) if the choice means a major change or upheaval; 3) at any indication of miasma negatively affecting your life; 4) any question about your relationship with the gods; or 5) anything that weighs very heavily on your heart.  In her personal work she said she tries to focus on teh big picture stuff, but she’s had people come and ask personal questions, too.  Sometimes Apollon answers the question the querent should have asked instead of the one they did.  One of the big picture messages that she has recently received from him and is trying to spread knowledge of, is that in order to help with climate change and prevent calamity, we need to focus our efforts on healing the world’s oceans.  He says we have about 20 years to get things moving in the right direction, or it will be too late.

One evening in which Gwendolyn was sitting down to talk to Apollon (as she tries to do daily as part of her mantis training) she found herself complaining about her day and then caught herself and apologized, and he gave her a very important lesson that resonated with me, and I think it will resonate with some of you.  When she apologized for wasting his time with her complaining, he said “I’m not that small.”  At first she didn’t understand, but then he helped her to see that he had no problem being there in intimate friendship with her, hearing about her day, and also doing his cosmic duties.  He could be there, that close, paying attention to each of his followers all at the same time and never be distracted.  He’s not that small.  None of the gods are.  And I think we, as devotees, need to be reminded of that now and again.  The gods do not have to suffer, but they chose to do so by entering into relationships with us – they choose to feel our pain, and to see the world through us as much as we see the world through them.

 

Only one more day to go!  And I must say, re-reading my notes and typing them up for you has really helped me process the events of the conference.  Hopefully you got something out of it, too!

~Réaltán~

 

[Day 1 Here]

[Day 2 Here]

[Day 4 Here]

Event, Ritual

Sacred Space, Day 2

Gwdihŵ has sort of declined to write up his incomplete notes, so you’ll really just be getting my experience of the conference except where we attended an event together, I’m afraid.  But here was my Day 2!

Experiential Tree Ogham, by Raven Edgewalker

I thoroughly enjoyed this workshop.  I think this one, along with her second workshop on the last day, made up my favorite part of the entire weekend.  And also I now have ogham on the brain, so expect a little bit of that to filter through here eventually.  (Yes, I still have new tarot decks to learn, and yes, I’m beginning to learn runes, but really, a witch can never have too many forms of divination, can she?)

Raven started out with a little background and history of the ogham: it’s an alphabet, trees aren’t the only things associated with the letters (and some of those trees are vines or shrubs), it probably post-dates Christian contact, etc.  She emphasized that she likes that it’s newer, and likes that it seems to have been not fully developed by the time it was no longer used heavily, because that means there’s a lot of work that still could have been done, and that plus the fact that we don’t have complete sources means that it’s easier to create our own version, and to customize it to ourselves and our own practice.  She talked a bit about how she couldn’t get into ogham at first, couldn’t learn the symbols, not until she started actually working with plants and trees, and then from that work she ended up back at ogham.

Then she had us do a short meditation, where we were instructed to go find a tree and talk to it for a moment.  Many people found a tree from their childhood, or a tree that they interact with often now.  I ended up meeting the Black Spruce spirit I had been working with all winter.  One of the things Raven emphasized when we shared about our experiences was a thing I learned from Black Spruce previously – trees are not in a hurry.  They have time; they do not rush.  And neither should we, learning ogham.  She said we should start with getting to know the trees.  If you can identify 20 trees, learn their other properties, and then learn 20 more.  If you can only identify 2 trees, learn their properties and learn two more.  Double your knowledge.  Move slowly.  Feel your way through the trees and then the ogham as a system of divination will grow naturally in you.  A lot of the meanings she gets when she reads ogham hinge on her personal associations and personal relationships with the trees themselves.

There are 20 trees in the original ogham, but she said her personal set has grown to include about 70 plants, and she’s continued on the pattern of symbols and made her own staves, each out of the wood of the plant, and she encourages all of us to do the same – make our own version of the ogham.

Raven closed with another meditative exercise: this time we were supposed to become a tree, to start as a seedling and grow, trying to really feel and imagine branches and roots and the wind, and the other trees around us, a whole forest in the room.  That was a deeply grounding and beautiful exercise.

 

Tarot and Talking with the Dead, by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince

Ellen started the class by setting up a small altar piece: what appeared to be a Halloween decoration graveyard with little stones and a little doll representing Maman Brigitte.  As she set up, Ellen talked a bit about Maman Brigitte, her relationship to the goddess and saint Brigid, and her role in Vodou as the wife of Baron Samedi and the Queen of the Graveyard.  Then we did a small ground-center-focus meditation, and said an invocation of Maman Brigitte together.

The first tarot spread was a four-card spread in which we were supposed to talk to a specific ancestor or other dead person or spirit, with each card asking one of the following questions:

  1. What is the primary energy or power of this spirit?
  2. How can you participate in the manifestation of that power?
  3. What particular message does this spirit have for you?
  4. What do you have to offer this spirit in return?

I used my LOTR deck, and ended up talking to my great-grandfather, who died while I was in college.

The second spread was asking the dead in general for their advice and insight, and it was a three-card spread using the following questions:

  1. What is important for me to know about what is coming in my personal world?
  2. What is important for me to know about what is coming in my community?
  3. What is important for me to know about what is coming in the larger world?

Many of us got answers about a time of change and upheaval in the last two questions.

We ended with a short journey meditation, to go and talk to the dead directly.  I went to see my great-grandfather and also saw my great-grandmother, his wife, and their son, my great-uncle whom I never met.  I helped them some with healing, and it was a very powerful but very personal moment.

I thoroughly enjoyed Ellen’s workshop, and it is to my dismay that I did not make it to her other tarot workshop: Tarot with the Dark Goddess.  She also presented “Inside Out Magic” and “Writing Ancient Lives”, both of which Gwdihŵ attended and enjoyed.

 

 

The New Orleans Conjure Dance, presented by Caroline Kenner and Gryphon’s Grove School of Shamanism, with music by Firesong

As it says in the Sacred Space programme, the Conjure Dance is a “ritual dance of spirit possession and manifestation.  It is inspired by the dances performed by Marie Laveau on Sundays in Congo Square, New Orleans, before the Civil War.”  Many deities from many different pantheons are invoked through song, and many more are given representation on altars set up along the walls of the room.

As I did last year, I began by walking around the room to look at all the altars first.  My first sweep with Gwdihŵ was just to greet everyone, and to see who was represented.  On our second pass, we left offerings.  We had brought a few special offerings, a bag of multicolor jelly beans, and a bag of gold foil wrapped chocolate eggs.  We gave each table a chocolate egg, and the jelly beans we passed out to our particular friends in each pantheon, using color symbolism.  Gwdihŵ also brought a few origami cranes and shells to give to some of his gods, and I had brought a large dark chocolate bunny also wrapped in gold foil for Bast.  There was alcohol provided by Caroline Kenner & co, and we gave a little of that as well, before settling in to enjoy the music some and to listen for invocation songs of those we know.

After a little while I went back to the Egyptian altar and sat for a moment, to ask Bast if she might join me for the night.  I had thought that it would take a lot of preparation work to be able to tune out the noise and find my center in order to open and let her in, but the opposite was true – I needed no more than ask, and she was there.  Then the juggling act of having a headmate began.  Walking was difficult only for the first few steps – then we made our way over to the alcohol to have a shot of something.  She wanted something sweet, like chocolate liqueur or kahlua or frangelico, but we had to settle for a sweet dark rum, which we both enjoyed.  Speaking was a little difficult at times – Gwdihŵ asked me about the alcohol and to be careful (because alcohol frequently doesn’t agree with my chronic illness) but I (we?) assured him that we would not have much – just a taste.  Bast seemed to enjoy watching the spectacle, and she was proud of how many statues she had on the Egyptian altar (although she was tied with Anpu, whom she ribbed gently).  We also tried a violet liqueur, and she didn’t like it, or I didn’t like it – I’m still not exactly sure.  Either way, we decided not to drink the whole shot, and so a shot and a half was our total alcohol consumption for the night.  We did try the peeps, though – I like them, and she enjoyed biting off their heads, as they were intended as stand-ins for sacrificial chickens.  Mostly we just watched and moved and tried to keep our balance, with her enjoying embodiment, but staying politely in the passenger’s seat of the car, so to speak.

I did need a little bit of help from a friend to find the stickers we were supposed to use if we didn’t want to be touched or had allergies or something, because that was early on and I was having trouble looking for them and I wasn’t sure how well I was going to be able to have a real conversation, starting with “Hello, Are you one of the helpers?  I have a request…”etc.  So instead I (we) walked up to my friend and sort of blurted out, “Do you know where the stickers are?  I need one.”  She saw that I was possessed and if I’m not mistaken also had a pretty good idea who my headmate was, and she helped me find the stickers and checked in with me and I assured her that I was fine, but having a little bit of difficulty with words.  Once I had the stickers on, Bast and I danced around some, and had a few interactions with friends, though some of those are less clear than others.  Between the alcohol and the late night and the headmate, my memory is not as crisp as it could have been, but it’s not truly patchy, either, just a little out of focus.

There was one point where I noticed a friend in distress and Bast pulled back quite a bit more so that I could speak a bit more fluently and not have to be balancing her presence while I tried to find assistance.  Once I had found someone to help and had communicated the problem to both them and Gwdihŵ (who had no headmates), I felt comfortable relaxing again and she came back, unperturbed by the interruption.  I am not sure, but I think she even pulled back without me asking her to in the first place – I find she is very respectful of boundaries, provided she knows them already or can predict them.  She even reminded me to go get my water bottle at one point, because I’d had nothing to drink but the two shots of alcohol.

I didn’t expect her to give me any messages for anyone, as we were really just having a good time at a party for the most part, but there was a particular friend of mine there who also works with Bast, and every time he passed by, she sort of sighed in my head and said, “Isn’t he great?”  or “I really like him.” or something like that, so after probably a half hour of that or more, I did go and tell him that she appreciated him, etc, knowing that he likely already knew that, but it’s always nice to hear it again.

The other interaction of any note, is that while I was outside talking with Gwdihŵ and another attendee, someone else who was possessed came out with a helper in tow, and Bast (who had been mostly in the background so that I could talk), came forward and perked up her ears and said “Loki?”.  I just barely did not allow that to come out of my mouth, afraid that I/she was wrong, but it turns out that she was right, and I’m a bit sorry now that I didn’t say it and allow that interaction to play out.  Oh well.  He’s since told me that he knew I/we recognized him then, but that it’s possible his possessory host did not, intent as she was (they were) on having a cigarette.

The acquisition of Bast as a headmate seems to have been much easier than her departure.  She was still quite present, although no longer quite in the passenger’s seat, by the time I fell asleep.  She hadn’t really left.  But then again, she’s frequently very close by even when we’re not attempting something possessory, and I think the line between being able to hear her, and her being a headmate is a bit blurrier than I had originally thought.  In any case, she was gone in the morning.

I think it was a good exercise in boundaries and balancing.  I have known for some time that I was once her Oracle and she would like me to fill that role again, and I think we’ll need more practice before we get there, but the ease of our night together at the Conjure Dance bodes well.  Dua Bast!

 

~Réaltán~

[Day 1 Here]

[Day 3 Here]

[Day 4 Here]

 

Event

Sacred Space, Day 1

Gwdihŵ and I arrived early in the afternoon, and talked with a few friends before attending the Opening Ritual.

 

Opening Ritual:

As always, it was short and sweet and to the point. Gwendolyn Reece and Michael Smith invoked the conference’s patrons, Athena and Djehuty.  Then, as a group, we set our intentions for the conference via call and response, and we set aside the time and place of the conference as sacred space, under the rule of hospitality.

Neither of us went to a workshop in the first block, as we were busy moving our stuff into our room, since our roommates had arrived during the Opening Ritual.

 

“Five Souls, Three Voices, One Road: Orlaeg, Wyrd, and Soul Work in the Northern Tradition”, by Laurel Mendes

Having enjoyed the Oracular Seidh ritual last year with Laurel Mendes and Diana Paxson, I decided to attend this workshop with Laurel.  It was part discussion of magic and pathworking in the Northern Tradition, and part actual pathworking.  First she started by trying to describe how the Northern Kindred viewed time: now and not-now and cyclical, rather than the past-present-future linear model with which most of us are accustomed.  That’s a complex topic and could easily be an entire workshop by itself, but she recommended the work of a physicist named Michio Kaku.  Then she explained the differences between the two types of fate, wyrd and orlaeg, by explaining that wyrd is like your DNA: it’s what you’re born with, and you can’t really change it much.  Orlaeg is more malleable, and is made of all of our daily choices, which restrict us to certain paths.  When we speak of shifting our fate, in the Northern Tradition we’re mostly talking about orlaeg.  Next Laurel discussed her understanding of the five souls each person has, and what each of them do for us.  The first soul in her framework is the fylgja, also known as the follower or fetch, and it is something a bit like an internal spirit guide.  The fylgja is often animal and sometimes humanoid, but when humanoid frequently the opposite gender of the human whose soul it is.  The second soul is the hamingya, which Laurel calls the sender, a part of ourselves that we can send astral travelling, or send elsewhere in the world to check on other things for a while.  The third soul is the hamr, which she calls the skin, the parts of your personality you show to the world.  This is the most changeable soul, as it changes based on your environment and your interactions with others.  The fourth soul in Laurel’s framework is the aus, what she calls the godmouth, or the voice of truth.  This, she explained, is the voice we use when we need to be obeyed immediately: the voice you would use to tell a child to stop when they are about to hurt themselves unknowingly.  The fifth and last soul is the dis-self, the divine ancestor, and the part of you that can understand and communicate with the gods, ancestors, and other spirits.  While I’m not sure that I would classify all of these as parts of the soul, I found her framework intriguing.  I also agree with her assertion that if you’re having a hard time making a major life decision, it is wise to try and speak with each part, in order to get their consensus before acting.

In the pathworking part of the class, she had us start with just that.  Once we had consensus, she led us to the roots of the worldtree, where we were to seek out the norns, and find the places where the water from the wells pools when they pour it on the tree in order to read the runes left in the rime.  The water, she found, pools in three places – one for each norn.  The first pool, for things past, is dark, and shows things the seeker has forgotten.  The second, for things present, is clear, and it shows you things as they are, though it will widen your perspective.  The third pool is cloudy, and it shows things as they may become.  After we looked in all three pools, she had us pour the water over ourselves, one dip from each pool, and then let it dry on ourselves, to show runes in our own rime.  Then she had us call our fylgja, and to look through those eyes to read the runes written on our body, before bringing us back to ourselves in the present moment, seated in the conference room.

 

Global Spirits Service for the Spirits of Wisdom, by Firesong (Universal Temple of Spirits)

Gwdihŵ and I arrived late to this, after dinner, and found it to be similar to Caroline Kenner’s yearly Conjure Dance (see Day 2): deities and other spirits invited in via song and dance, in a trance-possessory rite reminiscent of the African Diaspora religions.  I am not familiar with the organization that put on the rite, but they have a website.  It was smaller than the Conjure Dance, but still pretty well attended.  I had an interaction with the Morrigan while there – she had information for me about this spring equinox.  I’d been having a feeling like something was a little unsettled, weather-wise, and that though the flowers were on schedule for spring to arrive as normal, something was still off. I’d been meaning to go talk to Morrigan, but she (They) came to me, instead (with a stern word about procrastination). And her (Their) message was basically: Blood will be spilled at the Changing of the Courts.

Sometimes this changing of the guard, Dark-to-Light, Unseelie-to-Seelie is really nothing more than a baton pass, and sometimes it’s a full scale war… From what I was shown, this one will probably play out more like a blood feud.  What she showed me specifically was an Unseelie fae stabbing the Seelie King in the back as he was preparing for the coronation ritual… And he bled to death in the throne room. A relative (nephew?) pulled the knife out and pursued the attacker and everything descended into chaos, weather included.  For humans I doubt it will be anything too intense, but even skirmishes can cause a lot of damage to humans caught in the crossfire. So I did a bit of magic to counter that: some protection stuff on behalf of friends and family who wanted it.

And it’s important to remember in times like these, that chaos in one world is mirrored in others.  As the human world has issues in leadership, so does the fae – and their chaos becomes ours, too.  So ground and center.  Check your wards.  Stay connected to friends and family.  Heal what you can.  Hex if you need to.  Try to help the worlds re-balance.

 

That’s all for day 1!  I’ll try to get day 2 up soon.

~Réaltán~

 

[Day 2]

[Day 3]

[Day 4]

Event

Sacred Space Conference

We are home from Sacred Space, and wow, are we both tired.  It was an enlightening weekend.  There were fewer attendees than I remember from last year, though we still saw many old friends, and made a few new ones as well. It’s possible that the difference in attendance numbers is because this was just Sacred Space, not concurrent with Between the Worlds like last year.  There were also fewer classes, but that was a fair trade; last year I desperately wished for a time turner and begged many people to take notes in sessions I didn’t manage to attend.  This year I made it to nearly everything I wanted to.  Not quite everything, though my health got in the way of more than the schedule did (note to self: sleep still matters).

I hope to write up some notes here in the coming days, but right now I am rather exhausted, and can only say that it was well worth attending, and that Gwdihŵ and I pre-registered for next year!

~Réaltán~

 

[Edit: Read my write-ups here!]

Event

Sacred Space Conference!

We’re both attending the conference again this year, and will hopefully be sharing some highlights next week when we’re back.  If I have time to do “live updates” I will be posting statuses on my Réaltán Ni Be Chuille facebook page.

Here’s the website for the conference itself, if you’re interested.  It happens every year around this time in March.

Sorry for the very very short post again, but I should be off packing!

~Réaltán~

 

[Edit: Read my write-ups here!]

Devotional Jewelry, Etsy Shop Update

New Devotional Bracelet!

Sekhmet (1)

This one is for Sekmet / Hathor (Hetheru), and the stone beads are tiger’s eye, picture jasper, red agate, and rutilated quartz.  It’s pretty similar to the Bast bracelet, but the onyx is traded out for red agate here.  It’s also about 8.5 inches in length, but as with the Bast bracelet, it should be fairly easy to make a little smaller or a little larger.

This is the second piece of devotional jewelry I have designed and listed in my Etsy shop, but there are more on the way!  Stay tuned!

 

~Réaltán~

Divination, Etsy Shop Update

Second New Year’s Tarot Spread!

Here’s the second New Year’s Tarot Spread that I made, and this one is also available in my Etsy Shop!  The full graphic for this one is on tumblr, too, so spread it around if you see it, please!  And again, I don’t mind if anyone else uses or modifies this spread, even to sell in their own shops or tarot practice, but hopefully some of those who see this will decide to knock on my little (internet) shop door!

new years 7 top

Overview of changes coming in the New Year:

1. Work: changes to your career, job, or schooling

2. Play: changes to your hobbies or recreational activities

3. Friends: changes to your friendships, or changes in your friends’ lives that will affect you

4. Romance: changes in your love life, or change’s in a romantic partner’s life that might affect you

5. Family: changes in your family life, or changes in a family member’s life that might affect you

6. Health: changes to your health, either physical, mental, or emotional

7. Spirituality: changes to your spirituality or your religious beliefs or practice

 

If you do use this spread, let me know how it works for you!  And if you’re interested in having me to a reading for you, I offer this spread in four different tarot decks, or in two different oracle card decks.

~Réaltán~

Divination, Etsy Shop Update

New Tarot Spread

I created this tarot spread for our Etsy shop, anticipating that clients may want a little insight into what’s coming with the coming year, and what they can do to help make the transition smooth.  I made the graphic to share on tumblr, so if you see it there, please reblog!  I don’t mind if anyone else uses or modifies this spread, even to sell in their own shops or tarot practice, but hopefully some of those who see this will decide to knock on my little (internet) shop door!

new years 12 top

Things Leaving with the Past Year:
1. Something you’re ready to let go of
2. Something you need to let go of
3. Something you want to let go of
4. An external way to help yourself let go
5. An internal way to help yourself let go
6. An obstacle preventing you from letting go

Things Coming in with the New Year:
7. Something you’re ready to accept
8. Something you need to accept
9. Something you want to accept
10. An external way to help yourself accept things
11. An internal way to help yourself accept things
12. An obstacle preventing you from accepting things

 

If you do use this spread, let me know how it works for you!  And if you’re interested in having me to a reading for you, I offer this spread in four different tarot decks, or in two different oracle card decks.

~Réaltán~

Spiritwork

Seasonal Depression: Working with an Evergreen Spirit

I (Réaltán) suffer from seasonal depression (AKA Seasonal Affective Disorder).  It makes keeping my energy up, both physically and magically, much harder in the late fall and winter, as my natural inclination is something like hibernation between Samhain and Imbolc, approximately.  Part of this is probably due to my spring fae nature (about which I will no doubt have to make a post eventually), but that doesn’t mean that I can’t do anything about it.  I just am not sure how to.

Or, rather – was not sure.  But then I had what seems to be an absolutely genius idea (though I’m no doubt reinventing the wheel): talk to an Evergreen spirit!

I have something of an affinity for plants, and I frequently use plants and herbs in my general craft, but I have not spoken to the spirits of plants much to do anything more than what they are prescribed for in herbalism, or associated with in magical symbolism.  This is my first major relationship with a plant spirit, and so far I’ve done a handful of hedgecrossings (aka journeys, tranceworkings, astral travels) to go meet and talk with who I have identified as Black Spruce.  In my talks with him, he has given me the following tidbits of advice, which I will share here in case anyone else can benefit from his wisdom as they deal with their own challenges, this dark half of the year.

  1. Slow your blood.  Slow down, but not as far as deciduous trees – don’t completely fold inside yourself and hibernate.  At the same time, however, don’t try to be as quick as you were in the spring. Now is not the time for rapid growth.  Don’t force yourself to get everything done by trying to move at breakneck speeds – you will fail.  So slow down a little. Decide what’s really important and focus on that.  Don’t worry about things undone, just do whatever you have the energy and strength to do without overtaxing yourself.  It will be enough.
  2. Wax your leaves.  Insulate your energies from the cold of winter, and make sure to stay warm physically as well.  Adjust your shields – keep out the wind of other people’s negative energy and the ice of their judgment.  Other trees lose their leaves because they are thin, fragile, and easily damaged by frost.  Not spruce needles!  They are hard and waxy, durable and insulated, but they still let sunlight through, which is important!
  3. Take in as much light as you can.  Light is important, whether it’s sunlight (bask in it each afternoon for a few moments), the light of your truth (remember to make time for self-care and things you enjoy), or the light of love (spend plenty of time with loved ones). Don’t let your shielding keep the warmth out.
  4. Take care of your roots.  Make sure to ground, ground, ground – and center.  Physically, keep your feet warm, your whole self warm and as comfortable as possible.  Make sure to keep your legs and feet strong and in good health – wear shoes with good support, and make sure they’re waterproof!  Personally, I need to work on my flexibility some, as my tight hamstrings contribute to my chronic shoulder pain, transferring tension up my spine.
  5. Stand tall.  Winter might make you want to curl into a little ball, but it’s important to maintain good posture.  Stay balanced.  Also, stick up for yourself.  It can be harder to live your truth and ignore naysayers when you’re already feeling a little down, but it’s a very important time to make sure you stay upright.  If you begin to bend under the weight of pressure now, by springtime you will find it hard to grow straight again.  Better to keep your balance now.
  6. Spruce is good medicine.  Spruce tips are a good remedy for many winter ailments.  The new growth tips are an excellent source of vitamin C, and a hot tea made from these tips can also ease many symptoms of upper respiratory infections like the common cold, including congestion, runny nose, and coughs.  Winter is an important time to use whatever healing modalities you know, whether that means herbalism, reiki, or zero-blancing.  Be your own remedy.

Hopefully these ideas will reach those who need to hear them.  And I highly recommend seeking an Evergreen spirit to guide you if this sort of work sounds like a path you need to go down.  I am very much enjoying my work with Black Spruce, and after I mentioned this to a friend of mine, she met a Balsam Fir and is now doing some very important work with him.  His messages have been similar to Black Spruce’s – he also stressed the importance of slowing down, which is probably the most important message out of all of the above.

~Réaltán~

Etsy Shop Update

Devotional Jewelry: Bast

Bast5

I have finally finished (and listed in the Etsy Shop) my first piece of devotional jewelry: a bracelet for devotees of Bast, the Lady Devourer, my Patroness.  The bracelet is about 8.5 inches in length, but as I have enough supplies to make several more, the length can be variable with the addition or removal of the golden glass accent beads.  The gemstone beads are rutilated quartz, golden tiger’s eye, picture jasper, and black onyx, all in 8mm rounds and pearl-knotted on durable nylon cord.

There are four of each bead, in four groups, split in half by the glass scarab bead.  The number four is important in Kemetic numerology, and of course the scarab is an important symbol as well, and protective amulets were often carved in the shape of this beetle.  The gemstones are ones that I personally associate with Bast, and the golden accents are evocative of the Netjeru generally, as they are sometimes said to have been made from gold itself!

Hopefully this bracelet will find its way home with someone who will appreciate both the design and the goddess for which it was made!

~Réaltán~